Monday, June 27, 2011

Protesting Governor Walker's bill signing ceremony,Fox Valley Tech 6/26/2011

After last minute arrangements (as noted here) to rearrange the bill signing ceremony Wisconsin people can still find where to protest the corporatization of life in the state. Once again sparsely covered in what passes for news in Wisconsin.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Late Night Molvaer

More Bad Behavior In Fitzwalkerstan

The Milwaukee Journal reports today on worse than usual bad behavior in the corporate fiefdom once known as Wisconsin. Sunday was to be the great signing ceremony for Walker's notorious budget bill however the the venue had to be changed at the last minute due to the awkward fact that the CEO of the corporation where this was to take place is a convicted felon tax evader. More here. Mean while newly reelected Wisconsin Supreme Justice David Prosser has apparently been physically assaulting his colleagues according to this report. I cannot even make this shit up.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oligarchs Gone Wild: Artemy Troitsky vs. Lukoil Executive

Грани-ТВ: Концерт в поддержку Артемия Троицкого

Artemy Troitsky, the leading rock critic in Russia has been sued for focusing attention on a corrupt Russian cop who shielded an Oligarch from Lukoil, who killed two women in an automobile accident , and walked away. Yuri Shevchuk and others are seen on the above video doing a benefit concert on Troitsky's behalf. The Moscow News has details here and here. Sounds similar to the asshole in Florida, Ryan LeVin, who killed 2 British tourists and now is under house arrest in a beautiful mansion as "punishment". Oligarchs are treated the same wherever they are which shows they have more in common with one and another rather than the populace from which they come and exploit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

End Game In Wisconsin

One can only hope that we will be Watching Scotty Go in the near future but the the struggle here is reaching a point of existential survival for progressives of all stripes in the state. This has seen a demonstration of what a unitary corporate state looks like where the executive, legislative, and judicial branches march in lock step to corporate interests over and above the populace. This really opens the question of what recourse is available when the whole game is rigged from voter suppression, unenforced open meeting laws, to a crooked corporate judiciary. Our local representatives of the oligarchic kleptocracy are now looking into how to derail recalls in the future as per TPM:

"Wisconsin is now undergoing a novel summer election season for the state legislature, with six Republican and three Democratic state senators facing recall elections as a result of the political battle over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation. Indeed, the Republican-controlled state Senate could potentially see a Democratic takeover, depending on how the elections turn out -- and after that, the Dems have vowed to wage a recall drive against Walker himself next year.

So in response, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) says he would like to introduce legislation later this year, making it harder to recall state officials.

To be clear, this could have no effect on the recalls that have already been certified to go. And what's more, the state GOP leaders would be unable to simply pass a bill to get rid of recalls in Wisconsin. The right of recall and the procedures involved are very clearly spelled out in the state constitution, and can only be changed via a long and slow amendment process -- which would require that the legislatures chosen in two consecutive election cycles both pass an amendment by simple majorities in both houses, and then submit the amendment to a statewide referendum."

The time may be coming where the electoral and judicial processes may have to be abandoned and strikes (legal or not), boycotts, and civil disobedience will be the only effective means of expression for the majority of the populace in the face of overwhelming corporate money and influence.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nebraska Nuclear Accident and Strange Goings On at The TSA

The newspaper The Nation of Pakistan, as well as the Russian nonproliferation site, Nuclear No, report on the near meltdown at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant near Omaha:

"A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant located in Nebraska.
According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a “no-fly ban” over the area.
Located about 20 minutes outside downtown Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant is owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) who on their website denies their plant is at a “Level 4” emergency by stating: “This terminology is not accurate, and is not how emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified.”
Russian atomic scientists in this FAAE report, however, say that this OPPD statement is an “outright falsehood” as all nuclear plants in the world operate under the guidelines of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) which clearly states the “events” occurring at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant do, indeed, put it in the “Level 4” emergency category of an “accident with local consequences” thus making this one of the worst nuclear accidents in US history.
Though this report confirms independent readings in the United States of “negligible release of nuclear gasses” related to this accident it warns that by the Obama regimes censoring of this event for “political purposes” it risks a “serious blowback” from the American public should they gain knowledge of this being hidden from them.
Interesting to note about this event was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chief, Gregory B. Jaczko, blasting the Obama regime just days before the near meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant by declaring that “the policy of not enforcing most fire code violations at dozens of nuclear plants is “unacceptable” and has tied the hands of NRC inspectors.”

The Nuclear No article goes on to make some what appear to be unrelated comments relating to the coal industry and more interestingly, security operations by the TSA, which are confirmed in this report from the Marietta Times:

"Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and several federal, state and local agencies will participate in a scheduled exercise designed to enhance security in the Ohio-West Virginia area. TSA has partnered with local law enforcement to conduct thousands of similar operations from coast to coast. This is a scheduled operation, not related to a specific threat.

The exercise will cover approximately 5,000 square miles throughout Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. The participating teams are composed of a variety of TSA assets including federal air marshals, canine teams, inspectors and bomb appraisal officers. They will be joined by state and local law enforcement officials to supplement existing resources, provide detection and response capabilities. The exercise will utilize multiple airborne assets, including Blackhawk helicopters and fixed wing aircraft as well as waterborne and surface teams....
Federal partners participating with TSA in the operation include the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, FBI and Federal Air Marshals.

State of Ohio participants include the Ohio National Guard, State Highway Patrol, Emergency Management Agency, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Public Safety, Department of Transportation, Office of Homeland Security, City of Columbus Fire Division bomb squad, Ohio Fusion Center, several sheriff's offices and departments of emergency management.

West Virginia participants include the Department of Military Affairs & Public Safety, Division of Natural Resources, State Police, Office of Homeland Security, West Virginia National Guard, West Virginia Fusion Center, several sheriff's offices and departments of emergency management.

In addition to federal, state, and local assets, several other non-government entities are participating in today's operation."

Altogether strange stuff. The Nebraska near meltdown was an event very much under reported and anything involving the TSA outside of airports makes one wonder.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

American Decadence And Decline: A Potpourri

Peter Marmarek at Tikkunista brings together four sources which highlight yet another few weeks in the Bizzaro world known as the U.S.A. Here are some exerpts:

"Corruption and decadence doesn’t occur all at once; it’s a progressive disease with no clear tipping point. Part of it lies in the rise of the conservative movement post-Goldwater, when wealthy conservatives began to bankroll think tanks and media organs who were more interested in waging political warfare than getting facts right. Part of it is a pop-media culture that lets an ignorant buffoon like Rush Limbaugh or a bizarre whack-job like Glenn Beck become influential voices in our national debate. Part of it is the culture of non-accountability that is pervasive in official Washington, where the frauds that helped produce the financial crisis of 2007 barely get investigated, or where a Deputy Secretary of Defense can play a key role in causing the Iraq debacle and then get rewarded by being named President of the World Bank, screw that up too, and bail out to a safe sinecure at a D.C. think tank. As L’affaire Weiner demonstrates, in today’s America, you’re more likely to derail your career by sending some lewd and idiotic tweets than by sending thousands of your fellow citizens to their deaths (along with tens of thousands of Iraqis) in an unnecessary war......"

"Americans live in a late capitalist society where the rich have gotten many times richer and the middle class has gotten poorer, where Wall Street bankers have stolen us blind and blamed us for living above our means, where persistent unemployment is worse than in the Great Depression, where most politicians and some judges have been bought by corporations or special interests, where authorities actively conspire to keep people from voting, where the government spies on citizens assiduously without warrant or probable cause, and where the minds of the sheep are kept off their fleecing by substituting celebrity gossip, sex scandals, and half-disguised bigotry for genuine news....."

"With Tea Party conservatives and many Republicans balking at raising the debt ceiling, let me offer them an example of a nation that lives up to their ideals.

It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country: fewer than 2 percent of the people pay any taxes. Government is limited, so that burdensome regulations never kill jobs. This society embraces traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility. Nobody minds school prayer, same-sex marriage isn’t imaginable, and criminals are never coddled. The budget priority is a strong military, the nation’s most respected institution. When generals decide on a policy for, say, Afghanistan, politicians defer to them. Citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags.

So what is this Republican Eden, this Utopia? Why, it’s Pakistan."

"Let’s be clear: Prison is for poor people. Prison is not for rich people. Prison is for people who cannot buy their way out.

We can only assume that this is what a judge in Broward County, Fla., Barbara McCarthy, learned back at St. Thomas University Law School in northwest Miami — justice is blind, unless you’ve got money, in which case justice is a cash register.

Maybe you caught the news story over the weekend. An overgrown brat from suburban Barrington Hills, Ryan LeVin, 36, who had run over and killed two men while drag racing his Porsche in South Florida, was sentenced by Judge McCarthy to a mere two years of house arrest — in one of his wealthy parents’ luxury oceanfront condos — after agreeing to write big checks to the victims’ widows.

LeVin could have been sentenced to up to 45 years in prison for killing the two British businessmen and fleeing the police, and in fact nobody in Broward County can recall another time when a person found guilty of such a crime did not serve time in prison…."

Read the whole series here...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Messer Chups - Super Megera

Another helping of Russian surf-lounge music from Messer Chups.Towards the end you can hear Dick Cheney yelling "Torture! Torture! It pleasures me!"

Thursday, June 09, 2011

People Of Walmart

This video lends credence to the words of George Clemenceau:

"“America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.”

Monday, June 06, 2011

Last Canadian Mission In Afghanistan

From the Globe and Mail:

"More than five years after taking charge of security in one of the most violent regions in Afghanistan, Canadian troops wrapped up their final combat operation with a two-week sweep through a rural swath of Kandahar that was undisputed Taliban territory just a year ago.

The offensive, conducted with a bulked-up Afghan National Army brigade in the lead, marks Canada’s last days in the long and deadly war. All combat troops are set to withdraw this summer, 5½ years after the mission in Kandahar began."

And from the Waterloo Record:

"Ten years ago, Canada and other countries involved in the invasion of Afghanistan talked of bringing stability and peace to that famously distressed country. Instead, we succeeded only in exporting Afghanistan’s instability across the border into nuclear-armed Pakistan, which now faces its own fundamentalist insurgencies.

Ten years ago, we talked — as the Russians did during their abortive occupation — of helping Afghan women and girls.

Like the Russians, we probably did help some. But like the Russians (or Soviets, as they were known in those days) we have been unable to transform a culture that is fundamentally misogynist into one more to our liking."

Even a hopeless dork like Harper gets it. When will we?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Messer Chups - Swamp surfing

America, Running On Myths And Fumes: Shale Gas

No doubt everyone has been exposed to the wondrous claims of the large oil companies concerning the virtues of shale gas. This, we are told, will be the salvation of America if we would just chill out and let the oil companies work their magic. This is in spite of the doubts regarding a key feature of this industry namely hydraulic fracturing or "fracking". Now a Canadian energy expert has published a report that brings into question many of the economic and geologic assumptions that the public has been fed on this topic:

"The first says that the shale gas revolution will miraculously create 100 years worth of methane; the second chorus maintains that the price of natural gas, a volatile commodity, will stay low for decades; and the last chorus says that natural gas will green the economy and arrest climate change. Hallelujah.

But a new report by J. David Hughes, one of North America's foremost coal and gas experts, challenges every single one of these faith-based assumptions with hard science and clear-eyed math. In the stunningly lucid 64-page report for the Post Carbon Institute, Hughes squarely concludes that all three assumptions are highly questionable, if not total "impossibilities."

"Hughes is no wide-eyed greenie or industry basher. He happens to be one of Canada's most credible energy scientists. The geologist worked for Natural Resources Canada for 32 years and mapped Canada's coal and coal bed methane fields. He has also served on Canada's Natural Gas Potential Committee and is regarded as one of the continent's top global energy analysts. (B.C. politicians take note: Hughes lives on Cortes Island on the West Coast.)"

Here are some of Mr Hughes' more salient points:

"For starters, industry hubris simply defies the law of thermodynamics. From 1990 levels, U.S. gas drilling tripled to 33,000 wells per year between 2006 and 2008 before collapsing back to 20,000 wells. In order to build a modest 21 per cent increase in natural gas production, the gas industry constructed a complex infrastructure nearly 100 per cent larger than what previously existed in 1990.

"What matters are flow rates and how fast the gas can be produced," explains Hughes. "There may be 100 years worth of methane in the ground, but it may take 800 years to produce it." Meanwhile, conventional gas production in both Canada and the U.S. is declining rapidly. In other words, shale gas might temporarily replace some of the air leaving the conventional gas tire -- but not for long.

"Next come the resource's extreme economics. A shale gas well with multiple fracks costs between $2 million and $10 million to drill. But unlike a conventional well, which declines between 25 and 40 per cent in its first year of production, a shale gas well drops like lead from 63 to 85 per cent. So, an initial whale of a return bought by fracturing an industrial scale land base (and watershed) abruptly becomes a sardine in short order.

Due to the high amount of capital, energy and water needed to frack a formation at high pressure, shale gas is expensive and is only economic in the best portions of today's shale plays. But due to over-drilling and the recession reducing demand, the actual market price has sunk to below the cost of production in many areas.

""One thing is certain," adds Hughes. "Shale gas is expensive gas, much of which is marginally economic to non-economic at today's gas prices. The resource will require unprecedented rates of drilling to grow production, and we will need higher prices to justify that. We'll have to carpet bomb landscapes in Pennsylvania and New York with rigs and gas production infrastructure -- those folks haven't seen anything yet."

Last but not least, Hughes demolishes the claim that shale gas is green. For years, scientists generally assumed that the burning of natural gas produces 44 per cent fewer greenhouse gas pollutants than coal. But that's no longer true.

A recent study based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, for example, found that the cleaner-than-coal claim fell to 25 per cent or less when scientists included methane leaks or "fugitive emissions" from wells and pipelines.

Two Cornell University studies went even further. After accounting for methane vents and leaks over the lifetime of a gas well, (and methane is a much more powerful climate changer than CO2 over the first few decades), these studies found that shale gas has few or no climate change benefits.

According to Hughes' analysis, shale gas repeatedly comes out a loser compared to dirty old coal for power generation over the next half century."

Quite frankly Americans are desperate for anything that might promise jobs or gas or both and the oil companies know this. Meanwhile as Dave Cohen points out at his excellent blog, Decline of The Empire, witless politicians stir up the clueless populace with promises of gushers to come:

"Run, Sarah, Run! With Ms. Palin in the Oval Office, there would be no doubt whatsoever that America is a joke. For every person on Earth outside the 50 states, America's fall from grace would become too obvious to ignore. Just imagine the fruitful consequences. For example, the only way to expose the futility of "Drill, Baby, Drill" is to drill, baby, drill. With no new oil forthcoming from those allegedly bountiful reserves in Alaska and unexplored parts of the outer continental shelf, it might occur to Americans that using less oil—for real!—is the only true path to salvation. And that's just one example. The possibilities are endless."