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Bill Maher "Crazy people who still think the government brought down the Twin Towers in a controlled explosion," the comedian jabbed, "have to stop pretending that I'm the one who's being naive." (We Are Change)
Confessions of an “ex” Peak Oil Believer In the 1950’s the Soviet Union faced ‘Iron Curtain’ isolation from the West. The Cold War was in high gear. Russia had little oil to fuel its economy. Finding sufficient oil indigenously was a national security priority of the highest order. Scientists at the Institute of the Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences began a fundamental inquiry in the late 1940’s: where does oil come from? In 1956, Prof. Vladimir Porfir’yev announced their conclusions: ‘Crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths.’ The Soviet geologists had turned Western orthodox geology on its head. They called their theory of oil origin the ‘a-biotic’ theory—non-biological—to distinguish from the Western biological theory of origins. If they were right, oil supply on earth would be limited only by the amount of hydrocarbon constituents present deep in the earth at the time of the earth’s formation. Availability of oil would depend only on technology to drill ultra-deep wells and explore into the earth’s inner regions. They also realized old fields could be revived to continue producing, so called self-replentishing fields. They argued that oil is formed deep in the earth, formed in conditions of very high temperature and very high pressure, like that required for diamonds to form. ‘Oil is a primordial material of deep origin which is transported at high pressure via ‘cold’ eruptive processes into the crust of the earth,’ Porfir’yev stated. His team dismissed the idea that oil is was biological residue of plant and animal fossil remains as a hoax designed to perpetuate the myth of limited supply. - While the American oil multinationals were busy controlling the easily accessible large fields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and other areas of cheap, abundant oil during the 1960’s, the Russians were busy testing their alternative theory. They began drilling in a supposedly barren region of Siberia. There they developed eleven major oil fields and one Giant field based on their deep ‘a-biotic’ geological estimates. They drilled into crystalline basement rock and hit black gold of a scale comparable to the Alaska North Slope. They then went to Vietnam in the 1980s and offered to finance drilling costs to show their new geological theory worked. The Russian company Petrosov drilled in Vietnam’s White Tiger oilfield offshore into basalt rock some 17,000 feet down and extracted 6,000 barrels a day of oil to feed the energy-starved Vietnam economy. In the USSR, a-biotic-trained Russian geologists perfected their knowledge and the USSR emerged as the world’s largest oil producer by the mid-1980’s. Few in the West understood why, or bothered to ask. (F William Engdahl)
EPA Releases List of High-Volume Chemicals The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the first set of Hazard Characterizations on 101 High Production Volume (HPV) chemicals. These characterizations are based on EPA’s scientific review of the screening-level hazard, or toxicity, data that was submitted by the U.S. chemical industry through EPA’s HPV Challenge Program or other information previously collected by the agency.
The HPV Challenge Program challenged companies to provide the public with basic health and safety data on chemicals that are manufactured in excess of a million pounds a year. The hazard characterizations include a summary of the data submitted, EPA’s evaluation of the quality and completeness of the data, and an assessment of the potential hazards that a chemical or chemical category may pose. EPA will combine this information with human and environmental exposure information collected from EPA’s Inventory Update Reporting to develop a risk characterization and, based on that review, determine if additional action is needed to ensure the safety of the HPV chemicals’ manufacture and use. (Web Wire)
Fear Factor The recent release of the new Bin Laden video has sparked some controversy over its authenticity. Collateral takes a look at the old bin laden video and questions it's origins. (Woodshop Films)
Rate of Home Foreclosures Hits Record The rate of home loans in foreclosure rose to a record level in the second quarter of 2007 as more homeowners in California, Florida and other states could not refinance their adjustable-rate mortgages (Reuters)
Life-span exposure to low doses of aspartame beginning during prenatal life increases cancer effects in rats. Abstract
In a previous study conducted at the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center of the European Ramazzini Foundation (CMCRC/ERF), we demonstrated for the first time that aspartame (APM) is a multipotent carcinogenic agent when various doses are administered with feed to Sprague-Dawley rats from 8 weeks of age throughout the life span.
The aim of this second study is to better quantify the carcinogenic risk of APM, beginning treatment during fetal life.
We studied groups of 70-95 male and female Sprague-Dawley rats administered APM (2,000, 400, or 0 ppm) with feed from the 12th day of fetal life until natural death.
Our results show a) a significant dose-related increase of malignant tumor-bearing animals in males (p < 0.01), particularly in the group treated with 2,000 ppm APM (p < 0.01); b) a significant increase in incidence of lymphomas/leukemias in males treated with 2,000 ppm (p < 0.05) and a significant dose-related increase in incidence of lymphomas/leukemias in females (p < 0.01), particularly in the 2,000-ppm group (p < 0.01); and c) a significant dose-related increase in incidence of mammary cancer in females (p < 0.05), particularly in the 2,000-ppm group (p < 0.05).
The results of this carcinogenicity bioassay confirm and reinforce the first experimental demonstration of APM's multipotential carcinogenicity at a dose level close to the acceptable daily intake for humans. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that when life-span exposure to APM begins during fetal life, its carcinogenic effects are increased. (European Ramazzini Foundation)
North American leaders do little to advance NAFTA Two years ago, President Bush agreed with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to set up a so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership to look at ways of deepening the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that links their countries.
Some detected a conspiracy to create a North American Union. They can relax: Talks last week at Montebello, a Canadian resort near Ottawa, among Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderón were "practical," according to the host. For example, Harper revealed that time had been spent discussing standardizing labels for jelly beans.
Officials in all three countries have worked on similar attempts to harmonize rules on everything from food to how to respond to health scares and tainted imports. This is useful, no doubt, but so small-scale as to be almost invisible, which worries some people. (Star Tribune)
N American trade, security meet wraps up North American leaders wrapped up a two-day summit here on Tuesday, trumpeting consumer protections and other joint efforts, while dismissing charges of plotting to erode national sovereignty.
The trilateral talks were "as cordial as they were constructive," said host Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, flanked by US President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at a closing press conference.
Canada, the US and Mexico are "independent and interdependent," Harper said. "And we're committed to working together on mutual security, continued economic growth and expanding our unique North American relationship."
The partnership was launched at the first "Three Amigos" summit in Waco, Texas, in March 2005, but has been attacked by activists, labor groups and academics critical of its business focus. (Taipei Times)
North American Leaders Conclude Talks About "NAFTA On Crack" A summit of North American leaders has concluded in Montebello Quebec. On Tuesday President Bush praised NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.
* President Bush: "And I think we made some good progress towards eliminating barriers and to harmonizing regulations to a point where more prosperity will come to be."
President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon met in Montebellow to discuss an expanded version of NAFTA known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership. Canadian activist Jaggi Singh said "The Security and Prosperity Partnership is, in brief, NAFTA on crack combined with the fear and paranoia of Homeland Security policies." The three leaders also discussed border issues.
* Mexican President Felipe Calderon: "We all want secure borders. We all also want efficient borders, borders that will allow a border crossing of those who build, who contribute and of course prevent border crossings of those who damage our societies, organized crime, drug trafficking and and illegal markets."
In other news from the Canadian summit, protesters are accusing police of using undercover agents to provoke violent confrontations during the meeting. (Democracy Now)
The FBI's New Power The Authority to Abuse the Constitution - On August 4, ignoring former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who had spoken of Bush's "phony war" on terrorism, Congress authorized vast authority for repressive agencies to spy further on the public. Under the pretext of "fighting terror," the bill opens further already existing wide parameters for telephone and email intrusion without court warrants. (Global Research)
U.S., Canada and Mexico Take Lead to Manage Industrial Chemicals The United States, Canada and Mexico are strengthening their efforts to ensure the safe manufacture and use of industrial chemicals by developing a regional partnership for assessing and managing potential risks. This regional partnership, announced today in Montebello, Quebec, is the result of discussions between President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America Leaders' Summit.
As part of the regional agreement, the three countries' top environmental officials agreed that their agencies would coordinate efforts to assess and take action on industrial chemicals. The United States, by 2012, will complete risk characterizations and take action, as needed, on more than 9,000 chemicals produced above 25,000 pounds per year. It also provides for the sharing of scientific information and technical understanding, best practices and research on new approaches to chemical testing and assessment. The agreement establishes goals to be met by 2020, which includes creating and updating chemical inventories in all three countries, as well as coordinating the management of chemicals in North America as outlined in other international agreements.
This U.S. commitment to complete assessments and take needed action on 9,000 chemicals will apply the results of EPA's work on High Production Volume (HPV) chemicals and extend its efforts to moderate production volume chemicals. The 2012 goal is to ensure that these chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize risks to health and the environment. (News Blaze)
Analysis: Border issue to dominate summit Business leaders from the United States and Canada hope the North American summit in Montebello, Quebec, this week will put efforts to integrate the two nation’s border control systems back on track.
“The issue” of talks about a pilot project for a single frontier checkpoint where both U.S. and Canadian entry and exit formalities can be completed “will be part of the conversation,” Steven Nesmith, a former U.S. Commerce Department official now working as a lobbyist on border issues, told United Press International. He said the information came from U.S. officials involved in preparations for the summit.
A Canadian official, Susan Cartwright, confirmed to reporters at a pre-summit briefing last week that the pilot -- called the land pre-clearance project -- was one of several border issues that “would likely be discussed” at the bilateral meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President George W. Bush Monday.
The breakdown last April of talks about the pilot, mooted for the Peace Bridge -- which joins Fort Erie in Canada and Buffalo in New York state and is one of the busiest border crossings in the world -- has become something of a lightning rod for critics of the Department of Homeland Security, which pulled the United States out of negotiations on the issue after almost three years of talks. - Christopher Sands, an analyst at the Hudson Institute, said that the “very aggressive” U.S. attitude to security was also evident in the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership -- the trilateral process of keeping “our borders closed to terrorism yet open to trade,” according to its Web site.
“The security part is a little different (from the prosperity agenda), it’s very U.S.-driven,” he said. “It’s basically just a matter of the U.S. setting the standards and then getting the Canadians and the Mexicans to sign up.”
“That’s why they feel a little pushed,” he added, of Canada and Mexico. (United Press International)
In Depth Security and Prosperity Partnership: SPP FAQs To hear some people talk, the Security and Prosperity Partnership meetings are nothing to get worked up about.
Thomas D'Aquino, of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, has said the issues discussed at the SPP are "quite important but frankly quite boring. They're not terribly exciting."
David Bohigian, the American assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance, told the magazine The Nation that the SPP is mostly concerned with bureaucratic minutiae and standards harmonization.
"For instance, in the U.S., we sell baby food in several different sizes; in Canada, it's just two different sizes," he told the magazine.
But if it's all boring bureaucracy and baby food jars, why are thousands of protestors expected to show up in Montebello, Que., a small town halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, for the third leaders' meeting under the SPP? - Who is opposed to the SPP?
Opposition to the SPP exists in all three countries and on either end of the political spectrum.
Progressive groups, particularly in Canada, say the SPP amounts to Canada's deep integration with the United States.
The Council of Canadians says the SPP is anti-democratic, makes Canadians less secure and ties Canada to the U.S. "war on terror." The Council is also concerned about the SPP discussions about bulk water exports from Canada to the U.S.
The NDP has said it has concerns about the SPP's "lack of transparency and democratic oversight." NDP trade critic Peter Julian has tabled a motion calling for public consultations and full Parliamentary oversight of the SPP.
- On the Canadian government's website about the SPP, some of the agreement's accomplishments are listed:
* Initiatives that make it easier to ship goods across the border.
* Strategies to limit the impact of disasters and allow for a more co-ordinated international response and a faster recovery.
* International co-operation on intelligence, law enforcement, transportation security and border management to help reduce criminal activity and terror risks.
* Reduction of transit times by 50 per cent at the Detroit-Windsor gateway, the largest border crossing point between Canada and the U.S.
Not listed is a planned "harmonization" of pesticide limits between Canada and the U.S., which would raise the acceptable level of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.
The SPP's 2006 prosperity report identified "differences in pesticide maximum residue limits" as "barriers to trade." (CBC)
Millions of families face compulsory water meters Water companies are to be given new powers to force meters on millions of families amid claims it is necessary to cope with future droughts.
The controversial plan, which will add more than £1 billion to water bills over the next decade, was given the green light by the government on Thursday.
Ministers claim that despite the floods of this summer, the country is likely to see more droughts in future years, which will create a need to conserve water.
They argue that imposing meters generally leads to a reduction in household use of some 10 per cent.
New powers to adopt compulsory water metering are to be given to those companies who can show they are in so-called "water stress" areas.
However, the government plans to direct every water company in the country to consider imposing meters on customers to solve water shortage problems. (UK Daily Mail)
keywords: Climate Change, Consumer Council For Water, Essex & Suffolk, Folkestone & Dover, Mid Kent Water, Phil Woolas, South East Water, Southern Water, Sutton & East Surrey, Thames Water, UK National Consumer Council, United Kingdom, Water
White House says spying broader than known: report The Bush administration's top intelligence official has acknowledged that a controversial domestic surveillance program was only one part of a much broader spying effort, The Washington Post reported in its Wednesday edition.
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell wrote in a letter that other aspects of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program remain classified, the Post said.
"That is the only aspect of the NSA activities that can be discussed publicly because it is the only aspect of those various activities whose existence has been officially acknowledged," McConnell wrote, according to the Post.
Bush acknowledged the existence of a program that monitored domestic phone calls and e-mails without court oversight in December 2005. The administration has not confirmed other secret spying efforts reported by news outlets, such as one that searched millions of telephone records. (Reuters)
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