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"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. … I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends … and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it." –John Lennon
"A government that is able to hide its own atrocities on 'national security' grounds will be one whose public endlessly focuses on the crimes of others while remaining blissfully unaware of one’s own nation." - Glenn GreenwaldWar Is a Racket
Major-General Smedley Butler US Marine Corps -twice awarded the US Congressional Medal of Honor :
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."On NSA Spying: Q & A with Glenn Greenwald & Edward Snowden
What's the best way to make NSA spying an issue in the 2016 Presidential Election? It seems like while it was a big deal in 2013, ISIS and other events have put it on the back burner for now in the media and general public. What are your ideas for how to bring it back to the forefront?Answer:
The key tactic DC uses to make uncomfortable issues disappear is bipartisan consensus. When the leadership of both parties join together - as they so often do, despite the myths to the contrary - those issues disappear from mainstream public debate.
The most interesting political fact about the NSA controversy, to me, was how the divisions didn't break down at all on partisan lines. Huge amount of the support for our reporting came from the left, but a huge amount came from the right. When the first bill to ban the NSA domestic metadata program was introduced, it was tellingly sponsored by one of the most conservative Tea Party members (Justin Amash) and one of the most liberal (John Conyers).
The problem is that the leadership of both parties, as usual, are in full agreement: they love NSA mass surveillance. So that has blocked it from receiving more debate. That NSA program was ultimately saved by the unholy trinity of Obama, Nancy Pelosi and John Bohener, who worked together to defeat the Amash/Conyers bill.
The division over this issue (like so many other big ones, such as crony capitalism that owns the country) is much more "insider v. outsider" than "Dem v. GOP". But until there are leaders of one of the two parties willing to dissent on this issue, it will be hard to make it a big political issue.
That's why the Dem efforts to hand Hillary Clinton the nomination without contest are so depressing. She's the ultimate guardian of bipartisan status quo corruption, and no debate will happen if she's the nominee against some standard Romney/Bush-type GOP candidate. Some genuine dissenting force is crucial. ~ Glenn Greenwald (2-23-15)
This is a good question, and there are some good traditional answers here. Organizing is important. Activism is important.
At the same time, we should remember that governments don't often reform themselves. One of the arguments in a book I read recently (Bruce Schneier, "Data and Goliath"), is that perfect enforcement of the law sounds like a good thing, but that may not always be the case. The end of crime sounds pretty compelling, right, so how can that be?
Well, when we look back on history, the progress of Western civilization and human rights is actually founded on the violation of law. America was of course born out of a violent revolution that was an outrageous treason against the crown and established order of the day. History shows that the righting of historical wrongs is often born from acts of unrepentant criminality. Slavery. The protection of persecuted Jews.
But even on less extremist topics, we can find similar examples. How about the prohibition of alcohol? Gay marriage? Marijuana?
Where would we be today if the government, enjoying powers of perfect surveillance and enforcement, had -- entirely within the law -- rounded up, imprisoned, and shamed all of these lawbreakers?
Ultimately, if people lose their willingness to recognize that there are times in our history when legality becomes distinct from morality, we aren't just ceding control of our rights to government, but our agency in determing thour futures.
How does this relate to politics? Well, I suspect that governments today are more concerned with the loss of their ability to control and regulate the behavior of their citizens than they are with their citizens' discontent.
How do we make that work for us? We can devise means, through the application and sophistication of science, to remind governments that if they will not be responsible stewards of our rights, we the people will implement systems that provide for a means of not just enforcing our rights, but removing from governments the ability to interfere with those rights.
You can see the beginnings of this dynamic today in the statements of government officials complaining about the adoption of encryption by major technology providers. The idea here isn't to fling ourselves into anarchy and do away with government, but to remind the government that there must always be a balance of power between the governing and the governed, and that as the progress of science increasingly empowers communities and individuals, there will be more and more areas of our lives where -- if government insists on behaving poorly and with a callous disregard for the citizen -- we can find ways to reduce or remove their powers on a new -- and permanent -- basis.
Our rights are not granted by governments. They are inherent to our nature. But it's entirely the opposite for governments: their privileges are precisely equal to only those which we suffer them to enjoy.
We haven't had to think about that much in the last few decades because quality of life has been increasing across almost all measures in a significant way, and that has led to a comfortable complacency. But here and there throughout history, we'll occasionally come across these periods where governments think more about what they "can" do rather than what they "should" do, and what is lawful will become increasingly distinct from what is moral.
In such times, we'd do well to remember that at the end of the day, the law doesn't defend us; we defend the law. And when it becomes contrary to our morals, we have both the right and the responsibility to rebalance it toward just ends. ~ Edward Snowden (2-23-15)
1. 50,000 Large Dams Are Clogging the World’s Rivers:
About 50,000 dams
with a height of 15 meters or more and millions of smaller dams have been built on the world’s rivers. Some of them date back centuries, but most were built after World War II. About 5,000 dams
have a height of 60 meters or more; another 350 such giants are currently under construction.
2. Dams Are Changing the Face of the Earth:
Dams have fragmented two thirds of the world’s large rivers and flooded a land area the size of California. Their reservoirs contain three times as much water as all the world’s rivers, and constantly lose close to four Niagara Falls to evaporation. Dams trap 40 cubic kilometers of sediments every year, and starve deltas of the silt that protects them against the intruding sea.
3. Dams Provide Important Services:
Dams generate 16% of the world’s electricity
and irrigate food crops for 12-15% of the world’s population
. To a lesser extent, dams have also been built for water supply, flood protection, navigation and tourism purposes. Most dams have been built for irrigation, but 80% of the water they store is used for hydropower.
4. Dams Kill Fish:
Dams block the migration of fish, deplete rivers of oxygen, and interfere with the biological triggers that guide fish. They also reduce the ability of rivers to clean themselves. Due to dam building and other factors, the population of freshwater species declined by 37% between 1970-2008 – more than the populations of any other ecosystems. Tropical freshwater populations declined by a stunning 70%.
5. Dams Are Changing the Climate:
Dams are not climate-neutral. Particularly in the tropics, organic matter rotting in their reservoirs emits methane, an aggressive greenhouse gas. Scientists have estimated that reservoirs account for 4% of all human-made climate change, equivalent to the climate impact of aviation. The floods and droughts caused by climate change in turn make dams less safe and less economic.
6. Dams Displace People:
Dams have displaced an estimated 80 million people, with 23 million alone in China. Displacement robs people who are already poor and marginalized of their resources, skills and cultural identity, and impoverishes them further. Dams have also negatively impacted about 500 million people living downstream. The benefits of dams often bypass the people who sacrifice their livelihoods for them.
7. Dams Can Put Human Rights at Risk:
Most dams that displace large populations are being built by authoritarian governments. In Burma, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Sudan and other countries, dam builders have often responded to opposition with serious human rights violations. In the worst dam-related massacre, more than 440 indigenous people were killed to make way for Guatemala’s Chixoy Dam in 1982.
8. Dams Are Expensive:
Large dams belong to the most expensive investments many governments have ever made. An estimated 2000 billion dollars has been spent on dams since 1950. Due to planning errors, technical problems and corruption, dams experience average delays of 44% and cost overruns of 96%. Such massive overruns make them uneconomic.
9. Dams Don’t Last Forever:
Sooner or later reservoirs silt up, and the cost of maintaining dams becomes bigger than their benefits. In the United States, more than 1000 dams have been removed at great cost. When dams are not properly built or maintained, they can break. In the world’s biggest dam disaster, the failure of China’s Banqiao Dam killed an estimated 171,000 people in 1975.
10. Better Solutions Are Usually Available:
In 2012, governments and businesses installed 75 gigawatt of wind and solar power, compared with 30 gigawatt of hydropower. Such alternatives fare even better when social and environmental impacts and transmission costs are included. The International Energy Agency has proposed that 60% of the funds needed to achieve energy access for all should go to local renewable energy projects.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
The Alberta Tar Sands Species alteration: Is GMO rewiring our DNA?
Tue, 25 Jun 2013 15:11 CDT
New studies in cell research are bringing up some alarming new questions concerning GMOs, and one of them in particular makes liver failure or cancer seem like child's play compared to the garish possibilities that arise when we start to look at how genetically modified foods likely affect our DNA
Let's get one thing straight, first. All kinds of things can alter our DNA, for the better or worse. Bruce Lipton, a pioneering biology scientist, proved that emotions can change our DNA; research has shown that even exercise
or chemotherapy can alter our DNA; ancient cultures have known that sound can affect our DNA;
and the newest research states that we aren't relegated to a specific destiny because of our genes
, but it seems our brains are being rewired via DNA to become 'new humans.'
Our mice who were fed
this dRNA, the liver completely changed its cell organization, and the mice grew strangely. The same effects were found when these dRNA were added to human cells. Allegedly, this GMO food can be turning on cancer causing genes, or quiet our immune systems. In other ways, the GMO wheat we are consuming
is so different than organic wheat that it is causing us to be addicted to it. Some are calling it bioterrorism for this reason.
GMO food plants make these new dRNA so that the gene structure is silenced or amplified in very specific ways. There are no evaluations of dRNA and how it will affect our genes by the FDA, and Monsanto is working on dRNA technology, buying up companies that are developing it so that it can be issued as the next round of GMO food they unleash unwittingly on us.
Researchers in Australia and New Zealand are exposing this issue
. Even inhalation of the GMO company's sprays can change the way our bodies produce DNA and associated proteins. Most frightening is the fact that this dRNA can translate through the offspring of the people exposed to it. In Canada, new research is showing that pregnant women's blood samples contained traces of toxins
found in GMO foods. Who knows what the long term ramifications are of messing with our very genetic structure, but they can't be promising considering the track record of Monsanto thus far.
"The finding that GE toxins and also herbicide residues are being absorbed into consumers and unborn babies blood, shows that organic and GE-free foods should be first choice for families and especially pregnant women," said Soil & Health - Organic spokesperson Steffan Browning.
There are plans to introduce this dRNA in food, medicines, vaccines, and 'pesticide' sprays. Unless you want to play a game of wait and see with your own genetic evolution, it might be time to go all organic until more research is leaked on the subject of GMO and DNA alteration.
The Queen at the Olympics
A sweet photo of my favorite singer. Do you recognize him?