The Taint of Your Future Drinking Water - Gasland

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Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
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The Taint of Your Future Drinking Water - Gasland

Where do you live in the United States?

Do you feel the quality of your drinking water is healthy?

Have you ever thought of placing a lit match next to your sinks running tap to see as to whether the water coming out of it will ignite?

For that matter, have you, someone you know, or anyone you've heard of, ever had the experience that when drilling down for drinking water on their property, inadvertently hit a gas pocket that ultimately gushed three million cubic feet of gas from it over several days? Had the well-head capped by a local drilling and patented gas fracking company, who after capping the leak in concrete, not only supplied the delivery of your future drinking water supply by trucking it in by the container load, but also built the out-building to store the containers for this water. Never admitting that they had caused the damage to the drinking water in the first place, they continue to state that the (more than apparently contaminated well water) is still fit to drink, while they or any of their staff won't drink from it when offered?

Do your animals, both domestic cats and dogs as well as pigs, goats, cows, chickens etc, appear to be loosing their fur, falling sick, or die prematurely, in some circumstances in great suffering?

Have you, your family members, your friends, their families or any aquaintance of yours found confirmed illnesses such as brain tumour, bone cancer, skin lesion, breathing abnormalities, digestive maladies, miscarriage, deformed births, blindness, deafness, severely impacting their well-being and quality of life, where doctors later find high elements of poisoning, directing their concern toward drinking water?

Are you finding that the area where you live that has gas drilling rigs surrounding it appears to have higher rates of mini earthquake where there were virtually zero or none confirmed before the rigs appeared?

Are you aware that there are upward of 596 different chemical used in gas fracking - many of which are known cancer-causing agents?

Questions ... Questions ...

Over the last several days, news of two confirmed reports of earthquakes centred around the first gas fracking wells to be drilled in the United Kingdom have been ordered to stop the process for geological survey by local government officials. The idea has been that the UK will be an economy running on roughly 10% of fracked gas bt 2015. Fracking for gas in France incidentally, has been banned.

So what if I happened upon Josh Fox and his recent documentary Gasland? If you think that Fukashima was a disaster of significant proportion, I suggest a look just a little bit deeper under your nose and directly beneath your own feet where you live in the United States. There are literally thousands and thousands of these wells, stretching the length and bredth of virtually every State in America that have been drilled over the past seven years.

If you're homesteading, are stockpiling resources and have arable land for future self-sustain, this is an eye opener, and directly where you live.

Gasland

Regards,

~ VF ~

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xraymike79
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VF,      We live in the

VF,

     We live in the Age of Idiocracy where one actually has to argue that exploding nuclear plants and injecting 600 fiendishly toxic chemicals into the water table actually do pose a risk to humanity. We're sullying our own nest to perpetuate a lifestyle that is, in the end, unsustainable for the planet. 

Recipe for a new dark age

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Explosion At 8:20-Something On The 2nd Video

Thanks for posting this, VanityFox451.

If you want to at least watch the explosion, which you should, start at 8:20 on the 2nd video. (Reposted below for convenience.)

Whoa!

Poet

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exploding water

oh wow!

so that's what fracking is?

That is really scary.

 

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Hydraulic Fracturing
maceves wrote:

oh wow!

so that's what fracking is?

That is really scary.

Forgive me if you already know this.

The explosion is from natural gas and volatile compounds that get into well water supply due to fracking, meeting a flame. That was a dramatic example, but it's not far fetched for someone cooking at a stove near a sink to get an ignition.

The dangerous part is that water gets contaminated by chemical compounds used in fracking. People and animals drink it. It's not just a "country thing" or a thing that happens to some unlucky people out in the boondocks. It gets into meats, fruits, and vegetables that may then be transported from farms to your table. And if your drinking water comes from a watershed that is affected, you're affected.

That's bad.

SERIOUSLY BAD.

What Is Fracking?
Fracking itself is hydraulic fracturing, a process of drilling for and extracting natural gas that involves fracturing the rock layer, pumping a chemical fluid (mostly water, but also carcinogens and other toxic substances) to get the gas to flow into pipelines. Unfortunately it also ends up with contamination of ground water in some cases, including the dramatic explosion you saw.

Here's an graphical explanation:

http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/whats-fracking/#frackingprocess

It is currently legal to do "fracking" because Congress and the Bush administration put in the so-called "Halliburton loophole" to exempt gas drilling companies from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

Government, when controlled by industry, can actually be good for business. :P

Poet

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Poet, Thank you for the

Poet,

Thank you for the added emphasis. This has been completely under my normally astute radar, until XrayMike (I can never thank you enough for your fantastic and detailed threads!) recently placed this subject at me front and centre. Now I find that it isn't just in the United States (and massively invasive now!), but globally, eating into so many countries your head would spin to keep count!

This deserves a sticky position at the very top of the CM.com agenda on environment, needing the mettle of all of the finest that are here. This is one of the most egregious attacks on our survival, and the ultimate insult in the quest for profit against human dignity that I've witnessed since March 2003, with the invasion of Iraq, and the beginnings of the land poisoning use of 2,000 tonnes of depleted uranium tipped missiles, and the cause of countless deformities of born and yet to be born children, including those of American military personnel.

This now, is a bomb on a gigantic scale, that will shatter into shards many an attempt by those homesteading right across the United States in their hard fought battle to become self-sustaining, getting themselves off grid with this shortly to arrive economic/energy downturn that we're all fighting to survive. Without vital water, you are dead ...

Click the link below to find out exactly what is happening in your area on the official Gasland site map : -

www.gaslandthemovie.com

Anyone reading this thread that needs more to add to their conviction need only read this transcript of Josh Fox from a recent interview : -

Josh Fox: Living In The Middle Of A Gasland - (accredited and attribution to National Public Radio)

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

What would you do if you were offered a lot of money by a gas company, in return for leasing the right to drill on your land? That was the position my guest Josh Fox was in. His family's land is on the Delaware River Basin, on the border of New York and Pennsylvania.

When the offer was made, he didn't know anything about the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process which was just described in our show by reporter Abrahm Lustgarten. It involves high- pressure injections of millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand into underground wells. This causes the rock layers deep underground to crack so that natural gas flows up the well.

Fox decided to investigate what happens to those toxins and how they affect communities that said yes to the gas companies. So he took his camera to over 20 states, where gas companies have been fracking. His new documentary, called "Gasland," won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It will be shown on HBO Monday, June 21st.

Josh Fox, welcome to FRESH AIR. What was the offer the gas company made to you?

Mr. JOSH FOX (Director, "Gasland"): We were offered about $100,000 to lease 19.5 acres of my family's house and land in the Upper Delaware River Basin of Pennsylvania.

GROSS: And what did the gas company tell you about what impact this would have on your land and on your life?

Mr. FOX: They say very little about the actual impacts. They talk to you about how much money you're going to make. They say, listen, we might not even drill. We don't know if there's actually gas here. It's going to be a fire hydrant in the middle of a field - very, very little impact to your land. You know, you won't hardly know we're here.

Within my family, there was a little bit of debate about this. I think at first, my father was interested in leasing because he was interested in the money. And I said look, I think I have to look into this. Give me some time to go ahead and get the facts.

GROSS: So you traveled around to see how this process - hydraulic fracturing, to get out the gas - affected other communities and other homeowners. What were some of the most alarming things that you saw?

Mr. FOX: Well, you know, the first place I went was a town called Dimmick, Pennsylvania, which was about 50 miles from me, and I'm right near the New York-Pennsylvania border. What I found there was absolutely astounding. I found people who had leased for very little money - $25 an acre. And when I got to that town, the first thing that I heard about was a woman named Norma Fiorentino. Her water well exploded on New Year's Day of 2009, and it sent a concrete casing soaring up into the air, and scattered debris all over her yard. And then other people started to notice that their water was bubbling and fizzing; some of their water had been discolored.

By the time I got there just a month later, there were children who were complaining of getting sick, animals who were getting sick, and the whole place was pretty much laid to waste. I mean, there was like, gas well pads everywhere, incredibly heavy truck traffic. It seemed like normal life had just been turned completely upside down. And I heard all these reports of people who could light their water on fire.

And I saw water tests which indicated lots of natural gas in the water, heavy metals in the water, which are - I've later found out to be associated with the drilling muds, which are the lubricants for the drill bit that punctures down through the aquifer. When you're subsisting off of well water for your whole life, your water is a point of pride. And I think everybody was shocked that their water, which had been great, would - had turned into something that they couldn't rely on and that they were afraid of.

GROSS: Now, you did find places where the tap water could be set on fire. Where did you go to find that?

Mr. FOX: Well, that was in Colorado. Reports of water being flammable right after a hydraulic fracturing process were actually, I found out, fairly common across the country, and also in Canada. And I'd seen pictures of it from a woman in Alberta. I'd heard about it in Louisiana and Wyoming, Texas, Colorado. But generally, what happens is, those people's water wells are disconnected, and then the gas company trades a non-disclosure agreement for a water supply. So it says you can't tell anybody what happened, but we're going to give you replacement water for however long as you want.

So we had to kind of scramble to catch a place that was - that that had just happened, and that was in Wells County, Colorado, where there had been a lot of fracturing. There's a lot of gas wells. It's just northeast of Denver, and there were five or six different families that we saw lighting their water on fire, right out of the tap. In fact, I did it myself, and it just turns your whole world upside down when you can turn the faucet on and then stick a cigarette lighter under it and just - you get this explosion of flame.

GROSS: Yeah. It's like the flames spread through the whole sink. I was surprised that the guy's arm didn't burn up. But he knew to get it out really quick, I guess.

Mr. FOX: Yeah. Well, it's a kind of hilarious scene because the first thing -you know, the first thing that happens when you see somebody lighting their water on fire is just like, your brain just kind of goes crazy. And then you start to think, well, what happens if they had a fire in their house? How would they put it out? And then the thoughts of - some of these people were showering with the lights off because they were afraid if they turned on the light bulb, if there was a spark from the light bulb, they would blow up their shower. It was really intense.

But at the same time, there's a kind of gallows humor that takes over, because I think they'd had so little ability to appeal to any government agency about this problem. You know, they were continually not being able to find a government agency, whether that was the State Department of Environmental Protection or the - in Colorado, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission - generally, were telling them that what was happening to them was not happening to them.

GROSS: In one of the scenes in your documentary "Gasland," there's a woman who has been finding small, dead animals and toads, you know, in her area. And she's alarmed and thinks that it might be a result of contaminated water from the fracking process. So she decides to take some of these dead creatures, freeze them in her freezer until she can get them autopsied. And she seems so totally creeped out by this, but she feels like she has to do it. Can you talk a little bit about her?

Mr. FOX: You're talking about Lisa Bracken in Colorado, and Divide Creek. Basically, the gas industry came in, took over large sections of her property. What happened was she discovered that the creek - Divide Creek - was bubbling and fizzing. And her father went down there, and they discovered that they could light the creek on fire. And that was known as the Divide Creek seep. The fracture hit some other natural fissures in the ground after the fracking, and that exploded plume of benzene, toluene, methane into the creek.

They complained. There was a settlement. But basically, dead animals kept showing up around the creek. The seep occurred again in 2008 because the companies were allowed to go back in and continue to do the fracking. And so she was so frustrated that she started to collect these animals, freeze them, to try to deal with how to prove that this was happening because of the gas. She wanted to find out what chemicals were killing these animals.

The burden of proof in this situation is on the citizen. Even though the chemicals could never be in the environment any other way, it's still up to the citizen to prove that the gas company got the chemicals in their water, which is virtually impossible to do because you need a hydrogeologist. You need chain of custody. You need things that citizens don't have access to.

But in a sort of desperation, she's picking up these animals, freezing them in her freezer, trying to send them off to get autopsied. She couldn't figure out where to get them autopsied, or how to identify the things that had killed them. But you know, she said she had them in her freezer, you know, and you see that in the film. And it's very eerie - it's almost like the David Lynch section of "Gasland," you know?

GROSS: That's right.

Mr. FOX: She comes out, and she's like, all right. Well, here you go. And she unfolds all these dead birds and a rabbit. And apparently, they were just in her freezer. And I ask her, you know, Lisa, did you ever think you were going to be freezing animals, dead birds and this kind of stuff, in your freezer? She says no. This is the creepiest thing I've ever seen, you know. And again, it's that strange sense of, we're living a nightmare. We've got dead rabbits and birds and dead crawfish in the back of our freezer, behind the hamburger meat, wrapped in Wal-Mart bags because simply, we're at the end of our rope. We don't know what to do.

GROSS: My guest is Josh Fox. His new documentary is called "Gasland." We'll talk more after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Josh Fox. He made his new documentary, "Gasland," after his family was offered a lot of money by gas companies that wanted to lease the family's land to drill for gas.

You decided not to lease you land to a gas company for hydraulic fracturing.

Mr. FOX: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: What about your neighbors? Do you have a lot of neighbors who are saying yes to the deal?

Mr. FOX: Oh, yeah. We're completely surrounded by people who have leased. The difficult thing about this is that it's a decision for a whole community that's left up to certain individuals to decide what they want to do. Because if the neighboring property next to me is leased, and I want to sell my house, I'm in a very difficult situation. It's very hard for me to get financing from a bank because I'm now adjacent to an industrial zone. There also is, in many states, what's called compulsory integration, or forced pooling. So if 60 percent of landowners in one 1,200-acre parcel lease, you're leased, which means they can take the gas from out - from under you. You're forced, basically, to sign the lease. You know...

GROSS: Wait. Wait. Wait. You're forced to sign a lease?

Mr. FOX: Yeah, in many parts of the country. That's true in New York. In Pennsylvania - they're contemplating implementing forced pooling in Pennsylvania. But you know, in Dee Hofmeister's case in Colorado - where a person I interviewed in Garfield County, Colorado, who was made very sick by this cloud of gas that was in her house when she came home from her vacation in Minnesota, and she ended up going down and in the hospital for quite a long time, and has neuropathies and other kinds of brain damage, very big problems, she was forced pooled.

Basically, the gas company came and said look, you have no choice. You can either sign this lease right now and take some money from us, because we're taking the gas, or you can not sign this - and we won't give you anything. And there's a lot of intimidation tactics like that, that we've been hearing as we go around the country.

Just last night in Dimmick, we were showing the film at a small movie theater, and people said: The first time the land men came, they were very sweet, and they asked us to sign, and we said no. The second time they came, they offered us more money. The third time, they said, well, you know, what? We're going to take your property anyway. You might as well get some money - and some other things which I can't repeat. So you know, there is this kind of being forced, whether that's from the land men pushing you, or there is actually this law that says if 60 percent of landowners in a 1,200-acre parcel - in many states, and this is state to state - lease, then you're leased. Period.

GROSS: One of the things you were trying to figure out is, does the fracking fluid that can seep into the ground and into groundwater, and do the gases that are released during the process, are these things affecting the health of people who live near the gas wells? So what did you find about health problems that people thought were likely caused by the fracking process, although they probably couldn't necessarily prove it?

Mr. FOX: Health complaints are happening all over these unconventional gas drilling areas. We know what the chemicals do to you, and we know what symptoms we're seeing. We're seeing neuropathies. There are forms of cancer. We're asking for a health study to be done and a moratorium so that people can - so that they can be investigated, what exactly is happening with people's health.

Right now, all we have is, this is what's happening to people. We don't know if it's a result of the air, if it's a result of the water. But we do know what those kinds of chemicals do to you. And we're seeing those effects.

GROSS: You traveled to some key states around the country where hydraulic fracturing is already happening. You've told us about some of the problems that you've witnessed. Were there any communities where things seemed to be going well, and the landowners who had agreed to lease to the gas companies were happy with their decision?

Mr. FOX: You know, it's a great question. I've been doing a lot of public appearances with the film, and I've actually asked the gas companies: Listen, if you've got an ideal town where you've got 100-plus wells and everything is going swimmingly well, nobody's upset and you don't have these problems with air pollution and water contamination and health problems, I want you to take me to that town. I want a guided tour. So far, no responses to that. I don't think such a town exists. I think what we're doing is going from place to place and contaminating those water supplies. I haven't found that town - and you know, we were looking for it.

GROSS: Josh Fox, thank you so much.

Mr. FOX: OK. Thank you, Terry.

GROSS: By the way, I think I used to go to summer camp near where you are.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FOX: Oh, where did you go?

GROSS: It was in Wayne County, I'm pretty sure.

Mr. FOX: Oh, yeah. Well, there's so many camps in that area.

GROSS: Are there? Yeah.

Mr. FOX: Yeah. I mean, it's a lot of summer camps - and you'd be surprised at how many of those summer camps are leasing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: No. Wow. Really?

Mr. FOX: Oh, yeah. Well, listen, we're talking about...

GROSS: Wow.

Mr. FOX: ...65 percent...

GROSS: Wow. I never thought of that.

Mr. FOX: We're talking about 65 percent of Pennsylvania, 50 percent of New York.

GROSS: Wow. So in...

Mr. FOX: We're talking about - even if the summer camps aren't leased, their neighbors are leasing.

GROSS: So, you know, I never thought of that. So that means that, like, some of the summer camps might actually become oil wells?

Mr. FOX: Well, no. Listen, what the gas company is saying is that you can live where this is happening. You can go to camp where this is happening. If watersheds are not off the table, schools are not off the table, summer camps are not off the table, near hospitals is not off the table. You have close to 15,000 wells in the downtown and in the Fort Worth area, in the urban area, in the country. This is everywhere. So it stands to reason if you could put it next to somebody house and the gas company says that that's OK, you can put it in the middle of a summer camp. You could put it in the middle of a lake. This is - you can put it right on the banks of the Colorado River, which supply all the water to Los Angeles. This is what we're seeing.

GROSS: Well, Josh Fox, I want to thank you very much for talking with us.

Mr. FOX: OK, thank you.

GROSS: Josh Fox's new documentary, "Gasland," will be shown on HBO, Monday, June 21st. He's currently touring with the film, showing it to audiences in areas affected by gas drilling. You can watch clips from the documentary "Gasland," as well as a map showing natural-gas drilling areas in the U.S., on our website, freshair.npr.org.

~ VF ~

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JAG
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A little diddy about fracking...

....A friend called the other day and said that he was thinking about investing in the local (Houston) oil and gas companies that are buying-up (or leasing) thousands of acres of land over a shale formation in Texas. He stated he couldn't believe how much money was being poured into the operation.

I said: "How the hell can you invest in these *&$%#& companies? Don't you know that they are going to poison our water supply?

My friend said: "They have already bought all the politicians, so our ground water is toast already....I figured if I going to have flames coming out of my faucet....I might as well make some money too. I could always use the capital gains to relocate later..."

I said: " I'll see your fracking play and raise you with MD Anderson Cancer Center IPO shares"

...And then my iphone beeped, and the caller i.d. said "The Devil is calling", so I put him on three-way.

The Devil said: "I'll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul 'cos I think I'm better than you". 

My friend said to the Devil: " Make it American Gold Eagles and you're on"

I said: "Will AIG sell me a credit default swap on this deal?"

(and no ao, I haven't been drinking...not yet anyway Tongue out)

 

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1% is worth fighting for

We have 1% fresh water on this planet, and we’re contaminating it.

Scientists have all reported that you cannot clean the water after contaminating it with the chemicals used for fracking.

Isn’t it an emergency to ensure that what little fresh water we have is clean for us, our food, our animals and plants?

We’re all in a car racing at 60mph towards a brick wall, and fracking is like pressing down harder on the accelorator.

When do you think it would be a good idea to slow down?

When things become blatantly apparently wrong? So wrong we make our home inhabitable?

Do we have to wait until we, personally, are affected by this global problem?

You don't even have to watch the whole film Gasland to understand the basic essence for why that film was made: WATER IS CONNECTED, therefore we can say that all of our water will soon be affected if we carry on with this incredibly destructive practise.

I can’t believe people on this site are now having to debate whether this is an emergency or not…

And for those who feel the money is worth the exchange, I wonder how you'll enjoy it when you're either sick or dying from the effects of drinking all those toxins. Seriously, how is money going to save you when your body is 70% water, and this resource becomes too scarce to survive?

Get a conscience and a grip on reality, for the sake of us all, please.
This IS an emergency, probably the biggest one we will all have to deal with.

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On May 31, 2011 New York
On May 31, 2011 New York State filed a lawsuit alleging federal regulators failed to conduct a complete environmental impact study before authorizing the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Hydraulic fracturing has been linked to contaminating water supplies through the release of methane gas and other chemicals. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is demanding a new environmental impact study before any fracking is carried out.

"Before any decisions on drilling are made, it is our responsibility to follow the facts and understand the public health and safety effects posed by potential natural gas development," Schneiderman said in a statement.

The Delaware River Basin Commission has proposed rules that would allow up to 18,000 gas wells within the basin -- which sits in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and includes parts of New York City's watershed.

-------------------

The following video came out in March 2011, but sheds light on how the natural gas industry has thwarted efforts that would reveal the dangers of fracking. Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting is featured in the video:

Here's a link to the NYT article mentioned in the above video:

The NY Times has revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency has succumbed to political pressure from the oil and gas industry, hid study results, narrowed the focus of its studies and consequently threatened the drinking water of millions of people.

....

When Congress considered in the 1980s whether to regulate more closely the handling of oil and gas drilling wastes, it turned to the Environmental Protection Agency to research the matter. EPA researchers concluded that some of the drillers’ waste was hazardous and should be tightly controlled.

But that’s not what Congress heard. Some recommendations regarding oil and gas waste were eliminated in the final report handed to lawmakers in 1987.

“It was like the science didn’t matter,” study author Carla Greathouse said in an interview. “The industry was going to get what it wanted, and we were not supposed to stand in the way.”

For example, the agency last year had planned to call for a moratorium on the gas-drilling technique known as hydrofracking in the New York City watershed, internal documents show, but the advice was removed from the publicly released letter sent to New York.

...

-------------------

Jodi &  Jeff
Jodi and Jeff Andrysick
Jeff & Jodi Films

Jodi and I are farmers turned filmmakers. We are concerned citizens who are frightened that the natural beauty of New York State — our streams, rivers, pristine lakes, aquifers, private water wells, and municipal water supplies — will be irreversibly ruined by the process of hydro-fracking.

Wanting to go beyond merely sticking a "No-Frack" sign in front of our house, we decided to get the word out to as many people as possible. Since people like to watch movies, and movies can both entertain and educate, we decided to make an anti-fracking documentary.

The result is "All Fracked Up," a hard hitting documentary which shows that hydro-fracking is an extreme technology used to obtain extreme energy with potentially extremely dire consequences. The film has had screenings all over the area, at colleges and churches and public assemblies. To see the viewing schedule and how to order your own copy, click here.

Our next big project is the EPIC No Frack Event at Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, on Saturday, June 25, 2011. This will be both a rally and an informational event featuring 45 guest speakers, 10 musical performers, and screenings of 6 movies, including the premiere of our new film "Water Isn't Water Anymore." It's looking to be the largest anti-frack rally in USA history.

EPIC DETAILS - All Fracked Up

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; (

Leave it up to mankind to frack up the very place that gives him life's needs .    Ya know there are days I am so amazed at what people do  and have little hope for change . But we keep trying .  So So many just do not see or choose not to .

 Grieves my heart .

FM

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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 ~

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xraymike79
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Vanityfox451
Vanityfox451 wrote:

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

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.”...

 

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Travlin
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xraymike79 wrote: ... in
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

That is a nicely phrased description.

Travlin 

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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.
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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.

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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!!!]

Gasland

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

~ VF ~

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