By Ted Becker
The Nominees: Barack Obama; BP; The U.S. Coast Guard; EPA; NOAA.
The Winner: BP
BP’s public relations campaign exceeded all expectations of tackiness. By spending more money on PR than in helping the victims of their felonious negligence, they have outdistanced their competitors by a wide margin. Here are a couple of their ads that exemplify their excellence at being so obvious: one to reassure us that BP is doing a great job on the Gulf restoration and the other to make you feel that your soul is invigorated when you drive into their spic and span petrol stations to pay outrageous prices for their gasoline.
The Nominees: Barack Obama, State of Mississippi Tourism, BP, Kenneth Feinberg
The Winner: Kenneth Feinberg
This was a very close competition. Barack Obama was the chief competitor for his sheer gall in awarding BP a new contract for an even deeper deep water drilling platform off the Texas Coast.in 2011—AND for telling the American people that “The Gulf Coast is open for business”—in August of 2010. Wow, and he even risked his daughter’s health by swimming in the stuff. See that story at Yahoo News: Obama declares Gulf Coast ‘open for business
The State of Mississippi’s Tourism board was not far behind by announcing that The Gulf Coast was sparkling clean and open for business as well. Hearing this said by such a beautiful lady with such a charming Southern accent and sounding so convincing takes a huge amount of chutzpah. See for yourself
But people born in Hawaii and Mississippi cannot expect to truly grasp the fullness of “chutzpah” when they are dealing with a genuine New York University Law School lawyer like Kenneth Feinberg. Here he is in a “Town Hall Meeting” with hundreds of unhappy Alabamians who are extremely displeased with his “independent” arbitrage of their multiple claims of injury from BP’s misanthropy. Notice his apologetic tone, deep sincerity and countless promises to speed up the process and how sorry he is that BP has been so slow and he swears to them time and time again that he will ramp it up and that justice will be done. For the Essence of Chutzpah, this is a crown jewel.
That performance by Mr. Feinberg took place in the Fall of 2010 almost a half year after the oil volcano erupted. But what has happened since gives The Humongous Chutzpah Award to Mr. Feinberg: HANDS DOWN. Why so?
For one thing: Mr. Feinberg’s law firm—at the time of this “Town Hall” meeting and from Day One to today—is being paid handsomely for his “neutrality” by none other than: BRITISH PETROLEUM….who, for their money, think that he is being MUCH TOO GENEROUS.
Here’s the data on his firm’s being paid by BP on CBS News: BP has Paid Feinberg’s Firm $3.5M in Fees
Here’s the data on BP’s alleged dissatisfaction with Mr. Feinberg’s leniency in February 2011 – NYTimes: BP Says Spill Settlement Terms Are Too Generous
For his grandiose Shakespearian acting abilities, Kenneth Feinberg has not only won The Humongous Chutzpah Award, but his law firm is now being sued in a Florida court for gross negligence and egregious fraud.
We think Mr. Feinberg will be a strong contender for next year’s Award too.
The Nominees: Barack Obama, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and BP.
The Winner: BP
It is true that “politics makes strange bedfellows.” And when we blogged about the coming together of Ralph Nader (The Green Party) and Ron Paul (The Libertarian Party), we thought we had seen one of the unlikeliest alliances in American political history. Thanks in large part to the center right antics of President Obama, Americans are beginning to think of a serious alternative to the two party system. Thanks to Obama’s political Corexit, Paul and Nader go together like, well, oil and water.
However, BP has outdone the president by a long shot. They have managed, through their various nefarious misdeeds and arrogance to bring together the American Gulf Coast community and the people of Alberta, Canada in one of the weirdest political coalitions of this century.
The Gulf Coast and Alberta, Canada? What on Earth do they have in common? The answer: BP’s destruction of their ecosystem. Okay, Americans know a lot about the former, but what about the latter?
According to a Greenpeace analysis in 2009 (which ia is reasonably uncontroversial, by the way) “To produce one barrel of oil, up to four tons of rock and soil – plus the forest on top of it – need to be removed and four barrels of surface and ground water need to be used. The process is so energy intensive that tar sands produce up to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil.” BP’s motto is, according to Greenpeace: “Oil at any cost.” In addition, BP is building a huge pipeline through pristine forests to the U.S.A. through which that oil will flow. So, this is yet another set of projects which has produced huge and continuing popular and disruptive uprisings in Canada against BP…including…as above…vandalizing their gas stations.
After a while, these two communities saw their connection and figured out a good way to humiliate BP at its core. What they did was to pool money to buy BP voting stock and then go to BP’s London shareholders meeting and raise an uproar. Here is an NBC-TV Nightly News account of that event…by Brian Williams…who himself does not acknowledge the Canadian presence. However, if you watch the video carefully, you will see them acting together…Gulf disaster victims and Canadian tar sands activists, as allies. (Please click link below images to view videos.)
Below is the BBC’s take on that protest…if it is now working. (By the way, strangely, every other video of this event on YouTube or other TV news sources seems to be down, out of commission, or missing in action). If the link doesn’t work, paste the URL in your browser and give a try yourself.
BP is clearly the star of this year’s Awards. We’re sure they’ll be very competitive next year as well.