The Taint of Your Future Drinking Water – Gasland

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  • Wed, Jun 08, 2011 - 09:18am

    #11

    Vanityfox451

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    Alexis de Tocqueville Meets Malcolm X …

Mike,

Yesterday I thought about the inaction, or of the irrelevant distractions that place people to remove themselves from what are the front and centre important issues of our day. Eventually, I went back on myself, and again found Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1835 tome of a book called On Democracy in America. There is a passage within it from page 770 – all be it that the one below is of a more prophetic translation : –

I therefore believe that the kind of oppression that threatens democratic peoples is unlike any the world has seen before. Our contemporaries will find no image of it in their memories. I search in vain for an expression that exactly reproduces my idea of it and captures it fully. The old words “despotism” and “tyranny” will not do. The thing is new, hence I must try to define it, since I cannot give it a name.

I am trying to imagine what new features despotism might have in today’s world: I see an innumerable host of men, all alike and equal, endlessly hastening after petty and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each of them, withdrawn into himself, is virtually a stranger to the fate of all the others. For him, his children and personal friends comprise the entire human race. As for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he lives alongside them but does not see them. He touches them but does not feel them. He exists only in himself and for himself, and if he still has a family, he no longer has a country.

Over these men stands an immense tutelary power, which assumes sole responsibility for securing their pleasure and watching over their fate. It is absolute, meticulous, regular, provident, and mild. It would resemble paternal authority if only its purpose were the same, namely, to prepare men for manhood. But on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them in childhood irrevocably. It likes citizens to rejoice, provided they think only of rejoicing. It works willingly for their happiness. It provides for their security, foresees and takes care of their needs, facilitates their pleasures, manages their most important affairs, directs their industry, regulates their successions, and divides their inheritances. Why not relieve them entirely of the trouble of thinking and the difficulty of living?

Every day it thus makes man’s use of his free will rarer and more futile. It circumscribes the action of the will more narrowly, and little by little robs each citizen of the use of his own faculties. ~ Alexis de Tocqueville ~ 1835

Then I dug deeper still, coming to another conclusion that the flux of history, no matter how ever big the explosive is beneath the lit fuse, will always be reduced back to a regular pattern of calm, even when that level of calm was returned to sooner than the necessity for the anger to persist longer. I remembered all of the passion that raged recently on this forum over the Tea Party movement, and how Palin and Beck joined forces with it, and all too soon the movement lost traction, was ridiculed by media, and has all but died. I then recalled a speech by Malcolm X from 1963, and what unfolded was the almost hidden consistent repeat of human history – a prophetic and powerful snap-shot of our past, again re-written by those who write the future : –

The Negroes were out there in the streets. They were talking about how they were going to march on Washington…. That they were going to march on Washington, march on the Senate, march on the White House, march on the Congress, and tie it up, bring it to a halt, not let the government proceed. They even said they were going out to the airport and lay down on the runway and not let any airplanes land. I’m telling you what they said. That was revolution. That was revolution. That was the black revolution.

It was the grass roots out there in the street. It scared the white man to death, scared the white power structure in Washington, D.C. to death; I was there. When they found out that this black steamroller was going to come down on the capital, they called in … these national Negro leaders that you respect and told them, “Call it off,” Kennedy said. “Look you all are letting this thing go too far.” And Old Tom said, “Boss, I can’t stop it because I didn’t start it.” I’m telling you what they said. They said, “I’m not even in it, much less at the head of it.” They said, “These Negroes are doing things on their own. They’re running ahead of us.” And that old shrewd fox, he said, “If you all aren’t in it, I’ll put you in it. I’ll put you at the head of it. I’ll endorse it. I’ll welcome it. I’ll help it. I’ll join it.”

This is what they did with the march on Washington. They joined it… became part of it, took it over. And as they took it over, it lost its militancy. It ceased to he angry, it ceased to be hot, it ceased to be uncompromising. Why, it even ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, a circus. Nothing but a circus, with clowns and all…

No, it was a sellout. It was a takeover. … They controlled it so tight, they told those Negroes what time to hit town, where to stop, what signs to carry, what song to sing, what speech they could make, and what speech they couldn’t make, and then told them to get out of town by sundown…. ~ Malcolm X ~ 1963

In Appreciation,

~ VF ~

  • Thu, Jun 09, 2011 - 07:53am

    #12
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    Vanityfox451

[quote=Vanityfox451]

Mike,

Yesterday I thought about the inaction, or of the irrelevant distractions that place people to remove themselves from what are the front and centre important issues of our day. Eventually, I went back on myself, and again found Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1835 tome of a book called On Democracy in America. There is a passage within it from page 770 – all be it that the one below is of a more prophetic translation : –

I therefore believe that the kind of oppression that threatens democratic peoples is unlike any the world has seen before. Our contemporaries will find no image of it in their memories. I search in vain for an expression that exactly reproduces my idea of it and captures it fully. The old words “despotism” and “tyranny” will not do. The thing is new, hence I must try to define it, since I cannot give it a name.

I am trying to imagine what new features despotism might have in today’s world: I see an innumerable host of men, all alike and equal, endlessly hastening after petty and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each of them, withdrawn into himself, is virtually a stranger to the fate of all the others. For him, his children and personal friends comprise the entire human race. As for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he lives alongside them but does not see them. He touches them but does not feel them. He exists only in himself and for himself, and if he still has a family, he no longer has a country.

Over these men stands an immense tutelary power, which assumes sole responsibility for securing their pleasure and watching over their fate. It is absolute, meticulous, regular, provident, and mild. It would resemble paternal authority if only its purpose were the same, namely, to prepare men for manhood. But on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them in childhood irrevocably. It likes citizens to rejoice, provided they think only of rejoicing. It works willingly for their happiness. It provides for their security, foresees and takes care of their needs, facilitates their pleasures, manages their most important affairs, directs their industry, regulates their successions, and divides their inheritances. Why not relieve them entirely of the trouble of thinking and the difficulty of living?

Every day it thus makes man’s use of his free will rarer and more futile. It circumscribes the action of the will more narrowly, and little by little robs each citizen of the use of his own faculties. ~ Alexis de Tocqueville ~ 1835

[/quote]

Alexis de Tocqueville was prophetic. He foresaw the state of today’s affairs, later described as “inverted totalitarianism” by Sheldon S. Wolin, in which a passive populace has grown dependent within the hands of a corporate consumer culture; nobody seriously questions authority, and politics has become professional wrestling: a rigged and meaningless spectacle.

An essential aspect of the prevailing corporate consumer culture is apathy/indifference towards your fellow man. The idea being, you’re only supposed to care about superficial “fashionable consumption,” which in turn goes hand in hand with perceived social status, and this necessitates unchecked greed, aggression, competitiveness and exalted vanity {all sold as good, normal virtues}, and hardly the altruistic qualities of those with a conscience and a strong sense of social justice. This is how the right-wing pathology has manifested among our citizenry so that the notion of social safety nets is akin to “socialism” for “whining liberals,” etc, because it involves concern for the public trust, and that translates into less profit. The ethos of greed’s grim.

Chalmers Johnson wrote an excellent critique of Sheldon’s powerful book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism:

To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: “inverted totalitarianism,” a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on “private media” than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison—751 per 100,000 people—of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has “emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation’s political traditions.” 

The genius of our inverted totalitarian system “lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. … A demotion in the status and stature of the ‘sovereign people’ to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of ‘popularizing’ power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. … The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. … The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.” 

Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of “market forces” in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge. Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation. Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl’s classic film“Triumph of the Will” was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush’s apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.

On inverted totalitarianism’s “self-pacifying” university campuses compared with the usual intellectual turmoil surrounding independent centers of learning, Wolin writes, “Through a combination of governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers have been seamlessly integrated into the system. No books burned, no refugee Einsteins. For the first time in the history of American higher education top professors are made wealthy by the system, commanding salaries and perks that a budding CEO might envy.”

The main social sectors promoting and reinforcing this modern Shangri-La are corporate power, which is in charge of managed democracy, and the military-industrial complex, which is in charge of Superpower. The main objectives of managed democracy are to increase the profits of large corporations, dismantle the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services, public housing and so forth), and roll back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. Its primary tool is privatization. Managed democracy aims at the “selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry” under cover of improving “efficiency” and cost-cutting.

Wolin argues, “The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributing elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled.” This campaign has largely succeeded. “Democracy represented a challenge to the status quo, today it has become adjusted to the status quo.”

One other subordinate task of managed democracy is to keep the citizenry preoccupied with peripheral and/or private conditions of human life so that they fail to focus on the widespread corruption and betrayal of the public trust….

Another elite tactic of managed democracy is to bore the electorate to such an extent that it gradually fails to pay any attention to politics. Wolin perceives, “One method of assuring control is to make electioneering continuous, year-round, saturated with party propaganda, punctuated with the wisdom of kept pundits, bringing a result boring rather than energizing, the kind of civic lassitude on which managed democracy thrives.”…

Managed democracy is a powerful solvent for any vestiges of democracy left in the American political system, but its powers are weak in comparison with those of Superpower. Superpower is the sponsor, defender and manager of American imperialism and militarism, aspects of American government that have always been dominated by elites, enveloped in executive-branch secrecy, and allegedly beyond the ken of ordinary citizens to understand or oversee. Superpower is preoccupied with weapons of mass destruction, clandestine manipulation of foreign policy (sometimes domestic policy, too), military operations, and the fantastic sums of money demanded from the public by the military-industrial complex. (The U.S. military spends more than all other militaries on Earth combined. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion; the next closest national military budget is China’s at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.)

Foreign military operations literally force democracy to change its nature: “In order to cope with the imperial contingencies of foreign war and occupation,” according to Wolin, “democracy will alter its character, not only by assuming new behaviors abroad (e.g., ruthlessness, indifference to suffering, disregard of local norms, the inequalities in ruling a subject population) but also by operating on revised, power-expansive assumptions at home. It will, more often than not, try to manipulate the public rather than engage its members in deliberation. It will demand greater powers and broader discretion in their use (‘state secrets’), a tighter control over society’s resources, more summary methods of justice, and less patience for legalities, opposition, and clamor for socioeconomic reforms.”

Imperialism and democracy are, in Wolin’s terms, literally incompatible, and the ever greater resources devoted to imperialism mean that democracy will inevitably wither and die. He writes, “Imperial politics represents the conquest of domestic politics and the latter’s conversion into a crucial element of inverted totalitarianism. It makes no sense to ask how the democratic citizen could ‘participate’ substantively in imperial politics; hence it is not surprising that the subject of empire is taboo in electoral debates. No major politician or party has so much as publicly remarked on the existence of an American empire.”…

 

  • Fri, Jun 10, 2011 - 04:36am

    #13

    Travlin

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    xraymike79 wrote:… in

[quote=xraymike79]

… in which a passive populace has grown dependent within the hands of a corporate consumer culture; nobody seriously questions authority, and politics has become professional wrestling: a rigged and meaningless spectacle.

[/quote]

Xray

That is a nicely phrased description.

Travlin 

  • Sun, Jun 12, 2011 - 06:18pm

    #14

    Wendy S. Delmater

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    a bad business

xraymike79 wrote:

… in which a passive populace has grown dependent within the hands of a corporate consumer culture; nobody seriously questions authority, and politics has become professional wrestling: a rigged and meaningless spectacle.

Xray

Travlin 

That is a nicely phrased description.

Indeed, a VERY nice turn of phrase. 
I’m an environmental health and safety manager. Our profession is violently opposed to hydrofraking. There was a damning article about it in a recent technical publication I can refer to, but the attached videos posted by others above get the idea across.
  • Tue, Jun 14, 2011 - 11:23am

    #15
    jumblies

    jumblies

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    http://www.nytimes.com/slides

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/05/29/business/energy-environment/fracking-oil-texas.html?ref=energy-environment

The 5th slide’s caption says

Despite the environmental risks, like the possible contamination of surface and underground water, communities and officials have decided the practice is worth the economic benefits. That belief is more common in the South than in other areas of the country.

Risks? More like surety.

  • Sat, Aug 20, 2011 - 03:12am

    #16

    Vanityfox451

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    Gasland

I’m not one for promoting Exon Mobil by any means, but this is their latest propagandised advertisement campaign, the likes of which may cost you the angry destruction of your computer monitor after watching that, then the clearly defined documentary beneath it : –

 

Natural Gas: An Amazing Resource. A Responsible Way To Produce It. [SICK!!!]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8du6pQbvyo

Gasland

I strongly advise you to watch this quickly, as I assume You Tube will more likely remove it shortly due to copyright infringement …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0gVMlf8GeI

~ VF ~

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