More than two years after the catastrophe, Japanese officialdom has raised the severity of the calamity from one to three (on a scale of seven). The threat elevation is due to massive amounts of radioactive water leaking out of the site.
“The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic,” nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider told the BBC. “It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse.”
This is having an impact on everything from the water supply to the surrounding oceans.
“Our biggest concern right now is if some of the other isotopes such as Strontium-90, which tend to be more mobile, get through these sediments in the groundwater,” scientist Ken Buesseler said. “They are entering the oceans at levels that then will accumulate in seafood and will cause new health concerns.”
The horror stories just keep on accumulating, as Harvey Wasserman documents for The Progressive.
“A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40 percent of the children in the Fukushima area,” he writes. “Cesium-137 from Fukushima has been found in fish caught as far away as California.”
It’s not shocking, then, that Fukushima is causing the world to take a long, hard look at nuclear energy.
“It has profoundly shaken confidence in the future of nuclear power, from Taiwan—where earlier this month MPs resorted to fisticuffs as they debated a referendum on a new nuclear power station—to Berlin,” The Guardian notes.
“The kind of cascade of devastating events that hit Fukushima hadn’t previously been factored into risk probability assessments,” the paper says. “Now regulatory authorities all over the world have been forced to consider whether, however unlikely, more than one accident could happen in quick succession, and what the consequences would be.”
The continuing calamity has put a crimp in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s grandiose plans to go in for a full-scale nuclear revival.
“Even before news of the new leak, a majority of the public was against restarts, according to a Kyodo News poll taken July 13-14, with 51 percent opposing and 40 percent in favor of reviving Japan’s nuclear program,” Bloomberg News reports. “The latest revelation could further sway sentiment against nuclear power, according to Koichi Nakano, professor of politics at Sophia University in Tokyo.”
However, for something that has such ongoing significance, there’s comparatively little current coverage of Fukushima in the American media.
“Unlike other environmental catastrophes like BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Fukushima crisis offers little to film,” Eric Ozawa writes for The Nation. “And so the story, when it gets reported, rarely gets the attention it deserves.”
Don’t let that fool you, though. Fukushima is one of the most consequential events of recent years and has huge implications for the types of energy sources we choose—and the type of world we’d like to live in.
Source: Amitabh Pal | The Progressive
Washington knows no heresy in the Third World but genuine independence. In the case of Salvador Allende independence came clothed in an especially provocative costume – a Marxist constitutionally elected who continued to honor the constitution. This would not do. It shook the very foundation stones upon which the anti-communist tower is built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that “communists” can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorizing and brainwashing the population. There could be only one thing worse than a Marxist in power – an elected Marxist in power.
There was no one in the entire universe that those who own and run “United States, Inc.” wanted to see dead more than Hugo Chávez. He was worse than Allende. Worse than Fidel Castro. Worse than any world leader not in the American camp because he spoke out in the most forceful terms about US imperialism and its cruelty. Repeatedly. Constantly. Saying things that heads of state are not supposed to say. At the United Nations, on a shockingly personal level about George W. Bush. All over Latin America, as he organized the region into anti-US-Empire blocs.
Long-term readers of this report know that I’m not much of a knee-reflex conspiracy theorist. But when someone like Chávez dies at the young age of 58 I have to wonder about the circumstances. Unremitting cancer, intractable respiratory infections, massive heart attack, one after the other … It is well known that during the Cold War, the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace. I would like to see the Venezuelan government pursue every avenue of investigation in having an autopsy performed.
Back in December 2011, Chávez, already under treatment for cancer, wondered out loud: “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” The Venezuelan president was speaking one day after Argentina’s leftist president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, announced she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This was after three other prominent leftist Latin America leaders had been diagnosed with cancer: Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff; Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo; and the former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
“Evo take care of yourself. Correa, be careful. We just don’t know,” Chávez said, referring to Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, both leading leftists.
Chávez said he had received words of warning from Fidel Castro, himself the target of hundreds of failed and often bizarre CIA assassination plots. “Fidel always told me: ‘Chávez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what.” 1
When Vice President Nicolas Maduro suggested possible American involvement in Chávez’s death, the US State Department called the allegation absurd. 2
Several progressive US organizations have filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA, asking for “any information regarding or plans to poison or otherwise assassinate the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who has just died.”
I personally believe that Hugo Chávez was murdered by the United States. If his illness and death were NOT induced, the CIA – which has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, many successfully 3 – was not doing its job.
When Fidel Castro became ill several years ago, the American mainstream media was unrelenting in its conjecture about whether the Cuban socialist system could survive his death. The same speculation exists now in regard to Venezuela. The Yankee mind can’t believe that large masses of people can turn away from capitalism when shown a good alternative. It could only be the result of a dictator manipulating the public; all resting on one man whose death would mark finis to the process.
It’s the end of the world … again
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) recent convention in Washington produced the usual Doomsday talk concerning Iran’s imminent possession of nuclear weapons and with calls to bomb that country before they nuked Israel and/or the United States. So once again I have to remind everyone that these people – Israeli and American officials – are not really worried about an Iranian attack. Here are some of their many prior statements:
In 2007, in a closed discussion, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that in her opinion “Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel.” She “also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears.” 4
2009: “A senior Israeli official in Washington”, reported the Washington Post (March 5), asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.”
In 2010 the Sunday Times of London (January 10) reported that Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, war hero, pillar of the Israeli defense establishment, and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons.”
January 2012: US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a television audience: “Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No, but we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability.” 5
Later that month we could read in the New York Times (January 15) that “three leading Israeli security experts – the Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, and a former military chief of staff, Dan Halutz – all recently declared that a nuclear Iran would not pose an existential threat to Israel.”
Then, a few days afterward, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an interview with Israeli Army Radio (January 18), had this exchange:
Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?
Barak: People ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case.
In an April 20, 2012 CNN interview Barak repeated this sentiment: “It’s true that probably [Iranian leader] Khamenei has not given orders to start building a [nuclear] weapon.” 6
And on several other occasions, Barak has stated: “Iran does not constitute an existential threat against Israel.” 7
Lastly, we have the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in a January 2012 report to Congress: “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.” … There are “certain things [the Iranians] have not done” that would be necessary to build a warhead.8
So why, then, do Israeli and American leaders, at most other times, maintain the Doomsday rhetoric? Partly for AIPAC to continue getting large donations. For Israel to get massive amounts of US aid. For Israeli leaders to win elections. To protect Israel’s treasured status as the Middle East’s sole nuclear power.
Listen to Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at America’s most prominent neo-con think tank, American Enterprise Institute:
The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, “See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.” … And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem. 9
Osama bin Laden, Bradley Manning, & William Blum
Bradley Manning has the charge of “Aiding the enemy” hanging over his head. This could lead to a sentence of life in prison. As far as can be deduced, the government believes that the documents and videos that Manning gave to Wikileaks, which Wikileaks then widely distributed to international media, aided the enemy because it put US foreign policy in a very bad light.
Manning’s attorneys have asked the prosecution more than once for specific examples of how “the enemy” (whoever that may refer to in a world full of people bitterly angry at the United States because of any of many terrible acts carried out by the US government) has been “aided” by the Wikileaks disclosures. Just how has the enemy made use of the released material to harm the United States? The government has not provided any such examples, probably because what really bothers Washington officials is the embarrassment they have experienced before the world resulting from the documents and videos; which indeed are highly embarrassing even to genuine war criminals; filled with violations of international law, atrocities, multiple lies to everyone, revelations of gross hypocrisy, and much more.
So our splendid officials are considering putting Bradley Manning in prison forever simply because they’re embarrassed. Hard to find much fault with that.
But now the prosecutors have announced that a Navy Seal involved in the killing of Osama bin Laden is going to testify at the court martial that bin Laden possessed articles about the Wikileaks documents that Manning leaked. Well, there must be a hundred million other people in the world who have similar material on their computers. The question remains: What use did the enemy make of that?
The Iraqi government made use of the material, inducing them to refuse immunity to US troops for crimes committed in Iraq, such as the cold-blooded murders revealed by the Wilileaks videos; this in turn led the US to announce that it was ending its military engagement in Iraq. However, Manning was indicted in May 2010, well before the Iraqi decision to end the immunity.
In January, 2006 bin Laden, in an audio tape, declared: “If Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book ‘Rogue State’ [by William Blum], which states in its introduction … ” He then went on to quote the opening of a paragraph I wrote (which appears actually in the Foreword of the British edition only, that was later translated to Arabic), which in full reads:
“If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize – very publicly and very sincerely – to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America’s global interventions – including the awful bombings – have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but – oddly enough – a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings and invasions. There would be more than enough money. Do you know what one year of the US military budget is equal to? One year. It’s equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born.
“That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated.”
Thus, Osama bin Laden was clearly making use of what I wrote, and the whole world heard it. And I was thus clearly “aiding the enemy”. But I was not prosecuted.
The United States would like to prove a direct use and benefit by “the enemy” of the material released by Wikileaks; but so far it appears that only possession might be proven. In my case the use, and presumed propaganda benefit, were demonstrated. The fact that I wrote the material, as opposed to “stealing” it, is irrelevant to the issue of aiding the enemy. I knew, or should have known, that my criticisms of US foreign policy could be used by the foes of those policies. Indeed, that’s why I write what I do. To provide ammunition to anti-war and other activists.
The Department of Justice and socialism
For many years when I’ve been asked to explain just what I mean by “socialism” I’ve usually replied simply: “Putting people before profits”. There are a thousand-and-one details that would have to be considered in a transformation from a capitalist society to a socialist society, but rather than going into all that it’s much simpler to leave it with just that motto, which expresses theessence of my socialist society. In any event, in that glorious future world things will evolve in ways that could not be wholly predicted. The structure could take any one of many forms, but the essence must remain the same if it’s going to be called socialist.
Thus was I both surprised and amused in reading a news article about the current trial in New Orleans which is attempting to determine, amongst other things, the extent of blame of various companies, particularly BP, involved in the 2010 historic accident which took the lives of 11 workers and dumped an estimated 172 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The US Justice Department attorney declared in his opening statement: “The evidence will show that BP put profits before people, profits before safety and profits before the environment.” 10
Well, imagine that. The Justice Department certainly captured the essence of corporate behavior. The attorney chose such words because he knew that the sentiments expressed would appeal to the average American sitting on a jury. The members of the jury would understand that BP had blatantly ignored and violated certain cherished ideals like people, safety and the environment. Prosecuting the corporation would sound fair and just to them.
Yet, when someone like me expresses such sentiments – and I have used the exact same words on occasion – I run the risk of being written off as an “extremist”, a “radical”, and other bad-for-you labels; not long ago it was “commie”.
The irony runs even deeper. If a corporation flagrantly ignores putting profits before everything else, stockholders can sue the executives.
This just in! The real reason the Pope resigned!
He’s losing his mind.
In January, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with Pope Benedict XVI to receive his blessing. Afterward, Panetta said the pontiff told him, “Thank you for helping to keep the world safe.” 11
The precious art of assassinating legally
Obama hopeium addicts can soon be expected to call for support of the president’s increasing use of drones for assassination on the ground of their being good for the environment. My White House agent informs me that Obama is going to announce that all American drones will soon be composed 85% of recyclable material and will be solar-powered. And each drone missile will have the following painted on its side: “He was a bad guy. Just take our word for it!”
- The Guardian (London), December 29, 2011 ↩
- Huffington Post, March 7, 2013 ↩
- http://killinghope.org/bblum6/assass.htm ↩
- Haaretz.com (Israel), October 25, 2007; print edition October 26 ↩
- “Face the Nation”, CBS, January 8, 2012 ↩
- Washington Post, August 1, 2012 ↩
- Iran Media Fact Check, “Does Israel Consider Iran an ‘Existential Threat’?” ↩
- The Guardian (London), January 31, 2012 ↩
- Political Correction, “American Enterprise Institute Admits The Problem With Iran Is Not That It Would Use Nukes” ↩
- Associated Press, February 26, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, January 17, 2013 ↩
Two Years After The BP Oil Spill, Is The Gulf Ecosystem Collapsing?
The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.
Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:
- New York Times: “Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says
- Mother Jones: Eyeless shrimp are being found all over the Gulf
- Pensacola News Journal: “Sick fish” archive
- Agence France Presse: Mystery illnesses plague Louisiana oil spill crews
- MSNBC:Exclusive: Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico
- AP: BP oil spill the culprit for slow death of deep-sea coral, scientists say (and see theGuardian and AFP‘s write ups)
- A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches
- And all of that lovely Corexit dispersant sprayed on water, land and air? It inhibits the ability of microbes to break down oil, and allows oil and other chemicals to be speed past the normal barriers of human skin. Background here. NYT: Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined Speaking on the chemical ingredients of the dispersants used, “The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”
If you still don’t have a sense of the devastation to the Gulf, American reporter Dahr Jamail lays it out pretty clearly:
“The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”
Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.
Cowan’s findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants.
Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster.
Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.
“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,” Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.
According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”
Eyeless shrimp, from a catch of 400 pounds of eyeless shrimp, said to be caught September 22, 2011, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” she added, “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”
On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded, and began the release of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil. BP then used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants to sink the oil.
Keath Ladner, a third generation seafood processor in Hancock County, Mississippi, is also disturbed by what he is seeing.
“I’ve seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out,” Ladner told Al Jazeera. “The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday.”
While on a shrimp boat in Mobile Bay with Sidney Schwartz, the fourth-generation fisherman said that he had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and “their shells missing around their gills and head”.
“We’ve fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this,” he added.
Ladner has also seen crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws.
Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs “with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they’ve been dead for a week”.
Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.
“We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills.”
Rooks, who grew up fishing with her parents, said she had never seen such things in these waters, and her seafood catch last year was “ten per cent what it normally is”.
“I’ve never seen this,” he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities.
Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.
“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.
The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic – able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus – and carcinogenic.
Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP’s submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from “a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor”.
Marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia published results of her submarine dives around the source area of BP’s oil disaster in the Nature Geoscience journal.
Her evidence showed massive swathes of oil covering the seafloor, including photos of oil-covered bottom dwelling sea creatures.
While showing slides at an American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington, Joye said: “This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads.”
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants.
“Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline,” Subra told Al Jazeera. “We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PAHs “are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil that has spent time in the ocean and eventually reaches shore, and can be formed when oil is burned”.
“The fish are being exposed to PAHs, and I was able to find several references that list the same symptoms in fish after the Exxon Valdez spill, as well as other lab experiments,” explained Cowan. “There was also a paper published by some LSU scientists that PAH exposure has effects on the genome.”
The University of South Florida released the results of a survey whose findings corresponded with Cowan’s: a two to five per cent infection rate in the same oil impact areas, and not just with red snapper, but with more than 20 species of fish with lesions. In many locations, 20 per cent of the fish had lesions, and later sampling expeditions found areas where, alarmingly, 50 per cent of the fish had them.
“I asked a NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] sampler what percentage of fish they find with sores prior to 2010, and it’s one tenth of one percent,” Cowan said. “Which is what we found prior to 2010 as well. But nothing like we’ve seen with these secondary infections and at this high of rate since the spill.”
“What we think is that it’s attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor,” Cowan said. “There’s no other thing we can use to explain this phenomenon. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Crustacean biologist Darryl Felder, in the Department of Biology with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is in a unique position.
Felder has been monitoring the vicinity of BP’s blowout Macondo well both before and after the oil disaster began, because, as he told Al Jazeera, “the National Science Foundation was interested in these areas that are vulnerable due to all the drilling”.
“So we have before and after samples to compare to,” he added. “We have found seafood with lesions, missing appendages, and other abnormalities.”
Felder also has samples of inshore crabs with lesions. “Right here in Grand Isle we see lesions that are eroding down through their shell. We just got these samples last Thursday and are studying them now, because we have no idea what else to link this to as far as a natural event.”
According to Felder, there is an even higher incidence of shell disease with crabs in deeper waters.
“My fear is that these prior incidents of lesions might be traceable to microbes, and my questions are, did we alter microbial populations in the vicinity of the well by introducing this massive amount of petroleum and in so doing cause microbes to attack things other than oil?”
One hypothesis he has is that the waxy coatings around crab shells are being impaired by anthropogenic chemicals or microbes resulting from such chemicals.
“You create a site where a lesion can occur, and microbes attack. We see them with big black lesions, around where their appendages fall off, and all that is left is a big black ring.”
Felder added that his team is continuing to document the incidents: “And from what we can tell, there is a far higher incidence we’re finding after the spill.”
“We are also seeing much lower diversity of crustaceans,” he said. “We don’t have the same number of species as we did before [the spill].”
Felder is also finding “odd staining” of animals that burrow into the mud that cause stain rings, and said: “It is consistently mineral deposits, possibly from microbial populations in [overly] high concentrations.”
Dr Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, co-authored the report Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2011.
Whitehead’s work is of critical importance, as it shows a direct link between BP’s oil and the negative impacts on the Gulf’s food web evidenced by studies on killifish before, during and after the oil disaster.
“What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil,” Whitehead told Al Jazeera during an interview in his lab.
According to Whitehead, the killifish is an important indicator species because they are the most abundant fish in the marshes, and are known to be the most important forage animal in their communities.
“That means that most of the large fish that we like to eat and that these are important fisheries for, actually feed on the killifish,” he explained. “So if there were to be a big impact on those animals, then there would probably be a cascading effect throughout the food web. I can’t think of a worse animal to knock out of the food chain than the killifish.”
But we may well be witnessing the beginnings of this worst-case scenario.
Whitehead is predicting that there could be reproductive impacts on the fish, and since the killifish is a “keystone” species in the food web of the marsh, “Impacts on those species are more than likely going to propagate out and effect other species. What this shows is a very direct link from exposure to DWH oil and a clear biological effect. And a clear biological effect that could translate to population level long-term consequences.”
Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, as well as a marine and oyster biologist, has “great concern” about the hundreds of dolphin deaths he has seen in the region since BP’s disaster began, which he feels are likely directly related to the BP oil disaster.
“Adult dolphins’ systems are picking up whatever is in the system out there, and we know the oil is out there and working its way up the food chain through the food web – and dolphins are at the top of that food chain.”
Cake explained: “The chemicals then move into their lipids, fat, and then when they are pregnant, their young rely on this fat, and so it’s no wonder dolphins are having developmental issues and still births.”
Cake, who lives in Mississippi, added: “It has been more than 33 years since the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil disaster in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, and the oysters, clams, and mangrove forests have still not recovered in their oiled habitats in seaside estuaries of the Yucatan Peninsula. It has been 23 years since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, and the herring fishery that failed in the wake of that disaster has still not returned.”
Cake believes we are still in the short-term impact stage of BP’s oil disaster.
“I will not be alive to see the Gulf of Mexico recover,” said Cake, who is 72 years old. “Without funding and serious commitment, these things will not come back to pre-April 2010 levels for decades.”
“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets,” Rooks said. “Think about losing everything that makes you happy, because that is exactly what happens when someone spills oil and sprays dispersants on it. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”
Khuns and her husband told Al Jazeera that fishermen continue to regularly find tar balls in their crab traps, and hundreds of pounds of tar balls continue to be found on beaches across the region on a daily basis.
Meanwhile Cowan continues his work, and remains concerned about what he is finding.
“We’ve also seen a decrease in biodiversity in fisheries in certain areas. We believe we are now seeing another outbreak of incidence increasing, and this makes sense, since waters are starting to warm again, so bacterial infections are really starting to take off again. We think this is a problem that will persist for as long as the oil is stored on the seafloor.”
Did the BP Spill Ever Really Stop?
We’ve repeatedly documented that BP’s gulf Mocando well is still leaking.
Stuart Smith – a successful trial lawyer who won a billion dollar verdict against Exxon Mobil –noted recently:
New sampling data from the nonprofit Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) provide confirmation that not only is BP’s oil still very much present in the water in Bayou La Batre, but that it still exists in a highly toxic state nearly two years after the spill.
Here are photos of brown oily foam washing ashore in Bayou La Batre (just west of Mobile Bay) on February 27, 2012:
Water samples were taken by Dennis and Lori Bosarge, LEAN members from Coden, Alabama. The lab-certified test results are in (see full lab report at bottom), and they are startling in that they suggest that oil is still leaking from the Macondo reservoir – most likely from cracks and fissures in the seafloor around the plugged wellhead. Scientists believe the cracks were caused by BP’s heavy-handed “kill” efforts.
Despite numerous opportunities to do so, the U.S. Coast Guard has never publicly denied that the Macondo field is still leaking. And these latest sampling results out of Bayou La Batre provide damning new evidence that the BP oil spill never really ended.
Government Sits On Its Hands …
The New York Times notes today:
Congress’s response to the spill has been truly pathetic. It has not passed a single bill to prevent another catastrophe, according to a report issued Tuesday by former members of a presidential commission that investigated the spill. Congress has failed even to codify the Interior Department’s sound regulatory reforms, which could be undone by a future administration.
The administration has developed new standards for each stage of the drilling process — from rig design to spill response — insisting that operators fully prepare for worst-case scenarios. But the commissioners’ report notes that the new equipment systems have not yet been tested in deep-water conditions.
Indeed, Mother Jones points out that the White House pressured scientists to underestimate BP spill size. And see this Forbes write up, and our previous reporting on the topic.
This is exactly like Fukushima and the financial mess, because government’s approach to crises is consistent, no matter what area we are talking about: let the giant companies which fund political campaigns do whatever they want … and then help them cover up the extent of the crisis once it inevitably hits.
Source: Washington’s Blog
The Private Global Power Elite embedded in major governments is dead set on imposing World Government on us sooner rather than later. Let’s look at 12 mega-processes – veritable “Triggers” – that we infer they are using to achieve their goals.
All roads lead to World Government. This should come as no surprise. London’s Financial Times openly articulated this view in an article by their chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman, published on 8 December 2009, whose title said it all: “And Now for a World Government.” These goals are echoed by the Trilateral Commission, CFR and Bilderberg insiders – even by the Vatican.
Macro-managing planet Earth is no easy matter. It requires strategic and tactical planning by a vast think-tank network allied to major elite universities whereby armies of academics, operators, lobbyists, media players and government officers interface, all abundantly financed by the global corporate and banking superstructure.
They do this holistically, knowing that they operate on different stages moving at very different speeds:
- Financial Triggers move at lightning speed thanks to electronic information technology that can make or break markets, currencies and entire countries in just hours or days;
- Economic Triggers move slower: manufacturing cars, aircraft, food, clothes, building plants and houses takes months;
- Political Triggers tied to the “democratic system” put politicians in power for several years;
- Cultural Triggers require entire generations to implement; this is where PsyWar has reached unprecedented “heights”.
Risk-managing this whole process takes into account the many pitfalls and surprises in store. So each plan in every field counts, with “Plan B’s” – even Plans “C” and “D” – which can be implemented if needed.
Twelve Triggers for World Government
Today, the Global Power Elite are wrapping up globalization and ushering in World Government. Paraphrasing the tightrope walker in German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” this implies “….a dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting…”
These 12 Triggers are interlinked and interlocked in a highly complex, holistic matrix, very flexible in its tactics but rigidly unbending in its strategic objectives. When read as a whole, the picture that unfolds shows that whole being far more than the sum of its parts.
1) Financial Meltdown. Since 2008, the Global Financial System continues on life-support. Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and the US economic hit team – Robert Rubin, Larry Summers and Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, JPMorganChase mega-bankers working with the Bank of England and the European Central Bank – have not and will not take any measures to help the populace and ailing economies. They just funnel trillions to the banking elite, imposing the media myth that certain banks are “too big to fail” (Orwellian Newspeak for “too damn powerful to fail”). Why? Because it’s not governments overseeing, supervising and controlling Goldman Sachs, CitiCorp, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JPMorganChase, but exactly the other way around…
2) Economic Crises. Today, “Destructive Extreme Capitalism” is collapsing national and regional economies, reformatting them into international slave-labour Gulag-like entities that Joseph Stalin would envy. Our woes lie not with the world’s real economy (mostly intact), but with the fake world of finance, banks, and speculation;
3) Social Upheavals. Meltdowns in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland and – soon to come – Italy, Spain and others, trigger violent social uprisings, even in the US and UK;
4) Pandemics. Get ready for more “flu surprises” leading to mandatory vaccinations: a discreet opportunity to slip RFID chips into our bodies and test “intelligent viruses” targeting specific DNA strains. Racially and ethnically selective viruses as part of mass depopulation campaigns?
5) Global Warming. As the global economy sinks into zero growth mode, economic drivers shift from growth expansion to consumption contraction. Will coming “carbon credits” open the path to full societal control?
6) Terrorist “False Flag” Mega-Attacks. The Elite have this wildcard up their sleeve to jump-start new “crises” as short-cuts towards world government. Will new “attacks” dwarfing 9/11 justify further global wars, invasions and genocide? A nuclear weapon over a major city to be blamed on the Elite’s “enemies”?
7) Generalized War in the Middle East. As we speak, naval forces, bombers, entire armies are poised to attack and invade Syria, Iran…
8 ) Ecological/Environmental “Accidents”. The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident sparked the beginning of the end of the former USSR by showing the world and the Soviets themselves that their State could no longer manage their own nuclear facilities. April 2010 saw the BP “Deepwater Horizon” oil rig eco-catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico; since March 2011, Japan and the world have been grappling with a much larger nuclear accident in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. Was foul play involved?
9) Assassination of a major political or religious figure to be blamed on an Elite enemy. Mossad, CIA, MI6 are really good at playing this type of dirty trick;
10) Attacks on “Rogue States” – Iraq, Libya… Who’s next? Iran? Syria? Venezuela? North Korea?
11) Staged “Religious” Event. The growing need of the masses for meaning in their lives makes them easy victims of a Hollywood-staged, 3D virtual reality hologram show, orchestrating a “second coming”. An electronically engineered “messianic figure” acting in sync with Elite global objectives? Who would dare go against God himself?
12) Staged “Alien Contact.” This too may be in the works. For decades, large sectors of world population have been programmed to believe in aliens. Here too, hologram technology could stage a “space vehicle landing” – on the White House lawn, of course – highlighting the “need” for Mankind to have “unified representation” in the face of extraterrestrials. Further justification for world government?
What do such interlocking “crises” have in common? Global warming, pandemics, “international terrorism”, financial collapse, economic depression, even alien contacts? They all serve to show that they cannot be addressed by any single nation state, thus “justifying” the need for World Government.
2012: We must stay especially alert, understanding things the way they really are and not the way the global TV Masters want us to believe they are.
Source: Adrian Salbuchi for RT
Since BP’s catastrophic Macondo Blowout in the Gulf of Mexico last year, the Obama Administration has granted nearly 300 new drilling permits  and shirked plans to plug 3,600 of more than 28,000 abandoned wells, which pose significant threats to the severely damaged sea.
Among those granted new permits for drilling in the Gulf, on Friday Obama granted BP permission to explore for oil in the Gulf, allowing it to bid on new leases that will be sold at auction in December.
Reports Dow Jones:
“The upcoming lease sale, scheduled for Dec. 14 in New Orleans, involves leases in the western Gulf of Mexico. The leases cover about 21 million acres, in water depths of up to 11,000 feet. It will be the first lease auction since the Deepwater Horizon spill.” 
Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey objected to BP’s participation in the upcoming lease sale, pointing out that:
“Comprehensive safety legislation hasn’t passed Congress, and BP hasn’t paid the fines they owe for their spill, yet BP is being given back the keys to drill in the Gulf.”
Environmental watchdog, Oceana, added its objection to the new permits, saying that none of the new rules implemented since April 2010 would have prevented the BP disaster.
“Our analysis shows that while the new rules may increase safety to some degree, they likely would not have prevented the last major oil spill, and similarly do not adequately protect against future ones.” 
Detailing the failure of the Dept. of Interior’s safety management systems, Oceana summarizes:
- Regulation exemptions (“departures”) are often granted, including one that arguably led to the BP blowout;
- Economic incentives make violating rules lucrative because penalties are ridiculously small;
- Blowout preventers continue to have critical deficiencies; and
- Oversight and inspection levels are paltry relative to the scale of drilling operation.
Nor have any drilling permits been denied  since the BP catastrophe on April 20, 2010, which still spews oil today .
28,079 Abandoned Wells in Gulf of Mexico
In an explosive report at Sky Truth, John Amos reveals from government data that “there are currently 24,486 known permanently abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico,and 3,593 ‘temporarily’ abandoned wells, as of October 2011.” 
TA wells are those temporarily sealed so that future drilling can be re-started. Both TA wells and “permanently abandoned” (PA) wells endure no inspections.
Over a year ago, the Dept. of Interior promised to plug the “temporarily abandoned” (TA) wells, and dismantle another 650 production platforms no longer in use.  At an estimated decommissioning cost of $1-3 billion , none of this work has been started, though Feds have approved 912 permanent abandonment plans and 214 temporary abandonment plans submitted since its September 2010 rule. 
Over 600 of those abandoned wells belong to BP, reported the Associated Press last year, adding that some of the permanently abandoned wells date back to the 1940s . Amos advises that some of the “temporarily abandoned” wells date back to the 1950s.
“Experts say abandoned wells can repressurize, much like a dormant volcano can awaken. And years of exposure to sea water and underground pressure can cause cementing and piping to corrode and weaken,” reports AP.
Leaking abandoned wells pose a significant environmental and economic threat. A three-month EcoHearth investigation revealed that a minimum of 2.5 million abandoned wells in the US and 20-30 million worldwide receive no follow up inspections to ensure they are not leaking. Worse:
“There is no known technology for securely sealing these tens of millions of abandoned wells. Many—likely hundreds of thousands—are already hemorrhaging oil, brine and greenhouse gases into the environment. Habitats are being fundamentally altered. Aquifers are being destroyed. Some of these abandoned wells are explosive, capable of building-leveling, toxin-spreading detonations. And thanks to primitive capping technologies, virtually all are leaking now—or will be.” 
Sealed with cement, adds EcoHearth, “Each abandoned well is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. The triggers include accidents, earthquakes, natural erosion, re-pressurization (either spontaneous or precipitated by fracking) and, simply, time.”
As far back as 1994, the Government Accountability Office warned that there was no effective strategy in place to inspect abandoned wells, nor were bonds sufficient to cover the cost of abandonment. Lease abandonment costs estimated at “$4.4 billion in current dollars … were covered by only $68 million in bonds.” 
The GAO concluded that “leaks can occur… causing serious damage to the environment and marine life,” adding that “MMS has not encouraged the development of nonexplosive structure removal technologies that would eliminate or minimize environmental damage.”
Not only cement, but seals, valves and gaskets can deteriorate over time. A 2000 report by C-FER Technologies to the Dept. of Interior identified several different points where well leaks can occur, as this image (p. 26) reveals. To date, no regulations prescribe a maximum time wells may remain inactive before being permanently abandoned. 
“The most common failure mechanisms (corrosion, deterioration, and malfunction) cause mainly small leaks [up to 49 barrels, or 2,058 gallons]. Corrosion is historically known to cause 85% to 90% of small leaks.”
Depending on various factors, C-FER concludes that “Shut-In” wells reach an environmental risk threshhold in six months, TA wells in about 10-12 years, and PA wells in 25 years. Some of these abandoned wells are 63 years old.
The AP noted that none of the 1994 GAO recommendations have been implemented. Abandoned wells remain uninspected and pose a threat which the government continues to ignore.
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) was renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) last May after MMS drew heavy fire for malfeasance, including allowing exemptions to safety rules it granted to BP. An Office of Inspector General investigation revealed that MMS employees accepted gifts from the oil and gas industry, including sex, drugs and trips, and falsified inspection reports. 
Not only was nothing was done with the 1994 GAO recommendations to protect the environment from abandoned wells, its 2003 reorganization recommendations  were likewise ignored. In a June 2011 report on agency reorganization in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, the GAO reports that “as of December 2010,” the DOI “had not implemented many recommendations we made to address numerous weaknesses and challenges.” 
Reorganization proceeded. Effective October 1, 2011, the Dept. of the Interior split BOEMRE into three new federal agencies: the Office of Natural Resources Revenue to collect mineral leasing fees, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) “to carry out the offshore energy management and safety and environmental oversight missions.” The DOI admits:
“The Deepwater Horizon blowout and resulting oil spill shed light on weaknesses in the federal offshore energy regulatory system, including the overly broad mandate and inherently conflicted missions of MMS which was charged with resource management, safety and environmental protection, and revenue collection.” 
BOEM essentially manages the development of offshore drilling, while BSEE oversees environmental protection, with some eco-protection overlap between the two agencies. 
Early this month, BSEE Director Michael R. Bromwich spoke at the Global Offshore Safety Summit Conference in Stavanger, Norway, sponsored by the International Regulators Forum. He announced a new position, Chief Environmental Officer of the BOEM:
“This person will be empowered, at the national level, to make decisions and final recommendations when leasing and environmental program heads cannot reach agreement. This individual will also be a major participant in setting the scientific agenda for the United States’ oceans.” 
Bromwich failed to mention anything about the abandoned wells under his purview. Out of sight, out of mind.
Cost of the Macondo Blowout
On Monday, the GAO published its final report of a three-part series on the Gulf oil disaster.  Focused on federal financial exposure to oil spill claims, the accountants nevertheless point out that, as of May 2011, BP paid $700 million toward those spill claims out of its $20 billion Trust established to cover that deadly accident. BP and Oxford Economics estimate the total cost for eco-cleanup and compensatory economic damages will run to the “tens of billions of dollars.” 
On the taxpayer side, the GAO estimates the federal government’s costs will exceed the billion dollar incident cap set by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (as amended). As of May 2011, agency costs reached past $626 million.
The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund’s income is generated from an oil barrel tax that is set to expire in 2017, notes GAO.
With Monday’s District Court decision in Louisiana, BP also faces punitive damages on “thousands of thousands of thousands of claims.” U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier denied BP’s appeal that might have killed several hundred thousand claims, among them that clean up workers have still not been fully paid by BP. 
Meanwhile, destroying the planet for profit continues unabated. It’s time to Occupy the Gulf of Mexico: No more oil drilling in our food source.
 U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “Status of Gulf of Mexico Well Permits,” n.d. http://www.bsee.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Permits/Status-of-Gulf-of-Mexico-Well-Permits.aspx
 Tennille Tracy, “US Govt Approves First BP Deepwater Exploration Plan in US Gulf Under New Rules,” Dow Jones News Wire, 24 Oct. 2011. Reproduced athttp://www.firstenercastfinancial.com/news/story/45441-us-govt-approves-first-bp-deepwater-exploration-plan-us-gulf-under-new-rules
 Michael Craig and Jacqueline Savitz, “False Sense of Safety: Safety Measures Will Not Make Offshore Drilling Safe,” Oceana, 20 Oct. 2011http://na.oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/OffshoreSafetyReport_Oceana_10-18-11.pdf
Also see Oceana’s online appendix showing an analysis of each new safety measure’s effect on safety.http://na.oceana.org/sites/default/files/OnlineAppendix_SafetyReport_Oceana_10-19-11.pdf
 U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “Application for Permit to Drill (APD) Approval Process and Definitions,” n.d.http://www.bsee.gov/uploadedFiles/APD_Facts_and_Definitions_BSEE.pdf
 See, e.g.:
David Edwards, “New evidence of a massive oil slick near Deepwater Horizon site,” Raw Story, 1 Sept. 2011. http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/new-evidence-of-a-massive-oil-slick-near-deepwater-horizon-site/
Frank Whalen, “Oil Still Gushing from Bp Well in Gulf,” American Free Press, 2 Sept. 2011. http://americanfreepress.net/?p=341
Dahr Jamail, “Environmental Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: The Escalation of BP’s Liability,” Global Research, 5 Oct. 2011.http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26947
Luis R. Miranda, “Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor Unstable, Fractured, Spilling Hydrocarbons,” The Real Agenda, 10 Oct. 2011. http://real-agenda.com/2011/10/10/gulf-of-mexico-sea-floor-unstable-fractured-spilling-hydrocarbons/
 John Amos, “Over 28,000 Abandoned Wells in the Gulf of Mexico,” 18 Oct. 2011.http://blog.skytruth.org/2011/10/abandoned-wells-in-gulf-of-mexico.html
 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, “Interior Department Issues ‘Idle Iron’ Guidance,” 15 Sept. 2010. http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Interior-Department-Issues-Idle-Iron-Guidance.cfm
 Siobhan Hughes, “Plugs Ordered on Idle Wells: Move to Permanently Seal Sites in Gulf Could Cost Billions but Create New Work,” Wall Street Journal, 16 Sept. 2010.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703743504575493782591743858.html
 U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “Idle Iron Update,” n.d. (pp. 9-16) https://www.noia.org/website/download.asp?id=47290
 Jeff Donn and Mitch Weiss, “Gulf of Mexico hides 27,000 abandoned wells,” Associated Press, 7 July 2010.http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20100707-Gulf-of-Mexico-hides-27-000-1068.ece
 Steven Kotler, “Planet Sludge: Millions of Abandoned, Leaking Oil Wells and Natural-Gas Wells Destined to Foul Our Future,” EcoHearth, 17 Aug. 2011.http://ecohearth.com/eco-zine/green-issues/1609-abandoned-leaking-oil-wells-natural-gas-well-leaks-disaster.html
 U.S. Government Accounting Office, “Offshore Oil and Gas Resources: Interior Can Improve its Management of Lease Abandonment,” (GAO/RCED-94-82) May 1994.http://archive.gao.gov/t2pbat3/151878.pdf
 J.R. Nichols and S.N. Kariyawasam, “Risk Assessment of Temporarily Abandoned or Shut-in Wells,” C-FER Technologies, Oct. 2000.http://www.boemre.gov/tarprojects/329/329AA.pdf
 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Office of Inspector General, “Investigative Report – Island Operating Company, et al.,” 31 March 2010.http://www.govexec.com/pdfs/052510ts1.pdf
 U.S. Government Accounting Office, “Results-Oriented Cultures: Implementation Steps to Assist Mergers and Organizational Transformations,” (GAO-03-669) 2 July 2003. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-669
 U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Oil and Gas: Interior’s Restructuring Challenges in the Aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill,” (GAO-11-734T) 2 June 2011.http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11734t.pdf
 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, “Interior Department Completes Reorganization of the Former MMS,” 30 Sept. 2011. http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Interior-Department-Completes-Reorganization-of-the-Former-MMS.cfm#
 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, untitled document distinguishing the areas of responsibility between the BOEM and the BSEE. n.d.http://www.bsee.gov/uploadedFiles/A%20to%20Z%20Guide%20web%20version%281%29.pdf
 U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, “BSEE Director Delivers Remarks at the International Regulators Forum 2011 Global Offshore Safety Summit Conference,” 4 Oct. 2011. http://www.boemre.gov/ooc/press/2011/press1004.htm
 U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Actions Needed to Reduce Evolving but Uncertain Federal Financial Risks,” (GAO-12-86), 24 Oct. 2011. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1286.pdf
 U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Preliminary Assessment of Federal Financial Risks and Cost Reimbursement and Notification Policies and Procedures,” 9 Nov. 2010. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1190r.pdf
 Sabrina Canfield, “Judge Denies BP Appeal That Might Have Killed Thousands of Claims,” Courthouse News Service, 24 Oct. 2011.http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/10/24/40864.htm
Canadian oil firm sues to seize US land for Keystone XL oil headed to China…
The NYTimes reports that TransCanada, a Canadian oil company, promises to confiscate private land from South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, and has already filed nearly 60 lawsuits against private US citizens who refuse to allow the Keystone XL pipeline on their property, even though the controversial project has yet to receive federal approval.
“Randy Thompson, a cattle buyer in Nebraska, was informed that if he did not grant pipeline access to 80 of the 400 acres left to him by his mother along the Platte River, ‘Keystone will use eminent domain to acquire the easement.’”
In an email, Vince Wade comments:
“One of my frequent preaching topics is why NAFTA is bad for our economy and our nation and how it is a tool of the robber baron globalists who have destroyed the Middle Class of the industrialized world–which is why we have a global recession/depression.
“For those of you who worry about U.S. Sovereignty, let’s think about this: a Canadian company–that is, a foreign company, which is part of NAFTA, is threatening Americans who are refusing to surrender their property to build a pipeline to carry highly toxic tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the refineries of Texas.
“It will cross the Ogallala Aquifer, the prime source of water for about 11 states. In some places the aquifer water table is 5 feet below ground. The oil fat cats tell us with a straight face that there’s nothing to worry about. By the way, a branch of the Tar Sands pipeline project is responsible for the massive spill in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River last year. It’s still a mess.
“Would you be surprised to learn that much of the Canadian tar sands oil to be pumped into the Keystone XL pipeline is owned by the People’s Republic Of China?
“Communist China has invested billions in the Canadian Tar Sands oil industry, and Keystone XL is intended to transport China’s oil. In other words, Keystone XL is intended to transport Canadian oil to Texas so Communist China can recoup its investment in Canadian natural resources. The Obama Administration doesn’t see a problem with this pipeline and it is leaning toward giving the pipeline the full go-ahead. Obama hopes approval will mean a campaign contribution windfall from the oil barons.
“Once again–a bi-partisan shafting of the American people. Hey-the 1% globalists of NAFTA want this, so our for-rent politicians in both parties stand ready to oblige.”
China is deeply invested in the Enbridge Gateway project, as well.
“Enbridge Inc. has quietly garnered support from a powerful group of foreign interests for its controversial Asian export pipeline, as Chinese investors in Canada’s oil sands become increasingly bold in their ambitions to bring Canadian crude across the Pacific.
“The company is in the midst of a multiyear effort to gain approval to build Northern Gateway, a $6.6-billion proposed project that would take crude from the oil sands to the British Columbia coast, where it could be loaded on ships and sent to Asia and California.
“To date, only one company, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), has been identified as a financial backer of Gateway, after Enbridge raised a total of $100-million in funding from 10 Canadian producers and Asian refiners that agreed to help backstop the cost of gaining regulatory approval.
“… [A]s Chinese companies pour billions into Canadian energy investments, it’s increasingly clear their interest extends to bringing barrels across the Pacific. Those firms have long argued that their interest in Canadian oil is aimed purely at profit, not simply fueling Chinese cars with Alberta crude.
“But their statements to Canadian regulators show that exporting barrels is a key motivator. Earlier this year, for example, five companies signed up for so-called firm service, or guaranteed access, to a portion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oil from Edmonton to a port at Burnaby, B.C. Among them is PetroChina International (America) Inc., a subsidiary of Chinese energy giant China National Petroleum Corp.
“In testimony before the National Energy Board, Stephen Dove, senior crude oil trader with the firm, said: ‘at PetroChina International office, one of our main concerns, of course, is supply back to China.’”
Once again, we have the 1% dictating how private land owned by the 99% will be seized and contaminated for the enrichment of the 1%.
STUDY: The network of global corporate control, Stefania Vitali1 James B. Glattfelder, and Stefano Battiston (2011)
But see Naked Capitalism’s debunking of that study:
“This paper is a garbage-in, garbage out analysis. It does a network analysis based on share holdings at an institutional level. The problem is that the authors never bothered to understand how shares are held and how voting behavior varies based on institutional arrangements. To put it another way, the problem with the study is its failure to understand ownership, control and voting behavior in the institutional funds management arena.
“As our Richard Smith tartly noted, ‘This looks like a list of people who aren’t in control. And since they own so much equity worldwide, that is interesting, too.’”
When there are zero jobs available, any job will do. This fact has been exploited by corporations now re-labeling themselves “job creators,” since being a job creator in a time of depression brings a religious status similar to a rain god during a drought. Democrats and Republicans have lavished eternal praise on the “job creators” and in consequence have created a political atmosphere that is rabidly pro-corporate “job creators” and anti-everything else.
In practice this means that ANY new law or regulation that hinders the power or profits of “job creating” corporations is instantly attacked as a “job killer.” This type of logic is good for bumper stickers and Tea Parties but bad for those who suffer under the giant power of corporations, including working people, the unemployed, the self-employed, and the environment.
For example, in Oregon a statewide measure was passed to increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy to deal with the state’s budget deficit. The tax money was to be used to save social services and prevent layoffs. Before it became law the measure was attacked viciously by a newborn, well-funded group calling itself “Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes.” The message was simple: if you tax the wealthy and corporations, they will punish you by leaving the state and taking their jobs with them; better to simply accept their absolute power and sing their praises while reducing their taxes and destroying environmental regulations that impede their profits.
Obama recently surrendered to this philosophy when he reneged on a promise to adopt stricter air quality standards around ozone pollution (against the recommendations of scientists from his own Environmental Protection Agency). Less ground-level smog would prevent thousands of deaths while reducing lung and health issues in general, cutting health care costs by billions. But the interests of the corporate “job creators” won out in the end. The Huffington Post reports:
“The White House has been under heavy pressure from GOP lawmakers and major industries, which have slammed the stricter standard as an unnecessary jobs killer…Obama said his decision was made in part to reduce regulatory burdens [on corporations] and uncertainty [for corporations] at a time of rampant questions about the strength of the U.S. economy.”
How did corporate America react?
“Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce [a giant corporate lobby group] said the move was “an enormous victory for America’s job creators, the right decision by the president and one that will help reduce the uncertainty facing businesses.” (September 2nd, 2011).
This dynamic is now the new normal. The same logic was used after the Gulf Coast BP disaster, when Obama temporarily banned offshore drilling in response. But this practical and necessary measure was instantly attacked as a “job killer” and Obama quickly changed his tune and ended the ban. Dangerous deep-sea drilling continues and politicians and the media alike have hushed-over the issues until the next disaster occurs. The incredible shock and outrage that working people voiced over the BP oil spill has been ignored in favor of the interests of the “Job Creators.”
Not only was the BP disaster ignored, but some corporations used it to their benefit. Since deep sea drilling was dangerous, some corporations admitted, better to focus on the ever-expanding realm of land drilling for natural gas. As the excellent documentary Gasland shows, drilling for natural gas (also called Liquefied natural gas, or LNG) is causing catastrophic environmental damage while the Obama administration has repeatedly encouraged its expansion as an alternative to “foreign oil.” The Environmental Protection Agency has virtually ignored this now-gigantic industry as corporations like Halliburton pump hundreds of poisonous chemicals into the ground and air for their personal profit.
Corporations also won out when it came to environmentally-sane logging strategies in the Pacific Northwest and the horrifically-destructive act of Mountain Removal for the mining industries. Yet another recent victim was the Canadian Tar Sands pipeline that Obama agreed to, which will run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, carrying oil that was especially destructive to mine. In all these cases the corporate “Job Creators” attacked the so-called “Job Killers” for wanting to impose regulations that would help prevent environmental disasters.
In addition, corporations quietly sidelined Obama’s campaign promise to set the first-ever limits on the specific pollution blamed for global warming. At a time when most working people are educated and deathly afraid of the near-term effects of global warming, the President has simply stopped talking about the issue. Any respectable climate scientist will tell you that unless massive environmental changes are made very soon there will be unstoppable climate change that will have dire consequences for all humans, not just the ones most immediately effected in areas devastated by droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather patterns.
All working people have an interest in ensuring that their children and grandchildren can live a life without such carnage. Some, however, are tricked into thinking that the immediate need for jobs overrules any consideration for the environment, since not eating today is more important than a global environmental crisis that will strike tomorrow. In reality there is no such contradiction. Now is actually the perfect time to brush this corporate-created myth aside and demand what is sorely over-due for both working people and the environment.
It should be painfully clear to even the most reality-blind politicians that the private sector has no interest in creating jobs; they are quite content sitting on their mountains of cash until wages fall low enough — due to massive unemployment — for them to hire more labor. Working people cannot afford the patience or the low wages. The jobs’ crisis demands that governments on the city, state, and federal level create jobs’ programs similar to the programs enacted during the last great depression. But not just any jobs will do.
Given that our society is facing an energy crisis and a related environmental crisis, only a green job program will do. This means not only fixing dilapidated bridges and roads, but investing massive amounts of money in alternative energy — solar, wind, hydro, etc. — while improving and expanding alternative forms of transportation — high speed trains, buses, electric cars, etc. It also means massive investments in home and building weatherization, recycling infrastructure, public education campaigns, research and development for alternative energy, and a variety of other measures that will help fundamentally change our culture’s relation to the environment, all of which will create massive amounts of jobs.
Obama’s stubborn refusal to do anything of substance for labor, the unemployed, and environmentalists creates an opportunity for these groups to work closely together for a better world. Because politicians are refusing to respond to society’s most pressing needs, new tactics need to be employed. Lobbying politicians and organizing small rallies cannot have the same effects they once did.
Only a sustained campaign with massive mobilizations has the possibility of achieving the united goals of the labor and environmental movements. The demand for a federal jobs program that builds an alternative energy infrastructure and other green public works has the ability to inspire millions of people to act. To fund such a program demands must be made to drastically increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations, since they now have all the money, thanks to the expanding tax breaks for the rich and corporations over the past thirty years. The era of issue-based activism has come to a disappointing end. To properly address either the jobs or environmental crisis all working people must unite in huge numbers with inspiring demands.
Online newspaper The Daily on Wednesday refused to comply with a federal judge’s order to remove from its website video clips of former BP CEO Tony Hayward’s deposition in the ongoing litigation related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. That decision may prove to be vindicated, as the judge today indicated an intent to withdraw the order.
“We have not removed the clips . . . and have no intention of doing so until we’ve had the opportunity to present our case to the court,” The Daily said in a statement, as reported on the organization’s website. The Daily reported that it has published Hayward’s deposition on its website and its iPad app.
“The Deepwater Horizon disaster is one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history and there is tremendous public interest in the complete disclosure of all of the surrounding facts,” the statement continued.
Source: YouTube — The Daily
Right now, we are witnessing a truly historic collapse of the economy, and yet most Americans do not understand what is going on. One of the biggest reasons why the American people do not understand what is happening to the economy is because our politicians and the mainstream media are not telling the truth. Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke keep repeating the phrase “economic recovery” over and over, and this is really confusing for most Americans because things sure don’t seem to be getting much better where they live.
There are millions upon millions of Americans that are sitting at home on their couches right now wondering why they lost their jobs and why nobody will hire them. Millions of others are wondering why the only jobs they can get are jobs that a high school student could do. Families all across America are wondering why it seems like their wages never go up but the price of food and the price of gas continue to skyrocket. We are facing some very serious long-term economic problems in this country, and we need to educate the American people about why the collapse of the economy is happening. If the American people don’t understand why they are losing their jobs, why they are losing their homes and why they are drowning in debt then they are going to keep on doing all of the same things that they have been doing. They will also keep sending the same idiot politicians back to Washington to represent us. There are some fundamental things about the economy that every American should know. The American people need to be shocked out of their entertainment-induced stupor long enough to understand what is really going on and what needs to be done to solve our nightmarish economic problems. If we do not wake up enough Americans in time, the economic collapse that is coming could tear this nation to shreds.
The U.S. economy was once the greatest economic machine in modern world history. It was truly a wonder to behold. It worked so well that entire generations of Americans came to believe that America would enjoy boundless prosperity indefinitely.
But sadly, prosperity is not guaranteed for any nation. Over the past several decades, some very alarming long-term economic trends have developed that are absolutely destroying the economy. If dramatic changes are not made soon, a complete and total economic collapse will be unavoidable.
Unfortunately, the American people will never agree to fundamental changes to our economic and financial systems unless they are fully educated about what is causing our problems. We have turned our backs on the principles of our forefathers and the principles of those that founded this nation. We have rejected the ancient wisdom that was handed down to us.
It has been said that those that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.
We are about to experience the consequences of decades of really bad decisions.
Hopefully we can get the American people to wake up.
The following are 50 things that every American should know about the collapse of the economy….
#1 Do you remember how much was made of the “Misery Index” during the presidency of Jimmy Carter? At that time, the “Misery Index” was constantly making headlines in newspapers all across the country. Well, according to John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics, if we calculated unemployment and inflation the same way that we did back during the Carter administration, then the Misery Index today would actually be higher than at any point during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.
#2 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of about 5 million Americans were being hired every single month during 2006. Today, an average of about 3.5 million Americans are being hired every single month.
#3 According to the Wall Street Journal, there are 5.5 million Americans that are currently unemployed and yet are not receiving unemployment benefits.
#4 All over America, state and local governments are selling off buildings just to pay the bills. Investors can now buy up government-owned power plants, prisons and municipal buildings from coast to coast. For example, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey recently sold off 16 government buildings (including the police and fire headquarters) just to pay some bills.
#5 When Americans think of “government debt”, most of them only think of the federal government, but it is not just the federal government that has a massive debt problem. State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of22 percent of U.S. GDP.
#6 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
#7 Credit card usage in the United States is on the increase once again. During the month of March, revolving consumer credit jumped 2.9%. Sadly, it looks like Americans have not learned their lessons about the dangers of credit card debt.
#8 Last year, Social Security ran a deficit for the first time since 1983, and the “Social Security deficits” in future years are projected to be absolutely horrific.
#9 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.
#10 Right now we are watching what could potentially be the worst Mississippi River flood ever recorded play out right in front of our eyes. One agricultural economist at Mississippi State University believes that this disaster could do 2 billion dollars of damage just to farms alone.
#11 The “tornadoes of 2011” that we just saw in the southeast United States are being called the worst natural disaster that the U.S. has seen since Hurricane Katrina. It has been estimated that up to 25 percent of all of the poultry houses in Alabama were either significantly damaged or destroyed. It is also believed that millions of birds were killed.
#12 The economic effects of the BP oil spill just seem to go on and on and on. The number of very sick fish in the Gulf of Mexico is really starting to alarm scientists. The following is how one local newspaper recently described the situation….
Scientists are alarmed by the discovery of unusual numbers of fish in the Gulf of Mexico and inland waterways with skin lesions, fin rot, spots, liver blood clots and other health problems.
#13 The number of “low income jobs” in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States.
#14 All over America, hospitals that care for the poor and needy are so overwhelmed and are so broke that they are being forced to shut down. Recently, a local newspaper in Florida ran an article about two prominent charity hospitals in Illinois that have served the poor for more than 100 years but are now asking for permission to shut down….
Two charity hospitals in Illinois are facing a life-or-death decision. There’s not much left of either of them – one in Chicago’s south suburbs, the other in impoverished East St. Louis – aside from emergency rooms crowded with patients seeking free care. Now they would like the state’s permission to shut down.
#15 The U.S. dollar is in such bad shape that now even Steve Forbes is predicting that the U.S. is “likely” to go back to a gold standard within the next five years.
#16 Most Americans don’t realize how much the U.S. dollar has been devalued over the years. An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $115.93today. An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $454.36 today.
#17 Over the past 12 months the average price of gasoline in the United States has gone up by about 30%.
#18 U.S. oil companies will bring in about $200 billion in pre-tax profits this year. They will also receive about $4.4 billion in specialized tax breaks from the U.S. government.
#19 It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year. Their biggest customer is the United States.
#20 According to the Pentagon, there are minerals worth over a trillion dollars under the ground in Afghanistan. Now, J.P. Morgan is starting to tap those riches with the help of the U.S. military.
#21 Speaking of J.P. Morgan, most Americans don’t realize that they are actually the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States. In fact, the more Americans that go on food stamps the more money that J.P. Morgan makes.
#23 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
#24 Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.
#25 The financial system is more vulnerable today than it was back in 2008 before the financial panic. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant financial casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from this betting system. The system is largely unregulated (the new “Wall Street reform” law has only changed this slightly) and it is totally dominated by the big international banks. The danger from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”. It is estimated that the “derivatives bubble” is somewhere in the neighborhood of a quadrillion dollars, and once it pops there isn’t going to be enough money in the entire world to bail everyone out.
#26 Between December 2000 and December 2010, the United States ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars with the rest of the world, and the U.S. has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976.
#27 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and the U.S. trade deficit with China is now 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.
#28 In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China was “scrap and trash”.
#29 All over the United States, many of our once great manufacturing cities are being transformed into hellholes. In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas.
#30 During the first three months of this year, less new homes were sold in the U.S. than in any three month period ever recorded.
#31 New home sales in the United States are now down 80% from the peak in July 2005.
#33 According to a new report from the AFL-CIO, the average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year.
#34 The European debt crisis could cause a global financial collapse like the one that we saw in 2008 at any time. The world economy is incredibly interconnected today, and the United States would not be immune. A recent IMF report stated the following about the growing sovereign debt crisis in Europe….
Strong policy responses have successfully contained the sovereign debt and financial-sector troubles in the euro area periphery so far. But contagion to the core euro area and then onward to emerging Europe remains a tangible risk.
#35 According to one study, the 50 U.S. state governments are collectively 3.2 trillion dollars short of what they need to meet their pension obligations.
#36 A different study has shown that individual Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.
#37 The cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent since 1978.
#38 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.
#39 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
#40 The combined debt of the major GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to 6.4 trillion in 2011. Thanks to our politicians, U.S. taxpayers are standing behind that debt.
#41 The U.S. government is over 14 trillion dollars in debt and the budget deficit for this year is projected to be about 1.5 trillion dollars. However, if the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion each and every year.
#42 Most Americans don’t understand that the Federal Reserve and the debt-based monetary system that it runs are at the very heart of our economic problems. All of this debt is absolutely crushing us. The U.S. government spentover 413 billion dollars on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2010, and it is being projected that the U.S. government will be shelling out 900 billion dollars just in interest on the national debt by the year 2019.
#43 Standard & Poor’s has altered its outlook on U.S. government debt from “stable” to “negative” and is warning that the U.S. could soon lose its AAA rating.
#44 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.
#45 U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. governmentthan they are paying to the government in taxes.
#46 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another.
#47 According to Gallup, 41 percent of Americans believed that the economy was “getting better” at this time last year. Today, that number is at just 27 percent.
#48 The wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States.
#49 The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#50 The percentage of millionaires in Congress is more than 50 times higher than the percentage of millionaires in the general population.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Does Sarkozy Like Seeing France Get Dragged Through the Mud?
“American justice” is an oxymoron like “military intelligence” or “jumbo shrimp”. The two words just don’t fit together, in fact, they’re polar opposites. The truth is, there is no expectation of justice in the United States today. Even the thought of it is laughable. Just look at the way the Dominique Strauss-Kahn matter has been handled. The former IMF chief “allegedly” tried to rape or force a maid at his fancy hotel to perform oral sex. As a result, he was arrested and thrown in jail.
Fine. But in America “what a man is accused of” is not supposed to matter. He’s still entitled to a fair trial.
So, what are the chances that Strauss-Kahn will get a fair trial now that he’s been blasted as a serial sex offender in about 3,000 articles and in all the televised news reports?
Not very good, I’d say.
Let me ask you: Why was DSK stripped of his suit and tie and paraded in handcuffs in front of the media after a sleepless night in the hoosegow? Were New York’s finest trying to demonstrate their deep appreciation for the rule of law or did they think the overweight 62 year old was going to make a run-for-it?
And why is the media so quick to judge the man? Do they know something we don’t know? Is there some reason why they trust the claims of an unidentified maid who no one has even talked to over Strauss-Kahn, or are they just following orders from on-high?
We all know that the media is an old hand at destroying people’s lives and reputations. That’s what they do and they’re damn good at it. Have you talked to Bill Clinton recently? How about Scott Ritter, Michael Schiavo or Martha Stewart? The joke about the Bush administration was that, even though they were never tough on crime, at least they got Martha Stewart “off the streets”.
Pretty funny, eh?
So, here’s something to chew on: Anyone who thinks that the media is anything more than a stick that’s used to beat political enemies is a fool. This whole incident has been set up to make Strauss-Kahn look like a perv before he even gets a chance to open his mouth. Which is why there’s really is no expectation of justice. The whole thing is a farce. His goose is already cooked.
But doesn’t the hypocrisy bother you a bit? I mean, do you remember any Wall Street bankers being dragged off in handcuffs when they blew up the financial system and bilked people out of trillions of dollars? Do you remember Tony Hayward being thrown in jail when BP dumped millions of gallons of untreated crude into the Gulf of Mexico? Do you remember anyone in the Bush administration doing time for leading the country into a war that killed over 1 million Iraqi civilians and displaced 4 million more?
The people who make the rules aren’t bothered by fraud, rape, murder or any other crime. Hell no. It just doesn’t matter to them because there are no consequences. They do what they want and let someone else worry about it. But that rule doesn’t apply to Strauss-Kahn, which makes me think that he must have pissed off some very important people who decided he needed to be taught a lesson.
That’s it, isn’t it? He stepped on the wrong people’s toes. Now he’s a dead duck.
Here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say the shoe was on the other foot. Let’s say that the head of the World Bank Robert Zoellick (who is an American citizen) was arrested in France on similar charges. Let’s say he was kept up all night, plopped in a raincoat, then frog-marched in front of the media flanked by a small army of cops.
What do you think Obama’s reaction would be? Do you think he’d let anyone drag the US through the mud like that or do you think he’d grab the nearest phone and read Sarkozy the riot act? And how long do you think it would be before every newspaper and every pundit and every politician in America was demanding Zoellick’s immediate release?
I’ll bet it would it take no more 24 hours before the F-16′s were screeching over Paris pounding the Louvre and Notre Dame with laser-guided missiles and bunker busters sending terrified civilians scampering for cover.
No one fu**s with the Godfather. No one. Not unless they want a whole lotta trouble.
So, why hasn’t Sarkozy called Obama? Does he like seeing France get kicked around in public? Is that it? Or was Sarkozy in on this little scam from the get-go, and now he’s just thrilled-to-death that his biggest rival in the upcoming presidential race has been knocked out of the running?
Funny how that works, isn’t it? It almost seems like it was planned.
In any event, Strauss-Kahn’s career is over. My guess is that the reforms he planned to announce at the upcoming Bretton Woods conference would have cost some very wealthy people alot of money, and they didn’t like that. So they had him removed.
Iraq: Let us not forget what “humanitarian intervention” looks like.
Libya: Let us not be confused as to why Libya alone has been singled out for “humanitarian intervention”.
On April 9, Condoleezza Rice delivered a talk in San Francisco. Or tried to. The former Secretary of State was interrupted repeatedly by cries from the audience of “war criminal” and “torturer”. (For which we can thank our comrades in Code Pink and World Can’t Wait.) As one of the protesters was being taken away by security guards, Rice made the kind of statement that has now become standard for high American officials under such circumstances: “Aren’t you glad this lady lives in a democracy where she can express her opinion?” She also threw in another line that’s become de rigueur since the US overthrew Saddam Hussein, an argument that’s used when all other arguments fail: “The children of Iraq are actually not living under Saddam Hussein, thank God.” 1
My response to such a line is this: If you went into surgery to correct a knee problem and the surgeon mistakenly amputated your entire leg, what would you think if someone then remarked to you how nice it was that “you actually no longer have a knee problem, thank God.” … The people of Iraq no longer have a Saddam problem.
Unfortunately, they’ve lost just about everything else as well. Twenty years of American bombing, invasion, occupation and torture have led to the people of that unhappy land losing their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … more than half the population either dead, disabled, in prison, or in foreign exile … the air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children … a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again.
In 2006, the UN special investigator on torture declared that reports from Iraq indicated that torture “is totally out of hand. The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.” Another UN report of the same time disclosed a rise in “honor killings” of women. 2
“It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post on May 5, 2007.
“I am not a political person, but I know that under Saddam Hussein, we had electricity, clean drinking water, a healthcare system that was the envy of the Arab world and free education through college,” Iraqi pharmacist Dr. Entisar Al-Arabi told American peace activist Medea Benjamin in 2010. “I have five children and every time I had a baby, I was entitled to a year of paid maternity leave. I owned a pharmacy and I could close up shop as late as I chose because the streets were safe. Today there is no security and Iraqis have terrible shortages of everything — electricity, food, water, medicines, even gasoline. Most of the educated people have fled the country, and those who remain look back longingly to the days of Saddam Hussein.” 3
And this from two months ago:
“Protesters, human rights workers and security officials say the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has responded to Iraq’s demonstrations in much the same way as many of its more authoritarian neighbors: with force. Witnesses in Baghdad and as far north as Kirkuk described watching last week as security forces in black uniforms, tracksuits and T-shirts roared up in trucks and Humvees, attacked protesters, rounded up others from cafes and homes and hauled them off, blindfolded, to army detention centers. Entire neighborhoods … were blockaded to prevent residents from joining the demonstrations. Journalists were beaten.” 4
So … can we expect the United States and its fellow thugs in NATO to intervene militarily in Iraq as they’re doing in Libya? To protect the protesters in Iraq as they tell us they’re doing in Libya? To effect regime change in Iraq as they’re conspiring, but not admitting, in Libya?
Similarly Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria … all have been bursting with protest and vicious government crackdown in recent months, even to a degree in Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive societies in the world. Not one of these governments has been assaulted by the United States, the UK, or France as Libya has been assaulted; not one of these countries’ opposition is receiving military, financial, legal and moral support from the Western powers as the Libyan rebels are — despite the Libyan rebels’ brutal behavior, racist murders, and the clear jihadist ties of some of them. 5 The Libyan rebels are reminiscent of the Kosovo rebels — mafiosos famous for their trafficking in body parts and women, also unquestioningly supported by the Western powers against an Officially Designated Enemy, Serbia.
So why is only Libya the target for US/NATO missiles? Is there some principled or moral reason? Are the Libyans the worst abusers of their people in the region? In actuality, Libya offers its citizens a higher standard of living. (The 2010 UN Human Development Index, a composite measure of health, education and income ranked Libya first in Africa.) None of the other countries has a more secular government than Libya. (In contrast some of the Libyan rebels are in the habit of chanting that phrase we all know only too well: “Allah Akbar”.) None of the others has a human-rights record better than that of Libya, however imperfect that may be — in Egypt a government fact-finding mission has announced that during the recent uprising at least 846 protesters were killed as police forces shot them in the head and chest with live ammunition. 6 Similar horror stories have been reported in Syria, Yemen and other countries of the region during this period.
It should be noted that the ultra-conservative Fox News reported on February 28: “As the United Nations works feverishly to condemn Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi for cracking down on protesters, the body’s Human Rights Council is poised to adopt a report chock-full of praise for Libya’s human rights record. The review commends Libya for improving educational opportunities, for making human rights a “priority” and for bettering its “constitutional” framework. Several countries, including Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia but also Canada, give Libya positive marks for the legal protections afforded to its citizens — who are now revolting against the regime and facing bloody reprisal.”
Of all the accusations made against Gaddafi perhaps the most meaningless is the oft-repeated “He’s killing his own people.” It’s true, but that’s what happens in civil wars. Abraham Lincoln also killed his own people.
Muammar Gaddafi has been an Officially Designated Enemy of the US longer than any living world leader except Fidel Castro. The animosity began in 1970, one year after Gaddafi took power in a coup, when he closed down a US air force base. He then embarked on a career of supporting what he regarded as revolutionary groups. During the 1970s and ’80s, Gaddafi was accused of using his large oil revenues to support — with funds, arms, training, havens, diplomacy, etc — a wide array of radical/insurgent/terrorist organizations, particularly certain Palestinian factions and Muslim dissident and minority movements in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia; the IRA and Basque and Corsican separatists in Europe; several groups engaged in struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa; various opposition groups and politicians in Latin America; the Japanese Red Army, the Italian Red Brigades, and Germany’s Baader-Meinhof gang.
It was claimed as well that Libya was behind, or at least somehow linked to, an attempt to blow up the US Embassy in Cairo, various plane hijackings, a bomb explosion on an American airliner over Greece, the blowing up of a French airliner over Africa, blowing up a synagogue in Istanbul, and blowing up a disco in Berlin which killed some American soldiers. 7
In 1990, when the United States needed a country to (falsely) blame for the bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Libya was the easy choice.
Gaddafi’s principal crime in the eyes of US President Ronald Reagan (1981-89) was not that he supported terrorist groups, but that he supported thewrong terrorist groups; i.e., Gaddafi was not supporting the same terrorists that Washington was, such as the Nicaraguan Contras, UNITA in Angola, Cuban exiles in Miami, the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala, and the US military in Grenada. The one band of terrorists the two men supported in common was the Moujahedeen in Afghanistan.
And if all this wasn’t enough to make Gaddafi Public Enemy Number One in Washington (Reagan referred to him as the “mad dog of the Middle East”), Gaddafi has been a frequent critic of US foreign policy, a serious anti-Zionist, pan-Africanist, and pan-Arabist (until the hypocrisy and conservatism of Arab governments proved a barrier). He also calls his government socialist. How much tolerance and patience can The Empire be expected to have? When widespread protests broke out in Tunisia and Egypt, could Washington have resisted instigating the same in the country sandwiched between those two? The CIA has been very busy supplying the rebels with arms, bombing support, money, and personnel.
It may well happen that the Western allies will succeed in forcing Gaddafi out of power. Then the world will look on innocently as the new Libyan government gives Washington what it has long sought: a host-country site for Africom, the US Africa Command, one of six regional commands the Pentagon has divided the world into. Many African countries approached to be the host have declined, at times in relatively strong terms. Africom at present is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. According to a State Department official: “We’ve got a big image problem down there. … Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don’t trust the US.” 8 Another thing scarcely any African country would tolerate is an American military base. There’s only one such base in Africa, in Djibouti. Watch for one in Libya sometime after the dust has settled. It’ll be situated close to the American oil wells. Or perhaps the people of Libya will be given a choice — an American base or a NATO base.
And remember — in the context of recent history concerning Iraq, North Korea, and Iran — if Libya had nuclear weapons the United States would not be attacking it.
Or the United States could realize that Gaddafi is no radical threat simply because of his love for Condoleezza Rice. Here is the Libyan leader in a March 27, 2007 interview on al-Jazeera TV: “Leezza, Leezza, Leezza … I love her very much. I admire her, and I’m proud of her, because she’s a black woman of African origin.”
Over the years, the American government and media have fed us all a constant diet of scandalous Gaddafi stories: He took various drugs, was an extreme womanizer, was bisexual, dressed in women’s clothing, wore makeup, carried a teddy bear, had epileptic fits, and much more; some part of it may have been true. And now we have the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, telling us that Gaddafi’s forces are increasingly engaging in sexual violence and that they have been issued the impotency drug Viagra, presumably to enhance their ability to rape. 9 Remarkable. Who would have believed that the Libyan Army had so many men in their 60s and 70s?
As I write this, US/NATO missiles have slammed into a Libyan home killing a son and three young grandchildren of Gaddafi, this after repeated rejections of Gaddafi’s call for negotiations — another heartwarming milestone in the glorious history of humanitarian intervention, as well as a reminder of the US bombing of Libya in 1986 which killed a young daughter of Gaddafi.
Two more examples, if needed, of why capitalism can not be reformed
Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago, killing 11 workers and sending two hundred (200) million gallons of oil cascading over the shoreline of six American states, has announced that (through using some kind of arcane statistical method) it had “recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company’s history.” Accordingly, the company awarded obscene bonuses on top of obscene salaries to its top executives. 10
In Japan, even as it struggles to contain one of history’s worst nuclear disasters, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has proposed building two new nuclear reactors at its radiation-spewing power plant. The plan had taken shape before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and TEPCO officials see no reason to change it. The Japanese government agency in charge of approving such a project has reacted in shocked horror. “It was just unbelievable,” said the director of the agency. 11
Which leads us to A.W. Clausen, president of Bank of America, speaking to the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, in 1970:
“It may sound heretical to some in this room to say that business enterprise is not an absolute necessity to human culture … Ancient Egypt functioned more than 3000 years without anything resembling what we today understand by the term ‘corporate enterprise’ or even ‘money’. Within our span of years, we have witnessed the rise of the Soviet Socialist empire. It survives without anything you or I would call a private corporation and little that approaches our own monetary mechanism. It survives and is far stronger than anyone might have expected from watching its turbulent beginnings in 1917 … It is easy to mislead ourselves into thinking that there is something preordained about our profit-motivated, free-market, private-enterprise system — that is, as they used to say of gold, universal and immutable.”
Items of interest from a journal I’ve kept for 40 years, part III
- Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez memoir, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier’s Story, pages 349-350: April 6, 2004. Sanchez was in Iraq in video teleconference with President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. One major American offensive was in operation, another about to be launched. According to Sanchez, Powell was talking tough that day: “We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly, “Powell said. “There has to be a total victory somewhere. We must have a brute demonstration of power.” Then Bush spoke: “At the end of this campaign al-Sadr must be gone. At a minimum, he will be arrested. It is essential he be wiped out. Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal. … There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”
- Noam Chomsky: “If there is really authentic popular participation in the decision-making and the free association of communities, yeah, that could be tremendously important. In fact that’s essentially the traditional anarchist ideal. That’s what was realized the only time for about a year in Spain in 1936 before it was crushed by outside forces, in fact all outside forces, Stalinist Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini’s fascism and the Western democracies cooperated in crushing it. They were all afraid of it.”
- To Hitler, America was both the enemy and a role model, inspiring in its imperial seizure of great territories by force, its use of slave labor, its eradication of native populations.
- NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, made clear in a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington in 2008 that western interests in Afghanistan went well beyond good governance to the strategic interest in having a permanent military presence in a state that borders central Asia, China, Iran and Pakistan.
- CIA Special Collections of documents; “Instances Of the Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 – 2010“
- Michael Collon: “Let’s replace the word ‘democratic’ by ‘with us’, and the word ‘terrorist’ by ‘against us’.”
- Ron Paul: “Those who caution that leaving Iraq would be a disaster are the same ones who promised the conflict would be a ‘cake-walk’.”
- Spc. Alex Horton, 22, writing in a blog while a marine in Iraq in 2007: “In the future, I want my children to grow up with the belief that what I did here was wrong, in a society that doesn’t deem that idea unpatriotic.”
- Henry Kissinger in a 1970 memo to Nixon: “The example of a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on –– and even precedent value for –– other parts of the world, especially in Italy; the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.”
- Paul Craig Roberts: “International polls show that the rest of the world regard the US and Israel as the greatest dangers to world peace. Americans claim that they are fighting wars against terrorism, but it is US and Israeli terrorism that worries everyone else.”
- Chris Hedges: “If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for a spell in a fundamentalist ‘madrassa,’ or religious school, Homeland Security will probably greet you at the airport when you return. But if you are an American Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico for an eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can post your picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weapon on MySpace.”
- “The US has never had a ‘foreign policy’ but a fanatical domestic policy which, once it had bled through to the Pacific, sought new hosts on which to feed.” Patrick Wilkinson
- C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956): “The only seriously accepted plan for ‘peace’ is a fully loaded pistol. In short, war or a high state of war preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States.”
- The United States goes around the world sprinkling democracy dust.
- Iran, the latest threat to life as we know it.
- “Iran hit back at US allegations that it has failed to crack down on fugitive al-Qaeda members, calling on Washington to apologize to the world for its own past support of the network. ‘The Americans should present a full apology to the international community for the support they gave to al-Qaeda,’ said the foreign ministry, referring to a period in the 1980s when millions of dollars of covert US aid was channeled — through the Pakistani secret service — to Islamist groups battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.” (Agence France Presse, June 2, 2003)
- Tom Hayden: They believe that the exposure of the generals to a civilian academic atmosphere may humanize the process of war-making, not worrying that the actual danger may be the militarizing of the university.
- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in his 2007 book, “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World”: “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.”
After an avalanche of commentary, Greenspan backpedaled and obfuscated in his comments. He insisted he was talking about “oil security” and “the global economy”. But this was just proving his own point that mentioning oil as a motivation for war is “politically inconvenient”. It’s no way to get young men to kill other young men who’ve never done them any harm.
- The American people have no more authentic control over their government than do people in countries that we call dictatorships, particularly on issues of foreign policy.
- Video of Rice talk ↩
- Associated Press, September 21, 2006 ↩
- Common Dreams, August 20, 2010 ↩
- Washington Post, March 4, 2011↩
- Washington Times, February 24, 2011; The Telegraph (London), March 25, 2011; Alexander Cockburn, “Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe”; “Al Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” (PDF), Combating Terrorism Center, US Military Academy, West Point, NY, December 2007 ↩
- Associated Press, April 20, 2011 ↩
- Gaddafi’s history of supporting terrorism, real and alleged: William Blum, Killing Hope, chapter 48 ↩
- The Guardian (London), June 25, 2007 ↩
- Reuters news agency, April 29, 2011 ↩
- Washington Post, April 1, 2011 ↩
- Washington Post, April 6, 2011
At present, numerous environmental researchers are warning of future resource shortages. The list of them is large and includes water, oil, a variety of minerals and metals, as well as other materials.
Yet, most people carry on as if they do not hear the message at all. They refuse to cut back in their dreams of continuing economic growth.
In relation, part of the problem with them is perhaps an inability to make connections. For the most part, they seem to have little or no idea about the collective consequences of their individual behaviors.
For example, they can’t walk into a super-sized Wal Mart or a mall and see the environmental destruction and energy use behind each type of product on the shelves, nor that the whole gargantuan conglomeration of products could cause a problem. They can’t look at cotton goods or food and imagine the huge oceanic dead zones and the annihilation of many diverse organisms caused by farm runoff. They can’t go to the paper isle and picture that, aside from all of the multitudes of items derived from timber, U.S. toilet paper use alone destroys thirteen million acres of forests per year, along with all life dependent on those forests.
Particularly the loggers, the paper mill operators, the truckers hauling raw materials and final products, and the store clerks don’t want to visualize such images. They don’t want to see their own roles in the process any more than do the people who, while complaining about the impacts of overpopulation on crowded highways, chose to have many children, which, of course, will lead to many more toilet paper purchases in times to come. In fact, they, like the individuals who wring their hands over mountaintop blowups for coal and the slaughter of indigenous forest dwellers by oil company hired thugs, don’t want to be told of cut-backs of any types at all, let alone just bathroom paper.
Especially if they are fond of vacation travel or have seen their home energy use spike due to lots of appliances running at once, they don’t want to picture that they possibly could be implicated in anything having to do with the downside of their lifestyles. They don’t want to link their habits to the fact that over seventy percent of electricity in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels. They don’t want to think that maybe their rising demand for oil at the pump or penchant for air travel is somehow indirectly related to the types of damage seen in the Amazon forests, the Appalachians, the Niger Delta or the Gulf of Mexico.
Above all, they do not want to be told that the economic growth is not coming back. They don’t want to picture that life will dramatically change as the oil runs out while the price for it and everything dependent on it will continuously rise. They don’t want to question about whether the capitalist system of economics will cause further ecological ruin and social inequality as it plays itself out.
Further, they don’t want to consider that maybe they will be forced to change some of their life’s major goals and the ways that they live in times to come due to a combination of factors, such as the coming energy power-down, climate change variables, diminishing resource bases and overpopulation. No, they, instead, want to rise up the socio-economic chain so as to be able to consume even more goods and, if they’re particularly adept at obtaining riches, maybe even be able to purchase a vacation home, a yacht, an RV or some other coveted treasure.
Moreover, they don’t want to imagine that maybe two groups will make out okay in times ahead and one of them probably won’t be the (ever shrinking) middle class. They don’t want to note that the successful ones just could be the very wealthy people, who can afford to buy anything regardless of its costliness and scarcity, and the people at the other end of the spectrum, who have simply walked away from the status quo to form self-sufficient farming communities, transition towns and egalitarian co-ops able to provide for the majority of their members’ needs.
Instead, they simply want to envision that everything will get better overall in life after a spell. Yet, here we are all together stuck in a situation in which there exist seven billion humans all needing food, water, shelter and other things while increasing in number at a rate unprecedented in human history. All together, we’re digging up and plowing every parcel of land on which we can manage to lay our hands. We’re trawling and dredging every ocean and sea onto which we can stake our claims. We’re damming every waterway that can be controlled. We’re pumping and polluting the world’s fresh water supply faster than it can be replenished, using up other resources in entirety, turning the Earth’s oceans into acid, fouling the atmosphere, scarring the land with deep mining holes, blowing up mountains to extract their coal and, in exchange, creating mountains of trash.
Simultaneously, we’re methodically ripping apart the planet’s forests at the rate of about one acre per second, destroying multitudinous species one after another, creating climate change on a scale that staggers the imagination, and generating explosions of radiation to blow into every outdoors nook and cranny in existence. (Recent news headlines include Radiation Readings in Fukushima Reactor Rise to Highest Since Crisis Began. Imagine the hubris of a species that refuses to learn from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, such that even now the desire exists to build even more nuclear plants and A-bombs!)
At the same time, we’re warring with each other over resources between and within nations, and always, always … insisting upon more things to own. In relation, the proliferation of wants and needs is limitless.
So, we’re demanding more food, more water, more construction for our ever burgeoning masses, more jobs and, especially, more spaces into which to fan out as we add 219,000 more humans every single day (eighty million people each year) while simultaneously displacing other types of life whose environments we take over in the process. Meanwhile, billions are sunk in poverty largely due to having already exceeded their regions’ carrying capacity and, as they did so, they often took the last trees with them, just as had happened on Easter Island.
At some point, something has to give. The pattern, the rapacious ravage, cannot persist indefinitely. Indeed, it won’t do so because the resource base, itself, is largely disappearing across the globe. The ocean fisheries are depleting and expected to run out by mid-century. Climate change has brought pine and spruce beetles in such high numbers that they are eating millions upon millions of acres of trees and spreading out everywhere that they can, much like their human counterparts.
Concurrently, methane is releasing from underwater beds and permafrost to join the carbon releases from humanity’s use of fossil fuel from rich underground deposits that took millions of years to form, and that will be gone in the blink of a century’s time. In relation, the looming climate change effects will be horrendous and will curtail many areas of human activities.
Yet, the main reason that the whole mess will be curbed is a simple one: Infinite growth, whether economic growth or population growth, cannot continue indefinitely. As the economist Kenneth Ewart Boulding reputedly said, “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”
Accordingly, one can envision that a crash is coming — one far worse than the current recession. In large measure, it’s because environmental tipping points are on the way and, for those people in the worst locations for the collapse — the desperation, conflicts and chaos will likely be horrific in scale and ferocity.
How could they not be when our governments and the status quo do not encourage our transitioning to a steady state economy, business based on regionalized commerce and a cooperative inclusive economic arrangement rather than out of control global competition? How can further troubles not come into being when a vicious globalized capitalist system is in existence for which maximal profits, not people and their needs, is always the overriding goal? Despite its desirably from many standpoints, how can an alternative scheme be put in place when it bumps up against the prevailing paradigm and the corporatists — the powerful über-elites that control the gargantuan transnational companies and our fawning government toadies?
All considered, the best course of action, unless one is incredibly affluent, is to run for the hills — almost quite literally so. Under the circumstance, it could be sensible to find a quiet niche somewhere in which there’s already a community in place whose members have the appropriate skills sets, constructive understandings and a supportive intact surrounding environment so as to be able to create a largely self-reliant way of life. Even though such a change could be hard, the option of doing nothing different could become increasingly problematic in light of the further social and ecological breakdown that’s assuredly on the way.
From: The Economic Collapse…
The U.S. economy is dying and we are heading for the next Great Depression. The talking heads in the mainstream media love to spin the economic numbers around and around and they love to make it sound like the economy is improving, but the truth is that it doesn’t take a genius to see what is happening to the U.S. economic system. All over the nation many of our greatest cities are being slowly but surely transformed into post-apocalyptic wastelands. All over the mid-Atlantic, all along the Gulf coast, all throughout the “rust belt” and all over the entire state of California cities that once had incredibly vibrant economies are being turned into rotting, post-industrial hellholes. In many U.S. cities, the “real” rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment that you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities. If you live in one of those American hellholes you know what I am talking about. Sadly, it is not just a few cities that are becoming hellholes. This is happening in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south. America is literally being transformed right in front of our eyes.
If you still live in an area of the United States that is prosperous, do not mock the cities that you are about to read about. The cold, hard reality of the matter is that economic decline and economic despair are spreading rapidly and they will come to your area soon enough. Right now we are still talking about “American hellholes”, but if the long-term economic trends that are destroying this nation are not turned around eventually we will just be talking about one gigantic “American hellhole”. In the end, no area of the country will completely escape the economic hell that is coming.
Let’s take a closer look at what is currently happening in some of the worst areas of the country….
In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas.
During the boom days of the 1950s, Detroit was a teeming metropolis of approximately 2 million people, but today the current population is less than half that. The city of Detroit, once a shining example of middle class America, is now a rotting cesspool of economic decline and it actually saw its population decline by 25 percent during the decade that recently ended. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Detroit lost a resident every 22 minutes between the years of 2000 and 2010.
So why are people leaving Detroit so rapidly?
There simply are no jobs.
At the height of the economic downturn, the mayor of Detroit admitted that while the “official” unemployment rate in Detroit was about 27 percent, the “real” unemployment rate in his city was actually somewhere around 50 percent.
Since there are not enough jobs, that also means that not enough tax money is coming in. Detroit is essentially insolvent at this point.
Detroit officials are trying to implement some austerity measures in a desperate attempt to get city finances under control.
For example, the state of Michigan recently granted approval to a plan that would shut down nearly half of the public schools in Detroit. Under the plan, 70 schools will be closed and 72 will continue operating.
It has been estimated that the remaining public schools will have class sizes of up to 60 students.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing also wants to cut off 20 percent of the entire city from police and trash services in order to save money.
Essentially that would mean abandoning 20 percent of the city of Detroit to the gangs and to the homeless.
The mayor of Detroit has also discussed a plan in which authorities would bulldoze one-fourth of the city in order to save money on services.
So with all of this going on, is Detroit a pleasant place to live at this point?
Today, Detroit is considered to be the third most violent city in the United States.
In fact, crime has gotten so bad and the citizens are so frustrated by the lack of police assistance that they have resorted to forming their own organizations to fight back. One group, known as “Detroit 300″, was formed after a 90-year-old woman on Detroit’s northwest side was brutally raped in August.
If you want to see what the future of America looks like, just take a few hours and go driving through Detroit some time. But please only do this during the day. Do not do this at night. Detroit is not a safe place anymore, and you cannot count on the police to help you in a timely manner.
Detroit was once one of the greatest cities in the world.
But today it is an absolute hellhole.
Camden, New Jersey
So is there any place in America that is worse than Detroit?
Well, many would nominate Camden, New Jersey.
Many years ago, Camden was actually thriving and prosperous. But today the city of Camden is known as “the second most dangerous city in America”.
In a recent article entitled “City of Ruins“, Chris Hedges did an amazing job of documenting the horrific decline of Camden. Hedges estimates that the real rate of unemployment in Camden is somewhere around 30 to 40 percent, and he makes it sound like nobody in their right mind would want to live there now….
Camden is where those discarded as human refuse are dumped, along with the physical refuse of postindustrial America. A sprawling sewage treatment plant on forty acres of riverfront land processes 58 million gallons of wastewater a day for Camden County. The stench of sewage lingers in the streets. There is a huge trash-burning plant that releases noxious clouds, a prison, a massive cement plant and mountains of scrap metal feeding into a giant shredder. The city is scarred with several thousand decaying abandoned row houses; the skeletal remains of windowless brick factories and gutted gas stations; overgrown vacant lots filled with garbage and old tires; neglected, weed-filled cemeteries; and boarded-up store fronts.
Gangs have stepped into the gaping void left by industry. In Camden today, drugs and prostitution are two of the only viable businesses left – especially for those who cannot find employment anywhere else. The following is how Hedges describes the current state of affairs….
There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city’s few thriving businesses. A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.
But before we all start judging Camden for being such a horrible place to live, it is important to realize that this is happening in communities from coast to coast. All over the United States industries are leaving and deep social decay is setting in.
Even the criminals in Camden are struggling. Things have gotten so bad in Camden, New Jersey that not even the drug dealers are spending their money anymore.
So where are the police?
Unfortunately, there is very little money for police. Authorities in Camden recently decided to lay off half of the city police force.
So now the gangs and the drug dealers have more room to operate.
Sadly, this is not just happening in Camden. It is happening all over New Jersey.
Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Police union recently surveyed,more than half indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers.
So why doesn’t the state government step in and help out?
Well, the state of New Jersey is in such bad shape that they still are facing a $10 billion budget deficit for this year even after cutting a billion dollars from the education budget and laying off thousands of teachers.
New Jersey also has $46 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $65 billion in unfunded health care liabilities. Nobody is quite sure how New Jersey is even going to come close to meeting those obligations.
Meanwhile, cities like Camden are rotting a little bit more every single day.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans had a struggling economy even before Hurricane Katrina struck back in 2005. But that event changed everything. It is now almost 6 years later and virtually the entire region is still a disaster zone.
New Orleans permanently lost 29% of its population after Hurricane Katrina. There are many areas of New Orleans that still look as if they have just been bombed.
21.5 percent of all houses in New Orleans, Louisiana are currently standing vacant. Many of those homes will never be inhabited again.
What made things even worse for New Orleans (and for residents all along the Gulf coast) was the horrific BP oil spill last year. The mainstream news does not talk about the oil spill much anymore, but those living in the area have to deal with the effects every single day.
Some of the industries in the Gulf region were really starting to recover from Hurricane Katrina but the BP oil spill put a stop to that.
Before the oil spill, Louisiana produced more fish and seafood than anywhere in the United States except for Alaska. But now the seafood industry has been absolutely devastated. It has been estimated that the cost of the BP oil spill to the fishing industry in Louisiana alone could top 3 billion dollars.
Some local shrimpers in the region are projecting that it will be about seven years before they can set to sea again.
New Orleans keeps trying to bounce back from all of these disasters, but times are tough down there.
Today, New Orleans is the 13th most violent city in America. That is actually an improvement. Before Katrina New Orleans had even more violent crime.
The truth is that other areas along the Gulf coast are doing a lot worse than New Orleans is doing. A ton of big corporate money has flowed into New Orleans. Officials are trying to clean up the city and make it a huge tourist destination once again.
But in the surrounding areas things are not looking so bright. There are areas along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida that are some of the most depressing places in the nation.
It is almost as if there are hundreds of thousands of people that time forgot. In some rural areas along the Gulf coast the poverty is absolutely mind blowing. There are very few jobs and there is very little hope. Meanwhile, large numbers of people in the region continue to get sick from the toxic dispersants used to clean up the oil spill.
Let us hope that we don’t see another major disaster in the Gulf of Mexico any time soon. As it is, it is going to take decades for that region to fully recover. There are a lot of really good people that live down there, and they deserve our prayers.
Vallejo, California (And Virtually The Rest Of The State Of California)
Almost the entire state of California is an economic disaster zone. Austerity measures are being implemented in city after city as tax revenues have nosedived.
The following is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article that describes the brutal austerity that has been implemented in Vallejo, California….
Vallejo is still in bankruptcy. The police force has shrunk from 153 officers to 92. Calls for any but the most serious crimes go unanswered. Residents who complain about prostitutes or vandals are told to fill out a form. Three of the city’s firehouses were closed. Last summer, a fire ravaged a house in one of the city’s better neighborhoods; one of the firetrucks came from another town, 15 miles away. Is this America’s future?
Sadly, that is what the future of America is going to look like. Public services are being slashed all over the nation due to budget crunches.
Unless there is a major jobs recovery, the situation in California is going to continue to degenerate. The truth is that the state of California needs millions and millions of new jobs just to get back to “normal”. For example, near the end of last year it was reported that 24.3 percent of the residents of El Centro, California were unemployed. Not only that, as of the end of last year the number of people unemployed in the state of California was approximately equivalent to the entire populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermontcombined.
Businesses are closing in California at an astounding pace. At one point last year it was reported that in the area around Sacramento, California there wasone closed business for every six that were still open.
As a result of all of this, home prices in many areas of California have completely fallen off a cliff. For example, the average home in Merced, California has declined in value by 63 percent over the past four years.
California also had more foreclosure filings that any other U.S. state in 2010. The 546,669 total foreclosure filings during the year means that over 4 percent of all the housing units in the state of California received a foreclosure filing at some point during 2010.
Sadly, things don’t look like they are going to turn around in California any time soon. Forbes recently compiled a list entitled “Cities Where The Economy May Get Worse“.
Six of the top seven spots were held by cities in California.
California is becoming a very frightening place. When you combine high unemployment with unchecked illegal immigration what you get is rampant poverty.
20 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid of one form or another.
In particular, the number of children that are considered to be in need of public assistance is truly scary.
Incredibly, 60 percent of all the students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.
Poverty and illegal immigration have also caused a tremendous health care crisis in the state. The hordes of illegal aliens taking advantage of “free” medical care at hospital emergency rooms have caused dozens of hospitals across the state of California to completely shut down. As a result, the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.
The bozos in Sacramento keep passing hundreds of new laws in an attempt to “fix” the state, but the truth is that for the poorest residents of the state all of those new laws don’t make a shred of difference.
The following is how Victor Davis Hansen describes what he saw during his recent tour of the “forgotten areas of central California”….
Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World . There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crisscrossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards. The public hears about all sorts of tough California regulations that stymie business – rigid zoning laws, strict building codes, constant inspections – but apparently none of that applies out here.
Hansen also says that he observed that people in these areas are doing whatever they can to get by….
At crossroads, peddlers in a counter-California economy sell almost anything. Here is what I noticed at an intersection on the west side last week: shovels, rakes, hoes, gas pumps, lawnmowers, edgers, blowers, jackets, gloves, and caps. The merchandise was all new. I doubt whether in high-tax California sales taxes or income taxes were paid on any of these stop-and-go transactions.
In two supermarkets 50 miles apart, I was the only one in line who did not pay with a social-service plastic card (gone are the days when “food stamps” were embarrassing bulky coupons).
Are you frightened yet?
You know what they say – “as goes California, so goes the nation”.
What is happening in California now is eventually going to come to your area.
Right now California is also having a huge problem with gangs. Gang violence in America is getting totally out of control. According to authorities, there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs operating inside the country, and those gangs are responsible for up to 80% of the violent crimes committed in the U.S. each year.
But instead of ramping up to fight crime and fight illegal immigration, police forces all over California are being cut back.
For example, because of extreme budget cuts and police layoffs, Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts has announced that there are a number of crimes that his department simply will no longer respond to due to a lack of resources. The following is a partial list of the crimes that police officers in Oakland will no longer be responding to….
- grand theft
- grand theft: dog
- identity theft
- false information to peace officer
- required to register as sex or arson offender
- dump waste or offensive matter
- loud music
- possess forged notes
- pass fictitious check
- obtain money by false voucher
- fraudulent use of access cards
- stolen license plate
- embezzlement by an employee
- attempted extortion
- false personification of other
- injure telephone/power line
- interfere with power line
- unauthorized cable tv connection
Not that Oakland wasn’t already a mess before all this, but now how long do you think it will be before total chaos and anarchy reigns on the streets of Oakland?
Today, Oakland is considered the 5th most violent city in the United States.
Will it soon become the most violent?
But Oakland is not the only major California city that is facing these kinds of issues.
Things have gotten so bad in Stockton, California that the police union put up a billboard with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”
Already the police force in Stockton has been stripped down to almost nothing.
A while back, the Stockton Police Department dropped this bombshell….
“We absolutely do not have any narcotics officers, narcotics sergeants working any kind of investigative narcotics type cases at this point in time.”
Do you think drug dealers will be flocking to Stockton after they hear that?
California was once the envy of the world.
Now it is becoming one gigantic hellhole.
During one recent 23 year period, the state of California built 23 prisons but just one university.
So is there any hope for California?
No, unfortunately there is not.
In another article, I wrote about some of the reasons why millions of peoplehave been leaving California for good….
Meanwhile, the standard of living in California is going right into the toilet. Housing values are plummeting. Unemployment has risen above 20 percent in many areas of the state. Crime and gang activity is on the rise even as police budgets are being hacked to the bone. The health care system is an absolute disaster. At this point California has the fewest emergency rooms per million people out of all 50 states. While all of this has been going on, the state legislature in Sacramento has been very busy passing hundreds of new laws that are mostly about promoting one radical agenda or another. The state government has become so radically anti-business that it is a wonder that any businesses have remained in the state. It seems like the moving vans never stop as an endless parade of businesses and families leave California as quickly as they can.
But this is not just a “California thing”. The truth is that what is happening in California, in Detroit, in Camden and in hundreds of other communities is also going to happen where you live.
The U.S. economy is slowly dying. Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in U.S. history.
People are getting desperate. There are ten percent fewer middle class jobs than there were a decade ago and the competition for good jobs has become insane. More than 44 million Americans are now on food stamps and that number grows every single month. Millions more American families fall into poverty every single year.
It is time to face the truth about what is happening to America. Our economy is not growing and becoming stronger. Rather, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that our economy is very sick and it is dying. The seemingly boundless prosperity that we have enjoyed for decade after decade is coming to an end. Our communities are being transformed into absolute hellholes.
Those that are telling you that the U.S. economy will soon be better than ever are lying to you. The U.S. economy is going to go down and it is going to go down hard.
You better get ready.
Trace levels of radiation found in rainwater from California to Massachusetts…
Three of the six nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have partially melted down and highly toxic plutonium is seeping into the soil outside. Plutonium is less volatile than other radioactive elements like iodine or cesium, but it’s also more deadly. According to Businessweek, “When plutonium decays, it emits what is known as an alpha particle, a relatively big particle that carries a lot of energy. When an alpha particle hits body tissue, it can damage the DNA of a cell and lead to a cancer-causing mutation.” If plutonium leaches into groundwater or pristine aquifers, the threat to public health and the environment will be extreme. This is an excerpt from an article in the Guardian:
“The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site. The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant….
Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have “lost the race” to save the reactor…” (“Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor”, The Guardian)
It also appears that underground tunnels at the facility have been flooded with radioactive water that contains high-concentrations of caesium-137. A considerable amount of the water has made its way to the sea where samples show the levels of contamination steadily rising. This is from the Wall Street Journal:
“Levels of radiation in the ocean next to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have surged to record highs, the government said Wednesday, as operators try to deal with large amounts of radioactive water—the unwanted byproduct of operations to cool the reactors.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said water taken Tuesday afternoon from the monitoring location for the troubled reactors Nos. 1 to 4 had 3,355 times the permitted concentration of iodine-131. That is the highest yet recorded at the sampling location, which is 330 meters south of the reactors’ discharge outlet.” (“Seawater Radiation Level Soars Near Plant”, Wall Street Journal) All fishing has been banned in the vicinity as the toxins pose a danger to human health.
The Japanese government’s chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, issued a public statement admitting that the situation at Fukushima is progressively getting worse with no end in sight. “We are not yet in a situation where we can say when we will have this under control,” said Edano. In other words, the emergency effort is failing.
The fact that Japan is experiencing the biggest environmental catastrophe in history explains why the media has been trying so hard to divert the public’s attention to Obama’s military adventure in Libya. But it hasn’t worked; all eyes are locked on Fukushima where the crisis continues to get more precarious by the day. News anchors assure their viewers that they are only being exposed to “safe levels of radioactivity”, but people aren’t buying it. They’ve seen the comparisons to Chernobyl and made their own judgements. Here’s an excerpt from an article in Counterpunch by Chris Busby that gives a thumbnail sketch of the human costs of the meltdown at Chernobyl:
“The health effects of the Chernobyl accident are massive and demonstrable. They have been studied by many research groups in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, in the USA, Greece, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. The scientific peer reviewed literature is enormous. Hundreds of papers report the effects, increases in cancer and a range of other diseases. My colleague Alexey Yablokov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, published a review of these studies in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2009). Earlier in 2006 he and I collected together reviews of the Russian literature by a group of eminent radiation scientists and published these in the book Chernobyl, 20 Years After. The result: more than a million people have died between 1986 and 2004 as a direct result of Chernobyl.” (“Deconstructing Nuclear Experts, Chris Busby, Counterpunch)
One million dead, that’s the bottom line. And, according to Busby, “we can already calculate that the contamination (at Fukushima) is actually worse than Chernobyl.”
That’s certain, but don’t expect to read it in the MSM. Or this, which is also from Busby:
Since the official International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) figures for the Fukushima contamination are from 200 to 900kBq.sq metre out to 78km from the site, we can expect between 22% and 90% increases in cancer in people living in these places in the next 10 years.”
There’s a large body of research on the effects of radiation on humans. In fact, scientists conducted a series of studies on the people living on the Marshall Islands following nuclear weapons tests at Bikini and Enewetak atolls. This is where the US exploded more than 60 atomic bombs between 1946-58. Here’s an excerpt from an article in Counterpunch titled “Radiation, Japan and the Marshall Islands; Living and dying downwind”:
“The legacy of latent radiogenic diseases from hydrogen bomb testing in the Marshall Islands provides some clues about what ill-health mysteries await the affected Japanese in the decades ahead…..Traces of I-131 have been discovered in Tokyo drinking water and in seawater offshore from the reactors. It took nine years for the first thyroid tumor to appear among the exposed Marshallese and hypothyroidism and cancer continued to appear decades later……
o Plutonium-239 has a half life of 24,000 years, is considered one of the most toxic substances on Earth, and if absorbed is a potent alpha emitter that can induce cancer. This isotope too is found in the soils and groundwater of the downwind atolls from the Bikini and Enewetak H-bomb tests…
Radioactive Iodine-129 with a half-life of 15 million years and a well-documented capacity to bioaccumulate in the foodchain, will also remain as a persistent problem for the affected Japanese…
The sociocultural and psychological effects [e.g., PTSD] of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will be long-lasting, given the uncertainty surrounding the contamination of their prefecture and beyond.” (“Radiation, Japan and the Marshall Islands; Living and dying downwind”, Glenn Alcalay, Counterpunch)
It’s all bad, which is why the nuclear industry needs stooges in the media to soft-peddle the news. Because, in truth, what they’re selling is a noxious stew of irradiated poison that kills and maims people while causing incalculable damage to the environment. That’s why industry bigwigs have turned to their friends at the EPA to loosen regulations so that the radioactive material that’s presently showering-down on the US falls within EPA safety standards. Here’s a clip from Washington’s Blog that explains what’s going on behind the public’s back:
“….the EPA is considering drastically raising the amount of allowable radiation in food, water and the environment.
As Michael Kane writes:
In the wake of the continuing nuclear tragedy in Japan, the United States government is still moving quickly to increase the amounts of radiation the population can “safely” absorb by raising the safe zone for exposure to levels designed to protect the government and nuclear industry more than human life. It’s all about cutting costs now as the infinite-growth paradigm sputters and moves towards extinction. As has been demonstrated by government conduct in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of Deepwater Horizon and in Japan, life has taken a back seat to cost-cutting and public relations posturing. The game plan now appears to be to protect government and the nuclear industry from “excessive costs”… at any cost.” (Washington’s Blog)
The radioactive toxins that are now oozing into the soil and water-table or flowing into Japan’s coastal waters or lofting skyward into the jet-stream where they will spread across continents, will continue to wreak havoc long after this generation has passed its mortal coil. Easing EPA safety standards won’t change a thing. Where goes radiation, there too goes cancer and death. The disaster in Japan merely buys a little time for us to rethink our own policies before a similar crisis strikes here. And, it will strike here; it’s only a matter of time. Consider the comments of Dave Lochbaum, Director of UCS’s Nuclear Safety Project, who testified on Wednesday before the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. Here’s what he said:
“Today, tens of thousands of tons of irradiated fuel sits in spent fuel pools across America. At many sites, there is nearly ten times as much irradiated fuel in the spent fuel pools as in the reactor cores. The spent fuel pools are not cooled by an array of highly reliable emergency cooling systems capable of being powered from the grid, diesel generators, or batteries. Instead, the pools are cooled by one regular system sometimes backed up by an alternate makeup system.
The spent fuel pools are not housed within robust concrete containment structures designed to protect the public from the radioactivity released from damaged irradiated fuel. Instead, the pools are often housed in buildings with sheet metal siding like that in a Sears storage shed. I have nothing against the quality or utility of Sears’ storage sheds, but they are not suitable for nuclear waste storage.
The irrefutable bottom line is that we have utterly failed to properly manage the risk from irradiated fuel stored at our nation’s nuclear power plants. We can and must do better.” (The Union of Concerned Scientists)
Nuclear energy is a ticking-timebomb. There are safer ways to keep the lights on.
The last four months of 2010, nearly 500 earthquakes rattled Guy, Arkansas.  The entire state experienced 38 quakes in 2009.  The spike in quake frequency precedes and coincides with the 100,000 dead fish on a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River that included Roseville Township on December 30. The next night, 5,000 red-winged blackbirds and starlings dropped dead out of the sky in Beebe.  Hydraulic fracturing is the most likely culprit for all three events, as it causes earthquakes with a resultant release of toxins into the environment. 
A close look at Arkansas’ history of earthquakes and drilling reveals a shocking surge in quake frequency following advanced drilling. The number of quakes in 2010 nearly equals all of Arkansas’ quakes for the entire 20th century. The oil and gas industry denies any correlation, but the advent of hydrofracking followed by earthquakes is a story repeated across the nation. It isn’t going to stop any time soon, either. Fracking has gone global.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) pumps water and chemicals into the ground at a pressurized rate exceeding what the bedrock can withstand, resulting in a microquake that produces rock fractures. Though initiated in 1947, technological advances now allow horizontal fracturing, vastly increasing oil and gas collection.  In 1996, shale-gas production in the U.S. accounted for 2 percent of all domestic natural gas production, reports Christopher Bateman in Vanity Fair. “Some industry analysts predict shale gas will represent a full half of total domestic gas production within 10 years.”  In 2000, U.S. gas reserve estimates stood at 177 trillion cubic feet, but ramped up to 245 tcf in 2008. These new technologies prompt experts to increase global gas reserve estimates ninefold. 
The grid below shows a section of the Arkansas River, with Roseville Township at bottom, where the first reports of the fish kill originated. The green lines surrounding and crossing the river indicate gas pipes, ranging from 8-20” in diameter. Any number of leaks in the pipes can explain the fish kill. Gas wells are shown by yellow ‘suns’ (see red arrows) and range from 1,500 to 6,500 feet deep. (Disposal wells, where drilling waste products are injected at high pressures, go as deep as 12,000 feet.) The red numbers next to the ‘suns’ give the number of gas wells in that spot, numbering close to 50 in this small area. 
(The gray numbers relate to the Township Numbering System. Each square equals one square mile. Click map for larger image.)
In December alone, over 150 earthquakes rocked Arkansas.  The swarm of quakes in Guy likely results from six years of intense drilling. Guy sits within the Fayetteville Shale Formation which, according to the Arkansas Geological Survey (AGS), is “the current focus of a regional shale-gas exploration and development program.” A billion cubic feet of gas has been produced from this area since 2004. 
Thousands of wells are in operation in North-Central Arkansas (blue section of the following map).  Beebe, where the bird kill occurred, is in White County and Guy is at the northern end of Faulkner Co., where the anomalous earthquakes continue.
Red-winged blackbirds roost in clusters up to a million or more birds, often with other species like starlings and cowbirds. (In the 1950s and ’60s, roosts could number 20 million birds.) Blackbirds prefer low, dense vegetative cover in wetlands or near streams. Though some may perch 30 feet above the water, most perch within one to two feet of it, and some will roost with their feet resting in water. Blackbirds can range up to 50 miles a day from roost to feeding sites, but they all settle in for the night before sunset. 
An earthquake of whatever scale can release a stream or cloud of gas and fracking chemicals which could easily explain why sleeping birds would suddenly take flight, and then quickly die as they succumbed to the toxic fumes. Of note, eight measured quakes within 40 miles of Beebe, and within 75 miles of Roseville, hit the area on December 30 thru several minutes past midnight on January 1st.  This excludes any micro- or miniquakes which can have the same effect. Significantly, the area is known for its prolific microquakes — numbering 40,000 since 1982. 
Canadian Geologist Jack Century crusades against induced seismicity from irresponsible drilling. In a 2009 speech before the Peace River Environmental Society, he provided a brief explanation of how fracking induces earthquakes, completely refuting industry denial that fracking causes quakes. Fracking induces not only micro- and mini-seismic actions that can compromise the integrity of well casings, but also large earthquakes registering on the order of 5 to 7 on the Richter Scale, resulting in human deaths. 
Scott Ausbrooks, geohazards supervisor for AGS, told CNN in December that while earthquakes aren’t unusual in Arkansas, the frequency is.  Indeed, they’ve had a 1,200 percent increase in earthquakes over 2009 data just in the last four months of 2010. All of the quakes registered less than 3 on the Richter Scale; over 98% of them occurred near Guy, where we find the largest concentration of gas wells; and 99% occurred outside the New Madrid Fault zone (circled in red below) where seismic activity is expected, implying they are human induced :
Though AGS publicly claims no earthquake relation to drilling, in early December, Arkansas banned new drilling permits until further notice.
CNN reported that “According to the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, there are at least a half dozen ‘disposal wells’ within a 500-square-mile zone around Guy.” Ausbrooks noted similar “incidents in Colorado in the 1960s at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where deep water injection was tied to earthquakes.” 
Arkansas Earthquake and Drilling History
When comparing Arkansas’ earthquake history with its drilling history, a causative correlation becomes obvious.
The entire 19th century saw 15 recorded earthquakes and none in the first decade of the new century. A total of 694 quakes rocked Arkansas in the 20th century. That number was surpassed in 2009-2010, with the bulk (483) occurring the last three months of 2010. Table 1 was prepared using complete quake data thru 2009 , complete data from August thru December, 2010 , and just North Central Arkansas quake data from January thru July, 2010. 
Arkla, Inc., through its many morphs, mergers and acquisitions, is and has been a key gas driller in Arkansas. Between 1975 and the early 1980s, the company found more gas than it produced. By 1982, Arkla was able to sell Central Louisiana Electric Company more than 100 million cubic feet of gas daily. By the early 1990s, it operated the sixth-largest pipeline system in the United States and was among the ten largest operators of natural gas reserves.  Its production timeline coincides with the massive jump in earthquakes in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, 37 companies drill for gas and oil in Arkansas. 
Unregulated Fracking on a Global March
The U.S. and Canada are not alone in exploiting this highly destructive technology. Poland also embraces fracking. Several energy companies are currently exploring Poland’s reserves, including Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Chevron, Talisman, Lane Energy, BNK Petroleum, Emfesz, EurEnergy Resources, RAG, San Leon Energy and Sorgenia E&P.  These new technologies will significantly impact the global trade in natural gas, according to Forbes :
“Poland consumes 14 billion cubic meters of gas a year and imports more than 70% of it from Russia. It is easy to see how the country could benefit from starting shale gas drilling as soon as possible. Not only could it decrease its dependency on Russia, it might even turn into a gas exporter.”
Bateman noted that Western and Central Europe have leased their lands to frackers. Australians are suffering from the same frack contaminations as Americans, and China is also exploiting the new technology. 
Josh Fox’s 2010 film, Gasland, documents a multitude of harmful consequences on animal and human life, as well as property values. The most infamous scene shows people able to ignite their contaminated tap water :
Fox makes the point that Dick Cheney’s former company, Halliburton, lobbied for and won exemptions from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Superfund, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, thanks to our corporate-owned Congress.
Nor do drillers have to disclose the toxic chemicals used, contrary to the 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.  Though it did not hesitate to pass on Wall Street’s gambling debts to the public (twice), Congress has not found the will to pass the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act.
In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that fracking poses no threat to water supplies and that no further studies were needed.  From some Orwellian nightmare, however, at least 65 of the chemicals used in fracking are considered hazardous by the EPA. They have been linked to “cancer; liver, kidney, brain, respiratory and skin disorders; birth defects; and other health problems,” according to a 2005 report by the Oil and Gas Accountability Project. Of primary concern to citizens, OGAP notes that “Approximately half of the water that Americans rely on for drinking comes from underground sources.” 
Wyoming took a proactive stance on full disclosure of fracking chemicals when it passed new rules in September. Loopholes, however, still allow companies to claim proprietary ownership of such information, restricting it from public view. 
Given the EPA’s position that fracking is safe, it’s not likely that Arkansas citizens will get much help from the federal government. Nor will they find a friend at the state level. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has so far been unwilling or unable to stop UMETCO Minerals Corporation from illegally dumping toxic chemicals into streams. 
The same situation applies across the nation where state governments protect industry over environmental and human health. Recently, outgoing Governor David Paterson vetoed legislation that would have put a moratorium on vertical and horizontal hydraulic drilling in New York.  Already, Pennsylvania leases a third of its public lands to private energy drillers. 
Given government bias toward energy giants, and BP’s destruction of the Gulf of Mexico is a case in point, more direct action may be required by citizens, if environmental and human health are to be saved from the fossil fuel industry.
1. Arkansas Geological Survey, “Arkansas Earthquake Updates.” http://www.geology.ar.gov/geohazards/earthquakes.htm
2. Arkansas Geological Survey, “2009 Earthquakes.” http://www.geology.ar.gov/xl/2009_Earthquakes.xls
3. Food Freedom, “Massive fish kill and 1000s of birds fall from the sky in Arkansas,” 2 Jan. 2010. http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/massive-fish-kill-and-1000s-of-birds-fall-from-the-sky-in-arkansas/
4. Earthworks, “Hydraulic Fracturing and Earthquakes.” http://www.earthworksaction.org/fracturingearthquakes.cfm
Ben Cassleman, “Temblors Rattle Texas Town: Residents Suspect a Drilling Boom Is Triggering Small Quakes, but Scientists Lack Proof,” Wall Street Journal, 12 June 2009. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124476331270108225.html
James Glanz, “Deep in Bedrock, Clean Energy and Quake Fears,” New York Times, 23 June 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/business/energy-environment/24geotherm.html
James Glanz, Video: “The Danger of Digging Deeper,” New York Times, 23 June 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/06/23/us/Geothermal.html
5. U.S. Department of Energy, “Hydraulic Fracturing White Paper,” June 2004. http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/uic/pdfs/cbmstudy_attach_uic_append_a_doe_whitepaper.pdf
6. Christopher Bateman, “A Colossal Fracking Mess,” Vanity Fair, 16 June 2010. http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/06/fracking-in-pennsylvania-201006?currentPage=all
7. Martin Walker, “Russia’s Fracked Future,” UPI, 1 Feb. 2010. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/2010/02/01/Walkers-World-Russias-fracked-future/UPI-21421265042152/
8. Arkansas Geological Survey, “Fayetteville Shale Gas Play West Map,” Last updated 2 March 2010. http://www.geology.ar.gov/maps_pdf/fossilfuels/Fay%20West%20Map%2042×44.pdf
9. Arkansas Geological Survey, “Gas.” http://www.geology.ar.gov/fossil_fuels/gas.htm
10. Arkansas Geological Survey, “Fayetteville Shale Gas Play.” http://www.geology.ar.gov/home/fayetteville_play.htm
11. Brooke Meanley, “The Roosting Behavior of the Red-Winged Blackbird in the Southern United States,” Wilson Bulletin, Vol. 77 No.3, pp 217-228, Sept. 1965. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Wilson/v077n03/p0217-p0228.pdf
12. U.S. Geological Survey, “Map Centered at 35°N, 93°W” Accessed Jan. 5, 2010: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US2/34.36.-94.-92.php
13. Jack Century, “Earthquake Risks: Building a Nuclear Power Plant near Peace River, Alberta,” Peace River Environmental Society, May 2009 (71 mins.) http://peaceriverenvironmentalsociety.org/; 8-part video at http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=jack+century&aq=f
14. CNN, “Arkansas Earthquakes,” 13 Dec. 2010. http://www.wibw.com/nationalnews/headlines/Arkansas_Earthquakes_111815534.html
15. Arkansas Geological Survey, “Earthquake Archive,” 2009. http://www.geology.ar.gov/xl/Earthquake_Archive.xls
16. Arkansas Geological Survey, “Recent and Historical Earthquakes in North-Central Arkansas,” October 2010 http://www.geology.arkansas.gov/maps_pdf/geohazards/CentralArkansasMediaMap.pdf
17. Funding Universe, “Arkla Inc.” n.d. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/ARKLA-INC-Company-History.html
18. Manta.com, “37 Drilling Oil and Gas Wells Companies in Arkansas,” n.d.
19. STRATFOR, “Poland: Fracing On The Rise?” Forbes Magazine, 1 June 2010. http://blogs.forbes.com/energysource/2010/06/16/poland-fracing-on-the-rise/
20. TREFIS Team, “ConocoPhillips Has Big Fracking Plans For Poland, Stock Has Upside,” Forbes Magazine, 14 Dec. 2010. http://blogs.forbes.com/greatspeculations/2010/12/14/conocophillips-has-big-fracking-plans-for-poland-stock-has-upside/
22. Sarah Collins and Tom Kenworthy, “Energy Industry Fights Chemical Disclosure: Natural gas companies want to prevent oversight of fracking,” Center for American Progress, April 2010. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/04/fracking.html
23. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs Study,” June 2004. http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/wells_coalbedmethanestudy.cfm
24. Lisa Sumi, “Our Drinking Water at Risk: What EPA and the Oil and Gas Industry Don’t Want Us to Know about Hydraulic Fracturing,” Oil and Gas Accountability Project, April 2005. http://www.earthworksaction.org/pubs/DrinkingWaterAtRisk.pdf
25. Earthworks, Powder River Basin Resources Council, “Wyoming Requires Disclosure of Chemicals in Natural Gas Drilling,” 16 Sep 2010. http://earthworksaction.org/PR_WYdisclosure.cfm
26. Karoline Wightman, “UMETCO Minerals Corp not yet fined for releasing chemicals,” Fox News, 16 Nov. 2010. http://www.fox16.com/news/local/story/UMETCO-Minerals-Corp-not-yet-fined-for-releasing/cOwdIEMf-kugosx8EWbrQQ.cspx?rss=315
27. Tom Zeller, “New York Governor Vetoes Fracking Bill,” New York Times, 11 Dec. 2010. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/new-york-governor-vetoes-fracking-bill/
Need a good laugh? Check out the bizarre reasoning offered in support of the Patriot Act for Food (S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act), which the U.S. Senate will vote on shortly (likely Monday). From a need to stop food smuggling, to the law is too old, to the terrorists are gonna get us, elites sure are shy on brains when it comes to credible propaganda. They must be drinking fluoridated water and smoking Monsanto marijuana, or hoping you are.
A couple weeks ago, we reported that Senator Bob Casey informed his Pennsylvania constituents that S.510 will stop food smuggling in the United States. Never heard of the problem? That might be because the “biggest food smuggling case in the history of the U.S.” amounted to $40 million worth of commercial grade honey over a five-year period. Food smuggling is clearly not a problem – nor is it a fiscally sound reason for giving the Food and Drug Administration an extra $1.6 billion.
Admittedly, no one is accusing U.S. elites of being fiscally sound – just look at our rising unemployment, hunger, and home foreclosure rates. Clearly, food smuggling is just bizarre bunk that lazy propagandists invented out of thin air.
Next, the well-regarded Christian Science Monitor listed as the “strongest argument for the bill” – get this – because the law in place is too old. Nothing about whether or not the old law is effective, nothing about the tens of thousands of deaths the FDA causes each year by the drugs it allows on the market. No – that very agency needs more power, more money, more authority over what’s on your table, according to S.510 supporters.
Here’s some more penetrating analysis by CSM:
Would SB 510 put America’s cornucopia under the control of a “globalist mafia” led by the World Trade Organization?
No. Some people have been concerned that the bill would give international groups more power over food matters in the US. The bill does state that the US will not knowingly break any existing agreements with the World Trade Organization, but it doesn’t cede any inspection or enforcement powers to international agencies.
Merely because the bill does not cede inspection or enforcement powers to foreign agents does not preclude domestic ones from inspection and enforcement authority. CSM’s response is absurd, as well as deceptive. The correct answer is YES, SB 510 puts US food under the control of the WTO. Read the section and decide for yourself:
SEC. 404. COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS.
Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.
Black is white; war is peace; and who are you going to believe: corporate media or your own ability to read plain English?
And, who is the enforcement agency for these agreements? Why, the DHS, otherwise known as the:
- Dept. of Homeland Stupidity – you know, those folks who want to build a bioterrorism lab in the middle of Tornado Alley, where a huge bulk of the nation’s food is grown and raised (map here);
- Dept. of Heck-of-a-Job Security that miserably failed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and has again failed the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil catastrophe this year;
- Dept. of Homeland Perversity that sexually molests children and adults who travel by air, that is collecting naked images of those who pass thru their carcinogenic body scanners, and which has not prevented a single terrorist from boarding a plane.
That’s who’s going to be in charge of protecting the US food supply. Feel safer?
This leads us to the latest absurdity emanating from the federal government: The terrorists are going to try to poison us. Like the “red menace” that was so effective a bogeyman in the last century, the Muslim “terrorist” is this century’s bogeyman. It’s just as overblown.
How are terrorists going to poison the food supply? Seriously, that might be accomplished in a centralized food system that is forced to adulterate natural foods because laws and rules have decreed it or allowed it – like the FDA allowing BPA, fluoride, chlorine, pesticides – all known poisons. Notice how sick Americans are compared to the rest of the world? You can thank the alphabet soup of federal agencies that allows our skies, lands and waters, and thus our food, to be poisoned by industrial processes.
It’s nearly impossible to poison the food supply under a decentralized scenario with tens of millions of producers and distributors. Food safety is enhanced by decentralization and localization, not by allowing monopoly production as we have now in the U.S. Centralizing control in the hands of a few people who used to work for Monsanto, the company that brought us PCBs, DDT, rBST, Agent Orange, aspartame, and glyphosate, amounts to a clear and present danger to our health, and certainly to our food safety. But that’s what S.510 intends to do.
How likely is a terrorist attack on the US food supply? About as likely as 19 Muslims destroying four significant structures without a defensive response from the world’s largest and most technologically advanced military. The threat to our food safety lies within, from a corrupt and bloated federal government owned and controlled by pharmaceutical, chemical and biotech corporations, not from outside our borders.
The entire food “safety” legislative scheme at the federal level is really a “food control” scheme backed by corporate monopolies. It is part and parcel of the Full Spectrum Dominance plan to control every aspect of human life. “Control the food and you control the people,” planned Henry Kissinger back in the 1970s.
We might expect more effective propaganda when going for complete control over our natural born right to sustain ourselves as we deem fit, but we’d be expecting too much from this crop of elites. Rather than intelligence, they rely on brute force and hyper-regulation in destroying small producers and distributors of natural, unadulterated food.
To view a list of articles that detail the dangers of such legislation, click here.
Welcome to the food wars.