50 DEATHS in Baltimore since the death of Freddy, NONE of the 50 died at the hands of the Popo. In fact 47 of the 50 dead were blacks, and no protests? Black lives don't matter no more? Where is the outrage, where is "pope" Al and the shakedown machine?.......hehehehehehehe
You are such a putz elk. No controversy because no one disputes the fact that the police acted properly.
THE GOP'S FOOD STAMP HYPOCRISY
Tom Hartmann / Truthout / 12 May 2015 00:00
We have a serious corporate welfare problem in this country, but Republicans would apparently rather spend their time trying to stop poor people from eating spaghetti sauce than do anything about it.
Seriously, I'm not kidding.
Right now, the Wisconsin Legislature is considering a bill that would ban food stamp recipients in the Badger State from buying any kind of shellfish.
Introduced by Republican State Representative Robert Brooks, this bill would also make it harder for poor families on food stamps to buy everyday household items like spices, nuts, and - you guessed it - spaghetti sauce.
Brooks' proposal is actually less extreme than some of the other food stamp clampdown bills floating around red state legislatures these days - it doesn't, for example, ban the purchase of all seafood, just shellfish - but it's still terrible public policy.
Although they were unable to get an exact number, analysts with the Wisconsin Department of Administration estimate that it could cost the state upwards of "several million dollars" to so aggressively micromanage the food buying habits of the working poor.
This comes, of course, as Wisconsin faces $2 billion budget shortfall thanks, in large part, to Gov. Scott Walker's tax cuts for the rich.
In other words, Wisconsin Republicans are willing to bankrupt their state even more just so they can stop poor people from making shrimp scampi with red sauce.
And that's not even the worst of it.
At the same time as Wisconsin Republicans are clamping down on the apparent plague of lobster-eating poor people that's ravaging their state, they're also happily promoting a failed Scott Walker corporate welfare scheme that's already wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and is set to waste even more.
Back in 2011, after he was first elected governor, Walker started something called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or WEDC, which funnels public funds to companies that claim they will create jobs for Badger State residents.
While that certainly sounds good in theory, a new report from Wisconsin's nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau has found that the WEDC hasn't done a good job of even bothering to checking up on the corporations to which it was passing out millions of dollars.
In fact, according to that report, the WEDC has basically no idea which of the companies it has given taxpayer dollars to have actually created jobs, and has also forgiven millions of dollars of loans that were supposed to be paid back to the state.
So much for fiscal responsibility, right?
The hypocrisy here would be hilarious if it weren't so depressing and so utterly unsurprising.
Welfare for the rich and austerity for working people is the name of the game for the Republican Party, whether it's at the state level in places in Wisconsin, or at the federal level here in Washington, DC.
Consider, for example, the fossil-fuel industry.
It gets $21 billion in handouts every year from the government to do nothing more than continue to pollute the planet - and yet, thanks to Republicans, it is vital programs like food stamps that get slashed in budget after budget, year after year.
But that's only part of the story.
It's not just that Republicans are willing to subsidize the rich and slash programs for working people all at the same time - everybody knows that.
It's also the fact they're willing to actually waste more money if that means demonizing poor people or criminalizing them for being poor.
That's the big takeaway from what's going on in Wisconsin right now.
It's actually more expensive to stop poor people from eating shellfish than to just let the food stamp program go on as normal, but Republicans are all on board because it punishes and stigmatizes low-income people.
We saw the exact same thing happen in Florida when Rick Scott forced welfare recipients to take drug tests. The plan cost his state a small fortune, but because it made poor people look like criminals, he was fine with expanding government and paying the costs.
Remember that the next time you hear some Republican go on and one about how bad government spending is.
Because not only are Republicans totally fine with wasting taxpayer dollars to prop up rich corporations, they're also totally fine with spending them to demonize poor people.
So much for compassionate conservatism in the Republican Party.
It was a lie and an oxymoron when George W. Bush promoted the phrase, and it's still a lie today.
OKLAHOMA LEADS NATION IN RATE OF POLICE SHOOTINGS
State’s police officers shoot suspects at a rate twice the national average, reports find
June 1, 2015 / Wilson Dizard
Oklahoma police kill people at a higher rate than officers in any other state, according to two new reports that tally how many lives law enforcement have taken since the beginning of 2015.
Police are on course to kill nearly 1,000 people in the U.S. this year, according to data compilations by The Guardian, which counts 465, and The Washington Post, which records 385. The Post’s analysis looked only at shooting deaths, and The Guardian included deaths involving stun guns, speeding vehicles and asphyxiation.
Both accounts single out Oklahoma as the state with the highest rate of such killings: 4.4 per million people in the first five months of this year. It is trailed by Arizona, with 3.6. Most other states have about 1 or 2 per million residents.
In its count of 22 deaths for Oklahoma, The Guardian records some as happening at the end of high-speed car chases or after suspects fired at or attacked officers.
But in other cases, mentally ill people died after their family members called for help — deaths that the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma says officers could avoid with better training.
“One of the biggest issues in Oklahoma is that we see a lot of departments with very little training and experience in dealing with folks with mental health issues or who are under the influence of substances,” said Brady Henderson, the legal director for ACLU Oklahoma.
Emotionally disturbed people can sometimes be violent or angry, but their behavior rarely stems from willful criminality, he said.
“Dealing with someone like that can be dangerous, but if officers are properly trained and the community has the right resources, there’s no reason someone should die in that situation,” he added.
Officers think in terms of threats, Henderson said, and not knowing how to respond to situations involving the mentally ill can put police on edge, with potentially lethal results.
In April 2015, police shot dead 83-year-old Richard “Buddy” Weaver in Oklahoma City after he allegedly stood on a street swinging a machete. Officers said they fired at him after he charged at them. The man’s neighbors reported that he suffered from mental problems.
In a similar situation in 2014, officers shot and killed 18-year-old Mah-hi-vist “Red Bird” Goodblanket, who was smashing windows in his parents’ home after becoming convinced his girlfriend was leaving him. The young man struggled with mental health issues for years.
His father, Wilbur Goodblanket, told NewsOK, “He just wanted help … They didn’t try to talk to him. They came in our home and shot him.”
With better training in how to approach people like Weaver and Goodblanket, police could have avoided using deadly force, Henderson said.
Joe Giacalone, a professor of criminology at John Jay School of Criminal Justice, told Al Jazeera that these situations can be very dangerous but that they don’t have to end in bloodshed.
“The No. 1 rule in handling an emotionally disturbed person is that you have to isolate and contain them,” said Giacalone, a 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department. “And as long as they don’t pose any threat to anyone else or the police, then you can take all the time you want to negotiate.”
Henderson and Giacalone stressed that officers need to find out as much as they can about the disturbed person before attempting to negotiate a situation.
“There really should be some written hostage negotiation techniques,” Giacalone said about police forces in the U.S.
Oklahoma does not have any standardized system for teaching police how to safely confront mentally ill individuals, according to Henderson.
Authorities in Oklahoma declined to comment on the number of police-involved deaths but did not dispute the numbers.
“I’m not going to speculate on why there are so many,” said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Brown referred Al Jazeera to the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, which conducts courses for police, but the agency did not return a request for comment.
Henderson said training is only a short-term solution. He said investing in social services could help prevent people from putting themselves in dangerous positions in the first place.
“Every shooting is avoidable somewhere down the line,” he said.
RED STATE GOVERNORS: NOT MY PROBLEM IF PEOPLE LOSE THEIR HEALTH COVERAGE
Kerry Eleveld / 3-4-2015 / Daily Kos
Why should I care about health care for Wisconsinites?
At least five red state governors have vowed not to offer a fix if the King v. Burwell ruling unravels the federal exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act in their states. Reuters has the details:
In response to Reuters' queries, spokespeople for the Republican governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wisconsin said the states were not willing to create a local exchange to keep subsidies flowing. Republicans argue that Obamacare is unacceptable government intervention that raises costs for consumers and businesses…
State government officials in Georgia, Missouri, Montana and Tennessee - a mix of Republicans and Democrats - said that opposition by majority Republican state legislators could make it all but impossible to set up a new exchange.
So that's nine states altogether where Republicans are ready to stand by and watch as hundreds of thousands of their constituents go uninsured—1.4 million people in those states have signed up for coverage through the ACA in 2015. Another 5.1 million are covered in the other 25 states whose federal exchanges would be dismantled should the King plaintiffs prevail.
But let's keep a record of the politicians who have zero regard for the welfare of the people in their states. Not surprisingly, some of the most adamant statements have come from GOP presidential hopefuls like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Nikki Haley of South Carolina (maybe not a 2016 candidate, but often mentioned as a future possibility for the GOP).
WISCONSIN—GOV. SCOTT WALKER ON PROVIDING A FIX
"That responsibility doesn't fall in the hands of the states or the governors, it falls in the hands of the leaders right here in Washington," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told reporters.
Now, there's a vision in leadership.
SOUTH CAROLINA—GOV. NIKKI HALEY
Taking her leadership cues from Walker, Haley suggested it's the federal government's job to find health insurance for her constituents, not hers.
“You’re going to hear the governors be very loud about this,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told the Post.
That's gotta be comforting for SC residents.
Her spokesperson was even more explicit about Haley's fixation on turf wars versus the welfare of her constituents.
"State exchanges are the federal government's way of sticking states with the cost and responsibility of a massive new bureaucratic program," said Chaney Adams, a spokeswoman for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
"The right decision was made for South Carolina, and Governor Haley would make it again today."
Rethreading the kooks, huh elky? Must be a slow day at the prog plantation....hehehehehehehehehehehe
WHY RAND PAUL WAS RIGHT TO KILL THE SO-CALLED PATRIOT ACT: IT WAS NEVER ABOUT TERRORISM
Jun 1, 2015 / truthdig / Juan Cole
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has vowed to force the expiration of the so-called PATRIOT Act on Sunday. Paul is right that it is unconstitutional and in this regard he is a better constitutional scholar than Barack Obama, whose stance on this issue is, to say the least, disappointing.
Obama is not interested in the Fourth Amendment. PBS Frontline says that the National Security Agency didn’t even bother to read him into its massive domestic surveillance program until 2010, two years into his first term, and that when they did, he just sat there and nodded approval. You have to wonder if they are blackmailing him in some way, though there isn’t any reason think that. This kind of surveillance is corrosive of democracy, because we can never trust elected politicians on whom the super-spies might have dirt.
The so-called PATRIOT Act was pushed as an anti-terrorism measure after 9/11, but it was never about terrorism. The bureaucrats and the GOP had clearly had such an assault on civil liberties and the US Constitution prepared in the 1990s. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) once told me the story of how this 1100 page bill was dropped on all the congressmen and women late one afternoon and then they were expected to vote on it the next day. He doubted that anyone even read it. But the point is that the bill was off the shelf and ready to go. It was a preexisting conspiracy.
Warrantless and general searches through people’s papers without probable cause was one of the sparks that set off the American Revolution. The Fourth Amendment was enacted to ensure that the abuses that occurred under the crown would not continue in the Republic. In 2001 the PATRIOT Act abrogated the Fourth Amendment.
It used to say: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Section 213 of the unconstitutional Patriot Act allowed “sneak and peak” searches, where law enforcement did not even tell the suspect that his or her premises were being searched. Only 0.5 % of searches conducted with these secret warrants involved terrorism. Mostly, they have been used in the “war on drugs.” That “war” is, in turn, likely an attempt by liquor companies and pharmaceuticals to make pot and other recreational drugs expensive and hard to get, so as to cut down on competition.
All that is not to mention Section 215, which has a secret interpretation inside the FBI that differs from that of the congressmen who authored the act and passed it. (Sen. Ron Wyden found out about this but was prevented by the PATRIOT Act from revealing it to the public!) We know from the Snowden revelations that this law and some executive orders are used to authorize absolutely outrageous warrantless snooping into the affairs of millions of Americans. If you know who someone calls and for how long, and where they are when they do it, you can figure out all sorts of things about him or her. Does she call an abortion clinic? Does he call a venture capitalist? Do public officials have any vices as revealed by their calls? Of course, the National Security Agency goes way beyond just collecting and storing Americans’ call records. With British help, it scoops up the text of emails and phone audio files, i.e. it gets substance and not just metadata. But the metadata would tell them a lot.
We also now know that the metadata is shared with the Drug Enforcement Agency, which uses it to prosecute drug dealers but routinely lies to judges about how the case developed. While it is hard to sympathize with drug dealers, whenever law enforcement acts unconstitutionally and illegally, it harms us all.
BLACK WOMEN IN SAN FRANCISCO ARE NEARLY 50% OF CITY'S FEMALE ARRESTS, AND ONLY 6% OF THE FEMALE POPULATION
Report shows a breathtaking disparity in who faces justice.
By Michael Arria / AlterNet / May 30, 2015
According to a new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice African-American women in San Francisco account for 50% of the female arrests, but only make up 6% of the female population.
The difference between Black female and non-black female arrests are four times higher than the rest of California. This rate has gone up sharply in San Francisco: in 1980, the arrest disparity between black women and non-black women was 4.1 percent, which is less than one-third of 2013's racial disparity.
The study points out that arrest disparities are not the result of African-Americans committing more crimes. In fact, 2012 San Francisco arrest rates for black women were lower than any time over the last 30 years.
Elk, do you think the problem is soley with the cops? That is, if the Icelandic or English police force swapped place with our police force would fewer citizend be killed? Likewise, do any of the countries mentioned have the murder rate of even a Chicago or Baltimore? Would the combined muder rate of all those countries equal a Chicago?
It is run by an award winning journalist who is hated by the socialists. They hate the truth and facts. They make their heads hurt.
A new report shows that American police kill at least two people a day.
By Terrell Jermaine Starr / AlterNet / May 31, 2015
Even before the Washington Post published its startling report this weekend on the astronomically high number of Americans shot and killed by police in the first five months of 2015, the U.S. was already easily number one.
Number one among highly advanced western democracies with fully developed economies for police killings of citizens: at least 400 people a year, according to a write up by the Los Angeles Daily News. That figure was based on FBI data collected from police agencies that reported fatal shootings between 2009 to 2013, which everyone knew to be low.
Now, even that large number may turn out to be low. After conducting its own analysis, The Washington Post reported this weekend that police shot and killed nearly 400 people in just the first five months of 2015. That is more than two a day. Some of those shootings make news—like Walter Scott’s death at the hands of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, as Scott tried to run away. Others made some news, even without a shocking video of the tragic event. There was 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez, shot and killed while she joy-riding in a stolen car in Denver. There was 77-year-old Douglas Harris, whose son had asked police to check on him.
Although half of those killed by police are white and half minority, according to the Post, those numbers do not take into account the racial breakdown of the communities in which they occur. There is an undeniable racial component to the use of deadly force. A ProPublica report found the officers are 21 times more likely to kill black men than white one. Not to mention, a Florida State University study which found that white cops are more likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than they are armed white suspects. The mentally ill don’t fair very well, either. Based on federal data, the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram’s investigation found that at least half of the citizens cops kill in America were mentally ill.
THE SHOCKING NUMBERS
No matter which numbers you look at—even in the unlikely case that not one more case of deadly force occurs this year—U.S. cops are far more deadly than Britain, Iceland, Denmark, Iceland and other European nations.
The Danish police published a study on police shootings between 1996 and 2006. It also accounted for population (based on 2000 census data) by giving the number of people cops kill per one million residents. In Denmark, the cops only killed 11 people during that ten-year span. The number of people killed, per one million residents, is .187 people
Here is the data pere millions for the rest of the countries:
• Sweden: 13 people — .133 people
• Norway: 3 people — .060 people
• Finland: 2 people — .034 people
• Germany: 81 people — .089 people
• The Netherlands: 24 people — .137 people
• England/Wales: 25 people — .042 people
Iceland, however, takes the cake.
The republic was founded in 1944 and the first time the cops shot someone was in 2013. And we can’t use the “Iceland is anti-gun” excuse, either. According to PRI, Iceland ranks 15 in the world when it comes to per capita gun ownership.
Cops in England and Wales went two years without killing a single resident.
Here is where the U.S. falls, according to the Los Angeles Daily News:
If we take Five Thirty Eight’s estimate that 1,000 people are killed by police in the United States every year and divide it by the 2000 population of 282 million, the American situation for just one year would look like this:
US: 10,000 people killed — 35.5 killed for every one million residents
Of course, there are a wide range of problems with these numbers: it’s not clear that non-shooting deaths that take place in police custody, like those of Freddie Gray or Eric Garner, are recorded in FBI figures. Most of the fatalities are classified as “justifiable shootings,” which given the widely publicized and viewed murder of Walter Scott, seems a dubious description.
THE DOJ’S BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS (BJS) HAS DATA ON “ARREST-RELATED” DEATHS, BUT THAT’S NOT RELIABLE BECAUSE THIS DATA SET IS NO LONGER BEING COLLECTED.
“[POLICE] SHOOTINGS ARE GROSSLY UNDERREPORTED,” Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement told the Washington Post. “We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information.”
There are other data-collecting issues that make the numbers we have on cops who kill people unreliable. But let’s talk about why the U.S. kills so many people to begin with. For starters, only five percent of 6,091 English and Welsh officers were authorized to carry handguns in 2013.
Sophie Khan, legal director of the Police Action Centre, a nonprofit group in Leicester, England, that challenges law enforcement policies it considers harmful to communities, told Five Thirty Eight that the shooting that killed Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo., simply would not have happened in her country.
“... it would have been impossible for a routine police officer to be in that situation. He wouldn’t have had a firearm,” she said.
We know that American law enforcement agencies won’t stop carrying weapons, but we should focus on why an officer would unholster his or her gun to begin with.
JUSTIFIABLE DEADLY FORCE?
The Supreme Court ruled this month that San Francisco cops who shot a mentally-ill woman in 2008 after she refused to allow them into her home and pulled a knife on them can’t be sued because there is no law barring their conduct. Fortunately, the woman lived but did cops really have to use a gun to subdue the woman if she was a serious threat their safety? Surely, a mental health professional could have been called in to take control of the situation.
Of the 385 cop shooting victims analyzed by the Washington Post — 92 of them, or nearly a quarter of those killed — were identified by police or family members as mentally ill. The Post reports this case:
“In Miami Gardens, Fla., Catherine Daniels called 911 when she couldn’t persuade her son, Lavall Hall, a 25-year-old black man, to come in out of the cold early one morning in February. A diagnosed schizophrenic who stood 5-foot-4 and weighed barely 120 pounds, Hall was wearing boxer shorts and an undershirt and waving a broomstick when police arrived. They tried to stun him with a Taser gun and then shot him.”
As AlterNet previously reported, some of America’s largest cities shoot and kill the mentally ill at alarming rates. These tragedies devastate families, who have other few options or access to mental health care. With little training in how to deal with the mentally ill, police are all too ready to unholster a gun.
A 2014 NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN ALSO POINTS OUT WAYS IN WHICH THE SUPREME COURT PROTECTS COPS WHO KILL CIVILIANS. IN MAY OF LAST YEAR, THE COURT RULED THAT COPS WHO FIRED 15 ROUNDS INTO THE CAR OF A WEST MEMPHIS MAN WHO SPED AWAY AFTER BEING PULLED OVER FOR A BROKEN TAILLIGHT WEREN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS DEATH BECAUSE HE POSED A PUBLIC SAFETY RISK.
THE COURT ADDED THAT IT “STANDS TO REASON THAT, IF POLICE OFFICERS ARE JUSTIFIED IN FIRING AT A SUSPECT IN ORDER TO END A SEVERE THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY, THE OFFICERS NEED NOT STOP SHOOTING UNTIL THE THREAT HAS ENDED.”
THAT GIVES A LOT OF LATITUDE FOR COPS TO SHOOT FLEEING SUSPECTS. ACCORDING TO THE POST, “DOZENS OF OTHER PEOPLE ALSO DIED WHILE FLEEING FROM POLICE, THE POST ANALYSIS SHOWS, INCLUDING A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION — 20 PERCENT — OF THOSE WHO WERE UNARMED.”
In fact, running is seen as such a provocation that some police experts chillingly say there is a name for the injury officers inflict on suspects afterward: a “foot tax,” the Post reports.
AlterNet delved into the psychology of why police feel entitled to inflict such harm on someone who runs from theme here.
Freddie Gray and Walter Scott are two men who were killed by cops after fleeing. Daniel Elrod, a 39-year-old white man, with a history of run-ins with Omaha police also died while fleeing, the Post reports.: "On the day he died in February, Elrod robbed a Family Dollar store. Police said he ran when officers arrived, jumping on top of a BMW in the parking lot and yelling, 'Shoot me, shoot me.' Elrod, who was unarmed, was shot three times as he made a “mid-air leap” to clear a barbed-wire fence, according to police records.
Of course, America is not the only country that shoots its citizens at high rates. In Brazil, police officers have killed 11,000 of its own people over a five-year span. A 2009 study reports that 8.7 percent of Argentina’s population were abused by police that year. Indeed, the issue with police abuse is not a purely North American one.
But what makes America stand out is because we are supposed to be the moral force of the world. U.S. government officials have long criticized Russia and China, for example, for its human rights abuses.
In 2010, the Chinese called the U.S. out for its hypocrisy.
"The United States not only has a terrible domestic human rights record, it is also the main source of many human rights disasters worldwide," the Chinese said in its own human rights report of the U.S., according to Reuters. "Especially a time when the world is suffering serious human rights disasters caused by the global financial crisis sparked by the U.S. sub-prime crisis, the U.S. government has ignored its own grave human rights problems and reveled in accusing other countries."
Recently, the United Nations grilled the U.S. on its police brutality problem, and concluded that it is a full-blown human rights problem.
There isn't a better service for investors who are interested in the undervalued and overlooked opportunities from across the markets.
Experts see big price hikes for Obamacare
Premiums could rise more sharply in 2016.
By Paul Demko
5/30/15 7:04 AM EDT
The cost of Obamacare could rise for millions of Americans next year, with one insurer proposing a 50 percent hike in premiums, fueling the controversy about just how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act really is.
The eye-popping 50 percent hike by New Mexico insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield is an outlier, and state officials may not allow it to go through. But health insurance experts are predicting that premiums will rise more significantly in 2016 than in the first two years of Obamacare exchange coverage. In 2015, for example, premiums increased by an average of 5.4 percent, according to PwC’s Health Research Institute.
The premium increases come at a tenuous time for Obamacare, which remains under fire from a Republican Congress that wants to repeal the law, while a Supreme Court ruling on federal subsidies for the health insurance looms in June as well.
“Insurers seem to be reporting higher trend, which means they are seeing bigger increases in health care costs,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “But really what’s going on here is they now have data showing what the risk pool looks like. Initially in 2014 they were completely guessing about who was going to enroll and how much health care they were going to use.”
WHY RACE IS THE MAIN REASON THE MURDEROUS BLOODBATH IN WACO WAS HANDLED WITH VELVET GLOVES
Shaun King / Daily Kos / MAY 18, 2015
Arrested after 9 people are killed
Nine people shot to death at a family restaurant.
Dozens of others stabbed, beaten, and seriously injured.
Over 100 guns recovered.
Sounds like one of the worst crimes in modern American history, right?
Then why do photos of it show the men like they are tailgating? Smoking cigarettes, others using their cell phones, nobody in the world could guess that these men were even associated with such a horrible crime.
Instead, you'd think the man below was involved.
The police arrested a black man for violating curfew and refusing to get on the sidewalk. He refused to get on the sidewalk during a curfew in Baltimore. Sprayed in the face with pepper spray, in a photo the officers even seemed to enjoy brutalizing him.
It's not a harsh comparison at all.
In Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, and around the country, protestors were actually protesting against violence and were often treated as if they were murderers.
IN WACO, TEXAS, WHEN ONE OF THE DEADLIEST, BLOODIEST, MOST VIOLENT RAMPAGES IN MODERN AMERICA HAPPENED, THE NATIONAL GUARD WASN'T CALLED IN, THE PERPETRATORS WEREN'T BEATEN OR PEPPER-SPRAYED, NOBODY WAS HOGTIED OR HUMILIATED, THE DOGS WEREN'T BROUGHT OUT TO INTIMIDATE ANYONE. HELL, THEY DIDN'T EVEN HANDCUFF THEM OR TAKE THEIR PHONES AWAY. INSTEAD, THEY JUST SAT THEM DOWN ON THE SIDEWALK PEACEFULLY.
Time after time, all around the country, protestors—particularly African-American protestors—have been brutalized by police. THAT'S WHY, IN PART, IT IS SO DISTURBING TO SEE MEN, APPARENTLY ALL WHITE MEN, WHO ACTUALLY MURDERED AND MAIMED OTHERS, TREATED WITH SO MUCH DIGNITY AND DEFERENCE.
Americans don't really despise violence, even murder. That's why the Sons of Anarchy, a popular (and extremely violent) television show covering motorcycle gangs, exploded in popularity and why this bloodbath in Waco is being called "the real life Sons of Anarchy" all over the world.
NOTICE, THOUGH, HOW FEW IMAGES OF DEAD BODIES IN WACO ARE BEING SHOWN IN THE MEDIA. NOTICE THE LACK OF DIALOGUE ABOUT BAD PARENTING OR ABSENTEE FATHERS. NOTICE HOW THE MEN AREN'T REALLY BEING CALLED THUGS—EVEN THOUGH EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM FITS THIS DEFINITION.
It's a race thing and if you don't see it, you're either blind or lying.
EVEREST REGION MAY EXPERIENCE 99% GLACIER LOSS
Countercurrents / 28 May 2015
With continued temperature rise, glacier volume in the Everest region could be reduced between 70% and 99% by 2100.
If greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise, glaciers in the Everest region of the Himalayas could experience dramatic change in the decades to come.
A team of researchers in Nepal, France and the Netherlands have found Everest glaciers could be very sensitive to future warming, and that sustained ice loss through the 21st century is likely.
The research is published on 27 May, 2015 in The Cryosphere, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
The glacier model used by the scientists shows that glacier volume in the region could be reduced between 70% and 99% by 2100. The results depend on how much GHG emissions continue to rise, and on how this will affect temperature, snowfall and rainfall in the area.
Increased temperatures will not only increase the rates of snow and ice melt, but can also result in a change of precipitation from snow to rain at critical elevations, where glaciers are concentrated. Together, these act to reduce glacier growth and increase the area exposed to melt.
The team studied glaciers in the Dudh Kosi basin in the Nepal Himalaya, which is home to some of the world's highest mountain peaks, including Mt Everest, and to over 400 square kilometers of glacier area.
“The signal of future glacier change in the region is clear: continued and possibly accelerated mass loss from glaciers is likely given the projected increase in temperatures,” said Joseph Shea, a glacier hydrologist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal, and leader of the study.
“Our results indicate that these glaciers may be highly sensitive to changes in temperature, and that increases in precipitation are not enough to offset the increased melt,” said Shea.
Glaciers in High Mountain Asia, a region that includes the Himalayas, contain the largest volume of ice outside the polar regions.
“Apart from the significance of the region, glaciers in the Dudh Kosi basin contribute meltwater to the Kosi River, and glacier changes will affect river flows downstream," says Shea.
Changes in glacier volume can impact the availability of water, with consequences for agriculture and hydropower generation. While increased glacier melt initially increases water flows, ongoing retreat leads to reduced meltwater from the glaciers during the warmer months, with greatest impact for the local populations before the monsoon when rainfall is scarce. Glacier retreat can also result in the formation and growth of lakes dammed by glacial debris. Avalanches and earthquakes can breach the dams, causing catastrophic floods that can result in river flows 100 times greater than normal in the Kosi basin.
To find out how glaciers in the region will evolve in the future, the team started by using field observations and data from local weather stations to calibrate and test a model of glacier change over the past 50 years.
“To examine the sensitivity of modeled glaciers to future climate change, we then applied eight temperature and precipitation scenarios to the historical temperature and precipitation data and tracked how glacier areas and volumes responded,” said study co-author Walter Immerzeel of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
Part of the glacier response is due to changes in the freezing level, the elevation where mean monthly temperatures are 0°C.
“The freezing level currently varies between 3200 m in January and 5500 m in August. Based on historical temperature measurements and projected warming to the year 2100, this could increase by 800-1200m,” said Immerzeel. “Such an increase would not only reduce snow accumulations over the glaciers, but would also expose over 90% of the current glacierized area to melt in the warmer months.”
The researchers caution, however, that the results published in The Cryosphere should be seen as a first approximation to how Himalayan glaciers will react to increasing temperatures in the region. Patrick Wagnon, a visiting scientist at ICIMOD and glaciologist at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Grenoble, France, says: “Our estimates need to be taken very cautiously, as considerable uncertainties remain.” For example, the model simplifies glacier movements, which impact how glaciers respond to increases in temperature and precipitation.
But the researchers stress in the paper that “the signal of future glacier change in the region is clear and compelling” and that decreases in ice thickness and extent are expected for “even the most conservative climate change scenario.”
SCORCHING INDIA HEAT WAVE KILLS 750 IN 5 WEEKS
AP | 05/26/2015
More than 550 people have died from the unrelenting heat in Andhra Pradesh since May 13, state Deputy Chief Minister Nimmakayala Chinna Rajappa said.
A top state official in Telangana, Bhambal Ram Meena, said about 215 heat-related deaths have been reported since April 15.
Daily temperatures in both states have hit between 45 and 48 degrees Celsius (113 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit). Officials have urged people to stay hydrated and remain indoors as much as possible.
Blistering hot, dry winds have also swept across most parts of north and central India, wilting plants and forcing people to avoid the outdoors. In the cities, large crowds of office workers gather around stalls selling cold fruit drinks.
Weather officials say the sweltering temperatures are likely to continue in southern India for at least another week. Monsoon rains, expected to arrive in the southern state of Kerala in the first week of June, should bring some respite. The monsoon season runs through September as the rains gradually cover the entire country.
WORLD SET FOR RECORD DROUGHTS BY 2050, SAY SCIENTISTS
By Alex Pashley / CounterCurrents / 16 April 2015
The planet could suffer unprecedented droughts before the middle of the century, researchers warned on April 15, 2015, urging prompt action in adapting reservoirs to receding water resources.
THE WESTERN US MAY SURPASS HISTORIC LEVELS OF DRYNESS AS EARLY AS 2017 AND THE MEDITERRANEAN BY 2027 IF POLLUTERS EMIT AT CURRENT RATES, according to report by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
DROUGHTS WOULD GROW MORE SEVERE AND FREQUENT BY 2050 FOR 13 OF THE 26 WORLDWIDE REGIONS MAPPED BY THE AUSTRIAN ORGANIZATION, in line with the most extreme forecast set out by the United Nations’ climate science panel last year.
THAT DEMANDED URGENT ACTION TO MANAGE DIMINISHING WATER RESOURCES, LIKE RESERVOIRS AND IRRIGATION SYSTEMS IN FARMING, said Yusuke Satoh at the IIASA’s Water Program, presenting the study at the European Geophysics Union on April 15, 2015 in
“Our study shows an increasing urgency for water management systems to adapt to future drought,” Satoh said in a
“In order for policymakers to plan for adaptation, they need to know when and where this is likely to happen, and have an understanding of the levels of uncertainty in such projections.”
The IIASA compared scenarios of a 1 C and 3.7 C average rise in temperatures by 2100 on pre-industrial levels.
A predicted arrival date of record-breaking droughts was more certain in Southern South America and the central US, and harder to predict in Africa and South Australia.
Satoh advocated measures like releasing water from reservoirs during the dry season to abate the onset of future dryness
“The earlier we take this seriously, the better we will be better to adapt,” Satoh said.
Valerie Tarico / AlterNet / 30 MAY 2015
Some Bible-believing Christians play fast and loose with their sacred text. When it suits their purposes, they treat it like the literally perfect word of God. Then, when it suits their other purposes, they conveniently ignore the parts of the Bible that are—inconvenient.
Here are 11 kinds of verses Bible-believers ignore so that they can keep spouting the others when they want to. To list all of the verses in these categories would take a book almost the size of the Bible; one the size of the Bible minus the Jefferson Bible, to be precise. I’ll limit myself to a couple tantalizing tidbits of each kind, and the curious reader who wants more can go to the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible or simply dig out the old family tome and start reading at Genesis, Chapter I.
1. Weird insults and curses. The Monty Python crew may have coined some of the best insults of the last 100 years: Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. But for centuries the reigning master was Shakespeare: It is certain that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice. Had John Cleese or William Shakespeare lived in the Iron Age, though, some of the Bible writers might have given him a run for his money. Christians may scoot past these passages, but one hell-bound humorist used them to create a biblical curse generator.
She lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. Ezekiel 23:20 NIV
You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them. . . . The Lord will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. Deuteronomy 28:30-31,35
2. Awkwardly useless commandments. The Bible is chock-a-block with do’s and don’ts. Some of them are simply statements of universal ethical principles like, do to others what you would have them do to you, or don’t lie, or don’t covet your neighbor’s possessions. But from a moral standpoint most of them are simply useless or even embarrassing—especially if you think God could have used the space to say don’t have sex with anyone who doesn’t want you to, or wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.
Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Leviticus 19:19
Ye shall not round the corners of your heads. Leviticus 19:27
3. Silly food rules. The early Hebrews probably didn’t have an obesity epidemic like the one that has spread around the globe today. Even so, one might think that if an unchanging and eternal God were going to give out food rules he might have considered the earnest Middle-American believers who would be coming along in 2014. A little divine focus on amping up leafy green vegetables and avoiding sweets might have gone a long way. Instead, the Bible strictly forbids eating rabbit, shellfish, pork, weasels, scavengers, reptiles, and owls. As is, Christians simply ignore the eating advisories in the Old Testament, even though they claim that edicts like the Ten Commandments and the anti-queer clobber verses still apply.
All that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 9:10
Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. Exodus 23:19
4. Holy hangups about genitals. God, or the Bible writers, is hung up about sexual anatomy in a way many modern Christians, fortunately, are not. In The Year of Living Biblically, the author, A.J. Jacobs, attempts to obey Mosaic laws about menstruation. When his wife finds out what those laws actually are, she gives him the middle finger by sitting on every chair in the house.
When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything also on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be unclean, and everything on which she sits shall be unclean. Leviticus 15: 19-20
When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. Deuteronomy 25:11-12
5. God’s temper tantrums. Modern Christians may talk about God as a loving father, or even a Jesus buddy, the kind you’d want to play golf with, but in reality Bible-God goes out of his way to be intimidating. Worse, he appears to lose control of his temper at times, lashing out like an oversized thwarted three-year-old; and his earthly representatives—including Jesus—do the same.
Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 2 Kings 2:23-25 NIV
Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. Matthew 21:18-22 NIV
6. Times when the Bible God is worse than Satan. In the Bible, Satan is described as a roaring lion who prowls the earth, seeking whom he may devour. But if you actually read the stories, Satan doesn’t do much other than to tempt people into disobeying the dictates of Yahweh, who acts like a heavenly dictator with borderline personality disorder. God, by contrast, professes his undying love, kindness and mercy, but then commands his minions to commit brutal atrocities when he isn’t up for it himself. Some of the stories are so bad even Hollywood, with its passion for glorious biblical sex and violence, won’t touch them, especially the plentiful Bible stories about sexual slavery and human sacrifice.
Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. Numbers 31:17-18
He [Josiah] executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them…. He did this in obedience to all the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the LORD’s Temple. Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since. 2 Kings 23:20-25 NLT
7. Instructions for slave masters. The reality is that the Bible says much more in support of slavery than against it. Even the New Testament Jesus never says owning people is wrong. Instead, the Bible gives explicit instructions to masters and slaves. Awkward.
You may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.
You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Ephesians 6:5 NLT
8. Bizzare death penalties. Years ago, I wrote an article titled, “If the Bible Were Law Would You Qualify For the Death Penalty?” It identified 35 different offenses that earn a person capital punishment in the Bible. Hint: You probably qualify. And so does the dog who belongs to your kinky neighbor.
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death, and the animal must be killed. Leviticus 20:15 NLT
9. Denigration of handicapped people. The yuck factor is probably wired into humanity at the level of instinct, a way to avoid contamination and pathogens. Shit smells bad to us as does decaying flesh. Our revulsion at illness and injury fuels a whole Hollywood horror industry. The Bible writers had the same instincts, but unlike modern health professionals, who have the benefit of germ theory, they had no idea what was contagious and what wasn’t, and they blurred the ideas of physical purity with spiritual purity. Modern Christians largely escape their denigration of physical handicaps.
No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. Deuteronomy 23:1 NRSV
Whosoever … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookback, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken … He shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries. Leviticus 21:17-23 KJV
10. Moral edicts that demand too much. If much of the Bible gets ignored because it is morally irrelevant, immoral, outdated, or factually wrong, another portion gets ignored because it sets the bar too high, like putting divorce on par with—omg—homosexuality. If you want to send a conservative Bible-believer into a froth, try suggesting Jesus was a socialist. Then, when he goes all Jehovah on you, quote from the book of Ephesians.
Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same. Luke 3:11 NIV
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place. Ephesians 5:4 NIV
11. Passages that are a waste of brain space and paper. Some years ago I worked on a website called Wisdom Commons, a library of timeless quotes and stories from many traditions. I had the idea that I would go through the Bible and pull out bits that were relevant, so I started reading.
What I found was that most of the Bible was neither horrible nor inspiring. It was simply dull and irrelevant: long genealogies written by men obsessed with racial purity; archaic stories about ancient squabbles over real estate and women; arcane rituals aimed at pleasing a volatile deity; folk medicine practices involving mandrakes and dove’s blood; superstition that equated cleanliness with spiritual purity and misfortune with divine disfavor; outdated insider politics.
On top of that, it was badly written, with some stories garbled and others repeated, though rarely in complete agreement about the facts. The Bible’s supposed author seemed like a psychological mess, and I found myself irritated. With a finite number of pages to set the course of human history, this was the best He could do?
THANK GOD BIBLE-BELIEVING CHRISTIANS DON’T TAKE THE GOOD BOOK AS SERIOUSLY AS THEY CLAIM TO.
Steven Payne | Daily Kos | 9/4/14
We all know Pat Robertson can be completely off his beam, but today on his program The 700 Club, he ventured into the realm of downright cruelty. An elderly woman, clearly on a very tight fixed income, wrote in for advice on what to do about her money woes. His response is absolutely brutal.
My husband and I are in our 80s and have been tithing for many years. We both love the Lord and give willingly and our tithe is over 10 percent. I praise Him and thank Him for our blessings. I declare that this is our time of prosperity, but we never have an extra penny after our bills are paid.
Our old car just broke down and we had to borrow money to fix it. We both need dental work, but we can’t afford it. I constantly have to use our credit card to pay for medical needs. I speak the verse about "give and it will be given to you." We have no unforgiveness in our lives. What could we be doing wrong? - Audrey
Ask God to show you some ways of making money. There are many ways of making money, even at 80 years old. You know, you can get on the telephone, people are hiring. There are all kinds of things you can do. For example, you may have a bunch of junk lying around in your garage that you can sell on eBay, and get some money that way.
There are many, many ways of making money. And you’re looking at the downside of all the bills you’ve got instead of saying, ‘God, I’ve been faithful to you. Now, I claim my blessing, and I ask you to open the windows of heaven and pour me out a blessing. Show me what you’re going to do, show me how I can move into blessing.’ So, just ask him. He'll give you some concepts. Your mind will open up.
You read/heard that right. Anyone with a head with which to think would have immediately told this woman that tithing at this point in this aged couple's life has come to a necessary end. In fact, a reasonable person holding a responsible position at a church might even ask if there is anything the church might be able to do to help. Perhaps dipping into the tithing basket to provide comfort to a fellow congregant in dire straits would please the Lord.
But no, this money grubbing scammer has been on the take for so long, it obviously didn't even cross his mind that a religious institution might look into its heart instead of someone else's wallet. Wouldn't the very philosophy of Christianity dictate that the least fortunate among the flock should not be put in a position to sacrifice medical attention or to keep the lights on for the sake of a tithe basket?
I'M SURE PAT DIDN'T GIVE IT ANOTHER THOUGHT AS HIS DRIVER DROVE HIM HOME TO THE MANSE.
HOW CLIMATE CHANGE HELPED ISIS
Charles B. Strozier and Kelly A. Berkell | HuffPost | 09/29/2014
As the Obama administration undertakes a highly public, multilateral campaign to degrade and destroy the militant jihadists known as ISIS, ISIL and the Islamic State, MANY IN THE WEST REMAIN UNAWARE THAT CLIMATE PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE RISE OF SYRIA'S EXTREMISTS. A HISTORIC DROUGHT AFFLICTED THE COUNTRY FROM 2006 THROUGH 2010, SETTING OFF A DIRE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS FOR MILLIONS OF SYRIANS. YET THE FOUR-YEAR DROUGHT EVOKED LITTLE RESPONSE FROM BASHAR AL-ASSAD'S GOVERNMENT. RAGE AT THE REGIME'S CALLOUSNESS BOILED OVER IN 2011, HELPING TO FUEL THE POPULAR UPRISING. IN THE ENSUING CHAOS, ISIS STOLE ONTO THE SCENE, PROCLAIMED A CALIPHATE IN LATE JUNE AND ACCELERATED ITS RAMPAGE OF ATROCITIES INCLUDING THE RECENT BEHEADINGS OF THREE WESTERN CIVILIANS.
While ISIS threatens brutal violence against all who dissent from its harsh ideology, CLIMATE CHANGE MENACES COMMUNITIES (LESS MALICIOUSLY) WITH INCREASINGLY EXTREME WEATHER. MOST OF US PERCEIVE THESE THREATS AS UNRELATED. WE RECYCLE WATER BOTTLES AND BUY LOCAL PRODUCE TO KEEP THE EARTH LIVABLE FOR OUR CHILDREN -- NOT TO WARD OFF TERRORISTS. YET ENVIRONMENTAL STRESSORS AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE ARE CONNECTED IN SURPRISING WAYS, SPARKING QUESTIONS ABOUT COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR. IF MORE AMERICANS KNEW HOW GLACIAL MELT CONTRIBUTES TO CATASTROPHIC WEATHER IN AFGHANISTAN -- POTENTIALLY STRENGTHENING THE TALIBAN AND IMPERILING AFGHAN GIRLS WHO WANT TO ATTEND SCHOOL -- would we drive more hybrids and use millions fewer plastic bags? How would elections and legislation be influenced?
The drought that preceded the current conflict in Syria fits into a pattern of increased dryness in the Mediterranean and Middle East, for which scientists hold climate change partly responsible. Affecting 60 percent of Syria's land, drought ravaged the country's northeastern breadbasket region; devastated the livelihoods of 800,000 farmers and herders; and knocked two to three million people into extreme poverty. Many became climate refugees, abandoning their homes and migrating to already overcrowded cities. They forged temporary settlements on the outskirts of areas like Aleppo, Damascus, Hama and Homs. Some of the displaced settled in Daraa, where protests in early 2011 fanned out and eventually ignited a full-fledged war.
DROUGHT DID NOT SINGLEHANDEDLY SPAWN THE SYRIAN UPRISING, BUT IT STOKED SIMMERING ANGER AT ASSAD'S DICTATORSHIP. THIS FRUSTRATION FURTHER DESTABILIZED SYRIA AND CARVED OUT A SPACE IN WHICH ISIS WOULD THRIVE.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND CONFLICT CONTINUES TO EVADE MAINSTREAM RECOGNITION, DESPITE REPORTS BY THINK TANKS, ACADEMICS AND EVEN MILITARY EXPERTS. A LEADING PANEL OF RETIRED GENERALS AND ADMIRALS, THE CNA CORPORATION MILITARY ADVISORY BOARD, RECENTLY LABELED THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE "CATALYSTS FOR CONFLICT" IN VULNERABLE REGIONS. THE PENTAGON CONCLUDED SIMILARLY IN THIS YEAR'S QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW THAT THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ARE "THREAT MULTIPLIERS," ENABLING TERRORISM AND OTHER VIOLENCE BY AGGRAVATING UNDERLYING SOCIETAL PROBLEMS.
THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF NATIONS WHOSE POLITICAL STABILITY AND CLIMATE ARE BOTH VULNERABLE.
Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people that lies just above sea level, is perhaps the nation most threatened by climate change. In the coming decades, Bangladesh stands to lose up to 17 percent of its land to flooding, displacing 18 million people to overcrowded cities and neighboring states in a region that has seen a recent upsurge in Islamist militarism. One major typhoon could lead to political chaos in the subcontinent, which bristles with nuclear weapons. The Bhola Cyclone of 1970, which killed up to half a million people and led to Bangladesh's war of independence against Pakistan, exemplifies the complex chain of events through which climate may spark regional conflict.
Images of black-clad ISIS fighters brandishing weapons from atop tanks are easy to recognize, but THE LINK BETWEEN SYRIA'S DROUGHT AND ITS CURRENT CONFLICT SEEMS GENERALLY UNKNOWN OR FORGOTTEN. OUR OWN WEATHER CALAMITY, SUPERSTORM SANDY, FADES TO MEMORY AFTER TWO YEARS AND COSTS APPROXIMATING $65 BILLION. CALLS TO REDUCE OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT HAVE HERALDED MODEST IMPROVEMENTS IN DAILY ROUTINES. WE RECYCLE CONTAINERS AND REUSE SHOPPING BAGS -- PERHAPS WE EVEN COMPOST -- WHILE SHIFTING COLLECTIVELY TOWARD ENERGY EFFICIENCY. WE APPROVE WHEN BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS AND CITIES "GO GREEN." BUT OUR UNDERSTANDING OF BIG PICTURE ISSUES LIKE INTERNATIONAL CARBON EMISSIONS AND DIVERSE ENERGY SOURCES REMAINS CLOUDED IN A POLITICAL QUAGMIRE OF COMPETING CLAIMS.
Toting a metal water bottle is good, but it's time for ordinary people to consider the bigger picture. WHEN WE FAIL TO GET THE FACTS RIGHT ABOUT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, WE MAY UNWITTINGLY ENABLE ISIS, AL QAEDA, BOKO HARAM, AL SHABAAB AND OTHER EXTREMIST GROUPS TO FLOURISH. As we consider our personal positions on climate change, it is important to understand all that is at stake in our interconnected world.