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polly7

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We Are Writing the Epilogue to the World We Knew

Published on Friday, August 31, 2012 by Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/31

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.

Beneath Melting Antarctica, Powerful Greenhouse Gas Lurks

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

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/08/30

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.

The scientists behind the study calculate that as much as 4 billion tons of methane gas could exist beneath the ice, and that if the alarming rate of polar melting continues and the vast reserve escapes into the atmosphere, the feedback loop of climate change already underway would accelerate dramatically.

If the scientists are correct, these southern deposits would roughly match recent estimates of the amount of methane lurking beneath the northern Arctic ice sheets.

Charts: US Overseas Arms Sales More Than Tripled in 2011

—By Asawin Suebsaeng| Wed Aug. 29, 2012 3:05 AM PDT
10

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/08/charts-us-arms-sales-overseas-triples

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:

Climate Change and the Fate of a Million Kids

—By Julia Whitty

Tue Aug. 14, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/08/climate-change-and-fate-million-kids


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.

The Children Are Still Dying: Violence is Not News

By Ramzy Baroud

Friday, August 24, 2012

http://www.zcommunications.org/the-children-are-still-dying-violence-is-not-news-by-ramzy-baroud

"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.

I remember visiting a hospital that was attached to Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The odor that filled its corridors was not the stench of medicine, but rather the aroma of death. At a time of oppressive siege, the hospital lacked even basic anesthetic equipment and drugs. Children sat and stared at their visitors. Some wailed in inconceivable pain. Parents teetered between hope and the futility of hope, and at prayer times they duly prayed.

A young doctor gave a sweeping diagnosis: “No child that ever enters this place ever leaves alive.” Being the young reporter I was at the time, I diligently made a note of his words before asking more questions. I didn’t quite grasp the finality of death.

Several years later, Iraq’s desolation continues. On August 16, 90 people were killed and more were wounded in attacks across the country. Media sources reported on the bloodbath (nearly 200 Iraqis were killed this month alone), but without much context. Are we meant to believe that violence in Iraq has transcended any level of reason? That Iraqis get blown up simply because it is their fate to live in perpetual fear and misery?"



A World of Hillbilly Heroin

A World of Hillbilly Heroin
The hollowing out of America, up close and personal.

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/08/world-hillbilly-heroin-joe-sacco

Excerpts:
"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........"

The Way It Was WARNING - Graphic photo in article.

The Way It Was

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2004/09/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
487

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.

Flowchart: "Can I Get Pregnant?"

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
23

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/08/flowchart-can-i-get-pregnant

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.

Did you know about women's natural stress-induced spermicides? Have you ever seen "God's little protective shield" in a vagina? That's because they don't exist—but these legislators don't know that.

If you're of the double-X persuasion, all of this might leave you a bit flummoxed as to whether you'll conceive. Well, don't worry your pretty little head about it: We've collected the basics of reproductive biology according to conservative politicians, in a handy flowchart format. Need to determine your uterus' destiny? Just ask these men!.......


Pilger: The Pursuit Of Julian Assange Is An Assault On Freedom And A Mockery Of Journalism

By John Pilger

Source: Johnpilger.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

http://www.zcommunications.org/the-pursuit-of-julian-assange-is-an-assault-on-freedom-and-a-mockery-of-journalism-by-john-pilger

Excerpts:

"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.

Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an "alleged criminal", Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain. The same brave newspapers and broadcasters that have supported Britain's part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the "human rights record" of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington."



"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".

The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, played a notorious leading role in George W. Bush's Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and retains close ties to the Republican Party's extreme right. According to the former Swedish director of public prosecutions Sven-Erik Alhem, Sweden's decision to seek the extradition of Assange on allegations of sexual misconduct is "unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate". Having offered himself for questioning, Assange was given permission to leave Sweden for London where, again, he offered to be questioned. In May, in a final appeal judgment on the extradition, Britain's Supreme Court introduced more farce by referring to non-existent "charges"."
more ....

Mining, Repression And The Rhetoric Of Democracy And The Rule Of Law In Guatemala

By Grahame Russell

Source: rabble.ca

Monday, August 20, 2012

http://www.zcommunications.org/mining-repression-and-the-rhetoric-of-democracy-and-the-rule-of-law-in-guatemala-by-grahame-russell

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.
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