The man, tired after a long day of pitching ideas, was winding down with his assistant, making small talk and discussing the day, before moving on to talking about the upcoming meetings. The bar was located on the rooftop of five-star hotel, which of course, had a great view, a very comfortable chair, and very subtle, but powerful background music that simultaneously provided relaxation and energy. Upon finishing his drink, the man asked the bartender for another, and turned once again to his assistant, asking about the travel plans. The bartender returned the drink, but to the man’s horror, the bartender, or as they like to be called these days, the mixologist, had simply freshened up the drink, instead of giving the man a completely new glass. That’s right. The man’s old fashioned was simply refilled with bourbon, using the same orange peel and the same ice. Of course, this wasn’t acceptable to the man, and he promptly dashed off a quick email to the hotel’s complaint department, expressing his feelings. Now, if you are asking yourself what is going on, well, dear listener, this is simply a day, or an evening, in the life of Stefan Selig, one of Obama’s top trade officials. But it gets better.
The Washington Post recently wrote — “Stefan Selig liked to travel in style. As he jetted around the world promoting American industry as one of the Obama administration’s top trade officials, he told his staff to book him rooms at luxury hotels from South America to the Middle East — with hot tubs, rooftop decks and gourmet dining.” That’s right. A government worker living the high-life on the taxpayer’s dime, who woulda thunk it?
The article continues by noting — “He rode with luxury-car services, spending $1,800 during a two-day trip to Boston. And when he stayed at hotels that were beneath his standards, Selig admonished his staff, complaining about “lousy” accommodations.” That’s right, nothing less than five-star would do for this guy. But his expensive tastes didn’t stop when traveling.
Wapo also noted that — “.. once the Senate confirmed him in 2014, Selig got a tour of his suite of offices and balked. He told his staff the offices “looked awful,” with chipped and peeling paint, a stained carpet, exposed wiring and furniture that didn’t match.” When asked by investigators, his staffers — “… described them as (being) pretty much what government offices look like”.
In order to spruce things up, Selig’s approved budget to remodel the place was 5k, but — “That amount didn’t cover the cost of the carpet, which was recommended by an interior designer for one of the luxury hotel chains he stayed at on official business.” In fact, he ended up spending 50k to have — “New ceiling tiles, completely refurbished bathrooms, refinished doors with brass kick plates and more.” Sounds pretty good, right?
His staff also told investigators they bent the rules because they believed that political appointees of Selig’s caliber were entitled to stay in luxury hotels, unlike other federal employees. That’s right. To paraphrase Orwell, “Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.”
And speaking of some being more equal than others, Jill Stein, the other female candidate running to be the United States’ next President, and apparently not as connected as Hillary Clinton, was just charged with a crime. That’s right. According to Time — “Stein and her running mate were charged with criminal trespassing and mischief after Stein spray-painted “I approve this message” in red paint on bulldozer blade.” But what was she approving?
Business Insider is reporting that — “Thousands of protesters have gathered in Cannon Ball, North Dakota to protest the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a proposed 1,172-mile pipeline enabling North Dakota-produced oil reach refining markets in Illinois.” But, why are they protesting it?
The article continues by noting — “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have attempted to block the project because it passes through North Dakota's Lake Oahe, a sacred burial site and a major water source for the Standing Rock Sioux.” That’s right. It passes through an Indian cemetery. A place of rest for those that have passed. That seems a no-brainer. A popular meme floating around the web suggests that if you wouldn’t be comfortable digging up just any old graveyard, why would it be ok to do this to an Indian graveyard?
Although some in the media covered the story in the beginning, others have begun to drop that coverage. In fact, The Verge noted that — “Facebook has admitted to censoring a video posted by activists protesting the Dakota Access pipeline.” Of course, Facebook immediately blamed the censorship on an “algorithm”, so take that for what it is worth.
The New York Times noted in an op-ed that — “It’s a familiar story in Indian Country. This is the third time that the Sioux Nation’s lands and resources have been taken without regard for tribal interests. The Sioux peoples signed treaties in 1851 and 1868. The government broke them before the ink was dry.”
It continued by writing — “When the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Missouri River in 1958, it took the riverfront forests, fruit orchards and most fertile farmland to create Lake Oahe. Now the Corps is taking clean water and sacred places by approving this river crossing. Whether it’s gold from the Black Hills or hydropower from the Missouri or oil pipelines that threaten our ancestral inheritance, the tribes have always paid the price for America’s prosperity.”
So, what do you think dear listeners — “Have American Indians paid a heavy price for America’s prosperity?”
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