Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Appalachia Is Rising: The March on Blair Mountain | Common Dreams The Koch Brothers Luv Formaldehyde & US Empire Hated Around The Globe

Mountaintop removal mining is one of the most destructive forms of mining there is except for the extraction of oil from the Tarsands in Alberta Canada.
And yet Obama and his friends are so indebted for campaign funding (aka Bribes) that they feel their hands are tied. But the situation is that coal can be extracted from the earth if necessary by a less lethal means though it might cut down the profits of Big Coal.
And as we have seen even when it comes to enforcing mine safety regulation in traditional mining operations Obama like Bush I &II and Clinton administration refuse to clamp down on regulation violations.

So in regards to what regulations there are for Mountaintop Removal Mining the government's actual record of enforcement is abysmal.

But in the USA and here in Canada we see the same lax attitude towards worker safety or environmental protection of various fossil fuel industries.
In fact even Obama appears to consider those who criticize the lack of regulations or the enforcement of those which exists as enemies of the American way of life.

It is fascinating and somewhat disturbing when the mainstream media gets all weepy when some miners die in an accident which shouldn't have happened and their audience keep their eyes glued to their TVs and Computers as the drama unfolds but when anyone starts to seriously talk about improving the working conditions for the miners or increasing their salaries and benefits or increasing safety regulations and increasing the number of mining inspectors the same folk tend to side with the owners and the corporations or balk at a slight increase in taxes on the rich to pay for these things.

The same miners the media and average Americans cry crocodile tears for if they mention unions and more government oversight on Big Coal they call the miners socialists and communists.
Even when it came to the big mining disaster in Chile the media avoided talking about the safety record of the mining companies or the poor pay the miners receive which has been that way for well over a century.
When President Allende of Chile in the early 1970s wanted to improve the working conditions of miners and other laborers in Chile the American government had him and thousands of his unarmed followers murdered by General Pinochet in his CIA American organized and financed Coup d'etat.

As said before the American Empire prefers its friendly dictators and tyrants who ensure American corporations have free rein in those countries where they can pay workers peanuts and if they complain they are fired or disappeared or tortured and killed-now that 's the American way. All these leaders in these various foreign countries and the corporations established there have to do is call the complainers and unionizers "Reds" "Commies" "Anarchists" "socialists" or "terrorists".

One has to wonder how many of those activists involved in the fight against Big Coal and Mountaintop Removal" are under surveillance by Obama's secret police since we now know his administration is more interested in going after activists who are progressives or a bit to the left while the Rightwing activists are for the most part untouchable.

Appalachia Is Rising: The March on Blair Mountain | Common Dreams
This past week history came alive again in the hills and hollows of West Virginia through a successful march to Blair Mountain, WV organized by a coalition of community members, environmentalists and labor rights activists and historians. Appalachia Rising: March on Blair Mountain is a turning point in the movement to end mountaintop removal coal mining and the ongoing struggle for economic choices and diversity in the coal-poor regions of central Appalachia, and one that deserves our attention.

In 1921, over 10,000 miners marched from Marmet, WV on their way to Mingo County to organize a union amidst the horrific working conditions in the coal mines. They were stopped at Blair Mountain on the Logan County line. A five day battle ensued in which over a million rounds were fired and it was the second largest armed insurrection in American history next to the Civil War. The battle was an initial setback for the union, but it was that battle that helped bring us the eight hour work day and collective bargaining rights, and its history is vital. Outrageously, that same mountain, Blair Mountain, is now in jeopardy of being blown up and destroyed forever for coal by way of mountaintop removal mining.

This past week, three hundred of us walked the same footsteps as those miners did, ninety years later, to call for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining, a just and sustainable economic transition in central Appalachia and to save Blair Mountain by returning it on the National Register of Historical Places and making it into a National Park rather than another mine in an already ravaged county. On the last day, we marched and rallied twelve hundred strong.

...We walked and we worked and we let our sweat consecrate our shared intention of ending mountaintop removal coal mining, creating a diverse and sustainable local economy in the region, and honoring the history of those who have always expressed our shared need for dignity, honor, respect and justice by protecting Blair Mountain. That was why we walked. And that is why we did not give up and are not going to give up. At the end, once we made it to Blair, over 1,000 more people joined us. Kathy Mattea sang for us and Robert Kennedy Jr. and locally impacted residents spoke at the bottom of the mountain, and then together, we marched up to the very top of Blair Mountain in the heat, where we made it be known, that history is alive, that this mountain deserves to stand, as do all mountains, and that this region is ready for a more sane economic future.

We marched together as locals, labor organizers, environmentalists, college students, elders, artists and all with a common, yet multi-facetted cause, and despite all odds, we made it. While the long-term work for central Appalachia continues, we will now always have our organizing efforts “before we marched to Blair Mountain, and after we marched on Blair Mountain.”

Ralph Nader: Koch Brothers Led Fight to Defend Formaldehyde Despite Carcinogenic Evidence | Truthout
Ralph Nader: Koch Brothers Led Fight to Defend Formaldehyde Despite Carcinogenic Evidence
Tuesday 14 June 2011
by: Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez and Ralph Nader, Democracy Now! | Interview

The government has added formaldehyde to a list of known carcinogens, despite years of lobbying by the chemical industry. Formaldehyde is found in plastics and often used in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons. The government also said Friday that styrene, which is used in boats, bathtubs and in disposable foam plastic cups and plates, may cause cancer. The conservative billionaire Koch brothers have led the lobbying effort against labeling formaldehyde as a carcinogen. Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, is one of the country’s top producers of formaldehyde. We get reaction from longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

Not everyone loves the American Empire.
If anything America's imperial over-reach is increasing anti-Americanism around the Globe.
But for the American media the current or passed administrations and a large sector of the American population this seems unbelievable . They therefore conclude that such talk about increasing anti-Americanism is just an invention of the fertile minds of those who hate and resent American power or its ideals.

Of course people resent America when America just becomes the newest bully on the playground as it were throwing its weight around just to impress its intended audience at home and abroad.

America's use of its power and influence is resented and hated when America cherry picks which tyrants to oust and which to ally itself with with little or no regard for the wishes of the people .

America decided that Qaddaffi needed to be ousted but not Hosni Mubarak who was a dear friend of Hillary Clinton & the Obama administration in general that King Abdullah and his royal family must be defended no matter how they treat the people of Saudi Arabia or its satellite state Bahrain or for instance the Obama administration aided in the coup d'etat to take out President Zelaya whom the Hondurans believe is on the people's side and not just on the side of Clinton's rich and powerful friends in Honduras .

Around the Globe, US Military Bases Generate Resentment, Not Security | Common Dreams

As we debate an exit from Afghanistan, it’s critical that we focus not only on the costs of deploying the current force of more than 100,000 troops, but also on the costs of maintaining permanent bases long after those troops leave.

This is an issue that demands a hard look not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but around the globe—where the US has a veritable empire of bases.

According to the Pentagon, there are approximately 865 US military bases abroad—over 1,000 if new bases in Iraq and Afghanistan are included. The cost? $102 billion annually—and that doesn’t include the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan bases.

In a must-read article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences, anthropologist Hugh Gusterson points out that these bases “constitute 95 percent of all the military bases any country in the world maintains on any other country’s territory.” He notes a “bloated and anachronistic” Cold War-tilt toward Europe, including 227 bases in Germany.

“It makes as much sense for the Pentagon to hold onto 227 military bases in Germany as it would for the post office to maintain a fleet of horses and buggies,” writes Gusterson.

In a recent Italian documentary Standing Army, the late author and Nation contributor Chalmers Johnson says, “The unit of empire in the classic European empires was the colony. The unit for the American empire is not the colony, it’s the military base… Things that can’t go on forever, don’t. That’s where we are today.”

The bases—isolated from the host communities and, as Gusterson writes, “generating resentment against [their] prostitution, environmental damage, petty crime, and everyday ethnocentrism”—face growing opposition from local citizens.

Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) fellow Phyllis Bennis says that the Pentagon and military have been brilliant at spreading military production across virtually every Congressional district so that even the most anti-war members of Congress are reluctant to challenge big Defense projects.

“But there’s really no significant constituency for overseas bases because they don’t bring much money in a concentrated way,” says Bennis. “So in theory it should be easier to mobilize to close them.” What is new and heartening, according to Bennis, is that “there are now people in countries everywhere that are challenging the US bases and that’s a huge development.”
and so it goes,

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