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LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

FrackOK 0303wrp opt(Photo: Joshua Doubek)Despite a crackdown on wastewater injection volumes, Oklahoma has once again been named the state with the highest risk of human-induced earthquakes, according to new seismicity maps released Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Geologists believe that these man-made quakes are triggered by wastewater from oil and gas operations being injected into deep underground wells. These fluids can cause pressure changes to faults and makes them more likely to move.

This process has been blamed for the Sooner State's alarming rise in seismic activity. Between 1980 and 2000, Oklahoma averaged only two earthquakes greater than or equal to magnitude 2.7—the level at which ground shaking can be felt—per year.

But in 2014, the numbers jumped to about 2,500 in 2014, 4,000 in 2015 and 2,500 in 2016.

The USGS said that the decline in 2016 quakes could be due to injection restrictions implemented by the state officials. According to Bloomberg, "State regulators aiming to curb the tremors have imposed new production rules cutting disposal volumes by about 800,000 barrels a day and limiting potential for future disposal by 2 million barrels a day."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

16501361270 da04a3b994 zVice President Mike Pence (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

After all the Trump-Pence campaign attacks on Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email account and server for government business, emails released to The Indianapolis Star have revealed that, while serving as governor of Indiana, Mike Pence used a private AOL email account to discuss security issues -- and the account was hacked last summer.

The vice president's office is scrambling to justify Pence's occasional use of a private account for official issues while governor, but the attempt to draw a distinction with Hillary Clinton because she used a separate server and he didn't is easily debunked. After all, Pence's email, on a personal AOL account, was indeed hacked -- and the primary issue with Clinton's separate account while in the State Department was the security of her correspondence. By that standard, Pence failed because his private email account was penetrated at least once.

The Indianapolis Star broke the story on March 2. Terry Cook of the Star wrote:

Emails released to The Indianapolis Star, part of the USA TODAY Network, in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.

Cybersecurity experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence's are typically less secure than government email accounts. In fact, Pence's personal account was hacked last summer.

2017.2.3 BF HightowerA hen is kept in a battery cage for the mass production of eggs. (Photo: Dzīvnieku brīvība)JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Those who say that we ordinary people can't have any effect on today's corporate behemoths should check out two breakthroughs last year by a group the establishment has long derided as somewhere between wacko and criminal: animal rights activists. Members of groups like the Humane Society get demonized, outlawed, sued and jailed by agribusiness interests for persisting in trying to make life even slightly less awful for animals captured in America's industrial food system. But 2016 was a good year for those groups ... and for the animals.

Let's look at Perdue Farms. Perdue is a $6 billion poultry giant (the fourth largest in the US, producing 676 million chickens in 2015). It has been a major pusher of the industry line that there's nothing wrong or cruel about breeding birds with breasts so heavy that they can't stand, or keeping them jammed so tightly in cages that they can't spread their wings, or denying them access to the outdoors -- or even sunlight. But Jim Perdue, grandson of the founder and now CEO, was having trouble reconciling his corporation's rhetoric with hard reality. After listening to critics, he began discussing alternatives with the animal rights group Compassion in World Farming.

2017.2.3 BF koehler(Photo: Maryland GovPics)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

And the word of the moment is . . . opportunity:

"What unites our party is a belief in opportunity, the idea that however you started out, whatever you look like, whoever you love, America is the place you can make it if you try."

Could you be any more tepid? The words were those of the former president the other day, giving his blessing to the naming of Tom Perez as the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Perez is the safe, establishment choice to lead the party forward into the maelstrom of Trump, under a banner that seems garishly inoffensive: Tolerate our differences, give everyone a chance.

There's nothing wrong with this, of course, and the idea of "tolerance" may even have resonated with controversy half a century ago, but today it has the hollow ring of an ad slogan.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

32288299604 7437f796a8 zSecretary of Education Betsy DeVos (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, long a critic of public education and a promoter of charter schools, opportunistically used historical Black colleges this week to promote "school choice" -- a euphemistic term used to describe alternatives to public education including charter schools and vouchers. A February 28 NBC News article describes the backlash to her comments:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos drew wide-spread criticism after describing historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as "pioneers when it comes to school choice"…

DeVos made the comment in a meeting with dozens of HBCU presidents who had met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office Monday.

In a statement released after a listening session with the leaders, Devos noted that "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish."

Many were quick to point out, however, that HBCUs were born out of a lack of options for black Americans following the Civil War -- when segregation and Jim Crow laws barred them from attending institutions of higher education.

DeVos was barely confirmed as secretary of education, with Vice President Mike Pence needing to rescue her nomination by breaking a 50-50 vote deadlock in the Senate in his role as president of that branch of Congress. Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted against DeVos, citing her opposition to public schools and her lack of understanding of the role of public education in urban and rural settings. The New York Times reported that "it was the first time a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Monsanto 0301wrp opt(Photo: Bluemoose)Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Jess Rowland may have to testify over claims that he covered up evidence that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling herbicide Roundup, could cause cancer.

A federal judge said at a hearing in San Francisco on Monday that he is likely to grant the deposition of Rowland, a key figure named in multi-district cancer lawsuits alleging that Monsanto failed to warn about the cancer risks associated with exposure to glyphosate.

"My reaction is when you consider the relevance of the EPA's reports, and you consider their relevance to this litigation, it seems appropriate to take Jess Rowland's deposition," U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said at the hearing.

The plaintiffs' lawyers argue that Rowland had a "highly suspicious" relationship with Monsanto, Bloomberg reported.

RHEA SUH OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

FTrump 0301wrp opt(Photo: Fibonacci Blue)For all the bewilderment and chaos of President Trump's first month in office, on one point he's been all too clear: He is dead set on destroying the commonsense safeguards we all depend on to protect our environment and health, crippling our government's ability to stand up to industrial polluters and shutting down the voice of the people in those actions that most impact our lives.

As early as this week, Trump is expected to escalate this assault with orders that could threaten our waters, public lands and hopes of leaving our children a livable world. He is reportedly poised to direct his administration to rewrite the Clean Power Plan (the single-most important tool we have for cutting the U.S. carbon pollution that's helping to drive climate change), rewrite the Clean Water Rule (putting at risk wetlands and streams that feed drinking water sources for 117 million Americans) and lift the moratorium on new coal leases on our public lands.

And let's be just as clear as to who'll pay the price for this reckless assault on our values and rights: our families, workers, communities and kids. That is not okay.

It's all according to a plan ripped straight out of the playbook of big oil, coal and gas. And, like so much else we've seen from this administration so far, it's built on the sand of state-sponsored deceit.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

6237645664 cc1ac771a8 z (Photo: Harrisburg U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion)

Trump's proposed $54 billion dollar increase to an already bloated military budget (of approximately $550 billion dollars currently) will have winners and losers. The primary winners will be the entrenched military infrastructure and defense contractors, who will benefit from the windfall of additional expenditures. In addition, the conservative and neoliberal promoters of US hegemony -- with the nation's military serving as global police enforcing US political and economic power -- will see their goal strengthened if the billions in extra budgetary funding is granted.

Among the losers will be those in the US who will be the victims of reduced government safety net programs and foreign aid, which would be cut to pay for the extra military spending. Furthermore, one can predict that the additional military outlay will result in more people dying throughout the world as a result of an increase in US military power. This could happen in ongoing wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, or in the vaguely defined "war on terror," as well as in multiple other "low-intensity conflicts" throughout the world.

It should not be overlooked that an expanded military will inevitably lead to increased military activity and the resultant deaths and injuries of more military recruits in an age of an all-volunteer army. The dependence of the armed forces on military recruiting to create a sufficient fighting force was emphasized in a recent Truthout Progressive Pick book by Pat Elder, Military Recruiting in the United States.

As Elder told Truthout in an interview posted on February 19,

It's a coerced, recruited Army as much as it is a volunteer Army.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 08:04

Three Trump Targets: Here's What's at Stake

2017.28.2 BF Hitt(Photo: Gage Skidmore)MARY ANNE HITT OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Keeping watch on the Trump-Pence administration is a dirty job, but it’s a responsibility that we take seriously. Support Truthout and BuzzFlash in this pursuit: Make a tax-deductible donation!

[Editor's note: President Trump signed another executive order on Friday aimed at eliminating regulations.]

The Washington Post has reported that the Trump administration may announce a number of executive orders in the coming days.

The rumored targets -- the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water Rule and the federal coal leasing moratorium -- protect our air and water, save lives and take action to stop climate disruption. By the numbers, here's what's at stake if Trump attacks these vital safeguards and reforms.

2017.28.2 BF Chow(Screen grab: Bernie Sanders / Facebook)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

BuzzFlash can only survive through reader support. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation and help publish reports and analysis with real integrity and independence!

Science educator Bill Nye and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders held a Facebook Live conversation on Monday morning about climate change.

In the two hours after it aired, the interview has already been viewed about 2 million times, drawn about 100,000 "Reactions" and 52,000 "shares."

The chat was announced Sunday on the senator's Facebook page, with many fans eagerly anticipating the sit-down. Here's what one person said:

The former presidential candidate -- who has one of the strongest records on climate change in the Senate and has been highly critical of President Trump's cabinet appointees such as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt -- got straight to the point with his first question to Nye.

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