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This is the blog for Sean Brennan and London After Midnight. For more information please see the LAM website at londonaftermidnight.com.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Worldwide Distrust of USA • Milk Not Recommended • REPORT: Vegetarian Diet Needed to Prevent Global Crisis • Pussy Riot • Contrary to Republican Warnings, all is Well with Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell • Meat Farmers Hinder Medical Science • more

- Worldwide Distrust of US Intentions Follows 11 Years of War
    Global survey shows a US held in contempt by its enemies and mistrusted by its allies
- We Are at War
    The War on Terror exploits the tragedy of September 11th for the benefit of a very few. Poor people continue to pay an enormous price, while the elites, including our own government and the corporations it answers to, ignore everything but the influx of cash into their coffers. The war business is profitable if you refuse to count the cost of human lives.
- Drug Resistant H1N1 in Europe
    Two Dutch travellers were infected with oseltamivir-resistant influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses with an H275Y neuraminidase substitution in early August 2012. Both cases were probably infected during separate holidays at the Catalonian coast (Spain). No epidemiological connection between the two cases was found, and neither of them was treated with oseltamivir before specimen collection. Genetic analysis of the neuraminidase gene revealed the presence of previously described permissive mutations that may increase the likelihood of such strains emerging and spreading widely.(NOTE: The N1H1 virus, or Swine Flu, jumped to humans on farms raising animals for meat).
- Eating Fewer Animal Products Leads to Weight Loss
    A recent medical study revealed that successful long-term weight loss was attributed to decreased meat, cheese, and sweets consumption.
- Milk: No Longer Recommended or Required
    A substantial body of scientific evidence raises concerns about health risks from cow’s milk products. These problems relate to the proteins, sugar, fat, and contaminants in dairy products, and the inadequacy of whole cow’s milk for infant nutrition.
- National Pork Producers Council: Anti-Science & Anti-Animal
    The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) summed up its anti-scientific and anti-animal views when, in attempting to defend the industry’s confinement of mother pigs in cages so small the animals can’t even turn around, NPPC communications director Dave Warner told the National Journal, “So our animals can’t turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets. I don’t know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around…”
    When your own communications director makes a remark like that, you have an industry in crisis. I’ve contacted Mr. Warner three times asking for any scientific evidence he has that he believes justifies cramming pregnant pigs into crates. He hasn’t replied, because he has no reply; the science is in, and it all points in one direction: Gestation crates are so cruel that pig “farmers” could be locked in jail on felony cruelty charges if they abused dogs or cats so egregiously.
- Farm Use of Antibiotics Defies Scrutiny [Meat Farmers Hindering Critical Science]
    The numbers released quietly by the federal government this year were alarming. A ferocious germ resistant to many types of antibiotics had increased tenfold on chicken breasts, the most commonly eaten meat on the nation’s dinner tables.
    But instead of a learning from a broad national inquiry into a troubling trend, scientists said they were stymied by a lack of the most basic element of research: solid data.
    Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States goes to chicken, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat, yet producers of meat and poultry are not required to report how they use the drugs — which ones, on what types of animal, and in what quantities. This dearth of information makes it difficult to document the precise relationship between routine antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic-resistant infections in people, scientists say.
- Climate Change Stress Killing Forests, and Why it Matters
    Forests cover some 30 percent of Earth’s surface, and it’s hard to overestimate how crucial they are to the functioning of the planet. Forests provide shelter for uncountable numbers of species, hold soil in place that would otherwise wash away, pull excess carbon out of the atmosphere, absorb and re-emit water at such a rate that they literally control the weather, and serve as an economically vital natural resource.All of those functions have long been endangered by human activities such as excessive logging and clear-cutting to open new agricultural land. But another factor, increasingly, is the stress of climate change — in particular, the higher temperatures and more frequent and intense droughts that human-generated greenhouse gases have begun to trigger. Now a new paper, released Sunday in Nature Climate Change, has attempted to lay out just how climate stress affects forests, and how serious the consequences of could be.
- Why Keep Looking for the Right Way to do the Wrong Thing?
    True, there may have been a time when killing was necessary for our survival, but for those of us living in the modern world, that is (thankfully) no longer the case. Today, we continue to harm and kill animals only out of habit, convenience, pleasure or for profit. Killing for those reasons is simply not ethically-defensible, regardless of whether the killing is done by a worker in a factory in Ohio or by some local guy in our own backyard.
- Ray Bellamy: Denial won't save the Earth
    The climate scientists are in nearly unanimous agreement that increasing greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels are causing global warming and associated severe weather events. The far more frequent dramatic weather is exactly what the experts predicted more than 30 years ago and will now be expected to be the new norm. The atmosphere we all depend on for our life-giving oxygen is being used by major industries, many of which, such as the petroleum refiners, we are subsidizing with our tax dollars.
- Vegetarian Diet Needed To Prevent Global Food And Water Crisis, Report Says
    A new report warns that unless the world's population adopts a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years, we may face a global food shortage crisis nothing short of a catastrophe.
- New Solar Technology Generates Electricity and Hydrogen Gas
    A new solar panel technology includes photovoltaic cells that could generate electricity during the day while at the same time producing hydrogen gas to power a fuel cell at night. The technology that makes this possible is two new types of nanocrystals that replace the traditional organic molecules in a solar panel's construction.
    The nanocrystals, which are made of zinc selenide and cadmium sulfide, with a platinum catalyst added, could potentially create a solar panel and fuel cell combination that would provide clean energy 24 hours a day, while also lasting much longer than the typical 20-year lifespan of today's conventional solar panels.
- Don't Ask Don't Tell Study Shows No Negative Effects On Military One Year After Repeal
    In the fierce debate that led up to President Barack Obama's repeal last September of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the 1993 law that banned gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military, supporters of the law warned that a repeal would have disastrous consequences for the armed forces. One letter, signed by more than 1,000 military officers, claimed that a repeal would undermine recruiting efforts, negatively affect "troop readiness" and "eventually break the All-Volunteer Force."One year later, the first academic study of the military's new open-service policy has found there have been no negative consequences whatsoever.
- 4 Reasons To Keep Fighting to Free Pussy Riot (Slideshow)
    Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have been jailed for two years and two other members of the band have reportedly fled Russia. Four reasons to keep fighting to free Alyokhina, Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova and to support the opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sean

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rich Not Paying Taxes Causes Financial Problems • Pig fever sweeps Russia • Republicans Lie at Convention • Gun Industry Lies • STUDY: Pot Makes You Stupid • Republican Racism • Dumb Libertarians • Ayn Rand's Baseless & Juvenile Philosophy

- Liar's Poker: GOPers 'Make Stuff Up'—How Will the Media Respond?
    So now it’s “game on.” No more lie and let live. The Republicans more or less announced, then displayed, yesterday that they will officially not be bound to facts or even the attempt to stay in the same area code.
- How Romney Keeps Lying Through His Big White Teeth
    "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," says Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster.
    A half dozen fact-checking organizations and websites have refuted Romney's claims that Obama removed the work requirement from the welfare law and will cut Medicare benefits by $216 billion.

    Last Sunday's New York Times even reported on its front page that Romney has been "falsely charging" President Obama with removing the work requirement. Those are strong words from the venerable Times. Yet Romney is still making the false charge. Ads containing it continue to be aired.

    Presumably the Romney campaign continues its false claims because they're effective. But this raises a more basic question: How can they remain effective when they've been so overwhelmingly discredited by the media?

    The answer is the Republican Party has developed three means of bypassing the mainstream media and its fact-checkers.
- Rick Santorum repeats Romney claim that Obama is ending work requirement in welfare
    Now Santorum is lending his voice to Mitt Romney's campaign message that President Barack Obama has gutted that reform and done away with rules from the 1996 law that require welfare recipients to eventually get a job.
- Putting Mitt Romney's attacks on 'You didn't build that' to the Truth-O-Meter
    In speeches and videos, the Romney campaign has repeatedly distorted Obama's words. By plucking two sentences out of context, Romney twists the president's remarks and ignores their real meaning.
- Santorum says when his grandfather came to the U.S. in 1925, 'there were no government benefits'
    Contrary to what Santorum said, millions of Americans in 1925 would have either qualified for benefits directly, such as payments to veterans, or have been protected by workers' compensation laws that provided benefits to those who became disabled by their jobs. And state and local governments had the longstanding role of paying support to people who were disabled or indigent. This provides a much more complex picture than Santorum is painting. We rate his statement False.
- Add It Up: Taxes Avoided by the Rich Could Pay Off the Deficit
    Conservatives force the deficit issue, ignoring job creation, and insisting that tax increases on the rich wouldn't generate enough revenue to balance the budget. They're way off. But it takes a little arithmetic to put it all together. In the following analysis, data has been taken from a variety of sources, some of which may overlap or slightly disagree, but all of which lead to the conclusion that withheld revenue [not paying taxes], not excessive spending, is the problem.
- The Curious Appeal of Ayn Rand
    Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, recently made news by declaring himself an unabashed admirer of quasi-philosopher Ayn Rand. Reportedly, Rand’s books are required reading for Ryan’s staff. I think the case can be made that Ayn Rand appeals to people for the same reason Friedrich Nietzsche appeals to them. Her bold “truths” are not only an exciting mixture of defiance and heresy, they are epigrammatic and digestible enough not to over-tax the intellect.
    The two reasons why undergraduate students (and certain congressmen) get such a thrill out of Ayn Rand’s “Objectivism” philosophy: (1) it comes off as non-conformist and slightly “dangerous,” and (2) it unapologetically glorifies all those egotistical impulses we had as teenagers. There’s a smug, self-congratulatory element to it.
- Two people removed from RNC after taunting black camera operator
    Two people were removed from the Republican National Convention Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, "This is how we feed animals."
- RNC Attendee Allegedly Threw Nuts At Black CNN Camerawoman, Said ‘This Is How We Feed Animals'
    An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said "This is how we feed animals" before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to TPM.
- Study links teen marijuana use to IQ decline
    Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study has suggested.
- Ron Paul Also wants to Deny Rape Victims Abortions, unless it's an "honest rape"
    Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study has suggested.
- The Heat is On, and it's Time to Prepare
    Extremely hot summers — warmer than virtually ever occurred during a base period of 1951-1980 — have occurred across more than 10% of the world's lands during the past several years. This means that extremely hot temperatures are more than 10 times more likely to occur now than 50 years ago.
- How the Gun Industry Got Rich Stoking Fear About Obama
    There is no divorcing the politics of guns from their profits. America’s gun lobby and gun industry both benefit from creating a fearful vision of life in the United States—a picture of criminals constantly menacing our families and a government hellbent on taking our guns—that is very effective at selling weapons. In fact, in large part because of the way anxieties about his gun policies have been manipulated, the Obama era has been a golden age for firearms manufacturers, and the run-up to Election 2012 could be for Glock and Remington what the Christmas shopping season is for Macy’s and Sears: a time to cash in before the narrative changes.
- Destroying Precious Land for Gas by Sean Lennon
    Few people are aware that America’s Natural Gas Alliance has spent $80 million in a publicity campaign that includes the services of Hill and Knowlton — the public relations firm that through most of the ’50s and ’60s told America that tobacco had no verifiable links to cancer. Natural gas is clean, and cigarettes are healthy — talk about disinformation. To try to counteract this, my mother and I have started a group called Artists Against Fracking.
- Pig fever sweeps across Russia
    Russian authorities have incinerated tens of thousands of pigs and closed roads in the past few weeks, in an attempt to contain an emerging outbreak of African swine fever, a viral disease so lethal to the animals that it has been likened to Ebola. The spread of the disease comes with a heavy economic toll — last year, the Russian Federation lost 300,000 of the country’s 19 million pigs to swine fever, at an estimated cost of about 7.6 billion roubles (US$240 million).
    African swine fever was also detected for the first time in Ukraine in late July, and European and Asian countries are on the alert to deal with outbreaks that could cost their pork industries billions of dollars. With no vaccine or cure for the disease, mass culls and vigilant hygiene offer the main defence.

Sean

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tom Morello on Paul Ryan • Romney/Ryan • Lying Republicans • Climate Change • Fascist Ronald Reagan • Going Vegan • more

- GOP's Concern for Disaster Preparedness Doesn't Extend Beyond Tampa
    Since assuming control of the House, Republicans have consistently played dangerous politics with disaster relief funds and slashed the budgets of storm monitoring agencies, thereby executing the same small-government-at-all-costs mentality that led to widespread destruction in New Orleans. They may go to great lengths to assure the safety of party delegates in Tampa Bay, but they have not shown the same compassion for storm victims in the rest of the country.
- Four Ways the Ohio GOP is Already Stealing the 2012 Election
    The Ohio Republican Party has moved four ways to steal America's 2012 election. The Buckeye State is almost certain to emerge as a decider in this year's presidential election, and the GOP is moving fast to ensure victory, no matter what it takes.
- Tom Morello: 'Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against'
    Rage Against the Machine's guitarist blasts Romney's VP pick and unlikely Rage fan
- If You Aren't Young/Old, Middle Class/Poor, Gay, A Student, A Vet, Or A Woman, You'll Love Paul Ryan
    Meet Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan. He wants to basically cut everything. And then basically give Mitt Romney the biggest tax cut ever.
- Paul Ryan Cracks Joke As 71 Year-Old Citizen Is Forced To The Ground (VIDEOS)
    This took place last fall at one of Congressman Rep. Ryan’s “Pay to Play” town hall meetings where he was discussing cutting Senior’s Social Security, and Medicare as a means of debt reduction. As you might imagine, one senior was not pleased.
- 3 Essential Things To Read About Paul Ryan Today
    Mitt Romney chose super-conservative superstar Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential nominee this morning. Read these articles if you want to know who he is and what this might mean for America.
- Millionaire Mitt Romney Would Pay ONLY 0.82 Percent in Taxes Under Paul Ryan's Plan
    Under Paul Ryan's plan, Mitt Romney wouldn't pay any taxes for the next ten years -- or any of the years after that.
- The Five Reasons Why the Ryan-Romney Economic Plan Would Be A Disaster for America
    The Romney-Ryan Economic Plan - The Five Reasons Why the Ryan-Romney Economic Plan Would Be A Disaster for America
- Paul Ryan: Randian poseur
    Mitt Romney couldn't have chosen a better example of the fakery at the heart of today's GOP
- Mitt Romney: “I was too important to go to Vietnam”
    Monday, at a press event in California before the GOP primary in that state, former Gov. Mitt Romney was asked about his support of United States military involvement overseas. He was pleased to answer the question, however after his response, his answer to a follow-up question regarding his four deferments from the Vietnam War did not please onlookers, especially veterans.
- Republican Official: N.M. Governor ‘Dishonored’ Gen. Custer By Meeting With American Indians
    A progressive group called on Republican National Committee leader Pat Rogers to step down on Friday after emails showed him telling New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s staff that meeting with a group of American Indians “dishonored” Gen. George Armstrong Custer, the 19th century commander who killed scores of American Indians.
- Romney's Campaign Strategy: Lie, Lie, and Lie Some More -- Can Democracy Survive with 0% Media Accountability?
    The Romney campaign has turned to a strategy of swamping the public with flat-out, blatant lies, one after another, again and again, endlessly and lavishly repeated. They do this because they are making a calculation that it will work! So what is going on? And can democracy survive this assault?
- Why reproductive rights have the Republican Party on the defensive
    I put together this chart based on the latest CNN poll (pdf), which asked respondents, "Now I am going to read some specific situations under which an abortion might be considered. For each one, please say whether you think abortion should be legal in that situation, or illegal."88% believe abortion should be legal when a woman's life is endangered, 83% believe abortion should be legal when a woman's physical health is endangered, and 83% believe abortion should be legal when a pregnancy is caused by rape or incest.
    In other words, the Akin/Paul-Ryan/GOP-platform position on abortion is really unpopular.
- Book Reveals Extensive Effort by Reagan, FBI to Undermine California’s Student Movement in 1960s
    FBI director J. Edgar Hoover ordered his agents to investigate and then disrupt the Free Speech Movement that began in 1964 on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. In part two of our interview, Rosenfeld discusses how Ronald Reagan collaborated with the FBI to target California’s student movement and strengthen Reagan’s own rise to power.
- Study Shows Bill Nye Was Right About CNN's Climate Coverage
    CNN anchor Carol Costello recently asked Bill Nye "The Science Guy" if he is "disappointed" that climate change is largely ignored in American political discourse. Nye responded: "Well if I'm disappointed, everybody, it's in you guys." And with good reason: CNN rarely mentions climate change, even while reporting on its consequences -- as a new Media Matters study shows.
- Arctic sea ice extent breaks 2007 record low
    Arctic sea ice appears to have broken the 2007 record daily extent and is now the lowest in the satellite era. With two to three more weeks left in the melt season, sea ice continues to track below 2007 daily extents.
- Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days
    The dramatic melt expected over the next week signals that global warming is having a major impact on the polar region
- MIT Study Shows Geothermal Could Produce 100,000 Megawatts of Energy in the US Within 50 Years
    So far, Humans have harnessed the strength of the sun, water, and wind to generate clean electricity. Now, it may be time to take advantage of the earth’s capacity to provide renewable power. An interdisciplinary panel from MIT estimated that the United States could potentially produce 100,000 megawatts of geothermal energy within the next 50 years.  The report estimates that 200,000 exajoules of energy could be captured from EGS (enhanced geothermal systems) by 2050 in the US alone – that’s roughly 2,000 times the total consumption of the country in 2005.
- Central Valley Meat Co. Shut Down After Undercover Video Surfaces From Within Slaughterhouse
    Federal regulators who shut down a Central California slaughterhouse after receiving an animal welfare video were investigating Tuesday whether beef from sick cows reached the human food supply.The video appears to show workers bungling the slaughter of cows struggling to walk and even stand. Under federal regulations, sick animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption.
- Veganism: Making The Transition
    It seems that every few weeks, a news story breaks about an undercover investigation inside a factory farm. Just this past week, the DC-based group Compassion Over Killing, revealed footage taken by one of their investigators that caused the USDA to shut down a slaughterhouse near Fresno, CA. This time it was dairy cows being slaughtered for hamburger. COK's undercover video documented horrific abuse: a cow being suffocated by a worker who is stepping on her muzzle, cows too weak to walk or even stand being jabbed with electric prods, cows still fully conscious having their throats slit.
    When confronted with these images, most people turn away, disgusted and sad. Yet time and time again we hear of the abuse, torture and neglect farm animals endure. Many of my friends not involved in animal rights ask me: How can this be?
    The answer to that question is many-fold: desensitized farm workers, "standard" farm practices that are exempted from animal cruelty laws, the phenomena of seeing animals as commodities rather than sentient beings. My question back to them is always the same: What are you going to do about it?
- Answers to the plant based diet protein deficiency myth
    Anyone who is vegan, or even vegetarian, is likely quite familiar with the infamous question, "But where do you get your PROTEIN?" Some veggie lovers may already know how to answer this question without missing a beat. But if you're not quite sure, read on to arm yourself with knowledge; not just for a quick response, but more importantly for your own health!
- Wondering About a Vegan Diet? (Infographic)
    Want to know how to be healthy and cruelty-free? No worries—eating vegan is easy! Get all your answers and more with PETA's "Wondering About a Vegan Diet?" infographic, and don't forget to share this infographic on Facebook.

Sean

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Right Wing Extremism & Bigotry Ignored/Worsened by Fox, Republicans, etc • Guns • Republican Voter Suppression • Climate Change & Dangers Ignore by Conservative Media • Republican Rep Support Dog Fighting • Mars • Low IQ=Conservative • more

- Wade Michael Page: Islamophobia unleashed
    We have yet to determine if Page mistook Sikhs for Muslims, but such questions are irrelevant. In today’s Islamophobic atmosphere, there has been increased marginalization of all AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) communities. In particular, Sikh Americans have faced the brunt of post-9/11 hate crimes and backlash, with Sikh men often being mistaken for Muslims. The first post-9/11 hate crime murder was of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona, whom the murderer chose because he was “dark-skinned, bearded and wore a turban.”Instead of using their position of influence to build bridges of understanding, Bachmann and four GOP colleagues recently decided to stoke the flames of fear-mongering by engaging in a witch hunt against fellow Americans. Facts are not Bachmann’s strong suit. Instead, she continues the odious tradition of McCarthyism and relies on paranoia, hunches and the prevailing anti-Muslim sentiment in the country to justify smearing respected American Muslim individuals as being connected to radical Muslim organizations. Bachmann’s Islamophobia was appreciated by her Tea Party base who rewarded her “dangerous” and “downright vicious” conspiracy theories with July donations totaling $1 million. (For perspective, Bachmann previously raised $1 million over a period of three months, April through June.)
- Wade Michael Page, Sikh temple shooter, identified as skinhead band leader
    The gunman who killed six people at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee on Sunday and critically wounded three others, including a police officer, was identified Monday as Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran with reported links to the white supremacist movement.
- Neo-Nazi Rampage: Army Psy-Ops Vet, White Power Musician ID’d As Gunman in Sikh Temple Shooting
    More details have come to light about the man who shot dead six worshippers and critically wounded three others at the Oak Creek Sikh temple in Wisconsin before he was killed by police. The gunman, Wade Michael Page, was a white, 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran with links to white supremacist groups and membership in skinhead rock bands.
- Former DHS Analyst Daryl Johnson on How He Was Silenced for Warning of Far-Right Militants in U.S.
    While working as a senior analyst in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2009, Johnson authored a report warning about the increasing dangers of violent right-wing extremism in the United States, sparking a political firestorm in the process. Under pressure from Republican lawmakers and popular talk show hosts, DHS ultimately repudiated Johnson’s paper.
- To Be American, Christian and Oppressed
    ...the Christian God and the Christian Bible [are still] everywhere in the United States, and neither is in any danger of being dethroned. That people like Malkin and Kelly [Republicans] like to pretend otherwise means one of two things: they are either paranoid religious fanatics who actually believe their house of worship is in jeopardy, or they’re playing politics and hoping to gin up the rabid religious fervor that paints an angry red so much of Republicanism these days
- Voter Suppression in the Land of Enchantment
    Officials could be trying to outreach to more potential voters and engage them in the democratic process. But apparently that risk is just too high, because… someone’s dog may get a registration letter? The County Clerk is relying on a tired old myth—that individuals are perpetuating voter fraud. Extensive research shows that voter fraud is almost nonexistent. The real outrage is that at least one-sixth, if not more, of New Mexico’s eligible voters aren’t even registered.
- I Have Photo ID, Therefore I Am
    When Laila Stones sent a letter to the Commonwealth of Virginia requesting a copy of her birth certificate, the response was jarring: “They say I don’t exist,” she recounts under oath.Stones needs her birth certificate so that she can obtain a photo identification card and thereby vote in November. She’s a witness against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where she now lives, in a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups to block the state’s voter ID law. Stones is one of at least ten witnesses called to testify about the burdens she’s suffered to obtain the ID now mandated for voting. Her testimony is mostly about why she doesn’t have the resources to comply.
- STUDY: Conservative Talk Radio Promotes Echo-Chamber Of Hate Speech
    A study released today by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) found that conservative talk radio contributes to "hate speech" against ethnic, racial, religious groups and the LGBT community.
- Romney tax plan helps rich, hurts middle class: study
    Republican U.S. presidential challenger Mitt Romney's proposal to slash individual income taxes by 20 percent across-the-board would primarily boost the income of the wealthiest taxpayers, according to a nonpartisan analysis released on Wednesday.
- Romney Suggests Outsourcing Experience Will Help Him Win Back U.S. Jobs
    n an apparent effort to confront the Obama campaign’s focus on his links to shipping U.S. jobs overseas, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested his familiarity with outsourcing makes him well poised to return jobs to the United States.
- Fox Pushes GOP's Dubious Claims Of Health Care Reform Cost Increase
    In uncritically presenting the GOP graphic, Fox ignored how Republicans and their media allies have routinely exaggerated the cost of the ACA. Indeed,  Fox and others had previously claimed that the ACA's cost had "doubled" from $900 million over 10 years to $1.7 trillion, the chart's third number. In fact, the CBO found that the cost had actually decreased.
- Time to Stand Up to the Gun Nuts
    Ever since 1994, when the NRA successfully targeted Democrats in swing districts who had the temerity to support the Brady Bill and President Clinton's assault weapons ban, there has been virtually no resistance to the gun lobby.
- Government Regulations Do Not Have A Meaningful Impact On Unemployment
    [Libertarians and Republicans constantly complain about government regulations, claiming they kill jobs, limit business growth, etc. They'd rather allow corporations to be self-regulatory, in essence allowing Exxon to decide if it's safe to drill for oil in your back yard rather than independent government regulators] On America's Newsroom, Fox News promoted a Republican congressman's claim that a halt to government regulations will lower the unemployment rate, and then misled viewers over regulations' negligent effect on business and unemployment. In the last six years, regulations were responsible for less than 1 percent of all job loss, and small business owners have cited demand, not regulation, as their biggest obstacle to job creation.
- Did the US cause Fallujah's birth defects? video
    New research is underway on the alarming increase in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.In November 2004, the US led an assault on Fallujah - a stronghold of opposition against the US occupation, west of Baghdad. Intense bombardment left many of its buildings destroyed and displaced much of the 300,000-strong population.
    Eventually, the US was forced to admit that amongst its arsenal was white phosphorus - a substance the Pentagon described as a 'chemical weapon' when it was used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds.
    In addition, eyewitnesses claimed the US military used "unusual weapons".
    Subsequent investigations have focused on the possible use of depleted uranium by the US for its armour-piercing qualities. The US, however, denies using such weaponry.
- The Wall Street Journal: Dismissing Environmental Threats Since 1976
    To forestall policy on climate change, the Wall Street Journal editorial board routinely downplays scientific consensus, overstates the cost of taking action, and claims that politics, not science, motivate those concerned about the climate. But an analysis of more than 100 editorials from 1976 to present shows that the Wall Street Journal used these same rhetorical tactics in previous decades on acid rain and ozone depletion and they did not stand the test of time.
- Climate Skeptic, Koch-Funded Scientist Richard Muller Admits Global Warming Real & Humans The Cause
    After years of denying global warming, physicist Richard Muller now says "global warming is real and humans are almost entirely the cause."
- Japan could become second biggest solar power nation
    WITH nuclear power on the ropes in Japan, it could be solar power's time to shine. Minamisoma City in Fukushima prefecture has signed an agreement with Toshiba to build the country's biggest solar park. The deal comes weeks after Japan introduced feed-in tariffs to subsidise renewable energy - a move that could see the nation become one of the world's largest markets for solar power.
- The Obama Administration Torpedoes the Arms Trade Treaty- By Amy Goodman audio
    What is more heavily regulated, global trade of bananas or battleships? In late June, activists gathered in New York’s Times Square to make the absurd point, that, unbelievably, “there are more rules governing your ability to trade a banana from one country to the next than governing your ability to trade an AK-47 or a military helicopter.”
- Republican U.S. Representative Supports Dog Fighting
    Republican Representative Steve King made a shocking statement at a town hall meeting last week where he announced that dog fighting should be legal. He defended his absurd statement by saying that since human fighting is legal, not letting dogs fight would be prioritizing animals over humans. King is also the creator of an amendment that targets animal protection and environmental laws. Read on to learn what the Humane Society has to say on the issue.
- A photograph of Curiosity during landing has been leaked!
    A few hours ago, NASA's HiRISE team announced that it had acquired an image of Curiosity during its epic descent to the Martian surface.
- No Such Thing as a Liberal Media
    Republicans are featured in media news outlets more than Democrats and Democrats receive more negative coverage (and usually unfairly).
- How Right-Wing Media Have Distorted Ohio's Early Voting Debate
    Right-wing media have distorted efforts by President Obama's re-election campaign to restore early voting for all Ohio voters, claiming the campaign is suing to restrict voting for members of the military. In fact, the Obama campaign's lawsuit seeks to restore early voting for all Ohioans, including members of the military and their families.
- Depriving Democrats and Minorities of their Constitutional Right to Vote
    Republicans have passed hundreds of voter ID laws in the USEA this year trying to remove millions of valid registered voters from the roles in order to steal the presidential election this November. Here's an info graphic that shows just how bogus, unfair, racist and unnecessary these voter ID laws are.
- What can the Mars rover tell us about climate change on Earth?
    Nasa's new rover will hunt for signs of martian climate change, and in doing so will shed light on what's going on back home
- July average tops U.S. temperature record, NOAA says
    The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States.
- The Dice are Loaded: NASA’s James Hansen Warns Escalating Climate Crisis Requires Intervention video
    James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and author of “Storms of My Grandchildren,” describes how observed seasonal temperatures have corroborated the predictions of global warming climate models he first warned of in the 1980s.
- How America's Losing The War On Poverty
    According to a recent survey by The Associated Press, the number of Americans living at or below the poverty line will reach its highest point since President Johnson made his famous declaration of war on poverty in 1964.
- Gun Control? Dream On. video
    One reason is surely that guns have effectively become the emblem of the ongoing great white male right-wing freak-out. (Ladies might pack a pink pistol, but not an AK-47.) When Obama was elected, gun sales rose—quick, the Kenyan Muslim Communist is coming for our weapons! On NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, John Velleco of Gun Owners of America seemed comfortable with the idea that someone might want an arsenal of assault weapons to protect his family from a home invasion. What home invasion would that be? And among the many foolish justifications for amassing high-powered weaponry is the delusion that you and your friends could outgun the government if you personally decided it had become a tyranny. That’s almost as ridiculous as the notion that if everyone carried a gun, people would be safer. All those moviegoers in Aurora needed to make their misery complete was to have a bunch of armed freelancers shooting off their weapons in a dark theater.The trouble is, as with so many aspects of conservatism—the anti-choice movement, the Tea Party, Ron Paul—“gun rights” supporters win on intensity and single-mindedness.
- Posted before, just a reminder: Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice
    There's no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice [and who have conservative viewpoints] may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.

Dean

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Racists Support Voter ID laws • Libertarian/Republican Idea of Privatization is Harmful • Sarah Palin Supports Anti-Gay Views • No Liberal Media • Gore Vidal Dies • Climate Change Storms Deplete Ozone • Meat Industry Lies • No Fish in 40 Years • more

- Scientists Tell Senate Panel: Climate Change Is Here and Disaster Costs Will Be Huge
    Climate scientists who appeared Wednesday morning before a Senate committee hearing on climate change and extreme weather impacts had stark warnings for the lawmakers: climate change is here, climate change is man-made, and climate change is going to cost us big time.
- Storms May Speed Ozone Loss Above the U.S.
    Summer thunderstorms across the United States inject water vapour far higher into the atmosphere than was previously believed, promoting a cascade of chemical reactions that could pose an increased threat to Earth’s protective ozone layer as the climate warms.
- 'When It Rains, It Pours': Global Warming Brings Increased, Heavier Storms
    The impacts of human-caused global warming are being felt across the U.S. as increased and heavier storms -- predicted by climate scientists -- are confirmed in a report released Tuesday.
- Area in extreme drought increases by size of Texas, report says
    Areas of the contiguous United States under extreme or exceptional drought conditions increased by an area roughly the size of Texas - from 13.5% of the land to 20.5% - in the past seven days, according to the Drought Monitor report released Thursday.
- 3 Myths About Protein and a Plant-Based Diet
    The first question I am often asked when discussing a whole-food, plant-based diet is, “Where do you get your protein?” Protein has become widely recognized as a miracle macronutrient that, apparently, is challenging to acquire in effective doses. However, this is far from accurate. Let’s clear up three of plant-powered protein's three most-common misconceptions.
- Scientists predict our seas could be empty of fish in 40 years - now one Scottish island is fighting overfishing.
    At current rates of decline, scientists predict our seas could be empty of fish within 40 years. With a billion people eating fish as their primary source of animal protein and 200 million people depending on fishing as their only source of livelihood, that would mean a humanitarian disaster.
- Beef Industry Has a Cow Over USDA's Support for Meatless Monday
    The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an agency notorious for its unabashed promotion of animal agribusiness and animal-based foods. As noted by the Associated Press: "The USDA often promotes the beef industry by encouraging Americans to eat meat."This week, however, the USDA got caught in the line of fire from, of all groups, the National Cattleman's Beef Association (NCBA). Why? Because it (the USDA) touted the benefits of meat-free foods.
- Japan workers 'told to lie about radiation'
    A subcontractor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant told workers to lie about possible high radiation exposure in an apparent effort to keep its contract, media reports said.
- Facts Are Facts
    Pro-Israel groups have reacted with outrage - and their own plans for an ad campaign - in response to billboards in New York train stations showing the implacable loss of Palestinian land, and creation of millions of refugees, over the last 64 years. But Henry Clifford, 83, says he's puzzled by the charge the ads are "inflammatory."
- Extremism Normalized: How Americans Now Acquiesce to Once Unthinkable Ideas
    That’s how extremist powers become normalized: they just become such a fixture in our political culture that we are trained to take them for granted, to view the warped as normal. Here are several examples from the last couple of days illustrating that same dynamic; none seems overwhelmingly significant on its own, but that’s the point:
- Gore Vidal Dies at 86
    American novelist, playwright, media critic, political historian and pundit Gore Vidal died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday following complications with pneumonia. He was 86. A towering figure in both literary and political circles for most of his life, Vidal leaves a legacy seared with adoration, contempt, and mourning for the country of his birth. Born into power, privilege, and steeped in the elite world of Democratic politics, Vidal -- who resided in self-selected exile in Italy for many years -- became a vocal and unabashed critic of US foreign policy.
- The Complete Dishonesty Of Fox News' Economic Context
    Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum rewrote economic history to blame President Obama for the recession that began in December 2007...
- REPORT: Drudge Funneled At Least 30 Million Visitors To Conspiracy Websites In The Last Year
    A ThinkProgress study of the [Republican/Libertarian] Drudge Report reveals the popular internet aggregator has linked 184 times to InfoWars and World Net Daily, two sites that promote the internet’s worst conspiracy theories, since June 2011. By directing millions of visitors to these websites, Drudge is providing critical financial and reputational support to publications that argue 9/11 was an inside job, FEMA is building concentration camps and President Obama was not born in the United States.
- Poverty and the Hypocrisy of the Republicans
    “The relatively low social expenditures in the United States partially explains the high poverty rate,” said Gould. “When it comes to alleviating the effects of poverty, the U.S. could learn from its peers.”Some of the major findings: Despite the relatively high earnings at the top of the US income scale, inequality in the United States is so severe that low-earning US workers are actually worse off than low-earning workers in all but seven peer countries; more than one in five children in the US lived in poverty—this level is over two times higher than the peer-country average of 9.8 percent; the average peer countries’ tax and transfer programs achieves a poverty-rate reduction of 17.4 percentage points—an effect nearly two times greater than that produced by such programs in the United States.
- Conservative Media Attack The Muppets For Founding Company's Chick-Fil-A Rebuke
    Members of the conservative media are attacking The Muppets for its founding company's decision to sever ties with Chick-fil-A, which supports numerous anti-gay causes. The Muppets have been called "heterophobic, anti-diversity, anti-inclusive bigots," and against family and Christian values. Conservatives, including Fox News, recently criticized The Muppets for allegedly promoting liberal propaganda in their 2011 film.In the wake of criticism, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy recently defended the company's support of anti-marriage equality groups.
- Sarah Palin On Chick-Fil-A: Republican Shows Support Amid Gay Rights Debate
    Sarah Palin waded into the Chick-Fil-A debate Friday night, posting a tweet and Facebook photo showing her support for what she called "a great business."Chick-Fil-A's President Dan Cathy recently sparked controversy when he gave a blunt response to a question about his franchise's "support of the traditional family." [he made openly homophobic and bigoted comments towards gays and lesbians]
- Privatization: The Big Joke That Isn't Funny
    The [Libertarian and Republican ideas of] privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That's more than a joke, it's an insult, it's a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.
- Fox Guest's Voter ID Law Defense: "Voting Is A Privilege"
    Fox News regular Jay Sekulow claimed that voting is a privilege as he went to bat in support of the Texas voter ID law today, and denied that such laws disenfranchise eligible voters. In fact, Americans are constitutionally protected from having their vote denied on the basis of race - which the Department of Justice has said would happen under Texas' law -- and voter ID laws have already disenfranchised hundreds of voters, and could prevent millions more from voting in this year's elections.

Study Links ‘Racial Resentment’ and Voter ID Support
Published on July 20, 2012 on The Nation

A new survey indicates that people who “harbor negative sentiments towards African Americans” are also more likely to support voter ID laws. And the correlation extends beyond party and ideological lines.

Researchers at the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication weren’t surprised to find that most Republicans and conservatives were in favor of voter ID laws—regardless of how they measured on the “racial resentment” scale used in the study. The shocker came when Democrats and liberals who rated highest on the racial resentment scale also indicated support for voter ID laws.

How likely one is to possess or be able to acquire a specific form of voter ID is also affected by race. The Brennan Center released a report illustrating, among other challenges to obtaining identification, the lack of overlap between offices that issue valid voter IDs and high populations of people of color. More than 1 million blacks and half a million Latinos live more than 10 miles away from such offices.

One map in the study illustrates that in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, driver’s license offices that are open more than twice a week are located largely away from rural black populations. An additional map illustrates that areas with high Latino populations also lack offices that issue IDs that will be considered valid if Texas requires them in the upcoming election.

Another Judge Blocks Wisconsin’s Voter ID
A second judge blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID requirement, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan ruled the measure unconstitutional. Citing obstacles to getting a valid identification, Judge Flanagan wrote that obtaining “a DMV Photo ID can easily be a frustrating, complex and time-consuming process,” adding that any associated costs are significant for poor people. The state is expected to appeal the ruling.

Feds Hand Over Database for State Purges

The Department of Homeland Security has agreed to allow Florida access to the SAVE database, AP reports. The Sunshine State sued the DHS for access, and the Department of Justice sued Florida to block it from conducting a voter purge. A federal judged ruled in favor of Florida’s purge, and now, the DHS is handing over a database meant to identify non-citizens eligible for public assistance. DHS says it will also make the SAVE system available to Colorado and Washington. The battleground states of Ohio, Michigan, New Mexico and Nevada are expected to acquire the database as well—and Texas is already drafting its demand. The states believe that by identifying non-citizens who are eligible for public assistance, they’ll be able to identify names to purge from voter rolls as well.

Check Out My Voter ID

Memphis city libraries began adding photos to cards so that they could be used as voter IDs—but the Shelby County election commission says the IDs cannot be used to cast a ballot, reports WMC-TV 5. Local Democrats say they may initiate a lawsuit in order compel the election commission to accept the ID.

Iowa Investigates Three Cases of Voter Fraud—and Finds None

Iowa’s Secretary of State “has made it his top priority” to pass a voter ID law in his state. In order to do so, he wants to illustrate at least one example of voter fraud. Yet after vigorously investigating a whopping three possible instances of voter fraud, Matt Schultz’ office can’t conclude that any of them amount to actual fraud, according to the Associated Press. Had Secretary Schultz been paying attention, he might have noticed that fraud occurs only 0.0002% of the time—so it’s unlikely he’ll find anything to bolster his claim.

Sean

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guns • Colorado Shooting • Victims Can't Pay for treatment, Libertarians say "Let them die" • more

- Aurora And The Media Myth Of Public Opposition To Gun Control
    By Sunday the claim that Americans don't support tougher gun laws was a regular feature on the morning political talk shows. .... In fact, polls indicate public support for a broad range of stronger gun restrictions, including the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, which may have prevented the legal purchase of one of the alleged shooter's guns.
- Virginia Tech Shooting Survivor Colin Goddard: "The Time Is Now" for Action on Gun Control Laws video
    Colin Goddard was shot four times during 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 32 people dead. He now works with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It is beyond time to talk about solutions," Goddard says. "This conversation should have happened before this shooting in the first place. ... The missing piece [is] in place in this, which is the public outrage. And it has to be focused directly to your representatives, because they are the ones, literally, with bills at their fingertips right now."
- Tragedy in Colorado: Aurora victims struggle with medical bills
    Nearly a week after the shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater left 12 dead and 58 injured, the survivors and their families are struggling with growing medical bills. Rock Center Correspondent Kate Snow talks to the survivors’ families and their doctors.
- REMINDER: Republican/Libertarian Tea Party Debate: Audience Cheers, Says Society Should Let Uninsured Patient Die
    A bit of a startling moment happened near the end of Monday night's CNN debate when a hypothetical question was posed to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)."What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn't have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? Are you saying society should just let him die?" Wolf Blitzer asked."Yeah!" several members of the crowd yelled out.
- 7 Reasons President Obama and Gov. Romney Must Lead on Solutions to Prevent Gun Violence
    ...now that the candidates are back on the trail asking for our votes, they should be able to take time to articulate their concrete plans to address this violence.  The next president will be leading a nation that will lose 48,000 Americans to gun murders during his term.
- Still Missing From The Aurora Coverage: Gun Violence Context
    ...now that the candidates are back on the trail asking for our votes, they should be able to take time to articulate their concrete plans to address this violence.  The next president will be leading a nation that will lose 48,000 Americans to gun murders during his term.
- It's the Guns – But We All Know, It's Not Really the Guns
    But here's the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn't count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.
- Gun control mustn't be the only thing in the spotlight video
    What we find in our data, compiled only from highly credible sources (FBI, DOJ, CDC, etc), is that violence is directly and strongly correlated with socio-economic data on education, health, poverty, inequality, basic services, labour participation and social capital. States that are more peaceful have higher education levels, higher health-insured rates (including access to mental health and preventive services), lower poverty and inequality, better access to basic services, higher labour participation rates, and higher rates of social capital (ie: volunteerism, community involvement, perceived trust, group membership, etc).
- Still Missing From The Aurora Coverage: Gun Violence Context
    But here's the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn't count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.
- Timeline: Mass Killings in the US Since Columbine
    At least 28 mass killings have now occurred in the United States since two teenagers went on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in April of 1999, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher.
- Bill Moyers: NRA 'Enabler Of Death' video
    "Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and 300,000 gun-related assaults in the U.S.," he said. "Firearm violence may cost our country as much as $100 billion a year. Toys are regulated with greater care and safety concerns than guns ... we have become so gun loving, so blasé about home-grown violence that in my lifetime alone, far more Americans have been casualties of domestic gunfire than have died in all our wars combined."


Good Violence, Bad Violence
by Robert C. Koehler
Published on Thursday, July 26, 2012 by Common Dreams

“In the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what will be remembered are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy,” President Obama said this week in Aurora, Colo., after the shootings.


That’s probably not true.

Picture: Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates, center, looks at the memorial across from the movie theater, Wednesday, July 25, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Twelve people were killed and over 50 wounded in a shooting attack early Friday at the packed theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo: Alex Brandon / AP)

From Charles Whitman up to the present day, the collective American memory preserves the name of the killer . . . the lone psycho, the shadow hero. We’re far too fascinated with violence not to mythologize its perpetrators. And just as we all know (because the media tell us) that there will be a “next war,” we know, oh God, in the deep churnings of the heart, that there will be more murder victims — schoolchildren, college students, shoppers, churchgoers, theatergoers, bystanders. We know because we live in a culture that tolerates and perpetuates violence.

James Holmes may have been a “loner,” but, like his predecessors, he acted in a complex American context. He wasn’t alone at all.

The U.S. is far more violent than other developed countries, for reasons seldom addressed or even looked at in anything like a holistic way. The root of the matter, as I see it, is our false distinction between “good violence” and “bad violence.” We don’t address the issue systemically because of our social investment in “good violence” and the enormous payoff it delivers to some. But good violence — the authorized, glorified, “necessary” kind — inevitably morphs into bad violence from time to time, and thus we are delivered jolts of headline-grabbing horror on a regular basis.

The factors that make up our culture of violence include, but are hardly limited to, the following:

A. The easy availability of guns, including semiautomatic weapons, ammunition and other paraphernalia. Holmes, for instance, not only purchased some 6,000 rounds of ammo on the Internet but “a high-capacity ‘drum magazine’ large enough to hold 100 rounds and capable of firing 50 or 60 rounds per minute — a purchase that would have been restricted under proposed legislation that has been stalled in Washington for more than a year,” according to the New York Times.

A culture of fear and the popular association of guns with personal empowerment guarantee that simply stanching the availability of high-capacity killing equipment to angry loners slipping into mental illness isn’t likely anytime soon. Indeed, we’re going the wrong direction. The AR-15 semiautomatic rifle Holmes used had been illegal under the federal ban on assault weapons that Congress allowed to expire in 2004. One unaddressed question: To what extent does easy access to military weaponry inspire lost souls even to consider mass murder as their ticket to glory and public attention?

B. The media — entertainment and news — feed the popularity of “good violence.” Violence is the driving plot device for thousands of forgettable, special-effects-permeated flicks. Its opposite is wimpiness. Movie and TV violence is abstract and consequence-free: the quickest way to solve a problem, find love, attain manhood, do good. America’s Army, the violent but bloodless videogame maintained by the U.S. Army, sucks in 13-year-olds. Violence occupies the American consciousness. “Why are we violent but not illiterate?” asked journalist Colman McCarthy. The answer: We’re taught to read.

As our newspapers collapse and TV culture permeates American households, the distinction between news and entertainment continues to blur. Peace and nonviolence are far too complex to grab readers’ and viewers’ attention. Violence sells. Violence advertises. Give us a war, any war, and the media will line up behind it, at least until it starts to go bad. “I guess I was part of the groupthink,” Bob Woodward lamented several years into the Iraq war, when the Washington Post examined its failure to be the least bit critical of the disaster initially. A serious part of the defense budget is public relations; it’s always money well spent.

C. Violence drives government policy. We’re now engaged in an endless, Orwellian war against dark-skinned, foreign evil. The “Washington consensus” is the same thing as the military-industrial complex. We torture, we carpet-bomb. We’ve wrecked two countries, killed civilians by the thousands or hundreds of thousands. We assassinate by drone and keep our civilian kill-count low by regarding all military-age males as combatants (by which measure, seven of Holmes’ victims shouldn’t count). We’re continuing to develop the “next generation” of nuclear weapons.

Violence also drives domestic policy. Our prison-industrial complex is the largest in the world — and becoming privatized. We have no mercy on the poor. Social spending bears the brunt of “austerity.” The police are becoming increasingly militarized. We control through punishment, which seems to be the same thing as revenge (“. . . after he has felt the full force of our justice system . . .”).

D. We worship winning and create unity around common enemies. Racism is endemic. We live in a domination culture; competition rules, even in education settings. The default American truism is “survival of the fittest.” Everything we do is based on the military model. We go to war against all our problems rather than try to heal them. We think love means weakness. Sonia Sotomayor was mocked as the “empathy nominee” for Supreme Court justice.

Good violence is the original bait-and-switch. As we mourn the latest to die so unnecessarily, let us vow not to let our grief turn to revenge.

Sean

More Climate Change • Study Shows Arctic Ice Melt at LEAST 70% Man Made • US Drought Reaching Historic Proportions • Media Ignores Climate Change

- Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
    Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is
- Fox "News" boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science
    In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." [the critics Fox refers to are proven liars who work for the fossil fuel industry]
- Drought in US Intensifying to 'Historic Proportions'
    The drought in the U.S. is intensifying and shows little signs of abating, according the most recent Drought Monitor issued Thursday.
- Study: At Least 70% of Arctic Sea Ice Loss 'Man-Made'
    Last week an iceberg 'twice the size of Manhattan' broke off a glacier in Greenland. This week, revelations surfaced that scientists studying satellite maps of Arctic sea ice melt were so shocked by the rapid melting of ice sheets they concluded it was an error with their imaging equipment. It wasn't.
- 'Not a Mistake': NASA in Disbelief over Area of Melting Ice
    Scientists say there has been a freak event in Greenland this month: Nearly every part of the massive ice sheet that blankets the island suddenly started melting.
- What we know about climate change and drought
    It’s likely that droughts will continue to get worse as the planet heats up. As the IPCC report notes, scientists have more confidence about what the future holds if we keep heating the planet. Climate models tend to agree that droughts will get more intense and frequent in the Mediterranean, in central North America, Mexico, northeast Brazil and southern Africa, though there are still uncertainties as to exact regions.
- Bill Nye "Disappointed" In Media For Not Questioning Politicians About Climate Change
    Video- Bill Nye Disappointed in media
- Scientists Uncover "Grand Canyon" in Antarctica
    A massive rift valley that lies under a portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet could be speeding its melt, according to scientists who compared their discovery to a frozen Grand Canyon.
- Why The Recent Extreme Heat Wave Is About To Become Permanent
    video- The growing mountain of evidence of the direct consequences of climate change is becoming impossible to ignore. What will the world of climate change look like? It's already here.
- STUDY: Climate Coverage Plummets On Broadcast Networks
    A Media Matters analysis finds that news coverage of climate change on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX has dropped significantly since 2009. In 2011, these networks spent more than twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as climate change.
- A Climate and Energy Stalemate
    On the day he clinched the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, Barack Obama declared that future generations would look back and say, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” He made addressing climate change, domestically and as part of a concerted international effort, a central tenet of his campaign platform and a top priority of his first year in office.Then the president backed off, hamstrung by an economic crisis and implacable opposition from Republicans, who were cheered on and financed by their ideological allies and fossil fuel companies. International talks organized by the United Nations made scant progress, not least because the United States was unwilling to accept a binding accord unless it required comparable emissions cuts by all countries regardless of their stage of economic development.
- Oceans of Garbage: Why People Are Eating Their Own Trash
    Why are people eating their own trash? Well this infographic from the creative students over at MastersDegree.net illustrates how pervasive the problem is and how we've quickly created a recipe for disaster.Knowing that fish supply the greatest percentage of the world's protein consumed by humans it is imperative that we recognize the need to keep our oceans healthy and the marine food web clean. So you may be asking yourself: "What can I do?" The good news is we can all do a little something and when we do it together we create a sea of change. Here are five easy things everyone can do to take action and get us closer to trash-free seas.

Sean

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ralph Nader Book Picks and Interview • Top Republican Donor Investigated for Criminal Activity • Fox News Denies Facts and Shows Racism • Meat Will Destroy Earth • Climate Change • Fox News Says Pollution is Good For You • more

- Jolting the Mind for Action: A Summer Reading List
    These are suggested summer readings from Ralph Nader to activate the citizen’s mind:
- Q&A: Ralph Nader on The Green Party, Obama and Romney
    ...we asked Nader about his problems with the two-party system, discourse between the two major candidates and the media’s coverage of the race.
- Comically Awful Survey Says 83 Percent Of Doctors Might Quit Over Obamacare
    The survey question is entirely worthless as a barometer of professional medical opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act. Which is likely the reason no one paid it any mind when DPMA released it last month. But then the dim bulbs at the Breitbart empire picked it up, followed by the Daily Caller and Drudge, leading to its inevitable appearance on Fox News this morning. It's a uniquely awful survey, but it served up a shocking, headline-friendly number, which is why it's driving the right-wing media's coverage of health care policy.
- Fox & Friends Fails To Discredit Obama's Manufacturing Job Record
    Fox & Friends rarely misses an opportunity to deny the successes of Obama, even when empiricism would suggest otherwise. This is only the most recent example.
- Fox & Friends Echoes GOP Spin On Welfare Rule, Leaves Out The Facts
    Fox & Friends criticized changes to the federal welfare program with deceptive talking points that were identical to a Republican senator's press.
- Wells Fargo Accused of Discriminatory Lending
    Protesters say that Wells Fargo and some other major banks offer higher mortgage rates to minorities.The US Department of Justice says they have reached a settlement with one of the lenders, Wells Fargo - which has agreed to a $175m payout. However, that sum is tiny in comparison to the $4.2bn profit the bank made in just the first quarter of this year.
- Solyndra and the Republican Outrage Machine
    The attacks on Solyndra are more than just attacks on Obama—they’re attacks on the notion of government as a place where we can come together to take on big challenges, drive economic innovation and advance our common interests while securing a sustainable future. The Solyndra scolds don’t just want to take down Obama—they want to hold back our politics. Let’s not let them.
- Right-Wing Blogger Hoft Criticizes Summer Heat Relief For The Elderly And Chronically Ill
    Right-wing blogger Jim Hoft expressed outrage Friday that an Ohio county is distributing air conditioners for needy families to bring relief from record-high summer temperatures.
- AMA Addresses Light Pollution
    Researchers are raising several possible health concerns related to nighttime light exposure, among them a higher risk of cancer.
- Inside The Investigation Of Leading Republican Money Man Sheldon Adelson
    Billionaire psychopath who is funding all Republican/Tea Party candidates under criminal investigation
- Fox "News" Bill O'Reilly says Black Americans Vote For Dems Because Dems "Gave Them All Kinds Of Entitlements, Making Them Dependent"
    Fox "News" and Bill O'Reilly again show their racism.
- Beyond Nuclear Denial
    Now, on a planet still overstocked with city-busting, world-ending weaponry, in which almost 67 years have passed since a nuclear weapon was last used, the only nuke that Americans regularly hear about is one that doesn’t exist: Iran’s. The nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons on missiles, planes, and submarines possessed by Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China, Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea are barely mentioned in what passes for press coverage of the nuclear issue.
- Investigation: As Black Lung Cases Doubled In The Last Decade, The Coal Industry [and Republicans] Fought New Health Protections
    In the last ten years, as cases of black lung among American coal miners doubled — hitting “epidemic” scale — the coal industry and anti-regulatory politicians have fought to prevent federal agencies from creating new standards that would improve miner safety.
- Record U.S. heat unlikely to be random fluke
    The National Climatic Data Center has just released its “State of the Climate” report for June 2012. The last 12-month period on the mainland United States, it notes, were the warmest on record. What’s notable, however, is that every single one of the last 13 months were in the top third for their historical distribution–i.e., April 2012 was in the top third for warmest Aprils, etc."The odds of this occurring randomly," notes NCDC, "is 1 in 1,594,323."
- Ice island twice as big as Manhattan breaks off Greenland glacier
    chunk of ice 46 square miles in area has parted from the Petermann glacier, which feeds into Nares straight along the northwest coast of Greenland. It split off July 16 according to researchers at the University of Delaware and Canadian Ice Service.This is the second major calving event for the Petermann glacier in the last three years. In August 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan (an area of roughly 97 square miles) separated from the glacier.
- Why Conservative Columnist George Will Is Wrong About Weather And Climate
    Scientific observation and analysis have established that human-induced climate change makes extreme heat events more common. But when heat waves hit, many reporters hesitate to mention climate change without appending disclaimers of the sort that you don't see on other beats.
- Fox News thinks pollution is good for the planet
    Not that it’s a HUGE surprise that Fox News has beliefs about the environment that are the opposite of true, but just FYI, they are now apparently telling viewers that pollution is good for forests.
- Havoc as monsoon displaces millions
    Six million people have been forced to flee their homes in India's north-east as heavy monsoon rains caused massive flooding that has claimed the lives of more than 120 people.
- Fight Global Warming by Going Vegetarian
    Global warming has been called humankind's "greatest challenge" and the world's most grave environmental threat. Many conscientious people are trying to help reduce global warming by driving more fuel-efficient cars and using energy-saving light bulbs. Although this helps, science shows that going vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight global warming.
- Could Veganism End World Hunger?
    This video from the Evolve! Campaign summarizes some startling facts from 2010 about how a plant-based diet and vegan choices could END world hunger. While this may sound too good to be true, you may be surprised to find out that the amount of grain produced globally today is enough to feed the world TWICE over, but instead the majority of it is being fed to farmed animals!
- Is Meat The World’s Most Inefficient Food?
    As the infographic below explains, the manner and scale at which our society currently raises animal for human consumption contributes to climate change in major way. It also wastes water, pollutes our soil, and contaminates fresh water supplies.
- Meat Production Wastes Natural Resources
    Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and contributes to animal suffering.According to the United Nations, raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and land used to grow feed crops) now uses a staggering 30 percent of the Earth's land mass. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals, and according to scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed worldwide every minute to create more room for farmed animals.
- Canadian Scientists 'Mourn Death of Evidence' under Harper Government
    A funeral procession of scientists wearing white lab coats and mourners dressed in black will take to the streets of Ottawa today to "mourn the death of Evidence" and protest what they see as an attack on environmental science by the Harper government.The scientists say a rash of recent cuts exposes the government's hostility to evidence-based research and is putting the public at risk. Despite claims by government officials that the cuts are a necessary part of a cost-cutting and efficiency plan, the scientists claim they are directed at research programs critical of the government's energy development plans, specifically the tar sands mining taking place in Alberta.
- Extreme Weather Linked to Man-Made Global Warming: Now What?
    Crippling droughts, suffocating heat waves, and devastating floods—welcome to the rest of our lives ---- In 2011, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which The New York Times has called a “judicious group” (read: cautious), concluded that global warming will make heat waves, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events a common occurrence.  These trends cannot be explained by natural variation. “Only with the inclusion of human influences can computer models of the climate reproduce the observed changes,” according to the website Climate Communication, which indexes leading scientific research on climate change.
    If these statistics aren’t doing it, see for yourself. Mouse over to NASA’s Climate Time Machine, where you can watch the planet’s polar ice caps melting, track increases in carbon dioxide, witness sea levels rise, and see global temperatures increase in shades of orange and red.
- Welcome to the rest of our lives?
    Watch this powerful video and share with friends and family. Then help fight climate change denial by joining Forecast the Facts.
- On Global Warming, Republicans Burying Their Heads in the Dried-Up Soil
    They rightly chided the Republicans for being know-nothings: “Willful ignorance of the science,” they said, “is irresponsible and it is dangerous.” And they quoted several leading scientists, including Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton, who said: “What we’re seeing really is a window into what global warming really looks like.”
- We Can't Put a Price on Nature
    A group of international scientists says that the earth is dangerously close to its tipping point of irreversible damage. Clearly, we need a way out of the mess we've made of the planet.
- Hot Enough for You? Time to Teach Against Fossil Fuels
    director of meteorology at the Weather Underground website, said recently on Democracy Now!, “What we’re seeing now is the future. We’re going to be seeing a lot more weather like this, a lot more impacts like we’re seeing from this series of heat waves, fires, and storms. . . . This is just the beginning.”
    And yet, the fossil fuel industry continues to lead the climate change denial parade. On June 27, a day when almost 200 high temperature records were broken, Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, pooh-poohing climate change, saying that the problem was activist organizations that “manufacture fear.” Tillerson said that the problem was an “illiterate public,” which needed to be taught that all environmental risks were “entirely manageable.”
    And conservative pundits proudly wave the same flat-earth flag. Arguing with E. J. Dionne on ABC’s This Week, George Will said, “You asked us—how do we explain the heat? One word: summer. . . . We’re having some hot weather. Get over it.”

    In our editorial, “Our Climate Crisis Is an Education Crisis,” in the spring 2011 issue of Rethinking Schools, we wrote that the climate crisis is “arguably the most significant threat to life on earth,” and urged educators to respond with the urgency that the crisis deserves. The events of this summer have added an exclamation point to our editorial.

Sean