Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Week in Review: Pretty Fly for a White Guy edition


From the people who brought you Dick Cheney, try to imagine what 850,000 gallons of crude oil looks like. Then try to imagine that many gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico each day. That's what's going on next to New Orleans, Louisiana, a disaster that's shaping up to be almost the ecological equivalent of Chernobyl, already surpassing the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in sheer scope and magnitude.

6,000,000 gallons of black sludge is already washing up on the shore, meaning that it had to travel 40 miles, crippling if not outright killing the ecosystem in its wake and devastating the local fishing trade. It's as if the poor people of New Orleans, mere months after winning the Super Bowl, can't catch a break. And hurricane season begins in exactly a month.

It hasn't been a kind week for people of color in general. Last week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that empowers police departments to ask ethnic-looking people for their proof of citizenship. Essentially, it legalizes racial profiling and the rationale behind this is so outrageous the ordinarily passive Obama Justice Department is thinking of investigating whether this new law is constitutional.

This noxious trial balloon having successfully passed over the Arizona desert, 11 other xenophobic states with large minority constituencies are trying to push through similar or identical legislation. The "Papers, Please" law has proven to be so polarizing it's seeped into Major League Baseball like the Gulf coast's toxic oil spill. There have been calls to boycott Arizona, one of our 50 states, regardless of the fallout to innocent people in any boycotted industry that may have been against the bill.

It wasn't a very good week to be a minority of any stripe, as the gay community was outraged to hear that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen recently implored Congress to not repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Gates' and Mullens' almost laughable rationale was that, even after more than a year of political pressure to end this contemptible legacy of the Clinton years, the Powers That Be are still claiming they hadn't asked the men and women in uniform what their thoughts are on the subject.

As a former military man, I can assure you that seriously entertaining the personal thoughts of any enlisted person in uniform has never been until now a top priority of one's superiors, especially with the Pentagon's top dogs. If they did, they'd ask our all volunteer military what their thoughts are about getting dropped into one war zone or another in an unjustly and illegally-invaded country. Suddenly, they're supposedly on a listening tour asking soldiers, marines and sailors what are their personal thoughts on what is supposed to be the most personal part of the human experience: One's sexual identity.

It was, however, a very good week to be a rich, white man, as Mr. Blankfein and Mr. Tourre of Goldman Sachs showed Congress and the country this week. Goldman Sachs has all but been proven to have bilked investors and the people of Main Street by selling them mortgaged-back and other securities handpicked according to their level of toxicity (the more toxic, the more profitable) and all the SEC can do is name one person in a civil suit. Criminal charges against Goldman is little more than a pipe dream.

When one reviews the past week, we saw vivid delineations of the same old story: Old, rich, white people fucking over poor people of color and other minorities and getting away with it, even laughing all the way back to the bank. British Petroleum posted unexpected record 1Q profits 135% higher than this time last year, Goldman Sachs reported profits of almost $3.5 billion in their own first quarter and Robert Gates and Mike Mullens are still firmly ensconced in the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, Latinos nationwide are in danger of becoming the new Jews of our brave, new world, gay people are still getting kicked out of the military and the mostly African American residents of New Orleans are now fearing the fallout of a toxic oil spill that may still not be cleaned up when hurricane season officially begins, a toxic spill that has affected sea, land and air.


At May 1, 2010 at 9:37 PM, Anonymous P'ville observer said...

The dirty dealings by Goldamn Sux are nasty, but have you heard about "the Magnetar Play"? The NPR show "This American Life" did a good segment explaining it not long ago. It's titled "Bet Against the American Dream."

If you don't care to listen to the podcast (which has a second segment about this crooked, drug-busting cop who got turned on to smoking weed and tried to do a reality TV show where he'd set up other bent pigs, until the men in blue turned on him) here's how the Magnetar Play worked:

There was a smart but evil hdege fund schemer (I forget his name -- it's been a week since I listened to the program) who made a big show of buying up the crappiest parts of mortgage CDOs in 2005-2006, just as people were starting to lose faith in them. Because he was well-known and respected, his participation pumped new life into that game. "If this guy has faith in CDOs, there must be something good about them!"

He'd even get investment banks to design CDOs with lots of crap mortgages in them, like Goldscam did, but he'd make out like he was buying them for his own investment. Only, he'd pony up for only about 10% of each CDO, while secretly taking credit default swaps against 100% of the things.

And when they failed, he'd lose his 10% stake, but still profit by 90% on the "swap insurance." Who paid that swap insurance? AIG (i.e. the U.S. taxpayer) and other big banks that guaranteed the swaps (and ultimately the taxpayer, via the bailouts of those banks.)

The deviousness of these fcukers is amazing. As is the gullibility, more likely CULPABILITY, of the U.S. government and the Fed, for paying off these bogus "default swap" bets at full face value. Bankster bastards get rich, while hard-working schmoes like you get kicked in the teeth.

At May 1, 2010 at 9:58 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Of course, I'd heard of it. I heard the podcast and read the story. They took Goldman to school and showed 'em how it's done.

At May 2, 2010 at 2:30 PM, Blogger msavage12 said...

Your article on the Gulf Spill was informative. I pray for the workers who are cleaning up the oil, they need to be aware of the chemicals that will be used for the cleaning. Oil companies do not care about human issues that arise from their toxic chemicals.
I am one of the 11,000+ cleanup workers from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, who is suffering from health issues from that toxic cleanup, without compensation from Exxon.
There is an on going lawsuit with VECO's insurance company, the company Exxon contracted for hiring employees. Please read my article below for more information.

The Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Leaves Exxon’s Collateral Damaged

Oil corporations like Exxon Mobil have control over what, when, where and how they will execute their operations! There are many oil spills happening every day, and oil companies turn their heads with no responsibility to environment or humanity.

The Corporations, Exxon and VECO, determined our quality of life 21 years ago during the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) cleanup.

My name is Merle Savage; a female general foreman during the EVOS beach cleanup in 1989, which turned into 20 years of extensive health deterioration for me and
many other workers. Dr. Riki Ott visited me in 2007 to explain about the toxic spraying on the beaches. She also informed me that Exxon's medical records and
the reports that surfaced in litigation brought by sick workers in 1994, had been sealed from the public, making it impossible to hold Exxon responsible for their actions.

Dr. Riki Ott has devoted her life to taking control from corporations and giving it back to We The People. If corporations continue to control our legal system, then We The People become victims.

Dr. Riki Ott has written two books; Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$ and Not One Drop. Dr. Ott has investigated and studied the oil spill spraying, and quotes
numerous reports in her books, on the toxic chemicals that were used during the
1989 Prince William Sound oily beach cleanup. Black Wave the Film is based on Not One Drop, with interviews of EVOS victims; my interview was featured in the
section; Like a War Zone.

Exxon developed the toxic spraying; OSHA, the Coast Guard, and the state of Alaska authorized the procedure; VECO and other Exxon contractors implemented
it. Beach crews breathed in crude oil that splashed off the rocks and into the air -- the toxic exposure turned into chronic breathing conditions and central
nervous system problems, along with other massive health issues. I am only one out of 10,000+ EVOS workers who suffer extreme health problems during and after the 1989 EVOS cleanup. Some of the illnesses include neurological impairment, chronic respiratory disease, leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, liver damage, and blood disease.
Please view the 7 minute video that validates my accusations.

My web site is devoted to searching for EVOS cleanup workers who were exposed to the toxic spraying, and are suffering from the same illnesses that I have. Our summer employment turned into a death sentence for many -- and a life of unending medical conditions for the rest of us.

Merle Savage

At May 2, 2010 at 2:41 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...


I think I speak for both myself and all my regular readers when I thank you for your brave and selfless service to our nation's environment during the Valdez disaster.

It makes me think of other brave men and women who'd perished or suffered injuries or illnesses largely with anonymity and without regard for their safety either by those involved and especially those who'd sent them in harm's way while being better apprised of the risks than the rescue/environmental workers.

I'm also thinking of the 9/11 rescue workers, the thousands who'd perished immediately after Chernobyl and those others who'd died doing the right thing.

I hope that you get your issues with Exxon resolved. After 21 years, it's been far too long for any real resolution.

At May 2, 2010 at 3:52 PM, Blogger msavage12 said...

Thank you jurassicpork for caring and the comment. Anything you can do to get the information to the public and the workers on the Gulf spill is appreciated. They need to know that the oil companies do not care about our health.
Take care

At May 3, 2010 at 1:19 AM, Anonymous P'ville observer said...

Sorry to underestimate your powers of observation, bro. Just hoping I could clue you to something new.


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