The first generation of humans, according to the Bible, was seriously flawed. As Nancy Astor (1879-1964) once wagged, “In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance, he laid the blame on a woman.”
The second generation began farming and herding practices, but then one brother, in a fit of pique and jealousy, bashed the other brother over the head and killed him dead.
Thus ended the evolutionary process of the human species, for we have never moved beyond the urge to kill each other, that being our first and last response in any given situation. This has been constant through the ages. All the great empires took their military forces and marched out, conquering and slaying, pretty much for the hell of it from what I can see. Surely a lack of gardening space was not the issue. Taking but two examples from history, we see the Romans gradually overtook Britain in a series of conquests. The Romans had ventured out from a country where they had paved the roads, mastered the arts of metallurgy and running water, had bathing spas, formal schools, and a high arts’ council; they looked at the Brits with their rough hide clothing, inferior weapons and lack of basic sanitation and decided that the British had something they just had to have. In one of the early Roman attempts at invasion, the story is that around AD 40, Caligula planned an attack campaign. He faced the English Channel and ordered his troops to attack the standing water. Then he had the troops gather sea shells, referring to them as “plunder from the ocean, due to the Capitol and the Palace”. Well, okay, Caligula was a nut, but eventually the Romans did successfully conquer Britain.
Then there was Genghis Khan in AD 1200 or so, with his hordes of Mongol warriors, out to take over all of Eurasia. This involved a wholesale slaughter of the locals in one place after another. He did this to expand his empire, although a lack of space for his tribe was clearly not a problem.
And so it went, throughout history, until today, with the USA as the primary empire on earth. We have looked around at the landscape with its serious problems of climate, food shortages in various places, increasing scarcity of fresh water, pollution, etc. and decided that everlasting war is just the ticket. The Pentagon announced to a Congressional panel the other day that the War on Terror [sic] has no end in sight. [http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-21/pentagon-admits-war-terror-will-never-end or see: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/05/decades-of-war/ ] Never mind that the Pentagon is supposed to be under civilian control and that they are, according to our Constitution, to take orders from Congress, not the other way around. Congress has apparently decided to ignore that little bit of writing; I did not hear cries of “treason” or “military coup” coming from Congress over the Pentagon’s message, although one or two members did seem a bit uneasy. (Only one or two. The rest seemed to take it all as unremarkable.)
As far as evolution goes, we have invented ways to kill other people and conquer other lands without being physically present ourselves: we now have planes dropping bombs and even unmanned planes dropping bombs. That’s “progress”. The motto of the Pentagon seems to be the same one that all empires have used over the millenia, to wit: “There are other humans on the planet. Let’s go fuck up their shit.”
And like all empires, this one is finally turning on its own tribe. Congress, abdicating its mandate to work for the people, now allows the security agencies (which they set up) free range to spy on our own citizens. They have allowed the militarization of local police forces (with inevitable results) and sell weapons to both sides of any given conflict (most started by us, although Congress no longer votes on such things, perhaps thinking that holds them harmless when another country gets razed to the ground). They – Congress – give the bulk of our tax monies to “war efforts” or directly to the Wall Street banks which crashed our economy in the first place, while many Americans go hungry and lack jobs. They set loose the corporations, letting them pillage our own country for assets, money, and land. They are so enamored of the wealthy that when Obama’s latest nominee, Penny Pritzker for Commerce Secretary, was questioned by the committees, they were tickled by the idea that she had been able to “misplace” $80 mm of income. [ http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/17667-focus-senators-swoon-over-billionaire-pritzker ]
Monsanto is protected by Congress despite scientific research showing the dangers of GMO crops. Fracking is allowed, in increasing areas, by both the national and local governments, although there is no longer any question that it causes earthquakes and poisons waterways. Obama includes fracking as one of his “all of the above” energy solutions. Ironically, most Americans do not seem to understand that they are letting the land be torn up and the water supplies poisoned for no reason. We do not have nationalized resources here. That, I gather, would be socialism and socialism in any form is awful. So the oil and natural gas companies run amok, take the products, and sell them on the open market. And, by the way, get to keep the profits for themselves. Congress actually gives them subsidies to do this and takes no measures to make sure the companies even pay fair taxes on the profits. It has been revealed that the oil companies have been manipulating oil prices all along. No doubt Eric Holder and Congress will investigate and give us all refunds for the over-pricing of gasoline that has been going on. (Or not. Well. okay, definitely not.)
On fracking in general:
Not only can companies hide fracking chemical information behind trade secret claims, they won’t have to test individual wells’ cement casings—a critical barrier between fracking chemicals and underground aquifers. Our federal public lands provide drinking water for millions of Americans. This weak policy will put these drinking water sources at risk.As Earthjustice’s Jessica Ennis told the Washington Post and New York Times, “The Bureau of Land Management caved to the wealthy and powerful oil and gas industry and left the public to fend for itself.”
This controversial oil and gas development technique–in which drillers blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to force gas from underground deposits–has been linked to air and water pollution and public health problems. In its current form, the proposal fails to stem these problems.
In its latest proposal, the BLM fails to propose adequate well construction and integrity standards. A key test to ensure drinking water sources are properly isolated from the well was dropped. Now a test to ensure proper cementing will be required on only one “type well” and the data from that well used to approve others. Such a procedure invites companies to develop one model well and then to cut corners on the rest. Industry should have to demonstrate the integrity of every well.
The draft requires companies to disclose chemical constituents in fracking fluids, after fracking is complete. Disclosure should occur both before and after fracking, in order to give nearby communities time to establish baseline water quality and then test and monitor water supplies for any fracking-related water pollution. States including Wyoming already requires pre-fracking disclosure, so the BLM proposal should go at least this far.
The proposal also signals the use of FracFocus as the tool for disclosure. In its current form, FracFocus is insufficient. It’s an industry-funded database that fails to allow users to search across forms or aggregate data from multiple wells. To ensure data is complete, adequate and available, the BLM should have its own website for this information reporting, complete with the ability to search and aggregate data.
The president promised in his State of the Union that this country’s gas drilling boom would not come at the expense of public health. As it stands now, the proposed rule fails to meet that promise. – Earthjustice Alerts action alert
On hydroflouric acid fracking, the latest iteration of assaults on our water and land:
As California lawmakers discuss 10 bills that would regulate fracking, some environmentalists are warning that the debate overshadows a more serious process that involves the use of hydrofluoric acid.
The state regulator is drawing up rules for hydraulic fracturing, lawmakers are consideration various regulatory bills, environmentalists are protesting drilling in the Monterey oil formation, and filmmakers are creating a movie about the debate. Many believe the concerns over fracking are well-founded, but some corporations plan to use a different method to extract oil or gas altogether.
“All this anti-fracking language misses the target and I am very concerned it is a diversion,” Steve Shimek of the environmental group Monterey Coastkeeper told Reuters.
Venoco, a private oil and gas production corporation, has estimated that eight out of 10 of its Monterey wells can be completed without the use of fracking – a method which injects water, sand and chemicals into faults at high pressure to shatter rock formations and release oil or gas. Using an alternate method, chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid are pumped into the wells to melt rocks and other obstructions to extract oil. Occidental Petroleum Corp, a California-based oil and gas production company that leads the Monterey development, in 2011 announced that most of its shale was extracted using acid jobs – not fracking. This month, the company said that only one sixth of its wells are currently being fracked. […]
Only one of the 10 legislative fracking bills addresses acid jobs, which has some environmentalists concerned. Companies are not required to report their use of acid, which allows them to pump large quantities of this substance into the ground with no regulation.
“These are super-hazardous, poisonous chemicals and we have no idea what they are doing out there with it – how deep it is going, the volumes – nothing,” Bill Allayaud of the Environmental Working Group told Reuters. “Why shouldn’t our state agency be regulating it as we hope they’ll be regulating hydraulic fracturing?”
Earlier this month, Allayaud told Environment & Energy Publishing that regulation for acid use is desperately needed because it is unknown how much of the substance is being used and where. Damon Nagami, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said techniques that replace fracking – including gravel packing, water flooding, steam flooding and acidization – remain largely excluded from the public debate.[…]
Lawmakers are trying to address environmentalists’ fracking concerns, but acidization continues to remain a little-known process with unknown environmental effects.
Hydrogen fluoride gas is an acute poison that may immediately and permanently damage lungs and the corneas of the eyes. Aqueous hydrofluoric acid is a contact-poison with the potential for deep, initially painless burns and ensuing tissue death. By interfering with body calcium metabolism, the concentrated acid may also cause systemic toxicity and eventual cardiac arrest and fatality, after contact with as little as 160 cm2 (25 square inches) of skin. […]
Hydrofluoric acid is a highly corrosive liquid and is a contact poison. It should be handled with extreme care, beyond that accorded to other mineral acids. Owing to its low dissociation constant, HF as a neutral lipid-soluble molecule penetrates tissue more rapidly than typical mineral acids. Because of the ability of hydrofluoric acid to penetrate tissue, poisoning can occur readily through exposure of skin or eyes, or when inhaled or swallowed. Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident. HF interferes with nerve function, meaning that burns may not initially be painful. Accidental exposures can go unnoticed, delaying treatment and increasing the extent and seriousness of the injury. […]
[…] The acid grade of fluorspar is used as raw material to produce hydrofluoric acid. Worldwide production of hydrofluoric acid is estimated at more than three million metric tons. Once the ore is dug from the earth the impurities are removed to leave a fluorspar which contains minimum 97% calcium fluoride. The bi-products are collected and serve a variety of industrial purposes. Acid grade fluorspar is transported to hydrofluoric acid plants by ship, road, rail or barge… where it is reacted with sulphuric acid to form hydrogen fluoride gas.
Hydrofluoric acid is stored for use as a liquefied gas or may be diluted with water to make liquid solutions of hydrofluoric acid. Fluorine is the chemical element with atomic number 9, represented by the symbol F. Fluorine forms a single bond with itself in elemental form, resulting in the diatomic F2 molecule. F2 is a supremely reactive, poisonous, pale, yellowish brown gas. Elemental fluorine is the most chemically reactive and electronegative of all the elements.
The fluoride added to drinking water is hydrofluoric acid and is man-made. In the hydrofluoric acid form; fluoride has no nutrient value at all and it is one of the most caustic of industrial chemicals. […]
I offer the following links in no particular order of importance, but have divided them into subject matter. Pick your poison, as they say.
Half of America at or near poverty:
Let’s kick poor people off food assistance:
And look at this amendment to the Farm Bill – passed unanimously – I guess you never pay the full price for your crimes in the US, but must be punished forever.
On the manipulation of the oil markets:
On latest oil prices: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/30/oil-prices-climb-despite-record-stockpiles/
On fracking in general: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/01/bakken-keystone-xl-and-fracking/
Links on the Death Star Monsanto:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/senate-dems-fail-overturn-monsanto-protection-act-article-1.1353287 This article pretends that the fucking Monsanto-protecting Senators are all Republican even though Democrats still, last I checked, hold the majority in the Senate.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/push-overturn-monsanto-protection-act-article-1.1352178 This describes Senator Markey’s proposed amendment to overturn the Monsanto Protection Act. (Note that Markey’s amendment was in fact overwhelmingly killed by the Democratic Majority Senate on Thursday).
http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2013/04/30/(ips)-us-activists-outraged-over-so-called-monsanto-protection-act.html Old coverage of the Monsanto Protection Act and suggests Monsanto plans to use the judicial-review-free period covered by the continuing resolution to introduce a number of new (not specified) controversial GMO products into the ecosystem.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/u-s-state-dept-helped-promote-monsanto-products-overseas-article-1.1343801 Points out the (should be rather amazing) fact that the State Department is effectively a marketing and protection racket for Monsanto.
http://truth-out.org/news/item/16565-in-europe-march-against-monsanto-is-latest-rejection-of-the-gmo-giant An excellent Truthout/Occupy.org/Greenpeace article which discusses the reasons 8 European countries: Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and Poland, with Italy soon to follow, and also joined by certain regions and municipalities within numerous other countries not having a full uniform national position on GMO; that have banned Monsanto and GMO, and revealing Monsanto’s push-back and attempted hijacking of the EU from its lobbying center in Brussells, along with Monsanto’s (et.al.) attacks on governments, government officials, scientific organizations, agricultural organizations, farmers and farm communities, as well as many individual scientists and activists, and a bit of revelation on the hugely non-democratic, behind the scenes US support of Monsanto’s actions (which can be properly labeled only as terrorism).
http://grist.org/food/gut-punch-monsanto-could-be-destroying-your-microbiome/ Discusses a bit of the science and how the EPA and DOA, at least, have colluded with Monsanto to actually raise the published “allowable limits” to better reflect the actual content of indisputably deadly toxins found in (Roundup treated) GMO crops.
http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2909 A pretty much random USGS report about glyposate (Roundup) now (@2011) being common in rivers, streams, other surface waters, rainfall, and the air throughout GMO agricultural areas (the technical study was done in Mississippi), and wherein the USGS chemist and author cautions “Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment”.
http://www.naturalnews.com/040210_GM_corn_March_Against_Monsanto_glyphosate.html More science, including details on the lack of minerals and vitamins and the off-the-charts, 200 times the maximum recommended exposure levels, of formaldehyde found in GMO.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xow6VC851C0 Great discussion of the specifics of the law known as the Monsanto Protection Act and the laws it references and incorporates. With regular updates at the stormcloudsgathering.com website