Thursday, June 17, 2010

President Obama Holds BP Accountable for their Oil Spill! Meanwhile Wacko Republicans Barton & Bachman make Fools of Themselves Apologizing to BP!

President Obama announced Wednesday that BP will set aside $20 billion for an escrow fund to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as the oil firm’s chairman publicly apologized for the disaster and said the company will not pay out any more dividends this year. While the nation applauded our President for holding BP accountable for their disaster, a few Republicans made idiots of themselves.

Republicans Joe Barton (TX) and Michelle Bachmann (MN) apologized to BP saying it was a "shakedown." Barton, who has a long record of backing oil industry interests, APOLOGIZED to BP CEO Tony Hayward during congressional hearings saying, (see the video at minute: 1.35) "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." Incidentally, Barton has received more than $1.5 million in campaign donations from the oil industry, according to Open Secrets, a nonpartisan watchdog group. Barton's and Bachmann's insane comments have outraged both Democrats and Republicans alike.
Barton has back-peddled from his outrageous comments and offered a very milk-toast apology saying his comments were "misconstrued."
From the Congressional Hearings Today re: BP and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster:
The Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig was:
1. Registered in the Marshall Islands. The Marshall Islands allows the owners of vessels flying its flag to pick their inspectors from among the private organizations that perform such services.
2. Owners paid taxes in Switzerland.Transocean, the company that owned the rig, was officially headquartered in Switzerland in order to avoid U.S. taxes.
3. The rig was built in Korea.

However, the burden of disaster recovery fell to the United States, "the country that didn't get to build the rig, that did not inspect the rig, that did not get the taxes for the rig is responsible for recovery."

Meanwhile, Martin Sullivan, contributing editor of Tax Analysts, has calculated just how much money Transocean saved by avoiding U.S. taxes. The grand total since 2002: $1.88 billion. Sullivan writes that Transocean is in reality headquartered in the Houston area "but moved their legal domiciles first to the Cayman Islands and then to Switzerland to avoid U.S. tax." Sullivan outlines two ways Obama could roll back the tax breaks to Transocean and other oil service companies. And he concludes that "eliminating future tax benefits for expatriate corporations in the oil industry would be consistent with the President's goals of tilting tax benefits away from fossil fuels and of raising revenue by suppressing aggressive tax avoidance by U.S. multinationals using shell companies in tax havens."

Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House transportation committee, nailed it when he said things need to change. "My view after this tragedy is that we need to Americanize the vessels operating in the US economic zone," he said. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) had just concluded: "I think most of us would like to see every ship that operates" in the Gulf "is American flagged, American staffed and American built."

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