I normally avoid horror books, but I’m halfway through Troubled Water: What's Wrong with What We Drink by Seth M. Siegel, and I’m trying not to shit my pants.
It’s estimated that 0.00775 of all the water on Earth is available for drinking. Of the available water, how much is healthy or even safe to drink?
Consider that throughout human history natural pathogens have thrived in our water due to the unprecedented quantities of sewage, both human and animal, we dump into it. This has been mitigated by water treatment plants that add chemicals to our water to kill micro-organisms, chemicals that can also be dangerous to all animals, and may interact with other compounds found in our water in ways we may never know. In addition we’ve been adding industrial and household wastes in staggering amounts. Farming, especially factory farming, has been polluting surface water and vast portions of our water tables with pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, etc. etc. etc.
Landfills are a concentrated source of contamination. Homes and medical facilities flush massive quantities of drugs, cleaning chemicals, and other hazardous wastes down the drain every second of every day.
Every time you take a shower, wash your clothes, do the dishes, or eliminate the drugs your body hasn't absorbed, you add to the growing chemical soup we all drink, whether your water comes from a well, a municipal service, or a bottle. And don't forget everything you eat was raised, grown, or washed in questionable water, or contains colors, preservatives, binders, or bullshit made of God knows what.
Everyone cringes when they consider spacemen subsisting on their recycled effluent during prolonged service in space. The Earth is just a huge spaceship, and we've been drinking our own urine for a long time.
The human race might be able to find a cure for its fossil fuel addiction, but giving up potable water seems beyond our skill set. I’m old enough to remember when the notion of buying a drink of water was ridiculous. Now I wonder when the water wars will sweep across the globe.
"Published today in Global Environmental Change, the paper identifies several hotspots around the globe where “hydro-political issues,” in the parlance of the researchers, are likely to give rise to geopolitical tensions, and possibly even conflict. The authors of the new report, a team from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), say the escalating effects of climate change, in conjunction with ongoing trends in population growth, could trigger regional instability and social unrest in regions where freshwater is scarce, and where bordering nations have to manage and share this increasingly scarce commodity."
“The action creates instant doubts about the legal status of myriad seasonal or isolated wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways, including vast swaths of the arid West. And it clears the way for the Environmental Protection Agency to finish a follow-up regulation in the coming months that could leave most of the nation's wetlands without any federal safeguards.”
“Contaminated water in America is not confined to Flint, Michigan. Ralph welcomes Seth M. Siegel, author of “Troubled Water: What’s Wrong With What We Drink,” who not only outlines the problem with our most precious resource but tells us what we can do to fix it.”
Terry never knew how much I loved him, except perhaps in his knowledge that he was beloved the World over. When I was a young lad I recall watching Monty Python in America, on a little black and white TV, when PBS in its former wisdom shared it with a grateful nation.
The down side of getting old is watching your heroes go on before you. The alternative's not so great either. My best wishes to all who miss him.
I've never voted for a Republican,
nor would I vote for Elizabeth Warroom.
Is Hillary Clinton Running for President Again? Sure Seems Like It. (William Rivers Pitt at Truthout.org) "On Tuesday Morning, Hollywood Reporter published its latest cover story about Hillary, a four-hour Sundance documentary series on Clinton’s political career that is set to debut in March. The hood ornament for the article is a Clinton quote from the film about Bernie Sanders. It is the primary-season equivalent of throwing a live hand grenade into a vat of kerosene:
'He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.'
"As early as 1984 and as recently as 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden called for cuts to Social Security in the name of saving the program and balancing the federal budget. Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders highlighted Biden’s record on Social Security in prosecuting the case that Biden isn’t the most electable candidate. The issue could be raised again in Tuesday night’s debate.
After a Sanders campaign newsletter continued the attack on Biden’s Social Security record, the Biden campaign complained to fact-checkers at Politifact that his comments were being taken out of context. Placed in context, however, Biden’s record on Social Security is far worse than one offhand remark. Indeed, Biden has been advocating for cuts to Social Security for roughly 40 years."
President George "The Worst" Bush, under whose watch the atrocities of 9-11 occurred, having illegally and under ludicrously false pretenses destroyed a country, killing and displacing millions of innocent people, after starting an endless war against a scary noun, that continues to waste trillions of dollars and countless lives to this day, regrets most of all that he didn't hand over the Social Security Program to greedy corporations.
The World doesn't fear any so called Axis of Evil, they fear Assholes of Evil, that play around with the most powerful military in human history. _________
"Former President George W. Bush signaled on Thursday that he sees not privatizing Social Security as his greatest failure from the eight years he served in the White House, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The unpopular Republican leader made the suggestion while speaking at a trade conference in the Windy City, where he discussed his legacy and also offered a glimpse into what readers can expect from his forthcoming memoir, Decision Points.
"I would like to be remembered as a guy who had a set of priorities, and was willing to live by those priorities," explained Bush. "In terms of accomplishments, my biggest accomplishment is that I kept the country safe amidst a real danger."
“…‘Most people don’t talk about the fact that Martin Luther King was a Republican.’
That’s a quote from Ada Fisher, a Republican National Committeewoman from North Carolina, that was published without qualification or correction this week by ABC News…
Here is what King had to say about Ronald Reagan, the hero of modern Republicans:
..When a Hollywood performer, lacking distinction even as an actor can become a leading war hawk candidate for the Presidency, only the irrationalities induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events.”
“Today is the federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was born January 15, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 years old. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We play his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which he delivered at New York City’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, as well as his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” that he gave on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated.”
THIS WEEK'S TOPICS (w/timestamps): 00:44 - Updates on on the sale of a co-op craft brewery to a large corporation; 03:35 - U.S. medical costs are by far the highest in world, 05:54 - capitalism’s defense of inequality and instability with the "overcoming poverty” concept. 13:52 - announcements; 14:59 - SPECIAL GUEST: Prof. Wolff interviews Laura Flanders, a long-time independent journalist, about the idea of an independent media.
The United States of America has practiced throwing elections around the world for virtually its entire existence. Practice doesn't always make perfect, so when an election is not successfully thrown, we go to Plan B, using our intelligence and military assets to commit a coup. The U.S. regularly overthrows governments or assassinates leaders that do not align with the interests of international corporations. This fact is not in question, it's simply a well-documented historical fact. Our violent foreign conflicts are never about "America's" interests, it's always about the interests of big money. Perhaps the most accessible and shortest take on this topic is Major General Smedley D. Butler's classic, War is a Racket.
Our history with Iran is a decades-long story of our illegal interventions. And it continues right up to this moment.
South America is replete with countries illegally overthrown by the U.S., it's being attempted right now in Venezuela, and has just happened in Bolivia.
Everyone should read Eduardo Galeano's great book, which chronicles how the U.S. picked up where the Europeans left off in the raping of Latin America.
With all that vast experience manipulating governments around the globe to steal natural resources and prevent weaker nations from controlling their own economy, is it conceivable that our oligarchs would allow free and honest elections in the most powerful country that has ever existed?
I'll answer that for you... NO!
I keep hearing about how socialism doesn't work, because there isn't any successful examples. Can you name one country that has attempted to curtail the excesses of Capitalism that the United States of America hasn't destroyed, or attempted to destroy, with sanctions or military action? It's like telling folks that Jasper doesn't know how to grow flowers, without mentioning you regularly run over his flower bed with a lawn mower.
Anyone who approaches an election in the U.S. without cynicism occupies a make believe land filled with larger than life fantasy heroes who were inspired by a big magic pixie to create the happiest place on Earth....after the pesky natives were removed and replaced by cheap labor.
The links below are just the tip of the iceberg. U.S. election rigging has been going on for a very long time, and it isn't the Russians that have displayed any effectiveness.
"My dear Californians, I know you filled out that registration form at the DMV. Well, you know what? I’ll bet you that your name is not going to be there because there’s a 45% chance in California when you sign up to register to vote on a piece of paper, your name is never entered on the voter rolls. Guess what? California has one of the worst voting systems in the entire nation."
"Two new court decisions have blessed mass purges of voters in two swing states, Georgia and Wisconsin. This could be the launch of a new system for purging masses of voters of color and young voters that is expected to spread to 20 or more states before the Presidential election."
"...Nonetheless, I stand by my initial statement. In these years, the American war system has proven to be a remarkable institutional success story. Think of it this way: in the military of the twenty-first century, failure is the new success. In order to grasp this, you have to stop looking at Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and the rest of those embattled lands and start looking instead at Washington, D.C. While you’re at it, you need to stop thinking that the gauge of success in war is victory. That’s so mid-twentieth century of you! In fact, almost the opposite may be true when it comes to the American way of war today.
After more than 18 years of what, once upon a time, would have been considered failure, tell me this: Is the Pentagon receiving more money or less? In fact, it’s now being fed record amounts of tax dollars (as is the whole national security state). Admittedly, Congress can’t find money for the building or rebuilding of American infrastructure -- China now has up to 30,000 kilometers of high-speed rail and the U.S. not one -- and is riven by party animosities on issue after issue, but funding the Pentagon? No problem. When it comes to that, there’s hardly a question, hardly a dispute at all. Agreement is nearly unanimous.
Failure, in other words, is the new success and that applies as well to the “industrial” part of the military-industrial complex. That reality was caught in a Washington Post headline the day after a CIA drone assassinated General Qassem Suleimani: "Defense stocks spike after airstrike against Iranian commander." Indeed, the good times clearly lay ahead. In the age of Trump, when the last secretary of defense was a former Boeing executive and the present one a former lobbyist for arms-maker Raytheon, it’s been weapons galore all the way to the bank."
"...The business elites in Italy and Germany saw the fascists as buffoons, just as Wall Street views Trump and his enablers as an embarrassment. But the capitalists would rather have Trump as president than a reformer such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. The primacy of corporate profit, as in fascist Germany and Italy, makes the business elites willfully complicit in the destruction of democracy. These capitalists are oblivious to the danger their consolidation of wealth and power poses to democracy. They ram through tax cuts for the rich and austerity programs that exacerbate the despair and rage that fuel extremism. They make war on organized labor, suppressing wages and abolishing benefits."
"After a harrowing discussion about humanity’s undeniable march toward a dystopian future, world-renowned thinker Noam Chomsky and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer move on to other pressing topics related to current events and end on a positive note."
* * * * * *
Noam Chomsky is an amazing scholar and chronicler of history and politics, and an exceptional study in what a thoughtful life looks like, but ultimately he's also a fallible human being. My disagreement with him on this issue is not a condemnation of his valuable legacy.
I PREFER NOT TO VOTE FOR EVIL
I've heard the "lesser of two evils" argument my entire life. We can never vote our principles, because "we have to stop a maniac from becoming President!" Can you recall an election without this tired canard? Thinking that continually compromising your vote simply to stop someone perceived as worse, might somehow eventually move things in a positive direction, has proven disastrous. The whole notion has been a successful con job, it has made crazier and crazier elections possible, as the choices became increasingly a choice between which candidate is less awful. American politics is a race to the bottom, accompanied by flashy sports graphics and analysis by bloviating idiots.
That the complicit U.S. Main Stream Media makes our politics an international laughing stock would be a joke, if it weren't that the result is ubiquitous international economic and military warfare by our corporate overlords. The best hope for rational politics might be to unplug your cable, turn off the TV, and research history and politics by reading books and paying attention to commentary by qualified folks, not talking heads paid millions of dollars to lie to your face.
voting for the lesser evil and expecting anything to improve, over and
over and over and over again, is (by definition?) crazy
Of course we could have instituted rank choice voting across the board, and filled Congress based on percentage of support, rather than winner takes all. A more representative legislature might have been a check on presidential power and foreign and domestic policy crimes (to simply call them blunders is macabre propaganda). Unfortunately, the corporate toadies in our oligarchic duopoly want nothing more than a less representative government.
WHO WOULDN'T WANT MORE PARTIES!
Alternatives to the degenerate Republican/Democratic Party are demonized not because they are a bad idea, but because it would shift power toward the people. The term "choices" is often bandied about as a desirable thing, unless we're in an election cycle. Arguments against Third Parties are universally arguments against a more representative government.
Below is an excellent comment posted by Griffon under the Chomsky interview.
* * * * * *
I'm callin' a heapin' helpin 'o Bullsh!t!
NC: I think you’re right to say that Trump is a symptom, but a very ugly and dangerous symptom of something much deeper. We can ask the question: What drove the Republicans off the rails? The Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history, literally, for just reasons of global warming and militarism–forget the rest, there’s plenty more–but that alone.
By this metric, the failure-crats are just as, if not more dangerous since obama and clinton tried to shove fracking down everyone's throat worldwide, pushed for the filthy "clean coal" lies, filled his cabinet with Monsanto and oil lackeys, approved Arctic drilling, purposely low-balled BP spill estimates, and the democrats have joined trump in trying to unilaterally, illegally overthrow sovereign Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world......
Remember how Captain Quisling obama drank filtered Flint water and declared it safe?
Not to mention obama adding wars in Libya, Somalia, military in Africa, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, pushed to stay in Afghanistan and launched a surge despite his certainly knowing full well that even the military didn't know what the Fukc it was doing in Afghanistan from day 1! Then there are the illegal drone bombings, obama handing trump a war-crimes-qualifying Kill List, continuing with depleted uranium munitions....
...and the democrats even continually expanding nutcase trump's defense budgets, funding the world's filthiest polluter, the U.S. military, than the next 140 countries combined!
Yeah...but somehow, it's all about trump, right? Hell, trump ain't nearly come close to obama's and clinton's body-count yet. But, that's not even the biggest, stupidest, gaping, gaping hole in Chomsky's "argument." Chomsky claims a Morton's Fork is a "rational position."
Why are we constantly refusing to "deal with the fundamental roots of what's wrong?" Because neither party enforces the law. Neither party holds responsible the War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Torture, Kill Lists, Election Theft, Injustice, Unilateral Assassination, Bribery, Corporate Welfare, Corporate Fraud, Bank Fraud, Corporate Murder, Crimes Against Sovereign Nations, Terrorism by the U.S., Indefinite Detention, Absence of Due Process, No Judicial Oversight, CIA/FBI/NSA/CPB Criminality, Domestic Spying.....ad nauseam.
The democrats stood by and allowed, encouraged and actively accelerated the sh!tstorm that is now the trump era, on top of uncritically continuing the bush doctrine.
No, we will never achieve 'dealing with the fundamental roots of what's wrong,' unless we scrap the whole rotten process/system and reboot. Put power back into the hands of the People. We're on the "lesser evil" merry-go-round and the motor's on fire. Neither the parasitic, lying democrats nor the scumbag republicans should be allowed near the levers of Public service. Shut down the corporate takeover. We need a direct democracy with authentic oversight and accountability. And consequences. We need to destroy both suicidal, psychopathic parties; Democracy's been compromised.
Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D.. Hydra grew right under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s nose and S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't notice since they were just as rotten.
The U.S. is an international juggernaut, what Americans decide impacts the entire world. As a citizen of the United States of America I have to consider how my decisions impact the entire world. Bernie Sanders is the only Democratic Party presidential candidate I can consider voting for that provides me some semblance of peace of mind. He is not perfect, but the alternatives, except for Tulsi Gabbard, disgust me.
"Ralph talks to Constitutional scholar and Senior Fox News Judicial
Analyst, Andrew Napolitano, and former chief of staff to Secretary of
State Colin Powell, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, about the legality and
consequences of the assassination of Iranian General Qassim Suleimani."
"We begin today’s show with Narges Bajoghli, professor of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University. Her recent opinion piece for The New York Times is headlined “Suleimani’s Death Changes Nothing for Iran.” She is the author of Iran Reframed: Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic. And in Baghdad, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, correspondent for The Guardian newspaper, is back with us. His latest piece is headlined “Iran ends nuclear deal commitments as fallout from Suleimani killing spreads.”
" Scheer: ...I hope everyone listening to this is, obviously, familiar with these books. One, Orwell’s, is very bleak–totalitarian, sadism and so forth of the totalitarian state; and Huxley presents a view that is also a reflection of the work that Noam Chomsky has written about the advertising society, the manipulative society, the consumer society. Manufacturing Consent, the drug effect of sports and consumerism, lulling people into acceptance. And in his letter to Orwell, and by an accident of history, Huxley had been, in 1917, Orwell’s French teacher at Eton, and knew him. And the publisher had sent it to Huxley thinking Huxley would just embrace it. And Huxley said some nice things, but he said: I think you missed the point; it won’t be so overt, because the ruling classes that want to hold on to their power will find that more subtle, manipulative means much more effective. That was Huxley’s rejoinder to Orwell.
Now, your own work has sort of talked about all of it. And when I look at the current situation in the United States now, it seems to me we have an amalgam of these two totalitarian, dystopian models emerging. We, in the words of Neil Postman, we amuse people to death, we distract them; in your writing, you’ve talked about those distractions. But we’re also a militarized state. We have punitive surveillance, and we use the espionage law. We have the boots on the ground; we have 800 bases.
So take it from there. Which–I think we can start with the assumption we have to be concerned about a dystopian future. Which model do you see emerging?
Chomsky: Actually, I could add a third one. The first of this series of dystopian novels was Zamyatin, his book We, around 1920, Russian, gave a very vivid picture of a dystopian society that kind of amalgamates the kinds of pictures that Huxley and Orwell were developing. But we are very clearly moving to a tight surveillance society. There’s interesting work on this: Shoshana Zuboff, whose work you’ve probably seen, a Harvard professor, has a book called, I think, Surveillance Capitalism, which is about the techniques that are being developed to influence, control behavior, control people through the use of modern technology."
The Trump administration claimed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was planning “imminent attacks” on US interests when it assassinated him. That lie was just destroyed, but not before countless corporate media outlets transmitted it to the public.
(Max Blumenthal at The Gray Zone)
"Soleimani had arrived in Baghdad not to plan attacks on American targets, but to coordinate de-escalation with Saudi Arabia. Indeed, he was killed while on an actual peace mission that could have created political distance between the Gulf monarchy and members of the US-led anti-Iran axis like Israel.
The catastrophic results of Soleimani’s killing recall the Obama administration’s 2016 assassination of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansur, a Taliban leader who was eager to negotiate a peaceful end to the US occupation of Afghanistan. Mansur’s death wound up empowering hardline figures in the Taliban who favored a total military victory over the US and triggered an uptick in violence across the country, dooming hopes for a negotiated exit.
Since Soleimani’s assassination, Iraq’s parliament has voted to expel all US troops from the country and Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has sworn to exact a “severe revenge” on the “the criminals who have stained their hands with [Soleimani’s] and the other martyrs’ blood…”
Trump, for his part, tweeted a litany of gangster-like threats, promising to destroy Iranian cultural sites if it retaliated and pledging to sanction Iraq “like they’ve never been before” if it ousted US troops."