17 May 2013. Source: The Guardian
US National Strategy for the Arctic Region prioritises corporate ‘economic opportunities’ at the expense of everyone else
Shell’s drilling rig Kulluk aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, January 4, 2013. Photograph: Zachary Painter/USCG
One week ago, the Obama administration launched its National Strategy for the Arctic Region, outlining the government’s strategic priorities over the next 10 years. The release of the strategy came about a week after the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President at the White House Complex hosteda briefing with international Arctic scientists.
Despite giving lip service to the values of environmental conservation, the new document focuses on how the US can manage the exploitation of the region’s vast untapped oil, gas and mineral resources in cooperation with other Arctic powers.
US hinges success of Arctic strategy on diminishing sea ice
At the heart of the White House’s new Arctic strategy is an elementary but devastating contradiction between what President Obama, in the document’s preamble, describes as seeking “to make the most of the emerging economic opportunities in the region” due to the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and recognising “the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable, and changing environment.” Continue reading
Note: More wonderfulness under the watchful eye of Obama…
-The GJEP Team
By Jed Morey, May 14, 2013. Source: Long Island Press
U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Photo: Senior Airman Sean Martin, U.S. Air Force
The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing “War on Drugs.” For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.
The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
Click here to read the new rule
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:
Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.
By Sue Sturgis, May 5 2013. Source: Facing South
Cliffside coal plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. (Photo: Rainforest Action Network)
Clean energy opponents turned to dirty tactics this week at the North Carolina legislature to advance a bill repealing the state’s groundbreaking renewable power program.
In a contested vote that led to an outcry from Democrats, the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday advanced a measure to roll back the 2007 state lawrequiring electric utilities to generate a modest amount of energy from renewable sources including solar, wind, and livestock methane — 12.5 percent of total retail sales by 2021 and thereafter.
The vote brought back to life a bill that appeared near death in the House last week, when the Public Utilities Committeerejected companion legislation sponsored by its own chair, Republican Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County, in a bipartisan vote of 18-13.
Though Hager said he would keep bringing up his bill for re-votes in his committee, he didn’t this week, leading observers to assume he still doesn’t have support for passage. But the Senate version of the legislation, SB 365, was taken up later that day in the Finance Committee, whose members include Republican Sen. Andrew Brock of a Mocksville, a political consultant who is the bill’s sole sponsor. Continue reading
By Steve Horn, May 3, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
Double-dipping is a “no go” in the real world of eating chips and salsa with a circle of friends but an everyday reality in the world of lobbyists and PR professionals.
Enter double-dipper Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama who now runs the firm SKDKnickerbocker (Squier Knapp Dunn), a firm that ”brings unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, political groups and candidates, non-profits, and labor organizations.”
Dip one: TransCanada Corporation, which SKDK does public relations work for, as revealed in an Oct. 2012 New York Times investigation. TransCanada is the multinational corporation currently building the contentious southern half of theKeystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline, following the dictates of a March 2012 Obama Administration Executive Order. Within months, the fate of the border-crossing Alberta to Port Arthur, TX KXL export pipeline will also likely be decided by the U.S. State Department.
Dip two: Another SKDKnickerbocker client is the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Petroleum Institute trade association equivalent for the freight rail industry. Even without KXL – as covered previously on DeSmogBlog - tar sands crude can be moved to targeted markets via freight rail (coupled with pipeline capacity increases of other tubes and potential barging along Lake Superior).
May 1 2013. Source: Associated Press
Photo: AP Photo
ALBANY, N.Y. — Months ago, the Cuomo administration promised a decision within weeks on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
Now, one of the key officials says there’s “no timetable” for a decision.
“It’s kind of like shooting at a moving target,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, the state health commissioner.
He said he had recently met with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Marcellus Institute, which is based in Pennsylvania where hydrofracking is well underway. The institute aggregates mainstream and trade news and “is committed to providing unfiltered information and analysis organized for business examination and decision support,” according to its website. Continue reading
By Dawn Paley. Source: Watershed Sentinel
Even in the quiet of late afternoon, the market down the street from my apartment in Mexico City is a hive of activity. Dozens of butchers cut up all kinds of meat and make sausages. Women display whole chickens, and offer to prepare them according to what a passing customer desires. There’s homemade ice cream for sale across from a fish stand, and a tortilla stand that always seems to have a line-up. I buy my vegetables from a man who stands at the top of a pyramid of lettuces, tomatoes, avocados, carrots, potatoes, and whatever happens to be in season. While heweighs and bags the veggies I select, he often talks about how good Mexican food is, but how so many people don’t eat the healthy and tasty things he offers for sale. Before I started working on this story, I assumed he was just talking up his business.
As I began to research for this article, I realized something: he’s right.
People’s diets in Mexico have changed drastically over the past decades, in tandem with the transformation of the country’s agricultural sector spurred by the North America Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1994.
According to Simon Fraser University professor Gerardo Otero, in 1985 Mexicans were consuming more food than Canadians on a per capita basis. From the mid-1980s on, “Canada started to surpass Mexico on a per capita intake of calories, and then the composition completely changed, Mexicans stayed with a very flat consumption of fruits and vegetables, Canadians and Americans started to increase fairly dramatically the intake of fruit and vegetables,” Otero told Watershed Sentinel. “The other interesting trend is that Mexicans started to consume a lot more meat… It’s a type of North American diet that is becoming generalized throughout the world actually, I mean if you look at figures in many, many countries in the world, that kind of diet based on milk and meat is being generalized.”
By Joe Wertz, April 21, 2013. Source: NPR
Photo: Joe Wertz
On Tuesday, Oklahoma and Texas will face off in the U.S. Supreme Court. The winner gets water. And this is not a game.
The court will hear oral arguments in the case of Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, et al. The case pits Oklahoma against Texas over rights to water from the river that forms part of the border between them. Depending on how the court decides, it could impact interstate water-sharing agreements across the country.
Keeping Up With Texas
To understand what the fight is all about, you have to go to the Texas side of the Red River. North Texas is one of the fastest-growing regions in one of the fastest-growing states. Cities like Arlington and Fort Worth have enjoyed a surge of growth that’s brought new jobs, businesses and development.
The future looks bright for this part of Texas, but it also looks dry. Drought has hit Texas particularly hard over the past couple of years. Water officials say the north Texas region’s growth is outpacing the water supply nearby.
By Zoë Clara Dutka, April 18 2013. Source: Upside Down World
Henrique Capriles. Photo: Upside Down World
On Monday night at least 7 people were killed, 61 injured, and many institutional buildings, including multiple public health clinics, were set ablaze by right-wing mobs all across Venezuela.
These attacks were encouraged by Henrique Capriles’ call to action that reached a fiery pinnacle the day after his defeat in Sunday’s electoral race. His shouted to his followers to take to the streets and, “Take all of your hatred out, all your frustration, in the name of peace.” Hundreds of Chavistas have since reported attacks on their homes and threatening messages written across their doors.
The alarm sounded on April 14, when opposition candidate Capriles lost by a 1.7 percent margin to Nicolas Maduro, the former vice president of Hugo Chavez. Capriles’ initial response appeared to be the gut reaction of a vehemently sore loser – he declared the elections fraudulent and Maduro’s presidency illegitimate.
As the night grew longer, however, it became clear that his stance was keenly premeditated. Many believe that this strategy is part of an ongoing destabilization plan devised by Venezuela’s oligarchical powers in tandem with Washington. Continue reading
By John F. Burns, April 16, 2013. Source: NY Times
Neil Wale, a former miner, at the site of what was the Whitwell mine, which closed in 1986. Photo: Jonathan Player for The New York Times
The old miner walks with a stick now, depleted in body and spirit, but with a pool of resentment that still surges whenever talk turns to the losing battle nearly 30 years ago to save the local coal mine from the economizing zeal of Margaret Thatcher.
“Ten million pounds for a funeral! That’s disgusting,” he said as he picked his way across the rubble-strewn wasteland that was once the Whitwell colliery, contemplating the elaborate, $15 million rites planned on Wednesday for Mrs. Thatcher, the former prime minister, who died last week at the age of 87. “Ten million pounds! And not 10 pounds for people like me who did all the dirty work here!”
In death as in life, Mrs. Thatcher, whose union-busting battle to close unprofitable coal mines in 1984 and 1985 was one of the hallmarks of her 11 years in power, has proved a deeply polarizing figure — so much so that the funeral pomp itself, scheduled to play out in the streets of central London, has become a matter of bitter dispute.
Having committed to rites on a scale not seen for a prime minister since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965, the Conservative-led government of Prime Minister David Cameron has said it will not disclose the costs until after the funeral is over. But senior officials have said $15 million is a reasonable estimate.
By Roxanne Amico, April 11, 2013. Source: Spiritmorph Studio
Click here to listen to this installment of “Rad Rox the Roots”: An audio series sowing narrative seeds to cultivate a future of justice & sustainability; a series sharing voices & visions of people with a deep critique of the current culture: What’s at stake in the battles we are fighting; the forces we are up against; and what we can do about it together.
Today’s segment is titled, “Green is Green”, and it’s an interview with Josh Harper, the anarchist from Oregon who was one of the SHAC (Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty) 7. SHAC was an international animal rights campaign initiated in the Pacific Northwest in the 2000’s, with the intention to shut down a UK research organization called Huntington Life Sciences, infamous for their testing of harmful medical and other substances on 10’s of 1,000’s of animals every year.
Josh spoke at Burning Books in Buffalo NY on the 28th of Feb., 2013, and Radio Roxanne had a chance to meet up with him in a café, where we talked about how people of conscience resist the power of the state and its corporate sponsors. We talked about his call for “Revolution Before It’s Too Late” (title of his talk in Feb.), about his identity as an activist, his influences, his mistakes, and what he learned.