Deep Green Resistance frightens US

SUBHEAD: Members of Deep Green Resistance denied entry to Canada on the way to a Chris Hedges’ lecture.

By Adam Federman on 30 September 2015 for Earth Island Journal -

Image above: The Peace Arch border crossing between British Columbia, Canada and Washington, USA. From original article.

Three members of the radical environmental organization Deep Green Resistance and two other individuals were detained for more than seven hours at the Peace Arch border crossing between Washington State and British Columbia on their way to Vancouver to attend a talk by author and activist Chris Hedges last Friday, September 25.

They were questioned about the organizations they were involved in, their political affiliations, and their contacts in Canada before being turned away by Canadian border agents. Upon re-entering the United States they were then subjected to another round of questioning by US border agents. The car they were traveling in as well as their personal computers were searched.

The interrogation comes on the heels of an FBI inquiry into Deep Green Resistance last fall in which more than a dozen members of the group were contacted and questioned by FBI agents.

Several months later the group’s lawyer, Larry Hildes, was stopped at the same border crossing and asked specifically about one of his clients, Deanna Meyer, also a Deep Green Resistance member.

During the 2014 visits, FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents showed up at members’ places of work, their homes, and contacted family members to find out more about the group.

Meyer, who lives in Colorado, was asked by a DHS agent if she’d be interested in “forming a liaison.” The agent told her he wanted to, “head off any injuries or killing of people that could happen by people you know.” Two of the members detained at the border on Friday were also contacted by the FBI last fall.

Since Hildes was last held up at the Peace Arch border crossing in June he filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program.

In August he received a letter from the DHS saying the agency “can neither confirm nor deny any information about you which may be within federal watchlists or reveal any law enforcement sensitive information.”

It’s not only Deep Green Resistance members who have had trouble getting across the border.

Environmental activists who were part of a campaign in Texas opposing  the Keystone XL pipeline were the targets of an FBI investigation in 2012 and 2013 and have also been denied entry into Canada. At least one of those activists, Bradley Stroot, has been placed on a selective screening watchlist for domestic flights.

Nearly all of the activists involved are US citizens who have not had issues traveling to Canada in the past, leading them to believe that the recent FBI investigation and interest in their activities has landed them on some kind of federal watchlist.

According to Peter Edelman, an immigration attorney in Vancouver, there are three broad categories under which Canadian border agents may deny entry to a foreign national:
  • If they suspect you are entering Canada to work or study or you clearly don’t have the financial resources needed for the duration of the visit;
  • If you pose a security threat to Canada or are a member of a terrorist or criminal organization; or 
  • If you’ve committed certain crimes. 
Edelman says that US citizens tend to get targeted more easily at the Canadian border because of the various information sharing programs between the two countries. As soon as they scan your passport, border agents have access to a whole host of state and federal databases. Still, Edelman says, “Who gets targeted and who doesn’t is definitely an exercise in profiling.”

On Friday, September 25 Deep Green Resistance members Max Wilbert, Dillon Thomson, Rachel Ivey and two other individuals not affiliated with the group drove from Eugene, Oregon to attend the talk by Hedges, which was a collaboration with the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and the Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution.

They got to the border around 1 p.m., told the border agents where they were going, and that they’d be returning to Oregon the next day. They were then asked to exit their vehicle and enter the border control facility, where they assumed they would be held briefly before continuing on their way.

Instead, they ended up spending four hours on the Canadian side, each questioned separately. At one point, an agent came into the building carrying Wilbert’s computer and notebooks. He asked the agent what they were doing with the computer and was told they were searching for “child pornography and evidence that you’re intending to work in Canada.” The agent also said they were “not going to add or remove anything.”

According to Edelman the searching of computers and cell phones at the border has become standard procedure despite the fact that there are questions about whether a border search allows for such invasive measures. Border agents take the view that they are permitted to do so, but the legal picture remains murky. “The searching of computers is an issue of contention,” Edelman says.

After four hours of questioning, all but one of the travelers were told that they would not be allowed to enter Canada. Wilbert, who grew up in Seattle and has traveled to Canada many times without incident, including as recently as January 2015, was told that they were suspicious he was entering the country to work illegally.

A professional photographer, he had volunteered to take pictures of the event, which he had openly told the agents. “It was pretty obvious they were grasping for straws,” Wilbert says. “Under that level of suspicion you wouldn’t let anybody into Canada.”

The other three individuals were told they had been denied entry for previous political protest-related arrests. Rachel Ivey, a Deep Green Resistance member arrested in 2012 during a protest near the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, had traveled to Canada in December 2014 without any problems.

The one individual allowed entry had no prior arrest record or explicit affiliation with any political groups. (Interestingly, several Deep Green Resistance members traveling separately, including one of the group’s founders, Lierre Keith, were allowed to pass through the border and attend the event.)

After being denied entry to Canada, the group turned around and attempted to reenter the United States, at which point they were again pulled aside and told by US border agents to exit their car.

The group was then subjected to a similar round of questioning that lasted three and a half hours. This time, US agents took three computers from the vehicle into the border control facility and kept them for the duration of the interrogation.

According to Wilbert, the questions on the American side were more obviously political. Agents wanted to know the names of the groups they were involved in, what kinds of activities they engage in, what they believe in, and who they were going to see.

“It seemed very clear on the US side that they had already come to conclusions about who we are and what we were doing,” Ivey says.

Around 8:30 p.m. they were told they could leave and that it had been nothing more than a routine inspection.

Wilbert doesn’t see it that way. Two days later he got a new computer and says he plans to get rid of the one seized by border agents. Despite assurances from the border officials that nothing was “added or removed” he says, “We feel like everything we do on those computers will never be private.”

“It was pretty clear to us that it was an information gathering excursion,” says Wilbert. “They had an opportunity to harass and intimidate and gather information from activists who they find threatening.”

Image above: Photo of Max Wilbert of Deep Green Resistance. From (

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Deep Green Resistance 5/5/11
Earth Tribe: Mx Wilbert on Deep Green Resistance 4/15/13


San Onofre left radioactive debris

SUBHEAD: Shut California nuclear plant was very sloppy with radioactive contamination of beach and Interstate 5.

By J. W. August & L. Walsh on 23 September 2015 for NBC7 -

Image above: Couple with dog walk along contaminated beach in front of shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. From FOX5 article below.

Documents newly obtained by NBC 7 Investigates during secret talks about the condition of the land where the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) sits detail how nuclear material was handled at the plant since the 1980s.

The documents were released to individuals involved with the secret negotiations about the current condition and future handling of the 25-acre property. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the secret meetings have been going on for about 20 months and involve all the players with a stake in the prime coastal property.

Those players include the U.S. Navy, which owns the property; the U.S. Marines, whose base surrounds the property; and Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), both of which hold the lease to the property.

The current lease was signed on April 2011, and according to the agreement, ends on May 12, 2023.

A source close to the lease negotiations told NBC 7 Investigates that SCE and SDG&E want out of the lease as soon as possible. According to the source, the team representing the utilities has told all involved they want nondisclosure agreements signed so no one can go public with any information disclosed during the negotiations.

So far, one or more of the parties involved in the talks are refusing to sign the nondisclosure agreements.

This has caused the lease negotiations to go slowly, according to NBC 7 Investigates' source, who said the utilities are reluctant to provide full disclosure on what has occurred on the property since they took possession of it.

In an email, an SCE spokesperson told NBC 7 Investigates the company has shared substantial information about the property lease with the public. Responses to other questions were left unanswered by the company. The Navy, Marines and SDG&E did not respond to questions or request for comment for this story.

Read the full response from SCE below.

NBC 7 Investigates received a copy of two documents the utilities have provided the team negotiating on behalf of the government.

One is a Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection report (, written very early in SONGS' life. It is dated 1981, a relatively long time ago in human terms, but not so much, experts say, when it comes to radioactive materials.

 From page 10 and 11 of NRC Inspection Report
On the evening of January 21, 1981 while performing a survey of the protected area, the inspector measured average radiation levels of 1.0 mr/hr inside the Security Escort Trailer. This trailer is located in close proximity to the R E.D. Building. In the discussions with the Security Escort Shift Supervisor, the inspector was told that the is occupied 24 hours a day normally by two individuals. Recently, the dose received by these individuals had increased.

Based on review of survey records dated December 21 and 23, 1980 and discussions with licensee representatives, it appears that the movement of steam generator grit tank, which read an average of 400 mr/hr on contact, from the containment on December 21, 1980 to the R.E.D. Building near the trailer. Although no record indicates survey results inside the trailer, a licensee representative stated that he surveyed the trailer and posted it with a sign requiring personnel dosimetry. He stated that no action was taken to reduce the radiation level inside the trailer since he did not expect the grit tank to be in the R.E.D. Building very long.

The inspector brought the licensee's attention to the apparent unnecessary exposure being received by occupants of the Security scort Trailer. The licensee performed a survey of the situation and had the trailer moved to a low background area within the Protected Area. On January 23, 1981, the inspector resurveyed the trailer and noted the average radiation level had decreased to .04 mr/hr.

After reviewing this document and one other document NBC 7 Investigates received, Joe Hopenfeld, an expert on the nuclear power industry, said, “It was unbelievable what they were doing there."

Hopenfeld, who lives in Maryland, has worked in the nuclear power field for 55 years.

"My general impression from what I have seen in that report is San Onofre was very very sloppy, very very careless in handling radioactive material," he told NBC 7 Investigates.

The property discussed in the documents includes the land in and around the reactor domes and across Interstate 5, which is called Japanese Mesa or the "Mesa,” according to the paperwork.

The two documents detail contaminated equipment was stored on both sides of the freeway and elevated radiation levels were found in January 1981 at "the beach area adjoining the tsunami wall.”

“You basically had hundreds of pieces of contaminated equipment," Hopenfeld said.

According to the documents, plant employees told an Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspector that they felt the waste monitor tanks inside of an auxiliary building were probably the source of radiation found on the beach. However, the inspector focused on a concrete block cubicle near the building which employees said contained "fairly high levels of radioactive waste.”

The radiation levels around the concrete cubicle were so elevated "the inspector did not perform a survey inside," according to the documents.

The report says it was determined the cubicle was “responsible for most of the radiation measured on the beach.” The leak problem was resolved by placing a 3/8-inch sheet of lead on the roof of the structure, the documents state.< The other document NBC 7 Investigates received is dated April 10, 2014. It is a historical assessment called "Radiological events at the Mesa.”

This document was provided by the utilities to "identify those locations at the Mesa that were affected by the inappropriate presence of radioactive materials." It's a foundation, they say, to determine whether "additional radiological surveys are appropriate to confirm the complete cleanup of radioactive materials."

The 900-page assessment shows radiation readings at the time on the property, photographs and a summary of what was determined. According to the document, utility officials don't believe any of the radioactivity spread, though they couldn't draw the same conclusion for materials left in the weather or exposed to the elements.

One potential problem, a former San Onofre Safety Officer Vinrod Arora said, was the "cordial relationship" between the plant and the agency that inspected them — the NRC.

Arora worked at the plant for 15 years. He told NBC 7 Investigates even if SCE turned over all property inspection documents, there's no guarantee of having a complete picture of the land's conditions. NRC inspections, he said, are thorough but limited.

"They have to do a lot of things in the given time frame, so they are focused on the problems identified by the operator of the plant,” Arora said.

As a safety officer, Arora saw internal reports as they came through the system and noticed a pattern in NRC inspections. According to Arora, the agency would usually only inspect a problem which SCE identified.

"It is very seldom they will discover a new problem on their own," he said.

Arora is currently suing SCE, saying the company fired him after he raised concerns about safety at the plant.

In the documents, NBC 7 Investigates did find examples of an NRC inspector alerting SCE to a safety issue. One happened during the inspection done in January 1981, according to the documents.

The report describes how an inspector alerted SCE that one of their security guards trailers had elevated radiation readings. According to the documents, a contaminated steam generator taken from the reactor exposed the workers for 10 days.

It also says initially the plant personnel did nothing until the inspector reminded them of the "unnecessary exposure being received" by occupants of the trailer.

After reading in the report about a steam generator system pipe that was "hot,” Hopenfeld said, "You have hot spots, you don't know what they are.” After reading more of the report, he told NBC 7 Investigates, "Apparently no one paid attention to this big pipe and they sent it off-site"< Eventually, according to the documents, an anonymous letter warned that the pipe was radioactive, and it was returned to the Mesa where inspectors "found radioactivity all over it."

Hopenfeld said that although most of the radioactivity problems described in the reports were at lower levels and these problems were reported early in the life of San Onofre, he is still troubled by them.< "This is an indication of the mentality and the culture at the time at SONGS," he said. Arora said the plant grounds should be thoroughly inspected by an independent third party and not by SCE or SDGE or any of their subcontractors. "Be very careful of the goods they accept from Edison with the blessings of the NRC," Arora warned.

The concern, he said, is not just for the land but for those that might someday use it. "We want to make sure our Marines and their families are taken care of and not subject to any unidentified contamination," Arora said. After NBC 7 Investigates sent the Navy a series of questions, a Navy spokesperson responded in an email to each point. See the responses here:

Question 1: It has come to my attention that secret meetings are taking place between representatives of the United States Navy, USMC and SCE/SDGE employees. Why are these meetings kept secret from the public? 

Answer 1: The Department of the Navy (DON) is the lessor/grantor and SCE/SDGE are lessees/grantees of land at MCB Camp Pendleton. SCE, SDGE, and the DON hold regular meetings to address landlord/tenant issues.

Question 2: One could argue these meetings are of major public interest and the need for transparency is paramount. Or don't you agree? <
Answer 2: The meetings between the DON and SCE/SDGE address issues that generally arise between the DON and tenants on its property.

Question 3: My understanding is SCE/SDGE have not been forthcoming in regards to the condition of the property. This is demonstrated by the unwillingness of the utilities to provide a thorough and complete set of documents and inspection reports in regards to the properties condition. Can you comment on this please?

Answer 3: The DON and SCE/SDGE have exchanged numerous documents related to condition of the property. The DON is reviewing the documents to assure the property is returned to it in accord with lease/easement provisions, statutory and regulatory requirements, and DON policy.

Question 4: I have learned reports provided by SCE were misleading and contain errors, and this was exposed recently by some parties involved in the discussions. Is this the case?

Answer 4: SCE/SDGE has provided and the DON is reviewing documents, and both parties are performing environmental due diligence in order to insure that the property is returned to the DON in accord with lease /easement provisions, statutory and regulatory requirements, and DON policy.

Question 5: My understanding there are other documents but SCE/SDGE are refusing to provide them unless all involved in the discussions sign a confidentially agreement. Why would SCE/SDGE request such a thing? Are there issues of national security at play?

Answer 5: The DON has not signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Question 6: The 2011 lease states the need for an appraisal in years ending with "5" or "0" as a requirement of the agreement. Is this the case? Why was the appraisal not done as required? How serious of an oversight is this?

Answer 6: The lease was executed in 2011. The lease requires an appraisal in years ending in "5" and "0." As it is 2015, the DON is performing an appraisal for the subject property this year.

NBC 7 Investigates also reached out to the NRC, U.S. Marine Corps and SDG&E, asking them the same questions. They have not responded.

Read the full response from Southern California Edison sent to NBC 7 Investigates by a spokeswoman Maureen Brown:
I’m following up to make you aware of substantial information that Edison has shared with the public regarding our lease with the Navy for the Mesa property. We have briefed the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel multiple times on this topic in the past 18 months. As you may know, the panel is led by UC San Diego Professor David Victor and meets regularly to discuss San Onofre decommissioning. More information is available at, including video of all CEP meetings so you can review the discussion in more detail.

Below are links to specific references to the lease discussions.


Video above: Report from NBC7 From original article.

County wants San Onofre rad waste removed

By Staff on 15 September 2015 for FOX5  TV

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to ask the federal government to remove and relocate nuclear waste being stored at the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The supervisors — except for Greg Cox who excused himself from the vote because of his involvement with the California Coastal Commission — voted to draft and send a letter to U.S.
Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz urging the “prompt removal and relocation” outside of San Diego County of the spent fuel, which they note is now only a couple of hundred yards from Interstate 5, a busy rail corridor and the Pacific Ocean.

The proposal by Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Ron Roberts says more than 1,400 metric tons of “incredibly hot and radioactive” nuclear waste from more than 45 years of operations is stored at the plant, which was never meant to be a permanent repository.

The Department of Energy has been unable to designate a permanent nuclear waste storage site in the United States. A proposed location in Nevada has been held up for decades because of stiff political opposition.

The supervisors called for action from the federal government, which they say has failed to enforce legislation outlined in the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act.

“To locate spent nuclear fuel on the coast in a high earthquake zone makes no sense,” Supervisor Ron Roberts said. “Our focus is putting pressure on the federal government to do what it promised many, many years ago.”

The supervisors contend that the waste poses a health risk to residents and a potential target for terrorists.

Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who has been critical of Southern California Edison’s actions regarding the closure, said he worried about the threat to Southern California residents.

“If the waste is allowed to remain on the beach it will become a permanent storage dump that is vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, corrosion and terrorist attacks,” Aguirre said. “We don’t have the equipment, the personnel, or the training to respond to this type of emergency.”

SCE agreed with the supervisors that the waste should not be stored at San Onofre permanently.

“The federal government has simply failed to act,” SCE Decommissioning Vice President Thomas Palmisano said. “Virtually every nuclear facility in the country has no where to store the fuel. We’re in full agreement this — San Onofre is no place for longtime storage of spent fuel.”

The nuclear waste is anticipated to be stored on-site at San Onofre until 2049 unless the federal government takes action to move it to an interim or permanent storage facility, according to Palmisano.

Supervisor Ron Roberts also made a motion to establish a board subcommittee that will continue to work on getting the nuclear waste out of San Diego County.

“`We’re delivering a wake up call,” Roberts said. “We’ve got a lot of levels of government that are not acknowledging this is a major problem. Doing nothing year after year means it will be that much longer until a solution is resolved.”

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating State has been idle since January 2012, when a small, non-injury leak occurred. SCE, the operator and majority owner of the plant, later decided to retire the two reactors rather than follow a costly start-up procedure.


The Stuff Problem

SUBHEAD: How much mined material will we need to build a 100-per-cent renewable energy world?

By Danny Chivers on 15 August 2015 for New Internationalist -

Image above: 'Yes to renewables!' Hundreds rallied outside the Victorian Parliament House, Melbourne, Australia on 10 December 2013. From original article.

The problem with wind turbines, solar panels, ground-source heat pumps and electric cars is that they’re all made of stuff. When people like me make grand announcements (and interactive infographics) explaining how we don’t need to burn fossil fuels because fairly shared renewable energy could give everyone on the planet a good quality of life, this is the bit of the story that often gets missed out.

We can’t just pull all this sustainable technology out of the air – it’s made from annoyingly solid materials that need to come from somewhere.

So how much material would we need to transition to a 100-per-cent renewable world? For my new NoNonsense book, Renewable Energy: cleaner, fairer ways to power the planet, I realized I needed to find an answer to this question. It’s irresponsible to advocate a renewably powered planet without being open and honest about what the real-world impacts of such a transition might be.

In this online article, I make a stab at coming up with an answer – but first I need to lay down a quick proviso. All the numbers in this piece are rough, ball-park figures, that simply aim to give us a sense of the scale of materials we’re talking about. Nothing in this piece is meant to be a vision of the ‘correct’ way to build a 100-per-cent renewably powered world.

There is no single path to a clean-energy future; we need a democratic energy transition led by a mass global movement creating solutions to suit people’s specific communities and situations, not some kind of top-down model imposed from above. This article just presents one scenario, with the sole aim of helping us to understand the challenge.

How much aluminium, copper, iron and cement would we need?
In October 2014, a joint academic study between researchers from Norway, the US, the Netherlands, Chile and China made an assessment of the main materials needed to build renewable generators: steel, concrete, copper and aluminium.1

They looked at the materials required for renewables to provide 40 per cent of global energy use by 2050, and concluded that this would be feasible within current rates of global resource use.

I’ve taken their figures and attempted to go a step further. How much material would be needed for a transition to a 100-per-cent renewable world, where everyone had access to 13,000 KWh of energy per year? (This is one estimate of the amount of energy needed for an eco-efficient version of a “modern” lifestyle – it’s less than half of the energy currently used per person in the EU).

For this calculation, I assumed that 3,000 KWh per person would be provided by non-electric generation (rooftop solar heat collectors, heat pumps, geothermal heat, waste gas, maybe energy crops). I then assumed we would build the following generation sources to provide 10,000 KWh of electricity for nine billion people (these totals all fit comfortably within realistic estimates of the amount that could be sustainably generated from these sources using current technology):

If we transitioned to 100-per-cent renewable energy by 2040 – thus giving ourselves a decent chance at avoiding runaway climate change – we would need the materials laid out in the table below to build and maintain this amount of generation.

The table shows that this is a serious undertaking and that we’re cutting things rather fine – particularly with regard to aluminuum and copper – but also that the amounts of material required fall within current production totals and so are certainly possible to obtain.3

Once these materials have been extracted once, the metals can theoretically be recycled indefinitely, meaning that we’re talking about a short-term burst of new material use to get everything installed, from which point onwards we’ll be able to get most of what we need from recycling the old turbines, panels and so on.

What if we had to do more mining to achieve this?
Ideally, we would get these materials by diverting production away from less socially useful consumer junk into the sustainable technology that we actually need, so there’d be no net increase in mining.

However, what if that isn’t possible? What if our shift to a renewable future requires us to pull an extra four billion tonnes of material out of the ground over the next 25 years?

There is no such thing as zero-impact mining; it is one of the most notoriously destructive, poisonous and corrupt industries in the world.

Let’s look at this worst-case scenario. The final amount of raw material produced is just the tip of the extraction iceberg; every tonne of metal or cement requires many more tonnes of rock and ore to be hauled out of the ground in the mining and production process. Making four billion tonnes of copper, aluminium, iron and cement will require 50 billion tonnes of real-life extraction.

However, we need to look at the other side of the equation too. Phasing out fossil fuels over the next 25 years will mean a huge reduction in the amount of oil, coal and gas extracted over that period.

Based on IEA projections, shifting to 100-per-cent renewables would avoid the need for around 230 billion tonnes of fossil fuels between now and 2040.

Coal, tar sands and heavy oil, like metals, require the extraction of large amounts of extra rock and earth; when all this is added in, our transition would prevent 1,850 billion tonnes of fossil-related extraction up to 2040.

So even if we needed the full 50 billion tonnes of new extraction to build our new electricity generators, we’d still be creating a large reduction in the amount of destructive extractive industry taking place worldwide. We might be able to reduce the damage further by recycling the materials from all the oil and gas rigs, pipelines, and fossil-fuel power stations that we’ll no longer need, providing raw materials for our sustainable alternatives.

Rare Earth Elements
As well as the high-volume materials, there are also a number of rarer minerals (known as ‘Rare Earth Elements’ or REEs) that we need to watch out for. These include indium, gallium and tellurium, which are used as semi-conductors in some types of solar panel.

These metals have important uses in other technologies too (for example, indium is used in solder and flat-screen technologies, and gallium is used in computing components and LEDs), and are relatively rare; this means that there is likely to be a limit to how many solar panels can be made with these particular semiconductors.

Luckily, this only affects certain specific designs of panel (not including our familiar black silicon panels), and so shouldn’t prevent us from rolling out the amount of solar power we need.

There’s a similar issue with dysprosium, which is used for making magnets in many modern wind turbines. The rarity of this element is likely to constrain the number of turbines that can be made this way. There are, however, alternative ways of making magnets without dysprosium, and so this shouldn’t act as a serious constraint either.

What about the materials needed for the rest of our sustainable transition? A typical ground-source heat pump weighs around 200 kg; air-source units tend to be a little lighter.

If 200-kg heat pumps were installed – slightly excessively – in three billion buildings around the world, that would require 0.6 billion tonnes of materials. If we also installed three billion solar water heaters, weighing 100 kg each, that would give us another 0.3 billion tonnes. So the rest of our power generation would come in at less than a billion tonnes of material.

Even if this required 10 times as much extracted material, bringing our total (when added to electricity generation, above) up to 60 billion tonnes, it would still leave us with a huge material saving thanks to the 1,850 billion tonnes of fossil-fuel extraction that we’re preventing.

A worst-case scenario would involve having enough storage facilities and back-up generators to support our wind and photovoltaic solar generation, making sure that the lights stay on even when the sun sets and the wind drops. Assuming that these facilities required similar quantities of material per KWh as a gas-fired power station, this would add another 0.4 billion tonnes of material, and three billion tonnes of mining.

Electric cars
What about electric vehicles? Well, there are currently more than a billion road vehicles in the world. Currently we are on a path of pure expansion, with the number of cars on the road expected to double in the next 20 years. In 2014, for example, the world manufactured over 80 million new cars, buses and trucks.

A billion vehicles are probably enough. If distributed more fairly around the world, with the priority on buses and car-sharing schemes, they are likely to give us all the mobility we need. Consider, for example, that cities considered to be well served with buses such as London, Rio and Hong Kong contain between 650 and 1,700 buses per million inhabitants.8

 If we decided to err on the side of caution and provide 2,000 buses per million people globally, that would require around 20 million buses. Add in a few billion bicycles (most of which probably already exist) and we’ll have sorted out most people’s daily transport needs. The remaining 980 million vehicles should then be enough to plug the global transport gaps as shared cars, taxis, and trucks for freight.

So what if, instead of doubling the number of vehicles globally in the next 20 years, we instead gradually replaced the existing fleet with renewably powered vehicles? This would require no increase in manufacturing overall, just a change in what we manufactured and where. We could even provide a large amount of the necessary raw materials by recycling old fossil-powered vehicles at the same rate as clean-energy vehicles emerge from the factories.

The point is that a genuine transition to a sustainable transport system wouldn’t require an increase in manufacturing, but a redirection of existing manufacturing. This would need a significant shift from our current position though; out of the 80-90 million vehicles currently manufactured per year, only 200,000-300,000 are fully electric.

Of course, we should check in with the worst-case scenario too: what if we ended up manufacturing a billion renewably powered vehicles in a way that added to global material use? Well, a typical car weighs around 1.5 tonnes; trucks and buses, though smaller in number, are larger, so let’s be cautious and say an average vehicle weighs two tonnes.

This would add two billion tonnes onto our material demand, and thus around 20 billion tonnes onto our grand extraction total, bringing it up 80 billion tonnes. This is still far less than the 1,850 billion tonnes of fossil-fuel extraction that we would prevent.

In addition, there are certain elements used in electric cars that we need to be particularly aware of. One of them is copper – a typical electric car contains around 60 kg of copper, compared with 20 kg in a fossil-fuelled car. If we build a billion of these vehicles over 20 years, we’ll need 0.003 billion tonnes of copper per year.

This compares with 0.002 billion tonnes per year that’s already being used for manufacturing conventional cars; if we succeed in phasing out fossil-fuel car production and only building clean-energy vehicles, then we’ll only be increasing overall copper demand by 0.001 billion tonnes per year – much of which should be obtainable from recycling old vehicles.

In the worst-case scenario, with no recycling, mining the extra copper needed for a billion electric cars would add another nine billion tonnes of mining onto our extraction total,10 still leaving us way below the fossil-fuelled business-as-usual amount.

Rare elements in electric cars
A recent study by Delucchi et al into the material components of electric cars identified a number of rare elements that could potentially limit their growth.11 The first is neodymium, an element used in electric motors and also in the generators of many wind turbines.

Maintaining a billion electric vehicles and obtaining a quarter of our energy from wind turbines could exhaust global neodymium supplies in less than 100 years; however, there are alternative ways of building motors and generators without neodymium, which means that this needn’t be a constraining factor.

The second group of potentially problematic elements are rare metals and minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, phosphorous and titanium. These are used in the rechargeable batteries in electric cars, and potentially in other energy storage systems too. All of these batteries use lithium, combined with other elements.

The Delucchi et al study found that cobalt and nickel reserves, in particular, could be rapidly depleted by a mass rollout of electric cars using batteries containing these elements. Using titanium-based batteries would be unlikely to exhaust global titanium reserves but would involve multiplying the rate of extraction of this metal by more than 100 times, which might create practical difficulties.

Fortunately, manganese, iron and phosphorous are much more abundant, and so we should be able to make the batteries we need without relying on cobalt, nickel or titanium.

Lithium itself is more likely to be a problem. The Delucchi et al study suggests that a mass rollout of electric cars could exhaust proven lithium reserves within 100 years – not counting the extra lithium that might be needed for improved electricity storage systems in homes and communities.

This means that humanity should be able to obtain enough lithium to make the initial transition to an electrified transport system, but to maintain it beyond the second half of the century we’ll need to either get very good at recycling it, find more supplies, or find safe and affordable ways to extract lithium from the oceans (where it is abundant, but dispersed).

Avoiding a colonialist mindset
There’s another serious issue here. This is one of those moments where it’s easy to slip accidentally into a colonialist mindset, when referring casually to ‘reserves’ of minerals ‘available’ to the world. Whether or not those materials are dug out of the ground should not be a decision for someone like me, a white guy typing on a computer in Europe; it should be up to the communities that live in the area concerned and would be affected by the extraction.

Although the quantities of lithium required for everyone in the world to have decent access to electrified transport are relatively small when compared to high-volume mined materials like iron or coal, the necessary mines would no doubt loom large in their local landscape.

Most of the world’s known lithium reserves are located in Bolivia and Chile. These are real places, inhabited by real people – including Indigenous peoples whose lives, livelihoods and culture are intimately bound up with the land they live on.

Will it be possible to obtain enough lithium for an electrified world without trampling over the rights of local communities? If not, then we’ll need to find a different path to our renewably powered future.

1. Hertwich et al, ‘Integrated life-cycle assessment of electricity-supply scenarios confirms global environmental benefit of low-carbon technologies’, PNAS Sep 2014.

2. The 2014 international study only provides material usage for solar, wind and hydro power. For wave and tidal, I have assumed the same material use per TWh as for offshore wind; for geothermal, I have assumed the same material use per TWh as for a typical gas power station.

3. At current extraction rates, there are more than enough of all these materials in proven reserves to last for decades to come; once extracted, the metals can in theory be recycled indefinitely. 

4. This recycling process would be unlikely to provide more than a few percent of the raw materials required, however, because wind and solar power require far more building material per MWh than oil, gas or coal power. See

5. Hertwich et al (2014) - Annex


7. Wall Street Journal,


9. Forbes,

10. Copper mining is particularly wasteful, with 310 tonnes of rock extracted for every tonne of metal produced.

11. MA Delucchi, C Yang, AF Burke, JM Ogden, K Kurani, J Kessler and D Sperling, ‘An assessment of electric vehicles’, Phi Trans R Soc A 2014 372, 2013.

Renewable Energy: cleaner, fairer ways to power the planet by Danny Chivers is published by New Internationalist and available at


Beacon in th Sand

SUBHEAD: We must not pretend we'e something other than responsible agents, capable of destroying everthing around us.

By Tyler Sage on 24 September 2015 for The Dark Mountain -
Image above: Cropped image of painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816 – 1868) titled "Westward The Course Of Empire Takes Its Way (Westward Ho!)". Click to enlarge. From (

We might begin with the image of American history as a great tidal wave of progress. A wave launched with the appearance of the colonists; a wave rolling with greater and greater momentum westward across the continent. It brushed aside everything that resisted it. It used covered wagons and steamships, homesteads and railroads, guns and axes; it used laws and politics, noble speeches and the rhetoric of free enterprise; it used corporate charters and city charters and civic pride. It remade everything it touched.

This is a rather unreconstructed metaphor – we are, for example, bypassing the question of what this wave might look like to a Native American standing in its way – but it is at the same time a useful one. It captures something of the old notion of Manifest Destiny, and a bit of the American view of its own history as one of an inevitable, necessary advancement. It captures something of the feeling of propulsion that can seem at times to occupy the heart of the so-called American experiment. But it is also useful because of the questions it raises.

If our history is to be seen, metaphorically, as a wave of progress sweeping across the continent, what happens when that wave collides with the western wall of the Pacific Ocean? That is, what happens when the wave runs out of land?

At least two possibilities suggest themselves. It might be the case, first, that the wave of progress (we might call it ‘progress’) cannot be stopped. We can imagine it reaching the boundary of the Pacific and simply continuing to accelerate, if not geographically, then into other realms.

If we keep pushing on the image, we come to the image that the West Coast, and California in particular, often project: they are the furthest point of advancement, the tip of the still-moving spear, the prow of the boat. This seems to be the self-imagining of Silicon Valley, which would like to see itself as riding at the edge of an accelerating frontier, a force (or the force) for progress and goodness in the world.

It is also the imagining forwarded by the rhetoric of Hollywood, with its proclaimed position as the country’s ‘dream factory’, the place that points the way towards what the rest of us can only imagine ourselves being. Under these readings, our westward progress is still continuing. We advance, restlessly and unceasingly, towards some better place.

But there is another possibility. It might also be the case that the progress cannot go on forever. It may be that we should understand American civilisation as becoming increasingly enervated and deracinated as it spreads across the continent, thinner and less substantial, like a wave moving up a beach. Under this view, as it advances, our culture loses strength and decency.

Our downfall is inevitable, and you can see that if you look westwards; California is the land of fad and fantasy. There is little more out there than a construction of cultureless suburbs, plastic and unrefined, deadening.

This is the old view of the New York stage industry towards Hollywood; it’s the contemporary view sometimes exhibited by the East Coast establishment towards Silicon Valley: they are frivolous, substanceless dreamers with no grasp on either reality or propriety. All flash, no substance.

Under this imagining, American civilisation has become increasingly self-corrupted as it has pushed towards the Pacific; the West Coast is not a beacon but a symbol of dissolution. The motion is not towards intensified life, but towards senescence. In the indelible image of the poet James Wright, ‘At the bottom of the cliff / America is over and done with / America, / Plunged into the dark furrows / of the sea again.’

We might continue with a fact: California is running out of water. This is not a metaphor. The details are fairly straightforward. Precipitation has been extremely low for four years. We might also note an example of the difficulty the state has had in approaching this problem: in January of 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency, and requested that citizens of the state reduce their water consumption.

He set a goal of a 20% reduction in water usage. In July of that year, the governor was back with another announcement: the first summer water usage statistics had appeared, and despite the declared state of emergency, people were actually using more water than they had the previous year. Since then, despite rationing to farmland and rapidly-intensifying restrictions by municipalities, things have not improved. T

here is only so much slack in the system. People use water; they need water. And people need to eat. California produces 71% of spinach consumed in America, and 69% of carrots, 90% of the broccoli, 97% of the plums, 95% of the garlic. And more. It is the breadbasket of American agriculture.

We might offer an observation. It involves Starbucks, a west-coast company (it began in Seattle), and one that heralded the cultural boom of the boutique excellence of the everyday product with which we are now surrounded, from craft coffee and beer to farm-to-table food and excellent television shows. Last year, at Starbucks in California and across the country, coffee cups appeared bearing paper sleeves emblazoned with motivational sayings from Oprah Winfrey. T

he program, affiliated with the company Teavana (a subsidiary of Starbucks) was familiar in its outlines. It combined notions of corporate philanthropy – a portion of profits was donated to one of Oprah’s own charitable foundations – with self-help jargon; the underlying motive was, of course, to increase sales for Starbucks and fame and profit for Oprah. In terms of the dynamics we expect from our corporations, there was little unusual in this.

But if we pause for a moment, and step outside of our own familiarity, it’s possible to see how absolutely strange this is. We were drinking from cups of coffee bearing self-help slogans. What on earth for? What, if we step back from our position of familiarity, does this mean?

One obvious place to start is by examining the intention of this campaign: what was the effect it wanted to create? How exactly did it intend to increase sales? We might first note that these slogans made us, or tried to make us, feel better about ourselves. As Slavoj Zizek is fond of pointing out, programs like this one allow us to consume without guilt.

When we patronized Starbucks last year, those coffee sleeves assured us that we were no longer simply buying a product from a large, faceless corporate entity that did not much acknowledge our existence. Instead, we were buying a product that both gave to charity and reinforced our notion that, through the purchase, we were actually increasing the degree of our self-actualisation. The product was, in some sense, engaging with us on a level that was separate from its existence as a simple commodity.

But what, exactly, was the content of this engagement? One of the messages from Oprah on the cardboard sleeves read: ‘Be more splendid. Be more extraordinary. Use every moment to fill yourself up.’ Splendid is descended from the Latin splendidus, meaning bright, or shining, or gorgeous. Extraordinary is also from a Latin word, meaning outside of the common order. So what Oprah and Starbucks were urging is that we be bright, shining, glorious stars of our own, outside the realm of the ordinary, that last world here presumably meaning ‘everybody else’. So far, so good.

This message, like the program itself, is so familiar to American culture as to serve as an entirely unremarkable background, or perhaps foundational element, of it. Each of us can shine. Each of us can be perfectly individuated from the mass.

The second half of Oprah’s exhortation showed us how: ‘Use every moment to fill yourself up.’ Here again we have the familiar element of ‘using every moment’. Life is precious; waste none of it. And how? By ‘filling yourself up.’ It’s this last phrase that contains the pure distillation of the message, as though each of the preceding ideas has suddenly and sharply come into focus.

There is, of course, the not-so-subtle pushing of the product through the reference of ‘filling’ (as in another cup of coffee.) Beyond this, however, resides the deeper image: we will become splendid and extraordinary by filling ourselves. We are to take every moment and use it to draw the world into us, to consume it; this moving of everything into our being will be the feat that actualises us.

This logic was pushed to its final conclusion by another slogan on a sleeve. ‘You are not here to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more of who you really are.’ That is to say, the exhortations of the first message are not exhortations to change ourselves. Rather, they are indications of our real, if hitherto unknown, potential. They are about our true purpose.

You are not here to change, you are here ‘to blossom into more of who you really are.’ You already contain the seeds of greatness. To be ‘more splendid’ and ‘more extraordinary’, you need to fill yourself up. But this will not alter you, or make you into someone else. It will, instead, release your true self. It will reveal your deepest actuality. Do not change, and do not let people tell you to change; instead, fill yourself up until your true inner perfection begins to emerge.

We might consider the Peoples Church of Fresno. This is an entirely ordinary evangelical church, of the kind that can be found across the nation; however, for our purposes it is worth remembering that the history of American evangelism is intimately connected, for worse and for better, with the history of American westward expansion and American exceptionalism.

The eradication of the Native Americans had religious as well as social and economic roots – one has only to remember the famous Presbyterian minister Benjamin Palmer’s 1901 sermon, in which he argued that ‘when the Indians had, for countless centuries, neglected the soil, had no worship to offer the true God, with scarcely any serious occupation but murderous inter-tribal wars … the Indian [was] swept from the earth, and a great Christian nation, over seventy-five million strong, [rose] up.’

At the same time, however, much of the movement to abolish slavery in this country was religious, and evangelical, in nature: the seminaries in the (then frontier) Midwest were hotbeds for radical abolitionist thought, and John Brown was an evangelical Christian who started his career as a violent religious radical in Kansas. There has always been contradiction in our religious history; there have always been both anti-human and pro-human forces at work.

At the Peoples Church of Fresno last summer the lead pastor, Dale Oquist, taught a series of lessons on ‘Jesusology’. The title, like the title of Oprah’s project with Starbucks – ‘Steep Your Soul’ – was mostly a sales pitch, designed to stimulate intrigue while maintaining just enough referential force to indicate its content. So Jesusology was the study of the ‘life, significance, and ministry of Jesus.’ So far, so good.

This is exactly what we might expect to be happening at a church of this sort. The online summary of the first sermon in the series listed three main points, and two of the three were unremarkable: ‘Jesus was in the business of reshaping people’s views of who God is,’ and ‘We are to make straight the paths of our lives for Yahweh to come to us.’

These indicated that the sermon, like many evangelical sermons, was both a discussion of what the life and teachings of Jesus reveal about the true nature of God, and a discussion of the Biblical injunction to work on reducing the obstacles in our lives that prevent our communion with God.

But the third main point of the sermon is worth pausing over. It bore italics in the summary, and read: ‘God is not mad at us!‘ It was explained in the following way: ‘People tend to believe God causes or allows things to go wrong because of something they did wrong. Today we learned Jesus was in the business of reshaping peoples’ views of God.

We can know that God is not angry at us.‘ (Italics again in the original.) In a sense, this too is a common piece of Biblical teaching. The point is that our sins have been pre-forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus, and that (if we accept God into our hearts) the path of salvation is therefore open to us. We will not be punished if we repent of our sins.

But there is still something remarkable about that initial phrase: God is not mad at us! Thinking this over, it might occur to us to ask a question: Why, exactly, would we think that he is mad at us? Or, to put it differently: What was Pastor Oquist is seeing in his congregation that made him want to reassure them in this way?

The answer is given in the explanation that follows: ‘People tend to believe God causes or allows things to go wrong because of something they did wrong.’ So Pastor Oquist seemed to feel that we are afraid things are going wrong in the world because of something we did, and his natural inclination was to comfort us.

God is not angry at us; we should not live in fear, or sadness, or guilt. Our goal, as articulated in the other bullet points, is instead to open ourselves up to God so that we can know the truth about the world.

One begins to see the connection to the platitudes of Oprah Winfrey on the Starbucks cup. Both originate in assumptions about the unhappiness, or un-fulfillment, of their audience. Starbucks and Oprah assume that we feel un-actualised, so they try to reassure us that there is a path open to actualisation; Pastor Oquist believes we are afraid that God is mad at us, so he reassures us this isn’t the case. And beneath both of these vision lies the old notion of progress.

Progress westward, progress towards a greater place, towards a promised destiny. Progress towards a world in which, through filling ourselves up as individuals – through our personal splendour, through our personal relationship with God – we will somehow find our way through to a world that is better for everyone.

There is a strange sleight of hand a work in all of this. It takes place in the assertion that through focusing on the ‘I’ we will improve the ‘we’. The path to community, that is, takes place through individualism.

 Consider a final example: the architecture, or built geography, of suburban California, and indeed, suburban America. It has often been claimed that there is a sort of anesthesia in this geography, composed as it is of interstates and strip malls, endless one and two-story responses to population growth, streets like inescapable mazes, identical houses strung one after another to the horizon.

There is a truth to these observations: from the outside these suburbs can come to look like a physical manifestation of what Adorno and Horkheimer loathed in what they the termed ‘the culture industry’. The repetition and flatness of affect can appear ideological, designed to perpetuate a culture in which, ‘conformity has replaced consciousness.’

But from the inside – that is, actually driving among these neighbourhoods and interacting with their owners – that ‘conformity’ takes on a new aspect. We see that the birds-eye view of the horror of the place must be somehow integrated with an understanding of the experience of its residents. To many of the people who live in these suburbs, they are not a repository of conformist horror, but a confirmation of achievement.

Each property is a small, inviolable personal kingdom. They are fenced. Kids splash in backyard pools. The lawns are manicured. The cars are cared for meticulously, and there are very few older models. As with the houses themselves, the point of the cars is not that everyone else may have exactly the same model, but that I too have one.

That is to say, from the inside, these suburbs are not representations of conformity, but of success. It is the success of I too. It is purchased with sweat, and perseverance, and hard-won dollars. All of my neighbours may have one, sure, but I too have a small castle of my own.

Looking closely, we can see the way in which this is a physical synthesis of the Oprah/Starbucks exhortation to splendidness and Pastor Oquist’s reassurance that God is not angry, you simply have to open yourself up to him. It is a geography, physical as well as social, that assures you of the possibility of achievement. It is a geography that reinforces the notion that even if there are awful things going on out there in the world, here you can have stability and comfort and be among the like-minded. Here, God is not angry.

All of this is possible; achieving it, deeply and truly, simply requires faith in the dream, along with a continued and constructive work on the self. For Oprah, this work is a filling up of the self; for Pastor Oquist, it is an acceptance of what was done for you, that is, an acceptance that it was on your behalf that Jesus died on the cross. In both cases, what is required is that belief in the validity of the self, the joy in the self, the acceptance of the self, the perfectibility of the self.

And the ultimate reassurance is that it is through this focus on the self that the ‘we’ lurking behind all of the encomiums will be created. We will have our malls and our movie theatres, our clothing stores and our cars. It is through the ‘I’ that the ‘we’ will be triumphant.

We might return to the drama of the drought in California and the difficulty of taking measures to offset it. What becomes clear, if we look at the way people are living and what they are being told, is that to be asked to reduce, be it water or any other consumable, runs counter to nearly every mandate, belief, and historical self-understanding of our culture. California, and by extension America, is about having.

It is not about not having. It is about doing, not about not doing. If the choice is between some relatively abstract notion of preservation on the one hand, and washing the car on the other, we will choose washing the car.

We will choose to eat out-of-season vegetables to promote our health, and we will choose to take our regular showers to maintain our sense of hygiene. Why? Because when we are confronted with doubt, or difficulty, the accumulated weight of the system of beliefs in which we have operated for the entirety of our lives rests on the side of continuing to fill ourselves up.

It rests on the side of displacing our fears that we might bear responsibility. It rests on our belief in our own destiny, and our movement towards it; it rests on our belief that through the consuming ‘I’ we will reach the promised ‘we’. These bad things are not happening because of anything we’ve done; God is not mad at me, he cannot be punishing us.

In these ways, the need to use less water is nearly impossible to negotiate, because it is a worldly annoyance running up against transcendent imperatives. It is competing with self-actualisation. And self-actualisation, we are told over and over again, is the entire goal of our lives. It is through self-actualisation that we will, in Donald Trump’s phrase, ‘Make America Great Again.’

We are meant, we have been told more times than we can count, to have our own small place in the sun; we have worked for that place, we have been promised it, and we’re sure as hell not giving it back.

It is here, I think, that the great sad force of the metaphor of American culture as a wave becomes finally and fully apparent. A wave is not a movement of water, it is a movement of force through water.

And the force that moves through us is the very notion of progress itself. When it runs up against the reality of California, the reality of the drought, we see that it is boundless and unstoppable, and at the same time enervated, dissipating. It is a force at once ever-expanding and ever-thinning, an endless taking-in, an endless self-fulfilment, and the continual emptying-out of these things.

It is the notion of California, land of the blossoming star, land of the internet billionaire, land where we can each have our personal kingdom; it is the notion of the new electronic frontier sweeping out away from us and across the world, promising a California for every human on earth, regardless of how devoid of meaning that promised land is.

It is this force, this idea of progress, with which we need to contend. When we see Oprah’s slogans on our coffee cups, we should howl with laughter at the idea that we will be made better by coffee. When we hear of Pastor Oquist’s sermons we should ache with sadness at his need to so reassure his congregation. We should long to tear down the sterility and separation of the suburbs, their imprisoning message of false achievement.

We should agitate and organise and foment. We should proclaim that the natural world has an inherent value that is greater than the value of our personal or financial success; that transcendence comes not from a filling-up of ourselves but from a re-awakening of our connections to each other and to the non-human world; and that we must not pretend that we are something other than responsible agents, fully capable of destroying ever single thing around us.

But we should do none of this in service of the idea of progress. We should do it because if we don’t we are not living, experiencing, cognisant beings. We are simply inanimate objects through which destructive force is transmitted.

• Tyler Sage lives and teaches in California. His fiction and essays have appeared in Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, The Common, Bright Lights Film Journal, The L.A. Review of Books, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. You can find him at


Tick Tick Tick

SUBHEAD: Is it that the US has a more genuine interest in the Ukraine and Syria than their neighbor Russia?

By James Kunstler on 28 September 2015 for -

Image above: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (r) gives an interview to American journalist Charlie Rose for CBS'60 Minutes. From (

Did Charlie Rose look like a fucking idiot last Sunday night on 60-Minutes, or what, asking Vladimir Putin how he could know for sure that the US was behind the 2014 Ukraine coup against President Viktor Yanukovych? 

Maybe the idiots are the 60-Minutes producers and fluffers who are supposed to prep Charlie’s questions. Putin seemed startled and amused by this one on Ukraine: how could he know for sure?

Well, gosh, because Ukraine was virtually a province of Russia in one form or another for hundreds of years, and Russia has a potent intelligence service (formerly called the KGB) that had assets and connections threaded through Ukrainian society like the rhizomorphs of the fungus Armillaria solidipes through a conifer forest. Gosh, Charlie, it’s like asking Obama whether the NSA might know what’s going on in Texas.

And so there is Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, having to spell it out for the American clodhopper super-journalist. “We have thousands of contacts with them. 

We know who and where, and when they met with someone, and who worked with those who ousted Yanukovych, how they were supported, how much they were paid, how they were trained, where, in which country, and who those instructors were. We know everything.”

The only thing Vlad left out of course was the now-world-famous panicked yelp by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland crying, “Fuck the EU,” when events in Kiev started getting out of hand for US stage-managers. But he probably heard about that, too.

Charlie then voice-overed the following statement: “For the record, the US has denied any involvement in the removal of the Ukrainian leader.” Right. And your call is important us. And your check is in the mail. And they hate us for our freedom.

This bit on Ukraine was only a little more appalling than Charlie’s earlier segment on Syria. Was Putin trying to rescue the Assad government? Charlie asked, in the context of President Obama’s statement years ago that “Assad has to go.”

Putin answered as if he were explaining something that should have been self-evident to a not-very-bright high school freshman: “To remove the legitimate government would create a situation which you can witness in other countries of the region, for instance Libya, where all the state institutions have disintegrated. 

We see a similar situation in Iraq. There’s no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the government structure.”

I guess Charlie and the 60-Minutes production crew hadn’t noticed what had gone on around the Middle East the past fifteen years with America’s program of toppling dictators into the maw of anarchy. Not such great outcomes.

Charlie persisted though, following his script: Was Putin trying to rescue Assad? Vlad had to lay it out for him as if he were introducing Charlie to the game of Animal Lotto: “What do you think about those who support the terrorist organizations only to oust Assad without thinking about what happens to the country after all the state institutions have been demolished…? Look at those who are in control of 60 percent of the territory of Syria."

Meaning ISIS. Al Nusra (formerly al Qaeda in Syria), i.e., groups internationally recognized as terrorist organizations.

Charlie Rose, 60-Minutes — and perhaps by extension US government agencies with an interest in propagandizing — seem to want to put over the story that Russia has involved itself in Syria only to aggrandize its role on in world affairs.

Forgive me for being so blunt, but what sort of stupid fucking idea is this? And are there any non-lobotomized adults left in the USA who can’t see straight through it? 

The truth is that American policy in Syria (plus Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Somalia, Afghanistan) is an impressive record of failure in terms of the one basic aim that most rational people might agree upon: stabilizing the region in a way that does not leave Islamic jihadi maniacs in charge.

Okay, so now the Russians will do what they can to try to stabilize Syria. They’ve had their failures, too (famously, Afghanistan). But Russian territory adjoins the Islamic lands and they clearly have stake in containing the virus of Islamic extremism near their borders. Is that not obvious?

Charlie made one other extremely dumb statement — he seems to prefer making assertions to asking straight-up questions — to the effect that Russia was misbehaving by deploying troops on its border with Ukraine.

Putin again seemed astonished by this credulous idiocy. The US had troops and nuclear weapons all over Europe, he answered. Did Charlie think that meant the US was attempting to occupy the nations of Europe now? Was it “a crime” for Russia to defend its own border with a neighboring state (formerly a province) that, he implied, the US had deliberately destabilized?

The Putin segment was followed by a sickening session with Donald Trump, a man who now — after a month or so of public exposure — proves incapable of uttering a coherent idea. I wonder what Vladimir Putin makes of this incomparable buffoon. Perhaps that America has gotten what it deserves.


Shelll quits Arctic

SUBHEAD: At least now the oil giant will put a hold on its offshore drilling in Alaska after disappointing efforts.

By Jon Queally on 28 September 2015 for Common Dreams -

Image above: Shell leased the Transocean Polar Pioneer, a semi-submersible drilling unit to explore Arctic deposits. Photograph by Daniella Beccaria/AP. From (
In what environmental campaigners are calling "a huge break" for the Arctic region and by extension the world's climate, the Royal Dutch Shell oil company announced on Monday it would end exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea after disappointing results from its controversial operations in the Alaskan waters that took place this summer.

In a corporate press statement released Monday, the company said that its drilling vessel—located approximately 150 miles offshore and in about 150 feet of water—had "successfully" drilled an exploratory well to the depth of 6800 feet. Though the company claimed it "found indications of oil and gas," it said the amount was "insufficient to warrant further exploration" and said the prospected site will now be "sealed and abandoned."

Further, citing "high costs associated with the project" as well as what it called "the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment," Shell said it will now "cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future."

The announcement comes as a huge blow to Shell, notes the Associated Press, which has spent an estimated $7 billion on its Arctic efforts and was counting on offshore drilling in Alaska to help drive future revenue.

Though a Shell official called the outcome "disappointing," those opposed to offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic responded quite differently.

"Polar bears, Alaska’s Arctic and our climate just caught a huge break," said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity, in response to the news. "Here’s hoping Shell leaves the Arctic forever. Drilling for oil there is inherently dangerous and will only drive the world deeper into the climate crisis. If we’re going to leave behind a livable planet, we need to leave that oil in the ground today, tomorrow and always."

Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace International, also heralded the news.

"This is a defining day for the Arctic. It’s a huge victory for the millions of people who stood up against Shell and a disaster for other oil companies with interests in the region," he said. "Shell has gambled big and lost big, both in terms of financial cost and its public reputation. This has become the most controversial oil project in the world, and despite its bluster Shell has been forced to walk away with nothing."

Niel Lawrence, the Alaska director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Fuel Fix blog that Shell’s announcement should be seen as "a watershed moment for the climate, the company’s investors, the fragile region and its iconic wildlife, and American consumers."

When it comes to the climate, Lawrence added, "Shell won’t be locking in fossil fuel production we don’t need and can’t afford if we want to limit global warming."

And Lois Epstein, the director of The Wilderness Society’s Arctic Program, said Shell’s announcement should deter other companies from taking similar risks in the arctic.

"Hopefully, this means that we are done with oil companies gambling with the Arctic Ocean, and we can celebrate the news that the Arctic Ocean will be safe for the foreseeable future," Epstein said.

According to Naidoo, however, the decision to drill or not to drill in the Arctic should not be left to the risk assessments of oil companies. "It’s time to make the Arctic ocean off limits to all oil companies," argued Naidoo. "This may be the best chance we get to create permanent protection for the Arctic and make the switch to renewable energy instead.

If we are serious about dealing with climate change we will need to completely change our current way of thinking. Drilling in the melting Arctic is not compatible with this shift."

As the news spread on Monday morning, the #ShellNo hashtag—which has been used to protest Shell's arctic drilling plans throughout the summer—was also celebrating what was largely received as a vindication for that opposition:


Bar-B-Que Kauai Style

SOURCE: David Ward (
SUBHEAD: Electromagnet radiation from military, scientific and aerospace operations may be affecting the health of Kauai.

By Stewart D. Simonson on 23 September 2015 for Dark Matters a Lot -

[IB Publisher's note: Below are parts of two articles recently posted on the site Dark Matters a Lot that indicate that a great deal of electromagnet radiation from military, scientific and aerospace operations may be affecting the health of people on Kauai and damaging the environment on the land and in the sea.]
Image above: The view from the visitor's parking area of the dome provides high-power, high gain pulsed electromagnetic radiation from AN/FPS-117 control radar station. Click to enlarge. From original article.

Above is the parking area at the west (or first) Kalalau Valley Lookout in Kokee State Park. The nearby station, seen in the mist, scatters unhealthy radiation into the surrounding area.

The safe distance from the Kokee AN/FPS-117 radar is calculated to be 530 meters (or 1730 feet). Visitors in the parking lot are only 900 feet or less from this radar. This "safe" distance is based on average power, FCC does not even address peak pulsed power, which I believe is worse. See page 28 (
Image above: Detail from page 27-28 from FAA report referenced above showing safe distance to stand near the from the Kokee AN/FPS-117 radar station to be 530 meters.
Image above: Aerial view from GoogleEarth the Kalalau Lookout and AN/FPS-117 radar station.The station is only 800 feet from the center of the lookout parking lot. Half the safe distance recommended. From GoogleEarth by Juan Wilson. Click to enlarge.

Shock Talk
SUBHEAD: KKCR radio guests Terry Lilley & Stuart Stevonson discuss potential health and environmental effects of microwave tower radiation on Kauai.

Host Dr. Donna Caplan on 21 September 2015 for KKCR - 

To hear this show click on original link here ( , or  here (

Image above: Aerial view from GoogleEarth the Kalalau Lookout and AN/FPS-117 radar station.The station is only 800 feet from the center of the lookout parking lot. Half the safe distance recommended.

Our data and reef surveys indicate this disease/disassociation may be due to electromagnetic damage caused by chronic low level electrical currents from nearby high power, high gain antennas and radar stations inducting and conducting into the nearby shallow, conductive seawater.
- Terry Lilley.

Image above: Dead 500 year old mound coral on north shore of Kauai is now a typical site.

World markets are crashing

SUBHEAD: The the stock markets of the ten largest world economies are all crashing.

By Michael Snyder on 24 September 2015 for the Economic Collapse -

Image above: Women in China clutch their heads as stocks slide in equity market. From (

You would think that the simultaneous crashing of all of the largest stock markets around the world would be very big news.  But so far the mainstream media in the United States is treating it like it isn’t really a big deal.

 Over the last sixty days, we have witnessed the most significant global stock market decline since the fall of 2008, and yet most people still seem to think that this is just a temporary “bump in the road” and that the bull market will soon resume.  Hopefully they are right.  When the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 777 points on September 29th, 2008 everyone freaked out and rightly so.

But a stock market crash doesn’t have to be limited to a single day.  Since the peak of the market earlier this year, the Dow is down almost three times as much as that 777 point crash back in 2008.

Over the last sixty days, we have seen the 8th largest single day stock market crash in U.S. history on a point basis and the 10th largest single day stock market crash in U.S. history on a point basis.

You would think that this would be enough to wake people up, but most Americans still don’t seem very alarmed.  And of course what has happened to U.S. stocks so far is quite mild compared to what has been going on in the rest of the world. Right now, stock market wealth is being wiped out all over the planet, and none of the largest global economies have been exempt from this.  The following is a summary of what we have seen in recent days…

#1 The United States – The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 2000 points since the peak of the market.  Last month we saw stocks decline by more than 500 points on consecutive trading days for the first time ever, and there has not been this much turmoil in U.S. markets since the fall of 2008.

#2 China – The Shanghai Composite Index has plummeted nearly 40 percent since hitting a peak earlier this year.  The Chinese economy is steadily slowing down, and we just learned that China’s manufacturing index has hit a 78 month low.

#3 Japan – The Nikkei has experienced extremely violent moves recently, and it is now down more than 3000 points from the peak that was hit earlier in 2015.  The Japanese economy and the Japanese financial system are both basket cases at this point, and it isn’t going to take much to push Japan into a full-blown financial collapse.

#4 Germany – Almost one-fourth of the value of German stocks has already been wiped out, and this crash threatens to get much worse.  The Volkswagen emissions scandal is making headlines all over the globe, and don’t forget to watch for massive trouble at Germany’s biggest bank.

#5 The United Kingdom – British stocks are down about 16 percent from the peak of the market, and the UK economy is definitely on shaky ground.

#6 France – French stocks have declined nearly 18 percent, and it has become exceedingly apparent that France is on the exact same path that Greece has already gone down.

#7 Brazil – Brazil is the epicenter of the South American financial crisis of 2015.  Stocks in Brazil have plunged more than 12,000 points since the peak, and the nation has already officially entered a new recession.

#8 Italy – Watch Italy.  Italian stocks are already down 15 percent, and look for the Italian economy to make very big headlines in the months ahead.

#9 India – Stocks in India have now dropped close to 4000 points, and analysts are deeply concerned about this major exporting nation as global trade continues to contract.

#10 Russia – Even though the price of oil has crashed, Russia is actually doing better than almost everyone else on this list.  Russian stocks have fallen by about 10 percent so far, and if the price of oil stays this low the Russian financial system will continue to suffer.

What we are witnessing now is the continuation of a cycle of financial downturns that has happened every seven years.  The following is a summary of how this cycle has played out over the past 50 years
  • It started in 1966 with a 20 percent stock market crash.
  • Seven years later, the market lost another 45 percent (1973-74).
  • Seven years later was the beginning of the “hard recession” (1980).
  • Seven years later was the Black Monday crash of 1987.
  • Seven years later was the bond market crash of 1994.
  • Seven years later was 9/11 and the 2001 tech bubble collapse.
  • Seven years later was the 2008 global financial collapse.
  • 2015: What’s next?
A lot of people were expecting something “big” to happen on September 14th and were disappointed when nothing happened.

But the truth is that it has never been about looking at any one particular day.  Over the past sixty days we have seen absolutely extraordinary things happen all over the planet, and yet some people are not even paying attention because they did not meet their preconceived notions of how events should play out.

And this is just the beginning.  We haven’t even gotten to the great derivatives crisis that is coming yet.  All of these things are going to take time to fully unfold.

A lot of people that write about “economic collapse” talk about it like it will be some type of “event” that will happen on a day or a week and then we will recover.

Well, that is not what it is going to be like.

You need to be ready to endure a very, very long crisis.  The suffering that is coming to this nation is beyond what most of us could even imagine.

Even now we are seeing early signs of it.  For instance, the mayor of Los Angeles says that the growth of homelessness in his city has gotten so bad that it is now “an emergency”
On Tuesday, Los Angeles officials announced the city’s homelessness problem has become an emergency, and proposed allotting $100 million to help shelter the city’s massive and growing indigent population.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti also issued a directive on Monday evening for the city to free up $13 million to help house the estimated 26,000 people who are living on the city’s streets.

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the number of encampments and people living in vehicles has increased by 85% over the last two years alone.
And in recent years we have seen poverty absolutely explode all over the nation.  The “bread lines” of the Great Depression have been replaced with EBT cards, and there is a possibility that a government shutdown in October could “suspend or delay food stamp payments”
A government shutdown Oct. 1 could immediately suspend or delay food stamp payments to some of the 46 million Americans who receive the food aid.

The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that it will stop providing benefits at the beginning of October if Congress does not pass legislation to keep government agencies open.

“If Congress does not act to avert a lapse in appropriations, then USDA will not have the funding necessary for SNAP benefits in October and will be forced to stop providing benefits within the first several days of October,” said Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for USDA. “Once that occurs, families won’t be able to use these benefits at grocery stores to buy the food their families need.”
In the U.S. alone, there are tens of millions of people that could not survive without the help of the federal government, and more people are falling out of the middle class every single day.

Our economy is already falling apart all around us, and now another great financial crisis has begun.
When will the “nothing is happening” crowd finally wake up?

Hopefully it will be before they are sitting out on the street begging for spare change to feed their family.