What’s the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You...

May 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment There are significant pros and cons, making fracking a highly controversial issue. By Reynard Loki / AlterNet KERN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 26, 2013: Pumpjacks extract oil from an oilfield in Kern County, CA. About 15 billion barrels of oil could be extracted using hydraulic fracturing in California. Photo Credit: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com Arsenic. Cadmium. Chromium. Radon. Lead. These are just a few of the toxins used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, a controversial drilling process to retrieve oil and natural gas from shale deposits under the surface of the Earth. Concerns about the process have been mounting, as studies have linked it to a host of environmental and public health problems, from increased infant mortality and low birth weight babies to the release of cancer-causing radioactive gas, contamination of drinking...

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THE NEW AGENDA FOR TAKING ON WALL STREET...

May 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Isaiah J. Poole  CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE More than 20 progressive organizations representing millions of voters are putting their weight behind a five-point agenda for the next stage of Wall Street reform. What these groups will formally announce Tuesday, in an event featuring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sets a high but practical standard for what a candidate would have to embrace to be considered a progressive on reining in the financial sector. The Take On Wall Street campaign says it intends to ensure that the voices of working people and consumers are heard above the power and influence of Wall Street. The Washington Post reports that Take On Wall Street will combine the efforts of “some of the Democratic parties biggest traditional backers, from the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO...

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LAWSUIT ACCUSING 16 BIG BANKS OF LIBOR MANIPULATION REINSTATED BY U.S. COURT...

May 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Judge warns case could ‘bankrupt 16 of the world’s most important financial institutions’ including Barclays, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and UBS Barclays’ headquarters in the Manhattan. In 2013 a Manhattan judge dismissed claims of conspiring to manipulate the Libor, a ruling which has now been overturned. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters Jana Kasperkevic in New York and agencies     A US appeals court on Monday reinstated a civil lawsuit accusing 16 major banks of conspiring to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate. The ruling, which overturns a 2013 decision, could bankrupt the institutions, the judges warned. A lower court judge erred in dismissing the antitrust portion of private litigation against Barclays, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and others on the ground that the investors failed to allege harm to competition,...

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OBAMA VISIT VIETNAM TO PROMOTE TPP. WAIT, VIETNAM? REALLY?...

May 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Dave Johnson CAMPAIAGN FOR AMERICA’S  FUTURE President Obama is in Vietnam promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Vietnam? Really? A year ago the post “Obama To Visit Nike To Promote the TPP. Wait, NIKE? Really?,” noted how Nike pioneered moving jobs out of the country to take advantage of low wages and lack of environmental protections in places like Vietnam, which led to many of the problems in our economy today. It seemed that Nike was possibly the worst company to use to support claims that TPP would benefit the American economy. President Obama is scheduled to visit Nike’s Oregon headquarters on Friday to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yes, Nike – a company that grew to billions by outsourcing jobs to overseas sweatshops, a company that sets up P.O.-box subsidiaries in tax...

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PATRIOTS AT THE GATE: THE AMERICANS PREPARING FOR BATTLE AGAINST THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT...

May 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] WASHINGTON POST B.J. Soper works on welding a target that he and fellow members of the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard were going to use for firearms training on March 4 in Redmond, Ore. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post) By Kevin Sullivan May 21 at 6:54 PM REDMOND, Ore. —BJ Soper took aim with his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and fired a dozen shots at a human silhouette target. Soper’s wife and their 16-year-old daughter practiced drawing pistols. Then Soper helped his 4-year-old daughter, in pink sneakers and a ponytail, work on her marksmanship with a .22-caliber rifle. Deep in the heart of a vast U.S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was conducting its weekly firearms training. “The intent is to be...

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THE PANAMA PAPERS: AN INTRODUCTION...

May 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By ICIJ Staff Apr 3, 2016 Follow investigation The Panama Papers is a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world’s rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions. Based on a trove of more than 11 million leaked files, the investigation exposes a cast of characters who use offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking. Behind the email chains, invoices and documents that make up the Panama Papers are often unseen victims of wrongdoing enabled by this shadowy industry. This is their story. Executive producer: Hamish Boland-Rudder Producer: Carrie Ching Animation artist: Arthur Jones Report: Will Fitzgibbon Narrator: Eleanor Bell Fox Supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis...

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THIS RETIRED MILITARY LEADER IS NOW HELPING PREP THE BUSINESS WORLD FOR CLIMATE CHANGE...

May 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Jeremy Deaton – Guest Contributor   CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld A man wades through flood waters in Hammond, La., Friday, March 11, 2016.   Retired Rear Admiral David Titley used to be a climate skeptic. But after decades in the service, he came to see the carbon crisis as “one of the preeminent challenges of our century.” As the Navy’s chief oceanographer, he spearheaded a task force to investigate the national security implications of climate change. Titley has since turned his attention to the world of business. He now teaches Weather Risk and Financial Markets at Pennsylvania State University, the capstone course for meteorology majors specializing in risk management. Titley explained in an interview that climate change will soon become a regular intrusion into the economy, dispensing heat waves, drought, and...

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ECONOMIC INEQUALITY, THE TOIL OF WORK AND WALL STREET POWER: OUR CAPITALIST SOCIETY IS LIKE “THE MATRIX”...

May 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] SALON.COM We live in a dystopia worthy of a Hollywood sci-fi movie, and most people don’t even realize it Cody Cain   Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix” (Credit: Warner Bros.) Our lives seem normal. Just like in the beginning of “The Matrix,” the classic sci-fi movie from 1999 starring Keanu Reeves. Not great or anything, but fine. We get up every morning and repeat our programmed daily grind. But is this all life has to offer? Or is there more to it than this? Some larger, hidden force controlling us and our society that we don’t recognize or understand? What is the Matrix? In the movie, the main character, Neo, was presented with a choice as to whether he wished to learn the reality about the hidden forces. And now, dear...

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BURNING ISSUES: WHY THE PENTAGON NEEDS AN AUDIT...

May 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]    AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE Burning Issues Video An audit of the Defense Department’s finances must be the next president’s top priority to root out waste and “legalized corruption” in Pentagon procurement, says Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, in this Burning Issues video. All federal agencies have been required since 1997 to go through an audit of their finances, and almost all of the largest federal agencies have gotten “clean” audits from the Government Accountability Office. The Pentagon is the biggest exception; it “just can’t do it and continues to be unable to do it,” Brian says. Defense Department officials have offered up the complexity and size of the Pentagon as excuses, but she says those responses don’t pass muster. The only candidate who has spoken of...

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WHY THE ECONOMY SHOULD STOP GROWING — AND JUST GROW UP...

May 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]  Listen to the political candidates as they put forward their economic solutions. You will hear a well-established and rarely challenged narrative. “We must grow the economy to produce jobs so people will have the money to grow their consumption, which will grow more jobs…” Grow. Grow. Grow. But children and adolescents grow. Adults mature. It is time to reframe the debate to recognize that we have pushed growth in material consumption beyond Earth’s environmental limits. We must now shift our economic priority from growth to maturity — meeting the needs of all within the limits of what Earth can provide. Global GDP is currently growing 3 to 4 percent annually. Contrary to the promises of politicians and economists, this growth is not eliminating poverty and creating a better life for all. It is instead creating...

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WELCOME TO 1984

May 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Chris Hedges   TRUTHDIG         Protester Bob Bowes, of Somerville, Mass., displays an American flag featuring corporate logos outside a meeting of U.S. elites in Boston. (Steven Senne / AP) The artifice of corporate totalitarianism has been exposed. The citizens, disgusted by the lies and manipulation, have turned on the political establishment. But the game is not over. Corporate power has within its arsenal potent forms of control. It will use them. As the pretense of democracy is unmasked, the naked fist of state repression takes its place. America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly. “Our political system is decaying,” said Ralph Nader when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It’s on the way to gangrene. It’s reaching a critical mass of citizen revolt.” This moment in American...

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Want to Know if the TPP Will Be a Disaster? Just Look at the Korean Trade Deal...

May 12, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Labor U.S. exports to Korea have been flat since the deal. By Leo Gerard / AlterNet   Photo Credit: Wikimedia On the fourth anniversary of the Korean trade deal, its lofty promises have been revealed as putrid pie in the sky:  More jobs lost. No exports gained. Just like NAFTA, just like China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), free traders swore that the Korean deal would shower jobs and economic prosperity down on America. It didn’t happen. Actually, the exact opposite did. In all three cases, the schemes enticed corporations to close American factories and offshore work. That enriched CEOs and shareholders. But it impoverished millions of American workers and bankrupted communities. Now, a backlash is evident in the groundswell of support for insurgent presidential candidates on both the left and...

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QUESTIONABLE ASSUMPTIONS BEHIND CRITIQUES OF SANDERS’ ECONOMIC PLAN...

May 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Isaiah J. Poole  AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE It’s “Neoliberals Gang Up on Bernie Sanders Week” along the corridor of Washington establishment think-tanks that include the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute and a Brookings offspring, the Tax Policy Center. Out of this corridor came not one, but two reports this week that give negative reviews to Sanders’ health care and tax plans. Both reports essentially reinforce one of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s chief attack lines against the Vermont senator running to her left: that Sanders’ “numbers don’t add up” and that he is making promises “that cannot be kept.” But in reality it’s the reports themselves that make questionable negative assumptions about the effects of Sanders’ proposals. This is a continuation of an argument that broke out earlier this year when economist...

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3 Oligarchs-Turned-GOP Governors Who Are Laying Ruin to Their States...

May 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Tea Party and the Right Bevin, Rauner and Scott are only too happy to attack the poor at every turn while their own fortunes continue to grow. By Alex Henderson / AlterNet Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr If any state was justified in describing itself as a major Obamacare success story, it was Kentucky; that is, before Republican Matt Bevin was sworn in as governor. Kentucky, under Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, was the home of Kynect, a state-operated Obamacare exchange that resulted in 500,000 Kentucky residents gaining health insurance, including many poor people with preexisting conditions. But Bevin, a rabid Tea Party ideologue who defeated Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race in 2015, campaigned on dismantling Kynect, and he has been making good on his promise, causing considerable misery to people...

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NEW RULE WOULD ALLOW PEOPLE TO SUE THEIR BANKS...

May 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Sue your bank! Why it’s better to go to court than to arbitrate in the long run New rules aim to return a consumer’s right to sue financial institutions – and the banks and credit card companies aren’t happy about it Bank of America The small print covering your bank account, credit card and most other financial institution agreements requires you to submit to binding arbitration to resolve any disputes with your bank. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo Suzanne McGee   TRUTHDIG   If your bank hits you with what you consider to be unfair overdraft fees, or fails to notify you in a timely manner of new, higher fees – thus making it impossible for you to avoid them – you may end up losing enough money for it to be painful. But getting...

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BURNING ISSUES: HIDDEN WEALTH AND THE RIGGED FINANCIAL SYSTEM...

May 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Burning Issues Video VIA AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE The Panama Papers, which opened a window into the world of secret bank accounts and money flows, help reveal the extent to which the global financial system is rigged to favor the wealthy and powerful, says Eryn Schornick, policy adviser at Global Witness, in this Burning Issues segment. While much of the attention has been focused on overseas tax havens, Schornick notes that “the U.S. is one of the easiest places in the world for a corrupt politician or a criminal to create a company and hide the fact that they own it.” These corporations can then outbid legitimate, transparently created companies for government contracts, take advantage of investors and customers and, of course, deprive governments of needed tax revenues. Legislation pending in Congress...

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LEAKED TTIP DOCUMENTS CAST DOUBT ON EU-US TRADE DEAL...

May 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Greenpeace says internal documents show US attempts to lower or circumvent EU protection for environment and public health Protesters wear masks of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel as they demonstrate against TTIP free trade agreement. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters Arthur Neslen in Brussels  AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE     Talks for a free trade deal between Europe and the US face a serious impasse with “irreconcilable” differences in some areas, according to leaked negotiating texts. The two sides are also at odds over US demands that would require the EU to break promises it has made on environmental protection. President Obama said last week he was confident a deal could be reached. But the leaked negotiating drafts and internal positions, which were obtained by Greenpeace and seen by the Guardian, paint a very...

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25 IMAGES OF MARKETS “REGULATING THEMSELVES”...

Apr 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By David Akadjian   Daily Kos Classics When economists talk about how a market “regulates itself,” what they mean is that markets reach an equilibrium between supply and demand. This says nothing about whether or not this equilibrium will be a good thing for society. It simply states that if consumers choose what to buy and producers choose what to sell and how to produce it, the market settles on a product distribution and prices. Lately, many people I know have argued that “free markets” mean something more. They see markets as ethically right or ethically moral, meaning pursuit of profit always somehow leads to a greater good. Unfortunately, morality isn’t built into markets. Markets were fine with child labor and slavery. Both were viewed simply as cheap sources of labor. It wasn’t...

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WARNING: TPP REARING ITS UGLY HEAD...

Apr 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Dave Johnson  AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) went dormant in Congress after election season began. It became clear that the public despises our country’s corporate-dominated “trade deals” that let companies just lay people off and close factories here to take advantage of conditions in countries that allow people and the environment to be exploited. Candidates who could sense which way the wind was blowing told voters they oppose TPP, and Congress dropped it — for now. But now people who follow these things are hearing more and more talk behind the scenes that indicate corporate America is going to try to push TPP through in the “lame duck” Congressional session after the elections. This is a session in which the old Congress consisting of the ones who might have...

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THIS INDUSTRY IS LITERALLY MAKING A KILLING...

Apr 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Rebecca Green, OtherWords | Op-Ed The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the lively debate among feminists over whether to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump’s unorthodox candidacy. The elections are also groundbreaking because they’re revealing more dramatically than ever the corrosive effect of big money on our decaying democracy. Following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and related rulings, corporations and the wealthiest Americans gained the legal right to raise and spend as much money as they want on political candidates. The 2012 elections were consequently the most expensive in US history. And this year’s races are predicted to cost even more. With the general election still six months away, donors have already sunk $1 billion into the presidential race — with $619 million...

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KANSAS GOVERNOR JUSTIFIED KICKING 15,000 PEOPLE OFF FOOD STAMPS...

Apr 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Alan Pyke THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/John Hanna) Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS)   For over five years now, Kansas has served as an economic policy experiment for anti-tax, small-government conservatives. Their lab work is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars, crippling public service budgets, and making life harder for low-income families without reducing the state’s poverty rate at all. With his political star beginning to tarnish, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) came to Washington on Wednesday to discuss his poverty policies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. At one point, the embattled governor justified his policy of forcing people off of food stamps if they can’t find a job by likening low-income and jobless people to lazy college students. The event was convened around a policy he pioneered: Reinstating a rigid...

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DAYS OF REVOLT: WALL STREET CRIMINALS AND THE FUTURE OF OUR ECONOMY (VIDEO)...

Apr 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] teleSUR Parasitic capitalism is at work in the United States, according to Michael Hudson, a professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Hudson and Chris Hedges continue their discussion of the American economy in another episode of teleSUR’s program “Days of Revolt.” (To hear the first part of their discussion, click here.) Hudson, author of the new book “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy,” worked on Wall Street for many years before he began teaching, and he explains that most politicians are reliant on Wall Street for campaign fundraising, a relationship that crosses party lines. Regardless of the particulars, “the job of the politician is to promise the nice vision, and then double-cross the constituents,” he says. On Wall Street, if you buy garbage...

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THE PANAMA PAPERS: LAUNDERING HAVENS FOR WAR BUDGETS (VIDEO)...

Apr 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] In mid-April, economist Michael Hudson told The Real News Network that global oil and mining industries and the U.S. State Department created Panama and Liberia for the express purpose of tax evasion.Read a full transcript of Hudson’s exchange with host Sharmini Peries below. —Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly. SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. Within a week the 11 million documents called the Panama papers, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has become a household name. The documents are connected to the Panama law firm Mossack Fonsesca that helped establish offshore accounts for some of the wealthiest and most powerful leaders to launder money and evade taxes. On Tuesday the police in Panama raided the Mossack Fonseca law firm to search...

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CLINTON’S DEFENSE OF BIG MONEY WON’T CUT IT...

Apr 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE Robert Borosage Hillary Clinton’s heated defense of the money she has raised from Wall Street and other interests won’t cut it. Her protests contradict the basic case that virtually all Democrats and reformers have made for getting big money out of politics. It is vital that voters not be misled by them. Normally, liberal politicians defend setting up super PACs, and collecting large sums from big donors, because while they pledge to curb the influence of the rich and corporations in our politics if elected, they can’t “unilaterally disarm.” Clinton repeats this argument, but it has less force against Bernie Sanders who not only has made the corrosive effect of big money contributions central to his campaign, but has demonstrated that it is possible to be competitive without...

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TIME TO GROW UP INTO A LIVING EARTH ECONOMY...

Apr 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The current political chaos in the United States is a product of the failure of our economic system to fulfill the promise of the American dream: That each new generation will enjoy abundance beyond that of their parents. What most people experience instead is increasing insecurity and declining opportunity. People know something is badly wrong. Uncertain as to what or why, they are desperate for answers. Who is responsible? What can we do? Our current situation is ripe for the blame game. Blame immigrants. Blame Obama. Or blame scofflaw bankers. Years ago when I was a business school student, our professors taught us that a recurring problem is a symptom of a system failure. Don’t focus on treating the symptom, they told us, step back and look upstream to identify the source. A...

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U.S. TRADE POLICY: POPULIST ANGER OR OUT-OF-TOUCH ELITES?...

Apr 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Posted April 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm by Jeff Faux   This post originally appeared in The Globalist. The presidential primary campaigns of both political parties have exposed widespread voter anger over U.S. global trade policies. In response, hardly a day has recently gone by without the New York Times, the Washington Post and other defenders of the status quo lecturing their readers on why unregulated foreign trade is good for them. The ultimate conclusion is always the same—that voters should leave complicated issues like this to those intellectually better qualified to deal with them. Trade experts, according to Binyamin Appelbaum of the Times have been “surprised” at the popular discontent over this issue. Their surprise only shows how disconnected the elite and the policy class that supports it is from the way most people actually...

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ELIZABETH WARREN’S BIG WIN: THE NEW, MUCH-NEEDED RULE THAT COULD REIN IN WALL STREET SLIME...

Apr 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] A new Labor Department requirement is giant victory for consumer advocates over Wall Street and financial advisers Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg   SALON.COM   Are you in the market for some good news? While everyone is being told to follow the excitement of the 2016 campaign to the exclusion of all else, out of the spotlight but not far away, the Obama administration is calmly trying to enact lasting progressive change. In the Labor Department earlier this month, consumer advocates won a big battle, as the vast middle class was “gifted” with a new requirement being placed on the financial services industry. As Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained, a glaring conflict of interest has been resolved in the favor of people saving for retirement. No longer can investment advisers recommend funds to their...

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THIS EARTH DAY, LISTEN UP: MOTHER EARTH IS CALLING US BACK...

Apr 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Those of us who succumbed to the false promises of Western consumerism at great cost to the planet and to ourselves are Earth’s prodigal children now returning home. By David Korten / Yes! Magazine   VIA ALTERNET Photo Credit: gletham GIS / Flickr April 22 is Earth Day 2016. Each Earth Day marks another milestone in a profound human reawakening to the truth that we are children of a living Earth who survive and prosper only as contributing members of a living Earth community. The first Earth Day, in 1970, brought 20 million people to U.S. streets, parks, and auditoriums in a massive demonstration of public support for political action to limit human harm to nature. As the first mass demonstration in defense of nature, it marked the birth of the modern environmental...

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WHY A ONCE IRON-CLAD ALLIANCE IS QUAKING – AND WHY IT TOOK SO LONG TO FALTER...

Apr 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Beenish Ahmed THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman meet at Erga Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, April 20, 2016.   President Obama received a rather lukewarm reception from Saudi royals when he landed in Riyadh on Wednesday. Saudi social media commentators noted that he was met with a reception led by the city’s mayor instead of King Salman, who greeted regional leaders with a great deal more gusto right after they landed. Nor did Obama exchange kisses with the Saudi leader, as his predecessor George W. Bush once did. But the alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United States is not quite what it used to be. Tensions have reached new heights in recent weeks among suggestions that the Kingdom’s money was used...

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NUCLEAR POWER COSTS ENTER UNCHARTERED TERRITORY...

Apr 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Paul Brown / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Many international businesses are hoping to cash in on disposal of nuclear waste. (StefrogZ via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—If you want a job for life, go into the nuclear industry—not building power plants, but taking them down and making them safe, along with highly-radioactive spent fuel and other hazardous waste involved. The market for decommissioning nuclear sites is unbelievably large. Sixteen nations in Europe alone face a €253 billion waste bill, and the continent has only just begun to tackle the problem. Among the many difficulties the industry faces is lack of trained people to do the highly-paid work. Anyone who enters the business is likely to be sought after for the rest of their...

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