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  • Joe Barton is Right: There Was a $20 Billion Shakedown in the White House

    Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) is under fire from the White House and the Beltway media for his statement to BP today: “I’m only speaking for myself. I’m not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a county where anytime a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, [it is] subject to some sort of political pressure that, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown.”

    Barton should have been apologizing to the American people, not BP, but other than that he is 100% correct. What happened in the White House yesterday was a “shakedown” of Godfather-like proportions. Lets review:

    1) BP agreed to pay $20 billion over four years to an “independent” party; 2) BP immediately identified $20 billion in U.S. assets that could be liquidated should BP not be able to pay on time; 3) BP received no assurances that the ultimate economic damages would not be higher; 4) BP is still liable for all individual and state claims in court; 5) The fund is completely separate from any environmental damages, which the Obama administration says could top $30 billion; 6) BP paid another $100 million for workers made unemployed by President Obama’s indefinite ban on offshore oil drilling; 7) BP received no assurance that the White House would not ask for more money if the ban becomes permanent.

    All of this was “negotiated” while Attorney General Eric Holder, who has already threatened BP with criminal prosecution, stood in the corner. And what did BP get in return? A single statement from the President saying he did not want to drive BP into bankruptcy. Of course he doesn’t. The mob can’t collect from a bankrupt business. Clinton administration Deputy Attorney General turned BP lawyer Jamie Gorelick let slip what the game is really all about: “We know what it looks like when a company is driven into bankruptcy. The claims that come first are the creditors, then the employees, then the environmental claims, and then the likes of shrimpers. This would not be a good result for anyone.” Well, not anyone who expects the law to be followed.

    Yesterday’s White House victim was not BP. It was the rule of law. Just as the Obama administration junked the bankruptcy code last year to protect their union allies, they are doing the exact same thing this time for their environmental ones.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    79 Responses to Joe Barton is Right: There Was a $20 Billion Shakedown in the White House

    1. Catherine, Texas says:

      Barton's was an outrageous statement, that the Heritage Foundation supports it is just as outrageous. You really are not advocating what you opponents say you are, privatizing profits and socializing risks, are you?

    2. American Patriot says:

      One MORE reason why I am now an independent and no longer lean to an R.

      Barton is a bought & paid for hack or daft if he can't see that an escrow fund allows damages to be paid much quicker than would be paid AFTER the endless legal wrangling. And it ensures that money for damages is in hand – not promised. We need to stop all the anti-BP posturing and spend the effort on constructively stopping the flow and cleaning up with the help of the BP fund (assuming PB actually ponies up the 20B.) D's & R's It's my hope that you see a November to Remember.

    3. savetheusa Tempe AZ says:

      Should the tax payers pay for this mess like Boehner agreed to with the Chamber of Commerce? What is your solution? Was BP behaving irresponsibly? Who straightens this mess out? Is the local fishing industry and local businesses less important then BP? What guarantees do you have that BP just doesn't declare bankruptcy to limit their liability? Who is to say that BP doesn't get a bail out like the banksters did? Out government is bankrupt and if BP is not going to pay. Who is going to pay? How about some solutions instead of protecting the Republican party! What about BP leading the charge on cap and trade? How come your not talking about that? Are the Republicans supporting a back door maneuver on cap and trade and pretend that they are against it? Maybe it is time that the Heritage Foundation to come clean also!

    4. Amy, MA says:

      Was it illegal for Holder to be in the room? Was it illegal for Obama to ask for $20bn? Was it illegal for Hayward to agree to give it to him?

      I see what some may view as the intimidation factor, but I don't get the legalities (or lack thereof) of the situation. Was Holder standing there tapping the head of a bat into his palm? Did Hayward have beads of sweat running down his temples? You say the only victim here is "the rule of the law", which is an abstract; but what about the victims scattered along the way leading up to this "shakedown"? The real people who need food, clothes, and shelter? The government NOT stepping in to oversee BP compensating Americans is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place.

      I'm glad that you at least acknowledged the apology was misdirected, but the reaction to Obama's action FOR the affected families of the Gulf (and beyond) are as equally misdirected. BP is now known for their money-saving, safety-forgoing practices; you'll have to excuse the people of the Gulf who don't trust BP when they say they'll pay them back every dime they've stolen.

      Basically, I would like to know exactly which laws were broken at the White House yesterday. Just because Holder "threatened BP with criminal prosecution" and was present at the meeting yesterday does not mean Obama extorted $20bn from them by any means. (Anyway, 11 people died; why shouldn't they be charged with criminal negligence?)

    5. KARTIS - Texas says:

      BRAVO, JOE!! We all know what Joe Barton was saying in his statement, though it be a poor choice of words. I find it sickening that Dem's and even some Repub's are "throwing Barton under the bus" rather than stand with him on what they know is the Truth!

    6. Bob Veigel, Arlingto says:

      Barton was correct but could not stand the 'heat'. Not only was it a shakedown it was and is government extortion. Obama and his people ought to be in jail.

    7. Rick, Peoria, IL says:

      I have to take issue with the demonizing of a FOR PROFIT corporation just because of a string of very unfortunate events.

      Who among us does not use the products that they provide?????

      Who among us doesn't complain when government restrictions on drilling force the price of gas higher???

      Who among us can fault a company for wanting to turn a profit? Isn't that what you go to work for, to turn a profit for your family????

      Who among us lives in a world free of synthetic fibers??? (MADE FROM OIL!)

      Who among us doesn't complain about the Saudi's and their control of the worlds oil supply????

      Who among us is man enough to walk to the office in the morning instead of driving, taking the bus, or riding the train???

      Who among us can live without the products that are delivered to a convenient location nearby by a diesel powered vehicle???? Or can you live without the crop harvested by a petroleum powered tractor????

      No, I do not believe that BP acted responsibly! But I do believe that at the heart of their business is a desire to produce safe affordable energy to the masses, (because you can't stay in business very long if your intent is to rape the customer. You know, the person that pays their bills!)

      So whether I think BP or obama was right doesn't really matter! What matters is I am tired of SMALL MINDED people demonizing every company that they depend on for their overinflated way of life!

    8. Bobbie Jo says:

      It is transparent of this government refuses to hold themselves accountable therefore, no rule of law is recognized by this pathetic weak administration.

      With you all the way, WJ and those that comprehend reality! Especially those in authority, (Joe Barton!…and the like minded) with the courage to stand for truth and the strength to remain the true protectors of America. God Bless all who live in truth and honesty! God help those who can't comprehend!

      Shakedown in the white house. Another perfect reason not to trust this government.

    9. Bobbie - AL says:

      I totally agree with Joe Barton. I am embarrassed by this administration. Here are the three reasons that Joe Barton is RIGHT! 1) spill is on Fed property, 2) Feds regulated offshore drilling and it was miserable FAILURE, 3) Feds capped economic damages. Therefore, BP is not fully to blame. Why spend the time bashing BP? EVERY effort should be being made to stop the leak and clean up the mess!

      And now, I have a fourth reason. 4) Obama has REFUSED to sign the Jones Act! Why? Because it opens the door for non-Union laborers. Many saw on national TV where Obama told the SEIU that he would not forget them and would back them all the way! This is totally and completely an absolute TRAVESTY!!! This administration is WORSE than a TRAVESTY!! And, there is NOTHING We the People can do about it.

    10. Jim says:

      Based on the fact that BP contributed huge amounts of money to the Obama campaign and other enviromental groups like the Sierra Club, does ANYONE really trust the S.O.B. In the white house to get the money given from BP to the people whose livelyhoods have been destroyed? Given this administrations history of Bashing Bush, then doing the same thing twice as bad. My guess is you'll continue to see oil gushing into the gulf until the day after Obama signs a Cap & Trade bill. Then BP can make hundreds of billions trading carbon credits, while millions more become dependent on govt. To take care of them. The evil plan is working like a charm. After all, Raumbo got it right. "never let a crisis go to waste" when are you fans of Obama going to see that BP would not have freely given 20 Bil. Plus billions more to come, unless they plan on making hundreds of billions down the road thanks to the same guy that you think is "kicking ass".

    11. Danny Coulter says:

      Of course it was a shake down-thats why they make up the rules as they go along,anyone who supports this regeime should have to live in a dictatorship because that is what the democrats want is a socialist dictatorship so let their followers have one but not on this continent ship them out. The democrats today acted so rightious telling Tony Hayward that you are hiding things from the American people!! Well what did those SOB's hide from the American people during the health care debate!!!!

    12. WJ says:

      To those who disagree with this post, did you actually read the words??

      To believe that there was not intimidation against BP is absolutely ridiculous. It was extortion. YES, BP SHOULD PAY DAMAGES, but a shakedown by the President is NOT how we do that in America.

      “11 people died; why shouldn’t they be charged with criminal negligence?” Maybe some people will be charged, but are there any FACTS that support CRIMINAL negligence or was it a horrible accident? Are people innocent until proven guilty or can the One just make royal pronouncements now?

    13. jdanenbe, CA says:

      WJ you said- "Are people innocent until proven guilty" at the same time you seem to be judge and jury convicting the President of the United States of a shakedown, even though the CEO of BP today in Congressional hearings was asked after the Rep. from Texas's very misguided apology to the foreign corporation that is causing the largest environmental disaster in US history. I find applying innocent until proven guilty to one party and not the other to be very hypocritical.

      The President scored a win for the people of the Gulf Coast and by extension the rest of the country, but my former fellow conservatives are so blinded by partisan politics that they have stopped being able to root for their countrymen in their time of need and cheer their successes if they come at the hands of the President. It is really discouraging to see.

    14. George, Georgia says:

      I think what a lot of the responders have missed: BP can be held responsible “legally” – through the courts and not the government. It is called the Constitution – that which puts a “leash” (if you will) on exactly what this Administration is trying…no…actually has done. Do any of the responders here who thin Heritage is wrong as well as Barton “really” think that anyone hurt by the oil spill in LA, MS or FL are going to see any of that $20 B.? Or. if they do, they are going to get as much (or any quicker) as they would if they took BP to court?

    15. C.D. Lamberth says:

      I can't believe some of the posts I'm reading here! Are none of you people familier with a document called THE CONSTITUTION of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?! Are we already that far gone? If you can't see the problem, then perhaps the coming slavery IS right for you. God bless courageous patriots like Joe Barton, and Mark Levin! God help America!!!!!!!!!

    16. Ft Smith says:

      Negligent homicide would be the correct charges from my point of view, x11! The company forcing employess to perform tasks and forgoeing all the safety checks, is negligence on their part. The fact that 11 people died from this negligence makes it homicide on their part. NOT simply criminal negligence. There is a huge difference. As far as the White House and the Obama administration, I am sorry, but this appears to be the most corrupt administration ever. I do not trust the president or anyone associated with him!

    17. Dorothy, TN says:

      What;s $20 billion compared to 10 TRILLION but a drop in the bucket. Where did I get the 10 Trillion figure. Look up "Crime Inc." The Chicage Climate Exchange is estimated to be worth that IF the US passes the carbon trading bill known as Cap and Trade. BP is a backer of this bill because there is the potential for major money to be scamed from us. We are in very real danger of loosing all of our freedom folks. Wake up. Govt Control our health care, finances and energy.

    18. SW, NC says:

      I totally agree with WJ – We have courts for a reason. And another thing, I do not believe it is right to make BP pay for anything that is related to the moratorium. That was Obama's decision (against many) and he should take FULL responsibility for that decision.

    19. Pam Dale, UT says:

      Shakedown? sure, but more important – when will the money be disbursed to the king’s cronies?

      We need to send men and women of principle to Washington before it’s too late – constitutional conservatives – so crap like this doesn’t keep happening.

    20. Tony says:

      There is fairness and proportion to the $20 billion. If I spilled a barrel of oil that ruined my neighbor’s lawn it might cost me $2000 to make it right. BP has caused ruin to millions of its “neighbors”, so the cost is proportionately higher.

      Of course, corporations have limited liability, which has allowed them to avoid accountability for many sins. However, in practice, corporations cannot always be afforded the rights of citizens without sharing the responsibilities.

      It’s called pushing your luck. BP pushed its luck, and how. Besides, BP has enormous piles of money, part of the loot the global oil oligopoly squeezed out of us these last few years.

      Unfortunately, we never learn. After the Gilded Age of the 1890s, it took two world wars, a great depression, and the failed experiment of communism to convince Western society that civil and labor rights were important.

    21. Juanita, FL says:

      Of course it's a shakedown, look at their track record, shakedowns, protection racket, thug tactics, they are Chicago thugs and the unions and corporations they are in bed with, BP & GE included, act the same way. I will never vote Democrat. I may have to vote RINO but I will never vote democrat. Independent means nothing, it means they don't know what they believe in and don't get involved to make changes or demand better. There is a huge difference between the Dem and Repub party. The Dem party is based on lies from the get-go (just look at what they claim is their history), hypocrisy, massive and nests of corruption, attacks using b.s. race card and other b.s. tactics, etc., now taking over by progressive/communist anti-Americans who want to takedown our country and constitution and individual rights. Then the dems have the gall to question people in the private sector, when their hands are dirtier and they would go to jail if they did same thing in private sector.

    22. Mark Devall, Houston says:

      I agree that he should have been apologizing to the American people, but I think his point was made well. I wish there were more "leaders" in Washington willing to stand up for what is right. I support Joe Barton and The Heritage Foundation 100%.

    23. Juanita, FL says:

      Funny how some think corporations are greedy and to do shakedown on them is okay, yet they say nothing about greedy govt stealing from their employers, each of us the American citizens and shaking us down. They are indoctrinated by the biased media and the libs into making corporations as the bad guy. It is none of anyone's business, not even the govt's how much money a corporation or their employees make, however they can be sued or have to pay fines or for things like clean-up or whatever, and if truly too greedy they lose customers or go out of business. It is mine, and our business how much our employees, the govt. and those that work for the govt, make and how much their greedy and corrupt hands steal from us and what each does or doesn't do. Our founders broke us away from Kings and Queens.

    24. Pingback: Hey GOP, Back Off Barton! | Gregg County Republican Party

    25. Scott says:

      Remember the howls from the left how America’s values were trampled on when 3 terrorists who planned the killing of 3000 innocent people had their heads dunked in water? Why aren’t those same people whining about how our values are being trarmpled on when a President coerces a private company to pay the lost wages of deepwater oil rig workers who are out of work because of an order from the President. Private property rights are being violated.

      It’s not like the government has the power to force private citizens to use their private property to buy health insurance.

    26. The Elephant's says:

      From what I have read, BP has been paying claims promptly. They have said repeatedly that they recognize their responsibility and intend to pay all the costs. Obama has been trying to show that He IS in charge. A US President can certainly bully most anyone into doing what he demands. Firing the CEO of General Motors was a clearly improper action, as was taking over the company. We have bankruptcy laws that have been developed over time to deal with such situations.

      BP is fully liable. The demand that BP rescind their dividends is highly improper, and simply demonstrates the president's unfamiliarity with business. There are unexpected consequences from Obama's hubris. Overseas companies are already deciding that they do not want to risk investing in the United States. This has been a deplorable accident. We do not yet know whether BP did something wrong accidentally or carelessly. I would rather they were working assiduously to clean things up, save the coastlines and stop the spill than spend time and money lawyering up.

    27. susan, new orleans says:

      Even the E-trade baby can figure this out. I'm from New Orleans; I grew up vacationing on Grand Isle's beaches and eating osyters and crabs from there …. Joe Barton was at the very least — moronic — to support BP in any way or even give the "appearance" of supporting then — and at the most, he revealed himself to be a typical white, overweight, republican who needs to GO. Where are the young, progressive Republicans who will take the party into the current century? He and Jeff Sessions look like aged leprechauns.

    28. Tom Long, Madison,Pa. says:

      Firstly,the President does not have the constitutional authority to make law,only to enforce the law.
      Secondly,if this administration insists on mob tactics,then it must accept the legal consequences. Criminal negligence and malfeasance must be addressed and investigated.

    29. David, TN says:

      I agree that BP is somewhat liable for the spill. Of course, the government is the regulator of offshore drilling as well as the one that has forced companies to drill offshore. I do think that there was intimidation by the Obama Administration. Obama did not show up in the Gulf for days, reportedly turned down the Dutch 3 days after the spill for skimmer equipment that would pump into supertankers. Obama, in general, is a very poor President!

    30. Greg, Tucson says:

      … And, besides “shaking down” BP, He(Obama) now want $50 billion more for public employee unions, $23 of that going to teachers’ unions. Talk about “preferred recipients.”

    31. merl renton, wa says:

      how was he right? Obama asked BP to put money into a fund to clean up their mess, he didn’t force them to. they could have said no.

    32. KSterling, VA says:

      When was the trial? Did I miss it? Because I thought damages were only awarded after an impartial judge determined liability. Not saying BP isn’t guilty, but our Administration is just as guilty for approving substandard construction and safety procedures – Obama’s Administration is the one that ALLOWED BP to do this. Furthermore, the money should NOT be going to a govt. fund, headed by a lawyer, that will eat up half of it in overhead; it should be going directly to the recipients. And yes, Holder WAS standing there with a bat in his hand – he’s already threatened BP with criminal litigation, even though there is no evidence that they broke laws. This is another power grab for a crooked Administration, just like when they handed over billions of dollars of GM assets to the unions, assets that belonged to stock holders and that the unions have no business owning. It’s also designed to take everyone’s attention off the fact that in the past decade, no politician has received more money from BP than Mr. Obama. So he was in bed with them from the beginning and now is trying to distance himself from them, to save his own political neck.

      There will be plenty of time for litigation later. Right now creating a litigious and adversarial atmosphere is not conducive to accomplishing the goal of stopp;ing the spill and cleaning up the Gulf. Which I’m sure Mr. Hayward could better concentrate on if he were not having to testify before Congress and meet with Eric Holder and his goons.

      This is the illusion of activity by the Administration, nothing more. It does not clean up the Gulf, it does not help the wildlife – b/c only Obama knows where he will spend that money. (Where is the oversight? The guy he put in charge of the fund is – yet again – a personal friend. Which I believe is what got us into this mess to start with.) The whole thing smacks of Chicago-style bully politics. Which, given Obama’s propensity to call out the unions to beat up anyone opposed to his policies, is all he’s good at. He certainly can’t make a decision, and he can’t lead. Of course, in his defense it’s hard to lead when you’re on the golf course (5 rounds and counting), hobnobbing with Derek Jeter, and jamming with Paul McCartney. Oh, and taking two vacations. All of which he has done since the spill.

    33. Bobbie Jo says:

      jdanenbe,

      God help those who can't or won't comprehend.

    34. Steven Knipp says:

      Your jerk kneew support of Joe Barton's moronic statement is incrediable stupid.

    35. Steve, Tucson AZ says:

      I think I’m most appalled by point #6. President Obama is personally responsible for the unemployment of thousands of oil platform workers by means of his arbitrary drilling ban, and BP gets to pay their unemployment benefit!?! Is this on top of the normal (now extended) unemployment compensation they will receive?

    36. Andrew in CALIFORNIA says:

      I agree entirely with this post. There was clearly a shakedown and when the dust settles and people calm down there should and are going to be lawsuits right and left regarding this one and Obama is going to have egg on his face. He was trying to change the subject from his failure to lead in the crisis and he ended up misusing his authority, violating due process, and infringing on property rights. He acts like a King, not a President. Everyone feels for the people in the Gulf but intimidating a corporation that thousands of middle class people work for and thousands of middle class people get dividends from to pay for a fund that you know the Democrats will give to their buddies is just plain immoral, unethical, and illegal.

    37. Bob Veigel, Arlington, TX says:

      Barton is correct. It is a shakedown. In fact, it is more serious than that, it is government extortion. Obama and his hoodlum’s should be in jail.

    38. KbSmith, Columbus says:

      It was a shakedown. And it was AWESOME!!! Sorry, but I am not going to cry a river for poor defenseless multi-billion dollar multi-national corporation.

    39. Eugene Kupstas, Kins says:

      Shakedown is the word. The only thing left for BP to do is to allow the government to run its American operations, just like GM. Just think: I use BP gasoline — because it's a "little better" than the gas at independent convenience stores — in my Chevy Cobalt — because it was the most underpriced model of car on the lot when I bought it. Now, both my car and the gas it uses will be government products!

    40. Jerry Stenstrom, Sch says:

      Reading these posts is exactly why this nation is in so much trouble. That some actually believe this shakedown by our President is somehow part of his job description. The POTUS has no authority to collect money from private companies for supposed misdeeds. And anyone who thinks this money will go to anyone who really needs it is living on another planet. This is Soviet style politics not American. I would much rather trust BP to do the right thing than Obama. They have a stake in this, its called the consumer. Treat the consumer bad and u will be out of business. Government is the unfeeling, uncaring one in this mess. They have no idea how to fix the leak, clean up the spill or who needs help. God help us all, we are truly watching the decline of a nation if we continue done Obama's path.

    41. Tenn Slim, Western T says:

      Opine

      BP was already in cahoots with the OBNA, The Spill only aggravated the alliance. Now we have the Congress show, the Oval Office "concern" and the beat goes on.

      Fact. BP will clean up, the spill will continue, the Gulf will be polluted til the first or second hurricane comes thru, and the OBNA will continue to get away with Chicago Style Governance.

      ALL this and more. Debt > GNP, FCC control of the Net, EPA control of the energy companies, Fiscal control of the stock market, and direct control of the educational funds for schools. Now, just exactly what is left. Face it folks, We are SOCIALISTs right now.

      end

      Semper Fi

      We had a chance to prevail, now it is lost.

      end

    42. Wayne Hatch, Murphy, says:

      Granted BP should pay. Given it's safety record, I'm surprised that an event of this nature did not happen earlier. Nevertheless, BP acknowledged their fault and agreed to the escrow fund. Enough said regarding BP. As for the Obama administration -"shakedown" is an appropriate term to use when you have the power but left with no coins to jingle in your pocket. What's left when you're broke. I'm sure that the escrow fund will result in more government jobs to process the claims with a good bit of it eaten up by adminstrative costs. Putting an Obama appointee in charge of the money is akin to putting a wolf in the chicken coop.

    43. Luke, VA says:

      While I don't agree that Joe Barton had to be the one to apologize to BP, what I do agree with is that this was absolutely a shakedown! Since when does a President decide to extort money from a private company? Since when can a President decide that you a consumer HAS to purchase a good or service or be fined or even jailed? Since when can a President decide that your producing too much carbon for an exposed hoax of global warming and need to pay taxes on carbon that you produce in heating your home, running your car, or even breathing? Since when does a President decide that well this guy is making too much money over here, so we are just going to redistribute that to this guy over here? Read the Constitution people, those who comment that this was a good thing. Many of us are not saying that BP should not be made to pay damages, but you have to do it through the right way, and that is the legal system. Obama is NOT the legal system, contrary to popular belief in some of these comments. He executes the law, not makes it up as he goes. When law is made by one person in a government, that is no longer a President, but a dictator! We would no longer be in a Constitutional Republic, but a Regime! Know your history people, read about China, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Germany, Vietnam and you will not miss the parallels with this current Regime in our own government!

    44. Chip says:

      Joe Barton was right. But he turns out to be a wimp but backing out of it. True the President should not be insulted but facts are facts, aren't they?

    45. Disheartened, Wichit says:

      How many times must the whims of one man supercede the rule of law before America rises up in righteous indignation? You may not be directly affected by what happened to "big corp" such as AIG, GM, Chrysler or BP, but if you don't speak out against what happens to these private entities and others to come, who will speak out for us when they are swallowed up and they come for us? Justice is equal protection of the law, and America is crying out for it.

      Do you notice a pattern of outspoken Joe's here? Joe the plumber, Joe Wilson and now Joe Barton are all Paul Revere's in my book. They warned us.

    46. JAMES LONE, NEWBERRY says:

      If a hugh company such as BP can be coerced, what chance do the"little people" have in the scheme of things. Too bad the lawmakers can't be coerced into a slush fund to compensate us for the misery they cause.

    47. Amy, MA says:

      Hayward himself said this was not a shakedown or a "slush fund". He and his company WANTED to do this; it's a smart PR move.

      Nobody thought this was a shakedown until the idea was planted, so now that means it definitely was? Was Barton in the room, too? How can you trust a man who's only defending his biggest interest (not the American people)?

      "'As we said yesterday, the fund is a signal of our commitment to do right to ensure … everyone who's been impacted by this is kept whole,' Hayward said. 'That is what I've said from the beginning of this, and that's what we intend to do.'" — thehill.com

      Some keywords from Hayward above statement: "signal", "ensure". The company is desperately trying to save face; they make a lot of money off of Americans, and I'm sure they do not want to chance losing it any more than they already have. A verbal agreement between Hayward and Obama does not amount to a shakedown/extortion, no matter how badly you all want it to!

    48. Daniel Jenkins of Ve says:

      Pretty sad that we live in a country that will do everything judicially for terrorist and will fore go the process with a company that supplies millions of dollars to their government and hundreds of thousands of jobs that support the families of their republic.

    49. Dave - Illinois says:

      Interesting comments, all. What I would like to point out, which the original author of this particular piece seems to have missed, is that if you REALLY truly believe that the President of the United States has committed extortion, YOU have a legal remedy. SUE him. If BP believe that they were shaken down, they have a legal remedy: SUE him. (Funny, the CEO of BP didn't seem to think he was shaken down, but conservatives that weren't even in the room DO. Speaks volumes, truly.)

      So somehow I have a feeling this is a WHOLE lot of smoke and no fire at all, and no one will actually take up that wholly legal remedy, because everyone defending the foreign entity here instead of supporting ruined American livelihoods is so ideologically bent out of shape, they know they're wrong and the law really is on the side of the POTUS and the American people.

      I also find it truly hysterically funny that conservatives are constantly calling this President impotent and has no leadership and such, but suddenly he's magically transformed into the Godfather overnight with this BP fund, and can "shake down" people at will.

      Well, which is conservatives? Is he an impotent leader, or is he a Mafia boss? You can't have your name-calling both ways – he's either one or the other.

    50. lindley,NY says:

      This is ridiculous, I am so sick and tired of Obama playing the victim. He has done NOTHING to help the American people and the people trying to survive on the gulf. There have been plenty of offers made to help or aid with the clean up, as a matter of fact there have been a total of 13 offers. Our "great and all seeing" president has done nothing but ignore and decline offers. I don't understand why people are so blind and unaware people {not everyone] but people believe everything that comes out of this man's mouth. Can we not look at what the consequences of the actions made by this administration and come to a REASONABLE conclusion, well I will tell you. Obama has his own agenda and motives for his statements and actions, which is not in the best interest of our country or the American people

    51. Danny Witmer, Sydney says:

      There is not even remotely a constitutional issue here. The President requested BP put aside these funds and they agreed to do so. Precisely which provision of the const. is violated in this series of events? This raising of a phoney constitutional issue is total idiocy.

    52. Jim - Ohio says:

      TO BOBBIE: RIGHT ON, RIGHT ON, RIGHT ON. OBAMA IS NOT AN AMERICAN. HE IS DESTROYING US, AND HALF OF US ARE TOO

      STUPID TO SEE IT. THEY WILL THOUGH WHE THEIR PROPERTY

      IS CONFISCATED, AND THEY WILL BE TOLD WHERE AND HOW TO

      LIVE, AND RECEIVE A GOV'T CHECK AND WORK WHERE THEY SAY.

      COMMUNISM…….IT'S COMING. BUT I WILL DIE FIRST, AND TAKE A BUNCH

      OF THESE A-HOLES WITH ME.

    53. Andrew Zimmerman Jon says:

      The comparison to the Godfather really undercuts the valid points of this argument. This deal might be overstepping boundaries a bit, but there's one major difference between this and a "shakedown" – it seems that BP actually did something wrong. If I read the analysis correctly, they have the option of fighting it out in court, a fight that is almost guaranteed to end in their bankruptcy, but in that scenario everyone loses … BP, their investors, their creditors, the Gulf region, the fishermen, and the American taxpayers. This agreement is a political win for the President, gives BP some much-needed PR, helps secure some additional funding for the clean-up efforts, and appears to be well within the parameters of the law.

    54. Pingback: » Financial News Update – 06/18/10 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    55. Pingback: Joe Barton is Right: There Was a $20 Billion Shakedown in the White House | Get Out of the Stands

    56. Pingback: Conservatives agree with Joe Barton about BP and the ’shakedown’ - Michael Roston - Newsbroke - True/Slant

    57. Bobby, TX says:

      Barton was right.

      Barton did not say that the government should pay for the cleanup. Nor did he absolve BP from damages or liability.

      What he said (poorly) was that the executive branch of government has no constitutional authority to force BP to put money into an escrow account.

      You have a branch of the government, with no constitutional authority to do so, forcing a privately owned company to put shareholder money into an account to cover unknown damages.

      Under our constitution, only the judiciary has the authority to do that. And, ONLY after they have been tried and found guilty.

      BP, however, is stepping up and paying for a lot of the damages and cleanup without waiting for lawsuits to be filed.

      Legally – constitutionally – they don't have to this. They could let the government and states pick up the tab and wait to be sued – then they could tie it up in appeals for the next 20 years.

    58. steelerfan, CA says:

      Barton was right. The govt had no right to demand this. BP has not ONCE since this all started done or said ANYTHING to give the impression they were not going to be liable and pay for this. Not once. They have been trying to fix a horrible situation – no small part having been created by the restrictions and regulations forcing them out that far/deep in the first place – since day one. I'm not a huge fan of the company but anyone with common sense can see the vilification going on is ridiculous. The fact of the matter is ALL of the necessary actions which would have prevented most of the damage from reaching our shores were prevented by our government. BP did not say no the Dutch. BP did not refuse booms, etc that have been sitting around waiting to be used. BP did not ignore Governor Jindal and others asking for help. AND BP is not keeping the current ships from arriving by throwing out MORE red tape. The government did. BP has been trying to "plug the damn hole." This "shakedown" was just that and just one more way to make BP the enemy and the government appear strong thereby deflecting it's own responsibilities to this catastrophe.

      To see the Republicans buy into these tactics and turn on Barton tells me they are behaving no better than the Dems – no big surprise anymore. Pathetic.

    59. Pingback: Democrats on Joe Barton’s oil spill comments: "It’s not the end of this" – Washington Post (blog) | Find a lawyer

    60. William Bowen Sacram says:

      If this where a sane country the Chief U.S. Marshall would have arrested both Obama & Holder for extortion, but unfortunately this is not a sane country anymore.

      We have the Chicago political mob & various other lowlife running this government, and they do not care one wit about the Constitution or the rule of law. Obama is doing a great imitation of Hugo Chavez or Fiedl Castro every day,land if we don't get rid of this thug and his retinue at the first opportunity we'll not longer have the United States of America.

      I'm glad Rep. Barton had the courage to say what he said, and I'm totally disgusted with the House Republican Leader & the Whip for their conduct towards Rep. Barton. Both of them should be removed from the leadership positions immediately.

    61. Lacie Leibowitz says:

      I think Joe Barton was absolutely right about a shakedown. If BP didn't come through with the money to compensate the people badly effected by the oil spill and repair and clean up money the courts are the proper venue to address that not the White House with the President and the Attorney General breathing down their necks making threats no doubt.

    62. Klaus says:

      I agree totally with your statement this was a shake down and the President owes the American people an apology for the way he acted with BP. The President is after any dollar he can get.

      My question is they cut the pipe and they cut it low. Why couldn't they crimp the pipe and stop the oil flow. They wouldn't be getting as much oil out of the pipe as they are now and why wasn't this discussed with BP. Seems Obama wants to talk money and not how to stop the oil leak.

    63. Pingback: Conservatives defend Rep. Barton’s suggestion that Obama administration shook down BP | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

    64. Danny Witmer, Sydney says:

      Too many people here seem to be repeating brain dead Foxnews talking points. No-one was forced to do anything. BP agreed to put the money aside of their own volition and because it's ultimately in their own best interest to do so. The govt made a request and BP agreed. No legal or constitutional issues are relevant here at all – if you imagine that they are, then specify which law was broken or which provision of the const. was violated. The answer is: none. The reason conservatives don't like this outcome is simple: because it's good for the country and good for Obama and therefore bad for conservatives and republicans. People like Barton and those on this thread who whine about this are in a tiny fringe radical minority.

    65. Van, CA says:

      Hardball? Yes.

      Shakedown? No.

      Unconstitutional? No.

      According to a June 15 editorial at oilprice.com citing an article the same day in the New York Post, the President has the legal right to yank BP's oil rig leases. Also, a moratorium on new leases might give BP an advantage against competitors going forward.

    66. Teresa,AZ says:

      And the corruption of The Chicago Way Style of governing continues. Freddie and Fannie, AIG, GM, Wall Street Reform, BP, Health Care, and now Cape and Trade. It's like a horrible movie playing and the American people just watching it as it goes and can't do nothing about it. The people that we elect that is suppose to be protecting us is celebrating, eating, partying, and laughing all the way to high life style with our tax dollars and our livelyhood is being destroy (lost of our homes, jobs, and now food sources). In the meantime, we are a nation that is so in debt because of the spending. It is so so so sad! Hey! America the next chapter to this horrible movie continues Immigration Reform next. Immigration Reform that will really seal the deal to ensureing this king will surely have more time on his throne to really change America. Sad, so so so SAD!

    67. Betty O'Dell Es says:

      I heard a solar flare that starts three days before an earthquake or volcano has been recorded by NASA. There was one before Haiti, Cuba, and the Iceland volcano. They gave figures for the past twelve years stating all these happenings..

      Was there a solar flare before the oil spill and is that what is causing the huge air bubble that makes the eruption so hard to work near?

      I would appreciate your help in these facts.

      Sincerely, Betty O'Dell

    68. Robert Pike, Fremont says:

      I think Joe Barton was right. The White House had no right to "force" in any way getting monies from BP. Joe Barton is a good person, a fine Christian, and is only supporting those who have helped him (Oil Companies and fellow Texans)). What more could you ask of a fine representative of the people.

    69. Cricket - GA says:

      It is totally unbelievable the remarks on behalf of B.P. Their own emails prove that they went against industry standards, and they were the victims of their own foolish ways. Where in the Consitution does it rally for foreign enties to destroy our land and waters. I think it says something about protecting against them. Good for the president, he should get every bit of financial aid to help us pay for this unfortunate situation. You all should be happy it is not coming out of your pockets. However, if you want to help B.P so much, you can donate your personal funds to the people of the Gulf. Also who is going to sue our government … B.P? This is a company headquartered in another country, who wants to keep Rights to be here, … your comments are senseless. You should all be ashame of yourselves even if you have B.P. stock, the welfare of our fair land should come first. I encourage people to continue to buy B.P gas and use their products, not because they are the only oil company, they truly are not, but because I want B.P to remain a viable company. I want THEM to pay for the clean-up and restoration of all the areas that are and will be damaged because of the problems they have caused.

    70. Jackson, Denton, TX says:

      Excellent Juanita, FL. Allow me to just tack on one comment:

      Knock off the chest puffing, hollow threats, rhetoric, political posturing and plug the DANG LEAK using ALL available resources, foreign and domestic.

      We already have a cease and desist order on off-shore drilling. I guess that means we are in a "safe zone" for now?"

      We can haggle about the details of retstitution and retribution once the DANG LEAK is stopped

    71. Pat, Florida says:

      I also agree that BP went to a shake down in the white house. I feel there might have been ways to approach this, get a fund and not to have broken the law, but not with the current group. Everything they do is attached to a bribe or threat, and although this president seems to think he can break the law as a privilege of his office, he is equal in the eyes of the law and should stand trial just like anyone else would. I am not saying BP is not partly responsible for this as is the president and MMS. And right now, I am growing weary of a group of Washington politicians playing the blame game and politics as usual when we have a monumental problem on our hands and virtually nothing has been done about it for almost 60 days now. I might also add that these same bafoons are impeding the attempts to address the problem at the state level (and that can't be blamed on BP). The total ineptitude of the administration can't be blamed on BP. Not enforcing the regulations, so this didn't happen to start with can't be blamed on BP. The loss of wild life, beaches, wet lands and preserves filled with oily goop for not accepting the expert help we were offered by 15 countries and not writing an executive order to bypass the Jones Act instead of protecting the unions can't be blamed on BP. Instead Obama put together a board that has only one person who has the type of degree needed to actually understand what needs to be done and this fellow's degree is in the wrong field, so explain what help these environmentalists etc are going to do except perhaps to help Obama push for cap and trade. But Obama shouldn't worry, right? He should just go play golf while the people and governors in the states being destroyed work to try to overcome this without the federal government's help and yet Obama has told us countless times that he is in charge hasn't he? What is he in charge of? Impeding the clean up?

    72. James, Oak Ridge, TN says:

      Many people posting here do not seem to understand that the President simply cannot arbitrarily seize or extort money from a citizen or company he's accused without due process of law. That's for the courts.

      The President may also not spread a particular company or citizen's wealth around to satisfy claims of his judgment, at his sole discretion and pleasure. That's unseemly.

      Should the President, on his wisdom and pleasure, order citizens–corporate or otherwise–accused of any crime, be punished without trial, and their assets seized without adjudication of the facts? Even murderers are innocent until proven guilty, and deserving of fair trials.

      Those are the issues.

      In the meeting Joe Biden reportedly told BP "You have no choice. If you don't agree, we'll force you." Meanwhile, they've ordered that BP be criminally investigated. That is, they themselves have accused BP of a crime, and now seek payment before trial. That's a shakedown.

      It doesn't matter if strong-arming BP is expedient, it's illegal.

      Joe Barton was right.

    73. Charles E Pehl, Hous says:

      If it looks like a duck. quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, the

      prudent individual can safely assume it's a duck. Joe Barton just

      spoke truth to power!

    74. Martha Sanz, El Paso says:

      All you you who think what happened between BP and the President of the U.S. was a "shakedown" should be brought up on charges of treason.

      BP is a foreign-owned company who should be held acountable and who should pony up the money before there is no money to be had. No matter what our President does, you will be against him – NO DOUBT.

      Barton is an embarrassment to the American people and especially the people of Texas. He should resign but first he should be dunked in the Gulf of Mexico for good measure.

    75. Martha Sanz, El Paso says:

      Joe Barton is a traitor and in the pocket of the oil company. pure and simple. He is a traitor and should resign immediately. This goes for the rest of the republican boneheads that agree with him.

    76. nik lovey says:

      right on heritage…(although for the life of me i cant figure out how to actually ask heritage a question)

      joe barton was right!…now with video…hat tip to steve malzburg (wor ny).

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0SxyikXxtc

      notice the words forced.

    77. Pingback: Shakedown or buyoff? | Occam's Aftershave

    78. Pingback: Gulf Spill Update: Confusion Reigns Over BP Compensation Fund | Cycaster News

    79. Nathan, Norman OK says:

      I am surprised by the amount of ignorant comments on this blog, but maybe I should not be. People are allowed to have their own opinion, right up to the point where they elect a dictator then they can have the ones he permits.

      The rule of law means that everyone, guilty or not, is not deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law. The Supreme Court of the United States says that this requires notice and an opportunity to be heard by an unbiased legal entity, ideally a judge and jury. When the president of the U.S. and the country's highest prosecutor call a company in and say "pay 20 Billion dollars or we will look for ways to punish you," that is a taking of property without due process. If you cannot wrap your mind around that, you have no understanding of the rule of law.

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