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Guest Commentary (4834)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 06:23

The Army Turns to YouTube for Recruiting

2017.14.3 bf Elder(Photo: Matthias Rosenkranz)PAT ELDER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Like President Trump who regularly tweets messages to his audience, the Army's Recruiting Command has an "alternative" channel to communicate with potential recruits. Enter Archie Masibay, SGT,US Army. 

SGT Masibay, AKA Archiezzle, burst upon the world of video recruiting in early 2016, part of a virtual platoon of soldiers in the recruiting command. The Staff Sergeant turned recruiter has produced 430 videos on YouTube with 18 million views and 37,000 subscribers.

Are the sergeant's frequent explanations of recruiting policy to be regarded as official pronouncements? For instance, the news that the Army will now be accepting soldiers who score a 21 on the ASVAB enlistment test is a radical departure from the past that is sure to send shock waves throughout the Army and American society. Is this for real?

Archie says, "My opinions in my videos about the US Army and the military as a whole does not represent anyone. They are my own based on experience. My Goal here on YouTube is to release my creativity and thoughts about life and military."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Boom 0313wrp opt(Photo: Public Domain)Scientists have determined that methane from a fracked well contaminated a Texas family's water supply and triggered an explosion that nearly killed four members of the family.

The family's ranch in Palo Pinto County is located only a few thousand feet away from a natural gas well.

In August 2014, former oil field worker Cody Murray, his father, wife and young daughter were severely burned and hospitalized from a "fireball" that erupted from the family's pump house.

A year later, the family filed a lawsuit against oil and gas operators EOG Resources and Fairway Resources, claiming the defendants' drilling and extraction activities caused the high-level methane contamination of the Murrays' water well.

"At the flip of the switch, Cody heard a 'whooshing' sound, which he instantly recognized from his work in the oil and gas industry, and instinctively picked his father up and physically threw him back and away from the entryway to the pump house," the complaint states. "In that instant, a giant fireball erupted from the pump house, burning Cody and [his father], who were at the entrance to the pump house, as well as Ashley and A.M., who were approximately twenty feet away."

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR. OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Pesticide 0313wrp opt(Photo: cgpgrey)California is the first U.S. state to require Monsanto to label its blockbuster weed killer, Roundup, as a possible carcinogen, according to a ruling issued Friday by a California judge.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan previously issued a tentative ruling on Jan. 27 in Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, et al.

Judge Kapetan formalized her ruling Friday against Monsanto, which will allow California to proceed with the process of listing glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a chemical "known to the state to cause cancer" in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65.

In January of 2016, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against the State of California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) over the agency's notice of intent to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical.

OEHHA issued the notice after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on glyphosate, which classified the chemical as a "probable human carcinogen." The IARC report compelled OEHHA to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical and warn consumers about the possible danger associated with glyphosate exposure.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Tailpipe 0310wrp(Photo: Tusanero)Scott Pruitt, the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), does not think that carbon dioxide is a "primary contributor" to climate change—even though the actual science says it is.

"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact," Pruitt said in an interview with CNBC. "So no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see."

"But we don't know that yet ... we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis," Pruitt continued.

The former Oklahoma attorney general, who sued the EPA more than one dozen times before being tapped to lead the agency by President Trump, was speaking to CNBC from an oil industry conference in Houston.

Host Joe Kernen asked Pruitt, "Do you believe that it's been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate?"—a fact that has been established by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

2017.9.3 BF Brune(Photo: Joe Brusky)MICHAEL BRUNE OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Late on March 2, news broke that TransCanada, the company behind the formerly rejected Keystone XL pipeline, will not be required to use U.S. steel to construct the dirty tar sands pipeline from Alberta, Canada through the U.S. to refineries in the Houston area. This is in spite of the repeated pledges by President Trump -- including at that Tuesday's speech before a joint session of Congress -- that it will be built with "American steel."

TransCanada delayed its $15 billion Investor State Dispute Settlement suit under NAFTA over President Barack Obama's rejection of the pipeline until March 27, the same day that the final permitting decision for Keystone XL is due. It has been speculated that the lawsuit was suspended rather that dropped to ensure that TransCanada was not required to use U.S. steel despite Trump's public statements that it would be.

2017.9.3 BF Pope(Photo: sbmeaper1)CARL POPE OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The oil industry and its "deep state" allies in the Trump administration have lured US auto companies into a potentially fatal political trap, chumming Detroit by tapping into the deeply embedded penchant of the Big Three for chasing short-term market trends at the expense of long term value.

Excited by the arrival of a Big Oil ally, Scott Pruitt, to head the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the auto industry asked the Trump administration to undo the recent Obama Administration rule locking long term, reliable standards for emissions and fuel economy. The industry argued that the standards, which it agreed to back in 2009 as part of the auto bail-out, were now too onerous because consumers were shifting to buy SUV's again with lower oil prices. The argument is utterly bogus. The 2009 rules set separate, if ambitious, standards for each size class of vehicle, so while more SUV sales do drive up average emissions and oil consumption, they do not require the companies to make a single vehicle to a higher standard than they agreed to.

ALISON MEARS COHEN OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Seedling 0308wrp opt(Photo: Momali)International Women's Day is celebrated each year around the world on March 8. That inaugural date is linked to a women's anti-war protest in Russia known as "Bread and Peace" in the early 1900's. It was quickly replicated around Europe in the following year as women took to the streets, embracing the indisputable connection between hunger and war, expressing solidarity with women's peace movements around the world and advocating for their countries' governments to end armed conflict.

Early on rallies and protests by women were firmly established as a mechanism for building international solidarity around a feminist agenda. And the echoes of that mechanism are still reverberating today, as millions of people around the world took to the streets in January of this year (notably the largest protest in U.S. history) to remind world leaders, especially the newly elected U.S. president, that women's rights are still human rights.

Today, International Women's Day is recognized and celebrated in nearly every country—from villages to cities, from the Global South to the Global North—and has taken on a variety of hues and is realized in a variety of ways—protests, song and dance, conferences, shared meals and conversation and volunteer work.

This March 8, in honor of International Women's Day, women organizers from around the world are amplifying their voices in resistance to the structural forms of violence against the Earth, all forms of life and especially women, as a result of the unmitigated growth of industrial agriculture and international agribusiness.

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 06:48

Trump Inspires White Nationalist Tweeters

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Fascism 0308wrp(Photo: Nationalists on the march.)How fast is the white nationalist movement in the United States growing? Does its enhanced social media activity aid recruitment or is it more evidence of unhinged disgruntlement? A report from George Washington University's Program on Extremism comparing the use of social media by ISIS and white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups found that despite ISIS's command over social media, with Twitter as its "preferred social platform, American white nationalist movements have seen their followers grow by more than 600% since 2012. Today, they outperform ISIS in nearly every social metric, from follower counts to tweets per day."

Twitter accounts of groups such as the American Nazi Party, the National Socialist Movement and other groups, have seen "a sharp increase in followers, from about 3,500 in 2012 to 22,000 in 2016," an Alternative Media Syndicate report pointed out.

AMS also noted that "Donald Trump is a prominent subject among white nationalists on Twitter. According to the study, white nationalist users are 'heavily invested' in the Republican's candidacy. Tweets mentioned Mr. Trump more than other popular topics among the groups." The GWU report also notes that a six-and-a-half hour biographical video on Adolf Hitler, titled "Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told," was one of the most popular pieces of content among white nationalists.

2017.7.3 BF travers(Photo: European Union 2014 -- European Parliament.)JULIA TRAVERS OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Pope Francis, long known for his commitment to environmental stewardship, has taken his call for climate action one step further. He now owns an electric car, a Nissan LEAF.

The LEAF was given to the Pope in late February by German asset manager and mathematician Jochen Wermuth. The Pope's Nissan LEAF can travel up to 107 miles with a 30 kilowatt-hour battery. Wermuth tried to give the Pope a Tesla Model S electric limousine but the Pope preferred a smaller vehicle. The two men took a small test drive through the Vatican. Wermuth drove and the Pope sat next to him in the front seat.

Pope Francis is "the last superstar of mankind," Wermuth said. He also described the Pope as an example for other heads of state as well as every man on Earth.

In areas where shale-drilling/hydraulic fracturing is heavy, a dense web of roads, pipelines and well pads turn continuous forests and grasslands into fragmented islands.In areas where shale-drilling/hydraulic fracturing is heavy, a dense web of roads, pipelines and well pads turn continuous forests and grasslands into fragmented islands. (Photo: Simon Frasier University)REV. LENNOX YEARWOOD JR. OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

For the record, I'm against hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short.

I'm against people who are for and do hydraulic fracturing.

Reason: People have a right to clean air and clean water. (PERIOD)

This is not about Republican or Democrat it's about humanity and putting people before profits. Climate change is a public health and a civil rights issue that affects the communities that I support and work for, particularly African-Americans and low-income families. They are often hit the hardest by climate change and carbon pollution.

But, while many of us in the climate movement have been protesting, the fossil fuel industry has been busy playing the legislative game. And in many respects they are winning. Former Exxon CEO, Rex Tillerson, now the secretary of state for the Trump administration, shows they have been able to successfully infiltrate all levels of government and advance policy that makes it easier to expand dangerous practices.

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