This post originally appeared on Balloon Juice. This should surprise no one:
The effort to stanch the vast oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was mired by setbacks on Monday as state and federal officials feuded with BP over its failure to meet deadlines and its refusal to stop spraying a toxic dispersant. The oil company had indicated that it could stem the flow of oil on Tuesday by trying a procedure known as a top kill, in which heavy fluid would be pumped into the well. But on Monday morning the company’s chief operating officer said the procedure would be delayed until Wednesday. At the same time, BP was locked in a tense standoff with the Environmental Protection Agency, which had ordered the company to stop using a toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit by Sunday. But BP continued spraying the chemical on Monday, despite the E.P.A.’s demand that it use a less toxic dispersant to break up the oil. The company told the agency that no better alternative was available.

At a news conference Monday in Louisiana, state and federal officials continued to hammer BP over its response to the spill.

“BP in my mind no longer stands for British Petroleum — it stands for Beyond Patience,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. “People have been waiting 34 days for British Petroleum to cap this well and stop the damage that’s happening across the Gulf of Mexico.”

“What we need to tell BP,” he added, “is excuses don’t count anymore. You caused this mess, now stop the damage and clean up the mess. It’s your responsibility.”

It’s a really tense stand-off. The EPA told them to stop, and BP told them to go piss up a rope. Sternly worded letters will follow.

BP is just acting rationally, if you ask me. They’ve looked at the landscape, realize that even if they get sued for a shitload, the courts will strike it down as unfair, and they know they have nothing to fear from the government because both parties are littered with politicians they’ve completely paid off, and they know damned well that one major party wants to get rid of the EPA and the blue dogs in the Democratic caucus would join them, so they have no reason whatsoever to listen to that agency. Basically, the rational decision for any corporation in this country is to do whatever the fuck you want, because there simply won’t be any consequences. They have a lot of shareholders who will look the other way, a country desperate for oil, politicians completely in their pocket, and they can afford better attorneys than the poor bastards who used to catch shrimp in the Gulf.

That is just how it is in an oligarchy. And I honestly don’t know what can be done about it.

This post originally appeared on Balloon Juice. Atrios, the other day, describing this story about the toxic dispersants (symptoms at high doses: headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems) being poured into the gulf by the ton to break up the oil slick: Nick Kristof, today:
The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies. The cancer panel is releasing a landmark 200-page report on Thursday, warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health. I’ve read an advance copy of the report, and it’s an extraordinary document. It calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals.
“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.” Industry may howl. The food industry has already been fighting legislation in the Senate backed by Dianne Feinstein of California that would ban bisphenol-A, commonly found in plastics and better known as BPA, from food and beverage containers. Studies of BPA have raised alarm bells for decades, and the evidence is still complex and open to debate. That’s life: In the real world, regulatory decisions usually must be made with ambiguous and conflicting data. The panel’s point is that we should be prudent in such situations, rather than recklessly approving chemicals of uncertain effect.
Our corporate persons are so powerful that when we don’t know what something is going to do to us or our bodies, we say fuck it, hope nothing goes wrong, approve it, and then listen to those same interests scream about tort reform twenty years later when half a town has cancer. This whole country has become nothing more than a slow-motion train wreck.
This post originally appeared on Balloon Juice. Unbelievable:
SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family’s pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on. They found a “small amount” of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.
So smoking pot = “child endangerment.” Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone’s safety. (video below the fold)
This is what happens when you give a bunch of cowboy assholes heavy weapons and fill them with a God complex. Although I’m sure Joe Lieberman would suggest we strip this family of their citizenship. Oddly enough, I doubt the tea partiers screaming about individual liberty will notice this. After all, it isn’t like the cops were going to raise their taxes or provide them with affordable healthcare coverage. They were just shooting his dogs in front of his family and then made up some bullshit excuse to try to take away the kid. No big deal. (via)
This post originally appeared on Balloon Juice. The Mustache of Understanding:
I’ve been trying to understand the Tea Party Movement. Sounds like a lot of angry people who want to get the government out of their lives and cut both taxes and the deficit. Nothing wrong with that — although one does wonder where they were in the Bush years. Never mind. I’m sure like all such protest movements the Tea Partiers will get their 10 to 20 percent of the vote. But should the Tea Partiers actually aspire to break out of that range, attract lots of young people and become something more than just entertainment for Fox News, I have a suggestion:

Become the Green Tea Party.

I’d be happy to design the T-shirt logo and write the manifesto. The logo is easy. It would show young Americans throwing barrels of oil imported from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia into Boston Harbor.

The manifesto is easy, too: “We, the Green Tea Party, believe that the most effective way to advance America’s national security and economic vitality would be to impose a $10 “Patriot Fee” on every barrel of imported oil, with all proceeds going to pay down our national debt.”

They weren’t around protesting during the Bush years BECAUSE THE TEA PARTY IS REPUBLICANS. They don’t care about the deficit. They care that a Democrat (and a black “Muslim,” to boot), is in the White House. They don’t care about fiscal restraint, they care that a Democrat is in the White House. They don’t, as some foolishly pretend, care about the Wall Street excesses. Certainly Cenk Uyger is not the only one who has noticed that the tea party bubbas could all be shipped to protest HCR, but the big money boys aren’t running the buses to protest Wall Street. They care that there is a Democrat in the White House.

And those crowds of angry white old people screaming “keep government out of my medicare” and waving signs of “Drill, baby, drill?” They sure as hell don’t care about the environment and are not going to become some sort of “Green Tea Party.”

All they care about is that there is a Democrat in the White House.

This post originally appeared on Balloon Juice. Via Memeorandum, this interview with FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, which had this snippet:
If this had been law prior to 2008, would we have seen the bailouts that took place? Would we have seen capital injections into banks?

BAIR: No. You could not do an AIG, Bear Stearns, or any of that. Those were all one-off things, capital or asset guarantee transactions. This bill would only allow system-wide liquidity support which could not be targeted at an individual firm. You can’t do capital investments at all, period. It’s only liquidity support. No more capital investments. That’s banned under all circumstances.

You can do systemwide liquidity support. But you can’t do anything on an individual basis. They would have to be generally available.

Do you see any way left for the government to bail out a financial institution?

BAIR: No, and that’s the whole idea. It was too easy for institutions to come and ask for help. They aren’t going to do that. This gives us a response: “Fine, we will take all these essential services and put them in a bridge bank. We will keep them running while your shareholders and debtors take all your losses. And oh, by the way, we are getting rid of your board and you, too.”

The whole idea is to get market discipline back.

That’s what ending “too big to fail means.” It means debtors and shareholders understanding their money is at risk and especially the debtholders starting to look at the balance sheet of these big institutions and asking their own hard questions instead of relying on government support.

When Mitch McConnell took to the cameras spewing his Frank Luntz talking points, this is what pissed me off the most (once you get past the instant “CAN’T YOU MOTHERFUCKERS EVER TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT ANYTHING!”)- what he was doing was trying to kill a bill that would end the bailouts. And if he succeeded, he would be doing the banksters bidding.

They don’t want what Bair just described. They like things just the way it is right now- they can put a gun to the head of the economy and tell us “If I go down, I’m taking everyone of you with me.” They like how things went down the last time- Goldman got every penny off their bets with AIG, all paid for by you and me. Then they went around and lavished huge bonuses on themselves when they weren’t busy writing whiny op-eds about how unfair it is everyone hates them.

With this bill, if the legislators and regulators have it right, these scumbags screw up again, they get wiped out. Shareholders get destroyed, and the board is replaced.

Wall Street and the bankstas don’t want that- which is why they flew Cornyn and McConnell to NY, told them they would bankroll the Republicans if only they killed this bill, and McConnell went right to the Senate podium and lied his ass off. Not only was he lying, but he was doing everything he could to make sure there would be bailouts forever. Understand what he was doing.

It’s just that simple. McConnell was selling the country and the American taxpayer down the river for a chance at flooding the airwaves with campaign ads funded by Wall Street, made possible by the right wing Supreme Court.