Daily Archives: January 31, 2014

Video: Bus plows through flood water in Rome as heavy rains slam Italy

euronews (in English)

Published on Jan 31, 2014

The capital Rome also experienced heavy rain, especially in the north of the city where at least one subway stop was closed for flooding and where traffic was snarled by rising water and fallen tree limbs.

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

The Flip Side of Obama’s Keystone XL Delay

Even as President Obama cast a veneer of caution over the Keystone pipeline’s northern half, he quietly expedited dozens of similar projects.
By Steve Horn | September 7, 2013

While President Obama made a big deal out of delaying the northern half of the Keystone pipeline’s construction, he compensated by signing an executive order to expedite similar infrastructure projects everywhere else. (Photo/Matt Wansley via Flickr)

Large segments of the environmental movement declared a win on Jan. 18, 2012, the dawn of an election year in which partisan fervor reigned supreme.

On that day President Barack Obama kicked the can down the road for permitting TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline’s northern half until after the then-forthcoming November 2012 presidential election.

“Northern half” is the key caveat: just two months later, on March 22, 2012 – even deeper into the weeds of an election year – President Obama issued Executive Order 13604. Among other key things, the order has an accompanying memorandum calling for an expedited review of the southern half of Keystone XL stretching from Cushing, Okla. to Port Arthur, Texas.

The day before, March 21, Obama flew on Air Force One to a pipe yard in Cushing – the “ and photo-op announcing the executive order and memorandum.

Dubbed the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project by TransCanada – 95 percent complete and “open for business” in the first quarter of 2014 – the 485-mile tube will ship 700,000 barrels of tar sands crude per day from Cushing to Port Arthur, where it will then reach Gulf Coast refineries and be exported to the global market. It will eventually have the capacity to ship 830,000 barrels per day.

The subject of a large amount of grassroots resistance from groups such as Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and the Tar Sands Blockade, the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project – when push comes to shove – is only the tip of the iceberg.

That’s because Obama’s order also called for expedited permitting and review of all domestic infrastructure projects – including but not limited to pipelines – as a reaction to the Keystone XL resistance.

A months-long Mint Press News investigation reveals the executive order wasn’t merely a symbolic gesture.

Rather, many key pipeline and oil and gas industry marketing projects are currently up for expedited review, making up for — and by far eclipsing — the capacity of Keystone XL’s northern half. The original TransCanada Keystone pipeline – as is – already directly connects to Cushing from Alberta, making XL (short for “extension line”) essentially obsolete.

Keystone XL’s northern half proposal is key for marketing oil obtained from the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin.

Dubbed the Bakken Marketlink Pipeline, the segment has lost its importance with the explosive freight rail boom for moving Bakken fracked oil to market and other pipeline proposals. One of those pipelines, in fact, has received fast-track approval under the March 2012 Obama Executive Order.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

The Extraordinary Climate And Environmental Legacy Of Henry Waxman


By Ryan Koronowski on January 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

CREDIT: Center for American Progress

Following 40 years of sustained fighting on behalf of human health, the environment, and a livable climate, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced on Thursday that he would retire from Congress after this year.

“In 1974, I announced my first campaign for Congress,” he said Thursday in a press release. “Today, I am announcing that I have run my last campaign. I will not seek reelection to the Congress and will leave after 40 years in office at the end of this year.” When the news hit the House GOP, their reaction spoke volumes of how strong a legislative adversary he was to them.

A Waxman-less Congress leaves a gaping hole on serious climate policy. Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee when Waxman was Chair, described him as a formidable opponent: “he may be short in his stature, but he can be 10 feet tall if you get in his way.”

While the Congressman still has almost a year to add a few more bullet points to his already-full legislative record, here is a short list of his most notable climate and environmental accomplishments:

Climate change stayed a national legislative priority. “To me, this is an issue more important than all the other things we’re spending time on,” he told the National Journal in 2013. “It’s more important than the budget, sequestration, the debt ceiling — 10 years, maybe five years from now, people aren’t going to say, ‘What did we do on those issues?’ They’re going to say, ‘What did Congress do on climate change?’”

There is no EPA regulation of CO2 without Waxman.. The reason that President Obama has the ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act is because Congressman Waxman helped write it. The existing Clean Air Act was under threat of being weakened from the moment President Reagan was inaugurated for the first time in 1981. At first, Waxman and some of his colleagues merely tried to keep the important bill from being gutted. As the years went by, Reagan and his allies in Congress failed to weaken the Act, and Waxman and his allies ended the decade with a slew of strong amendments. Some of those found their way into a bill that strengthened the Clean Air Act in 1990, signed by George H.W. Bush. The Supreme Court decided in 2007 that the language in the Act meant greenhouse gases could qualify as pollutants under the law. The EPA has been moving to regulate those pollutants since 2009, starting with vehicle emissions and continuing with new and existing power plants today.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Noam Chomsky “Really Existing Capitalist Democracy”

The Chomsky Videos

Published on Jan 31, 2014

Dec. 5, 1997
Northeastern University, Boston

Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Free Trade Trouble

President Obama is pushing for two big new trade deals – in the Pacific, with Europe. Democrats are resisting. We’ll dig in.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second right, speaks with his country’s Trade Representative Michael Froman, as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, second left, speaks with his Trade Minister Tim Groser, left, at the Trans-Pacific Partnership meet in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Leaders of the dozen countries involved in the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership met in Bali after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to work on plans for a free trade area they hope will eventually encompass the entire region. (AP)

In 2014, Americans have had a lot of experience with global free trade. It was 20 years ago this month that the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, went live. We’ve seen and learned. Now, President Obama is pushing for giant new free trade deals across the Atlantic and the Pacific. And it’s rough going, starting in his own party. Harry Reid may have driven a stake through the heart of the trade push yesterday. It’s high stakes for labor, industry, jobs, global competition. This hour On Point: free trade now, and “high noon” for big deals with Europe and the Pacific.

– Tom Ashbrook


William Mauldin, international economics and trade correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. (@willmauldin)

Jim Kolbe, senior transatlantic fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Former 11-term Congressman (R-Arizona). Strategic consultant to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research. (@markweisbrot)

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Obama Revises History, Shining a Light on Corporate Fraud, Monsanto Spying on Activists


Published on Jul 29, 2013

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Broken Promises to Whistleblowers, Shining Light on Corporate Fraud, Foreclosing on the Wrong Homes, and Spying on GMO Activists.

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EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin goes over the first day of the DC whistleblower summit and comments on the news that President Obama’s website Change.org was scrubbed from the internet, including his pledge to protect whistleblowers. Abby then talks to former Northrop Grumman whistleblower James Holzrichter, about his experience in blowing the whistle against fraud within the defense industry, as well as the climate for whistleblowers today. Abby then goes over the case of Katie Barnett, an Ohio resident who had her home mistaken for one that was foreclosed. Bank thugs robbed and ransacked Barnett’s home yet is refusing to pay for the damages. Sadly, her case is far from uncommon. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with Alexis Bayden Mayer about a recent revelation from a German newspaper that Monsanto is working in concert with the US government to spy on anti-GMO activists and researchers. They talk about GMO myths, labeling laws, and the recent Monsanto buy-out of Beeologics.

For report on Monsanto and U.S. government spying see:


Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics


Nuclear Detonation Timeline “1945-1998”


 Published on Jul 6, 2012

Isao Hashimoto: “This piece of work is a bird’s eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second. No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier. The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted. I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world.”

Profile of the artist: Isao HASHIMOTO
Born in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan in 1959.
Worked for 17 years in financial industry as a foreign exchange dealer. Studied at Department of Arts, Policy and Management of Musashino Art University, Tokyo.
Currently working for Lalique Museum, Hakone, Japan as a curator.
Created artwork series expressing, in the artist’s view, “the fear and the folly of nuclear weapons”: “1945-1998” © 2003 “Overkilled” “The Names of Experiments”

Contact the artist:
Should you have any query regarding this artwork, please contact e-mail address below:

Don’t Blink

Uploaded on Jul 12, 2010

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are plotted visually and audibly on a world map.

As the video starts out detonations are few and far between. The first three detonations represent the Manhattan Project and the two bombs that ended World War II. After a few representative minutes the USSR and Britain enter the nuclear club and the testing really starts to heat up.

Even though the video does not differentiate between sub-critical “safety” tests and full detonations, you get a good idea of the fever of the nuclear arms race.

The time line does not extent to tests by North Korea (October 2006 and May 2009).
Original Work: Isao Hashimoto (http://www.ctbto.org/specials/1945-1998-by-isa%C2%ADo-hashimoto/

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics