Texas Republican Representative Joe Barton enraged a lot of people yesterday when he apologized to BP for the $20 billion relief fund President Obama demanded the company establish to compensate victims of the Gulf oil spill, calling it a “shakedown.”

“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,” Barton told BP’s CEO during hearings before Congress about the oil spill.

What an idiot! It should come as no surprise that Barton has received more campaign money from big oil corporations than any member of the House of Representatives  for the last ten years. Barton has received at least $1.4 million from the oil industry since he took office. He may not know much about oil on beaches, but this self-serving SOB definitely knows which side his bread is buttered on!

Of course, in typical political tradition, when even his own party turned against him after his comments, and threatened to take away his prized post as chairman-in-waiting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Barton issued an immediate retraction, saying “I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident. If anything I said this morning has been misconstrued, in opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction.” Then he issued a written statement that added, “I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House this morning, and I retract my apology to BP.”

And people actually have reelected this snake to office since 1985? No wonder our country is so screwed up, with people like this making the decisions that affect us all! Can anyone actually believe people like this have anything but their own interests at heart?

As upset as so many people are with Barton for his comments, I’d think the oil industry is really pissed off about his retraction. After all, they paid good money for him, and deserve a return on their investment!

Barton has also received almost $2.2 million from the healthcare industry, most of that coming from political action committees, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that he voted against the Affordable Healthcare Act either.

Now, don’t go thinking that Barton is all selfish. After all, he paid his wife Terri $57,759 in salary and bonuses, from his campaign funds during the 2006 election, according to campaign funds , for her assistance in  planning fundraising and special events. Barton does believe in spreading the wealth. He paid his daughter Kristin $12,622 in salary and bonuses, and his mother $7,000.

The Clinton years convinced me that I don’t have the sex drive for the job, but I hope that  if I ever do get so sleazy that I decide to run for public office, my loved ones would support me just because they believe I am the best man for the job. Then again, who knows Representative Barton better than his own family?

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27 Comments on I’m Sorry, BP

  1. Karen Lueck says:

    I hope he gets voted out of office, but since he’s from Texas, that may not happen.

  2. wayne says:

    Joe Barton was actually right. I think he was just trying to uphold the constitution. The government does not have the right to take anything from anybody,they have to sue to get whatever they want. I think dictators can just take or demand whatever they want. Guess we may be closer than we think to having one.

  3. Fred H says:

    Nick, I along with my wife Wilma, agree with your article 100% on Barton. I was “set back and in shock” when I read the AP article about what he said. Wilma watching TV when Diane Sawyer broadcast the speech by Barton and others, and also was in shock on what she heard. I just can’t accept his apology as once you say something in public you CAN’T take your words back.
    Thank you for enlightening us on the amount of “compensation” he has received and gave to his family members. What a disgrace to even associate him (Barton) as an American!
    I only hope that the people from the State of Texas wake up and vote this SOB out of any political office. If not then shame on them!

  4. Paul Stough says:

    This is the just latest example of the old saying, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

    Also, this is exactly why if “we the people” are ever to take back control of our country, we must revert to the definition of a “person” under the Constitution used before the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. Up until that time only individual human beings were considered “persons” under the Constitution, and therefore, had the right “petition their government for redress of grievances”.

    This right “petition our government for redress of grievances” is the basis for the lobbying industry, and since the Supreme Court has subsequently ruled that money is “free speech”, is why we find ourselves in the predicament that we are in today.

    What this guy said was fairly outrageous, but support for various industries usually shows itself in less obvious ways by virtually all politicians!

    The health care bill that you spoke of, in my opinion, would have been a much better bill, had the politicians not had to kowtow to the lobbyists for the health care industry in putting the bill together.

    BTW, I believe that President Obama received some $77,000 from BP in his presidential bid, and the Democratic Party received some $2,000,000 if memory serves.

    As I have said before, as long as their is K Street in Washington, those of us who live on Main Street will get the short end of the stick on any legislation that is passed and signed into law, regardless of which political party is in control of the Congress and the White House.

  5. Steve says:

    Every president since Nixon has gone on TV recommending a course of alternative energy and independence from oil. Every Congress has opposed same. Money talks. Power corrupts. Any news here?

  6. Jim says:

    Nick,

    I love your sites, keep up the great work.

    But (there is always a but) I think what the federal government did was outrageous. BP (or one of it’s contractors) caused this accident / disaster without a doubt. What President Obama did to BP was change the law based on his view of right and wrong (you may or may not agree with his view). After the Exxon Valdez accident the Federal government told oil companies that they (the Federal government) would pick where they (the oil companies) could drill. The Oil companies agreed to this only if there was a cap on liabilities in the event of an accident, the Republican Congress and Democratic President agreed and set the cap at $75 Million (way to low, I agree). This is the law of the land right now. The Oil companies then did what anyone will do when working with a safety net, they took crazy risks (drilling in 5,000 feet) and the Federal government approved / demanded it. Then when the accident happened President Obama decided that he did not like the law and extorted $20 Billion from BP into a slush fund that the government gets to decide who gets paid.

    The last time this happened was when the government bailed out the auto companies and decided that the bond laws did not apply to them so that even though the bond holders had a contract to be paid first the government decided to pay the UAW.

    This government (both sides) is corrupt and should be put out of office, we have laws and are a nation of laws so let’s follow them.

    Jim

  7. Janice L. Evans says:

    Did you see the interview with the BP President, because I did, and it was a ridiculous circus in usual government style. If you saw the interview, you would understand the context of Mr. Barton’s comment. . .I would have more sympathy with oil haters if they weren’t driving the big vehicles, and limo’s, and flying on their private jets. . .until they stop all that. . .I don’t want to hear their nonsense!

  8. MichaelG says:

    You go on about illegal aliens and ask “what part of illegal don’t you understand?” Well, what the administration did to GM, to the banks, to the health care system and wants to do to BP is just ignore the law.

    It was not legal for the GM bankruptcy to put unions ahead of their other creditors.

    It was not legal to tell banks what they could pay their employees.

    It is not legal to require all Americans to purchase health insurance.

    And it’s not legal to force BP to come up with $20 billion dollars in cash for the administration to hand out to injured parties. We have laws for liability and an expensive court system for assigning these awards.

    Like it or not, that’s the law. You can change it, but you can’t change it retroactively.

    No one seems to give a crap about the law when it doesn’t agree with their prejudices.

  9. It’s a disaster. It’s BP’s fault. BP should get the problem fixed. BP should pay all legitimate claims. Everyone agrees right?

    The problem is that politicians need a new headline and a new sound bite every day. Everyone from the President of the USA to the Dog Catcher in Bayou La Batre, AL has to “do something”. They have to avoid future criticism that they didn’t do enough, or didn’t do it soon enough, or didn’t care enough, etc. And if what they do isn’t technically legal, or if it actually does no good, or even if it hurts some people, we’ll give them a pass because they were on our side, they did it for us, they had good intentions.

    It’s an emotional topic, and the politicians want us to be emotional about it because if they can unite us all against the common enemy then we’ll probably vote for them next election. Not only that, but they can take use this emotional tide to lift their other boats regarding energy policy — but that’s another whole issue.

    Happy travels,

    Mac

  10. Dave B. says:

    Don’t you think that all of this political BS is just an extension of human nature? I mean, look around at your neighbors or relatives. They are doing the same thing, lining their own pockets at every chance to get ahead!I hate to say it but that’s the American way. Why do you think these other countries call us “the ugly Americans”? It’s all about money,money, money.

  11. Here is a note we loyal Democrats received from John Kerry, ’nuff said:

    On health care, Republicans fight for Big Insurance. On the economy, Republicans fight for Big Banks. And now, on our Gulf Coast, Republicans defend the big polluters who made the mess. No special interest is beyond special treatment.

    We’re only five months away from a crucial election, and the choice couldn’t be clearer. Republicans think holding polluters accountable for this disaster is a “shakedown.” Democrats think handing corporations a free pass is simply wrong. Taxpayers, not profit margins, need to come first.

  12. Ken H says:

    MichaelG has it right. What Obama did to BP is just barely short of nationalization of an industry. Illegal is what the idiot in the WH did to BP. Shakedown it is.
    Nick, on this one, even though you are entitled to your opinion, you are dead wrong. Like a friend used to say, you are entitled to your ridiculous opinion.
    Putting unions ahead of other debt holders of GM was wrong. Putting the gov’t in charge of BP’s promised remediation will only lead us to another obamacare disaster. Name one time gov’t in charge of money has turned out right or just. You can bet the ones on the gulf that are most hurt by the spill will be the last ones in line for the money.
    People that hold BP stock, and there are a lot of them, are being destroyed by obama and his rhetoric. Until obama screamed about boots on the neck of BP, the stock was holding it’s own, Then idiot Holder screamed about criminal charges, and retirements went in the tank. How are the stockholders ever going to be helped. Betcha they can’t get in line for the obama directed payoffs from the escrow fund. Let patronage rule!!

  13. concerned in texas says:

    Ken H asked —

    Name one time gov’t in charge of money has turned out right or just?

    How about the bank holidays at the start of the Great Depression?
    How about the establishement of social security? Seems to me the gov’t got it right those times.

  14. Marnin says:

    Waiting for the courts to dispense monies to the injured party. Let’s get real. The people who have and will continue to suffer from the BP disaster will long be dead by the time all the appeals have been gone through and let’s not forget how much all the attorney’s will get. At least Obama has decided to put the people ahead just as he has in all his dealings. People will be able to get the health care that they need because of his legislation. I’m all for what he is doing.

  15. Jim says:

    Marnin,

    What percentage of money collected do you think will get to the people impacted, once the government filters out money for their special groups and you factor in waste I bet they only get 50% of the $20 Billion.

    I would put more faith in a for profit company then any government entitlement.

    I can think of only a couple of things that government does better than private industry, they are detailed in the consitution. The rest should be left to individuals, cities and states.

    First Greece, then Spain, France, UK and California….. Then the rest of the United States.

    We are doomed to repeat history if we don’t study it.

    Jim

  16. Ben says:

    Sorry Bad Nick, I can’t agree with you on this one. Obama has overstepped his authority requiring this fund. We’re lucky BP hasn’t decided to stop cooperating and let the courts sort it out.

    I predict the next lead news story will be the fraud, waste, and abuse of this fund by people who make false claims. “My shrimp boat hasn’t floated in 2 years, but BP destroyed my shrimp business.”

  17. Arley Running says:

    I see that the Government agency with 20 billion to spend is saying they will began paying claims in “30 to 60 days”. I bet folks who need money immediatly are not feeling as warm and fuzzy as the kooks who think a government bureaucrat should be in charge. BP had already written millions in checks, some on the spot. It kind of lets BP off the hook. This is the same administration that rejected offers of cleanup help within days of the explosion from countries who had both expertise and experience.

  18. Roger says:

    Nick, I don’t always agree with you, and I know that you would not always agree with me, but on this one you are absolutely right. I worry about the future of our country when companies that cause irreparable damage to our country, and our citizens, are defended by our national representatives.

  19. Marnin says:

    Sorry Jim I have to disagree. The last time the government stepped in to pay damages from the 9-11, people got paid quickly and justly. I happen to know a couple of people who received monies from the gov’t after filing a claim.

  20. Keith Walker says:

    I live on the Gulf Coast. Two of my neighbors run fishing boats and are essentially out of business. My cousin works on a shrimper and is now unemployed. So don’t tell me that BP is stepping up to the plate and writing checks on the spot, because that is bullshit.

    One neighbor was told to bring in proof of his income for the past three years. He brought in his tax returns, and even the cancelled checks from what he paid the IRS. But because his wife used one of those Quick Books type computer programs and does their taxes, they were told it was “unsubstantiated income” and their claim is on hold. Millions of small business owners do their taxes the same way, but because these good folks, whom I have known 20 years, did not pay an accountant to do their taxes, it is “unsubstantiated.”

    The other neighbor is still waiting for his appointment with a BP claims rep. He has gotten one delay after another. My cousin has a wife and three kids to fee, and is living off the charity of family and friends because no money has been forthcoming to compensate him for his lost wages.

    Maybe Obama did overstep the letter of the law, but when big companies use the law to hide behind to duck their responsibilities, somebody has to do something. And keep in mind that it is people like Barton who make the laws that the big outfits hide behind, to protect the money they get from them. How about you people who are all talking about how great BP is come down here and see what is happening to our communities, and maybe even help out, instead of flapping your lips because you don’t like who is in office. I did not like Obama one bit and was sick to my stomach when he got elected. But at least he has the balls to DO something! Not just kiss big businesses read end like Barton!

  21. Allan says:

    I think President Obama is using this tragic accident to take federal control of energy and push his own agenda. Yes BP should step up to the plate and make compensation to people affected by the oil spill but the federal government does not need to overstep the law.

  22. Dale says:

    I have one question: What law(s) did President Obama overstep when he worked to have BP set up an escrow fund for compensation of those affected by this tragedy?

  23. Kenneth says:

    Nick the people who make a living on the gulf coast are screwed for years. Fishing, recreation and so on will see reduced or no income for at least two years or longer.
    But as usual some will take this opportunity to bash our president for twisting BP arm. I don’t think the amount of funding from BP will heal the damage done to the environment or the people affected. So there will be a back room deal make on capital hill to limit BP losses. BP has spent good money for their politician and they will get a good return on their investment.
    We will continue to support people who don’t like us and corporations that don’t care for their black gold.

  24. Jill Vaughn says:

    I realy think that some of you people are so biased in your opinions that if your house was on fire and Obama was the only one around with a fire truck, you’d complain that he put out the blaze! Read your history books (if you can read)! Throughout our history Presidents have taken steps that were considered beyond their power in times of emergency to deal with situations. That’s what leaders do – they take the lead while others twiddle their thumbs!

  25. Allan says:

    What upsets me is that the President is using the gulf crisis to push his unpopular “Cap and Trade” bill and using the EPA to impose a Carbon Tax bypassing congressional legislation. That is overstepping the law.

  26. I don’t like what’s happening in the gulf any more than the next guy but what all the BP haters need to remember is that the day before that rig caught on fire the government regulators let it continue to drill. If BP really is as bad as people currently want to believe then where were the regulators the day before the fire?

    Obama’s actions are all about obfuscation – this is a convenient opportunity for him to label BP as a scapegoat to take the public focus away from his abysmal record as a president. Looks like its working but at the expense of the credibility of the office.

  27. JC says:

    I agree all of this is bad, but the fact of life is that it is not going to be fixed for several years to come. I would start a new career even if I had to move somewhere else.

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