1) Gee,I dunno. Was AMP Chairman Tom Allegretti firing his cannons at a mere "alarmist" mirage back on Sept 17?
"Puerto Rico is experiencing a severe debt crisis and Congress may be considering a legislative assistance package to help Puerto Rico. Some in Puerto Rico have suggested that a Jones Act exemption be included in the legislative package under the erroneous theory that the Jones Act is bad for Puerto Rico,” said Allegretti.
“But here’s the kicker: If Congress did that — included an anti-Jones Act amendment in the package — the chances of the overall package getting enacted into law would diminish. That’s because the presence of an anti-Jones Act amendment would reduce or subtract the number of members of Congress who would vote for the overall bill. So Puerto Ricans would be undermining, and maybe even sabotaging, their own assistance package by including an anti-Jones Act amendment in it.”
2) However, the sinking of the EL Faro has changed the picture. Political power worth $Trillions is at stake in a Presidential election -- you don't think billionaires dump $2 billion into Presidential campaigns every 4 years for a free market, do you? Washington borrowed and spent $10 Trillion in federal debt in just the past six years fixing the 2008 mess -- how much of that money did you get? The Florida electoral votes are priceless.
6) Mr Allegretti hasn't gotten the memo yet. Saltchuk and indirectly the others are now over a barrel with this NTSB investigation. If the
shipping companies interfere with the Political Great Game, then the Administration could easily turn the El Faro investigation into something much more hostile -- with FBI raids, talks of prosecution for negligent homicide, etc.
7) And I doubt Mr Allegretti is going to help Puerto Rico by screwing the PR creditors and supporting a PR bankruptcy. If PR creditors --the hedge funds -- are not rescued then their Congressional reps could start pushing for a lot more punitive acts than exempting PR from Jones Act shipping.
And the lawyer who filed that $100 million lawsuit against Tote could start getting a lot of useful information and documents dropped on his back porch after dark.
8) Conversely, if Tote plays ball then maybe after the 2016 election the NTSB report will just call for "safety improvements" and no one will look too closely into how 28 American merchant seamen died. Heck, one of the wealthy factions or politicans in Washington may even chip in a few dollars to buy some flowers for the families.
9) Maybe I am too cynical --but Obama's first Chief of Staff was Rahm Emmanuel and one of Rahm's favorite sayings was "Never let a disaster go to waste." Look at what they did with the 2008 crisis -- the stock of main campaign donor Goldman Sachs soared after the election from 59 to almost 181 in Obama's first year. Meanwhile unemployment stayed high for six years--because thousands of small businesses died when they were unable to get loans from the bailed out banks. If you look at how the suicide rate of middle-aged men has soared you can see how Washington's corruption and economic policy has killed more Americans than Al Qaeda.
10) But maybe I'm wrong. Let's check with NTSB Vice-Chairman T. Bella Dinh-Zarr and see how she's coming with the El Faro investigation: