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 Two years ago, the country banned the sale of Roundup from garden centers over fears that the chemical could cause cancer. Two years ago, France banned the sale of Roundup from garden centers over fears that the chemical could cause cancer. (Photo: Mike Mozart / Flickr)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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The French government intends to vote against and block the European Commission's proposal to reauthorize use of the controversial chemical in the European Union.

"The European Commission has proposed renewing its approval for glyphosate for another 10 years. This is far too long, given the concerns that remain over this product, and France will vote against the proposal, as clearly laid out previously in July," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Monday.

According to Reuters, failure to renew the license by the end of the year would initiate an automatic ban starting Jan. 1, 2018.

These non-biodegradable items can break down into tiny pieces or microplastics and can get ingested by marine animals and enter the larger food chain.Non-biodegradable items such as plastic bottles can break down into tiny pieces or microplastics and can get ingested by marine animals and enter the larger food chain. (Photo: Pixabay)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from Ecowatch

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It's becoming clear that plastic pollution is everywhere, even at the northernmost tip of the planet.

Scientists have recently found chunks of polystyrene on ice floes in the Central Arctic Ocean, about 1,000 miles from the north pole -- an area that could not be accessed before due to sea ice, the Guardian reports.

But the international team of researchers -- onboard explorer Pen Hadow's acclaimed Arctic Mission -- were able to venture so far north due to the area's melting sea-ice cover.

"Vessels can now access and exploit a new, unexplored and vulnerable ocean region on the planet," an expedition blog post states, noting that approximately 1 million square kilometers of the Central Arctic Ocean is likely to have been ice-free this summer.

"For the 25 years I have been exploring the Arctic I have never seen such large and very visible items of rubbish," Hadow told the Guardian. "The blocks of polystyrene were just sitting on top of the ice."

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

WallSt 0925wrp opt(Photo: Gezy-Pics)Most people looking to make big money are eager to disparage public systems as inefficient, wasteful, inferior. Many of those people are in a position to starve the public systems of funding, thereby making them less functional, and making the private options look more appealing. 

But privatization is not the solution, it is the problem. Properly supported public systems serve more people in a more efficient and less costly way. We might begin by looking at FEMA, the underfunded disaster relief program much maligned for its response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But today it's a lifesaver for many people. And the alternative is an onslaught of businesses that seek profit among the hurricane victims desperate for water and food and supplies. 

Privatization cuts us in two: we've become a nation of profit-makers versus the struggling middle/lower classes. This is true for health care, education, housing, and the environment.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Bears 0925wrp optValley of Dreams, Bears Ears National Monument. (Photo: John Fowler)Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's recommendation to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah could spark a legal battle between the Navajo Nation and the Trump administration.

"We are prepared to challenge immediately whatever official action is taken to modify the monument or restructure any aspect of that, such as the Bears Ears Commission," Ethel Branch, Navajo Nation attorney general, told Reuters.

The tribe believes that the reduction of Bears Ears' boundaries violates the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law designed to protect archeological sites from looting and vandalism and allows presidents to designate the lands as national monuments without going through Congress.

In December, President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate 1.35 million acres of land as the Bears Ears National Monument, which contains 100,000 significant Native American sites.

JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Pulpit 0922wrp optPulpit Rock, Colorado Springs. (Photo: Bret Maverick)What's been happening politically and culturally this year in Colorado's second largest city is inspiring. Progressive/populist organizing to build grassroots movements to counter plutocratic rule and govern in the people's interest now have a model of success in one of the least likely places.

Since the 1990s, Colorado Springs has been shaped by an inordinate number of right-wing institutions. Yet, the Springs also is home to a hardy band of progressives, including environmentalists, unionists, women's champions, scrappy entrepreneurs, LGBTQ activists, students and teachers, a sizeable immigrant population, social justice church groups and some sensible libertarians.

With Bernie Sanders bringing new, highly energized voters into play, young people who had previously evinced zero interest in the old Democratic-Republican duopoly were rallying behind Bernie's grassroots populism. His revolutionary call to rein in America's corporate oligarchs also sparked a fire in older, working-class people, including Repubs and none-of-the-above folks who'd given up on the idea that either party gave a damn about people like them. A shift was occurring in Colorado Springs' political zeitgeist — one that might open a path for new alignments and a progressive-populist movement.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

GrahamCassidy.jpg23Most insurance companies know that Graham-Cassidy should not replace Obamacare (Image: Center for American Progress Action Fund)

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How can a zombie piece of legislation that will end up in the premature deaths of many Americans and cause increased financial hardship to others -- among just some of its flaws -- re-emerge yet again?

That is a good question.

Trump and the Republicans are clamoring that insurance companies are going broke because of Obamacare. Then why aren't these insurance companies jumping on the "repeal Obamacare" bandwagon? It is a bit breathtaking to find out that even the greedy health insurance industry opposes the Graham-Cassidy bill -- which would have to be passed by September 30.

A September 20 New York Times article succinctly states in its headline, "Insurers Come Out Swinging Against New Republican Health Care Bill." It declares:

The health insurance industry, after cautiously watching Republican health care efforts for months, came out forcefully on Wednesday against the Senate’s latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, suggesting that its state-by-state block grants could create health care chaos in the short term and a Balkanized, uncertain insurance market.

In the face of the industry opposition, Senate Republican leaders nevertheless said they would push for a showdown vote next week on the legislation, drafted by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

The health insurance industry, the New York Times story notes, is joined by plenty of allies in its opposition:

Senate Republicans are already under pressure from 11 governors -- including five fellow Republicans and a pivotal Alaskan independent -- who this week urged the Senate to reject the last-ditch repeal effort.

The two major trade groups for insurers, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, announced their opposition on Wednesday to the Graham-Cassidy bill. They joined other groups fighting the bill, such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, AARP and the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society.

Trump's newest Environmetal Protection Agency pick, Michael L. Dourson, has massaive ties to some of the chemical industry's biggest names.Trump's newest Environmetal Protection Agency pick, Michael L. Dourson, has massaive ties to some of the chemical industry's biggest names. (Photo: TexasGOPVote / Flickr)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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From Scott Pruitt to Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump has notoriously appointed a slew of individuals with serious conflicts of interests with the departments they oversee.

The latest is Michael L. Dourson, Trump's pick to head the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, the government's chemical safety program. Media reports reveal that the toxicologist is under intense scrutiny for his extensive ties to the chemical industry and a resumé dotted with some of the biggest names in the field: Koch Industries Inc., Chevron Corp., Dow AgroSciences, DuPont and Monsanto.

After working as a staff toxicologist for the EPA from 1980 to 1994, Dourson founded and ran the Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment(TERA), a nonprofit research group that has been paid by chemical corporations to research and write reports that downplay the health risks posed by their products, the New York Times reports. TERA has since been renamed as the Risk Science Center at the University of Cincinnati, where Dourson is a professor.

Thursday, 21 September 2017 06:32

Reclaiming the Truth About Vietnam

American soldiers on patrol during the Vietnam War in 1965.American soldiers on patrol during the Vietnam War in 1965. (Photo: manhhal / flickr)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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"From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces."

OK, I get it. Soldiers suffer, soldiers die in the wars we wage, and the commander in chief has to, occasionally, toss clichés on their graves.

The words are those of Barack Obama, five-plus years ago, issuing a Memorial Day proclamation establishing a 13-year commemoration of the Vietnam War, for which, apparently, about $65 million was appropriated.

Veterans for Peace calls it money allocated to rewrite history and has begun a counter-campaign called Full Disclosure, the need for which is more glaring than ever, considering that there is close to zero political opposition to the unleashed American empire and its endless war on terror.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

14068005575 d18b05b51d zThe income divide, as revealed in a Census Bureau report, is a legacy of racism. (Image: US Government)

 

Last week, the Census Bureau released an alarming report. Although the mainstream corporate media generally highlighted results that showed median income for American families has risen at a good clip the past year, the gap between the median incomes for white people and people of color remains at a staggering level. According to ThinkProgress,

New Census Bureau data shows an increasingly optimistic picture for white Americans -- but far less so for Americans of color, many of whom still face stark income disparities.

Released Tuesday, the numbers appear to show good news across the board in several key areas. Median household income in the United States in 2016 was $59,039 -- a more than three percent rise from 2015 and the highest ever recorded....

But the figures also show a grim reality. While white families now earn an average income of around $65,041, that picture is far less rosy for other racial demographics. Hispanic families earn around $47,675 -- considerably lower than the over-arching average, $59,039. Worse off are Black families, who earn a median of $39,490, more than $25,000 less than their white counterparts.

The Census Bureau told ThinkProgress that no reason could be given for the gaps, and Census Bureau commentary could only be offered on the figures and trends. But experts and economists highlighted the data on social media, pointing to the numbers as a disconcerting sign that the figures reinforce income inequality in a damning way, one that also cuts along gendered lines. Janelle Jones, an economic analyst with the Economic Policy Institute, noted on Twitter that “earnings actually DECREASED for black women and Latinas” while they rose for white women (women of all races are still out-earned significantly by their male counterparts).

It's worth taking a moment to reflect on the fact that not only is there a persistent income gap between whites and people of color, but that women of color have actually seen a decline in income. That's a startling inequitable fact.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

SolarPark 0920wrp opt(Photo: Activ Solar)The Dubai government has awarded a $3.9 billion contract to construct the 700-megawatt fourth and final phase of the world-record-holding Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

The project also includes the construction of an 850-foot-tall solar tower that receives focused sunlight, the world's tallest such structure once complete.

The contract was awarded to a consortium of China's Shanghai Electric and Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power, who bid a Levelized Cost of Electricity of 7.3 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour—a record low price for concentrated solar power (CSP).

"Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world," Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, said.

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