News Articles for October 16, 2021

9/11, Climate Change, Corruption, Environment, fascism, fossil fuel, Global Warming, Politics, The Environment, The U.S., The World, water shortage

Article | Audio

Architect Kent Rattan: That’s not how buildings behave!

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) is a nonprofit organization of architects, engineers, and affiliates dedicated to establishing the truth about the events of September 11, 2001.

We pursue our mission by conducting research and educating the public about the scientific evidence related to the destruction of the World Trade Center towers and by working with victims’ families and other activists to advocate for a new investigation. WEBSITE

This week on 9/11 Free Fall, architect and AE911Truth board member Kent Rattan joins host Andy Steele to talk about his own experience on 9/11, his eventual discovery of the 9/11 evidence, and the work of AE911Truth.

Andy Steele:

Welcome to 9/11 Free Fall. I'm the host Andy Steele. Today we're joined by Kent Rattan. He's a board member for AE911Truth. He has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio and a Masters in architecture from the University of Texas, Austin. He has worked in firms in Austin, Houston, and Dallas before working for 20 years as a corporate architect and project manager at the Marriott International headquarters and Sodexho Marriott headquarters. He has acted as a project architect, project manager, and project director on many projects and high-rise buildings Dallas, New York City, Washington D.C., Virginia, and elsewhere. And he spent many years managing projects in Midtown Manhattan while living in the D.C./Maryland suburbs. So he has got an extensive history here and a lot to say about the destruction of the three towers on September 11th. We'll be getting to all that. This is our first time meeting him here on the show. Kent, welcome to 9/11 Free Fall.

Kent Rattan:

Well, thank you, Andy. I'm honored and privileged to be on here. READ MORE

Both the Republicans and the Democrats vote as if the nation's middle-class taxpayer is a sleeping sucker.

"Polarization" is the word most associated with the positions of the Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The mass media and the commentators never tire of this focus, in part because such clashes create the flashes conducive to daily coverage.

"Politicians from both parties exploit voters who don't do their homework on voting records and let the lawmakers use the people's sovereign power (remember the Constitution's "We the People") against them on behalf of the big corporate bosses"

The quiet harmony between the two parties created by the omnipresent power of Big Business and other powerful single-issue lobbyists is often the status quo. That's why there are so few changes in this country's politics. READ MORE


While Americans Sleep, Our Corporate Overlords Make Progress Impossible


Please Teach Your Children About Corporate Criminals

Today's school children are engulfed by corporate apps, software, and textbooks biased toward the corporate definitions of an economy and myths about "free markets."

If you think elementary, middle, and high school students know too little history, geography, and government, try asking them about the corporations that command so many hours of their day, their attention, what they consume, and their personal horizons.

Howard Zinn published A Young People's History of the United States (2009), to go with his best-selling pioneering work, A People's History of the United States (1980), but he didn't do justice to all the modern corporate controls of just about every facet of American life, including educational institutions. READ MORE

Large parts of the world—outside of China and a few other countries—face a runaway virus, which has not been stopped because of criminal incompetence by governments. That these governments in wealthy countries cynically set aside the basic scientific protocols released by the World Health Organization and by scientific organizations reveals their malicious practice. Anything less than focused attention to managing the virus by testing, contact tracing, and isolation—and if this does not suffice, then imposing a temporary lockdown—is foolhardy. It is equally distressing that these richer countries have pursued a policy of “vaccine nationalism” by stockpiling vaccine candidates rather than a policy for the creation of a “people’s vaccine.” For the sake of humanity, it would be prudent to suspend intellectual property rules and develop a procedure to create universal vaccines for all people.

Although the pandemic is the principal issue on all of our minds, other major issues threaten the longevity of our species and of our planet. These include... READ MORE version with multiple, related video inserts


Chomsky and Prashad: There are 3 major threats to life on Earth that we must address in 2021


Amid Calls to 'Fire DeJoy,' 20 State AGs File Suit Over Plan to Sabotage Postal Service

“Millions of Americans depend on the mail every day,” said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. "One political appointee does not get to decide the fate of the Postal Service."

Twenty state Attorneys General on Friday filed a joint complaint in an effort to block changes to the U.S. Postal Service enacted last week by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and which critics warn are an overt effort to cripple the mail service from within by slowing delivery times while also increasing the cost to consumers.

The official complaint filed by the 20 AGs is directed at the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which is charged with providing independent oversight of the USPS, but which the suit alleges betrayed its mandate by allowing the controversial plan put forth by DeJoy to move into implementation on October 1 without proper review. READ MORE

The Nobel Committee has yet again awarded a peace prize that violates the will of Alfred Nobel and the purpose for which the prize was created, selecting recipients who blatantly are not “the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”

That there are numerous candidates who plausibly meet the criteria and could have been appropriately awarded a Nobel Peace Prize is established by the list of nominees published by Nobel Peace Prize Watch, and by the War Abolisher Awards which were given out two days ago to highly qualified persons and organizations selected from dozens of nominees. Three awards were presented. The Lifetime Organizational War Abolisher of 2021: Peace Boat. The David Hartsough Lifetime Individual War Abolisher of 2021: Mel Duncan. The War Abolisher of 2021: Civic Initiative Save Sinjajevina.

The trouble with the Nobel Peace Prize has long been and remains that it often goes to warmongers... READ MORE


Nobel Committee Gets Peace Prize Wrong Yet Again


Pandora Papers Leak Spotlighting Tax Havens

The leaked files reveal the financial maneuverings of more than 330 politicians and top public officials from around the world, including dozens of current national leaders.

The leak of an enormous trove of tax-haven files over the weekend offered a further glimpse into the secretive world of offshore finance — a system facilitated by the U.S. and other rich nations — and prompted calls for immediate changes to global rules that let the powerful hide their wealth, skirt their obligations, and starve governments of crucial revenue.

“This is where our missing hospitals are,” Susana Ruiz, the tax policy lead at Oxfam International, said in a statement. “This is where the pay-packets sit of all the extra teachers and firefighters and public servants we need. Whenever a politician or business leader claims there is ‘no money’ to pay for climate damage and innovation, for more and better jobs, for a fair post-Covid recovery, for more overseas aid, they know where to look.” READ MORE


South Dakota Is a Major Global Tax Shelter, According to the Pandora Papers

The Pandora Papers, a massive expose about the secret shell games and tax avoidance schemes of the world’s ultra-wealthy, has just hit headlines around the globe. (See initial coverage here in The Washington Post and The Guardian.)

This colossal undertaking involved 600 journalists from 117 countries and was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in what they describe as the “largest-ever journalistic collaborative.”

Five and a half years ago, the ICIJ released the Panama Papers, which focused on a leak from a single law firm, Mossack Fonseca. According to ICIJ Director Gerald Ryle, the Pandora Papers are the “Panama Papers on steroids.” See a summary prepared by the ICIJ here. READ MORE

Recently, I was in Homer, Alaska, to talk about my book The End of Ice. Seconds after I had thanked those who brought me to the small University of Alaska campus there, overwhelmed with some mix of sadness, love and grief about my adopted state — and the planet generally — I wept.

I tried to speak but could only apologize and take a few moments to collect myself. It’s challenging for me, even now, to explain the wash of emotions and thoughts that suddenly swept over me as I stood at that podium on a warm, windy, rainy night on the southern Kenai Peninsula among a group ready to learn more about what was happening to our beloved Earth.

“Sorry for that,” I finally said after a few more breaths, as my voice cracked with emotion, “but I know you’ll understand. You live in this state and you know as well as I do that once Alaska gets in your blood, it stays there... READ MORE


Alaska Is Already Irreparably Changed by Climate Disruption

Article | Audio

The Science Of Propaganda Is Still Being Developed And Advanced

We live in a far less free society than most of us think.

It looks like we’re free. We don’t get thrown in prison for criticizing our government officials. We can vote for whoever we want. We can log onto the internet and look up information on any subject we’re interested in. If we want to buy a product we have many brands we are free to choose from.

But we’re not free. Our political systems are set up to herd people into a two-party system that is controlled on both sides by plutocrats. The news media that people rely on to form ideas about what’s going on and how they should vote are controlled by the plutocratic class and heavily influenced by secretive government agencies. Internet algorithms are aggressively manipulated to show people information which favors the status quo. Even our entertainment is rife with Pentagon and CIA influence.

How free is that? How free is your speech if there are myriad institutional safeguards in place to prevent speech from ever effecting political change? READ MORE

While at present the world is necessarily investing in medical research in order to save the lives of millions, global heating is threatening the lives of billions over the century, yet authorities are hardly listening to what climate science is projecting as the Earth is heating.

Since the Paris climate conference in April 2016, when the mean atmospheric carbon dioxide level reached 403.3 ppm, induced by annual emissions of some 400 billion tons of CO₂, the atmospheric level has risen to near 420 ppm, growing at peak rates of 2.5-3.0 ppm/year, the highest recorded since the dinosaur mass extinction of 66 million years ago.

Although the target of the Glasgow meeting is to reach agreement for limiting mean global temperature to 1.5⁰C, due to the short-term mitigating effect of ~0.5–1.0⁰C by aerosols on global temperatures mean global warming is already tracking toward 2⁰C (Figure 1). READ MORE


Glasgow and global warming to 2⁰C and beyond


Fossil Fuels Received $5.9 Trillion In Subsidies (world-wide) in 2020, Report Finds

Coal, oil, and natural gas received $5.9 trillion in subsidies in 2020 — or roughly $11 million every minute — according to a new analysis from the International Monetary Fund.

Explicit subsidies accounted for only 8 percent of the total. The remaining 92 percent were implicit subsidies, which took the form of tax breaks or, to a much larger degree, health and environmental damages that were not priced into the cost of fossil fuels, according to the analysis.

“Underpricing leads to overconsumption of fossil fuels, which accelerates global warming and exacerbates domestic environmental problems including losses to human life from local air pollution and excessive and road congestion and accidents,” authors wrote. “This has long been recognized, but globally countries are still a long way from getting energy prices right.” READ MORE

When something reliable begins to look shaky, we should take notice. That’s what’s happening for hydroelectric power in much of the West, where severe drought has led to low water levels in the rivers and reservoirs that feed the power systems.

The Energy Information Administration is projecting a 13.9 percent decrease in hydroelectric generation this year compared to 2020, part of a larger picture in which renewable energy—which includes hydropower—is not growing as fast as scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

I wanted to know whether the drop in hydropower was a sign of a long-term shift that could be harmful to the transition to clean energy.

Before I get to what I found, here are some specifics:

  • Water levels in Lake Powell, on the Utah-Arizona border, have fallen so low that the federal Bureau of Reclamation has warned that it may not be able to operate the power plant at Glen Canyon Dam, which holds back the Colorado River to form the Lake, starting as soon as 2022. The lake hit its lowest level on record this summer amid the continuing drought in the Colorado River Basin... READ MORE


Inside Clean Energy: Drought is Causing U.S. Hydropower to Have a Rough Year. Is This a Sign of a Long-Term Shift?


24 More Nations Join Global Methane Pledge Welcomed as 'Great Start' But Inadequate

"There's one move left to keep the planet from catastrophe, cutting methane as fast as we can from all sources."

Experts on Monday cautiously welcomed announcements that another 24 nations have joined a U.S.- and European Union-led initiative to voluntarily slash methane emissions 30% from 2020 levels by the end of the decade, while climate campaigners underscored earlier assertions that much greater reductions are essential to combating the climate emergency.

The E.U. and eight countries—Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States—signed the Global Methane Pledge last month ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 26, which is set to begin in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31. READ MORE

"Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity," the U.N. agency says. "While no one is safe from the health impacts of climate change, they are disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged."

Looking toward the United Nations summit scheduled for the end of the month, a top U.N. agency on Monday released a report that makes a "health argument for climate action" and calls on governments and policymakers to urgently tackle the emergency.

"The burning of fossil fuels is killing us," warns the World Health Organization (WHO) report, noting that the practice is "causing millions of premature deaths every year through air pollutants, costing the global economy billions of dollars annually, and fueling the climate crisis."

In the foreword, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlights that human-caused global heating is impacting droughts, extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. READ MORE


'The Burning of Fossil Fuels Is Killing Us,' WHO Warns in COP 26 Report


As Tar Sands Flow Through Line 3, Water Protectors Fight Trumped-Up Felonies

After nearly seven years of resistance from Indigenous communities and allied climate activists, Canadian tar sands began flowing through Alberta-based Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline this month. Native Anishinaabe leaders have nevertheless vowed to continue their struggle against the pipeline, a 1,097-mile, 36-inch diameter expansion and replacement to a 1960s-era line now bringing nearly 1 million barrels of tar sands per day from Edmonton, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin.

The fight is shifting to Washington, D.C., this week as Indigenous communities and climate activists escalate pressure on the Biden administration to declare a climate emergency, stop all new fossil fuel projects, and crack down on existing production and extraction, including Line 3 and the Dakota Access Pipeline, during the “People vs. Fossil Fuels” mobilization. More than 500 Indigenous leaders and climate activists marched from Freedom Plaza to the White House on Monday, where at least 135 were arrested and blasted with sound weaponry after sitting-in at the White House fence. READ MORE

Bolstering calls for stronger PFAS regulations and more testing, a new analysis released Tuesday finds nearly 42,000 potential sources of toxic "forever chemicals" that could contaminate drinking water in communities throughout the United States.

In their peer-reviewed study, which was published in a special issue of Water Science, Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists examined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Enforcement and Compliance History Online database to identify potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution in the nation's surface and drinking water.

According to their investigation, solid waste landfills, wastewater treatment plants, electroplaters and metal finishers, and petroleum refiners were the facilities that appeared most often as possible sources of PFAS contamination. READ MORE


Nearly 42,000 Sources of Toxic 'Forever Chemicals' Put US Drinking Water at Risk: Study


Julian Assange and the CIA-USA Daily Wars Against Humanity

[Introductory note: The weekend of October 23-25, in anticipation of a UK court convening to re-consider a previous lower court decision to refuse Julian Assange’s extradition to the U.S., Assange supporters will be mobilizing across the U.S. and worldwide demanding:   Free Julian Assange! Drop the Charges! No to Extradition! Free Speech! Free Press! Free Journalists! No to Endless U.S. Wars! See for details.]

Of the estimated 1.4 million top security clearance U.S. personnel employed by one or another of the government’s 18 braches of its $81 billion annually budgeted “U.S. Intelligence Community,” perhaps one or two individuals each year are designated as “whistleblowers” and persecuted to the high heavens. These include heroes like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning today and Daniel Ellsberg, the renowned Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers defendant of yesteryear, whose revelations educated millions about the U.S. horrors committed against the Vietnamese people. Four million Vietnamese were murdered in this ten-year genocide, begun with the CIA’s lie that a U.S. destroyer was attacked in Vietnam’s Tonkin Bay by the equivalent of a Vietnamese sampan or small fishing boat. READ MORE

Humans thirst for certainty as they do for water. They want to know what to expect for tomorrow. They keep talking to each other to assure understanding, friendship, cooperation, and political, military, and commercial relations.

Wars, bad governments, gross inequalities, and natural upheavals unsettle civilization and personal and national certainty about the present and the future.

The Peloponnesian War

The fifth century BCE Peloponnesian War, for example, disrupted the “golden” age of Athens when everything seemed to be going its way: spreading its democratic culture and advancing science and the good and the beautiful. READ MORE


The Climate Medusa


IPCC report: ‘Code red’ for human driven global heating, warns UN chief

Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible, at least during the present time frame, according to the latest much-anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on Monday.

Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Scientists are also observing changes across the whole of Earth’s climate system; in the atmosphere, in the oceans, ice floes, and on land.

Many of these changes are unprecedented, and some of the shifts are in motion now, while some - such as continued sea level rise – are already ‘irreversible’ for centuries to millennia, aheadthe report warns.

But there is still time to limit climate change, IPCC experts say. Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, could quickly make air quality better, and in 20 to 30 years global temperatures could stabilize. READ MORE

Recently Norman Ornstein told Salon’s Chauncy de Vega that the United States is mired in a crisis of democracy that shows parallels with Germany’s descent into Nazism during the 1930s. Ornstein is right to worry about the nation’s ongoing lethal rightward drift beyond “normal” bourgeois democracy. That is how the United States’ political life is shaping up. The signs are ominous indeed. As de Vega writes, “the coup attempt of January is only a prelude to similar events in the future, when Republicans and their allies fully intend to overthrow any election they lose, and therefore deem illegitimate.” De Vega quotes a gloomy passage from a widely read Washington Post essay written by the right-wing commentator Robert Kagan:

‘The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves…We are already in a constitutional crisis. READ MORE


America’s Instinctive Fascism Creeps On

In a recent interview with MSNBC, former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt issued a stern warning to Americans who have not yet grasped the nature of our present crisis of democracy. "We have an autocratic movement teeming with violence and the intimations of violence in this country," he said, inviting viewers of the liberal news channel to imagine "that domestic terrorist, that criminal who desecrated the American flag by wrapping it around his head, who committed violence in the name of right-wing extremism."

What is it that he has heard? He has heard that he lives in an occupied country with an illegitimate president who lost the election, who was put into power by millions of fraudulent votes, mostly Black and brown votes out of the inner cities. …

Discussing the threat still posed by former President Donald Trump, Schmidt observed that Republicans seem obsessed with "the language of violence, the image of the gun, the idea that their countrymen are their enemies": READ MORE


Norm Ornstein on the crisis of democracy: "This is the same roadmap we saw in Germany"

It can happen here. The "it" ought to be obvious by now: an authoritarian or even fascist regime in the United States. That was a big reason why Harvard professor Steven Levitsky, along with his colleague Daniel Ziblatt, published the 2018 book "How Democracies Die." They wanted to warn Americans of the dangerous signs they saw in Donald Trump's presidency that followed the authoritarian playbook.

So where are we now in terms of our democracy? I spoke with Levitsky recently for Salon Talks, and here's one line that really stood out: Levitsky told me, "Five years ago I would have laughed you out of the room if you suggested our democracy could die." But today, he added, we see the Republican Party apparently focused on breaking our democracy. In a nutshell, Levitsky believes the threat to our democracy is more acute today than when Trump was in the White House, since the GOP is desperate to retain its fading power in the face of hostile demographic change. READ MORE

Article | Video

Republicans would "rather end democracy" than turn away from Trump, says Harvard professor


Corporations Shouldn’t be Masters of Our Fate

In any election, anywhere, 90% of the voters agreeing on any anything would be rare indeed. But, that is exactly what happened Sunday when John Deere workers voted down the agreement negotiated by the United Auto Workers (UAW) and John Deere management, an agreement workers said was slanted to the interest of corporate profit at the expense of working people.

One could ask why farmers should be concerned if Deere workers get a pay/benefit increase commensurate with the profits of the Deere corporation? Considering Deere is estimating 2021 earnings approaching $6 billion one would think workers are entitled to a fair slice of that? 

We know they will not be decreasing prices for the machinery they sell nor will they back off on their forced service policy, that farmers are required to sign, whereby service, no matter how trivial, cannot be done by the farmer unless it is approved by Deere. Only “authorized” mechanics or Deere dealerships can preform the repairs. READ MORE

Ol’ Tom Petty sure got that right: the waiting is the hardest part. The lines are drawn: vaxed on one side and unvaxed on the other. Can it be that the unvaxed know rather specifically what the dangers of the vax actually are? That they are making a rational decision, taking a stand, against a toxic hacking of their immune systems and systemic damage to their organs? It’s not that hard to understand, after all. Those spike proteins can kill you, if not right away, then steadily, steadily over the weeks and months. So, now we’re left to wait as the light wanes and we slide into fretful darkness.

And can it be that the vaxed are so clue-deprived that they have not seen the news? Sure, information was suppressed pretty tightly for two years since this madness started, but the news media, turns out, is as leaky as the mRNA vaccines. If you were even moderately aware, you could discover that the vaxes create havoc in your bloodstream. It’s right ‘out there,’ documented and for real. READ MORE


The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

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