Sunday, March 28, 2010

No Pie For Tomorrow

Sometimes people are their own worst enemies. During the good times, they act like the party will never end, no matter how irresponsible they are. And during the bad times; they assume that all they have to do is get back to the way things were.

Take for instance Las Vegas' bubble-headed attitude about growth. When Las Vegas' economy seemed like it would grow forever, Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) bought over-priced water rights hundreds of miles away (watergrab-gate). Now that there is a recession (like that couldn't have been predicted to someday happen), SNWA still wants to build a multi-billion dollar pipeline to these water resources (which they don't need now). Though SNWA won't admit it any more, they're still assuming that Southern Nevada will go right back to growing like a virus – as soon as they can figure out how to make time go back.

A new survey by UNLV researchers has found that 40% of Las Vegas Valley residents want to leave Nevada! Things are that bad in Vegas. And they're likely get even worse if California legalizes marijuana – which just might happen in the election this Fall. For if Californian Indian casinos can offer a legal vice that Nevada casinos can't, it is quite likely that millions of tourists will go to California Indian casinos instead. There is a real risk that the recession in Las Vegas could get even worse.

Las Vegas is in denial, and SNWA has helped to make things worse. By blowing almost 80 million dollars on White Pine County ranches, they depleted their assets, and consequently had to raise rates – during the recession. This, of course, isn't the main reason 40% of Las Vegans want to leave the state; but watergrab-gate has significantly contributed to Las Vegas' woes. It didn't have to be this way.

What we all really need is a Nevada water law that supports responsible use. In a nutshell, Nevada water law is; “first in use, first in right” – which in the real world translates to; the first to waste the water gets it for free. This is no way to manage water in the desert! Let's face it. Las Vegas HAD to apply for those water rights. If they hadn't, some one else would have. On the other hand, if Las Vegas would have pressed for more responsible water law, they wouldn't have been in the predicament they are now.

Personally, I wouldn't mind Las Vegas having limited long-term water rights to Rural Nevada water, if... IF these water rights were for legitimate long-term storage – and didn't curtail Rural Nevada population growth. Presently, there is NO State legislation to arrange for future water use. The reality is; Nevada water law was written by selfish big water users who merely chose to slice up the pie. Responsible water law should save a slice for the future. We don't want to be our own worst enemies... again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

America - Banana Republic?

30 years ago, people who lived in Central America's banana republics warned (North) Americans that it was very dangerous to allow banana republics to exist. These dysfunctional systems were like a cancer. And the cancer would eventually spread everywhere.

But of course, we wanted our bananas cheap. We ignored them. It could never happen here. This is the United States. We have a Constitution. We have a balance of power. We are the home of the free... But we never stopped to ask; free to do what?

Wikipedia defines a banana republic as; “a country that is politically unstable, dependent on a limited agriculture (e.g. bananas), and ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, and corrupt clique.”

Do we fit the definition?

Let's start with “dependent upon a limited agriculture.” America doesn't have a mono-agriculture. But we do have Monsanto. And Monsanto has been slowly taking over the seed market. They've patented every seed they can, and then sued anyone who wasn't paying them their cut. Even farmers who considered Monsanto's genetically modified organisms unwanted weeds were sued. Now that Monsanto has their “limited agriculture” monopoly, the price of seeds has skyrocketed.

OK. Now let's consider “politically unstable.” Almost everyone in this country is convinced that our government is “broken.” But amazingly, most people don't seem to be too bothered by that. It's as if we all know the America we have grown up with is almost finished, but we don't really find this important enough to fix. Our two party system consists of the perversely corrupt (Republicans) and the semi-corrupt (Democrats). (Clarification: Not that voters are corrupt, but elections are.) We've just accepted that an honest man can't get elected – like it's an acceptable condition. Our government is broken, and we don't have the will to fix it. We all feel it. And we all know the situation is getting critical. But hardly anybody is getting off their couch. America couldn't be more politically unstable.

One more condition; “ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, and corrupt clique.” Damn!!! The corruption couldn't be much worse. Greed has become more important than the fate of humanity. Though New Orleans was destroyed by a massive hurricane and the Arctic is melting like a snowball in hell, we have climate change deniers running those States. This doesn't make any sense... unless you understand the obvious. Voters are gullible. And if enough money gets spent on manipulating their minds, they will vote against their own best interests. Face it: Big money wouldn't bother to spend so much on the mass media if it didn't have an effect.

We don't select our candidates, campaign contributors do. We don't vote on the issues, we vote on distractions. And if we don't vote as we're told, sometimes election results don't turn out the same as the exit polls.

Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election nationwide by over 150,000 votes. And yet, the “Supreme” Court declared Bush Jr. president before the Florida recount was complete. And now the “Supreme” Court has gutted a century of efforts to limit big money influence on elections. This clique has been fixing elections, stacking the Supreme Court, and forcing Congress to do their bidding (or lose the next election). They've been brainwashing Americans, and now they intend to kick it into high gear.


We've watched our 401k retirement funds disappear. Millions of people have been thrown from their homes. Our pay has steadily declined since the 1970s. And yet, many of the super-rich Americans are now richer than ever. We're now about to be robbed of our Social Security in the name of reducing the deficit (which those who want to rob us ran up by the trillions - for their own benefit). We were warned about this.

In case you didn't know; banana republics don't have functional health care systems. Banana republics have health profit systems. And if you don't have money, you can just die – they don't care.

In case you didn't know; banana republics don't have effective laws. Banana republics only have laws for the poor. Per capita, America has more (poor) people in prison than most any country in the world. And yet, a small, self-elected, wealthy, and corrupt clique can rape the environment, gut the economy, go on wars of conquest, not have to pay taxes, and lie to the rest of us – with impunity.

In case you didn't know; banana republics tend to collapse quickly. Eventually, there's nothing left to take. And then, conditions get worse for everyone.

We are probably witnessing how civilizations collapse.

Like an ill man with cancer, things just fall apart.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Are The Recent Earthquakes Caused By Human Activity?

Is it possible that human activity could effect geologic activity? Yes. Definitely.

The pumping of ground water has had an enormous effect on ground subsidence in some areas. Las Vegas is a good example. The elevation of some parts of the Las Vegas Valley has dropped almost 30 feet due to groundwater pumping. To see some of that, drive West on Charleston Blvd. near Valley View. The hill you drive up wasn't there before groundwater pumping. As a child in Las Vegas, I remember subsidences seemingly appearing from out of nowhere. But we had caused them, by pumping out groundwater. The very active geology (caused by humans) in Las Vegas damaged many a house foundation, including that of my parent's home.

The effect of groundwater pumping in Florida, however, may end up far worse. The groundwater in some places in Florida has been so heavily pumped out that sea water could flow in. And the elevation drop due to subsidence could be so bad in some places that the land could drop below sea level. In other words; there are some places in Florida that are pumping themselves under the sea. When one combines this phenomenon with sea level rise, parts of Florida are very likely in danger of becoming another Atlantis within decades. (For more information see the movie Blue Gold).

When one combines the effect of cumulative world wide groundwater pumping and climate change, we see that an enormous amount of water has already made its way from land into the sea. Could this shift in water weight have an effect on the Earth's most sensitive faults? Quite possibly. We all know that there are always a number of faults right on the verge of shifting. Stresses have been building up, and it wouldn't take much more to set off an earthquake. That's just the nature of earthquakes. There will be more.

  • Scientists have noticed that “there are around 20% more eruptions worldwide during the northern hemisphere's winter than the summer. The reason may be that global sea level drops slightly during the northern hemisphere's winter.”

  • Scientists also point out that “the majority of the world's most active volcanoes are within a few tens of kilometers of the coast.”

  • In 2004, Scientists from NASA and the USGS published a report that found “as glaciers melt they lighten the load on the Earth's crust. Tectonic plates, that are mobile pieces of the Earth's crust, can then move more freely.”

  • A recent scientific conference on Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomophological Hazards concluded that “even slight changes in weather and climate can rip the planet's crust apart, unleashing the furious might of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides.”

  • Scientists have witnessed that the relief of stress from one earthquake can lead to the build up of stress in other areas – and more earthquakes.

So, it makes sense that our cumulative worldwide extraction of groundwater and the subsequent flushing of it to the sea, combined with the vast melting of glaciers on land has had a significant effect on plate tectonics. (Yes, vast. I have seen it myself. To see my own video record click here.)

Average sea levels worldwide have raised by more than an inch in the last 15 years. This is not speculation, it has already happened... Of course, that may not seem like much. One inch of sea level rise doesn't have us running for high ground. But maybe it should. The tsunami that destroyed so much of the South Pacific a few of years ago might, might have been caused by this seemingly innocuous sea level rise.

Maybe we're looking at this from the wrong perspective. Maybe instead of looking at this as one inch of sea level rise, we should look at this as 20 trillion tons of weight shift?

When you think about it that way; 20 trillion tons of weight shift from the continents to the oceans – makes the possibility of increased earthquake activity seem almost inevitable.

And, of course; this weight shift has already happened – and is now happening at an accelerating rate.

Whether the mass media has intended to play sea level rise down or not, they effectively have. The consequences of sea level rise are likely to be far greater than flooding of the Everglades and New York City sometime later in the century. However, without mass media news coverage here, don't expect Americans to get too worried about it until something catastrophic happens here in the U.S.

But, of course, something big is already happening. Have you checked the weather lately? Don't you remember the climate scientists predicting extreme weather.

(for information on the slowing of the Gulf Stream from melting glaciers – click here.)


For those of you willing to check my land/sea weight shift calculations; here they are:

From Wikipedia:

Current sea level rise has occurred at a mean rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past century, and more recently at rates estimated near 2.8 ± 0.4 to 3.1 ± 0.7 mm per year (1993-2003). Current sea level rise is due significantly to global warming.

From RedOrbit:

Melting ice and warming waters have raised average sea levels worldwide by more than an inch since 1995, new data from space satellites and robotic submarines have revealed. That's twice as fast as the rate the oceans rose during the previous 50 years

From WolframAlpha:

the surface area of the oceans is a 131.6 million mi2

the weight of a gallon of water is 8.35 pounds

1 mile = 63,360 inches

1.101 1012 gallons/cubic mile

1 inch / 63,360 inches/mile X 131.6 million mi2 X 1.101x1012 gal/mi3 X 8.35 lbs/gal

2000 lbs/ton

= 9.5 trillion tons of water in one inch of sea level rise

...and since that water had to come from somewhere...

that amounts to about 20 trillion tons of weight shift from land to sea in just the last 15 years!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

SNWA Fails To Cover-Up Watergrab-gate

More good news. The Nevada Legislature special session on the budget did not address the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) Groundwater Development Project (watergrab) water rights issue.

In case you aren't familiar with the issue; the Nevada Supreme Court recently decided that Rural Nevadans were not being allowed due process by the State Water Engineer. Not since the original water rights filings (over 20 years ago) has anyone been able to file a protest. Many original protesters have died. Their families have not been allowed to stand in for the original protester. Many original protesters have sold their property. The new owners were not allowed to replace the original protester. And after over 20 years, attrition had left few protesters, which was just how SNWA wanted it.

So, when the Nevada Supreme Court decided that justice was not being served, and that the Nevada State Water Engineer would have to include new protesters, the Southern Nevada propaganda machine kicked into full gear. They claimed that everybody's water rights were at risk. Lie. They claimed that no one in Las Vegas would be able to get a loan. They already can't. They claimed that the Las Vegas economy would collapse. It already has. And they claimed that their water rights were being taken away. Now wait a minute... The reality is that the Supreme Court decision was intended to keep SNWA from taking Rural Nevada's water rights away without due process. The reality is that this decision was made to keep SNWA from stealing water from the rest of the State.

So, when the boss of the Nevada State Water Engineer (Allen Biaggi) found out that they were going to have to be fair, he tried to end-run the Nevada Supreme Court. That's what the effort to slip in the water rights issue during the Special Session on the budget was all about.

My guess is that the Nevada Legislators who chose not to vote on this issue at this time are going to be very glad they didn't. When the watergrab-gate cover-up starts to get more press, they will be so glad they weren't a part of it.

The watergrab issue did not belong in the special session on the budget. The courts should be allowed to finish on the due process issue. This Legislative end-run effort was not only inappropriate, but probably illegal. However, the really big question that needs to be asked is; what's the big rush?

Why was it that every SNWA lobbyist was up in Carson City pressuring the Legislature to get this over so quick?

The most obvious reason is that new protesters could mean less water. If Rural Nevadans get their day in court, SNWA might not be able to railroad the watergrab through with the State Engineer. However, my guess is that a few more rural protesters won't make that big of a difference.

A more likely reason that SNWA is so concerned about new protesters is that during the Spring Valley, Cave Valley, Dry Lake Valley, and Delamar Valley hearings; the Federal Government dropped all their protests. Back during the Bush Jr. administration, SNWA made a back-room deal with a sell-out bureaucrat at the Department of the Interior. In exchange for a toothless agreement for SNWA to “monitor and mitigate” the massively devastating environmental damage that would be inflicted; the Department of the Interior ordered the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to drop all their protests.

With a new administration in the White House, and a new management at the Department of the Interior; it isn't very likely that the DOI would lie down this time and just let SNWA get away with turning the Great Basin into a wasteland.

There is one more reason SNWA is in such a hurry. Watergrab-gate. The longer this process takes, the cheaper desalination gets. The longer this process takes, the harder it will be to keep the lid on the fact that Las Vegas will get stuck with a much higher bill with the Groundwater Development Project. The longer this takes, the more obvious it becomes that SNWA wasted tens of millions of dollars on overpriced ranches in Rural Nevada.

If they can't get the watergrab over with soon, the cover-up will fail. And when that happens, heads will roll. Pat Mulroy will lose her job. Kay Brothers will lose her job. Allen Biaggi will lose his job. The SNWA board members will find it hard to get re-elected. And Rory Reid will find it a lot harder to get elected Governor.

As one might expect, they're in a hurry to save their own skin.