Friday, February 21, 2020

Will Big Tech SuperHeroes Save U.S. from Drowning in B.S.?

Each day we are subjected to a massive onslaught of misinformation, propaganda and outright lies originating from our two political parties, mainstream media, predatory capitalist corporations and a slew of other sources.

This is nothing new. Historically, the tools of disinformation, propaganda, "alternative facts", lies, misdirection, etc. have been in use since forever. All centers of power, religious, social, government, including the U.S. government, have used them when it suited their purposes.

The difference we face today is simply the medium or tools used to deliver the falsehoods and misdirection, i.e. social media, as well as the overwhelming volume or immenseness of the onslaught.

Fortunately, our world has not yet totally succumbed to this "Alternative Facts Cesspool" downpour.

With the help of the social media*giants, Google, Facebook, Twitter, we may still have time to turn the social media disinformation tools against the alternative facts / misdirection propagators

If, that is, they will turn on their awesome tech power brains and create a “tech” solution to do the “big lies” data sorting and lay bare those unadulterated truths we are all seeking.

If “they” will deal with the problem that their very existence has helped create, then hopefully, despite all the B.S. flying about, we will eventually find the nuggets of truth buried deep underneath.

As I see it, the big tech guys are all making big bucks. Now, they gotta help solve the big problem. So, Google, Facebook and Twitter – be the SuperHeroes we hoped you’d be! Save U.S. from drowning in B.S.

Here’s the story…

The Complicated Truth of Countering Disinformation, Christina Nemr and Will Gangware, warontherocks.com, 20 Sept 2019.**

A few mind boggling quotes from the article:

"...social media’s unprecedented ability to spread disinformation succeeds in part because of vulnerabilities in the way people process and evaluate information. In an information environment characterized by an oversaturation of content and algorithms designed to increase views and shares, narratives (true or not) can quickly go viral by appealing to our biases. This new, decentralized world of content creation and consumption is ripe for exploitation by nefarious actors who seek to spread doubt and untruths."

"To counter modern disinformation, then, we cannot focus solely on social media platforms or current technologies — we should also understand the psychological factors that underpin our identities and perceptions of the truth. Acknowledging the ways in which people are vulnerable to biased narratives is a key part of developing necessary multi-dimensional responses. Armed with this framework, stakeholders can then explore using disinformation tactics for the purpose of elevating credible information, supporting collaborative long-term research on psychological approaches, and creating public-private platforms to share key information across organizations."

"There are two constants in this complex information environment: the use of propaganda and disinformation as tools for influence and obfuscation, and the underlying psychological factors that make humans vulnerable to such narratives. What is subject to change, however, are the technologies by which such content is created and spread."

"Given these factors, it is important not to overstate the impact of technology, but rather to understand and address the interwoven complexities disinformation poses. In the near term, social media platforms are best positioned to lead counter-disinformation efforts, and these efforts should be made as transparent as possible in collaboration with government and other partners. However, all stakeholders should approach it as the multi-dimensional problem that it is, contending honestly with the cognitive limitations of people’s information intake and the ambiguous nature of what constitutes disinformation. Only then will we craft effective policies, regardless of the technologies involved."

Please go here for the whole thing...
The Complicated Truth of Countering Disinformation, Christina Nemr and Will Gangware, warontherocks.com, 20 Sept 2019.

*O.K., I know Google is not considered "social media" like Facebook and Twitter. Still, Google is a major player in all this disinformation mess stuff. So, they are in. Just like all the other "big tech" corps. As I see it, the big tech guys are all making big bucks. Now, they gotta help solve the big problem.

**Christina Nemr is Director of Park Advisors, overseeing counter-disinformation and countering violent extremism programming. She previously worked with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism. Will Gangware consulted for Park Advisors and previously worked with the NYPD Intelligence Bureau. This article contains select excerpts from a larger report on psychological and technological vulnerabilities to disinformation found here, https://www.park-advisors.com/disinforeport. Please go here for the full report:  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5714561a01dbae161fa3cad1/t/5c9cb93724a694b834f23878/1553774904750/PA_WMD_Report_2019.pdf The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not reflect the views of Park Advisors or its clients.

The Greatest American Hero Theme Song - Believe it or Not - Joey Scarbury -1981


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

"A Client No Other Bank Would touch - Donald Trump"

Just in case you don't know, this is what  Real Slime looks like.
Have we finally reached the Trump-Republicans' Slime Limit?

Could the Trump / Russian dirty money / Deutsche Bank connection be too much slime for them to eat?

Please watch this clip from Rachel Maddow's interview of David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book,  Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.




-more here-
Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump, Bob Brigham, rawstory.com, 17 Feb 2020. 



Monday, February 17, 2020

The Gift

Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L.
If there were just one gift that would make your life better... make the lives of all those you love better... what would that be?

In my view, the gift is Dr. Robert Lustig's presentation, given 4 Feb 2020 at the University of Michigan. It's about our Processed Food Disease.

Please watch and share Dr. Lustig's comments. Your life may literally depend upon it.

Corporate Wealth or Public Health? - Robert Lustig - 4 Feb 2020

Friday, February 14, 2020

Where Are Those Swamp Creatures?


For just a moment or two, please join me as we travel way back in time to 29 Nov 2016, when we last visited the Swamp topic: Ah... about Draining That Swamp...

Yes, we were younger back then… but not dumber.

When Mr. Trump crowed about draining the D.C. swamp, most of us knew he was just spewing more B.S. to keep his followers' minds occupied with delusions of: "He's doing things no one else, especially Democrats, would think of doing, getting rid of the nasty people who steal my tax money and give it to the black/brown/illegal alien/do-nothings-on-welfare scum.”

So, what has transpired?

Here’s former Labor Sec. Dr. Robert Reich to bring us up-to-date about that swamp and its creepy occupants, who are now working for Mr. Trump and screwing you over. “You” means 99.9% of the U.S. population - even those who voted for Mr. Trump and still support him to this minute.

5 Ways Trump Has NOT Drained the Swamp with Robert Reich





Thursday, February 13, 2020

Our Alternate Information Ecosystem

Illustration Credit: After Paris - sorting truth from fiction, Toby Manhire & Toby Morris, rnz.co.nz.
I’ve spent most of my life studying, observing and working within the “process of communication, understanding and misunderstanding”. For me that process revolved around helping clients communicate with the mainstream media, employees and customers.

I can honestly say that I never wrote or distributed inaccurate, misleading or false information. I never was asked to do so by my clients and I never thought of doing so on their behalf.

Sadly, I’ve now come to believe that honesty, reliability, integrity and facts have become passé.

While propaganda, distortion and falsification have always been with us, the people who practiced those “techniques”, since WWII and up to 2016, were not respected and to a large extent repudiated.

Things are different today. We live in the era of “alternative facts” and institutional-level deceit.

Outright lying has become the norm. We have descended into an abyss so deep that not even the brightest, laser light of truth cannot penetrate the darkness surrounding us.

We no longer know how to distinguish truthfulness from deceitfulness nor fact from fiction.

And, the saddest part of all is... we all want to hear “our” lies, “our’ fiction.

McKay Coppins’ recent article, The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President, published in The Atlantic, explains how deeply we have fallen into "an alternate information ecosystem" and how the Trump people are using it to their advantage.

Here are a few quotes:

"What I was seeing was a strategy that has been deployed by illiberal* political leaders around the world. Rather than shutting down dissenting voices, these leaders have learned to harness the democratizing power of social media for their own purposes—jamming the signals, sowing confusion. They no longer need to silence the dissident shouting in the streets; they can use a megaphone to drown him out. Scholars have a name for this: censorship through noise."

"After the 2016 election, much was made of the threats posed to American democracy by foreign disinformation. Stories of Russian troll farms and Macedonian fake-news mills loomed in the national imagination. But while these shadowy outside forces preoccupied politicians and journalists, Trump and his domestic allies were beginning to adopt the same tactics of information warfare that have kept the world’s demagogues and strongmen in power."

"Parscale didn’t invent this practice—Barack Obama’s campaign famously used it in 2012, and Clinton’s followed suit. But Trump’s effort in 2016 was unprecedented, in both its scale and its brazenness. In the final days of the 2016 race, for example, Trump’s team tried to suppress turnout among black voters in Florida by slipping ads into their News Feeds that read, “Hillary Thinks African-Americans Are Super Predators.” An unnamed campaign official boasted to Bloomberg Businessweek that it was one of “three major voter suppression operations underway.” (The other two targeted young women and white liberals.)"

"After the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook was excoriated for its mishandling of user data and complicity in the viral spread of fake news. Mark Zuckerberg promised to do better, and rolled out a flurry of reforms. But then, last fall, he handed a major victory to lying politicians: Candidates, he said, would be allowed to continue running false ads on Facebook. (Commercial advertisers, by contrast, are subject to fact-checking.) In a speech at Georgetown University, the CEO argued that his company shouldn’t be responsible for arbitrating political speech, and that because political ads already receive so much scrutiny, candidates who choose to lie will be held accountable by journalists and watchdogs."

"Both parties will rely on micro-targeted ads this year, but the president is likely to have a distinct advantage. The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have reportedly compiled an average of 3,000 data points on every voter in America. They have spent years experimenting with ways to tweak their messages based not just on gender and geography, but on whether the recipient owns a gun or watches the Golf Channel."

"While these ads can be used to try to win over undecided voters, they’re most often deployed for fundraising and for firing up the faithful—and Trump’s advisers believe this election will be decided by mobilization, not persuasion. To turn out the base, the campaign has signaled that it will return to familiar themes: the threat of “illegal aliens”—a term Parscale has reportedly encouraged Trump to use—and the corruption of the “swamp.”

"Beyond Facebook, the campaign is also investing in a texting platform that could allow it to send anonymous messages directly to millions of voters’ phones without their permission. Until recently, people had to opt in before a campaign could include them in a mass text. But with new “peer to peer” texting apps—including one developed by Gary Coby, a senior Trump adviser—a single volunteer can send hundreds of messages an hour, skirting federal regulations by clicking “Send” one message at a time. Notably, these messages aren’t required to disclose who’s behind them, thanks to a 2002 ruling by the Federal Election Commission that cited the limited number of characters available in a text."

Please go here for the whole story:

The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President, McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, 10 Feb 2020.

*An illiberal democracy, also called a partial democracy, low intensity democracy, empty democracy, hybrid regime or guided democracy, is a governing system in which although elections take place, citizens are cut off from knowledge about the activities of those who exercise real power because of the lack of civil  liberties; thus it is not an "open society". There are many countries "that are categorized as neither 'free' nor 'not free', but as 'probably free', falling somewhere between democratic and nondemocratic regimes".[2] This may be because a constitution limiting government powers exists, but those in power ignore its liberties, or because an adequate legal constitutional framework of liberties does not exist.[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illiberal_democracy

Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies - 1987

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wolf Rebranded Sheep?


Will the real Michael Bloomberg please stand up?

A "former" Republican now running as a Democrat, Mr. Bloomberg is clearly a billionaire enigma, clothed as the potential "Democrat" savior and Trump alternative.

What would he do if he became president?

Would he resurrect the George W. Bush administration? (That might include the infamous neoliberals who gave us our current Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan debacle as well as the extensive "American Empire" we now are policing around the world. And, even worse, brought us to the "alternative facts" Trump era.

Scary, isn't it?

Some light on this subject comes from a recent Democracy Now interview:

"NORMAN SOLOMON: Well, Bloomberg is really, I think, a subtext. He is the oligarch-in-waiting to try to grab control of the White House. And a lot of facts just aren’t getting out there. I mean, it is just a classic of, and it is a dystopian classic of, “Can the White House be bought?” Just the onslaught of advertising, particularly on TV around the country, and he’s rising in the polls. Has he hit the ceiling? We don’t know."

"One of the bits of video that I think must be circulated to millions is on YouTube. And that is with Michael Bloomberg speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention, vehemently expressing his support and endorsement for the re-election of George W. Bush. So, how do you go from 2004 with that kind of speech to saying in 2020 you want to be the Democratic presidential nominee? Well, that would require tremendous amnesia among people who vote in Democratic primaries. It would require forgetting about or discounting the human lives that George W. Bush destroyed and that Bloomberg helped him destroy in Iraq and, for that matter, the war at home, the class war, the racism that George W. Bush embodied through his policies. So, it comes down to: Are we going to live in this fantasy world driven by a $55 billion man, or are we going to get real about humanity and what is at stake?"

Here's the rest of the story:

Bloomberg is a billionaire Republican who terrorized black and brown youth: Sanders’ supporters


Please go here for the interview script.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Channeling Great Spirits

Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg
While I admire Mr. Bloomberg for what I believe he seems to advocate and his campaign against Mr. Trump, I find it hard to support “just another” billionaire mainly because he can buy his media coverage and he appears to be the mainstream media’s acceptable choice.

That reason alone makes me suspicious that he will inspire and bring into fruition the clear changes we must make to American Predatory Capitalism and steer us away from the neoliberal “American Exceptionalism” / U.S. world domination bullshit that our political people appear to mouth as their everyday mantra.

Further, Bloomberg appears to be an “acceptable centrist Democrat” with mega bucks. So, the Wall Street people find him “one of them” and therefore O.K. to be president. I am reluctant to vote for another Wall Street person to be “THE CEO” of the USA. Just another person who will likely keep the nation on the same path we have followed since Truman left office and we were on before FDR. Clearly, that was and is the road to disaster.

If we are to survive as a Democratic Republic, then we must make radical change happen… away from American Predatory Capitalism and toward Democratic Socialism. We must move toward a government that serves the best interests of all 99.9% of the people, not just the .001%.

Additionally, we must find employment opportunities for people outside of the “American empire” war industry. As I see it, we have plenty of opportunity to do so through a real peace/green economy and restoration/revolutionary improvement of the U.S. infrastructure.

If Bloomberg worked in that direction, I might vote for him – assuming the Democrat’s Wall Street-dependent leadership will never allow Bernie to become their candidate.

Second Thoughts About Bloomberg

For me to dismiss him as a potentially good president is a mistake.

After all, FDR was a member of the .01% of his time and became one of the best advocates for common people as ever occupied the White House. He was labeled a traitor by the “old monied class”, the Wall Street scumbags, Republicans, et. al. FDR’s progressive legislation and “tax-the-wealthy” programs were also reasons the “Wall Street bankers and industry tycoons” tried to overthrow him.

While FDR did make several human rights mistakes, such as the internment of Japanese Americans and turning away thousands of Jewish refugees during WWII, his progressive accomplishments saved American predatory capitalism from itself and improved the quality of life for millions of Americans... to this day.

I know Bloomberg’s NYC administration, to some extent, supported the infamous the New York PD “stop-question-and-frisk” program and that he recently apologized for his part in it.

Still, I know next to nothing more about him. But I will do more research.

It is possible he could be an FDR in today’s “billionaire's” clothing.

So, our question for the oracles is: Can Mike Bloomberg channel FDR's great, good spirit to help the people of USA, the people of the world, TODAY?

Oh Great Spirit - 2012



Saturday, February 8, 2020

About Life and Death


Turning Republicans out of office in November is about life and death... our life and death. "Our" meaning 99.99% of people throughout the world.

I hate politics. Little to nothing good seems to come of political parties, "debates", pontificating, and the candidate's propaganda mills.

But it was refreshing to see Mr. Moore say a few truthful words following the Democrat's latest "debate".

"I'm talking about the old hacks that run this (Democratic) party... if we let them... if they're going to drive this train, we are going to lose."


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Bernie for Humanity

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren shake hands before the start of the first night of the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan, on July 30, 2019. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Following Mr. Trump's Republican acquittal, we have no alternative but to move forward supporting one of two potential candidates who can defeat him this November.

I choose to support Sen. Bernie Sanders for the reasons he addressed in his recent State of the Union rebuttal speech.

Literally, in Bernie lives our hope for humanity.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Some Other Life Form

Image Source: healthyplace.com
Hypocrisy, especially the brand practiced by the Republican political people, has long been a particularly irritating fact of life. When combined with the self-righteousness certitude and arrogance practiced by the Trump administration, it manifests itself in a clear disdain for all other forms of humans than themselves and the .001%.

This vicious disdain for the infirmed, sick, aged, poor and vulnerable, as well as the rest of 99.9% of Americans, recently came flowing out when Mr. Pence encountered a knowledgeable, human-with-a-soul, Dr. Rob Davidson, a Michigan ER Doc. Take a look at the video clip below.

Of course, Medicaid cuts are but one of a multitude of sociopathic evils the Trump administration has inflected upon average Americans. Here are a few others:

  • Using the presidency for personal economic gain;
  • Committing campaign finance violations by paying hush money to Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels;
  • Obstructing justice in connection with the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller;
  • Abusing the pardon power to reward political allies;
  • Abusing emergency powers to build his border wall;
  • Incarcerating undocumented immigrant children in prison settings;
  • Attempting to strip millions of Americans of health insurance;
  • Promoting tax reform to benefit the super rich;
  • Gutting environmental regulations and pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord;
  • Refusing to enforce the Voting Rights Act and promoting an ideology of white supremacy.

With this everyday, in-our-face display of contempt for others, one can only conclude that Trump Republicans are really not humans. They must be another life form.

Watch ER doctor confront Mike Pence



Tuesday, February 4, 2020

It's Presidential Treason... All Over Again*


It's nearly the end of the day and Iowa Democrats - and the rest of us - still have no idea about their caucus results from Monday.

So, I decided to post one of Thom Hartmann’s most recent, and most enlightening, program segments where he discusses, “When did tyranny begin in America?”.

Importantly, presidential-level treason did not originate with Mr. Trump.

Still, although he didn’t invent tyranny, he will historically rate the “Super Bowl of Scumbags” trophy of all time for U.S. presidents.

When Did Tyranny Begin In America? - Thom Hartmann - 30 Jan 2020




*More from THE New York Yankees' Yogi Berra...

I borrowed the "deja vu" reference from Yogi Berra. Here are some more, including my favorite:

"You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there". 

Top Ten Yogi Sayings from ESPN

10. "It's like deja vu all over again."
9. "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."
8. "The future ain't what it used to be."
7. "We made too many wrong mistakes."
6. "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
5. "You can observe a lot just by watching."
4. "You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."
3. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
2. "Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."
1. "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Monday, February 3, 2020

They are Killing Us

"Environmentalists are concerned that processed brine waste from oil and natural gas drilling could raise levels of radium - a radioactive metallic element found in the brine - in soil and groundwater." PHOTO CREDIT: The Columbus Dispatch.
If someone has a gun to your head or is about to thrust a knife into your gut, you know you will die or be seriously wounded unless you do something proactive – posthaste.

But what if someone is poisoning you through the stuff mixed in the goop, that they pay you to haul away in your tanker truck through multiple towns on the public highways? That’s the same stuff that is covering your clothes and shoes; that you’re tracking into your home, after a day’s work, poising your family, too. And, some of it is ending up on your roads, in the deicer during cold months, then blown around in the dust for you to breathe during the rest of the year.

You’d stop, wouldn’t you? I mean stop letting them kill you and your loved ones, even though your livelihood depends upon it.

These people are paying you meager wages to haul the poison that is as sure as sunset tonight going to eventually kill you and everyone you love just to make them rich (er) men and pay you a few bucks.

What if you realize you’re only one of thousands a guys tying to make a buck as truck drivers, hauling injection well “brine” from the fracking wells throughout the U.S. and Canada that it’s laced with radioactive poison?

Are going to believe their lying, gaslighting B.S. that there’s no more radiation in the brine they ship through your town than in a banana you eat?

I don't. Why? Because it just another outright lie. From the recent RollingStone feature article:

"As for the “banana red herring,” as Kaltofen calls it — the idea that there’s no more radioactivity in oil-and-gas waste than in a banana — “I call bullshit,” he says. They emit two different types of radiation. The potassium-40 in bananas predominantly emits beta particles that barely interact with your body; radium emits alpha particles, which are thousands of times more impactful and can swiftly mutate cells. He compares them this way: “If I pick up a .45-caliber bullet and throw it at you, or if I put the same bullet in a .45-caliber pistol and fire it at you, only one of these things will cause you serious harm.”

“Essentially what you are doing is taking an underground radioactive reservoir and bringing it to the surface where it can interact with people and the environment,” says Marco Kaltofen, a nuclear-forensics scientist at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “Us bringing this stuff to the surface is like letting out the devil,” says Fairlie. “It is just madness.”

"Radioactivity was first discovered in crude oil, from a well in Ontario, as early as 1904, and radioactivity in brine was reported as early as the 1930s. By the 1960s, U.S. government geologists had found uranium in oil-bearing layers in Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas. In the early 1970s, Exxon learned radioactivity was building up in pumps and compressors at most of its gas plants. “Almost all materials of interest and use to the petroleum industry contain measurable quantities of radionuclides,” states a never-publicly released 1982 report by the American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s principal trade group, passed to RollingStone by a former state regulator."

"RollingStone discovered a handful of other industry reports and articles that raised concerns about liability for workers’ health. A 1950 document from Shell Oil warned of a potential connection between radioactive substances and cancer of the “bone and bone marrow.” In a 1991 paper, scientists with Chevron said, “Issues such as risk to workers or the general public…must be addressed.”

“They’ve known about this since the development of the gamma-ray log back in the 1930s,” says Stuart Smith, referencing a method of measuring gamma radiation. A New Orleans-based lawyer, Smith has been trying cases pertaining to oil-and-gas radioactivity for 30 years and is the author of the 2015 book Crude Justice. In Smith’s first case, in 1986, a six-month-pregnant Mississippi woman was sitting on the edge of her bathtub and her hip cracked in half. Tests showed the soil in her vegetable garden had become contaminated with radium from oil-field pipes her husband had cleaned in their yard. “They know,” Smith says. “All of the big majors have done tests to determine exactly what risks workers are exposed to.”

"...says Silverio Caggiano, a near 40-year veteran of the Youngstown fire department and a hazardous-materials specialist with the Ohio Hazmat Weapons of Mass Destruction Advisory Committee. “If we caught some ISIS terrorist cells dumping this into our waterways, they would be tried for terrorism and the use of a WMD on U.S. citizens,” says Caggiano. “However, the frac industry is given a pass on all of this.”

"In the summer of 2017, Siri Lawson noticed a group of Amish girls walking down the side of a dirt road near the horse farm where she lives with her husband in Farmington Township, Pennsylvania. The girls, dressed in aprons and blue bonnets, had taken off their shoes and were walking barefoot. Lawson was horrified. She knew the road had been freshly laced with brine."

"Radioactive oil-and-gas waste is purposely spread on roadways around the country. The industry pawns off brine — offering it for free — on rural townships that use the salty solution as a winter de-icer and, in the summertime, as a dust tamper on unpaved roads."

America’s Radioactive Secret, Justin Nobel, rollingstone.com, 21 Jan 2020.

“Oil-and-gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year. An investigation shows how it could be making workers sick and contaminating communities across America”

“In 2014, a muscular, middle-aged Ohio man named Peter took a job trucking waste for the oil-and-gas industry.  The hours were long — he was out the door by 3 a.m. every morning and not home until well after dark — but the steady $16-an-hour pay was appealing, says Peter, who asked to use a pseudonym. “This is a poverty area,” he says of his home in the state’s rural southeast corner. “Throw a little money at us and by God we’ll jump and take it.”

“In a squat rig fitted with a 5,000-gallon tank, Peter crisscrosses the expanse of farms and woods near the Ohio/West Virginia/Pennsylvania border, the heart of a region that produces close to one-third of America’s natural gas. He hauls a salty substance called “brine,” a naturally occurring waste product that gushes out of America’s oil-and-gas wells to the tune of nearly 1 trillion gallons a year, enough to flood Manhattan, almost shin-high, every single day. At most wells, far more brine is produced than oil or gas, as much as 10 times more. It collects in tanks, and like an oil-and-gas garbage man, Peter picks it up and hauls it off to treatment plants or injection wells, where it’s disposed of by being shot back into the earth.”

“One day in 2017, Peter pulled up to an injection well in Cambridge, Ohio. A worker walked around his truck with a hand-held radiation detector, he says, and told him he was carrying one of the “hottest loads” he’d ever seen. It was the first time Peter had heard any mention of the brine being radioactive.”

“The Earth’s crust is in fact peppered with radioactive elements that concentrate deep underground in oil-and-gas-bearing layers. This radioactivity is often pulled to the surface when oil and gas is extracted — carried largely in the brine.”

“In the popular imagination, radioactivity conjures images of nuclear meltdowns, but radiation is emitted from many common natural substances, usually presenting a fairly minor risk. Many industry representatives like to say the radioactivity in brine is so insignificant as to be on par with what would be found in a banana or a granite countertop, so when Peter demanded his supervisor tell him what he was being exposed to, his concerns were brushed off; the liquid in his truck was no more radioactive than “any room of your home,” he was told. But Peter wasn’t so sure.”

“A lot of guys are coming up with cancer, or sores and skin lesions that take months to heal,” he says. Peter experiences regular headaches and nausea, numbness in his fingertips and face, and “joint pain like fire.”

“He says he wasn’t given any safety instructions on radioactivity, and while he is required to wear steel-toe boots, safety glasses, a hard hat, and clothes with a flash-resistant coating, he isn’t required to wear a respirator or a dosimeter to measure his radioactivity exposure — and the rest of the uniform hardly offers protection from brine. “It’s all over your hands, and inside your boots, and on the cuticles of your toes, and any cuts you have — you’re soaked,” he says.

The truth is in here… about these drivers, the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of innocent Americans, in countless communities, that have been and continue to be exposed to radioactive poisoning as you read this article.

Doesn’t it make you angry that your political representatives have and are permitting this mass murder - your family’s murder - to continue unabated?

What is the purpose of government anyway?

Is it to systematically pillage, plunder, sack, torture, murder us?

Or, is it to protect us from our enemies, both foreign and domestic… domestic... like the fracking businesses?

They are killing us. And, this is only one of the ways our political people are letting it happen. Let’s stop the mass murdering by turning them all out of office and finally changing our system to represent the interests of the people of the United States.

Boy, do I need a break. Here's one of my favorites:

Lyle Lovett - If I Had A Boat - 1987

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Battle for Your Soul - Sausage Making in D.C.

SOURCE: Ann Telnaes, The Washington Post

At this moment in the history of our nation, Robert Scheer's recent interview with Dennis Kucinich is enlightening and a break in the Washington doom and gloom.

As the world knows, the Republican Senate is about to acquit Mr. Trump.

And, we all will continue to be ground into sausage for the benefit of the .001%.

Who will say, “Enough!”?

Not the "Trumpers", the zealots supporting Mr. Trump, at their cost of their meager livelihood and “freedoms”. Not the religious right, the people who have somehow created a new Jesus out of Mr. Trump. Not Fox News, the people who have made a fortune out of disinformation. Not the "mainstream press", the people who have "blacked-out" Bernie Sanders' coverage.

For sure, not the Republican Party. And, for certain not the Democratic Party, either.

Who then will step forward and pull your soul out of the D.C. sausage grinder?

Sadly, the job remains open. We seem to have a dearth of candidates at the moment.

However for today, we do have a few excerpts from Scheer’s interview of former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, entitled, “The Democratic Party Has No Soul”, to help us fend off our sausage-making Senate for a couple of moments.

"DK: Let me give you a story that can help put it in perspective. When I first came to Congress, I was escorted around the Capitol grounds by an old friend and somebody who had served the Cleveland seat that I took, ended up taking. And that was former Congressman Jim Stanton. And Jim took me around the campus, and we were between the Longworth and the Rayburn buildings, and he pointed to another member of Congress across the street. And he said, you see that guy there? I said yeah. He said, that guy thinks this place — he extended his hands to the whole of the campus — that guy thinks this place is on the level."

"So you know, Washington has the pretense of serving the masses of American people. But in fact, it’s a machine that works for interest groups. And if the people are able to get some crumbs, well, that’s a surprise. And you know, we have a — I think it was [name unclear] who said that we have a winner-take-all society, with more and more being left behind. So you know, this is not the greatest economy ever; it’s a crumbling society where families sink deeper into debt, where most Americans have no wealth, where they function as indentured servants. Are we going to change that? Well, that ought to be the purpose of our politics."

RS: But that’s what we’ve been saying for all this time. I mean, since Roosevelt was president. And the fact of the matter is, and particularly since the Reagan-Clinton years — that’s where it really started — we’ve had the most extreme redistribution of income back to the rich that we had since the roaring ’20s.

DK: Well, what’s going on is that the political system has been structured to continue that. That’s what Buckley v. Valeo was about; that’s what Citizens United’s about. They legalized the purchase of government. And, you know, he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

DK: "...That’s exactly right. The Democratic Party was responsible for a redistricting that eliminated a congressional district in Cleveland, which I held. Now, think about that. Why? Because I’m not the guy who was here for the plutocrats. I’m, you know, I understand that the shift of wealth that’s been going on — think about this, Bob. The U.S. government admits it’s spent at least $80,000 per average family of four since 2001 on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. That’s, like, over $6.4 trillion. And then the actual figure is much higher; it’s closer, I think, closer to $150,000 per family, for just our regime-change wars in those two countries. And you know Chris Hedges; well, I’ve read some of his stuff. He’s pointed out that our society is going to crumble, lives will be lost, disease and despair will rise to keep the Empire afloat and the world in fear if we keep these wars going on. So we’ve got — what we’re experiencing now is the cost of a plutocratic approach blessed by both political parties, which accelerates wealth to the top, and an economic pyramid, top of the economic pyramid. And it’ll be catastrophic for our economy and our democracy unless we reverse it."

Scheer Intelligence
Dennis Kucinich: The Democratic Party Has No Soul

Dennis Kucinich, The Democratic Party Has No Soul