Archive for the ‘GOP crime syndicate’ Category

America begins slide into third world status

November 10, 2007
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$Billions for Murder$: the Axis of Bush and Blackwater

October 3, 2007

The real picture is one of murder, theft, and thuggery, a real “Axis of Evil” –George W. Bush, The Pentagon, and Blackwater. US taxpayer dollars trickle down to these hired killers to the tune of some some 1 Billion dollars since 2000. The amount of taxpayer money received by Blackwater is least six times that of our regular military.

Rarely has so much been written, so quickly, by so many about so few. Blackwater, recently called ‘Bush’s Private Army’, is already remembered as having de-romanticized the “Bogart” image often associated with “mercenaries”. As Sen. Lloyd Bentsen reminded Dan Quayle, “You, sir, are no John Kennedy”. And Blackwater ain’t Bogart.

“We saw the costs, in terms of accountability and dollars, for this practice in Iraq, and now we are seeing it in New Orleans,” says Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, who has been one of Blackwater’s few critics in Congress. “They have again given a sweetheart contract–without an open bidding process–to a company with close ties to the Administration.”

— In the Black(water), Jeremy Scahill, The Nation

It’s but the tip of an iceburg, another scam by big government Republicans. See: Federal Contracts to Blackwater USA, Inc.

Because Blackwater is now under investigation, officials will only speak anonymously about its role in recent shootings, “sensitive” discussions among various US agencies and the Iraqi government, and other private security firms in Iraq.

A State Department official asked why the military is shifting the question to State “since the DOD has more Blackwater contractors than we do, including people doing PSD [personal security detail] for them. . . . They’ve [Blackwater] basically got contracts with DOD that are larger than the contracts with State.”

According to federal spending data compiled by the independent Web site FedSpending.org, however, the State Department’s Blackwater contracts vastly exceed those of the Pentagon. Since 2004, State has paid Blackwater $833,673,316, compared with Defense Department contracts of $101,219,261.

Private Security Puts Diplomats, Military at Odds, Washington Post

The Post’s Walter Pincus analyzes one of the contracts under investigation by Congressman Henry Waxman. Blackwater’s mercenaries “earn” more than US generals, including Gen. Petraeus who recently read to Congress a report that had likely been prepared for him by GOP PR experts in the Bush administration. According to Pincus’ analysis, Petraeus makes about $493 a day, not including benefits. Blackwater, on the other hand, charge higher rates for murder. Here’s how Pincus says Blackwater hit men get paid:

Average day-to-day personnel, $600/day salary paid by Blackwater. Blackwater bills Regency, $850/day for operators Regency bills ESS an average of $1100/day for all types of employees ESS charges Halliburton which charges the US based on a per-meal basis (I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Halliburton has some profit worked into this)

Bush, meanwhile, has said US taxpayers need to cough up another $200 billion, a process of outsourcing the US war against the people of Iraq. If the people of the US were willing to “wink and nod” at the utter immorality the Iraq quagmire, what, then, are the US taxpayers to say about the how billions of dollars –almost as much as the amount Ronald Reagan spent doubling the Federal Bureaucracy –that have “trickled down” into the coffers of what is, in practice, Murder, Inc?

It’s time for a reality check –the amount received by Blackwater is an amount at least six times that of our regular military. Never, ever try to tell me that the GOP is “conservative” in any way. It is, rather, a profligate and corrupt organization whose leadership should be under criminal investigations right now.

Blackwater has deep, long ties to the Bush White House and prominent Republicans, including Ken Starr.

When Blackwater contractors guarding a US State Department convoy allegedly killed 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians on Sept. 16, it was only the latest in a series of controversial shooting incidents associated with the private security firm. Blackwater has a reputation for being quick on the draw. Since 2005, the North Carolina-based company, which has about 1,000 contractors in Iraq, has reported 195 “escalation of force incidents”; in 156 of those cases Blackwater guns fired first. According to the New York Times, Blackwater guards were twice as likely as employees of two other firms protecting State Department personnel in Iraq to be involved in shooting incidents.

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will hold a hearing on the US military’s use of private contractors. When Waxman announced plans for the hearing last week, the State Department directed Blackwater not to give any information or testimony without its signoff. After a public spat between Rep. Waxman and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department relented. Blackwater CEO and founder Erik Prince is now scheduled to testify at 10 AM Tuesday.

Bush administration’s ties to Blackwater

My conclusions are confirmed again. The GOP is not a political party, it’s a crime syndicate, a criminal conspiracy. The leadership of the GOP should be investigated by a Federal Grand Jury under RICO (Racketeering) statutes. Freedom of speech does not protect payments to hired killers even if the money is laundered through the White House and the Pentagon. This is organized crime on a scale never dreamed of by Al Capone. In this century, only the gangster Adolph Hitler has come close to organized crime of this magnitude. It seems like only yesterday that the US was called “the World’s only superpower”. Now the many openly call it the “world’s biggest terrorist organization”.

How quickly the Bush v Gore has made of the United States of America a gang of thugs, murderers, thieves, torturers, sadists, and run o’ the mill bathroom stall blowjob artists! I repeat what should be obvious to all but the terminally stupid: the Bush administration, indeed, Bush himself an arch-criminal, liar and thief, is a threat to the world, world peace and humanity. This Bush administration, having long ago violated every provision of the social contract, having flouted its only source of legitimacy, no longer represents the sovereign people of the United States. This illegal and illegitimate regime must be ended now. Given this regime’s utter depravity, the unconstitutional manner in which it seized power and subsequently ruled, any means are now legally justified. I suggest an interested reader review the words of Thomas Jefferson and, likewise, the US Constitution. Bush out now!


Blackwater Hearing: Waxman’s Opening

An update:

AGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The State Department’s initial report of last month’s incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources.

In this September 24 photo, an Iraqi looks at a car that was destroyed during the September 16 incident.

A source involved in diplomatic security at the US Embassy in Baghadad said a Blackwater contractor, Darren Hanner, drafted the two-page “spot report” on the letterhead of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the embassy’s Tactical Operations Center.

That office — which tracks and monitors all incidents and movements involving diplomatic security missions — has outsourced positions to Blackwater and another private firm, the embassy source said.

A highly placed industry source said that Hanner, who was listed on the report as the TOC watch officer, was working for Blackwater at the time the report was written, just after the September 16 incident occurred. He was to rotate out of Iraq this past week, the source said.

The man who approved the report was Ricardo Colon, whom the embassy source identified as the embassy’s deputy regional security officer. A State Department source confirmed a Ricardo Colon Cifredo works for the State Department in Iraq.

Blackwater contractor wrote government report on incident

An Iraqi police officer, directing traffic at Baghdad’s Nusoor Square, witnessed the whole thing and, later, called it “hell”. He said that Blackwater had “became the terrorists” when they opened fire on civilians, an incident the Iraqi government now says was unprovoked.

A 37-year-old Baghadad businessman and a father of four, whose youngest son was killed by a Blackwater bullet, said he wanted no monetary compensation but only for the guards to “admit to the truth.”

The police officer and businessman on Monday gave CNN vivid descriptions of the incident in which a senior Iraqi investigator said 17 people were killed and 24 wounded.

Blackwater USA, the private security contractor hired to guard US diplomats in Baghadad, has said its employees responded properly to an insurgent attack, but the State Department has opened an investigation.

The convoy of four Blackwater vehicles drove into the square about half an hour after a bombing prompted another Blackwater team that was guarding a US diplomat to rush from the area and back to the Green Zone, the enclave in Baghadad where US and Iraqi government agencies have headquarters.

Blackwater incident witness: ‘It was hell’

More:

Participants in a contentious Baghadad security operation this month have told American investigators that during the operation at least one guard continued firing on civilians while colleagues urgently called for a cease-fire. At least one guard apparently also drew a weapon on a fellow guard who did not stop shooting, an American official said.

The operation, by the private firm Blackwater USA, began as a mission to evacuate senior American officials after an explosion near where they were meeting, several officials said. Some officials have questioned the wisdom of evacuating the Americans from a secure compound, saying the area should instead have been locked down.

These new details of the episode on Sept. 16, in which at least eight Iraqis were killed, including a woman and an infant, were provided by an American official who was briefed on the American investigation by someone who helped conduct it, and by Americans who had spoken directly with two guards involved in the episode. Their accounts were broadly consistent. …

Blackwater Shooting Scene Was Chaotic, NYT Chaotic

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Restoring American Democracy: A Proposal

August 28, 2007

It may come as a shock to most Americans to learn that they do not have a right to cast a vote for “President”. Under the US Constitution and amendment 17, the people may vote for US Representatives and US Senators –but not the “President” or the Vice-President.

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress�.

–The Constitution, Article II, section 1, clause 2

As the US Supreme Court observed in the 1892 case of McPherson v. Blacker:

�The constitution does not provide that the appointment of electors shall be by popular vote, nor that the electors shall be voted for upon a general ticket, nor that the majority of those who exercise the elective franchise can alone choose the electors.� �

�In short, the appointment and mode of appointment of electors belong exclusively to the states under the constitution of the United States.�

In 2000, the US Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore reiterated the principle that the people have no federal constitutional right to vote for President or Vice President or for their state�s members of the Electoral College..

�The … citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College.�

The right of the people to vote, to express their preferences, does not itself make a government legitimate. In my view, a government is legitimate only if it represents what is commonly called the “will of the people”. The history of western struggles for Democracy are best understood in terms of how best to determine and to achieve the “will of the people”.

Traditionally, the will of the people is associated with the right of the people to vote and have it counted. It only sounds simple. It is the implementation that is complicated. In the US, for example, the campaigns are too long and too expensive. The primary system is designed to exclude candidates and works against popular participation and consensus. Absurdly long and boring, it turns voters off. It makes the cost of seeking the presidency the preserve of the very, very rich and well-connected. It’s time for a change.

How is the “will of the people” to be accurately identified or assessed? At a time when Europe was ruled by Monarchs, France became the first country to examine the issue in depth. Pragmatic, utilitarian England and America, for example, favored “the greater good for the greater number”, in effect, majority rule. As they are inclined to do, French thinkers complicated the issue with nuance and they were right to do so. They denied, for example, that the “will of Parliament” always reflected the “will of the people”. They denied that a “collective will” is always known with a simple majority vote. Thus, a mathematical quest began for a voting scheme that would accurately reflect the wishes of a given electorate.

The quest is not consigned to the salons of 18th Century France. On election day in modern America, an increasingly smaller percentage of American voters show up to cast their vote for President. The shrinking turnout is due to the fact that an increasingly larger percentage of American voters have lost faith in the system. There is the growing belief that at the end of obscenely expensive campaigns, smears, and red, white and blue ballyhoo, your vote doesn’t really count. It was a feeling often expressed long before the GOP brazenly stole at least two presidential elections. A centuries old French quest is more relevant than ever.

Aside from technical problems, ballot design, voter intimidation, or GOP interference with recounts, the US election of 2000 pointed up basic problems perhaps inherent in the system itself. In the end, Bush cannot be accurately said to have been elected. A court-mandated recount had not been completed when the US Supreme Court returned the infamous, legally untenable Bush v Gore, the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott. In another system, say, an “instant runoff” the Nader vote would have gone to Gore. Other problems are associated with other elections. Is there a single system that will address every problem in every scenario. Nobel prize winning economist Kenneth Arrow thinks not!

Even before the infamous 2000 “election”, it was said: “The plurality vote is the only procedure that will elect someone who�s despised by almost two-thirds of the voters.” Tragically for American Democracy, the “election” of 2000 didn’t even put that statement to the test, let alone, to rest. Everyone talks about reform. That nothing is ever done proves talk is cheap. American elections are expensive and getting more so.

Assuming the American people had both the means and the will to effect reforms –what kind of reform? And how? Optimistically, there are several alternatives to the present system and all require abolishing the much despised electoral college. There are several systems by which the people may elect their President directly. The top two alternatives to the plurality or one-person, one-vote system, are approval voting and a preference system called the Borda count.

In the US various methods of “approval voting” are termed an “instant runoff”. The term “ranked choice” is also used to denote a Borda count specifically. In the UK, the term AV, or “Alternative Vote” is used. In Canada, the term is “preferential ballot”.

Approval voting differs from the current plurality voting method in which voters pick a single candidate that they feel is the best for the job. Thirteenth century Venetians used approval voting to elect their judges. Simply, a voter casts a vote for every candidate that they like or think most qualified. For example, you could pick a favorite mainstream candidate as well as a dark horse like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul. But, you are not limited to any number. In a field of ten, for example, you might check all ten. Under such a system, the winning candidate is simply the one who gets most votes.

Approval voting has several compelling advantages over other voting procedures:

  • It reduces negative campaigning
  • It increases voter turnout
  • It helps elect the strongest candidate
  • It gives voters flexible and simple options
  • It gives minority candidates equal visibility
  • Approval Voting Home Page

There is yet another method by which the “will of the people” may be gauged more accurately. Again, the source is France. It was in 1770 that Jean-Charles de Borda proposed to the members of the Paris-based Academy of Sciences what is now known as a Borda count, a “preference” voting system. It is an approval” method in which the voter does not merely select all his/her favorite candidates but ranks them in order of preference. If there are ten candidates, for example, a first choice gets ten points, second choice nine points, and so on. In the end, the points are totaled and the winner is the candidate getting the highest score.

The leaderships of both major parties will oppose this and other reforms. Approval and/or preference voting systems strike at the strangle-hold major party leaderships exercise over the election process. Secondly, approval voting enables moderately publicized candidates to amass popular support. At last, any truly democratic system interfere with the ability of entrenched political parties to raise millions for campaigns.

It is my hope that the benefits to society will outweigh the objections. Our democracy, perhaps democracy itself, is at stake. There are tangible benefits to reform. Under the current system, the GOP has all but perfected the art of political assassination by “negative campaigning”. Approval systems mitigate against the “swift boat” hit job and against the same tactic by any other party. Disgusted voters would simply withhold their votes from the offending candidates and parties.

If change is in the wind, we may have Bush’s criminality, his incompetence, and his habitual problems with truth to thank. A recent Gallup poll indicates more Americans now identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans �a shift that may give Democrats a long term edge. But will Democrats use that edge to make of the US a better, more democratic nation? Or will the Democrats become as bloated, as arrogant, as ideological, as crooked as the GOP?

Elsewhere there is evidence that the GOP is running scared while GOP positions are often conflicting and hypocritical. Overriding everything else, however, is Bush’s catastrophic war on Iraq, supported by almost every American member of the GOP. Bush’s tar baby is their tar baby and rightly so. A top-down party should be held to account for goose stepping into quagmire! The war against the people of Iraq is a war crime of unimaginable proportions and, by law, those supporting it materially and from leadership positions are just a culpable for Bush’s crimes as were the Nuremberg defendants after World War II. I say: let’s have that trial now!

It has been some time now since Bush lead Democrats on the issue of “terrorism”. It is clear to all but a few diehards, like the Heritage Foundation who attacked me recently, that the war against Iraq has made terrorism worse, just as GOP regimes since 1980 have always made terrorism worse.

It been about a year since a TIME Magazine poll headlined: 3 in 5 Americans now say the nation is headed in the wrong direction. Certainly, nothing has changed for the better since that time. Certainly, if anything, things are made worse by Bush’s perpetual war crime in Iraq. The time has come for a fundamental change. The question is: will the American people seize perhaps the last opportunity they will have as a nation to bring about a “rebirth of freedom”.

An update:

Direct Election with Instant Runoff Voting:

Instant runoff voting (IRV) could be used for Presidential elections with or without the Electoral College. With a direct vote, voters would rank their preferences rather than marking only one candidate. Then, when the votes are counted, if no single candidate has a majority, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. The ballots are then counted again, this time tallying the second choice votes from those ballots indicating the eliminated candidate as the first choice. The process is repeated until a candidate receives a majority, reducing time and money wasted in a normal runoff election.

Instant runoff voting on a national scale has the potential to solve many of the current dilemmas introduced by the Electoral College as well as the problems introduced by some of the other alternatives. It would end the spoiler dynamic of third party and independent candidates and consistently produce a majority, nationwide winner. It also allows voters to select their favorite candidate without ensuring a vote for their least favorite (as often happens when the spoiler dynamic is a factor and a voter prefers a third candidate the most).

Individual states can also adopt instant runoffs without a Constitutional amendment. Unlike proportional allocation, which could be unfair if only used in some states, IRV would not have negative consequences if only adopted by a few states. Each state�s electors would still be appointed through a winner-take-all method, but the IRV states would now be guaranteed to have a winner with majority approval. IRV would be best instituted without the Electoral College though, so that the winner would not just enjoy a majority within any state, but within the entire country.

FairVote: The Center for Voting and Democracy strongly supports abolishing the Electoral College and replacing it with direct elections and instant runoff voting. See our web page on Instant Runoff Voting for more descriptions and visual examples and our page refuting arguments against direct election with IRV.


Bush Sr: No Clue! Like Father, Like Son!

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A List of Right Wing Traitors Wishing for More Terrorist Attacks Against the US

August 12, 2007

"There is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?"

August 12, 2007

May the enemies of Democracy tremble

August 8, 2007

Over the last several weeks, I have been honored to have been “tagged” for the Thinking Blogger Award by blogs Liberality, Hot Potato Mash, and Bluebloggin. The recognition of peers freely given is, in the words of Churchill, “no small thing” And, it is in that spirit, that the rules require that I pass on the honor. I am required to tag five “thinking blogger”. Having been tagged thrice, I suppose I can pass the award on to 15 outstanding blogs. To be honest, that has made the job a bit easier. Who could select only five from the following list? And I worry about the one’s I’ve omitted from the following.

According to the rules, I now must display the rules.

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. [Having been tagged three times, I will tag five for each or a total of 15 blogs.]
  2. Link to this post so that people can find the exact origin of the meme.
  3. Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award on your site with a link to the post that you wrote.

The envelope please! Here is my list of 15 blogs in no particular order:

  1. The Peace Tree – a veritable oasis of reason amid an irrational din. A recent excerpt:

    i think that it is mind boggling that in a country with less want than possibly any other country on the planet- that we should covet anything that anyone else has. much less blow up their families to get it. think about that for a moment

  2. 70 reasons to doubt -where Damien has compiled almost everything known about 911. This work of one man equals that of most think tanks. His knowledge is encyclopedic. A must visit.
  3. Intelligentaindigena Novajoservo – explores the plight of indigenous peoples all over the world. A recent post: Ward Churchill: An Indigenist activist willing to stand up for what is right.
  4. Bad Attitudes, by Jerome Doolittle, Chuck Dupree et al., epitomizes a blog of “thinking bloggers”. They bring to blogging some serious credentials and don’t need to be told who Richard Hofstadter is. Check them out for informed opinion.
  5. BeggarsCanBeChoosers.com is the work of professional, award-winning journalist Marc McDonald. A recent post, The Real Reason The Wingnuts Hate YearlyKos, exposes the hypocrisy of right wing propagandists like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.
  6. cannablog which recently made the point beside a reproduction of Guernica that Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole, but Colin Powell ….[read the post]
  7. Daveawayfromhome who writes eloquently of a loss felt by many:”For over two decades I’ve watched as America has slowly given itself over to the powers of Authority. America, the rebel nation, the home of rock-and-roll, somehow seems to have given up the urge to make it’s own choices.”
  8. Les Enrages. From this excerpt, a reminder “The heart is what counts here, for that�s where Liberty lives.” Until we get the bullet proof indictment that puts the Bush gang in a dank cell, that will do!
  9. News Sophisticate, lately, exposes Blackwater recruitment of its hired guns in Latin America. This is, of course, symptomatic of the fascist society that the US has become.
  10. Department of Homeland Conspiracy is new to my blogroll but putting issues even more bluntly: The United States of America is Dead
  11. Any blog that could write of George Tenet that he is “alleged to have assisted our nation” deserves recognition. A tag, therefore for Firedoglake.
  12. Freedom and Democracy are Dying, is the work of a “thinking blogger” from Canada who asks his neighbor: Why Does Saudi Arabia Need Military Aid? Indeed!
  13. Pensito Review is a mainstay, an essential resource that reduces global issues to their effects on you. An example: Global Warming Sucks!
  14. Vagabond Scholar –the work of a dedicated blogger who takes the time to tighten his prose while sharing videos of the Clancy Brothers. Don’t miss “Will You Go, Lassie, Go.”

If you are on the list, consider yourself “tagged”. So –those are the blogs I have tagged for the “Thinking Blogger Award”. Taken individually, each is treasure. Taken together –a force for freedom and good. May the enemies of Democracy tremble at their approach.



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Oil Junkies for Jesus vs the Oil Crisis

July 24, 2007

US involvement in Iraq is complicated by weird theology. Fundamentalist Christians insist upon an unconditional pro-Israeli policy no matter what! Israel is God’s chosen nation. To oppose Israel, they say, is to damn our nation to hell. Another complication is our nation’s symbiotic relationship with oil producing “infidels”. GOP faithful believe that middle east oil is ours to plunder. Oil Junkies for Jesus openly boast of stealing Iraqi oil. For them, waging war for oil is not a war crime, it’s a crusade, it’s not an atrocity its a commandment. SUV’s are not abominable energy hogs, they are God’s own chariot. While we fear the mother of all energy crunches, Hubbert’s Peak, oil junkies for Jesus look forward to just flying away from it all.

In 1956, geophysicist, M. King Hubbert, working at the Shell research lab in Houston, TX predicted that US oil production would peak in the early 1970s. Others predicted a peak occurring right about now. For his efforts, Hubbert was pilloried by oil experts and economists. Nevertheless, the 70’s are remembered less for Disco Duck than for the long lines at service stations. The Arab Oil Embargo had driven home a point that the US had become an oil junkie nation. The US partnership with Arab oil producers was always a strange marriage of fundamentalist Christians from Texas and equally fundamentalist Muslims from the far flung deserts of the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia.

Amid long lines, hot tempers and high prices, the era of cheap energy was over by the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the so-called Yom Kippur War. The situation is complicated by what is conveniently and politically called “world terrorism” and the suspicion that the Bush administration turned a blind eye to the flow of “petro-dollars” finding their way into Saudi coffers and eventually into the hands of terrorists, perhaps, bin Laden. In the early days of the Iraq war, the moral implications of this were easily assuaged: just stick a flaq on your SUV, wave a yellow ribbon from your pick-up truck if that makes you feel good about voting for waste, lies and incompetence!

Americans are just barely aware that they pay about one-third the price Europeans pay for gasoline! But you have to credit the GOP with resourcefulness. The Bush administration delivered a message to the faithful: war in Iraq will result in lower prices at the pump even as the official line denied that the US attack and invasion of Iraq had anything at all to do with oil. That is revisionist history. The record of US Ambassador April Glaspie’s interview with Saddam Hussein on the eve of his attack of Kuwait proves conclusively that Hussein’s “problems” with the Bush family began when he tried to lower the price of oil.

Apparently the nation bought the GOP line. Alternative fuels, green energy and efficient cars were no longer “in”. It was not always so. The famous Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston during the oil embargo was dominated by talk of Solar Energy, Offshore Thermal Energy Conversion, and Wind Energy. The brightest minds from MIT, Harvard, and Cambridge were there –modeling the economics of it all.

It’s easy to find in the 1970’s the growing antipathy between big oil and the Democratic party. President Carter got caught in the cross hairs as perhaps JFK had about ten years earlier when he promised to put an end to a Texas oil industry sacred cow –the Oil Depletion Allowance. But only a conspiracy theorist would connect that fact with his murder in Dallas, TX. Carter’s advisors, however, favored lifting price caps but his political advisors nixed the idea. Clearly, American consumers were fed up with higher prices but absurdly long lines were the only alternative. Even now consumers may not have it both ways.

Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger favored lifting Federal price caps and doing away with what he called the “government’s Byzantine allocation system”. His proposal, he said, would go a long way toward spurring conservation while allocating scarce fuel more efficiently. Schlesinger said it would eliminate the long lines at the gas pump. It would mean the end of dirt cheap gasoline. When Carter over ruled Schlesinger the press reported that the President had refused to eliminate Federal Price Caps against the advice of his own energy secretary. [See: Merrill Sheils, “The Energy Plan,” Newsweek, July 23, 1979] In Houston, MIT energy economist Morris Adelman would tell us reporters: ‘All in all, it was a very weak, pallid performance. The failure to decontrol will cost us a good deal.’

The future may be seen in our own past. It is simplistic to say merely that all the world’s oil supplies will simply run dry, though oil supplies are finite to be sure. It is, rather, a matter of economics. Pennsylvania, for example, was America’s first oil producing state –but Pennsylvania hasn’t figured prominently in the oil industry in over a century. Oil seemed limitless; after all, it took some 60 years to consume the first 10% –a curve that has continually gotten steeper. Later –the Spindletop gushers in Texas startled the world only to be exploited and abandoned in a period of some twenty years or less.

Then the pattern repeated itself in West Texas. On the ranches just outside of Odessa/Midland, there is evidence that the robber barons of big oil simply walked away, abandoning wells to despoil the environment when it became no longer economically viable to operate them.

It ceased to be easy. That may explain why George W. Bush had to settle for stealing an election. In its first stages, petroleum exploration is a straight-forward technical procedure and, indeed, it was so easy wildcatters used to call it “land speculation with cash flow”. Just shoot a modern seismic “net” across a basin and let the soundings delineate the significant prospects. The largest oil and gas fields are also the biggest and easiest targets; it was so easy in its early days that even an idiot could have made money. The fact that George W. Bush’s ventures went belly-up twice is significant. Every other idiot made money.

Shrub failed to find oil amid plenty but he did find “the Lord” in a hell hole –Odessa/Midland. By that time getting rich had become complicated. The cost of producing oil outstripped oil’s value. What happened in Pennsylvania, Beaumont (Spindletop), Odessa/Midland will one day happen to Saudi Arabia, The Persian Gulf, and Russia. The Arabs –inventors of Algebra —know this even if the blythe SUV-driving American idiot does not.

The demand for oil will increase from about eighty million barrels per day to about 125 million barrels per day by 2030; in the meantime, OPEC oil production will level off in 2014, if not sooner. A steep decline will begin in 2016 from which oil production will never recover. A big crunch is very nearly here if the shortfall isn’t made up.

In the meantime, Halliburton, Unocal, Chevron rush to enrich themselves with Republican assistance, even complicity. The War in Iraq is just a part of the grand chessboard albeit a key one. Should Bush abandon Iraq, the American oil industry faces a crisis. It is a last desperate, ruthless gasp that has plunged the world into a “war on terror”. Too many Americans have been asked to die for Halliburton –not America! The world is now poised on the precipice of World War II for the ambitions of a hand full of evil, venal right wing crooks.

Who is the genius behind the preduction that bears his name? In 1969, Hubbert skipped Woodstock to do math. Hubbert suspected that a graph of world oil production would follow a standard statistical norm and his findings are not unlike those of Malthus who said essentially the same thing of arithmetic food production in populations increasing geometrically. Students of elementary statistics will know it as a “bell curve”. Hubbert was not appreciated in 1969 –the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Nonetheless, he plotted a graph which predicted a peak of oil production followed by a precipitous decline. The future is now:

Hubbert is now said by experts to have made the “…only truly valid scientific projection of future oil production.” A report by the Novum Corporation bluntly states that Hubbert was correct when he forecast oil production peaking in 1969. Since that time, domestic oil production has declined to within 5% of Hubbert’s 1956 predictions.

The world oil map is not what it was in the 70’s. Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf producers still make up a quarter of the world’s oil supply to be sure but new supplies are now found in Russia where production fell by one-half after the break-up of the Soviet Union. But foreign supplies are likewise finite and cannot be depended upon to bail out the US –especially given the increasingly murky role of Saudi Arabia and volatile political situations throughout the middle east. The war on terrorism cannot be counted on to bring stability to the region or to oil prices.

Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, Enron, Unocal, and Chevron, for example, have long proposed a “consortium” to build a pipeline across Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea –a pipeline supported by Pakistan but opposed by the Taliban. Only the insentient would not wonder if Dick Cheney’s “pipeline” figured prominently in BBC reports that the United States had promised Pakistan a “little war” with Afghanistan –a promise made months before the events of 9/11.

Some conclusions: America’s addiction to oil is not just a matter of taste, lifestyle, or provincialism. It is a matter of national security. Alarms bells should have gone off when Bush promised to end world terrorism at a time when his own family is in business with the people who finance them –Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan, for example, got carpet bombed; Saudi Arabia had merely to endure some bad press. Is that because the Saudis are well-connected with Bush et al?

Until fuel cell cars are made, scooters, economy vehicles, and public transportation –already popular everywhere, it seems, but in America –will become necessary in the US. The alternative is walking. More generally, there are glimpses of the future to be seen in various out-of-the-way places across the U.S: little communities where residents live “harmoniously” with the earth in super-insulated, comfortable houses coated with hardened clay. They do organic farming and telecommute. Just a bunch of hippies, tree-huggers, and liberals no doubt –but tell me that when your heating bill outstrips the value of your latter day manor house.

In the meantime, Hubbert’s Peak is not a Soap Opera. But it does explain why Bush and Dick Cheney (Halliburton) may have –as has been published and reported now in an increasing number of sources —threatened Afghanistan with “carpet bombs” before 9-11. It also explains Bush’s one time love of Putin. Bush didn’t see Putin’s soul; he saw his oil! It also explains why they have since fallen out. The US was “negotiating” pipeline rights with the Taliban; dying for God and country is one thing –but for Halliburton?

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