Otis Johnson

Published on Nov 24, 2015
Otis Johnson went to jail at the age of 25. When he got out at 69, he rejoined a world that was starkly different from the one he remembered. This is his story.


Published on Nov 24, 2015
Otis Johnson went to jail at the age of 25. When he got out at 69, he rejoined a world that was starkly different from the one he remembered. This is his story.


pro-gun laws; where can’t we carry them?

By CAMERON MCWHIRTER and KARISHMA MEHROTRA
June 29, 2014 9:11 p.m. ET

ATLANTA—Bars, houses of worship, and other public establishments are wrestling with what to do about a new law in Georgia that starting on Tuesday dramatically will expand gun-permit holders’ right to carry weapons where people congregate.

The law allows licensed gun owners to bring weapons to bars and houses of worship, unless forbidden by proprietors. Legally-owned guns also are allowed in unrestricted areas of airports and government buildings, and may be carried at schools and in colleges if permitted by officials.

Several other states allow guns in bars or churches, but Georgia’s «Safe Carry Protection Act,» which passed the state legislature overwhelmingly earlier this year, is unusual in that it expanded gun rights in multiple places with one omnibus law.


This is horrifying: According to multiple news outlets, a Target employee found a loaded handgun in the toy aisle of a store in South Carolina.

When you’re shopping at Target, you shouldn’t have to worry about someone parading around with a semiautomatic rifle, or whether your kid is going to find a loaded handgun while looking at toys.

More than 115,000 people have already signed the petition to Target asking for gun sense policies to protect customers and employees from gun violence — and over the next two days volunteers are going to be delivering these petitions all across the country.

Gun extremists armed with semiautomatic rifles have walked into Target locations around the country, weapons out and loaded, making sure customers saw their guns.
It’s often legal to do this, because many states have weak laws that allow people to openly carry around loaded weapons without any permits, training, or background checks. That means it’s up to companies themselves to protect their customers when the law won’t. Yet according to the Wall Street Journal, Target doesn’t have any policies to stop people from carrying weapons in its stores:

Target, which boasts on its website that between 80% and 90% of its customers are women, has no restrictions on customers carrying guns in its stores.

Chipotle, Starbucks, Chili’s, Sonic Drive-In, and Jack in the Box have already responded to petitions from moms and other gun sense supporters asking the stores not to allow guns. Now it’s up to Target to protect families who shop in its stores..

Sign the petition


Concealed weapon law tossed by fed appeals court

Published February 13, 2014Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – A divided federal appeals court on Thursday struck down California’s concealed weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said California was wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

«The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense,» Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for the majority.


September 24, 2013

It has been 577 days since George Zimmerman shot and killed our son Travyon. And it’s been 74 days since a jury set George Zimmerman free, in part because of broken «Stand Your Ground» laws that protect killers like Zimmerman — killers who first instigate conflicts and then claim self-defense.
In July, we started a petition on Change.org calling for «Stand Your Ground» laws to be reviewed and amended nationwide, but we need to turn up the pressure in order to change the same law in Texas.
Can you start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas’ «Stand Your Ground» law so that people like George Zimmerman can’t kill with impunity?
Reviewing and amending separate laws in 22 different states isn’t going to be easy — we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we’re asking for your help in Texas, because we know that Governor Perry and your state legislature will be most heavily influenced by the voices of constituents like you.
We already know that there’s a major groundswell of people who want to see these laws amended, because more than 400,000 people have signed our petition. Now it’s time to take that energy and harness it, state by state, to make sure no one can stalk, chase, and kill an unarmed child and get away with it.
Not in Texas. Not in Florida. Not anywhere in America.
Our grief is overwhelming, but we are fortified by our fight to honor Trayvon’s memory by fixing these broken laws. Starting a petition only takes a few minutes. Yours could be the voice that makes sure no child in Texas ever has to experience what happened to our son.
Click here to start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas’ «Stand Your Ground» laws.
Thank you for standing with us, and with Trayvon.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton


Friend —

My son, Daniel, was a smart, quiet kid.

He’d just become a straight-A student, and he was overcoming his shyness as a new member of the debate team.

On April 20th, 1999, my beautiful and bright 15-year-old son was killed by two teenagers with guns in the library of Columbine High School — one of 12 innocent kids who lost their lives for no reason at all.

It’s been 14 years since that horrible day — 14 years of fighting so no family has to grieve like ours did.

These tragedies keep happening, and so far, Congress has failed to take common-sense action to stop them — even though nine in 10 Americans have agreed that it’s time to act by expanding background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

This Wednesday, OFA and allied organizations are standing up for a national Day of Action to ask members of Congress: What will it take to finally act to prevent gun violence?

I hope you’ll join in — say you’ll do one thing this week to show Congress you want action to prevent gun violence.

The last questions you ever want to hear as a parent are: «What was your child wearing, and do you have any dental records?»

That’s what the police asked me the evening of the shooting at Columbine High, as they tried to establish who had been killed.

It was the most hopeless I’d ever felt.

Since Daniel’s death, I’ve found a way to honor him: by trying to prevent other families from feeling this pain. I’ve advocated locally and nationally for smarter gun laws — even helping achieve a statewide ballot victory here in Colorado.

In December, when I heard about the shooting in Newtown, I sat in my office and broke down. I was watching another community torn apart by guns — more parents grieving, more kids who would never see graduation, or a wedding, or a family of their own.

And in the wake of another tragedy, nine in 10 Americans agreed that it was time to act — expand background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

But Congress disappointed us, putting politics above the safety of our kids.

That’s why this week, we’re asking: How many parents will have to go through what I did before we say «enough»?

You should be a part of this, too. Tell Congress you’re going to keep asking until they act:

http://my.barackobama.com/Do-One-Thing-for-Gun-Violence-Prevention

Thank you,

Tom

Tom Mauser
Littleton, Colorado


January 17, 2013

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the sweeping gun measure, the nation’s toughest. It includes a ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines.

The
 statute currently written does NOT exempt law enforcement officers. The NYPD, the State Police and virtually every law enforcement agency in the state carry 9-millimeter guns, which have a 15-round capacity.

Unless an exemption is added by the time the law takes effect in March, police would technically be in violation of the new gun measure. A spokesman for the Governor’s office called us to say, «We are still working out some details of the law and the exemption will be included.»


Published: 31 December, 2012, 18:57

There’s no country in the world where you can’t smoke a cigar in a bar, but you may sip bourbon with your Colt Python – only in America!

While the Pentagon assiduously burns billions of dollars to export the cult of violence abroad, in the meantime, back at the domestic front, the Connecticut carnage has resurrected the moribund discussion about the perennial issue: the national suicidal pastime which annually devours 30,000 people, including 2,800 kids.

Even US casualties in Afghanistan – 309 KIA in 2012 – is no match to 414 murders in New York City the same year, celebrated as the record-lowest level in over four decades, down from the apex of 2,000 annual homicides, which accidentally coincides with the overall Operation Enduring Freedom body-count since the beginning of the invasion.

I ain’t no gun-shy latte-lapping liberal or trigger-happy loony. As a veteran and responsible gun owner with a concealed carry permit, I have to admit that the sheer enormity of violence in the US doesn’t jibe well with black & white, left & right polarized partisanship.

In essence, the debate is divided & dominated by one question – what is the main culprit of the homeland heinous crimes, a deadly gun or an evil mind?

In Utopia, nobody would pack heat and everybody would live in harmony, in Dystopia, everybody would be armed to the teeth and dangerously paranoiac.

Given a choice between disarmament & arms race, the USA today is on a fast track to destination D – distraction or despair, you name it.
Spiking the guns

There’s no doubt that all too often, firearms figure prominently as killing multipliers in endemic shooting sprees. Nevertheless, to single them out as the one & only reason that gnaws at the heart of America would be:

– Morally & intellectually dishonest, absolving society at large, the local community and individuals in particular from any duty & responsibility and shifting the blame from the perpetrators & collaborators to the material evidence to the crime.

– Disingenuous – if guns were intrinsically sinful, the US president, Congress and the Supreme Court wouldn’t kowtow to NRA. Stand united, and they’d show the true colors and call for abolition of the 2nd Amendment and comprehensive weapons ban.

– Cynical – drugs, fast food & soft drink legally and profitably hurt more kids than illegal access to alcohol, tobacco & firearms. Who would dare to infringe on ‘freedom of choice’ and prohibit all sweet & slow killers?

The point is it takes a wicked mind to convert a gun into a murderous accomplice, not the other way around.
Multiple delivery vehicles

The gun manufacturing industry is just a little bro of the omnipotent military industrial complex, but it wields tremendous clout over its customer base in the most politicized business in the US.

Some of its ethically-free members shamelessly exploit & condone the cult of violence, propagated by entertainment industry, as freebie product placement in toys, movies, TV and video training games, including the nefarious “Kindergarten Killer.”
Target audience

So what drives the restless minds to ubiquitous guns, making Americans pony up $12 billion for arms & ammo a year, come hell or high water? Here’s a cursory profiling, but some characters could be tempted by multiple motives:

Frontier spirit: The true believers in the sacrosanct right for any individual to bear arms under the aegis of the 2nd Amendment. They flatly refuse to consider a “states’ rights” view that the purpose of the clause is only to protect the states in their authority to maintain formal, organized militia units which are currently substituted and overrepresented by the Pentagon and the National Guard.

Whether they need a gun or not, it doesn’t matter: for ‘the freedom fighters’, the ‘right’ to cling to firearms is article of faith in preordained exceptionalism, the ultimate totem of Americana, which, even if imported, is more symbolic than Stetson hats and Lucchese boots made in the USA.

‘The freedom fighters’ are the posse comitatus and the stormtroopers of the NRA who are ready to fight tooth & nail against Indians, Brits, aliens, commies, feds and legislators to protect their rights to bear arms any time anywhere, no matter what and the hell with individual responsibility and public safety.

Collecting spirit: This is a rarified breed of aloof connoisseurs which are mostly intelligence & military types, active duty and otherwise. They keep a low profile and enjoy the pleasure of quietly building up their exquisite caches to the envy of their pals at local SWAT teams. They keep their powder dry, but they’re the champs at burning their greenbacks on amassing the formidable arsenals of trophies.

Shooting spirit: They love it, they know it and they do it skillfully, safely & responsibly. As hunters and sports enthusiasts, ‘the weekend warriors’ wastemore ammo than all other categories combined, being the most active fun-loving crowd among gun owners. They don’t bullshit about guns & rights. For them, it’s all about shooting the bull’s eye.

Shopping spirit: Impulsive & skittish customers – prodded by the fear factor, peer pressure and propaganda of violence, these armchair commandos and wannabe Rambos ogle a gun as an adult pacifier with ‘cool’ bragging rights, a tangible insurance against intangible threats, however remote & imaginary.

This nervous Nellie types are suckers for bigger, ‘badder’ guns, which they honestly believe could compensate their total lack of situational awareness and friend or foe selective accuracy under the adrenalin rush of the enemy fire.

They are the driving force of consumerism and the firepower fetishism, oblivious to mundane murder depredations, only to be jolted into panic hoarding after media coverage of another shooting rampage or gun limitations rumor mill.
Possessed & obsessed

The extreme sides of the antisocial personality disorder are lopsidedly represented by the traditional ‘sane’ majority and deinstitutionalized & marginalized ‘insane’ minority:

Long-time active serial killers: career criminals who don’t have suicidal ideations or qualms of conscience. As outlaws and the main customers of the firearms black market, they illegally & easily get anything they want and couldn’t care less about regulations & restrictions for legit gun owners.

The committed killers, isolated & organized, are responsible for the overwhelming majority of homicides – with and without firearms – but haven’t gotten the public attention they deserve. The true heroes of the violence cult who made America exceptional by the notorious homicide rate (which exceeds Japan’s by 1,000 times), they represent & reproduce its core value, the freedom to kill & be killed.

One-time dormant multiple murderers: the miserable misfits aka psychos, while not necessarily ‘born to kill’, have their worst basic instinct awakened & conditioned by omnipresent propaganda of violence & vengeance.

They are the ultimate customers of the cult, who are capable to decode its subliminal message – death shall make thou free – into clarion call to action as the ‘ultimate solution’ to settle the scores with the hostile society.

The liberals have ‘liberated’ maniacs from involuntary commitment, exposing them to the ‘values’ of violence, while the NRA has lobbied to protect their rights to legally obtain & keep firearms, thus channeling their macabre fantasies into the outer world.

These ‘accidental’ murderers, neglected or abused by their families & communities, perpetrate less than 1 per cent of overall homicides, but attract 99 per cent of media attention, prompting publicity vultures of their kind to step out from the dark and copycat their horrific crimes.
Mind Control

To paraphrase the old adage, guns don’t regulate themselves, people do. No doubt, it’s a commendable idea to tighten up gun legislature: eliminate restrictions on tracing info sharing (Tiahrt amendments), close the gaping loopholes in state laws, ban assault rifles & high capacity clips and establish comprehensive national FBI & ATF data clearing house to encompass prospective buyers, owners & guns.

Alas, in the Disunited States of America, it is a daydream that will scarcely ever come true: a state of anarchy in firearms regulation has been created & guarded by a cabal of special interests, led by the NRA, which controls pusillanimous politicians, represents armed extremists & psychos and discredits responsible gun manufacturers & owners.

If Biden & Bloomberg have the mojo to win the undeclared war by Americans against Americans for Americans, they should set the priorities straight: liberate the USA from the bloody NRA!

Are you ready for the American Spring?

Godspeed and Happy New Year!


«The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,»

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA

In Washington on Friday, influential National Rifle Association (NRA) broke a week-long silence with a robust defence of its pro-gun position.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA, criticised politicians who had «exploited» the tragedy in Newtown for «political gain» and took aim at laws designating schools as gun-free zones.

«They tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk,» he said.

Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill and blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a «way of life».

He spoke out against the media for demonizing lawful gun owners, and for suggesting a ban on certain types of weapon would be effective.

Congress should authorise funding for armed security in every school in the country, he said, adding that an «extraordinary corps» of trained professionals could be drawn from active and retired police officers, security professionals and firefighters around the country.

Mr LaPierre was interrupted twice by anti-gun protesters carrying banners and declaring that the NRA had «blood on its hands».

The guns used in the shooting had been legally bought by the gunman’s mother, Nancy Lanza.

The shooting has seen some pro-gun congressmen say the mass shooting has prompted them to change their views on whether guns should be regulated more strictly in the US.

Meanwhile California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been an advocate for tighter gun laws, said she would introduce new legislation when Congress meets for the first time in the new year.

But there is no bipartisan consensus on the issue, with others backing the NRA line that teachers in schools should be armed in order to better defend students if a shooting occurs.

In recent years, the N.R.A. has aggressively lobbied federal and state governments to dilute or eliminate numerous regulations on gun ownership. And the clearest beneficiary has been the gun industry — sales of firearms and ammunition have grown 5.7 percent a year since 2007, to nearly $12 billion this year, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. Despite the recession, arms sales have been growing so fast that domestic manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up. Imports of arms have grown 3.6 percent a year in the last five years.
The industry has, in turn, been a big supporter of the N.R.A. It has contributed between $14.7 million and $38.9 million to an N.R.A.-corporate-giving campaign since 2005, according to a report published last year by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates greater gun control. The estimate is based on a study of the N.R.A.’s “Ring of Freedom” program and very likely understates the industry’s total financial support for the association, which does not publicly disclose a comprehensive list of its donors and how much they have given.
Officials from the N.R.A. have repeatedly said their main goal is to protect the Second Amendment rights of rank-and-file members who like to hunt or want guns for protection. But that claim is at odds with surveys that show a majority of N.R.A. members and a majority of American gun owners often support restrictions on gun sales and ownership that the N.R.A. has bitterly fought.
For instance, a 2009 poll commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of N.R.A. members would support requiring all sellers at gun shows to conduct background checks of prospective buyers, which they do not have to do now and which the N.R.A. has steadfastly argued against. If lawful gun owners are willing to subject themselves to background checks, why is the association resisting? Its position appears only to serve the interest of gun makers and dealers who want to increase sales even if it means having dangerous weapons fall into the hands of criminals and violent individuals.
Businesses and special-interest groups often cloak their profit motives in the garb of constitutional rights — think Big Tobacco and its opposition to restrictions on smoking in public places and bold warnings on cigarette packages. The Supreme Court has made clear that the right to bear arms is not absolute and is subject to regulations and controls. Yet the N.R.A. clings to its groundless arguments that tough regulations violate the Second Amendment. Many of those arguments serve no purpose other than to increase the sales of guns and bullets.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Should veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their own financial affairs be prevented from buying a gun?

The issue, for a time last week, threatened to become the biggest sticking point in a $631 billion defense bill for reshaping a military that is disengaging from a decade of warfare.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to amend the bill to stop the Veterans Affairs Department from putting the names of veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their finances into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which prohibits them from buying or owning firearms.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., objected, saying the measure would make it easier for veterans with mental illness to own a gun, endangering themselves and others.

«I love our veterans, I vote for them all the time. They defend us,» Schumer said. «If you are a veteran or not and you have been judged to be mentally infirm, you should not have a gun.»

Currently, the VA appoints fiduciaries, often family members, to manage the pensions and disability benefits of veterans who are declared incompetent. When that happens, the department automatically enters the veteran’s name in the Criminal Background Check System.

A core group of lawmakers led by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has for several years wanted to prohibit the VA from submitting those names to the gun-check registry unless a judge or magistrate deems the veteran to be a danger. This year’s version of the bill has 21 co-sponsors. It passed the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee by voice vote, a tactic generally reserved for noncontroversial legislation. Coburn’s amendment to the defense bill contained comparable language.

«All I am saying is, let them at least have their day in court if you are going to take away a fundamental right given under the Constitution,» Coburn said in the Senate debate last Thursday night.

Congressional aides said Coburn will likely drop his effort to amend the defense bill with his proposal, but that he intends to try again on other bills coming to the Senate floor.

The number of veterans directly affected by the VA’s policy doesn’t appear to very large. Only 185 out of some 127,000 veterans added to the gun-check registry since 1998 have sought to have their names taken off, according to data that the VA shared with lawmakers during a hearing last June.

Still, the legislation over the years has attracted strong support from the National Rifle Association and various advocacy groups for veterans.

«We consider it an abject tragedy that so many of our veterans return home, after risking life and limb to defend our freedom, only to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights because they need help managing their compensation,» Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, wrote last year in an editorial.

The NRA did not respond to queries from the AP about Coburn’s latest effort.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said gun control advocates consider the VA’s current policy reasonable.

«We’re talking about people who have some form of disability to the extent that they’re unable to manage their own affairs,» Gross said. «If you’re deemed unable to handle your own affairs, that’s likely to constitute a high percentage of people who are dangerously mentally ill.»

Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said veterans with a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder but who pose no threat to others are possibly being barred from gun ownership. The current restrictions might even be a disincentive for veterans to seek needed treatment, he said.

«We want to remove these stigmas for mental health treatment. It’s a combat injury,» Tarantino said. «They wouldn’t be doing this if you were missing your right hand, so they shouldn’t be doing it if you’re seeking treatment for post-traumatic-stress-disorder or traumatic brain injury.»

VA officials have told lawmakers they believe veterans deemed incompetent already have adequate protections.

For example, they said, veterans can appeal the finding of incompetency based on new evidence. And even if the VA maintains a veteran is incompetent, he can petition the agency to have his firearm rights restored on the basis of not posing a threat to public safety.


Jul 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Last week, a federal judge permanently blocked Florida from enforcing a law that banned doctors from discussing gun ownership with their patients. The law, the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, signed last year by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), prohibited “inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession…by licensed health care practitioners” and “discrimination…based solely on upon a patient’s firearm ownership or possession.”

Because the law’s exceptions, which allow inquiries about guns if a doctor believes in “good faith” that it is relevant to a patient’s care or safety, fail to provide standards for physicians to follow, the law violates the First Amendment rights of doctors:

In her ruling, Cooke clearly sided with the physicians, saying evidence showed that physicians began “self-censoring” because of the “chilling” effect of the legislation.

“What is curious about this law — and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners’ speech — is that it aims to restrict a practitioner’s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient,” Cooke wrote, citing the benefit of such “preventive medicine.” […]

Cooke, the judge, said the legislation was based on anecdotal information and unfounded conjecture. Her decision was praised by the groups of plaintiffs, which included the Florida Pediatric Society and Florida Academy of Family Physicians.

Not only did the NRA-backed Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act violate doctors’ First Amendment rights, it interfered with routine, meaningful discussion between a doctor and a patient. Questions concerning safety and the home environment are a key part of preventative medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that guns constitute a public health issue and that doctors have a duty to ask about ownership.

Out of the 65 children shot in the U.S. every day, eight are killed. And of the one-third of homes with children that have firearms in them, 40 percent store them unlocked. Guns unquestionably affect the health of American children, just as “the presence of open containers of bleach, swimming pools, balloons, and toilet locks” do.

–Alex Brown

  Gold Star Open Carry State
  Open Carry Friendly State
  Licensed Open Carry State
  Non Permissive Open Carry State
  Rural Open Carry State

In the United States, open carry is shorthand terminology for «openly carrying a firearm in public«, as distinguished from concealed carry, where firearms cannot be seen by the casual observer.

The practice of open carry, where gun owners openly carry firearms while they go about their daily business, has seen an increase in the U.S. in recent years.[1][2] This has been marked by a number of organized events intended to increase the visibility of open carry and public awareness about the practice.[3]

Proponents of open carry point to history and statistics, noting that criminals usually conceal their weapons: The 2006 FBI study «Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers» by Anthony Pinizzotto revealed that criminals carefully conceal their firearms, and they eschew the use of holsters.[4] Encouraged by groups like OpenCarry.org, GeorgiaCarry.org and some participants of the Free State Project, open carry has seen a revival in recent years,[5][6][7] but it is not yet clear if this represents just a short-term trend.[8][9]

The gun rights community has been mixed in its response. Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA have been cautious in expressing support,[10] while special-interest groups such as the aforementioned OpenCarry.org and GeorgiaCarry.org, state-level groups such as the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), and certain national groups such as the Gun Owners of America (GOA) have been more outspoken in favor of the practice.

Open carry is strongly opposed by gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

In the United States, the laws concerning open carry vary by state and sometimes by municipality.

Definitions

Open carry
The act of publicly carrying a loaded firearm on one’s person in plain sight.
Plain sight
Broadly defined as not being hidden from common observation; varies somewhat from state to state.
Preemption
In the context of open carry: the act of a state legislature passing laws which limit or eliminate the ability of local governments to regulate the possession or carrying of firearms.
Prohibited persons
People prohibited by law from carrying a firearm. Typical examples are felons, those convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence, those found to be addicted to alcohol or drugs, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

Today in the United States, the laws vary from state to state regarding open carry of firearms. The categories are defined as follows:

Permissive open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry to all non-prohibited citizens without permit or license. Open carry is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle. Shown on the map to the right as «Gold Star» states; the term carries a pro-gun bias, as gun-control advocacy groups like the Brady Center generally give these states very low «scores» on their own ratings systems.
Licensed open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry of a handgun to all non-prohibited citizens once they have been issued a permit or license. Open carry of a handgun is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle.
Anomalous open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is generally lawful, but the state may lack preemption or there may be other significant restrictions. Shown in the map legend as «Open Carry Friendly» states; the term is questionable as the limitations and/or lack of pre-emption means that certain areas of these states are, in their judicial system and law enforcement societies, not very «friendly» towards the practice.
Non-permissive open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is not lawful, or is only lawful under such a limited set of circumstances that public carry is prohibited. Such limited circumstances may include when hunting, or while traveling to/from hunting locations, while on property controlled by the person carrying, or for lawful self-defense.

Open carry has never been ruled out as a right under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by any court. In the majority opinion in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Justice Antonin Scalia wrote concerning the entirety of the elements of the Second Amendment; «We find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.» However, Scalia continued, «Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.»[14]

Forty-three states’ constitutions recognize and secure the right to keep and bear arms in some form, and none of those prohibit the open carrying of firearms. Five state constitutions provide that the state legislature may regulate the manner of carrying or bearing arms, and advocates argue that none rule out open carry specifically. Nine states’ constitutions indicate that the concealed carrying of firearms may be regulated and/or prohibited by the state legislature. Open carry advocates argue that, by exclusion, open carrying of arms may not be legislatively controlled in these states. But this is not settled law.[citation needed]

Section 1.7 [15] of Kentucky’s state constitution only empowers the state to enact laws prohibiting «concealed carry».

Concealed carry, or CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in proximity.

While there is no federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry permits, 49 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local government and/or law enforcement.[1] Illinois is the only state without such a provision. The states give different terms for licenses or permits to carry a concealed firearm, such as a Concealed Handgun License/Permit (CHL/CHP), Concealed (Defensive/Deadly) Weapon Permit/License (CDWL/CWP/CWL), Concealed Carry Permit/License (CCP/CCL), License To Carry (Firearms) (LTC/LTCF), Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapon license (CCDW), Concealed Pistol License (CPL), etc. Thirteen states use a single permit to regulate the practices of both concealed and open carry of a handgun.
Some states publish statistics indicating how many residents hold permits to carry concealed weapons, and their demographics. For example, Florida has issued 2,031,106 licenses since adopting its law in 1987, and had 843,463 licensed permit holders as of July 31, 2011.[2] Reported permit holders are predominantly male.[3] Some states have reported the number of permit holders increasing over time.[4]

The number of permit revocations is typically small.


by Joshua Vogel on September 10, 2011

I’m a liberal (or progressive, if you prefer the term). I’ve always had mixed feelings about gun ownership. As a child, I enjoyed playing with cap guns, and a macho, caveman corner of my personality has always liked the idea of wielding a weapon. But, the rational pragmatist in me has never been able to actually justify owning a gun.

Every so often I’ll get the urge to buy a gun for defense purposes. But when I start to reflect on it, I realize that I can’t really envision a situation where I’d need to use it. I mean, sure- I can picture a home break-in, where I’d run to the closet and open my gun safe and pull out a hand gun… but such scenarios feel like the boyhood daydreams of fighting a terrorist (and/or ninja) takeover of my high school. Even if it were to happen, it seems like something that would always play out better in my head than it would in real life.

I’m not a paranoid person. I enjoy reading the masturbatory rants of the folks who contribute to forums about the upcoming collapse of society, or post survivalist or “prepper” videos on youtube, or fret about “Peak Oil”. But I take all these things with more than a grain of salt. For the most part they are unsupported (or poorly supported) fears mixed with outright delusions.

But a couple things happened this week that did finally tip me over the edge and seriously consider a gun purchase: I watched the Republican Presidential Debates, and I heard Obama’s Address to Congress.

As someone who was recently unemployed for well over a year, and who saw his father get laid off during the tail end of that period, I now know firsthand the deep despair that fills someone who can’t get a foothold in this economy. If I hadn’t had the support of my family and friends, I may well have ended up homeless (and that’s within months of receiving a law degree).

Multiply that anxiety by the 14 million unemployed folks in this country, and the countless underemployed, and it’s not hard to see that there are a lot of scared and angry people out there.

Other countries– large, stable countries– have begun to see riots. Without an immediate reversal in course, it is only a matter of time before we see riots in the U.S. –which brings me back to the debates, and the President’s speech.

All of the front-running Republicans have decided that the path to economic recovery is a return to the laissez faire system of government– the same philosophy that was in place when America’s working class was at its weakest, poorest, and most abused. This isn’t a big surprise. As other, well respected, authors have noted, almost all modern Republican policies can be traced back to a singular goal: the creation of cheap labor. That’s all well and good, unless you are the labor. And, in case you didn’t know: 99% of us are the labor.

The President’s speech the next day didn’t make me feel any better. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a terrific speech- or at least it would have been if he had given it two years ago when it might have done some good. But it’s too late in the game for half-measures. Even if the President got everything that he asked for (he won’t), it still wouldn’t make a significant dent in the unemployment crisis.

So I spent the next few days thinking about the state of nation, and imaging what America is going to look like in a few years. If Obama stays in power without a liberal Congress, things will be much the same for years to come: political gridlock and slowly worsening conditions for the middle class.

If the Republicans take back the executive branch, then political gridlock is the best we can hope for. If they’re able to get traction with their radical fiscal policies, they’ll keep feeding our money to corporations, banks and the ultra-wealthy. The middle class will shrink. More of us will fall into poverty, and with fewer people buying any products, even the large corporations will start to buckle and fail.

With more unemployment, more disparity between the haves and have-nots, and no clear path to prosperity in sight, I can no longer pretend that the U.S. is the stable and secure place I always knew it to be.

It is no longer unreasonable to think that things may go from bad to much, much worse. I’m not saying that an economic collapse will happen, or even that it it is likely to happen. Nor can I begin to predict the severity or duration of any crash that might occur. But in the current political climate it feels foolhardy to ignore the possibility that something very bad is on the horizon.

If you’re skeptically minded, you may be thinking that I’m being alarmist or that my anxiety is premature. You’re right of course. But there’s logic behind my madness. History is rife with examples giant social upheavals that happen with very little notice. Most recently, Egypt taught us that lesson anew. That country went from protests to revolution in a span of days.

I’m not saying that the U.S. is poised for such a revolution, of course- but I am saying that things could turn ugly here, very quickly. With the proper trigger, massive protests could form. If handled poorly, those protests could easily turn to riots. If it can happen in the U.K., it can certainly happen here. And how big could those riots be? And how long might they last? And by the time we’ve figured out the answers to those questions, will it be too late to prepare?

And so, for the first time in my life, I found myself in a gun shop, talking to the proprietor about a good beginner’s firearm for someone who is interested in home defense.

If you’ve never been to a large gun shop (and I’m sure many progressives have not), I strongly recommend that you step inside. For my part, I found the place unsettling. For the first time in my life I held a working firearm, but I didn’t feel any safer– quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.

The thing about being a liberal in a gun shop is that you are privy to a lot of conversations that you wouldn’t otherwise hear. It was rather like walking into a Tea Party convention.

The shop I went to was near my home in North Carolina. When the gruff man behind the counter found out that I was from Massachusetts, he openly mocked it for being a “socialist” state. Moments later, I overheard a woman loudly ranting about how Obama’s job plan was “destroying the country” with more spending. She was interested in buying some gold coins for when the economy collapsed.

To be fair, most folks were just there to talk about guns, and play with guns, and buy new gadgets to affix to their guns. Their comfort and knowledge of firearms made me feel nervous. I was in store full of 50+ people who didn’t feel at all shy about expressing their distain for liberals and “socialists”. All of them, I’m convinced, would have had no trouble gunning me down in an honest firefight.

I went into that store to buy a gun to protect my family in the event of a riot. I walked out feeling very nervous that if their actually was major social upheaval in the United States, a lot of angry conservatives would have no problem forming an organized militia, and they wouldn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the scores of unarmed “socialist” progressives out there.

Now I find myself wishing that liberals would flock to gun shops en masse so that they can see the world I caught a glimpse of, and so that they could interact with the same folks I did, and maybe engage in some lively political discussion. These gun shops are factories for unchecked Tea-Party-style nonsense. It means that a lot of angry and armed folks are spending their days amplifying each other’s misunderstanding and distrust of the rest of us.

And also- (and I realize that this part is just pure paranoia)– I’d like to know that if things ever really degrade, there would be a whole lot of armed liberals out there to keep the armed conservatives in check. Or at the very least, I’d like enough of them to lay down sufficient cover fire for me while I run from Whole Foods back to my Prius.


Why Americans now carry handguns in so many public places, from parks to college campuses. Is it making the country safer or more dangerous?

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / March 11, 2012

Garner, N.C.

Leaning against a scrub pine as preschoolers scurry about at his feet, Shane Gazda, father of 3-year-old twins, recalls a conundrum he faced earlier that morning: whether to take his Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun to a Groundhog Day celebration in this town’s White Deer Park.

After all, what was once against the law in North Carolina – carrying a concealed gun in a town park, square, or greenway – is now, as of Dec. 1, 2011, very much allowed. To Mr. Gazda, who likes to shoot targets in his backyard, an event as innocent as paying homage to a rodent could turn dangerous if the wrong person shows up.

«Part of it is being ready for cataclysm every day,» says Gazda, a hospital maintenance engineer. «And to be honest, I started carrying precisely to protect not just myself, but my family, and anyone around me who needs help.»

Gun laws: How much do you know?

In the end, Gazda left the gun at home. But his internal debate is emblematic of one a growing number of Americans are having almost daily. Thirty years after a powerful gun-control movement swept the country, Americans are embracing the idea of owning and carrying firearms with a zeal rarely seen since the days of muskets and militias.

A combination of favorable court rulings, grass-roots activism, traditional fears of crime, and modern anxieties about government has led to what may be a tipping point on an issue that just a few years ago was one of America’s most contentious. Gun rights have now expanded to the point where the fundamental question seems not to be «should we be able to carry guns,» but instead is «where can’t we carry them?«

The answer: not very many places.

The new North Carolina statute, in fact, is one of hundreds of new gun-friendly laws enacted by states and localities in the past few years alone. Mississippi lawmakers, for instance, recently voted to allow gun owners who take an extra safety class to carry hidden weapons on college campuses and in courthouses. Ohio has granted people with permits the right to bring concealed weapons into restaurants, bars, and sports arenas. A 2010 Indiana law stipulates that private business owners let employees keep guns in their cars when parked on company property. And New Hampshire, along with several other states, has removed restrictions on bearing arms in the ultimate politically symbolic place – the State House.

In 2009, three times as many pro-gun laws were passed in the United States as antigun measures – a trend that experts say has only accelerated since then. Fully 40 states now mandate that anyone who asks for a concealed-carry permit and meets the qualifications must be issued one. One result: The number of concealed-weapon license holders in the US has gone from a few hundred thousand 10 years ago to more than 6 million today. In some parts of Tennessee, 1 out of every 11 people on the street is either carrying a weapon or has a license to do so.

«It’s a huge sea change, and one lesson to take out of all of this is that it’s amazing how fast attitudes on constitutional issues can change,» says Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and the author of «An Army of Davids.» «The thinking has turned in a way that many thought to be impossible only 15 years ago.»

By CAMERON MCWHIRTER and KARISHMA MEHROTRA
June 29, 2014 9:11 p.m. ET

ATLANTA—Bars, houses of worship, and other public establishments are wrestling with what to do about a new law in Georgia that starting on Tuesday dramatically will expand gun-permit holders' right to carry weapons where people congregate.

The law allows licensed gun owners to bring weapons to bars and houses of worship, unless forbidden by proprietors. Legally-owned guns also are allowed in unrestricted areas of airports and government buildings, and may be carried at schools and in colleges if permitted by officials.

Several other states allow guns in bars or churches, but Georgia's "Safe Carry Protection Act," which passed the state legislature overwhelmingly earlier this year, is unusual in that it expanded gun rights in multiple places with one omnibus law.



This is horrifying: According to multiple news outlets, a Target employee found a loaded handgun in the toy aisle of a store in South Carolina.

When you're shopping at Target, you shouldn't have to worry about someone parading around with a semiautomatic rifle, or whether your kid is going to find a loaded handgun while looking at toys.

More than 115,000 people have already signed the petition to Target asking for gun sense policies to protect customers and employees from gun violence -- and over the next two days volunteers are going to be delivering these petitions all across the country.

Gun extremists armed with semiautomatic rifles have walked into Target locations around the country, weapons out and loaded, making sure customers saw their guns.
It’s often legal to do this, because many states have weak laws that allow people to openly carry around loaded weapons without any permits, training, or background checks. That means it’s up to companies themselves to protect their customers when the law won’t. Yet according to the Wall Street Journal, Target doesn’t have any policies to stop people from carrying weapons in its stores:
Target, which boasts on its website that between 80% and 90% of its customers are women, has no restrictions on customers carrying guns in its stores.
Chipotle, Starbucks, Chili’s, Sonic Drive-In, and Jack in the Box have already responded to petitions from moms and other gun sense supporters asking the stores not to allow guns. Now it’s up to Target to protect families who shop in its stores..

Sign the petition




Concealed weapon law tossed by fed appeals court

Published February 13, 2014Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – A divided federal appeals court on Thursday struck down California's concealed weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said California was wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense," Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain wrote for the majority.








September 24, 2013

It has been 577 days since George Zimmerman shot and killed our son Travyon. And it's been 74 days since a jury set George Zimmerman free, in part because of broken "Stand Your Ground" laws that protect killers like Zimmerman -- killers who first instigate conflicts and then claim self-defense.
In July, we started a petition on Change.org calling for "Stand Your Ground" laws to be reviewed and amended nationwide, but we need to turn up the pressure in order to change the same law in Texas.
Can you start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas' "Stand Your Ground" law so that people like George Zimmerman can't kill with impunity?
Reviewing and amending separate laws in 22 different states isn't going to be easy -- we can't do it on our own. That's why we're asking for your help in Texas, because we know that Governor Perry and your state legislature will be most heavily influenced by the voices of constituents like you.
We already know that there's a major groundswell of people who want to see these laws amended, because more than 400,000 people have signed our petition. Now it's time to take that energy and harness it, state by state, to make sure no one can stalk, chase, and kill an unarmed child and get away with it.
Not in Texas. Not in Florida. Not anywhere in America.
Our grief is overwhelming, but we are fortified by our fight to honor Trayvon's memory by fixing these broken laws. Starting a petition only takes a few minutes. Yours could be the voice that makes sure no child in Texas ever has to experience what happened to our son.
Click here to start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas' "Stand Your Ground" laws.
Thank you for standing with us, and with Trayvon.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton




Friend --

My son, Daniel, was a smart, quiet kid.

He'd just become a straight-A student, and he was overcoming his shyness as a new member of the debate team.

On April 20th, 1999, my beautiful and bright 15-year-old son was killed by two teenagers with guns in the library of Columbine High School -- one of 12 innocent kids who lost their lives for no reason at all.

It's been 14 years since that horrible day -- 14 years of fighting so no family has to grieve like ours did.

These tragedies keep happening, and so far, Congress has failed to take common-sense action to stop them -- even though nine in 10 Americans have agreed that it's time to act by expanding background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

This Wednesday, OFA and allied organizations are standing up for a national Day of Action to ask members of Congress: What will it take to finally act to prevent gun violence?

I hope you'll join in -- say you'll do one thing this week to show Congress you want action to prevent gun violence.

The last questions you ever want to hear as a parent are: "What was your child wearing, and do you have any dental records?"

That's what the police asked me the evening of the shooting at Columbine High, as they tried to establish who had been killed.

It was the most hopeless I'd ever felt.

Since Daniel's death, I've found a way to honor him: by trying to prevent other families from feeling this pain. I've advocated locally and nationally for smarter gun laws -- even helping achieve a statewide ballot victory here in Colorado.

In December, when I heard about the shooting in Newtown, I sat in my office and broke down. I was watching another community torn apart by guns -- more parents grieving, more kids who would never see graduation, or a wedding, or a family of their own.

And in the wake of another tragedy, nine in 10 Americans agreed that it was time to act -- expand background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

But Congress disappointed us, putting politics above the safety of our kids.

That's why this week, we're asking: How many parents will have to go through what I did before we say "enough"?

You should be a part of this, too. Tell Congress you're going to keep asking until they act:

http://my.barackobama.com/Do-One-Thing-for-Gun-Violence-Prevention

Thank you,

Tom

Tom Mauser
Littleton, Colorado







January 17, 2013

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the sweeping gun measure, the nation's toughest. It includes a ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines.

The
 statute currently written does NOT exempt law enforcement officers. The NYPD, the State Police and virtually every law enforcement agency in the state carry 9-millimeter guns, which have a 15-round capacity.

Unless an exemption is added by the time the law takes effect in March, police would technically be in violation of the new gun measure. A spokesman for the Governor's office called us to say, "We are still working out some details of the law and the exemption will be included."





Published: 31 December, 2012, 18:57

There’s no country in the world where you can’t smoke a cigar in a bar, but you may sip bourbon with your Colt Python – only in America!

While the Pentagon assiduously burns billions of dollars to export the cult of violence abroad, in the meantime, back at the domestic front, the Connecticut carnage has resurrected the moribund discussion about the perennial issue: the national suicidal pastime which annually devours 30,000 people, including 2,800 kids.

Even US casualties in Afghanistan – 309 KIA in 2012 – is no match to 414 murders in New York City the same year, celebrated as the record-lowest level in over four decades, down from the apex of 2,000 annual homicides, which accidentally coincides with the overall Operation Enduring Freedom body-count since the beginning of the invasion.

I ain’t no gun-shy latte-lapping liberal or trigger-happy loony. As a veteran and responsible gun owner with a concealed carry permit, I have to admit that the sheer enormity of violence in the US doesn’t jibe well with black & white, left & right polarized partisanship.



In essence, the debate is divided & dominated by one question – what is the main culprit of the homeland heinous crimes, a deadly gun or an evil mind?

In Utopia, nobody would pack heat and everybody would live in harmony, in Dystopia, everybody would be armed to the teeth and dangerously paranoiac.

Given a choice between disarmament & arms race, the USA today is on a fast track to destination D – distraction or despair, you name it.
Spiking the guns

There’s no doubt that all too often, firearms figure prominently as killing multipliers in endemic shooting sprees. Nevertheless, to single them out as the one & only reason that gnaws at the heart of America would be:

– Morally & intellectually dishonest, absolving society at large, the local community and individuals in particular from any duty & responsibility and shifting the blame from the perpetrators & collaborators to the material evidence to the crime.

– Disingenuous – if guns were intrinsically sinful, the US president, Congress and the Supreme Court wouldn’t kowtow to NRA. Stand united, and they’d show the true colors and call for abolition of the 2nd Amendment and comprehensive weapons ban.

– Cynical – drugs, fast food & soft drink legally and profitably hurt more kids than illegal access to alcohol, tobacco & firearms. Who would dare to infringe on ‘freedom of choice’ and prohibit all sweet & slow killers?

The point is it takes a wicked mind to convert a gun into a murderous accomplice, not the other way around.
Multiple delivery vehicles

The gun manufacturing industry is just a little bro of the omnipotent military industrial complex, but it wields tremendous clout over its customer base in the most politicized business in the US.

Some of its ethically-free members shamelessly exploit & condone the cult of violence, propagated by entertainment industry, as freebie product placement in toys, movies, TV and video training games, including the nefarious “Kindergarten Killer.”
Target audience

So what drives the restless minds to ubiquitous guns, making Americans pony up $12 billion for arms & ammo a year, come hell or high water? Here’s a cursory profiling, but some characters could be tempted by multiple motives:

Frontier spirit: The true believers in the sacrosanct right for any individual to bear arms under the aegis of the 2nd Amendment. They flatly refuse to consider a “states’ rights” view that the purpose of the clause is only to protect the states in their authority to maintain formal, organized militia units which are currently substituted and overrepresented by the Pentagon and the National Guard.

Whether they need a gun or not, it doesn’t matter: for ‘the freedom fighters’, the ‘right’ to cling to firearms is article of faith in preordained exceptionalism, the ultimate totem of Americana, which, even if imported, is more symbolic than Stetson hats and Lucchese boots made in the USA.

‘The freedom fighters’ are the posse comitatus and the stormtroopers of the NRA who are ready to fight tooth & nail against Indians, Brits, aliens, commies, feds and legislators to protect their rights to bear arms any time anywhere, no matter what and the hell with individual responsibility and public safety.

Collecting spirit: This is a rarified breed of aloof connoisseurs which are mostly intelligence & military types, active duty and otherwise. They keep a low profile and enjoy the pleasure of quietly building up their exquisite caches to the envy of their pals at local SWAT teams. They keep their powder dry, but they’re the champs at burning their greenbacks on amassing the formidable arsenals of trophies.

Shooting spirit: They love it, they know it and they do it skillfully, safely & responsibly. As hunters and sports enthusiasts, ‘the weekend warriors’ wastemore ammo than all other categories combined, being the most active fun-loving crowd among gun owners. They don’t bullshit about guns & rights. For them, it’s all about shooting the bull’s eye.

Shopping spirit: Impulsive & skittish customers – prodded by the fear factor, peer pressure and propaganda of violence, these armchair commandos and wannabe Rambos ogle a gun as an adult pacifier with ‘cool’ bragging rights, a tangible insurance against intangible threats, however remote & imaginary.

This nervous Nellie types are suckers for bigger, ‘badder’ guns, which they honestly believe could compensate their total lack of situational awareness and friend or foe selective accuracy under the adrenalin rush of the enemy fire.

They are the driving force of consumerism and the firepower fetishism, oblivious to mundane murder depredations, only to be jolted into panic hoarding after media coverage of another shooting rampage or gun limitations rumor mill.
Possessed & obsessed

The extreme sides of the antisocial personality disorder are lopsidedly represented by the traditional ‘sane’ majority and deinstitutionalized & marginalized ‘insane’ minority:

Long-time active serial killers: career criminals who don’t have suicidal ideations or qualms of conscience. As outlaws and the main customers of the firearms black market, they illegally & easily get anything they want and couldn’t care less about regulations & restrictions for legit gun owners.

The committed killers, isolated & organized, are responsible for the overwhelming majority of homicides – with and without firearms – but haven’t gotten the public attention they deserve. The true heroes of the violence cult who made America exceptional by the notorious homicide rate (which exceeds Japan’s by 1,000 times), they represent & reproduce its core value, the freedom to kill & be killed.

One-time dormant multiple murderers: the miserable misfits aka psychos, while not necessarily ‘born to kill’, have their worst basic instinct awakened & conditioned by omnipresent propaganda of violence & vengeance.

They are the ultimate customers of the cult, who are capable to decode its subliminal message – death shall make thou free – into clarion call to action as the ‘ultimate solution’ to settle the scores with the hostile society.

The liberals have ‘liberated’ maniacs from involuntary commitment, exposing them to the ‘values’ of violence, while the NRA has lobbied to protect their rights to legally obtain & keep firearms, thus channeling their macabre fantasies into the outer world.

These ‘accidental’ murderers, neglected or abused by their families & communities, perpetrate less than 1 per cent of overall homicides, but attract 99 per cent of media attention, prompting publicity vultures of their kind to step out from the dark and copycat their horrific crimes.
Mind Control

To paraphrase the old adage, guns don’t regulate themselves, people do. No doubt, it’s a commendable idea to tighten up gun legislature: eliminate restrictions on tracing info sharing (Tiahrt amendments), close the gaping loopholes in state laws, ban assault rifles & high capacity clips and establish comprehensive national FBI & ATF data clearing house to encompass prospective buyers, owners & guns.

Alas, in the Disunited States of America, it is a daydream that will scarcely ever come true: a state of anarchy in firearms regulation has been created & guarded by a cabal of special interests, led by the NRA, which controls pusillanimous politicians, represents armed extremists & psychos and discredits responsible gun manufacturers & owners.

If Biden & Bloomberg have the mojo to win the undeclared war by Americans against Americans for Americans, they should set the priorities straight: liberate the USA from the bloody NRA!

Are you ready for the American Spring?

Godspeed and Happy New Year!




"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA
In Washington on Friday, influential National Rifle Association (NRA) broke a week-long silence with a robust defence of its pro-gun position.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA, criticised politicians who had "exploited" the tragedy in Newtown for "political gain" and took aim at laws designating schools as gun-free zones.

"They tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk," he said.

Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill and blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a "way of life".

He spoke out against the media for demonizing lawful gun owners, and for suggesting a ban on certain types of weapon would be effective.

Congress should authorise funding for armed security in every school in the country, he said, adding that an "extraordinary corps" of trained professionals could be drawn from active and retired police officers, security professionals and firefighters around the country.



Mr LaPierre was interrupted twice by anti-gun protesters carrying banners and declaring that the NRA had "blood on its hands".

The guns used in the shooting had been legally bought by the gunman's mother, Nancy Lanza.

The shooting has seen some pro-gun congressmen say the mass shooting has prompted them to change their views on whether guns should be regulated more strictly in the US.

Meanwhile California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been an advocate for tighter gun laws, said she would introduce new legislation when Congress meets for the first time in the new year.

But there is no bipartisan consensus on the issue, with others backing the NRA line that teachers in schools should be armed in order to better defend students if a shooting occurs.

In recent years, the N.R.A. has aggressively lobbied federal and state governments to dilute or eliminate numerous regulations on gun ownership. And the clearest beneficiary has been the gun industry — sales of firearms and ammunition have grown 5.7 percent a year since 2007, to nearly $12 billion this year, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. Despite the recession, arms sales have been growing so fast that domestic manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up. Imports of arms have grown 3.6 percent a year in the last five years.
The industry has, in turn, been a big supporter of the N.R.A. It has contributed between $14.7 million and $38.9 million to an N.R.A.-corporate-giving campaign since 2005, according to a report published last year by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates greater gun control. The estimate is based on a study of the N.R.A.’s “Ring of Freedom” program and very likely understates the industry’s total financial support for the association, which does not publicly disclose a comprehensive list of its donors and how much they have given.
Officials from the N.R.A. have repeatedly said their main goal is to protect the Second Amendment rights of rank-and-file members who like to hunt or want guns for protection. But that claim is at odds with surveys that show a majority of N.R.A. members and a majority of American gun owners often support restrictions on gun sales and ownership that the N.R.A. has bitterly fought.
For instance, a 2009 poll commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of N.R.A. members would support requiring all sellers at gun shows to conduct background checks of prospective buyers, which they do not have to do now and which the N.R.A. has steadfastly argued against. If lawful gun owners are willing to subject themselves to background checks, why is the association resisting? Its position appears only to serve the interest of gun makers and dealers who want to increase sales even if it means having dangerous weapons fall into the hands of criminals and violent individuals.
Businesses and special-interest groups often cloak their profit motives in the garb of constitutional rights — think Big Tobacco and its opposition to restrictions on smoking in public places and bold warnings on cigarette packages. The Supreme Court has made clear that the right to bear arms is not absolute and is subject to regulations and controls. Yet the N.R.A. clings to its groundless arguments that tough regulations violate the Second Amendment. Many of those arguments serve no purpose other than to increase the sales of guns and bullets.





WASHINGTON (AP) — Should veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their own financial affairs be prevented from buying a gun?

The issue, for a time last week, threatened to become the biggest sticking point in a $631 billion defense bill for reshaping a military that is disengaging from a decade of warfare.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to amend the bill to stop the Veterans Affairs Department from putting the names of veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their finances into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which prohibits them from buying or owning firearms.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., objected, saying the measure would make it easier for veterans with mental illness to own a gun, endangering themselves and others.

"I love our veterans, I vote for them all the time. They defend us," Schumer said. "If you are a veteran or not and you have been judged to be mentally infirm, you should not have a gun."

Currently, the VA appoints fiduciaries, often family members, to manage the pensions and disability benefits of veterans who are declared incompetent. When that happens, the department automatically enters the veteran's name in the Criminal Background Check System.



A core group of lawmakers led by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has for several years wanted to prohibit the VA from submitting those names to the gun-check registry unless a judge or magistrate deems the veteran to be a danger. This year's version of the bill has 21 co-sponsors. It passed the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee by voice vote, a tactic generally reserved for noncontroversial legislation. Coburn's amendment to the defense bill contained comparable language.

"All I am saying is, let them at least have their day in court if you are going to take away a fundamental right given under the Constitution," Coburn said in the Senate debate last Thursday night.

Congressional aides said Coburn will likely drop his effort to amend the defense bill with his proposal, but that he intends to try again on other bills coming to the Senate floor.

The number of veterans directly affected by the VA's policy doesn't appear to very large. Only 185 out of some 127,000 veterans added to the gun-check registry since 1998 have sought to have their names taken off, according to data that the VA shared with lawmakers during a hearing last June.

Still, the legislation over the years has attracted strong support from the National Rifle Association and various advocacy groups for veterans.

"We consider it an abject tragedy that so many of our veterans return home, after risking life and limb to defend our freedom, only to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights because they need help managing their compensation," Chris Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, wrote last year in an editorial.

The NRA did not respond to queries from the AP about Coburn's latest effort.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said gun control advocates consider the VA's current policy reasonable.

"We're talking about people who have some form of disability to the extent that they're unable to manage their own affairs," Gross said. "If you're deemed unable to handle your own affairs, that's likely to constitute a high percentage of people who are dangerously mentally ill."

Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said veterans with a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder but who pose no threat to others are possibly being barred from gun ownership. The current restrictions might even be a disincentive for veterans to seek needed treatment, he said.

"We want to remove these stigmas for mental health treatment. It's a combat injury," Tarantino said. "They wouldn't be doing this if you were missing your right hand, so they shouldn't be doing it if you're seeking treatment for post-traumatic-stress-disorder or traumatic brain injury."

VA officials have told lawmakers they believe veterans deemed incompetent already have adequate protections.

For example, they said, veterans can appeal the finding of incompetency based on new evidence. And even if the VA maintains a veteran is incompetent, he can petition the agency to have his firearm rights restored on the basis of not posing a threat to public safety.



Jul 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Last week, a federal judge permanently blocked Florida from enforcing a law that banned doctors from discussing gun ownership with their patients. The law, the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, signed last year by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), prohibited “inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession…by licensed health care practitioners” and “discrimination…based solely on upon a patient’s firearm ownership or possession.”

Because the law’s exceptions, which allow inquiries about guns if a doctor believes in “good faith” that it is relevant to a patient’s care or safety, fail to provide standards for physicians to follow, the law violates the First Amendment rights of doctors:



In her ruling, Cooke clearly sided with the physicians, saying evidence showed that physicians began “self-censoring” because of the “chilling” effect of the legislation.

“What is curious about this law — and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners’ speech — is that it aims to restrict a practitioner’s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient,” Cooke wrote, citing the benefit of such “preventive medicine.” [...]

Cooke, the judge, said the legislation was based on anecdotal information and unfounded conjecture. Her decision was praised by the groups of plaintiffs, which included the Florida Pediatric Society and Florida Academy of Family Physicians.

Not only did the NRA-backed Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act violate doctors’ First Amendment rights, it interfered with routine, meaningful discussion between a doctor and a patient. Questions concerning safety and the home environment are a key part of preventative medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that guns constitute a public health issue and that doctors have a duty to ask about ownership.

Out of the 65 children shot in the U.S. every day, eight are killed. And of the one-third of homes with children that have firearms in them, 40 percent store them unlocked. Guns unquestionably affect the health of American children, just as “the presence of open containers of bleach, swimming pools, balloons, and toilet locks” do.

–Alex Brown





  Gold Star Open Carry State
  Open Carry Friendly State
  Licensed Open Carry State
  Non Permissive Open Carry State
  Rural Open Carry State

In the United States, open carry is shorthand terminology for "openly carrying a firearm in public", as distinguished from concealed carry, where firearms cannot be seen by the casual observer.



The practice of open carry, where gun owners openly carry firearms while they go about their daily business, has seen an increase in the U.S. in recent years.[1][2] This has been marked by a number of organized events intended to increase the visibility of open carry and public awareness about the practice.[3]

Proponents of open carry point to history and statistics, noting that criminals usually conceal their weapons: The 2006 FBI study "Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation's Law Enforcement Officers" by Anthony Pinizzotto revealed that criminals carefully conceal their firearms, and they eschew the use of holsters.[4] Encouraged by groups like OpenCarry.org, GeorgiaCarry.org and some participants of the Free State Project, open carry has seen a revival in recent years,[5][6][7] but it is not yet clear if this represents just a short-term trend.[8][9]

The gun rights community has been mixed in its response. Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA have been cautious in expressing support,[10] while special-interest groups such as the aforementioned OpenCarry.org and GeorgiaCarry.org, state-level groups such as the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), and certain national groups such as the Gun Owners of America (GOA) have been more outspoken in favor of the practice.

Open carry is strongly opposed by gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

In the United States, the laws concerning open carry vary by state and sometimes by municipality.

Definitions

Open carry
The act of publicly carrying a loaded firearm on one's person in plain sight.
Plain sight
Broadly defined as not being hidden from common observation; varies somewhat from state to state.
Preemption
In the context of open carry: the act of a state legislature passing laws which limit or eliminate the ability of local governments to regulate the possession or carrying of firearms.
Prohibited persons
People prohibited by law from carrying a firearm. Typical examples are felons, those convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence, those found to be addicted to alcohol or drugs, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
Today in the United States, the laws vary from state to state regarding open carry of firearms. The categories are defined as follows:
Permissive open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry to all non-prohibited citizens without permit or license. Open carry is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle. Shown on the map to the right as "Gold Star" states; the term carries a pro-gun bias, as gun-control advocacy groups like the Brady Center generally give these states very low "scores" on their own ratings systems.
Licensed open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry of a handgun to all non-prohibited citizens once they have been issued a permit or license. Open carry of a handgun is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle.
Anomalous open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is generally lawful, but the state may lack preemption or there may be other significant restrictions. Shown in the map legend as "Open Carry Friendly" states; the term is questionable as the limitations and/or lack of pre-emption means that certain areas of these states are, in their judicial system and law enforcement societies, not very "friendly" towards the practice.
Non-permissive open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is not lawful, or is only lawful under such a limited set of circumstances that public carry is prohibited. Such limited circumstances may include when hunting, or while traveling to/from hunting locations, while on property controlled by the person carrying, or for lawful self-defense.
Open carry has never been ruled out as a right under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by any court. In the majority opinion in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Justice Antonin Scalia wrote concerning the entirety of the elements of the Second Amendment; "We find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation." However, Scalia continued, "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."[14]

Forty-three states' constitutions recognize and secure the right to keep and bear arms in some form, and none of those prohibit the open carrying of firearms. Five state constitutions provide that the state legislature may regulate the manner of carrying or bearing arms, and advocates argue that none rule out open carry specifically. Nine states' constitutions indicate that the concealed carrying of firearms may be regulated and/or prohibited by the state legislature. Open carry advocates argue that, by exclusion, open carrying of arms may not be legislatively controlled in these states. But this is not settled law.[citation needed]

Section 1.7 [15] of Kentucky's state constitution only empowers the state to enact laws prohibiting "concealed carry".


Concealed carry, or CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one's person or in proximity.

While there is no federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry permits, 49 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local government and/or law enforcement.[1] Illinois is the only state without such a provision. The states give different terms for licenses or permits to carry a concealed firearm, such as a Concealed Handgun License/Permit (CHL/CHP), Concealed (Defensive/Deadly) Weapon Permit/License (CDWL/CWP/CWL), Concealed Carry Permit/License (CCP/CCL), License To Carry (Firearms) (LTC/LTCF), Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapon license (CCDW), Concealed Pistol License (CPL), etc. Thirteen states use a single permit to regulate the practices of both concealed and open carry of a handgun.
Some states publish statistics indicating how many residents hold permits to carry concealed weapons, and their demographics. For example, Florida has issued 2,031,106 licenses since adopting its law in 1987, and had 843,463 licensed permit holders as of July 31, 2011.[2] Reported permit holders are predominantly male.[3] Some states have reported the number of permit holders increasing over time.[4]

The number of permit revocations is typically small.







by Joshua Vogel on September 10, 2011

I’m a liberal (or progressive, if you prefer the term). I’ve always had mixed feelings about gun ownership. As a child, I enjoyed playing with cap guns, and a macho, caveman corner of my personality has always liked the idea of wielding a weapon. But, the rational pragmatist in me has never been able to actually justify owning a gun.

Every so often I’ll get the urge to buy a gun for defense purposes. But when I start to reflect on it, I realize that I can’t really envision a situation where I’d need to use it. I mean, sure- I can picture a home break-in, where I’d run to the closet and open my gun safe and pull out a hand gun… but such scenarios feel like the boyhood daydreams of fighting a terrorist (and/or ninja) takeover of my high school. Even if it were to happen, it seems like something that would always play out better in my head than it would in real life.

I’m not a paranoid person. I enjoy reading the masturbatory rants of the folks who contribute to forums about the upcoming collapse of society, or post survivalist or “prepper” videos on youtube, or fret about “Peak Oil”. But I take all these things with more than a grain of salt. For the most part they are unsupported (or poorly supported) fears mixed with outright delusions.

But a couple things happened this week that did finally tip me over the edge and seriously consider a gun purchase: I watched the Republican Presidential Debates, and I heard Obama’s Address to Congress.

As someone who was recently unemployed for well over a year, and who saw his father get laid off during the tail end of that period, I now know firsthand the deep despair that fills someone who can’t get a foothold in this economy. If I hadn’t had the support of my family and friends, I may well have ended up homeless (and that’s within months of receiving a law degree).

Multiply that anxiety by the 14 million unemployed folks in this country, and the countless underemployed, and it’s not hard to see that there are a lot of scared and angry people out there.

Other countries– large, stable countries– have begun to see riots. Without an immediate reversal in course, it is only a matter of time before we see riots in the U.S. –which brings me back to the debates, and the President’s speech.

All of the front-running Republicans have decided that the path to economic recovery is a return to the laissez faire system of government– the same philosophy that was in place when America’s working class was at its weakest, poorest, and most abused. This isn’t a big surprise. As other, well respected, authors have noted, almost all modern Republican policies can be traced back to a singular goal: the creation of cheap labor. That’s all well and good, unless you are the labor. And, in case you didn’t know: 99% of us are the labor.

The President’s speech the next day didn’t make me feel any better. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a terrific speech- or at least it would have been if he had given it two years ago when it might have done some good. But it’s too late in the game for half-measures. Even if the President got everything that he asked for (he won’t), it still wouldn’t make a significant dent in the unemployment crisis.

So I spent the next few days thinking about the state of nation, and imaging what America is going to look like in a few years. If Obama stays in power without a liberal Congress, things will be much the same for years to come: political gridlock and slowly worsening conditions for the middle class.

If the Republicans take back the executive branch, then political gridlock is the best we can hope for. If they’re able to get traction with their radical fiscal policies, they’ll keep feeding our money to corporations, banks and the ultra-wealthy. The middle class will shrink. More of us will fall into poverty, and with fewer people buying any products, even the large corporations will start to buckle and fail.

With more unemployment, more disparity between the haves and have-nots, and no clear path to prosperity in sight, I can no longer pretend that the U.S. is the stable and secure place I always knew it to be.

It is no longer unreasonable to think that things may go from bad to much, much worse. I’m not saying that an economic collapse will happen, or even that it it is likely to happen. Nor can I begin to predict the severity or duration of any crash that might occur. But in the current political climate it feels foolhardy to ignore the possibility that something very bad is on the horizon.

If you’re skeptically minded, you may be thinking that I’m being alarmist or that my anxiety is premature. You’re right of course. But there’s logic behind my madness. History is rife with examples giant social upheavals that happen with very little notice. Most recently, Egypt taught us that lesson anew. That country went from protests to revolution in a span of days.

I’m not saying that the U.S. is poised for such a revolution, of course- but I am saying that things could turn ugly here, very quickly. With the proper trigger, massive protests could form. If handled poorly, those protests could easily turn to riots. If it can happen in the U.K., it can certainly happen here. And how big could those riots be? And how long might they last? And by the time we’ve figured out the answers to those questions, will it be too late to prepare?

And so, for the first time in my life, I found myself in a gun shop, talking to the proprietor about a good beginner’s firearm for someone who is interested in home defense.

If you’ve never been to a large gun shop (and I’m sure many progressives have not), I strongly recommend that you step inside. For my part, I found the place unsettling. For the first time in my life I held a working firearm, but I didn’t feel any safer– quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.

The thing about being a liberal in a gun shop is that you are privy to a lot of conversations that you wouldn’t otherwise hear. It was rather like walking into a Tea Party convention.

The shop I went to was near my home in North Carolina. When the gruff man behind the counter found out that I was from Massachusetts, he openly mocked it for being a “socialist” state. Moments later, I overheard a woman loudly ranting about how Obama’s job plan was “destroying the country” with more spending. She was interested in buying some gold coins for when the economy collapsed.

To be fair, most folks were just there to talk about guns, and play with guns, and buy new gadgets to affix to their guns. Their comfort and knowledge of firearms made me feel nervous. I was in store full of 50+ people who didn’t feel at all shy about expressing their distain for liberals and “socialists”. All of them, I’m convinced, would have had no trouble gunning me down in an honest firefight.

I went into that store to buy a gun to protect my family in the event of a riot. I walked out feeling very nervous that if their actually was major social upheaval in the United States, a lot of angry conservatives would have no problem forming an organized militia, and they wouldn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the scores of unarmed “socialist” progressives out there.

Now I find myself wishing that liberals would flock to gun shops en masse so that they can see the world I caught a glimpse of, and so that they could interact with the same folks I did, and maybe engage in some lively political discussion. These gun shops are factories for unchecked Tea-Party-style nonsense. It means that a lot of angry and armed folks are spending their days amplifying each other’s misunderstanding and distrust of the rest of us.

And also- (and I realize that this part is just pure paranoia)– I’d like to know that if things ever really degrade, there would be a whole lot of armed liberals out there to keep the armed conservatives in check. Or at the very least, I’d like enough of them to lay down sufficient cover fire for me while I run from Whole Foods back to my Prius.





Why Americans now carry handguns in so many public places, from parks to college campuses. Is it making the country safer or more dangerous?

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / March 11, 2012


Garner, N.C.


Leaning against a scrub pine as preschoolers scurry about at his feet, Shane Gazda, father of 3-year-old twins, recalls a conundrum he faced earlier that morning: whether to take his Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun to a Groundhog Day celebration in this town's White Deer Park.

After all, what was once against the law in North Carolina – carrying a concealed gun in a town park, square, or greenway – is now, as of Dec. 1, 2011, very much allowed. To Mr. Gazda, who likes to shoot targets in his backyard, an event as innocent as paying homage to a rodent could turn dangerous if the wrong person shows up.

"Part of it is being ready for cataclysm every day," says Gazda, a hospital maintenance engineer. "And to be honest, I started carrying precisely to protect not just myself, but my family, and anyone around me who needs help."

Gun laws: How much do you know?

In the end, Gazda left the gun at home. But his internal debate is emblematic of one a growing number of Americans are having almost daily. Thirty years after a powerful gun-control movement swept the country, Americans are embracing the idea of owning and carrying firearms with a zeal rarely seen since the days of muskets and militias.

A combination of favorable court rulings, grass-roots activism, traditional fears of crime, and modern anxieties about government has led to what may be a tipping point on an issue that just a few years ago was one of America's most contentious. Gun rights have now expanded to the point where the fundamental question seems not to be "should we be able to carry guns," but instead is "where can't we carry them?"

The answer: not very many places.

The new North Carolina statute, in fact, is one of hundreds of new gun-friendly laws enacted by states and localities in the past few years alone. Mississippi lawmakers, for instance, recently voted to allow gun owners who take an extra safety class to carry hidden weapons on college campuses and in courthouses. Ohio has granted people with permits the right to bring concealed weapons into restaurants, bars, and sports arenas. A 2010 Indiana law stipulates that private business owners let employees keep guns in their cars when parked on company property. And New Hampshire, along with several other states, has removed restrictions on bearing arms in the ultimate politically symbolic place – the State House.

In 2009, three times as many pro-gun laws were passed in the United States as antigun measures – a trend that experts say has only accelerated since then. Fully 40 states now mandate that anyone who asks for a concealed-carry permit and meets the qualifications must be issued one. One result: The number of concealed-weapon license holders in the US has gone from a few hundred thousand 10 years ago to more than 6 million today. In some parts of Tennessee, 1 out of every 11 people on the street is either carrying a weapon or has a license to do so.

"It's a huge sea change, and one lesson to take out of all of this is that it's amazing how fast attitudes on constitutional issues can change," says Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and the author of "An Army of Davids." "The thinking has turned in a way that many thought to be impossible only 15 years ago."

Climate change blame and liability

I can sincerely say this is the most important petition we’ve ever done.
 
 
Sorry for the language, but one top scientist just warned that we are all «f*cked» if global warming releases gigantic amounts of methane gas from the arctic tundra. The UN knows this, and is bringing world leaders to New York for an emergency summit.
 
 
Hundreds of thousands of us will take to the streets for the People’s Climate March just before the summit. Let’s make sure that on that day we deliver the largest Avaaz petition ever, for the only solution: mobilize the world to shift to 100% clean energy. Add your voice, and forward this widely:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

Whether it’s the ‘arctic methane bomb’, the rapid acidification of our oceans, or apocalyptic flooding, climate change is the biggest threat humanity is facing, and we need the biggest petition ever to meet it. The number of us who sign will be read out to all leaders at the summit, published in hundreds of media articles, and be delivered by our marches worldwide.
 
 
100% clean energy is a realistic goal. Already, 20% of the world’s electricity comes from clean energy, and solar power is cheaper than coal in many countries! We just need to get our leaders to agree to put our foot on the accelerator.
We’re gearing up for the largest climate mobilization in history on September 21. Already hundreds of events are organised and hundreds of thousands of people signed up. But the events are designed to deliver our petition to decision makers. Let’s make it the largest call to action ever. Join now and tell everyone:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

We’re all different, and beautifully diverse. But whoever and wherever we are, climate change threatens everything we love, and brings all of us together. Let’s come together now.
 
 
With hope,

Ricken, Danny, Lisa, Judy, Alex, Iain, and the rest of the Avaaz team
PS – Every signature really does count! Add your voice here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756 

MORE INFORMATION: 

Climate scientist drops the F-bomb (Salon)
http://www.salon.com/2014/08/06/climate_scientist_drops_the_f_bomb_after_startling_arctic_discovery/

EU to beat 2020 climate targets, split over 2030 ones (Reuters)
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/05/14/eu-carbon-idUKL6N0O06BG20140514 

The most influential climate change paper today remains unknown to most people (Inside Climate News)
http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20140213/climate-change-science-carbon-budget-nature-global-warming-2-degrees-bill-mckibben-fossil-fuels-keystone-xl-oil?page=show



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Newly leaked documents have revealed how U.S. negotiators at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw are opposing efforts to help developing countries adapt to climate change. According to an internal U.S. briefing memo seen by Democracy Now!, the U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will «focus increasingly on blame and liability» and that poor nations will be «seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts.»


Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600,
Washington, DC 20009
(800) 684-3322

The images brought tears to my eyes. A chill fell over me, and goosebumps raised along my arms. I stared at the video footage in disbelief, and was suddenly so grateful that each of my family members—all in my beloved home state of New Jersey or in New York City—were safe. They were living without power or heat, but they were luckier than so many others.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, my work—and the work of my EDF colleagues—has never felt so personally meaningful.

And it’s never been more clear: climate change is increasing the devastating effects of extreme weather—and it is time to do something about it.

The EPA is stepping up, and has proposed a groundbreaking new proposal that would—for the first time ever—nationally limit carbon pollution from new power plants. This is a historic first step in the President’s Climate Action Plan, and could be America’s first national effort at fighting back against climate change.

And you have a chance to be a part of it, to raise your voice, and to stand strong in favor of climate action.

Not just for my home—but for yours, and for everyone who has watched the places and people they love fall victim to these new, more powerful storms.

Because I’m not the only one with an extreme weather story. From devastating droughts to disastrous wildfires and calamitous floods, extreme weather is affecting more than just the East Coast. With one click, you can do something about it.

Take Action: Support EPA’s national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.

I can sincerely say this is the most important petition we've ever done.
 
 
Sorry for the language, but one top scientist just warned that we are all "f*cked" if global warming releases gigantic amounts of methane gas from the arctic tundra. The UN knows this, and is bringing world leaders to New York for an emergency summit.
 
 
Hundreds of thousands of us will take to the streets for the People’s Climate March just before the summit. Let’s make sure that on that day we deliver the largest Avaaz petition ever, for the only solution: mobilize the world to shift to 100% clean energy. Add your voice, and forward this widely:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

Whether it's the 'arctic methane bomb', the rapid acidification of our oceans, or apocalyptic flooding, climate change is the biggest threat humanity is facing, and we need the biggest petition ever to meet it. The number of us who sign will be read out to all leaders at the summit, published in hundreds of media articles, and be delivered by our marches worldwide.
 
 
100% clean energy is a realistic goal. Already, 20% of the world's electricity comes from clean energy, and solar power is cheaper than coal in many countries! We just need to get our leaders to agree to put our foot on the accelerator.
We're gearing up for the largest climate mobilization in history on September 21. Already hundreds of events are organised and hundreds of thousands of people signed up. But the events are designed to deliver our petition to decision makers. Let's make it the largest call to action ever. Join now and tell everyone:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

We're all different, and beautifully diverse. But whoever and wherever we are, climate change threatens everything we love, and brings all of us together. Let's come together now.
 
 
With hope,

Ricken, Danny, Lisa, Judy, Alex, Iain, and the rest of the Avaaz team
PS - Every signature really does count! Add your voice here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756 


MORE INFORMATION: 

Climate scientist drops the F-bomb (Salon)
http://www.salon.com/2014/08/06/climate_scientist_drops_the_f_bomb_after_startling_arctic_discovery/

EU to beat 2020 climate targets, split over 2030 ones (Reuters)
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/05/14/eu-carbon-idUKL6N0O06BG20140514 

The most influential climate change paper today remains unknown to most people (Inside Climate News)
http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20140213/climate-change-science-carbon-budget-nature-global-warming-2-degrees-bill-mckibben-fossil-fuels-keystone-xl-oil?page=show






Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Newly leaked documents have revealed how U.S. negotiators at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw are opposing efforts to help developing countries adapt to climate change. According to an internal U.S. briefing memo seen by Democracy Now!, the U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will "focus increasingly on blame and liability" and that poor nations will be "seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts."





Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600,
Washington, DC 20009
(800) 684-3322

The images brought tears to my eyes. A chill fell over me, and goosebumps raised along my arms. I stared at the video footage in disbelief, and was suddenly so grateful that each of my family members—all in my beloved home state of New Jersey or in New York City—were safe. They were living without power or heat, but they were luckier than so many others.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, my work—and the work of my EDF colleagues—has never felt so personally meaningful.

And it's never been more clear: climate change is increasing the devastating effects of extreme weather—and it is time to do something about it.

The EPA is stepping up, and has proposed a groundbreaking new proposal that would—for the first time ever—nationally limit carbon pollution from new power plants. This is a historic first step in the President's Climate Action Plan, and could be America's first national effort at fighting back against climate change.

And you have a chance to be a part of it, to raise your voice, and to stand strong in favor of climate action.

Not just for my home—but for yours, and for everyone who has watched the places and people they love fall victim to these new, more powerful storms.

Because I'm not the only one with an extreme weather story.
From devastating droughts to disastrous wildfires and calamitous floods, extreme weather is affecting more than just the East Coast. With one click, you can do something about it.

Take Action: Support EPA's national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.

irreversible climate change

Capitalism and the Destruction of Life on Earth

Sunday, 10 November 2013 00:00  
By Richard Smith, Truthout | Opinion

When, on May 10, 2013, scientists at Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii announced that global CO2 emissions had crossed a threshold at 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years, a sense of dread spread around the world – not only among climate scientists.


Planet Tahrir: The Coming Mass Demonstrations against Climate Change (Klare)

Posted on 11/18/2013 by Juan Cole


Michael T. Klare writes at Tomdispatch.com:

A week after the most powerful “super typhoon” ever recorded pummeled the Philippines, killing thousands in a single province, and three weeks after the northern Chinese city of Harbin suffered a devastating “airpocalypse,” suffocating the city with coal-plant pollution, government leaders beware! Although individual events like these cannot be attributed with absolute certainty to increased fossil fuel use and climate change, they are the type of disasters that, scientists tell us, will become a pervasive part of life on a planet being transformed by the massive consumption of carbon-based fuels. If, as is now the case, governments across the planet back an extension of the carbon age and ever increasing reliance on “unconventional” fossil fuels like tar sands and shale gas, we should all expect trouble. In fact, we should expect mass upheavals leading to a green energy revolution.

None of us can predict the future, but when it comes to a mass rebellion against the perpetrators of global destruction, we can see a glimmer of the coming upheaval in events of the present moment. Take a look and you will see that the assorted environmental protests that have long bedeviled politicians are gaining in strength and support. With an awareness of climate change growing and as intensifying floods, fires, droughts, and storms become an inescapable feature of daily life across the planet, more people are joining environmental groups and engaging in increasingly bold protest actions. Sooner or later, government leaders are likely to face multiple eruptions of mass public anger and may, in the end, be forced to make radical adjustments in energy policy or risk being swept aside.

In fact, it is possible to imagine such a green energy revolution erupting in one part of the world and spreading like wildfire to others. Because climate change is going to inflict increasingly severe harm on human populations, the impulse to rebel is only likely to gain in strength across the planet. While circumstances may vary, the ultimate goal of these uprisings will be to terminate the reign of fossil fuels while emphasizing investment in and reliance upon renewable forms of energy. And a success in any one location is bound to invite imitation in others.

A wave of serial eruptions of this sort would not be without precedent. In the early years of twentieth-first century, for example, one government after another in disparate parts of the former Soviet Union was swept away in what were called the “color revolutions” — populist upheavals against old-style authoritarian regimes. These included the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia (2003), the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine (2004), and the “Pink” or “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan (2005). In 2011, a similar wave of protests erupted in North Africa, culminating in what we call the Arab Spring.

Like these earlier upheavals, a “green revolution” is unlikely to arise from a highly structured political campaign with clearly identified leaders. In all likelihood, it will erupt spontaneously, after a cascade of climate-change induced disasters provokes an outpouring of public fury. Once ignited, however, it will undoubtedly ratchet up the pressure for governments to seek broad-ranging, systemic transformations of their energy and climate policies. In this sense, any such upheaval — whatever form it takes — will prove “revolutionary” by seeking policy shifts of such magnitude as to challenge the survival of incumbent governments or force them to enact measures with transformative implications.

Foreshadowings of such a process can already be found around the globe. Take the mass environmental protests that erupted in Turkey this June. Though sparked by a far smaller concern than planetary devastation via climate change, for a time they actually posed a significant threat to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing party. Although his forces eventually succeeded in crushing the protests — leaving four dead, 8,000 injured, and 11 blinded by tear-gas canisters — his reputation as a moderate Islamist was badly damaged by the episode.

Like so many surprising upheavals on this planet, the Turkish uprising had the most modest of beginnings: on May 27th, a handful of environmental activists blocked bulldozers sent by the government to level Gezi Park, a tiny oasis of greenery in the heart of Istanbul, and prepare the way for the construction of an upscale mall. The government responded to this small-scale, non-violent action by sending in riot police and clearing the area, a move that enraged many Turks and prompted tens of thousands of them to occupy nearby Taksim Square. This move, in turn, led to an even more brutal police crackdown and then to huge demonstrations in Istanbul and around the country. In the end, mass protests erupted in 70 cities, the largest display of anti-government sentiment since Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002.

This was, in the most literal sense possible, a “green” revolution, ignited by the government’s assault on the last piece of greenery in central Istanbul. But once the police intervened in full strength, it became a wide-ranging rebuke to Erdogan’s authoritarian impulses and his drive to remake the city as a neo-Ottoman showplace — replete with fancy malls and high-priced condominiums — while eliminating poor neighborhoods and freewheeling public spaces like Taksim Square. “It’s all about superiority, and ruling over the people like sultans,” declared one protestor. It’s not just about the trees in Gezi Park, said another: “We are here to stand up against those who are trying to make a profit from our land.”

The Ningbo Rebellion

The same trajectory of events — a small-scale environmental protest evolving into a full-scale challenge to governmental authority — can be seen in other mass protests of recent years.

Take a Chinese example: in October 2012, students and middle class people joined with poor farmers to protest the construction of an $8.8 billion petrochemical facility in Ningbo, a city of 3.4 million people south of Shanghai. In a country where environmental pollution has reached nearly unprecedented levels, these protests were touched off by fears that the plant, to be built by the state-owned energy company Sinopec with local government support, would produce paraxylene, a toxic substance used in plastics, paints, and cleaning solvents.

Here, too, the initial spark that led to the protests was small-scale. On October 22nd, some 200 farmers obstructed a road near the district government’s office in an attempt to block the plant’s construction. After the police were called in to clear the blockade, students from nearby Ningbo University joined the protests. Using social media, the protestors quickly enlisted support from middle-class residents of the city who converged in their thousands on downtown Ningbo. When riot police moved in to break up the crowds, the protestors fought back, attacking police cars and throwing bricks and water bottles. While the police eventually gained the upper hand after several days of pitched battles, the Chinese government concluded that mass action of this sort, occurring in the heart of a major city and featuring an alliance of students, farmers, and young professionals, was too great a threat. After five days of fighting, the government gave in, announcing the cancellation of the petrochemical project.

The Ningbo demonstrations were hardly the first such upheavals to erupt in China. They did, however, highlight a growing governmental vulnerability to mass environmental protest. For decades, the reigning Chinese Communist Party has justified its monopolistic hold on power by citing its success in generating rapid economic growth. But that growth means the use of ever more fossil fuels and petrochemicals, which, in turn, means increased carbon emissions and disastrous atmospheric pollution, including one “airpocalypse” after another.

Until recently, most Chinese seemed to accept such conditions as the inevitable consequences of growth, but it seems that tolerance of environmental degradation is rapidly diminishing. As a result, the party finds itself in a terrible bind: it can slow development as a step toward cleaning up the environment, incurring a risk of growing economic discontent, or it can continue its growth-at-all-costs policy, and find itself embroiled in a firestorm of Ningbo-style environmental protests.

This dilemma — the environment versus the economy — has proven to be at the heart of similar mass eruptions elsewhere on the planet.

After Fukushima

Two of the largest protests of this sort were sparked by the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants on March 11, 2011, after a massive tsunami struck northern Japan. In both of these actions — the first in Germany, the second in Japan — the future of nuclear power and the survival of governments were placed in doubt.

The biggest protests occurred in Germany. On March 26th, 15 days after the Fukushima explosions, an estimated 250,000 people participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations across the country — 100,000 in Berlin, and up to 40,000 each in Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. “Today’s demonstrations are just the prelude to a new, strong, anti-nuclear movement,” declared Jochen Stay, a protest leader. “We’re not going to let up until the plants are finally mothballed.”

At issue was the fate of Germany’s remaining nuclear power plants. Although touted as an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, nuclear power is seen by most Germans as a dangerous and unwelcome energy option. Several months prior to Fukushima, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that Germany would keep its 17 operating reactors until 2040, allowing a smooth transition from the country’s historic reliance on coal to renewable energy for generating electricity. Immediately after Fukushima, she ordered a temporary shutdown of Germany’s seven oldest reactors for safety inspections but refused to close the others, provoking an outpouring of protest.

Witnessing the scale of the demonstrations, and after suffering an electoral defeat in the key state of Baden-Württemberg, Merkel evidently came to the conclusion that clinging to her position would be the equivalent of political suicide. On May 30th, she announced that the seven reactors undergoing inspections would be closed permanently and the remaining 10 would be phased out by 2022, almost 20 years earlier than in her original plan.

By all accounts, the decision to phase out nuclear power almost two decades early will have significant repercussions for the German economy. Shutting down the reactors and replacing them with wind and solar energy will cost an estimated $735 billion and take several decades, producing soaring electricity bills and periodic energy shortages. However, such is the strength of anti-nuclear sentiment in Germany that Merkel felt she had no choice but to close the reactors anyway.

The anti-nuclear protests in Japan occurred considerably later, but were no less momentous. On July 16, 2012, 16 months after the Fukushima disaster, an estimated 170,000 people assembled in Tokyo to protest a government plan to restart the country’s nuclear reactors, idled after the disaster. This was not only Japan’s largest antinuclear demonstration in many years, but the largest of any sort to occur in recent memory.

For the government, the July 16th action was particularly significant. Prior to Fukushima, most Japanese had embraced the country’s growing reliance on nuclear power, putting their trust in the government to ensure its safety. After Fukushima and the disastrous attempts of the reactors’ owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), to deal with the situation, public support for nuclear power plummeted. As it became increasingly evident that the government had mishandled the crisis, people lost faith in its ability to exercise effective control over the nuclear industry. Repeated promises that nuclear reactors could be made safe lost all credibility when it became known that government officials had long collaborated with TEPCO executives in covering up safety concerns at Fukushima and, once the meltdowns occurred, in concealing information about the true scale of the disaster and its medical implications.

The July 16th protest and others like it should be seen as a public vote against the government’s energy policy and oversight capabilities. “Japanese have not spoken out against the national government,” said one protestor, a 29-year-old homemaker who brought her one-year-old son. “Now, we have to speak out, or the government will endanger us all.”

Skepticism about the government, rare for twenty-first-century Japan, has proved a major obstacle to its desire to restart the country’s 50 idled reactors. While most Japanese oppose nuclear power, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remains determined to get the rectors running again in order to reduce Japan’s heavy reliance on imported energy and promote economic growth. “I think it is impossible to promise zero [nuclear power plants] at this stage,” he declared this October. “From the government’s standpoint, [nuclear plants] are extremely important for a stable energy supply and economic activities.”

Despite such sentiments, Abe is finding it extremely difficult to garner support for his plans, and it is doubtful that significant numbers of those reactors will be coming online anytime soon.

The Explosions Ahead

What these episodes tell us is that people around the world are becoming ever more concerned about energy policy as it affects their lives and are prepared — often on short notice — to engage in mass protests. At the same time, governments globally, with rare exceptions, are deeply wedded to existing energy policies. These almost invariably turn them into targets, no matter what the original spark for mass opposition. As the results of climate change become ever more disruptive, government officials will find themselves repeatedly choosing between long-held energy plans and the possibility of losing their grip on power.

Because few governments are as yet prepared to launch the sorts of efforts that might even begin to effectively address the peril of climate change, they will increasingly be seen as obstacles to essential action and so as entities that need to be removed. In short, climate rebellion — spontaneous protests that may at any moment evolve into unquenchable mass movements — is on the horizon. Faced with such rebellions, recalcitrant governments will respond with some combination of accommodation to popular demands and harsh repression.

Many governments will be at risk from such developments, but the Chinese leadership appears to be especially vulnerable. The ruling party has staked its future viability on an endless carbon-fueled growth agenda that is steadily destroying the country’s environment. It has already faced half-a-dozen environmental upheavals like the one in Ningbo, and has responded to them by agreeing to protestors’ demands or by employing brute force. The question is: How long can this go on?

Environmental conditions are bound to worsen, especially as China continues to rely on coal for home heating and electrical power, and yet there is no indication that the ruling Communist Party is prepared to take the radical steps required to significantly reduce domestic coal consumption. This translates into the possibility of mass protests erupting at any time and on a potentially unprecedented scale. And these, in turn, could bring the Party’s very survival into question — a scenario guaranteed to produce immense anxiety among the country’s top leaders.

And what about the United States? At this point, it would be ludicrous to say that, as a result of popular disturbances, the nation’s political leadership is at any risk of being swept away or even forced to take serious steps to scale back reliance on fossil fuels. There are, however, certainly signs of a growing nationwide campaign against aspects of fossil fuel reliance, including vigorous protests against hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

For environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben, all this adds up to an incipient mass movement against the continued consumption of fossil fuels. “In the last few years,” he has written, this movement “has blocked the construction of dozens of coal-fired power plants, fought the oil industry to a draw on the Keystone pipeline, convinced a wide swath of American institutions to divest themselves of their fossil fuel stocks, and challenged practices like mountaintop-removal coal mining and fracking for natural gas.” It may not have achieved the success of the drive for gay marriage, he observed, but it “continues to grow quickly, and it’s starting to claim some victories.”

If it’s still too early to gauge the future of this anti-carbon movement, it does seem, at least, to be gaining momentum. In the 2013 elections, for example, three cities in energy-rich Colorado — Boulder, Fort Collins, and Lafayette — voted to ban or place moratoriums on fracking within their boundaries, while protests against Keystone XL and similar projects are on the rise.

Nobody can say that a green energy revolution is a sure thing, but who can deny that energy-oriented environmental protests in the U.S. and elsewhere have the potential to expand into something far greater? Like China, the United States will experience genuine damage from climate change and its unwavering commitment to fossil fuels in the years ahead. Americans are not, for the most part, passive people. Expect them, like the Chinese, to respond to these perils with increased ire and a determination to alter government policy.

So don’t be surprised if that green energy revolution erupts in your neighborhood as part of humanity’s response to the greatest danger we’ve ever faced. If governments won’t take the lead on an imperiled planet, someone will.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and conflict studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left. A documentary movie version of his book Blood and Oil is available from the Media Education Foundation.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook or Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars — The Untold Story.

Copyright 2013 Michael T. Klare

——

Mirrored from Tomdispatch.com


By Babs McHugh

Friday, 28/12/2012

The ocean temperature off the west coast of Australia has risen by five degrees and it’s killing off large numbers of valuable seafood stocks.

The marine heatwave that started a year ago is an extreme event that took scientists by surprise, and is causing pain for commercial fishers during the peak summer period.

Dr Rick Fletcher of the Fisheries Department of Western Australia says the increase in temperature came about by a confluence of factors.

«About two years ago we had an event where the Leeuwin current, which flows down the west coast of Western Australia, which brings hot water from the tropics, was flowing quite strongly.

«That was coinciding with some very hot air temperatures and very calm conditions, so that allowed the water temperature to increase substantially, up to five degrees hotter in some areas.»

Although warming of ocean waters does occur, Dr Fletcher says the increase is the most extreme ever recorded off the WA coast.

The oceans have been warming up on both the western and eastern seaboard, but that’s been more long term.

«On the east coast there’s been a general increase in the water temperatures over the last 20 to 30 years, the same as the west coast, but not an extreme event like the rapid increase of five per cent like we’re seeing off the coast of WA.»

The impact has been devastating on several marine species.

«Abalone in the north part of the west coast, up near Kalbarri, we had over a 90 per cent mortality which happened immediately.

«But what we’ve seen is some other species have been affected over a longer period of time, we’ve had a much lower level of scallop recruitment in Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Islands (key commercial fishing areas)

«We’ve also had much low recruitment of crabs in shark bay, and that’s to both adults and juveniles.

«Some of the effects have taken a little longer to occur.»

«The number of crayfish – correctly known as the Western Rock lobster – weren’t as affected as others species by the marine heatwave, but the general warming we’ve had over the last five to 10 years has definitely resulted in lower numbers.»


Not only is the world not moving to green energy fast enough to avoid very severe future effects of climate change, its nations are still massively subsidizing the poisonous hydrocarbons that are dooming our great-grandchildren– to the tune of $58 billion a year. The US subsidies to Big Oil and Big Coal are $13 billion a year. At least, lets stop encouraging bad behavior.

AP (link above) points out that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels would lower emission by some 10 percent by 2050! Plus, abolishing the subsidies would raise government revenue, helping reduce deficits. Here is a painless way to deal with 1/10th of the problem!

It is among the silliest things in public policy, but wealthy countries are actually giving some foreign aid to poor countries to help them deal with the effects of climate change largely caused by the rich countries. But they’re only offering around $11 bn a year for this purpose while they go on giving Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal $58 bn in subsidies! If the rich countries would reduce their emissions, the developing countries wouldn’t need as much aid to deal with the problems caused by climate change!


Although history has often revealed itself to be cyclical, this is one cirsumstance humanity should hope to never repeat. A new paper presented last week at the Geological Society of America uncovered why plants and animals did not quickly recover from the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

The era passed 250 million years ago, but the culprit was a familiar offender: global warming.

The environmental impact of rising temperatures stagnated species recovery for 5 million years.

The Early Triassic period was marked by a surge in global volcanic activity. The era, now called the “Great Dying” offers cautionary clues as to how climate change might impact life today, said Ohio State University PhD candidate Alexa Sedlacek, lead author of the paper.

Matthew Saltzman, professor of earth sciences at Ohio State and Sedlacek’s academic advisor offered his perspective: ”The lesson is, life doesn’t just snap back. We’ve long known from the fossil record that there was a long period with very little recovery right after the Great Dying. It’s as if life had a 5-million-year hangover. Now we know why.”

Sedimentary rock that formed on a tropical ocean floor 250 million years ago, were among the samples Sedlacek and Saltzman analyzed. After the volcanic eruptions of the Great Dying, chemicals they found in the rock confirm that massive amounts of the Earth’s surface were being weathered away by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The planet’s climate was chemically altered for millions of years after and the ocean remained highly acidic.

“People are understandably interested in the Great Dying because 90 percent of marine species went extinct,” Sedlacek said. “But the recovery from that event is equally important, because the survivors determined what kind of life we have on Earth today.”

Chemical elements in samples of limestone were gathered from northern Iran, which was a tropical ocean during the Early Triassic period, 252 to 248 million years ago.

”If you want to know what’s going to happen in the future, looking at the past provides an important perspective,” said Saltzman. “Global warming has happened before, and in some cases the consequences were severe.”

Source:
Sedlacek, A. Saltzman, M. Algeo, TJ. Horace, M. Richoz, S. Brandner, R. & Foland, K. (2012). Coupled C and SR Isotope Stratigraphy of the Early Triassic of Zal, Iran: A Record of Increased Weathering GSA 2012 Annual Meeting & Exposition


The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record 390.9 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO). That’s a 40 percent increase over levels in 1750, before humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest.

Although CO2 is still the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas, levels of other heat-trapping gases have also climbed to record levels, according to the report. Methane, for example hit 1813 parts per billion (ppb) in 2011, and nitrous oxide rose to 324.2 ppb. All told, the amount of excess heat prevented from escaping into outer space was 30 percent higher in 2011 than it was as recently as 1990.


The Science is clear; We should waste no more time on that debate. I have seen with my own eyes, from the Arctic to Antarctica, from the Andes to Asia, the melting glaciers, the encroaching deserts, the gathering impacts on urban and rural areas alike. But instead of seeing this as a prohibitively costly burden, let us look at the opportunities – the immense opportunities of building a job-rich green economy

Ban-Kin Moon
UN Secretary General
to students at Yale

A World Bank-commissioned report says the world is headed for a 4.0 degree Celsius rise in world temperatures by the end of the century – compared to pre-industrial levels – unless it took on a renewed commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. «Lack of ambitious action on climate change threatens to put prosperity out of reach of millions and roll back decades of development,» said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at its unveiling. The report says that even if all current climate change reduction promises are fulfilled there is a 20 percent chance that the four degree rise would still occur.

November 18, 2012 Like summer’s satellite image of the melting Greenland ice sheet, a new report suggests time may be running out to temper the rising risks of climate change.

«Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided,» (pdf) (eBook version) warns we’re on track for a 4°C warmer world marked by extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.

Moreover, adverse effects of a warming climate are “tilted against many of the world’s poorest regions” and likely to undermine development efforts and global development goals, says the study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, on behalf of the World Bank. The report, urges «further mitigation action as the best insurance against an uncertain future.»

«A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2°C,» said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. «Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.»

The report, reviewed by some of the world’s top scientists, is being released ahead of the next comprehensive studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013/14, and follows the Bank’s own Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change in 2008 and the World Development Report on climate change in 2010. «Turn Down the Heat» combines a synthesis of recent scientific literature with new analysis of likely impacts and risks, focusing on developing countries. It chronicles already observed climate change and impacts, such as heat waves and other extreme events, and offers projections for the 21st century for droughts, heat waves, sea level rise, food, water, ecosystems and human health.

The report says today’s climate could warm from the current global mean temperature of 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels, to as high as 4°C by 2100, even if countries fulfill current emissions-reduction pledges.
«This report reinforces the reality that today’s climate volatility affects everything we do,» said Rachel Kyte, the Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development. «We will redouble our efforts to build adaptive capacity and resilience, as well as find solutions to the climate challenge.»

The World Bank doubled lending for climate change adaptation last year and plans to step up efforts to support countries’ initiatives to mitigate carbon emissions and promote inclusive green growth and climate-smart development. Among other measures, the Bank administers the $7.2 billion Climate Investment Funds now operating in 48 countries and leveraging an additional $43 billion in clean investment and climate resilience.


While scientific research continues to indicate the frequency of megastorms and hurricanes like Sandy are on the rise as a result of climate change and global warming, politicians from both sides of the aisle have been loathe to discuss the issue in recent years. On the presidential campaign trail, it’s been virtually ignored by both President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Global warming skeptics on the Republican side have pushed many candidates to disagree with the notion that climate change is occurring or that humans have contributed to it. Democrats, who tried and failed to pass so-called cap-and-trade legislation aimed at reducing the carbon emissions thought to cause global warming, have seen no electoral benefit in bringing up the issue, particularly in the face of the floundering economy.


By Joel Huberman

When I’m out walking, I frequently notice that birds in front of me respond unintelligently to my advance. Instead of flying to the side or flying behind me, they fly a bit further ahead, with the inevitable result that within a few seconds I’m once more alarmingly close to them. Instead of learning from their first mistake, they again fly on ahead, repeating the same behavior over and over again.

We human beings sometimes behave as stupidly as birds. We sense an approaching danger, but we don’t respond effectively. We try to take the familiar way out, even if it doesn’t prove effective. And we do it over and over again.

Fortunately, unlike birds, we have a powerful tool, science, that can show us effective escape routes.

Science is now pointing to an alarmingly close danger – global climate disruption – that has the potential to make the Earth as hot as in the age of dinosaurs, when warm-blooded mammals larger than rats did not survive.

Science is clear and unambiguous regarding the cause of this problem: human emissions of greenhouse gases as a consequence of burning fossil fuels. These gases make our Earth heat up, just like a greenhouse. And just as greenhouse heat can become unpleasant, a hotter planet can – indeed, will, if we don’t do something about – produce an environment unfit for human beings and for most other life.

How can we avoid this approaching catastrophe? Stop burning fossil fuels.

“But,” I hear you saying, “we can’t do that. Our economy and way of life depend on fossil fuels.” Fortunately, science and human inventiveness have already provided a solution – energy from renewable resources – solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass and biogas.

In deciding whether to permit hydrofracking (a process for recovering natural gas from difficult locations) in New York State, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said, “Let’s make the decision on the facts. Let the science dictate the conclusion.” The facts and the science are clear: to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, we must stop burning fossil fuels. Whether hydrofracking can be conducted safely and responsibly is not relevant; natural gas is a fossil fuel, and it should be left in the ground.

Fortunately, leaving fossil fuels in the ground need not create an energy shortage. Feed-in-tariffs (fair prices for renewable energy fed into the grid) have been demonstrated worldwide to stimulate rapid development of renewable energy and large new business investments and robust job growth. Thus, feed-in-tariffs could cure our economic as well as our climate problems.

The science is clear. Let’s hope Cuomo and other decision-makers will follow the guidelines of science to avoid climate disruption, instead of repeating the mistakes of the past over and over again in bird-brained fashion.

Joel Huberman is a retired scientist and a member of the Energy Committee of the Niagara Group of the Sierra Club.


James Lovelock says Global Warming is now at point of no return. Other top climate scientists are more hopeful but say we only have less than 10 years before it’s irreversible and time is running out.

Bush Administrations been accused of asking top climate scientists at NASA to STOP speaking out about the climate crisis and of altering scientific journals reporting on the phenomenon.

We all need to speak up NOW or the Human Race will join the MILLIONS of other Species that will be extinct by 2050 from Global Warming.

www.climatecrisis.net
www.greatemergence.blogspot.com

The world is on the brink of irreversible climate change, according to a report released on Wednesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Called the World Energy Outlook 2011, the analysis is the most thorough ever produced on the effects of releasing fossil fuels into the atmosphere. According to the research, in five years global warming will hit a point of no return after which it will be impossible to reverse the process.

The report warns that the global economy is building a raft of energy-inefficient factories and power stations that will pump carbon into the air for decades to come. And without a rapid change to this infrastructure within the next five years, the climate will continue to heat up, regardless of what measures are taken to combat it.

«We are going in the wrong direction in terms of climate change,» Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, told the Associated Press ahead of the report’s official release.

Scientist believe that the globe must stay below 2C of warming, with emissions not exceeding 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide.

«After 2017, we will lose the chance to limit the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius,» said Birol.
The planet is already dangerously close to the carbon emissions limit (80%), which will be past within five years if current trends continue.

The report said that current reduction plans would lead to an increase of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius, which would prove «catastrophic».

Recent figures released by the US Department Of Energy suggest that the level of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere has reached record levels.

Capitalism and the Destruction of Life on Earth

Sunday, 10 November 2013 00:00  
By Richard Smith, Truthout | Opinion

When, on May 10, 2013, scientists at Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii announced that global CO2 emissions had crossed a threshold at 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years, a sense of dread spread around the world - not only among climate scientists.



Planet Tahrir: The Coming Mass Demonstrations against Climate Change (Klare)

Posted on 11/18/2013 by Juan Cole




Michael T. Klare writes at Tomdispatch.com:

A week after the most powerful “super typhoon” ever recorded pummeled the Philippines, killing thousands in a single province, and three weeks after the northern Chinese city of Harbin suffered a devastating “airpocalypse,” suffocating the city with coal-plant pollution, government leaders beware! Although individual events like these cannot be attributed with absolute certainty to increased fossil fuel use and climate change, they are the type of disasters that, scientists tell us, will become a pervasive part of life on a planet being transformed by the massive consumption of carbon-based fuels. If, as is now the case, governments across the planet back an extension of the carbon age and ever increasing reliance on “unconventional” fossil fuels like tar sands and shale gas, we should all expect trouble. In fact, we should expect mass upheavals leading to a green energy revolution.

None of us can predict the future, but when it comes to a mass rebellion against the perpetrators of global destruction, we can see a glimmer of the coming upheaval in events of the present moment. Take a look and you will see that the assorted environmental protests that have long bedeviled politicians are gaining in strength and support. With an awareness of climate change growing and as intensifying floods, fires, droughts, and storms become an inescapable feature of daily life across the planet, more people are joining environmental groups and engaging in increasingly bold protest actions. Sooner or later, government leaders are likely to face multiple eruptions of mass public anger and may, in the end, be forced to make radical adjustments in energy policy or risk being swept aside.

In fact, it is possible to imagine such a green energy revolution erupting in one part of the world and spreading like wildfire to others. Because climate change is going to inflict increasingly severe harm on human populations, the impulse to rebel is only likely to gain in strength across the planet. While circumstances may vary, the ultimate goal of these uprisings will be to terminate the reign of fossil fuels while emphasizing investment in and reliance upon renewable forms of energy. And a success in any one location is bound to invite imitation in others.

A wave of serial eruptions of this sort would not be without precedent. In the early years of twentieth-first century, for example, one government after another in disparate parts of the former Soviet Union was swept away in what were called the “color revolutions” — populist upheavals against old-style authoritarian regimes. These included the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia (2003), the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine (2004), and the “Pink” or “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan (2005). In 2011, a similar wave of protests erupted in North Africa, culminating in what we call the Arab Spring.

Like these earlier upheavals, a “green revolution” is unlikely to arise from a highly structured political campaign with clearly identified leaders. In all likelihood, it will erupt spontaneously, after a cascade of climate-change induced disasters provokes an outpouring of public fury. Once ignited, however, it will undoubtedly ratchet up the pressure for governments to seek broad-ranging, systemic transformations of their energy and climate policies. In this sense, any such upheaval — whatever form it takes — will prove “revolutionary” by seeking policy shifts of such magnitude as to challenge the survival of incumbent governments or force them to enact measures with transformative implications.

Foreshadowings of such a process can already be found around the globe. Take the mass environmental protests that erupted in Turkey this June. Though sparked by a far smaller concern than planetary devastation via climate change, for a time they actually posed a significant threat to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing party. Although his forces eventually succeeded in crushing the protests — leaving four dead, 8,000 injured, and 11 blinded by tear-gas canisters — his reputation as a moderate Islamist was badly damaged by the episode.

Like so many surprising upheavals on this planet, the Turkish uprising had the most modest of beginnings: on May 27th, a handful of environmental activists blocked bulldozers sent by the government to level Gezi Park, a tiny oasis of greenery in the heart of Istanbul, and prepare the way for the construction of an upscale mall. The government responded to this small-scale, non-violent action by sending in riot police and clearing the area, a move that enraged many Turks and prompted tens of thousands of them to occupy nearby Taksim Square. This move, in turn, led to an even more brutal police crackdown and then to huge demonstrations in Istanbul and around the country. In the end, mass protests erupted in 70 cities, the largest display of anti-government sentiment since Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002.

This was, in the most literal sense possible, a “green” revolution, ignited by the government’s assault on the last piece of greenery in central Istanbul. But once the police intervened in full strength, it became a wide-ranging rebuke to Erdogan’s authoritarian impulses and his drive to remake the city as a neo-Ottoman showplace — replete with fancy malls and high-priced condominiums — while eliminating poor neighborhoods and freewheeling public spaces like Taksim Square. “It’s all about superiority, and ruling over the people like sultans,” declared one protestor. It’s not just about the trees in Gezi Park, said another: “We are here to stand up against those who are trying to make a profit from our land.”

The Ningbo Rebellion

The same trajectory of events — a small-scale environmental protest evolving into a full-scale challenge to governmental authority — can be seen in other mass protests of recent years.

Take a Chinese example: in October 2012, students and middle class people joined with poor farmers to protest the construction of an $8.8 billion petrochemical facility in Ningbo, a city of 3.4 million people south of Shanghai. In a country where environmental pollution has reached nearly unprecedented levels, these protests were touched off by fears that the plant, to be built by the state-owned energy company Sinopec with local government support, would produce paraxylene, a toxic substance used in plastics, paints, and cleaning solvents.

Here, too, the initial spark that led to the protests was small-scale. On October 22nd, some 200 farmers obstructed a road near the district government’s office in an attempt to block the plant’s construction. After the police were called in to clear the blockade, students from nearby Ningbo University joined the protests. Using social media, the protestors quickly enlisted support from middle-class residents of the city who converged in their thousands on downtown Ningbo. When riot police moved in to break up the crowds, the protestors fought back, attacking police cars and throwing bricks and water bottles. While the police eventually gained the upper hand after several days of pitched battles, the Chinese government concluded that mass action of this sort, occurring in the heart of a major city and featuring an alliance of students, farmers, and young professionals, was too great a threat. After five days of fighting, the government gave in, announcing the cancellation of the petrochemical project.

The Ningbo demonstrations were hardly the first such upheavals to erupt in China. They did, however, highlight a growing governmental vulnerability to mass environmental protest. For decades, the reigning Chinese Communist Party has justified its monopolistic hold on power by citing its success in generating rapid economic growth. But that growth means the use of ever more fossil fuels and petrochemicals, which, in turn, means increased carbon emissions and disastrous atmospheric pollution, including one “airpocalypse” after another.

Until recently, most Chinese seemed to accept such conditions as the inevitable consequences of growth, but it seems that tolerance of environmental degradation is rapidly diminishing. As a result, the party finds itself in a terrible bind: it can slow development as a step toward cleaning up the environment, incurring a risk of growing economic discontent, or it can continue its growth-at-all-costs policy, and find itself embroiled in a firestorm of Ningbo-style environmental protests.

This dilemma — the environment versus the economy — has proven to be at the heart of similar mass eruptions elsewhere on the planet.

After Fukushima

Two of the largest protests of this sort were sparked by the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants on March 11, 2011, after a massive tsunami struck northern Japan. In both of these actions — the first in Germany, the second in Japan — the future of nuclear power and the survival of governments were placed in doubt.

The biggest protests occurred in Germany. On March 26th, 15 days after the Fukushima explosions, an estimated 250,000 people participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations across the country — 100,000 in Berlin, and up to 40,000 each in Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. “Today’s demonstrations are just the prelude to a new, strong, anti-nuclear movement,” declared Jochen Stay, a protest leader. “We’re not going to let up until the plants are finally mothballed.”

At issue was the fate of Germany’s remaining nuclear power plants. Although touted as an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, nuclear power is seen by most Germans as a dangerous and unwelcome energy option. Several months prior to Fukushima, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that Germany would keep its 17 operating reactors until 2040, allowing a smooth transition from the country’s historic reliance on coal to renewable energy for generating electricity. Immediately after Fukushima, she ordered a temporary shutdown of Germany’s seven oldest reactors for safety inspections but refused to close the others, provoking an outpouring of protest.

Witnessing the scale of the demonstrations, and after suffering an electoral defeat in the key state of Baden-Württemberg, Merkel evidently came to the conclusion that clinging to her position would be the equivalent of political suicide. On May 30th, she announced that the seven reactors undergoing inspections would be closed permanently and the remaining 10 would be phased out by 2022, almost 20 years earlier than in her original plan.

By all accounts, the decision to phase out nuclear power almost two decades early will have significant repercussions for the German economy. Shutting down the reactors and replacing them with wind and solar energy will cost an estimated $735 billion and take several decades, producing soaring electricity bills and periodic energy shortages. However, such is the strength of anti-nuclear sentiment in Germany that Merkel felt she had no choice but to close the reactors anyway.

The anti-nuclear protests in Japan occurred considerably later, but were no less momentous. On July 16, 2012, 16 months after the Fukushima disaster, an estimated 170,000 people assembled in Tokyo to protest a government plan to restart the country’s nuclear reactors, idled after the disaster. This was not only Japan’s largest antinuclear demonstration in many years, but the largest of any sort to occur in recent memory.

For the government, the July 16th action was particularly significant. Prior to Fukushima, most Japanese had embraced the country’s growing reliance on nuclear power, putting their trust in the government to ensure its safety. After Fukushima and the disastrous attempts of the reactors’ owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), to deal with the situation, public support for nuclear power plummeted. As it became increasingly evident that the government had mishandled the crisis, people lost faith in its ability to exercise effective control over the nuclear industry. Repeated promises that nuclear reactors could be made safe lost all credibility when it became known that government officials had long collaborated with TEPCO executives in covering up safety concerns at Fukushima and, once the meltdowns occurred, in concealing information about the true scale of the disaster and its medical implications.

The July 16th protest and others like it should be seen as a public vote against the government’s energy policy and oversight capabilities. “Japanese have not spoken out against the national government,” said one protestor, a 29-year-old homemaker who brought her one-year-old son. “Now, we have to speak out, or the government will endanger us all.”

Skepticism about the government, rare for twenty-first-century Japan, has proved a major obstacle to its desire to restart the country’s 50 idled reactors. While most Japanese oppose nuclear power, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remains determined to get the rectors running again in order to reduce Japan’s heavy reliance on imported energy and promote economic growth. “I think it is impossible to promise zero [nuclear power plants] at this stage,” he declared this October. “From the government’s standpoint, [nuclear plants] are extremely important for a stable energy supply and economic activities.”

Despite such sentiments, Abe is finding it extremely difficult to garner support for his plans, and it is doubtful that significant numbers of those reactors will be coming online anytime soon.

The Explosions Ahead

What these episodes tell us is that people around the world are becoming ever more concerned about energy policy as it affects their lives and are prepared — often on short notice — to engage in mass protests. At the same time, governments globally, with rare exceptions, are deeply wedded to existing energy policies. These almost invariably turn them into targets, no matter what the original spark for mass opposition. As the results of climate change become ever more disruptive, government officials will find themselves repeatedly choosing between long-held energy plans and the possibility of losing their grip on power.

Because few governments are as yet prepared to launch the sorts of efforts that might even begin to effectively address the peril of climate change, they will increasingly be seen as obstacles to essential action and so as entities that need to be removed. In short, climate rebellion — spontaneous protests that may at any moment evolve into unquenchable mass movements — is on the horizon. Faced with such rebellions, recalcitrant governments will respond with some combination of accommodation to popular demands and harsh repression.

Many governments will be at risk from such developments, but the Chinese leadership appears to be especially vulnerable. The ruling party has staked its future viability on an endless carbon-fueled growth agenda that is steadily destroying the country’s environment. It has already faced half-a-dozen environmental upheavals like the one in Ningbo, and has responded to them by agreeing to protestors’ demands or by employing brute force. The question is: How long can this go on?

Environmental conditions are bound to worsen, especially as China continues to rely on coal for home heating and electrical power, and yet there is no indication that the ruling Communist Party is prepared to take the radical steps required to significantly reduce domestic coal consumption. This translates into the possibility of mass protests erupting at any time and on a potentially unprecedented scale. And these, in turn, could bring the Party’s very survival into question — a scenario guaranteed to produce immense anxiety among the country’s top leaders.

And what about the United States? At this point, it would be ludicrous to say that, as a result of popular disturbances, the nation’s political leadership is at any risk of being swept away or even forced to take serious steps to scale back reliance on fossil fuels. There are, however, certainly signs of a growing nationwide campaign against aspects of fossil fuel reliance, including vigorous protests against hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

For environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben, all this adds up to an incipient mass movement against the continued consumption of fossil fuels. “In the last few years,” he has written, this movement “has blocked the construction of dozens of coal-fired power plants, fought the oil industry to a draw on the Keystone pipeline, convinced a wide swath of American institutions to divest themselves of their fossil fuel stocks, and challenged practices like mountaintop-removal coal mining and fracking for natural gas.” It may not have achieved the success of the drive for gay marriage, he observed, but it “continues to grow quickly, and it’s starting to claim some victories.”

If it’s still too early to gauge the future of this anti-carbon movement, it does seem, at least, to be gaining momentum. In the 2013 elections, for example, three cities in energy-rich Colorado — Boulder, Fort Collins, and Lafayette — voted to ban or place moratoriums on fracking within their boundaries, while protests against Keystone XL and similar projects are on the rise.

Nobody can say that a green energy revolution is a sure thing, but who can deny that energy-oriented environmental protests in the U.S. and elsewhere have the potential to expand into something far greater? Like China, the United States will experience genuine damage from climate change and its unwavering commitment to fossil fuels in the years ahead. Americans are not, for the most part, passive people. Expect them, like the Chinese, to respond to these perils with increased ire and a determination to alter government policy.

So don’t be surprised if that green energy revolution erupts in your neighborhood as part of humanity’s response to the greatest danger we’ve ever faced. If governments won’t take the lead on an imperiled planet, someone will.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and conflict studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left. A documentary movie version of his book Blood and Oil is available from the Media Education Foundation.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook or Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars — The Untold Story.

Copyright 2013 Michael T. Klare

——

Mirrored from Tomdispatch.com



By Babs McHugh

Friday, 28/12/2012


The ocean temperature off the west coast of Australia has risen by five degrees and it's killing off large numbers of valuable seafood stocks.

The marine heatwave that started a year ago is an extreme event that took scientists by surprise, and is causing pain for commercial fishers during the peak summer period.

Dr Rick Fletcher of the Fisheries Department of Western Australia says the increase in temperature came about by a confluence of factors.

Continuar leyendo "irreversible climate change"

the risks of fracking

GASLAND

Politics and public policy

To control the hydraulic fracturing industry, some governments are developing legislation and some municipalities are developing local zoning limitations.[217] In 2011, France became the first nation to ban hydraulic fracturing.[10][11] Some other countries have placed a temporary moratorium on the practice.[218] The US has the longest history with hydraulic fracturing, so its approach to hydraulic fracturing may be modeled by other countries.[86] In August 2013 the Church of England, in an official statement, criticized those who advocate “blanket opposition” to fracking[219]
The considerable opposition against hydraulic fracturing activities in local townships has led companies to adopt a variety of public relations measures to assuage fears about hydraulic fracturing, including the admitted use of «mil­i­tary tac­tics to counter drilling oppo­nents». At a conference where public relations measures were discussed, a senior executive at Anadarko Petroleum was recorded on tape saying, «Download the US Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, because we are dealing with an insurgency», while referring to hydraulic fracturing opponents. Matt Pitzarella, spokesman for Range Resources also told other conference attendees that Range employed psychological warfare operations veterans. According to Pitzarella, the experience learned in the Middle East has been valuable to Range Resources in Pennsylvania, when dealing with emotionally charged township meetings and advising townships on zoning and local ordinances dealing with hydraulic fracturing.[220][221]
Police officers have recently been forced, however, to deal with intentionally disruptive and even potentially violent opposition to oil and gas development. In March 2013, ten people were arrested [222] during an «anti-fracking protest» near New Matamoras, Ohio, after they illegally entered a development zone and latched themselves to drilling equipment. In northwest Pennsylvania, there was a drive-by shooting at a well site, in which an individual shot two rounds of a small-caliber rifle in the direction of a drilling rig, just before shouting profanities at the site and fleeing the scene.[223] And in Washington County, Pa., a contractor working on a gas pipeline found a pipe bomb that had been placed where a pipeline was to be constructed, which local authorities said would have caused a “catastrophe” had they not discovered and detonated it.[224]

Media coverage

Josh Fox’s 2010 Academy Award nominated film Gasland became a center of opposition to hydraulic fracturing of shale. The movie presented problems with ground water contamination near well sites in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Colorado.[225]Energy in Depth, an oil and gas industry lobbying group, called the film’s facts into question.[226] In response, a rebuttal of Energy in Depth’s claims of inaccuracy was posted on Gasland’s website.[227] The Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) offered to be interviewed as part of the film if he could review what was included from the interview in the final film but Fox declined the offer.[228]Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corporation and ConocoPhillips aired advertisements during 2011 and 2012 that claim to describe the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas and argue hydraulic fracturing is safe.[229]

The film Promised Land, starring Matt Damon, takes on hydraulic fracturing.[230] The gas industry has made plans to counter the film’s criticisms of hydraulic fracturing with informational flyers, and Twitter and Facebook posts.[229]

On January 22, 2013 Phelim McAleer, journalist and filmmaker, released a crowdfunded[231] documentary called FrackNation as a response to Gasland. FrackNation premiered on Mark Cuban‘s AXS TV. The premiere corresponded with the release of Promised Land.[232]

Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples. Induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a technique in which typically water is mixed with sand and chemicals, and the mixture is injected at high pressure into a wellbore to create small fractures (typically less than 1mm), along which fluids such as gas, petroleum, uranium-bearing solution,[1] and brine water may migrate to the well. Hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, then small grains of proppant (sand or aluminium oxide) hold these fractures open once the rock achieves equilibrium. The technique is very common in wells for shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and coal seam gas[2][3] and hard rock wells. This well stimulation is usually conducted once in the life of the well and greatly enhances fluid removal and well productivity, but there has been an increasing trend towards multiple hydraulic fracturing as production declines. A different technique where only acid is injected is referred to as acidizing.

The first experimental use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and the first commercially successful applications were in 1949. George P. Mitchell is considered by some the modern «father of fracking» when he successfully applied it to the Barnett Shale in the 1990s.[4] As of 2010, it was estimated that 60% of all new oil and gas wells worldwide were being hydraulically fractured.[5] As of 2012, 2.5 million hydraulic fracturing jobs have been performed on oil and gas wells worldwide, more than one million of them in the United States.[6][7] Uranium Energy Corporation is planning to use hydraulic fracturing to mine uranium. Fracking for uranium involves injecting oxygenated water (to increase solubility) to dissolve the uranium, then pumping the solution back up to the surface.[1]

Halliburton Frack Job in the Bakken Formation, North Dakota, United States

Proponents of hydraulic fracturing point to the economic benefits from the vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons the process can extract.[8] Opponents point to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water, risks to air quality, noise pollution, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flow-back, and the health effects of these.[9] For these reasons hydraulic fracturing has come under international scrutiny, with some countries suspending or banning it.[10][11] However, some of those countries, including most notably the United Kingdom,[12] have recently lifted their bans, choosing to focus on regulations instead of outright prohibition. The 2013 draft EU-Canada trade treaty includes language outlawing any «breach of legitimate expectations of investors» which may occur if revoking drilling licences of Canada-registered companies in the territory of the European Union after the treaty comes into force.[13] Under Chapter 11 of the existing North American Free Trade Agreement, private companies can sue governments when new laws reduce expected profits from existing contracts.[14]

High-pressure fracture fluid is injected into the wellbore, with the pressure above the fracture gradient of the rock. The two main purposes of fracturing fluid is to extend fractures, add lubrication, change gel strength and to carry proppant into the formation, the purpose of which is to stay there without damaging the formation or production of the well. Two methods of transporting the proppant in the fluid are used – high-rate and high-viscosity. High-viscosity fracturing tends to cause large dominant fractures, while high-rate (slickwater) fracturing causes small spread-out micro-fractures.[citation needed]
This fracture fluid contains water-soluble gelling agents (such as guar gum) which increase viscosity and efficiently deliver the proppant into the formation.[63]

Process of mixing water with fracking fluids to be injected into the ground

The fluid injected into the rock is typically a slurry of water, proppants, and chemical additives.[64] Additionally, gels, foams, and compressed gases, including nitrogen, carbon dioxide and air can be injected. Typically, of the fracturing fluid 90% is water and 9.5% is sand with the chemical additives accounting to about 0.5%.[56][65][66] However, fracturing fluids have been developed in which the use of water has been made unnecessary, using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and propane.[67]
A proppant is a material that will keep an induced hydraulic fracture open, during or following a fracturing treatment, and can be gel, foam, or slickwater-based. Fluids make tradeoffs in such material properties as viscosity, where more viscous fluids can carry more concentrated proppant; the energy or pressure demands to maintain a certain flux pump rate (flow velocity) that will conduct the proppant appropriately; pH, various rheological factors, among others. Types of proppant include silica sand, resin-coated sand, and man-made ceramics. These vary depending on the type of permeability or grain strength needed. The most commonly used proppant is silica sand, though proppants of uniform size and shape, such as a ceramic proppant, is believed to be more effective. Due to a higher porosity within the fracture, a greater amount of oil and natural gas is liberated.[68]
The fracturing fluid varies in composition depending on the type of fracturing used, the conditions of the specific well being fractured, and the water characteristics. A typical fracture treatment uses between 3 and 12 additive chemicals.[56] Although there may be unconventional fracturing fluids, the more typically used chemical additives can include one or more of the following:

The most common chemical used for hydraulic fracturing in the United States in 2005–2009 was methanol, while some other most widely used chemicals were isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol.[69]
Typical fluid types are:

For slickwater it is common to include sweeps or a reduction in the proppant concentration temporarily to ensure the well is not overwhelmed with proppant causing a screen-off.[70] As the fracturing process proceeds, viscosity reducing agents such as oxidizers and enzyme breakers are sometimes then added to the fracturing fluid to deactivate the gelling agents and encourage flowback.[63] The oxidizer reacts with the gel to break it down, reducing the fluid’s viscosity and ensuring that no proppant is pulled from the formation. An enzyme acts as a catalyst for the breaking down of the gel. Sometimes pH modifiers are used to break down the crosslink at the end of a hydraulic fracturing job, since many require a pH buffer system to stay viscous.[70] At the end of the job the well is commonly flushed with water (sometimes blended with a friction reducing chemical) under pressure. Injected fluid is to some degree recovered and is managed by several methods, such as underground injection control, treatment and discharge, recycling, or temporary storage in pits or containers while new technology is continually being developed and improved to better handle waste water and improve re-usability.[56]

Hydraulic fracturing has been seen as one of the key methods of extracting unconventional oil and gas resources. According to the International Energy Agency, the remaining technically recoverable resources of shale gas are estimated to amount to 208 trillion cubic metres (208,000 km3), tight gas to 76 trillion cubic metres (76,000 km3), and coalbed methane to 47 trillion cubic metres (47,000 km3). As a rule, formations of these resources have lower permeability than conventional gas formations. Therefore, depending on the geological characteristics of the formation, specific technologies (such as hydraulic fracturing) are required. Although there are also other methods to extract these resources, such as conventional drilling or horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing is one of the key methods making their extraction economically viable. The multi-stage fracturing technique has facilitated the development of shale gas and light tight oil production in the United States and is believed to do so in the other countries with unconventional hydrocarbon resources.[8]

The National Petroleum Council estimates that hydraulic fracturing will eventually account for nearly 70% of natural gas development in North America.[82] Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling apply the latest technologies and make it commercially viable to recover shale gas and oil. In the United States, 45% of domestic natural gas production and 17% of oil production would be lost within 5 years without usage of hydraulic fracturing.[83]

A number of studies related to the economy and fracking, demonstrates a direct benefit to economies from fracking activities in the form of personnel, support, ancillary businesses, analysis and monitoring. Typically the funding source of the study is a focal point of controversy.[84] Most studies are either funded by mining companies or funded by environmental groups, which can at times lead to at least the appearance of unreliable studies.[84] A study was performed by Deller & Schreiber in 2012, looking at the relationship between non-oil and gas mining and community economic growth. The study concluded that there is an impact on income growth; however, researchers found that mining does not lead to an increase in population or employment.[84] The actual financial impact of non-oil and gas mining on the economy is dependent on many variables and is difficult to identify definitively.

Hydraulic fracturing has raised environmental concerns and is challenging the adequacy of existing regulatory regimes.[85] These concerns have included ground water contamination, risks to air quality, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, mishandling of waste, and the health effects of all these, as well as its contribution to raised atmospheric CO2 levels by enabling the extraction of previously-sequestered hydrocarbons.[9][56][69] Because hydraulic fracturing originated in the United States,[86] its history is more extensive there than in other regions. Most environmental impact studies have therefore taken place there.

 Concerns have been raised about research financed by foundations and corporations [87] that some have argued is designed to inflate or minimize the risks of development,[88] as well as lobbying by the gas industry to promote its activities.[89] Several organizations, researchers, and media outlets have reported difficulty in conducting and reporting the results of studies on hydraulic fracturing due to industry[90][91] and governmental pressure, and expressed concern over possible censoring of environmental reports.[90][92][93] A New York Times report claimed that an early draft of a 2004 EPA study discussed «possible evidence» of aquifer contamination but the final report omitted that mention.[90][94] Some have also criticized the narrowing of EPA studies, including the EPA study on hydraulic fracturing’s impact on drinking water to be released in late 2014.[91][92][95] In addition, after court cases concerning contamination from hydraulic fracturing are settled, the documents are sealed, reducing the information available about contamination.[96] The American Petroleum Institute denies that this practice has hidden problems with gas drilling.[citation needed] Researchers have recommended requiring disclosure of all hydraulic fracturing fluids, testing animals raised near fracturing sites, and closer monitoring of environmental samples.[97] Many believe there is a need for more research into the environmental and health impacts of the technique.[98][99]

When petroleum crude oil is extracted and produced from onshore or offshore oil wells, raw natural gas associated with the oil is produced to the surface as well. One gas which is commonly flared is hydrogen sulfide, which is an irritant and a chemical asphyxiant that can alter both oxygen utilization and the central nervous system, according to the U.S. OSHA.[100] Excessive H2S production in previously nonsour environments are «primarily anthropogenic and caused by certain operational practices».[101] In areas of the world lacking pipelines and other gas transportation infrastructure, vast amounts of such associated gas are commonly flared as waste or unusable gas. In June 2013, the Enbridge corporation obtained an order to reject from its system crude that had high levels of sour gas.[100] Enbridge had found in one instance concentration levels of 1,200ppm.[100] The US FERC regulator sets 10ppm as a maximum for this noxious gas. A concentration 120 times as high «could cause death, or serious injuries».[100]
A Pennsylvania family was forced to abandon because of pollution of their 10-acre farm. The family was paid 750,000USD by Range Resources Corporation to depart from a more recently installed petroleum well plant, though the family was required to sign an agreement which stated that they haven’t suffered nor ever will suffer any adverse medical effects from the toxic exposure.[102]
The air emissions from hydraulic fracturing are also related to methane leaks originating from wells, and emissions from the diesel or natural gas powered equipment such as compressors, drilling rigs, pumps etc.[56] Also transportation of necessary water volume for hydraulic fracturing, if done by trucks, can cause high volumes of air emissions, especially particulate matter emissions.[103] There are also reports of health problems around compressors stations[104] or drilling sites,[105] although a causal relationship was not established for the limited number of wells studied[105] and another Texas government analysis found no evidence of effects.[106]
Whether natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing causes higher well-to-burner emissions than gas produced from conventional wells is a matter of contention. A 2012 report coauthored by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found emissions from shale gas, when burned for electricity, were “very similar” to those from so-called “conventional well” natural gas, and less than half the emissions of coal.[107] In April 2013 the EPA lowered its estimate of how much methane gas is released to the atmosphere during the fracking process by 20 percent.[108] Some studies have found that hydraulic fracturing has higher emissions due to gas released during completing wells as some gas returns to the surface, together with the fracturing fluids. Depending on their treatment, the well-to-burner emissions are 3.5%–12% higher than for conventional gas.[85] Studies that estimate the amount of methane leakage from shale gas development and production find that leakage could be as low as less than 1% of total gas production, or as high as several percent, with most recent studies on the low end of that range.[109][110] A debate has arisen particularly around a study by professor Robert W. Howarth finding shale gas significantly worse for global warming than oil or coal.[111] Other researchers have criticized Howarth’s analysis.[112][113] Howarth has responded that «The latest EPA estimate for methane emissions from shale gas falls within the range of our estimates but not those of Cathles et al., which are substantially lower.»[114] The U.S. EPA has estimated the methane leakage rate to be about 2.4% – well below Howarth’s estimate. The American Gas Association, and industry trade group, calculated a 1.2% leakage rate [115] based on the EPA’s latest greenhouse gas inventory, although the EPA has not publicly stated a change to its prior estimate.

Hydraulic fracturing uses between 1.2 and 3.5 million US gallons (4.5 and 13.2 Ml) of water per well, with large projects using up to 5 million US gallons (19 Ml). Additional water is used when wells are refractured.[63][116] An average well requires 3 to 8 million US gallons (11,000 to 30,000 m3) of water over its lifetime.[56][116][117][118] Back in 2008 at the beginning of the shale boom in Pennsylvania, hydraulic fracturing accounted for 650 million US gallons per year (2,500,000 m3/a) (less than 0.8%) of annual water use in the area overlying the Marcellus Shale.[117][119] The annual number of well permits, however, increased by a factor of five[120] and the number of well starts increased by a factor of over 17 from 2008 to 2011.[121] According to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, greater volumes of fracturing fluids are required in Europe, where the shale depths average 1.5 times greater than in the U.S.[122]
Appropriating large quantities of water for hydraulic fracturing diverts water from stream flow, water supplies for municipalities and industries such as power generation, as well as recreation and aquatic life.[123] The large volumes of water required have raised concerns about hydraulic fracturing in arid areas, such as Karoo in South Africa[86] and drought prone areas of North America.[124] It may also require water overland piping from distant sources.[117] A report by Ceres questions whether the growth of hydraulic fracturing is sustainable in Texas and Colorado. The report integrated well location and water use data from FracFocus.org with World Resources Institute‘s (WRI) water risk maps. Ninety-two percent of Colorado wells were in extremely high water stress regions and 51% percent of the Texas wells evaluated were in high or extremely high water stress regions. «Extremely high water stress» means that more than 80% of the available water is already allocated for agricultural, industrial and municipal water use.[1]
In Barnhart, Texas the aquifer ran dry because of industrial fracking: one landowner had 104 water wells (designed to supply fracking) dug into his land by his fracker tenants, and the population is left with little recourse for their dry taps.[125] In the Spring of 2013, new hydraulic fracturing water recycling rules were adopted in the state of Texas by the Railroad Commission of Texas. The Water Recycling Rules are intended to encourage Texas hydraulic fracturing operators to conserve water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells.[126]
Recycling[85] and using carbon dioxide instead of water[127] have been proposed to reduce water consumption. While recycled flowback water cannot yet be made safe enough for drinking or growing crops, it can reused in hydraulic fracturing, though it can shorten the life of some types of equipment.[128]

There are concerns about possible contamination by hydraulic fracturing fluid both as it is injected under high pressure into the ground and as it returns to the surface.[129][130] To mitigate the impact of hydraulic fracturing to groundwater, the well and ideally the shale formation itself should remain hydraulically isolated from other geological formations, especially freshwater aquifers.[85] In 2009 state regulators from at least a dozen states have also stated that they have seen no evidence[131] of the hydraulic fracturing process polluting drinking water. In May 2011, former U.S. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson (appointed by President Barack Obama) has said on at least two occasions that there is either no proven case of direct contamination by the hydraulic fracturing process, or that the EPA has never made a definitive determination[132] of such contamination. By August 2011 there were at least 36 cases of suspected groundwater contamination due to hydraulic fracturing in the United States. In more recent congressional testimony in April 2013, Dr. Robin Ikeda, Deputy Director of Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health at the CDC listed several sites where EPA had documented contamination.[133] In several cases EPA has determined that hydraulic fracturing was likely the source of the contamination.[134][135][136][137][138][139]
While some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are common and generally harmless, some are known carcinogens.[69] A report prepared for House Democratic members Henry Waxman, Edward Markey and Diana DeGette stated that out of 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products, «more than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants».[69] The report also shows that between 2005 and 2009, 279 products had at least one component listed as «proprietary» or «trade secret» on their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required material safety data sheet (MSDS). The MSDS is a list of chemical components in the products of chemical manufacturers, and according to OSHA, a manufacturer may withhold information designated as «proprietary» from this sheet. When asked to reveal the proprietary components, most companies participating in the investigation were unable to do so, leading the committee to surmise these «companies are injecting fluids containing unknown chemicals about which they may have limited understanding of the potential risks posed to human health and the environment».[69] Without knowing the identity of the proprietary components, regulators cannot test for their presence. This prevents government regulators from establishing baseline levels of the substances prior to hydraulic fracturing and documenting changes in these levels, thereby making it more difficult to prove that hydraulic fracturing is contaminating the environment with these substances.[140]
Another 2011 study identified 632 chemicals used in natural gas operations. Only 353 of these are well-described in the scientific literature. The study indicated possible long-term health effects that might not appear immediately. The study recommended full disclosure of all products used, along with extensive air and water monitoring near natural gas operations; it also recommended that hydraulic fracturing’s exemption from regulation under the US Safe Drinking Water Act be rescinded.[141] Industry group Energy In Depth, a research arm of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, contends that fracking «was never granted an ‘exemption’ from it… How can something earn an exemption from a law that never covered or even conceived of it in the first place?”[142]
Governments are responding to questions about the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluid by requiring disclosure via government agencies and public web site. The Irish regulatory regime requires full disclosure of all additives to Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland). The European Union also requires such disclosure.[143] In the US, the Ground Water Protection Council launched FracFocus.org, an online voluntary disclosure database for hydraulic fracturing fluids funded by oil and gas trade groups and the U.S. Department of Energy. The site has been met with some skepticism relating to proprietary information that is not included.[144][145] Some states have mandated fluid disclosure and incorporated FracFocus as the tool for disclosure.[146][147] Also in the US, FracTracker Alliance provides oil and gas-related data storage, analyses, and online and customized maps related to hydraulic fracturing on FracTracker.org.

Estimates of the amount of injected fluid returning to the surface vary. Some say approximately 15-20% of the injected fluid returns to the surface with the gas[150] and others say that in the weeks or months after gas production starts, about 30–70% of the original fracture fluid flows back to the surface with the gas, often mixed with natural formation water.[151][152] Some remains underground[150] and some may return to the surface through abandoned wells or other pathways.[153] After the frack flowback is recovered, formation water, usually brine, may continue to flow to the surface, and need treatment or disposal. These fluids, commonly known as flowback, produced water, or wastewater, are managed by underground injection, wastewater treatment and discharge, or recycling to fracture future wells.[107][152][154][155] Hydraulic fracturing can concentrate levels of uranium, radium, radon, and thorium in flowback.[156] One Duke University study reported that Marcellus [Shale] wells produce significantly less wastewater per unit gas recovered (~35%) compared to conventional natural gas wells.”[157] Treatment of produced waters may be feasible through either self-contained systems at well sites or fields or through municipal waste water treatment plants or commercial treatment facilities.[152] However, the quantity of waste water being treated, and the improper configuration of sewage plants to treat it, became an issue in Pennsylvania. When waste brine is discharged to surface waters through conventional wastewater treatment plants, the bromide in the brine usually passes through undiminished. Although not posing a health hazard by itself, in western Pennsylvania some downstream drinking water treatment plants using the surface water experienced increases in brominated trihalomethanes in 2009 and 2010. Trihalomethanes, undesirable byproducts of the chlorination process, form when the chlorine combines with dissolved organic matter in the source water, to form the trihalomethane chloroform. If bromine is present, it will substitute for some of the chlorine, forming brominated trihalomethanes. Because bromine has a higher atomic weight than chlorine, the partial conversion

GASLAND




Politics and public policy

To control the hydraulic fracturing industry, some governments are developing legislation and some municipalities are developing local zoning limitations.[217] In 2011, France became the first nation to ban hydraulic fracturing.[10][11] Some other countries have placed a temporary moratorium on the practice.[218] The US has the longest history with hydraulic fracturing, so its approach to hydraulic fracturing may be modeled by other countries.[86] In August 2013 the Church of England, in an official statement, criticized those who advocate “blanket opposition” to fracking[219]
The considerable opposition against hydraulic fracturing activities in local townships has led companies to adopt a variety of public relations measures to assuage fears about hydraulic fracturing, including the admitted use of "mil­i­tary tac­tics to counter drilling oppo­nents". At a conference where public relations measures were discussed, a senior executive at Anadarko Petroleum was recorded on tape saying, "Download the US Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, because we are dealing with an insurgency", while referring to hydraulic fracturing opponents. Matt Pitzarella, spokesman for Range Resources also told other conference attendees that Range employed psychological warfare operations veterans. According to Pitzarella, the experience learned in the Middle East has been valuable to Range Resources in Pennsylvania, when dealing with emotionally charged township meetings and advising townships on zoning and local ordinances dealing with hydraulic fracturing.[220][221]
Police officers have recently been forced, however, to deal with intentionally disruptive and even potentially violent opposition to oil and gas development. In March 2013, ten people were arrested [222] during an "anti-fracking protest" near New Matamoras, Ohio, after they illegally entered a development zone and latched themselves to drilling equipment. In northwest Pennsylvania, there was a drive-by shooting at a well site, in which an individual shot two rounds of a small-caliber rifle in the direction of a drilling rig, just before shouting profanities at the site and fleeing the scene.[223] And in Washington County, Pa., a contractor working on a gas pipeline found a pipe bomb that had been placed where a pipeline was to be constructed, which local authorities said would have caused a “catastrophe” had they not discovered and detonated it.[224]

Media coverage

Josh Fox's 2010 Academy Award nominated film Gasland became a center of opposition to hydraulic fracturing of shale. The movie presented problems with ground water contamination near well sites in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Colorado.[225] Energy in Depth, an oil and gas industry lobbying group, called the film's facts into question.[226] In response, a rebuttal of Energy in Depth's claims of inaccuracy was posted on Gasland's website.[227] The Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) offered to be interviewed as part of the film if he could review what was included from the interview in the final film but Fox declined the offer.[228] Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corporation and ConocoPhillips aired advertisements during 2011 and 2012 that claim to describe the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas and argue hydraulic fracturing is safe.[229]

The film Promised Land, starring Matt Damon, takes on hydraulic fracturing.[230] The gas industry has made plans to counter the film's criticisms of hydraulic fracturing with informational flyers, and Twitter and Facebook posts.[229]

On January 22, 2013 Phelim McAleer, journalist and filmmaker, released a crowdfunded[231] documentary called FrackNation as a response to Gasland. FrackNation premiered on Mark Cuban's AXS TV. The premiere corresponded with the release of Promised Land.[232]

Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples. Induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a technique in which typically water is mixed with sand and chemicals, and the mixture is injected at high pressure into a wellbore to create small fractures (typically less than 1mm), along which fluids such as gas, petroleum, uranium-bearing solution,[1] and brine water may migrate to the well. Hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, then small grains of proppant (sand or aluminium oxide) hold these fractures open once the rock achieves equilibrium. The technique is very common in wells for shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and coal seam gas[2][3] and hard rock wells. This well stimulation is usually conducted once in the life of the well and greatly enhances fluid removal and well productivity, but there has been an increasing trend towards multiple hydraulic fracturing as production declines. A different technique where only acid is injected is referred to as acidizing.

The first experimental use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and the first commercially successful applications were in 1949. George P. Mitchell is considered by some the modern "father of fracking" when he successfully applied it to the Barnett Shale in the 1990s.[4] As of 2010, it was estimated that 60% of all new oil and gas wells worldwide were being hydraulically fractured.[5] As of 2012, 2.5 million hydraulic fracturing jobs have been performed on oil and gas wells worldwide, more than one million of them in the United States.[6][7] Uranium Energy Corporation is planning to use hydraulic fracturing to mine uranium. Fracking for uranium involves injecting oxygenated water (to increase solubility) to dissolve the uranium, then pumping the solution back up to the surface.[1]

Halliburton Frack Job in the Bakken Formation, North Dakota, United States

Proponents of hydraulic fracturing point to the economic benefits from the vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons the process can extract.[8] Opponents point to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water, risks to air quality, noise pollution, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flow-back, and the health effects of these.[9] For these reasons hydraulic fracturing has come under international scrutiny, with some countries suspending or banning it.[10][11] However, some of those countries, including most notably the United Kingdom,[12] have recently lifted their bans, choosing to focus on regulations instead of outright prohibition. The 2013 draft EU-Canada trade treaty includes language outlawing any "breach of legitimate expectations of investors" which may occur if revoking drilling licences of Canada-registered companies in the territory of the European Union after the treaty comes into force.[13] Under Chapter 11 of the existing North American Free Trade Agreement, private companies can sue governments when new laws reduce expected profits from existing contracts.[14]

High-pressure fracture fluid is injected into the wellbore, with the pressure above the fracture gradient of the rock. The two main purposes of fracturing fluid is to extend fractures, add lubrication, change gel strength and to carry proppant into the formation, the purpose of which is to stay there without damaging the formation or production of the well. Two methods of transporting the proppant in the fluid are used – high-rate and high-viscosity. High-viscosity fracturing tends to cause large dominant fractures, while high-rate (slickwater) fracturing causes small spread-out micro-fractures.[citation needed]
This fracture fluid contains water-soluble gelling agents (such as guar gum) which increase viscosity and efficiently deliver the proppant into the formation.[63]

Process of mixing water with fracking fluids to be injected into the ground
The fluid injected into the rock is typically a slurry of water, proppants, and chemical additives.[64] Additionally, gels, foams, and compressed gases, including nitrogen, carbon dioxide and air can be injected. Typically, of the fracturing fluid 90% is water and 9.5% is sand with the chemical additives accounting to about 0.5%.[56][65][66] However, fracturing fluids have been developed in which the use of water has been made unnecessary, using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and propane.[67]
A proppant is a material that will keep an induced hydraulic fracture open, during or following a fracturing treatment, and can be gel, foam, or slickwater-based. Fluids make tradeoffs in such material properties as viscosity, where more viscous fluids can carry more concentrated proppant; the energy or pressure demands to maintain a certain flux pump rate (flow velocity) that will conduct the proppant appropriately; pH, various rheological factors, among others. Types of proppant include silica sand, resin-coated sand, and man-made ceramics. These vary depending on the type of permeability or grain strength needed. The most commonly used proppant is silica sand, though proppants of uniform size and shape, such as a ceramic proppant, is believed to be more effective. Due to a higher porosity within the fracture, a greater amount of oil and natural gas is liberated.[68]
The fracturing fluid varies in composition depending on the type of fracturing used, the conditions of the specific well being fractured, and the water characteristics. A typical fracture treatment uses between 3 and 12 additive chemicals.[56] Although there may be unconventional fracturing fluids, the more typically used chemical additives can include one or more of the following:
The most common chemical used for hydraulic fracturing in the United States in 2005–2009 was methanol, while some other most widely used chemicals were isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol.[69]
Typical fluid types are:
For slickwater it is common to include sweeps or a reduction in the proppant concentration temporarily to ensure the well is not overwhelmed with proppant causing a screen-off.[70] As the fracturing process proceeds, viscosity reducing agents such as oxidizers and enzyme breakers are sometimes then added to the fracturing fluid to deactivate the gelling agents and encourage flowback.[63] The oxidizer reacts with the gel to break it down, reducing the fluid's viscosity and ensuring that no proppant is pulled from the formation. An enzyme acts as a catalyst for the breaking down of the gel. Sometimes pH modifiers are used to break down the crosslink at the end of a hydraulic fracturing job, since many require a pH buffer system to stay viscous.[70] At the end of the job the well is commonly flushed with water (sometimes blended with a friction reducing chemical) under pressure. Injected fluid is to some degree recovered and is managed by several methods, such as underground injection control, treatment and discharge, recycling, or temporary storage in pits or containers while new technology is continually being developed and improved to better handle waste water and improve re-usability.[56]

Hydraulic fracturing has been seen as one of the key methods of extracting unconventional oil and gas resources. According to the International Energy Agency, the remaining technically recoverable resources of shale gas are estimated to amount to 208 trillion cubic metres (208,000 km3), tight gas to 76 trillion cubic metres (76,000 km3), and coalbed methane to 47 trillion cubic metres (47,000 km3). As a rule, formations of these resources have lower permeability than conventional gas formations. Therefore, depending on the geological characteristics of the formation, specific technologies (such as hydraulic fracturing) are required. Although there are also other methods to extract these resources, such as conventional drilling or horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing is one of the key methods making their extraction economically viable. The multi-stage fracturing technique has facilitated the development of shale gas and light tight oil production in the United States and is believed to do so in the other countries with unconventional hydrocarbon resources.[8]

The National Petroleum Council estimates that hydraulic fracturing will eventually account for nearly 70% of natural gas development in North America.[82] Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling apply the latest technologies and make it commercially viable to recover shale gas and oil. In the United States, 45% of domestic natural gas production and 17% of oil production would be lost within 5 years without usage of hydraulic fracturing.[83]

A number of studies related to the economy and fracking, demonstrates a direct benefit to economies from fracking activities in the form of personnel, support, ancillary businesses, analysis and monitoring. Typically the funding source of the study is a focal point of controversy.[84] Most studies are either funded by mining companies or funded by environmental groups, which can at times lead to at least the appearance of unreliable studies.[84] A study was performed by Deller & Schreiber in 2012, looking at the relationship between non-oil and gas mining and community economic growth. The study concluded that there is an impact on income growth; however, researchers found that mining does not lead to an increase in population or employment.[84] The actual financial impact of non-oil and gas mining on the economy is dependent on many variables and is difficult to identify definitively.

Hydraulic fracturing has raised environmental concerns and is challenging the adequacy of existing regulatory regimes.[85] These concerns have included ground water contamination, risks to air quality, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, mishandling of waste, and the health effects of all these, as well as its contribution to raised atmospheric CO2 levels by enabling the extraction of previously-sequestered hydrocarbons.[9][56][69] Because hydraulic fracturing originated in the United States,[86] its history is more extensive there than in other regions. Most environmental impact studies have therefore taken place there.

 Concerns have been raised about research financed by foundations and corporations [87] that some have argued is designed to inflate or minimize the risks of development,[88] as well as lobbying by the gas industry to promote its activities.[89] Several organizations, researchers, and media outlets have reported difficulty in conducting and reporting the results of studies on hydraulic fracturing due to industry[90][91] and governmental pressure, and expressed concern over possible censoring of environmental reports.[90][92][93] A New York Times report claimed that an early draft of a 2004 EPA study discussed "possible evidence" of aquifer contamination but the final report omitted that mention.[90][94] Some have also criticized the narrowing of EPA studies, including the EPA study on hydraulic fracturing's impact on drinking water to be released in late 2014.[91][92][95] In addition, after court cases concerning contamination from hydraulic fracturing are settled, the documents are sealed, reducing the information available about contamination.[96] The American Petroleum Institute denies that this practice has hidden problems with gas drilling.[citation needed] Researchers have recommended requiring disclosure of all hydraulic fracturing fluids, testing animals raised near fracturing sites, and closer monitoring of environmental samples.[97] Many believe there is a need for more research into the environmental and health impacts of the technique.[98][99]

When petroleum crude oil is extracted and produced from onshore or offshore oil wells, raw natural gas associated with the oil is produced to the surface as well. One gas which is commonly flared is hydrogen sulfide, which is an irritant and a chemical asphyxiant that can alter both oxygen utilization and the central nervous system, according to the U.S. OSHA.[100] Excessive H2S production in previously nonsour environments are "primarily anthropogenic and caused by certain operational practices".[101] In areas of the world lacking pipelines and other gas transportation infrastructure, vast amounts of such associated gas are commonly flared as waste or unusable gas. In June 2013, the Enbridge corporation obtained an order to reject from its system crude that had high levels of sour gas.[100] Enbridge had found in one instance concentration levels of 1,200ppm.[100] The US FERC regulator sets 10ppm as a maximum for this noxious gas. A concentration 120 times as high "could cause death, or serious injuries".[100]
A Pennsylvania family was forced to abandon because of pollution of their 10-acre farm. The family was paid 750,000USD by Range Resources Corporation to depart from a more recently installed petroleum well plant, though the family was required to sign an agreement which stated that they haven't suffered nor ever will suffer any adverse medical effects from the toxic exposure.[102]
The air emissions from hydraulic fracturing are also related to methane leaks originating from wells, and emissions from the diesel or natural gas powered equipment such as compressors, drilling rigs, pumps etc.[56] Also transportation of necessary water volume for hydraulic fracturing, if done by trucks, can cause high volumes of air emissions, especially particulate matter emissions.[103] There are also reports of health problems around compressors stations[104] or drilling sites,[105] although a causal relationship was not established for the limited number of wells studied[105] and another Texas government analysis found no evidence of effects.[106]
Whether natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing causes higher well-to-burner emissions than gas produced from conventional wells is a matter of contention. A 2012 report coauthored by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found emissions from shale gas, when burned for electricity, were “very similar” to those from so-called “conventional well” natural gas, and less than half the emissions of coal.[107] In April 2013 the EPA lowered its estimate of how much methane gas is released to the atmosphere during the fracking process by 20 percent.[108] Some studies have found that hydraulic fracturing has higher emissions due to gas released during completing wells as some gas returns to the surface, together with the fracturing fluids. Depending on their treatment, the well-to-burner emissions are 3.5%–12% higher than for conventional gas.[85] Studies that estimate the amount of methane leakage from shale gas development and production find that leakage could be as low as less than 1% of total gas production, or as high as several percent, with most recent studies on the low end of that range.[109][110] A debate has arisen particularly around a study by professor Robert W. Howarth finding shale gas significantly worse for global warming than oil or coal.[111] Other researchers have criticized Howarth's analysis.[112][113] Howarth has responded that "The latest EPA estimate for methane emissions from shale gas falls within the range of our estimates but not those of Cathles et al., which are substantially lower."[114] The U.S. EPA has estimated the methane leakage rate to be about 2.4% – well below Howarth’s estimate. The American Gas Association, and industry trade group, calculated a 1.2% leakage rate [115] based on the EPA's latest greenhouse gas inventory, although the EPA has not publicly stated a change to its prior estimate.

Hydraulic fracturing uses between 1.2 and 3.5 million US gallons (4.5 and 13.2 Ml) of water per well, with large projects using up to 5 million US gallons (19 Ml). Additional water is used when wells are refractured.[63][116] An average well requires 3 to 8 million US gallons (11,000 to 30,000 m3) of water over its lifetime.[56][116][117][118] Back in 2008 at the beginning of the shale boom in Pennsylvania, hydraulic fracturing accounted for 650 million US gallons per year (2,500,000 m3/a) (less than 0.8%) of annual water use in the area overlying the Marcellus Shale.[117][119] The annual number of well permits, however, increased by a factor of five[120] and the number of well starts increased by a factor of over 17 from 2008 to 2011.[121] According to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, greater volumes of fracturing fluids are required in Europe, where the shale depths average 1.5 times greater than in the U.S.[122]
Appropriating large quantities of water for hydraulic fracturing diverts water from stream flow, water supplies for municipalities and industries such as power generation, as well as recreation and aquatic life.[123] The large volumes of water required have raised concerns about hydraulic fracturing in arid areas, such as Karoo in South Africa[86] and drought prone areas of North America.[124] It may also require water overland piping from distant sources.[117] A report by Ceres questions whether the growth of hydraulic fracturing is sustainable in Texas and Colorado. The report integrated well location and water use data from FracFocus.org with World Resources Institute's (WRI) water risk maps. Ninety-two percent of Colorado wells were in extremely high water stress regions and 51% percent of the Texas wells evaluated were in high or extremely high water stress regions. "Extremely high water stress" means that more than 80% of the available water is already allocated for agricultural, industrial and municipal water use.[1]
In Barnhart, Texas the aquifer ran dry because of industrial fracking: one landowner had 104 water wells (designed to supply fracking) dug into his land by his fracker tenants, and the population is left with little recourse for their dry taps.[125] In the Spring of 2013, new hydraulic fracturing water recycling rules were adopted in the state of Texas by the Railroad Commission of Texas. The Water Recycling Rules are intended to encourage Texas hydraulic fracturing operators to conserve water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells.[126]
Recycling[85] and using carbon dioxide instead of water[127] have been proposed to reduce water consumption. While recycled flowback water cannot yet be made safe enough for drinking or growing crops, it can reused in hydraulic fracturing, though it can shorten the life of some types of equipment.[128]

There are concerns about possible contamination by hydraulic fracturing fluid both as it is injected under high pressure into the ground and as it returns to the surface.[129][130] To mitigate the impact of hydraulic fracturing to groundwater, the well and ideally the shale formation itself should remain hydraulically isolated from other geological formations, especially freshwater aquifers.[85] In 2009 state regulators from at least a dozen states have also stated that they have seen no evidence[131] of the hydraulic fracturing process polluting drinking water. In May 2011, former U.S. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson (appointed by President Barack Obama) has said on at least two occasions that there is either no proven case of direct contamination by the hydraulic fracturing process, or that the EPA has never made a definitive determination[132] of such contamination. By August 2011 there were at least 36 cases of suspected groundwater contamination due to hydraulic fracturing in the United States. In more recent congressional testimony in April 2013, Dr. Robin Ikeda, Deputy Director of Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health at the CDC listed several sites where EPA had documented contamination.[133] In several cases EPA has determined that hydraulic fracturing was likely the source of the contamination.[134][135][136][137][138][139]
While some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are common and generally harmless, some are known carcinogens.[69] A report prepared for House Democratic members Henry Waxman, Edward Markey and Diana DeGette stated that out of 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products, "more than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants".[69] The report also shows that between 2005 and 2009, 279 products had at least one component listed as "proprietary" or "trade secret" on their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required material safety data sheet (MSDS). The MSDS is a list of chemical components in the products of chemical manufacturers, and according to OSHA, a manufacturer may withhold information designated as "proprietary" from this sheet. When asked to reveal the proprietary components, most companies participating in the investigation were unable to do so, leading the committee to surmise these "companies are injecting fluids containing unknown chemicals about which they may have limited understanding of the potential risks posed to human health and the environment".[69] Without knowing the identity of the proprietary components, regulators cannot test for their presence. This prevents government regulators from establishing baseline levels of the substances prior to hydraulic fracturing and documenting changes in these levels, thereby making it more difficult to prove that hydraulic fracturing is contaminating the environment with these substances.[140]
Another 2011 study identified 632 chemicals used in natural gas operations. Only 353 of these are well-described in the scientific literature. The study indicated possible long-term health effects that might not appear immediately. The study recommended full disclosure of all products used, along with extensive air and water monitoring near natural gas operations; it also recommended that hydraulic fracturing's exemption from regulation under the US Safe Drinking Water Act be rescinded.[141] Industry group Energy In Depth, a research arm of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, contends that fracking "was never granted an 'exemption' from it... How can something earn an exemption from a law that never covered or even conceived of it in the first place?”[142]
Governments are responding to questions about the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluid by requiring disclosure via government agencies and public web site. The Irish regulatory regime requires full disclosure of all additives to Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland). The European Union also requires such disclosure.[143] In the US, the Ground Water Protection Council launched FracFocus.org, an online voluntary disclosure database for hydraulic fracturing fluids funded by oil and gas trade groups and the U.S. Department of Energy. The site has been met with some skepticism relating to proprietary information that is not included.[144][145] Some states have mandated fluid disclosure and incorporated FracFocus as the tool for disclosure.[146][147] Also in the US, FracTracker Alliance provides oil and gas-related data storage, analyses, and online and customized maps related to hydraulic fracturing on FracTracker.org.

Estimates of the amount of injected fluid returning to the surface vary. Some say approximately 15-20% of the injected fluid returns to the surface with the gas[150] and others say that in the weeks or months after gas production starts, about 30–70% of the original fracture fluid flows back to the surface with the gas, often mixed with natural formation water.[151][152] Some remains underground[150] and some may return to the surface through abandoned wells or other pathways.[153] After the frack flowback is recovered, formation water, usually brine, may continue to flow to the surface, and need treatment or disposal. These fluids, commonly known as flowback, produced water, or wastewater, are managed by underground injection, wastewater treatment and discharge, or recycling to fracture future wells.[107][152][154][155] Hydraulic fracturing can concentrate levels of uranium, radium, radon, and thorium in flowback.[156] One Duke University study reported that Marcellus [Shale] wells produce significantly less wastewater per unit gas recovered (~35%) compared to conventional natural gas wells.”[157] Treatment of produced waters may be feasible through either self-contained systems at well sites or fields or through municipal waste water treatment plants or commercial treatment facilities.[152] However, the quantity of waste water being treated, and the improper configuration of sewage plants to treat it, became an issue in Pennsylvania. When waste brine is discharged to surface waters through conventional wastewater treatment plants, the bromide in the brine usually passes through undiminished. Although not posing a health hazard by itself, in western Pennsylvania some downstream drinking water treatment plants using the surface water experienced increases in brominated trihalomethanes in 2009 and 2010. Trihalomethanes, undesirable byproducts of the chlorination process, form when the chlorine combines with dissolved organic matter in the source water, to form the trihalomethane chloroform. If bromine is present, it will substitute for some of the chlorine, forming brominated trihalomethanes. Because bromine has a higher atomic weight than chlorine, the partial conversion to brominated trihalomethanes increases the concentration by weight of total trihalomethanes.[158][159][160]
Vengosh, the co-author of a Duke University study has advised the UK to impose better environmental regulation than US if it pursues shale gas extraction.[161] Before 2011, wastewater from gas wells in Pennsylvania was processed by public sewage treatment plants, which are not equipped to remove radioactive material and are not required to test for it.[162][163] In 2010 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) limited surface water discharges from new treatment plants to 250 mg/l chloride. This chloride limitation was designed to also limit other contaminants such as radium. Existing water treatment plants were "grandfathered," and are still allowed higher discharge concentrations. In April 2011, the DEP asked unconventional gas operators to voluntarily stop sending wastewater to the grandfathered treatment plants. The PADEP reported that the operators had complied.[164] A 2012 study by researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, University of Colorado, and Colorado State University reported a reduction in the percentage of flowback treated through surface water discharge in Pennsylvania from 2008 through 2011.[107] By late 2012, bromine concentrations had declined back to previous levels in the Monongahela River, but remained high in the Allegheny.[165] In Colorado the volume of wastewater discharged to surface streams increased from 2008 to 2011.[107] A recent Duke University study sampled water downstream from a Pennsylvania wastewater treatment facility from 2010 through Fall 2012 and found the creek sediment contained levels of radium 200 times background levels, the surface water contained high levels of chloride and bromide, and the water had the same chemical signature as rocks in the Marcellus Shale formation. The facility denied processing Marcellus waste since 2011. In May 2013 the facility signed another agreement to not accept or discharge wastewater Marcellus Shale formations until it has installed technology to remove the radiation compounds, metals and salts.[166][167]

Methane

Groundwater methane contamination is also a concern as it has adverse impact on water quality and in extreme cases may lead to potential explosion.[163][168] In 2006, over 7 million cubic feet (200,000 m3) of methane were released from a blown gas well in Clark, Wyoming and shallow groundwater was found to be contaminated.[169] A scientific study reported in the PNAS investigated concerns over fracking and well water. The study found high correlations of drilling activity and methane pollution of the drinking water.[170] Methane contamination is not always caused by hydraulic fracturing. Drilling for ordinary drinking water wells can also cause methane release. Most recent studies make use of tests that can distinguish between the deep thermogenic methane released during gas/oil drilling, and the shallower biogenic methane that can be released during water-well drilling. While both forms of methane result from decomposition, thermogenic methane results from geothermal assistance deeper underground.[171][172]
According to the 2011 study of the MIT Energy Initiative, "there is evidence of natural gas (methane) migration into freshwater zones in some areas, most likely as a result of substandard well completion practices i.e. poor quality cementing job or bad casing, by a few operators."[173] 2011 studies by the Colorado School of Public Health and Duke University also pointed to methane contamination stemming from hydraulic fracturing or its surrounding process.[168][172] A study by Cabot Oil and Gas examined the Duke study using a larger sample size, found that methane concentrations were related to topography, with the highest readings found in low-lying areas, rather than related to distance from gas production areas. Using a more precise isotopic analysis, they showed that the methane found in the water wells came from both the Marcellus Shale (Middle Devonian) where hydraulic fracturing occurred, and from the shallower Upper Devonian formations.[171] A 2013 Duke study suggested that both defective cement seals in the upper part of wells and faulty steel linings within deeper layers may be allowing methane and injected fluid to seep into surface waters.[130] Abandoned gas and oil wells also provide conduits to the surface.[153] A recent Duke University study found methane concentrations six times higher and ethane concentrations were 23 times higher at residences within a kilometer of a shale gas well. Propane was also detected in 10 homes within a kilometer of drilling. The researchers reported that the methane, ethane and propane data, and new evidence from hydrocarbon and helium content, all suggested that drilling has affected the drinking water. They noted that the ethane and propane data were notable because there was no biological source of ethane and propane in the region and Marcellus gas is higher in both than are Upper Devonian gases.[174]

Hydrogen sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S, sour gas), a gas which is toxic to humans and flammable, has been detected in some fracked crude by the Enbridge corporation.[175] A paper published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers stated in 2011 that increased concentration of H2S in crude oil presents challenges such as "health and environmental risks, corrosion of wellbore, added expense with regard to materials handling and pipeline equipment, and additional refinement requirements".[101] Holubnyak et al. further state in their paper on the Bakken formation that "the causes of excessive H2S production in previously nonsour environments are primarily anthropogenic and caused by certain operational practices."

Radioactivity

There are concerns about the levels of radioactivity in wastewater from hydraulic fracturing and its potential impact on public health. Tests conducted in Pennsylvania in 2009 found “no evidence of elevated radiation levels” in waterways.[176] At the time radiation concerns were not seen as a pressing issue.[176] The EPA called for more testing.[177] In 2011 The New York Times reported radium in wastewater from natural gas wells is released into Pennsylvania rivers,[163][178] and compiled a map of these wells and their wastewater contamination levels,[179] and stated that some EPA reports were never made public.[129] The Times' reporting on the issue has come under some criticism.[180][181] A 2012 study examining a number of hydraulic fracturing sites in Pennsylvania and Virginia by Pennsylvania State University, found that water that flows back from gas wells after hydraulic fracturing contains high levels of radium.[182] A recent Duke University study sampled water downstream from a Pennsylvania wastewater treatment facility from 2010 through Fall 2012 and found the creek sediment contained levels of radium 200 times background levels.[161] The surface water had the same chemical signature as rocks in the Marcellus Shale formation. The facility denied processing Marcellus waste since 2011. In May 2013 the facility signed another agreement to not accept or discharge wastewater Marcellus Shale formations until it has installed technology to remove the radiation compounds, metals and salts.[166][167] Recycling this wastewater has been proposed as a partial solution, but this approach has limitations.[183]
Solid waste such as drill cuttings is also radioactive. In 2012 there were 1325 radiation alerts from all sources at dumps in Pennsylvania, up from 423 alerts in 2008. At least 1,000 of the 2012 alerts were set off by waste from gas and oil drilling hydraulic fracturing operations.[184]

Seismicity

Hydraulic fracturing routinely produces microseismic events much too small to be detected except by sensitive instruments. These microseismic events are often used to map the horizontal and vertical extent of the fracturing.[185] However, as of late 2012, there have been three instances of hydraulic fracturing, through induced seismicity, triggering quakes large enough to be felt by people: one each in the United States, Canada, and England.[186]
A 2012 US Geological Survey study reported that a "remarkable" increase in the rate of M ? 3 earthquakes in the US midcontinent "is currently in progress", having started in 2001 and culminating in a 6-fold increase over 20th century levels in 2011. The overall increase was tied to earthquake increases in a few specific areas: the Raton Basin of southern Colorado (site of coalbed methane activity), and gas-producing areas in central and southern Oklahoma, and central Arkansas.[187] While analysis suggested that the increase is "almost certainly man-made", the USGS noted: "USGS’s studies suggest that the actual hydraulic fracturing process is only very rarely the direct cause of felt earthquakes." The increased earthquakes were said to be most likely caused by increased injection of gas-well wastewater into disposal wells.[188] The injection of waste water from oil and gas operations, including from hydraulic fracturing, into saltwater disposal wells may cause bigger low-magnitude tremors, being registered up to 3.3 (Mw).[189]

Induced seismicity from hydraulic fracturing

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has reported earthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing, and by disposal of hydraulic fracturing flowback into waste disposal wells, in several locations. Bill Ellsworth, a geoscientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, has said, however: “We don’t see any connection between fracking and earthquakes of any concern to society.” [190] The National Research Council (part of the National Academy of Sciences) has also observed that hydraulic fracturing, when used in shale gas recovery, does not pose a serious risk of causing earthquakes that can be felt.[191]
A British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission investigation concluded that a series of 38 earthquakes (magnitudes ranging from 2.2 to 3.8 on the Richter scale) occurring in the Horn River Basin area between 2009 and 2011 were caused by fluid injection during hydraulic fracturing in proximity to pre-existing faults. The tremors were small enough that only one of them was reported felt by people; there were no reports of injury or property damage.[192]
A report in the UK concluded that hydraulic fracturing was the likely cause of two small tremors (magnitudes 2.3 and 1.4 on the Richter scale) that occurred during hydraulic fracturing of shale.[193][194][195]

Induced seismicity from water disposal wells

According to the USGS only a small fraction of roughly 40,000 waste fluid disposal wells for oil and gas operations in the United States have induced earthquakes that are large enough to be of concern to the public.[196] Although the magnitudes of these quakes has been small, the USGS says that there is no guarantee that larger quakes will not occur.[197] In addition, the frequency of the quakes has been increasing. In 2009, there were 50 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.0 in the area spanning Alabama and Montana, and there were 87 quakes in 2010. In 2011 there were 134 earthquakes in the same area, a sixfold increase over 20th century levels.[198] There are also concerns that quakes may damage underground gas, oil, and water lines and wells that were not designed to withstand earthquakes.[197][199]
Several earthquakes in 2011, including a 4.0 magnitude quake on New Year's Eve that hit Youngstown, Ohio, are likely linked to a disposal of hydraulic fracturing wastewater, according to seismologists at Columbia University.[200] A similar series of small earthquakes occurred in 2012 in Texas. Earthquakes are not common occurrences in either area. Disposal and injection wells are regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act and UIC laws.[201]

Health impacts

Concern has been expressed over the possible long and short term health effects of air and water contamination and radiation exposure by gas production.[156][202][203] A study on the effect of gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing, published by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, concluded that exposure to gas drilling operations was strongly implicated in serious health effects on humans and animals [204] although scientists have raised concerns about that particular report.[205] As of May 2012, the United States Institute of Medicine and United States National Research Council were preparing to review the potential human and environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing.[206][207]
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers radioactive material in flowback a hazard to workers at hydraulic fracturing sites. Workers may inhale radon gas released by the process, raising their risk of lung cancer. They are also exposed to alpha and gamma radiation released during the decay of radium-226 and to gamma radiation and beta particles released by the decay of radium-228, according to EPA. EPA reports that gamma radiation can also penetrate the skin and raise the risk of cancer.[208]
A 2012 study concluded that risk prevention efforts should be directed towards reducing air emission exposures for persons living and working near wells during well completions.[209] In the United States the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a hazard alert based on data collected by NIOSH that workers may be exposed to dust with high levels of respirable crystalline silica (silicon dioxide) during hydraulic fracturing.[210] NIOSH notified company representatives of these findings and provided reports with recommendations to control exposure to crystalline silica and recommend that all hydraulic fracturing sites evaluate their operations to determine the potential for worker exposure to crystalline silica and implement controls as necessary to protect workers.[211]
According to the United States Department of Energy, hydraulic fracturing fluid is composed of approximately 95% water, 4.5% sand and 0.5% different chemicals.[56] These percentages are by weight, so hydraulically fracturing a well uses 4-7 million gallons of water (15000-27000 tons) and 80-140 tons of chemicals. There can be up to 65 chemicals and often include benzyne, glycol-ethers, toluene, ethanol and nonphenols.[69][212] Some[who?] have argued that although many of these chemicals are harmful, some of them are either non toxic or are non toxic at lower dosages.[213] However, their concentration in hydraulic fracturing fluid have proven toxic to animals and humans.[204] Many chemicals used in fracking, such as 2-BE ethylene glycol, are carcinogenic. This chemical is listed under chronic oral RFD assessment, chronic inhalation RFC assessment, and carcinogenicity assessment records of the US environmental protection agency’s website.
In a study done by Colborn and colleagues, they examined 353 out of 994 fracking chemicals identified by TEDX in hydraulic fracking operation. They found over 75% of the 353 chemicals affected the skin, eyes, and other sensory organs,52% affected the nervous system, 40% affected the immune system and kidney system, and 46% affected the cardiocascular system and blood.[214]

In a second study done by Colborn and colleagues, they examined the airborne chemicals due to the fracking process. The group categorized the human tissue types into 12 categories and found 35 chemicals affected the brain/nervous system, 33 the liver/ metabolism, and 30 the endocrine system, which includes reproductive and developmental effects. The categories with the next highest numbers of effects were the immune system (28), cardiovascular/blood (27), and the sensory and respiratory systems (25 each). Eight chemicals had health effects in all 12 categories.[215]

Airborne chemicals during the fracking process, such as benzene and benzene derivatives, naphthalene, methylene chloride, are either carcinogenic or suspected as a human carcinogen to the human body.[215][216]















Published time: October 31, 2013 22:24

Pennsylvania authorities have denied a doctor the right to challenge a so-called “medical gag rule” that prevents him and other physicians from warning the public about the health dangers associated with fracking.



Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez of Dallas, Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against the state last year, asserting that Act 13 of 2012 forces medical professionals to enter “a vague confidentiality agreement” that prevents them from having a completely honest dialogue with patients.

Hydraulic fracking involves drilling through underground shale rock with the help of chemicals - many of them toxic - to release natural gas. Earlier this month, a research team out of Duke University examined Pennsylvania wastewater and found what they described as “alarmingly” high levels of radioactivity, salts, metals, and other potentially harmful sediments.

Yet the “medical gag rule” forbids doctors like Rodriguez from going into depth about the health problems that chemicals from fracking can cause. Critics have said the bill’s passage, and the court’s refusal to grant Dr. Rodriguez the right to speak freely with his patients, is an indication of just how entrenched the oil and gas lobby is in state politics.

Rodriguez specializes in renal diseases, hypertension, and advanced diabetes. He “has recently treated patients directly exposed to high-volume hydraulic fracturing fluid as the result of well blowouts,” including a patient “with a complicated diagnosis with low platelets, anemia, rash and acute renal failure that required extensive hemodialysis and exposure to chemotherapeutic agents,” the complaint stated, as quoted by Courthouse News.

For fulfilling his true responsibility as a doctor, though, Rodriguez allegedly risks violating the American Medical Association’s Principles of Medical Ethics, an infraction that could cost him his medical license.

That may well happen, because the state requires professional healthcare providers “to enter into, upon request by gas drilling company or vendor, a vague confidentiality agreement to maintain the specific identity any amount of any chemicals claimed to be a trade secret by a gas drilling company and/or its vendor as a condition precedent to receiving such information deemed unnecessary to provide competent medical treatment to plaintiff’s patient,” according to the complaint.

Despite Rodriguez’s complaint that the provision is a violation of his First and 14th Amendment rights, and multiple briefs filed by medical associations on his behalf, a federal judge dismissed the suit upon deciding the issue was “too conjectural” to stand.

“Although plaintiff alleges that he requires the kind of information contemplated under the act for the treatment of his patients, he does not allege that he has been in a situation where he needed or attempted to obtain such information, despite the fact that he alleges that he has treated patients injured by hydraulic fracturing fluid in the past,” wrote Judge A. Richard Caputo. “Similarly, plaintiff does not allege that he has been in a position where he was required to agree to any sort of confidentiality agreement under the act."

The decision goes on to state that any attempt Rodriguez made to notify his patients of Act 13’s impact were “merely a prophylactic measure to ease his fears of potential future harm.”






Published on Oct 19, 2013

Saturday is Global Frackdown Day - an international protest uniting activists worldwide, demanding a ban on shale gas drilling. 'Fracktivists', as they're known, want their authorities to hear the truth about the risks of the technology. Demonstrations in Canada turned violent on Thursday with police using pepper spray and plastic bullets while trying to remove a blockade. 40 protesters were arrested, some of them threw molotov cocktails and set several police cars on fire. For more perspective on fracking practice RT is joined by environmental activist Rose Braz.





As the fracking boom is expanding in states across the country, New York state represents our best opportunity anywhere to win a ban against fracking, and take a stand against this practice that is polluting water and air, endangering public health, and exacerbating the climate crisis.
Activists in New York have kept the industry at bay for years, but New York Governor Cuomo recently took a dramatic step toward opening New York to fracking by proposing regulations that, if implemented, would lift New York's moratorium on fracking.1
Governor Cuomo's fracking plan is open for public comment until Friday, and national pressure is needed to convince him to stop trying to frack New York and instead take a stand for clean air, clean water and clean energy that doesn't heat up our climate. Governor Cuomo is particularly susceptible to national pressure as he eyes a run for president in 2016.2 We need to make it clear to him that progressives across the country are watching what he does in New York.
Fracking in New York would dramatically exacerbate the climate crisis. Fracked gas is mostly methane, a potent greenhouse gas that leaks from natural gas wells, pipelines, and other infrastructure. Recent research suggests that methane emissions from fracked natural gas operations are so high that fracking may even be worse for the climate than coal.3
A recent report by the International Energy Agency concluded that a global transition toward fracked gas would push us past dangerous climate tipping points and into a world wracked by climate chaos.4
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo bravely spoke out about the need to prepare for climate change. Now we need to hold him to those brave words by demanding a ban on fracking in New York. Nothing else in his power would do more to address the climate crisis and prevent more fossil-fueled superstorms, droughts, wildfires, and floods.
New Yorkers have already submitted tens of thousands of public comments on Cuomo's fracking plan. Will you amplify their voices by submitting a public comment? Now is the time to send a message to Cuomo that the whole country is watching what he does next, and that we'll remember his choice when we make ours in 2016.
Thanks for standing up to the fracking industry.
Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Take action now!
Learn more about this campaign
1. Tom Wilber, "Reading the regs: missing pieces confound NY gas policy. Some happier than others with signals from Albany," Shale Gas Review, December 4, 2012
2. Danny Hakim, "Cuomo for President? Who Said That? Well, Dad," New York Times, July 8, 2012
3. Jeff Tollefson, "Methane leaks erode green credentials of natural gas," Nature, January 2, 2013
4. Joe Romm, "IEA's 'Golden Age of Gas Scenario' Leads to More Than 6°F Warming and Out-of-Control Climate Change," ThinkProgress, June 7, 2011 and Out-of-Control Climate Change," ThinkProgress, June 7, 2011





Fracking was once seen by some environmentalists as a technology that, given the proper regulations, could be done safely and provide a fuel that emits far fewer greenhouse gases than coal. Natural gas was seen as a good alternative to coal, at least until renewables like wind and solar were ready for prime time. But declining costs for renewables, more instances of water contamination, uncertainly over the heat-trappng nature of natural gas that escapes from wells unburned, and a fear that cheap gas is crowding out wind and solar have led many to change their minds.

Several environmental groups are calling for an immediate ban on fracking, while others favor a gradual phase out combined with greater federal regulation.

On the other side are many analysts and economists that believe this technology can give the United States a significant economic and geopolitical advantage.






Damon was asked about the foreign-oil funding by documentary director Phelim McAleer at a Dec. 3 promotional event in New York. McAleer, who is directing the upcoming pro-fracking film "Frack Nation," asked Damon:
"How does it feel to be a fully-paid advocate for an oil-rich Middle Eastern government - and, doesn't that really negate any artistic credibility... that 'The Promised Land" might have?"
Damon explained that part of the funding comes from Participant Media which has a "blind slate deal" with Image Nation that pays for ten percent of all of Participant's films. Participant is known for making liberal issue movies such as "Food Inc.," "Syriana," and "An Inconvenient Truth."






Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of pumping large quantities of water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressures in order to release trapped natural gas from tight rock formations, especially shale. Over the last decade, advances in fracking methods, such as horizontal drilling, have led to a dramatic increase in U.S. shale gas production. Tens of thousands of fracking wells now operate in twenty states, producing over seven trillion cubic feet of shale gas per year, or 25% of the total U.S. supply of natural gas.

While fracking has been a boon for the oil and gas industry, it has been devastating to the environment. Each well is injected with millions of gallons of fresh water containing a mix of toxic chemicals. Up to 50% of this fluid returns to the surface, having been further contaminated with methane and other hazardous substances released from the shale, including the radioactive element radium-226. Much of this toxic wastewater leaks into nearby groundwater, polluting streams and aquifers. (In some cases the methane contamination is so high that residents living near fracking wells are able to light their drinking water on fire.) The rest of the wastewater is either injected into empty, underground rock formations or shipped off to conventional water treatment facilities. However, these facilities are not equipped to handle radioactive material or other types of contaminants found in fracking wastewater, which they simply discharge into rivers and streams. And questions remain as to whether underground rock formations, many of which have been damaged by fracking, can permanently contain the wastewater. Furthermore, the USGS confirmed in May, 2012 what many people had already suspected, that the underground disposal of fracking wastewater has been responsible for the twenty-fold increase in earthquakes seen in regions where fracking takes place.

Fracking wells also emit hazardous air pollutants, including benzene and toluene, that can cause cancer and other serious health effects. Residents of Dish, TX who live near fracking wells have reported headaches and blackouts, and many of their horses have gone blind or developed other neurological impairments. In six Texas counties with intensive shale gas development, asthma rates are three times higher than the Texas average. And in Wyoming, fracking has caused ground-level ozone pollution in some residential areas to exceed amounts recorded in Los Angeles. Fracking also releases large quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2, giving shale gas a larger global warming footprint than oil.

While the oil and gas industry touts fracking as a “game changer” that will lead the U.S. to “energy independence,” these claims have been widely criticized as false and intentionally misleading. High drilling costs and rapid decline rates of fracked wells suggest shale gas is uneconomical in the long run, and hundreds of internal industry documents and emails leaked to the New York Times describe shale gas development as a “Ponzi scheme reminiscent of Enron,” where “flipping land leases” and “conning investors” is more profitable than the actual gas.

Despite the environmental consequences, congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which exempted the fracking industry from virtually all environmental regulations, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act. In May, 2012 the EPA outraged independent scientists and residents of Dimock, PA, by declaring the town’s water safe to drink even though it contained unsafe levels of arsenic, barium and other contaminants. And in June, 2012 the New York department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) secretly allowed fracking industry lobbyists to help draft the state’s proposed fracking legislation, watering it down in the interest of industry profits. This criminal collusion demands a broad-based movement of education, protest and civil disobedience to put pressure on the government to ban fracking and invest in a safe and renewable energy infrastructure.

References & external links:

http://waterdefense.org
http://foodandwaterwatch.org
http://catskillcitizens.org
http://gaslandthemovie.com
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/dimock-pa-fracking-epa-water…
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/us/natural-gas-drilling-down…
http://truth-out.org/news/item/9168-when-polluted-water-is-safe…
http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/shale-gas-view-from…
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/doing-some-math…
http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/21…
http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/communication/news-archive/2011/shale…
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27gas.html
http://www.waterdefense.org/blog/caught-red-handed
http://www.waterdefense.org/content/response-usepa…
http://www.stopthefrackattack.org/





Dear Friend,
What will it take for major corporations like Halliburton to stop treating our safety like it was just a speed bump along their way to obscene profits from fracking?
It will take levying major fines on the corporation when it makes reckless, unbelievable mistakes — like losing, for nearly a month, a radioactive rod used in the process of fracking wells in Texas, after it apparently just fell off a truck.1
That's right. Fell. Off. A. Truck.




The Fracking of America

It's almost impossible to overestimate the importance of fracking to the natural gas industry and the nation. It's also difficult to understate the controversy surrounding the environmental issues of the rock fracturing technology.

The special report,"Who's Winning The Natural Gas Game?" addresses both issues and more.
Just a few years ago, the operating assumption of both government and the industry was that the U.S. was running out of recoverable natural gas and would soon be importing large amounts to meet our needs. Shipping terminals to receive liquefied natural gas from abroad needed to be built — and fast.

Now, the industry is talking about a 100-year supply and is building export terminals to ship our liquid natural gas to other countries.





Gasland



Hydraulic Fracturing FAQs

How does hydraulic fracturing work?

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.

What is horizontal hydraulic fracturing?

Horizontal hydrofracking is a means of tapping shale deposits containing natural gas that were previously inaccessible by conventional drilling. Vertical hydrofracking is used to extend the life of an existing well once its productivity starts to run out, sort of a last resort. Horizontal fracking differs in that it uses a mixture of 596 chemicals, many of them proprietary, and millions of gallons of water per frack. This water then becomes contaminated and must be cleaned and disposed of.

What is the Halliburton Loophole?

In 2005, the Bush/ Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act. It exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. Essentially, the provision took the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) off the job. It is now commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole.

What is the Safe Drinking Water Act?

In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed by Congress to ensure clean drinking water free from both natural and man-made contaminates.

What is the FRAC Act?

The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use.

How deep do natural gas wells go?

The average well is up to 8,000 feet deep. The depth of drinking water aquifers is about 1,000 feet. The problems typically stem from poor cement well casings that leak natural gas as well as fracking fluid into water wells.

How much water is used during the fracking process?

Generally 1-8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well. A well may be fracked up to 18 times.

What fluids are used in the fracking process?

For each frack, 80-300 tons of chemicals may be used. Presently, the natural gas industry does not have to disclose the chemicals used, but scientists have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

In what form does the natural gas come out of the well?

The gas comes up wet in produced water and has to be separated from the wastewater on the surface. Only 30-50% of the water is typically recovered from a well. This wastewater can be highly toxic.

What is done with the wastewater?

Evaporators evaporate off VOCs and condensate tanks steam off VOCs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The wastewater is then trucked to water treatment facilities.

What is a well's potential to cause air pollution?

As the VOCs are evaporated and come into contact with diesel exhaust from trucks and generators at the well site, ground level ozone is produced. Ozone plumes can travel up to 250 miles.

privacy laws

Nov. 18, 2013 6:53 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is paying $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to make amends for the Internet search leader’s snooping on millions of people using Safari Web browsers in 2011 and 2012.

The settlement announced Monday stems from a technological loophole that enabled Google’s DoubleClick advertising network to shadow unwitting Safari users, even though the browser’s maker, Apple Inc., prohibited the tracking without obtaining a person’s permission. By following what Safari users were doing online, DoubleClick could gain more insights about what types of ads were most likely to appeal to different Safari users.


We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at http://www.google.com/policies. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012.
Got questions?
We’ve got answers.
Visit our FAQ at http://www.google.com/policies/faq to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)

States Move on Privacy Law

By
Published: October 30, 2013
Over two dozen privacy laws have passed this year in more than 10 states, in places as different as Oklahoma and California. 
For Internet companies, the patchwork of rules across the country means keeping a close eye on evolving laws to avoid overstepping. 

For companies, it helps that state measures are limited in their scope by a federal law that prevents states from interfering with interstate commerce.
Some of the bills extend to surveillance beyond the web. Eight states, for example, have passed laws this year limiting the use of drones, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has advocated such privacy laws. In Florida, a lawmaker has drafted a bill that would prohibit schools from collecting biometric data to verify who gets free lunches and who gets off at which bus stop. Vermont has limited the use of data collected by license plate readers, which are used mostly by police to record images of license plates.
California, long a pioneer on digital privacy laws, has passed three online privacy bills this year. One gives children the right to erase social media posts, another makes it a misdemeanor to publish identifiable nude pictures online without the subject’s permission, and a third requires companies to tell consumers whether they abide by “do not track” signals on web browsers.
But stiff lobbying efforts were able to stop a so-called right to know bill proposed in California this year that stood to hurt the online industry. The bill would have required any business that “retains a customer’s personal information” to share a copy of that information at the customer’s request, as well as disclose which third parties have received the information. The practice of sharing customer data is central to digital advertising and to the large Internet companies that rely on advertising revenue.
“ ‘Right to know’ is an example of something that’s not workable,” said Jim Halpert, a lawyer with the national firm DLA Piper, who leads an industry coalition that includes Amazon, Facebook and Verizon. “It covers such a broad range of disclosures. We advocated against it.”

According to a survey conducted in July by the Pew Internet Center, most Americans said they believed that existing laws were inadequate to protect their privacy online, and a clear majority reported making great efforts to mask their identities online. Some of those surveyed said they cleared browsing histories, deleted social media posts or used virtual networks to conceal their Internet Protocol addresses — and a few even said they used encryption tools.
Many states have already responded to those opinions. In the last couple of years, about 10 states have passed laws restricting employers from demanding access to their employees’ social media accounts.
California set the stage on digital privacy 10 years ago with a law that required organizations, whether public or private, to inform consumers if their personal data had been breached or stolen. Several states followed, and today, nearly every state has a data breach notification law.
A version of this article appears in print on October 31, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: No U.S. Action, So States Move On Privacy Law.
Nov. 18, 2013 6:53 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is paying $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to make amends for the Internet search leader's snooping on millions of people using Safari Web browsers in 2011 and 2012.

The settlement announced Monday stems from a technological loophole that enabled Google's DoubleClick advertising network to shadow unwitting Safari users, even though the browser's maker, Apple Inc., prohibited the tracking without obtaining a person's permission. By following what Safari users were doing online, DoubleClick could gain more insights about what types of ads were most likely to appeal to different Safari users.





We're getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that's a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at http://www.google.com/policies. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012.
Got questions?
We've got answers.
Visit our FAQ at http://www.google.com/policies/faq to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)

States Move on Privacy Law


Over two dozen privacy laws have passed this year in more than 10 states, in places as different as Oklahoma and California. 

For Internet companies, the patchwork of rules across the country means keeping a close eye on evolving laws to avoid overstepping. 


For companies, it helps that state measures are limited in their scope by a federal law that prevents states from interfering with interstate commerce.
Some of the bills extend to surveillance beyond the web. Eight states, for example, have passed laws this year limiting the use of drones, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has advocated such privacy laws. In Florida, a lawmaker has drafted a bill that would prohibit schools from collecting biometric data to verify who gets free lunches and who gets off at which bus stop. Vermont has limited the use of data collected by license plate readers, which are used mostly by police to record images of license plates.
California, long a pioneer on digital privacy laws, has passed three online privacy bills this year. One gives children the right to erase social media posts, another makes it a misdemeanor to publish identifiable nude pictures online without the subject’s permission, and a third requires companies to tell consumers whether they abide by “do not track” signals on web browsers.
But stiff lobbying efforts were able to stop a so-called right to know bill proposed in California this year that stood to hurt the online industry. The bill would have required any business that “retains a customer’s personal information” to share a copy of that information at the customer’s request, as well as disclose which third parties have received the information. The practice of sharing customer data is central to digital advertising and to the large Internet companies that rely on advertising revenue.
“ ‘Right to know’ is an example of something that’s not workable,” said Jim Halpert, a lawyer with the national firm DLA Piper, who leads an industry coalition that includes Amazon, Facebook and Verizon. “It covers such a broad range of disclosures. We advocated against it.”

According to a survey conducted in July by the Pew Internet Center, most Americans said they believed that existing laws were inadequate to protect their privacy online, and a clear majority reported making great efforts to mask their identities online. Some of those surveyed said they cleared browsing histories, deleted social media posts or used virtual networks to conceal their Internet Protocol addresses — and a few even said they used encryption tools.
Many states have already responded to those opinions. In the last couple of years, about 10 states have passed laws restricting employers from demanding access to their employees’ social media accounts.
California set the stage on digital privacy 10 years ago with a law that required organizations, whether public or private, to inform consumers if their personal data had been breached or stolen. Several states followed, and today, nearly every state has a data breach notification law.

The Kinzua Dam

As long as the moon shall rise as long as the rivers flow As long as the sun will shine as long as the grass shall grow The Senecas are an Indian tribe of the Iroquios nation Down on the … Continue reading

As long as the moon shall rise as long as the rivers flow
As long as the sun will shine as long as the grass shall grow
The Senecas are an Indian tribe of the Iroquios nation
Down on the New York Pennsylvania Line you’ll find their reservation
After the US revolution cornplanter was a chief
He told the tribe these men they could trust that was his true belief
He went down to Independence Hall and there was a treaty signed
That promised peace with the USA and Indian rights combined
George Washington gave his signature the Government gave its hand
They said that now and forever more that this was Indian land
As long as the moon shall rise…
On the Seneca reservation there is much sadness now
Washington’s treaty has been broken and there is no hope no how
Across the Allegheny River they’re throwing up a dam
It will flood the Indian country a proud day for Uncle Sam
It has broke the ancient treaty with a politician’s grin
It will drown the Indians graveyards cornplanter can you swim
The earth is mother to the the Senecas they’re trampling sacred ground
Change the mint green earth to black mud flats as honor hobbles down
As long as the moon shall rise…
The Iroquios Indians used to rule from Canada way south
But no one fears the Indians now and smiles the liar’s mouth
The Senecas hired an expert to figure another site
But the great good army engineers said that he had no right
Although he showed them another plan and showed them another way
They laughed in his face and said no deal Kinuza dam is here to stay
Congress turned the Indians down brushed off the Indians plea
So the Senecas have renamed the dam they call it Lake Perfidy
As long as the moon shall rise…
Washington Adams and Kennedy now hear their pledges ring
The treaties are safe we’ll keep our word but what is that gurgling
It’s the back water from Perfidy Lake it’s rising all the time
Over the homes and over the fields and over the promises fine
No boats will sail on Lake Perfidy in winter it will fill
In summer it will be a swamp and all the fish will kill
But the Government of the USA has corrected George’s vow
The father of our country must be wrong what’s an Indian anyhow
As long as the moon shall rise (look up) as long as the rivers flow (are you thirsty)
As long as the sun will shine (my brother are you warm) as long as the grass shall grow


Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian is a concept album and twentieth album released by country singer Johnny Cash in 1964 on Columbia Records. It is one of several Americana records by Cash; as its title implies, the tracks on the album focus exclusively on the history of and problems facing Native Americans in the United States. Cash had been convinced that his ancestry included members of the Cherokee tribe, and this partly served as inspiration for recording Bitter Tears, but later on as he began researching his ancestry, he actually had no Cherokee ancestry, but Scottish, English, and Scots-Irish ancestry. Throughout the album, Cash concentrates on the harsh and unfair treatment of the indigenous peoples of North America.

The songs were written in part by Cash himself and in part by Peter La Farge, with the final track credited to Cash and Johnny Horton. The first song, “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow”, concerns the loss of Seneca nation land in Pennsylvania due to the construction of the Kinzua Dam in the early 1960s. Cash rerecorded it decades later and released it on Unearthed with the lyrics altered to describe his relationship with and devotion to June Carter Cash; the track itself was a duet with the latter. The one single from Bitter Tears that was released was “The Ballad of Ira Hayes“, which reached No. 3 on the Country charts; the song tells the story of Ira Hayes, a young Marine of Pima descent who participated in the flag raising on Iwo Jima and became an instant celebrity, only to die drunk and in poverty on the Gila River Reservation where he was born.

The Kinzua Dam, in the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County, Pennsylvania, is one of the largest dams in the United States east of the Mississippi River.

The dam is located 6 miles (10 km) east of Warren, Pennsylvania, along Route 59, within the 500,000-acre (200,000 ha) Allegheny National Forest. A boat marina and beach are located within the dam boundaries. In addition to providing flood control and power generation, the dam created Pennsylvania’s deepest lake, the Allegheny Reservoir, also known as Kinzua Lake.

Authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938, actual construction on the dam was begun by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1960 and completed in 1965. The main purpose of the dam is flood control on the Allegheny River. Kinzua controls drainage on a watershed of 2,180 square miles (5,650 km2), an area twice the size of the state of Rhode Island. Side benefits derived from the dam include drought control, hydroelectric power production, and recreation.

Construction of the dam legally condemned 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) of the Allegheny Reservation granted in the Treaty of Canandaigua (signed by President Washington),[6] forcing relocation of 600 Seneca. In 1961, citing the immediate need for flood control, President John F. Kennedy denied a request by the Seneca to halt construction.[7] The Seneca lost a 1964 appeal over the relocation of a four-lane highway through the remaining portion of the reservation.[8]

A Pennsylvania land grant to the Seneca leader Cornplanter was also condemned. His descendants had already moved to Salamanca, New York, near the northern shore of the Allegheny Reservoir.[9]

In 1964, the American country singer Johnny Cash recorded the song “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow” (composed by the Native American folk singer Peter La Farge) about the Senecas’ plight; the Seneca nation’s owned-and-operated radio station, WGWE, plays the song at least once a week in remembrance, as does WPIG, the local country music station. The folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie also mentions the Kinzua Dam in her songs “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” (recorded in 1964) and “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying” (recorded in 1966).


An unusually early and vigorous flu season

An unusually early and vigorous flu season is drawing attention to a cause that has scored victories but also hit roadblocks in recent years: mandatory paid sick leave for the 40 percent of American private-sector workers — more than 40 million people — who don’t have it.

Supporters and opponents are particularly watching New York City, where lawmakers are weighing a sick leave proposal amid a competitive mayoral race.

Jan. 20 11:08 AM EST


An unusually early and vigorous flu season is drawing attention to a cause that has scored victories but also hit roadblocks in recent years: mandatory paid sick leave for the 40 percent of American private-sector workers — more than 40 million people — who don't have it.

Supporters and opponents are particularly watching New York City, where lawmakers are weighing a sick leave proposal amid a competitive mayoral race.

We are the 99 per cent

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation used counterterrorism agents to investigate the Occupy Wall Street movement, including its communications and planning, according to newly disclosed agency records.

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The F.B.I. records show that as early as September 2011, an agent from a counterterrorism task force in New York notified officials of two landmarks in Lower Manhattan — Federal Hall and the Museum of American Finance — “that their building was identified as a point of interest for the Occupy Wall Street.”
That was around the time that Occupy Wall Street activists set up a camp in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, spawning a protest movement across the United States that focused the nation’s attention on issues of income inequality.
In the following months, F.B.I. personnel around the country were routinely involved in exchanging information about the movement with businesses, local law-enforcement agencies and universities.
An October 2011 memo from the bureau’s Jacksonville, Fla., field office was titled Domain Program Management Domestic Terrorist.
The memo said agents discussed “past and upcoming meetings” of the movement, and its spread. It said agents should contact Occupy Wall Street activists to ascertain whether people who attended their events had “violent tendencies.”
The memo said that because of high rates of unemployment, “the movement was spreading throughout Florida and there were several Facebook pages dedicated to specific chapters based on geographical areas.”
The F.B.I. was concerned that the movement would provide “an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction.”
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the F.B.I. has come under criticism for deploying counterterrorism agents to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on organizations active in environmental, animal-cruelty and poverty issues.
The disclosure of the F.B.I. records comes a little more than a year after the police ousted protesters from Zuccotti Park in November 2011. Law-enforcement agencies undertook similar actions around the country against Occupy Wall Street groups.
Occupy Wall Street has lost much of its visibility since then, but questions remain about how local and federal law-enforcement officials monitored and treated the protesters.
The records were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a civil-rights organization in Washington, through a Freedom of Information request to the F.B.I. Many parts of the documents were redacted by the bureau.
The records provide one of the first glimpses into how deeply involved federal law-enforcement authorities were in monitoring the activities of the movement, which is sometimes described in extreme terms.
For example, according to a memo written by the F.B.I.’s New York field office in August 2011, bureau personnel met with officials from the New York Stock Exchange to discuss “the planned Anarchist protest titled ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ scheduled for September 17, 2011.”
“The protest appears on Anarchist Web sites and social network pages on the Internet,” the memo said.
It added: “Numerous incidents have occurred in the past which show attempts by Anarchist groups to disrupt, influence, and or shut down normal business operations of financial districts.”
A spokesman for the F.B.I. in Washington cautioned against “drawing conclusions from redacted” documents.
“The F.B.I. recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to engage in constitutionally protected activity,” said the spokesman, Paul Bresson. “While the F.B.I. is obligated to thoroughly investigate any serious allegations involving threats of violence, we do not open investigations based solely on First Amendment activity. In fact, the Department of Justice and the F.B.I.’s own internal guidelines on domestic operations strictly forbid that.”
But Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said the documents demonstrated that the F.B.I. had acted improperly by gathering information on Americans involved in lawful activities.
“The collection of information on people’s free-speech actions is being entered into unregulated databases, a vast storehouse of information widely disseminated to a range of law-enforcement and, apparently, private entities,” she said. “This is precisely the threat — people do not know when or how it may be used and in what manner.”
The records show little evidence that the members of the movement planned to commit violence. But they do describe a discussion on the Internet “regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement about when it is okay to shoot a police officer” and a law-enforcement meeting held in Des Moines because “there may potentially be an attempt to stop the Iowa Caucuses by people involved in Occupy Iowa.”
There are no references within the documents to agency personnel covertly infiltrating Occupy branches.
The documents indicate, however, that the F.B.I. obtained information from police departments and other law-enforcement agencies that appear to have been gathered by someone observing the protesters as they planned activities.
The documents do not detail recent activities by the F.B.I. involving Occupy Wall Street.
But one activist, Billy Livsey, 48, said two F.B.I. agents visited him in Brooklyn over the summer to question him about planned protests at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and about plans to celebrate the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in September.
The agents, Mr. Livsey said, told him they knew he was among a group of people involved in the Occupy Wall Street “direct action” group that distributed information about the movement’s activities.
He said he felt unnerved by the visit.
“It was surprising and troubling to me,” Mr. Livsey said.


Occupy Wall Street activists returned to Zuccotti Park on Thursday to protest trespassing charges against activists who were arrested at New York’s Trinity Church on December 17. The protesters had scaled a fence onto church-owned property after Trinity refused to give them sanctuary following their eviction from Zuccotti at the time. Thursday’s rally was held as part of a campaign to pressure Trinity to drop cooperation with prosecutors ahead of the protesters’ trial next week. A group of New York pastors led a prayer vigil in support.

Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt: «I must take issue with Trinity Church today. I must take issue with their desire to prosecute people for acting in a way that churches and houses of worship [have] acted for centuries. I must take issue with those people, for whatever reason, who have decided that prosecution of free speech and prosecution in the service of human life and human flourishing is a good idea.»

Also speaking at the event on Thursday was the priest, poet and activist, Father Daniel Berrigan.

Father Daniel Berrigan: «Real estate is real when it is in service to the common good. And when people are being served by the real estate, it becomes real once more. We are witnessing, in the case of Trinity, the unreality of real estate out of all control, which is to say, the real estate is growing unreal by playing God, by the way in which it’s trying to be in charge — and failing utterly. One way of putting our project today is to say, we are here to restore the reality to real estate.»


The Occupation of Wall Street, which has successfully and peacefully resisted an eviction attempt by New York police by sheer weight of numbers, has inspired similar occupations across the United States and across the world.

A demonstration which began with a handful of protesters getting pepper-sprayed on the pavements of Manhattan’s financial district has mushroomed into a national phenomenon, with labour unions rushing to offer solidarity and high-profile supporters lending advice and assistance.

After a year of police violence and savage crackdowns on protest across Europe, the injection of energy from across the Atlantic is more than welcome.

There are good reasons to be watching what’s happening in Lower Manhattan right now. The idea of Wall Street as the heart of a global financial system whose collapse threatens the future of human civilisation is as important as the space itself, and while this is no Tahrir Square – the occupiers are hardly storming the skyscrapers above them – the brash symbolism of the protest is hard to ignore.

At the demonstration on London’s Westminster bridge last weekend, I was handed flyers reading «We are the 99 per cent». As Britain gears up for a fresh wave of student demonstrations beginning on November 9, the mantra of the Occupy America movement, somewhere between an cry of rage and a threat, has begun to resonate around the world.

What does it mean?

As a slogan, «We are the 99 per cent» is inclusive to the point of inarticulacy. It is neither a demand nor an ideology, simply a statement of numbers. While intended to set the majority of ordinary citizens against the elite «one per cent» who, it is alleged, own and control most of the world’s wealth, the slogan has been criticised for its formlessness: Does it mean: «We are the 99 per cent, and we’re here to take back the money you stole?» Does it mean: »We are the 99 per cent, and we will be pleased to serve you dinner whilst you confiscate our homes?» Does it simply mean «we are the 99 percent, and we’re screwed?»

It means none of these things: The slogan is a statistic, a simple statement of majority. «We are the 99 per cent,» it says. «Why aren’t we represented?»

At their heart, these protests are about democracy. They are about the crisis of representative democracy taking place across the world, as party politics consistently places the interests of business above the interests of society.

Police in New York have arrested about 70 people, as Occupy Wall Street protesters moved to Times Square.
Forty-five were detained in the square, with another 24 held for alleged trespassing at a branch of Citibank in Washington Square Park.
The protests came on a day of worldwide protests against austerity and what protesters call corporate greed.
At least 70 people were injured after a peaceful rally in the Italian capital Rome descended into street battles.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called the violence a «worrying signal» and said the perpetrators «must be found and punished».
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno blamed the violence on «a few thousand thugs from all over Italy, and possibly from all over Europe, who infiltrated the demonstration».

Series of rallies

Organisers of the New York march from Zannotti Park in Lower Manhattan to Times Square said about 5,000 people took part.
Police arrest woman in Times Square 15 October 2011Polilce made 45 arrests in Times Square alone
Protesters chanted: «We got sold out, banks got bailed out» and «All day, all week, occupy Wall Street.»
There were also protests in a number of other US cities, including 5,000 people who rallied outside City Hall in Los Angeles and 2,000 who marched in Pittsburgh.
The New York protests began on 17 September with a small group of activists and have swelled to include several thousand people at times, from many walks of life.

Festive

The Rome protests began when tens of thousands of people gathered under anti-austerity banners, close to the ruins of the Colosseum.
However militants dressed in black, some of them wearing balaclavas and crash helmets, soon appeared in the crowd and began attacking property.
Cars were burnt, and cash dispensers, banks and shops were attacked, with windows smashed.
A huge rally in Madrid had a more festive atmosphere.
Tens of thousands of people filled the Puerta del Sol Square on Saturday evening, the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford reports from the Spanish capital.
Rally in Madrid's Puerta del Sol 15 October 2011Madrid was one of several European cities to see large-scale protests on Saturday
People of all ages, from pensioners to children, and many of the young unemployed, filled the square, where the «Indignant» movement was launched in May.
In Portugal, 20,000 marched in Lisbon and a similar number in Oporto.
In Greece, about 2,000 people rallied outside parliament in Athens and a similar number reportedly turned out in the second city, Thessaloniki.
At least 1,000 people demonstrated in London’s financial district but were prevented by police from reaching the Stock Exchange, and five arrests were made.
About 500 protesters spent the night camped outside St Paul’s cathedral
Protests were also held in a number of cities across Asia.

This morning may turn out to be the «Millbank moment» for the «Occupy America» movement. When union activists arrived to swell the numbers defending Liberty Plaza, prompting the city authorities to back down from their planned eviction, reports from the occupation were wild with triumphant energy, and the chanting of: «All day, all week, occupy Wall Street!» is probably still going on right now. What I saw and heard in Liberty Plaza when I visited was the same shocked excitement I saw in London almost a year ago, when student demonstrators smashed into the headquarters of the party in government at Millbank: It was young people who have spent their entire lives feeling powerless and alienated suddenly realising that, with enough numbers and enough courage, they can be unstoppable, that they can take on the edifices of power and win, at least for a little while. The difference is that New Yorkers have achieved this without breaking a single window. The scrupulous non-violence of the Occupy America movement leaves the right-wing press unable to tell a simple story about «feral kids kicking off against the cops»: Instead, the images that have been broadcast around the world are of New York police pepper-spraying young women in the face and peaceful protesters being beaten away from Wall Street while chanting the First Amendment in chorus. On the morning of Friday, October 14, hundreds of thousands watched online as the authorities failed to remove the ordinary, indignant people of the United States from Liberty Plaza. When Americans do symbolic protest, they do it utterly without irony. In one way or another, we are all standing in the shadow of Wall Street. The dignified defiance of the New York occupation has inspired the world, and may yet provide some relief for the weary fighters on the European front of what looks set to be a long and punishing fight against austerity and state repression. The question now, for the occupiers and for everyone else is: What will the 99 per cent do next?

http://www.secaucusnewjersey.org/protesters-marched-to-0ccupy-wall-street-10453.html

Protesters Marched To Wall Street

Protesters of about hundreds of people marched to Wall Street in New York on Saturday to protest greed, corruption and budget cuts. The protesters despite negotiations would still descend to the heart of the global finance to air its grievances. Protesters had planned to stake out Wall Street until their anger over a financial system they say favors the rich and powerful was heard.

Police Blocked Streets But Protesters Went Through

The police blocked all the streets near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall in LowerManhattan long before the protesters arrived. But the planned protest of Wall Street today was partially thwarted by a police shutdown of nearby streets in New York City. As it turned out, the demonstrators found much of their target off limits on Saturday as the city shut down sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall well before their arrival.

The Aim Of The Protest

According to Bloomberg News, about 1,000 protesters were on site at the start of the protest and a lot more joined in. By noon, many protesters were carrying backpacks and sleeping bags, had gathered near Wall Street to search for a place to camp amid a heavy police presence. The aim of the protest was to get President Obama to establish a commission to end “the influence money has over our represenatives in Washington,” according to the website of Adbusters, a group promoting the event. The protest came as the United States struggles to overcome an economic crisis marked by a huge budget deficit that has triggered cuts in the public service sector while unemployment hovers stubbornly above nine percent.

Protest Was Organized Online & On Twitter

The Next Great Generation blog said the “Occupy Wall Street” protest was “organized online and on Twitter.” “People have a right to protest, and if they want to protest, we’ll be happy to make sure they have locations to do it,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sept. 15 at a press conference. “As long as they do it where other people’s rights are respected, this is the place where people can speak their minds, and that’s what makes New York, New York.”

In this article you learned that protesters of about hundreds of people marched to Wall Street in New York on Saturday to protest greed, corruption and budget cuts. The protest came as the United States struggles to overcome an economic crisis marked by a huge budget deficit that has triggered cuts in the public service sector while unemployment hovers stubbornly above nine percent.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation used counterterrorism agents to investigate the Occupy Wall Street movement, including its communications and planning, according to newly disclosed agency records.

Connect with NYTMetro

Metro Twitter Logo.
Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for news and conversation.
 
The F.B.I. records show that as early as September 2011, an agent from a counterterrorism task force in New York notified officials of two landmarks in Lower Manhattan — Federal Hall and the Museum of American Finance — “that their building was identified as a point of interest for the Occupy Wall Street.”
That was around the time that Occupy Wall Street activists set up a camp in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, spawning a protest movement across the United States that focused the nation’s attention on issues of income inequality.
In the following months, F.B.I. personnel around the country were routinely involved in exchanging information about the movement with businesses, local law-enforcement agencies and universities.
An October 2011 memo from the bureau’s Jacksonville, Fla., field office was titled Domain Program Management Domestic Terrorist.
The memo said agents discussed “past and upcoming meetings” of the movement, and its spread. It said agents should contact Occupy Wall Street activists to ascertain whether people who attended their events had “violent tendencies.”
The memo said that because of high rates of unemployment, “the movement was spreading throughout Florida and there were several Facebook pages dedicated to specific chapters based on geographical areas.”
The F.B.I. was concerned that the movement would provide “an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction.”
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the F.B.I. has come under criticism for deploying counterterrorism agents to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on organizations active in environmental, animal-cruelty and poverty issues.
The disclosure of the F.B.I. records comes a little more than a year after the police ousted protesters from Zuccotti Park in November 2011. Law-enforcement agencies undertook similar actions around the country against Occupy Wall Street groups.
Occupy Wall Street has lost much of its visibility since then, but questions remain about how local and federal law-enforcement officials monitored and treated the protesters.
The records were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a civil-rights organization in Washington, through a Freedom of Information request to the F.B.I. Many parts of the documents were redacted by the bureau.
The records provide one of the first glimpses into how deeply involved federal law-enforcement authorities were in monitoring the activities of the movement, which is sometimes described in extreme terms.
For example, according to a memo written by the F.B.I.’s New York field office in August 2011, bureau personnel met with officials from the New York Stock Exchange to discuss “the planned Anarchist protest titled ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ scheduled for September 17, 2011.”
“The protest appears on Anarchist Web sites and social network pages on the Internet,” the memo said.
It added: “Numerous incidents have occurred in the past which show attempts by Anarchist groups to disrupt, influence, and or shut down normal business operations of financial districts.”
A spokesman for the F.B.I. in Washington cautioned against “drawing conclusions from redacted” documents.
“The F.B.I. recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to engage in constitutionally protected activity,” said the spokesman, Paul Bresson. “While the F.B.I. is obligated to thoroughly investigate any serious allegations involving threats of violence, we do not open investigations based solely on First Amendment activity. In fact, the Department of Justice and the F.B.I.’s own internal guidelines on domestic operations strictly forbid that.”
But Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said the documents demonstrated that the F.B.I. had acted improperly by gathering information on Americans involved in lawful activities.
“The collection of information on people’s free-speech actions is being entered into unregulated databases, a vast storehouse of information widely disseminated to a range of law-enforcement and, apparently, private entities,” she said. “This is precisely the threat — people do not know when or how it may be used and in what manner.”
The records show little evidence that the members of the movement planned to commit violence. But they do describe a discussion on the Internet “regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement about when it is okay to shoot a police officer” and a law-enforcement meeting held in Des Moines because “there may potentially be an attempt to stop the Iowa Caucuses by people involved in Occupy Iowa.”
There are no references within the documents to agency personnel covertly infiltrating Occupy branches.
The documents indicate, however, that the F.B.I. obtained information from police departments and other law-enforcement agencies that appear to have been gathered by someone observing the protesters as they planned activities.
The documents do not detail recent activities by the F.B.I. involving Occupy Wall Street.
But one activist, Billy Livsey, 48, said two F.B.I. agents visited him in Brooklyn over the summer to question him about planned protests at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and about plans to celebrate the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in September.
The agents, Mr. Livsey said, told him they knew he was among a group of people involved in the Occupy Wall Street “direct action” group that distributed information about the movement’s activities.
He said he felt unnerved by the visit.
“It was surprising and troubling to me,” Mr. Livsey said.



Occupy Wall Street activists returned to Zuccotti Park on Thursday to protest trespassing charges against activists who were arrested at New York’s Trinity Church on December 17. The protesters had scaled a fence onto church-owned property after Trinity refused to give them sanctuary following their eviction from Zuccotti at the time. Thursday’s rally was held as part of a campaign to pressure Trinity to drop cooperation with prosecutors ahead of the protesters’ trial next week. A group of New York pastors led a prayer vigil in support.

Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt: "I must take issue with Trinity Church today. I must take issue with their desire to prosecute people for acting in a way that churches and houses of worship [have] acted for centuries. I must take issue with those people, for whatever reason, who have decided that prosecution of free speech and prosecution in the service of human life and human flourishing is a good idea."

Also speaking at the event on Thursday was the priest, poet and activist, Father Daniel Berrigan.

Father Daniel Berrigan: "Real estate is real when it is in service to the common good. And when people are being served by the real estate, it becomes real once more. We are witnessing, in the case of Trinity, the unreality of real estate out of all control, which is to say, the real estate is growing unreal by playing God, by the way in which it’s trying to be in charge — and failing utterly. One way of putting our project today is to say, we are here to restore the reality to real estate."







The Occupation of Wall Street, which has successfully and peacefully resisted an eviction attempt by New York police by sheer weight of numbers, has inspired similar occupations across the United States and across the world.

A demonstration which began with a handful of protesters getting pepper-sprayed on the pavements of Manhattan's financial district has mushroomed into a national phenomenon, with labour unions rushing to offer solidarity and high-profile supporters lending advice and assistance.




After a year of police violence and savage crackdowns on protest across Europe, the injection of energy from across the Atlantic is more than welcome.

There are good reasons to be watching what's happening in Lower Manhattan right now. The idea of Wall Street as the heart of a global financial system whose collapse threatens the future of human civilisation is as important as the space itself, and while this is no Tahrir Square - the occupiers are hardly storming the skyscrapers above them - the brash symbolism of the protest is hard to ignore.

At the demonstration on London's Westminster bridge last weekend, I was handed flyers reading "We are the 99 per cent". As Britain gears up for a fresh wave of student demonstrations beginning on November 9, the mantra of the Occupy America movement, somewhere between an cry of rage and a threat, has begun to resonate around the world.

What does it mean?

As a slogan, "We are the 99 per cent" is inclusive to the point of inarticulacy. It is neither a demand nor an ideology, simply a statement of numbers. While intended to set the majority of ordinary citizens against the elite "one per cent" who, it is alleged, own and control most of the world's wealth, the slogan has been criticised for its formlessness: Does it mean: "We are the 99 per cent, and we're here to take back the money you stole?" Does it mean: ''We are the 99 per cent, and we will be pleased to serve you dinner whilst you confiscate our homes?" Does it simply mean "we are the 99 percent, and we're screwed?"

It means none of these things: The slogan is a statistic, a simple statement of majority. "We are the 99 per cent," it says. "Why aren't we represented?"

At their heart, these protests are about democracy. They are about the crisis of representative democracy taking place across the world, as party politics consistently places the interests of business above the interests of society.



Police in New York have arrested about 70 people, as Occupy Wall Street protesters moved to Times Square.
Forty-five were detained in the square, with another 24 held for alleged trespassing at a branch of Citibank in Washington Square Park.
The protests came on a day of worldwide protests against austerity and what protesters call corporate greed.
At least 70 people were injured after a peaceful rally in the Italian capital Rome descended into street battles.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called the violence a "worrying signal" and said the perpetrators "must be found and punished".
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno blamed the violence on "a few thousand thugs from all over Italy, and possibly from all over Europe, who infiltrated the demonstration".
Series of rallies
Organisers of the New York march from Zannotti Park in Lower Manhattan to Times Square said about 5,000 people took part.
Police arrest woman in Times Square 15 October 2011Polilce made 45 arrests in Times Square alone
Protesters chanted: "We got sold out, banks got bailed out" and "All day, all week, occupy Wall Street."
There were also protests in a number of other US cities, including 5,000 people who rallied outside City Hall in Los Angeles and 2,000 who marched in Pittsburgh.
The New York protests began on 17 September with a small group of activists and have swelled to include several thousand people at times, from many walks of life.
Festive
The Rome protests began when tens of thousands of people gathered under anti-austerity banners, close to the ruins of the Colosseum.
However militants dressed in black, some of them wearing balaclavas and crash helmets, soon appeared in the crowd and began attacking property.
Cars were burnt, and cash dispensers, banks and shops were attacked, with windows smashed.
A huge rally in Madrid had a more festive atmosphere.
Tens of thousands of people filled the Puerta del Sol Square on Saturday evening, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford reports from the Spanish capital.
Rally in Madrid's Puerta del Sol 15 October 2011Madrid was one of several European cities to see large-scale protests on Saturday
People of all ages, from pensioners to children, and many of the young unemployed, filled the square, where the "Indignant" movement was launched in May.
In Portugal, 20,000 marched in Lisbon and a similar number in Oporto.
In Greece, about 2,000 people rallied outside parliament in Athens and a similar number reportedly turned out in the second city, Thessaloniki.
At least 1,000 people demonstrated in London's financial district but were prevented by police from reaching the Stock Exchange, and five arrests were made.
About 500 protesters spent the night camped outside St Paul's cathedral
Protests were also held in a number of cities across Asia.
This morning may turn out to be the "Millbank moment" for the "Occupy America" movement. When union activists arrived to swell the numbers defending Liberty Plaza, prompting the city authorities to back down from their planned eviction, reports from the occupation were wild with triumphant energy, and the chanting of: "All day, all week, occupy Wall Street!" is probably still going on right now. What I saw and heard in Liberty Plaza when I visited was the same shocked excitement I saw in London almost a year ago, when student demonstrators smashed into the headquarters of the party in government at Millbank: It was young people who have spent their entire lives feeling powerless and alienated suddenly realising that, with enough numbers and enough courage, they can be unstoppable, that they can take on the edifices of power and win, at least for a little while. The difference is that New Yorkers have achieved this without breaking a single window. The scrupulous non-violence of the Occupy America movement leaves the right-wing press unable to tell a simple story about "feral kids kicking off against the cops": Instead, the images that have been broadcast around the world are of New York police pepper-spraying young women in the face and peaceful protesters being beaten away from Wall Street while chanting the First Amendment in chorus. On the morning of Friday, October 14, hundreds of thousands watched online as the authorities failed to remove the ordinary, indignant people of the United States from Liberty Plaza. When Americans do symbolic protest, they do it utterly without irony. In one way or another, we are all standing in the shadow of Wall Street. The dignified defiance of the New York occupation has inspired the world, and may yet provide some relief for the weary fighters on the European front of what looks set to be a long and punishing fight against austerity and state repression. The question now, for the occupiers and for everyone else is: What will the 99 per cent do next?

http://www.secaucusnewjersey.org/protesters-marched-to-0ccupy-wall-street-10453.html

Protesters Marched To Wall Street

Protesters of about hundreds of people marched to Wall Street in New York on Saturday to protest greed, corruption and budget cuts. The protesters despite negotiations would still descend to the heart of the global finance to air its grievances. Protesters had planned to stake out Wall Street until their anger over a financial system they say favors the rich and powerful was heard.

Police Blocked Streets But Protesters Went Through

The police blocked all the streets near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall in LowerManhattan long before the protesters arrived. But the planned protest of Wall Street today was partially thwarted by a police shutdown of nearby streets in New York City. As it turned out, the demonstrators found much of their target off limits on Saturday as the city shut down sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall well before their arrival.

The Aim Of The Protest

According to Bloomberg News, about 1,000 protesters were on site at the start of the protest and a lot more joined in. By noon, many protesters were carrying backpacks and sleeping bags, had gathered near Wall Street to search for a place to camp amid a heavy police presence. The aim of the protest was to get President Obama to establish a commission to end “the influence money has over our represenatives in Washington,” according to the website of Adbusters, a group promoting the event. The protest came as the United States struggles to overcome an economic crisis marked by a huge budget deficit that has triggered cuts in the public service sector while unemployment hovers stubbornly above nine percent.

Protest Was Organized Online & On Twitter

The Next Great Generation blog said the “Occupy Wall Street” protest was “organized online and on Twitter.” “People have a right to protest, and if they want to protest, we’ll be happy to make sure they have locations to do it,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sept. 15 at a press conference. “As long as they do it where other people’s rights are respected, this is the place where people can speak their minds, and that’s what makes New York, New York.”

In this article you learned that protesters of about hundreds of people marched to Wall Street in New York on Saturday to protest greed, corruption and budget cuts. The protest came as the United States struggles to overcome an economic crisis marked by a huge budget deficit that has triggered cuts in the public service sector while unemployment hovers stubbornly above nine percent.

concerns of the working and middle classes

This year has witnessed a global wave of social and political turmoil and instability, with masses of people pouring into the real and virtual streets: the Arab Spring; riots in London; Israel’s middle-class protests against high housing prices and an inflationary squeeze on living standards; protesting Chilean students; the destruction in Germany of the expensive cars of “fat cats”; India’s movement against corruption; mounting unhappiness with corruption and inequality in China; and now the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across the United States.

While these protests have no unified theme, they express in different ways the serious concerns of the world’s working and middle classes about their prospects in the face of the growing concentration of power among economic, financial, and political elites. The causes of their concern are clear enough: high unemployment and underemployment in advanced and emerging economies; inadequate skills and education for young people and workers to compete in a globalised world; resentment against corruption, including legalised forms like lobbying; and a sharp rise in income and wealth inequality in advanced and fast-growing emerging-market economies.

Of course, the malaise that so many people feel cannot be reduced to one factor. For example, the rise in inequality has many causes: the addition of 2.3 billion Chinese and Indians to the global labour force, which is reducing the jobs and wages of unskilled blue-collar and off-shorable white-collar workers in advanced economies; skill-biased technological change; winner-take-all effects; early emergence of income and wealth disparities in rapidly growing, previously low-income economies; and less progressive taxation.

The increase in private- and public-sector leverage and the related asset and credit bubbles are partly the result of inequality. Mediocre income growth for everyone but the rich in the last few decades opened a gap between incomes and spending aspirations. In Anglo-Saxon countries, the response was to democratise credit – via financial liberalisation – thereby fuelling a rise in private debt as households borrowed to make up the difference. In Europe, the gap was filled by public services – free education, health care, etc. – that were not fully financed by taxes, fuelling public deficits and debt. In both cases, debt levels eventually became unsustainable.

Firms in advanced economies are now cutting jobs, owing to inadequate final demand, which has led to excess capacity, and to uncertainty about future demand. But cutting jobs weakens final demand further, because it reduces labour income and increases inequality. Because a firm’s labour costs are someone else’s labour income and demand, what is individually rational for one firm is destructive in the aggregate.

The result is that free markets don’t generate enough final demand. In the US, for example, slashing labour costs has sharply reduced the share of labour income in GDP. With credit exhausted, the effects on aggregate demand of decades of redistribution of income and wealth – from labour to capital, from wages to profits, from poor to rich, and from households to corporate firms – have become severe, owing to the lower marginal propensity of firms/capital owners/rich households to spend.

The problem is not new. Karl Marx oversold socialism, but he was right in claiming that globalisation, unfettered financial capitalism, and redistribution of income and wealth from labour to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct. As he argued, unregulated capitalism can lead to regular bouts of over-capacity, under-consumption, and the recurrence of destructive financial crises, fuelled by credit bubbles and asset-price booms and busts.

Even before the Great Depression, Europe’s enlightened “bourgeois” classes recognised that, to avoid revolution, workers’ rights needed to be protected, wage and labour conditions improved, and a welfare state created to redistribute wealth and finance public goods – education, health care, and a social safety net. The push towards a modern welfare state accelerated after the Great Depression, when the state took on the responsibility for macroeconomic stabilisation – a role that required the maintenance of a large middle class by widening the provision of public goods through progressive taxation of incomes and wealth and fostering economic opportunity for all.

Thus, the rise of the social-welfare state was a response (often of market-oriented liberal democracies) to the threat of popular revolutions, socialism, and communism as the frequency and severity of economic and financial crises increased. Three decades of relative social and economic stability then ensued, from the late 1940’s until the mid-1970’s, a period when inequality fell sharply and median incomes grew rapidly.

Some of the lessons about the need for prudential regulation of the financial system were lost in the Reagan-Thatcher era, when the appetite for massive deregulation was created in part by the flaws in Europe’s social-welfare model. Those flaws were reflected in yawning fiscal deficits, regulatory overkill, and a lack of economic dynamism that led to sclerotic growth then and the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis now.

But the laissez-faire Anglo-Saxon model has also now failed miserably. To stabilise market-oriented economies requires a return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of unregulated markets and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Even an alternative “Asian” growth model – if there really is one – has not prevented a rise in inequality in China, India, and elsewhere.

Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy. Unless the relative economic roles of the market and the state are rebalanced, the protests of 2011 will become more severe, with social and political instability eventually harming long-term economic growth and welfare.

Nouriel Roubini is Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and co-author of the book Crisis Economics.

Occupy Wall Street


This year has witnessed a global wave of social and political turmoil and instability, with masses of people pouring into the real and virtual streets: the Arab Spring; riots in London; Israel’s middle-class protests against high housing prices and an inflationary squeeze on living standards; protesting Chilean students; the destruction in Germany of the expensive cars of “fat cats”; India’s movement against corruption; mounting unhappiness with corruption and inequality in China; and now the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across the United States.





While these protests have no unified theme, they express in different ways the serious concerns of the world’s working and middle classes about their prospects in the face of the growing concentration of power among economic, financial, and political elites. The causes of their concern are clear enough: high unemployment and underemployment in advanced and emerging economies; inadequate skills and education for young people and workers to compete in a globalised world; resentment against corruption, including legalised forms like lobbying; and a sharp rise in income and wealth inequality in advanced and fast-growing emerging-market economies.

Of course, the malaise that so many people feel cannot be reduced to one factor. For example, the rise in inequality has many causes: the addition of 2.3 billion Chinese and Indians to the global labour force, which is reducing the jobs and wages of unskilled blue-collar and off-shorable white-collar workers in advanced economies; skill-biased technological change; winner-take-all effects; early emergence of income and wealth disparities in rapidly growing, previously low-income economies; and less progressive taxation.

The increase in private- and public-sector leverage and the related asset and credit bubbles are partly the result of inequality. Mediocre income growth for everyone but the rich in the last few decades opened a gap between incomes and spending aspirations. In Anglo-Saxon countries, the response was to democratise credit – via financial liberalisation – thereby fuelling a rise in private debt as households borrowed to make up the difference. In Europe, the gap was filled by public services – free education, health care, etc. – that were not fully financed by taxes, fuelling public deficits and debt. In both cases, debt levels eventually became unsustainable.

Firms in advanced economies are now cutting jobs, owing to inadequate final demand, which has led to excess capacity, and to uncertainty about future demand. But cutting jobs weakens final demand further, because it reduces labour income and increases inequality. Because a firm’s labour costs are someone else’s labour income and demand, what is individually rational for one firm is destructive in the aggregate.

The result is that free markets don’t generate enough final demand. In the US, for example, slashing labour costs has sharply reduced the share of labour income in GDP. With credit exhausted, the effects on aggregate demand of decades of redistribution of income and wealth - from labour to capital, from wages to profits, from poor to rich, and from households to corporate firms - have become severe, owing to the lower marginal propensity of firms/capital owners/rich households to spend.

The problem is not new. Karl Marx oversold socialism, but he was right in claiming that globalisation, unfettered financial capitalism, and redistribution of income and wealth from labour to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct. As he argued, unregulated capitalism can lead to regular bouts of over-capacity, under-consumption, and the recurrence of destructive financial crises, fuelled by credit bubbles and asset-price booms and busts.

Even before the Great Depression, Europe’s enlightened “bourgeois” classes recognised that, to avoid revolution, workers’ rights needed to be protected, wage and labour conditions improved, and a welfare state created to redistribute wealth and finance public goods - education, health care, and a social safety net. The push towards a modern welfare state accelerated after the Great Depression, when the state took on the responsibility for macroeconomic stabilisation - a role that required the maintenance of a large middle class by widening the provision of public goods through progressive taxation of incomes and wealth and fostering economic opportunity for all.

Thus, the rise of the social-welfare state was a response (often of market-oriented liberal democracies) to the threat of popular revolutions, socialism, and communism as the frequency and severity of economic and financial crises increased. Three decades of relative social and economic stability then ensued, from the late 1940’s until the mid-1970’s, a period when inequality fell sharply and median incomes grew rapidly.

Some of the lessons about the need for prudential regulation of the financial system were lost in the Reagan-Thatcher era, when the appetite for massive deregulation was created in part by the flaws in Europe’s social-welfare model. Those flaws were reflected in yawning fiscal deficits, regulatory overkill, and a lack of economic dynamism that led to sclerotic growth then and the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis now.

But the laissez-faire Anglo-Saxon model has also now failed miserably. To stabilise market-oriented economies requires a return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of unregulated markets and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Even an alternative “Asian” growth model - if there really is one - has not prevented a rise in inequality in China, India, and elsewhere.

Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy. Unless the relative economic roles of the market and the state are rebalanced, the protests of 2011 will become more severe, with social and political instability eventually harming long-term economic growth and welfare.

Nouriel Roubini is Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and co-author of the book Crisis Economics.



Occupy Wall Street