Never Again Enough

SUBHEAD: The field notes on the Colorado River from a drying West.

By Willaim DeBuys on 39 July 2013 for Tom Dispatch -

Image above: The Colorado River delta is dry as it never meets the Gulf of California. From (

Several miles from Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon, Arizona, April 2013 -- Down here, at the bottom of the continent’s most spectacular canyon, the Colorado River growls past our sandy beach in a wet monotone. Our group of 24 is one week into a 225-mile, 18-day voyage on inflatable rafts from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek. We settle in for the night. Above us, the canyon walls part like a pair of maloccluded jaws, and moonlight streams between them, bright enough to read by.

One remarkable feature of the modern Colorado, the great whitewater rollercoaster that carved the Grand Canyon, is that it is a tidal river. Before heading for our sleeping bags, we need to retie our six boats to allow for the ebb.

These days, the tides of the Colorado are not lunar but Phoenician. Yes, I’m talking about Phoenix, Arizona. On this April night, when the air conditioners in America’s least sustainable city merely hum, Glen Canyon Dam, immediately upstream from the canyon, will run about 6,500 cubic feet of water through its turbines every second.

Tomorrow, as the sun begins its daily broiling of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and the rest of central Arizona, the engineers at Glen Canyon will crank the dam’s maw wider until it sucks down 11,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). That boost in flow will enable its hydroelectric generators to deliver “peaking power” to several million air conditioners and cooling plants in Phoenix’s Valley of the Sun. And the flow of the river will therefore nearly double. It takes time for these dam-controlled tidal pulses to travel downstream. Where we are now, just above Zoroaster Rapid, the river is roughly in phase with the dam: low at night, high in the daytime. Head a few days down the river and it will be the reverse.

By mid-summer, temperatures in Phoenix will routinely soar above 110°F, and power demands will rise to monstrous heights, day and night. The dam will respond: 10,000 cfs will gush through the generators by the light of the moon, 18,000 while an implacable sun rules the sky.

Such are the cycles -- driven by heat, comfort, and human necessity -- of the river at the bottom of the continent’s grandest canyon.

The crucial question for Phoenix, for the Colorado, and for the greater part of the American West is this: How long will the water hold out?

Major Powell’s Main Point

Every trip down the river -- and there are more than 1,000 like ours yearly -- partly reenacts the legendary descent of the Colorado by the one-armed explorer and Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell. The Major, as he preferred to be known, plunged into the Great Unknown with 10 companions in 1869. They started out in four boats from Green River, Wyoming, but one of the men walked out early after nearly drowning in the stretch of whitewater that Powell named Disaster Falls, and three died in the desert after the expedition fractured in its final miles. That left Powell and six others to reach the Mormon settlements on the Virgin River in the vicinity of present-day Las Vegas, Nevada.

Powell’s exploits on the Colorado brought him fame and celebrity, which he parlayed into a career that turned out to be controversial and illustrious in equal measure. As geologist, geographer, and ethnologist, Powell became one of the nation’s most influential scientists. He also excelled as an institution-builder, bureaucrat, political in-fighter, and national scold.

Most famously, and in bold opposition to the boomers and boosters then cheerleading America’s westward migration, he warned that the defining characteristic of western lands was their aridity. Settlement of the West, he wrote, would have to respect the limits aridity imposed.

He was half right.

The subsequent story of the West can indeed be read as an unending duel between society’s thirst and the dryness of the land, but in downtown Phoenix, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles you’d hardly know it.

By the middle years of the twentieth century, western Americans had created a kind of miracle in the desert, successfully conjuring abundance from Powell’s aridity. Thanks to reservoirs large and small, and scores of dams including colossi like Hoover and Glen Canyon, as well as more than 1,000 miles of aqueducts and countless pumps, siphons, tunnels, and diversions, the West has by now been thoroughly re-rivered and re-engineered. It has been given the plumbing system of a giant water-delivery machine, and in the process, its liquid resources have been stretched far beyond anything the Major might have imagined.

Today the Colorado River, the most fully harnessed of the West’s great waterways, provides water to some 40 million people and irrigates nearly 5.5 million acres of farmland. It also touches 22 Indian reservations, seven National Wildlife Reservations, and at least 15 units of the National Park System, including the Grand Canyon.

These achievements come at a cost. The Colorado River no longer flows to the sea, and down here in the bowels of the canyon, its diminishment is everywhere in evidence. In many places, the riverbanks wear a tutu of tamarisk trees along their edge. They have been able to dress up, now that the river, constrained from major flooding, no longer rips their clothes off.

The daily hydroelectric tides gradually wash away the sandbars and beaches that natural floods used to build with the river’s silt and bed load (the sands and gravels that roll along its bottom). Nowadays, nearly all that cargo is trapped in Lake Powell, the enormous reservoir behind Glen Canyon Dam. The water the dam releases is clear and cold (drawn from the depths of the lake), which is just the thing for nonnative trout, but bad news for homegrown chubs and suckers, which evolved, quite literally, in the murk of ages past. Some of the canyon’s native fish species have been extirpated from the canyon; others cling to life by a thread, helped by the protection of the Endangered Species Act. In the last few days, we’ve seen more fisheries biologists along the river and its side-streams than we have tourists.
The Shrinking Cornucopia
In the arid lands of the American West, abundance has a troublesome way of leading back again to scarcity. If you have a lot of something, you find a way to use it up -- at least, that’s the history of the “development” of the Colorado Basin.

Until now, the ever-more-complex water delivery systems of that basin have managed to meet the escalating needs of their users. This is true in part because the states of the Upper Basin (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico) were slower to develop than their downstream cousins. Under the Colorado River Compact of 1922, the Upper and Lower Basins divided the river with the Upper Basin assuring the Lower of an average of 7.5 million acre-feet (maf) of water per year delivered to Lees Ferry Arizona, the dividing point between the two.

The Upper Basin would use the rest. Until recently, however, it left a large share of its water in the river, which California, and secondarily Arizona and Nevada, happily put to use.

Those days are gone. The Lower Basin states now get only their annual entitlement and no more. Unfortunately for them, it’s not enough, and never will be.

Currently, the Lower Basin lives beyond its means -- to the tune of about 1.3 maf per year, essentially consuming 117% of its allocation.

That 1.3 maf overage consists of evaporation, system losses, and the Lower Basin’s share of the annual U.S. obligation to Mexico of 1.5 maf. As it happens, the region budgets for none of these “costs” of doing business, and if pressed, some of its leaders will argue that the Mexican treaty is actually a federal responsibility, toward which the Lower Basin need not contribute water.

The Lower Basin funds its deficit by drawing on the accumulated water surplus held in the nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, which backs up behind Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, with the Lower Basin using more water than it receives, the surplus there can’t last forever, and maybe not for long. In November 2010, the water level of the lake fell to its lowest elevation ever -- 1,082 feet above sea level, a foot lower than its previous nadir during the fierce drought of the 1950s.

Had the dry weather held -- and increasing doses of such weather are predicted for the region in the future -- the reservoir would have soon fallen another seven feet and triggered the threshold for mandatory (but inadequate) cutbacks in water delivery to the Lower Basin states. Instead, heavy snowfall in the northern Rockies bailed out the system by producing a mighty runoff, lifting the reservoir a whopping 52 feet.

Since then, however, weather throughout the Colorado Basin has been relentlessly dry, and the lake has resumed its precipitous fall. It now stands at 1,106 feet, which translates to roughly 47% of capacity. Lake Powell, Mead’s alter ego, is in about the same condition.
Another dry year or two, and the Colorado system will be back where it was in 2010, staring down a crisis.  There is, however, a consolation -- of sorts.  The Colorado is nowhere near as badly off as New Mexico and the Rio Grande.

How Dry I Am This Side of the Pecos
In May, New Mexico marked the close of the driest two-year period in the 120 years since records began to be kept. Its largest reservoir, Elephant Butte, which stores water from the Rio Grande, is effectively dry.

Meanwhile, parched Texas has filed suit against New Mexico in multiple jurisdictions, including the Supreme Court, to force the state to send more water downstream -- water it doesn’t have. Texas has already appropriated $5 million to litigate the matter. If it wins, the hit taken by agriculture in south-central New Mexico could be disastrous.

In eastern New Mexico, the woes of the Pecos River mirror those of the Rio Grande and pit the Pecos basin’s two largest cities, Carlsbad and Roswell, directly against each other. These days, the only thing moving in the irrigation canals of the Carlsbad Irrigation District is dust. The canals are bone dry because upstream groundwater pumping in the Roswell area has deprived the Pecos River of its flow. By pumping heavily from wells that tap the aquifer under the Pecos River, Roswell’s farmers have drawn off water that might otherwise find its way to the surface and flow downstream.

Carlsbad’s water rights are senior to (that is, older than) Roswell’s, so in theory -- under the doctrine of Prior Appropriation -- Carlsbad is entitled to the water Roswell is using. The dispute pits Carlsbad’s substantial agricultural economy against Roswell’s, which is twice as big. The bottom line, as with Texas’s lawsuit over the Rio Grande, is that there simply isn’t enough water to go around.

If you want to put your money on one surefire bet in the Southwest, it’s this: one way or another, however these or any other onrushing disputes turn out, large numbers of farmers are going to go out of business.

Put on Your Rain-Dancing Shoes
New Mexico’s present struggles, difficult as they may be, will look small-scale indeed when compared to what will eventually befall the Colorado. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expects the river’s 40 million water-users to grow to between 49.3 and 76.5 million by 2060. This translates into a thirst for Colorado River water of 18.1 to 20.4 maf -- oceans more than its historical yield of 16.4 maf.

And that’s not even the bad news, which is that, compared to the long-term paleo-record, the historical average, compiled since the late nineteenth century, is aberrantly high. Moreover, climate change will undoubtedly take its toll, and perhaps has already begun to do so. One recent study forecasts that the yield of the Colorado will decline 10% by about 2030, and it will keep falling after that.

None of the available remedies inspires much confidence. “Augmentation” -- diverting water from another basin into the Colorado system -- is politically, if not economically, infeasible. Desalination, which can be effective in specific, local situations, is too expensive and energy-consuming to slake much of the Southwest’s thirst. Weather modification, aka rain-making, isn’t much more effective today than it was in 1956 when Burt Lancaster starred as a water-witching con man in The Rainmaker, and vegetation management (so that trees and brush will consume less water) is a non-starter when climate change and epidemic fires are already reworking the landscape.

Undoubtedly, there will be small successes squeezing water from unlikely sources here and there, but the surest prospect for the West? That a bumper harvest of lawsuits is approaching. Water lawyers in the region can look forward to full employment for decades to come. Their clients will include irrigation farmers, thirsty cities, and power companies that need water to cool their thermal generators and to drive their hydroelectric generators.

Count on it: the recreation industry, which demands water for boating and other sports, will be filing its briefs, too, as will environmental groups struggling to prevent endangered species and whole ecosystems from blinking out. The people of the West will not only watch them; they -- or rather, we -- will all in one way or another be among them as they gather before various courts in the legal equivalent of circular firing squads.

Hey, Mister, What’s that Sound?
Here at the bottom of Grand Canyon, with the river rushing by, we listen for the boom of the downstream rapids toward which we are headed. Sometimes they sound like a far-off naval bombardment, sometimes more like the roar of an oncoming freight train, which is entirely appropriate. After all, the river, like a railroad, is a delivery system with a valuable cargo. Think of it as a stream of liquid property, every pint within it already spoken for, every drop owned by someone and obligated somewhere, according to a labyrinth of potentially conflicting contracts.

The owners of those contracts know now that the river can’t supply enough gallons, pints, and drops to satisfy everybody, and so they are bound to live the truth of the old western saying: “Whiskey’s for drinkin’, and water’s for fightin’.”

In the end, Powell was right about at least one thing: aridity bats last.
• William deBuys, a TomDispatch regular, irrigates a small farm in northern New Mexico and is the author of seven books including, most recently, A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest.


Black Hat heckles NSA head

SUBHEAD: NSA director heckled at Black Hat conference as he asks for security community's understanding.

By Andy Greenberg on 31 July 2013 fo Forbes -

Image above: From ().

When NSA Director Keith Alexander appeared at the Las Vegas security conference Black Hat Wednesday morning, he hoped to mend the NSA’s reputation in the eyes of thousands of the conference’s hackers and security professionals. It didn’t go exactly as planned.

Alexander was about a half hour into his talk when a 30-year-old security consultant named Jon McCoy shouted “Freedom!”

“Exactly,” responded Alexander. “We stand for freedom.”

“Bullshit!” McCoy shouted.

“Not bad,” Alexander said, as applause broke out in the crowd. “But I think what you’re saying is that in these cases, what’s the distinction, where’s the discussion and what tools do we have to stop this.”

“No, I’m saying I don’t trust you!” shouted McCoy.

“You lied to Congress. Why would people believe you’re not lying to us right now?” another voice in the crowd added.

“I haven’t lied to Congress,” Alexander responded, visibly tensing. “I do think it’s important for us to have this discussion. Because in my opinion, what you believe is what’s written in the press without looking at the facts. This is the greatest technical center of gravity in the world. I ask that you all look at those facts.”

Alexander’s talk had begun with a plea for the hacker and security researcher community to reconsider the NSA’s role in the wake of a still-unfolding scandal revealed by the classified leaks of former Booz Allen contractor Edward Snowden. “Their reputation has been tarnished,” he said, speaking of his NSA staff. “But you can help us articulate the facts properly. I will answer every question to the fullest extent possible, and I promise you the truth: What I know, what we’re doing, and what I cannot tell you because we don’t want to jeopardize the future of our defense.”

Alexander’s talk focused on the oversight placed on the NSA by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which must approve the NSA’s surveillance in any case where it might target Americans. The FISC, which hears the NSA’s arguments without any opposing counsel, has been accused of offering negligible oversight of the Agency’s work. The FISC stated in April that it had received 1,789 applications for electronic surveillance, of which 1,748 others were approved without changes and only one was withdrawn.

“I’ve heard the court is a rubber stamp. I’m on the other end of that table, against that table of judges that don’t take any—I’m trying to think of a word here—from even a four-star general. They want to make sure what we’re doing comports with the constitution and the law,” Alexander said. “I can tell you from the wire brushings I’ve received, they are not a rubber stamp.”

Alexander also cited a Congressional inquiry into the NSA that found no evidence that it had engaged in any illegal use of its spying powers. But the NSA has come under continued Congressional scrutiny, including in a hearing Wednesday morning in which the Senate Judiciary committee grilled members of the intelligence community, including NSA deputy director John Inglis, over the mass collection of Americans’ cell phone records. Also Wednesday morning, the Guardian published new documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealing yet another NSA program known as XKeyScore, a tool that allows the broad search of millions of individuals’ emails and browsing history.

In his Black Hat talk, the four-star general presented a timeline of terrorist attacks around the world, from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the Boston Marathon attack. He told the story of Najibullah Zazi, a terrorist accused of plotting an attack on the New York subway whose plot was foiled by the NSA’s surveillance, particularly the PRISM program that allows the NSA access to user data from Google, Microsoft, Apple, Skype, Facebook and other tech firms.

Alexander also noted the 6,000 NSA cryptologists who have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, 20 of whom were killed in the line of duty according to Alexander. “Think about people willing to go forward to Iraq and Afghanistan, to make sure our soldiers, airmen and marines get the intelligence they need,” he said. “I believe these are the most noble people we have in this country.”

“We get all these allegations of what [NSA staff] could be doing,” Alexander added. “But when people check what the NSA is doing, they’ve found zero times that’s happened. And that’s no bullshit. Those are the facts.” The crowd responded to that line with loud applause, as Alexander asked the press not to quote his swearing, noting his 15 grandchildren.

“The whole reason I came here was to ask you to help you to help us make it better,” said the general. “And if you disagree with what we’re doing, you should help us twice as much.”

“Read the constitution!” shouted McCoy in one last heckle.

“I have. So should you,” responded Alexander to another round of applause.

After the talk, I found McCoy in the crowd and asked him about his not-so-friendly debate with the general. “His speech was pretty canned,” said McCoy. “It’s anything you can see on Fox News any day. We’re in danger, we have to get rid of your freedom to keep you safe.”

“Everyone’s thinking this, but no one’s saying it public, so everyone thinks they’re alone,” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of society has issues with this…But no one speaks up.”

Kauai's Right to Know

SUBHEAD: Article dedicated to the courageous people on Kauai working to protect their families, their island.

By Maggie Sergio on 25 July 2013 for Huffington Post  -

Image above: Kauai Westside GMO corn field. From (

On July 31, 2013, there will be a public hearing on the island of Kauai that has no precedent. This hearing comes a month after the first reading of Draft Bill 2491 on June 26th of this year. Since the introduction of this pesticide safety bill, the Garden Island of Kauai has found itself in the spotlight, bringing the issue of "the right to know" and chemical trespass to worldwide attention.

Background on this environmental and social justice issue can be found in my earlier article, Pesticide & GMO Experiments in Hawaii: The Poisoning of Paradise

In recent weeks, campaigns by both sides of this issue have intensified. The local grassroots movement on Kauai, working towards full disclosure and regulation of clandestine pesticide use, is effectively using social media to share information and ideas. Since I returned home from Kauai a little over a month ago, it has been inspiring to see how this platform is being used to collaborate on how to best support the community of Waimea, Kauai and the GMO field workers who are exposed to a multitude of powerful, restricted use pesticides every day.

It has been interesting to witness the GMO industry in Hawaii embark on a marketing campaign. Not soon after I left Kauai, a print ad campaign began by Syngenta, one of the GMO companies that routinely conducts open air field tests of experimental pesticides and GMOs. Full-page color ads in the Garden Island newspaper touted the wonders of their pesticide Atrazine, which has been found in the water at Waimea Canyon Middle School.

I couldn't help but notice this one bit of hypocrisy in their mom-and-pop ad. This statement below comes from a chemical company that applies a significant percentage (but they won't tell how much) of the 18 tons of restricted use pesticides every year, on the Island of Kauai alone. If they cared so deeply about the community and environment... why not disclose what pesticides are being applied?
"At Syngenta, we care deeply about our communities and our environment. We are very careful with the agricultural products we use. We live, work and send our kids to school on Kaua'i. And we want these islands to remain safe and healthy for them and future generations. " ~-- Syngenta print ad in the Garden Island Newspaper.
This pesticide has been banned by the European Union because of groundwater contamination and has been documented by Dr. Tyrone Hayes to chemically castrate male frogs. Atrazine is undergoing its 3rd U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review within 10 years and a bill was reintroduced this year to ban Atrazine from the US market.

Kauai Ordinance #2491 is about Public Safety, the Environment and the Right to Know

Draft Bill #2491 was introduced by Kauai County Councilmembers Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum last month. This proposed ordinance makes public health and impacts on the environment the top priority with respect to pesticide usage by the biotech industry. If passed, this ordinance would require that the GMO companies on the Island of Kauai be legally required to fully disclose to the public what pesticides are being sprayed as part of their research activities. It mandates pesticide buffer zones around schools, hospitals and other public areas. This bill also requires that an environmental impact statement (EIS) be completed before any further expansion of the GMO industry on Kauai. An excellent overview of this bill is outlined here by co-sponsor Gary Hooser.

Not surprisingly, the GMO industry is fighting back on any regulations, restraint or public disclosure of what pesticides are being sprayed daily as part of open air field trials and research.

Misinformation and distortion of what this bill represents has spread across Kauai, and rumors are that many of the fieldworkers, hardworking, good people trying to support their families, are fearful for their jobs. This is tragic. The proposed ordinance is not about putting people that work in the fields, often as "Human Scarecrows" out of work and eliminating their jobs. However, I can understand their fears, especially if that message has been conveyed to them by the management of the GMO companies they work for. People I have met on Kauai, that are in support of passing this bill, are deeply concerned about the health and safety of the communities surrounding these GMO farms, and the field workers employed by them. Pesticide poisoning of farm workers is a very real and serious issue, but because it primarily impacts immigrants and other low skilled workers that spend their days in agricultural fields, picking the fruit and vegetables we eat, it doesn't get much attention in the media.

For the public hearing scheduled on July 31 of this year, there are confirmed rumors of the GMO companies telling field workers that if they wear their company t-shirts and show up for the hearing, they will get wages for the day, and lunch will be purchased for them.
The Westside Community of Waimea
As mentioned in my first article, residents of the community of Waimea have filed a lawsuit against Pioneer, a subsidiary of Dupont. Located on the west side of Kauai, Waimea is a small, working class community that is directly across the Waimea River. On the other side of the river are approximately 1000 acres of research test fields operated by Pioneer. Since my first blog post on this issue appeared, I have been moved by the stories of the residents of this rural community. I have been touched by people who have reached out to thank me for telling their story. I can't imagine living every day with fugitive pesticide drift and dust, and waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of tractors and the smells of mysterious chemicals being applied.

I listened to the words of one father (that did not want to be identified) concerned about the impact to his son, who has been exposed to an undetermined amount of pesticides on a daily basis for the majority of his life. He worries about the pesticide-laden dust that has been invading his home daily since the year 2000. He told me the dust is everywhere; it even gets into the toaster. The simple act of making a piece of toast could be exposing his family to dangerous, restricted use pesticides, many of which have been banned in Europe.

This father shared with me these photos showing how the pesticide-laden dust has invaded his home. The jalousie window shows dust from the nearby fields accumulated on the glass. The second photo shows a paper towel he used to wipe down his glass-top stove. He told me this was about 12 hours of dust accumulation.

Image above: Jalousie window with class panes covered in red dust from Kauai GMO field. From original article.

Image above: Paper towel soiled by wiping Jalousie window. From original article.
Plaintiffs Gather for Update on Lawsuit against Pioneer
On July 13, 2013, lawyers representing the residents of Waimea in a lawsuit against Dupont Pioneer held a public meeting to deliver an update on the case, and to discuss the pesticides that have been disclosed as part of their litigation. It was estimated that approximately 150-200 people were in attendance, and the meeting was open to anyone, and held in the cafeteria at Waimea Canyon Middle School, the very school in which Atrazine was found in water samples taken from a drinking foundation for children.

In addition to Atrazine, a number of other pesticides; BHC, DDT, Bifenthin , Metolachlor and Chlorpyrifos were also detected at Waimea Canyon Middle School.

During the presentation by attorneys Kyle Smith and Gerard Jervis it was revealed that 90 different pesticide formulations, with 63 different active ingredients had been confirmed to be in use by Pioneer on their fields

You can watch the entire presentation made at Waimea Canyon Middle School on YouTube. There are two versions available; a quick 15 minute version with just the highlights is embedded below. The full version, which is about 1 hour and 20 minutes is available on YouTube. Video courtesy of Eric Cannon, videographer.

If you have the time, I recommend watching the longer of the two, and then imagine that you are a parent whose child is in attendance at this school.

The discovery of Chlorpyrifos at Waimea Canyon Middle School...And the threat to children

Of the 90 pesticide formulations and 63 active ingredients that have been revealed as part of the Waimea lawsuit, it is important to call out one of the most dangerous and controversial pesticides found at Waimea Canyon Middle School; the organophosphate, Chlorpyifos.

In 2000, the EPA placed restrictions on the use of Chlorpyrifos. By law, it could not be used in or near people's homes, and exposure to children is illegal. Children are extremely vulnerable to pesticide poisoning because their developing brains are more susceptible to toxins that attack the central and peripheral nervous systems. While the EPA banned Chlorpyrifos for home use, it still allowed for its use in agriculture. As a result of this, children that live in agricultural areas of this country have been documented to suffer from exposure to this organophosphate, as do many farmworkers that pick the fruit and vegetables we eat.

According to the label on this product, the pesticide applicator is required by law to ensure that no pesticide drift occurs. This is exactly what is happening in the town of Waimea. How else could this pesticide show up in air samples taken by the Dept of Agriculture at the school?

In 2007, Pesticide Action Network (PANNA) and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) formally petitioned the EPA to cancel all registrations and revoke all tolerances for the pesticide Chlorpyrifos.

Since that formal petition, Chlorpyifos has been under review by the EPA, while farm worker advocacy groups such as Farmworker Justice and Farm Worker Pesticide Project have demanded that Chlorpyifos be banned from the US market. Keep in mind that this is just one of six restricted use pesticides found at Waimea Canyon Middle School.
Manipulative Phone Calls from the Hawaii Crop Growers Association Angers Residents of Kauai

Just as I finished this article, another troubling story has developed. Over the last few days, the GMO industry has embarked on an aggressive telephone solicitation campaign that has angered many residents of Kauai because of the manipulative techniques used. In speaking with resident Joanna Wheeler of Kapaa, she mentioned to me that if someone didn't have a good command of English they could easily be fooled into being recorded as being against the passage of bill 2491 when they were actually in support of it.

Social media messages have been disseminated warnings to Kauai residents not to be fooled when asked for permission to be taped if called by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (the Trade Group whose members include Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF).

Angela Flynn, an organic farmer and professional landscaper living in Kilauea, Kauai said she received the following recorded phone survey from the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association:
"Bill # 2491 will stop farmers' ability to use the latest technology to fight pests, limit the use of seeds, and cost the island of Kauai 500 jobs." - Robo caller message
In speaking with Puhi resident, Hanakapiai Grosse she told me of a deceptive recorded message she received that never mentioned any of the GMO companies, but said they represented an agricultural company looking to protect the rights of the people of Kauai. She echoed the comments of Joanna Wheeler that if someone who answered the phone didn't speak English very well they could easily be manipulated into recording a message that was against the passage of bill 2491. That message would then be forwarded to Kauai County Council members.

After speaking with Kauai residents about these blatant attempts at deception and manipulation I find myself with a variety of emotions, including sadness, anger, and worry about the direction of our country. I feel disgust at how the GMO industry, disguising themselves as "farmers" engage in manipulation and coercion, in order to influence the legislative process.

That being said, I also find myself inspired, and lifted up by the residents of Kauai and especially by the people of Waimea.

This article is dedicated to all of the courageous people on Kauai that are working to protect their families, their land and the environment. Aloha!

Manning verdict & Snowden's future

SUBHEAD:  Edward Snowden's father, Lonnie, said: "I have absolutely no faith in the attorney general of the United States."

By Eyder Peralta on 30 January 2013 for NPR News -

Image above: Photo courtesy of Bradley Manning Support Network. From (

In the wake of of aiding the enemy, the natural question is, what does this say about Edward Snowden's future?

is, of course, the Army private responsible for the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. is responsible for revealing some of the most secretive and sensitive intelligence programs inside the National Security Agency.

The U.S. government charged Manning with aiding the enemy. , that was an unprecedented charge that had the potential of casting a long shadow over future leak cases.

Mary-Rose Papandrea, a professor of law at Boston College, is in the middle of writing an academic paper that explores the difference between leakers and traitors.

Papandrea said an aiding-the-enemy charge essentially amounts to treason; the fact that Col. Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the Manning case, found him not guilty of the charge bodes well for Snowden and whoever may come next.

"It is good news for people who have the intent to inform the public that they will be protected," Papandrea said. "What I think the court did — without having seen any explicit rationale here — is to make a distinction between true aiding the enemy — intent to aid the enemy, knowledge that information will be read by the enemy and an intent to have that information read by the enemy — versus individuals who disclose information without authorization but with the intent to disclose them to the public at large."

During the trial, the U.S. government argued that when Manning released information to WikiLeaks — instead of traditional news outlets — it was because he wanted the data to be available in an indiscriminate manner. As an intelligence analyst, the government argued, he should have known that the information was going to end up in the hands of al-Qaida.

Many civil libertarians worried about the kind of precedent the case would set for investigative journalism in the United States. In essence, they said, this meant anyone could be charged with aiding the enemy for handing information to a website or news outlet because al-Qaida was free to visit that website.

What's more, aiding the enemy is one of only three crimes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice that theoretically applies to everyone.

Eugene Fidell, a lecturer at Yale Law School and an expert on military law, said the Manning verdict will likely revive talk about whether you can aide the enemy by releasing information to a news organization. One thing that seems clear, he says, is that Snowden will not be tried on that most-serious charge.

"On paper, the statute applies to any person. But in fact the Supreme Court would not tolerate a court martial of a civilian for aiding the enemy," Fidell said. "I don't think Mr. Snowden has to worry about being court martialed."

Papandrea agrees, but she says that while Manning beat the most serious charge against him, he could still face decades in prison for his other crimes, including espionage and theft.

"It's not like Bradley Manning is getting off scot-free. All it means is that he was not found guilty of what essentially amounts to treason," Papandrea says. "So as far as the message for Snowden, he still would face potential Espionage Act charges and other lesser charges."

In fact, the U.S. government has already charged the former NSA contractor with .

Papandrea argues, however, there are stark differences between Manning and Snowden.

"I don't think the espionage charges [against Manning] were that controversial," she said. "I think some people thought that Bradley Manning may have been engaged in whistle-blowing.

But I think the Snowden disclosures raise much bigger questions about the role of leakers in our society. You have Congress right now considering and coming close to passing legislation that would stop the program that Snowden revealed.

Clearly, his disclosures have had a big impact on the public debate. They are meaningful; they are important."

Manning, on the other hand, disclosed some 700,000 classified documents that "did not have significant impact on public discourse."

That was the argument, Snowden's father Lonnie and his attorney, Bruce Fein, made on CNN this afternoon. Snowden, Fein said, should be treated as a whistle-blower not a spy.

"He has sparked a conversation that Mr. Obama said was urgent," said Fein.

In Manning's case, judge Lind found the 25-year-old was not a traitor, but in six different instances, she rejected the defense's argument that Manning was a whistle-blower intent on sparking a debate about war and diplomacy.

If Lind sticks to maximum sentences, Manning could be in prison for decades.

Lonnie Snowden, who had called for his son to come back to the United States and face justice, had a different message for his son today: Stay safe, in Russia, he told him on CNN.

He added: "I have absolutely no faith in the attorney general of the United States."

Holden indicates US Government attitude

SUBHEAD: A.G. Holden says U.S. will not seek death penalty or torture Snowden if he returns. What a pathetic thing for him to have to say.

Mariano Castillo on 27 July 2013 for CNN News -

Image above: Eric Snowden as a teen in an online post. Photo courtesy — “The Voice of Generation Y”From (
The U.S. Justice Department will not seek the death penalty for U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to Russian authorities in a letter dated July 23.

In the letter, Holder says Snowden's arguments for temporary asylum in Russia are without merit.

Snowden is seeking asylum because he claims he will be tortured and face the death penalty if returned to the United States.

But the death penalty is not an option given the current charges against Snowden, and even if additional charges are filed, the United States would still not seek capital punishment, Holder wrote.

Once back in the United States, Snowden would not be tortured and would face a civilian trial with a lawyer appointed to him, the attorney general wrote.

"We believe that these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden's claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum," Holder wrote.

He also said it is untrue that Snowden cannot travel because his U.S. passport was revoked. Snowden is still a U.S. citizen and is eligible for a limited-validity passport that would authorize a direct return to the United States.

"The United States is willing to immediately issue such a passport to Mr. Snowden," Holder wrote.

Father asks Obama to rein in Holder
In a letter released Friday, Snowden's father called on President Barack Obama to order Holder to dismiss the criminal complaint filed against his son.

Lon Snowden defended his son's actions, comparing them to acts of civil disobedience.

"We are also appalled at your administration's scorn for due process, the rule of law, fairness and the presumption of innocence as regards Edward," the letter said.

Earlier in the day, Lon Snowden said on NBC's "Today" that Snowden did the right thing by leaking U.S. intelligence and helping Americans see the truth.

"I think my son, when he takes his final breath, whether it's today or 100 years from now, (will) be comfortable with what he did," he said. "He did what he knew was right. He shared the truth with the American people. What we choose to do with it is up to us as a people."

Lon Snowden expressed his disappointment with the recent House vote that continued funding for the spy program that Edward Snowden exposed.

There is a need for a strong intelligence community, Lon Snowden said, but many who voted for continued funding for the program are really looking out for the special interests that will benefit.

"It's all about the money," he said.

The father said he has not been in direct contact with his son, but there has been indirect contact through intermediaries.

The intermediaries do not include WikiLeaks, Lon Snowden said, but he added that he is thankful to that group for aiding his son.

"I'm thankful for anybody at this point that is providing him with assistance to keep him safe and secure," he said.

U.S., Russian officials continue talks

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said that the Russian security agency FSB is talking to American officials.

"The situation around Snowden is not being discussed at the top level. There's a discussion between heads of FSB and FBI," the Kremlin press office said.

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin said the Russian president "expressed a firm intention to not allow" further damage to U.S. interests, including a pledge by Snowden not to release any more intelligence. "And I have no doubt this is how it will be, no matter how the situation develops," the spokesman said, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

The many mysteries of Snowden's transit zone

Snowden isn't yet allowed to step outside the Moscow airport where he's been confined for weeks. He is waiting for permission to stay elsewhere in Russia while his request for temporary asylum is considered.

He has been searching for a place to settle after the United States charged him with espionage.

The former National Security Agency contractor, who admitted last month to revealing sweeping U.S. electronic surveillance programs to the news media, left Hong Kong for Moscow on June 23.

Snowden may remain stuck in the transit area for weeks and maybe months, the head of Russia's migration service, Vladimir Volokh, told the Russian news agency Interfax. The maximum length of time Snowden can spend at the airport is six months, he said.

An Alternative for the Westside

SUBHEAD: A vision of small, family owned, sustainable farms instead of agro-chemical GMO fields.

By Ned Whitlock on 30 July 2013 for The Garden Island - 

Image above: "Ahupuaa" by Beth Marcil. A typical sustaonable section of life and land in Hawaii. From (

Imagine driving past Salt Pond toward Waimea and looking toward the mountainous interior of Kauai. Behind sinuous lines of mango tree windbreaks that follow the contour of the land and the edges of gullies and valleys, one can catch glimpses of fields of sweet potatoes, peanuts, ginger, pigeon peas, coconut groves, papaya patches, breadfruit trees and tangelo orchards.

Dotted over the landscape are hundreds of homestead farms of about 20 acres with tidy shaded modest homes surrounded by vegetable gardens. Solar panels on farm equipment sheds glint in the sun.

Down the road, near the idle Gay and Robinson sugar mill, an attractive industrial building with a West Kauai Coop sign hums with activity. In a screened bay, crates of Rapoza mangos are stacked high, awaiting their turn on the sorting line. The next bay has boxes of sweet potatoes, fresh off the washer, being loaded on a truck for today’s barge.

Next door, mounds of green coconuts are being off loaded from farmers’ pickups for the coconut water cannery. At the coop store, plenty tourists are browsing heaps of colorful fruit and vegetables in the open air pavilion.

The sugar cane juice (with lime and ginger) stand has customers and the Fairchild mango sorbet looks popular too. Down the road a bit, coconut husks are drying in the sun next to a small factory processing coco fiber into bales.

Close by is the laminating shop using coco strands as an improvement on carbon fiber to build outrigger canoes and paddleboards.

The parking lot shaded by a solar panel canopy is occupied by plug in electric vehicles.

The dream is rudely interrupted by dust rising near a vivid green corn field bordered by keep out signs. A large spray rig tall enough to straddle mature corn plants, sits idle in the distance, waiting for its nighttime pesticides forays. Vans with corporate logos discharge workers for another day of detasseling or bagging.

Before European contact, Kauaians farmed 20,000 acres of taro living close to their fields, dispersed over the island wherever water resources made it possible. Plantation agriculture depopulated the countryside and concentrated inhabitants into mostly mill towns.

For Kauai to turn a new leaf and create an economy that nurtures the land, creates abundance for the local people, and feeds the island big time, the small landholder/farmer should be enabled to thrive. Intensely planted, closely tended farms coax the best yields from the land.

What if the county bought the conservation/development rights for 10,000 watered acres on the south side from the primary land holders to create 500 farmsteads of about 20 acres each, delineated by the topography? (20 acres is big enough to justify the expense of a tractor, give everybody enough room, yet be family manageable).

These farmsteads would be leased (10-year renewable) with the covenant of soil protection and a strict ban on toxic agriculture; no herbicides, no chemical insecticides, and only organically approved fungicides.

The county or chosen contractors could start the project by hiring prospective farm leasees to plant windbreaks, start coconut groves, etc. Low cost loans would be available for approved farm worker dwellings on each plot.

Young family applicants with Kauai roots and farm work ethic would be given preference as land is offered. Sustainable technical advice of farmer peers and other mentors would be available.

A farm machinery coop could lessen start up costs. Lease fees would be reasonable to the farmer ( $5,000/per year?) and would fund the conservation/development right costs.

Rural development costs of the project (i.e. windbreaks, erosion control) could come from higher taxes on underutilized agricultural lands and a “poison” tax at the point of sale of dangerous pesticide products.

Processing plant infrastructure would be favorably financed and help with coop development available.

Five-hundred diverse intensive farms could employ two to five thousand people within five to 10 years with associated businesses. A conservative gross income of $200,000 per farm (yes, you’ll have to work hard) would mean a hundred million dollars circulating in the local economy.

A thriving, productive, sustainable, non-toxic Westside with independent farmers with access to cooperative facilities, jump started with county assistance, and graced with Robinson family cooperation, is an appealing alternative to the dead end of chemical company agribusiness.

• Ned Whitlock does business as Moloa’a Organica’a, Kilauea.


India agrees dolphins are persons

SUBHEAD: Scientists affirm that all cetaceans as persons havimg the right to life, liberty and well-being.

By Ann Werner on 29 July 2013 for -

Image above: Mother and child dolphins From original article.

Following the lead of Hungary, Costa Rica and Chile, the government of India has recognized dolphins as non-human persons. The decision means that India has officially banned the capture and importation of dolphins for commercial entertainment. It also heralds the closure of dolphin parks throughout the country.

The move is based upon the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans, drafted in Helsinki, Finland three years ago, in which scientists state: “We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and well-being.”

Puja Mitra, an outspoken member of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection (FIAPO) was quoted in Deutsche Welle as stating:
“They share intimate, close bonds with their family groups. They have their own culture, their own hunting practices – even variations in the way they communicate.”
Scientists have long suspected that cetaceans, which include dolphins, porpoises and whales, are creatures of high intelligence and emotional empathy. Their research has concluded that cetaceans exhibit complex behaviors that put them on par with human beings and, as such, they deserve to be protected by a bill of rights.
Research has shown that dolphins and whales have intricate vocal communication. Indeed, they have specific names and use unique whistles to call each other. The specific whistles were recorded and played back to members of a pod and then again for members of another dolphin group. Dolphins have the ability to recognize their own reflections, understand abstract concepts and utilize tools.
From a BBC report:
“The researchers found that individuals only responded to their own calls, by sending their whistle back.
The team believes the dolphins are acting like humans; when they hear their name, they answer.”
Dolphins and Orcas have displayed impressive evidence of organized thought and have been observed caring for an injured member of their pod for as long as a year. They have also been observed aiding fishermen in exchange for a portion of the catch.
Despite the scientific findings, Japan leads the world in the number of dolphins held in captivity: 600 held in 65 different facilities. In the United States, there are now 30 facilities, down from 44 twenty years ago. Internationally, the number of cetacean parks has been declining.
A report in the Japan Times states:
“The United Kingdom closed all its dolphinariums back in 1993 and more than 23 other nations, including Australia, Mexico, Thailand and Croatia, have either banned the catching or trade of wild dolphins, or keeping them in captivity. This is mainly due to a growing belief that to do so constitutes a form of animal abuse.”
The recent documentary “Blackfish” shines a light on the mistreatment of Orcas, or “killer whales” which are a species of dolphin, at Sea World, the most famous marine park in the world.
Deutsche Welle noted that Puja Mitra, of (FIAPO) has stated:
“The majority of dolphins and whales in captivity have been sourced through wild captures in Japan, in Taiji,  in the Caribbean, in the Solomon Islands and in parts of Russia. These captures are very violent. They drive groups of dolphins into shallow bay areas where young females whose bodies are unmarked and are thought to be suitable for display are removed. The rest are often slaughtered.”
In case you missed it the first time, you can sign on to the Cetaceans Bill of Rights HERE.

Ann Werner is a blogger and the author of CRAZY and Dreams and Nightmares. You can view her work at ARK Stories. Visit her on Twitter @MsWerner and Facebook


The Armageddon Complex

SUBHEAD: Confessions of a climate change denier after connecting the dots on several current crisis.

By Yotm Marom on 30 July 2013 for Open Democracy -

Image above: "I don't believe in global warming" photo by Matt Brown, Flickr. From original article.

The "Armageddon Complex" says that climate change will cause a biblical cocktail of hurricanes, floods, famines and wars. This creates a culture of climate denial among activists: without the capacity to drop other struggles, we do nothing. But our political movements are connected. 

I suppose it wasn’t really until I was standing on the west side of Hoboken, New Jersey, in water and oil up to my thigh, that climate change really made sense. And it wasn’t until I was out organizing on New York City's outer beaches after Hurricane Sandy that I understood my sluggishness about climate justice before was nothing short of climate change denial.

It seems like everywhere we turn, we’re being fed the same old climate Armageddon story. You’ve heard it, I’m sure: If we continue to be dependent on fossil fuels, hundreds of gigatons of CO2 will continue to pour into the atmosphere, the temperature will rise above two degrees Celsius, and we’re done. There will be a biblical cocktail of hurricanes, floods, famines, wars. It will be terrifying, awful, epic and, yes, as far as any reputable scientist is concerned, those projections are for real.

I call this narrative the Armageddon Complex, and my own denial was a product of it. I spun all sorts of stories to keep the climate crisis out of my life, ranging anywhere from “it can’t be that bad” to “if it is that bad, there’s nothing I can do about it,” and “it’s not my role. That’s for climate activists; I’m a different kind of activist.”

I did not act alone, but rather as part of a culture of climate denial among activists, who are already plagued by a tendency to see our work as separate issues vying for attention. The Armageddon Complex tells us that climate activism is about some far-off date, not about the pressing and time-sensitive needs that people around us experience in their day-to-day struggles. It pounds into us the idea that the crisis is more titanic than any other, so if we’re going to do anything about it, we have to do everything.

Most of us won’t put off the pressing needs of our families and communities for something we abstractly understand is going to happen later, and most of us aren’t willing to drop the other pieces of our lives and our movement to do everything, because we already feel like we’re doing everything and barely scraping by as it is. So we deny.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to this story: The crisis is gargantuan, and it’s getting worse. Ultimately only a fundamental socio-political, economic and personal transformation is going to get us out of this mess.

But that’s not the whole story. Climate Armageddon isn’t a Will Smith movie about what happens in 10 years when all hell breaks loose. Climate change is already here: Hurricanes that land on families, rising tides that flood homes, oil spills that drown communities and countless other disasters.

These are caused by the same economic and political systems responsible for all the other crises we face — crises in which people are displaced from land, families are ripped out of homes, people lose their jobs, students sink into debt, and on and on.

Defeating climate change doesn’t have to mean dropping everything to become climate activists or ignoring the whole thing altogether. The truth is exactly the opposite: We have to re-learn the climate crisis as one that ties our struggles together and opens up potential for the world we’re already busy fighting for.

Climate moment, not climate movement
In addition to the hurricane were important voices that forced me to confront my denial. Naomi Klein has argued that resisting climate change is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win the world we’ve wanted all along; the proponents of climate change are the same enemies that the Occupy movement and its counterparts around the world have already marked. Vandana Shiva pushes us to see that the intersecting crises of food, climate and economy are all based on a common theme of debt, while George Monbiot reminds us that the oil profiteering that ruins our climate would be impossible were it not for the insidious relationship between money and politics.

What these connections mean is that the homeowners and activists around the United States putting their bodies on the line to fight foreclosure, the students occupying their universities to fight tuition hikes, the activists fighting for campaign finance reform, the countless who stand up to war — these struggles are our best shot at a climate movement that can really win.

But I learned similar lessons from people in struggle. Farmers in the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement fighting for their land are not so different from the Lubicon Cree in Northern Alberta, Canada, standing in the way of the Keystone XL Pipeline that poisons their water, or the residents in Atlanta, Georgia, trying to win their homes back from the banks. The working-class white West Virginians resisting fracking are in the same boat as the families in Far Rockaway whose kids’ lungs are infected from living in moldy homes after Hurricane Sandy. They have a lot in common with those in the South Bronx who have been fighting against pollution caused by big business for decades, or the mothers in Detroit who are building urban gardens to cope with food deserts. They’re not so different from the Indian women fighting Monsanto, or those resisting wars fought for oil, and on and on the connections go. We’re all connected by the climate crisis, and the opportunities it opens for us.

The fight for the climate isn’t a separate movement, it’s both a challenge and an opportunity for all of our movements. We don’t need to become climate activists, we are climate activists. We don't need a separate climate movement; we need to seize the climate moment.

Ultimately, our task is to create moments for our various movements that allow us to continue our different battles while also working in solidarity to strike at the roots of the systems beneath the symptoms.

Think Turkey and Brazil. Think Arab Spring, and the uprisings against austerity all over Europe. Think the student movements from Quebec to Chile. Think Occupy. These were collective uprisings that drew lines and demanded that people decide which side they were on. It’s our role to prepare for these kinds of “which side are you on?” moments for the climate by training and practicing, by re-focusing on the issues that connect us, by building institutions that can support us in long-term struggle.

We don’t stop our other organizing or drop the many other pieces of our lives; we organize the people with whom we already stand in order to seize these moments when they come — to tell stories, take spaces, and challenge enemies of the climate.

Learning from hurricanes
In the New York City neighborhood of Far Rockaway, climate justice is common sense.

What I had only read articles and books about before, I learned a thousand times over from people on the front lines of climate crisis after Hurricane Sandy.

As part of Occupy Sandy and the Wildfire Project, I joined the relief effort, which quickly became an organizing project — training, political education, and supporting the growth of a group that is now active across the Rockaways. Between contesting the city’s vision for a recovery, fighting against stop-and-frisk, and organizing against gentrification, the working-class, multiracial Far Rockaway Wildfire group knows that their task is about more than relief from a hurricane — it is also to deal with the crises that existed before the hurricane, and the systems underlying them.

The fight is about winning back the social safety net that has been slashed by the same economic and political elite that profits from fossil fuels. It's about the wages that have shrunk as elites have profited, about the jobs working people have lost as the bosses have been bailed out. It’s about ensuring sustainable mass transit so people can get to work. It’s about affordable housing, a need that existed before the storm, made worse now by the threat of disaster capitalist schemes to knock down projects and replace them with beach-front condos. It’s about contesting a political system that uses moments of crisis to further disenfranchise working people and people of color.

It's about overturning an economic system that is wrecking the planet while turning a profit for the most powerful, putting 40 percent of the wealth of this country into the hands of 1 percent of the population. It's about creating alternatives in our communities, while fighting to make those alternatives the norm.

When you’re out on those beaches in Far Rockaway it’s clear that there isn’t any far-off climate Armageddon to wait for. The hurricanes are already smashing down around us, and they’re the same hurricanes as the ones we have fought all along — systems like capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy that shape one another and all the values and institutions that govern our lives.

By fighting those systems, we’re already the seeds of the climate movement we’ve been dreaming of. We only need to overcome our denial, find points of intersection in our struggles, and prepare for those moments in which people finally sit down or stand up in the critical intersections of human history. It won’t be long now.


Report on Kauai GMO pesticides

SUBHEAD: Health care practitioners and national organization reveal intensity of pesticide on Garden Island.

By Pass the Bill Coalition on 30 July 2013  in Island Breath -

Image above: Tourist stands among the acres of Syngenta's open field GMO/Pesticide test fields on the Mana Plain that are on the way to Polihale State Park. From (

A new report, "Pesticides in Paradise: Kauai Test Fields",  released today. 7/30/13. by the international research organization, Pesticide Action Network, shines a spotlight on the high levels of Restricted Use Pesticides applied on Kauai, which has become one of the world's "epicenters" for biotech seed testing and experimentation.

The report raises a new level of awareness with the scientific and health research community about the situations faced by "fence line" communities that live near open-air, testing-based biotech research facilities.

Research and experimentation through open-air testing by biotech agrochemical companies on Kauai require approximately 18 tons of Restricted Use Pesticides annually.  Over 13,000 acres in west Kaua'i are under the control of the companies, constituting almost the entirety of cultivatable agricultural lands in west Kauai.

Parents and the medical community began to raise concerns over the past several years about the possible links between disease rates and the heavy application of Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) applications near their homes, schools, and churches.

Pesticides in Paradise: Kauai Test Fields is an initial study of the 22 Restricted Use Pesticides applied on Kauai. It highlights three of the most heavily applied RUP's on Kauai, chlorpyrifos, paraquat, and atrazine, and the health impacts of exposure to these chemicals.
To learn more, join the webinar presented by Pesticide Action Network scientists and staff on Tuesday, July 30 from 12:30-1:30 pm.

 To register for this webinar go to   


Bradley Manning won't face life

SUBHEAD: Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy as court-martial judge reads verdict.

By Staff on 30 July 2013 for the Washington Post -

Image above: Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, right, is escorted by military police as he arrives to hear the verdict in his military trial at Fort Meade in Maryland 7/30/13. From original article.

7:10 a.m. HST: Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy as court-martial judge reads verdict. This story will update soon.

If found guilty of all charges, including aiding the enemy, private Bradley Manning would have face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The private is accused of providing 700,000 classified documents to transparency organization WikiLeaks.
Manning arrived at court to hear the verdict in his military espionage and aiding the enemy trial at Fort Meade Tuesday. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy.

The planned announcement of the verdict follows an eight-week trial at Fort Meade in Maryland, where military prosecutors argued that Manning, 25, betrayed his oath and his country, and assisted al-Qaeda because the terrorist group was able to access secret material once WikiLeaks posted it.

Hours before the verdict, about two dozen Manning supporters demonstrated outside Fort Meade wearing “truth” T-shirts and waving signs proclaiming their admiration for the former intelligence analyst, the Associated Press reported.

“He wasn’t trying to aid the enemy,” said Barbara Bridges, 43, of Baltimore. “He was trying to give people the information they need so they can hold their government accountable.”

As dozens of journalists were admitted to the installation amid tight security, dogs trained to sniff out explosives searched their vehicles before they were escorted to a media room where the court proceedings were to be broadcast live on a screen.

The government’s pursuit of the charge of aiding the enemy under a theory that had not been used since the Civil War troubled civil libertarians and press-freedom advocates. They said the publication of secret defense information online could expose any leaker to life in prison and will chill press scrutiny of the military.

The government relied on a case from the Civil War to bring the charge: In that trial, a Union Army private, Henry Vanderwater, was found guilty of aiding the enemy when he leaked a Union roster to an Alexandria newspaper. Vanderwater received a sentence of three months hard labor and was dishonorably discharged.

Manning has pleaded guilty to a number of lesser charges, including unauthorized possession of information relating to the national defense.

The sentencing phase of the trial at Fort Meade outside Baltimore will begin Wednesday. With a conviction, the prosecution is expected to press the judge, Col. Denise Lind, to impose the maximum sentence. The government would present in a closed session of the court the classified damage assessments conducted by government agencies after the disclosures by WikiLeaks.

Defense attorney David Coombs would also be able to offer mitigating evidence about Manning’s motives and his state of mind when he turned the material over to the group.

Manning would be likely to serve any sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Manning, of Crescent, Oklahoma, enlisted in the Army in October 2007, hoping to fund his college education through the G.I. Bill. He trained as an all-source intelligence analyst at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and was stationed at Fort Drum, New York.

The military said Manning’s service was troubled from the start. He took more time than usual to pass basic training and struggled to connect with fellow soldiers. In October 2009, Manning’s unit was deployed to Iraq, where as part of his assignment he was able to access classified networks containing military and diplomatic documents.

In closing arguments last week, Maj. Ashden Fein, a military prosecutor, said Manning had disregarded the “sensitivity” of the material he leaked and “decided to release it to a bunch of anti-government activists and anarchists to achieve maximum exposure, the maximum exposure, and advance his personal quest for notoriety.”

Coombs has argued that Manning grew increasingly disturbed by the violence in Iraq and that his objective in copying secret documents while at a forward operating base there and leaking them to WikiLeaks was to “spark a worldwide discussion.” During the past two years of proceedings, Coombs has portrayed Manning as both naive and “well-intentioned.”

On Feb. 3, 2010, Manning turned over a trove of documents that became known as the War Logs to WikiLeaks. He attached a note: “This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war, and revealing the true nature of the 21st century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day.”

After that transmission, Manning developed a more robust relationship with WikiLeaks, passing on more than 700,000 documents and other material to the Web site, including video of an Apache helicopter engaging what the pilots believed were armed fighters in Baghdad. WikiLeaks called it “Collateral Murder.” Eleven people were killed in the incident, including an unarmed Reuters news agency photographer and his driver.

Manning developed an online relationship with a person believed to be Julian Assange, one of the founders of WikiLeaks.

“We conversed on a near daily basis, and I felt we were developing a friendship,” said Manning in a statement in March. “The conversations covered many topics and I enjoyed the ability to talk about pretty much anything, and not just the publications that the WLO (WikiLeaks) was working on.”

Manning was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 and transferred to the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico in July 2010. He was kept alone in a windowless six-by-eight-foot cell 23 hours a day and forced while on suicide watch to sleep in a “suicide smock.”

In March 2011, after eight months of confinement, Manning quipped sarcastically that he could kill himself with the elastic of his underwear if he wanted to.

Lind ruled in January that any sentence the Army private receives should be reduced by 112 days because of his mistreatment in confinement.


The Dreamtime

SUBHEAD: The re-enchantment of daily life awaits a rather harsh work-out of the reigning deformations.

By James Kunstler on 29 July 2013 for -

Image above: Dreamtime painting of "Wayamba the Turtle" by Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy. The Dreamtime was the ancient time of the creation of all things by sacred ancestors, whose spirits continue into the present, as conceived in the mythology of the Australian aborigeny. From (

The idea that techno-industrial society is headed toward a collapse has become very unpopular the last couple of years. Thoughts (and fears) about it have been replaced by a kind of grand redemption fantasy that bears the same relation to economics that masturbation has to pornography. One way to sum up the current psychological state of the nation is that an awful lot of people who ought to know better don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground anymore. We’re witnessing the implosion of the American hive mind.

This is what comes of divorcing truth from reality, and that process is exactly what you get in the effort to replace authentic economic activity with accounting fraud and propaganda. For five years, the Federal Reserve has been trying to offset a permanent and necessary contraction of techno-industrialism by lobbing mortar rounds of so-called “money” into its crony “primary dealer” banks in order to fuel interest rate carry trades that produce an echo in the stock markets. An echo, let us be clear, is the ghost of something, not the thing itself — in this case: value.

The permanent contraction of techno-industrialism is necessary because the main fuel for running it has become scarcer and rather expensive, too expensive really to run the infrastructure of the United States. That infrastructure cannot be replaced now without a great deal of capital sacrifice. 

Paul Krugman — whom other observers unironically call Dr. Paul Krugman, conferring shamanic powers on him — wrote a supremely stupid op-ed in The New York Times today (“Stranded by Sprawl”), as though he had only noticed over the past week that the favored development pattern of our country has had adverse economic consequences. Gosh, ya think?

Meanwhile, the public has been sold a story by nervous and wishful upholders of the status quo that we have no problem with our primary resource due to the shale oil and shale gas bonanzas that would make us “energy independent” and “the world’s leading oil exporter — Saudi America!” A related story along these lines is the imminent “American industrial renaissance.” What they leave out is that, if actually true, it would be a renaissance of robots, leaving the former (and long ago) well-paid American working class to stew in its patrimony of methadrine, incest, and tattoo “art.”

To put it as simply as possible, the main task before this society is to change the way we live. The necessary changes are so severe and represent so much loss of previous investment that we can’t bring ourselves to think about it. For instance, both the suburbs and the big cities are toast. The destiny of the suburbs is to become slums, salvage yards, and ruins. T

he destiny of the big cities is to become Detroit — though most of America’s big cities (Atlanta, Houston) are hybrid monstrosities of suburbs and cities, and they will suffer the most. It is not recognized by economic poobahs such as Dr. Krugman and Thomas Friedman that the principal economic activity of Dixieland the past half century was the manufacture of suburban sprawl and now that the endeavor is over, the result can be seen in the millions of unemployed Ford F-110 owners drinking themselves into an incipient political fury.

Then where will the people live? They will live in smaller cities and cities that succeed in downsizing sharply and in America’s currently neglected and desolate small towns and upon a landscape drastically refitted for a post-techo-industrial life that is as far removed from a Ray Kurzweil “Singularity” fantasy as the idea of civic virtue is removed from Lawrence Summers. The people will live in places with a meaningful relationship to food production.

Many of those aforementioned swindled, misled, and debauched lumpen folk (having finally sold off their Ford-F110s) will eventually see their prospects migrate back into the realm of agriculture, or at least their surviving progeny will, as the sugar-tit of federal benefits melts away to zero, and by then the population will be much lower. These days, surely, the idea of physical labor in the sorghum rows is abhorrent to a 325-pound food-stamp recipient lounging in an air-conditioned trailer engrossed in the televised adventures of Kim Kardashian and her celebrated vagina while feasting on a KFC 10-piece bundle and a 32 oz Mountain Dew. 

But the hypothetical grand-kids might have to adopt a different view after the last air-conditioner sputters to extinction, and fire-ants have eaten through the particle-board floor of the trailer, and all the magical KFC products recede into the misty past where Jenny Lind rubs elbows with the Knights of the Round Table . Perhaps I wax a little hyperbolic, but you get the idea: subsistence is the real deal-to-come, and it will be literally a harder row to hoe than the current conception of “poverty.”

Somewhere beyond this mannerist picture of the current cultural depravity is the glimmer of an idea of people behaving better and spending their waking lives at things worth doing (and worthy of their human-ness), but that re-enchantment of daily life awaits a rather harsh work-out of the reigning deformations. 

I will go so far to predict that the recent national mood of wishful fantasy is running out of gas and that a more fatalistic view of our manifold predicaments will take its place in a few months. It would at least signal a rapprochment of truth with reality.


Big Island GMO Hearing Postponed

SUBHEAD: Tropical storm Flossie is making contact with the Big Island now.

By Shannon Rudolph on 29 July 2013 in Island Breath -

Image above: From Shannon Rudolph.

Due to the tropical storm Flossie the Big Island County Council hearing on Bill 79, to not allow more GMO seed operations on that island, is postponed.   Please tell your friends.     ... Stay Tuned!

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: GMO Bill 79 Needs Support 7/19/13


American Poverty Spreads

SUBHEAD: Survey indicates 80% Of American adults face near-poverty conditions in their lives.

By Hope Yen on 28 July 2013 for Huffington Post -

[IB Publisher's note: Presently about 20% of Americans live in some form of poverty. Not surprising during the Greatest Depression. What is surprising is that four times that number will likely experience the sting of poverty some time in their lives. Many of us are only a few months pay (or pension check) from being on the streets.]

Image above: Homeless man John Wayne and others wait in a parking lot near LP Field after Nashbille's Metro police had them move their possessions from under the Shelby Street Bridge. From (

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.

Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."

"I think it's going to get worse," said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend but it doesn't generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

"If you do try to go apply for a job, they're not hiring people, and they're not paying that much to even go to work," she said. Children, she said, have "nothing better to do than to get on drugs."

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government's poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines "economic insecurity" as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

Marriage rates are in decline across all races, and the number of white mother-headed households living in poverty has risen to the level of black ones.

"It's time that America comes to understand that many of the nation's biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position," said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty. He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama's election, while struggling whites do not.

"There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front," Wilson said.

Nationwide, the count of America's poor remains stuck at a record number: 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population, due in part to lingering high unemployment following the recession. While poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics are nearly three times higher, by absolute numbers the predominant face of the poor is white.

More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation's destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

Sometimes termed "the invisible poor" by demographers, lower-income whites generally are dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America's heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains.

Buchanan County, in southwest Virginia, is among the nation's most destitute based on median income, with poverty hovering at 24 percent. The county is mostly white, as are 99 percent of its poor.

More than 90 percent of Buchanan County's inhabitants are working-class whites who lack a college degree. Higher education long has been seen there as nonessential to land a job because well-paying mining and related jobs were once in plentiful supply. These days many residents get by on odd jobs and government checks.

Salyers' daughter, Renee Adams, 28, who grew up in the region, has two children. A jobless single mother, she relies on her live-in boyfriend's disability checks to get by. Salyers says it was tough raising her own children as it is for her daughter now, and doesn't even try to speculate what awaits her grandchildren, ages 4 and 5.

Smoking a cigarette in front of the produce stand, Adams later expresses a wish that employers will look past her conviction a few years ago for distributing prescription painkillers, so she can get a job and have money to "buy the kids everything they need."

"It's pretty hard," she said. "Once the bills are paid, we might have $10 to our name."

Census figures provide an official measure of poverty, but they're only a temporary snapshot that doesn't capture the makeup of those who cycle in and out of poverty at different points in their lives. They may be suburbanites, for example, or the working poor or the laid off.

In 2011 that snapshot showed 12.6 percent of adults in their prime working-age years of 25-60 lived in poverty. But measured in terms of a person's lifetime risk, a much higher number – 4 in 10 adults – falls into poverty for at least a year of their lives.

The risks of poverty also have been increasing in recent decades, particularly among people ages 35-55, coinciding with widening income inequality. For instance, people ages 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during the 1969-1989 time period; that risk increased to 23 percent during the 1989-2009 period. For those ages 45-55, the risk of poverty jumped from 11.8 percent to 17.7 percent.

Higher recent rates of unemployment mean the lifetime risk of experiencing economic insecurity now runs even higher: 79 percent, or 4 in 5 adults, by the time they turn 60.

By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.

By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity.

"Poverty is no longer an issue of `them', it's an issue of `us'," says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers. "Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need."

The numbers come from Rank's analysis being published by the Oxford University Press. They are supplemented with interviews and figures provided to the AP by Tom Hirschl, a professor at Cornell University; John Iceland, a sociology professor at Penn State University; the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute; the Census Bureau; and the Population Reference Bureau.

Among the findings:
  • For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.
  • Since 2000, the poverty rate among working-class whites has grown faster than among working-class nonwhites, rising 3 percentage points to 11 percent as the recession took a bigger toll among lower-wage workers. Still, poverty among working-class nonwhites remains higher, at 23 percent.
  • The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods – those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more – has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teenage pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, compared with 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.

    The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children went from 38 percent to 39 percent.
  • Race disparities in health and education have narrowed generally since the 1960s. While residential segregation remains high, a typical black person now lives in a nonmajority black neighborhood for the first time. Previous studies have shown that wealth is a greater predictor of standardized test scores than race; the test-score gap between rich and low-income students is now nearly double the gap between blacks and whites.
Going back to the 1980s, never have whites been so pessimistic about their futures, according to the General Social Survey, a biannual survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Just 45 percent say their family will have a good chance of improving their economic position based on the way things are in America.

The divide is especially evident among those whites who self-identify as working class. Forty-nine percent say they think their children will do better than them, compared with 67 percent of nonwhites who consider themselves working class, even though the economic plight of minorities tends to be worse.

Although they are a shrinking group, working-class whites – defined as those lacking a college degree – remain the biggest demographic bloc of the working-age population. In 2012, Election Day exit polls conducted for the AP and the television networks showed working-class whites made up 36 percent of the electorate, even with a notable drop in white voter turnout.

Last November, Obama won the votes of just 36 percent of those noncollege whites, the worst performance of any Democratic nominee among that group since Republican Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide victory over Walter Mondale.

Some Democratic analysts have urged renewed efforts to bring working-class whites into the political fold, calling them a potential "decisive swing voter group" if minority and youth turnout level off in future elections. "In 2016 GOP messaging will be far more focused on expressing concern for `the middle class' and `average Americans,'" Andrew Levison and Ruy Teixeira wrote recently in The New Republic.

"They don't trust big government, but it doesn't mean they want no government," says Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who agrees that working-class whites will remain an important electoral group. His research found that many of them would support anti-poverty programs if focused broadly on job training and infrastructure investment. This past week, Obama pledged anew to help manufacturers bring jobs back to America and to create jobs in the energy sectors of wind, solar and natural gas.

"They feel that politicians are giving attention to other people and not them," Goeas said.