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ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR. OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Pesticide 0313wrp opt(Photo: cgpgrey)California is the first U.S. state to require Monsanto to label its blockbuster weed killer, Roundup, as a possible carcinogen, according to a ruling issued Friday by a California judge.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan previously issued a tentative ruling on Jan. 27 in Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, et al.

Judge Kapetan formalized her ruling Friday against Monsanto, which will allow California to proceed with the process of listing glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a chemical "known to the state to cause cancer" in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65.

In January of 2016, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against the State of California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) over the agency's notice of intent to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical.

OEHHA issued the notice after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on glyphosate, which classified the chemical as a "probable human carcinogen." The IARC report compelled OEHHA to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical and warn consumers about the possible danger associated with glyphosate exposure.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Tailpipe 0310wrp(Photo: Tusanero)Scott Pruitt, the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), does not think that carbon dioxide is a "primary contributor" to climate change—even though the actual science says it is.

"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact," Pruitt said in an interview with CNBC. "So no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see."

"But we don't know that yet ... we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis," Pruitt continued.

The former Oklahoma attorney general, who sued the EPA more than one dozen times before being tapped to lead the agency by President Trump, was speaking to CNBC from an oil industry conference in Houston.

Host Joe Kernen asked Pruitt, "Do you believe that it's been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate?"—a fact that has been established by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2670566753 1f2db8b1e1 z (Photo: eirigipics ) 

Although it might be conventional wisdom that Western colonialism no longer exists, this is a dangerous myth. Colonialism persists in the form of the continued oppression of Indigenous peoples worldwide. Moreover, when it comes to the relationship of Europe and the US to the Global South, the old system of direct colonial rule has actually been replaced with financial control over many of the same countries that were colonized. The onerous financial conditions placed on many developing nations through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund -- including austerity measures and spending requirements for goods from developing nations -- represent the colonialist notion of knowing what's in the best interest of other countries. Like colonialism, it also happens to financially benefit the former ruling powers.

The globalization of exploitative labor further reinforces the relationship of capitalism to erstwhile colonialism. The squalid working conditions and meager wages of many workers in the Global South is the focus of a revealing book by John Smith, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis, which is this week's Truthout Progressive Pick. Capitalism provides the vehicle for much contemporary imperialism, but is often not perceived as such because it is not as directly visible as, say, an occupying army (although, of course, the US and Europe still occupy countries militarily as well). Colonialism used to be dependent upon direct rule of areas and countries by agents, bureaucracies and militaries representing the colonial power. Now, colonialism largely consists of financial dependencies and labor markets characterized by poverty.

In an excerpt featured on Truthout, Smith reflects on the 2014 collapse of a substandard garment factory building in Bangladesh that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 workers:

The collapse of Rana Plaza not only shone a light on the pitiless and extreme exploitation of Bangladeshi workers. It also unleashed a powerful pulse of x-rays that lit up the hidden structure of the global capitalist economy, revealing the extent to which the capital/labor relation has become a relation between northern capital and southern labor -- in no other sector has production shifted so completely to low-wage workers in oppressed nations while control and profits remain firmly in the grip of firms in imperialist countries.

2017.9.3 BF Brune(Photo: Joe Brusky)MICHAEL BRUNE OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Late on March 2, news broke that TransCanada, the company behind the formerly rejected Keystone XL pipeline, will not be required to use U.S. steel to construct the dirty tar sands pipeline from Alberta, Canada through the U.S. to refineries in the Houston area. This is in spite of the repeated pledges by President Trump -- including at that Tuesday's speech before a joint session of Congress -- that it will be built with "American steel."

TransCanada delayed its $15 billion Investor State Dispute Settlement suit under NAFTA over President Barack Obama's rejection of the pipeline until March 27, the same day that the final permitting decision for Keystone XL is due. It has been speculated that the lawsuit was suspended rather that dropped to ensure that TransCanada was not required to use U.S. steel despite Trump's public statements that it would be.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTH

juryduty copy(Photo: Raymond Shobe)

It was a partial victory, but a notable one in the battle to reduce and eliminate bias against people of color in the criminal legal system.

The Los Angeles Times reported in a March 6 article:

The Supreme Court took a strong new stand against racial bias in jury rooms, ruling for the first time that reports of racist comments by jurors may require setting aside a verdict and holding a new trial.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, announcing the court's decision Monday, wrote that the "imperative to purge racial prejudice from the administration of justice" requires setting aside the traditional rule that bars judges from second-guessing what went on in the jury room.

The 5-3 decision announced a limited exception to that rule against second-guessing juries. The new rule covers cases in which "one or more jurors made statements exhibiting overt racial bias that cast serious doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the jury's deliberations and resulting verdict."

However, we cannot simply praise rulings like this one and stop there. The reality is, the ruling is narrow in scope. For instance, this decision doesn't address the frequent issue of prosecutors selecting juries that have few people of color on them and picking whites who they feel might bring a racial bias to their verdict if the defendant is a person of color.

2017.9.3 BF Pope(Photo: sbmeaper1)CARL POPE OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The oil industry and its "deep state" allies in the Trump administration have lured US auto companies into a potentially fatal political trap, chumming Detroit by tapping into the deeply embedded penchant of the Big Three for chasing short-term market trends at the expense of long term value.

Excited by the arrival of a Big Oil ally, Scott Pruitt, to head the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the auto industry asked the Trump administration to undo the recent Obama Administration rule locking long term, reliable standards for emissions and fuel economy. The industry argued that the standards, which it agreed to back in 2009 as part of the auto bail-out, were now too onerous because consumers were shifting to buy SUV's again with lower oil prices. The argument is utterly bogus. The 2009 rules set separate, if ambitious, standards for each size class of vehicle, so while more SUV sales do drive up average emissions and oil consumption, they do not require the companies to make a single vehicle to a higher standard than they agreed to.

ALISON MEARS COHEN OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Seedling 0308wrp opt(Photo: Momali)International Women's Day is celebrated each year around the world on March 8. That inaugural date is linked to a women's anti-war protest in Russia known as "Bread and Peace" in the early 1900's. It was quickly replicated around Europe in the following year as women took to the streets, embracing the indisputable connection between hunger and war, expressing solidarity with women's peace movements around the world and advocating for their countries' governments to end armed conflict.

Early on rallies and protests by women were firmly established as a mechanism for building international solidarity around a feminist agenda. And the echoes of that mechanism are still reverberating today, as millions of people around the world took to the streets in January of this year (notably the largest protest in U.S. history) to remind world leaders, especially the newly elected U.S. president, that women's rights are still human rights.

Today, International Women's Day is recognized and celebrated in nearly every country—from villages to cities, from the Global South to the Global North—and has taken on a variety of hues and is realized in a variety of ways—protests, song and dance, conferences, shared meals and conversation and volunteer work.

This March 8, in honor of International Women's Day, women organizers from around the world are amplifying their voices in resistance to the structural forms of violence against the Earth, all forms of life and especially women, as a result of the unmitigated growth of industrial agriculture and international agribusiness.

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 06:48

Trump Inspires White Nationalist Tweeters

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Fascism 0308wrp(Photo: Nationalists on the march.)How fast is the white nationalist movement in the United States growing? Does its enhanced social media activity aid recruitment or is it more evidence of unhinged disgruntlement? A report from George Washington University's Program on Extremism comparing the use of social media by ISIS and white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups found that despite ISIS's command over social media, with Twitter as its "preferred social platform, American white nationalist movements have seen their followers grow by more than 600% since 2012. Today, they outperform ISIS in nearly every social metric, from follower counts to tweets per day."

Twitter accounts of groups such as the American Nazi Party, the National Socialist Movement and other groups, have seen "a sharp increase in followers, from about 3,500 in 2012 to 22,000 in 2016," an Alternative Media Syndicate report pointed out.

AMS also noted that "Donald Trump is a prominent subject among white nationalists on Twitter. According to the study, white nationalist users are 'heavily invested' in the Republican's candidacy. Tweets mentioned Mr. Trump more than other popular topics among the groups." The GWU report also notes that a six-and-a-half hour biographical video on Adolf Hitler, titled "Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told," was one of the most popular pieces of content among white nationalists.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

5440002785 7b1ed0ac3e zDonald Trump, lion tamer of the corporate mass media (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

I remember as a kid being in alone in a snowball fight with about eight opponents. After the first fusillade of hard icy snow pelting me I ran for the nearest cover, a mailbox. I waited a couple of minutes, the recess bell rang, and I was free to walk back into my school with just a few stragglers half-heartedly lobbing snowballs at me. In 2017, Donald Trump represents the crowd of playground bullies. In his case, he employs the tactics of overwhelming the mainstream headline-hungry media through unrelenting shock announcements and tweets.

As his early morning weekend charge via twitter that then President Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump at his eponymously named primary home – Trump Tower, in New York – demonstrates, he bases his accusations and "alternative fact" allegations on the notion that the truth is secondary to his manipulating what the media reports.

There has been much speculation that in charging that Obama had Trump's phone tapped, he was diverting attention from media preoccupation with Jeff Sessions having lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings to become attorney general. One can argue that Trump knew his highly dubious claim about being wiretapped by Obama – for which there is no evidence or legal precedent – would rotate off the corporate media radar in the next couple of news cycles, as it pretty much has, but it was necessary to divert increasingly headline-oriented news coverage from continuing to focus on Sessions and the alleged Trump campaign "Russian connection."

It's not the truth that matters to Trump; it's the hurdling of shocking statements, tweets and actions at such a rapid pace, the media can't catch its breath and focus on any one of his reactionary acts or over-the-top statements. His tsunami of allegations and torrent of executive actions race through the mainstream media so fast that they topple over each other.

2017.7.3 BF travers(Photo: European Union 2014 -- European Parliament.)JULIA TRAVERS OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Pope Francis, long known for his commitment to environmental stewardship, has taken his call for climate action one step further. He now owns an electric car, a Nissan LEAF.

The LEAF was given to the Pope in late February by German asset manager and mathematician Jochen Wermuth. The Pope's Nissan LEAF can travel up to 107 miles with a 30 kilowatt-hour battery. Wermuth tried to give the Pope a Tesla Model S electric limousine but the Pope preferred a smaller vehicle. The two men took a small test drive through the Vatican. Wermuth drove and the Pope sat next to him in the front seat.

Pope Francis is "the last superstar of mankind," Wermuth said. He also described the Pope as an example for other heads of state as well as every man on Earth.

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