Oil: The New Tobacco

John Gapper,writing in the Financial Times about Obama’s arm twisting-of BP to put $20 billion into an “escrow” fund:

It has echoes of the 1986 tobacco settlement in which industry paid $246bn to states following legal action by their attorneys-general. Only 5 percent of that money was spent on tobacco-related initiatives with Virginia, for example, investing in higher education, fibre optic cables and research into energy…Willie Sutton, the robber, sagely observed that he raided banks because that was where the money was, and US politicians know this lesson well.


The tactics of Congress and President Obama against BP are reminiscent of tort lawyers, who are big funders of the Democrats.

Longtime Democratic Party operative James Carville said: “It looks as if President Obama applied a little old-school Chicago persuasion to the oil executives.” Heritage observes that “making ‘offers you can’t refuse’ may be a great way to run the mob, but it is no way to run a country.”

As Glenn Reynolds said this morning, “Let BP fail if its liabilities exceed its assets — don’t turn it into a government-controlled slush fund.” As Glenn also notes, “the vilification of tobacco companies was really just about extracting a settlement that let greedy politicians get their hands on a stream of tobacco cash — which was then not spent as the politicians had promised.”

I think there is little question that Obama and his congressional supporters intend to extract large sums money from BP and other corporations and indeed to use these billions as slush funds, with large amounts of money directed toward favored interest groups in an effort to ensure perpetual reelection.

Obama is a machine politician, wrapped in a veneer of idealistic platitudes to lull the politically unaware and encourage the useful idiots in their idiocy.

3 thoughts on “Oil: The New Tobacco”

  1. It is frightening to me to see how the law is ignored and Obama and his supporters are forming something of a lynch mob. The purpose, of course, is clear. Obama has blown the early handling of the oil well blow out. His administration turned down offers of help that might have seriously mitigated the damage. Governor Jindal has been unable to get federal permission to build sand berms to keep the noil from the marshes of his state. Now, they have begun to ignore the feds and build the berms.

    How can Obama get that story off the news ? The lynch mob seems to be the strategy. Today, a REpublican Congressman had the courage to say he was ashamed of the way BP was treated. Furious reaction followed from the White HOuse, which is much better at campaigning than governing. Worse, the Republican leadership has now attacked Congressman Barton and forced him to retract his comments. Fortunately, they are out on the wires and cannot be recalled. At least someone showed a concern for the rule of law.

    The GM seizure and Chrysler bailout were blows to the law of contracts. Now this continues the trend. No wonder Obama likes Hugo Chavez. We are closer to Venezuela than we like to think. At least trial lawyers follow the law and lose if they don’t. These actions are extra legal.

  2. The slush fund can come as surprise or disappoint only to people who don’t know America. American intellectuals, academicians, publishers, reporters, editors, politicians, et. al. have openly praised Castro, Ortega, Chavez, Allende, and the like for decades.

    They are the people they have been waiting for: corrupt, lawless, avaricious, selfish–-they will govern as they see fit. No law can restrain them; the law is their will as expressed through their governors, not words on paper (which are means by which one class expresses its class hatred and justifies its persecution of its enemy classes). I cannot recall the last important American, public intellectual to praise liberty, freedom, and the Constitution. (Certainly not Dewey, Mills, Marcuse, Zinn, Chomsky, Beard….)

    When the socialist son of socialist is voted into office by them and their dupes, how else would he govern? He governs by the dreams of his father: as a Big Man, a Caudillo. The people will be lucky if $2 million is used for its actual purpose: the rest will be used to create, strengthen, and arm the political machine for the final dismissal of the Constitution. This is our Augustan age. The beginning of the end came when rich sons could buy Senate seats in small states (e.g., Rockefeller) and the republic ended when rich wives could buy Senate seats in big states (e.g., Clinton).

    In the third generation hence, people will name their children “president,” as people named themselves and their children “caesar.”

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