Environmentalism

Oil Gushes and Power Rushes

Obama's "$20 billion shakedown" exemplifies his lawlessness.

|

Last week, after President Obama pressured BP to create a compensation fund for victims of its oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. Joe Barton denounced the arrangement as "a $20 billion shakedown." The Texas Republican said the fund has "no legal standing" and circumvents the "due process system" for assigning blame and ordering compensation.

Although Barton was widely mocked for appearing to defend a huge corporation that is responsible for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, he had a point. Obama's grandstanding money grab exemplifies the lawless unilateralism that he condemned as a candidate yet embraced as a president.

Since the $75 million statutory cap on damages for oil spills does not apply in cases involving regulatory violations, "gross negligence," or "willful misconduct," BP's potential tort liability is enormous. But so are its assets, and there was no danger that it would run out of money before compensating everyone with a valid claim.

Obama could have let the legal process run its course, or he could have asked Congress to create a compensation fund in the interest of hastening payments. Instead he unilaterally extracted $20 billion from BP, on top of whatever damages the company will have to pay as a result of lawsuits, and appointed a lawyer to dole it out as he sees fit.

BP, facing an administration that will decide whether to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling and whether to pursue a criminal case that could bankrupt the company, felt compelled to cooperate. "Mr. Obama had no legal basis for the demand," The New York Times noted, "but concluded he did not need one."  

That's precisely the attitude for which Obama rightly castigated his predecessor, who believed that obeying the law was optional, especially if it stood in the way of measures aimed at fighting terrorism. "The law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers," Obama declared in 2007, condemning "unchecked presidential power"  and promising that in his administration there would be "no more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient."

Less than a year later, Obama supported amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that not only authorized the warrantless wiretaps he had promised to stop but granted telecommunications companies that facilitated them the retroactive legal immunity he had promised to oppose. Since taking office, Obama has vigorously resisted every attempt to hold anyone responsible for what he himself called "illegal spying."

Six months after capitulating on FISA, Obama endorsed the Bush administration's illegal use of money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out GM and Chrysler. Although Congress created TARP to shore up "financial institutions," Obama deemed the diversion to car manufacturers "a necessary step to help avoid a collapse in our auto industry." As president, Obama has gone even further, using TARP as a pretext to take over GM and force a merger of Chysler with Fiat.

Obama also has continued George W. Bush's lawless ways by preserving "extraordinary rendition," the practice of sending terrorism suspects to foreign countries where they are likely to be tortured. Obama, who in 2008 vowed he would "say no to renditions," not only says yes to them now but refuses to compensate innocent people imprisoned and tortured as a result of this policy.

Likewise, candidate Obama complained that Bush denied terrorism suspects due process, detaining them indefinitely without charge. President Obama promises to give more of them trials but reserves the right to keep them behind bars even if they are acquitted. In case that charade proves too burdensome, he also reserves the right to kill them by remote control instead of arresting them.

Some disillusioned supporters suggest that Obama changed his mind about executive power after he started wielding it. But his pre-election concessions to political expediency indicate he was faking it all along. A politician who believes he is above the law is not above lying to the public about his principles.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2010 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Join Jacob Sullum, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and Ron Bailey on Reason's weeklong Caribbean cruise in February 2011. Sign up today!  

http://www.reasoncruise.com

Advertisement

NEXT: Never Help A Child

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Guten Morgen Suki!

    1. Good mornin’ Untermensch!

      Howdy reason!

      1. He improved his shortage at the workmanship.Why Eva Mendes all buy christian louboutin?Who Knows!The shoes designed by the famous designer christian louboutin are amazing in the aspects of both originality and price.Generally speaking,shoes in classical styles price at above 500 U.S.dollars.Ordinary styles demand 400 U.S.dollars or so.But please don’t be worried,some discounts will be given for some shoes in season at the end of the season,so if lucky enough,you will have a pair of red shoes you have dreamed of then!

      1. Is that how you spell that? My neighborhood is very Korean, but I’ve never seen that written in English before.

        1. I got the spelling from Teh Googlez Translate. Click on the Romanization link.

    2. The article by Harsanyi (sp?) today posted just after this one points out one more reason to be against the “slush fund” which is that it limits liability even further for BP. Just one more example of a politician (does not matter what party) making decisions that help certain businesses and using it to make themselves look good.

  2. TEAM BLUE! TEAM RED!
    “McCain would have been worse”

    1. No, just bad in a different way.

      1. We wouldn’t have to worry about trying to repeal Obamacare.

        1. No we would be trying to repeal Mccain-care which would basically be Obama-care without the republican opposition.

          1. No, McCain-care (going by his campaign) was to eliminate the tax exemption status of healthcare premiums and eliminate the tie of healthcare to place of employment.

            The extra tax revenue was to be refunded to help people purchase their health insurance on the free market. It would have been a much more market-driven system and may have actually had a chance at reducing healthcare inefficiencies and lower costs.

            No one here cared, of course. They all just hated him for his war support.
            Can’t disagree with a Republican on any subject or he’s a statist pig.

            1. NAL = Not a Libertarian?

            2. You’re leaving out all his solutions regarding pre-existing conditions and stuff like that. Mccain-care would have been stuffed with big government solutions just like Obama-care but republicans, like I said before and you just confirmed, would have supported them rather than fight them because he’s a republican and no repeal would be possible.

    2. ..but McCain would have been a Republican counterbalance to a Democratic congress. Legislation would have been more difficult to pass without Republican AND Democrat approval, increasing the likelihood that it would have actually been good for the nation. (or maybe less bad?)

  3. The real question is: when obama buys cigarettes, does he ask for them by the New FDA Approved Names?

    Look, can we just get to the bloodshed already. Daclare martial law, so we know “It’s On”, and let this crazy world crumble to dust.

    Fuck everything.

    1. You really think The One buys His own cigarettes? Wait, he said he quit the habit, so it’s a non-issue (with the stress of the job of the presidency, I seriously doubt he has had much luck in cessation).

      Be not troubled wylie. I am cynical like you, but I am holding out for gridlock to slow the eventual decline.

      And answer your mail, fanboy!

    2. I am sure his cigarette fetching staffer politely asks for them by the right name at the convenience store on the corner.

    3. Get to the bloodshed? You can always kill yourself.

    4. Get to the bloodshed? You can always kill yourself.

  4. Obama is taking an absolute beating in the media over the oil spill, even though there really isn’t much he can do about it. Is anyone surprised that he would do whatever he felt it took to seem like he was doing something, even if it’s where he “‘had no legal basis for the demand,’ The New York Times noted, ‘but concluded he did not need one.'”?

    1. No, he can’t swim down there and plug up the hole or suck it up with a straw, but he is doing virtually everything in his power to deliberately prevent the oil from being cleaned up in the water before devastating the shorelines. It’s the kind of malfeasance we haven’t seen since Nixon.

      A judge has now overruled his ham-fisted attempt to unilaterally stop offshore drilling. Watch: this dictatorial caudillo P.O.S. will try to ignore the ruling, because he and his cronies want to use this event to kill oil extraction the way the left used Three Mile Island to kill nuclear power expansion.

      1. “A judge has now overruled his ham-fisted attempt to unilaterally stop offshore drilling. Watch: this dictatorial caudillo P.O.S. will try to ignore the ruling, because he and his cronies want to use this event to kill oil extraction the way the left used Three Mile Island to kill nuclear power expansion.”

        They have already issued another drilling ban that supposedly includes a “better” explanation of the rationale for stopping the drilling.

        Of course they flat out lied about the report used to justify the first one, claiming that a group of independed experts agreed with the decision.

        Those experts did no such thing and publicly said so. Of course ite MSM can’t be counted on to spotlight the administrations dishonesty about it. The only place I’ve seen it mentioned was in the Wall Street Journal.

      2. I lived through the Nixon presidency. He was a paranoid control freak but Obama’s malfeasance far surpasses anything Nixon did.

    2. Limbaugh suggested Bambam include the million that BP contributed to his election campaign to demonstrate his sincerity. Yet another great idea that will never come to pass.

      1. Fat Rush was telling one of his greasy-lipped lies again.

        Obama took only individual contributions in 2008.

        1. Obama sucks ’em where he finds ’em.

        2. It wasn’t just Limbaugh saying that. It’s all over the internet that Obama took nearly 1 million from BP during his candidacy.

          1. $71,051 from BP employees.
            0 from corporate/PAC

            http://www.opensecrets.org/org…..p;nid=3250

            1. …and I can probably find 10 sites that quote the $900,000+ number. What’s your point? My point was that Rush Limbaugh wasn’t the only one saying it. It was practically common knowledge (whether true or not) by that point.

              I’m sure some of the more radical leftist websites were quoting that number too. If you’re going to hate someone (Limbaugh, in this case), at least hate them for something real.

              1. FEC data is available to all by law, you idiot.

                There is no dispute on the numbers. Fat Rush is repeating lies.

    3. Well, he could have been honest about it from the beginning.

      “Unless we get lucky this will take four months to solve. There are many ways to mitigate this flow of oil, and we will be using all of them. This will be a long summer but we can get through it.”

      But after managing by overnight poll, he deserve what he gets.

    4. He can do more than he is. He could waive the Jones act and bring in foreign help. He could waive or just stop enforcing the OSHA and Coast Guard regulations so the effort could go faster. He could have gotten off of his dead ass and stopped playing golf and paid some attention. The guy he put in charge of the effort is working it part time for God’s sake. He could have accepted foreign help from the very beginning. He could have appointed people with some petroleum backgrounds to work on this problem rather than the political cronys he has.

      More importantly, he could have viewed the spill as a problem to be solved rather than a crisis to be exploited. We are months into this and he has yet to take any bold action or do much of anything beyond let the bureaucracies fight it out.

      Can Obama go down and cap the well himself? No. But there are two things a senior leader can do. He can bring more and better assets to the problem. And he can use the leverage at his level to help the people on the ground. Obama has done neither of those.

      Yes, I know the President is not a miracle worker and we have too much faith in government. But a fucking chimpanzee could have done everything Obama has done in response to this spill.

      1. He could waive the Jones act and bring in foreign help.

        But that help was not free, John. How much foreign aid do we give to these countries?

        How much that help would have cost us.

        He could have appointed people with some petroleum backgrounds to work on this problem rather than the political cronys[sic] he has.

        Yes, and I agree he should have, but he would have been lambasted by Greenies as being a shill for Big Oil. The Greenies are not sorry this happened; quoth Rahm Emmanuel. They will use this as “proof” of the evils of Big Oil to further alternative energy boondoggles. It’s for our own good.

        I do agree with Epi: there is nothing he could have done, and BP deserves its fate; negligence is apparent here: Res ispa loquitur. But for Progessives and Greenies (and Obama) to be so intellectually dishonest here is astounding; they will never ever admit more government =/= better outcomes. I disagree strongly with the methods he employed to secure that money, which was little more than “You fucked up BP. I fucked up by declaring this is my responsibility. I demand (at basically gunpoint) your money now (in addition to whatever suits are coming down the pike). I am taking a PR beating here and you, BP, will pay.”

        Joe Canton’s message was right, but poorly rhetorically executed.

        1. But that help was not free, John. How much foreign aid do we give to these countries?

          B.P. is going to end up paying for every penny of this cleanup and a hell of a lot more. They have already been forced to fork over twenty billion dollars.

          This rationale being offered up by the minions at MSNBC is beyond pathetic.

        2. As Mike point out below, BP is paying anyway. Further, the thing is destroying the Gulf Coast. I find it difficult to believe that that doesn’t justify the cost of the foreign help even if the taxpayers have to pay for it.

          And fuck what the greenies have to say. Obama gets paid to do the right thing not bootlick his supporters.

          1. That’s not a boot.

          2. Agreed to all above Mike M. and John. My point was simply why are we giving these countries aid if they are not willing to pony up in our time of need, quid pro quo and all.

            I think it strengthens the Libertarian argument of ending “feel good” foreign aid.

            1. I think the Dutch still owe us one for Market Garden.

        3. BP certainly deserves to pay its share, no question.

          But what exactly is its share? Go and read the 9 page New York Times expose on the oil spill and then make a decision as to who is responsible. It’s very sad to read, sort of like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Yes, BP cut some corners, but all of those corners cut were with the full blessing of regulators who very often did not enforce rules on the books, and as often ignored various safety concerns they themselves knew were needed, but did absolutely nothing about. Had government simply done its job by enforcing the regulations it already had, this spill likely would not have happened. Statists still blame “deregulation” for the spill, but it clearly wasn’t a lack of regulations that was the problem, but the lack of enforcing those we already had. Regulatory capture was the problem (though statists will also submit that regulatory capture is a free market failure rather than the government failure that it is).

          I was very surprised to see such an indictment of government from the Times. It’s scathing and very in depth. The government is clearly at fault as much as BP (if not more in many ways).

          The problem is that various parties are at fault here, with the government smack in the middle, but government doesn’t have its own cash supply: it has taxpayers who will need to pay for government’s incompetence share (because one cannot make BP pay for faults not their own).

          Add all of the regulatory enforcement failures to the liability cap of a paltry $75 million (less than 1 day’s profit for BP), and you have a government created recipe for disaster.

      2. “Yes, I know the President is not a miracle worker and we have too much faith in government. But a fucking chimpanzee could have done everything Obama has done in response to this spill.” Why the attack on chimpanzees?

          1. Reverse Racist!

    5. Is anyone surprised? Well, only those who thought he meant it when he swore to uphold the Constitution et cetera, thus forswearing certain means no matter how desirable the ends might seem.

    1. Tomas Sowell is a racist.

  5. The oil spill is like the train wreck in Atlas Shrugged. Just another sign that things are falling apart for those engaged in central planning government.

    1. A star could go nova in another galaxy and you’d find a way to blame the American government.

      1. That’s OKI Tony. You’d find a way to blame Bush.

      2. Correction: Blame Bush.

        1. A star could go nova in another galaxy, and liberals would find a way to connect it to global warming.

  6. Somewhere on the grounds of the White House there’s a crazed rabbit, watching, waiting…

    1. I know!

    2. Too bad Maobama threw Rev. Wright under the bus. He has the Holy Hand Grenade!

  7. BP chose to self insure. Should they not have been required to hold the capital reserves, the way insurance companies are required to do, from day one?

    1. You mean $75 million? I think they had $75 million.

      1. $75 million? We meant $75 billion!

      2. The cap, as I understand it, is only for specific types of torts. BP is still fully liable for the clean-up, right?

        1. We at Booey-Pooey are committed to paying all legitimate claims.

          1. But we want our claim money NOW!!!

            1. Defenders of the Shakedown!Shakedown! are saying that the slush fund will make the cleanup and restitution more “efficient.” As if BP was going to let all of the oil just sit on the beach until each claim is individually settled in court.

        2. The cleanup of government oil in government water from the government sea floor is being hindered by the federal government to the best of their ability.

        3. The cleanup costs have been around $2 billion so far. And BP has had no difficulty paying for it to date.

          The $20 billion dollar fund is to pay economic claims that BP, as a matter of law, should not really be facing.

          It’s a stupid law, but the Congress passed it so the citizenry should be able to rely on it.

          BP is paying up because they know that Obama has a million different ways he could use one of the myriad arbitrary powers he possesses under our modern system of government to completely destroy them. That is precisely what makes this “extortion” and a “shakedown”. The terms used to describe what’s taking place are accurate.

          It would be much better if progressives would just admit that they LIKE arbitrary power when it’s used “against the right people”. BP has done a “bad thing”, and “people are hurting”, and so progressives are happy that extortion is being used to “make things right”. Due process would take much longer, after all, and would require the Congress to not do stupid things like pass liability caps.

          Just admit you like extortion in this instance, and we’ll have one less thing to argue about.

          1. I will admit nothing of the sort. All I said, is that if a company chooses to self insure, and avoid having to pay all of those pesky premiums, they should have to hold a certain amount of money in reserves, the same way an insurance company does. If a company self insures, why shouldn’t they have to follow the same rules as an insurance company? We can argue about what the “rules” for an insurance should or should not be.

            The next time you try to read my mind, please do it accurately.

            1. That would be a good idea for gov’t. You know, hold reserves for actual money. Nope, print it, boys! Let’s inflate this mug.

          2. Oh and fuck you for implying that I’m a Progressive.

          3. As I said below, liability caps are patently unconstitutional. Whether the courts would agree with such a determination is in dispute. IIRC, Scalia had a scathing dissent in some such case in the early 2000’s where he was the lone wolf saying as much (though I would think Thomas would cosign on that dissent).

            1. Plus isn’t the cap contingent on not being in violation of any regulations? Everybody is always in violation of some regulation, so any body smart should have known that a big enough spill would flush the cap right down the crapper.

        4. Caps on torts are patently unconsitutional anyways.

    2. Should they not have been required to hold the capital reserves, the way insurance companies are required to do, from day one?

      (1) BP’s capital reserves dwarf that of any insurance company.

      (2) Companies that self-insure are not insurance companies. They are not contracting with third parties to take risk. There is no reason to require that they carry sufficient capital reserves to meet obligations to third parties, because there are no such obligations.

      1. (1) BP’s capital reserves dwarf that of any insurance company.

        Then why is Goldman in the process of raising $50 billion for BP through bond sales?

        (2) Companies that self-insure are not insurance companies. They are not contracting with third parties to take risk. There is no reason to require that they carry sufficient capital reserves to meet obligations to third parties, because there are no such obligations.

        What about their responsibilities to counterparties? I just know this shit is going to hit the fan. The top 20 shareholders of BP are asset management companies and asset management divisions of larger financial institutions. Some of those have already been deemed TBTF. If a BP bankruptcy threatens the solvency of those companies, we could be looking at another back door bailout.

        1. Where have you escrowed the capital reserves you’re holding aside for every possible harm you could ever cause to any counterparty in the universe?

          1. I carry $1 million of liability insurance for my small operation. That’s called responsibility. It’s not just to protect my ass, it’s to protect my client’s asses. Plus, I can’t get a contract from another company without providing a copy of an insurance binder. Not carrying liability insurance is the most irresponsible thing a business can do. With freedom from coercion comes responsibility.

            1. What about individuals? You think a homeless person couldn’t accidentally cause a million dollars in damages somehow?

              1. An individual does not operate a business. You can try to spin it all you want. Any business that does not carry insurance is irresponsible. Do you disagree with that, yes or no?

                1. Then they should go bankrupt, pure and simple. That’s the free market. Too bad progressives won’t let businesses fail. Too bad conservatives won’t let businesses fail. Oh well . . .

                2. No.
                  Depends on whether the risk of a claim can be covered, i.e. self-insured.

        2. (1) BP’s capital reserves dwarf that of any insurance company.

          Then why is Goldman in the process of raising $50 billion for BP through bond sales?

          Note that bond sales do not increase equity capital, and they actually worsen capital ratios. The goal is probably more reputational, to show that the company can still access the capital markets. And I don’t think they just need the cash, either.

        3. I believe BP actually does have insurance – it’s just miniscule in comparison to the size of this problem. Which is to say, $800m or something like that.

          That aside, insurance companies determine reserves based on worst case payouts. They know what the worst case is because they cap the amount they’ll pay out. But BP is on the hook for basically whatever happens. How do you determine what’s the worst case thing that could happen? What’s an adequate capital reserve for “anything”?

          I suppose you could choose some arbitrary worst case scenario. But most likely nobody would’ve chosen something this bad.

          1. Insurance companies are very good at risk assessment. That’s their job. I chose my coverage based on advice from my attorney and my insurance agent. Lloyds of London has been in business a very long time. If they can determine the “adequate capial reserves” to insure Angie Dickinson’s legs, I think they can come up with something reasonable.

            1. Sure, those are valid points. But from what I can tell there’s just nobody writing this insurance either, though I’m certainly far from an expert on the matter.

              There are apparently two insurance companies who do this, but their total assets are < $10b. I mistakenly thought BP had policies from them, but they don’t.

              Ref: http://reason.org/news/show/li…..spill.html

              There’s also some talk about the difficulty of that market near the bottom of this article/blog: http://blogs.wsj.com/source/20…..-insurers/

            2. To elaborate a bit too, insurance companies are mostly good at predicting things that happen a lot. House fires, car accidents, diseases, etc all happen with some regularity so you can figure out the probability and likely cost. Record-breaking spills during cutting-edge drilling operations are harder to handicap, both in probability and cost.

              Surely they could’ve gotten some insurance, but I have to imagine it’s difficult to get anyone to write $40b worth of coverage, no matter what premium you’re willing to pay.

      2. Should they not have been required to hold the capital reserves, the way social security is required to do, from day one?

        1. Well, the government does have the capital…a capital good…a printing press.

          1. Wish I had a counterfeiting machine.

  8. “I used to be a pacifist.”

    “What happen?”

    “Expediency.”

  9. One of the problems is that so much ignorant ire has been whipped up against evil corporations that anyone who opposes the Shakedown!Shakedown! can be immediately painted as a fat-cat-cigar-chomping-machine-pol by Obama lovers.

    JOE BARTON DOESN’T CARE ABOUT POOR PEOPLE ON THE GULF COAST!!! OR OILY BIRDS, EITHER!!!

    Team Red knows this and that’s why they immediately jumped on Barton because of the TV ads that are sure to come. Regardless of the principle, it’s all about how it looks.

    Part of leadership is holding your head up and doing what’s right in the face of unpopularity and neither side is showing any of that. Surely not Obama and his opportunism and surely not Team Red and their (legitimate) worries about fucking up the election before it gets here.

    PS – Karma’s a bitch, Team Blue. You criticized Bush for not being Zeus after Katrina – and encouraged the public to do the same – and now, guess what? Your cult of the omnipotent president is coming back to bite you in the ass. Not that you’re going to learn anything, of course.

    1. It’s all about nutless politicians.

  10. This is nonsense on a trapese. BP could have refused to cough up the money. Sullum should stick his head up Sowell’s ass and look for a new topic.

    1. Yes, people who harp on the same topic time after time are tiresome indeed.

      1. Where would you rather live, Gaza or the USA Gulf Coast?

        1. I apologize for being an asshole.

          1. Quit spoofing me. You forgot to stick the word “cocksucker” on the end of that apology, which is the only way I roll.

            1. I apologize for being a cocksucking asshole.

        2. Good idea, Suki. Let’s start a “Send Max to Gaza” fund.

          I’ll provide the luggage. I got a killer deal on Hefty trash bags, and have plenty to help him pack his shit so he can leave.

    2. Yes, they could.

      And if the reason they decided to cough up the money instead is because they were afraid of what Obama might do if they didn’t, that makes it extortion. That’s what extortion is, dude.

      Again, all you motherfuckers have to do is admit that you like extortion when it’s “for a good cause” and then we won’t have to argue about it any more.

      1. Exactly. It is no different than a local health inspector showing up and demanding money in return for not doing a really thorough inspection of you restaurant. Yes, the inspector has a right to inspect the restaurant. But he doesn’t have a right to leverage the severity of that inspection to get you to pay him or the government cash.

      2. And if the reason they decided to cough up the money instead is because they were afraid of what Obama might do if they didn’t, that makes it extortion. That’s what extortion is, dude.

        Uhmm no it isn’t.

        Doing something because you are afraid of the consequences is NOT extortion. Unless there was an explicit threat of something, it’s nothing but a hedge.

        Has BP or anyone claimed that there was a threat? BP is doing this voluntarily.

        ANd it’s the fucking least they could do. Maybe, just maybe, they realize it’s much better for the long term security and the reputation of their company to pay out claims over the 75 million dollar cap.

        Their chairman has stated publicly that that they intend to pay for damages they caused, and this is nothing but a show of good faith on those promises.

        Just because the law caps their liability doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay out more if they are responsible.

        Furthermore, their own internal estimates of the flow rate were 100K per day in the early days of the leak. At a maximum fine of 4300 dollars per barrel (and that’s just the fines for the leak not other stuff included), that 20B number doesn’t seem big enough.

        1. That’s right, CT. And income taxes are “voluntary”, too, huh?

        2. The Hobbs Act defines “extortion” as “the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” 18 U.S.C. S 1951(b)(2).

          1. The Hobbs Act defines “extortion” as “the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” 18 U.S.C. S 1951(b)(2).

            What do you think this proves, exactly? Who has threatened whom? And what is “wrongful” about it?

            With fines of $4300 / barrel, and BPs own estimates of around 100K barrels/day being spilled into the gulf, $20B doesn’t seem high enough.

            There is nothing wrongful. The penalties for spilling oil in the gulf are very clear. The government would be shirking their responsibility if they didn’t try and make sure that the money is in a fund that to make sure the fines get paid.

            1. They aren’t escrowing money to pay the fine, asswipe.

              They’re escrowing money to pay economic damages claims the law says they aren’t liable for.

              Claiming that they have to establish the escrow to make sure that the fines are paid is the most disingenuous thing you’ve ever argued here, and that is saying a SHITLOAD.

              1. They aren’t escrowing money to pay the fine, asswipe.

                They’re escrowing money to pay economic damages claims the law says they aren’t liable for.

                1. We’ll see what that money actually gets used for.

                2. Even if it is used to pay for more than the max the law says, so what?

                The VOLUNTARILY decided to do it. Period. FULL STOP. and none of your conspiracy theories are going to change that. BP was free to say no, and take the PR hit. They were free to tell the government that they will only put the statutory max in a fund. They didn’t. They haven’t claimed any threats. They have also publicly stated that they will pay for the economic damages they caused. And the escrow puts their money where their mouth is.

                3. Just because the law limits them to 75 million, doesn’t mean they would only pay out up to 75 million. It’s a business decision pure and simple.

                So unless you have some fucking proof other than your paranoid delusions that the money was extorted, have a big glass of STFU dickhead.

                1. They VOLUNTARILY decided to do it before Obama said anything about it. They were, in fact, already doing it (“putting their money where their mouth is”).

                  Then Obama showed up and demanded to be dealt in so he could take some credit for it. So instead of paying out that money themselves, BP put it into a fund controlled by an Obama appointee. They gave up control of their money to Obama. That doesn’t prove extortion, but it does look really suspicious.

                  But you’re right that we can’t prove anything. From the cheap seats it’s impossible to tell whether this was a shrewd move on BP’s part, or they got extorted, or they just thought it was the right thing to do, or some combo of the above.

                  1. ChiTom is just in the tank for Obama. He doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid… he snorts it straight from the package.

            2. Tom, you make it sound like BP wasn’t going to pay anything at all.

  11. As if there was any doubt that liberals really do hate poor people. They just want them to stay poor and broke so liberals can feel good about themselves.

    The world’s largest food company will send a boat with 100-square meters (1,076 square feet) of supermarket space on a journey to 18 small cities and 800,000 potential consumers on the Para and Xingu rivers in Brazil, before starting the journey again. The vessel will carry 300 different goods including chocolate, yogurt, ice cream and juices.

    My first reaction: Neat! It’s like having an ice cream truck come to your house, which must be especially exciting when your house is in a remote fishing city in Brazil. Second reaction: Irresistible desire to make “whatever floats your boat” jokes.

    Apparently that reaction is not shared by all. At Alternet, Michele Simon, a public health lawyer and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, calls this an “especially disgusting news item” about which “writing about it is the only way I know to release my outrage. My version of screaming from the rooftop.”

    Her post was tweeted approvingly by food luminaries like the New York Times’ Mark Bittman and (the late) Gourmet’s Ruth Reichl, who suggested that reading it would be a good way to bring one’s blood to a rolling boil. Simon writes:

    If there are people out there so backwards to still be subsisting on food found in nature, Big Food will find them, by land or by sea, and set them straight.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/bus…..age/58448/

  12. I love this site. There is no greater fun than watching conservatives break the record each day for how far someone can stick their head up their own ass. You remind me of a bunch of angry little Yosemite Sams.

    1. Our orders are to hold the Masie-Dixie Line and no Yankees are a-crossin’ it!

    2. First time here?

      Not a lot of conservatives on this site. Lots of leftist/statist trolls though.

    3. Yeah, who the hell are you talking about?!

    4. Conservatives?

      Nice try, Dick.

  13. What’s the hassle, Schmassle?

  14. Some day Dick Tracy will finally hit that b-flat in “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms.”
    THEN we’ll see who’s laughing.

  15. A guy caught spray painting an overpass will likely see more punishment than any of the men responsible for destroying the Gulf of Mexico. Anything less than putting BP in receivership, putting its top men in jail forever, and shutting down all deepwater drilling is kid-gloves treatment. Forgive me if I don’t weep for the great loss of freedom perpetrated by BP willingly setting up a fund that will maybe make some restitution for the damage they’ve caused.

    1. Shorter Tony:

      There is no rule of law when I think something really bad has happened.

      1. Please cite the law that has been broken.

        1. Tony, there is no law on the books that would allow throwing the top executives of BP in “jail forever”. But, you would no doubt support doing it anyway, which is why you and your ilk should never be allowed anywhere near positions of authority.

          1. Maybe not, but there should be. There are millions upon millions of people in jail who’ve done far less harm.

            1. The oil companies supply the oil and refining capacity that enables the U.S. lifestyle. It’s a difficult job that few of us would want to take on because there is plenty of risk involved. Even if the gov’t itself were doing that job, there is always a small probability of an accident, whether it’s due to negligence, equipment malfunction or just plain old dumb luck.

              With each gallon of gas that each of us buys, we are implying agreement to said risk. “The U.S. lifestyle is worth the risk of an occasional accident” is the unspoken U.S. motto.

              Unless the criminal negligence is found, we can’t suddenly start jailing people now that an accident has happened no matter how catastrophic it may be. No one wanted this to happen and they sure as hell didn’t purposely cause this to happen (unlike the guy who was graffitying the bridge).

              1. It’s a difficult job that few of us would want to take on because there is plenty of risk involved.

                Which is why the government helps subsidize part of the risk, and assumes another part.

                1. Which is why it shouldn’t be subsidized. Perhaps, just maybe, such regulation causes moral hazards. I know, I’m a dreamer.

            2. Presumably after a fatal car accident you’d be clamoring to throw all the drivers in jail forever, regardless of whether there was any actual negligence. After all, somebody died, and there are millions upon millions of people in jail who’ve done far less harm.

              Maybe BP was negligent, maybe not. The investigation is ongoing. The disturbing part is that you don’t care – something bad happened therefore someone should go to jail, right?

            3. Alan Grayson would agree with you, Tony, as he recently said that anyone who uses the phrase “drill, baby, drill” should be put in prison for it.

              So much for Democrats standing up for the First Amendment.

          2. I’ll have to agree with Tony here. The assholes at BP were in a big hurry to back AGW legislation and jump in bed with the shit for brains we have as President. Right Tony?

        2. I’d say Article II, but could be persuaded to the merits of it being Article III instead.

    2. I’m starting to think that perhaps you can’t read or maybe just can’t comprehend the discussion.

      You are using the term “willingly” very loosely.

      1. What threat was made? Jesus Christ people your knee-jerk antigovernment psychosis prevents you from seeing villains anywhere else, doesn’t it?

        1. So you contend that Obama politely asked BP if they’d set up a fund to speed things up? So all of the media discussion and posturing by members of congress didn’t imply that there were consequences if they didn’t agree to set up the fund? Seriously?

          1. Maybe, who cares? One thing is certain: despite destroying the Gulf of Mexico BP will still be one of the most profitable companies in the history of the world.

            1. True, the value they provide the world in the long run outweighs the harm they did with this one incident. I applaud your broad perspective.

            2. As long as they pay their proper court decided damages, I don’t care how profitable they remain. It’s not like BP purposely dumped oil into the gulf, ya know.

          2. So you contend that Obama politely asked BP if they’d set up a fund to speed things up? So all of the media discussion and posturing by members of congress didn’t imply that there were consequences if they didn’t agree to set up the fund? Seriously?

            Has BP claimed they were threatened in any way?

            If not then your whole comment is speculation.

            It’s just as likely that BP did this voluntarily to salvage their reputation.

            1. I have to agree. Of all the thuggishness that the Obama administration has taken part it during his 1.5 years, I think the $20B BP fund is the least of our worries.

              I think BP was just as willing to start this fund as Obama was to take it. They know it’s their fault and they have their reputation to worry about. let’s give them some credit; It’s very possible that they really do want to do the right thing by everyone.

            2. “”It’s just as likely that BP did this voluntarily to salvage their reputation.””

              I think so too. They could have said no, and the consumer perception would have kicked their ass. No one buying their gas is a greater threat.

              I am surprised at some on this board thinking it’s goverment’s responsibility to cleanup a private company’s environmental mess. If the government has to clean it up when it happens, why shouldn’t they be allowed to pass laws to prevent it? It’s silly to think government shouldn’t regulate but carries responsibilty when something happens.

              I’m sticking with the my limited government principles that it’s BP’s mess to clean, not government’s.

        2. Right, Tony.

          BP voluntarily offered to pay $20 billion in economic damages claims that the law says they don’t have to pay. And then they further offered to not even administer the fund themselves, or make any attempt to pass judgment on the legitimacy of claims – they are fine with an Obama crony just rubberstamping every claim to be paid out of their money.

          And they did this without being threatened, even though Obama and Obama proxies paraded in front of the camera like fucking Matadors talking about how they were going to hold BP to account.

          You’re sooooooooooooooo right. My darn antigovernment psychosis! Always acting up at the worst times!

          1. I figured they went along with it for two reasons:

            1. it was good PR
            2. to help avoid even worse things hinted at like criminal prosecution or nationalization (may be too strong a word)

            Now I see that this deal will allow the government to establish limited liability on their behalf so it will cost them less money in the long run.

            I would be against this no matter who proposed it.

          2. And they did this without being threatened, even though Obama and Obama proxies paraded in front of the camera like fucking Matadors talking about how they were going to hold BP to account

            So now the government even hinting that they are going to hold a company who caused the largest environmental disaster in memory is a bully?

            You fucking anti-government whackos are out of your minds. Of course they are saying they are going to hold them to account. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE.

            Way to validate my criticisms that libertarian are nothing but corporatists.

            In your perverse world, a government saying they will do everything they can to hold bad actors accountable for bad actions is a “shakedown”.

            You people are fucking pathetic corporate whores.

            BP IS LIABLE. AND A REAL LIBERTARION WOULD WANT THEM HELD ACCOUNTABLE. Not attacking the government who is trying to punish their bad behavior and looking for ways to rationalize and allow them to skirt their responsibility.

            1. You know, you keep calling us “anti-government whackos,” even though nobody has said that BP should get away with anything. Most people here are suggesting that BP should have to pay damages fought for in a court of law by people who were actually harmed by the spill (including governmental entities). How is that “anti-government?” No, I don’t think that the CEO is criminally liable. No, I don’t think that BP deserves to be nationalized or forced into bankruptcy, but they should be forced by the court system to pay maximum damages.

              1. Everyone here wants BP to be held accountable, but you want them flogged in the public square.

            2. Define “bad.”
              I don’t mean “massive Gulf spill that we know about.”
              I mean, define “bad” so we know what to look for in the future. So that I can avoid doing “bad” things, and thus avoid having the government seize my assets.

        3. Nope, BP should pay for whatever damages it caused. There should be no limit on liability, but that would be a free market, which we don’t have.

    3. Sure, as long as we can throw Obama in jail any time someone who works for the federal government at any level breaks the law. You need to show that BP executives actually made some unreasonable or unethical decision that lead to this catastrophe before you try to put them in jail. “Drilling oil” only counts for environtards, and “because they’re corporate executives” only works for communist scum and people that work for corporations.

    4. Lucky you… getting to be judge, jury and jailer all at once, without even having to educate yourself on details.

      That’s why we have due process… to keep megalomaniacs like you in check.

    5. And there ought to be a law against wasting electrons by hypocrites. So you hate big energy but you love to suckle on its teat. Go buy yourself a remote cabin w/o connections to big energy and ride a jackass everywhere otherwise you’re just another green hypocrite.

  16. This:

    Then why is Goldman in the process of raising $50 billion for BP through bond sales?

    does not refute this:

    (1) BP’s capital reserves dwarf that of any insurance company.

    What about their responsibilities to counterparties? I just know this shit is going to hit the fan. The top 20 shareholders of BP are asset management companies and asset management divisions of larger financial institutions. Some of those have already been deemed TBTF. If a BP bankruptcy threatens the solvency of those companies, we could be looking at another back door bailout.

    Not sure what that has to do with requiring BP to meet some kind of insurance company capital requirement because it doesn’t contract out for insurance.

    I completely agree that a BP failure will be worse for the financial system than Lehman was, although not necessarily because I’m worried about second and third order defaults by investors and their counterparties. Regardless, this is all the more reason for Obama to quit screwing around trying to do as much as he can to damage BP and slow down the cleanup.

    1. It doesn’t matter what Obummer does. They are getting bailed out. BlackRock owns 1.1 billion shares. They are the next TBTF, and they will get a bailout, either through BP, or directly. But yeah, Obummer should probably just STFU.

      I’m also curious as to the ownership liability of the “land”. The federal government is the “lessor”. If I lease a piece of property to a business, and they can’t raise the capital to cover all of their liabilities for an accident, the lawyers come after my ass. Sure-as-shit.

      1. I would assume BlackRock’s bailout is direct. Its politically untenable to bailout BP at this junction.

    2. Oh, and if BP did have funds set aside, they wouldn’t be running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to raise capital. BP was looking for credit before Obama pulled this shit.

      It’s always better to just buy fucking insurance. WTF? This is why many states require all companies to carry insurance. “Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency.”

      1. Proven reserves under lease could easily count as proof of ability to pay. It is easily converted to capital at a predictable cost. I think you’re overly fixated on them not having a money bin that they swim in until the victims of some negligence sue.

        1. No, I am overly fixated on them not having fucking insurance.

  17. And frankly I’m tired of red-state assclown governors whining that their economies will be devastated if we put a temporary hold on the activity that, you know, is currently responsible for destroying the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe you mouth-breathing idiots should have diversified your state economies a little more so that it doesn’t rely entirely on fossil fuel extraction. Florida isn’t gonna be harmed as much (at least not from a hold on drilling) because they have a more mature economy.

    1. You might want to check your facts there Tony.

      The oil drilling states are in much better financial shape than the “mature” economies of FL, CA, IL etc.

      NY is in better shape, but having 2 trillion dollars of fiat money funnelled through one city will tend to do that.

      1. “You might want to check your facts there Tony.” Why would he start that?

    2. All states have sectors that they’re larger in relative to the broader mix of the US/world economy, and I’d expect their Congressmen to petition on their constituents’ behalf.

      I’m not really sure how this is news to anyone. You don’t have to agree with their legislative reps, but are you really expecting something different?

  18. What makes you dimwits think that this slush fund is some kind of attack on BP?

    Puleeeease – Obama’s the biggest Corporatist since Mussolini. That’s his philosophy.

    Fear not corporate apologists the “slush fund” will prove to be a great deal for BP. Much better than actually paying for the damage they caused. That Obama will get to direct some portion of it (500 million?) to his cronies is icing on the cake.

    1. I’m going to bet you are an avid C4L member…or perhaps I should say rabid…

      1. Good comeback.

        So when exactly has Obama done anything that has hurt a corporation?

        1. So when exactly has Obama done anything that has hurt a corporation?

          Don’t bother with reality. Around here Obama is the biggest anti-capitalist there ever was, despite the fact that he hasn’t done anything to hurt corporations or banks or the wealthy.

          1. Obama is the biggest anti-capitalist there ever was, despite the fact that which is why he hasn’t done anything to hurt corporations or banks or the wealthy.

            FIFY

            Government support of entrenched corporate and financial interests can be called many things,
            corporatism, crony-capitalism, fascism etc.

            What it isn’t is free market capitalism.

            1. corruptowntommy thought he found another progressive troll. assuming his name is associated with his location, the corruption that is all around him has most certainly warped his world view.

          2. Oh, he just gave our legitimate claims to the UAW, that’s all.

            1. In a free market economy you and GM would have been liquidated. His prevented that helped the UAW and incompetent corporate management.

              So yeah, corporatists screw bond holders and other investors also.

          3. Why do leftists have such a hard time understanding that libertarians (and true conservatives, for that matter) hate corporate welfare as much as they hate individual welfare. Maybe even more so.

            capitalist =/= corporatist

            Corporatists exist equally on both sides of the aisle and, yes, the GOP tends to take the brunt of MSM criticism for it.

            1. Well, they did invent it.

              1. Well, they did invent it.

                Bullshit.

                It’s always been part of the statists agenda. In fact it’s the natural result of “democratic socialism”.

                The rich fund the state in exchange for protection from competion.

                There’s a reason why Europe has low rates of euntrepenuership

                and a lower standard of living.

                1. JoshINHB,

                  Would you care to address the history of American corporatism, or would you prefer staying in your Beckian fantasy world?

                  Newt Gingrich’s K-Street Project entrenched corporate pay-for-play in Washington. Sure, Dems have gotten in on it, but the Republicans started it, and they continue to this day to be unapologetic corporate butt buddies.

                  1. Capitalists are the first to abandon free-market capitalism. We know that already. Next . . .

                  2. Adam Smith warned about collusion between business and government in the Wealth of Nations. Most of the policies of American politicians of BOTH major parties are exactly the same type as he warned about in 1776. Reds (Republitards) think favoring business is “free-market” and Demotards think that giving incentives and tax breaks and royalty breaks for drilling in very deep waters (favoring whoever they decide are the good guys this week) are somehow different than very similar policies enacted by the other party.

                    So it’s as old as society, you just don’t know it and keep trying the same old shit and then blame it the policies you did not try.

                  3. So, Tony, you give a pass to the Dems because they only “got in on it”.

                    Typical.

                  4. Newt Gingrich’s K-Street Project entrenched corporate pay-for-play in Washington.

                    History goes back a little farther than that.

              2. A little credit please.

            2. Why do leftists have such a hard time understanding that libertarians (and true conservatives, for that matter) hate corporate welfare as much as they hate individual welfare. Maybe even more so.

              Oh BULLSHIT.

              CATO and their mouthpieces are as corporatist as they come. I don’t see them railing as hard against corporatism as they do against unions or public school or social security.

              Just look at the full throated defense of poor little BP. Instead of being upset at the behavior and the consequences of BP, “libertarians” are upset that BP is being (rightfully) demonized for causing the greatest environmental catastrophe in memory. Seeing the rationalizations like “The earth is resilient. THis isn’t so bad” show just how in the tank “libertarians and conservatives” really are.

              Libertarians are more concerned about making sure BP doesn’t have to pay for the damage they caused then making sure that BP is held liable for their malfeasance.

              Just because they write about a corn subsidy once in a while doesn’t mean they aren’t corporate whores. If they spent half the ink they spend attacking freedom of association in the form of unions in attacking corporate malfeasance then you might have a point.

              And corporate welfare isn’t the end of it either. They are against any rules or restrictions on corporation to prevent them from doing damage and hurting others.

              In the perverse libertarian view, it’s better to let corporations do damage and then force individuals (who don’t have anywhere near the resources) to have to litigate for recourse than it is to outlaw and limit bad behavior.

              So please, spare me your semantics. Libertarians (at least the CATO variety) are corporatist and corporate apologists through and through.

              1. Libertarians are more concerned about making sure BP doesn’t have to pay for the damage they caused then making sure that BP is held liable for their malfeasance.

                If a bad law was passed limiting BP’s liability, then the US should be forced to ride that fucking bad law and its consequences all the way into the ground.

                “We don’t have to worry about our bad law, because our good czar can just threaten them!” You seriously don’t see the problem with that?

                In the perverse libertarian view, it’s better to let corporations do damage and then force individuals (who don’t have anywhere near the resources) to have to litigate for recourse than it is to outlaw and limit bad behavior.

                “In the perverse libertarian view, even rich people should be free, and due process of law should be for everyone.” Yes, that’s absolutely true.

                “Corporatism” is the use of state power to seek unique privileges or subsidies for connected firms. Exempting Mattel from testing its toys for lead, while requiring everyone else to do it, for example. Or building new interstate off-ramps to benefit a connected homebuilder. It’s not “corporatism” to allow general liberty and then not intervene when rich people use their liberty in ways you personally don’t like.

                1. The original corporatist policy in this situation was the liability cap.
                  It never should have been passed without some structure put in place to cover the possibility of catastrophe.

                  And it’s not a criminal law so it can be changed at any point in time.

                  PB and the oil industry started dancing with the devil a long time ago.
                  Defending them as a poor abused party now is ridiculous.

              2. They’re called former minarchists.

              3. Read the Lord of the Rings article and the post on the Mises website about laws giving the corporations huge royalty relief for drilling in deeper waters.

                I think you are wrong about more ink on anti-unions. It’s not necessary. Unions have been losing membership for years even with laws favoring them. And steel and auto, both heavily unionized are going out of business and can’t compete.

                What I am against is passing asinine laws in the first place that favor some businesses over others or that encourage risky behavior. Then when the exact thing economic theory predicts actually happens, blame it on the evil company and the non-existent free-market instead of the many intertwined and counterproductive laws passed over the preceding 20 years by both parties. If politicians did not constantly screw with insurance law and liability caps and pass “incentive” laws to get people to do things they would not without the “incentives” (gee, maybe because they are too risky or not economically feasible?) then maybe the free-market insurance industry and threat of lawsuits would be sufficient. And remember, with (just to name a few) the housing bubble, the financial meltdown, and the oil spill, all of these are highly regulated industries and they WERE under multifaceted regulation by the Federal and State governments. The reason libertarians are against govt. regulation is it does not seem to work and it brings EVERYTHING into the realm of politics. We’re not FOR corporations, we’re against politicizing everything and letting special interests and congressman trying to get re-elected be the ones making all the decisions. We’re for “People Power” Let people form cooperatives, create unique risk assessment and liability structures instead of having “czars” pretend to run everything from the top down. Insurance, fire departments, Underwriter’s laboratories and thousands of other creations were all examples of “People Power” Not sure why so-called progressives and American “liberals” (yes the quotes are on purpose) have no faith in people and think “experts” have to plan everything. When things have the exact opposite effect than was intended why don’t you ever change your mind?

              4. Tom, if you hate corporations so much, you should give up using your computer to connect to the internet. Right now.

        2. Josh, I don’t disagree with you. I was simply noticing that you were using C4L/YAL talking points.

          I don’t think anyone here disagrees with BP’s liability.

          1. What is C4L/YAL ??

            1. Campaign For Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty

          2. I actually had never heard of them before. I’m going to check it out.

            1. They’re pretty good. Too pro-lifey for me (a Rand-o-phile as you know from previous discussions)and I don’t agree with their foreign policy ideas but I bet you’ll dig it. Real solid Austrian economics.

  19. Hey, I let BP save a half a million dollars by not requiring them to put an emergency shut off valve on that well, so quit picking on me. I tried to be pro-business.

    1. You’re sarcasm is more telling than you think.

  20. People, People, You are seeing a classic example of why Das Kapital is going on strike. Obama has no respect for the law. The court overruled his arbitrary and capricious actions in the drilling moratorium, but the companies will not go back to work because Salazar says he will just issue a new moratorium. If we cannot rely on the government to at least act like it is going to pay attenton to the rule of law, then no one will risk their capital in this country. Where is John Galt, and can I move there while I still have a few shillings to my name?

  21. The article reminds me of a certain Who song.

  22. “Mr. Obama had no legal basis for the demand,” The New York Times noted, “but concluded he did not need one.”

    That’s about the saddest sentence I can imagine.
    He also doesn’t need a legal basis to fire the Supreme Court if he doesn’t like what they say.

    1. That does sum it up nicely. Your typical statist shit on a shingle.

  23. Oil company free to do whatever it want however it want. It pay for oil well. It pay for boats. It pay for cops to look the other way when it use dixie straw and duct tape underwater.

    Me not even stockholder. Me not even take oil company money to say things like Joe Barton does or Haley Barbour does.

    Not matter – me love freedom so much, me not like these people who try to tell oil company what to do.

    Why these people hate freedom?

    1. How did you do in the Special Olympics this year?

      1. Me not like Special Olympics. Special Olympics not adhere to free-market principles of unfettered competition.

        Me like free market!

    2. Funny, who do those cops who looked the other way work for? Thanks, we know we have corporatism and that democratic socialism leads to it. Next . . .

      Me statist. Me ban gravity so humans fly. Me ban hunger so me eat. Me ban nature.

      1. “Funny, who do those cops who looked the other way work for?”

        Me think name on paycheck is who people work for.

        It say! On paycheck! Is final word!

        Me not notice what industry they come from. Not matter!

        Me like free market, Me not think any such thing as free market for political results.

        Me free! From knowing that!

        1. Hmm, so gov’t can be bought off. You don’t say. Sort of proves our point. But . . .

          Me statist. Me tax more, create bigger Obama stash. 4 trillion sit in box. Who want? Me hate corruption.

          1. Me happy to admit company buy off government.

            Me acknowledge government filled with company people.

            But that not free market for human resources at work! That not a free market for political results! No! No! No!

            It can’t be. Because free market always good! And people who work for government always bad! Never as good as people who work for company! Even when…uh…they are same people!

            When company pay more for people than government pay for people, that never result in big disaster.

            Like this.

    1. That okay. Me live in cheap beach house! Me buy low! Is free market!

      1. Me Progressive. Me want guvmnt to do all. Me interpet hiztury like did little man or big man get hiz.

        Me hav short memry. Good govt. make many dams. (Me ignore that dams sometimes cause bad things.) Now me mad at oil cumpanies who hurt wetlands. (But dams change river flow so now Louisiana shrinking not growing like before, me ignore). Now me luv wetlands.

        Me ignore that govt. getting bigger for 100 years and millions of laws, regulations passed for political reasons and almost never repealed. Me ignore that these laws cause rich to get richer and help undeserving cumpnys and poor get poorer. Me blame “free-market” which get smaller and want more govt. instead. (hmm, maybe policy I favor actually cauz rich get richer? Me ignor) Me have short memmry. Me lik to hav 2 teamz. One I hate one I luv. Me ignor they bout same.

        If not like laws i in favor uf last year, me want guv,t make NEW laws NOW, ignore old laws. Next year I might like old law again and want ones just likkit passd. me hav short memry. I for little gy. Why he alwees get hurt? Not my fault I for himmm. That why I favor hUGE govt. witt more, more power. They GOOD.

  24. Me like freedom. Nobody can make anybody do anything. That good.

    Someone can make chocolate-covered sea turtles from New Orleans to Charleston, and me shrug shoulders and wait for free market to fix.

    Fix, free market, fix! If you not do it, nothing can!

    Please?

    1. I think the most common argument here (by libertarians) is that it was NOT right to limit liability and encourage deep water drilling by royalty relief. We were against those laws from the beginning and made predictions about what would result. Now that we are shown to be correct (again) we are saying, “Hey, let’s stop doing stupid shit like this” See, we deal in something called abstractions. And if we know that a general type of policy (say a subsidy) often has bad consequences, then we are usually against subsidies and we remember that we were against it from the start. But we are also saying that ex-post facto laws are still illegal last time we checked and we should abide by the laws on the books. BP has to pay for the clean-up, they have to pay 75 million in economic damages, (now they have agreed to the 20 billion with this unholy alliance once again between govt. and business which somehow both parties always seem to form despite their being for the “little” guy) and IF, which seems likely, they can be found guilty of negligence, they would have to pay these damages through the courts. That is not saying they should not be liable, just that we should follow the laws that politicians for both parties passed. By the way, there is a good Miami Herald article on the fall-out from the 1979 Mexico oil spill that may reassure some of you chicken-littles.

      1. Joe,
        Any ignoramus who adopts infantile grammar to construct straw men isn’t likely to be swayed by facts.
        Help yourself, but if ML were to learn anything, his 3rd grade classmates wouldn’t find him funny anymore.

      2. Me like freedom. Me hate regulations. Every regulation bad. Always.

        But when oil company make big mess, now all of sudden me talk about regulation called royalties being good thing for oil company to pay all along!

        Now me can blame government for not making them pay royalties. See? Company always innocent. Always, always, always.

        When rape happen, me always ask how short lady’s skirt was.

        1. Ron L|6.23.10 @ 3:47PM|#

          Any ignoramus who adopts infantile grammar to construct straw men isn’t likely to be swayed by facts.

          1. Me pretend there no contradiction in saying that before big mess, oil companies should have paid billions in royalties to government – but after big mess they shouldn’t have to pay billions in penalties to people through government.

            Me hope nobody notices how me say one thing, then say another. Might get idea me not so bright.

            1. Any ignoramus who adopts infantile grammar to construct straw men isn’t likely to be swayed by facts.

              1. Me copy and paste same thing again and again instead of refute any point.

                Me free to call that “argument”.

                Me like freedom!

          2. Ron, you’re arguing with yet another schmuck who thinks all the regulations were suspended. Every one of them. It’s lawlessness, I tell you!

            1. First me say government at fault for big mess.

              Then someone say company pay government people to look the other way and me have to agree.

              So now I say it still government’s fault because company not buy off every single one of cops. Just most, over thirty years.

              Me like freedom! Me free to move goal posts wherever I want.

              1. Were all the regulations removed, or not?

                No? You’re saying no? Then why the fuck are you acting like such was the case?

                Prick.

  25. Didn’t the issue of extralegality become a moot point when BP execs agreed to the fund. And yes I do think it was a bad policy move, because BP will almost certainly squeeze every cent it can in dodging litigation payment. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t a libertarian way of thinking praise BP for pulling of the world’s most glorified PR stunt, but damn the inefficient court system that made it seem necessary to the public? And why doesn’t either article about the “shakedown” mention the Exxon Valdez court case? That just seems like shoddy work.

    But I do think this article and Harsanyi’s article do a good job of explaining why the motives behind the agreement are suspect.

    1. Scott|6.23.10 @ 7:28PM|#
      “Didn’t the issue of extralegality become a moot point when BP execs agreed to the fund.”

      Didn’t become “moot” for me at that point; if the guy ‘asking’ you to agree is holding a gun, there’s some question as to whether the agreement was voluntary.

      1. Isn’t the onus on BP to stand up to their right’s if they need to? This a corporation with vast legal resources and even now, political influence. The gun isn’t government, it’s a desperate need for good publicity and the hope that paying a large sum up front will save money in litigation later.

      2. Sorry for typos in my last post.

  26. I love REASON! A corporation, left to watch its’ own projects, lays waste to a vast expanse of ocean and it’s the GOVERNMENT that needs to criticized. I guess it beats admitting that laissez-faire has ruined a great natural resource, destroyed the incomes of other people who rely on the riches of the gulf, and will be spoiling the enjoyment of this area for those who own property there.

    1. Libertylover|6.23.10 @ 9:09PM|#
      “I love REASON!”
      I love IGNORAMUSES!

      “A corporation, left to watch its’ own projects,”
      Right. There were no regulatations at all. Lies are so much fun!

      “lays waste to a vast expanse of ocean and it’s the GOVERNMENT that needs to criticized.”
      Uh, “lays waste”? We’ll ignore that, but you obviously can’t read; the article has to do with the ‘extra-legal’ activities of our president. Or, probably, as a brain-dead, you chose not to read.

      “I guess it beats admitting that laissez-faire has ruined a great natural resource, destroyed the incomes of other people who rely on the riches of the gulf, and will be spoiling the enjoyment of this area for those who own property there.”
      Uh, except that there is an was no laissez-faire market involved.
      So, we have two lies and one (intentional) ‘misunderstanding’.
      Yep, a brain-dead.

    2. There were plenty of regulations but the incompetent MMS (Marine Mineral Service) did a poor job of enforcing them which lead to BP’s screwup. Now to make up for lost time other federal agencies are doing a great job enforcing ridiculous regulations like the Jones Act which is preventing foreign-flagged skimmers from helping clean up the Gulf. And other agencies like the Coast Guard are doing a wonderful job keeping vessels that could be involved in the clean up tied to the dock because of paperwork issues.

      1. Realist|6.23.10 @ 10:47PM|#
        There were plenty of regulations but the incompetent MMS (Marine Mineral Service) did a poor job of enforcing them which lead to BP’s screwup. Now to make up for lost time other federal agencies are doing a great job enforcing ridiculous regulations like the Jones Act which is preventing foreign-flagged skimmers from helping clean up the Gulf. And other agencies like the Coast Guard are doing a wonderful job keeping vessels that could be involved in the clean up tied to the dock because of paperwork issues.

        So it’s a government screw up from end-to-end? Strange how that becomes “laissez-faire”.
        But then brain-dead knows no limits….

        1. Me not notice that MMS was stocked with oil industry lobbyists and veterans for whole decade.

          http://www.propublica.org/ion/…..looded-mms

          Me not read much that not come from Cato or Moustache-Man or The Jacket.

          Me like freedom! Me free! To not follow money or career path but still talk and talk and talk like I did!

          1. It’s called regulatory capture. It’s what happens when you put things into the political sphere.

  27. Government created limited liability corporations. They did not arise whole-cloth from the earth.

    Do statists/enviro-alarmists/marxists have even a half-leg to stand on once we all acknowledge that fact?

  28. He improved his shortage at the workmanship.Why Eva Mendes all buy christian louboutin?Who Knows!The shoes designed by the famous designer christian louboutin are amazing in the aspects of both originality and price.Generally speaking,shoes in classical styles price at above 500 U.S.dollars.Ordinary styles demand 400 U.S.dollars or so.But please don’t be worried,some discounts will be given for some shoes in season at the end of the season,so if lucky enough,you will have a pair of red shoes you have dreamed of then!

  29. was born from a worker’s family in Paris in 1963,all his glory he gains today begins with that special experience in his childhood.Excellent Halle Berry for Inspiration. Once,when he passed through Paris Oceanic Art Museum,he saw a significant icon in front of the gate,a cone-shaped heels are two lines thick lines crossed,warned female visitors be kund to the carved wooden floor in pavilion.Looking at the beautiful shoes,the 13-year-old boy was obsessed into them.It seemed that it was the first time he knew christian louboutin could be so beautiful.

  30. Whatever you think of the man, he’s shrewder than the people who hate him give him credit for.

    The consensus seems to be, and someone please correct me if I’m wrong, that President Obama gave BP the Hobson’s choice of creating a compensation fund in the amount decreed by the White House or face seizure.

    Let’s say Obama does in fact have the tyrannical impulses described above. He has to be at least savvy enough to realize that asserting federal control over a foreign company’s US operations would immediately get tied up in court and piss off our most important ally. If he really is bent on destroying capitalism and American democracy, he’s going to go about it way smoother than that.

    What’s a lot more likely than Obama shaking down BP at gunpoint, as is alleged, is that the president promised to be on camera, bright and early every day, bashing the shit out of BP and invoking the fishless fishermen and oily seabirds. Which behavior, I’m pretty sure, is not in any explicit fashion prohibited by the constitution.

    Full disclosure, I’m an Obama voter, not thrilled by his performance in office but not one who was ever really in his thrall. I still defend my vote for him over Gramps and You Betcha.

  31. It’s amazing how many completely irrational people a site called “Reason” attracts.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.