Links and Tweets of the Week: October 17, 2009

BLOG Links and Tweets of the Week: October 17, 2009

peak oil timeline

economist forecasts


The Cascading Crises of Civilizational Collapse: An excellent, fact-packed, carefully-argued explanation of peak oil and how it will, in combination with other crises of this century, bring about civilization’s collapse, by Andre Angelantoni, is available in a free series of videos (images above are excerpts from these) and a free online book. Thanks to Tree for the link.

Why You Shouldn’t Get the Swine Flu Vaccine: No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. And I recognize that swine flu could quickly become virulent and you have to make up your own mind about the relative risks. But consider these facts:

  • Most (not all, yet) of the swine flu vaccines use an olive oil extract called squalene injected into your blood stream to provoke a violent reaction called a cytokine storm in the body, as the body rushes to reject this (to your blood stream) foreign substance. This cytokine storm reaction is precisely what kills so many very healthy people (those with the strongest immune systems), and those with hyperactive immune systems, in pandemics. 
  • If you have or might be vulnerable to any of the sixty autoimmune (immune system hyperactivity) diseases (and incidence of these diseases is skyrocketing), or allergies, or if your immune system is compromised, or if you’re a woman who is or might be pregnant, the last thing your body needs is a shock that will severely stress your autoimmune system.
  • Use of squalene and other ‘adjuvants’ is only permitted (in some jurisdictions like US and Canada) in the case of a “declared medical emergency”, since these additives have not been approved for use on humans because of their frequent, chronic, crippling effects on test animals. Pharma companies are pressuring health agencies to qualify the current H1N1 pandemic as a “declared medical emergency” so they can sell these staggeringly profitable vaccines, with untested adjuvants, all paid for by the taxpayer.
  • This is all about money: The pharma companies can use much less vaccine per injection when they supercharge the vaccine with squalene. The pharma companies are saying, of course, that if squalene is not permitted, they will not be able to create enough vaccine to go around. But this is really about profit margin.
  • Incidentally, the guy who first pushed (unsuccessfully) to allow squalene to be used in vaccines in the US was Dr. Bruce Ivins, the guy charged (after his “suicide”) with the anthrax envelope killings. Ivins allegedly wanted US soldiers in Iraq to be used as guinea pigs for squalene-charged anthrax vaccine, and was furious when they wouldn’t allow it because of the horrific side-effects on test animals. That’s purportedly why he mailed the anthrax — he wanted to increase the urgency of bringing squalene into the vaccine process by creating a public panic. Ironically, the swine flu pandemic has done the job for him, and now we are getting squalene. Like thalidomide, which was also inadequately tested before being rushed to market, we probably won’t know if it’s dangerous to humans until years from now. 
  • Big Pharma opposes the introduction of the Precautionary Principle, which would preclude the use of untested adjuvants. Because it is being ordered “knowingly” by public health agencies, the pharma companies in most countries are indemnified from litigation for any deaths, permanent injuries and diseases caused by their vaccines

Earth’s Life Support Systems Failing: New research shows that freshwater ecosystems world-wide are in free-fall, with whole river systems drying up and biodiversity plummeting.


An Economic Nobel for Nuance and Complexity: Andrew Leonard describes the contribution of the first woman Economics Nobel prize winner, Elinor Ostrom, and co-winner Oliver Williamson. Their award is for moving past the simplistic economics of the past, and understanding that markets are complex systems, unpredictable, not subject to cause-and-effect analysis, inherently irrational, and impossible to control. And in a related story, Joseph Mandelbrot, the renowned inventor of fractal geometry, explains why the “efficient markets hypothesis”, which laissez-faire capitalists and corporatists still cite to support their opposition to government intervention in the economy, is absurd, simplistic and unsupported by empirical data. Thanks to Valdis Krebs for the link.

Power to the Patients: Clay Christensen says patients need to take charge of their own health, including disease prevention and diagnosis. “So far, there’s no general patient lobby that receives the same attention, or possesses the same financial resources, as the American Medical Association and American Hospital Association. But surely if more patients realized how much influence they could have in their own care, they would discard their roles as passive health care consumers, and would instead become its agents of change.”


Big Coal Sics Frightened Miners on Environmentalists: At issue is the decision of the US Army Corps of Engineers, subject to public hearings, to end the blanket approval for mountaintop coal removal and the dumping of removed earth into local freshwater, the so-called Nationwide Permit #21. Big Coal, fearful that their right to massively pollute Appalachia for profit is threatened, has told its mining employees that if “environmentalists” prevail at these public hearings, their jobs are threatened. So the hearings are scenes of angry confrontation between two groups, orchestrated (in the model of the “tea parties”) by Big Coal. If you’re in an area affected by this, please study the talking points and try to bring reason to these hearings. Thanks to Sarah Vekasi (via Tree) for the link.

The Government’s Owners: Glenn Greenwald explains how the financial services industry has taken over the government, and is making decisions for its own benefit, to the detriment of the American people. And there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Canadian Poultry Agency Makes ‘Organic’ Illegal: Organic turkey farmers in Canada are caught in a bind: Organic standards require turkeys to be raised outdoors free-range, but new marketing board standards (all Canadian poultry producers must sell through marketing boards) mandate confinement operations for poultry, allegedly to reduce the risk of avian influenza (though all known vectors for avian influenza outbreaks have been through confined animals). It’s a blatant move by the giant factory farms to crush competition, but, because they have the money and power, it will probably work. Thanks to Tree for the link.

Recession Specially Hard on the Poor: Bob Herbert at the NYT explains how the inner cities and slums, always struggling at the best of times, have been devastated by the downturn, with no improvement in sight.

And It’s Been Going On For Centuries: Keith Farnish points us to a video about the Levellers and Diggers, 17th-century opponents of corporatism who were brutally suppressed.

And One Unusual Political Item: Elizabeth Warren, author of the wonderful book The Two Income Trap, is now a fox in the bankers’ chicken coop: “Warren is applying that people-first philosophy by simultaneously running the Congressional Oversight Panel, which monitors the $700 billion TARP bailout program on behalf of the taxpayers, and pushing for a new agency to protect consumers from predatory lenders. Now, as Congress seriously considers her proposal (and lobbyists maneuver to kill it), the question is: Can a middle-class populist in Ivy League garb change the world — or at least Big Finance?


Garrison Keillor Admits He Was Wrong: Keillor’s confession to wanting to deprive Republicans of health care is rolling-on-the-floor funny.

“Yes Men” Impersonate Dow Chemical Spokesperson: BBC falls for it, and $3 billion disappears from the stock’s market value until the hoax is revealed.

“Mac vs PC” Moves to Second Life: Draxtor Despres animates Bill Gates to tell us why PCs are better than Macs. Thanks to Cheryl for the link.


From Melissa Holbrook Pierson:

By this point in life, we are wheeling our broken and patched pasts around like filth-encrusted old shopping carts that have had too many hard meetings with parking lot curbs. Ba-ba-dump. Ba-ba-dump. On and on we go, the off-kilter wheel beginning to seem normal, the way it always was. Though once it spun free, chromed… I am going to spend some time figuring out, out loud, what it means to be here like this, at this particular time, with these particular people I’ve suddenly found myself in the midst of. Their extreme need to ride, if not mine…

I find I know less and less, like I am growing backwards with the years, into a fresh young creature, a baby ignorant as bliss.

From Roger Harrison, former consultant (via Jon Husband):

I learned [from Joanna Macy] not so much to release the sorrow as to embrace it as a necessary companion on my journey, an aspect of being awake. I find now that I am moved again to find ways of contributing to the lives of people in business organizations, but, consistent with my having achieved some degree of detachment, my aims and expectations have changed.

I seek [now] to provide opportunities for people to engage in dialogue about what is happening in the world and in their organizations, to find the courage to speak their truth, and to support one another in finding what has heart and meaning for each one. Although my own path leads me to deepen my connections with the natural world and to work co-creatively with nature in search of truth and healing, I feel this can only be entered into when one is attracted to it. I have no expectations of changing the people with whom I work, nor of changing their organizations.

Both will be changed by the force of events, in ways we can only guess at. My own hope is to support the learning and healing of those with whom I work, as they enter the great turning which I believe lies ahead.

From Arundhati Roy (thanks to Sheri Herndon for the link). I wonder whether Ms. Roy foresees a future with or without humans?:

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, if you listen carefully, you can hear her breathing.

From John Graham:

Most momentous of centuries, what does it mean, that I’m alive, here, in this?

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