morally and ethically bound to provide to all children a useful quality education

Only if we acknowledge we are morally and ethically bound to provide to all children a useful quality education and not dumb them down to be corporate robots

clip_image002Morally bound to pay off school debt or not?

09-26-2012  •  http://www.dailypaul.com, Jarrett

Hey everyone. I just wanted to get your insight on something my friend said to me recently that’s a bit of a conundrum for me. Let me preface this by saying that I’m current on all my student loans and bills. 

corporate $ay$ it’s $ecret

 

corporate $ay$ it’s $ecret

clip_image002

HYDRAULIC FRACTURING: Two-thirds of frack disclosures omit ‘secrets’

 

EnergyWire: Wednesday, September 26, 2012…http://www.eenews.net/public/energywire/2012/09/26/1

Two out of every three times oil and gas companies have publicly disclosed the chemicals in their hydraulic fracturing fluid, they’ve left something out.

At least one chemical was kept secret in 65 percent of fracking disclosures by companies that said they needed to protect confidential business information, according to a review of PIVOT Upstream Group’s D-Frac database done for EnergyWire.

Absolute pure political bull shit

… Absolute pure political bull shit … and “we” do absolutely nothing to stop it …

clip_image001

Postal Service Prepares for Second Default in Two Months

09-26-2012  •  .

The U.S. Postal Service will default this week on a $5.6 billion congressionally mandated obligation to pre-fund retiree health benefits, marking the second time in two months the cash-strapped agency has done this.

Troubling information about Food

 

clip_image002Troubling information about Food in the News

 

As we continue to manipulate nature in detrimental ways to ensure our comforts, we put one of our great needs at risk.

September 21, 2012http://www.alternet.org/food/beware-5-depressing-stories-about-food-news-past-week?akid=9456.23062.gbHD-I&rd=1&src=newsletter717834&t=19&paging=off 

 

As we continue to manipulate nature in detrimental ways to ensure our comforts, we put one of our great needs at risk: food. From creating polluted environmental conditions that both contaminate and deplete food, to putting weird chemicals in our food that just do not belong, we continue to take everything natural out of nature; and it’s biting us in the you-know-what.

Here are five stories about food in the news this week that you should be concerned about:

1. GMO  Foods May Cause Tumor Growth, Premature Death    Genetically modified foods — foods developed by altering an animal or plant’s DNA via genetic engineering — most likely make their way onto your dinner plate in the form of corn, tomatoes, potatoes or soybeans. And now, a new controversial study states that these GM foods are linked to tumor growth and premature death.

In a new study led by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen in France, Séralini used 200 lab rats (rude) to test the effects of GM corn as well as an herbicide called Roundup — both of which are used by industrial agriculture giant Monsanto. Séralini said that what made his study different was the amount of time he spent conducting it — two years, which is much longer than the 90-day period standard for feeding studies. In this time frame, he found that rats fed GM corn or given water containing Roundup were much more likely to develop tumors or die before they would have from normal age. 

While many scientists have called Séralini’s methods into question, supporters of a ballot measure that would require GM foods to be labeled have used the study as support for their cause. The Californian measure, called Proposition 37 (or The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) aimsto “help consumers make informed choices about the food they eat.”

Nutrition scientist Marion Nestle wrote that she had concerns about Séralini’s “weirdly complicated” study, but that the contentious science behind GM foods shouldn’t derail Proposition 37 and its labeling campaign.

She stated:

The California Prop. 37 proponents (and I’m totally with them) already have a strong “right to know” argument.  They don’t need to be distracted by the kinds of scientific arguments that are already raging about this study.

2. Arsenic in Your Rice    Consumer Reports recently released new research that found high levels of arsenic in rice as well as other rice products such as rice breakfast cereals, rice baby cereal and rice pasta. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, arsenic is a Group 1 carcinogen known to cause bladder, lung and skin cancer. Consumer Reports tested more than 200 samples of rice products — traditional and organic, notable brands and store bands — and found significant levels of arsenic levels in all of them.

Popular brands tested in the study included Goya, Uncle Ben’s, Gerber, General Mills, Kellogg’s and Quaker. The study found that consuming a single serving of rice could contain one and a half times more arsenic than drinking a day’s worth of water containing arsenic at 5 parts per billion — the Environmental Protection Agency’s originally proposed limit for arsenic in drinking water.

So how does arsenic get in rice? While the USA Rice Foundation is claiming arsenic is a “a naturally occurring element in soil and water,” Consumer Reports stated that humans are mainly to blame. U.S. agricultural and industrial producers have used about 1.6 million tons of arsenic since 1910, making the United States the world’s leading arsenic user. We use arsenic for a variety of purposes, such as to treat lumber and to manufacture glass.  Also, the practices we use to make more food faster and cheaper cause arsenic to contaminate rice. For example, arsenical pesticides and fertilizers linger in the soil, while animals are fed food-containing arsenic to make them plumper.

Consumer Reports has demanded that the EPA phase out pesticides and fertilizers containing arsenic and that the Food and Drug Administration ban feeding of arsenic-containing drugs to animals. In the meantime, the group stated that consumers should test their water for arsenic, lessen their rice intake and switch from brown rice to white, which contains less arsenic. Rinsing rice thoroughly until water is clear also lessens arsenic intake.

3. Popcorn Can Cause Respiratory Problems    When Wayne Watson, 59, went to the doctor after having trouble breathing, he was shocked when she asked him, “Have you been around a lot of popcorn?” Watson had. In fact, he had been eating two bags of microwave popcorn a day for the past ten years. The doctor diagnosed him with “popcorn lung,” a respiratory disease in which small airways of the lung become scarred and tighten up, making it difficult to breathe. Workers at plants who inhale diacetyl, an artificial flavoring that gives popcorn its buttery taste, are usually the victims of the disease. A recent study even linked diacetyl to Alzheimer’s.

Watson was recently awarded $7 million in damages, with the popcorn’s manufacturer, Glister-Mary Lee Corp., being 80 percent at fault. The jury stated the supermarket where he purchased the popcorn was 20 percent at fault.

Watson said he barely eats popcorn any more.

He said: “Occasionally we’ll pop some on the stove the old fashioned way."

4. Mercury in School Lunches    Do you like your tuna sandwiches? Well, they may contain something not so delicious. A council of consumer groups are now urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get tuna out of school lunches after studies show tuna may contain high levels of mercury. The Vermont branch of the Mercury Policy Project, an organization that raises awareness about the health and environmental threats of mercury, tested 59 canned tuna samples sold to schools in 11 states. The Project found highly variable levels of mercury, even among tuna that came from the same can; the average methylmercury content ranged from 0.02 to 0.64 parts per million in light tuna, and between 0.19 and 1.27 parts per million in albacore tuna.

Methylmercury is a more hazardous type of mercury, formed after bacteria contacts the mercury in fish. Fish become contaminated with mercury due to industrial pollution. Because albacore live longer than other species of tuna, they accumulate more mercury in their bodies and are therefore more dangerous to consume. According to the EPA, even tiny levels of methylmercury have been linked to learning disabilities in children. They limit methylmercury intake to a tiny amount. The Project stated that a 44-pound child who eats merely two ounces of albacore tuna might already be consuming 47% of the limit.

Pregnant women should also be concerned, as studies have shown the EPA’s recommendation for pregnant women — of eating fish no more than two meals a week — may still be too high. The Project is urging schools to limit tuna servings to twice a month and then phase it out.

5. Atlantic Ocean Fish on Decline      Besides tuna, it may still be safe to eat fish — but what happens when there’s no more fish to eat? According to the environmental publication, Grist, something (not very) fishy is happening in the Atlantic Ocean this year. In their new video, reporters traveled to Gloucester, Mass. to talk to people in the fishing business about how climate change is affecting their work.

They spoke with Angela Sanfilippo, president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association, which works to protect and promote the Gloucester, New England fishing industry. Sanfilippo talked about the bizarre happenings in the Gloucester Harbor.   

“There is a strange phenomenon in the ocean this year,” she said.

Sanfilippo said that the warm water has caused lobsters in the harbor to shed earlier than usual. There was also a huge increase of lobsters along the New England coast this year, which actually drove prices down and was troublesome for fisherman.

In terms of fish, Sanfilippo said they’ve seen a 20 percent reduction in ground fish and next year they’re predicting a decrease of 70 percent.

“We see that it’s hard to find a great abundance of ground fish. In the summer there are usually herring that the ground fish feed on.” Now, she said, “There is nothing. It’s like somebody swept everything away.”

Sanfilippo also mentioned that small squid have appeared in the harbor — a species rarely seen there before. She called what is happening a “natural disaster,” and that we need to care about the environment if we want to continue to have fish to eat.

“We know that if we keep the ocean clean we will always have fish,” she said, adding that fishermen have been fighting with oil companies to keep out of waters. “We can control the damage we do to the environment … [but] there are people in the world that, for money, they’re willing to do anything — they don’t care about the environment.”

opened the city’s treasury to “whitey”

 

clip_image002

… Now tell me … would Glendale leadership take action to thwart a bid to bring a casino had the applicant been “white”…?

… My gue$$ is they would have opened the city’s treasury to “whitey” and given them the key to the city’s piggy bank

In other words, the dollar is screwed.

clip_image001Dollar has been toast for a long time … nothing new

With yesterday’s Fed decision and press conference [Sept. 13], Chairman Ben Bernanke finally and decisively laid his cards on the table. And confirming what I have been saying for many years, all he was holding was more of the same snake oil and bluster. Going further than he has ever gone before, he made it clear that he will be permanently binding the American economy to a losing strategy. As a result, September 13, 2012 may one day be regarded as the day America finally threw in the economic towel.

Here is the outline of the Fed’s plan: buy hundreds of billions of home mortgages annually in order to push down mortgage rates and push up home prices, thereby encouraging people to build and buy homes and spend the extracted equity on consumer goods. Furthermore, the Fed hopes that ultra-cheap money will push up stock prices so that Wall Street and stock investors feel wealthier and begin to spend more freely. He won’t admit this directly, but rather than building an economy on increased productivity, production, and wealth accumulation, he is trying to build one on confidence, increased leverage, and rising asset prices. In other words, the Fed prefers the illusion of growth to the restructuring needed to allow for real growth.

The problem that went unnoticed by the reporters at the Fed’s press conference (and those who have written about it subsequently) is that we already tried this strategy and it ended in disaster. Loose monetary policy created the housing and stock bubbles of the last decade, the bursting of which almost blew up the economy. Apparently for Bernanke and his cohorts, almost isn’t good enough. They are coming back to finish the job. But this time, they are packing weaponry of a much higher caliber. Not only are they pushing mortgage rates down to historical lows but now they are buying all the loans!

Last year, the Fed launched the so-called "Operation Twist," which was designed to lower long-term interest rates and flatten the yield curve. Without creating any real benefits for the economy, the move exposed US taxpayers and holders of dollar-based assets to the dangers of shortening the maturity on $16 trillion of outstanding government debt. Such a repositioning exposes the Treasury to much faster and more painful consequences if interest rates rise. Still, the set of policies announced yesterday will do so much more damage than "Operation Twist," they should be dubbed "Operation Screw." Because make no mistake, anyone holding US dollars, Treasury bonds, or living on a fixed income will have their purchasing power stolen by these actions.

Prior injections of quantitative easing have done little to revive our economy or set us on a path for real recovery. We are now in more debt, have more people out of work, and have deeper fiscal problems than we had before the Fed began down this path. All the supporters can say is things would have been worse absent the stimulus. While counterfactual arguments are hard to prove, I do not doubt that things would have been worse in the short-term if we had simply allowed the imbalances of the old economy to work themselves out. But in exchange for that pain, I believe that we would be on the road to a real recovery. Instead, we have artificially sustained a borrow-and-spend model that puts us farther away from solid ground.

Because the initials of quantitative easing − QE − have brought to mind the famous Queen Elizabeth cruise ships, many have likened these Fed moves as giant vessels that are loaded up and sent out to sea. But based on their newly announced plans, the analogy no longer applies. As the new commitments are open-ended, quantitative easing will now be delivered via a non-stop conveyor belt that dumps cheap money on the economy. The only variable is how fast the belt moves.

Fortunately, the crude limitations of the Fed’s only policy tool have become more apparent to the markets. If you must stick with the nautical metaphors, QE3 has sunk before it has even left port. The move was explicitly designed to push down long-term interest rates, but interest rates spiked significantly in the immediate aftermath of the announcement. Traders realize that an open-ended commitment to buying bonds means that inflation and dollar weakness will likely destroy any nominal gains in the bonds themselves. To underscore this point, the Fed announcement also caused a sharp selloff in Treasuries and the dollar and a strong rally in commodities, especially precious metals.

Given that 30-year fixed mortgages are already at historic lows, there can be little confidence that the new plan will succeed in pushing them much lower, especially given the upward spike that occurred in the immediate aftermath of the announcement. Instead, Bernanke is likely trying to provide the confidence home owners need to exchange fixed-rate mortgages for lower adjustable rate loans − which would free up more cash for current consumer spending. He is looking for homeowners to do their own twist. If he succeeds, more homeowners will be vulnerable to increasing rates, which will further limit the Fed’s future ability to increase rates to fight rising prices.

The goal of the plan is to create consumer purchasing power by raising home and stock prices. No one seems to be considering the likelihood that unending QE will fail to lift bond, stock, or home prices, but will instead bleed straight through to higher prices for food, energy, and other consumer staples. If that occurs, consumers will have less purchasing power as a result of Bernanke’s efforts, not more.

The Fed decision comes at the same time as the situation in Europe is finally moving out of urgent crisis mode. While I do not think the ECB‘s decision to underwrite more sovereign debtfrom troubled EU members will work out well in the long term, at least those moves have come with some German strings attached [For more on this, see John Browne’s article from earlier this week]. As a result, I feel that the attention of currency traders may now shift to the poor fundamentals of the US dollar, rather than the potential for a breakup of the euro.

In the meantime, the implications for American investors should be clear. The Fed will try to conjure a recovery on the backs of currency debasement. It will not stop or alter from this course. If the economy fails to respond to the drugs, Bernanke will simply up the dosage. In fact, he is so convinced we will remain dependent on quantitative easing that he explicitly said he won’t turn off the spigots even if things noticeably improve. In other words, the dollar is screwed.

Before you believe and agree with the “feel-good” statement from any mine

Before you believe and agree with the “feel-good” statement from any mine …. read – digest and evaluate ALL the provisions of the … General Mining Act of 1872 … a United States federal law that authorizes and governs prospecting and mining for economic minerals, such as gold … this act pretty much gives mines a blank check to destroy the environment any way necessary to extract the mineral$

Mining companies say they try to minimize dangers, damages

 

BY JENNIFER ROBISON …LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL…Posted: Sep. 23, 2012 | 2:01 a.m. …Updated: Sep. 23, 2012 | 3:56 p.m….http://www.lvrj.com/business/mining-companies-say-they-try-to-minimize-dangers-damages-170879041.html?ref=041

 

Mining comes with plenty of environmental baggage.    From poisons to air quality to gaping holes in the ground, miners leave a mark on the countryside.

But some of those threats are more real than others.   It might surprise you to know that the cyanide used by mines isn’t really that harmful, or that the key danger to human safety that environmental scientists see these days is an abandoned open pit.

Mining companies say they’re doing what they can to ease those aftereffects.

Still, there will be "management issues for decades, if not centuries," says Glenn Miller, an environmental chemist and professor of natural resources and environmental science at the University of Nevada, Reno.

How much management is needed depends on the environmental concern.

CYANIDE  Sure, it gets a lot of attention, but people’s focus on cyanide used to leach gold from ore isn’t quite warranted, Miller says. The state’s mining industry uses about 100,000 tons a year, and there have been no human deaths reported from the poison.

"As far as human health and cyanide, the industry has been very, very good," he says.

Plus, cyanide concentrations are low. Barrick Gold Corp. uses 0.25 pounds per ton of water at its heap-leach pads, a solution of .0001 percent cyanide. Companies also sign international codes that require transportation and storage safety precautions.

Cyanide also degrades quickly in the environment, Miller says.

Despite decades of research into less-toxic alternatives, cyanide remains the best chemical for separating gold from low-grade ore, so it’ll be around a while.

The biggest problem with cyanide isn’t that it’s toxic. The real issue is that it allows mining of vast amounts of rock, Miller says.

ACID DRAINAGE    Thanks to high gold prices, it’s worthwhile to mine ore that has just $6 or $8 of gold in each ton.

The result? Pile upon pile of waste rock that hasn’t seen oxygen or water for millions of years. Freed from the ground, that rock oxidizes and generates sulfuric acid, a corrosive liquid that can burn plants, birds and animals.

"It’s very difficult to stop. You get some serious problems that need to be remediated," Miller says.

Other potential contaminants include mercury and arsenic.

Mining companies use leach pad liners of clay and polyethylene to keep the poisons out of groundwater, but "you have to assume some liners are going to leak," Miller says. "The potential for contamination will exist far into the future."

But John Mudge, vice president of environmental and social responsibility for Newmont Mining Corp., says pad liners are robust: "They have 300 feet of rock on them, and they’re not fazed at all."

John Hadder, director of Reno-based environmental advocacy group Great Basin Resource Watch, says that won’t always be the case.

"The jury’s out on liners. They will eventually fail," he says. "The question is whether they’ll fail in a long-enough time frame that the rock is no longer contaminated, and no longer a threat to groundwater."

AIR QUALITY    Mining companies acknowledge their business creates air pollution.

Barrick says its biggest emission is dust from roads, rock crushers and conveyor belts that transport ore.

Other emissions come from plants that process ore through mills or roasters. Particulates, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, mercury – all are airborne byproducts of refining.

Both Newmont and Barrick say they suppress dust emissions by wetting roads, crushers and conveyor belts. They also use filters, scrubbers and other measures to limit emissions from refineries.

And, Mudge says, engines on ore-hauling trucks are getting more efficient. They use less fuel, with fewer emissions, per ton of ore.

But Hadder says mercury emissions are an even bigger problem, because mercury is toxic.

Mining companies do a good job following state regulations to prevent mercury emissions from refineries, Hadder says, but there are no rules governing "fugitive" mercury that escapes from leach pads, tailings and waste rock.

Great Basin Resource Watch is in talks with the state about plans to regulate fugitive mercury emissions.

PIT LAKES    Ask Miller and Hadder to name the biggest environmental threat mines pose, and they agree: pit lakes.

The lakes occur when groundwater seeps back into an abandoned open pit. The water can be toxic, with high levels of acid, and Nevada’s pit lakes can be 2,000 feet deep – deeper than Lake Tahoe.

Northwest Nevada’s Lake Lahontan, created by a dam on the Carson River, is the state’s largest man-made lake, at 325,000 acre-feet. But in the next few decades at least three of the four largest man-made lakes in Nevada will be pit lakes, Miller says, and some will approach 450,000 acre-feet. Another 12 to 15 pit lakes will contain more than 50,000 acre-feet, equal to Reno’s water consumption for a full year.

It’s a big problem because the water that floods pit lakes is drinkable water from underground reservoirs, Hadder says. Along the Humboldt River Basin in Northern Nevada, forecasts call for more than a million acre-feet of water to end up in pit lakes, he says.

"We’re losing valuable water to these pit lakes," Hadder says. "We’re in a dry state here. We’re fighting battles over water."

In addition, pit lakes harm migrating birds and waterfowl. Per regulations in the Migratory Bird Act, Newmont recently had to dump 1,900 tons of caustic soda in its Lone Tree Mine pit lake near Battle Mountain to balance the water’s pH and make it safe for birds, Hadder says.

Acidic water is also easy to fix: Add lime to neutralize the pH balance, Miller says.

What’s not as manageable is the human tendency to see water and want to play.

"People will want to fish in these lakes, and someone will stock them," Miller says. "But the slopes on these lakes can be very, very unstable. They’re almost designed to fail. You may be taking a small raft or boat around a lake, and you can have large rocks come down on you."

Backfilling pits isn’t practical because oxidizing rocks could taint groundwater. And the cost of replacing rock – $1 per ton, or $5 billion to replace 5 billion tons of ore mined – "isn’t the best use of money or diesel fuel," he says.

Mining companies now fence off pit lakes. Miller says that’s not enough to keep people out, but mining companies say they’ll eventually do more.

Newmont’s Lone Tree pit lake is "totally closed off and not accessible to the public," Mudge says. "Eventually, over the long term, the proper protections will have to be put in so people don’t expose themselves. Once we get to the point where we allow public access, we will not let people close to those walls, maybe with a buoy system."

It’s the least they could do, Miller says.

"There needs to be a policy established that you make access into the pit lake safe, because you’ve created an attractive nuisance."

RECLAMATION    Mining companies say they’re doing everything possible, and then some, to protect the environment. Both Barrick and Newmont are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, a global list of 300 companies identified as leaders in environmental stewardship, safety and social responsibility.

State and federal laws require mining companies to file reclamation plans when they ask for permits.

To comply with regulations, Barrick’s Cortez mine has 18 people in its environmental department. The company will spend $5 million on reclamation at Cortez in 2012, including demolition of a retired mill.

The company doesn’t wait until it’s done mining to contour played-out leach pads and tailings dams to match nearby hills.

Barrick also plants native vegetation on contoured hillsides.

On a drive through reclaimed areas at Cortez, it’s almost impossible to distinguish reclaimed hills from natural ones. The only clue you get is from the tour guide, who points out former leach pads.

Both Barrick and Newmont say they go above and beyond to protect Northern Nevada’s flora and fauna.

Barrick agreed in 2008 to establish a seed farm employing members of the Shoshone tribe. They are collecting seeds from the adjacent land so the company doesn’t have to buy non-native versions from far-flung nurseries.

Newmont is also working the countryside outside of its mines. The company installed fencing and developed new water sources for livestock to keep cattle away from trout habitats near Carlin. The company is working on an off-site plan to help protect the sage grouse.

The efforts "will help as we get approvals for new operations," Mudge says. "But it’s also the right thing to do."

Great Basin’s Hadder says he believes the mining companies’ efforts to right the environment are mostly sincere.

"But they’re also having some pretty big impacts on the environment," he adds. "And I would say they aren’t really offsetting those impacts."