New Discussion Thread

I’ll get back to blogging in a day or two, I promise. Meanwhile — how about that Rep. Joe Barton, R-TX? Barton, who takes a whole lot of money from the Petroleum Industry, got his “shakedown” line from a GOP press release, btw.

Meanwhile, Tony Hayward went to Congress and did an Alberto Gonzales imitation. Didn’t go over well, though.

25 thoughts on “New Discussion Thread

  1. Barton: “We apologize, dear BP, a foreign corporation,we’ll NEVER allow our American water, fishies and birdies from interfering in your making a profit ever again. Those 11 “small people” who died on the rig? Collateral Damage in the War on Profits. We’ll do what we can to minimize your damages to the other “small peope” who will claim that they’re members of their families. As for the Kenyan Usurper who’d our illegitimate President, we’re sorry he managed to convince you to contribute $20Billion to the “small people” in the Gulf. That won’t ever happen again, we Rupublicans promise! We’ll let damage claims go throught the courts, where you’ll only have to pay pennies on the dollar on any claim.
    Again, dear BP, our apologies. If a Bush or Cheney was in charge, your penalty would have been less severe than if one of the “small people” decided to dump a couple of quarts into a sewer nearby while they were changing their oil. We Republicans realize how important it is for corporations, foreign or American, and for us as politicians, to never let this happen again. To make sure that never happens, please contribute liberally, er, uhm, please contribute A LOT to help us stop the Democrats from ever punishing a company again for the benefit of the “small people.”
    “Now, watch this drive!”

    Merry Christmas, Democrats!!!
    Barton’s apology needs to be the central part of any, and every, Democratic ad from now until November – of 2012!
    “Who are you for in this election? A foreign company? Or, the “small people” of the United States of America? Republicans have made their choice. They wanted the “small people” to pay, we taxpayers, rather than one of the largest corporations in the world. Well, as voters, now you can make your choice. Vote Democrat-IC!
    Why is it that I still think the Democrats will f#$k this up? How can they? Have you not seen them in action over the last 16 years? Let me count the ways…

  2. Hayward is a kick. I don’t think he’s even able to SPELL oil, let alone being aware of the fact that BP drills for the stuff. Gulf of Mexico? What’s that? What a waste of perfectly good oxygen.

  3. iirc, Joe Barton has previously exhibited signs of severe petrocraziness. I believe he was the doof who engaged in a bizarre Q&A with Energy Secretary Chu as to how in the heck those ding-danged dineysaurs got under the Texas soil and done turnded into oil. I suspect Barton thinks Jesus buried them for good white Republican-Americans to find later.

    (Psst, Joe, Tony’s a furriner! Listen at how he talks!)

  4. Heh heh, Joe was really disappointed when Tony wouldn’t give him a quote on car insurance.

    I gather from various sources around these Intertubes that the GOP (“Oxymoron Ahead”) leadership has since thumped Joe about the noggin and made him retract the apology, the use of the word “shakedown,” and everything he had eaten for breakfast this morning.

  5. The 20 billion trust fund was set up by the Tuesday speech. Obama made the fund and the process of a 3rd party to handle disbursements out of BP’s control a public issue. BP had to cave in or tell the POTUS to fly a kite. BP had to decide & commit on Wednesday.

    The suggestion that it was a shakedown is essentially correct. I can’t find any legal precident to justify it. I’m also completely in favor of it. But the Constitution specifies you can demand a jury trial for disputes which exceed $100 or some small amount. BP had every right to demand to litigate every claim separately with their lawyers. The law limits BP’s liability (damages not cleanup) to 75 million. Using nothing but the bully pulpit and the polls (BP aint too popular) Obama convinced BP to cough up 20 billion when he had not one ounce of legal authority. Beautiful. What’s amazing to me is that more liberals don’t see this as the slickest trick since the loaves and fishes stunt a long time ago in Israel.

    It doesn’t plug the leak – there’s no button on the presidents desk that will. August – relief well – PLEASE!!! This doesnt clean up the spill. There’s a lot of work ahead there – more and faster please. But the bread and butter issue for families in the region got a LOT better thanks to President Obama.

  6. The suggestion that it was a shakedown is essentially correct.

    I’d consider it more like giving BP an opportunity to make a “good faith gesture” on the path of restoration. To term it a shakedown is essentially designed to cast Obama as a criminal element when he only wants to insure that the livelihoods of people that will be destroyed as a result of the spill will be protected from corporate indifference to their lives.

  7. “To term it a shakedown is essentially designed to cast Obama as a criminal element ”
    Of course when the colored boy secures 20 billion from BP it’s a shakedown, shlush fund, man I’m getting sick, the racism aint even hidden anymore.

  8. Joanr16, didn’t you discuss your posts going into moderation? I just posted a long rambler, did go to moderation just didn’t post. So me pasted it again, and got “you’ve already posted that”. Wow Maha can’t you exclude us regular folk from the twit filter?

    • Folks, I don’t have any control over the spam filter. Unfortunately there is no mechanism that allows for a “don’t bounce” list, although I think I will suggest one.

  9. uncledad,
    Just ’cause we’re regulars, doesn’t mean we can’t be twits. I’m worried more if maha gets a “git” filter. I can live with being known as a twit; a git, I’m not so sure…

    I hope everything’s ok.

  10. I just saw a close-up picture of Joe Barton on TPM. If there was ever a face just begging for a fist to shatter it, it’s this mugs.

  11. “Shakedown” carries with it an implication of illegality. It is a slang term for extortion. It suggests criminally using the threat of force to “shake” loose money from someone it belongs to. And that’s even before we get to the Jesse Jackson/black man subtext.

    When I go to sell my house to someone, is it “essentially correct” to say I’ve shaken them down when I demand that they put their money in an escrow account? BP had already publicly committed to pay the costs of this disaster. Unless one is willing to suggest they were lying, then getting them to agree to this account is merely a matter of bookkeeping procedures, not a “shakedown”. They won’t be paying any money they hadn’t already promised to pay. It’s quite likely the repair of the Gulf will take more that $20 Billion, especially if, as is still quite possible, the relief well effort fails in August.

    Just like when you sell your house, the escrow account just makes sure they’ll pay it, and makes the transfer of money easier to keep track of. No “shakedown”.

    (I’m guessing Tony Hayward wishes the GOPers would shut up about this whole “shakedown” thing. BP needs all the positive PR it can get, and being able to say “look, we’re cooperating, and we already agreed to spend all this money!” is good for them. )

  12. To term it a shakedown is essentially designed to cast Obama as a criminal element….

    I completely agree with this.

    Just ’cause we’re regulars, doesn’t mean we can’t be twits.

    And this (I’m living proof!).

    Me too, Maha – miss you. Take it easy, no matter what.

    And most definitely this.

  13. The definition of ‘shakedown’ is the extortion of money by blackmail.

    That’s a fair description of what President Obama did. Unlike a criminal, it was not illegal, nor was it done for any personal benefit. Again, it was not ilegal – it was (to coin a word) extralegal – it went beyond what the Constituionor law empowers the Chief Executive. But it wasn’t a violation of the law, either.

    To be fair – I wasn’t at the meeting – before I die, I hope to see transcripts. My guess is President Obama did not say ‘ We’re gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.’ But that’s what happened in essence. With proper diplomatic subtlty, BP was remineded thet only 3% of Americans feel sympathy for BP.

    However it was phrased, BP was reminded that the goverrnment was the only thing standing between BP and the angry mob. If Congress and the POTUS side with the mob and decide to take BP down to bare bones (financially) – the mood of the country would allow that corporate lynching. OR how would you like to be the hero and set aside 20 BN – out of the reach of the litigation and trickery of your corporate shysters. By all means take your time deciding – but the White House will be answering questions this afternoon and we won’t cast dithering in a sympathetic way. But take your time……

    This was a shakedown and I have never been more proud of President Obama.

  14. Doug,
    You’re right. It was a great move. It ensured that the “small people” won’t have to wait years to get paid cents on the dollar, after the courts get through listening to the corporatist’s mouthpieces.
    I, too, am proud of Obama!

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  16. If I’m driving blind-drunk, hit another car, kill its four occupants do I have the option on whether I get a DUI, am charged with murder, have to pay damages etc.? So why does BP have any options at all. It should be a slam-dunk – BP committed crimes and BP is responsible for paying all monetary claims as charged.

    I was ‘blinded’ by alcohol. BP, and it’s gotten to the point the corporate world in general, was ‘blinded’ by greed. (However, as I doubt that any SCOTUS would rule my penalty unconstitutional, I don’t doubt that today’s SCOTUS wil some day rule BP’s ‘penalty’ unconstitutional, putting the final stamp of approval on replacing the democratic rule-of-law with the tyrannical rule-of-corporation.)

  17. Doug, what was Obama’s specific threat against BP? Hayward had the option to say “With respect, sir, bugger off” and walk away chuckling and shaking his head. Today, on his yachting excursion, he certainly was behaving very un-shaken down. I still think the term was intended as an insult and is highly inaccurate, and therefore BS should be called on Joe Barton at every opportunity.

  18. Joan – I wasn’t at the meeting – so this is only speculation. Nobody should quote me as saying what DID happen. Holder, the AG was at the 4-hour meeting. I presume he was there to let BP know what options the administration had should BP decide NOT to go along peacefully. This might have including a ‘freeze’ on BP assets in the US. If that was done, it would signal to citizens of the US, and shareholders of BP globally, that Obama considers that it’s the real position of BP that they will walk from their obligation. Technically, that’s 75 million – but in a recent poll, only 3% in the US are sympathetic to BP.

    I have to dig out the article if anyone challenges this – but Congress has retroactively raised the liability for companies on a health/environment issue. The point being – it might take a few months, but Congress could change the liability to 20BN and the public would support it, particularly if there was reason to think that BP petrodollars were a flight risk. The impression that BP had gone to war with the US government would be devastating to the stock price. All it would take is for BP to walk out on the POTUS and then for the administration to put a freeze on BP assets. The value of BP stock is down 30% – if it went down another 30% and BP could not get at cash assets in NY (or wherever) – they might be insolvent in a few weeks. The other Big Oil companies would circle like vultures, eyeing the assets and the proceeds of the fire sale would go first to the Gulf region. The BP management and shareholders would be wiped out.

    Putting up the 20BN was the only way to prevent it. This was an offer they couldn’t refuse.

  19. Doug, since BP had already agreed to pay these damages, its only actual concession appears to be the third-party/escrow arrangement, which as you point out is the alternative to the U.S. government freezing BP’s assets before they bleed out via falling stock value. Since one or the other of these options appears necessary in any case, my question remains, how is it an act of extortion for the president to present these options to BP, when his sole, absolutely legitimate intent is to protect the interests of the United States? BP appears to have gone into that meeting with more choices than Obama faced; they could walk out and start circling the lawyers, but he simply couldn’t do nothing. By agreeing to the escrow arrangement, BP execs may have made his job just the tiniest bit easier (for about five minutes).

    With respect, I suggest perhaps there’s some totally understandable projection to your accepting the “shakedown” idea. We’d all love to see Obama put some serious hurt on these guys, preferably in a dark alley. But I see no evidence that he did, or could; they’re already mortally wounded by their own hands, even if Hayward is too callous to recognize it yet. I’ve come to believe it’s nearly impossible to hurt these guys any more than they do themselves, and I suspect Obama figured that out quite some time ago. The trick was to get them to stop hurting themselves long enough to secure the promised assets for cleanup and reparation.

    Again, I found Barton’s accusation very offensive and we all know it was meant purely to score points for the GOP. They can’t tell the difference between a reasonable argument and a crime– but I know we can.

  20. Joan,
    You’ve got to love that that incredible asshole CEO of BP took part in a yacht race off the Isle of Wight in his boat named, if I’m not mistaken, “BOB,” which is all the sea creatures in the Gulf are left to do before they die…
    I’m left speachless by his actions. You’d think someone from BP’s PR department might have said, “Sir, it really doesn’t look good for you or the company, if, when people in the gulf are losing their livelihoods, you go sporting off on YOUR yacht in a clean piece of ocean, Sir.” ‘Sea’ what I mean, Sir?”
    I’m sorry if this is cruel, but, I don’t hope he gets his “life back.” I would rather choose something other than ‘life!’

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