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Mayoral candidates go after Emanuel on taxes, slavery reparations

Image
© Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune
Miguel del Valle reaches over Rahm Emanuel to shake hands with William "Dock" Walls during the Chicago Defender-sponsored mayoral debate Wednesday at the DuSable Museum. All six candidates were at the debate, including Gery Chico, left, Carol Moseley Braun and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins.
Debate is the first to feature all 6 hopefuls

Rahm Emanuel found himself criticized on issues ranging from taxes to reparations for slavery Wednesday night during the first forum featuring all six candidates for Chicago mayor.

The former White House chief of staff mostly ignored the barbs, especially those from Gery Chico, former Chicago school board president. He contended that Emanuel would burden taxpayers with a service tax Emanuel has proposed as part of a plan that would include a quarter-point cut in the city sales tax.

Two other candidates, William "Dock" Walls and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, slammed Emanuel for his positions on tax increment financing districts and reparations.

Emanuel agreed with most candidates in supporting reparations for descendants of slavery, but said that all citizens need to keep in mind that the city has a significant budget deficit to tackle.

Propaganda

Wikileaks Propaganda Machine May Have Just Confirmed That Peak Oil Is Imminent

Oil Well
© Fast Company

It's getting more and more difficult to deny that an oil supply crunch is just a few years down the road, especially now that WikiLeaks has released cables revealing that Saudi Arabia's oil reserves have been exaggerated by as much as 40%, or 300 billion barrels. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter.

Peak oil, or the point when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction has been reached and is about to enter terminal decline, is no longer the fringe theory it was just 10 years ago. Even Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, has admitted that oil supply may no longer keep up with demand by 2015. But the just-released cables, which detail a back-and-forth between the U.S. consul general and geologist Sadad al-Husseini, the former head of exploration at Saudi Aramco, confirms that the situation is serious.

Here's an excerpt from one cable:
"In a presentation, Abdallah al-Saif, current Aramco senior vice-president for exploration, reported that Aramco has 716bn barrels of total reserves, of which 51% are recoverable, and that in 20 years Aramco will have 900bn barrels of reserves.

"Al-Husseini disagrees with this analysis, believing Aramco's reserves are overstated by as much as 300bn barrels. In his view once 50% of original proven reserves has been reached...a steady output in decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. He believes that what will result is a plateau in total output that will last approximately 15 years followed by decreasing output."

Comment: In case it wasn't clear that Wikileaks was another psy-ops boosting the interests of the power elite, this recent 'revelation' on the threat of 'peak oil' shows another desperate attempt by the elite to keep the hundred year-old con game of petroleum scarcity afloat.

So despite the millions of barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico this year showing the planet is clearly (and literally) awash in liquid petroleum, here is a flashback describing the so-called 'scarcity' of oil in Saudi Arabia:

From ArabNews, Saudi Oil Is Secure and Plentiful, Say Officials:
WASHINGTON, 29 April 2004 - Officials from Saudi Arabia's oil industry and the international petroleum organizations shocked a gathering of foreign policy experts in Washington yesterday with an announcement that the Kingdom's previous estimate of 261 billion barrels of recoverable petroleum has now more than tripled, to 1.2 trillion barrels.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia's key oil and finance ministers assured the audience - which included US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan - that the Kingdom has the capability to quickly double its oil output and sustain such a production surge for as long as 50 years.
Also from a recent article in Financial Sense Editorials, Gulf Oil Spill 'Could Go Years' If Not Dealt With:
What the enormoity of the oil spill does is to also further discredit clearly the oil companies' myth of "peak oil" which claims that the world is at or near the "peak" of economical oil extraction. That myth, which has been propagated in recent years by circles close to former oilman and Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney, has been effectively used by the giant oil majors to justify far higher oil prices than would be politically possible otherwise, by claiming a non-existent petroleum scarcity crisis.
For more background on the 'peak oil' scam, check out this piece by Joe Quin from back in 2006:

Ruppert and Hopsicker Co-Opting the 9-11 Truth Movement Or Exposing the Big Con - Lies and Disinformation At The End Of Civilisation As We Know It


Newspaper

Engineers urge government to act now to climate-proof UK infrastructure

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© Christopher Thomond
Resurfacing the road network are among the recommendations from engineers on how to protect the UK's infrastructure from climate change.
Report sets out how transport, water, power and communications systems can be made more resilient to effects of climate change

Generating power from human waste and resurfacing the UK's road network are among the recommendations made by engineers in the most extensive study to date of how to protect the country's infrastructure from the worst effects of climate change.

Extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heatwaves and more intense storms are expected to become more common as the world warms. This means vital infrastructure - including transport, sewage and water treatment, and electricity and communications networks - is vulnerable to severe damage. But the UK is unprepared for these effects, according to the leading professional bodies for engineers.

"We need to have a debate on this - it all depends on what politicians are prepared to do," said David Nickols, chair of the water panel at the Institution of Civil Engineers, and one of the authors of the report published today by the Royal Academy of Engineering and seven other professional engineering bodies, representing nearly half a million engineers.

The engineers said all of the country's infrastructure could be rendered more resilient to the probable effects of climate change, but this would require new regulations from the government.

Stormtrooper

Egypt army to shoot commanders?

egypt,protest

Protesters sit inside the tracks of Egyptian Army tanks both to prevent them from moving and to shield themselves from the rain, as a soldier, talks to one of them at the protest site opposite the Egyptian Museum near Liberation Square in downtown Cairo.

An Egyptian activist says several Egyptian army officers and soldiers have warned the military that they will no longer shoot protesters, instead they will shoot the commanders.

"I think some of them (the army personnel) might join protesters. We have heard some of the officers and soldiers saying if we receive an order to shoot people, we would shoot whoever issued the order," Wael Abbas, a member of the opposition Egypt Revolution Youth Movement, told Press TV in a phone interview on Thursday.

Egypt Revolution Youth Movement has been one of the active rights groups in 17 days of revolution which has rocked the North African country.

"I have no confirmation if the army is going to intervene in favor of the protesters or in favor of the regime," Abbas added.

Revolution has entered its 17th consecutive day in crisis-hit Egypt, despite massive crackdown on demonstrators in the past two days, which left more than a hundred people killed or wounded.

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters camped overnight in the streets in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, near parliament building, the site of a massive march on Wednesday.

The angry protesters blocked roads and railways connecting the northern part of the country to the south on Thursday.

Stormtrooper

Rachel Maddow Calls Out The Republicans On Their Big Government Agenda

On her MSNBC program, Rachel Maddow debunked the idea that all Republicans support small government. The reality is that all Republicans talk small government, but most want to take away liberties and grow government. Maddow said, "Republicans all say they are small government libertarian conservatives.But what they have done when they have power is authoritarian big government stuff."

Here is the video:


Maddow began with the three individual freedom killing abortion related bills that the House is currently working on, "Freedom, liberty, letting people do what they want! And then they arrived in Washington and immediately started working on putting government in charge of every single pregnancy in America. Even as they slowed the legislative calendar way down, stopped doing much of anything else, they advanced not one, not two, but three super radical bills to restrict abortion rights. One of those bills had a hearing in the House today. Another one has a hearing tomorrow."

Arrow Down

Ireland: Plane crashes at Cork airport, up to 8 killed

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© Michael MacSweeney/Rex Features
Emergency crews at the scene of the crash at Cork Airport, Ireland.
Six people have died and six others were injured after a plane travelling from Belfast crashed while landing in fog at Cork airport.

Confirmation of the fatalities came from a Cork county council spokesman, while unconfirmed reports said the death toll could be as high as eight. There were 12 people on board the small turboprop commuter plane, which crashed on the pilot's third attempt at landing. It is believed to be on fire near the runway.

The Irish Aviation Authority confirmed the crash happened at 9.51am on runway 17, but said the number of fatalities or injured were still unknown.

"[The plane] had been trying to land in foggy conditions. This was its third attempt to land," an IAA spokeswoman said.

It is understood debris from the wreckage has been scattered over a wide area of the runway.

A Garda Síochána spokesman said gardai, fire crews and ambulances from across the city and county were responding.

The flight was operated by the Isle of Man-based company Manx2.com, which took over the Belfast to Cork route from Aer Arann last year.

Bizarro Earth

WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

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© George Steinmetz/Corbis
Saudi oil refinery. WikiLeaks cables suggest the amount of oil that can be retrieved has been overestimated.
US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world's biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels - nearly 40%.

The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand.

However, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the US diplomat that Aramco's 12.5m barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached.

According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then - possibly as early as 2012 - global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as "peak oil".

Light Sabers

Muslim Brotherhood text reveals scope of radical creed

Image
© Ahmed Ali/AP
Thousands of Egyptians surround army tanks in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. Hundreds of anti-government protesters have returned to Cairo's central Tahrir Square, chanting slogans against Hosni Mubarak.
Translated by Palestinian Media Watch, book details group's goal of global Islamic conquest.

One of the greatest beneficiaries of the unrest in Egypt has been the Muslim Brotherhood.

Banned but tolerated for decades by successive Egyptian regimes, the Islamist movement is now emerging as a central player in the country's resurgent opposition.

On Tuesday, two Brotherhood representatives participated in an opposition delegation that met with Vice President Omar Suleiman for the first set of talks over implementing political reforms.

Pundits have portrayed the Brotherhood as uncompromising zealots or beneficent providers of social services that long-deprived Egyptians desperately need.

But a translation released Tuesday of a 1995 book by the movement's fifth official leader sheds light on just how Egypt's Brotherhood views itself and its mission. Jihad is the Way is the last of a five-volume work, The Laws of Da'wa by Mustafa Mashhur, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996-2002.

Beaker

Why Did The HIV Epidemic Decline In Zimbabwe?

In this week's PLoS Medicine Magazine, Daniel Halperin from the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues examine reasons for the remarkable decline in HIV in Zimbabwe, in the context of severe social, political, and economic disruption.

Funding: Some of the studies upon which this paper is based were funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which provided some logistical support as well as helping with coordination between the studies. Two of the authors of this paper (Benedikt and Campbell) are employed by UNFPA and helped edit the manuscript. The United Nations HIV-AIDS Program (UNAIDS) and the Zimbabwean Ministry for Health and Child Welfare also sponsored this study. TBH and SG thank the Wellcome Trust for funding support. The funders had no other role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

People

Egyptian talks near collapse as trade unions back protests

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© Stringer/EPA
Egyptian employees of service companies owned by the Suez Canal Authority have joined workers across the country in strike action.
Talks between the Egyptian government and opposition have all but collapsed after the regime balked at surrendering power to a transitional administration in the hope that mass protests would die down.

Instead, the unrest is spreading as some of the largest demonstrations yet against President Hosni Mubarak were joined by labour strikes across the country, including on the Suez canal, in the city of Alexandria and by public transport workers in Cairo.

A prominent member of a key opposition group, the Council of Wise Men, said negotiations had "essentially come to an end". A western diplomat said Washington was alarmed by the lack of progress and the vice-president Omar Suleiman's warning of a coup if the opposition refused to accept the government's terms.