Saturday, July 10, 2010

Islamic Ruler of Dubai

Who rules the nation that has the largest man made harbor on earth and the busiest U.S. Navy port of call?

Who rules the nation that was given permission to take over a military hardware producing U.S. company?

Who rules the nation that has the tallest building on earth?

Who rules the nation that has the largest airport in the world?

Who rules the nation that received billions of U.S. taxpayer money in the TARP bailout?

Who rules the nation that has the headquarters for Dick Cheney's company Halliburton?

Who rules the nation where AIG did a lot of shady business?

Who rules the nation that would have ruled over U.S. ports if Bush II had his way?

Who rules the nation that has luxurious villas purchased by U.S. taxpayer dollars, gushing from the U.S. Treasury into Afghanistan, then to this ruler's realm?

For some mysterious reason the answer is Mohammed.

On January 4th, 2006, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed (Mohammed) became the Ruler of Dubai.

On January 5th, the members of the Supreme Council elected Sheikh Mohammed the Vice President of The United Arab Emirates (UAE):
Islam is the official religion, and Arabic is the official language.

The arrival of envoys from the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 630 heralded the conversion of the region to Islam.
(Wikipedia, emphasis added). Soon after Mohammed became Ruler of Dubai, Dick Cheney's company Halliburton moved its world headquarters to Dubai:
Halliburton Co., currently the largest military contractor in Iraq with billions of dollars in Pentagon contracts, announced Sunday that it was planning to move its CEO and corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Run by Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995 to 2000, Halliburton has a five-year, $16 billion contract with the U.S. Army and total revenues of $22.6 billion in 2006.
(ABC News). Meanwhile, Halliburton receives huge subsidies from U.S. taxpayers [updated link] as well as no-bid (no competition) contracts.

So why are the gun sights of U.S. rifles made with bible verses printed on them that shoot at Muslims?

Is this yet another "mysterious foreign policy thingy" where we were for Islam before we were against it, or vice versa?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome vs. The Ecosystem - 2

The stakes are high in today's oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, in the case Hornbeck Offshore vs Salazar (Secretary of Interior).

The Obama Administration ordered a moratorium on new oil drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal District Court Judge Feldman ordered that moratorium stopped, holding that it was arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful.

The Obama Administration appealed, the Fifth Circuit judges expedited the matter, so this afternoon oral argument will be heard on the issue of whether the appellate court should overturn the district court by staying the injunction, and instead allow the moratorium to proceed pending a full appeal.

The case at this point is composed of two elements, court deferment to administrative agency decisions, and the extreme remedy of an injunction.

Dredd Blog has acquired documents filed in the case, and will share some of the argument which the court may or may not find convincing.

The Obama Administration in its Reply, filed 7/6/10, sums up its position as follows:
In response to an unprecedented and ongoing disaster, the Department of the Interior acted to prevent the possibility of further environmental and economic harm from another oil spill by suspending deepwater drilling in the Gulf for 6 months. The district court’s order preliminarily enjoining that action misperceived Interior’s authority, the rationale for the suspensions, and the relative harms present in the Gulf. Plaintiffs and amici rely on those same misperceptions in opposing the motion. When Interior issued the suspensions in this case, oil had been flowing into the Gulf for more than a month. And it continues to do so today — with catastrophic consequences to the environment and local economy — despite repeated efforts, using every available technology, to stop it. Because this deepwater spill has been impossible to fully contain, Interior had to take immediate action to minimize the risk of another spill, especially while efforts to contain and clean up this one are ongoing. The stakes are even higher now that it is hurricane season. The suspension orders give Interior time to further implement 22 already-identified new safety measures and to develop others as it gathers more information. Therefore, that decision was a rational exercise, under emergency circumstances, of Interior’s substantial discretionary authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and its own regulations for suspending lease operations. The district court was wrong to substitute its judgment for Interior’s and enjoin those suspensions. This Court should stay the district court’s order.
(REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR A STAY PENDING APPEAL, page 2). To support its argument it cites FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., where the Supreme Court held:
The Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U. S. C. §551 et seq., which sets forth the full extent of judicial authority to review executive agency action for procedural correctness, see Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 435 U. S. 519, 545-549 (1978), permits (insofar as relevant here) the setting aside of agency action that is "arbitrary" or "capricious," 5 U. S. C. §706(2)(A). Under what we have called this "narrow" standard of review, we insist that an agency "examine the relevant data and articulate a satisfactory explanation for its action." Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Assn. of United States, Inc. v. State Farm Mut. Automobile Ins. Co., 463 U. S. 29, 43 (1983). We have made clear, however, that "a court is not to substitute its judgment for that of the agency," ibid., and should "uphold a decision of less than ideal clarity if the agency's path may reasonably be discerned," Bowman Transp., Inc. v. Arkansas-Best Freight System, Inc., 419 U. S. 281, 286 (1974).
(FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 129 S.Ct. 1800, 1810 (2009)). Thus, the issue for decision will be whether or not the district court inserted its own decision in place of a valid decision of an administrative agency.

The Obama Administration went on to argue that Hornbeck has not shown it will suffer irreparable harm, admitting that it has no interest in the leases themselves.

The court denied Secretary Salazar's motion to lift the stay, holding as follows:
1. The motion for stay pending appeal is denied because the Secretary has failed to demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable injury if the stay is not granted; he has made no showing that there is any likelihood that drilling activities will be resumed pending appeal.

2. The Secretary has the right to apply for emergency relief if he can show that drilling activity by deepwater rigs has commenced or is about to commence. Any renewed motion for stay will be evaluated on existing circumstances.

3. It is further ordered that this appeal be expedited to a merits panel. The clerk will establish an expedited briefing schedule so the appeal of the preliminary injunction can be argued on its merits during the week of August 30.
(Court Order, filed 7/8/10). The decision was 2-1, Judge Dennis dissenting, who said he would have lifted the stay.

Obama Administration opens up more of Alaska to oil drilling.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome vs. The Ecosystem

We know that there are thousands of damage lawsuits against BP by various plaintiffs.

Those plaintiffs allege that their livelihoods and well being have been disrupted or damaged by the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, and therefore they want BP to make them whole.

Those cases are "damage cases", and they all tend to follow a familiar pattern, the Exxon Valdez pattern.

However, two interesting cases are making their way through the federal courts that touch upon the soul of toxic energy vs the well being of the earth, and they follow a different pattern.

The first is Comer vs Murphy Oil (Comer), a case against big oil for causing global warming which caused Katrina to become greater than it would have without global warming, hence greater damage to the plaintiffs.

The second is Hornbeck Offshore v Salazar (Hornbeck), which concerns the moratorium on offshore deep water drilling imposed by the Obama Administration in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, which said moratorium was stopped by federal judge Feldman.

Since Comer is "on ice" until the plaintiffs in that case decide to petition the Supreme Court or not to, this post will focus on Hornbeck as it now sits in the appellate court.

I looked over the Hornbeck docket, and found, among other things, that the case has been assigned to judges "WED, JES, and JLD", which seems to be clerklatin for "Judge Davis, Judge Smith, and Judge Dennis".

Interestingly, Judge Dennis, appointed by Clinton, was one of the judges on the panel in the Comer case (above), who said the plaintiffs in that case should be allowed to move forward in their case based on global warming (the other two judges on the panel who agreed were appointed by Reagan).

Judge Davis thought an en banc hearing could be granted, even though there were not enough regular judges for an en banc rehearing, by using visiting appellate judges; Judge Smith disagreed with Judge Dennis in the motion for a rehearing en banc in the Comer case mentioned above.

The odds, then, do not strongly favor the Obama Administration in their motion to lift the stay on the moratorium pending full appeal.

Oral argument on the motion is scheduled for a hearing tommorrow, July 8, 2010 in New Orleans.

Many amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs have been filed for both sides, so I will only mention a few of the amici.

Those in support of big oil and drill baby drill: State of Louisana, Senator Mary Landrieu, Diamond Offshore, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, LA Oil & Gas Assoc., Greater Houston Partnership, Mobile Area Chamber Of Commerce, LA Assoc Of Business & Industry, Shreveport Chamber Of Commerce, Ruston Lincoln Chamber Of Commerce, Natchitoches Chamber Of Commerce, Baton Rouge Chamber Of Commerce, New Orleans Chamber Of Commerce, Lafayette Chamber Of Commerce, Ascension Chamber Of Commerce, Iberia Chamber Of Commerce, St. Tammy Chamber Of Commerce, Thibodeaux Chamber Of Commerce, River Region Chamber Of Commerce, Houma-Terrebonne Chamber Of Commerce, Bayou La Batre Chamber Of Commerce, SW LA Chamber Of Commerce, LA Assoc. Of Chambers Of Commerce Executives, So. Crop Prod. Assoc., Mississippi Assoc. Bldrs. & Contractors, Plaque Mines Assoc. Of Business & Industry, Harvey Canal Industrial Assoc., Greater New Orleans, Inc., Independent Petroleum Assoc. of America, and International Assoc. Of Drilling Contractors.

Those in support the Obama Administration's position: Florida Wildlife Federation, Center For Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Defenders Of Wildlife.

The hearing tomorrow will concern whether or not to lift the stay pending the case on appeal, so the arguments pro and con will be highly technical in nature, in terms of legal precedent, and will focus on the law concerning injunctions.

The list of those arguing for doing more drilling reads like a who's who of Stockholm Syndrome sufferers vs. those who want the human and other species to avoid ecocide.

Imagine a "hype" (needle using drug addict) laying on a bed with vomit all over them only wanting another fix, compared to another hype in pain of withdrawal because they are struggling and want to kick the habit and live.

A new story supports this assertion: 27,000 Abandoned Oil Wells In The Gulf are not inspected for leaks.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bring The Economy Home - 3

In a recent post, Bring The Economy Home - 2, we gave some estimates of the impact it would have on the U.S. economy if we did not have the nation building economy we call the war in Afghanistan, where "your money" becomes "their money".
Everyone knows of some of the corruption in Afghanistan, but it is the actual degree of the corruption that is breath taking:
Billions of dollars are being secreted out of Kabul to help well-connected Afghans buy luxury villas in Dubai. Amid concerns that the money could be the result of corruption, American politicians have temporarily cut off aid to the Afghan government.
(Der Spiegel). The main stream media of MOMCOM is unlikely to say a whole bunch about the Afghanistan war, except to parrot the pentagon talking points propaganda.

Bring the economy home stupid.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Empire Strikes Back - 3

This is a follow up to the post The Empire Strikes Back - 2 to show that the MOMCOM empire is relentless in its suppression of the free press.

The General McChrystal episode shook-up the military portion of MOMCOM, as well as the media portion of MOMCOM.

In response to the embarrassment Secretary of Defense Gates issued orders to batten down the hatches so as to avoid such embarrassment in the future.

They also changed the name of one of their divisions from Psychological Operations to Military Information Support Operations, an act that is propaganda based itself, because they are trying to cover up the "psy ops" they do everywhere, including in the U.S. itself:
Who is SSI?

The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College publishes national security and strategic research and analysis which serves to influence policy debate and bridge the gap between Military and Academia.
(The Intellectual Warmonger). MOMCOM wants academics to speak the language of Pentagonia, capitol of Bullshitistan, just like the main stream media has been trained to do.

The main stream media went to battle with Rolling Stone for publishing the McChrystal article that caused the furor in the first place, but I think they did so because it shows the main stream media is nothing more than a member of the MOMCOM establishment who's job is to keep the people deceived about many things.

This pattern shines through in the Deepwater Horizon toxic oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico as well.

The Guards of MOMCOM fame ban free access to various cleanup areas and to refineries, to name a few.

As in the McChrystal affair, what they really want cleaned up is free press journalism that exposes them for what they are: propagandists.

This blog expected that behavior from the beginning, because when you have a "leopard" stalking at night you have stripes and you have stars.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Unanimous Declaration - 2

Last year, on the 4th of July, the Declaration of Independence was posted. A few days later (time for the hangovers to subside) in a post the question was asked "Independence From What?", indicating that it was not a person or place our ancestors sought independence from, but as we will see, it was from certain ideas. Of the list of items set forth as the reasons for declaring independence from The Ideology of the British Empire, was the reason:
He [the king] has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
(Independence From What?). The king made the military subject to himself alone, and imposed the military upon "the little people". Recently President Obama removed a general from a command because that general was promoting disrespect toward civilian power. Nevertheless, according to a general who later became president, that may be an illusion because, while we left a place, the idea we thought we left has returned like a weed returning to a garden:
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual --is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
(President Dwight Eisenhower, emphasis added). The Unitary Executive Theory was preached during the Bush II Regime years in a manner that made it indistinguishable from the notion of a king-high priest who did his own thing, the rest of the government be damned. During the Bush II daze the president was wrongly called "The Commander In Chief" of the people, a perversion of his command of only the military:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States
(Article II, Section 2, emphasis added). The office of the president is not commander in chief of the people. Originally "commander in chief" only applied temporarily when the nation was in a war declared by congress, because we did not have "standing armies" back then like we do today. We have come a long way baby, but it has not all been in the direction of the freedom once envisioned.