Folks, there is nothing like a disaster to bring the corporate shoeshine boys into the light of day and that has certainly been the case with our Governor Haley Barbour and his sidekick Lite Gov Phil Bryant. In this installment of Boss Hogg is in it for himself, Barbour comes out against his own people and those similarly situated on the Gulf Coast in favor a huge multi national corporation that has polluted the Gulf of Mexico to the verge of extinction. It has become clear the majority of voters here in Mississippi voted against their own welfare and best interests by elevating these two BP waterboys to the pinnacle of State Government. Let’s begin with a WTOK report (H/T Yallpolitics) where Barbour says the escrow is a bad idea and he uses logic that Captain Queeg would certainly appreciate to explain why:
Gov. Haley Barbour said Wednesday he believes making BP put money in an escrow account makes it less likely for victims to be paid.
“We expect them to pay. But if you take $10 to $20 billion out of their operational funds and make them give it to the government in an escrow account, how are they going to generate the revenue to pay what the people of Mississippi are rightfully owed?” asked Barbour.
Worth noting is the $20 billion is to be paid over 4 years in $5 billion dollar installments. To the extent it will reduce any amount BPs pays in litigation I don’t see Barbour’s point, especially since the victims of this disaster will be the beneficiaries of the escrow. Is he saying that paying the innocent victims of this mess is a bad idea or should we just let BP decide when to compensate the victims at a time when it benefits them the most?
Boss Hogg wasn’t done carrying water for BP on this subject though as he spoke with AP reporter Emily Wagster Pettus as well:
Mississippi’s governor said Wednesday he’s not sure the federal government should have made BP put $20 billion into escrow to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill because the company needs it to drill more wells and make money so it can pay up.
I guarantee if BP had offered Boss Hogg’s kin folk big fat no-bid contracts he’d be singing a different tune. Ol’ Haley didn’t make the list the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington’s list of the nations most ethically challenged governors for nothing.
The Sun Herald editorial board saw through Barbour’s latest bit of BS and had this to say in a virtual real-time editorial Our Lobbist-in-chief:
Gov. Haley Barbour’s unhesitating support for more drilling in the Gulf — during one of the nation’s worst environmental disasters, which was caused by drilling — was odd enough. Now he opposes forcing BP to put billions of dollars into a compensation fund for victims.
While it should no longer be surprising, the governor’s advocacy for the oil industry is still disheartening for those who elected him to be their champion.
Watch for columnist/conservative talk radio host Sid Salter try to spin this for Boss Hogg as is his wont. Speaking of Sid, it sure would be nice if he took his own advice. Come on down Sid, the lawnmower fumes have subsided and unlike Gulf Shores our beaches are still clean.
Since we’re on the subject of the people in Mississippi being sold out by self-serving politicians there is no way I can pass on Bill Minor’s last column which recapped Phil Bryant’s oil spill idiocy. Phil, or Phildo as he is better known by his many detractors, is a well known charlatan who likes to play the evangelical religion card to pander for votes but who is otherwise very hollow as Mr Minor, the dean of Mississippi political commenters illustrates:
Phil Bryant must have figured that the monstrous BP oil spill in the Gulf was a good opportunity to pick up some brownie points for his 2011 gubernatorial race, so he started hanging out on the Gulf Coast and weighing in with words of wisdom that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the news media said it was.
If you thought you were smelling oil fumes, you were wrong. It was probably from your lawn mower, Bryant added, and not the millions of gallons of crude oil being spewed into the Gulf from BP’s busted deepwater horizon oil well that was moving ever closer to Mississippi’s coastline.
And the tar balls that started showing up on the barrier islands and the beaches were harmless and could probably be recycled. Start up a new industry. Like manna from heaven. And create new jobs – that’s what I’m all about.
Cozying up to BP would be one way of showing his gratitude to the entire oil and gas industry which dropped $70,000 into his campaign fund the past two years.
It gets better though as Phildo, who has done absolutely nothing to help the people struggling to pay their insurance and killed every meaningful consumer protection during his tenure as Lite Gov evidently loves to help himself and his friends in the Oil and Gas industry as we continue:
After BP gave the state $15 million to promote tourism, the Biloxi paper on May 25 said in a news story that Coast tourism representatives had negotiated with the Mississippi Development Authority to jointly spend the remaining $11 million. According to the story, MDA would use its advertising agency, Frontier Agencies of Jackson, but no commission would be paid. Frontier is also Bryant’s political campaign ad agency.
For two years before the BP oil spill, Bryant was cultivating campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and its lobbyists. His campaign finance report for 2009 showed he received $47,000 from some 30 individuals and companies connected to the industry. The previous year, his campaign fund got $26,000 from sources in the industry.
Notably, $5,000 came from Denbury Resources, its PAC or lobbyist. Denbury, Mississippi’s largest oil producer, it will be remembered from a column by this writer a few months ago, would have been the beneficiary of a Senate bill exempting carbon dioxide from sales taxes (Denbury owns the huge CO2 reservoir in Rankin County). The bill passed by the Senate under the guise of being for economic development. But the House scrapped the Senate bill and passed its own bill that levied a one-half of 1 percent sales tax similar to the tax on natural gas used for industrial purposes. Later the Senate passed the House version unanimously.
We’ll see how well ripping Mexicans and pandering to the religious right helps ol’ Phil come next year’s gubernatorial election. I hope, given all that has happened since he was first elected Lite Gov, the people in this state have wised up to the consequences of electing self serving politicians that are long on useless rhetoric and short on concrete ways to improve the lot of the citizenry.
Again I ask, given the recent actions of our Gov and Lite Gov is it any wonder State Farm, USAA, Allstate, Nationwide, AIG and other insurance companies felt free to rape homesless hurricane victims after Katrina?