World News

Nuke Shutdown News – August 2015

August 27, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg /Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear industry, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world.

Restart Relapse

Less than a week after the 70th anniversary of the US Atomic Bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and the literal meltdown of over 200,000 human beings, the current Japanese government announced the restart of the Sendai nuclear reactor, the first to resume operations since the Fukushima disaster of March, 2011.

On August 10, Bloomberg Business reported: ‘The safe restart of Sendai is important for Japan and for the worldwide community,” according to “Dale Klein, former chairman of the US NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission).”

“It can demonstrate that nuclear energy can play a role in the safe, reliable generation of electricity,” Klein also told Bloomberg.

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Extreme Weather Watch: July 2015 – Huge Number of Wildfires Force California Evacuations

August 3, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extreme Weather Watchby John Lawrence

As July drew to a close 8000 firefighters were battling 18 large fires in the state of California. A lot of people are being forced to evacuate their homes. In fact evacuations are becoming a way of life. Triple digit temperatures, bone dry vegetation and gusty winds are spreading fires everywhere.

A fast-spreading wildfire north of San Francisco has torched homes and is threatening more than 450 structures. At least 650 residents have been evacuated from their homes as the blaze raged in hills covered in dense brush and oak trees and dotted with ranch homes. 23 square miles near Lower Lake, south of Clear Lake, have been charred.

A separate fire near the small town of Isleton in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta burned six or seven mobile homes. Residents of 200 homes in the central California community of Cascadel Woods were ordered to evacuate last Thursday.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – July 2015

July 29, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and all of the US nuclear industry, and spotlights those who are working for a nuke free future.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

In this issue of Nuclear Shutdown News we continue our summer travels in pursuit of no nukes stories… Of course we’d love to be in Greece, checking out the unfolding “Brother can you spare a few billion drachmas” melodrama. But Greece doesn’t have any nuclear reactors to shut down, or nuclear weapons to dismantle.

1. Germany

Not so in Germany, one of Greece’s major predators, uh, creditors, that is.

The Associated Press reported on June 28, “Germany’s oldest remaining nuclear reactor to shut down.”

The AP stated that the Grafenrheinfel nuclear plant in Bavaria “would be taken offline as scheduled authorities and operator E.ON said.”

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Pope Francis: “We’ve Turned the Earth into a Pile of Filth”

July 29, 2015 by John Lawrence

pope francisBy John Lawrence

Add Pope Francis to the world’s leaders who are calling for immediate action to combat climate change.

In the Pope’s own words the earth has become a pezzo di merda, a piece of you know what. He has also described unbridled capitalism as the “dung of the devil.”

Popes are not often given to scatological imagery to describe the predominant American economic system.

However, the Pope’s words are very important because he wields enormous moral authority. Would that the leading moral authorities from the world’s other major religions had the gumption to stand up and add their voices in the fight against climate change.

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Earth’s Most Famous Climate Scientist Issues Bombshell Sea Level Warning

July 24, 2015 by Source
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New Study Concludes More Rapid Rise in Sea Level – at Least 10 Feet in 50 Years

By Eric Holthaus /Slate / July 20, 2015

In what may prove to be a turning point for political action on climate change, a breathtaking new study casts extreme doubt about the near-term stability of global sea levels.

The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate.

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PETA Opposes SeaWorld Orca Habitat Expansion at Coastal Commission

July 24, 2015 by Source
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by James Sullivan/ Science Recorder / July 24, 2015

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has asked that the California Coastal Commission reject SeaWorld San Diego’s efforts to expand its killer whale tanks.

The project is estimated at $100 million, to be completed in 2018, but has yet to received endorsement from the Coastal Commission.

“This item has been postponed because of all the information submitted,” said commissioner Alex Llerandi.

“The coastal staff is taking the time to ensure all potential issues and viewpoints are considered in any final recommendations.”

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Jerry Brown Gushes About “fighting climate change” at Vatican As He Fracks California

July 22, 2015 by Source
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by Dan Bacher

In yet another carefully choreographed photo opportunity to tout his “green” image while he promotes the expansion of fracking, Governor Jerry Brown on July 21 urged the world’s mayors to “light a fire” and “join California in the fight against climate change.”

Brown was speaking on the first day of the Vatican’s symposium on climate change and modern slavery hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences.

“We have fierce opposition and blind inertia,” Brown claimed. “And that opposition is well-financed, hundreds of millions of dollars going into propaganda, into falsifying the scientific record, bamboozling people of every country. We have to fight that propaganda and overcome the inertia and the tremendous opposition.”

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A Critique of the Austerity Proposal for Greece

July 13, 2015 by Source
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A Critique of the July 10th, 2015 Austerity Proposal for Greece from Syriza; There is an Alternative!

by Peter Bohmer / July 11, 2015

It is increasingly likely although not a done deal that Greece will come to an agreement with the 19 European Union countries that use the Euro, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (the troika) in the next week or so.

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“My Memories of Red House and Its Surrounding Community”

July 10, 2015 by Source
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Editor: As we approach the Centennial of the Red House, we asked friends who were in OB during the heady days of the Seventies for their memories. Our good friend, Bob, responded with the following:

By Bob

In the early Seventies I lived across the street at 5132 Cape May in the four-plex known as “The Barracks”. Our two bedroom apartment rented for $160 a month. My share was forty bucks to live a half block from the beach!

In those days, Red House, The Barracks, Little Red House (right on the beach at the end of the block) and several other apartments on the block housed probably 50 hardcore activists, progressive hippies, Lefty musicians, and fellow travelers, all dewy-eyed and hopeful at the possibility of changing America from the white bread blandness of the Fifties and early Sixties.

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Extreme Weather Watch: June 2015 – Deadly Heat Wave in Pakistan

July 7, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchBy John Lawrence

Pakistan’s heat wave took a toll of more than 1200 dead, the deadliest heat wave on record. Power outages added to the misery, leaving many without fans, water or light at the beginning of Ramadan, when many Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours. More than 14,000 people were hospitalized in Karachi, the nation’s largest city.

The heat wave came just weeks after torrid temperatures caused nearly 2,200 deaths in neighboring India. This devastating weather is being seen as the effects of human-caused climate change. The Pakistan heat wave will join the heat wave in India as one of the 10 deadliest in world history.

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The Absence of Legal Neutrality at Immigration Court

July 1, 2015 by Source
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By Carlos Batara

Henry Adams was right.

A great teacher affects eternity; no one knows where his or her influence stops. Larry Schwartz, my college history instructor, was that type of educator.

Outside my parents, Professor Schwartz was the most influential person in my life. As an educator, he guided my studies of social, racial, and political injustices. As a mentor, he inspired me to become a professional dedicated to helping the downtrodden and disadvantaged.

He taught me, above all else, that law is the ultimate instrument of political power.

Does Legal Neutrality Exist?

This belief came under heavy attack at law school. At law school, one of my first year professors repeatedly asserted that the law was neutral. Despite trying, I was unable able to buy into his proposition. It did not fit my reality.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: “We Are Satisfied With The Stones”

July 1, 2015 by Source

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By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

The pohaku stopped the Thirty Meter Telescope construction last Wednesday. They began appearing on the Mauna Kea Access Road like raindrops. First, they were sprinkled lightly underfoot. A small rock here. A larger one there. The cops cussed and swore as they tried to remove them from the path of their seemingly unstoppable paddy wagons.

As the cops ascended, washing over the lines of Mauna Kea Protectors standing in their way, small piles grew into a drizzle of stones formed in the gathering fog. Then, the pohaku became a downpour. Looking up the road half-a-mile, I saw heavy boulders standing up, marching to meet us, making it impossible for the TMT construction crews and their police escort to climb any higher.

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The San Diego-Tijuana Boundary Monuments

June 24, 2015 by Source

Mexican war MapBy Barbara Zaragoza / San Diego Free Press

In 1848, the U.S.-Mexican War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty stipulated that Mexico relinquish 1.2 million square miles of its territory to the United States in return for $15 million. It also assigned a Joint U.S. and Mexican Boundary Commission to determine the exact location of the new boundary line.

The Commission consisted of a large caravan of men, including a commissioner and a surveyor for both sides. The drawing of the boundary line took two years to complete–from 1849 to 1851. The Joint Commission erected 52 boundary monuments with #1 overlooking the Pacific Ocean in what today is Border Field State Park.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is a War

June 23, 2015 by Source

defend mauna kea

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

Sitting outside the 10 by 20 foot makeshift tent that has served as my home for the last 34 days on Mauna Kea, I watch the tent poles shudder to the concussion of US Army howitzer cannons firing live shells at their training grounds below. When the wind blows just right, from the south, the rattle of automatic rifle fire reaches the occupation. There’s no denying it: A war rages in Hawai’i.

It’s a war on native peoples, a war on women, a war on the land, a war on life itself. The war did not start in Hawai’i. …

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NSA Collection of American Phone Records Ends – Thanks to Edward Snowden

June 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Halt to Records Collection Probably Temporary As Senate Expected to Pass Reform Measure

By Frank Gormlie

As of today – June 1st – the National Security Agency is no longer legally allowed to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk. The NSA massive collection of telephone records ended at 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday, right after the Senate failed to pass a measure to extend the controversial program, part of the Patriot Act.

And Americans can thank Edward Snowden for it. Snowden was the one who heroically revealed the massive surveillance program to the American public and is now sitting in Russia for his punishment.

The halt to the phone coverage, however, is probably only temporary, as the Senate is expected to okay a House-passed reform bill targeting the NSA’s surveillance program. Even if it passed, it would still take a couple of days for it to start up.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership Vote: A Character Defining Moment

June 1, 2015 by Jim Miller

enjoy poverty

By Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago, Bill McKibben penned a very sharp editorial in the New York Times in response to the Obama administration’s choice to allow drilling in the Arctic noting that,

“The Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no.”

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Notes From the Summit

May 29, 2015 by Source

Ahinahina - Hawai'ian Silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum)

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I went to the Thirty Meter Telescope construction site near the summit of Mauna Kea for the first time, today. Four-wheel drive is recommended for the road that twists steeply with hairpin turns up the Mountain, so ten of us piled into a Kanaka uncle’s (older native Hawaiian man’s) pick-up truck to go see the summit.

Leaving from the visitor center parking lot at 9,200 feet the road ascends over 5,000 feet to an elevation close to 14,000. While my ears popped, my sense of wonder grew. Conversations around the truck bed stopped as the Mountain’s power over our senses intensified.

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The Greek Tragedy: A Labyrinth of Debt

May 28, 2015 by John Lawrence
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By John Lawrence

How to figure out the ongoing crisis that is Greece? What exactly is going on there? As per usual it’s another chapter in the strange saga that involves Wall Street’s stranglehold over the world economy.

What happened to Greece is similar to what happened to American mortgage holders after they were encouraged to go in over their collective heads borrowing more money than they could reasonably expect to be in a position to pay back. Greece did the same.

Will Greece default soon? Will they stay in the Eurozone or be ejected out of it? These questions have been hanging in the air for what seems like an interminably long time.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Talking Story

May 26, 2015 by Source

moonriseBy Will Falk

Looking up at the still, lingering morning stars from the best stargazing location in the world early on the third day since my arrival at the occupation on Mauna Kea, my personal velocities catch up with me and I listen. I stand at 9,200 feet above sea level.

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Why Does the American Left Ignore the Struggle for Freedom in Northern Ireland?

May 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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By Jeff Stone

The Irish Republican Movement has been struggling for a socialist free Ireland since the first uprising against the British in 1916 led by Michael Collins.

Most Americans have a very naive idea at best and ignorant, uninformed at worst, attitude about the IRA or any of the nationalist parties that favor expelling the British and restoring Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

For example, the IRA, which a lot of Americans still don’t realize, its antecedents are basically a very Marxist, socialist approach to government, democracy, and human rights.

While many members are Catholics, the IRA is a secular organization.

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Santa Barbara oil spill now stretches for 9 miles

May 21, 2015 by Source
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by Dan Bacher

The spill from a ruptured pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline expanded overnight from 4 miles long to two slicks stretching 9 miles along the coast, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The pipeline carries crude oil from to Flores to Gaviota.

Preliminary reports indicated that the ruptured 24 inch pipeline in Goleta leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil Tuesday. However, the pipeline company may have actually released as much as 105,000 gallons, with tens of thousands of gallons going into the ocean, according to the latest data from Plains All American.

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Security Forces Clash with Baja California Farmworkers

May 12, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Police raids and street protests in Baja California have led to scores of injuries in the latest round of labor strife over pay and working conditions in San Quintin, an agricultural region producing produce sold in the United States.

This weekend’s violence followed the failure of Interior Minister Luis Miranda Nava to show up for a meeting with leaders of farm worker organizations in the area.

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World Carbon Dioxide Levels Pass 400 ppm For First Time Ever

May 7, 2015 by Source
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Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Topped 400 PPM Throughout March In Unprecedented Milestone

By Nick Visser /Huffington Post / May 6, 2015

Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 — the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Scientists with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a “significant milestone” in the growing scourge of man-made climate change.

“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120ppm since pre-industrial times,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s greenhouse gas network, told The Guardian on Wednesday. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”

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Citizenship, War Criminals, And Immigration Fraud

May 1, 2015 by Source
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By Carlos Batara

There are no winners in wars. It’s just a matter of degree.

Both sides lose. One side loses less.

During my law school days, one of my best friends and I discussed this topic quiet often. He had served multiple terms of duty in Vietnam and been wounded twice. I was a dove and anti-war protester.

Outsiders did not understand the basis of our camaraderie. Though our positions started from different perspectives, both of us lamented the violence of war – and detested the negative effects such violence imposes on the world for decades after the firing ends.

Even Dwight Eisenhower, a decorated war hero who rode his triumph to the White House, acknowledged a similar sentiment. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can,” Ike noted, “as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

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The Connection Between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War

April 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The War in Vietnam Formally Ended 40 Years Ago Today

By Frank Gormlie

There is a direct connection between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War – which formally ended 40 years ago today when the National Liberation Front finally captured Saigon – the then-name of the capital.

Or I should say, there’s a direct connection between the OB Rag and the anti-war movement against the Vietnam War. I was a militant member of the anti-war movement on my campus at UCSD from 1968 to 1970 when I graduated – along with hundreds and even thousands of other students.

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Fined by China, Qualcomm Losing Chip Business as CEO Departs

April 29, 2015 by John Lawrence

Qualcomm Sucks Up To China

Qualcomm1By John Lawrence

Qualcomm has been fined almost a billion dollars by China for violating its anti-monopoly law. China has the world’s most internet users and the largest smartphone market so Qualcomm has to tread gingerly with the authorities there since it doesn’t want to be booted out of the world’s most lucrative market.

The fine will knock 58 cents a share off Qualcomm’s earnings for the year. Qualcomm CEO Steven M. Mollenkopf thinks paying the fine will make Qualcomm better positioned to cash in in the future.

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Climate Mobilization Coalition Gears Up for Next Action – Meetings Every Saturday in OB

April 28, 2015 by Source
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Local Climate Mobilization Coalition meets at People’s Co-op every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. — Here’s Report of April 25th Meeting

By Colleen Dietzel / Special to the OB Rag

Since early February this year the Coalition for Climate Mobilization has been organizing a series of events to build the movement leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November. (See OB Rag coverage of March 15th event.)

The Climate Mobilization Coalition’s goal is a call to the United States Government to immediately commence a national World War II-style mobilization to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, including solar, wind and water.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Why the Mountain?

April 24, 2015 by Source

The Mauna Kea Summit in winter

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I am preparing to leave for Hawai’i to offer myself in support of resistance to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project that would place a large telescope and stadium-sized structure on the peak of native Hawaiians’ most sacred place – Mauna Kea.

The project, funded by a partnership including the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy among others, would also place a 5,000 gallon chemical waste container above the largest freshwater aquifer on Hawai’i Island.

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Eduardo Galeano, Sacrilegious Women

April 17, 2015 by Source

Editor Note: Acclaimed author and champion of social justice Eduardo Galeano died on April 13, 2015. Democracy Now! provides a tribute here.

From TomDispatch.com

south americaHis book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent came out in 1971 and proved to be the first vampire thriller of our American imperial age. Its blood-sucker of a plot was too outrageous not to be mesmerizing: a country called the United States declares a “good neighbor” policy for those living in its hemisphere because they just look so tasty, and then proceeds to suck the economic blood out of country after country.

Hollywood never topped it. “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” couldn’t hold an incisor to it; Buffy was a punk by comparison.

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Can John Oliver Do for Mass Surveillance What He Did for Net Neutrality?

April 9, 2015 by Source

John Oliver

By Joan McCarter/Daily Kos

On Sunday [April 5], John Oliver had what is easily the most educational and fun half hour of journalism on the surveillance state that you’re ever likely to see, including an interview with Edward Snowden.

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