Fri Aug 15, 2003
Nation braces for flood of self-absorbed NYC writing
Friday, August 15, 2003
KANSAS CITY--Following Thursday's blackout that affected nearly 50 million residents from Ohio to New York and into Canada, people across America are getting ready for yet another deluge of swollen, narcissistic output from New York City-based writers.
"The news clips of the Bronx cabby doing volunteer as a traffic cop; the thousands of people walking home in the dark chatting with people they would normally swear at in traffic. Right now it's kind of quaint to see these people surprised at their collective humanity. But that's going to wear thin pretty quick," says long-time Atlantic Monthly subscriber Brad Sprenger of Olathe, Kansas. "This is the kind of thing that will eventually spawn a dozen cathartic off-Broadway plays."
Added Sprenger: "Can you imagine what will be coming down the pike a few months from now? Wormy, double-spaced New Yorker poetry with titles like Walking To Staten and Dark Manhattan Forest. Save us."
Local resident Jeffery Roslef was sympathetic but unimpressed with the blackout: "I feel really badly that all those people were stranded in subways and everything, but from what I hear, the power is already coming back on. It lasted for...what?...maybe 12 hours? The last time we had an ice storm here in K.C., my block was without power for two weeks. For my family it wasn't about whether we would be able to go down to Bam Rose [theater] to catch the Brazilian Diaspora Film Festival. It was about wondering if my kids were frozen to death in their beds."
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Power Outage, Greg Palast, I'm going camping
Undoubtedly, the power outages will be used as a call to build more nuclear power plants, and blamed on Environmentalists in the popular media like it was in California, meanwhile no one took a serious look at deregulation and the opportunity that lent to energy traders to gaming of the markets (ahem Bush friend and Cheney energy consultant Ken Lay/Enron). What do I know, though.
Anyway, not like Greg Palast is the most unbiased writer (but who is, there's no such thing), but I found this in my email this morn. At least I'm not posting about Arnold.
Uh, I'm going away for a couple of days to enjoy some good Nor Cal Forest camping with a bunch of guys for my friends camping bachelor party! There will be fishing, cheap beer, BBQ pork, and sleepin on the ground under the trees. YAY!
Power Outage Traced To Dim Bulb In White House
--- The Tale Of The Brits Who Swiped 800 Jobs From New York, Carted Off $90 Million, Then Tonight, Turned Off Our Lights
by Greg Palast; August 15, 2003
I can tell you all about the ne're-do-wells that put out our lights tonight. I came up against these characters -- the Niagara Mohawk Power Company -- some years back. You see, before I was a journalist, I worked for a living, as an investigator of corporate racketeers. In the 1980s, "NiMo" built a nuclear plant, Nine Mile Point, a brutally costly piece of hot junk for which NiMo and its partner companies charged billions to New York State's electricity ratepayers.
To pull off this grand theft by kilowatt, the NiMo-led consortium fabricated cost and schedule reports, then performed a Harry Potter job on the account books. In 1988, I showed a jury a memo from an executive from one partner, Long Island Lighting, giving a lesson to a NiMo honcho on how to lie to government regulators. The jury ordered LILCO to pay $4.3 billion and, ultimately, put them out of business.
And that's why, if you're in the Northeast, you're reading this by candlelight tonight. Here's what happened. After LILCO was hammered by the law, after government regulators slammed Niagara Mohawk and dozens of other book-cooking, document-doctoring utility companies all over America with fines and penalties totaling in the tens of billions of dollars, the industry leaders got together to swear never to break the regulations again. Their plan was not to follow the rules, but to ELIMINATE the rules. They called it "deregulation."
It was like a committee of bank robbers figuring out how to make safecracking legal. But they dare not launch the scheme in the USA. Rather, in 1990, one devious little bunch of operators out of Texas, Houston Natural Gas, operating under the alias "Enron," talked an over-the-edge free-market fanatic, Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, into licensing the first completely deregulated power plant in the hemisphere.
And so began an economic disease called "regulatory reform" that spread faster than SARS. Notably, Enron rewarded Thatcher's Energy Minister, one Lord Wakeham, with a bushel of dollar bills for 'consulting' services and a seat on Enron's board of directors. The English experiment proved the viability of Enron's new industrial formula: that the enthusiasm of politicians for deregulation was in direct proportion to the payola provided by power companies. Read more...
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Russell Mokhiber is a white house press reporter and has posts his questions to Scottie & Me (formerly known as Ari & I) on commondreams.org
We Had a Democracy Once, But You Crushed It By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
In yesterday's Washington Post, Condoleeza Rice, the President's National Security Advisor, writes the following:
"Our task is to work with those in the Middle East who seek progress toward greater democracy, tolerance, prosperity and freedom. As President Bush said in February, 'The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life.'
Now, if we only had a nickel for every time Bush, or Rice, or Colin Powell, or Paul Wolfowitz or Dick Cheney or Richard Perle or Donald Rumsfeld talked about bringing democracy to the Middle East.
Talk, talk, talk.
Here's something you can bet on: Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz will not hold a press conference this month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-led coup of the democratically elected leader of Iran -- Mohammed Mossadegh.
Rice and Powell won't hold a press conference to celebrate Operation Ajax, the CIA plot that overthrew the Mossadegh.
That was 50 years ago this month, in August 1953.
That's when Mossadegh was fed up with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company -- now BP -- pumping Iran's oil and shipping the profits back home to the United Kingdom.
And Mossadegh said -- hey, this is our oil, I think we'll keep it.
And Winston Churchill said -- no you won't.
Mossadegh nationalized the company -- the way the British were nationalizing their own vital industries at the time.
But what's good for the UK ain't good for Iran.
If you fly out of Dulles Airport in Virginia, ever wonder what the word Dulles means?
It stands for the Dulles family -- Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, the CIA director, Allen Dulles.
They were responsible for the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Iran. Read more...
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