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Barton and the BP Shakedown: Tragedy of the First Proportion

Republican Joe Barton (TX CD 6) apologized to BP for the Whitehouse shakedown requiring them to set aside 20 billion dollars for claims related to their huge Gulf oil spill. The apology came during his opening remarks as ranking minority member on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce .

“I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House,” Barton said today as a House Energy Committee panel began a hearing on BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Due process wasn’t followed during negotiations between BP and administration officials, Barton said.

From June 15th, Barton has this on his home page of his official web site:

I would stipulate, Mr. Chairman, that BP has caused this particular problem. I will also stipulate that the gentlemen before us are a big part of the solution. But if the president of the United States has got a better idea about how to solve this problem right now, he can pick up the phone and tell BP exactly what to do. It is a federal issue, in terms of the mitigation plan, in terms of the cleanup plan. If there’s anybody from President Obama on down who really knows the solution, and you can stop that oil from spilling right now, by golly, all you have to do is pick up the phone and tell them what to do. You’ve got to know exactly what to do and you’ve got to have the engineering and the technology available to do it.

snip. . .

Now, I agree with Chairman Waxman that having a 500-page document that’s a cookie cutter approach on what to do when you have a problem is not an answer. You can’t have a contingency plan that says, ‘cross your fingers’ and hope the blowout preventer works. And that was the contingency plan.

It was a given that Barton’s hearing comments this morning would spark a firestorm. BP has been successfully demonized by the President and they have been an easy target with their missteps and ill-considered public statements. Still, one has to ask, where does the Executive branch get its authority to intimidate, bully and shakedown a private company? What about due process? Even the worst criminal is entitled to his day in court.

Even this nutcase that interrupted today’s hearings will get due process:

I am sure the above fruitcake is praiseworthy at universities around the world.

Truly, BP is the most hated company on planet Earth. Heck, maybe they’ve earned it, but would you like for the boot to be on your neck?

The champions of the little people want in on the ass-kicking and they want in on the billions of dollars to be had. They want it for themselves and the Democrat party that empowers them.

. . . . . . . . And here comes the propaganda from the Whitehouse:

“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.”

More blowback and wishful thinking: here . . . here . . . and here.

Obviously the Republican leadership stepped up to defend Barton and echo his concern for the administration’s dictatorial tone? Right? Republicans believe in the rule of law and hate political lynchings. Right? Sorry, they wimped out again.

No, the Republican leadership just couldn’t find the courage to support Barton and what he really said . . . which was the administration was out of line to extort money. It should be up to the courts and the lawyers— due process and the rule of law —to settle claims against BP. Of course the latest “taking” and bullying from our Statist in the WH is really nothing new. Obama has become very practiced at it and has gained confidence from his successful bashings of Bank of America, the auto company bond holders, the AMA, NRA and others. Take a deep breath. Did you catch the rotten stench of a new Il Duce rising in America?

Well, there had to be someone to put all this in perspective and from whence it came is no surprise:

Pejman Yousefzadeh, Attorney and blogger: It is politically impossible to defend BP these days. But the notion that representatives and senators — who helped run up extraordinarily high budget deficits, and a national debt as far as the eye can see — can talk down or condescend to anyone is truly laughable.

To Representative Barton, I say you are decent man, Joe. I am sorry you were forced to make an apology for your apology. I am sorry the Republican leadership is gutless and I am even more sorry that my congressman, Michael Burgess felt he had to pile on. He will hear about it from me and plenty of other Texans in the 26th.

Joe, you know it and I know it. Other people know it. You had it right. There is a criminal in the Whitehouse.

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