"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”" ~~~~Samuel P. Huntington

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dimitry Orlov

For a primer on the underlying hypothesis see: Closing the 'Collapse Gap' by Dimitry Orlov

Hit play and the slides will change @ 15 second intervals
Or manually advance and rewind the slides with the < > buttons.

How Dinosaurs Became Extinct
[Cartoon H/t: "Peoples Geography - Reclaiming Space"]

Guerilla Gardening - The Illicit Cultivation Of Public Space

Guerilla gardening is the illicit cultivation of public space. It’s a worldwide movement – here’s the web page of guerilla gardeners in London. And yes, it is illegal, since you are tilling the soil of land you do not own. Guerilla gardening guides suggest following these three rules (From a Guerilla 'Goth' Grrrl):
Use only land that is unused or unwanted, leave the land in better condition than when you found it, and don’t get caught.
H/t: Alternet, "How Everyday Citizens are Breaking the Law for Mother Earth", Katherine Butler (From: EcoSalon), March 29, 2010

In another vein, Crop Mobbing: "This is the face of neo-agrarianism."

Change the world! We'll help your company make a lot of profit by outsourcing your human resources

Recommended Viewing For The Astute Globali$ed Businessperson!

[We'll help your company make a lot of profit by outsourcing your human ressources. We use children, women, migrants, illegals and more...]
Click any image... It might take a while (10 minutes on the wireless connection at a coffee shop Auntie Imp frequents) to pre-load the multiple (11) chapters of this Flash presentation. Patience please... It IS worth it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Little Geo-Political History Of "Israel" From Juan Cole - Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis

Generally, the following has NOT been applied since the occupation of Palestine:
"If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with all others justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless, the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place…then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever." -Jeremiah 7:5-7
See: Thursday, January 8, 2009 "No, no, no," he said. "We should be hitting the greenhouses." - Israelis Watch the Fighting in Gaza ... They Come With Binoculars and Lawn Chairs

Juan Cole, Middle East Historian, University of Michigan:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Council on Monday that "Jerusalem is not a settlement." He continued that the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel cannot be denied. He added that neither could the historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. He insisted, "The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today." He said, "Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital." He told his applauding audience of 7500 that he was simply following the policies of all Israeli governments since the 1967 conquest of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.

Netanyahu mixed together Romantic-nationalist cliches with a series of historically false assertions. But even more important was everything he left out of the history, and his citation of his warped and inaccurate history instead of considering laws, rights or common human decency toward others not of his ethnic group.

So here are the reasons that Netanyahu is profoundly wrong, and East Jerusalem does not belong to him... GO >>>

Health Care "Reform" - The Democrats Lower The Bar... About Two Inches From The Ground

[OK, so 16 million more Americans may receive MediCare. That's all well-and-good for those millions of 'Baby Boomers' retiring, or soon to retire (like myself). But that's insignificant compared to the number of people in the US who will still go without any health insurance, no less any preventative health services. // Razer]

Stan Goff, Feral Scholar. Short, Sweet... Punchy Summation.
Pig in a poke. The original word was poche, French for ‘pocket.’ Or bag. The old trick was to sell someone a suckling pig, which was wriggling inside a sack. When the buyer gets home and unties the sack to inspect the family holiday supper, voila!, it’s a stray cat. Gotcha!

Obama’s health care bill is a pig in a poke.

The expansion of Medicare to 16 million people is, on balance, a good thing… for now, and smart politics. That’s a lot of votes. Couple of other sops.

But overall, this is the pig in the poke. We can spice that cat up someway…

This bill legally compels people to purchase insurance. From private insurance companies. I hope this proves to be unenforceable. This is theft.

No caps on premiums.

No standardization of benefits.

No restrictions on benefit denials by insurance companies.

Taxing of health benefits.

Obama’s rejection of his pro-choice constituency with his executive order.

The list is very long, and the way it’s now set up, the states will be engaged by a race to the bottom, officiated by Big Insurance.

Bad news all round, but hey, the Dems lowered the bar until they could make the specious claim that they changed history. The leap over this bar was about two inches off the ground.

War and theft.


Nothing changes that isn’t changed within arms reach.

Those people don’t care about you. They care about their positions and power, and they’ll eat shovels full of shit to keep their positions and power. That’s their secret. [Source]

U.S. Army jails Hip Hop artist/soldier in Kuwait for seeking PTSD help

BAGHDAD — A U.S. soldier who threatened to shoot fellow troops and sent the Pentagon a violent rap song he wrote to protest plans to send him back to Iraq has been thrown out of the Amry, officials said Saturday.

The dismissal for misconduct means Spc. Marc A. Hall will avoid criminal charges but lose all military benefits earned over at least four years of service, including an earlier tour in Iraq.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Bloom said Saturday that top brass decided to discharge Hall instead of taking him to trial in part because he admitted his guilt... MORE

U.S. Army jails HipHop rapping soldier Marc Hall in Kuwait for seeking PTSD help

[Donate to help defend Marc - 146 people have given $5,408 (March 26 2010).
Marc HallBecause the Army kidnapped Marc to Kuwait for trial, we will need to raise at least $10,000 to provide a civilian defense lawyer. Critical expert witnesses to could be another $5,000, in addition to the $4,600 already spent.]

Peace HelmetCourage to Resist. March 25, 2010

"US Army Specialist Marc A. Hall sits in a military brig at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, facing an imminent court martial for challenging the US military’s Stop-Loss policy in a song — his pre-trial hearing was held last week on March 17. Yet it was not the hip-hop song he wrote criticizing the Stop-Loss policy that landed him in trouble.

What put the 34-year-old New York City native in the brig were his persistent assertions of inadequate mental health care that culminated in a Dec. 7 complaint to the Army Investigator General.

Just five days later Hall was charged with violating “good order and discipline” at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and was shipped out of the country.

Hall’s court martial is likely to occur late April or early May.

The jailing occurred a full five months after Hall wrote a rap song protesting the Stop-Loss order that halted his discharge after he served his country for 14 months of combat in Iraq.

Hall was charged with 11 counts of “communicating threats” related to the song and has since been charged with violating Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Conduct. All the alleged violations occurred between last July and December, yet not one warranted warning, counseling, or non-judicial punishment at the time.
"...the military took the nearly unprecedented step of moving Hall overseas for court martial, instead of putting him on trial in Georgia where the alleged threats occurred.

On Feb. 26 Hall was put on plane to Iraq and transferred to Kuwait for pre-trial confinement. This put him out of reach of his civilian legal defense team, friends, and family. It will also make it extremely hard for defense witnesses to appear at trial on his behalf.

“Not just the Constitution, but the rules for courts-martial, prohibit prosecutors from holding a court martial in a combat zone as pretext for depriving an accused of a public trial, counsel of his choice and necessary witnesses,” said Hall’s attorney David Gespass, President of the National Lawyers Guild.
“Whatever the Army may claim, that is exactly what the Army is doing...”
Read More

[African Americans Sang About The Vietnam War Too]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just In: Iraq elections assessment from bitterlemons-international.org

The "Best & Brightest" thinkers from the Middle East and beyond discuss the Iraqi elections. (Also see: The Iraqi elections: external involvement Ed. 5 Vol. 8 - February 25, 2010)
A victory for Iran?
Sadegh Zibakalam

In the short term, anti-western forces both inside and outside Iraq can smile.

The game is not over
Safa A. Hussein

If all four blocs form a government, this could ease tensions with Saudi Arabia.

Turbulence at the exits
Greg Bruno

The political turbulence following the March 7 vote--and the wave of violence that punctuated it--illustrates just how long the road for Iraq truly is.

Building a state on a sectarian, ethnic and quota basis
Sawsan al-Assaf

Sectarianism will almost certainly ensure that Iraq's major cities again witness an increase in violence.

Read them @ bitterlemons-international.org

Be sure to browse bitterlemons-international archives too.

Recent roundtable topics:
The Arab League and Palestinian-Israeli proximity talks Ed. 7 Vol. 8 - March 11, 2010

* "All that is needed at this time is public Arab support" - Daoud Kuttab
* "High probability of failure" - Shlomo Brom
* "Reverse engagement" - Rime Allaf

The Mabhouh assassination in Dubai Ed. 6 Vol. 8 - March 01, 2010

* "Israel must be held accountable" - Ghassan Khatib
* "A brilliant blunder" - Josef Joffe
* "Hypocrisy" - Yossi Alpher
* "A scandal for Israeli intelligence" - an interview with Mustafa Alani

"Bullets from the Drug War" - Dimitry Orlov (kollapsnik @ ClubOrlov) On America's Border Drug War

Bullet Hole SmileyBullets from the Drug War
by kollapsnik (Dmitry Olov)

[One-year update: I posted this a year ago. Right now, the Secretary of State, the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other American top brass are in Mexico City trying to spin this. Let's see if any of what I said a year ago needs to be revisited.]

* The US has lost the "War on Drugs"

* The losing side is usually not the one to decide when a fight is over or how it ends

* Unlike other recent defeats, this lost war is a defeat followed by an invasion

* Mexico is the natural staging area for the invasion (inconvenient though it is for the Mexicans)

* New franchises are being set up to service the North American drug market (which is the biggest in the world)

* The CIA has to eat, and all they know how to do competently is run guns and drugs and control thugs; they get a seat at the table

* The narcs have to eat too, and all they are trained to do is deal (with) drugs; they get a seat at the table too

* As the federales grow weak in the US and Mexico, the battle lines will advance north of the border, leaving Mexico a quiet and largely intact backwater

* This is an inter-US conflict, because Americans are the most avid consumers, sellers, and prosecutors of drugs

* Life in the USA gives everyone a pain that is for many people simply not survivable without drugs: either alcohol, pharmaceuticals or illegal drugs

* Illegal drugs are far more cost-effective than either pharma or alcohol — government-licensed industries which are either excessively lucrative or taxed heavily

* As Americans give up hope, they will need to self-medicate in ever-larger numbers

* They will be far more able financially to afford illegal drugs than either pharma or alcohol.

* Illegal drugs (and moonshine) are two very large post-collapse enrepreneurial opportunities within the USA [Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century, Orlov 2005]

* This is no longer a war against drugs; it is now a contest between alternative drug distribution systems

* One alternative is a centralized, paramilitary organization run by CIA remnants, former military, and former police

* Another alternative is ethnic mafias, which will diversify into many other kinds of trade.

* The third, nautrally most cost-effective alternative will be provided by informal, local distribution networks based on barter, which will be all that is left once the dust settles

* The downside of all this is that it will be hard to find anyone sober enough to operate a light switch

* The upside to that is that the national electrical grid goes away, so there will be very little demand for competent light switch operators


Visit Dimitry @ ClubOrlov, and if you haven't, be sure to check his (2006) presentation "Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US" at energybulletin.net and a recent update: "Collapse Gap Revisited"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mountaintop Mining - There Are Now 470 Missing Appalachian Mountain Peaks (You won't miss them will you?)

"The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses." --U. Utah Phillips, folksinger and old Wob.

Chase Bank is ONE name with addresses throughout America. They ought to be *easy* to find.

Auntie Imp suggest you 'look them up'.

... See the link to Reverend Billy Talen's site below for more.

"Mountaintop Removal is ungreenwashable. All the cancerous deaths, poisoned streams, CO-2 emissions from the dirty coal, shit-colored tap-water – all that devastation is felt within the irreducible two words. The word is an honest, obscene monument. It is how the summits of rock live on in our memory. The heights that the coal companies thought would vanish and not be missed – the high places are refusing to fall into the railroad cars. They rise in the blue sky because they are surrounded by people from the mountains who love the mountains and believe in them as the horizon of life, like the memory of the shape and feel of the face of a dead mother."

Reverend Billy Talen (from the Church of Stop Shopping) has more @ Alternet, March 21, 2010 "Two words: MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Queer? Come Out, Sell Out, Visit Exotic Lands, Meet New People, And Kill Them - "Petraeus: 'Time has come' to rethink gay policy"

Don't think for a second these people don't DESPISE Queers. Freakish cult "christians" have thoroughly infiltrated all branches of the military including the Army (where a group of them were 'outed' for   proselytizing to Muslims in Afghanistan just last year).

The Pentagon has just plain run out of fresh cannon fodder and WILL NOT risk a draft and the massive violent disruption to American society that would occur.

Queer Does NOT Equal KillerPetraeus: 'Time has come' to rethink gay policy

The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The four-star Army general who is managing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan says "the time has come" for the military to rethink its policy toward gays. More

Monday, March 15, 2010

So What Did You Expect From American "Democracy" - "Iraq poll results delayed again, amid mounting fraud claims"

Frauds R' Us: "The core driver of modern capitalist society is fraud" (source)

Also see: Meet the New Iraqi Government Coalition, (Probably) the Same As the Old Coalition
"Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose State of Law coalition is leading in seven provinces - including Baghdad, which is by far the largest electoral prize in the race - sought to minimise the fraud allegations.
Complaints presented to the commission... ...will not change the election's results,"
In Full @ EarthTimes

More still @ Informed Comment, Asia Times and the Washington Post

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Imperial Hubris" - Another Way To View "The Hurt Locker"

Laying Low"It is imperial hubris turned into an art form in which the Iraqi people appear as numbed bystanders when they are not deranged extras. It is a perverse tribute to the film’s accuracy in portraying the insanity of the U.S. invasion—while ignoring its root causes—that the Iraqis are at no point treated as though they are important.

They never have been, at least in the American view. No Iraqi had anything to do with attacking us on 9/11, and while we are happy to have an excuse to grab their oil and deploy our bloated military arsenal, the people of Iraq are never more than an afterthought.

Whatever motivates Iraqi characters in the movie to throw stones or blow themselves up is unimportant, for they are nothing more than props for a uniquely American-centered show. It is we who matter and they who are graced by our presence no matter how screwed up we may be."


The Iraqi Elections: "Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss"

The Who

Meet the New Iraqi Government Coalition, (Probably) the Same As the Old Coalition

By: Swopa Saturday March 13, 2010 5:00 pm

So the election results are trickling in slowly from the Iraqi parliamentary elections, and the coalition led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expressing confidence that they will come away with the largest share of the votes — a confidence that may or may not be related to the gradually accumulating accusations of fraud in the ballot-counting process.

Although all of the blocs that made up the Iraqi national legislature have frayed somewhat since the last round of elections at the end of 2005, virtually all of the major players are expected to return when the dust settles this time… most likely including al-Maliki as the prime minister.

In Full, Firedoglake

Taser, Inc.... They're thinking of you America

"Taser’s distributor has announced plans for a flying drone that fires stun darts..."






Bob Dobbs

Why not just mount them on a AC-130?

I'm SURE we can get some "All American" to do the deed:

Gunner Grrrl


Friday, March 12, 2010

"Don't worry, this stuff won't hurt you." - Vets say toxic tests sickened them; government says prove it

"...the military spent years disavowing the tests altogether. The denials ended in the late 1990s, but the government has offered medical care and compensation only to those who can establish, by a preponderance of evidence, their illnesses were the result of exposure.

As of 2008, just 39 of 614 benefit claims filed by veterans in relation to tests nationwide had been approved.

Army says it used 'voluntary human subjects, 'but ill man says 'I was private first class I did anything they told me to do.'"

By Matthew D. LaPlante
The Salt Lake Tribune

01/21/2010 02:52:31 PM MST

Editor's note: Third in a three-part series.

Even those who know the area best won't step far off the narrow, muddy road that runs through the center of the desolate toxic dump at Utah's Deseret Chemical Depot.

It's been more than 30 years since the U.S. Army used this vast scrubland, known as the East Demilitarization Area, to dispose of a deadly arsenal of chemical and conventional munitions -- but the military still hasn't figured out how to clean up its mess.

The Defense Department does acknowledge the disaster, just as it has belatedly admitted having tested a gamut of chemical and biological weapons on military members in Utah's vast west desert during the Cold War. But the U.S. government insists that the tests have contributed to long-term illnesses in only a handful of exposed service members. And that has led the Department of Veterans Affairs to deny almost all claims for care and compensation made by those who believe they got sick as a result of the tests.

Although the Cold War was fought mainly by proxy and politicians, it was not without its casualties: Many died while waiting on the military to so much as acknowledge its secret programs.

Now, Dwight Bunn fears he might also slip away before the government takes responsibility for its actions.

The former soldier is sick. And he wants to know why.

'Don't worry, this stuff won't hurt you.'

Chemical Weapons Map

Bunn was 21 years old when he arrived at Dugway Proving Ground, just over the snow-dusted hills from the Deseret demilitarization dump, in Tooele County. The official mission of his unit, the 45th Chemical Company, was to create smoke screens for infantry assaults. But in the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, the Army had other uses for the group.

Among the company's secretive duties: Helping to dispose of the carcasses of animals used in chemical weapons tests.

Starting in the 1940s and continuing through the 1970s, the Army tested and disposed of thousands of tons of chemical and biological agents in sparsely populated Utah, including munitions loaded with sarin, VX, mustard, tabun and various hallucinogens.

Bunn, whose tour of duty in Utah began as the U.S. was beginning to build up its forces in Vietnam, also believes members of his unit were exposed to Agent Orange. "They told us, 'Don't worry, this stuff won't hurt you. It's a defoliant and so it will kill the trees, but you'll be fine," he said.

Bunn said military officials have told him they can find no record of Utah tests involving the toxic herbicide, which has been linked to dozens of medical conditions.

But for the Washington state man, the government's denials are less than convincing. After all, the military spent years disavowing the tests altogether. The denials ended in the late 1990s, but the government has offered medical care and compensation only to those who can establish, by a preponderance of evidence, their illnesses were the result of exposure.

As of 2008, just 39 of 614 benefit claims filed by veterans in relation to tests nationwide had been approved.

Bunn, who suffers from restrictive lung disease, has asked the VA for care and compensation for his condition, in which tissue surrounding the lungs hardens and makes it difficult to exhale.

But the 65-year-old veteran's claim has been denied. And he's infuriated by a government that kept the program secret for decades, and now expects him and others to be able to offer proof that the tests made them sick.

"I've been exposed to a hell of a lot of stuff," he said. "Can I say definitively what did this to me? No I can't. But I've never lied about it. The military -- it conducted tests on humans and didn't acknowledge it. That's not right."

'Blow it up and burn it.'

Bio-Chem Weapons Dumps East US

Long rows of wooden pallets, stacked with bomb casings and ragged pieces of shrapnel, memorialize the Army's last attempt to clean up the Deseret demilitarization dump. The inefficient bomb-by-bomb effort was abandoned in the 1980s when military leaders realized it was too dangerous to continue.

"They just walked away," said Troy Johnson, Deseret's environmental program manager.

It's hard to understand why they even started. Just to the south of Deseret's colossal, modern weapons incinerator, the charred shells of nearly 60,000 mortars form an artificial bluff hundreds of feet across. Some of the bombs are believed to be filled with the hardened remnants of mustard agent.

Not far away, ditches the size of swimming pools are filled with paint cans, fire extinguishers, oil drums, tear gas canisters and cluster bombs. Unexploded ordnance litters the ground...

In Full, The Salt Lake Tribune

H/t: Chemical Weapons Working Group

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Disaster-Industrial Complex At Work - Contractors And Others Steal Half Of Food Aid To Somalia

Child Soldier
"New York - At least half of the World Food Programme's food supplies to Somalia's needy people has been diverted by unscrupulous contractors, radical Islamist militants and even UN staff in the country, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Times said an unpublished report by the UN Security Council would recommend that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launch an investigation into WFP's operations in Somalia considering the severity of the food aid diversion."
[In Full]

Why DOES Somalia NEED "food aid"?
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The WTO, World Bank, and IMF - Destroying African (or 'your third world country's name here') Agriculture
Walden Bello, FPIF

U.S. Agriculture Secretary John Block put it at the start of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1986, “the idea that developing countries should feed themselves is an anachronism from a bygone era. They could better ensure their food security by relying on U.S. agricultural products, which are available, in most cases at lower cost.

[In Full] (An excruciatingly detailed analysis of exactly how the West raped Africa's agricultural economy)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"The nation’s defense budget is about to tangle with a really dangerous adversary." - Health Reform Scares The Defense Industry

I Want OutLet it be duly noted that, in America, health care reform (especially any hope for 'Medicare For All') depends on the whims of the defense industry, and they ARE putting the pressure on:

Crooks and Liars:
"I've been seeing a number of op-eds in recent defense journals that have a slightly hysterical, paranoid perspective on the "dangers" of health care reform. the authors of these articles are terrified that mounting costs of health care are going to impinge on the defense budget. democrat attempts to give all americans insurance may increase overall health care costs. as a result, a weakened america will be just wide-open to attack by terrorists and china and who knows what else.

Think i'm exaggerating? here's harvey sapolsky, a defense academic out of mit, talking in the national defense journal:
"....The revenue for more health care exists in the form of defense expenditures, which have doubled since 9/11. The billions needed for reforming health will likely come, in one way or another, from cuts in defense spending. Personnel reductions will be hard to make because of the burdens that Iraq and Afghanistan deployments place on U.S. forces. Fewer and fewer aircraft and ships will be bought. There will also be less training and more restrictions on operations with and for allies. America has a powerful military that will take a while to unravel, but unravel it will. The nation’s defense budget is about to tangle with a really dangerous adversary."
More @ Crooks and Liars

Monday, March 8, 2010

"CakeWalks"...How Disinformation Campaigns Work (Marja Edition) - Fiction of Marjah as City Was US (DIS) Information War

"...and the more you watch, the less you do." ~Jackson Browne, Information Wars

"From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." ~White House chief of staff Andrew Card explaining why the (Iraq) War hype was postponed until the weeks immediately prior to the November 2002 elections.

Marja Afghanistan Citizens
"The official admitted that the confusion about Marja's population was facilitated by the fact that the name has been used both for the relatively large agricultural area and for a specific location where farmers have gathered for markets.

However, the name Marja "was most closely associated" with the more specific location, where there are also a mosque and a few shops.

That very limited area was the apparent objective of "Operation Moshtarak", to which 7,500 U.S., NATO and Afghan troops were committed amid the most intense publicity given any battle since the beginning of the war.

So how did the fiction that Marja is a city of 80,000 people get started?

The idea was passed on to the news media by the U.S. Marines in southern Helmand. The earliest references in news stories to Marja as a city with a large population have a common origin in a briefing given Feb. 2 by officials at Camp Leatherneck, the U.S. Marine base there.

The Associated Press published an article the same day quoting "Marine commanders" as saying...

Fiction of Marjah as City Was US Information War @ t r u t h o u t

More... See this backgrounder... Wayyyyy Back to the 1950s, at Firedoglake:
“Little America” in Afghanistan: Is the US Repeating a Failed 1950’s Experiment in Social Engineering?

For more recent history: Yup… They LUV us out there: “Afghan flag-raising in NATO offensive draws gunfire”

Also: Marja Afghanistan - Just Noting That We've Been Lied To About That "Cakewalk" Thing Again

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Children Rage Against The Deus Ex Machina ('No Future For Kids' Edition)

I WANT You To Give Me A Future
"Nietzsche argues that the deus ex machina creates a false sense of consolation that ought not to be sought..." [Wikipedia]

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Different, But Not A Lot, In The 21st Century - 'Owens Valley Water Wars' Redux

(Click thumbnails for source articles)
Owens Lake
For those unfamiliar, the Owens Valley outside of Los Angeles was stripped of it water early in the 20th century by covert means and overt political power plays. Marc Reisner's excellent book Cadillac Desert(short wikipedia entry) covers this travesty in excruciating detail and PBS had done a series of specials(wikipedia) based on the book. That series is no longer available (I HAVE written PBS' ombudsman regarding that but expect no reply.)

(I've discovered that Archive.org has PBS' very informative web pages, but NOT the video)

Cadillac Desert is a history of how the West got it's water, is still out there and is well worth reading. If you ever wanted to know where that hardboiled L.A. Private Detectve image developed...The Los Angeles water companies actually hired dozens of them to act as a mercenary army, harassing the residents and water-bearing property owners of the Valley.

The response was severe:
Chinatown Poster"Owens Valley farmers watched decades of labor and their livelihoods literally whither away resisted violently by dynamiting the aqueduct (for decades) that carried away their water 230 miles away to LA. In response, (William) Mulholland (Ed. the villian in this story with an engineer named Fred Eaton his 'Judas', although the glorification of the Mulholland name all over Southern California is testament to... something...) is reported as saying that he “half-regretted the demise of so many of the valley’s orchard trees, because now there were no longer enough trees to hang all the troublemakers who live there.” (click the image for the source)

For movie buffs, the events in Owens Valley were immortalized in the movie "Chinatown" starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.

Go to any good book store and Cadillac Desert WILL be on the shelves. There is an audiobook torrent (monotone... not much fun to listen to) available from the usual torrent suspects online.

There's also a 2006 KNX Los Angeles special called: Water Wars! The Battle For Owens Valley (KNX investigative reporter Michael Linder takes you to the Owens Valley where water wars have been raging for century.) which points out that the draining of those water resources nearly a century ago has an effect on the residents of the region to this very day with toxic dust causing respiratory disease and cancer.
H/T: owensvalleyhistory.com

Owens InfrastructureThe history in that book is coming to the fore again as Californians see the disinformational headlines in the papers such as "Feds Cutting Off Central Valley Water"(San Jose Mercury-News about a year ago) when in actuality, the federal water subsidies that allowed the stripping of all the water from the Colorado Basin Aquifer and further, also facilitated the supplying of water to California farmers and cities at ten cents on the dollar were due to expire at the turn of the 21st century and most likely won't be renewed no matter what Senator Diane Feinstein, D-CA says).

Here's a basic search on the Owens Valley Water Wars

Wikipedia's entries will suffice as a basic reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Water_Wars

Also see this reprint of a Smithsonian article @ Mindfully Yours:
California Scheming, MARK WHEELER / Smithsonian v.33, n.7, Oct02

If you REALLY want to get historic: Owens Valley Water Wars Reference File and Correspondence from the personal file of Senator, Joseph E. Riley, 1924-1938. MANUSCRIPT BOX 1883 California Rare Bk Collection location Offline. Contact California State Library No online items

Some 'elective' studies follow.

Here's a Worldwatch Institute article from 1997 about the already-at-that-time looming GLOBAL water crisis: Governments Failing to Protect Societies from Spreading Water Scarcity

More recently (March 2010 Grist via Alternet): Why Availability of Freshwater Is a Huge Factor in the 'War on Terror'

Despite "American Exceptionalism" and all that, buying water and transporting it is a VERY expensive proposition. Making war for water, an age old reason for regional wars and local conflicts, more likely to become a global 'solution' as water rapidly become a necessary 'extractive resource' for the West, except it's also a resource that the people of the area it's 'extracted' from also need... often for their very survival. The word is "BlowBack". If you don't know what that word means, click the link.

But, not meaning to deceive with my ramblings on, that's NOT what this "Owens Valley War" is going to be about.

In many converstions over the last few years I have made a statement to this effect
Decentralization of American society is the only way to survive the end of the oil age.

We used to have a "Wave Ram" in Santa Cruz California at the turn of the 20th century. It used ocean wave motion to turn a generator.

Now you could do that with specialized low frequency transducers like the ones factories mount on their metal milling machinery to computer monitor the machine's cutter wear and embed those simple low frequency condenser microphones into Mylar mats and float them on the Monterey Bay.

But if you cover the WHOLE bay to supply power a population of a millions, you'll have no more fish, or sea birds, and the change of water temperature would surely cause massive algae growths and weather change.... and those are just the first issues that pop into my mind.

There are already existent devices acting as latter day wave rams, but again... an array (for want of a better term) of this thing... or that... will NOT be impactless on the environment when scaled to the needs of a major metropolitan area anywhere on the planet.

Wind Farm - Palm Springs

Ugly Wind Turbines Ugly LifestyleSure, you can power a city with wind turbines, (which even energy hypocrites think unsightly) if you don't care that some hilly region down the road has no more birds and the residents nearby suffer the unknown consequences of long term exposure to subsonic sound radiation. Not to mention the HUGE increase in truck traffic and ancillary development in the area just to repair and maintain these high tech pieces of modern machinery
Wind Farm

Of COURSE you can power a city by covering the deserts in solar panels if you don't take the collateral ecological damage to the incredibly damaged and fragile near-desert-by-theft environment into account...

L.A.'s New Scheme to Plunder Owens Valley Water, This Time with Solar Panels

March 2, 2010

The city of Los Angeles recently announced plans to transform Owens Valley into one of the largest sources of solar power in America, outfitting the region with a massive energy farm that would span 80 square miles and generate up to 10 percent of California's total electricity output...

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