This was written by me last night / early this morning –
Parkland and America in Mourning –
I watched the burial today from one of the JROTC students as his casket was being un-draped by the American flag to be lowered into the ground. I tweeted a reply on the tweet with its video clip of it – These children should not be there. It is so wrong. – without saying the fifty other things my mind could see that this young man and all the others killed in Parkland should be alive today doing, walking through their lives, not laying in a casket gone to all of us and their families. It should not have ever been this for their lives.
And what does it matter what I say, on another day from this one, another young man disenfranchised and emotionally charged beyond our help will choose to do it this way again, just as they already have done in our country’s not so distant past several times over.
Is it fair to blame it on the emotional characteristics of our differences or on the weapons used? Even with everything to provide background checks, illegal guns and ammunition are bought – and other kinds of weapons made by those who choose to do this.
But it didn’t start to happen in an instant. These young men who have committed these mass shootings didn’t start the day before or a week before the event.
Often mental health systems and drugs were already in their lives and in use by them even when they committed these horrors. Did those make it worse or more likely?
Was everything we’ve put in place basically useless to help these young men do something else instead, long before they came to this point? Obviously, yes.
Is it right to blame video games or guns or mental illness as the cause when so very many people, including young men have all of these things and never commit some horrific killing rampage on anyone?
Do we really not have anything effective in place to give people the skills and the emotional wherewithal to work through their personal crises any better than this and long before they start buying every weapon they can get their hands on with the constant fantasy of using them? Really? Is that where we are?
That nothing constructive with any real positive force comes close enough to them for this path to be veered off or guided into something more productive, practical and constructive for them and for us? Is that where we are and the best we can do?
Answers At All?
It must be obvious that people engaged in the building of their lives and the real possibilities of their dreams coming to fruition, do not need nor desire to go get a gun and start shooting people.
And, especially when their energies and their goals can be realized in practical ways with their efforts applied to do so – people engage in these constructive types of activities and work on these efforts rather than fulfilling some violent, get back at the world scenario.
But, when every avenue is thwarted or not producing expected results time after time after time and, nor are the possibilities of those efforts being able to achieve any of those things to build one’s life and dreams, what are people going to do? What can be realistically expected for people to do besides becoming in some way destructive, rather than constructive especially as those energies continue to be thwarted or utilized with no success at all?
What happens to the one who is desperate to be loved, who lives in a world today where no real connections are possible with others and no opportunities exist for them to build a jointly beneficially loving and supportive interaction with others – what then? Where do those energies go after repeatedly failing to make any opportunities for connections, for love, support, friendship or belonging?
What happens to the one who wants and needs to earn a living and there is thwarted as well, in the exclusiveness of that because of the way America is today? What then?
What happens to the one longing for respect and status where the world as it is now in America offers little to no opportunities to build and get those either, unless being born into wealth has given an unnatural step towards those doors of options?
What happens to the one wanting to have a house to call home, not as an investment property – but a real home where today, nearly all houses cost far beyond the wages offered by any but a few jobs that are beyond what most people can get? And in every business and industry, even more of those opportunities are disappearing to automation, business decisions to restructure and close business operations. Add to that, the thousands of jobs being lost or taken by the numerous bankruptcies that our businesses and industries continue to have which are taking those jobs away in great numbers, continuing to take factories out of our country and giving massive bonuses to executives and shareholders while laying off workers and stagnating or even, lowering wages and benefits to employees.
What happens in our nation where communities are no longer real communities anymore but simply a lot of houses in one place where people live and drive their cars into and out of, to shop at stores nearby and eat out but where rarely, if ever, find it socially appropriate to even speak to one another, let alone to engage long enough to build real and lasting friendships.
What happens where nearly every single person who wants to have a marriage, a home together with someone and build a life together is thwarted at every moment and with every attempt to make that happen by the new constraints of our society’s disconnections from one another generally? What then?
My Daughter Read This and Said – Yeah, but There Aren’t Any Solutions You Give –
And sometimes, I really do think up ways to help, share them on this blog and other places, even help get those things put into practice so they work, but today I am acutely aware of what many people in similar situations to mine are experiencing – this covers my thoughts on it today –
I’ve worked and worked hard for a long time getting absolutely nowhere with no real results from it that can provide for me. And, I’ve helped others along the way – as sometimes as well, people have helped me.
But I have discovered this also and I’ve been ignoring it from others for a long time – which is the prevailing attitude in America right now, as well as in my own family and communities which expresses what I’m hearing explained to me when I need to get any help – (from those who could help) – and my comments about it –
Explain To Me How These Attitudes Help Anybody – That is My Question
So, you don’t want to help a person who IS TRYING – and especially if they’ve been trying to accomplish something to help themselves for a long time and failing.
And, you don’t want to help a person who IS NOT TRYING – and especially if they’ve never even showed that they are trying to help themselves or have given up.
BUT, you claim to be a person who wants to help. What are the determining factors on that help?
You DON’T want to help anyone who needs it, because they are needy – why bother.
You DON’T want to help anyone who doesn’t need it, because there would be no point to your helping.
AND, unless the needy person who needs some help: looks, acts and speaks like they don’t need it, you aren’t about to help them either.
Oh wait – if they look like they don’t need help – you wouldn’t help them anyway.
Don’t tell me ceilings have to be painted white or its wrong . . .
Don’t tell me that doing art is “coloring” and that nobody makes a living at it . . .
Don’t tell me hard-work, perseverance and talent are paid with great rewards . . . it isn’t the truth in America.
Don’t tell me that you are better than I am or try to prove that is so, because I know the same maggots will eventually eat us both and return us to the soil . .
Don’t tell me I am mentally ill because I am different than you are – I have not seen what you call “normal” indicating much to be proud of – it isn’t impressive . . .
Don’t tell me that your life, your opinions and your knowledge has greater substance than mine for no other reason than the amount of money you make – because obviously that does not define the value of a human life nor of a human mind, let alone define a judgment of the extent of knowledge within it.
And, I just want to know who put the Christians and other religious zealots in charge of everybody’s sex life, classification in the financial caste system, value as a human being, position in the pecking order, exclusion or inclusion for personal opportunities and damn near every other facet of life? Who made them the voice of God – because it sure wasn’t God that did it . . .
And, don’t tell me that it isn’t like that, because it is.
Do you know what I see? Of course not. We are never going to be standing in the same place at the same moment with the same mind. Thank God for that, because if we were, there would be less chance of our species surviving for the generations yet to come – in fact, we wouldn’t have made it this far. It is by diversity that nature insures the survival of species, from plant and animal life to mankind. It is designed that way for good reason . . .
as a solution to the gang killings and violence – why not send them to Iraq as civilian contractors, to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban or to Somalia to fight the insurgents and pirates? That would put their skills to good use where they would do some good instead of destroying people’s lives in America.
Chicago – gang killings – shootings of children by gangs – American Life –
In the last three months, two stabbings and a shooting, all gang-related, took place within two blocks of the house. Last weekend, a woman was killed in what police say was a domestic dispute less than three blocks away.
[ . . . ]
Since last November, there have been 12 violent crimes – five of them since May 5 – in Hanover Park, and residents are on edge.
Yet despite the fear, residents offer myriad suggestions about how to stem the violence and keep their families safe, from a teen’s recommendation that gang prevention programs start in middle school, to a woman’s rule that if you’re a teen you just don’t go out at night, period.
Most said that “tough love” and making family come first are the best, and possibly only, lines of defense against the plague of gangs.
One of the people accused of taking an active role in planning the killing and robbery of an armored car guard in Lakewood last week belonged to a Chicago street gang before moving to the Tacoma area, according to court records obtained by The News Tribune.
A witness told police that Odies D. Walker, 41, is a “hardcore Black Gangster Disciple” from Chicago who has “previously been shot several times,” according to the court records.
Another witness, Walker’s adult son, told investigators his father “was a BGD from long ago and had been active in gang life in Chicago before moving to Washington to escape gang life,” the documents state.
A Chicago homicide detective contacted by Lakewood police shortly after the shooting June 2 at the Lakewood Wal-Mart confirmed Walker’s Chicago gang ties.
Gun control hasn’t stopped Chicago shooting deaths
June 1, 8:29 AM
And here are a few other things that haven’t worked:
The federal ban on firearm possession by “prohibited persons.”
The Illinois requirement for a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card.
The Illinois prohibition on concealed carry.
Chicago’s ban on handgun ownership.
So-called “gun control” has utterly failed at declawing the predators. The only thing it has done is ensure them a disarmed and defenseless victim pool. And any “strategy” that fails to recognize this essential truth will only guarantee that it will be a long, hot summer.
Young people in Chicago are dying violent deaths at an alarming rate.
So far this school year, at least 36 Chicago Public School students have been killed, most of them victims of gunshots. Scores of other Chicago children and teenagers have been wounded in shootings, and there are concerns that the gun violence could escalate when school is out for the summer in a few weeks.
CeaseFire, which treats violence like a preventable disease, operates in Waukegan and North Chicago. It was founded in Chicago in 1999 by epidemiologist Dr. Gary Slutkin, who battled infectious diseases including AIDS in Africa.
Families of two of the latest victims — Jonathan Quebrado, 15, of North Chicago and Spencer Buckle, 17, of Zion — were there. Quebrado was shot to death in March at Woodward Park in North Chicago. Buckle, who belonged to the gang that did the shooting, was executed by one of his own in April.
“We want people to stop killing,” said Thalia Castillo, 9, Quebrado’s sister.
[ . . . ]
CeaseFire outreach worker Alan Gates wore the face of his son, a toddler with a sparkling smile. Terreal Gates was 15 when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Park City in 2004.
“I’ve been a victim of the violence in the street, and I’ve been a contributor to the violence in the street,” said Gates, 45, of North Chicago. “It’s insanity. But for those of us who live in the trenches, it’s a way of life.”
As one of 24 CeaseFire workers, many who have felony convictions, Gates said he wants to “turn the light on in somebody’s mind.”
“We need to touch people in a hands-on way,” he said.
KBR Inc. is the largest employer of contract workers in Iraq, with about 16,000, most of them U.S. citizens, according to a July 2007 Pentagon census.
The Houston engineering and construction firm reported more than 700 serious injuries or deaths in the first six months of 2007 — almost five incidents for every 100 workers.
Prime Projects International of Dubai was the largest employer of foreigners in Iraq, with about 10,000 civilian workers.
The company reported 43 serious injuries or deaths in the first six months of 2007 — less than one per 100 workers.
The same held for other subcontractors with large foreign workforces, such as Saudi-based Gulf Catering Co. and Tamimi Global Co. and Turkish firm Kulak. None of the companies responded to requests for comment.
[ . . . ]
Insurance for civilians working in war zones is required under a World War II-era law known as the Defense Base Act . Companies providing services to the U.S. government must secure a special type of workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, both American and foreign.
The insurance covers all injuries and deaths, whether caused by workplace accidents or roadside bombs. Companies bill the cost to U.S. taxpayers as part of their government contracts.
For decades, this system was overseen by a handful of federal bureaucrats who processed a few hundred claims a year. That changed when the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and later in Iraq.
In both conflicts, the U.S. military has relied on civilian workers to a greater extent than ever before — to cook meals, clean latrines, deliver fuel and translate for troops, among many other tasks. There are more civilians than uniformed soldiers in the two war zones, and more than 1,400 contract workers have died .
The Horn of Africa – Somalia Spring 2009 Chronicles IV – Viewpoints on Piracy, War, and Chinás Role
June 10, 2009
In this article, are excerpts from the no 186 Ecoterra Press Release SMCM (Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor).
Rumours and so far unconfirmed reports say that Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the Somali insurgents, has been wounded, while Hassan Turki, a leader of the al-Shabaab would have been killed in intense fighting near Wabho in central Somalia, which saw 120 fighters dead. Other sources speak of false propaganda, while a spokesman of Hizbul Islam from Addis Ababa confirmed that Hassan Dahir Aweys had been slightly wounded. Sources from the TFG speak of a serious wounding of Hassan Dahir Aweys at his back, while he himself talks only of a few scratches. Hassan Turki, however, who had escaped even air-strikes by the US earlier, is reported to not even have been in the area where the fighting erupted yesterday, while Shabaab leader Gudanne was reportedly killed.
T/B YENEGOA OCEAN (registered as YENEGOA, but also called YENAGOA) with 11 Nigerian sailors has finally been freed after an ordeal of over 10 month. The Panama -flagged vessel with some clandestine cargo and two Mercedes-Benz as well as one BMW luxury vehicles on board was kept at the very tip of the Horn of Africa while negotiations with the Nigerian owner regularly broke down. The off-shore tug – owned by Nigerian ESL Integrated Services, and her crew were captured in the Gulf of Aden on 4th August 2008. After initial attempts by the owner to achieve the release through Yemen, he walked away for long stretches of time and claimed to not have the money for the release. After the intervention of an international humanitarian organization, which over the months several times helped with supplies, the Nigerian government stepped in and achieved that the owner at least sent $80.000.- for supplies to the crew’s upkeep.
So why not send those gangs and gang members who have nothing else to offer except killing children, robbing, shooting and making life dangerous for everyone – to fight the same guerrilla jackasses in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are making life unbearable.
Then, the gangs and those convicted of killings from Chicago can use their skills to do what they are obviously good at doing which is guerrilla fighting, following orders of the very hierarchal and bureaucratic authority provided in gang membership, killing, planning and following through on the plans for ambushing, robbing, thieving, killing, raping, pillaging and plundering America.
The only difference would be the target of their skills and the location which could be provided by judges and community choices to send those Chicago and Los Angeles gangs to Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan with photos of their targets. We might not even have to provide them with a gun since they seem to be able to acquire them damn near anywhere along with ammunition even where gun control laws make it prohibited and difficult.
Given that these human beings that have claimed gang membership are going to keep killing precious lives that are worthwhile, destroying neighborhoods, and making life treacherous for everyone, why not send them where their skills and devotion to bureaucratic leadership would do some good?
There is no use wasting the “best of the best” in these fights with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and any extremists intent on carrying out terrorist acts – might as well send the Chicago gang members that have already killed somebody or are trying to endanger the community with criminal acts, violence and gang activities.
That would solve the gang violence problems – once these individuals realized that to continue violent and criminal behaviors / gang involvement would mean being rewarded with a trip to fight in Somalia against an extreme environment and extremely violent terrorists or pirates on the high seas – or in Afghanistan’s extremely harsh and violent territory with its guerrilla Taliban fighters – maybe these gang members would change their minds.
But, if not – then these gang members and murdering gangs could be put where their skill sets are appropriate, justified and necessary. They can always be sent to Iraq as civilian contractors – the life expectancy their lifestyle offers in Chicago or Los Angeles gangs isn’t any better and their skill sets are misplaced and misguided as they are using them in those and other cities of America.
These gang members obviously know how to use a gun and shoot somebody. They can apparently plan a mission and carry it out or they wouldn’t be able to rob an armored car or a person coming home from work with a paycheck. These individuals gang members carry out the orders of their gang leadership and are willing to move like a group of pack animals, so obviously they can follow orders, take orders and give orders, as well as operating as a unit in a coordinated way. They are perfect for military applications against guerrillas, extremists, terrorists and extreme environments of violence and harsh conditions.
This is a request for submission to have a book of humor published. It screams redneck – it screams recession – it screams lighten up.
There is a group of writings called, “The Got No Money Guides To Good Living Anyway.” It includes the Got No Money Guide to Home Security, The Got No Money Guide to Home Decorating, The Got No Money Guide to Good Living, and others.
During this time of economic recession, there are a lot of people having the experiences described by this light hearted look at living with no money. It is funny. It is based on true experiences during my personal recession some years ago.
I would be interested in submitting these materials to you for publication. There is enough already written to produce a small coffee table or gift book. More could certainly be created by me to fill several hundred pages or several books with a matching title for a series. Are you interested in seeing this material and negotiating the opportunity to publish?
“Cricket” Diane C Phillips
1525 Terrell Mill Place, Apt. H
Marietta, GA 30067
*When you got no money it’s not the same as being poor. Poor is a state of mind. Got no money is a fact.
*A trail of stars:
Camping under the stars – Glow in the dark stars on every ceiling is easier than camping –
no bugs, no rain, real beds and the keys don’t get locked in the car.
* With a nature sounds recording – you’ll think you’re in the woods till your ex-mother-in-law comes over.
*The best way to approach decorating when there is no money is to choose a color scheme and really stick with it. One of our favorites is cardboard brown, grey and glow in the dark.
* You know houseplants are just fast growing weeds with a pot stuck under them.
* Houseplants are easier to hang than bankers but not near as much fun to watch.
* For 99 cents , you can glo-in-the-dark anything. Who needs fancy emergency lights and a generator for a storm? Put enough glo-in-the-dark paint around and you can’t tell the difference.
* We glo-in-the-dark everything. We can find our shoes in the dark, our stove in the dark, my husband’s privates in the dark.
* Don’t say anything to my husband about the glo-in-the-dark privates thing. He never looks down at himself and I haven’t told him.
* Plastic flowers in the window boxes were a great idea from a friend of mine, but we couldn’t afford them. So, we put that idea with another problem we kept having and now our windows have really great dirty socks on a stick in the boxes. From the street, you can’t tell anyway.
*No, they don’t glo-in-the-dark. But, we could do that . . .
*My husband keeps asking what happened to all his socks. So you think I should tell him? He can’t divorce me. We don’t have any money.
* I started to wallpaper the bathroom with legal papers. The government is the only one that can afford paper. They sent a tone of it to our house. Surely it could be a decorating element. You can’t wipe with it.
(There’s more on this topic.)
Excerpt from the Got No Money Guide to Home Security –
Got No Money Guide to Home and Personal Security
Copyright 2008, 2007, 1991 by Cricket Diane C Phillips
Got No Money Guide to Home Security
Most people get a sticker for their window that says, Protected by xx Security and Alarm or something like that. Then, of course, every month there is a fee for the company to protect the property by manning the alarms.
When you got no money, that isn’t realistic. So, to help the world of folks with no money, these are anti-theft suggestions and crime deterrents as stickers for the home, car and personal property:
*Already pawned everything of value.
*There’s a reason I drive a beat-up Ford.
*We were the 223 millionth American family to file for bankruptcy. What they didn’t take isn’t worth stealing.
*Ex air traffic controller – Ex postal carrier – go for it – make my day.
*The credit cards in my wallet were maxed out three months ago. I was arrested at an atm for trying to withdraw my own money. The bankruptcy will be final eventually after my ex-wife’s lawyers are done screwing up my life. Have it all – your luck has to be better than mine.
*If you steal my checks or atm card – you’ll have to beat the checks to the bank just like I do.
*We couldn’t afford our car insurance and this vehicle is registered with the State Office of No Insurance. Take it at your own risk. Oh yeah – and I’ve been meaning to get the brakes fixed – use the parking brake if you’re going to want to stop at all. Just tug real hard.
*Our house is in foreclosure. Please feel free to take the rest so we don’t have to pay movers.
*Everything here came from the thrift store. Help yourself.
*We are justifiably poor. We follow a religious order. Apparently you need to join. We can save you. Come back when we’re here and we will.
*Do you know how many ways you can make macaroni and cheese into different meals? We do. We aren’t doing that because we can afford to go out to eat. Our children think happy meals are days we can eat rice and bologna. Don’t tell ‘em.
*Unemployed long enough to hate everybody. Come on in.
*We own a black and white tv. The children put rocks in our cassette player. We have two lamps that don’t work and the telephone’s ringer don’t ring since I threw it at the wall. If you really want it – go for it.
(There’s more . . . )
More Got No Money Home and Personal Security
More stickers for the protection of home, self and property:
Got No Money Guide 2007 Anti-Theft Bumper Stickers – More from 2007
It’s easy to understand that a little sticker on the car or home windows could deter criminals from desiring an end prize that isn’t worth it. Security company logos are used on property all the time to let the bad guys know the risk involved. But, if the thieves only knew . . .
* Before stealing this car – check the gas gauge. Yes, it is on E isn’t it?
* And how much money did you bring with you to stop by the Quicky Mart for gas? If things are bad enough to be stealing this car, you are in for a shock when you stop for gas . . . You know, it doesn’t go without gas, right?
* Apparently “D” doesn’t stand for “Daring to Believe”. I wish I had known that before I bought it and spent all my money to drive it. If you want to steal it, let me know and I’ll send you the payment book, the insurance forms and the maintenance schedule. You can have it all.
* The only air conditioning on this car is rolling down the windows. You might want to know what that rattling sound is under the car. Never mind – go ahead and steal it.
* Isn’t this just the perfect car you’ve always wanted? I felt that way, too. Would you like to know why I don’t feel that way anymore?
* If you knew what the auto mechanic wanted to fix this car – you’d get out of the business of stealing and be a mechanic.
* You just made my day. Thanks so much for wanting something I have. And my mom said this car was a worthless piece of – well, never mind what she said.
* I have a bank account I can’t keep a hundred dollars in and you think I have bank cards, credit cards and cash? What drugs are you on – that must be some good stuff. Just off in your own happy little la-la land, aren’t you?
* I have a daughter who is just your type. Leave your name and phone number – we’ll get back to you.
* Don’t worry about stealing the car – our daughter will find it when she’s ready to go somewhere and bring it back to you with no gas in it.
* Just because I look like I’ve got money – it doesn’t make it so. Just ask my mother-in-law.
* Let’s look at this. Stealing isn’t efficient. Hacking is efficient. But neither is efficient compared to being an attorney. Boy, do you need guidance.
(Yep, there’s more . . . )
And one last note from the Got No Money Guide to Home Decorating (and Interior Design) –
* Butt is not a fashion decorating word but it is a priority element of decorating. What you do with butts makes all the difference in decorating. Cheap seats are hard seats. Can’t afford them anyway. And no money butts are hard, scrawny, boney butts. Hard seats won’t do. You’ll have to keep a crowbar on the wall to pry the seats from the butts. Isn’t that special? Early American . . .
Got No Money Guide To Good Living – 2
Written by Cricket Diane C Phillips 2008
* I have an active living environment. This means a got no money good living environment dedicated to actively living in it. Things to do, workspaces for doing them and living by doing.
* You’ve got to ask yourself what you’d be doing if you had all the money in the world anyway.
* If its sitting around reading books – get some books. If its cooking special meals for people you love – get some recipes and do it.
* This isn’t a hard concept to grasp. I found it in a book once. Then I bought seeds for gardening and planted them.
* It was during a bad drought and only one marigold and five tomato plants grew out of thousands of seeds – about $8 worth of seed packets.
* But the seeds from those six plants have grown tomatoes and marigolds everywhere I’ve lived since. They’ve provided flowers and tomatoes in my friends’ and neighbors’ yards, at my parents’ house and I still have some today from them.
* If I don’t have a yard to garden – I just go and garden somebody else’s yard or plant them in the window inside the house. Its all the same to me because if I were rich its what I would do. So, I do it. Why wait?
* Between books from the library, books on sale, books online and books at the thrift store, yard sales and friends of the library sales – there are whole libraries available to own when you got no money and want good living.
* Be aware that what you have in your hand may be a library book before you stick it under the couch where the leg used to be. And, as soon as you use the dictionary for that you’ll need to look up a word. Better go find a brick instead.
* May as well not sit around thinking about what you haven’t got. Build it, create it, do it with what is around you.
* There is always something – some way to do it – somewhere to find it – some way to acquire it even with no money.
* In fact, with money is one of the most inefficient ways to go about it for most things most of the time.
* By the time I’ve shopped for what doesn’t really suit the purpose I have for it, I could’ve built, acquired or reclaimed four things (at least) to solve the problem that suits the purpose.
Got No Money Guide To Good Living 2
* Most good living is going to happen whether or not you got any money. Trashy living will happen too whether you got any money or not. The trick is to do more of the good living than letting it slide into trashy regardless of your economic reality.
* I’ve got to say, though, there is some comfort in trashy living – nobody expects much and its easy enough to accomplish that.
* If you wanna do good living when you got no money – its really easy. Satin pillowcases for your head and day-old cakes, donuts and collecting stuff everybody else is done using.
* We had do it later mentality for a long time until one day I realized we were going to be poor for probably ever and ever so that day we started good living anyway.
* We bought fancy napkins that cost fifty cents each at the clearance aisle one week which isn’t too bad if you don’t mind that they won’t match each other or anything else either.
* Those napkins were a one-time investment for years of imagining the fine dining of a fancy restaurant without leaving home.
The parts of these guides that are posted here online are only a small part of the total that are already written – some by hand and some on the computer. There is also a Got No Money Guide to Starting a Business, and Got No Money Guide to Getting Around Town (transportation, kinda)
and ones about entertainment, creating stuff and although I haven’t written it yet, I swear that I have enough information to write a SPAM cookbook of 5000 ways to fix spam, or turkey, or whatever that meat was we were eating – might have been squirrel or deer meat, never asked.
People are experiencing these things now and they need to be able to laugh about it and to get a real look at it with a sense of humor. This book can do that and so much of the material is already written, that I hope you will consider it and put it into publication right now where it can help.
Thanks so much,
Who I am and why I am the most qualified person to write this book –
Diane C. Phillips – (cricketdiane)
50 years old
Ph.D. in living without money and surviving it.
I was born in Ohio, lived in Florida, Georgia, California, Georgia, California, South Carolina, North Carolina and now, in Georgia for what seems like forever in poverty and got no money living. I grew up in California.
Attended several colleges, learned something and went on. Married twice, taken hostage once by a man I had two children with – overall, I have seven children, none of which live with me.
I have real world experience with this long enough to have a sense of humor about it. I can do more with less than most people would consider trying but now they are having to do just that.
And, people are killing themselves over this stuff, over losing their homes to foreclosure, losing jobs to layoffs and businesses going bankrupt. It isn’t necessary. It’s only money and as long as we stay in the alive column, we can always get money.
It would be better if I were the one available to advise those who are about to be living in their cars or having financial impossibilities, compared to watching people with two college degrees as experts on cable news make suggestions to them. I know what to do. The lessons I’ve learned have come from living with the reality of having no money.
How does someone with money on the ATM card and nineteen credit cards to their name, know what to tell a person whose house is in foreclosure, just lost their job and doesn’t have a clue what to do next? One thing, first of all, that I do know is how to think about it such that opportunities can be created, options can be generated and a creative thinking process can be awakened to deal with the situation. I have paid the price to know that. It is why I can write the humorous materials about it.
I’ve lived it. I am an expert.
What am I selling? Who am I selling it to? Who is going to buy it?
The Got No Money Guides to Good Living are – A distinctive way to look at options when there is no money to throw at problems.
People who want to enhance their creativity and problem solving in the midst of difficult economic times, those who need a good laugh and to not despair are in need of this book.
People will buy it as a gift for family members who are worried and afraid or who are going through financial hardships. They will also buy it for friends at work and at church who are having difficulties and hopefully, it will perk them up a bit. This is also applicable to those who are 30 – 90 years old and have lived through financial difficulties already or who are now. They will pick this book up out of all the stacks of books and do something to help themselves. And, they will gain a sense of humor about where they stand in all of this. It will spark the creativity, imagination, innovative spirit and hope that will carry them through this crisis by creating their own viable solutions to this economic crisis.
It will also give them a good belly laugh which heals beyond all else when things are truly important and seem truly impossible.
These are good reasons to publish this material. It is timely. It is appropriate. It is helpful and it is funny. And, it is fun and creative, awakens innovative thinking and inspires. It is what people need right now, not sitting on a shelf somewhere but available to them in print for purchase.
The Got No Money Guides to Good Living
by Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2009
Seeking a publisher – and no I don’t have seven dollars a piece to send it in the mail to every publisher in America so I can wallpaper my bathroom with rejection letters . . . the Got No Money Guides I’ve written are needed in America right now – what business wants to use this publication to help their business make money today?
BAYERCROPSCIENCE USED antiterrorism security regulations to keep the public from knowing details about a cascade of failures that led to an explosion and fire as well as the deaths of two workers at its Institute, W.Va., chemical facility last year, the company admitted at a congressional hearing on April 21.
Bresland (from left), Buckner, Bayer Vice President Nick Crosby, and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. James Watson converse after the hearing.
The company has been embroiled in a dispute with the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) over what information the independent federal board can tell the public about the Aug. 28, 2008, accident (C&EN, April 20, page 36). Bayer had identified some 2,000 documents as possibly “sensitive security information” (SSI), a classification that restricts CSB’s ability to make them public, according to a report by the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations.
At a subcommittee hearing last week, William Buckner, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience, said in a prepared statement that Bayer was invoking SSI in part “to limit negative publicity generally about the company or the Institute facility, [and] to avoid public pressure to reduce the volume of MIC [methyl isocyanate] that is produced and stored at Institute by changing to alternative technologies or even calls by some in our community to eliminate MIC production entirely.”
In 1984, the accidental release of MIC led to thousands of deaths in Bhopal, India, but at the hearing, Bayer defended its storage of MIC, saying it is used in four of the company’s processes and is amply protected.
CSB’s preliminary investigation found that the accident was due to a runaway reaction in the methomyl pesticide unit, which uses MIC as a feedstock. Contributing to the accident was Bayer’s decision to bypass three safety locks during unit start-up. MIC air monitors near the unit were also not working.
CSB Chairman John Bresland told the subcommittee that the accident could have been much worse. The explosion sent a 5,000-lb vessel flying 50 feet north through a maze of steel beams and pipes; if it had flown south, it would have hit a storage tank holding 7 tons of MIC, he said. Bayer, Bresland added, is the only U.S. company that continues to store large quantities of MIC.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), subcommittee chairman, tells C&EN he intends to modify plant security laws to restrict companies’ use of SSI designations.
Two weeks ago, Bayer lawyers warned board members and agency staff that the … Plant worker Barry Withrow was killed in the explosion and a second employee, … But the Institute plant is best known for its production and use of methyl …. as other chemical makers and some other Bayer facilities have done. … www.wvgazette.com/News/200902240749 – 76k – Cached – Similar pages –
Dec 26, 1981 … Union Carbide has a long history of causing death through its peace time industrial activities. … a cancer-causing chemical in the Kanawha river in West Virginia. … Union Carbide with 221 safety violations at its Institute plant. …Two other workers were injured. In October 1982, Methyl Iso … www.iced.org.au/files/iced/bhopal/carbide.html – 12k – Cached – Similar pages –
A member supported weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society, … well as the deaths of two workers at its Institute, W.Va., chemical facility last …
pubs.acs.org/cen/news/87/i17/8717notw6.html – Similar pages –
Mar 28, 2009 …INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Last August, an explosion tore through the Bayer … the same chemical responsible for the deaths of thousands of people …. Last August, an explosion at a pesticide plant in West Virginia killed two workers. … That’s the chemical that leaked from a sister facility in Bhopal, … www.cbgnetwork.org/2859.html – 15k – Cached – Similar pages –
Apr 23, 2009 … Eight other workers reported symptoms of chemical exposure. … MIC is the same chemical that caused death and injury in the Bhopal accident 25 years ago. … plant in Institute killed two workers, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is … “Bayer Chemical Company owes all West Virginia families a clear … www.wsaz.com/charleston/headlines/43532367.html – 79k – Cached – Similar pages –
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Safety lapses that led to a runaway chemical reaction caused a … 28 blast that killed two people at the sprawling plant west of Charleston. … No other facility in the U.S. stores MIC in such amounts, he said. … the explosion and that it’s top priority remained the safety of workers and the …
news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090424/ap_on_re_us/us_plant_explosion_report – 88k – Cached – Similar pages –
Apr 23, 2009 …INSTITUTE, W.Va. (AP) – Safety lapses that led to a runaway chemical… The U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s preliminary report came two days … No other facility in the U.S. stores MIC in such amounts, he said. … and that it’s top priority remained the safety of workers and the nearby community. … www.wtop.com/index.php?nid=104&sid=1658464 – 48k
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Under pressure from Bayer CropScience, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has canceled a public meeting where it planned to brief Kanawha Valley residents on its investigation of the August explosion that killed two Institute plant workers.
Board members had scheduled the meeting for March 19, and intended to discuss concerns about a methyl isocyanate tank located near the site of the deadly blast.
Two weeks ago, Bayer lawyers warned board members and agency staff that the company felt such information should not be discussed in a public forum.
Bayer lawyers cited an obscure maritime law that was intended to keep confidential documents prepared by Bayer for the specific purpose of deterring terrorist attacks on the Institute plant’s barge loading facility.
February 25, 2009
Board cancels hearing under Bayer pressure
Public meeting was for discussion of MIC storage
Under pressure from Bayer CropScience, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has canceled a public meeting where it planned to brief Kanawha Valley residents on its investigation of the August explosion that killed two Institute plant workers.
But chemical plant safety advocates were shocked by the board’s decision. They said it raises concerns that the industry has discovered a new legal loophole that company attorneys may try to exploit to derail detailed investigations of plant accidents.
“We would hope that this does not become a precedent,” said Rick Hind, who follows chemical safety issues for Greenpeace.
Maya Nye, a leader of the local group People Concerned about MIC, said this week, “I don’t understand why this is top-secret information. But this seems to be consistent with Bayer’s lack of communication with the community.”
Robert C. Gombar, a Washington, D.C., attorney for Bayer, did not return a phone call Tuesday.
Tom Dover, Bayer’s Institute plant spokesman, declined to answer detailed questions about the company’s dealings with the Chemical Safety Board.
Word of the board’s action comes as Saturday’s deadline nears for another federal agency, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to issue any citations for violations it found related to the Aug. 28, 2008, explosion and fire. Under federal law, OSHA has six months from the date it starts an investigation to issue citations.
Plant worker Barry Withrow was killed in the explosion and a second employee, Bill Oxley, died about six weeks later at a burn center in Pittsburgh. Thousands of residents between South Charleston and the Putnam County line were advised to take shelter in their homes.
The explosion occurred in a unit where Bayer makes methomyl, which it then uses to produce Larvin, the company’s brand name of the insecticide thiodicarb.
But the Institute plant is best known for its production and use of methyl isocyanate, or MIC, the chemical that killed thousands of people in a leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, in December 1984.
Bayer uses MIC to make methomyl, and the methomyl unit includes a tank that can hold up to 40,000 pounds of MIC, according to company disclosures filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That storage tank is located 50 to 75 feet from the location of the August explosion, according to state and federal inspectors.
Safety board investigators were looking into that tank, and asking Bayer questions about whether it was in an unsafe location or had appropriate safety devices.
Among the board’s questions, Bresland said this week, was, “Should it be in that location or more remote from where there would be a potential explosion?
“That is certainly something we would be looking into,” Bresland said.
But Bayer lawyers told safety board officials at a Feb. 12 meeting that any information about MIC handling and storage was protected from public disclosure under the Coast Guard’s rules to implement the 2002 Maritime Transportation Security Act. But that law and the Coast Guard’s rules appear to apply only to reports and data specifically put together by Bayer in planning its facility security plans.
Paul Orum, a longtime chemical industry watchdog in Washington, said he would be very surprised if Coast Guard regulations protected the kind of information the chemical board planned to share with the public.
“I don’t know of any basis for what they’re claiming,” Orum said.
Bresland said Bayer officials also expressed concern about possible negative media coverage from a public meeting, and worried the meeting would veer into a broader debate over the Institute plant’s storage of large amounts of MIC.
“They realized that a public meeting would have some negative consequences for Bayer,” Bresland said.
Internally, chemical safety board officials were already discussing whether their probe should include an examination of the longstanding issues over MIC stockpiles at the Institute facility.
Bayer reports to EPA that it stores between 100,000 and 999,999 pounds of MIC at the plant. And for years, local and international activists have urged various plant owners to reduce that stockpile, as other chemical makers and some other Bayer facilities have done.
The major MIC storage tanks are underground and on the other side of the plant from where the August explosion occurred. Those tanks store an average of about 200,000 pounds of the chemical, according to EPA documents.
But Fred Millar, another longtime chemical company watchdog, wondered whether Bayer should have the smaller MIC tank located above ground near the methomyl unit that blew up in August.
“It feels like you’ve got a situation where the plant was caught with its pants down, and there’s a questionable practice of storing this methyl isocyanate far too close to a dangerous reactive chemical unit,” Millar said Tuesday. “This is no time for the Chemical Safety Board to be delaying talking about this to the public.”
On its Web site, the public relations firm Ann Green Communications says its services enable clients to “build open and honest relationships with stakeholders through effective communication strategies.”
Folks in the Kanawha Valley are probably wondering exactly how Ann Green’s recommendations to Bayer CropScience were going to do that.
I’m not going to dwell on Green’s suggestions that Bayer should try to “marginalize” The Charleston Gazette. You can read them for yourselves here. This newspaper has big shoulders, and we can take whatever criticism Green and her clients at Bayer want to offer.
But what about the rest of Green’s recommendations?
Well, there’s the nasty comments about Maya Nye, a valley native who has decided to try to get the local group People Concerned About MIC up and running again:
The old ‘People Concerned About MIC’ activist group, established in the aftermath of Bhopal, has been reactivated with an ominous new leader, Maya Nye (Does she look that ominous? Seriously). Ms. Nye is the daughter of a Union Carbide retriee and appears to have animosity toward the chemical industry. She has taken an adversarial approach from the beginning and is not retreating.
A U.S. Chemical Safety Board map shows that areas and populations forced the shelter in place by the August 2008 Bayer explosion and fire.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller had already issued one statement about the congressional investigation on the Bayer CropScience explosion and fire. It was issued prior to the hearing, and included in the hearing record.
But the West Virginia Democrat was apparently pretty upset by what he heard during the hearing. Rockefeller’s office issued another statement this morning. Here it is:
“These findings are an outrage. I was expecting bad news, but this is far worse than I could have imagined and very disturbing,” said Senator Rockefeller, who submitted testimony at the hearing. “Bayer Chemical Company owes all West Virginia families a clear explanation for this explosion, the response, and any potential hazards, and should cooperate fully with this investigation. We must make sure this never happens again.”
GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — Parts of three states were shaken Friday by a minor earthquake centered near the West Virginia-Ohio border.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports the 3.4 magnitude quake occurred around 9:45 a.m. Friday. Michael Hansen, coordinator of the Ohio Seismic Network, said the epicenter was near Gallipolis, just across the Ohio River from West Virginia.
Staffers at the Gallia County 911 center thought a vehicle had hit their building and ran outside. Center director Steve Wilson said they quickly received 170 calls from rattled residents.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has posted some video of its tour of the Bayer CropScience Institute plant, taken after the deadly August 2008 explosion. Here it is: (see above)
[By forwarding about two-thirds – three-quarters of the way through this video clip it is possible to quickly see the major views of the damage. If they had 40,000 people “shelter in place” inside their homes and the other tanks had exploded – they would not be here today. – along with whomever else was downwind of it.) – okay, I’m not insane compared to this, including the company that would have located here, tried to stop the safety hearings about it and compared to the government officials that had people “shelter in place” during a chemical plant disaster.
This Graffiti may offend some people’s sensibilities. It use to do so for me, but when I read the information below of the negligence and callousness of Union Carbide I understand why it has become know as Killer Carbide
The 1994, Fortune 500 list of US-based companies ranks Union Carbide Corporation ll4th (down from 88th in l993) with total assets of US $4.7billion. Since the Bhopal disaster the corporation has followed the course of being a lean mean company. In 1986, it sold its battery division to Ralston-Purina, its agricultural products division to Rhone-Poulenc and its home and auto products business to First Brand in order to concentrate on its 3 core businesses: chemicals and plastics, industrial gases and carbon products. In ’90, Union Carbide sold parts of its business to Mitsubishi and some chemical facilities were sold in 1992.
While in 1984 it employed 55,180 people in 137 countries, today Union Carbide operates about 5O manufacturing facilities and laboratories in 20 countries with about 13,000 people in its employ. The company known in the past through its Glad trash bags, Prestone anti-freeze and Eveready batteries now sells solvents, coatings, polyolefines, industrial and specialty chemicals. In 1993, it had sales of more than US$ 4.6 billion. With this kind of thrust and a new name – Union Carbide Chemicals and Plastics Company, Union Carbide seems to be heading back to where it began in 1920, with the manufacture of poison gases for use in World War II.
Union Carbide has a long history of causing death through its peace time industrial activities. Even before it caused Bhopal, the worst industrial disaster in the world, Union Carbide held the record of causing the worst industrial disaster in the USA. In the building of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel in 1930 in W. Virginia, 5000 workers (65% of whom were black) were employed by the corporation. As many as 2000 workers died of silicosis due to lack of protection against exposure to silica dust. In 1981, the Corporation was fined US$ 50, 000 for spilling over 25,000 gallons of propylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical in the Kanawha river in West Virginia.
The same year 402 employees in Carbide’s battery factory in Indonesia were suffering from kidney diseases from exposure to mercury. In July 1985, 998 people in California were poisoned from eating watermelon contaminated with Temik pesticide produced by Carbide (one of the products of its Bhopal factory). In April 1986, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) charged Union Carbide with 221 safety violations at its Institute plant. The same year in November, Temik showed up in ground water in 15 states. On March 12, 1991, there was an explosion at Union Carbide’s chemical plant in Seadrift, Texas. With eighteen of its workers dying from brain cancer, this plant had the second highest concentration of cancer in USA. On September 27, 1994 three workers in Union Carbide’s plant in Mexico were killed during maintenance work at the refrigeration unit.
Robert Kennedy is the present Chairman of Union Carbide – for his responsibilities in manufacture and distribution of poisonous chemicals he earns an annual of US$ 15,65,000 which is 500 times more than the damages being awarded for exposure related deaths in Bhopal. Warren Anderson, the former chairman from 1980 to 1986 was personally responsible for the crucial corporate decisions that led to the Bhopal disaster.
Union Carbide’s Indian subsidiary, UCIL (Union Carbide India Limited), more known by its brand logo of a cat jumping through the figure of 9, is today being touted as a caged tiger. Though the matter of sale of shares is still pending in the Supreme Court, the purchase of majority share holdings of UCIL by the Williamson Magor group from UCC has been announced. UCIL presently owns 11 factories in the country (four in Calcutta, three in Madras, one each in Hyderabad, Bombay, Lucknow and Srinagar). Their major products are flashlights, photoengraver plates, industrial electrodes, etc. Their annual sale for the year ending 1994 was Rs. 334 crores (US$ 111 million) and their assets worth Rs. 95 crores (US$ 31 million).
UCIL’s record of industrial disasters prior to Bhopal is comparable to that of its parent company in USA. In the four years from 1978 to 1982, there were at least six accidents in the Bhopal factory causing injury and death. Plant operator Mohammed Ashraf was killed by a phosgene gas leak on December 26, 1981. Two other workers were injured. In October 1982, Methyl Iso Cyanate escaped from a broken valve seriously affecting four workers and causing eye irritation and breathlessness among people in the nearby communities.
Union Carbide Corporation, with a majority 50.9% share holding in UCIL, controlled all decisions regarding design, operation, maintenance and management of UCIL facilities in India from its Headquarters at Danbury, Connecticut. At the time of the disaster, Keshub Mahindra was the Chairman, Vijay Gokhale, the Managing Director and Kishore Kamdar the Vice President of UCIL. These three senior officials, along with five officials of the Bhopal factory are currently facing criminal proceedings for culpable homicide, causing grievous hurt, and poisoning and killing of animals through the Bhopal disaster.
Why are they responsible?
There are good reasons for holding UCC, UC(E), UCIL, W. Anderson and the eight Indian officials responsible for the death and suffering caused by the Bhopal disaster, some of which are:
unsafe location and design
The pesticide factory was built in 1969 in the midst of densely populated settlements. Union Carbide chose to store and produce MIC, one of the most deadly chemicals (permitted exposure levels in USA and Britain are 0.02 parts per million) in an area where nearly 120 000 people were living within 2 kms. of the factory in 1984.
The MIC plant was not designed to handle a run-away reaction. When the uncontrolled reaction started, MIC and its reaction products were flowing through the scrubber (meant to neutralize MIC emissions) at more than 200 times its designed capacity.
A Union Carbide Safety Safety Team auditing the Bhopal plant in May 1982, noted a total of 61 hazards, 30 of them major and 11 in the dangerous phosgene / MIC units. It had warned of a “higher potential for a serious incident or more serious consequences if an incident should occur”. This knowledge prior to the incident was available to the accused senior officials and many of the conditions listed in the safety audit were causative elements in the December 2-3 disaster.
A safety report on Carbide’s’ Methyl Iso Cyanate (MIC) plant at Institute, West Virginia presented to the corporation in September 1984, listed as one of the major concerns the possibility of a “runaway reaction in the Methyl Iso Cyanate unit storage tanks”.
hazardous operation and maintenance
Methyl Iso Cyanate in the tank was filled to 87% of its capacity while the maximum permissible is 50%. MIC was not stored at zero degree centigrade as prescribed and the refrigeration and cooling systems had been shut down five months before the disaster as part of UCC’s global economy drive. Vital gauges and indicators in the MIC tank were defective. The flare tower meant to burn off MIC emissions was under repair at the time of the disaster and the scrubber contained no caustic soda.
As part of Union Carbide Corporation’s policy on cutting down costs, the work force in the Bhopal factory was brought down by half from 1980 to 1984 with serious consequences upon safety and maintenance. The work crew for the MIC plant was cut in half from twelve to six workers. The maintenance supervisor position had been eliminated for the work shift on duty at the time of the disaster. The period of safety-training to workers in MIC plant was brought down from 6 months to 15 days.
suppression of information
Union Carbide has not informed the workers of the factory and the neighborhood communities about the hazardous nature of its chemicals before, during or after the disaster. Findings of periodic medical check-ups of workers in the Bhopal factory were sent to the US headquarters but kept secret from the workers. On the morning of the disaster, doctors in the government Hamidia hospital had no information on the leaked gases or how to deal with the effects caused by exposure to them and were overwhelmed with the number of patients and the nature of their problems. When they rang up the factory the plant medical officer Dr. Loya informed them that the leaked gases were similar to tear gas and all that the exposed people needed to do was wash their eyes with water!
In addition to causing the Bhopal disaster, Union Carbide Corporation is directly responsible for prolonging the misery and suffering of the survivors. By withholding medical information on the chemicals it has obstructed the provision of proper medical care. By denying interim relief, as directed by two Indian courts, it has caused deprivation of the survivors. Hazardous chemicals dumped within and outside the factory till 1984 have contaminated the soil, ground water and community wells in the vicinity. In 1991, 7 different chemicals including those likely to cause damage to the respiratory system, kidney and liver and two carcinogens have been found in the soil and ground water. Union Carbide’s toxic legacy lingers on in the soil, water and the bodies of men, women and children in Bhopal.
Today a House Committee hearing will investigate the fatal Bayer CropScience plant explosion at Institue (W.Va.) which occurred Aug 28, 2008. On Thursday the Chemical Safety Board will examine the incident publicly.
On March 10, 2008 the Coalition introduced a countermotion to Bayer´s shareholder meeting which stated: “Whereas the volume of supertoxic agents like phosgene and MIC stored at the German Bayer plants was reduced following the Bhopal catastrophe, the tanks in Institute remained as they were. Today, Institute is the only place in the United States where MIC is produced and stored in large volumes. The Bayer Board of Management bears responsibility for the high pollutant emissions, the frequent occurrence of incidents and the constant risks caused by the storage of MIC and phosgene.” Bayer produces carbamate pesticides in Germany without utilizing large quantities of MIC as at Institute.
Philipp Mimkes, board member of the Coalition against Bayer Dangers, also spoke on the issue in Bayer´s shareholder meeting which took place in Cologne/Germany April 25, four months ahead of the Institute explosion. Attending were the Bayer board and supervisory board, the media and about 4,000 shareholders. Mimkes criticized the frequent spills of chemicals and demanded to dismantle MIC- and phosgene-tanks at Institute. Bayer´s CEO Werner Wenning neglected the warnings, stating verbatim that the plant had the “newest security installations and an excellent safety record since 2002”, that the plant was “explicitly lauded by authorities for its safety record” and that no action was necessary.
Philipp Mimkes: “Until today the company has not apologized for the gross negligence by which the methomyl unit has been operated for the past years. No changes in the security management have been announced. Particularly disturbing to us is that Bayer´s recently published Annual Report does not mention the Institute explosion and the death of their workers with one single word.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, after analyzing the incident, also criticized “faulty safety systems, significant shortcomings with the emergency procedures and a lack of employee training”. In total, OSHA identified 13 serious violations of safety regulations.
After the explosion Bayer endeavored to placate everyone by maintaining that the large MIC tanks were accommodated in another part of the factory. Weeks later it emerged that one MIC tank containing up to 20 metric tons of the deadly gas is located above ground less than 20 meters from the explosion. If it had been damaged, the lives of other employees and residents would have been in extreme danger.
In the 1980s, the Institute factory belonged to Union Carbide and was regarded as the “sister plant” to the infamous factory in Bhopal, India where in December 1984 thirty tons of MIC leaked and at least 15,000 people died.
New York Times, March 28, 2009
Bayer: Trying to Limit Disclosure on Explosion
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Last August, an explosion tore through the Bayer CropScience chemical plant here, killing two employees and raising the fears of residents in what has long been known as Chemical Valley.
Now, a federal agency wants to hold a public hearing to lay out its preliminary findings about what caused the accident. But Bayer, citing a terrorism-related federal law, is trying to limit what the agency can disclose.
Bayer contends that because it has a dock for barge shipments on the adjacent Kanawha River, its entire 400-acre site qualifies under the 2002 federal Maritime Transportation Security Act. It has asked the Coast Guard, which has jurisdiction under the act, to review the public release of “sensitive security information.”
The agency that wants to hold the hearing, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, says it is the first time in its 11 years of operation that a company has tried to limit what could be discussed publicly, and the first time the maritime act has been invoked this way.
“I don’t like the idea that if we went to a meeting in West Virginia and someone asked a question, we’d have to say, ‘Sorry, we can’t talk about it,’ ” said John S. Bresland, the board chairman. “We don’t think any other agency should have the right to tell us what we can put in our reports.”
In particular, Bayer appears to want to limit discussion about the potential hazards posed by a chemical produced and used by the plant – methyl isocyanate, the same chemical responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Bhopal, India, after a Union Carbide plant leaked there in 1984. Until 1986, Union Carbide owned the plant here, which was considered the sister plant.
The chemical safety board believes that if Bayer is successful, it will set a precedent for other companies to limit the release of information.
The board was modeled on the National Transportation Safety Board. And like the transportation board, it has no regulatory power, so it cannot fine a company or order changes in operations. Its power comes from revealing its findings and making recommendations.
“We have a bully pulpit,” Mr. Bresland said, “and we use it by going out in public and talking about what we’ve found.”
After Bayer invoked the maritime act in February, the chemical safety board canceled a March 19 public meeting in West Virginia while it sought to resolve the dispute. It has tentatively rescheduled the hearing for April 23 while awaiting the Coast Guard’s decision, which it could appeal to the Transportation Security Administration.
Bayer’s action also caught the attention of Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Mr. Stupak scheduled an April 21 hearing to review the company’s action, saying, “We are concerned about the way that Bayer may be misusing terrorism laws to suppress information related to the incident.”
Bayer believes it has a strong case for suppressing public discussion of its operations in West Virginia, said a company spokesman, Greg Coffey.
“In security matters, the site comes under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard,” Mr. Coffey said. “We have and will continue to comply with the spirit of the regulations” of the maritime act.
And Bayer appears to have the support of the Coast Guard. A spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, said that the service considered the entire plant, not just the dock, a “regulated facility,” and that “it might only be prudent to protect that information” Bayer does not want discussed.
But Mr. Bresland said the chemical board contended that the maritime act applied only to transportation of the chemicals, not the onsite storage and processes. Methyl isocyanate, a chemical used in the production of carbamate pesticides, was not directly involved in the August explosion, which the company has said was caused by human error in a unit that contained the less toxic chemical methomyl.
But an above-ground storage tank that can hold up to 40,000 pounds of methyl isocyanate was just 50 feet to 75 feet from the blast area, and a much larger underground tank in a different part of the plant site can store an additional 200,000 pounds. In the Bhopal disaster, 50,000 to 90,000 pounds of the chemical leaked.
It is the onsite storage of the methyl isocyanate (or MIC) that has long concerned West Virginia environmentalists. After the Bhopal disaster, professors at West Virginia State University, which is next to the plant, and residents started People Concerned About MIC to monitor the plant.
“One of the ironies is that in the 1980s, one of the demands we had was that Carbide should act more like Bayer did in Germany and not store MIC at the plant and just make it when it needed to use it,” said Prof. Gerald E. Beller, chairman of the department of political science at the university, who helped start the local group.
There are many other issues related to the accident that the chemical safety board wants to talk about, including the amount of overtime Bayer employees had been working before the accident; how poor communications were between the plant and outside emergency crews the night of the accident; and how one of the two men who died, Barry Withrow, had a toxic level of cyanide in his blood that no one has been able to explain.
But a large part of what the board wants to talk about is the risks posed by the tanks of methyl isocyanate. If the explosion had damaged the smaller above-ground tank in particular, “the consequences of the accident might have been worse,” Mr. Bresland said. By SEAN D. HAMILL
Letter to the Editor:
It is clear from the article “Trying to Limit Disclosure on Explosion ,” that the Chemical Safety Board cannot adequately do their job of making recommendations that lead to a safer chemical industry if they are not allowed to publicly address the real issues of the Bayer explosion. Ignoring these issues is the reason why my community is the only place in the US that has been living under the threat of another Bhopal disaster for over 25 years now. We are seemingly considered acceptable risk factors because we are an Appalachian community made up of predominantly minority and poor white folks. Alternatives to methyl isocyanate (MIC) have been available since prior to Bhopal. Bayer should be required to implement the most inherently safest technology available to not only eliminate national security threats it poses, but also to set a precedence for the health and safety of workers and communities surrounding toxic chemical plants.
Maya Nye, Spokesperson People Concerned About MIC
Friday, April 3, 2009
Rockefeller Urges Immediate Action on Bayer Chemical Explosion
Senator sends letter to Coast Guard Commandant.
WASHINGTON, DC — Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV sent a letter Friday to the United States Coast Guard requesting that they release key findings in the Bayer CropScience chemical explosion investigation, without compromising national security.
The Coast Guard has been working with the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigations Board (CSB) to determine the cause and reaction to the August 2008 Bayer chemical explosion in the Kanawha Valley.
In a letter to Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Senator Rockefeller said:
“I know that the Coast Guard is working closely with the CSB to review its findings and to determine what information can be released to the public. I ask that you consult as soon as possible with the Transportation Security Administration and use your collective discretion to reveal all key findings of the CSB that will inform the public regarding both the incident and any remaining hazards and risks to the community, without compromising our national security interests. As you know, transparency is essential for identifying, correcting, and preventing these types of incidents and improving emergency handling in the future. MTSA regulations should never be permitted to be abused to obstruct a safety investigation.”
Our view on public safety: Security smokescreen hinders chemical plant inquiry
Last August, an explosion at a pesticide plant in West Virginia killed two workers. That was bad enough. But since then, the accident has become a troubling example of what can happen when national security concerns collide with the public’s right to know about safety threats.
In this case, the public has a major interest in finding out as much as possible. The blast occurred in a part of Bayer CropScience’s plant in Institute, W.Va., that’s just 80 feet from an above-ground tank containing one of the deadliest industrial chemicals on earth — methyl isocyanate, or MIC.
That’s the chemical that leaked from a sister facility in Bhopal, India, in 1984, killing thousands of people.
Had this explosion punctured the MIC tank, the results could have been catastrophic. Some 300,000 people live within 25 miles of the plant, located about 7 miles northwest of Charleston.
Those people, and others who live near similar facilities, deserve to understand the risks they face and what plant owners are doing to mitigate them. Yet when the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board launched an investigation of the Institute blast, and scheduled a public hearing to disclose its preliminary findings, obstacles were thrown in its way.
Bayer declared that some of what the safety board planned to disclose was “sensitive security information” under a post-9/11 law meant to safeguard the docks at chemical plants. Though the accident occurred atanother part of the 400-acre site, the Coast Guard agreed with Bayer that it had security jurisdiction over the entire plant.
Though the safety board and the Coast Guard have come to terms for now, the episode is a worrisome demonstration of how easy it is for a company to overwhelm a small agency — the chemical safety board has 36 employees — by burying it with paperwork and making broad national security claims.
Like the National Transportation Safety Board, the chemical safety board has no regulatory authority, and public pressure is often the only tool it has to force companies to change dangerous practices. That makes it crucial for the safety board to be able to make its investigations and recommendations public.
The blunt truth is that neighbors are more likely to die in industrial accidents than terrorist attacks. Policy should be set accordingly.
INSTITUTE, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Nine months after an explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute killed two workers, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released the results at a news conference Thursday.
Investigators say the explosion on August 28, 2008 was caused by a thermal runaway reaction during the production of an insecticide.
The event likely resulted from significant lapses in chemical process safety management at the plant, U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigators said Thursday.
Two operators died as a result of the explosion. Eight other workers reported symptoms of chemical exposure.
“The explosion at Bayer was a very serious and tragic event that could have had additional grave consequences,” CSB Board Chairman John Bresland said. “There were significant lapses in the plant’s process safety management, including inadequate training on new equipment and the overriding of critical safety systems necessitated by the fact the unit had a heater that could not produce the required temperature for safe operation.”
The explosion occurred within 80 feet of a pressure vessel containing more than 13,000 pounds of methyl isocyanate, or MIC, Chairman Bresland said.
MIC is the same chemical that caused death and injury in the Bhopal accident 25 years ago.
“As our investigation continues, we will look further into the issues surrounding the safe placement of the tank and its potential vulnerability,” Bresland said. “We note that other chemical companies, notably DuPont, no longer store MIC in their chemical production and we are looking into other systems that make and then immediately use the MIC, eliminating the need for storage.”
If you would like to read the entire CSB report, just click on the link below.
INSTITUTE, W.Va. (AP) — Nine months after an explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute killed two workers, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is ready to release the findings of its investigation into the event.The board plans to discuss the findings at a Thursday morning news conference, followed by a longer presentation at a public hearing at West Virginia State University in the evening.
The news conference is set for 10:00 a.m.
On Tuesday, a congressional committee found that Bayer withheld information from emergency responders immediately after the blast, and has subsequently used a terrorism-related law to keep some documents secret.
The staff report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee also said Bayer provided inaccurate and misleading information to the public after the explosion.
Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV called the findings connected to the Bayer Chemical Explosion an “outrage” and called upon the Chemical Security Board to continue to investigate the Bayer explosion.
Senator Rockefeller urged Bayer to cooperate fully after the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to investigate the 2008 Bayer Chemical Plant explosion.
“These findings are an outrage. I was expecting bad news, but this is far worse than I could have imagined and very disturbing,” said Senator Rockefeller, who submitted testimony at the hearing. “Bayer Chemical Company owes all West Virginia families a clear explanation for this explosion, the response, and any potential hazards, and should cooperate fully with this investigation. We must make sure this never happens again.”
A Kanawha County circuit court judge gets some answers about conditions at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington. It’s one of two state-run mental health care hospitals in West Virginia and reports over the last year have indicated overcrowded conditions for patients and overworked employees.
Judge Duke Bloom held an evidentiary hearing Friday. The state Department of Health and Human Services tried to stop it from happening by appealing to the state Supreme Court but justices ruled in Bloom’s favor.
The first witness called to testify was Marybeth Carlisle, the CEO of Bateman Hospital. Charleston attorney Dan Hedges who’s been a mental health advocate for 25 years questioned her.
Carlisle admitted the hospital is often above its 90-bed capacity and averages about 110 patients per day. Along with overcrowding there’s a shortage of health care workers. “RNs, LPNs and health service workers…14 are vacant today,” she said.
Judge Bloom wanted to know why so many positions are not filled. “It’s difficult work. It’s a hard environment to work in,” Carlisle said. “Our pay is not competitive with the private sector.” In fact, Carlisle testified, the health care workers make significantly less than their counterparts at Cabell-Huntington Hospital.
But the issue that Bloom questioned most was the overtime work.
“There are times when we have to mandate overtime to keep the patients safe,” Carlisle told the judge. “It’s not always popular. It’s very hard on staff. It’s very hard to be told you can’t go home tonight and go to your son’s ballgame ’cause you have to stay over. It’s difficult.”
But how difficult? Carlisle told the judge the average health care worker at Bateman works an average of 8-16 hours of overtime a week. Bloom asked if healthcare workers often did more than that. “Some may be working 60-70 hours?” Carlisle replied. “That’s right.” Bloom asked “Some more?” Carlisle replied, “Yes, that’s right.”
When cross-examined by Assistant state Attorney General Charles Dunham, Carlisle insisted her staff is top notch and so is the facility. “We’ve pretty much revamped the entire physical environment of the hospital. We’ve made the units more attractive and the couches more comfortable and more homelike,” she said.
Bateman is in the construction phase on two new wards. But that won’t increase the number of beds it will just give patients more room. Carlisle says realistically, they need 150 beds at the facility and a lot more staff in order to take care of the state’s mental health hospitalization needs.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The head of a state psychiatric hospital in Huntington testified Friday that persistent overcrowding has led to routine violations of state regulations and an atmosphere of “chaos” at times.
Mildred-Mitchell-Bateman Hospital CEO Mary Beth Carlisle said in a Kanawha County Circuit Court hearing the 90-bed facility is consistently pushed beyond that capacity. Staff members are working more overtime, some of it mandatory, and the number of psychiatric emergencies has increased as a result.
“For every extra patient and every extra staff member on the unit, the chaos increases,” she said.
The evidentiary hearing was convened by Judge Duke Bloom, as part of a continuing case that dates back to a 1981 court ruling that altered how mental health care is administered in West Virginia.
Bloom called for the hearing after reports last summer documented persistent overcrowding and violations of state regulations at the Huntington hospital. The state Department of Health and Human Resources unsuccessfully tried to have the state Supreme Court block Bloom’s order for a hearing.
During the Friday hearing, Carlisle testified about the problems with crowding at the hospital, challenges that affect everything from patient care to the hospital’s $25 million budget.
Patients are sometimes kept three to a room, violating state regulations about maintaining 100 square feet per patient. Some of the rooms don’t have bathrooms, and patients complain about lack of privacy.
As of Friday, there were 99 patients at the hospital, with 59 others diverted to private facilities at the state’s expense. While it costs West Virginia about $500 per day to keep a patient in Bateman, the costs of diversion range from $700 to $1,200, and make up nearly 20 percent of Bateman’s budget, Carlisle said.
Along with overcrowding, the hospital is also below its targeted staffing levels. Recruiting psychiatrists, nurses and health aides is difficult, Carlisle said, because salary levels are set by the state, and workers can often get higher pay working at private hospitals.
“It’s difficult work, it’s a hard environment to work in and our pay’s not competitive with the private sector,” she said.
Carlisle’s comments were echoed by Dr. Shahid Masood, the hospital’s clinical director. The staffing plan calls for six psychiatrists, Masood said. There are currently five, with two scheduled to leave by June. The hospital has been advertising nationally for 14 months, but so far has received only two inquiries.
“I think we have reached a point where, if this continues, it will not be sustainable,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Carlisle said, Bateman still provides good patient care. She pointed to the hospital’s rate of using restraints and seclusion for agitated patients, which is well below the national average.
She also said the planned addition this summer of 20 beds should ease crowding at the hospital, although it won’t end diversions.
“As CEO of the facility, you would agree that 110 beds is grossly inadequate?” Bloom asked Carlisle.
She agreed that it is for current conditions, but both Carlisle and Masood said more outpatient services would keep a lot of patients from needing acute care hospitals.
“In a perfect world, I would not want to see more patients committed to a state hospital,” she said.
Masood estimated that Bateman usually has between 35 and 45 patients who don’t need hospitalization, but for whom there aren’t sufficient outpatient resources, like group homes.
Bateman is not alone in its crowding problems. The William R. Sharpe Hospital in Weston also consistently reports more patients than it has capacity. Behavioral health care providers and advocate groups have argued that more state resources have to be devoted to outpatient care to ease the burden on the hospitals.
The hearing is scheduled to resume in Bloom’s courtroom Monday morning.
Once the hearing is concluded, Bloom may decided to issue an order to DHHR based on his findings.
Mar 20, 2005 – Dr. Mildred Mitchell-Bateman, retired former head of Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital (previously Huntington State Hospital) was on staff at Lakin State Hospital when Freeman oversaw a series of lobotomies there. To see more of The Charleston Gazette, or to subscribe to the newspaper, …
Jun 1, 2006 – Welch Community Hospital, Welch, WV Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, Huntington, WV William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital, Weston, WV Hopemont Hospital, Hopemont, WV Lakin Hospital, Lakin, WV John Machin Sr. Health Care Center, Fairmont, WV Pinecrest Hospital, Beckley, WV …
Jan 15, 2007 – In November 1952, a ward building at Huntington State Hospital (now Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital) caught fire, killing 17 people. “This is the worst fire I’ve ever seen,” Fuller said. Gov. Joe Manchin met with first-responders and members of the media Monday. …
Mar 23, 2008 – David Hall, from left, Marian O. Manning, Phil Frasher and Martha Darby give their time at the Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital. Since 1897, the Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital (MMBH) has been a vibrant part of Huntington’s medical community. Located at 1530 Norway Ave., …
May 12, 2008 – The state’s two psychiatric hospitals – Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington and William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston – are overcrowded and routinely divert patients to Highland, where they stay nine days on average. The new facility would have rooms reserved for …
Jul 12, 2008 – The overcrowded conditions at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington have been described as an accident waiting to happen. But unfortunately, state officials have given little indication how they intend to address the immediate situation or the underlying problems causing …
Aug 26, 2008 – A report completed by the Office of the Ombudsman for Behavioral Health outlined problems with overcrowding at the Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington. CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Lawmakers have drafted legislation that would allow temporary workers at state psychiatric …
Oct 3, 2008 – HUNTINGTON — Dr. Mildred Mitchell-Bateman is being recognized for her vast number of accomplishments during the 60th Institute on Psychiatric Services in Chicago on Saturday, … In 1999, Huntington State Hospital celebrated 100 years of operation and was renamed in Bateman’s honor. …
The conservatives say they believe in freedom and individuality according to a CNN expert just now – but “freedom for everybody” such as Cheney and this conservative expert describe is apparently a qualified freedom – for them and for us
*** Obviously, the freedom described by conservatives that they want for everybody does not include freedom for anyone that is not like them, whose lifestyle is different than theirs or whose ideas and religious beliefs differ from theirs.
That is the very problem that has created the intolerance, the bullying, the abusive police state tactics, the ridiculously massive prison populations across the nation, the institutionalized and chemically lobotomized dissidents, the overwhelming use of cameras and surveillance throughout America in anticipation of insurgency or civil unrest.
We, the people are apparently an inconvenience to them until its time to spend our money or work for nothing to make them rich.
– my note
If you don’t believe me, just listen for yourself. Any suggestion to conservatives or Republicans that Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, President Bush or others responsible for the torture of US prisoners be put in a small box stooping for eleven days and prevented from sleep, does not yield a “yeah, sure – that would be okay.” Nope, the first thing out of their mouths is that it is wrong to do that to somebody. “That would be wrong. You can’t do that to people,” is their first thought.
And, the same people that loudly boast how it isn’t torture to do those things that the CIA did, change their mind when it is suggested that they experience it or someone responsible for it have to endure it. Police brutality doesn’t mean anything to them either until it is their children, their loved ones, someone they know or they themselves who are experiencing the psychotic police departments the rest of us have been putting up with.
Try listening and see for yourself whether “freedom for everybody” in the estimation of conservatives and the Republican party movers and policy makers has a concept of everybody that includes you or me or anybody you know that may not be going to their church or golf club.
And, apparently not only does freedom of speech only apply to them, it also only applies to those that agree with them when they get their way about it as they have had for the last eight plus years. Across America, there have been constantly disintegrating communities brought on by the economic brutality, the social intolerance, and the systematic destruction of the underpinnings of every American family which has occurred at the hands and policies applied by Republicans and conservatives over the last thirty years.
It isn’t because of freedom that has happened. It isn’t because of liberals or Democrats running the show. It isn’t because of gays or lesbians or the sinners or the poor because none of them have been running the policies of this distorted conservative Republican big business government for the last thirty years. The Republicans have run the Congress into the ground, they’ve raised the deficit by trillions before the recent stimulus ever had to be made, they’ve destroyed families, communities and business opportunities for the majority of Americans across the country, they’ve created legions of homeless and poor and starving and suicides that occurred because of bullying and local police brutality is rampant and common everyday in America everywhere.
The conservative right-wing hate-filled, intolerant, self-righteous think-tanks, officials, leaders and policy makers have destroyed the very fabric and status of America. There is nothing good from doing it this way – they have wasted our lives and destroyed our freedoms for nothing. The profits they have made from doing it leave them unsatiated and filled with greed that is never satisfied and personally, I hope that is their experience for eternity. Did they really believe the delusion that they are better than the rest of us?
– cricketdiane, 04-19-09
Note – The United States has been instrumental in pursuing and bringing to prosecution those that acted in the Gestapo and in war crimes all over the world, in bringing down demagogues that operated tyrannies and engaged in police brutality all over the world — so why is there no accountability for the same crimes in America against human rights, against civil rights and against our Constitution and Bill of Rights and the Geneva Convention agreements?
One thing that our Republican leaders both in our communities and across our nation have forgotten, is that the United States is governed by consent of the governed. It doesn’t matter if it is a business like AIG, or Bank of America or Citigroup, a credit card company, a bank or a government entity like the police that brutalize and kill as it suits them to do so. This is a bad scenario that will come to naught because sooner or later, it destroys itself. That has been true for every society that has engaged in it that way.
– my note
Police Brutality that is inexcusable – this is the America that we get to live in and even our children can’t work and do their jobs without the police acting like they were trained in Nazi Germany under Hitler.
That happens everyday across America – thank the Republican Party and the “conservatives” for creating an abusive police state for us to experience everyday where America used to be.
There is nothing good to say about the police of Dayton, Ohio or anywhere else that engage in this type of abuse of power – they ought to be stripped naked and left off out to sea.
There is not one police officer of this type that deserves to live in America. This is the kind of experiences we’ve all had with police everywhere in America – including where I live.
The police are hateful, abusive, attack people when it is unfounded and without justification. They are harassing, cruel, malicious and violent.
The idea that they are in any way “peace officers” is an aggravatingly sad and pathetic joke.
The police in the United States are today no different than the nightmare of the old SS and Gestapo, or the tales of brutality from the Soviet Union during the Stalin era.
Apparently the US Constitution doesn’t apply to anybody in America when it comes to the actions and choices of police officers and police departments in our communities. They can do whatever vile, psychotic crap they want at any opportunity to use it to anyone they choose whether that person has done anything or not.
And, it happens over and over and over again without regard for human life, without regard for the Constitution or the Bill of Rights and without regard for the law – there is no retribution or consequence meted out to police that engage in this behavior. They are above the law – obviously.
That isn’t a country of freedom with democracy and individual rights – that is something else which no longer resembles the “we find these truths to be self-evident . . . ” and the part about inalienable human rights that are to be available to every person in the United States of America.
Sometime – just put the words “police brutality” in the Google search box and see what the America looks like where we all live, especially if we aren’t an executive at AIG or the sanctified Republican party religious Pharisees.
At what point are “they” going to notice that Hitler didn’t make it.
– cricketdiane, 04-19-09
After seeing the extent to which the banks are screwing around with everyone’s lives by sneaky and conniving, profit gouging activities and raising interest rates, payment minimums, and other actively stupid policies that are anti-consumer and anti-customer, I was already disgusted.
There was a comment on a news “talk show” that they call the news lately, to simply not pay the payments for a couple months.
What would that do? It would make things different, if everybody in America does it – that’s what.
Just don’t pay the credit cards for two months across America and things will change.
* and from AIG – the corporation from hell
FoxBusiness on Money For Breakfast this morning, 04-19-09 – had a short segment about New solution for piracy, but on their website – I couldn’t find it
Blind Amputee Fights AIG for Leg, Wheelchair – Iraq Contractor who worked with KRB
April 17, 2009 – video
found this video – couldn’t operate share button or other email options but watched it
at the same time, on air – there was the continuing saga of the credit card companies and banks raising interest on credit cards to untenable levels, changing rules of the game on those who have credit cards without notice and changing minimum payment requirements – they are also taking accounts and closing them whether the individual has a high credit score or not (currently)
My note – I watched the video and although there wasn’t a lot of information about the extensiveness of AIG’s policy, my guess is that it is pretty damn common way for this company and its business practices to operate. This is obscene considering they serve no useful purpose, if all that they exist to do is to take premiums and bailout money from America’s citizens without ever being honorable when paying out on what is called “insurance” for a reason.
They can all live in the bowels of hell along with the judgmental right-wing fundamentalist conservatives that got us here because they have held the reins of power and used it to corrupt our country, our country’s values, our basis of freedom, our good common sense and our every last business, bank and financial institution into a black-hole of no return.
* And, yes – sometimes I am bitter and there is good reason why that is. But, more of it is that there is no excuse for making a great and prosperous nation of freedom and democracy and successful capitalism with opportunity for all into the last thirty years of a social experiment in elitist, tyranny. It wasn’t necessary, it was a complete failure and it served no one, ultimately.
How stupid is that?
– cricketdiane, 04-19-09
When we, as a nation have looked at regimes such as Saddam Hussein and Stalin, among others of a similar oppressive tyranny – we have been incensed and filled with the wrath of Justice and the Passion of Democracy.
But, we have been living in an America that has been engaging in these same abusive police state tactics and oppression against its own citizens which is still occurring today – this day.
What that means is that it no longer is a matter of opinion – the United States of America in its dealings at the community and state levels is no more than a third world dictatorship of the same caliber as any that have denied human rights, abused its citizens and destroyed freedoms and rights to liberty anywhere in the world.
Brutal dictatorship and human rights violations – describes the experiences that Americans across this country are experiencing at the hands of local authorities across America today. There is no checks and balances, no accountability for the criminal behavior of those police and authorities and no democratic basis of rights, freedoms and opportunities being practiced.
And it didn’t start being that way yesterday – it has been that way since the Reagan years and continued to get worse through Bush Sr. and while the Republican run Congress held power during Clinton’s years and through the last eight years of more Republican and conservative rule.
Why is it that across the world, when religious fundamentalists get ahold of power anywhere, they destroy people’s lives, kill, maim and destroy every last vestige of democracy, freedom and individual rights, tolerance and livelihoods for the majority of people who must live under their tyranny? And it has been happening here in the United States throughout their rein, as well.
America’s schools are filled with intolerance, cruelty, viciousness and bullying. There is forced conformity in our communities through the social services agencies under the Republican rule and policies. Our families have been broken up and our children sold to people who have two parents of differing sexes who own property and go to church.
And anyone that disagrees with them, is angry about it or that has a difference of opinion is locked away into mental health facilities and behavior modification camps then forcibly administered chemical lobotomies with psychotropic cooperation cocktails.
What is that, if not Hitler’s Aryan race dream of purging from humanity all that is not like them? ‘welcome to the America where I’ve been living.
A respected economist and editor, Eric Le Boucher, said Thursday that “it’s frustrating for Europeans to think they are paying for the excesses of the American financial system,” Mistral noted. “If someone as calm as that is saying it, I think many others are thinking it.”
Prime Minister François Fillon, calling on Washington to act, said Thursday that “we’re not going to accept to pay for the broken dishes of a failed regulation” and a “corruption of capitalism.”
“Corruption hurts the poor disproportionatelyby diverting funds intended for development, undermining a government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice, and discouraging foreign investment and aid”.
Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General
in his statement on the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
The Global Programme against Corruption
Corruption undermines democratic institutions, retards economic development and contributes to government instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law, and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existence is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because outside direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.
There is info about Paulson knowing this problem needed to be resolved before June 22, 2007 which can be found at fincen – Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. visited FinCEN on June 22, 2007 to launch the first regulatory efficiency and effectiveness initiatives (which addressed the unregulated and unsecured exotic, leveraged credit default swap instruments and derivatives. He could’ve made the move to illegalize and nullify them then. The economic stability forum of the IMF had warned of the critical nature of our off balance sheet accounting practices and others – but were especially adamant about making the changes last year and they didn’t.
Under the first of four initiatives announced by Secretary Paulson FinCEN is commencing a joint effort with the federal bank regulators to ensure that financial institutions and regulators treat compliance obligations in a manner that helps to avoid expenditures that are not commensurate with actual risk
Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. visited FinCEN on June 22, 2007 to launch the first regulatory efficiency and effectiveness initiatives. Prior to the launch, the Secretary was briefed on certain aspects of FinCEN’s analytical capabilities, including its recent Mortgage Fraud, and Domestic Shell Company reports. He also received a detailed briefing from FBI counterterrorism officials concerning their use of the BSA information and the wealth of investigatory value that they find in CTR and SAR filings.
Representatives from trade groups representing thousands of financial services providers also received similar briefings from FinCEN and the FBI. Senior executives from the American Bankers Association, America’s Community Bankers, Credit Union National Association, Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America, Institute of International Bankers, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, National Money Transmitters Association, and The Clearing House Association attended. After those briefings, the Secretary joined the trade group representatives for a discussion of the initiatives.
Other federal regulatory agencies including the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Credit Union Administration and the Internal Revenue Service sent representatives to attend the Secretary’s announcement and provided their support to FinCEN’s initiatives.
World gripped by largest financial crisis in 100 years
09/17/2008 [article] / Business / Finance
The former head of the US Reserve System, Alan Greenspan, described the current financial crisis as an even that occurs once in 100 years. Indeed, the world has not witnessed such a massive financial collapse for a very long time already. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers will become the largest bankruptcy in the corporate history of the United States. USA’s largest insurance company, AIG, also stands on the brink of collapse. The market remains in a state of shock, being unable to realize and cope with all consequences of the recent events
Administrators winding up Lehman’s European business have questioned why $8 billion was transferred to New York just before the bank collapsed.
Mr Brown also said he would visit the United States on Wednesday to meet financiers and global authorities to discuss the turmoil in financial markets. He will also speak with the French, German, Italian and Indian governments to build support for an international financial watchdog.
Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) — As it stands, the rest of us will be paying much money over a long time for the greed and bad judgment of those who melted down the economy.
Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are propping up firms that a relative few money lenders and Wall Street wizards ruined.
[ . . .]
Well, what about government regulators? The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission didn’t do anything to prevent this meltdown. But at least, with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo leading the charge, federal and state regulators have forced investment banks to buy back billions of dollars worth of auction-rate securities said to have been sold under dubious claims of reliability.
3:10pm UK, Friday September 19, 2008
Communities of homeless people living in tents are cropping up across the US as the effects of rising unemployment, repossessions and the credit crunch bite. (with photos.)
France worries about getting splattered with U.S. economic ‘toxic waste’
By Steven Erlanger
Published: September 19, 2008
Sarkozy has announced a major speech on the economy for Thursday, but his aides don’t yet know what he is going to say.
The idea is to reassure the French and defend his policies, “to put into perspective the political economy of France,” said one Sarkozy aide. But first, Sarkozy was to go to New York this weekend, hoping to meet with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and the director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn of France.
Elie Cohen, director of research at the Center for Political Research at the Paris Institute of Political Studies and a member of the government’s Council of Economic Advisers, was more blunt.
“There’s certainly an idea that the American financial system has gone crazy,” he said in an interview. “This has dealt a mortal blow to the timid admiration we had of the American system. But not even the most conservative French person is capable of defending it anymore.”
“The Americans have the courage of doing a healthy purge, nationalizing when necessary,” he said in a column published Friday in Le Monde. But then he added: “This shows the limits of the ideology of financial liberalism and the need for pragmatic intervention.”But growth has already been dropping all over Europe. On Sept. 10, the European Commission forecast a recession in Germany, Spain and Britain, with France and Italy barely doing better. The commission steeply revised growth estimates downward even before the latest round of bank and insurance meltdowns.
A year ago, financial companies were flying high. But as problems in the mortgage and credit markets have grown, the stocks of many Wall Street firms have been hard hit. Some of the biggest companies have been bought out, taken over by the government or gone bankrupt.
*** Wonderful interactive chart describing the losses in blocks by company and comparison from Oct 07 – Sept 12, 08
Democratic Senators Christopher Dodd and Charles Schumer have said the Federal Reserve, which is getting $200 billion in special funding from the Treasury this month, has the authority to take on a broader role.The Fed’s role expanded further when the central bank agreed on Sept. 14 to accept a broader range of collateral, including equity, in exchange for loans to investment banks. The central bank today said loans to securities firms soared to a record $59.8 billion yesterday.
At the Fed’s request, the Treasury yesterday instituted a supplemental funding program for the central bank allowing it to expand its balance sheet. The Treasury has announced a total of $200 billion of bill auctions so far under the program.
The move comes close on the heels of an $85 billion Federal Reserve rescue of American International Group [AIG 3.85 1.16 (+43.12%) ] and the Treasury’s takeover of housing finance firms Fannie Mae [FNM 0.69 — UNCH (0) ] and Freddie Mac [FRE 0.55 — UNCH (0) ].
The Treasury plan, which follows a new federal guarantee for money market fund holdings, would push Washington’s potential bailout tab to $1.8 trillion.
Credit Crunch Timeline
Hasty takeovers, government bailouts, bankruptcy filings, CEO ousters and lots of interest rate cuts. Click ahead for the big events of the big bust.
Largest US Bankruptcies
Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy protection filing is the largest in history, dwarfing all others. Take a look at the ten biggest corporate filings in US bankruptcy court.
Bank Failures of 2008
Take a look at this year’s bank failures (in chronological order), as measured by total assets and the cost to the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund.
Explanation of the credit default swaps in a clear manner –
At first glance, a credit default swap seems like a perfectly sensible financial tool. It is, basically, insurance on bonds. Imagine a large bank buys some bonds issued by General Electric. The bank expects to receive a steady stream of payments from GE over the years. That’s how bonds work: The issuer pays the bondholder some money every six months. But the bank figures there’s a chance that GE might go bankrupt. It’s a small chance, but not zero, and if it happens, the bank doesn’t get any more of those payments.
The bank might decide to buy a CDS, a sort of insurance policy. If GE never goes bankrupt, the bank is out whatever premium it paid for the CDS. If GE goes bankrupt and stops paying its bondholders, the bank gets money from whoever sold the CDS.
It’s easy to see the attraction. Historically, bond issuers almost never go bankrupt. So, many banks and hedge funds figured they could make a fortune by selling CDSs, keeping the premium, and almost never having to pay out anything.
You get money from other banks, and all you have to give is the promise to pay if something bad happens. That’s zero money down and a profit limited only by how many you can sell.
Over the past few years, CDSs helped transform bond trading into a highly leveraged, high-velocity business. Banks and hedge funds found that it was much easier and quicker to just buy and sell CDS contracts rather than buy and sell actual bonds. As of the end of 2007, they had grown to roughly $60 trillion in global business.
[. . .]
Credit default swaps written by AIG cover more than $440 billion in bonds 2. We learned this week that AIG has nowhere near enough money to cover all of those. Their customers-those banks and hedge funds buying CDSs-started getting nervous. So did government regulators. They started to wonder if AIG has enough money to pay out all the CDS claims it will likely owe.
Buffett’s “time bomb” goes off on Wall Street
Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:42pm EDT
By James B. Kelleher – Analysis
The latest victim is insurer AIG, which received an emergency $85 billion loan from the U.S. Federal Reserve late on Tuesday to stave off a bankruptcy.
Over the last three quarters, AIG suffered $18 billion of losses tied to guarantees it wrote on mortgage-linked derivatives.
Its struggles intensified in recent weeks as losses in its own investments led to cuts in its credit ratings. Those cuts triggered clauses in the policies AIG had written that forced it to put up billions of dollars in extra collateral — billions it did not have and could not raise.
An over-the-counter market grew up and some of the most active players became asset managers, including hedge fund managers, who bought and sold the policies like any other investment.
And in those deals, they sold protection as often as they bought it — although they rarely set aside the reserves they would need if the obligation ever had to be paid.
In one notorious case, a small hedge fund agreed to insure UBS AG (UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Swiss banking giant, from losses related to defaults on $1.3 billion of subprime mortgages for an annual premium of about $2 million.
The trouble was, the hedge fund set up a subsidiary to stand behind the guarantee — and capitalized it with just $4.6 million. As long as the loans performed, the fund made a killing, raking in an annualized return of nearly 44 percent.
Collected and excerpted information – by Cricket Diane
The problem with complete decentralization of our US regulations, strokes of genius, governance, Federally enforced compliances with our US Constitution, Bill of Rights and Federal law, regulations and precepts is that in the name of States’ rights and authority – it has created empires that are being run as sovereign entities – namely kings and their kingdoms under whatever ruling class structure is in existence there. They can be exercised as socialist entities, autocratic / monopolies / monarchies, communist entities, capitalist or non-capitalist models, oligarchies, entrenched church states (ie such as in the days of the Inquisition) or whatever the ruling class favors.
The reigns of power can be and are being exercised in ways unequaled in the history of America without justice, without ethics, without reason, without recourse to the majority of the population under their rule and under their foot. There is the use, mis-use and abuse of authority untempered by any measure of educated reason, compassion, just application of the law, just allowances of freedoms and just, even-handed availability of our assured rights from the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. They may as well have never been signed – the ways things are being done in the kingdoms of our States.
“States Rights implies that the State in whatever form has greater significance than our individual or common good – that it exists as a sovereign entity unto itself. This has made separate ‘countries’ and kingdoms out of each and every US State, Territory and Commonwealth. The uneven, unjust and unequaled distribution of power and corrupt application of the intent and letter of the laws of the United States, the inherent rights of each and every individual citizen supported by the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution, and the Laws and Will of the People of the United States of America – [the uneven, unjust and inequality of application of power and corrupt application of the intent and letter of our laws and precepts] has created situations, circumstances and environments where cruelty, oppression, tyranny, lack of freedom, poverty, forced socialism, lack of economic access to better one’s life, denial of rights and denial of education and voice are rampant and commonplace.
This means, in practice that each, any and even most States can exercise tyranny, oppression, aristocratic rule, denial of the application, letter and intent of the laws of the United States of America, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States, unequal applications of the law, rights, justice and access to resources, practice favoritism and nepotism, exercise extensive self-serving applications of power and profit-taking, and a host of other things.
Generally the States’ powerful individuals, families, their friends and their favored businesses stand on the backs of the American people to do it. And, we each and every one of us are paying for it to be done that way by supporting the tax base that feeds it, by not doing something about it and by accepting that E-Amercia – America is supposed to be this way for the new century.
Now – I want to know – who said this is the right way to do it – The churches? The pastors? The Vatican? The Republican party demigods that sit in the background, make and enforce policy? The Democratic demigods that sit in the background, make and enforce policy? The socialists? The conservatives – the right wingers – right to lifers – the make everybody do it the way we all do it bunch? Or was it the loosey-goosey left wingers – liberals – everybody have a free party on America and do anything you want bunch? Was it some individual intelligentsia’s idea out of our Ivy League lifetime wannabees? clubs or who? Somebody check on this and see what ideot – idea idiot – decided our freedoms and rights were just about too much trouble to take seriously and distribute evenly to each and every one of us!
I don’t know how many people in America had a family relation or two or fifteen or more fight in the Civil War and the American Revolutionary War at this point. And I don’t know how many individuals in the United States of America today had someone in their family somewhere in the past fight for whatever country and freedom from wherever they have ancestry -but I do know a couple things for absoluted assurety.
1. I do have these ancestors and forefathers of America in my flooding bloodlines about 14 ways to Sunday and IT DOES MATTER that our Constitution, our Bill of Rights and our Declaration of Independence along with other documents and writings sealed with the hands of blood that fought for them are honored – are supported – are enforced – are used appropriately – and – are applied evenly and justly.
– and –
2. I do know the price of slavery, oppression and tyranny because I have experienced within my own lifetime and experienced it at the cruelty of its hands in person – not as an idea from 400 years ago – but now – this lifetime – in my own home beaten, bruised, passed all recognition of decency oppressed into slavery by events and people’s applications and abuse of their power that is and was beyond my control. It is not an intellectual discussion – there are no warning shots being fired – this is the sword of truth that nearly every woman and child knows in the country of the United States of America today.
Economic destitution and deprivation, abuse of power in the hands of the most unrighteous and unmerciful of unimaginable cruelties – we’ve experience it this lifetime and frankly – I’ve had enough of the lies that has allowed it to continue somewhere – anytime and anywhere in America even today.
Lessons From The Real World
By Cricket Diane C Phillips
In the course of our human lives, we can choose much of what we do, but not everything. I think sometimes whether having been able to choose so much of it, could I have done better? The answer is, “I don’t know.”
I used to be so sure I could’ve done better, made better choices, pursued better avenues and now, I’m not so sure. Everything has brought me to this point. It feels infinitely stupid to be concerned about it anymore.
Because of both the choices I’ve made and those I had no hand in but lived with anyway, I’ve learned a few things:
1. Don’t ever ask God to give me the wisdom of a wise man or to make me wise. And never ask for patience.
(Do you have any idea what it takes to become wise? It isn’t going to be pretty.)
2. Don’t ever let someone else make a decision for me simply because I don’t want to be the one to do it.
(If they appear ignorant of all the facts, they probably are. You know, too, you won’t see them living with the results of the choices they made for you.)
3. Don’t ever follow the suggestions of anyone who wouldn’t, couldn’t or doesn’t do what they’re suggesting.
(Some things sound good on paper or are bound to be knowledgeable sounding that don’t work in real living. If you notice – they’re saying it, but not doing it – how would they know if it works or not?) Living is an applied science.
4. Don’t ever limit myself to what I can do alone by myself.
(You aren’t in a world unto yourself nor by yourself in the world no matter what it seems. The range of what you could do extends far beyond what could be accomplished by you alone.)