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09.18 'Terrifying' New Climate Models Warn of 6-7°C of Warming by 2100 If Emissions Not Slashed

09.17 New Report Details 10 'Critical Transitions' to Tackle the Climate Crisis and Feed the World

09.16 Common pesticide makes migrating birds anorexic [Neonicotinoids, again...]

09.16 ACT plans far-reaching electrification of vehicles and homes in drive to reduce emissions

09.16 'Like a sunburn on your lungs': how does the climate crisis impact health? [Important]

09.16 $1m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world [Important]

09.15 German Study: Alarming Levels of Dangerous Plastics in Children's Bodies

09.15 Sea levels may rise more rapidly due to Greenland ice melt

09.15 The world has a third pole – and it's melting quickly

09.14 Not Just the Bees, First-of-Its-Kind Study Shows Neonics May Be Killing Birds Too [A GESTALT: Like happened at Boeing, deregulation has displaced scientific and engineering professionalism in many companies and governments to focus on profits/economics almost exclusively. But after similar failure of scientific rigor, die-off reports of bees, worms and sea-life, generally, there must be a moritorium on production, sale and use of all potentially dangerous chemicals!]

09.13 Trump Rollback of Key EPA Water Protection Rule Denounced as 'Callous' and 'Immoral' Giveaway to Big Polluters

09.13 Worms fail to thrive in soil containing microplastics – study

09.13 Dolphins in Channel carry 'toxic cocktail' of chemicals [What is safe to eat?]

09.11 How Can We Address Climate Change Through Agriculture? [3:43 video]

09.11 New solar tech could revolutionise electricity production

09.11 'It can kill you in seconds': the deadly algae on Brittany's beaches

09.10 How to look after your mental health

09.10 Who’s Ready for the Electric Moped Moment? [Uses car lanes instead of sidewalks!]

09.09 The Climate Investment That Promises 400 Percent Returns

09.09 Suicide rates are rising across the US, especially in rural areas

09.08 Blend solar panels with agriculture, new study recommends

09.08 Before Hurricane Dorian, Charleston Already Had a Flooding Crisis

News Media Matters

09.16 From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing's Glass House

09.15 'No Policy, No Facts, Just Displays of Violence': Ocasio-Cortez Says Hysterical Ad Proves GOP Has No Response to Progressive Vision [0:30 video]

09.14 Sanders Campaign Hits Back Against 'Dishonest' Biden Attack on Medicare for All [The facts don't lie, but America's media totally does lie when paid by advertisers to distort single-payer as more expensive: 1:35 video]

09.12 Media bias is OK – if it's honest [‘It should be obvious that there can’t be such a thing as a neutral journalist.’]

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

09.18 Why Trump Can’t Learn: An Educated Guess by a Veteran Teacher [Might dyslexia explain the Republican party, generally?]

09.18 'Heartless and Unconscionable': Outrage as General Motors Cuts Off Healthcare for 50,000 Striking Workers [Hideous corporate behavior putting 50,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

09.18 Whole Foods Will Cut Health-Care Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Employees [Hideous corporate behavior putting 2,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

09.18 US healthcare is booming. So why do one in five workers live in poverty?

09.18 Greta Thunberg to Congress: ‘You’re not trying hard enough. Sorry’

09.17 'The silenced': meet the climate whistleblowers muzzled by Trump

09.17 Democrats have long blamed 'culture' for black poverty. Joe Biden is no exception

09.17 The Guardian view on the future of work: share out the benefits

09.16 America is stuck with Brett Kavanaugh

09.16 Sanders Responds to Biden's Praise for Pharma Companies: 'Their Behavior Is Literally Killing People Every Day'

09.15 'Americans are waking up': two thirds say climate crisis must be addressed

09.15 The Plutocratic War on People: Centrists and Conservatives are Ignoring the Giant Elephant in Our National Living Room

09.14 The U.S. Health-Care System Found a Way to Make Peanuts Cost $4,200

09.14 California church leaders 'used homeless as forced labour' [A coarsening of public behavior...]

09.14 Taco Bell customer who was treating homeless group to meals says she was kicked out of restaurant [A coarsening of public behavior...]

09.14 We Asked Prosecutors if Health Insurance Companies Care About Fraud. They Laughed at Us.

09.14 Elizabeth Warren’s Health Care Plan Still Leaves a Lot of Unanswered Questions

09.14 Medicare for All Would Cut Poverty by Over 20 Percent

Justice Matters

09.14 NY AG uncovers $1 billion in Sackler family wire transfers amid opioid probe: report

09.12 'Decades of Progress Are at Stake' as Trump Reaches 150 Lifetime Judicial Appointments and Right-Wing Court Takeover Accelerates

09.12 JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR ISSUES SCATHING DISSENT TO SUPREME COURT'S ASYLUM RULE DECISION: THE STAKES 'COULD NOT BE HIGHER'

09.11 Former top FEMA officials arrested on fraud charges in Puerto Rico

09.09 The great break-up of Big Tech is finally beginning [Facebook and Google effectuate the evil of data analytics]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

09.12 The insidious ideology pushing us towards a Brexit cliff-edge

09.12 Boeing's travails show what's wrong with modern capitalism

International & Futurism

09.18 If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil [1:45 video]

09.17 ONLY A GREEN NEW DEAL CAN DOUSE THE FIRES OF ECO-FASCISM

09.17 The Guardian view on Modi’s 100 days: trashing lives and the constitution

09.17 The Observer view on the threat posed to Israel by another Benjamin Netanyahu victory

09.17 For Palestinians, Israel’s elections promise nothing but defeat

09.17 I now look back on my 20 years of climate activism as a colossal failure

09.17 The world ignored the warning signs – and now the Middle East is on the brink

09.16 EXCLUSIVE: Iranian drones launched from Iraq carried out attacks on Saudi oil plants

09.16 'We walk with our heads high': the women who care for country by fighting fire with fire

09.16 Inheritance tax would be scrapped by the Brexit party – good news for the very rich

09.16 Tunisian exit polls suggest shock victory for political outsiders

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COMMENTARY:

Global Warming, Global Hostilities: Futility of a Super-Power

Middle East Balance Sheet: What's been accomplished?

by CHRIS KNIPP
The U.S. has cast eight of the last nine vetoes at the Security Council, and seven of them pertained to sanctioning Israel.
What has the most powerful nation on earth accomplished in the Middle East recently? Well, the short answer might seem to be that it has caused much damage and destruction, but the reality may be closer to flailing about ineffectually (if dangerously), alternating with doing absolutely nothing.

It certainly made sense to go after Bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. targets (though it would have been better to have used our prior intelligence to prevent those attacks), but the U.S. let Bin Laden escape and instead bombed the impoverished nation of Afghanistan, pushed out the Taliban, and put in its own ineffectual leader, Hamid Karzai. This has led to a resurgence of strength among the tribal warlords and a return to opium production so now Afghanistan is the major world source of heroin; and the Taliban is regaining power. The U.S. has caused damage in Afghanistan, stirred things up, but the end result has been anything but positive. An enduring legacy is the grim provocation of Guantánamo.

Next the US attacked Iraq. Why was it we did that? What was that about "weapons of mass destruction"? The answer is we attacked Iraq because Cheney and the neo-cons of the Project for a New American Century had wanted to. Saddam was a brutal dictator, formerly our friend. Now, fortunately, he isn't in charge any more. But 100,000 Iraqis have died and the country is in chaos, a breeding ground for terrorist militants, and out of U.S. control, a place of daily violence, subject to influences from Syria and Iran. There is nothing the U.S. presence can do to alter this worsening situation. Not enough is being done in the U.S. by the opposition in Washington (if there is any) and by the left to push for withdrawal from Iraq. This disastrous adventure proves that "regime change" doesn't work. Robert Baer is possibly right that a CIA-style "Saddam lite" replacement would have been preferable to the chaos and re-separation of the three main factions—Shiite, Sunnite, and Kurd—in the country that has now taken place, and the constant violence.

The central cause of hostility toward the U.S. in the Middle East, though at this stage it's clearly only one among many, is and remains our total financial, military, and diplomatic support of our client state, Israel. How are things going there? The situation has grown worse and worse. The Palestinians in the occupied territories are living in a vast prison of walled-in cantons. They are being starved, squeezed out, killed. The Palestinians had a democratic election following the death of Arafat and chose a militant Islamic party, Hamas. The U.S. and Israel did not like that kind of democracy and economic boycotting and violent attacks have followed. Now, Israel has renewed war with, or rather on, Lebanon, spurred by actions once again not by the ineffectual Lebanese government but by Palestinian militants. The U.S. is doing nothing to calm down this situation. Following capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbullah and firing of rockets on Haifa, Israel struck Lebanon and killed more than sixty civilians. The U.S. will do what it can to block international condemnation of this action. The U.S. has just vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, even though the resolution called for release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and an end to rocket attacks on Israel. The U.S., in other words, has chosen to do nothing--to let the fires rage out of control.

Maybe there's a connection between our current official indifference as a nation to both peacemaking and restoring eco-balance. In both cases, whether by action or inaction, the Bush administration is a force for destabilization rather than planetary harmony.

In Iran, again a collective effort has proven to be preferable to the U.S.'s threat of unilateral action earlier this year. It's obvious that Iran's nuclear program is no immediate threat to the U.S. and that North Korea is more of a threat. North Korea isn't really capable of damaging U.S. targets either; nor is even North Korea foolish enough to court destruction by trying to do so. Why, by the way, doesn't the U.S. talk to the North Koreans? That would be the best way to tone them down and normalize relations. Likewise with Iran. But again, behind the U.S.'s provocative approach to the Iran nuclear program loomed the neo-con plan, which we now know well: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran. They want to attack Iran, because they like the idea. To show who's boss.

But who's boss? Is being the biggest bully in the schoolyard the best way to run a globalized world?

As for Israel and the U.S., if the tail is wagging the dog it's less noticeable, since U.S. and Israeli interests in subduing the countries surrounding America's little client state are in such harmony. In Ambassador John Bolton, whose stated aim is to further weaken the already downgraded United Nations, Israel has a good friend. The U.S. has cast eight of the last nine vetoes at the Security Council, and seven of them pertained to sanctioning Israel. Hostilities between Palestinian militants and Israel and Israel's attacks on Lebanon go on while -- with relatively imperceptible violence -- Israel goes on pursuing what Noam Chomsky has recently called its "steady takeover of the West Bank, which, in effect, if it continues, is just the murder of a nation." That's the main event. And the U.S. does nothing to stop it. If journalist Robert Fisk is right on this, as he often seems to be, the key is Syria. And Syria is out of reach. As usual the most important events aren't the ones most prominently reported. And what the U.S. is doing in the region is at best ineffectual and at worst highly dangerous.

It's hard to see anything positive resulting from U.S. Middle East policy. It becomes increasingly difficult to see logic in it, either. It would be nice if one could really argue that the U.S. is in the Middle East for oil, and that its presence there has furthered US control of the oil supply. That at least would make some simple kind of sense. Forceful in wielding his native guile and charm but lacking in logic or information, George W. Bush has actually declared that "we must end our dependence" on the dark fluid, but the administration's choices for alternative fuels, ethanol and hydrogen, seem as empty as that statement. Hydrogen is widely believed to be inefficient and too high in cost. Ethanol has many problems and Butanol is considered preferable. The push for ethanol may be that it is combined with gasoline, and hence its use is easier on the oil and automotive industries. Both of these, as opposed to electric power, continue the use of the internal combustion engine. The talk of alternatives seems mostly a distraction from the fact that when it comes to energy the administration's main push is for more of the same. However, the U.S. auto industry seems to be dying, even though oil and gas use continue at high levels.

"Terrorism" is the fake enemy of the new millennium, replacing the Cold War, and the "war on terror" is the new industry for opportunists who make money on war, militarization, and repression.
What is the future? Global warming and the closely related issue of planetary overpopulation by the human species—greater issues than any human-to-human conflict—seem to have a natural accompaniment in another kind of heating up, on the human scale: global increase in terrorist acts, which are precisely acts unidentifiable with any government or national borders and not part of any identifiable "war" at all. These may increase not only because of hostility to the US such as the Iraq/Afghanistan attacks have aroused in the region, but also because the more the US and its allies pursue big-budget "wars on terror" the clearer it becomes that such high-profile campaigns are ill conceived and ineffective. Or to put it another way, the terrorists are "winning" the "war on terror." Except that there isn't any war on terror and there never was. "Terrorism" is the fake enemy of the new millennium, replacing the Cold War, and the "war on terror" is the new industry for opportunists who make money on war, militarization, and repression. Human activity seems more and more on the international political level to be an acting out of primitive tendencies. We have ever more sophisticated technology and we have not lost touch with the ability to produce the cultural glories of the arts. The summer forest fires in North America this year are greater than ever before, a phenomenon linked to planetary climate change, AKA global warming.

What a waste our life as a species remains so long as governments can't organize for peace and rational action, such as the primary one of doing what we can to preserve the planet.
©Chris Knipp 2006. Chris Knipp is a San Francisco-based artist and writer. View his work at chrisknipp.com.

Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on July 17, 2006.
 

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