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Truthout Daily Digest Friday, 27 June 2014

The Ultra-Right-Wing State Nobody Mentions

Bryan K. Bullock, Truthout: Quick! Name the state that’s been ground zero for privatization of public resources, voter ID laws, assaults on reproductive rights, lax environmental regulations, dismantling unions, enacting ALEC-sponsored legislation, creation of charter schools and voucher, anti-immigrant initiatives and more. It’s not Texas or Arizona…

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Iraq and Detroit: Both Plundered by the Same Bandits

Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report: Very powerful people in boardrooms and government offices made decisions that turned Detroit into an Iraq in the United States’ midst and now sneer at pleas for mercy. Just as Iraq’s infrastructure has been destroyed, Detroit residents now live without basic services, which ought to be regarded as a human right.

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“Open Season on Reproductive Health Care Clinics”: A Clinic Escort Responds to McCullen Ruling

Katie Klabusich, The Brad Blog: “I am a long-time clinic defense escort volunteer in cities from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York. The idea that the people standing outside clinics screaming and yelling, chasing people into the streets and threatening staff are there for First Amendment expression reasons would be laughable if the potential for violence wasn’t so real.”

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Robert Pollin: Why Did Economy Shrink So Dramatically During the First Quarter of 2014?

Anton Woronczuk, The Real News Network: “We’re talking about roughly a 3 percent decline in GDP growth in one quarter. That is greater than the decline that occurred in the entire recession of 2001 and in the entire recession of 1970. So this is a huge number,” says economist Robert Pollin.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

Red Cross: How We Spent Sandy Money Is a “Trade Secret”

Justin Elliott, ProPublica: Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy? The charity hired a fancy law firm to fight a public request filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a “trade secret.”

Read the Article

A Forgotten Community in New Orleans: Life on a Superfund Site

Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog: Shannon Rainey’s home in Gordon Plaza is part of a subdivision developed by the city in 1981 on top of the Agriculture Street landfill. No one disclosed to the buyers that their new homes were built on top of a dump that was closed in 1965.

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Fifty Years After Freedom Summer, US Faces Greatest Curbs on Voting Rights Since Reconstruction

Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now!: In a week marking the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, Mississippi was in the news when African-American voters crossed party lines to help Republican Sen. Thad Cochran narrowly defeat a Tea Party challenger to win his party’s nomination.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

This Might Be the Biggest Reason to End the Tipped Minimum Wage

Emily DiVito, Campaign For America’s Future: Women represent 72 percent of all workers in tipped-wage jobs – those with a federal minimum wage of just $2.13 an hour. This means women are disproportionately placed in the very compromising position of having to please customers to earn enough to have decent take-home pay.

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Judge Says Constitution Doesn’t Exempt Religious from Vaccinations

Crystal Shepeard, Care2: While New York does not allow for “personal belief” exemptions, states that do are considering re-examining such policies due to the numerous outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases over the past several years. The attorney for the plaintiffs has said they would appeal the ruling.

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Zimbabwe’s Unfolding Humanitarian Disaster: We Visit the 18,000 People Forcibly Relocated to Ruling Party Farm

Davison Mudzingwa and Francis Hweshe, Inter Press Service: There is great concern for displaced families settled in an area earmarked for a proposed biofuel project. The project is set to be driven by the Zimbabwe Bio-Energy company, a partnership between the Zimbabwe Development Trust and private investors.

Read the Article

BuzzFlash

Police SWAT Teams in Massachusetts Claim They are Nonprofit Organizations and Unaccountable

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: An ACLU report about a SWAT team standoff bears an ominous title: “Militarization of Police in Massachusetts Is Shrouded in Secrecy.” It certainly sounds like more evidence of an emerging police state, one that is evading transparency and accountability.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Eugene Robinson | The Useless, Feckless, Dangerous Reality of United States’ Drone War

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Ted Koppel Skewers Bill O’Reilly to His Face

Watch the Video at Fox News

Boston Ramps Up Police Presence Around Abortion Clinics After Supreme Court Ruling

Read the Article at Raw Story

Hobby Lobby: Supreme Court to Rule in Landmark Birth Control Case on Monday

Read the Article at Talking Points Memo

Paul Krugman | The Incompetence Dogma

Read the Article at The New York Times

Obama Administration Seeking $500M to Train “Moderate” Syrian Rebels

Read the Article at The Guardian

Win for “Rightful Stewards of the Land”: Canadian Court Sides With First Nations

Read the Article at Common Dreams


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Breakthrough in Photovoltaic Manufacturing

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Researchers at Liverpool University have found a way to greatly reduce the cost and toxicity of manufacturing the next generation of solar panels. The key is substituting one chemical for another. As the BBC report explains:

Dr John Major, who led the research said that his team’s work might be the development that brings the cost down to the level of fossil fuel,” he told BBC News.More than 90% of the solar cells are made from silicon. Around 7% are made from a material called cadmium telluride. The cadmium telluride cells are thinner than silicon and these are popular because they are also lighter and cheaper.

Toxic ingredient

They have the drawback that a toxic chemical, cadmium chloride, is needed to manufacture them. Cadmium chloride is also expensive.

A significant proportion of the manufacturing cost of cadmium telluride cells is to protect the workforce from toxins and to dispose of contaminated waste products safely, according to the research team.

The Independent has some more of the details:

The Liverpool team attempted to find an alternative to cadmium chloride in the activation step and discovered that it could be done just as well with magnesium chloride, which they sprayed onto a test sample of cadmium telluride with a model aircraft spray gun they bought for £49.99, Dr Major said.In a study published in the journal Nature, the researchers demonstrated that the efficiency of the resulting photovoltaic cells made from cadmium telluride and magnesium chloride were on a par with commercial cadmium telluride cells that had been activated with toxic cadmium chloride.

“We have to apply cadmium chloride in a fume cupboard in the lab, but we created solar cells using the new method on a bench with a spray gun bought from a model shop,” Dr Major said.

“Cadmium chloride is toxic and expensive, and we no longer need to use it. Replacing it with a naturally occurring substance could save the industry a vast amount of money and reduce the overall cost for generating power from solar,” he said.

One of the problems new technologies have in the process of replacing established but less desirable ones is the time factor. Technologies that have been around for a while have had time for refining and incorporation of efficiencies from years of practical experience. They are at the end of a long learning curve. Using a cheaper and less toxic chemical is one of those incremental steps in getting photovoltaics to be more competitive. The price can only keep going down.

We can see a similar phenomenon at work in the auto industry. The gasoline powered internal combustion engine has been around for decades. It’s now being challenged by electric and fuel cell alternatives, but they have a lot of catching up to do. As with the solar panels above, advances in materials sciences and chemistry could make a big difference. Electric battery improvements in capacity, weight, expense, and charging time are closing the gap. Fuel cells are lagging a bit, but advances in generating and storing hydrogen for fuel could change that as well.

Cadmium telluride cells have better performance than silicon, but limited and costly supplies of tellurium are still a potential bottleneck. If this new process succeeds, that will help drive the search to find substitutes for tellurium as well. We haven’t quite gotten to the Douglas-Martin Sunscreenyet, but we’re closing in.

http://m.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/25/1309620/-Breakthrough-in-Photovoltaic-Manufacturing?detail=email


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NRA Demands Convicted Stalkers And Abusive Boyfriends Be Allowed To Own Guns

Thank you for posting this! I’ve recently lost friends because they insisted that ANY mention of sensible gun regulations was “pushing for a gun ban”. I grew up on a farm using guns and I know plenty of responsible gun owners who DO emphatically support and promote sensible regulations like this that help minimize criminal gun use while not actually banning guns. Perhaps if someone is concerned with owning weapons, they will learn the restraint and self control necessary to avoid random violence that could result in restrictions. This could only be a good thing since such restraint is necessary to being a responsible gun owner.

The Fifth Column

NRA VP Wayne LaPierre caricature. Caricature of Wayne La Pierre by Donkey Hotey cc 2012

This is how we know the NRA is not interested in gun safety or gun regulations.  Their agenda is to placate the gun manufacturers.  It’s always been that way and it looks like it always will…

Addicting Info

The night is dark, every breeze stirs the summer bushes and startles her. Is he there? Or is she imagining things? If only the street light were closer to her car. She tells herself that she only needs to make it 12 more steps to her car. And then she is there. Her hand trembles so badly that she drops her keys. But finally she is inside her car, locks the doors and leans back letting out a slow sigh of relief.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” comes a familiar voice from the backseat. She can feel the cold muzzle of his…

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Good cirl bunting news from England

Thank you for sharing this! I love seeing successful local actions like this. People often feel there’s nothing we can do, but everything you do to improve things locally has an effect. Enough local actions will result in global transformation.

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called Cirl Bunting singing (Emberiza cirlus).

From Wildlife Extra:

Cirl buntings make a comeback in south Devon

The cirl bunting once faced extinction in the UK. However, it is now making a comeback in its south Devon stronghold.

In November 2008 the RSPB purchased Labrador Bay in Devon from Teignbridge District Council.

A contributing sum of £100,000 towards the purchase came from Devon County Council as compensation for what had been predicted to have a significant impact on cirl bunting habitat – the South Devon Link Road.

The plan for Labrador Bay was to have a reserve that would provide a safe-haven for this colourful bunting, providing all the vital elements it needed to flourish: safe nesting habitat and plenty of food, seeds in the winter and insects in the summer.

Cath Jeffs, cirl bunting project manager said: “At the time of purchase, we estimated…

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Truthout Daily Digest Thursday, 26 June 2014

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There are several very important stories in today’s digest.

I would add to the top story on Piketty, that it’s not just capitalism that is inherently flawed, but socialism as well.

Even though the intention of socialism is good-to correct the excesses and inequality built in to capitalism, by starting from the same premise as capitalism it inherits some of the same flaws.
I believe it’s time to abandon economic and social systems rooted in the ideas of money, production, and power over.

By starting with the central idea of production and profit both capitalism and socialism leave out by their design the most fundamentally important and central aspects of life. Instead they centralize the peripheral, and marginalize the core of life.

We can do better. For most of humanity’s long prehistory we did better, and many indigenous societies still do.

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Charles Eisenstein’s book Sacred Economics is available online to read for free. It can also be downloaded as an epub or pdf file, or purchased in print form.

I don’t believe Eisenstein’s book is the last word on this but it is a great beginning.

Go here to read it- http://sacred-economics.com/read-online/ .

ohnwentsya
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The Compelling Conclusion About Capitalism That Piketty Resists

Fred Guerin, Truthout: The excesses of capitalism are not simply a question of bad management and a political unwillingness to properly regulate it by imposing the right sort of checks and balances, but symptoms of a fundamentally and irretrievably flawed system that tends toward destruction of human and other life.

Read the Article

Water Cut-Off in Detroit Violates Human Rights, Say Activists

Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service: A severe water crisis in the financially bankrupt city of Detroit has prompted several NGOs and activists to appeal for UN intervention in one of the world’s richest countries.

Read the Article

Courage: Showing Solidarity With Whistleblowers and Defending Our Right to Know

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Truthout: In this interview, Sarah Harrison of the Courage Foundation talks about the public’s right to be informed, whistleblowers’ need for solidarity and the dangerous precedents being set around the world to deny public access to information.

Read the Interview

FreeHer: Formerly Incarcerated Women Demand an End to Mass Incarceration

Victoria Law, Truthout: On June 21, 2014, formerly incarcerated women, family members and advocates gathered in Washington, DC for the FreeHer rally to draw attention to the mass incarceration of women and to demand their freedom.

Read the Article

Hurry Up and Wait: Bashing the VA

Douglas Jamiel, Truthout: Have national misgivings toward conflicts since World War II found their way into budgeting for the VA, the agency tasked with caring for the less-fêted soldiers who prosecuted these ill-conceived engagements, or is ideology preventing proper funding of the most efficient health care system in the United States?

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The Boehner Lawsuit: The Caucus Room Conspiracy Continues

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: This week, Speaker of the House John Boehner emphatically announced that he was planning to sue President Obama, claiming that Obama has “exceeded his authority.” This is simply a GOP tactic to prevent Obama from doing anything meaningful for the American people.

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The Next Steps for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Mary Anne Hitt, OtherWords: Every state should concentrate its carbon-reduction efforts on truly renewable energy alternatives. Let’s create more productive jobs in industries that don’t pollute our air and water or disrupt the climate.

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Iraq’s Depleted Uranium Threat

John LaForge, Consortium News: Over the past two dozen years, the massive damage that the United States has inflicted on Iraq’s population, infrastructure and environment includes residue from American “depleted uranium” weapons, which can cause cancer and other illnesses.

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Shredding the Fourth Amendment in the Post-Constitutional US: Four Ways It No Longer Applies

Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch: Americans are told (and often believe) that they retain rights they no longer have. Citizens passively watch their rights disappear in the service of dark ends, largely without protest and often while still celebrating a land that no longer exists.

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Will German Workers Declare Independence?

John Clay, Arbeitskammer: At a time when Americans are looking abroad for alternative economic strategies to rebalance our unequal economy, some worker advocates in Germany are asking if an American form of cooperative enterprise might be the way to economic independence.

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Paul Krugman | An Innovation Lesson From Germany: Less Disruption, More Quality

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: Germany manages to be an export powerhouse despite its very high labor costs. How do the Germans do it? Not by constantly coming out with revolutionary new products, but by producing very high-quality goods, for which people are willing to pay premium prices.

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Economic Update: Analyzing Incarceration

Richard D. Wolff, Economic Update / Truthout: Updates on health economics; Mississippi political lessons; and what’s wrong with a Harvard economist. Wolff interviews Victor Wallis on the economics and politics of US prisons. Response to questions about the gender wage gap, real estate bubbles and the “ultra rich.”

Listen to the Radio Segment

BuzzFlash

A Drone May Be Filming You Through Your Bedroom Window Right Now, Really

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: If you are doing something you don’t want to see posted on YouTube or on a government or corporate computer, remember that someone may be recording you.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Iraq: A Disaster Stamped “Made in the USA”

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Supreme Court Curtails Obama’s Recess Appointment Power

Read the Article at The Washington Post

The Ghoulish Trollery of Dick Cheney

Read the Article at Salon

Report: Accidental Shootings Kill Two Kids Every Week

Read the Article at Al Jazeera America

Obama Attacks Republicans for Appeasing Climate Deniers

Read the Article at The Guardian

Too Big to Jail: Confessions of a Goldman Sachs Brat

Read the Article at The Daily Beast

Charles P. Pierce | John Boehner and His Frivolous Lawsuit

Read the Article at Esquire


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Just Posted: New Videos on EarthShift TV by Lada Ray!


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Recent Relationship Patterns as Realities Split

Thank you Laura!

Laura Bruno's Blog

I’ve alluded many times to a splitting of realities/timelines and what I call the “Cosmic ‘Are You Sure?!'” but wanted to share today about how I see these two factors affecting relationships. Many clients and loved ones have experienced simultaneous breakthroughs in stuck areas of their lives, only to find breakdowns of long-term relationships. This pattern often occurs anyway, because as we shift our own restricted energies into new, expansive directions, those who felt comfortable with the lesser version of us can feel threatened by the change. That dynamic just seems majorly magnified right now, so I wanted to assure people that if you’re experiencing it, you’re not alone. Entire swaths of our culture are choosing either perpetual victimization, fear and ignorance or liberation, love and joy.

Fence sitting continues to become uncomfortable and borderline impossible, which can result in fence sitters lashing out at people who represent the side…

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A message from Mother

Thank you Aisha! What a beautiful new moon beginning message!

aisha north

Dear family of light!
As I sat down to channel today I could feel something special in the energies as I connected to them. I usually feel a distinct tingle when I start by grounding myself, but this time, it was as if a stream of love floated up through my entire body up to my heart where it connected with the energies coming in. It was such a powerful but loving experience, my body trembled and it brought tears to my eyes.  As usual, I welcomed the CCs and asked them for today’s message, but this time, they told me that they would “give the floor over to someone else”. And this is the message that came through:

Welcome dear ones, it gives me great pleasure to be able to communicate in this way with you all. I am the Serene Mother, the one that gives life, the one…

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