This is some aerial footage of the Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill that is currently NOT being reported by network media.
In my Kansas City market, less than 1 minute of reporting time went into describing to the people in our area the nature of the event, it’s extent and steps toward resolution. They did an even poorer job of explaining that the toxic mess left by this spill is actually Canadian Tar Sands, the same evil goo that oil companies want to ship through the Keystone XL pipeline once they get enough corrupt politicians on board to make it legal.
It may just be me, but what I see in the video looks quite a bit larger than the problem briefly described on our lame television news. Seriously, an abusive basketball coach is currently getting more air time for being a douchebag than this oil spill is for destroying an entire housing development’s worth, polluting a substantial adjacent waterway, killing local wildlife and rendering homes uninhabitable for many in the neighborhood.
ALEC is an acronym for the American Legislative Exchange Council and it is an exclusive membership organization of global corporations and local legislators that meet privately to draft “model bills” that effectively hijack our laws for the express purpose of increasing their revenues.
ALEC-approved “model bills” are passed along to cooperative politicians (read: paid off) eager to push the corporate agenda of the 1%.
ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these “model bills” introduced to Congress by legislative members each year with one in every five of them enacted into law.
Once legislators return to their state with corporate-sponsored ALEC legislation in hand, the legislators themselves become “super-lobbyists” for ALEC’s corporate agenda, effectively cutting out the middlemen (traditional lobbyists and voters).
Even so, ALEC enjoys a 501(c)(3) classification, which allows it to keep its tax-exempt status while accepting grants from foundations, corporations and other donors.
ALEC consists of 2,000 legislative members and 300 or more corporate members. The unelected corporate representatives (often registered lobbyists) sit as equals with our elected representatives on 9 task forces where they have a “voice and a vote” on model legislation.
It should come as no surprise that more than 98% of ALEC’s revenues come from sources other than legislative dues, such as corporations, corporate trade groups and corporate foundations.
ALEC member corporations number into the thousands with an elite Corporate Board comprised of the largest corporations in the world including: Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Kraft, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Koch Industries, ExxonMobile, Pfizer and AT&T among others.
Here are some of the nifty bills they’ve recently introduced in my home state, Missouri:
MO House Bill 1104 – Changes the laws regarding elections by requiring a voter to provide photo identification. This is a clear case of voter suppresssion, which is fear-based on non-existent voter impersonation fraud.
According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, an estimated 250,000 legally registered Missouri voters don’t have a government-issued photo ID. The Missouri voter ID bill, in conjunct with HB 1147, which requires that driver’s license exams only be given in English, would effectively revoke non-English speakers’ right to vote regardless of their legal citizenship status.
MO Senate Bill 590 – Would require K-12 schools to verify the immigration status of all students, essentially turning already underfunded and overburdened school districts and police departments into immigration agents.
In a state where many districts are facing budget crises, SB 590 creates overwhelming requirements on administrators’ time and energy and it alienates Missouri’s hard working immigrant families.
These unnecessary provisions are already an expensive enforcement nightmare elsewhere (Alabama, Arizona) and are currently the subject of intense litigation efforts for repeal in those states.
MO Senate Bill 592 – Is a “simple” re-wording of a current anti-discrimination law that would effectively give employers a broader range of exemptions in terminating employees for questionable reasons.
The bill makes it substantially more difficult for employees to protect themselves against workplace discrimination based in their religion, race or sexual identitiy. SB 592 is yet another ALEC-sponsored bill intended to suppress the rights of the working class in Missouri.
Though only a small sample of “model bills,” these shed light upon the basic operations of ALEC.
NOW is the time to stand up and fight this corporate legislation without representation!!!
One thing that Missouri voters can do is to vote out the slimy bastards who are in bed with ALEC corporations. Here is a current list of offending politicians and their districts in Missouri:
House of Representatives
Walt Bivins (R-97) – Stanley Cox (R-118) – Ed Emery (R-126) – House Majority Leader Timothy Jones (R-89) – Rodney Schad (R-115) – Jason Smith (R-150) – Vicki Scneider (R- 17) – Steven Tilley (R-106) – Andrew Koenig (R-88) – Shane Schoeller (R-139) – Cole McNary (R-86) – Darrell L. Pollock (R-146) – Shelley Keeney (R-156) – Donna Lichtenegger (R-157) – Ellen Brandorr (R-160) – Eric Burlison (R-136) – Keith Frederick (R-149) – Sue Allen (R-92) – William White (R-120) – Jerry Nolte (R-33) – Scott D. Diekhaus (R-109) – Bill Lant (R-131) – Sandy Crawford (R-119) – Mike Kelley (R-126) – Barney Fisher (R-125) – Dave Hinson (R-198) – Sue Entlicher (R-133) – Tony Dugger (R-144) – Noel Torpey (R-55) – Paul R. Curtman (R-105) – John J. Diehl, Jr. (R-87) – Zachary Wyatt (R-2) – Therese Sander (R-22) – Doug Ervin (R-35) – Mike Colona (D-St. Louis)
Jack Goodman (R-29) – Brian D. Nieves (R-98) – Robert Mayer (R-25) – Jim Lembke (R-1) – Mike L. Parson (R-28) – John Griesheimer (R-26) – Jane D. Cunningham (R-7) – Ron Richard (R-129)
ALEC’s Missouri State “Chairmen”
Rep. Timothy Jones (R) – Rep. Jason Smith (R) – Rep. Jim Ellington (R) – Tom Krewson (Comcast) – Mary Scruggs (Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives)
Does it seem like there are an awful lot of Republicans on this list?
Politicians just don’t tell the truth. They claim that budget deficits will destroy us and yet constantly fail to make any meaningful reductions. Why?
It’s because they know that the whole Capitalist system requires ever increasing debt to survive and that we’re now at a point where no country can ever pay its debt. Ever.
To better understand the real problem, imagine that 1 dollar is the equivalent of travelling backward in time for 1 second.
That means that 60 dollars would represent going back in time 1 minute. Accordingly, 1 hour ago would equal 3,600 dollars. You get the idea.
That means 1 million dollars would take you back 12 days. That’s still pretty easy to imagine.
One billion dollars, however, is equal to 31,000 years ago. Whoa! That’s a surprise. It’s MUCH larger than it sounds.
So what must 1 trillion dollars look like?
One trillion dollars would take you back to 30,000 B.C. The oldest known cave paintings are about that old.
What’s truly shocking is that our current deficit is around 16 trillion dollars, which is like going back in time to 420,000 B.C.
Considering that Man didn’t start using tools until around 200,000 B.C., you can see that this is now an un-imaginable sum. That’s why we’ll never fix it. The hole is so deep and the system is so dependent on it getting deeper that no human will ever see sovereign debt eliminated nor meaningfully reduced.
So why do politicians keep demanding that we cut spending? It’s simple:
All governments are now owned by corporations and these corporations make more money when there’s less competition. Functioning government programs are essentially providing services that could be better raped if they were privatized. Cutting government spending is an efficient way to drive them out of business.
It’s a matter of pure greed. Medicare, for example, operates with only a 3% administrative cost. Private health insurers operate at closer to 30%. That’s a ten-fold increase in profits to some large corporation if Medicare can be privatized.
It’s all about the money. It’s always about the money. Corporations and their Republican puppets just can’t ever seem to get enough of it.
That’s why they wan’t to reign in the deficit. It’s certainly not because they’re concerned that somebody else won’t get paid.
My, my, how some things never change. This video was created for the 2008 presidential election cycle and was actually filmed in 2007.
That’s 5 years ago.
Compared to their current messaging, it’s as if nothing has changed in the last 5 years. This video even predicted kid soldiers being sent to Iran. That kind of unwavering predictability isn’t natural.
That tells me one of two things: either the Republicans are the most unimaginative, non-observant yet obedient drones that have ever existed or they are simply stooges for some greater power ($$$) that has a clear and rigid agenda for them to fulfill.
Maybe it’s a little of both. Regardless, they are perfectly willing “to just follow orders.” That, of course, never, ever leads to negative outcomes.
In the ongoing coverage of the plan to build the Keystone XL pipeline to pump crude tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, a key issue is too often ignored: the ecological horror caused by the oil’s extraction. The vast tar sands surface mines of Alberta are among the most destructive industrial projects in human history, having already transformed more than 260 square miles of wetlands and forest into a post-apocalyptic moonscape.
Because few Americans will ever see this scorched-earth degradation firsthand, here is a selection of images taken by Canadian photographer Garth Lenz as part of his series, The True Costs of Oil.
On average, it takes four tons of bitumen-laden earth from surface mines to produce just a single barrel of oil.
That is not a typo: four tons = one barrel.
To get to the sand, workers first scrape off all trees, soil, grasses, and wildlife, then dig down as deep as 250 feet. Syncrude’s mine near Fort McMurray, now more than 30 years old, has gobbled up 73 square miles of land and is the biggest mine of any kind in the world.
The tar sand is transported in cartoonishly big vehicles, like this Caterpillar dump truck, which can carry up to 100 tons. The largest mining truck in use in Canada, the Caterpillar 797B (not pictured), can haul up to 400 tons in a single load. Its tires are 12 feet in diameter, and the driver sits 21 feet above the road.
Only 10 to 15 percent of the harvested sand contains bitumen—the ultra-viscous tar-like substance that eventually gets processed into gasoline. The rest gets dumped into tailing “ponds,” which are actually unlined, sludge-filled lakes so big they can be seen from space and so toxic that workers use propane cannons to scare away birds that try to land in them. The oil industry estimates that about 3 million gallons of tailing-pond runoff leaks into the Canadian groundwater supply daily.
Extracting and processing tar sands requires three to four times more energy than conventional oil drilling. The tar sands fields of Alberta are already Canada’s single greatest source of carbon dioxide emissions, and the country has plans to double that output within 10 years. A relatively new extraction process, called steam-activated gravity drainage, does less damage to the landscape but will hasten climate disruption by opening up access to deeper tar sands deposits in an area the size of Florida.