reboot the republic daily July20, 2010

Study: “Progressive” is the New “Reactionary”

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 04:59 PM PDT

From C4SS

Does progressivism point the way to a brighter future, or has it become the last line of defense for a failed political and economic status quo?

In his latest research study, released today by the Center for a Stateless Society, Kevin Carson makes the case for progressives as the bitter-enders of a social project made obsolete by liberating technologies and the production and distribution methods those technologies make possible.

“Thermidor of the Progressives: Managerialist Liberalism’s Hostility to Decentralized Organization” traces the development of managerialism in the political and economic realms, the history of progressive attachment to the managerial vision, and the siege mentality displayed by progressives as they confront what Carson calls the “Network Revolution.”

“For liberals,” writes Carson, author of _The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low Overhead Manifesto_, “the American Golden Age was the ‘Consensus Capitalism’ of the New Deal and the first post-WWII generation. … This general affinity for large-scale organization and hierarchy, more recently, has been reflected in hostility to the new forms of networked organization permitted by the emerging technologies of the late twentieth century.”

The study is freely available online and may be reproduced under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license.

Read the PDF here.


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The Truth of the Matter

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 11:56 AM PDT

From Strike The Root

Freeman finds himself within the borders claimed by a government. This human being decides he does not want to participate in the government organization anymore, so he quits. He then finds a nice plot of “public” property and claims it as his own. He is quickly confronted with a government participant named Citizen, who informs him that the land belongs to the government, and he is trespassing.

Freeman points out that the land is not owned, and so he has claimed it from nature as his own. If this Mr. Government person indeed has first claim on it, then let him show up and prove his claim. Citizen then informs Freeman that there is no “Mr. Government person,” and that the government is made up of all of its participants. These participants pay taxes, and so they are the rightful owners of this land, and they all (or at least most of them) say you are trespassing, so clear off.

But Freeman is not so easily moved. Citizen seems to believe that the imaginary organization called government (Yes, it is no more than an intangible, imaginary construct.) can actually claim the right to hold a piece of nature’s resources as if it possessed the rights of an actual human being. Freeman points out, quite correctly, that imaginary creations cannot claim rights equal to that of an actual human being, and so if Citizen is actually saying that Freeman cannot stay here because an imaginary entity has already claimed this land, then Freeman is afraid that Citizen is the one who must leave, as he is the trespasser upon Freeman’s justly acquired property.

But Citizen continues to insist that millions of tax-paying humans have decided that Freeman cannot just appropriate this land that has been declared public, because all those human beings are joint owners. Freeman points out that no human being, or group of human beings, can arbitrarily claim land that they are not using or have never seen as their own, or else the first person to lay claim to the entire planet would rule over all humanity. Every human being has the right to exist upon the Earth, and it is imperative that he be able to claim unused natural resources as his own in order to survive. This right cannot be logically overridden by the supposed rights of a fictional character, nor can it be justly overridden through the aggressive force of the many against the few.

Citizen wishes to convince Freeman that the edicts of government overrule the laws of nature. Citizen does not want to give credence to the idea of natural law. He wants to believe that government is an idea that rules human beings, and not the other way around. Citizen believes that whatever the majority holds to be just, is de facto just. Citizen is a very deluded individual, and Freeman is having none of it.

Citizen then points a gun at Freeman, and the truth of the matter is revealed.


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BP Moves the Goalpost for the Oil Well Integrity Test

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 09:02 AM PDT

From Washington’s Blog

I noted on July 15th:

As Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen has explained, sustained pressure readings above 8,000 pounds per square inch (psi) would show that the wellbore is more or less intact, while pressures of 6,000 psi or less would mean there could be major problems:

We are looking for somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 PSI inside the capping stack, which would indicate to us that the hydrocarbons are being forced up and the wellbores are being able to withstand that pressure. And that is good news.

If we are down around in the 4,000 to 5,000, 6,000 range that could potentially tell us that the hydrocarbons are being diverted someplace else, and we would have to try and assess the implications of that. And as you might imagine, there are gradations as you go up from 4,000 or 5,000 PSI up to 8,000 or 9,000. …

We will at some point try to get to 8,000 or 9,000 and sustain that for some period of time, and these will be done basically, as I said — if we have a very low pressure reading, we will try and need (ph) at least six hours of those readings to try to ensure that that is the reading. If it’s a little higher, we want to go for 24 hours. And if it’s up at 8,000 or 9,000, we would like to go 48 hours just to make sure it can sustain those pressures for that amount of time.

How was the 8,000 psi number calculated to determine the lower acceptable limit for the pressure test?

Don Van Nieuwenhuise – director of geoscience programs at the University of Houston – explained to CNN that the pressure at the bottom of the well is 11,000 psi, and so scientists have calculated that it should be 8,000 psi at the top of the well:

Yet BP is now trying to pretend that 8,000 psi was never the target.

As oil industry expert Robert Cavner writes:

Kent Wells moved the goalpost during his Friday, July 16 briefing, saying,

“We also said that if the pressure go above 8,000 pounds and really the number in 7,500 pounds, it would really say to us that we do have integrity under, essentially, any scenario.”

Very smooth. In one sweeping statement, that the press let him get away with, Wells moved the target pressure down as much as 1,500 psi from the 9,000 psi to 7,500, much closer to the 6,700 psi they were holding, which is actually at the lower end of the ambiguity range we talked about on Friday. Wells did it again yesterday, moving the “good integrity” range number down to 6,000 psi to 7,500 psi, saying,

“But at this point there is no evidence that we have no integrity and that’s very good and the fact that the pressure is continuing to rise is giving us more and more confidence that as we go through this process.”

So, over the last 3 days, BP has walked the “integrity” goalpost down from as high as 9,000 psi to 6,000 psi, or at least the 6,700 psi, which happens to be where they are, give or take 100 psi. You know Adm Allen didn’t just make up the 8,000 to 9,000, being a sea captain and knowing little to nothing about oil and gas. Somebody gave him those numbers. BP moved to goalpost and the timeline, and the press let them get away with it. Again.


So the stage is set. It sure looks like to me that BP is refusing to disclose critical data and playing chicken with the government while holding our Gulf of Mexico as hostage. They have every motivation to not produce the well, for all the reasons we’ve discussed before, most importantly, being able to measure the flow; and the ROV feed of oil roaring back into the Gulf is the gun to the head. The government should compel BP to release all the data from this test. Again, this well, this lease, this oil and gas belong to the United States. This well is in federal waters, and we are all owners here. As owners of this resource, we have a right to see all the information available. BP should immediately release all of the pressure buildup data, temperature data, acoustic data, and seismic data. They should also release their build up models including the Horner plot forecasts that Wells discussed yesterday. Only then can we make a judgment that BP is managing this in the best interest of the United States, not just their own. We need no more reason for this demand than the massive scale of this catastrophe.

One more thing…these McBriefings are BS, and we’re just passively sitting there letting BP get away with “technical briefings” that are neither technical or briefings. It’s time to start asking the hard questions, demanding the data, and to stop putting up with the one question per customer, no followups, no coupons accepted policy. These briefings should be live, with some reporters actually present rather than just by telephone. If the government won’t do it, then we need to. This is too important.

Cavner’s article is well-worth reading in full.


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As Predicted, BP Tries to Pretend New Leak is a “Natural Seep”

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 07:58 AM PDT

From Washington’s Blog

Listening to the news this morning as I drove to work, I heard that BP is saying that the seep discovered near the blownout well might be a natural seep .

Reuters notes:

A BP spokesman said the seepage was detected by its engineers but it was unclear whether the source was the blown-out well, adding that seepage was a natural phenomenon in the Gulf.

Indeed, a breaking news headline across the web reads:

“BP spokesman says seepage nearly 2 miles from its ruptured Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico is natural and is unrelated to the oil leak.”

As I pointed out on June 24th (and again yesterday):

The Washington Post made a very important point yesterday:

Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, said additional leaks are a possible source of deep-sea plumes of oil detected by research vessels. But this part of the gulf is pocked with natural seeps, he noted. Conceivably the drilling of the well, and/or the subsequent blowout, could have affected the seeps, he said.

“Once you started disturbing the underground geology, you may have made one of those seeps even worse,” he said.

Remember that geologists have said that if the well casing is substantially breached, the oil and methane gas will find a way through fractures in the surrounding geology and make it into the ocean. For example, the Houston Chronicle notes:

If the well casing burst it could send oil and gas streaming through the strata to appear elsewhere on the sea floor ….

Obviously, if there are natural oil or gas seeps nearby, there are already pre-existing channels up to the seafloor … so that may very well be the path of least resistance for the subterranean oil to flow up to the seafloor.

Therefore, if there were a substantial breach in the well bore, nearby natural oil and gas seeps could very well increase in volume.

Because BP would like to minimize leak estimates to minimize the damages it has to pay under the Clean Water Act, BP would undoubtedly try to pretend that the nearby natural seeps always had the same volume. In other words, the owner of the oil drilling prospect where the spill is occuring – BP – may be the only party to have mapped out the nearby seeps ….

So don’t be surprised if – when formerly tiny seeps become gushers – BP tries to pretend that they were always that large.

Indeed – given BP’s track record of prevarication – don’t be shocked if BP pretends that brand new gushers are ancient, natural seeps.

Today, recently-retired Shell CEO John Hofmeister told MSNBC:

There are many people, including in the White House, including The Department of Energy, who doubt the integrity of the well casing [and] who believe that the well casing could well be ruptured or damaged in some respect and that could cause leaks way down in the well where oil could be… working its way out of the casing into the space between the wellbore and the casing itself.

That oil could be moving up the geology of the earth… and could be emerging somewhere as… the seepage … the possible seepage.

Thad Allen said today that there are anomalies on the seafloor within 100-200 meters of the blown out well. And oil expert Bob Cavner told MSNBC today:

You know, these seeps that the admiral talked about within 100 meters of the well concern me some… The ones close really concern me.

And there is a possibility, if you look at the well diagram which is complicated and I won’t get into it. There is a path for oil and gas to get out into the sub strata. And I’m concerned about that.

A 20-year petroleum geologist – with 13 years spent in offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico – “gasmiinder” noted yesterday:

Mapping of natural methane seeps is required as part of the process of obtaining a drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico. This is required because the “methane seep communities” are considered environmental “havens” as it were – you have to demonstrate you’re not disturbing the critters. [My comment: There are ecosystems which can thrive around small natural seeps. But huge gushers like the BP blow out can kill everything in sight, especially given the large amounts of methane which have spewed from BP’s well]. The process does not measure the rate of seepage but you would have some guess based on the areal extent of the communities. This report is filed with the MMS and should be available. I’m surprised and enterprising reporter hasn’t requested a copy from the MMS. (Of course enterprising reporter might be an oxymoron in the modern era)

I attended a scientific talk about 20 years ago where the study results estimated about 1 million barrels of oil a year seep into the Gulf from natural seeps. Of course that is spread over a huge area on an entire year.

In response to the above post, blogger CD notes that page 16 of BP’s Initial Exploration Plan for the well states:

There is no evidence for the existence of high-density chemosynthetic communities within 1,500 ft of the proposed well location.

Gasmiinder responds:

The statement regarding the chemosynthetic communities requires a seafloor survey – that’s what I’m referring too where there will be a report available having mapped them (the partners will have copies of that report as well).

Gasmiinder adds:

Here is a copy from the webpage of a company that consults on the interpretation of the hazard surveys. It should give at least a feel for the level of information that is believed to be present in the data (meaning this is what they claim to be able to accomplish with the datasets):

• Assess seafloor conditions and stratigraphy, and geologic processes to evaluate well site locations

• Identify shallow gas and shallow water flow potential [my note: they are referring to shallow layers that could be hazards to drill through)

Interpret and map geologic constraints, such as faults, gas vents, seafloor depressions and mounds, and any other geologic phenomena that are detectable with seismic data

Identify potential chemosynthetic communities, archaeological sites, and man-made infrastructure and debris

• Assess mooring spread, anchor locations, and foundation zones

• Produce supporting maps to show water depth, topography, shallow structure, and seafloor and shallow geologic conditions and features in an area that may have an impact on drilling

• Prepare final reports needed for permit application to governmental and insurance bodies

So BP (and its partners in the well, Anadarko and Mitsui) would have maps of all of the nearby seeps which were there before well blew out.

In addition, there are logs of where BP’s underwater submersibles (ROVs) have traveled since they arrived at the scene. Tracking the logs would show whether any ROVs had visited the current seep before today. If so – and my hunch is that they have – then the corresponding footage would show how big those seeps were previously.

Indeed, enterprising citizen journalists who have recorded and stored the footage from BP’s underwater cams could compare the compass readings from the current feeds showing seepage to previous similar compass readings, and find the footage themselves.

NASA has also demonstrated that natural seeps show up in satellite images when photographed in sunglint. However, I am not sure whether the seep near the blown out well is big enough – or of the right chemical composition – to see from satellite images.


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Posted: 19 Jul 2010 08:50 PM PDT

Tyranny rules…

From PC World

The blogosphere and online message boards have been buzzing with speculation as to why blogging website, which claims to have hosted more than 70,000 bloggers, was suddenly shut down last week.

Was the site a haven for terrorists? Packed with how-to advice for bomb builders? Rife with child porn? And did the FBI really order the blogging site’s host BurstNET to pull the plug?

BurstNET officials on Monday attempted to set the record straight by issuing the following statement:

“On the evening of July 9, 2010, BurstNET received a notice of a critical nature from law enforcement officials, and was asked to provide information regarding ownership of the server hosting It was revealed that a link to terrorist material, including bomb-making instructions and an al-Qaeda ‘hit list’, had been posted to the site. Upon review, BurstNET determined that the posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNET Acceptable Use Policy. This policy strictly prohibits the posting of ‘terrorist propaganda, racist material, or bomb/weapon instructions’. Due to this violation and the fact that the site had a history of previous abuse, BurstNET elected to immediately disable the system.”

So it appears that terrorist activity, including a “hit list,” were key factors that led to’s shutdown, as well as the fact that the service had previously violated BurstNET’s usage policy.

That explanation probably won’t wash with numerous online commentators who’ve speculated that the shutdown was part of a government plot to stifle free speech and control the Internet.

“It is beginning. The govt. control of the internet has begun. With out due explanation or reasons given other than ‘a history of abuse’. How far away is ToL from their crossfire?” wrote user “Pikman” in a discussion forum on survivalist-friendly The Tree of Liberty site.


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