So, I was reading an article/book review in Time magazine about the Deepwater Horizon where the writer, a Mr. Bryan Walsh separates people into two camps…people who can’t forget about the oil spill and say the region still hasn’t recovered (Dead coral, dolphins, depleted shrimp catches, health problems, tar balls still and oil entering the food chain…etc…) and the people who just want to forget all about the oil spill, mainly people in the oil industry and Republicans who complain that offshore drilling has slowed under Obama.
And I just gotta ask, which I know puts me in that first group…forget about the oil spill? Seriously? You’d have to be pretty boiled over with distracted emotion to forget about millions of barrels of oil and millions of gallons of Corexit being dumped all over our nation’s main source of seafood, among other things…
Hmm, did I say anger?
Yeah, the GOP, they’re really, really angry…at Obama and the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOERME) with it’s new (kind-of) safety regulations and (kind-of) oversight.
GOP Rep. Doc Hastings is beside himself pissed, issuing subpoena’s every chance he gets…but with all that anger, being so focused and all…I gotta ask, “Hey, GOP, what about BP?”
Can you spare a bit of your angry jackassery for the dipshits at British Petroleum?
As this article points out, by way of a review of Abrahm Lustgarten’s book, Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon:
“What had been a company with a history of safety—even dullness—was turned upside down. And while profits and market share increased, the accidents started piling up. In 2005 a major explosion occurred at BP’s Texas City refinery, killing 15 workers. Employees had complained for months of the dangerous conditions at the refinery, but nothing was done. The next year a major spill occurred in BP’s Prudhoe Bay, Alaska facilities, resulting in more fines for the companies. Even before Deepwater Horizon, BP was cited far more often by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for safety violations than any other company. As Scott West, a former EPA official who had investigated the company in Alaska, told me after the spill, BP was a “serial environmental criminal.”
A “serial environmental criminal…”
So, Obama and BOERME play it safe, a move necessitated by the fact that British Petroleum played it anything but and thus caused the United State’s worst environmental disaster of all time and now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the oil industry and the GOP are maintaining that it is Obama who’s the asshole in all this?
Well, in my opinion, you guys should all go and kind of eat some shit…and that goes double for you, Vitter, you self righteous-hypocritical prick. Maybe you might listen to reason at the next BOERME meeting if they bring you a pair of diapers and a bible, ass.
In all the articles I’ve read or written about over the past year or so, especially the ones concerning Ken Feinberg and the GCCF, the one thing that keeps coming up time and time again is claimants, politicians, the Justice Department and everybody else involved cites a problem with the claims process, they come up with what they think is a reasonable request for Feinberg to modify the claims process to address said problem…and Feinberg always gives the same response…
It happened with the methodology. Feinberg claimed to read every criticism before fine tuning the process but very few complaints were addressed at all.
It happened with transparency. Everybody and their mother has asked/demanded more transparency in the process and Feinberg changes little.
Now, the brown shrimp season is getting off to a horrible start and several fisherman/shrimpers are wanting to file claims, interim claims so Jefferson Parish officials request that Feinberg not close the GCCF offices he had planned to shut down, so these new claims can be filed promptly and with assistance.
The federal budget must be reduced solely by spending cuts, so says David Vitter…
The Washington Post then reported the results of a poll which found 69% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans say they would support a plan to raise taxes for those earning more than $250,000 a year, if the proceeds go towards deficit reduction.
To which David replied, “With all due respect to the Washington Post, I’ve been listening to Louisianans all this week at town hall meetings throughout the state…and they are absolutely focused on Washington’s spending problem.”
To which Drake Toulouse replied, “With all due respect to David Vitter, I too have been listening to Louisianans all this past week at town hall meetings throughout the state…and they are absolutely focused on Washington’s tax cuts to the wealthy problem.”
Okay, now those can’t both be true. I know, I’m not a senator or anything, but it would appear they are diametrically opposed, so how could this be?
Perhaps, it’s because Mr. Vitter was surrounded by Republicans at his town hall meetings, his core group of supporters, you know, god-fearing, forgiveness-asking, kickers of the poor and middle class with an inability to answer questions by the press…the “I got mine, screw the rest” crowd.
Whereas at my town hall meetings, I was surrounded by anarchists, who tend to be my core group of supporters, you know, atheists who believe in toleration, helping each other out and equality.
Point is, David…if I go to Angola and take a poll of inmates to see how many people in the state of Louisiana support prison reform, chances are my polling data will be quite skewed, just like asking a bunch of Republicans serious enough about their conservative politics to go listen to you speak, on purpose, how they feel about making poor people pay more so rich people can have better cars, bigger homes, more Viagra and fuller (costume) balls…
Especially if you tell them it will hurt small business and people who donate the most money to your campaign.
Especially if you tell them a tax increase on people making over $250,000 a year would mean more gays, more abortions and fewer jobs…why, I might even have heard that tax increases make God angry because to him, it’s the same thing as a war on Christmas, the ten commandments, and the factories that produce communion wafers and cheap wine.
David, please, stop being such a politician and try to think back to when you were a human being, maybe as a kid…ever know anyone who couldn’t afford their heating bill, their house mortgage or better yet, rent? How about people who couldn’t find a job and didn’t have family or savings to fall back on…or what about…
Okay, I know…I’ll stop, it’s not like he’s listening…it’s just so aggravating when politicians use empty rhetoric in attempts to prove a point.
It’s like when John Boehner says about spending cuts, we’ve been asking the people to tighten their belts, and it’s about time we make the same demands of the government. Yeah, that sounds pretty good, except that when the government tightens its belt, this means the middle and lower class will have to cinch theirs even tighter because they are the people who benefit, make ends meet with the the social programs the Republicans are so keen on cutting. It’s not like governmental belt tightening means the wealthy will be asked to give back their tax breaks.
Empty rhetoric…empty logic…and politicians who count on their electorates to not look past catchy bumper sticker slogans.
Perhaps at my next anarchist meeting, I’ll take a new poll, one that asks, “How many people think the uber-wealthy and their political support groups should build their castle walls a little higher?”
“How long do you think the financially desperate are going to be okay with looking across their empty kitchen tables at hungry kids before they start to make the Democrats and Republicans really uncomfortable for giving away their futures to the wealthy?”
I’m guessing at my meetings, the percentages will be a long way from siding with all things Vitter.
So, Feinberg went to Capitol Hill yesterday and did the congressional version of his town hall tour where he promised to post the methodology of how the GCCF will determine interim and final payments to the GCCF website on Tuesday of next week, and then also promised to begin making interim payments on Feb 18th. For all the claimants disappointed by denials or low payment amounts, he maintained that people who want to appeal their denial can do so by one of two ways. If their claim is worth more than $250,000 dollars, they can appeal it to the GCCF, but if their claim is less, they have to appeal to the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center.
2. He acknowledged shortcomings in the process and is trying to improve the GCCF’s transparency.
3. He’s neutral and independent; didn’t you get the chance to read the letter written by his friend that says so, the one his friend was paid to write by British Petroleum, and defended as accurate by British Petroleum’s lawyers?
And that’s not all…under questioning by the likes of Sen. David Vitter and Sen Mary Landrieu, he mentioned the reason he has never come through on his previous promises of posting the calculation methodologies is because he feels the need, “to get this right.” His job is complex and hey, did you know that he has referred over 7000 fraudulent claims to the justice department? Those are the kind of things that are just gumming up the works. Sen Vitter expressed his concern about the quick payments, and how it would appear that the GCCF is spending the majority of their time handling those easy cases while the people more directly impacted by the spill have been forced to wait for much needed money.
Feinberg agreed with this assessment.
Feinberg was gracious throughout the testimony.
Feinberg spun his testimony like nobody’s business, and why not?
What Feinberg knew, and what any self-aware Senator at this hearing yesterday knew was simply that Feinberg is not accountable to Congress, and he would appear to feel he is not accountable to residents of the Gulf Coast, either. A lot of questions were not asked yesterday, and also far removed from much of this equation was a great deal of context.
For those who haven’t been following the story, allow me to explain:
1. The methodology he plans to post on the GCCF website on Tuesday does nothing to help the 80,000 people who have accepted quick payments. They’ve already signed away all their rights. It could also be argued that this late in the game, whereas it will be interesting to know how the GCCF will be coming up with their numbers for interim and final payments, this information should have been posted much, much earlier so the residents damaged by BP’s catastraphuk could have been making informed decisions all along. It’s kind of like having to take finals for a college course, two weeks before the semester even begins. Now, this information will be beneficial to some, but over 400,000 people have been involved in this claims process with 66% of them denied from the get-go, so it would have been far better to have everyone informed from the beginning.
2. In explaining the appeals process, he gave the impression to Congress that people have recourse to their dissatisfaction with the claims process, but this is only true if that recourse actually helps anyone. Whereas the numbers about people who have appealed to the GCCF are hard to come by, as are most details to what the GCCF is doing (hence the complaints about lack of transparency) when people have appealed to the Coast Guard board, the numbers are in. There have been 507 appeals made and so far, 200 have been heard. All have been denied.
3. In bringing up the fact that he has sent 7000 claims to the Justice Department to be prosecuted for fraud, apparently using this as some indirect justification for the slowness of the process, well that doesn’t hold up at all and when you look at the averages in fraud cases after disasters, this also makes the people of the Gulf Coast look exceptionally honest. In any post disaster reparations period, the average amount of fraudulent claims tends to be ten percent, so when Feinberg receives 480,000 claims and he only finds 7,000 of them to be potentially fraudulent, that isn’t even two percent.
4. When it comes to subsistence claims, Feinberg has very little to say, but the numbers speak for themselves. The GCCF has received 16,000 subsistence claims, or claims by people who have been living off their catch more directly through trade within their community, eating their catch…etc. Of the 16,000 claims, the GCCF has paid only fifteen.
5. When it comes to the quick payment, much can be said. Feinberg’s stated plan for the quick payment was to clear the rolls of people who would have a hard time proving further loss by giving individuals $5000 dollars and business $25,000 dollars to essentially sign away all their rights and go away. Sen. Vitter expressed his concern that this is what is gumming up the works and keeping the people hardest hit by the oil spill from getting their claims paid. Okay, true and Feinberg almost acknowledged it in saying “I agree, commercial fishermen, shrimpers, have waited too long for the final payments and interim payments.” But what appears to left out of this is that while Vitter and Feinberg were congratulating the process and trying to deflect criticism that people are not taking the quick pay out of desperation, generally, the estimate of the people who shouldn’t and have taken quick payments is 3,000 claims. Three thousand people, many of them with families who have taken the quick money because they quite possibly were feeling desperate, because they saw no other choice, three thousand people who quite possibly felt the need to take this claim because of the slowness in the entire GCCF claims process. No matter how you look at it, that is simply three thousand people too many. Period.
6. Finally, it would appear that nobody wanted to talk too much about the fact that all these people accepting quick payment claims and those who will accept final payment are signing away their rights to sue British Petroleum and a hundred other companies. Again, forcing people to make a present day decision based on unknown futures, when their culture, their professions, and due to the ongoing sickness in the Gulf, their very lives may be at stake is simply wrong. It only benefits British Petroleum for them to do so, and British Petroleum is the primary cause of this entire mess…so why do they get the free pass, while everybody else has to take the risk of being screwed in the future?
When will somebody in the GCCF, or Congress, or the White House finally answer that question?
And on another note, when Sen. Charles Schumer recommended for some inexplicable reason that Feinberg should be put in charge of the new 9/11 first responders compensation fund, Sen. Vitter tried to get Feinberg to pre-emptively turn it down, lest it take away his focus from the Gulf of Mexico, Feinberg said he wouldn’t rule it out.
I know it’s been awhile since I said hello. My bad, but things have been going pretty good so, thanks. I do have a request though and I’ve been thinking about it for a while now.
So, here goes:
Please, I’m begging you, please…can you back away from politics?
I don’t understand the choices you are making. I was raised in a Christian household by Christian parents, but they never let me in on your political predilections. They say that we are judged by the company we keep, well, do you really understand the political hues your friends are painting you with?
I wasn’t raised to perceive you in such terms; you were supposed to be compassionate, concerned for the poor, loving, but your political friends make you look like a mean-spirited, wealthy dick. I don’t think this is your intention, but I was also told you were infallible.
So, I’m confused.
Please help, and I understand the temptation to say, “I work in mysterious ways.” But please don’t do that. This is serious and people are starting to get the wrong idea: Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Christine Bachman, David Vitter, Glenn Beck…just to name a few, really, a few…there are a lot more, God. Some of them are even saying you told them to run.
These people seem to blame all the problems of our country on the same people your son seemed to represent, remember the allegory about the rich man, the camel and the needle?
Did you change your mind?
When did you start to hate Mexicans, Muslims and poor people so much, or is that just your political friends…see? That’s why I worry, it’s getting harder to separate you from them cause they keep talking about you all the time, like you talk only to them now.
What’s going on?
And even if you don’t answer, or let me know or give me a sign or something, thanks for the Super Bowl last year. Sincerely, that was really cool, and could you make the Army Corps of Engineers do New Orleans right this time? There’s a lot of people in that town who count on them and you…so, thanks.
In last night’s forum with Democratic challenger Charlie Melancon, Republican Senator David Vitter was asked how he felt about the automatic citizenship status of babies born in this country to non-citizen parents. Vitter said he has introduced legislation that would prevent automatic citizenship from being granted.
So here go the allegedly’s: Republican Incumbent Senator David Vitter: doesn’t approve of “anchor babies”, but loves prostitutes.
Jindal refused to weigh in on David Vitter’s re-election campaign yesterday; when asked by a local reporter if he would endorse the incumbent Senator in his race over the Democratic challenger, Charlie Melancon, Jindal replied that “voters can make up their own minds.” For Jindal, assuming the governor is positioning himself for a run at the 2012 presidency, it was certainly the safe choice.
In the Republicans’ current tea party atmosphere, GOP candidates that don’t walk the walk are occasionally bounced and as Jindal runs on strong family values, an endorsement of Vitter with his prostitution scandals could backfire. Vitter also enjoys a seemingly unshakable double-digit lead over Melancon so the endorsement is not all that necessary. Jindal tried to downplay the sting of his statement by saying he doesn’t get involved in national races, but recent history shows this isn’t the case. The governor did formally endorse Woody Jenkins in his failed bid for Congress, was a special guest at a fundraiser for Baton Rouge Rep. Bill Cassidy’s campaign and even more recently is scheduled to attend a Republican fundraiser in Minnesota with that state’s Governor, Tim Pawlenty and their Rep. Michelle Bachman. While the Minnesota fundraiser is for the Republican party, it is curious he would be attending an event that will certainly be played up by Rep. Bachman in her national race for reelection, while still denying Vitter an endorsement.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Democrats have created the website, http://www.forgottencrimes.com which includes a reenactment of David Vitter’s prostitution scandal and has all the budget quality of the television show, Cheater’s. This would seem to indicate that as far as the money race is going, their funds must be low. The democratic candidate, Charlie Melancon, in trying to overcome that double-digit lead has proposed a debate schedule between he and Vitter, calling for five debates before the November 2nd election. Vitter has not agreed to these debates with his spokesperson, Luke Bolar saying that Vitter instead has agreed to participate in several public discussions, including a candidate forum sponsored by Alliance for Good Government, and a Tea Party organization in Northern Louisiana.
The questions at the public discussions? More likely to be scripted.
The audiences at the public discussions? Much more likely to be pro-Vitter.
This would of course appear to show: Republican Senator David Vitter – hates uncontrolled environments, but loves prostitutes.