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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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New climate change projections surpass previous estimates and threaten 187 million


New climate change projections surpass previous estimates and threaten 187 million
By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, January 7, 2013 14:58 EST

A new study published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change estimates that at its worst, sea level rise attributed to the melting of Earth’s polar ice caps and glaciers may displace up to 187 million people within the next 100 years.

An assessment of expert opinion published Sunday finds that most leading climate scientists are divided on how rapidly the planet’s glaciers and ice caps will deteriorate, leading to a wide divergence of opinion on how much that melting will contribute to sea levels between present day and 2100.

After charting detailed responses from 26 leading experts, researchers came back with a median estimate of projected sea level rise at just 29 centimeters. The worst estimate is 84 centimeters.

The results are significantly worse than the last projection (PDF) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, which suggested that at best the world would see 18 centimeters of sea level rise, and at worst 59 centimeters.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:32 AM (5 replies)

Even Dancing With the Stars Couldn't Keep Tom DeLay From Prison


Tom DeLay's Actual Mugshot

Even Dancing With the Stars Couldn't Keep Tom DeLay From Prison
Friday, 04 January 2013 17:15

Whenever you get despairing that a minority of the nation and media has been on an accelerating free-fall into Dante's Inferno – dragging the rest of us through the flames -- remember that even the mightiest of the evil doers can be brought to justice.

You can't get anymore joyful than hearing that Tom DeLay, a firm believer in the health benefits of Dioxin and last seen publicly shimmying his booty in satin bolero pants on "Dancing with the Stars," has just been sentenced to three years in prison. As The Huffington Post reports:


DeLay, House Majority Leader from 2003-05 and was the capo dei capi (Godfather) of the Republican caucus under House Speaker Dennis "Where's the Chicken?" Hastert. I recall an aide of DeLay being quoted as saying that (paraphrased) "You don't just kick a Democrat when he's down, you roll him in a carpet and toss him over the cliff." That was how DeLay played: down, mean, merciless, dirty, and well-oiled with "K Street Project" money. The former Texas bug exterminator (we are not making this up) could bite a copperhead snake's head off and swallow it down with a martini.

DeLay was a Chamber of Commerce man, but his social right wing policies also aligned him with the padded wall squad. He was sort of a mad dog precursor to the Tea Party financed by the Koch Brothers.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jan 6, 2013, 08:43 AM (34 replies)

Do war-weary troops have drinking problem? Marines launch get-tough policy.


Do war-weary troops have drinking problem? Marines launch get-tough policy.
By Anna Mulrine, Staff writer / January 4, 2013


The new policy – in which all Marines will be tested randomly twice a year – was announced as 2012 drew to a close and in the wake of startling recent statistics about the rise in binge drinking among troops since 2001.

Ten years later, that figure had grown to nearly half. At the same time, nearly one in four troops surveyed called themselves “heavy” drinkers.

And this heavy drinking has consequences, says Col. Timothy Foster, chief of staff of Marine and Family Programs at the US Marine Corps Division Headquarters, in an interview this week.

“If you look at the number of behavioral health issues – whether it’s suicide, sexual assault, or spousal abuse – all of those have one factor in common, and that is alcohol,” he says. “If we put our efforts towards reducing alcohol abuse and misuse in the Corps, these other things will not be totally eliminated, but it will certainly have an effect on those.”

unhappycamper comment: Japan and Okinawa receive much of the bad, stupid and criminal behavior --> http://www.democraticunderground.com/11792073
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jan 6, 2013, 07:46 AM (1 replies)

The 'War on Terror' - by Design - Can Never End


A U.S. Army soldier takes cover as a Black Hawk chopper takes off from a U.S. military base in Arghandab valley near Kandahar.

The 'War on Terror' - by Design - Can Never End
by Glenn Greenwald
Published on Friday, January 4, 2013 by The Guardian

It is precisely the intrinsic endlessness of this so-called "war" that is its most corrupting and menacing attribute, for the reasons Maddow explained. But despite the happy talk from Johnson, it is not ending soon. By its very terms, it cannot. And all one has to do is look at the words and actions of the Obama administration to know this.

There's no question that this "war" will continue indefinitely. There is no question that US actions are the cause of that, the gasoline that fuels the fire.

In October, the Washington Post's Greg Miller reported that the administration was instituting a "disposition matrix" to determine how terrorism suspects will be disposed of, all based on this fact: "among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade." As Miller puts it: "That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism."

The polices adopted by the Obama administration just over the last couple of years leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jan 5, 2013, 10:50 AM (0 replies)

US pushes to finish Afghan dam as challenges mount


US pushes to finish Afghan dam as challenges mount
By HEIDI VOGT, Associated Press
3:15 a.m., Jan. 5, 2013

KAJAKI, Afghanistan — In the approaching twilight of its war in Afghanistan, the U.S. is forging ahead with a giant infrastructure project long criticized as too costly in both blood and money.

It's a $500 million effort to refurbish the massive Kajaki dam and hydro-electric power system with an extensive network of power lines and transmission substations. It is supposed to bring electricity to 332,000 people in southern Afghanistan, increase crop yields and build up a cohort of trained Afghan laborers in a region badly in need of them.

But completion, which originally was envisaged for 2005, now is projected for some time in 2015, the year after most combat troops will have left the country. And there are some crucial ifs:

If a convoy carrying 900 tons of concrete can make it up a dangerous road to the dam site without being attacked by the Taliban. If the Afghan army can hold out in an area that took thousands of U.S. Marines to secure. If the Afghan government can take on the management of the dam.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:48 AM (2 replies)

I Agree with Republicans


I Agree with Republicans
by Jayne Lyn Stahl | January 3, 2013 - 12:21am

Okay, I've gotta admit, I agree with Republicans. It's not enough to raise taxes. We've got to cut spending, too, so let's tell Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE, and all the other defense contractors who eat up billions annually in taxpayer revenue that we're cutting their funding by, oh, say, 39.4%? Oh, and yes, what about federal subsidies to the oil cartel, farm subsidies, pharmaceuticals, WalMart, and to big tobacco? Those are entitlement programs that also need to be cut. The best way to cut Social Security is on the back of Lockheed Martin.

Consider that, in fiscal year ending 2011 alone, according to CNBC, there were more than $530 billion in government contracts awarded to defense contractors. Yes, that's almost as much revenue as will be raised in a decade by the recent fiscal cliff deal. http://www.cnbc.com/id/42494839/10_Companies_That_Make_Billions_From_The_US_Governmen
If you're thinking President Obama has already cut defense spending over the past four years, you're right, but they're small cuts phased in over ten years. Reportedly, the Obama administration has phased in cuts to defense over the next decade that will be pretty much equal to the revenue that will be raised from raising taxes on individuals earning over $400,000 a year. http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/09/11/romney-obama-defense-differences-fall-to-budget/

This is what has Republicans in a snit. They don't want any cuts to defense. Republicans also don't want anything more than a marginal, cosmetic increase on taxes even for those whose income puts them squarely in the upper 1%.

Republicans want to ensure that war contractors don't lose one night's sleep over any budget reform they authorize. They want to continue to cater to the drone lobbyists, yes, the ones who would have you think that an unemployment check is essentially no different than welfare, the ones who would like to roll back health care benefits under Medicaid so that many disabled are no longer covered, the ones who would like a voucher system instead of "Obamacare." These are the folks in big Pharma's back pocket. These are the folks who have worked desperately for generations to keep warning labels off a pack of cigarettes. These are the folks who are in Smith Wesson's pocket, and who hide behind a sense of constitutional entitlement, calling it their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:47 AM (0 replies)

America's Political Dysfunction at Root is an Unwillingness to Cut War Spending


America's Political Dysfunction at Root is an Unwillingness to Cut War Spending
By Dave Lindorff
OpEdNews Op Eds 1/3/2013

I was asked earlier this week by an reporter for PressTV, the state television network in Iran, if I could explain why the US political system seemed to be so dysfunctional, with Congress and the President having created an artificial budget crisis 17 months ago, not "solving" it until the last hour before a Congressional deadline would have created financial chaos, and even then not solving the problem and instead just pushing it off for two months until the next crisis moment.

I thought for a moment, trying to come up with a simple way to explain the peculiar politics of a fake democracy where two equally pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist parties vie with genuine bitterness for patronage spoils and legal bribes, all the while ignoring the real wishes and needs of the public, and then it hit me: it is really all about US militarism and the unwillingness of the either of the two political parties to admit honestly to to American people how much they are being gouged to allow the US government and its corporate owners to continue in their attempt to control the world.


The US currently spends almost as much on its military and on paying for current and past wars in terms of interest on war debt and care for wounded and aging soldiers as the entire rest of the world spends on arms and war. Approximately $1.3 trillion gets spent each year in taxpayer's dollars and in more borrowed funds (50 cents of every federal tax dollar goes to pay for the US military, the intelligence apparatus, veterans' benefits and other related military costs). It is simply ludicrous, given this situation, to imagine that the US can significantly reduce its budget deficit either by raising taxes or by cutting social spending.

Think of it this way. The US is currently running a $1.3 trillion deficit (that is federal spending less tax revenue). That deficit, significantly one must note, almost exactly matches the amount that is being spent annually on the US military, and on military/intelligence-related activities...

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:15 AM (2 replies)

Cost overruns on the F-35 jet should prompt reassessment


Cost overruns on the F-35 jet should prompt reassessment
January 02, 2013

The long and expensive saga of the F-35 fighter jet took another turn when Canada announced it would reconsider its promised purchase of 65 of the Lockheed Martin-built “Chevrolet of the sky.” The cost overruns were simply too much for conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to defend after an independent auditor put the combined purchase and maintenance price of the order at $46 billion over the 42-year life of the project; in 2010, the Canadian government put the cost of the purchase alone at $9 billion. Canada’s decision should be a wake-up call to the Pentagon: Repeated contractual overruns not only affect the US defense budget, but also provoke convulsions in the defense market as a whole.

In the wake of Canada’s decision, the Pentagon needs to reassess its own level of commitment to the whole F-35 project.

Both Lockheed and the Pentagon relied heavily on foreign purchasers to defray the costs of developing the radar-evading aircraft that was once billed as a cheap and adaptable new piece of equipment for the Air Force. But the F-35 proved to be neither cheap nor adaptable. It is now the most costly weapons program in history. The Pentagon is projected to spend $396 billion on nearly 2,500 planes, but that price should rise further with fewer foreign purchasers to share in the development costs. Britain, Italy, Australia, and the Netherlands have all revised or backed out of their plans to buy the planes. Lockheed is trying to convince the nations to stay on board, just as budget-cutters in the US Senate are starting to look at the project as a potential source of savings.

According to Lockheed, about 1,500 Massachusetts jobs are tied to the F-35, with up to 100 local subcontractors involved, though some of those jobs might be adaptable to other airplane models. Holding firm to defense programs solely for the sake of jobs can be self-defeating: One spiraling megaproject can crowd out other, more viable projects that could provide a more sustainable economic impact. Clearly, the number of F-35s will have to be cut. As Canada shows, even our closest allies can no longer justify the investment.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jan 3, 2013, 09:27 AM (2 replies)

Hard lessons as Afghanistan withdrawal nears

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:25 AM (0 replies)

Excess-profits tax on defense contractors during wartime is long overdue


Excess-profits tax on defense contractors during wartime is long overdue
By Walter Pincus, Published: December 31


My most radical idea — and it should have been done 10 years ago — is for an excess-profits tax on defense contractors while we have troops fighting overseas. As I have often noted, Afghanistan and Iraq are the first U.S. wars in which taxes were not raised to pay for the fighting. Instead, the cost has been put on a credit card.


Since 2002, profits of the five largest U.S.-based defense contractors have “increased by a whopping 450 percent,” said Lawrence J. Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Profits of the five rose from $2.4 billion in 2002, adjusted for inflation, to $13.4 billion in 2011, according to an August study co-written by Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense for manpower during 1981-85 and an expert on Pentagon spending

“This success applied both to companies with large civilian sections of their businesses and to those almost wholly dependent on defense funding,” Korb wrote. He noted that defense profits faltered at the beginning of the recession but “rapidly recovered, rising over 40 percent between 2008 and 2011 and nearly returning to their 2007 peak.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:12 AM (0 replies)
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