Archive for 'Our Views'
Published time: May 24, 2013 18:09
The amendment shot down by the Senate would have allowed states to make their own decisions on whether or not GMO foods should be labeled – without mandating any action. Supporters originally believed that this measure was non-controversial, and simply gave states an option. But the Senate voted 71 to 27 against it on Thursday, days before Saturday’s March Against Monsanto. [More...]
The Colorado River, The High Plains Aquifer And The Entire Western Half Of The U.S. Are Rapidly Drying Up
What is life going to look like as our precious water resources become increasingly strained and the western half of the United States becomes bone dry? Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century in the western half of the country in 1000 years, and now things appear to be reverting to their normal historical patterns. But we have built teeming cities in the desert such as Phoenix and Las Vegas that support millions of people. Cities all over the Southwest continue to grow even as the Colorado River, Lake Mead and the High Plains Aquifer system run dry. So what are we going to do when there isn’t enough water to irrigate our crops or run through our water systems?
Already we are seeing some ominous signs that Dust Bowl conditions are starting to return to the region. In the past couple of years we have seen giant dust storms known as “haboobs” roll through Phoenix, and 6 of the 10 worst years for wildfires ever recorded in the United States have all come since the year 2000. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, “the average number of fires larger than 1,000 acres in a year has nearly quadrupled in Arizona and Idaho and has doubled in every other Western state” since the 1970s. But scientists are warning that they expect the western United States to become much drier than it is now. What will the western half of the country look like once that happens?
A recent National Geographic article contained the following chilling statement…
The wet 20th century, the wettest of the past millennium, the century when Americans built an incredible civilization in the desert, is over.
Much of the western half of the country has historically been a desolate wasteland. We were very blessed to enjoy very wet conditions for most of the last century, but now that era appears to be over.To compensate, we are putting a tremendous burden on our fresh water resources. In particular, the Colorado River is becoming increasingly strained. Without the Colorado River, many of our largest cities simply would not be able to function. The following is from a recent Stratfor article…
The Colorado River provides water for irrigation of roughly 15 percent of the crops in the United States, including vegetables, fruits, cotton, alfalfa and hay. It also provides municipal water supplies for large cities, such as Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, accounting for more than half of the water supply in many of these areas.
In particular, water levels in Lake Mead (which supplies most of the water for Las Vegas) have fallen dramatically over the past decade or so. The following is an excerpt from an article posted on Smithsonian.com…
And boaters still roar across Nevada and Arizona’s Lake Mead, 110 miles long and formed by the Hoover Dam. But at the lake’s edge they can see lines in the rock walls, distinct as bathtub rings, showing the water level far lower than it once was—some 130 feet lower, as it happens, since 2000. Water resource officials say some of the reservoirs fed by the river will never be full again.
Today, Lake Mead supplies approximately 85 percent of the water that Las Vegas uses, and since 1998 the water level in Lake Mead has dropped by about 5.6 trillion gallons.
So what happens if Lake Mead continues to dry up?
Well, the truth is that it would be a major disaster…
Way before people run out of drinking water, something else happens: When Lake Mead falls below 1,050 feet, the Hoover Dam’s turbines shut down – less than four years from now, if the current trend holds – and in Vegas the lights start going out.
Ominously, these water woes are not confined to Las Vegas. Under contracts signed by President Obama in December 2011, Nevada gets only 23.37% of the electricity generated by the Hoover Dam. The other top recipients: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (28.53%); state of Arizona (18.95%); city of Los Angeles (15.42%); and Southern California Edison (5.54%).
You can always build more power plants, but you can’t build more rivers, and the mighty Colorado carries the lifeblood of the Southwest. It services the water needs of an area the size of France, in which live 40 million people. In its natural state, the river poured 15.7 million acre-feet of water into the Gulf of California each year. Today, twelve years of drought have reduced the flow to about 12 million acre-feet, and human demand siphons off every bit of it; at its mouth, the riverbed is nothing but dust.
Nor is the decline in the water supply important only to the citizens of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. It’s critical to the whole country. The Colorado is the sole source of water for southeastern California’s Imperial Valley, which has been made into one of the most productive agricultural areas in the US despite receiving an average of three inches of rain per year.
You hardly ever hear about this on the news, but the reality is that this is a slow-motion train wreck happening right in front of our eyes.
Today, the once mighty Colorado River runs dry about 50 miles north of the sea. The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Jonathan Waterman about what he found when he went to investigate this…
Fifty miles from the sea, 1.5 miles south of the Mexican border, I saw a river evaporate into a scum of phosphates and discarded water bottles. This dirty water sent me home with feet so badly infected that I couldn’t walk for a week. And a delta once renowned for its wildlife and wetlands is now all but part of the surrounding and parched Sonoran Desert. According to Mexican scientists whom I met with, the river has not flowed to the sea since 1998. If the Endangered Species Act had any teeth in Mexico, we might have a chance to save the giant sea bass (totoaba), clams, the Sea of Cortez shrimp fishery that depends upon freshwater returns, and dozens of bird species.
So let this stand as an open invitation to the former Secretary of the Interior and all water buffalos who insist upon telling us that there is no scarcity of water here or in the Mexican Delta. Leave the sprinklered green lawns outside the Aspen conferences, come with me, and I’ll show you a Colorado River running dry from its headwaters to the sea.
It is polluted and compromised by industry and agriculture. It is overallocated, drought stricken, and soon to suffer greatly from population growth. If other leaders in our administration continue the whitewash, the scarcity of knowledge and lack of conservation measures will cripple a western civilization built upon water.
Further east, the major problem is the drying up of our underground water resources.
In the state of Kansas today, many farmers that used to be able to pump plenty of water to irrigate their crops are discovering that the water underneath their land is now gone. The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the New York Times…
Vast stretches of Texas farmland lying over the aquifer no longer support irrigation. In west-central Kansas, up to a fifth of the irrigated farmland along a 100-mile swath of the aquifer has already gone dry. In many other places, there no longer is enough water to supply farmers’ peak needs during Kansas’ scorching summers.
And when the groundwater runs out, it is gone for good. Refilling the aquifer would require hundreds, if not thousands, of years of rains.
So what is going to happen to “the breadbasket of the world” as this underground water continues to dry up?
Most Americans have never even heard of the Ogallala Aquifer, but it is one of our most important natural resources. It is one of the largest sources of fresh water on the entire planet, and farmers use water from the Ogallala Aquifer to irrigate more than 15 million acres of crops each year. It covers more than 100,000 square miles and it sits underneath the states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota.
Unfortunately, today it is being drained dry at a staggering rate. The following are a few statistics about this from one of my previous articles…
1. The Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of approximately 800 gallons per minute.
2. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “a volume equivalent to two-thirds of the water in Lake Erie” has been permanently drained from the Ogallala Aquifer since 1940.
3. Decades ago, the Ogallala Aquifer had an average depth of approximately 240 feet, but today the average depth is just 80 feet. In some areas of Texas, the water is gone completely.
So exactly what do we plan to do once the water is gone?
We won’t be able to grow as many crops and we will not be able to support such large cities in the Southwest.
If we have a few more summers of severe drought that are anything like last summer, we are going to be staring a major emergency in the face very rapidly.
If you live in the western half of the country, you might want to start making plans for the future, because our politicians sure are not.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
‘There’s just so much there … and it already stinks to high heaven’
Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, is now demanding a special prosecutor look into the Obama administration’s involvement in several scandals making national headlines.
Gohmert, a candid lawmaker who doesn’t mince words, has been in the spotlight recently for speaking boldly about the scandals in Washington.On May 15, Gohmert got into a heated exchange with Attorney General Eric Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. When Holder challenged the congressman’s truthfulness, Gohmert shot back, “You point out one thing that I said that was not true.”
The attorney general replied, “I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know,” but he didn’t cite any inaccuracies by Gohmert.
The next day at a Capitol Hill news conference in which tea-party members described abuse by the IRS, Gohmert inferred that the president is a tyrant. [More...]
May 24, 2013
More than two dozen arrests have followed in the wake of multi-day protests in various locations targeting the Department of Justice and their dereliction of duty to prosecute the involvement of major banks in foreclosure fraud.
Protests began several days ago at law firm Covington & Burling where Attorney General Holder was formerly a partner. Holder’s connection to the law firm is seen to represent the collusion between government and some of the big banks allegedly responsible for the mortgage scandal. Covington & Burling have represented Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Protesters literally blocked “the revolving door” to make their point. [More...]
It’s the most fundamental right. Without it all others are endangered. Obama’s waging war to destroy it. He’s done so throughout his tenure.
He targeted AP. He did so unjustifiably. A previous article discussed it.
It was lawless intrusion. It intimidates journalists, potential whistleblowers, valued sources, and others. It warns them against challenging or disclosing information Washington wants kept secret.
Obama’s done it numerous times before. He’s waging war on truth. He’s targeted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined. Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are best known. Others faced similar abuse. [More...]
“Bad Apple” released 3 days before worldwide March Against Monsanto
Activist artist Michael D’Antuono, known for his often controversial paintings on hot button issues, is now aiming his critical brush at the mega agricultural biotechnology corporation, Monsanto.
The painting depicts an evil looking witch in a dark, barren, menacing orchard, offering a shining red apple with the Monsanto sticker on it. The painting’s title, “Bad Apple” is a double entendre, referring both to the dangers of modified agriculture and the corporation itself…
I was thinking that if the witch had offered Snow White a genetically modified Monsanto apple, it might take more than a kiss from a prince to revive our heroine.
The timing is as ripe as Monsanto’s modified crops because it’s being released just three days before the May 25th worldwide March Against Monsanto.
People will be marching against Monsanto because the corporation has monopolized our food supply and persuaded our [government] to look the other way when it comes to the safety of their product.
At his website, you will find his press contacts, blog, and available prints.
So now, even in the far-Left Communist / Obama worshiping media, the published reports from the FBI point out that the entire Tsarnaev family (Dad, Mom, 2 sons & 2 daughters) started receiving government assistance as soon as they set foot in our country, within 41 days.
As political immigrants they were given the standard (and stupid) 14 part “settlement assistance” from day one. (Section 8 Housing, public healthcare, food stamps, free transportation, free education, cash money, etc.)
Then their stellar older son impregnates and marries the daughter of a doctor, and this new little Muslim family receives 18 months of government assistance to go with his two years / 99 weeks of unemployment. [More...]
PJM EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Diplomats Report New Benghazi Whistleblowers with Info Devastating to Clinton and Obama
These whistleblowers, colleagues of the former diplomats, are currently securing legal counsel because they work in areas not fully protected by the Whistleblower law.
According to the diplomats, what these whistleblowers will say will be at least as explosive as what we have already learned about the scandal, including details about what really transpired in Benghazi that are potentially devastating to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The former diplomats inform PJM the new revelations concentrate in two areas — what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi and the pressure put on General Carter Ham, then in command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and therefore responsible for Libya, not to act to protect jeopardized U.S. personnel. [More...]
It’s no surprise. Michael Parenti calls America’s High Court its “autocratic branch.”
It’s notoriously pro-business. It’s longstanding. In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railway (1886), it granted corporations legal personhood.
More recently, in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes et al (June 2011), it denied longstanding sexual discrimination class action redress. It overruled a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision doing so.
In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (April 2011), it did so two months earlier. It blocked class action redress claiming fraud. The company’s wireless subsidiary charged sales tax on cellphones it advertised as free. Two California courts rules for plaintiffs. The High Court overruled them.
Corporations and PACs can spend all they want. Doing so more than ever lets them control US elections. Voters are effectively disenfranchised. They have no say whatever. [More...]