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Published on Friday, August 31, 2012 by Common Dreams
We Are Writing the Epilogue to the World We Knew
by John Atcheson
The data continue to roll in, and they are telling us we are in the process of bringing an end to the world we evolved in, and creating a new, harsher world. We will be forced to devote more and more of our resources trying to adapt to this new world, and less on development.
While politicians fiddle, the world burns. While the press plays he-said, she-said, the ice melts, the seas rise.
In 1990 we could have averted this disaster and saved money doing it. As late as 2010 we still had a shot at avoiding it. But now, the die is cast, the future foretold. What follows will be an epilogue to civilization, as we knew it.
Now, as we’re closing the book on civilization as we know it, yes, let’s talk about how we can increase the production and use fossil fuels; let’s serve up divisiveness, hate and fear at a time when unity and courage are needed; let’s get guns into the hands of every possible frightened and hate-filled person so we can up the ante on the chaos to come; let’s talk about gutting government – the only force capable of mounting a coherent response to this unfolding tragedy.
This seems to be the truth no matter where I look anymore. It's like we really have given up and all that's left is to fight for the scraps.
Posted by polly7 | Fri Aug 31, 2012, 12:49 PM (2 replies)
Published on Thursday, August 30, 2012 by Common Dreams
Beneath Melting Antarctica, Powerful Greenhouse Gas Lurks
Study suggests as much as 4 billion tons of methane sits beneath melting ice sheets
- Common Dreams staff
The carbon stored under Antarctic ice is on par with the amount held in the northern hemisphere’s frozen permafrost soils and the lower end of estimates for methane trapped under the Arctic Ocean, according to Jemma Wadham, professor of Glaciology at the U.K.’s University of Bristol and lead author of a study in the journal Nature yesterday.(Photographer: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)
An enormous and previously unknown reservoir of potent methane—a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide—could be locked beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, a new study in the journal Nature warns.
Posted by polly7 | Thu Aug 30, 2012, 05:01 PM (3 replies)
—By Asawin Suebsaeng| Wed Aug. 29, 2012 3:05 AM PDT
In 2011, the United States experienced its biggest year ever in weapons exports: According to an annual study by the Congressional Research Service released earlier this week, the US overseas weapons sales jumped to $66.3 billion last year (77.7 percent of the $85.3 billion global market in 2011), from $21.4 billion in deals in 2010.
In just one year, the US more than tripled its revenue in arms deals with foreign countries. The $66.3 billion also sets a new cash total record, easily surpassing the previous record of $31 billion in sales in fiscal year 2009.
If you're having trouble putting those hefty sums in perspective, $66.3 billion is amounts to an extra $9.50 in lunch money for every man, woman, and child alive today. And if you're still having some trouble putting this in perspective, here's a pie chart that shows just how much our global share in arms deals with developing countries ticked up in that one year:
Posted by polly7 | Wed Aug 29, 2012, 01:50 PM (0 replies)
—By Julia Whitty
Tue Aug. 14, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
During the epic drought of the 1970s and 1980s, 30 percent less rain fell in the Sahel compared to the 1950s and more than 100,000 people died. Basically it was the biggest drought over the largest land area of the 20th century, according to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab at Princeton (GFDL).
At that time most believed the cause of drought was human overuse of the land—grazing, deforestation, poor farming practices—on a local scale. Nowadays the data suggest recurring Sahelian droughts are driven by a more complex constellation of factors, some related to global climate change, including:
Warming sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean (see this paper in Science)
Increase in greenhouse gases combined with increase in atmospheric aerosols (see GFDL)
Changes in the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, which may or may not be manmade (see this paper in International Journal of Climatology)
Sadly 2012 has produced another drought in the Sahel, only two years after the 2010 drought. Water shortages, failed crops, insect plagues, high food prices, human displacement, conflict, and chronic poverty now threaten the lives of 18 million people in the region, including at least a million children, says UNICEF.
Posted by polly7 | Fri Aug 24, 2012, 10:45 AM (0 replies)
By Ramzy Baroud
Friday, August 24, 2012
"Somewhere in my home I have a set of photo albums I rarely go near. I fear the flood of cruel memories that might be evoked from looking at the countless photos I took during a trip to Iraq. Many of the pictures are of children who developed rare forms of cancer as a result of exposure to Depleted Uranium (DU), which was used in the US-led war against Iraq over two decades ago.
Posted by polly7 | Fri Aug 24, 2012, 10:09 AM (4 replies)
A World of Hillbilly Heroin
The hollowing out of America, up close and personal.
"On the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota, where our book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt opens, and where the average male has a life expectancy of 48 years, the lowest in the western hemisphere outside of Haiti, those who endured the long night of oppression found solace in traditional sweat lodge rituals, the Lakota language and cosmology, and the powerful four-day Sun Dance which I attended, where dancers fast and make small flesh offerings.
In Camden, New Jersey, it was the power and cohesiveness of the African-American Church. In the coalfields of southern West Virginia, it was the fundamentalist and evangelical protestant churches, and in the produce fields of Florida, it was the Catholic mass.
Those who are not able to hang on, fall long and hard. They retreat into the haze of alcohol—Pine Ridge has an estimated alcoholism rate of 80%—or the harder drugs, easily available on the streets of Camden: from heroin to crack to weed to something called Wet, which is marijuana leaves soaked in PCP. In the produce fields, drinking was also a common release.
In West Virginia, however, the drug of choice was OxyContin, or "hillbilly heroin." Joe and I went into some old coal camps, largely abandoned, and there it was as if we were interviewing zombies; the speech and movements of those we met were so bogged down by opiates that they were often hard to understand. This passage from the book is a look at some of those West Virginians, discarded by the wider society, who struggle to deal with the terrible pain of rejection and purposelessness that comes when there is a loss of meaning and dignity.Chris Hedges, August 2012........"
Posted by polly7 | Thu Aug 23, 2012, 10:01 AM (2 replies)
The Way It Was
The Beatles ruled. The mini was in. I was seventeen, and pregnant. What happened next is what could happen again.
—By Eleanor Cooney | September/October 2004 Issue
Repeated warning - 1st of four pages of article shows a deceased woman who died d/t a botched abortion.
Editor's note, 8/22/12: Missouri Republican Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, aimed at outlawing abortion, thrust the issue back into the national spotlight. Here's a reminder of what would await women if the GOP gets its way.
A few excerpts from a very good article:
Like some ugly old wall-to-wall carpeting they've been yearning to get rid of, they finally, finally loosened a little corner of Roe. Now they can start to rip the whole thing up, roll it back completely, and toss it in the Dumpster.
That year in the 1960s, several thousand American women were treated in emergency rooms for botched abortions, and there were at least 200 known deaths. I got off easy.
When a woman does not want to be pregnant, the drive to become unpregnant can turn into a force equal to the nature that wants her to stay pregnant. And then she will look for an abortion, whether it's legal or illegal, clean or filthy, safe or riddled with danger. This is simply a fact, whatever our opinion of it.
Posted by polly7 | Thu Aug 23, 2012, 09:47 AM (4 replies)
Flowchart: "Can I Get Pregnant?"
Learn the biology of your body, according to conservative male lawmakers.
—By Adam Weinstein | Wed Aug. 22, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
Remember the birds and the bees? The miracle of birth? Forget everything you knew. Turns out there's a lot more to birthin' babies than you might have learned in your godless socialist public-school health class. From this weekend's assertion by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) that women can't conceive babies during a "legitimate rape" to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) saying Monday that he didn't know of any pregnancies caused by incest or statutory rape, conservative male lawmakers targeting reproductive rights have always held, shall we say, minority views on the biology of all things uterine.
Posted by polly7 | Thu Aug 23, 2012, 09:33 AM (0 replies)
By John Pilger
Thursday, August 23, 2012
"The British government's threat to invade the Ecuadorean embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance. David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonour international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorism in London on 7 July 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.
"The irresponsibility of this statement matches the Guardian's perfidious role in the whole Assange affair. The paper knows full well that documents released by WikiLeaks indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters of civil rights. In December 2001, the Swedish government abruptly revoked the political refugee status of two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammedel-Zari, who were handed to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport and "rendered" to Egypt, where they were tortured. An investigation by the Swedish ombudsman for justice found that the government had "seriously violated" the two men's human rights. In a 2009 US embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks, entitled "WikiLeaks puts neutrality in the Dustbin of History", the Swedish elite's vaunted reputation for neutrality is exposed as a sham. Another US cable reveals that "the extent of cooperation is not widely known" and unless kept secret "would open the government to domestic criticism".more ....
Posted by polly7 | Thu Aug 23, 2012, 09:12 AM (12 replies)
By Grahame Russell
Monday, August 20, 2012
Increasingly, over the past few years, information has been published about serious human rights violations and health and environmental harms being caused in Guatemala by (mainly) Canadian mining company operations: Goldcorp Inc, Radius Gold, Tahoe Resources, Hudbay Minerals, Skye Resources, etc.
It is not possible to understand how these violations and harms occur, and will continue to occur, without understanding the political context. In short, global mining companies profit financially and benefit directly from the fundamental lack of democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala, both historically and on-going today. (This is true, in varying degrees, about global businesses and investors operating in many countries around the world.)
Rhetoric aside about respecting the sovereign democratic will of the duly elected officials of Guatemala, about abiding by the laws and regulations that govern the country and the mining industry, impunity and corruption are the norm in Guatemala. The wealthy elites in Guatemala, including international companies and investors, act with a huge amount of impunity and have almost complete immunity from legal or political accountability......
The roots of Guatemala's impunity and corruption go back 500 years to the European invasion of the Americas. In recent history, Guatemala’s impunity and corruption are rooted in the 1954 military coup, and in the State repression and genocide of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.
Posted by polly7 | Mon Aug 20, 2012, 09:47 AM (1 replies)