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12.17 Brazilian police foil million-dollar fraud to export precious wood to China [clear-cutting forests harshly impacts all life above and below ground-level for decades; it decreases oxygen production and seguestration of CO2 and increases area, frequency and duration of drought]
12.13 English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal [Are similar tests of U.S. waters conducted by the EPA anymore? We think not...]
News Media Matters
12.17 A Report to Our Readers
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
12.17 'Making America Stupid Again': Outrage Over Forbidden 7 Words You Can't Say at Trump's CDC [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
12.16 Poverty in US set to increase due to Donald Trump's policies, says UN official [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 Republicans Despise the Working Class [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.17 Venue of last resort: the climate lawsuits threatening the future of big oil [something else Republicans are packing the courts for...]
12.15 Who Pays for Judicial Races? The Politics of Judicial Elections 2015-16 [desperately packing the courts at all levels to protect white power & unregulated capitalism]
12.13 US Concern Over 'Pervasive' High-Level Corruption Surging Under Trump: Poll [anyone surprised?]
12.17 Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran [immoral behavior that could lead to War]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
12.17 How a Philadelphia nun became the unlikely face of conscientious capitalism [Why don't we teach morality in Law & Business schools?]
12.16 The Republican Tax Bill Provides Huge Benefits to People Who Don’t Work. But Only if They’re Rich. [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 The United States Is Now as Unequal as Russia. And That’s Before the Tax Bill. [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 EU to force firms to reveal true owners in wake of Panama Papers [what are the chances oligarchy-controlled countries (esp. America and Russia) ever agree to fight tax evasion and money landering? International agencies must all mandate common regulations as a condition for UN membership, trade agreements, world bank loans, etc.]
12.15 FCC Chair Ajit Pai 'Shows Just How Dumb He Thinks Americans Are' With Video Mocking Net Neutrality [he won't discuss how giving more monopoly power to cable ISPs will increase consumer costs and stifle innovation]
12.13 The “Death Tax” Cargo Cult [we lack for morals and sanity in U.S. media & politics]
International & Futurism
12.17 Africa’s new elite force: women gunning for poachers and fighting for a better life [a good model that converts victims of abuse and cruelty into positive activists with good jobs...]
12.14 Israeli undercover soldiers seen arresting Palestinian protesters [Palestinians need more and better weapons for a fair fight]
Disaster in the Gulf
Friday, 11 June 2010
With an administration and Congress supporting monied powerful interests, most Americans are on their own economically, politically, and environmentally for their safety, security and well-being. Common people are not important to either political party. So it's for grassroots activism to bring change.
As more information surfaces, a potentially biblical disaster is unfolding, threatening to make vast parts of the Gulf dead zones, animals and plant species so contaminated and unsafe that Gulf communities may face "the total end of fishing, according to Carl Safina, Blue Water Institute ocean biologist.
On May 30, the UK Independent's Emily Dugan headlined "Oil spill creates huge undersea dead zones," according to oceanologists and toxicologists, saying:
If experts are right, "the sea's entire food chain could suffer years of devastation, with almost no marine life in the region escaping its effects."
Many scientists believe what's unseen below the surface will have the deadliest impact because of the combination noxious oil and toxic dispersants, combined to make a growing disaster far worse.
Over 8,300 animal and plant species are at risk. Some may face extinction, but the true toll won't be known for years.
"In previous spills, oil rose to the surface and was dealt with there," but hundreds of thousands of gallons of dispersants used has kept much of the it submerged, "resulting in unprecedented underwater damage to organisms in the Gulf."
Once toxins enter the food chain, none of it escapes harm, and some may be lost forever, the result of what Marine Environmental Research Institute director Susan Shaw calls "the biggest environmental disaster of our time," saying:
She's been diving in damaged areas and "is horrified by the contamination caused by BP's continued use of dispersants. They've been used at such a high volume that it's unprecedented. The worst of these - Corexit 9527 - is the one (most used. It) ruptures red blood cells and causes fish to bleed." With so much in the water over large areas, "we can only imagine the death that will be caused."
Shaw explained that contaminated plankton and smaller shrimps will be eaten by larger fish, passing the deadly mix up the food chain, "dismantling (it), piece by piece."
On June 8, University of South Florida's College of Marine Science "confirmed the (large widespread) presence of distinct layers of degraded oil (in two deep water plumes) of the northern Gulf of Mexico many miles from the Deepwater Horizon explosion site" - based on research it conducted and continues to pursue. In late May, its scientists reported one plume 22 miles long and 100 feet thick.
One or more others now exist and continue getting larger. BP denies they exist, CEO Tony Hayward saying "The oil is on the surface. They're aren't any plumes."
According to Harte Research Institute for the Gulf of Mexico Studies director, Larry McKinney, "At the depth that these plumes are at, (vast parts of) the sea will be toxic for God knows how long."
Tulane University's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department Professor, Michael Blum, warns about mass extinction, saying:
It Gets Worse
Complicit with BP from day one, Obama's Interior Department falsified results of a National Incident Command Flow Rate Technical Group estimate of the oil leaking at from 12,000 - 19,000 barrels daily - its low figure, not the true volume its scientists feel is "significantly higher."
Indeed so believes University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor Ira Leifer, a noted expert at estimating flow rates, saying satellite data he's examined shows it's been increasing over time, especially after BP's "top kill" method failed. Then severing the damaged riser pipe to install a "top hat" increased the rate far more than BP's 20% estimate.
At worst, he thinks as much as 100,000 barrels daily are leaking, based on new video images showing the flow of black oil is unimpeded. He also said "BP is playing games with us, presumably under the advice of their legal team."
Indeed so according to a May 26 Reuters report citing a US Clean Water Act clause, added in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez disaster. Unlike BP's $75 million liability cap for economic damages, Washington can assess fines of up to $4,300 for every barrel spilled.
The basic fine is $1,100 per barrel. However, if courts rule gross negligence, much more perhaps is likely. In the past, civil fines were a modest percent of total cost, but given the size of this disaster and its unprecedented damage and outrage, stiffer penalties may result.
Given the best of reliable estimates, University of Michigan's Environmental Law program director, Professor David Uhlmann, believes:
A late April Bernstein Research estimate put BP's liability up to $8 billion, but the figure excluded possible penalties, and didn't consider a catastrophe this great or its likely duration - combined, having the potential to bankrupt the company and very likely get its CEO Tony Hayward fired, considered damaged goods, perhaps with other tainted officials sharing responsibility for the cost, major PR disaster, and criminal negligence, even the best PR and containment can't conceal.
Initially, BP and the Obama administration said 1,000 daily barrels, then 5,000, and now 12,000 - 19,000, much of which is being recovered according Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, repeating what BP tells him, and even now can't admit the obvious about plumes.
Early amounts captured combined oil and sea water, likely as true now despite announced company claims that always are bogus and can't be believed.
Repeatedly up to now, Harward and other BP officials lied, suppressed the truth, and continue to control everything, including clean-up efforts. At best, they've done little, provided bare-bones financial compensation, and no other help to affected residents - the Obama administration letting them operate secretly and negligently, in spite of continued bungling, obstruction, and criminal negligence or worse.
A Potential Doomsday Scenario
According to University of Georgia biogeochemist, Samantha Joye, the vast underwater plumes are "unlike anything else that has ever been seen anywhere, certainly in human history, (and they) threaten to wreak havoc on marine life. (Also unprecedented are) extremely high levels of methane. It's impossible to know what (its) impacts" will be, something that will take years to understand. Besides the enormous damage to the Gulf, Joye's greatest fear is one or more hurricanes, pushing the oil ashore, and spreading it through torrential rains well inland, and contaminating vast crops and farmland over a vast area.
On June 8, oil expert Matthew Simmons, on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan show, said the enormity of the Gulf disaster has been grossly underestimated. He believes from 100,000 - 150,000 barrels are spewing out daily, mostly from "an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP has been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser."
After the explosion, 40,000 - 50,000 pounds of pressure per square inch intensified the fire and popped the blowout preventer like a cork. Then the casing came out, so "we have an open hole that's spewing I would guess somewhere between 100 - 150,000 barrels a day of oil which is why you now have over a 100 mile oil lake at the bottom of the Gulf....that's apparently 4 - 5,000 feet deep."
"I think (we'll) discover that we have an open hole with no casing in it," so to contain the leak, BP is doing "everything wrong. (They are) trying to patch a little leak in the drilling riser" when the real problem is an open hole with no casing in it. If true, as is likely, "the only way we'll shut it off is either let it (exhaust itself over up to) 30 years....or put a nuclear device down the hole," blow it up, and encase it in melted rock (a "glassy plug") - but not without the enormous risk of irradiating the Gulf and all plant and animal species in it.
According to New York University Physics Professor Michio Kaku, sealing the Gulf leak(s) with a nuclear device amounts to a "huge science experiment, with unintended consequences," including potentially:
Further, eight or more hurricanes are predicted. If one or more hit the Gulf, "it means that seawater several hundred feet below the surface of the water could be churned up and then deposited over the South. This seawater, containing oils and radioactive fission products, would magnify the environmental problem" hugely. As a result, Kaku strongly opposes the nuclear option, given the enormous risks and no way to contain them.
Obama isn't letting the Gulf disaster slow his offshore drilling support. After the April 20 explosion, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) approved 27 more projects, 26 exempted from environmental review, including two for BP getting the Center for Biological Diversity's Executive Director, Kieran Suckling to say:
Then on June 7, the Obama administration announced new safety guidelines ahead (more cosmetic than with teeth) to expedite dozens of shallow water operations, besides more deep water ones once his appointed commission completes its disaster investigation, sure to produce distortion, obstruction and whitewash - a topic this writer addressed earlier.
He's also promoting the outlandish cap and trade legislation (through the House, not the Senate) - promoted as a climate/clean energy bill that, in fact, will raise energy prices and enrich Wall Street through a new carbon trading scam, greater than the housing and derivatives ones combined, a topic also addressed by this writer:
With an administration and Congress supporting monied and power interests, most Americans are on their own and out of luck economically, politically, and environmentally, besides their safety, security and well-being, not important under either party in charge, so it's for grassroots activism to bring change.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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