Occupy for the Kids

When I look into my daughter’s eyes I see hope and I see the future.  I don’t want her know this cold world as I know it.  I want her to know freedom.  I don’t want her to know freedom of choice as a two-party candidate selection with a third party that holds no weight.  I want her to know democracy. I want her to have her best interests represented.

When I look at my daughter I don’t want her to worry about the condition of the air or the quality of her water because we have a system set up to protect her health.  I don’t want her to know that corporate interests and market under the guise of freedom, I want a market that promotes her best interest: that has a focus on longevity and security for the future.

When I look at my daughter I want her to intimately know the struggles of our generation and the generations before us.  I don’t want her reading watered down history books, propagated with lies and sugarcoated with the false idea that America is nothing but a beautiful butterfly spreading its wings and sharing democracy with the world. I want her to see the American Democracy as the world sees it: with a big atom bomb attached.  I want her know that cold iron and steel that forces assimilation on nation after nation.

When I look at my daughter I want her know that every time one of our American companies goes overseas to represent us, they invest in sweatshops that endorse child labor and the mistreatment of women and men.  I want her know that it’s the same evil that takes jobs away from our homeland in the name of GLOBALIZATION.

When I look at my daughter I want her see that the world isn’t as beautiful as the mainstream media lets you believe. I want her to understand that the mass media will have her hating the oppressed if she is not careful.  I want her know that nothing is as it seems and you always have to question everything and you should never be afraid to question it.

When I look at my daughter I find the strength to continue to fight without violence, without terror: but with love.  She will not only know my story, but she will know the story of everything we have been trying to accomplish: We are the 99%– But we need help waking up the rest of our class.  We are but a small representation of the 99%.

When I look at my daughter, I know I want her to understand the importance of giving and loving selflessly.  I want her to see the potential for this world to live as one when we start acknowledging the likeness in one another rather than magnifying our differences.  Is that not the American way?  We are constantly defining difference.  I want my daughter to be free from those social constructs that create boxes for her brothers and sisters of the world.

I want my daughter to know there is evil out there and it comes in many forms.  I want her to know that sometimes by doing nothing she will be consenting to the oppression of others. I want her to not be afraid to stand by her neighbors, I want her to live in peace and harmony.

Idealistic?  I assume so.  But is that not the great American Dilemma: The difference between our ideals and our practices.  WAKE UP AMERICA, FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S SAKE!  Let them know freedom and what it means to be free.  Free yourselves from the chains of oppression and realize that you don’t have to be out on the streets holding a sign to make a difference: realize that you, as a consumer can make a difference.  You as a citizen can make a difference.  You can stay informed, you can question, you can spread knowledge.  But you best believe, when that day comes, the day where we all hit the streets in solidarity—you must come, you will feel compelled to come because you opened your mind and your heart and you saw—You saw the oppression.

Look at the chaos emerging on the streets.  Look at the law enforcement and the government and how they are treating the people who are PEACEFULLY trying to make a difference.  I hope with all that I am that my brothers and sisters will remain peaceful: but how long will they scream at the top of their lungs without being heard? How long will they be beaten by a corrupt system and arrested for exercising democracy without fighting back?  You have to scream with them!  Peacefully thousands of people may not accomplish anything: Peacefully, 99% of America oppressed by corporate greed and limited access could make a world of difference.

America is not the only one who are rising up and speaking out against government and corporate corruption.  C. Wright Mills was not that far off when suggested the potential hazards of THE POWER ELITE.  We are living in it.  They call us THE LOST GENERATION, but I think we’re the more aware than most generations.  We can see the structural arrangement that inhibit our growth, our upward mobility.  We are taking our frustration out on the right people in the right way.

Join us.

When I look at my daughter, I want her to know peace, love, and understanding.  I don’t want her to ever dismiss it as nonsensical—I want her generation to embody it and work towards a greater global society that operates in solidarity.

When I look at Occupations across the globe, I see my daughter and there lies the hope for our future.



Democratic Ideals – Occupy Wall Street

The more I get involved and help spread the word, the more I am troubled by the actions of others.  Now, for those of us who know what’s going on- What is the Wall Street movement about?  Democracy.  Democracy, in the most idealistic sense of the word, is for the people and governed by the people.  It supposed to grant people the right to be themselves and govern the people to respect one another, despite differences.  It’s not about 1% of the population pushing their agenda through.

It deeply saddens me when I see activists coming out and slandering opponents (to their views), calling them “fags” as if to offend the person they are calling a “fag”.  In reality, they are insulting an entire group of people whose sexual orientation the word was meant to insult.  I was called a traitor for stating:

“To anyone whose commented something derogatory… You make it harder for the rest of us who want to see real change in the world, actually occur. Slang such as “fags” is not disrespectful to the person you are insulting, it’s disrespectful to those whose sexual orientation the term was intended to offend. Those types of comments make the whole movement look hypocritical. We’re not here to hate, we’re here to promote greater solidarity under the ideals of democracy. We’re here for all people and a better world for tomorrow so our children and children’s children have a future.”

on the Facebook event after reading some people’s statements: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127034944063832

Traitor?  Day in and day out I actively seek out to inform the public about the things the news won’t talk about.  I don’t just do it on the computer, I get out and engage people.  I act, not because a particular event is starting to gain media grounds, but because I know and as a citizen, I need to inform those around me the sides of the story the media won’t put out there.

Also, Occupy Wall Street is criticizing the media for not providing adequate coverage: effectively attempting to silence voices… very undemocratic of the media.  People, when you tell others to shut up, or scold them rather than opening dialog you’re not any different…

Occupy Wall Street is not about our divide, it’s about the one thing majority of Americans have in common: they’ve been f*cked over by the big banks and other large conglomerate industry. They’ve lost benefits, pay and more.  The unions have been exploited in such a way that we are loosing the delicate balance that is an absolute necessity for democracy.

My brothers and sisters have the right to spew hatred, in whichever direction they choose—Do not lump me in your harsh statements, because I don’t tolerate it.  You’re not doing the movement any justice with these tactics, you actually slow it’s momentum, you give the opposite side fuel to illegitimate our claims.  You provide the necessary distraction to dismantle the movement and turn people off.  You make us all look like hypocritical.  You make it easy for people to not take our claims seriously.

The 1% that have run-away with wealth, this is a tragedy.  Not because we want to control what people make, but because they have done so in such a way that allows them to control our democratic system.  This is wrong.  They are also at an unfair advantage because there are less of them, hence it’s much easier to organize and push their own agendas through, especially if it helps them all out.  For the other 99% of us… This is going to be much harder.

Before you criticize the efforts on Wall Street: “it’s not organized”, “there isn’t a leader”, “there isn’t a goal”… just look at the common themes.  Look at the facts that surround this public outcry for a more equal system and look at what this all means for democracy.

This is what democracy looks like. No two people are the same, but if we really want a revolution to occur, I believe we need to work together and not divide.  We have to recognize that we’re all standing under the same cause and in order for change to occur, we have to attract everyone and gain the support of the nation.  Sure 99% of America are affected… But what percentage of Americans actually know what’s going on? There are New York residents who have no clue what is happening.

We can’t give the opposition ammo to use against us. We can’t give them any dirt because that means we have to keep working harder.  We need people to hear us.  Those of you who are utilizing stereotypes to spew hatred on people who don’t agree with you, you’re destroying any progress that is being made and your providing the necessary distraction for others to comment and distract from the focus of the movement.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathalie-rothschild/supporters-of-the-wall-st_b_977505.html

See what happens… I don’t represent hatred, I represent democracy and the mutual respect it governs.

LOOK, THIS IS WHAT WALL STREET IS ABOUT:
inequality

WTF IS GOING ON?




There’s something in the air…

These are my favorite days, my reflective days.  The air is cool in a comfortable way, the smell is unmistakably that of fall, the leaves are preparing to turn, and sky is a soft gray.  The squirrels scurry from tree to tree; they have a lot of preparation to do.  The birds are having gentile conversation: this is beauty.  This is nature.

There is a certain spirit that runs amuck in the fall.  It’s “the last hurrah” before the mood swings of an Ohio winter.  Change is everywhere: it’s in our schedules, it’s in our daylight, weather, and politics (elections).  The trees are my absolute favorite change every year.  It’s always beautiful.  It’s almost metaphoric, how beautiful they look as they die.  They put on quite the show, they grow so vibrant in the fall, their colors against the soft gray sky—death is a thing of beauty.

The energy ejects from all living things this time of year: how connected we become.  A blue jay is perched on my fence and it is so beautiful.  I wish I knew the names of the other birds I see… I wish I could properly depict the calm and peace I feel right now.  This is life, in its greatest simplicity- and yet as simple as we depict it, it’s so complex and we can’t replicate it, not perfectly anyway.  Man keeps attempting, but shouldn’t we be trying to connect and work with our earth?

This is why I don’t understand why there is such a negative connotation associated with the word environmentalist.  Most people, I can safely assume, appreciate nature.  Everyone else depends on it directly and probably should begin to care about it.  Environmentalist somehow got mixed in with some sort of radical terminology and as a collective group has become somewhat “ridiculous” in the eyes of others.  Or at least that’s what they want you to think….

On March 28, 2011, a Gallup Poll showed 79% of the American’s surveyed were most worried about soil/water contamination.  Granted there were only 1,021 adults surveyed ages 18 and older via phone interviews.  So there could be biased simply because the questions addressed environmental issues and of the environmental issues, which ones people cared most about.  It’s not to say these are on the top of people’s priority list: however, of the environmental issues water contamination… Key issue people care about and yet, what’s going on?

I suppose for these very reasons, I am fearful for America and her beauty.  The lack of open spaces, the absence of fresh water, the burning hole in the ozone layer… I am fearful for my daughter and one day my grandchildren, and their children… Will they be able to exist on this planet?  I am willing to sacrifice whatever I have to right now to ensure a better future for those I love and those I do not know, but share the world with.

I look at how this is all connected, all relative information.  The big dogs, the elite were able to develop this technology: fracking, horizontal hydraulic fracturing.  They were able to exempt themselves from key environmental, health, and safety policies and then operate irresponsibly and act the expense of the American people.  Other elites won’t insure the process… So the American people that think they’re going to make money off of the well royalties, well they’re assuming all the risk for less than 14% royalty.  Then they are stuck in that property because the banks won’t finance it.  One environmentally damaging process (which incurs expenses on its own) is linked to several aspects of our lives.

I don’t blame people for being in denial about what’s really going on in this nation.  I would probably be much happier and less stressed if I did not see it.  Now I feel obligated as an informed citizen to share the knowledge I have acquired.  I encourage others to share their knowledge with me, especially if their information is different from mine.  Together we can analyze and decode and try to find the answer.  Together, united.  United, what does that mean to you?

“I ask myself, is our hope lost?  Is there only pain and hatred and misery?  And each time I feel like this inside, there’s one thing I wanna know: What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?”



Peace: Putting the Pieces Together

These two songs: “Peace, Love, and Understanding” and “Imagine” (Both covers by A Perfect Circle) fit the mood of the images. This is a video I have been working on for some time in between my hectic schedule. These are images from September 11th on- the constant turmoil. It’s not necessarily in chronological order: they’re just representations. I live in Ohio, so our local issues spreading outward to global issues. Americans cannot get their own country to negotiate, how are we supposed to help others do so?
This is not meant to be a “political” video really, it’s meant to show the issues, show the irony, and shows the divide. Robert Maynard Hutchins said, “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” Everything is related and the second we realize that, the sooner we will be able to adequately nourish our democracy under the ideals of democracy: civil liberties and human rights.
Discuss openly about your feelings and the representations there in. Engage your fellow Americans: even if their views differ, offer the same respect and open ears. Remember, LISTEN TO facts… Be prepared that everything you thought you once knew could be a lie. Drop the political titles and realize what you, yourself stand for under the principals of democracy (if you believe in democracy). “Be the change you want to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi.



Fracking: Fact-Based* Information Regarding Your “Financial Windfall” Straight from Penn State

If you’ve lived in a hole the past few months as the controversial issue of fracking has crept into mass media—Fracking: hydraulic horizontal fracturing, is causing quite the fuss.  It appears as if the sheep’s wool has gently rested on the eyes of Americans across the country.  This wool has a green lining: and I’m not talking green like clean energy, I’m talking dollar signs.

I requested some information from H Financial Management; I wanted to learn more about the financial possibilities of natural gas.  The information I was getting, straight from Penn State University (PSU).  Right on!  So I had to read it, I mean here it is: non-biased, peer-reviewed information!  The only thing these “guides” do is leave the reader asking the question: “who funded this study?”

Here they are: Natural Gas Exploration: A Landowners Guide to Financial Management and Natural Gas Exploration: A Landowner’s Guide to Leasing Land in Pennsylvania from the College of Agricultural Sciences & Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension.  So yeah, it’s based on facts: like when you see a movie, “Based on a TRUE story”.

Krista Weidner writes about leasing land, “Natural gas that is trapped underground has little or no value to landowners.  It becomes a valuable resource only when companies with the proper equipment and technical ability begin to extract if from deep underground,” (Weidner, 2009:4).   This would mean it has no perceived value right?  Well, let’s take a good hard look at these PSU studies and ask ourselves the real tough questions for our economic savior: the natural gas industry.

As Weidner mentioned in the other study, the declination of value per McF of natural gas from 2008 to 2009.  In 2008, natural gas was $14 per thousand cubic feet and the price declined in 2009, (Weidner, 2009).  It fails to mention to what amount.  The U.S. Energy Administration says that the national price was actually $13.68 per thousand cubic (McF) feet and it dropped to $11.97 McF in 2009.  Additionally, they observe that the price varies per region and states along the Atlantic actually pay more per McF than other regions.  (http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=natural_gas_prices).  As of July 12, 2011, $4 per share here in America, $7 in Europe, and $10 in Asia (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/7-Per-MCF-Natural-Gas-Price-twst-3487884575.html?x=0&.v=1).  So let me get this straight PSU…

Gas has no value in the ground, it has declining values in the market, and yet your tone is drill baby drill.  I know negatives are present in the studies, and there are some facts… But they are so carefully packaged.  Words are used such as “financial windfall,”  and they mention other “revenue potentials”… Those complicated taxes and accounts that you need specialists for because coming into wealth is a difficult, stressful process.

Stephen Colbert’s Anti-Frack Attackwas great, relating fracking to Alka-Seltzer… The oil companies do get all the juices.  Meanwhile our land is devalued, we’re destroying the environment, losing our property values so the rest of the world has natural gas.  What is this country turning into?

We can’t afford another hit like the housing market crash.  The leading source of wealth for majority of Americans is in their home. After all the costs how are people making money?  They’re probably not.  The well yields the most in the first year and goes on a sharp decline for five years after that.  60% of the natural gas from a well will be extracted that first year, every subsequent year the owner will see less (approximately 5 years).    My stomach churned as I read this, “Drilling activities might cause damage to your property, such as to soils, crops, fences, building, trees, roads, and water supplies.  The lease agreement should state how damages to these items will be calculated,” (Weidner, 2009:6).  Let’s also include liability to third parties, the example provided: “…contamination of your neighbor’s water or an explosion caused by the release of natural gas. Also, since litigation is expensive even if you ultimately win a case, the indemnification clause should include a duty to defend so that the gas company is obligated to hire an attorney for you and pay all other costs and expenses of litigation,” (Weidner, 2009:7).  Those are the only potential expenses: penalties for violating preservation programs, increased taxes, and environmental expenses.  This is so good, they informed people of the potential hazards.

PSU says the really hard stuff: taxes.  I’m not being sarcastic, taxes are tough business.  As of right now, natural gas revenue is not something you have to pay local taxes on: state taxes and federal: that’s a different story.  Your signing bonus, you’ll have to pay taxes on that—All your royalties are subject to tax as well.  Then we’ll briefly go into coast basis (the price you paid for your land).  “…the law on natural gas royalties allows you to deduct annually from your basis as natural gas is depleted from your property, so you pay fewer taxes,” (Weidner, 2009:9).  What the heck does that mean?

We’re told, “…cost basis is simply the amount you paid for the land,” (Weidner, 2009:9).  Ok, well I did some other research to see how to better understand what is being said here about depletion. According to the Law Library, (http://law.jrank.org/pages/6069/Depletion-Allowance.html) the depletion allowance is, “A tax deduction authorized by federal law for the exhaustion of oil and gas wells, mines, timber, mineral deposits or reserves, and other natural deposits.”  The exhaustion of natural resources?  According to dictionary.com exhausting is to use up or consume completely.  Would that be good?  Nevermind all that anyway, the big guys use it: why wouldn’t it work for you?

The Law Library says, “When oil is viewed as a “wasting asset,” cost depletion permits yearly deductions for the receipt of (original cost) tax-free over the duration of the pumping operations. The tax law permits the taxpayer to divide the cost of the investment by the estimated total of recoverable units in the natural deposit. This cost per unit is subsequently multiplied by the number of units sold annually, which results in the depletion deduction permitted for that year.”  I’m confused though, how would the person do cost depletion if they didn’t invest anything?  Oh, wait your home.  But wait, “you may not own the natural gas rights to your land, even though you own surface rights,” (Weidner, 2009:9).  I’m assuming most people don’t see any benefit from that then, right?  I don’t know… I honestly don’t.  I would think the gas companies make out pretty good with that tax allowance though.  People don’t always qualify for it.

There’s still more expenses: property taxes and fines… But there is “tax avoidance”, and it’s legal!  It’s not tax evasion.  NOW TO PLAN YOUR ESTATE!!  MANAGE YOUR WEALTH!!  “While a financial windfall is almost always a welcome event, figuring out how to manage newfound wealth can stressful,” (Weidner, 2009:10-11).  Yeah, sounds terrible.  This even goes on to tell you what type of accounts you should look for… One that yields interest but you can still withdraw from without penalizing you.  Also, make sure you get some professional advice, “Penn State financial educators recommend that you check out at least three sources before you make a decision.  Chances are the out of those three choices, you’ll find the right one.  The process can be time consuming, but if you do a thorough job up front, you’ll save time and money in the long term,” (Weidner, 2009:11).  So, OK, so Penn State says let’s make some money fracking!

While I’m pleased they advertise caution… It’s just packaged in a way that is so fracking friendly.  It offers possibility to economic wealth, noting the risks, but DUH those big risks are what make you money, right?  WRONG.

If people really want to make money they should wait until supply goes down and demand goes.  As it appears right now the companies will get homeowners to sign a lease, wait until the prices fall like right now and then drill.  This way the homeowner is paid off the market value when drilling took place, the companies store the natural gas and they can then receive all the financial benefits.  This is of course a theory based on circumstance, but does anyone else see the potential for complete economic crisis at the hands of drilling?

Fracking: Don’t Frack Us (Video)

Fracking: Open Letter to John Kasich (Video)



Fracking in Massillon Ohio: Committee Meeting Review

Last night was Massillon City’s Counsel Meeting and all members appeared to be present.  The big topic of discussion, as stated in the Canton Repository: Drilling.  Things got pretty heated at this work session.

At the counsel meeting Monday June  20, the counsel members told the people they could discuss the topic “next Monday” (June 27-Yesterday).  After listening to a frustrating speech by Vice President of land of Ohio Valley, Ben Funderburg, the people wanted to talk and address their concerns (myself included).

I’m going to start with what Mr. Funderburg was presenting: their plan to drill.  They’re offering Massillon a $50,000 signing bonus with 12.5% royalty.  Compared to other offerings I have read about, the City of Massillon is getting a pretty terrible deal.  $50,000 will hardly pay a years salary with benefits for a public employee.  The 12.5% royalty on the wells production… Well that’s an unknown, unprojected amount.

One resident brought the City Counsel an “article” from the Wall Street Journal– Though it is a piece featured in the “opinion” section. He asserted that the oil industry is getting a “bad rap”.  Let us note here, he works for an unrelated oil company.  These energy companies: oil and natural gas alike have one goal in mind: money.

The talk is natural gas can pull us out of our economic down turn and provide us with energy for 50-110 years (depending on where you look).  Our shale formations are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas!  Tom Bearden of PBS recalls the oil boom of the 1980′s in Colorado.  The shale drilling had short boom and a quick bust that devastated what was once a peaceful community.  The jobs and economic growth it brought lasted approximately 4 years and when Exxon pulled out, it left the town broken.

Tom returned earlier this month to uncover yet another energy boom, but this time the boom is for natural gas.  Natural gas is still expensive to extract and some local residents of Garfield County are convinced that fracking is polluting their land and their water.  What is it going to do to their economy?

New York Times  released an article on June 26h that calls to question the profitability of these natural gas wells.  Ian Urbine shares hundreds of industry documents and e-mails that state natural gas profitability claims may not be all they’re cracked up to be.  “Another Ponzi Scheme”.  Apparently they are not as cheap as the industry had initially predicted, and they are not as profitable.  These documents cast the same shadow as the housing crash that America has not even partially recovered from.  Can we afford to take another a hit?  Is it mere coincidence that Massillon and other areas throughout Ohio are being offered less money now as opposed to the duration of time “drill baby drill” was getting started?

Environmental effects are important, but what seems to win all debates here in America: money.  Show me the money!  Well, we first have to understand where the money is going and how much is really going back into local communities (those little things big companies are exploiting while on their quest for natural resources).  Whose benefitting here?

Texas attorney Kurt Arnold discusses the economic downturn for individuals.  The property damage that has occurred as well as cases of illness due to water contamination is raising eyebrows.  The United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce released a study in April of 2011 that called the energy leaders into question.  They cited 750 chemicals contained in fracking fluid: some harmless, others a cause for major concern (Benzene, Lead, Methanol…).

“Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2) regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. These 29 chemicals were components of more than 650 different products used in hydraulic fracturing.”

These findings work against the promises Mr. Funderburg discussed with Counsel members.  He provided documents such as “Gasland Debunked”, assured members that the fluid used to extract natural gas was not toxic and in fact majority of the fluid was water (99.5%).  Now, I’m no chemist, but I know a little dose of a chemicals can cause a major reaction.  Even products consumers regularly consume such as Diet Coke and Mentos: drop a mentos in a 2 liter Diet Coke and watch!  So is it really that hard to believe that a small amount of extremely toxic chemicals combined with water could actually harm people?  I think not.

Apparently I have more questions than answers.  I will say this, I need security right now.  I think America needs security, not an industry with so many question marks around it.  We won’t know the economic effects of the disastrous spills and groundwater contamination for quite some time.  The damages done to the roads in Pennsylvania alone are costing tax payers money.

I seem to notice a pattern, any time the country hops on board and follows the next big industry boom,  people usually get the short end of the stick.  Let’s just look back to that bailout money we dished out (we- taxpayers) to save our jobs and our securities.  The only thing we accomplished was permitting other banks to buy out other banks and the CEOs got to cut-and-run.  Meanwhile, countless families lost their homes and watched their property values continue to drop.  Subprime mortgages didn’t just affect disadvantaged neighborhoods, it hit everyone.

Prior to the collapse, we listened to industry executives preach about buying, buying, selling, selling, investing and investing in homes and the housing market.  Everyone could afford to get into a home!  Boy, did that impact everybody or what?  Only to learn we were lied to: packaged and sold things– And then consumer’s negligence was to blame.  Apparently we should have known the market was going to do that and we should have known not sign on an Adjustable Rate Mortgage.

We need specialists.  What happens when we can’t trust them?  A Vice President of land of a natural gas company should be able to properly explain the drilling process.  Instead, Funderburg managed to speak in circles without answering the simple “yes” or “no” question to if they were drilling horizontally.  The answer… Well, that’s still subject to debate.  Does he think we’re stupid?

The VP was asked to discuss the integrity of the company and how they plan to keep the citizens safe.  He proceeded to tell the committee that Ohio Valley only had one incident that involved one family and they got it under control and everything was fine.  This was not the case in Geauga County as I pointed out after the committee allowed residents and others to speak, such as myself.  Fact: 41 residents were on that claim and you see a copy for yourself, it is public record.  The claim on behalf of the 41 people stated “negligence”, “hazardous”…. And if the VP confused the number forty-one with one…. I don’t know how I feel about this company utilizing city property.

Yet again, people are falling into the trap.  It’s the formula: instant gratification + promise of future wealth and a positive return on investment= American Dream.  The problem is, these guys don’t operate in the same world you and I do.  They aren’t in situations wondering if they’re paychecks are going to carry them through the next month (assuming they have one).  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 509,152 Ohioans are unemployed.  I will note here, these numbers are reflective of the people who claim unemployment.  The preliminary figure for Ohio’s unemployment rate for May 2011 (without seasonal adjustments) is 8.6%.  Canton-Massillon’s unemployment rate is stated as 9.3% (a drop from March’s rate a 10%).  Either way, the unemployment rate of Canton-Massillon is higher than the state’s unemployment rate.

The energy companies not in a state of desperation.  They’re in a world of immediate profitability and playing a game: beating the previous quarter, accumulating wealth and not disbursing it back into the communities.  They can afford to take risks that Ohio residents and government alike cannot.  They are stripping the value out of communities.  For most Americans, our homes are our only source of wealth.  If we don’t have property values, what do we have?

Where does Ohio Valley want to put their wells?  In a parking lot around a community that primarily rents according to Ward 4’s counsel member, Tony Townsend, who passionately conveyed his concern for the people that are going to be affected by the drilling.  These are the people that don’t have a voice because they don’t own their property.  A resident from the 4th Ward, Kathleen Spencer, addressed her concern for the increased number of children in the area without access to sidewalks.  How were these kids going to travel to school safely with the increased traffic and absence of a sidewalk?  Additionally, what about the seniors in the area that are in poor health conditions and need of good rest?  Drilling is noisy and the dust could cause irritation for anyone with allergies.

Property values were also brought up.  How were residents going to be guaranteed that their property values wouldn’t drop anymore than they already have because of Ohio’s current economic turmoil: especially in Massillon?  The answer is unknown.  The economic benefits are artificial– No one can predict the future.  Last time we relied on future predictions and rapidly invested based on future markets the people lost big and the heavy hitters of the industries made out.  You know, I wanted to be a dolphin so bad as a kid, true story.  However, it wasn’t practical.  As I got a little older I figured marine biology would be cool (until I took a biology course).  It wasn’t practical for me because in reality, I just wanted to play with the dolphins.  My point here is we can have goals and dreams, but more often than not, they need modified to meet our needs and reality.  Is gambling our already rocky future practical or possible?

Most people who have $50 to their name, wouldn’t run to the casino if they had a family to feed.  If they did, chances are they have a problem.  Ohio is in a pathetic economic state.  Are we really willing to gamble what little money we have to fix the known damages caused by drilling?  Is $50,000 going to fix roads, clean up the air, relocate residents that are negatively impacted by dust and debris caused by drilling?  Will Massillon’s royalty cover it?  Are we really willing to risk our health, our quality of life for $50,000 and a royalty?

When purchasing a home a prospective buyer is not just looking at the condition of the home, but the future it brings.  When someone owns a home, the convenience of renting goes out the window… If your water tank goes out: that’s it!  It’s on the home owner to replace.  A tenant may not care about the property value… gas companies that want to hurry up and have residents sign a lease they created, removing responsibility from the company because it’s not their land.  They’re the tenants. Are they racking up the costs for home owners and tax payers?  They’re offering royalties, but how much are those going to pay out?  Will residents see more than a couple dollars per month?  How much will the City of Massillon see off of royalties?  How will Massillon’s decision impact other communities, and will the City of Massillon be held responsible for any claims made by other cities that may be negatively impacted by drilling– Or will Ohio Valley foot the bill?

These companies talk about job creation– Why do they have their workers travel to locations then?  How many jobs are they opening in each community?  How many people are the energy companies turning away from the communities they drill in?  If there is too much supply and not enough demand, what happens?  What about the health costs?  The property damage costs?  See… More questions than answers… And until these questions can be answered in ways that are consistent… I SAY BAN!



America Likes Stupid

I’m watching Family Guy and its the episode where Brian dates Lauren Conrad.  Turns out Lauren Conrad is a genius and studies molecular biology.  However, she holds a conversation with Brian about how America doesn’t like smart… They like stupid.

I don’t have cable.  I sure do miss some shows, but more often than not I’m overly exposed to the crap I don’t want anything to do with.  Reality TV is not real… There is nothing real about cameras following people around and staging certain events.  Having the convenience of Netflix, it is so much easier to be in control of what I watch and what sort of advertisements my daughter is exposed to.  The internet seems to be this place where anyone can find exactly what they’re looking for… What meets their needs.  And then there are places that bring all kinds of people together from all over the world.  For example, Facebook.  The internet is a way we can reach one another.  Sure there are still gatekeepers, but it’s limited.

It’s a place where people can share what they know… Share false information… Steal… I mean, really, the internet is almost complete anarchy.  My intention was to develop these thoughts further…. However, I think I’m going to let my wheels turn and revisit this topic some day.