Monday, May 24, 2010

A MeanMesa "Quickie" - Iran, the Fountain of Evil?

Achhh.  It is the tale of two countries ... the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  One of them, the Bright City on the Hill and a nuclear super power, was eager, in the past, to shred the democratically elected government of the other one to violently replace it with a royal autocrat who would willingly sell every drop of oil to the West.

Uh, Mr. Palavi, if you want to be the Great Shah that will be fine -- just remember the oil, please.  By the way, help yourself to a few dozen of our finest F-15's.

Uh, we also realize that it may be necessary to establish the deadly Savak and tear the arms and legs off a few folks to keep our oil scheme on the tracks.

Uh, it's also no surprise to us that all the Shah's relatives and friends have prospered magnificently, turning the forlorn desert into a green paradise of "free market" "Capitalism" where matters of competition are quickly decided by the Savak's "death squads."  Who could question the value of a few tortured relatives dumped in the gutter in front of one's house compared to a vast, neo-conservative style wet dream?

Oooops.  All the Shah's non-friends and non-relatives grew tired of being savaged day after day.  Who?  You know, the "axis of evil" crowd who "hate our freedom."  OMG!  This nobody Muslim preacher who has been hiding out in Paris has SHUT OFF OUR OIL!

Meanwhile, the super power "elects" a thinly disguised Baptist draft dodger and a corporate oil crony to be "President."  In the next chapter of the story, the super power gives poison gas to a nearby dictator, encouraging him to start an incredibly bloody war to depose the "Nobody Muslim preacher" and get the oil flow "back on track."

Chevron smiled with eager glee with such a reassuring development.  A "thank you" card was immediately dispatched to the CIA.

Predictably, this turned into a bit of a "PR Problem" in the Islamic Republic for the super power.  The autocrat in charge of the super-power, unhappily, had a lingering reputation of being in charge of  the "gang who couldn't shoot straight," so the situation went from bad to worse.  The decision was made that, since Chevron would not be able to get the Iranian oil, it would be necessary to "liberate" the oil of Iran's neighbor.

The next step for the draft dodgers in charge of the super power was to repeatedly threaten to nuke Iran.  The "PR Problem" got even worse.

Although the new government of the "Nobody Muslim Preacher from Paris" had started out as a fairly populist outfit, under this recurring threat from the draft dodgers running the super power, things in Iran gradually became more and more reactionary.

By the way, the super power had dispatched two huge armies to Iran's closest neighboring countries where they were both "liberating all the misplaced oil" and making the "world safe for freedom."  When the neo-conservative "wet dream" which had initially justified all this nonsense finally collapsed into an unsustainable, gaseous lie, the whole mess had to be turned over to the "next guy."

The next step for the neo-cons was to begin criticising the "next guy" for not immediately making sense out of this horrible, embarrassing mess.

For those who might be interested in a more in depth discussion of the history of the current situation, please link to MeanMesa's archives.

This is a "high stakes" game.  Because of that, this is a time to back up President Obama's efforts to settle the disaster the W started.  The alternative will be yet another Middle East war.

Stay informed.
Stay involved.
Remember what it means to be an American citizen.  We are responsible for everything we do, everyone we kill, everything we steal and whether or not we want friends and honor or just more profits.

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

Grayson Strikes Again - On Our Side! Another Email!

MeanMesa has written plenty of posts about the immense scope of the "emergency supplementals" which have -- ANNUALLY -- been funding the Bush-Cheney Oil Wars.  Worse, once the "emergency" money has been allocated to these tax gobbling outrages, the "emergency" label is also added everywhere else -- that is, in every other case where the war profiteers can scrape out just a little more for themselves.

Examples of this "rolling garbage wagon with an  endless appetite for more of our highway, hospital, bridge, school, water system and sewer system money" are spread like paint.  Halliburton's annual "emergency" no bid contracts, the Constitution wrecking "emergency" Patriot Act provisions and the "toad strangling" $800 Billion "Emergency" Bailout all follow suit.

It doesn't serve us to spend all of our energy trying to continue to disregard or underplay the stench of this "elephant in the living room."  Our bad habit of waiting for things to get a little better is one of out right denial and surrender.

Well, MeanMesa's favorite Florida Congressman is taking action.  A copy of his email letter is included in this post (below).  BTW, all the "contribute now" links have been left in -- just in case any MeanMesa visitor has a couple of bucks just sitting around.  I'm sure Congressman Grayson will also accept contributions from international visitors, too.

Dear Chad,

Next week, there is going to be a "debate" in Congress on yet another war funding bill. The bill is supposed to pass without debate, so no one will notice.

What George Orwell wrote about in "1984" has come true. What Eisenhower warned us about concerning the "military-industrial complex" has come true. War is a permanent feature of our societal landscape, so much so that no one notices it anymore.

But we're going to change this. Today, we're introducing a bill called 'The War Is Making You Poor Act'. The purpose of this bill is to connect the dots, and to show people in a real and concrete way the cost of these endless wars. We're working to get co-sponsors in Congress, but, we need citizen co-sponsors as well. Become a citizen cosponsor today at Act Now.

Next year's budget allocates $159,000,000,000 to perpetuate the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's enough money to eliminate federal income taxes for the first $35,000 of every American's income. Beyond that, leaves over $15 billion to cut the deficit.

And that's what this bill does. It eliminates separate funding for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and eliminates federal income taxes for everyone's first $35,000 of income ($70,000 for couples). Plus it pays down the national debt. Does that sound good to you? Then please sign our petition in support of this bill, and help us build a movement to end our permanent state of war.

The costs of the war have been rendered invisible. There's no draft. Instead, we take the most vulnerable elements of our population, and give them a choice between unemployment and missile fodder. Government deficits conceal the need to pay in cash for the war.

We put the cost of both guns and butter on our Chinese credit card. In fact, we don't even put these wars on budget; they are still passed using 'emergency supplemental'. A nine-year 'emergency'.

Let's show Congress the cost of these wars is too much for us.
Tell Congress that you like 'The War Is Making You Poor Act'. No, tell Congress you love it.

All we are saying is "give peace a chance." We will end these wars.


Alan Grayson

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lest We Forget. How Bad Was It?

A Short history.
After 9/11 the unelected Junior Bush took the opportunity to consolidate several handfuls of U.S. Federal security organizations into the massive new Homeland Security Department.  Yes, of course, even the term "homeland" caused MeanMesa visitors to have  a creepy feeling from its similarity to the use of the same term during the Nazi propaganda campaign of WWII.

However, there could be little doubt that  whomever might be chosen as the head of Homeland Security would have historically unparalleled power.  Well, while the W was unable to cram this particular "lobster through the keyhole," perhaps we can say that it was the thought that counted.

Talk about a "government take over!" 

By the way, this was the same little autocrat who placed the ex-lawyer from the Arabian Horse Club in charge of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  While the citizens of New Orleans were drowning, the little autocrat had only one thing to say while the camera lights were lit:  "Great job, Brownie!"

After that infuriating little snippet of arrogance, nominating a known New York gangster to the head of Homeland Security doesn't really taste that bad.

Let's recap the story before we take up with CNN's report.
An unelected "President," exploiting a suspicious attack on our nation, creates a gigantic police agency called Homeland Security, one which entrains more power than anything the country has ever created before.  BTW, MeanMesa courteously dismisses the legitimacy of the 911 Commission's report.  There is nothing about it, upon cooler reflection, which  is either particularly persuasive or which might validate the concentration of power this unelected "President" sought.

Having undermined traditional American "check and balance" structures in our government, the unelected "President" nominates a common street criminal as head of the new agency.

Yet another outrageous "invitation to autocratic mischief," indeed.

The remainder of the W's "attack force" continued its onsluaght against democracy.  The Secretary of Defense,  the heavily soiled and out of touch Mr. Rumsfeldt, the string of incompetent and grotesque Attorney General appointees and, perhaps the most threatening of all, the unelected autocrat's "tip of the spear," Mr. Rove, casually discharged uncooperative Federal Prosecutors, diverted huge tax money to "in the pocket" no bid contractors for war profiteering and ultimately threw the elected Governor of Alabama into an isolation cell at a Federal Prison.

Nestled in among this motley crew, the street thug, Mr. Bernie Kerik, perhaps didn't smell that bad after all.  At least not on a day when a semblance of a fresh breeze might confuse his scent from that of all the rest of the autocrat's gang of thieves.

All of this might seem to be a bit of "beating a dead horse," but please remember here,

1.  These same people expect voters to forget all of this and return them to majority power in the Congress at the November Mid-Term elections.


2.  The tragic heritage of the W's program of looting and destruction remains robust and in place even now.  So much damage was done, yet the neo-cons would like to convince us that the new government is not legitimately doing all it can to restore the country.

Look at your neighbor's dead  son, a casualty of the W's Oil Wars;
look at your 401K and you retirement accounts after the banksters took their 40% off the top;
remember the $800 Billion Bail Out that the W gave to Wall Street;
remember the $1 Trillion tax cut the W gave to his rich friends after he borrowed the money from China over YOUR SIGNATURE on the note;
and finally, remember stinky little Bernie Kerik, the common criminal the W was prepared to elevate to the highest position in the most powerful police agency ever.

If you can, somehow, remain comfortable with that story, you should either decide to avoid MeanMesa all together, or commit to visiting us everyday.

From CNN News:

Former NYPD commissioner Kerik indicted

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik was indicted on charges of making false statements to White House officials vetting him for the secretary's seat at the Department of Homeland Security in 2004, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Bernard Kerik served as New York City police commissioner from 1998 to 2002.
Bernard Kerik served as New York City police commissioner from 1998 to 2002.

Kerik, who served as commissioner from 1998 to 2002, allegedly gave false and misleading answers to Bush administration officials about his relationship with contractors who renovated his Riverdale apartment, according to the indictment handed up by a Washington grand jury.

Prosecutors allege Kerik received and concealed benefits of about $255,000 in renovations to his home from contractors seeking to do business with the city of New York.

In December, Kerik pleaded not guilty to another indictment in New York levying similar charges against him, but those charges were dismissed because the incident allegedly happened in Washington, officials said.

Kerik's attorney, Barry Berke, called the Washington indictment "the latest example of the Department of Justice's overzealous pursuit of high-profile public figures."
He said his client is confident he will be vindicated.

Kerik , 53, is a longtime friend and former protege of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Then-President George W. Bush nominated him for secretary of Homeland Security after winning re-election in 2004, but Kerik withdrew his name amid allegations that he employed a nanny who had questionable immigration status.

and, from CBSTV

Kerik Is Sentenced in Corruption Case

“I'd like to apologize to the American people,” said Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York police commissioner, after his sentencing Thursday.

WHITE PLAINS — Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York police commissioner who rose to national prominence, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, the prosecution and the defense recommended that Judge Stephen C. Robinson sentence Mr. Kerik to 27 to 33 months in prison. But the judge departed from the sentencing recommendations, giving Mr. Kerik a longer sentence because he said he had betrayed the public’s trust. 

“I think it’s fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences,” Judge Robinson said. “I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable.” 

Federal prosecutors had denounced Mr. Kerik, a former police detective who rose to the upper echelons of power, as a corrupt official who sought to trade his authority for lavish benefits. He pleaded guilty on the eve of his trial in November. 

Wearing a pinstriped navy-blue suit, Mr. Kerik was thinner and clean-shaven — without the mustache he was long identified with — as he entered the courtroom in United States District Court here. He surveyed the gallery, packed with friends and supporters, embracing some, nodding to others. 

When Judge Robinson offered him a chance to speak before sentencing, Mr. Kerik rose from the defense table and spoke in a low and gravelly voice. 

“I make no excuses,” he said. “I take full responsibility for the grave mistakes I’ve made. Believe me when I say I have learned from this and I have become and will continue to become a better person. I know I must be punished. I only ask that you allow me to return to my wife and two little girls as soon as possible.” 

As the judge delivered the sentence, Mr. Kerik sat impassively at the defense table, flanked by his lawyers. Behind him, his supporters — including Geraldo Rivera and Steven McDonald, a former New York City police officer who was paralyzed from the neck down in 1986 — sat silently. 

Mr. Kerik will begin serving his sentence on May 17. Prosecutors had requested that Mr. Kerik be sent to prison immediately, but Judge Robinson allowed him to surrender later to get his affairs in order in light of the length of the sentence. Mr. Kerik has awaited sentencing under strict house arrest at his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J. 

The sentence follows a fall from a rarefied perch where he wielded power with a signature mix of brash confidence and tough-guy charm. 

He was a close ally of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whom he served as a bodyguard and driver. Mr. Giuliani then tapped him for a senior position in the Correction Department, and he went on to become the agency’s commissioner. As testament to his clout, Mr. Kerik had a jail named after him in downtown Manhattan. (The name has since been changed.) 

Mr. Kerik later served as police commissioner, and his performance after the 9/11 attacks turned him into a national figure, earning him the respect of President George W. Bush, who nominated him to lead the Department of Homeland Security. That bid quickly collapsed in scandal, marking the beginning of the end of Mr. Kerik’s career. 

The case against Mr. Kerik centered on charges that a New Jersey construction company, the Interstate Industrial Corporation, which was suspected of ties to organized crime, had paid for renovations at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Prosecutors said company officials had hoped Mr. Kerik would help them obtain a city license. 

In June 2006, Mr. Kerik pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in the Bronx to two misdemeanors tied to the renovation of his apartment. He paid $221,000 in fines and penalties but avoided any jail time. 

In the more recent federal case, Mr. Kerik pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and five counts of making false statements to the federal government while being vetted for senior posts. Judge Robinson ordered him to pay restitution of $187,931 to the Internal Revenue Service

Prosecutors had called for Judge Robinson to make an example out of Mr. Kerik, and to punish him for his “egotism and hubris.”
During the hearing, Judge Robinson said he admired much about Mr. Kerik, particularly his leadership in the 9/11 aftermath. But, he said, “the fact that Mr. Kerik would use that event for personal gain and aggrandizement is a dark place in the soul for me.” 

Mr. Kerik’s lawyer, Michael F. Bachner, asked the judge for leniency, citing his years of public service, and the dozens of letters of support written by family members, former colleagues in the Police Department and even strangers who said they admired Mr. Kerik’s bravery. 

When asked if Mr. Kerik intended to appeal the sentence, Mr. Bachner said, “No comment.”
After the sentencing, Mr. Kerik paused outside the courthouse, where he read a statement before being driven off in a black sport utility vehicle. 

“I’d like to apologize to the American people for the mistakes I’ve made and for which I have just accepted responsibility,” he said. “As history is written, I can only hope that I will be judged for the 30 years of service I have given to this country and the city of New York.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Making Baltimore Into Bangkok

MeanMesa can see that the shabbily veiled ultimate profit line for miscreant losers such as Rush, Sean, Cheney and the "Boner" apparently rests squarely with the instigation of a civil war.  How else can our nation be cleansed of the liberal residue of  


and all the other liberal contamination which has crept into the country's politics?

Grumble, grumble.

Well, we enjoy a very literal, blood soaked example of exactly where  such an unexamined ambition might lead us.  The very questionable government of Thailand, already heavily soiled as the enduring product of a military coup, has finally opened fire on the protesters who have been demanding a real election.

At this writing there are around seventy of them known to be dead from rifle wounds inflicted by the Thai army.

However, this posting is not particularly about events in Thailand.  Instead, MeanMesa would like to present a few observations about the media fraud which seems intent on producing similar results here in the United States.  Still skeptical?  Take the test. 

Tune in for a few minutes of Rush's blathering about the "deadly, America wrecking liberals."  The $ size of his contract is determined by how much mistrust and division he succeeds in sowing among his regular listeners.  Further, if Rush "sticks in your throat," simply listen to what is presented as "news" on the corporate networks.

The Corporate Media Fraud in this case is one of innuendo.  The unexamined idea interposed in every single statement of what passes as network news implies that a civil war in the United States could be compared to similarities of what is transpiring in Thailand in the following way.

Who will be the insurgents?

Why, of course, the liberals would have to be the insurgents and the "ultra patriotic" neo-cons would be the forces of order -- you know, the ones with the rifles.  How else could it possibly be?  In Thailand, an alleged majority of Thai citizens are siding with the government, most likely because they are freaked out about their fellow Thais being gunned down in the streets.

But wait.  Who, precisely, is the national majority?

The Sunni Baathists in Iraq were conveniently convinced by the dictator that they comprised a majority of Iraqis, a ruse which somewhat validated their reactionary violence to keep the marauding "minority" Shi'ites at bay.  Actually, the Sunni represented only around a quarter of the Iraqi population while the Shi'ites represented a 60% majority.

Likewise, regardless of all their gaseous proclamations to the contrary, the neo-cons are a distinct minority in the current U.S. political climate.  Oh sure, Senator McChinless rails on endlessly about "Thu 'Merican people has spoke," but talk is one thing and votes are another.

MeanMesa thinks that the American population is strongly committed to progressive ideas -- everything from the public option to combating climate change.  We'll just take our chances on that assessment being right.  Everyone is totally tired of being painted as free market junkies by the media frauds.

Then, there is also the already deflating gas bag concerning "unleashin' thu Tea Baggers!"  Estimates on the total number of Tea Baggers who are still fit enough to vote without the aid of a walker is around 10,000.  Rush, Sean and Cheny -- if any of them had ever actually served in the military -- might conclude that these Social Security receiving, bitching chorus squawkers would probably be somewhat lacking as a "shock wave" strike force for their civil war wet dream.

Whose "ox has been gored?"

With super cunning neo-con banksters holding 60% of the nation's wealth while the remainder of the population staggers forth in survival mode, it might be a case of "heavy lifting" to paint the neo-cons as belabored, long suffering, disenfranchised second class citizens.

Oh sure, these throw backs control the Supreme Court and the corporate media machines, but, once the bullets start flying, those assets may be quickly forgotten.  The media fraud has gone to great lengths to imply that the military would blindly come to the aid of the neo-cons, but the unsettling fact is that six times as many of the active troops contributed to the Obama campaign compared to the war mongering geezer we have been convinced would be their anticipated  choice.

Finally, when considered on an individual basis, which side would enjoy the greatest energy and commitment should such strife actually begin?

If it is a matter of complaining, screaming and making semi-literate protest signs, the Tea Baggers might do well enough.  On the other hand, all those Sundays of long walks to knock on doors during the campaign suggest that maybe the progressives are in better shape.

The neo-cons rushed the gun shops, blathering about a "take over."  They emptied the shelves of ammunition, baked beans and battery powered lanterns.  The corporate media fraud intended to intimidate us with relentless "news" stories about how well armed and crazy the neo-con reactionaries were.


Bring 'em on.

MeanMesa suspects that there is, indeed, a "sleeping tiger" lurking among the voters.  However, MeanMesa also suspects that this "politician munching kitty" does not represent a tidal wave of neo-cons.  Only the Republicans continue to exhaust themselves trying frantically to believe that they still enjoy some sort of a majority among the electorate.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Republican Playbook: What to Expect

Stephanie Miller, host of the liberal talk radio show, (The Stephanie Miller Show,1350 AM, KABQ, Albuquerque, 7 AM to 10 AM, weekdays) introduced a possible neo-con talking point for the November mid-term election campaigns.

"Put the NO back into NOVEMBER!
Vote for the Party of NO!"

By the way, for those who are unable to listen to the show, Stephanie Miller is exponentially hotter than any of the emaciated, "skeletor style" bleach blond babes from the other side.

The following is MeanMesa's offering to any newly elected neo-con who is wondering what the official platform of that strange bunch might be.  After all, the GOP votes unanimously against every bill that might possibly even remotely serve as evidence that Barack Obama is being an effective President.

Here are a few sample suggestions.  Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to join the spectacularly unanimous zombie force intent on stopping ever effort to address any of our national challenges.

Official Republican Responses:

To banking regulation -

1.  Call your campaign contributors to see what they want.
2.  Water down any possible legislation until it is essentially useless.
3.  Vote against it, then collect your campaign contribution checks.

To immigration reform -

1. Check with the "Capitalists" who are employing illegal immigrants to see what they want.
2. Inflame the Tea Baggers with pre-arranged "talking points" furnished by the RNC.
3.  Vote against it, then collect your campaign contribution checks.

To education reform -

1.  Call your creationist friends to order more text books from the Texas Department of Education.
2.  Inflame the Tea Baggers with pre-arranged "talking points" furnished by the RNC.
3.  Vote against it, then hand the microphone to the nearest "dirty shirt preacher" while the cameras are still running.

To election reform -

1.  Mutter something about "State's Rights" as if the Jim Crow days were still going on at full steam.  Don't forget to drawl.
2.  Tell everyone that you are not a bigot.
3.  Go to the next suggested response.

To carbon cap and trade -

1.  Call your friends at the coal companies to see what they want.
2.  Add dire predictions of national economic collapse to your routine comments about "States Rights."
3.  Vote against it, then collect your campaign contributions from the coal companies.

To the restoration of "family values" -

1.  Pay off the "rent boy" in the back room.  Buy him an airline ticket to, uh, France.
2.  Add something from the Bible to your routine comments about the end of America, abortion, gay marriage, gun control, "States Rights" and clean coal.
3.  Vote against it, then hand the microphone to the nearest "dirty shirt preacher" while the cameras are still running.

Don't be nervous.
Just follow these simple guidelines and you'll do fine.

Creating the Royal Dynasty in the Neo-Con Paradise

Will this be the last decade of the economic miracle which was America?

Yes, the United States gained a reputation eagerly offered by the down trodden of the world when its promise was first unfurled.  Here was a land where even the most modest of men could work hard, be clever, solicit only a smattering of good fortune from the gods in play and, although previously unthinkable in the old world, prosper.

Now, the Eighteenth Century was hardly the first appearance of the remarkable middle class in the long history of the world's economies.  The ancient Greeks admired the vivacity of a trading class of freed men in old Athens.  Even before them, we must assume that Babylon was also fairly endowed with the ancient Sumerian equivalent of used car salesmen, tort lawyers and other brave opportunists who managed to court comfort, security and wealth in roughly the usual, albeit somewhat alien, success stories of the day.

However, these previous successes had been exceptional.  For every well heeled middle class exception there had been hordes of slaves doomed to toil to their early deaths and even rarer pockets of unimaginable, dynastic wealth for the noble families who were friends of the Pharaoh, Emperor, Sheik or recently victorious invader.

Not so in the United States.  Here, the exceptions flourished like flies at a messy picnic.  Further, however unlike the previous models, a fortress nobility, ensconced in unassailable inheritances of birth to death money was crowded out of the economies of the masses.  Instead, innovation, invention and efficiency were the constant origins of such a wide spread "new wealth."

There is an educational note to be attached to those old Crassus and Hapsburgs, unfathomably rich elitists who were not always so rich.  For example, the Crown of the Austrian Hungarian Empire began as a family of highway robbers, slowly amassing wealth at first by outright crimes, then later as "toll collectors" on the main arteries of Medieval commerce.

However, only decades later, the Hapsburg wealth had grown so great as to legitimize these old Dark Ages crooks into a royal family, all aglitter and equipped with a formidable army.  Once the crucial pivot point -- a sort of critical mass of wealth -- had been crossed, all became valid, royal, pure, and convincingly derived from the Divine Rights of Kings.

Ooops. It seems there are those among us who dream of this plutocratic obscenity repeating itself once again even in this distant, future century.

What is their socially recidivist plan to accomplish this retreat to medieval economic brutality?

It turns out to be discouragingly similar to the mechanism employed so successfully by the Hapsburgs.  These economic reactionaries believe that they can follow the pattern of their brutally checkered forebears with a scheme to accomplish the same goals.

The outline is simple enough.  Do business for a time, not with the goal of necessarily being competitive and successful, but rather with the sole intention of accumulating enough money to finally obscure the free market discipline by artfully purchasing sufficient influence in the government to establish an unassailable monopoly.

Exagerrating again?

Hardly.  The examples are compelling and undeniable.  We have seen the story unfold in some highly visible encounters already, and there are undoubtedly many more still in the carefully crafted and sustained shadows.

Example One - The Health Care Nobility

We have observed the health insurance monoliths and their wholly owned Senators gut what might have otherwise been a fairly rational health care reform proposal.  This would not have been possible if the Pharma and HMO benefactors had not previously fortified themselves with vast discretionary monies to lubricate the process.

Now, having established the initial base of the new health care economic autocracy where there will be no unpleasant alternatives, they quickly employed the fraudulent media pundits, their special Senators and their immense corporate image handlers to deflect the attention of the hill billies and bigots with incessantly repeated, supercilious psuedo-ideology.

The health insurance giants are already well established plutocrats.  Now they are "waiting in the wings" for an inauguration to the corporate equivalent of the Divine Right. MeanMesa has already posted a number of essays concerning health care, links to a few of them appear below.  There are more in our archives...

Example Two - The Royal Petroleum Families

Now, considering that America is packed full of almost more cars than people, one might think that producing petroleum products would be essentially a "no brainer" when it comes to generating a robust profit -- something akin to "selling whores in a lumber camp."  Even the most modest effort at corporate practices should, theoretically, find a vast market filled with willing buyers.

Teddy Roosevelt "downsized" a few petroleum fascists along with an equally rancid collection of steel makers and rail road tycoons, but this species seems to have "1,000 lives," always re-emerging as a hybrid Phoenix a few decades later.  Worse, these new little birds are born hungry, squealing and squawking for a nice meal of Federal subsidies ($16 Billion a year to Exxon), rapacious speculation ($4 per gallon gasoline) and, of course, ever deepening, constant de-regulation (the current Gulf disaster).

When the Texas dynasties of "good old boys" finally accumulated enough dough to start shopping for Senators the government was finally "renovated" to a state where the public interest was no more than a cynical, road weary campaign slogan to be trotted out at election time.

Example Three - Gangsters and Banksters, All Too Big To Fail

As the autocrat and his corporatist minions in the Senate patiently dismantled the regulations imposed at the end of the Republican Great Depression in the 1930's, the brokerage houses opened their bottomless "McDuck Money Bins" to unleash their own latest wave of "pseudo-ideological piracy."  No matter how fervently the population of American voters wanted regulation, their "wholly owned" GOP Senators began -- at once -- to feverishly pull the teeth from the new born legislation which might prevent future bubbles and future calamities.

The "free market" disciplines were left in the dust bin in favor of new investments in election campaigns, all designed to protect their burgeoning royal, Wall Street dynasties.  By the way, disabuse yourselves of any lingering hope that this plan didn't work.  These pimply little monkeys can now claim ownership of 60% of the total value of the nation, not to mention the $60 Trillion dollars worth of casino derivatives and other financial "doo-dads" they've embedded into a staggering world economy.

The monetary "fortress" of the financial nobility is defended by a continuing threat to wreck the entire economy should any demands of their fatwahs and fiats be resisted.

The Final Insult
We Will Destroy Any Politician Who Won't Play Along
... resistance is futile ...

Perhaps the most egregious outrage of the autocracy was the insertion of a majority gang of rabid neo-con ideologues to our Supreme Court.  The sketchily publicized decision of a few weeks ago empowers absolutely any of these well funded, reactionary plutocrats to contribute without limit to political campaigns which will destroy any candidate who might oppose their scheme.

For more reading, sample the following archived MeanMesa posts on the subject.

The message is simple enough.  If you, MeanMesa visitor intend to live here,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Injecting A Little Reality into the Gulf Oil Disaster

For MeanMesa visitors brave enough to handle just a smidgen of "engineeree stuff,"  the following excerpt from WEST Engineering describes several aspects of typical approaches to down hole Blow Out Prevention for off shore production.  Every radio pundit sober enough to jam the "live" switch on a microphone has been lamenting one part or another of the disaster which is now edging toward the rich wet lands of the Gulf States.

Most have either seriously mis-interpreted the facts concerning the technical details of the problems encountered on Trans Ocean's rig or have simply thrown up their hands, rapidly lowering their discussion to a series of "yuck yuck" guffaws designed to fill air time until the next  commercial.

After all, research, investigation or even doing a little homework all require more effort than trotting out another conspiracy theory or yet another layer of undirected bitching.

Happily, in this case, a rather objective resource covering the details of the industry's efforts in this area is quickly available to anyone interested in knowing a little more about the events in the Gulf.  Some of the relevant material is quoted below for the benefit of MeanMesa visitors who find themselves, well, less than satisfied with the "flying blind" approach.

Yes, we fully understand -- and are somewhat tolerant about -- the "engineering phobia" many citizens have adopted when it comes to technical discussions.  However, this oil production disaster is simply too big for us not to have some real information about the relevant details. 

So, give it a try!  There may be terms or concepts which remain "out of reach," but the effort will pay concrete dividends even when there are a few "gaps" in comprehension.  MeanMesa suggests that we pay especial attention to the section on acoustic well containment systems.  This approach has been a central focus of the news on the subject.

Enjoy being a little more educated!

MeanMesa's thanks to West Engineering for compiling all this information.  The original report was prepared for U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.  The MMS has also been a central topic of recent news coverage of a "too cozy" relationship between government agencies and the oil industry.  Information about the MMS

To review the entire file quoted below, follow this link to:

Evaluation of Secondary
Intervention Methods in Well
U.S. Minerals Management Service


What Would You Do?

·  Loss of surface electrical control system. This situation would occur if the MUX
cables were parted, but would also occur should the surface computer fail. This has
happened in the past from such unexpected reasons as loss of GPS signal, which
resulted in the shut down of the entire BOP control system, including both pods. A
loss of surface electrical power would not typically cause loss of communication due
to backup batteries.

·  Loss of hydraulic pressure. Total loss of hydraulic power without loss of MUX
communication is extremely rare, but has happened. In this case well control would
not be possible unless an independent, dedicated supply of hydraulic power were
available at the stack.

·  Works in the presence of mud plume or noise. Should wellbore containment be
compromised after the LRMP is disconnected, a large flow of drilling mud and
associated debris would flow around the BOP stack. The concern is whether the
secondary intervention methodology would function well in this condition.

·  Capable of containing well if LMRP is accidentally disconnected. When the LMRP
has been disconnected, there are no circumstances when the well should not be
secured via the shear rams.

·  Capable of manually securing non flowing well. Without hydraulic or electronic
communication to the BOP stack, will the secondary intervention system secure a non
flowing well? This is the issue.

Shear Ram Blocks

Ram preventers are not designed to close and seal under high rate conditions if 
closure rates are slow. API Specification 16A does not require testing for rams under
dynamic flowing conditions.

WEST Engineering Services, Inc Page 76 of 85

6.2 General

Decisions must be made regarding the level of security desired. There are many systems
available that will increase the security of a BOP system, similar to the way a belt adds
security to suspenders. This approach has the potential to create more problems than it
solves if not thoroughly thought out in advance, and the added complexity has proven
problematic in some cases.

An example would be the potential for an accidental disconnect of the LMRP connector.
Current MMS regulations state that the LMRP connector function must be covered to
prevent accidental unlatch, and goes on to say that the cover must be secured by a second
means so that it will be different from the cover over the blind shear rams. It would be a
fairly simple matter to add an interlock to prevent disconnection of the LMRP unless the
shear rams were closed and locked—a reasonable practice, but added complexity.

Unfortunately, there are several instances on record of the LMRP connector unlatching
accidentally due to piping errors, and other examples of an accidental unlatch without
human intervention due to causes such as back pressure. In that case it would seem that an
autoshear circuit with dedicated subsea accumulators would be desirable to immediately
close in the well. As a last line of defense we could add ROV or acoustic system
intervention, or both, in case all else fails.

The problem with the “belt and suspenders” method of safety is that it adds complexity to
an already complicated system. The more systems have to interact with each other, the
higher the risk of unintentional operation or failure to operate when needed. If two or more
systems interact to operate the same function independently of each other, a risk analysis
should be conducted and perceived risks mitigated. All leak paths must be explored to
verify that a leak in one system will not have an adverse effect on the other system. In
addition, no modifications should be allowed unless a full engineering review is performed
to assess the potential for “designed in” failure modes.

Virtually all of the systems discussed herein will be more dependable if the system design
and functionality is confirmed through a well thought out verification and testing program.
In an effort to understand where the various secondary intervention systems could be
enhanced, potential shortcomings have been delineated for each system. By defining the
potential shortcomings, coupled with collating the above-mentioned matrix of issues, risk reducing techniques can be more completely determined.

WEST Engineering Services, Inc Page 77 of 85

6.3 Deadman System

The deadman system is probably the most flexible system for deepwater rigs. If the riser
has parted it usually means that both MUX control pods are inoperable and all electrical
and hydraulic communication with the surface has been lost. In that scenario this system
will function to secure the well. This system also fulfills the role of an autoshear by
initiating the shear function if the LMRP is accidentally disconnected. The deadman
system is sufficiently fast acting to secure the well before environmental or safety issues
can occur in the event of riser failure or accidental disconnect.

Possible shortcomings of this system include the following:

1. Procedure implementation and training are critical to the correct and safe operation
of the system.

2. System is dependent on the shear rams being capable of shearing the pipe. The
subsea accumulator volume and power must be such that the pipe will shear and the
shear rams seal to contain the well.

3. The system is dependent on the drill pipe tool joint being in the right place, which is
simply a matter of chance. If the shear rams close on the tool joint the possibility of
a successful shear are remote.

4. The ability to shear tool joints or casing would be dependent upon the stack having
casing shear rams (also called super shear rams). There are no currently designed
casing shear rams capable of sealing the wellbore.

5. The system is dependent on having the correct installation and maintenance. On
one occasion a fault in the deadman system resulted in partial closure of the shear
ram, of which the rig crew was not even aware. This failure resulted in massive
damage to the BOP stack. On another occasion an incorrectly placed check valve in
the subsea hydraulic circuitry would have prevented activation of the deadman
system even if the entire riser was lost.

6. The system may be disarmed. If disarmed the system is totally disabled and cannot
be re-armed once communication with the BOP stack has been lost.

7. ROV capability as an emergency measure should include the ability to utilize
subsea accumulators as a supply source.

8. System diagnostics are essentially nonexistent. Deadman systems operate openloop.
There are no means to verify functionality of the deadman system. If the sensors, batteries, or electronics fail, the only (and first) indication of unavailability
is failure to operate when needed.

WEST Engineering Services, Inc Page 78 of 85

The systems in operation could be improved as follows:
1. Procedures must be in place to ensure that the drill pipe would shear.
a. Procedures should be in place to reduce the likelihood of the shear ram
blades contacting the drillpipe tool joint.
b. Sufficient accumulator pressure and volume to shear the drillpipe should be
verified. Methodologies to test the system should be established that take
into consideration water depth and mud weight.

2. Casing shear rams could be required if the rig is running casing and experienced
a well control event requiring secondary intervention. However there comes a
point of diminishing returns. A system utilizing casing shear rams would be
complicated by the need to add sequences to ensure the casing shear rams
closed before the blind shear rams. Much more useable accumulator volume
would be required to close two rams instead of one. In addition, many drilling
contractors at this time place the casing shear rams below the blind shear rams;
their plan is to lift the casing up and then secure the well with the blind shear
rams. Assuming the riser has parted a deadman sequence could result in casing
shear ram closure with an inability to close the blind shear rams due to
interference with the cut section of pipe. For these reasons, most systems accept
the risk associated with excluding secondary intervention from addressing
casing shear.

3. The design should be confirmed as sound. Change control should be in place to
avoid spurious ad hoc design changes. Well thought out testing methodologies
could confirm functionality and design.

4. Disarming the system for fear of accidental firing should be addressed in rig
procedures. An alternate consideration may be to add an acoustic or ROV
operated switch to fire the system. The risk with an acoustically operated
switch would be that communications might be degraded due to subsea noise or
a gas/mud plume if done after the well is flowing. Care must be exercised in
acoustic system selection.

5. The design should include diagnostics. Some indication should be provided of
the condition of the electronics, sensors, and batteries. This could be as simple
as an LED on the subsea electronics housing (visible to the ROV) that flashes if
all is well.

WEST Engineering Services, Inc Page 79 of 85

6.4 AMF System

This system is very similar to the deadman system described above. The AMF system uses
a circuitry housed in the existing SEM unit and some of the same hardware utilized by the
primary control system; thus, it is dependent on at least one pod being functional.
Comments made concerning the deadman system also apply with the following exception:
Unless equipped with an operable auto shear in addition to the AMF system the shear
function is not initiated if the LMRP is accidentally disconnected. The AMF system alone
will not fill the role of autoshear. All of the above issues discussed for the deadman system
are relevant to the AMF system. Rigs having an AMF system are (in addition to the above
problems with the deadman system) accepting the low risk that both pods might be
damaged beyond use at the same time.

Means to reduce the risk of existing AMF systems are

1. The AMF system could be improved by addressing the five items above included
for the deadman system.

2. If protection against an accidental disconnect is required, an autoshear feature must
be added.

3. Although it is hard to visualize a set of circumstances that would destroy both pods,
an in depth risk assessment should be performed on the potential for damage to
individual systems.

6.5 Emergency Disconnect System

An EDS secures the well and disconnects the drilling riser in the event of a drive or drift
off. It is manually initiated but performs the various functions of a safe disconnect in an
automatic sequence. Most EDS systems can complete the disconnect sequence in one

Possible shortcomings of this system include the following:

1. If MUX cables were non functional, it would not be possible to affect an EDS.

2. If both pods were damaged, it would not be possible to affect an EDS.

3. If an EDS is not initiated, the LMRP connector will not unlatch when required
and the wellhead could be pulled over, resulting in a catastrophic loss of

4. There is a chance that shearing will be on a tool joint, which will not shear unless
casing shear rams are included in the sequence.

WEST Engineering Services, Inc Page 80 of 85

Means to reduce the risk of existing Emergency Disconnect systems:

1. The EDS sequence should be flexible enough to allow for different drilling
activities. Some systems already incorporate such flexibility, for example the
choice of whether to include the casing shear ram in the sequence.

2. The EDS watch circle should take into consideration the strength of the wellhead,
casing, and formation supporting the casing at the sea floor.

3. If both pods are damaged, another means of secondary intervention such as auto
disconnect and auto shear would be required.

4. Incorporate operating procedures to avoid striking a tool joint.

6.6 Auto Disconnect

The auto disconnect automatically unlatches the LMRP when riser angle reaches a
predetermined point.

Possible shortcomings of this system include the following:

1. This system alone does not secure the well; it only provides an emergency

2. The mechanically operated valve used to unlatch the LMRP connector must be
correctly adjusted to prevent premature unlatch.

3. Like the deadman system, the auto disconnect must be armed in order to operate,
except that in this case it is armed by the ROV. However, an armed auto
disconnect may be more palatable to rig crews as it is mechanically activated and
doesn’t depend on a MUX system.

Means to reduce the risk of existing Auto Disconnect systems:

1. If combined with an autoshear circuit should be an effective means of
automatically disconnecting the riser and securing the well due to a drive or drift

2. Include procedures to ensure that the LMRP connector is correctly adjusted to
prevent premature unlatch.

3. Include procedures that address the arming/disarming of the system.
WEST Engineering Services, Inc Page 81 of 85

6.7 Autoshear

The issues discussed above for the deadman system are also relevant to the autoshear

Additional shortcomings of this system include the following:

1. The autoshear secures the well only in the event of an accidental or intentional
disconnect of the LMRP. If the riser is parted the autoshear is not activated.

2. The mechanically operated valve used to initiate function of the shear ram must be
correctly adjusted to prevent premature shearing of the pipe. WEST is aware of at
least one instance where the autoshear was initiated due to deflection of the LMRP
stab plate during pressure testing of the choke and kill lines.

3. Like the deadman system, the autoshear must be armed in order to operate.

4. There is a chance that shearing will be on a tool joint, which will not shear unless
casing shear rams are included in the sequence.

5. ROV capability as an emergency measure should include the ability to utilize
subsea accumulators as a supply source.

Means to reduce the risk of existing autoshear systems:

1. Perform an in depth risk assessment.

2. Verify that deflection of the LMRP/BOP plates during pressure testing is
insufficient to activate the autoshear. A safety factor should be included.

6.8 Acoustic Systems

An acoustic backup control system can be implemented as a stand alone system with
dedicated accumulators or if the rig has a MUX system, it can utilize existing MUX
solenoids and accumulators. Acoustic signals are transmitted through the water to operate
specified stack functions. 

Possible shortcomings of this system include the following:

1. Some systems may not have hydrophones strong enough to penetrate a mud plume
that would be present in a disconnect situation.

2. The correct hydrophone must be specified for deep water.

3. Acoustic interference caused by the noise of a flowing well may make operation

4. Depending on the system, control valves may be too small to operate the ram BOP
in the API recommended time.

5. Hydrophones must be in the water in order to operate. There has been at least one
failure attributed to the hydrophone not being deployed when needed.

WEST Engineering Services, Inc Page 82 of 85

6. Acoustic communication can be unreliable if operated in water depth that differs
significantly from the design criteria (e.g. in water that is either much shallower or
much deeper than the design range). Signal intensity varies significantly with water
depth. An acoustic system optimized for 4,000 feet may be too loud at 1,000 feet
and have insufficient amplitude at 7,000 feet. Acoustic systems can be adjusted for
water depth. However, many rigs don’t have the tools or technical training to do so.

7. Many drilling companies do not use acoustic systems unless mandated by
regulation because of high cost and perceived high failure rates.

Ways to reduce the risk of existing Acoustic systems:

1. Verify hydrophone selection and source level setting are suitable for expected water
depth and high noise levels.

2. Subsea hydrophones or relay beacons deployed by ROV 100 meters from the BOP
stack could substantially improve communication during high well flow situations
or when a gas or mud plume exists.

3. A free fall “depth charge” beacon can be dropped next to the BOP – and thus below
any plume - to operate a desired function or set of functions.

4. Procedures should be put in place to deploy the hydrophones any time the stack is

5. An aggressive between well maintenance system is critical to reliable operation.

Democracy always works best when those in charge 
-- US! --
are well educated.