About Me

My photo

Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Selected for Prosecution: Spitzer, Scruggs, Lerach - Conspiracy and Coincidence

After the shock of Dickie Scruggs' guilty plea for bribery, Eliot Spitzer's call-girl denoument, and the sentencing of Bill Lerach to prison for what was essentially capping, it is necessary to evaluate the implications. Is it coincidence that all three of these lawyers were "consumer advocates"? All three have caused real pain to the Fortune 500 billionaire CEO oligarchs. Now, they have been rendered harmless. Coincidence?

Half-way through the year 2008, as the Bush-Cheney-Rove term is expiring, we see the results of 7 years of prosecutorial efforts by the Executive Department coming to surface. They are now celebrating a trifecta in their twist on "tort reform".

You recall the Bush-Cheney-Rove appointment of foxes to guard the henhouse gates, the latitude given to the Lays and their Enrons (and other stratospherically-salaried CEOs), the purging of the Federal Attorneys General, the refusal to protect consumers, the failure to enforce environmental standards. Now add the selected prosecutions of Eliot Spitzer, Dickie Scruggs, and Bill Lerach which have all come to flower in the last year. Of course, all three of these successful advocates for public interests really did commit wrongdoing. But there is a quality of bogus-ness to the raft of "charges" they faced.

My instincts are to give little weight to Conspiracy theories, and to chalk up many events, without condemnation, to the arbitrary eruption of Coincidence. Is it just coincidence that three of our most powerful consumer attorneys are now neutralized?

There are three reasons to re-visit this question.

THE TOBACCO CASES. I am one who studied the "conspiracy" of Tobacco. I documented the "sweet heart" suits in 9 States in which Tobacco Companies paid a drunk incompetent lawyer (nine of them!) to sue themselves and obtain victories appealed to the Supreme Court of each State so that they would have "precedence" against any plaintiff.

THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY. I also documented 20 years of publications by the John Birch Society accurately reporting the misfeasance of selected Negro men and Jews, while failing to report any of their achievements. This is racism hiding behind a veil of "truth", and it shows the invidiousness of this form of hatred.

STATE BAR PROSECUTIONS. I am also reminded of the prosecutions against me. While the State Bar has yet to disbar any attorney who counseled the pirates of Enron in pillaging the consumers of billions of dollars, the State Bar has yet to prosecute any attorney representing a criminal CEO whose depradations were enabled by hordes of lawyers who set up the off-shore shell corporations. The State Bar has gone after dozens of naive and impoverished Sole Practitioners, while ignoring the stench of the dead horse of corporate malfeasance in the profession. When I was a hungry and poor attorney just starting out, the State Bar came after me. Their "complaining witness" actually stated in Deposition that "the attorney did nothing wrong" and "I have no complaint with him". I gave the State Bar transcripts which showed that a rich attorney, Wolf Stern, had perjured himself in court. I gave the State Bar records which showed rich attorneys had joined their clients and enabled criminal CEO's to pillage the public and shareholders. The State Bar elected not to prosecute.

The point is that the Prosecutor (State Bar, or Attorney General of any State or Federal Agency) has DISCRETION for who they go after and which laws they enforce.

When Bush-Cheney-Rove hijacked the Republican Party and stole the Presidency, one of their goals was to remove the exposure of the rich to law suits brought by the victims of their Big Business concept of "opportunity". They called this effort to close the court house door, "tort reform". Not content with merely appointing unqualified judges who shared their ideology, the cabal went after the leaders of the plaintiff's bar.

I realize Spitzer, Scruggs and Lerach were all culpable. When the State Bar prosecutor went after me, after 21 hearings, financially exhausted, I gave up and compromised with them. By contrast, when Big Business went after Ralph Nader -- with prostitutes, hush-money, offers to persuade the jury with bribes -- Ralph Nader spurned their efforts. He passed that test of being a righteous man and did not compromise with the nastiness and insinuations. Many others, they really DO take the low road, they fall and deserve their fall. And I fell, because I was naive and weak.

Still, there is some significance here. It is not coincidence that the corrupted Big Business targeted the top, the most successful, the billionaire attorneys of the plaintiffs' Bar. The robber barons at the US Chamber of Commerce who were in bed with Enron, WorldCom, and Philip Morris, must be thrilled. But it is more than that. They must be seeing the return on their investment in "tort reform" -- the program of Bush in going after the people who were fighting for the rights of the oppressed.