Oil

Obama Is Not Beholden to Big Corporations. He Is Beholden to the Executives of Big Corporations.

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I have not been following the BP oil spill story closely enough to judge the Obama administration's response, let alone the motivation underlying it. Furthermore, Sarah Palin is such a loose-lipped dimwit and reflexive partisan that I can readily believe she was just pulling accusations out of thin air when she suggested that the government's response has been lackadaisical because the president is in bed with Big Oil (unlike the former governor of a state where every resident receives a personal petroleum payoff?). But the response from Media Matters for America still seems pretty lame. MMA, the media watchdog organization for Obama-loving Democrats, zeroes in on Palin's assertion that Obama is "the single largest recipient of BP's cash," hammering journalists (in particular, Agence France-Presse) for repeating this "misleading" claim.

MMA says this claim is misleading because the money—a total of $77,051 out of $3.5 million donated to candidates by BP personnel during the last two decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics—came "entirely from individuals employed by BP, not the corporation itself." Since direct corporate donations to political campaigns are illegal, this is not exactly a revelation. The next time a Republican is accused of being excessively cozy with a major corporation, I'm sure MMA will pedantically respond that, in point of fact, Sen. Moneybags has never received a dime from that company, since all the donations came from its employees.

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108 responses to “Obama Is Not Beholden to Big Corporations. He Is Beholden to the Executives of Big Corporations.

  1. Man, you’d think that people wouldn’t want to throw their credibility away so quickly!

    1. What credibility?

      1. Oh, there must be a shard. Or maybe a mote.

        1. Not even an smidgen, or even an iota.

          1. Surely a tittle or a scintilla?

            1. “Tittle”? You’re so repressed it’s not even funny.

            2. At least a wafer thin mint sir.

    2. MM has credibility? Everyone knows they’re a lefty shop. It’s like being surprised that the Media Research Center is flacking for the GOP.

    3. Too late!

    4. That’s why they are called Tedium Tatters.

      And whoring is necessary. How else can David Brock pay for the house in Georgetown, the one at Rehoboth Beach, and all the cigarettes and heroin?

      It’s expensive to be a rebellious muckraker.

    5. Credibility and Media Matters should never be used in the same sentence (r paragraph). Doing so creates and oxymoron.

      1. Sorry for the two typos. My toast popped up. So, I skipped the “preview” step and went straight to the “butter my toast” step.

        1. And made up for it with brilliant humor. I may steal that excuse.

  2. I’m glad to see that Media Matters is coming around to the free speech point of view expressed by the majority in Citizens United v. FEC!

  3. Since direct corporate donations to political campaigns are illegal, this is not exactly a revelation.

    unless your name is Bill Maher or any of the other idiots that say Citizen United was exactly that.

  4. They also can’t track the donations that come from lawyers and consultants who do significant business with BP but work for third parties and are encouraged to donate to political campaign ‘x’. So, I’d say it’s very likely that the amount of money “BP” donated to Obama was even more than reported.

    1. yes, but you see, the republicans are sinister and a far higher proportion of those shadow entities donated to rethuglicans.

  5. The various big oil companies gathered to gather paid BP to destroy the oil platform to push Congress to regulate the oil industry even more, increasing the cost of entry and thus protecting the “too big to fail” oil companies from competition.

    1. No.

      They payed off Obama to keep his nose out of the liability limit that the government gives oil drillers. That way they can take huge risks without having to buy insurance.

    2. Is Paul Krugman in on it too? He is a Nobel Prize winning economist*.

      *Yes, I am aware it is not a “true” Nobel Prize like chemistry or physics.

      1. as if the nobel prize in chemistry is ‘true’… I’ll believe it when Stephanie Kwolek wins.

  6. I posted this over the weekend:

    I’m not sure which group of people gets more giddy and full of themselves: Conservatives, when a would-be Islamic terrorist attempts an attack on our soil; or Liberals, when a gargantuan ecological disaster happens. It’s really a toss-up.

    I will say, though, it’s equally disgusting.

    1. Other people’s suffering makes good politics.

    2. how about libertarians, when the market crashes. Oh, wait, wait. No. No, that doesn’t work =/

      1. That’s right. Libertarians like markets. So, all economic disasters are their fault. Our statist overlords are suspicious of markets and the evil voodoo we call “economics,” so they’re not culpable.

      2. We prefer obvious government fuckups, thanks.

      3. Yonemoto demonstrates his mastery of analogies.

        Oh wait…

  7. Perhaps a screen capture with the relevant admission that it is illegal for candidates to take money from corporations highlighted to bang over their heads when they forget that is in order…

  8. Furthermore, Sarah Palin is such a loose-lipped dimwit

    So the White House is ignoring her latest blatherings just as they did “Death Panels”. Obama, the left, and the media never take the bait so why does she keep doing it?

    1. The “death panels” comment was highly effective and almost railroaded Obamacare. Not the best example to support your arguement.

      1. That was rather effective. One more trip home to meet the constituents and the whole ordeal would have been history. The future joke is going to be that we would NEVER have death panels just as your SSN will never be used for anything except registering for social security.

      2. If “Death Panel” was her creation, then she’s far more politically astute than many in politics. I doubt that’s the case, but it was a nice, pointy barb to sink into the back of the healthcare bill. In fact, it’s still sticking out like a banderilla.

        1. She was the first to use it. She used it in a facebook posting.

          1. Unless you count Rahm’s brother. Of course, he didn’t use that exact term, so she’s the crazy one.

      3. I suppose that depends on what my argument is(refuting Sullum and others).”Dimwit” and “lightweight” are not apt descriptions of Sarah Palin’s political skills.I wouldn’t attribute her effectiveness to “handlers” either. Her worst career performance was when she came under their sway in the McCain Campaign.

    2. So we don’t get some crazy idea she dropped out of politics?

    3. I’m not going to be ignored, Barry.

    4. She keeps doing for the same reason Stephen Baldwin will be on Celebrity Big Brother this year: to desperately attempt to remain a celebrity.

      “Eat up, Stephen, you’re the weakest.”

      1. I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to stop being a celebrity. They sometimes go dormant for decades, but they always seem to return to the limelight, one way or the other.

        1. Not Arch Hall, Jr.

          It’s possible to stop if everyone forgets about you…which is why these people do insane shit like Celebrity Big Brother. Any publicity is good publicity, because it means people can’t forget about you.

          1. Wealth, power, stuff, and slaves–okay, I can see wanting those things. Fame? I don’t get it.

            1. Fame brings the others, and strokes the ego the most. It’s very simple.

              1. For people that lack real ability, clinging on to celebrity status is the only way to acquire wealth.

                I’ve dealt with celebrities on occasion (professionally and otherwise), and the one common thread seems to be insecurity, at least with actors and performers. The astronauts and politicians seemed more secure. The latter because they are entirely delusional, I suspect. In other words, I agree that many need the fame to make them feel worthy of existence.

                1. I can imagine it is an extremely intoxicating drug to be treated with particular and disproportionate respect and deference relative to your actual worth as a human being. I would imagine the withdrawal is nearly intolerable.

                  1. I can imagine it is an extremely intoxicating drug to be treated with particular and disproportionate respect and deference relative to your actual worth as a human being.

                    Why, yes, yes it is.

                    Err, or so I’m told.

                2. Casting Director: Have you ever been on TV before?

                  Bender: Once, when I took those hostages.

                  Calculon: I saw that! You were good!

    5. Sarah Palin wasn’t the baiter. Her twitter remarks just linked to the story at Politoco.com (are you peeps so out of it you didn’t know this?):

      Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

      TAGS: Barack Obama, John McCain, Mary Landrieu, George Voinovich, Oil Spills, BP, Lamar McKay, Robert Malone
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      By ERIKA LOVLEY | 5/5/10 5:05 AM EDT
      Updated: 5/5/10 5:37 PM EDT
      Text Size-+reset

      BP has also spent millions each year on lobbying ? including $15.9 million last year alone ? as it has tried to influence energy policy.
      Reuters
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      Landrieu no oil industry ‘handmaiden’
      Rubio: There will be drilling
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      POLITICO 44

      While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

      BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees ? $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

      On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying ? including $15.9 million last year alone ? as it has tried to influence energy policy.

      During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

      An Obama spokesman rejected the notion that the president took big oil money.

      “President Obama didn’t accept a dime from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists during his presidential campaign,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said. “He raised $750 million from nearly four million Americans. And since he became president, he rolled back tax breaks and giveaways for the oil and gas industry, spearheaded a G20 agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and made the largest investment in American history in clean energy incentives.”

      In Congress, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who last week cautioned that the incident should “not be used inappropriately” to halt Obama’s push for expansion of offshore drilling, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of BP’s largesse. Her comments created some blowback, with critics complaining that she is too blas? about the impact of the disaster, even though she was among the first lawmakers to call for a federal investigation into the spill.

      As the top congressional recipient in the last cycle and one of the top BP cash recipients of the past two decades, Landrieu banked almost $17,000 from the oil giant in 2008 alone and has lined her war chest with more than $28,000 in BP cash overall.

      “Campaign contributions, from energy companies or from environmental groups, have absolutely no impact on Sen. Landrieu’s policy agenda or her response to this unprecedented disaster in the Gulf,” said Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders. “The senator is proud of the broad coalition she’s built since her first day in the Senate to address the energy and environmental challenges in Louisiana and in the nation. This disaster only makes the effort to promote and save Louisiana’s coast all that more important.”

      Several BP executives have given directly to Landrieu’s campaign, including current and previous U.S. operation Presidents Lamar McKay and Robert Malone. Other donors include Margaret Hudson, BP’s America vice president, and Benjamin Cannon, federal affairs director for the U.S. branch. Donations ranged from $1,000 to $2,300 during the past campaign cycle.

      Environmentalists complain that Landrieu has played down the impact of oil spills.

      “I mean, just the gallons are so minuscule compared to the benefits of U.S. strength and security, the benefits of job creation and energy security,” Landrieu said at a hearing last month on offshore drilling. “So while there are risks associated with everything, I think you understand that they are quite, quite minimal.”

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      Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/s…..z0ovMqn2LA

  9. “entirely from individuals employed by BP, not the corporation itself.”

    I remember Joe Boyle making the same claim when Fannie Mae AIG and other failed firms were found to be giving huge sums to Obama’s campaign.

    Such fucking bullshit.

  10. “I have not been following the BP oil spill story closely enough to judge the Obama administration’s response, let alone the motivation underlying it.”

    Of course you haven’t been following it, Sullum, you tiresome ideological sock puppet. You don’t give a shit because it can’t plausibly be blamed on government except insamuch as government failed to regulate BP, and that doesn’t make sense to your shitty little losertarian worldview.

    1. Give it up, dude.
      Grow some balls and find a handle you want to keep.
      If you can’t find a reason to disagree, then either leave, or join us. First posted 5/21/10

    2. you tiresome ideological sock puppet

      Oh, the irony is so delicious. It’s like sea urchin, but richer.

    3. The “losertarian” argument that the government is partially at fault for this disaster, by capping liability of oil companies, is pretty compelling to me. If BP thought it would have to pay billions instead of 75 million, I bet they would have been a little bit more careful.

      1. rothbard himself would have demanded that BP be able to be sued for full damages in court by every single fisherman who lost business.

        1. And hotels and property owners and anyone else detrimentally affected.

    4. because it can’t plausibly be blamed on government except insamuch as government failed to regulate BP

      Government regulation failed, huh? (Because BP certainly is regulated.) Then the only possible response is more government regulation, right?

      So in a case where you say the free market fails, why do you always say the only possible response is… more government regulation?

      Seems like you have a hammer and everything looks like a nail.

    5. Wow Max. What a retard you are. The government has nationalized and occupied the ocean floor and most western lands that have oil, and then does a shitty job of protecting the safety of workers and the property rights of neighbors.

      It’s a typical tragedy of the commons problem where no one has an incentive to behave well, no one has any property rights to assert to keep themselves from the trespass and vandalism of polluters, and government regulators that are supposed to supply a substitute for private property rights do what they always do, fail with spectacular feckless incompetence.

      The Obama regime has issued 18 new ocean drilling permits SINCE this leak began.

  11. Not trolling, but check out the view from the other side:

    http://www.truthdig.com/report….._20100524/

    Whoa.

    1. Dear Jesus.

    2. The Progressive’s attitude is optimistic both about human nature (which he thinks is good, hence all that is needed is to change institutions so as to give this goodness a chance to work) and about the possibility of understanding history through scientific method.

      Holy shit. That is some first class RDF.

      1. That, in a nutshell, shows the absolute cognitive dissonance leftists swim in. It’s what makes them so detestable, yet hilarious, in a completely different way from right-wingers.

    3. is this satire?

      1. Doubtful. Hedges is an angel to the left. Gets booed in when espousing his worldview to typical Midwesterners, but in leftist circles he’s bestowed with an halo and licensed to traffic in nonsense.

        1. Amazing. The guy thinks Greece is in trouble because “right-wing” governments and banks stole all the money?

          1. Yes, this is the left wing view and also the stated view of the Grecian government.

            1. Is there any evidence at all for that view? It seems odd that all the mainstream media coverage of the Greek crisis I’ve read has somehow never mentioned those as causes.

      2. The best kind: Absolutely serious and genuine.

    4. I like how he tries to blame the crisis on the previous right wing administration. Leftist always love to brag about how the Europeans are so much more enlightened, because their right wing parties are to the left of the democrats, but when something goes wrong they blame the nonexistent right wing. Also, if you want to lose some faith in humanity I suggest looking at the comments, especially Eugene Costa who seem to be a particularly notable piece of shit, just check out his thoughts on the dead bank workers.

    5. Yeah, striking, rioting and burning shit down will even those fiscal and financial situations right out. Always has.

    6. I thought it was sorta the job of people who lend money – banks, for example – to do some research into who might pay them back. And to preserve capital for future lending by getting the answer right.

      Nah. They just like to steal stuff. We’d all be happier if we went back to hunting-and-gathering. Not leftists, of course. They get their fill of that on backpacking trips once a year.

  12. I hardly know what to make of this:

    unlike the ex-governor of a state where every resident receives his very own petroleum payoff?

    It seems to me that paying-off everybody in the state can’t be corrupt by any normal definition of the word (not in a democracy). But paying-off the president is just the sort of act covered by the usual definition. Dislike Sarah Palin if you wish, but don’t make oblique suggestions of corruption when 1.) it’s out in the open and 2.) everybody in the state gets a check. Perhaps you could instead, point to some private, under the table payoff that she might be getting. Or instead, find some hair-shirt progressives up there whose blood boils at the thought of receiving money from big oil for past wrong. I’m sure there are some.

    1. Or this WSJ quote:

      So far in 2010, the oil and gas industries have contributed $12.8 million to all candidates, with 71% of that money going to Republicans. During the 2008 election cycle, 77% of the industry’s $35.6 million in contributions went to Republicans, and in the 2008 presidential contest, Republican candidate Sen. John McCain received more than twice as much money from the oil and gas industries as Obama: McCain collected $2.4 million; Obama, $898,000.

      1. Yeah but BP PR positioned itself as the hemp and patchouli wearing “green-chick” of oil companies. The only good thing about the spill is the withdrawal of those fucking ads.

  13. Some things jsut never change. Money attracts money!

    oo
    http://www.complete-anonymity.at.tc

  14. Holy Christ, Sullum. Forgot the fundamental rule of human history, have we? Never attribute to malevolent conspiracy what can easily be explained by ordinary human stupidity.

    Obama isn’t diddling over the oil spill because he’s part of a some weird conspiracy. He’s diddling because he has no idea what the fuck to do. He’s clueless. Total n00b, fish out of water, gaping wha wha huh whazzat?

    The man’s a constitutional law professor who never held a real job in his life. His only real talent is looking cool, a deep baritone, and the ability to read a speech with a noble mien. I doubt the man knows how to change the oil in his car. His entire Administration team is very similar. Lawyers, facilitators, politicians, givers of orders and pointers of fingers. They don’t even know engineers, technicians, roughnecks, the kind of folks who know anything at all about capping a well under 5,000 feet of water.

    Those kinds of people…with actual dirt under the fingernails, don’t go to the same cocktail parties those in the Admnistration do, where those theories that will Save Humanity are discusssed and cooly dissected. They’re probably out at some ball game drinking Bud.

    Indeed, after spending a few years savaging them all as greedy pigs I’m guessing the Obamanauts are having a wee spot of trouble getting peopl to take their calls.

    Hey! Sorry about calling you lot a bunch of filthy capitalist running dogs. We have a problem in Louisiana. Want to help? We’d have to keep savaging you in public, of course, to preserve our options in case you fail. But you’d have our undying gratitude!

    Tee hee. I kind of wish BP would just go Galt here. Hey, you know what, guys? You’re absolutely right. We’re just a bunch of ignorant money-grubbing assclowns. No way we’re competent to run this show! So…we quit. You decide what to do. We’ll run the machinery, but you tell us what to build, draw up the plans, make the decisions, call the shots.

    Up to you now, Senator “Excuses Don’t Count” Durbin, Secretary “Boot On The Neck” Salazar, President Cool ‘n’ Competent. Go cap the well. Show us how it’s done, mkay? Best of luck, fellas.

    1. +lulz and 100.

      Well done, Carl.

    2. Splendid.

    3. FYI: The guy in over his head in Chief was doing something last Friday. It involved another field he knows better than anyone else because he likes to play it and all that.

      http://is.gd/cnUM3

      1. class warfare in reverse is pretty hilarious, but not as funny as the astoundingly retarded notion of bp “going galt”, as if it – or any other massive business – could survive without the cooperation and largess of governments.

        1. Quite a few can.

        2. The going Galt idea is amusing but you make a good point. BP got a gigantic oil contract with Libya after the British government released the Lockerbie bomber. A deal, incidentally, that was stitched up (to use the British phrase) by Gordon Brown’s fixer Peter Mandelson and – no joke – Prince Andrew!

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…..ction.html

        3. Really? Porn? Dope? Guns? The world is just a bit more complex than that.

          Anyway, you miss the point. BP isn’t a living creature — only the people who work for it are, and they are perfectly capable of earning a living doing something else, somewhere else, and telling Mr. Sanctimony and his Congressional Prig Choir to stuff it up their tight little asses.

          Whether “British Petroleum” per se survived such a middle-finger raising gesture is unclear — and besides the point. It would be lovely to see, that’s all. I tire of the endless preaching from Washington by former squeaky-voiced whiners who spent their high-school days getting elected to Student Council and posting fiercely-argued screeds to the Internet instead of chasing girls and learning to fix cars.

    4. Holy Christ, Sullum. Forgot the fundamental rule of human history, have we? Never attribute to malevolent conspiracy what can easily be explained by ordinary human stupidity.

      I happen to think Hanlon’s Razor isn’t accurate. The problem is neither malice nor mere stupidity. It’s the usual failings of human beings – ignorance, cowardice, greed – combined with an actual disincentive to do better. This explains why you have to fight tooth and nail to get anything back when your cell phone carrier overcharges you, and why it happens so often. It explains why unions protect and promote the worst.

      In this case, Obama has several disincentives to doing better. One of them is that he risks angering an important political power player (the oil industry). The “progressive” dupes who put him in office don’t matter; they’ll surely vote for him again anyway.

  15. “(unlike the former governor of a state where every resident receives a personal petroleum payoff?)”

    Wow, what a libertarian you are. OK…state selling off the resources of the state and keeping them, v state selling off the resources and returning a portion to their rightful owners.

    Libertarians…this is why they never poll better than .4%.

    1. Who the fuck said it was the states resources.

      1. As per the Alaska constitution, the oil resources belong to Alaskans

    2. Um, most libertarians I know are in favor of the alaskan payoff thingy.

      1. The purpose of the program was to keep the Alaskan state from becoming a petro-state, equipped with trillions it could wreak havoc with.

        A more libertarian solution would be privatizing the oil and giving the Alaskans marketable shares of stock.

  16. I think it is a combination of two things. First, Obama is in over his head and has no idea what to do. Second, he is getting a free pass politically and thinks he can blame it on BP. So he doesn’t really give a shit. It is always about Obama. He doesn’t care if Lousiana turns black with oil as long it doesn’t affect him. Not like he gives a shit about a bunch of white people who are not going to vote for him anyway. Unless until his lack of response starts to effect him politically, Obama is going to find better things to do.

    1. Not to give Obama a pass, but nobody knows what the fuck to do. BP’s greatest idea was to throw loads of trash at the problem. Plans A through F have failed. Can we stop sucking the cock of power and expecting them to solve our problems. We need to realize that for shit like this no one knows what they are doing, Republican or Democrat.

      And guess what, it is BP’s (or Halliburton’s or TransOcean’s) fault. They’re the ones running the show. You can’t be a fair weather libertarian and privatize the successes of private industry and blame government for the fuck ups. Especially in a case like this, where the problem wasn’t due to messed up government incentives.

      1. (channeling a little Doctor Evil)

        Our early attempts at a solution went through several preparations. Preparations A through G were a complete failure. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a working solution, which we shall call… Preparation H.

    2. Not to give Obama a pass, but nobody knows what the fuck to do. BP’s greatest idea was to throw loads of trash at the problem. Plans A through F have failed. Can we stop sucking the cock of power and expecting them to solve our problems. We need to realize that for shit like this no one knows what they are doing, Republican or Democrat.

      And guess what, it is BP’s (or Halliburton’s or TransOcean’s) fault. They’re the ones running the show. You can’t be a fair weather libertarian and privatize the successes of private industry and blame government for the fuck ups. Especially in a case like this, where the problem wasn’t due to messed up government incentives.

      1. Who says? You? And where’s your degree in ocean engineering and 10 years experience in deep-ocean drilling, eh?

        Actually I’ve been impressed by the fact that they do have ideas, and they’ve been trying a bunch of stuff. No, nothing’s worked 100% yet, but isn’t that kind of par for the course when you’re working in the real world, and not in the la-la land of lawyers and pushers of paper? You ever try solving some tricky technical problem and have your plans A through F work?

        I’ll tell you what I do think the Feds are doing here, though — and that’s tremendously slowing things down. What do you want to bet that everything BP engineers do or even commit to paper has to be approved all the way up to the CEO? And then documented in insanely nitpicky detail, with 500% safety margins and ludicrously detailed CYA specs? Because they know a passel of sidewalk-supervisor 20/20 hindsight lawyer sharks are going to be subpoening everything later on.

        How much slower do you think that makes things go? And consider a mid-level BP engineer who has a bright idea that might solve the problem, but might not, might even make things worse. What are the odds he’s going to speak up in this “boot on the neck” climate, hmm? If he does and he’s wrong, his life is over, he’s the designated whipping boy for BP and President It’s Always Someone Else’s Fault and the national jackal media. If he’s right — oh, well, we breathe a sigh of relief and let loose the lawyer hounds to tear what flesh there might be off the corpse for the benefit of widows ‘n’ orphans. The time is long past when such a person would be hailed as a hero.

        You know what actually might help? Try this. The President says look, citizens, BP obviously had no intentions to spew oil all over the Gulf. And we thought — everybody thought — they were being appropriately careful, as careful as our fallible science allows. This could just be bad luck, which still exists, even after passage of my signature healthcare reform bill, more’s the pity. Or maybe this was forseeable, and heads will need to roll — both at BP and in government.

        But that’s for later. Right now, we’ve a mess to fix, and it makes no damn sense to be demonizing the very experts we need to do their best here. So I’m going to mobilize our national assets in partnership with BP to get this well capped. We’ll lend some of the US Navy’s deep submersible experience. Coast Guard and National Guard will take over beach protection, leaving BP engineers to focus on the well. Rather than have fussbudgets at the EPA demand the time of upper managers filling out forms on which dispersant they’re using, I’ll order EPA scientists to work overtime and on weekends to figure out the right stuff to use and locate the suppliers.

        And…there’s a cool $10 million prize waiting for whoever comes up first with the idea that plugs the leak. I don’t care who he is, who he works for, or even if he’s the one who started the mess in the first place. Credit where it’s due, if you can fix this problem.

        1. that would, of course take a little thing called leadership.

          =/ although BP should foot the bill when it’s all done. Mod the 10 million prize, of course.

      2. Not to give Obama a pass, but nobody knows what the fuck to do.

        There is a reason even the most ineffective municipal executives get photographed/videoed driving snowplows.
        Obama can’t even rise to the level of a corrupt hack of a yankee mayor.

  17. Well, some people have a few ideas and are implementing them. We should also realize that the government run by the One whose election was supposed to heal the planet and lower the seas is reduced to making threatening noises at BP and holding up plans by the Louisiana governor for creating barriers to the oil spill.
    There are some legitimate questions that can be asked of the Federal government, a government that has volumes of regulations regarding the exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas. What we should be asking is what happened to all the contingency plans that were supposed to be in place and why were they not implemented? Were there reasons for waiving some permits that BP was required to have? Why was the drilling done in deep water rather than on the continental shelf? Does any of this have anything to do with campaign contributions? Who knows? But we live in a time when Washington intrudes into every aspect of our private and business lives so we need to be reassured that political bribes don’t become the order of the day, as they are in some many other countries.

  18. I have this theory that Jacob Sullum secretly has a crush on Sarah Palin but is afraid of what people might say about him at DC cocktail parties.

    1. Sarah Palin reminds lots of middle-age men of the girl in high school who just laughed (albeit kindly) when he stammered out his invitation to the prom.

      1. Damn, Carl, you’re on a roll.

    2. Sullum doesn’t live in DC. His wife is a rabbi somewhere else.

  19. Sarah Palin owes President Obama a public apology.

    1. OBAMA RECEIVED $77K IN INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS FROM BP EMPLOYEES, ONLY $3+K MORE THAN REP.DON YOUNG(R-AK) WHO RECEIVED $73+K

    From opensecrets.org:
    Heavy Hitters
    BP: All Recipients
    Among Federal Candidates, 1989-2010
    Total: $3,533,398

    Obama, Barack (D-Ill) $77,051
    Young, Don (R-Alaska) $73,300
    Stevens, Ted (R-Alaska) $53,200
    Bush, George W (R-Texas) $47,388
    McCain, John (R-Ariz) $44,899

    Individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties since the 1990 election cycle, 75% of which went to Republicans.

    Disingenuous to suggest that, after 2 decades of Republican bias, favoring GOP financially @3:1 ratio, with secret Cheney Energy Task Force incorporating Big Oil demands into US energy policy & Bush granting $35 Bn tax credits & subsidies (none of 3 oil companies involved in Gulf spill pay US taxes)etc., that Big Oil would suddenly switch camp & align with Obama in a devious, collusive manner.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/ind…..mp;ind=E01

    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000091

    2. REP DON YOUNG(R-AK)RECEIVED $43K FROM 4 BP PACS. OBAMA HAD NO PAC RECEIPTS.

    For Rep Don Young:
    $6,250 BP America PAC 1998
    $1,000 Amoco PAC 1998
    $6,250 Standard Oil PAC 1998
    $6,000 BP PAC 2000
    $5,000 BP PAC 2002
    $4,500 BP PAC 2004
    $4,000 BP PAC 2006
    $4,000 BP PAC 2008
    $1,000 BP PAC 2010
    TOTAL:$42,500
    http://www.opensecrets.org/pac…..tt2=Submit

    3. REP YOUNG’S $43K PAC RECEIPTS INCREASED HIS TOTAL TO $115K, VS OBAMA’s $77K. FACT: REP YOUNG RECEIVED MOST BP “CASH” THRU 2010, NOT OBAMA! YOUNG RECEIVED $38.7K MORE FROM BP THAN THE PRES.

    Palin couldn’t wait to launch latest smear attack at President, so did no due diligence fact-checking prior to disparaging comments on TV & newspaper stories. To knowingly falsely accuse your President, in public, of possible financially-motivated conspiracy with perpetrator of a national disaster like Gulf, suggesting he might even have compromised disaster recovery as a result, thereby hurting the country… is beyond contemptible…. with NO basis for the allegation, just a desire to incite negative feelings & damage POTUS good character. Self indulgent & malicious; the “actual malice” of intentional libel.

    4. PRESIDENT BUSH RECEIVED MOST CONTRIBUTIONS FROM BIG OIL, 1989-2010, NOT PRESIDENT OBAMA! JOHN MCCAIN NEXT HIGHEST, AT $2.6M. FACT: BUSH RECEIVED $4.7M, 5X OBAMA!!

    Including individual contributions, PACS & Leadership PACS, few Senators added – puts Obama receipts in perspective:

    President George W Bush(R)$4.7M
    Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) $2.6M
    Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) $1.5M
    Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) $928K
    President Barack Obama (D) $901K
    Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-ARK)$819K
    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) $778K

    1. Politico.com disagrees with your numbers so prove it to them:

      Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

      TAGS: Barack Obama, John McCain, Mary Landrieu, George Voinovich, Oil Spills, BP, Lamar McKay, Robert Malone
      ListenPrintCommentEmailSubscribe

      By ERIKA LOVLEY | 5/5/10 5:05 AM EDT
      Updated: 5/5/10 5:37 PM EDT
      Text Size-+reset

      BP has also spent millions each year on lobbying ? including $15.9 million last year alone ? as it has tried to influence energy policy.
      Reuters

      Landrieu no oil industry ‘handmaiden’
      Rubio: There will be drilling
      BP slick fuels drilling debate
      VIDEO

      POLITICO 44

      While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

      BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees ? $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

      On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying ? including $15.9 million last year alone ? as it has tried to influence energy policy.

      During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

      An Obama spokesman rejected the notion that the president took big oil money.

      “President Obama didn’t accept a dime from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists during his presidential campaign,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said. “He raised $750 million from nearly four million Americans. And since he became president, he rolled back tax breaks and giveaways for the oil and gas industry, spearheaded a G20 agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and made the largest investment in American history in clean energy incentives.”

      In Congress, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who last week cautioned that the incident should “not be used inappropriately” to halt Obama’s push for expansion of offshore drilling, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of BP’s largesse. Her comments created some blowback, with critics complaining that she is too blas? about the impact of the disaster, even though she was among the first lawmakers to call for a federal investigation into the spill.

      As the top congressional recipient in the last cycle and one of the top BP cash recipients of the past two decades, Landrieu banked almost $17,000 from the oil giant in 2008 alone and has lined her war chest with more than $28,000 in BP cash overall.

      “Campaign contributions, from energy companies or from environmental groups, have absolutely no impact on Sen. Landrieu’s policy agenda or her response to this unprecedented disaster in the Gulf,” said Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders. “The senator is proud of the broad coalition she’s built since her first day in the Senate to address the energy and environmental challenges in Louisiana and in the nation. This disaster only makes the effort to promote and save Louisiana’s coast all that more important.”

      Several BP executives have given directly to Landrieu’s campaign, including current and previous U.S. operation Presidents Lamar McKay and Robert Malone. Other donors include Margaret Hudson, BP’s America vice president, and Benjamin Cannon, federal affairs director for the U.S. branch. Donations ranged from $1,000 to $2,300 during the past campaign cycle.

      Environmentalists complain that Landrieu has played down the impact of oil spills.

      “I mean, just the gallons are so minuscule compared to the benefits of U.S. strength and security, the benefits of job creation and energy security,” Landrieu said at a hearing last month on offshore drilling. “So while there are risks associated with everything, I think you understand that they are quite, quite minimal.”

      Pages1

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/s…..z0ovMqn2LA

      1. Politico doesn’t “disagree” – – they did a superficial research job. I submitted the challenge below and asked Erika to issue a correction. I have also submitted below to http://www.opensecrets.org and asked them to authenticate the numbers.

        To Politico:
        A challenge to your numbers here. Information gathered from http://www.opensecrets.org can be verified there. The wrong information regarding contributions from BP and the oil industry generally has been circulated by Sarah Palin to bolster her new baseless and contemptible conspiracy theory headline that “Obama is in bed with BP & the oil companies.” As you can see below, he received $77K from BP and $973K from Big Oil, placing him at #10 on the list of senators and congressmen who received Big Oil contributions, not numero uno!

        In fact, Sarah Palin herself received $2.5Million in Big Oil contributions, so her theory that Obama is beholden unto them for a contribution of one-third the sum she received, especially given the volume of total campaign cash he generated, is frivolous and obviously politically motivated.

        1. OBAMA IS BIGGEST RECIPIENT OF BP CASH – – WRONG. REP. DON YOUNG (R-AK) IS BIGGEST RECIPIENT OF BP CASH – $115K

        Heavy Hitters BP: All Recipients Among Federal Candidates, 1989-2010: $3,533,398 Obama, Barack (D-Ill) $77,051
        Young, Don (R-Alaska) $73,300
        Stevens, Ted (R-Alaska) $53,200
        Bush, George W (R-Texas) $47,388
        McCain, John (R-Ariz) $44,899

        BP PAC CONTRIBUTIONS TO REP. D YOUNG: TOTAL $42,500
        $6,250 BP America PAC 1998
        $1,000 Amoco PAC 1998
        $6,250 Standard Oil PAC 1998
        $6,000 BP PAC 2000
        $5,000 BP PAC 2002
        $4,500 BP PAC 2004
        $4,000 BP PAC 2006
        $4,000 BP PAC 2008
        $1,000 BP PAC 2010

        2. OBAMA IS BIGGEST RECIPIENT OF BIG OIL CASH – WRONG. GEORGE BUSH IS BIGGEST RECIPIENT OF BIG OIL CASH – $4.7M OBAMA IS #10 ON THE LIST, WITH $973,051. OBAMA IS #1 DEMOCRAT ON THE LIST – MOST BIG OIL CASH GOES TO REPUBLICANS

        Ahead of Obama are Bush, McCain, Hutchison, Gramm, Cornyn, Barton, Inhofe, Pearce & Young. One wonders, will one read from the pen or lips of Sarah Palin that all these lawmakers are “in bed with the Big Oil companies”? I doubt it; they are all Republicans!

        1. Bush, George W. (R), $4,748,681

        2. McCain, John (R-AZ), $2,677,064

        3. Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX), $2,137,225

        4. Gramm, Phil (R-TX), $1,682,814

        5. Cornyn, John (R-TX), $1,638,450

        6. Barton, Joe (R-TX) $1,447,880

        7. Inhofe, James M (R-OK) $1,228,223

        8. Pearce, Steve (R-NM) $981,272

        9. Young, Don (R-AK) $980,263

        10, Obama, Barack (D), $973,051

        11. McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $860,261

        12. Nickles, Don (R-OK), $841,388

        13. Vitter, David (R-LA) $783,835

        12. Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA), $757,744

        13. Domenici, Pete V (R-NM,) $747,897

        14. Conaway, Mike (R-TX) $651,718

        15. Sessions, Pete (R-TX) $642,864

        16. Tiahrt, Todd (R-KS) $618,773

        17. Santorum, Rick (R-PA) $614,178

        18. Granger, Kay (R-TX) $612,807

        19. Burns, Conrad (R-MT) $605,386

        20. Thune, John (R-SD) $575,762

        21. Specter, Arlen (D-PA) $566,528

        22. Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR) $558,375

        23. Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) $547,942

        Individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties since the 1990 election cycle, 75% of which went to Republicans

  20. First you nationalize the ocean floors and western lands; then you make yourself the arbiter of what regulations will ensure safety working on them and people who own neighboring properties; then you incompetently administer the occupied territories you have seized.

    US has approved 19 environmental drilling waivers since oil spill

    http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/05…..l-waivers/

    By John Byrne
    Monday, May 24th, 2010 — 8:48 am

    On May 14, President Barack Obama announced that oil companies would no longer be given license to bypass environmental reviews of their drilling projects.

    “We’re also closing the loophole that has allowed some oil companies to bypass some critical environmental reviews,” Obama said.

    But in the month since the BP-run Deepwater Horizon (above right) exploded and collapsed into the sea, its drill site spewing an unending current of oil into the open ocean, the US government has granted at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf drilling projects and 17 drilling permits. Most are for deepwater drilling operations, similar to that conducted by the ill-fated rig.

    “At least six of the drilling projects that have been given waivers in the past four weeks are for waters that are deeper ? and therefore more difficult and dangerous ? than where Deepwater Horizon was operating,” the New York Times’ Ian Urbina wrote Monday. “While that rig, which was drilling at a depth just shy of 5,000 feet, was classified as a deep-water operation, many of the wells in the six projects are classified as “ultra” deep water, including four new wells at over 9,100 feet.”

    “In explaining why they were still granting new permits for certain types of drilling on existing wells, Department of the Interior officials said some of the procedures being allowed are necessary for the safety of the existing wellbore,” Urbina added.

    A wellbore refers to the hole created in the drilling process used for the extraction of oil.

    The Interior Department’s Ken Salazar, testifying before Congress, said his department has been limited in contesting drilling efforts because of a statute which requires his agency to respond within 30 days of applications being submitted.

    “That is what has driven a number of the categorical exclusions that have been given over time in the gulf,” Salazar said.

    Urbina notes that the drill projects which have received waivers have yet to begin drilling. But, he says, “these waivers have been especially troublesome to environmentalists because they were granted through a special legal provision that is supposed to be limited to projects that present minimal or no risk to the environment.”

  21. Sarah Palin is such a loose-lipped dimwit and reflexive partisan”

    Sounds just like a loose-lipped, reflexively partisan commentator.

    1. Sarah Palin is part of the George W. Bush image rehabilitation project. She’s clear evidence that he’s not actually the dumbest person ever to hold elected office.

      1. George W. Bush has just as good an academic record as any recent President, up to and including Perfesser Obama.

        Which means the facts say you’re full of shit. But, whatever fantasy gets you through the day, L.

        Why raw intelligence should be the sine qua non for elective office is beyond me, anyway. It’s not like being President requires solving fiendishly hard calculus problems. What it mostly requires is being a good judge of men, impeccable character, and an extraordinary degree of self-discipline.

        All qualities which tend not to correlate well with academic achievement, I might add. Which may be why Bill Clinton, Rhodes Scholar, was such a fuck-up in actual office.

  22. I have lived in Alaska since 1987, and I feel that I must vigorously dispute a few myths.

    Granted, I am in an extremely tiny minority, but we don’t all get a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). This will be my third year of not applying for it. Frankly, the first year was pure sloth, on my part. I let the deadline slip past me. I discovered that it didn’t really affect me. After the second year, I discovered that I didn’t have any money, which I also didn’t have when I was getting the PFD, but I also didn’t feel quite so much like a whore.

    While the Permanent Fund was built with royalty revenue, the Dividends do not come directly from that. The state constitution requires 25% of mineral royalties go to the corpus of the Fund, the Dividend is exactly that, and is paid from the profits on a wide portfolio of investments. Additional deposits may be contributed, if they are approved by the legislature.

    Lastly, although it would seem to be in her, and our, best interests for Sarah Palin to be “in bed with the oil companies”, she most definitely was not. She is a big-spending, big-Government, anti-business statist. Sarah hates business, in general, and oil companies in particular. She did everything the legislature would let her to tax the oil companies out of the state, for reasons I cannot fathom.

    When she ran for Governor, she said all the right things, and I voted for her, indirectly leading to President Hopey McChangey. I am very, very sorry, and hope what’s left of America will accept my personal apology. I am part of the problem.

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