Archive for August, 2011
Earthjustice advocacy, litigation reveal dispersants’ dirty chemical secrets
Pop quiz: nearly 2 million gallons of chemicals are about to be dumped into the ocean where they will mix with oil gushing from a blown out well. Do you:
A. Study beforehand the chemicals’ effects on marine life?
B. Study beforehand the chemicals’ effects on humans?
C. Study beforehand what will happen when the chemicals mix with the oil?
D. Just dump the chemicals in mass quantities without sufficient knowledge of their toxicity or of how they will affect marine life and humans?
Well, following last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, answer D is exactly what happened.
With millions of gallons of oil spurting from the blown-out well, chemical oil dispersants were applied in unprecedented amounts both at the ocean’s surface and underwater at the well head. A report released today by Earthjustice and Toxipedia Consulting Services presents a scientific literature review of chemical ingredients found in dispersants that were eligible for use at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. And the results point to a toxic cocktail of oil and chemicals that threaten humans, wildlife and the environment.
The report, The Chaos of Clean-Up, comes as a result of Earthjustice’s advocacy and litigation, which led to the release of information detailing the chemical ingredients used in oil dispersants. Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado, representing the Gulf Restoration Network and the Florida Wildlife Federation, challenged the Environmental Protection Agency in court to reveal all available health and toxicity information concerning oil dispersants. In response, the EPA released an aggregated list of the 57 ingredients eligible for use during oil spill cleanup operations, along with previously withheld health and safety information. The information can be viewed at a special Earthjustice webpage at earthjustice.org/features/the-chaos-of-clean-up.
Toxipedia’s scientific review demonstrates the wide range of potential impacts from exposure to the chemicals found in dispersants. From carcinogens, to endocrine disruptors, to chemicals that are toxic to aquatic organisms, some of the ingredients in oil dispersants are indeed potential hazards.
For instance, of the 57 ingredients: five chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; eight are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and five are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.
The photos below are great! Also from the DailyPaul.com site.
Submitted by johnpp2on Sat, 08/27/2011 – 15:15
Perry 179, then Newt, Bachmann, Romney. As I was leaving, the Cain bus was loading up. I didn’t see a Paul bus but there were plenty of Ron Paul signs on cars!
Picture of Ron Paul camp:
Picture of Rick Perry camp:
Almost won AGAIN!
GILFORD, N.H. — After a lunch speech today, Ron Paul slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and said that no national response to Hurricane Irene is necessary.
“We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” Paul said. “I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.
“There’s no magic about FEMA. They’re a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don’t have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states,” Paul told NBC News. “A state can decide. We don’t need somebody in Washington.”
Saturday, August 27, 2011 – by Lew Rockwell
It should be obvious to everyone but the most dedicated adherent of Keynesianism that the stimulus did not accomplish its end. The combination of outright spending by Congress, the desperate schemes to reflate the housing market, the attempt to transfuse bleeding firms with other people’s money and the creation of trillions in artificial money has not done a thing to lift the US economy.
Actually, the reverse has been true. All these efforts have prevented the adjustment of economic forces to the post-boom world. And all the resources that the stimulus consumed were extracted from the private sector, for we must always remember that government has no resources of its own. Everything it does must come from the hides of private producers and the citizenry in general, in the future if not immediately.
It’s tedious that we had to learn this lesson yet again, for it was only 38 years ago that we experienced yet another collapse of the Keynesian paradigm. The color of the theory was a bit different in those days. The fine-tuning operations of the government were supposed to operate according to a fixed model in which there was a tradeoff between inflation and recessionary unemployment. If unemployment got too high due to slow economic growth, their solution was said to be simple: reflate and deal with the costs. If unemployment then became too low in recovery – leading to an “overheating,” as the parlance of the time put it, the answer was to deflate.
The point of this simple trade-off was to boil down the opaque notions of Lord Keynes to their central-planning essence, and to avoid the endless legislative tangles that plagued the New Deal years. The Keynesians had claimed that FDR’s experiment in countercyclical policy was not well planned and not scientifically administered, which is why it didn’t go as planned. Thanks to the postwar clarity of the new, simple model, Keynesians would get it right this time.
They certainly got their way in terms of policy. In 1971, Richard Nixon had abolished the last vestiges of the gold standard, finally untying the dollar from any relationship to physical gold and setting it loose to float like a kite on a string – or maybe without the string. It was supposed to be the Keynesian ideal. No more fetters. No more of the barbarous relic. No more limitations on what the scientific planners in government could or could not do. Now they could act to bring about the socially optimal combination of inflation and unemployment. Nirvana!
Airstrike Kills 8 Suspected Militants in Yemen … Officials in Yemen say an airstrike has killed eight militants in the country’s south. The officials said Thursday’s strike targeted a position held by militants with suspected links to al-Qaida in Yemen. On Wednesday, clashes between Yemeni forces and militants near Zinjibar in southern Abyan province killed at least 30 militants and seven soldiers. Militants have taken control of several areas in southern Yemen during the six-month uprising pressing for President Ali Abdullah Saleh‘s resignation. – Voice of America
Dominant Social Theme: The US is helping its Yemeni allies fight back against the terror threat.
Free-Market Analysis: How many wars are too many? Unnoticed largely in the press of larger events and obviously downplayed by the controlled Western media, the US and its allies are pursuing yet ANOTHER aggressive, illegal war – this one in Yemen.
How aggressive is it? It is a full-on conflict that has reportedly seen SEALS come ashore on a regular basis at night to engage tribal fighters in Abyan province, this newspaper has learned from sources in Yemen itself that are in a position to know.
The US is now involved in almost innumerable wars in the Middle East, but most have been reported in one way or another. This one has not been fully vetted as it continues to expand. Unconstitutional, secretive and expanding in scope and violence, it includes the massive, violent projection of US naval, air and Special Forces into parts of Yemen.
It is no skirmish but a coordinated, daily attack against hostile forces that supposedly include a number of “al Qaeda” (whatever they are) protected by local tribesman in the south of Yemen who have rebelled against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime. It involves considerable military effort and expenditure of what must be a US task force that includes sea, air and land power.
Despite the new war’s massive scope, the major media and Congress remain culpably silent on this latest war (is there any other word for it?) even though such a massive military campaign must be well known to top power players in the media, in politics, in the intelligence community and obviously in the Pentagon itself.
This war is at least two months old, but its violence and aggressiveness have remained unreported until now. It has already resulted in the death of numerous civilians, including women and children. These deaths have gone unreported as well.
It is true that there have been a number of GENERAL reports on this new conflict but the scope and aggressiveness of this new war remain unstated. Those who live in Yemen – some 25 million people – are aware that the US is operating with impunity on Yemen’s Southern flank, but the rest of the world does not know. Those in positions of power are obviously too frightened or too careful to comment.
By Deena Stryker
An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.
As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:
Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.
Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. But only after much pain.
Tom Woods: “Ultimately, when the mass of the public says — we’re not going to be treated like this anymore –…
On Thursday, the iconic Gibson Guitar Corporation issued a press release stating that government officials raided their Tennessee manufacturing facility over warrants concerning the legality of the importation of wood purchased from India that they use in their world famous guitars. The wood–which is certified and regulated by the Forest Stewardship Council–is not illegal, but rather subject to a domestic law in India frowns upon the processing of this wood by non-Indians. (Gibson uses American labor for the processing.)
Gibson’s press release claims that, while this incident marks the second raid of their facility in around two years, this is the first of the raids to cost the company time and resources, as they needed to shut down operations. It seems as though this was all for naught.
The release read:
The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.
On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.
The fact that the government would issue warrants based on their interpretation of another country’s laws is laughable–and scary–in and of itself, but that they would demonize an American, non-unionized (coincidentally, I’m sure) company for something that isn’t even a crime (especially not in the American lawbooks) is a gross misjustice. Keep in mind that the Indian government itself wasn’t involved in the Gibson warrants and raid.
This unfortunate event begs the question, Why Gibson?
Putting aside the presumably misguided motivation to enforce another sovereign nation’s laws, why would a homegrown American company be the target of the Department of Justice in the first place?
It’s worth pointing out that Henry E. Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s Chief Executive Officer, is a donor to a couple of Republican politicians. According to the Open Secrets database, Juszkiewicz donated $2000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN07) last year, as well as $1500 each to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Juszkiewicz also has donated $10,000 to the Consumer Electronics Association, a PAC that contributed $92.5k to Republican candidates last year, as opposed to $72k to Democrats. (The CEA did, however, contribute more to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle.)
When warrants as ridiculous such as these are issued and executed, there appears no other reason than because the company or individual at hand is being targeted, not because there is any sort of wrongdoing. As a company, Gibson is a legendary. They’ve done nothing wrong, except, apparently, deigning to have a Republican CEO.
The plot thickens, however.
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