Category Archives: Public Health

The War on Women Starting Up Again

As we look to the national front, it appears that the aptly tagged “war on women” is starting in full swing again.  Scott Walker has thrown his hat into the presidential ring and what better way to start out than to make his mandatory pledge to hate women.  As reported by TPM, Walker thinks that requiring women to undergo an ultra sound is “just a cool thing“.

Of course Walker openly admits that the required procedure would be to shame women into changing their minds about terminating their pregnancy, mostly based on the fictitious idea that a fetus is in fact equivalent to a fully term, birthed baby, “We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” Walker said.  Again, Walker has no problem with using state force to coerce a woman in a decision that if they were “liberty minded” as the GOP recently seems to claim they are, would be between the woman and her doctor and not the state.

walker signs bill  we now have control of your body

Also, its important to note that Walker completely overlooks the controversy sparked by some state GOP legislators, particularly in Virginia, who proposed that women considering abortions be forced to undergo a vaginal ultrasound.  Thanks to the statesman in Virginia when the word “ultrasound” is mixed with “vaginal” and especially “state mandated” the hair on the back of the necks of most women begins to rise.  The vaginal ultrasound reminds one that legislators have no problem with state sanctioned rape and its apparent that Walker has no problem with state sanctioned shaming either.

Oh but wait hold the presses, we have found information from our friends in Wisconsin via Blue Cheddar that Walker did in fact support a bill for forced “transvaginal” ultrasounds, then known as SB 206 in Wisconsin in 2013.

But, its not just Walker that’s stepped up to show his chivalry towards the ladees.  While some GOP pols like to focus on what ladees do with their ladyee parts, Jeb keeps it simple and focuses on how we ladees live our lives.  Such as in Jeb Bush’s statement about women and “traditional marriage’ recently.  Bush refers to the gay marriage issue up front but his position on shaming single mothers and pressuring them to stay in abusive or otherwise unacceptable marriages, or we suspect, using her magic powers to keep a wondering man home says,

If we want to create a right to rise society, where people – particularly children born in poverty, if we want to have them have a chance…we have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and dad loving their children with their heart and soul.

How can you not get behind that? At least the “committed, loving family life” part.  Just that Jeb has a very narrow view of marital relationships and of relationships in general.  Lack of exposure to how regular people live their lives seems a problem that runs in the Bush family and may contribute to his 19th century views.

But what about women and children who did all they could but were abandoned or had to leave the household with just the shirts on their backs to escape abuse?  Back in 1994 during the halcyon days of welfare reform when all a good candidate had to do was commit to some good old slut shaming, Jeb was reported to have not missed the opportunity himself:

During his 1994 run, he made welfare a main issue in his campaign, vowing to get tough on recipients of public assistance–even if it meant, he said at one point, having the state take away the children of parents who were too lazy to find a job. At event after event, Jeb talked about the welfare mom who, given all the various freebies available to her like Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Medicaid and so forth, was pulling down an extravagant $15,000 a year in benefits.
Source: America’s Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 13 , Feb 15, 2007
and another reports:

His appearances became revival meetings.and as he went from country club to country club telling stories about [welfare fraud] to his all-white audiences they would shake their heads along with him, conjuring up their own image of what the lazy welfare mother looked like, and the color of her skin.” During his campaign Bush openly espoused a conservative “constrain the beast” philosophy toward government. He proposed to dismantle the State Department of Education and to refuse federal money for welfare. He would have forced mothers and children off welfare after 2 years, with no provision for job training or child care beyond the small amount available at the time.”Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. ÿ6 , Dec 11, 2009

Then there’s the re-entry of Republican Rick Santorum, from Pennsylvania.  Rick made himself famous in last election bids for his seeming endless obsession with people’s sexual habits.  So much that his name even became related to a not-so-sexy part of a sex act.  His extreme views on abortion — that any termination of a pregnancy is murder are well publicized.  See On the Issues for a good summary of where all the candidates stand on issues that effect women’s liberty and future, from reproductive rights to assistance in times of poverty.

And then there’s the media.  The conservative internet news onslaught on Planned Parenthood.  Look up keywords “Planned Parenthood News” what comes up? On one of our users computers (and possibly because of doing research on conservative politicians?), what did come up were reams of christian-fundie propaganda against planned parenthood.  One of the most outrageous:

On the top of the list is a story from a site called “mrc Newsbusters” that has the tagline “Exposing and Combatting Liberal Media Bias” about a teen actress that testified about how planned parenthood saved her from an unplanned pregnancy.  The story goes on but ends with a paragraph stating:

While Whitman’s writing appeared genuine, Teen Vogue didn’t address concerns about Planned Parenthood regarding teens – concerns from how the taxpayer-funded abortion giant teaches teens “there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners” to instructing them in BDSM, including whipping and tree-tying.

Just for disclosure, the words “teaches” and “instructing” linked back to other supposedly damning proofs that PP is up to no good.  We’re not interested in linking the site seeing as how this story alone pretty much sums up their breathless projection.

Also, warriors can’t be warriors unless they also attack the young and no better proof of this applies than this very recent story of a young teen girl punished by having her honor society distinction removed because of her “inappropriate dress” in school year book pictures.  She had on a strappy sun dress.  So the school thought it appropriate to shame her and also remove her earned reward for her diligence toward her studies.  The message to girls with this kind of prioritizing? ‘Your value lies in how you look.’ and most importantly, that her subordination to male authority is more important than her intellectual achievement or her own future.   Stories like these rise up all too often, this girl’s is not an isolated case.  Couple that with cuts across the nation in state legislators of domestic violence funding and restrictions on sex education and you have a mixed bag of multi-faceted attacks on women’s personal sovereignty.

We urge our readers to visit the real Planned Parenthood US Newsroom site for real information on the continued full-fledge attack on women’s rights or visit Planned Parenthood Local for news on the New Hampshire front.  Keep on top of the rhetoric against women’s rights because its coming on strong already and most likely will only grow as the election heats up.

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Fast-Track: An Undemocratic Path to Unfair “Trade”

As promised we bring you some more opinion and analysis on the Fast-Track push by Obama for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  From the blog of the group Public Citizen:

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Fast Track

An Undemocratic Path to Unfair “Trade”

President Obama is asking Congress to delegate to him extreme Fast Track authority to railroad into place job-killing trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

ALERT! A Fast Track bill has recently been introduced. Click here for the full analysis.

Fast Track was an extreme and rarely-used procedure initially created by President Richard Nixon to get around public debate and congressional oversight. Fast Track is how we got into the job-killing, wage-flattening North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Thanks to Fast Track, NAFTA and the WTO included terms that promote the offshoring of U.S. jobs to low-wage countries.

Fast Track also empowered executive branch officials advised by large corporations to skirt Congress and the public and use secretive “trade” agreements to roll back a wide range of non-trade policies on which our families rely for safe food, a clean environment, affordable medicines, financial stability and more.

Fast Track set up a system of more than 500 official corporate U.S. trade advisors who have access to secret trade agreement texts and who have set the “U.S.” trade agenda whether we have Democratic or Republican presidents.

Fast Track is such an extreme power grab that in the past 21 years Congress has only allowed it to go into effect for five years total. Why? Because under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is supposed to write the laws and set trade policy. For 200 years, these key checks and balances helped ensure that no one branch of government had too much power. But, starting with Nixon, presidents have tried to seize those congressional powers using the Fast Track mechanism. hide

Fast Track has only been used 16 times in the history of our nation, often to enact the most controversial of “trade” pacts, such as the NAFTA and the establishment of the WTO. Meanwhile, hundreds of less controversial U.S. trade agreements have been implemented without resort to Fast Track, showing that the extraordinary procedure is not needed to approve trade agreements.

Fast Track allowed the executive branch to unilaterally select partner countries for “trade” pacts, decide the agreements’ contents, and then negotiate and sign the agreements – all before Congress had a vote on the matter! Normal congressional committee processes were forbidden, meaning that the executive branch was empowered to write lengthy legislation on its own with no review or amendments. These executive-authored bills altered wide swaths of U.S. law unrelated to trade – food safety, immigration visas, energy policy, medicine patents and more – to conform our domestic policies to each agreement’s requirements. And, remarkably, Fast Track let the executive branch control Congress’ voting schedule. Unlike any other legislation, both the House and Senate were required to vote on a Fast Tracked trade agreement within 90 days of the White House submitting it. No floor amendments were allowed and debate was limited.

Because Fast Track’s dramatic shift in the balance of powers between branches of the U.S. government occurred via an arcane procedural mechanism, it obtained little scrutiny – until recently. Its use by Democratic and Republican presidents alike to seize Congress’ constitutional prerogatives, “diplomatically legislate” non-trade policy, and preempt state policy, has made it increasingly controversial.

A president cannot obtain Fast Track empowerment without a vote of Congress. President Clinton, renowned for trade expansion, only had Fast Track authority for two of his eight years in office due to congressional opposition. Indeed, in 1998 Clinton’s effort to get Fast Track authority was rejected by 171 House Democrats and 71 House GOP members.

The last time Congress authorized Fast Track was in 2002, with a 3:30 am vote before a congressional recess in which the antiquated mechanism was approved by just three votes. Since 2007, Congress has refused to authorize this extreme procedure, even after its proponents tried to escape Fast Track’s bad reputation by renaming it “Trade Promotion Authority.” The bill currently before Congress would replicate the widely-opposed Fast Track bill from 2002.

As a candidate, President Obama said he would replace this anti-democratic process. But now he is asking Congress to grant him Fast Track’s extraordinary authority – in part to try to overcome growing public and congressional opposition to his controversial TPP and Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) deals. To prevent an expansion of this unfair “trade” model, Congress must not allow the executive branch to once again gain Fast Track’s undemocratic powers.

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The Single Payer Health Care Battle Goes On

As reported on April 22nd, by In These Times, Vermont activists stand strong on the fight to establish single payer healthcare as promised to Vermonters by Governor Shumlin who now finds himself hemmed into a tight spot due to requirements handed down by the Affordable Care Act which just so happen to conflict with Vermont’s healthcare plans.

The battle fields for success on issues such as healthcare, labor and social justice increasingly lie within the states and local governments.

Vermont Activists Battle Democratic Governor for Single-Payer Health Care

BY Steve Early

Vermonters rally for health care in 2011. (Vermont Workers Center / Flickr)

Liz Nikazmerad is a rarity in American labor: a local union president under the age of 30, displaying both youth and militancy. For the last two year years, she has led the 180-member Local 203 of the United Electrical Workers (UE), while working in the produce department of City Market in Burlington, Vermont. Thanks to their contract bargaining, full-time and part-time employees of this bustling community-owned food cooperative currently enjoy good medical benefits.

But that wasn’t always the case in Nikazmerad’s past non-union jobs, nor is it any assurance that UE members won’t be forced to pay more for their health care in the future. To curb medical cost inflation and related cost-shifting to workers, the UE has long advocated that private insurance plans be replaced with publicly funded universal coverage.

Four years ago, a newly elected Vermont governor, Peter Shumlin, took a promising first step in that direction at the state level. His Democrat-dominated legislature passed Act 48, which laid the groundwork for creating a comprehensive public insurance plan called Green Mountain Care (GMC).

Not all activists deemed GMC to be truly “single-payer,” because of potential legal or political obstacles to the inclusion of Vermonters currently covered through Medicare, the Veterans’ Administration, and even some “self-insured” plans offered by local employers. However, Act 48’s blueprint for getting everyone else into a more rational, cost-effective healthcare system, financed by taxes, was generally hailed as a great breakthrough.

Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) first required Vermont to operate a private insurance exchange until 2017, when a federal waiver permitting further experimentation might be granted. Despite this delay, Shumlin was still reassuring Vermonters, as recently as last fall, that a brighter health care future lay just a few years ahead.

By January 8, when the governor began his third term, that promise had dimmed so much that Liz Nikazmerad and several hundred others weren’t there to applaud his inauguration in Montpelier. Instead, frustrated advocates of health care reform staged a sit-in at the state capitol, chanting and singing, unfurling banners and refused to leave in protest against the governor’s abrupt abandonment of universal health care six weeks after his re-election.

“People had fought for this a long time,” Nikazmerad says. “It was a huge win and to have the rug yanked out like that was very upsetting. People were very emotional about it.”

Continue reading

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Updates from Bury Northern Pass

Sign from angry New Hampshire resident during an anti-Northern Pass action.

We will post the newsletter that Bury Northern Pass releases, as soon as we can every time we receive it.  While we do not  support the idea of burying the lines for Northern Pass; we’d prefer that southern New England states produce their own power as they need it, see our analysis of Northern Pass. That being said, the Bury Northern Pass group does very important and thorough work in watching the players in this continuing issue and informing the public.  We thank them for their hard work and encourage everyone to stay on top of this real threat to the New Hampshire way of life.

Here is the newest issue from April 26:

The Most Important NH Conservation Campaign Since the Creation of the WMNF
and Saving Franconia Notch a Century Ago
Leave Your Legacy to NH – A Landscape Unscarred by 2300 Steel Towers Up to 155′ Tall from Pittsburg to Deerfield
Please Donate Now to the Forest Society’s “Trees Not Towers” Legal Defense Fund to Bury the Northern Pass

Coming up this week

Tuesday, April 28: 4:15 PM: City of Concord Northern Pass subcommittee meeting – “public to be heard.”

Thursday, April 30: Senate floor vote on HB 192 (utility property tax) scheduled. (*Double check floor date before traveling to attend*)
HB 192 would prevent utilities from using a single cut-rate valuation method (depreciation) to abate their property taxes. This is relevant to how much property tax Northern Pass, if built, would actually pay.

Audio of March 24th testimony by bill sponsors, attorney for NHEC, NH Municipal Assoc., etc: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senateaudio/committees/2015/wm/HB0192_03242015.asx

News report by Robert Blechl, for the Caledonian Record, 4/25: New Hampshire Utility Bills Head Toward Votes

April 29-May 4: Ever$ource Q1 investor call (estimated date)

May 6-7. Open House/SEC Info meetings in Londonderry and Hudson for MVRP (above ground line in NH, buried in MA).

Link to the PR tell-all Northern Pass doesn’t want you to read: “Case Study: Northern Pass”

This past week’s news in review

Seacoast residents revolt against E$ plan for above-ground lines, E$ downgraded by financial giant UBS, NP lashes out at opposition, and more.

1. In downgrade of E$ stock, UBS cites Northern Pass delay.

2. Newington and Durham revolt against E$’s plans for an overhead “Seacoast Pass” (aka Seacoast Reliability Project).  Newington’s lawyer says town won’t support project unless it’s buried.

More from Seacoast Online and Union Leader

Durham Residents Voice Concerns Over Eversource Project
Newington Residents Air Concerns Over 13 Mile Transmission Line
Durham Objects to Power Towers

3. Coos County biz group opens Northern Pass jobs funding program
More from NHPR: Northern Pass Funds Available for Coos Businesses

4. Forest Society Blasts Foundation National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for Northern Pass Partnership, report by Robert Blechl

5. Goliath not a happy camper this week: Northern Pass lashes out at opposition in PR offensive. In the wake of the revelation about the PR agency, Saint Consulting Group, lampooned as “fooling the politicians since 1983,”  and its claimed ties to Northern Pass and of the UBS stock downgrade, the project went on a PR rampage this week to change the channel.

Project flacks who usually stay in the shadows surfaced on Twitter – e.g., Scott Tranchemontagne (Montagne Communications), Erik W. Taylor (Elevare Communications), Scott Spradling, Rich Killion — and, phrased in euphemisms of “concern” and “disappointment,” project spox Murray and Collins attacked the Conservation Media Group’s Concord video, The Power of Place and whatever else they could think of to target.

Anti-Northern Pass Video Targets Concord, Concord Monitor
Northern Pass Opposition Video Lacks Credibility, Fosters.com
Tiny Section of Proposed Route Sparking Latest Verbal Sparring About Northern Pass, Union Leader
Northern Pass Cries”Foul” Over Opponent’s New Video, NHPR

6. New England Governors’s private tete-a-tete on energy, infrastructure.  [Mass. Gov.] Baker not bullish on Northern Pass, NH not bullish on sharing bill for southern New England energy wants.

Governors Renew Commitment to Reg’l Energy Solution, Nashoba Publishing

7. Buried Champlain Hudson line receives final, ACOE permit, moves on to funding negotiations with Hydro Quebec

Hudson-Champlain Powerline Gets Ok to Build, Poughkeepsie Journal
Quebec Energy Minister says “we are negotiating [with ChHud] at this current moment” , E&ETV

8. Hydro Quebec Phase 2 line goes on unexplained spring vacation, raises prices in New England. How’s this for a secure, reliable source of energy? It’s not even winter.

Boston Power Rises 4th Day This Week as Demand Tops Forecasts

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Jeb Bradley Does it Again!

View image on Twitter

Love-making gun nutter style. These are the priorities of the gun-nuts; their own “right” to worship and caress their guns anywhere at anytime, the public’s safety be damned.

Jeb Bradley shows us once again that he’s always looking out for his own political skin at the expense of the safety of the people of his district.

In this particular instance, Senator Bradley introduced the bill SB 116 to remove all restrictions to carrying a concealed weapon.  We recall very clearly that Senator Bradley was for Northern Pass awhile back as well; that is until the people that will be most effected by it started an embarrassing ruckus.  Obviously the Senator need a reminder that the majority of constituents, including gun owners support some regulation of concealed carry.

Does Jeb Bradley need this minority constituency? Is he so deaf, dumb and blind that he can’t see that the majority of people aren’t badgering him about carrying a concealed weapon because well, they have lives to lead and they elected Jeb to make good decisions on their behalf.  Unfortunately, once again, he’s failed.

This bill, if passed by the full house will open up all citizens of New Hampshire and visitors to the possibility of a lethal attack by an unhinged person legally carrying a loaded handgun.  A loaded handgun, we might add, that no one will have the opportunity to be forewarned about, that no one will have the opportunity or option to get away from; a loaded handgun that within seconds could kill anyone and possibly even multiple persons.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, we’ll try our best to follow its path and publish information here.  Another hearing in the house will be held on this bill and we urge everyone come out against this.

Zandra-Rice Hawkins of Granite State Progress, a state-wide citizen’s political group had this to say:

“Requiring a license to carry a concealed weapon has worked well for New Hampshire for more than 90 years. These licenses are very easy and quick to obtain and do not place an unreasonable burden on law abiding citizens. SB 116 is a radical piece of legislation that jeopardizes public safety. New Hampshire does not require people to have a specific reason to conceal carry but does require that the applicant be a suitable person. This common sense law allows local police departments to deny a license when there is reason to believe a person is a danger to themselves or others. New Hampshire is one of 46 states that currently require a license to carry concealed weapons and we should not weaken our public safety laws now.”

More information on gun laws and concealed carry can be found at Granite State Progress.org

Video below, (go ahead, be bored to death) of Representative John Burt proving to someone, somewhere his manly man-hood by shooting a semi-automatic rifle at a target.  Because its his SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT OMG!

This is what Senator Jeb Bradley has lowered himself to.

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Western New Hampshire Mountain and Lakes Region Still Under Threat

In voting that wasn’t a surprise to most people involved closely in the issue of encroaching wind power and transmission line projects, the NH House Science, Energy and Technology Committee voted to retain most of the bills related to those projects.

Garnering the most controversy and attention lately was House Bill 580 that would have stopped all power infrastructure construction in the state immediately upon passage.  Representative Rappaport requested an “ought to pass” on the bill with vocal support from Representative Khan, Representative Bradley and Representative Vadney.  While Representative Babar spoke of reservations about the wording of the bill, but the most vocal resistance to the moratorium idea came from Representative Nicholas Levasseur.  Levasseur seemed to speak a straight industry line, saying that the moratorium will “send a bad message” to businesses that New Hampshire is “fickle” in their support of business decisions.

Representatives Bradley, Khan and Vadney spoke in favor of the bill.  While some said that they felt that retaining the bill for study over the summer will give the legislators time to consider the issue of wind power more carefully, many reps disagreed.  Rep. Vadney said that  prime New Hampshire areas, such as the Newfound Lake region are currently threatened with pending turbine construction that without a moratorium, could in fact come online very soon.  He said that he has his doubts that without the moratorium there would be any way to stop such activity, “I worry it will be too late before we come up with an energy policy if we retain, important sites are under threat now.”

Rep. Bradley also weighed in on the issue, speaking from his military background saying that one thing he learned was the value of deadlines and also the value of delay, that when in doubt oftentimes a delay is the best option to avoid mistakes.

Representative Nicholas Levasseur made the final weigh-in, responding that the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) mandate may not be met, that business will lose interest in investing in the state and that the SEC process will assure that delicate regions will not suffer damage or destruction.

All bills relating to the electrical power infrastructure in the state were referred to retention which means that the bills will remain within the committee for study.  There was discussion of setting up a sub-committee to take on the task of doing more research on the issues that the bills bring up and formulating more substantial bills or one bill to handle these contentious issues.

The following is a summary of the bills and some of the discussion that went before related to electrical infrastructure development, specifically wind power and transmission lines.  The respective votes up or down are listed as well.  Each bill is linked for further information:

HB 166 – “An act requiring the public utilities commission to make specific findings as to the public need for proposed transmission lines.”   Motion to retain – passed unanimous

HB 449“…requires the site evaluation committee to consider economic impact and findings and recommendations from local planning boards or governing bodies prior to issuing a certificate for an energy facility.”   Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley voting no

HB 484“requiring public approval prior to issuance of certain site evaluation certificates…” Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley and Rep. Calli-Pitts voting no

HB 568requiring new elective transmission lines in New Hampshire to be buried.  Rep. Rappaport moved for “ought to pass”, Reps Khan, Murotake and Bradley voted yes.  Rep. Nicholas Levasseur, Rep. Vadney and Rep. Pasteur urged a no-pass saying the issue needed more study.  Motion for passage defeated.

Rep. Townsend made motion to retain the bill – passed with no votes from Rep Khan and Bradley

HB 569requires that all electric transmission lines in the state of New Hampshire be placed within state transportation rights-of-way to the extent possible.” Motion to retain – passed, Reps Bradley, Khan, Murotake and Reilly voted against.

HB 580establishes moratoriums on the construction of wind turbine plants and on electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan.”

Motion to retain by Backus who said, “I believe that issues that underlie this bill merit consideration and retention.”  Reilly, the author of the bill said he supports retention to avoid a possible loss on the whole floor.  Vote was taken, motion to retain passed with the following voting against retention: Rep. Khan, Rep. Rappaport, Rep. Vadney, Rep. Bradley.  Rep. Babar made the general statement, “citizen input is important” possibly in reference to wanting to hear more from his constituents on the issue.  Rep. Richard Levasseur wanted to know if the reference to power lines in the moratorium included Northern Pass or if it just referred to power lines related to the wind turbines.

HB 586establishes a one-year moratorium on new and pending applications for certificates for electric transmission facilities.”   Motion to retain – Rep. Khan, Bradley, Borden and Vadney voted against, motion passed.

At this point the committee will be in session tomorrow to discuss options such as setting up a sub-committee to work the bills.  This is the time to call your representative in your area, to discuss the importance of preserving the western highlands of New Hampshire and the White Mountain region.  The link below will get you to your representative.  Also important is to talk to members of the committee that are on the fence on this issue and let them know how that you cannot destroy the environment in order to save it.

NH General Court – Who Is My Representative?

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Burn for a Buck

A wildfire in Australia crosses the Princes Highway on Tuesday. No deaths related to the fires have been reported in the country.
HELL ON EARTH: AUSTRALIA FACES UNPRECEDENTED WILDFIRE “CATASTROPHE”

Proving that the in-your-face reality of unfettered climate change is not about to recede in the new year, a national disaster is unfolding only days into 2013 in Australia, where rampaging wildfires are burning huge swaths of the country. Australians are used to the annual “bushfire season,” but the recent string of massive fires that have charred millions of acres and killed dozens of people are unprecedented and only getting worse thanks to climate change. Now the nation faces a fire “catastrophe”; not just a lurid term of description, it is an official designation of the most destructive and serious level of wildfire. This year’s violent eruption of blazes are fueled by temperatures quite literally never seen before in Australia, with all-time record heat baking the country.

(Mother Jones)

`

SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS OF SEA LEVEL RISE MAY HAVE BEEN “SERIOUSLY UNDERESTIMATED”

Holding nearly 100 percent of the world’s glacier ice, Greenland and Antarctica are the “air conditioners” of Earth and also a ticking time bomb of potential devastation. This is because of climate change and the rapid polar warming now being recorded that has surpassed many previous estimates of what was possible. With temperatures rising faster and instances of massive ice melt already experiences this past year, scientists now say that global sea level rise from ice loss in these two regions has been “seriously underestimated.” The total melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice would boost global sea levels by over 200 feet. While no one expects that apocalyptic catastrophe, experts now confirm a sea level rise of several more feet than previously anticipated is likely by 2100, causing immeasurable damage and disruption across the world.

(UK Independent)

(All via Principled Progressive)

Of course where the picture comes from (CBS News online), the Australian weather change is referred to “milder”.  Obviously that’s an understatement as we can see here.

Of course here in New England, in the middle of January, the one layer of snow fall we’ve had is already melting down to reveal soft, unfrozen earth underneath and we’re expecting higher spring-like temperatures this weekend:  5-day

Yes, there are idiots who will chime in, “Well I’m just enjoying the good weather!”  apparently completely oblivious to the natural life cycle up here that depends on freezing ground, snow cover and long term cold in order to prepare for a good spring and summer season following.  It seems that the average American has begun to think that the earth and seas are as solid and dead as a slab of concrete or asphalt, but they aren’t.

Not only could (or does) climate change radically change environments by killing off species of animal or insect life, it also dramatically changes agricultural production and existing plant-life because of the lack of the old “killing frost”, as biologists said in an abstract for an article available here, “The main effect of temperature in temperate regions is to influence winter survival; at more northerly latitudes, higher temperatures extend the summer season, increasing the available thermal budget for growth and reproduction.”

The intro to a World Bank sponsored report on climate change and its effects on world agricultural production are telling and this was written in 2003:

“Climate change is widely agreed to be already a reality, and its adverse impacts on the vulnerability of poor communities are superimposed on existing vulnerabilities.  Climate change will further reduce access to drinking water, negatively affect the health of poor people, and will pose a real threat to food security in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  consequently, the World Bank is moving towards mainstreaming climate risk in all its work, and integrating climate-change adaptation, where appropriate, in projects, strategies and policies. We believe this is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of our investments in poverty eradication and sustainable development.”

This report ironically was written in America by mostly Yale academics; America, where we still consume nearly the majority of the world’s resources and participate in the global financial machinery that runs the consumptive engine that drives global warming.

Here in New Hampshire, as reported often, but not often enough for people to listen, such projects as the Northern Pass electrical line project and the proposal to sit windmills on the western mountains do not feed existing need.  They exist to provide the forecast infrastructure that will arise out of increased global warming.  Yes, that’s right.  The power lines and the windmills all will exist to provide for anticipated increased demand in electrical service.  (Read here for extensive information and research documentation or our past article on Northern Pass) Increased demand specifically anticipated for the “cooling season” when people will be baking under the increasingly heated earth.

What happened to the idea that capital will make us all safe and sound? Where’s the invisible hand to sweep in and save us from burning up slowly, starving to death, watching our towns drown in the sea or scrambling with thousands of fleeing refugees?  At what point will capital come in and bring some sense to the shareholders who sit at the boards of these corporations who decide that their dividend share means more to them than the public welfare?

While the majority of the world lives on a small fraction of what the developed world lives on and while we know that most of what we use and consume we really don’t need, we continue on our path.  We have been sold a bill of goods; that mindless consumption feeds our economy and that our economy feeds the economy of other countries because we put people to work.  But the facts tell a different story; that our needless consumption in piles of plastic throw-away goods, needless travel in individual gas-powered vehicles and the northeast’s stubborn refusal to give up fossil fuel based heating are killing billions of people and the planet.

But of course the money pumped by capitalists to provide disinformation campaigns serves to obscufate and confuse the issue and the people who will suffer the effects of global warming if nothing is done to change the current trajectory.  The bleating of the combined efforts of the oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy consortiums usually go something like this headline and tagline from a article out of the Spectator on 1/04/12:

“Wind farms vs wildlife: The shocking environmental cost of renewable energy

Why is the public not more aware of this carnage? First, because the wind industry (with the shameful complicity of some ornithological organisations) has gone to great trouble to cover it up – to the extent of burying the corpses of victims. Second, because the ongoing obsession with climate change means that many environmentalists are turning a blind eye to the ecological costs of renewable energy.”

Because of course, renewable energy hurts more than the fossil fuel consumption now currently in use.  Again, where is the invisible hand?  Locked behind someone’s back and wrapped around a bundle of currency we’d hazard to guess.

Capitalism represents an outdated, outmoded and now nearly out-run system that threatens to slowly strangle us in our own capital based consumption, unless of course we as a people begin to take the steps to change their habits and their priorities.  Capital will not save us; we will.

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Examining the Drug War and Prison-Industrial Complex – “The New Jim Crow” Book Discussion

The New Jim Crow coverOn Sunday, January 20th, activists Brenda and Woullard Lett will be hosting a discussion on the Michelle Alexander book “The New Jim Crow”.

The event is free and will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 669 Union Street in Manchester at 11:45 am.  The event will be informal with a potluck lunch (please bring something to share).  Please RSVP by registering for the event here.

Michelle Alexander has opened up the discussion about how racism has continued to permeate our criminal justice system and other areas of our society, effectively keeping in place a system similar to the southern Jim Crow racist laws of the past.

This issue and awareness of Michelle Alexander’s book is a must-have for all of those concerned about the current movement to privatize prisons across the United States and the troubling elements of denial of justice that comes from that.

This interview gives an excellent overview of the topics covered in her book:

This is an open discussion to begin to explore ways in which can work to undo these oppressive cultural systems and free all of us finally from the tragic past of race-based oppression and move into a more just future. Excellent summary of Jim Crow and the new prison industrial complex:

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Tipping Point: The End of Oil – Free Film Showing and Action Planning

The documentary film Tipping Point: The End of Oil will be shown free on January 13th at the Wilton Town Hall Theater in Wilton, NH.

After the film a planning/discussion session will take place to talk about possible direct actions in the near future in New Hampshire around the issues brought up in the film.

Everyone is encouraged to attend!

Sponsored by the NH Green Coalition and 350.org nh

Wilton Town Hall Theater