Category Archives: Media

Man Camps and Sacrifice Zones

There  is no limit to industry’s reach. The corporation – who some want to be regarded as “people”- has no moral guidance, no mission of ethics, no feelings. Corporatists often throw up their hands and say, “What can we do? We are legally beholden to the shareholders to make as much money as possible” the part about disregard for quality of life for anyone but upper management goes unspoken but is understood.” As Chris Hedges says, “These corporations know only one word, and that’s more”.

Oil industry Man Camps Offer No Stress Living – this article offers a local paper’s view on the fracking boom. Reducing options, free time, and family time relates to being stress free in a similar way that a prison cell mate relates to feeling secure.

Another description of the man camp in assumably favorable terms -you will find the link on their own company’s website here.

The camps are basically a series of mobile homes linked together, only each doublewide is flanked with double occupancy bedrooms. Dining is group, there are group exercise rooms,  Here is one excerpt from the Billings Gazette:

Crew camp compounds are typically are made up of small, bedroom-sized units that are interconnected. The facilities usually are leased by companies in the oil industry, and can be deconstructed in days.

“When the bust comes, and it will, these facilities will be farming fields again,” Lash said. “We’re not sticking around, and will move them to the next great opportunity.”

Most counties in western North Dakota are ill-equipped to handle the swarms of workers, many of whom have been forced to live in campers, cars and tents.

“We’re running out of water, out of sewer, out of electricity, and until those get taken care of, how do you add more man camps to the mix?” said Dan Kalil, a commissioner in Williams County, the hub of the oil bonanza.

In Dickinson, in the southwest corner of the oil patch, the planning and zoning commission on Wednesday approved what would be the state’s largest man camp, a 3,000-unit facility in an industrial area near the wastewater treatment plant.

It makes no sense. The workers can’t afford to live there, so they fly home every two weeks to see their family. If an industry can’t allow a human being to live a decent life with their family (not next to a wastewater treatment facility), they should have to offset the environmental costs to the rest of us for their wreckless encouragement of such a high carbon impact lifestyle. Government subsidies to these fossil fuel companies should cease immediately – fracking included.
The article later speaks of the boomtown/ghostown phenomenon in a small town; like a gold/oil/gas rush. Longtimers have high hopes for the revival of their town, industry stays focused on the bottom line, and everyone else scrambles for a living wage any way they know how, moving where the work takes them.

As if that wasn’t cheery enough, here’s a companion piece, aRawStory article featuring Christopher Hedges with Bill Moyers. I’ll leave you with this (and there is a video at the end of this article) to ponder. Perhaps tomorrow we can discuss some of the issue that arise. I would love to hear your input.

Journalist and activist Chris Hedges appeared Friday on Moyers & Company to talk about the conclusions of his latest book. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is dedicated to investigating the most exploited and impoverished places in America, places that he says are “virtually off the radar screen in terms of the commercial media.”

“It’s absolutely imperative that we begin to understand what unfettered, unregulated capitalism does,” Hedges emphasized. “These are sacrifice zones, areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. And we’re talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed. And because there are no impediments left, these sacrifice zones are just going to spread outward.”

When Moyers asked Hedges what he meant by saying there are no impediments left, he explained, “The political system is bought off, the judicial system is bought off, the law enforcement system services the interests of power, they have been rendered powerless.” Even worse, Hedges believes these devastated communities represent the future for all of us.

Hedges was particularly eloquent in describing the coal-mining areas of West Virginia, which “in terms of national resources is one of the richest areas of the United States [but] harbor the poorest pockets of community, the poorest communities in the United States. Because those resources are extracted, and that money is not funneled back into the communities.”

“Not only that,” he continued, “but they’re extracted in such a way that the communities themselves are destroyed. … They no longer want to dig down for the coal, and so they’re blowing the top 400 feet off of mountains poisoning the air, poisoning the soil, poisoning the water. … You are rendering the area moonscape. It becomes uninhabitable. … It’s all destroyed and it’s not coming back.”

Hedges went on to talk about Camden, New Jersey, which since the disappearance of manufacturing has become the poorest city in the United States and one of the most dangerous. “It’s a dead city,” he said. “There’s nothing left. There is no employment. Whole blocks are abandoned. The only thing functioning are open-air drug markets, of which there are about a hundred. And you’re talking third or fourth generation of people trapped in these internal colonies. They can’t get out.”

He spoke also about the Pine Ridge Reservation and migrant workers in Florida, saying, ” It’s greed over human life. … We, in that biblical term, we forgot our neighbor. And because we forgot our neighbor in Pine Ridge, because we forgot our neighbor in Camden, in Southern West Virginia, in the produce fields, these forces have now turned on us. They went first, and we’re next.”

“These corporations know only one word, and that’s more,” Hedges went on. “And because the mechanisms of governance can no longer control them, there is nothing now within the formal mechanisms of power to stop them from the creating, essentially, a corporate oligarchic state.”

“We have become complicit,” he noted sadly, “because we’ve accepted this as a kind of natural law. And the acceptance of this kind of behavior, and even the celebration of it is going to ultimately trigger our demise.”

 

 

 

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Democracy and Plutocracy Don’t Mix

Today Bill Moyers speaks for me.

There is the case of disagreement – I think the government should function like A, you think the government should function like B. Then there is the setting: am I a subject in a King’s court or an equal at the table of collaborators? Two ideas might be “equal” in merit, but if one side has most of the resources and power, their idea will be the one carried out.

Biased media” is a meme in point. It doesn’t matter how liberal a reporter, anchor, or host is – their minders are not going to allow information to disseminate information that could hurt their bottom line. It’s not about Democratic or Republican, Left or Right, it is about adding money to the vast wealth of the corporate media giants, to the plutocracy.

I wanted to include a George Carlin clip here as well, the two clips are nice compliments to each other. Of course Carlin’s language is less than civilized – I think it is totally warranted in light of the uncivilized conditions being wrought upon American workers, but its got a few foul parts. So be warned NSFW. Here’s  George Carlin’s take on the American Dream in three minutes.

To illustrate Carlin’s point on education, here is an excerpt from a recent article by TPM:

The Republican Party of Texas’ recently adopted 2012 platform contains a plank that opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” in schools. The party says it was a mistake, but is now stuck with the plank until the next state convention in 2014.

The plank in question, on “Knowledge-Based Education,” reads as follows:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.Elsewhere in the document, the platform stipulates that “[e]very Republican is responsible for implementing this platform.”

Contacted by TPM on Thursday, Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Communications Director Chris Elam said the “critical thinking skills” language made it into the platform by mistake.

“[The chairman of the Education Subcommittee] indicated that it was an oversight of the committee, that the plank should not have included ‘critical thinking skills’ after ‘values clarification,’” Elam said. “And it was not the intent of the subcommittee to present a plank that would have indicated that the RPT in any way opposed the development of critical thinking skills.”

Knowledge really is power.

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Agenda 21 Awareness

A few months ago I heard rumblings about Agenda 21. Most of the rumblings were more like rantings by what seemed like extremists and alarmists (squeaky wheels get the news out), due to the provocative language they used like this site, this site, and this site. However, given the state of our corporate news today – none of the American main stream media news can be relied upon for hard hitting journalism – my mind is wide open for citizens reporters, alternative news outlets, and foreign sources to help inform my mind. Even the Enquirer is right sometimes. The point is not to trust these sources, but not to discount the message due to the messenger every time. A mere curiosity online can spur one’s own foray into a micro research project via Google.

After reading a bit more about Agenda 21, it is apparent that I should read a lot more about it. A recent call from a polling firm wanted to know my opinion on it, and the framing was quite interesting. There wasn’t really a left and right due to the cross sections of values, perspectives, and approaches taken to further those values.

The poll asked me if I thought Agenda 21 was trying to get me to live like a caveman – I’m paraphrasing and using descriptive liberties here, but that is what they were describing. One form of the question was interested in if I thought Agenda 21 was about global domination or necessary protections for the environment.

One thing is certain, main stream news isn’t touching it. Go ahead and Google it, you won’t find the main stream media reporting on it even though it is big news at the U.N. Rio Summit right now. It’s almost as if there’s a chill in the air…

or a command.  Check out these articles, they are calmer, more thought out pieces on Agenda 21 as well as the U. N. site.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-reinbach/agenda-21-sustainability-_b_1523118.html

http://truth-farmer.blogspot.com/2009/04/agenda-21-cliff-notes.html

http://www.examiner.com/article/nations-reach-agreement-on-agenda-21

http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

We are using the world as a Commons for all, ignoring borders when extracting resources and profits. Does it make sense to govern those actions while ignoring borders? Is it the New World Order or a necessary measure to reign in the out of control polluters? Weigh in and let’s learn more.

 

image via The Atlantic

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Book Burning Party!

Clever reverse psychology campaign. Risky, but clever, and it worked very well. I would not doubt that in some areas of this country, there are those that think a library roast would be just fine.

What can be learned from this is that a powerful frame – even your opposition’s frame is the most important thing in messaging. All of the publicity was just about the celebration of book burning, not a soapbox of reasons and policy discussion. The discussions happen amongst the people, publicity is about grabbing someone and getting them halfway there – to support your idea. Frames are about evoking imagery we already know. The frame of book burning is powerful and very negative; that frame did most of the mental work for this campaign. Getting the word out about it was just “boots on the ground” (and on Facebook).

Resorting to this type of campaign is not exactly genuine, it is manipulating and using the reactionary state of mind we are constantly in. Our current culture eschews critical thinking in favor of knee jerking. Could this type of reverse psychology be used for other issues? All of the ideas that spring to mind are horribly offensive either in content or concept – which is why they may work.

  • A list of debilitating diseases accompanied by a “euthanasia clinic” for those who have them and aren’t able to afford medical care.
  • An announcement that a huge tax break has passed with the understanding that instead, your pay will be garnished and directly sent to BP, Bank of America, Blackwater and Pfizer.
  • A news story about an obscure town in Idaho who’s school board is majority wiccan and they have required prayer in school and posted the coven’s covenant at the high school entrance.
  • A proposal to adjust labor and civil rights laws to allow discrimination based upon how virtuous your romantic life has been, proof of pre-marital sex or divorce is grounds for discrimination and termination.
  • An anti-abortion rally that requires each participant to sign up and pay dues to be an adoptive parent and financially support pregnant women.
  • A requirement for all newborns to register for military service.

You get the idea. It is a sad state of affairs that these are the tricky tactics we consider to simply secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is that difficult to get folks to participate in democracy. Reality TV? Sure. But reality? It moves so sloow!  Without some fantastic entertaining, exploitative, or outrageous element, it’s hard to get noticed.

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