Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trident Attacks Capitalism in Court

The fish processing COMPANIES in the North Pacific have been trying to convince everyone for years that they have a God-given RIGHT to gain POSESSION of the fish resources. Nevermind that these companies go through boom and bust business cycles, where they eventually fall out of favor with God. Most of the time it's because they fish the stocks down to nothing and move on like a Bain corporate harvesting machine. 

Amid all this phony talk of sustainability of the fish resources in the North Pacific, I will repeat that the shrimp stocks are gone, the king crab in the Gulf of Alaska and the Pribilof Islands are gone, the Alaska king salmon stocks are hammered, the coral and sea whip beds in the GOA that shelter juvenile fish of all kinds are gone, the big pollock school behind Kodiak Island is gone, and countless genetically distinct salmon and Pacific cod races are down to a few fish. The processors have shown their true colors in regards their concern for anything but their year-end bottom line. They actually showed their colors consistently in the sixty years or so before Alaskans could stop them from using fixed fish traps that required no fishermen at all.

This fall the deal made behind doors between the Kodiak trawlers' lobbyists and who knows who is that the trawl companies will get harvesting rights to perpetuity. Look at it from their point of view. The heat is building to rectify their mass destruction of bottom habitat, juvenile halibut, crab, salmon, etc, all thrown overboard dead as bycatch. (God forbid anyone should do an economic analysis on the value of just one baby female halibut thrown overboard vs it's 140 lb adult average weight that maybe laid eggs a whole bunch of times.) Wa la, the North Pacific Council suddenly puts catch shares on the table to make this possible. This was never discussed in public prior and the few voices of opposition in that stacked Council process, aka, 'The Council Family," will routinely be muzzled. Been happening since Ted Stevens helped set up the racket.

 Another bit of background; as the Rockfish Pilot Program completed it's five year trial marriage between fishermen and processors, the Council finally rectified a wrong. It took back the mandatory linkage with about 12 active trawlers in the GOA. Now the trawlers can sell to the highest bidder. Wow, what a novel idea! But, capitalism can be bent by anyone who has the money to bend it. Yes, I've become a realist, but I haven't lost MY sense of fairness and willingness to do my civic duty.

 Now, some of the fancy big processors don't want to pay market price for the fish. So they get an in-house junk-yard dog to harass the courts into giving them back their gravy train. Trident's last salvo at the courts talked about how magically and excessively the processing capacity increased the day after the linkages were broken. At that point I lost interest and stopped reading their filing, but others forged ahead through the muck.

Here's what some of my readers had to say;

"Yeah, John.  The funny part is to ask exactly why Plesha is writing this affidavit.  A clear attempt “to reach the judge’s mind” of some kind.  If I were a half-way savvy judge, I’d say it reads a lot like a complaint that profits are not going to the buyer, and say “so what!”  There’s some real hash in the use of the word “rents”. 
I consider the thing to be a deceptive lie, a lie by omission, and a deflection (another lie type) as well as a decrying (that’s another part of lies).
Obviously, Plesha felt he HAD TO write it.  So, that’s good stuff.  Apparently the pressure is on.  Duh, do ya think so – after reading the government’s response on the Summary Judgment basis.  I don’t see, however, how this could fit into an Appeal later, as the Court would have to make a mistake.  What’s to mistake about ignoring greedy businesses and their “all the profits for me” attitude.  It’s already illogical, as Joe must be talking about non-cash basis variable costs coverage etc.  He ought to use the words “cash only breakeven point” if it applied.  But obviously, in the meanwhile, they sure seem ready to pay higher prices on rockfish – gee, like a fraction still of what the price should be."

 ""Felt he had to.. " is dead on. They see this as a loose thread that could unravel the whole fabric of processor quotas."
"The large processors and their lobbyists to the NPFMC are simply trying to create a script, then have everyone read from that script.  The Council staff is not inoculated against this propaganda, and retains no true independence and balance of what’s equitable for all.  That staff does not have to concern itself with the Alaska that you and I live in.  They keep their jobs by welcoming that echo chamber of catch shares that subsequently fund millions to keep their jobs rolling along, while real fishermen lose their jobs by the hundreds."
"That lawsuit from Trident was really a paean to fascism. Brought to mind the title of an otherwise regrettable late night movie, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Surf_Nazis.jpg> The film is post apocalyptic fantasy, a fitting metaphor for Tridents Gotterdammerung filing."

As a P.S. I have to say that the governing bodies in the Kodiak Borough and City that approve of all of this are exhibiting the same willful ignorance that climate change deniers exhibit. The amount of destruction just can't be imagined, so why think about it?  In a Machiavellian defense of Kodiak authorities, the German people did the same thing once.

Oh, and don't get me started on WHO the processors are hiring to man their Alaska plants, and where the rudely preserved fish is sent for value-added processing. As an indication, Sen. Begich, R - AK, is sponsoring a Bill to continue the Immigration program that allows foreign students to come here and work for practically nothing. Joe Plesha, Trident Seafoods attorney, would have kept any of his remaining integrity if he had just said, "Please, Your Honor, help us continue our exponential business expansion at all costs to society and the environment. My company made me say this."