by Max Blumenthal

AlterNet has learned that an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have forbidden US assistance, training and weapons to neo-Nazis and other extremists in Ukraine was kept out of the final bill by the Republican-led House Rules Committee. Introduced by Democratic Representative John Conyers, the amendment was intended to help tamp down on violent confrontations between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists. (Full text of the amendment embedded at the end of this article).

USA Today/Pew poll [3] conducted in April while the NDAA was being debated found that Americans opposed by more than 2 to 1 providing the Ukrainian government with arms or other forms of military assistance.

If passed, Conyers’ amendment would have explicitly barred those found to have offered “praise or glorification of Nazism or its collaborators, including through the use of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, or other similar symbols” from receiving any form of support from the US Department of Defense.

link


Fracking to be allowed in largest national forest on US east coast

  • Federal plan permits drilling in George Washington National Forest, Virginia
  • Decision overrides opposition from Virginia’s governor and campaigners
and please note:  The industry lobbyists won….
It is also home to the headwaters of the James and Potomac rivers, which feed into the Chesapeake Bay. The estuary is amid a multibillion-dollar, multistate restoration directed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Besides fears that drilling and its waste would foul pristine mountain streams, opponents have also argued that the trucks, wells and other infrastructure that would come with gas drilling are incompatible with the forest’s primary attractions of hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, tourism and its abundant wildlife. The forest includes a section of the Appalachian Trail and attracts more than 1 million visitors annually.

link


In September 2014, the Intact Forest Landscapes initiative, made up of organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Resources Institute, reportedthat since 2001 Canada has led the world in deforestation, despite being overshadowed by reports of the forests in Brazil and Indonesia. With only ten percent of the world’s forests, Canada now accounts for 21% of all deforestation in the world. Surges in oil/tar sands, logging, and road expansion have been the major contributors to the destruction of Canada’s forests. According to Stephen Leahy writing for the Inter Press Service, Canada and other countries’ deforestation deposits more CO2 into the atmosphere than does all of the world’s transportation machinery.

Canada’s large wild forests are crucial to the survival of many animal species such as the whooping crane, black-footed ferret, and woodland caribou. The benefits of these large areas of wilderness are not limited to habitat for animals. These places also serve as reservoirs of water, filters of air, producers of oxygen, absorbers of carbon dioxide, and sources of food and wood. “While forests can re-grow, this takes many decades, and in northern forests more than 100 years,” Leahy reports. “However, if species go extinct or there are too few individuals left, it will take longer for a full forest ecosystem to recover – if ever.”

read more


by Brad Friedman

Election officials in St. Louis County, Missouri were repeatedly warned by local Election Integrity advocates that a plan to supply enough paper ballots for only 15% of the electorate at polling places on Election Day there would not be enough, according to emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

The emails, sent well before Election Day, expressed concern and doubt about “enough paper ballots at every polling place on November 4th to cover all of the voters who would like to have one,” as one of advocates wrote to the Democratic Director of Elections in St. Louis County.

The warnings were ignored, the missives suggest, and, as reported by local media, the result was a widespread shortage of paper ballots on Election Day 2014 at sites throughout the county, including in the embattled city of Ferguson, MO. Throughout the county, the shortage of ballots resulted in long lines and voters who were turned away or forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems which the county has long encouraged voters to use. Some precincts were required to stay open at least an hour after the normal closing time in order to accommodate those who were in line to vote before the close of polls at 7pm local time.

read more


by Dahr Jamail

“The impact of industrially packaged quanta of energy on the social environment tends to be degrading, exhausting, and enslaving, and these effects come into play even before those which threaten the pollution of the physical environment and the extinction of the (human) race.”

- Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich, 1973 article in Le Monde

This month’s dispatch surveys global calls for massive carbon dioxide cuts from the European Union (EU) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that are still not enough to truly mitigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) or stem the massive wildlife disruptions that are now occurring globally, and highlights other glaring signs of an increasingly unstable climate across the globe.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has concluded that, “Coal will nearly overtake oil as the dominant energy source by 2017 . . . without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change.”

A recently announced EU plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2030 was called “too weak” by IPCC Vice Chair Professor Jim Skea, who added that this goal will commit future governments to “extraordinary and unprecedented” emissions cuts.

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An excerpt:
“For instance, in 2012 in Pennsylvania, there are 18
seats in the House of Representatives for the state of Pennsylvania.  And post-2010, that’s when the Census comes out, and that’s when the re-districting takes place every ten years, the Republicans got in [in the 2010 election], and they redistricted brilliantly—so that, in
2012, the Democrats actually won a majority of votes, statewide, for the U.S. House of Representatives in Pennsylvania, and they wound up winning 5 of the
18 seats, with a majority of the vote.
“This is how powerful it is.  Well, that’s how you take over a country.”

Same question holds for Edward Snowden, therefore, and Glenn Greenwald…
Et Tu, Poitras?
by BILL BLUNDEN

A couple of days ago Laura Poitras, the filmmaker who directed the movie Citizenfour, gave an interview to the Dutch news outlet NRC Handelsblad. For those in the audience who don’t speak Dutch there’s a rough English translation available at Cryptome.

Readers following the Snowden affair won’t encounter much in terms of new material but there are certain statements that Poitras makes near the end of her interview that are astonishing. For example, Poitras comments that both Google and Apple have made great strides towards protecting users:

“I think certainly a change in consciousness has come after Snowden. Google’s servers are secure: that’s a big change. This protects the privacy of people. Apple brings a secure phone on the market, that frustrates the FBI”

Do Google and Apple really give one iota about protecting civil liberties? Online service providers like Google and Apple are essentially corporate intelligence operations which profit by monetizing user data. They’ll gleefully sell your data to the highest bidder on one hand while simultaneously working to dilute privacy laws with the other. And if someone happens to make a fuss… well, who cares about paying a few lousy fines? Pay no attention to the slave labor in China or parasitic tax avoidance. And as far as foiling security services is concerned, despite award-winning performances by high-ranking officials the FBI has plenty of ways to sidestep encryption.

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Tell Attorney General Eric Holder: No more excuses. Time for criminal charges against JPMorgan Chase

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/Holder_Justice_Chase?sp_ref=86391175.4.10472.e.40522.3&referring_akid=.588015.aorgvk&source=mailto_sp

by Ben Ptashnik

Coup d’état: (noun) Also known as a coup, a putsch, or an overthrow; the sudden and illegal seizure of a government, usually instigated by a small group of the existing state establishment to depose the established government and replace it with a new ruling body. A coup d’état is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance.

In the aftermath of the 2014 elections many of my friends, especially environmentalists, are depressed.

But I’m not. I’m just angry.

Let’s not hesitate to say what is obvious: This was an entirely corrupt and rigged election. What we witnessed last Tuesday, on Election Day, is just how dirty the right-wing corporate and fossil fuel oligarchy is willing to play. They exceeded our worst expectations and cheated so boldly that despite all we know about them, it still sent shivers up our collective spine.

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