O'Flaherty and Creem get Another Award from the Lawyer's Lobby

Reps. Murphy, DeLeo and O'Flaherty rewarded for their service to the lawyer's lobby

The Equal Justice Coalition has recognized a number of legislators for their service to the legal community. They are:

  • House Speaker Rep. Robert DeLeo
  • Rep. Charles Murphy
  • Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty
  • Sen. Steven Panagiotakos
  • Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem
  • Sen. Patricia Jehlen

The Equal Justice Coalition is a lawyer’s lobby group which advocates for state funding for legal aid for civil actions by poor clients, to pay for representation in domestic violence actions, divorce actions, child custody etc.

EJC successfully lobbied for $10 million dollars of state funding for the legal community. According to their own press release, when it looked like legal aid would suffer the same budget cuts as our schools:

In published letters, 38 managing partners of law firms, and 107 general counsel attorneys went to bat for legal services. Lawmakers have listened, apparently rescuing MLAC from disaster. Lobbying for legal-aid is no easy task…

And today those lawmakers were rewarded.

In the criminal courts the state funds ‘public defenders’ who earn a reasonable salary for representing indigent clients in criminal cases. For civil matters the lawyers have managed to score a bonanza for themselves. The state puts money into a legal aid fund, where lawyers can charge the state full rate to represent indigent clients in civil matters.

Last year, amid deep budget cuts that affected local aid, resulting in layoffs of teachers and police, certain legislators were instrumental in making sure that these cuts did not affect this program beloved of the legal community. And this year these legislators are being honored for selling out the taxpayers and the towns they live in for the benefit of the lawyer’s lobby.

The honorees are notable for their positions of usefulness to the lawyers lobby. Rep. O’Flaherty and Sen. Creem are chairs of the Judiciary Committee, and are in a position to to block laws that affect the fortunes of lawyering in Massachusetts. Both of these legislators are perennial honorees of the lawyers lobbies. This is the fourth award they have given to Cynthia Creem so far this year. It doesn’t hurt that both of these legislators are practicing lawyers first, and legislators second.

Rep. Murphy, and Sen. Panagiotakos are co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee. They control the state budget. For their heroic efforts to bring home the bacon for the lawyers they are being honored. Rep. DeLeo is the Speaker of the House. He decides the committee assignments. His service in putting the lawyer’s acolytes in positions of power is also deeply appreciated.

I don’t know what service Jehlen provided the lawyers, but it must have been pretty good to be in such elite company.

This award doesn’t come a moment too soon. The budget is being worked on now, and there is a big funding gap. Legislators have to figure out if they are going to cut funding for our cities and towns or to programs that fund lawyers. I think they want to make sure their friends are appreciated during the funding holiday season.

Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid

Lawyers ready to receive the largesse of the taxpayers

The lawyers have an inspiring charity event every year, their ‘Walk to the Hill’. When we regular citizens pledge to walk for a charity, like the walk to end breast cancer, or for the Jimmy Fund, we pledge our own money, or ask our friends to donate.

This year 700 lawyers participated in this wonderous outpouring of support for the state’s poor. But when the lawyers walk for charity, its the taxpayers who do the pledging, thanks of course to these honored legislators.

This year there was a resolution to level fund local aid. Signing on to it would have relieved our towns from deep budget cuts and steep property tax increases, and put the financial pressure where it belongs – on money grabs for lawyers.

You can bet, if any of these legislators had signed on to protecting our schools over lawyer’s interests that they would not be getting this award. They are notably absent from the list of legislators who signed on to it.

I can understand the need of those who cannot afford legal representation to get legal assistance. They are dealing with serious problems. But I suspect that if this program was funded by a special tax on members of the Bar, they not be such strong supporters of it.

This is a question of priorities. Last year towns were hit with deep cuts to local aid, while programs like this were level funded. If we have to cut budgets, programs like this should not be exempt. If the lawyers believe this program is so critical, they should be recommending that it be funded from an extra tax on themselves.

Your kids may have lost the school librarian, their language elective and the after school program. But rest assured, the lawyer’s gravy train was protected.

Updated: Removed some text about the way attorneys who are paid by legal aid are funded. Get more details in a response from MLAC here.

4 Comments

  • April 6, 2010 - 6:28 am | Permalink

    Lawyers policy, public policy or just the new political technique, an age old tactic fine tuned for attorney politicians is one learned below, the only difference is there is some latin mumbo jumbo that impresses so many !

    The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated!

    By Albert V. Burns
    More and more, we are seeing citizens being invited to “participate” in various forms of meetings, councils, or boards to “help determine” public policy in one field or another. They are supposedly being included to get ”input” from the public to help officials make final decisions on taxes, education, community growth or whatever the particular subject matter might be.
    Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, surface appearances are often deceiving.
    You, Mr. or Mrs. Citizen, decide to take part in one of these meetings.
    Generally, you will find that there is already someone designated to lead or “facilitate” the meeting. Supposedly, the job of the facilitator is to be a neutral, non-directing helper to see that the meeting flows smoothly.
    Actually, he or she is there for exactly the opposite reason: to see that the conclusions reached during the meeting are in accord with a plan already decided upon by those who called the meeting.
    The process used to “facilitate” the meeting is called the Delphi Technique. This Delphi Technique was developed by the RAND Corporation for the U.S. Department of Defense back in the 1950s. It was originally intended for use as a psychological weapon during the cold war.
    However, it was soon recognized that the steps of Delphi could be very valuable in manipulating ANY meeting toward a predetermined end.
    How does the process take place? The techniques are well developed and well defined.
    First, the person who will be leading the meeting, the facilitator or Change Agent must be a likable person with whom those participating in the meeting can agree or sympathize.
    It is, therefore, the job of the facilitator to find a way to cause a split in the audience, to establish one or a few of the people as “bad guys” while the facilitator is perceived as the “good guy.”
    Facilitators are trained to recognize potential opponents and how to make such people appear aggressive, foolish, extremist, etc. Once this is done, the facilitator establishes himself or herself as the “friend” of the rest of the audience.
    The stage is now set for the rest of the agenda to take place.
    At this point, the audience is generally broken up into “discussion—or ‘breakout’—groups” of seven or eight people each. Each of these groups is to be led by a subordinate facilitator.
    Within each group, discussion takes place of issues, already decided upon by the leadership of the meeting. Here, too, the facilitator manipulates the discussion in the desired direction, isolating and demeaning opposing viewpoints.
    Generally, participants are asked to write down their ideas and disagreements with the papers to be turned in and “compiled” for general discussion after the general meeting is reconvened.
    This is the weak link in the chain, which you are not supposed to recognize. Who compiles the various notes into the final agenda for discussion? Ahhhh! Well, it is those who are running the meeting.
    How do you know that the ideas on your notes were included in the final result? You Don’t! You may realize that your idea was not included and come to the conclusion that you were probably in the minority. Recognize that every other citizen member of this meeting has written his or her likes or dislikes on a similar sheet of paper and they, too, have no idea whether their ideas were “compiled” into the final result! You don’t even know if anyone’s ideas are part of the final “conclusions” presented to the reassembled group as the “consensus” of public opinion.
    Rarely does anyone challenge the process, since each concludes that he or she was in the minority and different from all the others.
    So, now, those who organized the meeting in the first place are able to tell the participants and the rest of the community that the conclusions, reached at the meeting, are the result of public participation.
    Actually, the desired conclusions had been established, in the back room, long before the meeting ever took place. There are variations in the technique to fit special situations but, in general, the procedure outlined above takes place.
    The natural question to ask here is: If the outcome was preordained before the meeting took place, why have the meeting? Herein lies the genius of this Delphi Technique.
    It is imperative that the general public believe that this program is theirs! They thought it up! They took part in its development! Their input was recognized!
    If people believe that the program is theirs, they will support it.
    If they get the slightest hint that the program is being imposed upon them, they will resist.
    This very effective technique is being used, over and over and over, to change our form of government from the representative republic, intended by the Founding Fathers, into a “participatory democracy.” Now, citizens chosen at large are manipulated into accepting preset outcomes while they believe that the input they provided produced the outcomes which are now theirs! The reality is that the final outcome was already determined long before any public meetings took place, determined by individuals unknown to the public. Can you say “Conspiracy?”
    These “Change Agents” or “Facilitators” can be beaten! They may be beaten using their own methods against them.
    Because it is so important, I will repeat the suggestions I gave in the last previous column. One: Never, never lose your temper! Lose your temper and lose the battle, it is that simple! Smile, if it kills you to do so. Be courteous at all times. Speak in a normal tone of voice.
    Two: Stay focused! Always write your question or statement down in advance to help you remember the exact manner in which your question or statement was made.
    These agents are trained to twist things to make anyone not acceding to their agenda look silly or aggressive. Smile, wait till the change agent gets done speaking and then bring them back to your question. If they distort what you said, simply remind those in the group that what he or she is saying is not what you asked or said and then repeat, verbatim, from your notes the original objection.
    Three: Be persistent! Wait through any harangues and then repeat the original question. (Go back and reread the previous column.)
    Four: (I wish to thank a reader of the previous column for some EXCELLENT suggestions. ) Don’t go alone! Get as many friends or relatives who think as you do, to go along with you to the meeting. Have each person ”armed” with questions or statements which all generally support your central viewpoint. Don’t sit together as a group! Spread out through the audience so that your group does not seem to be a group.
    When the facilitator or change agent avoids answering your question and insists that he must move on so everyone may have a chance to speak, your own agents in the audience can then ask questions, worded differently, but still with the same meaning as yours. They can bring the discussion back to your original point.
    They could even point out, in a friendly manner, that the agent did not really answer your question. The more the agent avoids your question, and the more your friends bring that to the attention of the group, the more the audience will shift in your favor.
    To quote my informant: “Turn the technique back on them and isolate the change agent as the kook. I’ve done it and seen steam come out of the ears of those power brokers in the wings who are trying to shove something down the citizen’s throats. And it’s so much fun to watch the moderator squirm and lose his cool, all while trying to keep a smile on his face.”
    Now that you understand how meetings are manipulated, let’s show them up for the charlatans which they are.��

    Published in the September 23, 2002, issue of Ether Zone.��

    http://etherzone. com/cgi-bin/ search/search. pl?Terms= Albert+V. +Burns

    Copyright © 1997-2002 Ether Zone. Republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.

  • April 6, 2010 - 2:28 am | Permalink

    Lawyers policy, public policy or just the new political technique, an age old tactic fine tuned for attorney politicians is one learned below, the only difference is there is some latin mumbo jumbo that impresses so many !

    The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated!

    By Albert V. Burns
    More and more, we are seeing citizens being invited to “participate” in various forms of meetings, councils, or boards to “help determine” public policy in one field or another. They are supposedly being included to get ”input” from the public to help officials make final decisions on taxes, education, community growth or whatever the particular subject matter might be.
    Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, surface appearances are often deceiving.
    You, Mr. or Mrs. Citizen, decide to take part in one of these meetings.
    Generally, you will find that there is already someone designated to lead or “facilitate” the meeting. Supposedly, the job of the facilitator is to be a neutral, non-directing helper to see that the meeting flows smoothly.
    Actually, he or she is there for exactly the opposite reason: to see that the conclusions reached during the meeting are in accord with a plan already decided upon by those who called the meeting.
    The process used to “facilitate” the meeting is called the Delphi Technique. This Delphi Technique was developed by the RAND Corporation for the U.S. Department of Defense back in the 1950s. It was originally intended for use as a psychological weapon during the cold war.
    However, it was soon recognized that the steps of Delphi could be very valuable in manipulating ANY meeting toward a predetermined end.
    How does the process take place? The techniques are well developed and well defined.
    First, the person who will be leading the meeting, the facilitator or Change Agent must be a likable person with whom those participating in the meeting can agree or sympathize.
    It is, therefore, the job of the facilitator to find a way to cause a split in the audience, to establish one or a few of the people as “bad guys” while the facilitator is perceived as the “good guy.”
    Facilitators are trained to recognize potential opponents and how to make such people appear aggressive, foolish, extremist, etc. Once this is done, the facilitator establishes himself or herself as the “friend” of the rest of the audience.
    The stage is now set for the rest of the agenda to take place.
    At this point, the audience is generally broken up into “discussion—or ‘breakout’—groups” of seven or eight people each. Each of these groups is to be led by a subordinate facilitator.
    Within each group, discussion takes place of issues, already decided upon by the leadership of the meeting. Here, too, the facilitator manipulates the discussion in the desired direction, isolating and demeaning opposing viewpoints.
    Generally, participants are asked to write down their ideas and disagreements with the papers to be turned in and “compiled” for general discussion after the general meeting is reconvened.
    This is the weak link in the chain, which you are not supposed to recognize. Who compiles the various notes into the final agenda for discussion? Ahhhh! Well, it is those who are running the meeting.
    How do you know that the ideas on your notes were included in the final result? You Don’t! You may realize that your idea was not included and come to the conclusion that you were probably in the minority. Recognize that every other citizen member of this meeting has written his or her likes or dislikes on a similar sheet of paper and they, too, have no idea whether their ideas were “compiled” into the final result! You don’t even know if anyone’s ideas are part of the final “conclusions” presented to the reassembled group as the “consensus” of public opinion.
    Rarely does anyone challenge the process, since each concludes that he or she was in the minority and different from all the others.
    So, now, those who organized the meeting in the first place are able to tell the participants and the rest of the community that the conclusions, reached at the meeting, are the result of public participation.
    Actually, the desired conclusions had been established, in the back room, long before the meeting ever took place. There are variations in the technique to fit special situations but, in general, the procedure outlined above takes place.
    The natural question to ask here is: If the outcome was preordained before the meeting took place, why have the meeting? Herein lies the genius of this Delphi Technique.
    It is imperative that the general public believe that this program is theirs! They thought it up! They took part in its development! Their input was recognized!
    If people believe that the program is theirs, they will support it.
    If they get the slightest hint that the program is being imposed upon them, they will resist.
    This very effective technique is being used, over and over and over, to change our form of government from the representative republic, intended by the Founding Fathers, into a “participatory democracy.” Now, citizens chosen at large are manipulated into accepting preset outcomes while they believe that the input they provided produced the outcomes which are now theirs! The reality is that the final outcome was already determined long before any public meetings took place, determined by individuals unknown to the public. Can you say “Conspiracy?”
    These “Change Agents” or “Facilitators” can be beaten! They may be beaten using their own methods against them.
    Because it is so important, I will repeat the suggestions I gave in the last previous column. One: Never, never lose your temper! Lose your temper and lose the battle, it is that simple! Smile, if it kills you to do so. Be courteous at all times. Speak in a normal tone of voice.
    Two: Stay focused! Always write your question or statement down in advance to help you remember the exact manner in which your question or statement was made.
    These agents are trained to twist things to make anyone not acceding to their agenda look silly or aggressive. Smile, wait till the change agent gets done speaking and then bring them back to your question. If they distort what you said, simply remind those in the group that what he or she is saying is not what you asked or said and then repeat, verbatim, from your notes the original objection.
    Three: Be persistent! Wait through any harangues and then repeat the original question. (Go back and reread the previous column.)
    Four: (I wish to thank a reader of the previous column for some EXCELLENT suggestions. ) Don’t go alone! Get as many friends or relatives who think as you do, to go along with you to the meeting. Have each person ”armed” with questions or statements which all generally support your central viewpoint. Don’t sit together as a group! Spread out through the audience so that your group does not seem to be a group.
    When the facilitator or change agent avoids answering your question and insists that he must move on so everyone may have a chance to speak, your own agents in the audience can then ask questions, worded differently, but still with the same meaning as yours. They can bring the discussion back to your original point.
    They could even point out, in a friendly manner, that the agent did not really answer your question. The more the agent avoids your question, and the more your friends bring that to the attention of the group, the more the audience will shift in your favor.
    To quote my informant: “Turn the technique back on them and isolate the change agent as the kook. I’ve done it and seen steam come out of the ears of those power brokers in the wings who are trying to shove something down the citizen’s throats. And it’s so much fun to watch the moderator squirm and lose his cool, all while trying to keep a smile on his face.”
    Now that you understand how meetings are manipulated, let’s show them up for the charlatans which they are.��

    Published in the September 23, 2002, issue of Ether Zone.��

    http://etherzone. com/cgi-bin/ search/search. pl?Terms= Albert+V. +Burns

    Copyright © 1997-2002 Ether Zone. Republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.

  • RobertW
    April 6, 2010 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    These lawyers don’t serve the public, they serve themselves. Their mission is to milk the system ($) for all its worth, as well as the citizens of MA. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and have no interest whatsoever in anything that will not keep their grave train rolling. They are a very selfish, manipulative, self-centered group of bums, that need to be removed from their political positions asap. All the those in public office that are keeping the tracks well oiled for the lawyer’s special interest gravy train, better wake up, because the public is watching.

  • RobertW
    April 6, 2010 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    These lawyers don’t serve the public, they serve themselves. Their mission is to milk the system ($) for all its worth, as well as the citizens of MA. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and have no interest whatsoever in anything that will not keep their grave train rolling. They are a very selfish, manipulative, self-centered group of bums, that need to be removed from their political positions asap. All the those in public office that are keeping the tracks well oiled for the lawyer’s special interest gravy train, better wake up, because the public is watching.

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