Ken Feinberg, playing Ken Feinberg, in Barack Obama's modernized Shakespearian tragedy The Merchant of Menace!
Seen here in an earlier role as Uncle Kindly, he says "you don't have to give up your right to litigate." He also says that the small business person is a "priority!"
But this morning on MSNBC "Morning Joe" the allegedly "independent" administrator of the $20 billion fractional-reserve damage check disbursement account/morale murdering program of patronization, is on tape admitting that, yes, in order for the damaged fishermen and business operators to get their lump sum checks and expedite the process, they must first sign a paper that gives up the claimant's right to sue at a later date.
Of course, this sort of "give me my pound of flesh" tactic was used by the oil giant at the beginning of this disaster and was roundly lambasted as underhanded. Recall that lawyers -checkbooks, pen and paper in hand - were all over the Gulf Coast at the start, urging those wishing to earn at least something while the oil came ashore to sign the papers giving up their right to sue.
This was one of the reasons an independent disbursement authority and fund was set up in the first place: to eliminate the conflict of interest and cut through smokescreen harassment and strong-arm tactics used to stay out of the courtroom.
How quickly we forget why in hell Ken Feinberg was called into this game by President Barack Obama, in the first place, right?
Bloomberg won't let me embed this video, but, you just have to watch it. This is the party line now. IT'S ONE TIME ONLY FOLKS! HERE'S A DEAL FOR YOU JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!
Joe Scarborough had Alabama Governor Bob Riley on MSNBC's Morning Joe today discussing this. Riley told the story of a young Alabama couple forced out of business because they were coming up short, but they refused to give up their right to sue.
"These aren't corporate people," he said. That says a lot, coming from a republican governor. One, who obviously very much gives a damn about small business. The convenient Kewpie-doll to others who use "mom and pop" as a touchstone of vanishing Americana all the time, while they blithely sell our small business interests down river to Chinese sweatshops.
When the producers played the tape, just referenced above, Scarborough nearly gagged from laughing. Not at the tragedy of this all but, in my view, the unbelievable absurdity, the spectacle of this game of Three Card Monty, "take it or leave it" attitude from the president's "Compensation Tsar."
Here's the Ed Show's, radio version on it. Perhaps more will be aired on it this evening. Or perhaps Ed will want to stay out of this prickly situation, as it reflects poorly on his president. Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow still have that warm, "I Have Dream/Yes We Can" dust in their eyes, and a major blind spot for the bad policies of this president. Which is why it's been so easy for them to close their eyes to the on-going economic holocaust along the Gulf. For what it's worth, here's what was said recently on Ed's radio segment about Feinberg.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Numgesser the rare exception, nearly every other public official that has anything to do with this tragedy, through their close working association with BP, has undergone a transformation from honorable public servant and concerned watchdog, to spokesperson for BP.
Feinberg's transformation may not have taken root as quickly as some others. Or, perhaps the agenda to slide gracefully into the oil giant's arms was always in the works from the moment he took over the compensation fund.
No matter, Ken Feinberg now joins Thad Allen, President Barack Obama and the chairpersons of the President's National Oil Spill Commission in that regard.
Oil corrupts, and BP oil corrupts absolutely.