Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas has spoken out against President Obama’s agreement with BP CEO and US Chairman and called it a ‘shake down.’ What is this man thinking? He apparently doesn’t feel that corporations have any culpability for their actions. How do those along the Texas gulf feel about this shakedown, especially those who are out of work. How about Florida? Alabama? Mississippi? Louisiana? All those gulf states will have economies wrecked, long term environmental damage, high rate of joblessness, and things we haven’t even thought of for years to come.   We cannot continue to have companies come in for profit and leave a wake of destruction for the American people to deal with. 

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I suppose this guy is Michelle Bachmann’s soul mate.  Bachmann stated over the weekend:

“But if I was the head of BP, I would let the signal get out there — ‘We’re not going to be chumps, and we’re not going to be fleeced.’ And they shouldn’t be. They shouldn’t have to be fleeced and make chumps to have to pay for perpetual unemployment and all the rest — they’ve got to be legitimate claims.”

 Both apparently have the souls of vampires, feeding on the life-blood of those who make their livings, their homes, their lives along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Had Rep. Barton apologized for the rude way some of his colleagues behaved towards Tony Hayword, I might not have minded. Some are grand-standing and posing like tough guys. They are an embarrassment.

23 Thoughts to “Texas Republican Calls $20 Billion from BP a Shake Down”

  1. Starryflights

    Barton apologizing to BP has to be one of the most sickening, revolting and disgusting things I’ve seen an elected official do in my life. Even Hayward didn’t think the $20 billion set aside was a “slush fund.”

    Here is Millbank’s take on it:

  2. Starryflights

    GOP lawmaker apologizes for apologizing to BP exec

    By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer Laurie Kellman, Associated Press Writer – 21 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – Who’s sorry now?

    Rep. Joe Barton, that’s who.

    The Texas Republican, the House’s top recipient of oil industry campaign contributions since 1990, apologized Thursday for apologizing to the chief of the British company that befouled the

    Gulf of Mexico with a massive oil spill.

    His double mea culpa plus a retraction, executed under pressure from fuming GOP leaders, succeeded in shifting attention from the tragedy, BP’s many missteps and the stoic British oil chief at the witness table, to his own party’s close connection to the oil industry.

  3. Wolverine

    Surely there wil be many who deserve to be compensated for their losses. No argument with that. But given the way this country has become of late with regard to personal integrity, I predict that we will also see many “claims” that would make an Al Capone blush. I just hope that this “independent” commission or whatever has some real cajones and does not wind up in a mess of scandal of its own. $20 billion floating around for the asking will also be a big attraction for the vultures among us.

  4. There were vultures after 9/11 and vultures after katrina. A pox on their house.

    I think the independent commission is the person(s) who distributed 9/11 compensation. He is probably used to seeing crooks.

  5. The “independent” commission, though he ran the 9/11 compensation, is a crony AND employee of President Obama. How independent is that?

  6. Since this says it better than I can, and its exactly what I’m thinking:

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Let’s be honest. The White House meeting with British Petroleum was a shakedown.

    The White House threatened criminal prosecution of BP, the President gave a miserably received speech, then he hauled BP into the White House and put the Attorney General in the room with the CEO to stare at him, then the President demanded $20 billion.

    It was a shakedown.

    Had British Petroleum affiliated with Al Qaeda and tried to blow up an airplane, it would have gotten due process rights, a court appointed lawyer, and miranda warning while avoiding Henry Waxman.

    But let’s continue our honesty: Who the heck cares besides Joe Barton? What planet has the man been living on? Has he not seen what BP has done and not done? He thinks we owe BP an apology? I don’t think so. [Note: Yeah, I do care that this is probably unconstitutional, but BP is a willing collaborator with Obama. They’re made for each other. Barton should be apologizing to the American public, not BP ………

  7. ” Both apparently have the souls of vampires, feeding on the life-blood of those who make their livings, their homes, their lives along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

    Had Rep. Barton apologized for the rude way some of his colleagues behaved towards Tony Hayword, I might not have minded. Some are grand-standing and posing like tough guys. They are an embarrassment. ”

    Posing as tough guys? You mean, like President Obama is doing? How are these comments “feeding on the life-blood” ? These comments are valid. And its not only the spill that’s hurting the Gulf coast. Its also Obama’s policies. There is no need for a moratorium on drilling. And wait until his Cap and Tax program starts up. That’s what I call feed on the life blood of Louisiana. The oil industry brings in billions and Obama wants to kill it.

  8. Pat.Herve

    was it a shakedown, or a company stepping up to its obligations? Showing a little responsibility for their actions? The US does not need to go into court to determine who should pay – it will now be up to BP to go to court to share the blame, and recoup the money from others.

    I was not in the meeting – the CEO of BP did not compare the fund to a shakedown, so I will not jump to conclusions.

  9. What did he say that was incorrect? What authority does the President or Congress have that enables them to simply demand money from a private entity? There are laws in place, already, to handle this.

    This was a shakedown. Obama was using the “Chicago way” to get more money. His “independent” third party is one of his cronies and an employee. Obama is lying, again, to the American public. His management of this crisis has helped no one but himself and his advancement of his agenda. Or so he thinks.

    BP, however, is a willing accomplice. They’ve been in bed with this administration from the beginning. $20 billion is the price of not having the government harass them.

    The Congressman should have apologized to the American people for the thugs and idiots that are incompetently “running” things. That inquisition of the CEO was a joke. Waxman and his fellow idiots used that for nothing more than grandstanding. They don’t even realize that they looked foolish with most of those questions. Don’t they know that commenting on ongoing investigations tends to screw up said investigations? This was nothing more than a show trial, like those found in USSR.

    All of this was to ensure that BP continues to pay money to the government and the politicians. They are “too big to fail.” This way BP pays for Obama’s mistake in ensuring that the oil industry in La. goes under. This way BP pays more mordida to Obama, who is STILL the largest recipient of donations from BP.

    If the investigation shows that BP was reckless, nail them. But we already have laws for that. And penalties for that would actually go to the victims, not to a slush fund controlled by President Obama.

  10. BP avoids class action lawsuits that would far exceed 20 billion dollars.

    A Chicago politician will naturally bring in more money in oil company contributions. It has to do with mind set. Remember that Bush was the son of a Texas oilman. He had the mind set.

    Cargo, you don’t know what happened in that meeting. I think it is inaccurate and unfair to say it was a shakedown. Furthermore, Hayward denied it was a shakedown.

    Democrats and Republicans alike were disgusted by Barton’s remarks. He was told to apologize or lose his seat on the committee–and it wasn’t the Democrats who made that threat.

  11. marinm

    I side with Cargo on this. Mr. Barton was told to tow the line ‘or else’. That it happened because of the GOP establishment doesn’t give it a pass. They’re wrong.

    It’s unfortunate that he caved when he portrayed the situation in a way that made sense from an outsider looking in.

    Everyone wants a piece of the pie and are willing to throw our laws under the bus to make that happen.

  12. Pat.Herve

    cargo – how can you say that Ken Feinberg is a cronie of Obama’s??

    He is a well respected mediation attorney, and has served for several large compensation funds including:

    9/11 victim compensation fund (appointed by John Ashcroft), worked for FREE
    Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund – working for FREE
    Pay Czar – trying to get wall street to change compensation plans
    BP Fund – controlled by a third party, not the US Government, not BP
    and other funds including – Asbestos, Agent Orange, IUD,

    Handling and paying out $20 billion, and who should get it and how much is not something BP nor the Feds are equipped to handle.,8599,1903547,00.html

  13. I say this because he works for Obama as the Pay Czar. It should be run by a truly independent party. Perhaps he needs to step down from his gov’t post.

    The GOP censored Barton because the GOP is gutless.

  14. By the way, off topic, has anyone else noticed how blase we have become? Starry casually contacts us, effectively for free?, from FREAKIN’ SOUTH AFRICA! Casually! With less effort than making an international phone call.

    What will our kids be able to do? Wow.

  15. Ken Feinberg has an excellent reputation from his days of overseeing the claims made to 9-11 families. I think he was chosen for his reliability and reputation rather than cronyism.

    I thought about Starry doing just that. I looked for him on the sitemeter map and then realized if he is using a blackberry or ipad, his address would be from the USA.

    Our kids will probably be able to teleport, Cargo. Beam me up Scotty.

  16. Moon,

    while Feinberg has a good reputation, what will be the influence of the President? This fund is too politically explosive.

    Heck, let him do it, just have him quit his government job. Set it up as a trust and let him get paid a salary from it. Just get Obama away from that money.

    1. What was Bush’s influence on him? Didn’t he appoint him to oversee the 9/11 claims or did someone else?

  17. The 9/11 claims were not the political football this was. Those funds were not produced by President Bush stating that the insurance companies would pay up. President Obama stated that he would “INFORM” BP as to what they WOULD do. The threat is implied in the speech.

    No due process happened in this case.

  18. Actually I thought the deals cut were a rather unholy alliance. I have never gotten over the discrepancy between what the average people got and what the fat cats got. I don’t know who cut what deal but it really did value the high incomes over the children of a lesser god.

    What happened to those killed in the Pentagon was even worse.

    The deals were cut to save the airlines.

    I guess I don’t really see the difference. I don’t think Obama threatened BP. I have seen no proof of that. However, I have pretty much decided it is a waste of finger power to even try to discuss anything having to do with Obama with the conservatives. I truly feel the divide and the hate is too great so why bother.

  19. Wolverine

    I suspect that Cargo may be right when he points out the past cozy (and troubling, at least to me) relationship between BP and our politicians. My first personal reaction to the $20 billion trust fund (with promises of even more if that doesn’t cut it) was certainly a tendency toward a “shakedown” under strong-arming by the Prez. However, now I am beginning to think that BP may have willingly submitted to the trust fund in the hope that it might stave off class action suits and other litigation which could cost them much more, not only in payouts but in endless court costs. My conclusion now is that this whole deal was a desperation wink-and-a-nod, with each party understanding the other’s needs and being willing to find a mutually beneficial accommodation behind closed doors and then present it to the public in the best light possible. BP gets to apologize without actualy admitting guilt and shows itself ready to make up for the damage caused. The Prez gets to show that he has gone to bat successfully for “the little people” —- something he really needed in view of the increasingly negative grades over his handling of this crisis.

    So, the crowds cheer. The environmentalists and others concerned with the damage on the Gulf Coast now see some light in the direction of repairing damage. Businesses are looking forward to a reversal of their losses. And “the little people” believe they will be bailed out of dire personal circumstances.

    But pause for just a second. We are a nation of laws. We have always prided ourselves on our Constitution and our system of jurisprudence. Unlike many another country, the accused in America is said to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So, what has happened in this case? There are investigations of the oil spill which are on-going. These investigations have yet to determine the exact reason for this accident and pinpoint the most likely guilty parties who should be subject to prosecution. We have the AG sending lawyers down there to examine the possibilities for determining guilt and going to trial. But they still have no answers for us. In other words, the wheels of justice are grinding but they have yet to find the answers necessary for further action in our established system of jurisprudence.

    But, in the meantime, we — the people, the politicians, the media — have already declared that BP is the guilty party and must be punished. And so BP in that closed door session with the Prez begins to shell out the “fines” so to speak. No completed investigation. No identified individual culprits. No trial. No lawful prosecution. No lawful defense. No litigation at all. Just the condemned already crucified on the cross of public opinion and already paying the price.

    Now, it is highly likely that, in the end, BP will be proven to be the culprit in a variety of ways (along with a botched job by our own Minerals Management Service, in my opinion). But, guilt by public acclamation instead of the laws of jurisprudence worries me not a little bit. This had better not become a habit, or, in my view, we risk losing one of the most important constitutional protections we all have. I am not a fan of BP, but I am also getting an uncomfortable feeling about the meting out of justice outside of a duly constituted court of law.

  20. Holder was at the meeting between BP and BP’s largest recipient of campaign money. I think that BP did agree with the President with this settlement. This way its not covered by law. I also think that this was also an “offer that they couldn’t refuse” or why else have the AG sitting in on the meeting. Of course, BP won’t ever state that it was a shakedown. That would hurt its future in the courts and make it a bigger target.

    I just find that the President issuing “fines” and demanding money to be highly objectionable and feel that its shows that President Obama has little respect for any restrictions on his authority.

  21. I think maybe responsibility should be used instead of the word guilt.

    Responsibility doesn’t necessarily imply wrong-doing.

    Meanwhile, many people havent worked for 2 months. No fault of their own. Who is going to assume responsibility for the accident on BPs drilling expedition?

    I don’t mind them putting aside $20 billion at all.

    Now if th ePrez had said give me your company, then I would have a problem. $20 billion is significant but not deadly to a company with market cap of 100 billion.

    I would be buying up shares like a crazy person once that leak gets stopped.

  22. So, its ok with you that the Prez says, “give me your profit” but not “give me your company”?

    I’m confused. Either is a shakedown. Both are unlawful. Even Ed Schultz is chortling over the “shakedown.”

    President Obama, you are the dude.

    The president takes the heads of BP behind closed doors, shakes them down for $20 billion, and gets an apology. Now what do you think of the speech?
    But, of course, the story that has me fired up tonight at this hour is about oil. And I‘ve told you all along, it‘s not about black oil. It‘s about green oil, because it‘s all about the money and it always has been.

    President Obama went behind closed doors today with Tony Hayward and the other suits from BP and informed them it‘s time to pay.

    SCHULTZ: Let‘s see now—not a cap. That means no limit. This is going to be a fun show, isn‘t it?

    The president of the United States, he took BP and got a huge victory.

    He took it to them big-time.

    Now, if you want to grade last night‘s speech as, you know, OK, he wasn‘t very passionate, didn‘t have all the details, I guess you could say he failed. But if you go by today‘s results, you‘d have to say the president of the United States hit it out of the park.

    In his own way, the president of the United States took on a multinational, shook them down for $20 billion for the American people. President Obama got more out of BP than the Congress ever has.

    And just remember, weeks ago the Democrats were trying to lift the liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion. No. Republicans, they didn‘t want to go along with that. They blocked that.

    President Obama doubled the amount in a 20-minute meeting. And Republicans, well, they just couldn‘t do anything about it.

    He also made BP accountable for unemployed rig workers.

    Of course, the GOP doesn’t have a majority. Some Democrats also voted against raising the liability limit. Also, its Obama’s fault that there unemployed rig workers. Why should BP pay? If due process and the law gets in the way of President Obama and the Democrats, is it now ok to just ignore it? Apparently. I wonder how Mr. “I loves me a dictator” Schultz would feel if this was Bush acting as a dictator?

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