Showing posts from January 3, 2016

Big Oil braced for global warming while it fought regulations

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[Important information: "Big Oil braced for global warming while it fought regulations." *RON*]
By Amy Lieberman and Susanne Russ, LA Times, 31 December 2015 A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post.

“Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” the ad said. “Scientists cannot predict with certainty if temperatures will increase, by how much and where changes will occur.”

One year earlier, though, engineers at Mobil Oil were concerned enough about climate change to design and build a collection of exploration and production facilities along the Nova Scotia coast that made structural allowances for rising temperatures and sea levels.

“An estimated rise in water level, due to global warming, of 0.5 meters may be assumed” for the 25…

Value of gun manufacturers' stocks almost doubled in 2015

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[Thank you, fear-mongering politicians. Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger and Company record big rises. Analyst says surge in sales is fueled by fear and desire for self-defense. *RON*]
Jana Kasperkevic, The Guradian, 31 December 2015

Stock markets around the world closed down on the last trading day of 2015, with the Dow suffering its first annual drop since 2008. But for the two largest stock market-listed gun manufacturers 2015 has been another great year – their value has doubled.

In a year marred with gun violence and peppered with calls for tougher gun control measures, Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger and Company have been two of the best performing stocks in the US.

America’s Largest Utility Jacks up Rates the Most Since 2006 Despite Total Collapse of Natural Gas Prices

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[The corporatocracy, market failure, monopoly power and regulatory capture in action. *RON*]
By Wolf Richter,  Wolf Street, posted by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism, 3 January 2016.

“We want our customers and their families to know that we are here to help them make smart energy choices and save money whenever possible,” cooed Laurie Giammona, senior VP and chief customer officer of Pacific Gas and Electric, on Wednesday between Christmas and New Year’s, when no one was supposed to pay attention.

It was the propitious day when the beloved utility that distributes gas and electricity in the northern two-thirds of California announced that on January 1st it would jack up its rates.

America’s largest electric utility and the second largest gas utility by number of customers, the utility whose 2010 gas-pipeline explosion in San Bruno, just south of San Francisco, killed 8 people, injured another 66, and burned down 38 homes, the utility that is still di…

The Big Lie in the War Against Drugs

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[Racist roots. Since the beginning, the War on Drugs has been about controlling political power--by breaking up Black communities and the dissident left. *RON*]
By Thom HartmannAlterNet, 20 December 2015

If you've shopped at a gardening supply store in the last year, and if you happen to live with someone who drinks tea, guess what?
Your local sheriff could just send a SWAT team into your house.

It's not a far-fetched scenario, in fact it actually happened, here in the US, just three short years ago.

Back in 2012, a Kansas SWAT team raided the home of Robert and Addie Harte and tore their house apart looking for evidence of a major marijuana growing operation.

The investigation began when a state trooper stationed at a gardening supply store (yes, they had the gardening store staked out!) spotted Robert Harte and his son purchasing supplies to grow hydroponic tomatoes.

UK arms exports escape scrutiny under Tory government

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[Wherever there's a buck to be made. "Arms sales from the UK have not been subject to independent scrutiny for more than nine months after the mysterious disappearance of the Commons watchdog on the export of weapons and military equipment.... the Conservative chair of the foreign affairs committee, said the delays had been because of 'bureaucratic complexity'. But one source with knowledge of the process said the committee 'seems dead in the water' with little appetite to revive it." *RON*]
Rowena Mason, The Guardian, 3 January 2016
Arms sales from the UK have not been subject to independent scrutiny for more than nine months after the mysterious disappearance of the Commons watchdog on the export of weapons and military equipment.

MPs have begun to raise concerns about the fate of the committee on arms export controls, which was not re-established at the beginning of this parliament last May.

The watchdog ceased its …

Toddler becomes first refugee to drown in 2016

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[Another dead toddler off the coast of Greece. Child dies and 39 people are rescued after a rubber dinghy which set off from Turkey hit the rocks off the Greek islands. *RON*]

Source: Agencies, Al Jazeera, 3 Jan 2016

A two-year-old boy has become the first known refugee in 2016 to drown trying to reach Europe after the dinghy he was travelling on crashed into rocks, Greek coastguard says.

The other 39 passengers on board were rescued on Sunday after fishermen alerted coastguard, but at least 10 were taken to hospital to be treated for hypothermia after the boat got into trouble near the island of Agathonisi.

The rubber vessel set off from Turkey in the early morning in windy weather, AFP news agency reported.

Armed Militia Seized A Federal Building. The Media Called Them ‘Peaceful.’

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["...when white people are suspected of committing violent crimes, there’s evidence they aren’t subject to the same scrutiny or perceived as the same level of threat. Indeed, armed white people are more likely to be taken alive into police custody rather than shot and killed by cops. And although armed white men are arguably the biggest threat to Americans’ safety — right-wing terrorists have killed more people than “homegrown jihadists” since September 11 — the mainstream media typically isn’t comfortable labeling them as domestic terrorists." See also: Double standards cited amid armed protest in Oregon. *RON*]

By Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress, 3 January 2016

After an armed militia seized a federal building in Oregon — and proclaimed they’re willing to kill and be killed if necessary — the initial headlines about the incident suggested they’re simply peaceful protesters exercising their right to assemble.

This weekend, radical mi…

Record-Breaking Christmas Heat Clinches Record Warm December For Hundreds of Cities

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[An amazing ongoing litany of high temperature records broken. *RON*]

The Weather Channel, 2 January 2016

Winter Temperatures Make a Comeback in East

Most of the past month temperatures have been well above average in much of the East. But with the New Year comes a return of more seasonal temperatures.

December's second long and record-shattering mild spell, which peaked during Christmas Week, helped numerous cities shatter their record warmest December.

Almost 12,000 daily warm records were tied or broken during the month. Hundreds of cities from the Plains to the East Coast shattered their warmest December on record.