Tag Archive: Fracking

Global Community Report Banner photo FSPLogoGlobalCommunityFulloldworldmapbckgrnd_zps43d3059c.jpg

Earth Watch Report Banner photo FSPEarthWatchReport900x228Blogger_zps53ef6af0.jpg


the guardian

Shell and Exxon’s €5bn problem: gas drilling that sets off earthquakes and wrecks homes

Groningen has been one of Europe’s richest gas fields for 30 years, and thousands of people say their homes have been damaged by the tremors that drilling sets off. Now a class action may finally bring them compensation – and force a rethink of European energy security

Annemarie Heite, whose home in Groningen has been scheduled for demolition after earthquakes caused by oil drilling.
‘Nobody is taking this seriously, not the school or the mayor, no one’ … Annemarie Heite, whose home in Groningen has been scheduled for demolition after earthquakes caused by oil drilling. Photograph: Hans Knikman/Demotix

Five years ago, Annemarie Heite and her husband, Albert, bought their dream home; a traditional 19th-century farmhouse in Groningen province in the northern Netherlands. The couple planned to raise their two young daughters in this charming corner of the Dutch countryside. “Then, the living was still easy, and affordable,” Annemarie says, her tone bittersweet and nostalgic. Today, their house is scheduled for demolition.

Hundreds of earthquakes have wrecked the foundations of the Heites’ home and made it unsafe to live in. Annemarie’s biggest fear is the safety of her daughters. She points to a room. “This is where my children sleep,” she says, “and everyday I’m just picking up pieces of bricks and stuff from the ceiling.”

Heite fears that her children may not be any safer at school. Her daughter Zara goes to a local primary school that has not been structurally reinforced to withstand strong earthquakes. “I feel powerless. It feels like I can’t do anything,” Heite says. “It’s not like I’m a frantic, hysterical person, but nobody is taking this seriously, not the school or the mayor, no one.”

Next door, Heite’s neighbour’s farmhouse is already a pile of rubble, which yellow JCBs are clearing away. “It’s collapsed. It’s gone,” Heite says. “They lived there for 30 years … and over there behind the trees, they demolished another house.”

Farmhouses like Heite’s are disappearing across the Groningen countryside as a peculiar, profound environmental crisis grips the province. At the heart of it are two oil companies, Shell and Exxon Mobil, and a government that, for two decades, denied responsibility for its actions and ignored the voices of citizens and scientists. The scandal has already cost the oil companies €1.2bn [£880m], but last month a landmark court ruling gave the victims fresh hope that their voices could be ignored no longer. And if they are right, the consequences could be profound: a compensation bill that could stretch to more than €5bn in Holland, an energy security headache for Europe, and an invocation for the world to think about the real cost of burning fossil fuels.

Annemarie Heite’s earthquake-damaged family home in Groningen
‘Everyday I’m just picking up pieces of bricks and stuff from the ceiling’ … Heite’s earthquake-damaged family home. Photograph: Hans Knikman/Demotix


Read More Here



Exxon  sign image

Exxon Valdez

Emergency Management


On March 24, 1989, shortly after midnight, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil. The spill was the largest in U.S. history and tested the abilities of local, national, and industrial organizations to prepare for, and respond to, a disaster of such magnitude. Many factors complicated the cleanup efforts following the spill. The size of the spill and its remote location, accessible only by helicopter and boat, made government and industry efforts difficult and tested existing plans for dealing with such an event.

The spill posed threats to the delicate food chain that supports Prince William Sound’s commercial fishing industry. Also in danger were ten million migratory shore birds and waterfowl, hundreds of sea otters, dozens of other species, such as harbor porpoises and sea lions, and several varieties of whales.

Since the incident occurred in open navigable waters, the U.S. Coast Guard’s On-Scene Coordinator had authority for all activities related to the cleanup effort. His first action was to immediately close the Port of Valdez to all traffic. A U.S. Coast Guard at USCG investigator, along with a representative from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, visited the scene of the incident to assess the damage. By noon on Friday, March 25, the Alaska Regional Response Team was brought together by teleconference, and the National Response Team was activated soon thereafter.

Three methods were tried in the effort to clean up the spill:

  • Burning
  • Mechanical Cleanup
  • Chemical Dispersants

In the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez incident, Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which required the Coast Guard to strengthen its regulations on oil tank vessels and oil tank owners and operators. Today, tank hulls provide better protection against spills resulting from a similar accident, and communications between vessel captains and vessel traffic centers have improved to make for safer sailing.









The Exxon Valdez Spill Is All Around Us


  • 10:47 AM

images: 1. Flickr/Jim Brickett


  2. Flickr/Daquella Manera


When the Exxon Valdez ran ashore off Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989, it wasn’t the first tanker to founder at sea. It was, however, the first tanker to deposit its load — 11 million gallons of crude oil, eventually covering 11,000 square miles of ocean — in such an economically and environmentally important ecosystem, and thus squarely in the public eye.

To this day, images of oil-choked birds and oil-fouled shorelines are burned into the memories of a generation. Local and national outrage forced Exxon into paying billions of dollars to clean the mess. Some of this money went to scientists who monitored the region’s recovery. For the first time, researchers had the resources necessary to thoroughly study an oil spill’s effects. These proved even uglier than they first appeared.

Researchers expected the oil to break up in a few years. Instead, it will take more than a century. They found that oil’s compounds, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — carcinogenic molecules that attach to fat, and refuse to break down in water — are toxic at levels hundreds, even thousands of times lower than was previously believed.

The Valdez pollution set off a cascade of environmental effects that have yet to be fully understood, but have at least been measured. Few of the region’s fish, bird and marine mammal populations have recovered. To the naked eye, Prince William Sound is beautiful and wild — but beneath the surface, it is profoundly damaged. As the Exxon Valdez Oil
Spill Trustee Council recently reported, oil in many areas “is nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill.”

The federal economic stimulus package passed in January contains roughly $4 billion for clean water, of which $1.2 billion is earmarked for “green infrastructure” — green roofs, porous concretes, and other technologies that can at least reduce the surges that cause sewage plants to overflow.

It’s a welcome investment, said Baer, but the EPA estimates that $390 billion is needed to upgrade water systems nationwide, and Gann called the stimulus figure “a down payment” on what’s needed. Moreover, said Baer, “Global warming is going to be one more added stress on our infrastructure. Storms will be more intense, and you’re going to see more intense runoffs and overflows.”

The effects of all this oil have yet to be quantified. Unlike Prince William Sound, researchers haven’t spent decades looking for damage caused by chronic oil exposures in
America’s waters. It’s not inconceivable that a state of permanent toxicity has come to seem natural.

If oil “kills all these organisms through long-term exposures in
Prince William Sound,” said Peterson, “think what it’s doing in Boston
Harbor and San Pedro and every other place where this is going on.”

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Administrator Bill Reilly at the Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup site, August 1989

Press Releases and Reports


Twenty Years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Disaster: One Devastated Company Image and Reputation



Exxon has not yet recovered a responsible reputation to this day, even if it has slowly introduced green energy and renewable energy resources in the market. The name Exxon, to this day, is still synonymous to the concept of man-made disaster. After all, the damage caused by the oil spill was massive and affected sea and water creatures, as well as ruined the livelihood of thousands of people dependent on fishery resources off the coast of Alaska.

After the billions of dollars spent on restoring the Exxon image, the company has failed to restore its reputation after the oil spill incident. Exxon still has one of the dirtiest company images on earth. The accident is touted to be one of the worst ways to handle a crisis. Exxon has gotten one of the most damaging portrayals in mass media, due entirely to the company’s fault of not communicating properly with the publics right after the incident.

In a time of environmental consciousness, Exxon has remained in the minds of people as a company that is environmentally damaging and irresponsible. The perception of the public is the cause behind the fact that Exxon has never survived the crisis.

To eradicate its irresponsible image, Exxon has to do the opposite: be environmentally responsible. This is a tall order to overturn public perception that has festered through two decades. While it has already put technological measures in place so as not to repeat the disaster, the issue has always been one of public image and reputation.

No matter how Exxon passed a good part of the blame after the spill to other groups such as the Coast Guard and

its distribution subsidiary whom it expected to be responsible for moving the oil, the world saw the disaster as purely Exxon’s fault and problem .

It can be concluded that Exxon’s long delay in responding publicly to the problems, in the many ways and means that it could have had, caused the company’s irreparable reputational damage.

To this day, the Exxon Valdez incident remains one of the most glaring examples of how not to handle a crisis.

Twenty years after the oil spill disaster on March 24, 1989 that released 10.8 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, Exxon has spent more than $2 billion in massive clean-up campaigns. However, oil still remains and some wildlife habitats will still take a long time to recover.

The Exxon Valdez incident is one of the worst environmental disasters in recent times. It is also a classic case of how a massive crisis was poorly handled. The management did not act quickly nor on time, making the damage bigger than it even was in the perception of the public. Exxon Valdez oil spill clean-up

Exxon Valdez oil spill clean-up


Mixing oil and water again



By 1992 or so, the 37,000-ton spill in Prince William Sound had been washed (at Exxon’s expense) off the rocks and beaches, or simply weathered away. Now, 13 years after the Exxon Valdez spill, a casual observer won’t see oil.

A duck is coated in thick black oil.
Oiled duck after the Exxon Valdez spill. Courtesy Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

Oil does remain in sheltered locations – immune to wind and wave – mainly on about 20 acres of rocky shore, according to an extensive 2001 survey. Although that’s a lot less than the 149 kilometers of shoreline that were heavily oiled during the spill, “In terms of critical habitat for wildlife, that is a significant amount, because there is not a large amount of suitable habitat, you have sheer rock, or rocky transition zones,” says Phil Mundy, science director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, which administers a research and restoration program in the sound, funded by a bank-ful of Exxon settlement money.

Map shows 56-day movement of oil southwest into the Cook Inlet, past Alaska Peninsula.
Valdez oil moved from Prince William Sound to the Gulf of Alaska. Courtesy David Page

Totally toxic?
Oil loses some of its toxic components through exposure to the weather, but the deep pockets left in the sound are still surprisingly toxic. The report from the 2001 survey said:

“Twenty subsurface pits [of 6,775 dug in Prince William Sound] were classified as heavily oiled. Oil saturated all of the interstitial spaces and was extremely repugnant. These ‘worst case’ pits exhibited an oil mixture that resembled oil encountered in 1989 a few weeks after the spill — highly odiferous, lightly weathered, and very fluid.”

A sea otter,  its fur matted with oil, sits on a rocky beach.
Oiled otter may be doomed by hypothermia Courtesy Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

Mundy finds this surprising. “If you’d asked in ’89, would we still have oil around in 2002? I’d have said it’s highly unlikely. One thing we have learned, contrary to what you find in the literature, especially in literature sponsored by the oil companies … is that oil that’s not exposed to the atmosphere … can surface time and again, to do damage at local scales.”

In general, says Robert Spies, a marine biologist and former chief scientist for the trustee council, “Oil tends to clean itself up, it’s a curve. You get rapid loss in one to two years, then the rate begins to fall off. Where there was protection from the physical energy of the ocean, it can take a long time to break down.”

Before we exonerate Exxon in the Valdez spill, let’s focus on the oil remaining under the rocks. “You can go to Prince William Sound and dig down in the rocky cobble beaches, and find oil as toxic as the day it was spilled,” says Richard Charter, a marine conservation advocate with the non-profit Environmental Defense. (Full disclosure: the author is a member of Environmental Defense.)

A photograph shows a heavily oiled beach in 1989, adjacent to a photo of the same beach, healthy and apparently oil-free, three years later.
The 1989 picture shows pools of oil on an exposed boulder beach. In 1992, the same beach shows no oil. A combination of natural and human processes removed most of the oil by 1992. Courtesy David Page

Some studies, Charter says, show that tiny concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (a group of toxic hydrocarbons ) from crude oil cause mutations in pink salmon eggs. “That means that components of oil, the fractions with the most toxicity, have mutagenic properties at levels much lower than we thought, and are much more persistent in the food chain than we ever believed possible.”

In a report cited by a 2002 National Research Council book Oil in the Sea III), researchers from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center tried to sum up the effect of oil on pink salmon, the big commercial fish in Prince William Sound before the spill:

“Laboratory studies designed to emulate post-spill conditions in [Prince William Sound] verified that embryos are sensitive to long-term exposures to weathered oil in the low part per billion (ppb) range of PAH [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ]. Mortalities, abnormalities, histopathological damage, and other biological effects increased with embryo exposure to ppb concentrations of PAH. …Sensitivity of salmon embryos to weathered crude oil at ppb concentrations is unprecedented…”

Another indication that spilled oil does not just disappear comes from researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who found fuel oil 30 years after a spill on Cape Cod. Woods Hole couldn’t bother talking with us, but their press release said samples from 2 to 11 inches deep in the marsh “contained petroleum hydrocarbons in similar concentrations to those observed shortly after the1969 spill. … the team found that compounds consistent with No. 2 fuel oil were still present in the sediments and may remain there indefinitely.”


Montana still investigating Yellowstone River oil spill


updated 7/6/2011 12:08:54 AM ET

Flood surge could spread Yellowstone River oil spill

High water levels possibly caused 20-year-old pipeline to rupture



Yellowstone River Spill


At approximately 11 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2011, a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline under the Yellowstone River 20 miles upstream from Billings, Montana. The ruptured pipeline is owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Company. According to the company, an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river before the pipeline was closed. EPA is leading the response in close coordination with the state of Montana and other federal agencies. EPA’s primary concern is protecting people’s health and the environment and will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Caution  was required as  flood  waters  rise possibly  endangering  the  20 year old  pipeline.  Exxon claims  to have taken this into  consideration decided  after consideration of t heir safety record  that the  pipeline  would  again  be  opened  in spite of  concerns to  its  continued integrity  as  flood  waters rise in the   Yellowstone  River  in Montana .   Speculation is  that the  rupture in the pipeline  was indeed  caused  by debris  damage below  the  water  line.   One  stops  to  wonder how  these  safety  decisions  were  determined and  by  whom.  As  it is  obvious  Exxon’s safety  record  is  less than  satisfactory, in  light  of  only a  few of  the  oil leaks  and  spills  in which it  has  been  directly  involved over the  last decade  or so.




May 18, 2012

Nearly a year after an Exxon Mobile pipeline leaked 60,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, Montana environmental officials are looking for remaining contamination on the stream after workers recently spotted sheens on the water downstream from the leak site, according to a report from the Associated Press.


Mont. looks for Exxon oil on river; 1 site clean


The Associated Press May 16, 2012,

The July 1 accident spilled an estimated 1,500 barrels of crude, or 63,000 gallons, into the Yellowstone River near Laurel.

In recent weeks, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks workers have found sheens or other evidence of oil at several sites downstream of the spill, said agency spokesman Bob Gibson.

Department of Environmental Quality scientist Laura Alvey said that includes a sheen she saw last week on an island east of Laurel. She said there was “no question” the sheen came from oil.

Homeowner Jim Swanson had contacted the DEQ after seeing sheens along the river. His property suffered extensive contamination last year, which Exxon workers attempted to remove as part of an estimated $135 million in cleanup and pipeline repair work.

The company recovered an estimated 1 percent of the oil spilled.


Exxon Montana Yellow River  spillage  image




Exxon Escapes Paying $1B for Polluted Drinking Water

A 2006 gasoline leak lasted for 37 days



Some residents of Jacksonville, Maryland, won’t be getting a $1 billion jury award for punitive damages from Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM).

The verdict stemmed from the contamination of drinking water supplied to 160 homeowners due to a gasoline leak, Bloomberg noted. The oil giant argued that the 2011 jury award was excessive. A state appeals court agreed and ordered a new trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Additionally, the appeals court reverse the jury’s finding of fraud against Exxon Mobil. That, too, will be a question in the new trial.

The leak, which lasted 37 days, caused 26,000 gallons of gasoline to seep into groundwater in the rural Maryland community. The jury awarded residents $495 million in compensatory damages in addition to the punitive award



ExxonMobil Drilling Plan Threatens Drinking Water In Delaware River Basin




Wed, 2011-06-01 22:44

ExxonMobil Drilling Plan Threatens Drinking Water In Delaware River Basin

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) held a public hearing today to review a proposal from ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy to remove massive amounts of water from the Delaware River Basin for unconventional gas exploration.

The dirty energy giant is hoping to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons per day of surface water from Oquaga Creek near the Farnham Road bridge crossing on Route 41 in Sanford, New York. Roughly 300 residents showed up to comment on the proposal, which has stirred public anger and concern over the potential impacts on the local environment and water supplies.

The Exxon subsidiary’s draft docket stipulates that the surface water will be used for unconventional gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking). XTO says the clean water will be used to mix cement and create a “drilling mud/fluid” cocktail. No waste problem, of course.

Beneath the Exxon PR spin, the true costs of withdrawing a quarter million gallons of water per day are estimated at around $17,700 –  for a tiny patch of land.

Consider the fact that the fracking rush is exacting these very same direct costs on many North Americans.

Recently, ExxonMobil has continued with its misleading media blitz to pacify the public’s real concerns around the dangers of unconventional gas exploration. Exxon’s misdirection appeared this month on TV and in full-page ads [pdf] in The New York Times and Washington Post. The ads falsely presented fracking for unconventional gas as a time-tested way to unlock “cleaner-burning” fuel from shale rock. The problem with Exxon’s efforts to greenwash unconventional gas is that according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [pdf] as well as a recent Cornell study, unlocking this dirty energy is perhaps just as polluting if not moreso than coal. Unconventional gas, despite what Exxon would have us believe, is just another polluting fossil fuel.


Hydraulic Fracturing FAQs


How does hydraulic fracturing work?

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.

What is horizontal hydraulic fracturing?

Horizontal hydrofracking is a means of tapping shale deposits containing natural gas that were previously inaccessible by conventional drilling. Vertical hydrofracking is used to extend the life of an existing well once its productivity starts to run out, sort of a last resort. Horizontal fracking differs in that it uses a mixture of 596 chemicals, many of them proprietary, and millions of gallons of water per frack. This water then becomes contaminated and must be cleaned and disposed of.

What is the Halliburton Loophole?

In 2005, the Bush/ Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act. It exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. Essentially, the provision took the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) off the job. It is now commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole.

What is the Safe Drinking Water Act?

In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed by Congress to ensure clean drinking water free from both natural and man-made contaminates.

What is the FRAC Act?

The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use.

How deep do natural gas wells go?

The average well is up to 8,000 feet deep. The depth of drinking water aquifers is about 1,000 feet. The problems typically stem from poor cement well casings that leak natural gas as well as fracking fluid into water wells.

How much water is used during the fracking process?

Generally 1-8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well. A well may be fracked up to 18 times.

What fluids are used in the fracking process?

For each frack, 80-300 tons of chemicals may be used. Presently, the natural gas industry does not have to disclose the chemicals used, but scientists have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

In what form does the natural gas come out of the well?

The gas comes up wet in produced water and has to be separated from the wastewater on the surface. Only 30-50% of the water is typically recovered from a well. This wastewater can be highly toxic.

What is done with the wastewater?

Evaporators evaporate off VOCs and condensate tanks steam off VOCs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The wastewater is then trucked to water treatment facilities.

What is a well’s potential to cause air pollution?

As the VOCs are evaporated and come into contact with diesel exhaust from trucks and generators at the well site, ground level ozone is produced. Ozone plumes can travel up to 250 miles.



Congress Releases Report on Toxic Chemicals Used In Fracking


by Jay Kimball on 17 April 2011

The Democratic Committee staff analyzed the data provided by the companies about their practices, finding that:

  • The 14 leading oil and gas service companies used more than 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products, not including water added at the well site. Overall, the companies used more than 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 different chemicals and other components.
  • The components used in the hydraulic fracturing products ranged from generally harmless and common substances, such as salt and citric acid, to extremely toxic substances, such as benzene and lead. Some companies even used instant coffee and walnut hulls in their fracturing fluids.
  • Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for their risks to human health, or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
  • The BTEX compounds – benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – are SDWA contaminants and hazardous air pollutants. Benzene also is a known human carcinogen. The hydraulic fracturing companies injected 11.4 million gallons of products containing at least one BTEX chemical over the five-year period.
  • Methanol, which was used in 342 hydraulic fracturing products, was the most widely used chemical between 2005 and 2009. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under SDWA. Isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol were the other most widely used chemicals.
  • Many of the hydraulic fracturing fluids contain chemical components that are listed as “proprietary” or “trade secret.” The companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers deemed proprietary or a trade secret. In many instances, the oil and gas service companies were unable to identify these “proprietary” chemicals, suggesting that the companies are injecting fluids containing chemicals that they themselves cannot identify.


Weird and Frightening Effects of Fracking You May Not Know About


October 20, 2012

Stolen Land

What happens if you’re a land owner who lives on a profitable mineral site, but doesn’t want corporations fracking on your land? Well, apparently, they will maneuver a way to frack your land anyway.

In a new report published last week, Reuters explored oil and gas companies’ nationwide land grab. The report focused on Chesapeake Energy Corporation, which has become the leader in petitioning state agencies when land owners refuse to sign over their land to fracking or oil drilling companies. In Texas, since 2005, Chesapeake had made 1,628 requests to drill on land that owners refuse to lease— nearly twice as many sought by its rival Exxon Mobil — and the state has only rejected five of them.

Chesapeake has made land-leasing one of its top priorities, controlling 15 million acres and spending more than $31 billion to acquire drilling rights. Playing the land grab game allows corporations to attain prospective drilling locations while locking out competition. With such a profitable opportunity, Chesapeake is making sure it’s getting its way by any means necessary. One employee was even caught saying on tape: “If properties don’t want to sign, if we have 90 percent secured of the well that we need, we have the power to put these people in the lease without their permission. …We can do whatever we want.”

When it comes to profit, property rights just don’t seem to matter. And a mix of money in politics, as well as a desire for profit, has weakened regulation.

“I don’t think the state should be able to take a landowner’s rights to generate a profit for a private company,” said David Conrad, an Ohio resident who opposes fracking, but will soon have a Chesapeake well under his home.

However, as Reuters reported:

In its petition, Chesapeake told regulators its proposed drilling unit could produce 4.5 million barrels of oil and 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas — if the plots of the 49 land owners who didn’t lease their property to Chesapeake were included.

If not, Chesapeake said, the unit would be 75 percent less productive and would miss out on an additional $71 million in revenue, according to its application. That math carried the day.

Waste-Filled Wine

If you don’t hate fracking already, what if you learned that it can affect wine? Furious? Me too.

Vineyard owners in California are growing increasingly wary of fracking as gas companies begin preliminary operations. Venoco has started exploring Monterey Shale for both oil and gas drilling. Last year, the company filed an application for drilling permits in Monterey County, according to Simon Salinas, a member of the county’s Board of Supervisors, and it already holds hundreds of thousands of acres in the formation, has drilled more than 20 wells and has invested $100 million in oil exploration.

With vineyards and farmlands covering 200,000 acres of Monterey that help make up an $8 billion agricultural business, Salinas told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Anything that can taint our water and food supply could be devastating to our economy.”

Paula Getzelman, a grape-grower in Monterey, said, “If you don’t have a good water supply, your land is worthless.”

Besides fears of contaminated water, Salinas also mentioned that when residents realize the fracking process uses millions of gallons of water that they need for their crops, they will be quite upset.

But even if these threats don’t come to fruition, residents are still concerned that fracking will have a negative effect on their marketability. After all, with cities like Napa and Sonoma not too far away, who’s going to want Monterey’s fracking wine?

Across the country, in Brooklyn, NY, a winery with similar fears about fracking in the Marcellus shale, recently hosted an anti-fracking benefit.

The winery stated on its Web site:

The potential for fracking affects Brooklyn Winery, as we source grapes for our wine from a number of vineyards in New York state and many of our wine bar’s seasonal menu items include ingredients grown on upstate farms.

Dairy Cows At Risk

Got milk? Maybe not for long. According to research from Penn State University, fracking has been found to reduce dairy production.

The university researchers set out to uncover how fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region is affecting dairy farming, the state’s top agricultural sector. The researchers examined dairy cow numbers, milk production and fracking activity among various counties in Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2010. They found that counties with 150 or more Marcellus Shale wells saw a 19 percent decrease in dairy cows, while counties with no wells saw only a 1.2 percent decrease. In a similar fashion, milk production in these counties with 150 or more wells declined by an average of 18.5 percent, while counties with no wells had about a 1 percent decline.

This research seems to challenge the popular narrative that farmers use the money they receive from fracking companies through leasing their land to improve their farms. The researchers note that additional research is needed to figure out the exact cause of the decrease of dairy production. One researcher wondered whether farmers were taking the money they received from their leases and going into a new occupation, or if they are being forced out of farming due to fracking’s environmental effects or a decrease in their farm’s marketability.

Contaminated Food, Stillborn Calves and Poisoned Animals

Imagine fracking fluid seeping out of your next burger — not appetizing? It may be a reality as more and more livestock are raised near fracking sites. Hundreds of animals have already been affected after coming into contact with fracking fluid. Last year, 28 beef cattle in Pennsylvania were exposed to the fluid. Only three of the 11 calves these cattle gave birth to survived. In Louisiana a few years ago, 16 cows dropped dead after drinking fracking fluid.

As New York Governor Cuomo soon decides whether or not to frack in the state’s economically struggling areas, Rita Yelda of Food & Water Watch recently wrote a commentary urging him to consider fracking’s detrimental effects on food.

She wrote:

New York is a national leader in a variety of agricultural products, and about 25 percent of the state’s land area is used for food production. This space may end up being shared with thousands of air polluting drill rigs, and could also be affected by soil contamination from leaks, flares, explosions, fires and experimental waste disposal methods.


Landscape Urbanism



According to Energy Tomorrow, a site sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, of the 2,000+ wells drilled since 2008, there has been $2.8 million in direct economic benefits spending on wages, payments on capital, and taxes; $1.2 million in indirect (business-to-business) benefits; and $1.5 million in induced (business-to-consumer and consumer-to-business) benefits—per well! The regional economic impact in 2010 alone was $11.2 billion. And two million dollars was paid—per well—in federal, state, and local taxes.

With the current rhetoric around the economy, job creation, and the need to build national and state revenue, these numbers are difficult to ignore as well as what this money has brought to Pennsylvania and New York during, and since, the 2007 recession.

However, after a company asked for drilling rights to his land, Josh Fox began to research the mining process, a project that eventually developed into his controversial documentary Gasland. In one dramatic sequence in the film, drinking water from a kitchen faucet burst into flames due to its high methane content. Several residents testified that natural gas mining practices caused their subsequent health problems, as methane and a mixture of 596 chemicals used in the drilling process contaminated well water supplies. In doing so, the contamination also destroyed the homeowners’ property and resale values, rendering these residents no recourse to sell and move elsewhere.

Lower 48 States Shale Plays. Plays refers to geologic areas targeted by drilling companies. Image from here.


Now   the true costs of withdrawing a quarter million gallons of water per day are estimated at around $17,700 in Maryland  for a tiny patch of land.  Factor in  the supposed gains  from  leasing  their land and  then deduct  the  livestock  lost.  Plus  the  medical  bills incurred later  on  in  life  for  long   term illnesses,  lost  wages,  devastation of  crops  and / or livestock and  what  do these  land  owners  get?  The  privilege  to have  these  oil companies loot  and  pillage  their  land,  livelihood, water and  lives for  gas.  With  ,  of  course the  knowledge  and  assistance  of the  government.  All over  the   Nation.  That isn;t   even  including  the  oils  companies  penchant  for  lying , misleading  and cutting  corners to  increase  profit  at the  expense  of  water , land  ,  animal and human  safety.  Getting the  picture yet ?


ExxonMobil faces lawsuit after Arkansas oil spill

By CNN Staff


A duck from Mayflower is washed at The HAWK Center, a wildlife rehabilitation center.A duck from Mayflower is washed at The HAWK Center, a wildlife rehabilitation center.  /  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/08/us/arkansas-oil-spill/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

Oil covers the water and underbrush in Dawson Cove on April 6.
Oil covers the water and underbrush in Dawson Cove on April 6.  /  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/08/us/arkansas-oil-spill/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near evacuated homes in Mayflower, Arkansas, on Sunday, March 31. An Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying Canadian crude oil ruptured on March 29 causing the evacuation of about two dozen homes. Mayflower residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.
Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near evacuated homes in Mayflower, Arkansas, on Sunday, March 31. An Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying Canadian crude oil ruptured on March 29 causing the evacuation of about two dozen homes. Mayflower residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.  /  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/08/us/arkansas-oil-spill/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

Thank You Exxon: Mayflower, Arkansas’ New Oil Lake


Image of  Gavel


Exxon Mobil must pay $236M in NH pollution case


Associated Press /  April 9, 2013


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. was found liable Tuesday in a long-running lawsuit over groundwater contamination caused by the gasoline additive MTBE, and the jury ordered the oil giant to pay $236 million to New Hampshire to clean it up.

The jurors reached their verdicts in less than 90 minutes, after sitting through nearly three months of testimony. Lawyers on both sides were stunned by the speed with which they reached the verdict on liability and even more stunned when the jurors took barely 20 minutes more to fill out the damages verdict.

Juror Dawn Booker of Pembroke told The Associated Press that all 12 felt ‘‘very, very confident about our decision.’’

Attorney General Michael Delaney said he anticipates an appeal and doesn’t expect to see the money ‘‘anytime soon.’’ He said the case and the verdict are historic.

The verdict is more than twice the $105 million jurors awarded the New York City Water District in 2009 in its case against Exxon Mobil over MTBE contamination. That case is on appeal.

Jessica Grant, the state’s lead lawyer, said it was the largest verdict ever in an MTBE case, though a financial analyst noted that the award represents about two days’ worth of profit for the company.

Jurors found that Exxon Mobil was negligent in adding MTBE to its gasoline and that it was a defective product. They also found Exxon Mobil liable for failing to warn distributors and consumers about its contaminating characteristics.

The jury determined that the hazards of using MTBE gasoline were not obvious to state officials, who opted into the reformulated gasoline program in 1991 to help reduce smog in the state’s four southernmost counties.

Jurors also rejected Exxon Mobil’s defense that more than 300 junkyard and gas station owners not named in the lawsuit were responsible for much of the contamination. They also absolved the state of responsibility for the contamination.

‘‘Exxon will probably make close to a $40 billion profit this year, Gheit said. ‘‘That’s (the award) two days’ work.’’

He said it’s no surprise that Exxon Mobil would take the 10-year-old lawsuit to trial, saying the company ‘‘will make you sweat for every dollar you think you’re going to get.’’ Company leaders view it as a matter of principle, he said.

Exxon Mobil begins defense in gas additive case

— Mar. 4 4:00 PM EST


New Hampshire filed its product liability lawsuit a decade ago against 26 oil companies and distributers, claiming that MTBE — methyl tertiary butyl ether — is a defective product because of its propensity to travel farther and faster and contaminate larger quantities of water than gasoline without additives. The state is seeking more than $700 million to test and monitor 250,000 private wells and clean up an estimated 5,600 contaminated sites, and so far has collected more than $120 million in settlement money.

Lawyers for Exxon Mobil, the only defendant that has not settled with the state, argue that MTBE did exactly what it was supposed to do — replace lead in gasoline and cut smog in compliance with the 1990 Clean Air Act. They opened their case by attempting to cast doubt on state witnesses who claimed to be surprised by memos Mickelson wrote describing environmental concerns about MTBE. Former Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Robert Varney testified earlier that he was shocked Exxon Mobil did not share Mickelson’s findings with the state, but Mickelson said the information was widely available at the time.


Bloomberg News

MTBE Still a Water Risk, Witness Says at ExxonMobil Trial

By Don Jeffrey and Sarah Earle on January 16, 2013


Fogg testified the additive can zigzag through fractured bedrock in unpredictable patterns and remain in groundwater longer than other compounds. Fogg said the additive poses unique risks to drinking water when leaked from underground storage tanks, based on its chemical properties and the state’s geology.

“The contaminant will tend to move along fractures that are open and connected,” he told jurors. “Those fractures can be quite complex.”

Creates Hazard

As a result, MTBE creates a hazard that is difficult to detect and equally difficult to clean up, Fogg said, showing jurors slides that demonstrated the way MTBE can bleed into water supplies. The state sought to counter claims by the oil companies that MTBE has largely disappeared from the water supply, as well as claims that the additive is safer than some of the chemicals it displaces when mixed with gasoline.

Chemicals such as benzene “don’t move very fast or very far, Fogg said. ‘‘They tend to stabilize because of biodegradation.’’

The state claimed in opening arguments that the oil companies knew that if they added MTBE to gasoline it would increase the risk and costs associated with contamination.

‘‘Exxon decided to disregard the recommendation of its own employees and put MTBE in gasoline,’’ Jessica Grant, a lawyer for the state, told jurors Jan. 14. ‘‘In 1984, Exxon anticipated that if it added MTBE to its gasoline, the number of contamination incidents would triple. These incidents would take longer to clean up and cost five times as much.’’


Exxon Mobil exec: MTBE an ‘outstanding’ additive


Dugan says Exxon Mobil delayed using MTBE as a gasoline additive to study its health and environmental impacts. He said some company executives criticized his study committee for taking so long and reducing Exxon Mobil’s competitive edge in the marketplace.

Dugan said the study committee in June 1985 recommended using MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, saying the environmental risks were manageable. He testified that the committee’s final report included concerns raised by former Exxon Mobil engineer Barbara Mickelson, including that MTBE would move farther and faster if leaked into water supplies and be more costly and difficult to remediate.

“We wanted management to be fully aware of all the concerns raised,” Dugan said.

Dugan said they rejected using methanol as being too hazardous, with as little as a teaspoonful capable of causing blindness. Ethanol was ruled out, he said, because it could cause vapor lock in car engines and some auto manufacturers were warning consumers that they would not honor warranties if the car owner used gasoline with ethanol.

The state claims MTBE is a defective product and that Exxon Mobil failed to warn state officials about potential adverse effects.

Over the state’s objections, Dugan testified Tuesday that Mickelson shared her concerns with EPA officials.

Attorney Jessica Grant, representing the state, told Superior Court Judge Peter Fauver that Exxon Mobil’s lawyers “are trying to mislead this jury into thinking they were candid with the EPA when they weren’t.” Fauver allowed defense attorney David Lender to ask whether Mickelson shared her findings with the EPA but would not permit Dugan to elaborate.




Caution  was required as  flood  waters  rise possibly  endangering  the  20 year old  pipeline.  Exxon claims  to have taken this into  consideration decided  after consideration of t heir safety record  that the  pipeline  would  again  be  opened  in spite of  concerns to  its  continued integrity  as  flood  waters rise in the   Yellowstone  River  in Montana .   Speculation is  that the  rupture in the pipeline  was indeed  caused  by debris  damage below  the  water  line.   One  stops  to  wonder how  these  safety  decisions  were  determined and  by  whom.  As  it is  obvious  Exxon’s safety  record  is  less than  satisfactory, in  light  of  only a  few of  the  oil leaks  and  spills  in which it  has  been  directly  involved over the  last decade  or so.

Brown oil on blue water, with a production platform in the center, and a ship nearby.

The Ixtoc I exploratory well blew out in June, 1979, in the Bay of Campeche, Mexico. The well spilled an estimated 140 million gallons of oil, the second-largest spill in history.NOAA

More people + more industry = more oil floating on water
At any rate, more oil will be moving across the ocean in the future, as a rising standard of living and growing population feed an overwhelming thirst for fossil fuels.

To Charter, these factors are central to the oil-spill equation. “We have been ignoring for quite a few decades the fact that oil consumption, which we take for granted in industrial societies, has an environmental cost that is paid by living resources. Things die in nature so we can get this oil. … Somewhere, some part of the environment is being poisoned for every gallon of gasoline that arrives in a filling station.”

And it’s not just tankers that spill oil, Charter adds. The largest peacetime oil spill in history, the Ixtoc I well, spewed 140 million gallons in the Gulf of Campeche, in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

That was a shallow well. As offshore drills work in the Arctic ice, and in deeper water in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, “You can create accidents you can’t fix,” says Charter.

Welcome to the <em>Exxon Valdez</em> Oil Spill Trustee Council

Home Oil Spill Facts Habitat Protection Restoration Projects Recovery Since 89


As of 1997, Fucus had not yet fully recovered in the upper intertidal zone on shores oriented towards direct sunlight, but in many locations, recovery of intertidal communities had been substantial. In other habitat types, such as estuaries and cobble beaches, many species did not show signs of recovery when they were last surveyed in 1991. Studies on the effects of clean-up activities on oiled and washed beaches showed some invertebrates, like molluscs and annelid worms were still much less abundant than on comparable unoiled beaches through 1997. It is undetermined how much recovery has occurred in these locations since 1997, because further work has not been conducted.

Lingering oil is still present in some intertidal areas within the spill zone. Recent studies indicate that at beaches with pockets of buried lingering oil, high amphipod mortality is associated with elevated hydrocarbon concentrations. Moreover, the recovery objective states that the intertidal zone must provide uncontaminated food to top predators, including human subsistence users. As recently as 2009, some bird species which rely exclusively on the intertidal zone (harlequin ducks) were still being exposed to hydrocarbons. Although the route of oil exposure has not been established, it is possible they are consuming contaminated prey during feeding. In addition, the slow recovery of some soft-sediment intertidal invertebrates, the presence of lingering, bio-available oil, the continuing oil exposure of obligate intertidal foragers that are known to eat bivalves, and the lack of recent data characterizing the intertidal community indicate that this resource has not fully recovered from the effects of the oil spill.

Taking  into account  what  we  know  today  and all we  have  seen is it a  wonder that  people  are  up  in arms  and   extremely  concerned  with the  prospect  of the  XL Pipeline.  These  companies  have  displayed  nothing  but  contempt  for the  environment  and  the  welfare  of  the people affected  by their  spills.

Maybe this oil spill will stick


By John D. Sutter, CNN
April 4, 2013 — Updated 1158 GMT (1958 HKT)

The Mayflower, Arkansas, spill is nothing compared to the Gulf disaster, of course. Fourteen ducks, two turtles and one muskrat were oiled as a result of the Friday spill, according to ExxonMobil. Two ducks died. About two-dozen homes were evacuated. The full toll of the Gulf Coast Oil Disaster (the news media started calling it that because “spill” wasn’t big enough to be accurate) is still being tabulated, but the numbers are of another magnitude: 210 million gallons of oil, as well as 464 oiled sea turtles and 8,567 affected birds, many of them dead, according to an April 2012 report compiled by two federal agencies and five states.

Both incidents, however, are pieces in a bigger puzzle.

They highlight, once again, that America is addicted to fossil fuels and needs to invest more seriously and urgently in alternatives like wind, solar and nuclear.

These events never seem to really stick in our collective memory.

But they should

If they did, they would inform our decision-making.

The way things work now, oil spills are seen by some politicians as expected — as externalities of our condition, like lung cancer to a smoker.

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, an Arkansas Republican, reportedly told a local radio station on Wednesday that we have oil pipeline accidents “just like we have car accidents” and that he supports further development of the system that caused the spill in his state.

How silly, right?

Rivers of oil in Arkansas town

Imagine this much oil in your driveway

We shouldn’t expect oil spills to be part of modern reality.

There are much better ways forward.

Environmental groups are right to use the Arkansas spill as a cautionary tale — as one of many reasons that the Obama administration should reject a proposed pipeline, called the Keystone XL, which would carry this risky type of crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast of the United States for processing.

The groups contend this thicker “oil sands” material is more corrosive to pipelines and therefore more dangerous to transport across the United States.

The National Resource Defense Council, in a recent blog post, says oil sands crude also is transported at higher temperatures, putting additional stress on pipelines; and it’s thicker and harder to clean up than conventional crude.


It  is  truly  sad  that  the  collective  memory  for  disasters  that destroy   live s  and  eco  system  is  barely a tear at  most  two.  Politicians have an  even  shorter  memory  span as  they  will  turn  around  and justify  the risks  of a mess   such as  this by   comparing it  to  an  auto accident.  Since  when  does  an  auto  accident  take  decades  to  clean  up .  Since  when  does  an  auto  accident devastate entire  eco  systems.  Families  , yes , individual lives  yes.  However  ,  it is   disingenuous  at  best and a  downright lie  to  claim that  transporting  this  filthy  tar  sand can  be  compared  to  something  as  common place  as   driving  a  car.

For  all their big  talk about  pollution and  climate  change,  I  am  hard  pressed to  believe  that  any of the  rhetoric  being  spewed has  much of  anything to  do  with pollution  or  the  impact   o the  planet.  Rather  it  has  more to  do  with the ability  to  impose  more  taxes,  provide  more   special interest opportunities  to   lobbyists of the  Energy  Companies and  of  course fill their  own  money  hungry never  ending  need  for  more.  More  power,  more  money  , more  clout ,  more  connections  to make  that  money  once  time is  up  on the  Hill. 

What  is  it  about Americans  today ? 

Why  are we  asleep  at the  helm? 

Why  do  we  care  so  little  until  it  affects  us  in  our  own  back  yard? 

Do  we not  understand  that  the idea  of  “Drill baby ,  drill”  has  consequences? 

What  is  it  about  weaning   ourselves off of  fossil  fuel that  escapes  us ? 

Exactly  what   is  it  going to  take  to make  us  wake  the  hell  up  and  understand  that  we  are poisoning  our world,  our children and  ourselves!!

I  understand  why it is   in the  best  interest  of the  politicians  to  look the  other  way.  They  have lost  of  money to  make if  they  help  these  criminals  get  away  with  their  plans. 

But  what’s in it  for  you ?  

What  do you  get  out of  looking  the  other  way? 

How  much  money  do  you  stand  t make? 

But  more  importantly …..if  you  do  nothing  and   continue  towing the line  and  following the  lead  of  the  enablers.  What  do you  stand t o  lose?  One wonders   how  many  have  reflected on that   thought  ,  honestly and  thoroughly.

The  most  frustrating  aspect  of  all of t his  is  that you are   assisting the  enablers  by  unlocking  the doors  to  your  homes  so t hat they  can  lead the  thieves in to  steal from  you . 

Does  that  make  any  kind  of  sense  to  any of  you who have  taken the  we  need  oil  at  all costs approach? 

Are  you  starting to  get   just  how you  and yours  will be  paying  for this   oil addiction  we  suffer from? 

Aside  fro those  who  actually   stand  to make  money  off  of the  oil sales   what  do you  get  from it ? 


Not   having to  deal with  new  technology  or  having to  pay  for it ?

I have  no  idea  what  is  going  through  those  heads.  I  cannot   even  fathom  the rationalization  that  might  be  taking  place.  But in  case  you  missed it  let  me  break it   down  for  you ……

The   Oil  companies   could  care  less  about  you  , your  children  ,  your  land  or  your  water.  All they  care  about   is  the   loads of  money  they  stand  to  make  by  selling you  the  oil  they  polluted  you  land  and  water  and  poisoned  your  children to  obtain

The  politicians   claim they  care   but in actuality   the only  thing  they  care  about  is  keeping  their  benefactors in the oil  companies  happy  so they  can   continue  making   all that  money and  ensuring their future  posts in the   oil  companies   when they  retire  from  public  service.  All thanks  to t heir  having  helped  poison  your land  your  water  and  your  children.

And  please  spare  me the  speech about the politicians  being  on the  take  personal  speculation on  my  part.  Because the only thing  i  need  do is  remind  you  that  it  was  Bush/Cheney  who gave Halliburton  and every  other  oil  company on the  face  of  this  earth  the  green light to  be  able  to   peddle their  poisons  with  impunity.  Just  like it  was  Obama   who gave Big  Pharma  the green  light  to  peddle  their  poisons  with  impunity. 

When a  company  that  holds  their  money  more  dear  than their  responsibility  to the  communities  where  they function  and thereby the  people  who live in those  communities.  One  cannot   with a  clear  conscience  believe  nor  expect that  said  company  will  do the  right  thing.  They can  be  and  will be  expected  to do  what  is  best  for their  bottom  line ,  but  not  much  else.  Truly  the way  I see it  this  country  is  headed for  a  precipice that   opens  up  over a dark and  deep  abyss and  most  f  us  will   fall in never to  be  seen from or  heard  from  again. 

My  question is  will the  rest of  us allow  ourselves   to be  sucked in  after  them? 

Or are  we  going  to  stand   up  for  what is  right  ,  what  is  just  and  fight   back?


To Add insult to  injury  we have  this  little  jewel……


ExxonMobil gets safety award while cleaning up spill

Crews work to clean up from an oil pipeline spill in a Mayflower, Ark., neighborhood Wednesday, April 3, 2013. An ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured last week and spewed thousands of barrels of crude oil. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

The ExxonMobil Corp. has been honored with a “Green Cross of Safety” medal, bestowed as the oil giant was cleaning up thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian oil spilled by a pipeline rupture onto the streets and backyards of a small town in Arkansas.

ExxonMobil was hit with a $5 million lawsuit Monday by residents of Mayflower, Ark., who said in their filing:  “This Arkansas class action lawsuit involves the worst crude oil and tar sands spill in Arkansas history.”  The suit estimates that up to 20,000 barrels spilled:  ExxonMobil has estimated the spill at 3,500 to 5,000 barrels.

Rex Tillerson, Chairman/CEO of ExxonMobil, accepts “Green Cross of Safety” medal while crews from the oil company clean up a pipeline spill in Arkansas.

The mess in Arkansas didn’t stop ExxonMobil Chairman/CEO Rex W. Tillertson from accepting accolades from the National Safety Council.  “It is an honor to receive this medal on behalf of the men and women of ExxonMobil,” said a proud Tillertson.  “We hold this award in high esteem because it recognizes the deep commitment of our company and our people to a culture of safety.”

ExxonMobil is a sensitive oil giant.  It waged a 15-year battle against a $5 billion punitive damages award from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, eventually reducing the award to $500 million.  Lawyers from the Los Angeles firm of O’Melveny & Myers argued at a federal appellate court hearing in Seattle that Exxon had suffered enough and paid out enough already.

The National Safety Council, on whose board sits an ExxonMobil vice president, commended the oil giant for its “leadership and comprehensive commitment to safety excellence.  In bestowing the Green Cross of Safety, it said:

“ExxonMobil distinguished itself over a period of years for outstanding achievements in workplace safety, community service, environmental stewardship and responsible citizenship.”

The recent Arkansas rupture, a 2-3″ gash in the 65-year-old Pegasus Pipeline, hit a town of 2,200 about 20 miles north of Little Rock.  It forced evacuation of homes.  ExxonMobil put a lid — literally — on news coverage.  A no-fly zone was established over the spill.  Journalists were barred from the school where ExxonMobil and state officials were meeting with local residents.


Politics and Legislation

Obama’s below-the-radar healthcare push

By Sam Baker and Elise Viebeck

The Obama administration is employing an aggressive ground game to build support for its controversial healthcare law that often reaches beyond the Beltway.

While President Obama doesn’t mention healthcare much in his public appearances, the administration consistently touts its popular reforms to make the case for a law whose approval rating is stuck just below 50 percent.

In the two years since Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the administration has released a deluge of reports, press releases and blog posts from the White House and the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). The administration consistently highlights new policies as they take effect and tries to keep other popular provisions, such as discounts on prescription drugs, in the news.

Read Full Article Here

Rep. Issa circulates contempt resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder

By Jordy Yager

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has circulated a draft copy of a resolution that would hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

The 44-page measure was sent to members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday in an attempt to shore up support for what would be the toughest action taken by Issa as chairman of the powerful panel.

Issa has been investigating the botched gun tracking operation Fast and Furious for more than a year and has repeatedly expressed his frustration at the Department of Justice’s lack of cooperation.

Issa has issued two subpoenas to obtain documents from the DOJ, and is arguing that the agency’s glacial pace in returning the requested information provides cause for holding Holder in contempt of Congress.

“The Justice Department’s failure to respond appropriately to the allegations of whistleblowers and to cooperate with congressional oversight has crossed the line of appropriate conduct for a government agency,” reads a 17-page memo attached to the draft copy of the resolution on contempt circulated to members.

“Congress now faces a moment of decision between exerting its full authority to compel an agency refusing to cooperate with congressional oversight or accepting a dangerous expansion of executive-branch authority and unilateral action allowing agencies to set their own terms for cooperating with congressional oversight.”

Issa says he has received about 7,300 documents from the DOJ. That’s only a small fraction of the documents that Justice has provided to its inspector general, who has been conducting an investigation of Fast and Furious for more than a year.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) recently said the oversight committee has received documents in only 10 of the 22 categories that Issa requested in last year’s subpoena.

The DOJ has said it has been responsive to Issa’s large request for documents. In some cases, the agency opted not to turn over documents because their public release could damage ongoing criminal cases, according to agency officials.

Read Full Article Here


Blind Chinese dissident calls Congress, wants meeting with Secretary Clinton

By Pete Kasperowicz – 05/03/12 04:26 PM ET

The Chinese dissident at the center of a political firestorm called a hearing Thursday and told lawmakers he wants to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng called a hearing set up to explore his efforts to leave China and escape persecution—apparently from a Chinese hospital room.

“I want to meet with Secretary Clinton,” he said on the phone. “I hope I can get more help from her. I also want to thank her face to face.”

Chen added that he is most concerned with his family, and said, “I really want to know what’s going on with them.”

“I want to thank all of you for your care and your love,” he added, through a translation by Pastor Bob Fu, Founder and President, ChinaAid Association. Fu was a witness at Thursday’s hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Chen is at the center of a diplomatic row between the U.S. and China that has become a political liability for President Obama.

Read Full Article And Watch Video  Here



Wall Street CEOs Personally Lobby Federal Reserve to Weaken New Financial Regulations

By Travis Waldron

Federal regulators in charge of writing the Volcker Rule, which would ban federally-insured financial institutions from risky proprietary trading, are moving at a faster pace than expected and could have the rule finalized by September.

Wall Street banks have been lobbying to weaken the rule since it was originally proposed by its namesake, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, and now that it is just months away from finalization, their efforts are getting stronger. The chief executives of six major Wall Street banks, led by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, traveled to Washington yesterday to personally lobby the Federal Reserve on multiple issues — weakening the Volcker Rule chief among them — Bloomberg reports:

Read Full Article Here

Everyone Agrees That the Decline in Pay has Been Understated

logo private sector of the americas

By Dean Baker

Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs have a piece saying that many public-sector workers are overpaid in which they also say that I agree with them in much of their analysis. This is true.

Let me outline what I think are areas of agreement. First, we seem to agree that if we just compare the wages paid to public-sector and private-sector workers, the latter do better. When we adjust for education and experience, private sector workers tend to get higher pay than their counterparts in the public sector.

This is not true across the board. My colleague John Schmitt has found that while workers with college and advanced degrees (e.g. doctors and lawyers) get less in the public sector, less-educated workers get paid the same or slightly more than their counterparts in the private sector. In other words, there is less inequality in public sector wages than we see in the private sector, with the average being somewhat lower.

We also agree that the lower wages for public-sector workers are largely or completely offset by higher benefits. The key difference here is that public-sector workers are far more likely to have a traditional defined benefit pension plan. Most workers in the public sector still have defined benefit pensions, while less than 20 percent of workers in the private sector do. (The difference is considerably less stark if we restrict the comparison to large private firms, where defined benefit plans are still common.)

Read Full Article Here

Ford Motor Backs Thailand And Opens Second Plant

Published on May 3, 2012 by

Ford opened a second plant in Thailand on Thursday giving the firm the ability to produce 445,000 vehicles a year in the country.

Expect stagnant U.S. economy in 2013: Roubini

Second half of a double-dip recession is possible, economist says

 |Russ Britt, MarketWatch

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — The U.S. economy could retreat into stagnation in 2013 and ultimately cast the nation into the second half of a double-dip recession, high-profile economist Nouriel Roubini said Wednesday.

Speaking at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., Roubini noted that real wages for U.S. workers are not growing and that America’s crushing debt is strangling growth.

That translates into possible fiscal decay in which GDP will be “lucky” to grow 2% this year and faces the prospect of retreating into near-zero growth next year, according to Roubini.

Both political parties can share blame for the trouble, he added, arguing that the Republican Party wants to limit spending and Democrats don’t want to cut programs, and so are at an impasse. Little is likely to change regardless of this year’s presidential election, as Senate Democrats are likely to use the filibuster even if Republican candidate Mitt Romney unseats President Barack Obama.

“If there is gridlock, it’s going to get worse,” Roubini said.

Read Full Article Here

Wars and Rumors of War

Israel gets 4th German submarine

Advanced submarine handed over to Israel in festive ceremony; new sub is IDF’s most expensive weapon. Defense Minister Barak: Vessel will greatly boost army’s capabilities

Yoav Zitun

Published: 05.03.12, 18:15 / Israel News

Fourth Dolphin submarine starts long journey to Israel: An official ceremony was held in the German city of Kiel Thursday to mark the handover of a fourth submarine to Israel’s Navy.

The Tanin (“alligator” in Hebrew) is considered one of the world’s most advanced submarines and is the IDF’s most expensive. The vessel is expected to reach Israel only in 2013 and dock at the Haifa Port.

Read Full Article Here

Russia threatens Nato with military strikes over missile defense system

Russia has threatened Nato with military strikes against in Poland and Romania if a missile defense radar and interceptors are deployed in Eastern Europe.

Russia has threatened Nato with military strikes against in Poland and Romania if a missile defence radar and interceptors are deployed in Eastern Europe.

Gen Makarov has threatened to target Nato bases hosting an anti-missile system designed by the US to protect European allies against attack from states such as Iran Photo: AFP

By , Brussels

6:06PM BST 03 May 2012

General Nikolai Makarov, Russia’s most senior military commander, warned Nato that if it proceeded with a controversial American missile defence system, force would be used against it.

“A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” he said.

Gen Makarov has threatened to target Nato bases hosting an anti-missile system designed by the US to protect European allies against attack from states such as Iran.

He said that Russia would counter Nato deployment by stationing short-range Iskander missiles in the Russian Kaliningrad exclave near Poland, creating the worst military tensions since the Cold War.

“The deployment of new strike weapons in Russia’s south and northwest – including of Iskander systems in Kaliningrad – is one of our possible options for destroying the system’s European infrastructure,” he said.

Read Full Article Here

Russia Says May Strike Preemptively Against NATO Missile Defense

Published on May 3, 2012 by

Russia said on Thursday (May 3) that it may use pre-emptive force against the NATO missile defense system if it considers the threat of it growing.

Russia hosted an international conference on missile defense in Moscow on Thursday where Russian army officials showed computer simulation models to illustrate how they believe the planned U.S. and NATO missile shield threatens its security.

NATO officials are hopeful an agreement with Russia will be reached before the NATO summit but Russia is adamant their concerns are not being listened to.

Washington says the shield, due to be completed in four phases by roughly 2020, is meant to counter a potential threat from Iran. Moscow says the system will undermine Russia’s nuclear deterrent because it could also give the West the ability to shoot down Russian missiles.

The shield’s first phase is to be declared up and running at the summit in Chicago later this month.

Russia and NATO agreed in 2010 to seek ways to cooperate on missile defense but have failed to reach a deal. The Kremlin wants a legally binding guarantee that the system will not be used against Russia. The United States says it cannot agree to any formal limits on missile defense.

In the meantime, Moscow said it can strike the missile defense system elements pre-emptively if they are considered a serious threat to Russia’s security.

Two blasts kill 14, injure over 80 in Dagestan

Published on May 3, 2012 by

14 people have been killed and up to 87 others injured as two powerful explosions hit Makhachkala, the capital city of Dagestan in southern Russia, security services report. The first bomb was detonated by a suicide car bomber not far from a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Makhachkala, when the car was stopped for a regular check. The second bomb, which caused most of the casualties, struck when rescuers arrived at the scene 20 minutes later. The blast caused a fire but it was soon extinguished. The combined power of the blasts was equivalent to 60 kg of TNT, according to officials from the National Antiterrorism Committee. The incidents are being treated as terror attacks. RT’s Sean Thomas has the details and also RT talks to Doctor Walid Phares, a counter-terrorism adviser to the US Congress.

Encircling Iran: US claims would win in 3 weeks

Published on May 4, 2012 by

The war rhetoric from Washington towards Iran is again being ramped up – just ahead of the second round of high-level international talks on the country’s nuclear program. US military top brass claim they would need just three weeks to defeat Iran’s armed forces. RT’s Gayane Chichakyan looks at whether it’s just more tough talk – or preparation for real action.

“We are Preparing for Massive Civil War,” Says DHS Informant

Posted by

In a riveting interview on TruNews Radio, Wednesday, private investigator Doug Hagmann said high-level, reliable sources told him the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is preparing for “massive civil war” in America.

“Folks, we’re getting ready for one massive economic collapse,” Hagmann told TruNews host Rick Wiles.

“We have problems . . . The federal government is preparing for civil uprising,” he added, “so every time you hear about troop movements, every time you hear about movements of military equipment, the militarization of the police, the buying of the ammunition, all of this is . . . they (DHS) are preparing for a massive uprising.”

Hagmann goes on to say that his sources tell him the concerns of the DHS stem from a collapse of the U.S. dollar and the hyperinflation a collapse in the value of the world’s primary reserve currency implies to a nation of 311 million Americans, who, for the significant portion of the population, is armed.

Uprisings in Greece is, indeed, a problem, but an uprising of armed Americans becomes a matter of serious national security, a point addressed in a recent report by the Pentagon and highlighted as a vulnerability and threat to the U.S. during war-game exercises at the Department of Defense last year, according to one of the DoD’s war-game participants, Jim Rickards, author of Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis.

Through his sources, Hagmann confirmed Rickards’ ongoing thesis of a fear of a U.S. dollar collapse at the hands of the Chinese (U.S. treasury bond holders of approximately $1 trillion) and, possibly, the Russians (threatening to launch a gold-backed ruble as an attractive alternative to the U.S. dollar) in retaliation for aggressive U.S. foreign policy initiatives against China’s and Russia’s strategic allies Iran and Syria.

“The one source that we have I’ve known since 1979,” Hagmann continued.  “He started out as a patrol officer and currently he is now working for a federal agency under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security; he’s in a position to know what policies are being initiated, what policies are being planned at this point, and he’s telling us right now—look, what you’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.  We are preparing, we, meaning the government, we are preparing for a massive civil war in this country.”

Read Full Article Here

Related Links


Before It’s News


Articles of Interest

ALEC Wasn’t First Industry Trojan Horse Behind Fracking Disclosure Bill – Enter Council of State Governments

By Steve HornFile:House Financial Services Committee hearing with Ben Bernanke.jpg

19th Century German statesman Otto von Bismarck once said, “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), put on the map by the Center for Media and Democracy in its “ALEC Exposed” project, is the archetype of von Bismarck’s truism. So too are the fracking chemical disclosure bills that have passed and are currently being pushed for in statehouses nationwide.

State-level fracking chemical disclosure bills have been called a key piece of reform in the push to hold the unconventional gas industry accountable for its actions. The reality, though, is murkier.

On April 21, The New York Times penned an investigation making that clear. The Times wrote:

Read Full Article Here

Rupert Murdoch in “Unprecedented Firestorm” As UK Panel Finds Him Unfit to Run Media Empire

Published on May 3, 2012 by

DemocracyNow.org – A British parliamentary report has issued a scathing report that finds Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run a major international media company because of how News Corp. handled its phone hacking scandal. The Parliamentary Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport said Murdoch and his son, James, showed “willful blindness” about the scale of phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid. The panel’s finding has prompted a U.S. watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, to call on the Federal Communications Commission to revoke News Corp’s 27 Fox broadcast licenses in the United States. We speak with David Leigh, investigations editor at The Guardian, the news outlet that first exposed the phone-hacking practices taking place within the Murdoch media empire. Leigh says the British panel’s findings could threaten Murdoch’s media presence across the Atlantic: “People are now beginning to say, ‘Doesn’t this bleed over into the man who runs Fox News and has all those TV outlets in the U.S.?’ If he is not fit and proper person in Britain, then he is not a fit and proper person in the U.S. either.”

To watch the complete independent, weekday news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, and for more information about Democracy Now!, please visit http://www.democracynow.org

Alex Jones: Pentagon prepares re-education camps for political activists

Published on May 3, 2012 by

On May Day in 1971, the US Army rounded up approximately 7,000 protesters into a stadium in Washington, DC that they treated like a make-shift prison camp. Have things changed in the past 40 years? Now a Department of Defense document has been leaked to the Web that details “Internment and Resettlement Operations.” The manual outlines policies for processing detainees in internment camps domestically and abroad and how to “re-educate” unruly activists. Alex Jones, host of the Alex Jones Show, joins us to find out what this means to people across the globe.

Pungent Chemical Smell Alarms Gush Dan Residents

Home Front Command reports source of smell drilling off coast of Ashdod; environment officials: gas concentrations ‘negligible’

By Gabe Kahn

Panic in the Dan!

Panic in the Dan!
Flash 90

There were reports in the Tel Aviv and the Sharon region of a strong chemical smell on Thursday.

Most complainants reported a strong smell of chlorine or bromine, or insecticide.

While most residents simply closed their windows and remained calm, others became concerned there had been a chemical attack.

Police and city administrations in the region received numerous calls, and Environment Ministry officials were dispatched to take readings.

The officials reported low concentrations of gas in the air, which they say do not pose a danger to public health.

“All measurements in the Tel Aviv area are negligible,” they reported. “The Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to perform measurements, and trying to locate the source of odors. We are continuing to monitor other areas too.”

The officials also stressed they had yet to identify the souce of the smell.

However, a local environmental consultant told Channel 10 that concentrations producing a pungent scent were not healthy.

“This is an exceptional case,” the consultant said. “Such chemicals in high concentrations can be dangerous. The smell is quite strong.”

“The city administration could not identify the source,” he added.

However, the IDF Home Front Command identified the source of the smell as drilling off the coast of Ashdod.

Ramat Hasharon Mayor Itzik Rochberger complained that while the HFC told him the source of the smell, officials from the Environment Ministry were still in the dark.

“If it were a harmful substance what would happen?” he asked. “Why is no synchronization between the government systems?”


[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]


Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists – Features – Al Jazeera English

Published on Apr 17, 2012 by

What the BP propaganda does: With a lot of money, you can fool the U.S. consumers with all their media advertising, but the people in the Gulf Coast know better. Do not take that chance!

California Fights Citrus-Killing Bacteria

by Dan Flynn | Apr 18, 2012
There’s no threat to human health in a growing quarantine in Southern California, but an annual $2 billion worth of citrus fruits are at risk in a war with a tiny insect and the bacteria its spreads.
Earlier this month, the state of California added 93-square miles in the Hacienda Heights area of Los Angeles County to the quarantine after the citrus greening disease known as huanglongbing was discovered in the state for the first time.


Until then, California had been combatting the insect that precedes the disease, which does not harm humans or animals, but causes citrus trees to decline and eventually die.
Now covering most of Southern California, the quarantine means no nursery stock can be moved out of the area and only commercially cleaned and cleared citrus fruit may be shipped from there. Residential citrus can’t be removed from the property on which it’s grown, although it can be processed and consumed on the premises.
“The success of any quarantine depends on cooperation from those affected,” says Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), in a news release.  “The stakes could not be higher for California citrus.”

No-till farming revolution grows in Indiana

by Staff Writers
Brownsburg, Indiana (AFP) April 17, 2012

Indiana farmer Mike Starkey does not plow his fields and uses fertilizer only sparingly, but he is on the cutting edge of a growing trend in American agriculture.

Advocates of his “no-till farming” technique say it could provide the low-cost, environmentally-friendly crops the agricultural industry has sought for many years.

Starkey’s cropland looks like a tangle of corn stalks, crimson clover and ryegrass, far different from the impeccably-plowed fields of most farms.

“Over a period of 12 years, we’re now 100 percent no-till,” said the corn and soybean farmer, who also is a supervisor with the Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The biggest departure from traditional farming involves the plowing, also known as tilling.

Plowing aerates the soil, eliminates weeds and helps with nutrient recovery.

However, plowing also erodes the soil and kills part of the organic life that grows in it.

No-till farming helps to rebuild the “nutrient capital” of farmland that now is dependent on fertilizers, Starkey said.

The technique, also known as “conservation farming,” started about 20 years ago by following the “three pillars” of the method: cover crops, no-till and crop rotation.

Cover crops refer to plants like clover, ryegrass and alfalfa that form a carpet to protect the soil from erosion while also trapping nitrogen from the air and storing it in nodules on the roots of plants to fertilize the ground.

In April, just before the sowing of seeds, weedkiller is sprayed on the cropland.

“When we actually kill these legume plants, these nodules then become an organic source of nitrogen that breaks down much more slowly than commercial fertilizer,” said Barry Fisher, a no-till farming expert for the US Agriculture Department’s National Resources Conservation Service.

“That’s a time release form of nitrogen… that will spoon feed the nitrogen to the corn crop coming here,” Fisher said.

Cover crops maximize the use of the soil’s natural fertilizers, which can be a better alternative than manufactured fertilizers sinking into groundwater after heavy rain, he said.

Direct seeding for cash crops requires special tractors that dig narrow furrows, inject the seeds and close the hole in one motion, without scarring the land.

No-till crops like corn and soybeans feed off the rich nutrients in decomposing plants from the previous season and from cover crops.

“Conservation tillage systems, with today’s planting equipment, with today’s technologies… have been yielding consistently the same” as traditional farming, said Tony Vyn, professor of agronomy at Purdue University, where the technique has been studied since 1975.

About 35 percent of US crops are grown with no-till farming, according to the US Agriculture Department. For soybeans, about half the crops are raised with no-till techniques.

The federal government is encouraging no-till farming by providing subsidies for cover crop seeds and the special equipment they require, which can run up to 50 percent of the cost.

Related Links
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

Determining total fertility in strip-tilled fields

by Staff Writers
Urbana IL (SPX)

Because plant roots extend farther into the soil than just the small area where fertilizers are applied, fertility levels must be determined for the field as a whole to ensure that fertilizer applications are optimized to maximize crop yield and profitability.

Band fertilizer placement may cause non-uniform distribution in the soil. Why does this matter? Because when fertilizer is unevenly distributed, it may not be possible to use traditional sampling strategies to measure whole-field fertility, said assistant professor of crop sciences Fabian Fernandez. No recent published studies have looked at this problem.

Fernandez has conducted research to determine potassium and phosphorous distribution in no-till and strip-till soils and to develop improved sampling procedures for measuring field fertility.

The problem, according to Fernandez, is that fertility decreases between the rows but increases in the rows where the fertilizers are being banded. This would not be a problem if the location of the fertilizer band changed from year to year.

“Since the introduction of real-time kinematic (RTK) satellite navigation and the use of strip-till, farmers are always planting, and applying their band fertilizer, on exactly the same location,” he explained. “What happens is that all the fertilizer that was applied uniformly on the surface is now concentrated in a small fraction of the soil.”

Because plant roots extend farther into the soil than just the small area where fertilizers are applied, fertility levels must be determined for the field as a whole to ensure that fertilizer applications are optimized to maximize crop yield and profitability.

Environmental issues are also involved. “If we are unable to determine the fertility of our field accurately because of the sampling method we are using, we may be applying more fertilizer than we need,” said Fernandez.

“A lot of the environmental issues have to do with phosphorus moving out of the fields as runoff from the soil surface.”

The study, conducted in Pesotum, Ill., involved applying different rates of phosphorous/potassium blends in fall 2007 and 2009 before corn planting. Applications were broadcast-applied in no-till and strip-till and deep-banded at six inches below the surface in the crop row in strip-till.

Fertilizer levels were measured every year at four-inch increments from the surface to a 12-inch depth, with samples collected at the row and at a distance of 7.5, 15, and 22.5 inches away from the row.

Results indicated that there was no need to adjust fertilizer rate based on tillage or fertilizer placement. Fernandez explained that the plants send roots all over the soil profile, mostly in the surface layer, regardless of the fertilizer band. Thus, it does not really matter if fertility levels vary across the rows as long as the fertility level is sufficient for the crop.

What is important, however, is finding a way to estimate total field fertility when these differences occur. “The main message,” said Fernandez, “is that for every time you take a sample where the fertilizer band is located, you need to take two or three samples outside of that band to make a composite sample to send off for analysis.”

This research, “Assessment of Soil Phosphorus and Potassium Following RTK-Guided Broadcast and Deep-Band Placement in Strip-Till and No-Till,” by Fabian Fernandez and Daniel Schaefer, will be published in the May-June 2012 Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Related Links
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

Will Obama’s New Rules Make Fracking Better for the Planet?

—By Tim McDonnell

| Wed Apr. 18, 2012 3:15 PM PDT
“Green completion” equipment in the field. Courtesy: Colorado Oil & Gas

The Obama administration took a heavy swing in the ongoing battle over fracking today by imposing new rules that would, for the first time, restrict the release of smog-causing pollutants from natural gas wells. But the law turns a blind eye to greenhouse gases released by fracking; the EPA admits fracking accounts for 40 percent of the nation’s overall methane (an even stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) emissions.

By 2015, all fracked wells will be required to implement “green completion” equipment, which catches toxic gases like benzene on its way out of the earth and into the atmosphere. But the rule does not directly limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

Read Full Article Here


Cyber Space

ALEC Wants You To Pay 750 Percent More For High-Speed Internet

The corporate front group may change its social policy stance, but it still plans on robbing you blind.

April 18, 2012  |  The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

…..The organization has come under fire recently for backing “Stand Your Ground” laws and voter suppression efforts, leading to an exodus of some of its strongest corporate funders. But the group’s policy agenda stretches far beyond these areas, and impacts just about every area of American life.

Take public high-speed broadband Internet. A few years ago, the city of Wilson, North Carolina, decided that it would create its own broadband system, which it called Greenlight. The service offered speeds twice as fast as private competitors in the area for a similar price. Soon, the success of the service spread, and a number of other cities began offering municipal broadband systems that were cheaper and/or faster than private competitors’.

But state legislators — who received $600,000 in contributions from the telecom industry in the previous election cycle — reacted to the spread of these successful services by undercutting them with a bill that made it very difficult for cities to operate their own broadband systems. One provision in the bill made it illegal for cities to offer broadband services that are priced below their costs. “This bill will make it practically impossible for cities to provide a fundamental service. Where’s the bill to govern [cable provider] Time Warner? Let’s be clear about whose bill this is. This is Time Warner’s bill. You need to know who you’re doing this for!” thundered Rep. Bill Faison (D) at the time. The bill was unfortunately passed into law……

Read Full Article Here


Survival / Sustainability

Urban Survival – Long Term Food Storage

Uploaded by on Sep 18, 2010

Here is a way to hedge against inflation by storing food at today’s prices. Purchase Hard Wheat, White Rice, Rolled Oats and Pinto Beans from Costco or Sam’s Club. Buy Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and 5 gallon food grade plastic buckets. Using a household iron and a straight edge as a backer, seal up your food with a 2000cc oxygen absorber in a Mylar bag. This should keep basic food staples like the ones described for 15 or 20 years.

long term food storage part 1

long term food storage part 2

sealing mylar bags with a hair straightener



This Is The USA?
Jackboots Meet Protest Against Drone Wars

Protestors with www.peaceworkskc.org meet resistance at a protest against drone war during Midwest Trifecta in Kansas City Missouri.

Posted April 17, 2012

Col. Ann Wright targets predator drones

By Jim Hannah

Col. Ann Wright defies pigeonholing.

She doesn’t carry the military bearing you might expect of someone who served 29 years in the U.S. Army and received a heroism award.

She doesn’t convey the worldly manner you might expect of someone who served 16 years in the State Department, including assignment in Mongolia and Afghanistan.

And she doesn’t come across in the strident manner you might expect of a strongly opinionated whistleblower.

But when this rather quiet-mannered woman of middle age speaks in her soft voice, words of steel emerge. And those truth-telling words found their mark for the 80 or so persons gathered Feb. 20 at Kansas City’s All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. The audience gave her a standing ovation even before she began to speak. Her reputation preceded her: she resigned from the State Department to protest the Iraq War, she has been arrested for protesting predator drones, and she wrote a primer on speaking out, Dissent: Voices of Conflict.

Wright opened by thanking Kansas City-area peacemakers for their activism in opposition to the new nuclear weapons parts plant being built in south Kansas City. She termed “heart-breaking” the way nuclear weapons and the military-industrial complex have become “the biggest industry in America.”

In her quiet manner, Wright then proceeded to pillory U.S. foreign policies that have led to military misadventures such as Iraq, noting that violence there has decreased since the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops (even though some 30,000 private contractors still remain).

Read Full Article Here

 When Occupy Wall Street protesters decided to take up sleeping on the sidewalks of Wall Street, they did so with the protection–they thought–of the law. Specifically, a 2000 court decision, Metropolitan Council Inc. v. City of New York, that ruled that sleeping on City sidewalks was a Constitutionally-protected form of protest.

But it appears that the NYPD has had enough of the Constitution–and so once again, Occupiers face eviction. According to an email sent earlier today, the police woke the sleeping Occupiers at 6am and told them they were no longer welcome. The protesters took refuge on the steps of Federal Hall, but that closes at 5 and so they found themselves facing off with the police.

Read Full Article Here


Articles of Interest


DAMAGE CONTROL: A recent ballot challenge hearing in New Jersey exposes a desperate strategy by Obama to distance himself from his forged certificate and induce the contrived value of his transient political popularity as the only “legitimate qualification” needed to hold the office of the presidency.

Commentary by Dan Crosby

Updated 04/17/12

Obama’s lawyer, Alexandra Hill, agreed with arguments that the image of Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery and made the absurd claim that, therefore, it cannot be used as evidence to confirm his lack of natural born citizenship status. Therefore, she argued, it is “irrelevant to his placement on the ballot”.

Hill went on to contort reasoning by implying that Obama needs only invoke his political popularity, not legal qualifications, in order to be a candidate.

During the hearing, Hill’s concession was showcased by the following exchange:

Judge Masin asked Hill, “I understand you have a general objection before we get to the question of what is his (Obama’s) qualifications?”

“Yes, I have an objection as to relevance,” replied Hill, as to the plaintiffs’ witness testimony regarding the authenticity of the image of Obama’s alleged 1961 ‘Certificate of Live Birth’.

Hill then attempted to have the judge declare that Obama was preeminently eligible without any legal responsibility to prove with documentation that he was, in fact, qualified to hold the office of the presidency.

“The objectors carry the burden of proof to show that a candidate is not eligible under New Jersey statutes,” Hill said.

Hill’s misunderstanding of administrative law reveals a strategy to defend Obama’s fraudulent election in which our legal system has reversed the legal assignment of burden of proof in order to equate eligibility with a legal definition of innocence of a crime for Obama.

Unfortunately for Obama, eligibility for political office does not fall under the precepts of criminalogical reasoning of “innocent until proven guilty“, unless a charge is made that a crime has been committed, such as forgery or fraud, in order to deceive people about your identity or citizenship status. Obama’s ineligibility, by itself, is not a crime…being fraudulently elected by deceiving voters is.

Read Full Article Here

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

NSA denies eavesdropping on Americans

A recent article regarding the National Security Agency’s new secret eavesdropping facility in Bluffdale, Utah has caught the attention of members of the House.

The article which was published last week by Wired explains how the NSA “will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.”

The article goes on to explain how the “Utah Data Center” which is a project surrounded by “immense secrecy is the final piece of a complex puzzle assembled in the past decade.”

The heavily fortified $2 billion building is said to have the capabilities “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks,” the article added.



Marine charged for criticizing Obama

On Wednesday Marine Sgt. Gary Stein was notified by the Marine Corps that he was in violation of the Pentagon’s policy for blatantly condemning President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Stein’s actions could now lead to his dismissal and a possible downgrade in ranking.

The Marine who is based in Camp Pendleton, California, created a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party,” which currently has approximately 19,000 likes and has photos showcasing slogans such as “NObama” and “One Nation, under Obama, with poverty and unemployment for all,” has been under the microscope since 2010.

Stein was first warned by his superiors two years ago after he launched the social media page on Facebook critiquing Obama care. Stein offered to remove the page while he revised the rules at the bidding of his superiors.

According to Stein, after the revision of the rules he determined he was not in violation.


GOP leadership rankled by resolution calling for attorney general’s head

By Jordy Yager

More than 100 Republicans in the House are clamoring for Eric Holder’s head, but GOP leaders are reluctant to vote on a measure suggesting the ouster of the U.S. attorney general.


McCaskill deals serious blow to BRAC

By Jeremy Herb

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Wednesday that she will not let new rounds of base closures pass her subcommittee this year, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the Pentagon’s plans for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in its 2013 budget.


Courtly battle in healthcare case

By Jess Bravin

The fight over President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul has featured nearly three years of name-calling and shouting matches. But don’t expect to hear supporters accused of creating “death panels,” or opponents of preferring the uninsured to “die quickly,” when the issue lands at the Supreme Court next week.


House approves the repeal of cost-cutting healthcare board

By Pete Kasperowicz

The House on Thursday afternoon approved legislation that would repeal a government board tasked with finding Medicare savings, and institute medical tort reform across the country.

Members approved H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, by a 223-181 vote in which only seven Democrats supported the bill and 10 Republican opposed.


Senate passes bill on insider trading, sends measure to Obama

By Alexander Bolton

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation barring lawmakers from using insider information for personal profit, sending the bill to the White House.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act already approved by the House passed the upper chamber easily by a vote of 96-3.

The Senate action circumvents a thorny amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) requiring political intelligence operatives to regularly report their activity. The Senate adopted the Grassley proposal by a vote of 60-39 in February, but the GOP-controlled House opposed the Grassley’s language and did not include it in its version.


On the News With Thom Hartmann:Obama Announces Fast-Track Approval of Keystone Pipeline Segment, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Only five banks control more than half of all the industry’s assets, President Obama announced the fast-track approval of the southern leg for the existing Keystone pipeline today in Oklahoma, Democrats try to curb influence of SuperPACs, and more.



Nigel Farage on the Euro

Uploaded by MightyDemocracy on Mar 13, 2012

Nigel Farage commenting on Barroso’s message that the signing of the European Fiscal Compact treaty signifies the “irreversibility of the euro.” 13/03/2012
Van Rompuy re-‘elected’ as president of Europe: http://mightydemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/11/emperor-of-europe-and-future-of-n&#8230;

Spain’s Economy, Front and Center

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.:

“I’ve always viewed Spain, not Greece, as the quintessential euro crisis country. With Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government balking – rightly – at further austerity, the focus is now where it arguably should have been all along. And with Spain now front and center, the essential wrongness of the whole European policy focus becomes totally apparent. Spain did not get into this crisis by being fiscally irresponsible; see the little comparison on the chart on this page.”


Wars and Rumors of War

After Bales’ Arrest, Military Tried to Delete Him From Web

David Goldstein and Matthew Schofield, McClatchy Newspapers:

“Besides waiting nearly a week before identifying the Army staff sergeant who’s accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers, the US military scrubbed its websites of references to his combat service. Gone were photographs of the suspect, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, as well as a recounting in his base’s newspaper of a 2007 battle in Iraq involving his unit that quoted him extensively. But not really.”


Bahrain Medics Show Trial: This Is Not Syria, Therefore No Western Outcry

by Finian Cunningham

Bahrain’s disgraceful show trial of medical staff is set to continue, with news this week that 20 doctors and nurses are to be retried in a civilian court on trumped-up charges of subversion against the US-backed regime.

The medics were already sentenced by a military tribunal (a military tribunal!) to up to 15 years in prison after months of being held in illegal detention, denied legal counsel and subjected to torture.

Moving their case to a civilian court is presumably meant to signal a concession by the regime. But what it illustrates is that the Al Khalifa royal rulers of Bahrain are unreconstructed despots who are implacably set against accepting any kind of democratic reform.

The persecution of the majority Shia population – 70 per cent of the island – by an unelected Sunni elite is business as usual as epitomized by the vindictive targeting of medics whose only “crime” was that they treated hundreds of people injured in the state’s brutal crackdown against the pro-democracy movement.

Recently, Washington has been doing its PR best to present the monarchy in the Persian Gulf kingdom as being belatedly open to reform – this after a year of unrelenting repression against a largely peaceful pro-democracy uprising.


US Mercenary “Took Part” in Gaddafi Killing; Sent to Assist Syrian opposition

US government officials requested that an American private security firm contact Syrian opposition figures in Turkey to see “how they can help in regime change,” the CEO of one of these firms told Stratfor in a company email obtained by WikiLeaks and Al-Akhbar.

James F. Smith, former director of Blackwater, is currently the Chief Executive of SCG International, a private security firm with experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. In what appears to be his first email to Stratfor, Smith stated that his “background is CIA” and his company is comprised of “former DOD [Department of Defense], CIA and former law enforcement personnel.”

“We provide services for those same groups in the form of training, security and information collection,” he explained to Stratfor. (doc-id 5441475)

In a 13 December 2011 email to Stratfor’s VP for counter-terrorism Fred Burton, which Burton shared with Stratfor’s briefers, Smith claimed that “[he] and Walid Phares were getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.”



About That Dimock Fracking Study: Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals

Christine Shearer, Truthout:

“Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 issued a statement last week that its preliminary tests of water samples near drilling and fracking sites in the Pennsylvania town of Dimock showed no health concerns, the group Water Defense and ‘Gasland’ director Josh Fox went to Dimock to look at the EPA summaries themselves, which they say do report high levels of explosive methane, heavy metals and hazardous chemicals.”


Whistle Blowers

Bradley Manning Prosecution Incurably Infected by Government Misconduct

Kevin Zeese, Bradley Manning Support Network:

“Last week I spent two days in court for a pretrial motions hearing in the court martial of Bradley Manning, the private accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks that showed widespread unethical and illegal behavior by the Department of Defense and State Department. Manning has suffered the fate the Queen put on Alice when she was in Wonderland, ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’ By the time his court martial is actually held he will have been incarcerated for more than two years, one of those years was spent in solitary confinement. But, that is only one of many obvious injustices Manning is being subjected to.”



What happened to our government? (opinion)

(NaturalNews) When I was a little kid growing up in Newark and going to Bergen Street elementary school, I remember a teacher reading something to us in class one day. It went something like this:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

These words are from our Declaration of Independence, and unfortunately, not from our Constitution. And from these principles, we Americans, lay claim to a rather unique and somewhat revolutionary legacy. That being that every person can lay claim to his or her own sovereignty just by being born, and that these rights don’t come from any government or person.

One of the basic principles on which our country was founded is that individuals have all these rights. Unfortunately, we give away some of them to our government. This is done voluntarily as it is not the law.



Obama threatens rare earth trade war against China – but why?

By Jonathan Benson, March 22 2012

(NaturalNews) In the spirit of election season political posturing, the Obama White House has announced that it is filing a trade lawsuit against China for restricting exports on rare earth metals and other materials used in the production of touchscreen mobile phones, military weapons, laptop computers, and various other high-tech devices. The poster child administration of meaningless political rhetoric, Obama and Co. has taken a convenient interest in China’s misdealings with the U.S. and…


The Invisible Poverty of “The Other America” of the 1960s Is Far More Visible

Peter Dreier, Truthout:

“Fifty years ago (in March 1962) Michael Harrington wrote a book, ‘The Other America: Poverty in the United States’ – a haunting tour of deprivation in an affluent society – that inspired Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to wage a war on poverty. This slim, 186-page volume became a best-seller and became required reading for social scientists, elected officials, college students, members of study groups sponsored by churches and synagogues, reporters and intellectuals, the new wave of community organizers and the student activists who traveled to the South to join the civil rights crusade.”


Politics and Legislation


We Take Care of Our Own: Eric Holder and the End of Rights

Historians of the future, if they are not imprisoned for saying so, will trace the end of America’s democratic experiment to the fearful days immediately after 9/11, what Bruce Springsteen called the days of the empty sky, when frightened, small men named Bush and Cheney made the first decisions to abandon the Constitution in the name of freedom and created a new version of the security state with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, secret prisons and sanctioned torture by the U.S. government. They proceeded carefully, making sure that lawyers in their employ sanctioned each dark act, much as kings in old Europe used the church to justify their own actions.



Politicians Won’t Return Ponzi Payoffs

Michael Winship, Moyers & Co.:

“On Tuesday, Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 criminal counts of fraud…. But what most of this week’s stories failed to mention was the large amount of his clients’ cash that was spent on campaign contributions, greasing the corrupt nexus of money and politics for personal gain. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to candidates,  Barack Obama, John McCain, John Boehner and Harry Reid; including Ponzi Payoffs; as well as national fundraising committees for the Republican and Democratic parties.”



Confusion Surrounds Federal Review of Southern Leg of Keystone XL

Lisa Song, InsideClimate News:

“TransCanada’s decision last week to build the southern half of the rejected Keystone XL has raised a tricky question about who will regulate the project review … The process could be stickier at the federal level. The U.S. State Department was the lead agency on the original Keystone XL because it crossed an international boundary. But so far, no agency has stepped forward to take responsibility for the Gulf Coast Project.”



A Field of Hawks

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Writers Group:

“Unless Ron Paul somehow wins the nomination, it looks as if a vote for the Republican presidential candidate this fall will be a vote for war with Iran. No other conclusion can be drawn from parsing the candidates’ public remarks. Paul, of course, is basically an isolationist who believes it is none of our business if Iran wants to build nuclear weapons…. But Paul has about as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do.”



No Apocalypse Yet
Will Putin do what the oligarchs fear?


If he wants to survive politically, he will have to implement the national agenda, confront the oligarchs, curb the creative class, provide support to those who supported him.



Obama Signs Anti-protest Trespass Bill


US President Barack Obama signed his name to H.R. 347 on Thursday, officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events – essentially criminalizing protest in the States.



‘War on Terror is War on Liberty’
Farage demands that the UK break treaty with US

By Nigel Farage: EU MP

“No British court has ever been allowed to examine the evidence against Mr Tappin and I believe this Treaty, signed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, needs to be amended and the British government needs to stand up for its own people.




Not So Fast On That Whole Economic Recovery Thing

Not so fast. Those that are publicly declaring that an economic recovery has arrived are ignoring a whole host of numbers that indicate that the U.S. economy is in absolutely horrendous shape. The truth is that the health of an economy should not be measured by how well the stock market is doing. Rather, the truth health of an economy should be evaluated by looking at numbers for things like jobs, housing, poverty and debt. Some of the latest economic statistics indicate that unemployment is getting a little bit worse, that the housing market continues to deteriorate, that poverty in America continues to soar and that our debt problem is worse than ever.



TEXT-Moody’s: Greek sovereign credit rating remains at C

Moody’s Investors Service says that it considers Greece

to have defaulted per Moody’s default definitions further to the conclusion of an exchange of EUR177 billion of Greece’s debt that is governed by Greek law for bonds issued by the Greek government, GDP-linked securities, European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) notes. Foreign-law bonds are eligible for the same offer, and Moody’s expects a similar debt exchange to proceed with these bondholders, as well as the holders of state-owned enterprise debt that has been guaranteed by the state, in the coming weeks. The respective securities will enter our default statistics at the tender expiration date, which is was Thursday 8 March for the Greek law bonds and is currently expected to be 23 March for foreign law bonds. Greece’s government bond rating remains unchanged at C, the lowest rating on Moody’s rating scale.



Security: UK ‘must plan for euro collapse’

Ministers should draw up plans to deal with a break-up of the eurozone “as a matter of urgency”, a committee of MPs and peers has warned.

The joint committee on the government’s National Security Strategy (NSS) said the full or partial collapse of the single currency was “plausible”.

It said political unrest and a rise in economic migrant numbers could result.



Wall Street up on jobs data, brushes off Greek default

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks advanced on Friday as investors brushed off the technical default by Greece and focused instead on another strong monthly jobs report.

Trading was choppy in late afternoon trade after the International Swaps and Derivatives Association said Greece has triggered an insurance payment on credit default contracts.

Investors took the Greek news largely in stride because the event was widely expected. Still, it is a declaration of default following the biggest sovereign debt-restructuring deal in history, and the specter of trouble in other euro-zone countries remains.



Bernanke Is Giving Us the Recovery He Wants, Not the Recovery We Need

With the latest round of monetary stimulus, the Federal Reserve is boldly going where it has already been. Big, big news from the Federal Reserve. They are considering doing something they are already doing, but calling it something else.

This “new” operation, carried out under the rather gross-sounding moniker of “sterilized quantitative easing,” is just another way to reduce long-term interest rates. The specifics aren’t terribly important — although if you want all the gory details about bond-buying and reverse repos, check out Jon Hilsenrath — but the result should be identical to the so-called “Operation Twist” the Fed did last fall.



UPDATE 6-Oil up on jobs data even as dollar rallies

By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) – Oil prices rose a third straight day on Friday as data showing rising U.S. employment countered any pressure from a stronger dollar and faded euphoria after Greece’s debt swap deal.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 227,000 in February, above expectations and marking the third straight month that gains topped 200,000, though the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent.



PRECIOUS-Gold turns higher on US jobs data, oil gains

By Frank Tang and Amanda Cooper

NEW YORK/LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) – Gold rose above
$1,700 an ounce in heavy trade on Friday, reversing early sharp losses as the metal took heart from gains in crude oil and U.S. equities’ after an encouraging U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.
Bullion, which has taken to following riskier assets, rose in the face of a dollar rally and fading hopes of further U.S. monetary stimulus after U.S. employment grew strongly for a third straight month.
Also lifting the metal was Greece’s averting an immediate default after its bond swap offer to private creditors. Technical buying also helped after prices rebounded off its key 200-day moving average.



Public-Sector Banks: From Black Sheep to Global Leaders

Once the black sheep of high finance, government owned banks can reassure depositors about the safety of their savings and can help maintain a focus on productive investment in a world in which effective financial regulation remains more of an aspiration than a reality.



Welcome to the One Percent Recovery

Mike Konczal, New Deal 2.0:

“As the one percent reap 93 percent of the income gains from the recovery, we’re rapidly returning to pre-New Deal levels of inequality … It’s important to remember that a series of choices were made during the New Deal to react to runaway inequality, including changes to progressive taxation, financial regulation, monetary policy, labor unionization, and the provisioning of public goods and guaranteed social insurance. A battle will be fought over the next decade on all these fronts.”



Jeffrey Sachs’ Reform Candidacy for World Bank President

Staff, Center for Economic and Policy Research:

“Economist and health expert Jeffrey Sachs’ reported candidacy for World Bank president is welcome news for the two-and-a-half billion people around the world living in poverty, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today. ‘If Sachs were to get the job, he would be the first World Bank president with this kind of experience and knowledge of economic development … All of the others have been bankers, politicians, or political appointees.'”



China posts Feb. trade deficit

For the first time in a year, China recorded a trade deficit of 31.48 billion U.S. dollars in February, as import growth far outpaced exports.

Exports rose 18.4 percent from a year earlier to 114.47 billion U.S. dollars in February, while imports were up 39.6 percent to 145.96 billion U.S. dollars, customs data showed Saturday.

The fast trade expansion was fueled by the lower comparative base for last February, when the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday cut working days from the month and skewed trade data, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said. The week-long holiday fell in January this year.

After seasonal adjustments, the annual growth of exports slowed to 4 percent in February while that of imports was cut down to 9.4 percent.


Life in America on Two Dollars a Day
Or Why American Poverty Will Soon Match That of the Third World

By CanSpeccy

The latest poverty statistics that show the number of American families with an income of less than two dollars per person per day more than doubled between 1996 and 201.



China to export yuan to BRICS:

China is reportedly to begin extending loans in yuan to BRICS countries in another step towards internationalizing the national currency and diversifying from the US dollar.



Iceland calls its former PM to account for financial crash:

Geir Haarde, whose trial began this week, could face up to two years in jail if convicted over country’s 2008 economic collapse



Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Set to Default on $5.27 Million GO Bond Payments:

The city, carrying a debt load of more than five times its general-fund budget, will miss $5.27 million in bond payments due March 15 on $51.5 million of bonds issued in 1997.



Wars and Rumors of War


The Kazakhstan Massacre: Killing Hope to Benefit US Geopolitical Interests

Steve Horn and Allen Ruff, Truthout: “December 16, 2011, should have been, at minimum, a fairly bright day for the people of Kazakhstan marking the country’s Independence Day and 20th birthday. But rather than being a moment of celebration, it became a day of brutal repression and death, a bloody scene in the regional center of Zhanaozen paralleling those that occurred at the hands of US-supported dictatorial regimes during the uprisings now commonly referred to as the Arab Spring.”



Russia says 15,000 foreign “terrorists” in Syria

(Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is battling al Qaeda-backed “terrorists” including at least 15,000 foreign fighters who will seize towns across Syria if government troops withdraw, a Russian diplomat said on Thursday.



After a Decade, Afghan Forces Don’t Trust Americans

Jon Stephenson and Ali Safi, McClatchy Newspapers:

“Afghan soldiers and police say the recent burning of Qurans by U.S. personnel has seriously undermined their trust in their American counterparts, suggesting that the decade-long campaign to win hearts and minds has not only failed but also threatens the Obama administration’s exit strategy. ‘We are tired of the Americans here,’ said Mohammad Aziz, 20, a Kabul police officer. ‘We don’t want them to stay because they keep insulting our religion.'”



Fresh barrage of Gaza rockets strike Israel’s south

Iron Dome intercepts a number of rockets over Be’er Sheva on Saturday morning; 12 Palestinians reportedly killed in IAF strikes in Gaza since Friday.



Obama has partially left his delusions about Iran: Leader

TEHRAN – Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says that U.S. President Barack Obama has partially left his delusions about Iran.

The Leader made the remarks during a meeting with the members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday.

“Two days ago, we heard that the U.S. president said, ‘We do not think of war against Iran.’ Well, this is good. This is a logical remark. This is an exit from delusion. In addition, he said, ‘We will bring the Iranian people to their knees through sanctions.’ This is a delusion. The exit from delusion in the first part is good, but remaining in delusion in the second part will harm them. When one’s calculations are based on delusion, it is obvious that the planning he makes based on those calculations will end in failure,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.



The Bloody Road to Damascus
The Triple Alliance’s War on a Sovereign State

By James Petras

There is clear and overwhelming evidence that the uprising to overthrow President Assad of Syria is a violent, power grab led by foreign-supported fighters.



10 Myths about Iran Driving the Insane Push for War
And Why They’re Dead Wrong

By Jasmin Ramsey

Israeli officials and GOP candidates spout nonsense about Iran. Here’s the truth.



Weapons Financed By US Kill Unarmed Palestinians and U.S. Citizens.

By David Elkins

“U.S. weapons provided to Israel at taxpayer expense make the U.S. complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israel’s 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip”



Kofi Annan’s calls for talks spark anger:

Syrian opposition activists have angrily rejected calls by Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, for dialogue with the government.



Assad Tells Kofi Annan He’s Open To ‘Honest Effort To Find Solution’:


Assad warned the envoy that dialogue was unlikely to succeed while “armed terrorist groups” remained.



Russia threatens to veto U.S. resolution on Syria:

Russia will not support a new U.S.-drafted resolution on Syria because it fails to urge both the government and the rebels to halt violence, said a top Russian diplomat.



No military solution in Syria: EU ministers:

As Qatar called in Cairo for the dispatch of Arab and international peacekeeping troops to Syria, Juppe joined his counterparts in saying that for the EU “military action is not on the agenda.”



US officials: Loyal army, inner circle back Assad:

Despite the Obama administration’s predictions that the Syrian government’s days are numbered, recent U.S. intelligence reports suggest President Bashar Assad commands a formidable army that is unlikely to turn on him, an inner circle that has stayed loyal and an elite class that still supports his rule.



Controversy surrounds CNN footage from Syrian activist:

Video footage broadcast by CNN purporting to depict Syrian government violence was staged by the journalist reporting on camera, recent reports have claimed.



If Iran attacked it will launch 11,000 missiles at Israel, US: envoy:

Tehran’s ambassador to Lebanon says Iran has prepared itself to launch about 11,000 missiles at Israel and U.S. bases in the region if they do a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Lebanese media reported.





The Problem With the Environment Is Not Too Many People

Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout:

“We’ve all heard the claim repeatedly: humans pollute, so if we just reduce the number of people – both the number being born and the number immigrating from point A to point B – the despoiling will cease and Eden will be restored. If only it could be so simple…. ‘Too Many People?’ is a clear and convincing challenge to the idea of population control as political necessity.”



Fracking Likely Caused Series of Ohio Quakes, Officials Say

Michael Muskal and Neela Banerjee , News Report:

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources issued new regulations for transporting and disposing of brine wastewater, a fracking byproduct, making for the nation’s toughest disposal regulations, state officials said. Though the quake damage was minor – the largest was a 4.0 magnitude – environmental groups questioned whether the state’s safety rules were strong enough to protect the area from disasters they attributed to hydraulic fracturing.





New York Times CEO Robinson’s Exit Compensation Package Tops $23 Million

Janet Robinson, the New York Times Co. chief executive officer who was pushed out in December, received an exit package, including stock options and retirement benefits, of $23.7 million.

Robinson gets pension and supplemental retirement income valued at $11.4 million, performance awards of $5.39 million, restricted stock units worth $1.07 million and stock options worth $694,164, according to the company’s proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. She will also earn $4.5 million in consulting fees for this year.



NSA whistle-blower: Obama “worse than Bush”

Thomas Drake on life inside the National Security Agency and the price of truth telling

Thomas Drake, the whistle-blower whom the Obama administration tried and failed to prosecute for leaking information about waste, fraud and abuse at the National Security Agency, now works at an Apple store in Maryland. In an interview with Salon, Drake laughed about the time he confronted Attorney General Eric Holder at his store while Holder perused the gadgetry on display with his security detail around him. When Drake started asking Holder questions about his case, America’s chief law enforcement officer turned and fled the store.



Mass pro-democracy protest rocks Bahrain

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated on Friday to demand democratic reforms, stepping up pressure on the U.S.-allied government with the biggest protest yet in a year of unrest.



Three Ways to Beat Corporate Giants

Jim Shultz, Op-Ed:

From insurance companies lording over our health care to global conglomerates taking control of our water, corporate giants wield more and more influence over our lives and our environment. So how do we fight back? How do we take on corporate power and actually win? The Democracy Center recently published a new citizen’s resource that looks up close at the strategies that people and communities are using worldwide to successfully tackle corporate giants.



Don’t Look Away from Bahrain’s Revolution

By Ala’a Shehabi

Over the past year, as cameras turned away, the Bahraini regime carried out some of the worst atrocities in its history.



Bahraini forces kill 21-year-old protester in capital Manama:

Activists say the protester, named Fadhel Mirza, was killed on Saturday when regime forces attacked a group of demonstrators struggling to reach Pearl Square.





Stratfor: Blood On Their Hands
And it gets worse.

By Khadija Sharife

With their emails, Stratfor appears to advocate for a world where polluters and murderers, circumvent accountability by obtaining information to pre-empt – and in the process destroy – their opposition.



The Crime of Truth:
Obama’s Persecution of the Peacemaker

By Chris Floyd

Bradley Manning will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison for the unforgiveable crime of telling the truth to people who don’t want to hear it.



The Dirty War on WikiLeaks

By John Pilger

Media smears suggest Swedish complicity in a Washington-driven push to punish Julian Assange.



Politics and  Legislation

Senate rejects Blunt amendment to limit birth-control mandate

By Josiah Ryan and Sam Baker – 03/01/12 03:18 PM ET


Punchy Obama hits Republicans over auto bailout


Amid rising gas prices, Obama to call for vote on killing oil tax breaks

By Ben Geman – 03/01/12 06:08 AM ET

Israel legalizes unsanctioned settler enclave


Defense Ministry clarifies presence of Iran warships in Jeddah



GDP Records 3 Percent Annual Increase in Fourth Quarter


Stop Starving Public Universities and Shrinking the Middle Class


The Keystone XL Flim-Flam


Financial Firm Fined for Misleading Investors on Magnetar Bets


On Regaining a Spirit of Defiance: “I’m Worried Now But I Won’t Be Worried Long”


China Dumps $100+ Billion In USTs In December Per Revised TIC Data; UK Is Now Russia’s Shadow Buyer


Fed officials flag soft economy but mum on easing


Factory growth cools, spending stagnant


Inflation Is A Tax And The Federal Reserve Is Taxing The Living Daylights Out Of Us


Nasdaq cracks 3,000; stocks dip as Bernanke speaks


IRS battling conservatives over tax-exempt status


Kingdom’s foreign trade jumps to $358 billion


New Exposé Tracks ALEC-Private Prison Industry Effort to Replace Unionized Workers with Prison Labor



Oil price jumps to 43-month high on Saudi blast reports



Wars  and  Rumors of War

Pentagon prepares “aerial refueling” for Israeli planes striking Iran


Israel unveils sophisticated bomb shelters in Tel Aviv


US confirms placement of US forces at a radar site in Malatya


Russia Upgrades Air Defense Radar; Iranian Underground Nuke Facilities Vulnerable


Senators Concerned About Risk to U.S. Forces over Syrian Chemical Weapons


Creator Explains Message Behind “Bomb Iran” Billboard


Counter-terrorism: US special forces stationed in India, reveals Pentagon



Fracking Bans that Can Stand


Occupy Education: Teachers, Students Fight School Closings, Privatization, Layoffs, Rankings

WikiLeaks begins publishing 5 million emails from STRATFOR 26 Feb 2012 Today (27 Feb) WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. Stratfor… emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US government policies and channel tips to the Mossad – including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks’ contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables to Israel.

‘US to announce aerial blockade on Syria’ 25 Feb 2012 The Pentagon is readying for the possibility of intervention in Syria, the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday, citing a US military official. According to the official, the intervention scenario calls for the establishment of a buffer zone on the Turkish border, in order to receive Syrian refugees. The measure would pave the way for the US to declare an aerial blockade on Syria. The next step in the reported US Department of Defense plan would be to appoint a team of UN observers to monitor the ‘humanitarian’ military aid, and enter Syria. They would need aerial protection, which would eventually lead to an aerial blockade.

UK prepares for military strike against Iran: The Sun 26 Feb 2012 The United Kingdom has reportedly drawn up plans to send hundreds of troops and an extra nuclear submarine to the Persian Gulf amid escalating war threats against the Islamic Republic. “MoD planners went into overdrive at the start of the year. Conflict is seen as inevitable as long as the regime (Iran) pursue their nuclear ambitions,” The Sun quoted a senior Whitehall official as saying on Sunday. “Britain would be sucked in whether we like it or not,” the official added. The report said a military attack against Iran is “a matter of when not if… with 18 to 24 months the likely timescale.”

Two U.S. army officers killed as violence escalates for 5th day in Afghanistan


Iran warns of the collapse of the Jewish state if it mounts an attack

The WMD wars are upon us: U.S. trying to contain Syria’s stockpile

Wyoming state legislators prepare for what amounts to ‘doomsday’

“Gasland” Director Josh Fox Arrested at Congressional Hearing on Natural Gas Fracking

BP faces billions in fines as spill trial nears


Britain draws up battle plan against Iran


Obama faces tense meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Iran policy


AIJ Suspension Undermines Japan Pensions Hedge Fund Appetite


U.S. Fighting On the Same Side as Three Terrorist Groups In Syria