Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Keeping Up with the Jones

The petroleum jones, that is:

Rising Oil Prices Swell Profits at Exxon and Shell
Published: August 1, 2008

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil reported the best quarterly profit ever for a corporation on Thursday, beating its own record...

Record earnings for Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, have become routine as the surge of oil prices in recent years has filled its coffers. The company’s income for the second quarter rose 14 percent, to $11.68 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. That beat the previous record of $11.66 billion set by Exxon in the last three months of 2007.

Exxon’s profits were nearly $90,000 a minute over the quarter, but it was less than Wall Street had expected. Exxon’s shares fell 4.6 percent, to close at $80.43. (The company calculates that it pays $274,000 a minute in taxes and spends $884,000 a minute to run the business.)

The disappointment from investors is bound to put added pressure on Exxon Mobil’s chairman and chief executive, Rex Tillerson, to search for new fields in politically precarious areas of Africa and the Middle East...

Pity the disappointed speculators. The best profit in history simply wasn't good enough.

More Blood and Souls for Exxon!

Pot Intelligence Calls the Kettle a Black Op

Pravda gets upset at the CIA's bidding about something that was started more than 28 years ago... by the CIA:

C.I.A. Outlines Pakistan Links With Militants

Short version: unlike Musharraff, the Paks' ISI put (really, who can say "elected") someone into power the CIA can't control completely. So now they have issues, in public.

Here's what Chalmers Johnson says on the subject:

...The motives of the White House and the CIA were shaped by the Cold War: a determination to kill as many Soviet soldiers as possible and the desire to restore some aura of rugged machismo as well as credibility that U.S. leaders feared they had lost when the Shah of Iran was overthrown. The CIA had no intricate strategy for the war it was unleashing in Afghanistan. Howard Hart, the agency's representative in the Pakistani capital, told Coll that he understood his orders as: "You're a young man; here's your bag of money, go raise hell. Don't fuck it up, just go out there and kill Soviets." These orders came from a most peculiar American. William Casey, the CIA's director from January 1981 to January 1987, was a Catholic Knight of Malta educated by Jesuits. Statues of the Virgin Mary filled his mansion, called "Maryknoll," on Long Island. He attended mass daily and urged Christianity on anyone who asked his advice. Once settled as CIA director under Reagan, he began to funnel covert action funds through the Catholic Church to anti-Communists in Poland and Central America, sometimes in violation of American law. He believed fervently that by increasing the Catholic Church's reach and power he could contain Communism's advance, or reverse it. From Casey's convictions grew the most important U.S. foreign policies of the 1980s -- support for an international anti-Soviet crusade in Afghanistan and sponsorship of state terrorism in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Casey knew next to nothing about Islamic fundamentalism or the grievances of Middle Eastern nations against Western imperialism. He saw political Islam and the Catholic Church as natural allies in the counter-strategy of covert action to thwart Soviet imperialism. He believed that the USSR was trying to strike at the U.S. in Central America and in the oil-producing states of the Middle East. He supported Islam as a counter to the Soviet Union's atheism, and Coll suggests that he sometimes conflated lay Catholic organizations such as Opus Dei with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian extremist organization, of which Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, was a passionate member. The Muslim Brotherhood's branch in Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami, was strongly backed by the Pakistani army, and Coll writes that Casey, more than any other American, was responsible for welding the alliance of the CIA, Saudi intelligence, and the army of General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan's military dictator from 1977 to 1988. On the suggestion of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organization, Casey went so far as to print thousands of copies of the Koran, which he shipped to the Afghan frontier for distribution in Afghanistan and Soviet Uzbekistan. He also fomented, without presidential authority, Muslim attacks inside the USSR and always held that the CIA's clandestine officers were too timid. He preferred the type represented by his friend Oliver North.

Over time, Casey's position hardened into CIA dogma, which its agents, protected by secrecy from ever having their ignorance exposed, enforced in every way they could. The agency resolutely refused to help choose winners and losers among the Afghan jihad's guerrilla leaders. The result, according to Coll, was that "Zia-ul-Haq's political and religious agenda in Afghanistan gradually became the CIA's own." In the era after Casey, some scholars, journalists, and members of Congress questioned the agency's lavish support of the Pakistan-backed Islamist general Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, especially after he refused to shake hands with Ronald Reagan because he was an infidel. But Milton Bearden, the Islamabad station chief from 1986 to 1989, and Frank Anderson, chief of the Afghan task force at Langley, vehemently defended Hekmatyar on the grounds that "he fielded the most effective anti-Soviet fighters."

Even after the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988, the CIA continued to follow Pakistani initiatives, such as aiding Hekmatyar's successor, Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban. When Edmund McWilliams, the State Department's special envoy to the Afghan resistance in 1988-89, wrote that "American authority and billions of dollars in taxpayer funding had been hijacked at the war's end by a ruthless anti-American cabal of Islamists and Pakistani intelligence officers determined to impose their will on Afghanistan," CIA officials denounced him and planted stories in the embassy that he might be homosexual or an alcoholic. Meanwhile, Afghanistan descended into one of the most horrific civil wars of the 20th century. The CIA never fully corrected its naive and ill-informed reading of Afghan politics until after bin Laden bombed the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998.

Fair-weather Friends

A co-operative agreement between the U.S. and Pakistan was anything but natural or based on mutual interests. Only two weeks after radical students seized the American Embassy in Tehran on November 5, 1979, a similar group of Islamic radicals burned to the ground the American Embassy in Islamabad as Zia's troops stood idly by. But the US was willing to overlook almost anything the Pakistani dictator did in order to keep him committed to the anti-Soviet jihad. After the Soviet invasion, Brzezinski wrote to Carter: "This will require a review of our policy toward Pakistan, more guarantees to it, more arms aid, and, alas, a decision that our security policy toward Pakistan cannot be dictated by our non-proliferation policy." History will record whether Brzezinski made an intelligent decision in giving a green light to Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons in return for assisting the anti-Soviet insurgency.

Pakistan's motives in Afghanistan were very different from those of the U.S. Zia was a devout Muslim and a passionate supporter of Islamist groups in his own country, in Afghanistan, and throughout the world. But he was not a fanatic and had some quite practical reasons for supporting Islamic radicals in Afghanistan. He probably would not have been included in the U.S. Embassy's annual "beard census" of Pakistani military officers, which recorded the number of officer graduates and serving generals who kept their beards in accordance with Islamic traditions as an unobtrusive measure of increasing or declining religious radicalism -- Zia had only a moustache.

From the beginning, Zia demanded that all weapons and aid for the Afghans from whatever source pass through ISI hands. The CIA was delighted to agree. Zia feared above all that Pakistan would be squeezed between a Soviet-dominated Afghanistan and a hostile India. He also had to guard against a Pashtun independence movement that, if successful, would break up Pakistan. In other words, he backed the Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan on religious grounds but was quite prepared to use them strategically. In doing so, he laid the foundations for Pakistan's anti-Indian insurgency in Kashmir in the 1990s.

Zia died in a mysterious plane crash on August 17, 1988, four months after the signing of the Geneva Accords on April 14, 1988, which ratified the formal terms of the Soviet withdrawal. As the Soviet troops departed, Hekmatyar embarked on a clandestine plan to eliminate his rivals and establish his Islamic party, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, as the most powerful national force in Afghanistan. The U.S. scarcely paid attention, but continued to support Pakistan. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the implosion of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. lost virtually all interest in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar was never as good as the CIA thought he was, and with the creation in 1994 of the Taliban, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia transferred their secret support. This new group of jihadis proved to be the most militarily effective of the warring groups. On September 26, 1996, the Taliban conquered Kabul. The next day they killed the formerly Soviet-backed President Najibullah, expelled 8,000 female undergraduate students from Kabul University, and fired a similar number of women schoolteachers. As the mujahidin closed in on his palace, Najibullah told reporters: "If fundamentalism comes to Afghanistan, war will continue for many years. Afghanistan will turn into a center of world smuggling for narcotic drugs. Afghanistan will be turned into a center for terrorism." His comments would prove all too accurate.

Pakistan's military intelligence officers hated Benazir Bhutto, Zia's elected successor, but she, like all post-Zia heads of state, including General Pervez Musharraf, supported the Taliban in pursuit of Zia's "dream" -- a loyal, Pashtun-led Islamist government in Kabul. Coll explains:

"Every Pakistani general, liberal or religious, believed in the jihadists by 1999, not from personal Islamic conviction, in most cases, but because the jihadists had proved themselves over many years as the one force able to frighten, flummox and bog down the Hindu-dominated Indian army. About a dozen Indian divisions had been tied up in Kashmir during the late 1990s to suppress a few thousand well-trained, paradise-seeking Islamist guerrillas. What more could Pakistan ask? The jihadist guerrillas were a more practical day-to-day strategic defense against Indian hegemony than even a nuclear bomb. To the west, in Afghanistan, the Taliban provided geopolitical 'strategic depth' against India and protection from rebellion by Pakistan's own restive Pashtun population. For Musharraf, as for many other liberal Pakistani generals, jihad was not a calling, it was a professional imperative. It was something he did at the office. At quitting time he packed up his briefcase, straightened the braid on his uniform, and went home to his normal life."

If the CIA understood any of this, it never let on to its superiors in Washington, and Charlie Wilson, a highly paid Pakistani lobbyist and former congressman for East Texas, was anything but forthcoming with Congress about what was really going on. During the 1980s, Wilson had used his power on the House Appropriations Committee to supply all the advanced weapons the CIA might want in Afghanistan...

There's lots more, you should read it all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What, exactly, is the reason to keep any technology secret?

1) the utility of novel technology in war.

This is probably the most common motivation. It has allowed a fraction of humanity to be become an Empire. Or shining beacon of democracy with a thousand points of light, please feel free to use whichever description you find appropriate.

2) if the technological differential between a would-be ruling class and those it would enslave becomes great enough, the rulers can pretend to be gods.

This one is harder to pull off, since those who would rule tend to be inbred morons barely capable of drinking beer, watching the tube, and eating pretzels at the same time without choking. Such Aristocrats tend to look down on people who actually expend the effort to know about what they're doing.

[in reference to this]

The successful preznit does not kill its host

Before it has a chance to reproduce, anyway.

Chris Floyd:

... I don't believe that the American financial system is about to collapse -- certainly not to the extent that it will actually harm the power and privilege of those on the very top, whether these be the "Old American Establishment" or new-style war-profiteers, etc. Of course we have already seen vast ruin and great suffering caused by the economic turmoil generated to a large degree by the endless Terror War. But who is suffering from it? Not the managers and operators of the great financial houses, who get bailed out by the government or escape the collapse of their institutions in golden parachutes. They live on in comfort and safety to gouge and exploit another day.

And not the bribed and greased politicians whose policies create such a fertile environment for economic predators. Every now and then some bottom-feeding goober like Curt Weldon gets caught up in the net for being too obviously greedy -- but what of the bipartisan legislative leadership that over the past several decades have cultivated this toxic, predatory environment, with perfectly legal, finely-crafted laws written for them by corporate lobbyists? They go on to fat-cat careers as lobbyists and consultants, or they run for president, or they sit on corporate boards, or they go home and play golf. When they are in office, they (and their successors) protect the system they have nurtured and tendered; they won't let it "collapse."

Again, this is not to deny that millions -- perhaps even tens of millions – of people will end up in very dire straits, losing houses, losing jobs, losing insurance, going hungry. This is not to deny that businesses will fold, whole industries could be rolled up like a carpet, and communities will languish and fade or die. But we have seen all this before, and the wealth and privilege of our monied elites didn't disappear; neither did their means of acquiring more wealth and power.

You ask why the old American Establishment would acquiesce in policies that "weaken the United States." But I think the underlying assumption of this question is unsound. It implies that the common good – the welfare and well-being of individual, non-elite American citizens – is somehow synonymous with the strength or success of the United States in the eyes of our elites. But this is not true, and never has been. They identify "American interests" solely with what benefits their own kind. They equate American "strength" with the ability to kill large numbers of people at short notice whenever they desire, and to bully and humiliate those they don't kill into submission, in some form or other.

The American state still retains these capabilities, and our elites are quite willing to see tens of millions of their fellow citizens go down the tubes in order to keep this gargantuan war-and-extortion machine going. To our elites, this ruination is not a "financial collapse," because their wealth and privilege remains intact, the markets remain intact, and if a bit of bother shaves a few decimal points from their fortunes, they will make it up later. And in what sense has the United States actually been "weakened," in their understanding, by the Terror War? The same nations that always jumped to America's tune still do so. Those that are powerful enough to put up some resistance do so, as they have always done...

What's perhaps new on the scene is the overtness of the Big Brother State. Still, there is the scramble for the velvet glove over the iron fist. But is the better term "steel sucker"?

Or, as Giblets says,

Yes, Barack Obama will spy on you. But he will spy on you in the most inspirational, transformative, hopamacational way possible!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Out of This World Diversionary Tactic

The New York Pravda channels the X-files:

...The American government has not investigated U.F.O. sightings since 1969, when the Air Force ended Project Blue Book, an effort to scientifically analyze all sightings to see if any posed a threat to national security. Britain and France, in contrast, continue to investigate U.F.O. sightings, because of concerns that some sightings might be attributable to foreign military aircraft breaching their airspace, or to foreign space-based systems of interest to the intelligence community.

Most of the incidents investigated in Britain have been easily explained as misidentifications of stars and planets, aircraft lights, satellites and meteors, but some cases have raised national security or air safety issues.

On Dec. 26, 1980, for instance, several witnesses at two American Air Force bases in England reported seeing a U.F.O. land. An examination of the site turned up indentations in the ground and a level of radiation in the area that was significantly higher than ordinary. More witnesses at the same base reported the U.F.O. again on subsequent nights. The deputy base commander reported that the aircraft aimed light beams into the most highly sensitive area of the base — a clear security breach.

On March 30 and 31, 1993, there was a wave of U.F.O. sightings over Britain. One witness described a triangular-shaped craft that flew slowly over an air force base before accelerating away to the horizon in an instant, many times faster than a jet. The British military reported, “There would seem to be some evidence on this occasion that an unidentified object (or objects) of unknown origin was operating over the U.K.”

On April 23, 2007, a commercial airline pilot and some of his passengers reported a huge cigar-shaped U.F.O. — the pilot estimated it to be a mile wide — near the Channel Islands. At the time, air traffic controllers reported to the pilot that radar picked up something, but that it was “unknown traffic.”

In addition, there have been several incidents of near misses between U.F.O.s and known aircraft — enough to prompt the Ministry of Defense and the British Civil Aviation Authority to advise pilots, if they encounter anything, “not to maneuver, other than to place the object astern, if possible.”

The United States is no less vulnerable than Britain and France to threats to security and air safety. The United States Air Force or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should reopen investigations of U.F.O. phenomena. It would not imply that the country has suddenly started believing in little green men. It would simply recognize the possibility that radar alone cannot always tell us what’s out there.

Well, maybe not, but isn't this an interesting time to talk about it on one of the primest Op-Ed pieces of journalistic unreal estate in Known Space?

And while we're recounting stories of Alien Terra here, why not mention a few words about the Battle of Los Angeles at the beginning of World War II?

Because some files are just a little too sensitive, perhaps?

There is an interesting pattern developing. The Vatican says aliens could exist, and might even be good guys? If it were John Paul saying this, I'd smile, and say the good only see the good, but Pope Ratzo the Nazi?

Then there's the ex-astronaut, a moonwalker, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, a doctorate of MIT, saying the truth really is way out there, but has been visiting regularly?

And if they hadn't been nice guys, they would have wiped us out?

Not that I'm prone to argue, but I can think of a lot of reasons they wouldn't want to wipe us out, no matter how obnoxious we might be. For one thing, where else could you possibly find such a world of complacent rubes too full of alternately happy talk or dire foreboding to actually accomplish anything meaningful in the multiverse?

"...there's a whole lotta ugly out there, coming at us from a never-ending parade of stupid..."

They got that right.

...the first black man in history to spy on you and blow up the mideast!

...Change is in the air - bright new shiny change, lemon-scented and shrink-wrapped to preserve freshness, and its bold laminated name is Barack Obama!...

Go read it all, or Giblets comes after you next.

Monday, July 28, 2008

So much for that "nonlethal" weapon

Ooops. Imagine that: the D.o'D. just accidently made another weapon for the next big land war.

The MEDUSA crowd control ray gun we reported on earlier this month sounded like some pretty amazing—and downright scary—technology. Using the microwave auditory effect, the beam, in theory, would have put sounds and voice-like noises in your head, thereby driving you away from the area. Crowd control via voices in your head. Sounds cool. However, it turns out that the beam would actually kill you before any of that happy stuff started taking place, most likely by frying or cooking your brain inside your skull. Can you imagine if this thing made it out into the field? Awkward!

“Any kind of exposure you could give to someone that wouldn’t burn them to a crisp would produce a sound too weak to have any effect,” said Kenneth Foster, a bioengineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania...

I actually noted this thing here from another source, but I had the same premonition. Anything that puts out enough juice to jangel your auditory neurons isn't far from parboiling them, either. Or downright pressure cooking, for that matter...

What is this Free International Trade spoken of so reverently?

It isn't what it's sold to be to the rubes:

Many people around the world understand that our modern era of globalisation is one in which international trade is between countries...

The reality of international commerce paints a vastly different picture, however. Giant multinational corporations dominate the area of international exchange and a very large share of world ‘trade’ is actually between branches of these same corporations. In North America trade associated with U.S. parent multinationals or their foreign affiliates accounted for 54 percent of U.S. exports of goods and 36 percent of imports.[.pdf ] Forty percent of trade between the US and Canada in 1998 was intra-corporate.[.pdf]. “Forty percent of the US-Europe trade is between parent firms and their affiliates, and in respect of Japan and Europe, it is 55 per cent; with regard to US-Japan trade, it is 80 %.”[.pdf ]

This intra-corporate form of trade appears to be increasing at a rapid rate. In 2005 “U.S. imports between U.S. MNCs and others increased 13.5 percent, and imports between U.S. parents and foreign affiliates increased 8.6 percent.”[.pdf]...

So basically all this Chicago school reverence of Free Trade and agreements like NAFTA is worship of a principle that's being used to essentially allow the mega-corps to shuffle around bucks, merchandise, and labor internally without having to worry about things like tariffs and taxes. It isn't capitalism. It's exploitation.

[tip o' teh tinfoil to Avedon again]

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Conspiracy Fact

Go read the Dark Wraith today, and remember this is what happens when the Congress doesn't want to make the public's business a matter of public discussion.

Watch the video.

I beg to differ about the term conspiracy theory. If Congress is meeting behind closed doors (as it was) to discuss approval of an Administration plan to watch everyone in a clearly un-Constitutional way, then the conspiracy is no theory.

It's a cold, hard fact.

And what has been leaked about this meeting that Dennis Kucinich refused to attend?

On March 13th 2008, there was a secret closed door meeting of The United States House Of Representatives in Washington. In the history of The United States, this is only the fourth time a secret meeting was held by the House.

Here is what was allegedly revealed to the Reps:

* The imminent collapse of the U.S. Economy to occur sometime in late 2008

* The imminent collapse of the U.S. Government finances sometime in mid 2009

* The possibility of Civil War inside the United States as a result of the collapse

* The advance round-ups of 'insurgent U.S. Citizens' likely to move against the government

* The detention of those rounded up at The REX 84 Camps constructed throughout the United States

* The possibility of public retaliation against members of Congress for the collapses (especially Pelosi?)

* The location of safe facilities for members of Congress and their families to reside during massive civil unrest

* The necessary and unavoidable merger of The U.S. with Canada and Mexico establishing The North American Union

* The issuance of a new currency called the AMERO for all three nations as an economic solution.

And now, "off the table Pelosi" sponsors a "kangaroo impeachment" hearing.

Don't think they can do this? Don't think they could find you?

Go to Google.
Click on maps.
Type in your address.
Then click on street view.

Recognize that house? Move a few feet up the street. Recognize your house from that angle? Walk the little man icon of the map on every street with a view of your house.

Next go to satellite view and zoom in. That's where you sleep at night, isn't it?

And that's just a commercial view anyone can see.

Don't be afraid. Be really pissed. But in a cold, calculating way: we've got to defuse this bomb before it goes off. Because believe it, the Chaos of the explosion has been factored in as part of the plan.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

En-fighting in the Electrons of Left Blogistan

Avedon feels unloved. Frankly, so do I.

And a lot of progressive sites don't seem to appreciate the lack of appreciation from the Unibama. For me, it's gotten really hard to read them. But perhaps not quite as hard to read them as the obsequious pandering of the Oborg to the TheoCons.

There is a major concern that there is a Rovian twist going on.

I've got nothing against Corrente types. Some of my favorite people are Corrente types. Both the farmer and Lambert have voices that say things good to hear even when I can not agree.

It is possible to vote for Obama without supporting him. He's not a progressive by a long shot, and that's been easy to see as far back as last winter. Neither is Hillary.

But McCain and the Republicans are far, far worse. McCain is really quite unstable and dishonest. Phil Gramm really still guides him: or rather the latest incarnation of Enron, the Union Bank of Switzerland, still guides him.

Which isn't to say Obama, just like the Clintons, isn't totally owned by the Companies. He is. But it's the difference between a cynic and a maniac for president, and in my book, the cynic wins every time.

We should vote for Obama post-convention, even if he picks Hillary as VP, even if he has a blue dog DINOcrat running with him.

Voting for Obama over McCain is not the same thing as supporting him. We don't have to support him: the Soros branch of the Carlyle Group will do that. We really don't want the McCainiac as preznit though: global thermonukular war precipiatated by apoplectic rage is not a pretty sight.

No big deal. Just John being John.

Although if there is a Dr. Manhattan out there in some branch of the multiverse it might give him an opportunity to shine, so to speak...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama does have a lot in common with JFK...

In answer to this parallel universe:

"JFK inhabited much the same power-serving faux-progressive ideological space in his time as Obama does today."

That is so precisely correct. Let me thank Chlamor for pointing it out. It also produced the same kind of bleating in protest on that board.

What's the argument?

The Security DINOcrats are right, there are many foreigners who would like to rape, loot, and plunder the wealth of America.

They'll just have to get in line behind Big Oil, the American government, and its corporate affiliates. And also behind the Security DINOcrats.

The radical lefties are right, too. The last thing the average person in any other country wants to do is come here and take part of the general mayhem. Still, there are exceptions: people with a desire for payback. Yet even those foreigners wouldn't have such a taste for Yankee blood and booty if the Company hadn't been getting theirs abroad for the last 70 years. When every bully boy in the bush has had to acknowledge the power of the Bush, it's bound to create some hard feelings.

That chaos is the essence of the plan. You can not profit off of endless war if you don't have an undying vendetta to provide a reason for your new UAV.

Oh, and I still plan on voting for Obama even though I think he's as corrupt as McCain is. Obama's not the obvious idiot McCain is. One can support one obvious but apparently more competent politician over an incompetent alternative without becoming part of his personality cult. One can even support Obama over McCain without even thinking he's a good thing. Because I know he isn't.

This seems to irritate the Obama Faithful tremendously.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Baited Switch

The New York Pravda, today.

As we face $4.50 a gallon gas, we also know that alternative energy sources — coal, oil shale, ethanol, wind and ground-based solar — are either of limited potential, very expensive, require huge energy storage systems or harm the environment. There is, however, one potential future energy source that is environmentally friendly, has essentially unlimited potential and can be cost competitive with any renewable source: space solar power.

Science fiction? Actually, no — the technology already exists. A space solar power system would involve building large solar energy collectors in orbit around the Earth. These panels would collect far more energy than land-based units, which are hampered by weather, low angles of the sun in northern climes and, of course, the darkness of night.

Once collected, the solar energy would be safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission, where it would be received by antennas near cities and other places where large amounts of power are used. The received energy would then be converted to electric power for distribution over the existing grid. Government scientists have projected that the cost of electric power generation from such a system could be as low as 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is within the range of what consumers pay now...

...Much of the progress has come in the private sector. Companies like Space Exploration Technologies and Orbital Sciences, working in conjunction with NASA’s public-private Commercial Orbital Transportation Services initiative, have been developing the capacity for very low cost launchings to the International Space Station. This same technology could be adapted to sending up a solar power satellite system...

[O. Glenn Smith is a former manager of science and applications experiments for the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.]

There's nothing likely a smiley sunshiny face to grab me. Somewhere.

But hey, what could be wrong with this idea? Other than that it's been impossible to broadcast power using radio waves.

Until recently. The principle is outlined for the financier's mindset by CNN:

...Broadcasting power through the air isn't a new idea. Researchers have experimented with capturing the radiation in radio frequency at high power but had difficulty capturing it at consumer-friendly low power. "You'd have energy bouncing off the walls and arriving in a wide range of voltages," says Zoya Popovic, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Colorado who works on wireless electricity projects for the U.S. military.

That's where Shearer came in. A former physicist based in Pittsburgh, he and his team spent four years poring over wireless electricity research in a lab hidden behind his family's coffee house. He figured much of the energy bouncing off walls could be captured. All you had to do was build a receiver that could act like a radio tuned to many frequencies at once.

"I realized we wanted to grab that static and harness it," Shearer says. "It's all energy..."

So the Powercast team set about creating and patenting that receiver. Its tiny but hyperefficient receiving circuits can adjust to variations in load and field strength while maintaining a constant DC voltage. Thanks to the fact that it transmits only safe low wattages, the Powercast system quickly won FCC approval--and $10 million from private investors.

Powercast says it has signed nondisclosure agreements to develop products with more than 100 companies, including major manufacturers of cell phones, MP3 players, automotive parts, temperature sensors, hearing aids, and medical implants.

The last of those alone could be a multibillion-dollar market: Pacemakers, defibrillators, and the like require surgery to replace dead batteries. But with a built-in Powercast receiver, those batteries could last a lifetime.

"Everyone's looking to cut that last cord," says Alex Slawsby, a consultant at Innosight who specializes in disruptive innovation. "Think of the billion cell phones sold last year. If you could get Powercast into a small percentage of the high-end models, those would be huge numbers."

Could Powercast's technology also work for larger devices? Perhaps, but not quite yet. Laptop computers, for example, use more than 10 times the wattage of Powercast transmissions.

But industry trends are on Shearer's side: Thanks to less energy-hungry LCD screens and processors, PC power consumption is slowly diminishing. Within five years, Shearer says, laptops will be down to single-digit wattage--making his revenue potential even more electrifying.

This doesn't seem anything on the order of what the ex-NASA writer's talking about. What might? Wikipedia has a recent entry that discusses the alternatives:

...Power beaming by microwaves has the difficulty that for most space applications the required aperture sizes are very large. For example, the 1978 NASA Study of solar power satellites required a 1-km diameter transmitting antenna, and a 10 km diameter receiving rectenna, for a microwave beam at 2.45 GHz. These sizes can be somewhat decreased by using shorter wavelengths, although short wavelengths may have difficulties with atmospheric absorption and beam blockage by rain or water droplets. Because of the Thinned array curse, it is not possible to make a narrower beam by combining the beams of several smaller satellites.

For earthbound applications a large area 10 km diameter receiving array allows large total power levels to be used while operating at the low power density suggested for human electromagnetic exposure safety. A human safe power density of 1 mW/cm2 distributed across a 10 km diameter area corresponds to 750 megawatts total power level. This is the power level found in many modern electric power plants.

High power

Wireless Power Transmission (using microwaves) is well proven. Experiments in the tens of kilowatts have been performed at Goldstone in California in 1975 and more recently (1997) at Grand Bassin on Reunion Island.

These methods achieve distances on the order of a kilometer.

Low power

A new company, Powercast introduced wireless power transfer technology using RF energy at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, winning best Emerging Technology.[22] The Powercast system is applicable for a number of devices with low power requirements. This could include LEDs, computer peripherals, wireless sensors, and medical implants. Currently, it achieves a maximum output of 6 volts for a little over one meter. It is expected for arrival late 2007.[23]

A different low-power wireless power technology has been proposed by Landis.


In the case of light, power can be transmitted by converting electricity into a laser beam that is then fired at a solar cell receiver. This is generally known as "powerbeaming". Its drawbacks are:

1. Conversion to light, such as with a laser, is moderately inefficient (although quantum cascade lasers improve this)
2. Conversion back into electricity is moderately inefficient, with photovoltaic cells achieving 40%-50% efficiency. (Note that conversion efficiency is rather higher with monochromatic light than with insolation of solar panels).
3. Atmospheric absorption causes losses.
4. As with microwave beaming, this method requires a direct line of sight with the target.

NASA has demonstrated flight of a lightweight model plane powered by a laser beam...

This raises an interesting possibility.

What better way to hide a Star Wars- or Akira style- weapons platform capable of vaporizing any enemy anywhere than as a series of orbiting "power stations" whose high intensity lasers normally beamed power across the globe?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Real Terra

You want a scary thought? Imagine a fanatic in the mold of Dick Cheney but without the vice president’s sense of humor...

Only one hand can try to hold the Ring of Power no mortal can own. Bu$hie's an obvious fool with no understanding of its potential. Cheney's a dodering lech who can't even shoot straight at tame pheasant in a barnyard. For all their malice, these two were simply the cover for greater evil

David Addington was closer to the calm eye of the storm.

It's doubtful he is the source of the storm. But he's an agent of chaos. In the years to come, this must not be forgotten, or he will be there again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Who Should Watch the Watchmen?

Why, almost nobody should, according to the Homeland Security posse.

Let me beg to differ. One single oversight committee isn't enough. With the kind of Powers these people have, they should be the most carefully examined organization in the country.

It's the only way to keep the Homeland secure.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chaos Sells Like a Used HumVee

Frank Rich rehashes the Mc$ame old plan to steal a lot of money by wrecking the economy. The only problem is by now the rubes realize this is not lemonade, but a real lemon:

...Mr. McCain’s fiscal ineptitude has received so little scrutiny in some press quarters that his chief economic adviser, the former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, got a free pass until the moment he self-immolated on video by whining about “a nation of whiners.” The McCain-Gramm bond, dating back 15 years, is more scandalous than Mr. Obama’s connection with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Mr. McCain has been so dependent on Mr. Gramm for economic policy that he sent him to newspaper editorial board meetings, no doubt to correct the candidate’s numbers much as Joe Lieberman cleans up after his confusions of Sunni and Shia.

Just two weeks before publicly sharing his thoughts about America’s “mental recession,” Mr. Gramm laid out equally incendiary views in a Wall Street Journal profile that portrayed him as “almost certainly” the McCain choice for Treasury secretary. Mr. Gramm said that the former chief executive of AT&T, Ed Whitacre, was “probably the most exploited worker in American history” since he received only a $158 million pay package rather than the “billions” he deserved for his success in growing Southwestern Bell.

But no one in the news media seemed to notice Mr. Gramm’s naked expression of the mind-set he’d bring to a McCain White House. And few journalists have vetted the presumptive Treasury secretary’s post-Senate history as an executive at UBS. The stock of that banking giant has lost 70 percent of its value in a year after its reckless adventures in the subprime lending market. It’s now fending off federal investigation for helping the megarich avoid taxes.

Mr. McCain made a big show of banishing Mr. Gramm after his whining “gaffe,” but it’s surely at most a temporary suspension. When the candidate said back in January that there’s nobody he knows who is stronger on economic issues than his old Senate pal, he was telling the truth. Left to his own devices — or those of his new No. 1 economic surrogate, Carly Fiorina — Mr. McCain is clueless. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, a supporter, said that Mr. McCain’s latest panacea for high gas prices, offshore drilling, is snake oil — and then announced his availability to serve as energy czar in an Obama administration.

The term flip-flopping doesn’t do justice to Mr. McCain’s self-contradictory economic pronouncements because that implies there’s some rational, if hypocritical, logic at work. What he serves up instead is plain old incoherence, as if he were compulsively consulting one of those old Magic 8 Balls. In a single 24-hour period in April, Mr. McCain went from saying there’s been “great economic progress” during the Bush presidency to saying “Americans are not better off than they were eight years ago.” He reversed his initial condemnation of mortgage bailouts in just two weeks.

In February Mr. McCain said he would balance the federal budget by the end of his first term even while extending the gargantuan Bush tax cuts. In April he said he’d accomplish this by the end of his second term. In July he’s again saying he’ll do it in his first term. Why not just say he’ll do it on Inauguration Day? It really doesn’t matter since he’s never supplied real numbers that would give this promise even a patina of credibility.

Mr. McCain’s plan for Social Security reform is “along the lines that President Bush proposed.” Or so he said in March. He came out against such “privatization” in June (though his policy descriptions still support it). Last week he indicated he isn’t completely clear on what Social Security does. He called the program’s premise — young taxpayers foot the bill for their elders (including him) — an “absolute disgrace.”

Given that Mr. McCain’s sole private-sector job was a fleeting stint in public relations at his father-in-law’s beer distributorship, he comes by his economic ignorance honestly. But there’s no A team aboard the Straight Talk Express to fill him in. His campaign economist, the former Bush adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, could be found in the June 5 issue of American Banker suggesting even at that late date that we still don’t know “the depth of the housing crisis” and proposing that “monitoring is the right thing to do in these circumstances.”

Ms. Fiorina, the ubiquitous new public face of McCain economic policy, adds nothing to the mix beyond her incessant display of corporate jargon, from “trend lines” to “start-ups.” Before she was fired at Hewlett-Packard, its stock had declined 50 percent during her five-plus years in charge. She missed earning projections — by 23 percent in one quarter — much as she now misrepresents both the Obama and McCain records. This month she said Mr. McCain wanted to require insurance plans to cover birth control medications along with Viagra, when in fact he had voted against it.

Ms. Fiorina received a $42 million payout (half in cash) from H.P., according to a shareholders’ subsequent lawsuit. With this inspiring résumé, she now aspires to be Mr. McCain’s running mate. So does the irrepressible Mitt Romney, who actually was a business whiz before serving as Massachusetts’s governor. Beltway wisdom has it that the addition of such a corporate star will remedy Mr. McCain’s fiscal flatulence.

But Mr. Romney, while more plausible than Ms. Fiorina, is hardly what America wants at this desperate time. His leveraged buyout dealings as co-founder of Bain Capital induced plant closings, mass layoffs and outsourcing. If Mr. McCain truly intends to “put our country’s interests” above politics and reach across the aisle to move the nation forward, as he constantly tells us, why not go for a vice president who’s the very best fit for the huge challenges at hand?

The obvious choice would be Michael Bloomberg — who, as a former Republican turned independent, would necessitate that Mr. McCain reach only halfway across the aisle, and to someone who is his friend rather than a vanquished rival he is learning to tolerate.

Romney vs. Bloomberg is not a close contest. Bloomberg L.P. has roughly three times the revenues and employees of Bain & Company, where Mr. Romney ultimately served as chief executive. Mr. Romney rescued the Salt Lake City Olympics while running it in 2002, but Mayor Bloomberg revitalized New York, the nation’s largest metropolis, after the most devastating attack in our history. The city he manages has more than twice the budget of Mr. Romney’s state.

Yes, Mr. Bloomberg is a closet Democrat and an alpha dog who doesn’t want to be a second banana. And his views on gay civil rights and abortion would roil the G.O.P. base. But Mr. Romney shared some of those same views before he flip-flopped, and besides, these are not ordinary times. Millions of Americans are losing their homes and jobs. Whole industries are going belly up. The national crisis at hand, not yesterday’s culture wars, should drive the vice-presidential pick...

Mr. Rich, the past isn't dead, it isn't even the past. During the Clinton era, conservative notables like Bork presented the idea that the American economy had to be ruined to institute the moral values of the Opus Dei Taliban. During the Bu$h era, we've seen the same conservatives and neocons make billions of dollars doing just that.

That a fiscal idiot like McCain promoted by another financial pirate like Gramm should float to the forefront of the Republican flotsam indicates Chaos is still the plan.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Split Personality

There's official noise from the Poppy/ Gates/ Baker/ Condi faction of the Company that maybe we can talk our way past Cheneyburton's heat to git th' Iran On.

On the other hand, that old CIA proxy known as the Israeli government is still pretty much in Cheneyburton's pocket.

It's the opinion of many that's it's all a bluff that Israel won't go through with, but as Laura Rozen points out, they're working out the logistics already.

But back to the Company piece in the New York Pravda earlier today. You have to read it to believe the insanity. It begins so:

Israel will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months — and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful enough to cause at least a significant delay in the Iranian production schedule, if not complete destruction, of that country’s nuclear program. Because if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb...

Scared yet? You're supposed to be. This mayhem comes from one source even though we're told it's Israeli in origin: it comes from Darth Cheney himself.

The tragedy is, the Israeli neocons think they thought it up all by themselves.

It ends so:

...Iran’s leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Bar this, the best they could hope for is that Israel’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland. Some Iranians may believe that this is a worthwhile gamble if the prospect is Israel’s demise. But most Iranians probably don’t.

That's the kind of bluff that Someone is bound to call.

Make no mistake: if Israel makes a nuclear wasteland of Iran, the rest of the world will soon follow.

People realize it, even if the Sith Lords like to pretend otherwise.

This is the principal mistake of the Neocon, whether it's Cheney or his minions here or abroad. Global nuclear war is really bad for business. That kind of sloppy Company management won't be tolerated by the Board. They don't like bluffs that get called, especially ones that fail to make money.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Bigger the Shock, the Larger the Scam

So what if the current political and economic sinking ship of Amerika has foundered on rocks it was steered into and a hard place of its own making?

A stream of consciousness in a conversation between Amy Goodman and

Naomi Klein: Bush Sees Crises in Fuel, Food, Housing and Banking as Chance to Exploit Us More

...There really is a kind of a tsunami of shocks facing not just the economy but people's lives, people's real lives. They're all intersecting. They're making each other worse...

... this is what I mean by "the shock doctrine." There is a clear political strategy, and has been for several decades, to exploit these moments when people are desperate for quick-fix solutions and more inclined to believe in a kind of a magical cure, to push through very, very unpopular policies that don't actually solve the crisis at hand, that don't actually help people, but are incredibly profitable for multinational corporations.

And I think we are seeing a very vivid example of this with this speech from George Bush yesterday, where he is taking a very real crisis, which is demanding complex and profound changes in the way we live, in the way we organize our economy, but particularly in the need to diversify our energy sources. And I think there's a tremendous actual amount of support for this idea from the public. And he comes in -- and I call him in my recent column the "extortionist-in-chief." Basically what he's saying is he's holding the country ransom. He's not taking any of these long-term policy routes to dealing with climate change, to dealing with high oil prices. It's just let us drill, or, you know, nobody can go on summer vacation. And he's selling a myth, which is that by allowing drilling, the price at the pump is going to go down, which is really interesting, because just yesterday, in response to Bush's announcement, oil went up, and oil futures went up. And so, the price of oil is going to keep going up...

...it's really important for people to understand that we are being subjected to an incredibly aggressive media campaign sponsored by the oil and gas industry. And, you know, it's to the point where it really is impossible to tell the difference between the paid advertisements, which we're being bombarded with on cable news from the oil and gas industry, talking about how they can solve the problem of high prices with more drilling, and all of these commentators, from Larry Kudlow to Sean Hannity, repeating these talking points, and not to mention Dick Cheney, who just propagated a complete lie, saying that China was drilling off the coast of Cuba, and the Vice President's office actually had to retract that. It turns out his source was George Will, who also had to issue a correction. China is not drilling off of Cuba. And so, there's a very aggressive campaign going on.

The reality is, it would take between five to ten years to see any of that oil. Everybody admits this. Everyone knows this. You have to do the exploration, then you have to build the rig, which takes a huge amount of time. So it takes -- we're talking about as long as a decade to see any of this oil.

So when you press people who are selling this drill in ANWR, more offshore oil drilling, also drilling into the shale in places like Montana, what they actually say is that the reason why it will lower prices at the pump, you know, soon, this summer, is because it will send a message to the stock market, it will send a message to the oil speculators that more supply is on the way. So, essentially, what they're saying is, let's play the market, let's collectively play the market.

And that's why it's significant that yesterday, in the face of Bush's announcement -- and it was a significant announcement, because it was a real indication of the seriousness of this administration to really make this their, you know, final push in office, and they could well win, because this media campaign is really bringing public opinion on side, and we know that the Democrats are pretty weak in the face of that public opinion, and the only thing that they could fight this with is with real commitment to green policies. And, you know, don't hold your breath.

... it's been a major push of this administration to get the Iraqi parliament to accept a US-backed oil law. This has been sold as a symbol of Iraqi unity. That's not the way it's seen in Iraq.

In Iraq, the reason why it has been years in resisting this oil law is because nationalizing the oil in Iraq was the centerpiece of the anti-colonial struggle, as it was in neighboring nations throughout the Arab world. And it is not just a pro-Saddam idea. It is not just a Baathist idea. It's the core of Arab nationalism. And that victory is being protected by many political forces in Iraq, and most notably by the oil workers' unions in Iraq, who said, "We don't need these foreign multinationals to get the oil out of the ground. We can do it ourselves. We can bring in technical support without giving away management control, without giving away ownership control."

And, I mean, but let's stress here that unlike the oil offshore, unlike the shale, this is very difficult oil to extract. It's extremely -- it requires a huge amount of technology. It requires a huge amount of investment. And that's part of the problem with what the Bush administration is selling. These -- actually, they -- the oil companies need the price of oil to stay high in order for it to be economically viable to do these -- to get oil out of solid rock, for instance, which is very hard, very expensive. Offshore oil drilling, also very, very expensive -- you have to build the rigs and so on. Iraq, no. Iraq, stick a straw in the ground and suck. I mean, this is incredibly accessible oil. And Iraqis actually know how to extract this oil themselves. So this idea that they need these foreign multinationals to come in is yet another myth.

And not only have companies like BP and Texaco been offered these no-bid contracts, but what's strange about it is that they're service contracts, and these are not oil service companies. So what's significant about these contracts is that they appear to be giving these oil companies the right of first refusal on future, more significant contracts. So, one week after these smaller service agreements were announced, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced that they also will be handing out longer-term management agreements, which will give oil companies the ability to manage existing fields in Iraq and hold onto 75 percent of the worth of those contracts and leave only 25 percent for Iraqis, which is absolutely unheard of in the region, where 51 percent for the country is the baseline for new exploration, for new fields. These are existing fields. They're already working. The technology is already there. And these foreign companies are going to be taking 75 percent of the worth of those existing fields in Iraq. So it's daylight robbery. It's armed robbery, actually.

...There's a speculative bubble going on right now, and this market is being played. I mean, I think this is really the new bubble. Actually, it's replacing the housing bubble. And, you know, any time anything bad happens in the world, that's the indication for speculators to drive the price up. It happened yesterday. Bush announced that he would be opening up to offshore oil drilling, but at the same time, there was an oil strike in Brazil, so the price of oil went up. So everything drives the price of oil up. I think it's really a classic bubble. Certainly, there are some supply issues, but I actually don't think that that is the main reason why the price of oil is going up.

... in all of these discussions -- and we heard this just now from President Bush -- it was, we need to drill offshore to get away from our dependence on foreign oil, and there is still an overwhelming perception that most of the oil in the United States is coming from countries like Saudi Arabia. There has been, since the invasion of Iraq -- and this is the period where the price of oil has skyrocketed -- this has already changed. The number one supplier of oil to the United States is not Saudi Arabia, it's not Mexico -- it's Canada.

And it has all of the elements that these new initiatives that are being proposed -- offshore, ANWR, shale -- possess. It's close. It is an absolutely secure source of oil for the United States, and the reason for that is because locked into the North American Free Trade Agreement, locked into NAFTA, is a clause that we Canadians are really not very pleased with, which actually makes it illegal, impossible, under NAFTA, for Canada to turn off the tap, even if we face an oil crisis and are not able to supply oil for our citizens. We have to keep supplying the United States. So it's a legally binding agreement that this tap will stay open. So Canada is now the number one supplier.

And the other that it holds in common is that it's ecologically devastating, what's going on in Canada, because the majority of this new oil coming to the United States is coming from the Alberta tar sands, which are often called the "oil sands." We call them the "tar sands," because it's a more accurate description. And this is another oil industry talking point, to get you to stop calling it the "tar sands" and start calling it the "oil sands."

But essentially, the oil in Alberta is very linked to the high price of oil, which is to say that when oil was at $30 a barrel, the tar sands, this huge oil deposit, was not counted as part of the global oil reserves. And the reason for that is that it was so expensive to process this very, very thick tar-like substance into liquid oil. It costs between $25 and $30 a barrel, so it just didn't make sense to count it as part of the global oil reserves, because who was going to make the investment required if they were obviously not going to get a return on their investment? So once the Iraq war started and the price of oil started skyrocketing, oil was discovered in Canada. Everyone knew it was there, but it became part of the global oil reserves. More than that, it is now counted as the largest oil deposit in the world. These are the tar sands.

And, you know, I would argue that this oil should be left in the ground. Environmentalists are calling for a moratorium on the tar sands, because it takes three times the amount of fossil fuels, of burning fossil fuels, to process one barrel of oil from the tar sands as it does to process the kind of oil that they have in Iraq, for instance, which is already in liquid form...

Just the surface of a very long piece, from a very insightful woman.

Check it out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No Spills, Just Blood and Souls for Exxon

Why, if it wasn't for all the oil rigs in the Gulf, Katrina would've really caused some damage.

Just ask the Republicans, they'll set you $traight as Larry Craig.

To support the Big Oil agenda of increased offshore drilling, conservatives have been telling the American public that there weren’t any major spills caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for an entire month...

...As the Wonk Room has reported, the clear satellite evidence of major spills was borne out by final reports. In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) published their offshore damage assessment: “113 platforms totally destroyed, and 457 pipelines damaged, 101 of those major lines with 10″ or larger diameter.”

Unsurprisingly, this devastation caused significant spillage [.pdf], according to the official report prepared for the MMS by a Norwegian firm:

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused 124 Offshore Spills For A Total Of 743,700 Gallons. 554,400 gallons were crude oil and condensate from platforms, rigs and pipelines, and 189,000 gallons were refined products from platforms and rigs. [MMS, 1/22/07 [.pdf]]

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused Six Offshore Spills Of 42,000 Gallons Or Greater. The largest of these was 152,250 gallons, well over the 100,000 gallon threshhold considered a “major spill.” [MMS, 5/1/06]

In addition, the hurricanes caused disastrous spills onshore throughout southeast Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast as tanks, pipelines, refineries and other industrial facilities were destroyed, for a total of 595 different oil spills. The 9 million gallons reported spilled were comparable with the Exxon Valdez’s 10.8 million gallons, but unlike the Exxon Valdez, were distributed throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and other Gulf Coast states, many in residential areas. The most massive spills included:

The Bass Enterprises Cox Bay spill of 3.78 million gallons of oil, the largest spill caused by the hurricanes
The Murphy Oil spill in Mereaux, LA of 819,000 gallons of oil, contaminating 1,700 homes and the local high school

At the time, the Houston Chronicle described the devastation as “among the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.”

More here on what a party Katrina was for our Fearless Oil Leaders:

Major Spills Caused by Hurricane Katrina

Bass Enterprises Production Company (Cox Bay): About 3.78 million gallons discharged, of which 960,000 gallons were recovered, 2 million gallons were contained and 982,000 gallons evaporated.

Shell (Pilot Town): About 1.05 million gallons discharged, of which about 718,000 gallons were recovered, 129,000 were contained and 105,000 gallons evaporated or dispersed. Some 87,000 gallons have not been contained.

Chevron (Empire): About 991,000 gallons were released, of which 983,000 gallons were naturally dispersed or evaporated, 4,000 gallons were recovered and 3,600 gallons were contained.

Murphy Oil Corporation (Meraux): About 819,000 gallons discharged, of which 305,000 were recovered, 196,000 gallons were contained and 312,000 gallons evaporated. Some 6,000 gallons were not recovered.

Bass Enterprises (Point a la Hache): About 461,000 gallons of oil discharged, of which half was contained and half evaporated.

Medium spills (10,000 to 100,000 gallons)

Chevron (Port Fourchon): About 53,000 gallons were released, of which 21,000 gallons were naturally dispersed, 26,000 gallons were recovered and 420 gallons were contained.

Venice Energy Services Company (Venice): About 840,000 gallons of potential discharge are enclosed in bermed and boomed area, but only 25,000 gallons were actually discharged, of which 4,800 gallons were recovered.

Shell Pipeline Oil (Nairn): About 13,440 gallons discharged, of which 126 gallons were recovered, 2,940 gallons were contained and 10,500 gallons reached shoreline.

Sundown Energy (West Potash): About 13,000 gallons discharged, of which 153 gallons were recovered, 2,000 gallons were contained, and 5,000 gallons reached shoreline.

Still, what are ya gonna believe? Ya gotta have Faith! Are you with the $traight Talk Express, or against it?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Perfection $elections in an Imperfect World

Avedon points towards some voices who say to just forget about voting for Obama, since he seems to have forgotten about his own base.

In a perfect world I would say to Hell with the DINOcrats, and let them feed their own souls to the Lords of Chaos.

But we do that, and many more people will die than are likely to if the DINOcrats win.

The President does matter. That micromanaging Al Gore would have never allowed 9-11 to happen. John Kerry might have gotten to the bottom of what caused the War on Terra in the first place, the same way he plumbed the depths of BCCI. It's funny how all those connections are still funding Al Qaeda- and some people Kerry might have let Sibel Edmunds introduce into the main$tream.

With the lid off of that can of worms, Iraq and Afghanistan would have most likely been concluded.


But let's face it, as Bruce F. comments regarding complicity in all the dirty deals in the War on Terra:

...Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman and Jay Rockefeller were all previous ranking members of the Intelligence Committee, all received these briefings, and were thus "compromised" and "complicit" in exactly the way that Mayer just described, because -- as Mayer put it -- they "would find it very hard at this point to point the finger at the White House, without also implicating themselves." That is one very significant reason why so many Congressional Democrats -- including the leadership -- are so supportive of immunity for Bush lawbreakers and the blocking of any investigations into the lawbreaking.

You know, we could just send the White House, the Vice Fourth Branch, the full Congress, and the Supreme Court to the Hague.

At this point, probably a majority of Americans wouldn't mind.

Monday, July 14, 2008

They Think We Lost Our Marbles

It's Pravda again:

ZIARAT, Pakistan — The mountain of white marble shines with such brilliance in the sun it looks like snow. For four years, the quarry beneath it lay dormant, its riches captive to tribal squabbles and government ineptitude in this corner of Pakistan’s tribal areas.

But in April, the Taliban appeared and imposed a firm hand. They settled the feud between the tribes, demanded a fat fee up front and a tax on every truck that ferried the treasure from the quarry. Since then, Mir Zaman, a contractor from the Masaud subtribe, which was picked by the Taliban to run the quarry, has watched contentedly as his trucks roll out of the quarry with colossal boulders bound for refining in nearby towns...

A rare, unescorted visit to the region this month, during which the Taliban detained for two days a freelance reporter and a photographer working for The New York Times, revealed how the Taliban were taking over territory, using the income they exact to strengthen their hold and turn themselves into a self-sustaining fighting force. The quarry alone has already brought the Taliban tens of thousands of dollars, Mr. Zaman said...

Wow. Tens of thousands of dollars a year from a single quarry. It almost matches the credit card balance of the average American suburbanite family.

Seriously, the Company expects you to get all alarmed about that, and forget entirely about this:

U.N. Warns Of Opium, Coca Glut

More than ever before, authorities waging the global war on drugs are up against real insurgents.

Worldwide, illicit cultivation of opium and coca - the raw materials for heroin and cocaine - is rising as militants in Afghanistan, Colombia and Myanmar consolidate their control of key drug-producing areas, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime warns in a new report...

I'm sure it's a simple oversight.

Speaking of overseers, here's a likely reason we don't hear more about the real source of funds for the other side War on Terra- because they enrich our Leaders' pockets, too [thanks to Avedon, Bruce F., and Lukery].

Sibel Edmonds:

...You've got to look at the big picture. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the super powers began to fight over control of Central Asia, particularly the oil and gas wealth, as well as the strategic value of the region.

Given the history, and the distrust of the West, the US realized that it couldn't get direct control, and therefore would need to use a proxy to gain control quickly and effectively. Turkey was the perfect proxy; a NATO ally and a puppet regime. Turkey shares the same heritage/race as the entire population of Central Asia, the same language (Turkic), the same religion (Sunni Islam), and of course, the strategic location and proximity.

This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.

This is why I have been saying repeatedly that these illegal covert operations by the Turks and certain US persons dates back to 1996, and involves terrorist activities, narcotics, weapons smuggling and money laundering, converging around the same operations and involving the same actors.

And I want to emphasize that this is "illegal" because most, if not all, of the funding for these operations is not congressionally approved funding, but it comes from illegal activities.

And one last thing, take a look at the people in the State Secrets Privilege Gallery on my website and you will see how these individuals can be traced to the following; Turkey, Central Asia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - and the activities involving these countries.

You might see it, but isn't it much easier to believe a bunch of rag-tag hillmen living in caves and extracting tens of thousands of dollars a year from impoverished locals can bring the mightiest mar machine in the world to a halt?

I thought so.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mis Triangulation

...A month after emerging victorious from the bruising Democratic nominating contest, some of Barack Obama's glow may be fading. In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the Illinois senator leads Republican nominee John McCain by just 3 percentage points, 44 percent to 41 percent. The statistical dead heat is a marked change from last month's NEWSWEEK Poll, where Obama led McCain by 15 points, 51 percent to 36 percent.

Obama's rapid drop comes at a strategically challenging moment for the Democratic candidate. Having vanquished Hillary Clinton in early June, Obama quickly went about repositioning himself for a general-election audience--an unpleasant task for any nominee emerging from the pander-heavy primary contests and particularly for a candidate who'd slogged through a vigorous primary challenge in most every contest from January until June. Obama's reversal on FISA legislation, his support of faith-based initiatives and his decision to opt out of the campaign public-financing system left him open to charges he was a flip-flopper. In the new poll, 53 percent of voters (and 50 percent of former Hillary Clinton supporters) believe that Obama has changed his position on key issues in order to gain political advantage...

So let's get this straight. Obama positions for a general election audience, cans his promises on surveillance, rejects public financing, panders to the religious righteous, and indicates he may not be so quick to end the endless war after all- and falls flat on his face.

The main$treamers also paint him as "flip-flopping", too, without mentioning McCain flip-flops three times in every speech.

Could it possibly be Obama's excellent advisors have no bloody idea what the general election audience wants?

Where did he get his fine new friends?

...In the weeks since Mrs. Clinton officially suspended her candidacy, the Obama campaign has recruited the services of the Clinton campaign’s director of national security, Lee Feinstein, as well as foreign-policy advisers Mara Rudman, the deputy national security advisor under Bill Clinton; Robert Einhorn, a former assistant secretary for nonproliferation at the State Department; and Stuart Eizenstat, an international-trade specialist who was policy director for Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign. On the domestic side, Gene Sperling, who was the top economic adviser on the Clinton campaign, has begun consulting with the Obama policy team.

The establishment of these working relationships follows formal announcements from the Obama campaign that they have hired former Clinton policy director Neera Tanden to report to their own policy director, Heather Higginbottom, along with Ms. Tanden’s own stable of wonks from the Clinton campaign, and that they have brought in Clinton adviser and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to work on national security issues....

Move to Center: Fail.

Just a clue if you want to win this election, sir. Go back to your gut feelings from, say 2003, when you voted against the war. Fire the triangulators. Their consensus view isn't what the general election audience wants, it's what the main$tream media punditocracy declares "the People" want.

And those People are the People that own General Dynamics, Lockheed, and a hundred other corporations really interested in having the Endless War stay endless. Those people really have no interest in seeing someone with your orignal convictions get elected. So their consensus is your original politics of change makes you unelectable.

The more you move to the middle, the less you distinguish yourself from McCain. When a Republican runs against a Republican, the Republican wins every time. So keep triangulating and moderating your positions, sir, if you want to lose this $election.

But it's okay when We do it

...According to journalist Jason Leopold, sources at former Cheney company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January of 2005, Halliburton sold key components for a nuclear reactor to an Iranian oil development company. Leopold says his Halliburton sources have intimate knowledge of the business dealings of both Halliburton and Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies...

"War Crimes" makes the main$tream


...Mr. Bush’s 2005 proclamation that “we do not torture” was long ago revealed as a lie. Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated detainee abuse for the Army, concluded that “there is no longer any doubt” that “war crimes were committed.” Ms. Mayer uncovered another damning verdict: Red Cross investigators flatly told the C.I.A. last year that America was practicing torture and vulnerable to war-crimes charges.

Top Bush hands are starting to get sweaty about where they left their fingerprints. Scapegoating the rotten apples at the bottom of the military’s barrel may not be a slam-dunk escape route from accountability anymore.

No wonder the former Rumsfeld capo, Douglas Feith, is trying to discredit a damaging interview he gave to the British lawyer Philippe Sands for another recent and essential book on what happened, “Torture Team.” After Mr. Sands previewed his findings in the May issue of Vanity Fair, Mr. Feith protested he had been misquoted — apparently forgetting that Mr. Sands had taped the interview. Mr. Feith and Mr. Sands are scheduled to square off in a House hearing this Tuesday.

So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has publicly advised Mr. Feith, Mr. Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to “never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” But while we wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, there are immediate fears to tend. Ms. Mayer’s book helps cement the case that America’s use of torture has betrayed not just American values but our national security, right to the present day.

In her telling, a major incentive for Mr. Cheney’s descent into the dark side was to cover up for the Bush White House’s failure to heed the Qaeda threat in 2001. Jack Cloonan, a special agent for the F.B.I.’s Osama bin Laden unit until 2002, told Ms. Mayer that Sept. 11 was “all preventable.” By March 2000, according to the C.I.A.’s inspector general, “50 or 60 individuals” in the agency knew that two Al Qaeda suspects — soon to be hijackers — were in America. But there was no urgency at the top. Thomas Pickard, the acting F.B.I. director that summer, told Ms. Mayer that when he expressed his fears about the Qaeda threat to Mr. Ashcroft, the attorney general snapped, “I don’t want to hear about that anymore!”

After 9/11, our government emphasized “interrogation over due process,” Ms. Mayer writes, “to pre-empt future attacks before they materialized.” But in reality torture may well be enabling future attacks. This is not just because Abu Ghraib snapshots have been used as recruitment tools by jihadists. No less destructive are the false confessions inevitably elicited from tortured detainees. The avalanche of misinformation since 9/11 has compromised prosecutions, allowed other culprits to escape and sent the American military on wild-goose chases. The coerced “confession” to the murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to take one horrific example, may have been invented to protect the real murderer.

The biggest torture-fueled wild-goose chase, of course, is the war in Iraq. Exhibit A, revisited in “The Dark Side,” is Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an accused Qaeda commander whose torture was outsourced by the C.I.A. to Egypt. His fabricated tales of Saddam’s biological and chemical W.M.D. — and of nonexistent links between Iraq and Al Qaeda — were cited by President Bush in his fateful Oct. 7, 2002, Cincinnati speech ginning up the war and by Mr. Powell in his subsequent United Nations presentation on Iraqi weaponry. Two F.B.I. officials told Ms. Mayer that Mr. al-Libi later explained his lies by saying: “They were killing me. I had to tell them something.”

That “something” was crucial in sending us into the quagmire that, five years later, has empowered Iran and compromised our ability to counter the very terrorists that torture was supposed to thwart. As The Times reported two weeks ago, Iraq has monopolized our military and intelligence resources to the point where we don’t have enough predator drones or expert C.I.A. field agents to survey the tribal areas where terrorists are amassing in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the threat to America from Al Qaeda is “comparable to what it faced on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Seth Jones, a RAND Corporation terrorism expert and Pentagon consultant. The difference between now and then is simply that the base of operations has moved, “roughly the difference from New York to Philadelphia.”

Yet once again terrorism has fallen off America’s map, landing at or near the bottom of voters’ concerns in recent polls. There were major attacks in rapid succession last week in Pakistan, Afghanistan (the deadliest in Kabul since we “defeated” the Taliban in 2001) and at the American consulate in Turkey. Who listened to this ticking time bomb? It’s reminiscent of July 2001, when few noticed that the Algerian convicted of trying to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium testified that he had been trained in bin Laden’s Afghanistan camps as part of a larger plot against America...

...This, no less than the defiling of the Constitution, is the legacy of an administration that not merely rationalized the immorality of torture but shackled our national security to the absurdity that torture could easily fix the terrorist threat.

That’s why the Bush White House’s corruption in the end surpasses Nixon’s. We can no longer take cold comfort in the Watergate maxim that the cover-up was worse than the crime. This time the crime is worse than the cover-up, and the punishment could rain down on us all.

Could? Once again, it's supposed to. Chaos is the plan, and if they can't steal the ballot box this time around, Cheneyburton's seeking a justification to just declare martial law and cancel the whole election.

Could Be

Depends on where you look...

Dip Politics

The audacity of hoax, from the forked-tongue express.

...HST was the most unique American political commentator/ social observer who ever sat down to peck at a bullet-riddled typewriter. Bastard. We could sure as shit use him now.

Are you kidding? A young HST in the early 21st century would be told what he wrote about never happened, even while it was happening. He might publish on the web. But that's about it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sky's the Limit for those without wings

Go read Bob Herbert today.

...You may have lost your job or the family home. Or maybe you’re behind in your car payment or your health insurance premium. Perhaps you can’t afford the gas to get to work.

Phil Gramm will have none of your complaints: Get over it! Stop whining and eat your gruel. This recession’s all in your head.

...Mr. Gramm, a close friend of Senator McCain’s for many years, has had a very loud say in the economic policies of the McCain presidential campaign. And those policies are an extension of the G.O.P. orthodoxy that is threatening to sink the ship of state, even as the very wealthy are dancing mindlessly to the music of another Gilded Age.

In the real world, somewhere outside of Phil Gramm’s field of vision, increasing numbers of Americans are working two and three jobs to make ends meet; struggling families are worried sick in July about what it will cost to heat their homes in January; food costs and home foreclosures are soaring; the job market has tanked; and the stock markets are running with the bears.

In that kind of atmosphere, it’s beyond obscene to have to listen to some platinum-card-carrying fat cat tell us, in a tone dripping with condescension: “You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession.”

... The biggest failing of both parties in this presidential campaign has been the unwillingness to be forthright with the public about the true extent of the crises facing the country. The federal government and ordinary Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt. Much of the financial sector is in deep trouble, with previously blue-chip companies wobbling along on legs as rubbery as a bad check.

Perpetual war in Iraq and oil prices spiking toward the moon are adding to a sense of national paralysis. Where is the money to invest in ventures that will create good new jobs, that will chart new directions in energy self-sufficiency, that will revitalize the public schools, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, put New Orleans back on its feet?

Where are the grand ideas, the ideas worthy of a great nation?

...The Democrats, timid as always, should be pounding the populist pavement from one coast to another, explaining how the reckless and deliberately inequitable policies of the past several years have gotten the U.S. into this terrible fix.

We should be getting chapter and verse about how badly the war in Iraq is hurting us here at home. We should be seeing charts and graphs explaining how ordinary Americans, now the hardest-working people on the planet, have been cheated out of their share of the extraordinary productivity improvements they’ve racked up over the years.

There should be a sense of urgency coming from the Democrats in this campaign, a clarion call compelling enough to rally the legions who have been treated unfairly and badly hurt in the nation’s other undeclared war: the class war.

Phil Gramm was a general in that conflict, and there was nothing cute about it.

Was? He's Chair of McCain's campaign. I'd say he's still in the middle of it.

From Joe Conanson:

..."I want to predict here tonight," he said on the evening that Clinton's budget passed in the spring of 1993, "that if we adopt this bill the American economy is going to get weaker and not stronger, the deficit four years from today will be higher than it is today and not lower ... When all is said and done, people will pay more taxes, the economy will create fewer jobs, the government will spend more money, and the American people will be worse off."

...Gramm was not the kind of economist whose convictions are shaken by evidence, no matter how compelling. So obsessed with protecting bankers from government oversight was he that when Clinton tried to place stronger controls on terrorist money laundering, Gramm opposed even that measure as a "totalitarian" incursion.

Before he retired from the Senate in 2002, he wrote the Gramm-Bliley bill, an act broadly deregulating the financial industry -- and now blamed by many economists for the epidemic of speculation and fraud that has shaken the global economy.

Touting those changes as a way to "modernize" American finance for a global future, Gramm said they would bring wonderful new efficiencies and savings to consumers. As with the energy deregulation that he sponsored -- which was supposed to bring lower prices and better service, but led to blackouts and price gouging -- those economic wonders never quite appeared. The damaging effects of banking deregulation took nearly a decade to be felt, but whether we have experienced the worst still remains to be seen...

Like Clinton, Obama's a shameless panderer to the Company. The Aristocrats wouldn't have let him get this far in the Presidential campaign if he wasn't. The Endless War won't end with the Democrats, it'll just be simmering on low burn. The economy won't be perfect under them either. The robber barons will still own everything, but chances are they'll leave you enough gas money to get to work.

The McCainiacs not only think the world is flat, they're going to sail off the edge just to prove it to you.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"...senile or seriously deranged..."

Thanks for that line.

I have been getting notes from people trying to post lately to the effect that "I used to be an Obama supporter, but since his vote on surveillance (not FISA, you idiots, and you know who you are, that would have still been in effect regardless), I'd rather vote qagh than black".

To put it politely, in terms the Secret Service won't tag me for.

Have you listened to Yawn Mc$ame?

Do you realize who's advising him? The same idiot who's wrecked Darth Rumsfeld's old Swiss firm, UBS. The same bastard that deregulated Wall Street enough to allow monstrosities like Enron to evolve, and whose family made millions as a direct result. The same butthead who calls Americans whiners for not being able to make an honest living anymore.

The Gramm-McCain war cry is "Blood and Souls for Exxon!"

And doesn't paid anti-Dem astroturf spring up like crabgrass from Hell the moment we try to critique ourselves?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Because you're 'posed to feel that way

Avedon has some nice posts on the meaning of it all now that Dear Leader has his oily wet eavesdropping dream fulfilled and the Unibama is revealed as a scam.

And for Elbereth's sake, if you must give money to someone to do something about it, listen to her and give it to the ACLU's challenge. They're gonna need it.

On the other hand, it could be that the hands behind (and financing) the scene intended on promoting a DINOcrat candidate no Democrat- or anyone else with a mind of their own- in good conscience would want as president.

Its just another Company curveball.

It's like Joe quotes:

...We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do...

Of course, there's a way around that. It involves proaction instead of reaction. I'll leave it up to you to create your own road out of this timeline.