Friday, May 30, 2008

with War encroaching our own Borders along with the race to secure untapped energy reserves: We discuss Trying to head off an Arctic 'gold rush'



I have written about this a few times in respect to the encroachment of war on our northern border. While Bush is off instigating war around the world our adversaries are doing it to us on both our borders. Last time we talked about South America but highlighted the nightmare unfolding in the Arctic
Today an update and I hope it works out! Five states bordering on the potentially energy-rich Arctic Ocean have met in Greenland in an attempt to head off a new "gold rush" in the high north. They agreed to settle disputes through the UN procedures in an orderly way. "The five nations have now declared that they will follow the rules," said the Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller. "We have hopefully quelled all myths about a race for the North Pole once and for all." however, there is still all to play for in terms of exploiting resources and it remains to be seen if the procedures are used. Louise de la Fayette, visiting professor at the University of Greenwich said: "I am disappointed that they seem to have rejected proposals for a comprehensive legal regime for the Arctic. Watch the video

"Since they share a common ocean and common challenges and since they already cooperate to a considerable extent, the Arctic states should find the political will to go one step further to organise and consolidate their efforts in a new regional seas agreement." A key aim of the meeting - organised by Denmark and also attended by Russia, the United States, Canada and Norway - was to reaffirm the rules governing rights over the seabed contained in the UN Law of the Sea Convention. This says that a country has the right to drill for minerals up to 200 nautical miles (370km) from the edge of its continental shelf. It can make a claim that the shelf goes beyond that and, if the claim is accepted, rights would then be extended. Already, Russia has made a huge claim on the basis that an underwater feature, the Lomonosov Ridge, runs from Siberia to the North Pole. It argues that Russia owns the rights extending from the ridge, and that would include the North Pole.

Last year a Russian submersible planted a metal Russian flag on the seabed under the Pole to illustrate its claim. Russia's claim is currently being considered by a technical panel. Norway has also lodged a claim. Who claims what in the Arctic

A former Canadian Foreign Minister, Peter MacKay, said of the Russian flag expedition: "This is posturing. This is the true north strong and free [a line from the Canadian national anthem], and they're fooling themselves if they think dropping a flag on the ocean floor is going to change anything. There is no question over Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic... You can't go around the world these days dropping a flag somewhere. This isn't the 14th or 15th century." The race to establish claims has been driven by the reduction in sea ice. This opens up the possibility of easier exploration for gas and oil. "Ice loss is really happening," said Simon Belt, professor of chemistry at the University of Plymouth. He went on a Canadian ship through a largely ice-free Northwest Passage last September to see the changes for himself. "It is very serious and has implications not just for mineral exploration. Ice acts as a heat shield for the planet by reflecting UV radiation, and without it the Gulf Stream would also not be what it is today. There is significant ice loss. Trying to head off conflict over the Arctic
James Joiner
Gardner Ma

13 comments:

an average patriot said...

I have to get prepared to head down to the VA but I will be back. Take care!

Robert Rouse said...

Jim, that's been the myopic way of this government under Bush. They seem to have a myriad of staff simply working on causing problems or covering up old ones. That leaves very few to work on solutions. You're asking these guys to multi-task when they can barely keep focus on one challenge at a time - and that's only if everyone has taken their Focalin. Right now their sole eye is on the Missile East - oops, was that a Freudian slip? - the Middle East and can't rotate enough to see the rest of the world.

an average patriot said...

robert
It drives me crazy! While the idiot is off instigating the rest of the world to war they are right here at our front and back door. take care of your home first! There is no reasoning with these idiots.
I just got in from the VA and I heard on the news that as you know, one Marine was caught using the Koran for target practice and yesterday one was caught giving out Christian coins with scripture on them to Muslims.
What the hell? I wrote about it numerous times and I know bush has been raising a Christian Crusader Army. WTF? Take care,

an average patriot said...

Robert
I was just looking at your comment again. Now I see what you refered to as a freudian slip. The entire middle east is going to blow and then the entire world will get involved unless China sits bact while we destroy ourselves and then comes in and takes over.
Anyway I think you read the story naj sent me. Even she is realizing Bush doesn't think and iran is next. This is just beginning.

Larry said...

Look at this Jim:

Pain and Conscience

By Charles Sullivan
It is evident that a substantial majority of U.S. citizens are, in principle, opposed to the most destructive governmental policies stemming from the nation’s capital. These include, but are not limited to—the continuing war and occupation of Iraq, as well as the pervasive consumer fraud that preys upon the innocent and the unwary and causes them undue hardship. These charges are born out by the abysmal approval rating of Congress and the president. It is equally evident that the government, while pretending to be sympathetic to these views, continues to carry forth those same policies both at home and abroad. It does so without the consent of the people and, therefore, it has abrogated its responsibility to them.

These destructive policies are formulated in the various branches of government and in the corporate board rooms of America. They are a prominent feature of the run amok presidency of George W. Bush, where they manifest themselves to the world. However, their history precedes Bush and his corporate gangsters by generations, and they are an outgrowth of the exploitive capital system.

In some respects the presidency serves as a distraction from the machinations that are operating behind the scenes to spew forth one disastrous policy after another. With so much attention given to Bush, the people are failing to confront the root cause of which George W. Bush is but a single manifestation: the sociopolitical system that put the present criminal regime in power.

Beyond capitalism, other destructive paradigms are operating to produce a hybridized and even more virulent form of economics. One might call it hyper capitalism. This explains why the American form of capitalism is so much more destructive than most of its European counterparts. For example, most European workers enjoy a shorter work week, higher wages, and have more paid vacation than do American workers; and most of them have union representation and, therefore, more and better benefits. In Germany, even Wal-mart is unionized.

One of these harmful paradigms that interact synergistically with capitalism is the idea of American exceptionalism: the persistent belief that America knows best and everything we do is good for the world. This synergism is tinged with powerful elements of racism, sexism, and other belief systems that are rooted in bigotry, hate, and religious intolerance. It is this lethal combination that gave rise to the concept of Manifest Destiny. It was these paradigms that attempted to sweep the continent clean of its indigenous population, and is blowing across the planet, touching ground in the Middle East and beyond like a violent cyclone.

What is so exasperating to many of us is that the corruption of the political system is widely understood and yet so little is done about it. The people continue to participate in it; they continue to vote in the absence of meaningful choice and they continue to support it with their taxes. There have been peace marches and other forms of token protest, but they have had little bearing on the continuing policies of economic disparity, environmental destruction, and imperial war that are prominent features of American capitalism.

Because protest in America has become more symbolic than effective, those in power can afford to ignore it. Even when participation in protest is great, it is of short duration; it does not cause serious economic or political disruption, and it does not pose a real threat to the established orthodoxy. After a few hours of peaceful marching, the people pack up and go back to their lives and everything remains as it was before they came.

Effective protest causes economic and political disruption. It persists until the just demands of the people are met. The established orthodoxy feels pain and discomfort from it; it feels a palpable threat and understands that the injustice cannot continue. Either it addresses the demands of the people, or it perishes. This is a manifestation of democracy. It is serious stuff that requires enormous sacrifice from those who protest in this way. The Montgomery bus boycott of the 60s was that kind of protest; and it was a protest that was won by the people, despite a constant threat of violence and death.

These days few people are willing to put anything tangible on the line. One wonders: Is there anything that the American people are willing to fight and die for? Is there anything real that we really believe in? Or do we relish the symbols of freedom more than we love freedom itself?

American exceptionalism is fostered in all of our social and political institutions. This includes the educational system and religious institutions. Thus, these beliefs are continually reinforced from cradle to grave, and never more so than in the corporate media. So it is not surprising that our political leaders behave as if they were endowed with the powers of deities, even though they are nothing more than fallible human beings like everyone else. It requires enormous hubris for anyone to adopt such doctrines, but there appears to be an inexhaustible supply of hubris in this country and a paucity of humility and compassion. Those who think in this way are prone to behaving toward the world with vitriol, as we witness daily.

The collective result of so many individually destructive paradigms is dehumanization. When we allow people to be dehumanized it is easy to hate them and to exploit them; to see them as entities endowed with less inherent value than ourselves or our chosen kind. It is easy to kill or subjugate inferior people and inferior beings. That is also how the government (the economic elite) perceives the working class and in their eyes that perception makes working people exploitable and expendable. Giving our continued allegiance to such government is irrational and immoral; it is also cowardly and self-destructive.

We are faced with a situation in which the body politic not only does not care what the American people think; it disdains populism as much here as it does in Latin America and elsewhere in the world. Populism and its close cousin—democracy—pose an enormous threat to the established order; and that order provides wealth and privilege to a select few, while denying it to everyone else. This is why corrupt politicians and so many academicians spare no effort to suppress and crush democratic movements, and cover up their crimes through a disingenuous rendering of history.

Yet with so much of the population aware of the government’s disdain of the people’s needs, why isn’t there effective organized resistance to it? Why isn’t there widespread social and economic disruption? Why do the people not revoke their consent to be governed and refuse their allegiance to a government that is not only corrupt and devoid of moral capital but is also clearly predatory or even cannibalistic? Why do we continue to fund criminal governments, including our own, with our taxes? Why isn’t there social unrest and civil disobedience in the streets? Why are those who expose these crimes punished and the criminals go free and reap financial reward for their malfeasance?

One explanation for the widespread social malaise in this country is that people are overwhelmed by it; shocked and awed by it; disorientated by it. They cannot believe the audacity of the Bush regime. Disorientation makes the plunder of the commonwealth easy to carry out. Even while dazed and confused, so many people remain wed to the idea of America’s inherent goodness and moral superiority to the rest of the world, despite mountains of evidence against such views. Thus, they view the criminal Bush regime as an aberration rather than a continuation of an historical pattern.

Social justice advocates are rightly infuriated to know that amidst this worsening climate a solid majority of the people can remain indifferent and willfully ignorant of what is being done in their names. There is a reason for this. The American people do not want to acknowledge any wrong doing on the part of their government, which is, in theory, an extension of the people. Of course, that is not the actual practice. This refusal psychologically absolves them from guilt or complicity and it permits them the luxury of apathy. By refusing to acknowledge wrong doing, no further action is required of them. They can go on consuming, falling asleep in front of the television and sending their offspring to die in unnecessary wars, while sinking ever deeper into debt and economic servitude.

Furthermore, the inert masses are mentally and spiritually ill equipped to deal with reality; so they block it out of their minds—aided, of course, by the corporate media and the propaganda apparatus of the government, itself. This is why fantasy is freely substituted for reality; plutocracy is mistaken for democracy, and the majority of the people do not know the difference. Millions of good people thus refuse to allow into their psyche the suffering and misery that U.S. policy has produced and exported to the world, even as that reality is closing in upon them. Unfortunately, I can point to my own family as an example of such delusional thinking, as no doubt can many of my readers.

Understanding this, the greatest obstacle to creating a vibrant and effective social justice movement is convincing the inert masses that they must acknowledge the suffering we have caused and are continuing to inflict upon the world. The multitudes must see the wisdom of looking behind the veneer of propaganda and confronting an ugly and often painful truth: the brutal and violent history of our nation, including the suppression of democracy wherever it is encountered. Eventually, perhaps very soon, they must also come to grips with the demise of capitalism.

We the people must find the courage to confront reality, and that means that we must be willing to feel the pain and suffering we have inflicted on others. We must admit that we are not exceptional or superior, and that we are not more entitled to our share of the world’s bounty than any other people. But we must go even deeper than that: we must bring about restitution for our past wrong-doing.

The citizens of the United States must become one with the world and look beyond nationality; beyond race, sex, and religious creed. Suffering and joy are conditions of life and they should be kept in balance as much as possible. Because suffering causes discomfort that few people want to experience, the alleviation of suffering is powerful motivation to demand justice; and that is the force that motivates most good people to do what they do, which is resist the tyranny of evil government. Once our indiscretions have been acknowledged and acted upon, we will find that the world is more than willing to forgive our past transgressions. This act alone will allow us to rejoin the world, so to speak.

Many years ago I questioned my mother about eating meat and the suffering it caused so many innocent animals. Her response revealed much about the American consciousness. She did not witness the suffering of those animals. She did not hear their cries of pain. She saw no blood in the sanitized product that was sold in the grocery store, wrapped in clear plastic and served up on pristine styrofoam. So their suffering was not real to her; it was too far removed from her experience. But the suffering of those animals and their cries of pain are very real indeed; and so is the suffering the United States government is inflicting upon the world.



Were we on the receiving end of our government’s foreign policies, we would have a very different perception of them. But like wrapped meat in the grocery store, we do not see the pain and the blood—or the suffering. So for many people it is not real; it is not happening…but it is.

By admitting some of this pain into our lives we are simultaneously admitting all of the other things into our lives that define our collective humanity; among them hope and joy. Then, and only then, can we take a principled stand for social and environmental justice and build an effective movement toward these ends. We must pry open closed minds and allow reality to penetrate delusion, as witnessing cause and effect often does. By this process sheeple are transformed once again into people, each of them endowed with a conscience capable of distinguishing right and wrong. This moral evolution is itself a revolutionary act of monumental import to any justice movement. It provides the means for people to act according to the dictates of conscience, and that is an act of liberation from dogma.

Revolution begins by altering consciousness. We stand at the brink of a multitude of possible futures, many of them tragic. The failure to act and rebel when the conditions demand it is a betrayal not only of our own humanity; it is a crime of great magnitude. The world’s foremost thinkers and visionaries have always understood this. Can we?

Larry said...

Its all about Power Through Oil Jim:

The Great Oil Swindle
How much did the Fed really know?

By Mike Whitney

The Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating trading in oil futures to determine whether the surge in prices to record levels is the result of manipulation or fraud. They might want to take a look at wheat, rice and corn futures while they're at it. The whole thing is a hoax cooked up by the investment banks and hedge funds who are trying to dig their way out of the trillion dollar mortgage-backed securities (MBS) mess that they created by turning garbage loans into securities. That scam blew up in their face last August and left them scrounging for handouts from the Federal Reserve. Now the billions of dollars they're getting from the Fed is being diverted into commodities which is destabilizing the world economy; driving gas prices to the moon and triggering food riots across the planet.

For months we've been told that the soaring price of oil has been the result of Peak Oil, fighting in Iraq, attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria, labor problems in Norway, and (the all-time favorite)growth in China. It's all baloney. Just like Goldman Sachs prediction of $200 per barrel oil is baloney. If oil is about to skyrocket then why has G-Sax kept a neutral rating on some of its oil holdings like Exxon Mobile? Could it be that they know that oil is just another mega-inflated equity bubble---like housing, corporate bonds and dot.com stocks—that is about to crash to earth as soon as the big players grab a parachute?

There are three things that are driving up the price of oil: the falling dollar, speculation and buying on margin.

The dollar is tanking because of the Federal Reserve's low interest monetary policies have kept interest rates below the rate of inflation for most of the last decade. Add that to the $700 billion current account deficit and a National Debt that has increased from $5.8 trillion when Bush first took office to over $9 trillion today and it's a wonder the dollar hasn't gone “Poof” already.

According to a January 4 editorial in the Wall Street Journal: “If the dollar had remained 'as good as gold' since 2001, oil today would be selling at about $30 per barrel, not $99. (today $126 per barrel) The decline of the dollar against gold and oil suggests a US monetary that is supplying too many dollars.” Wall Street Journal 1-4-08

The price of oil has more than quadrupled since 2001, from roughly $30 per barrel to $126, WITHOUT ANY DISRUPTIONS TO SUPPLY. There's no shortage; it's just gibberish.


As far as “buying on margin” consider this summary from author William Engdahl:

“A conservative calculation is that at least 60% of today’s $128 per barrel price of crude oil comes from unregulated futures speculation by hedge funds, banks and financial groups using the London ICE Futures and New York NYMEX futures exchanges and uncontrolled inter-bank or Over-The-Counter trading to avoid scrutiny. US margin rules of the government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission allow speculators to buy a crude oil futures contract on the Nymex, by having to pay only 6% of the value of the contract. At today's price of $128 per barrel, that means a futures trader only has to put up about $8 for every barrel. He borrows the other $120. This extreme “leverage” of 16 to 1 helps drive prices to wildly unrealistic levels and offset bank losses in sub-prime and other disasters at the expense of the overall population.”

So the investment banks and their trading partners at the hedge funds can game the system for a mere 8 bucks per barrel or 16 to 1 leverage. Not bad, eh?

Is it possible that gambling on oil futures might be a temptation for banks that are already underwater from a trillion dollars worth of mortgage-related deals that have “gone south” leaving the banking system essentially bankrupt?

And if the banks and hedgies are not playing this game, then where is the money coming from? I have compiled charts and graphs that show that nearly two-thirds of the big investment banks' revenue came from the securitization of commercial and residential real estate loans. That market is frozen. Besides, this is not just a matter of “loan delinquencies” or MBS that have to be written off. The banks are "revenue starved". How are they filling the coffers? They're either neck-deep in interest rate swaps, derivatives trading, or gaming the futures market. Which is it?

Of course, there is one other possibility, but if that possibility turned out to be right than it would cast doubt on the legitimacy of the entire financial system. In fact, it would prove that the system is being rigged from the top-down by our friends at the Banking Politburo, the Federal Reserve. Here goes:

What if the investment banks are trading their worthless MBS and CDOs at the Fed's auction facilities and using the money ($400 billion) to drive up the price of raw materials like rice, corn, wheat, and oil?

Could it be? Could the Fed really be looking the other way so it can bail out its banking buddies while they drive prices skyward?

If it is true; (and I suspect it is) it hasn't done much good. As the Associated Press reported yesterday:

“The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it will make a fresh batch of short-term cash loans available to squeezed banks as part of an ongoing effort to ease stressed credit markets. The Fed said it will conduct three auctions in June, with each one making $75 billion available in short-term cash loans. Banks can bid for a slice of the available funds. It would mark the latest round in a program that the Fed launched in December to help banks overcome credit problems so they will keep lending to customers.”

Another $225 billion for the bankers and not a dime for the struggling homeowner! The Fed is bankrupting the country with their permanent rotating loans to keep reckless speculators from going under. So much for moral hazard.

As far as speculation, there is ample evidence that the system is being manipulated. According to MarketWatch:

“Speculative activity in commodity markets has grown "enormously" over the past several years, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said in a news release. It pointed out that in five years, from 2003 to 2008, investment in the index funds tied to commodities has grown by 20-fold --to $260 billion from $13 billion.”

And here's a revealing clip from the testimony of Michael W. Masters of Masters Capital Management, LLC, who addressed the issue of “Commodities Speculation” before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs this week:

“Today, Index Speculators are pouring billions of dollars into the commodities futures
markets, speculating that commodity prices will increase. ...In the popular press the explanation given most often for rising oil prices is the increased demand for oil from China. According to the DOE, annual Chinese demand for petroleum has increased over the last five years from 1.88 billion barrels to 2.8 billion barrels, an increase of 920 million barrels.8 Over the same five-year period, Index Speculatorsʼ demand for petroleum futures has increased by 848 million barrels. THE INCREASE IN DEMAND FROM INDEX SPECULATORS IS ALMOST EQUAL TO THE INCREASE IN DEMAND FROM CHINA.

Index Speculators have now stockpiled, via the futures market, the equivalent of 1.1 billion barrels of petroleum, effectively adding eight times as much oil to their own stockpile as the United States has added to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the last five years.

Today, in many commodities futures markets, they are the single largest force.15 The huge growth in their demand has gone virtually undetected by classically-trained economists who almost never analyze demand in futures markets.

As money pours into the markets, two things happen concurrently: the markets expand and prices rise. One particularly troubling aspect of Index Speculator demand is that it actually increases the more prices increase. This explains the accelerating rate at which commodity futures prices (and actual commodity prices) are increasing. The CFTC has taken deliberate steps to allow CERTAIN SPECULATORS VIRTUALLY UNLIMITED ACCESS TO THE COMMODITIES FUTURES MARKETS. The CFTC has granted Wall Street banks an exemption from speculative position limits when these banks hedge over-the-counter swaps transactions. This has effectively opened a loophole for unlimited speculation. When Index Speculators enter into commodity index swaps, which 85-90% of them do, they face no speculative position limits.... The result is a gross distortion in data that effectively hides the full impact of Index Speculation.” (Thanks to Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis; the one “indispensable” financial blog on the Internet)

Masters adds that the CFTC is pressing to make “Index Speculators exempt from all position limits” so they can make “unlimited” bets on the futures which are wreaking havoc on the global economy and pushing millions towards starvation. Of course, these things pale in comparison to the higher priority of fatting the bottom line of the parasitic investor class.

Brimming oil tankers are presently sitting off the coasts of Iran and Louisiana. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been filled. Demand is flat. The world's biggest consumer of energy (guess who?) is cutting back . As CNN reports:

“At a time when gas prices are at an all-time high, Americans have curtailed their driving at a historic rate. The Department of Transportation said figures from March show the steepest decrease in driving ever recorded. Compared with March a year earlier, Americans drove an estimated 4.3 percent less -- that's 11 billion fewer miles, the DOT's Federal Highway Administration said Monday, calling it "the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history." (CNN)

The great oil crunch is another fabricated crisis; another "smoke and mirrors" fiasco; another Enron-type shell-game engineered by banksters and hedge fund managers. Once again, the bloody footprints can be traced right back to the front door of the Federal Reserve. Don't expect help from the regulators either; they've all been replaced with business reps like Harvey Pitt or Hank Paulson. The only time anyone in the Bush administration finds their conscience is when they're offered a multi-million dollar “tell all” book deal.

Weaseldog said...

That comment about no disruptions to the supply of oil is baloney. Supply went South in 2001. It began to increase again in 2003, then plateaued in 2005.

Ideally we need 3% growth in oil, to drive 3% growth in industry, to keep economies growing at 3%.

We lost that. Now growth in oil is almost non-existent. But we continue to drive the economy to 3% growth and the dollar production much higher.

But without energy production growing at the same rate, those dollars can't be used to fund industry. So they fund financial instruments that are recursively based on each other. It drives up a Ponzi scheme of virtual wealth that isn't back by production.

So there is truth in the article. That one mistake, taken at face value from Rush Limbaugh and other members of the mainstream media, slants the article into fantasy land.

It gives hope that if these new scapegoats can be brought under control, then we'll go back to $1 gal gasoline.

It also diverts attention away from the fact that the White House is staffed by people who have worked for decades in the oil industry. Even Bush and Cheney are lifelong oil men.

They are profiting handsomely from high oil prices. They are not going to cut their own income down to size, by pushing reasonable energy policies.

These days if you mention that Bush is an oil man, to a ditto-head, they'll call you a conspiracy theorist. Knowing simple facts like the Bush family derives much of their income from the energy sector, that Cheney used to work for Halliburton and that Halliburton works in the oil industry and finally that Condileeza Rice was a board member of Chevron and has supertanker named after her, gets you labeled as a conspiracy kook.

"The hide that information in books." - Hector Cyr

"I drink your milkshake. I drink it up." - Daniel Plainview

an average patriot said...

larry
The thing is people are increasingly aware what is happening but they are powerless and this will continue as the endeavor for a one world economy and Government progresses. The gap between the Have's and the Have not's has to be widened a little more.
The endeavor is for us to become one but it will not be in the favor of average Americans but the affluent around the world. I tried for years to get people to realize what what was being done, why, and how this will turnout to no avail. We are going to be dragged down with all the idiots!

an average patriot said...

Larry
As you know Mike Whitney is pretty good and not always but usually right. He is right on here: There are three things that are driving up the price of oil: the falling dollar, speculation and buying on margin.
It isn't just that though. Oil was $28 per barrel when Bush started. His policies here in the middle east, and around the world, have pushed and encouraged this but of course he will deny it and will confuse the issue so no one knows the truth and he escapes accountability once again!

an average patriot said...

Sounds good Wease!
There will never be a return to cheap oil. oil production will never keep up again. The excuse that it must will give oil Corporations to dig in ANWR, the Arctic, and everywhere else and things will just get worse while the planet is destroyed. Plus there is the just developing Forever War to finish off the world and life as we know it. Have a nice day Bud!

an average patriot said...

Robert and Wease
I hope to get caught up and pay you guys a visit today. See you later!

Distributorcap said...

plain and simple

we will destroy the planet long before we run out of natural resources

it will become unlivable

an average patriot said...

distributorcap
I am afraid you are right! Mutual destruction use to be a deterrent. Today it and bringing about the end of days appears to be the goal. If there is a God who and wherever they are God help the idiots who take what is supposed to be their job away from them!