Unions, Buffett, Robber Barons and Cronies Now Have Our Oil, Oh My

Note: This article was sent to us last week, but we have since received a 'balancing' letter which, in the interests of fairness, we have published below it.
By John Ransom
Jan 25, 2012
It’s already been widely reported that Warren Buffett, a major shareholder in Obama, Inc. will be one of the primary beneficiaries of the decision from the White House to kill the Keystone pipeline and the jobs it would create.
The administration now makes no attempt at all to disguise the fact that most decisions he makes are made in the best interest of Obama, Inc. shareholders.
Buffett’s railroad, the BNSF Railway- now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Obama, Inc.- in a remarkable coincidence, will instead, apparently and patriotically, transport Canadian oil to the US at only a slight premium to the oil companies than it would have cost to transport via the Keystone pipeline.
Ohmygosh. What a fortunate coincidence for all of us. Maybe now Buffett’s secretary will be able to afford the higher tax bracket her jerk-off boss puts her in and she won’t have to decide between her medication and cat food.     
Obama has decided thusly to kill the pipeline even though: 1) Transport costs will be more expensive; and 2) The transport method will introduce more of the dreaded “carbon” into our atmosphere. Remember the thing that activists have been protesting against?  
Net/net environmentalists have just made sure that more “carbon” will kill our planet even more quickly under their theory.
It’s a win-win-win. Obama and Buffett and Buffett’s secretary all benefit.
And really: Who else is there to be concerned about?
Seriously though: You just can’t find a group more gullible than environmental activists.
It used to be that starting a religious cult was a convenient way to control the gullible. But today’s sophisticated con artist would be well advised to invent a global crisis, you know, like Global Polar Bear Cannibalism.       
Imagine spending six months working toward stopping Keystone because you believe with all your liberal bleeding heart that you’ll stop the dirty, planet-killing carbon, only to read today’s article from Bloomberg about the Buffett Express.         
While Buffett apparently is a shareholder in Obama, Inc., enviros are only sharecroppers in the concern.  
Because anytime you have a liberal policy that 1) is more expensive and 2) doesn’t even attempt to address the issue that liberal activists say they are protesting- you know, like too much “carbon” in our atmosphere- you know somewhere, somehow, someway that another, better-heeled liberal shareholder has just stuck it to the sharecroppers on Obama’s plantation.
They tried it previously with Al Gore’s Climate Exchange. I’m still waiting for a thank you from environmentalists for stopping that scam.  
I wrote previously about how Labors’ International Union of North America- another sharecropper on Fantasy Island- denounced president Obama’s decision to kill Keystone. But a handful of other unions will benefit greatly because their workers work for Obama shareholder Warren Buffett.
I know, I know: It surprised me too.
Here’s how the Transport Workers Union explained it:
Under President Jim Little, TWU has been a leader in advocating for major “New Deal” type investments in infrastructure modernization and repair, public transportation, energy conservation and climate protection as a means of putting people to work and laying the foundations of a more sustainable economic future for the United States. This is a transition that sound science and sound economics tell us we must make today, not in some far off future, in order to prevent irreversible harm to our planet’s climate, and to provide good jobs now for the millions of Americans who desperately need them. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would take us in the opposite direction, increasing our reliance on dirty bitumen sands oil and stalling critical efforts to create the jobs we need to transition to a more sustainable economy.
The pipeline appeared to be on a fast track to approval, but thanks to the efforts of TWU and a handful of other unions allied with millions of climate justice activists, in November the State Department delayed its decision on the project, and President Obama has said that if Republicans again try to force him to make a premature decision by tying the pipeline’s fate to another payroll tax cut extension early in 2012, he’ll kill the project for good.
So now we know where Obama draws the line: terrorist are OK; illegal immigrants; mob violence- good with all that. But force him to make up his mind? You’ve really crossed the line now buddy.  
Thanks to goodness that Obama’s not thinking about the good of the country, but rather just the politics of the whole thing. Maybe we can get him to hold his breath too until the GOP backs down? Hey, it’s worth a shot. He’s done dumber things…this year.  
No mention from the Transport Workers union in their communiqué that their workers will now transport the oil that would have gone via the pipeline. Also no mention that a million barrels of oil transported per day will produce for railroads about $3 billion in annual revenues for union workers who are in pay dispute with Buffett’s BNSF and other national carriers.
Ohmygosh. They forgot to tell us that part too.
Where will they get the money to raise union wages?
Ta Da! President Obama has now found the money to settle the dispute.
In October, Obama signed an executive order declaring an emergency and created a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to forestall a railroad strike.
I guess the PEB found a way out of the difficulty. It’s just a gut feeling I have, but perhaps there will be no strike now.  
But the fun doesn’t stop there ladies and gentleman.
Just think of this: Warren Buffett and the railway workers now control a significant portion of your oil. Greaaaat. We thought we’d stop letting our enemies dictate to us once we used less Middle East, Iranian and Venezuelan oil.
Think again.  
Get ready to pay and pay and pay….
The energy publication the Platts puts it this way:
John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil used trains to help solidify the power of his trust. (A paper written by two professors on the history of Standard Oil and rail put it this way: "The charge leveled most consistently against Standard Oil is that it secured unfair competitive advantages by negotiating advantageous rates with the railroads over which it shipped crude from the 'Oil Regions' of Pennsylvania and Ohio to its Cleveland refineries and sent kerosene and other refined petroleum products to markets on the East Coast.")
But now the railroads will be able to switch roles with the Standard Oils of the world.
And all this time we thought Keystone was just a dispute about carbon, when in fact it was just a falling out amongst cronies. Some of them, it turns out, are shareholders and some of them, it turns out, are sharecroppers.
Well, either way, global warming, once again, just created a bumper crop of something for someone.  
And that something stinks.
To provide a balance:
Hi Neil & Esther

In your current newsletter Phil submiited an item titled "
Unions, Buffett, Robber Barons and Cronies now have our oil, oh my.......

 Perhaps you would like to read the following. It just might be possible
that Obama's advisors showed some backbone, for once. Not that I like Obama,
just want to keep the record straight.



The Pig in the XL Pipeline
Insider reveals concealed "error" in pipeline safety equipment that could
blow away the GOP's XL pipe dream

For Firedoglake
by Greg Palast

"They threatened me. Last night I got a call and they threatened me. If I

"Pig Man #2," a pipeline industry insider, had a good reason to be afraid.
He was about to blow the whistle on a fraud, information that could blow
away the XL Keystone Pipeline project.

His information: The software for the crucial piece of pipeline safety
equipment, the "Smart PIG," has a flaw known to the industry but concealed
from regulators.


Investigative reporter Greg Palast will join the Fire Dog Lake book salon
today at 5pm Eastern time to discuss his new book, Vultures' Picnic: in
Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

Palast is "twisted and maniacal" [Katherine Harris] and "The most important
reporter of our time." [The Guardian UK.]


The flaw allows cracks, leaks and corrosion to go undetected - and that
saves the industry billions of dollars in pipe replacements. But there's a
catch. Pipes with cracks and leaks can explode - and kill.

Federal law requires the oil and gas industry to run a PIG, a Pipeline
Inspection Gauge, through big oil and gas pipelines. The robot porker,
tethered to a GPS, beeps and boops as it rolls through, electronically
squealing when it finds dangers.

But whistleblowers told us at Channel 4 Dispatches (the "60 Minutes" of
Britain) that the software is deliberately calibrated to ignore or minimize
deadly problems. They know because they themselves worked on the software
design team.

This week, President Obama refused to issue a permit for the Keystone XL
Pipeline, but invited its owner, Trans-Canada, to re-apply. The GOP has gone
wild over Obama's hesitation, screeching that slowing the Canada-to-Houston
pipe for a full safety review is a jobs killer.

But it's the Pipeline that's the killer. Here's what Pig Man #2 told me, on
camera, his face in shadow:

When his team found the life-threatening flaw in the program, they
immediately created a software patch to fix it. But then their supervisor
ordered them to bury the fix and conceal the problem.

With the PIG calibrated to the danger sensitivity required by law, oil and
gas companies would have to dig up, inspect and replace pipe at a cost of
millions per mile. That's not what the oil companies wanted from their
contractor that designed the PIG program.

The programmers' bosses took no chances. "We had to sign nondisclosure
agreements." They were required to conceal "any problems of this sort or the
nature of the software we worked." It could not "be made public at all.
Under threat of lawsuit." Nice.

With the error left in place, he said, "People die."

Pig Man #2 was shaking a bit when he said it. On September 9, 2010, a gas
pipeline exploded, incinerating 13-year-old Janessa Greig, her mom and six

A PIG - an honest PIG - would have caught the bad welds in the old pipe.

Trans-Canada says that Keystone XL won't contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer,
the Plains states' crucial water source. Keystone's permit application
boasts that we can rely on XL's "full pigging capability."

Sure. Last summer, an ExxonMobil pipeline burst and poisoned parts of the
Yellowstone River - only months after it had been "pigged."

The danger of a muzzled PIG goes beyond Keystone XL. New gas fields opened
by hydraulic fracking will require over 100,000 miles of new transmission

This week, Newt Gingrich called Obama's temporary block on the XL Pipeline,
"stunningly stupid"; and Mitt Romney said Obama's decision threatened
America's "energy independence." (Mitt, the oil is from, uh, Canada.)

But the real question is, can we trust these pigs? And not just the ones in
the pipeline.


Greg Palast, whose reports can be seen on BBC Television Newsnight, is the
author of the New York Times bestsellers, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy"
and "Armed Madhouse." His latest book, Vultures' Picnic, includes Palast's
investigation of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, vulture capitalism, and
"the pig in the pipeline."


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