Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lawyers gonna lawyer

The most important thing I took away from  Gasland 2 which aired on HBO Monday night is we're not only on the way to becoming a third world democracy-in-name-only, we pretty much have been that for some time.

Industry does what it wants to do. People try to take them to court or lobby their representatives and get treated as "insurgents" literally.
Recordings of a gas industry conference at which public relations managers are told to study the Army’s counterinsurgency manual — because “we are dealing with an insurgency” when it comes to protesters and angry homeowners — are both hilarious and horrifying. Mr. Fox’s account of the Pennsylvania government’s hiring of a private company to monitor fracking protesters, an episode not widely covered outside the state, is particularly valuable.
And, in the end, whatever progress the "insurgents" think they might have made is eventually just vetoed by the puppet government anyway. (Seriously, this is exactly what happened.)

I think it's been a while since most of us mattered much at all as citizens.  We're getting less and less important as labor.  And we're getting to a place where we aren't even very important as consumers anymore either.  So the America we're moving toward is one where very large portions of the population are idle and poor and without prospect for much of anything except frightening elites.  But that's okay. They've got ways to deal with that.   
In a series of 2007 interviews explaining his motivation for launching Bulletproof Securities out of his existing real estate business, owner Tom Perrella (who we profile here) pointed to the example of 9/11. “We see things changing and the threats coming here. And it’s something that is going to be more frequent in the future … There’s no way our government can secure and protect with the situation we’re in. We’re trying to bridge the gaps between private security contractors and local government and law enforcement.”

Private security services are nothing new. But the trend to more paramilitary types of protection in an era of demonstrably diminished risk is something new. In addition, as our society becomes economically stratified, with a tiny segment living in a wildly different world than everyone else, you have some rational need for security but also the desire for security chic as another accoutrement of wealth or conspicuous consumption.

But  before we get too sidetracked, the point of all this is  I don't have much hope that the legal process will ever coerce BP to pay what is necessary to fix the dying Louisiana coast.  And given everything I just described above, I think I'm pretty justified there. I know the ongoing litigation is everyone's One Cause For Hope in this regard.  But all that we know about politics and precedent suggests that ultimately BP will be OK and we won't.

In the meantime, though, there's plenty of money to skim out of the process.  Yesterday Dambala published another post about suspicions that insider attorneys have been manipulating the claims process in a way that may ultimately squeeze out far too many legitimate claimants. I can't speak to that directly until I understand more about who precisely benefited from the supposed queue jumping. For instance, this commenter suggests that we look at the specific circumstances of the clients for clues as to why their claims were resolved when they were. 

But it is worth noting that Damabala's post was in response to a New York Times article where we find major media already siding with a multi-national oil company against the people of Louisiana. Dambala concludes,
Well, this poor, little company that is being taken advantage of has decimated the economy, ecology and culture of this state....and the damage continues to this day, with no end in sight.  If Mr. Nocera wants to fly down here and take a tour of the Louisiana coast, I'd be happy to show him the damage that has been done and what continues to unfold.  I can pull up over 100 blog posts on this blog, and others, that document it...much of it on video.  More importantly, I can drive him to the people that are suffering and show him the irreparable damage that's been done to our environment.

A distinction needs to be drawn between the lawyers/judge(s)/politician(s), that comprise the PSC/DHECC vis-a-vis the hard working people of the Gulf Coast, Louisiana folk, in specific.  These two classes of people mix like oil and water (forgive me).

What we have in this article, is a monkey howling in a tree, throwing turds at one pack of hyenas in defense of another pack.  Never mind the slaughter that's taking place underneath.
 The slaughter underneath, that's us. Get used to it.

No comments: