Friday, September 26, 2008

Congressman Bartlett and Peak Oil Revisited


[May 8th, 2008, U.S. House of Representatives] Congressman Roscoe Bartlett and Peak Oil, back together for the x[th] time. The House is empty, and while other congressmen are away kissing babies, Roscoe rocks the floor. This time he finally addresses the money problem in the form of MONEY LAUNDERING; it's a start.

Thanks to Ron Paul, some are beginning to understand that gas prices going up is not just about "demand and supply", Government (backed by the G.O.P. -and- the Democratic Party) is responsible for monetarizing the exponentially increasing debt (debasing the currency) which forcefully leads to higher prices. Nice tie.

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Congressman Bartlett and Peak Oil Revisited [Part 1]
Congressman Bartlett and Peak Oil Revisited [Part 2]
Congressman Bartlett and Peak Oil Revisited [Part 3]
Congressman Bartlett and Peak Oil Revisited [Part 4]
Congressman Bartlett and Peak Oil Revisited [Part 5]

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Mr. Speaker, several days ago I came into the office early and I found at my door the usual package of newspapers and I opened them up and was placing them out on the table, and I noticed the headlines. And this is every paper that was at my door that morning. There were four newspapers and there were three inside-the-Beltway newspapers intended primarily for those interested in the Congress. I want to go through the headlines in every one of those papers.

Here is the Baltimore Sun, and they had two headlines above the fold both related to energy, ``Demand Eats Supply,'' and ``Energy Bill Aids Payouts on Rise.''

Then I went to the Washington Times and there was a headline, ``Bush Lays Gas Blame on Congress.''

And then I went to the Wall Street Journal and the Wall Street Journal headline was ``Grain Companies' Profits Soar as Global Food Crisis Mounts.''

Then I turned to the U.S. News part of the Wall Street Journal and what do you know, above the fold there were two more headlines, ``Bush Prods Lawmakers on Economy and Energy Prices,'' and ``GOP Senators Urge Halt to Oil Reserve.''

Then I noted the three papers that are kind of inside the Beltway papers: Roll Call, ``Alexander Eyes Energy Agenda''; The Hill, ``Politics At the Pump''; and Politico had ``Gas Prices Fuel Effort to Jam the GOP.''

So every one of these seven papers that were on my doorstep that morning had headlines talking about energy. Now I noted just a few days before that there was a New York Times op-ed piece by Thomas Friedman. This is what he says about energy.

Here is what is scary. Our problem is so much worse than you think. We have no energy strategy. If you are going to use tax policy to shape energy strategy, then you want to raise taxes on the things that you want
to discourage --gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling cars-- and you want to lower taxes on the things you want to encourage new renewable energy technologies. We are doing just the opposite, he says.

The gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today, and I quote, ``Maximize demand, minimize supply, and buy the rest from the people who hate us most.''

THIS IS NOT AN ENERGY POLICY. THIS IS MONEY LAUNDERING, he says. We borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. No, no, no, we will just get the money by taxing Big Oil. Even if you could do that, what a terrible way to spend precious tax dollars, he says.

For almost a year now, Congress has been bickering over whether and how to renew the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production of tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy. And a little later I will go over this bill that has already passed the Senate, and we have introduced it in the House now.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Homeland use of the Army...

Glenn Greenwald does a great summary of a deployment of a U.S. military brigade and he closes with "There's no need to start manufacturing all sorts of scare scenarios about Bush canceling elections or the imminent declaration of martial law or anything of that sort." What's this about scare scenarios, martial law, etc? To understand we have to back up four years to On delaying the national elections (2004). During that election season some of the inside-the-beltway types were pondering what it would require to cancel the elections, you know, in case some of them terrorists were to do something evil just before the election. The idea they floated was supposedly inspired by a bombing in Madrid just before their election, and the election results were that the candidate who won immediately pulled Spain out of the War on Error (er.. Iraqi Freedom) and was a sea change in Spain's policies. I suspect the elite didn't like this and in their quest to control the outcome of every election they want the freedom to pull elections if they're going to occur in circumstances they cannot control.

Oh.. I should mention if it's not already obvious that in this blog posting I'm going to make some unprovable outrageous claims. I'm simply explaining the rationale which Glenn Greenwald is skipping over.

It is true that in 2004 some U.S. elite were floating the idea that they might need to cancel the elections. The method of floating the proposal indicates to me it's an agenda somewhere to do so in order to enable the elite to commit what is effectively a coup or overthrow of the U.S. government.

Eh? A bit over 10 yrs ago I had a book, Called to Serve, written by Bo Gritz (wikipedia), a former Army Ranger who claims to have been the inspiration for the Rambo character. The book was a very challenging read because its information was way outside the mainstream view of the world. And one thing he said is the elite were planning a coup/overthrow of the U.S. but rather than do it militarily they would do it in the open, it would be on national TV coverage, it would appear legal, etc. I scoffed a "yeah right" and while I still don't believe him, the events since Sept 11, 2001 have had my memory of his book in the back of my mind. One of the steps required to implement an overthrow of the type he recommends is the declaration of Martial Law.

That is, if the elite can create a situation which looks threatening enough to warrant Martial Law and they can establish Martial Law as a permanent condition it would effectively be the overthrow he suggested.

The event prompting this line of reasoning is an announcement that the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division will be stationed inside the U.S. borders as their dedicated assignment. Clearly U.S. troops are resident within U.S. borders all across the country so it leaves me puzzling over what the distinction is. I expect the distinction is that the other troops have their assignment to other Army "Commands" all of which are world regions outside the U.S. borders. The Northern Command was established in 2002 and is a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

Glenn Greenwald goes on to discuss the Defense Authorization Act of 2006 which contained a provision which alters the ability of a President to impose martial law. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is the law which prevents anyone from using the military within the U.S. without the express permission of Congress. However Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 changed the details so that instead of being governed by the Insurrection Act it is governed by the "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act." This later law is very broad in terms of defining conditions under which Martial Law can be declared.

The above is about a relatively minor act of a troop deployment. As shocking as it is that a brigade is receiving this specific deployment, there is an interesting context within which it is happening. Over the last two weeks there has been a "financial meltdown" in which banks and financial institutions have been forced out of business and gutted and in some cases essentially nationalized. Yup, the Republicans are in control, advocates of Small Government, and here they are nationalizing businesses. And today the McCain campaign announced it would suspend campaign operations so that Sen. McCain can focus on the bailout negotations related to these now-nationalized financial institutions. Um, a Presidential Candidate who is suspending their campaign? Maybe I'm reading too much into this but it's a very weird step to take.

Why is this required? Why is the military being considered for 'crowd control' activities when there are already police forces who have training and equipment to deal with crowd control?

Further there is a deep question of scope, it is police forces whose scope are internal operations. It is the military whose scope is to deal with external threats. In an early episode of the modern Battlestar Galactica there is a statement by Admiral Adama which is hauntingly like this situation we're pondering. He was being asked to use his troops to "put down" a revolt and he made a statement which went like: There is a reason we separate police and military functions. The role and training of the military is to deal with external enemies to the state. When you use the military on the state, then it is the state who becomes the enemy.

To close I want to repeat what I said above. These thoughts are clearly stretching out quite a ways. But these are troubling times.

External Media

Friday, September 19, 2008

MoveOn: 10 things to know about McCain

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult.

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.

(supporting links at

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McCain's friends

For weeks, John McCain has run one of the most dishonest campaigns in American history. Now it's time to strike back. So today, we're launching a new ad that uses the facts to hit John McCain hard—reminding voters of his numerous ties to big oil companies and their lobbyists. is calling for donations to support airing the following advertisement.


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

In the Seventh Year

A subtle and wicked look back over the folly of the last 7 years... "...For the wreckage begat greed ...Beguiling the innocent, they did backdate options, and they did package toxic mortgage securities and they did reprice risk on the basis that it no more existed than famine in a fertile land. .. Thereby did the masters of the universe prosper, with gold, with silver shekels .. For Bush ruled over the whole nation and so sure was he of his righteousness that he did neglect husbandry." READ IT

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Former POW says McCain is "not cut out to be President"

John McCain has been exploiting his prisoner of war experience every chance he gets. He has used this story to justify everything from not knowing how many homes he has to his healthcare plan to his marital infidelities to his taste in music. The McCain campaign is even using his POW story in paid ads. But now a veteran who was a prisoner with McCain in Vietnam is explaining loud and clear that being a POW does not qualify McCain to lead our country.

We are sure this video will draw an onslaught of right-wing attacks, but we bring it to you because it is our job to continue to convey the truth together and give these issues national attention. As Dr. Butler has said, McCain does not have the temperament to have his finger near the red button. Get this video to everyone you know—friends, family members, coworkers, and especially those who don't share your political views. The video is designed to reach them. Get it on your social networking sites like Digg. And get it to every blog, newspaper, and TV station that has ever overplayed McCain's POW story. It is time to fight back with truth!

The mainstream press has already begun to call out McCain for overusing his POW story. And it's cut across all political persuasions. * "Whether he's deflecting criticism over his health-care plan or mocking a tribute to the Woodstock music festival, Senator John McCain has a trump card: the Hanoi Hilton. — Edwin Chen, Bloomberg * "Noun, Verb, POW" — Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Monthly * "The McCain campaign's constant invocation of the candidate's POW past is weird bordering on irrational..." — Ana Marie Cox, TIME * "I think they are going to it way too many times." — Howard Fineman, Newsweek

Remember how Joe Biden got the press to refer to Rudy Giuliani as "A noun, a verb, and 9/11"? Well, let's actually take Andrew Sullivan's lead here and get the media to boil McCain down to a similar phrase: "A noun, a verb, and POW." Considering how often the McCain campaign invokes his POW story, isn't that what they're already doing?


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Friday, September 12, 2008

A look at the DARPA Grand Challenge

The DARPA Grand Challenge is an autonomous vehicle research and development program with the goal of developing technology that will keep warfighters off the battlefield and out of harm’s way. The Urban Challenge features autonomous ground vehicles maneuvering in a mock city environment, executing simulated military supply missions while merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating busy intersections, and avoiding obstacles. While it has military purposes the program reminds me of Brad Templeton's ideas of robotic vehicles for use by regular people in regular cities.

An autonomous ground vehicle is a vehicle that navigates and drives entirely on its own with no human driver and no remote control. Through the use of various sensors and positioning systems, the vehicle determines all the characteristics of its environment required to enable it to carry out the task it has been assigned. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, Public Law 106-398, Congress mandated in Section 220 that “It shall be a goal of the Armed Forces to achieve the fielding of unmanned, remotely controlled technology such that… by 2015, one-third of the operational ground combat vehicles are unmanned.

Clearly this stems from American unwillingness to send troops into harms way. We tend to rely on bombing even though bombs dropped from airplanes are difficult to accurately target and result in collateral damage. Just ask the Chinese whose Yugoslavian embassy was bombed (supposedly accidentally) by U.S. forces, and think about all the accidental bombings of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq the last few years. It would seem that using robotic military vehicles runs the risk of the robots going awry.

The war in Iraq has proved a fertile testing ground for autonomous and unmanned vehicles of all kinds.

The 2005 report to Congress says their 2004 test involved a 142 mile route but no vehicle completed more than 7 miles. Yet with that paltry completion they call it a success. There were nearly 200 teams in the 2005 contest.

Their first challenge was a qualifying exam where the vehicles were sent through a 2.5 mile course laid out at an airfield. The 2.5-mile route included waypoints with associated speed limits and route width and was provided to teams in advance. Course features were representative of the GCE desert course: a narrow opening (cattle gate), a relatively steep uphill/downhill section, a vehicle-passing test, and a 100-foot tunnel that blocked GPS signals. Each team was offered three or more opportunities to run the course. Vehicles were evaluated on their ability to remain within course boundaries, avoid obstacles, and finish as quickly as possible.

The vehicles which qualified then were sent on a 132-mile route contained a series of graduated challenges beginning with a dry lake bed, narrow cattle guard gates, narrow roads, tight turns, highway and railroad underpasses. Travel surfaces included broken pavement, gravel utility roads, and off-road trails. The route featured more than 50 turns of at least 90 degrees, leaving only a slim margin of error for vehicle navigation systems. In many areas, vehicles that left the center of the route were quickly mired in soft sand or faced impassable conditions. Vehicles passed through tunnels and avoided more than 50 utility poles situated along the edge of the road. The route culminated with Beer Bottle Pass, which featured a steep, narrow downslope with a sheer drop-off on the side. Course speeds varied from 10 mph in sections deemed unsafe for higher speed, to 40 mph on the
dry lake bed. Completing the 132-mile route required approximately 6 hours at the defined course speeds. Each autonomous vehicle was monitored by DARPA via a real-time tracking system and was followed by DARPA personnel in a control vehicle equipped with an E-stop system.

The third competition of the DARPA Grand Challenge, known as the "Urban Challenge", took place on November 3, 2007 at the site of the now-closed George Air Force Base (currently used as Southern California Logistics Airport), in Victorville, California. The course involved a 96 km (60-mile) urban area course, to be completed in less than 6 hours. Rules included obeying all traffic regulations while negotiating with other traffic and obstacles and merging into traffic.



External Media

Narco-Dollars For Beginners How The Money Works In The Illicit Drug Trade


An in-depth series of articles documenting the system of laundering profits from the narcotics trade and how it negatively affects the legitimacy of America's legal, political and corporate climate.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

John McCain's ads are LIES. Here's the video proof.

We have to spread the truth about McCain ourselves because it's clear the corporate media won't. NOW. FAST. FURIOUS. EVERYWHERE.

We are in the two-minute drill with no timeouts. No more sitting on the sidelines and allowing the McCain campaign to rack up points with countless distortions.

As we've seen with The Real McCain 2 (nearly 4.5 million views and counting!), once the truth gets out, it's hard to stop. In the last few days we have seen a disgusting descent into the worst of sleazy smear politics. We need to spread the facts and the truth. Send this to your friends and relations, especially if they are unsure or undecided—they're more willing to believe you than a talking head!

Spread the truth. Don't wait. It starts with you.


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