Just ran across this on Wednesday as I was reading Miss Cellania, and stopped cold when she had the above video posted. Because, WHAT?!? How could wolves change the course of a river. After all, they’re not beavers or anything. They have big fangs, and are the stuff of countless stories around campfires.
But as George Monbiot explains, their behavior, led to a reaction by the deer and elk to avoid areas in which they’d be easily trapped, which led to a regeneration of plants and trees, which led to an explosion in animal wildlife. This is called a Trophic Cascade.
That video is a shortened version of this TED talk where Monbiot later mentions whales, and how the Japanese argued that killing whales would increase the numbers of fish and krill —- it actually has had the opposite effect. And he also explains how when whales were at their historical high numbers (before whaling) they were indirectly responsible for disposing of tens of millions of tons of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere every year.
Another example is sea otters and seals. Sea otters and seals have been killed for their fur because the fashionistas demanded it. A reduction in sea otters and seals led to an explosion in the population of sea urchins, which the otters eat. So, the runaway population of sea urchins ravaged the kelp forests. And, a wildlife ecologist explained on a reddit thread better than I ever could
… so the kelp forests were reduced, decreasing habitat for a multitude of fishes, which decreased seal numbers, which forced orcas to switch from eating seals to eating more fish (and reducing their numbers even more). Reintroductions of sea otters has reversed this cascade in many areas. Ecology is so cool.
You wouldn’t think one bad decision would adversely effect things so much. But the Butterfly Effect of Trophic Cascading really does make a huge difference
In the last 48 hours, US officials leaked plans to several media outlets to fire cruise missiles at Syrian military installations as a warning to the Syrian government not to use its chemical weapons stockpiles again. On Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker, who was briefed by administration officials twice over the weekend, said a US “response is imminent” in Syria. “I think we will respond in a surgical way,” he said. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to set the groundwork for a US military incursion.
Now, a former US Navy planner responsible for outlining an influential and highly-detailed proposal [PDF link] for surgical strikes tells The Cable he has serious misgivings about the plan. He says too much faith is being put into the effectiveness of surgical strikes on Assad’s forces with little discussion of what wider goals such attacks are supposed to achieve.
So, have our hawkish pols learned anything? Evidently not
The study immediately struck a chord with hawkish lawmakers on the Hill who were frustrated with the options outlined by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey that required a major commitment by U.S. military forces with a pricetag in the billions.
“For a serious accounting of a realistic limited military option in Syria, I would strongly recommend a new study that is being released today by the Institute for the Study of War,” Sen. John McCain said in July, referring to Harmer’s study. “This new study confirms what I and many others have long argued: That it is militarily feasible for the United States and our friends and allies to significantly degrade Assad’s air power at relatively low cost, low risk to our personnel, and in very short order.”
Harmer, the author of the plan disputes McCain and the rest of the “my manhood is bigger than yours because I can vote for other people to die” gang of fools
“Punitive action is the dumbest of all actions,” he said. “The Assad regime has shown an incredible capacity to endure pain and I don’t think we have the stomach to deploy enough punitive action that would serve as a deterrent.”
The press release and video below are by Cres Velluci.
MARYSVILLE/BEALE AFB – Five people were eventually arrested around 8 a.m., April 30th, after dozens of anti-drone demonstrators blocked the entrance to Beale Air Force Base for hours, resulting in hundreds of vehicles being prevented from entering the base.
The CHP had to be called in to clear traffic which had lines of hundreds of cars in several directions after peace advocates from Sacramento, San Francisco, Nevada City and as far away as Fresno protested President Obama’s U.S. killer drone program.
Those arrested were briefly held on misdemeanor charges, which could result in six months in jail if convicted in federal court. In a similar action, 31 people were arrested at Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, NY Monday.
Last October, nine people were arrested at Beale during protests – and five are facing months in prison if convicted in a trial set for Sacramento Federal Court this summer (August 12).
Beale AFB is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone that is an “accomplice” in drone killings. Activists arrested attempted to deliver a letter to the Beale AFB commander that demanded:
(1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing (2) A halt all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia (3) A prohibition on the sale, and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security and (4) The U.S. must immediately stop this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results ~ Albert Einstein
Did you know the state of California spends $11.7 b, 11% of the annual budget on incarceration? Which is chimerical at best, because legislators, and many people think that the more money you spend on locking people up, the more you’re deterring crime, but evidence suggests that that’s not close to being true. To be honest, there are exceptions to the rule, but in the vast majority of cases all you’re doing is setting people up for a life of crime
The current California criminal justice system as it currently exists, is highly dysfunctional, and inefficient, as far as rehabilitation goes, and also from a budgetary standpoint.
For instance, did you know that California has among the harshest criminal laws in the country, and that there is no evidence that suggests longer sentences deter crime?
Thursday evening I attended a public forum on the state budget process, and how to make the Ca correctional system more efficient, sponsored by State Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, the ACLU of Northern California, and the local chapter of the ACLU. I walked in late (parking was tough), so I just caught the last few moments of Assemblyman Dickinson’s opening comments. His comments are above
Then David Moss and Caitlyn O’Neil, of the ACLU-NC began their presentation. They played a short film bio of David Moss’ travails against drug addiction. Mr. Moss had been arrested 14 times for drug related offenses, which cost the state in excess of $10k per arrest. After the 14th time, a judge in Auburn Ca, asked him why he’d been arrested so many times, Mr. Moss replied that he was an addict. The judge then ordered him into a treatment program, which was a total cost of $7k. Now, I’m not a math wiz or anything, but 7k seems like a much more financially-conservative, prudent, and also a more efficient way of allocating taxpayer dollars than 140k +. And guess what? … He’s been out of trouble ever since.
Did you know that that it costs more money to house a prisoner than it is to educate someone at a UC? You could send two students to UCLA, and still have money left over, for what we spend per prisoner
Did you know that if low level prop offenses were changed from felony to a misdemeanor it would save $30m per year? Taxpayers would save $63m per year if the penalty for being in possession of a small amount of drugs was changed from a felony to a misdemeanor? That we would save $80m per year eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana use?
That’s $174m per year … what else could we spend that on? (not rhetorical)
Did you know that 70% of all people currently housed in cnty jails are in pre-trial and have not been convicted of a crime, and that it costs $100 per day to house them?
Did you know that California has the largest Death Row in the country? And it costs the state $184m per year, and each death row inmate costs $100k more per prisoner than if they were sentenced to life without parole?
Did you know that California at one time was the leader in educating its citizens from pre-school through college, and now ranks dead last in student to teacher ratio? (PDF – California Budget Project Report)
Don’t you think it’s time to do something about the schools to prison pipeline?
California once led the US, and for that matter, the world, in educating its citizens, and in its infrastructure. Not only of physical civil works projects, but in imagining, then creating new and better realities. It was at the forefront in new and exciting discoveries, and from that, industries. The California dream was really an intellectual dynamism born from creativity of what we wanted the greater good and future to be.
The above video is from a different event, but gives much of the same info as I have below
This weekend former National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn was here in Sacramento for a panel discussion about drones during the California Democratic convention at the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus meeting on Saturday. I didn’t make it downtown for the panel discussion, but she graciously accepted an invitation to a Sunday morning potluck brunch discussion on drones. I made a point to get myself to this.
I’m not a professional writer or anything, and I write slower than I type ;-) and I missed some things while taking my notes, so hopefully I won’t misrepresent anything that was said, too badly.
I got there a little late, so it was fortunate that they hadn’t started yet. I filled up a plate, and sat down with a group of people I didn’t know, except for Jeanne Keltner who was on my right. We had a pretty good general discussion at our table about Syria and R2P (responsibility to protect), and the overall policy toward the Middle East, and war in general. On my left was a gentleman, whom I didn’t recognize, and his wife. They were getting into some pretty good detail, and I thought to myself, “hey, I like how these two think,” everyone at the table actually. The conversation pretty much revolved around the same issues that are spoken of here at FDL. Foreign policy, to domestic policy, to monetary policy.
So after about twenty minutes a woman got up in front of the room and started the introduction, about the founding and history of the NLG, and Marjorie Cohn. After about two or three minutes I began to wonder when Marjorie came into the room. And, slow as I am, it took another thirty seconds or so to figure out that she was the smart woman to my left.
This isn’t a dictation, so I’m only going to hit on the high points that I was able to catch. Go ahead and correct me if I’m wrong about any of the details and fill in the holes. All mistakes are mine, not hers
She talked about how the Obama (maybe Bush too?) Administration have tried to use the AUMF as a justification for the use of drones. But if you read the AUMF it’s not that open ended. The Bush Administration tried to insert language into — I forget the law — to extend the authorization to these type of actions, which was rejected.
She talked about how there’s precedent for holding lawyers accountable for giving advice on what turns out to be crimes against humanity, or something similar, can‘t remember her exact words. Coincidently, she talked about how if you take John Yoo’s class at UC Berkeley, you have to agree to non-disclosure about any controversial discussions in his class.
And how the US Gov is bound to international agreements through the Supremacy Clause, such as the ICCPR. She talked about Terror Tuesday’s, and Obama’s choosing who lives, and who dies. And, the Disposition Matrix and targeted killings
She talked a little about Bradley Manning, and that even Nixon didn’t go after whistleblowers the way Obama has. She didn’t mention this, but, Obama has prosecuted more people under The Espionage Act than all other presidents combined since it became law, ninety or so years ago.
She talked about how in the rest of the world there’s a real, genuine thing called The Mobilization of Shame where policy is actually changed because of the movements of the people against government policy.
She mentioned an op-ed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu where he excoriates Americans for raising an uproar against domestic drone use, while lacking the empathy for people the US has killed in the rest of the world.
She mentioned how Winston Churchill wanted to execute Nazi war criminals immediately, and how Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson argued that that would set a precedent, and would pass a poisoned chalice to future generations
To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well
There was a Q and A at the end, and a gentleman made an excellent point when he mentioned that he felt that the increasing use of drones would lead to perpetual war.
Again, any specific facts that are wrong are mistakes made by me. I was very impressed with her, her husband, and all who attended, for their deep knowledge of this subject, and the many other subjects discussed
This is a slow boil stream of consciousness rant. I might be wrong on some specifics, but the general tone is based on truth. This diary is an observation, because our system is screwed, and I don’t know how to fix it. But the first step in fixing it, is recognizing the problem
We have two major political parties in this country. And I have a few different observations of them, and the people within them
One way of looking at them, is the superficial-bumper-sticker-talk-show way of describing them, which is, the Daddy party (Republicans), and the Mommy party (Democrats). IMHO, that’s not true. I think for the most part, a more accurate way of describing the modern day versions of them, is the addict party (Republicans), and the codependent party (Democrats). Click the two links and look at the common characteristics. Go ahead and click, I’ll wait … finished? For the most part, and in a generalized sense (there’ll always be exceptions) it’s true isn’t it?
Let’s just take the first of addictive behavior
1. The person becomes obsessed (constantly thinks of) the object, activity, or substance.
Right. Let’s just remember the Republican mantra, “entitlement reform”. Now, let’s combine that, with one characteristic of codependency
People-pleasing. It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but codependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying “No” causes them anxiety. Some codependents have a hard time saying “No” to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.
Sound familiar? Now, think of Zero’s Social Security slashing budget proposal. Or, his preemptive cave to big pharma during the healthcare debate
The addict (Republican) party doesn’t care about the end result, they’re just obsessed. And the codependents (Democrats) can’t say no. The Democrats can’t say no, so they’ve devolved into a slightly less dysfunctional version of the Republicans. They’re addicted to the addict. They encourage and enable the addict to further both addictions
Pick a subject, any subject. War. Civil Rights. Economics. Foreign policy. Domestic policy. Environment. Food safety. Corporate welfare vs the Social Compact. On the major issues that effect the majority in the general population, name one subject where they’re (both major parties) not euphemistically telling us to ‘go f#ck ourselves’. They’re not saying those exact words, but the meaning is crystal clear. And if you don’t see it, I think you’re self delusional. Yea, sure, there are marginal issues (not trying to demean their importance) that they agree to disagree on, but for the most part they (the two parties) agree on – what in the rest of the world – would be far right conservative points of view. That’s just the plain fact of the matter, and they count on people getting caught up in the marginal dangly shiny key outrages of the day to not see what’s really going on.
Then you have the individuals
My unscientific, and just an average guy, way of looking at people is that everyone is basically the same person today as they were at twelve or fourteen. There are differences in your like and dislikes, but, I think the vast majority of people have the same characteristics, now as then.
The same people who did their homework, and worked hard in school, are the same people who do an honest days work, and help others, today.
Then, on the other hand, there were the people who cheated off of other’s papers, and used and bullied those around them. They’re corporate executives and national politicians of today. I think the higher they go in political and corporate circles the more sociopathic they are.
What’s the answer? I don’t have a clue, but, we need to get the majority of the population recognize the exact nature of the problem before we can solve it
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