Showing posts from April 16, 2016

Special Report: Israeli military struggles with rising influence of Religious-Zionists

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["Zionist and proud." Horrible. Fanatic versus fanatic; terrorist versus terrorist. *RON*]
By Maayan Lubell, Reuters, 15 April 2016

On a searing night in July 2014, Israeli troops gathered on the border with Gaza to prepare for war. Hamas militants had been firing rockets into Israel for days, and Israeli warplanes had begun bombing the Palestinian territory.

The orders for the Givati brigade, an elite infantry unit, came in a typed, single-page letter.

"History has chosen us to spearhead the fight against the terrorist Gazan enemy who curses, vilifies and abominates Israel's God," Colonel Ofer Winter, the unit's commanding officer, wrote in the letter to his troops. He ended with a biblical quote promising divine protection for Israel's warriors on the battlefield.

The letter quickly circulated on social media and from there to the press. Secular Israelis condemned it, saying it broke a decades-old convention tha…

We are missing our chance to stop the sixth mass extinction

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[The major causes are poverty - as reflected in poaching, the trade in bushmeat, wildlife trafficking - and development - i.e., human-wildlife conflict over resources. Not climate change. Has the intense focus on climate change hurt other parts of the environmental movement? *RON*]

William Funk, Aeon, 15 April 2016

The immense challenge of climate change has caused myopia among a lot of politicians, sending them into a self-destructive state of denial. More quietly, though, that immensity has triggered another kind of myopia, this one among conservationists. In focusing on the staggering planetary impacts of greenhouse emissions, they are losing sight of the other ways that human beings lay a heavy hand on the planet. In particular, they are paying too little attention to the true causes of (and potential solutions to) the loss of species around the world – a massive die-off often referred to as ‘the sixth extinction’.

Last summer, a team of biolo…

Rooftop solar panels could provide nearly half US power

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[And who is stopping this? Big utility companies naturally. (Well, actually, government, by omission.) The utilities alternately claim that it's impossible for them to accept these inputs to their system, then fall back on saying they'll charge each house owner the equivalent cost of decades' worth of energy bought from them to hook them up. Rooftop panels could supply 40% of country’s power with open spaces such as parking lots offering further potential, study shows. Conservation magazine reports. *RON*]

Prachi Patel, The Guardian, 14 April 2016
To take advantage of the sun’s energy to satisfy our ever-increasing need for electricity, Americans will have to take a fresh look at their roofs. A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that if all suitable roof areas in the United States were plastered with solar panels, they would generate about 1,118 gigawatts of solar power. That is 40% of the power that Amer…

Risks seen with Lockheed's F-35 fighter logistics system

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[Missile envy and the military-industrial complex. The continuing saga of the ever-more-wonderful F-35 fighter jet. Too the best of my knowledge, Canada has yet to definitively repudiate the purchase of these white elephants. *RON*]

Reuters, Yahoo! News, 14 April 2016

(Adds comment from F-35 program office)

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) - A failure in the computer-based logistics system that serves as the "brains" of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet could potentially ground the fleet because it lacks a back-up for processing data, according to a congressional report.

The Government Accountability Office, the research arm of Congress, on Thursday released two reports on the $379 billion F-35 program, including one on the jet's $16.7 billion Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS.

The second report, on the overall health of the Pentagon's biggest weapons program, said acquisition costs had decrease…

Premier Clark’s Proposal to ‘Electrify Oilsands’ With Site C Dam Has ‘Air of Desperation’: Panel Chair

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["Yeah, Alberta! That's what I meant to say all along!" Now that LNG is down the drain Christy is saying whatever she can think of (Notley has repeatedly said she won't buy BC electricity because BC won't support a pipeline from Alberta) to retain voter and donor support. BC voters, please, please tell me you're not that dense! "In the rationale for building the dam, BC Hydro put forward load forecasts that included a fair amount of electricity for the LNG industry and continued growth in other industrial, commercial and residential demand. Well, the truth is that since 2008 demand has been falling, not rising." *RON*]

By Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Blog, 13 April 2016

Premier Christy Clark has ambitious plans for the copious amounts of electricity — far more than British Columbia is expected to need for more than a decade — generated by the Site C dam on the Peace River: sell it to Alberta.

In a recent interview wi…

All the Euphemisms We Use for ‘War’

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[Orwellian Newspeak. How words shape the United States government’s ongoing cycle of violence. *RON*]

By William J. Astore, The Nation, 15 April 2016

The dishonesty of words illustrates the dishonesty of America’s wars.

Since 9/11, can there be any doubt that the public has become numb to theeuphemisms that regularly accompany US troops, drones, and CIA operatives into Washington’s imperial conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa? Such euphemisms are meant to take the sting out of America’s wars back home. Many of these words and phrases are already so well-known and well-worn that no one thinks twice about them anymore.