Brace yourself. You may not be able to tell yet, but according to global experts and the US intelligence community, the earth is already shifting under you. Whether you know it or not, you’re on a new planet, a resource-shock world of a sort humanity has never before experienced. Two nightmare scenarios—a global scarcity of vital resources and the onset of extreme climate change—are already beginning to converge and in the coming decades are likely to produce a tidal wave of unrest, rebellion, competition and conflict. Just what this tsunami of disaster will look like may, as yet, be hard to discern, but experts warn of "water wars" over contested river systems, global food riots sparked by soaring prices for life’s basics, mass migrations of climate refugees (with resulting anti-migrant violence) and the breakdown of social order or the collapse of states. At first, such mayhem is likely to arise largely in Africa, Central Asia and other areas of the underdeveloped South, but in time, all regions of the planet will be affected.
The thriving metropolis of Boston was turned into a ghost town on Friday. Nearly a million Bostonians were asked to stay in their homes – and willingly complied. ...If only Americans reacted the same way to the actual threats that exist in their country. There's something quite fitting and ironic about the fact that the Boston freak-out happened in the same week the Senate blocked consideration of a gun control bill that would have strengthened background checks for potential buyers. Even though this reform is supported by more than 90% of Americans, and even though 56 out of 100 senators voted in favour of it, the Republican minority prevented even a vote from being held on the bill because it would have allegedly violated the second amendment rights of "law-abiding Americans".
So for those of you keeping score at home – locking down an American city: a proper reaction to the threat from one terrorist. A background check to prevent criminals or those with mental illness from purchasing guns: a dastardly attack on civil liberties. All of this would be almost darkly comic if not for the fact that more Americans will die needlessly as a result. Already, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun violence every year (compared to the 17 who died last year in terrorist attacks).
A new report from an independent task force finds that the Bush administration committed torture....The task force, an eleven-person team led by former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, a Republican and an undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, and former Democratic Congressman James R. Jones, sought to piece together "an accurate and authoritative account of how the United States treated people its forces held in custody as the nation mobilized to deal with a global terrorist theat." The New York Times called the report "the most ambitious independent attempt to date to assess the detention and interrogation programs."
In the years since 2001, journalists, lawyers and activists have been unable to get the Central Intelligence Agency, Justice Department and Bush administration to state unequivocally that the interrogation tactics used on detainees constituted torture. The Obama administration chose not to commission an official study of interrogation and detention tactics, saying it was unproductive to "look backwards." But it is "indisputable," the report’s authors conclude, that torture occurred at Guantánamo, the C.I.A.’s so-called black sites and other war-zone detention centers.
A new report from an independent task force finds that the Bush administration committed torture.......livestock farming now accounts for the use of 70 percent of the global freshwater and 38 percent of the world’s land-use conversion. Some 70 percent of the Amazon Rainforest, in fact, has already been cleared for grazing and feed crop production.The "Livestock and Climate Change" published in the latest issue of World Watch magazine reported that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions as noted by Inquirer Science/Health on April 20. Forbes online, in its April 28 issue, wrote that the 2006 report estimated that 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry (chicken) were in fact updated to 51 percent, citing an analysis performed by Robert Goodland, a former World Bank Group environmental adviser, with cowriter Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp.
Perdue is facing a lawsuit after attempting to cash in on consumer interest in animal welfare be falsely labeling their poultry as “humane.”New Jersey courts have given The Humane Society of the United States the green light to go forward with a class-action lawsuit against Perdue Farms, Inc. The major poultry producer is getting sued for misleading consumers after it falsely labeled its chickens as humanely raised, when they were actually subject to the same cramped and painful conditions of factory farms. Perdue disputed these charges in the New Jersey federal court, asserting that consumers should not expect the animals to be raised in humane conditions even if the label indicated so.
Climate change looks far more threatening than it did six years ago as the world marches toward a warming of 4 degrees Celsius higher by the end of the century compared to the preindustrial era, said Lord Nicholas Stern, a professor of economics and chairman of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics.Stern called for new and better climate models and better economic assessments of climate impacts but maintained that the main obstacle to action is political will.
The former World Bank chief economist was critical of his own 2006 review on the economics of climate change, a document considered seminal to climate change discussions, which estimated that the overall cost of climate change would shave off at least 5 percent of gross domestic product growth annually. Stern said that the review underestimated the "immense risk" from global warming.
Climate change doesn't obviously fall under the mandate of the World Bank, which has the official goal of reducing poverty. But speaking in Tokyo last month, new bank president Jim Yong Kim said he felt "a moral responsibility to be very clear in communicating the dangers of climate change." The bank is following through. Yesterday, it released a new report spelling out the consequences of the world's current course. "The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development," Kim writes.
To get a sense of how part of America is going all-in on this bet look no further than National Geographic Channel’s hit reality show Doomsday Preppers... dismissing the popularity of Doomsday Preppers as mere pop-cultural voyeurism would be a mistake.That’s because the show is a microcosm of something else stirring in our country, something more foreboding. The ominous prophecies of government tyranny, financial meltdown and violent anarchy featured on Preppers inform more than just the survivalist movement circa 2013. They’re also being absorbed into contemporary conservatism, which has increasingly bought into these same doomsday storylines hook, line and bunker.
London After Midnight / Sean Brennan