Accountability Makes Us Vaguely Uncomfortable

This morning’s New York Times thumbsucker about Obama’s “arm twisting” of BP is a masterpiece of pussyfooting, takebacks and special pleading for corporations. It’s full of passages like this:

The Wall Street executives who needed the government to prop them up, but still thought their services were worth millions a year, were cast by Mr. Obama as a shameless privileged class. Toyota was described as seeking profits over safety; Wellpoint, the insurance giant, was castigated for seeking to insulate itself from the new health care legislation by taking actions that the law will soon prohibit.

Obviously, Wall Street wasn’t shameless and privileged until Obama called them that. Similarly, the problem with Toyota wasn’t that its cars were killing people, it was his description of how their cars were killing people.

The conclusion of this piece is equally risible. Obama must be very careful about delicate corporate feelings, otherwise we risk the following:

[…][H]e will have to avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.

In short, our best bet is to act like some third world shithole that bends over backwards to get a little corporate investment, no matter what the cost.

It’s no coincidence that this front-page news analysis piece was written the Times’ chief Washington correspondent, David Sanger. For the DC Press Corpse, the “rule of law” is a quaint notion that went out at the turn of the century.






82 replies
  1. 1
    Violet says:

    You forgot this one:

    With that display of raw arm-twisting, Mr. Obama reinvigorated a debate about the renewed reach of government power, or, alternatively, the power of government overreach.

    Obama is a bully! It wasn’t just arm-twisting, it was raw arm-twisting. He’s not just a bully, he’s a mean, cruel, powerful bully too.

  2. 2
    Jennifer says:

    Silly rabbit. Laws are for the little people, don’t you know?

  3. 3
    Comrade Dread says:

    Shorter:

    Rich = Virtuous= Better than the rest of us.

    We need to treat our betters as such, lest they punish us by going Galt.

    Reply:

    I’ll risk it.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    “In short, our best bet is to act like some third world shithole…”
    We already ARE a third world shithole, made so by Banana Republican policies over the last 30+ years. Just look at the Bush Junta’s.
    I’m over 50, so I can remember what this country was like at one time. Anyone born in time to be raised during Reagan on up, has NO CLUE about what they’ve missed.
    Ah, good times, good times.
    Sadly, we now see the fruition of “The Reagan Revolution.” I don’t need to spell anything out. If it’s FUBAR, it’s was part of the plan.

  5. 5
    John S. says:

    I guess that BBQ over at Joe Biden’s place wasn’t enough to make David Sanger stop being a paid corporate attack dog whore. The ribs probably weren’t as good as McCain’s.

  6. 6
    Rommie says:

    Cool, they can go Galt to some third-world paradise and deny us meanie USA consumers the pleasure of doing business with them. That’ll show who is in charge.

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    It’s never too early for the billion-dollar media to put out an advance guard against anything which smells like it would or would cause too much fundamental reform of our system’s massive favoring of giganto-corporations and nearly infinite concentrations of wealth in a few hands.

    You just can’t let too many ideas out there suggest anything soshullistic, as it would destroy our (i.e., the billion dollar media’s, their owners’, their investors’, and their super-wealthy peers’ their) way of life.

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    Hey, whaddyaknow? After years of hostilely ignoring and attacking any efforts to mention it by the U.S. or international authorities, Israeli policymakers are suddenly horrified by the Turkish government’s Armenian genocide just under a century ago. They’re so amazingly moral, it’s a gol-darn shame Israel is unfairly held to such a higher standard, being such a tiny, itty-bitty, utterly defenseless nation state about to be plunged into the sea.

  9. 9
    Scott says:

    I still say let ’em choose between Scary-Black-President’s raw arm-twisting and imposition of accountability… or the guillotine.

  10. 10
    tomvox1 says:

    You said it, mistermix.

    Shorter David Sanger: Joe Barton has a point–why is Obama so mean to the corporations?!?

  11. 11
    russell says:

    a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.

    I thought big mistakes were supposed to lead to bankruptcy. Or at least losing a lot of money.

    The discipline of the market doesn’t work without risk. If you want a sure thing, you put your money in T-bills.

    Is this a market economy or not?

  12. 12
    Bob says:

    I thought that bankruptcy was a necessary part of capitalism.
    Not in the legal sense, but just failing, going broke. It’s not hard to see BP going belly-up because of this hell they created in the gulf. So be it. Then they can seek sanctuary at the tit of the state in bankruptcy court. Jeez.

  13. 13
    dmsilev says:

    Leave BP ALOOOONNNNEEEEEEEE!

    dms

  14. 14
    maya says:

    I can understand his point. Afterall, we are no longer a working class nation, we are an investment class nation.Today Obama brings down the price earnings ratio of BP, tomorrow it could be The New York Times Corp. Which, BTW, owns many newspapers in some of the most conservative republican strongholds in America Corp. He understands the concerns of his syndicated readers better than we do.

  15. 15
    fucen tarmal says:

    its like the new york times ad soliciting subscriptions…

    “how many sections are you fluent in?”

    well, being as you purport to publish the entire paper in english, and I read and speak that language, I would like to think I could read the whole fucking paper if I so chose. however you’re the media empire, if you have deemed this a poor business model, allowing customers to read the whole paper they pay for, then I would hope my subscription rate is trimmed for the amount of content that is otherwise useless to me.

    sure, they mean “fluent” in a less gestalt sense, where you have to continuously read their bullshit, to understand their bullshit, but the same point applies, methinks.

  16. 16
    Emma says:

    I had a history professor in college that told the class that to be well informed we would have to read our local newspaper and The New York Times. When someone asked him why, he said that your local newspaper wants you to know what’s happening in your home town and The New York Times wants you to know what the ruling classes would like to happen in the nation.

    It’s nice to see that never changes.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    The flip side would be that you would attract companies that knew they would be treated fairly because the country treats them all equally, rather than what happens now.

  18. 18
    homerhk says:

    But, hang on – I thought Obama was a corporate whore doing what he can to please his corporate masters?

  19. 19
    chopper says:

    he’s not being tough enough! he needs to get off his ass and fix this! wait, now he’s being a bully! shakedown!

  20. 20
    guy44 says:

    The idea that somebody from the New York Times seriously believes that Obama decrying horrible, disastrous business practices of a few companies will actually stop businesses from investing in the US is insane. Completely and utterly insane. Could you imagine that conversation?

    “Boss, we stand to make $150 million by expanding into the biggest market in the world, the United States.”

    “Yes, Johnson, but have you considered that if we for some reason destroyed the world economy, or maybe the ocean, Barak Obama will say mean things about us?”

    “Good point, sir. Better not invest in the US!”

    Oy.

  21. 21
    Kryptik says:

    Corporation Über Alles!

  22. 22
    scav says:

    How dare we let actions and “consequences” get in the way of the PR and corporate-approved narratives! BP spent good money building those ads and we don’t want to see all that image infrastructure blow up their faces and sink without a trace. That sort of damage and the drip drip drip of leaks about inattention and malfeasance could go on for months and months, o! the horrow! We really really don’t want to have to watch images of vilification-soaked CEOs littering the beaches of Nice and the Bahamas licking their hurt feelings — they can die from ingesting that stuff!

  23. 23

    Washington and it’s media class is still the town that Reagan built beginning 30 years ago. Clinton holding the WH hardly put a dent in that over his 8 years. The media Village whether stationed in the Big Apple or elsewhere has been primed for a long time to fluff gooper ideology on a daily basis. Obama and the dems running things for just 18 months has only scratched the surface in changing that state of being in our body politic.

    That is the main reason that dems have to hold onto power, congress and WH longer than Clinton did. Even with seeming frequent homage paid to the corporate class. Holding high political office is only part of the equation to change the status quo. The entrenched corporatocracy that consists not only of government institutions, but also of fourth estate wankers like Sanger and a herd of others like him, as well as the matrix of public and private players, will take time to turn around. And they will fight tooth and nail to maintain there little half acre of hell in the script of governance that plays itself out day to day.

    This is Obama’s long game, or part of it. Knocking down the planted flags of conservatism that created Enron, Abramoff, and now BP. Yesterday, Obama and dems won a major battle in that war with the humbling of the fourth largest world corporation. There are many more to fight and some will be lost. This is what frustrates me so much with progressive/faux variety and their tiny minded designs, and personalization of small goings on. And with the pol oxygen depletion poutrages over optics and tribal point making.

    Picking the important fights and ditching the fantasy of total victory in one fell sweep is sorely lacking in this category of liberal. It has to be incremental. No way around it. IMHO>

  24. 24
    cleek says:

    absolve corporations of responsibility for their mistakes and you get the libertarian paradise of Nigeria.

  25. 25
    Sheila says:

    So what exactly should big mistakes lead to: praises and remuneration? Were this article any indication, sane countries won’t want to do business with us in the future because we are too silly.

  26. 26
    Bill In OH says:

    I know I could probably find out if I weren’t so lazy, but I wonder how much ad space BP buys in the various New York Times Corp. newspapers? I think there’s a good chance that there’s some good old-fashioned self-interest protecting going on here in addition to the corporate whoring.

    That being said, this all just seems so tone-deaf. Who, outside of the lost 30% is actually going to say, “Yeah! That’s not fair! BP is too wonderful and special to clean up the mess they created because they couldn’t be bothered to drill safely! Obama’s being a total bully!” And as for that 30%, they can get their asses down to the gulf and start cleaning beaches or they can STFU.

  27. 27
    someguy says:

    I think what Obama did was pitch perfect. BP seems clueless and evasive. He told them straight up that if they didn’t set up a compensation fund, we’d confiscate all their shit and liquidate it to cover the damages from the spill. It’s the *bully* pulpit. That’s what it’s there for. Deal with it, bitchez.

    They’re lucky he didn’t exercise his powers of extraordinary rendition to send the fuckers to Iran or Syria… I bet Haywood could remember where it was he put those answers, he just needed a little more juice… to the man parts.

  28. 28
    batgirl says:

    @Violet: But I thought that Obama wasn’t doing enough to stop the oil spill. Isn’t that what the press tells us everyday?

    Fuck the schizophrenic assholes.

  29. 29
    Jose Padilla says:

    “In short, our best bet is to act like some third world shithole that bends over backwards to get a little corporate investment, no matter what the cost.”

    Why not? We already have a Gini coefficient (measure of income inequality) equal to Uraguay’s.

  30. 30

    Just came be this little Rahmbo blurb that kind of says what I was trying to say /

    “In the past, corporate America was not only at the table, they owned the table and the chairs around it. Obama doesn’t start off confrontational, but he will be confrontational if there is resistance to the notion that there are other equities.”

    — White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, quoted by the New York Times, in forcing oil giant BP to establish a $20 billion compensation fund for oil spill damage

    These asshats and their backers need to be brought down to size, one by one.

  31. 31
    gex says:

    So wait now. The right is starting to kick around the idea of defaulting on our debt. So their complaint is that Obama’s WORDS are the thing that will scare off investors? I’d say you can’t make this up, but obviously they can.

  32. 32
    Flugelhorn says:

    IS that the same “Rule of Law” that Arizona is dealing with?

  33. 33
    Stefan says:

    […][H]e will have to avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.

    Um, shouldn’t big mistakes lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work?

    I mean, what the hell? He’s saying, in effect, that Obama will have to avoid giving the impression that the US is a place were actions have consequences. Oh, no, we wouldn’t want to scare anyone away with that impression.

    And please, the notion that investors would view the US as a place “too risky to do business” is laughable on its face. Laughable.

  34. 34
    scav says:

    @maya: So, we let off crooks if they’re stealing to support a family? I missed this little bit of cultural innovation and nuance when “we” (huh?) moved away from being a nation of workers. Gee golly, I must have missed the line where they passed out the investments too — silly ol’ last to the latest trend me, actually working to put food on the table. So tragically unhip: I’m probably wearing the wrong brand of undearwear too. Maybe being laid off 6 months ago will finally let me figure out how to indulge in this new investment funded paradisiacal economy.

  35. 35
    Rock says:

    Accountability is for poor people.

    Actually, I think that’s not a full explanation of what’s at work here. I think what we see is the same mindset that you see in juries that acquit on some drunk driving cases…or why drunk driving laws aren’t as draconian as the laws for possessing some weed. People don’t like the idea that they might be held accountable for their actions some day. So, accountability is fine for things that they know they won’t be involved in.

    Accountability is for other people.

  36. 36
    batgirl says:

    @Stefan: When people make mistakes, they should lose their jobs, home, be kicked out on the street with no handouts from the government. How else are they suppose to learn!

    When businesses make mistakes, the “small people” should bail them out and keep them afloat or where else are they going to get those jobs that they can so easily lose upon making a mistake!

    Welcome to “free market capitalism” bitches.

  37. 37
    VOR says:

    I was listening to NPR Talk of the Nation. Mara Liasson said the BP oil spill might be the government’s fault because they weren’t forcing BP to follow the law or take appropriate safety measures.

    That’s like saying that a car accident where a driver ran a stop sign is the police’s fault because they didn’t have a squad car at that intersection. WTF?

  38. 38
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Oh, joy. Holding persons accountable for their consequences of the mistakes, like say, is done in every country with a RULE OF LAW, makes this “a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.” As opposed to those golden societies where corporations are allowed to fuck up to the content of their respective hearts without ever paying for accidents.

  39. 39
    QuaintIrene says:

    Obama is a bully! It wasn’t just arm-twisting, it was raw arm-twisting.

    Indian burn! He’s making little Lisa Simpson cry!

  40. 40
    Cat Lady says:

    @El Cid:

    Pointing out Israel’s naked hypocrisy and shameless PR stunt means that you love Hamas and want to have its babies. ;-)

  41. 41
    CalD says:

    I think it’s mighty nice of these guys to pitch in like that to help burnish the president’s tough-guy credentials. It may have escaped their notice that no one’s been shedding a lot of tears lately for big oil, big finance, big insurance, big auto…

    Nobody tell ’em, OK?

  42. 42
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @tomvox1:

    Shorter David Sanger: Joe Barton has a point—why is Obama so mean to the corporations?!?

    I don’t know why so many mainstream commenters (Josh Marshall, I’m looking at you) are accepting at face value the Republican Party’s throwing of Joe Barton under the bus as though he had gone rogue. The Republican Study Group in the House has been saying essentially the same thing for days, and Erik, son of Erik did the same on CNN. This piece was likely written as part of a coordinated rollout that was called off after Republicans saw how people reacted to Barton’s speech.

  43. 43
    kay says:

    It’s a really consistent theme.

    Business held hostage by the government.

    That it has no connection to reality, as evidenced by oil pouring out of a hole in the ocean’s floor, doesn’t matter.

    They’ve been pushing it so long they just churn it out. It’s the premise they start with. The articles just write themselves.

  44. 44
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Stefan:

    Um, shouldn’t big mistakes lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work? I mean, what the hell? He’s saying, in effect, that Obama will have to avoid giving the impression that the US is a place were actions have consequences. Oh, no, we wouldn’t want to scare anyone away with that idea.

    Amen. As opposed to scaring investment away because people know that it’s a banana republic and if someone has greased the right palms they can screw you six ways from Sunday and never be held accountable. The author of this (please tell me it’s an editorial and not “straight” news) is a fundamentally stupid man.

  45. 45
    liberty60 says:

    a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy

    But, but, but….I thought the brave Galtian Ubermensch loved to fight and struggle in the raw jungle where we are all held accountable for our failures!

  46. 46
    El Cid says:

    Tony Hayward totally deserves a Congressional Medal of Freedom.

  47. 47
    batgirl says:

    @kay: I think it is to deflect the truth which is the opposite: that government is held hostage by business.

  48. 48
    SpotWeld says:

    Without this arm-twisting, what would stop BP from pulling a Bhopal, and selling off the rig. Then claiming that the cleanup is now to be billed to the new owers.

    And so on until it’s realized that the “corporation” now responcible for the cleanup and damage claims is a P.O. box in the Cayman Islands.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    I read this quote to G and he said, “Sometimes you just want to go to the New York Times building and beat the editorial board with a table leg.”

  50. 50
    russell says:

    Afterall, we are no longer a working class nation, we are an investment class nation.

    Sort of.

    As a data point, as of 2007 the bottom 80% of the population held 7% of the financial wealth.

    “Financial wealth” here means marketable assets – stuff you can readily turn into money – minus the value of your home, minus your liabilities.

    In other words, your usable wealth, including investments.

    From here:

    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whor.....ealth.html

    So yeah, lots of folks have five or very low six figures in a 401k. Most of those folks, by which I mean virtually all, are living off of their wages, and will be damned lucky to not have to work until they drop.

    I’m not sure “investment class nation” is really an apt description of the US right now. With almost 10% official unemployment, and de facto unemployment more like 15%, I’m not sure “working class nation” is right either.

    “In debt and holding on by our fingernails” is probably closest. At least for, by far, the majority of us.

    Capital will flow where it can make a return. Obama holding BP’s nuts to the fire is not going to affect that.

  51. 51
    CalD says:

    I propose a new meme: Too big to succeed.

    Not for nothing, but the problem with the “too big to fail” meme is that there seems to be a definite diminishing returns effect associated with the bigness of corporations. Perhaps that’s why nature actively limits the growth of most of her other organisms.

  52. 52

    In a world divided between us and those who make a profit off of us, where do you think that the NYT would stand? We are lucky that the paper allows some speech from other standpoints at all.

    There are only two sides: this one and that one.

    The readers here know my political stance and they probably don’t share it. [I know I am part of a small minority.] But they might agree with me on this one.

    Don’t make me quote Barton . . . . :-)

  53. 53
    liberal says:

    Here’s more damning stuff on Sanger.

  54. 54
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    Here’s Stephen Walt on the same topic:

    It couldn’t be more predictable. Back when Israel and Turkey were strategic allies with extensive military-to-military ties, prominent neoconservatives were vocal defenders of the Turkish government and groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and AIPAC encouraged Congress not to pass resolutions that would have labeled what happened to the Armenians at the hands of the Turks during World War I a “genocide.” (The “Armenian lobby” is no slouch, but it’s no match for AIPAC and its allies in the Israel lobby). The fact that the ADL was in effect protecting another country against the charge of genocide is more than a little ironic, but who ever said that political organizations had to be ethically consistent? Once relations between Israel and Turkey began to fray, however — fueled primarily by Turkish anger over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians — the ADL and AIPAC withdrew their protection and Congressional defenders of Israel began switching sides, too.

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    (please tell me it’s an editorial and not “straight” news)

    I would if I could, but I can’t because it’s not.

  56. 56
    liberal says:

    @VOR:

    Mara Liasson said the BP oil spill might be the government’s fault because they weren’t forcing BP to follow the law or take appropriate safety measures.

    1. I assume you already knew that Liasson is a hack.
    2. In some sense, it is the government’s fault. But that just bounces the ball back to BP and the like, since they undertake regulatory capture.
    3. My impression is that, in terms of case law, saying regulators were asleep at the helm, therefore BP gets off charges of negligence, goes against case law, but IANAL.

  57. 57
    liberal says:

    @cleek:
    According to the canon, libertarian paradise is Somalia. Get your facts straight!!1!

  58. 58
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:
    That’s closer to the truth than the opposite claim.

  59. 59
    liberal says:

    @Linda Featheringill:
    As a matter of political economy, that’s wrong. There are those who take profits (fair), wages (fair), and rents (theft).

  60. 60
    John Bird says:

    In short, our best bet is to act like some third world shithole that bends over backwards to get a little corporate investment, no matter what the cost.

    This is already every country everywhere (all the states, too).

  61. 61
    El Cid says:

    @liberal: “I know I was driving 120 mph, judge, and slammed into that bus full of orphans which then plunged off a cliff and burned, but the cops should have been around to stop me!”

  62. 62
    El Cid says:

    @John Bird: Strangely enough, this has been less true of South America over the past decade — even their right wing business classes want more national development than simply whoring out to Western investors.

  63. 63
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy

    Wow, how awful.

    Of course we prefer to be a country where corporations can make grotesque mistakes, break the law, fuck over people right and left, wreck the economy, get bailed out, and use the bailout money to pay giant bonuses to their executives.

    I mean come on, that’s only fair. That’s what they would get in Iran, or some other more congenial location.

  64. 64
    tomvox1 says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    This piece was likely written as part of a coordinated rollout that was called off after Republicans saw how people reacted to Barton’s speech.

    I think that’s probably accurate. The whole “On the one hand…/ both-sides-of-argument-are-equally-valid” tapdance that Sanger attempts to execute would lend credence to that conclusion.

  65. 65
    manwith7talents says:

    This is more support for my theory that actual Libertarians are mythical creatures, like Leprechauns.

  66. 66
    Elie says:

    They are terrified. I knew that we would get here to this place when the first two weeks went by and the oil was still gushing. I knew that this would be a complete game changer, following so closely on the heels of the financial disaster, GM bailout and other sundry corporate failures.

    This is the scream of fear and knowledge that they are on dangerous and very slippery ground. “Obama, now you be nice to us, heh heh”, while they sweat and wipe.

    Those scales are falling from the eyes of many just plain folks about the true nature and all the down sides of believing the old mantra that the private sector is the answer to everything — it is becoming clear as the profound LIE that it is. They know what is coming next and there is no escaping it really…

    Obama has been flailed by the left for not making enough extreme anti corporate statements or taking radical enough actions. He does not have to. They are saying and doing it for him with every incompetent action and word. He just has to put the ignition packages in the right places, like one of those demolition jobs where the whole damned thing falls on itself after a few detonations in just the right places.

    The corporists and their flying monkeys are speechless and terrified. Too bad the left is so busy screaming that they can’t appreciate and savor what is happening…this is the best way its supposed to go…unless you would prefer bloody revolution… this is quiet but profound nonetheless though it is definitely just the beginning of the beginning.

    Step back, now — we are lancing a huge, festering boil and what comes out is going to be heinous…but wonderful.

  67. 67
    russell says:

    I knew that this would be a complete game changer

    I wasn’t aware the game had changed.

  68. 68
    Nick says:

    H]e will have to avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.

    Because God forbid corporations should have to pay for their actions.

    It’s amazing that a country that prides itself on torturing people for vaguely being tied to terrorism is petrified of treating corporations like criminals when they actually commit a crime.

    And do you purity trolls SEE what we’re talking about now? This is the crap Obama has the deal with, and this is the crap half the country eats and thinks it’s Strawberries.

  69. 69
    Elie says:

    @russell:

    As I said, we are at the beginning of a new phase.. are we there yet — obviously not. But the ground is shifting and the lies are obvious

  70. 70
    BombIranForChrist says:

    There is a 0% chance, hell a -100% chance, if that makes any sense, that companies will go elsewhere. The US is a giant corrupt piggybank with a low tax system. Even after a moderate chastisement and / or regulation it will still be one of the best places to do business in the world.

    Corporations are full of it. What a crock of shit.

  71. 71
    Mike Kay says:

    This piece of shit article in service of NYT’s advertisers was titled “strong steps or oversteps”.

    What a fucking parody. Before the speech I posted the knee jerk press reaction would be “did he go far enough or did he go too far”, and preseto, the Times delivers.

    But on aside, doncha love it, the Beltway says Obama is going tooo far, and the bloggers are saying Obama doesn’t go far enough. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, suck in the middle with you.

  72. 72
    Mike Kay says:

    PS Isn’t it telling how the Times never-ever once posted an article questioning if Bush and Cheney went too far.

  73. 73
    Mike Kay says:

    @Violet:

    Obama is a bully! It wasn’t just arm-twisting, it was raw arm-twisting.

    And yet for the last year and a half, they’ve been screaming for him to channel LBJ and twist arms and break legs.

    And when they’re not calling him a bully, they’re saying he’s weak.

    Bunch of fucking goldilocks.

  74. 74
    kay says:

    It’s a ridiculous premise for a story on BP anyway. They go wherever the oil is, I assume. They bid for the rights from the US. It’s not like they’re manufacturing the oil. They’re pulling it out of a hole in the ground.
    You really have to set out to push a message to get from “leased mineral rights at a fixed location” to “companies may re-locate outside the US unless we’re nice to them”.

  75. 75
    MasterD, damn yankee says:

    a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.

    “Mistakes”?

    NO!

    The deaths of 11 unfortunate workers and the oil volcano currently erupting in the GOM are the direct result of corner-cutting, bottom-line-focused decisions made by BP officials. There was no “mistake” involved.

  76. 76
    Mike Kay says:

    @kay: I have to think some lobbying group like the business roundtable or the chamber of commerce, a group that represents alot of the Times advertisers came to them and cried and pleaded for some coverage of their point of view. I mean, this is the time of the year when they start selling ad space for the all important fall season.

  77. 77
    dm says:

    In that article it’s so interesting what the reporter chooses to put in the voice of Obama but also what the reporter chooses to put in his own voice. After attributing all those quite objective descriptions of corporate malfeasance to Obama’s voice, the reporter puts the implicit political danger to Obama in his own voice:

    “[H]e will have to avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.”

    Says who?

    The reporter reduces the true facts about corporate malfeasance to one politician’s opinion, but presents the conventional wisdom of the political repercussion of those acts – in other words a prediction of what might possibly happen in the future – as though they’re true facts.

  78. 78
    Nick says:

    @Mike Kay:

    I have to think some lobbying group like the business roundtable or the chamber of commerce, a group that represents alot of the Times advertisers came to them and cried and pleaded for some coverage of their point of view. I mean, this is the time of the year when they start selling ad space for the all important fall season.

    You don’t have to think, that’s exactly what happened…happens all the time.

  79. 79

    We really need a return to the anti-corporatism as mainstream.

  80. 80
    dan says:

    Tax the ~ out of rich people, tax the ~ out of their corporations, if say they’re going to leave, cheer, if they follow through, celebrate.

  81. 81
    AnotherBruce says:

    Shorter NYT:
    “However would we hope to survive without our corporate masters?”

  82. 82
    torfic says:

    wasn’t this the dc press corpse and power elite that was all – Pro Unitary Executive just a few years ago?

    So if the Pres goes after OUR rights it’s good.

    If he goes after the Media Whores’ Pimps then it’s bad?

    The mental gymnastics necessary to be part of the Kool Kids Klub in DC and NYC MUST hurt after a while. Does anyone in the media/politics/advertising/banking/power elite-y world that gets paid to do this shit have a soul anymore?

    being an empty, greedy, shallow, ignorant, Let Them Eat Cake douchebag is a choice (see tom friedman and the entire Washington Post Editorial Page) remember…

    your soul is a valuable thing to sell !!!!

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