Saturday, January 7, 2012

If you don’t have anything nice to say, drag out the politicians.

I guess there is absolutely nothing else happening in the World than the U.S. political plague that we like to call “The Primaries”. This axiom is valid if you simply tune to any “news” outlet on your television, or other e-device. These bastions of worldly intelligence and communicative skills are expecting me to believe that the conflicts in the Middle East have called a time-out? They want me to believe that the financial crisis in Europe is on hold until after the New Hampshire primary. They want all of us to believe that the line-up of candidates for the Carolina primary is more important than folks across this Nation who are sinking into poverty by the tens of thousands.
There is an occasional acknowledgement that this primary voting thing is just a tad too long. I hear very little about the transparency of funding that we, the people, were supposed to experience by now. I do hear a lot about PACs, Super-PACs, and New Improved Super PACs, but I still don’t hear where they get their money. I did the math, and am just wondering what we the people could do with some, or all, of that cash. Me thinks, perhaps, we could climb out of this economic depression we are  involved with. Did I hear someone say “trickle down”?

Note to the media: “Quit it out!”

The people of this Nation don’t really care to hear twenty-three hours of in- depth analysis, only to have that same analysis blown out of the water one hour later by the same people who just analyzed it  This part of our Electoral procedure does seem to be entirely fed, and burped, by our fantastic, omniscient network and cable news organisms. If the “main stream” media would stick to what they usually do best, reporting the news, then none of us would have to endure the vomit inducing assault on our valuable time, and our intelligence.

Next note to the media: “Get a life!”

I am a staunch proponent of our system of governance, when it is practiced correctly. The length, the cost, the useless side-shows, and the inevitable outcome are the elements that actually turn folks off to the democratic process. These are the factors that keep voters from the polls on Election Day. These are the modern day “institutions” that are shoved down our throats for eighteen months every four years.

This is why no man, woman, in their right mind will run for national office. They know they will have wade through a metric ton of horse manure just to get to the starting line. Once at the starting line, they will introduce their family to more than a “pat down” by the TSA.

This is what we get when politics and money collide. Money always wins, and democracy gets flushed down the toilet. I guess, in a perverted way, we all brought this upon ourselves by voting for folks who were ready, willing, and able to stick a knife in our backs once they reached D.C.

Maybe its time to stop being complacent. Maybe its time to stop pleading ignorance. Maybe its time to get our heads out of the sand. Maybe, just maybe, its time to tune in, not drop out, and go to the polls this November with some knowledge and some resolve that casting a vote can make a difference.

No more notes to media:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mideast = Center of Turmoil!

Time Magazine: Vol. 179, NO. 1 / 2012
OMG, pigs can fly! Finally something of value from the folks at Time Magazine. Specifically, the first edition of 2012 has a cogent article on the Middle East that is on the one hand graphic and on the other hand reasonably accurate in its presentation of some of the major problems. This is more gas on the fire that the United States will most likely be sucked into, if only for our Treaties with Israel. The tow-page spread on pages 26 & 27 lay out the situation very clearly. It’s a shame that from Libya to Iran, from Yemen to Turkey, the Arab Spring is headed toward the Arab Bloodbath. It seems to me that folks in this region of the World have a passion with in-fighting, tribalistic land grabs, and a general distaste for each other. I do hope that the United States resists the temptation to once again play global peacemaker, and get involved in something we will regret more than anything we have done to date.

A Map of Trouble
What will the Middle East look like in a year? Private intelligence firm Stratfor plots the possibilities:

The country will remain in a state of contained chaos. In the absence of centralized power, fissures will continue to develop along east-west and tribal fault lines in the scramble for political power and rights to oil revenue. Militias will be the tool of choice for various competing factions.

The Jewish nation remains economically and militarily robust, but its national security rests on its peace treaty with Egypt, a Jordanian government favorable to Israel and a Syrian government that--while on the surface hostile--has quiet understandings with its local enemy. Uncertainty in Israel's neighborhood will grow, but Israel alone lacks the means to significantly influence the outcomes of any of the political crises surrounding it. In Syria, the most immediate case, Israel fears that the collapse of the current regime could lead to an Iranian-allied Islamist government in Damascus. Israel may thus face a more immediate threat from Iran on its northern frontier than from Tehran's nuclear-weapons program.

President Bashar Assad, backed by Iran, is running an intensive crackdown to keep the Assad clan in power. But even if he quits or is removed, the balance of power may not shift

The future of Lebanon rests in ethnically and religiously divided Damascus. If the Syrian regime survives, Iranian-allied Hezbollah will see its position in Lebanon dramatically strengthened; if Assad's rule collapses, an element of restraint imposed on Hezbollah by Syria disappears. The former scenario appears more likely. Either way, this will be a difficult year for Lebanon as proxy battles intensify between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Whatever civilian government emerges from the elections, keep one thing in mind: the military will retain control. The Egyptian opposition is deeply divided and lacks the weight to force the military to yield power. In fact, as unrest compounds the difficulties of daily life, the public will increasingly view the military as a source of stability. Egypt's insular focus on its economic and political troubles will undermine its ability to patrol the Sinai buffer region, thus increasing tensions with Israel.

Dramatic economic growth has made it the largest economy in the Islamic world and one of the fastest growing in Europe, but the pace will slow. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's cautious experimentation with his new role as leader of a regional power will continue, but Turkey will not undertake foreign adventures, certainly not alone.

An ideological tussle over conservative leadership has turned into open warfare between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

President Ali Abdullah Saleh promised to step down after February's elections. But a new government is unlikely to bring peace to a country beset by decades of civil strife

It is difficult to see how the Syrian regime can be overthrown without outside intervention, given that internal opposition groups are divided and disorganized. Military intervention, which would have to be led by the U.S., does not appear likely. The campaign in Libya took seven months, and Libya's defenses were not nearly as robust as Syria's. And unlike Libya, Syria is not a significant oil producer. The emergence of fractures within President Bashar Assad's clan cannot be ruled out, and Assad could be coerced into making a political exit. But Iran's goal for Syria is overall regime preservation, regardless of the political personality in power in Damascus.
Saudi Arabia

The Saudi royals face the rise of Iran and uncertainty about the U.S.'s ability and willingness to guarantee their interests. Unrest in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia's Shi'ite-dominated and oil-rich Eastern province are warnings of Iran's ability to exploit instability. With increased Iranian influence along their northern border, the Saudis will face an extraordinarily difficult decision in 2012: maintain faith in their dependence on the U.S. for their national security or reach a painful accommodation with Iran. We expect the Saudis will choose the U.S., given the limits on Iranian power, but the Saudis will need demonstrations of U.S. will and ability to play a dominant security role in the Persian Gulf.

Iraq will not become an Iranian satellite, but Tehran will be able to exert tremendous influence to secure its western flank. Iraq--particularly northern Iraq--will become a more visible arena for Iranian-Turkish competition, since Mesopotamia is the primary place for Turkey to work on limiting the spread of Iranian influence. The vacuum created by the U.S. withdrawal will lead to a general deterioration in security conditions in Iraq as sectarian fault lines again come to the fore.

This will be a decisive year for Iran. The U.S. withdrawal from Iraq leaves Iran the pre-eminent military power in the Persian Gulf. Knowing this window of opportunity will not remain open long, Iran will try to consolidate and extend its new regional influence. As long as Iran is able to keep its allies in Syria in power and thus make them even more dependent on Tehran for survival, Iranian influence will stretch from Afghanistan to Lebanon. Even without that foothold in the Levant, Shi'ite-led Iran is in a position to intimidate Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. Iran is still operating under considerable constraints, however, and will prove unable to fundamentally reshape the politics of the region in its favor.

Bahrain will remain under heavy Saudi influence and continue to host a significant Gulf Cooperation Council security presence. It exemplifies the Persian Gulf dynamic: Iran can create problems that the Saudis must respond to, but Iran cannot create more problems than the Saudis can manage. Iran, whose support for the mostly Shi'ite uprising in 2011 caused tension between Iran and Bahrain, is content with Bahrain's being a long-term problem for the Saudis.

Jordan's Hashemite rulers face a large Palestinian population that has little love for the royal family. But this dynamic is not new, and the same factors that have allowed the Hashemite government to survive for decades--an excellent army and security apparatus--remain in place. Jordan will work to build credibility among Islamists and among its non-Jordanian population to help manage its unrest.

After the 2011 political crisis, 2012 will be a year of reconsolidation for outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh's faction. It will work to engage the most formidable elements of the opposition while taking advantage of foreign backing to re-entrench itself in the key organs of the state. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) will continue to benefit from Sana'a's distractions, but Saudi Arabia's dominant role in Yemen and continued U.S. operations in the country will act as a check on AQAP's expanded influence.

o   Power struggle
o   Economic crisis
o   Religious or ethnic conflict
o   Internal violence

Stratfor, based in Austin, Texas, provides intelligence and analysis to corporations, governments and individual subscribers,9171,2103273,00.html#ixzz2ozCIcuXU

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fasten your seatbelts

Fasten your seatbelts, and put your
trays in the upright position

Start putting two and two together in the Middle East, and you quickly realize that the entire world is in for a bumpy ride over the next four to five years. Scroll back in time on “we The Peeps 1”, and you’ll get a little more of an understanding of what is being said on this “times 24/7” web site.
<Thank God, it’s not the New York Times.>
Strung together loosely, these two stories in particular seem to indicate that, even though we may “recover” from this Depression, the real purchasing power of Americans will be greatly diminished for quite some time. During this period, The Middle East will be engrossed in turmoil the likes of which we have not witnessed in some time.
The United States simply won’t have the cash on hand to get deeply involved, and the American Public will not stand for the government printing and/or borrowing any more money. This may be of great benefit to the Western powers, none of whom can afford this sort of conflict. The turmoil will necessarily be an “Arab” responsibility. They will have to pay for it with oil money.
The OPEC member States may not have any substantial customers for their oil in the coming years, as countries focus their economies on oil independence and alternative energy sources. The big question is; “Will the entire Middle East fall under radical Islamist rule?”
That age-old “domino theory” may turn into a modern day “domino reality”. This, of course, puts Israel smack dab in the middle of all this upheaval. Can they survive? Will they cave in to a Palestinian State simply to survive themselves? If current Treaties and mutual defense agreements remain in place, does the United States have a contractual obligation to get involved in the defense of Israel?
I don’t know if anyone in our government has the answers, but I’ll bet a nice lunch that they’re wrestling with every aspect and outcome. If they aren’t, then we have another problem, altogether. I hope this News format will wake some folks up to what’s unfolding all around them, so, through awareness, this Nation will be prepared for the aforementioned bumpy ride.

Erratic Iranian Behavior Points to a Dangerous Year

Erratic Iranian Behavior Points to a Dangerous Year
LIGNET, a global intelligence and forecasting site, says that Iran will be the wild card of 2012, and her actions in the coming months could foretell peace or war. LIGNET adviser Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, offers his blunt assessment of Iran, calling it “the single most worrisome topic” the U.S. security community faces.
The LIGNET analysis includes:
• Gen. Hayden’s assessment of Iran’s recent announcement that it has enriched its first nuclear fuel rod
• Amb. John Bolton’s assessment of the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran, and the timing of such an attack
• Amb. Otto Reich’s surprising information about Iran’s growing influence in Latin America.
Iran’s next major move will have serious implications for Gulf states like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Experts also warn about serious oil price fluctuations in the months ahead based on Iran’s actions and volatility in the region.
This detailed LIGNET analysis is compiled by veteran former CIA and other U.S. intelligence services and is available to subscribers. Users may sign up for free summaries or a risk free trial subscription to access the full LIGNET analysis.

Please read this Urgent Analysis about Iran – Go Here Now

These articles tend to tie in the theme of what is capable of ocurring in the Middle East in the very near future.

Ohio Fracking Wells Closed After Earthquakes

Folks, This should not only make you take a second look at this practice, but should also scare you just a wee bit. This was in the “Common Dreams” e-mail I receive on a daily basis. I don’t usually re-post their material, but I thought the subject of “fracting” was too important to let slip.

Published on Monday, January 2, 2012 by
Ohio Fracking Wells Closed After Earthquakes

CNN REPORTS                                                                                Graphic from ProPublica

"State leaders have ordered that four fluid-injection wells in eastern Ohio will be "indefinitely" prohibited from opening in the aftermath of heightened seismic activity in the area, an official said."

"Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer had announced on Friday that one such well -- which injects "fluid deep underground into porous rock formations, such as sandstone or limestone, or into or below the shallow soil layer," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explains -- was closed after a series of small earthquakes in and around Youngstown."

"Then on Saturday, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck that released at least 40 times more energy than any of the previous 10 or more tremors that had rattled the region in 2011."

The New York Times notes that:
"The latest quake, the 11th since mid-March, occurred Saturday afternoon and with a magnitude of 4.0 was the strongest yet. Like the others, it was centered near a well that has been used for the disposal of millions of gallons of brine and other waste liquids produced at natural-gas wells, mostly in Pennsylvania."

"The waste, from the process called hydraulic fracturing that is used to unlock the gas from shale rock, had been injected under pressure into the well, which is 9,200 feet deep. Scientists had suspected that some of the wastewater might have migrated into deeper rock formations, allowing an ancient fault to slip. Similar links between disposal wells and earthquakes have been suspected in Arkansas and Texas."

Now, on the lighter side of the argument, If you allow the oil companies to pursue this practice, there way be a benefit that we are all overlooking. By creating “small” earthquakes in minor fault systems, they may well be relieving the pressure on other, more active fault systems. Tell me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the people who live on and around these other major fault systems be jumping for joy? By lowering the earthquake risk in these more active areas, the insurance premiums should take a substantial nose-dive. also, building codes could be significantly relaxed to allow for the less expensive building methods to be reintroduced.
Oh, happy day!