AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1680936 times)

Offline knarf

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Zuzana Caputova has been called the "Erin Brokovich of Slovakia."

Slovakia elected its first female president, Zuzana Čaputová, an environmental activist who ran on an anti-corruption platform on Saturday.

Čaputová, 45, was recently elected vice chairman of Progressive Slovakia, a liberal party established only two years ago, which had no seats in the parliament, making her win after a second run-off vote all the more remarkable.

She defeated European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic who was nominated by the governing Smer-Social Democracy party.

Čaputová will become the youngest president of Slovakia after scoring 58% votes.

“I see a strong call for change in this election following the tragic events last spring and a very strong public reaction,” Čaputová said on Saturday, referring to the murder of a Slovakian journalist who had been investigating corruption. “We stand at a crossroads between the loss and renewal of public trust, also in terms of Slovakia’s foreign policy orientation.”

The scandal led to the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico last year.

The Journalist Ján Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová, were found shot dead at the home they shared. Kuciak covered tax evasion stories for the news website where his last piece was published on Feb. 9, 2018. He mostly reported on fraud cases involving businessmen with political connections, including governing party leaders at the time.

Kuciak’s murder led to a massive outcry in Slovakia where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest government corruption.

A lawyer by profession, Čaputová first received recognition after winning the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for her decade-long struggle to close a toxic landfill in her hometown. She is sometimes called the “Erin Brokovich of Slovakia” for her work.

In a conservative Roman Catholic Country, Čaputová, a divorced mother of two, supports both LGBTQ rights and access to reproductive health care.

Even though the presidential role in Slovakia is mostly ceremonial — the prime minister oversees most of the country’s affairs — Čaputová will hold blocking powers, will be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and will appoint top judges.

Her win could also be turning a point for Slovakia, which was ranked 83 out of 149 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2018, scoring especially poorly for women's participation in politics.

“Zuzana Čaputová gives us hope, but the real fight will only come now,” wrote Dennik N, a leading opposition publication, on Sunday.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Bombing damages Colombia pipeline, second spill under investigation
« Reply #12421 on: April 14, 2019, 04:15:08 AM »
BOGOTA (Reuters) - A bombing damaged a section of Colombia’s Trasandino pipeline, state-run company Ecopetrol said on Saturday, and the company was investigating a crude spillage from the Cano Limon pipeline to determine if it was also caused by an attack.

The attack on the Trasandino took place late on Friday in Barbacoas municipality in southwestern Narino province, Ecopetrol said in a statement.

The company was assessing the extent of the damage, it said. Photos posted by Ecopetrol on Twitter showed oil-slicked grass and a puddle of crude next to the damaged pipeline.

The Trasandino was not operating at the time of the attack, the company said.

Ecopetrol is working to verify the cause of a crude spillage from the Cano Limon pipeline in Tibu municipality in eastern Norte de Santander province, it said in a second statement.

There were reports of a loud explosion and crude has spilled into two ravines in the area, it said.

There have been around 20 attacks on Colombian pipelines so far in 2019. The 485-mile (780-km) Cano Limon pipeline was kept offline for most of 2018 because of more than 80 bombings.

Although Ecopetrol did not name the group responsible for the Trasandino bombing, the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, regularly attacks pipelines.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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American flag graphic on police cars divides California town
« Reply #12422 on: April 14, 2019, 04:21:41 AM »

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — An American flag graphic on the side of freshly painted police cars is dividing a small coastal city in Southern California.

Some people in Laguna Beach feel the flag design is too aggressive while others are astonished that anyone would object to the American flag, The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

The city council will decide at its Tuesday meeting whether to keep the logo or choose an alternative.

Artist Carrie Woodburn said at a March council meeting that it was “shocking to see the boldness of the design” when the newly painted Ford Explorers rolled out.

“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” Woodburn said. “It feels very aggressive.”

But attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter said that she found the police cars “exceptional” and questioned the loyalty of anyone who objected to the American flag display.

Critics are so blinded by their hatred of President Donald Trump, she said, “that they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression.”

The city council agreed in February to repaint its all-white squad cars in black and white with the stars and stripes running through the word “police” on the doors. The police department has 11 squad cars.

The proposed graphic that the council unanimously approved in February was a more muted version of the design that now appears on the cars.

Laguna Beach has about 23,000 people and is 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Los Angeles.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Don't worry, I am not going to fill my news with stupid stories. But this one stood out for me. I am studying how Freud and Bernays started the masses to make consuming more products was the American dream.

wiki's intro to Bernays...

Edward Louis Bernays (/bərˈneɪz/; German: [bɛɐ̯ˈnaɪs]; November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations".[3] Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life.[4] He was the subject of a full length biography by Larry Tye called The Father of Spin (1999) and later an award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC by Adam Curtis called The Century of the Self. More recently, Bernays is noted as the great-uncle of Netflix co-founder, Marc Randolph.

His best-known campaigns include a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist "Torches of Freedom" and his work for the United Fruit Company connected with the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government in 1954. He worked for dozens of major American corporations including Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and for government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations.

Of his many books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) gained special attention as early efforts to define and theorize the field of public relations. Citing works of writers such as Gustave Le Bon, Wilfred Trotter, Walter Lippmann, and his own double uncle Sigmund Freud, he described the masses as irrational and subject to herd instinct—and outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desirable ways.


So this headline is loaded with brainwashing.
Officer - protector of the peace
Arrested for animal sex - totally perverted dude
31 counts of child porn  - A potential serial child killer


Too much!

Terry Yetman, 38, of Bossier City

WEBSTER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A former Bossier City police officer, who was arrested for animal sex abuse, is now in custody for child pornography.

Terry Yetman, of Bossier City, has been charged with 31 counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles. He was taken into custody Friday, April 12 in Webster Parish.

U.S. Marshals and Louisiana State Police were involved in the arrest.

Back in December, Yetman turned himself in to the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office. He was subsequently booked at the Bossier Max Correctional Center and charged with 20 counts of sexual abuse of animals by performing sexual acts with an animal and 20 counts of sexual abuse of animals by filming sexual acts with an animal.

Yetman’s bond is currently set at $620,000.00. However, additional charges could be filed.

This is an ongoing investigation. KSLA will keep you updated as more details become available.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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From India to Israel, laws are chipping away at democracy around the world
« Reply #12424 on: April 14, 2019, 04:59:14 AM »
Experts no longer debate whether democracy is imperilled, but by how much and whether it’s reversible.

Activists display placards during a protest against the arrests of activists in New Delhi

Democracy seemed ascendant after the rivalry between communist and democratic states subsided in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. As elected governments replaced many toppled totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, the number of democracies rose.

Yet with rare exceptions, authoritarian leadership and other undemocratic governments have been the norm throughout human history. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that democracy seems to be losing ground after its post-1991 surge. The rise of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Donald Trump in the U.S. are among the most visible examples.

As a human rights attorney completing my Ph.D. in international relations, I’m researching why democracy appears to be declining around the globe. In addition to the growing number of far-right, authoritarian-leaning leaders who certainly bear responsibility, lawmakers in historically strong democracies are proposing and passing legislation that adds new layers of red tape, restricts access to foreign financial support, and makes it harder and riskier to engage in peaceful protests.

From India to Poland to Israel, legislators are limiting the freedom of independent nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Many of these groups are responsible for holding governments to account, standing up for minority rights and providing services to the indigent, among other critical roles.
New restrictions

My research focuses on the spread of undemocratic civil society laws in historically democratic states. These laws include bills that impose new restrictions on forming, operating and funding civil society organizations. They are limiting the activities of charities, watchdog organizations, protest movements and nonprofit service providers, such as health care clinics depended on by people lacking access to affordable health care.

For nearly a decade I’ve tracked and documented the spread of these laws. By my count, at least 58 percent of the world’s strongest democracies have adopted at least one restrictive civil society law since 1990. Counting proposed laws, another 5 percent are in this growing category.

I’m not talking about similar legislation passed in non-democratic and weakly democratic states like Russia, Egypt and Turkey. These laws are also problematic and troublesome for global civil society, but are not the primary focus of my research.

Consider what happened after Russia enacted a law in 2012 that requires all nonprofits wishing to receive any amount of foreign donations and that are engaged in what the government defines as political activities to register as “foreign agents” – a toxic term in the Russian context.

Since then, elected politicians have passed measures with similar objectives in countries with democratic governments, including Israel, India, Austria, Hungary and Poland.
In trouble

Democracy experts like the independent watchdog Freedom House generally agree that democracy is in trouble around the world. They no longer debate whether democracy is imperiled, but by how much and whether it’s reversible.

Democracy scholars, such as William Galston at the Brookings Institution – a centrist think tank, political scientist Yascha Mounk and columnists like Nicholas Kristof tend to focus on the rise of populist and far-right leaders when explaining global democratic decay.

But in democracies, the law, not the president or prime minister, is critical to maintaining the pillars and foundations upon which democracy rests. That is why I consider an Austrian law that curbs access to foreign funding to all Muslim organizations so troubling.

I’m also concerned about a Polish law that consolidates all power over nongovernmental organization funding, whether foreign or domestic, into the hands of a single individual appointed by its prime minister. And I find a Hungarian law, which requires nongovernmental organizations that get more than $28,000 of their funds from other countries to label themselves as funded from abroad on all of their publications, worrisome.

When laws are passed that undermine democracy’s critical foundations, democracy weakens. Laws restricting the independence and strength of nonprofits are one example of this.
The United States

Restrictive laws are even appearing here in the United States, so far only at the state rather than the federal level – aside from a handful of obscure measures. These laws are designed to curb what nonprofits and activists can do.

For example, over the past decade, more than half of all states have introduced so-called “ag-gag laws,” measures designed to silence whistleblowers who reveal animal abuses on industrial farms. However, the U.S. system of checks and balances is slowing and reversing their impact. American courts are finding many of these laws to be in violation of the Constitution.

At the same time, ag-gag laws remain on the books in at least seven states.

Initiatives at the state and federal level since November 2016 that aim to restrict the rights of Americans to protest are all over the map.
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), CC BY-SA

Similarly, since November 2016, legislators in 35 states have considered more than 91 bills designed to restrict protest activities. For example, a growing number of states, including Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Washington have introduced harsh new criminal penalties for protesters who wear hooded jackets or otherwise disguise their identities while protesting. What’s more, states, including Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas, have proposed laws shielding motorists from liability if they end up injuring or killing protesters who block traffic.

Few of these anti-protest measures, only 11 of 91 considered, have been enacted. Legal challenges could topple many if not all of them. But these measures do, in my view, have the potential to erode American democracy.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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China warns Australia at WTO about 5G restriction
« Reply #12425 on: April 14, 2019, 05:12:22 AM »
Ban is "obviously discriminative", official says.

China told Australia at the World Trade Organization on Friday that Australia’s restriction on Chinese 5G telecoms technology was “obviously discriminative” and appeared to break global trade rules, according to a transcript seen by Reuters.

China’s representative at the WTO’s Council on Trade in Goods said measures to restrict 5G technology had a “great impact on international trade” and would not address concerns about cybersecurity, but only make countries technologically isolated.

Last August Australia banned Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network citing national security risks, a move the Chinese telecoms gear maker criticised as being “politically motivated”.

The Chinese diplomat said Australia had not published any official documents about the ban, which appeared to have come into force before the relevant law took effect on Sept. 18 2018.

Cybersecurity and 5G security required international cooperation, the Chinese diplomat said.

“Country-specific and discriminatory restriction measures can not address the concerns on cybersecurity, nor make anyone safe, but only disrupt the global industrial chain, and make the country itself isolated from the application of better technology,” the diplomat told the meeting.

An official who attended the meeting said Australia’s representative spoke briefly to acknowledge receiving written questions from China but added that Australia’s Trade Ministry had not yet had time to formulate its response.

Under WTO rules, member countries are not allowed to discriminate between trading partners and reject imports from one particular country.

However, they can cite “national security” to gain an exemption from the normal global trade rules. It was a taboo for decades because diplomats and lawyers feared national security claims would become the norm, undermining the WTO rulebook.

But last week, the first ever WTO ruling clarified the use of the national security exemption and set a clear test for its use.

Apart from war and the arms trade, national security generally meant “a situation of armed conflict, or of latent armed conflict, or of heightened tension or crisis, or of general instability engulfing or surrounding a state,” it said.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Syrian family in Calgary mourn loss of 9-year-old daughter who died by suicide
« Reply #12426 on: April 15, 2019, 04:15:44 AM »
A Syrian refugee family’s hopes for a better life in Canada were shattered after the death of a nine-year-old girl who died by suicide.

On March 6, Aref Alshteiwi came home to discover the body of his daughter, Amal, in her bedroom.

They are now a family of eight and are still dealing with the sting and shock of the tragedy.

The family came to Canada as government-sponsored refugees three years ago, fleeing war in Syria where they describe bombs being dropped over their home.

But the peace they found in Canada has now being replaced with more trauma. The family said Amal would come home from school distraught and tell them she was being bullied.

    “They were bullying her all the time there, telling her, ‘You are ugly, you are not beautiful,’” Alshteiwi said through a translator.

“Two weeks before she moved from that school to another school, kids came to her and said, ‘Even if you move to another school they are not going to love you. The kids or the teacher. Wherever you go, you better just go and kill yourself,’” Amal’s mother Nasra Abdulrahman said, also talking through a translator.

Police attended the home on the day Amal died but said there wasn’t enough evidence to launch a criminal investigation into the bullying allegations.

The couple said it raised concerns with the Calgary school their daughter attended but Amal never got the help she needed.

In a statement emailed to Global News, the Calgary Board of Education said it “found there was no indication of bullying nor was any concern raised to the school,” following an investigation.

“The area office has worked closely with the school principal to gather information from teachers, staff and students to try to understand if there were concerns or issues,” the CBE said.

The tragic situation is weighing heavy on the hearts and minds of those who are dedicated to helping newcomers adjust.

    “I can’t even imagine the tragedy they felt,” said Immigration Services Calgary CEO Hyder Hassan. “The first thing — their refugee journey to a new country and then to have this happen, I don’t even have words to describe it.”

There are hundreds of programs available to newcomers in Calgary, including many for children. But only about half of those who are eligible access them or even know they exist, according to a 2017 survey funded by the federal government.

Amal’s parents didn’t reach out to any organization for newcomers to get help for their daughter. Hassan said Immigration Services Calgary is trying to figure out why this little girl fell through the cracks.

“This hits home for us,” Hassan said. “This is the reason we are doing this work. This is the reason why 141 of our employees get up every day and come to our agencies. Our colleagues in the sector are passionate about our work because we want to avoid these situations. Once we get all the facts, we can look and see what we can do to improve this.”

It’s a concern echoed by Sam Nammoura, who works closely with new Syrian Calgarians. He said it is not uncommon for children to complain about being bullied, but never imagined it would lead to one taking her own life.

He said immigrant children face greater barriers when it comes to fitting in due to things like language barriers and adjusting to a new culture.

    “We feel, as a community, in a way, responsible for what happened here,” Nammoura said. “Especially [if] they don’t know how to deal with the system, they don’t know they can go to school [and] file a complaint.”

The family is receiving counselling once a week and holding on to every memory of their sweet Amal.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Melting Glaciers Causing 25 to 30% of Sea Level Rise
« Reply #12427 on: April 15, 2019, 04:40:36 AM »
Glaciers may be melting faster than scientists thought, causing 25 to 30 percent of global sea level rise, according to comprehensive research published in Nature on Monday.

While previous studies had only assessed 500 glaciers, the new study looked at more than 19,000 glaciers using both satellite data and field visits, lead study author and University of Zurich glaciologist Michael Zemp told CNN. The researchers found that, between 1961 and 2016, the world's non-polar glaciers had lost around 9,000 billion tons of ice and contributed 27 millimeters to rising ocean levels. That's enough ice to turn the U.S. into an ice-rink four feet thick.

"Over 30 years suddenly almost all regions started losing mass at the same time," Zemp told the Associated Press. "That's clearly climate change if you look at the global picture."

The new report put the shrinkage rate for glaciers at 18 percent faster than that calculated by another international study in 2013. It found that glaciers are contributing as much ice melt to sea level rise as the Greenland ice sheet and more than the Antarctic ice sheet, National Geographic reported. In the 1960s, when the study period began, glaciers would melt in summer and regain mass in winter. But beginning around the 1980s, they began to lose more in the summer than they regained in winter, and by the 1990s, almost every glacier they studied was losing more than it could recuperate. Only glaciers in southwest Asia are not losing mass because of regional climate factors, the Associated Press reported.

"The drama is that it's increasingly negative," study co-author and University of Zurich geographer Frank Paul told National Geographic.

Today, glaciers lose about 335 billion tons of ice a year, the equivalent of one millimeter per year of sea level rise, according to a University of Zurich release.

"Globally, we lose about three times the ice volume stored in the entirety of the European Alps – every single year!" Zemp said.

ESA EarthObservation
‏Verified account @ESA_EO

Glaciers around the world have lost well over 9 trillion tonnes of ice since 1961, raising sea level by 27 mm. These worrying results have just been published in @nature in a study that combined glaciological field observations & satellite data.

 8:18 AM - 8 Apr 2019


Glaciers in Alaska contributed the most to sea level rise, while glaciers in Patagonia and the rest of the Arctic were also major contributors. Glaciers in the Alps, the Caucasus mountains and New Zealand were also shrinking fast, but were too small to contribute to sea level rise.

Glacier loss isn't just a problem for coastal areas, however. It could also be destructive for the communities that depend on them for drinking water.

"In Peru, they really are like water towers," Paul told National Geographic.

The study found that glaciers in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and Europe could melt completely by 2100.

"Under current loss rates we are going to lose glaciers — basically all glaciers — in several mountain ranges," Zemp told CNN.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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The Assange Arrest is a Warning From History
« Reply #12428 on: April 15, 2019, 04:47:25 AM »

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in  almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilisation”. The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, the Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years”. The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding joined the police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”. The Guardian has since published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the expose of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what the Guardian calls truthful “things”, what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?

What is to stop the editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of the New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between the New York Times and WilLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalised by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defence in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did.

The rest, she might have added, is history.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse
« Reply #12429 on: April 16, 2019, 04:07:14 AM »
No one is coming to save us. Mass civil disobedience is essential to force a political response

 ‘Catastrophe afflicts people now and, unlike those in the rich world who can still afford to wallow in despair, they are forced to respond in practical ways.’

Had we put as much effort into preventing environmental catastrophe as we’ve spent on making excuses for inaction, we would have solved it by now. Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents.

The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water. Of course, if you are living naked in a barrel we will dismiss you too, because you’re a hippie weirdo. Every messenger, and every message they bear, is disqualified on the grounds of either impurity or purity.

As the environmental crisis accelerates, and as protest movements like YouthStrike4Climate and Extinction Rebellion make it harder not to see what we face, people discover more inventive means of shutting their eyes and shedding responsibility. Underlying these excuses is a deep-rooted belief that if we really are in trouble, someone somewhere will come to our rescue: “they” won’t let it happen. But there is no they, just us.

The political class, as anyone who has followed its progress over the past three years can surely now see, is chaotic, unwilling and, in isolation, strategically incapable of addressing even short-term crises, let alone a vast existential predicament. Yet a widespread and wilful naivety prevails: the belief that voting is the only political action required to change a system. Unless it is accompanied by the concentrated power of protest – articulating precise demands and creating space in which new political factions can grow – voting, while essential, remains a blunt and feeble instrument.

The media, with a few exceptions, is actively hostile. Even when broadcasters cover these issues, they carefully avoid any mention of power, talking about environmental collapse as if it is driven by mysterious, passive forces, and proposing microscopic fixes for vast structural problems. The BBC’s Blue Planet Live series exemplified this tendency.

Those who govern the nation and shape public discourse cannot be trusted with the preservation of life on Earth. There is no benign authority preserving us from harm. No one is coming to save us. None of us can justifiably avoid the call to come together to save ourselves.

I see despair as another variety of disavowal. By throwing up our hands about the calamities that could one day afflict us, we disguise and distance them, converting concrete choices into indecipherable dread. We might relieve ourselves of moral agency by claiming that it’s already too late to act, but in doing so we condemn others to destitution or death. Catastrophe afflicts people now and, unlike those in the rich world who can still afford to wallow in despair, they are forced to respond in practical ways. In Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, devastated by Cyclone Idai, in Syria, Libya and Yemen, where climate chaos has contributed to civil war, in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador,, where crop failure, drought and the collapse of fisheries have driven people from their homes, despair is not an option. Our inaction has forced them into action, as they respond to terrifying circumstances caused primarily by the rich world’s consumption. The Christians are right: despair is a sin.

As the author Jeremy Lent points out in a recent essay, it is almost certainly too late to save some of the world’s great living wonders, such as coral reefs and monarch butterflies. It might also be too late to prevent many of the world’s most vulnerable people from losing their homes. But, he argues, with every increment of global heating, with every rise in material resource consumption, we will have to accept still greater losses, many of which can still be prevented through radical transformation.

Every nonlinear transformation in history has taken people by surprise. As Alexei Yurchak explains in his book about the collapse of the Soviet Union – Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More – systems look immutable until they suddenly disintegrate. As soon as they do, the disintegration retrospectively looks inevitable. Our system – characterised by perpetual economic growth on a planet that is not growing – will inevitably implode. The only question is whether the transformation is planned or unplanned. Our task is to ensure it is planned, and fast. We need to conceive and build a new system based on the principle that every generation, everywhere has an equal right to enjoy natural wealth.

This is less daunting than we might imagine. As Erica Chenoweth’s historical research reveals, for a peaceful mass movement to succeed, a maximum of 3.5% of the population needs to mobilise. Humans are ultra-social mammals, constantly if subliminally aware of shifting social currents. Once we perceive that the status quo has changed, we flip suddenly from support for one state of being to support for another. When a committed and vocal 3.5% unites behind the demand for a new system, the social avalanche that follows becomes irresistible. Giving up before we have reached this threshold is worse than despair: it is defeatism.

Today, Extinction Rebellion takes to streets around the world in defence of our life-support systems. Through daring, disruptive, nonviolent action, it forces our environmental predicament on to the political agenda. Who are these people? Another “they”, who might rescue us from our follies? The success of this mobilisation depends on us. It will reach the critical threshold only if enough of us cast aside denial and despair, and join this exuberant, proliferating movement. The time for excuses is over. The struggle to overthrow our life-denying system has begun.

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Here’s a superb reason to ditch your plastic bag addiction
« Reply #12430 on: April 16, 2019, 04:27:10 AM »

Even in the deepest pit on Earth, at some 35,700 feet beneath the sea, there lies a white plastic bag.

Plastic pollution is now so ubiquitous on the planet that cities, counties, and even states have banned single-use plastic bags. New York is expected to soon ban the rippable, mostly useless sacks.

Yet beyond the blight and recycling woes wrought by society's plastic bag addiction, plastics have an effect that bears heavy weight for the future. Overall, global plastic consumption has quadrupled in the last 40 years, and if the consumption of these fossil fuel-made plastics continues apace, the industry will carry a massive carbon emissions load by 2050.

Specifically, if modern civilization ever manages to cap the planet's total warming at around 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above 19th century levels — which would limit the worst consequences of a globally disrupted climate — the plastics industry would account for a whopping 15 percent of the total amount of carbon society can expel into the atmosphere. In a world where cars, planes, ships, electrical generation, cement-making, and belching cows all contribute sizable carbon emissions, 15 percent from plastics is an oversized, if not ridiculous, contributor.

Scientists wanted to see how, and if, society might avoid such a future reality. In a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, they found that limiting carbon emissions from the plastic industry to 2015 levels requires a colossal societal undertaking involving four strategies: cutting growth in demand for plastics by half, making plastic out of plants rather than oil and gas, generating electricity with renewable energy, and increasing recycling.

"We need an unprecedented scale of effort," said Sangwon Suh, a study coauthor and professor in industrial ecology at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Taken alone, each one of the strategies, even if deployed at extreme levels, cannot solve the plastics' emissions problem, emphasized Suh. They all must be deployed — which is why we should stop using (and creating demand for) unnecessary  plastics.

"Everything is so plastic-oriented," said Mary Ellen Mallia, the director of environmental sustainability at the State University of New York at University of Albany, who had no role in the study.

But not all plastics are inherently bad. There's a list of good uses too long to list. They make cars lighter and more efficient, allow us to easily carry around technology, and are used to manufacture emergency medical equipment.

"I don’t believe that we should demonize plastics," said Suh. "It's about consumers being aware of the life cycle."

From their birth to their usual grave in garbage dumps or on the side of the road, plastics today gulp fossil fuels. The start of a plastic's life requires heating up different oils and gases to produce a plastic resin, which can then be used to shape and build different plastic products. Every plastic we use — in our phones, computers, and water bottles — "goes through multiple industrial processes" to create the desired product we want, explained Suh. That means a big carbon emissions load, though extracting fossil fuels from deep in the ground and transporting truckloads of plastics significantly boosts this number.

"Eventually it arrives in our hands," said Suh.

"People don’t think about the embedded energy of the products," added Mallia.

A pacific green turtle suffocating on a plastic bag.

Though the slow-grinding gears of the federal government, especially in the U.S., will likely be sluggish to enact significant movement on slashing carbon emissions, reducing demand for useless plastics is a realizable effort for you and me, the common citizen. But that won't be easy, either.

"It's hard because it means changing behavior," said Mallia.

But to limit carbon emissions from plastics, it must be done in concert with other big efforts. As Suh modeled in the study, the other three strategies can't solve the problem alone.

One option relies on global civilization completely decarbonizinig the plastic industry by 2050 — which means getting nearly all of our energy from renewable sources, rather than using natural gas or other fossil fuels. But that's unlikely to happen. In fact, civilization probably won't even reach the peak of its carbon emissions until 2030.

"Ramping that [renewables] up to 100 percent by 2050 is not realistic, to be honest," said

Plastic bags caught on a fence in Oxfordshire, Britain.

Another option is cranking up plastic recycling so that about half of plastics are reused. Today, around 10 percent of plastics are recycled, noted Suh. So getting to 50 percent is pretty far-fetched, especially when one considers the recent stagnation in recycling. "No significant improvements have been made in the past decade or so," said Suh.

How about replacing most oil-derived plastics with bio-based plastics, like from corn or sugarcane? These sorts of plastics are extraordinarily rare today. "Ramping that up is near impossible," said Suh.

The end — and only solution — Suh found is an "aggressive implementation" of all these strategies over the next 30 years. That's because many plastics aren't going away. This is all the more apparent in the developing world, where people want and have the right to the same furnishings and technology that's teeming in the Western world. Plastic demand, then, will grow.

"We have no alternative future that’s obvious to us," Suh admitted.

Yet, one alternative future is rejecting the ample single-use plastics that inundate modern culture, the kind saturating our seas and decorating our roadways. We don't have to use them.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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This Interactive Map Tracks White Supremacist Hate Crimes in America
« Reply #12431 on: April 16, 2019, 04:35:03 AM »
The Anti-Defamation League documented and mapped 4,500 hate-related incidents.

A year after Charlottesville, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism has released an interactive map of hate-driven violence in the US documenting upwards of 4,500 incidents and activities.

The result is one organization’s look at a countrywide issue—the US has seen an uptick in race-related crimes in all of its major cities, up 12.5 percent in 2017, according to a California State University report. The majority of these hate crimes are anti-Black and anti-Semitic, according to that study, but vary widely depending on the city.

“There’s a sense of urgency, a rising number of hate incidents,” said Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism.

The team at the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish non-profit organization that has historically spoken out against Anti-Semitism, has been compiling data on anti-Semitic crimes for years. For the map, the team separated its proprietary data into categories including extremist murders, anti-Semitic incidents, and white supremacist events.

The incidents range from the white supremacist group Identity Evropa handing out fliers, to terrorist/plot attacks, such as the case of Taylor Michael Wilson, a white supremacist in Nebraska who carried a loaded gun onto an Amtrak before he was found and arrested.

The incidents are spread throughout the country, though more prevalent in heavily populated areas on each coast. New York City, for example, had 102 anti-Semitic incidents, compared to Miami, which had seven. Segal said the data reflects not only the density of the areas, but those dealing with more extremist activity, such as Texas and Indiana.

But tracking the hate crimes is not always straightforward. “Sometimes it’s hard to make a decision between anti-government extremism and white supremacy; sometimes these ideologies overlap,” Segal said.

The map builds on a compendium of tracking race crime across the country—important to view collectively since some organizations have been criticized for including their own agenda. This includes the Anti-Defamation League, which has been accused of anti-Muslim rhetoric by some far left groups.

Other organizations documenting hate-driven violence include ProPublica in its Documenting Hate project, the Southern Poverty Law Center with Hatewatch, a platform that tracks and analyzes radical right activities, and Muslim Advocates, with a map of hate-related incidents reflecting the Islamophobia that has been rampant since the election.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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How The Alt-Right Corrupts The Constitution
« Reply #12432 on: April 16, 2019, 04:46:04 AM »
The Alt-Right wants an Alt-Constitution. That means exclusively white, male, and Christian.

The Constitution is interpreted differently by the alt-right.

About 10 years ago, I spent a sabbatical on the Maine coast writing a book about the Constitution.

One afternoon, an eager reference librarian who knew about my interests invited me to a talk at the library. The featured speaker was a woman who proudly called herself a “Constitutional Patriot.”

The speaker was self-educated and her message was simple: Liberal elites – judges, politicians and academics – had perverted the meaning of the “True Constitution.”

Getting the Constitution “right,” in her view and in the view of a great many far-right conservative groups and organizations, all of them constitutional patriots of a sort, means understanding the Constitution as the Founders understood it.

Getting the Constitution “right” thus means returning the Constitution to its original meaning. It also means that the Constitution, as they read it, advances a particular and deeply conservative worldview, where “We the People” includes only those citizens who would have qualified for citizenship at the founding (which is to say, whites), a strong commitment to states’ rights and extensive – if not absolute – protections for freedom of speech and guns.

It is a view that many in the alt-right share.
Christian, conservative and white

Most observers think the alt-right are conservative extremists, defined chiefly by their loud and proud commitment to white racial superiority and privilege.

But there’s much more to the alt-right.

I’m a constitutional scholar and in my latest book, “Fracturing the Founding: How the Alt-Right Corrupts the Constitution,” I show how the alt-right and a wide variety of extremist organizations advance a comprehensive – if not entirely comprehensible – vision of the American Constitution.

What I call the Alt-constitution is an odd mix of the forgotten, the rejected, the racist and the bizarre.

It begins with the claim that the Constitution was not only divinely inspired, it is also Christian, conservative and white.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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UK police arrest more than 100 in climate change protests
« Reply #12433 on: April 16, 2019, 04:58:32 AM »
 LONDON (AP) — Police say they have arrested more than 100 people after climate change protesters blocked major bridges and intersections in central London, bringing traffic to a standstill.

The group Extinction Rebellion is organizing a week of civil disobedience against what it says is the failure to tackle the causes of climate change.

On Monday, demonstrators blocked sites including Waterloo Bridge over the River Thames, the busy Oxford Circus intersection and Parliament Square, and vandalized the headquarters of oil company Shell.

After hours of disruption, police ordered the group to confine protests to Marble Arch, beside Hyde Park. Scores of demonstrators who refused to move were arrested — 113 by Tuesday morning.

Extinction Rebellion said "over 100 brave rebels" had been arrested. It said protests would continue.

A skeleton is carried past the Winston Churchill statue as demonstrators take part in a 'Funeral Procession' during a climate protest in Parliament Square in London, Monday, April 15, 2019. Extinction Rebellion have organised a nationwide week of action, they are calling for a full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on climate change and ecological collapse. They plan to engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against governments in capital cities around the world.

Climate change protesters hold up a banner saying 'We can Change" during a demonstration in London, Monday, April 15, 2019. Extinction Rebellion have organised a nationwide week of action, they are calling for a full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on climate change and ecological collapse. They plan to engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against governments in capital cities around the world.

A tourist looks at a climate change protest banner at Marble Arch in London, Monday, April 15, 2019. Extinction Rebellion have organised a nationwide week of action, they are calling for a full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on climate change and ecological collapse. They plan to engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against governments in capital cities around the world

Protesters take part holding placards during a climate change demonstration in London, Monday, April 15, 2019. Extinction Rebellion have organised a nationwide week of action, they are calling for a full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on climate change and ecological collapse. They plan to engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against governments in capital cities around the world.

Protesters take part holding placards during a climate change demonstration in London, Monday, April 15, 2019. Extinction Rebellion have organised a nationwide week of action, they are calling for a full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on climate change and ecological collapse. They plan to engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against governments in capital cities around the world.

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Climate Catastrophe and Extinction Rebellion
« Reply #12434 on: April 16, 2019, 05:09:07 AM »
Catastrophes, self inflicted.

“Vote if you think it’ll make any difference but don’t drink the full Kool Aid of American electoral fake-representative politics, the longtime graveyard of American social movements…”

In the last years of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King spoke against what he called “the triple evils that are interrelated” – economic inequality, racism, and militarism. If King were alive today, he’d be talking about the five evils that are interrelated, adding patriarchy and Ecocide, the destruction of livable ecology.  He’d also be noting the dangerous rise of a new national and global fascism linked to the presidency of a malignant racist who glories in accelerating humanity’s environmental self-destruction while the media obsesses over matters of far slighter relevance.

I was given three questions to answer today. The first question runs as follows: “How have you as a historian mapped the trajectory of Climate Change over time? What do we have to worry about right now?”

Let me say as politely as I can that I don’t like the phrase “Climate Change.” It’s too mild.  Try Climate Catastrophe.  If a giant oak tree is about to collapse onto your little house, you don’t say that you are at risk of housing change. You say “holy shit we’re about to die and we better do something fast.”

I haven’t really tracked climate change as an historian.  I am an urban and labor historian, not an environmental one.  The climate issue really started being noticeable to me with the often-forgotten Chicago heat wave of July 1995, when hundreds of people, very disproportionately Black, died.

I rely on climate scientists to crunch the time-series numbers on planetary warming and what they are telling us is not good, to say the least. We are at an oak tree tipping point for the house of humanity.  It’s the biggest issue of our or any time. As Noam Chomsky told Occupy Boston 8 years ago, if the environmental catastrophe led by global warming isn’t averted in the next few decades, then nothing else we progressives, egalitarians, and peaceniks care about is going to matter.

In 2008, NASA’s James Hansen and seven other leading climate scientists predicted “irreversible ice sheet and species loss” if the planet’s average temperature rose above 1° Celsius as they said it would if carbon dioxide’s atmospheric presence reached 450 parts per million. CO2 was then at 385 ppm. The only way to be assured of a livable climate, Hansen said, would be to cut CO2 back to 350 ppm.

Here we are eleven years later, well past Hansen’s 1°C red line. We’ve gotten there at 410 ppm, not 450.  It’s the highest level of CO2 saturation in 800,000 years, 600,000 years before the first fossil evidence of homo sapiens.   I recently attended an Extinction Rebellion meeting in which it was reported that 22% of all human industrial-era carbon emissions have taken place since 2009, one year after Hansen issued his warning.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report reflects the consensus opinion of the world’s leading climate scientists.  It tells us that we are headed to 1.5°C in a dozen years.  Failure to dramatically slash carbon emissions between now and 2030 is certain to set off catastrophic developments for hundreds of millions of people, the IPCC warns.

The IPCC finds that we are headed at our current pace to 4°C by the end of century. That will mean a planet that is mostly unlivable. Tipping points of unlivable existence are already being reached by millions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub Continental and Southeast Asia, parts of Central America and other regions where climate-driven migration is underway, with significant political consequences.

Numerous Earth scientists find the IPCC report insufficiently alarmist. It omits research demonstrating the likelihood that irreversible climatological “tipping points” like the thawing of the northern methane-rich permafrost could occur within just “a few decades.”

We really don’t know how quickly the existential threat may unfold. This is an experiment that’s never been run. What do we have to worry about? Extinction. Current female life expectancy in the United States is 81 years. A baby girl born this year would in theory turn 81 in 2100, when, at the current Greenhouse Gassing pace, Antarctica will have melted and the Amazonian rain forest will have long ceased to function as the lungs of the planet.

I was also asked by this conference’s organizers to discuss “connections between Climate Change, class inequity, and imperialism” and to offer ideas on why “this intersectionality [is] often overlooked.”  Let me to be as brief as I can because that’s a doctoral dissertation or two. Eco-Marxists like John Bellamy Foster are right about capitalism.  It is a system not just of class disparity but of plutocratic and corporate class rule, the rule of the owners and managers of capital. And there are a number of environmental problems with capitalist class rule. The first problem is that the owners and managers of capital don’t really care about anything other than the accumulation of capital and profit. They are systemically compelled to commodify anything and everything they can get their hands on. They have always been perfectly content to profit from anything and everything.  They cash in on slavery, fascism, mass-incarceration, endless war, and even on turning the planet into a giant Greenhouse Gas Chamber – a crime that quite frankly makes the Nazis look like small-time criminals by comparison.

The second problem is that the owners and managers of capital are constantly throwing masses of human beings out of livable wage employment and off of social safety nets and out of common lands and public schools and public housing and the only so-called solution to the mass poverty that results from this constant Enclosure process they’ve ever been able to offer is the promise of new jobs through ever more expansion and growth, an environmental disaster on numerous levels.

The third problem is that Wall Street and Bond Street and LaSalle Street and the rest of the big financial streets and exchanges have huge fixed and sunken investments in a vast Carbon Industrial Complex. They do not want to see that giant portfolio devalued by home sapiens choosing to survive by keeping fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.

The fourth problem is that capital is inherently and systemically opposed to and threatened by social, public, and environmental planning on the scale required for the task of moving humanity off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy and broadly sustainable environmental practices.

Fifth, class rule regimes insulate their top decision-makers from the worst environmental consequences of their growth-addicted systems.  By the time people living in ruling-class bubbles begin to sense existential threat to themselves, it is generally too late for them to do anything about it except stuff like trying to get the Tesla guy to fly them to Mars or to download their consciousness into an Artificial Intelligence satellite to roam the galaxy for eternity.

With imperialism the connections are less abstract. Eating up more than half the nation’s federal discretionary spending and sustaining more than 1000 military installations across more than 100 nations, the Pentagon system itself has the single largest carbon footprint of any institutional complex on Earth The so-called defense budget steals trillions of dollars that need to be spent on green infrastructure and green jobs if we are going to reduce carbon emissions to a livable scale. At the same time, America’s global super-power has long depended on U.S. control over global oil and gas reserves: the remarkable economic and geopolitical power that flows to control over the flow, pricing, and currency denomination of those reserves and the super profits that result from their extraction and sale. Oil control has long been a great source of American critical leverage in the world system. (The fact that the United States under Obama achieved so-called energy independence through accelerated fracking and drilling in the homeland doesn’t change the strategic calculation. It’s never been primarily about getting access to the oil for our cars and trucks and facilities.  It’s been about the critical imperial leverage oil control grants Washington). A planet that depends on renewable energy rather than petroleum to run its economies will be less susceptible to that sort of imperial domination.

Why are these intersectional connections overlooked?  Because it’s a capitalist media and its sponsors are not interested in talking about how capitalism and its evil twin imperialism are about profit over people including in this case profit over people as an organized presence on the planet.

The final question I was given is “What effective solutions and political strategies do you have to offer?” This isn’t what you are asking, but I do want to say six things regarding the path forward. First, there’s a whole bunch of information out there to use to counter the standard “cost and benefit” arguments that we can’t afford to undertake a national and global Green New Deal and  that shifting to renewable energy is a job killer.  Both of those arguments are false. The technologies are available and affordable. Green jobs do pay and will continue to pay better than fossil fuel jobs.  I have sources I’ll be happy to share on all that.

Second, we can’t afford NOT to make the transition. It is darkly hilarious to hear corporate Democrat and Republican right-wing commentators advance critical so-called cost-benefit analyses of the big scary Green New Deal.  Whatever you think of whether or not the Green New Deal is radical enough to get the job done, at least Green New Dealers are talking seriously about the benefit of a livable earth. It seems like society might want to absorb significant costs to achieve the continuation of the species. It’s a green cliché but it’s true: there are no jobs on a dead planet. There is no economy on a dead planet.

Third, we need to be ready to talk about green jobs and what they do and might pay and about how we can create social safety nets for fossil fuels sector workers if we want to sell environmental reconversion to the populace. The carbon-capitalist Exxon-Mobil-Donald Trump-Joe Manchin right has propagated the notion that green transformation is a giant job-killer. We must counter that claim in ways that show we understand and care about the concerns of the working-class majority.

Fourth, we need to be existentialists, not catastrophists.  It’s not about the crystal ball.  We can’t care about the odds.  The betting line on Green Transformation does not matter.  Maybe it’s just 1 in 10.  Maybe it’s better. It doesn’t matter. The odds go to zero in ten if we don’t take action. Let Vegas take the bets.  We are on the field of action.

Fifth, Howard Zinn was right.  It’s not just about who’s sitting in the White House or the Governor’s mansion or the Mayor’s office or the city council seat.  It’s also and above all about who’s sitting in the streets, who’s disrupting, who’s monkey-wrenching, whose idling capital, who’s occupying the pipeline construction sites, the highways, the workplaces, the town-halls, the financial districts, the corporate headquarters, and universities beneath and beyond the biennial and quadrennial candidate-centered big money big media major party electoral extravaganzas that are sold to us as “politics” – the only politics that matters. This is true about fighting racist police violence. It’s true about labor rights and decent wages.  It’s true about all that and more and it’s true about saving livable ecology.

Sixth, know your climate enemies.  If you think it’s just the eco-fascist Republicans, you are sadly mistaken. Yes, unlike Donald Trump, Barack Obama did not deny the existence of anthropogenic, really capitalogenic global warming.  But so what?  As Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers noted last year, “Obama watered down global climate agreements and grew oil and gas output and infrastructure in the United States.…Obama presided over the highest gas production in history and crude oil production rose by 88%, the fastest rate in the 150-year history of the U.S. oil industry.”  Obama bragged about this to a bunch of petroleum executives at the Baker Institute last year.

Vote if you think it’ll make any difference but don’t drink the full Kool Aid of American electoral fake-representative politics, the longtime graveyard of American social movements. Become a Gilet Jaune or a Gilet Verde. Get your yellow, green, red and black vests on. Learn how to build barricades. Study civil disobedience. Join the great Extinction Rebellion, which has a dynamic new Chicago chapter and will be making some splashes here and around the world this year. Remember the words of Mario Savio: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop!”

If you’re waiting for some elite politician to fix this ecological mess you will be hung out to dry well past humanity’s expiration date.

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'