Posts Tagged ‘environment’

OTHER MEN DIE

August 22, 2016
Victory is a state of mind.

Victory is a state of mind.

OTHER MEN DIE

And the old vet was up in his studio bedroom in Mom’s attic

Painting magic eyeballs on his fingertips

To go with the mystic spirals on the backs of his hands

And he told us about seagulls in the early dawn

Of feeding them barehanded

Palms stretched to the skies

Lying upon his back on the wet sand

Observing the feathered feeding frenzy

Of the messy, greedy birds

That pecked his fingers and palms and wrists

Opening red puncture wounds

And he loved it

Because it brought him

So close to life.

And I saw that vet by another name

Sitting cross-legged in swim briefs

In wind-tossed dune reed grass

In cold wind whistling off a Winter Pacific

And I asked

“Why do you sit in the freezing cold, Shane?”

And he replied

“Because, at least I know I’m alive.”

And so it goes

jl/PDX/1-13

A Decent World

WAGING WAR FROM A BURNING HOUSE

No More Troops to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, so forth, so on

Dear President Obama,

Stop sending troops to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, so forth, so on.

I am a Vietnam Era veteran.  We stood nearly twenty years while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the present Reagan-Bush corporatist neo-conservative miasma.

Look at how the radical right Republicans have warped the nation they want us to fight for, die for, and honor.  The self-destructive insanity of the radical right Republican way of war makes it looks as if the bad guys have already won.  We are fighting a war for the life of the republic, as a result.

These are politically motivated corporatist wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  These bloody-handed murderers-by-proxy began their plunder of the American nation by taking the Peace Dividend away from us after the Berlin Wall fell.  They shifted to terrorism as the object of their monolithic war machine, and plunged the whole world into wrack and ruin.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s continued pursuit of it.

End the war now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys, or corporatist oil barons and banksters.  We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

laststroke

AND WHAT ABOUT THESE MERCENARY BANDITS YOU HIRED?

Quit outsourcing government jobs to private contractors.  The People can get the job done better for less cost and for the community’s and not just a few individuals’ profit.

The performance of mission critical security functions by profit-driven contractors is counterproductive and often immoral and criminal.

It’s bad for the morale of our real American troops to see these overpaid and pampered bought-and-sold mercenaries.  I know because I have nephews and nieces who have served in our military in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Talk to real American troops to hear it.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s list of inherently governmental functions that these mercenaries must not perform should include: guard services, convoy security services, pass and identification services, plant protection services, the operation of prison or detention facilities, and any security operations that might reasonably require the use of deadly force; and, from support of intelligence activities (including covert operations), interrogation, military and police training, and repair and maintenance of weapon systems.

Machiavelli famously wrote that mercenaries might be trusted for only two things: to demand more money; and to run out when the chips are down.  Don’t buy champagne for mercenaries, use our money wisely to equip and protect our real American troops.

Finally, have you given any thought as to what is to happen if these mercenaries decide they’ve got a better business proposition from our archenemies?  Or, face unemployment?  In Europe unemployed mercenaries set off the Hundred Years’ War, which might properly be called the “Rape, Murder and Plunder Crusade.”  The “Holy Crusades” were invented by the Pope as a safety vent to send these murder mavens packing out of town to do their dirty deeds. We prefer killing “heathens” to our own to this very day. But that can change.

STOP - SAVE

Don’t forget to click on the images for MORE information, or a larger image. Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon. We’re in this together. All the best! j

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #3 reprise

August 9, 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel

MOTHER’S ADVICE and HUMAN BEHAVIOR:

Mom’s Advice:  “Use Clorox to get rid of the DNA evidence.  Burn the barn.” – Some CSI-type crime show.

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe).  He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined.  He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place.  He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight.  Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt.  He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to his egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt.  And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe.  G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”  – 11/04.

“Did Benjamin Franklin give up when the Germans shot down his kite?” – T. J. Detweiler pep talk, Recess.

(more…)

GOD RESTED reprise

July 6, 2011

Islands w/ apple.

AND GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE (Humor):

And God created the universe in the wink of an eye.  And the wink was a billion billion years long, and a trillion, trillion years wide.  When it was done, everybody wondered what He had done, for it was all new and different, and nobody knew where anything was, and nobody knew what to make of it.

Everybody in those days was the angels, archangels, seraphim and cherubim, and they only knew what they knew, which wasn’t much, but mostly concerned with telling God how great He was, and God was getting to the point where He didn’t know if what they said counted for very much.  He knew what it would be before they said it, because that’s just the way they were, and He should know because He made them that way.  Which was “Catch 22” because how do you get an unbiased review from palace courtiers and the pep squad?

No brainer, god had to create somebody absolutely ignorant about how he or she got here.  It would behoove everybody already present to become invisible to maintain the mystery.  This new somebody would receive skills and abilities sufficient to pose ultimate questions, and to invent answers to them.  They were to be guided by various natural clues and signposts, wandering know-it-alls, and ambiguous events anonymously reported.  The new somebodies would arrive naked in the world, and cobble together reasons and whys from the smorgasbord laid before them, with an occasional stick up the ass to keep them moving. (more…)

IS IT SAFE TO COME OUT, YET?

July 30, 2010

OUR SHAME

Oil Leases Cancelled in Gulf, Atlantic
The Center for Biological Diversity applauded this Wednesday when the Obama administration cancelled two offshore oil and gas lease sales: one in the Atlantic, off Virginia, and one in the western Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic lease sale was in a controversial area approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for expanded offshore oil development after the Bush administration lifted the Atlantic drilling moratorium. The lease sale in the Gulf was scheduled to take place next month. In cancelling the sales, the government admitted it needs more time to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas development and provide greater environmental protection to  substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic events like another massive oil spill.
“President Obama’s decision to cancel these lease sales recognizes that risky offshore drilling needs reform,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “In light of the BP oil spill, the president should pull back from the entire plan to expand offshore drilling and instead pursue clean energy.”

Check out our press release and learn the latest on the Gulf disaster. Then take action to tell the administration to end all dangerous offshore drilling.

LIFE INSURANCE FOR THE PLANET:

There is no life insurance policy for planet earth.  The fate of our planet is painful to think about.  It is decades since we first became concerned about pollution, water scarcity, wastes, pesticides, overpopulation and erosion.  Under Ronald Reagan the country turned away from such problems, but today they are the problems we fear most.  They are global and potentially irreversible.  They include the build-up of greenhouse gases, the thinning of the ozone layer, destruction of rain forests and accelerating extinctions of other species.  Some would say they are impossible to stop.  The world’s economy is built into them.

Yet, as Jonathan Weiner writes in The Next One Hundred Years, the changes trouble even those who try to ignore them and worry only about whether the old garage is sagging or the mortgage is due.  A question mark curls above our roofs and makes a mockery of our hopes.  If the earth is falling apart, there go the plans for summer vacation.

As we locally chop down trees and cover arable earth with concrete, we should bear in mind the ecological limits of what we do.  The same is true of the industry we attract and of the population we propose to support in our regional environment.  In Multnomah County, Oregon, they plan to add more hundreds of thousands of people by deliberate design, less an act of planning than of whistling while walking through the graveyard.

There are public policy questions that have not been adequately presented and debatedLocal media, elected officials, governmental staff and economic development and business communities have consistently pursued the “cutting edge” of the latest “growth opportunities” without equally weighing the adverse impacts potential in each of these proposed, but too often unrelated developments.  Never has the time for comprehensive and thoroughly cooperative deliberation and action been more urgent.

Common needs for clean air, clean water and a livable future have been subordinated in the rush to insure our immediate economic well being.  While motives may be benign, it is patently obvious to all but the most self deceiving or self serving that we are in the midst of a global crisis which calls for a philosophy which protects, defends and advances the common interest. In the context of a rapidly diminishing resource pool, in the face of rising and conceivably irreversible environmental damage, it is beyond foolishness to persist in an economic expansionism that degrades and erodes the livability of our common home.

All local elected officials should plan from a basis which explores the possibility of sustainability, including revenue sharing to decrease conflict over development opportunities and inappropriate public incentives which pit one community against another.  No jurisdiction should function without regard for its neighbors and friends and our shared earth.

Never in world history has humankind been so powerful in its geophysical impact on the planet.  As hard as the weaning may be, business as usual no longer makes sense.  If we are, as some scientists term us, homo sapiens sapiens, man the doubly wise, let’s prove it before we lose it.

Choices.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR BIOMASS!

“To the massmoss with this wingéd fruitcake!” – The Tyrant, Barbarella.

Hemp biomass for fuel would be cleaner and more economical than any other source.  Corn is the least efficient and most costly.  Hemp is easily grown almost everywhere, and completely renewable.  It is a carbon sink, cleaning the air.  10,000 acres of hemp yields as much paper as 40,000 acres of wood pulp.  It gives a far greater yield per acre, and is better for the overall health of the land.

Sources below will tell you what there is to know in great well-documented detail.  Plus, you get to “meet” Jack Herer – a man the mystics call a “great soul.”

Emperor of Hemp – narrated by Peter Coyote, VHS, DVD, 59 min.  Bill Maher calls it “A triumph for the open-minded.”  The story of Jack Herer, author of:The Emperor Wears No Clothes, best selling book that blows the lid off the anti-hemp conspiracy and explains all there is to know about one miraculous plant.  Available at the web site: www.emperorofhemp.com; Jack Herer’ web site home is athttp://www.jackherer.com/Both are also available through www.Amazon.com

VIDEO: Obama Preserves Inherited Bush Abuses Friday, July 30, 2010 by The Rachel Maddow Show. http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/30-0

PROGRESSIVE DISILLUSIONMENT

July 10, 2010

True Progressives

VIDEO: Progressives and Obama: From Wall Street to the war, this isn’t what Progressive Democrats voted for, Norman Solomon, July 10, 2010 by The Real News Network

STATE-OF-THE-ART

LINK: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/10

2nd Great Republican Depression: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression.  Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than ’82-’83 recession. Published on Friday, July 2, 2010 by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Washington, D.C. – As the nation contends with a long and sustained labor market recession, a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that the current unemployment rate is higher than the conventional measure shows.

“An unemployment rate that has hovered above 9 percent for several months is striking, but the jobs picture is even worse than it looks,” said report author and CEPR Economist David Rosnick.

The study, “The Adult Recession: Age-Adjusted Unemployment at Post-War Highs,” adjusts the current unemployment rate to account for demographic differences and finds that the unemployment rate has not fallen below 10.8 percent in the last 12 months. During the worst episode of the recession of the 1980s — the second half of 1982 and the first half of 1983 — unemployment passed 10 percent for 7 months.

The analysis notes that the population is older today than it was in the 1980s, which has the effect of lowering today’s unemployment rate relative to the past. Since they change jobs more frequently and are more likely to move in and out of the labor market, Young people have a higher unemployment rate than older workers. Adjusting for this older workforce shows that the United States is experiencing the weakest labor market since the Great Depression.

The severity of the current unemployment situation suggests that policy makers should consider measures that would slow or reverse this trend. Additional stimulus such as work sharing or the extension of unemployment benefits by Congress would go far in addressing the plight of the millions of unemployed Americans suffering as a result of this downturn.

FULL ANALYSIS can be found here.

READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/02-5

Wealthy Reap Rewards While Those Who Work Lose

TOTAL RECALL.  Abstract:   15 Awful Things Republicans Would Do If They Had the Chance By Dennis Rahkonen, The Smirking Chimp.

The political instrument of moneyed elites, and a retrograde societal force, the GOP today is more negative than ever. Its agenda, if fully implemented, would prove catastrophic. Here’s what an unfettered Republican Party would do “for” America:

1)  Greatly reduce or entirely eliminate taxes on the rich, forcing working families to make up revenue shortfalls.

2)  Bust labor unions, and prevent collective bargaining for wages and benefits.

3)  Stubbornly deny the climate change while pumping more pollutants into the environment from dirty industries and practices.

4)  Remove regulations on investment banks and credit card companies eroding consumer protections.

5)  Continue to criticize and under fund public education, advocating private schooling instead, to dumb workers down.

6)  Outlaw abortion, under a moral guise, impelling thousands of functioning females to perish because of sexist denials of their basic rights.

7)  Continue to recite a Pledge of Allegiance whose last six words are “with liberty and justice for all,” while harrassing homosexual citizens.

8)  Speak often and loftily of freedom, but engage in neo-McCarthyite witch hunts, Red-baiting name calling, and a host of Patriot Act sins against the U. S. Constitution in the name of “national security.”

9)  Bully the world with US aggressions on foreign soil, kill countless thousands of innocents, waste billions of badly-needed dollars, and make us hated around the planet.

10)  Generally drive down the income levels of America’s working-class majority, as a cost-saving corporate measure, dooming society to economic ruin!

11)  Lie about affordable health care for all, creating a national security threat by fooling some Americans into thinking that public health care is a godless socialist attack on basic American freedoms.

12)  Unleash de facto ethnic cleansing against 12 million immigrant men, women, and children, blaming them for hardships experienced due to capitalist excess.

13)  Shamefully try to lend credence to their avarice and social irresponsibility by revising the Bible to obscure passages that place human need before abject greed as one conservative group is really trying to do!

14)  Support intensely bigoted hatred that has crazed extremists dreaming of literally tearing Barack Obama to pieces and gassing all liberals.

15)  Place the livelihoods and lives of over 300 million Americans in the hands of incompetent ideological “purists” such as Sarah Palin.

While there are certainly Democrats who’ve yet to show spine in furtherance of vital change, let’s be absolutely clear about the unmitigated disaster that would follow if Republicans, in their present ultra-rightist incarnation, ruled our country exactly as they wickedly wished.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/story/143917/15_awful_things_republicans_would_do_if_they_had_the_chance

Leave ‘Em Laughing.  Open ltr to CNN:

FOX regularly pushes distorted stories, and uses them to whip up racial fear.  It is unacceptable for CNN, which positions itself as a credible source of news and analysis, to uncritically echo FOX’s dishonest race-baiting.

What the hell’s the matter with you?  Do you want this country to disintegrate?  Report the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or quit pretending to be journalists.  Call yourselves racist corporatist shills instead.

Sincerely, with rapidly diminishing respect,  j 

READ MORE: 

IT’S THE BEES, PLEASE!

November 16, 2009

Birdlife

Peaceable Kingdom

Why We Need Bees and More People Becoming Organic Beekeepers By Makenna Goodman, Chelsea Green Publishing.

Bees teach us how to live our life in a way that by taking what we need from the world around us, we leave the world better than we found it.

Beekeeping is rising in popularity — from urban rooftops to backyard hives, the world is abuzz with interest in homemade honey. And who better to comment on the nature of bees than the former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, Ross Conrad. He’s led bee-related presentations and taught organic beekeeping workshops and classes throughout North America for many years, and Conrad’s small beekeeping business supplies friends, neighbors, and local stores with honey and candles among other bee related products, not to mention provides bees for Vermont apple pollination in spring. I talked to Conrad about organic beekeeping, the state of pollination, and tips for aspiring bee farmers.

Makenna Goodman: Your book, Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, offers up a program of natural beehive management, and an alternative to conventional chemical-based approaches. So — why organic beekeeping?

Ross Conrad: History has shown us that the industrialized “economy of scale” approach does not work when applied to agriculture because we are dealing with living biological systems, not an inert assembly line food production system where the economy of scale approach can be applied across the board. One of the biggest issues is the large number of chemical contaminants that are being found in beeswax and pollen, often at very high concentrations. Toxic chemical contamination has been implicated in Colony Collapse and the reality is that there is no effective regulation of chemicals in Western society. Let me tell you why: READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/environment/143764/why_we_need_bees_and_more_people_becoming_organic_beekeepers

Sarah Palin Rules the GOP — And She Will Destroy It By Max Blumenthal, Tomdispatch.com.

Palin’s influence on a party largely devoid of leadership is expanding. If she doesn’t become the GOP’s future queen, she may be its future king-maker — and its destroyer.

Sarah Palin’s heavily publicized book tour begins in earnest this Monday, but weeks before, her ghostwritten memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, had already vaulted into the number one position at Amazon. Warming up for a tour that will take her across Middle America in a bus, Palin tested her lines in a November 7th speech before a crowd of 5,000 anti-abortion activists in Wisconsin. She promptly cited an urban legend as a “disturbing trend,” claiming the Treasury Department had moved the phrase “In God We Trust” from presidential dollar coins. (The rumor most likely originated with a 2006 story on the far-right website WorldNetDaily.)

In fact, a suggested alteration in its position on the coin was shot down in 2007 after pressure from Democratic Senator Robert Byrd. Nonetheless, Palin did not hesitate to take up this “controversy,” however false, since it conveniently pits a tyrannical, God-destroying, secular big government against humble God-fearing folk. In doing so, of course, she presented herself as this nation’s leading defender of the faith.

In a Republican Party hoping to rebound in 2010 on the strength of a newly energized and ideologically aroused conservative grassroots, Palin’s influence is now unparalleled. Through her Twitter account, she was the one who pushed the rumor of “death panels” into the national healthcare debate, prompting the White House to issue a series of defensive responses. Unfazed by its absurdity, she repeated the charge in her recent speech in Wisconsin. In a special congressional election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Palin’s endorsement of Doug Hoffman, an unknown far-right third-party candidate, helped force a popular moderate Republican politician, Dede Scozzafava, from the race. In the end, Palin’s ideological purge in upstate New York led to an improbable Democratic victory, the first in that GOP-heavy district in more than 100 years. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/story/143967/sarah_palin_rules_the_gop_–_and_she_will_destroy_it

America Is One Big Clunker and No Amount of Cash Will Buy Us a New One By James Howard Kunstler, Kunstler.com.

We continue to be childishly delusional about our dark economic and environmental prospects. Unfortunately, reality isn’t amenable to lies and spin.

In The Long Emergency (2005, Atlantic Monthly Press), I said that we ought to expect the federal government to become increasingly impotent and ineffectual — that this would be a hallmark of the times. In fact, I said that any enterprise organized at the colossal scale would function poorly in years ahead, whether it was a government, a state university, a national chain retail company, or a giant midwestern farm. It is characteristic of the compressive contraction our society faces that giant hypercomplex systems will wobble and fail. We should expect this.

It’s tragic that the avatar of hopefulness himself, Barack Obama, stepped into his role at exactly the moment when this set of conditions was getting traction. It is sure to get worse, and there are going to be a lot of disappointed people out there who will be suffering terrible losses and real pain in daily life. Societies don’t do well when the public falls into the broad despair that is the opposite of hope. That’s when the long knives and the tribal animosities come out and things get smashed.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/143969/america_is_one_big_clunker_and_no_amount_of_cash_will_buy_us_a_new_one

Obama’s Strongest Supporters Suffering the Most in Recession, While Elites Thrive By Bob Herbert, The New York Times.

The young, the black and the poor are among those who are being hammered unmercifully in this long and cruel economic downturn that the financial elites are telling us is over.

President Obama’s strongest supporters during the presidential campaign were the young, the black and the poor — and they are among those who are being hammered unmercifully in this long and cruel economic downturn that the financial elites are telling us is over.

If the elites are correct, if the Great Recession really is over, then these core supporters of the president are being left far, far behind — as are blue-collar workers of every ethnic and political persuasion. Nobody wants to talk seriously about class in America, but the elites are smiling and perusing their stock portfolios while the checklist of Americans locked in depressionlike circumstances just grows and grows: construction and manufacturing workers, young men without college degrees (especially young black and Hispanic men), teenagers, and those who were already poor when the recession began.

The economic environment for all of these groups is an absolute and utter disaster.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/story/143968/obama%27s_strongest_supporters_suffering_the_most_in_recession%2C_while_elites_thrive

Mooses

Sarah comes down from the mountain.

DEAD BROKE EMPIRE CROWD

November 3, 2009

Negative Horizon

Our Economy Was a Scam and Now We’re Dead Broke By Joe Bageant, JoeBageant.com.

America is broke. And the easy credit, phantom “growth” economy has been exposed for what it was: a credit scam.

When Barack Obama took office it seemed to some of us that his first job was to get the national silverware out of the pawn shop. Or at least maintain the world’s confidence that it was possible for us to get out of debt. America is dead broke, the easy credit, phantom “growth” economy has been exposed for what it was. A credit scam. Even Hillary Clinton and Obama’s best efforts have not coaxed much more dough out of foreign friends. But at least we again have a few friends abroad.

So now we must jackleg ourselves back into something resembling a productive activity. No matter how you cut it, things will not be as much fun as shopping and speculative “investing” were.

The fiesta is over, the economy as we knew it is dead.

The national money shamans have danced around the carcass of our dead horse economy, chanted the recovery chant and burned fiat currency like Indian sage, enshrouding the carcass in the sacred smoke of burning cash. And indeed, they have managed to prop up the carcass to appear life-like from a distance, if you squint through the smoke just right. But it still stinks here from the inside. Clearly at some point we must find a new horse to ride, and sure as god made little green apples one is broaching the horizon. And it looks exactly like the old horse.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/143521/our_economy_was_a_scam_and_now_we%27re_dead_broke

6 Signs That the American Empire Is Coming to an Early End By Michael T. Klare, Tomdispatch.com.

The day of America’s global pre-eminence is over. We must face the new global realities.Posted October 27, 2009.

Memo to the CIA: You may not be prepared for time-travel, but welcome to 2025 anyway! Your rooms may be a little small, your ability to demand better accommodations may have gone out the window, and the amenities may not be to your taste, but get used to it. It’s going to be your reality from now on.

Okay, now for the serious version of the above: In November 2008, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), an affiliate of the Central Intelligence Agency, issued the latest in a series of futuristic publications intended to guide the incoming Obama administration. Peering into its analytic crystal ball in a report entitled Global Trends 2025, it predicted that America’s global preeminence would gradually disappear over the next 15 years — in conjunction with the rise of new global powerhouses, especially China and India. The report examined many facets of the future strategic environment, but its most startling, and news-making, finding concerned the projected long-term erosion of American dominance and the emergence of new global competitors. “Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor [in 2025],” it stated definitively, the country’s “relative strength — even in the military realm — will decline and U.S. leverage will become more constrained.”

That, of course, was then; this — some 11 months into the future — is now and how things have changed. Futuristic predictions will just have to catch up to the fast-shifting realities of the present moment. Although published after the onset of the global economic meltdown was underway, the report was written before the crisis reached its full proportions and so emphasized that the decline of American power would be gradual, extending over the assessment’s 15-year time horizon. But the economic crisis and attendant events have radically upset that timetable. As a result of the mammoth economic losses suffered by the United States over the past year and China’s stunning economic recovery, the global power shift the report predicted has accelerated. For all practical purposes, 2025 is here already.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/world/143514/6_signs_that_the_american_empire_is_coming_to_an_early_end

Apocalypse Soon: Halloween Interview on Overpopulation with Kierán Suckling

Scared of ghosts, goblins, and jack-o-lanterns? None of those are on the Santa Fe Reporter‘s list of the top five environmental horrors. But human overpopulation is. “Apocalypse Soon: Today’s Environmental Horrors Could Lead to a Scary Sci-Fi Future” interviews Center for Biological Diversity director Kierán Suckling. Click below to read the whole article. Here are few excerpts:

“Virtually everything that is destroying wildlife habitat and the environment is driven by overpopulation,” Kierán Suckling, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, says.

“Whether it’s too many people diverting water out of the Rio Grande or too much wood use leading to the logging of old-growth forests, the bottom line is there are too many people using too many resources to be able to have a healthy environment.”

“It’s great to focus on reducing our carbon footprint, but…unless we start reducing the footprints to begin with, we and other species are not going to survive on this planet.”

“The majority of environmental groups avoid addressing overpopulation like the plague. I think that’s largely because they lack the courage of their convictions. They are fearful that in saying that [we are overpopulated] they will be viewed as being anti-human somehow–as if squalor and overpopulation are somehow pro-human.”  READ MORE:

Read the Santa Fe Reporter interview and learn what the Center’s doing to confront the overpopulation crisis head-on.

Septic Truck

BEAT GOES ON, ROME BURNS

October 22, 2009

While Rome Burns

Take Action on Oct. 24: Join One of the Largest Global Protests in the Fight Against Climate Change by Tim Kingston, AlterNet.

On Oct. 24, tens of thousands of people will be in the streets and on mountains, rivers and glaciers around the world demanding action to reduce CO2 emissions.

What started out a couple of years ago as a idea promoted by author/climate-change activist Bill McKibben and a few students at Vermont’s Middlebury College has morphed into the biggest environmental, and possibly the most extensive worldwide protest, ever.

On Oct. 24, tens of thousands of people will be in the streets and on mountains, rivers and glaciers around the world demanding action to reduce CO2 emissions to 350 parts per million (ppm).

With just five days to go, 3,422 events are planned or under way in 160 nations on every continent, including Antarctica. More are coming online daily at 350.org, a small (seven staffers) organization based in Berkeley, Calif., that is coordinating the international day of action.

Organizers of the event are targeting the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. They hope the international day of action will apply pressure on the assembled heads of state and governments to reduce global greenhouse gas CO2 emissions to below 350 ppm, the number that scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/action/143365/take_action_on_oct._24%3A_join_one_of_the_largest_global_protests_in_the_fight_against_climate_change

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) Humbles Hudson Institute Dilettante Over Health Care Bankruptcies AlterNet.

Franken drove home the point that medical bankruptcies are unheard of in countries with viable heath care systems.

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/#143452

Dept of Homeland Security Expands Controversial Program Empowering Local Police By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

The 287(g) program gives local law enforcement authority to enforce federal immigration laws, which has led to accusations of racial profiling.

AMY GOODMAN: The immigration debate is heating up on Capitol Hill, and the Department of Homeland Security said Friday it plans to enter into new agreements with sixty-seven state and local law enforcement agencies. These agreements expand the existing 287(g) program, which delegates some federal immigration enforcement authority to certain state and local agencies. The announcement comes shortly after DHS released a report on immigrant detention noting the vast majority of those detained under the 287(g) agreements were never charged with a criminal offense. The 287(g) program has come under intense criticism in recent months from over 500 organizations, including the ACLU, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, calling on the government to end the program. Many of the agencies involved have been accused of racial profiling, and the Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio in Phoenix, Arizona, is being investigated by the Justice Department.

On Friday the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, said it would go forward with a new jails agreement with Sheriff Arpaio but remove his field authority to enforce federal immigration laws on the street. Well, that didn’t stop the Sheriff, and he conducted his twelfth so-called immigration sweep Friday, arresting some sixty people. The Sheriff defended his stance on Fox’s Glenn Beck Show earlier last week.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/immigration/143372/dept_of_homeland_security_expands_controversial_program_empowering_local_police

The Battle Against Letting Wall Street Continue to Make a Killing on Derivatives By Art Levine, AlterNet.

Protections for consumers and Wall Street’s skullduggery are at stake in an obscure series of hearings going on in Congress right now.

Early in the morning, outside the House Financial Services Committee hearing room in the Rayburn office building last week, there were scruffy ex-homeless and other low-income folks, wearing their dreadlocks or sloppy jeans, mixed in with the pinstriped reps for the financial industry.

 They all seemed to be lining up to see what $223 million in financial lobbying in the first six months of this year could buy in thwarting real reform on Capitol Hill. And they were hoping to get the few dozen of the public seats available inside the room, for a critical 10 a.m. hearing marking up a bill that was supposed to regulate the now-private market in complex “derivatives.”

Those derivatives are nominally worth at least $450 trillion worldwide, with $555 billion in credit at risk in the U.S. banking industry. (Derivatives are forms of insurance or bets on underlying assets, such as now-toxic subprime mortgages, supposedly designed to manage risk.) No wonder Warren Buffett called them “financial weapons of mass destruction.”  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/143407/the_battle_against_letting_wall_street_continue_to_make_a_killing_on_derivative

This Year’s Biggest Hoax Is Tim Geithner’s ‘Solution’ for the Economy, Not the Balloon Boy By Robert Scheer, Truthdig.

If we could get one of the banking lobbyists to float a duct-taped flying saucer balloon, Wolf Blitzer might cover the real hoax.

Who are these people? I am not referring to the pathetic parents of “Balloon Boy,” whose fake drama I have been unable to escape while on the treadmill this week, thanks to my gym’s insistence on tuning its flat-screen TVs to Wolf Blitzer’s nonstop self-parody.

The Colorado incident was significant only in the tawdriness of those who perpetrated the made-for-TV scam and their allies in the mindless media who covered this sham “reality” so relentlessly. But even so, it was enough to push aside most consideration of the true hoax reported last week with far less fervor: the obscene rewards that Wall Street bankers bestowed upon themselves for ripping off our economy.

The people I want to know more about are the superrich who expect to be rewarded for their failures, like the folks at Goldman Sachs who will receive $16.71 billion in bonuses—an average of $530,000 per employee—this year after their company did as much as any to bring the world economy to the brink of disaster.

“The Guys from Government Sachs” is what The New York Times once called them in recognition of their chokehold on the federal government. Their power is marked by the two treasury secretaries who led the fight to legally enable and then reward Wall Street for its obscene excesses. Why wasn’t there a CNN stakeout at the homes of former Goldman-execs-turned-treasury-chiefs Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson aimed at finding out how they feel about the almost $7 billion profit that Goldman Sachs made in the last two quarters in the wake of the government’s bailout of the firm?

http://www.alternet.org/media/143433/this_year%27s_biggest_hoax_is_tim_geithner%27s_%27solution%27_for_the_economy%2C_not_the_balloon_boy

gonefishin'

HOT NEWS

September 24, 2009

extra

BANK LOBBY DEFEATS OBAMA REFORM PLAN

Hill resisting financial plan by Sean Lengell

Congress appears set to ignore President Obama’s proposal that banks be required to offer “plain vanilla” financial products such as 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, giving the banking industry an early victory in its fight with the administration over how to reform the financial-services sector.

Barney Frank Vanilla

Barney Frank Vanilla

Barney Frank (D-MA) chairman of the House Financial Services Committee waits for President Barack Obama to speak about the global financial crisis at Federal Hall in New York, September 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky)

Instead, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank will forge ahead with plans for a watered-down Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) — a blow to the administration’s push for tighter regulations and more control over the banking and financial-service industries.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/23-3

Assassin

WHOOPS: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud by Ryan Grim.

Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately — but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/23-0

Right/Wrong

5 THINGS THE CORPORATE MEDIA DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW About Cannabis By Paul Armentano, AlterNet. Posted September 23, 2009.

Recent scientific reports suggest that pot doesn’t destroy your brain, that it doesn’t cause lung damage like tobacco — but you won’t hear it in the corporate media.

1.     Marijuana Use Is Not Associated With a Rise in Incidences of Schizophrenia

2.     Marijuana Smoke Doesn’t Damage the Lungs Like Tobacco 

3.     Cannabis Use Potentially Protects, Rather Than Harms, the Brain 

4.     Marijuana Is a Terminus, Not a ‘Gateway,’ to Hard Drug Use 

5.     Government’s Anti-Pot Ads Encourage, Rather Than Discourage, Marijuana Use

http://www.alternet.org/media/142815/5_things_the_corporate_media_don%27t_want_you_to_know_about_cannabis

Editor’s note: Come see Paul Armentano and many other top marijuana experts and advocates in discussion at NORML’s 38th national conference taking place this week from September 24-26 in San Francisco. Click here to learn more.

Learn even more at: https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/marijuana-papers/ MARIJUANA PAPERS.

Transformation

WAKE UP CALL:

Dear all,

Wow. Monday’s Wake Up call was unbelievable – 2632 events in 134 countries, tens of thousands of phone calls crashing government lines, unbelievable creativity and diversity of events, directly reaching heads of state and cabinet ministers from Australia to Europe. Words can’t describe it — this video gets close:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/

The Wake Up call was covered by hundreds of major news outlets and made the evening news everywhere from Germany to New Zealand. Europe’s environment chief praised “the mobilisation of so many people by Avaaz.org”, the UK Prime Minister became the first major world leader to agree to our demand to go to Copenhagen and said that with “the pressure that can brought by organizations like yours…what people think is impossible can become possible”. The Spanish environment minister called the action “extraordinary”.

World leaders have heard us. But as Tuesday’s UN summit showed, one day of action won’t be enough to get real progress on climate. We need to come back again and again, louder and louder, until we get a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty.

We’ll keep the pressure high through the TCKTCKTCK campaign until Copenhagen, with another global day of action on October 24th, and start planning right now for the LARGEST CLIMATE MOBILIZATION IN HISTORY ON DECEMBER 12th, in the final days of the Copenhagen negotiations.

Avaaz is now 3.6 million members strong in 14 languages, in every country of the world. On Monday, our movement took a huge step forward — we showed that we can not only send millions of messages to leaders or donate millions to worthy causes, but that in just a few days we can flood the streets and crash phone lines from Mexico City to Mumbai.

If we stick together, anything is possible.

With hope and excitement for the future,

Ricken, Ben, Paul, Milena, Alice, Luis, Brett, Taren, Margaret, Iain, Pascal, Graziela, Paula, Benjamin, Rajeev, Veronique, Raluca, Julius, Yuri, Saravanan, Vladimir, Tihomir, Sam, Emma and the whole Avaaz team

PS – the video above was made from over 10,000 wake up call pictures and 600 videos uploaded to Avaaz in just 24 hours! There were many tears among people making the video as we saw the amazing dedication of everyone, from the Avaaz community to our TCKTCKTCK campaign partners to people joining the first climate action of their lives. Click here to see the video of this amazing movement in action: http://www.avaaz.org/en/

Want to support Avaaz? We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated online team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way — http://www.avaaz.org/en/.

ABOUT AVAAZ Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Click http://www.avaaz.org/en/ to learn more about our largest campaigns.

Wamm2

POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE

September 14, 2009

Coming to America -Triptych

[See also POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE reprise for full post]

TOO DAMNED MANY PEOPLE

WAYS TO REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINTS:

ACTION: (Measure: Lifetime carbon dioxide saved in Metric Tons. Data from U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s personal emissions calculator and calculations by OSU statistics professor Paul Murtaugh.  Annual totals based on lifespan of 80 – female expectancy U.S.  Source: Paul Murtaugh).

Recycle newspaper, magazines, glass, plastic, and aluminum cans – 17 tons

Replace old refrigerator with energy-efficient model – 19 tons

Replace 10 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones – 36 tons

Replace single-glazed windows with energy-efficient windows – 21 tons

Reduce miles driven from 231 to 155 per week – 147 tons

Increase car’s fuel economy from 20 miles per gallon to 30 – 148 tons

REDUCE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BY ONE  – 9,441 tons

Under current conditions, each child in the U.S. adds about 9,4441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the parents’ carbon legacy during his lifetime.  That’s 5.7 times more than the average childless person.

A child born in China has a fifth of the impact of a child born in the U.S.

The carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of having a child is almost 20 times more important than other ecologically minded lifestyle choices like driving a fuel-efficient car, recycling or being energy-efficient.

The same conclusions also roughly apply to fresh water consumption. Fresh water has been and will continue to be cause for international conflict. The amount of fresh water on planet earth is finite and we’re running out.

Many children are born to people who are not ready or willing to raise them.

Many parents are less ecologically responsible out of convenience, e.g. using disposable instead of cloth diapers; buying an SUV instead of a compact (“The family is so much safer.”  Not in the long run, Mom; bad choice for the grand children too, if any).

Abstracted: “Not So Carbon Friendly” Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune.  Sound Off – Comment: www.portlandtribune.com

TIME IS SHORT

According to the best science, we’ve got ten years left to take this issue on seriously and save our butts.  It may well be less, no one can accurately predict the rate of decay.  It will take most of us to accomplish any earthly salvation, but if we don’t confront and dispose of our garbage, which includes, but is not limited to: religion; overpopulation; short-term economic self-interest; and our ostrich-like tendency to duck and cover in order to avoid seeing our approaching doom, we’re screwed.

We must stop over consumption, kick capitalism into a servant’s status in our democratic life, and curb the excesses of individual and tribal (read also national) self-interest.  Impossible, you say?  That’s my point: good luck and the spin of prayer is about all we seem willing to invest in our own survival.

Homo sapiens, Man the “wise,” we called ourselves; Homo sapiens sapiens, man the “doubly wise” some scientists call us now.  Yeah, right.  First step: pick up the shovel and find a place to pitch in; there’s a lot of work to do quickly, and it must be done well.  No me-first crap, one for all and all for one.  Meet you in the trenches.

A GOOD Place to Start: Center for Biological Diversity

Slaughtered Dolphins - Japan

Japanese fishermen riding a boat loaded with slaughtered dolphins at a blood-covered water cove in Taiji harbor, Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. US environmentalist Ric O’Barry has filmed dolphin hunting at the town of Taiji as an eco-documentary called “The Cove” which has started screening in the US.(AFP/HO/File)

Published on Friday, September 11, 2009 by Agence France Presse

Japanese Town Starts Dolphin Hunt Under global Spotlight by Kyoko Hasegawa.

TAIJI, Japan – To animal rights activists it’s a cruel and bloody slaughter; for Japanese it’s a long tradition: this week fishermen in a picturesque coastal town embarked on their annual dolphin hunt.  Every year, crews in motorboats here have rounded up about 2,000 of the sea mammals, banged metal poles to herd them into a small, rocky cove and killed them with harpoons, sparing a few dozen for sale to marine aquariums.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/11-4