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Monday, December 12, 2011

Define Terrorism • Climate Change Disaster • Republican Corruption • Fox News Lies about Russia (and more) and Admits it is Not Fair or Balanced • Occupy Police Brutality • Legal Political Bribery • more

- The real definition of Terrorism By Glenn Greenwald
    Is that not exactly the mindset that more or less anyone in the world would have: if a foreign army invades your country and proceeds to brutally occupy it for the next eight years, then it’s your solemn duty to fight them? Indeed, isn’t that exactly the mentality that caused some young Americans to enlist after the 9/11 attack and be hailed as heroes: they attacked us on our soil, and so now I want to fight them? Yet when it’s the U.S. that is doing the invading and attacking, then we’re all supposed to look upon this very common reaction with mockery, horror, and disgust– look at these primitive religious fanatic Terrorists who have no regard for human life — because the only healthy, normal, civilized reaction someone should have to the U.S. invading, occupying, and destroying their country is gratitude, or at least passive acquiescence. Anything else, by definition, makes you a Terrorist.
- GOP Keystone Corruption, by the numbers
    Right at the moment, Republicans in the House and Senate are doing their level best to ensure a speedy approval of the Keystone Pipeline by attaching it to the payroll tax cut. Their claim is that it's a jobs bill, even though their numbers are  entirely bogus.Anyway, it's a great chance to understand how this system actually works--the fact that it's corporate power that calls the shots, especially within the GOP [Republican party]. So here, for your perusal, are the numbers that actually matter. And if you felt like sending them to your Senator, just so that they know you know that no-one's being fooled, that would be okay too.
- URGENT - FOX News Caught Using Fake Video Of Riots
    News bulletins around the world have been following Russia's election rallies. But one channel stands out - America's Fox News has been showing streets ablaze, violent clashes and firebombs thrown at security officers, but with one major problem - the images are not from Russia, they're from Greece!
- My Occupy LA Arrest, by Patrick Meighan
    My name is Patrick Meighan, and I’m a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom “Family Guy”, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.
    I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”
- 6 Members of Walton (Wal-Mart) Family Have More Money Than 30% of Americans
    There’s been a constant stream of headlines about the widening gap between rich and poor for months now, but this is pretty remarkable: Just six members of the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, possess wealth equal to that of the entire bottom 30 percent of Americans.
- Foods with Color Additives Deceive Consumers, Says CSPI
    ...the nonprofit nutrition and food safety watchdog group is urging the Food and Drug Administration to require food companies to disclose on the front of food labels whether a product is artificially colored.
    There are also health reasons to be concerned about artificial colorings. The FDA has acknowledged that artificial food dyes, such as Red 40 and Yellow 5, trigger hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children. CSPI has also highlighted the cancer risks associated with certain caramel colorings, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, which are contaminated with carcinogens. In addition, some consumers are allergic to natural or synthetic color additives.
- Obama Gives A Speech On Inequality, Fox Hears An Assault On Freedom
    On December 6, President Obama gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, in which he called for a more "fair" society that has less "inequality" and "rebuild[s] the middle class in this country." Predictably, Fox News figures -- who have proven they will defend the rich at any cost -- reacted by calling Obama a "socialist" who was promoting "class warfare," then even went on to falsely claim Obama said that " 'liberty' doesn't work" and "freedom doesn't work."
- U.S. Obstructionism Is Hurting Climate Talks
    Here in Durban, the U.S. is once again trying to kill off the global climate talks by eviscerating the mid-summit draft agreement. On Saturday, the U.S. axed a whole section of the draft agreement that would have offered real protection to those who are being hardest and fastest hit by global warming.
- Animal Control Officer Goes Out With a Bang on Craigslist
    Fed up with people who refuse to spay and neuter their animals, people who want someone to wave a magic wand and find a home for their "eight-year-old Rottweiler [who] spent his entire life chained to a tree," and people who allow their dogs to run loose, leaving others to scoop up "Scooby with a plastic bag," a frustrated animal control officer posted an off-the-hook "I quit!" rant on Craigslist that's going viral."I wish to god that there was a mandatory spay/neuter law and that the penalty for breaking it was to be forced to spend a day working in the euthanasia room," writes the shell-shocked shelter worker. "Every dog or cat you carelessly add into this world takes away a home for a dog or cat that is already here. So breeding means killing … so have a good day, executioners! I hope the 50 bucks you made off that puppy sure feels good."
- Facebook Photo Gets Animal Abuser Busted
    In a rare case of legal protection for a rat, a Denver woman has pleaded guilty to a cruelty-to-animals charge for torturing and killing a rat. Tashaya Abbott and Alison Milke bought a rat from a pet store to feed live to a snake, but the snake did not eat the animal for four days—during which time the terrified rodent was confined to a tank with the snake. So the young women reportedly electroshocked, shot with blow darts multiple times, and finally crushed the rat to death. Evidently thinking that this animal's horrific suffering and death were something to laugh about, Milke posted a photo of the rat to her Facebook page and boasted about the crime that they had committed.
- Fox Business Host Stuart Varney: "We Must Win. I Say 'We' -- I'm A Conservative, I'm A Republican. I Say We Must Win"
    Fox hosts admitting they are not fair or balanced.
- The Conservative Plan To End Inequality: Deny It
    In other words, the share of wealth owned by the top 1% leveled off because the "democratization of stock ownership" spread the wealth among just 5% of the population, those earning an average of $500,000 per year. A few people -- 5 out of 100 -- got very rich, but everyone else lost ground.
- Between 2008 And 2010, 30 Big Corporations Spent More Lobbying Washington Than They Paid In Income Taxes
    A report released this month by Public Campaign demonstrates just how important it is for Americans to battle corporate special interests and reclaim our democracy. The group’s research finds that thirty big corporations actually spent more money lobbying the federal government between 2008 and 2010 than they spent in taxes. For example, General Electric — one of the top 10 most profitable companies in the world — got a net tax rebate of $4.7 billion during this period. Meanwhile, it spent $84 million lobbying the federal government.
- Q&A: The flu catcher
    Richard Webby studies the ecology of influenza, trying to better understand how certain strains of influenza can leap across the species divide from animals to people. Nature Outlook sat down with him to learn more about his research.Why does the influenza virus seem to be so active in jumping between animals and people right now?

    That's the question everyone is asking. Certainly the much larger demand on protein from the global population and rearing animals in larger numbers in smaller areas play a role in the evolution of some of these viruses. And these practices are also bringing domestic species into more contact with wild species.

Why 2020 is Too Late for the Climate
by Alex Stark
puiblished Dec 7, 2011 on

Since the opening of COP17 in Durban, the US has insisted that a new legally binding treaty regime will be impossible before 2020, and that the voluntary pledges that countries made last year in Cancun will be enough until then. At a press conference yesterday, head US negotiator Todd Stern said "if we do this right over the course of the next number of years—I mean these commitments all range between now and 2020—we can really lay the foundation for climate arrangements, whether it's in a new treaty or a new protocol."

Durban is the first major forum where the 2020 number has cropped up, and it is sneaking its way into comments and proposals from many countries. It has been cited so many times over the past week and a half that it has assumed a kind of normalcy here. But we should raise the alarm every time we hear it cited, because it has far-reaching implications that are not immediately apparent.

David Roberts wrote a fantastic piece on today summarizing "the brutal logic of climate change"—that is, explaining why the climate doesn't care as much about the nice things that countries say at the UNFCCC as what they actually do.

Roberts cites a paper by Dr. Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows, "Beyond 'dangerous' climate change: emission scenarios for a new world" released earlier this year. The paper models various emissions scenarios based on different peak years. The model in which emissions peak in the year 2020, as they might under such a legal regime, looks at 18 different scenarios. In 13 of those scenarios, reaching the two degree Celsius target, the number commonly agreed upon as being essential to avoid catastrophic climate impacts, is technically impossible. The remaining scenarios would require something like a 10% reduction per year in emissions. Roberts points out that the only thing has ever caused an emissions reduction greater than 1% per year is, in the words of the Stern Report, "recession or upheaval"—not very appealing options.

Most NGOs have been pushing for an emissions peak in 2015, saying that pushing it off until later significantly raises the chances of warming above 2 degrees Celsius, and therefore cataclysmic and irreversible climate change. With a 2020 peak, we're more likely to see a 3 or even 4 degree rather than a 2 degree world. That doesn't sound like much of a difference, but the potential on-the-ground impacts are be astonishing.

According to Andrews and Bows, "a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond 'adaptation', is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable."

Yes, you read "incompatible with an organized global community" correctly—it's not hyperbolic to say that 4 degrees of warming could very well spell the end of civilization as we know it.

This afternoon, I had the chance to explain this model to a senior US official, and asked, off-the-record, whether it is really responsible to delay increasing mitigation targets given such potential impacts. Rather candidly, said official admitted that it is not at all clear whether current targets will be enough to keep the world below 2 degrees of warming, but that the pledges made in Cancun were "as far as we could go."

That may be so, but it's still not good enough to protect our future.