Tag Archives: alaska

Slick Operators

On January 20, 1990 a Channel 4 documentary series called Scottish Eye aired Slick Operators.  The documentary tells the story of BP’s role in the Exxon Valdez oil spill and their lies in the aftermath of the spill.  Sadly it is still very relevant today.  BP is the largest owner of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and was responsible for many of the failures that led to the catastrophe in Prince William Sound.  They claimed that many of the safety measures they were supposed to have in place would have been impossible, yet they were using them at an oil terminal in Scotland.

I was at a meeting last week talking about planning some sort of action in Anchorage about the spill and someone there had a copy of this show.  They had seen it at an oil spill conference in 1990 and asked the presenter if they could borrow the tape to make a copy.  Luckily the presenter said yes, and my friend held on to his old 2nd generation VHS copy for 20 years.  The show is only about 25 minutes, but I had to break it up into 4 pieces after having some technical difficulties with uploading.  So without further ado, sit back relax, remove breakable items from your reach (I really wanted to throw something at someone…cough cough Tony Hayward cough cough.. while watching this), and enjoy the show:




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A Goldman Opportunity

I am a bit of a geek.  I spent part of the afternoon watching C-SPAN2, which for those who don’t know is where you find the coverage of the Senate.  I would watch it much more, but I don’t have TV at home and I can only watch it on the rare occasion that someone invites me over to their house (and maybe the fact that I watch C-Span and Gavel to Gavel at my friends’ houses explains the lack of invites).  I have the app on my phone, and even went to buy a new pair of headphones so I would be able to hear the hours of health care debate last month.

Today I tuned in to listen to the vote that would allow the financial reform package to be talked about in the Senate.  It was not a vote on a bill, or a vote on amendments.  It was simply to allow the Senate to begin talking about a bill.  After weeks of closed door meetings with Wall Street executives the leaders of the Republican Party decided that they would just say no to financial reform.  I have read that they are hoping shutting it down completely will make the Democrats who control the Senate to give in and compromise like they do on just about everything else.

It’s time for the Democratic Party to prove they have a spine.  This is an opportunity for the Democrats to win over a large chunk of mainstream Americans.  We are all sick of Wall Street taking precedent over Main Street, and the GOP proved beyond a shadow of a doubt who they are working for today.  This is an issue that could even confuse the Teabaggers, if the reality of what happened can get to them somehow.  The problem, like always is going to be getting the message out.  The same corporate interests that control the GOP control the mainstream media.  I’ve heard it already today on CNN and ABC news on the radio, “The Democratic reform package is a loser.”

Immediately after the vote Alaska’s Senator Mark Begich gave an amazing and seemingly impromptu (although it was rehearsed a bit on The Shannyn Moore Show before the vote) speech on the floor.  In it he said:

It’s absolutely outrageous that almost half of my colleagues have blocked the opportunity for us to have debate and ultimately vote on the Wall Street reform legislation. They continue to protect their rich friends on Wall Street and in the banking world rather than protect the hardworking taxpayers who pay bills and try to save money every day.

Those blocking debate of this bill should be ashamed of themselves for the missed opportunity to hold Wall Street accountable. We should, at a minimum, have the chance to discuss ways to make sure the reckless and risky investments that cost Americans billions of dollars and millions of jobs doesn’t happen again.

I came to Washington to discuss issues and legislation out in the open, not to hide behind closed doors and work secret deals behind the public’s back. I’m disappointed and I know Alaskans are disappointed we don’t get to move forward on banking and financial reform.

I will continue to work on legislation that provides jobs for Alaskans and other Americans. And I hope those who are still on the side of mega-banks gambling at the expense of consumers will recognize the disservice they are doing to our country.

Thank you Senator Begich for working for Americans on this.  The Republicans may have seriously miscalculated their strategy on this one.  I think that we have an opportunity to show America who is really working for them, and who is working for the super rich.  Regular people would be angry about this if they had any idea what happened.  They are not going to get the story from the mainstream media, so it is our job to tell them.  We have the chance to gain support on a grassroots level for real financial reform.  And if the Democrats in the congress can take this opportunity to pass real reform and not kowtow to the standard tactics of the party of no, they can prove to regular Joes that they are the party of the people.

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Machine Gun Kelly’s Made in Alaska Bill

I grew up with guns.  I got a .22 rifle for my ninth birthday that I still have and love.  I have put thousands and thousands of rounds through that rifle and used it to kill more than a couple of cute little animals that wound up on a dinner table.  I am a member of a “sportsman” group so I can get a discount at the indoor shooting range when it’s too cold to go shoot outside.  I have 4 guns in my house right now, and grew up in a house with around a dozen different rifles, shotguns and handguns.  I am really looking forward to recently elected Anchorage assemblyman Dick Traini’s big machine gun shootout fundraiser.

Now that I have said all of that it is pretty obvious that I am going to say something against guns, so here it goes…

‘Made in Alaska’ firearms bill would assert state rights

The state Legislature has passed a measure exempting from federal gun regulations firearms, accessories and ammunition made and kept instate. The so-called “Alaska Firearms Freedom Act,” sponsored by Fairbanks Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, passed the Senate Friday. It now goes to the governor. It is another effort to assert state rights over federal regulations. The firearms in question also must have “Made in Alaska” stamped on them.

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The Collateral Damage of Crashing the Tea Party

I have long been a fan of political theater.  I have seen protests infiltrated and opponents delegitimized.  I have seen, or maybe even taken part in internet campaigns to build false grassroots support for causes that might be helpful to my causes in the end.  It is done all the time on both sides of most major issues.  So today when I read about Jason Levin starting a group called Crash the Tea Party I thought it was a pretty great idea.  But by the time I finished reading the article, I had changed my mind completely.

Crash the Tea Party is “a nationwide network…sick and tired of the loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons; who constitute the fake grass roots movement which calls itself ‘The Tea Party.'”  They seek to “dismantle and demolish the Tea Party…by infiltrating the Tea Party itself.”  The plan is to show up at Tea Party rallies and just exaggerate those things that are already so easily mockable, whether it is misspelled signs or wild claims in TV interviews.

While I am completely in support of the goal, this groups tactics play straight into the hands of the Teabaggers.  Most of us probably remember March 20, the day before the US House passed the so called “Obamacare” reconciliation bill.  The protesters were out in full force on Capitol Hill that day, and as members of the House walked from their offices to the Capitol several were accosted by them.  John Lewis, Andre Carson, and Emmanuel Cleaver all reported demonstrators/thugs yelling the N-word at them, and Cleaver was spat upon one of them.  Barney Frank was called a faggot on multiple occasions that weekend by somewhat ironically named Teabaggers.

The immediate response from the Tea Party and even the more “mainstream” of the right was to deny that these events had taken place, and to say that if they had it was left wing infiltrators trying to score points against the “real Americans” standing up to the evil fascist-socialist-Islamist left.  Known liar Andrew Brietbart even went so far as to offer a prize of $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund if anyone could prove the slurs were used, and then said that since no video has turned up it must all be a lie.  Turn on any right wing talk show in the country and this is already the talking point when any of this comes up.

Now with Mr. Levin out trying to promote his group in the media, the only people he is discrediting are those that have been standing up to the righties who are trying to cover up the hate spewing from the Tea Party movement.  This is going to make Fox News’ job that much easier next time a Teabagger does something deplorable in public, and we won’t have to wait long for that to happen.  Levin is doing what too many people on the left do every day, shooting himself in the foot.  Unless, this is all part of the plan and it is not the Tea Party that is being crashed.

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Sarah Palin is a Terrorist

I’m not sure if this is the first time I have called Sarah Palin a terrorist.  If I did it might have just been hyperbole, I was probably trying to argue with someone and I enjoy overstating my arguments just to see how people will react.  She has come close to deserving the label in the past, but her most recent Facebook note Don’t Get Demoralized! Get Organized! Take Back the 20! has finally put her over the edge.

Her note includes a map of the Lower 48 states, with cross hairs on the districts of 20 Democratic members of the US House who live in districts won by McCain/Palin in 2008. 

One of the lucky 20 to be targeted by Palin was Tom Periello, from Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.  Members of a local Virginia tea party group found what they thought was Periello’s home address and posted it on their website telling the other teabaggers to “drop by” the house.  And now it seems that at least one of these patriots did “drop by.”  And while they was there they decided to cut the gasline to the home they thought belonged to Congressman Periello.

But the home did not belong to Tom Periello, it was the home of his brother Bo.  Bo was home with his wife and four children last night when he smelled the gas that was leaking into his home.

The Charlottesville, VA news site DailyProgress.com reports Nigel Coleman was one of two teaparty organizers who posted Bo Periello’s address online.  When he found out that he had posted the wrong address he said, “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”

As I sat and watched the House vote on Sunday I had very mixed feelings.  I was amazed that the first major step towards real reform in health care was actually happening.  I have been conflicted about the specific bill for a long time, knowing that it doesn’t go nearly far enough but also knowing that it will help a lot of people who can really need it.  It took me a long time to grudgingly realize that this was probably the definitive case of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The thing that really bothered me that day was the actions of the teabaggers the day before, spitting, yelling, hurling racial epithets.  I sat with my friend watching history being made in and history being repeated.  I was at the same time tremendously proud and tremendously ashamed of my fellow Americans, tremendously hopeful for our future and tremendously scared of what it might hold for those who history has left behind.

We sat and watched the debate, and talked about what would happen next.  We talked about the anger that was building inside of this group of people who felt betrayed.  They were like a wounded animal, fighting to stay alive.  And for many the health care vote would be a massive assault.  While they were wounded before, they are now wounded and cornered.  Their only choice for survival is to fight back.

There was a moment where the leaders of the Tea Party movement had a choice to make.  The anger was growing and starting to spiral out of control, and they could have tried to stop it.  They could have come out publicly and condemned the racist attacks of the weekend, they could have condemned the property destruction, they could have. But they didn’t.  Instead Sarah Palin put out her Facebook note with crosshairs on it.  She urged her supporters to “reload.”

Luckily whoever cut the gas line in Mr. Periello’s home yesterday didn’t kill anyone.  But someday, probably someday soon, one of Sarah’s supporters will injure or kill someone they disagree with politically.  When that day comes, the blood will be on her hands.

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