Guest Commentary (4239)
COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Alaska’s state bird,” but the pesky insects are becoming no joke. Warming Arctic temperatures have caused their numbers to swell immensely in the region in recent years. Lauren Culler has been studying insects in Greenland for the last several years. Culler, a postdoctoral researcher for Dartmouth College’s Institute of Arctic Studies, along with a team of researchers published a study yesterday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.Some Alaskans joke that mosquitoes are “
Their findings are not good for the humans, caribou and other mammals that call the Arctic home. The study answers why this is happening. With the Arctic warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the Arctics waterways (mosquito breeding grounds) are melting up to several weeks sooner. Thus, mosquitoes are hatching earlier and earlier.
“It was really when the pond thawed that triggered the hatch,” Culler told National Geographic. “That’s not unexpected. Lots of biology is triggered by these melting events.” But that’s not all Culler found. The warmer environment also allowed mosquitos to reach maturity faster, thus allowing more and more to survive to adulthood. Mosquitos are most vulnerable and most likely to be picked off by predators in their early stage of life as most animals are.
“The faster they go through these life stages, the better off they are,” Culler says. “If you’re only exposed for 20 days instead of 24, that’s good for you. That’s four days you don’t have to worry about being eaten.”
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Meet Scott Walker, corporate whore and lousy gambler (with taxpayer money, of course).
The Wisconsin governor says he should be America's next president because he's a proven budget whacker who, by golly, has dressed down teachers, slashed funding for higher education, busted unions and gone after welfare recipients. He's the Koch brothers' favorite because he's tough on government "moochers" — unless, of course, you're a corporate moocher. If a corporation wants public money, well, then Walker's your go-to Wisconsin whore.
Wesley Edens could vouch for the governor's willingness to bestow public favors on big men with big money. Edens is a New York City hedge-fund gazillionaire who bought the Milwaukee Bucks pro basketball team last year. Showing the usual ethical perversity that afflicts "private enterprise" sports owners, this flimflamming carpetbagger immediately demanded a $250-million subsidy from Wisconsin and Milwaukee taxpayers to build a sparkling new sports palace for him. Now, one gamble that's a more certain loser than throwing your money at Las Vegas casinos is letting public officials throw our tax dollars into building new stadiums for profiteering owners of sports teams. And Scottie was willing to take that bet.
Walker and officials of Milwaukee County are betting the farm to subsidize a flashy basketball arena for the Bucks. "Oh golly," one can imagine Scott squealing at Edens with unseemly delight, "it will be my exquisite pleasure to ramrod the deal through my Republican legislature for you, and I'll also schmooze secretly with Democratic officials of Milwaukee County to get them to put out for you!" Edens did his part to consummate this back alley affair by doling out ownership shares of his basketball team to prominent Republicans, including Jon Hammes, a developer who just happens to be co-chairman of the national finance committee for Walker's presidential run.
COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
released secret video footage today taken by an undercover reporter inside a Tyson Foods slaughterhouse in Texas. According to ALDF, the footage reveals an exploitative system for both workers and animals.The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
“The overall attitude towards the chickens at the Tyson plant is that they were thought of as objects and not living and feeling beings,” said the anonymous ALDF investigator. “They were nothing more than a commodity. It didn’t seem to matter to anyone if the chickens were hurt or killed in the pre-slaughter process. It was just part of ‘business.’”
Watch the undercover footage here.
The abuse of workers and animals in factory farms is well documented. Undercover footage from Mercy for Animals in July revealed equally appalling conditions at another Tyson’s facility. And a similar undercover investigation into Costco’s egg suppliers from The Humane Society earlier this summer sparked Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Bill Maher to call on the retail giant to make changes.
“Our investigation proves that the cruel treatment of chickens by Tyson Foods are not isolated incidents, but a systematic, companywide problem,” says Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund executive director. “Tyson Foods is putting profits over not only ethical standards, but state and federal laws.”
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Troy Anderson is the executive editor of Charisma, one of leading Christian evangelical publications in the world. He appears totally sincere in his beliefs. He's not a purveyor of Harold Camping-esque End Times predictions, savvy enough not to be trapped into telling us exactly when The End Times is coming. He will, however, tell you that there are abundant signs, that it could be any day now: "The signs—the last of the four blood moons, the biblical Shemitah, rise of end-time 'Babylon,' the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the dangerous Iranian nuclear deal and a world drowning in debt and dangling on the edge of economic catastrophe—seem unmistakable now."
Then again, given that the Charisma magazine website featuring Anderson's story is carrying advertisements for investing in Solar panels for homes – an investment that will take a while to pay off, leadership training that "will positively impact your church, business or ministry," and subscriptions to the magazine, the End Times could be a ways off.
Ever since Harold Camping stirred up his flock into selling their worldly possessions and hunkering down for The Rapture, and subsequently becoming the subject of scorn and ridicule when it didn't happen, most End Times evangelicals are smart enough not to go there.
They are, however, not reluctant to warn Christians – and I suppose other innocent bystanders – that "harbingers of the apocalypse have been gathering for decades" but "most of the world has been largely oblivious to the gathering tempest and prophetic warnings." Now, however, "global instability—geopolitically, financially and culturally," more people are paying attention.
ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTCOLE MELLINO OF
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
Naomi Klein, author of the critically acclaimed book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, spoke at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, Australia last weekend. The annual event “brings leading thinkers and culture creators from around the world to the Sydney Opera House stages and online to discuss and debate the important ideas of our time.”
Klein’s most recent book argues that the climate crisis cannot be addressed without fundamentally changing our current economic system. Since her book was published, Klein has become a fierce advocate for action on climate change. Last month, she criticized her own Canadian government and the Australian government for “destroying the planet,” calling Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott a climate change “villain.” In July, she spoke at a Vatican conference, People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course. She even made an appearance on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert last fall.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Capitalism has worked for big business and for the people with stocks and estates. But for the past 35 years our economic system, stripped of sensible regulations, has poisoned the nation with deadly inequality and driven much of middle America to an ever-widening lower class.
Yet for much of the nation the delusion persists, against all common sense, that deregulated free-market capitalism works, that it equates to true Americanism, and that people have only themselves to blame for their failure to thrive in this expanding world of wealth. The reasons for this delusion are not hard to determine.
1. The Rich are Easy to Understand: Capitalism Justifies Selfishness
Studies have consistently shown that increased wealth causes people to turn inward, to believe more in their own "superior" traits, and to care less about the feelings and needs of others. This anti-social attitude blends well with the Ayn-Randish "greed is good" message of unregulated capitalism.
Other studies have determined that money pushes people further to the right, making them less egalitarian, less willing to provide broad educational opportunities to all members of society, and certainly part of the reason that our investment in public infrastructure as a component of GDP dropped by 60 percent from 1968 to 2011.
COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The Straits of Mackinac is a narrow waterway that separates Michigan’s lower peninsula from its upper peninsula. The straights connect two of the Great Lakes: Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. But underneath this iconic part of the Great Lakes are two 62-year old pipelines.
The pipelines have never been replaced, despite the well-documented risk of a rupture. “If just one of the pipelines ruptured, it would result in a spill of 1.5 million gallons of oil—and that’s if Enbridge, the company that owns them, is able to fix the pipeline immediately,” says Motherboard. “I can’t imagine another place in the Great Lakes where it’d be more devastating to have an oil spill, University of Michigan research scientist Dave Schwab told Motherboard.
Enbridge does not have a good record when it comes to spills either. It’s responsible for more than 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, totaling 6.8 million gallons of spilled oil. And in 2010, it spilled more than 800,000 gallons into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan—creating the biggest inland oil spill in the country’s history. It did not receive as much national attention because the country was fixated on another oil spill: the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
As we all know, the only reason why we are still dependent on fossil fuels is because Big Oil has forced the world to rely on their product since the late 1800s. It’s a barbaric and antiquated form of energy that should have been phased out a long time ago with scalpels and blood leeching, given the advancement of renewable energy technologies.
The one thing that Big Oil fears most is the lack of demand for their product. When public demand diminishes, supply is not worth the trouble and expense. It’s basic economics.
Recently, environmental activists and commentators have pointed to President Obama’s hypocrisy of traveling to the Arctic to talk about the melting ice and climate change, and at the same time, he allowed Royal Dutch Shell to begin oil and gas drilling in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska’s northwest coast despite massive protests and demonstrations.
But this is the way it always goes down. The truth is President Obama is generally pro-oil and gas. His actions-decisions on oil drilling speak far louder than his empty speeches on climate change.
As usual, Big Oil wins and every living thing on this earth loses. When are we going to stop being victims? We approach the problem of climate change from the same strategy of begging politicians to do the right thing when they will never do the right thing for the reason that the oil industry writes the checks and buys them off. And they own the corporate networks as well. That’s why meteorologists are not allowed to connect the dots between extreme weather disasters and global warming or else they’ll be fired on the spot.
Round and round we go on this insane merry-go-round until there is nothing left to speak of regarding the emergency crisis we’re facing with the clock ticking as the last ice melts in the Artic: We are categorically facing mass extinction produced by man-made pollution, and it’s happening rapidly, faster than scientists predicted.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Who are all these people?
Here’s another global problem — this flow of refugees — that national governments are apparently incapable of dealing with in a long-term, cooperative, globally responsible way. As with climate change, as with warand disarmament, they retreat into insularity in the face of such matters and become protective of their short-term, individual “interests,” which mostly concern the bureaucratic sacredness of their borders and an obsessive distinction between us and them.
“The European Union, (French President François Hollande) said, needed to create ‘hot spot’ reception centers at those borders under the greatest onslaught — in Greece, Italy and Hungary — to register new arrivals and turn back those who do not meet the requirements for asylum,” reports the New York Times.
And: “(British Prime Minister David) Cameron said Monday that Britain would accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees, but they would most likely be limited to those who apply for asylum from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The British government is wary of giving migrants any incentive to make the dangerous journey into Europe, officials said. . . .”
Of course, it gets a lot worse than that: razor wire, brute force, big walls. Desperate people risk their lives. Boats capsize. Children die as racist slogans reverberate. Families flee war and poverty, hell on earth. They need new homes. What a nuisance.
ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTLORRAINE CHOW OF
Reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
In a first for the country, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has issued plans to list glyphosate—the toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—as known to cause cancer.
According to a “notice of intent” issued last week by the Cal/EPA’s California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the effort falls under California’s Proposition 65, in which the state is required to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.
The same law, otherwise known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also requires that certain substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the World Health Organization’s cancer arm—be listed as known to cause cancer.
“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. There is also “convincing evidence” that it can cause cancer in laboratory animals.