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Thursday, 10 September 2015 07:35

Humans: The Most Dangerous Animals on Earth


aaaaaaaaaaavietnamwarVietnam War weapons. (Photo: Visit W3Schools)

Jane Stillwater, an occasional commentator on BuzzFlash, recently wrote an essay asserting that "human beings are the most dangerous predators on the planet."

Stillwater recounts how her granddaughter wanted to have an animal-themed costume party. Jane was at a loss for what to wear, until she came up with this idea:

So I thought about it a lot and finally came up with a really great animal costume, one that would still let me wear my usual uniform of jeans and a tee. I simply printed out a sign that read, "I am a HUMAN BEING, the most dangerous predator on the planet," and then slapped said sign on my back. Problem solved.

I must admit, I was a bit bemused when I first read this. Perhaps I simply felt implicated, given that I am a member of the human race. Yet, after a moment, I became less defensive and realized that Stillwater was mordantly and morbidly accurate. My realization wasn't spurred only by Stillwater's examples - a smattering of incidents of global murder in the name of factions, religions, nation states and the oligarchy - but also by the sheer number of people killed in conflicts over the last hundred years alone.


As we all know, the only reason why we are still dependent on fossil fuels is because Big Oil has forced the world to rely on their product since the late 1800s. It’s a barbaric and antiquated form of energy that should have been phased out a long time ago with scalpels and blood leeching, given the advancement of renewable energy technologies.

The one thing that Big Oil fears most is the lack of demand for their product. When public demand diminishes, supply is not worth the trouble and expense. It’s basic economics.

Recently, environmental activists and commentators have pointed to President Obama’s hypocrisy of traveling to the Arctic to talk about the melting ice and climate change, and at the same time, he allowed Royal Dutch Shell to begin oil and gas drilling in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska’s northwest coast despite massive protests and demonstrations.

But this is the way it always goes down. The truth is President Obama is generally pro-oil and gas. His actions-decisions on oil drilling speak far louder than his empty speeches on climate change.

As usual, Big Oil wins and every living thing on this earth loses. When are we going to stop being victims? We approach the problem of climate change from the same strategy of begging politicians to do the right thing when they will never do the right thing for the reason that the oil industry writes the checks and buys them off. And they own the corporate networks as well. That’s why meteorologists are not allowed to connect the dots between extreme weather disasters and global warming or else they’ll be fired on the spot.

Round and round we go on this insane merry-go-round until there is nothing left to speak of regarding the emergency crisis we’re facing with the clock ticking as the last ice melts in the Artic: We are categorically facing mass extinction produced by man-made pollution, and it’s happening rapidly, faster than scientists predicted.

Thursday, 10 September 2015 06:49

​There Are No Migrants, Only Global Citizens​

2015.10.9 BF Koehler(Photo: Bengin Ahmad)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Who are all these people?

Here’s another global problem — this flow of refugees — that national governments are apparently incapable of dealing with in a long-term, cooperative, globally responsible way. As with climate change, as with warand disarmament, they retreat into insularity in the face of such matters and become protective of their short-term, individual “interests,” which mostly concern the bureaucratic sacredness of their borders and an obsessive distinction between us and them.

“The European Union, (French President François Hollande) said, needed to create ‘hot spot’ reception centers at those borders under the greatest onslaught — in Greece, Italy and Hungary — to register new arrivals and turn back those who do not meet the requirements for asylum,” reports the New York Times.

And: “(British Prime Minister David) Cameron said Monday that Britain would accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees, but they would most likely be limited to those who apply for asylum from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The British government is wary of giving migrants any incentive to make the dangerous journey into Europe, officials said. . . .”

Of course, it gets a lot worse than that: razor wire, brute force, big walls. Desperate people risk their lives. Boats capsize. Children die as racist slogans reverberate. Families flee war and poverty, hell on earth. They need new homes. What a nuisance.


aaaaaaaaaaaairplaneboneyardsDavis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, a "boneyard" for US military aircraft no longer in use. (Photo: Airman Magazine)

They are called "boneyards" by military personnel, but they aren't human ossuaries. Instead, they are graveyards for machines that kill.

After the military-industrial complex's life-destroying aircraft complete their mission of death and decimation, they are replaced by newly designed Molochs of the sky. The multi-billion dollar equipment that is being phased out has to go somewhere - and most US military planes end up in what are nicknamed "boneyards." Generally, these are enormous swaths of desert in the Southwest of the United States.

"Outdated" combat - and other Pentagon - aircraft in "boneyards" can be parked for years. Some of them are used for spare parts, some are scrapped, a few are occasionally called back to service and upgraded in times of large-scale war, and some are sold to foreign national military services. For the most part, however, these former killing machines simply become metallic bones.

How ironic.


Reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

In a first for the country, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has issued plans to list glyphosate—the toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—as known to cause cancer.

According to a “notice of intent” issued last week by the Cal/EPA’s California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the effort falls under California’s Proposition 65, in which the state is required to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

The same law, otherwise known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also requires that certain substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the World Health Organization’s cancer arm—be listed as known to cause cancer.

The state agency’s Sept. 4 announcement follows a classification of glyphosate by the IARC as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in March.

“Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada, and Sweden reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides,” the IARC said about the herbicide. There is also “convincing evidence” that it can cause cancer in laboratory animals.


aaaCrossBerk(Photo: Dustin Johnston)As if there weren't enough Christian evangelical groups beating the drums against the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran, another one, American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) has joined the fray. Last week, ACLI, a networking project of the U.S. branch of International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), sent a petition to the White House railing "against any agreement that does not dismantle Iran's nuclear program," according to an ACLI Press Release. The press release claims that "Some 650 Pastors and Christian leaders representing tens of millions of grassroots Americans have signed onto that letter."

"Through this joint initiative, we want to demonstrate that this is not a partisan issue, nor a Jewish issue, nor only an Israel issue, but it is an American issue, and millions of grassroots Americans are opposed to this disastrous deal," stated Susan Michael, U.S. Director for the ICEJ. "This network of Christian leaders in support of Israel is unprecedented," added Michael, "and reflects the gravity of the situation. We are asking all members of Congress to set aside partisan issues and vote against the agreement."

So while it appears nearly certain that Christian Zionists, along with the conservative pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC, the Republican Party and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have lost the battle over the nuclear deal with Iran, Christian evangelicals are vowing to fight on.


aaaaaaaaaaabarcodesPeople are not bar codes. (Photo: Jason Devaun)

Virtually all of the GOP candidates are desperately trying to jump on the Trump bandwagon of xenophobia toward Mexican migrants. The caravan of "Trumped-up" fear is becoming so unwieldy it may lose a few wheels and crash into the border wall someday soon.

Among the many proposals that Trump's challengers are floating - which range from farcical to terrifying - Chris Christie's idea of processing Mexicans in the US through a Federal Express-like tracking system stands out. It is indistinguishable from a satirical article in The Onion.

On August 29, The New York Times reported details of the New Jersey governor and presidential aspirant's "migrant control" idea:

"At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane," Mr. Christie told the crowd in Laconia, N.H. "Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them."

He added: "We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in."

He said 40 percent of illegal immigrants are allowed into the United States legally with a visa and then stay longer than their visa allows....

Mr. Christie did not say specifically how a system would track people the same way packages are tracked by FedEx, which scans a bar code on the package at each step of its delivery.

Monday, 07 September 2015 06:29

Ten Troubling Numbers on Labor Day Week 2015


aaaaaaaaaaaaminwageLabor is the economic engine of the United States. (Photo: UUSC)

  • 5.1. The official unemployment rate is 5.1 percent, or 8 million people, according to the US Department of Labor. However, this widely reported “official” number overlooks the millions of people unemployed for more than a year nor does it count those who are working part-time and looking for full-time work. The Department of Labor monthly report which includes people working part-time and looking for full-time work shows the real rate of unemployment is 10.3 percent.
  • 6. It has been 6 years since the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour was raised.
  • 8.9. Millions of adults, 8.9 million in fact, work full-time, year round and earn too little to lift their families out of poverty.
Sunday, 06 September 2015 15:04

On Labor Day, Why We Need a Guaranteed Income


aaaaaaaaaincomeWhen the economy is devastated by avarice, those without jobs deserve a guaranteed income. (Photo: Doran)

A thought for Labor Day: In the not-too-distant future we might wait around for a package delivery, hurry off to class, grab a taxi downtown, meet the family for dinner, and then take the train home. All without being served by a single human being. No delivery person, no teacher, no cab driver, no food server, no train conductor. 

Our jobs are disappearing. The benefits of a half-century of productivity, in which we and our parents all played a role, have largely accrued to the relatively few people who know how to make money by coordinating all the technological components, or by managing the money themselves. 

And despite the relentless optimism of starry-eyed pundits and tech leaders, the great majority of Americans will NOT be prepared to turn new technologies into life-sustaining employment. 

1. Our Jobs Are Disappearing

The jobs that kept the middle class out of poverty -- education, construction, social services, customer service, transportation, administrative support -- have dramatically declined since the recession. Programmers and engineers and financial experts are still in demand. But nine of the ten fastest growingoccupations don't require a college degree


aaaaaaaa350Is divestment driving down the profitability of coal? (Photo: 350.org)

The campaign around the world to divest from fossil fuels has really heated up this year. Students at SwarthmoreYaleHarvard and University of Washington among many others demanded their institutions put their money where their mouth is and stop investing “in an industry that is actively destabilizing the future that our education is meant to prepare us for,” as one student at Swarthmore put it.

Not all of the campaigns so far this year have been successful, but to date, 397 institutions have at least partially divested—including foundations, faith groups, pension funds, governmental organizations, universities, nonprofits and for-profits. One notable case came from the Norwegian Parliament, which took the unprecedented step of mandating that its sovereign wealth fund (the richest in the world) divest from coal burning and coal producing companies. And, in the past few weeks, there have been some more major divestment victories: 

1. California Assembly votes to divest pension funds from coal California lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday that requires the state’s two largest pension plans—California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)—to divest their holdings from thermal coal.

“Coal is the fuel of the past and it’s no longer a wise investment for our pensioners,” saidassemblyman Rob Bonta, who presented the bill before the assembly. “I’m pleased that my colleagues agree: it’s time to move on from this dirty energy source.” 

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