Truth. Beauty. Mud. In The Eye

Posted on June 30, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

8th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre litigation practices.

Your word for the day

  • fabrication = something made up; the invention of something not true.

Old saws that I have heard, all of which relate to sight and perception:

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • Truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder
  • “Here’s mud ‘n yer eye.”

Honestly, I don’t know what that last one means.  Never did.  It lacks the clarity of sayings like “The truth is what I say it is.” 

An illustration:  There is a grove of trees along the horizon covering the contours of low hillocks and shading the small stream wending its way through it; the reality is what it is.  A squirrel perceives shelter, food, and drink.  The impressionist painter perceives splashes of color to be transferred to canvas.  The still-life painter perceives a pastoral tableau.  The hot-air balloonist who ran out of gas at 800 feet and is now rapidly descending toward that grove hasn’t perceived much since he heard his flame go pppfffffffttt ’cause he is now deeply involved in an intense religious experience.  The same physical reality — once 4 minds apprehended it — became 4 different perceived personal realities.

Enter Super Dan, et alia.  In the spirit of the corrupt senator in the film “The Shooter,” our stand up comic has seized upon  the line “The truth is what I say it is!” and produced a pseudo-deposition, tabloid-like production of “What KBR Really Knew…”   Pseudo because the original footage has been extensively doctored (cut, pasted, re-mastered, opposing counsel rebuttal questions deleted, and on and on).  This work of fiction is designed to instill you with an alternate view of reality.  It comes to you courtesy of the law firm Doyle Raizner (www.DoyleRaizner.com) and is displayed on-line by Ms. Sparky(TM).  I’m not kidding about the trademark thing.  Some of this stuff is just too ridiculous to make up.

Super Dan and Sparky have done a good job of flinging mud ‘n yer eye, so I’m going to go through this travesty scene by scene in an effort to clear the visibility;  you might want to review the work so you will know to what I am referring.  (Just be careful;  bullshit tends to stick to your footwear.)  I found it by entering — Mary L. Wade, KBR — and clicking on the ms.sparky result (video).  I’ll give you a couple of days to research* the item before I resume “The Great Cluster Fu…” series.  Meanwhile, lets talk about..

Next up:  Digressions

* (update:  10-9-12)  A couple of weeks before scheduled court date (10-9-12), this video was blocked and labeled “Private Video”

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigator, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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The Taming Of The Truth

Posted on June 24, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

7th in the series The Great Cluster Fu...   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day

  • milieu = surrounding environment              
  • WAG = wild ass guess (your acronym for the day)

Two quick notes here:

  1. I really hate to paint the following picture for you, but it has to be done.
  2. I was saving this for toasts in later posts, but, go ahead and get out that bottle of Georgia wine (from the country, not the state) and have that glass handy.  Use as needed like Tums or Alka-Seltzer to settle your stomach.

Okay.  Here we go —

Super Dan standing on the high ground, wide stance, knuckles turned against hips, elbows out, red cape gently billowing in the breeze.  Shoulders back, chin jutted forward in fearless challenge, eyes panning the landscape with a steely gaze (like a photo op for Superman, himself…  ?   Oh, no!  That will never do.  Instead of those blue tights, let’s make that a medium blue 3-piece suit.  If he insists, he can wear red boxers — just not on the outside.)  he assesses the playing field.  To his right, at his feet, an at-the-ready milking stool;  to his left, an upscale leather brief case dubbed “the bag of tricks.”  Ear buds firmly in place, iPod securely clipped to his belt, he listens to a chorus of adding machines singing out a soothing string of numbers punctuated here and there with dollar signs, and, way down there to the right, a decimal point.  Mightily, he wants this to happen.

Meanwhile, back on Earth…

  • His client is an ill soldier (WAG) who, ostensibly, contracted his malady as a result of his duty assignment during US combat operations.  He belongs to the military;  can’t sue them.
  • His client was working in close proximity to civilians on a project ordered by the US military in a war zone.  No money in suing individuals.
  • Those civilians were contracted by a US corporation…   a very large corporation.  It’s just that blasted “acts of war” thing, like garlic to a vampire (a competing blood-sucker) that keeps Danny Boy’s grasping fingers just out of reach.

But, what if…?  If only he could get that corporation relocated to an unprotected non-war zone, there might be possibilities for hooking up the old milk machine.  Bring ’em back to the good ol’ Litigation Nation where the juries really like to see the big ones fall.  Danny Boy perked right up;  the game is afoot!

Danny Boy’s salt shakers trembled with anticipation.  He realized he didn’t really need to relocate the mark corporation.  Consider the old drama class in high school — maybe college.  Like a theater production, the actors hold their places on stage while the stage hands drop a different scene behind them.  The script remains unchanged, but, the new background changes the context of the actions and dialogue.

EXISTING SCENE:  A shooting war in which events are a chess game between opposing military commanders who move their forces (troops, equipment, and civilian personnel) into places and situations based on operational requirements bound to operational time lines NOT predicated on CAREFULLY RESEARCHED SAFETY FACTORS AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDIES.  These forces report resistance from, and other impediments to, the targeted objectives TO SPECIFIED COMMANDERS (i.e., they follow the chain of command).  In military operations, first ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVE!  THEN report casualties and other loses.  Such is war.

THE DREAM SCENE:    What war?

Wow!  I repeat, WOW!   Danny Boy has some really big salt shakers.

Next up:  Truth.  Beauty.  Mud.  It’s in the eye

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigator, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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An Inconvenient Truth

Posted on June 23, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

6th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your word for the day:

  • inconvenient = not suited to one’s comfort, purpose, or needs

Danny Boy’s (presumed) eventual client had gotten that plum assignment of away-from-the-action civilian escort.  Much less chance of becoming a combat casualty, said client being a member of a National Guard unit.  As regular army types refer to them, week-end warriors:  got the uniform, got the extra income of attending meetings (sort of a night out with the boys) and an annual summer camp outing,  while still enjoying the perks of civilian life and a job.  Bummer:  Got called up to active status.  Terrible inconvenience having to perform his part of the military reserve contract.  Worse, the only time reserves get called up is in a crises.  He got sent to a war.  Like a shooting war.  Now, that’s a bucket of ice water dumped on your week-end-warrior sense of fairness.  A guy could get hurt playing real soldier.

About the plum-ness of that assignment.  Still had the risk of hostile targeting, and, Saddam had left his house in a pretty mess.  Some nasty chemicals lying around the plant grounds.  No HAZMAT (hazardous materials) notices.  No carefully maintained MSDS (material safety data sheets).  Sort of a pot-luck mine field.  No chance for interlopers to know this right up front, whether giant, global contractor or combat grunt.  You had to tramp around a bit and look under rocks, so to speak, to identify and isolate problems.  Complicated job if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for — while looking over your shoulder for persons of ill-intent.  Did I mention that this was in a shooting-war zone where — armed or not everyone like it or notis a combatant?

And, some ugly stuff was found lurking on the plant grounds, thereby raising the possibility that personal contamination with the stuff had taken place.  It made the news.  Everything from over there made the news.  Embedded journalists, you know.  Looking for Pulitzers and career enhancements at the expense of the soldiers protecting them.  But, I digress.  Apparently, Danny Boy’s future client became ill, the cause (maybe) attributable to the ugly lurking on the grounds at Qarmat Ali. 

A gray area of knowledge here — some might call it a smoke screen.  Did the ill soldier contact Danny Boy, or did Danny Boy check the internet for casualty lists (virtual ambulance-chasing and drumming up business) and run across the ill combatant and noted the connection to the cleanup at Saddam’s toxic dump?  If so, did he leap up from his milking stool executive chair and shout, “Eureka!!!!” and rush to the unfortunate soldier and excitedly announce, “YOU MAY  BE ENTITLED TO MONEY!  Don’t know HOW yet, but, sign here, and we’ll figure it all out.”  Those smoke screens are hard to see through.

“An inconvenient truth” (sorry, Al) for Danny Boy.  He now has a client, but, he also has a problem.  The client is (or was at the time of the alleged indignity to his person), an employee of the US of A Army, which will provide medical care for his injuries.  Can’t sue the government for pain and suffering (that’s where the serious   M-O-N-E-Y  is) just because the client suffers the effects of hazardous duty while fulfilling a hazardous duty contract that he voluntarily signed.  What to do?  What to do?  Hmmmm.  How about…   oh, yea, that old qualifier:  Just find someone within 500 feet of where the soldier had been, and SUE THE BASTARDS.  Details unimportant; any litigator worth his salt can work those out later

And Danny Boy seems to be one salty litigator.

Next up:  The taming of the truth

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigator, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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The Truth Hurts

Posted on June 21, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

5th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your word for the day 

  • flim-flam = (1) trick or swindle
  • flim-flam = (2) deceptive talk, talk that confuses or deceives

Lest I be guilty of not being up-front (as I am about to accuse Danny Boy and his law firm of doing) I should tell you what triggered this series of posts.  In my preceding post (No Safety in Numbers) I mentioned finding Danny Boy and his apparent venture.  The on-line post I viewed purported to be a deposition taken from employees of KBR.  That display may have started out as a deposition, but after Danny and his firm  cut their testimonies into sound bytes interspersed with silent-movie-era dialogue boards and a “let me show you what you are seeing” voice over, the deposition became a work of fiction.  The “deposition for public consumption” use, instead of being strictly an in-house litigator’s discovery tool, bothered me.  The more times I watched it, the more it just didn’t add up.  

“The Great Cluster Fu…”   series lists my objections to this tabloid opus.

Flash forward:  We are approaching Danny Boy’s opus, a grand fusion of fantasy, journalism, yellow journalism, tabloid style of story-telling, half-truths, speculations, unfounded assertions, mellow-dramatic tear jerker ending designed, tabloid-like, to help you ignore/skip/fast forward over the array of inconsistencies, inaccuracies, outlandish assertions, presented in his vague novella.  In true more-knowledgeable-than-thou-art anchor-person fashion (complete with the inability to even read the teleprompter flawlessly) he condescendingly leaves out important pieces of information in fear that you will decide the true nature of things for yourselves.  Throughout this exercise, Danny Boy has glaringly left out 3 pieces of pertinent information:

  • Who the hell he is representing.
  • who the hell he is trying to convince in the absence of a court-room and jury.
  • HOW MUCH  M-0-N-E-Y  HE EXPECTS TO CLEAR FROM THIS VENTURE OF YELLOW JOURNALISM.

Danny Boy’s failure to include the cream filling in his little Twinkie leaves me no choice but to fill the void with my own assessments.  You are forewarned.

I’m calling this hatchet job  a travesty of the justice system.  Danny Boy and his lackey Ms Sparky (we’ll get to her shortly) have created and posted this piece of propaganda and have the audacity to call it a “deposition.”  It started out as a deposition, witnesses being subpoenaed to appear and give out-of-court testimony.  These witnesses appeared and gave testimony because to not do so would result in charges of contempt of court.   Had this intended use been known before hand, I am sure KBR lawyers would have had a lot to say about allowing the depositions to be given.

Will the truth hurt your case, Danny Boy?  I think, “Probably.”  So, as we continue, I will fill in your omissions (and expose some of your commissions) from my own humble store of life experiences.

Next up:  An inconvenient truth

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigation, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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No Safety in Numbers: It’s War

Posted on June 20, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

4th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your word for the day:   

  • ignore = refuse to notice.

It was while perusing the internet recentlyWait!  That should be “surfin’ the net,” shouldn’t it?  — I ran across one such super litigator who seems to have found himself a big one — a Cape Buffalo — and was angling to bring it home for proper milking.  As his luck would have it, it was standing between some bad publicity brush and a huge government contract tree.  It was trying to shake some unwanted partisan politics off one hoof while batting away the politically inspired bad press buzzing like flies around it.  The litigator must have been stunned silly, and became frantic to climb that money tree and get his.  Big downer, though:  the only way to the money tree was through that Cape Buffalo, which was very healthy, alert, and roaming free in a temporary game preserve.  In that environment, it was a legally protected species.  He knew it was gonna take a lotta work to get that baby to stand still for a little milking.  (Oh, ick!!  See the litigator salivate?)

In deference to his apparent self-image, lets call this dandy litigator Super Dan, an advocate for any reason (even if one has to be made up), but, most especially, for the  M – O – N – E – Y  (that may sound a little like unbridled greed, so let’s call it attorneys’ fees).

Okay, lets peek behind the bovine metaphor.  The cash cow that Super Dan has his eyes on is that global, multi-billion dollar contractor formerly known as Kellogg Brown and RootKBR these days.  He has taken on a client who is not an employee of KBR.  He be a  soldier.  An employee of the US of A.  Who had signed a contract of military service for the US of A.  Who sent the soldier to a war.  The same war in which the US of A contracted the assistance of KBR in refurbishing a defunct water purification plant.  As well as a host of other engineering jobs in that war zone.  Jobs that, to all intents and purposes, made KBR a valuable and functioning part of the US of A war machine.  The preserve that protected KBR from pecuniary liability was the combat theater designated by the US of A.

The  water purification plant at Qarmat Ali belonged (formerly) to one Saddam Hussein, head of state, State of Iraq.  Which Head objected fiercely to having his State invaded for any reason.  Brought out his fighting side.  And all his fighting forces.  But, for all that, he was a bad poker player, and lost the plant in a high stakes game with the US of A.  He wasn’t any better at domestic house-keeping, either, as it turns out, and had left the place in a mess.  He saw no reason to take the time to clean it up for the new owner.

The US of A decided it needed that water plant in operation and plunked hundreds, if not thousands, of civilian support personnel into a hot combat theater.  Forbade them from carrying weapons to defend themselves, but, thoughtfully enough, furnished its armed combat personnel to escort and watch over the unarmed civilian work force while they were outside designated “safe” zones.  Like our salivating litigator above, lets gloss over the fact that a lone mortar shell (or RPG) exploding nearby will take out both the unarmed civilian and the armed, combat-ready soldier.

In a combat zone, everyone is a combatant.  NO ONE is safe.  That is something our drooling litigator has chosen to ignore while looking for a nice “safe” place to set up his milking operation.

Next up:  The truth hurts.

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigation, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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