Posts Tagged ‘Power’
Conservative Refocus Editorial
By Barry Secrest
The Conservatives in the Republican Party now appear to be separating themselves from the gang of worthlessly appeasing moderates who, in essence, have no earthly idea as to why they were actually elected as an opposing party, in the first place.
When Senator Rand Paul stood and delivered a 13 hour filibuster articulating precisely why killing American citizens without due process was clearly wrong and against the principles of the United States of America, the partisan divide that acted much like an ideological Berlin Wall, was at least temporarily melted away.
Liberals, Democrats, Libertarians , Independents and Conservatives had finally found something in which they could all agree.
But even better than that? America finally got to see only one of many core principles that sets the Tea Party Conservatives apart, from virtually any other political grouping. The fact that Rand Paul’s filibuster, as being set against a hellbent administration bound to have its authoritarian way no matter what, ultimately brought attention to bear on issues which the Media at large has ignored for over four long years now, was lost on none who have been sounding the alarms for what seems an eternity.
That same administration, in fact, was finally forced to accede defeat and clearly enunciate that drone strikes on Americans were not constitutional, and all because of one man’s courage and defiance against those in power.
Additionally, there are those usual suspects in the Republican Party who merely blow with the congressional winds. They of the lukewarm sect who seem more interested in defending the military-industrial complex, than actually promoting Liberty and Freedom and rights which are at the very core of ideals that our military is constitutionally sworn to protect.
My, how far we have fallen, and yet there always appears to be one who is willing to lead the way back to our core principles. Principles that guarantees individual rights “penultimate” as starkly opposed to the pandering of group rights and Alinksy-style mob rule, which has been the rule for far too long.
Our thoughts, Thanks and prayers go out to Sen. Paul Rand , Sen. Ted Cruz, and all of the others who showed support to Paul in beginning the job that so terribly needs to be done,and in earnest.
The People’s true resurgence, it would appear, is now Paul’s to lead. From Obama, as a leader full of promises unrealized, to Paul, a promising Leader finally realized.
Russia Sends One Third of Remaining Operational “Rust Fleet” to Syria: In 11 Ship “Show of Power” to US
Cr Note: Er….”spooky,”….was that the expected response? Give me a break…sorry, but I remember those cold war days stalking Soviet ships in the Atlantic quite fondly, their remaining fleet is laughable at best
By ANDREW E. KRAMER and RICK GLADSTONE
MOSCOW — Russia said on Tuesday that it had dispatched a flotilla of 11 warships to the eastern Mediterranean, some of which would dock in Syria. It would be the largest display of Russian military power in the region since the Syrian conflict began almost 17 months ago. Nearly half of the ships were capable of carrying hundreds of marines.
The announcement appeared intended to punctuate Russia’s effort to position itself as an increasingly decisive broker in resolving the antigovernment uprising in Syria, Russia’s last ally in the Middle East and home to Tartus, its only foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union. The announcement also came a day after Russia said it was halting new shipments of weapons to the Syrian military until the conflict settled down.
Russia has occasionally sent naval vessels on maneuvers in the eastern Mediterranean, and it dispatched an aircraft-carrying battleship, the Admiral Kuznetsov, there for maneuvers with a few other vessels from December 2011 to February 2012. There were rumors in recent weeks that the Russians planned to deploy another naval force near Syria.
But the unusually large size of the force announced on Tuesday was considered a message, not just to the region but also to the United States and other nations supporting the rebels now trying to depose Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad.
Tartus consists of little more than a floating refueling station and some small barracks. But any strengthened Russian presence there could forestall Western military intervention in Syria.
The Russian announcement got a muted response in Washington. “Russia maintains a naval supply and maintenance base in the Syrian port of Tartus,” said Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “We currently have no reason to believe this move is anything out of the ordinary, but we refer you to the Russian government for more details.”
The announcement came as a delegation of Syrian opposition figures was visiting Moscow to gauge if Russia would accept a political transition in Syria that excludes Mr. Assad. It also coincided with a flurry of diplomacy by Kofi Annan, the special Syria envoy from the United Nations and the Arab League, who said Mr. Assad had suggested a new approach for salvaging Mr. Annan’s sidelined peace plan during their meeting on Monday in Damascus.
While the Kremlin has repeatedly opposed foreign military intervention in Syria, Russian military officials have hinted at a possible role in Syria for their naval power. The ships have been presented as a means either to evacuate Russian citizens or to secure the fueling station at Tartus.
A statement by the Defense Ministry said ships had embarked from ports of three fleets: those of the Northern, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, and would meet for training exercises in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Taking part, the statement said, would be two Black Sea Fleet landing craft that can carry marines: the Nikolai Filchenkov and the Tsezar Kunikov.
Russia’s Interfax news agency cited an unnamed military official as saying that an escort ship, the Smetlivy, would stop in Tartus for resupplying in three days — though it had presumably recently left its home port of Sevastopol, in the Black Sea.
Another contingent, from the Arctic Ocean base of Severomorsk, in the Murmansk Fjord, will take longer to arrive. That convoy includes three landing craft with marines escorted by an antisubmarine ship, the Admiral Chabanenko.
The voyage to the Mediterranean was unrelated to the Syrian conflict, the official said, but the boats laden with marines would stop in Tartus to “stock up on fuel, water and food.”
Visits on Tuesday by Mr. Annan to Iran, the Syrian government’s most important regional ally, and Iraq, Syria’s neighbor to the east, which fears a sectarian spillover from the conflict, came as a deadline of July 20 approaches. That is when the United Nations Security Council is to decide whether to renew the mission of 300 observers in Syria charged with monitoring the introduction of Mr. Annan’s peace plan. The observers’ work was suspended nearly a month ago because it was too dangerous.
At a news conference in Tehran, Mr. Annan reiterated his view that the Iranians had a role to play in resolving the conflict, despite objections from the United States. Mr. Annan also said Mr. Assad had proposed altering the peace proposal so that the most violent areas of the country would be pacified first. The current plan calls for an immediate cessation of all violence everywhere as a first step.
“He made a suggestion of building an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence — to try and contain the violence in these districts and, step by step, build up and end the violence across the country,” Mr. Annan told reporters in Tehran.
There was no immediate word on whether the suggested new approach would be accepted by Mr. Assad’s opponents. But in Moscow, a delegation from the Syrian National Council, the umbrella opposition group in exile, suggested they had no interest in engaging with him.
“What brings together the opposition today is our consensus on the need to topple Assad’s regime and build a new political system,” Bassma Kodmani, a member of the delegation, said at a news conference in Moscow.
The delegation members, who are to meet on Wednesday with Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, also said they would not ask that Russia grant Mr. Assad asylum — something Russian officials have said they are not considering anyway.Source
by Stephan Dinan – The Washington Times
The Supreme Court’s health care showdown last month was all about Constitution theory and prerogatives. Wednesday’s arguments between Arizona and the Obama administration over the state’s tough immigration law looks to be all about power.
Arizona argues that the federal government has failed to enforce its laws on the books and says states should be free to enforce their own laws as long as they complement the national goals. Obama attorneys say the Constitution gives power over immigration to the federal government, and there can be no infringement.
The electorate is clearly on the side of Arizona: A Quinnipiac University Poll last week found that 62 percent of voters said they want the court to uphold the law.
But what the justices do is another matter altogether.
The law at stake, known as S.B. 1070, would grant state and local police the power to check the immigration status of those with whom they come into contact who they suspect are in the country illegally. It also requires legal immigrants to carry their papers — a mandate of federal law.
First a district court and then the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked those parts of the law, sending S.B. 1070 on to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, other states — including South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Utah — have followed Arizona’s lead in granting police enforcement powers.
Michael Wildes, an immigration lawyer in New Jersey, said filling in where the federal government is failing is not a constitutional reason to tread on federal prerogatives.
“The problem is that you can’t have a patchwork — we can’t have a quilt made of different patches in different states,” he said. “We need a seamless federal immigration law that will treat everybody equally.”
Mr. Wildes said the polling that showed most Americans favor Arizona’s law is a testament to frustration with the federal government on immigration. He said voters, egged on by “the xenophobia the media has created,” are beginning to take an us-versus-them approach to immigration that he said would shock the country’s founders.
Kris Kobach, who helped write S.B. 1070, said the law was designed to help the federal government, not to compete with it. He said there is no federal law that conflicts with Arizona’s, but rather a federal policy by the Obama administration, which enforces the law selectively.
Mr. Kobach, who was elected secretary of state in Kansas in 2010, said that would set a troublesome precedent.
“If the 9th Circuit decision is affirmed and Arizona loses, then we would be in a situation where the president or any minor official in the executive branch could simply invalidate dozens of state laws by issuing a formal statement or order,” he said. “They literally are saying that unelected officials can pre-empt state laws merely by saying the state law doesn’t meet their preferences.”
While President Obama and his advisers criticized the law in 2010 for leading to potential racial profiling, the lawsuit they filed asking the court to block it relies not on discrimination claims but on issues of government power and decision-making.
In one claim, the administration says the law interferes with the federal government’s ability to control foreign relations. Underscoring that claim, the government’s legal brief filed with the Supreme Court is signed by the State Department’s legal adviser, Harold Koh.
Mr. Kobach called that laughable, and the dissenting judge in the 2-1 decision at the appeals court level, Judge Carlos Bea, said to accept that argument would give other countries a “heckler’s veto” over state laws.
Brian Bergin, an attorney for Sheriff Larry A. Dever, whose Cochise County includes 83 miles of the Mexico border in Arizona, said he will be watching to see what the justices say about that during oral argument.
“If the administration prevails in its argument that state law can be pre-empted by virtue of the objections of foreign interests, we’ve put ourselves in a position where I guess foreign policy becomes more important than homeland security,” Mr. Bergin said.
Last year, the Supreme Court upheld an earlier Arizona law that requires all businesses in the state to use E-Verify, the federal government’s voluntary database that checks potential hires’ Social Security numbers to determine whether they are authorized to work in the U.S.
In that case, the court, in a 5-3 decision, said Congress specifically left the door open to states to enact business licensing schemes.
Mr. Wildes said the two cases are different and that the E-Verify decision won’t set a precedent for the law enforcement case, but Mr. Kobach said it is an example of concurrent enforcement by states using a federal tool. He also said since that case is now official precedent, he will be looking to see whether the justices who dissented will now feel bound by it.
The list of those who have officially intervened to keep tabs on the current case reads like a who’s who of the immigration movement: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who supports the law; two former Arizona attorneys general who opposed the law; the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union, who have taken the lead as the labor movement has embraced legalization; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which also pushes for legalization of illegal immigrants; and Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case in December, presumably because of her work as solicitor general.
Arguing on behalf of Arizona is Paul D. Clement — the same man who argued the recent case for challengers to Mr. Obama’s health care law.
by Liz Klimas
On Thursday, the U.S. Army completed a successful test of an Advanced Hypersonic Weapon soaring at eight times the speed of sound. The completion perhaps restoring a little bit of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) confidence since it’s last test run of the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 crashed into the Pacific Ocean this past August.
Today’s test builds upon lessons learned from the two earlier tests of Falcon HTV-2 and brings the military one step closer to having the capability to hit a target anywhere on Earth within an hour, according to Wired’s Danger Room.
Wired notes that this test was considerably easier than the one conducted with Falcon HTV-2 a few months ago though:
Darpa’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 — the one that splashed unsuccessfully in the Pacific — was supposed to fly 4,100 miles. The Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon went about 60 percent as far, 2,400 miles from Hawaii to its target by the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. Darpa’s hypersonic glider had a radical, wedge-like shape: a Mach 20 slice of deep dish pizza, basically. The Army’s vehicle relies on a decades-old, conventionally conical design. It’s designed to fly 6,100 miles per hour, or a mere eight times the speed of sound.
According to Fox News, this prototype flies flat rather than soaring upward and then coming back down.Wired reports that the weapon is part of the Prompt Global Strike project that focuses on developing hypersonic weapons, which includes anything that goes five times faster than the speed of sound, giving military the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than one hour:
Those hypersonic gliders may cut down on the geopolitical difficulties, but introduced all sorts of technical ones. We don’t know much about the fluid dynamics involved when something shoots through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. And there really aren’t any wind tunnels capable of replicating those often-strange interactions.
“You have to go fly,” says retired Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, who helped lead the Prompt Global Strike push as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as head of U.S. Strategic Command. “You have to open up the envelope of knowledge.”
In addition to the testing of this Advanced Hypersonic Weapon and Falcon HTV-2 in recent months, Fox News also notes the semi-successful test in June of the Air Force’s X-1A Waverider. It reached Mach 5 speeds before “it failed to switch over to its main fuel source.”
The United States has had an extremely difficult time perfecting an energy policy that makes sense. The bill forming Department of Energy was signed into law in 1977. There are some good things that came out this in the form of standardization and unification of power distribution into the regional, national, and (with Canada) international power grid. However, one of the main goals given the DOE at its formation was to lead the US to energy self-sufficiency.
After more than a quarter century, we are more dependent on foreign oil than ever.
This wouldn’t be surprising if we had no energy resources. However, we are one of the most energy-rich countries in the world. We own more in-the-ground fossil fuel, than any country. We own vast deposits of uranium. We have great potential for more hydroelectric production. We have many resources for other alternative sources of energy. To understand our place in the energy world, consider these facts:
Total US Oil Reserves:
21 billion barrels proven reserves (CIA World Factbook)
134 billion barrels other estimated recoverable reserves (US Dept. of Interior)
0.727 billion barrels strategic petroleum reserves (CIA World Factbook)
155.727 billion barrels total US recoverable reserves
Other Fossil Fuels
2,175 billion barrels of recoverable oil in shale (Bureau of Land Management)
4116 billion equivalent barrels of oil in recoverable US Coal reserves (US DOE)
Adding the estimated recoverable reserves to the proven reserves, the United States ranks third among all nations in the size of our oil reserves, slightly behind Saudi Arabia, and Canada.
The US contains the largest coal and shale oil deposits in the world. The US has 161% more oil in shale than in the total world oil reserves. Even more amazing, there is enough energy in known US coal reserves alone to eclipse that of all the oil on earth by 400%.
Processing petroleum from oil shell involves mining the oil-bearing shale, crushing the stone, and passing it through a high temperature retort. We currently have the technology to do this, but because it is only competitive when the petroleum price is high, the technological development has not yet advanced into research on reducing the cost of production.
One technique that may make the process competitive with deep well petroleum is that of in situ retorting in which the oil shell is reached by drilling shafts through which heat is pumped releasing the oil which is then pumped to the surface. Certainly, as world oil prices go up oil shell will not only be viable, but attractive.
The myth that oil from coal is not economically feasible has been disproven by South Africa. During the years of the world trade embargo against apartheid, coal-rich South Africa developed a process, and built several plants, each of which produce about 100,000 barrels of oil per day. The Chinese are in process of building as many as 27 of these plants in various parts of China.
Beyond the possibility of converting coal to gasoline, coal holds the spot as the number one producer of electricity in the United States. Even with the huge environmental burden, taxation, and political interference coal still remains the mainstay of the electric industry and one of the most important sources of heat for buildings. When the battery and quick charge technology is finally perfected to have total electric vehicles, it will be coal energy in the form of power grid electricity that drives those cars.
So why can’t we do what South Africa did? Why can’t our oil reserves produce the in range of Saudi Arabia or Canada? Why can’t we get research going to make our Shale oil reserves competitive?
I don’t think it is the fault of the DOE. I think it is the fault of some bad policy coming out of other parts of our federal mega-bureaucracy.
Politically and militarily we had strategic reasons to buy from other countries – if we use their oil, we are saving ours for future use, and we became such a valuable customer to oil producing countries they became our “friends” during the cold war. Both of those are probably valid strategies, and both served their purpose; but they also helped drive us to foreign energy dependency.
However, that was not the reason that US oil production dropped precipitously over the years. The main reason was environmental. In part this was caused by regulations by the EPA, and by such things as species protection. But way beyond that was the general liberal mindset against profits from big companies, distribution of wealth through taxation, excessive time and legal interference on new permitting, and outright banning of drilling in large tracts of known oil reserves. It became too costly and extremely time consuming to do exploratory drilling and to sink new wells into currently producing fields. The Global Warming fiasco with the almost unanimous blind support of the left just about did in the fossil fuel producers in America.
If we had taken half the so called “stimulus” money and put it directly into increased domestic fuel production, we would have seen the economy turn around, and energy cost, thus the cost of everything else, going down. Our number one priority should be to become energy independent as soon as possible, and number two should be to start advancing our energy technologies in all areas.
Let’s see if I get this straight. During the early February cold spell in the southern plains, when wind chills in Dallas dipped to minus twenty degrees, Texans were going without power to heat their homes and businesses even as the state was sitting on massive surpluses of natural gas. Even hospitals were having to switch to emergency generating systems. And this in the state with the largest energy production capacity in the continental US.
How was it that Texas suffered an extended period of rolling blackouts at a time when there’s a glut of coal and natural gas waiting to be used?
The answer may be quite simple. It seems that a great deal of natural gas got “stuck in the pipes” because there was not enough electricity to operate the pumps to move it along. And there was not enough electricity to operate the pumps because environmentalists had seen to it that plans for new coal-powered generating plants had been shuttered back in 2007. So without the coal, there was no electricity, and without the electricity, there was no natural gas. And since much of the natural gas was intended to supply electrical power generating plants, there was even less electricity to supply the pumps and everything else.
The Texas power blackouts affected millions of homeowners and businesses, as well as vital services such as hospitals, schools, and police and fire services. An extended loss of power during periods of extreme temperatures endangers everyone. It cuts off emergency responders from those in need, and it leaves citizens freezing in their homes. The loss of power reduces modern society to an anarchic level where each is left to fend for himself.
Unfortunately, environmentalists in Texas who blocked the construction of coal-powered plants and shut down others during the last decade did not consider these consequences. All that they thought of was that coal is “dirty,” so coal must go. They did not consider what would take its place. Had the coal generating facilities that were planned a decade ago by Texas Power been in place, the rolling blackouts of 2011 might well have been avoided.
As it happened, plans for construction of eight large coal-powered plants were scrapped in 2007 in a private equity deal crafted by the environmental action group, Environmental Defense. Under the agreement, TXU, the Texas power company, agreed to discontinue plans for eight Texas plants, halt construction of coal-powered plants in other states, reduce its carbon footprint to 1990 levels, and endorse the US Climate Action Partnership agenda. This radical transformation of TXU contributed to regulatory approval for takeover of the company by private equity group KKR (Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts).
It is ironic, considering the freezing temperatures that Texans endured during the first week of February, that an agreement to discontinue construction of coal-powered plants was predicated on the now discredited theory of man-made global warming. In order to lower global temperatures, as they imagined, environmentalists pressured TXU to accept a plan that made it impossible for the citizens of Texas to heat their homes.
Can there be any doubt that the agreement to discontinue eight large power plants was a contributing factor in the rolling blackouts of February 2011? The generating capacity supplied by these plants would not have been dependent on the pumping of natural gas. It would have continued to heat homes and businesses, and to power emergency services, throughout the storm. Instead, the state was left depending on an inherently less reliable mix of power sources.
The Texas blackouts are a foretaste of what the rest of the country can expect, given the concerted effort of the Obama administration to shut down coal generating plants and to place obstacles in the way of coal mining. Just weeks ago, the EPA revoked the permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce Number One mine in Virginia, one of the largest coal mining projects in the country. For the past two years, in fact, the EPA has pursued a hyper-aggressive program of enforcement that seems intended to price coal electrical generation out of the market. As in Texas, plans for new coal power plants have been scrubbed. They have been replaced by plants powered by natural gas, and by heavily subsidized wind and solar generation.
The problem is that natural gas plants have not come on line quickly enough to replace the coal generation that has been lost, and wind and solar, which make up only 1% of power generation anyway, are inherently unreliable. The wind does not blow all the time, nor does the sun shine at night. Had the US retained its reliable base of coal power generation, there would be less danger of further blackouts. As it is, much of the country is in danger of experiencing outages similar to those in Texas.
Ironically, the US is in danger of power blackouts at a time when it is exporting greater and greater amount of coal to China and other countries. Already, America is sending 80 million tons of coal overseas, but plans are underway to increase exports by 10% in 2011. Countries overseas understand that coal is the cheapest and most reliable form of energy available for producing electrical power. At a time when America is curtailing its coal generating capacity, China and India are buildingone new coal generating plant every week. And America is shipping its vital resources overseas even as its citizens are left, quite literally, out in the cold.