Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hyla verisicolor

allow use with credit to this link

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In Honor Of John Wilson

John was chief auditor for the Sierra Club not so long ago.
He enjoyed his trips to California and his involvement with nature.

He regularly met with local Sierra members for the Friday evening walk when they could have them. He and they shared a common respect for the environment and the planet.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Black Walnut Was The Bed Bug Cure Before DDT

This is from a bedbug forum 2007: here
Thanks Buggywoe


Posted 3 years ago
Sun Jul 22 2007 11:25:52

I had actually ordered the black walnut dust a few months ago to use as a hair dye. I had quite a bit left when the bedbugs hit. I heard that before the good ol' days of DDT, people used to place black walnut branches and leaves beneath their beds to avoid bedbugs. I also came across a website that mentioned in brief that the National Park Service recommends black walnut as a natural insecticide (the chemical is called "juglone"). So I decided to give it a try until the pesticides I ordered arrived. I sprinkled it in every crack and crevice. And, as I mentioned in my post, I discovered a number of dead bugs around the dust. They were extremely dried up. Black walnut also serves as an astringent, so I wonder if that also played a role...

And I would be very careful with it. People unlucky enough to be allergic to it can suffer a nasty rash. Just do a patch test 24 hours before you decide to sprinkle it in your sheets, around your apartment, etc. Also, because it is a natural dye, it can stain when wet. So don't sprinkle it on your white couch...

I also believe neem oil to be somewhat effective. Supposedly it interferes with the bedbugs' ability to molt and move on to the next stage of adulthood. It also supposedly disrupts their ability/desire to feed. You have to spray it once a day because it is sensitive to light and loses its effectiveness. Once again, too much of this oil can be a bad thing. Use it with caution. It is an insecticide, albeit a "natural" one...

I hope this helps! These things are driving me mad, but, because of these various treatments, I've experienced great relief. I just can't wait until the "real" insecticides arrive. I'm all for natural cures, but I'd rather be safe than sorry...


Thursday, November 11, 2010

What a scientist didn't tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths

Coincidence? We have industrial chemicals all around. Silent Spring is over the horizon unless we clear out our chemicals and boycott/protest the onslaught to the environment.

By Katherine Eban, contributor
October 8, 2010: 1:42 PM ET

FORTUNE -- Few ecological disasters have been as confounding as the massive and devastating die-off of the world's honeybees. The phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) -- in which disoriented honeybees die far from their hives -- has kept scientists, beekeepers, and regulators desperately seeking the cause. After all, the honeybee, nature's ultimate utility player, pollinates a third of all the food we eat and contributes an estimated $15 billion in annual agriculture revenue to the U.S. economy.

The long list of possible suspects has included pests, viruses, fungi, and also pesticides, particularly so-called neonicotinoids, a class of neurotoxins that kills insects by attacking their nervous systems. For years, their leading manufacturer, Bayer Crop Science, a subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG (BAYRY), has tangled with regulators and fended off lawsuits from angry beekeepers who allege that the pesticides have disoriented and ultimately killed their bees. The company has countered that, when used correctly, the pesticides pose little risk.

2056Email Print CommentA cheer must have gone up at Bayer on Thursday when a front-page New York Times article, under the headline "Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery," described how a newly released study pinpoints a different cause for the die-off: "a fungus tag-teaming with a virus." The study, written in collaboration with Army scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center outside Baltimore, analyzed the proteins of afflicted bees using a new Army software system. The Bayer pesticides, however, go unmentioned.

What the Times article did not explore -- nor did the study disclose -- was the relationship between the study's lead author, Montana bee researcher Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, and Bayer Crop Science. In recent years Bromenshenk has received a significant research grant from Bayer to study bee pollination. Indeed, before receiving the Bayer funding, Bromenshenk was lined up on the opposite side: He had signed on to serve as an expert witness for beekeepers who brought a class-action lawsuit against Bayer in 2003. He then dropped out and received the grant.

Reporter: scientist "did not volunteer" funding sources

Bromenshenk's company, Bee Alert Technology, which is developing hand-held acoustic scanners that use sound to detect various bee ailments, will profit more from a finding that disease, and not pesticides, is harming bees. Two years ago Bromenshenk acknowledged as much to me when I was reporting on the possible neonicotinoid/CCD connection for Conde Nast Portfolio magazine, which folded before I completed my reporting.

Bromenshenk defends the study and emphasized that it did not examine the impact of pesticides. "It wasn't on the table because others are funded to do that," he says, noting that no Bayer funds were used on the new study. Bromenshenk vociferously denies that receiving funding from Bayer (to study bee pollination of onions) had anything to do with his decision to withdraw from the plaintiff's side in the litigation against Bayer. "We got no money from Bayer," he says. "We did no work for Bayer; Bayer was sending us warning letters by lawyers."

A Bayer publicist reached last night said she was not authorized to comment on the topic but was trying to reach an official company spokesperson.

The Times reporter who authored the recent article, Kirk Johnson, responded in an e-mail that Dr. Bromenshenk "did not volunteer his funding sources." Johnson's e-mail notes that he found the peer-reviewed scientific paper cautious and that he "tried to convey that caution in my story." Adds Johnson: The study "doesn't say pesticides aren't a cause of the underlying vulnerability that the virus-fungus combo then exploits...."

At least one scientist questions the new study. Dr. James Frazier, professor of entomology at Penn State University, who is currently researching the sublethal impact of pesticides on bees, said that while Bromenshenk's study generated some useful data, Bromenshenk has a conflict of interest as CEO of a company developing scanners to diagnose bee diseases. "He could benefit financially from that if this thing gets popularized," Frazier says, "so it's a difficult situation to deal with." He adds that his own research has shown that pesticides affect bees "absolutely, in multiple ways."

Underlying cause of bee deaths still unclear

Dr. Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with the health group at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that while the Bromenshenk/Army study is interesting, it fails to ask the underlying question "Why are colonies dying? Is it because they're getting weak? People who have HIV don't die of HIV. They die of other diseases they get because their immune systems are knocked off, making them more susceptible." In other words, pesticides could weaken the bees -- and then the virus/fungus combination finishes them off. That notion, however, is not explored in the new study.

In 2008 the NRDC sued the Environmental Protection Agency after it failed to release Bayer's underlying studies on the safety of its neonicotinoids. The federal agency has since changed course, and NRDC researchers are being allowed to sift through the Bayer studies, an NRDC spokesman says.

The EPA has based its approval of neonicotinoids on the fact that the amounts found in pollen and nectar were low enough to not be lethal to the bees -- the only metric they have to measure whether to approve a pesticide or not. But studies have shown that at low doses, the neonicotinoids have sublethal effects that impair bees' learning and memory. The USDA's chief researcher, Jeff Pettis, told me in 2008 that pesticides were definitely "on the list" as a primary stressor that could make bees more vulnerable to other factors, like pests and bacteria.

In 1999, France banned Imidacloprid after the death of a third of its honeybees. A subsequent report prepared for the French agricultural ministry found that even tiny sublethal amounts could disorient bees, diminish their foraging activities, and thus endanger the entire colony. Other countries, including Italy, have banned certain neonicotinoids.

Bayer v. beekeepers

As for the Bayer-Bromenshenk connection, in 2003 a group of 13 North Dakota beekeepers brought a class-action lawsuit against Bayer, alleging that the company's neonicotinoid, Imidacloprid, which had been used in nearby fields, was responsible for the loss of more than 60% of their hives. "My bees were getting drunk," Chris Charles, a beekeeper in Carrington, N.D., and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, told me in 2008. "They couldn't walk a white line anymore -- they just hung around outside the hive. They couldn't work."

Charles and the other North Dakota beekeepers hired Bromenshenk as an expert witness. Bayer did not dispute that Imidacloprid was found among the bees and their hives. The company simply argued that the amount had not been enough to kill them.

As the North Dakota lawsuit moved forward, an expert witness for the beekeepers, Dr. Daniel Mayer, a now retired bee expert from Washington State University, traveled to 17 different bee yards in North Dakota and observed dead bees and bees in the throes of what looked like Imidacloprid poisoning, he told me in 2008. He theorized that after foraging in planted fields where the seeds had been treated with Imidacloprid, the bees then brought the pesticide back to the hive, where it built up in the wax combs.

The beekeepers tried to enlist more expert witnesses, but others declined, according to two of the beekeeper plaintiffs, in large part because they had taken research money from Bayer and did not want to testify against the company. One who agreed -- Bromenshenk -- subsequently backed out and got a research grant from Bayer. Bromenshenk insists the two actions were unrelated. "It was a personal decision," he says. "I, in good conscience, couldn't charge beekeepers for services when I couldn't help them." He adds, "Eventually, the lawyers stopped calling. I didn't quit. They just stopped calling."

In June 2008 a district court judge in Pennsylvania defanged the beekeepers' lawsuit by siding with Bayer to exclude Mayer's testimony and the initial test results from a laboratory in Jacksonville, Fla., that had found significant amounts of Imidacloprid in the honeybee samples.

That same year Bromenshenk brokered a meeting between Bayer and beekeepers. When I interviewed Bromenshenk that year, he said that increasing frustration with the accusations against Bayer, which he described as a "runaway train," led him to contact the company in an effort to create a dialogue between Bayer and the beekeepers. Because of his efforts, in November 2008, Bayer scientists sat down in Lake Tahoe, Nev., with a small group of American beekeepers to establish a dialogue. The issues discussed were "trust and transparency," Bromenshenk told me. "How did Bayer do its testing, and do we trust the results?" Generally beekeepers and scientists have been highly critical of the design of Bayer's studies and deeply suspicious over who is or isn't on Bayer's payroll.

After the meeting, Bayer tentatively agreed to appoint a beekeeper advisory board to help redesign studies so that beekeepers could trust the results. But many beekeepers see the advisory board and grant money as a ruse on Bayer's part to silence its enemies by holding them close. "They have the bee industry so un-united," says Jim Doan, once New York State's busiest beekeeper until CCD decimated his business. "Even the researchers are off working on anything but the pesticide issue."

Bromenshenk's study acknowledges that the research does not "clearly define" whether the concurrent virus and fungus, which were found in all the afflicted bee samples, is "a marker, a cause, or a consequence of CCD." It also notes uncertainty as to how, exactly, the combination kills the bees, and whether other factors like weather and bee digestion play a role. Scientists like Sass at NRDC believe the mystery is far from resolved: "We're even concerned that based on this, beekeepers will use more pesticides trying to treat these viruses," says Sass.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Welcome Your Freshman Class Of Climate Deniers

Kevin Knobloch

From the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Dear friend,

Our New Freshman Class
In Their Own Words

"With the possible exception of Tiger Woods, nothing has had a worse year than global warming. We have discovered that a good portion of the science used to justify "climate change" was a hoax perpetrated by leftist ideologues with an agenda."
—Todd Young, new congressperson from Indiana

"I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate change is proven. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate." —Ron Johnson, new senator from Wisconsin

"I think we ought to take a look at whatever the group is that measures all this, the IPCC, they don't even believe the crap." —Steve Pearce, new congressperson from New Mexico

"It's a bigger issue, we need to watch 'em. Not only because it may or may not be true, but they're making up their facts to fit their conclusions. They've already caught 'em doing this." —Rand Paul, new senator from Kentucky

"There isn't any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth." —Roy Blunt, new senator from Missouri

Last night an unprecedented number of climate contrarians were swept into office.

How did we get to such a place where attacking scientists and their work is not only acceptable, but helps win elections? And more importantly, what is UCS going to do about it?

First, we must acknowledge that these people didn't get into office on their own. They are backed by big oil, the coal industry, and electric utilities—opponents who have deep pockets and a singular goal of protecting their own interests.

UCS is going to continue to expose these polluting industries and their cronies who knowingly mislead the public about climate science. And we're going to challenge them to get their facts straight.

Because when it comes right down to it, the public's confidence in science and scientists remains high. In fact, just last night in California we saw a tangible example of science trumping industry spin, when voters thwarted an aggressive attempt by out-of-state oil companies to kill the state's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act.

It's examples like this that give me hope and remind me that we can—and will—still achieve concrete victories.

The truth of the matter is that it's been difficult to move Congress for months. The people who are supposed to be representing our interests in the nation's capitol have been too busy carrying water for narrow corporate interests rather than coming together to make real, positive change.

So we're moving forward, with them or without them. As the victory in California yesterday reminds us, there are plenty of other ways to effect change on the issues you and I care about. In the coming months, UCS will:
Defend the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to reduce power plant, transportation, industrial, and agricultural global warming emissions;
Push state utility commissions to shut down the oldest and dirtiest coal power plants;
Pressure the administration to further boost fuel economy for cars and trucks and decrease tailpipe pollution, and cut our nation’s oil use in half by 2030;
Advocate for strong, science-based state and regional climate programs that can reduce heat-trapping emissions at the local level;
Bring agricultural experts and scientists together with government officials to build support for scientifically sound, forward-thinking farming practices that can improve our air, water, and climate; and
Reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy, further reduce their numbers, and prevent the development of new weapons.
No matter what changes happen in Washington, D.C., UCS will continue to do what we do best: develop and advance science-based solutions to major environmental and security issues.

I am deeply grateful for your support of our work and look forward to tackling the challenges we have ahead of us together!


Kevin Knobloch

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Assume Questioning the Supreme Court; Justice Stephen Breyer

SCOTUS, Justice Stephen Breyer via News Hour, Jeffrey Brown, "JEFFREY BROWN: Well, speaking of attitudes, one of the things that you hit over and over again here is the notion that public acceptance of the court and its rulings shouldn't be taken for granted. Now, that's an unusual idea. These days, we sort of take it ...for granted. But you're saying we shouldn't and we might not. STEPHEN BREYER:.... What is he trying to say?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From: Hemp Line Journal, July-August 1992, pp. 14-15, Vol. I No. 1

Part One
by Lynn Osburn

Seeds of the plant cannabis sativa, hemp seed, contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs.
The importance of hemp seed nutrients to human health cannot be fully appreciated without some understanding of bio-chemistry in life. Unfortunately, any attempt to understand the flow of life leads into the realm of the most troublesome of the three infinities -- the infinitely complex.

Some deep thinkers believe life is a paradox not to be understood but experienced to the fullest. However, the Sages have said, "Know thyself." At any rate it is paradoxic to attempt simplifying the infinite complexity of flowing life. Yet, it is far better for the health and development of any thinking and feeling, uniquely individual human being, to pursue knowledge than to lounge in ignorance.

One out of two Americans win die from the effects of cardiovascular disease (CVD). One out of four Americans will die from cancer. Researchers believe cancers erupt when immune system response is weakened. Pioneers in the fields of biochemistry and human nutrition now believe CVD and most cancers are really diseases of fatty degeneration caused by the continued over-consumption of saturated fats and refined vegetable oils that turn essential fatty acids into carcinogenic killers. And if this is not scary enough, more Americans are succumbing to immune deficiency diseases than ever before. Sadly it is ignorance of human nutritional needs that will cause this overwhelming majority of Americans to die slowly from these afflictions -- the greatest killers in affluent nations.

There are eight amino acids the human body cannot make and two more the body cannot make in sufficient quantity, so they are essential to life. A diet without any one of them will eventually cause disease and death. These essential amino acids, along with eleven others the body can make from them, are chained together in accordance to genetic guidelines, via RNA formats from DNA blueprints, into structural proteins that give body to life, and into enzymes (globular proteins) that carry out the mechanics of living.

Nearly three quarters of body solids are proteins. The body is literally constructed and maintained by an infinitely complex system that simply builds proteins from amino acid sub units. Every amino acid consists of an amine and a carboxyl bound to the same carbon atom. All but the smallest amino acid have one, more or less complex, carbon containing side chain connected to the carbon atom shared by the amine and carboxyl groups. The amine group, ND, is slightly basic; the carboxyl group, COOH, is a mild acid. The amine group of one amino acid unites with the carboxyl group of another forming a peptide link. Proteins are made of amino acid peptide chains in specific sequences. The number of possible amino acid peptide combinations is infinite.

Peptide chains can bend, twist and unite with other peptide chains by forming weak hydrogen bonds between nitrogen and oxygen atoms along the chain. Amino acids can also form bonds through side chain linkages. All three types of amino acid bonding methods contribute to the infinite possibility of protein shapes and reactivity potentials. Though each species builds proteins unique to itself, life can tailor new ones if challenged by the pressures of existence.

Hemp is not unique in having all the essential amino acids in its embryonic seed. Flax seeds also contain all the essential amino acids as do many other seeds in the plant kingdom. What is unique about hemp seed protein is that 65% of it is globulin edistin. That is the highest in the plant kingdom.

Globulins are one of seven classes of simple proteins. Simple proteins are constructed from amino acids and contain no non-protein substances. Globulins are in seeds and animal blood. Edistins are found in seeds; serum globulin is in blood. Edistins are plant globulins. And globulins along with albumins are classified as globular proteins. All enzymes, antibodies, many hormones, hemoglobin and fibrogin (the body converts fibrogin into non-soluble, fibrin, a blood clotting agent) are globular proteins. They carry out the main work of living.

Albumin, globulin and fibrogin are the three major types of plasma proteins. Plasma is the fluid portion of blood that supplies nutrients to tissues. And the three protein types: serum albumin, serum globulin and fibrogin, compose about 80% of plasma solids. These plasma proteins serve as a reservoir of rapidly available amino acids should any body tissues be in need.

Plant seeds contain albumin and globulin but no fibrogin. Albumin is the nutritive material that fills the space in the seed between the embryo and the seed coat. The embryo needs albumin to fuel its initial growth until photosynthesis begins. Globulin edistins within the embryo guarantee this new life has the enzymes necessary for metabolic activity.

Globulin is the third most abundant protein in the human body. Globulins perform many enzymatic (causing reactions to take place) functions within the plasma itself. More importantly, they are responsible for both the natural and acquired immunity a person has against invading organisms. The body uses globulin proteins to make antibodies which attack infecting agents (antigens) that invade the body. Globulins like gamma globulin are absolutely essential to maintain a healthy immune system. They neutralize alien microorganisms and toxins.

Globulins are divided into three classes: alpha, beta and gamma globulins. Alpha and beta globulins operate as transport vehicles by combining with other substances and carry protein from one part of the body to another. They haul the materials needed to build new and replace worn or damaged bodily structures. Gamma globulins are divided into five classes of antibodies called immunoglobulins. All are formed to combat specific cell invading antigens. They comprise the body's first line of defense against disease and infection. Immunoglobulins are produced by B lymphocyte (white blood cells) plasma cell clones located in lymph system nodes. Infecting antigens normally must pass through the lymph system before entering the blood stream.

Regarding human protein requirement: "Qualitively, it is considered desirable to secure amino acids similar to those of human tissues, both as to kinds and relative quantities of the various kinds." [Textbook of Anatomy and Physiology, Kimber, Gray, Stackpole, 1943]

During digestion proteins in food are broken down into amino acids. The amino acids are then taken into the body and reassembled into human proteins according to need and the availability of the amino acids necessary to make specific proteins.

The body needs the necessary kinds of amino acids in sufficient quantity in order to make proteins such as the globulins. Proper quantities of the right kinds may not be available to the body much of the time. So even though the body has enough essential amino acids available to prevent deficiency diseases, it may not have enough to build quantities of immunoglobulins necessary for the immune system to repel infection.

The best way to insure the body has enough amino acid material to make the globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins. Since hemp seed protein is 65% globulin edistin, and also includes quantities of albumin, its protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Eating hemp seeds gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health, and provides the necessary kinds and amounts of amino acids the body needs to make human serum albumin and serum globulins like the immune enhancing gamma globulins. Eating hemp seeds could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed was used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away. [Czechoslovakia Tubercular Nutritional Study, 1955]


Antibodies are globulin proteins programmed to destroy antigens (any substance eliciting a response from lymphocytes: bacteria, viruses, toxins, living and dead tissue, internal debris, etc.). Circulating in blood plasma like mines floating in a harbor antibodies await contact with the enemy, then initiate a cascade of corrosive enzymes that bore holes in the antigen surface causing it to break apart.

Antibodies are custom designed to neutralize or disintegrate one specific type of antigen. White blood cells called B cell lymphocytes seek out and lock-on to antigenic proteins or sugars on the invader's surface. The B cell then uses that lock and key pattern to make antibodies tailored to that antigen only. It also will make clones of itself called plasma cells. Most of the clones begin producing antibodies for that antigen. Others become memory cells which may spend years wandering through the blood stream looking for that specific antigen. If the body is exposed to it again the memory cells lock-on to one and begin producing plasma cell clones and a flood of antibodies that wipe out the invader. One lymphocyte can divide into hundreds of plasma cells in a few days. A mature plasma cell can make about 2000 antibodies every second for the few days it lives. This is how the body acquires immunity.

The body's ability to resist and recover from illness depends upon how rapidly it can produce massive amounts of antibodies to fend off the initial attack. If the globulin protein starting material is in short supply the army of antibodies may be too small to prevent the symptoms of sickness from setting in.

Hemp seed is the premier plant-seed provider of globulin starting material -- the highest in the plant kingdom. Eating hemp seeds will insure the immune system has the reservoir of immunoglobulin resources needed to make disease destroying antibodies.


Next issue: Part II, Hempseed Oils and the Flow of Life Force

Blood: The River of Life, Jake Page; Dr. Robert A. Good, Dr. Lawrence S. Lessin, Dr. Kenneth C. Robbins, consultants. U.S. News Books 1981.
Fats and Oils: The Complete Guide to Fats and Oils in Health and Nutrition, Udo Erasmus. Alive Books 1986.
Life and Energy: An Exploration of the Physical and Chemical Basis of Modern Biology, Isaac Asimov. Avon Books 1962.
Organic Chemistry, R. T. Morrison. 1960
Textbook of Anatomy and Physiology, Kimber, Gray, Stackpole. 1943
Textbook of Medical Physiology, Arthur C. Guyton, MD. W. B. Sunders Company 1971.
Textbook of Organic Chemistry, E. Wertheim. The Blakiston Company 1945.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Well Animated Lecture, The Crisis Of Capitalism

In this RSA Animate, radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?

This is based on a lecture at the RSA (

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Repost: Ronald Reagan and the Commitment of the Mentally Ill: Capital, Interest Groups, and the Eclipse of Social Policy

I found this article quite objective in describing my own forgotten memory of this era.

Originally found at:

Electronic Journal of Sociology (1998)
ISSN: 1198 3655
Ronald Reagan and the Commitment of the Mentally Ill:
Capital, Interest Groups, and the Eclipse of Social Policy
Alexandar R Thomas
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Northeastern University

Conventional wisdom suggests that the reduction of funding for social welfare policies during the 1980s is the result of a conservative backlash against the welfare state. With such a backlash, it should be expected that changes in the policies toward involuntary commitment of the mentally ill reflect a generally conservative approach to social policy more generally. In this case, however, the complex of social forces that lead to less restrictive guidelines for involuntary commitment are not the result of conservative politics per se, but rather a coalition of fiscal conservatives, law and order Republicans, relatives of mentally ill patients, and the practitioners working with those patients. Combined with a sharp rise in homelessness during the 1980s, Ronald Reagan pursued a policy toward the treatment of mental illness that satisfied special interest groups and the demands of the business community, but failed to address the issue: the treatment of mental illness

Almost ten years after Ronald Reagan left office as president, the legacy of his administration continues to be studied. What is almost indisputable is that the changes in public policy that were implemented during the 1980s were sweeping and marked a turning point in American domestic policy. Faced with increasing competition from overseas, American business found it necessary to alter the social contract. This would require a realignment of the political economy so as to weaken labor unions and the social safety net. In Reagan, the Right found a spokesman capable of aligning conservatives, centrists, and working class whites. With this coalition, Reagan was able to bring about a number of reactionary changes in public policy (Alford, 1988).

This paper provides an illustration of this co-optation by examining the policies regarding involuntary commitment of the mentally ill. The shifts in such policies were not the result of overt attempts at change, but rather part of an overall effort to realign the political economy to be more profitable for business. The overall result was that political discourse shifted from a focus on social policy to a focus on fiscal policy. As such, social programs that necessitated financial outlays on the part of the federal government were overlooked in favour of policies that seemed less costly.

Still, the administration did not, and perhaps could not, act in isolation and without public support. But they didn't have to. By the middle of the 1970s, there was a consensus among interested groups that reform of the Mental Health Care System was n ecessary. Lobbying on the part of special interest groups and a commitment on the part of President Jimmy Carter led to passage of the Mental Health Systems Act.

With the planned transfer of responsibility for the mentally ill to the states, reformers needed to build coalitions of fiscal conservatives concerned with the cost of social programs; "law and order" Republicans concerned with crime; and those who dea lt with the mentally ill who, in the absence of more comprehensive reform, sought more limited alternatives (Becker, 1993). Within this context, statutes and procedures dealing with involuntary commitment of the mentally ill were attractive. Easing standards cost relatively little, allowed the Administration to claim action simultaneously on mental health care policy, crime, and homelessness, and appeased health care providers and families of the mentally ill.

The Economy
In the aftermath of World War II, the United States experienced a period of dramatic economic growth. The industrial economies of Western Europe and Japan were by and large devastated by the war. As a result, American firms found little competition abr oad in an expanding world market. The implementation of the Marshall Plan under President Truman provided American goods and services on credit to the war ravaged economies. During this period of economic hegemony, American companies were able to make con cessions to labor in regard to wages and fringe benefits. Thus, the postwar political economy of the United States was characterized by relative peace between management and labor. With record corporate profits and rising standards of living, the United States government passed a series of liberal reforms throug hout the period. Among these reforms was the passage of the Civil Rights Act, various social welfare programs, the construction of the interstate highway system, and the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the rebuilt economies of Europe and Japan began to give American companies stiff competition in the world marketplace. The growth experienced by American firms during the previous two decades began to slow, and profit margins were deemed to be too low (Barlett and Steele, 1996; Gruchy, 1985). In order to increase profits, many American firms attempted to become more comp etitive by trimming labor costs through layoffs and the relocation of factories (Bluestone, 1990; Bluestone and Harrison, 1982; Gruchy, 1985; Harrison and Bluestone, 1988; Moriarty, 1991; Perrucci et al, 1988; Sassen, 1991; Wallerstein, 1979). In addition , the reduction of corporate taxes was pursued with a renewed vigor (Barlett and Steele, 1994).

In order to reduce corporate taxes, it was necessary to reduce the size of the welfare state. This objective was carried out by the Reagan administration (Abramovitz, 1992). After taking office in 1981, the administration set out on a course to alter t he (relatively) labor sensitive political economy to be more business friendly. Reagan appointed anti-union officials to the National Labor Relations Board, "implicitly [granting] employers permission to revive long shunned anti-union practices: decertifying unions, outsourcing production, and hiring permanent replacements for striking workers" (102). Reagan himself pursued such a policy when he fired eleven thousand striking air traffic controllers in 1981. Regulations designed to protect the environment , worker safety, and consumer rights were summarily decried as unnecessary government meddling in the marketplace (Abramovitz, 1992; Barlett and Steele, 1996). Programs designed to help the poor were also characterized as "big government," and the people who utilized such programs were often stigmatized as lazy or even criminal. With the help of both political parties, the administration drastically cut social welfare spending and the budgets of many regulatory agencies.

The new emphasis was on "supply side" economics, which essentially "blamed the nation's ills on 'big government' and called for lower taxes, reduced federal spending (military exempted), fewer government regulations, and more private sector initiatives " (Abramovitz, 1992, 101). Thus, to effect a change in the political economy, Reagan was able to win major concessions regarding social policy that continue today. By taking away the safety net, the working class was effectively neutralized: workers no lo nger had the freedom to strike against their employers or depend upon the social welfare system as a means of living until finding employment. Business was thus free to lower wages, benefits, and the length of contracts. The overall result was that the av erage income for the average American dropped even as the average number of hours at work increased (Barlett and Steele, 1996; Schor, 1992).

It should be understood that a realignment of the political economy did not require the complete dismantling of the welfare state -- although ideally this would be the case. Rather, the welfare state had to be rearranged in a way favorable to business. The concept of the new federalism would perform this function. The new federalism was an outgrowth of the debate over the appropriate role of the federal government relative to that of the states. While liberal Democrats argued that social welfare progra ms and governmental regulation fell within the purview of the federal government, many conservatives argued that such powers should be reserved for the individual states. Since the new environment supported conservative ideologues, the federal government was seen to have improperly assumed powers it had not been granted in the Constitution. The new federalism required that individual states create their own social policies tailored to their own particular needs. Thus, each state would have its own regulat ory and social welfare system. As each state tried to pay for such programs, this would mean fifty different state taxation policies. This effectively pitted states against each other in competition for the most favorable business climate.

Among the policies in need of reform to suit the corporate agenda were those that affected the mentally ill. The funding cuts that altered these policies were part of the overall attempt to alter the political economy in a way that would be more profit able for business rather than a direct assault on the policies themselves. Within the scope of the cutbacks, interest groups operated both in opposition and in support of the changes, both within and outside the government.

Growing Discontent
The fight over involuntary commitment during the 1980s was in some ways separate from the Reagan agenda. But it was fortuitous since it coincided with the administration's desire to dismantle the liberal era reforms. However to understand why groups made committment an issue in the 1980s, we have to take a step back and look at reforms that occurred during the 1960s.

During the early 1960s a series of initiatives designed to reform the mental health system were passed. At issue was the system of state run hospitals for the mentally ill, which were increasingly perceived as inhumane and, with the help of new medicat ions, rather unnecessary for large portions of the patient population. In 1961, the Joint Commission on Mental Illness released Action for Mental Health, calling for the integration of the mentally ill into the general public with the aid of Commun ity Mental Health Centers. In 1963, the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers instituted the centers, but due to the financial drain of the Vietnam War during the 1960s and the financial crisis of the 1970s, the program was not fully funded.1 The result was the release of patients into an environment lacking the Community Mental Health Centers to adequately treat them (Becker and Schulberg, 1976; DeLeonardis and Mauri, 1992; Hollingsworth, 1994; Rachlin, 1974; Rachlin et al, 1975; Saathoff et al, 1992; Shwed, 1978, 1980; Talbott, 1992; Worley and Lowery, 1988;).

By the start of the Carter administration in 1977, involuntary commitment had been restricted to those who were deemed as potentially dangerous to themselves or, perhaps more significantly, those around them.2 Typically, the commitment had to be sponsored by a family member and/or ordered by the court. A result of this policy was that the mentally ill patient who refused treatment typically did not receive any at all. If the patient had lost contact with family members, she or he would not be committed unless found to be a threat by the court. Often, those arrested ended up in jail rather than in treatment if they had not been found to be a threat but had committed a crime (Abramson, 1972; Conrad and Schneider, 1980). On e result was a high degree of stress and frustration experienced by the relatives of the patient. Throughout the 1970s, family members organized with the purpose of correcting a policy that they perceived was wrong.

Professional organizations also joined the backlash against the liberal era reforms of commitment regulations. One obvious reason for this is self-interest. When some mentally ill patients do not receive treatment, mental health professionals have lost (or never gained) a potential client. These professionals as a group have much to gain in terms of patients and income if the laws governing involuntary commitment are expanded to include those patients who refuse help but do not pose a serious threat to themselves or the people around them.

Perhaps more important than self-interest is the burden that deinstitutionalization put on mental health practitioners. Time spent in court took away time spent with patients. Moreover, the medical profession saw themselves as being second-guessed by o thers outside the medical community: lawyers, judges, policy makers, etc. The treatments that psychiatrists and psychologists viewed as necessary for the well being of the patient often could not be applied because of the legal rights of the patient. Invo luntary commitment would force those who needed care into the hospitals and force patients to keep appointments and take medication. Without commitment, these things were more difficult for the practitioners (La Fond and Durham, 1992, 112-13).

Critics of Community Mental Health charged that in the rush to shrink the state hospital population, many patients were released prematurely (Robitscher, 1976; Yarvis et al, 1978). Some patients went off their medications after being released into the community. The criteria of "dangerousness" for civil commitment also meant that some patients who needed treatment but were not a danger could not be committed. As a result, patients whose behavior was considered odd by the community in which they lived were increasingly arrested for bothersome and minor infractions such as vagrancy. These individuals were thus detained in the criminal justice system rather than the mental health system (Abramson, 1972; Conrad and Schneider, 1980).

Groups representing mentally ill patients also organized, but generally did not have the success that groups representing their families and practitioners had. Organizations representing patients, such as the Mental Patients Liberation Front and the Na tional Alliance for the Mentally Ill, lacked the political clout of larger organizations and tended not to be as well funded as the other organizations. Phillip Armour (1989) summarized the situation in this way:

In sum, congressmen do not confront well-funded lobbyists for the mentally disordered in the halls of the Capitol, they typically do not receive large contributions from the residents of state and county mental hospitals or the clients of com munity service centers, and they do not have to calculate the electoral risks of offending a multimillion member association of former mental patients. (187-8)
Although many groups were interested in seeing reform, there was a general lack of coordination between them. In addition, the interests of each groups shaded in and out of congruence. No two groups saw the situation the same way. This essentially left the political arena open to corporate interests and other well funded organis ations interested in mental health and capable of lobbying the government (e.g., the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, etc.). Still, the discontent of the practitioners, families, and patients dealing with the mental health system led to new hearings on mental health care policy.

Shortly after taking office in 1977, President Carter appointed the President's Commission on Mental Health. This commission was charged with assessing the particulars of mental health services, and then making specific suggestions on how things should be changed. The commission collected data by holding regional hearings in order to hear testimony from professionals, relatives of the mentally ill, and other politicians. This technique has been utilized as a politically conspicuous means of proving tha t action is being taken, but often has little merit in terms of scientific methodology.3 The final reports from the commission and its task forces were characterized in this way by Levine (1981: 179):

The quality of the Task Panel reports vary widely; apparently its members understood their instructions very differently. The reports range from very brief ones, which look as if they had been written by someone on the plane on the way to the meeting, to well-thought out analytic reviews. Some consist of little more than a list of recommendations. No more than a third of the Task Panel reports would pass muster as scholarly documents. The preparation of the reports was sloppy. Many are poorly written. Citations made in the body of the report do not appear in the bibliographies. Citations for key points are often to unpublished sources. To be fair, it should be stated that some of the Task Panels did not expect their reports to be published.
The commission made special references to political interest groups throughout both the task panel reports as well as the final recommendations. After the reports were completed and the Congress attempted to codify these recommendations into law, the l obbying organizations continued to be a presence throughout the process. Some groups were by nature opposed to each other: the National Council of Community Mental Health Centers (NCCMHC) and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directo rs (NASMHPD), for instance. The former of these groups represents the interests of community mental health centers that would benefit by expanding these services. The latter group represents the directors of state mental hospitals. They would benefit by i ncreases in the funding of such hospitals and reinstitutionalization (Armour, 1989, 185). On this point, the commission searched for a compromise.

The final report of the commission to President Carter contained the recommendations upon which the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 was based. Despite the methodological flaws of the earlier report, the act was considered a landmark in mental health care policy. The key to the proposals included an increase in funding for Community Mental Health Centers and continued federal government support for such programs. But this ran counter to the financial goals of the Reagan administration, these were of c ourse to reduce federal spending, reduce social programs, and transfer responsibility of many if not most government functions to the individual states. So, the law signed by President Carter was rescinded by Ronald Reagan on August 13, 1981. In accordance with the New Federalism and the demands of capital, mental health policy was now in the hands of individual states.

Settling for Smaller Reforms
In the aftermath of the non-implementation of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980, the power of the various interest groups had been further weakened. Clearly, the groups that represented the patients themselves were the weakest. Such groups, represe nting the targets of involuntary commitment, tended to be opposed to the easing of commitment requirements. But facing interest groups representing mental health professionals and patients' families, the patient's rights groups found themselves underfunde d and understaffed.

The interests of others fared somewhat better. Pressure from organizations (some of which represented the families of the mentally ill) lead to new legislation in several states that made it easier to commit a mentally ill patient involuntarily. As noted earlier, much of this pressure emerged because the current underfunded system was not providing adequate supports for patients or family. Families of the mentally ill were genuinely concerned about loved ones who they felt were not receiving adequate care. Also, families who were responsible for providing care for their mentally ill members could not support the burden which came from care provision without adequate institutional supports. From the position of the family member, deinstitutionalization appeared more like an attempt by the government to download responsibility. In this context a loosening of commitment standards would, it was thought, force patients to receive care and (hopefully) reduce the burden on the family.

Mental health professionals were also concerned that patients were not receiving adequate care. Estimates of the homeless population ranged from 250 to 500 thousand people (Dear and Wolch, 1987; Jencks, 1994; Rossi, 1989; Wright, 1989). Of these, appro ximately a third were mentally ill (Rossi, 1989). In many cases, such mentally ill patients were arrested for vagrancy and other minor infractions and were processed by the criminal justice system. Concerned that this population was receiving no treatment at all, mental health workers advocated involuntary commitment as a means of getting the mentally ill homeless into treatment.

With such activism, a coalition between the neoconservatives who opposed liberal reforms in general and the interest groups mentioned above was possible. In the absence of the comprehensive reforms planned in the Mental Health Systems Act, the interest groups who opposed specific outcomes of liberal era reforms, although not necessarily all the reforms, turned to the neoconservatives for narrowly focused reforms. The activism of the interest groups supplied the Reagan Campaign with a supportive constituency which could be used as a foil for reactionary reforms. However there was a deep irony here. The 1980 Reagan Campaign received support from a population which might have otherwise supported the liberal objectives of the previous era (had they been adequately funded, for example). The fact that these interest groups had become disillusioned with the implementation of liberal reforms (specifically deinstitutionalization which was largely viewed as a failure), meant that this population would support a change in policy even if it meant policy reforms that would otherwise be unpalatable.

The composition of this coalition was of course antithetical to the interests of the mentally ill themselves. But groups representing the patients themselves were relatively weak. Despite the fact that groups representing the patients stressed the need for better treatment, debate most often revolved around issues defined by other stakeholders in the system like the growing homelessness problem and the burden on the families. And of course, better treatement automatically translated, in an underfunded system, to more more funding - this argument ran counter to the neoconservative need to cut back the welfare state. So often patients concerns were simply ignored.

Cuts in funding for mental health services continued throughout the 1980s, with the emphasis being on the provision of services via the private sector. Overall, the number of beds available to the mentally ill in public and private hospitals dropped ov er forty percent between 1970 and 1984 (Reamer, 1989). Most of this decline was due to cuts in public hospitals. During the 1980s, the number of beds provided by general hospitals in psychiatric wards and in private hospitals for the mentally ill increase d. In 1970, there were 150 private psychiatric centers; in 1980, there were 184; by 1988, there were 450 in the United States. General hospitals offering psychiatric services increased from 1,259 in 1984 to over two thousand in 1988 (Reamer, 1989, 25; LaF ond and Durham, 1992, 115-16). With such growth in the private sector, there were substantial profits to be made in mental illness, assuming that the patient had adequate health insurance. Those without medical insurance frequently did not receive adequat e care.

A Supportive Public Climate
The intersection of interests noted above was an important factor in creating an environment within which reactionary reforms could take place. However other environmental factors also played an important role in creating conditions whereby the desires for progressive reform could be co-opted. For example, the goals of the Reagan Administration were well received in some quarters of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In the 1980s, the NIMH started to come under the leadership of a different cohort of individuals. While the NIMH had originally been led by individuals who had come of age during the Great Depression, the leaders of the 1980s had come of age later. The result was that while the former cohort had been committed to innovations in government al social policy, the latter generation tended to be less interested in actual social policy and more supportive of measures to reduce the cost to the federal government (Armour, 1989, 187).

The Administrations goals of fiscal restraint also received support from the general public due to the perception of a federal government too prone to waste revenues and not address other basic concerns, such as crime prevention. Certain forms of social welfare spending, such as programs for the mentally ill, were perceiv ed as wasteful and thus easy targets for budget cuts (Gans, 1995; Katz, 1989). In contrast, other social programs, such as Social Security, were perceived as being "earned" by the recipients, and thus equitable. Despite the fact that the average Social Se curity recipient receives more in return than they pay into the system, programs such as this are perceived as being a pension for which the recipient has already paid. As such, they are less susceptible to cuts than categorical spending programs, such as community mental health treatment centers. Indeed, Social Security funding per beneficiary increased under the Reagan Administration (Levitan, 1990, 30). Mental health policy lacks the widespread public support that benefits Social Security (Armour, 1989 , 186). In light of this, it is not surprising that the Reagan Administration was able to cut these programs relatively easily (186-7).

The concerns of the general public were also mobilized in the context of fear over the possibility of a patient committing a violent or otherwise anti-social act. Media attention paid to the problems of the mental health system tended to concentrate in two areas: the growing homelessness problem of the early 1980s and the possibility of criminal acts committed by deinsitutionalized patients. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people concentrated in the inner cities. With the rise of gentrification during the 1980s, many of them became displaced from their relatively affordable housing and were unable to fin d new accommodations. Many of these patients had lost contact with family members and were unable to work, and many did not have health insurance. Thus, they were unable to receive mental health services in the private sector. Media coverage of the growin g homeless problem helped to pressure legislators in many states to rewrite commitment laws to extend the net and make the streets "safer."

This media attention played into, and supported, the growing perception of violent crime as a problem in the United States. The Reagan Administration answered this general alarm by calling for quick and severe punishment of offenders. For those offenders who were not mentally ill, prison was normally seen as the solution (Gans, 1995). For the mentally ill however, involuntary committment seemed the best answer. Either way, quick removal of individuals threatening the social order fit well with the administration's "law and order" stance (LaFond and Durham, 1992, 114).

The new laws, however, were not intended to make it easier to commit the dangerous mentally ill. Rather, the new laws had more general application and made it easier to commit those only considered a threat (Lafond & Durham, 1992, 118). In addition to this, many of the existing liberal justices began to rule on a "right of treatment" clause rather than a straight civil libertarian viewpoint. The result was that at both the state and federal level, the court became increasingly reluctant to strike down legislation that broadened the definition of who was eligible for involuntary commitment (119). Again, this more stringent approach meshed well with the "law and order" stance taken by the administration.

The net result of federal abdication of responsibility, the push to state orientated programs (often underfunded), the dis-organization of groups, and the confluence of public interests (in crime prevention and fiscal restraint) with state goals, were reforms that only marginally addressed the real concerns of stakeholders and that ultimately benefitted capital by reducing the cost of social safety net. To be sure, the shift in policies dealing with involuntary commitment emerged from larger social issues. By the middle of the 1970s, groups representing the mentally ill, their families, and those who cared for them had reached a consensus on the need for reform. This culminated in the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act. This implementation, though not without its problems, was seen as a progressive step forward. However the costs of these reforms were unacceptable in the new neoconservative climate and ran counter to the interests of capital. Reagan, who never presumed to support social policy, promised to cut federal spending and ensure a "favorable business climate." So under Reagan the new law was rescinded. This signaled that for Reagan's administration, social policy was of lower priority than fiscal policy. After this act, the interest groups would need to settle for piecemeal reforms within the limitations of the administration's desire for low cost reform measures.

The "New Federalism" served as justification for relaxed federal "interference" in state issues, including mental health policy. The business community was facing a crisis of accumulation, and a shift in the political economy was perceived as necessary to guarantee adequate profit. With the abdication of the federal government, mental health policy was almost entirely in the province of the individual states.

A survey of initiatives shows that they came primarily from individual state legislatures, and thus varied according to state (Peters et al, 1987; LaFond and Durham, 1992). The procedures for commitment of the mentally ill accordingly vary by state. Ma ny states have adopted outpatient commitment as an alternative to inpatient care, and this policy has met with mixed results. 4 Many state hospitals have been closed, and many others are facing the possibility. Debate around mental health policy is still, to a large degree, concentrated around issues of deinstitutionalization and reinstitutionaliza tion and the relative merits of each.5 Sadly, professional groups with opposing interests have stalled the implementation of a comprehensive mental health policy in most states (Becker, 1993; Wilson, 1993).

Under the Reagan Administration, groups and individuals who had hoped for a change found that the federal government did very little to effect a change. The appointment of conservative justices for the federal court system was a part of the "law and or der" platform advocated by the administration and thus was never intended to have a direct effect on procedures regarding involuntary commitment or any other aspect of mental health policy.

Perhaps what is most interesting about the change in policies of involuntary commitment is the coalition that helped bring it about: a combination of "law and order" conservatives, economic conservatives, and liberal groups that sought reform in the pr ovision of mental health services. But the policy shift had hardly anything at all to do with the mentally ill or the practitioners who treated them. It was designed to lower taxes and shift responsibility away from the federal government. Ironically then , the need for reform perceived by those involved and concerned with the mentally ill (practitioners and families) was co-opted by the interests of capital.

Reagan's social policy is best seen as an abdication. Reagan's economic policy was to adjust government regulation so that it favored business once again, and social policy was merely an outgrowth of this larger issue. While family groups and professi onal groups and patient groups did clamor for respect, the real struggle was between the state and the business community. Reagan worked to lessen the tax load for the rich, and the social policies were meant to match this goal. Business needed a more fav orable corporate climate, and Reagan worked to that end. The coalitions that were necessary for election were either gratified (the elderly) or abandoned (the poor). As for the mentally ill, certain changes that their families and practitioners wanted wer e gained, and the administration pointed this out. Even though these changes came about primarily through state governments and the courts, the Administration would take credit. All in all, business interests were served. Families and doctors were appease d. Patients were forgotten.

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1. For a more detailed account of the development of policies regarding deinstitutionalization, see Mechanic (1989) and Wagenfeld and Robin (1976).

2. For practical purposes, "dangerousness" has been a vague consideration in the United States as the definition changes from state to state. See Brooks (1974), LaFond and Durham (1992), and Teplin (1984) for greater discussion.

3. For a further discussion of this practice, consult Grant and Murray (1985) and Midgley (1992).

4. Consult Mulvey et al (1987), Korr (1988), Wilk (1988), and Scheid-Cook (1990) for further discussion.

5. Examples include Shwed (1980), Tancredi (1980), Luckey and Berman (1981), Durham et al (1984), Hoge (1989), Lidz (1989), Segal (1989), and LaFond and Durham (1992).


Copyright 1998 Electronic Journal of Sociology

Saturday, May 15, 2010

22 year Air Force Officer-retired: "THIS IS NOT AN OIL SPILL. THIS IS AN OIL VOLCANO"

I am not buying this guys sabatoge theory. It is the deepest well ever drilled and they probably did not anticipate the pressures involved. His geologic scenario is scary and plausible?

What do you think?
comment 854
It is the GD Queen and BPs fault cutting corners employing the criminals at Haliburton who are nothing but a bunch of terrorists. This spill was a terrorist act of sabotage. Here is a letter from someone in the know:

Commander Norman Olson-a 22 year Air Force Officer-retired:


There is a huge bubbling torrent of superheated oil erupting from the gaping hole remaining after sabotage destroyed the pumping rig, 1 mile of pipeline to the bottom of the canyon, and the check valves able to control the flow. The exploratory borehole, approx 24" in diameter pierced the rock 5,000 feet below the surface, to reach a vast and immeasurable dome of oil under great pressure beneath the floor of the Gulf.

The hole, now enlarged by the past ten days of scouring, is calculated to become much larger, as long as the great pressure on the dome, by the weight of the water in the gulf continues. Essentially, the pressure will not subside until the hole in the oil dome is patched. Such a patch job has never been attempted. Nor can anything be built large enough or fast enough to deliver and install it in time enough to even hope to slow the flow.

It is thought also that near simultaneous explosions both at the wellhead, the great check valves, and the pumping station on the rig, were calculated to blow a crater at the wellhead. That crater itself is growing larger as the oil flow continues to increase along with the diameter of the drill hole.

Geologic dynamics include what is called the "Rebound Theory" which means that the earth will rebound after it has been bent and broken, such as in the case of an earthquake. After the slip or upheaval, the earth will return to its former topography. If this were the case in the Gulf, the oil will empty from the dome until the weight of the water equalizes the pressure. When this happens, the earth dome will begin to rise once again, causing a vacuum in the now empty dome.

This vacuum will draw water down into the dome where it will be superheated. A huge explosion MAY occur, larger than any thing we've ever seen before, possibly setting off a string of earthquakes, including a colossal one along the New Madrid fault running from Chicago to New Orleans. Think of what happens when a tennis ball with a small hole bored in it is pushed below the water. Now squeeze the ball. Air will bubble up as long as the pressure remains on the ball to force the air through the hole. Now enlarge the hole and increase the pressure.

Soon the inside pressure and the outside water equalize, but you still have to deal with the rubber characteristic of the ball. The ball will attempt to rebound to its former shape, when that happens; a vacuum begins to pull water into the ball through the hole. The larger the hole the faster this happens. But what if the center of our "tennis ball" is 10 times the boiling point of water 10,000 feet below sea level. What would happen?

The timing of the sabotage was critical. BP estimates say that the hole cannot be patched for up to 3 months. If unchecked, the dome could release nearly 100 million barrels of oil into the gulf. The economy of all Gulf States would be wiped out. The destruction of the rig coincided with the onset of hurricane season. By the end of July as the near peak of the hurricane season approaches, there will be a crust of oil many thousands of square miles in size, nearly 3 inches thick float along the coast when the first of the great hurricanes hit.

There is no way to stop the borehole's enlarging every day.

Later this year, unusual plant life will begin to grow along the coasts where oil has been washed and blown ashore. Dryland oil drillers do not freely talk about the plant seeds and other material that gushes from oil wells since any exotic or rare plant life would result in shutting down the operation by federal endangered species agency order. Once spore reach the warm climate of a Gulf Coast summer, they will sprout and bloom.

The question will forever remain, who sabotaged the BP operation?

Someone picked the best possible location at the best possible season and with the best possible destruction anyone could possibly imagine.

High-ranking officials at BP face one of two possible scenarios. Either they announce that the destruction was sabotage and escape some of the financial devastation due to lawsuits, or they remain silent and end up totally broke. I suspect that we will begin hearing about terrorist sabotage within just a couple weeks.

Hundreds of platforms. Dozens of companies, Hundreds of subcontractors. Skilled laborers and technician teams coming and going. People from all different Middle Eastern counties working on rigs. These repair and operation team members are not given extensive security checks. They work for the lowest bidding contractor. Background investigations cost money and to win the bid, expenses are shaved.

Only a very brilliant mind could have chosen an act of sabotage so devastating.

Norm Olson, Commander


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Spill, Largest Unanticipated Disaster

I think this open sore in the gulf is going to end the planet as we know it ( not the collider in Switzerland...), it is the deepest offshore well yet. 1 mile down and 18,000 feet deep, the pressures, obviously, were not anticipated, that is, the pressure from the gas went uncontrolled and caused the explosion is my conjecture...

I found this in offgrid living group yahoo:

"Subject: 294 Days of Oil

This essay was originally written in August of 2009 for possible inclusion into my latest book, LIVING SANIBEL - A Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Owing to space limitations it was left out of the book where it would have appeared in an editorial box. In hindsight I wish we had left it in, but I wanted to share it with all of my clients, friends and readers now because it speaks volumes about what is happening today off the coast of Louisiana.

Maybe it should be called 294 Days. What amazes me is that I have yet to hear a single reference to this 31-year-old disaster in any of the current coverage. Why is that?

Feel free to share it with your friends and family. Ive also attached it as a pdf.

The True Cost of Oil
In the spring of 1979, PEMEX, Mexicos state-owned oil company, was drilling a two-mile-deep exploratory oil well in the Bay of Campeche, located in the southwest corner of the Gulf of Mexico. On June 3, 1979 that oil well, known as IXTOC 1, blew out. An unexpected loss of drilling mud circulation, just as the well struck a major oil and gas deposit, caused the blowout to occur. The pressurized oil and gas coming out of the well ignited, causing the drilling platform to catch fire, collapse and sink directly on top of the well head, hindering any immediate attempts to control the blowout.

Within moments of the blowout crude oil started pouring out of IXTOC 1 at a rate that fluctuated between 10,000 and 30,000 barrels per day. There are forty-two gallons in each barrel of oil. At its peak outflow of 30,000 barrels per day, IXTOC 1was spewing 1,260,000 gallons of crude oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

Capping the well became the first priority but because of the depths involved, and the complications of having the drilling platform land on the BOP (the Blowout Preventer), IXTOC 1 continued pumping oil into the western Gulf of Mexico non-stop for another 294 days.

After clearing the debris field, oil well experts, including the renowned oil well firefighter and specialist Red Adair, were able to reach the BOP within a few months time, but the internal pressure from the well exceeded the preventers capacity and after a brief shut down, the BOP had to be reopened and the oil flow resumed. Two more wells were drilled into the deposit to relieve the pressure and finally, on March 23, 1980, a team of North Sea Norwegian experts were able to cap the well. The IXTOC 1 went down as the single largest accidental oil spill in history.

The Exxon Valdez, which struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989 spilled 10.8 million gallons of oil, which eventually covered 11,000 square miles of ocean. The IXTOC 1 oil well disaster pumped out 140 million gallons of crude, or 13 times the amount of the Exxon Valdez. At one point in time, the oil from this unprecedented blowout covered half of the Gulf of Mexico, some 300,000 square miles.

Because of the prevailing loop current, oil from this spill made it all the way up to the Texas shoreline, six-hundred miles to the north.
The environmental impact was unprecedented. The only nesting beach in the world for the critically endangered Kemps Ridley sea turtle, located near Nuevo Rancho, Mexico, was covered in oil. The turtle eggs that had been deposited had to be dug up and transported to another beach to survive. The damage was widespread and catastrophic.

Sadly, we are hearing the same "Drill, baby drill!" mantra repeated today. Powerful lobbying efforts are underway by the oil and gas industry to allow drilling off the west coast of Florida. The engineers and scientists working for Exxon Mobile, Shell, Chevron and BP all assure us that modern BOPs will not fail and that todays oil platforms are capable of handling category 5 hurricanes without incident.

What if theyre wrong? Let us assume we have another uncontrolled blowout roughly twice the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster one hundred miles west of Captiva. The prevailing loop current would take the vast majority of the oil slick south toward the Dry Tortugas and the Florida Keys. Ironically, Sanibel and Captiva would probably not be impacted by the event.

Florida, especially the eastern seaboard of the state, would be overwhelmed. The only coral reef in the United States, from Fort Jefferson to John Pennekamp National Park would be ruined. The entire Keys fishing recreational fishing fleet would, just as did the commercial fishing fleet of Prince William Sound, collapse. Further up the coast, once the spill were carried north with the Gulf Stream, Miami and Palm Beach would suffer immeasurable damage. The cost of cleanup and mitigation could make entire municipalities fail.

Then consider the fact that a recent proposal by a Florida State Senator would allow drilling to occur as close as three miles from the mouth of the Caloosahatchee and an equal distance off the beaches of Captiva. An oil spill this close to shore, even one-tenth the size of the Exxon Valdez, and more than 100 times smaller than the IXTOC 1, would ruin the beaches and marine environments of Sanibel and Captiva within days.

The death toll to wildlife would be incomprehensible. The surface breathers; the endangered manatee, the Atlantic spotted porpoise and the bottle-nosed porpoises would be the first to die. With the surface of the water covered in a thick black ooze, every time these animals surfaced to breath their lungs would inevitably take in the toxic byproducts of the chemistry of oilsubstances like toluene, which causes severed neurological harm and benzine, which has an anaesthetic property to it that sedates marine mammals, causing them to drown.

Even if they survive the initial spill, the volatile compounds of these and other hydrocarbons can damage red blood cells, suppress immune system, strain the liver, spleen and kidneys and even interfere with their ability to reproduce. The same physiological effects would occur to anyone living along the beaches where the crude oil inevitably would wash up. The value of a Gulf front home or condominium would drop precipitously overnight. No one in their right mind would want to live anywhere near the spill and the tax base of Lee County, supported by the higher property values of the barrier island properties, would tumble. The county would likely have to file for bankruptcy.

Wildlife and eco-tourism would walk hand in hand to a common grave. Tens of thousands of acres of red and black mangrove forest, unable to function properly because of the oil, would wither and die. Entire ecosystems would collapse along with the crabs, fishes and shrimp that form the marine matrix of life.
Even with extensive clean up, the lessons learned from Prince William Sound and the

Exxon Valdez show us that the impact from a major oil spill can last for decades. Tar balls and traces of the oil would wash up on our beaches for the next thirty to forty years. Even the impact from drilling, the mud, the displaced sediment and the constant minor spills would be felt with oil rigs three miles offshore.

There is the larger issue of global warming. By feeding the cycle of CO² (carbon dioxide) through the burning of fossil fuels we are caught in a cycle of climate change wherein the hotter we make the planet, the stronger the hurricanes and the more at-risk the drilling platforms become. Florida, sitting at the epicenter of hurricane alley, can hardly afford more storms like Hurricane Katrina but, as the atmosphere warms, scientists predict that we will have fewer hurricanes but the ones that do form will likely be more powerful.

With the vast majority of Floridians living along the coast and the cost of insuring their properties continually rising, why would we even consider adding more greenhouse gases into the earths atmosphere?

In the end, the oil found under the eastern Gulf of Mexico is too expensive to recover. Centuries from now, when all of mankinds energy needs are derived from renewable sources such as solar (have you ever heard of a solar panel array oil spill?), tidal, hydroelectric, wind and geothermal systems, it may well be noted that all of the worlds vast carbon-based fuels should have been left untouched, given the long-term environmental impact the use of these hydrocarbons appear to be creating.

From the mountaintop removal of West Virginia to the damage already done to the drilling fields of Texas and Colorado the true cost of oil may not be known for a thousand years. The Sunshine State should capitalize on its greatest resource, sunshine, and become the solar capital of the Eastern United States. IXTOC 1 is more than a subtle reminder of that. "

Charles Sobczak
a Florida Author
and Sanibel Resident

Charles Sobczak, VIP Realty
Cell 239-850-0710

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brewers New Law, Voter Purge, Palast and Coming Election

Reporter Palast in guard tower over Joe Arpaio's jail, Maricopa County, Arizona
Our investigation in Arizona discovered the real intent of the show-me-your-papers law.

by Greg Palast for

[Phoenix, AZ.] Don't be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don't buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the Saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What's new here is not the politicians' fear of a xenophobic "Teabag" uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote -- and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for Rolling Stone with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters ... directed by one Jan Brewer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dissociative Hyper Priming?

Scientists enter the realm of marijuanas effects on the mind in "real time".
Background Studies:
"‘Hyper-priming’ is an effect where priming happens for concepts at a much greater distance than normal. For example, the word ‘bird’ might speed up reaction times to the the word ‘aeroplane’. To return to our analogy, the ripples are much stronger and spread further than normal."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Leonard Peltier APPEAL DENIED!

LP-DOC - PO Box 7488 - Fargo, ND 58106
Phone: 701/235-2206; Fax:701/235-5045

February 24, 2010


Today we received word that the parole decision has been affirmed by
the U.S. Parole Commission. The Parole Commission made no concessions
except for one -- to finally recognize Leonard's "recent prison
record of good conduct." The Parole Commission went on to say that
Leonard's age, health, and release plan were all considered, but that
these elements "don't warrant his release at this time." All legal
arguments made by the Peltier attorney Eric Seitz were rejected.

Once again, we're told that innocence is no defense. Yet again,
the government has singled out Leonard Peltier as a scapegoat. As
has always been the case, they intend to force Leonard Peltier to
pay the price for the killings of their agents despite the lack
of evidence against him. This is nothing short of politically
motivated vengeance.

Leonard won't receive another full parole hearing until he is nearly
80 years old. Already at risk for blindness, kidney failure, stroke,
and certainly premature death given his diet, living conditions,
and health care, this parole decision is also nothing less than a
death sentence.

Don't accept the unacceptable. Demand Leonard's freedom. Call the
White House comment line every day to express your outrage. Call:
(202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1112. You also can send an e-mail
to the White House. Go to
. Mail or fax a letter to President Barack Obama, The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC
20500; Fax - (202) 456-2461.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Small World For "Big Minds", Diameter 8000 Miles

Well with all the controversy surrounding global warming and planetary resources, ponder the fact the the planet earth's diameter is only just under 8ooo miles!

six billion people and counting, the drive from NY to La approx 3000 miles, NY to London 5000 miles! That is it.

We only have so much of a planet folks. It is not an SUV but a smart car with limited resources and space. With this in the forefront of everyones mind, maybe we can move ahead with a more objective plan to save ourselves from ourselves and recruit a more intelligent populist effort to manage our resources wisely.

In peace

Saturday, February 13, 2010

American Low Grade Political Infection, Future Shock, Teabaggers

I believe the Teabaggers are the pre-eminent example of Future Shock,the first of a series of books released by Alvin Tofller and also a documentary film narrated by Orson Welles

Together with the recent coup in Honduras mirrors the present state of a low grade political infection here in the western hemisphere. The influence of the political right and the insulation of the American congress and its president from the people are not far from outright facism. Until the people rise up and demand equal protection against the abuses of the facist state with an intelligent approach (as opposed to the raw tea party approach), we will be not heard.

R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing
Speaking on Autonomy