Last month the Keystone pipeline cracked in South Dakota and dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of the dirtiest tar sands oil onto a previously pristine prairie. In this episode of Flashpoints we discuss how this burst came about when there were supposed to be foolproof high tech safety measures in place. This episode is particularly relevant to Flashpoint’s local Northern California audience, since before the Keystone pipeline burst, another pipeline in San Bruno exploded for very similar reasons. The 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline blast, which sent plumes of fire into the air, wasn’t just an environmental disaster, it was deadly; the explosion destroyed 38 homes and killed eight people. In this edition of Flashpoints, we not only discuss intentionally compromised Pipeline Inspection Gauges (aka PIGs) at the heart of both these tragedies, we also discuss the Tax Bill and an intentionally compromised president, who seems to have conveniently forgotten to include one of his major campaign promises — one he stole from Bernie — to close the Billionaire speculators’ “carried interest” loophole. Read more
Republicans are right. President Barack Obama treated them like dirt, didn’t give a damn what they thought about his stimulus package, loaded it with a bunch of programs that will last for years and will never leave the budget, is giving away money disguised as “tax refunds,” and is sneaking in huge changes in policy, from schools to health care, using the pretext of an economic emergency.
Way to go, Mr. O! Mr. Down-and-Dirty Chicago pol. Street-fightin’ man. Covering over his break-you-face power play with a “we’re all post-partisan friends” BS.
And it’s about time.
Frankly, I was worried about this guy. Obama’s appointing Clinton-droids to the Cabinet, bloated incompetents like Larry Summers as “Economics Czar,” made me fear for my country, that we’d gotten another Democrat who wished he were a Republican.
Then came Obama’s money bomb. The House bill included $125 billion for schools (TRIPLING federal spending on education – yes!), expanding insurance coverage to the unemployed, making the most progressive change in the tax code in four decades by creating a $500 credit against social security payroll deductions, and so on. Read more
John Thain is the guy that looks like a Clark Kent doll you saw grinning from page one of your paper Friday morning. Thain was just fired by Bank of America because the square-jawed executive demanded a $30 million bonus after losing $5 billion in just three months at the bank’s Merrill Lynch unit. In addition, Thain spent over a million dollars redecorating his office while, at the same time, the U.S. Treasury was bailing out his company with billions in aid. Thain’s office re-do included the installation of a $35,000 toilet bowl.
Thain was robbed. He shouldn’t have been fired; he should have gotten a $60 million bonus — and Obama should immediately hire him as Secretary of the Treasury in place of that tax-dodging lightweight that’s been nominated, Timothy Geithner.
In swing-state Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State conducted the biggest purge of voters in history, dumping a fifth of all registrations. Guess their color.
In swing-state Florida, the state is refusing to accept about 85,000 new registrations from voter drives – overwhelming Black voters.
In swing state New Mexico, HALF of the Democrats of Mora, a dirt poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic county, found their registrations disappeared this year, courtesy of a Republican voting contractor.
In swing states Ohio and Nevada, new federal law is knocking out tens of thousands of voters who lost their homes to foreclosure.
My investigations partner spoke directly to Barack Obama about it. (When your partner is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., candidates take your phone call.) The cool, cool Senator Obama told Kennedy he was “concerned” about the integrity of the vote in the Southwest in particular. Read more
Lhasa, Tibet – China’s secret police are just terrible at keeping themselves secret.
The detective, dressed in her business suit and pumps appropriate to urban Lhasa, did not expect to be trailing my wife and me up the steep hillside to a monastery 15,000 feet up an ice-crusted ridge. Even at 200 yards behind us, I could see her shivering in the thin, frozen air, trying, absurdly, to look like just another hiker on the barren slope.
But then, she really wasn’t trying to hide. Her presence was meant to send a message of fear and intimidation.
I got the point earlier when a photographer we’d helped sneak into Tibet was arrested, her film of protesting Tibetans seized and her camera smashed as she was hustled onto the first plane leaving the country.
When my police shadow looked away, I snapped a photo of the long boxes below me, roofs of the prison complex. It housed more Buddhist monks than any monastery.
At a hermitage carved into the summit rock I found my host sitting cross-legged under an ancient tapestry depicting a monster ready to devour quiet souls.
The holy man had questions for us:
Does Christianity have a god? (Answer: “Sometimes.”)
What is a ‘President‘?
It was 1993. I told the monk the new President, Read more