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"Most Transparent Administration Ever" Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge

“Most Transparent Administration Ever” Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge.

One upon a time everyone got a hearty chuckle when Obama declared, on the very first day of his ascension to the throne, that his administration would be the “most transparent in history.” And if they didn’t then, they certainly will now following news that it none other than Obama’s own administration – made infamous for spying on everyone who uses electronic communication courtesy of one whistleblower – that it has refused a record number of Freedom of Information (don’t laugh) requests on the basis of, drumroll, national security. So between the NSA, whose job is to ensure national security, and all those pesky meddlesome investigators, whose only curiosity is to peek behind the secrecy of the Obama administration, there should be precisely zero acts of terrorism on US soil. Like last year’s Boston bombing for example. Oh wait…

From AP:

The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The administration cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. Most agencies also took longer to answer records requests, the analysis found.

The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that half way through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records despite its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.

Last year, the government denied 6,689 out of 7,818 requests for so-called expedited processing, which moves an urgent request for newsworthy records to the front of the line for a speedy answer, or about 86 percent. It denied only 53 percent of such requests in 2008.

The U.S. spent a record $420 million answering requests plus just over $27 million in legal disputes, and charged people $4.3 million to search and copy documents. The government waived fees about 58 percent of the time that people asked, a 1 percent improvement over the previous year.

Sometimes, the government said it searched and couldn’t find what citizens wanted.

And yes, if you were wondering, the government did spend thousands on “How to Google… for Idiots” classes for its employees.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, whose top official has testified to Congress repeatedly about NSA surveillance programs disclosed by contractor Edward Snowden, told the AP it couldn’t find any records or emails in its offices asking other federal agencies to be on the lookout for journalists to whom Snowden provided classified materials. British intelligence authorities had detained one reporter’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow airport and questioned him under terrorism laws. DNI James Clapper has at least twice publicly described the reporters as “accomplices” to Snowden, who is charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Likewise, Cook, departing as the editor at Gawker, was exasperated when the State Department told him it couldn’t find any emails between journalists and Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s personal spokesman when Clinton was secretary of state. BuzzFeed published a lengthy and profane email exchange about the 2012 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi between Reines and its correspondent, Michael Hastings.

“They said there were no records,” Cook said of the State Department.

The snyde tone in the AP piece is amusing: it is almost as if the AP thinks it is justified in its berating of America’s most totalitarian regime. One would almost think the AP had scores of its phone lines tapped directly by the Department of Justice. Oh wait, we did it again.

In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.

In a year of intense public interest over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times — a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times. The Defense Department, including the NSA, and the CIA accounted for nearly all those. The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency cited national security six times, the Environmental Protection Agency did twice and the National Park Service once.

And five years after Obama directed agencies to less frequently invoke a “deliberative process” exception to withhold materials describing decision-making behind the scenes, the government did it anyway, a record 81,752 times.

I’m concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public’s right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It becomes too much of a temptation. If you screw up in government, just mark it top secret.”

But why the concern citizen, and member of Congress – it is not as if the CIA was spying on you. Oh crap: there we go again.

That said, we suggest simply assuming that St. Obama of Hawaii is merely from the government and thus is here to assit. It helps when the time for the frontal lobotomy arrives. Plus all other thoughts are racist.

For all those unlucky few who still do have a frontal lobe, are able to process logic and remember how to read, the remainder of the AP article can be found here.

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“Most Transparent Administration Ever” Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge

“Most Transparent Administration Ever” Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge.

One upon a time everyone got a hearty chuckle when Obama declared, on the very first day of his ascension to the throne, that his administration would be the “most transparent in history.” And if they didn’t then, they certainly will now following news that it none other than Obama’s own administration – made infamous for spying on everyone who uses electronic communication courtesy of one whistleblower – that it has refused a record number of Freedom of Information (don’t laugh) requests on the basis of, drumroll, national security. So between the NSA, whose job is to ensure national security, and all those pesky meddlesome investigators, whose only curiosity is to peek behind the secrecy of the Obama administration, there should be precisely zero acts of terrorism on US soil. Like last year’s Boston bombing for example. Oh wait…

From AP:

The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The administration cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. Most agencies also took longer to answer records requests, the analysis found.

The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that half way through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records despite its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.

Last year, the government denied 6,689 out of 7,818 requests for so-called expedited processing, which moves an urgent request for newsworthy records to the front of the line for a speedy answer, or about 86 percent. It denied only 53 percent of such requests in 2008.

The U.S. spent a record $420 million answering requests plus just over $27 million in legal disputes, and charged people $4.3 million to search and copy documents. The government waived fees about 58 percent of the time that people asked, a 1 percent improvement over the previous year.

Sometimes, the government said it searched and couldn’t find what citizens wanted.

And yes, if you were wondering, the government did spend thousands on “How to Google… for Idiots” classes for its employees.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, whose top official has testified to Congress repeatedly about NSA surveillance programs disclosed by contractor Edward Snowden, told the AP it couldn’t find any records or emails in its offices asking other federal agencies to be on the lookout for journalists to whom Snowden provided classified materials. British intelligence authorities had detained one reporter’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow airport and questioned him under terrorism laws. DNI James Clapper has at least twice publicly described the reporters as “accomplices” to Snowden, who is charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Likewise, Cook, departing as the editor at Gawker, was exasperated when the State Department told him it couldn’t find any emails between journalists and Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s personal spokesman when Clinton was secretary of state. BuzzFeed published a lengthy and profane email exchange about the 2012 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi between Reines and its correspondent, Michael Hastings.

“They said there were no records,” Cook said of the State Department.

The snyde tone in the AP piece is amusing: it is almost as if the AP thinks it is justified in its berating of America’s most totalitarian regime. One would almost think the AP had scores of its phone lines tapped directly by the Department of Justice. Oh wait, we did it again.

In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.

In a year of intense public interest over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times — a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times. The Defense Department, including the NSA, and the CIA accounted for nearly all those. The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency cited national security six times, the Environmental Protection Agency did twice and the National Park Service once.

And five years after Obama directed agencies to less frequently invoke a “deliberative process” exception to withhold materials describing decision-making behind the scenes, the government did it anyway, a record 81,752 times.

I’m concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public’s right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It becomes too much of a temptation. If you screw up in government, just mark it top secret.”

But why the concern citizen, and member of Congress – it is not as if the CIA was spying on you. Oh crap: there we go again.

That said, we suggest simply assuming that St. Obama of Hawaii is merely from the government and thus is here to assit. It helps when the time for the frontal lobotomy arrives. Plus all other thoughts are racist.

For all those unlucky few who still do have a frontal lobe, are able to process logic and remember how to read, the remainder of the AP article can be found here.

An invaluable lesson for U.S. Citizens from the bank confiscation in Cyprus

An invaluable lesson for U.S. Citizens from the bank confiscation in Cyprus.

Lesson from bank confiscation in Cyprus

It was almost exactly one year ago to the day that an entire nation was frozen out of its savings… overnight.

Cypriots went to bed on Friday thinking everything was fine. By the next morning, they had no way to pay bills or buy food.

It’s certainly a chilling reminder of how quickly things can change. And why.

The entire crisis sprang from a mountain of debt. The government had accumulated too much debt. The banking system had accumulated too much debt.

And banks had lost a lot of their customers’ money making risky, stupid bets on things like Greek government bonds.

By March 2013, Cypriot banks were almost entirely devoid of cash.

Sure, customers could log on to a website and check their bank balances.

But there’s a huge difference between a number displayed on a screen, and a well-capitalized bank that actually holds abundant cash.

The government was too insolvent to bail anyone out. And as a member of the eurozone, Cyprus didn’t have the ability to print its own money.

So they did the only thing they could think of– confiscate customer deposits.

And they imposed capital controls on top of that to make sure that people couldn’t withdraw their remaining funds out of the banks as soon as the freeze was lifted.

It was a truly despicable act. But again, even though it all unfolded overnight, the warning signs were building for at least a year. Especially the debt.

When countries, central banks, and commercial banks accumulate too much debt, and specifically too much debt relative to assets, you can be certain there is trouble ahead in the system.

Think about it like your own personal finances. If you have a million dollars in debt, that seems like a lot. But if you own a home worth $5 million, you are still in good shape financially.

If, on the other hand, you have a million dollar mortgage for a home that’s worth $250,000, you’re in deep trouble.

The US government’s official, ‘on the books’ debt now exceeds $17.5 trillion. This is an enormous figure.

If the Uncle Sam just happened to have $20 trillion or so laying around, however, this debt load wouldn’t be a big deal. But that’s not the case.

By the US government’s own admission, their own financial statements show net equity (assets minus liabilities) of MINUS $16.9 trillion.

That’s including ALL the assets: Every tank. Every bullet. Every body scanner. Every highway.

Then you have to look at the Central Bank, which is itself teetering on insolvency.

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has exploded since 2008, and right now the Fed’s net equity (assets minus liabilities) is about $56 billion.

That’s a razor-thin 1.34% of its $4 trillion in assets (it was 4.5% before the crisis).

Here’s the thing: in its own annual report, the Fed just admitted that it had accumulated ‘unrealized losses’ totaling $53 billion. This is almost the Fed’s ENTIRE EQUITY.

So in the Land of the Free, you now have an insolvent government and insolvent central bank underpinning a commercial banking system that is incentivized to make risky, stupid bets with their customers’ money.

To be fair, I’m not suggesting that bank accounts in the US are going to be frozen tomorrow morning.

But a rational person should recognize that the warning signs are very similar to what they were in Cyprus last year.

And if there is one thing we can learn from the Cyprus bail-in, it’s that it behooves any rational person to have a plan B, even if you think the future holds nothing but sunshine and smiley faces.

Having a plan B can mean a lot of different things depending on your situation– moving some funds abroad, securing a second source of income, having an escape hatch overseas, owning physical gold, holding extra cash, etc.

You’re not going to be worse off for having a plan B based on the possibility that there -could- be some problems down the road.

But if those consequences are ever realized,and Plan B becomes Plan A, it might just turn out to be the smartest move you’ve ever made.

If you think this makes sense then I encourage you to sign up for our free Notes From the Field if you haven’t already done so, and you can also share this article with your friends below so they’re not without a plan B if things do take a turn for the worse.

March 17, 2014
Dallas, Texas, USA

UBS Investigated For Gold Manipulation Suggesting Gold Inquiry Goes Beyond London Fix | Zero Hedge

UBS Investigated For Gold Manipulation Suggesting Gold Inquiry Goes Beyond London Fix | Zero Hedge.

The last time the FT penned an article on the topic of gold manipulation, titled “Gold price rigging fears put investors on alert” it was promptly taken down without much (any) of an explanation. Luckily, we recorded the article for posterity here. Earlier today, another article on the topic appears to have slipped through the cracks of the distinguished editors of the financial journal that enjoys the ad spend of the status quo, when it reported that “Gold pricing scrutiny widens”, hardly an update that will take the world by storm, however it is notable that “even” the FT, where for years goldbugs claiming gold manipulation had been ridiculed, is finally start to admit the glaringly obvious.

In this case, the FT looks at one of the most habitual and recidivist manipulators of practically every asset class that the market has ever known, Swiss bank UBS, better known as the rat that isallegedly perfectly happy to expose all other manipulators in exchange for immunity, and focuses on the Friday’s admission by UBS in its 2013 annual report: “that a review of its foreign exchange operations has been widened to include its precious metals business. In the report, the Swiss bank said: “Following an initial media report in June 2013 of widespread irregularities in the foreign exchange markets, UBS immediately commenced an internal review of its foreign exchange business, which includes our precious metals business.

And while it was recently revealed that there has been unprecedented collusion and rigging of gold at the time of the London fix, the latest revelations confirms that the inquiry is going beyond merely what the venerable five member banks of the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd, on the premises of N M Rothschild & Sons: after all UBS is not part of this particular criminal syndicate, which at last check included Barclays, Deustche (soon to be replaced by Standard Bank which is merely a front for China’s ICBC), Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC and SocGen.

More from the FT:

“A number of authorities also are reportedly investigating potential manipulation of precious metal prices. UBS has taken and will take appropriate action with respect to certain personnel as a result of its ongoing review.”

UBS has been in front of its peers in revealing important details about various regulatory probes – most notably the rigging of Libor and other interbank lending rates.

Until Friday the bank had not mentioned its precious metals business was included in its review of trading practices. There was, for example, no mention of the metals business alongside fourth-quarter results a month ago.

But before anyone gets too excited, let’s recall that the last time the CFTC did an “in depth” investigation of manipulation in precious metals, it found… nothing (however, according to Bart Chilton that was only due to the zero or negative budget allotted to the impotent regulator, until recently headed by a Goldmanite). Perhaps this time will be different, and suddenly it may be in someone’s interest to finally see gold trade up to its fair value, whatever that may be, although certainly higher than the current prevailing beaten down prices, which have seen China buy up unprecedented amounts of physical gold courtesy of manipulated paper supply and demand. Especially supply.

Better yet: we look forward to learning all about it by the staunch defender of fair and efficient gold markets, the FT. Which is why, just in case, we have saved this article too. You never know when the FT will pull down this article or that, simply for breaching the taboo topic of gold price manipulation, something the Bank of England we are confident, will be very interested in as well.

UBS Investigated For Gold Manipulation Suggesting Gold Inquiry Goes Beyond London Fix | Zero Hedge

UBS Investigated For Gold Manipulation Suggesting Gold Inquiry Goes Beyond London Fix | Zero Hedge.

The last time the FT penned an article on the topic of gold manipulation, titled “Gold price rigging fears put investors on alert” it was promptly taken down without much (any) of an explanation. Luckily, we recorded the article for posterity here. Earlier today, another article on the topic appears to have slipped through the cracks of the distinguished editors of the financial journal that enjoys the ad spend of the status quo, when it reported that “Gold pricing scrutiny widens”, hardly an update that will take the world by storm, however it is notable that “even” the FT, where for years goldbugs claiming gold manipulation had been ridiculed, is finally start to admit the glaringly obvious.

In this case, the FT looks at one of the most habitual and recidivist manipulators of practically every asset class that the market has ever known, Swiss bank UBS, better known as the rat that isallegedly perfectly happy to expose all other manipulators in exchange for immunity, and focuses on the Friday’s admission by UBS in its 2013 annual report: “that a review of its foreign exchange operations has been widened to include its precious metals business. In the report, the Swiss bank said: “Following an initial media report in June 2013 of widespread irregularities in the foreign exchange markets, UBS immediately commenced an internal review of its foreign exchange business, which includes our precious metals business.

And while it was recently revealed that there has been unprecedented collusion and rigging of gold at the time of the London fix, the latest revelations confirms that the inquiry is going beyond merely what the venerable five member banks of the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd, on the premises of N M Rothschild & Sons: after all UBS is not part of this particular criminal syndicate, which at last check included Barclays, Deustche (soon to be replaced by Standard Bank which is merely a front for China’s ICBC), Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC and SocGen.

More from the FT:

“A number of authorities also are reportedly investigating potential manipulation of precious metal prices. UBS has taken and will take appropriate action with respect to certain personnel as a result of its ongoing review.”

UBS has been in front of its peers in revealing important details about various regulatory probes – most notably the rigging of Libor and other interbank lending rates.

Until Friday the bank had not mentioned its precious metals business was included in its review of trading practices. There was, for example, no mention of the metals business alongside fourth-quarter results a month ago.

But before anyone gets too excited, let’s recall that the last time the CFTC did an “in depth” investigation of manipulation in precious metals, it found… nothing (however, according to Bart Chilton that was only due to the zero or negative budget allotted to the impotent regulator, until recently headed by a Goldmanite). Perhaps this time will be different, and suddenly it may be in someone’s interest to finally see gold trade up to its fair value, whatever that may be, although certainly higher than the current prevailing beaten down prices, which have seen China buy up unprecedented amounts of physical gold courtesy of manipulated paper supply and demand. Especially supply.

Better yet: we look forward to learning all about it by the staunch defender of fair and efficient gold markets, the FT. Which is why, just in case, we have saved this article too. You never know when the FT will pull down this article or that, simply for breaching the taboo topic of gold price manipulation, something the Bank of England we are confident, will be very interested in as well.

Civilisation Is Doomed Warns Safa Motesharri's Nasa-Funded Study

Civilisation Is Doomed Warns Safa Motesharri’s Nasa-Funded Study.

Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: 17/03/2014 08:30 GMT  |  Updated: 17/03/2014 08:59 GMT

civilisation doomed

Civilisation is almost inevitably doomed, a Nasa-funded study has found.

Human society is founded on a level of economic and environmental stability which almost certainly cannot be sustained, it said.

The study used simplified models of civilisation designed to experiment with the balance of resources and climate that creates stability – or not – in our world.

These theoretical models – designed to extrapolate from simple principles the future of our industrialised world – ran into almost intractable problems.

Almost any model “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid”, the report said.

Mathematician Safa Motesharri begins his report by stating that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history” and that this is borne out by maths, as well as historiography.

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

roman ruins

Above: civilisations have risen and fallen throughout history
His research – funded by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center and published int he Ecological Economics journal – explored the pressures that can lead to a collapse in civilisation.

These criteria include changes in population, climate change and natural disasters. Access to water, agriculture, and energy are also factors.

Motesharri found that problems with each of these is far more damaging when experienced in combination with another. When this occurs the result is often an “economic stratification” and “stretching of resources” which drags at society’s foundations.

Under this highly simplified model, our society appears to be doomed.

In one of his simulations:

“[Ours] appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature”

He added that elites tend to have a vested interest in sustaining the current model – however doomed – for as long as possible, regardless of the eventual negative outcome:

“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”

There are caveats, of course. The study is a simplified model of society, not a perfect simulation, and it isn’t able to make solid predictions of the future. It’s also worth noting that Motesharri does allow for the possibility that “collapse can be avoided” – though he thinks it will be exceptionally difficult.

Indeed, as the Guardian reports, other studies by the UK Government and KPMG have also warned of a “perfect storm” of energy scarcity and economy fragility coming within a few decades, which lends weight to his conclusion.

Oh, and then there are the robots.

Civilisation Is Doomed Warns Safa Motesharri’s Nasa-Funded Study

Civilisation Is Doomed Warns Safa Motesharri’s Nasa-Funded Study.

Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: 17/03/2014 08:30 GMT  |  Updated: 17/03/2014 08:59 GMT

civilisation doomed

Civilisation is almost inevitably doomed, a Nasa-funded study has found.

Human society is founded on a level of economic and environmental stability which almost certainly cannot be sustained, it said.

The study used simplified models of civilisation designed to experiment with the balance of resources and climate that creates stability – or not – in our world.

These theoretical models – designed to extrapolate from simple principles the future of our industrialised world – ran into almost intractable problems.

Almost any model “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid”, the report said.

Mathematician Safa Motesharri begins his report by stating that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history” and that this is borne out by maths, as well as historiography.

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

roman ruins

Above: civilisations have risen and fallen throughout history
His research – funded by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center and published int he Ecological Economics journal – explored the pressures that can lead to a collapse in civilisation.

These criteria include changes in population, climate change and natural disasters. Access to water, agriculture, and energy are also factors.

Motesharri found that problems with each of these is far more damaging when experienced in combination with another. When this occurs the result is often an “economic stratification” and “stretching of resources” which drags at society’s foundations.

Under this highly simplified model, our society appears to be doomed.

In one of his simulations:

“[Ours] appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature”

He added that elites tend to have a vested interest in sustaining the current model – however doomed – for as long as possible, regardless of the eventual negative outcome:

“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”

There are caveats, of course. The study is a simplified model of society, not a perfect simulation, and it isn’t able to make solid predictions of the future. It’s also worth noting that Motesharri does allow for the possibility that “collapse can be avoided” – though he thinks it will be exceptionally difficult.

Indeed, as the Guardian reports, other studies by the UK Government and KPMG have also warned of a “perfect storm” of energy scarcity and economy fragility coming within a few decades, which lends weight to his conclusion.

Oh, and then there are the robots.

Peak Oil: The Military Seems Concerned … Just Sayin’ – Peak Oil Matters

Peak Oil: The Military Seems Concerned … Just Sayin’ – Peak Oil Matters.

IMGP1074_watermarked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Dr. Nafeez Ahmed (quoting Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis):

‘A lot of high-ranking officials are starting to ask exactly these hard questions about the sustainability of the current energy system. You’ve got to remember that for the military, it doesn’t matter what you want to do. What matters is what you can do, and it’s our top priority to make sure we understand potential limits to our operational capability. Even the EIA is forecasting that we could see a peak of shale production by 2018 followed by a plateau and decline, and the Pentagon knows this. But our transport infrastructure is totally dependent on liquid fuels. How are we going to sustain that infrastructure with these decline rates? That’s why serious questions are being asked by high level US military officials as to what exactly the Army, as well as American society in general, is going to do to address this challenge.’

Is this a problem? If it is, thank goodness it will only affect the military and not the rest of us!

The military may be worried about how to transport all of its equipment and fuel along with its broad array of weaponry systems, but here in the general population, we have our transportation concerns pretty much under control. Visionary leaders in both government and industry working hard each and every day to provide citizens with all the information they’ll need to properly adapt to the energy challenges our military leaders are concerned with, and plans are this very moment taking shape to allow us all to seamlessly transition away from fossil fuel dependency and its assortment of costs and risks. Better still, industry leaders aware of those impending difficulties are plowing profits into every feasible research project designed to maximize alternative energy supplies.

So that’s what’s it’s like to spin a fact-free, feel-good story! That can be addicting for anyone who benefits from withholding information at the expense of so many others.

Three years ago, I wrote about this issue [here].

In that piece, I cited these observations:

The impact of peak oil on markets, lifestyles, and even national solvency deserves our very highest attention – but, it turns out, some important players seem to be paying no attention at all. [Chris Martenson] [1]
What Chris suspected, and as was confirmed in a presentation (by Rick Munroe) cited in his article, is that while our military (among other nations’) is definitely concerned about Peak Oil and its impact on the operations and responsibilities it’s currently charged with and will likely face in years to come, nothing is being done at the national political level. (Munroe himself, in another article, offered this: ‘This author has yet to encounter a study conducted by a military analyst which dismisses peak oil as an implausible, alarmist issue.’) There are no governmental departments and no bureaucrats who’ve been assigned the task of figuring out anything about what we should do. 
Acknowledging as have others that electoral politics hampers our officials from dealing with long-range planning and problems, Martenson added:
‘So I came away from the ASPO conference pondering two completely polar trends that combined to create a lasting discomfort. On the one hand we have more and more private and military organizations coming to the conclusion that peak oil is imminent and will change everything, possibly disruptively. On the other hand there appear to be no plans within the civilian government to deal with a liquid fuels emergency.’

More than a bit disappointing that not much has changed. Maybe it’s just me, but starting to plan after the big problems make their presence felt seems not the wisest choice.

~ My Photo: Newport Beach, CA – 02.16.14

 

Putin Responds To US, European Sanctions: Signs Order Recognizing Crimea As Sovereign State | Zero Hedge

Putin Responds To US, European Sanctions: Signs Order Recognizing Crimea As Sovereign State | Zero Hedge.

So much for de-escalating:

  • RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SIGNS ORDER ON RECOGNITION OF CRIMEA AS SOVEREIGN STATE – RIA

Surely to precede Putin’s own executive order recognizing Crimea as the latest member of the Russian Federation. And as for those “crippling” sanctions, via the FT, here is the locals reall think and why the Russian stock market is soaring as we reported earlier.

Moscow investment banker on US sanctions: “It’s as innocuous as we’d hoped”

— Courtney Weaver (@courtneymoscow) March 17, 2014

One also wonders: how long until Russia freezes all assets of McDonalds restaurants operating in Russia.

Putin Responds To US, European Sanctions: Signs Order Recognizing Crimea As Sovereign State | Zero Hedge

Putin Responds To US, European Sanctions: Signs Order Recognizing Crimea As Sovereign State | Zero Hedge.

So much for de-escalating:

  • RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SIGNS ORDER ON RECOGNITION OF CRIMEA AS SOVEREIGN STATE – RIA

Surely to precede Putin’s own executive order recognizing Crimea as the latest member of the Russian Federation. And as for those “crippling” sanctions, via the FT, here is the locals reall think and why the Russian stock market is soaring as we reported earlier.

Moscow investment banker on US sanctions: “It’s as innocuous as we’d hoped”

— Courtney Weaver (@courtneymoscow) March 17, 2014

One also wonders: how long until Russia freezes all assets of McDonalds restaurants operating in Russia.

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