The Seattle City Council and the Mayor passed up a well-qualified African American candidate for Chief of Police and opted for business-as-usual, in spite of a host of complaints about police brutality against minority suspects.
The downtown traffic tunnel/viaduct replacement is already over budget. By making a quiet gift of half the reserve money to the contractor <I>before a bid was even submitted</I>, the state officially put the project over budget, but the local media decided to ignore this.
The FBI investigation of the Port of Seattles contracting practices regarding the third runway at SeaTac died a quiet death with nearly no press coverage. With no one looking, it was easy for the feds to shelve the case, in spite of evidence of severe mismanagement and fraud.
The Regional Transit Taskforce recommendation to change the way bus service is allocated in King County got no airplay here. Every bus rider knows that the city needs more service and the outlying county less, but Metro is still relying on a formula that sends half-empty buses out to Issaquah and Auburn while in-city routes are standing-room-only.
A judges ruling that the Washington state law banning felons from voting violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act should have set off a concerted effort to extend voting rights to the incarcerated population of this state. We (and they) are still waiting.
Its no surprise that the state has a huge budget deficitnearly every state in the union does. But all media coverage of the states budget struggles focuses on the tough cuts politicians have to make in wake of the voters defeat of tax increases in November. No one has even hinted at the possibility of closing any tax loopholes, particularly the $12 billion in B&O tax breaks given to businesses in this state every year.
So many different aspects of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico went unexamined or unreported that its difficult to choose just one. At the top of the list is the fact that these type of spills happen frequently elsewhere in the world (Nigeria, for example) with no attention from the Western pressalthough Western newspapers are quick to condemn Nigerian activists for attacking oil platforms. A close second is the scientific fact that oil doesnt just disappear when you spray dispersants on it: it sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor, where the bulk of marine creatures live. Just because we cant see the devastation doesnt mean it didnt happen. And, sadly, no one is even attempting to study the long-term impact of the largest deepwater oil spill in US history.
The nations new defense policy, announced with fanfare as a major change from the Bush administrations Doctrine of Overwhelming Force, is in fact a continuation of business-as-usual. Obama & Co. have recycled all of the Bush era policies and given them a new, touchy-feely veneer. We call it the Doctrine of Overwhelming Denial.
The FBI is using your tax dollars to groom and train domestic terrorists, and then help them realize their dreams. In a year in which every single one of the nations intelligence agencies missed catching Faisal Shahzud (the Times Square bomber) until after he tried to set off his defective bomb, it was dispiriting to watch the FBI run major sting operations against troubled teenagers and homeless twenty-somethings.
The national budget deficit has nothing to do with Social Security or Medicare costs. The hard truth is that Bush era tax breaks for the rich plus two extremely expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have bankrupted the country. Good luck trying to find those facts in any major newspaper.
Did we say two wars? The US is now involved in a third major war, in Pakistana war thats as much against the Pakistani military (which supports the Haqqani network of the Taliban) as it is against the Pakistani tribes that support the Taliban. And, of course, to keep the war going indefinitely, were arming and funding both sides.
Three wars? What about the fourth? Yes, the US got involved in a fourth major conflict this year: the civil war in Yemen, which has the potential to be as insoluble as the war in Afghanistan.
After nearly a full year without a functioning government, Iraq is on track to become a one-party state. The winners of this years election are still waiting to take officeany office of any kind. Meanwhile, the loser of the election has just crowned himself king for a second term. So much for the Bush era mandate to bring democracy to the Middle East.
Shamefully unreported in the US, even though it took place in New York, is the United Nations report condemning the use of unmanned aerial drones as a war crime. The US continues to be the main deployer of unmanned drones (in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, and probably many other places we dont know about), causing massive numbers of civilian casualties wherever they drop their bombs. Not so long ago, the US government accused Saddam Hussein of a war crime by building an unmanned drone that looked like a rusty bicycle with wings; now we use sleek, Boeing-made aerial drones on a daily basis to murderous effect.
Anti-globalization protests continue, in spite of the lack of media coverage. And the absence of the major media has allowed police departments and government military units to beat peaceful protestors with impunity at every meeting of the G-20. Meanwhile, the slow collapse of the global financial system is proving that anti-globalization protestors have been right all along.
We used to thinking of global warming and global climate change as a slow-moving apocalypse, one that our children or their children will experience. But a myriad of data this year has shown that the drastic effects of climate change are coming sooner than we realized and are already well under way. From massive snow storms in Europe and the East Coast of North America to a drastic drop in phytoplankton in the worlds oceans, were seeing the results of our uncontrolled experiment with the Earths climate right now.