No Shade of Grey on the Right to Keep and Bear arms

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 18, 2013

Life is a carousel, a big screen where events appear, pass by, and, due to human nature, repeat themselves throughout history. A person only needs to look back 25, 50, 100 years or a millennium — depending on how much one wants to review — to find out that what’s happening today has already taken place.

Case in point, governments disarming citizens ‘for their own safety’. Why can’t a population realize that disarming THE PEOPLE is the first step that an elected government takes towards crushing them in order to maintain the monopoly of force?

Citing some examples:

China: Murdered 76,702,000 people;
USSR: Murdered 61,911,000 people;
Germany: Murdered 20,946,000 people;
Cambodia: Murdered 2,035,000 people;
Turkey: Murdered 1,883,000 people;
Poland: Murdered 1,585,000 people;
Pakistan: Murdered 1,503,000 people;

All of these populations were either lightly armed or completely disarmed with respect to their governments military power. This fact is a very important one. Being armed in only helpful if one can equal the power of that who posses a threat.

For those of you not familiar with the history of disarmament, murder by government is called DEMOCIDE and all advanced civilizations in human history have gone through it. Bar none.

Overall, governments have murdered between 262,000,000 and 350,000,000 in just the 20th century. If you think it can’t happen again take a look at history, the continuously moving carousel we all ignore on a daily basis even though it is the best source of information.

When it comes to the Second Amendment, I have to agree with judge Andrew Napolitano: There are no shades of grey. We either have it, or don’t have it.

There can’t be a Second Amendment to own a handgun, but not to own a semi-automatic rifle; especially because the right was written with no limitations. The creators of the Bill of Rights in the United States and similar documents in other parts of the world understood that society would evolve, and that throughout that evolution people’s liberty and freedom would be challenged.

There can’t be a Second Amendment to hunt deer, but not to hunt tyrants. Hunting tyrants is the real goal behind giving people the constitutional right to own firearms. It doesn’t matter how much the Government says it is all about hunting. It is not.

There can’t be a Second Amendment to defend our home, but not to defend our country. In many U.S. States, a home is a castle. If a stranger enters that home to steal, injure or kill someone, the homeowner has the right to shoot the intruder without asking questions. Why couldn’t THE PEOPLE apply the same criterium to defend their nation-state?

An even more important question to ask is, why should law-abiding citizens have their Second Amendment taken away — progressively or all at once — because insane people are pharmaceutically induced  to act violently? Should the authorities be more concerned with eradicating the pharmaceuticals that cause sane and insane people to act violently, as supposed to taking away the right to defend ourselves?

When it comes to the right to defend ourselves, the right to keep and bear arms has no shade of grey. We either have it or don’t have it. PERIOD! Those people who can’t stand that their neighbors own firearms to defend themselves from whatever threat, should move to England, North Korea or Mexico.

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United States: The Illusion of Choice, the Reality of Fraud

From Welfare to Warfare, the United States of America has the most deceived population in the history of humanity.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 3, 2012

It is called the American dream because you’ve got to be asleep to believe it. Meanwhile, truth and reality are ridiculed, opposed and then accepted before they are beaten to death. The time it takes the average American to realize it’s all a dream — the big house, the corner office with glass windows, the managerial position, the six digit salary and the recognition — is the same time it takes him to wake up. The problem is, not many Americans actually wake up.

Before every single American’s eyes, the Republican Party shamelessly erased from all records the choices made by hundreds of delegates all over the country who did not support Mitt Romney for the presidential nomination. The corporate board of the party simply decided that in order to smooth out Romney’s entrance into the race for the presidency, its handlers had to change the way delegates were chosen and counted.

I would love to explain it to you, but it is easier if you watch it and understand the level of fraud, hubris and disregard for the voters that now fills the foundation and core of the Republican Party. Let’s just say that after the Republican National Convention of 2012, never again will people who support this party and any candidate that is not backed by the establishment of this corrupt organization, be able to actually elect their representative to the convention; much less their man or woman to run for the presidency.

Please watch and listen with attention and try to strap yourself in. Believe me, you will need the straps.

I told you those straps would come handy.

In case you did not understand the reporter, let me explain it in layman’s terms. The motion passed at the Republican National Convention of 2012 assures that only the establishment candidate of the Republican Party or the Republican president in office will decide who is named an official delegate to attend the National Convention and vote during that event. Forget about caucuses and primaries.

And you thought there was a choice, didn’t you? Unfortunately, choice is just one of the most fashionable illusions that the average American believes in. The motion passed and adopted by the RNC is not only bad because it stole rightfully owned delegates from Ron Paul, who won enough of them to challenge Romney at the Convention this week, but also because, regardless of who the candidate is, it is clear that the establishment politicians and media feel threatened by a kind of man that only comes around once every century or so. Perhaps less often.

Why do they feel threatened? Because despite the circus put together by both the Republican Party and the corporate media, Mr. Paul was able to get his message through to millions. But the threat grew bigger, because all those millions of people, even outside the United States, actually listened and began the largest and most important liberty movement in recent history.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the aisle, things are not well either. Obama is the other side of the illusion coin, the second face of the fake choice that the owners of the United States of America — and large portions of the rest of the planet — chose to deceive the gullible members of the uneducated, clueless population. To say that the Barack Obama phenomenon is a deception would be short of what needs to be said about him and his corporate supporters. But to be fair, let’s compare the two men who are now in the race to govern over the United States.

What do these two men support and what do they oppose?

Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama support, as their voting record and public statements show, the following policies:

1. Bailouts, ‘too big to fail’ concept, stimulus packages, quantitative easing and deficit spending.
2. Sending troops to protect others borders and sending our money to foreign dictators.
3. Interventionist foreign policy from Bush era.
4. Federal restrictions on gun ownership.
5. Patriot Act.
6. Spying on American citizens without warrants.
7. Indefinite detention of American citizens without charge, trial or lawyer.
8. Assassinations of American citizens or anyone else without due process.
9. Socialized Healthcare

Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama oppose, as their voting record and public statements show, the following policies:

1. Balancing the budget in less than 30 years.
2. Paying down the national debt.
3. States rights to make their own laws.
4. Sound fiscal and monetary policies.
5. A policy of non-interventionism.
6. Freedom to choose by entrepreneurs and consumers.

Although for many years Americans were seen abroad as uneducated arrogant people, that opinion has now changed. The best description of the average American abroad is now that of an uneducated, arrogant plantation slave who for a long time — even today — enjoys and rejoices with the prison he lives in. While most of the world has been devoid of opportunity and resources to succeed by the same forces that control the American way of living, American citizens have been acclimated with the benefits that a nation’s artificially strong currency has been able to provide.

The unlimited plentifulness reinforced the illusion of the American Dream and that alone blinded roughly 99% of the population. It was due to the rise of people like Ron Paul and his grassroots movement composed by genuinely concerned people that the 99% shrank to 95% or so. Members of that vociferous minority were the ones who elected enough delegates in at least 5 states where Ron Paul beat Mitt Romney by a long shot. By changing the rules on how delegates are chosen, the Republican Party has assured its establishment core that never again will a grassroots movement challenge the election of a candidate that does not accept the imposition of the Party’s official platform.

With the political landscape sorted out, one must take a look at the other illusion.

Even though the state of the economy has made it more apparent that things are not going well for the American people, it is not uncommon to read, hear and watch reports about fat bonuses being paid to corporate leaders and bureaucrats with taxpayer funds. Needless to say that the US sponsored bailouts of American and European banks have pushed the country that much closer to the deep and dark cliff of insolvency and bankruptcy. But if you ask the average American about it, he just can’t see it or feel it.

From the American lack of real education, little perspective on history and zero understanding came the illusion of prosperity. Having the world’s reserve currency, which enabled Americans to enjoy artificially low prices, permitted politicians to adopt and advance the debt-based economic and financial systems. The collapse of the American way of living did not start in 2008, 2007, or 2006, but in 1913.

That collapse was incrementally pushed through the years at a very slow pace, so ‘the frogs’ wouldn’t notice the heat of the boiling water. The supposed prosperity was a smoke screen that led to the United States’ precipitously approaching collapse. The financial bankruptcy of the US has gone from being a conspiracy theory, to becoming a mathematical certainty. The United States is drowning in debt and so is the rest of the world. But contrary to what the corporate media, main stream liberals and socialists believe, there is no way in the world to pay that debt off. No amount of raised taxes, no money printing scheme, not even if all of the  GDP money was used to attempt to pay the debt could the US eliminate its heaviest burden.

Right now, the United States is suffering from two incurable problems: National Debt and Federal Deficits. Although they are separate issues, they are indeed interconnected. The debt is created as the Federal Government is unable to keep its spending in check and limited to the production of the country. This creates a need for borrowing money from the FED or China or whoever is crazy — or smart — enough to lend the US. The national debt is the sum of all debt owed by the US Federal Government including borrowed money and the interests it has to pay on it.

The deficit on the other hand, is the difference between the budget the US has and what it actually spends in a specific year. So, for example, if in 2012 the US had a budget of $ 100 but spent $130, the deficit for 2012 would be of $30. Since the US has no way of paying the $30 difference, it puts the $30 as debt to be paid in the long-term; say 50 years. During that time, the US as whole — its citizens — will have to pay interests on that debt, while the original $30 remains unpaid. Because the original debt goes unpaid for decades, it continues to accrue interests over interests, which then become impossible to pay as well.

The problem is that the deficit is not as little as $30 and therefore the debt is not small either, so the interests have been exploding over the past century or so. Today, the US National Debt sits at $ 16,001,431,267,262.98. With an estimated population of 313,431,758 in the US, each citizen’s share of this debt is $51,052.36. Got some spare change? Don’t worry, because this is not your debt. It is the debt generated by the out-of-control Federal Government that illegally mortgaged the lives of generation after generation to pay for its limitless bribery schemes such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; to finance wars in the Middle East and everywhere else in the world, as well as to give bailouts to American and European banks.

Although you didn’t exactly approve of the creation of this debt, you did indeed enable the crime of indebtedness if you supported either political party  and voted for any of their corporate creations such as Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr., and Barack Obama. So yes, you have been an instrument to the crime; knowingly or not. Also, please realize that the debt will continue to grow as it has always have. For the period of 2007 through 2012, the US National Debt grew $3.88 billion per day. (conservative estimate).

Please see the graph below for a historical perspective on US debt since 1940 until 2011:

Click to Enlarge. US debt from 1940 to 2011. Source: CrisisHQ.com

That is what I mean when I say Americans are seen as uneducated, gullible people. The system used by the corporate-owned US government is an example of what we call today a Ponzi scheme. That is how the US Federal Government intends to run the debt up to $20 trillion by 2016 and $70 trillion in the years after that. It doesn’t matter whether Obama is re-elected or Romney takes his place. Business will continue as usual.

Although some economists would like to continue enjoying the benefits of the illusion, by continue to borrow to fund government liabilities and social programs, the truth is that the limit on how much the US can borrow is rapidly approaching its end. Why? Because in order for this Ponzi scheme to work, there have to be crazy investors who agree to bailing out the US every time it raises its debt ceiling. If the investors slow down or stop the flow of cash, Ponzi scheme collapses. That is where we are today.

The financial collapse of the US is a great segway to learning how the US government has for many years attempted to prevent this very same collapse and how it will continue to prevent it in the future. That is the  third component of the illusion.

War and conflict have always been multi-headed monsters. For one, they are responsible for destroying lands and murdering innocent people, but they also accomplish a second goal: justify the existence of the military industrial complex. However, a third goal is often overlooked. Wars and conflict are excellent tools to keep populations distracted, while financial and political crimes are committed. The current unrest in the Middle East that just so happens to coincide with the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression is not a coincidence at all.

The people who control western governments — including the US — know this. In fact, they’ve used wars and conflict abroad to carry out radical changes at home. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Pinochet did it, and so has every single US president since at least 1929.

Whenever the United States runs out of lenders, or it publicly recognizes it cannot longer meet its obligations, who exactly will come to its rescue? No one. The only two choices that the US will have then are two visible ones and one card in the sleeve. The US will have to either declare itself bankrupt or exponentially hyper-inflate its currency, a policy it has been incrementally employing since 1913.

It seems very clear that the US government will not declare itself bankrupt, because it would mean that its creditors — China, the centralized banking system, Saudi Arabia and so on — will seek to claim their piece of the American pie. So, it is likely the US will continue hyper-inflating its currency, but at a faster speed. This will not be a solution, but a strategy to delay the collapse. Either way the country will collapse. The difference will be something like what is explained on CrisisHQ.com. “Economically, the first option would feel like a heart attack and the second option like terminal cancer.”

Once the hyper-inflation smokescreen no longer works, the US managers will resort to the plan they’ve been tuning up for at least half a century: open-ended war. The scenario of perpetual war as a tool of control was exploited throughout the 20th century in every single corner of the planet. From the Balkans to Nicaragua to the Middle East. The result is always the same: the confused sheeple support the candidate that shows a stronger position towards the ‘foreign threat’; that imaginary aggressor that seeks to destroy their imaginary lives.

Hitler was able to gain almost total support from the German people after fabricating the Reichstag fire. In 2001, the US government did the same. It lit up two landmarks of the American tragedy and with that opened the door to the perpetual state of war into the 21st century. That state of war gave way to the Homeland Insecurity and the growing Police State. As Saman Mohammadi puts it in his article 7 Reasons Washington’s Grand Counter-Terrorism Myths Persist In The Face of Evidence, “the doctors of reality construct mental traps and dead-ends in order to contain the conversation of contested political events and issues within the parameters of the U.S.-Israeli counter-terrorism paradigm.” The American Reichstag worked just fine.

So what to do about all this? First, understand that there is no political solution to this illusion. As shown at the beginning of this article, the establishment political parties will always find a way to rig the rules to impose their will. If government were really a solution or part of the solution, we would all be much better off than we are today. Voting for the lesser of two evils will not do anything to improve things. As long as there are public servants who do not fear the people, but who feed on them, there won’t be a solution to the problem. Second, the real solution starts with education, and then with involvement of those who saw the light and decided to walk towards it. It is necessary that the 5 percent multiplies 10 fold.

Education takes time and so does a mass awakening. Unfortunately, sometimes only a ground-shaking collapse like the one we are about to have is able to wake large masses of people up. Since the collapse seems almost inevitable, it is everyone’s duty to continue educating family members, neighbors and friends so the collapse can be prevented by exercising massive pressure over the political class. At the same time, those who are awake must prepare themselves for the collapse by becoming independent from the controllers who have been increasing the heat under all of us for the last century.

The meaning of preparing will vary depending of who you are and where you live. The common denominator for being prepared is self-reliance. Being able to determine one’s own present and future is the strongest weapon against the collapse and against the ruling class. Help your relatives and neighbors to leave the mass mind control plantation system and to become intellectually and physically independent. Help them wake up from the illusion they live in.

Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor Unstable, Fractured, Spilling Hydrocarbons

Oil and gas are still seeping unabated, says expert. Toxic leakage poses significant public health risks.

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
October 10, 2011

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has not gone away. In fact, it has grown exponentially since the main stream media stopped talking about it. According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, an organization composed of scientists, medical professionals and seafood industry professionals, among others, the problem cannot be simplified to the damage already caused by the oil spill. It is worse, much worse.

Pools of crude oil float on the surface of Gulf of Mexico waters at the site of the sunken BP/Transocean oil drill the Deepwater Horizon on April 27, 2010. Getty Images

The Real Agenda received exclusive information regarding the current state of the ongoing emergency in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest assessment performed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance reveals not only that the oil spill is still happening, but also that the Gulf of Mexico’s sea floor grew more unstable since the explosion in 2010. Additionally, analysis provided by experts like BK Lim, shows that the geohazards developed that derive from the rolling leakage of toxic matter, combined with the on-going use of the highly toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit will most likely result in the permanent decline of marine life, while posing out-of-control public health risks, just as it did after the Exxon Valdez spill where the same chemical dispersants were used resulting in a rapid decline of the marine life until, for example, the Herring industry completely collapsed and has never recovered since then.

In a letter dated 14 January, 2011 that was sent to Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Congressman John Shimkus Chairman Subcommittee on Environment and Economy,  BK Lim warned the congressmen and their committees about the current state of the sub-seabed in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). In the document, an in-depth assessment of the emergency was provided. It explains why action must be taken immediately. The evaluation of the emergency in the Gulf conducted by Mr. Lim appears credible and is based on his 30 years of experience analyzing the geologic structure of both dry land and underwater drilling sites for major oil industry companies and leading geohazards contractors such as Fugro Geodetic (M) Sdn Bhd, TL Geohydrographics Sdn Bhd, and RPS Energy Pty Ltd.

The vaporization of enormous amounts of methane hydrates on a scale not seen before, the release of stresses between the lower and upper crust resulting in the abnormal occurrences of low magnitude, shallow earthquakes adjacent to the New Madrid Fault, the sub-seabed underground erosion in the vicinity of the shelf edge undermining the slope stability with possible tsunami-generating, giant, submarine landslides,” said Mr. Lim.

As we now know, the BP explosion that cost the lives of 11 workers was not an accident, but negligence at best and a conspiracy at worst. The latest assessment from the Gulf Rescue Alliance seems to reinforce the fact that BP drilled into the Macondo well with questionable regard for the damage it would cause to the well itself, the sea floor and the marine environment down below.

“There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead, observed from the ROV videos, have been the direct result of indiscriminate drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recovery activities,” details the document sent to congressman Upton on January 14 of this year. The direct result of the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion was the massive destruction of life through miles of coastline. The less than adequate cleanup, which helped worsen the disaster, condemned the area to living with tons of toxic chemical dispersants that simply destroyed the eco systems and negatively affected the health of thousands of people who live nearby and millions of others who directly and indirectly depend on the fishing, tourism and natural beauty of the marine life, wildlife and environment.

A review of the documents and news articles during the days and weeks after the underwater explosion, clearly shows that BP was attempting to buy time with various delay tactics and was unwilling to reveal the truth and magnitude of the disaster. While BP was officially battling to kill well A their contractors and other vessels went about with other covert underwater operations, many of which did not seem to be in sync with the urgency of killing “a third undisclosed well which was gushing even more oil”. For example there was this video showing a ROV brushing of the name of another oil company from a new BOP brought into the vicinity of the Macondo wells. BP Clean off Co Logo on BOP – why?on 9 June 2010.Other videos showed oil gushing from craters on the seafloor and ROV activities (blasting (demolition?), cutting and removal of well casings on the seafloor and from a hole (another well?), dismantling BOP, grouting of seafloor tens to over hundreds of meters away from well A. How could a BOP be dangling for two weeks from 3 to 16 July while BP was showing to the world’s audience the killing and capping of supposedly the only spewing well A from June till 15 July?

In fact, in early media reports animated graphics suggested 3 different leaks locations. BP admitted initially 3 leaks but conveniently reduced to only 1 later; ignoring to explain the “why, when and how”. BP had maintained from the start they had drilled only 1 well. From my analysis in early Aug 2010 I concluded BP could not have drilled only 1 well. They must have drilled 3 wells to account for all the conflicting information. See media reports here.

Videos also confirmed that even as early as May to June, oil and gas were already spewing from the seafloor as far as 7 to over 20 miles from Well A. A satellite photo on 25 May suggests a good correlation between the seabed oil spewing and with the faults and Salt Domes.

Evidently, numerous Youtube video postings not only confirm that BP and multiple federal agencies who were on the scene were not revealing all to the public, but that unknown quantities of hydrocarbons were still leaking out from the reservoir at high pressure and seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed. “It is not possible to “cap” this oil,” reads Mr. Lim’s analysis. “Until a solution is found to seal these fissures, the hydrocarbons, including Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), will continue to leak uncontrollably”.

WHAT IS NOW HAPPENING BELOW THE GULF’S WATERS?

The document sent to congressman Fred Upton is accompanied by photos, videos and other documentation that support the concerns expressed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance. Just as a doctor with years of experience in viewing and analyzing x-rays can immediately see a fractured bone or other ailment when a laymen would not see it or understand it’s importance, Lim has years of experience in viewing underwater videos of oil and gas seepage and can quickly see and analyze what is occurring where a laymen would not pick up on it. In his letter, Lim describes what is occurring in a series of underwater videos taken by ROV’s around and near the wellhead.

In one of the videos, Well A, as it is known, appears to be releasing clouds of methane saturated seawater, gas bubbles of methane and re-crystallized methane crystals floating close to the seabed in the vicinity of the Macondo wellhead. On top of this, says the letter, it is also possible to see new fissures and a bulging seabed developing together with an already blown crater.

A second video shows how the very rope that guides the surveying ROV disappears into a dense, darkish cloud of oily fluid. Lim’s document explains how grout materials and old drilling mud that were previously taken to higher altitudes by columns of gas in the water can be seen in the video falling back onto the sea floor. These columns of gas are coming from newly activated venting fissures formed due to sea floor instability and fragility. Viewers can also see re-crystallized methane which appears as transparent and light multicolor materials floating in the water.

The third video shows the “periodic expulsion of the gas through one of the fissures on the seabed. Like geysers, the escaping gas needs to accumulate beneath the top sediment cover until the built-up pressure exceeds the combined water-column and overburden pressure just before each periodic expulsion,” explains the report compiled by the Alliance. According to images obtained from a ROV video, there are pools of tar/oil sediment all over the seafloor which are the direct result of the oil spill.

Although it is very difficult, under the current circumstances, to obtain clear footage of what is going on at that depth, my extensive training and experience in analyzing these types of situations, combined with these footages and others which I have access to, provides proof that oil and gas are still seeping unabated from the uncontrolled leaking reservoir,” warns BK Lim on his letter sent to congressmen Upton and Shimkus on 14 January, 2011.

Independently collected video footage from places like Saint Louis Bay Beach, Pensacola Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and other places around the Gulf shows large amounts of fresh Corexit foam on the beach. As Corexit can only be used to sink fresh oil within the first couple of days of it coming up out of the ground, it is yet another indicator that there is an on-going attempt to sink fresh oil below the surface. Surficial bitumen layers (oil tarballs) that made it to the water surface as recently as September 6, due to storm surge are also coming up in massive amounts. According to sources close to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, on August 18, 2011, members of EcoRigs, went out and collected surface water samples that contained crude oil which they believed belonged to the ongoing BP oil spill. They also recorded video evidence of a heavy oil slick on Long Beach Mississippi. The water / oil samples were examined by independent laboratories and the first of those samples to return from the lab on the 28th of September confirmed their concerns: the oil was BP’s and from the Macondo reservoir.

Water sample analysis conducted independently by EcoRigs shows a positive correlation to BP’s oil spill samples. “The presence of fresh BP MC 252 crude oil in surface waters 2 to 14 months after the well was reported to have been capped suggests that crude oil from the BP DWH MC 252 field may have found new pathways to the seafloor.” The evaluations conducted also reveal that the toxic chemical Corexit is now being applied to the subsurface leak located 1500 meters beneath the ocean’s surface at the wellhead. This is done with the intention of further decomposing the oil so that the smaller particles do not make it to the surface and the continuing oil spill can be easily kept from the public eye.

ANOTHER MISHANDLED DISASTER

Just as with Katrina, more than a year into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Federal government has shown its ineptitude to adequately solving the consequences of a major disaster. In separate documents gathered by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, more revealing details are provided about how BP and the government handled the oil spill disaster. “The blown crater at the undisclosed 3rd well was spewing more than 100,000 barrels per day. (100,000 barrels estimate was based on the quantity of oil seen on the surface). Even worse the highly corrosive mix of brine, gas and oil ingresses into every crevices and permeable sections of the formation, creating new pathways to the seafloor,” says Mr. Lim. The Alliance subscribed to the standard industrial practice of conducting a detailed seafloor survey as immediately possible, to establish the extent of the seafloor damage following the well blowout. Just as an X-ray would help the surgeon in pin-pointing and planning the most appropriate surgical procedure, such a detailed seafloor and sub-seabed scan would most certainly provide the most strategic approach to stopping the release of hydrocarbons from the beleaguered well or wells. After ignoring repeated calls for such a seafloor survey since the blowout, BP and NOAA suddenly announced such a research survey using the NOAA Okeanos Explorer 15 months later. The only logical conclusion to this late survey is:

“A seafloor survey then (within the first few months) would reveal the ugly truths about the broken seafloor and precarious salt formation they were trying so hard to hide,” continued Mr. Lim. After more than a year of grouting, patching up and destroying all critical evidence in the seabed around the Macondo wells they (BP) were confident enough, the “modified seafloor” would not be incriminating to them. According to Mr. Lim, British Petroleum was very careful not to mention the fact they had drilled 3 wells. If this fact had come out, it would have caused a bomb and they could have been indicted for drilling without permission. “That is what they fear most,” says Lim. BP was also careful to isolate drilling crews away from each other, which according to Lim,  is against safety rules because drilling need to be briefed on hazardous and technical problems encountered at earlier drilling stages. Although BP may not have expected the three wells to blow up, this was an almost sure outcome due to the interconnected shallow gas formation (which was one of the main causes of their numerous problems). Further, after urgent requests for recommendations, a formal request was made to the Coast Guard on behalf of Constituent David Fakouri with the Louisiana Economic Foundation demanding seafloor survey and damage assessment be done with a 3rd party observer, but the request was denied.

The recent seafloor survey went on to have totally different emphasis and priorities. This led geohazards expert BK Lim to conclude as follows:

The vessel’s track history seemed to suggest higher emphasis in the south-western edges of the Biloxi Dome, the southern edged of Whiting Dome and generally south of the Macondo prospects. While there may yet be geologically valid reasons for the emphasis south of the Macondo wells, the shelf edges 6 to 8 km north-west of Macondo Wells and the badly eroded north-western edges of Whiting Dome should at least be surveyed with some grid-lines (see areas P1 and P2).

BP’s vessels had been observed working for quite some time in both areas. The 22 mile long underwater plume (first denied by BP and later confirmed by many independent research cruises), was suspected to have originated from the cracks in the seafloor at these locations. By avoiding these critical areas, can the present survey investigation be truly objective and independent in investigating the truth of the Macondo Blowout?

Almost all the oil sightings are north of the Macondo wells, not south. Why did the survey deliberately (?) avoid the shelf edges north of Macondo. In March 2011, new oil spills were suspected to have come from “leaks in the seabed” north of the Matherhorn field. The shelf edges bordering the Mississippi-Alabama Shelf, appear pretty fractured with large crevices and in potential danger of sliding into gigantic submarine landslides. Submarine landslides are more effective in generating tsunami than quakes without significant landslides. Both the 2011 Japan and 2004 Sumatra Quakes had giant tsunamis due to the accompanying large submarine mass displacement.”

During the first few weeks of the disaster, there was a struggle within BP between thosewho wanted to come clean about the reality of the situation and another group that wanted to cover it up. Apparently the latter group managed to win the struggle and they decided to use the well with the least of the problems (the first and shallowest, Well A, which was drilled to about 5,000 feet below mudline) to be the one staged for the world media as the “show capping” of an oil spill. The third and bigger leak at Well 3, which the late Matt Simmons kept asserting was “the deepest well that reached the Macondo oil resevoir”, was kept out of the public limelight.

A confidential source informed The Real Agenda that credible scientific evidence has been gathered giving high probability to allegations that oil is, in fact, still leaking and that inadequate oil spill response protocols were employed by the EPA, Coast Guard and other officials at Federal and State levels throughout the disaster. According to the source, the compilation of the scientific evidence is not just an edict of worrisome errors but criminal negligence resulting in a worsened tragedy throughout the Gulf States and Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem resulting in serious human health consequences—with EPA being at the head of that mismanagement.

The source further reports that between May 2010 and March 2011 long after the reported capping of the BP well in July of 2010 the average toxicity levels in the Gulf Region waters from Texas to Florida were persisting at unsafe levels and that, in some cases, they were thousands of times higher than EPA established safety threshold levels. It was during this same period of time that federal government agencies put out propaganda saying everything on the Gulf of Mexico was safe, including seafood, air and sea water.

It has been alleged that NOAA’s testing methods were flawed resulting in the “all is safe now in the Gulf” proclamation by responsible agencies. A separate concern is the fact that BP has a $500 million fund paying for continuing studies on the after effects of the spill and use of Corexit leading to concerns by independent scientists over the transparency and availability of this information to the public. Scientists under BP or government contracts conducting studies are not permitted to publicize or discuss any of their data until delivered to their employers. With some of these studies estimated to take several years, the public won’t know the truth until years later.

On September 13, 2011 new oil was seen close to where the original BP oil explosion occurred. Due to the fact the EPA insists on using Corexit as the only possible solution to the problem, the most important issue up to this point -the dire consequences of using Corexit- are not being addressed. Corexit not only contaminates the Gulf of Mexico and the human populations established throughout, but also is ineffective remediating the core problem: cleaning the Gulf waters as fast as possible. The only thing Corexit has proven is its effectiveness to pollute the waters and the Gulf as a whole. Why then does the EPA and the federal government insist on using it? It is interesting to note that none of the official statements by either the EPA or the oil companies state that Corexit cleans up the waters. They do, however, repeatedly state that Corexit is “effective”, which misleads the public into thinking that Corexit is cleaning up the waters. What Corexit is effective at is sinking it below the surface where it is difficult to see and quantify just how much is there, and breaking it up into small particles and spreading the contamination far and wide making the potential problems of toxic exposure to both humans and all the flora and fauna exponentially worse.

EPA ENFORCES ANTIQUATED OIL SPILL CLEAN UP PROTOCOLS

On its website, the EPA mildly agrees that using Corexit as a tool to clean the Gulf has “trade offs”. The question is, where are the positives? The oil is not being cleaned, but the waters and the complete ecosystem are being contaminated. Given the Federal Government’s line of action, it seems the task at hand is to make things worse, instead of better. Even after BP requested to test on the DWH oil already-proven, effective, non-toxic alternative oil spill cleanup technologies the EPA refused to allow those alternative technologies to be utilized.

One of the most highly regarded products suggested by scientists and environmental and conservation groups is Oil Spill Eater II, which is not only approved by the EPA, but also listed as part of an official list of products for oil spill cleanup, called the National Contingency Plan (or NCP List) that have been tested and approved as workable for emergencies like the one now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, BP’s requests to use Oil Spill Eater II were denied by the EPA and regional federally controlled response team officials. The Real Agenda additionally received documents showing formal requests were made by the Governor of Louisiana Mississippi and Alabama to use or conduct trials on OSE II in their states. In June 2010, the EPA sent a letter to Louisiana Governor Jindal denying the use of bioremediation methods for the DWH oil. Per documents obtained by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, the letter had a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements in it, and showed a surprising lack of understanding of the natural process that mother nature follows to clean up an oil spill. This effectively took off the table all but one of the non-toxic products on the NCP list for use in the Gulf of Mexico blowout. The only non-toxic product which did not fit under the detailed description of why the EPA stated that bioremediation would have only limited value, unwittingly made the case for the immediate use of OSE II. When this was pointed out to the EPA in a subsequent letter by OSEI, the company that manufactures and distributes OSE II, the EPA ignored the letter. BP America’s Chief Counsel stated in a conference call with the OSEI Corporation, in September of 2011 that BP was not able to use OSE II to treat the oil disaster because “BP is bound by the government’s decision” —bound by the EPA mandate [to keep using Corexit]. Consequently, it is estimated by sources outside of BP that BP could “have saved an estimated $36 billion in clean up costs if they had deployed the EPA approved alternative to Corexit. Gulf Rescue Alliance members state that it is in possession of voluminous documentation that indicates the EPA arbitrarily blocks any attempt to use environmentally friendly methods to clean the Gulf and instead prefers to use Corexit with no regard for the marine life and public’s health from the now proven to be fatally toxic chemical dispersant.

The use of friendlier technologies could not have only saved the Gulf’s ecosystem in the earlier stages of the disaster, but it would have also reduced the costs of the clean-up process for both the federal government and BP itself and prevented untold damage. Instead, the disaster in the Gulf continues to endanger everything and everyone as the toxic contamination spreads, and the costs of the clean-up process -which are now estimated in the tens of billions of dollars- continue to skyrocket.

Given the EPA’s decision not to help resolve the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, community organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed lawsuitsthat ask the EPA to conduct long-term studies that evaluate the impacts of Corexit on the environment and endangered species. It is expected that these lawsuits will act as a wake-up call to the EPA, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard, which appear to have made a conscious effort to block all alternatives directed towards the use of OSE II or any other environmentally friendly and truly effective technologies or techniques to clean the Gulf swiftly and effectively.

Luis R. Miranda is a Journalist with 15 years of experience. He is the founder and editor of The Real Agenda. Learn  more about Luis here.


Obama, Dems skirt issue on tax hikes

by Erica Werner
AP
July 11, 2011

Call it eliminating an unfair break, or removing an unjust loophole, or even “taking a balanced approach.” Just don’t call it raising taxes.

As they work toward a must-do deal with Republicans on paring trillions from the deficit in order to raise the nation’s debt limit, President Barack Obama and Democrats are saying almost anything to avoid the politically toxic pronouncement that they want to increase taxes.

Republicans, for their part, are just as quick to declare elimination of the most rarefied corporate benefit a job-killing tax hike on the American people.

It’s all about winning the public relations debate over the debt limit, and in turn, perhaps, gaining a more politically advantageous outcome in the resulting deal itself.

“We’re at a point where there’s no good tax,” said Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at the nonprofit group Tax Analysts. “The sort of value proposition of a tax has been destroyed, so nobody wants to say it, nobody wants to say in any fashion that they support it except, because it polls well, taxing the rich.”

Taxes are hardly the only issue going through the partisan spin cycle — and emerging virtually unrecognizable — as the days tick down to an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the federal government’s borrowing limit or face unprecedented default. Take Social Security. Obama is insisting he won’t agree to “slash” benefits — a vague word the White House refuses to define, thus leaving room for benefits to be cut without ever saying it.

Then there’s the debt limit itself. Listen to Republicans, and the whole problem was created by out-of-control spending that now demands to be addressed. Democrats, on the other hand, are more likely to cast the issue as a question of whether or not the U.S. will make good on its obligations.

But it’s on taxes that the rhetoric is the most heated, and the most skewed. Analysts say that in recent decades Republicans have largely succeeded in turning taxes into a dirty word, and the government it pays for is increasingly viewed with disfavor, too. So that even while voters like some of the taxpayer-funded services they get — like Social Security — arguing in favor of taxes per se is a nonstarter.

For opponents, “it’s an easy argument to win because nobody wants to pay higher taxes,” said Brendan Daly, former spokesman to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and now a public relations executive at Ogilvy Washington.

Proposals under consideration include raising taxes on small business owners and potentially low- and middle-income families. You won’t hear about that from Obama. Instead the president focuses on the very rich, and speaks euphemistically. Here are a few of the phrases the president has used of late to talk about what amounts to raising taxes for some:

— “What we need to do is to have a balanced approach where everything is on the table.”

–“We need to take on spending in the tax code.”

“The tax cuts I’m proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires; tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners.”

–“You can’t reduce the deficit to the levels that it needs to be reduced without having some revenue in the mix.”

And here’s how Republicans respond:

–“Tax hikes on families and job creators would only make things worse.” — House Speaker John Boehner.

–“The focus for us is to make sure that we are not increasing taxes on individuals who are the job creators, and like it or not, the job creators are those who can be successful in a small business context.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

–“Democrats seem to think the solution to our debt crisis is to ask taxpayers and struggling businesses to reward their economic stewardship with even more money to spend as they please.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

U.S. FEDS Threaten Sheriff Arpaio for Enforcing Immigration Laws

By Jerry Markon and Stephanie McCrummen

A federal investigation of a controversial Arizona sheriff known for tough immigration enforcement has intensified in recent days, escalating the conflict between the Obama administration and officials in the border state.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County

Justice Department officials in Washington have issued a rare threat to sue Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio if he does not cooperate with their investigation of whether he discriminates against Hispanics. The civil rights inquiry is one of two that target the man who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” A federal grand jury in Phoenix is examining whether Arpaio has used his power to investigate and intimidate political opponents and whether his office misappropriated government money, sources said.

The standoff comes just weeks after the Justice Department sued Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer (R) because of the state’s new immigration law, heightening tensions over the issue ahead of November’s midterm elections. The renewed debate has focused attention on Arpaio, a former D.C. police officer who runs a 3,800-employee department, and a state at the epicenter of the controversy over the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

(Photos: How the immigration law is being enforced in Benson, Arizona)

Once seen as a quirky figure who has inmates dress in pink underwear and forces them to work on chain gangs, Arpaio has in recent years become a kind of folk hero to those who favor his heavily publicized “crime sweeps,” conducted mostly in Hispanic neighborhoods. But civil rights groups accuse the 78-year-old lawman of racial profiling. And some Maricopa County officials say Arpaio has begun meritless corruption investigations of officials who have criticized his policies or opposed his requests.

Those allegations are at the core of the Justice Department investigations, according to documents, lawyers familiar with the inquiries, and people who have been questioned by FBI agents and the grand jury.

(Arizona: We’re not changing immigration law)

The investigations reflect the tangled politics surrounding the immigration debate. The criminal probe is led by Dennis K. Burke, the U.S. attorney in Phoenix who was a top aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Two of Arpaio’s attorneys, Robert N. Driscoll and Asheesh Agarwal, were officials in the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the George W. Bush administration. They denied that the sheriff, a Republican who has been reelected four times since 1992, has been uncooperative or has engaged in racial profiling, misusing money or targeting political enemies.

“The sheriff’s office is cooperating fully with the grand jury investigation and has complete confidence that the inquiry will clear it of any wrongdoing,” Agarwal said. “The office has always fulfilled its responsibilities truthfully, honorably, and in full compliance with state and federal law.”

Arpaio’s attorneys contend that the investigations are politically motivated, citing a news conference in March at which Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was quoted as saying he expects the inquiries to “produce results.”

“While we have no quarrel with the assistant U.S. attorneys handling the investigation, the attorney general’s comments appear to violate federal regulations, departmental policy and state ethical rules designed to ensure the fairness of criminal investigations,” Agarwal said.

(More: Chat with Sheriff Joe Arpaio)

Brewer and her supporters have also asserted that the Justice Department was politically motivated in its lawsuit over the state law, which authorizes, among other things, police officers to ask about the status of people suspected of being in the country illegally. A federal judge last month stopped the most controversial sections of the legislation from taking effect.

Justice Department officials denied any political considerations, saying the investigations and the lawsuit are based on the facts and the law. They declined to comment on details of the Arpaio inquiries.

The civil rights division’s investigation began in March 2009 and focuses on whether Arpaio’s department engaged in “discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures,” along with allegations that his jail discriminated against Hispanic inmates, according to letters the division sent to Arpaio. A complaint to the Justice Department said that even bilingual jail guards are required to speak to inmates only in English and that the rule could endanger prisoners’ medical care. The jail was also accused of forcing Hispanic visitors to fill out a “citizenship check” form, the letters said.

Lawyers in the division have repeatedly interviewed Phoenix area human rights leaders about Arpaio’s immigration sweeps, and local “cop watch” groups have turned over hours of video footage of the sweeps to investigators.

“Their questions are in regards to racial profiling, questions about what are the practices when people get stopped,” said Salvador Reza, an organizer with the Puente human rights movement who has met with Justice Department lawyers. He said the lawyers have asked about the treatment of inmates in Arpaio’s jail.

In an Aug. 3 letter to Arpaio’s attorneys, Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, said the sheriff’s office had declined repeated requests to turn over documents and meet with investigators. Without cooperation by Tuesday, the letter said, the government would file suit “to compel access to the requested documents, facilities and personnel.”

In his Aug. 5 reply, Driscoll accused the Justice Department of “a desperate attempt” to compel cooperation and of “a public relations campaign against Sheriff Arpaio.” He added: “DOJ cannot require the reproduction of millions of pages of documents so DOJ can ‘see what it can find.’ ”

Arpaio’s resistance is highly unusual: Justice Department officials said the threat of such a lawsuit is rare. They added that they plan to meet with the sheriff’s attorneys next week in a last-ditch effort to forestall litigation. If the department files a broader civil lawsuit, it could result in the department terminating the several million dollars in grants to Arpaio’s office each year or in a judge’s order forcing him to change his policies.

On a separate track, the grand jury investigation has been underway since at least January. Lawyers familiar with the inquiry and witnesses said it is focused on allegations that as Arpaio has fought with the county board over his budget and other issues, he and his deputies have retaliated by carrying out at least seven criminal investigations of county officials alleging corruption, fraud and other crimes.

Some legal experts say it could be difficult for such allegations to result in criminal charges. “I don’t know what a charge would be,” said Peter Zeidenberg, a former Justice Department public corruption prosecutor. “We all would agree that being abusive is wrong, but I’m not aware of any federal statute that would fit.”

In one case, Arpaio leveled 40 corruption-related charges against a county supervisor who had spoken out against his policies, all of which a judge dismissed. In another, the sheriff’s allies in the county attorney’s office filed more than 100 criminal counts against another supervisor for improperly filling out required financial disclosure forms. Several days after a judge dismissed most of those, Arpaio’s deputies arrested the supervisor in a parking garage and walked him before TV cameras to jail, announcing more than 100 new charges, which a judge dismissed. (Some of the original charges remain on appeal.)

“They’ll never stop,” said Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson, who was named in one of Arpaio’s investigations. Wilson testified before the grand jury and has spoken to FBI investigators more than a dozen times, as recently as last week. “They don’t care who tells them to stop.”

County Manager David Smith said grand jurors also questioned him about deputies’ trips to conferences and training missions in Las Vegas, Honduras and other destinations, where he said they often stayed at “boutique” hotels. He said prosecutors were focusing on “issues that might involve the crime of extortion over the county budget, misappropriation of funds and abuse of police power.”