Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Obama rejects oil pipeline from Canada, triggering loud controversy

Obama might not give a damn about the environment, unlike his supporters, but he is a politician. And this is an election year. He knows that he would be undermine his re-election chances. The President has a weak backbone and he'll bend when necessary. But if re-elected you can bet he'll renege and give the oil interests what they want:

The Obama administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, touching off a torrent of criticism from Republicans - whom the White House blamed for forcing a decision.

President Barack Obama, who was under a 60-day deadline imposed by congressional Republicans, left open the door to approve the 1,661-mile pipeline in the future. He also suggested the possibility of an alternative pipeline that could get Canadian oil sands crude to refineries and ports in Texas.

The company that wants to build Keystone XL, TransCanada Corp., said Wednesday it would apply for a new permit that, if approved, would allow the pipeline to be built by late 2014.

The decision was fraught with political complications for Obama over issues of energy security, jobs and the environment. Environmentalists had made the project a test case on whether the administration was serious about fighting climate change. And though Obama didn't rule out future pipelines, they declared victory.
Full article

Meet The Top 5 Democratic Targets Of The SOPA/PIPA Protest

Even the most principled members of Congress cannot say no to big moneyed interests:

Two Republican co-sponsors of PIPA have dropped their support, but here are five Democrats who must be targeted if the protests are to be successful.

The beautiful thing about the Internet is that it represents a vast seemingly endless galaxy of freedom. The problematic thing about the Internet can be the unorganized chaos in which this realm exists in. The organizers of the SOPA/PIPA blackout protest should be congratulated for what they have managed to accomplish in this environment. Already, Republican co-sponsors of PIPA, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have dropped their support for the bill. (Republican Rep. Ben Quayle has dropped his sponsorship of SOPA in the House).

One of the major disappointments for liberals and progressives is that many of the liberal heroes of the Senate have announced their support of this censorship disguised as anti-piracy legislation. It is important that these Democrats get the message that they are betraying some of their most vocal supporters by sponsoring and/or supporting PIPA.
Full article

Maine college has biomass plant for heat, energy

Maine college has biomass plant for heat, energy

- Government should encourage alternative energy technology and then allow the private sector to get involved.

World Bank warns of downturn worse than '08

I've been making the argument for some time that the Wall St. bailout only delayed the inevitable. Economic ruin is coming. Maybe this year.

World Bank warns of downturn worse than '08 - Stocks & economy

The World Bank warned Wednesday of a possible slump in global economic growth and urged developing countries to prepare for shocks that could be more severe than the 2008 crisis.

For the United States, the bank cut this year's growth forecast to 2.2 percent from 2.9 percent and for 2013 to 2.4 percent from 2.7 percent.

As reasons, it cited the anticipated global slowdown and the on-going fight in Washington over spending and taxes.

Iranian Student Activist Shot to Death in Texas

Iranian Student Activist Shot to Death in Texas - ABC News

If the Iranian government was behind this attack on American soil we have to retaliate. They obviously have no fear of us.

Florida Hospitals Push for Gun Ban

Florida Hospitals Push for Gun Ban - ABC News

That might not go over well with the gun crowd. They would rather arm granny.

Poll: Twice as Many Americans Believe we are Worse off Since Obama Became President

Poll: Majority of Americans say Obama hasn't Accomplished Much

Mitt Romney is Pulling Away in South Carolina

There are still some in the Press that want you to believe there is still a contest going on in Republican primaries. Although most concede that Romney is the likely nominee. Romney is increasing his lead in South Carolina despite receiving the most criticism he's received at any point since the primaries began some 6 months ago. Even Romney's opponents in the race believe if he wins South's over:

 A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows Mitt Romney has opened up a statistically significant lead among Republican primary voters across the nation trying to decide who should represent their party in this year's presidential election, but it's still a fluid race.

Romney gets 28 percent support among a fractured field of candidates, with Newt Gingrich in second with 21 percent, and Rick Santorum and Ron Paul (each coming off a strong early-state showings) nearly tied for third place with 16 and 15 percent, respectively.
Let's talk about something more important - Romney's ridiculously low tax rate
Romney's taxes have emerged as an issue days before the South Carolina primary. He agreed in Monday night's debate to consider making his tax returns public, and then committed to releasing them on Tuesday. But the multi-millionaire candidate now is on the defensive after acknowledging that his effective tax rate is 15 percent, saying most of his income came from investments and speeches rather than earned income. Christie says he wants to remain as governor, but he wouldn't rule out joining a Romney ticket.
Gingrich has ridiculed Occupy Wall Street on several occasions. Now he's sounding like one of them. Welcome to the cause:
Gingrich was holding little back in his criticism of Romney, saying that, in at least some instances, the Bain model has meant "leverage the game, borrow the money, leave the debt behind and walk off with all the profits."

"Now, I'll let you decide if that's really good capitalism. I think it's exploitive. I think it's not defensible," he said.

Gingrich continued that what Romney engaged in "is not venture capital."

"Venture capital is when you go in and put in your capital and you stick it out," he said.

Gingrich has faced rebuke in some quarters as attacking the GOP bedrock of free enterprise in his criticism of Romney and Bain. But he argued Tuesday that raising questions about Romney's track record at Bain should not be confused with an attack on capitalism.

"I'm proud of real capitalists. I'm proud of guys who say to their workers I'm in it with you. If I lose money and you lose a job we lost together because we both tried," he said.

Russia warns West Against Iran Strike, Sanctions

And they are right. The language from the U.S. government is reminiscent of that prior to the invasion of Iraq. The difference is that an attack on Iran would lead to retaliation, most likely against Israel. That could easily lead to escalation:

Russia warned on Wednesday that an attack on Iran would cause a catastrophe and said US and European Union sanctions against Tehran were aimed at triggering popular discontent by "strangling" the economy.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Western sanctions against Iran and talk of a potential attack undermine efforts to revive negotiations aimed at ensuring it does not develop nuclear weapons.

[...]"I have no doubt that it would pour fuel on a fire which is already smoldering, the hidden smoldering fire of Sunni-Shi'ite confrontation, and beyond that (cause) a chain reaction - I don't know where it would stop," he said of an attack.
And unfortunately the Russians are no help:
Russia will block any move at the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Syria or authorise the use of force, its foreign minister has said.

Sergei Lavrov said Russia would not be able to prevent military intervention, but that it would veto any resolution at the Security Council authorising it.

Russia has circulated its own draft resolution critical of both sides in the 10-month uprising in Syria.

Meanwhile, reports say troops have resumed shelling the town of Zabadani.

Overnight, an opposition leader in contact with residents said the army had agreed to a ceasefire with rebels inside Zabadani, which is close to both the capital Damascus and the Lebanese border.

Radwan Ziadeh told the BBC that commanders had been surprised by the strength of local support for the Free Syrian Army and that many soldiers had defected.

"Why We go Black"


Today's nationwide protest of Internet blacklist legislation is part of a brewing movement to keep control over the Internet out of the hands of corporations and governments. It's a struggle that puts Internet users before information gatekeepers. At stake is everyone's democratic right to information.

The movement owes its momentum to a recent sequence of events. In 2010 millions of Internet users became advocates in support of Net Neutrality protections. In 2011, the importance of digital freedom spilled out onto the streets as demonstrators with a mobile phones and a connection became a force in global protests.

Now, millions are rallying against two bills in Congress that allegedly protect intellectual property but go way too far, threatening to hold our free speech rights captive and stifle the creativity and innovation that's become a hallmark of the online community.

Over the weekend the White House succumbed to popular pressure and modified its position on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect-IP Act (PIPA) saying it would not support any legislation that "reduces freedom of expression" or "undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Video: The Occupation of Congress (1-17-12)