Friday, November 14, 2014

Julian Assange and the grey area of govt-corp action; connected cars; lawyers

The grey area is HERE.

As I also chronicled recently, Julian Assange recently wrote up and published a trascript of his 2011 conversation with Google executives. He is writing more about it now with some insights that go right through the fog. 

[Google exec] Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”
This is relevant to me because Assange's identification of the core of the government-corporate nexus (the grey area) and his exposure of the true goings-on inside that nexus suggests that the same dynamic may well apply (albeit to a lesser extent) to other powerful corporations. Maybe, just maybe, it may apply to Toyota and perhaps other automakers. Google's control of the world of information has grown in tandem with globe-spanning automaker dominance in the world of tangible things, and I now realize, duh, maybe I am late, but I can now see that not only some of Google's power, but also the power of major industrial companies, derives from their high level service to the government. I had presumed that their control of govenment was merely because they provided jobs and tax revenues, and had the money to ply candidates and lobbyists. Now, with Assange's light, I can see how a literally bankrupt organization like the US government is bending to the will of corporations because it needs them to implement its domestic and foriegn policies when it can no longer effectively do so for itself. 

There is much to do in the grey areas of favors, backroom connections, bedtime stories, surveillance, and general chumminess that automakers have to offer the foreign policy guys, the NSA, the CIA, and even the FBI. And just think of how much more valuable that will become when connected cars can dump endless petabytes of location data into the NSA's databases, for one obvious example. It hits me! The pending connected cars as the nucleus of the Internet of things makes automakers the newest darlings of the dark-matter beings within the US government. Google's famous driverless car is a Toyota, remember. And on an even simpler level, the fancy Toyota SUV makes the most perfect gift, the very best gift, to anyone. That is very very simple, and it works in all kinds of countries. (Yes, dear, I sound like a conspiracy can go ahead, FTI, tell your bosses. Your performance yesterday was quite remarkable. I should set a stopwatch next time.)

Where do the lawyers fit in? That grey area is their comfortable home, because they form a vast network of people whose conversations (and conversations with their contractors) can never be discovered except in the most egregious criminal situations, and that perhaps is limited to those petty criminals that are the DOJ fodder, meant only for self-congratulatory PR and to attempt to wow the public into thinking it is actually being protected from the bad guys. 

Meanwhile, the corporate inside counsel and defense counsel are forever free to make any arrangements, have any discussions, and protect any amount of illicit complicity between the government and their clients. The public will never know what they say. Meanwhile, when things go wrong for consumers in this cozy setup where government can't tell corps what to do, the shake-down specialist plaintiffs who work in unspoken symbiosis with their opponents step in and take their share of the money pie in exchange for shutting up about the illegal dealings that they witness among their opponents who are really their paymasters. They are the only witnesses and they shut up about it. So they are part of the problem. I don't blame them entirely. But I see that the situation for them is that they are symbiotic.


To be continued, I hope, another day.