Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Did these Nobel Laureates Sign On to a Collective Letter to Obama Administration?


Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland

Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate (1980) – Argentina

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate (1984) – South Af

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate (1989) – Ti

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala

President José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate (1996) – East T

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran
Nine Nobel Peace Laureates -- including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu -- have called on President Obama to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry dirty tar sands oil from Canada’s Boreal forest to refineries in Texas. The pipeline will drive more destruction of songbird habitat, fuel global warming, and threaten drinking water for millions of Americans. The U.S. State Department is rushing towards approval of this fiasco. Please join the Nobel Laureates by sending a message to President Obama, urging him to stop the pipeline before it’s too late.

We did it! Thanks to donations from thousands of supporters like you, our ad carrying a message to President Obama from nine Nobel Peace Laureates -- including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu -- against the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is running in today’s national New York Times.

And because of your extraordinary generosity, we were able to run the same ad in The Washington Post, bringing even more pressure to bear on the White House!

Spreading the Nobel Laureates’ message far and wide could be a turning point in our campaign to stave off one of the most destructive projects on Earth. We are going to reach millions more Americans and leading opinion makers who can make their own opposition felt in the critical weeks ahead when the President must decide whether to accept or reject the tar sands pipeline.

Frances Beinecke

Natural Resources Defense Council

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sustainability through Environmental Protections

There are actions, petitions and struggles out there to stop this unending attack on ecosystems. Below that cut and paste actions, you'll see a piece on smallholder farmers' movements published in Down to Earth NW. But first, a few struggles going on in the environmental "community."

  • Target: President Barack Obama, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe

  • Sponsored by: Sierra Club

  • We've waited more than fifty years for this moment: to permanently protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness.

    The Arctic Refuge is valuable for its unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values, not its development potential. Oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge would harm the wildlife and wilderness, adding to the stress the region already faces from global warming. Once this wilderness is destroyed, it's gone forever.

    Big Oil wants to drill in the coastal plain and change this magical place forever. Take this historic opportunity to protect the wildlife and wilderness of the Arctic Refuge.


    Another one --

    Dear Citizen,

    Time is Running Out to Save Seal Pups From Toxic Fumes

    Save spotted seals and other Arctic animals

    Right now, families of seals are swimming in Arctic waters. But just like you and me, seals need to breathe and must take a break from their underwater lives to come to the surface for air.

    But imagine if instead of inhaling crisp, clean Arctic air, seal pups are forced to breathe in oil and its toxic fumes – potentially deadly poisons they can’t escape.

    Our government is about to let oil companies drill in the Arctic, endangering seals, other marine animals, and local communities who rely on a healthy Arctic Ocean. But the drilling hasn’t started yet – and we still have a chance to save seals from a slow, painful death from toxic oil.

    Tell our government you won’t let it put the lives of seal pups and other Arctic animals on the line – speak out against Arctic offshore drilling now and help us reach our goal of 30,000 signatures in the next 72 hours»

    Recently, the government approved Shell's plan for exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea. Other oil companies are hot on their heels. But the truth of the matter is that there are no proven techniques for successfully cleaning up Arctic oil spills.

    The results of an Arctic oil spill would be deadly. Spilled oil would gather in openings in the ice – the same openings that marine mammals like seals use to come up for air. Inhaling oil and its toxic fumes can slowly poison, or even kill, marine mammals. Once seals’ coats get oily, they lose their insulating powers, leaving them to freeze to death without the protection of their coats.

    Shell says they can clean up 95% of an oil spill. Not only has that never happened in an offshore oil spill, anywhere in the world, Shell has not proven their equipment will work in the Arctic. Just last month, a leak from a Shell drilling platform dumped more than 50,000 gallons in the North Sea and they cleaned up hardly a drop.

    Luckily, it isn’t a done deal yet – we still have a chance to stop drilling in American Arctic waters until Shell and other oil companies can prove without a doubt they can clean up their mess. But there is no time to waste.

    Don’t let Shell and other oil companies pull the wool over our government’s eyes – stand up for the lives of seals and other Arctic animals and help us reach our goal of 30,000 signatures in the next 72 hours»

    For the oceans,
    Tatiana Marshall


    Dear Paul,

    You made yesterday a success.

    In the months that went into planning 24 Hours of Reality, I saw firsthand the passion and energy of our Climate Presenters, staff and partners around the globe who are calling attention to the climate crisis and working to solve it.

    Yesterday, I was honored to see your passion and your energy. I can't thank you enough for making 24 Hours of Reality a global success.

    By the time our chairman, former Vice President Al Gore finished his presentation, the 24 hour long event had 8.6 million views.

    I am incredibly proud that so many people around the world participated, but it's also important to remember the individual actions it represents. There are countless stories of impressive grassroots mobilization. A company in Tel Aviv hosted a watch party at their headquarters. A group of graduate students in Athens, Georgia rented out a popular local movie theater. People across the world joined hands to say: Climate change is real, it's happening now and the time to act is now.

    But this is just the beginning. There are important actions you can take today:
    Request a presentation. There are more than 3,000 trained Climate Presenters around the globe.

    Organize an event and invite a Presenter to come to your community.
    Go local: Team up with our partners around the world and help solve the climate crisis. Visit our website to find a partner organization near you.

    Moving Planet: On September 24, hit the streets with for a global day of action. Find an activity near you.
    Check our comprehensive video library to watch highlights from 24 Hours of Reality.

    It is up to you to continue to stand up for reality and share the truth about the climate crisis. We will succeed because we must. Thank you,

    Maggie L. Fox
    President and CEO
    The Climate Reality Project


    The right to grow

    Brazilian farmworker tells crowds to unite against Big Ag
    Paul K. Haeder / Down to Earth NW Correspondent

    It might not be easy to fathom, but think 2,500 Nicklesvilles in terms of sheer numbers of displaced – landless and homeless — farmers. That was what one farmer from Brazil recently alluded at the Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair.

    Yes, the Harvest Fair in early September was phenomenal in its own rural-to-urban way. I counted two chicken coops, 80 vendors, loads of fresh produce, elfin garlands on old and young alike, children chomping on fresh peaches, a few goats, music and an overflow number of enthusiastic folk pushing through the corporate miasma that’s infected almost everything Seattle, especially our food.

    Did I mention the 80-degree weather on September 10 nourishing the activities at Meridian Park, behind the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford? Over 400 people amassed at 2 p.m. checking out urban gardening, community empowerment, talks and music.

    Even with all of those green-loving and farmer-based activities, one demure non-English speaker was in the wings, watching the goat talk/demonstration by Lacia Lynne Badley. While the permaculture connection was made by Badley and her three mixed breed goats, Janaina Stronzake was waiting for her interpreter to help her decode from Portuguese and Spanish into English, in order to share her work with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement, the largest peasant movement in Latin America with over 1.5 million members.

    It was clear to the small tent audience that listened to Janaina, articulate, with a second master’s degree almost complete, she is the real thing.

    “We were small farmers, my family and I, but we lost our land in the 1970s. In 1984 we joined the landless farm workers movement and occupied land.”

    The organization is called, MST, or more formally, Movement for the Liberation of the Landless (Movimento de Libertação dos Sem Terra, MLST), and the Land, Labor, and Liberty Movement (Movimento Terra, Trabalho e Liberdade , MTL.

    The worldwide landless farmer movement totals 2.5 million fighting for land and social justice.

    She illuminated some startling facts about Brazil –
    • the rich, 1 percent of the population, owns 46 percent of land
    • that land produces less than 30% of food consumed by Brazilians
    • 90 percent of public subsidies goes to that 1 percent

    Yet, Stronzake made it clear that 70 percent of the food produced for Brazilian consumption comes from small farms, amounting to only 24 percent of the farmland and less than 10 percent of public subsidies.

    “Why do we have to occupy lands? Why do we have to fight this system of industrial agri-business?”

    She harkened back to 1500, when Portugal “discovered” Brazil, and quickly put into place the “three pillars” of agricultural production, still used by transnational agro-businesses today:

    1. slaves
    2. monoculture for exportation back to the colonizing country
    3. plantations

    Janaina pointed out that today, those three pillars are now buttressed by a fourth and equally deadly one – genetically engineered plants, pesticides and more toxins in both the production and harvesting of crops.

    Add to that economies of scale killing ag jobs, larger and more frequent land grabs, and millions of traditional farmers pushed off land and into cities looking for work and food.

    It’s then a vicious cycle: “When the farmers aren’t eating or are under-resourced, violence ensues … impacting not just Brazil,” she said. Militaries rise, and governments become despotic.

    Think of millions of displaced farmers crossing borders because their access to water, soil and seeds has been wrested away by governments in collusion with companies like Bayer, Monsanto, Novartis, Syngenta, Cargill.

    The irony is that the impacts from industrial agriculture hit the health of communities, especially women, hard. Then this Brave New World order unfolds — the pharmaceutical company, Novartis, produces drugs that treat the cancers and depression that come from the chemicals and seeds companies like Syngenta concoct.

    Janaina committed to the Seattle Tilth Harvest Festival and later that evening with a Community Alliance for Global Justice and Grassroots International event to promote collective power and solutions to this sick agro-chemical model. The farm workers movement in Janaina’s country has occupied land and put offspring into schools and colleges.

    While farmers historically have had high levels of illiteracy and education, the movement in Brazil has put investments into educating farmers to navigate the arenas of politics, bio-intensive organic farming and community development and engagement.

    “Each city and community can implement another model,” she said. “We can together fight for food sovereignty — the right to access water, soil … to own seeds. But only together can we unite against transnational organizations and countries that support them to get to this old-new model.”

    For more about Brazil or the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement--

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    The Death Nail of Solar Energy in the USA? Thanks, Obama!


    Joe Stephens is on Democracy Now today talking about this story of Obama, Rahm Emanual, Joe Biden and others botching solar energy's key role in America's future. Read Michael Klare's piece here on

    How America's Decline Is Linked to Oil

    America's rise to supremacy was fueled by control over the world's oil supply. Now, the decline of the U.S. coincides with the decline of oil as a major energy source
    Check it out at Tom Dispatch -- 
    We are up a creek without a paddle when we are so tied to Oil. Up to $20 billion a year to air condition the US mercenary forces in those wars in the middle east. The US military is the single largest consumer of oil, gas, fuel, diesel, etc. 
    So, read the Stephens piece on Solyndra. Read the Post's follow up, 5 Myths about the Solyndra Collapse:

    Solyndra loan: White House pressed on review of solar company now under investigation

    By and Carol D. Leonnig, Published: September 13

    EXCLUSIVE | The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s factory, newly obtained e-mails show.

    The Silicon Valley company, a centerpiece in President Obama’s initiative to develop clean energy technologies, had been tentatively approved for the loan by the Energy Department but was awaiting a final financial review by the Office of Management and Budget.

    The August 2009 e-mails, released exclusively to The Washington Post, show White House officials repeatedly asking OMB reviewers when they would be able to decide on the federal loan and noting a looming press event at which they planned to announce the deal. In response, OMB officials expressed concern that they were being rushed to approve the company’s project without adequate time to assess the risk to taxpayers, according to information provided by Republican congressional investigators.

    Solyndra collapsed two weeks ago, leaving taxpayers liable for the $535 million loan.

    One e-mail from an OMB official referred to “the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra.” Another complained, “There isn’t time to negotiate.”

    “We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one official wrote. That Aug. 31, 2009, message, written by a senior OMB staffer and sent to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, concluded, “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”

    White House officials said Tuesday that no one in the administration tried to influence the OMB decision on the loan. They stressed that the e-mails show only that the administration had a “quite active interest” in the timing of OMB’s decision.

    “There was interest in when a decision would be made because of its impact on whether an event involving the vice president could be scheduled for a particular date or not, but the loan guarantee decision was merit-based and made by career staffers at DOE,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

    Solyndra spokesman David Miller said he was unaware of any direct involvement of the White House in securing or accelerating the loan.

    The e-mail exchanges could intensify questions about whether the administration was playing favorites and made costly errors while choosing the first recipient of a loan guarantee under its stimulus program. Solyndra’s biggest investors were funds operated on behalf of the family foundation of Tulsa billionaire and Obama fundraiser George Kaiser. Although he has been a frequent White House visitor, Kaiser has said he did not use political influence to win approval of the loan.

    The White House has previously said that it had no involvement in the Solyndra loan application and that all decisions were made by career officials based on the merits of the company.

    It is not clear from the e-mails whether the White House
    influenced a final decision to approve the loan guarantee.

    The Sept. 4, 2009, groundbreaking event went ahead as scheduled, with Energy Secretary Steven Chu in attendance and Biden speaking to the gathering by satellite feed.

    Republican investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is holding a hearing about Solyndra on Wednesday, concluded that the White House set a closing date for the OMB approval even before the OMB review had begun.

    The White House pressure may have had a “tangible impact” on the OMB’s risk assessment of the loan, the congressional investigators concluded.

    In one e-mail, an OMB staff member questioned whether the review team was using the best model for determining the financial risk to taxpayers in evaluating the Solyndra deal.

    “Given the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra, we don’t have time to change the model,” the staffer wrote.

    Solyndra was a favorite of the administration until two weeks ago, when the company abruptly shuttered its factory and filed for bankruptcy court protection, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers on the hook for the loans. Last week, FBI agents searched the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters in a raid that Miller said appeared linked to the loan guarantee.

    In one e-mail, an assistant to Rahm Emanuel, then White House chief of staff, wrote on Aug. 31, 2009, to OMB about the upcoming Biden announcement on Solyndra and asked whether “there is anything we can help speed along on OMB side.”

    An OMB staff member responded: “I would prefer that this announcement be postponed. . . . This is the first loan guarantee and we should have full review with all hands on deck to make sure we get it right.”


    There are still plenty of nagging questions about the collapse of Solyndra, the California-based solar-panel maker that went bankrupt last month after getting $535 million worth of loan guarantees from the Obama administration. Such as: Did the Energy Department fail to do due diligence? And did the White House intervene inappropriately in pressing for the loan guarantees?

    But as Solyndra becomes the newest political chew toy, there’s been no shortage of hyperbole about the affair — especially over what it means for energy policy more broadly. On Tuesday, for example, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chairs the oversight subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that Solyndra’s downfall proves “that green energy isn’t going to be the solution.” That’s quite a leap. So here’s a look at five overheated arguments about Solyndra’s bust:

    1) This scandal is no big deal. To the contrary, evidence is mounting that there was something irregular about the way the Solyndra deal got greenlighted. My colleagues Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig have obtained e-mails showing that the White House pressed the Office of Management and Budget to hurry up in reviewing the deal (note, however, that this only came after the Energy Department had approved the loan), even as OMB officials voiced concern about being rushed.
    Does that prove the White House engaged in cronyism, shoveling cash toward a political ally? Not necessarily. Democrats have pointed out that Solyndra’s loan process was initiated by the Bush administration and that many key investors were Republicans. Still, there could have been other reasons the deal was hastened. As a former Clinton energy aide stressed to me, it was arguably a mistake to sell the loan guarantees as job-creating stimulus (the program was expanded as part of the 2009 stimulus bill). “It means you try to force huge amounts of money quickly through processes that aren’t quite ready yet,” the aide said. “It’d be better to have a calmer, steadier source of funding.”

    2) Solyndra proves that energy-loan guarantees are a flop. Not exactly. The Energy Department’s loan-guarantee program, enacted in 2005 with bipartisan support, has backed nearly $38 billion in loans for 40 projects around the country. Solyndra represents just 1.3 percent of that portfolio — and, as yet, it’s the only loan that has soured. Other solar beneficiaries, such as SunPower and First Solar, are still going strong. Meanwhile, just a small fraction of loan guarantees go toward solar. The program’s biggest bet to date is an $8.33 billion loan guarantee for a nuclear plant down in Georgia. Improper political influence in the process is disturbing, but, at least so far, Solyndra appears an exception, not a rule. (That said, the GAO and others have pointed out potential pitfalls and the need for stricter oversight in the loan program.)

    3) The government should leave energy R&D to the private sector. Actually, there’s reason to think the private market is drastically under-investing in new energy technology. As a new report from the American Energy Innovation Council lays out, the utility sector spends just 0.1 percent of its revenues on R&D — the average for U.S. industries is 3.5 percent. The electricity sector is heavily regulated and capital-intensive — power plants last for decades and turn over slowly — and hence tends to focus less on innovation. What’s more, many objectives that may be in the public interest, such as reducing carbon emissions, aren’t fully valued in the marketplace right now.
    As such, the AEIC report concludes, “Energy innovation should be a higher national priority.” Right now, the federal government spends a middling amount on energy research (about $3 billion in 2009), compared with the sums lavished on the National Institutes of Health ($36.5 billion) or defense research ($77 billion). And the AEIC report recommends public support for all aspects of the innovation process, from basic research to pilot projects to helping companies commercialize their products. (Solyndra was in that last phase.)

    4) Solar is a doomed industry. This view has been gaining popularity, but it’s not borne out by the numbers. Prices for solar photovoltaic modules continue to tumble, even as fossil-fuel prices rise. A June report by Ernst & Young suggests that large-scale solar could become cost-competitive within a decade, even without government support. Of course, grid operators still have to grapple with the fact that the sun doesn’t always shine, but storage technologies continue to improve — in July, a solar plant in Seville, Spain, achieved continuous 24-hour operation using molten salt storage. All told, some 24,000 MW worth of projects are in the pipeline in the United States, led by California. Those projects may not all get completed, but that’s a lot of growth underway.

    5) It’s all China’s fault. This one is complicated. China does provide hefty subsidies to its solar industry. As Climate Progress’s Stephen Lacey details, the Chinese Development Bank offers cheap long-term loans to domestic manufacturers that dwarf anything Solyndra ever got. That allows Chinese solar companies to offer cutthroat prices and drive competitors out. And yet, as Westinghouse Solar CEO Barry Cinnamon explains, it wasn’t China that caused Solyndra to go belly-up — the company had invented a solar panel that didn’t use silicon, unlike its competitors, and foundered after silicon prices plummeted.

    What’s more, the fact that China hurls money at solar isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since cheaper solar prices can benefit the United States too. The Energy Department seems to have recognized that going toe-to-toe with China on direct subsidies may be futile and is instead trying to focus on complementary efforts to bolster innovation, through programs like its Sunshot Initiative. Also, for all China’s subsidy frenzy, the United States still exported $1.9 billion of solar products last year and actually has a trade surplus in solar with China.

    Five myths about the Solyndra collapse

    at 10:07 AM ET, 09/14/2011

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Traditional Corn WILL Weather Climate Change -- Monsanto's WILL NOT!

    Ahh, Monsanto, Dow Cargil, Syngenta, Norvis -- these giants are railroading into every country in the world to take our food away. Genetically altered, engineered, modified, trans-morphed, whatever you want to call them -- GE, GMO or Franken-foods, the bottom line is that king of high tech, Bill Gates, and spouse, Melinda, have their talons in the futures of smallholder farmers who DO NOT want their faux green revolution. We'll be looking at a study that shows that agro-ecological, or organic, can save the world, feed the world, and mitigate 1/3 of the carbon pollution we now have causing climate chaos.

    Here's the lo down on corn, where I spent a lot of my formative years as an activist, journalist and writer -- Mexico, Yucatan, Oaxaca. 

    MEXICO: Traditional Maize Can Cope with Climate Change By Emilio Godoy

    MEXICO CITY, Sept 8, 2011 (IPS) - Maize, Mexico's staple food as well as a symbol, has
    the potential to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects without any need for
    genetically modified seeds, according to agricultural scientists.

    Mexico has at least 59 landraces (traditional, locally-adapted strains that are rich in
    biodiversity) and 209 varieties of corn. White maize is the most commonly eaten variety,
    while yellow maize is used for animal feed or processed into cornflakes, starch and other

    Maize is thought to have developed from an ancestor grain in four possible geographical
    locations in Mexico, according to the 2009 study "Origen y diversificación del maíz, una
    revisión analítica" (Origin and Diversification of Maize: An Analytical Review) by
    researchers at the state Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), the Autonomous
    University of Mexico City and the Postgraduate College.

    "Climate change will have different impacts, because corn varieties are adapted to very
    specific conditions," Carolina Ureta, a researcher at the UNAM Biology Institute, told
    IPS. "While some varieties will benefit, others will be harmed."

    "We can focus our attention on varieties that grow in adverse conditions, and see what
    genetic improvement is possible," she said.

    Ureta has been working since 2009 on a research project titled "Effects of Climate Change
    on the Distribution of Mexican Maize and its Wild Relatives", due to be completed in 2012
    as the final stage of her doctorate in biological sciences. Her research is to be
    published in a forthcoming issue of the U.S. journal Global Change Biology.

    According to her results, the territorial distribution of maize is expected to shrink 15
    percent by 2030, and 30 percent by 2050. The north of the country will be most affected
    because of its drier conditions.

    Maize is a symbolic crop in Mesoamerica, the region covering southern Mexico and Central
    America, because of its vital importance in pre-Columbian culture.

    Some 3.2 million Mexican farmers cultivate maize, and over two million of these producers
    use it for family consumption, according to official statistics.

    Farm workers harvest white maize, in particular, for domestic consumption, while they
    import yellow corn for animal feed. The government projects white maize output of 23
    million tonnes this year, and a further nine million tonnes of yellow maize will be
    purchased abroad.

    "The potential to face up to climate change lies in producing seeds in situ, the way it
    has always been done in traditional environmentally-friendly agriculture," Aleida Lara,
    coordinator ofGreenpeace Mexico's sustainable agriculture and transgenics campaign, told

    In fact, traditional farming systems are being studied by three scientists, from the NGO
    Biodiversity International, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and
    theInternational Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), whose results were
    published in August in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    The results suggest that "traditional seed systems may be able to provide farmers with
    landraces suitable for agro-ecological conditions under predicted climate change
    scenarios," Mauricio Bellón, David Hodson and Jon Hellin concluded in their paper titled
    "Assessing the vulnerability of traditional maize seed systems in Mexico to climate

    The scientists studied the structure and spatial scope of traditional maize seed systems
    in 400 households from 20 communities in five states of eastern Mexico, at altitudes
    between 10 and 2,980 metres above sea level.

    In their view, given the expected changes in agriculture and climate, the introduction of
    genetically modified maize (engineered to contain genes from other species, such as
    bacteria, to confer resistance to insects or
    herbicides) represents a threat to native species.

    "We have enough diversity to be able to introduce adaptation methods without the need for
    transgenics," said UNAM's Ureta, who belongs to the Union of Scientists Committed to
    Society (UCCS). "Very few landraces have been genetically characterised, and transgenics
    could contaminate the genotypes that have not been produced commercially. Therefore, we
    should develop our own technology, to meet our own needs," she said.

    Mexico's agriculture ministry decided in March to approve a pilot study of genetically
    modified yellow maize resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, carried out by U.S. seed
    giant Monsanto on less than a hectare of land in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

    Since 2009, the government has received 110 applications for experimental cultivation of
    transgenic maize and 11 for pilot programmes. The ministry has granted 67 permits for
    experimental planting, on nearly 70 hectares of land in states in the north of the

    Environmental organisations are accusing the government of conservative President Felipe
    Calderón of breaking the Biosecurity Law for Genetically Modified Organisms, in force
    since 2005, which stipulates that centres of origin of native seeds must be determined
    before any permission is granted for transgenic crops.

    They want the government to reinstate the moratorium on transgenics that was in place
    from 1999 to March 2009.

    The environmental watchdog Greenpeace reported the existence of transgenic maize in six
    of Mexico's 32 states, as well as imports of genetically modified seeds.

    "In 2009 we requested the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to grant
    precautionary measures against the sowing of transgenic seeds, because of the delay by
    the Mexican justice system in enforcing the law in an issue of national security," said
    Greenpeace Mexico's Lara.

    CIMMYT, founded by U.S. scientist Norman Borlaug (1914-2009), the "father"
    of the Green Revolution that spread chemical fertilisers on fields all over the world,
    has determined that transgenes – genetic material transferred from one species to another
    – may affect the environment and farmers' welfare, and have commercial costs, such as
    licences and distribution fees.

    "Maize landraces in Mexico show remarkable diversity and climatic adaptability, growing
    in environments ranging from arid to humid and from temperate to very hot. This diversity
    raises the possibility that Mexico already has maize germplasm suitable for the 'novel'
    crop environments predicted for 2050," says the paper by Bellón, Hodson, and Hellin, who
    works at CIMMYT.

    CIMMYT maintains a germplasm bank containing at least 25,000 maize seeds, while Mexico's
    National Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Livestock Research (INIFAP) runs a
    similar bank of 11,000 seeds. But these stored seeds may not be fully suited to future
    climate conditions.

    National Maize Day will be celebrated in Mexico Sept. 29, organised by the "Sin Maíz No
    Hay País" (Without Corn There is No Country) campaign undertaken by a coalition of NGOs
    to protect native maize from genetically modified seeds.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Feds Go After Our Business Owners -- Kick in the Door of Health Food Stores While Wall Street Financial Thugs Laugh All the Way to the Bank(s)

    So many stories out there today, as NATO, USA and EU attempt to rule the world, as they go into Libya with bombing runs and black-ops. Documents retrieved showing how CIA and MI-6 worked with Libya's torture agencies to "rendition" innocents in this global so-called war on terrorism.

    However, let's look at the jack-booted folk in our government going after health nuts, raw milk enthusiasts. Then the letter to me from CREDO and Food Democracy Now!


    Armed Federal Agents Raid a Health Food Club, Drag Volunteer to Jail

    By Ari LeVaux, AlterNet
    August 3rd was a telling day for the U.S. government's role in controlling our food safety and food security. In Los Angeles, the Rawesome raw food club was raided by armed federal and state agents who arrested a club volunteer and seized computers, file folders, cash, and $70,000 worth of perishable produce. The bail for volunteer James Stewart, 64, was set at $121,000 -- higher than the bail amounts assessed to narcotics dealers and domestic abusers in the courtroom that day. And, in a rare move, Stewart was denied the right to use a bondsman.

    Of the thirteen counts against Stewart, 12 regarded raw milk and products made from raw milk that were distributed to club members in a Rose Avenue warehouse. (The other count involved unwashed, room temperature eggs). No illnesses have been reported in the club's 12-year history. And if a problem were to occur with the club's food, members say, they would be able to quickly figure out the source. This was the second such raid on Rawesome, the first having happened in June of 2010.

    In addition to the seizure of virtually every file, hard drive, wallet, post-it note and receipt in Rawesome's office, the search warrant also demanded seizure of "cheese, cream, milk, whey, yogurt, butter, kefir, dietary supplements, and any other product deemed necessary for testing."

    It remains to be seen if the coconuts, watermelons and buffalo meat taken from the Rawesome Food Club, as seen in this YouTube video, will be tested. What could they possibly test it for? Raw milk contamination? More than likely this food will be tossed.

    Lela Buttery, 29, a Rawesome member and part of the de facto support team that has coalesced around Stewart, says a bevy of high profile lawyers have offered their services pro bono. Christopher Darden, who prosecuted OJ Simpson's civil suit, appeared at Stewart's arraignment just in time to get his bond lowered from $121,000 to $30,000 and strike a clause that prevented Stewart from using a bail bondsman.

    Buttery says that when the bail amount was first read in court, it was almost comical. "We'd been watching child molesters and wife-beaters get [their bail set at] half that amount. James is accused of things like 'processing milk without pasteurization' and gets such a high bail amount... the felons in court burst out laughing."

    Rawesome started 12 years ago as a small group of raw milk drinkers who would occasionally pool their money together for an order. Someone, often Stewart, would take the money to a local farm and score some fresh unpasteurized milk to be divided among the group. As more and more people joined, the club grew from a cooler in a parking lot to a rented storage space to the current warehouse. The inventory diversified as the club evolved, but the layout stayed minimal: in piles, barely labeled.

    Rawesome members sign a form attesting "as a member of this private members-only club, I demand access to food that is 1) produced without exposure to chemical contaminants such as industrialized pesticides, fertilizers, cleansers or their gases; 2) complete with its natural unadulterated enzymes intact; 3) may contain microbes, including but not limited to salmonella, E.coli, campylobacter, listeria, gangrene and parasites; 4) the cows are grass-fed and the goats are pastured on a regular basis; 5) fowl are regularly given the opportunity to range outdoors and not fed soy products; and 6) eggs are unwashed and may have bacteria and poultry feces on them."

    Last year's raid on Rawesome resulted in seizers of cash, computers and other equipment that have yet to be returned, says Buttery. It also resulted in Rawesome agreeing not to distribute raw milk from Santa Paula-based Healthy Family Farms, which had been supplying raw milk to Rawesome members.

    California is one of the few states that allows the sale of raw milk, but only from dairies permitted by the state to do so. Healthy Family Farms, owned by Sharon Palmer, 51, had not kept up with its permitting, and Rawesome was ordered not to purchase HFF milk, which it didn't (Palmer disbanded the herd although she kept farming, selling chicken and eggs to Rawesome and at farmers' markets.) Where the club does get its raw milk from is complicated, says Buttery, who mentions it is often stocked raw camel's milk. A biologist by trade, Buttery gushed about the immunoglobulin chemistry of raw camel's milk.

    Although her farm did not supply raw milk to Rawesome, Palmer and her employee Eugenie Bloch, 58, were also arrested on August 3, on nine counts including conspiracy to commit a crime and unlicensed business. Like Stewart they were initially held on bail amounts more appropriate for killers and rapists.

    Later that day, as Stewart, Palmer, and Bloch languished in jail, Cargill issued a voluntary recall, 4 months after people began getting sick, of 36 million pounds of ground turkey traceable to its Arkansas plant. Cargill has a history of deadly outbreaks, is a major supplier to the nation's public school meal programs, and sells turkey under dozens of handles and brand names, none of which say "Cargill," reports Tom Philpott in Mother Jones.

    Nobody at the plant or at Cargill has been charged with a crime.

    While members of Rawesome who simply want to exercise their right to eat whatever they want to are getting bullied by armed multi-agency stings, our government agencies have no such powers of persuasion over corporations like Cargill. The USDA, which oversees the safety of meat products, can only issue "voluntary recalls" of products that have been infected with antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

    And while the state of California and the federal government face unprecedented financial problems, considerable state and federal resources have been placed into an undercover investigation to root out information that nobody was trying to hide.

    "Since the raid it's come out that we've been under investigation since June 30 of last year," says Buttery. "They've been monitoring us from unmarked vehicles, they have agents who have become members."

    If the last week has taught us anything it's that raw milk advocates need better lobbyists in Washington D.C. How the courtroom drama plays out is anybody's guess, but Buttery doesn't think so many lawyers would be lining up to take on this case if it wasn't a winner. In the meantime, Stewart and his associates, and that space on Rose Ave in Venice, are prohibited from having anything to do with the exchange of raw milk. Which basically puts Rawesome out of business.

    Or more accurately, out of cooperation.

    Both Stewart and Bloch posted their bonds and were released by Friday, August 5th, but Palmer missed her arraignment that day. The mother of three children with a farm to take care of had been in jail since Wednesday, and her detention facility's transport got her to court too late for her arraignment. She'll have to wait until Monday, after five days in jail, for the opportunity to post bail.

    Ari LeVaux writes a syndicated weekly food column, Flash in the Pan.
    © 2011 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at:
    Dear Paul,

    Why is a former Monsanto lobbyist currently serving as the FDA's food safety czar waging war on small dairy farms that producefresh milk?

    While factory farm operators are getting away with serious food safety violations, raw milk dairy farmers and distributorsacross the country have been subjected to armed raids and hauled away in handcuffs.

    The Food and Drug Administration is running sting operations followed by "guns-drawn raids usually reserved for terroristsand drug lords" as part of a crackdown on unpasteurized milk.1 Meanwhile, the FDA is letting the highly consolidatedindustrial meat and factory farm industry off the hook despite growing problems.

    Not surprisingly, the person responsible for prioritizing armed raids on small dairies over holding agribusiness accountableis a former Monsanto attorney and chief super lobbyist. Monsanto's Michael Taylor is the second highest-ranking officialat the FDA, and as Food Safety Czar is responsible for implementing the day-to-day policies that govern the food safety lawsfor the U.S. 2
    Tell President Obama to fire Monsanto's Michael Taylor from his job as Food Czar at the FDA. Click here to automaticallysign the petition.

    CREDO is joining our allies at Food Democracy Now! in calling on the president to fire Monsanto's Michael Taylor from theFDA. Midwestern farmers will play an important symbolic role in President Obama's reelection campaign. We need to let thepresident know that we stand with small farmers and not Monsanto!

    Michael Taylor seems focused on entirely the wrong aspects of food safety enforcement. Rather than making sure that foodsafety inspections are done properly at our nation's largest factory farms, where antibiotic resistance has run amuck, Taylorhas been leading a departmental crusade against small raw milk dairy producers. So far several dairy farmers have been subjectto a year-long undercover sting operation from the East Coast to California.

    Incredibly, Michael Taylor and FDA inspectors have not arrested or fined the Iowa agribusinessman — Jack DeCoster —who was wholly responsible for the half-a-billion eggs that were recalled in 2010 salmonella-tainted egg recall.3Though this industrial agribusinessman endangered the health of millions, Michael Taylor thinks Amish farmers producing freshmilk are more deserving targets of his FDA enforcement raids with guns drawn.

    While CREDO recognizes the inherent risks that are involved in food production, it's time that the U.S. government startresponsibly looking into the real origins of our nation's largest food safety recalls and stop harassing family farmers tryingto survive in the excessively consolidated food and agricultural sectors.

    Tell President Obama to fire Monsanto's Michael Taylor from his job as Food Czar at the FDA. Click here to automaticallysign the petition.

    Thanks for standing up for small farmers and taking our government back from Monsanto.

    Becky Bond, Political Director
    CREDO Action from Working Assets

    1 "Food safety chief defends raw milkraids", San Francisco Chronicle, June 7, 2011
    2 "Monsanto's man Taylor returns to FDAin food-czar role", Grist, July 8, 2009.
    3 "DeCoster Gets Warning, HillandaleSales OK'd",  Food Safety News, October 19, 2010.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Obama -- Caves on Mother Earth's Rights, Americans' Health

    He caves on the environment, and he can't pull the Wall Street wax from his ears -- people are finally waking up, and these politicians can't hear. After this quick look at our president's most important stripping of environmental laws, safe guards and sanity, read the former Republican operative's look at his senile and insane former party. Things are getting worse, and, as this blog ramifies, the mainstream media and the mainlining corporate tea bagger types gutting education will take the USA down the sewer pipe if smart, educated and, yes, lucky-to-be-employed-in-living-wage-or-above jobs DO NOT rise up.

    Smog USA

    The Obama Administration announced Sep. 2, 2011 that it is withdrawing an important new life-saving smog standard, once again delaying action to reduce ozone pollution that threatens millions of Americans and contributes to as many as 12,000 premature deaths every year.

    This decision leaves in place outdated, Bush-era standards that lag far behind what scientists have unanimously recommended and will result in more than 45,000 cases of aggravated asthma and over 1.5 million missed work or school days per year.

    Millions of children and adults with respiratory illnesses like asthma are particularly vulnerable to elevated levels of ozone pollution.

    Please join me in expressing your disappointment with the White House decision. Send an email to President Obama today.

    The Fight for Clean Air

    As disappointing as today's announcement is, we will have our hands full this Fall fighting back against many other outrageous assaults on the EPA and our landmark clean air laws.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) sent a letter this week to colleagues outlining a vigorous political strategy to block as many as eight life-saving clean air standards.

    We will need your continued support and constant vigilance over the next several months to take on the polluter allies in Congress and beat back these ideological and counter-productive attacks.

    First, What Happened up through Labor Day

    A petition with 617,428 names opposing the pipeline was delivered to the White House and over the course of the two-week sit-in 1,252 people were arrested, including top climate scientists, landowners from Texas and Nebraska, First Nations leaders from Canada, and notable individuals including Bill McKibben, former White House official Gus Speth, NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen, actor Daryl Hannah, filmmaker Josh Fox, and author Naomi Klein. And even some Obama For America staffers.

    Ahh, 28 Years as a Republican Ooperative -- Now He Sees the Light (and publishing deals!)

    Borrowing and spending the GOP way

    The big deficit facing the U.S. is mostly Republican in origin, the Congressional Budget Office says. The Bush tax cuts alone have added $3 trillion in red ink, yet the party wants to double down on its failed policy.

    By Mike Lofgren/ June 26, 2011

    President Obama's fiscal policies are a mess. Whatever one thinks of the need for stimulus in a severe recession, it is obvious that running trillion-dollar deficits for years on end is unsustainable. Moreover, his proposals are dishonest. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that his proposed 2012 budget underestimates spending while overestimating revenues.

    Sadly, the Republicans have offered no viable alternative.

    The failure of our leaders to offer realistic budget proposals was a major reason I decided to retire after 28 years in Congress, most of them as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees. My party talks a good game, railing about the immorality of passing debt on to our children. But the same Congressional Budget Office that punctured Obama's budget also concluded that the major policies that swung the budget from a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion in 2001 to the present 10-year deficit of $6.2 trillion were Republican in origin.

    Consider the two signature GOP policies of George W. Bush's presidency: the wars and the tax cuts. Including debt service costs, Bush's wars have cost about $1.7 trillion to date. Additionally, as part of being "a nation at war," the Pentagon has spent about $1 trillion more than was expected in the last decade on things other than direct war costs, which has been a bonanza for military contractors but a disaster for the federal budget. And finally, there has been another trillion dollars spent domestically in response to 9/11, including spending on such things as establishing the Homeland Security Department and increasing the budgets for the State Department and the Veterans Administration.

    The Bush tax cuts have added another $3 trillion in red ink. While Republican leaders wail that Americans — particularly their rich contributors — are overtaxed, the facts say otherwise: U.S. taxpayers, particularly the wealthiest, pay far less in taxes than they would in most other developed countries. Today, the 400 wealthiest Americans have as much wealth as the bottom 125 million. The GOP insists that those wealthy people use their money to create jobs, and that taxing them more heavily would ultimately hurt the economy. But, if that's so, why was the rate of job creation in the decade after the Bush tax cuts the poorest in any decade since before World War II?

    Like a drunk swearing off hooch for the hundredth time, Republicans are now trying to show they are serious about controlling the deficit by saying they won't raise the debt ceiling unless they get through some of their cost-saving projects, like privatizing Medicare. Meanwhile, they want revenue increases "off the table," even though, at 14.8% of GDP, revenues are at their lowest level in 60 years. And the budget passed by the Republican-controlled House further cuts taxes on the wealthy, a fact it glosses over with optimistic growth forecasts.

    Raising the debt ceiling isn't, as the GOP tries to say, Congress giving itself permission to continue excessive spending: It's something that's necessary to pay for past congressional decisions on taxes and spending, and those decisions were made primarily when Republicans were in charge.

    No one wants to have to raise the debt ceiling. But not doing so could lead to at least a temporary default on our debt, which would force up interest rates for everyone and add more than a trillion dollars to the cost of servicing the federal government's debt. Moreover, a default could seize up our private financial system in a manner similar to the Lehman Bros. collapse. Do the Republican holdouts really want that? If so, they might want to take a hard look at the streets of Athens.

    The policy of full faith and credit, constructed by Alexander Hamilton more than two centuries ago, has served us well. We shouldn't abandon it to a misplaced ideology.

    Polarization based on juvenile talk radio sloganeering is dragging this country to the cliff's edge. If neither the Democrats nor the party I have served for three decades is willing to act like adults, perhaps it's time for a party that is willing to step into the void.

    Mike Lofgren retired as a congressional staffer on June 17.

    Read all of Lofgren's discrediting of the Republicans here:

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Ya Gotta Give It to Real Americans Standing Down Injustice, Unstainable Practices!

    Dear Paul, Over 1,000 people have been arrested in front of the White House in the last two weeks. One of the largest acts of civil disobedience in the environmental movement is underway to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline which will extend from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline is a threat to our environment and threatens the drinking water of millions of people in its path. Stand with us and ask President Obama to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. Food & Water Watch's Board President and international water activist Maude Barlow has been instrumental in the movement against the Keystone XL pipeline. She's been fighting to oppose the pipeline because of the disasters it's already caused in Canada, and the disasters waiting to happen if it's built in the U.S. She's joined up with other key movement leaders and scientists like Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, James Hansen and David Suzuki to call for direct action to stop this pipeline, which Bill McKibben calls the "biggest carbon bomb on the continent." Take action now to join her and the hundreds of thousands of activists that are working to oppose the Keystone Pipeline. This pipeline is especially threatening because it will run through the Ogallala aquifer, one of the world's largest supplies of fresh water, and other major rivers that supply substantial agricultural water to farmers and drinking water to millions of Americans. This issue is so critical that the Governor of Nebraska even wrote a letter to President Obama saying that he didn't want the pipeline coming through his state. The only people that stand to benefit from this pipeline are the big oil and gas industry folks who will reap huge profits from the tar sands oil, while the rest of us are left with environmental disaster and undrinkable water. Add your voice to the over 250,000 people that have already spoke out against the pipeline: Thanks for taking action, Sarah Alexander/ Education & Outreach Director/Food & Water Watch goodfood(at)fwwatch(dot)org

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Obama, USA, Canada, US State, Tea Baggers - Unsustainable -- TAR and FEATHER Us


    Declaration of Youth Leaders at the Tar Sands Action

    Today we sit to demand justice. Tomorrow, we’re getting back up to organize in our communities to ensure justice. And we’re calling on you to join us.

    A growing movement of young people has been organizing to build a more clean and just economy that works for all of us, addresses the climate crisis and creates jobs for those who need them. Together, we will build an economy steered by communities, not corporations.

    We’ve been successful in leading change in our communities; more than 700 college campuses have made commitments to adopt renewable energy and become carbon neutral. And we’re following up on these commitments by forcing campuses to move beyond coal and other forms of dirty energy.

    But it’s not an easy road, and we have major challenges ahead. Big corporations are using their financial influence to corrupt our democracy and deepen their pockets at the expense of Americans. And it’s not just related to energy and the environment; they are threatening the very foundations of our democracy, working to disenfranchise voters, attack workers’ rights and the middle class.

    In an act of civil disobedience, we stand together today and risk arrest in front of the White House to demand that President Obama stand up to these big corporate interests, reject the Keystone XL Pipeline permit, and put an end to this corporate-dominated madness. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would further open up disastrous mining on indigenous lands in Alberta, Canada. The pipeline would then take this toxic and corrosive crude across the country down to the Gulf Coast, threatening communities with spills and health impacts all along the way. It would release enormous amounts of global warming pollution, further fueling the climate crisis. Bottom-line: it threatens our future and we can’t let it happen.

    Read more here --

    UXBRIDGE, Canada - The United States' biggest environmental groups put aside their differences last week to make an urgent intervention on the country's addiction to oil. The first step on the long road to recovery, they say, is to stop the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that will "mainline" the world's dirtiest oil from northern Canada into the U.S. heartland.
    "This (Keystone) is a terrible project," they wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama, citing dangers to the climate, the risks of disastrous spills and leaks, and the economic damage that will come from continued dependence on fossil fuel. The U.S. and Canada clearly have an oil addiction, but green groups argue that it is oil money that keeps them addicted - and keeps them from getting into rehab. (photo: Josh Lopez / Tar Sands Action)

    Oil from the Keystone XL will dump an estimated 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually into the atmosphere - more than most countries. Scientists warn that approval of the project will further fuel the extreme weather that has already resulted in over one billion dollars in damages recorded this year in nine separate extreme weather events in the U.S.

    And that doesn't include the estimated 20 to 45 billion dollars in costs from Hurricane Irene last weekend, mainly due to extensive flooding.

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels do not cause hurricanes, tornados or droughts, but they do trap additional heat and water vapour that fuels those events, climate scientists have proven time and time again.

    Asked about the impacts of adding another 150 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, German climate scientist Malte Meinshausen, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told IPS that it will warm the planet for hundreds of years and lead to higher sea levels and "more pronounced droughts and floods".

    The green groups asked the president to be strong and take the first step by denying permission to build the 2,400-kilometre, seven- billion-dollar pipeline, which would pump 700,000 to 800,000 barrels a day of bitumen oil from Canada's tar sands in northern Alberta.

    Thousands of people have brought the same message to President Obama's front door at the White House in the past 10 days. More than 500 have been arrested for protesting on the White House sidewalk, urging him to take the first step in breaking the country's addiction to fossil fuels by standing up to the Big Oil lobby.

    This is an unusual circumstance, where the president gets to make the "go, no go" decision all by himself. No need to deal with a dysfunctional Congress. And environmentalists argue that for a president whose popularity has plummeted, it would seem to be a public relations coup to take a stand and finally act on his promises to fight climate change.

    No easy decision

    The problem for President Obama is that some of the world's most powerful oil companies have a problem. Big Oil has made enormous investments in Canada's tar sands, the second largest oil reserves on the planet. They need to ship their "product" - and lots of it - to the lucrative U.S. market for processing, and very likely export it to Europe or even China.

    TransCanada Pipelines is eager to build the Keystone XL to transport its "product" across the border.

    The company will charge hundreds of millions a year for the service, but it's worth it because Big Oil will use the pipeline to make an estimated 40 to 60 billion dollars a year, or maybe more, depending on how high they can jack up the street price of gasoline.

    Big Oil has worked hard to ensure the full cooperation and assistance of the government of Canada and the province of Alberta, where the tar sands are located. For a piece of the action, the governments of Canada and Alberta have been slow or failed to enforce their own environmental laws.

    Canada has completely ignored its international obligations to reduce fossil fuel use. Both governments have used public funds to furiously lobby their counterparts in the U.S. to follow suit.

    It was hardly surprising then to see a letter by Canada's ambassador to the U.S., Gary Doer, published Monday in the New York Times using arguments promoting the Keystone project that appear to be lifted from TransCanada's press releases.

    The U.S. and Canada clearly have an oil addiction, but green groups argue that it is oil money that keeps them addicted - and keeps them from getting into rehab.

    During the last election cycle, the oil industry gave members of the U.S. Congress more than 13.6 million dollars, reports Steve Kretzman of Oil Change International, an NGO that researches the links between oil, gas, coal corporations and governments.

    These pay-offs are excellent investments. Top U.S. oil companies reported 73 billion dollars in profits in just the first six months of this year. Part of those profits is thanks to at least four billion dollars in annual subsidies from U.S. taxpayers, noted Kretzman in a recent report.

    Despite the U.S.'s ballooning debt crisis, Big Oil will continue to receive this public money in what is by far the country's biggest welfare fraud. Eight of the 12 members of the newly-named Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction charged with tackling the debt crisis have voted in the last two years to allow oil companies to keep pocketing billions in taxpayer subsidies, Kretzman found.

    Remarkably, Canada's corporate welfare for Big Oil is far higher at 2.84 billion dollars in 2008 according to International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) based in Winnipeg, Canada. Last month one of the world's richest corporations, Shell Oil agreed to accept a 'gift' of 865 million in Canadian taxpayer's dollars to cover most of the cost of building an experimental carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility to cut its CO2 pollution in the tar sands.

    Study after study show that public subsidies for alternative energy - not including corn ethanol - which would actually wean the U.S. and Canada of their oil addiction are a small fraction of what the oil industry get. Which begs the question: If the U.S. and Canada are really trying to kick their oil addiction, why do they keep giving their dealers bonuses?

    Unless the river of money flowing into Big Oil's coffers from subsidies and the biggest corporate profits in history are diverted, scientists and activists say there is no hope of dealing with climate change, the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced.

    This blog is brought to you by

    This blog is brought to you by
    Paul Haeder

    Fuse Washington

    Fuse Washington