Social Question

Dr_Dredd's avatar

What do you think about the politician apologizing to BP?

Asked by Dr_Dredd (10535points) June 17th, 2010

Representative Joe Barton (R, Texas) apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward during the hearings this morning. He states, “I’m not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself, but 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… I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize.”

Do you agree, or do you think Rep. Barton is out of line? Should a private corporation be held accountable for its mistakes?

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71 Answers

Qingu's avatar

I don’t understand in what universe Barton lives where BP shouldn’t have to pay for the damage it caused.

Seaofclouds's avatar

“During his political career, the industries that have been his largest contributors were oil and gas ($1.4 million donated), electric utilities ($1.3 million) and health professionals ($1.1 million)”[29] (Source) I think that explains it all right there. He’s only worried about keeping his contributors happy instead of worrying about all the people that will be hurt from the oil spill.

The corporations need to be held accountable for their actions and inactions (in cases where a failure to act leads to problems).

Coloma's avatar

Meh…just words…is he leaving the country that he is so ashamed of?

Uh huh.

Bottom line…a bunch of finger pointing and useless words is not going to do anything to remedy the situation.

Words are pointless..it’s a fucked up scene and all that can be done is to move on and focus on the monolithic cleanup efforts.

Shit happens…it’s already the past…move on and keep the focus on the what isness of what is.

The potential for these kinds of eco disasters are high, we all use oil, sooooo…...none of us have a leg to stand on and all of us are pointing crooked fingers methinks.

I have nothing but compassion for the whole situation, people, the planet, snd yes…even BP itself, and certainly wouldn’tt want to be the BP CEO anymore than I’d want to be the president or an executioner.

All pretty awful posistions to be responsable for.

BoBo1946's avatar

he is dumbass! he should always avoid driving through the state of La!

Qingu's avatar

@Coloma, it’s nice that you feel compassion, but BP is nonetheless responsible for paying the people who’s livelihoods were ruined by the accident it failed to prevent.

dpworkin's avatar

It should be fun to watch him try to back off it. He has already tried to apologize.

Cruiser's avatar

He certainly doesn’t seem biased or in bed with BP as he really ripped them pretty good for neglect and a leak up in Alaska in 2006. Personally I think it was a misguided attack on Obama more than anything.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Private corporations must be held accountable for their errors as well as for their malfeasance, just as a doctor should be held accountable for errors of skill or judgment. Not to do so opens the door to all sorts of sloppy practices and behavior.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Cruiser I don’t know. That article you linked says he stated, ” “Years of neglecting to inspect two of the most vital oil pipelines in this country is simply unacceptable,” said Texas Rep. Joe Barton in prepared remarks to the committee, which has broad investigative powers.”. It sounds to me like yeah he was telling them that they’ve messed up, but that he was also more concerned about how important those pipelines were (meaning if BP didn’t take care of them, they’d lose out on the oil from them and thus money from the oil).

SebastianUllmark's avatar

I think that Mr. Representative is way out of line. Sure, I wouldn’t want to see political pressure on all crimes, but this is a mistake and an error that has catastrophic effects on the environment in this area. I think it is totally reasonable that BP is to be held accountable for the damage they’ve done. They’re in a business where small errors can end up in huge disasters, the responsibility is theirs to handle. I know, that in America more than anywhere, a company is considered to be no more but it’s creator (legally), and thus it should be treated as such. That’s why I understand why he apologized, again however, there is a line you pass.

bolwerk's avatar

He’s a Republikan from Texas. Who the hell do you think owns him?

ragingloli's avatar

Was he also sorry for when Toyota was put through the same thing?

tinyfaery's avatar

@bolwerk took my answer. What a shock…not.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Agree with pretty much everyone. I think he’s a tool.

janbb's avatar

Just whom did he think he was pandering to with that statement? Tony Hayward?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@janbb I suspect he was grandstanding/pandering to the conservative base.

janbb's avatar

Yeah – I guess we are not supposed to hold any big corporations responsible in a true free market world.

Cruiser's avatar

@Seaofclouds You are probably right about that asTX oil tycoon T Boone Pickens has been a huge supporter of Joe his whole political career and has taken such a shine to him to go from donating just $250.00 to his campaign in 1995 to $2,000 in 2004 for both his primary and general election campaigns. Follow the money!

mammal's avatar

Perhaps he is trying to apologise for America’s insatiable and inconsiderate abuse of oil…or maybe the deliberately woeful regulatory regime, or possibly the typically crass xenophobic approach to a company that pays more tax in the USA than Britain. Who knows, however It’s kind of like the police apologising to the pusher, it doesn’t get any more corrupt.

robmandu's avatar

@Qingu, I don’t think anyone would claim that BP has no liability here. Nor that they shouldn’t pay restitution and fines as well.

But what’s weird is that the President of the United States approached a private corporation and extracted money from them. Whether through extortion or simple force of will, it’s not something that lies in the powers of the executive branch.

There are appropriate venues for bringing an entity to justice, pay fines, etc. Obama’s approach is not one of them.

Perhaps the thinking is that BP deserves whatever damage is gets? That’s just another way of saying the ends justify the means.

Coloma's avatar

@Qingu

Never said they’re not liable…just an unfortunete mess for all involved, most messes are.

Coloma's avatar

“Preventable accident”...?

That’s an oxymoron. lol

‘Accident’ implies something random and unforseeable, therefore, by the very nature of the word, unpredictable.

This is where negligence comes into play.

Who knows.

BoBo1946's avatar

“Oh, and the heads of the five families — we call them ‘oil companies’ — testified before Congress today. It was billed as ‘the tarballs versus the slimeballs.’” –Jay Leno

BoBo1946's avatar

Anyone know how the government is going to by pass the law on $75 million for damages caused by an oil spill? A law that was made in 1990 after the Valdez oil spill!

http://www.southernstudies.org/2010/06/caps-on-oil-spill-liability-create-incentives-for-spills.html

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@BoBo1946 I love Leno!!!!

BoBo1946's avatar

yeah, he is cool dude!

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Dredd just noticed we have almost the same amount of points!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@BoBo1946 I know. You’re quickly catching up to me. :-)

Trillian's avatar

A fucking nipplehead whose mouth is open when it should be shut.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Dredd just gave you lurves on several comments so you could pass me…a real team player! loll

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@BoBo1946 Much obliged! :-)

janbb's avatar

Is “nipplehead” the word du jour? I’ve read it twice on Fluther today!

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Dredd i’ve given you several but they don’t show up on your total…of well!

robmandu's avatar

@BoBo1946, Fluther has a cap on the total number of lurve you can award to any individual. After that, their count of GA’s increase, but their total lurve score does not.

Qingu's avatar

@robmandu, what would the proper avenues be for collecting damages from BP and paying the people whose lives are currently ruined by the disaster?

@Coloma, “preventable accident” is not an oxymoron. Did you not learn about safety in fifth grade?

It’s fairly well-established that BP took a large number of dangerous shortcuts in building the well, had no response plan for such an accident, and that a lax and corrupt regulatory apparatus let them get away with it. It was not an act of God.

Coloma's avatar

@Qingu

Point taken.

I never implied it was an act of God.

Negligence is still not an accident…so if we are going to roll with semantics…negligence would be the best suited word. ;-)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I believe his apology says more about Rep. Joe Barton and with whom he is in bed than anything else.

The insistence by the Executive Branch that BP set aside funds to begin to meet their financial obligations shows a commitment to fairness and justice to the victims of the spill that we would likely never see from a Republican White House.

@Coloma Thank you for reminding us all what accidents and what they are not.

The term is grossly misused!

CaptainHarley's avatar

Relax. Obama’s just trying to salvage his ratings in the polls.

ragingloli's avatar

so predictable. no matter what obama does, the the right wing will slam him for it

janbb's avatar

@CaptainHarley And what would you do for the thousands of people who have lost their livelihoods due to the negligence of a multi-national corporation?

Coloma's avatar

While I have tons of empathy I also know that the nature of life is change.

I am not saying that these people have not been dealt a harsh blow, yes they have..BUT…how is this really any different than Enron or the bursting of the real estate bubble or…?
( Add your own mass crisis )

It is a shame, it’s sad, it is a time of great stress, but….every last one of us lives with some measure of uncertainty.

Bottom line…shit happens…but we all must find a way to do what we need to do to carry on.

I know several people that have lost their homes and retirement savings and are starting over in their 50’s & 60’s….none of us escape this possibility, it is only the ‘how’ that remains unpredictable.

We have upped the ante in this post industrialized world of ours, but all of these situations are really just modernized versions of the proverbial plague of locusts leveling the field.

Qingu's avatar

@Coloma, no, they’re not.

Plagues of locusts are natural events. They happen without human agency.

This oil spill was not a natural event. It could have been prevented. The reason it happened is because BP was negligent.

If an architect builds a house poorly and without regard to safety, and then it collapses on you and kills your whole family, is your response going to be “well we all live with some measure of uncertainty”?

dpworkin's avatar

@CaptainHarley will someday astound us all by thinking before he posts, but not today.

Coloma's avatar

@Qingu

You are misunderstanding me.

I am not saying sweep the ashes of negligence under the rug.

I AM saying that due to humankinds ‘evolution’ over the past 100 years or so, these sorts of ‘accidents’ are becoming the ‘natural’ outcome of our UNNATURAL post industrial revolution.

Our unnatural need to provide for the teeming masses is, absolutely responsable for these unnatural disasters.

These sorts of situations are becoming a natural part of the consequences of such gross exploitation of our resources.

Cause and effect at it’s finest.

I use the plague of Locusts analogy as a parable of these ‘modern’ times.

Mankind drew in the locusts with their farming revolution way back when, and now, we are drawing disasters of global consequence via our ‘farming’ of resources in areas that were never before accessable throughout history.

I am also pointing out a truth, regardless of cause…the old adapt or die mantra.

We have made this bed and now we get to lie in it while it burns.

In this respect we ARE creating ‘natural’ disasters from unnatural acts.

Pretty? No.
Sad? Yes.

Surprising…hardly.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@dpworkin

What? No tirade about my earlier post on this thread? Must only be when I post something you don’t like. : P

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I don’t think it’s a shakedown. Who else is going to make them take responsibilty for what they did? BP still hasn’t done anything. It sets a bad example for people to let BP just make commercials saying “we’re so sorry” and that be the end of it.
I believe in a free market and that people have a right to make as much as they want. But when it becomes a national disaster and, after 2 months, still have not done anything but shell out some money, I’d like the govenment to take some action.

dpworkin's avatar

Definitions of tirade on the Web:

* a speech of violent denunciation
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* A tantrum is an emotional outburst of ill humor or a fit of bad temper wherein the ‘higher’ cognitive functions are unable to stop the emotional expression of the putative ‘lower’ (emotional and physical) functions. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirade

* A long, angry or violent speech; a diatribe; A section of verse concerning a single theme; a laisse
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tirade

You have an inflated idea of your own importance. Who would waste a tirade on you?

Nullo's avatar

I think that it’s fair. As I understand it, BP promised at the outset to cover all the costs of this operation. No need for the Rez to be rude.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Dredd see, you past me! loll

CaptainHarley's avatar

@dpworkin

OMG! You can actually use the dictionary! You have cut me to the quick! Argggghhh! : D

dpworkin's avatar

You, sir, seemed to be in need of the dictionary. I merely provided you with the assistance.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@dpworkin

Oh, THANK you! You are so kind! What would I EVER do without you? : D

ItsAHabit's avatar

No shakedown (and that’s what it was) of BP was necessary. BP had long ago stated that it would fully compensate those who were injured by the accident. The extortion was done for political gain and multitudes have fallen for the transparent ploy.

Representative Barton simply told the truth. In politics, that can be a dangerous thing to do. Clearly, our leader doesn’t do so and it pays of for him.

dpworkin's avatar

@ItsAHabit So, it was acceptable to you that a huge multinational corporation was nickle-and-dime-ing mom-and-pop fishery businesses while preparing to issue a multi-billion dollar dividend,, but it is unacceptable to you that the president ask for and receive a locked-down escrowed commitment under a special master so that the Gulf Coast businesses could survive. And yet in another thread you excoriate the president for not having done enough. I guess you are one of those fair-and-balanced people.

ItsAHabit's avatar

I repeat. No shakedown (and that’s what it was) of BP was necessary. BP had long ago stated that it would fully compensate those who were injured by the accident. The extortion was done for political gain and multitudes have fallen for the transparent ploy.
Representative Barton simply told the truth. In politics, that can be a dangerous thing to do. Clearly, our leader doesn’t do so and it pays of for him.

dpworkin's avatar

You just repeated your non-factual original statement. I guess you’ve got nothing.

bolwerk's avatar

@dpworkin: it’s a habit

janbb's avatar

@bolwerk Lurve-smurk.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Dredd excuse me..passed me! lol

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@ItsAHabit and his fellow Republicans know that we can always trust multinational and national corporations to keep their promises and act in the public interest.

We foolish sceptics distrust self-interested corporations and insist on safeguards to make sure the public is protected. Shame on us!

ItsAHabit's avatar

Dr. Lawrence. I’m not a Republican. Just an independent thinker who looks objectively at the facts and doesn’t distort things through partisan glasses.

dpworkin's avatar

@ItsAHabit Here on Fluther we prefer to have our “facts” backed up by citations from reliable sources. Perhaps you would like to back up some of the statements you have made recently, because as far as I know they are non-factual. This interferes with your credibility.

ItsAHabit's avatar

dpworkin. I’ve posted the same number of sources on this opinion matter as you have.

dpworkin's avatar

As I said before, I see you’ve got nothing, and can be safely ignored.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Arrogance and a total lack of humility, coupled to insistence that others provide sources when one is unwilling to do so himself… yep, must be a liberal. : )

dpworkin's avatar

@CaptainHarley I have to provide a source that @ItsAHabit posts crap?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@dpworkin

What makes you think I was speaking to you??

dpworkin's avatar

Propinquity.

CaptainHarley's avatar

More like hubris! : D

Qingu's avatar

It’s always adorable when Republicans who parrot Republican talking points and brainwashed by Republican propaganda claim to be Independents. I understand that’s part of the PR nowadays.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’d show you my Libertarian Party card, but I don’t have a copy of it yet. Sorry to disappoint. : )

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