Okay, the BP oil spill. Let me start with Michael Barone today. This is National Review Online published today: ‘Obama’s Thuggery Is Useless in Fighting Spill.’ Not only is it thuggery, it’s ineffective thuggery. Now, this is a prelude, ladies and gentlemen, to the outrage, the feigned outrage from everybody in the media to even some Republicans to Joe Barton apologizing to BP for being shaken down by the US government. ‘Thuggery,’ writes Barone, ‘is unattractive, ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Pres. Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s Gulf oil spill.’ Let me tell you something else that is not escaping people. You people in the Drive-By Media and the State-Controlled Media, you can go ahead and you can talk all you want about Tony Hayward, the BP CEO being out there yachting, and you can go ahead and ignore the fact that Obama’s playing golf on Friday, playing golf on Father’s Day — you can ignore all of that, but everybody knows Obama’s out there playing golf, everybody knows he’s out there bowling.
Obama is clearly not going to let an environmental disaster or massive unemployment, the largest deficits in human history, Iran’s nuclear arms race, none of that is gonna get in the way of a round of golf. You know, I take more heat for playing golf from my audience than Obama does. I go out and I play golf, I come back and tell you about it and the e-mail is flooded, ‘Stick to the issues! We don’t care about that rich man elitist game golf.’ I’ll bet you just the limited time I spoke about the Haney project, when I check the e-mail at the break it’s going to be, ‘Stick to the issues.’ Obama, he gets a pass and he can’t even play! One of the things I’m thinking of doing is inviting Obama to be on an episode and I’ll play blindfolded and I’ll still beat him. And if he won’t go golf I’ll go bowling with him blindfolded. I can do a 36 in a bowling alley, which is his score, blindfolded. He’s out there bowling, he’s shooting hoops, he’s playing golf, and he’s got the audacity to give Tony Hayward a bunch of grief for being on a yacht after the congressional appearance.
So last week Obama went on a campaign trail and a trip lying about the recovery, the economic recovery. He’s focused on a lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration bill. Hillary Clinton of all people announced this. They’re going to sue Arizona. He tells Jon Kyl that the reason he’s not gonna close the borders is because that would give the Republicans room not to participate in comprehensive immigration reform. He’s putting the enforcement of US law behind his own political agenda, same thing happening with the Gulf. Obama’s out playing golf complaining about Tony Hayward and a lot of people are starting to think maybe this oil spill’s not a priority, maybe cleaning it up, maybe ending it is not a priority for Obama. Well, I don’t think it is because it furthers his agenda. So he’s focused on campaigning, lying about the recovery, on a lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration bill, he’s pushing cap and trade, he played 18 holes over the weekend, and I thought he said he’s spending his every moment focused on the oil spill, and he said he has been focused on it like a laser since day one. Oh, and he’s been watching soccer, too. He’s been watching the FIFA World Cup.
By the way, the USA got jobbed on that call against Slovenia. What a weird league this FIFA is. They have a ref who’s never refereed anything like a World Cup game or match, and these refs apparently can call anything without having to tell anybody what the call was, and then the refs never have to face anybody. So the Americans clearly got jobbed here by the Slovenians — well, by the ref. It’s the weirdest thing. Nobody knows what the call was. But anyway Obama is out there watching it and I’m sure — (interruption) it is. Having this referee at the World Cup that jobbed the USA is kind of like having an inexperienced person become president of the United States. I think folks, honest to gosh, I believe Obama has more free time on his hands than I do, golfing, bowling, campaigning, lying about the recovery, walking the beach looking for tarballs. Big whoop. What if you find one, Barack, what are you going to do?
Anyway. Back to Barone. I have not lost my place. Many of you people think that I have, but I haven’t. ‘Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s remark that he would keep his ‘boot on the neck’ of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell’s definition of totalitarianism as ‘a boot stamping on a human face — forever.’ Except that Salazar’s boot hasn’t gotten much in the way of results yet. Or consider Obama’s undoubtedly carefully considered statement to Matt Lauer that he was consulting with experts ‘so I know whose ass to kick.” By the way, he’s put together a commission. There’s not one oil engineer or oil expert on it. Pure politics. ‘Attacking others is a standard campaign tactic when you’re in political trouble, and certainly BP, which appears to have taken unwise shortcuts in the Gulf, is an attractive target. But you don’t always win arguments that way: The Obama White House gleefully took on Dick Cheney on the issue of terrorist interrogations, but turned out that more Americans agreed with Cheney’s stand, despite his low poll numbers, than Obama’s.
‘Eight of the cited experts have said they oppose the moratorium as more economically devastating than the oil spill and counterproductive to safety. This was blatant dishonesty by the administration.’ They go ask these guys, ‘What do you think about our moratorium?’ but they didn’t ask them about the moratorium. They got these guys to sign essentially blank piece of paper to put out whatever they wanted to put out saying these experts agreed with Obama’s moratorium on offshore oil drilling, and they have not. ‘This was blatant dishonesty by the administration, on an Orwellian scale,’ writes Barone. ‘And it’s dishonesty in defense of a policy that has all the earmarks of mindless panic, that penalizes firms and individuals guilty of no wrongdoing,’ meaning the moratorium on offshore drilling, ‘and that will worsen rather than improve our energy situation. Ineffective thuggery.
‘The more plausible explanation is that this refusal is a sop to the maritime unions.’ This is the Jones Act. This is Barone’s reaction to rejecting the help of the Netherlands because they’re nonunion American employees that would come over to help. They’re now considering this assistance, by the way, they’re now considering it. ‘There already are laws in place to ensure that BP will be held responsible for damages, and the company has said it will comply. So what we have is government transferring property from one party, an admittedly unattractive one, to others, not based on preexisting laws but on decisions by one man, pay czar Kenneth Feinberg. Feinberg gets good reviews from everyone. But the Constitution does not command ‘no person … shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law — except by the decision of a person as wise and capable as Kenneth Feinberg.’ The Framers stopped at ‘due process of law.”
Obama has added the wise counsel of Kenneth Feinberg to it. ‘Obama doesn’t. ‘If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so,’ write the editors of The Economist, who then suggest that markets see Obama as ‘an American version of Vladimir Putin.’ Except that Putin is an effective thug.’ The economist says Obama is not. So the bottom line here is this was Chicago thuggery. Now, Barone carries a lot of credibility inside the Beltway with people. This is stuff we all talked about last week. Barton talks about the slush fund, and yet, ladies and gentlemen, the reaction to this thing that Joe Barton did — and I’m thrown in the mix here, too — when people start squealing like stuck pigs, they’re stuck pigs. The pigs get stuck for a reason.
RUSH: Where did I park my airplane? At an airport! What do you think, I flew into the front yard? I told you. Check this e-mail: ‘Dear Rush: Listen to what you said. ‘Shame on Obama for playing golf,’ while you’re going to divert your attention away from possibly our last election to save this once-great country to go play golf.’ I am not going to miss any programs to go play golf. It’s the point. Do this either during my vacation schedule, which was already scheduled, or on weekends. That’s the whole point. Anyway, it’s going to be fun. I want to modify slightly something Barone said. I don’t think this is strictly Chicago thug politics. It is far more than thugocracy. It’s far more than Chicago politics. This is ideology. This is far more ideological. This treatment of BP — and look, what he’s doing to BP is no different than what he’s doing to the whole private sector folks. How is that job search going for you?
Where is the private sector growth anywhere? He’s shutting down more and more of it everyday. Now offshore drilling. I mean, this is straight out of communist manifesto. I know people don’t want to hear that, but it is: Smearing your opponents, smearing capitalism; the same tactics you see used by Hugo Chavez, the Castros, the whole Soviet Union leadership. This is, simply, more than bullying people. It is that. These guys are being bullied, but Chicago politics is about pushing people around, getting kickbacks, making deals against the people. What Obama is about is all that but more. He’s about destroying the society that rewarded him with the presidency. He’s about imposing an ideology on us.
Now, this so-called shakedown that Barton of Texas had to apologize for, we don’t have all the facts yet, but ‘shakedown’ would appear to be the correct term if BP surrendered $20 billion to the White House under duress. Let me ask you a question: Would BP have done this on their own? They were already complying with existing law on liability. They were already up to $65 million on their way to a much higher figure. Now, somehow the BP execs get called into the White House. What if there were threats — threats of legal action, receivership, the takeover of the company? I don’t know what else you would call this. BP is gonna turn over money without a contract or a settlement agreement that the courts would enforce. To describe this arrangement as escrow is entirely improper, and you legal people know exactly what I mean. This is not an escrow account. It’s essentially $5 billion a year for 20 years. Escrow involves a holding by a neutral third party pending a contingency. Under escrow, the first party (the grantor, the promissor, the obligor) delivers something of value — a deed, money, documents — to a third party who holds it until the resolution.
It’s sort of like when you buy a house you have to put the down payment goes in escrow until the deal closes. Nobody gets the money. Feinberg is not independent. He’s not somebody has no ties to one of the two parties here. He has a direct tie to the regime. He’s the ‘pay czar.’ He also was in charge of the payouts to the 9/11 families. You know, thugs… It’s clear exactly what happened here, even though we don’t have all the details. And the fact that everybody’s in an outrage over the fact that it would be called what it is, to me, is simply evidence that it is what it is. If a false accusation’s been made, you don’t react the way these guys are reacting. You laugh at it. You poke fun at the people making the reaction, but you do not run around and try to destroy the people who are telling the truth, which is standard operating procedure for the American left. Ask me about it; it’s been going on for almost 21 years.
RUSH: I got a funny note from a friend of mine, Jeff Lord, at the American Spectator. ‘Hey, Rush, hearing you read that e-mail from that guy comparing your golfing time on the Hank Haney project to that of Obama raises the obvious question this guy seemed to raise but didn’t understand. In his mind, you and your time are as important to the country, if not more so, than the president of the United States and his time. The greed.’ Excellent point.