Thursday, May 27, 2010

Boycott BP!

Although I haven't blogged about the BP oil spill here, most of you probably know my thoughts about it. Of course, nobody is in favor of an oil spill, right? But then there are lunatics like that crazy libertarian Rand Paul, whose position is basically "shit happens, lay off of BP."

So we get eleven oil workers dead. The largest oil spill in U.S. history getting larger every day. The Gulf of Mexico (and even the East Atlantic Coast) will be feeling the ecological effects of this disaster for years to come. And for you Republicans, there is an economic impact, too, as this debacle destroys fisheries and the livelihoods of people who fish and shrimp in the Gulf, or rely on the Gulf for tourism business.

BP CEO Tony Hayward is sanguine about the whole problem. The Financial Times quotes him saying, “I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”

The time to boycott BP is now.

Go here:


G said...

While a boycott might give some kind of emotional satisfaction, it would be useless. The way the oil industry works, they're pretty much insulated from anything the general public can do. Even if the entire country stopped using BP gas stations and oil products, they would just sell their oil and gas on the open market. They'd still be making their money, and you'd still be buying BP products that have simply been rebranded.

The court system is the only recourse that we have.


I just want to change the subject some though I agree wholeheartedly with your post G.

I contend politicians make things more complicated than they really have to be. One of the major issues with the current economic mess and resulting slowdown has been the incentives given to the three major credit rating organizations(Moody's, Fitch and S&P) by which they are compensated by the sellers of securities. This incentivizes the seller to make the security in question look better than it really is by hiding the real value with obfuscation. Collaterized debt obligations are inherently extremely complicated instruments with potentially hundreds of loans in one security. Now if someone is paying you to give your opinion on what they are selling, of course you want this seller to come back with more business so you are going to give the best possible review you can and maintain your reputation. Right now we have many movie producers who are not giving movie reviewers a chance to review movies beforehand because of the sway they hold and a pan will kill their profits. So they release the movie without any prior screenings(and you can tell reviewers just love this). They hope word of mouth will sell tickets, not a review. The same holds true with selling bonds. If a bond gets a bad review, the seller has to pay more interest to get investors interested in the instrument.

I have just read a story about the EU and their desire to regulate the rating agencies and I know progressives in this country would love to see the same. But the answer is much more simple than all the reams of regulations these entities would love to put upon the system.

If the buyers of the securities were the ones to pay for the bond rating, the rating agencies would be incentivized to make sure the buyer won't get killed(fig) and thus provide a future paycheck for the rating agency with more work. All that would be required would be a law which would make the rating agency beholden to the buyer not the seller. How easy is that?

Now politicians and bureaucrats wouldn't like this very much because the problem is solved quickly and with just one stroke of the pen(and moving on to more pressing issues like entitlement reform can't be pushed off into the distant future), but this is the leadership we need but we will not get because it doesn't involve the strong federal government taking over more of our economy.

csm said...

Seize BP!


Seize Microsoft! Seize Warren Buffet and put him in jail. Seize AIG, oh, wait a minute we already have. Seize England because they are the land of BP! Seize Germany! Seize the Republican Party because they don't believe in the right causes! Seize Siemans and all other solar panel companies so we can sell all solar panels, hell better yet, we will give them away to everybody in the whole world. Seize Arizona so we can run it the way it should be run! Seize all coastal lands of this country so we will control all the beaches! Seize any and all fossil fuel companies who do any business in this country so we can shut them down NOW! Seize and torture any and all climate scientists who disagree with us about global warming until they tow our line! Seize any and all financial companies who even had a tangential angle on the financial crisis we are experiencing now so we can distribute the monies to all the citizenry! Seize all defense oriented businesses so we can put an end to WAR! Seize all firearms so we can control everybody! Seize anybody who thinks they are an entrepreneur because you know they will end up being a pain in the ass eventually. We will seize all of these fuckers and hand them over to Washington, D.C. That is the moral thing to do. That is right and righteous! Seize China and India and Brazil and Turkey and any other up and coming country who will dare to pollute our world as they try to bring up the living standards to the level of the First World! Seize every single religious figure so we can control the message! WE NEED TO FUCK EVERYBODY IN THE ASS WHO DOESN'T AGREE WITH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF OUR THINKING BECAUSE WE KNOW THE RIGHT WAY TO DO EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME!!!!!!

Is that about right, csm? Did I go too far overboard? Did I forget anything?

G said...


That kind of comment doesn't exactly strengthen the argument that labels like statist, authoritarian, and totalitarian don't apply to the left (including the current administration).


I think you forgot about seizing the assets and enslaving anyone who ever makes a mistake that harms another. Car accident? Injury on the football field? All your assets now belong to the government.


I knew I was forgetting something. Thanks, G.

The judicial system is the venue for this situation, not the unwashed masses. And look at it this way, csm, all the corporate propaganda BP pointed at us(those TV commercials telling us how green BP had become)is all down the toilet now. BP's share price has taken an extreme haircut as will their profits. And don't think those shareholders won't put management's feet to the fire. BP isn't getting off scot free; they will be paying for this for a long, long time. Many still think of the Valdez when Exxon is brought up in conversation.

csm said...

Yes, yes, yes. That is right. I am nuts, I am authoritarian. Bullshit and fuck you both. Look at what happened to all of the good folks who were fucked in the ass by Exxon after the Veldez spill. It took 20 years to get anything for people whose entire livelihood was destroyed by corporate malfeasance. And it will happen in the gulf, too, as BP fucks the good people who earned their living there - right in the old corn hole and no lube for them either. BP (and other oil companies) get tax breaks from our government to drill and then they mame obscene profits. The least we can do is make sure that when they are nigligent that they pay (out of their obscene profits) the people who they fuck over. That does not make me statist or totalitarian, and if you are too fucking stupid too see otherwise, then fuck you.

And Bawdy, here is your side of the argument. Everybody is on their own and if that big company wants to spill shit on your house then get out there and lick it up with your tongue you stupid idiot. Corporations rule, we love them, they can screw us every which way to Sunday and they can discriminate against you because of your skin color and you just sit there and take it because that is what liberty is all about.

C'mon, man, has the Arizona sun bleached all the intelligence outta that skull of yours?


That just goes to show you either don't read my posts or don't remember them.

The post you linked to was all about the overt takings of private property of one(or tens of thousands, the BP shareholders)only to give it to others WITHOUT due process. That just ain't the American Way.

Do you think BP (or better yet the contractor running the rig that exploded) wanted this to happen? No, I don't think you do. It was an accident. Was it preventable? Maybe, maybe even probable. But where was the regulatory agencies of the federal government in all this. There are plenty of articles on ProPublica about the laxness of the federal government in this situation. Maybe you ought to read some. Because this is your answer to our problems, more federal regulation. I think we should tighten up our regulatory agencies, rotate front line agents more often and better yet let the states handle more of the regulatory load. Who do you think would be more likely to come down hard on a wayward company, some bureaucrat in far away Washington or a Louisiana or Alabama regulator who on their day off goes fishing in the Gulf or has a cousin who fishes for oysters for a living? You could counter that the higher ups in state government might overlook someone like BP because they employ many in the state, but I would counter that if this spill had happened on a state regulator's watch and there was malfeasence, the chances are much better the state regulator cools his heels in the state pen than some federal bureaucrat does. The press in all 50 states loves to uncover stories like these, especially if it is Big Corp plus State Gov Numbnut vs. the Little Guy.

"BP (and other oil companies) get tax breaks from our government to drill and then they mame obscene profits."

I am on record here and at Freethinker's that I am against any and all corporate welfare. It is not right to have the federal government pick winners and losers. I do not believe in farm subsidies(most of which ends up at the large farming conglomerates, but even if it didn't I am against them) or corporate bailouts. I am not a huge fan of the mortgage interest deduction even though I benefit greatly. I have posted that Bears Stearns should have been allowed to go into bankruptcy instead of the Fed brokering the deal it got(I just forgot who bought them, was it BofA?)I am on record as giving large multi-national corps a choice between doing without subsidies and tax breaks and becoming a more responsible corporate citizen or cutting the ties and become an international entity which could do whatever it wanted wherever it wanted. I am on record as saying Citizens United was a bad decision when it comes to public(stockholder owned)companies(private American companies and political non-profits, unions, et al should have no restrictions). I have posted countless times that big corps are not what make this country great, it is entrepreneurs. So maybe you need to go back and read these posts or talk to your doctor about an Alzheimer's test.

"The least we can do is make sure that when they are nigligent that they pay (out of their obscene profits) the people who they fuck over."

That is where the courts come in. That is all we are saying. We prefer the court system, you seem to be advocating vigilantism.

"...and you just sit there and take it because that is what liberty is all about."

No, no that isn't what liberty is all about.

G said...

Wow! Five f-bombs in one short paragraph. Your commitment to reason pales only in comparison to your amazing serenity =)

If seeking to seize a company without due process is neither totalitarian nor statist, what would you call it? I would think that anyone who even remotely supports freedom and liberty would at least want some evidence of a criminal act or the inability (or refusal) to pay debts and damages incurred before considering receivership.

csm said...

"This is not an environmental disaster, and I will say that again and again."
- Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) speaking about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

csm said...

Bawdy - my money would be on the Washington DC official over just about any official in my state (Texas)

csm said...

Also, Bawdy, it is those same court systems who fucked the people screwed over by Exxon after the Valdez oil spill. Your "faith" in the court system is interesting given your lack of "faith" in the federal government.

Mike aka Dragonfly said...

CSM has really lost the serenity of reason, huh?

Companies make mistakes but it doesn't mean that they have been criminally negligent. I hear rumblings of a N Korean bomb! Another conspiracy perhaps? BP does deserve blame for the initial spill but how about the last 50 days?

Some blame needs to be put on the group of environmentalist who want us to live as the neanderthals. These are the guys who keep pushing the rigs out into waters where drilling is most challenging.

And lest us not forget out Finger-Pointer-in-chief the Big O. My initial impressions of his less than stellar leadership skills are on full display and his destiny as carter II is being fulfilled quite admirably. I don't think we have ever been more divided and lacking in leadership as we are today.

Send in the clowns er uh I mean attorneys!


"Bawdy - my money would be on the Washington DC official over just about any official in my state (Texas)"

Why is this? Would this be true if Republicans were running everything in Washington?

"Also, Bawdy, it is those same court systems who fucked the people screwed over by Exxon after the Valdez oil spill. Your "faith" in the court system is interesting given your lack of "faith" in the federal government."

I have plenty of "faith" in government at any level when it is in proportion with the rest of society, when their incentives are in the right place and when individual liberty is the core of said institution's mandate.

What I find interesting is your propensity to ditch liberty and the right to private property when your political hackles are up. Speak of gay marriage or immigration, we generally are on the same page. When it comes to shareholders and religious leaders, we become political enemies. I am not polyanna enough to think we would agree on all subjects, but the divergance can be quite large. Libertarians have problems with both major political camps, but one thing we do not lose sight of, and both camps do one occaisions which fill their needs, is the upmost importance of individual freedom we are supposed to enjoy in this country. On that libertarians do not waver.


NPR and ProPublica are teaming up for a batch of special reports about the failure of the Dept. of Defense to take care of the burgeoning cases of brain injuries soldiers have received in these last two illegitimate wars. This leads me to wonder how the benevolent people running our federal government can drop this ball considering how every fucking politician(NPR had audio of candidate Obama pontificating about brain injuries and how he would make sure all soldiers get the care they deserve)vernerates the ones who make the "ultimate sacrifice" for our country. Every chance they get we hear about these sacrifices. It is about to make me sick. These fuckers put our soldiers in these asinine situations with poor planning, shitty equipment, stupid objectives and with no end in sight only to fuck them in the ass when they can't fight anymore(if Obama brings home the men and women fighting in these wars in the time frame promised, I will be very surprised). This is your federal government at work, csm. The one you want to solve our problems. The one you trust with everything we hold dear. And we can't even keep our promises to our soldiers.


"The Fox is Guarding the Hen House": Arianna Huffington on the Folly of Reg Reform
Posted Jun 10, 2010 08:33am EDT by Aaron Task in Newsmakers, Banking
Related: BP, AIG, MEE, XLF, FAZ, JPM, GS
Final negotiations on regulatory reform begin Thursday and House-Senate conference committee chair Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has set a "very aggressive schedule" for the reconciliation process, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday.
That's all well and good but "everybody knows" the bill, "would not have prevented what happened from happening" had it been on the books in 2008, says Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. Reg reform "doesn't deal with too big to fail, and everybody knows dealing with too big to fail is at the heart of dealing with systemic risk."

And furthermore, Wall Street has "thousands of lobbyists in Washington making sure the bill that will emerge from conference is going to be full of loopholes," Huffington adds. "It's really a little bit the fox is guarding the hen house."

What's true for re-regulating Wall Street is also true of regulation for the oil and mining industries, Huffington continues. "These regulations are so full of loopholes, and the people in charge are often lobbyists or part of the revolving door," she says. "This is really why you have that sense of being in a Banana Republic. If you are well connected, you just get away with anything."

Although AIG, BP and Massey Energy each showed patterns of "egregious" and "alarming" misbehavior before their respective disasters, "these violations and these fines don't mean anything," Huffington says. "Paying a fine - it's just the cost of doing business. It's the equivalent of paying bribes in the third world."

There is an answer to this fucking question and it is called ... Anti-Trust.

csm said...

Pleased with BP's $20 billion compensation guarantee for the gulf... not sure that will be enough, but willing to forgo talk of seizure now.


I am three quarters through a report authored by Matt Waldman with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard called "The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship Between Pakistan's ISI and Afghan Insurgents". The basic thesis is that the Pakistan intelligence apparatus is still helping the people we are fighting in Afghanistan and they are doing it with the money we send to Pakistan. So in effect we are paying for the execution of our own soldiers. Stratfor has written for years about the ties between the Taliban and the ISI, but this is the first time I have seen the financial tie between our monetary support to the Pakistanis and the funding of the Taliban. We need to get out of Afghanistan right now, before the BP oil leak is capped or sooner. It is no wonder we have lost any cachet with the rest of the world. We are fools.


Even though this site seems to be dying a slow death...

The Nation(magazine) has been reporting for awhile, and has an addendum published yesterday, that homegrown Afghan security companies contracted with the Dept. of Defense for security services(protecting supply convoys, mainly)are funneling US funds to the Taliban via an old fashioned protection racket, you pay us protection and we won't attack your convoy. When you add this money to the reported monetary(US money) support the Pakistan ISI is handing over to the Taliban our Clown-in-Chief looks just that. This is just the thing which will change the thinking of all those Afghans we are trying to win over to our civilized side. This is a lost cause and the government knows it.

Even though I find his music excremental, Kenny Rogers', "Know When to Hold'em" should be playing in all federal government buildings in Washington until ALL US troops are home from Afghanistan. Besides the truth of the song, maybe it will drive the feds crazy and they will lose their delusions of power and step down. Here's hopin'.....

G said...

It does look like csm has pulled the plug on it. No new posts for over a month. It was entertaining while it lasted.

... unless you want to continue talking to yourself, Bawdy, to keep it on life support.


I just might. Freethinkers ended the same way, but that last thread had hundreds of entries.

Craig S Mullins said...

Sorry for the lack of posts, but life has kinda intervened. I will be back and will post some new stuff eventually... but I do understand that folks may not stay around in the mean time... again, sorry for the lack of activity.

G said...

No need to apologize. Life happens. I wouldn't expect this blog to be a particularly high priority for you (or anyone, for that matter). It's mostly just a coffee shop counter where a handful of us gather to debate life on occasion.

I'll continue to check for posts. You need your nemesis.

Aggelos said...


csm said...

Thanks G... a nemesis is probably too strong of a term! How about "differently-minded conversationalist/web buddy"?

G said...

That's definitely a nicer way to put it. Nemesis probably is too strong. I just couldn't think of the right word to describe our verbal banter with the correct degree of mutual annoyance.

That's what I get for avoiding English Lit like the plague in college.

Of course, now that Bush is long gone and Obama is sinking like a stone, I suspect we might start finding a little political agreement here and there.

csm said...

Sorry, although I do find issues on which I fault Obama, I don't agree that he is sinking like a stone. I know his approval ratings are dropping, but at this point, I'd be surprised if he is not re-elected in 2012 (although that is a long ways off and much can happen between now and then).