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Archive for the ‘West Coast’ Category

An investigative report.

By Cory Morningstar

Part I

World Marches to Methane Annihilation

“[T]he question is not will this methane be released, but when.” – Robert C. Hendricks, NASA, November 2007

The architects of death: The Real Weapons of Mass Destruction are the melting permafrost, the destabilizing methane hydrates and the corporations such as Halliburton, ChevronTexaco, BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil who, hand in hand with the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Defense, have been planning and waiting to exploit methane hydrates for decades. Methane hydrates are considered the ultimate in climate wealth opportunity because the control of these hydrocarbons could literally shift the balance of global power (US Department of Defense). It is clear that nothing has been done to prevent catastrophic climate change – and nothing will be done. Global emissions are set to skyrocket. This article attempts to clearly articulate why, almost two decades after the first international climate change summit, the world governments have failed to protect us from dangerous atmospheric interference. As we are now living in a world that is beyond dangerous, society must be aware of, be able to critically analyze, and ultimately reject the new onslaught of misinformation that is being perpetuated by the corporate elite and the current power structures that support their agenda.

The red dots indicate where researchers have proved that gas hydrates exist and where they are suspected to exist. But no matter where researchers now drill under the sea, they find methane, often in the form of a hydrate.

What the Governments and Environmental Groups Won’t Tell You

Thawing frozen soils could unleash a carbon bomb – massive volumes of carbon dioxide and methane frozen in the earth’s soils are a “time-bomb ticking under our feet.” – World Congress of Soil Science, 4 August 2010

For anyone interested in staying alive, the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Cancún was a disaster. The world’s “leaders” – aside from those in Bolivia alone – have decided to trade off the lives of billions for insatiable corporate profits. And all the corporate-funded messages of progress and hope for the future pumped out by compromised and bought off NGOs do not make this reality any less true. Make no mistake, a mass genocide is in the making.

The end of the Permian Period, which happened 250 million years ago, was the greatest extinction event in the history of life. More than 90% of the species in existence perished. The end-Permian event was accompanied by a temperature rise of as little as 6ºC. Life took 50 million years to recover the diversity that had existed prior to this mass extinction. Although extinctions such as this one occurred long ago, today nature and science clearly indicate that such an extinction event is not far away in our future. The cataclysmic release of methane from Earth’s seafloor has already begun. This is our final warning – but is anyone listening? We must change our relationship with our planet – and fast. Market mechanisms and other false solutions that prey on ignorance and hope rather than acceptance of reality must be rejected. All fossil fuels must be left in the ground. There is no other way.

Gregory Ryskin, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University, suggests that so much methane accumulated in stagnant seas at the end of the Permian, that when it finally erupted, it spontaneously ignited, creating a worldwide blanket of fire. He suggests that even marine organisms weren’t safe; the rising methane brought up anoxic water from the deep, suffocating them.

From Ryskin’s paper titled Methane-driven oceanic eruptions and mass extinctions: “The consequences of a methane-driven oceanic eruption for marine and terrestrial life are likely to be catastrophic. Figuratively speaking, the erupting region “boils over,” ejecting a large amount of methane and other gases (e.g., CO2, H2S) into the atmosphere, and flooding large areas of land. Whereas pure methane is lighter than air, methane loaded with water droplets is much heavier, and thus spreads over the land, mixing with air in the process (and losing water as rain). The air-methane mixture is explosive at methane concentrations between 5% and 15%; as such mixtures form in different locations near the ground and are ignited by lightning, explosions and conflagrations destroy most of the terrestrial life, and also produce great amounts of smoke and of carbon dioxide. Firestorms carry smoke and dust into the upper atmosphere, where they may remain for several years; the resulting darkness and global cooling may provide an additional kill mechanism. Conversely, carbon dioxide and the remaining methane create the greenhouse effect, which may lead to global warming. ”

For a deeper understanding of Ryskin’s methane theories, he suggests to watch this short video in which he discusses methane dangers. [Viewer discretion is advised – this video contains footage of 1986 Lake Nyos Tragedy, where a cloud of CO2 asphyxiated over 1700 people.]

Hells Bells

24 November 2010: “Greenhouse gases rise to record levels in 2009″ According to Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization: “If we continue business as usual, we will not achieve the level of atmospheric concentration that would allow a two degree Celsius target.” Further, Jarraud stated that to start decreasing the levels of greenhouse gases, it is necessary to “stop totally the emissions.” Jarraud states unequivocally that “this means that the usage of fossil energy should be halted.”

Keep in mind that the two-degree target was adopted in order to protect economic interests rather than to protect life, while the low risk recommendation in 1990 of 1ºC, recommended by the United Nations Greenhouse Gas Advisory Group (UN AGGG) was effectively buried. After the Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change (IPCC) emerged as the global voice on climate change, it quickly became controlled, directed and dominated by corporate-colluded governments, and economic interests soon crushed the best interests of the people. The IPCC, backed into a corner from its inception, is muzzled due to the interference and influence of corporate powers that have political control over all IPCC summary reports. For example, Exxon, the global catalyst for climate denialism, has been a member of the IPCC since 1992. Two Exxon scientists attend all meetings and have held positions as lead authors. By way of the IPCC unanimity rule, Exxon has a veto over the IPCC. Therefore, all science must be watered down until all parties – including Exxon – approve. One could perhaps compare this arrangement to having the Hells Angels write the legislation to define and protect women’s rights.

It’s a fine day for bananafish, mind pollution, delusion and boiling oceans

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.” – Saul Bellow, Canadian writer

The short story It’s a Fine Day for Bananafish by J D Salinger, first appeared in the January 31st, 1948 issue of the New Yorker. [1] It tells the story of the disillusionment of Seymour (the main character) with those around him, who are preoccupied and enamoured by the superficial. Seymour tells a young girl named Sybil a sad story of innocent fish that find a hole full of bananas in the ocean. Upon finding the bananas, the bananafish become glutinous. They eat so many bananas that they become too fat to get out of the hole. Seymour ends his story with “Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die.” The story illustrates how affluence can foster materialism, thereby creating a life devoid of meaning. The story also illustrates how utter despair can lead one down the path of surrender. Perhaps Seymour is reflecting upon his own life – a life in high society where all too easily, he can have anything he wishes. Seymour perhaps views his own life as the banana hole where innocent fish are deceived by the appearance of a secure future – only to become trapped. Seymour is overcome with the feeling of isolation when he realizes he is no longer able to communicate in this shallow world. Perhaps believing his only hope is to escape – permanently – he sits “down on the unoccupied twin bed, [looks] at the girl, [aims] the pistol, and [fires] a bullet through his right temple.” Prior to the act of suicide Seymour’s actions are most poignant and revealing: “The young man suddenly picked up one of Sybil’s wet feet, which were drooping over the end of the float, and kissed the arch.” Seymour longed for truth, simplicity and innocence in an isolated, superficial world of illusions. This story could be and has been interpreted in many ways –  and it should be – as ultimately it is our shared humanity that connects us and challenges us. Nurturing and protecting this common thread is vital if we are to understand anything written or spoken with truth. Relentless advertising coupled with sophisticated propaganda results in mind pollution, the erosion of critical thinking and the crushing of independent thought, which effectively shuts out the truth – ultimately destroying ourselves.

Mind Pollution and Delusion

“Men die but the plutocracy is immortal; and it is necessary that fresh generations should be trained to its service.”  – Sinclair Lewis

In 2001, a documentary titled “The Day the Oceans Boiled” was released. Segments of the largely overlooked documentary were posted on YouTube in July 2009. To date, just over 200 people have been interested enough to watch it – on a planet of almost seven billion people. Compare this to the “New Mario Bros. Movie Trailer – The Game Station Exclusive!” video, which provoked over one million views in less than 48 hours, and which now exceeds over three million views. A Business Insider newswire reports that in 2010, Stefani Germanotta – known as Lady Gaga sold more magazines than anyone in the world. The “newswire report” features her “top 13 weirdest covers.” Germanotta’s covers reflect her country and mirror the underlying American culture. The New York Magazine cover caption states “I will kill to get what I need.” On Rolling Stone, dressed in a thong, Germanotta wields a machine gun. Most predominant in the images are the messages of sex, narcissism, violence and sadism that dominate our culture – enticing and fueling the acquiescent corporate collective. The Vogue Japan cover features Germanotta with her mouth open (most always predominant in the sexual commercialization of women), nude with raw red meat covering her breasts, hips and head. Germanotta, famous for stuffing dildos down her pants and spreading her legs, has been named by corporate media powerhouse Time magazine as one of the “100 most influential people in the world.” Corporate icon Forbes also lists Germanotta as one of “the 100 most powerful and influential celebrities in the world.” Time names Germanotta’s raw meat ensemble as the number one fashion statement of the year.

The question is – which no one asks – who exactly is Germanotta influencing and in what way? We know the answer to the question as to why. Governments and corporations have brilliantly and seductively kept absolute focus on the task at hand: keeping an entire global society stupefied, corporatized, numbed, dumbed down and in the dark using an onslaught of irrelevant meaningless nonsense, sophisticated propaganda and unrelenting, trivial distraction. This is an easy enough task if citizens are exhausted from working their lives away in order to pay debt that can never be paid off. This is an even easier task in the developing countries, whose exploited citizens toil daily in the grinds of the most tedious, horrific jobs in order to provide the stuff that no one needs in the developed wealthy countries. These grossly exploited people do not require the same degree of inundation and mind pollution; they are simply exhausted from the laborious, dangerous, exploitive work they must succumb to in order to feed their hungry children. Massive corporate profits, personal fortunes of the plutocracy, and the success of political efforts that will ensure the current power structures are not threatened are all at stake. Protect the current economic system at all costs. Protect the fossil fuel industry at all costs.

Above photo: Stefani Germanotta.  US Brand President Barack Obama: “It’s a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga,” Obama goes on to say: “I’ve made it!” (These remarks were made by President Obama to a receptive audience during a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, DC – all while innocent civilians continue to be killed in the US occupation in Iraq which continues today. The death toll to date is 1, 421, 933.) In a UK ‘Q’ Magazine interview Germanotta states: “Me and my fucking dick are out there for the world.” (Who knew that Obama and friends would be so receptive?) … God bless America. While that’s happening, please pass the Soma.

Toxins in, toxins out

Porn revenues top $96 billion worldwide in 2006. The more women are objectified and degraded, the higher the sales – women and young girls lose while corporate entities AT&T and General Motors 80% of the revenues. [2] Children’s social skills become inept and empathy becomes eroded as video games condition society to believe/accept violence is entertainment. Video games sales reach $46.2 billion in 2008 with the US military, psychologists and Coke executives playing pivotal roles in design, marketing and funding. Gambling brings in $92 billion in 2007. In 2009, US communications and media spending alone top $890 billion – AOL Time Warner, Viacom, General Electric, Disney and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsGroup control almost all of it. Yet, we have no money for clean, safe, renewable energy sources to save humanity. We have no money to feed our children healthy food – all while gluttony reins. Like the planet’s failing carbon sinks, our minds are failing our collective past ability to absorb information, filter it and then emit clarity to improve our collective existence. Today our minds simply take in the pollution and regurgitate the pollution – what we give back, like the failing carbon sinks, will eventually kill us.

In the meantime, governments and corporations are very quietly at work tapping into the most dangerous aspect of climate change, which no one speaks of – the methane hydrates. Read the rest of this entry »

—for immediate release—

Website calls on employees, public to “Save Greenpeace”

Hiring Tzeporah Berman jeopardizes 39 year legacy of environmental activism

VANCOUVER, March 4–Since Greenpeace International announced its hiring of ForestEthics founder and current Power Up Canada director Tzeporah Berman as co-director of its climate campaign, a chorus of long-time environmental activists have voiced their strong opposition.

Today, activists launched a new website they hope will amplify these voices and help convince Greenpeace to change direction:

Greenpeace International co-founder Rex Weyler (not affiliated with called the decision to hire Berman “an all-out betrayal of environmentalism, of the groups and activists who built the environmental movement in Canada and in the world, and a betrayal of the Earth itself.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Caravan in Support of Communities On The Front Lines Of Resistance at Big Mountain, Black Mesa, AZ.

November 21-28, 2009

The caravan is full. It is not fair to all the others organizing or to the families for people jump on at the last minute. Please consider coming out this winter or spring or for next year’s caravan. If you’ve already been in touch with us, ok. Thank you for your support!

Greetings from Black Mesa Indigenous Support,

We are excited to inform you that a caravan of work crews isl once again converging from across the country in support of residents of the Big Mountain regions of Black Mesa. On behalf of their peoples, their sacred ancestral lands and future generations, these communities continue to carry out a staunch resistance to the efforts of the US Government, which is acting in the interests of the Peabody Coal Company, to devastate whole communities and ecosystems and greatly de-stabilize our planet’s climate for the profit of an elite few.

By assisting with direct, on-land projects you are helping families stay on their ancestral homelands in resistance to an illegal occupation. These courageous communities serve as the very blockade to coal mining! More than 14,000 Dine’ people have been forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands due to spin created by the U.S government & Peabody Coal, under the guise of the so-called “Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.” Families are now in their THIRD DECADE resisting this travesty and, as you can imagine, many residents are very elderly and winters can be rough. With their guidance, the aim of this caravan is to honor the elders and to generate support in the form of direct, on-land support: chopping and hauling firewood, doing minor repair work, offering holistic health care, and sheep-herding before the approaching cold winter months arrive.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 9, 2009
10:03 AM

Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

Agency Threatens Discipline for Off-Duty Warnings on Cap & Trade Failures

WASHINGTON – November 9 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered two of its
attorneys to remove a video they posted on YouTube about problems with
climate change legislation backed by the Obama administration or face
"disciplinary action", according to documents released today by Public
Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The couple had
received clearance for posting the video but EPA took issue with its
content following publication of an op-ed piece by the two in The
Washington Post on October 31.

Read the rest of this entry »

LA Victory: Community stops power plant

LA Victory: Community stops power plant

A Victory For LA’s Air And A Victory for the Planet!
Communities for a Better Environment

Move over Al Gore, make room for some new environmental leaders – working class Latina mothers and high school youth from South East Los Angeles!

After 3 years of organizing, mobilizing, advocacy and lawsuits, CBE members in Southeast Los Angeles stopped a 943 megawatt fossil fuel power plant that would have emitted over 1.7 million pounds of toxic pollution per year as well as 2.8 million tons of greenhouse gases.

The strength of this exciting grassroots effort compelled the City of Vernon to withdraw their application for the power plant on September 28th, 2009. The was a life-and-death struggle since the power plant emissions could have caused as many as one dozen deaths every year. Since these facilities usually operate for fity years, literally hundreds of lives have been saved.

This was not only a local victory. By preventing the emission of more than 200 million tons of greenhouse gasses, the mujeres and youth made a major contrubution to the flight against global warming. They have also created a community empowerment model for teh other 22 California communities facing a similar threat of fossil fuel power plants.

In the immortal words of Cesar Chavez: Si Se Puede!

Tired of hearing about climate change? Then do something?



read on for more information!

Read the rest of this entry »


State Attorney General Jerry Brown has offered to mediate negotiations between Chevron, the city of Richmond and three environmental groups in an effort to reach an agreement that will allow Chevron to resume construction of an upgrade to its Richmond refinery, Brown said today.

More than 1,000 construction workers were laid off early this month after the refinery was ordered to stop work on its Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project, according to Chevron.

Brown, who made his offer at the Richmond City Council meeting Tuesday night, said he believes the issues could be resolved quickly.

“This is a huge problem when 1,000 hard working Americans are out of work,” Brown said. “I want to get them back to work.”

He said he believes the difference between the two sides is relatively small, particularly when compared to the financial hardship that workers are experiencing as a result of the work stoppage.

“I believe it can be resolved,” Brown said.

Following Brown’s statement, the Richmond City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging Chevron and the environmental groups to take Brown up on his offer, Brown said.

“We are very ready, willing and able to join Attorney General Jerry Brown in settlement talks,” Mimi Ho with the environmental group Asian Pacific Environmental Network said today.

The Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Communities for a Better Environment and the West County Toxics Coalition sued Chevron in September to stop the project, which they claim would give the refinery the capacity to process heavier crude oil and could result in increased pollution in nearby communities.

Ho said all three environmental groups hoped Chevron would agree to Brown’s offer.

“Community members need both jobs and health,” Ho said.

Chevron spokesman Brent Tippen, however, said this afternoon that Chevron appreciates Brown’s offer, but that the company does not want Brown to mediate negotiations.

The two sides are currently in private mediation and Tippen said that although the mediation adjourned today, the company believes it is premature to consider other mediation proposals.

The Richmond City Council approved the project by a 5-4 vote last July and Chevron broke ground in September. At that time, the three environmental groups, represented by the law firm Earthjustice, sued the refinery to stop the project.

In June, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Barbara Zuniga ruled that the environmental impact report for the project was invalid because it failed to disclose whether it would enable the refinery to process heavier crude oil.

On July 1, Zuniga gave the refinery 60 days to demobilize construction and Chevron began laying off workers.

On Monday, Chevron filed a notice of appeal in the state appeals court seeking to overturn Zuniga’s ruling.

Ho said environmentalists want an enforceable commitment from Chevron that it will not begin processing heavier crude oil.

Chevron has repeatedly said that it did not plan to process heavier crude, but has declined agree to a cap on the quality of crude oil it would be refining.

“We want an enforceable commitment that the project will not worsen the health impact on the community,” Ho said.

If you’re a community member in the Bay Area interested in helping the Mobilization for Climate Justice, here are volunteer opportunities where we need the most help.

Chevron owes more to Richmond and California

Antonia Juhasz

Friday, July 17, 2009

This week, Fortune magazine released its list of the 500 largest corporations in the world. With a nearly 25 percent increase in its revenues from 2007, Chevron Corp. moved from the sixth to the fifth largest corporation in the world. Only 36 countries on the planet had GDPs larger than Chevron’s $263 billion in 2008 revenues.

By revenue, Chevron is the largest corporation in California, the second-largest U.S. oil corporation and the third-largest corporation in the nation. Chevron’s nearly $24 billion in profits for 2008 were its largest on record and the fourth-highest profits of any corporation in the world. Chevron’s profits have increased every year since 2002, increasing by an astounding 2,100 percent.

Those who have not benefited are the Richmond community, the site of Chevron’s oldest refinery, and the state of California.

In November, Richmond voters passed Measure T. At the current price of oil, it would provide the city with an additional $16 million annually from Chevron (adding 11 percent to the city’s tax revenues). Chevron sued, challenging the new tax.

Chevron has also repeatedly blocked state initiatives to impose a severance tax on oil extracted in the state. California is the only major oil producing state in the nation without such a tax. It is estimated that imposition of a severance tax could bring in over $1 billion a year to the California state budget.

Moreover, the Los Angeles Times reports Chevron’s role in lobbying to keep initiatives to increase corporate taxation more broadly off the table in the state’s budget negotiations.

The Chevron Richmond refinery is already the largest industrial polluter in the Bay Area. The Environmental Protection Agency reported nearly 100,000 pounds of toxic waste from the site in 2007, including more than 4,000 pounds of benzene, a known human carcinogen. The refinery is now, and has been, listed as in “high priority violation” of air compliance standards, among other violations, by the EPA every year since at least 2006.

Chevron now wants to retool the refinery to burn heavier crude that can be much more polluting than lighter grades. The senior scientist at Richmond’s Communities for a Better Environment has found no technological fix available to ensure that a refinery can mitigate this type of pollution. CBE joined other community health and environmental groups to block the retooling, and the court ruled in their favor. The groups are now asking the city to better regulate the refinery by specifically capping the type of crude it can refine to ban the heavier more polluting grades. Chevron has said it plans to appeal the ruling. (It will also give Richmond community programs $565,000 in grants connected to the project.)

Unfortunately, Chevron had already begun construction at the refinery and subsequently laid off 1,100 workers. Community groups have asked Chevron to instead work on necessary upgrades they have been demanding for years to make the refinery cleaner and safer – work that would create many jobs.

More beneficial to the long-term health of all who live in the city – including refinery workers – is not only a cleaner and safer refinery, but a company willing to give back to the communities within which it operates and the state it calls home.

Antonia Juhasz is the director of the Chevron program at Global Exchange in San

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West Coast Convergence

West Coast Convergence