Obama issues global warming rules in January, gives GE an exemption in February

washingtonexaminer.com

Last month, the Obama EPA began enforcing new rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions from any new or expanded power plants.

This week, the EPA issued its first exemption, Environment & Energy News reports:

The Obama administration will spare a stalled power plant project in California from the newest federal limits on greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, U.S. EPA says in a new court filing that marks a policy shift in the face of industry groups and Republicans accusing the agency of holding up construction of large industrial facilities.

According to a declaration by air chief Gina McCarthy, officials reviewed EPA policies and decided it was appropriate to “grandfather” projects such as the Avenal Power Center, a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in the San Joaquin Valley, so they are exempted from rules such as new air quality standards for smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

There’s something interesting about the Avenal Power Center:

The proposed Avenal Energy project will be a combined-cycle generating plant consisting of two natural gas-fired General Electric 7FA Gas Turbines with Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) and one General Electric Steam Turbine.

Maybe GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s closeness to President Obama, and his broad support for Obama’s agenda, had nothing to do with this exemption. But we have no way of knowing that, and given the administration’s record of regularly misleading Americans regarding lobbyists, frankly, I wouldn’t trust the White House if they told me there was no connection.

On the upside, at least Job Czar Immelt is creating jobs!

U.S. Government Persecuting Journalists

Russia Today

In its battle against government leaks, the administration of President Obama has launched what many say is a campaign against

Both Bush and Obama pro-secrecy policies could not keep some journalists from obtaining information that incriminates them.

press freedom.

One journalist, who reported things the US government wanted to keep secret, has been given an ultimatum: give up your sources or go to jail.

James Risen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning national security correspondent for the New York Times. In his 2006 book, he wrote about the botched US intelligence operations to halt Iran’s nuclear program. As he is still under prosecutors’ scrutiny, Risen is now advised to avoid interviews on the subject.

“The issue has been litigated before, it went through the courts two years ago,” Eric Lichtblau, New York Times Justice Department correspondent, told RT. “And now the Justice Department, under a new administration, ironically seems to be going the same path.”

Eric Lichtblau, together with his colleague James Risen, has made a number of groundbreaking revelations, including the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants.

He says confidentiality is vital to their work, as people often put their lives at risk to tell what is really going on behind the scenes.

“If, in fact, we have a system where journalists cover only what the government says are not secrets, well journalists lose their independence,” Lichtblau said.

There would probably be no discussions on Guantanamo abuses or the CIA’s secret prisons if not for the leaks, but the clampdown is on.

Of course, there is a line between giving up national security secrets and telling the public what they need to know about their governments’ work. But one or two other cases like Risen’s, and free American investigative journalism may face a real drought in sources.

Obama’s leak plugging has been welcomed most among advocates of secrecy in government affairs, but even they are surprised.

“It came to me as a surprise. The Obama administration came into office pledging maximum openness in the government. While they have take certain steps in that direction, they’ve also done some unexpected decisions regarding leaks,” Gabriel Schoenfeld, author of “Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law”, said.

While some journalists have to fight for their sources, others demand transparency at the White House.

“[There is] too much secrecy in the White house and government and I think the people have the right to know almost everything,” Helen Thomas, a White House correspondent with 50 years’ experience, said.

Meanwhile Obama, with a new law tucked under his arm, positions the US as the watchdog for the freedom of press in the world.

“What this Act does is it sends a strong message from the Unites States government and from the State Department that we are paying attention to how other governments operate when it comes to the press,” President Obama said back in May.

One thing is not clear – will the State Department pay attention to its own backyard as American journalists are being forced to break their word?

Gulf of Mexico Oil Volcano gushes 3.4 million gallons of oil a day

NaturalNews.com

The situation is actually much worse than we’re being led to believe, there could be worldwide catastrophic consequences. If it’s truebp that millions upon millions of gallons of crude oil are flooding the Gulf with no end in sight, the massive oil slicks being created could make their way into the Gulf Stream currents, which would carry them not only up the East Coast but around the world where they could absolutely destroy the global fishing industries.”

Now, barely one week later, it turns out that the oil slick is FAR worse than what we were being told.

USA Today now reports:

Researchers warned Sunday that miles-long underwater plumes of oil from the spill could poison and suffocate sea life across the food chain, with damage that could endure for a decade or more. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation…)

That same article also explained:

“Researchers have found more underwater plumes of oil than they can count from the blown-out well, said Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia. She said careful measurements taken of one plume showed it stretching for 10 miles, with a 3-mile width.”

The Christian Science Monitor also reports now that as much as 3.4 million gallons of oil may be leaking into the Gulf every day!

“The oil that can be seen from the surface is apparently just a fraction of the oil that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20, according to an assessment the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology. Significant amounts of oil are spreading at various levels throughout the water column… Scientists looking at video of the leak, suggest that as many as 3.4 million gallons of oil could be leaking into the Gulf every day – 16 times more than the current 210,000-gallon-a-day estimate, according to the Times.”(http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0…)

The New York Times also chimed in on the topic over the weekend with some absolutely shocking (and disturbing) revelations:

“Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.

Scientists studying video of the gushing oil well have tentatively calculated that it could be flowing at a rate of 25,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day. The latter figure would be 3.4 million gallons a day. But the government, working from satellite images of the ocean surface, has calculated a flow rate of only 5,000 barrels a day.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/u…)

In other words, while the government has been telling us the leak is only 5,000 barrels a day, the true volume could be more like 80,000 barrels a day.

Wiping out the Gulf

It hardly needs to be stated that 80,000 barrels of oil a day leaking into the Gulf of Mexico could destroy virtually all marine life in the region.

Oxygen levels have already fallen by 30 percent in waters near the oil. When water loses its oxygen content, it quickly becomes a so-called “dead zone” because marine species simply can’t live there anymore. (Fish and other aquatic creatures need oxygen to live, obviously.)

With this volcano of oil still erupting through the ocean floor, we could be witnessing the mass-murder of virtually all marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.

And yet we’re faced with a virtual blackout of truly accurate news on the event. Both the oil industry and the Obama administration are desperately trying to limit the videos, photos and stories about the spill, spinning everything to make it seem like it’s not really much of a problem at all.

It’s much like the media coverage of the War in Iraq, where all video footage had to be vetted by the Pentagon before being released to the public. Remember the uproar over the leaked photos of coffins draped in American flags? That’s what the Obama administration no doubt hopes to avoid by suppressing photos of dead dolphins and sea birds in the Gulf of Mexico.

The truth, as usual, is being suppressed. It’s just too ugly for the public to see.

Of course, the truth has always been suppressed in the oil industry. Even the inspections on this particular oil rig were, well, rigged. It turns out the rig wasn’t even inspected on schedule (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100516…).

It also turns out that the Obama administration actually gave the Deepwater Horizon an award for its history of safety! That was before the whole thing literally blew up in their faces.

Corruption in Washington leads to catastrophe

The oil industry, you see, is just like every other industry that’s regulated by the federal government: It has a cozy relationship with regulators.

It’s the same story with Big Pharma and the FDA, or the meat industry and the USDA. Wall Street and the SEC. Every industry that’s regulated eventually turns the tables on its regulators and ends up rewriting the rules for its own benefit.

The oil industry has been able to get away with so many exemptions and loopholes that the regulatory environment is now lenient at best. The Deepwater Horizon, for example, was given all sorts of exemptions to engage in risky drilling operations without following proper safety procedures. And who granted it these exemptions? The U.S. federal government, of course!

So now the U.S. government is just as guilty as the oil industry in this mass-murder of life in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the government that allowed the series of events that led to catastrophe in the first place. And now, this catastrophe could lead to a near-total wipeout of marine life throughout the Gulf (and possibly beyond).

In a worst-case scenario, this could destroy some percentage of life in oceans all around the world. It could be the one final wound to Mother Earth who bleeds her black blood into the oceans for ten thousand years, destroying life as we know it on this planet.

All for profit, of course. Let nothing stand in the way of another billion dollars in oil company profits! (Regulators? Bah!)

Collusion between government and industry always leads to disaster

I hope BP can find a way to suction some of that oil out of the ocean. If they can manage such a solution, they should then turn around and dump the entire slick across the landscape of Washington D.C. to coat all the bureaucrats in the black slimy shame they no doubt deserve. This isn’t about some random accident, you see: It’s about a failure of federal regulators to enforce safe drilling practices.

The fishing industries in and around the Gulf of Mexico could be devastated for decades. The diversity of life in the marine ecosystems there may soon find itself on the verge of collapse. And still there is no real solution for stopping the volcano of oil that continues to gush out of this gaping wound in the Earth herself.

I can only wonder what kind of hare-brained ideas these oil men are coming up with now to stop the flow. A nuke bomb expert has reportedly been sent to the area by the Obama administration as part of some sort of “dream team” of super smart people to find a solution.

But it begs the question: If we were so smart, why are we still running the world on fossil fuels in the first place? There’s enough sunlight energy striking the deserts of Arizona to power the entire nation indefinitely! Free energy technology continues to be suppressed in large part by oil company interests (and the arrogant scientific community), and renewable energy technology has received virtually no government support whatsoever.

More…

The Militarization of Outer Space: The Pentagon’s “Space Warriors”

Air Force Raises the Stakes for a New Arms Race

Global Research

It’s not as if things aren’t bad enough right here on planet earth.space war

What with multiple wars and occupations, an accelerating economic meltdown, corporate malfeasance and environmental catastrophes such as the petroleum-fueled apocalypse in the Gulf of Mexico, I’d say we have a full plate already.

Now the Defense Department wants to up the stakes with new, destabilizing weapons systems that will transform low- and high-earth orbit into another “battlespace,” pouring billions into programs to achieve what Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) has long dreamed of: “space dominance.”

Indeed, Pentagon space warriors fully intend to field a robust anti-satellite (ASAT) capability that can disable, damage or destroy the satellites of other nations, all for “defensive” purposes, mind you.

Back in 2005, The New York Times reported that General Lance W. Lord, then commander of AFSPC, told an Air Force conference that “space superiority is not our birthright, but it is our destiny. … Space superiority is our day-to-day mission. Space supremacy is our vision for the future.”

Five years on, that “mission” is still a top priority for the Obama administration. While some might call it “net-centric warfare” on steroids, I’d choose another word: madness.

Air Force X-37B

On April 22, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) successfully launched its robot space shuttle, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Sitting atop a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket, the unmanned, reusable space plane roared into orbit after more than ten years of development by Boeing Corporation’s “Phantom Works” black projects shop.

The successful orbital insertion of the X-37B was the culmination of a decades’ long dream by the Department of Defense: to field a reusable spacecraft that combines an airplane’s agility with the means to travel at 5 miles per second in orbit.

From the Pentagon’s point of view, a craft such as the X-37B may be the harbinger of things to come: a johnny-on-the-spot weapons platform to take out the satellite assets of an enemy de jour, or as a launch vehicle that can deliver bombs, missiles or kinetic weapons anywhere on earth in less than two hours; what Air Force wags refer to as “operationally responsive space.”

Prior to launch, Air Force Deputy Undersecretary of Space Programs, Gary Payton, ridiculed speculation that the X-37B is the prototype for a new space-based weapons system. Payton told reporters, “I don’t know how this could be called a weaponization of space. Fundamentally, it’s just an updated version of the space shuttle kinds of activities in space.”

Needless to say, such denials should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

The highly-classified program has a checkered history. According to GlobalSecurity.org, the project is envisaged as a “reusable space architecture” that would provide “aircraft-like operability, flexibility, and responsiveness, supporting AF Space Command mission areas.”

While early examples such as the Dyna-Soar/X-20 program of the 1950s-1960s never panned out due to technological constraints, the Air Force never stopped trying. Programs such as the X-40 Space Maneuver Vehicle (SMV) and the X-41 Common Air Vehicle (CAV), a hypersonic craft intended to serve as a key component in developing the off-again, on-again “Prompt Global Strike” project, demonstrate continuing Air Force interest in “high frontier” weapons programs.

The X-40 project eventually merged with the Air Force’s X-37B program and the X-41 CAV program has been absorbed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2).

Last month, the first test of the Falcon (apparently) ended in failure when DARPA researchers claimed they had lost contact with the craft moments after take-off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Falcon was supposed to demonstrate the feasibility of launching a vehicle to the edge of space and then have it come “screaming back into the atmosphere, maneuvering at twenty times the speed of sound before landing north of the Kwajalein Atoll, 30 minutes later and 4100 nautical miles away,” according to Wired.

Did the HTV-2 mission fail? Since misdirection and disinformation have long been staples of Pentagon black world projects, most likely we’ll never know one way or the other.

Inevitably, even if these projects amount to no more than monumental failures, their intended target audience, China, Russia or any other nation viewed as a “rogue state” by the imperialist hyperpower, in all likelihood would be drawn in to an expensive, and deadly, contest to devise countermeasures.

In this light, Space.com reporter Jeremy Hsu wrote May 5, that ambiguities in devising militarized space technology “can make it tricky for nations to gauge the purpose or intentions behind new prototypes.” And such uncertainties are precisely the fodder that fuel an arms race.

According to GlobalSecurity.org’s John Pike, the U.S. military “could even be using the cloak of mystery to deliberately bamboozle and confuse rival militaries.” Pike told Space.com that “the X-37B and HTV-2 projects could represent the tip of a space weapons program hidden within the Pentagon’s secret ‘black budget,’ or they might be nothing more than smoke and mirrors.”

Pike said that current work “leaves plenty of room for misinterpretation or even outright deception, which could be a ploy to distract other nations with military space projects.”

“‘One of them could be a deception program and the other could be the spitting image of the real thing,’ Pike noted. He said that such misdirection could force other nations’ militaries to waste money chasing down dead ends.”

While Pike’s assertions sound plausible, given the Pentagon’s track record and an annual $50 billion black budget directed towards research on new weapons and surveillance systems, the X-37B, the Falcon HTV-2 or other systems on the drawing board would certainly be useful assets if the military chose to deploy them as offensive weapons.

A Space Bomber?

Less ambitious perhaps, but potentially more destabilizing than unproven hypersonic technology, the X-37B was originally designed by Boeing for NASA in 1999 as an emergency escape vehicle for the International Space Station.

The civilian agency once viewed the craft as a potential lifeboat that could rescue stranded astronauts from the ISS. However, with Russia’s Soyuz space capsule doing yeoman’s work for just such a contingency, NASA no longer saw the need for an expensive winged re-entry vehicle and dropped the program.

But, as with all things having to do with the Military-Industrial Complex’s insatiable appetite for new weapons, DARPA, the Pentagon’s “blue sky” geek shop, picked up the slack in 2004 when NASA headed towards the exit.

After further testing and design enhancements by DARPA, the project was handed off to the Air Force in 2006. The program is now run by the USAF’s secretive Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and spokespeople there have been tight lipped, refusing to say how much the vehicle costs; a sure sign that funds for the robot shuttle come from the black side of the budget where new weapons systems spawn and metastasize.

A tip-off to the covert nature–and militaristic intentions–of the program, comes from the office running the show. According to an Air Force Fact Sheet, the RCO “responds to Combat Air Force and combatant command requirements” and “expedites development and fielding of select Department of Defense combat support and weapon systems by leveraging defense-wide technology development efforts and existing operational capabilities.”

According to investigative journalist Sharon Weinberger, the author of Imaginary Weapons and A Nuclear Family Vacation, her recent piece in Popular Mechanics, revealed that prior to the Pentagon assuming ownership of the X-37 project, “the spacecraft was regarded as just another experimental prototype.” Today however, Weinberger wrote, “Air Force officials are skittish to mention even the smallest details.”

When Air Force chief scientist Werner J.A. Dahm was asked by Weinberger “what he could say about the X-37B,” he replied, “‘Nothing very useful,’ before quickly changing the subject.”

In a 2006 piece in Air Force Print News (AFPN) however, we were informed that the X-37B will “will serve as a test platform for satellites and other space technologies. The vehicle allows satellite sensors, subsystems, components and associated technology to be transported into the environment where they will be used–space.”

With information scarce on what the OTV’s current mission is, the Air Force has said that after the first few flights (a second test in slated for 2011), “you get into the realm of using it as a reusable space test platform–putting space components into its experimental bay and taking them to space for testing,” RCO’s X-37B program manager Lt. Col. Kevin Walker told AFPN.

While the Air Force has denied that the X-37B is the vanguard for a space-based system to be deployed for spying or as an orbital weapons’ delivery platform, and while this may betechnically accurate in so far as the mini-shuttle is a prototype, the vagaries of the project raise intriguing questions.

This is borne out by an April 22 announcement by the 45th Space Wing Public Affairs office at Patrick Air Force base. Deputy Undersecretary Payton said “if these technologies on the vehicle prove to be as good as we estimate, it will make our access to space more responsive, perhaps cheaper, and push us in the vector toward being able to react to warfighter needs more quickly.”

This was seconded by Col. André Lovett, 45th Space Wing vice commander: “This launch helps ensure that our warfighters will be provided the capabilities they need in the future.”

Nothing ambiguous in these statements as to how the USAF views the future role for the system, nor do they bear a relationship to Payton’s earlier claim to reporters that the X-37B is “just an updated version of the space shuttle kinds of activities in space.”

Weinberger notes that “the most daring job of a space plane, and the one least discussed, is the role of a bomber.” According to Weinberger, the X-37B “could fly over targets within an hour of launch to release cone-shaped re-entry vehicles that would both protect and guide weapons through the atmosphere.” Equally destabilizing, a craft such as the X-37B “could carry 1000- or 2000-pound re-entry vehicles armed with precision munitions like bunker-busting penetrators or small-diameter bombs, or simply use the explosive impact of kinetic rods cratering at hypersonic speeds to destroy targets.”

Joan Johnson-Freese, a Professor of National Security Studies at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, told Space.com journalist Leonard David last month that “other countries” will likely view the X-37B “as another capability intended to assure the United States will be able to dominate access to and the use of space.”

William Scott, coauthor of the militaristic novel Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III, told David that a reusable space plane “could deliver small satellites having specific, limited roles to bridge critical capabilities gaps.”

The former bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology told David that amongst the most vital characteristics for fielding a weapons’ platform such as the X-37B is surprise: “On the first orbit, a space plane could capture data, before the ‘target’ knew it was coming.” Since a space plane could be “launched into any orbit, at any inclination, providing prompt ‘eyes-on’ of virtually any area of the world,” unlike a satellite with known, predictable trajectories, it could also be used as a surveillance platform or even as a means to surreptitiously “kidnap” or disable an adversary’s satellite.

Seconding Weinberger’s assessment, Scott told Space.com that “ultimately, weapons could be delivered from a space plane in low Earth orbit.” As noted above, these could come in the form of “precision” munitions or insane hypervelocity rod bundles, so called “Rods from God,” tungsten projectiles lobbed from space at 36,000 feet per second that can “hit a cross-haired target on the ground.”

“I did a story about the rods concept in 1994 or 1995, based on concepts being discussed in the U.S. Air Force at the time,” Scott said. “Fifteen years later, maybe they’re ready for testing.”

This view is shared by Everett Dolman, a professor of Comparative Military Studies at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Regardless of its original intent, Dolman told Space.com, “the most obvious and formidable is in service as a space fighter–a remotely piloted craft capable of disabling multiple satellites in orbit on a single mission and staying on orbit for months to engage newly orbited platforms.” A project such as the X-37B, more advanced systems still on the drawing-board or in development in any number of Air Force black sites such as Groom Lake (Area 51) “would be a tremendous tactical advantage,” Dolman said.

Even were the system not to be transformed into a space bomber, Dolman theorized that the X-37B could be maneuvered close to an adversary’s satellite and capture details in the form of signals intelligence. “With the anticipated increase in networked-microsatellites in the next few years, such a platform might be the best–and only–means of collecting technical intelligence in space.”

While the system may evolve into a destabilizing new weapon, Dolman said that “all of the information leaked about the X-37B suggests its primary function will be as a test platform, but a test platform for what?”

Regardless of how the X-37B prototype pans out, we can be certain that as the U.S. imperialist empire continues its long trek on the road towards failed statehood, the Pentagon, always eager to expend the blood and treasure of the American people on endless wars of conquest, will continue to build new and ever-more destabilizing weapons.

Obama Administration Admits Death Panels Exist

Liberty Scout

Sarah Palin was right! Of course, when she mentioned it liberals went nuts claiming that she was fear-mongering. Now, President Obama’s Budget Director is heralding the cost cutting measure.

Last weekend while you were preparing for the holidays with your family, Harry Reid’s Senate was making shady backroom deals to ram through the Democrat health care take-over. The Senate ended debate on this bill without even reading it. That and midnight weekend votes seem to be standard operating procedures in D.C. No one is certain of what’s in the bill, but Senator Jim DeMint spotted one shocking revelation regarding the section in the bill describing the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (now called the Independent Payment Advisory Board), which is a panel of bureaucrats charged with cutting health care costs on the backs of patients – also known as rationing. Apparently Reid and friends have changed the rules of the Senate so that the section of the bill dealing with this board can’t be repealed or amended without a 2/3 supermajority vote. Senator DeMint said:

“This is a rule change. It’s a pretty big deal. We will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law. I’m not even sure that it’s constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate rule. I don’t see why the majority party wouldn’t put this in every bill. If you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates. I mean, we want to bind future congresses. This goes to the fundamental purpose of senate rules: to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future congresses.”

In other words, Democrats are protecting this rationing “death panel” from future change with a procedural hurdle. You have to ask why they’re so concerned about protecting this particular provision. Could it be because bureaucratic rationing is one important way Democrats want to “bend the cost curve” and keep health care spending down?

Watch the Video here.