BP and the Feds

Mark Hemingway Timothy P. Carney has a useful piece up at the Washington Examiner about BP's pre-spill relationship with the federal government. Excerpt:

The [John] Kerry-BP alliance for an energy bill that included a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases pokes a hole in a favorite claim of President Obama and his allies in the media — that BP's lobbyists have fought fiercely to be left alone. Lobbying records show that BP is no free-market crusader, but instead a close friend of big government whenever it serves the company's bottom line.

While BP has resisted some government interventions, it has lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels.

Now that BP's oil rig has caused the biggest environmental disaster in American history, the Left is pulling the same bogus trick it did with Enron and AIG: Whenever a company earns universal ire, declare it the poster boy for the free market.

Whole thing here. Link via Mark Hemingway's Twitter feed. Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote about BP's corporate greenwashing initiatives back in 2006.

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  • ed||

    the Left is pulling the same bogus trick it did with Enron and AIG

    And Three Mile Island.

  • Old Mexican||

    Lobbying records show that BP is no free-market crusader, but instead a close friend of big government whenever it serves the company's bottom line.

    Teacher Obama:
    "Children, how do you spell RELIEF from Market Forces?"

    Chorus:
    "C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-I-V-I-S-M!"

  • ||

    Perhaps in public schools.

  • ||

    "Whenever a company earns universal ire, declare it the poster boy for the free market."

    Fair point. But in fairness, the fact that BP is a bunch of welfare queens really has nothing to do whatever with its culpability for the spill. It is not like them being welfare queens caused the spill.

  • ||

    The point is that it's not the "Free Market" (i.e. advocates for limited government and limited regulation) that caused the spill either. A super-deluxe regulatory state wouldn't have made a difference. The spill appeared to be caused by disregarding protocol, which can happen on any project run by any organization.

  • ||

    I agree. I was just pointing out that the case shouldn't be overstated.

  • Matt Welch||

    Agreed.

  • Brett L||

    But did it lead to them having enough pull with the Interior Department to secure leases even though their safety record was marginal?

  • ||

    Two patterns have emerged during Obama’s presidency: 1) Big business increasingly seeks profits through more government, and 2) Obama nonetheless paints opponents of his intervention as industry shills.

    I wonder how this will play out in the long term; what are the chances Goldman employees will be coughing up maximum permissible contributions to the "Obama: Had Enough, Yet?" 2012 road show?

  • ||

    Actually, Obama seems to have no problem painting the people working hand-in-glove with him on his corporatist programs as obstructionist "industry shills".

  • -||

    Lobbying records show that BP is no free-market crusader

    Lou-Ann: Why, Gomer! That isn't my belly button!
    Gomer: Surprise, surprise, surprise! That isn't my finger!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Sure that was Lou-Ann and not Goober? NTTAWWT.

  • Jason||

    I didn't know a gomer could do that...

  • ¢||

    A super-deluxe regulatory state wouldn't have made a difference.

    I've been assured daily by all reputable news-and-opinion outlets that continuing Republican interference with Obama’s visionary plan to reverse Cheney Regime policies and properly, super-deluxely regulate Big Oil caused the spill.

    Sarah Palin's sexual organs' role in the disaster remains obscure to me, but I gather it has something to do with "baby-drilling."

  • ||

    Interestingly, I was watching the Daily Show last night, and I have to say that Stewart has decidedly soured on Obama. He was hammering him over the oil spill, and then everything else, for doing nothing and then saying that everything was "complicated". Compared to the asslicking that they had been doing for quite some time, it was pretty harsh.

    I think Obama's in trouble with his base. The fact that it was an oil spill, which he can do very little about, that seems to be the straw that has broken the camel's back, is...strange, but I guess left wing morons have weird motivations.

  • Tim||

    It is strange, but then one must assume that although he can walk on water, he can't walk on oily water.

  • ||

    Looks like his specific gravity just tanked. It couldn't have happened to a denser guy.

  • ||

    Lower surface tension. Duh.

  • Mike M.||

    I think Obama's in trouble with his base. The fact that it was an oil spill, which he can do very little about, that seems to be the straw that has broken the camel's back, is...strange, but I guess left wing morons have weird motivations.

    Leftists and socialists are petulant, miserable SOBs who pitch a fit whenever they don't get something they want or events interfere with their childlike worldview that everything should be perfect all the time.

    These people are always going to find something to bitch about, and not even a Pelsoi or an Obama can ever keep them satisfied for very long.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I was thinking along the same lines. Oh well, if you live by people who think you can summon unicorns, you'll die by them, too.

  • ||

    Leftists and socialists are petulant, miserable SOBs who pitch a fit whenever they don't get something they want or events interfere with their childlike worldview that everything should be perfect all the time.

    As opposed to the Tea Party Patriots who are exactly the same as you described, but who are darlings around these parts.

    Identity politics much??

    While BP has resisted some government interventions, it has lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels.

    Now that BP's oil rig has caused the biggest environmental disaster in American history, the Left is pulling the same bogus trick it did with Enron and AIG: Whenever a company earns universal ire, declare it the poster boy for the free market.

    This is exactly the consequence of your beloved "free market". The biggest players with the most money get to make the rules and benefit from their political investment. This is what libertarians support. This is the logical conclusion of the libertarian philosophy. How this is an indictment of "the left" is beyond me.

    It's pretty dishonest to defend to the death he right of corporations to buy politicians and then point to the fact that bought and paid for politicians are doing their bidding as proof that the market wasn't so free after all.

    It will never be free as long as libertarians and the righties keep fighing against rules for businesses/corporations

    If it wasn't for the speech = money crowed they wouldn't be able to rent seek and be welfare queens. If you don't let them buy politicians, then they wouldn't have so much influence to skew the market and you might actually see a fucking free market.

  • ||

    "This is exactly the consequence of your beloved "free market". The biggest players with the most money get to make the rules and benefit from their political investment."

    And your plan to solve that is to do what? Create the first government in the history of the world that is immune to the power of the wealthy? Or maybe to eliminate the wealthy by making us all poor?

    Thanks coming around Tom. Sometimes we forget just how stupid you really are. Thanks for reminding us.

  • ||

    And your plan to solve that is to do what? Create the first government in the history of the world that is immune to the power of the wealthy? Or maybe to eliminate the wealthy by making us all poor?

    well my plan definitely isn't to throw my hands up in the air and say "ahh what are you gonna do....fuck it let the wealthy do whatever the fuck they want."

    That's seems to be your position, right? Your comment seems to indicate that you agree that what I described IS a problem. The difference is that your belief is "well I don't see a perfect solution so we should do nothing and accept it"

    There are lots of things that can be done, but you and your ilk will fight them tooth and nail.

    Publicly funded elections. Limits on spending by campaigns, higher upper level tax rates to try and limit the disparity between the upper and middle class.

  • ||

    The biggest players with the most money get to make the rules and benefit from their political investment. This is what libertarians support.

    After reading that little gem, I can only conlcude that after all this time here, you still have no fucking clue as to what a libertarian is.

    Either that, or you're just a dishonest, dissembling shit.

  • ||

    After reading that little gem, I can only conlcude that after all this time here, you still have no fucking clue as to what a libertarian is.

    Either that, or you're just a dishonest, dissembling shit.

    I know what a libertarian is. And I know what they think they are too.

    Reality and libertarian fantasy aren't the same.

    I see the consequences of the principles being supported.

    In the real world, big companies with lots of money get to buy politicians because people like you defend to the death their right to spend unlimited amounts of money in politics.

    In the real world, businesses not being able to discriminate is by far superior to a world than ones where a business gets to refuse to serve people because they look different.

    You can blather on about "limited government" all you want, but that's just unicorn and fairy-dust talk. In the real world, we've accepted that we can't limit the size of government so we need to try and limit people's ability to buy preferential treatment and do bad things.

    I'm not the dishonest one. I'm the honest one here. I know that we will never have a limited government (as much as I would love to see it).

    What's dishonest is a refusal to discuss how, in a world where there is no such thing as a limited government, many (not all) other libertarian positions add to corruption and the corporate welfare state.

  • ||

    What is your solution to the nefarious workings of "big corporations"? Our solution is to take away the government's power to help them. What is yours? Are you honestly claiming that you can build a big all powerful government that is going to be immune from such influences? If so, you are claiming to build something that has never once existed. So I would like to hear how you plan to do that.

    If not, then your only solution is to destroy such corporations and the influence of the wealthy by making every one poor. Which is it, fantasy or poverty?

  • Tony||

    Our solution is to take away the government's power to help them.

    How would you accomplish this, exactly?

    All the libertarian plan amounts to is removing the need to bribe and influence government by letting them just get away with everything.

  • ||

    See my 12:32 response.

    I see the consequences of the principles being supported.

    Really? What principles are those exactly? Do tell.

  • ||

    What's dishonest is a refusal to discuss how, in a world where there is no such thing as a limited government, many (not all) other libertarian positions add to corruption and the corporate welfare state.

    Oh, this is fucking priceless pretzel logic. There are all these dishonest and corrupt people in gummint and their cronies in business, who libertarians don't support, nor support their methods, did nothing to put into power, and yet it's all our fault because we oppose them for all the same reasons.

    How exactly does that work again?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Oh, this is fucking priceless pretzel logic. There are all these dishonest and corrupt people in gummint and their cronies in business, who libertarians don't support, nor support their methods, did nothing to put into power, and yet it's all our fault because we oppose them for all the same reasons.

    Chicago Tom has to be mad at somebody. Who better to be mad at than the powerless? It's what fascists do. Popularity trumps morality every time.

  • ||

    Shorter Tom: It's all the Jews fault.

  • ||

    There are all these dishonest and corrupt people in gummint and their cronies in business, who libertarians don't support, nor support their methods, did nothing to put into power, and yet it's all our fault because we oppose them for all the same reasons.

    What horseshit. Supporting unlimited political contributions / spending is their methods. You dont just support them, you fight like hell to protect them. That's a huge part of why there is so much corruption in politics. The more money in politics the more corruption.

    Serisouly, how hard is it to understand that when you allow people to throw BILLIONS of dollars at politicians, you are going to attract corrupt candidates and people who see government as nothing more than a way to personally prosper

    My logic is pretzel logic? The guy who won't admit that allowing unlimited money in politics has a corrupting influence?

    Please tell me oh wise one. How do you plan on limiting the government? How are you going to undue years and years of government growth sanctioned by the courts?

    Armed revolution? Snarky blog posts?

  • ||

    That's a huge part of why there is so much corruption in politics. The more money in politics the more corruption.

    I'm sure that all of that nearly limitless power in the gummint, that BTW, YOU created with your happy and willing support, is just a massive coincidence as to why money seeks it out.

  • ||

    I'm sure that all of that nearly limitless power in the gummint, that BTW, YOU created with your happy and willing support, is just a massive coincidence as to why money seeks it out.

    I love it. I created it? Really?

    Reality check asshole. There is no such thing as a limited government short of anarchy. Show me one fucking country in the world that has limited government. If government exists, it isn't limited.

    Unicorns are more real than limited government. Yet for some reason you think the answer to everything is limited government. Sure. That will happen...right after the rapture and the unicorns vs fairies war ends.

  • ||

    If it wasn't for the speech = money crowed they wouldn't be able to rent seek and be welfare queens.

    No, if we didn't have a gummint that could grant magnificent favors for allies, punish enemies and distort markets on a whim, you wouldn't have rent-seeking.

  • ||

    No, if we didn't have a gummint that could grant magnificent favors for allies, punish enemies and distort markets on a whim, you wouldn't have rent-seeking.

    And if my grandmother had testicles she'd be my grandfather.

    But she doesn't. And the gummint can. So now what?

    This is the disconnect that frustrates me with libertarians.
    Precisely because there is no limited government, it makes no sense to let people or corporations spend unlimited money on elections and politicians and buy favors.

    At the very least, it should give you pause before saying things "well this isn't really a free market" -- of course the market isn't free.

    How can it be when people like you keep defending the right manipulate it, while hiding behind "limited government" fairy tales.

  • Tony||

    Tom,

    We could completely eradicate murder according to the libertarian plan: just make killing people legal.

  • ||

    STFU Tony. That statement is so stupid it doesn't even count as being wrong. The point is not that eliminating laws will eliminate crime. It won't. It is that since government is bound to be manipulated, it is very limited in what it can do. Giving it more arbitrary power will not keep it from being manipulated. If you were not such a fundamentalist government fanatic, you might understand that.

  • Tony||

    John,

    Government is only bound to be manipulated if people are allowed to manipulate it, something you have absolutely no policy stance to address. All you offer is cynicism.

    If that were the case, there would be no solution to corporate malfeasance. Again, your only solution seems to be merely eliminating the need to manipulate government. The malfeasance would still be there.

  • ||

    "Government is only bound to be manipulated if people are allowed to manipulate it"

    And how do stop that? You can't unless you end people's right to petition or have any influence over the government. That is a totalitarian state. And that is always where leftism ends. The goals are always good. And we are always one fix away from things working. And in the end, the state ends up supreme unaccountable to anyone.

  • Tony||

    And how do stop that? You can't unless you end people's right to petition or have any influence over the government.

    First, stop defining campaign donations as speech and petitioning government. The ability to petition government is great. How about we make people's ability to do so more equal by taking money out of the equation?

    I want good government with stronger checks on abuse. You see the abuse and then want to make it irrelevant by letting those who would abuse government get away with what they wanted in the first place without the need to do so.

  • ||

    "First, stop defining campaign donations as speech and petitioning government"

    Let's ban printing presses and the internet while we are at it then. If I can't donate to a campaign, then I don't have political speech in a very real way. Stop pretending you are anything but an authoritarian who want to limit people's ability to control and influence their own government.

  • ||

    "How can it be when people like you keep defending the right manipulate it, while hiding behind "limited government" fairy tales."

    And you want to make the government that you admit is so easy to corrupt and manipulate even more power. Talk about a fairy tale. You seem to believe that if we just give the government more arbitrary power, it will use it more responsibly.

    That isn't a political view, it is a religious tenant. You are either astoundingly naive, astoundingly stupid, astoundingly dishonest, or all three.

  • ||

    Let me be clear:

    Fuck you Tom.

    YOU caused this. Every single time you voted for the slimeballs promising you free ponies. You, and your butt buddies the republicans have 100% of the blame for the current mess. If you're racked with guilt over the shitball that you helped create with your corrupt ideology that concludes that the morale will improve as long as the beatings continue, that isn't my problem. Talk to your shrink about what to do with your mutual obligation of shame.

    You got exactly the government you deserve.

  • ||

    Fuck you Tom.

    No JW -- FUCK YOU!

    Last I checked, the libertarians and the right are the butt buddies. You are the useful idiots for the corrupt GOP. You and Cato are the ones supporting letting corporations corrupt and ruin this country to benefit themselves and a handful of the wealthy. You think you are some kind of principled person? Your a fucking tool of corruption who is too stupid he is being played.

    This is your mess you corporatist asshole. It's because of people like you that the Gulf is filled with oil now and our beaches are being destroyed and industry is being ravaged in the Gulf Coast.

    You and your Drill Baby Drill ilk. You and your money = speech ilk. You and your less regulations because corporations will self regulate -- it's in their best interest be good actors ilk.

  • ||

    I'm done with you. This much stupidity and dissembling isn't worth entertaining.

  • ||

    Stop feeding the troll JW. He has been fed enough. As I said above, once in a while Tom has to show up and remind us he actually might be dumber than Tony.

  • ||

    Stop feeding the troll JW. He has been fed enough. As I said above, once in a while Tom has to show up and remind us he actually might be dumber than Tony.

    Yes because anyone who challenges libertarian dogma is a troll.

    John you aren't even a libertarian. You're a fucking right wing dickhead. Seeing you call someone a troll is quite ironic.

  • ||

    "Yes because anyone who challenges libertarian dogma is a troll.:"

    No. Just anyone who challenges it by making stupid arguments like you are. You are right, I am not a libertarian. But I am not a troll because I don't make stupid arguments and rant and rave about how "corporations" or "jews" or whoever are behind all the evil in the world. That is would be you. And yes you are a troll. And you make decidedly worse arguments than Tony.

  • ||

    I'm done with you. This much stupidity and dissembling isn't worth entertaining.

    Of course you are loser. Because you can't answer the real question.

    How do you propose to limit the government?? Magic fairy dust? Prayer? Wishing really hard? Jerking off to Ayn Rand novels?

    Since it's so bad why don't you go Galt and move to libertopia where the government are limited and corruption is non-existant? Oh thats right....cuz such a place doesn't exist except for places like fucking somalia.

    You're right...it isn't entertaining to talk to someone who lives in a fucking fantasy world and denies reality.

  • ||

    "How do you propose to limit the government?? Magic fairy dust? Prayer? Wishing really hard? Jerking off to Ayn Rand novels?"

    Elections maybe? Shorter Tom; you can't stop government so we should give it all the power it wants no matter how badly it fucks up.

  • ||

    Your shrink isn't charging nearly enough.

    Up the dose, Tom.

  • Try plan B||

    Chicago Tom, If libertarians "Jerking off to Ayn Rand novels" led to limited government.....ah, we would already have anarchy :-)

  • Got ilk ?||

    Exactly what are you advocating?

  • Jason||

    It will never be free as long as libertarians and the righties keep fighing [sic] against rules for businesses/corporations

    Because those "rules for businesses/corporations" tend to help those businesses.

    If you want to reduce the power of business, you could start with reducing the influence on government on economic life. If the government keeps its hand out of the market, there is no gain in lobbying the market to favor your company.

    One way is by getting rid of the liability limits of lawsuits by people injured by those businesses. If a shareholder could lose their house if a company with which they're is invested, there would be a hell of a lot more scrutiny of company balance sheets and safety. For example, back before the FDIC raised the insured deposit limit, people over the limit monitored their banks religiously and moved their savings if they thought a bank was in trouble. When the FDIC raised the limit, people who were now insured stopped watching the banks and left their money in once place.

  • ||

    They will come around like abused wives come election time. If anything people like Stewart are kicking him now, when it doesn't matter, to set up the "come back kid" narrative come 2012.

  • David Axelrod||

    All according to plan John!

    Occasionally, we do have to improvise.

  • ||

    the blowout couldn't have happened to a better energy company.

  • ||

    Sometimes Justice is served.

  • Tim||

    Justice is a dish best served in a bowl of seawater.

  • NYC||

    That's illegal! Too much salt. How about tofu instead?

  • Zeb||

    Too many estrogen-like compounds in soy.

  • ||

    Didn't Rahm Emmanuel live rent free for like four years with a guy who later became and still is the head of BP's green initiatives?*

    **Rahm of course never paid taxes on this free rent and was never asked to. Taxes are for the little people.

  • Rahm Emmanuel||

    How fond of your kneecaps are you John? Chicago-style politics doesn't look favorably on such sedition. Oh, and fuck you!

  • ||

    Normally that kind of talk wouldn't intimidate me. But the fact that you are naked, gives it more effect.

  • Rahm Emmanuel||

    They don't call me "Cock of the Walk" for nothing, goy boy! Kneel before Rham!

  • Ron B.||

    Speaking of Chicago, have you made that phone call yet? It ain't too late for me to become a "cooperating individual" and I don't mean in the male ballerina star sense of the word.

  • Astrid||

    Are you trying to say that Rahm Emmanuel didn't pay "his fair share?" That's unpossible!

  • Tim||

    June 9, 2010 at 11:09 AM :
    The scales fall from Astrid's eyes.

  • Astrid||

    That ship sailed a long time ago Tim.

  • ||

    BP and the Feds. Bennie and the Jets.

  • ||

    A super-deluxe regulatory state wouldn't have made a difference.

    Nonsense; a properly "super deluxe" regulatory state would have banned drilling entirely. We would be getting our power from federally mandated and subsidized perpetual-motion machines. Built by NASA.

  • ||

    Only if we could have gotten the plans before GM destroyed them.

  • ||

    Thanks, John. Now you've Valerie Plame'd me!

  • ||

    At least you'll get a nice spread in Vanity Fair.

    You better look sexy, bitch.

  • Tim||

    It'd be ironic if we put them in prison and they tunneled out.

  • ||

    it was an oil spill, which he can do very little about

    That's the worst part: HE'S NOT REALLY MAGIC!!!!

  • The Royal "We"||

    coalition of House members led by Rep. Peter Welch is calling on BP to halt dividend payments and advertising until its well in the Gulf of Mexico is capped and the pursuing cleanup is complete.

    Welch, a Vermont Democrat, wrote a strongly worded letter to BP’s top executive urging the company to discontinue its planned $10 billion payouts to shareholders and reported $50 million public relations campaign with ads in newspapers and television spots before the full cost of the oil spill is known.

    Estimates from Credit Suisse, an international financial services group, found the potential cost of the recovery could reach $37 billion if relief crews cap the well by August.

    "As BP presides over one of the greatest environmental and economic catastrophes of our time, we find it troubling that your company plans to divest financial resources to shareholder dividends and slick marketing campaigns," said Welch in the letter to the company’s CEO Tony Hayward on Tuesday. "

    http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_15256698

  • Invisible Finger||

    How many public employee pension funds rely in part on those BP dividends? Oh well, just take the difference from the taxpayer.

  • ||

    we find it troubling that your company plans to divest financial resources to shareholder dividends and slick marketing campaigns

    This calls for a special surtax on BP's dividends and advertising expenditures!

  • Polynikes||

    The WH can call it the "Thank You Sur, May I Have Another Tax".

  • ||

    Estimates from Credit Suisse the Treasury, an international financial services group, found the potential cost of the recovery national debt could reach $37 billion $20 trillion if relief crews cap the well by August 2015.

    "As BP Congress and the President presides over one of the greatest environmental fiscal and economic catastrophes of our all time, we find it troubling that your company government plans to divest financial resources to shareholder dividends new entitlements, political paybacks, and slick marketing campaigns,"

  • ||

    In the real world, big companies with lots of money get to buy politicians because people like you defend to the death their right to spend unlimited amounts of money in politics.

    Exactly; that's why the UAW took it in the ass so hard when GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

  • Tony||

    What, you expect any corporation to live by libertarian principles? This is what Whittaker Chambers was referring to when he noticed how all of Ayn Rand's heroes were not people actually found in the real business world, except maybe in a few eccentric cases. They will do what they can legally to increase profits. Libertarians would simply make more things legal. That's one way to handle it, I suppose. But if you still want to prevent corporations from inflicting harm, just as we do people, what exactly is the alternative to government regulation?

    Making government smaller is a bullshit answer. It just means making companies accountable for fewer things. Problem not solved.

  • ||

    "But if you still want to prevent corporations from inflicting harm, just as we do people, what exactly is the alternative to government regulation?"

    First, hold them responsible for their actions in court, which worked quite well under the common law. And Second, stop letting them use regulation to do harm by not regulating so much.

    You think you are doing good. When in reality, the corporations are grabbing your precious government by the hair and butt fucking it. And you are saying, if we just bend over a little more everything will be better.

  • Tony||

    Um, how do you hold someone responsible in court when there isn't a statute/regulation meant to prevent whatever they did? Are you talking about civil litigation? Do you have any idea how much bigger government would be if instead of a priori regulation everything were dumped onto the courts?

    You're not making a coherent argument. You're not making an argument for smaller government, you're making an argument to let corporations get away with more, period.

    And what dishonest bullshit to say that government is incorrigible and always makes things worse with regard to regulation. Do you have any evidence of this, or is it just an article of faith? There are thousands of government regulations that work and make your life better that you don't even notice.

  • ||

    "And what dishonest bullshit to say that government is incorrigible and always makes things worse with regard to regulation."

    We have a government that spends billions on the USCG and the EPA. Yet, we have a spill in the Gulf that no one can stop and was caused after the government regulators waived the safety requirements.

    We spend billions on an SEC, yet the regulators allowed all of the banks to make insane derivative investments and fail in 2008. We have a billion dollar programs to regulate the housing market, yet Chris Dodd and Barney Frank managed to manipulate government lending to run Fannie and Freddie broke and help create a housing bubble.

    And your solution to all of that is that we just need more regulation and "the right people in charge" and things will be better. And I am the one who is religious? The more regulations fail, the more you think we need them. Think about that for a moment.

  • ||

    We have a government that spends billions on the USCG and the EPA. Yet, we have a spill in the Gulf that no one can stop and was caused after the government regulators waived the safety requirementss.

    And why did they do that John? Think hard now..

    because the oil industry bought and paid for them. because there aren't rules in place to keep industry folks away from the regulatory agency. Because when you can spend that much money to get a guy elected, you are going to influence their appointments.

    Every complaint you have regarding the regulatory framework is traced back to the same thing...speech=money.

    They buy elections, and then they demand that the the regulators be people with cozy industry relationships.

    Since you can't shrink the government (and so far no one has offered a way to do so), the next best thing is to limit the amount of money/influence individual players can have.

  • ||

    "Since you can't shrink the government (and so far no one has offered a way to do so), the next best thing is to limit the amount of money/influence individual players can have."

    We had a country from 1776 until 1932 with a small government and managed to build the richest most free country in history. There is no reason why we cannot shrink the government. They only reason we can't is because people like you and Tony worship it.

  • Jason||

    We had a country from 1776 until 1932 with a small government and managed to build the richest most free country in history.

    I think 1932 is a little late for that -- Hoover was a quite a fan of government interference as was Wilson (although his interference was more or less ended after WWI).

  • Jason||

    because the oil industry bought and paid for them. because there aren't rules in place to keep industry folks away from the regulatory agency. Because when you can spend that much money to get a guy elected, you are going to influence their appointments.

    It doesn't take money to capture a regulatory agency. It's the very nature of invention and training that produces regulatory capture. The moment you start to regulate is the moment regulatory capture begins.

    Let's say you want to regulate a brand new technology. Now, you want someone who understands any documentation submitted or technical testimony, so you need to hire an expert in that technology. Who are the experts? The people who invented it. So you start hiring them and you've just started the regulatory capture process -- you've hired employees of the companies you want to regulate to regulate them.

  • Tony||

    So just stop regulating, so there's nothing to capture...

  • cynical||

    In this case, it has much more to do with the revolving door than campaign contributions.

    It's a trickier problem to solve, because the sort of people that have the expertise necessary to properly deal with industry-specific issues are often going to have a background in that industry; even when they don't, they'll have more sympathy for the actual people they work with in the industry, especially if they tend to have the same background and interests, than the rather vague abstract notion of "society".

    I don't mean to say that the problem isn't solvable, but it would take commitment and a lot of short term pain -- they'd need to do some kind of social networking analysis to weed out people with strong industry ties, use the remaining untainted experts to train a fresh batch of low-experience newbies with the right academic background, and then rotate them around enough that they can't get attached to any particular set of regulatees. And then, you still have to monitor for bribery and so on.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Um, how do you hold someone responsible in court when there isn't a statute/regulation meant to prevent whatever they did?

    You think of Roman law too highly. You just need TWO statutes:

    1) Harm no one,
    2) Fulfill your contracts.

    Everything else is just attorney-feeding B.S.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    What, you expect any corporation to live by libertarian principles?

    Of course not. They however act much worse with regulation than without it.

  • ||

    Of course not. They however act much worse with regulation than without it.

    Because you say so?

    Or do you mean "regulation" -- where their lobbyists help write the rules?

  • ||

    "Or do you mean "regulation" -- where their lobbyists help write the rules?"

    that would be every regulation ever written Tom. You are getting close to stumbling onto the truth. Unless you have a group of warrior monks who will be appointed dictators, there is no way to ever prevent the regulations from being written by industry lobbyists. That is how government works, you fucking moron.

  • ||

    that would be every regulation ever written Tom. You are getting close to stumbling onto the truth. Unless you have a group of warrior monks who will be appointed dictators, there is no way to ever prevent the regulations from being written by industry lobbyists. That is how government works, you fucking moron.

    It doesn't have to be warrior monks. It just has to be people that don't have a financial interest in industry they are regulating.

    And that's they way all regulations are written, because our political process has been corrupted by all this fucking money that you keep insisting needs to be in the system.

    Again, the problem is the money=speech ideology. If you don't let certain people buy politicians, then the politicians don't have an incentive to help those certain people above others.

  • ||

    "If you don't let certain people buy politicians, then the politicians don't have an incentive to help those certain people above others."

    If we just keep people from petitioning their government or having any effect on their government, things will be great. You can't have it both ways. You can't on the one had say that we have a Democracy were people can petition and have a say on their government and on the other hand say that you want this pristine government that is not effected by any outside interests.

    What you really are arguing for is a police state. If we just give the government absolute power and keep anyone from the outside influencing it, things will be okay. Well that has been tried. And it always ends in tragedy.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: ChicagoTom,

    Not because I say so, because of that nagging thing called Incentives.

    Or do you mean "regulation" -- where their lobbyists help write the rules?

    What difference does that make? It is still a conceit to believe one can think of everything when writting (and imposing) a "regulation."

  • ||

    What difference does that make? It is still a conceit to believe one can think of everything when writting (and imposing) a "regulation."

    It makes a world of difference. Not all regulations are created equal, despite the propaganda bandied about around here.

    There are good rules and bad rules. And there's a world of difference between them.

    I say the rules need to be reviewed and bad ones thrown out and good ones kept or even strengthened.

    Of course no one can predict every case or consequence. So you refine and reform the rules. You do not just throw your hands up and say "well the rules aren't perfect so we should never have any rules".

  • ||

    "I say the rules need to be reviewed and bad ones thrown out and good ones kept or even strengthened."

    Oh and it is just that simple isn't it. If only the right people are given absolute power, all the "right rules" will be kept and the "bad rules" will be thrown out. You can't be serious.

  • Tony||

    Yes, John, not electing Republicans who believe in making life as easy as possible for their corporate masters would go a long way to making the situation better. This "right people in charge" crap that everyone spittles about here is cute, but it's kind of dismissive of the concept of democracy. And before he made a national embarrassment of himself Rand Paul certainly seemed like the "right person" to a lot of you.

    You still haven't offered a single solution to corporate malfeasance, you're just adopting a stance of nihilism. I want an argument about how the Gulf disaster could have been prevented if not for those pesky government regulations.

  • ||

    Yeah Tony. Lets kick the Republicans out. We did that in 2008 didn't we? And now we have Obama. Only he lied about it from the very beginning and has done little to help. Here is Rolling Stone this week

    "Even after the president’s press conference,Rolling Stone has learned, the administration knew the spill could be far worse than its “best estimate” acknowledged. That same day, the president’s Flow Rate Technical Group – a team of scientists charged with establishing the gusher’s output – announced a new estimate of 12,000 to 25,000 barrels, based on calculations from video of the plume. In fact, according to interviews with team members and scientists familiar with its work, that figure represents the plume group’s minimum estimate. The upper range was not included in their report because scientists analyzing the flow were unable to reach a consensus on how bad it could be. “The upper bound from the plume group, if it had come out, is very high,” says Timothy Crone, a marine geophysicist at Columbia University who has consulted with the government’s team. “That’s why they had resistance internally. We’re talking 100,000 barrels a day.”

    Your side owns the entire government. And nothing changed. Yet you still claim that things will be different next time. No, it won't be different. The only way to stop it is to give the government less power so the corporations have less reason to manipulate it. All you are doing is feeding the beast.

  • Tony||

    Yes, nothing is different. All governments are equally corrupt, and that's because a little corruption equals a lot, and above all you're right about everything.

    If there are industry cronies in the Obama admin, and if it's not doing enough, my solution is to improve it still. Yours is to throw up your hands and pretend there's nothing to improve. WHAT IS YOUR SOLUTION?, I ask again. I know, vote for fucking Republicans so they can continue to prove themselves and you right about how government is corrupt and incompetent.

  • ||

    Nothing was going to prevent accidents like the Gulf. All we end up doing is paying billions for corrupt regulators to create more of a mess. My sollution is to get the government out of it beyond enforcing tort law. Yeah, the accident would still have happened. But under my system we would be billions richer by not paying the regulators who did nothing to stop it. And BP would still be bankrupt via the court system. And the threat of bankruptcy will give future drillers more than enough motivation to be more careful. It is not that the market and tort systems will prevent all our accidents. They won't. It is that they will save us the billions of dollars we are spending now that are not preventing anything.

  • ||

    More from Rolling Stone

    "Salazar himself has worked hard to foster the impression that the “prior administration” is to blame for the catastrophe. In reality, though, the Obama administration was fully aware from the outset of the need to correct the lapses at MMS that led directly to the disaster in the Gulf. In fact, Obama specifically nominated Salazar – his “great” and “dear” friend – to force the department to “clean up its act.” For too long, Obama declared, Interior has been “seen as an appendage of commercial interests” rather than serving the people. “That’s going to change under Ken Salazar.” …

    Salazar did little to tamp down on the lawlessness at MMS, beyond referring a few employees for criminal prosecution and ending a Bush-era program that allowed oil companies to make their “royalty” payments – the amount they owe taxpayers for extracting a scarce public resource – not in cash but in crude. And instead of putting the brakes on new offshore drilling, Salazar immediately throttled it up to record levels. Even though he had scrapped the Bush plan, Salazar put 53 million offshore acres up for lease in the Gulf in his first year alone – an all-time high. The aggressive leasing came as no surprise, given Salazar’s track record. “This guy has a long, long history of promoting offshore oil drilling – that’s his thing,” says Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “He’s got a highly specific soft spot for offshore oil drilling.” As a senator, Salazar not only steered passage of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which opened 8 million acres in the Gulf to drilling, he even criticized President Bush for not forcing oil companies to develop existing leases faster.

    Salazar was far less aggressive, however, when it came to making good on his promise to fix MMS. Though he criticized the actions of “a few rotten apples” at the agency, he left long-serving lackeys of the oil industry in charge. “The people that are ethically challenged are the career managers, the people who come up through the ranks,” says a marine biologist who left the agency over the way science was tampered with by top officials. “In order to get promoted at MMS, you better get invested in this pro-development oil culture.” One of the Bush-era managers whom Salazar left in place was John Goll, the agency’s director for Alaska. Shortly after, the Interior secretary announced a reorganization of MMS in the wake of the Gulf disaster, Goll called a staff meeting and served cake decorated with the words “Drill, baby, drill.”

    And you still think "next time it will work". Really Tony, you are nothing if not faithful.

  • ||

    One other thing Tom. BP got its waiver and these regulations long before Citizens United. And they got them from your hero Obama. So stop pretending that things would be different if only the rules were different. The rules were different and this still happened.

  • Jason||

    And Citizens United also didn't overturn the law banning corporate donations to campaigns, a law that has been in place for about 100 years. The ruling only affected running what companies (or other groups of people) may say in ads.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: ChicagoTom,

    It makes a world of difference. Not all regulations are created equal[...]

    That gives little comfort, CT. You're not saying anything different than saying "well some are a bit less worse than others."

    There are good rules regulations and bad rules regulations. And there's a world of difference between them.

    We're not talking about rules. We're talking about government regulations.

    I say the rules regulations need to be reviewed and bad ones thrown out and good ones kept or even strengthened.

    Uh-huh.... Who watches the watchers?

    Of course no one can predict every case or consequence. So you refine and reform the rules regulations.

    Sure - you make them worse.


    You do not just throw your hands up and say "well the rules regulations aren't perfect so we should never have any rules regulations".

    I would throw my hands in the face of reality. If you want to keep your fantasies, that is your business.

  • Tony||

    We're not talking about rules. We're talking about government regulations.

    ????????? You're so pedantic you're not even right.

    Uh-huh.... Who watches the watchers?

    The voters. Who watches the boardrooms?

  • Tony||

    Even if the notion of market self-regulation weren't absurd on its face, I don't see how anyone can argue that it would happen in the case of BP or other oil companies. What, "I don't like your oil so I'm gonna get oil from someone else." Yeah right. Lots of rational, individual choice going into the market in oil. Not to mention it's all a fucking international cartel.

  • ||

    "Not to mention it's all a fucking international cartel."

    Yeah right tony. It is all an international cartel. Why don't you just throw in that it is run by the Jews and go full out crazy.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Even if the notion of market self-regulation weren't absurd on its face,

    The notion of correct grammar also being absurd in your face, it seems.

  • Jason||

    I don't see the grammar error...

  • Tony||

    OM I think I speak for everyone here when I say you're not doing libertarianism any favors.

  • ||

    Tony, You NEVER speak for anyone here but yourself and perhaps the other lefty trolls.

  • ||

    What, you expect any corporation to live by libertarian principles?

    No. We expect the State to live by libertarian principles.

    This "right people in charge" crap that everyone spittles about here is cute, but it's kind of dismissive of the concept of democracy.

    No, its dismissive of the advocates of unlimited government, who always, without fail, dismiss the manifest failures of government with some variation of "but the right people weren't in charge."

    Those failures are often inherent and systemic, not a function of personality.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: ChicagoTom,

    It makes a world of difference. Not all regulations are created equal[...]

    That gives little comfort, CT. You're not saying anything different than saying "well some are a bit less worse than others."

    There are good rules regulations and bad rules regulations. And there's a world of difference between them.

    We're not talking about rules. We're talking about government regulations.

    I say the rules regulations need to be reviewed and bad ones thrown out and good ones kept or even strengthened.

    Uh-huh.... Who watches the watchers?

    Of course no one can predict every case or consequence. So you refine and reform the rules regulations.

    Sure - you make them worse.


    You do not just throw your hands up and say "well the rules regulations aren't perfect so we should never have any rules regulations".

    I would throw my hands in the face of reality. If you want to keep your fantasies, that is your business.

  • Azathoth||

    Chicago Tom's hysterics in this thread are absolutley hilarious.

    That and the partisan blindness.

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