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“If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
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 Going Green: Some Serious Potty Talk

Environment

Composting toilets would save water and, uh, resources.

By Jill Richardson

There’s a photo-word montage on the Internet in which a little boy, presumably from Africa, looks skeptically at a woman who is apparently from somewhere else. The boy asks, “You mean to tell me you have so much clean water, that you (poop) in it?”

Umm…yeah. Yeah, we do. But why?

This probably isn’t a question you often ask, because as the wastewater treatment industry says, we have a “flush it and forget it” attitude as a nation. Number ones and number twos disgust us, and we don’t want to see, smell, touch, or God forbid, deal with our pee and poop.

Flush toilets magically make all that human waste vanish in an instant, so we can go on with our day in blissful denial that anything unpleasant-smelling ever came out of our bodies at all.

What’s the cost for that modern convenience? An awful lot of water. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, September 26 @ 15:21:04 EDT (88 reads)
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 Opinion: The Anti-Empire Report #132 - September 2014

PoliticsBy William Blum

Ukraine and neo-Nazis

Ever since serious protest broke out in Ukraine in February the Western mainstream media, particularly in the United States, has seriously downplayed the fact that the usual suspects – the US/European Union/NATO triumvirate – have been on the same side as the neo-Nazis. In the US it’s been virtually unmentionable. I’m sure that a poll taken in the United States on this issue would reveal near universal ignorance of the numerous neo-Nazi actions, including publicly calling for death to “Russians, Communists and Jews”. But in the past week the dirty little secret has somehow poked its head out from behind the curtain a bit.

On September 9 NBCnews.com reported that “German TV shows Nazi symbols on helmets of Ukraine soldiers”. The German station showed pictures of a soldier wearing a combat helmet with the “SS runes” of Hitler’s infamous black-uniformed elite corps. (Runes are the letters of an alphabet used by ancient Germanic peoples.) A second soldier was shown with a swastika on his helmet. [1]

On the 13th, the Washington Post showed a photo of the sleeping quarter of a member of the Azov Battalion, one of the Ukrainian paramilitary units fighting the pro-Russian separatists. On the wall above the bed is a large swastika. Not to worry, the Post quoted the platoon leader stating that the soldiers embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of “romantic” idea.

Yet, it is Russian president Vladimir Putin who is compared to Adolf Hitler by everyone from Prince Charles to Princess Hillary because of the incorporation of Crimea as part of Russia. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, September 19 @ 20:01:54 EDT (159 reads)
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 Truth To Power: PA City Agrees to Repeal Law that Jeopardizes Safety

The News of Domestic Violence Survivors

Norristown Will Pay $495,000 to Settle Case on Behalf of Woman Threatened with Eviction for Calling Police

From: aclu.org

NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The city of Norristown voted to repeal a municipal ordinance that punishes innocent tenants and their landlords for requesting police assistance as part of a settlement announced today. The American Civil LibertiesUnion, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ordinance last year on behalf of a domestic violence victim, Lakisha Briggs, who faced eviction from her home after requesting police protection from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Norristown will also pay $495,000 to Briggs and her lawyers.

The ordinance encouraged landlords to evict tenants when the police are called to a property three times in four months for "disorderly behavior," including for incidents of domestic violence. ...


Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, September 11 @ 09:23:17 EDT (261 reads)
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 Screwed Again: Golden Weapons of Destruction Take Aim at El Salvador

Business News
Why do companies have the right to sue countries over environmental protection measures?

By John Cavanagh and Robin Broad

An obscure tribunal housed at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. will soon decide the fate of millions of people.

At issue is whether a government should be punished for refusing to let a foreign mining company operate because it wants to protect its main source of water.

The case pits El Salvador’s government against a Canadian gold-mining company that recently became part of a larger Australian-based corporation. When OceanaGold bought Pacific Rim last year, it identified the Salvadoran mining prospects as a key asset even though gold prices have sunk by more than a third from their 2011 high of more than $1,900 an ounce.

The case’s implications are chilling. If the company wins, this small country will have to either let the company mine or pay hundreds of millions of dollars. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, September 07 @ 16:33:47 EDT (324 reads)
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 Business/Economy: Labor Day Blues

HolidaysBy: Rosemarie Jackowski

We celebrate those who work - as opposed to those who inherit family wealth and those whose financial investments work so they don't have to. Outsourcing and increasing unemployment have caused some workers to experience hostility in the workplace. Below are typical statements made by bosses to their employees - just another day in the life of American workers under the corporate fist.

1. Look, it doesn't matter if the fumes are making you sick. OSHA says everything is OK.

2. I already told you that you couldn’t have the morning off. Your Father's funeral can wait till the weekend.

3. Union, did I just hear somebody say, "Union"? Fire that damn Commie !

4. You want a raise........hahhhhahhhahahahhhah. ....

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, August 31 @ 10:35:13 EDT (375 reads)
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 Screwed Again: Ferguson Exposes the Creeping Militarization of Police Forces

Action Alert
Your town and mine are being militarized, just like Ferguson.

By Jim Hightower

The tragedies unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, are doubly infuriating.

First, there is the obvious outrage of yet another unarmed black teenager being stopped by one of the town’s white police officers as he was walking to his grandmother’s home.

A scuffle ensued, and officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown (six times, including twice in the head, according to an autopsy report). The young man’s corpse was then left lying in the street for hours, during which time the police didn’t even bother to notify his family. Understandably, furious citizens have erupted in protest.

Outrage No. 2 is that Ferguson’s police, practically all of whom are white in a town that’s two-thirds black, responded to the public outcry like an occupying army. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, August 23 @ 17:42:46 EDT (472 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #131 - August 2014

OpinionBy William Blum

Cold War Two

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the SovietUnion because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:


Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum


I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, August 15 @ 22:27:52 EDT (641 reads)
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 Truth To Power: India: Selling Out To Monsanto. GMOs and the Bigger Picture

InternationalBy Colin Todhunter

On 15 August, India will mark its 67th anniversary of independence from Britain. It may seem strange to some that a nation would publicly celebrate its independence while at the same time it less publicly cedes it to outsiders. The gleaming façade of flags and fly-pasts will belie the fact that national security and independence do not depend on military might and patriotic speeches. Eye-catching celebrations will take place in Delhi and much of the media will mouth platitudes about the strength of the nation and its independence. The reality is, however, an ongoing, concerted attempt to undermine and destroy the very foundation and security of the country.

The bedrock of any society is its agriculture. Without food there can be no life. Without food security, there can be no genuine independence. A recent report by the organisation GRAIN revealed that small farms produce most of the world’s food and are more productively efficient than large farms [1]. Facilitated by an appropriate policy framework, small farmers could easily feed the global population. But small farmers are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world’s farmland and the world is fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands big agribusiness and the rich and powerful. If nothing is done to reverse this trend, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself.

By definition, peasant agriculture prioritises food production for local and national markets as well as for farmers’ own families. Corporations take over scarce fertile land and prioritise non-food commodities or export crops for profit and markets far away that cater for the needs of the affluent. This process impoverishes local communities and brings about food insecurity. GRAIN concludes that the concentration of fertile agricultural land in fewer and fewer hands is directly related to the increasing number of people going hungry every day. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, August 10 @ 10:19:42 EDT (736 reads)
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 Truth To Power: Whoops! What crisis?

Politics
Time to Go on the Offensive to Improve, Not Just Save Social Security and Medicare

by: Dave Lindorff

The wind has suddenly been knocked out of sails of those critics of Social Security and Medicare in Washington -- Republican and Democrat -- who have for years been warning direly that the two programs were going bust. Suddenly their favored “rescue” plans for these crucial programs -- turning to a stingier way of calculating the annual inflation adjustment, raising the retirement age, and even reducing benefits for Social Security, and cutting benefits for Medicare -- don’t make sense to anyone.

Thanks to an improved jobs picture, a marked slowdown in health care cost inflation and other factors, the latest annual Trustees Report from the Social Security Administration paints a picture of a much improved situation. As things stand now, this report says the Trust Fund that was built up, starting back in the early 1980s, to cover the anticipated increase in benefit payments to the wave of Baby Boomer retirees, will not be exhausted until 2033, which happens to be about the time that the last Baby Boomers born in 1964 will be retiring, and when the wave of 78 million Boomer retirees will be starting to shrink as early boomers born in the late 1940s and 1950s begin to die off (the oldest Boomers, born in 1946, will be 87 in 2033).

The Medicare Trust Fund, too, is looking much better. As recently as last year, it was being projected to run out in 2026, but now it looks like it will still have a positive balance in 2030. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, August 03 @ 20:49:40 EDT (799 reads)
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 Opinion: Washington Is Escalating the Orchestrated Ukrainian “Crisis” to War

War NewsBy Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Despite the conclusion by US intelligence that there is no evidence of Russian involvement in the destruction of the Malaysian airliner and all lives onboard, Washington is escalating the crisis and shepherding the World toward war.

Twenty-two US senators have introduced into the 113th Congress, Second Session, a bill, S.2277, “To prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes.” The bill is before the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Note that prior to any evidence of any Russian aggression, there are already 22 senators lined up in behalf of preventing further Russian aggression.

Accompanying this preparatory propaganda move to create a framework for war, hot or cold with Russia, NATO commander General Philip Breedlove announced his plan for a deployment of massive military means in Eastern Europe that would permit lightening responses against Russia in order to protect Europe from Russian aggression.

There we have it again: Russian Aggression. Repeat it enough and it becomes real. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, July 27 @ 11:27:38 EDT (858 reads)
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 Business/Economy: Sick Pig Problems

Health
Rising prices aren't the only reason you should reconsider eating pork.

By Andrew Carter

A pound of bacon now costs more than $6. That’s a record increase from $3.86 a pound four years ago.

What’s driving this spike?

Blame Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. The disease, known as PEDv, is rattling the pork industry after claiming over 10 percent of the U.S. pig population. Nearly all infected piglets suffer severe dehydration and die within the first few weeks of their life.

The cause of the virus is still up for debate, but many farmers suspect contaminated feed imported from China. Pork prices have shot up over 12 percent since May and relief could be more than a year away.

Though the illness doesn’t threaten human health, there are other reasons to cut back on pork. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, July 25 @ 20:32:09 EDT (849 reads)
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 Health News: Cargill’s Integrity-Free Soybean Oil

Business News

By huge margins, consumers don't want Frankenfoods on their tables.

By Jim Hightower

Can you have your hypocrisy and eat it, too?

I don’t think so. But Cargill Inc. is doing its damndest to invalidate the old admonition that eating your cake today means not having it tomorrow.

As a leading producer and user of ingredients that contain genetically manipulated organisms, the food conglomerate with $136.7 billion in yearly sales faces a marketing problem: By huge margins, consumers here and around the world don’t want Frankenfoods on their families’ tables.

So Cargill, the largest privately held company in our country, ferociously opposes every state law and ballot initiative that would mandate the labeling of any product containing these genetically modified foods....


Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, July 19 @ 19:43:01 EDT (911 reads)
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 Opinion: The Anti-Empire Report #130 - July 2014

PoliticsBy William Blum

What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?

US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”

President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”

Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”

Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”

Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”

John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, July 14 @ 21:16:42 EDT (834 reads)
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 Politics: Lawsuit Challenges Government’s ‘Suspicious Activity Report’ Program

Press ReleaseFBI Created Counterterrorism Files for Plaintiffs’ Innocuous Activities

From: aclu.org

SAN FRANCISCO – Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit today challenging the legality of the federal government’s controversial Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) program. The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil LibertiesUnion of California, the national ACLU, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, was brought on behalf of five Americans who had their information entered into law enforcement databases for innocent things like taking pictures, buying computers, or standing in a train station, and were then subjected to investigation.

“This domestic surveillance program wrongly targets First Amendment-protected activities, encourages racial and religious profiling, and violates federal law,” said Linda Lye, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “The Justice Department’s own rules say that there should be reasonable suspicion before creating a record on someone, but the government’s instructions to local police are that they should write up SARs even if there’s no valid reason to suspect a person of doing anything wrong.”

A Justice Department regulation dating to 1978 prohibits the collection and dissemination of “criminal intelligence information” unless there is “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity. However, the Justice Department’s standard for SARs doesn’t require reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, only behavior that “may be indicative” of terrorism planning “or other illicit intention.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have learned that such a low bar can cover virtually anything. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, July 10 @ 21:42:43 EDT (861 reads)
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 Screwed Again: What is this Country about Anymore?

Holidays
When Congress cut off long-term unemployment aid, it left more than 3 million people in the lurch.

By Katherine McFate

Meet Mark. He’s a 58 year old, college-educated veteran who lives in Oregon.

He was laid off last September and has been unable to find work since. Mark’s state unemployment benefits ran out in May. Since funding for the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was cut last December, Mark and more than three million other Americans, including nearly 300,000 veterans, have been denied access to a second six months of support — a vital financial lifeline in this tough economy. Mark is way behind in his rent, is selling everything of value he owns, and fears he will be homeless soon.

“We spend trillions bailing out banks, and provide Wall Street bonuses for those that created this challenging economy, but for a highly skilled worker, a veteran with a family, this country has nothing,” writes Mark. “What is this country about anymore? Our military service personnel risk their lives to save and protect the freedoms of our country and this land, but when we need help there isn’t enough?” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, July 03 @ 18:47:19 EDT (919 reads)
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