Category Archives: In The News: Words From The Front Lines

A LOOK OUTSIDE THE BACKYARD

The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James Howard Kunstler

The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James Howard Kunstler. With much on peak oil, alternative fuels, and building sustainable communities.

Holy Waters

A Fine, Wet Miracle. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty

December 23, 2013

For some time now I have made a special effort to drink only water that I have collected and hauled from a high country spring, and I have no plans to quit anytime soon. It is some distance from my house and it takes a bit of time out of an otherwise busy day, and it would be so much easier to turn on the municipal tap or crack a cap of bottled water.

Is it worth the trouble, you might ask?

Well, yes it is, as a matter of fact, and in more ways than you might guess, would be my answer…

Drawn deep from a primordial source, this water is wild and whole and tastes of mountain and ancient sunlight. It flows steady and true and offers a host of special properties quite hard to define. It is alive, and it feels good just to be around it. In fact, it is all about how it makes you feel, this living water…

It is not something I wish to take for granted. It is a sobering fact…

 

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Michael Patrick McCarty

 

Waters From Heaven, and Earth. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty

No, Hell No!

Magpie In Flight

Michael Patrick McCarty

Silt, Colorado

February 4, 2012

Our house has a big picture window on the upper level, facing south. I often sit behind it before the sun arrives, with coffee, looking. I like to observe the sun’s first searching rays wake up the mountain peaks above us, each one receiving it’s due as the sun climbs skyward. I study my view, on the lookout for the flick of a mule deer’s ear in the pasture to our west, the prance of a coyote as he heads for the safety of protective cover, or the twitch of a magpie’s tail in the apricot tree in our garden.

For more than a couple of years, in fact an eternity, I have watched in horror as the natural gas drilling rigs arrived and deployed their forces on the brushy slopes and hills across the Colorado River. Ever closer, they dot the landscape of my picture window in increasing numbers, and fill my mind with increasing dread and impending doom. I wish they would go away. I wish I could wave my hand and wish them away. Just go away, I pray.

When we purchased our property, we were told that our area had been explored in the past and it was found that it was not economically feasible to recover what gas deposits existed below our feet. No one then talked of the many impacts of heavy truck traffic, the legalities of natural gas leases, and the harsh realities of the split estate. Then came hydraulic fracturing and our world changed. We did not see it coming. We were not consulted.

Soon, our neighborhood was bustling with gas workers and pick up trucks, and the acrid smell of diesel fuel and angst left hanging on the wind. Our roads and highways became suddenly congested, property values exploded, and great plans were made. The mad fool’s rush was on. We began hearing the cries from the people and landowners in the direct line of fire. This is not right, they said. How can this be, they shouted? How can you hurt us so badly?

I remember sitting behind my window as the first uncontrolled well fire belched huge clouds of rolling black smoke blowing east across my view. I rose and stood transfixed, mortified, slapped out of my chair with a wave of revulsion and outrage with fist in the air. How can this happen, I asked? Who else is watching this? Will anybody be held accountable? To what account?

The economy has crashed along with our housing prices and the nation’s hopes. Another boom, then bust. It has slowed the industry down to some degree, as has some new environmental regulation. Yet, the damage continues. We need the jobs they say. I’m sorry, but we do not have ears for this line of argument.

We hear about well water that smells of noxious chemicals and can be ignited at the tap. We hear of strange skin rashes and people getting sick. Some move to get out-of-the-way. Some abandon their homes and run. And still the rigs come. We were told of an industry insider who claimed that they would frack every square mile in the state of Colorado, and the west. They are sure of it. They are proud of it. Drill baby drill, full speed ahead and damn the torpedos. It’s mom’s apple pie, the colors red, white, and blue, and the american way. Stay out of our way, they say. We have the law on our side.

I want to know why no one asked me how I felt about it, or inquired of my friend the  magpie. I want to know why the gas executives feel it is “O.K.” for me to breathe the bad air from their vent stacks, or to suffer the sight of ravaged hillsides and the land scars that they leave behind. I want someone to look me in the eye and explain to me why I must bear the blinding lights of their rig towers and tall cranes at night, beaming directly into my being and destroying my peace of mind. I want to know why they think it is acceptable for me to worry about my health and the health of my friends and family. Give me a reason why you are prepared to jeopardize the lives of my kids and their kids and the environment that sustains them.

I have a simple answer for them, had they bothered to ask if I would allow them in our neighborhood. The answer is no, hell no! Can I make it any clearer? How dare you to presume otherwise.

I also beg a question of them. How about this one? Just who on god’s green earth do you think you are?

I have a suggestion too. Take your proprietary cocktails of poisons and death and leave. Get out of my backyard, which is vast and indomitable. It does not belong to you. Get out of my community and keep on going until you run right out of the west and drown in the sea.

There is a special place in hell just for you, and your seat at that table is your’s forever.

Take your fracking fluids with you!

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You Might Also See: We’re Fracked, and Other Horrid Tales!

Michael Patrick McCarty

Food Freedom, and Guns Too!

 

The Age of Innocence

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Update August 25, 2013

The opposition to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, continues to grow exponentially with each passing day. On August 22, 2013, a coalition of 276 environmental and consumer organizations delivered a petition to the White House signed by almost 3/4 of a million people calling for an end to fracking on all public lands.

This is a most encouraging turn of events, and far removed from the anxious, lonely days when so many of us heard our small, insignificant voices crying from the wilderness of the public grounds.

Well, not any more.

There is world changing power in numbers, and I have no doubt that the movement will continue to grow as all of the adverse environmental and social effects become more evident.

I remain a steadfast opponent, for any number of reasons. In fact I can go much farther than that.

I have heard of fracking being compared to “a dirty bomb”, for the numerous radioactive isotopes and other contaminated products that result from this insidious and dangerous process.

The human mind has an amazing capacity for denial, and “out of sight – out of mind” seems to be a mantra built deeply into the collective mind.

Never is this more apparent in this liquid, sleeping monster beneath our feet. Why, for example are so many people so easily convinced that the deadly chemicals used in the fracking process are of no concern, because they are injected thousands of feet or more below the surface of the earth? Is it somehow O.K. to poison the ground water there, because we are told to believe that it will never contaminate our drinking water? Is it somehow right to destroy something, simply because it is far, far away?

I will not take the time here to argue about odds and statistics or the general opportunities for contamination. I won’t delve into the secret chemical compositions of the fracking fluids, or the politics of leases or good old boy deals or the public’s right to know. Like many of us, I already know far more about these kind of things than I ever cared to know. I no longer trust, because the public trust was sold away long before we raised our heads.

I prefer to get right to the heart of the matter, which in my humble opinion is quite obvious.

If something does not change, fracking will become the most devastating environmental holocaust ever perpetrated upon the human race. There – I said it.

Now that’s a head spinning mouthful of “no, tell me what you really think”!

It will affect more people than the atmospheric A-bomb tests, Chernobyl, and even yes, Fukushima, which by the way has not even begun yet to lay us low in a pulsating and inescapable cloud of darkness. It’s a horrifying pretense.

I hope I am very, very wrong, About fracking, and all of it. Perhaps I will not live long enough to see its deadly fingers touch the world like I know it could. I am but one individual, but I cry for the children and the poisoned world left for other’s to bear when I am gone.

The hour has grown very, very late, but maybe, just maybe, it is not too late to pull back from the precipice. It’s time to get involved in the anti-fracking campaign, and I don’t mean tomorrow, but today. Tell whoever you can to help stop the madness now.

The public lands belong to us – to everyone, and they must be managed for the generations to come. They are our birthright, won in blood, and the legacy of a free and independent people.

They are not held in trust for others to despoil and poison.

No More Fracking! No, Hell No!

An Oath Keepers’ Pledge and The Right To Bear Arms

We Shall Prevail

Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keeper’s has penned a heartfelt and critical message for our times. It is a must read for anyone interested in freedom, personal liberty, and our constitutional right to bear arms. See the link below:

See Mr. Rhodes’ Personal Pledge.

Freedom Is The Answer, Not The Problem!

Michael Patrick McCarty

Pigeon Feed and Prison Time

Beware The Public Serpent

It has been reported recently that Chicago Alderman James Cappelman has a thing for pigeons and those people who feed them, but not in the way that you might think.

Apparently, some people feel that pigeons have become a scourge at Daley Plaza, and Mr. Cappelman is one person who would like to see them eradicated with prejudice.

But that’s not all. He stands behind a new ordinance that would significantly increase the punishments for feeding pigeons. His legislation would make it a crime punishable by a fine up to $1000 and a jail term as long as six months in prison.

Obviously, the penalties for unlawful pigeon feeding that currently exist under city code are simply not harsh enough and one must exact a pound of flesh where one can. Cappelman’s proposal doubles the maximum allowable fine and adds the possibility of jail time.

Now perhaps the idea of being arrested for the frivolous act of feeding a bird makes you pause. But they are quite serious in Chicago and Denver and New York and more and more places in this once free republic. It is an evil wonder of the ages.

The first hand reports trickle down in a steadily increasing stream. Bureaucrats across the land are using administrative decrees and color of law to criminalize otherwise harmless acts in an effort to demoralize and intimidate average citizens. These so-called “authorities” now dictate what you may or may not do on your own private property or public commons. It is always done under the auspices and protections of the public good.

In some jurisdictions it is illegal to grow a home garden, tend a few chickens for some backyard fresh eggs, or even feed your local wild birds at your well weathered bird feeder and bird tables.

I’ve often wondered just how many laws and regulations that I unknowingly break each and every day. What would the founding fathers of the United States have to say about that?

I believe that they would just say no, and that they would shout it so loud that it would hurt the ears of mere mortals.

Perhaps a small protest is in order. But don’t resist too strongly, lest you welcome a visit from the now ubiquitous taser and the steady tap tap tap of that merciless river of pain.

Either way, there will be more senseless and dehumanizing laws on the books tomorrow. They will appear at the hand of those who make the rules as surely as hot fire loves the dancing flame. Found guilty until proven innocent, and without a jury of your peers, judgement will be swift and sure and may carry serious or compounding penalties.

The police state rises as you grab another hand of bird seed, and it will not rest until they make criminals of us all. This type of unmitigated power grab will only stop when “we the people” stand up and decide to stop it, one feathered friend, and one dangerous bureaucrat at a time.

After all, do you really wish to go to jail, or lose your life, over a hungry and hopeful pigeon?

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*Color of Law n. – the appearance of an act being performed based upon legal right or enforcement of statute, when in reality no such right exists. An outstanding example is found in the civil rights acts which penalize law enforcement officers for violating civil rights by making arrests “under color of law” of peaceful protestors or to disrupt voter registration. It could apply to phony traffic arrests in order to raise revenue from fines or extort payoffs to forget the ticket.

Food Freedom!

Michael Patrick McCarty

Link To Original Article Here.

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“One of the best aspects of our community is that we have the freedom to control access”.

The reference above is a most heady quote from an anonymous homeowner in a private, gated community in western Colorado. His use of the words “control” and “freedom” in the same sentence gave me pause.

It apparently had not occurred to this gentleman that control does not create freedom, nor community. Common sense and common history can tell us that. His line of reasoning simply escapes me, although it seems to be a common way of thinking  these days.

Why are so many of us so eager to assist in the creation of the pretty prisons of our own design?

I wish I had an easy answer. For now, my brain can only categorize his statement under the ever more popular category – “You can’t make this stuff up!”.

You Might Also Like Sacred Ground or Fair Warning At The Altar of The Black Robe.