Monday, May 30, 2011

Parnell and ACES . . . too little, too late?

The Legislature starts its second special session, still without a budget, still without any Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) revisions, and without agreeing to continue coastal zone management. Thus far, a very good reason to file thirteen our entire Legislature in the next two election cycles. Unfortunately, we voters will forget about the State’s issues with the windup to the 2012 Presidential race. There is more news about former Governor Sarah Palin than about the incredible failures on the part of Legislature.

Gov. Parnell has vowed to keep fighting to reduce the rates oil companies pay under the current ACES law. ACES was passed during Gov. Sarah Palin’s unfortunately not brief enough gubernatorial administration. It should be remembered, that our Gov. Sean Parnell was then Gov. Sarah Palin’s Lt. Governor. A first belated step towards ‘independence’ from Palin for Parnell?

Gov. Parnell is a former State legislator who became an oil company lobbyist in Juneau after this tenure in the State Senate and House. That he would try to reduce the impact upon the oil companies is not surprising, but, a bit late.

In case no one has noticed, the oil flowing through the TAPS is declining to the point of no return, meaning that it will no longer be economically viable to move oil down the pipeline because of the declining volume of oil, and the point at which there can be no restart of the pipeline system if there is a shutdown for any reason. The last shut down last winter was a touch and go in terms of restarting the flow of oil. Alyeska’s president Thomas Barrett stated in a public radio interview that Alyeska was very concerned about the ability to restart oil flowing after the shutdown for a broken pipe at Pump Station 1 in January of this year. He went on to say that it was touch and go as to whether or not the pipeline would restart. He further estimated that within the next four to five years at the most, operating levels of 500,000 barrels or less would be reached at which point, Alyeska’s engineers believed that restarting the pipeline after a shut down would not be possible. It was also disclosed that TAPS has suffered up to an 80% deterioration in the walls of the pipe. This would mean a lengthy replacement of pipe in order to extend the life of TAPS, should methods and technology prove that recovery of the heavy oil under Prudhoe can be accomplished in economic quantities.

BP announced a heavy oil R&D recovery project well had demonstrated the viability of recovering heavy oil under the North Slope. There is an estimated 20 billion barrels of heavy crude yet to be recovered from legacy fields at Prudhoe and the surrounding area comprised of heavy oil. BP has been tight lipped about this project, having made only the one press release earlier this year. Heavy crude recovery is the most likely candidate for increasing the flow of oil through TAPS.

Off shore oil is another potential, but only if the Obama Administration figures out that the only way to reduce gasoline prices to the consumer is by increasing the amount of crude available in the market place.

The impact of oil shale recovery will soon be felt in the market place in much the same manner as the impact of shale gas on the natural gas market Outside and in Canada. Already, significant discoveries and returns are turning the Bakken oil shale in North Dakota into developments whose potential may exceed that of Prudhoe Bay in the early days of its development. Recent activity in Texas is proving out the viability of oil shale recovery there, turning depressed areas into boom towns, a welcome change from the impact of an ongoing recession. It is estimated that if the oil shale development continues at the present pace, within the next 20 years Middle East oil will not be needed in the U.S. domestic market.

If car manufacturers would produce vehicles fueled by natural gas for urban areas, that time frame may be halved or reduced even further. In which case, we would no longer have to take in the Wahabbist element from Saudi Arabia that George H. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush decided the U.S. could absorb to keep Saudi Arabia’s oil flowing. The Bush-Clinton-Bush policy of taking in extremist religious fanatics from Saudi Arabia under the student visa program has been a policy that is a direct threat to our national security.

Gov. Sean Parnell’s desire to reduce the ACES tax rates may be too little too late, just as the delays in deciding upon a reasonable natural gas pipeline option has ended Alaska’s role as a potential major player in either the domestic gas market or the world LNG market. The same can now be said for shale oil.

To the Governor’s credit, at least he is backing a positive option. Whether or not reducing ACES will have any impact upon Alaska’s oil production remains to be seen.

Whether or not there will be sufficient oil production increases within the next five years to keep TAPS in operation is the question. With the shutdown of TAPS, so also ends 90% of the State’s revenues. Alaska will be a far different place within five years of the shutdown of TAPS.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sarah Palin running for President?! NOOOOOOOO!!!!

I just read an article on Real Clear Politics that confirmed my worst fears. Sarah Palin is definitely going to make a run for the brass ring of the Presidency. This egotistical, paranoid, soap opera queen and failed governor of the GREAT STATE of ALASKA, this individual who stated time and again while running for that high office "This is the greatest job that I could have," and who promised that she would never leave that office for national office before her two potential terms were up . . . Sarah Palin would be a disaster as a President.

I worked for that campaign as a volunteer, I wrote in support of her campaign, I talked to people, I did what I could to support her in her race for governor. Sarah called me, I did not call her and volunteer.

When Sarah Palin took her oath of office, she closed the door to most of the peons like me, and on her promises regarding change and open, conservative, pro-family, pro-life, constitutional State government.

Her administration was characterized as being left to itself without clear leadership or direction from her. She did something none of us thought that she would do. Instead of a new start for State government as she campaigned on--the Palin Revolution, remember?--she rehired many of her predecessors' commissioners and appointees. She changed nothing. If anything, she muddied the waters of State government further.

Her theme of open and transparent government was a joke. Contact with her office was a trial, without much chance of any call being returned. I heard this again and again from people who tried to contact the governor’s offices for one reason or another and were told that their call would be returned, but never was.

I have personal experience with her administration's public access policies. Open and transparent? Anything but.

I understand that the commissioners were left to work out amongst themselves what they thought she wanted from them. Sarah Palin was described as being above details, and uninterested in anything other than what she was trying to accomplish at the moment. A recent interview with Walt Monaghan, the former Dept. of Public Safety Commissioner under Palin, confirmed this characteristic of her administration. She was distant and aloof and out of touch with her commissioners.

As time went on, she increasingly made public appearances to respond to specious and idiotic attacks upon her family, character and ethics. Something she should have left out of her job as governor. It seemed she was making more retorts to these detractors than policy statements. Instead of hiring a publicist, attorney, attack dog, whatever, it was the governor's office that was dragged into the soap opera that was Governor Sarah Palin. She embarrassed us, and she acted immaturely, and foolishly by letting herself be swayed from her responsibilities as governor. She failed as a leader to keep the governor's office above the circus atmosphere, and, instead, used that office a bludgeon against those she did not like. The governor’s office was allowed to enter into the realm of a family feud between her sister and her former husband, an Alaska State Trooper.

Sarah is not a conservative. At best, she is a RINO with a great public persona who says all the right things, but shows her true colors in the record of her administration as governor.

Sarah Palin added 800 employees to the State of Alaska and oversaw the biggest expenditures since Statehood. She handed out a $1,200 fuel rebate to Alaskans in a shameless exhibition of pandering to the public with the public’s money. She expanded her cabinet to include a sub-cabinet that was devoted to . . . get this . . . climate change. She named the sub-cabinet the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet whose executive director was a federal EPA employee. According to her commissioner of DNR, and her Climate Change Sub-cabinet, global warming was a man-made problem.

Worse, the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet composition was the antithesis of her claims of supporting the State's sovereignty over ever increasing federal encroachment.

It is difficult to believe that she really supported the State of Alaska's sovereignty as expressed under AS 38.05.500-505 when she let a federal employee act as management in her offices. Especially, when a single source contract for approximately $80,000 was let to Climate Change Strategies (CCS), a progressive, anti growth, anti-development, population control cookie cutter global warming consultant to give the liberals the tools that they needed to feel better about destroying an economy through carbon tax initiatives. CCS was contracted to set up and administer her sub-cabinet. Sarah Palin signed up the State as an observer in the Western Climate Initiative arm of this organization.

Sarah Palin a supporter of the Second Amendment and our military? Highly suspect, given what she ordered where the 32 USC §109(c) Alaska State Defense Force is concerned.

Sarah Palin was the first Republican Governor to reduce the military forces of the State of Alaska by disarming the Alaska State Defense Force and rendering it from an operational, disaster response unit with an outstanding record of achievement over eight years to that of an unarmed "reserve of last resort". In doing so, then Governor Sarah Palin ignored the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Art. 1 Sec. 19 of the Constitution of the State of Alaska, AS 26.05.070, AS 26.05.100, and the intent of NGR 10-4 sec. 5 and sec. 6, something her Adjutant General, LTG Craig Campbell should have been most aware of.

Her zeal for diminishing the Alaska State Defense Force and thereby removing from the State’s disaster response resources a proven operational unit that was a state military police constabulary has only been exceeded by her successor, Gov. Sean Parnell. Both former Governor Sarah Palin and Governor Sean Parnell have shown an incredible indifference to the fact that by their actions against the Alaska Sate Defense Force that they have shown a complete disregard for the militia’s right to bear arms. They also demonstrate a callous disregard for the fact that unarmed troops cannot afford protection and safety to those whom they serve. Alaskans are less safe because of Sarah Palin’s acts against the Alaska State Defense Force.

In diminishing the military forces of the State of Alaska, then Gov. Sarah Palin, and Gov. Sean Parnell,her successor and her former Lt. Gov., both went against the Alaska Republican Party's plank in support of the military in Alaska:

“C. We recognize Alaska’s strategic military location and unparalleled training opportunities and welcome the expansion of forces in Alaska, including our Active Duty, Reserves, Alaska National Guard, naval Militia, Coast Guard and Alaska State Defense Force.”

That this was done in a time of WAR should cause serious consternation on the part of any who might be considering Sarah Palin as qualified for the Presidency. That she stepped all over the Second Amendment and Alaska's constitution in doing so by diminishing the right of the organized and unorganized State militia to be armed should give cause to all who own weapons to worry about our Second Amendment rights if she actually achieves the presidency. That she did so during time of war should give considerable consernation to any who is concerned about the security of this great country.

Sarah Palin is not intellectually or politically qualified to be president. By intellectually, I mean that she has never studied or been interested in international affairs. Sarah Palin has demonstrated that she lacked the judgment necessary to weigh local and State issues concerning Alaskan much less weigh global issues against national interests. Sarah Palin failed miserably as the governor of the Great State of Alaska, as she did not even make it through her first term. She did not even make it two years into her administration. If Frank Bailey’s book has any truth to it, Sarah Palin can be characterized as a petulant, spoiled child who wanted to quit, because she could not stand the criticism.

You think criticizing Obama produces a spectacle, wait until Sarah Palin becomes President.

I have only seen one other as poor a candidate for the highest office. That one other is the communist and Muslim sympathizing, socialist, apologist heretic that is currently occupying the highest elected office of the United States: Barack Hussein Obama. A close second is former president James Carter.

Unfortunately, I personally believe that Sarah Palin as President would make Obama into a statesman by comparison.

That Sarah Palin just purchased a house in Scottsdale, Arizona for $1.695M is an indication of how much an Alaskan this woman really is.

Yeah, she is good looking and she says the right things that resonates with conservatives and most middle class family oriented, hard working Americans. However, that is all that Sarah Palin is and does. She is a mouthpiece and a lightning rod for the opposition.

Can you imagine her soap opera on national television with her as President? We would be more of a laughing stock than we are under Obama. She is worse than Obama where a sleight is concerned. She would rail publically against any who dared criticize.

Surely, we won't be that stupid to elect someone who is clearly unqualified for the presidency so soon after getting rid of the pretender that is now in that office?

The Republican Party has some serious soul searching to do. There has to be a candidate that has a consistent record of fiscal and social conservatism, who will not compromise our Constitution and our social and moral values, who is not afraid to say that they are an American and that our culture is distinct, that English is our language, and who will not BOW to a foreign potentate, and who has the credentials to be President. Who, like Ronald Reagan will not place his/her ego above that of the country, and who will not only say the right things about America, but will act upon those words to make it so.

Sarah Palin is NOT that candidate.

Real Clear Politics piece on Palin:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sarah Palin, Sean Parnell: How to make Alaskans less safe

Mr. Governor, Mr. Lt. Governor, Mr. Commissioner/TAG:

“We're not allowed to use the term militiaman or militia any longer.
They tell us it sounds like a security term and we no longer are involved in any way in security!”

How does the above quote reconcile with National Guard Bureau Regulation 10-4?

NGR 10-4
National Guard Bureau Regulation 10-4 covers the relationship of the National Guard to the State Defense Forces under 32 USC § 109(c).

The section Recommendations for Improvement in my Blue Print for the ASDF was drafted using the following sections of NGR 10-4 as a guide.

NGR 10-4
“4. Status
a. Command and control: State Defense Forces, as contemplated by these regulations, the foregoing statutory authority, The Constitution of the United States, the constitution and laws of the State concerned, is solely a State organization under the exclusive jurisdiction of the respective governor. It is not subject to call, order, or draft, as such a force, into the Armed Forces of the United States. It is not subject to Federal regulation, control, or supervision other than as provided expressly, or by reasonable implication, by the statute cited in para 3. Such a force may not be controlled or commanded by Federal authorities, and missions are identified and assigned only by appropriate State officials. The State Adjutant General, even though he/she may be a federally recognized officer, is not considered as Federal Authority.
b. Appointment and commissioning of officers: Persons appointed as an officer in a State Defense Force, including general officers, are commissioned solely by the State, and as such, are not federally recognized or guaranteed the rights and privileges of a commissioned officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, or the Reserve Components thereof. Specific rank and title are assigned by the State.

5. Mission
a. The mission of a State Defense Force, as conceived by these regulations, is to provide an adequately trained and organized State military reserve force which would be under the exclusive control of the governor. It would be capable of accomplishing those State emergency responsibilities normally assigned to the National Guard, when that force is federalized or otherwise not available to the needs of the governor. In addition, they would be available to perform any such missions as the governor directs, within Federal and State laws concerned.
b. Assignment of missions: Actual operating missions will be assigned only by authorized State officials (usually the State Adjutant General). However, the requirement for coordination of local and State internal security operations, with that of the U.S. Armed Forces, is obvious in the accomplishment of cooperative missions. SDF personnel and units will not be commanded by nor their operations and activities controlled directly by, Federal civilian or military authorities. Any direct coordination will be conducted between the senior Federal military commander present and the appointed emissary of the governor.
c. Potential missions:
(1) Assist civil authorities in the preservation of order, and protection of life and property.
(2) Meet such domestic emergencies as may arise within the State.
(3) Guard and protect critical industrial installations and facilities, as determined by the governor, when other means are deemed inadequate.
(4) Prevent or suppress subversive activities, in conjunction with, or in support of State or local law enforcement agencies.
(5) Under control of the governor, cooperate with Federal military authorities and forces engaged in active military operations or charged with internal security missions within the State.
(6) Assume control of State armories and property, provide security for any Federal property until relieved by proper authority, and assist in the mobilization of the National Guard when so directed by the governor.
(7)Perform other duties as may be assigned by the governor, under the constitution and laws of the state.
c. Conflict of missions: To the end that interests of the United States and the various States be preserved, the highest degree of cooperation should be maintained between Federal and State officials concerned. If a situation of conflict Or potential conflict of interest develops, it should be resolved between the Adjutant General and the senior Federal military commander present. Consideration should be given to the paramount Federal concern with the overall problem of national defense.

6. Organization
a. Planning and conducting military operations against hostile military forces are the responsibility of the Armed Forces of the United States. Operations and activities of State Defense Forces, as envisioned by this regulation, are supplemental to the State mission of the National Guard during peacetime and are considered to be of a constabulary nature and not that of combat forces. Organization under Tables of Organization and Equipment (TO/E) similar to military police or light infantry would most closely facilitate these anticipated missions.
b. The primary objective of DoD regarding State Defense Forces would be for a cadre-size unit to be established within each State during peacetime. This cadre would represent approximately 10 to 15% of their perceived mobilization strength, provide a command and control element, representation at each National Guard armory within the State, and allow for rapid expansion if the situation arises. Priority for any future Federal support that may be authorized will be given to those states whose Defense Force organization is considered most appropriate (by the Service Secretary) to accomplish the general missions outlined above.”

I have pointed out before that there appears to be a penalty for those States whose State Defense Forces fail to train for the missions envisioned under paragraph 5.

The question that I have yet to have answered fully, is what happens when the ARNG is off doing federal missions?

Which State agency takes the place of the ASDF under AS 26.05.100?

It certainly appears that the State Military Police Constabulary mission should be a current and ongoing mission for the ASDF, given paragraphs 4-6 of NGR 10-4, especially given that Military Police units that are now a part of the ARNG. After all, NGR 10-4 para. 4-6 envision the SDFs to be trained in the duties and missions of the ARNG, and under AS 26.05.100 the ASDF is to augment and act as a force multiplier to the ARNG. Contrary to the policy of your administration regarding the missions of the ASDF, NGR 10-4 envisions the ASDF maintaining an armed, internal security role.

Since when is it a policy of the Governor of the State of Alaska to act to reduce, or otherwise render ineffective a State military unit?

I have presented my arguments in the recent past, supported by the authorities and regulations directly impacting the situation.

All of which speak to an armed State militia with an internal security mission as found under AS 26.05.070.

Who ever heard of an unarmed militia?

It is my personal belief that this administration is ignoring the intent and purpose of Art. 1 Sec. 19 of the Constitution of the State of Alaska and the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Not only has this administration diminished the organized militia, it has done so without any public input, and has further acted to disarm a unit of the organized militia.

Worse, this travesty has been accomplished without any oversight by the Legislature.

Alaska is not safer, Mr. Governor.

Is the War over?

Has Alaska gone geologically “inactive”?

Is the recession over?

Are Alaska’s energy needs fulfilled so that we in south central no longer have to worry about power failure or rolling brown outs, should there be a compressor failure in the
Kenai gas fields?

Is the Trans Alaska Pipeline System restored to 1980 condition and flow rates, so that the potential for shutdown is reduced to a distant consideration?

Is the Army National Guard of the State of Alaska no longer subject to federal service?

Mr. Governor, you have ignored the realities of 2006 and the fact that ARNG units just returned from the Middle East.

I am asking for a meeting at the Governor’s level, given the failure at the Commissioner level, if you and your second can take 20 minutes of your precious time to discuss what you have done to Alaska and Alaskans by the diminishment and disarming of the Alaska State Defense Force.

You sir, are the second Alaska Republican Governor who has reduced the armed forces of this State in a time of WAR!

With the silence, and thereby assent, of the Legislature, your Administration has made Alaskans less safe and reduced the State’s ability to respond to a major emergency.

Larry Wood

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Osama Bin Ladin's Will

Cut and paste the link below into the URL line of your browser. It will take you to Michael Yon's website where Bin Ladin's Will is posted. NOTE THE ADMONISMENTS TO HIS CHILDREN in later paragraphs. He tells them not to serve Al Qaida or the Jihadist fronts. As you will note, he was frustrated over the treachery and betrayal that put him in Abbotabad. He directs his wives not to remarry, he is chagrined over the commitment that led to his ascetic lifestyle and humble means. Interesting.

Michael Yon is a combat jounalist, former SF and a great photographer and writer. His blog is outstanding and he tells it like it is.