The Perfect Storm Series #19: Quickly Sinking in Deep Doo Doo
Much has happened since I last networked a compilation 18 days ago. Keeping tab of it all has not been easy with all the other things that I have to attend to (gardening, Spring chores and much much more) but I think you'll find below the essential, much of which has not been widely reported as usual by the mainstream media. Many subscribers have brought useful material to my attention (for which I'm thankful!), some of which I could not get to review because there is just so much that I continuously receive - there are nearly 3000 unprocessed emails in my InBox right now, just to give you an idea.
As for the title of this compilation, I could not think of anything better to capture the essence of what you'll find below. There is no quick fix to all that ails the world as long as the current dominant paradigm of rampant greed and corruption by the control-freak elite prevails. To make the necessary deep spiritual shift happen, we all need to dig deep in your soul Self to allow the outpouring of spiritual grace, bliss and Love to heal our wounded psyche and find again our true balance with Nature and All of Life in all dimensions - like the Navi people in the Avatar movie. Then we will be able to collectively rise above the doo doo thing and master with flying colors what we came here to learn.
À noter qu'un épisode sur les communes du Québec tourné ici où je vis sur les Plateaux sera présenté le 8 juin prochain à 19:30 à l'émission Tout le monde en parlait à la télévision de Radio-Canada.... Cet épisode sera ensuite entièrement disponible (avec option plein écran) en ligne pendant au moins 2 semaines au http://www.radio-canada.ca/emissions/tout_le_monde_en_parlait/2010/ où vous pourrez trouver les heures de rediffusion de cette émission. Cinq membres de notre écohameau, dont votre humble serviteur, ont été interviewés dans le cadre de cette émission. Un épisode sur les hippies (et ne portant pas sur notre écohameau) sera également diffusé le 1er juin. Comme la diffusion aura lieu dans environ un mois, prenez-le en note si vous désirez le regarder. Ah oui! Il y a également ceci : Tu sais que tu vis au Québec quand... ;-)
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"I too think that we must be positive concerning Obama's doings and not doings. He'll need this positive supporting help. Sending light and loving vibrations toward the 'White House' is of primordial importance. We see in France the way people react on Sarkozy's decisions is so negative, that nothing can be done, only strikes! In a negative aggressive atmosphere nothing can change. Besides, indeed these forces underneath are manipulating our consciousness, we get confused, depleted and unhappy with the situation we're in, instead of positively working on a better world view, for ourselves and others. We are heading into the right direction, I am sure, and we'll do whatever is possible to sustain our world leaders, all of them! Thank you Jean, you make us think about all this, so that we can make up our minds. We continue to love and care for our Mother Earth we have chosen to live in to help her transcending into a new golden era. "
- Lisa Swagemakers (email@example.com)
"You can expect the Illuminati to fight viciously all along the way, but their dark activities becoming public cannot be detoured, much less stopped. The door has opened a crack and nothing they can do will keep it from opening wider and wider until the vibrations of the in-pouring light are so powerful that they will vanquish every iota of darkness on the planet. So do not doubt for a moment that the light is winningin the continuum, where Earth is rapidly heading, the light already has WON!"
- Matthew - Taken from his April 26, 2010 Message which covers the following topics: SEC vs. Goldman Sachs; Illuminaticomposition, past and current activities; reptilians; lawsuit against pedophile Boy Scout leader; Icelands volcanic eruption; plane crash, death of Polands president, et al; tea party movement; economic concerns, resolution; presence of spirits; music in Golden Age; effects of gun use on soul growth; life forms designed with malevolence; enough souls for fetuses; Global Love Day May 1
Loss of wildlife threatens food supplies UN (10 May 2010) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7705980/Loss-of-wildlife-threatens-food-supplies-UN.html
The 'collective failure' of the world to stop environmental degradation could cut off water supplies, push up food prices and even cause wars, the United Nations has warned -- The latest report on global biodiversity gives a more bleak picture than ever before of the state of the natural environment. In the last 35 years there has been a 30 per cent decline in the number of mammals, birds and other vertebrates on the planet, while the human population has doubled. It is impossible to count the loss of plants and insects because there are so many, but scientists fear millions of species could have been lost before they are even discovered. Already major 'tipping points' are being crossed that will catapult the world into further irreversible loss, such as the decline of the Amazon rainforest, Arctic tundra and coral reefs. Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the UN, said the loss of wildlife is already being felt by poor people who rely on the plants and animals in their immediate area for food.But he said the developed world will also suffer as fish stocks decline, fertile land becomes desert and food prices rise. Cure for diseases that are yet to be discovered could be lost forever. The fight for natural resources, as water sources dry up, could even cause major conflict. "The consequences of this collective failure, if it is not corrected quickly, will be severe for all of us," said Mr Ban. "Biodiversity underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on which we depend for food and fresh water, health and recreation, and protection from natural disasters. Its loss also affects us culturally and spiritually. This may be more difficult to quantify but it is nonetheless essential to our wellbeing."The report, that involved thousands of scientists from more than 100 countries, confirmed that the world will fail to meet a UN target to halt biodiversity loss by this year. The Convention on Biodiversity, that will bring together Governments to discuss the issue in Japan later this year, will decide whether to set up a new organisation similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to address the problem.Scientists have already warned that the rate of extinction is 1,000 times the natural rate and warned that biodiversity loss is as important as global warming. Many fear the world could be heading towards its sixth mass extinction. MORE on this below in We Can Live Without Oil, But Not Without Flora and Fauna
The UNEP Magazine for Youth - TUNZA http://www.unep.org/pdf/Tunza_8.1_Eng.pdf
We should not be afraid to fight for what we believe is right -- By now the world should be well on the way to defusing the greatest ever threat to life on Earth in human history. For this is the year by which the worlds governments solemnly swore that they would be beating back the biodiversity crisis, which threatens to bring about the sixth mass extinction of species in the lifetime of our planet, and the first since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. To be precise, world leaders pledged, early last decade, to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level, as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.As the pledge indicates, the biodiversity crisis is not just about vanishing species, important though that is. It is also destroying the vital services that nature provides for humanity. We depend on soils and seas for food, for example, on forests for freshwater, on trees to reduce pollution, on wild species for many of our medicines. And yet half of the worlds wetlands have been lost over the last century; 40 per cent of its forests in just the last three decades. A third of coral reefs the most important breeding grounds for fish have been seriously damaged. And, every year, 25 billion tonnes of topsoil is eroded away. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the most comprehensive study on the issue ever undertaken, concluded that 60 per cent of the worlds such ecosystem services had been degraded over the last 50 years. Poor people in developing countries are most reliant on these services, and so suffer most when they are damaged or lost. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pointed out, they are vital for achieving the all-important Millennium Development Goals. But everyone is affected, since the entire world economy is effectively utterly dependent on the natural environment. And yet the importance of what is happening is not recognized. As the ground-breaking project, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, has pointed out: It is hard to think of any other asset where we would tolerate its loss without asking ourselves what we are losing and why. No asset is more important. 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. It could be a year of shame, representing the worlds failure to live up to its pledge to tackle the crisis. Or it could be one of promise, marking the moment when humanity decided finally to turn it around. We must do everything we can to make the second scenario a reality. CLIP - Version française ICI - Spanish version HERE
David Korten: Agenda for a New Economy - 50 min http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdsZ_lLz07Q
David Korten speaking in Portland Oregon from his most recent book, "Agenda for a New Economy- Why Wall Street Can't Be Fixed and How to Replace It." Recommended by Kaia Nightingale (firstname.lastname@example.org) who wrote: "This powerful, intelligent, succinct analysis of todays global problems offers some far reaching solutions that along with practical, humanitarian and financial directions include awareness of unity and our spirit nature music to my ears! After an initial preamble, he covers a lot of ground, and says a great deal with few well chosen words."
Astral Traveller Confirms Chemplanes Utilize UFO Technologies (April 15, 2010) http://educate-yourself.org/lte/ashleysastraltravels15apr10.shtml
[Editor's Note: The writer of this letter is an 18 year old female, likely from Australia. She began to astral travel at age 12. She corroborates information presented to me in early March by a team of Etheric Resistance fighters who explained that chemtrail planes are, for the most part, computer-controlled drones which employ UFO "jump gate" (or hyper space) technology allowing them to blink out of the third dimension and re-appear in another location almost instantly. She adds new information to this area of inquiry by reporting that she witnessed a chemplane operating in the astral dimension spraying populated cities at nearly ground level with a type of chemtrail "DOR smog" to embellish the chemtrail soup we are forced to breathe in on the physical plane. I was delighted to read her letter, as I suspect there is a burgeoning phalanx of advanced souls (perhaps the oft-mentioned Indigo children or children of the Blue Ray) who are going to make a difference in saving this planet from the Reptilian-dominated Illuminated satanists who are bent on destroying it. It's real important to notice that maintaining an attitude of optimism, determination, and inner intention to defeat these dark forces and their genocidal agenda can broadcast a type of scalar thought energy to awakening individuals -around the world - to enlist them into the resistance effort.And who could not be inspired by a letter which closes with this: "...and all other beings that are helping to give us a fighting chance, are the river which refreshes my spirit daily and the wind which fans the flames in my heart so that it can blaze its brightest and in turn ignite others. Eternal thanks and love to you all! I shall surely, by God's grace, join you soon in this fight." CLIP
For What It's Worth - a Roswell Stone! http://goddesschess.blogspot.com/2008/07/for-what-its-worth-roswell-stone.html
A strange rock with unusual magnetic properties - deeply scored, with what appears to be moon phases, a solar eclipse and the depiction of a supernova -- has been unearthed on the outskirts of Roswell. Its discovery has startled researchers, scientists and all who have examined it. (...) Zulkowski said the investigators where so impressed, they presented the rock to a number of experts, including prominent New Mexico anthropologists, "all of whom claimed they had never seen anything like it." "They said there is no way this rock could have been scored or drilled in the way it was, without sophisticated modern equipment, like lasers and high speed water-fed grinders and drills," Zukowski said. [Well, if it's an "artifact from the aliens of outer space, ahem, then wouldn't this be expected?] The artifact's image appears to be literally "pulled" from the surface of the red iron ore rock. Apart from its strange appearance, Zukowski said, the rock has "peculiar" magnetic properties. "It retains its magnetic polarity by which it will spin a compass needle and register its magnetic field on meters," he said. The oval rock will also spin, depending on the position of a magnet over the image surface, he added. CLIP - More on this HERE
Will extraterrestrial disclosure or contact happen in 2012? by Alfred Lambremont Webre (April 23, 2010) http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-2912-Seattle-Exopolitics-Examiner~y2010m4d23-Will-extraterrestrial-disclosure-or-contact-happen-in-2012
This article analyzes the evidence and probabilities of 2012 official extraterrestrial disclosure, and of human societys experiencing 2012 open contact with extraterrestrial or hyperdimensional civilizations. As reporter Alfred Lambremont Webre has written, secret, compartmentalized human-extraterrestrial liaison programs between the U.S. government and specific extraterrestrial and hyperdimensional civilizations have existed for decades. By official disclosure is meant an authoritative statement by a head of state in ongoing communication with an extraterrestrial or hyperdimensional civilization. Open contact is defined as public, consensual diplomatic relations between an extraterrestrial or hyperdimensional civilization and a national government, international institution such as the United Nations, or citizen-based group publicly recognized by an extraterrestrial or hyperdimensional civilization. Part 1 of this series set out the evidence that super-cataclysm memes such as 2012 Pole shift, super solar flare, galactic super waves, and super nova fragments entering our solar system appear to be memes propagated by catastrophobia, and are extremely unlikely to materialize in 2012. Moreover, 2012 cataclysm memes appear to be used by a variety of institutions, ranging from covert military-intelligence and governmental agencies to organized religion for purposes of social control. Future articles in this series will explore the themes of 2012 DNA/human consciousness transformation and of 2012 and a Golden Age, including the Calleman-Clow time acceleration matrix of the Mayan calendar, which suggests that the alternating sign-wave universe core energy phenomenon ceases after Oct. 28, 2011, and Earth will be set on a gradual setting of a potential to reach advanced utopian planet status a virtual Garden of Eden. As discussed in the article below, one of the critical limits on any 2012 official extraterrestrial disclosure or open contact with extraterrestrial or hyperdimensional civilizations may be deduced from eyewitness whistleblower evidence of a possible condition of hyperdimensional "war" and armed conflict that may continue to exist over control of the 3rd dimension of our solar system. CLIP
Human-looking ETs secretly in U.S.? (April 26, 2010) http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/153063/
According to accounts released Saturday, April 24, 2010, by the coordinator of an e-mail news and information service, officials of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) and other U.S. government agencies have been involved in security activities involving human-appearing extraterrestrial beings in the U.S. (...) "The male non-human was interrogated by teams of AFOSI special agents over several weeks and in total was questioned and intensely interrogated for many months by other agencies." "It was during this time that the male non-human disclosed its race, its resident planet and the reason it came to Earth. The male alien basically cooperated and provided details of its life on his alien home world." "The non-human entity was released on the direct orders of then President Carter in late 1980, and subsequently left Earth and returned to its home planet." "The male non-human originated from the star system Delta Pavonis, 20 light-years from Earth where it was the 4th planet from their sun. It is roughly the same size as our Earth.""We called the captured alien Septeloids. That was the identifying alien species name given to them by the astrobiologists on our team. I have no idea how they picked that name as well as some of the other odd-sounding alien species names ending with the suffix of 'loid.'" "The travel time to Earth was 18 Earth months using a very complex propulsion system and time-space displacement travel mode. Back then in 1980, we could not understand the alien propulsion system and we never saw his spacecraft." "When President Carter let the male non-human leave, he just vanished. I was never in the intelligence loop as to how he left or how he departed Earth," Martinez' source reportedly stated. "These aliens from Delta Pavonis have been visiting Earth for 100 Earth years. Apparently, they could assume the human shape and form and easily live among us." "I'm not sure how they learned English so well nor other languages. You've got to remember that this was extreme compartmentalization. I knew just what I was suppose to know. There is much more to the alien debriefing that I do not know." CLIP
UFO Activity at Nuclear Weapons Sites to be Revealed at the National Press Club: Your Assistance is Needed! (April 18, 2010) http://www.disclose.tv/frameset.php?url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8662822.stm
BBC News, Moscow - A Russian MP has asked President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate claims by a regional president that he has met aliens on board a spaceship. (...) Mr Ilyumzhinov said in an interview on primetime television that he had been taken on board an alien spaceship which had come to planet Earth to take samples - and claims to have several witnesses. CLIP
Russian president Medvedev faces same issues as 2010 Denver ET vote: how to prepare for ET contact? http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-2912-Seattle-Exopolitics-Examiner~y2010m5d5-Russian-president-Medvedev-faces-same-issues-as-2010-Denver-ET-vote-how-to-prepare-for-ET-contact
(...) Liberal Democrat Party representative and state Duma deputy Andrei Lebedev fears that extraterrestrials may have compromised Russia's official secrets. After hearing a TV interview in which the President of the Kalmyk Republic, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, spoke of his meeting with an alien spaceship, Lebedev called for instant action, according to news reports in Russia. President Kirsan Ilyumzhinovs close encounter took place on Sep. 18, 1997, and Ilyumzhinov recalled it in a recent interview with TV presenter Vladimir Pozner. He stated that others might be skeptical, but added: I believe I communicated with them, I saw them. I probably would not have believed it, but there were three witnesses: my driver, the Minister and my assistant. ABC News reports, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was at home in his Moscow apartment when they came in and abducted him, taking him to their space ship where they communicated with him telepathically. (...) As Examiner.com reported, In August, 2010, the citizens of Denver, Colo. will go to the voting booths and do something that no other earthly civilization in mainstream recorded history has done vote on establishing an official commission to create a responsible, responsive, common sense strategy for dealing with issues related to the presence of extraterrestrial intelligent beings on Earth. CLIP
U.S. reveals size of nuclear arsenal (May 3, 2010) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64251X20100504
The Pentagon said it had a total of 5,113 warheads in its nuclear stockpile at the end of September, down 84 percent from a peak of 31,225 in 1967. The arsenal stood at 22,217 warheads when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The figure includes warheads that are operationally deployed, kept in active reserve and held in inactive storage. But it does not include "several thousand" warheads that are now retired and awaiting dismantlement, the Pentagon said. CLIP
Why is Hawking affirming time travel theory and appearing ignorant of DARPA secret time travel? http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-2912-Seattle-Exopolitics-Examiner%7Ey2010m5d1-Why-is-Hawking-affirming-time-travel-theory-and-appearing-ignorant-of-DARPA-secret-time-travel
Fresh from eliciting polarized public responses to public statements urging humanity to avoid any contact with extraterrestrial civilizations on the grounds that all such contact may be dangerous, scientist Stephen Hawking, for over 30 years Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, has now weighed in on the theoretical and operational reality of time travel as part of his Discovery Channel documentary series. As Examiner.com reported, Hawkings blanket negative statements about the intentions of extraterrestrial civilizations are reminiscent of U.S. and U.K. military-intelligence propaganda supporting the weaponization of space and a false flag war against extraterrestrials. Prof. Hawking said, We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldnt want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach. Prof. Hawkings statements on time travel can been seen in a segment (Episode 1-5) of the Discovery Channel documentary embedded in the article below. CLIP
Aliens have been visiting Earth for decades: Canadian expert (May 3rd, 2010) http://news-views.in/aliens-have-been-visiting-earth-for-decades-canadian-expert/
Toronto Accusing world famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking of spreading misinformation about threats from aliens, former Canadian defence minister Paul Hellyer claimed Sunday that extraterrestrials have actually been visiting earth for decades. (...) Taking issue with Hawking Sunday, the former Canadian defence minister, who himself is an expert on the subject and has has been speaking about aliens for years, said aliens have already visited earth and contributed to our technological advancement.Hellyer told the Canadian Press that the reality is that they (aliens) have been visiting earth for decades and probably millennia and have contributed considerably to our knowledge. He said our computer screens have their origins in alien spaceships. Microchips, for example, fiber-optics, they are just two of the many things that allegedly and probably for real came from crashed vehicles, the Canadian said.Blaming Hawking for scaring mankind about aliens, he said, He (Hawking) is indulging in some pretty scary talk there that I would have hoped would not come from someone with such an established stature. I think it is really sad that a scientist of his repute would contribute to what I would consider more misinformation about a vast and very important subject.
Max's Excellent Adventure in Hawaii BY Diana Luppi (May 7, 2010) http://www.et101.net/video/index44.html
(...) Who is this crystal skull who calls himself Max? According to a seven-year-old boy who Max spoke to last year in Santa Monica, he is 5 million years old and comes from a planet 80 planets distant from Alcyone, The Central Sun. His planet was destroyed, but he was evacuated before its fall and brought here, to this remote planet on the outskirts of the Milky Way. He is both the holder of the encoded information of his origin and is here to seed this planet with this information. (...) In accordance with both legend and prophecy, Max is one of 13 crystal skulls that were placed on this planet from other worlds. Each contains a specific body of knowledge from the place or its origin. Only when all 13 are finally assembled, as prophecy says they will be, the full impact of their presence and purpose will become known. (...) The Hawaiian language is another mystery. By some accounts, the Lemurians came to this planet from another world to the lands of which Hawaii is now a vestige. These beings were telepathic; the indigenous population they encountered was not. They consequently devised a language to communicate not only their thoughts, but also their consciousness. The language they created was both a means of audial communication and a spiritual code. That language is Hawaiian.Multi-layered, every word has greater meaning. For instance, Aloha means hello, right? Yes, and no. Aloha actually means the presence of breath; the breath of life. Aloha is not a word, it is a way of living and treating each other with respect and love. It implies self-love at its core, and love of others as its consequence. Hawaii is called The Aloha State, and it is in the state of Aloha that these islands live. CLIP
GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A high-speed solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field last night (May 2-3), sparking a geomagnetic storm that lasted more than 15 hours. In Scandinavia, the Northern Lights were so bright they could be seen through the glow of the midnight sun. Red auroras spilled across the Canadian border and were spotted in several US states. Details and images are features in today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.
Earth Day 2010 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/sets/72157623906890222/
We here at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center think Earth is a pretty special place and hope you love the Big Blue Marble as much as we do. Here are a few of our favorite Earth images from over the years to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.
Harpooning 25 Years of Whale Conservation https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=645&s_src=earthdaynetwork
The Obama Administration is spearheading a proposal to re-open commercial whaling. If successful, Obama's plan will overturn 25 years of whale protections and lead to both legalized whale slaughter and invasions into ocean sanctuaries. Don't let President Obama backpedal on whaling regulations. In 2008, Obama campaigned for a stronger moratorium on whaling. Now, suddenly, the administration has bowed to political pressure at the expense of endangered whale populations worldwide. Tell President Obama that this is outrageous! Whales are already imperiled by ship strikes, oil and gas development, and climate change. We cannot add legal whaling operations to this list. Sign the petition now: tell President Obama to keep his promise to protect the whales.
Tapped Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72MCumz5lq4
Tapped is a film that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.
Man claims to have had no food or drink for 70 years (April 28, 2010) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/7645857/Man-claims-to-have-had-no-food-or-drink-for-70-years.html
Indian military scientists are studying an 82-year-old who claims he has not had any food or drink for 70 years. Prahlad Jani is being held in isolation in a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gurjarat, where he is being closely monitored by India's defence research organization, who believe he may have a genuine quality which could help save lives. He has now spent six days without food or water under strict observation and doctors say his body has not yet shown any adverse effects from hunger or dehydration. Mr Jani ... is regarded as a 'breatharian' who can live on a 'spiritual life-force' alone. He believes he is sustained by a goddess who pours an 'elixir' through a hole in his palate. His claims have been supported by an Indian doctor who specializes in studies of people who claim supernatural abilities. So far, Mr Prahlad appears to be standing up to scrutiny. He has not eaten or drunk any fluids in six days, and similarly has not passed urine or a stool in that time. He remains fit and healthy and shows no sign of lethargy. According to Dr Sudhir Shah, who examined him in 2003, he went without food or water for ten days in which urine appeared to be reabsorbed by his body after forming in his bladder. Doubts were expressed about his claim after his weight fell slightly at the end of the trial. Note: To read an intriguing BBC News article about the 2003 study of this remarkable man, click here.
CIA drones kill 14 in strike linked to Times Square plot (12 May 2010) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/cia-drones-kill-14-in-strike-linked-to-times-square-plot-1971359.html
Up to 18 missiles pounded a suspected Taliban stronghold in northern Pakistan yesterday in the latest US strike on militants since the attempted bombing in Times Square, New York.In a surprisingly heavy bombardment, the missiles reportedly tore into compounds, cars and tents in the Doga area of North Waziristan. At least 14 people were killed and several others wounded. The specific target of the attack is not yet clear. The strike by CIA-operated missiles fired from pilotless drones was the third in North Waziristan since the discovery of the car-bomb and the arrest of Pakistani American, Faisal Shazad, who has told the authorities he was trained by the Pakistan Taliban in a camp located there. There have been 30 such missile strikes this year, as the US has targetted militants either beyond the reach of the Pakistan military or else those it considers less of a priority. CLIP
CODEX ET ÉTIQUETAGE DES OGM - Pour le droit de chaque pays détiqueter les aliments contenant des OGM http://www.consommateur.qc.ca/union-des-consommateurs/?page_id=368
Une importante réunion du Codex Alimentarius a eu lieu à Québec du 3 au 7 mai 2010. Il y a été notamment question des normes internationales sur létiquetage des aliments contenant des OGM. La position du Canada et des États-Unis a eu pour effet dempêcher la conclusion dun accord et les discussions sont, encore une fois, repoussées à une prochaine rencontre. Dans le passé, le Canada et les États-Unis ont tout fait pour nuire aux discussions. Leur objectif est dempêcher que le Codex puisse adopter une règle sur les OGM, puisque cette adoption placerait les pays qui imposent létiquetage des OGM à labri de poursuites en vertu des accords commerciaux internationaux. En dautres mots, sans norme sur létiquetage au Codex, les pays qui ont létiquetage obligatoire des OGM ou qui souhaitent lavoir pourraient devoir reculer à cause de poursuites ou de menaces de poursuites, commandées par lindustrie des biotechnologies. En quelques clics, vous pouvez écrire au ministre de la Santé pour lui dire que vous nêtes pas daccord avec la position du Canada.- NOTE de Jean: Si vous habitez au Québec, SVP faites comme moi et prenez quelques secondes pour participer à cette importante campagne. Recommandé par Huguette Demers (email@example.com) qui a écrit: "Les Etats-Unis appuyés par le Canada tentent de faire passer un vote lors de cette réunion à l'effet de faire disparaître les OGM non pas des aliments comme on aurait pu le croire, mais de l'étiquetage des aliments (et lisez attentivement car ça relève de la fiction) : Afin qu'il soit interdit d'indiquer sur un produit alimentaire qu'il ne contient PAS d'OGM! Les entreprises qui voudront utiliser cet argument de vente (il n'y a pas d'OGM dans nos produits) se verraient passibles de poursuites... (OGM = Organisme Génétiquement modifié). Ceci, alors que des organisations très crédibles et d'envergure internationale s'affairent à la lumière d'études scientifiques de plus en plus nombreuses décriant le danger des OGM sur la santé à demander totalement au contraire que l'étiquetage des OGM soit obligatoire. Pourtant très peu d'entres nous ont été informé de cette situation par les médias conventionnels (télévision, journaux, etc.). On pourrait se dire c'est normal car normalement ces réunions ce passe ailleurs à l'international bien loin de nous. Détrompez-vous, cette réunion se déroule présentement au Québec dans notre patelin sans que le commun des mortels n'en soit informé. Ceci devrait être un « Wake up Call »pour tous et chacun de nous. Nos dirigeants, sous des influences mercantiles de puissants lobbys (Monsanto et Cie) sont à changer en catimini des règles fondamentales de l'alimentation qui vont affecter la santé de centaines de millions de personnes et nous n'en sommes même pas informés. Et en plus, ça se passe chez nous au Québec. Toutefois, on s'occupe de nous tenir informé et très occupé à l'égard de banalités sans importance réelle. Je me demande ce que nous allons expliquer aux futures générations quand ils vont nous demander ce que nous faisions pendant que de telles lois et réglementations dévastatrices ont été mises en place sans la moindre réactions de notre part.
SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE UNFOLDING ECOLOGICAL DISASTER IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
Oil executives face U.S. Congress on Gulf spill (May 11, 2010 ) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1124632920100511
WASHINGTON/ROBERT, La., May 11 (Reuters) - Big oil goes under the spotlight on Tuesday when U.S. lawmakers grill top executives on a drilling rig explosion and oil spill that threatens an environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. The hearings come during a desperate race against time to stem the oil gushing from a well ruptured after an explosion last month that killed 11 workers, sank the rig and set in motion the unfolding economic and ecological disaster.Delays in containing the leaking well increase the chances it could become the worst U.S. oil spill ever, surpassing the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska.BP planned to try again to contain the oil surging deep from the Gulf of Mexico, this time with a far smaller but hopefully more effective funnel than it tried previously in a failed bid to stem the flow, which is estimated at 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 litres) of oil a day. (...) The Obama administration, lawmakers and environmental groups have said new regulations will likely be needed to improve safety at deepwater wells. The executives in their testimony did not offer recommendations on how to protect workers from such explosions in the future or how to better prevent and control oil spills in the Gulf's very deep waters. Lawmakers in the House of Representatives and the Senate have also introduced legislation that would raise the amount of money BP would be responsible to dole out for economic losses caused by the spill to $10 billion, from $75 million under current law. The oil spill casts a great deal of uncertainty on the fate of the Senate compromise climate bill set to be released this week. Some coastal state Democrats have threatened to oppose the legislation, which is expected to include measures promoting offshore drilling in new areas. CLIP
Anatomy of an Oil Disaster: Heckuva Job, Kenny! Commentary by Nikolas Kozloff (May 06, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0505-oil_kozloff.html
Who is responsible for the great environmental disaster arising from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? As the country reels from the sheer magnitude of the accident, the media has rightly pointed the finger at BP. Yet, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the role of Ken Salazar and his derelict Department of Interior, a government entity which, in theory, regulates offshore oil drilling. With a budget of almost $16 billion, Interior is a hugely important department overseeing more than 500 million acres of federal land including the national parks --- nearly a fifth of all land in the U.S. The departments programs range from protecting endangered species to providing oil and gas leases. As the Huffington Post has reported, as recently as late 2009 the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned Interior that it was vastly underestimating the frequency of offshore oil spills and was dangerously understating the threat and impact a major spill could have on coastal people. Adding to the furor, the Washington Post reports that Interior exempted BPs Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year. Could these stories merely represent the tip of the iceberg? In light of Salazars lackluster stewardship of Interior, I think its more than likely. Whatever the case, we shall get more insight during upcoming hearings on Capitol Hill. Next week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will address the spill, adding to an already crowded calendar of oil hearings. Though witnesses have not been announced, it is expected that Salazar will testify. The secretary is already in damage control mode and recently announced that his department would establish a board to review offshore drilling safety and technology issues as well as tighten oversight of industry equipment testing. How could the government have allowed such a catastrophe to happen? This is the type of accident that one would have expected during the Bush presidency, when Big Oil had free reign, and not during the Obama administration. Indeed, under Bush the Interior Department became such an utter mockery that one could almost say it acted as a kind of subsidiary of the oil industry itself. (...) Perhaps the hearings were all just a smoke screen for Salazar and a mere public façade. As we now know, Interior ignored the warnings put forth by the NOAA while Salazar quietly crafted a horrible offshore oil plan with the White House. In March of this year Obama, much to the chagrin of environmentalists, finally announced that he would conduct a major expansion of offshore oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico amongst other areas. In the wake of BPs massive oil spill off Louisiana, the White House announced that it would put a hold on new offshore oil exploration. But what is really needed now is a complete and total moratorium on ALL offshore oil exploration. In light of his track record, Ken Salazar is hardly the most appropriate bureaucrat to carry out such an ambitious agenda which would necessarily entail a switch from fossil fuels to alternative energy.
Since spill, feds have given 27 waivers to oil companies in gulf (May 7, 2010) http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/07/1619046/since-spill-feds-have-given-27.html
Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico. The waivers were granted despite President Barack Obamas vow that his administration would launch a relentless response effort to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf. One of them was dated Friday the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling The exemptions, known as categorical exclusions, were granted by the Interior Departments Minerals Management Service (MMS) and included waiving detailed environmental studies for a BP exploration plan to be conducted at a depth of more than 4,000 feet and an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. exploration plan at more 9,000 feet. Is there a moratorium on off shore drilling or not? asked Peter Galvin, conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity, the environmental group that discovered the administrations continued approval of the exemptions. Possibly the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history has occurred and nothing appears to have changed.
Million gallons of oil a day gush into Gulf of Mexico (May 9, 2010) http://www.independent.co.uk:80/news/world/americas/million-gallons-of-oil-a-day-gush-into-gulf-of-mexico-1969472.html
An extraordinary account of how the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred emerged yesterday in leaked interviews with surviving workers from the rig. They said that a methane gas bubble had formed, rocketed to the surface and caused a series of fires and explosions which destroyed the rig and began the gushing of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening wildlife and coastal livelihoods. Oil-covered birds caught by the outer edges of the 135-mile slick are now being found. Word also came yesterday that the oil spill may be five times worse than previously thought. Ian MacDonald, a biological oceanographer at Florida State University, said he believed, after studying Nasa data, that about one million gallons a day were leeching into the sea, and that the volume discharged may have already exceeded the 11 million gallons of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, widely regarded as the world's worst marine pollution incident. Mr MacDonald said there was, as of Friday, possibly as much as 6,178 square miles of oil-covered water in the Gulf. Meanwhile, at the site of the ill-fated well, a mile beneath the surface, a massive metal chamber had been positioned over the rupture so it could contain and then capture the bulk of the leaking oil. The operation, which uses undersea robots, and has never before been attempted at this depth and pressure. But last night, the formation of ice crystals meant the dome had to be moved away from the leak. The interviews with rig workers, described to the Associated Press by Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor, recall the chain reaction of events that led to the disaster. They said that on 20 April a group of BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record. Far below, the rig was being converted from an exploration well to a production well. CLIP
Scientist Doesn't See a Way for Preventing Oil From Reaching Florida Keys, Eastern Seaboard (May 3, 2010) http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/market_news/article.jsp?content=D9FFI8E81
GULFPORT, Miss. - Scientists say the Gulf oil spill could get into the what's called the Loop Current within a day, eventually carrying oil south along the Florida coast and into the Florida Keys. Nick Shay, a physical oceanographer at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, said Monday once the oil enters the Loop Current, it likely will end up in the Keys and continue east into the Gulf Stream. Shay says the oil could affect Florida's beaches, coral reefs, fisheries and ecosystem within a week. He described the Loop Current as similar to a "conveyor belt," sweeping around the Gulf, through the Keys and right up the East Coast. Shay says he cannot think of any scenario where the oil doesn't eventually reach the Florida Keys.
A possible ecological solution to the Oil Spill - the relevant authorities seem to ignore or just don't know about this "miracle" solution - Please HELP bring this to their immediate attention! http://cfc.wjla.com/forums/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=47&Topic=79920
A product exists which has been proven to remove PCE's, PCB's, Heavy Oil, and other contaminants from both soil and water without excavation. The product is called (STI) 'Simtech Triad Ionate' and is currently available and approved for use in Florida by the Flori8da Department of Environmental Protection, through Mr. Michael Fitzsimmons of Emerald Bay Environmental Services in Florida - Phone (239) 948-3599 -- Recommended by Katie Bridge (firstname.lastname@example.org) who wrote: "Nature has given us a way to heal her. (...) This product STI - Simtec Triad Ionate does not have any clean up. It is fast, benign and pro ecology in every way. It is something made from nature that is harmless to nature. The professor who discovered it patented it in 1989 and it has been proven and tested to do only good things to remediate land and waterways. Right now it is certified for use in Florida - but why they are not leaping on it everywhere else (or letting us know that they will/are) is a puzzle. The professor - Dr Bobby Simpson has a long list of dedicated accomplishments - now is an old man in frail health. His son is the manufacturer and they have never once used greed or commercial gain to promote it. They don't even have a website - although their Florida seller does. But it is a pure elemental product and it could be used widely along the beaches and dropped from air to the sea - it would dissolve the oil from the inside out and encourage enzymes to flourish to restore the damage and nature's own balance. It would continue to dissolve - break down the hydrocarbons in any oil or other contaminant that arrived. It is harmless to flora and fauna, harmless to animals and people - it is available and easy to use. We have been trying to get it front of the noses of the Deepwater Horizon people, BP and even local heads of state. (...) I send this flyer text to you as I believe with all my heart this will change the outcome drastically and beneficially if enough people know of it - so it is acknowledged and utilized. I have no vested interest - my heart simply leads me to pass this around to as many souls who are seeking this information this time. Thank you for your messages. I am of a deep understanding that this product if used could turn the whole situation around - but perhaps right now there is some reason that some powers do not want that to happen... at least not yet.(...) I am helping M/H Manufacturing - who are the sole source - to be of service to our planet. Dispersant that is used being now to "collect oil" - needs to be cleaned up. It leaves and environmental footprint for 5-7 years. (...) Anyone interested in more info or prior test results can contact Dr. Miles Hogan PhD - (626) 242-5163 - E-mail: email@example.com. Also it takes about 5 minutes to train anyone who has made it through high school to use it - it is user friendly all the way. NOTE from Jean: Much more detail on this amazing product through http://naturalremediation.com/ (firstname.lastname@example.org - 239 591-6799) - It has been designed to naturally clean up groundwater contamination. Let's hope it can work in the ocean environment without causing excessive oxygen-depleting algal bloom
Oil-Spill Fight Bogs Down (MAY 1, 2010) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703871904575215714243494620.html
BP Says Stopgap Plan to Cap Well May Take Weeks; Weather Slows Effort to Limit Slick (..) Strong winds and choppy seas hampered efforts to hem in the oil. Several vinyl containment barriers, known as booms, broke up in the rough weather. Others remained on shore, as high wavesexpected to continue through the weekendmade it impossible to lay them in the Gulf. An equally pressing emergency loomed more than 40 miles offshore, where the deepwater well kept spewing oil uncontrollably. Industry scientists say the permanent solution is to close the entire well. To do that, they must drill another holethrough 13,000 feet of rock a mile under the ocean's floorthat will intercept the leaking well. They can then pump in cement to try to plug the leaks. This operation will take up to three months and is highly complex; the drills must precisely hit the leaking wellwhich is just seven inches wide. When a well off the coast of Australia blew out last year, it took five attempts over 10 weeks to hit the old well and shut it down. BP says it will begin drilling the new well this weekend.
(...) Industry experts examining satellite data said they believe oil may be leaking at a rate of 25,000 barrels a dayfive times the recent U.S. Coast Guard estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. If that's the case, more than 9 million gallons of oil may already be sloshing through the Gulf of Mexico, said Ian MacDonald, professor of oceanography at Florida State University, who specializes in tracking ocean oil seepage. The Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska in 1989 spilled 11 million gallons. Federal officials are sticking with their estimate of 5,000 barrels a day but say they may revise it after further monitoring. John Curry, spokesman for BP, said the 5,000-barrel-a-day figure was just a "guesstimate" as "it's very difficult to accurately gauge how much there is."In addition to fisheries, the coastal habitat provides prime breeding ground for many bird species. Thousands of brown pelicans are nesting there right now, said Tom MacKenzie, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. CLIP
C'mon, How Big Is The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill, Really? http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0501/C-mon-how-big-is-the-Gulf-of-Mexico-oil-spill-really
Calculating the exact flow of crude out of the bent Deepwater Horizon oil rig "riser" pipe on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is difficult. But it's now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard's figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day. Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register. As estimates of the spill increase, questions about the government's honesty in assessing the spill are emerging. At the same time, pressure is building for the US to release worst-case scenario estimates so residents of the Gulf Coast can adequately prepare. Meanwhile, BP is working furiously to do the unprecedented: Activate a faulty blowout preventer a mile under the Gulf to stop the leak at its source. If that fails, it could take three months, or more, to drill a relief well in order to plug the renegade well. "In the environmental arena, risk modeling is done day-in and day-out for every type of pollutant, whether going in the water, earth or air," says Stuart Smith, an environmental attorney in New Orleans, in a statement. "Why are BP and the Environmental Protection Agency not releasing such information to the public? After originally saying the rig wasn't leaking at all, the Coast Guard originally used estimates in part provided by BP to describe the size of the spill as 1,000 barrels a day. CLIP
Gulf of Mexico: from magnificent resource to industrial sacrifice zone (29 APRIL 2010) http://www.grist.org/article/2010-04-29-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-fishery-to-industrial-sacrifice-zone/
The Gulf of Mexico is a magnificent resource: a kind of natural engine for the production of wild, highly nutritious foodstuff. Here's how the EPA describes it:Gulf fisheries are some of the most productive in the world. In 2008 according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the commercial fish and shellfish harvest from the five U.S. Gulf states was estimated to be 1.3 billion pounds valued at $661 million. The Gulf also contains four of the top seven fishing ports in the nation by weight. The Gulf of Mexico has eight of the top twenty fishing ports in the nation by dollar value.According to the EPA, the Gulf is the home of 59 percent of U.S. oyster production. Nearly three-quarters of wild shrimp harvested in the United States call it home. It is a major breeding ground for some of the globe's most prized and endangered fish, including bluefin tuna, snapper, and grouper.It would be a wise policy to protect the Gulf, to nurture the health of its ecosytems, to leave it at least as productive as we found it for the next generations. As climate change proceeds apace and population grows, sources of cheap, low-input, top-quality food will be increasingly precious.So, how are we doing? As I write this, oil is gushing into the Gulf at the rate of 5,000 barrels per day, 5,000 feet below the water's surface, The New York Times reports. Above the surface, an oil slick with a circumference of 600 miles is lurching along, lashed by wind toward the coasts. (...) For fisheries, the situation is atrocious. Direct contact with high oil concentrations kill fish quickly. But low-concentration contact can have horrible impacts, too. According to Greenpeace:Even when the oil does not kill, it can have more subtle and long-lasting negative effects. For example, it can damage fish eggs, larva and young -- wiping out generations. It also can bio-accumulate up through the food chain as predators (including humans) eat numbers of fish (or other wildlife) that have sub-lethal amounts of oil stored in their bodies.Tragically, now seems to be a particularly awful time for a massive spill. On the Oceana blog, Matt Niemerski writes: [S]cientists say this is a critical time for bird life in the region because it is peak nesting and migration time for hundreds of species. Endangered sea turtles are beginning to lay their eggs along beaches in the area and bluefin tuna are spawning right now. Whales, dolphins and sea turtles are also at risk because they could inhale oil when they come to the surface to breathe.What started with a human tragedy and suspected tragic loss of 11 lives on April 21, now appears to be unfolding into one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. And that's not all. It should be remembered that oil drilling is not the only human activity that imperils this vital ecosystem. Every year, millions of tons of synthetic nitrogen and mined phosphorous leach from Midwestern farm fields and into streams that drain into the Mississippi. The great river deposits those agrichemicals right into the Gulf, where they feed a 7,000-square-mile algae bloom that sucks up oxygen and snuffs out sea life underneath. The bulk of this vast Dead Zone's rogue nutrients comes from the growing of corn, our nation's largest farm crop. Half of the corn crop ends up in feedlots, feeding cows, chicken, and pigs stuffed together in pollution-spewing, factory-style feedlots. CLIP
Gulf oil spill could 'devastate' South Florida's environment http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/fl-oil-impact-20100504,0,109347.story
As Gulf blowout gushes oil, fears grow for Florida's wildlife and beaches - Few parts of the United States would be as devastated by an oil slick as the southern coast of Florida.A necklace of federal wildlife refuges wraps around the tip of the peninsula, protecting wading birds, Key deer, American crocodiles and nesting sea turtles. The largest coral reef system in the continental United States forms an undersea rainforest of fish, crabs, sponges and coral, extending from the southern end of the Keys to the shallows off Palm Beach. The beaches from Broward County up the coast are among the most important in the world for loggerhead sea turtles, now just beginning their annual nesting season."A major oil spill would devastate the ecosystem and the economy based on that ecosystem," said Larry Crowder, professor of marine biology at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. "It's a particularly bad time of year because just about everything is nesting or replicating."In the Gulf of Mexico giant blue fin tuna are spawning, and their eggs and larvae float on the surface," he said. "Seabirds and gulls are nesting. For nesting sea turtles, obviously, oiling the beaches could have a devastating impact." (...) If the oil does come through on the Loop Current, it would first reach the coral reefs around Dry Tortugas National Park. Richard Dodge, director of the National Coral Reef Institute at Nova Southeastern University, said oil has many toxins for corals that could cause reproductive problems, bleaching and death."In Panama, for example, there was a major refinery spill some time ago," he said. "Even though that oil was thought to be primarily floating, there were some severe impacts to the reefs."At Everglades National Park, the oil could drift into the cul-de-sac of Florida Bay a shallow, seagrass-carpeted home to dolphins, sharks, wading birds and crocodiles. James Fourqurean, a professor at FIU's Department of Environmental Sciences, said the oil could end up stuck in the bay for years. The seagrass could tolerate it, he said, but a vast variety of fish and other animals that live in the seagrass could die.The mangrove islands of the bay and the Keys are especially vulnerable because the oil could clog their root systems, destroying habitat for crocodiles, manatees, fish, roseate spoonbills, great white herons, snook and sea trout."If the oil slick were to enter a mangrove ecosystem, it would blanket the wetlands," said Jerome Lorenz, an ecologist with Audubon on Florida. "Once it's in there, it can't be cleaned out. Most of the great wading bird colonies of the Everglades occur in mangrove habitat. This would potentially have a devastating impact." CLIP
Deepwater Horizon: A Firsthand Account (5/4/2010) http://peakoilpetroleumandpreciousmetals.yuku.com/topic/11895/t/Deepwater-Horizon-A-Firsthand-Account.html
On Friday, April 30th 2010, an anonymous caller contacted the Mark Levin Show to clarify the events that preceded the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Rigzone has transcribed this broadcast for your convenience. To hear the actual radio broadcast please visit http://www.marklevinshow.com/Article.asp?id=1790422&spid=32364
(...) When they opened the well is when the gas well kicked, and we took a humongous gas bubble kick up through the well bore. It literally pushed the sea water all the way to the crown of the rig, which is about 240 feet in the air. (...) Anytime you're drilling an oil well, there is a constant battle between the mud weight, the drilling fluid that we use to maintain pressure, and the wellbore itself. There's a balance. The well is pushing gas one way and you are pushing mud the other way. So there is a delicate balance that has to be maintained at all times to keep the gas from coming back in, what we call the kicks. You know, we always get gas back in the mud, but the goal of the whole situation is to try to control the kick. Not allow the pressure to differentiate between the vessel and the wellbore. Mark: Well, in this case, obviously, too much gas got in.James: Correct, and this well had a bad history of producing lots of gas. It was touch and go a few times and was not terribly uncommon. You're almost always going to get gas back from a well. We have systems to deal with the gas, however.Mark: So, what may have happened here? James: Well, the sheer volume and pressure of gas that hit all at once which was more than the safeties and controls we had in place could handle. Mark: And that's like a mistake on somebody's part or maybe its just Mother Nature every now and then kicks up, or what?James: Mother Nature every now and then kicks up. The pressures that we're dealing with out there, drilling deeper, deeper water, deeper overall volume of the whole vessel itself, you're dealing with 30 to 40 thousand pounds per square inch range -- serious pressures. (...) James: Well obviously, the gas blew the sea water out of the riser, once it displaced all of the sea water, the gas began to spill out on the deck and up through the center of the rig floor. The rig, you have to imagine a rectangle, about 400 feet by 300 feet, with the derrick and the rig floor sitting directly in the center. As this gas is now heavier than air, it starts to settle in different places. From that point, something ignited the gas, which would have caused the first major explosion. Mark: Anything else you want to tell me? James: No, I just got into the truck to make a short trip and I heard a gentleman say something about possible terrorism and I want to put that to bed now. I understand you have a large audience. I appreciate your point of view. I try to listen to you as much as I can, the terrorism call just needs to leave everyone's minds and let's focus on the 11 men that are dead and the survivors. That's where the focus of this country needs to be right now. CLIP
Halliburton May Be Culprit In Oil Rig Explosion (04-30-10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/halliburton-may-be-culpri_n_558481.html
Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast, the Wall Street Journal reports. Though the investigation into the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its early stages, drilling experts agree that blame probably lies with flaws in the "cementing" process -- that is, plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon."The initial likely cause of gas coming to the surface had something to do with the cement," said Robert MacKenzie, managing director of energy and natural resources at FBR Capital Markets and a former cementing engineer in the oil industry. The problem could have been a faulty cement plug at the bottom of the well, he said. Another possibility would be that cement between the pipe and well walls didn't harden properly and allowed gas to pass through it. The possibility of Halliburton's culpability was first reported Monday by HuffPost's Marcus Baram. According to a lawsuit filed in federal court by Natalie Roshto, whose husband Shane, a deck floor hand, was thrown overboard by the force of the explosion and whose body has not yet been located, Halliburton is culpable for its actions prior to the incident. The suit claims that the company "prior to the explosion, was engaged in cementing operations of the well and well cap and, upon information and belief, improperly and negligently performed these duties, which was a cause of the explosion." And Congressman Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a tough letter on Friday to Halliburton, asking for an explanation of its work on the rig, according to a spokesperson for the committee. Last year, Halliburton was also implicated for its cementing work prior to a massive blowout off the coast of Australia, where a rig caught on fire and spewed hundreds of thousands of gallons into the sea for ten weeks. CLIP
Was the Gulf Oil Spill an Act of War? You Betcha (7 May 2010) http://www.truthout.org/was-gulf-oil-spill-act-war-you-betcha59224
(...) Drilling and the "War on Terra": Without overly editorializing the point, since at least the advent of industrialization, it appears that humanity has made a Faustian bargain that renders us the enemies of the earth in order to survive. Notions of complementarity and sustainability have been supplanted by consumption and separation instead. The cruel joke is that our willingness to continually flout nature's laws leaves us in a perpetual state of scarcity and requires a regular doubling-down on the very same logic that made things scarce in the first place. Thus, in order to extend the life of the petroleum economy and provide the massive energy inputs that we rely upon, we have to drill deeper and deeper to procure the substance at ever-increasing energy costs in the process. This literal sense of "diminishing returns" is compounded by the attendant toll exacted on our collective health via fossil fuels, as well as the concomitant stratification of wealth and power that subverts any pretense we still hold of democracy. Massive spills and other calamities are part and parcel of this normalization of a warlike attitude toward nature (and, thus, ourselves) and are blithely considered little more than business as usual by the ruling elites, as intimated in an article on care2.com: "All this is the result of dangerous and unnecessary offshore drilling, yet, in a statement Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the explosion was no reason to give up plans to expand offshore drilling. 'In all honesty I doubt this is the first accident that has happened and I doubt it will be the last,' Gibbs told reporters."Halliburton IS the War Machine: Finally, we come to the most likely culprit in all of this, and a sure sign that indeed this is an act of war. Wherever Halliburton goes, so goes the war machine and vice versa. CLIP
BP Accused of Violating Safety Regulations at US Refineries, Endangering Employees' Lives (4 May 2010) http://www.truthout.org/osha-safety-violations-bps-us-refineries-endanger-employees-lives59133
BP Plc's troubles are not just limited to its Gulf of Mexico operations, where a deadly blast aboard a drilling rig two weeks ago ruptured an oil well 5,000 feet below the sea's surface and triggered a massive oil leak that is now the size of a small country. The oil conglomerate is also facing serious charges from the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that it "willfully" failed to implement safety measures at its Texas City refinery following an explosion that killed 15 employees and injured 170 others five years ago. The refinery is the third largest in the country and has a capacity to refine 475,000 barrels of crude oil per day. OSHA found BP to be in violation of more than 300 health and safety regulations and, in 2005, fined the company $21.4 million, at the time the largest in the agency's history. In 2007, BP paid a $50 million fine and pleaded guilty to a felony for not having written guidelines in place at the refinery and for exposing employees to toxic emissions. BP, which earned $19 billion in 2005, settled with the victims' families for $1.6 billion. (...) What's notable about the nearly two dozen of the alleged violations at Husky, is that one matches allegations first leveled against BP a year ago by a whistleblower who said the company had been operating its Gulf Coast drilling platform Atlantis, the world's largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, located about 200 miles south of New Orleans, without a majority of the necessary engineering and design documents, a violation of federal law.As Truthout reported last week, the whistleblower said BP risked a catastrophic oil spill, far worse than the one that began two weeks ago after the Deepwater Horizon explosion CLIP
Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf (30 April 2010) http://www.truthout.org/whistlelower-bps-other-offshore-drilling-project-gulf-vulnerable-catastrophe59027
British Petroleum (BP) has knowingly broken federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, a former contractor who worked for the oil behemoth claimed in internal emails llast year and other documents obtained by Truthout. The whistleblower, whose name has been withheld at the person's request because the whistleblower still works in the oil industry and fears retaliation, first raised concerns about safety issues related to BP Atlantis, the world's largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, located about 200 miles south of New Orleans, in November 2008. Atlantis, which began production in October 2007, has the capacity to produce about 8.4 million gallons of oil and 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.It was then that the whistleblower, who was hired to oversee the company's databases that housed documents related to its Atlantis project, discovered that the drilling platform had been operating without a majority of the engineer-approved documents it needed to run safely, leaving the platform vulnerable to a catastrophic disaster that would far surpass the massive oil spill that began last week following a deadly explosion on a BP-operated drilling rig.
(...) Last May, Mike Sawyer, an engineer with Apex Safety Consultants, was asked by the whistleblower's attorney to evaluate BP's document database the whistleblower worked on that dealt with the subsea components. The whistleblower made a copy of the database and took it with him upon his termination from the company. Sawyer looked into the whistleblower's allegations regarding BP's document shortfall related to Atlantis and concluded that of the 2,108 P&IDs BP maintained that dealt specifically with the subsea components of its Atlantis production project, 85 percent did not receive engineer approval. Even worse, 95 percent of Atlantis' subsea welding records did not receive final approval, calling into question the integrity of thousands of crucial welds on subsea components that, if they were to rupture, could result in an oil spill 30 times worse than the one that occurred after the explosion on Deepwater Horizon last week.
(...) "BP's recklessness in regards to the Atlantis project is a clear example of how the company has a pattern of failing to comply with minimum industry standards for worker and environmental safety," Sawyer said.The oil spill blanketing roughly 4,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed eleven workers, was exacerbated, preliminary reports suggest, by the failure of a blowout preventer to shut off the flow of oil on the drilling rig and the lack of a backup safety measure, known as a remote control acoustic shut off switch, to operate the blowout preventer.Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent a letter Thursday to BP Chairman and President Lamar McKay seeking documents related to inspections on Deepwater Horizon conducted this year and BP's policy on using acoustic shut off switches in the Gulf of Mexico.The circumstances behind the spill are now the subject of a federal investigation. Profits Before Safety - Whether it's the multiple oil spills that emanated from BP's Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska's North Slope or the March 2005 explosion at the company's Texas refinery that killed 15 employees and injured 170 people, BP has consistently put profits ahead of safety. CLIP - MANY INTERESTING COMMENTS THERE
DEATH TIDE - Wildlife disaster as giant oil slick hits US (2/05/2010) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/05/02/death-tide-115875-22227259/
A black tide of oil was yesterday threatening to kill MILLIONS of birds and sea creatures on the American Gulf Coast.As President Barack Obama prepared to fly to the scene, experts warned it could be the worst environmental catastrophe in US history - even more devastating than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, which killed 250,000 seabirds More than 6,000 troops, 1,900 emergency workers and 300 ships have been sent to the area. US Air Force planes were desperately spraying oil-dispersing chemicals and miles of inflatable booms have been strung along the coast.But seas were yesterday too rough and winds too strong to burn off the oil, suck it up or hold it back... and the floating barriers were breaking loose. A state of emergency was declared in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The slick is set to wipe out the £2billion Louisiana seafood industry with thousands thrown out of work. The Mississippi River region where the slick has happened is the America's number one supplier of shrimp, oysters, crawfish and blue crabs. The slick was caused when BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded last week in the Gulf Of Mexico, killing 11 workers, with 1.6 million gallons of crude oil spewing into the sea. Five times more oil than first thought is still gushing from a well beneath the rig. BP is to drill a relief well, but experts say it could take three months to work. On Thurs day, the slick was about 1,150sq miles, but by yesterday it was said to have tripled in size. Some species of animals face being wiped out and the fishing industry may lose billions of dollars.Dolphins, whales, sea-turtles, manatees and hundreds of species of fish and birds are at greatest risk. The timing could hardly be worse, as it's now spawning time for the Atlantic blue-fin tuna and migration time for Gulf sea-turtles. Animal rescue groups were yesterday starting to receive birds coated in oil, but experts say marine life could be at risk for up to 30 years.
Gulf Oil Spill May Eclipse Exxon Valdez (04-30-10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/gulf-oil-spill-may-eclips_n_558306.html
VENICE, La. (AP) -- An oil spill that threatened to eclipse even the Exxon Valdez disaster spread out of control with a faint sheen washing ashore along the Gulf Coast Thursday night as fishermen rushed to scoop up shrimp and crews spread floating barriers around marshes.The spill was bigger than imagined -- five times more than first estimated -- and closer. Faint fingers of oily sheen were reaching the Mississippi River delta, lapping the Louisiana shoreline in long, thin lines."It is of grave concern," David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press. "I am frightened. This is a very, very big thing. And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."The oil slick could become the nation's worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, one of the world's richest seafood grounds, teeming with shrimp, oysters and other marine life. Thicker oil was in waters south and east of the Mississippi delta about five miles offshore. (...) The company has requested more resources from the Defense Department, especially underwater equipment that might be better than what is commercially available. A BP executive said the corporation would "take help from anyone."Government officials said the blown-out well 40 miles offshore is spewing five times as much oil into the water as originally estimated about 5,000 barrels, or 200,000 gallons, a day. At that rate, the spill could eclipse the worst oil spill in U.S. history the 11 million gallons that leaked from the grounded tanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989 in the three months it could take to drill a relief well and plug the gushing well 5,000 feet underwater on the sea floor. Ultimately, the spill could grow much larger than the Valdez because Gulf of Mexico wells tap deposits that hold many times more oil than a single tanker. CLIP
New Offshore Drilling Projects ON HOLD, White House Says (04-30-10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/new-offshore-drilling-pro_n_558313.html
WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama on Friday, in a largely symbolic gesture, promised that no new offshore oil drilling leases will be issued unless rigs have new safeguards to prevent a repeat of the explosion that unleashed the massive spill threatening the Gulf Coast. The assurance had no immediate impact because no new leases are scheduled for the coming months. But the White House hopes to address slipping support in Congress, and among environmentalists, for Obama's planned expansion of offshore drilling. Obama ordered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to report within 30 days on what new technologies are needed to tighten safeguards against oil spills from deep water drilling rigs. CLIP
The worst week ever, brought to you by the fossil-fuel industry (30 APR 2010) http://www.grist.org/article/2010-04-30-the-worst-week-ever-brought-to-you-by-the-fossil-fuel-industry/
(...) The connection running through every one of these disasters, of course, is dirty energy -- oil and coal. Only a fool would refuse to see the need to end our addiction.Speaking of which, the U.S. Senate looks likely to turn its back on the problem for the year. Plans to introduce a climate and energy bill this week -- albeit one that's disturbingly friendly to the fossil-fuel industry -- are on the skids because of a spat between Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Leave it to a business professor to find a "silver lining" in the week's terrible news: "I think it may create some temporarily spikes in employment if the companies hire some local labor to clean up the spill," Rajesh Narayanan, professor of finance at Louisiana State University's business school, told The New York Times. The craziest part is that our leaders continue pledging their tender loving care not to the natural world but to the GDP. "Think of the language our politicians use," author and global organizer Bill McKibben said in a recent conversation. "'The economy is ailing.' 'It's hit a rough patch.' Or 'It's healing.' Or 'showing signs of healing.' I mean, we talk about it like you would your great aunt. But with the planet, it's 'natural cycles' and 'pay no attention.' 'The Arctic melted: must be a natural cycle someplace.'"We're still acting as if the economy is the thing that's real, the thing with physical weight and force. We're acting as if the natural world is the abstraction, the intellectual concept that we can adjust to better suit our needs. That confusion will be the root of more disasters.
Devastation Along The Oil Coast http://thecomingdepression.blogspot.com/2010/05/devastation-along-oil-coast.html
When you read this please keep in mind that Panama City Beach is but one of many beach areas along the Emerald Coast of Florida. So multiply it by 10 or a 100. While I was waiting for a friend at the doctor's office, a lady who manages condo rentals on Panama City Beach told me something utterly shocking from an economic standpoint.She said in a normal day, she would get 40 to 50 calls from prospective vacation renters. Today she had received ZERO calls to rent! She received quite a few cancellations. She told me she would be going back to the office to lay off her two employees. She also told me about another hotel owner who was getting cancellations left and right, so they were going to lay off a huge portion of their staff.She also told me that this was happening all over the beach at all the hotels. There was an emergency meeting among owners of the hotels, motels, etc.She didn't specify what's going on except that "Charlie Hilton is sweating bullets." He is perhaps the biggest owner on the beach, with four separate beach front properties and one in-town property, including a highrise Holiday Inn. The ripple effect that this will have on the surrounding economy is more like a Tsunami. Thousands of waitresses, clerks, housekeepers, etc will be layed off probably in the next couple days. The newly unemployed will run out of money quickly because they aren't rich people. If they have credit cards or car payments, they won't be able to make their payments. Jeez this is bad! Poof! The northern beaches of Florida, and all along Alabama and Mississippi, beaches are all going to go belly up if they have almost no guests. Whoever holds the loans will also take it up the a**. It's hard to convey just how huge this is. Local stores, etc, etc, etc.
12 Connections Between Oil Spills and Plastic Pollution (April 30, 2010) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wallace-j-nichols/12-connections-between-oi_b_557804.html
1. Both oil spills and plastic pollution kill ocean wildlife in obvious, quick ways and slow, insidious ways. 2. The longer oil spills and plastic pollution are in the ocean, the harder they are to clean up. 3. Oil spills and plastic pollution despoil beaches, coastlines and ocean habitats. 4. Oil and plastic pollution cost communities millions in lost tourism and cleanup costs. 5. Plastic pollution and oil spills are both linked to powerful, multibillion dollar producers. 6. Approximately 25% of US oil production is used to make plastic, much of it single-use plastic, making up a large percentage of ocean pollution. 7. It is impossible to completely clean up oil slicks and plastic pollution in the ocean. 8. Plastic pollution is far more common, widespread and destructive than oil spills. 9. Plastic pollution and oil spills make you, our kids and our planet unhealthy. 10. Plastic pollution and oil slicks are connected to seemingly insatiable human addictions. 11. Plastic pollution and oil slicks are linked to a misunderstanding of convenience and consumption. 12. We have realistic, existing, green alternatives to much of our current use of both plastic and oil. In summary, the biggest oil spill on our planet is the one in the form of plastic pollution, spread throughout every ocean basin and washing up on virtually every single beach.Keep these links in mind as the ocean burns. MANY MORE RELATED NEWS THROUGH http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/bp-oil-spill
The Oily History of Offshore Operations: From Venezuela to the Gulf (May 01, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0501-gulf_oil_kozloff.html
Though undoubtedly shocking and disconcerting, the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is hardly the first incident of its kind in the region. Indeed, as I watched the footage of the ominous oil spill approaching the ecologically sensitive coast of Louisiana, I was struck with a profound sense of déjà vu. Long ago, while researching my dissertation on the environmental history of the petroleum industry in Venezuela, I combed through archives and libraries in the U.S., Britain and South America to uncover the oil companies sordid past. Starting in the 1920s, American and British subsidiaries of Standard Oil of New Jersey, Gulf and Royal Dutch Shell turned environmentally pristine Lake Maracaibo, which empties out into the Gulf of Venezuela and the Caribbean, into toxic sludge. CLIP
Goldman Sachs Reveals it Shorted Gulf of Mexico (April 30, 2010) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-borowitz/goldman-sachs-reveals-it_b_558774.html
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) - In what is looming as another public relations predicament for Goldman Sachs, the banking giant admitted today that it made "a substantial financial bet against the Gulf of Mexico" one day before the sinking of an oil rig in that body of water.The new revelations came to light after government investigators turned up new emails from Goldman employee Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre in which he bragged to a girlfriend that the firm was taking a "big short" position on the Gulf."One oil rig goes down and we're going to be rolling in dough," Mr. Tourre wrote in one email. "Suck it, fishies and birdies!"The news about Goldman's bet against the Gulf comes on the heels of embarrassing revelations that the firm had taken a short position on Lindsay Lohan's acting career.
Caution Required for Gulf Oil Spill Clean-up http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2010/05/04/gulf-oil-spill-clean-up/
With millions of gallons crude oil being spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the focus now is on shutting down the leak. However, in the cleanup efforts to come, extreme caution must be exercised so as not to make a bad situation even worse, says a leading bioremediation expert with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The concentration of detergents and other chemicals used to clean up sites contaminated by oil spills can cause environmental nightmares of their own, says Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist in Berkeley Labs Earth Sciences Division who has studied such notorious oil-spill sites as the Exxon Valdez spill into Alaskas Prince William Sound. It is important to remember that oil is a biological product and can be degraded by microbes, both on and beneath the surface of the water, Hazen says. Some of the detergents that are typically used to clean-up spill sites are more toxic than the oil itself, in which case it would be better to leave the site alone and allow microbes to do what they do best. CLIP
"Drill more": Fox News figures respond to environmental catastrophe by calling for more drilling (May 04, 2010) http://mediamatters.org/research/201005040043
In the wake of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, several Fox News hosts and contributors have responded by calling for a continuation -- and in some instances, an expansion -- of offshore drilling.
Oil Spill Gives Urgency to UN Oceans Meet http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51317
PARIS, May 5, 2010 (IPS) - The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has given increased urgency to the fifth Global Oceans Conference taking place here at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).The five-day meeting, which ends May 7, has brought together 823 delegates from 80 countries to discuss ways to preserve marine biodiversity and improve "governance" of the oceans, in the face of pollution, climate change and over-fishing. Their talks come as oil continues to surge into the Gulf from an undersea pipeline rupture, threatening marine life, and leading some participants to call for a freeze in new offshore drilling. "We think there should be a suspension of offshore explorations, especially in the Artic, until the regulations are tighter and the response gap to an oil spill is closed," said William Eichbaum, vice president for marine and Arctic policy at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "The assumption was that this accident could not have happened, and if there hadnt been this assumption, the regulations might have been tighter," he told journalists Tuesday. (...) Statistics from the Global Forum on Oceans suggest that rising levels of carbon dioxide have raised ocean acidity by 30 percent, "making the oceans more acidic now than they have been for the last 650,000 years". The consequences are dying coral reefs and a negative impact on marine organisms. At the same time, oceans are suffering from over-fishing, with the publics demand for fish exceeding the oceans ability to replenish stocks, according to some scientists. The conference is also focusing on other challenges such as rising sea levels and the "retreat" of glaciers. Experts, including Cacin-Sain, will make recommendations to governments on how to address these issues. CLIP
Big Energy Firms Blocking Solar Power in South (Mar 31, 2010) SHAME! SHAME!! SHAME!!! http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50862
ATLANTA, Georgia - As citizens, businesses and non-profit organisations seek to transition to cleaner power sources like solar and wind, some big energy firms whose business models rely on polluting sources are standing in the way.In Georgia, the energy company Georgia Power has lobbied for favourable public policies at the Public Service Commission (PSC) and State legislature that are making it difficult for the state's residents to transition to solar power. IPS learned that the Dekalb County school system wanted to put solar panels on their schools, but could not do it because of state policies like the Territorial Electric Service Act of 1973 which gives Georgia Power a monopoly over the purchase of energy. "In Georgia, we have about a dozen state policies preventing creation of solar energy," James Marlow, vice chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association, told IPS. "One of those is the Territorial Act." (...) According to the Morning News, the Tennessee Valley Authority has enrolled 13,000 green-power customers and has no cap on the annual amount of green energy it will buy from producers. Florida Power & Light "is building three solar facilities that combined will generate 110 megawatts of electricity... Duke Energy in North Carolina plans to invest 50 million in rooftop installations." To be sure, Georgia Power is only following the regulations established by the legislature and PSC. However, they lobbied for those policies to be enacted in the first place, Marlow said. "At this point, the utilities are opposed to solar and they're not working to foster its development," Marlow said. In addition to regulatory tricks, there are more direct ways in which big energy companies like Georgia Power are blocking solar and wind power. "They are trying to block clean energy by trying to flood the market with cheap, dirty energy," said Erin Glynn, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, referring to companies attempting to build two new coal plants and two new nuclear reactors in Georgia alone. As previously reported by IPS, numerous coal and nuclear plants are in planning stages throughout the U.S. South. "If you build these giant power plants, there will be no demand for clean energy. The clean technologies are here today. People have solar panels. The companies are blocking the market," Glynn said. Big energy companies are lobbying at the state and national levels to prevent public policies from shifting towards renewable energy production as well. Georgia Power's parent company, Southern Company, employed 63 lobbyists to fight the recent federal clean energy bill. A recent report from the Centre for Public Integrity (CPI) shows that many big utility companies employed two dozen or more lobbyists to oppose the clean energy bill, while Southern Company had far more lobbyists than any other company. CLIP
Planned oil well off Newfoundland lacks safeguards to avert disaster (May. 06, 2010) STUPID FOOLS! STUPID FOOLS!! STUPID FOOLS!!! http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/planned-oil-well-off-newfoundland-lacks-safeguards-to-avert-disaster/article1558396/
The Canadian subsidiary of an American petroleum giant is preparing to drill one of the deepest offshore oil wells in the world off the coast of Newfoundland amid fears there are not enough safeguards to stop a mass spill like the one in the Gulf of Mexico. Chevron Canada is deploying a rig 400 kilometres northeast of St. Johns to drill 2,600 metres below the ocean surface in search of crude. The well, located in an area known as the Orphan Basin, would be almost a kilometre deeper than the one that has ruptured off the southern U.S. coast. The project comes as the Canadian government is talking tough about maintaining strict safety regulations on future offshore drilling in the Arctic. However, questions are arising over whether Ottawa is taking a strong enough stand on existing projects, particularly those on the East Coast. Like the Deepwater Horizon project in the Gulf of Mexico, which has been spewing thousands of barrels of oil a day since it ruptured April 20, the new well off the coast of Newfoundland is part of a new class of ultradeep projects that present difficult challenges in the event of a disaster. For the past few weeks, crews have been rushing to drill a relief well at the site of the Gulf of Mexico spill to stem the flow of oil. Such emergency backup wells are used to reduce pressure in the main well so it can be capped. However, if Chevrons Lona O-55 well off Newfoundland were to rupture, industry observers argue the equipment needed to drill a relief well would not be available fast enough. It could take weeks to get rigs in place. Only two rigs located off the east coast of Canada could be moved into position fast enough to complete an emergency relief well, and neither of them go deep enough, oil industry expert Ian Doig said Wednesday. One can operate in 1,525 metres of water; the other can handle less than half that depth. A deepwater rig would have to be brought in from elsewhere in the world. (...) Though U.S. President Barack Obama has put a moratorium on future drilling in the Gulf until an investigation into the spill determines what went wrong, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has done the same off the coast of California, the Canadian regulator said it is not changing any plans for the East Coast. CLIP MORE RELATED NEWS HERE
United, We All Stand: Creating Shift Energetically for the Gulf Oil Spill (May 4, 2010) http://wildreiki.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/united-we-all-stand-creating-shift-energetically-for-the-gulf-oil-spill/
The recent environmental tragedy that took place on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico when BP's oil rig blew out, pouring oil onto a fragile Louisiana ecosystem at an estimated 210,000 gallons per day has many people deeply concerned about its effect on the environment and wildlife. As workers and volunteers struggle to physically stem the tide of oil, energy workers of all modalities and people with no formal experience as lightworkers are asking themselves the same question: How can I help? Shamanic practitioners of any background can gather to journey for insights and conduct fire ceremonies - perhaps bringing a stick to the fire with prayers of gratitude for the wildlife and environment of the region blown into it. Reiki practitioners can unite on Facebook in a group called Let's get 1,000,000 people sending Reiki and healing to the Gulf oil spill. CLIP
Stock Market Collapse: More Goldman Market Rigging (May 8, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19051
Last week, Goldman Sachs was on the congressional hot seat, grilled for fraud in its sale of complicated financial products called "synthetic CDOs." This week the heat was off, as all eyes turned to the attack of the shorts on Greek sovereign debt and the dire threat of a sovereign Greek default. By Thursday, Goldman's fraud had slipped from the headlines and Congress had been cowed into throwing in the towel on its campaign to break up the too-big-to-fail banks. On Friday, Goldman was in settlement talks with the SEC. Goldman and Wall Street reign. Congress appears helpless to discipline the big banks, just as the European Central Bank appears helpless to prevent the collapse of the European Union. . . . Or are they? Suspicious Market Maneuverings - The shorts circled like sharks in the Greek bond market, following a highly suspicious downgrade of Greek debt by Moody's on Monday. Ratings by private ratings agencies, long suspected of being in the pocket of Wall Street, often seem to be timed to cause stocks or bonds to jump or tumble, causing extreme reactions in the market. The Greek downgrade was suspicious and unexpected because the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund had just pledged 120 billion Euros to avoid a debt default in Greece. Markets were roiled further on Thursday, when the U.S. stock market suddenly lost 999 points, and just as suddenly recovered two-thirds of that loss. It appeared to be such a clear case of tampering that Maria Bartiromo blurted out on CNBC, "That is ridiculous. This really sounds like market manipulation to me." Manipulation by whom? Markets can be rigged with computers using high-frequency trading programs (HFT), which now compose 70% of market trading; and Goldman Sachs is the undisputed leader in this new gaming technique. Matt Taibbi maintains that Goldman Sachs has been "engineering every market manipulation since the Great Depression." When Goldman does not get its way, it is in a position to throw a tantrum and crash the market. It can do this with automated market making technologies like the one invented by Max Keiser, which he claims is now being used to turbocharge market manipulation. Goldman was an investment firm until September 2008, when it became a "bank holding company" overnight in order to capitalize on the bank bailout, including borrowing virtually interest-free from the Federal Reserve and other banks. In January, when President Obama backed Paul Volcker in his plan to reinstate a form of the Glass-Steagall Act that would separate investment banking from commercial banking, the market collapsed on cue, and the Volcker Rule faded from the headlines. When Goldman got dragged before Congress and the SEC in April, the Greek crisis arose as a "counterpoint," diverting attention to that growing conflagration. Greece appears to be the sacrificial play in the EU just as Lehman Brothers was in the U.S., "the hostage the kidnappers shoot to prove they mean business." It is still possible, however, for the European Central Bank to snatch Greece from the fire and rout the shorts. It can do this with what has been called the nuclear option -- "monetizing" the debt of Greece and other debt-laden EU countries by effectively "printing money" (quantitative easing) and buying the debt itself at very low interest rates. This is called the "nuclear option" because it would blow up the hedge funds and electronic sharks operated by Goldman and other Wall Street heavies, which specialize in bringing down corporations and whole countries for strategic and exploitative ends. Will the ECB proceed with this plan? Perhaps, say some experts. It could just be waiting for the German election on Sunday, which the ECB does not want to appear to be influencing. - Check also COMPUTERIZED FRONT RUNNING: ANOTHER GOLDMAN-DOMINATED FRAUD
Was the euro saved by a call from Barack Obama? (12 May 2010) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/was-the-euro-saved-by-a-call-from-barack-obama-1971355.html
Talks on the scale of a bailout deal to rescue the single currency were wavering then the President intervened -- The whole deal almost collapsed just after midnight, when EU finance ministers had already been meeting for nine hours. The Italian Prime Minister is said to have brokered a telephone compromise between Mr Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel, which allowed an agreement to be announced just as the Tokyo markets were opening at 2am Brussels' time. There appears to be some truth in all these claims but the most startling and most pivotal role may have been played by Barack Obama, according to both American and French officials. He convinced the Europeans that it was time not just to Do Something, but to Do Something Very Big, to rescue the euro and prevent the world from plunging into another financial crisis and recession. Mr Obama made telephone calls on Sunday from Hampton, Virginia, where he was giving a college address. He spoke first to Chancellor Merkel and then, three hours later, to President Sarkozy.A senior US official told The New York Times that President Obama warned the Europeans based on his own experiences early last year that it was no good playing catch up with the markets. They had "to get out ahead as much as possible" by producing a rescue plan so enormous that market speculation, against the euro, and against heavily indebted EU countries, would be shocked into submission.Dealing with the markets was like dealing with a military enemy, Mr Obama said. You had to use "overwhelming force". He also offered help from Washington to buy up euros for dollars and ease the pressure on European central banks.It was after these calls that the headline figure for the EU rescue plan inflated rapidly to ¤500bn, plus another ¤250bn from the IMF. A big problem remained, however. Should the European Commission run the new rescue mechanism for heavily indebted, and speculation-menaced Euroland countries? Or should it be a loose system of government-to-government loans and loan guarantees? This may seem like the kind of angels and pins discussion for which Brussels is renowned. It goes, however, to the centre of the argument which has prevented EU governments from agreeing more than a series of limp promises to help Greece over the last two months. It was the limpness of these promises, Mr Obama had warned, which had got the EU and potentially the entire world economy into this mess. (...) And the lessons of this story are....* European institutions are messy but cannot be completely replaced by government-to-government deals without great risk.* The financial markets inadvertently, strengthened the institutions which support the euro.* France has always wanted a de facto "economic government" to sustain the single currency. Germany has always refused. Berlin was obliged at the weekend partly by the intervention of a US President to take a large step in that direction.
Excitement over $1 trillion euro plan fades, euro slips (May 11, 2010 ) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6400PJ20100511
Excitement over the euro zone's mammoth $1 trillion rescue package gave way on Tuesday to doubts whether its weakest economies can meet their end of the bargain and deliver drastic debt cuts, driving the euro and stocks lower. The emergency plan -- the biggest since G20 leaders threw money at the global economy following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 -- impressed markets with its sheer size and sparked a spectacular rally in world stocks and the euro.Yet financial markets turned cautious when they reopened for business in Asia on Tuesday, with investors concerned that the plan was not a long-term solution to problems plaguing the 11-year old single currency area.In a sobering note, the International Monetary Fund said that even though Greece's public debt was sustainable over the medium term, the nation whose debt woes spurred the unprecedented euro zone action, faced plenty of risks. Moody's credit ratings agency also warned it might downgrade Portugal's debt rating and further cut Greece's to junk status, noting the contagion effect of Greece's crisis on other euro zone members. "Contagion has spread from Greece -- historically a weaker credit in the context of the euro zone -- to sovereigns with stronger credit metrics like Portugal, Ireland and Spain," Moody's said. CLIP
European Union, Currency Are Headed for Collapse: Gartman (5 May 2010) http://www.cnbc.com/id/36961257
The current European debt crisis likely will not end until the euro collapses as a currency and takes the entire European Union with it, said Dennis Gartman, hedge fund manager and author of "The Gartman Letter." "I think the whole thing will go down to defeat, the whole thing will eventually unravel," Gartman said in an interview with CNBC.com. Gartman said he doesn't have a specific timetable for how long it will take for the collapse of the 17-year-old EU, but said, "it doesn't look good." The debt problems continued to escalate Wednesday as Greek citizens rioted in the streets over proposed austerity measures that would be required for any rescue plan to gain approval. At the same time, Moody's warned that it might downgrade the debt for Portugal, accelerating worries that Greece's unremitting debt worries could spread across the continent.Gartman holds the following long positions: 15 percent gold; 10 percent silver, and 15 percent each to Canadian and Australian dollars; he is short 15 percent each in euros, pounds and yen.The chaos was enough for Gartman to advise US investors to get out of the stock market."It means confusion, it means a stronger dollar, it probably means weak commodity prices," Gartman said. "I think they should be out. People should be on the sidelines and out." A correction of as much as 15 percent in the US market "would be normal," he said. "There's always a chance we could get worse than that."In his daily letter to investors, Gartman said there is little chance of a peaceful, successful resolution of Greek's troubles."The modern Greek culture is so dependent upon government largesse, and is so used to the fact that Greek fiscal irresponsibility will be bailed out by the taxes paid by responsible German workers and businessmen, that we cannot see this being resolved short of Greece being summarily tossed out of the EMU, or removing itself voluntarily," he wrote.He added that "we are not naive. Rather we are realists, and realists know that little other than chaos and the eventual breaking up of the EUR is the way of the future." MUCH MORE THROUGH http://www.thecomingdepression.blogspot.com/
Find Out How Much The Greek Bailout Is Costing YOU (May 3, 2010) http://www.businessinsider.com/greek-bailout-per-household-2010-5
The Greek bailout has yet to be approved by the government's involved, but the costs for the citizens of each country are starting to settle.Spoiler alert: Germans get a bargain, but a debt-ridden Ireland has to face heavy per household costs.Households across the globe are going to have to help with the Greek bailout over the next three years, and through the IMF portion of the deal, some of those costs will be passed on to Americans as well. -- United States (IMF Stake): $345.82 per U.S. household -- Slovakia: $617.99 per household -- Slovenia: $684.17 per household -- Portugal: $707.33 per household -- Germany: $745.19 per household -- Malta: $769.54 per household -- Spain: $776.03 per household -- Finland: $776.95 per household -- Cyprus: $789.92 per household -- Italy: $803.16 per household -- France: $877.02 per household -- Belgium: $845.40 per household -- Austria: $861.13 per household -- Netherlands: $866.96 per household -- Ireland: $1084.69 per household -- Luxembourg: $1675.41 per household
Bernanke Admits Printing $1.3 Trillion Out Of Thin Air (21 April 2010) http://usawatchdog.com/bernanke-admits-printing-1-3-trillion-out-of-thin-air/
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted the central bank created $1.3 trillion out of thin air to buy mortgage-backed securities. This shocking admission came from the Joint Economic Committee hearing on Capital Hill last week. I was dumbfounded when I saw Bernanke shake his head in the affirmative as Representative Ron Paul said, Well, where did you get the money? You created this money. So you did monetize debt, and that went into the banking system. I was amazed he admitted this. I looked up the original hearing on C-Span to make sure the clip was not edited. It was not. What is even more shocking is I could not find a single mainstream news agency that covered this revelation. Congress just finished voting on the bitterly contested Obama health care bill that is supposed to cost nearly a trillion dollars over ten years. (Some contend it will be more than twice that amount.) The mainstream media doesn't even bat an eye over the Fed creating $1.3 trillion in a little more than a year to buy worthless debt no one else will touch. I do not get it. I guess we could have asked the Fed to print up a trillion dollars to pay for health care and avoided that drawn out battle in Congress. Then, Rep. Paul brings up printing another $105 billion to bailout Greece. Bernanke answers by saying, ... I think one of the agreements that the G20 leaders came up with was sort of a mutual commitment to put more money into the IMF as a way of addressing the financial crisis around the world... Notice how Bernanke used the term mutual commitment. I think what that really means is an agreement between all the G-20 nations of a mutual debasement of their currencies. I think this is why gold has been rising inprice around the globe. I have been saying for months that we are going to have some very big inflation. (Real inflation is already at 9.5% according to http://www.shadowstats.com/) I wrote about this last November in a post called The Fix Is In. I think Bernanke just opened the Fed playbook and revealed money will be printed to fix all financial problems. I don't think hes even trying to hide it anymore. Rep. Paul also brought up the big debt trouble coming soonwith many, many bankrupt cities and states such as Los Angeles and California. I think they will all be bailed out one way or another by the printing press.New York Fed President William Dudley seems to be on the same page as his boss. Dudley recently said, The fact that our foreign indebtedness is for the most part denominated in our own currency is a huge advantage in the event the dollar were to come under significant downward pressure. (Zero Hedge has a complete text of Dudleys speech, click here) Is Dudley making a not so subtle hint about devaluing the U.S. dollar? Once again, I say yes. Anyone with a savings account or money market denominated in dollars should be terrified. You have scrimped and saved only to have the Fed print money and devalue what you have worked so hard for! Inflation has been chosen for you by the Federal Reserve, and we the taxpayers cant even audit its actions. Below is the video from the Joint Economic Committee Hearing last week. Watch for yourself Bernanke nod yes to printing $1.3 trillion [go to web page http://usawatchdog.com/bernanke-admits-printing-1-3-trillion-out-of-thin-air/ ]
Computerized Front-Running: Another Goldman-Dominated Fraud (26 April 2010) http://www.truthout.org/computerized-front-running-another-goldman-dominated-fraud58865
While the SEC is busy investigating Goldman Sachs, it might want to look into another Goldman-dominated fraud: computerized front-running using high-frequency trading programs.Market commentators are fond of talking about "free market capitalism," but according to Wall Street commentator Max Keiser, it is no more. It has morphed into what his TV co-host Stacy Herbert calls "rigged market capitalism": All markets today are subject to manipulation for private gain.Keiser isn't just speculating about this. He claims to have invented one of the most widely used programs for doing the rigging. Not that that's what he meant to invent. His patented program was designed to take the manipulation out of markets. It would do this by matching buyers with sellers automatically, eliminating "front running" - brokers buying or selling ahead of large orders coming in from their clients. The computer program was intended to remove the conflict of interest that exists when brokers who match buyers with sellers are also selling from their own accounts. But the program fell into the wrong hands and became the prototype for automated trading programs that actually facilitate front-running. Also called High Frequency Trading (HFT) or "black box trading," automated program trading uses high-speed computers governed by complex algorithms (instructions to the computer) to analyze data and transact orders in massive quantities at very high speeds. Like the poker player peeking in a mirror to see his opponent's cards, HFT allows the program trader to peek at major incoming orders and jump in front of them to skim profits off the top. Note that these large institutional orders are our money - our pension funds, mutual funds, and 401Ks. When "market making" (matching buyers with sellers) was done strictly by human brokers on the floor of the stock exchange, manipulations and front-running were considered an acceptable (if morally dubious) price to pay for continuously "liquid" markets. But front-running by computer, using complex trading programs, is an entirely different species of fraud. A minor flaw in the system has morphed into a monster. Keiser maintains that computerized front-running with HFT has become the principal business of Wall Street and the primary force driving most of the volume on exchanges, contributing not only to a large portion of trading profits but to the manipulation of markets for economic and political ends.
(...) The Notorious Market-Rigging Ringleader, Goldman SachsTyler Durden, writing on "Zero Hedge," notes that the HFT game is dominated by Goldman Sachs, which he calls "a hedge fund in all but FDIC backing." Goldman was an investment bank until the fall of 2008, when it became a commercial bank overnight in order to capitalize on federal bailout benefits, including virtually interest-free money from the Fed that it can use to speculate on the opaque ATS exchanges where markets are manipulated and controlled.Unlike the NYSE, which is open only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST daily, ATSs trade around the clock; and they are particularly busy when the NYSE is closed, when stocks are thinly traded and easily manipulated. Tyler Durden writes:
(...) HFT rigging helps explain how Goldman Sachs earned at least $100 million per day from its trading division, day after day, on 116 out of 194 trading days through the end of September 2009. It's like taking candy from a baby, when you can see the other players' cards. Reviving The Free MarketSo what can be done to restore free and fair markets? A step in the right direction would be to prohibit flash trades. The SEC is proposing such rules, but they haven't yet been put into effect. Another proposed check on HFT is a Tobin tax - a very small tax on every financial trade. Proposals for the tax range from 0.005% to 1%, so small that it would hardly be felt by legitimate "buy and hold" investors but high enough to kill HFT, which skims a very tiny profit from a huge number of trades. That could work, but it might take a tax larger than .005% or even .1%. Consider Denningers example, in which the high-frequency trader was making not just a few pennies but a full 29 cents per trade and had an opportunity to make this sum on 99,500 shares (100,000 shares less 5 100-lot trades at lesser sums). Thats a $28,855 profit on a $2.63 million trade, not bad for a few milliseconds of work. Imposing a .1% Tobin tax on the $2.63 million would reduce the profit to $26,225, but thats still a nice return for a trade that takes less time than blinking. A full 1%, on the other hand, would pretty well wipe out the profit and kill the trade.Better yet, however, would be to fix the problem at its source - the price-setting mechanism itself. Keiser says this could be done by banning HFT and installing his VST computer program in its original design in all the exchanges. The true market price would then be established CLIP
Goldman's White House connections raise eyebrows (April 21, 2010) http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/21/1591442/goldmans-connections-to-white.html
While Goldman Sachs' lawyers negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially explosive civil fraud charges, Goldman's chief executive visited the White House at least four times. White House logs show that Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein traveled to Washington for at least two events with President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential campaign received $994,795 in donations from Goldman's employees and their relatives. He also met twice with Obama's top economic adviser, Larry Summers. Meanwhile, however, Goldman is retaining former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig as a member of its legal team. In addition, when he worked as an investment banker in Chicago a decade ago, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advised one client who also retained Goldman as an adviser on the same $8.2 billion deal. Goldman's connections to the White House and the Obama administration are raising eyebrows at a time when Washington and Wall Street are dueling over how to overhaul regulation of the financial world. Lawrence Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political scientist, said that "almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman ... as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest." CLIP
Congress Members Bet on Fall in Stocks (May 1, 2010) http://finance.yahoo.com/news/article/109442/congress-members-bet-on-fall-in-stocks
Some members of Congress made risky bets with their own money that U.S. stocks or bonds would fall during the financial crisis, a Wall Street Journal analysis of congressional disclosures shows.Senators have criticized Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS - News) for profiting from the housing collapse. And Congress is considering legislation to curb Wall Street risk-taking, including the use of financial instruments known as derivatives and of leverage, or methods that amplify returns.According to The Journal's analysis of congressional disclosures, investment accounts of 13 members of Congress or their spouses show bearish bets made in 2008 via exchange-traded fundsportfolios that trade like stocks and mirror an index. These funds were leveraged; they used derivatives and other techniques to magnify the daily moves of the index they track. CLIP
Collapse of the Standard of Living in the USA - Studies Reveal Declining Living Standards and Increasing Anger http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18829
A series of recent studies conducted by the Pew Research Center shed new light on the scope of the economic crisis in the US and the level of hostility the majority of the American population holds for the US government. CLIP
U.S. Food Inflation Spiraling Out of Control (April 22, 2010) http://inflation.us/foodinflationspiralingoutofcontrol.html
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today released their Producer Price Index (PPI) report for March 2010 and the latest numbers are shocking. Food prices for the month rose by 2.4%, its sixth consecutive monthly increase and the largest jump in over 26 years. NIA believes that a major breakout in food inflation could be imminent, similar to what is currently being experienced in India. Some of the startling food price increases on a year-over-year basis include, fresh and dry vegetables up 56.1%, fresh fruits and melons up 28.8%, eggs for fresh use up 33.6%, pork up 19.1%, beef and veal up 10.7% and dairy products up 9.7%. On October 30th, 2009, NIA predicted that inflation would appear next in food and agriculture, but we never anticipated that it would spiral so far out of control this quickly. The PPI foreshadows price increases that will later occur in the retail sector. With U-6 unemployment rising last month to 16.9%, many retailers are currently reluctant to pass along rising prices to consumers, but they will soon be forced to do so if they want to avoid reporting huge losses to shareholders. Food stamp usage in the U.S. has now increased for 14 consecutive months. There are now 39.4 million Americans on food stamps, up 22.4% from one year ago. The U.S. government is now paying out more to Americans in benefits than it collects in taxes. As food inflation continues to surge, our country will soon have no choice but to cut back on food stamps and other entitlement programs. Most financial experts in the mainstream media are proclaiming that the recession is over and inflation is not a problem in the U.S. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that rising food and gasoline prices accounted for 58% of February's year-over-year 3.85% rise in retail sales. NIA believes price inflation is beginning to accelerate in many areas of the economy besides food and energy, and all increases in U.S. retail sales this year will be entirely due to inflation.
The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century (May 9, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19025
The following text is the Preface of The Global Economic Crisis. The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall (Editors), Montreal, Global Research, 2010, which is to be launched in late May. (...) In all major regions of the world, the economic recession is deep-seated, resulting in mass unemployment, the collapse of state social programs and the impoverishment of millions of people. The economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide process of militarization, a "war without borders" led by the United States of America and its NATO allies. The conduct of the Pentagons "long war" is intimately related to the restructuring of the global economy.We are not dealing with a narrowly defined economic crisis or recession. The global financial architecture sustains strategic and national security objectives. In turn, the U.S.-NATO military agenda serves to endorse a powerful business elite which relentlessly overshadows and undermines the functions of civilian government.This book takes the reader through the corridors of the Federal Reserve and the Council on Foreign Relations, behind closed doors at the Bank for International Settlements, into the plush corporate boardrooms on Wall Street where far-reaching financial transactions are routinely undertaken from computer terminals linked up to major stock markets, at the touch of a mouse button.Each of the authors in this collection digs beneath the gilded surface to reveal a complex web of deceit and media distortion which serves to conceal the workings of the global economic system and its devastating impacts on people's lives. Our analysis focuses on the role of powerful economic and political actors in an environment wrought by corruption, financial manipulation and fraud.Despite the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives presented within this volume, all of the contributors ultimately come to the same conclusion: humanity is at the crossroads of the most serious economic and social crisis in modern history.The meltdown of financial markets in 2008-2009 was the result of institutionalized fraud and financial manipulation. The "bank bailouts" were implemented on the instructions of Wall Street, leading to the largest transfer of money wealth in recorded history, while simultaneously creating an insurmountable public debt.With the worldwide deterioration of living standards and plummeting consumer spending, the entire structure of international commodity trade is potentially in jeopardy. The payments system of money transactions is in disarray. Following the collapse of employment, the payment of wages is disrupted, which in turn triggers a downfall in expenditures on necessary consumer goods and services. This dramatic plunge in purchasing power backfires on the productive system, resulting in a string of layoffs, plant closures and bankruptcies. Exacerbated by the freeze on credit, the decline in consumer demand contributes to the demobilization of human and material resources.This process of economic decline is cumulative. All categories of the labor force are affected. Payments of wages are no longer implemented, credit is disrupted and capital investments are at a standstill. Meanwhile, in Western countries, the "social safety net" inherited from the welfare state, which protects the unemployed during an economic downturn, is also in jeopardy.
Just Don't Call It "Defense" (7 May 2010) http://www.truthout.org/just-dont-call-it-defense59262
The Pentagon "base budget" request for fiscal year 2011 (beginning on October 1) calls for about $549 billion, an increase of $18 billion over the appropriation for the current fiscal year. That's nowhere near the whole story. The administration is also requesting about $160 billion for "Overseas Contingency Operations" (OCO) that goes to pay for wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. There's also $25 billion or more in military spending outside the "Department of Defense," much of that for nuclear weapons included in the Department of Energy's budget. (This $25 billion could be much larger, depending on what is included.) The grand total - and it is grand - comes to at least $734 billion. There is an additional $33 billion "emergency supplemental" appropriation to pay for the Afghanistan escalation; it's said to cost $1 million to maintain one soldier there for a year. That $33 billion would be counted as part of FY 2010 spending, and, of course, there may be a supplemental in 2011 as well. The total has more than doubled in the last decade and continues to rise.How can we understand such numbers? It's usual to consider how many schools, clinics, or other necessary things could be built with some of that money, how many teachers and doctors could be paid or hungry children fed. If that military money were spent for ordinary, useful things it could go a very long way. For example, food stamps are this country's most important anti-hunger program, and the need for them has jumped during the economic crisis. An all-time high of almost 40 million people, about one of every eight Americans, are now receiving this form of help, half of them are children, and a third are elderly or disabled. The food stamps program costs $56 billion in FY 2009 (it's somewhat more this year), less than one tenth of the military's base budget. Food stamps are responsible for making severe hunger rare in America, and surely that's a far greater contribution to "homeland security" than the occupation of Iraq.Another example: A UN report several years ago called on the United States and other rich nations to spend more on overseas development assistance in order to meet their commitment to cut extreme global poverty in half over ten years. The amount of money needed for that goal, from all the developed world together, would have been $48 billion per year - again less than one tenth of annual US military spending. CLIP
Report Details Torture at Secret Baghdad Prison (April 28, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/world/middleeast/28baghdad.html
The torture of Iraqi detainees at a secret prison in Baghdad was far more systematic and brutal than initially reported, Human Rights Watch reported. Human Rights Watch ... documented its findings, which it described as credible and consistent, in a draft report provided to The New York Times. The group said it had interviewed 42 detainees who displayed fresh scars and wounds. Many said they were raped, sodomized with broomsticks and pistol barrels, or forced to engage in sexual acts with one another and their jailers. All said they were tortured by being hung upside down and then whipped and kicked before being suffocated with a plastic bag. Those who passed out were revived, they said, with electric shocks to their genitals and other parts of their bodies. The horror we found suggests torture was the norm in Muthanna, said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East program at Human Rights Watch. Security officials whipped detainees with heavy cables, pulled out finger and toenails, burned them with acid and cigarettes, and smashed their teeth, Human Rights Watch said.
Norway Builds the World's Most Humane Prison (May 10, 2010) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1986002,00.html
Ten years and 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($252 million) in the making, [Halden Fengsel, Norway's newest prison,] is spread over 75 acres (30 hectares) of gently sloping forest in southeastern Norway. The facility boasts amenities like a sound studio, jogging trails and a freestanding two-bedroom house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits. The scent of orange sorbet emanates from the "kitchen laboratory" where inmates take cooking courses. "In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect," says Are Hoidal, the prison's governor. "We don't see any of this as unusual." Halden ... embodies the guiding principles of the country's penal system: that repressive prisons do not work and that treating prisoners humanely boosts their chances of reintegrating into society. "When they arrive, many of them are in bad shape," Hoidal says, noting that Halden houses drug dealers, murderers and rapists, among others. "We want to build them up, give them confidence through education and work and have them leave as better people." Within two years of their release, 20% of Norway's prisoners end up back in jail. In the U.K. and the U.S., the figure hovers between 50% and 60%.
Are Cops More Criminal Than Criminals? By J. Speer-Williams (5-9-10) http://rense.com/general90/crim.htm
The halcyon days of relative freedom and tranquility of the fabulous '50s and early 1960s were abruptly ended with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on the 22nd of November, 1963, by intelligence agents. Then, the coup de grace was leveled on the American people with the mislabeled "Patriot Acts," after the 911 false-flag. Ever since then, a police state has been engulfing the "land of the free and the home of the brave." Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts has told us much about our forming police state, in his great monograph entitled, "America's Police Brutality Pandemic." The endless US "war on terrorism" quickly turned into wide spread campaigns to torture innocents, in the Middle East, while rendering millions homeless, amid universal ruin and disease, while over-running America with terrorists, wearing police badges and carrying automatic weapons.
(...) Still the statistics reported by NPMSRP should prove to anyone, America has, in- deed, become a police state; and, only with more Americans becoming aware of our precarious situation do we have a chance of reversing what we have allowed to happen.It would be foolish to expect that any facet of our federal government would ever alert us to the extent of police brutality. The one and only such report that Im aware of is about a decade old, and was based on the data voluntarily given by only five percent of US police departments. During the first three months of 2010, alone, NPMSRP cites 1, 160 unique reports of police brutality or other misconducts, which includes 1, 410 separate police officers, and 1, 446 victims, with 52 civilian deaths.During the same three month period, 77 police chiefs and sheriffs were named in misconduct reports. From the thousands of police brutality and misconduct reports from 2009, listed below are some of those crimes.1. Choking children, 2. Child molestation, 3. Shooting chained dogs and scared cats, 4. Beating people in wheelchairs, 5. Tastering children and old people, 6. Sexual assaults on women, 7. Breaking into private homes and stealing, 8. Fleeing hit and run accidents, 9. Getting DUIs.10. Destroying private home with tear gas shells, 11. Perjury and tampering with evidence, 12. Causing brain damage, 13. Ignoring 911 calls, 14. Driving on suspended licenses, 15. Sodomy and corruption of minors, 16. Stealing money, drugs, and guns, 17. Drug addictions, 18. Illegal steroid use, 19. Having sex in patrol cars, 20. Extortion of cash at traffic stops, 21. Wife beatings, 22. Beating hand-cuffed teenagers, 23. Stealing drugs held as evidence, 24. Running into pedestrians with patrol cars, 25. Stalking women, 26. Tasering unconscious diabetic 11 times. Until we get a president and congress that will do their jobs and take back control of our intelligence services, from the foreign and private International Monetary/ Banking Cartel, the US government will continue to force on us a police state as tyrannical as was those of communistic Russia or Nazi Germany.Instead, our leaders consider every American to be a potential terrorist, while these very same leaders terrorize us with warrantless spying of our emails, postal mail, telephone calls. They beat us, taser us, and falsely arrest us, while pretending to protect us from the very terrorists theyve created.And, unless more of us wake up to the tyranny afoot, we the American people are, indeed, the problem.
Thousands Gather on the Mall for Earth Day (April 25, 2010) http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/25/thousands-gather-on-the-mall-for-earth-day/
Tens of thousands of people gathered Sunday on the National Mall in Washington to observe the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and to urge Congress to pass climate and energy legislation.Major stars were on the roster, including Sting, John Legend, the Roots and Jimmy Cliff, as well as some newer figures like Passion Pit and Joss Stone. Some environmental campaigners came dressed as melting polar bears. Others embraced a 1970 theme, wearing tie-dyed shirts or arriving shirtless and shoeless. Word that senators would delay the unveiling of a climate bill, originally planned with much fanfare for Monday, did not seem to dampen the day, which attracted some 150,000 people over eight hours, according to Tiffany Shipp, a spokesman for the Earth Day Network, the rallys organizer. Denis Hayes, who helped mobilize the first Earth Day in 1970 with a small group of environmental activists, said he was gratified by the growing international attention to climate change. But he complained that the bill that was to be introduced this week by Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts; Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut; and Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina caved to the interests of the coal, oil and transportation industries. (Mr. Graham, angered by the Democrats focus on immigration, pulled out of Mondays announcement, leading to the bills deferral.) Mr. Hayes said the intensity that led to watershed environmental changes decades ago like the Clean Air Act had faded. While dollars flow from lobbyists on both sides of the issue in Washington, he said, American environmentalists must marshal more grassroots pressure on Congress. CLIP
Earth Day rally in Washington calls for climate bill (April 26, 2010) http://www.euronews.net/2010/04/26/earth-day-rally-in-washington-calls-for-climate-bill/
Thousands gathered in Washington on Earth Day to rally Congress to pass a climate change bill this year. The protest came 24 hours after the US Senate postponed Mondays unveiling of a compromise climate bill due to a row over unrelated legislation. One protester said: This cause definitely is in jeopardy. Obama was a radical candidate and thats precisely why we voted for him. We expected concrete change and he is now going and increasing off-shore drilling and that is exactly against what we stand for, for climate change legislation. Another urged lawmakers to listen to the people.I think Congress needs to stop paying attention to what corporations want, what oil companies want, what the coal industry wants and start actually doing what the American people need them to do, which is create legislation that spends our tax dollars on sustainable jobs that create energy for people here in America without creating the pollution, the hazardous waste. Democrats say they will continue to work towards a climate bill for 2010.
The ash cloud that never was: How volcanic plume over UK was only a twentieth of safe-flying limit and blunders led to ban (25th April 2010) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1268615/The-ash-cloud-How-volcanic-plume-UK-twentieth-safe-flying-limit-blunders-led-lock-down.html
The Mail on Sunday can today reveal the full extent of the shambles behind the great airspace shutdown that cost the airlines £1.3 billion and left 150,000 Britons stranded - all for a supposed volcanic ash cloud that for most of the five-day flights ban was so thin it was invisible. As the satellite images of the so-called 'aerosol index' published for the first time, right, demonstrate, the sky above Britain was totally clear of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano. CLIP
Iceland volcano to emit large new cloud: meteorologists (May 6, 2010) http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100506/wl_afp/icelandvolcanoaviationeruptioncloud
REYKJAVIK (AFP) - An Icelandic volcano which caused havoc to European aviation after erupting last month is to emit a large new ash cloud after surging back to life, meteorologists said Thursday. A plume of ash measuring up to seven kilometers (more than four miles) high had been detected at the Eyjafjoll volcano, said a statement from the Icelandic Met Office and Institute of Earth Science. "The eruption has changed back to an explosive eruption, lava has stopped flowing and most of the magma gets scattered due to explosions in the crater," said the statement in English. "The ash plume rises high above the crater (4-7 km) and considerable ash fall can be expected in wind direction. No signs of the eruption ending soon."
The Truth about the Fatal Plane Crash in Smolensk (13 April 2010) http://www.rebelnews.org/opinion/europe/210178-the-truth-about-the-fatal-plane-crash-in-smolensk
(...) All this raises the question: Who would want to eliminate the Polish government? An article in Jewish Currents entitled The Return of the Radical Right in Poland reports Something has gone very, very wrong in Poland. After elections last September, a group called Law and Justice, led by a longtime Solidarity activist and right-wing politician named Jaroslaw Kaczynski, emerged as the largest party in parliament. Victory in the following months presidential election went to Kaczynskis identical twin Lech The Kaczynskis formed a coalition with an agrarian populist group called Self-Defense and a radical-right party with the innocuous name of The League of Polish Families. Polite Western journalists have labeled this government center-right or conservative, but it is hard to find anything centrist about those holding power in Warsaw today. Even Europes mainstream conservative parties have publicly disavowed any affiliation with Law and Justice (not to mention the other two coalition members). Put simply, the extreme right now rules Poland, and people widely considered marginal and dangerous even a year ago are now within the corridors of power. All it would have taken to cause the accident at Smolensk would have been the sabotage of the planes altimeter so that the pilot would have thought he was higher up than he was. Thousands of planes land in bad weather in Europe and the US and only a tiny number crash.
iPad is iBad for democracy, Obama tells graduates http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/ipad_is_ibad_for_democracy_obama_FrUMkdTNGHlfZ5JOKSgMVO
BlackBerry buff President Obama declared war on technology yesterday singling out Apples super-popular iPods and iPads for criticism. Obama whose election was credited, in part, to his skillful use of modern media, from smart phones to Twitter to Flickr -- yesterday told college graduates that high-tech gizmos and apps are straining American democracy. (...) Obama, who at one time had rapper Ludacris on his iPod and still has a White House-provided profile on Facebook, warned that the world is at a moment of "breathtaking change."Yet in a speech before members of a generation that never knew life without a computer, Obama came close to declaring technology -- and the information it spawns -- the enemy."With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who's telling the truth and who's not," Obama said."Let's face it -- even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I've had some experience with that myself. Fortunately, you'll be well positioned to navigate this terrain."
Red Sox Irradiated Their Own, Which Put Me to Thinking (April 24, 2010) http://wecogitate.net/2010/04/24/red-sox-irradiated-their-own-which-put-me-to-thinking-by-j-speer-williams/
(...) Do you not know that a CT scan can radiate a human body with the equivalent of 100 to 1,000 full chest x-rays? A more conservative estimate of the dangers of CT scans comes to us from Yale University. Dr. James A. Brink, professor and chairman of diagnostic radiology at Yale tells us that one CT scan is equal to 100 to 250 chest x-rays. Can you image what even 100 chest x-rays could do to your own body? Dr. Joseph Mercola has written, "CT scans deliver far more radiation than has been believed, and may contribute to 29,000 new cancers each year, along with 14,500 deaths."But still, CT scans in the US have leaped from 3 million in 1981 to 63 million in 2005. The Internet Journal of Radiology reports that, "Despite the advent and development of MRIs, a technique that is sophisticated and non-invasive, without exposing patients to radiation, the CT scan still remains one of the most commonly performed procedures in diagnostic radiology." Perhaps some medical doctors call for CT scans with such regularity because they increase billing totals. But for whatever the reason, irresponsible or ignorant medical doctors have so grossly subjected unaware Americans to so many CT scans that the total cumulated radiation exposure that an individual can suffer can be as high as that of a medium doze of radiation from an atomic bomb explosion. Apparently such medical doctors were never taught that radiation accumulates in a human body, until a critical level is reached, at which time the body becomes afflicted with cancer. And the older one is the more radiation they've contacted from the ambient atmosphere through the years, until merely one CT scan can quickly kill them. Informed, responsible doctors, athletes, and patients avoid CT scans whenever possible. CLIP
Organic, small farmers fret over FDA regulation (April 27, 2010) http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/27/MNKM1D3C5H.DTL
Small farmers in California who have led a national movement away from industrial agriculture face a looming crackdown on food safety that they say is geared to big corporate farms and will make it harder for them to survive. The small growers, many of whom grow dozens of different kinds of vegetables and fruits, say the inherent benefits of their size, and their sensitivity to extra costs, are being ignored. They are fighting to carve out a sanctuary in legislation that would bring farmers under the strict purview of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA would gain greater authority to regulate how products are grown, stored, transported, inspected, traced from farm to table and recalled when needed. But ... organic growers argue that the problems that have plagued the food industry lie elsewhere. They point to the sale of bagged vegetables, cut fruit and other processed food in which vast quantities of produce from different farms are mixed, sealed in containers and shipped long distances, creating a host for harmful bacteria. The legislation does not address what some experts suspect is the source of E. coli contamination: the large, confined animal feeding operations. "It does not take on the industrial animal industry and the abuses going on," said Tom Willey of T&D Willey Farms in Madera.
Climate change bill to roll out next week (May 8, 2010) http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6995831.html
WASHINGTON - Even without their top Republican partner - and with an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico darkening prospects for success - the chief architects of a climate change and energy bill plan to unveil their measure on Wednesday.The bill, by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions nationwide 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, while spurring nuclear power and investing in so-called "clean coal" technology designed to trap carbon dioxide spewed by coal-burning power plants. (...) Kerry, Graham and Lieberman had been planning on using provisions to expand offshore oil and gas drilling as a sweetener to lure support from Republicans whose "yes" votes could be critical to winning the 60 votes necessary to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate. But the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico changed the calculus and spurred some Democrats to threaten to oppose the climate change bill if it boosted offshore drilling. Though Lieberman earlier this week insisted that the oil and gas provisions should stay in the bill, he has signaled that they were being revised in the wake of the oil spill.More state power?One of the provisions that might get dropped would have given states more power of drilling decisions near their shores - well beyond the typical three-mile boundary defining state waters. For instance, states would have the chance to authorize drilling nearby or block it as far out as 75 miles beyond their coastlines. Nuclear power, coalAlthough the oil and gas provisions originally were viewed as key to luring Republican votes, offshore drilling foe Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said there were other elements of the bill that might attract Republican support, including boosts for nuclear power and clean coal. CLIP
Venezuelan indigenous support tribunal of justice for environmental crimes (April 29, 2010) http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=91194
Indigenous groups in Venezuela are fully supporting Bolivian President Evo Morales' proposals for climate change. Indigenous Parliament of America president, Jose Poyo ratified that indigenous groups in Venezuela agree with the creation of an international tribunal of justice against environmental criminals. Poyo, who is also one of the three National Assembly indigenous deputies told journalists about how indigenous groups in Venezuela have suffered from environmental damage. "We have lost our habitat because of the transnationals and as a consequence of capitalism."Indigenous groups represented in parliament will start to push for resolutions by the National Assembly on environmental matters and implementation of the major contributions from the Mother Earth summit. The conclusions of the Mother Earth conference in Cochabamba have been officially handed in to the United Nations for inclusion in the agenda for the climate change summit in Mexico in November. Evo Morales will head a political delegation to attend preparatory sessions in Europe before the November summit. CLIP
Could CO2 be the green fuel powering tomorrow's cars? (May 6, 2010) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/06/co2-green-fuel-car
Trees and algae have been turning CO2 into fuel since the dawn of time, unlocking the chemical energy within this molecule to power metabolic processes. With a little ingenuity, it is already possible to transform CO2 into anything from petrol to natural gas. Any conversion processes will take a lot of energy. The question is, can these processes be refined to ensure that less energy is used to create this fuel than is provided by it? The key challenge is to convert CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO), by removing one of its oxygen atoms. Once you have CO, the process of creating hydrocarbon fuels such as petrol is easy. It's achieved through a reaction known as the Fischer-Tropsch process most commonly used to synthesise liquid fuel from coal. But getting from CO2 to CO requires ... a lot of energy. The US Government's Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have opted for ... a system that takes its energy source from concentrated solar power. As Green Futures goes to press, researchers from Bristol and Bath Universities in the UK have also announced plans for solar-powered CO2-to-fuel conversion.
Toxins causing 'grievous harm,' cancer panel says (May 7, 2010) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-05-06-1Achem06_ST_N.htm
Widespread exposure to environmental toxins poses a serious threat to Americans, causing "grievous harm" that government agencies have not adequately addressed, according to a strongly worded report released today by the President's Cancer Panel, a body of experts that reports directly to President Obama.The American Cancer Society estimates that about 6% of cancer deaths - nearly 34,000 a year - are caused by environmental pollutants. That number could be much higher, the new report says. Although the report doesn't give a figure, it says the government has "grossly underestimated" the problem because of a lack of research. Much of the suffering faced by people diagnosed with toxin-related cancer "could have been prevented through appropriate national action," according to the 240-page report. The report urges the Obama administration to act, even if the evidence linking cancer and chemicals isn't definitive. Nearly 80,000 chemicals are used in the country today, many of which are unstudied and "largely unregulated," the report says. Children appear to be especially vulnerable, the report says. CLIP
New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer (May 6, 2010)
The Presidents Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies. The cancer panel is releasing a landmark 200-page report ... warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health. It calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals. The Presidents Cancer Panel suggests ... giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic. In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: to a disturbing extent, babies are born pre-polluted. The report blames weak laws, lax enforcement and fragmented authority, as well as the existing regulatory presumption that chemicals are safe unless strong evidence emerges to the contrary. Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety, the report says. It adds: Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated. Note: To read the President's Cancer Panel report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, ">click here.
Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html
DYERSBURG, Tenn. - For 15 years, Eddie Anderson, a farmer, has been a strict adherent of no-till agriculture, an environmentally friendly technique that all but eliminates plowing to curb erosion and the harmful runoff of fertilizers and pesticides. CBut not this year.On a recent afternoon here, Mr. Anderson watched as tractors crisscrossed a rolling field - plowing and mixing herbicides into the soil to kill weeds where soybeans will soon be planted. Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers' near-ubiquitous use of the weed killer Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds. To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing."We're back to where we were 20 years ago," said Mr. Anderson, who will plow about one-third of his 3,000 acres of soybean fields this spring, morethan he has in years. "We're trying to find out what works." Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water. "It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen," said Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts. The first resistant species to pose a serious threat to agriculture was spotted in a Delaware soybean field in 2000. Since then, the problem has spread, with 10 resistant species in at least 22 states infesting millions of acres, predominantly soybeans, cotton and corn. The superweeds could temper American agriculture's enthusiasm for some genetically modified crops. Soybeans, corn and cotton that are engineered to survive spraying with Roundup have become standard in American fields. However, if Roundup doesn't kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds. CLIP
Low-carbon city life possible, on display at Shanghai Expo (April 23, 2010) http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/6961916.html
The restaurant is one of London's zero-carbon buildings in the Shanghai World Expo's Urban Best Practice Area (UBPA) where more than 50 low-carbon exhibits are on display. What is more impressive is that the two London zero-carbon exhibition buildings have realized energy independence. On the roof of the two buildings, there is special equipment to collect both solar and wind energy. The collected energy guarantees the two building's electricity consumption. At the same time, the buildings' rainwater collection system satisfies the non-drinking water needs of both buildings. The buildings' zero-carbon meeting room has 87 seats. The very modern-looking seats are all made of recycled materials like pans, barrels and traffic signs. CLIP
How an agricultural revolution could save the world's biodiversity, an interview with Ivette Perfecto (May 04, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0504-hance_perfecto.html
Most people who are trying to change the world stick to one area, for example they might either work to preserve biodiversity in rainforests or do social justice with poor farmers. But Dr. Ivette Perfecto was never satisfied with having to choose between helping people or preserving nature. Professor of Ecology and Natural Resources at the University of Michigan and co-author of the recent book Natures Matrix: The Link between Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty, Perfecto has, as she says, "combined her passions" to understand how agriculture can benefit both farmers and biodiversityif done right. (...) But, how does one go about achieving food sovereignty? "First, break up large farms and redistribute them to the more efficient small-scale producers. Second, improve production with more organic and agroecological methods, which could be aided dramatically with an investment of research and development monies," Perfecto says, adding that she would like to see the world's big conservation groups "connect more with small-scale agriculturalists and join in with the movement for land reform and food sovereignty the world over." CLIP
EMF-Omega-News 1. May 2010 http://www.buergerwelle.de/cms/content/view/443/70/
April 2010: Science Update - Impact of Microwaves on Human Health - Can cell phones really cause brain tumors? - Hypersensitivity Diseases and Environmental Causes: from Denial to Action - MPs to hear arguments on microwave exposure levels - Officials in denial? - Important EMR Recommendations to Parliament - FCC Raises the Red Flag about Cell Phone Hazards - EMF exposures caused by cell towers - Meeting on Wireless Health Effects, Ottawa, Canada - Law soon on phone tower standards - Government must inform us of cell phone risk - Honeybees harmed by EMR - Mast plan sparks fresh opposition from Ross-on-Wye residents - Tubli phone towers menace is growing - CA Self Storage Unit Used to Hide Base of Cell Phone Tower - "No Phone Zone" day
EMF-Omega-News 8. May 2010 http://www.buergerwelle.de/cms/content/view/445/70/
GSM signals can induce cell death - Is your cell phone frying your brain? - Sleep disturbances associated with behavior problems in children with autism - ELECTROMAGNETISM AND LIFE - President's Cancer Panel: Environmentally caused cancers are 'grossly underestimated' and 'needlessly devastate American lives - Prof. Dr. Erich Schöndorf about mobile phone technology - Testimony on Radio Frequency Radiation and Health - Danger above: Cellphone companies lying about radiation - Wireless Technology - The Unspoken Risks of Cell Phones and Wireless Networks - Do smart meters pose health risks? - Safety Code 6 draws criticism at Commons committee meeting - Ottawa linked to cellphone lobbyists - Electro Sensitivity and Electro Hypersensitivity: A Summary - May Declared "Electromagnetic Sensitivity Month" - A towering problem - Mobile phone mast protester arrested at demonstration - ARE ELECTRONICS HARMING YOU? - Taliban Order Night Phone Blackout in Afghan North
David Kotok: $12.5 Billion Is Just The Start Of The Oil Cleanup Costs, And A Double-Dip Is Now Way More Likely
Joe Weisenthal -- May. 2, 2010
David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors is out with some very gloomy comments about the economic ramifications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and what it will cost. First he notes the ugliest case scenario:
This spew stoppage takes longer to reach a full closure; the subsequent cleanup may take a decade. The Gulf becomes a damaged sea for a generation. The oil slick leaks beyond the western Florida coast, enters the Gulfstream and reaches the eastern coast of the United States and beyond. Use your imagination for the rest of the damage. Monetary cost is now measured in the many hundreds of billions of dollars.
As for numbers:
Usually, the first estimates in any crises are too low. That is true here. 1000 barrels a day is now 5000, and some estimates of spillage are trending higher. No one knows exactly. The containment and boom mechanism is subject to weather cooperation as we can see this weekend. Soon we are entering the hurricane season. The thoughts of a storm stirring up the Gulf, hampering any cleanup or remediation drilling effort and creating a huge 10,000 square mile black stew is frightening to every professional in the business.
This will be a financial calamity for many firms, not just BP and its partners and service providers. Their liabilities are immense and must not be underestimated. The first estimate of $12.5 billion is only a starter.
As for the economy beyond BP...
Thousands of small and independent businesses as well as larger public companies in tourism are hurt here. This is not just about the source of half the nations shrimp. That is already a casualty. Its also about the bank loans for the $200,000 shrimp boat and the house the boat owner and/or his employees live in and the fact that this shock piles on a fragile financial system that is trying to recover from a three-year financial crisis. Case study, my fishing guide in the Everglades splits his time between Florida and Louisiana. His May bookings in LA have cancelled. His colleagues lost theirs and their lodge will be empty. They are busy trying to find work in the clean up. For him, his wife and eleven year old daughter, his $600 a day guide fees just went poof. When I asked him if he thought he had a legal claim on BP, he said he hadnt thought about it yet but it gave him pause. As we suggested above, the $12.5 billion loss estimate is only a starter.
And the taxpayer...
Federal deficit spending will certainly rise by tens, and maybe hundreds, of billions as emergency appropriations are directed at larger and larger efforts to clean up this mess. At the same time, federal and state revenues tied to Gulf-region businesses will fall. My colleague John Mousseau will be discussing the impact on state and local government debt in a separate research commentary.
We expect that the Federal Reserve will extend the timeframe that we have come to know as the extended period in the making of its monetary policy. We do not expect the Fed to raise interest rates at all for the rest of this year, and maybe well into next year. We expect to see the deterioration of the economic statistics for the US to reveal the onset of this oil-slick crisis in May, and the negative impact will intensify during the summer months. A double-dip recession probably has been made more likely by this tragedy.
It took futuristic technology to achieve one of the worst ecological disasters on record. Without such technology, after all, BP couldn't have drilled the Deepwater Horizon well in the first place. Yet for those who remember their environmental history, the catastrophe in the gulf has a strangely old-fashioned feel, reminiscent of the events that led to the first Earth Day, four decades ago.
And maybe, just maybe, the disaster will help reverse environmentalism's long political slide - a slide largely caused by our very success in alleviating highly visible pollution. If so, there may be a small silver lining to a very dark cloud.
Environmentalism began as a response to pollution that everyone could see. The spill in the gulf recalls the 1969 blowout that coated the beaches of Santa Barbara in oil. But 1969 was also the year the Cuyahoga River, which flows through Cleveland, caught fire. Meanwhile, Lake Erie was widely declared "dead," its waters contaminated by algal blooms. And major U.S. cities - especially, but by no means only, Los Angeles - were often cloaked in thick, acrid smog.
It wasn't that hard, under the circumstances, to mobilize political support for action. The Environmental Protection Agency was founded, the Clean Water Act was enacted, and America began making headway against its most visible environmental problems. Air quality improved: smog alerts in Los Angeles, which used to have more than 100 a year, have become rare. Rivers stopped burning, and some became swimmable again. And Lake Erie has come back to life, in part thanks to a ban on laundry detergents containing phosphates.
Yet there was a downside to this success story.
For one thing, as visible pollution has diminished, so has public concern over environmental issues. According to a recent Gallup survey, "Americans are now less worried about a series of environmental problems than at any time in the past 20 years."
This decline in concern would be fine if visible pollution were all that mattered - but it isn't, of course. In particular, greenhouse gases pose a greater threat than smog or burning rivers ever did. But it's hard to get the public focused on a form of pollution that's invisible, and whose effects unfold over decades rather than days.
Nor was a loss of public interest the only negative consequence of the decline in visible pollution. As the photogenic crises of the 1960s and 1970s faded from memory, conservatives began pushing back against environmental regulation.
Much of the pushback took the form of demands that environmental restrictions be weakened. But there was also an attempt to construct a narrative in which advocates of strong environmental protection were either extremists - "eco-Nazis," according to Rush Limbaugh - or effete liberal snobs trying to impose their aesthetic preferences on ordinary Americans. (I'm sorry to say that the long effort to block construction of a wind farm off Cape Cod - which may finally be over thanks to the Obama administration - played right into that caricature.)
And let's admit it: by and large, the anti-environmentalists have been winning the argument, at least as far as public opinion is concerned.
Then came the gulf disaster. Suddenly, environmental destruction was photogenic again.
For the most part, anti-environmentalists have been silent about the catastrophe. True, Mr. Limbaugh - arguably the Republican Party's de facto leader - promptly suggested that environmentalists might have blown up the rig to head off further offshore drilling. But that remark probably reflected desperation: Mr. Limbaugh knows that his narrative has just taken a big hit.
For the gulf blowout is a pointed reminder that the environment won't take care of itself, that unless carefully watched and regulated, modern technology and industry can all too easily inflict horrific damage on the planet.
Will America take heed? It depends a lot on leadership. In particular, President Obama needs to seize the moment; he needs to take on the "Drill, baby, drill" crowd, telling America that courting irreversible environmental disaster for the sake of a few barrels of oil, an amount that will hardly affect our dependence on imports, is a terrible bargain.
It's true that Mr. Obama isn't as well positioned to make this a teachable moment as he should be: just a month ago he announced a plan to open much of the Atlantic coast to oil exploration, a move that shocked many of his supporters and makes it hard for him to claim the moral high ground now.
But he needs to get beyond that. The catastrophe in the gulf offers an opportunity, a chance to recapture some of the spirit of the original Earth Day. And if that happens, some good may yet come of this ecological nightmare.
12 days into the oil rig 'accident' events continue to evolve and weather is slowing down efforts to contain things, we have two interesting items to report that are not in the MSM yet...OK, three then.
1. While there are many reports on the 'net that the rig disaster was an attack by a North Korean mini-sub, and other such fanciful things, we have heard that a supply ship arrived just before the explosions and it was reported to be 'manned by all new people, nobody aboard was from the 'usual supply crew'. This purported industry source continues: there were a total of 14 explosions and these could have been cutting charges. Moreover, the shut off valve below the surface (5000 feet down) on the seabed is not longer controllable. Still, lots of disinfo and speculation scampering around the netosphere. While this is bad, it gets worse.
2. A reader who is an engineer of considerable experience says watch this one evolve carefully because it is destined to continue to grow and he shares this long (but worthy explanation why:
"Heard your mention of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and you (and most everyone else except maybe George Noory) are totally missing the boat on how big and bad of a disaster this is.
First fact, the original estimate was about 5,000 gallons of oil a day spilling into the ocean. Now they're saying 200,000 gallons a day. That's over a million gallons of crude oil a week!
I'm engineer with 25 years of experience. I've worked on some big projects with big machines. Maybe that's why this mess is so clear to me.
First, the BP platform was drilling for what they call deep oil. They go out where the ocean is about 5,000 feet deep and drill another 30,000 feet into the crust of the earth. This it right on the edge of what human technology can do. Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it.
When the rig sank it flipped over and landed on top of the drill hole some 5,000 feet under the ocean.
Now they've got a hole in the ocean floor, 5,000 feet down with a wrecked oil drilling rig sitting on top of is spewing 200,000 barrels of oil a day into the ocean. Take a moment and consider that, will you!
First they have to get the oil rig off the hole to get at it in order to try to cap it. Do you know the level of effort it will take to move that wrecked oil rig, sitting under 5,000 feet of water? That operation alone would take years and hundreds of millions to accomplish. Then, how do you cap that hole in the muddy ocean floor? There just is no way. No way.
The only piece of human technology that might address this is a nuclear bomb. I'm not kidding. If they put a nuke down there in the right spot it might seal up the hole. Nothing short of that will work.
If we can't cap that hole that oil is going to destroy the oceans of the world. It only takes one quart of motor oil to make 250,000 gallons of ocean water toxic to wildlife. Are you starting to get the magnitude of this?
We're so used to our politicians creating false crises to forward their criminal agendas that we aren't recognizing that we're staring straight into possibly the greatest disaster mankind will ever see. Imagine what happens if that oil keeps flowing until it destroys all life in the oceans of this planet. Who knows how big of a reservoir of oil is down there.
Not to mention that the oceans are critical to maintaining the proper oxygen level in the atmosphere for human life.
We're humped. Unless God steps in and fixes this. No human can. You can be sure of that.
The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster
by Wayne Madsen
WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP's liability for damage caused by what can be called a "mega-disaster."
Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, are working with BP's chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. However, WMR's federal and Gulf state sources are reporting the disaster has the real potential cost of at least $1 trillion. Critics of the deal being worked out between Obama and Hayward point out that $10 billion is a mere drop in the bucket for a trillion dollar disaster but also note that BP, if its assets were nationalized, could fetch almost a trillion dollars for compensation purposes. There is talk in some government circles, including FEMA, of the need to nationalize BP in order to compensate those who will ultimately be affected by the worst oil disaster in the history of the world.
Plans by BP to sink a 4-story containment dome over the oil gushing from a gaping chasm one kilometer below the surface of the Gulf, where the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 workers on April 20, and reports that one of the leaks has been contained is pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration, according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources. Sources within these agencies say the White House has been resisting releasing any "damaging information" about the oil disaster. They add that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf.
Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to declare the oil disaster a "national security issue." Although the Coast Guard and FEMA are part of her department, Napolitano's actual reasoning for invoking national security was to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.
From the Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and Gulf state environmental protection agencies, the message is the same: "we've never dealt with anything like this before."
The Obama administration also conspired with BP to fudge the extent of the oil leak, according to our federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day was gushing from the seabed chasm. Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day.
However, WMR has been informed that submersibles that are monitoring the escaping oil from the Gulf seabed are viewing television pictures of what is a "volcanic-like" eruption of oil. Moreover, when the Army Corps of Engineers first attempted to obtain NASA imagery of the Gulf oil slick -- which is larger than that being reported by the media -- it was turned down. However, National Geographic managed to obtain the satellite imagery shots of the extent of the disaster and posted them on their web site.
There is other satellite imagery being withheld by the Obama administration that shows what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be around the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to our sources.
The Corps and Engineers and FEMA are quietly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only recently, has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. WMR has also learned that inspections of off-shore rigs' shut-off valves by the Minerals Management Service during the Bush administration were merely rubber-stamp operations, resulting from criminal collusion between Halliburton and the Interior Department's service, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves.
The impact of the disaster became known to the Corps of Engineers and FEMA even before the White House began to take the magnitude of the impending catastrophe seriously. The first casualty of the disaster is the seafood industy, with not just fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers losing their jobs, but all those involved in the restaurant industry, from truckers to waitresses, facing lay-offs.
The invasion of crude oil into estuaries like the oyster-rich Apalachicola Bay in Florida spell disaster for the seafood industry. However, the biggest threat is to Florida's Everglades, which federal and state experts fear will be turned into a "dead zone" if the oil continues to gush forth from the Gulf chasm. There are also expectations that the oil slick will be caught up in the Gulf stream off the eastern seaboard of the United States, fouling beaches and estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately target the rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.
WMR has also learned that 36 urban areas on the Gulf of Mexico are expecting to be confronted with a major disaster from the oil volcano in the next few days. Although protective water surface boons are being laid to protect such sensitive areas as Alabama's Dauphin Island, the mouth of the Mississippi River, and Florida's Apalachicola Bay, Florida, there is only 16 miles of boons available for the protection of 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline in the state of Florida.
Emergency preparations in dealing with the expanding oil menace are now being made for cities and towns from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Houston, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Pensacola, Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Sarasota-Bradenton, Naples, and Key West. Some 36 FEMA-funded contracts between cities, towns, and counties and emergency workers are due to be invoked within days, if not hours, according to WMR's FEMA sources.
There are plans to evacuate people with respiratory problems, especially those among the retired senior population along the west coast of Florida, before officials begin burning surface oil as it begins to near the coastline.
There is another major threat looming for inland towns and cities. With hurricane season in effect, there is a potential for ocean oil to be picked up by hurricane-driven rains and dropped into fresh water lakes and rivers, far from the ocean, thus adding to the pollution of water supplies and eco-systems.
Is Gulf oil rig disaster far worse than were being told? (May 10, 2010) http://wellregulatedamericanmilitias.com/profiles/blogs/is-gulf-oil-rig-disaster-far
(...) If its true that millions upon millions of gallons of crude oil are flooding the Gulf with no end in sight, the massive oil slicks being created could make their way into the Gulf Stream currents, which would carry them not only up the East Coast but around the world where they could absolutely destroy the global fishing industries.Already these slicks are making their way into Gulf wetlands and beaches where they are destroying birds, fish, and even oyster beds. This is disastrous for both the seafood industry and the people whose livelihoods depend on it. Its also devastating to the local wildlife which could begin to die off from petroleum toxicity. Various ecosystems around the world could be heavily impacted by this spill in ways that we dont even yet realize.Theres no telling where this continuous stream of oil will end up and what damage it might cause. Theoretically, we could be looking at modern mans final act of destruction on planet Earth, because this one oil rig blowout could set in motion a global extinction wave that begins with the oceans and then whiplashes back onto human beings themselves.We cannot live without life in the oceans. Man is arrogant to drill so deeply into the belly of Mother Earth, and through this arrogance, we may have just set in motion events that will ultimately destroy us. In the future, we may in fact talk about life on Earth as pre-spill versus post-spill. Because a post-spill world may be drowned in oil, devoid of much ocean life, and suffering a global extinction event that will crash the human population by 90 percent or more.We may have just done to ourselves, in other words, what a giant meteorite did to the dinosaurs.
Some Perspective on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill http://oilprice.com/Environment/Oil-Spills/Some-Perspective-on-the-Gulf-of-Mexico-Oil-Spill.html
Panic time, folks. News stories about impending environmental disasters. A couple of senators calling for hearings. The media calling it "Obama's Katrina". Time for that rarest of things, perspective. 1. Chance that a US operated Gulf of Mexico rig sinks and spills? A. 0.025% or 1 in 4000. 2. How much oil will this spill (worst case scenario)? A. 150,000 barrels. 3. How much is it leaking now? A. 5,000 barrels per day, although it sounds so much bigger when you multiply by 42 and put it into gallons.4. How much natural oil seepage is there in the Gulf of Mexico? A. 5,000 barrels per day, although it is widely distributed and not point sourced. 5. Where will this rank? A. 37th in the world's top 71 man-made oil spills. 6. What happened to the 121,000 barrels spilled by the Mega Borg (the second largest spill in the GOM)? A. They burned it. 1800 barrels recovered, 270 barrels left after burning, so, in essence, via burning and wind and wave action biodegradation, 121,000 barrels turned into a little over 2000 barrels. The Prudhoe Bay incident was magnified because it had little wind or wave action... it was a closed system. 7. How does this compare to, say, wildfires? A. Wildfires fully devastate the areas they cover, and typically take 5-30 years to fully recover from a ground fire and up to 150 years to recover from a crown fire. Full recovery from an oil spill is typically a year or less. 8. OK, but how about the carbon footprint between them? A. In fully protected fire areas (a small amount of total forest), there are typically 10,000 to 30,000 forest fires per year world wide. These consume 16,000,000 hectares per year, and release 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year (mind you, this is just a small subset of fires, the subset we are most able to fight and protect). This spill will release, at most a little over 52,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. That is, 0.0033% of fully protected fightable wildfires. 9. But, but... the poor birds? A. Fires fully incinerate the animals they touch. Oily animals make fine, heart-rending posters and cover shots for Time. So now lets look at the number of these spills...Now, let's look at the charts. First, how will this rank in terms of Gulf of Mexico spills? CLIP
Discharges of oil from shipping, offshore extraction of oil, and transport of oil in pipelines is the result of either accidents or "normal", deliberate operational discharges. Accidental discharges (oil spills) occur when vessels collide or come in distress at sea (engine breakdown, fire, explosion) and break open, or run aground close to the shore, or when there is a blowout of an offshore oil well, or when a pipeline breaks. Much can be done to avoid accidents, but there will always be unfortunate circumstances and situations that cause accidents to happen. Operational discharges, on the other hand, are mostly deliberate and "routine", and can to a very large extent be effectively controlled and avoided. It is much a question combining available technical solutions with information, education and a change of attitude among ship-owners, mariners, offshore platform and pipeline operators.
SPILLS FROM SHIPS
Accidents involving oil tankers or offshore platforms or oil pipelines have caused many and sometimes very large oil spills. Such spills are the most obvious, visible and dramatic causes of acute oil pollution of the marine environment. However, the largest oil spill ever was caused by Iraq deliberately released about 240 million gallons (about 800,000 tonnes) of crude oil into the Persian Gulf during the 1991 Gulf War and burnt oil wells in Kuwait.
According to estimates made of the contribution of oil to the sea from different sources (NRC), accidents involving oil tankers and offshore installations account for some 10 per cent of the annual total amount of oils entering the marine environment. As reported by INTERTANKO, "tankers carry close to 40 per cent of the world's seaborne trade. In 2001, 57 per cent of the oil consumed in the world was transported by sea, approx. 2,000 million tonnes.
As pointed out by U.S. NOAA, "if oil spills of all sizes are considered, tankers and offshore installations do not account for most of these spills. Tanker accidents and accidents with offshore installations do, however, account for most of the world's largest oil spills. Accidental spills are less frequent than other kinds of oil spills, but typically involve large volumes of spilled oil relative to other kinds of oil spills".
"Analysts for the Oil Spill Intelligence Report track oil spills of at least 10,000 gallons (34 tonnes). In their annual International Oil Spill Statistics report for 1999, they reported that in that year about 32 million gallons of oil spilled into the water or onto land, in 257 incidents. Of those incidents, only 11 were spills from tankers, accounting for about 6.6 million gallons, or about one-fifth of the total volume of oil spilled. Twenty-five of the 257 spills were from barges and other kinds of vessels, such as freighters (totaling 1.5 million gallons). Eighteen spills were from trucks or railroad trains (totaling about half a million gallons). The largest number of spills, and the largest volume of oil spilled were from accidents involving pipelines or fixed facilities (131 pipeline spills, totaling about 18.8 million gallons; 66 spills from facilities, totaling about 4.7 million gallons). The percentages of oil spilled from different sources vary greatly from year to year; in some years, tanker accidents represent the largest single source of spilled oil, but only in a very few years is it the case that most of the oil spilled (in significant spills) during that year came from tankers. However, tanker accidents have been the cause of most of the very largest oil spills. The Cutter Information Corporation analysts also have found that of the 66 spills in which at least 10 million gallons (34,000 tonnes) of oil were lost, 48 were from tankers. Eight were from fixed facilities, especially storage tanks, five were from production oil wells, three were from pipelines, and two were from other kinds of cargo vessels."
"Oil spills happen all around the world. According to the Oil Spill Intelligence Report, spills in the size range of at least 34 tonnes have occurred in the waters of 112 nations since 1960. However, oil spills happen more frequently in certain parts of the world. They identified the following 'hot spots' for oil spills from vessels: the Gulf of Mexico (267 spills); the northeastern U.S. (140 spills); the Mediterranean Sea (127 spills); the Persian Gulf (108 spills); the North Sea (75 spills); Japan (60 spills); the Baltic Sea (52 spills); the United Kingdom and English Channel (49 spills); Malaysia and Singapore (39 spills); the west coast of France and north and west coasts of Spain (33 spills); and Korea (32 spills)".
However, one should not merely compare figures - the size of the spill is certainly not the only factor of importance in terms of what environmental damage can be caused by a spill. One example only, from the waters off South Africa: "There is rather little correlation between the tonnages of oil released in spills and the impacts on the marine ecosystems. For example, a collision between two oil tankers in 1977 released 31,000 tonnes of oil and polluted 47 African Penguins, but in the Apollo Sea sinking of 1994, about 2,000 tonnes of oil impacted about 10,000 penguins. After the Apollo Sea, we generally believed that this was the maximum amount of penguin mischief that 2,000 tonnes of oil could achieve. However, when the Treasure sank on 23 June 2000, half this amount of oil threatened four times as many penguins! In round figures, 20,000 penguins were oiled, and 20,000 penguins were prevented from becoming oiled by removing them off their breeding colonies on Dassen and Robben Islands."
Leakages from sunken, grounded or abandoned ships is another potential (and often very real) source of oil to the marine environment. These can be merchant or military vessels. Sunken vessels means just that - ships that have sunk to the bottom of the sea, generally due to an accident but sometimes also as the result of a deliberate action to get rid of them. Regarding grounded and abandoned vessels, a distinction is made in the NRC report between derelict vessels and historic wrecks. "Derelict vessels are generally unseaworthy or are no longer useful and have been tied up and abandoned. Others are mothballed, are awaiting repair or dismantling, or are intentionally grounded as a result of illegal activity. --- These abandoned vessels become potential sources of oil pollution, from either chronic leaks or a large release once oil storage areas fail." And: "From an oil pollution perspective, wrecks sunken during and since World War II pose the greatest risk because of the presence of residual fuels. -- World War II wrecks are of particular concern because they can contain large volumes of oil, and corrosion after nearly 60 years underwater can lead to chronic leaks and the potential for catastrophic releases.
SPILLS FROM OFFSHORE DRILLING
As described by APPEA, "the weight of the drilling fluid/drilling mud acts as the first line of well control by keeping underground pressures in check. If an influx of pressurised oil or gas does occur during drilling, well control is maintained through the rig's blowout prevention system (BOP). This is a set of hydraulically operated valves and other closure devices (rams) which seal off the well, and route the wellbore fluids to specialised pressure controlling equipment. Trained personnel operating this highly reliable equipment minimise the possibility of a blowout, or an uncontrolled flow of fluids from a well".
However, it does not always work. As pointed out in the book Environmental Impact of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry, the most typical causes of blowouts "include equipment failure, personnel mistakes, and extreme natural impacts (seismic activity, ice fields, hurricanes, and so on). Their main hazard is connected with the spills and blowouts of oil, gas, and numerous other chemical substances and compounds. The environmental consequences of accidental episodes are especially severe, sometimes dramatic, when they happen near the shore, in shallow waters, or in areas with slow water circulation. Broadly speaking, two major categories of drilling accidents should be distinguished. One of them covers catastrophic situations involving intense and prolonged hydrocarbon gushing. These occur when the pressure in the drilling zone is so high that usual technological methods of well muffling do not help. Lean holes have to be drilled to stop the blowout. Drilling accidents are usually associated with unexpected blowouts of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons from the well as a result of encountering zones with abnormally high pressure. No other situations but tanker oil spills can compete with drilling accidents in frequency and severity."
The largest blowout, so far, was the Ixtoc I accident off the Mexican coast in 1979-1980 (about nine months). With a total oil spill of about 475,000 tonnes, it was the second largest oil spills of all times. There have been other large blowouts since then, among them one in Nigeria in 1980 with a total spill of over 54,000 tonnes (destroying over 340 hectares of mangroves).
SPILLS FROM PIPELINES
"The causes of underwater pipeline damage can differ greatly. They range from material defects and pipe corrosion to ground erosion, tectonic movements on the bottom, and encountering ship anchors and bottom trawls. --- Depending on the cause and nature of the damage (cracks, ruptures, and others), a pipeline can become either a source of small and long-term leakage or an abrupt (even explosive) blowout of hydrocarbons near the bottom. The dissolution, dilution, and transferring of the liquid and gaseous products in the marine environment can be accompanied in some cases by ice and gas hydrates formation. --- Modern technology of pipeline construction and exploitation under different natural conditions, including the extreme ones, achieved indisputable successes. However, pipeline oil and gas transportation does not eliminate the possibility of serious accidents and consequences." (Environmental Impact of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry)
Thus, pipelines can continuously leak oil for a long time, which is bad enough, but when a pipeline ruptures it causes a large, acute spill. The best-known examples of large spills occurred in the Guanabara Bay, off the Brazilian coast in 2000, when about 1,300 tonnes of oil were released into the sea, and in Nigeria in 1998, when a pipeline broke and 14,300 tonnes of oil were spilt.
Consider these figures. The current size of the American economy is roughly $14 trillion. As of this writing, the federal government's total public debt stands at nearly $13 trillion.
In its first midsession review, the White House Office of Management and Budget estimated that at the end of 2010, the national debt will breach the $14-trillion mark. This means that America's sovereign debt will be soon equal to the annual output of our economy. In other words, our national debt will shortly reach 100 percent of GDP. History and experience show that most governments that assume such levels of debt are ultimately not able to contain them. In most cases, this kind of situation eventually leads to the disintegration of the country's monetary regime and the collapse of its currency.
This outcome is not inevitable, given that -- in theory, at least -- a debt of 100 percent of GDP is still manageable. But to bring things under control would require strict fiscal discipline. Unfortunately, there no indication that our federal government can muster any. Quite the contrary. Last year the federal budget deficit reached a record $1.4 trillion. At nearly 10 percent of GDP, this was the highest peacetime deficit in history. Despite the numerous assurances that the 2009 shortfall was a one-off event brought on by the financial crisis, this year's deficit will go even higher. According to the analysis submitted by the Congressional Budget Office last month, it will climb to $1.5 trillion. This will amount to 10.3 percent of GDP.
There is every reason to believe that the deficit will grow even faster in the years to come, as the federal government further increases its involvement in health care. The estimates by the Office of the Management and Budget which we quoted above do not factor in the costs associated with the recently passed health care reform. Even the more conservative estimates project that the legislation will cost well over one trillion during the program's first ten years. It is almost certain, however, that this figure is grossly understated, as government programs have a tendency to exceed their initial cost projections by grotesque multiples.
This, however, is not the worst of it, because the national debt represents only a relatively small portion of our government's total financial obligations. The far greater bulk is made up of long-term liabilities inherent in entitlement programs. According to the latest estimates by the Dallas Federal Reserve, the combined liabilities of Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid amount to an astounding $104 trillion.
When we add the national debt and entitlements together, we get a figure of some $117 trillion. This figure represents the amount of money the federal government will have to come up with in the years ahead in order to discharge its obligations.
The sheer magnitude of this number makes it difficult to grasp. To give a sense of scale, it is about twice the current economic output of the whole world. It is also more than eight times the size of the American economy. With today's tax revenues it would take more than fifty-five years to pay for these obligations. This assumes there is no interest on the debt and that the federal government spends no money on anything else.
There is only one conclusion that reasonably can be drawn on the basis of these figures: The American federal government is simply not in the position to make good on its obligations.
There is a growing recognition of this fact. When discussing America's national debt in his lecture at the Mises Institute, the noted financial analyst Peter Schiff said this:
We're not going to pay the Chinese back their money. It's impossible. We can't. We can't possibly.
Given the figures, Schiff only stated the obvious.
Sooner or later, our government's ability to finance deficit spending with low yield bonds will come to an end. Deprived of the source of cheap cash and pressed by the need to meet its vast array payments, the government will be left with two options: It will either have to default, or it can seek to meet the payment schedules by creating new money.
Given the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, default would be a cataclysmic global event that would result in the disintegration of the world's financial system. Needless to say, this kind of calamity would bring about the dollar's sudden collapse with ruinous consequences for the American people.
The second option -- paying its outstanding bills with new money -- looks initially more attractive. On this scenario government would discharge its liabilities with freshly created dollars. This is actually the most likely course our government will take, since money creation is the route that over-leveraged governments usually take in an effort to service their excessive obligations.
At first sight this may seem like an easy way out, but it has bad consequences down the line. As the government pumps new dollars into the system, the value of the money stock is diluted and inflation occurs. In light of the enormous depth of our indebtedness, inflation will in the end eat away most of the dollar's value.
It should be noted that inflation is really only default in disguise. On the inflationary scenario, creditors will only get paid back a portion of their original investment while entitlement beneficiaries will only receive a portion of the value of their promised benefits.
Whichever of the two possible options our government chooses to pursue, the final result will be currency destruction. Outright default would result in the dollar's immediate collapse, while inflation would produce a more gradual decline, at least initially. Needless to say, given the immense weight of the government' financial burden, the inflationary route will ultimately wipe out most of the greenback's worth. Either way, we will end up with a greatly debased, if not completely worthless, currency and all the painful repercussions inherent in that downfall.
To put it bluntly, the dollar's days are numbered and its demise is inevitable. Anyone who still hopes there may be a way around it, must answer that ultimate money question: Where in the world is the American federal government going to get $117 trillion?
The Greeks are protesting on the streets because they can smell a rat before they even see it. Their instinct tells them that the fine detail of the austerity measures will inevitably lead to incredible hardship, belt tightening and long term debt servitude. Their sovereignty and hence their freedom and future will be greatly restricted.
Moreover they realise that the rescue package is nothing more than a belated attempt by the strong men of Europe and the IMF to save the collective bacon of the other "PIIGS" rather than to bring Greece back from the edge of the abyss. In fact Greece would have been cut loose had it not been for its potential to contaminate the whole system.
They also understand that if the assistance package fails it could nevertheless leave them with even more debt and potentially much more damage if they were to default.
The populace at large feels that by precipitating a debt default across Europe, Greece will cease to be the focus of attention given that the outstanding debt of Spain, Italy and Ireland is a far more menacing threat to international creditors and the banking system.
Make no mistake, the Greeks know and accept that they have created their own ruin, but at the same time, the international community that extended credit over the last 10 years did not exactly carry out a process of due diligence on the borrower in the first place. Had it done so, it is highly unlikely that credit would have been extended on terms and in amounts we have witnessed. One should also not omit to mention that the "supervisory" ineptitude of the EU was matched by the third rate data collection and first rate dishonesty of the Greek government.
In brief, the Greeks will prefer the shorter term agony of default rather than the discomfort of longer term discipline. In fact, default may leave Greece in a better position in the long term providing it does not succumb again to unfunded government and private largesse.
If continuing agitation, demonstrations and strikes by Greek workers make the austerity measures unenforceable then continuing financial support will not be possible and the game will be up for all of Europe as dominoes start to fall in quick succession.
WHAT FOLLOWS DEFAULT?
At worst, Greece will be forced to cut down on its consumption of overseas goods and services or else it will have to pay "cash on delivery". Cash on delivery could well mean gold as nations cease to accept worthless paper as payment. Alternatively it will have to pledge or sell real assets (such as uninhabited islands or certain industries). Clearly there are limitations to such a course of action and sooner or later it will have to live within its means.
The timetable for a normalised economy would be much shorter for an economy that defaults than for one that is faced with the uncertainty of a multi-year austerity program.
Make no mistake, the demand for gold as payment or security will take on greater and greater prominence and significance in the ensuing future. Islands, buildings and even industries are difficult to convert into an internationally accepted currency and in most cases are not pragmatic outcomes for trade creditors no matter where they are located.
For everyday transactions, silver will reign as the currency of choice for practical and other reasons.
Nations will no longer extend credit to the extent they have done so in the past. Surpluses will be invested internally to a far greater extent or else hard assets will be bought overseas where the political climate allows. When Argentina defaulted a decade ago, it caused 20% of the Italian pension system to disappear as a result of bond losses.
WHAT ARE GREECE'S CHANCES OF SUCCEEDING?
The very slight chance that Greece will be able to succeed in imposing the austerity measures as well as achieving budget outcomes is dependent on it being able to achieve all of the measures relating to expenditure cuts, tax increases, curbing tax evasion, reducing benefits for public sector employees and pensioners and making the necessary structural changes. Historically ingrained attitudes, the extent of the debt, the little time afforded to Greece as well as the general international downturn make such an outcome very difficult.
I suspect that Europe knows and understands this, and perhaps is extending this 3 year package of assistance knowing full well that it will withdraw it as soon as Greece stumbles whilst giving the rest of Europe time to plan and prepare for the inevitable failure of Greece and possibly others.
The inevitability of an eventual default is further pronounced when taking into account the unfunded social security liabilities of not only the Greek government but also that of Europe. Can anyone explain how that approaching tsunami is being factored into the equation?
GOLD IS THE ONLY REAL FINANCIAL DENOMINATOR
Gold has returned and it is exposing the fraudulent nature of stock market indices. On December 31, 2009 for instance, the DAX stood at 5957 whilst gold was priced at 765 Euros. In other words, 7.78 oz of gold were needed to buy the DAX. On May 5, 2010, the DAX closed at 5957 which would indicate that the stock market is holding up well in the middle of the Greek crisis. What the reader needs to keep in mind, however, is that for the DAX to have kept abreast of the gold price (at 909 Euros), it would now have to be 7,072. The reality is that the DAX has in fact lost serious value in real terms.
The U.S. market should take little comfort in these developments. The Euro may be under threat but in the meantime its sharp reversal against the US dollar (and the Yuan) is having the two-fold effect of giving European exporters a competitive advantage as well as weakening the argument about China being a currency manipulator.
The USA has so far delayed (but not avoided) an implosion through the use and abuse of quantitative easing (money printing) which the Europeans are yet to resort to. The USA however cannot outrun or hide from its unsustainable budgetary and debt trajectories.
THE DATE OF THE COLLAPSE
A date cannot be given for the day that the whole debt pyramid will be razed to the ground as nations are capable of extraordinary measures in trying to win a few extra breaths. What is certain is that default will become either inevitable or attractive for a number of nations racked by debt.
In the days ahead one should not be surprised if Greek police take greater measures in bringing rioters under control. Buttons are being pressed as we speak and toes are being trodden on for action to be taken.
THE PRICE FOR IGNORING HISTORY
I am always in danger of repeating myself ad nauseam, but the reality is that the debt racked currencies of the USA and Europe will leave their owners financially and psychologically gutted when the general public realizes the nature of the deceit being perpetrated by money printing, income re-distribution through suppressed interest rates and government largesse at the expense of future generations. Europeans and Americans that fail to protect their portfolios through gold and silver are going to wake up to the realization that history does in fact repeat itself.....I guess some lessons can only be learned the hard way.
Crisis Deepens; Chaos Grips Greece (May 6, 20100 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703961104575225472577513414.html
ATHENS-Greece's fiscal crisis took a new turn to violence Wednesday when three people died in a firebomb attack amid a paralyzing national strike, while governments from Spain to the U.S. took steps to prevent the widening financial damage from hitting their own economies.U.S. Treasury officials have been quietly urging their European and International Monetary Fund counterparts to put together a Greek rescue plan more quickly to contain the damage, it emerged Wednesday, as U.S. policy makers worry the continent's problems could undermine a U.S. recovery much as U.S. housing woes hammered Europe in 2008.In Spain, rival political leaders came together Wednesday with an agreement that aims to shore up shaky savings banks by the end of next month. Banks in France and Germany, which are among Greece's top creditors, pledged to support a Greek bailout by continuing to lend to the country. Investors, meanwhile, are pouring money into bonds of countries seen as less exposed to the crisis, from Russia to Egypt. (...) The general strike marks the broadest challenge to date to the government of Mr. Papandreou, which is pressed to pass the austerity legislation to unlock bailout funds to meet a debt payment later this month that it otherwise couldn't meet. The protests also brought out many Greeks who were resigned to belt-tightening. Their unhappiness at the cuts was matched with rancor toward a generation of politicians who they say spurred the crisis with decades of corruption, kickbacks and accounting legerdemain aimed at obscuring to the EU the true level of Greece's annual deficits. "For 30 years the Greek people have been held hostage," said Periandros Athanassakis, 48, a garbage collector in Piraeus, the port near Athens. "Those who stole the money should pay."Some officials saw in Wednesday's protests the seeds of broader discontent. "We may have an uprising in the making," one senior Greek official said. CLIP
8 Theories For Why The Stock Market Plunged Almost 1000 Points In A Matter Of Minutes On May 6th http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/8-theories-for-why-the-stock-market-plunged-almost-1000-points-in-a-matter-of-minutes-on-may-6th
In one of the most dizzying half-hours in stock market history, the Dow plunged nearly 1,000 points on Thursday, May 6th before bouncing back to close down 347.80 points. This represented the biggest intraday decline since 1987. But what made this crash so absolutely shocking is that it happened in the course of less than an hour. Between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. the Dow lost over 700 points before dramatically bouncing back about 600 points. Two of the 30 stocks in the Dow, Procter & Gamble and 3M, plunged more than 30% in just 15 minutes. Accenture went from trading at around 40 dollars a share all the way down to one cent before bouncing back. Traders and investors were left completely stunned and wondering what in the world had just happened. So what did happen?The following are some of the most common theories being put forward to explain what happened.... (...) But this episode shows just how vulnerable our financial markets really are. After witnessing what we saw today, it is going to be really hard to have confidence in the system. In fact, even if this was just one "bad trade" or a "simple computer glitch", the reality is that this episode is going to inject even more fear into a marketplace that is already filled with tension. When fear grips a market things can go south very, very quickly. The truth is that markets tend to fall more quickly than they rise, and if a wave of panic starts sweeping over the financial markets we could see things get quite messy in the coming days.
Hedge fund manipulation, not error, was behind market plunge (May 7, 2010) http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2010/ss_economy0389_05_07.asp
The major media say the chaos on Wall Street was the result of a trader error, possibly a typo, as the Washington Post put it. Some reports claim the culprit was a fat finger on a computer somewhere that pressed the wrong key. But Zubi Diamond, author of the Wizards of Wall Street, says these claims are all lies. What happened in the market on Thursday is a typical example of pure market manipulation by unregulated hedge fund short sellers. (...) What happened on Thursday will happen again, he adds. They are getting bolder every day. The hedge fund short sellers, who are members of Managed Funds Association, and their strategic partners at the different stock exchanges, are responsible for the scam that was perpetrated on Thursday. The market plunged and recovered, he says. The carnage and destruction of investors capital was therefore concealed. This is the evil of hedge fund short selling in an unregulated market, he says.
End of unemployment checks will mean no income for many (May 6, 2010) http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/05/06/93687/end-of-unemployment-checks-will.html
(...) While the economy created 290,000 new jobs in April, unemployment jumped to 9.9 percent as 805,000 people rejoined the labor force to renew their job search. Sadly though, 6.7 million Americans, nearly 46 percent of the nation's unemployed, have been jobless for 27 weeks or more. Another 1.2 million are still discouraged and no longer looking.Most states provide up to 26 weeks of jobless benefits for qualified workers. Then the worst recession since the Great Depression forced Congress to step in and pay for extended coverage. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia now provide a maximum of 99 weeks, while other states offer from 60 to 93 weeks. The beefed-up benefits are unprecedented in the history of the unemployment insurance program and have helped millions such as Nieves survive the recession and keep roofs over their heads.With a projected $1.5 trillion federal deficit looming this year, though, lawmakers from both parties are resisting costly and politically unpopular appeals to extend benefits. (...) Harvard University economist Lawrence Katz said the nation is 11 million jobs short of where it should be population-wise. To catch up, 15 million new jobs are needed during the next four years. Although the economy created 230,000 new jobs in March, Nieves of Atlanta isn't buying the happy talk that the economy is turning the corner. She doesn't see it."It's not true. Where are all these jobs?" she asked in frustration. "I still go online everyday and send out weekly e-mails to see if they have anything, but it's dry. It's really dry." CLIP
Why Peru's Rainforest Is About to Be Decimated While Across the Border Celebrities Rally to Save Ecuador's Rainforest (May 7, 2010) http://www.alternet.org/environment/146764/why_peru%27s_rainforest_is_about_to_be_decimated_while_across_the_border_celebrities_rally_to_save_ecuador%27s_rainforest
ConocoPhillips, other companies and Peru's government are violating international law and endangering the existence of some of the world's most vulnerable people. Almost everyone has heard about Ecuador's plan to keep the oil underground: that's to say, to forgo drilling millions of barrels of oil in the Yasuni National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon in return for billions of dollars compensation. The Yasuni-ITT initiative, as it is known, has even caught the imagination of the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton, both of whom met Ecuador's vice president last month. Since it was first proposed in 2007, Yasuni-ITT has generated huge controversy. Some see it as a key way to combat climate change, and Ecuador itself has dubbed it a chance to "make history." Others suspect it is simply a clever ruse to make some easy money and that Ecuador, in the future, will drill for the oil anyway. Any day now, the initiative is expected to be finalized, pending a deal between Ecuador and the UN. But what's happening just across the border in Peru?No such history in the making. ConocoPhillips is gearing up to explore for oil by cutting 454 kms of seismic lines through the rainforest -- i.e. dynamiting it -- while another company, Perenco, has recently revealed plans to build a pipeline through the region to help move Conoco's oil, if found, and 300 million barrels of heavy crude found several years ago to Peru's Pacific Coast. CLIP
We Can Live Without Oil, But Not Without Flora and Fauna
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, May 10, 2010 (Tierramérica) - The policies and deals that contributed to the massive oil spill under way in the Gulf of Mexico are also jeopardising the Earth's vital biological infrastructure, according to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, published Monday.
The British Petroleum oil spill of 5,000 barrels a day in the Gulf of Mexico, which began Apr. 20 when an explosion caused a rupture at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, will have devastating consequences for marine life and coastal ecosystems for decades, experts say.
Similar business and policy decisions, multiplied thousands times over the last hundred years, have put the biological infrastructure that supports life in jeopardy, according to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 (GBO3) report, issued May 10 by the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The report is the most current assessment of the state of the planet's biodiversity, the living organisms that provide us with health, wealth, food, fuel and other vital services.
In this study, "you can clearly see the outlines of what could be the sixth great extinction event of all life on Earth," said Thomas Lovejoy, biodiversity chair at the Washington DC-based Heinz Centre for Science, Economics and the Environment, and chief biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank.
The biodiversity trends are almost all negative: the declines are exponential and potential tipping points loom, Lovejoy, a leading tropical biologist, told Tierramérica. He led the scientific review committee of the GBO3 and will publicly launch the report Monday at the opening of the Convention on Biological Diversity science meeting in Nairobi.
One approaching tipping point is the irreversible collapse of Amazon rainforest, he said. A recent million-dollar study revealed that combination of three factors could trigger an unstoppable conversion of the world's largest tropical forest into savannah grassland.
The factors are: global average temperature increases of two degrees Celsius, a three or four percent additional loss of original forest, and forest fires.
The continued trend of these factors would result in an enormous loss of species and huge volumes of climate-altering carbon emissions. The impacts on millions of local people "would be staggering," Lovejoy said.
"Now's the time to get serious... We have to take the GBO3 as a wake-up call," he said.
This is the International Year of Biodiversity, but the alarm bells have rung loudly for years.
In 2002, 123 countries that are members of the Convention promised to take urgent action to reduce current rates of biodiversity loss. Eight years later, using data supplied by those countries, the GBO3 reveals that those promises have not been met.
Nearly a quarter of plant species are threatened with extinction, while corals and amphibians are in sharp decline, and the populations of all vertebrates have fallen by one-third in the past 30 years.
Asked recently why biodiversity was so important, why species extinction matters when we have all kinds of technology, Lovejoy responded by saying: "You can't eat the Internet." Nor can we breathe without plants that supply oxygen.
But we can live without oil.
However, concern about impacts on ecosystems seems to be last on the list in the decisions on extracting oil, minerals and timber, said Kierán Suckling, director of the non-governmental Centre for Biological Diversity, based in the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona.
"If the ecologists who are consulted at the end are very aggressive, maybe they can scale down a project 5 percent," Suckling said in a Tierramérica interview. "All the power resides with those are pushing for development."
BP's offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was given exemptions from environmental reviews by the U.S. government, said Suckling. And there were no real plans for how to deal with a major spill.
"It was a disaster that was going to happen, but business and government simply pretended it was not going to happen," he said.
Ecosystems have enormous value, but it is difficult to calculate in monetary terms, according to the expert. The Gulf is an important food resource, estimated at 2 billion dollars a year for the southern U.S. state of Louisiana alone.
But that doesn't come close to the region's real value. Suckling wondered: "How do you value the vast wetlands of the Gulf that have been there for hundreds of thousands of years?"
"For millions of years, sea turtles have laid their eggs on the sandy beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. Who are we to come along and in a few short decades drive them into extinction?" he said.
Biodiversity protection is a moral and ethical issue, according to Suckling. "Loss of biodiversity impoverishes us as human beings because we evolved to interact with all these other species."
Meanwhile, Lovejoy believes that if ecosystems were assigned economic value, there would be "much more intelligent risk management."
Instead of offshore drilling, society could decide to improve efficiency in fuel consumption. For example, if U.S. car and truck efficiency were improved to 42 miles per gallon, it would save millions of barrels of oil a year and save drivers billions of dollars in fuel costs, according to an analysis by the U.S. non-governmental Union of Concerned Scientists.
"We have to elevate the importance of biology on the human agenda," said Lovejoy. The challenge is "how do we get to this point without being driven to it by huge disasters?"
"The biological infrastructure of the planet is in jeopardy and it is in our direct interest to do something about it," he concluded.
Nature loss 'to damage economies' (10 May 2010) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10103179.stm
The Earth's ongoing nature losses may soon begin to hit national economies, a major UN report has warned. The third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) says that some ecosystems may soon reach "tipping points" where they rapidly become less useful to humanity.Such tipping points could include rapid dieback of forest, algal takeover of watercourses and mass coral reef death.Last month, scientists confirmed that governments would not meet their target of curbing biodiversity loss by 2010. "The news is not good," said Ahmed Djoglaf, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). "We continue to lose biodiversity at a rate never before seen in history - extinction rates may be up to 1,000 times higher than the historical background rate." The global abundance of vertebrates - the group that includes mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish - fell by about one-third between 1970 and 2006, the UN says. The 2010 target of significantly curbing the global rate of biodiversity loss was agreed at the Johannesburg summit in 2002.It has been clear for a while that it would not be met. But GBO-3 concludes that none of the 21 subsidiary targets set at the same time are being met either, at least not on a global basis. These include measures such as curbing the rate of habitat loss and degradation, protecting at least 10% of the Earth's ecological regions, controlling the spread of invasive species and making sure that international trade does not take any species towards extinction. No government submitting reports to the convention on biodiversity group claims to have completely met the 2010 target. While progress is being made in some regions, the global failure means an ever-growing number of species are on the Red List of Threatened Species. CLIP MUCH MORE THROUGH http://www.unep.org/ (including Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 Launch - Video News Release) AND http://ipsnews.net/new_focus/biodiversity/index.asp
Corals Fight for Survival http://www.tierramerica.info/nota.php?lang=eng&idnews=3347
Delegates from 175 countries discuss listing endangered plant and animal species to protect them from unregulated trade. For corals it's a lost opportunity.UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 22 (Tierramérica).- The survival of corals, which face grave threats from ocean acidification, bottom trawling and the jewelry and decor trade, is in even greater doubt after a vote taken at a conference under way in Doha, Qatar.Corals, of course, are beautiful, and there is a multi-billion-dollar international business in extracting some that are 100 years old so they can be worn as a 25,000-dollar necklace or put on display in luxurious mansions. To ensure there are corals for future generations, the United States and European Union had proposed listing the valuable, slow-growing red and pink coral species (Corallium and Paracorallium) as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). But CITES signatory countries voted Sunday at a Mar. 13-25 meeting in Doha against protecting red and pink corals by listing them as Appendix II species. That designation would have required countries that export these corals to prove that trade in these species was not harming their continued survival. A two-thirds majority was required and only 64 countries voted in favour, while 59 voted against and 10 abstained. The decision came just three days after a proposal to protect bluefin tuna was overwhelmingly defeated by delegates at the Doha meeting. (...) The home aquarium trade is also consuming large quantities of coral, as hobbyists switch from tropical fish to creating coral reef displays as decor. "This demand for coral has led to an explosion in the live coral trade, with annual increases of 10 to 50 percent since 1987," wrote Bruckner in a study published in December in the peer-reviewed, online scientific journal PLoS ONE. He estimates this trade is worth 200 to 330 million dollars annually and growing. But there is little consideration of the impacts to coral reefs. "We need some form of protection for these corals so that governments and the public will understand their importance," Teleki said. That has been an uphill struggle, says Matt Patterson, a marine ecologist with the U.S. National Park Service and coordinator for the South Florida/Caribbean Monitoring Network. By 2005, 90 percent of the corals in the U.S. Virgin Islands were bleached. As a direct result, 60 percent of the reef died. When petitioned for resources to help protect the remaining reefs, the U.S. government did nothing, Patterson told Tierramérica from his office in Miami. "Imagine the outcry and response if 60 percent of the Statue of Liberty was destroyed," he said. Coral reefs support about 25 to 33 percent of the oceans' living creatures. Some one billion people depend directly and indirectly on reefs for their livelihoods. Not only do they provide food, they reduce the impacts of cyclones, hurricanes and storm surges. Only a few years ago, scientists thought overfishing was the biggest threat to corals. Now they know it is climate change, which is warming oceans and making the waters more acidic. Reducing coral harvesting pressures, eliminating sedimentation and pollution runoff from land, and simply preventing boats from anchoring in reef areas can go a long way to helping reefs withstand the impacts of climate change, Patterson said. "Corals are ecosystems that are in peril. Unless we make protection a bigger priority, they may be one of those ecosystems that blink out of existence in our lifetimes, which is truly frightening to me," he said.
Whod have thought it just a few months ago? The biggest-grossing movie ever turns out to be an environmental film. Not an ecodocumentary like March of the Penguins, The Age of Stupid or even An Inconvenient Truth of course, but the Hollywood blockbuster, Avatar. Directed by James Cameron of Aliens, Terminator, and Titanic it combines epic storytelling, spectacular design, groundbreaking special effects, and intense action that enable audiences to take in a green message along with the popcorn.
The story opens in 2154, when Earths natural resources have been depleted. Jake Sully, a former marine who has lost the use of his legs, goes to Pandora, a moon with a lush, Earth- like environment 4.4 light years away. Humans, led by the Resources Development Administration and backed with military force, have colonized it for three decades and are mining a rare mineral (inevitably called unobtainium), need- ed for energy generation on Earth. The Administration wants a closer relationship with Pandoras inhabitants tall blue warriors called the Navi in order to control them and their resources.
Pandoras atmosphere is toxic to humans, so the team of scientists who aim to study its rich biosphere create avatars, genetically engineered Navi-human hybrids driven by human neurological systems. Jake has been summoned to drive one made with the DNA of his dead twin brother so that he can gather intelligence to use against the Navi.
But he becomes enchanted with Pandoras environment and, helped by Netyiri, a Navi princess, he learns to navigate the moons landscapes and comes to respect its creatures and to understand its spiritual force Eywa which connects all its life. Ultimately, he switches sides, becoming a Navi himself and leading Pandoras defence against the encroaching humans.
Not exactly a subtle message, but Cameron did not intend it to be. We know whats going on with the environment but were in denial, he says. Denial is a response based on fear of change, of the sacrifices were going to have to make.
Humans think: Were here, were big, weve got the guns and the brains, therefore were entitled to everything on this planet. He goes on: Thats not how it works. Were going to learn the hard way unless we wise up and start seeking a life thats in balance with the natural cycles of Earth.
But rather than hit people with facts and figures, he wanted to do it with emotion. I wanted people to feel the environmental message, not think about it. Its the exact opposite of An Inconvenient Truth, which certainly offers information. But in an action film, its more important to get these concepts viscerally.
So Cameron made Pandoras environment as life-like as possible, taking inspiration from Earths biodiversity. We had tables covered with books about animal biology and anatomy, photo books with the textures of everything from the back of a tortoise to poison dart frogs. We studied the interaction between the skin and beak of a hornbill. We used natures resourcefulness and imagination to fuel us, which is why the creatures feel real.
Avatars design was also inspired by Camerons passion for the deep sea, from the jellyfish-like seeds of the Navis sacred tree to the night-time bioluminescence of its wildlife. Growing up in the 1960s, I was a science-fiction fanatic, and loved the idea of space exploration. I knew I would never get to go to another planet, but ocean exploration seemed like a good alternative.
His love of diving even helped lay the technological groundwork for Avatar, the worlds first 3D blockbuster. While working on Titanic the 12-year record holder for biggest grossing film he developed his own digital 3D camera system to capture the experience of deep ocean exploration. He filmed two documentaries with this tech- nology, one exploring the wreck of the Titanic, the other examining the creatures of mid-ocean ridges.
Theres so much we dont know, Cameron says. On every dive I see something I never could have imagined. A diaphanous jellyfish 2 metres across. A pink octopus with wings on its head. Blind shrimp swarming just centimetres from water hot enough to melt lead. Nothing the artifice of Hollywood has to offer can compete with the thrill of something this exciting and 100 per cent real.
The message seems to have hit a nerve. Teachers have ap- proached Cameron about creating curricula around Avatar. Activists have used the movies popularity to draw attention to real-life conflicts happening all over the world between indigenous peoples and corporate interests, some asking Cameron to explicitly champion individual causes.
There have even been reports of Avatar depression: audience members so taken by Pandoras beauty that they find it difficult to readjust to real life. Pandora seemed like such a perfect place, and I became disgusted with the sight of our world, what we have done to Earth, said Ivar Hill, a 17-year-old student from Sweden.
The profits havent been bad either: Avatar has so far made more than $2 billion at the box office, along the way winning many nominations and awards, including three Oscars for best art direction, cinematography and visual effects.
Avatar asks us all to be warriors for the Earth, says Cameron. It creates a sense of moral outrage, and then a sense of uplift when good conquers evil. When you put those two things together it creates a ripe emotional matrix for people to want to take action.
Recommended by Phylipa Dinnen (email@example.com)
Call for Civil Disobedience - a worldwide strike by the oppressed
17 MARCH 2010
The blogosphere and meeting places have been alight with anger, outrage, frustration. And questions about how to defeat our tyrannical 'masters' that make our lives a living hell.
Gandhi found non-compliance to be an effective tool to defeat his masters. And he was just one man.
Imagine what we could achieve, if we made a concerted effort, for a given number of days.
The fact is, the corporations want our money. The government needs our money. The 'mainstream' media are the mouthpieces of these monsters. And all of them are the cause of our misery.
If we starve them of it for a spell, how would that affect them?
We've lost the ability to think for ourselves because we've been programmed not to. If we cease to tune into their propaganda and instead, explore the alternative media, we see a different picture from the one they want us to see. We think for ourselves and join up the dots.
We have been little short of terrorised by their scare stories, their unwarranted use of and threat of force, their fines, their toxic products, their lies - to do their dirty bidding. They enrich themselves at our expense. Every time.
The Greeks and the Icelanders have woken up and taken action. The tyranny we face is on a par with theirs, if not greater, and yet we do bugger all about it. Our MPs don't give a jot - they're not listening to us. They're listening to their party whips, as they eye that juicy job within their grasp if they ignore us. So they do.
So let's learn from the Greeks, the Icelanders, Gandhi - and make our 'strike' international. After all, the entire civilised world is facing tyranny simultaneously.
And as Old Holborn says, we outnumber them. They cannot afford non-compliance on such a massive scale. Success frequently starts from small beginnings, as American patriots will tell you. As Gandhi demonstrated.
There comes a time when we have to say ENOUGH! NO MORE! Just like that lonesome chap did in Tiananmen Square (around 3:45 minutes into this video):
You have to wonder why our police are becoming militarised - all over the world - why the UN frequently deploys its 'peace-keeping' troops. Yes, troops - against civilians. Foreign troops who care nothing for those civilians - they're "just following orders". A government should never do that to its people. That is tyranny, as the Chinese knew only too well. They were expendable. Mere ants to be crushed underfoot.
Gandhi didn't set out to be a leader; he set out to make a point. He was earnest and determined and he got attention. People chose to follow his lead because he led from the front.
That is what our 'masters' fear. That is why they discourage us from congregating. That is why they attempt to set us against each other.
So we must do the opposite of what they want. Civilly. Lawfully. United.
What am I suggesting, then?
Karen Quinn-Tostado* has a plan - and I hope we can gather enough support around the world to follow her lead and act simultaneously. She has the answer. We send them all her aptly put message (somewhat Anglicised and embellished, here):
We show them that they can't control us for four days. We're going to do what we want, we're going to think what we want and we're going to think about what's really important.
We've forgotten that all we need is clean air, clean water, healthy food, self-sufficient communities - and integrity. We don't need the government for those things.
"We the people", are not responsible for repayment of speculative banking scams. We will not allow our children to be used as collateral for foreign debt.
Our constitution is ignored, our rights are violated, we are taxed without representation. As long as we go about our lives as usual, they win and we pay.
We the people say NO MORE.
Here's what we do from 15th April to 18th April:
1) No work, no school. Our future depends on restoring our rights. Plan ahead, ask for time off, use holiday days or whatever it takes. Get school assignments for your children, who will then be able to learn about our rights [Ed: with the help of You've been Cromwelled, Old Holborn, Captain Ranty, Lawful Rebellion, and many others (let's have your suggestions)]. If you feel you must go to work, then go! Participate in the other steps. Do what you can! Learn about our true rights.
It's a money game - they want ours. Time to change the rules.
2) No shopping - don't buy. Buy nothing from large corporations, fast food places, online stores, etc. Again, plan ahead for medications, petrol/diesel and food. If you have to shop, then go to local grocers and small family shops! If everyone keeps his money for 4 consecutive days, global bankers will notice.
3) Don't comply, take your £££s and savings out of large, corporate banks, leaving only what you need to cover monthly bills. Work at getting off the grid and forming co-ops within communities. We need each other and it will be our networking energy, as one, which will ensure success.
4) Ask Why. This is essential. Why are we allowing our constitution to be ignored? Why do our children have to sacrifice for banking scams? Why are we supporting policies that don't support us?
Then call your MPs and let them know you're participating in this strike and ask questions you feel are important. Then they will notice.
Imagine if citizens around the world joined Karen Quinn-Tostado's strike. Every one of us can dream that big when we remember that we've all been scammed and lied to by a criminal, dominant minority, who set us against each other, in war, in setting communities, races and sexes against each other, in neighbourhood spying, in so many ways.
We citizens should not be at war with each other. We should be at war with the corporate plunderers, the despots who believe they lead us, and the craven media who hide the truth from us and brainwash us with their lies. They are the enemy of the people.
We must empower ourselves, not ask for someone to save us.
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed.
The part which is wrong will be discontented,
in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet
under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the
forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what
country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from
time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?
Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right
as to the facts, pardon and pacify them.
What signify a few lives lost in a century
or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed
from time to time, with the blood of patriots and
tyrants. It is its natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson
Our masters want a one world government. Let's give them a one world - but of citizens, united, proud, with a shared vision of liberty.
When I despair, I remember that all through history
the ways of truth and love have always won. There have
been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem
invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it -always.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
What a smorgasbord of possibilities is laid out upon the buffet table of the moment. They say you can read the future in the actions of the past; if you can trust historians. One might say that every person possessed of even elementary consciousness knows that some acts lead to trouble and some acts are benign. Then again, people have died for trusting the appearance of someone in distress when it was only a con. That said, Ive always trusted in divine inspiration, probably because every other method failed.
Maybe truth is on a need to know basis which counterpoints the proliferation of the group-assumed- I dont want to know -movement that seems to gather force with every passing day. One of the things that my security clearance allows for is to see around the corner based on the personality and intentions of the one rounding it.
I watched Ahmadinejads speech at the U.N. He was measured and respectful. He was less direct than I would have been but he is the leader of a nation and I am not. Well, lets review a few things and you are welcome to accept what I have to say or disprove it. Youll still come to the same conclusion, like it or not.
The U.S. experienced a major attack on 9/11/2001. The perpetrators were identified as Arabs who were members of Al Qaeda. Across the span of time to this moment it has been conclusively proven in the minds of those who do want to know that it was actually carried out by Israel and obliging members of various security forces. It has also been proven in the words of high level intelligence operatives that there is no Al Qaeda.
In the meantime, over the course of torturous years, Afghanistan and Iraq have been subjected to a vicious, unproductive genocide at the behest of the source which carried out 9/11 in the first place. Now this source wants to do the same to Iran since Iran was the original filling in the sandwich they were making and always the primary objective.
I saw a movie tonight called The Cove and it pretty much demonstrates what governments are like and what the people who work for them are like and the commercial interests that drives the governments that work for the commercial interests. There were some fine and dedicated people in the movie and it made me sad that I wasnt one of them. I feel left out of the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. Maybe Im just not that bright and skilled and maybe its just my karma because even the simple fact of holding my existence together sometimes seems to be more that I am capable of.
Now these utter scoundrels at British Petroleum have caused a disaster that could have been prevented if they hadnt been behaving like psychopathic merchants of greed trying to squeeze every bloody knuckle out of their operations without having the class or compassion to provide proper safety methods. This really cant be argued about because theyve been caught out at criminal mischief on several occasions. Theyre emblematic of those similar shitheels; the central banking vampires and the whores of a government that serve them around the world.
They have caused a disaster that is quite possibly greater than anything we have ever seen before. Its possible that this massive fuckup could pollute even larger bodies of water around the world. Theres no telling how much devastation this is going to cause; how far reaching it may be. Youre dealing with eco-systems that all interconnect and it appears that sooner or later and quite possibly right now, their religious self-interest is finally going to culminate in something that changes the world forever and may wipe out more people than remain in the aftermath.
Observing Obama in operation makes my skin crawl. He doesnt do anything that doesnt serve the interests of his masters and appointing Goldman Sachs lackey, Kagan to the Supreme Court pretty much says it all. Then, of course, theres all the military adventurism around the world where people are in no position to protect themselves against American military might. Hardly a week passes when I dont think less of this man that I had previously. Hes far more evil and narcissistic than I ever imagined. Hes an embarrassment to the human race and in the very worst position for one to be in.
Its patently clear now that all the warnings that have been given out about the NWO are all true. All thats been said about the Central Banks/Federal Reserve has been proven in spades. Its clear that certain powerful interests have made the possibility of actualized death threats against government employees and elected officials a reality. They crash the stock market to makes their points in another way. Pretty much everything bad that is happening is because of these individuals who have sold their souls to the devil and its all about the money and the power it confers. They dont care about anyone but themselves and god help you if you get in their way. I can only think of them as a mutant form of crocodile-swine-sharks; out of control eating machines that simply devour whatever is in front of them.
Theyre fine with it. They dont have a second thought or lose a moments sleep over behaving like demons as if it were some exalted state in which everything has been turned upside down and backwards, where vice has become virtue and as a result of their being and acting like obvious and indefensible criminals they have corrupted some large part of the hoi polloi below them. Criminals at the top always result in a large percentage of criminals at the bottom. Also their rapacious activity steals the most from the people who have the least and makes criminal behavior unavoidable in order to survive.
Lately, given what I have seen, it appears as if Hell reigns on Earth. You cant find a decent individual in any corporation or government on Earth. I dont doubt there are some rare exceptions but I find it near impossible to identify any of them and they are all in some sort of rogue robot mode of relentless predation upon life in all directions.
There seems to be no possible solution besides world revolution and I am certain we need the invisible helping hand as well.
I havent written anything in awhile because I just dont know what to say. It becomes very fatiguing to have to say what I am presently saying. I wait through the days for some noble act, some activity I can praise something uplifting but if its out there I cant see it. The movie was a real kick in the chest and it did make evident that there are some wonderful people out there; gifted and courageous human beings but it seems to be all too few all too often. If we ever needed divine intervention we need it now. Not that many people even believe in it in any up close and personal way. Some huge majorities pay lip service to the indoctrinations of their childhood and live out the convenient lies that have been overlaid upon the face of the truth. For myself I know that a real and permanent hierarchy exists beyond and above the depravities of the temporal hierarchies. I cant assume to know what is in the mind of that sublime and more rarefied realm. I only know we could use some direct evidence now, which would make those mentioned in this piece, tremble in their boots.
Im making adjustments in my own life so that whatever does come, my mind and heart will be clear. Personally I am tired of not living up to my own standards of what is right. Probably the worst thing we can do it to deceive ourselves. Weve got plenty of examples in operation at the moment. It just seems really important at the moment not to give in to despair and not to allow negative influences to set the pace of what we think and say and do. We all make mistakes in this life but sometimes we go on repeating them for longer than is sane or safe. Sooner or later one has to wake up and completely embody what they claim to believe. There probably is no better time than now, given what we are being shown with each new day.
Kagan: - Goldman Sachs - Shifting Court to Right? http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25412.htm
"A narrow elite is imposing itself through the legal system, and ordinary Americans need to start asserting themselves." -- The Wall Street Journal reports: "The White House said Friday that Elena Kagan's membership on an advisory panel for the securities firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wouldn't disqualify her for a position on the Supreme Court. (...) Cohn is immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She just wrote the piece "Kagan Will Move Supreme Court to the Right," which states: "Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has continued to assert many of Bush's executive policies in his 'war on terror.' ... During her confirmation hearing for solicitor general, Kagan agreed with Senator Lindsey Graham that the president can hold suspected terrorists indefinitely during wartime, and the entire world is a battlefield. While Bush was shredding the Constitution with his unprecedented assertions of executive power, law professors throughout the country voiced strong objections. Kagan remained silent." CLIP MANY interesting comments there...
Kagan Will Move Supreme Court to the Right (MAY 9, 2010) http://www.marjoriecohn.com/2010/05/can-kagan-fill-stevens-mighty-shoes.html
(...) Obama had a golden opportunity to appoint a giant of a justice who could take on the extreme right-wingers on the Court who rule consistently against equality and for corporate power. When he cast a vote against the confirmation of John Roberts to be Chief Justice, Senator Obama said, he has far more often used his formidable skillson behalf of the strong and in opposition to the weak. Justice Stevens has done just the opposite. If he wanted to choose a non-judge, Obama could have picked Harold Hongju Koh or Erwin Chemerinsky, both brilliant and courageous legal scholars who champion human rights and civil rights over corporate and executive power. Unlike Kagan, whose 20 years as a law professor produced a paucity of legal scholarship, Koh and Chemerinsky both have a formidable body of work that is widely cited by judges and scholars.But Obama took the cautious route and nominated Kagan, who, like Harriet Miers, has no record of judicial opinions and no formidable legal writings. Since Kagan was handily confirmed as solicitor general, Obama probably thinks her confirmation will go smoothly. After the health care debacle, however, he should know that the right-wingers will not be appeased by this milk toast appointment, but will oppose whomever he nominates. CLIP
Recommended by Kelley Elkins (firstname.lastname@example.org) who wrote: "What I know is this... what we do not understand or know about cannot be discussed with intelligence... only by guessing and reacting... What we do not know or understand can in fact as it is ... enslaving us. We must be at least aware of what is and has been going on if we are to do anything around or about it. This is a very good summary of corporate power and greed... as well as the "laws" that allow it to be so... a worthy read and something to consider when contemplating the direction of our country and its resources... and yourself, your family."
The corporate structure is designed for economic supremacy. Profits are only a byproduct or an accounting tally to pacify shareholders. Making money can be avoided indefinitely as long as the corporation serves the interests of Plutocrats. When rolling over excessive debt becomes unsustainable, restructuring or mergers become preferred options. If a bankruptcy occurs, specific advantages for any of the scores of stage-managed industries, the corporation will fold into another enterprise, while maintaining the bulk of the market share.
Big Business = Absence of Free Enterprise argues that the undeniable record of Big Business is one of domination over the economy for the enrichment of elites. "Monopolies by their nature are anti competitive. The model for success is to slash and burn to become an industry leader, and marginalize any remaining firms that remain in the same field. We are told that improved efficiency will bring better service at lower prices. Economies of scale promises inventive advancements - progress is our most important product . . . Has that pledge been fulfilled?"
The greatest advantage of favored corporations is access to virtually unlimited capital. This real world fact results and demonstrates the foregone conclusion that the means to acquire financial resources is the primary factor of who monopolizes particular business sectors. The power of banksters is unrivaled in the unnatural survival of the most unfit.
"Buying business" with the muscle of fiscal resources, guarantees that over time that very few behemoths come to control the economy. The dream of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Robber Barons of unlimited economic ascendancy is now a fact.
A film about Joel Bakans book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power opens with a portentous and chilling voice-over: "One hundred fifty years ago the business corporation was a relatively insignificant institution. Today, it is all-pervasive. Like the church, the monarchy, and the communist party in others times and places, the corporation is todays dominant institution.... What has allowed todays corporation to achieve such extraordinary power and influence over our lives?"
Corporate tax lawyers, for the benefit of selected corporations, write most tax laws for the legislators. CNN reports, "The Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined samples of corporate tax returns filed between 1998 and 2005. In that time period, an annual average of 1.3 million U.S. companies and 39,000 foreign companies doing business in the United States paid no income taxes - despite having a combined $2.5 trillion in revenue."
Society is nothing more than a playpen for multinational conglomerates controlled by the true owners of central banks. Private capital is virtually a myth, since boom balloons and business busts, have little to do with real market cycles. Often, fortunes are made or confiscated through financial manipulation, punitive targeted tax policy and the time tested method of fraud.
All too many "so called" legal professionals lust for corporate clients and eagerly use the cover of law to steal from the public. Since the fad of LLCs are in vogue, the concept of individual responsibility is practically obliterated from the corporate lexicon.
Corporate by-laws relegate the idea of business ethics to a footnote disclaimer. Judicial decisions elevate, imaginary corporate rights, superior to that of live human beings. Totalitarian regimes rely upon a crude appearance of lawful authority to underpin and rationalize their tyrannical administration. "Vampire Squid" characterizations for banksters dwarfs in comparison to the collective depth of a false legal system that aid and abet in the reprehensible institutionalism of corporate theft.
The craze to legislate, regulate and codify every facet of human conduct, while exempting corporations from public sanctions for the most egregious conduct, is only possible because the law officiates as a silent partner in the boardroom of a criminal syndicate. Admiralty Law functions as the corporate arbitrator for rigged exchanges, destructive trade treaties and capitalist dictators. Citizens are sacrificial lambs on the altar of "TC" conformity and compliance. As practiced in America, the corporation reigns supreme and the law protects State Capitalism at the expense of ordinary people.
Gaza Death Zone - Israelis and Egyptians are Killing Youth Who Challenge the Siege of Gaza
By ANN WRIGHT - April 30 - May 2, 2010
The Palestinians in the Death Zone called Gaza are being slaughtered again as Israel and now Egypt kill and wound more innocent civilians who challenge their illegal siege, blockade and quarantine.
In the past four days, one young Palestinian man has been killed and two young women and a young man have been wounded by Israeli snipers as they protested the Israeli bulldozing of 300 meters of Palestinian land into an Israeli buffer zone. Four young Palestinian tunnel workers have been killed by suffocation and 6 injured as Egypt sprayed a crowd disbursal gas into a tunnel.
Death in the Tunnels from Egyptian Gas and from Israeli Bombs
According to an Associated Press report, yesterday, on April 28, four young Palestinian men who work as tunnel diggers were killed by suffocation by some type of crowd control gas sprayed into one tunnel by Egyptian authorities. Six other tunnel workers were seriously injured by the gas.
Other Palestinian tunnel workers have been killed in tunnels that collapse from Israeli aerial bombings and from contact with electrical wires that run the length of the tunnels that power an underground lighting system.
According to the Mezan Center, a Gaza Human Rights organization, five Palestinian men have died in tunnel collapses in 2010. In 2009-2010, Israeli aerial strafing killed 10 Palestinians in the tunnels. A total of 141 have died in the tunnels and 353 have been injured, including 4 children.
Gaza's official border crossings have been closed by Israel and Egypt since 2007 when Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, seized control of Gaza following a Parliamentary election in 2006 in which Hamas won sufficient seats to control the Parliament.
The tunnels underneath the border with Egypt are the lifeline that provide a means of getting food and materials into Gaza since the Israeli blockade prohibits all but 44 items to come into Gaza. The Israelis maintain that the tunnels are used to bring weapons into Gaza that are used against Israeli forces.
Egypt has cracked down on movement of materials through the tunnels in recent months. Egyptian authorities have blown up numerous tunnel entrances and set up checkpoints in the area around Rafah, Egypt and confiscated materials destined for the tunnels. With the assistance of the United States, since December, 2009, Egypt has been building an underground steel wall to block the tunnels. About four miles of the underground wall is complete with another four miles to go to completely cut off the tunnels.
Once the underground steel wall is complete, the suffocation of the people of Gaza will begin in earnest, unless international citizen pressure forces Israel, Egypt, the United States and European Union countries to stop the collective punishment of the people of Gaza through this illegal blockade.
Death and Injury of Palestinians and Internationals by Israeli Shooting During Protests of the Taking of 20% of Arable Gaza Land for an Israeli Buffer Zone
On Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Ahmed Salem Deeb was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper during protests against the Israeli military bulldozing of Palestinian farming lands in a 300 meter zone in Gaza that Israel calls a "buffer zone," and a no-go zone for Palestinians.
Up to 20 per cent of Gazas arable land is inaccessible to Palestinian farmers because it is now in the new no-go area. The Israeli shoot to kill policy is implemented in this zone in Palestinian territory. Palestinians have been shot by Israeli snipers as far as 2 kilometers away from the border.
According to Max Ajl, a reporter who was at the protest, Ahmed died from a severed femoral artery from a hollow-tip bullet that had ruptured the middle of his thigh, shredding it. The doctor at al Shifa hospital in Gaza City said Ahmed died of shock and blood loss.
Four days before Ahmeds death, on Friday, April 24, 2010 at a peaceful, non-violent demonstration at El Maghazi, Deir Al Balah, Gaza, against the Israeli "buffer zone," three people were shot by Israeli military snipers.
Nidal Al Naji (18) was shot in his right thigh. Hind Al Akra (22) was shot in the stomach and had to undergo emergency surgery. Bianca Zammit (28), a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was shot in her left thigh as she was filming the protest.
During the events of April 24, approximately 20 Palestinians had gone to the buffer zone. Several carried Palestinian flags as a part of continuing demonstrations against the illegal action by Israel to create a 300 meter buffer zone in Palestinian land and declare it off limits to Palestinians.
Those who enter into the border area go there to gather rubble and steel for rebuilding homes, schools and clinics. 6,400 homes were destroyed or severely damaged and 53,000 other homes sustained lesser damage in the 22 day Israeli attack in 2009 on Gaza that killed 1440, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless. The Israeli siege on Gaza has prevented construction materials from entering Gaza making the damaged construction materials found along the border area vital to the modest rebuilding efforts.
Prior to the April 24 incident, in late March, a Palestinian teenager was killed and 12 people were wounded, including children, as Israeli troops opened fire east of Khan Younis at "Land Day" demonstrators near the Gaza border.
2 Israeli soldiers and 4 Palestinians killed in Gunfight in March, 2010
On March 26, 2010, two Israeli soldiers were killed inside Gaza during an exchange of fire with Palestinians who the Israeli military said were planting explosives along the security barrier on the Israel-Gaza border. Two Palestinians were killed in that incident and two others later the same day. It was the first time an Israeli soldier had been killed in Gaza since January 27, 2009, the end of the 22 day Israeli attack on Gaza.
Also on March 26, 2009, Israeli ground forces backed by tanks and helicopter gunships fired at Palestinians in a sparsely populated border area near the city of Khan Younis. The Israeli military said the action was a routine defensive operation meant to protect southern Israel from militants who attack it with rockets and explosives. Gaza medical authorities reported that eight civilians were injured in the fighting, including three hurt in an aerial attack.
In 8 years, from September 2000-December 2008, 4860 Palestinians Killed by Israelis; 972 Israelis Killed by Palestinians
According to the Israeli Human Rights group BTselem, in the eight years from September 29, 2000 to December 27, 2008, 4791 Palestinians were killed in the Occupied Territories by Israeli Security forces (3,000 in Gaza, 1791 in the West Bank) and 69 Palestinians were killed in Israel by Israeli Security Forces.
During the same period, 245 Israeli security force personnel were killed by Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (97 in Gaza and 148 in the West Bank) and 90 Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians in Israel. 237 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians (39 in Gaza and 198 in the West Bank). During the same period, 490 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians in Israel.
In 22 day attack by Israelis on Gaza in December, 2008 and January, 2009, 1417 Palestinians and 13 Israelis Were Killed
During the 22 day Israeli attack on Gaza from December 27, 2008 until January 18, 2009, between 1,166 and 1,417 Palestinians (first figure is from the IDF and the second from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights) were killed. PCHR reports that this figure includes 960 civilians, including 288 children and 121 women and 239 police officers.
13 Israelis were killed during the 22 day period, 10 soldiers and 3 civilians. 5 of 10 Israeli soldiers were killed by friendly fire from other Israeli soldiers.
Deaths and Injuries of International Solidarity Movement volunteers
Bianca Zammit, who was wounded on April 24, 2010, arrived in Gaza in May, 2009, as one of 65 delegates from 10 countries who travelled to Gaza in a trip organized by CODEPINK: Women for Peace. Bianca, from Malta, wanted to go to Gaza to work with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a group of women and men from around the world who attempt to protect, by their international presence, Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied Territories as they work in their agricultural fields, as they tend their sheep and goats and as they protect their homes from demolition by Israeli military bulldozers.
Bianca was shot as she was filming Palestinians as they walked in to the newly razed Palestinian land. Through her camera, Bianca was documenting what is happening in Gaza, documentation which the Israeli military apparently considered a threat to their security.
Several international solidarity workers have been injured and killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza and the West Bank. On April 23, 2010, an Israeli activist protesting in solidarity with Palestinians in Bilin, West Bank, suffered a broken skull and a brain hemorrhage after Israeli soldiers shot him directly with a tear gas projectile that hit his forehead at Bilin.
On March 13, 2009, American ISM volunteer Tristan Anderson was critically wounded by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers near Nilin. On September 6, 2007, ISM volunteer Akram Ibrahim abu Sba was killed by members of Islamic Jihad in Jenin.
On April 11, 2003, American ISM volunteer Brian Avery was shot in the face and permanently disfigured by machine gunfire from an IDF armored personnel carrier while he was escorting Palestinian medical personnel in the street. On April 11, 2003, British ISM volunteer Thomas Hurndall was left clinically brain dead after he was shot in the head by an IDF soldier. Hurndall died in January, 2004.
On March 16, 2003, American ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie was killed as an IDF bulldozer ran over her as she attempted to block the destruction of a home in Rafah, Gaza.
Caoimhe Butterly, an Irish ISM volunteer was shot by an IDF soldier in Jenin shortly before UNRWA relief works project manager, British citizen Iain Hook was killed by Israeli military gunfire.
On April 2, 2002, Australian ISM volunteer Kate Edwards received severe internal injuries from Israeli shooting during a protest in Beit Jala.
People of Conscience Demand an End to the Killing and to the Siege of Gaza
People of conscience around the world demand that Israel, Egypt, the United States and European Union countries stop their illegal siege of Gaza and their collective punishment of the Palestinians of Gaza.
People of conscience demand that the Israeli military stop taking Palestinian land to create their own buffer zone and stop shooting at Palestinians who are telling Israel to end the illegal seizure of Palestinian land.
People of conscience demand that soldiers who shoot unarmed civilians be held accountable for these crimes.
People of conscience call on President Barack Obama to withhold funding (over $3 Billion each year) from Israel until these unlawful and illegal actions of the Israeli military forces and the Israeli government end.
Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She travelled to Gaza three times in 2009 and helped coordinate the Gaza Freedom March. She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience."
NYT ignores gigantic elephant named Gaza in the room (MAY 6, 2010) http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/nyt-ignores-gigantic-elephant-named-gaza-in-the-room.html
Post-Gaza massacre, its easy to see the changing discourse about Israel/Palestine across the country among Americans and American Jews. The diverse coalition that supported the divestment resolution at U.C. Berkeley, including prominent Jewish voices like Judith Butler, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, is but one indication of how Israels war crimes in Gaza and the ongoing blockade have shaken people to the core. Its part of the consequences that Israel is dealing with after the world witnessed the truth in Gazaone of the main points Norman Finkelstein makes in his latest book. As Finkelstein said at a recent lecture at New York University, most students are not going to run around defending a state that drops white phosphorus on a trapped and densely-packed civilian population. Over 300 dead children, the massacre of the Samouni family, the continued closure of Gaza from the outside world, the Goldstone reportthats a big reason why dissent about Israel is growing. The New York Times continues to ignore the gigantic elephant in the room named Gaza in a piece that ran yesterday titled, On Israel, Jews and Leaders Often Disagree. Instead, the Times points to the diplomatic spat between Obama and Netanyahu over the construction of illegal settlements in East Jerusalem as the reason why there are serious questions about whether the traditional leadership of the American Jewish world is fully supported by the mass of American Jews. Thats probably true, but its certainly not the whole story.It follows a pattern of corporate media when discussing Israel/Palestine: the emphasis is on the "peace process, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, and the Israeli government. Theres very little discussion about the people of Gazas suffering, the leadership of Hamas, and the deep divisions in Palestinian politics caused, in part, by the U.S. arming Fatah and trying to overthrow Hamas after the Islamist group won elections in 2006. Its as if the media is actively aiding the continuation of a West Bank first approach pushed by the Bush administration, and continued by Obama, where Hamas is ignored and isolated instead of being seen as an important player in Palestinian politics, and the Palestinian Authority is propped up by the U.S. and Israel. The times may be a-changing at the grassroots, but whether its ignoring the Gaza massacre when discussing why some American Jews are sharply criticizing Israel and joining the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or ignoring the politics of Gaza when talking about a Palestinian state and the peace process, the Times is lagging behind.
UNRWA Gaza Director's Call to Break the Siege (May 04, 2010) http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/980-israel-wants-clarification-about-unrwa-gaza-directors-call-to-break-the-siege
Israeli sources have confirmed that Israel will make an official request to the United Nations for clarification of how an official representative of the United Nations could call for European countries to send ships to Gaza without authorization and prior coordination with Israel. John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with desperately-needed supplies to the beleaguered territory.In an interview with a Norwegian newspaper, Mr. Ging said, "The international community must take responsibility on this issue and embrace practical ways to break the siege, because it is possible to break it." In urging the world to send ships to the shores of Gaza, he added, "We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible."According to Mr. Ging, Egypt and Israel are responsible for the continuation of the blockade. "How could Israel evade responsibility for the siege, and how could Egypt not agree to show flexibility in order to bring aid to Gaza?" he asked. "It is time for the international community to facilitate assistance by sea as it did in Haiti."Officials in Israel were taken aback by the statements and noted that they are unprecedented and very serious. Hebrew radio reported that several overseas aid organizations have taken John Ging's statement to heart and preparations are already being made to send ships carrying food supplies to Gaza.
Details of Gaza blockade revealed in court case (3 May 2010) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8654337.stm
BBC News has seen documents, submitted to an Israeli Court, which give more detail than ever before about how and why Israel maintains its Gaza blockade. In one document, Israel describes the import curbs as "a central pillar in the armed conflict with Hamas". It also confirms estimates were made of how many calories Gazans need, but says these were not used for policy-making. Israel says the blockade is to pressure Hamas, which does not recognise Israel and backs attacks on its citizens. Three years ago, after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power, Israel and Egypt tightened their closure of Gaza's borders, leaving the territory's 1.5 million inhabitants facing acute shortages. But Israel has never published a list of banned items, saying it approves requests on a case-by-case basis. Items allowed have changed over time, which has left humanitarian organisations and commercial importers constantly attempting to guess what will be approved. The court case has been brought by the Israeli human rights group, Gisha. CLIP
A massacre of arabs masked by a state of national amnesia
Sixty years on, the true story of the slaughter of Palestinians at Deir Yassin may finally come out
By Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem - 10 May 2010
More than one unwitting visitor to Jerusalem has fallen prey to the bizarre delusion that they are the Messiah. Usually, they are whisked off to the serene surroundings of Kfar Shaul psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of the city, where they are gently nursed back to health.
It is an interesting irony that the patients at Kfar Shaul recuperate from such variations on amnesia on the very spot that Israel has sought to erase from its collective memory.
The place is Deir Yassin. An Arab village cleared out in 1948 by Jewish forces in a brutal battle just weeks before Israel was formed, Deir Yassin has come to symbolise perhaps more than anywhere else the Palestinian sense of dispossession.
Sixty-two years on, what really happened at Deir Yassin on 9 April remains obscured by lies, exaggerations and contradictions. Now Ha'aretz, a liberal Israeli newspaper, is seeking to crack open the mystery by petitioning Israel's High Court of Justice to release written and photographic evidence buried deep in military archives. Palestinian survivors of Deir Yassin, a village of around 400 inhabitants, claim the Jews committed a wholesale massacre there, spurring Palestinians to flee in the thousands, and undermining the long-held Israeli narrative that they left of their own accord.
Israel's opposing version contends that Deir Yassin was the site of a pitched battle after Jewish forces faced unexpectedly strong resistance from the villagers. All of the casualties, it is argued, died in combat.
In 2006, an Israeli arts student, Neta Shoshani, applied for access to the Deir Yassin archives for a university project, believing a 50-year embargo on the secret documents had expired eight years previously. She was granted limited access to the material, but was informed that there was an extended ban on the more sensitive documents. When a lawyer demanded an explanation, it emerged that a ministerial committee only extended the ban more than a year after Ms Shoshani's first request, exposing the state to a legal challenge. The current embargo runs until 2012.
Defending its right to keep the documents under wraps, the Israeli state has argued that their publication would tarnish the country's image abroad and inflame Arab-Israeli tensions. Ha'aretz and Ms Shoshani have countered that the public have a right to know and confront their past.
Judges, who have viewed all the archived evidence held by the Israeli state on Deir Yassin, have yet to make a decision on what, if anything, to release. Among the documents believed to be in the state's possession is a damning report written by Meir Pa'il, a Jewish officer who condemned his compatriots for bloodthirsty and shameful conduct on that day. Equally incriminating are the many photographs that survive.
"The photos clearly show there was a massacre," says Daniel McGowan, a US retired professor who works with Deir Yassin Remembered. "Those photos show [villagers] lined up against a quarry wall and shot."
In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan that would divide Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, with Jerusalem an international city. The Arabs fiercely opposed the plan and clashes broke out as both sides scrambled for territory before the British mandate expired. In April 1948, the Hagana, the predecessor of the Israeli army, launched a military operation to secure safe passage between Jewish areas by taking Arab villages on high ground above the road to Jerusalem.
Irgun and the Stern Gang, breakaway paramilitary groups, drew up separate plans to take the strategic Deir Yassin in a pre-dawn raid on 9 April 1948, even though the villagers had signed a non-aggression pact with the Jews and had stuck to it. What happened next is still under debate. In his book The Revolt, Menachim Begin, a future Israeli prime minister, recounts how the Jewish forces used a loudspeaker to warn all the villagers to leave the village. Those that remained fought.
"Our men were compelled to fight for every house; to overcome the enemy they used large numbers of hand grenades," wrote Mr Begin, who was not present at the battle. "And the civilians who had disregarded our warnings suffered inevitable casualties. I am convinced that our officers and men wished to avoid a single unnecessary casualty."
Mr Begin's account, however, is challenged by the recollections of survivors and eyewitnesses. Abdul-Kader Zidain was 22 years old in 1948, and immediately joined a band of 30 fighters from the village to fend off the surprise Jewish offensive, even though they were clearly outnumbered.
"They went into the houses and they shot the people inside. They killed everybody they saw, women and children," said Mr Zidain, who lost four of his immediate family, including his father and two brothers, in the attack. Now a frail 84-year-old living in a West Bank village, he says he remembers everything as if it were yesterday. Survivor testimonies are supported by Mr Pa'il, whose detailed eyewitness account was published in 1998. Awaiting reassignment, he went to observe the attack as part of his remit to keep the Irgun and the Stern Gang in check.
After the fighting had wound down, Mr Pa'il described how he heard sporadic firing from the houses, and went to investigate. There he saw that the soldiers had stood the villagers in the corners of their homes and shot them dead. A short while later, he saw a group of around 25 prisoners being led to a quarry between Deir Yassin and neighbouring Givat Shaul. From a higher vantage point, he and a companion were able to see everything and take photographs. "There was a natural wall there, formed by diggingy. They stood the prisoners against that wall and shot the lot of them," he said. Mr Pa'il described how Jews from neighbouring Givat Shaul finally stepped in to stop the slaughter.
In the ensuing confusion and anger over the killings in Deir Yassin, both sides released an inflated Palestinian death toll for very different reasons: the Palestinians wanted to bolster resistance and attract the attention of the Arab nations they hoped would help them; the Jews wanted to scare the Palestinians into flight.
After the dust had settled, Mr Zidain and the other survivors counted the missing among them, and concluded that 105 Palestinians had died in Deir Yassin, not the 250 often reported. Four Jews were killed. But the damage was already done. The reports from Deir Yassin led to a total collapse of morale, and many historians regard the incident as the single biggest catalyst for the Palestinians' flight. By UN estimates, 750,000 Palestinians had fled their homes by the end of the 1948 War of Independence, roughly 60 per cent of Palestine's pre-war Arab population.
Mention Deir Yassin these days to most young Israelis and it will fail to register. Not far from the Kfar Shaul hospital, two teenage boys shake their heads at a question on Deir Yassin. Never heard of it, they say.
"Most Israelis treat the subject with total silence," says Professor McGowan. "They no longer deny it, they just don't talk about it."
The decision on whether that silence will now be broken remains in the hands of Israel's courts. "This was a big and important event in our history here. It was the first village we took and has a lot of meaning in the war that came after," says Ms Shoshani. "We have to deal with our past for our own sake."
When Pope John Paul II was still living in Poland as Cardinal Karol Wojty?a, he claimed that the security police would accuse priests of sexual abuse just to hassle and discredit them. (New York Times, 3/28/10). For Wojtya, the Polish pedophilia problem was nothing more than a Communist plot to smear the church.
By the early 1980s, Wojtya, now ensconced in Rome as Pope John Paul II, treated all stories about pedophile clergy with dismissive aplomb, as little more than slander directed against the church. That remained his stance for the next twenty years.
Today in post-communist Poland, clerical abuse cases have been slowly surfacing, very slowly. Writing in the leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza, a middle-aged man reported having been sexually abused as a child by a priest. He acknowledged however that Poland was not prepared to deal with such transgressions. "It's still too early. . . . Can you imagine what life would look like if an inhabitant of a small town or village decided to talk? I can already see the committees of defense for the accused priests."
While church pedophiles may still enjoy a safe haven in Poland and other countries where the clergy are above challenge, things are breaking wide open elsewhere. Today we are awash in a sludge of revelations spanning whole countries and continents, going back decades---or as some historians say---going back centuries. Only in the last few weeks has the church shown signs of cooperating with civil authorities. Here is the story.
Protecting the Perpetrators
As everyone now knows, for decades church superiors repeatedly chose to ignore complaints about pedophile priests. In many instances, accused clerics were quietly bundled off to distant congregations where they could prey anew upon the children of unsuspecting parishioners. This practice of denial and concealment has been so consistently pursued in diocese after diocese, nation after nation, as to leave the impression of being a deliberate policy set by church authorities.
And indeed it has been. Instructions coming directly from Rome have required every bishop and cardinal to keep matters secret. These instructions were themselves kept secret; the cover-up was itself covered up. Then in 2002, John Paul put it in writing, specifically mandating that all charges against priests were to be reported secretly to the Vatican and hearings were to be held in camera, a procedure that directly defies state criminal codes. Rather than being defrocked, many outed pedophile priests have been allowed to advance into well-positioned posts as administrators, vicars, and parochial school officials---repeatedly accused by their victims while repeatedly promoted by their superiors.
Church spokesmen employ a vocabulary of compassion and healing---not for the victims but for the victimizers. They treat the child rapist as a sinner who confesses his transgression and vows to mend his ways. Instead of incarceration, there is repentance and absolution.
While this forgiving approach might bring comfort to some malefactors, it proves to be of little therapeutic efficacy when dealing with the darker appetites of pedophiles. A far more effective deterrent is the danger of getting caught and sent to prison. Absent any threat of punishment, the perpetrator is restrained only by the limits of his own appetite and the availability of opportunities.
Forgiving No One Else
The tender tolerance displayed by the church hierarchy toward child rapists does not extend to other controversial clergy. Think of those radical priests who have challenged the hierarchy in the politico-economic struggle for liberation theology, or who advocate lifting the prohibitions against birth control and abortion, or who propose that clergy be allowed to marry, or who preside over same-sex weddings, or who themselves are openly gay, or who believe women should be ordained, or who bravely call for investigations of the pedophilia problem itself.
Such clergy often have their careers shut down. Some are subjected to hostile investigations by church superiors.
A Law Unto Itself
Church leaders seem to forget that pedophilia is a felony crime and that, as citizens of a secular state, priests are subject to its laws just like the rest of us. Clerical authorities repeatedly have made themselves accessories to the crime, playing an active role in obstructing justice, arguing in court that criminal investigations of "church affairs" violated the free practice of religion guaranteed by the US Constitution--as if raping little children were a holy sacrament.
Church officials tell parishioners not to talk to state authorities. They offer no pastoral assistance to young victims and their shaken families. They do not investigate to see if other children have been victimized by the same priests. Some young plaintiffs have been threatened with excommunication or suspension from Catholic school. Church leaders impugn their credibility, even going after them with countersuits.
Responding to charges that one of his priests sexually assaulted a six-year-old boy, Cardinal Bernard Law asserted that "the boy and his parents contributed to the abuse by being negligent." Law himself never went to prison for the hundreds of cover-ups he conducted. In 2004, with things getting too hot for him in his Boston archdiocese, Law was rescued by Pope John Paul II to head one of Rome's major basilicas, where he now lives with diplomatic immunity in palatial luxury on a generous stipend, supervised by no one but a permissive pontiff.
A judge of the Holy Roman Rota, the church's highest court, wrote in a Vatican-approved article that bishops should not report sexual violations to civil authorities. And sure enough, for years bishops and cardinals have refrained from cooperating with law enforcement authorities, refusing to release abusers' records, claiming that the confidentiality of their files came under the same legal protection as privileged communications in the confessional---a notion that has no basis in canon or secular law.
Bishop James Quinn of Cleveland even urged church officials to send incriminating files to the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC, where diplomatic immunity would prevent the documents from being subpoenaed.
Just a Few Bad Apples
Years ago the Catholic hierarchy would insist that clerical pedophilia involved only a few bad apples and was being blown completely out of proportion. For the longest time John Paul scornfully denounced the media for "sensationalizing" the issue. He and his cardinals (Ratzinger included) directed more fire at news outlets for publicizing the crimes than at their own clergy for committing them.
Reports released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (one of the more honest organizations in the Catholic Church) documented the abuse committed in the United States by 4,392 priests against thousands of children between 1950 and 2002. One of every ten priests ordained in 1970 was charged as a pedophile by 2002. Another survey commissioned by the US bishops found that among 5,450 complaints of sexual abuse there were charges against at least sixteen bishops. So much for a few bad apples.
Still, even as reports were flooding in from Ireland and other countries, John Paul dismissed the pedophilic epidemic as "an American problem," as if American priests were not members of his clergy, or as if this made it a matter of no great moment. John Paul went to his grave in 2005 still refusing to meet with victims and never voicing any apologies or regrets regarding sex crimes and cover-ups.
With Ratzinger's accession to the papal throne as Benedict XVI, the cover-ups continued. As recently as April 2010, at Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square, dean of the college of cardinals Angelo Sodano, assured Benedict that the faithful were unimpressed "by the gossip of the moment." One would not know that "the gossip of the moment" included thousands of investigations, prosecutions, and accumulated charges extending back over decades.
During that same Easter weekend, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, declared that the public uproar was an "overreaction" incited by the doings of "a few dishonest and criminal priests." A few? An overreaction? Of course, the picture now becomes clear: a few bad apples were inciting overreaction by engaging in the gossip of the moment.
The church seems determined to learn nothing from its transgressions, preoccupied as it is with avoiding lawsuits and bad publicity.
Really Not All that Serious
There are two ways we can think of child rape as being not a serious problem, and the Catholic hierarchy seems to have embraced both these positions. First, pedophilia is not that serious if it involves only a few isolated and passing incidents. Second, an even more creepy way of downplaying the problem: child molestation is not all that damaging or that important. At worst, it is regrettable and unfortunate; it might greatly upset the child, but it certainly is not significant enough to cause unnecessary scandal and ruin the career of an otherwise splendid padre.
It is remarkable how thoroughly indifferent the church bigwigs have been toward the abused children. When one of the most persistent perpetrators, Rev. John Geoghan, was forced into retirement (not jail) after seventeen years and nearly 200 victims, Cardinal Law could still write him, "On behalf of those you have served well, in my own name, I would like to thank you. I understand yours is a painful situation." It is evident that Law was more concerned about the "pain" endured by Geoghan than the misery he had inflicted upon minors.
In 2001, a French bishop was convicted in France for refusing to hand over to the police a priest who had raped children. It recently came to light that a former top Vatican cardinal, Dario Castrillón, had written to the bishop, "I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil authorities. You have acted well, and I am pleased to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all the bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son' and priest." (The bishop actually got off with a suspended sentence.) Castrillón claimed that Pope John Paul II had authorized the letter years ago and had told him to send it to bishops around the world. (New York Times, 4/22/2010.)
There are many more like Cardinal Law and Cardinal Castrillón in the hierarchy, aging men who have no life experience with children and show not the slightest regard or empathy for them. They claim it their duty to protect the "unborn child" but offer no protection to the children in their schools and parishes.
They themselves are called "Father" but they father no one. They do not reside in households or families. They live in an old-boys network, jockeying for power and position, dedicated to the Holy Mother Church that feeds, houses, and adorns them throughout their lives. From their heady heights, popes and bishops cannot hear the cries of children. In any case, the church belongs not to little children but to the bedecked oligarchs.
The damage done to sexual victims continues to go unnoticed: the ensuing years of depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, panic attacks, sexual dysfunction, and even mental breakdown and suicide-all these terrible aftereffects of child rape seem to leave popes and bishops more or less unruffled.
Circling the Wagons
The Catholic hierarchy managed to convince itself that the prime victim in this dismal saga is the church itself. In 2010 it came to light that, while operating as John Paul's über-hit man, Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) had provided cover and protection to several of the worst predator priests. The scandal was now at the pope's door---exactly where it should have been many years earlier during John Paul's reign.
The Vatican's response was predictable. The hierarchy circled the wagons to defend pope and church from outside "enemies." The cardinals and bishops railed furiously at critics who "assault" the church and, in the words of the archbishop of Paris, subject it to "a smear campaign." Benedict himself blamed secularism and misguided applications of Vatican 2's aggiornamento as contributing to the "context" of sexual abuse. Reform-minded liberalism made us do it, he seemed to be saying.
But this bristling Easter counterattack by the hierarchy did not play well. Church authorities came off looking like insular, arrogant elites who were unwilling to own up to a horrid situation largely of their own making.
Meanwhile the revelations continued. A bishop in Ireland resigned admitting he had covered up child abuse cases. Bishops in Germany and Belgium stepped down after confessing to charges that they themselves had abused minors. And new allegations were arising in Chile, Norway, Brazil, Italy, France, and Mexico.
Then, a fortnight after Easter, the Vatican appeared to change course and for the first time issued a directive urging bishops to report abuse cases to civil authorities "if required by local law." At the same time, Pope Benedict held brief meetings with survivor groups and issued sympathetic statements about their plight.
For many of the victims, the pontiff's overtures and apologies were too little, too late. Their feeling was that if the Vatican really wanted to make amends, it should cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities and stop obstructing justice; it should ferret out abusive clergy and not wait until cases are publicized by others; and it should make public the church's many thousands of still secret reports on priests and bishops.
In the midst of all this, some courageous clergy do speak out. At a Sunday mass in a Catholic church outside Springfield, Massachusetts, the Rev. James Scahill delivered a telling sermon to his congregation (New York Times, 4/12/10): "We must personally and collectively declare that we very much doubt the veracity of the pope and those of church authority who are defending him. It is beginning to become evident that for decades, if not centuries, church leadership covered up the abuse of children and minors to protect its institutional image and the image of priesthood"
The abusive priests, Scahill went on, were "felons." He had "severe doubt" about the Vatican's claims of innocent ignorance. "If by any slimmest of chance the pope and all his bishops didn't know--they all should resign on the basis of sheer and complete ignorance, incompetence, and irresponsibility."
How did Father Scahill's suburban Catholic parishioners receive his scorching remarks? One or two walked out. The rest gave him a standing ovation.
Bring the Pope to Justice (April 23, 2010) http://www.newsweek.com/id/236934
Detain or subpoena the pope for questioning in the child-rape scandal? You must be joking! All right then, try the only alternative formulation: declare the pope to be above and beyond all local and international laws, and immune when it comes to his personal and institutional responsibility for sheltering criminals. The joke there would be on us. The case for bringing the head of the Catholic hierarchy within the orbit of law is easily enough made. All it involves is the ability to look at a naked emperor and ask the question "Why?" Mentally remove his papal vestments and imagine him in a suit, and Joseph Ratzinger becomes just a Bavarian bureaucrat who has failed in the only task he was ever setthat of damage control. The question started small. In 2002, I happened to be on Hardball With Chris Matthews, discussing what the then attorney general of Massachusetts, Thomas Reilly, had termed a massive cover-up by the church of crimes against children by more than a thousand priests. I asked, why is the man who is prima facie responsible, Cardinal Bernard Law, not being questioned by the forces of law and order? Why is the church allowed to be judge in its own case and enabled in effect to run private courts where gross and evil offenders end up being "forgiven"? This point must have hung in the air a bit, and perhaps lodged in Cardinal Law's own mind, because in December of that year he left Boston just hours before state troopers arrived with a subpoena seeking his grand-jury testimony. Where did he go? To Rome, where he later voted in the election of Pope Benedict XVI and now presides over the beautiful church of Santa Maria Maggiore, as well as several Vatican subcommittees.In my submission, the current scandal passed the point of no return when the Vatican officially became a hideout for a man who was little better than a fugitive from justice. By sheltering such a salient offender at its very heart, the Vatican had invited the metastasis of the horror into its bosom and thence to its very head. It is obvious that Cardinal Law could not have made his escape or been given asylum without the approval of the then pontiff and of his most trusted deputy in the matter of child-rape damage control, then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Developments since that time have appalled even the most diehard papal apologists by their rapidity and scale. Not only do we have the letter that Cardinal Ratzinger sent to all Catholic bishops, enjoining them sternly to refer rape and molestation cases exclusively to his office. That would be bad enough in itself, since any person having knowledge of such a crime is legally obliged to report it to the police. But now, from Munich and Madison, Wis., and Oakland, come reports of the protection or indulgence of pederasts occurring on the pope's own watch, either during his period as bishop or his time as chief Vatican official for the defusing of the crisis. His apologists have done their best, but their Holy Father seems consistently to have been lenient or negligent with the criminals while reserving his severity only for those who complained about them. CLIP
Note from Jean: There has been some movement - at long last - in Canada last April 27 and 29 to address the growing concerns about the safety of cell phone use and cell towers, as summarized in Mixed evidence on cellphone safety: "A committee of MPs heard conflicting evidence on the safety of cellphones and other wireless technology yesterday as well as opposing views on whether Canada's safety standards are strong enough. The House of Commons health committee began hearings on the health impacts of the radio-frequency and electromagnetic energy emitted from the mobile devices and the cellphone towers used to operate them. Health Canada sets guidelines that outline safe levels of exposure to radio-frequency energy. "The existing guidelines are inadequate," Magda Havas, an associate professor at Trent University, told the committee. Beth Pieterson, director general of Health Canada's environmental and radiation health sciences directorate, said there are "insufficient grounds" to make any changes to current exposure limits and said Canadian exposure levels are well below the limit." Pour lire la lettre (available only in French) que j'ai soumise à ce sujet le 27 avril aux membres du Comité permanent de la santé cliquer ICI. Much more on this topic through http://www.dangersemo.com/
OTTAWA A committee of MPs heard conflicting evidence on the safety of cellphones and other wireless technology Tuesday as well as opposing views on whether Canada's safety standards are strong enough.
The House of Commons health committee began hearings on the health impacts of the radio-frequency and electromagnetic energy that is emitted from the mobile devices that are now used by more than 23 million Canadians and the cellphone towers used to operate them.
The ongoing debate about whether there are any health risks posed by wireless technology exposure was brought before the MPs, who heard from representatives from Health Canada, the wireless technology industry and advocates who call the safety of cellphones into question and say Canada needs to change its standards.
Health Canada sets guidelines known as Safety Code 6 that outline safe levels of exposure to radio-frequency energy. The guidelines, very technical in nature, are enforced by Industry Canada which uses them in the licensing requirements for the telecommunications sector.
"The existing guidelines are inadequate," Magda Havas, an associate professor and researcher at Trent University, told the committee. "Safety Code 6 does not protect the public."
Beth Pieterson, director general of Health Canada's environmental and radiation health sciences directorate, said her department is constantly evaluating scientific research and, if necessary, revises the Code 6 guidelines. She told the committee there are "insufficient grounds" to make any changes to the exposure levels that are currently considered safe and said Canadian exposure levels are well below the limit.
Pieterson said Health Canada has "thoroughly evaluated relevant peer-reviewed scientific evidence and conducted in-house studies, which to date do not support the notion that microwave emissions from cell towers and wireless technologies pose hazards to the health of Canadians."
Havas, however, said there are more than 6,000 publications that indicate there are adverse health effects from the exposure to radio-frequency energy.
Bernard Lord, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, and another witness at the committee said some people rely on individual, non-peer-reviewed studies to back up their claims.
"What we see with the peer-reviewed international studies is that there is no reason to conclude that there are risks and we see that there are significant benefits and that must be taken into account as well," Lord said.
Among the benefits touted by the former New Brunswick premier were that the wireless industry makes businesses more productive, keeps family and friends connected, creates jobs and he noted that more than half of the 911 calls made in Canada are from mobile devices.
Francois Therrien, an advocate with a group called Save our Children from Microwaves, doesn't buy that argument.
"It's always denial," he said of Lord's position that cellphones pose no risk and instead are beneficial. Therrien said he was surprised industry representatives were even invited to appear at the health committee.
The one thing the witnesses did agree on is that there is room for more research to be done on the impact of wireless technology on human health.
"We welcome more study," Lord said. "We want to make sure these products . . . continue to be safe because everybody uses them, including ourselves."
The biggest study to date was launched in Europe this month examining whether cellphone use increases the risk of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as cancer.
Lord said Health Canada is the appropriate body to sift through the scientific evidence and that the wireless industry in Canada complies with all safety standards.
Havas, who teaches at Trent's environmental and resource studies department, said it's "absolutely essential" that there is funding for independent research.
The health committee will hear from several medical experts when it continues its hearings Thursday.
Related article and video:
MPs to hear arguments on microwave exposure levels (Apr. 26, 2010) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/mps-to-hear-arguments-on-microwave-exposure-levels/article1547518/
Cellphone towers, cordless telephones and the wireless networks that link home computers send out microwaves that pose myriad human health risks, say witnesses who will tell federal politicians Tuesday that existing exposure limits are too high. Magda Havas, a professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., works with people she says are electrically sensitive. When they are exposed to this microwave energy from an ordinary cordless phone, their heart goes crazy, said Dr. Havas, who will appear at a meeting of the Commons health committee. They simply cannot survive in our normal urban environment any more. They either seclude themselves in their homes [where] they have special paint that they put on their walls and fabric for their windows to keep the radiation out, or they move to rural areas. Microwaves have also been linked to cancer, an inability to control diabetes, sleeping disorders and a range of neurological ailments. Dr. Havas and others who fear the effects of electromagnetic energy want the allowable exposure levels reduced, and they want the government to publicize the dangers they perceive in the communication devices that exist in most Canadian homes. CLIP
Government must inform us of cell phone risk (April 28, 2010) http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/27/EDMB1D58TC.DTL
A huge, 30-year study called COSMOS has been launched in Europe to determine whether cell phones cause cancer and other health problems. Meanwhile, policymakers in Sacramento are considering legislation to ensure people know how much radiation their cell phones emit. The wireless industry vigorously opposes such legislation. It argues that its phones comply with regulations, and there is no consensus about risks so people don't need to know this. Our research review published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found alarming results to the contrary. We reviewed 23 case-control studies that examined tumor risk due to cell phone use. Although as a whole the data varied, among the 10 higher quality studies, we found a harmful association between phone use and tumor risk. The lower quality studies, which failed to meet scientific best practices, were primarily industry funded. The 13 studies that investigated cell phone use for 10 or more years found a significant harmful association with tumor risk, especially for brain tumors, giving us ample reason for concern about long-term use. Nine nations have issued precautionary warnings. It is time for our government to require health warnings and publicize simple steps to reduce the health risks of cell phone use.
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