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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 72,245

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Fracking on Ice


AP: “NY Fracking Held, as Cuomo, RFK, Jr. Talk Health

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came as close as he ever has to approving fracking last month, laying out a limited drilling plan for as many as 40 gas wells before changing course to await the findings of a new study after discussions with environmentalist and former brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy Jr., several people familiar with his thinking told The Associated Press.

The turning point, which could delay a decision for up to a year or longer, came in a series of phone calls with Kennedy. The two discussed a new health study on the hydraulic fracturing drilling method that could be thorough enough to trump all others in a debate that has split New York for five years.

"I think the issue suddenly got simple for him," Kennedy told the AP, then went on to paraphrase Cuomo in their discussions: "'If it's causing health problems, I really don't want it in New York state. And if it's not causing health problems, we should figure out a way we can do it.'"

Kennedy and two other people close to Cuomo, who spoke to the AP only on condition of anonymity because Cuomo is carefully guarding his discussions on the issue, confirmed the outlines of the plan the governor was considering to allow 10 to 40 test wells in economically depressed southern New York towns that want drilling and the jobs it promises. The plan would allow the wells to operate under intense monitoring by the state to see if fracking should continue or expand. ……

See more at:

(Note: The Good Fight continues! I should have more “news” related to this soon. -- Patrick)

Cult Diary

Thursday/ February 14, 2013

1 pm/est: I spoke at the State University College at Oneonta this morning. The professor introduced me as “the most influential civil rights/environmental activist in our area for the past few decades.” I nearly cracked up laughing at that. ‘Spect that explains why this area is as hurting as it is.

2:30 pm/est: Twelve completed health surveys were in the Tri-County Bipartisan Committee’s mail box at the Post Office. One was from an 80-year old man, who wrote, “I smell an agenda here!”

2:55 pm/est: Tonight’s school board subcommittee meeting is postponed until next week. On one hand, I think that there is far more than enough to do, to have held the meeting. On the other hand, I suspect that whoever scheduled it for Valentine’s Day was not thinking. On one foot, I could attend the Otego Village Board meeting tonight; on the left foot, I could go instead to the Sidney Town Board meeting. Both are scheduled to vote on moratoriums on fracking.

4:18 pm/est: Going out for Valentine’s Day dinner.

11:16 pm/est: Ended up going to the Sidney meeting. Supervisor Bob McCarthy started the clown show by challenging the minutes from last month’s meeting. He denied saying several things attributed to him. When told that three people had filmed the meeting, and recorded him saying exactly what the minutes attributed to him, he went on a rant about not caring what citizens say. This would seem to confirm rumors that he was shit-faced drunk at last month’s meeting.

I was among the people who gave 5-minute presentations to the board. When questioned if I was a Sidney resident, I said no, but I may rent here soon, so that I can challenge Bob in this fall’s election. Then I spoke about the epidemiological study of the village’s population, with some attention to two cancer-clusters that happen to be located in neighborhoods that are at the edges of a couple toxic industrial waste dump sites. I noted that some of these same toxins are used in hydrofracking, and said I would be happy to present our final report to the board in an upcoming meeting.

Three more human beings spoke, before an older woman that I’ve never seen before took the floor. Although she was supposed to be addressing the board, she instead took the opportunity to tell the pro-environment people that they were “idiots.” Then she focused upon me: “And you are an environmental cult leader!” After finishing up, she returned to her seat, which was next to mine. She then repeated this line a few times, while giving me what could most pleasantly be described as a hate stare. I thanked her for her kindness.

Curious day, all in all. I think that Ideas are influential. In that vein, I hope the college students took note of the concepts I talked about, rather than the strange old man who was talking about them. That would be my agenda. And that “cult” exists only within the angry lady’s head. It must be uncomfortable to have such diseased thinking.


I'm getting ready to go to the State University College at Oneonta (SUCO) to speak on environmental issues.

I had prepared an outline a few days back. But I woke up this morning at 3:30 with a different presentation in mind.

For many years, I've enjoyed speaking to students in schools and colleges. Today should be fun: the professor wants me to motivate these young adults to become political activists. I'll do my best.


“The Nixon theoreticians even tried to transform reverence into an ideology, propagating the doctrine, rather novel in the United States, that institutions of authority were entitled to respect per se, whether or not they had done anything to earn respect. If authority were denied respect, the syllogism ran, the whole social order would be in danger. ‘Your task, then, is clear,’ my friend Pat Moynihan charged his President in 1969: ‘To restore the authority of American institutions.’ But should institutions expect obedience they do not, on their record of performance, deserve? To this question the Nixon ideologues apparently answered yes. An older American tradition would say no, incredulous that anyone would see this as a question. In that spirit I would argue that what this country needs today is a little serious disrespect for the office of the Presidency; a refusal to give any more weight to a President’s words than the intelligence of the utterance, if spoken by anyone else, would command; an understanding of the point made so aptly by Montaigne: ‘Sit he on never so high a throne, a man still sits on his own bottom.’

“And what if men not open and modest, even at the start, but from the start ambitious of power and contemptuous of law reached the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln? What if neither personal character, nor play of politics, nor the Constitution itself availed to hold a President to strict accountability?”
-- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; The Imperial Presidency; 1973; pages 410-411.

I enjoyed a long telephone conversation with my brother last night. He is employed by the University of Oregon, and in that capacity, has had the opportunity to become more familiar with the work of a professor who studies climate change. Coming from that perspective, he voiced frustration with President Obama, who he believes -- while certainly better than a George W. Bush or Willard Romney -- is not aggressive enough in challenging the system of economic exploitation that enriches the 1% while poisoning the living environment.

In his opinion, President Obama is hesitant to engage in conflicts where he does not have a good chance of winning. I mentioned that health care and common sense gun control were tough issues, where President Obama risked/risks failure. He countered that Obama is always willing to compromise with the republicans who front for corporate interests, and noted that in the context of a damaged environment, human beings’ health suffers -- was this not exactly the point of my epidemiological study of Sidney, NY? He said that any serious attempt to improve medical services would have to address the toxins that are poisoning the American people. He said that he had more respect for someone like me, who would attempt to win the Good Fight, even when the odds were very much against me, than a politician who constantly compromises with corporate interests.

One could easily dismiss my brother’s positions by saying he doesn’t understand how things are accomplished in our system. Yet, if one is familiar with our system of government, including being fully aware of both how our constitutional system is supposed to work, and how Washington actually does work, his position seems valid. Let’s consider the example of President Obama’s drone program.

Schlesinger’s book on the “Imperial Presidency” is useful in defining some of the dynamics at play in the drone controversy. It really should, at least in my opinion, be required reading for high school students. The author describes how the majority of US Presidents attempt to increase the power of the executive branch of the government. To do so requires a weakening of three important things: the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government, and of the Constitution.

While Schlesinger’s primary target was then President Richard Nixon, he documents the manner in which Presidents expand executive power: it is always done with “national security” as justification. More, in the modern era, the claim is made that advances in technology, which the Founding Fathers could not possibly have foreseen, require this President to take bold steps towards protecting democracy ….while trampling the US Constitution.

Now let’s look at some of the consequences. We will start with none other than Richard Nixon, at the time he served as vice president. Nixon, as I have previously noted on this forum, was not the weak figure that many believe he was as VP. (It is fair to question if President Eisenhower was fully aware of much that VP Nixon was up to.) For example, Nixon played a leading role in dictating US policy towards Central and South America. The most famous example of this is found in the origins of the doomed operation known as the Bay of Pigs. This is important because, at the time Nixon became vice president, the CIA was supposed to be a 100% intelligence agency, meaning to gather and evaluate information. The Bay of Pigs would highlight the dangers of having an intelligence group become operational in military matters.

Fast forward to the Nixon presidency, and those same dangers become more pronounced. While the “Nixon ideologues” would hold that this was to spread democracy abroad, no informed person could deny that Nixon’s misuse of intelligence and police agencies posed a serious threat to our constitutional democracy. Indeed, one of the most damning facts that the various post-Watergate congressional investigating committees uncovered was the history of the CIA’s attempts to assassinate foreign leaders -- though not with drones -- at the same time the executive office was having intelligence and police agencies attacking American groups and individuals who were exercising their constitutional right to protest the President’s domestic and foreign policies.

It is impossible for an administration to enhance democracy, either at home or abroad, by way of secret policies that break Constitutional Law. This simply cannot be done. Rather, such policies can only enhance the strength of non-democratic institutions, such as the corporations destroying the environment for financial gain, and increase the amount of hatred for America in foreign lands.

These are the types of issues that create tensions and divisions within the Democratic Party. And I’ll include those who, while not registered Democrats, helped to elect and re-elect President Obama. As is said so often, there are those who despised George W. Bush for violating the Constitution, but who accept President Obama’s engaging in much the same activities. And there are those who do not believe we should be the Democratic Party, Inc. We see that even here, on the Democratic Underground.

H2O Man

Beyonce & Illuminati

I'm getting ready to go do some more "door-to-door" work on the epidemiological study that I'm working on.

When I get back this afternoon, I'll be re-writing drafts of op-eds that I'm submitting to two area newspapers.

This evening, I'll try to write up an outline for an upcoming talk at one of the state universities that invited me to speak about environmental issues.

Later tonight, if possible, I'd like to do at least a bit of writing on the book that I need to get to my agent in May.

Thus, it appears unlikely that I will be available to participate in extended discussions about last night's half-time show. I didn't see it -- or the Super Bowl, as I was doing other things. But my oldest son, who stopped by last night at 11 pm/est, said that he thinks Beyonce is cool.
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