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A press release sent out under the banner of the Chamber of Commerce, announcing a major shift in the group's position on climate change, is a hoax.
J.P. Fielder, a spokesman for the Chamber, confirmed the hoax to TPMmuckraker. He said the Chamber was unaware of who was behind it.
The name Erica Avidus is listed as a contact on the press release. A recording at the number listed for Avidus says "this is Erica Avidus with the Chamber of Commerce." But Fielder said that no one by that name works there. Avidus is Latin for "greedy." Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
The horrors of the US Agent Orange defoliation campaign in Vietnam, about which I wrote on Oct. 15, could ultimately be dwarfed by the horrors caused by the depleted uranium weapons which the US began using in the 1991 Gulf War (300 tons), and which it has used much more extensively--and in more urban, populated areas--in the Iraq War and the now intensifying Afghanistan War.
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Climate Organizations: “Trouble-maker legislation” scares demonstrators
New “trouble-maker legislation” is unnecessary and prevents people from using their democratic right to demonstrate, say climate organizations.
The government is playing double jeopardy when they on one hand donate 20 million Danish kroner to peaceful activists and on the other want to impose hard punishment on people who wish to speak up.
This is the opinion of the organization People’s Climate Action (PCA), founded in 2008 by the Danish Foreign Ministry in order to secure a peaceful and organized course with activists during the climate conference.
Today the Danish Minister of Justice, Brian Mikkelsen presents “trouble-maker legislation”, which will give the police more opportunities to make arrests and sentence demonstrators during the climate conference.
The world has failed to slow the accelerating extinction crisis despite 17 years of national and international efforts since the great hopes raised at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
The last big promise to act was in 2003, when government ministers from 123 countries committed to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.
Experts convening an international meeting in South Africa this week agree that target will not be met next year, which is also the International Year of Biodiversity.
"It is hard to imagine a more important priority than protecting the ecosystem services underpinned by biodiversity," said Georgina Mace of Imperial College in London, and vice chair of the international DIVERSITAS programme, a broad science-based collaborative.
"We will certainly miss the target for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010," said Mace in a statement.
Biodiversity is not just weird-looking animals and pretty birds. It is the diversity of life on Earth that comprises the ecosystems that provide vital services, including climate regulation, food, fibre, clean water and air.
By some estimates, 12,000 species go extinct every year, and the rate is accelerating. Akin to a cataclysmic asteroid, pollution, logging, over-exploitation, consumption, land use changes and engineering projects have produced the planet's sixth great extinction of species. Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
It’s not as much of a travesty as when Henry Kissinger, a war criminal of the first order who was an architect of the latter stages of the Indochina War, and was personally responsible for the slaughter of well over a million innocent people, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, while that war was still raging, but the awarding of the latest Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama is travesty enough.
We’re talking about a man whose practically first act upon taking office early this year was to escalate the ugly and pointless war in Afghanistan with the addition of some 20,000 troops, and who, even as the Nobel committee was discussing his award, was meeting with his military and political advisors to consider expanding that war even further, both in Afghanistan and across the border into Pakistan.
New Film Seeks Answer to Mystery of Vanishing Bees
By Mike Collett-White | ABC News
A new documentary seeks to unravel the mystery of why billions of honey bees have been disappearing from hives across the United States, and concludes that the chief suspect is pesticides.
"Vanishing of the Bees," which has a limited theatrical release in Britain from next week, follows the fate of a group of U.S. beekeepers hit by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which first struck in 2004 and made U.S. headlines three years later.
Countless bees would suddenly vanish, leaving an empty hive but few bodies, and the phenomenon has variously been linked to mites, disease, genetically modified crops, mobile phones and, in the words of one beekeeper, "PPB," or "piss-poor beekeeping."
While the cause has yet to be established, the film suggests there is a link to pesticides, and particularly those applied to seeds as opposed to sprayed on existing plants. Read more.
Obama’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator Nominee a Pesticide Pusher
by Paula Crossfield | Common Dreams
The industrial agriculture complex has been doing back flips for the last few weeks, first because of the ascendance of Blanche Lincoln (ConservaDem-AR) to the high throne of the Senate Agriculture Committee, where she promises to pinch climate legislation (or at the very least shove it aside until next year) and push a southern Big Ag agenda in the Senate for rice and cotton interests. Now, the White House has announced Islam A. Siddiqui, current Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America (you will remember the organization as the one that sent the First Lady a letter admonishing her for not using pesticides on the White House garden) as nominee for Chief Agricultural Negotiator, who works through the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to promote our crops and ag products abroad.
Why does it matter if the Vice President from the trade association representing pesticides and other agricultural chemicals takes over the Office of Agricultural Affairs at the USTR? Well, because that office, according to the USTR website "has overall responsibility for negotiations and policy coordination regarding agriculture." That means he would oversee the office dedicated to:
Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and World Trade Organization (WTO) Development Agenda (Doha) negotiations on agriculture, operation of the WTO Committees on Agriculture and on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, agricultural regulatory issues (e.g., biotechnology, cloning, BSE, nanotechnology, other bilateral SPS issues, and customs issues affecting agriculture), monitoring and enforcement of existing WTO and FTA commitments for agriculture (including SPS issues), and WTO accession negotiations on agriculture market access, domestic supports and export competition, and SPS matters. Read more.
The Middle East's Fruitful Valley | International Atomic Energy Organization
Against Odds, Israel, Jordan & Palestinian Authority Set Up "No-Fly" Zones of a Peaceful Kind
Arava Valley, Middle East -- Their people share an agricultural valley, and now they share the fruits of partnership – to the tune of millions of dollars every year.
Scientists, politicians, and farmers from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority are winning a long and largely invisible fight against the odds. Their common foe: the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests. Among their allies: the IAEA, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and tools of nuclear science and technology.
At a military checkpoint between Israel and Jordan in the Arava Valley, a precious cargo is traded. One-hundred-and-fifty-thousand sterilized male flies. Trapped in a dozen brownpaper bags, they buzz as they pass from Israeli to Jordanian hands.
Later that day, a plane loaded with seven million flies will make a two hour flight from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. It is the only plane authorised to tick-tack between the two countries in this region where military "no-fly zones" typically rule.
Twice a week, Steve Carrigan becomes the friendly "fly bomber", releasing swarms of sterile male flies by air to overrun the Mediterranean Basin´s shared Valley. The Medflies are commercially bred for birth control; their mating yields no offspring. If left to multiply in the wild, Medflies would wreak havoc on citrus and other fruit, quickly turning crops into infested mush.
Scientists call the pest-control technology the sterile insect technique (SIT). It is an environmentally friendly method, with a basic "birds and the bees" concept. No offspring means a dwindling fly population over time, through systematic and targeted campaigns combined with other strategic measures on an area-wide basis. Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
Some years ago, my wife and I, together with our young daughter, took a circuitous summer train trip through France, Italy, Austria and Germany. The last leg was an overnight express from Berlin that deposited us at the Gare du Nord in Paris just at sunrise. Feeling washed out from the ride, we made our separate ways to the facilities. I was standing at the urinal with a bunch of other men, relieving myself, when I heard this awful groaning coming from a stall. The groaning grew louder and more painful sounding. Some guy was obviously having a terrible time with his bowels. The agony continued, to the point that we who were by now washing our hands at the sinks were looking at each other in puzzlement, wondering what was going on. I even wondered if someone should ask if the poor wretch if he needed help.
Hummer Owners Claim Moral High Ground To Excuse Overconsumption, Study Finds
Science Daily (Sep 25, 2009) — Hummer drivers believe they are defending America's frontier lifestyle against anti-American critics, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Authors Marius K. Luedicke (University of Innsbruck, Austria), Craig J. Thompson (University of Wisconsin–Madison), and Markus Giesler (York University, Toronto) researched attitudes toward owning and driving Hummers, which have become symbols to many of American greed and wastefulness.
The researchers first investigated anti-consumption sentiments expressed by people who oppose chains like Starbucks and believe they are making a moral choice by shunning consumerism. To these critics, Hummers represent the ills of contemporary society. As one extreme example, on a website, people have posted thousands of photographs of middle fingers directed at Hummer vehicles.
[Note: I contributed an article, my first ever published in the NY Post. --DS]
MEDIA HEIST BLANKETS CITY WITH "SPECIAL EDITION" NEW YORK POST
Tabloid Tells Truth About Climate Change and How It Will Affect City, World
Fake New York Post: http://www.nypost-se.com/
Video News Release: http://www.nypost-se.com/video
City report on climate change: http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/pdf/2009/NPCC_CRI.pdf
Wake-up call: http://www.tcktcktck.org/wakeup
Early this morning, nearly a million New Yorkers were stunned by the appearance of a "special edition" New York Post blaring headlines that their city could face deadly heat waves, extreme flooding, and other lethal effects of global warming within the next few decades. The most alarming thing about it: the news came from an official City report.
DC Preps for Exotic Evening of Dance, Art and Music Benefiting the International Lifeline Fund Thurs. 9/24, RSVP Now!
The International Lifeline Fund is a non-profit humanitarian relief organization based in Washington, D.C. In the three short years since it became operational in 2006, this cutting edge organization that has found ways to dramatically reduce human misery and environmental destruction at remarkably low cost. In an effort to get the most bang out of every buck, Lifeline has been promoting cost-effective technologies and self-sustaining programs, which give vulnerable individuals the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty and become productive members of their societies.
Lifeline’s signature initiative involves the promotion of sustainable fuel technologies in regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, which, in the past two decades, have lost approximately one-third of their forest cover. Literally half of this loss is attributable to cooking on an open fire – a method that is extremely hazardous to human health and that retards the living standards of women who must spend countless hours collecting wood. In an effort to address these and other problems associated with open fire cooking, Lifeline has provided some 50,000 fuel-efficient clay stoves to women who have been displaced by violence in Somalia, Darfur, Burundi and Northern Uganda. At a cost of as little as $2 each, these stoves have profoundly improved the lives of scores of thousands and slowed the pace of deforestation by greatly reducing the amount of wood needed for cooking.
Moments ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed the first national standards to limit global warming pollution in U.S. history.
The proposal would:
- Reduce global warming pollution from automobiles by 21% by 2030.
- Cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 950 million metric tons.
- Save 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
- Save the average consumer more than $3,000 in fuel costs.
EDF President Fred Krupp issued this statement in response:
"This is a critical step to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and curb pollution that threatens our health. It will deliver immediate benefits for the country as Congress crafts comprehensive climate legislation."
Tomgram: Chip Ward, The Ruins in Our Future | TomDispatch.com
All of us have been watching drought in action this summer. When it hits the TV news, though, it usually goes by the moniker of "fire." As we've seen, California, in the third year of a major drought, has been experiencing "a seemingly endless fire that has burned more than 250 square miles of Los Angeles County" (and that may turn out to be just the beginning of another fire season from hell).
Southern California has hardly been the only drought story, though. For those with an eye out, the southern parts of Texas, the hottest state in the union this year, have been in the grips of a monster drought. Seven hundred thousand acres of the state have already burned in 2009, with a high risk of more to come.
Jump a few thousand miles and along with neighboring Syria, Iraq has been going through an almost biblical drought which has turned parts of that country into a dustbowl, sweeping the former soil of the former Fertile Crescent via vast dust storms into the lungs of city dwellers.
And, if you happen to be on the lookout, you can read about drought in India, where rice and sugar cane farmers as well as government finances are suffering. Or consider Mexico, where the 2009 wet season never arrived and crops are wilting in a parched countryside from the U.S. border to the Yucatan Peninsula.
Everywhere water problems threaten to lead to water wars, while "drought refugees" flee the land and food crises escalate. It's a nasty brew. But here's the strange thing -- one I've commented on before: there has been some fine reporting on each of these drought situations, but you can hunt high and low in the mainstream and not find any set of these droughts in the same piece. There's little indication that drought might, in fact, be an increasing global problem, nor can you find anyone exploring whether the fierceness of recent droughts and their spread might, in part, be connected to climate change. The grim "little" picture is now regularly with us. Whatever the big picture may be, it escapes notice, which is why I'm particularly glad that environmentalist and TomDispatch regular Chip Ward has written a drought piece in which, from his perch in Utah, he takes in the whole weather-perturbed American West. Tom
Red Snow Warning
The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West
By Chip Ward
Pink snow is turning red in Colorado. Here on the Great American Desert -- specifically Utah's slickrock portion of it where I live -- hot 'n' dry means dust. When frequent high winds sweep across our increasingly arid landscape, redrock powder is lifted up and carried hundreds of miles eastward until it settles on the broad shoulders of Colorado's majestic mountains, giving the snowpack there a pink hue.
Some call it watermelon snow. Friends who ski into the backcountry of the San Juan and La Plata mountain ranges in western Colorado tell me that the pink-snow phenomenon has lately been giving way to redder hues, so thick and frequent are the dust storms that roll in these days. A cross-section of a typical Colorado snowbank last winter revealed alternating dirt and snow layers that looked like a weird wilderness version of our flag, red and white stripes alternating against the sky's blue field.
The Forecast: Dust Followed by Mud Read more.
Mass Civil Disobedience to Defeat "Fake" Climate Bill, Sept. 10-18, Indianapolis, Little Rock & Cleveland
MASS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TO DEFEAT “FAKE” CLIMATE BILL | Press Release
- Climate SOS Tours to "Kill The Bill" and push tougher laws
- Nonviolent civil disobedience, office occupations, and protests on both coasts
- "Worse Than Nothing is Not Good Enough"
(Sept 9, 2009) Climate SOS, a grassroots network of environmentalists, scientists, and social justice activists, is launching a nationwide car-free tour to defeat the climate bill now being considered in the Senate—and to demand that any new legislation be grounded in science instead of politics.
By Linda Milazzo
I was out last evening. I tried to escape, just for a while, back to the days of (Taking) Woodstock when we who worked to end the Vietnam war did so as a united, free-spirited force. I readily admit that in today's times of racism disguised as patriotism, religious perversion, rampant ignorance, unhinged media menaces, and growing hostility amongst Americans, I yearn for that long ago era of 'peace and love.'
Enroute home after my wistful evening, I glanced at my phone and saw a Washington Post alert saying Obama's Green Jobs appointee, Van Jones, had resigned. I was shocked. I knew Jones was being assaulted by the right, but I didn't think he'd resign, and I didn't think the Obama administration would so readily sacrifice this brilliant advocate for the environment and the poor. After all, Jones is a person in the Obama administration who personifies the term "public servant." For progressives, Van Jones' appointment was, and is, Obama's tour de force gift to America of a high level appointee free of corporate entanglements who cannot and will not be bought. Jones is a man for the people in an administration where for the corporation is the norm.
Van Jones called Republicans what most of the people who voted for Obama call them. And he signed a statement calling for further inquiry and explanation of 911-- the original 911 truth document. Was he left hanging by the Obama Administration for doing what scores of millions of Americans would also do?
Van Jones has been the target of a vicious smear campaign for weeks. Tonight, he resigned his position as special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Apparently, the White House and president Obama did not stand behind Jones, one of the most respected leaders in the ecological movement. The Washington Post reported,
'White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that Jones "continues to work for the administration" -- but he did not state that the adviser enjoys the full support of President Obama, instead referring all questions to the environmental council where he worked, signaling the resignation was imminent.'
Jones recently issued two apologies. One was for calling Republicans "assholes." The other was for signing a statement in 2004 supporting a call for further investigation of 911, which suggested that the Government might have had a role in the 911 attack. The original document can be found here, with Van Jones the 46th signatory (and this writer was the 47th.) Ironically, one of the most vocal "birthers, who question the validity of Obama's birth certificate, Phillip J. Berg, was also a signatory of the same statement, 8th on the list. Read more.
Controversy Over Fiery Remarks Fells Obama Adviser
Obama's 'green jobs' adviser quits under fire amid controversy over inflammatory statements
By Will Lester, Associated Press | ABC News
The White House environmental adviser under fire for inflammatory statements made before he joined the administration resigned after what he called a "vicious smear campaign against me."
Van Jones "understood that he was going to get in the way" of President Barack Obama's agenda, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sunday.
The resignation was disclosed without advance notice by the White House in a dead-of-the-night e-mail on a holiday weekend. It came as Obama is working to regain his footing in the contentious health care debate.
Jones, who specialized in environmentally friendly "green jobs" with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was linked to efforts suggesting a government role in the Sept. 11 attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans. Read more.
Climate SOS Sets Out to Defeat U.S. "False" Climate Bill, Claiming "Worse Than Nothing Is Not Good Enough"
A grassroots network of environmentalists, scientists, human rights and social justice activists and faith-based organizations concerned about climate change launched a nationwide campaign today to either dramatically improve or defeat climate change legislation being considered in Congress. They say that the Senate bill, expected in September, will very likely take its cue from the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) passed by the House in June, and be even further watered down. While others are calling for passage of the bill, saying it will be "the best we can get under the political climate", the network, calling themselves Climate SOS, states that, like Dr. James Hansen, they believe such a bill will be "worse for the environment than doing nothing". They want lawmakers to start over and get serious about crafting a real and effective climate bill based on the mandates of science, not special interests.
"ACESA was designed to enrich Wall Street, the fossil fuel, utilities and big agribusiness industries at the expense of the climate and our collective peace and survival", said the network's spokesperson Dr. Rachel Smolker, Co-director of BioFuel Watch. "The bill's cap-and-trade mechanism for regulating emissions has been repeatedly proven ineffective, risky and prone to speculation and manipulations, and will lock us into a framework that prevents any effective climate legislation from being adopted. This is one of many provisions in ACESA that make it worse than nothing. It's virtually impossible the Senate will be able to improve on ACESA enough to get us where we must go in order to avoid catastrophic warming."
"ACESA does not even aim to provide a 50/50 chance of averting the worst of climate catastrophe, based on the figures of the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change", said Dr. Maggie Zhou of Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. "Politicians either do not understand or are not telling the American people about the true magnitude of climate change consequences. The costs of insufficient action will be so much greater than the costs of taking bold action now, and will include lost lives, extinctions and the threatened survival of civilization itself. If politicians and their constituents understood this, there would be far less compromising on the basis of 'political and economic feasibility'."
"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.
Here's an announcement from CleanHouston.org about the climate fight, which parallels the health fight. The Democrats in both cases have produced bills that go 90% of the way to satisfying the industries responsible for the problems. In return, in both cases, those industries have used astroturf groups and the corporate media to generate pseudo-populist revolts against the impure efforts that did not provide 100% profit maximization:
Energy Citizens, a corporate-organized Astroturf alliance funded in large part by the American Petroleum Institute, is holding rallies in 20 states over the August congressional recess. The rallies aim to undermine the efforts to get climate legislation enacted at the federal level.
Submitted by David Solnit
On August 15th activists and community members from around the Bay Area joined Richmond, California residents to protest the Chevron corporation’s devastating environmental and human rights record around the world.
By Dave Lindorff
Bill Clinton was the worst thing to happen to the Democratic Party and to progressives since that racist warmonger Woodrow Wilson won the presidency and dragged the US into the utterly pointless and incredibly bloody First World War.
Clinton, by posing as a progressive, confused and undermined, and ultimately betrayed the liberal/progressive wing of the party, shattering what was left of the New Deal coalition and leaving the American left adrift and riven by the conflict between those who thought the Democratic Party was the only viable vehicle for progressive reform and those who thought it was hopelessly in the grip of corporate interests.
Barack Obama offers the hope of bringing that era of debilitating confusion to an end.