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2016.17.5 bf hauter(Photo: Chlot's Run)WENONAH HAUTER OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

One day before the National Research Council (NRC) is scheduled to release a multi-year research report about genetically engineered(GMO) crops and food, Food & Water Watch has released an issue brief detailing the far-reaching conflicts of interest at the NRC and its parent organization, the National Academy of Sciences.

Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs charts the millions of dollars in donations the NRC receives from biotech companies like Monsanto, documents the one-sided panels of scientists the NRC enlists to carry out its GMO studies and describes the revolving door of NRC staff directors who shuffle in and out of agriculture and biotech industry groups. The new issue brief also shows how NRC routinely arrives at watered-down scientific conclusions on agricultural issues based on industry science.

 

2016.17.5 bf berkowitz(Pjptp: Darron Birgenheier)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

While he professes to love the Lord, and he and his staff attend Monday morning Bible study, he also loves living large; Cuban cigars, high fashion suits, blue alligator shoes, a gold Rolex watch for starters. He's loud, outgoing, and charismatic. Based in Ohio, he's also got a Washington, D.C. multi-million dollar row-home office called Eastgate, named after the East Gate of Jerusalem. As bonuses, successful employees -- described in one report as a "small army of raucous, elbow throwing … mischief makers" -- receive Tag Heuer watches, keys to luxury sedans, lavish business trips, and more. He has a history of creating negative political advertisements that might make the late Lee Atwater blush. Meet Rex Elsass, who in an excellent profile by Jason Zengerle in the March issue of GQ, is described as "the most powerful Republican operative you've never heard of."

And in my case, someone who has been monitoring and reporting on conservative movements for quite some time, Zengerle was right on the money; I never had heard of Rex Elsass until reading the GQ piece.

Elsass is the founder and CEO of the Strategy Group for Media which, according to Zengerle, is a "consulting firm [that has] a knack for launching a certain kind of politician -- and a record of recent success that has turned [him] into one of the richest, not to mention most controversial, operatives in Republican politics."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Glypho 0516wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Four Nebraskan agricultural workers have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. alleging that the agribusiness giant’s cancer-linked product, Roundup, gave them non-Hodgkin lymphoma after many years of exposure.

The plaintiffs have also accused Monsanto of purposely misleading consumers about the safety of its blockbuster product, which contains glyphosate as its controversial main ingredient.

The plaintiffs allege that Monsanto mislabeled the product in defiance of the “body of recognized scientific evidence linking the disease to exposure to Roundup.”

Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world was infamously classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March 2015.

“Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada, and Sweden reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides,” the IARC said about the herbicide, adding that there is also “convincing evidence” that it can cause cancer in laboratory animals.

The plaintiffs in the case are farmers Larry Domina and Robert Dickey both of Cedar County, York County farmer Royce Janzen and Dodge County agronomist Frank Pollard, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. They are represented by Omaha-based Domina Law Group and New York-based Weitz & Luxembourg.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

FrackingBad 0516wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations such as fracking might allow for cheaper prices to heat your home, but a growing number of scientists are becoming concerned about its unacceptable health implications.

In the first comprehensive literature review to date on the respiratory health risks associated with UOG, experts from the Center for Environmental Health, the Institute for Health and the Environment, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments have found that these operations are particularly harmful to infants and young children.

The study, Hazards of UOG Emissions on Children’s and Infants’ Respiratory Health, was published today in the journal Reviews on Environmental Health.

The the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that there are nearly 700 chemicals used in the fracking process. Fracking fluids can contain a toxic slew of hazardous chemicals that can affect human health and the environment, but oil and gas companies are not required to disclose exactly what they are.

According to the study, at least five chemicals associated with unconventional oil and gas operations and fracking—tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, silica dust, benzene and formaldehyde—are linked to respiratory health issues on infants and children, including asthma, reduced lung and pulmonary function, increased susceptibility to infection, chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, lung inflammation and other adverse outcomes.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Glyphosate 0513wrp(Photo: Glyphosate USA)Last month, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) volunteered to take a urine test to see if glyphosate—the cancer-linked weedkiller—is in their system. Forty-eight MEPs from 13 different European Union countries participated in the test, and now the results are in.

According to ELISA test results from the accredited Biocheck Laboratory in Germany: “All participants excreted glyphosate by urine.”

The experiment was spearheaded by the Green Party in the European Parliament, which wants a ban on the controversial herbicide in the European Union.

The group noted in a press release of their so-called “#MEPee” test:

On average, the MEPs had 1.7 micrograms/liter of glyphosate in their urine, 17 times higher than the European drinking water norm (0.1 microgram/litre). This means that everyone we tested was way above the limit for residues of pesticides in drinking water.

House in Germany using alternative energy(Photo: Mahtab)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

On May 8 -- a particularly sunny and windy day -- Germany's renewable energy mix of solarwind, hydropower and biomass generated so much power that it met 88 percent of the country's total electricity demand, or 55 GW out of 63 GW being consumed.

This means, as Quartz reported, "power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity."

"We have a greater share of renewable energy every year," said Christoph Podewils of Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank.

"The power system adapted to this quite nicely. This day shows again that a system with large amounts of renewable energy works fine."

2016.12.5 BF Koehler(Photo: mrami)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

And the race goes on. So does the war, but you'd never know that the one had anything to do with the other.

Even when the mainstream media trouble themselves to acknowledge that the primary season remains open on the Democratic side, that Bernie Sanders -- and his millions of supporters -- are still in the race, the Bernie revolution is never portrayed as addressing foreign policy and the still-failing, still-catastrophic war on terror.

Yet the war is there, shredding the national economy as it shreds much of the Middle East and, indeed, the whole planet.

Noam Chomsky, in his new book Who Rules the World?, quoting terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, says the Iraq War "generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

DAPL 0511wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)The campaign to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) continues to gain steam with Leonardo DiCaprio and actors from the upcoming Justice League film joining the cause.

Dakota Access—a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP—has proposed a $3.7 billion, 1,168-mile pipeline that will transfer up to 570,00 barrels of crude oil per day from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.

The DAPL, also referred to as the Bakken pipeline, would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation that stands in North and South Dakota. The Missouri River, one of the largest water resources in the U.S., provides drinking water for millions of people.

The people of Standing Rock, often called Sioux, warn that a potential oil spill into the river would threaten the water, land and health of their reservation.

In DiCaprio’s tweet, the Oscar-winning actor and clean energy advocate said he was “standing with the Great Sioux Nation to protect their water and lands,” and linked to a Change.org petition that urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 07:19

Louisiana Number One in Incarceration

BILL QUIGLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Chain1 0511wrp(Photo: Toni Lozano)In 2014, the US Department of Justice confirmed Louisiana remained number 1, among the 50 states, with 38,030 in prison, a rate of 816 per 100,000 over 100 points ahead of next highest state Oklahoma.  Because the US leads the world in incarcerating its people, this means Louisiana is number one in the world.  Compare Louisiana’s rate of 816 people per 100,000 with Russia’s 492, China with 119, France with 100, and Germany with 78.

Louisiana first became number 1 in the nation in 2005 when it was imprisoning 36,083 people.  Louisiana remained number 1, in 2010 with 35,207 in prison, an incarceration rate of 867 per 100,000 people, over 200 points head of the next highest state Mississippi.

It was not always so.  In 1965, Louisiana ranked 13th nationally in putting its citizens in jail with a rate of 109 prisoners per 100,000 people.  In 1978, Louisiana only held 7,291 people behind bars.  By 1986, Louisiana was 5th highest in the nation in putting its own citizens in prison, with 14,580 behind bars, a rate of 322 per 100,000, according to the US Department of Justice.   In 1990, Louisiana rose to 3rd highest in the nation, putting 18,599 behind bars, a rate of 427 per 100,000.  In 2000, Louisiana moved to 2nd highest in the nation, imprisoning 35,047 behind bars, a rate of 801 per 100,000.

The number of prisoners expanded nation-wide as a result of the “war on drugs” which was conducted in a racist way to target blacks.  But in Louisiana, the prisons also backed up when the practice of releasing prisoners for good behavior after 10 years and 6 months of their life sentences was ended in the 1970s.

Louisiana has been much more severe in sending black people to prison than whites, at least after black people were no longer slaves.   In 1860, when the Civil War started, the population of the Louisiana penitentiary was two-thirds white.  But by 1868, the population of Louisiana’s penitentiary was two-thirds black.

2016.1.5 BF Hitt(Photo: Oatsy40)MARY ANNE HITT OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

This is big -- for our climate, for clean air and water, for our future. It's also big because the U.S. government is honoring its treaty obligations. After a five-year struggle that engaged hundreds of thousands of people, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a landmark decision Monday to deny federal permits for the biggest proposed coal export terminal in North America -- the SSA Marine's proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, acoalexport facility at Xwe'chi'eXen (also known as Cherry Point), Washington.

In January 2015, the Lummi Nation asked the Army Corps to reject the project because it would violate U.S. treaty obligations to project the tribe's fisheries and ancestral lands. This is a huge win for the Lummi Nation and its Northwest community allies over the coal companies.

The Army Corps made the right choice and did its duty by upholding treaty rights and honoring the U.S. government's commitment to those treaties. Time and again, Pacific International Terminals has shown disregard for the Lummi Nation and its allies, who have for years voiced concerns about the project's public health, economic and environmental impacts.

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