Archive for climate change

"Here's what your money is buying right now..."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

gop your money

We have written countless posts about the Supreme Court's terrible Citizens United decision, followed by their latest debacle, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the other appalling Supreme Court ruling that favors billionaires and allows them to influence our election outcomes.

Even Garry Trudeau couldn't keep quiet about it any longer: The Koch brothers can buy anything, including Doonesbury!  As I said in that post, a very few obscenely wealthy individuals are able to spend lavishly on candidates, politicians, and potential votes while, try as you might, your money simply can't compete with the endless supply of cash donated by the corporate big boys.

And with that, another installment of today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Money won't buy you votes," Opinion, April 20

Sure, money won't buy the vote of a regular person, but it sure can buy members of the state legislature or Congress. Here's what your money is buying right now:

Profits on gun sales fund the National Rifle Assn. and ensure that even when little kids get slaughtered at school, universal background checks won't pass the Senate despite the fact that about 90% of the country supports them.

Wealthy people who make money from investments make sure they don't get taxed at the same rates as wage earners.

Money strangles the implementation of banking reform. And it makes sure that no matter how many floods, fires or hurricanes we have, nothing is done about climate change.

Best of all, money buys donors the ability to hide behind "social welfare" organizations so nobody knows who's doing these evil things.

Joanne Zirretta

Aliso Viejo

**

A large war chest doesn't guarantee victory, as Republican Meg Whitman learned in 2010 when voters elected Democrat Jerry Brown governor by a wide margin.

But what money does allow is for the wealthy to buy the loyalty of politicians. The handful of GOP presidential hopefuls who visited billionaire Sheldon Adelson recently offer proof of that.

Most Americans agree that the latest Supreme Court rulings loosening campaign finance rules were steps in the wrong direction.

Kyle Laurent

Newhall

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

GOP Rep. Gingrey on climate change: Gov't should “put surgical mask on rear ends of every cow”

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Rep. Phil Gingrey

Back in 2010, our dear Paddy (R.I.P.) posted a video of Rep. Phil Gingrey: Seniors Would Lose Care To Save Money For "Injured Professional Athletes." In that post, Paddy said, "You've got to admit that they get pretty creative when they're desperate."

A couple of days ago, Phil Gingrey joined six other Republicans in a debate hosted by the state GOP. Or to put it another way, seven conservatives tried their level best to out cray-cray each other to win a Senate seat. Roll Call:

In front of a couple hundred voters at the Columbia County Exhibition Center just outside Augusta, the candidates sought to fortify their conservative credentials on immigration, the Second Amendment, abortion and what can be done to improve confidence in the economy.

Wait. Didn't we recently hear that Republicans were backing away from issues like abortion and gay rights because they were losers with voters? So much for that. And so much for that Big Outreach Effort they insist is mandatory in order to win elections. But I digress. Back to the Whacko Zone...

Rep. Jack Kingston, trying to make a case for electing creaky old DC insiders, said “I’m not going to apologize for being a long-term soldier fighting for the conservative cause." Since when has he ever apologized for anything? Moving on.

And anti-immigration (there's that outreach thing again), anti-John Boehner (there's that Republicans Eating Their Own thing again) Rep. Paul Broun decided he would “die for your right” to carry a lethal weapon. Note to Broun: Innocent people die because of such irrational reverence for killing machines.

But the big winner of the Questionable Sanity Award goes to Rep. Phil Gingrey:

Gingrey highlighted his three decades as an OB-GYN to prove he was no professional politician, noting he has delivered 5,200 babies. On government regulations meant to curb climate change, Gingrey quipped that maybe the government should “put a surgical mask on the rear ends of every cow” to stop the release of methane.

Speaking of face coverings, how about a soundproof surgical mask that covers the speaking end of every right wing radical?

Note to Gingrey: Regulations keep us alive by protecting us from poisons in our food, air, and water. Or perhaps you'd prefer Chinese milk laced with melamine instead?

cow kiss

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Told ya so, frackers: Ohio geologists see link between fracking, sudden burst of earthquakes

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

frackers cartoon Clay Bennett

In a previous post, Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault, I couldn't help but wonder how greedy Big Oil could ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering the San Andreas Fault to erupt into The Big One. Apparently, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment means nothing to California frackers.

Did I just say "California frackers"? My bad. I meant Ohio frackers, too. Along with any other frackers, for that matter.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that in Ohio, geologists have found a connection between fracking and earthquakes. Clearly, they've been in contact with Captain Obvious. L.A. Times, previously:

"The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'"

Take it away, Captain Obvious:

obvious

Ohio geologists have found a probable connection between fracking and a sudden burst of mild earthquakes last month in a region that had never experienced a temblor until recently, according to a state report.

The quake report, which coincided with the state’s announcement of some of the nation’s strictest limits on fracking near faults, marked the strongest link to date between nerve-rattling shakes and hydraulic fracturing -- the process of firing water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to eject oil and natural gas out of ancient rock.

Last month, Ohio indefinitely shut down Hilcorp Energy’s fracking operation near the Pennsylvania border after five earthquakes, including one magnitude-3 temblor that awoke many Ohioans from their sleep. [...]

They “believe the sand and water injected into the well during the hydraulic fracturing process may have increased pressure on an unknown microfault in the area,” the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a statement about the Poland, Ohio, operation.

You just know what frackers will do with the "unknown" word. How did former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mangle it again? Oh yes:

And how did Hilcorp Energy mangle the truth again? Oh yes. They said they are “fully committed to public safety and acting in a manner consistent with being a good corporate citizen.” Because, hey, corporations are people, too, and they're the best corporate citizens EVER.

Sorry, Hilcorp, but you're no "citizen," but you are a disgrace. Hate to say we environmentally-aware types told you so about that whole "frackquake" thing, but well, we told you so. And don't get us started on climate change, the fracking chemicals that contaminate groundwater, and drought.

Speaking of which, if you've never seen Josh Fox's "Gasland," now's your chance. Our own lwdgrfx posted the entire video here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

oil shale Monterey CA fracking Big Oil

California is trying to solve a riddle: how to tap into the largest oil shale reservoir in the United States, one that covers 1,750 square miles, roughly from Bakersfield to Fresno. I'm trying to solve a different riddle: How greedy Big Oil can ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering The Big One, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a gigantic oil trove that's trapped in San Joaquin Valley's Monterey Shale formation, 15 billion barrels, to be exact. While drilling and fracking could be a huge bonanza for oil companies and create a boom that could transform California's economy, the consequences could do just the opposite. "The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'" Yes, what California needs to kick start a thriving economy is a San Andreas "frackquake."

So far nobody has figured out an affordable way to extract the dirty, polluting fossil fuel. Good.

But that doesn't mean they haven't spent millions and millions of dollars trying. And, as the Times reports, "Oil companies are now paying farmers for their water rights, land and, in some cases, buying their homes outright to get at the reserves that might lie underneath."

Across the southern San Joaquin Valley, oil exploration sites have popped up in agricultural fields and on government land, driven by the hope that technological advances in oil extraction — primarily hydraulic fracturing and acidization — can help provide access to deep and lucrative oil reserves. [...]

The implications are profound, touching on public health, water use, water quality and the loss of agricultural land. The subsequent transformation also would alter the lives of families living in the resolutely rural communities dotting the valley.

For Tom Frantz, a retired teacher and third-generation farmer, the exploratory drilling is already too much.

"This is prime farmland and they have drilled between 200 and 300 wells in the last 10 years in the Monterey Shale," Frantz said. "Every one took out an acre or two of farmland. Every one has used hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. Each one has contributed to our air pollution. Each one has had spills on the ground of different chemicals and crude oil. Each one is emitting methane as we speak. If this thing happens and there are thousands and thousands of wells — that's scary because an accident is bound to happen," he said.

What may be great for California's economy could just as easily destroy it, along with the lives of its residents. Thankfully, the jury is still out on how this can be done profitably. Leave the damned oil shale reservoir alone. Money isn't everything. Life (as the hypocritical Drill Baby Drillers love to tell us) is.

More here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

"Turns out, Al Gore was right. Next we’ll discover he really did invent the internet."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

al-gore-climate-changeal gore climate change hot in here

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst who's having a little fun with the unnerving prospect of living, and dying, with spot-on predictions about climate change by none other than Al Gore:

TINA TURNER, MAD MAX, AL GORE AND YOU

According to a new UN report, there’s good news and bad news about global warming. The good news is- it’s worse than we thought. Yeah. That’s the good news. The bad news- you don’t want to know. Because then there’s worse news and ultimately, “holy moley, is that an asteroid the size of a mini- mall crushing my house” news.

The same kind of news a doctor offers up after inviting you into his office, closing the door and advising you to sit down. Or your lawyer recommending a friend who “specializes in this sort of thing, but I warn you, he’s not cheap.” A mechanic walking slowly from your car, wiping his hands on a rag, sadly shaking his head. Or when a spouse’s packed bags are stacked near the front door and a voice from the kitchen intones: “We need to talk.”

After delivering their communiqué describing how not only has global warming already arrived, but it’s unpacked, made friends with the dog, is sleeping on the couch and drinking daddy’s bourbon that he thinks nobody knows is behind the Wheat Thins; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change threw up its hands and ran screaming from the room. The unreported nature of these actions can be chalked up to being considered normal activity at the UN.

Remember about 10 years ago, when the IPCC told the world that something had to be done soon or all hell was going to break loose? Well, guess what? Nothing was done and all hell has broken loose. You can actually see chunks of it littering the outskirts of Phoenix. With Lucifer himself haunting the halls of the Arizona State Capitol.

The gist of the statement is instead of wasting time on political gridlock strangling all efforts to diminish global warming, we need to learn to live with it. Seriously. That’s what they said. Their recommended strategy has evolved from halting climate change to surviving it. From mitigation to adaption. No more trying to keep gas out of the basement, now we concentrate on not lighting any matches. Turns out, Al Gore was right. Next we’ll discover he really did invent the internet.

Time to wave bye- bye to certain South Sea Islanders, unless they begin building a big bunch of boats real soon. Europe will need to increase flood insurance coverage exponentially. Sales of air conditioners in the US are destined to skyrocket like condom sales in a bus station brothel, and Australia might just want to pack up and move. Now.

Its not just increased temperatures and rising sea levels and more severe weather and ocean acidification and species extinctions and multi- ecosystem collapse and slathering on sunblock 8000 and polar bears wandering Winnipeg; they’re also predicting violent conflicts over dwindling food supplies and fresh water. Like the beer cooler at a 7- 11 on Bourbon St. the Saturday before Mardi Gras.

So for all you survivalists who have always imagined living like a post- civilization Mad Max fighting feral dogs for scraps while fending off leather- clad, Mohawk- sporting punks, your dreams may have finally come true. Hey, this could be fun. Especially if you’re Tina Turner. And secretly, who here among us, isn’t?

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh,” a calendar guide to personal appearances and info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing” in which he's one of the standing 3. Still.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Monday Links

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

links

Climate Impacts 'Overwhelming' - UN

Republican Led Southern States Dragging America Down By Leeching Off Of Your Tax Dollars

Just more senseless gun violence: UPDATE: Ocean Springs, MS woman dies after ex-boyfriend shoots her

Westboro Baptists get a small taste of their own medicine and they don’t like it

Unbelievable and sick: Affluenza: Judge gives du Pont heir probation for raping his young daughter, says he ‘wouldn’t fare well in prison’

College Girl Attacked by 6 Cops for Buying Water, Now Suing the State for $40 Million

Tea Party Tax Dodger in Montana Seeks Legislative Seat

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare