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From Oil Wars to Water Wars

Posted on Dec 11, 2007

By Amy Goodman

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this week, in Oslo, Norway. Al Gore shared the prize with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which represents more than 2,500 scientists from 130 countries. The solemn ceremony took place as the United States is blocking meaningful progress at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate have derailed the energy bill passed by the House of Representatives, which would have accelerated the adoption of renewable energy sources at the expense of big-oil and coal corporations.

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  Gore set the stage: “So, today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

  “As a result, the Earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong. We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.”

  He went on: “Last Sept. 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the north polar ice cap is ‘falling off a cliff.’ One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.”

  How will climate-change skeptics explain that one? (Already, big business is celebrating the break up of the polar ice cap, as a northern sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific is opening, creating a cheaper route for more needless shipping.) It is hard to imagine the north pole, the storied, frozen expanse of ice and snow, completely gone in just a few years. Lost as well will be the vast store of archeological data trapped in the ice: thousands of years of the Earth’s climate history are told in the layers of ice that descend for miles there. Scientists are just now learning how to read and interpret the history. The great meltdown will surely have catastrophic effects on the ecosystem in the north, with species like the polar bear already edging toward extinction.


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  Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian scientist, accepted for the IPCC. He is a careful scientist with the political finesse to chair the work of the IPCC despite the enduring antagonism of the United States. He pointed to the disproportionate effect of climate change on the world’s poor:

  “[T]he impacts of climate change on some of the poorest and the most vulnerable communities in the world could prove extremely unsettling ...  in terms of: access to clean water, access to sufficient food, stable health conditions, ecosystem resources, security of settlements.”

  Pachauri predicts water wars and mass migrations. “Migration, usually temporary and often from rural to urban areas, is a common response to calamities such as floods and famines.”

  Gore invoked the memory of Mohandas Gandhi, saying he “awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called ‘Satyagraha’—or ‘truth force.’ In every land, the truth—once known—has the power to set us free.” Satyagraha, as Gandhi practiced it, is the disciplined application of nonviolent resistance, which is exactly what Ted Glick is doing back in Washington, D.C.

  Glick heads up the Climate Emergency Council. On his 99th day of a liquids-only fast, the day after the Nobel ceremony, he joined with 20 people in the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for a sit-in. The Senate Republicans are now blocking a federal energy bill that would create funding for the development of renewable energy sources in the U.S., while stripping away billions of dollars worth of tax breaks for big oil and coal.

  Glick told me: “We have to be willing to go to jail. Al Gore, himself, a couple of months ago talked about how young people need to be sitting in in front of the coal plants to prevent coal plants from being built. That’s true. Young people need to be doing that. Middle-age people need to be doing that. Older people need to be doing that. And Al Gore needs to be doing that. Let’s get serious about this crisis.”

  While Glick was sitting in, news reports began to circulate about Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani’s law firm’s lobbying activities against the energy bill. According to Bloomberg news, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP was hired by energy giant Southern Co. to defeat the bill. At a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser last August, addressing members of the coal industry, Giuliani said, “We have to increase our reliance on coal.”

  As Giuliani’s coffers get fat with money from big oil, gas and coal, Glick has lost more than 40 pounds, and the Earth’s temperature continues to rise.

  Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 650 stations in North America.

  © 2007 Amy Goodman

  Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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By Robuka Kenderle, December 22, 2007 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

continued from the previous post:

Should we rehash Robert Menard and the funding of Reporter Sans Frontieres? Its mandate is political, there is no doubt. ACRIMED has done nice job following Menard around and you can see how they act in perfect symbiosis with western governments which explains why reporters killed in Mexico isnt a problem for them but Venezuela is.
The premeditated murder of 30-40 journalists killed when the TV station in Yujoslavvia was bombed ended up not being a big deal to them. Actually, their angle was that the station manager was responsible, not the people who targeted a TV station. On purpose.

When I see people like John Podesta who was a chief of staff on boards of ‘humanitaria groups’, I get physically ill.
When I see alternative sources quote the criminals of International Crisis Group as impartial observers, I laugh. All you have to do is look at their website and check out the members: all semblance of humanitarianism and neutrality is pure speculation.
You recycle the usual suspects to continue to promote the same message.

“journalists”, mainstream or alternative, wont do that and will instead give them coverage completing the circle.

If a group taht has Morton Abramovitz in its board talks about helping people, you dont listen.
You know why? Because they are lying and they need you to perpetuate it.

Be careful of the people on the ‘good side’ as much as the ones on the bad side and for god’s sake, do NOT believe that there is ANY difference between the two US parties. Your 2004 election showed very well that both parties are of the same mind when it comes to Iraq and the 90’s showed that the media manipulation was already well entrenched before Iraq.


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By Robuka Kenderle, December 22, 2007 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let me get this straight:

a man whose whole wealth and family fortune, political career are because of big oil is our environmental savior?

The same man who has bombed more countries than Bush, poisoned more lands and killed more people through the massive depleted uranium weaponry used wants to save the planet?

The same man who helped put in place the 4 billion Plan Columbia to protect the interests of his frinds at Occidental Petroleum and AGAIN helped kill innocents, poison them and contaminate land cares about the planet?
How many countries do you have to poison to lose that label?

This of course was the same man who fully supported Bin Laden’s action in Bosnia where he served the US goal as well as supporting the ‘largest and best trained terrorist organization, the KLA’ according to the CIA. This support has resulted in the empire’s largest base, Camp Bondsteel.

This is the same man who never uttered a word when Madeleine Halfbright uttered he famous 500,000 dead iraqui quip.

THIS man is a hero?
This tool of the system?

The social causes scene has been coopted for a long time and now serves US interests primarily.
Talk about something the US want to support (like Sudan and all that oil the chinese have lined up there) and you will get all the free publicity the Davos machine can dish out. Talk about the rape of Lebanon last year, the last three media wars Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo and you will be persona non grata.

No, now we have the assistant to secretary of hate Allbright who is the point man in Hollywood to coach all the mindless morons like Clooney, Stone, etc.
He caaaaaares about sick and dying people, right?

We have multinational companies like Clearchanel and their protege Bono, friends to the rich and corrupt (canadians remember him coming during a leadership convention to support the biggest crooks we ever had in power, telling us Paul Martin was a good man) organizing the whitewash that was Live 8 and the sham that were that years G8. Bozo will not go meet the people. He cares little about Porto Alegre. He is there to make sure that all the big corporations assets are protected and well promoted.
That’s why he can stand up in front of millions and claim in the middle of the Downing Street memo scandal that the two war criminals Bush and Blair are two caring compassionate men who are the equivalent of St Peter and Paul.
Slurp, slurp. People ate it up. The stooges who came to plug their products got some positive press and sales and everyone left feeling like theyve done something.

That is how the media wars are led. You control the airwaves and the message and you find a stooge that will front for the IMF, Coke and the World Bank.

I hear that the Bank is led by that wonderfully caring Paul Wolfowitz, so we KNOW that they are interested in helping.

When you see who the point men for the dying and for the planet, you ask yourself, are we going to get Dracula to guard the blood bank next?

Interesting stuff you do but you are not much better than Chomsky, passive spectators using the same sources, the same people who have been involved for decades.

My brother in law was in Doctors Without Borders in the last 90’s in Greece. He was there when the greek chapter was expelled because they had treated both sides in a conflict and Doctors without Morals wanted only one side to receive aid.
EVERYTHING I need to know about that organization is right there in that shameful political decision.


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By Grady Lee Howard, December 18, 2007 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amy, Your pretzels are making me thirsty! Here in the Charlotte area we just had the first significant rain since April, a little over 1 inch. The drought takes a backseat in the media to house fires and high school football. We are 20 inches behind over most of NC for the second time in 5 years. The ecology has changed and the big trees are disintegrating with new diseases. If we don’t get really big precip. totals by March the region is truly in trouble. Yet building goes on and massive areas of land are cleared, so much so that mulch and stump dump fires have become a constant problem. Growth is not questioned in this period of recession.
I have met Al Gore several times and have been friends with some of his aides. He is right about Global Warming, but really has little beyond “consumer solutions’ to offer. He is probably correct that his life is endangered from corporate crazies and it would be suicidal for him to protest. So he loves his family and wants to go on living.
We need “producer solutions”, real work opportunities to slow environmental degradation while upgrading crude methods. I list nuclear power as a failed crude method, along with dumping sewage in rivers or on farmland (a popular method in NC), burning coal, refining ethanol (takes more fuel than it provides).
The most advanced thing we could do is slow down, bikes, walking, slow speed limits, raising the price of flying. A wise person named Ivan Illich foresaw this many years ago and determined that people are happier and smarter at 15 mph max. The mind, body and the planet all have limits. Also, consider the blessings of one natural offspring and think hard before you reproduce: It’s a nasty future out there.

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By Douglas Chalmers, December 15, 2007 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

The head of the U.S. delegation—Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky—was booed Saturday afternoon when she announced that the United States was rejecting the plan as then written because they were “not prepared to accept this formulation.” She said developing countries needed to carry more of the responsibility.

While rhetoric at such conferences is often just words, a short speech by a delegate from the small developing country of Papua New Guinea  appeared to carry weight with the Americans. The delegate challenged the United States to “either lead, follow or get out of the way.”

Just five minutes later, when it appeared the conference was on the brink of collapse, Dobriansky took to the floor again to announce the United States was willing to accept the arrangement. Applause erupted in the hall and a relative level of success for the conference appeared certain….

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By FilthyCherry, December 13, 2007 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

And then there’s the cola companies mining all the water out of places like India.  Farmers there are committing suicide because they can’t get loans for deeper wells, then their families hit the cities and the land is scooped up for pennies. 


We’re next.

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By cyrena, December 13, 2007 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

#119651 by Verne Arnold on 12/12 at 4:54 am
(486 comments total)

#119564 by Lefty on 12/11 at 6:39 pm
(709 comments total)

I thought Nestle already owned all of the water in the world!

Lefty, do you live in Asia, because so did I.

Well Verne,

They’ve (Nestle) sucked out a large part of Lake Erie and Lake Michigan as well. (don’t know about the others). So, the fish have all left, and there’s nothing to eat, and only the water that they bottle, so you have to buy it from ‘em if you’re thirsty.

Yep, good ol’ Nestle.

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By TAO Walker, December 13, 2007 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

The “....scientific solutions….” Ernest Canning (#119855) advocates so sincerely along with Al Gore are also (like the institutional ones) nothing but more of the same exercises-in-futility that all the other abstract virtualized approaches are bound to be.  The fault lies not in mere machinery or methodology, though, but in the fatally false premises on which the domesticated nations continue vainly trying to remedy their partly self-inflicted predicament.

What “ails” our Mother Earth is entirely organic in both its causes and its consequences.  She Herself has a specific “condition” it Induced Immune Deficiency Syndrome (IIDS).  Her “fever” is a natural response to that condition.  It WILL run its course, to whatever natural outcome these specifics lead-to. 

What actually ails the domesticated peoples is also purely “biological” it its particulars.  Technology and philosophy ultimately cannot get at it, because the ailment involves what is primary and generative in our essential nature.  Electro-mechanical systems are all at-best secondary (most even more abstract than that) and completely derivative in theirs.  All the various man-made institutional and ideological arrangements suffer from the same inescapable deficiencies.

The domesticated peoples suffer terribly from a congeries of lethal misconceptions about their own essential nature and about the essential nature of Nature Herself. All of their efforts, including “scientific” ones, are mired in these mistaken notions, and thus doomed to come to nothing but more of the grief they are already so prolifically productive-of.  No blame….just fact.

It’s true us surviving free wild natural Human Beings are with Her to “THE END”....whether bitter or better.  Our tame Sisters and Brothers, on the other hand, have nearly all of them been turned against Her, and so are mostly milling around these days in fear and confusion, having lost the very Living Ground from under their feet.  Their fate, as the fever does its work, looks to be orders-of-magnitude more difficult and painful than ours.

Unless (again) they wake-up, wise-up, and take The Medicine….which, as it happens, is US.


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By tigger, December 13, 2007 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

Global warming is here the ice shelf continues to melt. Greenland’s outer perimeter is shrinking as well.  According to Al Gore and his presentation of the Inconvenient Truth, the trend for warming has been going on for years. He presents the issue in such a way that who could deny the issue.  Our Federal Government is. G. Bush refused to sign the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Why well he loves his oil belching companies in his pocket. We aboval all other nations in the world emit the most greenhouse gases. 
However, my friend today actually believes too that we are slipping back into a paelentolgy era. If this combination is true, there is not going to be a mother earth anymore and we that survive are going to be living in a world like Mad Max and the science fiction novels.
What in world should we do? We need to reduce our wasteful ways, take care of our mother earth. Because frankly I like it here!

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By lobby, December 13, 2007 at 1:06 am Link to this comment

What we gotta do:

It is clear that our leaders have no vision.
It is clear that our leaders have vested interests.
It is clear that the citizens of the most powerful, and thereby responsible, nation will not remove the renegade businessmen from leading the earth into disarray.

The oil-buoyed leaders believe that they will emerge as the neo-aristocracy in the post-environment world. I know that I will not be included as the ‘surviving class’, and that is unacceptable. The leaders offer nothing to us anymore.  They have overstayed their welcome. 

If they won’t commit to targets, we make our own targets:
self-sufficiency, a true economy, evolution, innovation.

And for the leaders and their ilk:
obstruction, revulsion; at the very least removal of potential for human annihilation.

What are we really talking about? Do you think having a vote means you live in a democracy? You need to do your job:

Simulate a carbon tax on polluting industries by disrupting their profit-making from the 7th to the 11th of every month. This is 15%, the amount economists say a carbon tax would recess the economy.

If government won’t make polluters pay, we must force their pocketbook. As Cheney has said, ‘This is our due.’

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By cann4ing, December 12, 2007 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

The problem of our overheating the planet, TAO, is global and will affect the “free wild people” alongside the domesticated two-leggeds.  Without application of the scientific solutions proposed by Mr. Gore, there will be no place for the free wild folks like you to survive.


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By FilthyCherry, December 12, 2007 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Now here’s someone I’d love to see on DN:

Blue Covenant:The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water
by Maude Barlow

“Imagine a world in twenty years, in which no substantive progress has been made to provide basic wastewater service in the Third World, or to force industry and industrial agriculture production to stop polluting water systems, or to curb the mass movement of water by pipeline, tanker and other diversion, which will have created huge new swaths of desert.”

“Desalination plants will ring the world’s oceans, many of them run by nuclear power; corporate nanotechnology will clean up sewage water and sell it to private utilities who will sell it back to us at a huge profit; the rich will drink only bottled water found in the few remote parts of the world left or sucked from the clouds by machines, while the poor die in increasing numbers. This is not science fiction. This is where the world is headed unless we change course.”

Video of her book launch:

About the book and an excerpt:

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By TAO Walker, December 12, 2007 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Al Gore continues to preach that there’s an institutional remedy of some kind for our Mother Earth’s fevered condition….more hair-of-the-dog that’s gnawing at Her vitals, in-effect.  How’s that any more sensible than Senate Republicans suggesting their “resolution” might somehow result in the restoration of that comatose Florida woman to health and happiness?

What we have here, Sisters and Brothers, is a LIVING ARRANGEMENT.  Make-believe abstractions can (and invariably DO) put people in a virtual world-o’-hurt, but are powerless to address the organic conditions that’re always the “unintended side-effects” of delusional true-believers’ behavior.

Us surviving free wild natural Peoples ARE the Medicine for what ails our domesticated relatives here in these latter days.  We will be “easy to swallow”?  No!  Is there any viable alternative treatment?  Hell no!! 


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By cann4ing, December 12, 2007 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

This article contains perhaps one of the most important reasons why, in the next election, we must work to defeat every Republican:  “The Senate Republicans are now blocking a federal energy bill that would create funding for the development of renewable energy sources in the U.S., while stripping away billions of dollars worth of tax breaks for big oil and coal.”

Of course, the accelleration of disasters by global warming also provides opportunity for what Naomi Klein has dubbed the disaster capitalism complex.  In “The Shock Doctrine,” she writes:

“At first I thought the Green Zone phenomenon was unique to the war in Iraq.  Now, after years spent in other disaster zones, I realize that the Green Zone emerges everywhere that the disaster capitalism complex descends, with the same stark partitiouns between the included and the excluded, the protected and the damned.

“It happened in New Orleans.  After the flood, an already divided city turned into a battleground between gated green zones and raging red zones—the result not of water damage but of the ‘free-market solutions’ embraced by the president.*  The Bush administration refused to allow emergency funds to pay public sector salaries, and the City of New Orleans, which lost its tax base, had to fire three thousand in a month in the months after Katrina.  Amng them were sixteen of the city’s planning staff—with shades of ‘de-Baathification,’ laid off at the precise moment when New Orleans was in desparate need of planners….
“Amid the schools, the homes, the hospitals, the transit system and the lack of clean water…, New Orleans’ public sphere was not being rebuilt, it was being erased, with the storm used as the excuse….Post-Katrina New Orleans may be providing the first Western-world image of a new kind of wasted urban landscape: the mold belt, destroyed by the deadly combination of weathered public infrastructure and extreme weather.”

*Amongst the Republican free-market “solutions” to Katrina was an opening up of the Alaskan wild life refuge to oil drilling, proving that one man’s disaster is another’s business opportunity.

Meanwhile, here at Truthdig, posters still taken in by the global warming denial propaganda cite Michael Crichton’s work of fiction as the answer to the body of academic work produced by the world’s scientific community.

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By larry brandes, December 12, 2007 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is no one pointing out who will profit the most from global warming.  You can bet the Bilderburgs Group is busting their butts working on that as well as the rest of the Illuminati.
  If any coalfire plants need protesting it is the coal fire alcohol plants, the hypocrisy is that there are many of these in the planning and already in use and they are really no different for the pollution net loss than any other coal fire plant.  the only real benefit is they elevate the price of corn for farmers

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By GW=MCHammered, December 12, 2007 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do Something or Don’t Do Something?
How lucky do you feel?

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By Verne Arnold, December 12, 2007 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

#119564 by Lefty on 12/11 at 6:39 pm
(709 comments total)

I thought Nestle already owned all of the water in the world!

Lefty, do you live in Asia, because so did I.

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By Verne Arnold, December 12, 2007 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

In 2004 Michael Crichton wrote “State of Fear” for which he was roundly condemned.  It is a very thought provoking read which should appeal to the more open minded out there (and here).  The old saw; “The mind is like a parachute; it only works when opened” is true and point on. 
Humans are having a profound effect (on the planet)…no doubt.  But, big but, water is now and has been a life and death thing for years.  Think about it; we can live without oil, but we cannot survive without water.  This battle has been going on behind the scenes for years (more than a century in America) and it will erupt on the world more fiercely than the battle for oil ever has been or will be in the future.  There is not enough potable water now.  Countries like the U.S. use drinking quality water to flush toilets, water gardens and wash cars and water lawns.  Here in Asia, drinking water is purchased in carboys, potable water is at a premium and the water supplied by the cities and villages is not for human consumption.  If we’re lucky as in my village we can shower in it.  Do not take you precious water for granted.
My only criticism of Amy Goodman is she didn’t go into one half of the title enough.  This is way too big for an adequate comment in the posting/comments section. 
How does this bode for the future?  There are forward thinkers and schemers so far ahead of our thinking that it should scare the pants off of us.  There will be many wars over water.  Actually it should make us think so we can counter those that would betray us.  If we are smart, oil will soon (4 years) start fading as the prime energy source for our planet.  There are so many viable alternatives we would be insane not to develop them, but then maybe we are insane; then it all makes sense.

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By Charlie Kasnick, December 12, 2007 at 5:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There has been no studies put up for scientific review against global warming ,just OPINIONS.

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By Thomas Billis, December 12, 2007 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

Now that Doug the climatologist has cleared away all those nagging doubts that the best scientists in every western country have we can now relax.Doug do you remember the Tobacco Insitute of 30 years ago they had all kinds of graphs and charts and some toadie scientists who showed that cigarette smoking was not bad for you.You are falling prey to the American Oil Institute.
Amy please do not mention Al Gore again I start feeling so bad for my country in what might have been.At the very least a President who could communicate in his native tongue.I might not have wanted to have beer with Al Gore but I know he would have been a great President.

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By Doug, December 12, 2007 at 12:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Global warming is caused by the sun’s cycle, NOT greenhouse gases.

Don’t believe?  Ask a good statistician what they make of the following graph?

Prediction: Within 20 years the earth will cool despite increasing CO2 levels.

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By troublesum, December 11, 2007 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

Gore will not debate the scientists who do not believe that global worming is caused by human activity.  All reputable scientists believe that global worming is a reality, but they disagree on the causes.  In her efforts to go mainstream, Amy Goodman has closed the door to any debate on global warming on her democracynow! program.  That’s just what the corporate media does with the positions they take.

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By reason, December 11, 2007 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

I agree with the fact that water will be as oil is now if we don’t act with best interests of worlds population. Just as ethanol from corn is being manopolized by the large oil companies of the world, water will be seen as a commodity that can be held hostage and used to manipulate the countries of the world.
I do have a problem with Amy Goodman’s credibility after her article about Lou Dobbs. Amy Goodman is an intelligent woman and I do appreciate her alternative views (many times I agree her) but, she lost much of her journalistic stature with me as I read her article and viewed the program on Democracy Now. The interview was like something you would see on the “Jerry Springer” show rather than the debate I would have expected from her.
We all make mistakes and I hope that is all it was; Amy is a much better journalist than what her program reflected.

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By Douglas Chalmers, December 11, 2007 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

We have to increase our reliance on coal because there is coal to mine…....

We have to increase our reliance on nuclear power because there is uranium to mine…...

What a fatal mindset to maintain, uhh!

Investing in infrastructure around the world in past decades would have brought peace and prosperity and healthy living for all. Spending on wars instead will now bring the inevitable results - more wars!

One thing you can be sure of, though - neither the USA or Israel cares. In the 1970’s, the cry was “Nuke the Ayatolla!” (in Iran) over a few dollars extra for oil. What is different today?!?!

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By PatrickHenry, December 11, 2007 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

Time to start these algae biofarms to clean the water, reduce CO2 and provide the next generation of domestic fuel.

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