Obama/Heitkamp Crony Capitalism And Train Derailments

Valley News Live – KVLY/KXJB – Fargo/Grand Forks

In the wake of the explosive Casselton train development, which I think everyone knows could have been far more tragic than it was if it had occurred in one of the population centers along the rail line, there’s been a lot of talk about the explosion in rail traffic in North Dakota driven by the oil boom.

Right now roughly 70% of the oil produced in North Dakota is transported by rail. Some projects indicate that figure jumping up as high as 90%. But rail is a more expensive, and less reliable, method for transporting oil, so why is so much oil going out on rail instead of pipelines?

In a word, cronyism.

KVLY’s Chris Berg has an excellent segment about the financial political ties between Burlington Northern Santa Fe owner Warren Buffett and President Barack Obama as well as Senator Heidi Heitkamp (I put together some of this data myself in a recent post). Not only did Warren Buffett and his employees contribute heavily to Senator Heitkamp and Barack Obama’s election campaigns, but Senator Heitkamp specifically has somewhere between $160,000 and over $400,000 worth of stock in Buffett’s company (which, in turn, owns BNSF) according to Senate financial disclosures.

It’s hard not to see a connection between the financial interests of Warren Buffett and Heitkamp/Obama and the political roadblocks for pipeline infrastructure which create a glut of rail traffic.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • yy4u2

    In the mind of a progressive, if an alleged conservative or conservative company is shown to engage in cronyism, it’s bad. And it is. If a progressive or their company does it, nothing to see, Bush did it, or look, a violent criminal is due to use up some electricity…why on earth can’t we just allow the killing of babies instead.

    • SDJammer

      In the mind of a liberal, anything a conservative does in regards to the government is cronyism and is bad. However, since a liberal feels THEY ARE THE GOVERNMENT – therefore; “no harm, no foul.
      As for the issue of the train derailment and fire, Warren Buffet should be made to cover 100% out of his personal money which he is just going to donate to some third world country that did nothing to help him earn it while at the same time taking a tax deduction to lower his tax rate which he says is unethical when Republicans do it.

  • Mark Hanson

    The headline refers to “crony capitalism”. But cronyism has nothing to do with capitalism. Cronyism is pure unadulterated socialism, and in extreme cases, it’s fascism. And fascism is the objective of crony socialists like Warren Buffet, GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt (Obama’s job czar), Bill Gates, and many other CEO’s and their bipartisan political whores. An alternative term for crony capitalism is CRAPitalism.

    Those who value capitalist principles must not taint capitalism by associating it with cronyism, doing so feeds leftist attempts to discredit capitalism. A prime example is Occupy Wall Street propaganda, which claims capitalism caused the financial crisis. But Too Big To Fail banks violate a fundamental rule of capitalism, i.e., if you make bad decisions and bankrupt your business, you must be allowed to fail. This is essential for an efficient market economy.

    For more facts that distinguish capitalism from cronyism and fascism, check out “The Occupy Wall Street Agenda and Climategate” at http://www.StandUpForYourRights.me/?p=523 There you will find this link http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4456926 to Jeffrey Immelt, before Obama was elected, calling for a gov’t imposed carbon market, a.k.a. cap and trade. And a link to Exxon Mobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, calling for a carbon tax to fund his green algae fuel program, and much more.

    • tomorrowclear

      Fascism, you say? Linked are 14 common characteristics of fascist regimes throughout history. It reads like the central playbook of the modern American right wing:

      http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html

      • two_amber_lamps

        Beware the finger you point at others, three more point back at you… Comrade.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Fascism is just another facet of statism. It has far more in common, economically, with Obamanomics than it does with free market capitalism.

        • tomorrowclear

          Fascism entails much more than economics, in fact, economics is further down the list than other concerns in a fascist regime. I say this to you, because you seem to have bit more integrity than some of your readers: Be precise with your language. Do not sloppily use terms unless you are certain what they mean. There is nothing in the policies of Barack Obama that exemplify “fascism.” HIs domestic policies are about on par with Harry Truman’s and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s. If you are going to claim that Truman and Ike were “fascists,” be my guest, but few folks of any education will take that seriously. There are, however, numerous leaders and strains within the American Right that exemplify fascism. In fact, they proudly proclaim at least 5 or 6 of those characteristics as their own.

          • JoeMN

            Fascism entails much more than economics, in fact, economics is further down the list than other concerns in a fascist regime.

            __________

            It would seem your list is not an accurate depiction of Fascism, but rather a tool to bludgeon your political enemies.

            Sexism is more important to the fascist than economics ?

            Really ?

            So what really is high on the list for a fascist government? (the desires of hippy.com notwithstanding)

            First on your list is patriotism.

            But it would seem the state cannot compel patriotism.
            How about these ?

            The interests of the state trump the individual.

            The fascist believes the state is the vessel by which the people’s common destiny is realized

            And at the heart of fascism lies state control of the economy

            The fascist attempts to usurp the free market to serve it’s ends.
            The government dictates economic decisions and the ostensible business owners must obey its orders

            It more closely resembles a planned economy
            To the fascist, the individual and individual rights are subordinate to the state.

            So where would we look for fascism in American presidents ?

            How about every liberal’s favorite, FDR ?

            “‘I don’t mind telling you in confidence,’ FDR remarked to a
            White House correspondent, ‘that I am keeping in fairly close touch with
            that admirable Italian gentleman’”. Rexford Tugwell, a leading
            adviser to the president, had difficulty containing his enthusiasm for
            Mussolini’s program to modernize Italy: “It’s the cleanest … most
            efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen. It makes
            me envious”

            Mussolini, who did not allow his work as dictator to interrupt his prolific journalism, wrote a glowing review of Roosevelt’s Looking Forward.
            He found “reminiscent of fascism … the principle that the state no
            longer leaves the economy to its own devices”; and, in another review,
            this time of Henry Wallace’s New Frontiers, Il Duce found the Secretary of Agriculture’s program similar to his own corporativism

            It truly makes one wonder the glowing review Mussolini would have reserved for BHO

      • Broadway Joe

        nice link. this was written for Hippy.com which is a direct supporter of Occupy wall street. a lot of credibility there

        • tomorrowclear

          No, actually the 14 Characteristics of Fascism was originally written for Free Inquiry Magazine. Naturally, instead of taking issue with the content of the writing, you, rather feebly, try to divert the discussion into one about the platform from which the information was disseminated. What would be far more productive would be for you to take substantive issue with the author’s study of historical fascist regimes. Which of the characteristics do you think not the be common among fascist regimes and which specific regimes did not exhibit these characteristics?

          BTW, if we accept your basis for ignoring ideas based upon who presents them, am I to understand that anything emanating from the Tea Party Movement should be disregarded?

  • WOOF

    Oh no, Mr Bill, who benefits from train derailments ?
    It Ain’t Warren & Heidi.

  • NoDak for Life

    Warren Buffett maxed
    out campaign contributions to Heidi are for one reason, because it benefits
    Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway and investments like BNSF. The fact
    that Heidi went silent after the 2012 election in support of the Keystone
    pipeline speaks volumes, as Hoeven continues to call for the Keystone to get
    trucks off the Highway and have oil transported more cost effectively and safely to
    market,

    It is also interesting that it is Dalrymple and Hoeven that meet
    with the CEO of BNSF to call for safer transport and safer oil tank cars after the
    derailment in Casselton. Where is Heidi holding BNSF accountable? Not a
    peep our of the Obama administration either. But is a conservative organization had the same accident, every government agency from the EPA to the IRS would be used in wild outrage.

    Warren Buffett has mastered crony capitalism, buying favor in DC for favorable
    tax, regulation, and other govt policies that favor him, the billionaire at the
    expense of the average American. So has Obama’s Wall Street and Public union cronies.

    With Obama and Heidi, billionaires call the shots, and government is used to reward your rich friends and contributors, whether they are Wall Street Banker (bailouts) health-care companies, renewable energy companies (think solar),
    subprime dealers, liberal political groups,unions, and wind farms aka bird killers. Odd that an individual that gets s $5000 fine for accidental killing an eagle but a wind farm gets 30 years immunity for killing them by the dozen. You really need to be a friend of King Obama.

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