What don’t we get … Vatican is sovereign nation … can make its laws up as it goes along and no one can say anything … got it

…What don’t we get … Vatican is sovereign nation … can make its laws up as it goes along and no one can say anything … got it …


Here’s A Peek Inside Vatican City’s One-Of-A-Kind Criminal Justice System

08-14-2012  •  http://www.businessinsider.com, Erin Fuchs

Now that a Vatican judge has ordered the Pope’s butler to stand trial for theft, Business Insider decided to take a look at criminal justice in the Vatican.



In 1910 the first … FRANKENSTEINimagemovie was created … only three years before our Congress created two creatures which today are devouring that “kernel” … the essence and spirit of free America …

On 23 December 1913 … Congress acting immorally and illegally passed a central banking system euphemistically titled … Federal Reserve System (fed)… the creation of a select group of bankers secretly meeting on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. Their design sanctioned by a morally corrupt Congress transferred the right to create money solely into the hands of private industry.   The United States of America was now owned by private bankers, who had Congress establish the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) endowing them  with“gestapo”immunity to trample and terrorize American citizens.

One must acknowledge the degree of thought and perseverance exhibited by these bankers and their confederates to stay the course through hell and high water to reach the pinnacle of power and domination they have today achieved.





As one peers inward, a salient picture emerges the top brass leading the State of Arizona have dangerously lost sight of the forest for the trees.  Invoking myopic, misleading drivel marinated in their fear based fundamental predation, it has become all too clear that Arizona elected leaders are  incapable of making truly sober assessments of the profound internal threats and weaknesses our state and her citizens face.


Arizona’s “man-in-the-street” is today, 2012, further removed from those we refer to as leaders than we have ever been in the 100 year history of our State.   Her citizens have unceasingly answered every call issued to bear arms, to open our pocket books, to trust our best interests were being protected only to now discover we have been deceived.   Those claiming oath to serve and to protect – us – have instead, usually  secreted behind closed doors, in the dead of night or on a holiday sold out to ‘them” thus becoming an integral part of the predation


Predationdescribes a biological interaction where a predator (an organism that is hunting) feeds on its prey (the organism that is attacked). Predators may or may not kill their prey prior to feeding on them, but the act of predation often results in the death of its prey and the eventual absorption of the prey’s tissue through consumption


Arizona’s leadership legacy beginning in 2000 reveals an all too-frequent pattern of self-defeat an outgrowth of a slipshod culture, rife with back-scratching favoritism and lazy posturing.   


“We” – that’s you & me – have chosen to consistently elect those who transgress their oaths, and who, should be aggressively investigated and subject to timely trial, a simple matter of basic  justice.  “We” allow them to lose sight of the proverbial forest for the trees, as we choose to look afar particularly when they act according to their personal dictates of political expediency.  “We” pulled and push into our lives their bigoted agenda concealed in their brightly colored Trojan horse in which we became so enamored.     We permit them to refer to their reprehensible denial of human rights as examples of their own perverted and twisted, parochial “religious freedom” and “conscience protection.”  Hyper-patriarchal, misogynistic, and chauvinist attitudes are typically a part of their overall “package deal,” and to date we have chosen to avidly support their dispiriting polarizing agenda of S.B. 1070, 20 week abortion ban, curtailing health care to those the “least” among us, lavish assistance  to for-profit-private-prison-corporations, support for charter schools at the expense of bona-fide public education, opening our public coffers to the titian owner s of “pro” sport franchises, our unwaveringly willingness to turn the other cheek while they routinely refuse to answer our questions, open our halls of government to our inspection or allow our voices to be raised in protest.


Within this environment “we” unabashedly permit our euphemistically  defined  “free-press” – newspapers – TV – radio – to be filled with the proselytizing of their coveted mandates as they understand them to be from the masters controlling the strings securely affixed making them puppet to – “the man.”




They are there to proselytize; that’s their mandate. Even though proselytizing is prohibited, it takes place all the time and threat are persistent gnawing off the morale and integrity   . So long as this process of cannibalization continues, our Arizona leaders will consistently fail to support and defend the citizens of our state.


More corporate fear mongering

… More corporate fear mongering … be afraid, be very afraid that if our profit$ are reduced Arizona’s power system will collapse …


Shutdown ahead?

Owners of the Navajo Generating Station say an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to clear the air in the region’s national parks may push the plant into an unacceptable financial situation. The plant provides power to Arizona, Nevada and California. It’s also the principal provider of electricity for the Central Arizona Project, which supplies water to the Phoenix area. Deseret News


This should all be part of the discussion about how fracking affects the quality of life for communities, as well as the environmental and health implications…

This should all be part of the discussion about how fracking affects the quality of life for communities, as well as the environmental and health implications

...Deadly Truck Traffic: The List of Impacts From Fracking Grows…

Submitted by Tara Lohan on Tue, 2012-08-14 15:28 … http://www.alternet.org/print/hot-news-views/deadly-truck-traffic-list-impacts-fracking-grows

Last week I was in West Virginia talking to people who have already been impacted by fracking in the Marcellus Shale and others who may be about to see their rural communities industrialized. Besides the increasingly-documented threats to water and air, many are concerned about the effects of truck traffic. Upwards of 400 trucks a day in some places. Nonstop, day and night. The folks I spoke to in West Virginia talked about ruined roads and bridges that taxpayers had to pay to repair, living with uncontrolled dust from dirt roads, inhaling pollution from the diesel trucks (some of which idle for hours), and the safety risks of massive vehicles on their small, country lanes.

Their concerns are warranted. In Texas, truck traffic from the shale gas boom is proving deadly. Jennifer Hiller of the San Antonio Express-News writes [1]:

Truck crashes, traffic and long commutes have woven their way into the fabric of daily life in once-quiet McMullen County, about 60 miles south of San Antonio. Delfina Bregman, a Tilden native who works at Joe’s Food Market on Texas 16, said residents used to hear about fatal car crashes once a year — and those usually were related to "old age." Now, she said, it seems that there’s a fatal commercial truck accident in McMullen County about once a week. …

More than a dozen counties have been inundated with traffic from the Eagle Ford Shale energy boom, but McMullen County has seen one of the biggest upswings in commercial vehicle wrecks.




Huge Food Corporations Will Make Upcoming Food Price Hikes Even Worse…

August 7, 2012  | http://www.alternet.org/print/food/how-huge-food-corporations-will-make-upcoming-food-price-hikes-even-worse 

Farmer George Naylor sounds a little too much like the fictional character Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh when I ask about his corn crop. June is usually a wet month, but not this year. One time it “rained” so little it just barely wet the bottom of his rain gauge. Add that to several days of triple-digit temperatures that accelerated evapotranspiration (water loss from his soil and his crop) and his corn is in a sad state. But he’s actually relatively lucky because he is in Iowa, which got some rain early in the season. Farmers in Illinois and Indiana are faring much worse.

The 2012 drought is now the worst drought [3] our country has faced in half a century. As of the end of June, a third of the nation was in severe to extreme drought, and more than half faced moderate to extreme drought. All in all, June ranks as the 14th warmest and 10th driest June on record. By the end of July, the USDA had declared [4] 1,584 counties in 32 states as primary disaster areas, making farmers and ranchers in those counties eligible for federal relief programs. Analogies to the Dust Bowl are becoming common.

Most of the time, Americans don’t need to worry much about how the food gets to our table and whether the weather has anything to do with it. It gets hot, and we put on the air conditioning. It doesn’t rain for weeks on end, and we celebrate the sunshine. But now, the fate of the corn crop on Midwestern farms even has comedian Stephen Colbert worried [5]. Agricultural economist Bruce Babcock appeared on his show, warning him that the prices of meat, dairy and eggs will increase because “American livestock are fed a corn-heavy diet.” As Colbert put it, “It is one thing for global warming to make sea levels rise, but nobody told me it would make my cheese levels recede.”

Now is perhaps a good time to reflect on the extent to which the entire American food system is built on one crop – corn. And within that one crop, we rely on a very narrow range of genetics; although there are more than 250 known genetic races of corn, the U.S. almost exclusively relies on just two of them [6]. Because the U.S. is the world’s number-one producer, consumer and exporter of corn, global food prices are also linked to America’s ability to grow corn. This year, we are going to find out what happens when the crop fails in many parts of the country. Now is a good time to ask ourselves: is it smart to bet the global food supply on a few varieties of one crop grown in one country?

Within the U.S., every state except for one (Alaska) grows corn, but the corn is concentrated geographically in the Midwest. Two states, Iowa and Illinois, grow more than 30 percent of America’s corn (measured by acreage). Add in three more states (Nebraska, Minnesota, and Indiana) and you’ve got nearly 60 percent of U.S. corn. Another six states (South Dakota, Kansas, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Michigan) can also be considered major producers. These 11 states grow more than 80 percent of U.S. corn, mostly without irrigation, and right now half of them are severely suffering from the epic drought.

Where does all the corn go? Well, we aren’t eating it on the cob. Most of the crop is split between livestock feed and ethanol production with a smaller percentage going to exports and smaller amounts still going to produce foods we actually eat directly like high-fructose corn syrup. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the percent of the crop that goes to produce ethanol.

Experts debate how much biofuels impact food prices, but a few trends are clear. As we’ve devoted more and more of our corn crop to ethanol,corn prices have gone up [7]. Once upon a time, prices hovered around $2.50 per bushel. Now they are well above $7 per bushel. Jeffrey O’Hara, an agricultural economist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, recalls when organic corn sold for $4 per bushel just a few years ago. Now it is going for $16 per bushel. “People are going to start wondering why they don’t see organic milk at the grocery store,” he says.

With corn prices so high, farmers have devoted more and more acreage to growing corn. Perhaps when prices were lower, a farmer might have rotated between corn and soybeans, but now he might choose to grow corn every year. Maybe in the past she would have enrolled some of her more marginal land in a conservation program, earning money to keep the land in prairie instead of growing corn there, but now it is more profitable to grow corn on that land. As a result, U.S. farmers are growing more acres of corn than any other year since the bad old days of the Dust Bowl.

But U.S. corn production has not only increased because of increased acreage. Since 1960, the U.S. has increased average corn yields [8] from around 60 bushels per acre to over 160 bushels per acre. Yields of over 200 bushels per acre are not unheard of. But this has come at the cost of genetic diversity. By selecting corn seed for yield and yield alone, the U.S. has sacrificed other valuable traits – like, perhaps, drought tolerance.

In recent years, the already narrow range of corn genes has been impacted by a lack of competition in the seed market.  Together, Monsanto and Pioneer control about 70 percent [9] of the corn seed market. Pioneer, now owned by DuPont, has been a giant in the market for decades as it was the first company to commercialize hybrid corn nearly a century ago, but Monsanto is a relative newcomer.

As it jumped into the corn seed market, Monsanto bought up major corn seed companies like Holden’s and DeKalb. The acquisition of Holden’s was especially significant as Holden’s produced inbred lines of corn seed and sold them to independent seed companies around the U.S. The independent seed companies then used those inbred lines to produce and sell their own hybrids. Monsanto now not only controls a huge share of the market, it also has the means to deprive independent seed companies of the germplasm they once relied on.

Globally, the U.S. produces more than 40 percent of the world’s corn. Next in line is China, which produces less than half as much corn as the U.S., but we are the world’s largest exporter whereas China is the world’s largest importer. We export more than five times as much corn as the world’s second largest exporter, Argentina. When the U.S. corn crop suffers, the global corn supply suffers – and prices go up around the world.

The full picture of U.S. farming includes more than just corn, of course. But not much more. Nearly 90 percent of U.S. cropland is comprised of just four crops. This year, the USDA estimates [10] that the nearly 30 percent of U.S. cropland is planted in corn, 23 percent in soybeans, 18 percent in hay, and 17 percent in wheat. Of these, only wheat is significantly different from the others: it mostly goes to feed humans (not livestock), it is less affected by the drought [11] in the U.S., and the U.S. is not the world’s top producer (it’s fourth).

All in all, the U.S. has produced an extremely efficient – but fragile – agricultural system. When all goes well, the U.S. produces massive amounts of incredibly cheap calories. But when something goes wrong, the system can come crashing down like a house of cards.

Strangely enough, the group that won’t be suffering the most this year are the very farmers whose crops are lost to the drought. The vast majority has federally subsidized crop insurance, which will pay them back for about 75 to 80 percent of their losses, depending on the amount of coverage they’ve elected to take. Crop insurance is a relatively new phenomenon, and it’s one that agricultural economist Daryll Ray argues [12]allows farmers to grow corn in riskier areas where – without insurance – they would have elected to plant crops or pastures more appropriate for the area.

Those who will suffer are livestock producers. For any U.S. livestock operation, the choices this year are not good ones. Your animals can eat corn, soybeans or hay, and all are impacted by the drought. Farmers who have entirely given up on producing grain or beans from corn and soybeans are harvesting their entire plants to feed to their livestock as silage [13] or hay [14], respectively. The USDA is also allowing farmers [15] to harvest hay or graze their animals in 3.8 million acres that had been set aside for conservation, including some wetlands. Another option is culling your herd, slaughtering your animals and selling them for meat to avoid the need to feed them later. Some predict that this will occur, initially driving meat prices down before they go up later.

Naylor, who is not only a farmer but also past president of the National Family Farm Coalition, feels that farmers will not be able to reduce their herd sizes as much as they could have in the past.  “It used to be when farmers were raising livestock, they were a lot more flexible about whether they decided to raise livestock this year or next year. They were using relatively inexpensive facilities,” he recalls. As he sees it, a shortage of feed grains and high prices might have resulted in a drop in demand in the past as farmers reduced their herd sizes.

Nowadays, expensive confinement facilities are used in the majority of livestock operations. Naylor believes they “have a huge investment in the facility itself and if they’re not running livestock through there, somebody’s going to be paying for that facility regardless…  they are going to try to keep those things full to minimize their losses.” Many such farmers contract with large meatpackers like Tyson or Cargill, and the packers’ interest is in keeping their slaughterhouses running at capacity. Naylor also suspects the packing companies “want to keep up a certain volume and not upset people’s typical diets – they want to keep their customers on board as long as they can.” In other words, they don’t want Stephen Colbert’s cheese levels to recede.

Americans certainly will not enjoy paying higher prices for eggs, dairy and meat, nor will they relish reducing consumption of expensive animal products. (That said, it might be a blessing for our health if Americans substituted lower priced but healthier plant-based whole foods in their place.) But if recent history is an indicator, the people who will truly suffer don’t even live in the U.S. Prices spiked a few years ago, in 2008, and Americans took it on the chin. Other countries experienced food riots [16].

So what can we do to prevent such disasters in the future? Diversify, says O’Hara. The scale of this particular drought is so enormous that we would have suffered consequences no matter what, but we might have reduced them by diversifying the crops we grow, diversifying where we grow them, and diversifying the varieties of each crop grown.

Michael Pollan, who agrees about the importance of diversification, says, “It’s also worth pointing out that organic soils perform much better in drought than conventional, because of the superior water retention of organic matter.” In fact, the Rodale Institute, in its 30-plus-year long Farm Systems Trial [17], found that organic corn and soy yields match conventional yields in most years but exceed them in drought years. In addition to building up the soil with manure or compost, their methods also improve water retention by utilizing a thick layer of mulch on top of the soil. They also found that organic methods use less energy and sequester more carbon in the soil, helping to mitigate the climate crisis in the long term. But a minute percent of U.S. corn is grown organically, and some organic farmers use excessive tillage to control weeds, thus negating many of the benefits organic methods should offer in a drought.

When asked, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack dodged a question [18] about whether the drought was related to the climate crisis and instead used it as an occasion to promote drought tolerant seeds. But Union of Concerned Scientists found [19] that Monsanto’s new genetically engineered “drought tolerant” corn provides minimal benefits in the face of drought. So maybe we should take a serious look at diversifying our food system and reducing carbon emissions instead of counting on drought tolerant seeds to bail us out after we break the climate.



And what…you’re surprised…?

…And what…you’re surprised…?

A New Gov’t Scheme for ‘Water Quality Trading’ Gives Polluters a Free Pass …

Submitted by Tara Lohan on Wed, 2012-08-15 06:58 …http://www.alternet.org/print/hot-news-views/new-govt-scheme-water-quality-trading-gives-polluters-free-pass

The goal of the Clean Water Act is straightforward: the U.S. has a national goal of zero discharge into our public waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put a variety of measures in place in order to implement that goal yet, most of the time, we forgo the fundamental principal behind the Clean Water Act. It’s forgotten. We need to remember that goal, pick up where we left off, and measure our success or failure against it.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the EPA have forced an experiment in economic theory on the American public. Instead of making it illegal to pollute, federal agencies have been promoting a “free-market solution” to “internalize the externalities,” making pollution part of the cost of doing business. They give polluters leeway to pollute by creating a market for it.

In theory, they can get pollution reductions from “non-point sources” of pollution such as farm runoff, which is currently largely unregulated and unmeasured. If they file a plan for pollution abatement, these farms can sell these purported reductions in pollution, which may or may not exist, to “point sources” of pollution, such as a factory or a sewage treatment plant. The point source can now pollute as long as they have bought these theoretical reductions from non-point sources. This idea goes by the name of Water Quality Trading, or WQT.

WQT is, at best, untested. A Rutgers University examination of four case studies [1] in WQT somehow counted a project where no trades actually took place as “successful.” Two others were not really trading programs at all, but exceedance taxes for not meeting standards. The remaining project was a regulatory program that didn’t actually test the kind of markets that the traders hope to set up, since it didn’t trade between point sources and non-point sources.

WQT can allow “hot spots” or localized areas where pollution continues unabated, focusing on a given endpoint of potential water pollution and ignoring what can happen at a higher point in the watershed. It assumes, incorrectly, that since the total amount dumped in the overall watershed will not go up, local conditions will not get worse. (Anyone who has ever cleaned a tub knows that where the dirt is deposited matters, and that there is an uneven result of depositing dirt.) And, not only is there a dearth of enforcement, but there’s a lack of monitoring or measurement of the alleged “reductions.” It’s the “running on faith” approach to pollution control. We don’t know for sure if the reductions that are counted are even real, let alone reductions that wouldn’t have happened without the program.

Despite great fanfare and significant seed money to promote trading, Food & Water Watch has been unable to find a single successful trading scheme in the country, despite many attempts across several states. Nonetheless, the USDA and EPA continue to push for acceptance of this unproven idea that turns traditional environmental protection on its head. Indeed, the USDA has started an office[2] whose sole job is to catalyze the development of markets for ecosystem services.


Without regard for the goal of the Clean Water Act, which is to eliminate pollution, the USDA has clearly decided that there is only one way forward. And they are planning to spend $2 million [3] this year alone to push it.


The philosopher George Santayana [4] once said that, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.” WQT is an unproven approach that will claw back some of the hard fought environmental victories we’ve won through the years. It is not in keeping with the stated goals of the Clean Water Act. Despite that, it seems that the USDA and EPA have decided that they will redouble their efforts supporting WQT.

That’s not economics, and it’s not even government. It’s pure fanaticism.

For more information on pollution trading, please check out our report, “Bad Credit: How Pollution Trading Fails the Environment [5].”