Monday, December 30, 2013

The British "Times" International Person of the Year

Last updated at 12:01AM, December 30 2013

It has been a good year (click here) for the judo sixth dan Vladimir Putin, who has hip-flipped President Obama on Syria, wrestled the EU to the ground on Ukraine, tripped up the opposition at home and rescued weaker team players such as President Assad of Syria and Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower....

Someone is trying to get the Sochi Olympics cancelled. That isn't very smart. President Putin has secured a sixty mile radius around Sochi. The worst thing that can happen is for Russia to limit access to the games to just the athletes. That is possibility. I doubt it will go that far.

Well, looky thar. The Dallas News has incorporated the Boston bombing, 911, the London bombing and all other attacks (such as Madrid? forgot to mention Madrid by name) into one paragraph. Amazing.

Mark Davis
30 December 2013

...Sure, it was a couple of evil Chechen brothers (click here) who picked the Boston Marathon, but America’s 9/11 and London’s 7/7 and other attacks of that nature have struck deeper due to the sheer ordinariness of the target day. It has always seemed that the last thing al-Qaeda would do is show up when they are enormously expected.
So here comes another Olympics, barely a month away. Feeling confident? I am not....
I wonder what the Dallas News thinks of Edward Snowden. Maybe he is best held in esteem considering the NSA has missed so many sincere attacks on the civilized world, including Russia. I am sure if the Dallas News can appreciate all those events in one paragraph it can appreciate the fact the NSA didn't stop anything and never found Osama bin Laden.

All those events, tragedies really, except 911 occurred after the NSA was given broad power of authority to stop any more tragedies. They didn't.

As a matter of fact, President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney never acted on the intelligence that preceded 911. But, when it came to Iraq they had learned their lesson and took false information and spun it into gold.

Please tell me the Dallas News' readers are more sophisticated than this, to simply run around with their fingers crossed it doesn't happen in Dallas.

Vladimir Putin is not going to put innocent people's lives on the line. One might remember the USA missed the mark on Boston. Russia had it right. So, with that I'll say good night.

What goes up must come down. It is only the natural way of things.

Published: December 30, 2013

...Not only did trends (click here) of recent years continue in 2013 – particularly the diverging fortunes of the rich and everyone else — but in some ways they accelerated. The stock market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s index, was up a stunning 32 percent (through Dec. 27). Corporate profits rose to a record $2.1 trillion. Meanwhile, incomes remained nearly flat and jobs tallies grew slowly....
One other thing about the train derailments. 

The owners of the commodities being transported will be provided with compensation for those lost commodities. 


There was criminal causes, especially of any of the criminality can be tied to the owners of the commodities. Insurers are kinda funny about that.

There is also this: 

The DOT-111 cars are inadequate in transporting liquids, especially hazardous liquids. A new design that is stated to be safer with thicker hulls began production in 2011. The old DOT-111s that run across the USA and Canada should be removed from service. The new rail cars should be instituted as the only ones to carry hazardous liquids.

By: Wendy Gillis News reporter
Published on Mon Oct 14 2013

...Ash points out that the North American tank car committee, which sets industry standards, recently created self-imposed rules requiring DOT-111 tank cars ordered after October, 2011 to be produced to a higher safety expectations. That includes thicker shells and protective shields on the ends of tanks....

...Improvements to the car have been made. (click here) Since the Cherry Valley accident, the Association of American Railroads North American Tank Car Committee — a body that sets industry standards — opted to improve the crashworthiness of the newly built DOT-111 cars. Enhancements, including thickening tank shells and putting shields on the ends of tanks, have been made on DOT-111 cars ordered for crude oil and ethanol transport after October 2011.

But, the frequency over the past six months is highly suspicious. If all of them occurred in a deep freeze I would suggest looking at track lengths and possible gaps in rails due to metal contraction. But, that isn't the case. The other derailments didn't even occur in intense environmental heat.

There has been serious discussion about these particular cars and rail here:

Model Railroading > Prototype photos of CP rail - Bakken oil train (click here)

Date: 06/15/13 19:23
Prototype photos of CP rail - Bakken oil train
Author: dcmkris

So I want to eventually model a Bakken oil train on my modern day Milwaukee Road, which would have a terminal at New England, ND.

New England, ND just happens to be at the end of a former Milwaukee Road line about 24 miles away from the real Bakken Oil Express facility on the BNSF that loads several trains a day....

I am just sayin'. More than passing interest. Not so strange, there are many people fascinated with trains and seek information and understanding, but, this is about oil tankers on this particular rail line. The author sincerely covets this these trains. I think it is out of the usual enthusiast.

This is no excuse for a pipeline. The crude spilled from seven rail cars is far less than a break in a pipeline.

Since this happened in the USA finally, I demand an investigation. In the past several months there have been horrific train derailments in Canada. This is the first in the USA. 

All these derailments have involved rail tankers with oil !

It better be the last !

By: Erik Burgess, INFORUM
Published December 30, 2013, 02:51 PM

CASSELTON – At least seven oil train cars (click here) have burst into flames here after a BNSF train carrying crude oil derailed and was then hit by another train.
A 106-car long BNSF train carrying crude oil was headed eastbound when it derailed just west of Casselton at about 2:10 p.m., said Amy McBeth, a BNSF spokeswoman.
Then, a fire was started when another train collided with the derailed train, Cass County Sgt. Dean Haaland said. Seven cars carrying oil had exploded as of 3:30 p.m., Haaland said, and crews are now working to separate as many of the remaining oil cars as possible.
McBeth said no crew members reported injuries after the accident. Thick, black smoke could be seen from around 15 miles out-side of town....

October 19, 2013, 8: 13 PM

GAINFORD, ALBERTA Emergency (click here) crews battled a massive fire Saturday after a Canadian National tanker train carrying oil and gas derailed west of Edmonton, Alberta, overnight. No injuries have been reported so far.
Canadian National spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin said 13 cars - four carrying petroleum crude oil and nine loaded with liquified petroleum gas - came off the tracks around 1 a.m. local time in the hamlet of Gainford, about 50 miles from Edmonton. The entire community of roughly 100 people was evacuated.
Paquin says three cars containing gas were leaking and on fire. Local officials feared there could be an explosion and declared a state of emergency....

It isn't difficult for derailments to occur. The tankers are fairly unstable to begin with because they have baffles inside them to help with the shifting liquid. So, all one needs is a tank car with a little bit of sway and the entire train will be pulled from the rail with it.

If the tankers are filled to their capacity, the sloshing of the liquid inside will be more stable and not cause these accidents. It is my estimation the tank cars were inadequately filled and therefore a hazard waiting to happen. I believe these derailments are intentional.

If one wants to sabotage a train it is relatively simple to do.

Updated 12:46 p.m.
LAC-MEGANTIC, QUEBEC Investigators (click here) looking for the cause of a fiery oil train derailment are zeroing in on whether an earlier blaze on the same train may have set off a chain of events that led to the explosions that killed at least 13 people. Searchers, after days of delay, were examining the charred epicenter looking for what could be dozens of additional victims.
Nearly 40 people are still missing, not counting the 13 unidentified victims, suggesting the death toll was likely to rise sharply....

There are always reasons for derailments, but, if a fire is the cause; what was it doing on the rails at all? Fire, intense fire, will warp both the rails and the 'rail carriage' of the train cars. So, who is being negligent, because someone is.

The accident in Canada on July 6 was a runaway train. During the Bush administration there was a phenomena of runaway trains in the USA. I can recall at least three. It terrified people. Just thought I'd point that out.

Most of the 73-car train derailed in the center of Lac-Megantic early Saturday, and tank cars full of oil exploded and burned. Quebec provincial authorities have found 20 bodies, and 30 more are missing "and most probably dead, " Quebec Provincial Police Capt. Michel Forget said Wednesday.

By Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 12:59 PM EDT, Sat August 3, 2013

(CNN) -- Last month's deadly rail accident (click here) in Canada spurred the top U.S. rail agency to toughen safety standards, specifically for the transport of hazardous materials.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration issued an emergency order preventing trains on "mainline tracks or siding from moving unintentionally.

The agency made the move after an unmanned, runaway 73-car train slammed into the center of the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic in the early morning of July 6. Tank cars full of oil exploded and burned in the heart of the commercial district. The remains of 42 people were recovered, and five people are reported missing....

The rail services need to be held liable for this derailment. The air is now toxic with burning oil. The people in the region will be effected. It would have been far worse if this was an oil pipeline rupture. The rail service needs to be held responsible for not only health issues causing air pollution, but, also any property damage and/or degradation of property value because of this spill.

Before the Israeli Aggression turns into a war and more regional instability, send peacekeepers to Palestine. Enough of the Israeli occupation, they are threatening the potential sovereignty of the Palestinian Homeland.

JERUSALEM Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:53am EST
(Reuters) - A panel of Israeli cabinet ministers (click here) endorsed proposed legislation on Sunday to annex an area of the occupied West Bank likely to be the eastern border of a future Palestinian state.
The move, pushed by far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, could weigh on troubled U.S.-brokered peace negotiations several days before another visit to the region by Secretary of State John Kerry.
But centrist Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who also heads Israel's negotiations with the Palestinians, immediately challenged the motion, and said she would use her powers to block the legislation from being voted on in Parliament.
Peace talks have shown few signs of progress since Kerry oversaw their renewal in July after a three-year deadlock.
The target is to reach an agreement by April towards achieving a "two-state solution" in which Israel and a new Palestinian state would co-exist side by side.
The Jordan Valley region of the West Bank which Israel captured in a 1967 war and Palestinians seek as part of their future state, has been a focus of recent disagreement. Palestinians reject Israel's demand to maintain a security presence there.
Kerry said in Washington earlier this month that the need to resolve the dispute over the Jordan Valley was "a critical threading of a needle that has to happen in order to achieve an agreement". He said he was coordinating with Jordan as well....

December 30, 2013
By Jonah Jeremy Bob,
...With her most intense (click here) and confrontational style of delivery, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Monday said that "the settlements are not part of Israel's security, they are hurting it."
Livni was speaking about the connection between the peace process and the economy at the Calcalist conference in Tel Aviv with Housing Minister Uri Ariel in the audience....

The United Nations needs to act on a resolution, including the USA, to dismantle settlements that impinge on a Palestinian homeland. Without a global resolve to commit land to a Palestinian State and peacekeepers to enforce it this will never resolve. Israel has to be stopped. Their own people know the aggression of the settlements is hurting their security. Have Justice Minister Tzipi Livni speak to the General Assembly and/or The UN Security Council. This is going nowhere without greater enforcement of Palestinian borders by people outside of Palestine and Israel. Israel understands what it is to be occupied, so let's occupy Palestine together.
...The Palestinian Jordan Valley accounts for more than a quarter of the total area of the West Bank or about 2,400 square kilometers. Israel built three settlements in the Jordan Valley in 1968, and gradually increased the number of settlements for agricultural, industrial, military or religious purposes until the 1980s. Since the early 1990s the settlements expanded from 11 to 36, housing more than 6,200 settlers. The settlements occupy 1,200 square kilometers, or 50 percent of the Jordan Valley. Israel also controls 1,065 square kilometers (44 percent) of so-called closed zones like the border line, military bases and natural reserves. About 50 square kilometers of the Jordan Valley (two percent) are under combined Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control. The remaining 85 square kilometers in the area of Jericho and al-Uja, only 3.5 percent of Jordan Valley, fall under Palestinian control. Habitat International Coalition paints an even more sombre picture, where only 45 square kilometers, or two percent of the Jordan Valley, will remain for Palestinians. Furthermore, Ariel Sharon announced in 2003 that the Jordan Valley will be isolated from the West Bank by the construction of a wall of 300 kilometers. Currently only 52,000 Palestinians live permanently in the Jordan Valley, where the population once reached up to 350,000....

...Violation of Palestinian water rights
The Jordan Valley is very fertile, because of its access to water. Situated under the valley is the Eastern Water Basin, but Israel has severely limited the Palestinian use of water from this basin and allows the Palestinians to use 58 million cubic meters per year (40 percent of what is available). Besides, Palestinians are not allowed to use water from the Jordan River, which could provide 250 million cubic meters per year.
Since 1967 Israel as the occupying power has also isolated 162 agricultural wells, prohibiting Palestinians from using them. Israel also controls where wells are allowed to be placed, how deep they can drill and how much water can be pumped. As a result of the measures the settlers consume six times more water on their agricultural lands than Palestinians....

The potential to war is very high. The entire region is getting tired of the occupation of Palestine and the ever changing borders of Israel. So before anything happens, the UN has to act to end this hideous state of affairs between these two nations.

A billion dollars is not chump change. If there is a billion today, there is more tomorrow.

Phillip Pasmanick
March 26, 2013
Qatar called on Tuesday (click here) for the immediate establishment of a $1 billion fund to help Palestinians in east Jerusalem, and offered to contribute $250 million to it.
Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, made the proposal at the opening of an Arab summit in Doha that is expected to focus on the crisis in Syria and stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The emir did not, however, elaborate on the practicalities of the fund.
He also suggested an Arab summit in Cairo to implement Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.
Palestinians contend that Israeli building in E-1 would separate east Jerusalem from the West Bank, damaging the prospects for the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Following the Palestinians’ successful bid for recognition as non-member observer state at the UN General Assembly in late November 2012, Israel approved zoning and planning in E-1. However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu clarified at the time that the government had not actually approved any construction in E-1, seemingly signaling to the Palestinians that any further unilateral actions at the UN would indeed be answered with Israeli building in the area....

So now the Israelis have rockets from both Gaza and Lebanon. The Palestinians have to have their problems resolved. Israel will have to expand their Iron Dome. It is expensive, I hope they are prepared for that.

Robert Berger

Currently Congress has an approval rating of 13.9 percent. Maybe this has something to do with it.

Published time: December 30, 2013 17:35
Reuters / Mark Wilson / Pool
American support (click here) for the war in Afghanistan is shrinking to unprecedented levels, even sliding below the lowest points seen for the Iraq and Vietnam wars, a new study shows.
As the United States and Afghanistan negotiate an agreement to extend the presence of American and NATO troops into and beyond 2014, a new CNN/ORC International poll found that only 17 percent of Americans support the 12-year-old war.
The study found that about 82 percent of Americans polled disapprove of the ongoing US military operation in Afghanistan, a number that’s up significantly compared to the 46 percent who opposed the conflict in 2008.
Fifty-seven percent said the war is going badly for the United States, while only one-third believe the US is winning....

December 26, 2013
The Department of Defense (click here) has identified 2,285 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the death of the following American recently:
VASSELIAN, Daniel M., 27, Sgt., Marines; Abington, Mass.; Second Marine Division.

All NATO soldiers dead to date including Americans:(click here - listed by name with two unidentified)

Records returned: 3409 

Civilian Afghan Casualties from "The Nation" (click here)

Total 6,481

When an Afghan civilian dies in war, the world rarely notices: the Afghan government, hospitals and morgues in the country, even the US-led international military force that has been a presence there since late 2001, all fail to keep comprehensive lists of civilian fatalities. This interactive database is an attempt to compile as complete a list as possible of civilian deaths that have occurred in Afghanistan as a result of war-related actions by the United States, its allies and Afghan government forces, from the invasion in October of 2001 through the end of 2012. It relies on an extensive survey of reliable media accounts for its raw data, and when no media account is available, on the casualty reports of NGOs, human rights organizations and ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force). 

The escalation of Afghan civilian casualties, ending in death began with the Command of David McKiernan, who was replaced by General Stanley McCrystal.
The most deadly attack on civilians under McKiernan was Azizabad.

Afganistan: US Investigation of Airstrike Deaths 'Deeply Flawed' (click here)
New Administration Should Revise Policies to Reduce Civilian Casualties
JANUARY 15, 2009
..."The weaknesses in the Callan investigation call into question the Defense Department's commitment to avoid civilian casualties," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Unless the new Obama administration urgently addresses the US military's airstrike practices in Afghanistan, more unnecessary civilian deaths and injuries will result."...

Those casualties were under Bush. McKiernan was responsible for 1328 fatalities in 93 strikes. The most deadly attacks were conducted in the closing days of the Bush/Cheney administration in July and August of 2008, just before the global banking collapse.

August of 2008 saw the most civilian attacks in the prolonged war. There were 638 civilians killed during 11 attacks. July 2008 was second highest with 203 civilians in 11 attacks.

In May of 2009 following the Granai airstrike taking 91 civilians in Kunduz Province, General McCrystal ordered there to be no strikes on any compound unless it was for self defense. He stated troops should withdraw before attacking a compound where high civilian casualties can occur. The civilian casualties dropped after that with General Petraeus instituting CIVCAS (Civilian Casualties) Mitigation Team. The new team was created from the previous Civilian Casuality Tracking Cell.