Shaken to our core: Making the case for regime change

Shaken to our core:  Making the case for regime change

On this Labor Day Holiday when we should be celebrating our working class roots and remembering those who fought, bled and died for the rights of all working people, we here along the most conservative stretch of Old Route 66 are reeling and regrouping from a very sobering weekend.  Forget the fact that our beloved #3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners football team led by the longest tenured head coach in Division 1A got their asses handed to them in their season opener by the #15 ranked Houston Cougars in Houston by a score of 33 to 23 in a game that really was not as close as the final score indicates.  Every snap was witnessed by Yours Truly donned in Gameday attire and I will vouch that it was a terrible sight for a sober fan and I’m sure not much better for the tipsy ones.  I look for Sooner Head Coach Bob Stoops to get a lot of heat for this abject failure.  I will also admit that I have heard many murmurings from some very dedicated and increasingly restless OU fans to the effect that Stoops has outlasted his usefulness in Norman.  The one silver lining is that this loss was Game #1, not Game #12.  We’ll see how well he can fix what is wrong with his team before the jury comes back on his continuation at the helm.  I will say that for the foreseeable future Stoops will stay where he is, steady on, losses be damned.

Sooners

Had OU’s season opening embarrassment been the only cataclysm of the weekend it alone would be reason enough to exude concern and consternation toeing the line of the irrational.  It however occurred in the wake of an event that portends something much more sinister.  Kickoff of OU’s latest misadventure came a mere four hours and a few minutes after a natural event that was widespread and intense enough to capture the attention of enough people to matter.  On Saturday, September 3rd at 7:03 AM, I was standing in the living room of my home after having just come down from the upstairs when the entire house and everything in it began to shake as if in a gale force wind!  The detectable shaking lasted the better part of one minute after which I walked over to my patio door, opened it and noted it was a very mild and calm day.  I turned on the TV and tuned to the local Fox affiliate and sure enough they were reporting what was eventually revealed as a 5.6 on the Richter Scale earthquake with an epicenter northwest of the town of Pawnee, OK some 45 miles to the west of Tulsa.  Its effect was reported to have been felt far and wide, south down into Texas, as far north as Iowa and as far east as South Bend, Indiana.

Seismograph 9.3.16

 The good news is that thus far no injuries related to the earthquake have been reported.  This 5.6 intensity quake ties the record for the strongest ever in the state of Oklahoma.   It upset and got the attention of enough people in leadership positions in the state government to take immediate action on the likely cause of this and the numerous low intensity earthquakes over the past few years.  The Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered the shutdown of injection wells in a 725-square-mile area around the epicenter near Pawnee.  Given the damage caused by this latest event, they really had no choice but to take action.

September 3rd, 2016 earthquake

September 3rd, 2016 earthquake

September 3rd, 2016 earthquake

One Pawnee couple’s home is a complete loss.  Given what has been known by the scientific community for some time now, it has become not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” and now it is a question of how intense the next one will be and there will likely be a next one.  Regardless of what anyone in charge chooses to believe, the science on the correlation between wastewater injection wells and increased seismic activity is very clear.  Long story short, the Scientific American article Drilling For Earthquakes explains it this way:

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  • Earthquake rates in Oklahoma and Texas have skyrocketed since 2008. The cause, scientists say, is injecting wastewater from oil and gas operations into deep underground wells.
  • The injections can alter stresses that hold geologic faults together, letting them slip, unleashing an earthquake.
  • Slow to react, regulators in certain states have begun to limit the amount of wastewater sent underground.
  • Quakes could continue even if injections were stopped because pressure changes already induced in deep rock can migrate for years, possibly encountering faults.

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In June of last year I post a piece on this blog about legislation granting the Oklahoma oil and gas industry free reign to drill anywhere they please with the blessing of Governor Fallin.  See the post Petroleum interests uber allesRegardless of the Governor’s reasoning on the issue of prohibiting municipal drilling and fracking bans, be it a uniform policy of the rules or whatever, it was seen by many as a big government overreach from what was thought to be a “small government” conservative state chief executive.  More than that it highlighted a serious flaw in her ideology and that of the state’s Republican majority that supports her.  What it demonstrably indicates is that the Governor and the Republican legislative majority have consistently placed corporate profits and benefits over the health, safety and well-being of every ordinary citizen of the State of Oklahoma.  This is something that can be seen repeatedly in her executive decisions as well as legislation produced by the GOP-majority legislature.  This is consistent with the flawed ideology of conservatism which places profits over people always.  If we are going to save our state from this fatal flaw of free market capitalism, that being unchecked and poorly regulated greed, a change has to occur.  That change would best be accomplished with a completely different set of legislators and state officers.  I admonish all voters, especially all those struggling with the decision of which candidate for whatever office they should endorse with their vote, to understand that a vote for any Republican is a vote for failing government.  Also remember that just because your home and property may have survived this last earth shaking episode, it may not remain unscathed in future ones.  You do not have to agree with all points of policy on which the Democratic candidate may stand but if you believe that the health, safety, well-being and especially the future of the children of our state should be valued over the financial bottom line of any multi-billion dollar corporation or industry and that is what you wish to see as the face and character of Oklahoma then by all means elect a Democrat!  We have nine weeks until the November General Election.  Please remember that regime change begins with your vote!

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