Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nobody here but me

Rand Paul, as reported in the New York Times:

“What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,’ ” Mr. Paul said, referring to a remark by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the oil company. “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”

Paul doesn’t peruse papers, or maybe Rand doesn’t read reports, but here’s a item from early in the spill:

NEW ORLEANS, May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- This Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, commercial fisherman George Barasich stepped forward asking for emergency relief from a federal court to stop British Petroleum, plc ("BP") from forcing the volunteer corps of oil-spill responders to enter into onerous and one-sided "Master Charter Agreements" ("MCA") which will seriously compromise the existing and future rights and potential legal claims of these volunteers.  Barasich is President of the Commercial Fisherman's Association, Inc.

More recently:

And as lawsuits continue to mount against the oil giant, as well as drilling contractor Transocean, both companies have begun full-scale efforts to limit their liability for the explosion and subsequent oil spill.  Under federal law, compensation must be provided to local and state governments, businesses and residents who have been affected by this disaster, but these damages are capped at only $75 million. 

Additionally, Transocean, which actually owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, has claimed that its liability is limited to just $27 million under the Limitation of Liability Act, passed 160 years ago.  Under the law, a vessel owner can limit its liability to the value of the vessel and its freight.  But this law was passed well before insurance companies began offering coverage to ocean vessels, and the drilling giant has already received a payout of $400 million from its insurance provider.  By allowing this claim, Transocean could actually end up profiting from the spill.

"Transocean and BP's attempts to limit their liability for the devastation caused by this spill demonstrates that neither company is ready or willing to take responsibility for this catastrophe," said Ed Blizzard, founding partner of Blizzard, McCarthy and Nabers.  "Corporations like these, that operate with an eye on their bottom line, as opposed to the safety of their operations, must be held accountable and justice must be provided to those whose lives and livelihoods have been left in shambles by their negligent behavior."

As I’ve already pointed out to Rand Paul’s fellow traveler, Katie Kieffer, British Petroleum — and Transocean, too — are massively socialistic enterprises, just on the cost side, that is. They will generously let the fishermen, shrimpers, the states with Gulf of Mexico shoreline, Mexico, Cuba (gasp!) the tourism industry, international shipping, and the U.S. taxpayer share in the cost of BP’s producing oil. Let’s not forget the flora and fauna, either! But BP keeps the profit, of course!

And right on schedule, for this post, anyway, the socialism washes up on the beaches in Louisiana:

From the NPR story that’s also the source of the photo:

Thick, brown and rust-colored, sticky oil is washing up on the beaches, marshes and wetlands of some parts of southern Louisiana, threatening wildlife and vital habitat. Those communities not yet seeing oil on their shores are bracing for the worst.

In the coastal waters of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents inspect areas of rich oyster beds and other critical habitat known as the Biloxi Marsh in Lake Borgne. There's no oil there yet, but it's coming, and there's an increasingly frantic effort to lay miles of boom to keep oil from getting into these marshes.

Local commercial fishermen, hired by BP, [remember the news story above] have been strategically anchoring the floating booms to protect the marshes. But agent Jason Russo says there often aren't enough booms to encircle an entire marsh, so they're placed around inlets and passes to keep oil from getting too deep into the reeds.

Rand’s reaction to the oil spill, his recent remarks about not supporting the public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and being apparently oblivious to the reaction they would create, do, as the writer at the link suggests, show the limits of libertarianism as a useful political philosophy.

A thump of the tail to Jeff Fecke for the link to the NPR story.

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