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2016.17.3 bf chow(Photo: Thomas Hawk)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Portland, Oregon is suing Monsanto over contaminating the city's waterways with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a highly toxic group of chemicals that endangers human health and the environment.

Portland City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing city attorney Tracy Reeve to sue the biotech giant.

"Portland's elected officials are committed to holding Monsanto accountable for its apparent decision to favor profits over ecological and human health," Reeve said in a statement. "Monsanto profited from selling PCBs for decades and needs to take responsibility for cleaning up after the mess it created."

2016.17.3 BF hightower(Photo: Job Garcia)JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

If you take the word f-r-e-e and rip the "r" out of it, what do you get? Two things, actually: One, instead of "free" you get "fee" -- and then you get mad.

This is happening to millions of airline passengers who're discovering that the advertised price of a ticket is not the half of it. Beaucoup fees have been added, charging us for items that previously were (and still should be) free. People's rage-ometers zing into the red zone when they see that these fees-for-former-freebies will often more than double the cost of a trip.

Like diabolical bankers did years ago, top executives of airline corporations have learned to goose up prices and profits, (as well as their own pay) by nickel-and-diming customers. Only their fees are way more than nickel and dimes. For example, if you schedule a flight, but something comes up and you have to change the time, day, or destination of your trip -- BAM! -- airlines zap you with a $200 fee. Basically for nothing! Computers quickly make the change, costing the corporation a mere pittance, but rather than graciously accommodating your need and making you a satisfied customer, they pick your pocket and make you angry.

DAVID SUZUKI OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Water 0316wrp opt(Photo: Water droplet)Earth’s oceans, lakes, rivers and streams are its circulatory system, providing life’s essentials for people, animals and ecosystems. Canada has one-fifth of the world’s freshwater, a quarter of its remaining wetlands and its longest coastline. With this abundance, it’s easy to take water for granted. Many of our daily rituals require its life-giving force. Yet do we recognize our good fortune in having clean, safe water at the turn of a tap?

Not everyone in Canada is so lucky. On any given day, more than 1,000 boil-water advisories are in place across the country. Imagine having to walk to your local church every morning to fill plastic jugs with clean drinking water for your family. Or having to drive to your town’s fire station or community center to collect bottled water. Imagine having to boil water for everything you do at home—cooking, cleaning, washing. This is the sad reality for people who live in communities with boil-water advisories, some for decades at a time.

Water problems are dangerous. In May 2000, bacteria in Walkerton, Ontario’s water supply caused seven deaths and more than 2,300 illnesses. A public inquiry blamed the crisis on flaws in the province’s approval and inspection programs, a “lack of training and expertise” among water-supply operators and government budget cuts.

In 2001, nearly half of North Battleford, Saskatchewan’s 14,000 residents became ill from contaminated water. An inquiry concluded provincial oversight was inadequate and ineffective.

Indigenous communities continue to face a widespread drinking water crisis, with people on First Nations reserves 90 times more likely than other Canadians to lack access to clean water.

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

KingDavid 0316wrp opt(Photo: Paris Psalter)Despite being rhetorically chastised a bit by some evangelicals for his support of Donald Trump’s run for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell Jr. – the son of the late Moral Majority leader and Liberty University founder, Rev. Jerry Falwell -- is sticking to his guns. There is no doubt that Falwell’s endorsement of Trump surprised many conservative Christian evangelical leaders, as he is one of the few major leaders supporting Trump. Others, including Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Max Lucado, often described as “America’s Pastor,” and the editorial staff of The Christian Post, have consistently criticized Trump. And while Falwell Jr., may be taking the criticism in stride, his wife Becki has lashed out at the critics.

Earlier this month, Becki Falwell posted a “pointed response to her husband’s critics on her Facebook page,” Religion News Service’s Jonathan Merritt reported. According to Merritt, Becki Falwell’s “comments came … after a prominent member of Liberty’s board of trustees, Mark DeMoss … publicly critique[ed] Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump. DeMoss said he had ‘been concerned for Liberty University for a couple of months now, and I’ve held my tongue.’ DeMoss also challenged Falwell Jr’s claim that Trump is similar to the late Jerry Falwell Sr., who DeMoss served as chief of staff for many years.”

Becki Falwell concluded her post by saying: “Jesus was called a friend of publicans and sinners and called the religious elite of his time hypocrites and a generation of vipers. We all need to remember what Jesus said – that he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

(Falwell responded back on Facebook: “Thank you sweetie! Glad you are on my side!”)

2016.15.3 bf spear(Photo: Claus Gerull)STEFANIE SPEAR OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected the proposal for the Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline because its public interest value did not outweigh the project's adverse effects.

"We find the generalized allegations of need proffered by Pacific Connector do not outweigh the potential for adverse impact on landowners and communities," FERC said, adding that "the record does not support a finding that the public benefits of the Pacific Connector Pipeline outweigh the adverse effects on landowners."

2016.15.3 bf chow(Photo: Joe Brusky)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) -- the world's largest trade association for food, beverages and consumer products -- violated "the spirit and letter" of Washington's campaign-finance disclosure laws by trying to hide the identities of corporations that poured millions into a campaign to defeat a 2013 food-labeling initiative, a Washington Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

Initiative 522 would have required the labeling of genetically modified (GMOs) foods, seeds and seed products in Washington state and was narrowly defeated. As it happens, the GMA was the largest single donor to the "No on 522" campaign, spending a record $22 million to stop the measure, according to The Seattle Times.

"There is one, and only one, reasonable inference that can be drawn from the facts before this court: that the GMA intentionally took steps to create and then hide the true source of the funds … from the voting public of Washington state," Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch wrote in a pretrial ruling.

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Trump in New Hampshire(Photo: Marc Nozell)If Donald Trump wins the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and if David S. Bernstein’s calculations are correct, and it will take an overwhelming and unprecedented majority of white male voters to carry him to the White House. In a story for Politico titled “Donald Trump Needs Seven of Ten White Guys,” Bernstein, a contributing editor at Boston Magazine, writes: “If Trump wins the GOP nomination, he will be testing the limits of a strategy that has long haunted the Republican Party. Since the civil-rights era, Republicans have relied heavily on white male voters to overcome a disadvantage among minorities and some subsets of women. Mathematically, that was an easier strategy a half-century ago, when white men dominated the electorate.”

According to Bernstein, Trump would need seven out of ten white male voters to win the presidency. While that number has never been achieved before, judging from who is turning out at Trump rallies – and going to the polls in primaries -- that number might not be as impossible as you might think.

Ever since Team Nixon devised the Southern Strategy, white voters have been the backbone of the Republican Party. As Bernstein points out, “In 1980, when the electorate looked very different than it does today, Ronald Reagan cruised to an easy victory by winning 63 percent of white males, according to exit polls. In 1988, George H.W. Bush took 63 percent of that group in his rout of Michael Dukakis. By 2004, however, winning 62 percent of white men barely got George W. Bush past John Kerry in a squeaker. And eight years later, Romney won 62 percent of white men — and lost to Barack Obama by 3.5 million votes.”

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaBuchheitflag(Photo: Inverted US flag)A recent Gallup poll found that less people would vote for a socialist than for an atheist, a Muslim, or an evangelical Christian. Media-numbed Americans still believe that "government is the problem." Yet evidence keeps pouring in that free-market capitalism treats public safety as a profit-killer, dismisses environmental issues as irrelevant to business, and eliminates jobs to please investors.

Reports from the past six months show that the ongoing record of capitalist greed and irresponsibility has plunged to new lows.

1. Mocking Public Health and Safety

It's disturbing enough that Volkswagen and Ford and General Motors and other auto companies rigged emissions tests and took safety shortcuts to save money; and that the Southern California Gas Co. lied about its poisonous sulfur levels; and that Exxon was found to be hiding its own climate change research for four decades; and that tens of thousands of government-subsidized abandoned mines have been left to pollute our waterways.

But Monsanto, which proclaims "We are committed to long-term environmental protection," sued the State of California for trying to protect its citizens from the company's toxic materials.

2. Showing Contempt for Workers

The sharing economy has created companies that promote worker 'independence' while denying them health and retirement benefits, sick pay, overtime pay, and vacation pay. It's not a new capitalist idea. Merck and Out Magazine are among the companies that have "outsourced" employee positions to independent contractor positions, either by a mass layoff or by selling part of the company, after which former employees could be hired back at lower pay and without benefits.

Companies like American Express and AT&T have gone a step further with "individual arbitration" clauses, which effectively prohibit class-action lawsuits, the only economically feasible way for defrauded employees and customers to fight back against corporate malfeasance. Legal expert Brian T. Fitzpatrick explained, "Without a class action, if someone loses $500, they will not be able to do anything about it."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaCorncobs 0311wrp(Photo: Sam Fentress)A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Monsanto Co. by the widow of a prominent Cambria, California farmer alleging that Monsanto had known for years that exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in the agribusiness giant’s flagship weedkiller Roundup—could cause cancer and other serious illnesses or injuries.

The lawsuit, which seeks wrongful death and punitive damages, was filedtoday in Los Angeles federal court by attorneys Michael Baum, Cynthia Garber and Brent Wisner of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. of Kennedy & Madonna on behalf of Teri McCall.

Teri McCall claims Roundup caused her husband of 40-years, Anthony Jackson “Jack” McCall, to develop terminal cancer after he used the herbicide on his 20-acre fruit and vegetable farm for nearly 30 years.

According to a press release from the law firms, Jack McCall was admitted to a hospital in September 2015 to treat swollen lymph nodes in his neck. He found out that same day that the swelling was caused by anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare and aggressive version of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Glyphosate, which is the most widely applied pesticide worldwide, was declared as “probably carcinogenic to humans” last March by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The organization also observed that non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other haematopoietic cancers are the cancers most associated with glyphosate exposure.

2016.10.3 bf wasserman(Photo: Paolo)HARVEY WASSERMAN OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Seven top Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) experts have taken the brave rare step of publicly filing an independent finding warning that nearly every U.S. atomic reactor has a generic safety flaw that could spark a disaster.

The warning mocks the latest industry push to keep America’s remaining 99 nukes from being shut by popular demand, by their essential unprofitability, or, more seriously, by the kind of engineering collapse against which the NRC experts are now warning.

As of January 1, the world has more installed wind capacity than nuke. More than $360 billion was invested last year in renewables, dwarfing new reactor investments.

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