Last month, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a lawsuit against Ken Feinberg, stating he and the GCCF had not complied with a subpoena issued last February asking for full access to GCCF records so Hood’s office could put them under review. Among other things, Hood alleges that Feinberg has intentionally stalled payments to oil spill claimants in the hopes financial desperation will encourage settlements with the GCCF.
Feinberg denies this.
Feinberg denies a lot.
Feinberg would still deny he is an employee of British Petroleum if he thought he could get away with it, if Judge Barbier hadn’t ordered him to stop making such claims.
Feinberg realizes that having Hood’s lawsuit heard in Hinds County, Mississippi might not work out real well for the GCCF and himself, so Feinberg moved the case to Federal Court where it will hopefully be heard someplace further away, where fewer have followed his history of shenanigans, false promises, and other assorted obfuscations.
Ken Feinberg: stalling claims, and now also stalling court cases trying to investigate his stalling of claims.
David Pitofsky, Feinberg’s attorney, stated yesterday in a court filing it is their belief the GCCF already has adequate oversight so there is no need for the court to order any additional supervision, “The GCCF is already effectively supervised by the Coast Guard and several committees of Congress, and it has voluntarily agreed with the Department of Justice to an independent audit of the claims process,” Pitofsky said in the filing.
Yes, but this citizen would simply say the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
But first, let’s take a look at Feinberg’s friends:
The Coast Guard, while an admirable institution, seemed to really go out of their way to do the bidding of British Petroleum throughout this entire disaster. BP, Ken, that same company you seem to really hate admitting is your employer.
Congress, the only things Congress can agree on is how much they hate the other side of the aisle, a hatred eclipsed only by their apparent hatred of any legislation that might protect anything but their own ass. Environmental regulations, environmental oversight or the oversight of the GCCF, not really up there on their list of priorities, not when there is an entire nation of poor people they can willfully screw over. Ken, in their eyes, you’re small potatoes.
As far as this audit you and US Attorney General Eric Holder came up with, while I applaud its idea, I question its method, simply because it was something you and he agreed to behind closed doors and we still don’t know its range and/or scope, nor do we know if its findings will have any teeth beyond making things uncomfortable for you, Ken, for maybe a news cycle, before you go back to business as usual.
So, those are your friends. That is the oversight you have agreed to, and that is the oversight you and your lawyers say is enough.
With this oversight in place, we already have complaints from across the Gulf Coast how the GCCF isn’t doing its job, leaving too many claimants behind, from health claims to subsistence claims to interim claims…from a low-balling of final claim offers to coercion through financial desperation into accepting said offers or the many, many quick claim offers you’ve already paid out, all while signing away any rights to future compensation.
You say: not enough documentation, no causal evidence of health maladies, and the offers are fair…and that is all you say, except maybe the occasional caveat or apology, with no resulting correction of what you apologized for. And again, this is with the oversight you already have. So why do many across the Gulf Coast think you need more? Well, beyond everything stated above, because the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or in other words:
When it comes to oversight you haven’t agreed to, you need more precisely because you think you do have enough.
After the Deepwater Horizon exploded 16 months ago, the people of the Gulf Coast were made a successive series of promises by the government, by British Petroleum and then by the administrator of the GCCF, Ken Feinberg. In their own ways, each entity promised to make the Gulf Coast whole again…first through clean-up, then through reparations and ultimately by claiming precautions and new guidelines would be put in place so something as devastating as the BP oil spill could never happen again. All of these promises have been beset in some respect by failure.
The use of Corexit dispersant which may have made things worse, the fact that sixteen months later there is still oil in the marshes and tar balls washing up on still closed beaches, the failure of promises made to participants in the VoO program, all combined with Barack Obama’s seeming forgetfulness of promises made to an entire region, symbolized by his lack of mention in his most recent State of the Union speech and then Congress’s walk back from initially harsh criticism of British Petroleum and promises of new laws and regulations…and now, the region is still left with the economic stain of the GCCF’s many failures across four states: low-balled payments, denial of health claims based on stricter guidelines than Feinberg used in previous claims programs, his admitted denial of legitimate claims for people who lack documentation and sixteen months later, far too many people still wait for payments, not hand-outs, not charity, but compensation for the damages they suffered as a result of a catastraphuk they never asked for, but continue to live with.
Is it getting better in the Gulf?
Should it be much better than it is, are people still struggling as a result of this disaster while British Petroleum continues to make billions of dollars in profit and continues to pay Feinberg’s law firm millions of dollars in salary?
So in six months the trial begins.
“The trial over last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster will unfold in three phases and will start as scheduled on Feb. 27, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier said Friday. Barbier said at a monthly status conference in the oil spill litigation that he will issue an order soon sketching out plans for next year’s trial over liability in the disaster. His plan most closely resembles the proposal submitted by Anadarko Petroleum Co., which held a 25 percent ownership stake in the ill-fated Macondo well. “I fully intend this trial will start as scheduled on Feb. 27, 2012,” said Barbier, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1998.”
The first phase of the trial will examine the roles of various companies in the explosion, the loss of control, the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and the beginning flow of oil. The second phase will cover the attempts to shut down the well and how much oil was lost while the third will deal with the liability of the clean-up, the dispersants, the skimming and the boom used to cope with the spilled oil.
Also covered on Friday by Carl Barbier were the beginnings into an examination of the VoO program. Nearly one hundred boat owners have filed a complaint with the court alleging BP’s VoO program was a corrupt conspiracy that left “thousands of participants … holding the bag for millions of dollars of unpaid services, equipment, materials, repairs and decontaminations” – and that BP intended it that way.
“Lead plaintiff Clyde Crawford says BP promised the plaintiffs $1,200 to $3,000 a day to use their boats during the cleanup. Crawford says the plaintiffs signed contracts promising to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that BP told them told several times that they would be paid their daily rate even on days they were not called to work.” According to the 111 page complaint, “BP promised to pay for all repairs needed as the result of the work, and to pay for decontaminating the boats when their work was done…but the fishermen say the whole Vessels of Opportunity program was a corrupt conspiracy….'[Defendants] BP, Parsons Corporation, Danos & Curole, HEPACO, U.S. Environmental Services and the individual defendants have engaged in an illegal and unlawful conspiracy to defraud plaintiffs and underpay plaintiffs for services, equipment, materials, repairs and decontaminations related to the VoO program and the oil spill response,’ says the complaint.”
Judge Barbier on Friday said that he stands ready to appoint someone to deal with disputes arising out of the VoO program, “This could expand,” he said. “I’m not sure how many of these Vessels of Opportunity cases could be out there.”
So, here comes the judge, and it would appear, along with the independent audit of the GCCF promised by US Attorney General, Eric Holder, the judge may just be what the Gulf Coast needs…
Especially when we read articles such as:
Some Amnesia Over Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: where Tommy Beadreau, senior advisor to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement states, “”In the United States, in our political environment, we’ve already seen in some circles a little bit of amnesia when it comes to the spill — the reasons for it and the effects of it.” Because, in case you forgot, we have a House of Representatives who would appear to have never seen a regulation or a federal level environmental agency they haven’t wanted to either destroy or defund.
So, the Gulf Coast is left with Judge Barbier and the attorneys.
So, here’s hoping the right thing is finally done and this region eventually gets made whole, once and for all. If BP, Obama and Feinberg won’t do it, maybe the courts finally will.
Rising Tide 6 is coming to Xavier University on August 27th, from 9am-6pm…so really, go register, you won’t regret it…
Keynote speakers will be David Simon, creator and executive producer of Treme, and Richard Campenella, who among other things, wrote Bienville’s Dilemma which is a great, great book about the geography of New Orleans and how it contributed to or even defined much of the city’s history…I’m fortunate enough to have read it myself and it’s definitely worthwhile.
And that’s not all…there’ll be a bar too, and panel discussions about Social Media and Social Justice, the British Petroleum Catastraphuk, New Orleans Food, Brass Bands, a performance by the TBC Brass Band and they’ll of course be handing out the Ashley Morris Award (cough, cough, my pick: Slabbed) and I would imagine of particular interest to the people who check this site often would be the “Re-Capping the Well Panel”:
Panel Discussion:Re-capping the well The aftermath of the Macondo oil disaster and the future of the Gulf Coast. A discussion about how what’s just happened over the past year will affect the land and the people for years to come.
Moderator: Alex Woodward – staff writer, Gambit, covering the environment, arts and culture of south Louisiana.
Anne Rolfes – Founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Anne began her organizing career in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo. It was there that she first witnessed the destruction of oil production. After six years of working on Nigerian issues, Anne returned to Louisiana in 1999 to protect her home state from petrochemical pollution. Anne was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana where many people made their fortunes from the oil industry. She has seen the wealth and the poverty created by oil production and seeks to make the industry more equitable. In October 2007 Anne was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a Community Health Leader.
David Hammer – An award-winning reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. He led the paper’s investigation of what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon rig and broke several stories about key engineering decisions that contributed to the BP well blowout. His beats since the oil spill also include the drilling moratorium and Kenneth Feinberg’s administration of spill claims. Hammer is a seventh-generation New Orleanian and a graduate of Harvard University. He worked five years for newspapers in New England and four years with The Associated Press.
Dr. Len Bahr – The former director of the Governor’s Applied Coastal Science Program who currently publishes the La Coast Post website.
Drake Toulouse– A BP and Gulf Coast Claims Facility critic who writes at Disenfranchised Citizen
Yeah, that guy at the bottom of the above list, that would be me, on a stage, in front of people, with the expectation I will say things, even say things loud enough so others can hear me say things. I’ll be easy to spot…just look for the guy with the casual, confident expression of sweating terror speaking great truths from behind the biggest beer glass I can find…
Rising Tide 6!
Definitely check it out…went to my first last year and it was worth it, informative and a hell of a lot of fun with good people…
…does it seem each time a politician refers to their budget as “bold” or their ideas as “bold,” or their plan to do anything as “bold,” one can easily replace the word “bold” with “stupid,” or “poorly thought out,” or “really screwing the poor and middle class so don’t look too close, go see the Smurf movie instead, it’s family-damn-tastic!”
Take this example from a Think Progress article where John Boehner tried to say the S+P didn’t downgrade US credit because of GOP unwillingness to consider revenue increases, but instead because Obama (kinda-sorta) wouldn’t let them eliminate Medicare:
“The President and the Democratic leadership in Washington are trying to blame the tea party, because they know this downgrade is on [the Democrats] (Hmm…that’s a lie). When we took the bold step of proposing entitlement reforms, they reacted not by embracing them and joining us, but by demonizing those proposals for political gain.”
See how that works?
Bold…as in, “Hey man, I was thinking we could save a lot on Grandma’s health care if we were to just tie her hands and feet and throw her off the Crescent City Connection, taking that strong an inititiative would be a truly bold move.”
Congratulations, and thanks much for the continued coverage of the spill and aftermath…
“Times-Picayune reporter David Hammer won a national environmental reporting award Monday for his coverage of the BP oil spill. The Society of Environmental Journalists announced the winners of the 2010-2011 Awards for Reporting on the Environment.
Hammer reported on the risky decisions and lax safety practices that led to the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 and unleashed the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Many of the issues his reporting raised were later discussed in the report from the national commission that investigated the spill.
Sometimes, events just write themselves, such as this article at Think Progress…highlighting the two events in Houston last Saturday.
At Reliant Stadium, Presidential wannabe Rick Perry and 30,000 others got together and prayed for the lord’s guidance in solving both the nation’s problems and Perry’s seeming inability to not wear a suit that doesn’t choke his neck til his head looks like a well coiffed pimple before bursting.
Meanwhile, at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center that same day, 100,000 people got together to get free backpacks and school supplies for their kids. They also received uniforms, haircut vouchers, immunizations, 20,000 boxed lunches and 25,000 three-pound bags of food.
Now word is, Perry wants to be President.
Reliant Stadium has a seating capacity of 70,000 plus and 30,000 showed up.
The Convention Center Back to School planners expected 25,000 and four times that showed up, so many they had to turn people away.
This might be what one calls the difference between public relations and fact: glitzy governors on big stages praying with people “who have lost hope,” versus the reality of the state, and the nation’s new priorities and the consequences thereof.
The people waiting in line that day for their kids, haven’t given up hope, they’re trying to hold on.
While Perry and his ilk, pray nobody pays attention as those same people have their futures looted by those seeking power, today.
The living legend…by way of Hermosa Beach and formerly of The Circle Jerks…I give you:
Off! – I Don’t Belong
“Your high social caste, privileged friends, you lure me in…
But I can’t be your friend.
Hit on Miss Liberty, under the cherry tree, drunk on hypocrisy
I’m standing in the shadows and I’m pissing in the punchbowl.
I don’t belong.
Cocktail party, pin the tail on the donkey,
Icing on my face, but I don’t like the taste,
Right wing mentality, God and democracy, red carpet royalty
I’m standing in the shadows and I’m pissing in the punchbowl.
I don’t belong.”
Don’t worry about it, you’re welcome.
If not familiar, Keith Morris is the little, older guy at the end.
My first Circle Jerks concert, after seeing show after show, year after year of privileged rock star types, it was rather different to see this guy wandering through the crowd watching opening bands, carrying a book and a backpack and just hanging out like anybody else.
A delegation travelled to London this week to accuse BP of ignoring the claims of minorities and the damages they sustained from the oil spill.
“The 5-member delegation represents Operation People for Peace, a coalition that advocates for those who were harmed by the spill but were left out of the compensation process, according to the group’s founder, Art Rocker. Rocker, a Pensacola minister and a board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was joined by Dick Gregory, a comedian and activist; E. Faye Williams, chair of the National Congress of Black Women Inc.; and Prichard Police Chief Jimmie Gardner. ”
So, whadda ya think happened?
British Petroleum CEO Bob Dudley saw a grave injustice being committed and he swooped down to the lobby on a special wire and pulley mechanism, met personally with each and every member of the delegation and made guarantees that every single person they represented would be made right, made whole, made into not only one, but two completely brand new people, and it only makes sense because in this day and age, if there is one thing we know about our brethren in the oil companies, it is they not only exist for profit as any company should, but they exist for the betterment of humankind by any means necessary.
Oh, I mean they were turned away twice by BP underlings and told to go talk to Feinberg.
And what did Feinberg have to say about this?
He said nobody would fall through the cracks, not on his watch. He was there to make sure that everybody got precisely what they deserved, not a penny less, not a penny more and he proceeded to pull out his gilded checkbook and he started writing checks just as fast as he could.
Oh, I mean he said he’d already conferred with the group, but the claimants lacked the necessary documentation for compensation. “They are very credible. These are not false claims or bogus claims,” he said. “I’m rather sympathetic to their concern. But the issue is the same with every claimant . . . Can there be some minimum degree of documentation that will permit the (claims facility) to honor the claim?”
No worries though, I understand Barack Obama has personally committed himself to assist in negotiations, ensuring a fair and reasonable settlement between parties.
I know I’ve only been coming to you with problems lately, and I did do my best to clear the scheduling conflicts with Rick Perry’s Reliant Stadium deal, but you know how it is, the laundry needs doing, the house needs painting and the television needs watching and besides, word is you’re not going to Houston either, so live and let live, right right?
Jindal…right, Bobby Jindal…yes-sir, governor of the great state of Louisiana, God Bless America…yes.
So, I suppose I should get right to it.
Remember back during the oil spill? Yes, British Petroleum in the Gulf…right. So back during the oil…last April? No…it was last, last April in 2010, and that’s precisely my point, that was a long time ago and back during that time, not only were my political friends talking about me as a possible Republican Presidential Candidate, but a definite shoo-in for a sweet national gig should a Republican win, a cabinet post…no, I know I said the only job I wanted was the job I had, but you know how it is, I’m supposed to say that.
Oh, you didn’t?
Okay…well now you do…sure, you’re welcome.
Anyways, so we had all the press down here summer before last, and I mean all of them and they were talking to me everyday. I got to talk about how Obama wasn’t doing anything to stop the spill, how he was getting in my way, how the Feds were totally screwing this whole thing up. I got to take all these helicopter rides with all the big-time reporters, the bigs! And me too! I was big time, flying low and hard over the oil slicks, pointing out my citizens trying to clean it up. All that attention, all those speeches, the microphones hanging on my every word and I tell you, really, it was absolutely amaz…horrible. It was a horrible tragedy.
Yes-sir, a heartbreak.
Well, you see God, it’s been a long time since I got to ride the helicopter. It’s been too long, and presiding way down here, the rest of the country I think is forgetting all about poor Bobby Jindal. I need your help to wake ’em up. This governor thing, it’s been a rough year. The whole school unification plan fell apart. The big hospital plan fell apart. People keep calling me unethical and a hypocrite about transparency and the economy, well, it really kind of sucks and hey, I love me some Tea Party people, but the way those guys want to be with the money…yes-sir, I’m worried…right, coastal erosion.
Between you, me and too many holes in the levees, these Tea Party guys are stealing my thunder. Do you know that during the whole debt ceiling fight, the press, they were talking to every presidential candidate they could find. Every single one. They talk to that head-case Bachman, the pizza guy, Palin…they even tried to talk to Romney. All of ’em, CNN, FOX, the networks and…no, hardly anybody talked to Bobby. That’s my point. I’m kinda feeling unwanted, and that’s not all, not by a long shot. These new governors they got now! That Walker guy in Wisconsin, trashing the unions and hell, he screwed the entire state’s educational system a hell of a lot more than I could have ever dreamed, lousy, filthy teachers. Chris Christie, Nikki Haley and that guy in Maine with the French sounding name. Press, press, press, but nobody’s talking about me anymore, nobody at all. What’s a governor gotta do, blow up an oil refinery? Oh, and don’t get me started on Paul Ryan. The Ryan budget! The Ryan Budget! Eric Cantor says nobody under 55 will have Medicare when the House is done this year…Stealing the thunder! If I had my way, I’d have killed Medicare ten years ago!
It’s almost like nobody cares about Bobby, not at all. But I think we can fix it…no, I don’t want another oil spill…no, of course not a hurricane…and no, I think an earthquake might be a bit too suspicious, but I do have an idea…
How’d you know? …Oh right, God.
No, I don’t want the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Maybe if I’d been able to get my privatized prisons, that’d been something but that didn’t work out either.
Got a different kind of idea on Cuba…okay, you ready?
Invade Cuba?…no, they invade us, Louisiana!
Lord, if you could do whatever it is you do and get Cuba to invade we’d really be onto something. Mainstream press will eat it up….oh, totally! Sincerely! It will be the biggest story since the oil spill and the biggest local story ever! Can you imagine the video they’ll get, the photos, the photos of me?
All me…full gear on with an M-16 racing down the beaches. I bet I could even get myself back into the helicopters. Tie a red bandanna round my head and maybe a jade necklace I take off the dead girls body, the only one who every really understood me, as I head out to avenge her death with arrows, armed with exploding tips, all sweaty and…yes! Rambo, part two…yeah, Sly’s a personal friend…Okay…right…no, you’re right, I never met him, but that movie’s pretty cool and you know what?
Everybody and their mother will be talking about Bobby Jindal again. They’ll practically throw the Presidency at me. They’ll give me every cabinet post, and an ambassadorship too! I won’t even have to campaign, I’ll just show up on inauguration day and say, “America, you’re welcome.”
Louisiana? Remember God, that’s just what we’re supposed to say…because that way, if nobody wants us to run or invites us to DC, we can pretend like we never cared at all. Yep, saving face and getting re-elected.
Not that it’ll matter.
Not when Cuba invades.
Not when me and Anderson Cooper are skimming the armada while I unload clip after clip, the camera flashes flashing and the bullets flying. CNN and Fox news will beat down the mansion’s front door during rest and relaxation.
No, no…screw MSNBC.
Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly…I will be the permanent guest host between now and inauguration day and all the American citizens will be calling in, just to say thank you, to me, Bobby Jindal.
Awesome. It will be awesome.
How about on my birthday…right, I picture getting out of the car in full fatigues, or maybe a nice pair of khaki’s and then…I turn to the camera and glare, “Cuba? Not on my birthday, bitch.” Then I’ll grab a gun, a big one and charge the surf to stand on my sand berms and wait for the Cubans…cue the sunrise!
It’ll be perfect. Nobody will ever forget about me again. I’ll be 42 this year…politically, make or break…right, right…yes, of course in your name I pray, pray I make the national stage, or at least get one more ride in a helicopter before I leave the Louisiana stage…someday.