Will Compares BP Escrow Fund To Venezuelan Confiscation Of Industry And Repeats Economist's 'Vladimir Obama' Slam

George Will claims that there is no defense of BP and their terrible safety record and says of course no one wants to make apologies for them when ask

George Will claims that there is no defense of BP and their terrible safety record and says of course no one wants to make apologies for them when asked about Joe Barton's remarks during the Congressional hearings last week. Then naturally he proceeds to play water carrier for the company and slams the Obama administration for getting them to set up the escrow fund, comparing it to something akin to Hugo Chavez nationalizing the oil industry in Venezuela.

TAPPER: George, I want to start with you. I know you don't agree with what Republican Texas Congressman Joe Barton had to say, but does the idea of this $20 billion escrow account make you uncomfortable?

WILL: It does. Look, there is no defense of BP which has an execrable safety record in this country, from the refinery disaster in Texas in '05, the Morris Slope leak in '06, all of that and so no apology from BP. But if you don't want to live in a Northern Hemisphere Venezuela, you ought to be a little queasy about the fact that a president, any president of any party, using raw political power, without recourse to courts that exist for this sort of thing, under laws, with due process, essentially confiscates $20 billion from a publicly held corporation, about half of its shares held by Americans, to be dispensed, again, with out judicial supervision, as the political branch sees fit. That is worrisome. Even, they have even said that BP maybe held responsible for the lost wages caused by, not BP, but the administration's own moratorium, six-months moratorium, on deepwater drilling. Which maybe more costly to the economy of the Gulf than the spill itself.

Later in the segment Will quotes Shakespeare and compares the President to Caesar and then reads from an article in The Economist which blasts Obama as being “Vladimir Obama”.

TAPPER: Rahm Emanuel seemed to really seize on those Barton comments almost as if President Obama were on the ballot this year, for the 2010 midterms, running against Joe Barton. Democrats argue that Barton's comments are not really out of Republican mainstream. And here are some comments from the Republican Study Committee, in the House; 114 members of the Republican Party in the House saying: "BP's reported willingness to go along with the White House's new fund suggests that the Obama administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been born out of this administration's drive for greater power and control." George, it seems like mainstream Republican thought, if that is from the Republican Study Committee?

WILL: Well, among those asking, upon what meat doeth our Caesar feed that he has grown so great?, is "The Economist" of London, which I think we have all accept as a mainstream publication. They say, in a section of their lead editorial, called "Vladimir Obama", "The collapse of BP's share prices suggest he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding. If the president does not stand up for due process he will frighten investors across the board. The damage to Americans environment is bad enough, the president risks damaging the economy, too." That's not a partisan outfit, "The Economist".

Phoenix Woman at FDL has more on that. UK, US Tories and their Media Circle their Wagons to Protect BP:

The intense propaganda campaign to protect BP at all costs is heating up. The wagons are being circled and the propaganda flows like a busted oil well.

The current meme in the Tory community, both here and across the ocean, is that Obama’s an evil Brit-hating Socialist out to destroy business.

But this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Tories on both sides of the Atlantic, and the media organs that prop them up (the Economist, Torygraph and Daily Hitler Worshippers in the UK, FOX News et al in the US) have been doing everything in their power to shield the poor ickle BP from the oil-soaked pelicans coming home to roost.

One favorite meme: "BP is at death’s door because of you American meanies!" Erm, not exactly: Shares of BP actually rose nearly 10 percent once the deal to set up a $20 billion escrow fund was reached. Read on...

As the Columbia Journalism Review article that the FDL post linked to noted in their title The Economist Off the Deep End on BP and “Vladimir Obama”:

The normally sober Economist has gone off the wagon here.

First, it knows better than to “suggest” what “the markets” think. Second, that blew up in its face rather quickly. Instaputz points out that BP shares soared 10 percent on news of the $20 billion fund.

Most importantly, you have a giant oil company that cut corners while drilling a mile-deep well, killed eleven people, and sprung a hole in the ocean floor that’s gushing an Exxon Valdez-size spill every four days. The company has consistently lowballed the amount of oil it’s spilling (remember the 5,000-gallon barrel days?), and has caused an environmental and economic disaster in the Southeast United States. It’s a true national emergency.

...First, there’s that “investors seem” thing again. But the Economist’s spin here is obnoxious. If anything ends up ruining BP, it will have been its own actions. Go read this The Wall Street Journal piece for a look at the company’s negligence.

And BP should have to pay for all the associated costs of its actions, not just the actual bill for cleaning up the oil. These are known as externalities (an economic concept the business press doesn’t seem to grasp, but which a magazine calling itself The Economist very well should) and they will be very, very costly. Read on...

That of course didn't stop "very serious" Villager George Will from quoting their hackery and calling it "mainstream". And just one more note on This Week and their choice of guests. It's bad enough we've got to endure George Will's nonsense week after week, but we have to put up with the likes of Greta Van Susteren, Liz Cheney and Laura Ingraham as well. Are they worried that Fox isn't giving them quite enough air time?

Full Transcript via ABC News.

TAPPER: George, I want to start with you. I know you don't agree with what Republican Texas Congressman Joe Barton had to say, but does the idea of this $20 billion escrow account make you uncomfortable?

WILL: It does. Look, there is no defense of BP which has an execrable safety record in this country, from the refinery disaster in Texas in '05, the Morris Slope leak in '06, all of that and so no apology from BP. But if you don't want to live in a Northern Hemisphere Venezuela, you ought to be a little queasy about the fact that a president, any president of any party, using raw political power, without recourse to courts that exist for this sort of thing, under laws, with due process, essentially confiscates $20 billion from a publicly held corporation, about half of its shares held by Americans, to be dispensed, again, with out judicial supervision, as the political branch sees fit. That is worrisome. Even, they have even said that BP maybe held responsible for the lost wages caused by, not BP, but the administration's own moratorium, six-months moratorium, on deepwater drilling. Which maybe more costly to the economy of the Gulf than the spill itself.

TAPPER: There is a separate $100 million account for those out of work-

WILL: Yes.

TAPPER: -workers who work for those oil rigs.

MARTIN: What a shock, I'm going to disagree with that. (LAUGHTER) (CROSS TALK) Well, there are two questions here. Does the president have the authority and is that an appropriate use of his authority. And I credit George, it might not be an appropriate use of his authority. But we interviewed a number of environmental lawyers this week who say there are any number of statutes which give the president the authority to do this. And he didn't bypass, of course, BP still has access to the courts. They can challenge this at any time, they can challenge liability. And frankly, the question I have is this a ceiling or a floor? I mean, there is a reasonable argument to be made that this represents a ceiling for their liability. The president also went on the record as saying that he doesn't want BP to go away. That it is in the interests of this disaster for BP to continue as a company, as an ongoing entity. TAPPER: He said this was not capped at $20 billion, though.

MARTIN: Well, yeah, but I think you could argue that it becomes the argument for a cap. It is not legal cap, and so again, they can argue over that. The courts have not gone away. This is the means by-the president has the authority to do this and if he doesn't I'm that the courts exist to address these claims.

TAPPER: Richard, I mentioned that Rahm Emanuel, his famous quote about not letting a crisis go to waste. And they are meeting on energy policy with members of Congress on Wednesday. Do you think that the administration is seizing this and not letting this crisis go to waste.

HAASS: So far, no. They have not seized it. And I think that was the biggest weakness of the president's address the other night, from the Oval Office. It wasn't what he said, it what he didn't say. It was very thin on the policy side. The United States uses one out of every three gallons of oil in the world that are devoted to road transit. We have got to cut that back. And what I would say that argues for a much more ambitious escalation of so-called CAFE standards, of mileage standards. Secondly, the administration seems obsessed with long-term alternative fuels and the problem it, it is long term. We need to do something about the short and medium term. What I would suggest, we have that answered here at home, which is natural gas. You don't hear those words mentioned a lot, but natural gas is competitive in price, it is incredibly omnipresent, now, in the United States and it is very good for the environment. So instead of thinking about 30- or 40-year solutions we really need to think about the near term.

TAPPER: Greta, the congressional hearings with Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, testifying provided a lot of good theater and obviously a lot of good powder for Rahm Emanuel. What was your take on that?

VAN SUSTEREN: I thought it was great theater, but that is all it was. I mean the whole idea of Congress, who-let's back up. I mean, I agree with George, and everybody else here. BP is horrible. In fact, I even think they go off easy at the White House, at $5 billion, they could have paid $7 billion in shareholder dividends.

TAPPER: $5 billion a year.

VAN SUSTEREN: $5 billion a year. Yes, I think they go off easy to start with. But the idea that Congress, who has the obligation to oversee the Department of Interior, who has the obligation to oversee MMS, and they are sitting there and for all these years they have let BP cut corners, create risks, do a cheaper way of trying to extract this oil from deep down in the Gulf floor. The idea that all of a sudden they are scandalized by what was going on BP. Why weren't they checking up on the Department of Interior, and MMS? We hear these scandals out of what they were doing. That sort of the scandals, whether it is pornography, or getting too chummy with BP, but then Congress the gall to sit and point fingers. They, themselves, ought to point fingers at themselves. It doesn't let BP off the hook. BP is horrible. But I thought Congress was only grandstanding.

TAPPER: Rahm Emanuel seemed to really seize on those Barton comments almost as if President Obama were on the ballot this year, for the 2010 midterms, running against Joe Barton. Democrats argue that Barton's comments are not really out of Republican mainstream. And here are some comments from the Republican Study Committee, in the House; 114 members of the Republican Party in the House saying: "BP's reported willingness to go along with the White House's new fund suggests that the Obama administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been born out of this administration's drive for greater power and control." George, it seems like mainstream Republican thought, if that is from the Republican Study Committee?

WILL: Well, among those asking, upon what meat doeth our Caesar feed that he has grown so great?, is "The Economist" of London, which I think we have all accept as a mainstream publication. They say, in a section of their lead editorial, called "Vladimir Obama", "The collapse of BP's share prices suggest he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding. If the president does not stand up for due process he will frighten investors across the board. The damage to Americans environment is bad enough, the president risks damaging the economy, too." That's not a partisan outfit, "The Economist".

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