Everyday Erinyes #100

 Posted by at 8:54 am  Politics
Nov 112017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

This was a week when my attention was drawn to two subjects – water, and eminent domain.  Probably everyone here knows who Chase Iron Eyes is, but just in case there are any senior moments, let me say “Standing Rock.”

Well, Chase Iron Eyes is now awaiting trial for inciting a riot, the riot being all the protests at Standing Rock over months and involving hundreds of people.  He has asked that this video be shared.  It goes through many of the events leading up to this charge.

There has been one recent victory, and I will quote Chase’s email (emphasis mine):

A North Dakota judge has ruled that my legal team is entitled to substantially more evidence from the North Dakota State Prosecutor’s office than has been forthcoming in other water protector cases. We will be able to take sworn testimony and demand documents from Energy Transfer Partners and their private, militarized security firm, TigerSwan.

The timing on this ruling is important for all environmental protectors. 84 members of Congress—nearly all Republicans—recently sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions encouraging him to invoke the domestic terrorism statute to prosecute fossil fuel protesters. These attacks on our fundamental constitutional rights, spearheaded by Donald Trump and parroted by congressional shills of Big Oil, should deeply concern all citizens who value our right to speak freely and demonstrate.

The email provided the link to the petition to sign.  Or you can text as described in the video to get the petition link.

Related, because fracking threatens people’s water (as well as the climate) is this case which Bold Alliance and landowners are fighting in Virginia, against the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.

From the email, written by one of the landowners –

In an extraordinary move, more than 300 Virginia landowners have been sued in federal court by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, which is seeking authority for a “blanket taking” of all of these Virginia families’ land via eminet domain for this private company’s for-profit fracked gas pipeline.

And on Monday evening, it happened.

At my family’s farm, we were officially served with this lawsuit that seeks to take our land through eminent domain for the proposed Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline.

The emotions are raw and real; jumping from anger to sadness to fear. Landowners across the region are wrestling with feelings of disempowerment.

We’re furious that a *private*, *for-profit* company has been handed over the power of eminent domain to drag our family to court seeking to seize a section of our land permanently for a risky, unnecessary pipeline that threatens our water and our climate — and later on, even sell that piece of our land to another private company!

I think everyone here knows what I think of eminent domain, so I see no need to stumble around looking for exotic insults and imprecations now.

Instead I’ll move on to another eminent domain case – this one in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.  Now, gentrification is not new to Atlanta.  In fact, the point of this story is that the neighborhood now facing it is the last working class black neighborhood in the city.

The article in the Atlanta Black Star includes a roughly 15-minute documentary clarifying the history of black residential areas in Atlanta.  I won’t embed it due to its length, but I’ll recommend it.

The Reader’s Digest version of the current situation is this:

The process the city is attempting to use to take ownership of the house is known as “eminent domain”— the power for governmental entities to take private property for public use. The city claims it needs the house, along with others on the same block in the Peoplestown neighborhood, in order to build a park and pond that will help with street flooding. 

Meanwhile, community members suspect the flooding is being used as a pretext to facilitate private development in the neighborhood.

This process is replicated throughout the US. If successful, eminent domain could become the newest tool that local and state governments could use to accelerate the gentrification and displacement that is already impacting low-income Black and Brown communities.  QQ

Doesn’t it all sound familiar?

A 20th century author of detective stories featuring running casts of detectives in three Southern California Police Departments had one of her characters say that all crime was rooted in one or both of two failings – stupidity and cupidity.  These crimes (and they are crimes – the fact that they are being done using the courts does not change that) are clearly due to the latter.  Dear Furies, the Greeks did not assign one or more of you to pursue criminals and crimes of greed, so you will need to divide up the assignments yourselves.  I have confidence in you.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 HERE.

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Sep 072016
 

I’m getting a late start today.  I took a nap this morning because I have groceries coming this afternoon and have to put them away.  Then Wendy is coming to de-stink the TomCat later.  The world must prepare for a great blessing tomorrow, as it is a high holy day, marking the return of the Blessed Ellipsoid Orb.  The Church od the Ellipsoid Orb convenes at 5:30 PDT.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:55 (average 6:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s easy to get away with lying about immigrants when your audience has never met one.

[A]ccording to a new working paper by Jonathon Rothwell, senior economist at Gallup, the voters cheering, clapping, and nodding in agreement at Trump’s speeches aren’t likely to be interacting with racial or ethnic minorities or immigrants on a regular basis: The best predictor of whether a person supports a Trump presidency is how white their neighborhood is.

Trump’s entire campaign is based upon his supporters’ fear of ethnic minorities, mostly Latino and Hispanic, specifically the fear that these people of a certain color are taking away jobs from “real Americans,”  spreading horrendous crimes, or other similar contrived right-wing horseshit. This is the core of his appeal, a theme to which he returns again and again, in speech after speech, rally after rally. It is the glue that binds his supporters together. [emphasis original]

The Trump supporters to whom this does not apply are the well-educated super-rich people, who choose to knowingly play on the ignorance of others out of greed or lust for power.

From NY Times: Scientists and regulators agree that earthquakes like the 5.6-magnitude tremor that struck Oklahoma on Saturday, and thousands of smaller ones in recent years, have been spurred by the disposal of millions of tons of wastewater that is pumped to the surface, and then injected back into the ground, during oil and gas production. The shock last week tied a record set in 2011 in Prague, Okla., for the strongest such tremor in the state’s history.

State regulators have ordered well operators to stop wastewater injections in a 725-square-mile ellipse around the quake’s center. But they conceded that trying to prevent more quakes was an inexact science. And in Oklahoma, where oil and gas are dominant economic and political forces, any effort to regulate the industry produces an entirely different set of shocks.

Perhaps the best solution is to limit fracking to deep red states, cut off federal aid, and make frackers pay to relocate Democrats.

From Democracy Now: On Saturday in North Dakota, security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction. If completed, the Dakota Access pipeline would carry about 500,000 barrels of crude per day from North Dakota’s Bakken oil field to Illinois, where it would meet up with an existing pipeline that would carry the oil all the way down to Texas. The pipeline has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and members of nearly 100 more tribes from across the U.S. and Canada. On Friday, lawyers for the tribe filed documents showing how the very land where Dakota Access would bulldoze on Saturday was, in fact, a tribal burial site. Democracy Now! was on the ground on Saturday, and we bring you this exclusive report.

 

Kudos to the Rosebud Sioux.  The executives of Dakota Access Pipeline and their goose-stepping brown shirts belong behind bars.

Cartoon:

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Jun 122016
 

I’m running way late today because Julie was here.  I’m a very pampered puddy tat.  We finalized the details for my surgeries next week.  We did a whole gamut of housekeeping tasks, including the dreaded task.  Killer Dawg helped.

0612KillerDawgDreaded

I fed her lunch, a plate of Tony Roma’s Baby Back Ribs. The down-side is that Killer Dawg has hidden three rib bones in my apartment, and I have no idea where they are.  We also took a pic of Killer Dawg in his official duds, in compliance with a European request for it.

0612KillerDawgOfficial

The parade was cold and it rained on and off.  I took a few pics, but as the bands passed us, none were playing and almost none of the girls were baton tossing, pompom shaking, or flag waving.  Everyone was just walking past, so about mid-way through, I gave up and had lunch.  I still have to resize the pictures and plan to post them tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 2/2015): The U.S. Geological Survey has backed-up what scientists have been suggesting for years–that deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes:

Keep it in the ground!!

Also from Daily Kos (classic 3/2015): DW-NOMINATE is a method for analyzing data on preferences, such as voting data, developed by political scientists Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal. Unlike the scoring done by interest groups, DW-NOMINATE doesn’t rely on subjective determinations of what constitutes a liberal vote or a conservative vote–it sorts members of a population according to how similar each member’s choices are to those of other members of the population. Two senators who vote the same way 90 percent of the time will be much closer to each other than two senators who only vote the same way 10 percent of the time. Poole and Rosenthal have used this method to discover some interesting statistics and trends going back to the First Congress in 1787-89.

Using House and Senate roll call votes as inputs, DW-NOMINATE has been used to chart every member of every Congress in a two-dimensional space. The primary dimension corresponds strongly to conventional notions of the liberal-conservative axis in modern politics, while the significance of the secondary axis tends to change over time (traditionally it tended to highlight the distance between Dixiecrats and the rest of the Democratic party; today it’s kind of a more nebulous indicator of social and cultural differences and is, in my opinion, not particularly interesting). The point is that we can sort the members of a particular Congress by their scores on the primary dimension to easily rank them from most liberal to most conservative based entirely on their own voting data.

And when we do this for the period in which Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, here’s what we get:

As it turns out, with a first-dimension score of -0.391 based upon her entire service in Congress, Hillary Clinton was the 11th most liberal member of the Senate in each of the 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. That places her slightly to the left of Pat Leahy (-0.386), Barbara Mikulski (-0.385) and Dick Durbin (-0.385); clearly to the left of Joe Biden (-0.331) and Harry Reid (-0.289)

0612hillary

This surprised me, but I can’t argue with authentic voting stats. I was not surprised that Bernie is number one!

From LA Times: A heavily armed gunman who had reportedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State stormed into a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday, and began rapidly firing into the crowd, killing at least 50 people and wounding 53 in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The gunman was killed by a SWAT team after taking hostages at Pulse, a popular gay club, investigators said at an early morning news conference. He has been preliminarily identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Fla., a U.S. law enforcement official said.

Mateen called 911 moments before the attack, pledging allegiance to the Islamic state, a federal law enforcement official said, confirming earlier reports. Federal investigators said they also were looking into reports that he recited prayers to Allah during the attack. The investigators stressed that they have just begun digging into his background and don’t want to jump to conclusions about any links to Islamic State.

 

May their loved ones be comforted. Barack, Bernie and Hillary all tried to comfort their suffering and condemned the pseudo-Muslim from the Daesh. Rump Dump Trump wants congratulations. Some other Republicans are even condemning the victims.

Cartoon:

0612Cartoon

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May 312016
 

Well it was a very busy day today.  I left the house at 9:30 this morning and did not return until 21:30.  I started with physio therapy, then a meeting with the financial planner who handles much of my mother's investments, and finally a visit with my mother.  After I fed her, I sat brushing her hair for two hours.  The care centre staff "don't like it" when I do that because my mother becomes so relaxed and then they have to rouse her to get ready for bed.  Truthfully, my mother becomes very relaxed such that you can see it in her face.  They truly do like to see her that relaxed.  She is one of their favourites.  Tomorrow will be much quieter.  The weather here is sunny and warm at 24 C (75 F) after a cold, wet weekend.  According to the news, Kansas and Texas are suffering through severe rain and flooding.  Too bad some of that rain couldn't fall in California where it is badly needed.  I hope all will be safe.

Short Takes

Alternet Emails obtained by The Intercept from the State Department reveal new details of Hillary Clinton's behind-the-scenes efforts to export fracking—a method of extracting oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits—to foreign countries during her tenure as Secretary of State. The emails, acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, could be particularly damning in light of Clinton's recent attempts to ally herself with the anti-fracking movement.  …

The recently obtained emails appear to contradict the anti-fracking position the Democratic frontrunner takes in the spot. Recently, Clinton has tried to distance herself from the fossil fuel industry, fending off attacks from her opponent, Bernie Sanders, whose campaign argued that she "has relied heavily on funds from lobbyists working for the oil, gas and coal industry."

Several years ago now, there were protests and petitions regarding the sale of asbestos to developing countries by Canada, while the use of asbestos in Canada was banned.  Certainly in this regard, Canada was ethically challenged and deserved, in my opinion, to be censured.  Although there is considerable fracking in the US, federal and state governments and corporations are being challenged over fracking because of the many undesirable effects such as earthquakes and polluted water.  Clinton has allied herself with anti-fracking groups as part of her campaign.  Is Clinton being disingenuous about her position on fracking, or has she changed her position?

Politico — Donald Trump observed Memorial Day weekend on Sunday by speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial at a rally of thousands of motorcyclists, where he praised veterans, called reporters “lowlifes,” thanked “the great Bobby Knight” for endorsing him and performed a derisive impression of a general he saw on television.

The presumptive Republican nominee took the occasion — the annual “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle rally, which raises awareness of unaccounted-for POWs and soldiers missing in action — to malign Hillary Clinton and tout his own electoral successes.  …

Trump spoke at a stage set up at the end of the reflecting pool closest to the Lincoln Memorial to a relatively sedate crowd of hundreds of bikers and assorted tourists, who did not entirely fill the space between the pool and the memorial. The businessman said it was not the scene he expected to encounter.

“I thought this would be like Dr. Martin Luther King, where the people will be lined up from here all the way to the Washington Monument,” said Trump. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a quarter-million supporters in August 1963.

Trump knows no bounds of propriety!  To turn a solemn occassion into a political event and then invoke MLK Jr . . . that is totally disgusting.  Dump Trump in the trash heap of history!

MotherJones — Randy Sutton, a spokesman for Blue Lives Matter, a national law enforcement group, told CNN last week that "it's usually people committing crimes like robbery, or that are being pursued by police, that turn to shooting officers." That, notes Padilla-Goodman, is essentially a concession that people don't usually attack cops because they hate them: "Somebody committing a crime against somebody because they're black didn't mean that the black person had to do anything" to provoke it.

Only in Louisiana (or another red state) would legislators consider adding police officers and other first responders to a list of people, who if attacked, would constitute a hate crime.  Interesting when a police officer counters that position.

Alternet — In an election year that's slated to produce the most unpopular candidates in history, there is one shining light—Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The Massachusetts senator/women's advocate/campaign finance reformer/human goddess has been dishing up truth bombs all year long. Utilizing social media with the skill of a millennial San Fransisco start-up owner, Warren slammed GOP candidates repeatedly for their asinine comments.  …

"Two weeks ago, he said that he was more than happy to dodge taxes because he doesn't want to throw his money, quote, 'down the drain,'" she said. "Nurses and teachers and dockworkers, they pay their fair share to keep Trump's businesses going … Donald Trump thinks that supporting them is throwing money down the drain? Then I say we throw Donald Trump down the drain."

Go Lizzie!  A national treasure is clobbering a national disgrace!

My Universe

 

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Thou Shalt Not FRACK!

 Posted by at 1:41 pm  Politics
Mar 082016
 

Because I expect Hillary Clinton to be the eventual Democratic nominee, I have been very happy to watch Bernie Sanders push her to the left on issue after issue.  There is, however, one key issue on which Hillary has positioned herself to far right.  On this issue especially, she needs to take heed of Bernie’s superior stance and move.  Hillary, thou shalt not FRACK!

0308Stop-Fracking-Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both claim to oppose fracking, but only one of them has plans to ban it.

During Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan, where environmental issues are especially critical as residents grapple with a water contamination crisis, moderators asked the candidates where they stand on the controversial gas extraction method that involves injecting chemicals and water deep underground.

Clinton answered, "I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it, number one. I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it, number three, unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using. By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place."

Sanders countered, "My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking."

As the audience applauded, Sanders added, "This is a crisis we’ve got to deal with now."…

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

 

I agree 100% with Bernie.  That said, even Hillary’s position is far superior to those if every remaining occupant of the Clown Car.

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The Great Frack Forward

 Posted by at 1:13 am  Politics
Jan 172016
 

Here in BC, the provincial Liberal government (no relation to the federal Liberals), has hitched their wagon to the development of liquified natural gas (LNG), some of it with PetroChina and other foreign corporations.  But much of the northeast LNG fields lie on Aboriginal lands, making access "difficult" fortunately.  Some of the foreign nationals are pulling out, or at least have threatened to because they want the drilling now, not after negotiations with First Nations.

China has joined the fracking revolution to meet some of its energy needs and to try to decrease their pollution.  I remember images of pollution in Beijing prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics.  The air pollution was so thick that one could cut it with a knife.  So now China is fracking to feed the economy and deal with pollution.  Not surprisingly, the Chinese are running into the same problems as everywhere else, problems that threaten its very survival.

From Mother Jones

The US-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, sponsored by the US departments of Commerce and Energy, as well as China's National Energy Administration, has convened for the last 13 years. But the focus turned to shale gas in 2009, when President Obama and then-President Hu Jintao announced an agreement to develop China's immense resources. The partnership set the stage for companies in both countries to forge deals worth tens of billions of dollars.

Here at the 2013 conference, the first American to take the podium was Gary Locke, the US ambassador to China at the time.

 underlying all the talk of new energy was an urgency to wean China from its decades-long addiction to coal. Locke promised that shale gas would do just that: "We can make further strides to improve energy efficiency, produce cleaner energy, increase renewables, and increase supply," he asserted. "Unconventional gas, especially shale gas, is just the start."

Constituting a whopping 70 percent of China's energy supply, coal has allowed the country to become the world's second-largest economy in just a few decades. But burning coal has also caused irreparable damage to the environment and the health of China's citizens.  

Scientists wrote in the medical journal The Lancet that ambient particulate matter, generated mostly by cars and the country's 3,000 coal-fired power plantskilled 1.2 million Chinese people in 2010. In late 2013, an eight-year-old girl in Jiangsu Province was diagnosed with lung cancer; her doctor attributed it to air pollution. And earlier this year, scientists found that up to 24 percent of sulfate air pollutants—which contribute to smog and acid rain—in the western United States originated from Chinese factories manufacturing for export.  

But China's push to wean itself from coal has also triggered a rush to develop alternative power sources.  

By the time of our trip, villagers living near fracking wells had already complained about the deafening noise of drilling machinery, the smell of gas fumes, and strange substances in their water. 

The clouds faded as we climbed, revealing a quilt of farmland dotted withpingfang, or flattop houses. We drove down a road lined with new hotels, small restaurants, and hardware stores—the markings of a boomtown. Roughly the size of Minnesota, the Sichuan Basin—where many of China's experimental fracking wells are located—is home to some 100 million people, many of them farmers. It's not the only part of China with shale gas, butfracking requires a lot of water, and with a subtropical climate and proximity to the mighty Yangtze River, Sichuan has that, too, making it the nation's first fracking frontier.  

China's early fracking operations face many risks, but the incentives to keep drilling are too good to pass up. Based on early sampling, Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Liebreich estimates that China is currently extracting shale gas at roughly twice the cost of the United States. Analysts expect those costs to fall as China gains experience, but even at current levels, shale gas production has been up to 40 percent cheaper—and geopolitically more desirable—than importing gas.

"You've got this 'damn the torpedoes' development strategy that sets out all sorts of quotas, expectations, and productivity targets that are not constrained or balanced in any way by environmental protection or public participation to hold people to account," says Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch's China program. Throw in corruption, she adds, and you see a toxic mix, one that has contributed to an unprecedented level of social unrest.

Fracking may soon join that list. Protests have already stymied drilling operations in Sichuan. From 2010 to March 2013, the Wall Street Journalreported, Shell had lost 535 days of work at 19 of its shale gas wells due to villager blockades or government requests to halt operations. "There are a lot of people in China who don't want to take political risks—they have too much at stake," Osnos says. "But when it comes to something as elemental as their health, and that's what pollution really is about, then they're willing to take a risk."

The country's shale gas lies deeper underground and in more complex geologic formations than those deposits in the flatlands of Pennsylvania, North Dakota, or Texas. As a result, researchers estimated that the Chinese wells will require up to twice the amount of water used at American sites to crack open the reserves.  

In addition to his concerns about fracking's enormous appetite for water, Tian also worries about its waste: the chemical-laden water that comes back out of the rock with the natural gas. In the United States, it is typically stored in steel containers or open pits and later injected underground in oil and gas waste wells. In China's early wells, wastewater is often dumped directly into streams and rivers. If fracking—most of which takes place in China's breadbasket—contaminates water or soil, Tian argues, it could jeopardize the nation's food supply. In a seismically active area like Sichuan, leaks are a major concern: Even a small earthquake—which, emerging evidence suggests, wastewater injection could trigger—might compromise a well's anti-leak system, causing more pollution. In the past year alone, more than 30 earthquakes were recorded in the Sichuan area.  

As aJPMorgan research memo stated, "Unless the popular environmental concerns are so extreme, most countries with the resources will not ignore the [shale gas] opportunity."

As the drilling continued, Dai said, her groundwater started to run dry, and now only rain replenished it. She doubted the water was fit for drinking. "After you use it, there's a layer of white scum clinging to the pot," she said. They couldn't even use it to cook rice anymore. "You tell me if there's been an impact!".

Taken from Mother Jones, this article is from late 2014 but just as relevant.

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