[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 30, 2013 by admin in PoliticsWednesday, January 30th, 2013
The French military fighting for uranium mining conglomerates? I guess I don’t care if corporate proxy wars are the next big thing, as long as it means that evil global megacorporations wipe each other out.
I’ll always remember the first time I heard the name “United Fruit”. I was a teen reading (yup, reading) Playboy, and in an interview with Mel Brooks, he made some reference to his bum being blown off in the war, and being replaced with a United Fruit box. This was before the web, so even though the reference perplexed me, I forgot about it until years later, when I was reading about the atrocities committed by corporate America in the interest of keeping the bananas on your breakfast cereal cheap. To this day, I’m rather astounded by the gall of naming a clothing store “Banana Republic”. Yeah, let’s go shopping at that store that’s run by a CIA puppet who’s taking grift from Chiquita and Coca Cola and killing his compatriots to keep the Latin American masses enslaved and the banana split floats affordable at Dairy Queen. I was reminded of all of this recently when I ran across this piece which tells the rather bizarre story of how Exxon and BP seem to be on the verge of being directly at war with each other in Iraq. The story intrigued me, because futurist thinkers for a couple of decades have talked about the Corporate Nation State, and although we see signs of this evolution all around us in America – largely in the form of lobby money and politicians on the corporate grift – this is the first time I’d ever heard of two corporations manipulating two governments that are potential enemies, and driving them toward war. I mean, we’ve all heard of the destabilizing strategies talked about in books like Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and we’ve all heard of proxy wars, but corporate proxy wars? What a crazy idea! But as I poked around a bit to see if there were other conflicts like this elsewhere, I immediately ran across this piece about the Mali resource war, which describes the first ever use of the French military to directly defend the assets of a corporation, in this case the Areva Mining Business Group, which mines Uranium in Mali and elsewhere. This is indeed probably the war of the future. It’s fairly common knowledge that near future wars will likely be over resources like water or oil, but it hadn’t occurred to me personally just who would be fighting them. And it actually makes a perverted and troubling kind of sense that it would be the corporations that profit from those resources who would wage the wars. Imagine Coke and Pepsi duking it out over sugar resources, or Verizon and AT&T battling for frequency spectra as we keep demanding more and more ways to be wireless and connected. I guess our only real concern right now should be how good the pay is, and whether they’ll call us “employees of the United States” or “citizens of Monsanto”.
No one knows the long-term effects of Corexit, the toxic dispersant used to clean up the Deepwater Oil Spill, but one short-term effect seems to be invisibility in the media.
This is part two of our Gulf Oil Spill Weather
Report . The forecast still calls for widely
scattered blamestorming, with high-pressure
greenwashing continuing through 2050.
After spending about an hour looking for information on the long-term effects of Corexit, the dispersant used during the BP Deepwater oil spill in the gulf last year, I’m convinced that it not only does a great job of making oil disappear from sight, it also magically leaves few traces of itself in the media. The unfortunate thing about the fact that it does such a great job of making oil disappear from sight is that it apparently accomplishes this by just shoving it underwater, making it nearly impossible to ascertain its effects on human or sea life. Which in my view, makes it more of a public relations tool than an oil cleanup tool. I’ve been perplexed for some time about why – after being told to stop by the EPA to stop using it – that BP chose to dump over a million gallons of a substance known to be horrifically toxic into the gulf, especially when there were more effective, less toxic options available. Well, the fact that the company that makes Corexit was started by Exxon, meaning the shareholders of both the energy company that caused the spill and the company tasked with cleaning it up would profit certainly explains part of it. But another critical part of why BP was probably so emphatic about using it was simple PR. No one seems know what the long-term effects of Corexit are, nor do they seem to know what the long term effects of oil on the ocean bottom are. I guess we’ll be finding out in the coming years, because that’s where a lot of it remains. I can’t imagine oil on the ocean bottom is a good thing; last I knew, the bottom of the ocean was still directly connected to the top of it by a bunch of water. Part of Corexit’s disappearing act was made possible by the fact that Nalco, the company that makes it, was way ahead in the PR game, plucking the best of DC’s revolving door lobbyist talent way back in June. And it’s interesting to note that one of the key points in the government’s Oil Spill Commission report on the disaster highlights one very significant fact – not only do the agencies assigned to regulating oil drilling lack the teeth to enforce any useful safeguards, they’re out-gunned and out-financed by an industry that is magnitudes ahead of them in technology and knowledge as well. The first video production from the commission’s report is below; it views a bit like a damage control piece for US regulatory agencies. Read the rest of this entry »
The forecast calls for widely scattered blamestorming, with high-pressure greenwashing continuing through 2050.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the only global media operation that’s covering the tragic aftermath of BP’s use of toxic dispersants is Al Jazeera. In spite of local news reports of illness from the chemicals as early as May, 2010, mainstream American media sources like MSNBC assured us back in August that the 1.8 million gallons of toxic dispersants dumped in the gulf were less toxic than the oil itself. And there’s not a lot of incentive to dig into this story, when BP and the NOAA have partnered for a propaganda campaign aimed at middle schoolers, in which they use cooking oil and detergent to show how safe the use of dispersants was. I’m no scientist, but detergent seems like a poor analogy for a chemical that causes heart trouble, organ damage, and rectal bleeding . And while major news sources like the WSJ were questioning the cleanup figures back in August, most media sources have since gone silent on the topic, except to acknowledge that Greenpeace is still looking into things. Or to talk about the Halliburton Blamestorm about the concrete used in the well. In fact, they’re telling us things are fine. Eat the fish. The fish that have been swimming in the water that just months ago would explode in the lab when tested for toxicity. Read the rest of this entry »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 31, 2010 by admin in Clean & GreenMonday, May 31st, 2010
Denial Is Not A River In Egypt. But if it were, it would probably be covered in oil as well.
Are you done bellyaching about the gulf oil spill yet? ’cause I didn’t hear a peep out of you as 448 million gallons of oil spewed from the ground in Nigeria in a continuous catastrophe over the last 50 years. 214 million of which spilled just this month. And I haven’t seen you sell your car or stop using any of the products that we use every day that are derived from petroleum (see a short list below). We can keep pointing fingers at Obama or at BP or Satan – or little oil fairies, for that matter. But when it comes right down to it, the parties responsible are you and me. We’re like an alcoholic who blames last night’s bartender for our waking up half off the bed with a splitting headache and our pants around our ankles using clever lines like “I was overserved last night”. The term “oil addiction” is almost hackneyed by now, but still as accurate as it ever was. If you haven’t heard your behavior framed that way before, check out the article The price of our oil addiction- excerpted from David Elliot Cohen’s What Matters, or the 2004 book Oil Addiction: The World In Peril. And please, do me a favor. Until you’re ready to check into rehab, stop complaining about your dealer. And if you’re gonna keep using, maybe you should start gambling too. There’s a great web site where you can bet on the spill-related extinctions of gulf species. You may as well. If you keep living the way you do, you could make a crapload betting against your own species. Read the rest of this entry »