What You Won’t Hear from the Big Party Candidates

Here is a short list of what you won’t hear much of from the
front-runners in this presidential primary season. Call them the
candidate taboos.

* You won’t hear a call for a national crackdown on the corporate crime,
fraud, and abuse that have robbed trillions of dollars from workers,
investors, pension holders, taxpayers and consumers. Among the reforms
that won’t be suggested are providing resources to prosecute executive
crooks and laws to democratize corporate governance so shareholders have
real power. Candidates will not shout for a payback of ill-gotten gains,
to rein in executive pay, or to demand corporate sunshine laws.

* You won’t hear a demand that workers receive a living wage instead of
a minimum wage. There will be no backing for a repeal of the anti-union
Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which has blocked more than 40 million workers
from forming or joining trade unions to improve wages and benefits above
Wal-Mart or McDonald’s levels.

* You won’t hear for a call for a withdrawal from the WTO and NAFTA.
Renegotiated trade agreements should stick to trade while labor,
environmental, and consumer rights are advanced by separate treaties
without being subordinated to the dictates of international commerce.

* You won’t hear a call for our income tax system to be substantially
revamped so that workers can keep more of their wages while we tax the
things we like least, such as pollution, stock speculation, addictive
industries, and energy guzzling technologies. Nor will you hear that
corporations should be required to pay their fair share; corporate tax
contributions as a percent of the overall federal revenue stream have
been declining for 50 years.

* You won’t hear a call for a single payer health system. Almost sixty
years after President Truman first proposed it, we still need health
insurance for everyone, a program with quality and cost controls and an
emphasis on prevention. Full Medicare for everyone will save thousands
of lives a year while maintaining patient choice of doctors and
hospitals within a competitive private health care delivery system.

* There is no reason to believe that the candidates will stand up to the
commercial interests profiting from our current energy situation. We
need a major environmental health agenda that challenges these
entrenched interests with major new initiatives in solar energy,
doubling motor vehicle fuel efficiency, and other quantified sustainable
and clean energy technologies. Nor will there be adequate recognition
that current fossil fuels are producing not just global warming, but
also cancer, respiratory diseases, and geopolitical entanglements.
Finally, there will be no calls for ending environmental racism that
leads to more contaminated water, air, and toxic dumps in poorer
neighborhoods.

* The candidates will not demand a reduction in the military budget that
devours half the federal government’s operating expenditures at a time
when there is no Soviet Union or other major state enemy in the world.
Studies by the General Accounting Office and internal Pentagon
assessments support the judgment of many retired admirals and generals
that a wasteful defense weakens our country and distorts priorities at home.

* You won’t hear a consistent clarion call for electoral reform. Both
parties have shamelessly engaged in gerrymandering, a process that
guarantees reelection of their candidates at the expense of frustrated
voters. Nor will there be serious proposals that millions of law-abiding
ex-felons be allowed to vote.

Other electoral reforms should include reducing barriers to candidates,
same day registration, a voter verified paper record for electronic
voting, run-off voting to insure winners receive a majority vote,
binding none-of-the-above choices and most important, full public
financing to guarantee clean elections.

* You won’t hear much about a failed war on drugs that costs nearly $50
billion annually. And the major candidates will not argue that addicts
should be treated rather than imprisoned. Nor should observers hope for
any call to repeal the “three strikes and you’re out” laws that have
needlessly filled our jails or to end mandatory sentencing that
hamstrings our judges.

* The candidates will ignore the diverse Israeli peace movement whose
members have developed accords for a two state solution with their
Palestinian and American counterparts. It is time to replace the
Washington puppet show with a real Washington peace show for the
security of the American, Palestinian, and Israeli people.

* You won’t hear the candidates stand up to business interests that have
backed changes to our civil justice system that restrict or close the
courtroom to wrongfully injured and cheated individuals, but not to
corporations. Where is the vocal campaign against fraud and injury upon
innocent patients, consumers, and workers? We should make it easier for
consumers to band together and defend themselves against harmful
practices in the marketplace.

Voters should visit the webpages of the major party candidates. See what
they say, and see what they do not say. Then email or send a letter to
any or all the candidates and ask them why they are avoiding these
issues. Breaking the taboos won’t start with the candidates. Maybe it
can start with the voters.

Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State (2014), among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President. Read other articles by Ralph, or visit Ralph's website.

22 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Donald Hawkins said on January 15th, 2008 at 10:45am #

    Nirad Mudur/Newindpress
    Bangalore, Jan 15: A new research connecting global warming with glacial melt and sea-level rise is set to stir a hornet’s nest with its finding that glacial formation existed millions of years ago when global temperatures were much higher than at present.
    A key discovery of glacial existence 90 million years ago (Cretaceous period), despite temperatures being 10 degrees Celsius warmer than today, has opened a whole new way for climate scientists to analyse the chemistry between warm temperatures, glacial melt and sea-level increase in today’s perspective.
    The study challenges the generally accepted belief that substantial ice sheets could not have existed on Earth during the Cretaceous Age about 90 million years ago, as temperatures were much higher than at present.
    The study “Isotopic Evidence for Glaciation During the Cretaceous Supergreenhouse”, published in the January 11 issue of the journal `Science’, is found consistent with other studies from Russia and New Jersey which showed that sea level actually fell by about 25-40 metres (82 to 131 feet) during the Cretaceous period when ice sheets were growing despite a warmer Earth.
    Researchers Richard Norris, professor of paleobiology at Scripps Oceanography, and Andre Bornemann, post doctoral researcher, compared stable isotopes of oxygen molecules (d18O) from microfossils in the bottom and surface of the ocean to show that changes in ocean chemistry were consistent with the growth of an ice sheet.
    The second independent method too confirmed that an ice sheet about 50-60 per cent the size of the modern Antarctic ice cap existed for about 200,000 years.
    “This study demonstrates that even super-warm climates of the Cretaceous Thermal Maximum were not warm enough to prevent ice growth,” said Norris.
    The study found that a glacial ice cap, about half the size of modern day glacial ice sheets, existed 91 million years ago during a period of intense global warming.
    This extreme warming event then had raised tropical ocean temperatures during the Cretaceous period to 35-37 degrees C (95-98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) – - about 10 degrees C (18 degrees F) warmer than today — creating an intense greenhouse climate.
    The researchers suspect past greenhouse climates may have aided ice growth by increasing the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, creating more winter snowfall at high elevations and high latitudes to perpetuate glacier formations despite higher temperatures.
    Could this recur is a question that climate scientists may have to focus on.
    What does it all mean. At first warmer summers and much colder winters with more snow and rain. It looks like extremes in both directions. We are already seeing this cold then to warm this winter. This is what Richard Alley found in ice cores about 11,000 years ago. One thing for sure a very good idea to stop levels of CO 2 at these levels or lower them in time and soon.

    James Hansen January 14, 2008
    Summary. The Southern Oscillation and the solar cycle have significant effects on yearto-
    year global temperature change. Because both of these natural effects were in their cool
    phases in 2007, the unusual warmth of 2007 is all the more notable. It is apparent that there is no
    letup in the steep global warming trend of the past 30 years (see 5-year mean curve in Figure 1a).
    “Global warming stopped in 1998” has become a recent mantra of those who wish to
    deny the reality of human-caused global warming. The continued rapid increase of the five-year
    running mean temperature exposes this assertion as nonsense. In reality, global temperature
    jumped two standard deviations above the trend line in 1998 because the “El Nino of the
    century” coincided with the calendar year, but there has been no lessening of the underlying
    warming trend.
    Global predictions. The quasi-regularity of some natural climate forcing mechanisms,
    combined with knowledge of human-made forcings, allows projection of near-term global
    temperature trends with reasonably high confidence. Prediction for a specific year is a bit
    hazardous, as evidenced by an incorrect prediction of record global warmth made by the British
    climate analysis group for 2007. Such speculations are useful, as they draw attention to the
    mechanisms, and allow testing of understanding. Presumably part of the basis for their
    prediction was an assumption of a continued warming contribution from the 2006 El Nino.
    However, evidence of El Nino warmth disappeared very early in 2007.
    Solar irradiance will still be on or near its flat-bottomed minimum in 2008. Temperature
    tendency associated with the solar cycle, because of the Earth’s thermal inertia, has its minimum
    delayed by almost a quarter cycle, i.e., about two years. Thus solar change should not contribute
    significantly to temperature change in 2008.
    La Nina cooling in the second half of 2007 (Figure 2) is about as intense as the regional
    cooling associated with any La Nina of the past half century, as shown by comparison to Plate 9
    in Hansen et al. (http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1999/1999_Hansen_etal.pdf) and updates to Plate
    9 on the GISS web site. Effect of the current La Nina on global surface temperature is likely to
    continue for at least the first several months of 2008. Based on sequences of Pacific Ocean
    surface temperature patterns in Plate 9, a next El Nino in 2009 or 2010 is perhaps the most likely
    timing. But whatever year it occurs, it is a pretty safe bet that the next El Nino will help carry
    global temperature to a significantly higher level.
    Competing with the short-term solar and La Nina cooling effects is the long-term global
    warming effect of human-made GHGs. The latter includes the trend toward less Arctic sea ice
    that markedly increases high latitude Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Although sea ice
    cover fluctuates from year to year, the large recent loss of thick multi-year ice implies that this
    warming effect at high latitudes should persist.
    Based on these considerations, it is unlikely that 2008 will be a year with an unusual
    global temperature change, i.e., it is likely to remain close to the range of (high) values exhibited
    in 2002-2007. On the other hand, when the next El Nino occurs it is likely to carry global
    temperature to a significantly higher level than has occurred in recent centuries, probably higher
    than any year in recent millennia. Thus we suggest that, barring the unlikely event of a large
    volcanic eruption, a record global temperature clearly exceeding that of 2005 can be expected
    within the next 2-3 years.

    You will not hear any candidate say that if we don’t make climate change a total focus not only for the United States but China, India and the rest of the World all of the things we talk about now are somewhat academic and even if we go after climate change 100% most of what we talk about now is academic, change yes you could certainly say that.

  2. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 15th, 2008 at 10:56am #

    And from the little party candidates, Ralph Nader? If you are the Green Party’s standard-bearer, will we not hear a clear call for Impeachment of Bush and Cheney followed by the same clear call for Impeachment of any new president in January committed to continuing the Iraq War?

    DH. Pretend for a moment that many article-writers focus on issues which can be addressed domestically, since the influence we exert over “the rest of the World,” not to mention over “China (and) India” is limited, whoever you think “we” are.

  3. Donald Hawkins said on January 15th, 2008 at 11:00am #

    Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica
    By Marc Kaufman
    The Washington Post

    Monday 14 January 2008

    Sheets melting in an area once thought to be unaffected by global warming.
    Climatic changes appear to be destabilizing vast ice sheets of western Antarctica that had previously seemed relatively protected from global warming, researchers reported yesterday, raising the prospect of faster sea-level rise than current estimates.

    While the overall loss is a tiny fraction of the miles-deep ice that covers much of Antarctica, scientists said the new finding is important because the continent holds about 90 percent of Earth’s ice, and until now, large-scale ice loss there had been limited to the peninsula that juts out toward the tip of South America. In addition, researchers found that the rate of ice loss in the affected areas has accelerated over the past 10 years – as it has on most glaciers and ice sheets around the world.

    “Without doubt, Antarctica as a whole is now losing ice yearly, and each year it’s losing more,” said Eric Rignot, lead author of a paper published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

    The Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking despite land temperatures for the continent remaining essentially unchanged, except for the fast-warming peninsula.

    The cause, Rignot said, may be changes in the flow of the warmer water of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that circles much of the continent. Because of changed wind patterns and less-well-understood dynamics of the submerged current, its water is coming closer to land in some sectors and melting the edges of glaciers deep underwater.

    “Something must be changing the ocean to trigger such changes,” said Rignot, a senior scientist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We believe it is related to global climate forcing.”

    Rignot said the tonnage of yearly ice loss in Antarctica is approaching that of Greenland, where ice sheets are known to be melting rapidly in some parts and where ancient glaciers have been in retreat. He said the change in Antarctica could become considerably more dramatic because the continent’s western shelf, an expanse of ice and snow roughly the size of Texas, is largely below sea level and has broad and flat expanses of ice that could move quickly. Much of Greenland’s ice flows through relatively narrow valleys in mountainous terrain, which slows its motion.

    The new finding comes days after the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the group’s next report should look at the “frightening” possibility that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could melt rapidly at the same time.

    “Both Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheet are huge bodies of ice and snow, which are sitting on land,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chief of the IPCC, the United Nations’ scientific advisory group. “If, through a process of melting, they collapse and are submerged in the sea, then we really are talking about sea-level rises of several meters.” (A meter is about a yard.) Last year, the IPCC tentatively estimated that sea levels would rise by eight inches to two feet by the end of the century, assuming no melting in West Antarctica.

    The new Antarctic ice findings are based on mapping of 85 percent of the continent over the past decade using radar data from European, Japanese and Canadian weather satellites. Previous studies had detected the beginning of ice loss in West Antarctica and substantial loss along the peninsula, but the current research found significantly greater changes.

    Rignot and his team found that East Antarctica, which holds a majority of the continent’s ice, has not experienced the same kind of loss – probably because most of the ice sits atop land rather than below sea level, as in the west. In several coastal areas of East Antarctica, however, small but similar losses have been detected, he said.

    In all, snowfall and ice loss in East Antarctica have about equaled out over the past 10 years, leaving that part of the continent unchanged in terms of total ice. But in West Antarctica, the ice loss has increased by 59 percent over the past decade to about 132 billion metric tons a year, while the yearly loss along the peninsula has increased by 140 percent to 60 billion metric tons. Because the ice being lost is generally near the bottom of glaciers, the glacier moves faster into the water and thins further, as a result. Rignot said there has been evidence of ice loss going back as far as 40 years.

    The new findings come as the Arctic is losing ice at a dramatic rate and glaciers are in retreat across the planet. At a recent annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Ohio State University professor Lonnie Thompson delivered a keynote lecture that described a significant speed-up in the melting of high-altitude glaciers in tropical regions, including Peru, Tibet and Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya.

    Thompson, who has studied the Quelccaya glacier in the Peruvian Andes for 30 years, said that for the first half of that period, it retreated on average 20 feet per year. For the past 15 years, he said, it has retreated an average of nearly 200 feet per year.

    “The information from Antarctica is consistent with what we are seeing in all other areas with glaciers – a melting or retreat that is occurring faster than predicted,” he said. “Glaciers, and especially the high-elevation tropical glaciers, are a real canary in the coal mine. They’re telling us that major climatic changes are occurring.”

    While the phenomenon of ice loss worldwide is well documented, the dynamics in the Antarctic are probably the least understood. Glaciers and ice sheets are sometimes miles deep, and researchers do not know what might be happening at the bottom of the ice – but it clearly is being lost along the peninsula and West Antarctic coast.

    Rignot theorizes that the warmer water of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is the cause. Douglas Martinson, a senior research scientist fellow at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, has studied the issue and agrees.

    Martinson said the current, which flows about 200 yards below the frigid surface water, began to warm significantly in the 1980s, and that warming in turn caused wind patterns to change in ways that ultimately brought more warm water to shore. The result has been an increased erosion of the glaciers and ice sheets.

    Martinson said researchers do not have enough data to say for certain that the process was set in motion by global warming, but “that is clearly the most logical answer.”

    Pachauri, the IPCC’s chief of climate science, will visit Antarctica this week with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to get a firsthand view of the situation.

    “You can read as much as you want on these subjects, but it doesn’t really enter your system. You don’t really appreciate the enormity of what you have,” Pachauri said.

    Could a Presidential candidate say,” people when it comes to climate change you don’t really appreciate the enormity of what you have.”

  4. Donald Hawkins said on January 15th, 2008 at 11:19am #

    Lloyd that is why it is so important to start talks now with China and India and don’t stop until action is taken. Right now China and India have a very good idea how much trouble they are in just unsure how to go after the problem. There are some very smart people right now trying as best they can to get this action started but unfortunately a lot of these World policy makers are not what you would call thinkers so they need help. Here is an example. The Olympics in China well the government there has moved all the coal fired plants a few hundred miles away from Beijing and shut factors to clean the air to show the World how smart they are. Do you have any idea what Bush has done in the last 7 years to keep any progress on climate change or just keep the truth from people. Corporations Worldwide what is there main goal. To increase shareholder value anyway they can, you know coal it’s what’s for dinner.

  5. Donald Hawkins said on January 15th, 2008 at 11:51am #

    Pachauri, the IPCC’s chief of climate science why did he just say, “You can read as much as you want on these subjects, but it doesn’t really enter your system. You don’t really appreciate the enormity of what you have.” Now does this man just want to just scare people? No he understands the problem and is trying to tell people and start real action to slow this down. Who is trying to not get the word out or take action on climate change and stop people like Pachauri who as we all know is a Socialist and trying to change the entire Capitalist system Worldwide so he and his left wing buddies can control the entire Planet. I heard that on Glenn Beck the other night. Anyway who are the people on this Planet who stand to lose the most if we go after climate change? The people who make most of the money, big money. I find that fascinating as even if we go after climate change 100% I think the big money day’s are over at least for a few years.

  6. Donald Hawkins said on January 15th, 2008 at 12:11pm #

    How about this. Outside my front door in South Georgia last week it was record high temperatures. Then it got cold. A picture on the front page of the local paper showed frozen Blueberries. Last season we lost most of the Blueberry crop and corn and hay for the animals same reason because the weather is going haywire. The crops don’t know what to do anymore. Well they do they just don’t grow up to be big plants or don’t make it at all. Anybody else have unusual weather out there front door?

  7. Donald Hawkins said on January 15th, 2008 at 12:46pm #

    “Global warming stopped in 1998” has become a recent mantra of those who wish to
    deny the reality of human-caused global warming. The continued rapid increase of the five-year
    running mean temperature exposes this assertion as nonsense. In reality, global temperature
    jumped two standard deviations above the trend line in 1998 because the “El Nino of the
    century” coincided with the calendar year, but there has been no lessening of the underlying
    warming trend.
    Why is James Hansen doing this? Let’s see he was the first person at NASA to stand up against this administration I guess he got tired of listening to people above him say, “You can’t say that”. James Hansen is not only brilliant he’s got gut’s. Now who are the people who wish to deny the reality of human-caused global warming? The people who stand to lose the most money, coal is what’s for dinner. They know not what they

  8. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 15th, 2008 at 3:37pm #

    DH. How about this? The reason 70% of the American public is purportedly against the Iraq War is because global warming scares the shit out of them. But the only sure way this country’s corporate imperialists can be sure of not conforming to the policies so evidently required to meet the global temperature crisis, is to keep the Iraq War going.

    And may I point out that so far, you’ve completely missed the boat today? It’s the thread following Mr. Blum’s piece where everyone is gathering, and unanswered screeds will be lost in the anonymity of different posters, most of whom doubtless sojourn to Dissident Voice monthly to comment on Mr. Blum’s revelations.

  9. Donald Hawkins said on January 15th, 2008 at 4:37pm #

    Stop the war stop the warming. That just happened a few months back. Somehow we need 250 million people on the same page. I agree we need to get out of Iraq. Maybe after this summer a few more people will come out of there sleep. It’s the economy stupid. Oh no it isn’t it’s the survival of the human race. Stop the War and stop the warming. Stop the funding.

  10. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 15th, 2008 at 5:13pm #

    If anyone is still reading this column, and would like to find the same Ralph Nader article posted to a website – a really various and wonderful website — with slightly greater restrictions on posters, check out “White Light Black Light”. Ralph’s piece is the third one down.

  11. stacy stites said on January 15th, 2008 at 10:46pm #

    If you have read this article and hope for a candidate who will call for each and every one of these items, I urge you to look at

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com

    Dr. Paul is actively championing 7 of these 10 issues. He is the only answer for this country. Everyone else will give us more of the same.

  12. stacy stites said on January 15th, 2008 at 10:48pm #

    I meant “who will call for most of these items”.

  13. Donald Hawkins said on January 16th, 2008 at 7:05am #

    Last night in Nevada the debates. One question was asked to John Edwards. Tim said he had talked with some people and it looks like the population will be 9 billion by 2050. That means we could double the amount of CO 2 by 2050. John said wind, solar and cellulosic fuels. Not nuclear. Now Obama has all the words down but the mind is not really working. Then Hillary said an Apollo project but kind of laughed as she said it. A better way to put it she said it in a way like people would think she was just not right. A little secret you don’t double CO 2 levels. When John was asked that question it stopped him for a second as he had to think how to answer that question. Yes that was just the way it was done. When John was asked that question how about if he said, “You can read as much as you want on these subjects, but it doesn’t really enter your system. You don’t really appreciate the enormity of what you have.” Why couldn’t he say that? Pachauri of course said that but as we all know is a Socialist and trying to change the entire Capitalist system Worldwide so he and his left wing buddies can control the entire Planet. I heard that on Glenn Beck the other night. Thank you Glenn that is clearly the most logical answer

  14. Raul said on January 16th, 2008 at 10:22am #

    The Front runners don’t talk about this. Ron Paul Does. Its The Freedom message, that speaks to all.

  15. Mike McNiven said on January 16th, 2008 at 11:40am #

    Mr.Nader,

    Please srart running your presidential campaign right away! Please do not wait until the last sixty days! Please ask for contributions now, so the progressives could start organizing for your victory! Thanks!

  16. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 16th, 2008 at 1:08pm #

    Actually, folks, I posted the preceding in haste. To find Mr. Nader’s column without screeds of comments, you must:

    (1) Google to “WHITE LIGHT BLACK LIGHT”
    (2) A page comes up with “Department of Citizen Alice” at the top. Click on it.
    (3) A website “Department of Citizen Alice” comes up. Scroll WAY down to “Links”. The first link is “WHITE LIGHT BLACK LIGHT”. Click on that link.
    (4) A website “WHITE LIGHT BLACK LIGHT” comes up. Scroll down to the third article. It is Mr. Nader’s.

    This website is not only really various and wonderful, it is very timely. Save it.

    Lloyd Rowsey

  17. dan elliott said on January 16th, 2008 at 5:42pm #

    Aha! Ralph Nader is a closet Zionist! Still trying to peddle the “Two-State Illusion”! And I actually helped his trip along a cpl times. Well, Mea Culpa, my bad, you live & learn.

    Anybody who thinks the f88kng Isreali racist gangsters are going to “negotiate” when not faced with overwhelming Force Majeure has a hole in her/his head.

    But Foreign Policy has never been Ralph’s focus; he ignored Vietnam while focussed on fixing some of Consumer America’s weak points.

    I had thought that, if Cynthia cut a deal to have RN as a running mate, I’d support it. But after this brilliant statement, for her to do that would mean SHE’s developed a hole in her head. So I don’t think the “Green Dreem” ticket is likely to become a reality.

    Donald Hawkins: only way any of the changes you call for will happen is if the bunch currently in control are ousted & replaced by others with a diff. agenda. So who is it exactly that has control of the Congress, Exec Branch & a majority on the Supine Court? Who controls the information available to the avg. Everyday American?

    Answer: Republicans and Democrats, with most of the Greens (incl, alas, Mr Nader) running interference.

    Anybody who will not condemn the Israel Lobby isn’t serious about making the kind of change we need. Anybody who keeps prating about a “peace deal” with the Israeli Fascists is part of the scam, consciously or not.

  18. Donald Hawkins said on January 17th, 2008 at 4:27am #

    Global warming speeds up Race for North Pole
    London , 15 January 2008 – Global warming is accelerating the quest for the North Pole’s vast energy resources, which are becoming accessible due to the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, Jane’s Defence Weekly reports. Claiming Arctic sovereignty is fast becoming a high-stakes – and potentially dangerous – game.
    Unsurprisingly, the Arctic nations are locked in territorial disputes. Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the USA are all vying for access. Their claims may become even more contentious should energy reserves be proven to be recoverable in the vast, unforgiving environment.
    A preliminary assessment by the US Geological Survey (USGS) suggests the Arctic seabed may hold as much as 25 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves. Diminishing ice coverage will make extracting resources in the North Pole more feasible.
    The Northwest Passage opened for the first time in human memory in 2007 and is poised to become a premium navigation route. As an alternative to the Panama Canal, it would cut roughly 7,000 km from the traditional shipping route between Asia and Europe, saving shippers fuel and time.
    No country has clear legal authority to conduct maritime interdictions, ensure safe transit of commercial shippers or conduct routine surveillance of maritime traffic. This lack of clear jurisdiction has created a major security vacuum in the waterway.
    “There is a risk that the Northwest Passage will become attractive to those who wish to traffic in weapons of mass destruction, missile components, centrifuges and other things of both national and global security concern,” said Michael Byers, an Arctic expert at the University of British Columbia.
    Sovereign rights to energy resources in the Arctic seabed are also still largely undetermined under international law. The UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides a legal framework to govern all uses of the world’s oceans and resources, but the major players in the Arctic are still gathering evidence to bolster their own claims under the treaty. The US has not even ratified the UNCLOS.
    Competition to claim parts of the Arctic seabed is likely to intensify as Arctic energy reserves become more accessible and the price for oil rises. The region could be ice-free in the month of September as early as 2040, according to a 2006 study sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and NASA.
    Arctic powers are expanding their military and civilian footprints in the region. Canada, Russia and the US are investing in northern-capable research, surveillance and combat assets and boosting their Arctic operations tempo to include more military exercises, overflights and exploration missions using icebreakers. Forces operating in the Arctic region are exploring the full range of military capabilities, since there is no ban on weapons in the Arctic as there is in Antarctica.
    Some experts say the build-up suggests that debates about Arctic sovereignty and security have reached a critical juncture: progress must be made on the diplomatic front or conflict may be unavoidable. The critical question is whether territorial disputes in the Arctic will descend from diplomatic annoyances to military brinkmanship or even armed conflict.
    - Ends –

    Yes that is just the way it was done. A little secret by 2040 to get the oil and gas from the North will probably not be on the table.

  19. Mike McNiven said on January 17th, 2008 at 11:04am #

    Cindy Sheehan, Angela Davis, Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, and other like minded people they all need to run for any and all elected offices! NOW! Confronting corporatism, imperialism, zionism, racism, sexism, xenophobia is not a one man’s job! Everyday, thousands of prople are dying an early death because of the existing ruling classes!

  20. dan elliott said on January 17th, 2008 at 5:59pm #

    Mike McN! Another victim of the Gramscian Fallacy! But not to worry, you have lots of company;)

  21. Mike McNiven said on January 18th, 2008 at 6:15pm #

    dan ell! Please put a proposal for a non-fascist change and I would support it! (as you know well, Obama and Clinton’s “change” plans are fascistic: republicans, democrats, independents come together is Mussolini stuff ) The victims of imperialism/zionism can’t wait anymore. Doing nothing is not an option when the imperialist/zionist policies are killing at least five thousands children everyday on this planet!

  22. Lloyd Rowsey said on February 15th, 2008 at 8:50am #

    Jeeeeez. How about everyone stepping back one small step, and using three words carefully: Jewish, Zionist, Israeli. That being in order of their present historical relevance. (Although I would recommend using “Israeli-ist” for “Israeli”)