As someone who knows president Nicholás Maduro, Hugo Chavez' successor, (and Maduro's opponents), I can say that I’ve never met a head of state (and I’ve met many) who absolutely gives a real shit about the average working person of his nation.
Venezuela is Occupy Wall Street on its head: the 1% are out in the street, violently hoping to overthrow the government elected by working people. Are the Kochs involved?
It was Good Friday, 50 years ago on March 27, 1964, that according to seismologists, the snow peaks of Prince William Sound jumped 33 feet into the air and fell back down. Emergency warnings about an earthquake-spurred tsunami went out to towns from Valdez, Alaska, to Malibu, Calif., but no one thought to send a message to the Chugach Natives in Chenega, Alaska.
Chenega chief Nikolas Kompkoff watched the mountains leap and the waters around his island disappear over the horizon.
Knowing the water would return with a vengeance, he ran his four daughters up a hill toward high ground. But the nine-story-tall tsunami was moving too fast for their little legs. Kompkoff made a decision: He grabbed the two girls closest to him, tucked them under his arms and ran up the slope, leaving the other two to be seized by the wave.
Days later, a postal pilot on his weekly mail drop could not find Chenega because every single house – and a third of the residents – had been washed out to sea.
When he circled back to the site he saw the village’s church on the hill with (Show me more...)
Two decades ago I was the investigator for the legal team that sold you the bullshit that a drunken captain was the principal cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster, the oil tanker crackup that poisoned over a thousand miles of Alaska's coastline 25 years ago today, on March 24, 1989.The truth is far uglier, and the real culprit—British Petroleum, now BP—got away without a scratch to its reputation or to its pocketbook.
Just this month, the Obama administration authorized BP to return to drilling in the Gulf.
It would be worth the time of our ever-trusting regulators to take a look at my Exxon Valdez files on BP. They would see a decades-long pattern of BP's lies, bribes and (Show me more...)
"Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake"
The Fukushima story you didn't hear on CNN
I've seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level.
Here was the handwritten log kept by a senior engineer at the nuclear power plant:
Wiesel was very upset. He seemed very nervous. Very agitated. . . . In fact, the plant was riddled with problems that, no way on earth, could stand an earth- quake. The team of engineers sent in to inspect found that most of these components could "completely and utterly fail" during an earthquake.
"Utterly fail during an earthquake." And here in Japan was the quake and here is the utter failure.
The warning was in what the investigations team called The Notebook, which I'm not supposed to have. Good thing I've kept a copy anyway, because the file cabinets went down with my office building .... (Show me more...)
A federal judge in New York today slapped a stern order on attorney Steven Donziger and the Ecuadorean villagers he claims to represent, prohibiting them from capitalizing on a $9 billion judgment the judge said was the product of “egregious fraud.”
The judge is completely, utterly full of shit, here's the real story.
By the age of fifteen, Rick Rowley was doomed — born in the middle of Nowhere, Michigan, a wasteland of rust and snow so awful we let autoworkers have it.
As a kid, Rick would put his head down on the railroad track and wait for the rare vibration of a train on the move far away. He was fifteen years old on the day he got up and followed the hum down the track. He walked for over two hundred miles, surviving on peanut butter and Wonder Bread all the way to (Show me more...)
Since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that money essentially equals speech in Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission in 2010, and later in the US Court of Appeals Speechnow.org v. the Federal Election Commission decision, unregulated "expenditures" have flowed to so-called Super PACs.
Both conservative and liberal groups have rushed to create these organizations that supposedly exist to work on "social welfare" causes.
However, they are often sham non-profits whose sole purpose is to support or attack (Show me more...)
Like the restless Jewish prophets before you, you are an outcast in your own land. And like the prophets before you, you are trouble, Aaron, a lot of trouble.
Thank you for troubling us, Aaron. You are trouble, but very good trouble.
Socrates' suicide, like yours, was a state-sponsored execution. And like Socrates in death, you've conferred an immortal obligation on the living to resist the temptation to let the rulers attach their strings, the strings that turn us from people with hearts into puppets with property.
On Thursday, a federal jury found Mathew Martoma guilty of insider trading. Martoma, who's only worth a hundred million or so, is small potatoes. He's taking a fall for his boss–and his boss' mommy–and her monkey.
Martoma's boss is Steven A. Cohen, worth about $9 billion, who directs a criminal enterprise masquerading as a hedge fund called SAC Capital. The description of SAC as a crime scene is drawn from the findings of the jury, Securities and Exchange Commission charges and Cohen's own confessions. While eight of Cohen's partners-in-crime have been convicted and Martoma is about to join them in the Big House, Cohen has performed enough ju-ju on the system to keep charges filed against him personally to civil, not criminal, counts. So far.
Why would a guy who's stuffed billions of dollars of tainted money in his pocket risk SEC charges just to get another billion? The answer: Steve needs to make his mommy's monkey jump.
The story's a lot of fun–and extraordinarily important, as Congress decides (Show me more...)
Far more insidious, more corrosive and dangerous than the Governor of New Jersey playing traffic warden is the story of Gov. Chris Christie's secret meetings with a gaggle of billionaires ––and the legality of the spending by the front organization set up following these hidden hugger-muggers.In 2012, a tax-exempt “social welfare organization” called Committee for Our Children's Future, CCF, ran a series of TV ads telling America that Governor Christie has performed more miracles in New Jersey than Jesus did with loaves and fish. The New York Times found some old college chums who said they set up the “Children's” crusade for Christie. But the ads cost about $6 million. The Times didn't ask how Christie's buddies, not wealthy guys, found the six big ones.
But CCF was not started in 2012. When I heard “Children's Future,” my nose started twitching. I smelled Koch.
Get the full story of Chris Christie and his Koch addiction in the book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: Greg Palast investigative Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their Buck Buddies and the film of the investigation on the DVD Vultures & Vote Rustlers.
....for donations to our foundation, so you can take my word for it when I say, we need it.
The Theft of the 2016 race is under way –– and the vote rustlers expect to grab Congress in 2014 as an appetizer. Plus, the billionaire boys club is sucking our financial blood as if the world economy is their vampire blood bank.
Donate at least $80 right now, and I'll send you, as thanks, the Vultures Combo: our new film on DVD, Vultures and Vote Rustlers AND a hardbound copy of Vultures Picnic, and I'll sign both. Check out thetrailer. And it's tax-deductible.(Show me more...)
I can't take it anymore. All week, I've watched Nelson Mandela reduced to a Barbie doll. From Fox News to the Bush family, the politicians and media mavens who body-blocked the anti-Apartheid Movement and were happy to keep Mandela behind bars, now get to dress his image up in any silly outfit they choose.
It's more nauseating than hypocrisy and ignorance. The Mandela Barbie tells us in a squeaky little doll voice, not his own, that apartheid is now "defeated" - to quote the ridiculous headline in the Times.
Poor Mandela. When he's not a doll, he's a statue. He joins Martin Luther King as another bronzed monument whose use is to serve a new version of racism, Apartheid 2.0, worsening both in South Africa - and in the USA. (Show me more...)
Call me crazy, but I’ve couldn’t stop myself: I’ve made a film about the scoundrels, scalawags, scumbags and bankers just in time to roast their chestnuts on an open fire.
Vultures and Vote Rustlers combines my favorite eight investigations for BBC-TV and Democracy Now into a one hour film that will make you howl with laughter — and with anger—or your money back. (Show me more...)
Cohen says he'll pay the $1.2 billion from his own pocket — but it's a pretty big pocket. His net worth just hit ($9.4 billion). It would have been an even $10 billion, but last year he coughed up over half a billion for his company's illegal trades. (Show me more...)
On May 6, 2008, twelve fraudulent voters, dressed as nuns, attempted to cast ballots in the Presidential Primary in Indiana.
Luckily, ten of them were caught, stopped cold by Indiana's new voter photo ID law. The law had been found to be constitutional by Federal Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
It turns out the nuns that Posner's ruling turned away were, in fact …nuns. All the sisters had photo drivers licenses, but they had expired (the licenses, not the nuns). The Sisters of the Holy Cross, had, mercifully, given up driving (they were pushing 90 years of age.)
It was a cute story that ran nationwide. What wasn't so cute, and ran nowhere in the US press, was that 72,000 Black voterswere blocked at the polls by this Posner-blessed photo ID law.