Saturday, October 08, 2011

Time for a U.S. infrastructure bank (click title to entry - thank you)

I would urge the president to move forward on this so we can begin to restore America’s infrastructure and strengthen our economy for the long term.


The senior management of the bank will be the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Risk Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Lending Officer and General Council.

(b) Appointment of Senior Management- The chief executive officer shall appoint such senior managers as are necessary to carry out the purpose of AIFA, as approved by a majority vote of the voting members of the Board of Directors.

(c) Term- Each member of senior management shall serve at the pleasure of the chief executive officer and the Board of Directors.

(e) Senior Management-
(1) IN GENERAL- Each member of senior management shall report directly to the chief executive officer, other than the Chief Risk Officer, who shall report directly to the Board of Directors.

(A) CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER- The Chief Financial Officer shall be responsible for all financial functions of AIFA, provided that, at the discretion of the Board of Directors, specific functions of the Chief Financial Officer may be delegated externally.

I would like to see on paper exactly what can and cannot be delegated externally, the BUDGET for that capacity and cannot be changed without Legislative Oversight.

(B) CHIEF RISK OFFICER- The Chief Risk Officer shall be responsible for all functions of AIFA relating to--

(v) risk management and mitigation actions, including by reporting such actions, or recommendations of such actions to be taken, directly to the Board of Directors.

(F) CHIEF LENDING OFFICER- The Chief Lending Officer shall be responsible for--

(ii) the creation and management of--

(I) a Center for Excellence to provide technical assistance to public sector borrowers in the development and financing of infrastructure projects; and

(II) an Office of Rural Assistance to provide technical assistance in the development and financing of rural infrastructure projects.

As part of the function of the Chief Lending Officer (male or female) there will be education of the public sector and overall ACCESS to the process.  ACCESS involves educating those using the bank as to the process.  If local governments can't understand the process and the development of their hopes and plans there will be a barrier to the funding.  A Chief Lending Officer has to be sure those most interested in the services of the bank have access, all inclusive access.  Not just sufficient.  Not just gratuitous.  But, a complete understanding the process including the successful payment of the loan back to the bank without fault.  Having this bank in place means the process of funding is self-contained.  It will be like the Federal Credit Unions whom were immune from the 2008 global banking collapse.  

(iii) the establishment of guidelines to ensure diversification of lending activities by region, infrastructure project type, and project size.


(a) In General- During the first 5 operating years of AIFA, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury shall have responsibility for AIFA.

(b) Office of the Special Inspector General- Effective 5 years after the date of enactment of the commencement of the operations of AIFA, there is established the Office of the Special Inspector General for AIFA.

c) Appointment of Inspector General; Removal-

(1) HEAD OF OFFICE- The head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for AIFA shall be the Special Inspector General for AIFA (in this Act referred to as the `Special Inspector General'), who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(5) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- For purposes of section 7324 of title 5, United States Code, the Special Inspector General shall not be considered an employee who determines policies to be pursued by the United States in the nationwide administration of Federal law.

Cited Law:

TITLE 5 > PART III > Subpart F > CHAPTER 73 > SUBCHAPTER III > § 7324

(1) An employee described in paragraph (2) of this subsection may engage in political activity otherwise prohibited by subsection (a) if the costs associated with that political activity are not paid for by money derived from the Treasury of the United States.

I am still reading to find out whom has oversight of this capacity.

(3) ADDITIONAL DUTIES- In addition to the duties specified in paragraphs (1) and (2), the Inspector General shall also have the duties and responsibilities of inspectors general under the Inspector General Act of 1978.

The oversight lies in the reports submitted to the Congress if this provision is the law of which this position is developed.

(2) RETENTION OF SERVICES- The Special Inspector General may obtain services as authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, at daily rates not to exceed the equivalent rate prescribed for grade GS-15 of the General Schedule by section 5332 of such title.

(3) ABILITY TO CONTRACT FOR AUDITS, STUDIES, AND OTHER SERVICES- The Special Inspector General may enter into contracts and other arrangements for audits, studies, analyses, and other services with public agencies and with private persons, and make such payments as may be necessary to carry out the duties of the Special Inspector General.

Request for information should not be at a frequency that adds to the cost of the project.  It should be spelled out the extent to which the Inspector General can impose such requests without a Grand Jury indictment.  I know the work is important and necessary, but, to what extent will the project have to carry additional personnel to finance federal requests?  There has to be a limit.  There should be a mechanism that is required by the Board of Directors of every project to provide reporting to the Inspector General for review and if necessary audit and possible prosecution.  At what point is 'sufficient' applied to prevent overbearing intrusion.  A Governor as a Board of Director would be able to answer that question.


(A) IN GENERAL- Upon request of the Special Inspector General for information or assistance from any department, agency, or other entity of the Federal Government, the head of such entity shall, insofar as is practicable and not in contravention of any existing law, furnish such information or assistance to the Special Inspector General, or an authorized designee.

(B) REFUSAL TO COMPLY- Whenever information or assistance requested by the Special Inspector General is, in the judgment of the Special Inspector General, unreasonably refused or not provided, the Special Inspector General shall report the circumstances to the Secretary of the Treasury, without delay.

Part of what needs in this reporting is a simple statement in regard to the financial solvency of the government entity that is funding the project.  Example:  The BOTTOM line of assets and liability.

Below is a nice extra layer of oversight.  It also provides the Executive Branch with what is transpiring with infrastructure in the USA.  I just don't want co-mingling of powers with Congress.  I suppose the Congressional Committees have powers that the Executive Branch won't duplicate.  Oversight by the Congressional Committees is the usual oversight of these functions, however, I am wondering whether reporting to the President presents an opportunity for oversight different from the Congress and if it would preempt Congress.  

This bank has its own General Council.  I believe there needs to be very clear and crisp borders to the definitions by the Board of Directors as to the INTEREST of the Federal Government in relation to the bank where the Inspector General reports are an official document that could contain actionable information.  There seems to be plenty of safeguards, I am just wondering if there is duplication that may delay action if necessary.  Who's on First, What's on Second, etc.

(g) Reports-

(1) ANNUAL REPORT- Not later than 1 year after the confirmation of the Special Inspector General, and every calendar year thereafter, the Special Inspector General shall submit to the President a report summarizing the activities of the Special Inspector General during the previous 1-year period ending on the date of such report.

(2) PUBLIC DISCLOSURES- Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize the public disclosure of information that is--

There needs to be public disclosures of projects, but, not at this level.  This is confidential.  The Public Disclosure has to be at the federal, state and local level.  The PROJECT itself is what is disclosed and for public comment as it is applied by any applicable law.  The application can be publicly disclosed if the law requires it, however, the 'business' between the body seeking funding and the bank is confidential.  It really isn't and should not be the business of a Governor to know what the local government is doing with their monies.  THAT, unlike Governor Snyder that set up a central website so all the cities anywhere in the state could publish their information to each other.  Go figure?  I think that website was a ploy for Snyder to look for assets of which he'll covet some way or another to bail out is administration when it falls on its face without improving the economic distress in Michigan.  As to the bank there is no reason for anyone to just simply know the business of any project application.

Except as otherwise provided in the bylaws of AIFA, the chief executive officer, in consultation with the Board of Directors, shall appoint, remove, and define the duties of such qualified personnel as are necessary to carry out the powers, duties, and purpose of AIFA, other than senior management, who shall be appointed in accordance with section 249.

In a short period of time it will be obvious how intensive the personnel structure needs to be and it is dependent on interest and use.


The provision of assistance by the Board of Directors pursuant to this Act shall not be construed as superseding any provision of State law or regulation otherwise applicable to an infrastructure project.


The next section noted below begins on Page 51 and I'll cover that tomorrow.



Thank you, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. My 76 year old mother stated today, if she could be in Washington, DC she would be there.

Today on live stream from Occupy Wall Street there were police officers attempting to intimidate the people of the movement when they were video taping those at the rally.  

The people involved with this movement are primarily young people. They are hurting because there values are not reflected by the people that corrupt the democratic process in Washington, DC.  They believe their beliefs and values are disregarded by those in power and they march peacefully to express their disappointment in our democracy for many reasons.  Obstruction of economic recovery, a planet on melt down, a future of expectations in the American Dream trashed by the greedy and their promise of full employment once they achieved their degrees.  They are some of the nation's best and brightest.  They are the 911 generation.  They are precious and important.  Our brain trust and work force lives with them.  They want their promise kept and a future they bargained for including a family and children.   They are the nation's future and they will not be victimized by fear and cowardess that exists in city leadership today.   

I am grateful for Leader Pelosi's expression of acceptance of the message and hope all those involved with these people embrace their reality and respect their rights to demonstrate and exhibit their devotion to the democracy we have all come to love.

Pelosi Supports Occupy Wall Street Movement (click title to entry - thank you)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 09, 2011

House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she supports the growing nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement, which began on the streets of downtown New York City in mid-September.

"I support the message to the establishment, whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen," said Pelosi in an exclusive interview with ABC News "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "We cannot continue in a way this is not relevant to their lives."

Pelosi said she sees the protestors' anger stemming from unemployment, which remains pinned at 9%. Pelosi added that the failure of TARP, or commonly known as the bank bailout, to add liquidity to the Main Street marketplace is fueling Americans' animosity towards Wall Street....

Nevada Wildfires

October 3, 2011
Tuscarora, Nevada 
Photographer states:  With the winds from the front blowing in, the fires have gone from 100,000 acres to 200,000 acres.

...Federal officials (click title to entry - thank you) say more than a dozen wildfires are burning in northern Nevada, ranging in size from 500 to 38,000 acres.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the Bureau of Land Management states on its website that 13 fires are blazing in from the Carson City area to the Utah state line.

The largest is known as the Hot Springs fires and is scorching a 38,000 acre section of Humboldt County. KVTN-TV reports the BLM expects to have the blaze - which destroyed an outbuilding, but poses no current threat to property - contained in a matter of days....

Below is the large incident fire map from October 7, 2011.  The area in Nevada where the fires occurred can be noted in this map.  They still are not contained.

Below is the US from October 4, 2011.  Easily discerned is the deepening of the drought in the USA.  The Texas drought is no longer contained in Texas and Georgia is showing a worsening of the drought there.  But, note the yellow area in Nevada just south of the wildfire locations.  That is a drought contributing to the ever enlarged parched area of lands in the USA.

Below is the current satellite of the USA weather patterns.

October 8, 2011
UNISYS Enhanced Infrared Satellite of the USA (click here for 12 hour loop)

Below is the current severe weather map for the continental USA.  What happens to a pipeline when there is severe flooding as has been the case CONSISTENTLY over the past five years?  Do we actually need to worry about a pipeline when it is time to open a levy?  I don't think so.

Below is the UNISYS Water Vapor Satellite of the North and West Hemisphere of Earth.  It is noted to have severe turbulence along the Equatorial Region and three mid-latitude vortexes over or entering the USA with a fourth noted off the east coast currently over Iceland.

October 8, 2011
UNISYS Water Vapor Satellite of the North and West Hemisphere of Earth.  (click here for 12 hour loop)

I always found this satellite image to be one of the most incredible images of Earth.  It is an enormous area of the planet and visualized so very, very clearly.  Nearly an entire quarter of the Earth's surface in one satellite image.  Thank you, UNISYS.

Four vortexes.  Not normal.  The vortexes in the Northern Hemisphere have sustained since October 4, 2002.  Nine years of turbulent upper tropospheric winds.  They began a year after the USA entered Afghanistan.

Canada imports 1,192,000 billion barrels of oil per day. Why is the USA a partner in an oil pipeline to Texas?

In the table found when clicking on the title to this entry, Canada is ranked 14th in oil imports, yet, the USA is facilitating an oil pipeline through wilderness and ecosystem that will inevitably be permanently damaged as a result.

Russ Girling, TransCanada's chief executive, in Washington on Friday. The pipeline would run from northern Alberta to Texas.

The State Department is negligent in oversight and the project hasn't even begun.  The US State Department has allowed confict of interest to exist in the environmental studies regarding the hideous project.

...The (State) (click title to entry - thank you)  department allowed TransCanada, the company seeking permission to build the 1,700-mile pipeline from the oil sands of northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast in Texas, to solicit and screen bids for the environmental study. At TransCanada’s recommendation, the department hired Cardno Entrix, an environmental contractor based in Houston, even though it had previously worked on projects with TransCanada and describes the pipeline company as a “major client” in its marketing materials....

This mess began with Dick Cheney and George W. Bush during their administration.  The oil sands PROCESS rapes the land of its biotic content, disturbs wildlife and displaces them and then processes a form of oil that is grossly substandard. 

Peak oil of Crude occurred in 2005 and now the US and Canada want to believe that processing oil sands is the best alternative to imports from other countries.

The processing of oil sands to extract oil is expensive and carbon dioxide intensive because the energy needed during the processing of the oil sands adds to the carbon load of the final product.  It is one of the most inefficient ways of obtaining oil and has huge environmental costs.

...John D. Echeverria, an expert on environmental law, referred to the process as “outsourcing government responsibility.”...

The oil sands process (click here) begins with use of plenty of fuel to operate large excavation machinery to remove the land from the foundry , then during extraction, the oil sand ore is crushed into small pieces, filtered through screens and then mixed with hot water. The “slurry” is 
transported via pipeline (hydro-transport) to the Bitumen Extraction Plant.

In a separation vessel, the slurry goes through a “frothing” process.  The sand and water separate and settle at the bottom of the vessel, while tiny air bubbles trapped in the bitumen cause it to form into froth and rise to the surface, where it is skimmed off. A cross section of the tank would show the sand on the bottom, water, and the bitumen froth on top. 

The bitumen froth is mixed with a solvent (diluent).   The sand and water tailings that separate from the bitumen are deposited in a tailing pond. From there, the sand is returned to the mine site to rebuild the mined-out areas, the water is recycled back to the extraction plant to be used again in the separation process and the diluted bitumen is sent to 
the upgrading facilities.

Then the process continues with more and more use of energy to extract and purify the oil.

Primary upgrading
The bitumen/diluent blend must go through additional upgrading before it can be refined for commercial use.   It is sent by pipeline to Upgrading for a process that will convert the bitumen into a synthetic crude oil (SCO).   The first upgrading process is called Primary Upgrading (PUG). The process begins with the separation of diluent from bitumen in the Diluent Recovery Unit (DRU) in a distillation process. The diluent is reclaimed and send 
back to Bitumen Production where it is used again. 

The bitumen is then transported to the Delayed Coker Unit where it is heated to extremely high temperatures. The heat breaks up or “cracks” the large 
complex bitumen hydrocarbon molecules into smaller hydrocarbon chains. This coking process produces different hydrocarbon cuts: refinery fuel gas, naphtha, diesel, gas oil and coke. Coke is a byproduct of the primary upgrading and it is transported by trucks to 
a storage area for future utilization. The fuel gas is used in the upgrader’s furnaces, and the remaining hydrocarbons require further processing in Secondary Upgrading.

And one upgrading isn't enough.

secondary upgrading
In the Secondary Upgrading process (SUG), hydrogen is added to stabilize the hydrocarbon molecules. Impurities like sulphur and nitrogen are removed. The remaining different hydrocarbons: naptha, diesel and gas oil, are then blended to make a mixture called Synthetic Crude Oil (SCO). The SCO is the product that is transported via pipelines to refineries across North America.

Heavy equipment operation, destruction of ecosystems, death of wildlife and displacement of the lands carrying capacity, disruption of forests and their processes regardless of the age of the forest, processes to separate the 'garbage oil' from the sands through extremely high temperatures fueled by energy wasted to the atmosphere as well as emissions of carbon dioxide and now a company wants to ADD to the energy expenditure for this 'garbage oil' by building a pipeline that will further disrupt and destroy ecosystems, diminish the carrying capacity of land, disrupt and destroy forests adding huge potential for damage to the environment.  The cost of production is enormous.  Beside the incredibly huge environmental footprint it will never produce a cheaper oil product.

When is the Free World going to stop being this stupid!  This has got to be the quintessential moronic project for oil ever conceived by Wall Street.


Another reason to Occupy Wall Street !

Citizens are no longer in control of their futures, the land or the environment for the next generation.  If this type of moronity continues there is no predicting the future past one more generation of children.

To the right is an oil sands open pit mine in Alberta, Canada.

Alberta has the largest known deposit of oil sands in the world. They cover a 140,800 square kilometre area. Currently 1.1 million barrels of oil are extracted each day. By 2015 it is expected that rate will increase to 2.7 million barrels per day.

The Province of Alberta benefits greatly from this resource. In 2004 the government collected $718 million (CDN) in royalty payments from oil sands production. The entire resource is owned by the province. Freehold mineral owners in the remote northeaster area of the province are essentially non-existent.