Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Shakedown

Poor Joe Barton. The conservative representative from Texas has been set upon by everybody for his “courageous” act of defending BP. He called BP’s agreement to a $20-billion escrow fund to pay claimants a “shakedown.” Why is everyone so upset? Aren’t shakedowns common every-day occurrences in Washington D.C.?

At a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Barton said:

I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown. In this case, a $20 billion shakedown.

Republican leaders, upset that people may think they prefer Big Business BP to the many people and small businesses suffering on the Gulf Coast, pounced on Barton, who then retracted his apology. He apologized for using the term "shakedown." But it is obvious to all that he and many other Republicans believe that a "shakedown" had occurred to helpless BP.

I wonder why Republican leaders did NOT get after Rep. Tom Price, the head of the Republican Study Committee, who also called the $20-billion escrow fund a "shakedown":

BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics.

Why are Republicans, and unfortunately many Democrats, so worried about BP? Why do they routinely fight to maintain subsidies for Big Oil? Why are they so adamantly against boosting alternate energy sources? Why do they make it impossible to adopt a good climate-change policy? The answer is simple: Big Oil delivers cash to legislators in return for which they expect legislation favoring Big Oil.

Here's what BP delivered to Rep. Joe Barton:

During his political career, the industries that have been Barton's largest contributors were oil and gas ($1.4 million donated), electric utilities ($1.3 million) and health professionals ($1.1 million) He is ranked first among members of the House of Representatives for the most contributions received from the oil and gas industry, and number five among all members of Congress. His largest corporate contributor, Anadarko Petroleum, owns a 25 percent share in the Macondo Prospect, the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

What would you call such action? How about "SHAKEDOWN"?

"Shakedown" is defined as "coercion or intimidation for personal gain." This is exactly what Big Oil, as well as Big Finance, Big Insurance and Big Business in general do when they "contribute" to campaigns. Corporations that "contribute" a lot, exercise a lot of "coercion and intimidation."

Why are people so upset? This stuff is routine. You may as well call Washington, DC "Shakedown City." This is the normal way of doing business.

If you approve of gangster-type shakedowns of the government - that's US - stay with the system. If you want real democracy, get rid of shakedown politics!

Posted by Paul Siegel at June 18, 2010 6:42 PM
Comment #302365

First, as Joe Barton KNOWS DAMN WELL, this was no shakedown. BP’s attorneys are aware of the laws on the books, and could have chosen to adhere to those ($75 million) instead of volunteering to put up the money Obama asked for. Obama also knew the law, and knew that he did NOT have the legal authority to extract more than $75 million from BP at this time, and without going through the courts.

What Obama achieved was a masterful argument which appealed to BP’s CEO desire to lay a foundation for repairing BP’s public and investor community image. That is politics, and doesn’t even hint at “shakedown”.

Barton, along with about 3/4 of the rest of Republicans in D.C., want simply to turn every action of Obama’s into a liability, regardless of their merits or, even, as in this case, the positive reception by the Republican base for Obama’s action. In other words, Barton issued a knee-jerk reaction to the announcement in keeping with his loyalties to big corporations and especially the oil industry, without THINKING it through.

Bachmann, Boehner, Cornyn, and others quickly joined Barton sanctioning Barton’s remarks. This is really, really dumb and politically stupid. These Republicans are putting themselves on the opposite side of the fence from their Party’s supporters in 3 of the most Republican states in the Union, who will benefit from Obama’s negotiation with BP. When your agenda doesn’t include the American people, these kinds of compromising positions are inevitable.

Obama learned this on the Public Option of the Health Care reform bill. And had no problems turning his position around on Gulf Drilling upon realizing where the people stood on the BP catastrophe in the making. The American people are not always correct as a majority; but as an elected official, one is a fool to not give their position the benefit of the doubt where there is wiggle room to do so, without serious negative consequences to the people or nation.

Republicans get a rule down in their heads, and follow it blindly. The rule since Obama’s election has been to negate all Obama actions. Such mindless rule following is inherently dangerous and counter-productive in a host of situations. Which is one of many reasons Republican approval numbers remain at the same percentage as Americans who believe Aliens are controlling world affairs.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 18, 2010 7:04 PM
Comment #302377

The really sad part is that Joe Barton isn’t a political novice, nor some small time party outcast (well, he might become one). He is as mainstream a Republican as you can get.
The party has become so unmoored from an ethical base and unhinged from reality that saying anything has become common pratice.

Electors, I give you THE prime example of a bought and sold politician.

Posted by: gergle at June 18, 2010 11:05 PM
Comment #302379

Well despite all the repub/conservative claims to the contrary government worked well for the people affected by the BP oil fiasco this time. In such a short time Obama and those in his administration solved the major problem for most people adversely affected by the oil, money to carry on and rebuild. What more could one ask from the federal government after the damage had been done? I know some of the more extremist right wingers have alluded to many things Obama should have done, none with much merit IMHO, but have not given his administration credit for doing the one thing these people need the most.

I believe most conservatives are deeply disappointed with the leadership they are stuck with while supporting this failed ideology. Boehner, Bachmann and Barton are the face of the repub/conservatives and in their effort to villify the Obama administration on this issue have lost the respect of many conservatives, and rightfully so, while making all these false claims about slush funds and shakedowns of the poor private corporation that caused the problem to begin with. The problem is not big government (whatever that means today) it is big business paying off our elected officials, and Barton is such a good example.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 18, 2010 11:26 PM
Comment #302382

Joe Barton didn’t express it well and maybe he didn’t even have the right idea in mind. What I would be worried about is due process. When everybody is upset and looking to punish someone is the time you have to be most careful. The result may be one we want, but if the president uses inappropriate force, threats and intimidation make an end run around the due process of law, we have a Vladimir Putin behavior.

Beyond that, Obama is very enthusiastic about shifting the blame from his own regulators to a big villain. Recall that oil and gas exploration offshore is one of the most highly regulated things there is. Obama’s folks were negligent too. We shouldn’t let them shift all their responsibility.


I am disappointed in all our political leaders.Obama has shown himself as incompetent as Bush and Bush grew the government to record size. You are right that I am disappointed in Boehner et al. But then I look at Palin and Reid. It is hard to think of how anybody could be worse than those two.

Posted by: C&J at June 18, 2010 11:46 PM
Comment #302386

C&J, you can’t argue both sides of the fence and be credible. You can’t argue for less government (which the MMS provided us), and then turn right around and argue that this catastrophe was in any way Obama’s MMS agency’s fault. Make up your mind as to which side of the fence you want to live on. You can even change sides later. But, straddling it, just makes your comment ridiculous.

The very idea that Obama negotiated 20 billion, plus 100 million for rig workers unemployment, plus 500 million for dealing other things from BP, with a crisis he had nothing to do with, other than appointing Salazar to oversee the agency, without SPENDING A SINGLE TAX DOLLAR in the effort, should have folks like you heaping praise upon him if objectivity were at all present.

But, no. You and other Republicans/Conservatives appear disappointed that Obama didn’t rush to deficit spend 10’s of billions to help those Republican run States, providing you with ammunition on deficits and debt to beat him up with, as if it wouldn’t be warranted save for his brilliant negotiating skills.

To even hint that BP would kowtow to intimidation or coercion on this matter when the law clearly stands in favor of their getting away with this for a fraction of the cost, GROSSLY underestimates the legal and powerful position BP could assert in this case.

I have little doubt that Obama appealed to BP’s need to build a foundation immediately upon which to restore their public and investor image going forward, or face unavoidable legal entanglements that would keep the disaster in the headlines and public opinion negative enough for decades, to seriously compromise BP’s stability and shareholder prospects going forward. In other words, Very likely, Obama appealed to BP’s enlightened self interest, which is precisely what conservatives say they believe should be the guiding hand of private sector actions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2010 1:22 AM
Comment #302403

Due process? Why BP hasn’t even been charged with a crime have they? This was good government stepping in and resolving the most important issue for many of these people, money to make it through the hard times.Rather than go through the adversarial court system Obama went to BP with a good plan that solved the problem and discussed the plan with BP executives. What more could you ask for? No unnecessary use of force, threats or intimidation just good leadership. Yet for some reason you insist upon calling him incompetent and insinuate he used brute force without any evidence to support this misinformation, how hateful and small minded is that.

I agree with you on Palin, couldn’t even lead Alaska for the term she was elected to serve and blathered on like an idiot about Obama not borrowing equipment from the Dutch while the fire was still going. What an embarrassment, yet she gets a platform to spout these insanities on Faux. Reid is to soft when dealing with those thugs on the right that insist upon destroying the federal government. Perhaps y’all should draft that BP CEO Hayward for a leadership position in the repub party/conservative movement.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 19, 2010 9:18 AM
Comment #302410

It seems to me Hayward would fit right into the GOP. Now that he has his life back and won’t be involved in the oil spill clean up it seems the timing is right. Certainly his priorities are in line with repub/conservative ideology. What a pair Haywar

Posted by: j2t2 at June 19, 2010 11:05 AM
Comment #302411

Oops Hayward and Palin just the ticket to replace Obama in ‘12.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 19, 2010 11:06 AM
Comment #302413

If Obama had said, “If you don’t set up this fund, I’ll tell the world about this embarrassing revelation.” that would have been blackmail.

If Obama had said, “Oh, I’m afraid we’re going to have to inspect each and every one of your rigs right now” that might have been extortion.

If he threatened to prosecute the lot of them, if they didn’t pay up, that would have been extortion.

If he said, “You know, your name is Mississippi Mud here. Look how badly Exxon and the oil industry fared after the Valdez spill, and yours makes that look like a diesel slick at the Marina. You can fight this for the next decade, and lose every case, or you can at least look penitent, and help out the people whose lives your actions have ruined.” That’s called reason and moral suasion.

Lawsuits? The technical term for a lawsuit is a tort, almost literally a twisting of the arm. The purpose of a tort is to force somebody to do something, to pay damages, to alter behavior. You’re saying, essentially, that BP shouldn’t do anything it’s not forced to do. If I were BP, I wouldn’t follow that advice, because there are situations where you don’t want to be perceived as having to be forced to take responsibility.

Government regulators under Obama may have been deficient, but for this event to have happened, BP had to be misbehaving. They had to screws something up, break something, to have this event occur.

You call it a shakedown, but do you really think BP or any oil company’s going to escape the consequences for this, and not face a serious backlash?

Your position seems, alternatively, to be that Obama was too weak, and that Obama’s too strong. On one hand, your folks wonder about President Spock, and then when he finally shows some emotion, talks about whose ass to kick, oh, won’t anybody think of the children?

The Republicans are, by the alternation of their talking points revealing the hollowly partisan nature of their criticisms. They are also revealing an alarming indifference to the true nature of the problem, asking the President to take risks in reopening drilling, even while the results of one underinspected rig befoul the Gulf Coast.

The problem for Republicans is that they can never settle down to a consensus with the President and the rest of the country, because that would break their efforts to cast Obama as the badguy, the scapegoat for their policies.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 19, 2010 11:40 AM
Comment #302418


MMS didn’t give us LESS government. It gave us MORE, but less effective regulations. The oil industry down in the Gulf has regulations up the Wazoo. They have so many rules that both bureaucrats and those they regulate can hide among the folds and use the regulations to their advantage.

My observation is the government is BOTH too big and too ineffective, perhaps BECAUSE it is too big.

Make government smaller and more effective by getting it to stick to its core functions.


Obama is not doing too much or too little; he is doing things in wrong way.

What he has created by his use of threats is that terrible chimera of government management and captive private companies toadding up to it. BP should pay. But we should use the proper procedures.

Posted by: C&J at June 19, 2010 12:52 PM
Comment #302419

Stephen, You said “Government regulators under Obama may have been deficent, But to have this event happen BP must have been misbehaving”. Of course they did Stephen. BP took advantage of a situation and played it for all it was worth until it blew up in their face. This is why we should hold those who are responsible for the oversight criminally responsible for their actions. Maybe doing that regulators will be far less apt to falsefy inspections. BP should also be held criminally responsible for their actions.

Posted by: MAG at June 19, 2010 1:32 PM
Comment #302431

I frame the issue purely in terms of function. I don’t mind a government that’s smaller, but gets the job done. But I don’t think size stands as a universal measure of effectiveness.

The question for me is always function. I mean, I would say, yes, simplify the code. But not to the point of making it uselessly simple, unable to deal with the reality. I would say yes, don’t just add armies of regulators and bureaucrats, but don’t understaff and underfund so the agencies become useless for their function.

Make government unintrusive into most people’s lives, but don’t render it feckless, unable to get actual results by hamstringing it’s ability to exercise it’s authority.

Even when I was a Republican, the size question was not that important to me. Function was most important, because otherwise, what’s the point? What’s the point of a government that cannot govern, that cannot represent the public interests effectively?

At the same time, there’s something else that bugs me. Namely it’s this adversarial attitude towards accountability in American business nowadays. Rather than proceed from the notion that perhaps their excesses help contribute to the unpopularity of business in general, and that regulatory overreach is invited by the outrages that get inflicted by irresponsible businesses on the public (like this oil spill), they proceed from the notion that the people who would hold them accountable are essentially enemies of capitalism, or at the very least just trying to destroy their business for some odd reason.

Republicans pick up this rhetoric and bash Democrats with it, even after they get forced, time and again, to carry water for corporations whose bad behavior saddles them both with an elitist, arrogant, malevolant reputation.

You say:

What he has created by his use of threats is that terrible chimera of government management and captive private companies toadding up to it. BP should pay. But we should use the proper procedures.

But don’t you think it might not be a good thing for Business to be seen having to get its arm twisted every time to achieve results? There are people on the Gulf Coast suffering now over the effects of the Oil Spill, and that human factor has to be taken into account.

Unless you have got real evidence that Obama said something untoward, something like a quote or a promise or a threat of some kind plainly laid out, I think it’s pernicious to assume he just shook BP down. I think he gave them and the government a better way out of this tense situation than just some long, drawn out, parsimonious fight over damages, while people hurt financially, and the economic effects made themselves felt. Republicans have been adversarial in their tactics for too long, and have forgotten the value of approaches that settle disputes without having to use force.

If somebody gets prosecuted, or a civil suit gets filed, then of course there are proper procedures to observe. But if BP and the White House agree informally to resolve a major problem without such a fight, it’s not a bad thing.

We should hold those regulators criminally responsible who broke laws, no doubt. But we should also recognize that some of the regulations, as set by others previous to Obama, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, also played into the current problem. Particularly Bush 43, Cheney, and his energy taskforce. He actually sued to keep the membership of this group secret, and they came up with many of the industry friendly practicies that lead up to this.

I would emphasize something here: we have to recognize what kind of regulations, what absences of regulations, what structural and cultural problems cause the problems here, and take care of those problems now, so we don’t have to deal with it later.

I emphasize responsility here, and also emphasize the thinking, because I see the problem as systematic mess, rather than a cluster of isolated problems. We literally set up many of our bureaucracies and our regulatory agencies to fail, and that makes the problems of inefficient government, waste, and corruption worse.

Let’s focus on function, rather than size.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 19, 2010 7:36 PM
Comment #302432

C&J, what sophistry is this? “MMS didn’t give us LESS government.”

Turning a blind eye to one’s regulatory and oversight governing duties IS LESS GOVERNMENT! You can play the sophist if you like, but, the role of government is to govern, and the MMS didn’t govern the oil industry, or the coal industry, for that matter, and that is, by definition, less governance, and therefore less government. The irony is the Cheney and Bush Administration turned a blind eye to these government employees being paid twice, once by tax payers, and again by the industries they were charged to oversee. This kind of corruption was rampant in the Bush agencies, and of course carried over into the first year and a half of the Obama administration. Zebras don’t change their stripes overnight, you know.

In hindsight, it is easy to now say Obama should have made a clean sweep of executive agencies removing every civil servant put in place during the Bush Administration. But, you know, that’s the irony of being an honest broker. One is not predisposed to act in the same way as dishonest brokers. Bush did perform as large a clean sweep of government agencies as possible, to remove as many Democrat hired and appointed civil servants as possible. Scandals over this very action occurred in the Bush Justice Dep’t, for example. And no in the MMS agency. Obama was gullible in this regard, expecting Bush’s agency personnel to be honest public servants. But, the truth is turning out to be, they had already been bought by their other employers in the private sector.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2010 7:37 PM
Comment #302433

So yer at yer job, see? An’ yer waitin’ fer the paycheck a coupla’ days away, see? An’ you just know that yer gonna go to that little store on the corner and buy that item that you’ve been savin’ up for.
Finally, you get there and the price of the item went way up. That means that a couple of hours worth of labor, FROM THE PAST, just disappeared into nothingness. And we have this idiot talking about a “shakedown!” AND WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE IT!!

Posted by: Stephen Hines at June 19, 2010 7:39 PM
Comment #302434

Stephen Didn’t I say that we could trace this problem back past Bush 43. Also I said we shoul bring the MMS, some senators and congressmen and President past and present bvefore congress to answer why this mess happened. I think you even commented on this in a different post.

Posted by: MAG at June 19, 2010 7:43 PM
Comment #302438

By the way, MMS was established by Watt during the Reagan administration. Watt, an industry lobbyist, intended for the MMS to prevent effective oversight, not ensure it. This is another clear cut case of conservatives favoring corporations over that hated group, ‘we the people.’

Posted by: phx8 at June 19, 2010 8:19 PM
Comment #302439

phx8 The MMS has be mismanaged since day one. That includes Democrat mismanagment. So your point is?

Posted by: MAG at June 19, 2010 9:01 PM
Comment #302442

All I know is that from a corporate point of view, owning two political parties is better than just owning one.

The reason the Democratic Party is in the jam it is in, the reason it is unable to reassert it’s political dominance, is because it to forgot about ‘we the people’ in it’s rush to secure corporate dollars in exchange for corporate governance.

It has never been a secret that the Republican Party has always represented wealth and it’s instruments the corporations. Ask the fiscal conservatives how well they were represented when the Republicans had control of the government. Ask the social conservatives if they have ever gotten anything except rhetoric from the Republican Party.

The only thing fiscal and social conservatives are doing by supporting the Republican Party is proving that they are gluttons for punishment and disappointment.

This is also true of progressives and their support of the Democratic Party.

What Obama achieved was a $20 billion matching funds commitment from BP.

Posted by: jlw at June 19, 2010 9:54 PM
Comment #302460

I came across something very interresting. The DEEP WATER ROYALTY RELIEF ACT OF 1995 which provided insentives to oil companies to start drilling in deep water. It saw great success between 1996 to 1998 especially in depths greater then 2,625 ft. It turns out thatthe oil industry’s interest of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was fueled by GOVERNMENT incentives-ie profit-not by environmental regulation. And who was President at the time Ole Slick Willy Clinton.

Posted by: MAG at June 20, 2010 7:42 PM
Comment #302461

Oh and by the way this created thousands of jobs and netted the government over 31 BILLION.

Posted by: MAG at June 20, 2010 7:45 PM
Comment #302467


Business is the producer; government is the consumer. Government sets the rules; business follows the rules. There is a division among them. They really cannot live w/o each other, but it is a bad idea to mix them too much. It is corrupting to concentrate power that way.

I think government should twist arms when needed, but within the process of the rule of law. Expedients in law make bad precedents. That is what they used to do in banana Republics. It is what Putin has done.This is America, where we do thing better.

Re size - when organizations get too big, they lose focus and communication gets to be a problem. You know the classic problem of agency (i.e. when you empower others to represent you, there is slippage and problems with incentives). There is also simply waste as you add more programs and people. Up to a point, adding more increases effectiveness, but at a diminishing rate and at some point effectiveness actually declines with additional programs and people.

Many parts of our government have reached and exceeded that point. That is why the BP regulators - despite or maybe because of Obama’s leadership - didn’t do the job.

Posted by: C&J at June 20, 2010 9:38 PM
Comment #302473

“I think government should twist arms when needed, but within the process of the rule of law. Expedients in law make bad precedents.”

Simply because the escrow account was not forced upon BP by a court of law or otherwise legally required does not make it outside the process of the rule of law. Potential litigants to any legal issue are free to discuss and resolve their claims privately without recourse to legal proceedings. It happenss every day. You would think conservatives would be pleased that BP and the administration reached an agreement without recourse to lengthy litigation or Congressional action.

In this instance, BP was clearly responsible under the current law for all expenses related to cleaning up the actual spill and responsible for up to 75 million in economic damages. However, the economic cap under the Oil Protection Act does not preempt state tort remedies for such damages nor civil fines under the Clean Water Act, etc. Faced with such enormous financial liability and the potential for uncertain massive state and federal litigation, BP made a decision to opt for the escrow account under independent administration. In my opinion, it was an entirely rational decision. They limit the expenses and uncertainty of future litigation and transfer the difficult decisions on economic damage claims to a third party. All the principal parties can get on with the primary task of cleaning up the spill without looking over their shoulder at future litigation.

Posted by: Rich at June 21, 2010 10:55 AM
Comment #302474

What seems to be lost in this conservative outrage over the 20 billion dollar escrow account is that BP has stated repeatedly from the very beginning that it would honor all legitimate economic and clean up claims. They publicly waived any legal right that they might have had to limit their damages. The escrow account is simply a negotiated vehicle for them to honor that commitment. An escrow account is hardly unusual for a party admitting liability.

Posted by: Rich at June 21, 2010 11:11 AM
Comment #302477

Mr. Remer wrote; “What Obama achieved was a masterful argument which appealed to BP’s CEO desire to lay a foundation for repairing BP’s public and investor community image. That is politics, and doesn’t even hint at “shakedown”.”

Isn’t it odd, isn’t it strange, isn’t it hypcritical for liberal/socialist to slobber all over Barry Boop for successfully slicing $20 billion from BP’s coffers and to not give any credit to BP for doing the right thing?

I wasn’t in the room to witness this “masterful arguement” Remer speaks of so I don’t know if it was “masterful”, an “arguement” or perhaps a threat that opened BP’s wallet. Regardless, BP should be given some credit for their willingness to pony up when in fact…they didn’t have to.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 21, 2010 1:06 PM
Comment #302481

IMO, The escrow account was Obama’s choice, litigation in the courts was BP’s solution.

Isn’t it amazing how conservatives are slobbering all over BP. They have this thing for felons. If justice was served a la the conservative eye for an eye, there would be some executives of BP swinging from the gallows. But, corporations can ignore safety, commit murder and call it an accident.

Posted by: jlw at June 21, 2010 2:22 PM
Comment #302482

jlw…what a nonsense statement. BP’s solution was litigation? HUH… Murder??? I would laugh if such a statement wasn’t so flawed and sad.

By the way, I am taking bets on how much of the $100 million earmarked for workers ordered off the drilling rigs by Barry Boop will actually reach those layed off by him. One would think, from liberal/socialist comments, that the Boob was taking the money from his own pocket to help those poor folks who can’t work following his presidential edict.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 21, 2010 2:45 PM
Comment #302484

“One would think, from liberal/socialist comments, that the Boob was taking the money from his own pocket to help those poor folks who can’t work following his presidential edict.”

And one would think from this conservative/fascist statement that it was coming out of yours.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at June 21, 2010 4:22 PM
Comment #302485

Royal what was he supposed to do? Continue to allow the oil companies that have assured us that the deep water platforms were safe to work despite the fact that BP is unable to stop the flow of oil into the gulf? Despite the fact that this one caught fire and burned causing 11 deaths? The fact that he considered the workers affected by the BP tragedy shows some leadership IMHO. Despite your obvious hatred for anything the man does this was the right thing to do until these problems can be worked out and real solutions found.

Lame assertions such as “I am taking bets on how much of the $100 million earmarked for workers ordered off the drilling rigs by Barry Boop will actually reach those layed off by him.” indicate to me that you have no real disagreements of substance and must resort to this kind of nonsense in your attempts to belittle Obama.

While it is typical conservative/fascist logic to insist the money for the laid off workers should come from the presidents pocket, it isn’t the way things work in this country …well unless we continue to elect Barton, Bachmann and Boehner types to represent us. After all it was BP that caused the explosion, fire and oil spill not the president. Yet these conservatives/fascist want to blame the government for doing their job and halting further work that could result in the same explosion, fire and subsequent massive oil spill. Barton and the rest of the apologist need to get a grip on the hatred they have for the president and think things out a bit before they continue to condemn the actions of this administration.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 21, 2010 4:41 PM
Comment #302487

j2t2…let’s do the bet…we can hold the money in a mutually trusted escrow account.

j2 also wrote; “While it is typical conservative/fascist logic to insist the money for the laid off workers should come from the presidents pocket, it isn’t the way things work in this country…”

First, one should read what was written and then attempt to understand it before making a comment on what one thought was said.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 21, 2010 5:29 PM
Comment #302488


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the context of the comment.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at June 21, 2010 6:10 PM
Comment #302489

You cannot tie in knots all possibilities of government succeeding, then say that Obama did not do enough. Since you are pessimistic about any option that expands government, and since Republicans define this in terms of any kind of increase of authority, increase of intervention, increase in actual level of paperwork and whatnot, there is literally nothing he could do that would actually please you.

Which makes your criticism pretty useless, doesn’t it? You set up a test no politician, at least no Democratic Party politician could.

And what would a Republican’s solution be, anyways?

I don’t think this country needs the magic pony squad here, which somehow magically solves all problems without having to devote manpower, resources, time, or the actual effort of inspection to things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 21, 2010 6:14 PM
Comment #302490

Royal Flush, BP’s solution was to have all lawsuits arising from the oil spill to be heard by one U.S. District Judge in Houston rather than the state courts of the states affected by the spill.

I will reduce the charge of murder to manslaughter. The reason BP was in a big hurry to finish that well and the reason they were insistent on ignoring safety was because they were paying Transocean a million bucks a day to lease the drilling rig.

If BP can keep their cost to $20 billion, it will be a victory of sorts for the company. The costs are going to be more.

Is BP going to reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of the efforts put forth by the Coast Guard and other government agencies? I think not.

BP was already on probation for safety violations resulting in destruction and deaths. Bench warrants should have been issued for the BP executives. If I had been on probation for the same kind of reason, a bench warrant would have been issued for me. One would have been issued for you under similar circumstances.

I know, you can’t arrest the BP executives because BP is a collective that by law, has been turned into an individual, and there is no jail big enough to hold BP.

If you want to continue to attack Obama in the defence of Fascism, go to it, it’s your right to do so.

Just keep voting for your favorite fascist politician, men like Burton, Dodd, McConnell, and Pelosi. Men who know the value of the government/corporate wealth alliance. Men who know that corporate wealth can supply what incumbency government needs and also what corporate wealth needs in return.

My definition of fascism: The merging of liberalism with conservatism in support of a government corporate alliance.

By supporting this alliance, the voters have created political elitists who have little fear of being deposed by their constituents and a great fear of what loosing corporate support could do to their elitist career.

Posted by: jlw at June 21, 2010 6:47 PM
Comment #302496


You are missing the point. I have heard nobody say that BP should not pay. It is the extra-legal and thuggish way that the Administration ignored the constitutional protections of due process of law that we object to. If a person or a firm makes a mistake, they should pay for it, according to the law. That doesn’t mean turning over a pile of money for to be disposed of by some presidentially appointed Czar.

Democrats and liberals are currently in favor of this power grab. But their person will not be president always. Ask yourself this. Would you want to give that kind of arbitrary power to someone like Bush or Cheney? Because that is what you are doing when the next turn of the political wheel takes place.


The government regulators have fantastic power over drilling. It is a heavily rule based industry. The Federal government has complete responsibility over those waters. The government is only tied up in knots on this one because of mismanagement and poor leadership under Obama.

Regret to inform you that this is a Democratic failure. You can try to blame others who have been out of office for a couple years but its yours.

Posted by: C&J at June 21, 2010 8:45 PM
Comment #302503

“First, one should read what was written and then attempt to understand it before making a comment on what one thought was said.”
Posted by: Royal Flush at June 21, 2010 05:29 PM

Royal it seems you only read part of my previous post. I got the gist of your comment but noticed that it was so like conservative fascist who insist the government should pay the failures of the business world. From the days of Reagan and the S&L bailout to today the conservative fascist have put responsibility for business liability onto the federal government. So while you intended to just belittle the liberal/socialist, and I understood that, I saw in your words conservative fascism logic and didn’t think the attempt at belittlement was as important as the overall resurgence of illogical fascist conservative outburst not only yours, but by the likes of Boehner, Bachmann and Barton on this issue. Left unchecked this kind of logic develops into serious consequences for the country as we are finding out.

Just read some posts on the current subject from those on the right. Obama is at fault for not doing enough, like he caused the explosion. Obama is shaking BP down for a slush fund. Barton apologizing to BP at a congressional hearing! It is the regulators fault for not demanding stricter regulations/government is to big and this accident proves it cannot regulate. Why there are even people who blame Obama for the laid off workers, as if he should allow this unproven technology to continue to pump oil from a mile deep without the ability to shutdown the well in case of accidents. As if this wasn’t enough to cause one to think badly of the conservative fascist others on the right think that somehow BP (the foreign multinational oil company) had it’s due process rights violated! yes violated because Obama and BP met and worked out a plan to deal with the results of BP’s folly in the gulf outside of the court system. As if Obama ordered up some kind of kangaroo court and coerced BP into these terms. Such muddled conservative fascist logic abounds because otherwise grown men and women have such a hatred for Obama and he has handled this situation well to their befuddlement,IMHO. I say to bad for them, Bachmann, Boehner and Barton as well as their followers.

But you didn’t really reply to the content of my post instead you diverted the subject back to me, did I strike some kind of chord with my words that would cause you to not defend your statement in your response to me?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 21, 2010 11:13 PM
Comment #302508

Royal Flush said: “Isn’t it odd, isn’t it strange, isn’t it hypcritical for liberal/socialist to slobber all over Barry Boop for successfully slicing $20 billion from BP’s coffers and to not give any credit to BP for doing the right thing?”

Isn’t it so typical of conservative fascists to make the utterly ignorant argument that entirely MISSES the point they are trying make their argument on. NOTHING AND NO ONE prevented BP from making the OFFER BEFORE OBAMA SPOKE WITH THEM. The fact that it took a meeting with Obama to get BP to offer up the assistance Americans harmed by them need and will need, makes the prima facia argument that the meeting with Obama was necessary to get that concession from BP.

No one was stopping BP from doing the right thing BEFORE meeting Obama. They didn’t. The facts are what they are. And no amount of conservative fascist apologetic defenses of BP’s actions on the matter will change those facts.

Thank you RF, for the opportunity to once again expose the true agenda of conservative fascists as represented in your comment. Appreciate it, much.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2010 6:25 AM
Comment #302509


You seem to be missing the point. Sure, BP could have stood on its legal rights and resisted payment until forced by the courts to pay. In doing so, they would have enjoyed all the protections of constitutional due process. However, they would have been faced with years of contentious and extraordinarily expensive litigation involving multiple litigants (federal, state, private) in multiple jurisdictions. During that extended litigation, public anger against the company would fester preventing any repair of their corporate image. They would also risk escalating the nature of the allegations (criminal, gross negligence, etc.) for which if found guilty or liable would certainly destroy the company.

You seem to think that it is thugish or exra-legal for a party victimized by the negligence of another to demand compensation prior to initiating legal action. Thats just ridiculus. Its not untoward for such a party to ouline its claims, the basis for its claims, its legal remedies and its damage demands. If there is a clear case of liability and the damages are potentially infinite, negligent parties frequently find it in their interest to settle the case avoiding the monetary and other expenses of litigation.

After years of railing against the litigious nature of our society, conservatives now take an about face and demand, in this instance, litigation. Go figure! Well, its not that hard. The fact that it was Obama that got the settlement without litigation is the operative fact. Politics, once again, trumps intellectual consistency.

Posted by: Rich at June 22, 2010 8:04 AM
Comment #302516

Mr. Remer wrote; “Thank you RF, for the opportunity to once again expose the true agenda of conservative fascists as represented in your comment.”

Since Mr. Remer said in a recent post…“ROYAL FLUSH IS A LIAR” it makes me wonder why you bother replying to my prose. What is that “true agenda” again.

Fascism is described as, among other things, a claim that culture is created by collective national society and its state, that cultural ideas are what give individuals identity, and thus rejects individualism.

Hmmm…I have written many times that I embrace individualilsm. Can you say the same?

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 12:03 PM
Comment #302518

Mr. Remer also wrote; “Isn’t it so typical of conservative fascists to make the utterly ignorant argument that entirely MISSES the point they are trying make their argument on. NOTHING AND NO ONE prevented BP from making the OFFER BEFORE OBAMA SPOKE WITH THEM. The fact that it took a meeting with Obama to get BP to offer up the assistance Americans harmed by them need and will need, makes the prima facia argument that the meeting with Obama was necessary to get that concession from BP”

Silly…Silly. Let’s examine how Remer’s postulation might have worked. Suppose BP had made an offer of $2 billion without any direct contact with Barry Boop (Boob). No doubt they would have made their offer by wraping it in a brick and throwing it across the WH fence. Please recall that BP stated nearly at the outset it planned to pay all legimate claims…on their own, without any Boob involvment. So, instead of making the unlimited offer they had, under this scenario they low-ball the Boob. What the hell, he might have accepted. But that’s not what they did. The offered all they had. And, Mr. Remer calls Barry brilliant because he accepted less.

So now, Barry Boob has an offer on his desk. He can accept, reject, or negotiate for more. In his insufferable arrogance, he reaches deep into the magical water bowl on his desk and pulls out a counter offer of $20 billion. And, in his ignorance, playing to his limited liberal/socialist TV audience, proudly proclaims that he may demand more. Only a dunce could make such a statement in the face of an offer already made to pay all legimate claims.

And so, the liberal/socialist hail the Boob in chief as a great negotiator. When in fact, the commumnity organizer already had a better offer.

But then, how else could the Boob appoint a crony to manage the fund and spread the BP wealth among his friends.

Can some liberal/socialist tell me what compensation the fund administrator is receiving for his services? The usual fees for class action lawyers is 33% of the settlement. That sounds about right don’t you think. $6.6 billion for billing fees.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 12:23 PM
Comment #302519

CNN poll 6/16/10

Do you think President Obama has been to tough, about right, or not tough enough in dealing with BP in regards to the oil spill?

To tough About right Not tough enough
5% 26% 67%

On creating the $20 billion escrow account

82% approve 18% disapprove

Increase regulation on oil and gas industry

68% approve 31% disapprove

Changing the law so that there is no limit to the amount of money BP must pay

63% approve 36% disapprove

Suspend drilling for six months

58% approve 41% disapprove

Filing criminal charges against BP employees and executives

53% approve 46% disapprove

Posted by: jlw at June 22, 2010 12:56 PM
Comment #302521

Royal Flush started an argument with: “Suppose BP had made an offer of $2 billion without any direct contact with Barry Boop…”

Well, your argument falls apart at the very beginning, RF. BP didn’t make an offer, and the facts and reality are what they are. Take your dream world of supposition to bed with you if you like, but, don’t wake up and try to bring your dream world into the real world to make arguments upon. I will trounce your dream world for for what it is, absent any factual basis and therefore illogical in any conclusions which derive from your dream world.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2010 1:04 PM
Comment #302522


According to the NY Times today, The NY Legislature passed a bill on Monday that will give the state the highest cigarette taxes in the country.

The article said the tax was necessary as part of an emergency budget measure to keep the government running. In NYC a pack of smokes will cost nearly $11.

Gone are the days when at least a feeble attempt was make to justify the ginormous tax as being necessary to fund smoker’s health ailments.

So now, smokers are a necessary “evil” to keep the state running. And, smokers are essential to fund the SCHIPS program and many other liberal/socialist programs.

Smokers of this country are real heros in my opinion since so much rides upon their continuing to smoke and pay the tax. I suggest we have a six-month “smoke-out” whereby no one buys any tobacco product thru legimate outlets. Get your smokes on the underground system. Yes…it’s lawbreaking but I am just following the cherished example of many in government. The loss of revenue will be catastrophic and the liberal/socialist congress will have to meet in emergency session to find some other “evil” to tax. Or, horror of horrors…increase the income tax and/or reduce the EIT payment to those who pay no taxes.

Just imagine the power that we smokers have. Unite my smoking brothers and sisters and smoke with pride…we are criticial to the states and nation. I will be organizing a “smokers-pride” march in DC very soon and then will come the smoke-out.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 1:09 PM
Comment #302523

RF is quoting out of context again, demonstration the falseness of his arguments. And in bold no less, as if that compensates for quotations taken out of context.

Lame, Royal Flush. But, very in keeping with the Republican and conservative tactics and strategies today. I keep hearing the conservative arguments and comparing them to the polls, and I have to laugh at how far astray the GOP and Libertarian Party’s have gone from the common sense of the majority of Americans.

Defend BP and sympathize with that foreign corporation’s wrecking American lives and livelihoods, and being “Shook Down” for it by Obama, all you wish. I pray you do. I can guarantee it is a non-starter when it comes to your side regaining power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2010 1:11 PM
Comment #302524

RF, NEW YORK’s cig tax is dishonest and STUPID in the extreme. The more they raise it, the less smokers there are to tax. It is just dumb.

Glad we could agree on something for a change, even if it is way off the topic of this article.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2010 1:13 PM
Comment #302525

As expected, Mr. Remer’s comments suggests that he couldn’t or wouldn’t understand what I wrote and simply placed his keyboard on automatic and produced some gibberish. An offer was make by BP to pay all legimate claims.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 1:18 PM
Comment #302527

Once again Mr. Remer gets in wrong in writing that I defend BP. My claim is that they made an offer early on without any need for Barry jawboning and the fund from which much will be stolen.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 1:23 PM
Comment #302528


I guess the key word here is “legitimate”.

” “We will pay all legitimate claims.” To the average person, this does not sound like a problem. After all, nobody should take advantage of the system and obtain relief that they are not entitled to after a disaster. Unfortunately, as most people who have dealt with these types of situations already know, the word legitimate is used as an escape hatch for large companies who want to boost their public perception while at the same time minimizing the damages that they pay to those who are affected by a disaster.”


Posted by: Rocky Marks at June 22, 2010 1:28 PM
Comment #302529

Mr. Remer wrote; “RF is quoting out of context again, demonstration the falseness of his arguments. And in bold no less, as if that compensates for quotations taken out of context.”

From comment #302445 on the Republican and Conservative blog I quote; “Royal Flush LIED, or Brain Farted in public!”

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 20, 2010

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 1:29 PM
Comment #302530

Rocky, I understand and somewhat agree with your position. However, in the US under our system of laws, we don’t prejudge and proclaim guilt or intention not in evidence.

However, I only used this to refute Mr. Remer’s claim that they had to be dragged to the WH to have Barry Boop “Kick their ass” to get some kind of offer to pay for damages.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 1:34 PM
Comment #302532

“Not in 70 years had there been a sequence of events so perfectly designed to fortify liberalism. Yet the country wasn’t swinging to the left; it was swinging to the right!”

The sequence of events refferred to are;

1) The nation was hurled into an economic crisis caused by Wall Street greed and recklessness. This will discredit free-market fundamentalism once and for all.

2) Find the smartest Democratic politician in the land and make him president.

3) Create a political climate so he can immediately enact an $800 billion spending package. This will avert economic collapse and show the American people how effective government can be.

4) Pass a universal health care law. This will show a grateful nation that government can provide basic security.

5) Have a multinational oil company to cause the biggest environmental disaster in American history. This will completely discredit corporate America and remind people why they need strong regulations and global warming legislation.

And yet, Between 2008 and 2010 the share of voters who considered the Democrats too liberal surged from 39 percent to 49 percent, according to Gallup surveys.

And yet, N.P.R. polled voters in the 60 most competitive House districts currently held by Democrats. Democrats trail Republicans in those districts, on average, by 5 percentage points. Independent voters in the districts favor Republicans by an average of 18 percentage points.

Conservatives understand that economic policies are about values. If your policies undermine personal responsibility by separating the link between effort and reward, voters will punish you for it.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 1:55 PM
Comment #302535

Barton’s comments were idiotic! What’s more troubling, however, is since he made those comments, the left has tried to paint ALL Reps as thinking this way. This is simply wrong.

One cannot and should not ascribe one congressman’s shortsighted comments and thoughts into a ‘larger’ controversy. To do so would only be speculative, at best. Rahm Emanuel tried to use Barton’s comments, while appearing on ABC’s ‘This Week’ program to paint such a corallary argument. In fact, what he and the WH were doing were trying their best not to let “a good disaster go to waste.” In other words, what a great reprieve and distraction away from the REAL disaster! The continuation of the spill and the fact that the left is becoming ever-so-tired of Obama’s handling of the situation.Does anyone really believe anything Rahm actually says?

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at June 22, 2010 3:09 PM
Comment #302538

Can you show me one solitary piece of evidence that you know what was said in that room between the BP executives and the President? You’d have to do that first to truly claim what you do. It’s not merely a matter of your opinion. Its a matter of facts you don’t have.

You can tell me that Obama has fantastic power over drilling when you explain how one judge in Louisiana can can put Obama’s drilling moratorium on hold. Then you can explain how such fantastic power failed to prevent this catastrophe. Then you can explain to me why so many of your comments about the Obama Administration tend to contradict themselves. And then why so many of your leaders do the same.

Being out of office does not equate to being freed from responsibility. Legacy is more than what you call what a President wants to leave behind, policy and results-wise, it’s what they actually do leave behind. You are trying to exonerate an administration that was renown for the lengths it went to in order to protect oil company interests, who introduced much of the expedited process regulations that enable BP and others to skate free with minimal supervision. You might want to imagine that the consequences of those decisions just disappeared when Obama raised his right hand, and everything became his fault, but that’s not the case. Bush is still responsible for his decisions.

Look, I’ve been generous with my willingness to admit Obama screwed up, and his policy of granting more permits for deepwater drilling with the Bush process intact was a mistake. But his mistake was in not changing the status quo. Somebody was responsible for what he was handed before he came into office. Why won’t you accept that responsibility? Habit? Or maybe you still want to push this kind of policy despite everything that’s happened, thinking that it’s the necessary thing to do. Well, however and whyever you don’t admit to Bush’s responsibility, it is there. Your Limited government model failed.

Look, as long as your party continues to be the party of no reform, it can’t be the party of government restraint and get away with it. Government can only be truly restrained when there’s not a demand for its services, and as things continue to go terribly, horribly wrong, Republican’s constrained government model will continue to be tested to failure.

We’ve been running things your way for thirty years. We’ve gotten a more polluted environment, a massive recession, stagnant wages, and corporations getting away with whatever they want to.

What’s the point? The Republicans can’t guarantee Americans anything else but more of the same and worse. All this talk of how limited government is so much better has been the same talk you’ve been bandying about for the last generation. Why should we believe any of it now? Why should it be treated as some sort of metaphysical given?

Royal Flush-
Very active imagination you’ve got. Don’t wait for the news to tell you the actual facts, because surely you have them all figured out before anybody tells you a thing.

The offer to pay all legitmate claims is a hedge, and its naive to miss it, because BP is determining what a legitimate claim is. Convenient, no? Obama hands it off to somebody else, who has a more objective idea of what a legitimate claim is.

You guys put up a stink, until somebody links it up to an apology to BP, which lets face it, is kind of what your shakedown rhetoric leads to logically. Or wait, is it a shakedown, or has Barack “Barry Boop” Obama failed to get a better deal. Is Obama either an intimidating master of Chicago politics, or a wet-behind-the-ears-idiot?

Do you even care when one of your claims logically excludes the last one you made? I know you must feel ultra powerful being able to tell us all what the real truth is, but your truth seems to be built out of all those puzzle pieces you find in the box that don’t fit anywhere.

And you wonder why Barack’s poll numbers haven’t gone anywhere lower.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 22, 2010 4:12 PM
Comment #302543

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “The offer to pay all legitmate claims is a hedge, and its naive to miss it, because BP is determining what a legitimate claim is. Convenient, no? Obama hands it off to somebody else, who has a more objective idea of what a legitimate claim is.”

It’s no surprise that Mr. Daugherty appears to believe that a presidential appointment to oversee the fund is so much better than letting a court decide should there be a denial of a claim by BP.

From his comments one would have to believe that Mr. Daugherty is clairavoyant when he writes that the BP offer is a “hedge”. My “imagination” has just been trumped by your “clairavoyance”.

Can you tell me Mr. Daugherty just how much Barry’s fund manager is going to receive for his essential services? Has Barry Boop promised a full accounting of where the $20 billion is spent?

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 4:44 PM
Comment #302547

I hope that all legitimate claims includes what the taxpayers are paying out.

Posted by: jlw at June 22, 2010 6:12 PM
Comment #302548

Royal Flush-
One does not need to be clairvoyant, merely familiar with a dictionary and the way modern American Corporations operate. They’re always looking to reduce payouts. In fact, they’re obligated to.

Putting the funds in escrow and taking the decision out of their hands makes sure that BP can’t use the typical corporate means of being stingy with damages.

They actually hired a company that advertises its ability to reduce payouts to handle paying things out. They have an inherent conflict of interest, between their profit motive and the obligation to pay out to the fishermen and oil workers sidelined by the disaster.

When somebody in the corporate world say “legitimate”, that can range from something we might agree is legitimate, to something that could only be termed legitimate by a BP lawyer. If you weren’t so trusting of folks like BP, you might understand that’s how corporations play the game nowadays. It’s a hedge because either interpretation is covered, at least theoretically speaking.

What Obama did was to take the burden of figuring this out from BP, and giving it to somebody who had absolutely no financial interest in the outcome. Unlike the Reagan-appointed judge who just overturned Obama’s moratorium; He had stock in the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon!

This isn’t a class-action suit, and that Feinberg guy is not their lawyer, so there are no lawyers fees. The money will go to Fishermen and others sidelined by the disaster.

As for accounting for money spent, I wonder where that spirit was when Democrats were arguing for tighter restrictions on the use of TARP funds or for accountability on Iraq war and Pentagon spending. Republicans only get concerned about figuring out where the money went when it might help them defeat a Democrat, or when it might benefit folks below a certain economic line. As such, Bush’s IRS went after more people to audit them over EITC claims than than to destroy dishonest corporate tax schemes.

The Magic Pony Squad reveals its elitist bias.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 22, 2010 6:19 PM
Comment #302549


“I hope that all legitimate claims includes what the taxpayers are paying out.”

According to recent article in the Washington Post, the federal government has billed and received payment of approximately $72.6 million for US Coast Guard and other federal agency costs incurred due to the BP oil spill.

Posted by: Rich at June 22, 2010 6:32 PM
Comment #302550

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “This isn’t a class-action suit, and that Feinberg guy is not their lawyer, so there are no lawyers fees. The money will go to Fishermen and others sidelined by the disaster.”

Oh really…no lawyer fees. You know this because…? Those others you say are sidelined are a result of Barry Boop’s moritorium which has just been ruled against by a Federal judge in LA.

I ask for an accounting of the $20 billion and Mr. Daugherty drags up his perception of the past as an answer. Look…if you don’t know that’s OK My Friend just don’t pretend to know something by talking around it.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 6:38 PM
Comment #302551

Mr. Daugherty also wrote…and I saved this for a separate comment because it is so laughable…

“What Obama did was to take the burden of figuring this out from BP.”

Well, now I understand. Barry Boob in his infinite compassion relieved BP from the burden of writing all those checks. Truly laughable. Tell me Mr. Daugherty, is that kind of like the Boob and congress relieving taxpayers of the burden of spending their own money by spending it for them?

As I pointed out in comment #302532 the liberal/socialists should be on top of the world with the perfect storm landing opportunity in their lap. But, they are siezing defeat from the jaws of victory. And, it’s easy to understand when reading some of the comments by lib/socialists on this blog.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 6:49 PM
Comment #302552

Royal Flush asked: “Can you tell me Mr. Daugherty just how much Barry’s fund manager is going to receive for his essential services? Has Barry Boop promised a full accounting of where the $20 billion is spent?”

Kenneth Feinberg, who administered the 9/11 fund and the Virginia Tech shooting fund, has accepted the responsibilty for administrating the BP fund. He managed the 9/11 and VT funds for nothing. According to reports that I have read, he and his team, in this case, will receive a salary paid by BP for his services. There will not be a contingent contract arrangment, as you suggested, with a 33% or any other percentage fee of the fund.

Feinberg has an impeccable reputation and experienced in managing large compensation funds in a fair and equitable manner. Your concerns about Obama appointing some flunky and using the account as a slush fund are entirely misplaced.

Posted by: Rich at June 22, 2010 6:50 PM
Comment #302557

Rich…let me do my own research and I’ll get back with you.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 22, 2010 8:16 PM
Comment #302559

Kevin L. Lagola-
Obama did the smart thing politically. It wouldn’t kill you to admit it. Sometimes, liberals have the advantage of actually being able to do some good for what BP so generously calls, “The small people.” He did some genuine good, making sure that BP wouldn’t simply declare bankruptcy to protect their assets, wouldn’t simply lowball the citizens of the Gulf Coast to lower their liability, wouldn’t drag this out forever while people lived in destitution. He did a good thing.

The Republicans, naturally, employing Rovian strategies of attacking strengths, are all over this, calling it a Chicago shakedown. Instantly, Obama and the government are cast as bad guys, with poor BP the victim. That’s the whole subtext of it. How could you avoid a bonehead barton barrage of buffoonery? It was inevitable. Barton just added the nice little touch of a literal apology, of a literal statement that he felt the biggest tragedy was BP being forced to pay for what it did. But really, it was what your people and even you now to a certain degree, were saying.

I think you might have a problem, in that you’re saying a bunch of things that you don’t really listen to while you’re saying them, and then are wondering why people react so badly.

Your problem is that you’ve picked the worst of the two positions. Obama can go in his natural political direction and pick up political points for it. The Republicans have to walk this unstable high-wire of corporate apology, while at the same time being convincingly compassionate to the gulf-state voters they’ve made themselves dependent on. I think that’s a political problem that two more months worth of a gushing well are not going to make easier.

Obama doesn’t have to distract from the real disaster to profit politically, because his party encourages government compassion. Your folks, however, have to go into absolute hysterics, in which case, idiocy like Joe Barton’s is not only likely, but inevitable.

Royal Flush-
Because from the looks of it, it’s going to be an administered fund, not a class action lawsuit, of which we would learn in the news. Don’t forget, tort lawyers in such cases don’t get the money until they either settle or win. But no case has been announced in regards to the $20 billion. No case, no significant lawyers fees.

As for an accounting of the money, your prejudicial assumption that Obama will take a share, or invite others to do the same do not merit any credibility as facts to raise concerns over. Especially not if you’re calling him “Barry Boop”. No offense to you personally, but that’s a colossally stupid bit of name-calling. You might think it’s clever but it reeks of desperation.

As for this: “What Obama did was to take the burden of figuring this out from BP.”

BP had a conflict of interest, and my phrasing was facetious. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if you were dealing with a person you wronged that you got to determine the degree to which you would compensate your victim?

Sure, we could trust you to do that!

It’s why we have, or should have impartial judges. Like ones who don’t own stock in the companies they’re judging the interests of. For example, Judge Feldman, and Transocean, owners of the now sunken Deepwater Horizon.

We have to wonder, whose interest was that judge serving, the Public, or his own?

Tell me Mr. Daugherty, is that kind of like the Boob and congress relieving taxpayers of the burden of spending their own money by spending it for them?

No, the people who will be spending BP’s money will be the people who BP wronged. As for the taxpayer?

Your idea of relieving taxpayers is taking out a loan in their name, which you will force them to pay back with future tax dollars, with interest.

You actually haven’t haven’t saved taxpayers a dime, only made government more expensive, with the payment for that government just made more remote.

You beat up on Liberals and Socialists, but the odd fact seems to be that your policies cost much more than theirs in the long run.

As far as seizing defeat from the jaws of victory, who’s backing away from what comments here? Obama’s not having to back away from anything, while Republicans are backing away from Barton as fast as they can. At least the ones with any brains. The problem with trying to make this Obama’s Katrina is that Obama’s learned from his errors, and could learn from his errors. Bush never could fully help the folks hit by Katrina because that sort of thing represented big government. Republicans have put themselves into a position where they can please no-one.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 22, 2010 9:55 PM
Comment #302566

“What Obama did was to take the burden of figuring this out from BP.”

This is not an insignificant issue. It is not a question of grabbing BP’s purse strings and spending their money indiscriminately. On the contrary, it is in BP’s self interest that an independent arbiter establish transparent criteria for who is entitled to compensation and what amounts will be paid in compensation.

These are complex questions that invite litigation, something that BP would like to avoid. Steven is entirely correct in stating that BP has an inherent conflict of interest or at least the appearance of such a conflict. That perception, right or wrong, can lead to unnecessary, expensive litigation. I think that BP clearly understands that an independent arbiter is more likely to establish an acceptable definition of “legitimate claims” and close claims without litigation than if BP proceeded alone.

Posted by: Rich at June 23, 2010 9:09 AM
Comment #302572

Rich, thanks for the info.

Hard to believe, but some Republicans are even telling the mighty Rush to shut up. I think that many Republicans know this is actually a good deal for BP, it is just that it makes Obama look better and they hate the idea that he might get up off the canvas before a ten count.

Posted by: jlw at June 23, 2010 11:55 AM
Comment #380581

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