Sunday, November 16, 2014

Philadelphia Freedom is Gas


The new call for freedom is from Russian oil and gas dependency.  Philly.com reported:

As European and North American diplomats are inching toward new global free-trade deals, trade representatives from countries including Italy, Germany, Britain, Poland, the Netherlands, and Sweden visited Philadelphia on Nov. 6 for a tour of business sites. They were eager to learn more about importing cheap gas and other fuels and raw materials from Pennsylvania and other states.

"How many of your countries import gas from the Soviet Union?" asked Michael Krancer, a former Pennsylvania environmental secretary. He represents oil refineries and gas-fracking companies as head of Blank Rome L.L.P.'s energy practice.

"I don't need to tell you what energy development means for the good guys in the world," Krancer told the European envoys. "The energy business is centered here in Philadelphia. This is the place to invest your money."

The article closed with:

Krancer said he had recently received visits from would-be energy importers from France, Poland, and South Africa, while delegations from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, and Norway have visited with Pennsylvania state officials.

"We'd love to export" more energy, Krancer said. "I think we have enough for the entire world."

Spoken like a true lobbyist, complete with significant factual errors and hyperbole. 

It's a good thing the "entire world" includes the Northeast U.S. given what Krancer told CNBC.

"Houston is not as close to the demand centers as Philadelphia is. The East Coast is an amazing engine of demand," said Michael Krancer, chair of the energy industry practice at Blank Rome law firm. 

Europeans wantinj to replace Russian energy should consider who they're dealing with.  Snake oil salesman.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quarantining Freedom's Ghosts


Connecticut declared a state of emergency for people at risk of having and passing the Ebola virus.  Connecticut is one of the original thirteen colonies.  Peer Virginia employed smallpox blankets as method of war.

Connecticut's Governor empowered the Public Health Commission to take away someone's freedom for a deadly disease epidemic half a world away.  Fear comes in many sizes.  Ebola is a whopper. 

Update 10-12-14:  A Texas hospital worker contracted Ebola from the Index patient.  Texas' Public Health System has been decimated in the new millennium.  The world has seen mistake after mistake after mistake in Texas around Ebola.  It's indicative of a system without comprehensive capability.  Don't worry folks, it's safe to invest in Africa

Friday, September 12, 2014

By Killing


By killing their relatives we turned 3,000 al Qaeda into 30,000 ISIS/ISIL.   America's leaders don't understand how the cycle of violence expands exponentially.  We claim to be Christian, followers of Jesus Christ, yet we frequently unsheath our knife to push our ways, protect our possessions.  We invade new territories to open new markets and gain access to "our" earthly resources.

By killing their kin we'll turn 30,000 ISIS/ISIL into 90,000 what?  This way Presidents will always have a war to fight and they can all give variations of the same speech.

Update 3-18-15:  Obama realizes the connection, but his prescription is wrong.  He said we should generally aim, before we shoot.   He completely avoids "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" root cause.  Obama made the same mistake in Libya and is doing so in Ukraine.

Update 12-13-15:  By killing Russia says 30,000 ISIS/ISIL are now 60,000.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Profit of Yet Another Self Servant


The obnoxious voice of the Pentagon became BP's harpy in September 2011.   Two years later Geoff Morrell landed a BP Senior Vice President position.  Morrell's new job included Government and Public Affairs and Federal & International Affairs.  

Geoff leads the BP team playing hardball with the various groups damaged by the company's 2010 Gulf Oil Spew.  One of those is the Oil Spew Claims Administrator.    

“This case may well serve for years to come as a disincentive to companies looking to do the right thing in response to an industrial accident,” Geoff Morrell, BP spokesman and senior vice president, said in an e-mail, “and that would be a bad outcome all around, including for individuals whose only option may then be years of litigation and for the taxpayers who may be left holding the bag.”
That's the Freedom Switch.  Taxpayers always hold the bag in America's Government-Corporate Monstrosity (GCM), Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex on trillions in federal budget steroids.   Congratulations Geoff on getting your hand in the bag on both sides of the GCM.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

CV Veteran Died Like Match Girl

Every story must be told in its time.  Here is an update to The Little Match Girl, courtesy of The Guardian.

David Clapson was found dead last year after his benefits were stopped on the grounds that he wasn't taking the search for work seriously. He had an empty stomach, and just £3.44 to his name. Now thousands of other claimants are being left in similarly dire straits by tough new welfare sanctions.

We know that David Clapson was actively searching for work when he died because a pile of CVs he had just printed out was found a few metres from his body. The last time he spoke to his sister, a few days before he died, he told her he was waiting to hear back about an application he had made to the supermarket chain Lidl.

But officials at the Jobcentre believed he was not taking his search for work seriously enough, and early last July, they sanctioned him – cutting off his benefit payments entirely, as a punishment for his failure to attend two appointments.

Clapson, 59, who had diabetes, died in his flat in Stevenage on 20 July 2013, from diabetic ketoacidosis (caused by an acute lack of insulin). When Gill Thompson, his younger sister, discovered his body, she found his electricity had been cut off (meaning that the fridge where he kept his insulin was no longer working). There was very little left to eat in the flat – six tea bags, an out-of-date tin of sardines and a can of tomato soup. His pay-as-you-go mobile phone had just 5p credit left on it and he had only £3.44 in his bank account. The autopsy notes reveal that his stomach was empty.
 Consider the man and his life's arc:

She (the sister who discovered his body) is at pains to describe her brother as someone who had worked for 29 years, anxious to stress that he should not be seen as "scrounger". He spent five years in the army, two of them serving in Belfast, 16 years working for BT and another eight at other companies before he stopped working to care for their mother who had developed dementia.
Soldier, longtime worker and family caregiver, yet these facets mattered not in a system that required compliance and performance.  

The Little Match Girl died in a dehumanized system, as did The CV Veteran.

Note that financial securitizations are non-taxed and private equity underwriters (PEU) keep their preferred carried interest taxation which makes their firms virtual nonprofits.  Obviously, elected leaders believe these group's have earned and deserve the government's help.

I have seen so many people -- particularly those in their 50s - 70s -- taken apart by what has happened in their industry as greed has hollowed out the economy. These are people took pride in their jobs and held themselves to this invisible standard that we all just took for granted, but is being wiped out.

Others, like the people mentioned above, not so much.    

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Switch is Nearly Complete


Washington's Blog reported:

"Now, we have a system of pervasive, pre-criminal surveillance where the government wants to watch what you’re doing just to see what you’re up to, to see what you’re thinking, even behind closed doors."
It's the freedom to be a rat in a surveillance maze.  Facial recognition, financial information, domestic military mobilization, and declining middle class.  Once upon a time a signature characteristic of democracies was a growing middle class.  Secretary of State Condi Rice once lectured the world in this regard.

Update 6-11-14:  Government lawyers say the NSA is "too big to comply" with a court order.

Update 6-19-14:  A Gallup poll shows U.S. Congressional approval at a historic low.  A mere 7% said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress, down from last year's 10 percent.

Update 8-24-14:  Harvard's Cornell West weighs in the Obama Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency.

Update 10-24-14:  2014 midterm elections are expected to be the most expensive in history. That’s right. The price tag will be just shy of $4 billion, according to projections released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s about $13 million a day from Jan. 1 through the Nov. 4 Election Day.  Democracy for sale!

Update 6-10-15:  The Obama administration has asked a secret surveillance court to ignore a federal court that found bulk surveillance illegal and to once again grant the National Security Agency the power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans for six months. (The Guardian)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Democracy Grows Impatient


Several months ago a friend expressed his concern regarding how the world's leaders had shifted to violence as a method to make change.  This gentleman is a cancer physician, who cared for thousands in our community over the years.  As a doctor he'd committed to an oath to heal and do no harm.

I remarked how I'd been struck by democracy's impatience.  Why couldn't people wait for the next election, frequently not but a year or so away?  What was so important that violence had to be used to tear down democracy in order to build a supposedly better edition?  Violence breeds violence.

This morning's news showed the impact of over a decade of violence in parts of Iraq.  The commenter said there was no sign America had ever been there.  What he meant:  There are no signs of American branded corporate interests, fast food, hotels, banks, etc.  In contrast Iraq's stable, oil generating communities had peace, stability and a Jaguar dealership. 

America is back to the "enemy of my enemy is my friend."  Democracy needs to be better than that.  Manipulation is not the least bit elevating or inspiring. 

Update 3-14-15:  The United States reiterated its new long standing position of not backing coups.  I take it the CIA is not part of the United States...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Middle East Nonpeace Process Continues


It's a sad day when peace between Israel and the Palestinian Territories is dependent upon an unrelated act by their "peace broker," the United States.  The release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has been sold as a means to keep the fractured sides at the negotiating table.

Frankly, it's painful to see how much the parties want to continue the status quo.  It's reminiscent of the American march westward and its oppression of Native Americans.  How much will Palestinians have left to fight for come 2020?  It remains to be seen how long is their trail of tears.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Olympic Wars in Asia: 2008 & 2014


The Olympics used to be a time when nations set aside war and sent their best to compete in the athletic arena.  The East and West violated this spirit in 2008 with the Georgia - South Ossetia - Abkhazia conflict with Russia.  That conflict took President George W. Bush's attention briefly away from the U.S. beach volleyball and softball ladies at the Beijing Summer Olympics. 

The East and West conducted another round of war incitement in the run-up to Russia's hosting the Winter Olympics at Sochi.  This occurred in Ukraine, where democracies no longer have the patience to let a leader's term run out and elect a new one.  What iteration of democracy uses force to expel a democratically elected leader, then claims the rebellion is itself democratic?  Is that democracy squared, cubed?

The world has lost patience.  Greedy, power hungry, violent leaders cannot wait another day to have their way.  "_uck the EU," as spoken by an American diplomat (global tamperer), is evidence of this very thing.

To sum up:  The Olympics are a time to wage war, instead of stop it, and democracies can be installed at the end of a gun.  They don't need to wait for the vote at the ballot box.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Obama's Next War


Jerusalem Post reported in early February:

'Military action likely' if Iran talks fail, US spokeswoman says
For the sickening language America's business and political leaders check out the words of senior U.S diplomat Marie Harf:

“I’m not predicting that we would take military action right away,” Harf said. “It’s more of a broad statement that, look, if we can’t get this done diplomatically in six months or a year or at any time, we will – we are committed to resolving it. And that involves less durable and, quite frankly, riskier actions.”

“I’m not saying in six months we’re going to go to war if we don’t get a deal done. Broadly speaking, the alternative to resolving this diplomatically is resolving it through other means.

“There are only a few scenarios that come out of this: Either we resolve it diplomatically or we resolve it a different way,” Harf continued.

“It’s just common sense that that different way could involve – is likely to involve military action.”
She went around her backside to get to her elbow.   The Obama-Bush global tampering team will have more wars.  War with Syria was front and center at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which also had a unique Iranian confrontation.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Eeerie MLK Day


Think about the surveillance state Reverend Martin Luther King endured at the hands of the United States government.  That same government was judged co-conspirator in Reverend King's death by a U.S. civil jury.

Modernize the government's spying apparatus and what risks do people face for speaking openly against hegemonic powers?  Ponder that this MLK Day.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Davos Stage: Star Front Stage Players


Reuters reported:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will both attend the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos this month, the organizers told Reuters on Friday.
The World Economic Forum has its front stage for the public and back stage for participants to conduct deals.   

Promoting a possible Iran-Israel leader confrontation seems a front stage activity.  The fallout from their interaction would impact back stage deals. 

Davos theme is "Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business."  Global tamperers, mostly back stage players, will be there in force. 

Take Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, a frequent Davos guest presenter and moderator.  He and his PEU brethren worked hard to open up Libya for investment from Muammar Gadhafi.  They succeeded, even reforming Gadhafi enough for President Obama to shake his hand.  

Gadhafi challenged the back stage players by offering to fund an African Union without Western money and to sell oil outside a U.S. dollar denomination.  These two acts incurred the West's wrath

As for the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, their list of countries for regime change is nearly complete.    

Iraq - check
Libya - check
Syria - in process
Iran - up next
North Korea - nobody wants it, no oil. 
 
Watch the theatrics at Davos.  It's a shame the back stage antics and deal making will go unreported.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Texas Drones to Add to U.S. Endemic Surveillance State?


The United States of America will allow domestic drone use and Texas will serve as one of six pilot sites.  The Eagle reported:

The Federal Aviation Administration has named Texas a test site for aerial drones thanks to a statewide proposal spearheaded by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The university, which partnered with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station in College Station, or TEES, is one of six entities nationwide selected for the designation that could help usher in a multibillion-dollar industry.

The FAA does not allow for commercial drone use, which is primarily known for military applications. But Congress mandated that operational guidelines be developed by the end of 2015. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta predicted that up to 7,500 commercial drones could operate in U.S. airspace within the next five years. One such application is a proposed package-delivery system unveiled by Amazon.com earlier this month.
Military applications include spying and summary execution.  Drones have been operating in the U.S. by public and private organizations. Texas is not alone in the prospect of more unmanned aerial vehicles:

The FAA announced Monday that A&M was selected along with the University of Alaska, the state of Nevada, New York's Griffiss International Airport, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
While Texas A&M-Corpus Christi President Flavius Killebrew called it a "Kitty Hawk moment," it feels anything but.

Just hours after the FAA’s announcement Monday, commissioners in West Texas’ Brewster County passed a resolution plainly stating that unmanned aerial systems are not welcome in their skies, citing a lack of public input in the state’s drone plans. It is the third such resolution passed by local Texas officials since November, underscoring a growing anti-drone sentiment that has taken hold around the state, particularly in rural areas like Big Bend, a sparsely populated region located along the Mexican border. 

In Alpine, Brewster County’s biggest (and only) city, council members recently voted unanimously to ban drone test flights from operating out of the municipal airport, responding to angry petitions from local residents. And just before Christmas, officials in neighboring Presidio County followed suit with a preemptive resolution demanding that any drone tests take local aviation priorities into account before operating in the region.

The local resistance presents a significant roadblock for Texas’s new UAS testing program, a statewide initiative that was selected by the FAA to to develop safety requirements and protocols for commercial drone operations. The plan, spearheaded by Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, includes 11 test regions that cover about 6,100 square miles across the state, about half of which are located in the Big Bend region. Initially, the public seemed supportive of the proposal, but in recent weeks a surprisingly fierce grassroots campaign against the test sites has gathered steam, driven by residents who fear experimental drone flights will clog local airspace and disrupt the quiet isolation of Big Bend’s open skies.
 People don't like surprises, especially when their voice has not been included:

So far, little effort has been made to inform or include local residents and elected officials in the UAS test site process. While FAA spokesman Les Dorr declined to comment on the specifics of the Texas UAS opposition, he said that the selected test sites are responsible for getting locals on board with their drone plans, and were required to detail their outreach plans in their applications.

But those applications were closely guarded by the FAA during the administration’s secretive vetting process, and many communities are only discovering that they will soon play host to the government’s first commercial drone experiment. 
More drones are coming to Texas but local officials will have some say in their level of participation.  Which list will officials make if they don't open their arms wide for domestic drone use in their city or county?  For citizen privacy the drone test site landscape is the wild, wild West.