August 31, 2012

Small Waves Hit After Major Quake Off Philippines Causes Panic But Minor Damage; Further Bigger Waves Could Arrive

Small Waves Hit South Philippines After Major Quake

Small waves have started to hit the southern Philippines after a major earthquake struck off the sprawling archipelago on Friday, the seismology agency said, and warned that further bigger waves could arrive soon.

August 31, 2012

Reuters - Small waves have started to hit the southern Philippines after a major earthquake struck off the sprawling archipelago on Friday, the seismology agency said, and warned that further bigger waves could arrive soon.

Renato Solidum, head of the agency, said waves of about 16 cm (6 inches) had hit the Surigao area on the southern island of Mindanao, but warned that second and third waves could be much higher.

Solidum told local radio that residents should get to a 10-metre elevation until the tsunami alert is lifted.

The epicenter of the 7.6 magnitude quake was 91 miles off the town of Guiuan in Samar province.

Major Quake Off Philippines Causes Panic But Minor Damage

August 31, 2012

Reuters - An earthquake of 7.6 magnitude struck off the Philippines on Friday killing one person, damaging roads and bridges and sending people fleeing to higher ground in fear of a tsunami, a politician and authorities said.

The quake was centered off the east coast, 91 miles off the town of Guiuan in Samar province at a depth of about 20 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for much of the region, but cancelled it about two hours later.

Philippine authorities maintained their tsunami warning for longer, after ordering residents to get out of coastal areas immediately. They cancelled it more than three hours after the quake.

"Residents can now return to their homes. It's safe now, the danger of a tsunami has passed," the Philippine Institute of Volcanology said.

The mayor of Guiuan, Annalisa Quan, told local radio there was no report of major damage.

The head of the national disaster agency, Benito Ramos, said one woman was killed in Cagayan de Oro town on the island of Mindanao when heavy rain and the quake triggered a landslide that buried her house. A child was injured.

Samar congressman Ben Evardone told local radio some bridges and roads were damaged and people had fled from coastal areas in panic, seeking refuge inland.

"We're used to quakes here so residents immediately went to higher ground," Pinky Almaite, a resident of Sulat, a seaside town in Eastern Samar, told Reuters.

"Many were running as they took with them whatever their hands could carry - flashlights, food, clothes, some even took their cows."

Large parts of Samar and Leyte province had no power or internet connections.

"The only lights you see are from vehicles in the streets headed to higher ground," said a radio reporter in the town of Borongan.

The tsunami warning was initially issued for the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and other islands in the Pacific including the U.S. state of Hawaii.

Small waves of about 16 cm (6 inches) had hit a southern Philippine island, the seismology agency said, and warned that bigger ones could follow and residents were ordered to get to ground 10 meters (30 feet) above sea level.

The region has been hit by two huge quakes in the past decade. At least 230,000 people in 13 Indian Ocean countries were killed in a quake and tsunami off Indonesia in 2004.

Last year, an earthquake and tsunami off Japan's northeastern coast killed about 20,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years after waves battered a nuclear power station.

Marine Forcibly Incarcerated in a Psychiatric Ward by Feds Over Facebook Posts

Marine Kidnapped Over Facebook Posts: ‘I Am Scared For My Country’

Brandon Raub makes first public comments following ordeal

August 29, 2012 - In his first public comments since being kidnapped by authorities over political posts on Facebook, former Marine Brandon Raub tells John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute that he is scared for his country.

Raub’s case went viral on the Internet earlier this month when on August 16, the former Iraq and Afghanistan veteran was kidnapped from his home by police, FBI and Secret Service agents and forcibly incarcerated in a psychiatric ward by authorities in Virginia in response to Facebook posts which the FBI deemed “terrorist” in nature.

Raub was released after a week when a judge concluded that the original petition ordering him to be detained contained no information whatsoever on the reasons behind Raub’s incarceration.

Raub explained that one of his main concerns in being publicly vocal about his concerns with the activity of the U.S. government was executive orders that allow the state to seize dictatorial power in a time of crisis, including the seizure of private property, communications and the institution of forced labor camps.

Raub explains how he set up a Facebook group with his brother and sister which was based on the Illuminati card game, which contextualizes some of the comments that the FBI dubiously claimed were “terrorist” in nature, including a reference to Raub ‘sharpening his axe’.

Raub said the quote was a metaphor, adding,

“The truth is very powerful and it has the ability to cut, truth is not always nice,” pointing out that Jesus would have probably also been investigated as a terrorist for encouraging his followers to sell their cloak and buy a sword.

Relaying the sequence of events that led to him being kidnapped by authorities, Raub said that two FBI agents initially came to the door to talk to him while police who looked like they were attempting to conceal their presence lined the road.

“At the beginning it was very vague, it was almost as if they wanted me to volunteer information,” said Raub, adding that he had to draw out of them the reason for the visit, which eventually turned out to be the content of his Facebook posts.

Raub then stepped outside to speak to a Secret Service agent who quizzed him about his political beliefs.

“I mentioned the Bilderberg Group and their violation of politicians in this country meeting with them and specifically the Logan Act,” said Raub, adding that the Secret Service agents were taking notes to research the topics further at a later time.

After around 15 minutes of conversation, the police surrounded Raub and grabbed him, failing to read him his MIranda rights. When Raub appealed to the police to allow him to put some clothes on, even at gunpoint, the cops refused.

“I realized that they weren’t going to read me my rights and they weren’t arresting me, so I basically just decided to make it more difficult for them to take me,” said Raub, explaining why the video shows him dropping to the floor.

After his detention, Raub was given a hearing date and moved to a psychiatric ward three hours away from his family and legal team. Shortly before his eventual release, a psychiatrist threatened to forcibly medicate Raub in order to “brainwash” him.

Asked what he thought of the whole experience, Raub responded, “It made me scared for my country, the idea that a man can be snatched out of his property without being read his rights should be extremely alarming to all Americans.”

John Whitehead emphasizes how 20 people in the same county as Raub have been similarly “disappeared” so far in the month of August alone.

Raub responded by referring to George Orwell’s 1984 and how former President Bill Clinton recently called for a ministry of truth similar to that depicted in Orwell’s dystopian classic to monitor content on the Internet.

It remains to be seen whether the authorities will again target Brandon Raub given the outpouring of support he received from the Internet community. However, as we highlighted last week, Americans across the country and particularly veterans are being targeted for psychiatric kidnappings and evaluations by the state as part of a system that increasingly resembles the infamous psikhushka psychiatric prisons in the former Soviet Union, where dissidents were sent to be isolated, brainwashed, and have their political ideas discredited amongst the general public.

Chaos on the Convention Floor as RNC Blocks Ron Paul Delegates, Alters Seating Rules

Chaos on the Convention Floor as RNC Blocks Ron Paul Delegates, Alters Seating Rules

Controversy erupted on the convention floor when a dispute broke out over whether to seat the delegates of presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Part of Maine’s delegation stormed off the floor in protest of a decision to strip away half of Paul’s delegates. Supportive members of other delegations rose to their feet and hollered their objections, angered by new rules that they say they will make it harder for grassroots candidates to stand a chance in future elections. Democracy Now! producer Deena Guzder was on the scene and filed this report.

Maine Becomes Rallying Cry for National Ron Paul Movement

August 30, 2012 - As David Farmer and Mike Tipping have pointed out, the refusal to seat the full set of Ron Paul delegates may very well have an impact on Maine politics this year. This, of course, followed the caucus mess, which received state and national publicity.

But what happened to these Mainers has also become a rallying call for Ron Paul supporters all over the nation.

Here’s the sticker being worn by Paul supporters inside the Republican National Convention (as posted by reporter Steven Dennis).

Another reporter notes:

A horde of Paul supporters walked circles around the convention floor, growing with each pass and chanting, “As goes Maine, so goes the nation.”

These attendees are rather upset. Asked whether they will vote for Romney in November, a Colorado and a Texas delegate weren’t sure. Said one, “At this point, I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” and the other simply stated, “Who knows?”

Reports indicate some heavy-handed tactics from the Romney forces. Linda Bean of Maine complained of efforts to keep delegates quiet.

Many are also upset about Romney forces pushing through a set of new rules for delegate selection that would centralize power in the hands of the presumptive nominee, making an insurgent challenge more difficult in the future. Ron Paul supporters dislike the rules and believe their adoption — by voice vote, which they think was deliberately “misheard” — was illegitimate.

The march and the stickers are just the surface of this upset among Ron Paul supporters.

And they are bound and determined to “Remember Maine 2012.”

What's Happening in Greece is Coming to America

Greek Trader Explains Why The Country Is Heading For Rebellion Or Civic Mutiny

August 28, 2012

Business Insider - A trader in Greece gives Business Insider a grim assessment of the mood in the country right now.

Right now, I am afraid there is very little visibility regarding the political developments in the next few months. You might as well toss a coin.

At some point, however, I believe we shall reach some kind of ‘social tipping point’ regarding the ability of the Greek households and society to absorb more austerity measures, the consequential continuing steep decline in economic activity and ever rising unemployment. The result may well be social rebellion, maybe even civic mutiny and associated political and parliamentary instability.

This is the the game plan that the neo-communists of Syriza have been preparing for over the past year or so and the one that they have actually reinforced whenever and wherever that was possible.

Unfortunately, I cannot see a ‘good ending’ scenario, under the present circumstances. Now when this tipping point may be reached, is anybody’s guess. It could very well be, as close as only a few months away. I do not believe that you can find anybody, within or outside Greece, that still sincerely and truly believes that the troika process of ‘internal devaluation’ shall lead to a positive socioeconomic outcome since no effective counter-balancing economic development measures and incentives were ever implemented, or even seriously considered.

Sorry I could not offer a more optimistic or positive picture and I hope that developments soon prove me wrong.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t sound different than what another contact recently told us, about society being at the end of its rope. Another person specifically noted the coming wave of likely tax increases as breaking the country’s back further. The coalition government that came to power this summer is already seeing disillusionment, setting up an opportunity for the far left-wingers of SYRIZA to come to power before too long.

Bullets, False Flags and Biological Warfare: What Is the US Government Planning?

Bullets, False Flags and Biological Warfare: What Is the US Government Planning?

August 30, 2012

Occupy Corporatism - The Pacific Southwest Region of the US Forest Service has solicited ammunition that is supposedly needed for target practice. In this instance, the amounts of hollow point bullets, 12 gauge rifle slugs, and other accessories are smaller than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested through other federal agencies.

DHS previously ordered more than 63,000,000 rounds of .40 S&W jacketed hollow point bullets (JHP).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a solicitation for 16,000 rounds of .40 S&W JHP.

The Social Security Office has also made a solicitation for 174,000 rounds of .357 hollow point bullets.

Earlier this month, DHS requested 700 pounds of high density ammonium nitrate and 700 pounds of A-5 Flake RDX explosives. These ingredients are known to be very high powered explosives.

When creating a “makeshift terrorist bomb” ammonium nitrate is an integral ingredient. The DHS was given oversight of procurement of ammonium nitrate after Congress requested they “regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate facility…to prevent the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism.”

The Ammonium Nitrate Security Program focuses on preventing a terrorist attack by use of ammonium nitrate in a home-made bomb by requiring that its sale and those that purchase it be registered with the DHS. Purchasers are screened against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB).

While DHS arms itself for alleged target practice, they are releasing a mystery bacteria into the Boston subway system to “test” sensors that detect biological agents in a supposed terror drill.

In a DHS press release, they state: “A rapid alert from a detection system can locate and identify these materials and provide for immediate and appropriate response to protect people and contain the hazard.”

This scheme has been planned since May of this year when it was announced that the bacteria B-subtilis was to be released in heavily populated and semi-contained areas like underground train stations; however this bacteria “has no adverse health effects for low exposure in healthy people.”

The plan concerning a false flag attack released the warning of an anonymous DHS informant is explained as a staged assignation attempt on Obama that will be linked to a white supremacist group that will be used to incite black and Hispanic Americans into starting riots all across the nation.

In this scenario a race war will be the situation needed to implement martial law effectively locking down the US, US Army control of the urban cities, erecting DHS checkpoints on all major points of travel, severe restrictions on travel for all citizens and the suspension of elections to ensure that Obama remain seated as the President of the US.

The DHS informant stated: “The DHS is actively preparing for massive social unrest inside the United States. He then corrected himself, stating that ‘a civil war’ is the more appropriate term. Certain elements of the government are not only expecting and preparing for it, they are actually facilitating it.”

In the end, “the whole purpose is to keep Obama in office for another term, no matter how unpopular he is, as he is not finished changing our country from a Constitutional Republic.”

Now the DHS informant is saying that the “final authorization was reportedly given to DHS directly from the White House” on the “plan, or whatever specific operation that was devised, being put into motion.”

There have been “several different plans or scenarios developed, ready to be implemented at a moment’s notice”; however they are so diverse that they require specified timing to be successful.

The global Elite are monitoring the political landscape, the poll numbers, the general public’s psychological demeanor and waiting for the right moment to make Obama a martyr at the hands of white supremacists in order to finally destroy the 2nd Amendment while classifying certain types as “fringe” who will be gone after by the federal governmental agencies allocated to round up political and anti-US government citizens.

By framing US veterans , certain talk-show hosts and gun owners in recent shootings , they are enacting their scheme by these evidences.

Framing US veterans and current service men and women as white supremacists who support the US constitution is running rampant within the US Armed Forces. With the assistance of the FBI-sponsored Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, training is being given to help soldiers’ spot extremists within their ranks. In a military version of DHS civilian See Something, Say Something campaign that turns citizens into government spies, the federal government is using and enacting the Nazi model of Fascist takeover.

The psychiatric community in collaboration with pharmaceutical corporations has come forth to call support for the 2nd Amendment as a mental disorder .

Globalist puppets like Daniel Webster, co-director of the anti-firearm John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, asserts that “gun ownership—a precursor to gun violence—can spread ‘much like an infectious disease” and wants healthcare professionals to have influence over whether or not American citizens are legally allowed to possess firearms. Webster would like to see Obamacare have ultimate control of the classification of mental states with regard to purchasing and obtaining FBI clearance for a gun.

A staged “event” will be carried out within the domestic US. While many outlets are purveying false information to confuse the issue, the upper levels of the DHS had “a major slip up” and this information was released to the informant.

It has been suggested that Obama would save his political image if he were to have his own Oklahoma City Bombing.

The US government, under the global Elite’s control, is:

• Arming federal agencies
• Amassing fertilizer bomb ingredients
• Releasing bacteria under the guise of practicing for a terror attack
• Framing US veterans to be involuntarily committed to psychiatric hospitals
• Using psychiatric hospitals in lieu of infinite detention
• Planning a false flag assassination attempt on Obama to support white supremacists are threats
• Lockdown America under declaration of martial law

The dots connect in an obvious way when the plans are laid out in plain sight. Their success depends on your continued slumber.


August 30, 2012

Flashback: The War Against Cash - Payments Networks and Telecomm Operators Form Joint Venture for Mobile Payments

Everything Everywhere and Barclaycard to Launch UK’s First Contactless Mobile Payments

January 27, 2011

Mobile Today - Everything Everywhere and Barclaycard have partnered for the UK’s first contactless payment solution launch – allowing consumers to pay for products using a mobile phone.

The solution, due to launch this summer, will be first available on Orange-enabled handsets and will then roll out to its joint venture partner T-Mobile.

Barclaycard and Orange announced their strategic partnership to bring contactless mobile payments to market in 2009. The latest move ‘will be the biggest revolution in payments since credit cards were introduced in the UK by Barclaycard over 40 years ago’, the pair said today (27 January).

The two companies will work with handset manufacturers to enable customers to use their mobiles to pay for goods and services at more than 40,000 retailers by waving their phone against a contactless reader using near field communication (NFC) technology. Nokia’s C7 handset, the Google Nexus S and Apple’s iPhone 5 [due to launch this summer) feature the technology.

The launch proposition will focus on an industry-backed, Sim-based approach to payments with enhanced security for customers. Meanwhile, MasterCard will provide the payment capability for the contactless mobile transactions.

Contactless payments will feature as part of the wider Orange portfolio of products developed in conjunction with Barclaycard, which already features a contactless co-branded credit card as well as a forthcoming contactless Orange Cash prepaid payment card.

There are already 42,500 live Barclaycard contactless terminals in retail outlets including Pret A Manger, EAT, and Little Chef.

Everything Everywhere chief development officer Gerry McQuade said:
‘This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things on the high street. It’s a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or ATMs.

‘We’re making something that’s been talked about for many years a reality and, very soon, using your mobile to buy a sandwich, a cinema ticket or, in time, even something bigger like a computer will simply be the norm.

‘As Britain’s biggest communications company, we’re proud to be delivering this technical and cultural innovation to the UK through the Orange brand. Orange and Barclaycard customers will be the first to be able to use their mobiles to make payments on the high street wherever contactless payments are accepted. This is part of our wider strategy to re-define what people use their mobiles for, with mobile payments being the start.’
Barclaycard Consumer Europe CEO David Chan said:
‘Barclaycard is well known as a leader in helping consumers and businesses to make and take payments in their everyday lives. Finding new and better ways of doing this is what drives us, so it’s exciting, with Orange, to be giving consumers in the UK the choice to make contactless payments on their mobile phone as well as their card. Barclaycard is going to lead the innovation and explosive growth you’ll see in mobile payments.

‘I believe that future generations will find it surprising that early this century we were still carrying separate items to buy goods and to communicate with each other. As payment experts, our role is to make it easier, more convenient and incredibly secure for people to make purchases and manage their money while on the move.’

MasterCard and Telefonica Team Up for Major Latin America Mobile Payments Project

The payments network and multi-national mobile network operator are to form a joint venture which will develop mobile financial solutions in the twelve countries in Latin America covered by Telefónica's Movistar brand.

January 31, 2011 - MasterCard and Telefónica have announced the creation of a joint venture that aims to lead the development of mobile financial solutions in twelve Latin American countries served by Telefónica's Movistar brand.

The new company will be owned 50:50 by the payments network and the telecoms operator, will be managed independently and plans to "leverage banking relationships of both companies, Telefónica's telecommunications assets and MasterCard's payments expertise".
"The joint venture will have an open model to ensure interoperability among the banked and unbanked segments, and serve as a bridge between the financial and telecommunications sectors," say the two companies. "It will seek to provide 87 million current and potential Movistar customers with mobile payment services that will be linked to a mobile wallet or prepaid account including money transfers, mobile airtime reload, bill payment and retail purchases, among others. In addition, some of these services such as receiving remittances may also benefit 200 million Movistar and non-Movistar mobile subscribers in the 12 Latin America markets included in the joint venture."

"This initiative is a step toward achieving financial inclusion for the under-served in Latin America — positively impacting its economic development," the partners continue. "Aside from offering convenience and security, the range of mobile financial solutions to be offered will be the most complete to date and widely accessible to all, regardless of their access to banking services. Through this initiative, it is expected that acceptance of electronic payments will be expanded to enable what are today predominantly cash-based merchant locations and micro-businesses such as taxis, street vendors, among others, to accept mobile payments."

"This initiative puts us at the forefront of mobile payments in the region and arms us with the right artillery to strengthen our war on cash," says Richard Hartzell, president of MasterCard's Latin America and Caribbean region.

"By offering mobile financial solutions, we are fully responding to the demands of the population in Latin America that trusts in their mobile phone to conduct financial operations," explains Joaquin Mata, Telefónica's global head of financial services. "This joint venture places Telefónica in a solid position to lead the development of mobile financial solutions in Latin America."

Chemical Warfare Against the American People: Spraying for West Nile Virus

U.S. Cases of West Nile Virus Set Record, Deaths Soar-CDC

The above is quite a sensational headline for 1,590 cases in the U.S., which is hardly a epidemic, but, of course, that's what government officials are telling us to scare us into accepting massive aerial spraying of chemicals

August 29, 2012

Reuters - A total of 1,590 U.S. cases of West Nile virus, including 66 deaths, have been reported through late August this year, the highest human toll reported since the mosquito-borne disease was first detected in the country in 1999, health officials said on Wednesday.

The toll is rising quickly and "we think the numbers will continue to rise," said Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the U .S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's D ivision of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases.

Through last week, 1,118 cases and 41 deaths had been reported, and the updated figures represent a 40 percent in crease in the number of cases and a 61 percent spike in the number of deaths.

In hard-hit Texas, the number of confirmed cases soared to 733, up 197 from last week, said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Deaths reached 31, up 10 from last week.

"It looks like it is going to be our worst year ever," said Lakey. "As I look at the data, I'm not convinced we have peaked."

Hurricane Isaac Could Stir Up Oil from BP Spill

Beyond Wind & Rain: Isaac Could Stir Up Oil

August 30, 2012 - As Tropical Storm Isaac roars over Louisiana and elsewhere on the Gulf Coast, it threatens to disrupt a fragile environment that's still recovering from BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the summer of 2010.

By disturbing the sediments in which the spilled oil is buried, near the beach and deeper in the water, the hurricane could release large quantities of oil, several researchers warn.

"This is another disaster on top of the hurricane that we're going to have to deal with," Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told the Huffington Post. "The threat is not insignificant."

So far there have been no reports of oil, but that isn't surprising considering most everybody is taking shelter or has evacuated the area, said Lt. Alyssa Johnson, operation officer at the National Response Center, a federal organization responsible for coordinating a response plan to environmental releases of oil or other hazardous materials. [Latest News on Isaac]

Storm surge

Isaac's storm surge, expected to reach heights of 6 to 12 feet (about 2 to 3.5 meters), could transport oil inland, where it could further affect marshlands and wildlife or come into contact with people, Graves told the Bloomberg news service. It also could flood areas containing contaminants such as pesticides, fertilizers and septic system bacteria and wash these back out into coastal waters or into groundwater, University of Florida researcher Andrew Zimmerman told OurAmazingPlanet in an email.

But it's unclear how much oil remains in Gulf sediments and along the shoreline — and how much might be stirred up.

"It could be a lot or a little," said University of Florida researcher Andrew Zimmerman.

An estimated 1 million gallons of MC 252 oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill has been distributed throughout the sediment underwater, on the beach and in marshes, according to Nanciann Regalado, speaking a spokesperson at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

"After danger to humans has passed and field teams can get into the field, samples of oil that has been exposed will be taken," Regalado told OurAmazingPlanet. If chemical analysis finds that the oil was from the Deepwater Horizon, BP may be required to clean up the oil, she added.

Exactly how far below the surface sediment and oil can be disturbed by a hurricane isn't clear, but meteorologist Jeff Masters said large hurricanes can create currents capable of mobilizing whatever oil is at the bottom.

Nick Shay, a professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami, told the Huffington Post this was possible. Hurricanes can "bring whatever is near the bottom up higher in the water column, and currents can then push it towards the coast," he said.


Isaac also could worsen erosion in the area by pounding the shore with waves. According to the National Hurricane Center, Isaac is likely to cause significant erosion of 89 percent of Mississippi's beaches.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster began with a deadly blowout on April 20, 2010, and spilled an estimated 205 million gallons of crude into the Gulf. Among other damage, the oil killed marsh grasses that prevent erosion. For 18 months afterward, marsh erosion rates doubled to 10 feet (3 meters) per year, said University of Florida researcher Brian Silliman.

Most of the grass has grown back, but how it will weather this storm is unclear. Barrier islands and coastlines could be eroded, affecting nesting areas for many kinds of wildlife, including birds and turtles.

Biggest impact

The biggest environmental impact of Isaac will be erosion causing the loss of wetlands, Masters said. A 2011 study by the United States Geological Survey found that four hurricanes in the past seven years — Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike — together destroyed about 250 square miles (650 square kilometers) of Louisiana.

"I expect Isaac will destroy 50-100 square miles of wetlands," or about 130 to 260 square kilometers, Masters told OurAmazingPlanet.

A spokesman for BP said the company isn't worried about Isaac.

"Consistent with the past two hurricane seasons, we do not expect any significant impact of residual MC 252 oil following Hurricane Isaac," Ray Melick told the Huffington Post.

Although plants and animals are well-adapted to storms like this, Zimmerman said, they have a lowered ability to cope when they are already stressed from human activities.

Luckily, Regalado said, bird nesting season in the area is largely finished and most wintering birds haven't arrived. However, loggerhead sea turtle nesting season is in full swing, and many nests are at risk of flooding.

August 27, 2012

Declaration of Independence was/is Lawful Revolution from Criminal Government

5-Minute Video: Declaration of Independence was/is Lawful Revolution from Criminal Government

August 27, 2012

Washington’s Blog - A lawful revolution is in response to government that abjectly violates its own laws, and refuses all reasonable offers to return government limits within its own constitution. It is a revolution that requests its own law enforcement to do their job to arrest obvious criminals in their own government. The central crimes are in unlawful wars that kill millions, and massive economic fraud that harms billions and loots trillions of the 99%’s earnings every year.

Government crimes was America’s challenge that the Continental Congress and Thomas Jefferson addressed in our Declaration of Independence. Please give two minutes of your attention to this central text of being American:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

We the People hold these patriots as heroes today. I am a history teacher: the Founders considered themselves loyal to their government BECAUSE its history was one of freedom from tyranny, and overthrowing would-be kings that attempted dictatorial rather than limited government.

The American Revolution only occurred a year after its own government attacked its own citizens under an unlawful standing army attempted to disarm its citizens at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. American leaders wrote and offered the “Olive Branch Petition” asking their government to restrain itself within its own laws and essentially forgiving its military-murders of American civilians.

Our government responded in 1775 by calling such Americans “traitors” with no retreat from their orders to arrest American leadership whose only “crime” was asking for lawful government.

That is history; this is today.

As always for today, we ask for peaceful, lawful response to what we allege in good faith as “emperor has no clothes” obvious crimes centering in war and money, and obfuscated by a 1% cartel/corporate media.

My only suggestion to the 99% is to let your heart and mind guide your beautiful, unique, and powerful self-expressions.

Surveillance Plane Now Patrolling Lancaster, CA; Austin, TX, Kids to be Tracked With GPS Device

City To Be Watched By Permanent Eye In The Sky

Surveillance plane will record “mundane” activity

August 27, 2012 - The Californian city of Lancaster will be the first to experience a “new era in law enforcement surveillance” with residents set to be watched by a permanent eye in the sky which will beam constant video footage back to police headquarters including crimes in progress as well as “scenes of mundane day-to-day life.”

A Cessna plane fitted with sophisticated video surveillance technology will fly loops around the city and send footage directly back to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center. Officials plan to add a second aircraft to the arsenal at a later date.

“About a few hours into its maiden flight Friday, the plane’s video feed captured its first incident: a motorcycle rider who had crashed at 20th Street East and Avenue K. Using the video, deputies in the dispatch were able to help paramedics assess the situation before they got to the scene. Later, the department got word that a group fight was brewing at Eastside High School. The plane moved into position and conducted surveillance above the campus. No fight occurred,” reports the L.A. Times.

According to a report by ABC 7, the camera can zoom in to a person walking down the street from three miles away. The system also has a 5 second response time, meaning it can swiftly pinpoint a car and track its movements indefinitely.

Despite claims that the surveillance system will only target crimes in progress, officials admit that the video footage will be stored for two years and can be reviewed in case a crime or suspect was “unwittingly” captured on camera.

Despite the fact that Mayor R. Rex Parris admits the city is cash-strapped, $1.3 million dollars a year will be invested into the project, the same amount of money it would cost to pay for five police patrol cars each with a two deputy crew.

Lancaster resident David Abber called the program a “violation of the Fourth Amendment.” The ACLU looked into the matter and came back with a lukewarm response, stating that some of their fears had been allayed but not all.

The program is unprecedented because, as the L.A. Times notes,

“Lancaster appears to be the first city where a camera will send video continuously to the ground, to be used as an integral part of daily policing.”

As we have previously highlighted, the idea of having a permanent eye in the sky, whether that be via manned aircraft or surveillance drones, remains the priority of law enforcement bodies across the country despite the significant costs involved during a time of economic hardship when some cities are struggling to afford vital services such as firefighters.

Last year, the Ogden Police Department applied to fly an unmanned surveillance blimp at a height of just 400 feet over high crime areas of the city to watch for “suspicious activity.”

The use of surveillance drones and blimps to carry out sweeping surveillance of the public with total disregard for privacy rights is expected to accelerate in the coming years. The FAA has forecast that 30,000 surveillance drones will be in U.S. skies by the end of the decade.

Last month, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told a House Committee on Homeland Security that the federal agency was working on deploying drones for purposes of “public safety.”

As we reported earlier this year, the DHS is already using another type of airborne drone surveillance, also utilized to track insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, for the purposes of “emergency and non-emergency incidents” within the United States.

Prisoner Training: Austin Kids To Be Tracked With GPS Device

Parental responsibilities eviscerated as state takes over

August 27, 2012 - Children in nine Austin high schools are to be given GPS tracking devices and assigned “mentors” in a program designed to prevent truancy yet one that also illustrates how kids are being treated like prison inmates.

AISD: GPS tracking to boost attendance

“With parent permission, up to 1,700 students across eight high schools will be equipped with a GPS device that looks a lot like a cell phone. They will also be teamed up with a mentor who they have to check-in with using the device several times a day,” reports KXAN.

The program is being overseen by Dallas-based AIM Truancy Solutions. The company boasts that the system has boosted attendance figures at other high schools by around 12 per cent.

Nine Austin schools are currently part of the program as well as other schools in San Antonio, Dallas and La Joya.

The idea of tracking kids with GPS devices and forcing them to check in with a “mentor” is not far removed from prisoners being made to wear GPS ankle bracelets and being assigned parole officers.

Austin is by no means the only city to use GPS technology to keep tabs on schoolchildren. Similar programs are in place across the country, including in Anaheim where kids are seventh- and eighth-graders with four unexcused absences or more in a school year are forced to carry GPS devices.

Palos Heights School District in Illinois is also using a similar system, attaching GPS locators to children’s backpacks in order to “locate kids in seconds.”

The program underscores how school has come to represent prisoner training for many children, with their every action being under constant surveillance, indoctrinating them to accept a similar environment in the outside world.

The justification that students need to be tracked and surveilled by school authorities outside of the classroom for their own safety and performance is one that has been abused repeatedly.

In 2010, the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania used school-issued laptops to spy on kids in their own home. The controversy ignited after student Blake Robbins was disciplined for “improper behavior in his home”. It turned out that school officials had installed software on the laptops that used the computer’s webcam to send images back to the school server every 15 seconds.

Schools across the country have also installed surveillance cameras in bathrooms to spy on children.

The story also serves as a stark reminder of how the role and responsibility of parents to discipline their own children is being eviscerated, with the state stepping in to fill the void.

Forget GPS trackers and cameras in laptops – how long before America follows the British example of the government installing surveillance cameras inside the private homes of citizens to ensure that children go to bed on time, attend school and eat proper meals?

Under the guise of “Family Intervention Projects,” social services goons and private security guards in the UK are given the authority to make regular “home checks” to ensure parents are raising their children correctly. Surveillance cameras are also installed inside homes so government spies can keep an eye on whether parents are mistreating kids and whether the kids are fulfilling their obligations under a pre-signed contract.

Strong Earthquake Hits Off El Salvador Coast; Series of Earthquakes Rattle Southern California

Strong Earthquake Hits Off El Salvador Coast

August 27, 2012

AP - A strong magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck off the coast of El Salvador followed an hour later by a magnitude-5.4 aftershock, authorities said early Monday. There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

A tsunami warning was put into effect for Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico after the quake struck at 10:37 p.m. Sunday. The warning was later rescinded.

David Walsh, an oceanographer with the Pacific Tsunami Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, said a minor, 10-centimeter (3.94-inche) tsunami was registered off Acajutla, El Salvador.

The quake was located 86 miles (138 kilometers) south-southwest of San Miguel, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its web site. The temblor took place at a depth of 32.9 miles (53 kilometers). The second quake registered about an hour later in the same area at a depth of 35.9 miles (57.8 km).

Alfonso Lara, a technician with El Salvador's Civil Protection agency said authorities were alerted to the threat of a tsunami. "We are doing a general monitoring of the entire coast through our technicians and representatives," he said.

On Sunday, dozens of small to moderate earthquakes struck southeastern California, knocking trailer homes off their foundations and shattering windows in a small farming town east of San Diego. The largest quake registered at a magnitude 5.5 and was centered about three miles (five kilometers) northwest of the town of Brawley, according to the USGS. Another quake about an hour and a half earlier registered at magnitude 5.3. No injuries were reported.

Moderate 5.3 Magnitude Earthquake in Southern California: USGS

August 26, 2012

Reuters - A moderate earthquake of 5.3 magnitude struck near the California-Mexico border 15 miles north northeast of Brawley, California, at a depth of 2.9 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Sunday.

The quake hit at 12:32 p.m. local time (1932 GMT) and was one of a series in the desert region on Sunday above magnitude 4.0, USGS said. There were no immediate reports of any damage, the San Diego County sheriff's office said.

Series of Earthquakes Rattle Southern California

August 27, 2012

AP - Dozens of small to moderate earthquakes struck southeastern California on Sunday, knocking trailer homes off their foundations, shattering windows and rattling nerves in a small farming town east of San Diego.

The largest quake, at 1:57 p.m., registered at a magnitude 5.5 and was centered about three miles northwest of the town of Brawley, said Robert Graves, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Another quake about an hour and a half earlier registered at magnitude 5.3.

No injuries were reported.

More than 30 additional earthquakes with magnitudes of at least 3.5 jiggled the same area near the southern end of the Salton Sea, Graves said.

"The type of activity that we're seeing could possibly continue for several hours or even days," Graves said.

The quakes pushed 20 mobile homes at a trailer park off their foundations, displacing the families that lived in them, said Maria Peinado, a spokeswoman for the Imperial County Emergency Operations Center.

Sporadic power outages affecting 2,500 Imperial Irrigation District customers also prompted authorities to evacuate some patients from one of the county's two hospitals.

By late Sunday, a magnitude-5.1 quaked followed by several more with magnitudes of at least 4.0 shook the area.

"We're all on edge here," said George Nava, the mayor of Brawley, a town of 25,000. "It's not uncommon for us to have earthquakes out here, but at this frequency and at this magnitude it's fairly unusual."

At the El Sol Market in Brawley, food packages fell from shelves and littered the aisles.

Several glasses and a bottle of wine crashed to the floor and shattered at Assaggio, an Italian restaurant in Brawley, said owner Jerry Ma. The shaking was short-lived but intense, he said.

"It felt like there was quake every 15 minutes. One after another. My kids are small and they're scared and don't want to come back inside," said Mike Patel, who manages Townhouse Inn & Suites in Brawley.

A TV came crashing down and a few light fixtures broke inside the motel, Patel said.

A Brawley police dispatcher said several downtown buildings sustained minor damage.

The first quake, with a magnitude of 3.9, occurred at 10:02 a.m. The USGS said more than 100 aftershocks struck the same approximate epicenter, about 16 miles north of El Centro.

Some shaking was felt along the San Diego County coast in Del Mar, some 120 miles from the epicenter, as well as in the Coachella Valley, southern Orange County and parts of northern Mexico.

USGS seismologist Lucy Jones said earthquake swarms are characteristic of the region, known as the Brawley Seismic Zone.

"The area sees lots of events at once, with many close to the largest magnitude, rather than one main shock with several much smaller aftershocks," Jones said.

The last major swarm was in 2005, following a magnitude-5.1 quake, she said.

Sunday's quake cluster occurred in what scientists call a transition zone between the Imperial and San Andreas faults, so they weren't assigning the earthquakes to either fault, Graves said.

Three-day P.A.U.L. Festival (People Awakening and Uniting for Liberty) Honoring Retiring Senator Ron Paul, Who Was Not Invited to Speak at the Republican Convention

Speaking on the eve of the Republican National Convention, Ron Paul reassured hundreds of ecstatic supporters at a rally here Sunday that the revolution he began is far from over. “Let me tell you, I was a little afraid to come down here,” Paul told the crowd at his Sun Dome rally. “I wasn’t afraid of Hurricane Isaac. But there have been a lot of news headlines that say the Revolution is over….They’re saying the Revolution isn’t happening — they wish!” It was likely to be one of the last speeches of Paul’s political career — the Texas Congressman’s presidential campaign will officially end when the Republican Party nominates Mitt Romney this week, and Paul is retiring from Congress at the end of this year. But he promised his legions of fans on Sunday that the movement will move forward, even in his absence. [Source]

Ron Paul: A ‘Clean Boat in a Sea of Garbage’

August 27, 2012

National Journal - Telltale signs could be seen from the parking lot of the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome—a military Humvee adorned with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, “Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies” written on the back windshield of a car—plenty of paraphernalia insisting that the revolution continues.

The GOP may be running the show this week, but this was a Ron Paul party.

On Sunday, thousands of fervent supporters of the former presidential candidate packed into the 11,000-seat venue at USF for one of the last hurrahs for the 12-term Texas lawmaker. Having failed to best Mitt Romney in his quest for the GOP nomination, Paul is retiring from Congress after 24 years in the House.

This was not your typical GOP crowd—there was hardly a three-piece suit to be found. But Romney might have killed to draw a crowd this size, especially with its zeal (few supporters came without signs, T-shirts, buttons, and flags) and attention span. Paul’s audience sat through five hours of tributes to his life and career before he finally took the stage—and stood for the entirety of his hour-long speech.

The 77-year-old obstetrician inspires the kind of adulation among his supporters generally reserved for rock stars. He is, to them, the standard-bearer for liberty, a revolutionary figure in American politics, even if the Republican Party establishment has always treated him like the dude in the tinfoil hat heckling congressional hearings. Historian Doug Wead, one of the many speakers at the rally, said that Paul was a “clean boat in a sea of garbage.”

Across town, at the state fairgrounds, yet more Paul supporters were holding court at the three-day P.A.U.L. Festival (People Awakening and Uniting for Liberty, for those wondering), where his rally was simulcast.

“Let’s put it this way: If Ron Paul was a Democrat, I would be a Democrat,” said 28-year-old Henry Havoc of San Antonio, who drove 20 hours to see Paul speak.

Sporting dreadlocks, Havoc held an American flag with the words “My country is sick” written on it.

“We need a doctor,” he said, expressing his hope that a “Ron Paul party” would rise up in the next few months.

Paul has been espousing essentially the same message of fiscal conservatism and military nonintervention for decades, but it wasn’t until the end of his career that his views started gaining steam within the Republican Party. Some of his ideas once thought beyond the pale—axing the Federal Reserve, for example, one of Paul’s chief crusades—has been given lip service by prominent conservatives and the other GOP presidential candidates.

This time, Paul supporters had a healthy dose of righteous indignation mixed with their characteristic passion—they did not disguise their disdain for a party they believed had disrespected them. Paul did not receive a speaking slot at the convention; and although he had secured 175 delegates, organizers refused to seat those who had planned on supporting Paul in Tampa.

“The Republican Party is taking away from Ron Paul’s thunder,” said Richard Paulus, a 47-year-old sales consultant sporting a white beard and long walking cane, when asked if the event was a distraction from the main event.

Paul and his fans were optimistic that the movement he started will continue, with his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and others now taking the lead.

“Someone else will take up the banner,” said 56-year-old James Morris of Panama City, Fla. “He is not the perfect messenger. He just has the perfect message.”

August 25, 2012

Between 2003 and 2008, the Amount of Speculative Money in Commodities Grew from $13 Billion to $317 Billion, an Increase of 2,300 Percent

We may never know for sure the combination of circumstances that brought on the energy crisis of 2008. But one factor was almost certainly the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed unprecedented levels of speculation in oil futures by investment banks and pension funds, bringing the familiar boom-bust cycle home to the gas pump. - Drill Now? Try Regulate Now., Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2010

And what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess. Obviously Goldman had help — there were other players in the physical-commodities market — but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few powerful actors determined to turn the once-solid market into a speculative casino. Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to invest in oil futures — agreeing to buy oil at a certain price on a fixed date. The push transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand, into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase of 2,300 percent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it was actually delivered and consumed. - Matt Taibbi, The Great American Bubble Machine, Rolling Stone, July 2, 2009

We'll Make a Killing Out of Food Crisis, Glencore Trading Boss Chris Mahoney Boasts

August 23, 2012

The Independent - The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world's largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a "good" business opportunity.

With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought "Dust Bowl" days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin's government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: "Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits."

Ms Calpe said leading international politicians and banks expecting Glencore to back away from trading in potential starvation and hunger in developing nations for "ethical reasons" would be disappointed.

"This won't happen," she said. "So now is the time to change the rules and regulations about how Glencore and other multinationals such as ADM and Monsanto operate. They know this and have been lobbying heavily around the world to water down and halt any reform."

Glencore's director of agriculture trading, Chris Mahoney, sparked the controversy when he said: "The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.

"We will be able to provide the world with solutions... and that should also be good for Glencore."

Glencore announced pre-tax global profits of £1.4bn. The G20 is considering holding an emergency summit on the world food crisis.

Oxfam was scathing about Glencore's exploitation of volatile world food prices. Jodie Thorpe, from the aid agency's Grow Campaign, said: "Glencore's comment that 'high prices and lots of volatility and dislocation' was 'good' gives us a rare glimpse into the little-known world of companies that dominate the global food system."

Oxfam said companies like Glencore were "profiting from the misery and suffering of poor people who are worst hit by high and volatile food prices", adding:

"If we are going to fix the ailing food system then traders must be part of the cure."

Stephen O'Brien, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, said:

"We know that food-price spikes hit the poorest hardest. Ensuring the poor can still access enough food is vital in times of food-price rises, which is why the UK is investing in safety nets that deliver food and cash to the poorest."

A Glencore spokesperson said: "Regardless of the business environment, Glencore is helping fulfil global demand by getting the commodities that are needed to the places that need them most."

165 Million Americans Are Dependents of the State, a Clear Majority of the 308 Million Americans Counted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010

Over 80% of Poll Respondents Know Somebody On Government Dole

August 24, 2012 - Earlier this month, the establishment fount Forbes, a magazine fondly calling itself “the Capitalist Tool,” warned that an ever-creeping entitlement state and its confiscatory taxation policies may soon lead to a tyranny of the majority.

“Today, a majority of Americans have a direct financial interest in voting for representatives to ensure they keep collecting their benefits and salaries, making sure others are taxed to pay for it all,” Bill Wilson wrote on August 15 in an article entitled “165 Million Americans Are Dependents of the State: Is Tyranny Next?”

Wilson based his argument on research conducted by the staff of ranking Republican senator Jeff Sessions. The research revealed that over 107 million Americans are currently on the government dole.

“Add to that 46 million seniors collecting Medicare (subtracting out about 10 million on Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and other senior-eligible programs already included in Sessions’ means-tested chart) and 22 million government employees at the federal, state, and local level — and suddenly, over 165 million people, a clear majority of the 308 million Americans counted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010, are at least partially dependents of the state,” Wilson explained.

Of that number, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government, according to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census.

Last year alone, the federal government spent 71.8 billion dollars on the food stamp program. The number of Americans on Medicaid grew from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011. Moreover, “federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010,” writes Michael Snyder of The American Dream.

“Economically, America has descended into poverty,” the the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury in the Reagan administration, Paul Craig Roberts, writes today.

Roberts rolls through a depressing litany of statistics: one fourth of the work force is employed in jobs that pay less than $22,000, the poverty line for a family of four; 20.5 million Americans have incomes less than $9,500 per year, which is half of the poverty definition for a family of three; six million Americans exist solely on food stamps.

We asked readers if they have a family member or a friend or co-worker who is reduced to existing in part or whole on the government dole.

Close to half said somebody in their family is dependent on government assistance, while 39% said they know somebody outside their family on the dole. Only 18% of respondents said they do not know anybody reduced to taking money from the state.

August 24, 2012

Price of a Bushel of Corn has Risen Over 60% in the Last Couple of Months

Drowning in a Sea of Drought

empressofaiken - We just paid $2.25 more for a bag of horse feed than we did a month ago – a jump of over 25%. We weren’t happy about, but we only have three horses, so we’ll find a way to work it into the household budget.

What was hard to watch was the dairy farmer who had come to make his regular weekly purchase of 200 bags of feed for his cows. He simply didn’t have the extra $450. Over the course of a month that means another $2,000 to him. It isn’t in his budget, and he had to tell the men at the loading dock to remove some of the bags. He said that he was going home to talk to his wife about how they were going to deal with their herd. He has only two real options – sell some of his cows or slaughter them. He can’t make ends meet selling milk if feeding his cows will eat up every bit of his profit and more. He’s not the only farmer making hard decisions. It’s happening all across the country.

I think it took that scene at the supply store to make this Summer’s weather conditions a reality for me.  

There just isn’t going to be enough corn – not for us, not for livestock or poultry and not for fuel – not unless we do something about it.

In the last couple of months the price of a bushel of corn has risen over 60% from $5.51 per bushel to today’s price which is hovering around $8.40. Take a look at the agricultural commodities market and you’ll see that soybeans have risen from $10.95 to $17.34 and that wheat is up to $9.42 from $5.78.

Given the very basic and simple rules of supply and demand, this means that all of us are going to have to take a long hard look at our checkbooks. We’re going to have to find ways to pinch those pennies a little tighter while we shop for food and fill our gas tanks.

The crops for 2012 are yielding approximately 15-20% less than in previous years and they can’t be recovered. You can’t make something grow without a little help from Mother Nature, and the growing season is quickly coming to an end.

Climatologists are reporting that this is the first of many signs that global warming is a real threat to our planet. That may very well be, but it isn’t just the severe drought conditions that are driving those prices.
  • Government regulations require that 40% of corn crops be converted into biofuel, forcing farmers to devote less and less land to growing other crops.
  • Market speculators, seeing huge investor profits, have nearly tripled their trading in agricultural commodities, and that was only between June and July. Profit driven motives, in the world of trading, can skew everything and throw the supply and demand model right out the window.
  • Fears over war between Israel and Iran, along with the ongoing fighting in Syria, have forced some of their neighbors in the Middle East to stockpile both food and oil supplies.
  • China and Japan are facing their own fears and are responding by releasing some of their own grain reserves, impacting the normal flow of global exports and imports.
It has all the makings of the perfect storm for a world that is already skittish about the economic situation.

Here in the United States, there has been some talk by members of Congress about easing up on those ethanol regulations. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has appealed for the suspension of the EPA requirements. It’s a sort of food-or-fuel debate. The problem is that it probably won’t happen until 2013, and that’s being optimistic. The ethanol and fuel oil producers have already set the wheels in motion for business as usual. To change their operations will take time.

The debate in Washington, like almost everything else there, is sharply divided and being argued in the two different languages of partisan politics, something that even a translator can’t help. We also have to take into account that we’re in an election cycle, and few candidates are willing to take on any challenge that could very well mean a loss of campaign contributions.

Groups with very diverse interests – from the National Cattlemen’s Association to the Corn Grower’s Association to myriad environmental organizations – have been whispering in the ears of lawmakers and writing checks to ensure that they can be heard.

Should those in power decide to enter into some real discussions and make actual changes to the ethanol issue, there is a very good chance that the situation could improve. Economists and experts in both the fields of energy and agriculture have offered some suggestions as to how different scenarios could work. Each variation shows what type of impact there would be given how much or how little the EPA standards are relaxed.

The other variables, according to an article presented by Purdue University, would be “the price of oil, the price of corn, the magnitude of the drought, the economics of switching away from ethanol and the technical flexibility of refiners and blenders.”

Even a compromise, from all involved, would be better than just doing nothing. These are actual ways in which the further harm to the environment would be limited, while also allowing for Americans to buy groceries and drive to work.

In the meantime, while they’re either arguing or ignoring the problem, we’ll be waiting and prices will keep going up. We might have to tighten our belts another notch, but that won’t be hard, because we’ll probably be eating less and walking more.

August 20, 2012

The Dust Bowl All Over Again? Midwest Drought Reveals Indiana ‘Ghost Towns’

Is there anyway we can submerge Washington DC?

Midwest Drought Reveals Indiana ‘Ghost Towns’

August 20, 2012

NBC News - The severe drought scorching much of the nation's Midwest has lowered water levels so drastically that towns that were intentionally submerged decades ago are starting to surface.

The historic drought has dried the Salamonie River in northeast Indiana so much that its receding banks are now revealing the remnants, bricks and foundations of Monument City, Ind., NBC News reports.

The small town of 100 was one of three whose residents were relocated before the Salamonie River was dammed and the municipality submerged in order to build a reservoir in 1965.

[Photos: Drought strikes many states]

"Our school didn't have a gymnasium," Dick Roth, 81, who attended the defunct high school in Monument City said in the piece. "Our gymnasium was outside, which is a cement slab."

Slabs of foundations and red bricks that once walled the homes and buildings of the riverside community are becoming visible and bringing up memories for those who once lived there, like Roth.

Officials of a nearby visitor's center that has a display honoring the once-sunken towns are giving guided tours of the areas, hoping former residents will come and tell more stories and share their oral history, NBC noted.

[Related: Drought diaries, stories from the historic drought]

The drop of water levels in lakes and rivers is a startling example of the toll of the historic drought, which is also hampering the economy in the Midwest.

A recent report says the drought is leveling off in the Midwest. However, it's not much consolation with about 62 percent of the continental U.S. mired in drought conditions. About 24 percent of the U.S. is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought—the two worst classifications.