Draining Arizona: Residents say corporate mega-farms are drying up their wells

Longtime residents and family farmers are pitted against big corporations. In this competition for a scarce natural resource, those who can afford to drill the deepest wells are the ones who get the water, while those who can’t are forced to abandon their property.

AGR Daily News

Draining Arizona: Residents say corporate mega-farms are drying up their wells

Over-pumping of groundwater has been a problem across rural Arizona for generations. Historically, as groundwater levels inched lower, wells like Reynolds’ went dry here and there.

But in certain areas, the groundwater is dropping faster than it has in decades, driven by a recent influx of corporate farms that are placing intense stress on the aquifer, experts say.

That’s set off a battle for water in this dry region, pitting some longtime residents and family farmers against big corporations. In this competition for a scarce natural resource, those who can afford to drill the deepest wells are the ones who get the water, while those who can’t are forced to abandon their property.

via NBC Draining Arizona: Residents say corporate mega-farms are drying up their wells

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The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Facility. The Patriot Air Defence System Failed. Why?

Why did Saudi Arabia’s advanced [US provided] Patriot Air defense system fail to detect the drones and missiles?

Counter Information

Global Research, September 22, 2019

On Saturday September 14, 2019, a missile and drone attack was waged against the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s  Houthi forces from the Ansar Allah movement claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Washington blamed Iran. In chorus, the media pointed to the Houthis supported by Iran or attacks waged directly by Iran.

The media consensus: the attacks were ‘unquestionably sponsored by Iran’.

There are many unanswered questions, the most important of which is:

Why did Saudi Arabia’s advanced Patriot Air defense system fail to detect the drones and missiles?  

According to the Wall Street Journal: 

U.S. and Saudi officials didn’t anticipate a strike from inside Iran, officials said, rather than through one of its proxy forces or elite military units.

Saudi and U.S. focus had been largely on the kingdom’s southern border with Yemen, where Riyadh has been…

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What is your unpopular opinion about the popular Hong Kong protest?

By Godfree Roberts

Hong Kong is already dead. The elite in both Hong Kong and Mainland China already know it. The people who are pumping out optimistic wishful thinking are just providing cover for those who need time to make an orderly exit.

This “protest” will last for many years, and when it ends, it will not end in a big, explosive bang, but in a whimper of tens of thousands of people lining up at the customs, waiting to cross over to Shenzhen for a job.

The Chinese government has zero interest in stopping Hong Kong’s “popular protest” or riot. The big picture is that Hong Kong has been viewed as an increasing case of cancerous growth since 2008, for two reasons. Both are “long-term fatal”-kind of diseases. One is that it’s a prime case of “rentier economy” that Mr. Martin Wolf just wrote about in Financial Times. Martin Wolf: why rigged capitalism is damaging liberal …Basically rent-seekers (real estate cartel) squeezing blood out of rocks and choking off healthy competition and innovation. The other is that it’s too big of a Tax Haven for Mainland cash.

Dr. Brad Setser wrote about this phenomenon for the US, where the US companies now book 7 times of their corporate profit in offshore tax heavens than in the US itself. China’s case is not as extreme, but the Chinese government hates it more, and also it typically prefers solving problems early, instead of kicking the can down the road and allowing the mess to grow even bigger.

There are new cancer drugs that treat cancer by choking the blood vessels feeding the cancer. Drug That Chokes Off Tumor Blood Vessels Offers New Hope To Lung Cancer Patients. In Hong Kong, the riot is serving the same purpose on both the rentier economy and the tax haven. Rent is coming down, and tax haven is going kaput. The Chinese Government has been very clear on these issues from Day One: The Rent Seekers need to reform their own “rentier economy” and make a more honest living than being a darn tax shelter [. . .]

Source: What is your unpopular opinion about the popular Hong Kong protest?

He drives 60 hours a week for Uber. He’s still homeless

His situation underscores what critics call ride-hailing’s poverty wages and precarious nature. Although he earns about $1,200 a week (averaging $20 an hour) after Uber’s cut, work expenses such as gas, oil changes, new tires and other maintenance, traffic tickets, car payments, car insurance, cell phone bill and self-employment taxes eat a big chunk of his income.

Uber Lyft Drivers

Weaving past a cluster of parked RVs and scattered cars, Gary Branson pulled his dark-blue Prius onto a sandy median on the Great Highway and motioned at the Pacific Ocean.

“Welcome to my bedroom,” he said wryly. “Cars drive by at 50 mph a few feet away, but I do have a lovely view.”

Branson’s Prius, immaculate inside and out, is both his home and his workplace. He is an Uber driver, putting in some 60 hours a week behind the wheel to ferry passengers around San Francisco. Late at night he drives to a location where it’s legal to park, reclines the navigator seat, wraps his burly 6-foot-2-inch frame in a red plaid blanket, and tries to block out the traffic noise to get some shut-eye.

He’s figured out practical ways to cope: joining a gym for showers, neatly stowing duffels with food and clothes in his trunk, keeping…

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Chris Hedges: Lies of Omission or Limited Hangout?

Why Does Chris Hedges Hedge His Bets

By Edward Curtin

Revelations about the machinations of the so-called “deep state’s” conspiracies often conceal deeper truths that go unmentioned. This is quite common, whether it is done intentionally or not.

Sometimes it is intentional and is directed by the intelligence agencies themselves or their accomplices in the media, who operate a vast propaganda network. In that case, it is because the secret rulers have been caught doing some evil deed, and, not being able to fully deny it, they admit to part of it while concealing deeper secrets. This is termed “a limited hangout.” It is described by ex-CIA Deputy Director Victor Marchetti, author of The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, as follows:

Spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting—sometimes even volunteering—some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.

For the average person, it is very hard to read between the lines and smell a skunk. The subterfuge is often very subtle and appeals to readers’ sense of outrage at what happened in the past. After the Church Hearings in the 1970s, and then Carl Bernstein’s limited hangout article in Rolling Stone in 1977, where he named the names and “outed” many major media and individuals for having worked with the CIA, many people breathed deeply and consigned these evil and propagandistic activities to the bad old days. But these “limited hangouts” have been going on ever since, allowing people to express outrage and feel some sort of redemption is at hand in the naïve belief that the system is reformable. It is a pipe dream induced by the smallest puff on the media’s latest recreational drug, for which no prescription is needed. The media that more openly and proudly than ever reveal their jobs as stenographers for the intelligence agencies (see my US Media Propaganda. Drawing “Liberals” and “Leftists” into the CIA’s Orbit. NPR) .

[. . .]

Then there are writers, artists, and communicators of all types, whether consciously or not, who contribute to the obfuscating of essential truths even while informing the public of important matters. These people come from across the political spectrum. To know their intentions is impossible, unless they spell them out in public to let their audiences evaluate them, which rarely happens, otherwise one is left to guess, which is a fool’s game. One can, however, point out what they say and what they don’t and wonder why.

A recent article, Our Invisible Government, by the well-known journalist, Chris Hedges, is a typical case in point. As is his habit, he sheds light on much that is avoided by the mainstream press. Very important matters. In this piece, he writes in his passionate style that,

The most powerful and important organs in the invisible government are the nation’s bloated and unaccountable intelligence agencies. They are the vanguard of the invisible government. They oversee a vast “black world,” tasked with maintaining the invisible government’s lock on power.

This, of course, is true. He then goes on to catalogue ways these intelligence agencies, led by the CIA, have overthrown foreign governments and assassinated their leaders, persecuted and besmirched the names of those – Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, et al. – who have opposed government policies, and used propaganda to conceal the real reasons for their evil deeds, such as the wars against Vietnam, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. He condemns such actions.

He spends much of his article referencing Stephen Kinzer’s new book, Poisoner in Chief: Sydney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control and Gottlieb’s heinous exploits during his long CIA career. Known as “Dr. Death,” this Bronx born son of Jewish immigrants, ran the CIA’s mind control programs and its depraved medical experiments on unknowing victims, known as MK-ULTRA and Artichoke. He oversaw the development of various poisons and bizarre methods to kill foreign leaders such as Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba. He worked closely with Nazi scientists who had been brought to the United States by Allen Dulles in an operation called Operation Paperclip. Gottlieb was responsible for so many deaths and so much human anguish and suffering that it is hard to believe, but believe it we must because it is true. His work on torture and mind control led to Abu Ghraib, CIA black sites, and assorted U.S. atrocities of recent history.

Hedges tells us all this and rightly condemns it as “the moral squalor” and “criminality” that it is. Only a sick or evil person could disagree with his account of Gottlieb via Kinzer’s book. I suspect many good people who have or will read his piece will agree with his denunciations of this evil CIA history. Additionally, he correctly adds:

It would be naive to relegate the behavior of Gottlieb and the CIA to the past, especially since the invisible government has once again shrouded the activities of intelligence agencies from congressional oversight or public scrutiny and installed a proponent of torture, Gina Haspel, as the head of the agency.

This also is very true. All these truths can make you forget what’s not true and what’s missing in his article.

But something is missing, and some wording is quite odd and factually false. It is easy to miss this as one’s indignation rises as one reads Hedges’ cataloguing of Gottlieb’s and the CIA’s obscenities.

He omits mentioning the Clinton administration’s dismantling wars against Yugoslavia, including 78 days of non-stop bombing of Serbia in 1999 that killed thousands of innocent people in the name of “humanitarian intervention,” wars he covered for the New York Times, the paper he has come to castigate and the paper that has a long history of doing the CIA’s bidding.

He claims that Gottlieb and the CIA’s scientists failed in their “vain quest” for mind control drugs or electronic implants that might, among other things, get victims to act against their wills, such as acting as a Manchurian candidate, and as a result, “abandoned” their efforts. That they failed is not true, and that they abandoned their efforts is unknowable, unless you wish to take the CIA at its word, which is a hilarious thought. How could Hedges possibly know they abandoned such work? A logical person would assume they would say that and continue their work more secretly. On one hand, Hedges says, “It would be naive to relegate the behavior of Gottlieb and the CIA to the past,” but then he does just that. Which is it, Chris? By definition, the “invisible” government, the CIA, never reveals their operations, and lying is their modus operandi, especially with their brazen in-your-face biblical motto: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

He says the invisible deep state “failed to foresee…the 9/11 attacks or the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.” This is factually wrong and quite absurd, as is well documented. They simply lied about these matters ex post facto. He suggests such failures were due to “ineptitude,” a coy word used by numerous other writers who find reasons to deny intentionality to the “deep state.”

He therefore is implying that the attacks of September 11, 2001, a subject that he has consistently failed to address over the years even while he has written in detail about so much else, did not involve America’s “invisible government forces.” The ineptitude explanation fails elementary logical analysis. Does he think it was intelligence ineptitude that allowed operatives to wire the highly-secure Twin Towers and Building 7 for controlled demolition that brought those buildings down, as the testimony of one’s eyes and that of hundreds of NYC firefighters who reported explosions throughout the buildings affirm? Ineptitude is another word for avoidance of evidence, gathered over the years by careful scholars and researchers. Ineptitude is another word for the belief “in miracles,” as David Ray Griffin has phrased it.

What does he think Colin Powell was doing at the United Nations on February 5, 2003 with CIA Director George Tenet sitting behind him when he lied repeatedly and fabricated evidence for Iraq having weapons of mass destruction to promote and justify the U.S. war against Iraq? Ineptitude? A failure of intelligence?

Chris Hedges is a very intelligent man, so why does he write such things?

Most importantly, why, when he writes about the past evil deeds of the intelligence operatives – Gottlieb and the CIA’s overseas coups and assassination of foreign leaders, etc. – does he fail to say one word about the CIA’s assassination of domestic leaders, including President John Kennedy in 1963, the foundational event in the invisible government’s takeover of the United States. Can an act be more evil and in need of moral condemnation? And how about the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in 1968, or Malcolm X in 1965? Why does Hedges elide these assassinations as if they are not worthy of attention, but Gottlieb’s sick work for the CIA is? Like the attacks of September 11, 2001, he has avoided these assassinations throughout the years.

I don’t know why. Only he can say. He is a very well-read man, who is constantly quoting from scholars about various important issues. His books are chock full of such quotations and references. But you will look in vain for references to the brilliant, scholarly work of such writers on these assassinations, the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the CIA’s criminal and morally repugnant activities as James Douglass, David Talbot, David Ray Griffin, William Pepper, Graeme MacQueen, Lisa Pease, and so many others. Is it possible that he has never read their books when he has read so much else? If so, why?


Source: Why Does Chris Hedges Hedge His Bets?

A Third of All Birds Have Disappeared From the US and Canada Since 1970


American and Canadian bird populations have decreased 29% in the last 50 years, finds a study just published by Cornell University researchers in the journal Science.

All together, the population is down by 2.9 billion breeding adult birds.

Researchers day the losses are driven primarily by habitat loss.

A billion of those birds formerly lived in forests, and 700 million in grasslands.

More than 90 percent of the losses come from  12 commonly known bird species, including sparrows, blackbirds, warblers and finches.

Dark-eyed juncos (little gray snowbirds) and meadowlarks were among the hardest hit, with 160 million and 130 million lost respectively.

“It’s a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife,” said Ken Rosenberg, lead author and conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in a press release.

“And that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment.”

“It’s telling us that our environment is not healthy. Not for birds, and probably also not for humans.” […]

via A Third of All Birds Have Disappeared From the US and Canada Since 1970 — Return to Now

The Legal Argument That Could Destroy Uber Is About To Be Tested

“The case, which originated as Meyer v. Kalanick in 2015, was indeed a simple one: Uber’s drivers are independent contractors, a legal distinction Uber views as central to its business model. Yet Uber also sets the price that all those independent contractors must charge for their businesses. When a bunch of independent businesses agree to charge the same price for a product or service, that is generally called price fixing, and price fixing is very much illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act.”

Uber Lyft Drivers

On October 23, an arbitrator will sit down in Uber’s New York office and hear arguments in a case that could determine the ride-hail giant’s future. It is not about the employment status of a single driver, but rather the very legality of Surge Pricing, Uber’s flagship feature that adjusts the price of rides according to supply and demand principles.

If the arbitrator rules against Uber, it could, in essence, make Surge Pricing illegal and, more broadly, call into question the legality of Uber’s entire business model of controlling the prices hundreds of thousands of independent contractors are permitted to charge.

“This has always been a simple case,” said Andy Schmidt, the lawyer who filed the original federal district court action back in late 2015. “Uber wants to have it both ways.”

And now, after almost four years, this “simple case” faces a big test. It’s the first time anyone…

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