…immunity from effective
appropriation expropriation (damn those faulty neural circuits) and nationalization. Sounds like BP may as well change its name to “AP” (American Petroleum). The way things are going, BP will be the first oil company wholly owned by the American government. The government can add BP to its growing roster of previously private enterprises, such as AIG and GM. Imagine the pop on the IPO when BP throws the government the keys, and the government turns around and extinguishes all the claims against it.
Attorney General Eric Holder, flush with an uninterrupted string of Justice Department irrelevance, has sued BP, claiming that,
“We intend to prove that these defendants are responsible for government removal costs, economic losses and environmental damages without limitation.”
“Without limitation” ought to resonate loudly in the ears of every aging British pensioner that depends on BP for a steady flow of dividends.
What, one wonders, was the prior exercise in extortion leading to the $20 billion settlement fund all about? BP set aside $40 billion total to pay for the spill–$20 billion for the settlement fund (whose recipients did not have to give up their right to sue in order to get money) and another $20 billion, presumably because it knew the government would wring every drop of free future cash flow out of the business before it was done.
The oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, a big place, which contrary to the popular American imagination, does not belong solely to the American states of Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. The well was 41 miles offshore in the US’s exclusive economic zone, which would be a meaningless concept without carrier battle groups and nuclear-tipped missiles to ensure it stays exclusive. Presumably a goodly portion of the oil didn’t really do any harm at all, dispersed and diffused, as everything in the oceans eventually are, by wind and currents. Nature spills oil all the time. In great enough concentration, it causes havoc, but the concentration rarely lasts long. The beaches in America are safe for swimming and sunbathing again. What’s more important than that?
For one, political grandstanding. What use is there in being an attorney general of the fricking US of A and you can’t occasionally throw your weight around? Those pesky descendants of the Brits that were too lazy to come to America to make their fortunes might get a tad put off by our expropriation of their flagship oil company. But Obama has already shown how little regard he has for them. In a goodwill (?) gesture he sent Gordon Brown a gift of 25 dvd’s of American movies shortly after inauguration. Maybe it was Obama’s anti-colonial, Kenyan roots rearing their ugly heads. But if the Brits were put off by Obama’s apparent disregard before, just wait until they realize he’s colonized one of the only English companies that actually makes money. Too bad for them their days of ruling the high seas have long since passed.