One result of the BP environmental disaster (it’s more than just a leak, folks) is that BP and other oil companies and oil related companies (think Halliburton) are now upping their flow of cash to politicians and lobbyists.
Halliburton alone spent $17,000 in May, the biggest “donation” month for it since 2008 according to Politico, handing out contributions to politicians. Thirteen of the 14 recipients of Halliburton’s largess were Republicans while 7 went to members of Congress who are charged with oversight of the oil mess according to a report in Truthout. http://www.truthout.org/bp-and-halliburton-build-legal-teams-attempt-to-buy-off-government-officials
The same story indicates that BP and other oil companies gave Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour $1.8 million for his campaign. Barbour is a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Since the spill, Barbour has been downplaying the environmental disaster to his state and been encouraging tourists to visit his state’s oil besmirched beaches. Meanwhile Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) traveled to a BP funded conference last month to lobby to drill for oil and gas aggressively, this all from the same report.
Nor is all of the money taking confined to Republicans. Recall that the biggest recipient of BP’s cash in 2008 was none other than Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. His administration then went on to give BP waivers from filing environmental impact statements including one for the well that blew out. Without those waivers, it’s likely the spill would never have happened. Obama is also the guy who changed a 27 year old ban on off shore drilling. On April 2, 2010, Obama announced that position while declaring that oil rigs nowadays are safe and “spills occur from refineries not oil rigs.” So the blame is on both our political parties.
Meanwhile, BP has prepared $50 million worth of television ads in a campaign to cleanse its image. It has also hired an army of lobbyists and begun to “lawyer up” in preparation for legal proceedings.
Here’s another way that BP is attempting to manage its image by use of the internet. It has bought several phrases on key search tools (like Google and Yahoo) so that users end up at BP’s web site where it explains what it is doing! From Emily Friedman of ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Broadcast/bp-buys-search-engine-phrases-redirecting-users/story?id=10835618
BP, the very company responsible for the oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history, has purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company’s official website.
A simple Google search of “oil spill” turns up several thousand news results, but the first link, highlighted at the very top of the page, is from BP. “Learn more about how BP is helping,” the link’s tagline reads.
Scott Slatin, an analyst who runs search engine marketing company Rivington in New York, estimates the company is paying upwards of $10,000 per day to maintain the various search terms.
“They paid to lock themselves into the first position against the oil spill terms, essentially putting a positive message on top of the news,” Slatin said.
Arianna Huffington made an excellent point on a CNN panel recently. She said it is obvious that BP’s interests are not the interests of the American people. Sadly though, it appears that the interests of many of our elected officials are not those of their constituents: these pols are up for sale and the highest bidder is generally not the electorate at large.