There was something about Philip K. Howard’s presentation this past Tuesday night which troubled me. Actually, there were several items which did not sound quite right.
I did some research and attempted to both look and read between the lines of his presentation. The first item that came to my attention was Mr. Howard’s place of employment.
Covington and Burling is not a typical law firm. In 1919 it represented the Kingdom of Norway against the United States, employs over 800 lawyers, offices including one in Beijing, Brussels, London, Seoul, and five in the United States. In January of 2011, Covington & Burling LLP became affiliated with the Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy which has offices in Doha, Jeddah, London, and Riyadh.
Partners at Covington and Burling are said to earn $665,000/year. As a senior partner and vice-chairman, Mr. Howard’s compensation package may be substantively greater than that of other partners.
Money has its own momentum. The momentum of directed wealth possesses the power to change laws, policies, and history. Vast sums of money focused on an issue transform momentum into pure energy and cause water to run uphill, blue skies to become pink, and to subvert the will of the people to that of corporations.
Aside from subverting the intent and will of the people and of law, wealth is able to recruit loyalty, and purchase the services of all who sell themselves.
“If you let every case come down to the vote of the jury you never know where you stand.” – Philip K. Howard
Given the right to a jury trial is part of the United States Constitution exactly whose “Common Good” would be represented by the changes Philip K. Howard proposes? The manufacturer of an automobile whose gas tank was known to explode on impact or the human being (or their estate) affected by corporate negligence?
Who will lose when multi-billion dollar corporations are allowed to corrupt our government and have their way?