Saturday, June 19

Sen. Whitehouse EXPLODES! "America . . must never be on it's knees before Corporate Power"!



Full Transcript

This American government of ours should never, never be on its knees before corporate power, no matter how strong. It should never be in the thrall of corporate wealth no matter how vast.

This American government of ours should never give the American citizen reason to question whose interests are being served. Never.

In this complex world of ours, Mr. President, government must protect us in remote and specialized precincts in the economy. In those remote precincts, few people are watching, but big money is made.

We must be able to trust our government, both in plain view in front of us, and in corners far from sight, to be serving always the public interest, not doing the secret bidding of special interests; of corporate interests, because that's where the big money is at stake.

Have we now learned, have we now finally learned, from the financial melt-down and the Gulf disaster, the price, the terrible price, of all those quietly cut corners?

Have we now learned what price must be paid when the stealthy tentacles of corporate influence are allowed to reach into and capture our agencies of government?

I pray, let us have learned this; let us have learned that lesson. I sincerely pray we have learned our lesson, and that this will never happen again. But let's not just pray.

Where the Slick Is Going...



If this Oil Spill isn't capped before it reaches the Gulf's Loop Current - Computer Model Simulations indicate that it will coat all of the coasts of Florida and the entire Eastern Seaboard, finally pooling in the Mid-Atlantic. Simply Horrible.

Vyan

Biden Blasts Barton



BIDEN: There’s an entire way of life in jeopardy. This is just not about jobs. This is just not about whether or not the waterfowl is polluted and you can’t — this is an entire way of life that’s in jeopardy. And to sit there and say that we’re being — in effect, as I understood the statement — that he was ashamed we’re being tough on an oil company who caused the problem — I mean, I — look, I just think that it’s pretty important to the people of Louisiana all the way through Florida and even in his home state of Texas that people disassociate themselves from that.
That’s not the role — there’s no shakedown. It’s insisting on responsible conduct and a responsible response to something they caused. And I find it outrageous to suggest that if, in fact, we insisted that BP demonstrate their preparedness, to put aside billions of dollars — in this case, $20 billion — to take care of the immediate needs of people who are drowning — these guys don’t have deep pockets. The guy who runs the local marina, the guy who has one shrimping boat, the guy who has one small business — he can’t afford to lose $10,000, $12,000, $15,000, $30,000 a month. [...]
What is wrong with that? How is that a shakedown? I mean, I just — I don’t know, I find it pretty astounding, the comment.

It may be astounding, but it really shouldn't be surprising - it was part of a Republican House Talking Point from the previous day that the agreement made between the White House and BP was a "Shakedown". The kind that the Bush Administration implemented between 85 and 97 Times when it choose to "Defer Prosecution" of a Corporation in lieu of cash settlement.

We have to realize that Joe Barton is a former Oil Executive, one who worked for Atlantic Richfield, which is now ARCO and owned by BP. Just like Barton is currently Owned by BP. Corporate Shills and Lackeys are what these people are. This is where they're leading the Tea Party, right over the cliff.

The GOP Doesn't want a Shakedown of BP, They Want a Shakedown of Tax-Payers - as pointed out by Mike Papantonio.

Friday, June 18

Joe Barton's Corporatist Wingnut Fans, thinks he had a "Point"

People may want to argue that Joe Barton's outburst expressing sympathy and an apology to BP for being asked, and agreeing, to Pay for all the Shit they Fucked UP was just a one time, one person event. Not really.


– PAT BUCHANAN: “Barton made a very courageous statement in my judgment. … To have anyone stand up and even indirectly defend [BP] and say that they were a victim of a shakedown shows some political courage.

– INGRAHAM: “I think Joe Barton, before he apologized, had a legitimate point.

– NAPOLITANO: “That is a classic shakedown. The threat to do something that you don’t have the authority to do. ”

– KILMEADE: “One Congressman calling the BP compsensation fund a ’shakedown,’ but does he have a point?

– GINGRICH: “The president is directly engaged in extorting money from a company.

– VARNEY: “It is Hugo Chavez-like, is it not? To sieze a private company’s assets.

Yeah, it's not like any politician has ever asked a private company for money.

The thing these people seemed uniformly not to understand is that this private company has functionally destroyed the assets and livelihood of nearly every other private company in the region. And they have to be asked, what makes BP so special while all the assets of the Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants, Fishermen and Tour Boats in the area, not to mention the health and safety of their employees and customers - are supposed completely worthless?

Why don't all those other private companies count? Is it because their owned, operated and frequented by "small people"? Obama isn't Taking this money, BP is Giving it Back to those whom they have already TAKEN from.

Small People who it's clear are on Michele Bachman's mind too.

“They have to lift the liability cap,” said Bachmann. “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.

“The other thing we have to remember is that Obama loves to make evil whatever company it is that he wants to get more power from. He makes them evil, and what we’ve got to ask ourselves is: Do we really want to be paying $9 for a gallon of gas? Because that could be the final result of this.
Yeah, like when we were paying $5 for gas just a couple years ago - that was all Obama's doing, not the speculators on the derivatives market trying to cash in.

Obama did not make mortgage companies put out time-bomb loans, he did not make financial companies trade in bogus securities and derivatives designed to fail, he did not make health insurance companies take people's premiums then make up bogus reasons not to pay for their care and he DID NOT Spill this Oil in the Gulf.

These companies did all this Evil Shit - themselves.

This argument, this right here, is the dividing line between the wingnut Tea Bagging Feudal Corporate Serfs, and the sane people in this country. It's not about punishing the wealthy out of spite or jealousy simply for being successful, it's about making them responsible for their failures, which as that company grows larger and larger can clearly be catastrophic.

The Tea Party, knowingly or not, are nothing more than shills and mouth pieces for their corporate overlords, channeled through Right-Wing Radio and Saudi Oil Owned Fox News. Maybe looking at what BP has done to the Gulf, and listening to these little weasels bow and crawl before their feet, will help make it obvious just who the Right-Wing/Tea Party Masters are... or maybe it's already too late for them to be deprogrammed into functionally hating themselves.

Only time and November will tell.

Vyan

Thursday, June 17

Rep Joe Barton - Apologizes to BP for White House "Slushfund Shakedown"

This almost too douchey to be believed, at the beginning of today's BP hearings Rep Joe Barton (R-TX) actually apologizes to BP for having to pay for the damage - THEY CAUSED! Un-fracking-real.



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

In a rare direct response Press Secretary Gibbs shot back...

"What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a 'tragedy', but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments."

Dead Sperm Whale Found in Gulf

Via Fox News Tampa

GULF OF MEXICO - Scientists have spotted a dead sperm whale in the Gulf of Mexico, and are doing tests to see if the oil spill had anything to do with its death.

The whale was found floating 77 miles due south of the Deepwater Horizon spill site.

It is the first dead whale spotted since BP's rig exploded on April 20.

The whale was not found in oiled waters, but scientists can't yet say where or how it died.

They say its condition suggests it has been dead for several days to more than a week, and they are taking samples from it to glean information on how and where it died.

,,,

They live at depth in areas where subsurface dispersants and oil are present, and feed on deepwater squid, which may also be impacted by the oil and dispersants.

The sperm whales are an endangered species, and some scientists say that just a few sperm whale deaths could endanger the long-term survival of the Gulf's entire native sperm whale population.

Wednesday, June 16

Obama Gets BP to Create $20B Escrow Fund for Gulf Victims

Less than 24 Hours after President Obama's first Oval Office Address - he delivers on one of the primary promises he made. via Huffpo.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senior administration officials tell The Associated Press that BP has agreed to finance a $20 billion fund to pay the claims of people whose jobs and way of life have been damaged by the devastating Gulf Coast oil spill.

The independent fund will be led by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw payments to families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


It wasn't a spectacular speech, but it seems to have begun to accomplish what it needed to accomplish.



Look, I know that many people are upset that various MSNBCC hosts criticized Obama's address so heavily - but we all have to admit this is good news. It accomplishes a large part of what Congress had been attempting to do for weeks with modifying the Oil Spill Liability Cap.

I think this shows, maybe, that BP is finally starting to get the message after having all the other heads of Big Oil do donuts over them with the bus in front of Capital Hill.

This country, big slow giant boat that it is, just might be turning a corner - and corporations might start to realize they have responsibilities to their customers and workers, not just their shareholders.

Maybe, just maybe, BP might finally begin to realize that you can't buy good publicity by trying to bribe the media, you do it be actually doing good things for the public, rather than nickle and dimeing them to death on damage claims.

We have to remember just what Obama is up against, as the Head of the Republican Party - Rush Limbaugh - complains that there isn't any FEDERAL MONEY included in the Escrow Account...



Meanwhile the Senate just today pretty much tabled the latest Unemployment Benefits Extention. (Why? He asks... silly rabbit because Governmentin' is Hard Work)

Score one for the O-Man, now we move toward getting some kind of serious Green Energy Program going to ensure this can never happen again.

Vyan

Seattle Police Punches Teen Girl in the Face - for Jaywalking



This report, which oddly enough has to come from England, shows a Seattle Police Officer pulling back and punching a teenage girl in the face after stopping her for Jaywalking. Clearly she was being uncooperative before things escalated, but did he really NEED to do that? Is this supposed to be a better alternative to the Taser?

Also notice, although it's not proof of anything in and of itself, the girls shown in the video are black - the police are white. I just wonder which side of this fight Steve King, Glenn Beck and the Tea Partiers are going to be on?

Vyan

Shooting Yourself - To Get Health Care



This news report shows a woman who suffered from a rotator-cuff injury who had been to the doctor multiple times and not gotten releif ultimately resorting to Shooting herself in the shoulder in order to get care in the Emergency Room. Now she's facing possible charges.

That's how completely FRACKED-UP our Health Care system is, and maybe -just maybe, by 2014 it'll be a little bit better.

Vyan

Jon Stewart Rips Obama Administration Hypocrisy



In this tour-de-force of ridicule Jon Stewart blasts the human rights and detention hypocrisy of the Obama Administration was has grossly failed to turn this country back to the rule of law and away from the brutal and illegal tactics of the Bush Administration. Gitmo is still open, Renditions are still part of our policy, Habeas Corpus is still restricted particularly at Bagram AFB because of the Military Commissions Act (which is yet to be repealed). He's even been backing down on trying KSM in Criminal Court. Not good, not good at all.

Vyan

Tuesday, June 15

Obama is not Dumbledore!

We'd all like to wish that Obama was Dumbledore and could solve this with a wand flourish and a loud - Expelliarmus Shout, but that's not the case.

If we want to avoid putting this spill fix and clean up on the public dime as John Beohner suggested (and has already walked back) we have to recognize some practical realities.

The US Military does not possess a Fleet of Oil Tankers or Fishing/Skimming Vessels. The Ships needed to clean the oil from the water have to come from private companies. Either BP is going to pay for it and hire those ships as sub-contractors, or the government will. The problem is if the government takes this over, exactly how long will it take to get the funds appropriated with people like Jim Bunning in the Senate running around saying - "But it has to be PAID FOR"?

Tax payers are not footing the bill for this. Not. Gonna. Happen. Unfortunately if BP is passing out the checks, then BP Calls the Shots! It's a total Catch-22.

It may make Obama "look weak", but really the reality is that International Corporations have become This strong. We saw it during the Housing Crisis and Bank Bailouts and we're seeing it now. These people are modern day King's, with their own private armies of thugs and serfs to do their bidding. Governments are just an inconvenience to them, which they can simply buy off in time.

I think what needs to happen is that we need to allow the EPA and OSHA to contract out the cleanup and skimming crews and then directly BILL BP for the costs. Don't let BP decide how things should be cleaned up, where, or what protective gear should be used since - they're LIABLE for it all, and it's in their corporate interest, and their share-holders interests to minimize and limit their liability as much as possible.



Right now a mechanism to actually TAKE THIS AWAY FROM BP and "Commandeer their ships" as Michele Bachmann insanely suggested - doesn't really exist without declaring Martial Law and seizing the assets of BP and all the other ships involved - we'd have to have the Coast Guard and Navy become PIRATES in international waters. And after that the really bad stuff happens, we'd have to start placing the workers into Forced Labor without compensation. Nobody wants to see anything like that happen.

This isn't Obama's problem to fix, not all by himself. He doesn't have that kind of authority over private companies, but Congress could create it with some amendments to the Clean Water Act to allow this kind of Ad Hoc Clean-Up Crew Contracting and Billing to ensure BP stays on the hook, but not in the driver's seat.

Sunday, June 13

BP Blocks Media Access to Cleanup Workers



Despite the announcement two day ago by BP Exec Doug Suttles that "No one is to prevent the media from access" -

Recent media reports have suggested that individuals involved in the cleanup operation have been prohibited from speaking to the media, and this is simply untrue. BP fully supports and defends all individuals rights to share their personal thoughts and experiences with journalists if they so choose.

BP has not and will not prevent anyone working in the cleanup operation from sharing his or her own experiences or opinions.


Really Now?

Then why did BP Security - on a Public Beach - respond this way to a reporter?

OFFICIAL 1: Every single security guard here has given the instructions to every single news crew that you can be outside of 100 yards of the workers or along the boom.

WALKER: And who’s saying that? Because no one can tell me that, unless you’re the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, you’re the Coast Guard, or you’re the military, can you tell me where to go on this public beach.

OFFICIAL 1: I can tell you where to go because I’m employed to keep this beach safe. And right now, those are my instructions. I’d like to keep the workers safe as well.

WALKER: I’m going to try to talk to the worker under the tent. Can I do that?

OFFICIAL 1: No, no.

WALKER: He’s on break.

OFFICIAL 1: You are not allowed to interview any workers.

WALKER: The workers can talk to the media, according to the BP CEO two days ago. Still hasn’t trickled down to you all?

OFFICIAL 2: We already heard that one too.

WALKER: What do you mean you’ve “heard that one”? It’s true.

OFFICIAL 1: The e-mail did not explicitly give you permission to do that.


Can you believe the NERVE of these Lying Rat-Bastard Fucker-heads?

From DAY-ONE BP has been Bullshitting Us about how much oil was coming out of the well, about how safe the dispersant Corexit 9500, they've used and manipulated the Coast Guard to keep the Press and even NOAA away from the Underwater Death Plumes.

The sad part is that there isn't a lot the local or federal authorities can do. Even after Sherrif's finally escorted these reporters over to the workers They refused to Talk (because they most likely knew there would be reprisals) Legally their silence can be contractually maintained and mandated.

Work and Shut Your Mouth - Or Starve!

American Freedom in operation.

Update 1 This isn't the first time this has happened as shown by ABC News. Via Thinkprogress. This report does a good job of pointing out how the workers are essentially terrified of BP, trapped in a situation where their normal jobs are gone - and this is all they have left. It's like a Slave Labor Force. Also note in this video - NO RESPIRATORS!



ABC News reporter Matt Gutman “was hassled by the manager of a nearby crew, asking Gutman why he was on the beach.” Gutman captured the interaction on video, and said “several people” had asked him “not to talk to any of the workers here”:




Here's another example with Alabama Firefighters complaining that BP is keeping them from HELPING, when they actually have the training to do this job.



Update 2 I've been meaning to write this as a separate diary, but I think making this point here - since this is now Rec'd will probably have more impact. Obama is not Dumbledore!.

We'd all like to wish that Obama was Dumbledore and could solve this with a wand flourish and a loud - Expelliarmus Shout, but that's not the case.

If we want to avoid putting this spill fix and clean up on the public dime as John Beohner suggested (and has already walked back) we have to recognize some practical realities.

The US Military does not possess a Fleet of Oil Tankers or Fishing/Skimming Vessels. The Ships needed to clean the oil from the water have to come from private companies. Either BP is going to pay for it and hire those ships as sub-contractors, or the government will. The problem is if the government takes this over, exactly how long will it take to get the funds appropriated with people like Jim Bunning in the Senate running around saying - "But it has to be PAID FOR"?

Tax payers are not footing the bill for this. Not. Gonna. Happen. Unfortunately if BP is passing out the checks, then BP Calls the Shots! It's a total Catch-22.

It may make Obama "look weak", but really the reality is that International Corporations have become This strong. We saw it during the Housing Crisis and Bank Bailouts and we're seeing it now. These people are modern day King's, with their own private armies of thugs and serfs to do their bidding. Governments are just an inconvenience to them, which they can simply buy off in time.

I think what needs to happen is that we need to allow the EPA and OSHA to contract out the cleanup and skimming crews and then directly BILL BP for the costs. Don't let BP decide how things should be cleaned up, where, or what protective gear should be used since - they're LIABLE for it all, and it's in their corporate interest, and their share-holders interests to minimize and limit their liability as much as possible.



Right now a mechanism to actually TAKE THIS AWAY FROM BP and "Commandeer their ships" as Michele Bachmann insanely suggested - doesn't really exist without declaring Martial Law and seizing the assets of BP and all the other ships involved - we'd have to have the Coast Guard and Navy become PIRATES in international waters. And after that the really bad stuff happens, we'd have to start placing the workers into Forced Labor without compensation. Nobody wants to see anything like that happen.

This isn't Obama's problem to fix, not all by himself. He doesn't have that kind of authority over private companies, but Congress could create it with some amendments to the Clean Water Act to allow this kind of Ad Hoc Clean-Up Crew Contracting and Billing to ensure BP stays on the hook, but not in the driver's seat.

Vyan