Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Memorial Day?

Soldier shot in Iraq billed for missing military gear

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Gary Pfleider II served his country for six years before he became a member of the new generation of disabled veterans.

Pfleider, a former Oregon National Guard soldier, was shot by a sniper while on patrol in Iraq in September 2007. He has only vague memories of the event, but now must live with a permanent reminder -- a brace he'll have to wear on his leg for the rest of his life.

"I remember grabbing a hold of my leg, and realizing I had blood on my hands," he said. "And from that point on until I got loaded onto the Stryker was just a big blur."

Three days after he was shot, Pfleider received a Purple Heart.

Almost two years later, he received a bill from the military for missing equipment.

The sum of the bill, which includes interest, is $3,175. It itemizes a list of gear the military issued to Pfleider that did not come back with his unit in 2008. The lists includes clothing items, canteens and grenades.

Pfleider, who now walks with a cane, believes the items were lost after he was flown out of the country for medical treatment. He doesn't believe he should be held responsible for the items, but the military disagrees.

The federal government has been deducting money from his disability check each month to cover the billed costs. And Pfleider said the feds withheld his tax return for the same reason.

Capt. Stephan Bomar with the Oregon National Guard said the bill was issued by Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Pfleider spent a year recovering from his injury. Bomar added it is customary for soldiers in Pfleider's situation to be billed for missing equipment.

"It's one of the processes. That way, we keep good accountability for the equipment," he said.

Bomar said Pfleider should submit a sworn statement explaining his situation and requesting reimbursement.

But Pfleider has already done that. He still has a copy of his sworn statement, which he signed and submitted at the Albany, Oregon armory in February. The former soldier fears his case is lost in a pile of paperwork between Oregon and Washington.

"Honestly, I do. I think it's just sitting somewhere on somebody's desk at Fort Lewis, and they just don't want to mess with it because they don't think it's a big enough issue," he said.

But to Pfleider, who is scheduled to undergo his ninth leg surgery, the delay is an additional source of stress.

"To me, it's my livelihood," he said.

The veteran is still battling with flashbacks, and trying to adjust to civilian life. He said he never thought he'd have to fight the military once he returned home.

"Car going down a road, backfiring -- it still sends me into flashbacks of being over there. But I deal with it, because I know it's part of my life that's never going to leave," he said.

Lewis-McChord officials said they're looking into Pfleider's charges. Bomar said unless the charges are found to be erroneous, Pfleider will still have to pay the full sum.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Freedom Shenanigan #46
Bury Them With Paper


The 1099 Tsunami

by Gary North
by Gary North
Earlier this year, some staffer in some office on Capitol Hill dutifully inserted a provision into the health insurance bill that will force businesses to file 1099 forms on every transaction with another business for over $600. Buy a $601 used car for your business? You must file a 1099. CNN Money describes this law.

The massive expansion of requirements for businesses to file 1099 tax forms that was hidden in the 2,409-page health reform bill took many by surprise when it came to light last month. But it's just one piece of a years-long legislative stealth campaign to create ways for the federal government to track down unreported income.

The result: A blizzard of new tax forms that the Internal Revenue Service will begin rolling out next year.

There appears to have been little discussion before this damaging mandate was slipped into the health bill and rammed through Congress, but a few business groups did raise concerns. Here's what the Air Conditioner Contractors of America said:

The House bill would extend the Form 1099 filing requirement to ALL vendors (including corporate) to which they pay more than $600 annually for services or property. Consider all the payments a small business makes in the course of business, paying for things such as computers, software, office supplies, and fuel to services, including janitorial services, coffee services, and package delivery services. In order to file all these 1099s, you'll need to collect the necessary information from all your service providers. In order to comply with the law, you would have to get a Taxpayer Information Number or TIN from the business. If the vendor does not supply you with a TIN, you are obligated to withhold on your payments.

The IRS will be buried in billions of new forms. I'm an older guy. I think back to Carl Sagan's memorable words in the 1980 PBS series, Cosmos: "billions and billions." These forms will have to be scanned into the system. If businessmen want to protest this law in a legal but effective way, they will have their tax preparers write in the numbers by hand. Then IRS will have to type in the data on each form by hand. Billions and billions!


The IRS computers in Martinsburg, West Virginia are old. How old? The system became operational in 1962, three years after Robert Byrd (D-WV) was elected to the Senate. That is to say, it is really old! For over a decade, the IRS has been trying to implement a new system with the acronym, CADE. It is not anywhere near fully operational. This report appeared in Federal Computer Week (Jan. 12, 2010): "Stuck in the mud: IRS spins its wheels on electronic modernization."
The Customer Account Data Engine (CADE), a part of the IRS Business Modernization Program that is intended eventually to replace the legacy Master File processing system, processed 40 million returns in 2009, producing taxpayer refunds from one to eight days faster than the older system. CADE originally was to be completed by 2012, but increasing complexities have extended that date. "After over 5 years and $400 million, CADE is only processing about 15 percent of the functionality originally planned for completion by 2012," a Government Accountability Office report says. Each successive release of the system was expected to process more complex returns, but several technical challenges in the system had not been dealt with. The IRS estimated that full implementation would not be achieved until at least 2018, and possibly as late as 2028. After realizing how much remained to be done, the IRS decided to stop development of new CADE functionality and rethink its strategy for modernizing individual taxpayer accounts, the GAO report said. To handle the expected volume in electronic tax return filing for 2010, the IRS will upgrade its legacy Individual Master File system to handle returns not being processed by CADE more quickly.

In short, the IRS has been unable to modernize its system after a decade. It will take another decade. It may take two. Now some staffer has created a 1099 tsunami for the IRS, which will hit in 2013.


Business owners and managers will be outraged. But what if word spreads? "No electronic filing!" What if the tax preparers fill in all the forms by hand. It is legal. It is not efficient, but it's not all that much extra work. Pay a few dollars more per filing. At the other end, the IRS will get to process these forms by hand. Think of what happens if businesses were to challenge every challenge by the IRS? The business's CPA simply asks in writing – I do mean writing (hand-written) – for the IRS to review the case. Point out one mistake made by the IRS. Automatically, every business should challenge every request for more tax money. No exceptions. Be polite. Just ask the IRS to review its case in terms of this new information. There are always gray areas. Put them to use. Pay a few bucks to your tax preparer. Paperwok is the essence of every bureaucracy. Let's do it by the book: with paper.

Pressure from below, pressure from above

By Phasma Scriptor

"Pressure from below, pressure from above"
is the political strategy employed by the super-rich/powerful from ever the first money-grabbing mogul discovered its wondrous effectiveness. Elegantly simple, it's the conspiracy-theorist's nightmare - use the fears of the illiterati, a role currently being played to an Oscar winning circle by the TeaBaggers, as an invisible agent provocateur. Result? Pressure from below via the outcry of the boxes of rox to do something, anything to get rid of the self-inflicted boogeyman. Thank you very much, we, the super-rich/powerful, grant you your wish and will erase the phantom-boogeyman (PB) by erasing something valuable from your grasp, which is as limp as your grasp of what's really happening. Pressure from above.

For most of the 20th Century, the world's PB was (cue the scary organ music)... the Soviets! While a full treatment of the sheer incompetence of the Russians and our being held sucker-hostage to those knuckleheads is well beyond the scope of this comment, suffice it to say that their ICBMs, able to be numbered on the fingers of 1 hand at the time of the fateful Cuban "missile crisis", while growing subsequently to a more respectable PB number, were never under the control of the Russian ballerinas in the Kremlin; all Soviet ICBMs were firmly planted on their launchers because they all had guidance systems manufactured by Hughes Aircraft and controlled, via satellite (US satellites), by, essentially, the Chase Manhattan Bank. CMB's chairman, David Rockefeller, owned SMERSH (smert shpionam, "death to traitors"), the assassination arm of the KGB. Had any smartass member of the Russian military (their asses were the smartest part of their anatomies) gone rogue (is that where Sarah gets that stuff?), to try to alter the Hughes devices, SMERSH would have dropped him in his tracks, wrench in hand.

The corporate world is administered Soviet-style. That's why the Peter Principle supposedly applies - you rise to your level of incompetence, allegedly. But, as anyone who's ever worked in a large corporation knows, Peter frequently gives in to cronyism. And, just try to assert your "rights" in a corporate setting. The corporate officers dictate policy which, unless you want to sue, runs roughshod over that silly notion of your rights in the workplace, since the most rights-trashing policies aren't written down anywhere; try proving that.

As the Kremlin's former behavior, both internationally and domestically, could be determined to be psychopathic (OK, it still is, just wi/a friendlier face), so does the money-grabbing corporation psychopathically pursue profits (see, eg, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit, Prof. Joel Bakan, Univ of Brit Col). Both are subject to, utilize and are tools of the "pressure from below, pressure from above" dynamic (or its reverse corollary); in the case of the Soviets, their clout, their pressure, was actually, relatively speaking, from an even more inferior position than mere nuclear impotence - they were, economically, under the control of Mobil Oil, which, in a previous existence as Vacuum Oil, latched onto the oil franchise in Russia, the quid pro quo from Lenin for the Rockefeller cabal's $1 million gift under the flag of the Red Cross. Sounds a lot like the island of Manhattan for a few strands of beads; those Russkies, hard bargainers, eh? "Pressure from below" is totally ineffective when dealing with psychopaths who deem themselves to be deities, even when dealing w/lesser psychopaths.

BP, as its corporate-pathological-profit-protecting response to the Gulf spill has shown, grabs $ as well as any corporation, seeking first the kingdom of God (where $ is god) by ignoring the impending doom for the Gulf Coast and all who and which depend on the relative purity of its waters, preferring to avoid the fixes which might have immediately and permanently stanched the gusher in the Gulf. The consequences for the Gulf victims were certain with that strategy, though the outcome of the initial maneuvers (designed to keep that well viable and not have to fritter away profits, horrors, on drilling another relief well) were uncertain.

Only wi/the certainty of "pressure from above" has BP gone to the previously unannounced permanent fix of a "top kill" been mentioned. In this case, public opinion, "pressure from below" netted absolutely ZILCH that's been useful from BP. So, what's the source of "pressure from above" to move BP to repent of its sins? Why god, of course ... and, I don't mean the false tinhorn deputy god, Secy of the Interior Salazar, or the would-be sheriff Eric the Holder.

The following comment, buried in the last segment of a lengthy press release from last week, illuminates:

BP-LN News & Analysis

18 May 2010 EDT -

Stockpiles, Oil Spill

Markets continue to monitor the progress of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the attempts by oil major BP [ BP-LN 520.80 ⁠ +28.80 (+5.85%) ] to contain the leak.

"The biggest issue in the U.S. is not getting enough attention," said David R Kotok, Chief Investment Officer at Cumberland Advisors.

"If the oil slick gets below the rigs in the Gulf and does so at sufficient intensity it causes those rigs to have to shut down because of safety concerns. Similarly there is a shipping lane risk. You do not take ships and barges through oil slicks. It harms the ships and it is a fire hazard just like the slick would be if (the slick) covered the sea below the rigs."

Ah, so. The 6 other Sisters of mega-oil (which have merged/morphed into 3 others - Exxon-Mobil, Chevron/Texaco/Gulf, Shell) have, from high up on Mt. Oil-ympus (sorry), rendered their judgment on the discomfiture the BP member of the Pantheon has caused them, meaning, it's not in any sense a public relations issue (the Sisters care not about pusillanimous mortals and their frivolous "pressure from below"). In other words, "Plug the damn hole, bitch!" Pressure from above, indeed.

Let's see,
BP? Bitch Petroleum. Yeah, that works.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yessir, Admiral!!

Yessir, Admiral!!
Bt Phasma Scriptor

What to do? What to do? As Bob Herbert's on-scene query of a local Bayou sheriff suggests the viability of the Gulf has already left the barn, the building and the planet. BP (Bayou Polluter) and Transocean (RIGger ... of the game) and Halliburton (Darth's Gang), if justice is served (a hearty Chris Mathews' HA!! to that), will not exist in the not-so-distant future.
To help that process along, the remedy is as fast as a Coast Guard cutter pulling alongside a deepwater drilling rig. It's called Admiralty, the law of stuff found anywhere on navigable waters. The Horizon rig, flagged in the, huh?, Marshall Islands, must bear some nation's colors because it's deemed a boat. It's the Marshalls for friendly tax treatment and non-existent safety inspectors. These factors put all the stuff (not just the Horizon) of the 3 Amigos squarely in the target sites of Admiralty. Of course, the Know-Nothing Party, in its latest haunting as the Tea Party, would be howling if the Obama Administration were to do the right thing, which is, under Admiralty seize (no warrant or preceding court hearing necessary) every last scrap of an asset owned, leased or controlled in any way by the 3 A's floating, sitting or anchored in navigable waters. Tie 'em up in subsequent court hearings for as long as it takes to clean up (preferably w/BP, RIG & HAL execs, incl Darth, having to help out by sucking up crude directly into their own mouths), pay up and make whole everyone on Earth affected by this crime.

NYT: Transocean Finds Itself Caught in the Spotlight
For more:

Bob Herbert's column
NYT: Following BP's Lead on the Oil Spill
For more:

Gulf Reprise

This image made from video released by British Petroleum (BP PLC) shows equipment being used to try and plug a gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 during a maneuver known as a "top kill" that has never before been tried 5,000 feet underwater. The oil giant's chief executive earlier gave the procedure a 60 to 70 percent chance of working, and President Barack Obama cautioned Wednesday there were "no guarantees."

Gulf Reprise

By Phasma Scriptor

So. The woodwork is unloading its "experts" ready to bloviate incessantly about the "solutions" to the engulfing of the Gulf. On MSNBC's Hardball and Countdown, we were mistreated with the perspectives of a former top exec with Shell Oil. And whose side do ya suppose he's on? Chris, Keith. Seriously?
Dumped on our abused senses was the party-line about the latest proposed fix, not yet rolled out in the current crisis, a so-called "top kill" after the T-pot dome thing failed, twice, and after the next shot to be fired was ... a "junk shot". These experts, onscreen and off, admit that the odds of success are not high. Both the "top kill" and the "junk shot" are eerily familiar. Hmm? Oh, yes, I know. That commercial about Kohler toilets, the one in which the nerd tries to purposefully clog his toilet so he can hit on the hot female plumber. OMG! He's doing the "top kill" AND "junk shot" in a combined maneuver. And, and, and, oh s**t! Didn't work for him either. Right next door, Rachel Maddow does a feature entitled "That was then, this was then" wherein she compares the bizzy-dizzy responses to the Ixtoc-Gulf oil spill in 1979 to the ongoing BP methods. Guess what? All the unusual suspects, that the public has forgotten, were put into play then and, 31 years later, are having a redux moment. In other words, with the bleeding 4800 ft deeper, these clowns have the same old wet ammunition that were duds back then, including, yes, the "top kill" AND the "junk shot" AND the "dome" laughably referred to as the "sombrero" in the then then, alog with all the same-old-same-old clean-up equipment. The fundamental problem with both of these "plug the damn hole" tactics is that they use the typical Western thinking - meet force with force - instead of the ancient Eastern philosophy employed in, say, jiu jitsu or by Obi Wan Kenobi - use the fawce, Luke. In previous comments, I've suggested variations of the patented devices designed to plug jagged holes in the hulls of ships. As I've noted, the cricket choir was deafening. Dr. Steven Chu, Secy of Energy, sez he, has the best minds working on this disaster. Not to be bitter, but I hear the theme from Concentration echoing in my head, accompanied by finger-drumming. The variation of the 5 different patented designs (I was hoping 1 of Chu's geniuses would figure this out, but I'm left having to literally draw a picture; OK, a word picture) would require installation of a collar/sleeve (long enough to provide reinforcement/fracture resistance), affixed with large pins inserted from the outside, inside the 6 in. gusher pipe, as a detente (assuming there's nothing else that can serve that purpose). Outer reinforcement (if space is available) can be provided by the use of a collar/sleeve on the outside. The expandable device can then be inserted, unexpanded, of course (not that I think anyone reading this is a moron), using the same apparatus used to insert the siphon that was sucking a fraction of the crude last week. The enormous head generated from the oil reservoir would provide resistance to the expandable device (exp-dev) as it's inserted, but not massively. After the exp-dev is past the detente, it's expanded, slowly, allowing the head to be gradually closed off, which obviously uses the pressure of the oil's head to press the exp-dev against the detente. Alternatively, the extremely long shafts used to put the drill down hundreds of feet below the sea bed could be used to insert the exp-dev all the way down to the top of the reservoir, at which point, the exp-dev could be deployed without all the other stuff. My fingers are getting cramps.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Connecting The Dots


Friday, May 21, 2010

A Great Anti-Federalist Article!


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Veterans Today

I was asked during an interview on Al Jazeera the question that every Muslim lives with every day, “How can a small country like Israel control America.” My answer was simple. Imagine a friend comes to you screaming, “Someone stole my house!” You ask him what happened. His response; “I put my house up for sale, I asked $200,000 dollars. A man came to the door and said he wanted my house. He gave me $200,000 bucks and now I have no home.”

Israel doesn’t buy influence and control in America, we sold it to them. The price tags were there, had been there forever. Anyway, there isn’t such a thing as Israel. Yes, it is a country, like America but we don’t exist either, not really, we never did. Our Civil War proved this. A country is like a company with a flag, a company that doesn’t have to pay its workers, can even jail or kill them if it wants to. Real countries today are owned by stockholders, we call them banks, who hire managers who work for them.

We call this “government.”

This should explain why the two American political parties act the way they do. They really don’t exist. American history classes are filled with fun days and boring days. During the boring days, the teacher talks about monetary policies and banking. In 1791, Alexander Hamilton set up the Central Bank of the United States. It was controlled by England, our enemy, at least on the surface but was run by the Rothschilds. Jefferson saw that such a bank would turn America into a criminal empire. Jefferson favored “democracy” and Hamilton favored “conservatism” as expressed in “Federalism.”

There is a clear difference between these two. Federalism has always been based on elimination of personal liberties. A Federalist nation is a dictatorship of the wealthy where individual enterprise is squashed by syndicates and monopolies tied to the banks and the foreign owners of the banking system. Theoretically, a Federalist or Conservative government is one under foreign control through a central bank that funds a series of syndicates or monopolies that rule through government.

The idea of political parties and the Constitutional oddity of the “electoral college” and a Supreme Court that could overrule laws wanted by the people was how this foreign rule was to be implemented. The “rubber stamp” for this system was the Senate, a group chosen, not elected, until well into the 20th century. With vote restricted to larger land owners and successful merchants and political parties managed by the banks through control of capital, government had only one duty, protecting the owners and securing a ruling class.

During that same class that we all slept through, someone mentioned a Second Bank started in 1811. President Andrew Jackson hated this bank because he believed as so many do now, that “debt based currency” which we know as, well, what we carry in our pockets is nothing but a game that encourages economic manipulation and crashes that end up putting all wealth in the hands of speculators. You know what they are, Goldman Sachs/Wall Street types. Jackson took all government money out of the bank, fired two Secretaries of the Treasury to do it and fought back while our British and Rothschild masters tried to economically crush America in retaliation.

These are the reasons Presidents like Jefferson and Jackson were great men, reasons we don’t teach anymore. Even then, America was duped, milked for all it was worth by foreign groups that found the price tag that so many of our “better classes” were born with. If you wanted to find where they teach Americans to sell out, look to Harvard and Yale.

The final nail in Americas coffin was the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 by Woodrow Wilson. The history books fail us totally when explaining “national banks” and “state banks” and money for planting season. We slip into a century of ignorance ending with today’s America with half the taxes we collect going to pay interest on money that never existed in the first place and all but 3% of the population ending up with nothing at all. 80% of the “Reagan millionaires” still around have a negative net worth. 40% of American home owners owe more than their homes are worth and wages and our standard of living has plummeted since 2000.

What have we become? We have spent ourselves into a century of poverty developing weapons and fighting wars for multi-national corporations, bankster thieves and massive international drug cartels that control the governments of every “free country” on earth from England to Israel to India to Germany and, especially, the United States of America.


Stealing a term from Jeff Gates, the systematic manipulation and control of nation after nation by sinister interests that are very real, interests hidden behind mythology, be it fictions of religion, stories of imaginary national struggles against non-existent evil or the rallying cry of “us against them” patriotism or, as has become popular of late, incessant fear mongering and hate, all begins through the destruction of human reason.

A Lot More Here (I double dog dare you to read it!)

Update on a "Cork"

By Phasma Scriptor

Since the day after reports of the Gulf oil spill began to be published, I've suggested that a balloon designed to plug catastrophic leaks in ships should be deployed. That design can be either the original from 1948 or combined with subsequent designs (see US Patents 2446190 - 8/3/48, 4329132 - 5/11/82, 4385582 - 5/31/83, 5143012 - 9/1/92). My communiques to a variety of influential individuals and groups has been greeted with ... crickets. Now, BP has stuck a siphon into the pipe disgorging the reserve's guts out, which is an apparatus that could be used to insert the balloon and stop the gusher; however, that would also permanently end production from that well. The recent interviews of the CG Adm who's been put in charge of the Great Oil Spill of the 21st Cent should give you a clue as to the cluelessness of anyone supposedly in charge over how to stop it. One revelation from Erich Pica, exec dir of Friends of the Earth, is that, after decades of offshore oil spills, Cap'n Crunch has no idea how to put a measuring device down there to get an accurate (read that non-BP) reading on the deepwater gusher. The lack of US deepwater subs is no excuse. Surely, one can be borrowed in short order from American allies. Furthermore, the remotes could handle the balloon fix which doesn't carry nearly the complexities of the other silly proposals like the pointless "junk shot". That the Feds have ZERO to offer in the way of solutions is consistent with the Minerals Management Service of the Dept of the Interior literally sucking up to the Oilies. The CG, no matter how much the Cap'n looks like Santa's bro, has been just as cozy with the Oilies. The criminality of the offshore drillers disappears under the influence of, eg, Zapata Offshore, owned by, well, you know, and Halliburton, with which the CG must be complicit. My very practical and elegantly simple suggestion has been ignored by everyone to whom I've sent it who has any way of significantly influencing this utterly failed process. Time to pay attention. The Blob that's going to eat the Big EZ, the Great Coral Reefs (the source of amazing natural cures for a variety of medical conditions and an obstacle to Petro-Pharma)and the Keys has now shown, via the telltale surface sheen, that it's taken a left turn @ Florida and has reached NC. Maybe, when it gets to DC, then the Jersey Shore, some dimbulb will get what a simple patented balloon designed to repair underwater leaks can do. Maybe.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brain Squeeze? Naarf!

We have a missive from that well known monomaniacal wanna-be rodent the Brain, now in semi-retirement in the Acme Retirement Home for Cartoon Characters based on real people. I surmise that we may hear again from him in future.

So, Brain asks, “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?” And Pinky dutifully responds, “Why, I think so, Brain.” Unfortunately, no one has pondered this stuff before. I am, thus, a genetically-altered mouse without a Sancho Pinky, or, maybe, even a brain.

My pondering, since the Christmas Tsunami of 2004, has focused, however often mice can focus, on the possibility that global warming might be a factor in the increasingly dangerous seismic world in which we all, mice and men, live. In response to my pondering, my nephew, a science guy teacher, sent me a text that read, “U better get to work on that ark.” Not exactly, “I think so, Brain.” My unenthusiastic response, “Don’t have enuf animals.”

However, more encouraging to my theory is the web article “Earth's magnetic field gathers momentum” (, which doesn’t give my postulation any credence, but does admit that seismologists, stuck on the very outer skin of the Earth’s crust (which itself is proportionately about the thickness of an eggshell to the volume of Earth), really don’t know much about the particulars of what generates our planet’s magnetic field; they are pretty sure that the action of the molten metal regurgitating inside Earth’s guts is the Gaussian-motor. To the extent that what’s inner is constantly spilling into the outer, as lava flows from mini to volcanic maxi, there is undeniable evidence that the Gaussian motor isn’t very far beneath our feet.

What French physicists, led by Nicholas Gillet, have discovered is that “subtle variations in the length of day [are linked] with conditions in the Earth's core”, that is, variations to magma-in-motion in the outer core (from whom all volcanic blastings flow) impacts angular momentum, the measure of the Earth’s rotation. Clearly, however, because magma is fluid, these variations aren’t the same in all areas of the outer core … at least, that’s what my mousy intellect is guessing. Therefore, variations in the angular momentum of the outer core with respect to the crust, which causes plate tectonics, results in variations in the torque applied to the crust by the outer core, which causes, according to this French kiss, variations in the length of a day, and, yyyyeeeesss, nasty plate tectonics, you know, earthquakes. Are you pondering what I’m pondering? And, all the chil’n say, “Naarf.”

Now, the geniuses who pass themselves off as experts in the Earth’s core don’t have much ego-boosting stuff available to avail themselves. This is where I, Brain, have the advantage, since it’s been widely reported that animals react to impending giant temblors as much as 10 hours before the onset. True. I, myself, have experienced such early-warning rumblings, like the urge to run away from Acme Labs … but, I digress. A giant temblor would almost certainly have some relationship to a giant variation in the angular momentum of the magma, at least, giant enough relative to the plate boundaries to make two adjacent plates want to play wrecking ball.

Bringing us to the original question of whether the increase in surface temperatures due to global warming, or even just plain old hot spells with seemingly endless cloudless days, contributes to unusually hot plates. First, let’s give a tip of the hat to the Pentagon as to one of the most secretly authoritative reports on global warming - the Pentagon-commissioned Global Business Network analysis, authored by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall and published in the fall of 2003, of the potential for global conflict resulting from radical temperature change, due to start in … OMG! Due to start this year. Second, since Animaniacs was canceled, I no longer have access to the complex computing devices I invented at Acme Labs and, thus, cannot calculate the amount of heat that reaches the surface of the plates of the Earth with my normal unerring aplomb, but, now, of course, there’s the Internet. So, a few clicks of my human and …

Solar radiation cooks the surface of the Earth at a mean temperature of 350 W/m2, which means that, according to the angle at which the Sun’s rays strike the surface (varying according to the time of year) and other factors, eggs may fry or they may simply sit there, disinterested in the proceedings. Although there are magma disturbances that pass for earthquakes, the really bad boys are the ones that are, in a geological sense, right on the outside of the crust. So, is the increase in caloric absorption, most of it on the outside of the crust, due to global temperature increase, especially concentrated at nearly perpendicular sun exposure (and, thus, making the night-time cool-down that much more exaggerated), reason to worry, seismologically speaking? Zort.

Furthermore, could global warming have an effect on the ongoing shift in the magnetic poles of the Earth? Although there are magnetic-pole-shift deniers, just like there are global-warming deniers, the heat in the pole-pot hasn’t yet even begun to get the frogs discomfited. The current wisdom (remember, this is essentially the same area of expertise as any other field related to the way the Earth’s magnetic field works, that is, there are no real experts) is that a pole shift is thousands of years away and that it takes hundreds of generations for a shift to be completed. I, Brain, putting my mousy moxie to work, have determined that this is pure mouse poop.

For all those who aren’t aware (and, don’t be embarrassed, this ain’t one of those tip-of-your-tongue topics), the Earth’s magnetic poles have flipped many times over the course of the life of the planet, i.e, North becomes South and vice versa, so a pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-historic explorer with trusty compass would become completely disoriented upon the re-orientation of the magnetic orientation. When the poles do flip, any lava flows that occur before and after the shift exhibit magnetic effects that correspond to the Earth’s magnetic field before and after the shift, simply because lava is so hot, that the superheat erases whatever magnetic orientation iron in the lava may have had prior to being superheated and acquires magnetic orientation consistent with Earth’s magnetic field when the lava cools down sufficiently to allow its iron content to once again become magnetized. According to some satellite observations, blotchy magnetic anomalies are appearing around the globe and they’re not small, e.g., the South Atlantic anomalous zone which acts like a junior North Pole.

What happens when a flip takes place, besides trusty compasses turning treacherous? The surface is temporarily subjected to the vagaries of solar wind, for one thing, since a pole-reversal isn’t exactly like flipping a coin or a burger; it takes awhile, in some cases, 3000 years, a mere blip in geological terms, but not so in mousy longevity. And, what does exposure to solar wind do? Nothing good, my mousy sense tells me. In fact, it’s said to be almost a certainty that Mars no longer has water or atmosphere because, in some distant bad air day on the Red Planet, its magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, lowered its guard and all the good stuff that makes life possible was, then as now, “ripped” off the Martian landscape.

Computer simulations of the strength of the Earth’s magnetosphere show that pole-flipping is preceded by substantial weakening (10% in the last 150 years), the symptoms of which are … anomalous zones. When the magnetosphere is behaving, the solar wind (and all the nasty cosmic and UV rays that blow in with it) gets deflected around the atmosphere because of the dipole effect, that is, the electromagnetic nasties get attracted to the North/South polar axis and are effectively catapulted harmlessly past us otherwise unshielded citizens of the planet. When poles go rogue (shall I refer to them as Sarah-poles?), the random, sometimes wandering Sarah-poles pull the solar wind into those areas, much the same way that a magnifying glass focuses light and with the same searing effects. And, all this on top of the beginning of the 11-year solar flare cycle starting … this year.

The effect that solar wind, amped up due to solar flares, focused on random anomalous zones, might have on seismic activity (because the focal point(s) might have a significant effect on plate boundaries via, at least, expansion of the plate because of the extra extreme heat on plates containing anomalous zones) must be viewed in light of the high degree of probability that such anomalous zones bear some fairly strong relationship to the underlying torque of the outer core’s molten gaussian motor.

All of which would ultimately contribute to the full thawing of the 10 trillion TONS of methane gas currently frozen at the bottom of the Earth’s oceans, the ultimate in greenhouse gases (as in about 10 times the greenhouse effect of CO2); an increase of 25o in global temperature could be expected based upon the previous methane blitz experienced by the Mother planet. Now, THAT, no supposing about it, would have an effect on seismic activity.


What are we going to do tonight, Brain? Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world … what’s left of it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New York Said to Be Investigating Banks' Influence on Ratings Agencies

By Phasma Scriptor

Is there a new sheriff in town? Is the ex-NY AG Eliot Spitzer the model for current NY AG Andrew Cuomo?
Cuomo has more than a clue, something that Spitzer didn't have when he first started ripping into Wall Street fraud.
Insider trading is gaming-the-system (and, oh, yeah, a crime). Hi-frequency trading is (gaming-the-system)squared. Front-running, as practiced by Goldman Sachs, leader of the Wall St. Gang of 4 (GS, CitiBank, JP Morgan, Bank of America), is (gaming-the-system)cubed. That's why the Gang of 4 were all able to "Record No Net Loss Trading Days During Q1"; in other words, by utilizing the ultra-hi-speed computers utilized by the G4, their trading groups could guaranty winning trades on every single trade by shoving their buy and sell orders in front of a tidal wave of orders from other hi-frequency traders whose computers aren't fast enough to front-run, the nec-plus-ultra (last word) in insider trading.
This super-tech-on-killer-steroids capability is the reason why auditing the Fed (as proposed in the Senate amendment to the finreg bill, approved 96-0) is a barn-door-closure too tardy. The max-gamers of the G4 move the markets (see the spiky charts of the major averages + the charts of the sovereign debt markets from Thursday of last week to Monday of this week); for months, pronouncements from the Fed have had effects that look pretty lame by comparison.
Cuomo, if he's serious, will have way more work to have to have cut out for him since the G4 learned from the not-so-smart smartest guys in the Enron room to not be so stupid; agents of the G4, disguised and scattered across the G4 global maze, will have to be tracked down with the help of the super-de-duper, crack-any-code artificial intelligence systems of NSA, the actual smartest guys on Earth in the Puzzle Palace (more on this in a later post).


New York Said to Be Investigating Banks' Influence on Ratings Agencies

The New York attorney general has started an investigation of eight banks to determine whether they provided misleading information to rating agencies in order to inflate the grades of certain mortgage securities, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

The agencies themselves have been widely criticized for overstating the quality of many mortgage securities that ended up losing money once the housing market collapsed. The inquiry by the attorney general of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, suggests that he thinks the agencies may have been duped by one or more of the targets of his investigation.

Those targets are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole and Merrill Lynch, which is now owned by Bank of America.

The companies that rated the mortgage deals are Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service. Investors used their ratings to decide whether to buy mortgage securities.

Read More:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

20 Signs That The United States Is Rapidly Becoming A Totalitarian Big Brother Police State

From The End of The World
20 Signs That The United States Is Rapidly Becoming A Totalitarian Big Brother Police State

Once upon a time, the United States was a land of unparalleled freedom. The rest of the world envied the freedom that ordinary Americans had to think, say and do what they wanted. But all of that has changed. Now Americans have to fear that they will be tackled by a squad of security goons and dragged off to a detention facility somewhere if they spill a Pepsi on a flight attendant or take a few too many pictures of a public building. The United States used to be the polar opposite of totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but now America is rapidly becoming very much like them. Due to the fear of a boogeyman living in a cave somewhere or some guy with explosive powder in his underwear we are all being forced to give up our freedoms and learn to live in a Big Brother police state.

But have things really changed so much that we have to give up all of the cherished freedoms that our fathers and grandfathers fought and died for? Haven't there always been fanatics and crazies and criminals out there? Why do we suddenly have to become so afraid of them?

In the past, Americans would not let anyone make them live in fear. If some unbalanced individual did something bad, it wasn't the end of the world, was it? No, in the past Americans dusted themselves off and continued to live as free men and women. You see, when we live in fear and radically alter our way of life just to feel a little more secure, we lose. We have let someone else steal our freedom and our dignity.

But now in the name of "security" all kinds of bizarre proposals have been implemented on the local, state and national levels. Somehow we think that if everything that we do is watched, monitored and analyzed we will all be safer somehow.

Maybe we are safer and maybe we aren't, but we are certainly a whole lot less free.

The following are 20 signs that the United States is rapidly becoming a totalitarian "Big Brother" police state....

#1) A new bill being pushed by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman would allow the U.S. military to round up large numbers of Americans and detain them indefinitely without a trial if they "pose a threat" or if they have "potential intelligence value" or for any other reason the President of the United States "considers appropriate".

#2) Lawmakers in Washington D.C. working to create a new immigration bill have decided on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would be required to obtain.

#3) Barack Obama is backing a plan to create a national database to store the DNA of people who have been arrested but not necessarily convicted of a crime.

#4) Just to get on an airplane, Americans will now have to go through new full-body scanners that reveal every detail of our exposed bodies to airport security officials.

#5) If that wasn't bad enough, the Transportation Security Administration has announced that airport screeners will begin roving through airports randomly taking chemical swabs from passengers and their bags to check for explosives.

#6) Starting this upcoming December, some passengers on Canadian airlines flying to, from or even over the United States without ever landing there, will only be allowed to board their flights once the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined they are not terrorists.

#7) Organic milk is such a threat that the FDA has been conducting military style raids on Amish farmers in Pennsylvania.

#8) An NYPD officer has broken his silence and has confessed that innocent citizens are being set up and falsely arrested and ticketed in order to meet quotas.

#9) A growing number of police departments across the U.S. are turning to mobile camera systems in order to fight motor vehicle theft and identify unregistered cars.

#10) For decades, Arizona has been known as "the sunset state", but lately many frustrated residents have started calling it "the surveillance state".

#11) Judges and police in Florida have been caught using "secret codes" on tickets in the state of Florida.

#12) An extensive investigation has revealed that between 2003 and 2007, that state of Texas quietly gave hundreds of newborn baby blood samples to a U.S. Armed Forces laboratory for use in a forensics database.

#13) A 6-year-old girl was recently handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.

#14) One 12-year-old girl in New York was recently arrested and marched out of her school in handcuffs just because she doodled on her desk.

#15) In Florida, students have been arrested by police for things as simple as bringing a plastic butter knife to school, throwing an eraser, and drawing a picture of a gun.

#16) When a mother on a flight to Denver spanked both of her children and cussed out a flight attendant who tried to intervene, she suddenly found herself handcuffed and headed for prison. Why? She was charged with being a domestic terrorist under the Patriot Act.

#17) A new global treaty may force U.S. Internet service providers to spy on what you do online.

#18) A leaked Obama administration memo has revealed plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres of land from Montana to New Mexico.

#19) 56 percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll said that the U.S. government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.

#20) But one other recent poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree with this statement: "It is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Myth That Justice Is Blind!

Professor Shaffer says it so well.


The Myth That Justice Is Blind!

With President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, the choir has assembled to chant the mantra: "we are not supposed to know anything of her judicial predispositions." Questions designed to elicit indications of how she might rule on given cases are not to be asked. Lawyers, legal scholars, and judges – along with media lickspittles – will croon the liturgy.

I have always regarded this proposition as so absurd on its face as to be unworthy of respect from intelligent, rational men and women. It takes an Ivy League college graduate to vigorously defend the idea. Think of the implications of this doctrine were it to be applied to advice you might seek from others in your daily life. If you were suffering from appendicitis and sought the help of a medical practitioner, would it be any of your concern whether that person engaged in established medical analysis and remedies, astrology, chiropractic techniques, crystal healing, prayer, or New Age methods? Whatever you might think of any of these approaches to health, would you consider it beyond your right to inquire? If your financial advisor regularly consulted tarot cards, dream analysis, Ouija boards, or Ben Bernanke to inform his judgments, would you want to know of this fact prior to his making investment decisions on your behalf?

The general acceptance of this idea requires an underlying belief that there is something called "the law" – with the emphasis on "the" – which wise and well-educated men and women are able to discern through great effort. It is an idea that can be traced back to Plato’s notion of "philosopher kings," persons capable of discovering the objective principles and processes beneficial to a well-ordered society. The premise underlying this belief is that members of the judiciary are capable of listening to all sides in a dispute and rendering a decision consistent with these presumed objective legal standards.

Such thinking has also been influenced by scientific methods of reasoning, i.e., that one can test the validity of a given hypothesis through empirical means. One can set up experiments to determine the freezing point of water at sea level and, if the test is properly conducted, arrive at an answer upon which scientists can agree. (I will omit, for the time being, the discoveries from the study of chaos that call into question the "absolute" nature of the results achieved.) The ability of mathematicians to calculate answers to complex math problems upon which all can agree is another source of the undeserved faith in the judicial process.

But "law" – as with philosophy generally – is a normative proposition, grounded not in some imagined coherence of legal principles with the physical universe, but in subjectively-created values that differ from one person to another, one culture to another, and one time period to another. One can dispute the law of gravity and jump from the roof of a twenty-story building, but he or she cannot avoid the consequences of doing so. On the other hand, laws generated by legislative or judicial bodies can be ignored without adverse effects: have you ever seen someone driving 100 miles per hour without getting caught?

"Law," as something created and enforced by the state, is a product of nothing more than the preferences of those who control the machinery of the state. There is no more objectively-discovered validity to such a body of rules than there was in Ayn Rand’s preference for the music of Rachmaninoff over Stockhausen. What separates the pro-war from anti-war advocates are subjectively-held priorities regarding institutional interests and the value of life. None of this is to say that one person’s opinion is as good as another’s, or that a persuasive case cannot be made for a given normative standard. It is only that, no matter how strongly one holds to a given set of values – legal or otherwise – such preferences can never rise to a higher level than the thinking that produced them.

If some people are to rule others, however, the authority to do so must be seen to rest upon some higher principle than this. Every grade-schooler is aware that the bully’s power derives solely from his capacity to use violence upon others. Children are perceptive enough to understand this basic fact. Adults, on the other hand, insist upon being seduced into a state of subservience. Those who govern must be seen as deriving their powers from some higher source than the exercise of self-serving violence. Monarchs were once able to bamboozle their victims with the proposition that they ruled by "divine right." The Enlightenment – with its emphasis upon earth-centered explanations of reality, and individual liberty – forced the ruling classes to find other rationales for their arbitrary powers. This was found in the so-called "social contract" theory of social practices, with political systems presumed to have been created by an imagined collective will of all, subscribing themselves to a written constitution delineating the authority state officials were to have. That this "social contract" explanation has no more validity to it than "divine right" justifications for the existence of the state, need not concern us at this point. Other-directed men and women are capable – even desirous – of being deceived by any rationale for their subservient roles, provided it be couched in terms familiar to their conditioned mindset.

Thusly do otherwise intelligent men and women cling to the belief that written constitutions can restrain the arbitrary exercise of state power. Conservatives still speak of "returning to the Constitution." I am sorry to inform you that the American political system has never deviated from the Constitution; this document provides the state with all the authority it might ever wish to exercise. I try making the point by tweaking my conservative friends with the notion that "the Constitution is what keeps the government from doing all the terrible things it does!"

If more people bothered to actually read this document – including President Obama, who once taught constitutional law and who, in this year’s state of the union address, erroneously declared that the Constitution provided that "all men are created equal" – they would discover the unlimited powers it provided to government. Beginning with a preamble setting forth the purposes of the Constitution being "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty," the document proceeds to set forth how such purposes are to be attained.

Article I, Sec. 8 informs us that "Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, . . . to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States. . . ." Later on, we discover that Congress also has the power "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." Standing by themselves, these words would provide the most ambitious tyrant with the only grant of authority that would ever be needed to carry out his or her desired purposes. As Lord Macaulay so well expressed it, "Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor."

One of Ms. Kagan’s college professors has stated that "she’s a woman whose . . . deepest dedication is to the constitution of the United States." There is nothing startling in all of this: one can find in this document all the power needed for putting together any political program.

Suppose that I was given the authority to "provide for the general Welfare" and "to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper" for exercising this power? What could I not do, constitutionally, pursuant to such a grant? Who is to decide what constitutes the "general Welfare," or what laws are "necessary and proper?" By their very nature all words are abstractions, and must be interpreted as to their application in the world. As I ask my students, if a statute regulated the sale of "glasses," would this include drinking glasses? Would it even include "eye-glasses" if such glasses were made of plastic, or if contact lenses were at issue?

For those desirous of understanding the realpolitik – instead of just the rhetoric – of how (and by whom) constitutional powers are to be interpreted, one can begin with the insights of Humpty Dumpty, who advised Alice that "’When I use a word, . . . it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’"

Who, in our political scheme of things, is to be "master" of defining words, when one "can make words mean so many different things?" This is a power usurped, on behalf of the Supreme Court, by Justice Marshall in his opinion in the classic case of Marbury v. Madison. His convoluted reasoning came down to his finding, in Article III, a power of judicial review of the actions of other branches of the government, even though such authority is nowhere spelled out, or even hinted at, in the Constitution. When the Framers of the Constitution went to such great lengths to define – albeit in very abstract terms – the powers of the other branches, why would such a fundamental authority be omitted from the section on judicial powers?

The answer, of course, is to be found in the inherently arbitrary power associated with government in all its forms: those who are to rule must have a realm of final authority that is not subject to preemption by anyone else. The American political establishment was concerned – and with some justification, given the Reign of Terror that had occurred in France – that such a popular uprising might occur in America, and that the legislative and administrative powers of the state might be employed in ways that were inconsistent with institutional interests. Part of our make-believe democracy consists of the true owners of the state creating restraints on the efforts of the ruled to direct it to their purposes. Through the use of a power of "judicial review" that is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, Justice Marshall made the Supreme Court the "master" of the meaning of words found therein.

In this manner, the Supreme Court became, for all practical purposes, the sovereign political authority. Its pronouncements – not those of the electorate, or of their elected representatives – became the final interpretation of the meaning of words subject, of course, to a later court providing a different interpretation. The Supreme Court – whose members are not subject to being voted in or out of office by the general citizenry – became the seat of arbitrary power that defines every government as an agency enjoying a monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory. Members of the Supreme Court will vote their respective subjective preferences – or, more accurately, the preferences of the political establishment that elevated them to their status – for the ever-changing rules that will govern the rest of us in society.

This is why it is considered so impolitic to inquire of a judicial nominee his or her thinking on specific issues over which they are to promulgate binding definitions and rules of law. We may ask such questions of legislative or presidential/gubernatorial candidates – although experience shows we are unlikely to get either clear responses or promises that will be lived up to – but are not supposed to inquire into the thinking of those who will enjoy the arbitrary powers that define sovereignty. It is the nature of a sovereign not to be bound down, for such a limitation implies that his or her ultimate decision-making authority is subject to the approval or review of other forces who would, by definition, become sovereign.

What about the legality of federal bailouts of major corporations; or of congressional powers to audit the Fed; or of presidential powers to undertake wars without Congress’ declaration; or the constitutionality of torture; or the future of Roe v. Wade? These and other court-prescribed rules or constitutional interpretations are none of your business to ask of your sovereign rulers in advance of their assuming power. When it comes time for them to tell you of the rules to which you will be bound, rest assured that they will do so!

May 12, 2010

Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938 and of Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival. His latest book is Boundaries of Order.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stick a Cork in it 'Cuz BP's done

We are interrupting the regular series by Phasma Scriptor for this immediate breaking news on the "oil spill" in the Gulf of Mexico. Things are not as they seem. The Scribes and Pharisees (news media and lawyer politicians) of our day use the same methods of "legal" legerdemain to misdirect and keep your attention somewhere other than what is really going on. A rule to follow is that when anything is massively covered by the "news media" starting looking somewhere else for what you are being distracted from.

Stick a Cork in it 'Cuz BP's Done

By Phasma Scriptor

In previous communiques, I proposed a method for ending the engulfing-the-Gulf-in-globs-of-oil crisis by, as suggested here, sticking a cork in it, almost literally. Now, as of 3 weeks of 5000+ barrels/day of crude (a very appropriate and descriptive term for the extra thick goo that's bubbling up) into this environmental blightmare, the BP psychopaths of profit have proven nowhere near to up-to-the-task. The means for them to be UTTT has been available for over 60 years. That they have failed and refused to do so is just another hole in their corporate ship, sinking fast, so to speak, evidence of criminal guilt not mere negligence.

When, in 1992, the Chicago Dredge & Dock oops! cracked open the almost forgotten underground tunnel system that had been coiled 40 feet beneath the feet of Chicago Loop pedestrians for almost 100 years, I was in the LaSalle Street offices of an options brokerage, conferring with my ex-mob "phone specialist", Wally "the Wiretapper" Pritchett, on how the local CBOE traders could "front-run" the options trade, allegedly one area of interest for a DOJ investigation into CBOE and CBOT "irregularities" (you know, fraud). Wally detailed the possible methods of installing a shunt into the lines bringing orders into those exchanges; subsequently, Wally's personal line got cut and Wally went dead.

The Great Chicago Flood started at the North end of the tunnel system. When the breach was discovered, the Loop was ordered evacuated since, it was claimed, the consequences of 60+ miles of tunnels large enough to carry small freight trains getting wet were unknown. Actually, pouring a torrent of water through the foot thick inner concrete lining of the tunnels (with its series of pumps)was never going to endanger the surface structures.

Early in the "crisis", as I learned somewhat later than "Early", a local Navy Seal offered to plug the sizable hole using one of the large, very tough balloons which, according to the source, could be used to keep a Navy ship, like a submarine, from an extended stay with Davy Jones after having a potentially fatal hole installed in its hull. Because of the tendency of water to relentlessly fill in the spaces below a ship's water line (which keeps rising as the ship begins sinking), the balloon must be deployed and, then, inflated (with fluid) ASAP which would, because of its design (see US Patents 2446190 - 8/3/48, 4329132 - 5/11/82, 4385582 - 5/31/83, 5143012 - 9/1/92), fill even an oddly-shaped hole. Perfect solution; the citizens of Chicago would be saved from a fate worse than the sinners without an ark. And, also, a solution flat rejected by City Hall.

While everyone fled the Loop (they really wanted hang around and WORK!), I stuck around and went to the South end of the Loop, avoiding the cops who were supposed to be preventing anyone from falling into voracious sinkholes forming in the streets (yeah, yeah, OK, voracious sinkholes forming in Chicago streets ... as common as ghost-Streets-&-San workers fixing those voracious sinkholes and, yeah, yeah, ditto, avoiding Chicago cops assigned to garbage duty ... un-heroic). The tunnels tilt to the South and at that end is the Board of Trade building and in the basement of the BOT were the record archives, where proof of the crime of fraudulent front-running would have been kept.

That 1st day, the waters hadn't yet gotten that far (the BOT was my territory in another life and I knew how to get past what passed for security). Meanwhile, "da mair" (the mayor, for you non-Chicago natives) awards the contract for successfully concluding the Great Chicago Flood, which didn't include stanching the wound immediately, to Kenny Construction, a construction company with mairly clout.

Kenny's bright idea was to pour concrete and other stuff into a hole that was sucking the bejesus out of one corner of Lake Michigan. Of course, if the intention was NOT to make it stop, that really was a brilliant idea. After many hours of purposeful futility, the tunnels did what they were designed to do - carry the freight around the underground - all the way to the basement of the BOT. A 2nd quick inspection confirmed the inevitable. Maybe those records weren't destroyed completely, but the plausible deniability that they were gave plausible reliability to the theory that the DOJ investigation got washed out because of the unseen effects of the Great Chicago Flood.

Click on NEXT until we get to April 20, 2010. BP's leased oil rig blows up, falls over, workers die, the pipe jammed into the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico loses the apparatus that siphons off the crude in an orderly fashion at a rate of 5000+ barrels/day. In other words, there's a large underwater hole that needs to be plugged. Hmm. Same joke, different punchline.

Shortly after the reports of the Great Gulf Oil Spill of 2010 hit the media outlets, I began to suggest the same solution, to various media types and save-the-environment lobbyists, some helpful Navy Seal offered to implement in 1992 in Chicago. No rejection, just crickets.

Meanwhile, BP announces its bright idea to fabricate a dome that will collect the bubbling crude (OMG! I just had the urge to sing a chorus of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song. Somebody, please stop me!). Of course, that's the bright idea that will allow the crude to continue to flow into BP's profit stream and flip an oil-soaked bird at the damnable ecological disaster that grows in dimension every minute that the leak isn't contained by a more stop-the-leak-and-damn-the-pursuit-of-profits approach.

Click NEXT to 5/10. CNBC reports that, the dome having flopped, BP was going to Plan, uh, well, not exactly B, actually, more like Y or Z, since all other plans didn't take into account that last-ditch option of having potential losses that could have the same effect on BP that the caramel-consistency goo had on some hapless turtles, subbing for the canaries in the coal mine. The smart-ass BP CEO should probably think worst case when some judge (even in Big Oil IS God country), realizing he could become a certifiable public enemy if he lets this highly-paid Limey get off easy, makes him do clean up duty for the next century.

Plan Y? As of 5/10, BP is considering "junk shots", meaning, "plugging (the) leak with debris ... (by) injecting debris including shredded rubber into the well as a stopper ... followed by cement to seal the leak." That's called incrementally creeping to what? Plan Z. A balloon, utilizing the best of the designs already sitting in the US Patent Office, inserted into the gushing hole in the floor of the Gulf; the cement they propose to deploy in the aptly named "junk shot" would instead be slathered on the balloon. Otherwise, they're just doing the Kenny Kaper - pour any old s**t down the hole with no chance of stanching the flow while they figure out how to implement one of those more corporate-profit-friendly plans B through X.