Transportation

Feb 17 2015 MBTA Service Map! "Crippled" Boston mass transit system struggles as lines closed

Here is the service map for the Boston MBTA for Tuesday Feb 17 2015:

/// UPDATE Tues 12:15PM Redditors have provided more detail about what they are experiencing today. Summarized: Train is working on Orange Line at Ruggles. Red line is running to JFK. "the T isn't running at NeU or Symphony." Oak Grove to Sullivan should be textured (better). ///

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You may reuse the above image. License Creative Commons Sharealike w Attribution and if possible a tweet to @HongPong. Thanks!

This is based off mbta.com/winter info as of 10:30PM Feb 16 2015. Half the train cars are out of service right now, so active lines are very limited. Textured areas have some kind of "limited" or shuttle bus service. This is just an estimation and who knows if it will really happen this way.

With the exception of the Green Line D Riverside line, most of the older lines in the city have fared poorly and it has been estimated it will be 30 days (without snow) for full service to return. I think I will make a few of these maps during this transportation crisis.

Severe Weather Update - February 16-17, 2015

What to expect when winter weather hits.

As efforts continue to recover from weeks of severe winter weather, the MBTA is announcing it will provide a limited schedule of rail and bus service tomorrow, Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

Service will available on the Red Line from Alewife to Andrew Stations with limited substitute bus service on the Ashmont and Braintree branches. Trains between Alewife and Andrew are scheduled to arrive/depart about every six to seven minutes. Limited bus replacement service will be available between Braintree and Andrew and between Ashmont and Andrew.

Orange Line service will be available from Sullivan to Back Bay Stations with limited substitute bus service from Oak Grove to Sullivan Stations and from Back Bay to Forest Hills Stations. Trains between Sullivan and Back Bay are scheduled to arrive/depart every 12 minutes. Limited bus replacement service will be available between Oak Grove and Sullivan and between Forest Hills and Back Bay.

Green Line service will operate between Kenmore and Lechmere Stations with limited trolley service operating in both directions on the D branch. Trains between North Station and Kenmore will depart/arrive every five to six minutes.

Along the B branch, Route 57 buses will make stops between Packards Corner and Kenmore Stations. There will be no bus service between Packards Corner and Boston College.

Along the C branch, limited shuttle bus service will be available between Cleveland Circle and Kenmore.

Along the E branch, Route 39 buses will make stops between Northeastern and Heath St. Stations.

The Blue Line is serving all stations between Wonderland and Bowdoin. Trains will depart/arrive every seven to eight minutes.

Service remains suspended on the Mattapan Trolley Line. A limited bus replacement service will be available.

Commuter Rail will operate on a modified weekday schedule, but with significant delays and several canceled trips. Revised schedules are available below.

Buses, including the Silver Line, will operate on a weekday schedule with delays due to traffic and road conditions.

Please note that parking in MBTA garages will continue to be permitted, but availability may be limited. Lynn, Beverly, Salem, and Wonderland Garages will continue to have low availability. Additional parking availability information can be found here. Illegally parked vehicles in garages that are found to be blocking pedestrian access ways and/or traffic lanes will be subject to towing. Passengers are encouraged to park in garages only when leaving their vehicle on the premises overnight.

MBTA passengers may also park in available Massport parking at Suffolk Downs Station and board Massport employee shuttles either to Airport terminals or to the Blue Line Airport Station.

As always, the latest service information can be found at the MBTA's winter resource hub:mbta.com/winter. Customers are also urged to check T-Alerts regularly for updates or to join our 106,000 followers on Twitter @MBTA. For Commuter Rail updates, we ask commuters to follow the MBTA Commuter Rail on Twitter @MBTA_CR.

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Even the Vermont National Guard is involved in snow removal right now.

Background: The MBTA's long, winding, infuriating road to failure - Metro - The Boston Globe

MBTA may need 30 days to return to full service - Metro - The Boston Globe

Scott: MBTA service won't be fully restored for 30 days | Weather - WCVB Home

2012: What Exactly is the MBTA's 'Big Dig Debt'? | Boston Magazine ($5.2 billion!)

See also: Boston Using Prison Labor To Shovel Heaps Of Snow In Frigid Temperatures For Pennies | ThinkProgress

After another 16 inches of snow fell on the Boston area this weekend, bringing the city’s total snowfall for the past month up over seven feet, the beset city is turning to prison labor for help digging out.

A mixture of unionized city workers and state prison inmates worked to clear commuter rail tracks of snow on Monday in hopes of having trains running again when businesses reopen Tuesday after the President’s Day holiday. With air temperatures down in the single digits and wind chill values running below zero fahrenheit, the crews shoveled snow off of tracks and above-ground platforms at the Braintree station outside the city, a key outlying stop on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) red line.

Details of the prison labor system remain unclear as state corrections officials have not yet responded to requests for information. An MBTA spokesman confirmed to ThinkProgress that prisoners are assisting union workers but referred further questions to the state Department of Corrections.

The state has deployed inmates to shovel before, according to city Inspectional Services Department commissioner William Christopher, who said that two four-prisoner crews were sent out around the city earlier this month to clear paths to fire hydrants and shovel snow off handicapped access infrastructure. “The amount of snow that we got is record-setting and we’ve pulled out every resource from every possible way to clean this situation up,” Christopher said at the time. Further west, inmates in a community service program at a minimum-security prison have helped clear snow from other storms this winter, and as far back as 2011.

The MBTA’s turn to inmate labor likely means that the system’s contracts prohibit paying non-union members to do the work. The city is reportedly offering $30 an hour for union workers to shovel tracks, and supplementing those paid work crews with prisoners.

Also the politics of the MBTA transit system collapse (trains only operating in the tunnels today) vs new GOP Gov Charlie "No new taxes" Baker are super interesting to watch, because it's so blatantly clear MBTA is a cornerstone of the daily economy, now experiencing cascading failures on a daily/weekly basis.

I am amazed more people are not injured every day, it speaks to the skill and persistence of the tired union transit workers who poke away with shovels and picks at ice in the switches all these cold windy nights.

I don't know when it became acceptable to use the word "crippled" again since that seems to be on roughly the same perjorative word list as "retard". But all the news quotes today were centered on the word "crippled" anyway. I think "disabled" is the preferred nomenclature for technical systems. The "ableism" of the system is also pretty bad, even for people without major medical issues it is quite difficult to get around now.

EXCLUSIVE: Such Critical Infrastructures: FBI feeds Anonymous IRC channels to CIA, Pentagon intel, NSA, NORTHCOM in 2012 Intel memo

An FBI "IIR" intelligence report, dated April 12 2012 entitled "Identification of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Channels Used by Anonymous Members, as of 12 April 2012" surfaces a dicey realm between US military & intelligence and electronic activists. The full report is at scribd.com/doc/246922867/FBI-FOIA-IRC-Chat-Channels-used-by-Anonymous // (Mobile) /// UPDATE: Upvote this post on Reddit & Thanks to YAN for amplifying!

FBI FOIA IRC Chat Channels used by Anonymous by Smiley Hill

A tiny peek into a huge deal: the potential fracas between assorted would-be American military cyberwar commandoes and international (and domestic!) computer activists. This lower-level report (Unclassified//For Official Use Only) (U//FOUO) perhaps is more interesting for its "metadata" rather than thoroughly censored content. Below I also included some other domestic military operations documents below to draw a wider context than just this "cyberwar" stuff, as Ferguson has prompted Gov. Nixon in Missouri to activate the state militia, it's good to read up on what federal legal doctrine for "civil disturbances" is.

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Such recipients: In order, it says it is from "DIRECTOR FBI" to:

All FBI field offices

INFO AFOSI DET 331 Andrews AFB Maryland, Headquarters Air Force Office of Special Investigations (also cited in this case http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/homeland_defense/intelligence/EFF_vs_DOD_Bates_997_1096.pdf )

CDR USSTRATCOM Offutt AFB Nebraska, Strategic Command commander

CDR USTRANSCOM Scott AFB Illinois, United States Transportation Command commander

CDR1STIO Ft Belvoir Virginia, First Information Operations Command commander - https://www.1stiocmd.army.mil/ (wat? "CDR1STIO" pops in a bunch of other FOIA'd IIRs as well if you googlize it)

CIA WASHINGTON DC - always down for a good time

DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC - yes, this hot info wasn't stovepiped away from rivals

DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC - fetching banhammer

DEPT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC

DIA WASHINGTON DC - Defense Intelligence Agency which is huge and low profile - http://www.dia.mil/

DIRNAVCRIMINVSERV - Probably HEADQUARTERS. NAVAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE.

DNI WASHINGTON DC - Director of National Intelligence. (Clapper at the time)

HQ AFOSI Andrews AFB Maryland - Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Tip, if you have some message for them, use their unencrypted contact form to let them know about fraud or etc. What could possibly go wrong? > http://www.osi.af.mil/main/contactus.asp

HQ NORAD USNORTHCOM INTEL PETERSON AFB - US Northern Command located near Colorado Springs was created as Dept of Homeland Security's military counterpart for "Homeland Defense", an elastic concept extending Pentagon involvement with "critical infrastructure," namely the machinery of major corporations. They also revised "GARDEN PLOT" into CONPLAN 3502 Civil Disturbance Operations," relevant in a Ferguson type context under federal mobilization. (see 2010 story) They were also written into Superman's plot.

JOINT STAFF Washington DC - J2 - Director for Intelligence (J2) on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (now this guy)

JWAC DAHLGREN Virginia - Joint Warfare Analysis Center a "premier science and engineering institution" under Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which also hosts Cyber Command. see http://www.stratcom.mil/functional_components/

NGA HQ Bethesda Maryland. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, like DIA, is up to a lot of things off the radar. They have domestic satellite spying (GEO INT) responsibilities at National Special Security Events which require a special domestic military intel privacy waiver. http://www.stratcom.mil/functional_components/ . Big spenders.

NSA FT GEORGE G MEADE Maryland - National Security Agency at the oddly spelled out Ft Meade. I wonder how many land in this inbox - and how many times "George G" is stored in their databases.

US SECRET SERVICE WASHINGTON DC

USCYBERCOM FT GEORGE G MEADE Maryland - Cyber Command in ur router, sniffin ur packets

WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM WASHINGTON DC.

BT . … I am fairly sure this is a closing list tag like </UL>

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Serial IIR 4 213 4003 12, "WARNING (U): This is an information report, not finally evaluated intelligence. It is being shared for informational purposes but has not been fully evaluated, integrated with other information, interpreted or analyzed. Receiving agencies are requested not to take action based on this raw reporting without prior coordination with the FBI. Unless a conviction in a criminal proceeding occurs, a presumption of innocence exists for any person being reported on in this IIR." Declassification date appears 20370607, as this hot stuff needs to lay low for a couple more decades.

What is an IIR? It is pretty low level stuff for the FBI. For a bit of info see FBI Intelligence Information Report Handbook | Electronic Frontier Foundation. That document interestingly, at the very end includes a statutory info pipeline from Grand Jury operations to various feds. Patriot Act Section 203(a)(1)( C )(i)(V) certainly makes for an industrious star chamber circuit, but they don't want grand jury info going out in IIRs without asking the HQ attorney.

This document was obtained by Smiley Hill via FOIA. Please follow https://twitter.com/smilyus for more smileable FOIAs on a regular basis.

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The use of the military - and these contractors in the game now - to police corporate systems labeled as Critical Infrastructure is significant. After all, Missouri Gov Nixon just activated the state militia because of Ferguson.

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In the recent FBI writeup freeking out about Ferguson protesters, I took the "critical infrastructure" references to allude to authorizing military activity around corporate electronic assets that might get poked at by angry activists.

“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” the FBI says in an intelligence bulletin issued in recent days. “This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities.”

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Background on Executive Order 13636:

See NSA's cybersecurity program to protect critical infrastructure revealed - Military & Aerospace Electronics

Feb 2013: Executive Order -- Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity | The White House

CRS analysis on Executive Order: http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42984.pdf

Feb 2013: Pentagon will require security standards for critical infrastructure networks - Nextgov.com

This is actually a word? Cyberinfrastructure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nov 2012: Cyber Order Puts DHS In Charge Of Oversight, Sets Deadlines « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

USA TODAY: Feb 2013: Cybersecurity executive order fosters information sharing for greater good

As for the legal ramifications of domestic military operations and targeting electronic activists with tools like STRATCOM / CYBERCOM retain for battling Al Qaeda servers or whatever, most people say "But, Posse Comitatus!" In reality a vast area of domestic military operations has been expanded and operated by JAGs. See : www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/operational-law-handbook_2012.pdf

This Domestic Operational Law Cyber Realm has a Handbook, People!

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The domestic version of this JAG manual is extremely recommended reading for everyone. See Domestic Operational Law Handbook for Judge Advocates 2011 | Public Intelligence.

Also the newer 248 page Domestic Operational Law Handbook for Judge Advocates 2013 | Public Intelligence is available. You will definitely know moar about WTF is up with weird meshes of civilian/military authority in the US by skimming over this.

PI highlighted a bunch of good 2011 stuff, since we are talking Ferguson anyway, it's worth noting again:

G. The Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plans

Formerly, DoD’s Civil Disturbance Operations (CDO) plan was known as “GARDEN PLOT.” Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and USNORTHCOM however, DoD has delegated to geographic combatant commanders responsibility for developing CDO Contingency Plans (CONPLANs). These geographic commanders’ CONPLANs provide guidance and direction for planning, coordinating, and executing military operations during domestic civil disturbances.

1. Civil Disturbance Operations Mission

Broadly stated, the CDO mission assists civil authorities in restoring law and order in the United States and its territories.58 This mission statement, while not duplicating the language in the Insurrection Act allowing for the use of federal forces to “suppress” insurrection, provides wide latitude to the President to use federal forces to assist civil law enforcement in “restoring” law and order.

The restoration of law and order must be distinguished from the preservation of law and order. CDO mission statements do not allow the joint civil disturbance task force commander to undertake preservation missions. It is generally agreed that missions to restore law and order include dispersing unauthorized assemblages, patrolling disturbed areas, maintaining essential transportation and communications systems, setting up roadblocks, and cordoning off areas. Care should be taken before a military commander accepts missions that are routine maintenance of civil order.

2. Combatant Commanders’ CONPLANs

The CONPLANs provide the basis for all preparation, deployment, employment, and redeployment of Department of Defense component forces, including National Guard forces called to active federal service, for use in domestic civil disturbance operations, in support of civil authorities as directed by the President. The concept of a civil disturbance operation is multi-phased: Phase 0, Shape; Phase I, Anticipate; Phase II, Respond (deployment can occur in either Phase I or Phase II); Phase III, Operate; Phase IV, Stabilize; and Phase V, Transition (redeployment). Prior to deployment, military forces maintain five preparedness postures, called Civil Disturbance Conditions (CIDCONS) in order to alert and react to potential civil disturbance operations. Changes in the CIDCON level are directed by the JDOMS.

3. The Standing Rules for the Use of Force for U.S. Forces

Civil disturbance operations are conducted in accordance with Appendix L of the Standing Rules of Engagement/Standing Rules for the Use of Force for U.S. Forces (SRUF). Guidance on how and when forces can use force in a CDO mission are detailed in that annex. Although the CJCSI is classified, Annex L is not and can be shared with our mission partners.

a. Custody and Detention

All apprehensions should be made by the civil police force unless they are not available or require assistance. Military forces have the authority to detain rioters, looters, or other civilians committing criminal offenses. Civilians taken into custody should be transferred to civilian law enforcement authorities as soon as possible.

All members of the force must remember that state and federal criminal law and procedure govern apprehension. Apprehension is justified only on the basis of probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the person to be apprehended committed the offense. Soldiers should not question detainees beyond basic pedigree such as name and address. If formal questioning of an offender is necessary, civilian police should conduct the interview. If civilian police are not available, CID agents or military police may conduct interviews only if the interview is essential to the civil disturbance mission. Actions taken by Soldiers that do not conform to criminal law constitutional standards could jeopardize future prosecution and subject Soldiers and their Commanders to criminal and/or civil liability.

b. Search and Seizure

CDO CONPLANs anticipate that military forces will generally not be involved in searches unless there is “an immediate danger of violence, destruction of evidence, or escape of violent persons unless the search is conducted without delay.” In all other cases, local authorities should conduct searches. When required to perform searches, federal armed forces may conduct warrantless searches under the same constitutional parameters imposed upon law enforcement officials. Joint Civil Disturbance Task Force forces conducting a warrantless search will fully document the reasons for the search as soon as is reasonably convenient.69 Generally these searches are limited to the following incidents.

(1) Stop and Frisk

If there is a reasonable suspicion based upon articulable facts that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, that person may be temporarily stopped and questioned about his activities. The stop must be limited in duration to that which is reasonably necessary to investigate the suspicion. If there is a reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts that a person is armed or is carrying instruments of violence and that the individual presents an immediate risk of harm, members of the armed force may conduct a “frisk” (an external “patdown” of the clothing) for weapons. Any weapons found during a frisk may be removed from the individual and seized.

(2) Search Incident to Lawful Apprehension

A person lawfully detained may be searched for weapons or destructible evidence. A search for weapons or destructible evidence may also be conducted in the area where the detained person could reach with a sudden movement to obtain a weapon or destroy evidence.

(3) Exigent circumstances

Military forces assisting law enforcement may make a search without a warrant when they have reason to believe (probable cause) that weapons, objects related to criminal activity, or persons believed to have committed an offense, are in the place to be searched; and they have reason to believe that the delay necessary to obtain a search warrant would result in removal of the weapons or destruction of the objects related to criminal activity. For example, Joint Civil Disturbance Task Force forces may stop and search an automobile without a warrant when there is reason to believe that the automobile contains weapons or instruments of violence and/or contains an individual reasonably believed to have committed violence.

(4) Emergency

Military forces in a civil disturbance operation may make an immediate entry into a building when there is reason to believe that entry is necessary to prevent injury to persons, serious damage to property, loss of evidence, to protect public safety, or to render aid to someone who is in danger.

(5) Hot pursuit

Military forces pursuing a person who they have reason to believe has just committed a serious crime, may enter a vehicle or building believed to be entered by the suspect and search the building or vehicle for the person or any weapons that might be used to further his escape.

(6) Plain View

During the course of otherwise lawful activity, military forces may seize any unlawful weapons or objects related to criminal activity which they observe in plain view. When conducting warrantless searches that require a probable cause determination, military forces can obtain advice from a judge advocate; however, the probable cause determination must be made personally by the individual desiring to conduct the search.

If a search warrant is required, local civil authorities should obtain judicially issued search warrants. If local civilian authorities are not available, judge advocates need to be prepared to provide advice on probable cause to military authorities before they approach a local judge or magistrate for a search warrant.

When feasible, all searches conducted by military personnel will be conducted by two personnel with the actual search performed by someone of the same sex.76 A hand receipt or some similar document should be prepared when items of personal property are seized from an individual.

c. Confinement Facilities

The Joint Civil Disturbance Task Force should not operate a detention facility. Any person apprehended should be turned over to the police for detention. Military correctional facilities cannot be used to detain civilians. If available civilian detention facilities cannot accommodate the number of detained persons who are awaiting arraignment, the Joint Civil Disturbance Task Force commander must seek the approval of the SCRAG and Combatant Commander to set up a temporary detention facility.

Should the Task Force be required to operate a detention facility, the detention facility standards and operations should conform, to the maximum extent possible, to current DoD confinement facility operations and will be under the professional supervision and control of Military Police personnel. The establishment and operation of military detention facilities is a temporary expedient and is authorized only until such time as the custody of detained persons can be transferred to civil authorities.

d. Riot Control Agents

Normally, for CDO the deployment and use of riot control agents is allowed as a matter of U.S. policy. However, initial approval authority for its deployment and use may be retained at a level higher than the Joint Civil Disturbance Task Force Commander and may require a specific request.

This is not the same as a state-level activation, but it is the doctrine that is crafted at the federal level these days so I think it's pretty relevant to Ferguson.

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The federal government hasn't taken kindly to people that expose these types of relationships. Barrett Brown's sentencing just got delayed again - but at least the Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail is awesome. For more info FreeBarrettBrown.org.

University of Minnesota to test new Light Rail electromagnetic scenarios late at night

This is sort of cool. Went out to U students just recently. I am hoping the Green Line is activated ASAP!! Still moar cables to install in downtown St Paul dangit. On with the show!

From: Vice President Pam Wheelock <noreplywheelock@umn.edu>
Date: Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Good afternoon.

I have two important items regarding the Green Line Light Rail Transit line to share with the campus community.

Overnight Train Testing to Begin

Overnight train testing on the Green Line Light Rail Transit line (formerly known as the Central Corridor) will begin this week and is expected to continue until late September. During the testing, trains will operate through the overnight hours and will move through campus at operational speeds. The cooperation and assistance of the entire campus community is needed to maintain safety and to ensure the integrity of the testing.

This testing for Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Vibration will occur between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. starting Thursday, August 8. During these late night hours, the University will need to limit building operations, and roads and sidewalks will be closed in order to ensure we have the quietest environment possible. This quiet environment is necessary in order to isolate the train vibrations and EMI from the existing background conditions. Please note that these closures and operational limits are ONLY during the late night hours.

More detailed information on the overnight train testing is available in the following .pdf documents:

Overnight Train Testing General Information Fact Sheet
EMI Certification Fact Sheet
Vibration Certification Fact Sheet

Washington Avenue Bridge Closure

In order to complete the final construction items on the Washington Avenue Bridge, the Met Council will close lanes on the vehicular level of the Bridge over the next two weeks. There will be no impacts to the pedestrian level of the Bridge.

The eastbound lane of the Washington Avenue Bridge will be closed from August 12 through August 16. The Metro Transit bus stop at Blegen Hall will be closed. Bus riders will instead use the Cedar/Washington Avenue bus stop.

The westbound lane will be closed from August 18 through August 23. The bus stop for Metro Transit and University of Minnesota Campus Connector at Willey Hall will be closed. Instead, bus riders will use the stop located at the 3rd Street Ramp, west of Cedar Avenue for Metro Transit Buses and the bus stop at the southeast intersection of 19th Avenue and 2nd Street for the University of Minnesota Campus Connector.

More detailed information on the bridge closure is available in the following .pdf documents: Met Council Central Corridor Construction Update

This message was approved by the Vice President for University Services of the University of Minnesota and sent to all Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff.

The Great Default & End of July; Minneapolis' alien energy vortex; Welcome MadMax; AAA Rating Goodbye; Nelson Mandela=Knights of Malta! Hayden Demands Digital Blackwater

Looks like they just announced some kind of debt deal, staving off total collapse for a month or 2. Next up.....

In July you’ll be launching another three-day Pleiadian event in Minneapolis. How many have you done so far?

Christine Day, Pleiadian Ambassador!: We’ve done three in the United States and this will be our fourth one in the last 12 months. We are building one in September in Brazil and one in Germany in September 2012. The Pleiadians told me I had to move here five years ago, and they wanted this to be where the energy anchored. They said that Minneapolis/St. Paul is one of the vortex energies within America and the most important one to really assist us in these changes. The Pleiadian Ambassador: An interview with Christine Day

*FULL FEATURE* Next on the Pleiadians-Minneapolis Alien Exopolitics!

~~~~This is a decent but unwieldy LinkDump post w. too many links for everyone - On our next post, the idea of alien spirits in Minneapolis is too entertaining!... things are happening fast! There's too much energy! Before the Great Default, we could partake in such matters...

...I like how this video combines subliminal advertising and HAARP, two of the minor issues we had before the Great Default :) [see also the 1hr documentary Psywar]

Evidently the US economy is finally going off the cliff next week. Here is the deets about how the US Treasury market is supposed to technically function in the national credit emergency scenario: Complete Summary Of The Fed's Meeting With Primary Dealers By Way Of A Primary Dealer | ZeroHedge:

Once again, straight out of Morgan Stanley's rate deks (or what's left of it after the whole TIPS implosion).

Treasury officials held a 12 pm meeting today with all 20 primary dealers to discuss market developments and financing options. They did not want to discuss specific contingencies related to the debt ceiling but did want to outline a course of action aimed at preserving access to the markets.

First, Monday’s bill auction will be held as scheduled. Second, if there is a debt ceiling hike enacted before Wednesday’s 9am refunding announcement, the announcement, WI trading, and auctions will proceed as usual.

However, if there is no debt ceiling extension, three possible options were discussed:

1) Delay the August refunding and issue a short-dated cash management bill as a substitute. The bill could be rolled, as needed. The coupon auctions would be rescheduled when the debt ceiling was hiked.

2) Hold auctions as scheduled but at much smaller sizes using up only the available borrowing authority created by the maturing issues. There are $24 bil of securities maturing on the 15th. Dealers were concerned that you would have illiquid issues and playing catch up once the debt ceiling was raised, which would cause bigger problems.

3) Announce a conditional refunding with WI trading. The auctions would occur as soon as the debt ceiling was hiked. Dealers argued that this was not a viable option either because markets would be unable to price the securities given the timing uncertainty.

Also, one dealer suggested auctioning a full size 10-year security, delaying the 3-year until the end of the month and blending in the 30-year to subsequent cycles

Treasury indicated that dealers need to be prepared for the possibility that auctions (even coupon auctions) will be announced, auctioned and settled on the same day (although Treasury agreed that a 24 to 48 hour period of WI trading would be preferable).

There was significant amount of discussion surrounding money markets conditions (particularly, CP) but policymakers did not provide any hints regarding if and how they might respond.

Dealers suggested that the Treasury might be able to repo their MBS portfolio to raise cash. However, Treasury officials did not offer any comment on this possibility.

We had a good time now didn't we? Mad Max postapocalypse here we come... But first a ton o linx.... I hope future generations will still be able to listen to Rage Against the Machine....

But a bit more seriously -- ie Obama's Final Loophole: The "Catastrophic Emergency" Clause? -- as Kevin at Cryptogon suspected, the arcane secret regulations probably have enough emergency authority to force the issuance of debt for previously mandated spending.

Alternet uses a Minneapolis-centered story reminiscent of mythic colonial madness as a hook to discuss the great global freakout: $230,000 For a Guard Dog: Why the Wealthy Are Afraid Of Violence From Below...

Wisconsin cutting off voting rights immediately: Video reveals bank ‘activity’ a requirement for Wisconsin voter ID. Out of control.

Videos: Eddie Griffin vs Programming, Television, "Obama... puppet on a string... United Empire of Earth..." - respectable set :) Eddie Griffin goes OFF: “Obama is just a puppet” / “Afghanistan is about Opium” (Explicit Language) : Deadline Live With Jack Blood

‪"PROGRAMMING THE NATION?" - Official Trailer‬‏ - subliminal advertising movie. Programming the Nation opens August 19th.

Hipsterlols: A Twee Grows In Brooklyn | The New York Observer. Just great.

Hackerlols: Things are getting hot out there between the government and assorted activists. A recent wave of arrests of people who the government alleges are basically tiny fish (at best) has prompted FBI tracking software on the arrestee's computers for bail release - as posted at cryptome.org. CERT chief folds: US-CERT Director Leaves Abruptly.

Confusion with cyberwars and congress - GAO wow. The normative internet crackdown plan response moves forward... EFF Action on insane data retention bill HR1981 which will cancel casual quasi-anonymous dimensions of the Internet -- not to mention cause the retained data to inevitably get stolen so douchebags can expl0it all yr net data. These maniacal Orwellians actually called it "Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act". Srsly shameless 1984pr0n here.

The Federated Bureau of Antisec meets ManTech: Naturally the firm entrusted with FBI cybersecurity got pretty much entirely 0wned more or less. Undeterred By Arrests, Anonymous Spills Data From FBI Contractor ManTech. ManTech is involved with a lot of stuff domestically and internationally, including in particular the biometrics and NATO Madness industries. Also: AntiSec: 77 law enforcement websites hit in mass attack. Here's the notice.

The lovable Michael Hayden demands a Digital Blackwater (to shoot these goddamn skript kiddies in the middle of the night, presumably).

PayPal stock took a tank lol all week upon an organized push for withdrawals as a response to PayPal DDOS-instantiated FBI raids. If nothing else we could hope for an era of relatively spontaneous political/economic gestures within the legal framework at vast scales. It's spurred people to finally start turning to PayPal's many workable competitors.

Lol a fine moment with Nigel & Anonymous & some restaurant listings: Twitter conversation with Anon2T // more freaky security madness: Mantech - Echelon 2 // C5i - Echelon 2 // Endgame Systems Peddling zerodays from 'community' to the Man: Cyber Weapons: The New Arms Race - BusinessWeek // What Will We Watch As Drones Evolve? //

The JSTOR crackdown: Aaron Schwartz taken down in another gesture obviously designed as a federal PSYOP trying to 'shock and awe' people who use the "Copy" command in their Operating Systems. RT covers it as US mediaCorps obviously can't: Aaron Swartz Arrested: The Open Access Debate‬‏ - YouTube

Police State developments: The debt ceiling political disaster reinforces the ability of the establishment to roll through horrible bipartisan proposals like extending FBI Director Muller's reign of insanity: FBI Director’s Term Extension Ensures Neo-COINTELPRO Operations Will Prevail | The Dissenter // A lingering question for the FBI’s director //Jailhouse informant bill a test for Jerry Brown. Good compilation of police state videos. // An Israeli snatch squad grabs kids. // Kid dies without medical treatment. State of Florida, Eric Perez’s Life Isn’t Even Worth $5,000. No nurses in jail??? // Fingerprint analysis tech aims to revolutionize drug testing | The Raw Story // Martial Law in North America Represents The Total Destruction of Freedom. yah!

Por Miedo! Immigrant police state film Two Americans. Shocking trailer here.

Rainbow Nation: Rainbow Family cleaning up WA gathering site... Here's a great story from Flux about taking out the trash at the Rainbow Gathering: Debunking the Anarchy Trashman Theory | Fluxview, USA. Rainbow Gathering 2011 ~ low impact doobie step. There will be a new video site soon, stand by...

NarcoFail: Narco News: US Officials Say They Won't Give a Reason for Blocking Mexican Human Rights Defender's Flight.

Wobblygawkin: Does Starbucks Need a Union? // Starbucks Union | IWW Starbucks Workers Union. It all starts with solidarity!

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Techbits: This kind of model can work for a lot of things! Open Source Programmer's Text Editor using Canvas and WebGL by Robey Holderith — Kickstarter // Mozilla Is Making an Android-Based Mobile OS // Google+ Tips & Tricks: 10 Hints for New Users // On GIFs | Twin Cities Daily Planet // Ethical fails of techworld and treating people like ##s: A Billion Dollars Isn’t Cool. You Know What’s Cool? Basic Human Decency.

Seattle on edge? From Santa Cruz to Seattle | Anarchist news dot org

PharmaFaiL: Keiser Report 167: Mass Psychosis. We need more Wilhelm Reich: Wilhelm Reich: Beyond the Mad Scientist Paradigm. Amazon.com: Virus Mania: How the Medical Industry Continually Invents Epidemics, Making Billion-Dollar Profits At Our Expense. Study: Marijuana compound helps mitigate cocaine addiction in mice // ADHD—Labeling normal kids "mentally ill" - NaturalNews.tv

Mpls: Minnesota state Sen. Berglin retires after 39 years - TwinCities.com. Expect special elections around these parts, Rep. Hayden is going for it. Berglin really was a health care genius, you are just not going to find policymakers like her around any more. // Chickens on the move in Minneapolis | Twin Cities Daily Planet //

Remembering Mike Connell: The Connell plane crash was sketchy & reminiscent of Wellstone. As I have followed the election irregularity stories back in the day.... Anyway Bob Fitrakis who wrote a lot of the original stuff about Ohio, has come back with more info showing precisely the network topology that made Connell's firm SmartTech the Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) for spoofing the election by adding electronic votes trivially.

Fitrakis: Connell created a front company, GovTech, that sold itself as non-partisan when he had been working for years for his company New Media as one of the most partisan IT operatives in the U.S. GovTech managed to become the first private company to put its servers behind the firewalls of the U.S. Congress, when Congressman Bob Ney awarded them a contract to provide servers and internet service for the House Ways and Means, Intelligence, Judicial and Administrative Committees. This should have never happened. No partisan operative should be privy as an internet service provider to the emails of Congressional members. Connell was the man who kept IT secrets for Karl Rove...

Basically they probably hired mercenaries to down Connell's plane after he was going to spill the beans. I'd forgotten Michael Mukasey was AG at the time, as he declined to provide Connell with personal security in light of the death threats.

Related: http://www.questionsquestions.net // BRAD BLOG : Mike Connell's Family Copes With His Mysterious Death, Tipsters, Legal Options // Legal Schnauzer: A "Deep Throat" Emerges in the Mike Connell Plane Crash // The BRAD BLOG : Rove Threatened GOP IT Guru If He Does Not 'Take the Fall' for Election Fraud in Ohio, Says Attorney // CBS News: Michael Connell was told NOT TO FLY and that his plane may be SABOTAGED ! // It's a little sketchy I can't find the pseudonymous 'mark felt' memo anywhere now.

Screen shot 2011-07-29 at 3.43.49 AM.png

Well this picture from this video about Christopher Story changed my mind about some things :P

Remembering Christopher Story: The imminent Illuminati-triggered economic collapse (or whatevs villain floats yr boat) makes more sense thanks to one great gruff obscure British financial journalist Christopher Story. A man of the Oxford-Eton upbringing, an ambitious publisher of the alternative "Communism is still plotting its Masonic/Illuminati takeover" narrative, he was truly a role model for us all. The decline of the European Union's stability and the further toppling of the United States, both under the pressure of the global criminal bankers, shows the perhaps dramatic old fellow was rather right all along. (His mega-conspiracy tome "New Underworld Order: Triumph of Criminalism / Dark Actors Playing Games / The Global Fantasies of the Geomasonic Illuminati" is available now on PDF, and not for beginners :)

The Knights of Malta are getting new notice these days – this year-old video showed some aspects of Story's weird research. One last point: Story said that a nuclear false flag attack at 2008 RNC was in the works according to Vreeland. "Vreeland advised a US party on 21st October 2004 that he had information to the effect that the TWIN cities of Minneapolis-St Paul had been targeted for a devastating attack. " This whole thing wigged me out at the time a bit — fortunately nothing came of it!

Good visuals: Gorillaz - Empire Ants ft. Little Dragon visuals on Vimeo

EconFail Parallel world news: So far Tarpley is making sense here on the EconFail... I don't buy what him (and other assorted LaRouchies) peddle out of hand, but at least they have a kind of quasi-FDR frame of reference economically. Props to Tarpley for having the Whiskey Rebellion conspiracy explanation ready to roll - Swiss Bankers!

A week ago: Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Sea of Red in Asia, China Down Nearly 3 Percent; New Record High for Gold; "Super Committee" is Super Idiocy

Ala. county readies for possible record bankruptcy <-- how many municipalities rely upon "AAA" Treasury bills as collateral? Git ready...

Help-Wanted Ads Exclude the Long-Term Jobless <- must be currently employed (the new Non-Irish)

Retirementfail: From the Inside Out: The Plan to Kill the Armed Forces' Retirement System

Why Some People Are Just Fine with the Collapse of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations // but to be fair, only in America will you get labeled an extremist for demanding to balance the budget: Who Are The Extremists? | ZeroHedge.

Agriculture conspiracy of the summer: I tried finding if this was still cooking, but it appears to only be a set of stories posted like a month ago? There is a lot of ag land purchase going on as hedgefundy types start to flee the cities. Is Soros is Buying Flooded Missouri River Farm? George Soros buying up flooded farm land « BUNKERVILLE. George Soros buying up flooded farmland! « Follow The Money // Broadly: “Land Grabs” in Agriculture: Fairer Deals Needed to Ensure Opportunity for Locals

GMO wins: Hungary has rebuffed GMOs and maybe Africa will be saved too. Prominent agriculture figure says GMOs do not belong in Africa, organic biodiversity is the way.

"Eighty percent of Africa's small-scale farmers depend on seed saving, so patented crops present a threat to their food security and way of life," said Maina. "We have clearly seen how farmers who grow a diversity of crops using organic farming techniques become much more food secure than on conventional or GM varieties, where expensive seeds and chemicals must be purchased each season."

A few more lols: Much like CrimeThinc (is) for Beginners we all had a lol with The Coming Insurrection‬‏ (video snip :)

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BachmannLols: Michele Bachmann is pulling out all the stops to coverup the gay therapy clinic Bachmann & Associates including bullying the media by carrying out access blackout threats. And the rest of the media doesn't really call her on it -- part of the toxic power grid of the news industry. Bachmann Campaign Takes Retribution Against Local Iowa Station That Asked About Ex-Gay Clinics | ThinkProgress // Michele Bachmann's $4,700 Hair and Makeup Bill | Mother Jones // NOT FUNNY: The Teen Suicide Epidemic in Michele Bachmann's District.

More Econdetails: As CBO Scores Boehner's (Laughable) Deficit Cut Plan, Jay Carney Admits Obama Still Does Not Have An Actual Plan | ZeroHedge. A thoughtful bit: Wright: Coming to grips with the national debt // Political Fail Blog: The Pentagon Rules America: Militarism and the Crisis of the Civilian Economy // Guest Post: Complexity And Collapse | ZeroHedge

NorwaySads: The Norway attacks are “from the same Gladio-type stable” – former European MP // The Missing Lesson From Norway: Never Trust a Man in Uniform by William Norman Grigg

More geopolitik news: Brushfire with Julia & more Boiling Frogs notes: The Gulen US Charter Schools & CIA Ops. The new Controlled Left & CIA-friendly domestic Islamic front ops - Gulen's network is totally CIA-friendly. // Excavator: The Scapegoat in American Culture: From Lee Harvey Oswald To Osama bin Laden

Blame mom for impassible lethal roads: Transportation For America » Raquel Nelson sentenced; no jail time, new trial possible

Israel rebellion: Ah here's the first link to claim it's a synthetic Color Revolution BARRY CHAMISH - NEW ISRAEL FUND COLOR REVOLUTION (1/7). Palestinian advocates less than thrilled about liberal Zionist appropriation, but are the underpinnings of colonialism finally cracking apart anyways? Why not? Get ready for a similar thang, Sept 17th, #OCCUPYWALLSTREET | Adbusters

ObamaTweetNoisefail: Social media fail: @BarackObama loses 36,000-plus Twitter followers in barrage | The Raw Story

Why not? Is America Caught In The Closed Mind Trap? ICH

Yah You Betcha: With political and business leaders like these, who needs enemies? | Commentary | Minnesota Public Radio News

... All right /// on to the Pleiadian energy vortex!

Structural deterioration as Franklin Avenue bridge main piers rot away - damp chunks concrete & rebar

Took these pics over the weekend. Please feel free to reuse as you like // Creative Commons with Attribution if pozzible. The MN GOP is slashing transportation money while this is the state of infrastructure on the Mississippi -- and of course things and people blow up in Africa. Pass these photos to anyone working on the transportation issue, I know a few peeps.

The Franklin Avenue bridge (built 1971) is having a hard time. This effect is called spalling, where the concrete comes off the rebar. This pier has water seepage and refreezing splinters away the concrete. All these pics are under the east end of the bridge. The good news is that the structure under the deck looked OK - these piers have had serious waterfail though:

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There is a lot of spalling up high, you'll see on the other pics how the water gets in.

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This whole surface is messed up, look how it gets bad at the seam below Moose. The culprit, this drainage pipe.

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This thing has issues.

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Water coming off the seams as it cracks & seeps in. Bad drainage from the bridge superstructure.

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You can see where the water would cause it to crack by freezing & thawing. The bridge panels above looked in pretty good shape - compared to I-35W anyway.

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Here was a big ol chunk of rebar.

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I think it came from behind the tree there.

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And also this fine tagging work on the I-94 pier - we'll see how it looks after the flood!

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Now that I think about it, the sad thing here is that the bridge piers are rotting away because they didn't want to have the street rain runoff just dump straight through, and couldn't angle it well away to keep it off the piers. Then it leaks and the expensive prospect of fixing this mess comes up. Fail!

Random links: The latest Systemic Margin Call; Russians blame 85% of Afghanistan opium on American aviation!

Or also, from the last several days...

Clinton_Plan.jpg

Political Punch: Liberal bloggers sayin Clinton ads darken Obama. Some others say it is a YouTube artifact effect.

Atmosphere released a free MP3 from the next album.

Hillary, Obama and the Establishment Machine | The Agonist

Hm. Definitely interesting: The Man Between War and Peace, Admiral Fallon.

Cuban Cyber Rebels and their flash drives and blogs! Viva Cuba flashdriva!

Smashing Magazine has nice design and free fonts.

io9 has random sci fi stuff. cool design too.

When in doubt, check out the Gary Webb video @ Archive.org, late in his life reflecting on the whole Los Angeles CIA crack cocaine thingy.

Global Guerillas is pretty buzzwordy, but it's pretty good. For your daily dose of super-modern open source insurgent warfare, extortion through DDoS - both Russian and Botnet variants, the imminent insect techno-eschaton, and how one super-empowered individual guerilla Henry Okah has brought Nigeria into total chaos and propelled oil over $100 a barrel. This Robb guy is definitely paying attention. National security bureaucracies are doomed?! Not if they can hoard up their own very biggest bestest haystack!

Meanwhile the economic crash continues apace. Much hand-wringing at one of my favorite spots, the Agonist . Wheat is over $12/bushel.

Buffett: it's a recession, stupid.

Banks face systemic margin call, $325 billion hit: JP Morgan!

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street banks are facing a "systemic margin call" that may deplete banks of $325 billion of capital due to deteriorating subprime U.S. mortgages, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N:Quote, Profile, Research), said in a report late on Friday.

JPMorgan, which sent a default notice to Thornburg Mortgage Inc. (TMA.N: Quote,Profile, Research) after the lender missed a $28 million margin call, said more default notices and margin calls were likely. The Carlyle Group's mortgage fund also failed to meet $37 million in margin calls this week.

"A systemic credit crunch is underway, driven primarily by bank writedowns for subprime mortgages," according to the report co-authored by analyst Christopher Flanagan. "We would characterize this situation as a systemic margin call."

The credit crisis that began about a year ago will likely intensify after Friday's weak February U.S. employment report "that most definitely signals recession," JPMorgan said.

Bush Family Piggy Bank Receives Default Notice! | The Agonist

The best news I have heard is the insane bastards in Florida who have taken advantage of the crashed system. They are sitting in their homes, paying nothing at all, waiting for the totally conked court system to struggle with the lost paperwork at every level of the mortgage. An awesome thing to behold!! The Big Picture | Foreclosure-proof Homeowners:

What is shocking, that in each and every case, I have been told by brokers and banks that the owners, have ceased paying their mortgages in some cases for nearly 2 years and have continued to occupy these homes. Now, these are homes in excess of $2,000,000 in the very best neighborhoods in South Florida. Brokers have added that these buyers further complicated things by putting huge home equity lines on top of their mortgages and now have no possibility of selling their homes for amounts needed to cover their accumulated debt.

America is amazing. Ok.

Bloomberg.com Citigroup needs Arab cash, fast!!!! Rlly fast!!!

Russians pissed off about American/Pakistani opium smuggling support in Afghanistan: (via cryptogon)

Narco Aggression: Russia accuses the U.S. military of involvement in drug trafficking out of Afghanistan by Vladimir Radyuhin

Global Research, February 24, 2008: Global Research Editor's Note

The global proceeds of the Afghan drug trade is in excess of 150 billion dollars a year. There is mounting evidence that this illicit trade is protected by the US military.

Historically, starting in the early 1980s, the Afghan drug trade was used to finance CIA covert support of the Islamic brigades. The 2003 war on Afghanistan was launched following the Taliban government's 2000-2001 drug eradication program which led to a collapse in opium production in excess of 90 percent.

The following report, which accuses the United States of using military transport planes to ship narcotics out of Afghanistan confirms what is already known and documented regarding the Golden Crescent Drug Trade and its insiduous relationship to US intelligence.

February 23, 2008

Russia, facing a catastrophic rise in drug addiction, accuses the U.S. military of involvement in drug trafficking from Afghanistan.....

....“Unfortunately, they [NATO] are doing nothing to reduce the narcotic threat from Afghanistan even a tiny bit,” Putin angrily remarked three years ago. He accused the coalition forces of “sitting back and watching caravans haul drugs across Afghanistan to the former Soviet Union and Europe.” As time went by, Russian suspicions regarding the U.S. role in the rise of a narco state in Afghanistan grew deeper, especially after reports from Iraq said that the cultivation of opium poppies was spreading rapidly there too.

“The Americans are working hard to keep narco business flourishing in both countries,” says Mikhail Khazin, president of the consultancy firm Niakon. “They consistently destroy the local infrastructure, pushing the local population to look for illegal means of subsistence. And the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] provides protection to drug trafficking.”

U.S. freelance writer Dave Gibson recalled in an article published in American Chronicle in December what a U.S. foreign intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told NewsMax.com in March 2002 of the CIA’s record of involvement with the international drug trade. The official said: “The CIA did almost the identical thing during the Vietnam War, which had catastrophic consequences – the increase in the heroin trade in the USA beginning in the 1970s is directly attributable to the CIA. The CIA has been complicit in the global drug trade for years, so I guess they just want to carry on their favourite business.”

AFP

(A USAF cargo plane takes off from the U.S. airbase in Incirlik in Turkey in March 2003. A Russian news channel reported that drugs from Afghanistan were hauled by American transport aircraft to the U.S. airbases in Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.)

Now Russia has joined the fray accusing the U.S. military of involvement in the heroin trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe. The Vesti channel’s report from Afghanistan said that drugs from Afghanistan were hauled by American transport aircraft to the U.S. airbases Ganci in Kyrgyzstan and Incirlik in Turkey.

The Ganci Air Force base at the Manas international airport in Kyrgyzstan was set up in late 2001 as a staging post for military operations inside Afghanistan. The Kyrgyz government threatened to close the base after neighbouring Uzbekistan shut down a similar U.S. airbase on its territory in 2005, but relented after Washington agreed to make a one-off payment of $150 million in the form of an assistance package and to pay $15 million a year for the use of the base.

One of the best-informed Russian journalists on Central Asia, Arkady Dubnov, recently quoted anonymous Afghan sources as saying that “85 per cent of all drugs produced in southern and southeastern provinces are shipped abroad by U.S. aviation.”

A well-informed source in Afghanistan’s security services told the Russian journalist that the American military acquired drugs through local Afghan officials who dealt with field commanders in charge of drug production.

Writing in the Vremya Novostei daily, Dubnov claimed that the pro-Western administration of President Hamid Karzai, including his two brothers, Kajum Karzai and Akhmed Vali Karzai, are head-to-heels involved in the narcotics trade.

The article quoted a leading U.S. expert on Afghanistan, Barnett Rubin, as telling an anti-narcotics conference in Kabul last October that “drug dealers had infiltrated Afghani state structures to the extent where they could easily paralyse the work of the government if decision to arrest one of them was ever made.”

Sure, they can say the Russians are grumbling like usual. But from Moscow's perspective, the U.S. is just trying to keep on top of all the Players in the Game. And they run the Wire all over the whole territory, so they know exactly who is doing what where, and can watch the opium caravans go cruising by. The fact that this doesn't track in American conventional wisdom is a monument to the intentional ignorance of Baby Boomers, regardless of how accurate the Russians are here.

The planes, the drugs, the detainees, it all seems to be part of a nexus of secret military/DHS contractor airlines. These guys are soooo 1980s. The ponzi scheme depends on information asymmetry, which can always be disrupted......

Eye Iz Teh Sikk!!

Yeh I have been up around with the sniffles all week. Finally today the ol' sinus passages cleared out and I feel good once more. This was an interesting week, as on Monday I met the one and only Dries Buytaert, the guy who invented Drupal back in college. (The Drupal team is at the U of M to do badass User Interface research). That was the same day as the Veto Override of the Transportation bill, which included a ban on privatizing the road systems of Minnesota.

I suspect that the ban may have been related to the work I did exposing the NAFTA Superhighway plan for MN back in December, which apparently got picked up by the DFL Capitol staff. have to follow up on that.

So yeah, today is the first in quite a few days where I don't feel totally gunked or garbled. Not bad for a Friday!!!

Minnesota Legislature defeats Pawlenty, here's the fine print: A bill for an act relating to transportation finance; appropriati

In an epic battle, Minnesota Democrats and a small tribe of brave, rebellious, Republicans defeated Governor Pawlenty's perpetually stupid transportation policies, and put forth a really good plan to save this whole metro area from a perpetually crappy future. Toll roads and privatization are banned (with some loopholes), the license tab caps enacted under Ventura have been removed, and a ton of money will get put into transit. MnDOT is also directed to make nice with the feds and develop a complete metro-wide transportation plan.

The metro area gets a huge block of new money, much of which will go right into transit, the first time in ages that anything has come that way.

Meanwhile local areas can vote to enact small sales taxes to cover various projects, which will be handed out by new joint boards. Or something along those lines. While it seems like a big slam of money, there is also a small gasoline tax refund for lower brackets.

Also they have to report the state of all the bridges every year. In all, it is a model bill for a troubled metro area such as ours, and should really catch notice within months. It also couldn't come soon enough: the municipal bond market is all screwed up now, so it is going to be hard to borrow money.

TPaw sheds some crocodile tears for the defeat of his hardline friends. Once again, he gets off the hook!

1.1A bill for an act


1.2 relating to transportation finance; appropriating money for transportation

1.3activities; providing funding for highway maintenance, debt service, and local

1.4roads; appropriating funds for emergency relief related to the I-35W bridge

1.5collapse; establishing a trunk highway bridge improvement program; requiring

1.6a study of value capture to reduce the public costs of large transportation

1.7infrastructure investment; authorizing sale and issuance of bonds; modifying

1.8motor vehicle registration and motor fuel taxes; establishing annual surcharge on

1.9motor fuel taxes; creating a motor fuels tax credit; allocating motor vehicle lease

1.10tax revenues; providing for local transportation sales taxes; modifying county

1.11state-aid highway fund revenue allocation; prohibiting tolling or privatization

1.12of existing transportation facilities; establishing bridge improvement program;

1.13modifying driver's license reinstatement fee provisions; regulating certain transit

1.14funding activities; modifying provisions related to various transportation-related

1.15funds and accounts; establishing a task force; requiring reports;amending

1.16Minnesota Statutes 2006, sections 160.84, subdivision 1; 161.081, subdivision 3;

1.17162.06; 162.07, subdivision 1, by adding subdivisions; 168.013, subdivision 1a;

1.18171.29, subdivision 2; 290.06, by adding a subdivision; 296A.07, subdivision

1.193; 296A.08, subdivision 2; 297A.64, subdivision 2; 297A.815, by adding a

1.20subdivision; 297A.99, subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota

1.21Statutes, chapters 160; 165; 296A; 297A; 398A.

1.22BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

.... huzzah (and there was much rejoicing) ..... TPaw blamed someone else, and all was well in the land.... BE IT ENACTED!

Quality CIA movie adventure day inspires tighter security; Oil, 35W, Housing, Market Crashes Immanent & Imminent?

It has been quite a while since I rattled at the shimmering electrons which might or might not care about what I have to say. Things are definitely going to shit:

  • Turkey is invading Iraq, which will generate internal war #4 apparently. Pakistan is also disintegrating with generous jabs at the hornet's nest from freaggin Obama.
  • Evidently our infrastructure is crumbling. I spent quality time at work reading all the wretched MnDOT reports on the I-35W bridge; they were nightmares - more on that later
  • The national credit market LSD-fueled HedgeFundMortgageCrackPalooza seems to be crumbling as well. There is a systemic shock or crash emerging which is going to damage the housing/sprawl market for a long time. Literally our urban structures might stop sprawling & generating all that fabulous paper wealth. At least the last couple weeks a sign that the economy might suddenly abandon 'good faith & credit' soon, just in time for...
  • The exploding oil market which will finally kill the American Dream of fetid suburban development once and for all. Even Mexican oil production is crashing. Demand is going to rise in these producer countries and they'll quit exporting. Supplies will fall and we're gonna hit that fucked-up time where all these complicated Cheap Oil systems will fail (Wal-Mart's 11,000 mile supply chain is a prime example).

That is enough to keep anyone away from writing. Yet here I am back again, against my better judgment.

No harm; the summer is a terrible time for blogging. I still have to update some Drupal modules, but at least the core is safely up to 5.2. After watching The Bourne Ultimatum and TNT's nifty docudrama miniseries The Company, I had a good whomping of the paranoia and knew it was time to tighten up all the digital angles best I can, so I took the site offline for a couple days to patch it up.

The first week back in town (last week) really rattled me. I haven't quite found my feet yet, I guess.

To top it off some little bastard stole my bottle of French wine from the kitchen over the weekend. It is a lucky stroke of good fortune I saved a backup. It's airport duty-free wine anyway, but fuckall shit I hauled it around the world spewing 90 pounds of carbon to get it here. FUCK. And then they left a filthy, half-full glass in the fridge.

Now back in town, I am at my parents' house in Hudson, Great Wisco, while I ponder getting a new apartment and the absurd amount of gas you gotta burn to live out here.

Tonight I finally gave in and plugged my desktop Mac G5 back together. It likes to scare the shit out of me once in a while and refuses to come back on. The monitor just sits there, glum & dark. I dimly recalled beating this problem before. [Nice thing about Macs: these kinds of shitstorms have a pretty limited complexity. It's about something easier than device drivers and Windows insanity...]

Here I'm making a note to myself: When initially setting up, I need to unplug all external drives and the external speakers (harman/kardon makes a nice speaker, but these old dogs are getting rough - and they tend to cause USB fuckups). Then I had to hit the Mac's special internal reset button, known as the PMU switch, which gives a mega-zap to the PRAM. (these were called CUDA switches back in the day) IMPORTANT: Only press the PMU for One Second While It's NOT plugged in. Otherwise you'll fry it. Too bad I definitely pressed it for way too long.

Then is step 2: plug the computer back in; hit the power button and immediately hold down Command-Option-P-R . This is also a PRAM zap which works at a lesser level than PMU. The G5 first issues its normal startup chime, then you gotta wait, still holding the keys. It chimes again. Wait. And again.

Then finally you let go, and for whatever mysterious reason it comes right back to life, no problem. I really think it's because the USB speakers and maybe the external hard drive hork it somehow.

In any case OS X 10.4.10 has been kinda dodgy in the USB department: my brother's Intel MacBook can't connect to his external music hard drive for shit since the upgrade. Someone discovered that running 'USB Prober' from the OS X Developer Tools gets it to rediscover the drives. I am way too tired to look up links right now.

That is all for now. I promise we'll be back on the gravy train of at least 3 posts a week for a while.

NAFTA Superhighway scheme exposed in Minnesota - not bad for a day's work!! Now I'm going on vacation!!!1!!!

All right everyone. I am about to leave for England & France with my brother and dad tomorrow and I don't plan to blog or stay in the loop at all. But before I go, here is a story I did about the secret NAFTA superhighway scheme uncovered here in Minnesota. We published this in Politics in Minnesota: The Weekly Report yesterday...

SuperRondo Superhighway? MnDOT, NASCO, and plans for the I-35 NAFTA Superhighway

St. Paul's Rondo Days festival is right around the corner on July 21st. Rondo, of course, was the primarily black neighborhood obliterated when I-94 was built and blasted through, a route selected because of the neighborhood's lack of political clout. Deploying the "Stops-4-Us" message, the University Avenue Community Coalition plans to raise awareness about the potential damage to their neighborhoods because of the proposed Central Corridor light rail project, which they fear will remove parking, disrupt commerce and fail to offer enough stops for their community. The federal government wants fewer stops on the Corridor to reduce trip time, or else federal funds will be jeopardized. As one UACC organizer said to PIM, this federal policy has effectively removed transit stops from other urban communities around the nation.

On a much larger scale, proposals are now being drawn up for large transportation networks across America piggybacking on the interstate highway system. PIM has obtained documents from the Minnesota Department of Transportation about proposals to create major international transportation corridors along I-35 and I-94. The documents were obtained from MnDOT via the Minnesota Data Practices Act by local lawyer Nathan Hansen and posted on his blog and law firm's website. We have packaged the PDFs into a 66 MB ZIP archive available here through PIM's website.

The major group coordinating this effort is North America's Supercorridor Coalition, or NASCO. The MnDOT files include many strategic public relations emails among NASCO, lobbyists, government employees across the country, in Canada and Mexico, as well as grant applications specifying the exact nature of NASCO projects. Many emails among MnDOT personnel are also included. These documents formed the basis for a report by Jerome Corsi at WorldNetDaily, which also discussed MnDOT's views of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's (R) position on the matter. (Officially, he doesn't have one). The documents confirm that MnDOT agreed to join NASCO for a specially discounted price of $15,000, money that perhaps could have been better spent patching I-35W's potholes.

NASCO's website declares that I-35 is already the NAFTA superhighway; the group is not trying to build some vast network. Oklahoma City's mayor recently agreed [GoogleVideo] that I-35 was "really a part of that NAFTA corridor," and the U.S., Canada and Mexico should really be one economy. Both publicly and privately, NASCO brushes off the supposedly sinister nature of their project, which they say is intended to benefit the economy and alleviate congestion. Also MnDOT provided NASCO an index of projects along I-35 and I-94 in an effort to get NASCO's Washington lobbyists to coordinate better funding.

Also released were NASCO public relations documents describing how to spin media coverage, and MnDOT emails about media incidents. Oddly, NASCO distributed PR material disambiguating themselves, the cross-border Security and Prosperity Partnership, and even the Council on Foreign Relations, among their materials sent to Minnesota.

Interestingly, NASCO discusses an advanced systems integration platform called NAFTRACS (North American Facilitation of Transportation, Trade, Reduced Congestion and Security Project), which would be developed by SAVI, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, which already handles shipping container logistics for the Pentagon's Global Transportation Network. The NAFTRACS "integration pilot program will automatically gather, correlate, and interpret fragments of multi-source (Radar, AIS, & GPS tracks, Open Source, Intelligence, Watch list & Law Enforcement Report, CCTV, Bioterrorism sensors) data together into one collaborative portal-based environment, an [sic] ultimately a Total Transportation Domain Awareness Center of Excellence." The NASCO Center of Excellence and Total Domain Awareness Center would be the "centerpiece of the corridor coalition; will engage in studies, development and deployment activities; will seek funding & investment for a broad array of projects relevant to both the corridor and of current & national significance," including "the US-Mexico-Canada Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP); Hurricane Katrina/Rita impact; Cross-border trade facilitation and information sharing; inland ports network; counter-terrorism and security." In the last couple PDF files, the development of NAFTRACS through Lockheed Martin's advanced military-oriented research facility in Virginia is discussed at length.

PIM hasn't heard anything about this project through the grapevine; only nativist and conservative media outlets (what some would dub "right wing whacko") have focused on plans for continental integration. It seems unlikely that massive superhighways will be built along I-35, but still, it's quite interesting to examine the flurry of communications, message management and cross-border integration exposed by this set of documents. Check out the raw material; it's really quite unusual and informative. While activists in Texas and Oklahoma are raising a ruckus about the potential Rondoization of their counties, Minnesotans would be wise to look south and keep an eye out.

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Well that's it everyone. Have a good time, I will see you in two weeks. Thanks for visiting! And check out PoliticsInMinnesota to see how they pull it off when I'm gone!

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