“The arming of the whole proletariat with rifles, guns, and ammunition should be carried out at once [and] the workers must … organize themselves into an independent guard, with their own chiefs and general staff. … [The aim is] that the bourgeois democratic Government not only immediately loses all backing among the workers, but from the commencement finds itself under the supervision and threats of authorities behind whom stands the entire mass of the working class. …As soon as the new Government is established they will commence to fight the workers. In order that this party whose betrayal of the workers will begin with the first hour of victory, should be frustrated in its nefarious work, it is necessary to organize and arm the proletariat.” – Karl Marx, Address to the Communist League (1850)
Despite being leftist, I support the right to bear arms. I’ve seen enough gestapo tactics in my time to know better than to hand off our guns to the government. I say “despite” because large sections of the “left” in America seem to think there is a dire need for more gun control. I respectfully disagree. Not because I’m not concerned about psychopaths getting a hold of guns and shooting up schools. It’s because I’m concerned about the psychopaths already armed who work for the government, whether at the Federal, State, or City level.
When I was in Occupy Fort Myers, I had to wonder if we should have imitated the Tea Party and all had guns on us. If the police could abuse us over being present in a public park, what would they do to our gun rights if they could get away with it?
If you want to talk about gun control, let’s first talk about disarming the police. You know, the guys who have killed thousands of citizens in the past decade.
When the cops came to break up our camp, we were unarmed and fighting back with meditation. Predictably, we were scattered to the wind, and the movement never recovered.
If we lived in a civilized country, maybe gun control would work.
I have a lot of well-founded cynicism about the NRA and ALEC (both of which promote some policies which I oppose), as I do any lobbying efforts. However, I noticed that some of the most vocal critics of the latest gun bill moving through the Florida Legislature are sheriffs.
The bill is dubbed by some The Zombie Apocalypse bill. There may be some concerns with it that are justified. However, it’s a complex issue and using the complexity to weaken the 2nd Amendment is a larger problem than the reverse, in my eyes. And simple “solutions” are even worse.
At the same time, I find lots of the arguments made by gun enthusiasts to be ridiculous or even paranoid (which says a lot, coming from me). What isn’t ridiculous is the well-founded desire to be safe from an overly intrusive government that doesn’t seem interested in environmental issues, in civil rights, in a free press, or in its own transparency. They like your transparency though, and want to know everything you communicate, and where all the guns are, that’s for sure.sp;
And, if you live “off-grid,” helmet cams are not enough to protect you.
Nora Demers, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Biology, Comparative Immunology and Interdisciplinary Studies at FGCU, has a research background in stressors and how they affect an individual organism in an environment. She also speaks from a history of observations of industry practices and failures to comply with regulatory procedures.
How could proposed land development and natural resource extraction impact Southwest Florida? Since the prospect of fracking appears to be before us, I wanted to deepen my understanding of stressors involved. This is an extract from a discussion with Professor Demers in the form of a brief, fractured chat, questions and answers selected from all that were done.
In addition to what is printed below, Demers recommended Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, and also examination of PEER findings for those interested in understanding how industry can obstruct the clear presentation of scientific findings.
What are the basic problems with resource extraction?
“Any natural resource extraction brings similar stressors,” said Demers, “to the environment that have to be addressed. The ones that people are most interested in are the ones that affect their safety, and their health, and their well-being, and the aesthetic interaction that they have with their environment.”
And what do you mean by aesthetic interaction?
“Many people, especially if you think about Southwest Florida, came to this area because of the quality of life which results from the environment that we have around us. That we are adjacent to the Everglades. That we have fresh water, clean air, fishing, boating, manatee watching, birdwatching, all of these things that mean that you, that the environment that we sit in, is very important and critical to our sense of being, and sense of place.”
Do you believe fracking can be performed safely?
“It depends how you define safely and it depends how you define fracking,” said Demers. “It’s a common strategy to compartmentalize some processes. So that, for example, I prepared a report for the Army Core of Engineers Environmental Impact Study on phosphate mining, and presented a paper for the hundreds of cases of failure to comply or ask for variances to permit applications. And, after I was done with my presentation, the result of one of the people in the audience was to say ‘That wasn’t mining. That was the byproduct of the mining operation’ So, it’s very easy to separate one piece of the operation from the other, which allows them to say things like there’s no indication there’s any methane release into drinking water from the process of fracking. The issue with that, and another way that that’s used, is those methane releases were caused by horizontal, hydrological fracking for natural gas, where what’s being presented in Southwest Florida is not necessarily for natural gas, and is not exactly like horizontal natural fracking for natural gas. So, those that would deny that connection would use that distinction to say that people are overreacting and uninformed and not aware.”
And you’re arguing there’s something disingenuous about that?
“To me it’s disingenuous, but it’s standard operating procedure. It’s been that. It will continue to be that way. That’s the way it’s done. It’s been done for, as long as I know, this country’s been here.”
It’s an evasive tactic?
Because you’re saying ‘That question isn’t proper.’
“Yes, the reason I’m waffling on saying it is usually, if you look at what these, the people who are using these resources and extracting it for, are consumption, they’re not hiding it. It’s there if you want to look. But they’re not holding it up and waving a flag, like they are about some of the positive benefits, the number of jobs that will be created, the lower price of fuel we have. Where these things are short term benefits. Social traps. Where in the business community they discount the externalities. So, all of the impacts the public takes on, the expenses, are hidden from the permitting process, from the application, from the public discourse about the process. So things like air quality, water quality.”
From the types of drilling proposed, that you’re aware, in this area, what are the safety issues?
“In our area is Southwest Florida, it’s primarily fossil fuel extraction and rock. In our area right here in Lee County, it’s limestone. Some of the biggest issues are road traffic, air quality, water quantity and quality. So, the biggest thing to me, looking at the proposition to do major fossil fuel extraction in the major Everglades ecosystem is the displacement of water. The environment that you see around us, the reason that the invasive exotics, the melaleuca, the Brazilian pepper, have done the damage they are doing and the millions of dollars that we’re spending to to try to eradicate them and restore the natural landscape are because of differences in the water level that have come about because of man made modifications to that system starting way back in the 40s, starting with Disston and the other people that engineered South Florida, at our request.”
So, how does the quantity of water get affected?
“The fresh water, millions of gallons of it, are used in extracting fossil fuels from the earth. Especially in these new technologies that are being ramped up and modified to get the dregs of the fossil fuels out of the planet. What they’re doing is putting that fresh water way down into the earth, well away from our other aquifers that we’re dependent upon, because they know that it’s highly polluted. What it’s doing is taking the water off of the landscape and permanently lowering the level of the groundwater, lowering the aquifers, and that disrupts the landscape.”
And in some cases though don’t they take the water back up?
“They do. And that’s another major problem. I don’t know how much of that will be done with the proposed resource extraction down here. Sometimes that happens and what they do is they purposefully evaporate that water to reduce the quantity of toxic water that they have to deal with. What they’re doing when they do that is they’re making them aerosols and putting them into the air. So, they’re now in the air, and people and organisms are breathing them in that way.”
So, it’s not just water evaporating, chemicals as well?
“Absolutely. The chemicals went in, the chemicals come out. Another common strategy is to claim it’s only .01 percent or something of those chemicals, but these chemicals are highly toxic in very low concentrations. Another very controversial research, it’s not at all controversial in the scientific community–environmental endocrine disruptors. That’s where I’ve spent a lot of my time doing the educating that I do with my students here. I use the example of environmental endocrine disruptors, their sources, their effects, that are brushed aside because it’s that social trap thing again. Because we want the things. We do not know the unintended consequence. But, now that we do, we’re hiding it, rather than addressing it.”
In a recent Naples article, State Representative Ray Rodrigues claimed he was “mildly surprised” that his bill H.B. 157 was being framed as pro-fracking.
He also commented: “What’s unfortunate is those who have opposed us have framed this as a fracking bill, when it’s not. It’s a disclosure bill.”
Perhaps his surprise is mild because it’s public record that Rodrigues receives big oil campaign contributions and his campaign is run by Terry Miller of Strategic Advocacy, which is listed as a ALEC public relations firm by Sourcewatch.org?
What is clear is that it is a fracking bill that calls for a certain type of disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking. Disclosure that ultimately leaves the public out and ill-served if we are to consider the track record of previous fracking disclosure efforts and the elements of H.B. 157 itself.
On January 14th, 2014 FTP responded to a video of Ray Rodrigues presenting his fracking arguments to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, and we are mildly surprised that Rodrigues hasn’t come up with a better line of argument than that a bill that controls the flow of information in regards to fracking is not about fracking.
Problems with these sorts of bills, which have their models elsewhere, is that, first of all, they don’t prevent fracking, but provide a PR marketing front to reduce public unease about it, keep secret some of the chemicals employed, have had issues where the companies doing the fracking fail to report all on all their wells, allow 60 day windows before reporting which enables further coverups, and are, of course, endorsed wholeheartedly by people like the Koch brothers, from whom if you look at the image on top, Rodrigues brags of getting top marks.
Also, the bill discloses that you now have poisoned water, soil and/or air. Congratulations. And how does this help you?
I’m not sure. But it helps Big Frack if you think being told you’re being endangered, while actually not told the whole story, helps you.
On the plus side, it would appear the future of the bill has entered some darkness.
(VOICE OVER is the opinion section of the FREETHOUGHT POLICE. If you don’t agree with the opinions herein, you are causing trouble.)
Sometimes the trick to writing is just to do it while at other times gathering, forming, and analyzing ideas is more important. The horrifying whiteness of a page of blankness seems somehow to infect the mind of writers with its implications of the infinite, suggesting the terrifying prospect of their own nothingness. Freewriting is one way to overcome this confrontation with the ego and enables a writer to get beyond this guardian and enter the underlying, treasure-filled labyrinth of their vast imagination and soul.
Freewriting experiments often turn out to be interesting…eventually. All you do is sit there and write whatever comes to mind, and I mean whatever. For some, freewriting might at first take on this form:
OK. Can’t thing of anything. Yep. Still not thinking of anything. I’m hungry. This is BS. I think I will have a Snickers. Yeah. A Snickers. That would be great. Better check my smartphone. Obama is a great guy because he is black.
But eventually, you might produce something like this:
This saucer made me think of an eye. An owl’s eye. I’m seeing that owl. It is perched in a deep wood. The eyes of owls are not like my eyes. The owl sees its prey in the darkness. Perhaps I too see my prey in another darkness. And that darkness is my own mind.
It is all dictation.