Showing posts from May 3, 2015

It's Your Right to Film the Police: These Apps Can Help

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[Those who surveil strenuously resist being surveilled. Go for it. I don't own a cell phone but I might try out some of these on our iPad Mini. *RON*]
Alessandra Ram, Wired, 3 May 2015

ON APRIL 12 police in West Baltimore took 25-year-old Freddie Gray into custody, where he sustained a fatal spinal injury that led to his death. On Friday, the Maryland DA charged the six police officers involved with manslaughter, false imprisonment, and in the case of one officer, homicide. Since Gray’s death, the city of Baltimore has been at the center of renewed public outrage over the role of racial discrimination and violence in the criminal justice system, and specifically, fatal interactions between black residents and police officers.

And like the shooting death of Michael Brown by a policeman before this, and the choking death of Eric Garner before this, and most recently the murder of Walter Scott in South Carolina, justice in the case of Freddie Gra…

Organic Farming Changes Agriculture from a Huge Carbon Source to a Carbon-DESTROYER

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[To which I would add: grow yer own! Join and support your local community garden. The point about war is also key: "The U.S. military is the biggest producer of carbon on the planet." *RON*]
Posted on April 30, 2015 by WashingtonsBlog

From Source of 35% of All Carbon Worldwide to Carbon Sink

Science China Press reports (via the American Association for the Advancement of Science):
Approximately 35% of global greenhouse gases (GHGs) come from agriculture. Some argues that human can reverse global worming by sequestering several hundred billion tons of excess CO2 through regenerative, organic farming, ranching and land use. Increasing the soil’s organic content will not only fix carbon and reduce emissions, it will also improve the soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients and resist pests and droughts. To mitigate GHG emissions and retain soil fertility, organic agriculture might be a wise choice for decreasing the intensive use of synt…

Buffett Says Minimum Wage Increase Isn’t Answer to Income Gulf

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[There is no good research showing that increasing the minimum wage to the levels suggested here would lead to a loss of jobs. For an example, see here. There are many, many more studies showing this to be so. *RON*]
by Margaret CollinsNoah Buhayar, Bloomberg, 2 May 2015

Billionaire Warren Buffett said the level of income inequality in the U.S. is “extraordinary” but that raising the minimum wage isn’t the best solution.

“I don’t have anything against raising the minimum wage but I don’t think you can do it in a significant enough way without creating a lot of distortions,” Buffett, 84, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s chief executive officer, said Saturday at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Those distortions “would cost a whole lot of jobs,” Buffett said.

Answering questions alongside Buffett, Charles Munger, 91, Berkshire’s vice chairman, said raising the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since July 20…

Cut Pesticide Use to Boost Yields? It's Worked for Millions of Farmers in Asia and Africa

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[I don't understand how the scale on the graph works, but the written description of the results make this sound like an excellent approach. *RON*]

By Jules Pretty and Zareen Pervez Bharucha, The Conversation / Truthout, 3 May 2015
Pesticides are intended to be harmful. They kill pests, diseases and weeds. But some also harm humans and wildlife. Pesticides are a huge global business, worth around US$45 billion. Each year, 3.5 billion kilogrammes of pesticides are applied to food crops and their use is growing. Much use of this use is at best ineffective and at worst outright harmful.

In recent research we showed that farmers in Asia and Africa have been able to cut the use of pesticides while boosting crop yields, reducing costs and delivering healthier profits. Even the landscape surrounding the farms benefits. Each kilogramme of pesticide used in agriculture imposes €3-15 (US$4-19) of external economic costs on the environment, wildlife and…

Letter to Premier Clark: where's your due diligence on Woodfibre LNG?

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[Crime, politics and the corporatocracy in BC. Gotta love Rafe. "Don't we want honest taxpayers coming to BC? Don't we want people who respect the environment? Are you afraid of losing face unless you place Howe Sound in extreme hazard to Sukanto Tanoto's LNG industry? Premier, you lead, we're constantly reminded, a business-oriented government. Where the hell's your due diligence?" *RON*]
Rafe Mair, Vancouver Observer, 2 May 2015

Sukanto Tanoto is an amazing fellow. If you haven't heard about him, I won't say you must have just arrived from Mars, but you certainly don't live in the Howe Sound area. Tanoto owns the Woodfibre LNG project, which has the backing of the Clark government for an LNG plant in Squamish.

I've called him some nasty names in other articles, which I justify by saying that they're true, and that I've never come across a person who's had so little good said about them. …

Who’s Afraid of Pope Francis?

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[I bookmarked this then forgot it was there: the corporatocracy versus the Pope. I was just reading a sample chapter from a good new book on the topic of corporatocracy and religion: Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. *RON*]
Garry Wills, New York Review of Books, 30 April 2015

An authentic pope should be a scary one. Jesus scared the dickens out of people (it cost him his life). Is Pope Francis truly scary? One might think so from the reaction of some guardians of orthodoxy, men like New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, who thinkshe must threaten the pope with schism to protect the sanctity of marriage, since “this pope may be preserved from error only if the church itself resists him.” But ecclesiastical nitpickers have no armies of similar thinkers to summon. This is not even medium scary.
Now, however, something is looming that has billionaires shaking in their boots, and when Catholic bil…

Corporations Are Bribing Bill Instead of Hillary

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[I think Ferdinand and Imelda really believe there is nothing wrong this kind of Banana Republic realpolitik-ing. "Make no mistake: these aren't nebulous connections that suggest a potential for wrongdoing. The International Business Times identified 13 mega-companies that paid Bill a total of $2.5 million in speaking fees while actively - and in many cases successfully - lobbying Hillary and the US State Department in the same three-month span." *RON*]

By Kevin Mathews, Care2 /Truthout, 01 May 2015

If you're interested in watching how money influences politics, you would be smart to not only track who Hillary accepts campaign contributions from, but just as importantly who is lining Bill's pockets as well.

In looking ahead to a likely presidency from Hillary, we can take cues from the actions of the married duo during her stint as the secretary of state. While Hillary made critical national decisions that could win or cost…