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Why are we waiting?

The UK Secretary for the Environment Owen Paterson, called by some the “worst Environment Secretary ever” because of his support for so many ecologically damaging initiatives, disappeared in February.  Having been responsible for an expensive and highly unpopular badger cull, he became embroiled in the crisis that brought a lot of southern England to its knees – catastrophic flooding.

Arriving far too late on the scene down in Somerset it was then announced that he had to have emergency surgery for a detached retina – and he totally vanished.  He did come back very quietly, but was unavailable to all …

Labour Strikes and Individual Consciousness

The Power of Media Manipulation

Strikes by labor have a way of bringing individuals’ consciousness to the foreground. This is especially true when the primary work of the workers on the picket line  is serving the public. Teachers, police, firemen, public works and transit workers fall into this category and, when they strike the public feels the difference. In the place I live—Burlington, Vermont—the transit system drivers have been on strike for two weeks. The local media, from the Gannett-owned daily paper to the so-called alternative weekly, has varied in its coverage of the issues, with the bulk of the stories presenting management’s side without …

Is Ukraine a Prelude to WWIII?

Part 2 of a 2 Part Series

One of the delightful things about America is that they have absolutely no historical memory.

— Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, 1898-1976

More verbiage:  Russia has taken a “dark path”. Vice President Joe Biden said in Poland last week that those who rely on “aggression and fear” are bound to fail. Indeed, think Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran, the gradual current slinking from Afghanistan after approaching a 13 year reign of terror; creeping from Iraq in the dead of night after eight years of murder, decimation, torture and infanticide, followed by enjoining the destruction of Libya …

Media Whoop up Stampede to Cold War, Hot War, Whatever

Crimea may be bigger than an archduke, but not more important

If American media seem filled these days with bellicose, jingoistic, uniform perspectives on a new Cold War, that’s probably because so many news outlets can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to framing new events in the tired terms of the last generation’s ingrained propaganda. At a time that needs fresh contemplation, even people like Amy Goodman on Democracy NOW are talking about recent events in and around Ukraine as having “sparked the worst East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War” or words to more …

The IPCC Takes off the Gloves

According to leaks about the widely anticipated upcoming report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which is due the first week of April, the scientific community is finally taking off the gloves and hitting the public smack dab between the eyes with the brutal truth.

Whereas in the past, IPCC reports were conservatively constructed and couched in scientific lingo that people found difficult to fully understand, this time it is different.

Accordingly, rumor has it that world governments have already signed off on “the critical finding that climate change is already having an effect, and that even a small amount …

How One Woman Recovered from Severe Depression

A Cross-Cultural Narrative

The just published memoir, Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within by Gayathri Ramprasad, is a first-of-its-kind, cross-cultural lens to mental illness through the inspiring story of the author’s thirty-year battle with depression. Gayathri Ramprasad is the Founder and President of ASHA International, a nonprofit organization promoting personal, organizational and community wellness.

Martha Rosenberg: Your book gives vivid images and details of your childhood, growing up in India. It seems like you were never alone, between your immediate family, your extended family and, …

Web Freedom and Transparency in the Turkish PM’s Crosshairs

The Turkish government’s sordid and unavailing commitment to increase the violence in neighboring Syria’s Civil War has apparently coincided with the government’s growing authoritarianism and disregard for its citizens, with PM Erdogan hoping to end the freedom of expression enjoyed by Turks via the internet.

A leaked audio tape appearing on YouTube contained a discussion by high-ranking Turkish officials about moving Turkish tanks on to Syrian territory, shortly after launching missiles at their own country and blaming the Syrian regime as the required pretext. Although the officials later claimed the recording was manipulated, the morbid choice of subjects …

Zero Waste: Closer than You Think

The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time by Paul Connett (Chelsea Green 2013) is about 100% waste recovery and reuse, the new gold standard in recycling. Connett’s new book summarizes the state of play of the zero waste movement in local communities around the world. His detailed descriptions of existing programs and technologies provide powerful ammunition for local activists trying to pressure city and town governments to be more environmentally responsible.

According to Connett, we have had the technological capability to recycle 80-90% …

Banking Union Time Bomb: Eurocrats Authorize Bailouts AND Bail-Ins

As things stand, the banks are the permanent government of the country, whichever party is in power.

– Lord Skidelsky, House of Lords, UK Parliament, 31 March 2011)

On March 20, 2014, European Union officials reached an historic agreement to create a single agency to handle failing banks. Media attention has focused on the agreement involving the single resolution mechanism (SRM), a uniform system for closing failed banks. But the real story for taxpayers and depositors is the heightened threat to their pocketbooks of a deal that now authorizes both bailouts and “bail-ins” – the confiscation of depositor funds. The deal …

Obama and the Saudi Agenda

Toby Jones, a historian of the modern Middle East, says the Saudis see the Arab awakening as an existential threat while the US sees it as something to be manipulated.

Anti-Fracking Activist Can Now Go to the Hospital

Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa., will now be allowed to go to her hospital, supermarket, drug store, several restaurants, and the place where she goes for rehabilitation therapy. She can also go to the county’s recycling center, which is on 12.5 acres of land the county had leased to Cabot Gas & Oil Corp., one of the largest drillers in the country.

Common Pleas Court Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, Friday, revised a preliminary injunction he issued in October against the anti-fracking activist. That injunction had required the 63-year-old grandmother and retired nurse’s aide to stay at least 150 feet from …

New York City Settlement of Fire Department Discrimination a Blow against Racism

But Panned by Ultra-Right New York Post Editorial

Under the leadership of New York City’s progressive new mayor Bill de Blasio a settlement has been reached between a discrimination suited filed by the Vulcan Society (representing minority firefighters) and the city over the use of racially based civil service tests that favored white applicants.

In a case dating back to 2007 which found the city guilty of racism in testing, by a Federal Court, and still being appealed by the city, due to former mayor Bloomberg’s refusal to accept the ruling, an acceptance of the court’s findings by mayor de Blasio brings an end to this shameful episode of …

Western Looting of Ukraine Has Begun

It is now apparent that the “Maiden protests” in Kiev were in actuality a Washington organized coup against the elected democratic government. The purpose of the coup is to put NATO military bases on Ukraine’s border with Russia and to impose an IMF austerity program that serves as cover for Western financial interests to loot the country. The sincere idealistic protesters who took to the streets without being paid were the gullible dupes of the plot to destroy their country.

Politically Ukraine is an untenable aggregation of Ukrainian and Russian territory, because traditional Russian territories were stuck into the borders of …

Food and Water Wars

The “warming of the Arctic” could become one of the greatest catastrophes in human history, even exceeding the notoriety of Adolf Hitler and Genghis Khan. Likely, it will impact more people than the combined effect of those brutal leaders. In fact, global warming may eventually be categorized as the greatest threat of all time, even greater than the Black Death’s 75-to-200 million dead, circa 1350.

The integrity of Arctic sea ice is essential to prevent the risks of (1) methane outbreak and/or (2) fierce, damaging weather throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Regrettably, the Arctic “sea ice area” registered a seasonal record …

Another Reason for Societal System Change

Subhankar Banerjee, in his recent “On Climate Impasse: Appetite and Substitutes,” asserts that Progress is “a paradox. Progress is as real as an apple, and it can also hold contradictions.” Why? Because, Banerjee explains, Progress increases “the quality of life for some, while [it] degrades or destroys the same for others.” It is also the case, he adds, that in some cases Progress “simultaneously improves and degrades the quality of life for the same individual.”

The “Progress” referred to here by Banerjee here is the technological development—combined with, and motivated by, to a degree, greed— which has produced our consumer …

Collective Industrial Relations

Development economics for the global north

This week sees yet another make or break conference for the interminable Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks, writes network member Conor Cradden. This time it’s in Bali, and on the agenda (yet again) is breaking the deadlock about multilateral trade regulation (for a quick guide to what’s going on see this piece on the Guardian website).

But, frankly, who really gives a damn? And, more to the point, is export-led development really the only way to a bright future for poorer countries, or is it mostly just a convenient way for a very small number of people in …

The Iraq War’s Real Legacy

Though President Obama attempts to justify Iraq’s invasion, Iraqi civilians and Iraq war veterans share their stories on the lasting environmental, social, and health effects of the U.S. occupation still being felt today.

Arab League Impotence Continues

What a mess the Arab world is in

A thought constantly in my mind, and which was reinforced by the Arab League’s 25th Summit in Kuwait, is that with Arab leaders and governments as “enemies” the Zionist state of Israel does not need friends.

The Arab League was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945. Its six founding member states were Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949) Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Today the Arab League has 22 members (though Syria’s membership has been suspended since November 2011).

Question: In terms of significant, positive contributions to regional and international affairs, what has the Arab League got to show for …

Barking Dogs and Sinking Ships

Journalism’s Search for Metaphor and Meaning

The fundamental failure of Dean Starkman’s The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism—and of mainstream journalism more generally—is hidden in plain sight in the title’s metaphor. Starkman explains why journalists often aren’t alert watchdogs, but he can’t see why limiting the profession to the role of a barking dog is, quite literally, a dead-end.

To explain that rather harsh judgment, allow me to mix metaphors: The best the journalistic watchdog can do these days is bark at people rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and meanwhile the train has left the …

Why I Am a Conscientious Objector to the ACA

I have been an outspoken advocate for a Medicare for all health system. During the health reform process, I did all that I could to push for single payer, including being arrested three times for civil disobedience. I was one of fifty doctors who filed a brief in the Supreme Court which expressed opposition to forcing people to buy private health insurance, a defective product. It pains me to see that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) siphons billions of public dollars to create more bureaucracy and transfers hundreds of billions of public dollars directly to the private insurance industry …