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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My point exactly

Remember Robert Reich? He agrees with me that the federal government ought to take over BP's assets now, at least for a while. He's calling for a "temporary receivership" -- an elegant way to put it. It's past time for the White House and Congress to get going on the idea.

Comments (25)

I say, corporate death penalty... Revoke and seize. Shareholders can pound sand.

I am in favor of having very few rules and regulations but having punitive penalties for breaking them.

I heartily agree

Seriously, they should consider a lot of jail time for a number of BP executives. It's cool to make your millions and such, but people need to be held responsible for their actions. Since they knowingly and willfully avoided safety precautions, they should be severely punished.


As far as seizing assets, I think BP has a pretty sizable presence here so collecting off them shouldn't be a problem.

I also wanted to know what we are going to do about the Fed employees overseeing BP and maybe Barney Frank and Chris DOdd who ran the House/Senate finance committees when all this finance crap was happening?

Most of the time the "financial "mess" was happening, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were either ranking members (not chairs) of relevant committees (because the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress) or were chairs with little power, since Bush was in a position to veto any serious initiative to correct things.

As for the government employees at MMS and other parts of the bureaucracy, there is certainly some blame to place there. However, let's not overlook the Republicans' 30-year effort to eviscerate that same bureaucracy. This mess provides a convincing refutation of the conservative mantra that "less regulation and government involvement is always preferable."

"Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were either ranking members (not chairs) of relevant committees (because the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress) or were chairs with little power"\

Glad to hear we have an excuse for their total silence. I don't think Rs are any less guilty, but these are the guys who are supposed to watch out for us?

Quis custodet ipsos custodes?

*There Will Be Scapegoats* -- and not much else. Besides the Exxon victims in Prince William Sound, just ask the people in Bhopal, for example.

Another example: Enron. (The Wall Street and government regulator co-conspirators who facilitated so much damage, skated in the end).

Glad to hear we have an excuse for their total silence. I don't think Rs are any less guilty, but these are the guys who are supposed to watch out for us?

oh, they watched. And that's about all.
Curious....I wonder how much they got from BP?

British Petroleum's tentacles are pervasive. Even around the Ragin' Cajun Carville --

His Brand is Crisis
Carville, Colombia and BP
By Nikolas Kozloff

Wonder how US AG Eric Holder's Columbian and other Clintonian So. American connections may have B(um)P(ed) him around down there (and up here)?

Fronting for Paramilitaries
Holder, Chiquita and Colombia
By Mario A. Murillo

Notable excerpt:
First the good news: We're two months away from President George W. Bush's last full day in the White House. The countdown for the end of the nightmare has begun in earnest.

Now the bad news: As Barack Obama puts together his cabinet and eyes a slew of former Clinton officials for key staff positions, it is becoming ever more apparent that all those calls for change coming from progressive circles in the U.S. – and abroad - have fallen on deaf ears.

Most striking, at least for the time being, is the soon to be named position of the top law enforcement official of the country. It looks like the first African-American President will appoint the first African-American attorney general in the coming days, something that on the surface looks like an advance, but should actually sound alarm bells for anybody seeking true change in the way things are done in Washington, especially when it comes to bringing corporate criminals to justice.

Although no final decision has been made, the New York Times reports that the President-elect's transition team has signaled to Eric H. Holder Jr., a senior Clinton Justice Department official, that he will be selected as the next attorney general.

More at:
The Holder-Chiquita Connection

I have to agree. Here are a few questions to those who disagree and place the "free market" as Zeus over government's Athena on some exalted, Greek pantheon:

1. Does BP own the US land that they have drilling rights on? If not, then what is the problem with the US revoking the drilling rights license?

2. If BP owns the US land where they have drilling rights, then what is their guarantee they will take full responsibility and not kick it into a Superfund site for the EPA via taxpayer dollars to clean up?

If this current mess is a sign of future behavior, then expect BP to dodge responsibility and plead ignorance so that they quarterly financial statements do not take a dive.

3. Obviously, BP's offshore oil rigs operate in the open sea where no corporation or government can claim a right to owning the Caribbean Sea. Henceforth, if BP is not going to foot 100% of the cleanup bill, then what is your objection to the US Government using public domain to take control of the defunct oil rig and cleaning up BP's mess with US taxpayer dollars?

Reich cites AIG and auto industry takeovers as the parallels for Federal seizure of BP. Ownership interest in AIG cost the US Treasury a minimum of $9 billion ($180 total in Fed and Treasury guarantees and commitments). The Federal Government’s stake in the auto industry looks like it will cost around $50 billion. Even after getting hammered after the spill and being threatened with criminal prosecution, BP’s market cap is $113 billion. Reich’s wishful thinking fails to mention any price for taking over BP or discussion of what the funding source might be (TARP do you think?).

What the Federal Government could do lawfully to affect BP-Amoco (nee Standard Oil of Indiana) is seize (cancel) its Federal leasehold interests. These interests would, however, have a market value tending towards zero in today’s uncertain environment.

What has happened fundamentally is a result of a failed strategy adopted by all directly involved interests (government and private sector) that said, in effect, deepwater drilling was safe because any spills would be sufficiently limited and far enough offshore to not impact materially sensitive coastal environments and continental shelf fisheries. It seems clear this was more of an out of sight, out of mind belief, than a carefully thought through tenet. The lasting solutions will involve revisiting and redefining the faulty strategy.

"the federal government ought to take over BP's assets now, at least for a while."

Other point, if the Feds take over BP what are they going to do with the assets? It's not like they go in an seize accounts since BP is going to be kicking and screaming with 100s of their lawyers on any settlement.

Besides, if Mr Obama and friends have a solution to stop the mess that BP hasn't adopted, I'd love to hear it. They shoudl have said something way before BP blew up (along with BP should have done something also.)

oh, they watched. And that's about all. Curious....I wonder how much they got from BP?

Wow, Jon ... this may be the king of all wacky left-wing conspiracy theories. We're sure glad you uncovered the "Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are really the ones responsible for the Gulf Oil leak disaster" plot. Let's see how this works. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd get money from BP to look the other way about a major oil leak that might happen sometime in the future. And, even though neither has any relevant jurisdiction or any connection to oil drilling in the Gulf, somehow it couldn't have happened without them.

And I thought that only somebody as twisted as Limbaugh or Beck could come up with something this wild and convoluted. But, then, conservatives will go to any lengths to assign blame to those on the left for any problem.

Steve ... The problem with being the one out of power is that you don't have any authority to make things happen. Or, does Congress work differently when the Rs are in power? If I remember correctly (and I do), Republicans wouldn't even allow ranking Dems to conduct hearings using Congressional building space. No, in this case, the sides aren't equally culpable. The people in power take responsibility. At least that's what the Republicans are saying now.

Rural resident...

My point is that all politicians are in the pockets of big corps, particularly "big oil". And while I am well aware they (or anyone else for that matter) couldn't have known this would happen, you have to think that the money they have received from big oil in the past (or from any corp) is a "little something" to help the politicians make important decisions when the excrement hits the rotating air circulation device.

If the leases were obtained fraudulently (no bona fide explosion-gusher protection plans and actual performance capabilities), not only are the leases void/voidable, those are crimes with civil penalties, to boot. Can you spell *racketeering* boys and girls? R-I-C-O.

Not just BP. Halliburton, too.

"The problem with being the one out of power is that you don't have any authority to make things happen."

Puh-leeze, not to pick on Dodd/Frank exclusively (yes, Rs are just as greedy/stupid), but they were breaking their necks looking the other way so hard and not saying one thing sbaout Countrywide( thanks to Dodd's interest free loan) and FNMA (thanks to Franks' friends over there.) Didn't say one thing which you can always do whether you're in power or not.

If you expect them to look out for our interests, they are incomepetents.

Steve ... Being a Republican must be easy on the brain. No matter who is President, no matter who controls Congress, no matter whose policies lead to a disaster, just blame it on the Dems/liberals.

Where is Red Adair when you need him?

P.S. It's the private folks that will solve this mess - not some govt hack (aka BHObama) screaming "Just plug the damn hole!" Like wanting it is enough.

Oh Boy! As if a lawyer is going to solve anything. They're all doing such a bang up job in Washington right now aren't they?

no matter whose policies lead to a disaster,

It wasn't a policy that let to this, it was a mechanical failure.

But hey, by all means, take over BP. It worked for the car companies, right?
They can get some tips from Chavez.

But hey, by all means, take over BP. It worked for the car companies, right?

I wouldn't "take over" BP. I'd freeze their assets until the people who have suffered damages (or their families, in the case of the workers killed by the company's negligence) have their day in court.

I have little faith in our legal system, but if there's any justice at all, BP's assets will be distributed to the claimants and the company will be no more. However, to the delight of conservatives, BP will likely emerge unscathed and the people their shortsighted management has injured will get the short end of the stick. Ah, love that corporate responsibility thing.

Incidentally, the car company thing seems to be working out pretty well. GM is back on track. (You probably would have preferred that the company be broken up and thousands of people needlessly unemployed, but, hey, you can't win 'em all.)

Reich is a tool. Actually though, this wasn't originally his idea.


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