Did the House of Representatives Just Restart the Cold War?

AP260584078413-590It would probably be a shock to some (although likely not you) that the American government doesn’t quite function like you were taught in H.S. Civics, (They do still teach civics, in high school, don’t they?) or in those cute little “Schoolhouse Rock” clips on ABC.

There are all sorts of little tricks and tweaks to get something through without too much scrutiny or too many WTF questions. One of those tweaks is called “unanimous consent”.

Ok, right now you’re probably asking yourself, “How the hell the house would ever even unanimously consent that the sun rises in the east”? The Regressives would probably claim that in the southern hemisphere, it comes up in the west. (And, the baggers would believe them.)

Let me explain. “Unanimous consent” is a parliamentary motion in which legislative rules can be suspended and any bill can be called up. However, if any member of Congress objects, the motion is blocked and the bill dies.

As you can imagine, with 435 Representatives, you have to be mighty careful how you use this. Someone is always likely to have an objection And, if they do, the whole bill is DOA. However, if you wait until late in the evening when there are very few people in the chamber, you stand a much better chance. In the late evening of December 11th, there were only three members present in the house chamber.

  • 10:23:00 PM; Pennsylvania 6th District Regressive, Jim Gerlach asks for unanimous consent to discharge from committee and consider H.R. 5859 “To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes.”
  • 10:23:54 PM: H.R.5859 considered by unanimous consent.
  • 10:23:55 PM: H.R. 5859 passes without objection. (Damn! That was quick.)

The bill, as you may have noticed in the title, is supposedly aimed at imposing new sanctions on Putin’s Russia, such as:

  • Heavier sanctions on energy, banking and the military;
  • $60,000,000 to meddle in Russian affairs. Excuse me, “to improve democratic governance and transparency, accountability [and] rule of law” in Russia;
  • $30,000,000 for anti-Russian propaganda in the countries of the former USSR;
  • A declaration that Russia is a nuclear “threat to the United States” and should be held accountable;
  • A demand that Russia dismantle all ballistic and cruise missiles with a range between 300 & 3000 miles. (No country would or could agree to that demand and still survive.)

There are also a few other tidbits thrown in:

  • Provisions to privatize Ukrainian electricity, gas and oil along with $50,000,000 to assist in a corporate takeover (Exon will love this!);
  • $20,000,000 for “democratic organizing”  (i.e. influencing elections) in Ukraine. (That’s worked out well (NOT!) in Iran, Chile and a number of other countries.)

I grew up listening to Republicans capitalizing on the Cold War to get elected to office. (Fear works very well with them, or haven’t you noticed that after the last election, you hear a lot less about ISIS and ebola.)

Unfortunately, it looks like they’re back to their old Cold War tricks. Stay tuned!

 

The Sellout Senators, Recognize Yours?

Senate-Vote-CRomnibus-e1418520008863-620x436In passing the Cromnibus (Crappy Omnibus) Bill, 32 Democratic & independent Senators voted to give banks, billionaires and bloated military budgets lots of nice presents.

Of course, someone has to pay for the lavish gifts. Along with the CTTC & IRS cuts, there were other bituminous boulders in the holiday stocking.

There’s a strange coincidence surrounding those who voted for Cromnibus and those that didn’t. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, those who voted for Cromnibus received, on average $322,000 from the finance/real estate/insurance industries. That compares to $162,000 to those who didn’t.imrsSo who are the “sell-out senators”? Here’s a list:

AK: Mark Begich; AR: Mark Pryor; CO: Michael Bennet, Mark Udall; CT: Chris Murphy; DE: Tom Carper, Chris Coons; FL: Bill Nelson; HI: Brian Schatz; IL: Dick Durbin; IN: Joe Donnelly; LA: Mary Landrieu; MD: Ben Cardin, Barbara Mikulski; ME: Angus King; MI: Debbie Stabenow; MT: John Walsh; NV: Harry Reid; NH: Jeanne Shaheen; NM: Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall; NY: Chuck Schumer; NC: Kay Hagan; ND: Heidi Heitkamp; PA: Bob Casey; SD: Tim Johnson; VA: Tim Kaine, Mark Warner; VT: Pat Leahy; WA: Patty Murray; WV: Jay Rockefeller; WI: Tammy Baldwin

Remember these pseudo Dems! The next time they ask for you to vote for them, ask them why they didn’t vote for you!

Rick Perry 2016: Oval Office or Club Fed?

Rick-Perry-2Rick Perry (I call him “the Rickster”) wants to be the century’s second Texan president. However, it seems that he’s run afoul of the law and I’m not sure if the Constitution addresses the issue of moving the White House to the Big House.

Le’ me ‘splain!

On June 10, 2013, the Rickster’s p.r. flack admitted that he (Perry, not the flack) had threatened to veto $7,500,000 in state funding for the Travis County district attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, unless the district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, resigned within a week. That’s kind of a huge NO NO!

Actually, it’s four huge NO NOs.

  1. Coercion of a public servant;
  2. Official oppression;
  3. Abuse of official capacity;
  4. Bribery.

When the D.A. refused to buckle under, Perry vetoed the $7.5 million.

Now, the Rickster’s not known for being the brightest Bubba in the bathhouse, but what in the name of Sam Hill, was he thinking(?) about?

Well, one possible explanation might be that the D.A.’s Public Integrity Unit was investigating Perry’s office for possible corruption charges. Three guesses (two not counting) as to who would appoint Ms Lehmberg’s replacement.

Now, Perry’s people will tell you that this has nothing to do with that. This, they claim, is because Ms Lehmberg was arrested on a DWI. They even have video!

Ms Lehmberg pled guilty, served her 45 day sentence, went through a treatment program and pledged not to run for re-election.

However (Why is there always a “however” with these types?), DWI convictions didn’t seem to bother the Rickster when Republican D.A.s, (Swisher County’s Terry McEachern & Kaufman County’s Rick Harrison (twice)), were convicted for the same offense. Of course, they weren’t investigating Perry’s people.

Then there was Jim Stick, a former state rep who was busted for DWI in 2011. The Rickster subsequently appointed him Chief Legal Council for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Need I mention that Mr. Stick is Republican?

Another explanation spun, is that this is all a Democratic plot to embarrass the Guv and hobble his possible presidential run. (Though, as we saw in 2012, the Rickster is completely capable of handling that chore himself.)

Ms Lehmberg is indeed a Democrat, but she’s about the last one in the story. Both the judge (Bert Richardson) and the prosecutor (Michael McCrum) are Republicans. In fact, Mr McCrum served as a federal prosecutor under George Bush (the elder) and as a top federal prosecutor under George Bush (the duh). (If it’s a “partisan plot”, then the GOP’s out to get the Rickster.)

In August, the Travis County grand jury indicted Perry on two of the felony charges, “Abuse of official capacity” and “Coercion of a public servant”. Mr McCrum stated that he had found evidence for all four felonies, but went with the two strongest cases. When asked about the charges, the Rickster said they were for bribery and he couldn’t remember the other charge.

The first thing that Perry’s legal eagles did was to try to get the whole thing thrown out on a technicality. According to them, Mr McCrum did not properly take his oath of office when he was appointed back in Aug, 2013. Therefore, everything he had done in 15 months, including the indictment, was null and void.
The judge didn’t buy it!
“This court concludes that Mr. McCrum’s authority was not voided by the procedural irregularities in how and when the oath of office … was administered,”
Now, Perry’s lawyers are arguing that the charges should be tossed because the laws they’re based on are unconstitutional. The judge will rule on that in a few weeks.
I have a gut feeling he’s not going to purchase that case of cow cookies either.
Stay tuned! The tame-stream media has been mostly ignoring or pooh-poohing this story, but when it proceeds to trial, I guarantee you they won’t.

Open Carry Mom Declares Open Season on Husband & Stepdaughter

9293_960877503938037_491743483253100073_nOk, let me get a couple of things out of the way before we get started. I am not anti-gun, however I do tend to be anti-shooting of anything living.

I’m also not anti-gun owner. I’m fascinated by medieval swords, but that doesn’t mean that I would ever hack someone to death with one, any more than the average gun owner would be irresponsible with their usage. Gun-Butt Heads, on the other hand……

Speaking of which, the biggest gb heads seem to be the “open carry” crowd, parading around with their phallic substitutes showing.

Now, they’ll tell you that they’re patriotic ‘Muricans (complete with a Confederate flag sticker on their pickup) that are jist standin’ up for their 2nd ‘mendment rights. (Or rather, their twisted version of those rights.) Anyways, ain’t no way they ain’t no responsible gun owners.

Well……..maybe not all of them.

“Gun-toting Texas mom shoots, kills estranged husband and his adult daughter before driving to mental hospital: cops” New York Daily News (12/12/2014)
23F558AE00000578-2869489-image-a-26_1418269136394
Veronica Dunnachie, the “gun-toting Texas mom”, has a picture on her FaceBook page showing her with her “hog-leg” holstered on her hip. The pic has an Open Carry Tarrant Co. registration mark. There’s also a number of pics showing her with Open Carry Texas Bubbas and Bubbets. From appearances, it seems that she’s at least a fangirl, if not a full fledged member of one or both.
Oh, and there was one more item of note on her profile. A pic with the words:
“Sometimes removing some people out of your life makes room for better people.”
Mr & Mrs Dunnachie were in the process of getting a divorce and evidently she was unhappy about something. Being a member of the “guns are the solution” crowd, it seems she decided to live her philosophy.
On Wednesday, the 10th, she sent of her kids to school and took another to the baby sitter. Then she went husband hunting.
When she arrived at her husband’s house, his 20 year old daughter by a different marriage was there, so she shot her as well. After the killings, she called a friend and told him that she had just shot her husband. Then she drove herself to a local mental hospital, where she was arrested a bit later for the double murder.ej7dkcsxikih9xd9lh6n Of course, Texas is a “stand your ground” state, so maybe the pistol packin’ mama will claim that they yelled at her and she felt threatened. As she wrote on a FB pic,
“Mama didn’t raise no victim.”

Is Anyone Going to be Held Accountable for Torture?

Torturing someone is against the law, PERIOD!!! (And a few exclamation points.)CIA,+portugal,+filhos+de+puta,+cavaco+silva,+durão+barroso,+sócrates

(a) Offense.— Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(b) Jurisdiction.— There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if—

     (1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
     (2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of   the victim or alleged offender.
(c) Conspiracy.— A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy. 18 U.S. Code § 2340A – Torture
 If you’ve read the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on CIA torture, or the media reporting on it, you are aware that torture was committed by a number of CIA operatives. Not only that, but responsibility goes way up the chain of command. (That conspiracy section of 2340A is a bitch!)
 I’m not going to belabor the fact that torturing turned out to be counter-productive on several levels, including being a terrorist recruitment bonanza. Nor, am I going to expound on all the lying and covering up that was going on. Others will more than cover those aspects. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the call for justice.
 As might be expected, the report’s release has renewed calls from around the country and the world, for prosecutions of the torturers and the conspirators who paved the way.
Torture is also a crime under international law as laid out in the 1984 U.N. Convention Against Torture, which the US ratified in 1994. In reaction to the senate report, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights stated,
“In all countries, if someone commits murder, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they commit rape or armed robbery, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they order, enable or commit torture – recognized as a serious international crime – they cannot simply be granted impunity because of political expediency.”
The U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-terrorism had this to say,
“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever.”

And then, of course, there’s the famous Geneva Convention that we also signed on to.

“No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflected on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

So, torturing is against the Geneva Convention (which we signed), the U.N. Convention Against Torture (that we ratified) and against our own laws. Now, the question is: WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

In fairness to the current administration, this is a heck of a hot potato. If we bring Bush League and the Bozos to trial, all hell is going to break loose politically. (Can you say “Constitutional Crisis”?)  However, if we don’t do it, we’ve opened the door to any future administration that wants to throw law out the window because there’s no consequences for doing that.

So, what’s it going to be? Are we a nation of laws with equal justice for all, or are we a nation of political expediency and corruption of the law?

School Board Elections DO Count!

boundary_banner_swWhen it comes to elections, most people concentrate on the major positions (governor, senator, president, etc.) and the ballot measures they’re hyped about. The lesser positions get a lot less scrutiny. (Quick. Name two of your county commissioners!…….Hell! Name one!)

Unfortunately, the list of lesser positions includes local school board members and it shouldn’t! If America has any future, it depends a great deal on the quality of our schools.

I hate to break it to you, but right now, we’re not doing too hot in the education department. Compared to the rest of the developed world, we SUCK! Our kids rank 27th in math, 22nd in science and worst of all, 33rd in reading skills.

Obviously, something needs to be done. That’s part of the reasoning behind CORE. But that’s a subject for another post. This one is about the importance of paying attention to the aforementioned school boards as exemplified by one such critter: the Gilbert Arizona Unified School District.

Arizona is a RED state (“Papers Please Law“, Jan Brewer, white supremacist border vigilantes ad nauseam). Maricopa County is even redder. Think Joe Arpaio, “America’s toughest sheriff”. (And, one of its biggest bigots.)1222-sheriff-Joe-Arpaio_standard_600x400Gilbert, (pop 208,000+) is one of the redder parts of the county and has the 4th largest school district in the state. A few short years ago, it was rated one of the better in the state. Of course, this is in a state that ranks 51st in expenditures per student ($6,708), so don’t get too excited.

Prior to the November, 2012 election, the board was on the conservative side, but only had one tea potty type out of five members. The election brought two more on the board, giving them a 3 – 2 majority.

I’m not going to list all the weirdness going on, or this post would be almost book length. I’m just going to touch on some of the low lights. You can check out a lot more juicy details here.

January 1, 2013: Two new right-wingers get elected to the Gilbert Unified School District school board. The two, who campaigned on bi-partisan cooperation, turn out to be anything but bi-partisan. As for cooperation, that means you cooperate with their agenda.

June 7, 2013: The school board votes 3 – 2 to quit the Arizona School Boards Association. It seems that at a training session, some of the ASBA members griped about the Republican legislature’s educational budget cuts. Proof positive that they were obviously partisan.

Not only that, one of the new t.p.types (Julie Smith) got her feelings hurt at the training session.

“They (the ASBA) went over what they believe, like ‘do’s and don’ts. I interpreted some of the specific examples as targeted toward me and toward Daryl Colvin,” (The other new t.p.t.)

One of the “don’ts” the ASBA mentioned was to implement school prayer. That was something, according to her campaign, that was near and dear to Mrs. Smith.

February 5, 2014: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowers bond rating from AA- to A+ The rating reflects a “swift decline in the district’s financial position”. The board refuses to place a budget override on the ballot to make up for lost revenue.budget-info-picMarch 25, 2014: In the 1st three months of 2014, 94 certified staff, including teachers, reading specialists, six principals and three assistant superintendents resign.  Another 77 classified and support staff join them. The previous year had less than half the resignations and none were principals or district officials.list_resignations1There is a rumor that there is a list of personnel who will not have their contracts renewed. The t.p.t. Chairperson says she will look into the cost of investigating that rumor. (Can you say “Sweep it under the rug”?) Whether or not the rumor is true, it seems to be the prevailing wisdom among administrators, teachers and staff.

October 29, 2014: The board by a 3 – 2 margin, vote to redact (aka “censor”) two pages of an A.P. biology textbook that covered contraception . (Uncle Adolf would be sooo proud!)  GILBERT-web4-blog427I guess they “just say no” to anything but abstention. (Yeah, good luck with that!)

October 31, 2014: Moody’s Investors Service lowers bond rating from A3-A1.  According to Moody’s, “The downgrade to A1 reflects the district’s continued weak financial performance, which is characterized by limited reserves and resulting heavy reliance on short-term borrowing,”

November 4, 2014: A new election is held, with five candidates for two seats. Three of the candidates, including one incumbent, lean more moderately. The other two are more tea party types, one of whom comes loaded down with political endorsements from local, county and state politicians.

But, it seems sometimes, that enough is enough, even for the reddest among us. Two of the moderates, including the incumbent are elected. They take office on the 1st of January. The t.p. type with all the endorsements comes in fourth.

November 18, 2014: A plan is supposed to be submitted as to the easiest and cheapest way to go about censoring the textbook. Instead, the board postpones discussion on the topic to an indefinite date. (Hopefully, after January 1st.)

Meanwhile, other Arizona districts that use the text, say that nobody has complained about it.

One small victory in one unlikely case, but any step forward is a hell of a lot better than a step back.

 

The Gay Didn’t Pray Away

john-smidWhile perusing the New York Daily News (Hey, I need a good chuckle now and then!) I ran across a story about an ex-head of a “pay to pray the gay away” (also known as “conversion therapy”) ministry that had married his partner.

At first I thought this was yet another instance of a hypocritical anti-gay activist finally owning up to his (or her) own homosexuality. I figured the irony of the situation ought to be good for a snark or two, so I decided to do a little research. Turns out, the marriage may be the least interesting part of the story.

In 1980, John Smid, (That’s him on the left.) came to the conclusion that he was gay and divorced his wife. Four years later, he came to the conclusion that he was just confused and was really straight after all.

“Homosexuality always comes out of a distorted view of oneself”

In 1986, John joined the leadership of Love In Action, a pay to pray the gay away group. (You didn’t think they were doing this as a public service, did you?) By 1990, he was the executive director, remaining in that post for 18 years. He also sat on the board of directors of Exodus International, an umbrella network of “ex-gay” groups, for 11 years.Exodus-BillboardIn 2005, a teenager who had been forced into an LIA program by his parents, posted the rules of the program, which sparked a Tennessee state investigation. The investigation determined that there was no child abuse, but LIA had been operating two “unlicensed mental health supportive living facilities” and dispensing drugs. LIA agreed to quit doing those naughty things, then turned around and sued the state of Tennessee for religious discrimination.

Two years later, after watching a documentary on conversion therapy and its effect on the LGBT community, John shut the program down. A year later John left LIA and opened up a fellowship, Grace Rivers, for Christian gays.

A couple of years after that, he posted an apology to the LGBT community.

”I want to say I am very sorry for the things that have wounded you or hurt you by my hands of leadership at Love In Action or anything I have done personally that has harmed you.” “Please forgive me.”

In 2011, he announced that he really was gay.

Around that time, he met his future mate, though according to John, they didn’t start dating until a year ago. Late last month, John married his partner.

Sometimes, people really do grow up!

A post script or two:

Love In Action is no longer Love In Action. As of March, 2012, it’s “Restoration Path“.

So if you or a loved-one are afraid of gay, there’s still a way to pray it away (if you’ve got the bucks). If you can’t make it to Memphis, there’s distance counseling for $500. If you are fortunate enough to live close by, have Skype or even a telephone, one-on-one counseling is available for $75 an hour. And, if you’ve got a real bad case of the “gay”, there’s a 4-day intensive option for just $2,000. (Price does not include transportation or lodging.)

Sadly, (NOT!) Exodus International is no longer with us. In June, 2013 it shut down. In announcing its end, EI’s president, Alan Chambers, (who is also gay) apologized to the LGBT community.

“I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.”

The war is being won, but there are still battles to be fought!

Duggars Delete The Gay Away

14471366-standardThe last time I visited the Duggars of “(Way Too Many Kids) and Counting” fame, it was to take a peek at their religious take on man – Woman relationships. (Very male dominated!)

Btw, if you haven’t been formally introduced, the head Duggar is Jim-Bob. He’s the daddy. The mommy is Michelle, and I have absolutely no idea who all the kids are.

I spent some ink (digitally speaking) on their attitude towards SEX! If you believe the “Official Line”, there’s no canoodling (that means kissing, oh ye of the polluted minds) until the ring is on the finger and the bouquet has been tossed. After that, it’s your duty to make a hutch of horny rabbits jealous.

But, it’s all for a holy cause. They’re trying to out-populate the heathen (aka atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, other Christian sects, etc.) so they can dominate the world. They belong to the Quiverfull Movement part of the Christian Patriarchy, a very conservative bunch of Christians. (Actually, they seem more Old Testament oriented to me.)

Being good religious conservatives, they are not exactly gay (original definition) over the existence of gays (current definition) and other associated “immoral” types. (Quick question: If Big Daddy hates gays so much, why the hell does he make so many of them? Inquiring minds want to know.)

Last August, in between trips to the bedroom and the maternity ward, Michelle took time to record a robocall warning the fine citizens of Fayetteville, Arkansas of the dangers of a proposed law against housing and employment discrimination. It seems, according to Mrs Stepford, I mean Duggar, that the law would allow transgenders to use the opposite bathroom and endanger the town’s precious children. Because, according to Michelle, transgenders are child predators. Seriously, that’s what she said. Take a listen.

The Duggars’ latest gay episode started with a kiss. (A brief pause, so you can go “Ahhhhh”.) The kiss was between daughter Jessa (She who did not “canoodle” prior to the aisle walk.) and her new hubby. Jim-Bob and Michelle thought that was so downright cutesy, dognabit, they posted one of their own.10517532_553971734736480_7206251313618851014_n Then they invited their “married fans” to post some of their theirs.

“God designed marriage to be a loving, dynamic relationship between a husband and wife for a lifetime. God loves marriage and it is supposed to be full of love, joy, fun and romance. Marriage is where romance belongs! Recently, Ben & Jessa received some criticism for posting a kissing picture. We are so grateful they waited to share their first kiss until after marriage. We’ve been married 30 years and are still in love! We had fun trying to duplicate Ben and Jessa’s happily married kissing picture. We challenge all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here.”

Jim-Bob seems to have totally blanked on the fact that in a number of states, some married couples don’t have different plumbing.

Two of the lip-lock pics submitted were from a pair of nice young couples, all four with prominent Adam’s apples. Well, they did say “all married couples”.

Lickity split (or in a reasonable facsimile thereof) the photos were deleted to avoid offending any more innocent eyes. I’ve seen a report that the senders were also blocked, but I haven’t run across confirmation, so I won’t mention it.

Since the incident, the Duggars are keeping their profile low, other than issuing a statement that sort of says that they don’t hate gays. (They just don’t want their pictures around.)

“We love these wise words from Rick Warren: ‘Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. Second is that to love someone means that you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

On the other side of the gulf, there is a petition circulating, asking TLC to cancel the Duggar’s show. The petition started after the Michelle robocall, but has picked up speed because of the FB incident. Currently it’s over 6400 names.

 

Is Canada Killing Keystone?

pipeline_pathFirst, a bit of background for those who, like me, only peripherally paid attention to “Keystone”. (I’m in Oregon. We have our own pipelines to fight about.)

The Keystone Pipeline itself, has been in operation since 2010. It was constructed to transport petroleum from the Alberta oil sands area to American refineries. It runs from Hardisty Alberta across to Manitoba and then down to Steele City, Nebraska and on east to Patoka, Illinois. All the current hullabaloo is about Keystone XL, a proposed shortcut that skips Manitoba and most of Saskatchewan by heading southeast through Montana. keystone-pipeline-system-mapWithout going into all the gory details, most of the rational opposition has centered around the pipeline crossing environmentally sensitive areas and the Nebraska portion of the Ogallala Aquifer. The aquifer is a prime source of irrigation from Texas to South Dakota, as well as providing drinking water for around 2,000,000 people.

As we have seen over the last few decades, pipelines tend to leak from time to time and there’s a danger that the leakage might contaminate the aquifer.  And, wouldn’t you know it, plants aren’t all that fond of petroleum in their drinking water. For that matter, neither are humans. (Well, maybe an oil exec or two, but not normal humans.)

On the pro-pipeline side, the argument is jobs, JOBS, JOBS! To hear the backers tell it, this sounds like the ticket to Employment Paradise. In reality, it will add 1950 construction jobs lasting two years, or 3900 for one year, depending on how you want to count. As for permanent jobs, just 35.

Oh, and the oil that comes down the pipeline, goes to the highest bidder, not necessarily the good ol’ U.S. of A. Doesn’t help our oil dependence a damn bit.

Obama has been stalling (“waiting for further studies”) for quite some time now. However, with the Repugnuts primed to take over congress entirely, they’re feeling frisky. Friday, the house passed a bill approving the pipeline. The senate, spurred on by Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu’s bid to save her seat,  is set to take up the measure this week.

Over at 1600 Pennsylvania, the word seems to be that Obama has decided he’s against it (at least until those “further studies” are done) and has his veto pen loaded and ready.

BUT WAIT! This whole dog fight may be moot.

Canada seems to have discovered that it has its own refineries and oil port in Saint John New Brunswick. Not only that, but there’s all this existing pipeline that can be extended and re-purposed for the task.

Thus was born the “Energy East Pipeline Project”

Image courtesy of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Image courtesy of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

It would involve building a 171 mile pipeline extension from Hardisty to Burstall, Saskatchewan. From there the oil would flow over 1860 miles of existing, but re-purposed pipes. Connected to the other end of those pipes would be an export terminal and another 700 mile extension to Saint John, with its refineries and supertanker port. Saint John’s port has a geographic advantage over gulf ports in that it’s closer to the lucrative European and Indian oil markets.

On the 30th of October, TransCanada Corp. formally proposed building the pipeline, spending C$12,000,000,000 (that’s $10.7 billion in Benjamins and assorted dead presidents.)

By several accounts, the Harper government in Ottawa is on board. (In politically safe comments, in case the whole thing goes kablooie.) As the Director of Communications put it, the government supports the  “diversification of markets for our resources.”

Although not due for regulatory approval for 15 months or more, TransCanada is treating this like it’s a done deal.

“With one project,” Energy East will give Alberta’s oil sands not only an outlet to “eastern Canadian markets but to global markets. And we’ve done so at scale, with a 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline, which will go a long way to removing the specter of those big differentials for many years to come.” Alex Pourbaix, Executive Vice-President and President, Development

While I wouldn’t bet against it, it ain’t quite a done deal quite yet. There are still a few turtles to hurdle. Canadian “green groups” don’t cotton to the idea and all six of the crossed provinces have to get on board.

To avoid some of the environmental opposition, the proposed pipeline avoids all major Canadian aquifers. And, when Edmundston, New Brunswick complained that its drinking water was at risk from the pipeline, TransCanada moved it 2 1/2 miles.

Quebec may be a problem as well. They have an abundance of hydroelectric power and are more interested in renewable power projects. Plus, there’s the sticky matter of the pipeline crossing the St. Lawrence, the source of much of their drinking water.

Another hassle (but probably not) is the lowering oil prices. Under a certain price point, the economics turn to the red side. However, unlike the South, oil prices are going to rise again.

Also, if Energy East is built, is Keystone XL even economically feasible? And, will that make any difference, anyway?

Once again, stay tuned!

 

 

Klan Threatens To Get Lethal On Ferguson Protesters

klan-jpg1They’re baaack! Once again, the Klan is rearing its ugly head. This is its 3rd incarnation, and it’s a mere shadow of its former self. They’ve been mostly out-slicked by other bastions of bigotry with more modern renditions of the same old song.

Currently there are 26 (sort of) related Klans with over 160 chapters spread out over 41 states. More than 100 of those chapters are based in the “slave states”. (Surprise! Surprise!)  At its peak, the 2nd incarnation (circa 1921-1930) boasted 6,000,000 anal pits. Current membership is 0.1% of that (6000)

One of those Klan Branches, the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (TAK/KKK), has a chapter in Potosi, MO. that has taken it upon themselves to keep the Ferguson, MO streets safe from all those peaceful protesters, terrorists! And, by golly, if they have to get lethal on their asses, they’ll be glad to do it.10678753_1021719734521766_6059695512298309535_nIf the grand jury investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown results in protesters taking to the streets, and these thugs are armed and looking for a confrontation (And, don’t believe for a second that they’re not.) this could get nasty. Of course, if it’s Whites out protesting an indictment, don’t worry. The Klan probably won’t even show up.

In an interview with the Riverfront Times, the head sheethead (Imperial Wizard) Frank Ancona, didn’t apologize for the flyer. Instead, he bragged what a great recruitment tool Ferguson had been to his “brothers of the hood”,

“These Ferguson protesters are the best recruiters since Obama,” he says. “Normally we might hear from ten people a week in Missouri, and now we’re hearing from more like fifty people a week. Sometimes, depending on these news stories, we get 100, 200 calls in a day.”

 

Then, on Wednesday Frank talked to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

In the interview, Frank claims to have had off-the-record conversations with the police

Ancona: “A lot of them are very frustrated with how the governor has sided with the criminals in a lot of instances,”

Hayes: “Wait a second, you have law enforcement talking to you off the record, confiding in you as a Grand Wizard of the KKK? You’re telling me that you have local law enforcement talking to you, personally, off the record?”

Ancona: “I’m telling you, I have friends who know people in law enforcement. Let’s just put it that way.”

Naturally, I wanted to do some research on the man and the Klan. (Yes, Virginia, I research before I rant!)  I tried reaching his Klan’s website several times, but kept getting the “Server not found” message. Their FaceBook page is empty as well. Wikipedia thinks he’s the other Frank Ancona that owns a car dealership across the state.

Linkedin lists him as having attended high school and worked in a machine shop at one time. In his summary, he states:

“As the Imperial Wizard (President) of the Traditionalist American Knights I set the agenda, goals and direction of the organization. I assist all Realm (state) leaders in developing their territory. Working together as a team and a unit we strive to increase awareness of the destruction of our constitutional rights and the plight of the White race in America. We teach traditional American values and keep alive our heritage and culture as Americans. I set a goal and then I work to see that I meet that goal.”

But, what was really interesting were some of the comments about Frank from a number of his fellow Klansmen of different branches. Aryan Nations is bent out of shape because Frank had his picture with “some Negro“.

The troglodyte site “purifythecause.com” says

“Frank is nothing more than a drug addicted, womanizing, power hungry as@#$le (anal pit). hmm..power hungry? isnt there another kind of people that are power hungry? Isn’t there another kind of people that are power hungry? oh yea, that’s right…JEWS! Well say hello to rabbi Frank Ancona…

Then they list his address and phone number. (All class, these wing-nuts!)

Along the same lines, the Imperial Klaliff of the Loyal White Knights, says the whole TAK branch is illegitimate because the name Ancona is Jewish and Frank’s wife is Wiccan.

“It says that Ancona is a nonwhite name, it’s a traditional Jewish name, Italian, and his wife, the Klan is supposed to be a Christian organization and his wife actually practices the Wiccan religion, which is basically devil worshipping to me where you’re worshipping any God besides God himself. I just thought I’d let y’all know that.”

Stay tuned. The situation in and around Ferguson is tense with the Grand Jury wrapping up and the Klan amping up.
Once past that though, the coming inner-klan conflict should be fun to watch.