Catherine Austin Fitts Says $21 Trillion US Dollars Created Out of Thin Air & Then Stolen?


 

 

Former Assistant HUD Secretary and Wall Street Investment Banker, Catherine Austin Fitts of the Solari Report, has recently provided compelling evidence that $21 trillion US Dollars was created out of thin air and then stolen by the DOD/Pentagon. That’s $65,000 for every American! Do you believe her? Where do you think the money was spent? 1) https://solari.com/blog/dod-and-hud-m… 2) https://missingmoney.solari.com/ Jason Burack of Wall St for Main St forget to mention during his X22 Report Spotlight Interview on Wednesday that $6.5 Trillion US Dollars was unaccounted for according to a Reuters report last year in August 2016 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08…. Jason’s X22 Report Spotlight Interview released yesterday: https://youtu.be/DhfoPUoDOGs But, that $6.5 trillion number is tiny (but still massive overall) compared to the new number Catherine Austin Fitts claims was created out of thin air and then stolen. Catherine Austin Fitts speaks to Alex Jones on Infowars about the $21 trillion https://youtu.be/nhwVMlDVJII Please visit the Wall St for Main St website here: http://www.wallstformainst.com/

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Hurricane Irma’s Overlooked Victims: Migrant Farm Workers Living at the Edge


Jobs, homes and lives are at risk when extreme weather strikes the communities that grow America’s food.

With their homes damaged by Hurricane Irma and their community dealing with the aftermath of flooding, residents of the rural migrant worker town of Immokalee, Florida, waited for emergency donations. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A line of residents of the rural migrant farm worker town of Immokalee, Florida, waited for emergency donations of food and supplies brought in by a volunteer group from Georgia. Hurricane Irma damaged homes, flooded their community and wiped out jobs they rely on. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

Hurricane Irma knocked millions of dollars worth of oranges and grapefruits to the ground. Its high winds mowed down thousands of acres of sugarcane, toppled nursery plants, and decimated the avocado crop.

The damage will cost the state’s agricultural industry billions, but for the migrant workers who pick these crops and work in the fields, the storm means real hardship that will test lives already on the edge.

“If you listen to the news coverage about Irma, you’ll hear about damage to the farms. You don’t ever hear about impact to farm workers,” said Jeannie Economos, the pesticide safety and environmental health project coordinator with the Farmworker Association of Florida. “And there’s a critical piece—an intersection of climate change and living and working conditions for migrant workers.”

The storm destroyed housing across communities that are home to many of the estimated 300,000 migrant workers in the state. Now, the damage to Florida’s agriculture industry will mean fewer jobs, and because of their legal status or lack of a permanent address, many migrant workers don’t qualify for relief—or are afraid to seek help. For people already living on the margins, missing even a week or two of work can mean being unable to pay rent, buy groceries or fill up a car with gas.

“There’s not going to be a lot of work this year,” said Gene McAvoy, a horticultural specialist with the University of Florida. “They don’t have credit cards. They don’t have bank accounts. The housing they live in is substandard. They took a disproportionate hit by the storm. It’s really going to have a major impact on that community.”

Florida is the country’s second-largest producer of vegetables and top citrus producer, and its $8 billion agricultural economy depends on migrant workers. Unlike other parts of the country, where the agricultural economy is supported by mechanization, almost all of the crops grown in Florida, from asparagus to zucchini, require a human to pick them. Many are migrant workers—some in the country legally, and some not—who are especially vulnerable to the danger and economic hardship that accompany a monster storm like Irma.

“If you’re not picking, you’re not getting paid—you won’t have any income,” said Kathy Dain director of the Beth-El Farmworker Ministry in Wimauma. “For those who live in poverty—which would be our farmworkers—you don’t have the resources. A middle-income person can just go out and buy the things they need.”

Between a Storm and a Hostile Political Climate

In the hours before Irma hit, some farm workers spent their limited cash taking shelter in motels. Some spent money on gas to leave the state. Still others wouldn’t seek shelter, fearing that operators or law enforcement would ask for papers.

“I saw, first hand, families that didn’t want to go to shelters,” said Lourdes Villanueva, the director of farmworker advocacy at the Redlands Christian Migrant Association. “It took a lot of convincing.”

With anti-immigrant rhetoric simmering across the country—inflamed by talk of border walls and immigration-tightening legislation floated by lawmakers—fear is running high.

“It’s always a difficult life, but in this political climate, it’s harder,” Villanueva added. “If these people could be invisible, they would be.”

Some farm workers waited out Irma at home, losing the roofs over their heads and all the food in their refrigerators.

Residents of the migrant farmworkers community of Immokalee moved belongings from damaged homes after the hurricane. Much of the housing is older, rented and in poor conditions. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Residents of Immokalee moved belongings from damaged homes after the hurricane. Much of the housing is older, rented and in poor condition. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

“That sets a poor family back much more than it does a family who has an employer 52 weeks a year,” said Steve Kirk, president of a not-for-profit called Rural Neighborhoods that rents 1,700 apartments, many to farmworkers. “From a financial perspective, they have a hard time rebounding, especially when they lose weeks of work.”

The Farmworker Association of Florida estimates that the state has 300,000 farmworkers in total, roughly half of whom are undocumented. “FEMA and food stamps and other emergency help — they’re not going to qualify,” said Tirso Moreno, a director with the association.

After Irma, Aid Was Slow to Arrive

Irma’s impact, at least initially, was especially severe in Immokalee, a chronically poor town at the heart of Florida’s tomato-growing industry in the southwestern part of the state.

About 30 miles east the expensive high-rise apartment buildings of Naples that tower at the edge of the Gulf, Immokalee was in near ruin. Irma’s winds ripped roofs of mobile homes like sardine cans. Houses were inundated with water that people tried to pump out with hand-made devices fashioned out of bits of hose. Thousands of acres of plastic sheeting—laid down to prepare for the tomato crop—sat under mud.

Government and other aid workers were slow to arrive with basic supplies, and it took nearly two weeks for power to return—providing, finally, some relief from the south Florida heat.

“The Red Cross didn’t show up for a week. If you needed water or ice, you needed it right away, not 10 days later,” Villanueva said. “The help went to Naples, to other places. No one bothered to go to that area.”

Nor to other, lesser-known farming communities across the state.

“This storm was so big, they weren’t prepared,” said Moreno said. “The southwest was the most affected, but there were problems all over.”

Farmworkers’ ‘Affordable Housing’ Hit Hard

In a state with a shortage of affordable housing, landlords can charge huge rents for mobile homes, and many of those are unanchored or so old they don’t meet newer safety standards. The housing stock in Immokalee was already limited and shoddy, even before Irma wiped out as many as 100 mobile and traditional homes.

The problem extends through much of Florida’s agricultural areas, especially in the central and southern parts of the state—away from the tourism and the wealth of the coasts.

“The real issue is the lack of affordable housing for everyone, but that’s magnified by what these families go through. They’re not here year-round. They can’t secure a year-round lease, so they’re not ideal candidates for landlords,” Villanueva said. “There are just so many factors that are really stacked against these families.”

Hurricane Irma flooded the streets of Immokalee, Florida, surrounding homes and raising concerns that the lingering floodwater could be contaminated by waste. Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Hurricane Irma flooded the streets of Immokalee, surrounding homes and raising concerns that the lingering floodwater could be contaminated. Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

 

The good news for Immokalee and other produce-growing areas is that most of the crop wasn’t yet in the ground and there’s still time to plant for the winter growing season. That means there will be field jobs, albeit on a delayed schedule.

Smaller Citrus Crop, Fewer Jobs

The picture is different with the state’s citrus crop, which in some areas was almost completely destroyed. That comes after a decade battling a vexing tree disease called citrus greening, which has driven down citrus yields in the state.

“As an industry, it looked like we turned a corner. Then Irma came,” said Fritz Roka an associate professor of agricultural economics with the University of Florida. “Clearly there’s not going to be work for them to do, certainly in citrus.”

Like so many harvesting jobs, picking citrus well requires specialization and experience. Increasingly, those workers have come from Mexico under the H2A guest worker program. In 2010, there were about 4,500 H2A workers approved in Florida. Last year, that number was nearly 23,000. As many as 80 percent of them work in the state’s citrus orchards, Roka said.

Because orchard owners apply for those workers ahead of time and base their numbers on their estimated work needs, they’re likely to apply for a significantly lower workforce this year. That will help their balance sheets.

But workers, both in the U.S. and Mexico, will feel it.

“It makes putting food on the table a lot more challenging,” said Bryan Moorefield, a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University who studies social impacts on migrant farmworkers and lives part of the year in a community in central Mexico where many H2A workers live. “You’re dealing with communities that often don’t have access to labor markets. Maybe tomatoes will be able to bounce back, but missing a month or two of work might mean not paying for housing.”

For those who get jobs in Florida’s citrus industry, working conditions this year will be unusually tough.

Hurricane Irma knocked unripened oranges from their trees across the state, severely damaging the citrus industry and its workers’ job prospects. Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

“Most citrus workers tell me: Citrus is the hardest job I’ve had in agriculture, but I also want as many hours as I can get,” Moorefield added. “If there’s less fruit on the tree and it’s smaller, they’ll have to work quicker to make up the volume.”

Economos, meanwhile, believes that increasingly volatile weather could mean that employers lean on the H2A guest program even more in coming years.

“With climate change and the impact of storms, it’s even further incentive to hire guest workers, because if their farms are damaged, they don’t have to bring workers here,” she said. “If there’s going to be increased storms or weather events, and if they’re going to affect the crops, then what’s that going to do to documented, undocumented and guest workers in Florida and the United States? It’s going to shift the dynamic. That’s a really big discussion that needs to be had.”

If employers don’t hire guest workers, that could push them to come illegally.

“If they were expecting a contract, if they were expecting to come here on an H2A and they don’t get one, they’re more likely to risk crossing the desert to get here,” she said.

Climate Change Impacts the Poor the Most

The issue strays well beyond Florida’s borders.

“The climate situation has been very bad for our workers,” said Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Ohio-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee. “It’s not just hurricanes. The weather patterns bringing rain into North and South Carolina. We see it every day. They can’t send money home. They’re worried about their families.”

This year’s hurricane season has pummeled farmers all along the Gulf coast and throughout the Caribbean.

This, climate scientists say, will become more common.

As ocean waters get warmer, stoking more frequent and intense storms, poor migrant workers will remain the least equipped to prepare for hurricanes and the least able to get out of their way. In Florida—flat, hot and flanked by the hurricane-fueling waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico — the challenges facing migrant farmworkers will be uniquely amplified.

“Middle-class Americans don’t have to deal with the things migrant workers have to deal with: There’s too much water. There’s not enough water. There’s too much wind, too much heat,” Villanueva said. “All of these things affect our livelihood, which is crops. That’s reality.”

More than a month after Irma ripped through Immokalee, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was scheduled to visit the town. That Carson—who continues to defend a statement he made in May that poverty is a “state of mind”—is visiting the ravaged community will come as small consolation.

That it took so long won’t surprise anyone, either.

Published Under:

A pharmacist says he has filled Alzheimer’s prescriptions for members of Congress


“They’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.”

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Erin Mershon at STAT News recently spent some time shadowing the pharmacist who provides prescription drugs to many members of Congress.

Her story, which you can read in full here, includes a relatively alarming passage in which the pharmacist casually mentions that some members apparently have Alzheimer’s:

Mike Kim, the reserved pharmacist-turned-owner of the pharmacy, said he has gotten used to knowing the most sensitive details about some of the most famous people in Washington.

“At first it’s cool, and then you realize, I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country,” Kim said, listing treatments for conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

“It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.’”

The current Congress is among the oldest in history, and more than half of the senators running for reelection in 2018 will be over 65. The average age in the House of Representatives is 57, and the average age in the Senate is 61.

The pharmacist doesn’t appear to have violated any patient privacy laws, which only restrict providing medical information that would identify a specific patient. (If he’d said which senator, for example, fills Alzheimer’s prescriptions, that would violate the law.) Still, he gives a surprisingly frank and unsettling insight into conditions that could affect judgment, memory, and decision-making.

Read the entire story here.

Update: After this story went viral, the pharmacist interviewed provided an additional statement clarifying his remarks. “I am not aware of any member that actually has Alzheimer’s and would certainly not disclose any such information if I did know.” He added, “patient privacy is a very serious matter that I am committed to upholding.”

He said that he was “[s]peaking very broadly about disease states that the general American population have and that it also applies to everyone including members of the U.S. House and Senate since they are also people just like you and I.”

 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/11/16458142/congress-alzheimers-pharmacist

 

HORRIFING DEVASTATlON IN MOGΛDlSHU: BUILDINGS & PEOPLE VAPORIZED


Here’s another event we missed while distracted with false flags and firestorms…hundreds of people in Somalia killed in the worst bombing on record, with heat so intense bodies were vaporized. THIS likely means more US troops will be sent to Somalia, for more war…I do not consent to false flag terror or war perpetrated by the governments of the world on innocent people!
 

 

77-year-old ordered to evacuate because of wildfire—but refuses when he sees something others don’t


Note: This man defines Hero! So much love…

The recent wildfires that have turned parts of northern California into smoldering stumps have been devastating for many residents, both human and animal, in some cases resulting in a tragic loss of lives. One man was not going to let that happen to the animals where he was and he put himself at great risk to protect them.

Thousands were forced to evacuate for their own safety.

Homes and businesses, humans and animals were being consumed and destroyed by the deadly fires. The animals that faced the most threatening risks were those that lived in the zoos and on wildlife preserves. One of those preserves was the Safari West Park and Animal Preserve in Santa Rosa, California.

When the order came to evacuate the safari park, everyone left except for one man—the owner, 77-year-old Peter Lang. He refused. Lang would not allow the animals to be left to die, which appeared to be imminent given the powerful wall of flames that was heading speedily toward them.

It was fire versus garden hoses.

Armed with only everyday garden hoses, Lang fought the fires as they began to close in on him and the animals he was trying to protect.

“I put on a hoodie and just soaked it in water,” described Lang in an interview with KPIX News. “And I put it on and put it on over my head, and 10 minutes later it was dry.”

He continued fighting the fires with determination through the night.

The air was thick with smoke and the fire was relentless, intent on destroying everything in its path. Lang didn’t flinch. He worked tirelessly through the night, running from one scorching patch to the next, spraying the ferocious fires with water as best he could.

Come morning, all the animals were safe.

Lang’s stubborn persistence paid off. Not one of the animals on the preserve was lost and he survived as well.

Sadly, Lang’s house did not. It was completely burned to the ground. He saved his animals but lost his home. Although he expressed that it was tough to lose his house, he has no regrets.

After people found out about what he did, many were offering to donate money to the park to help them recover.

But Lang asked instead people donate money to charities to help those in the community affected by the fires.

“Thank you for all the messages of love and support. So many of you have offered to donate money or establish funds in our name and we are stunned and humbled by your generosity. Please, if you do feel compelled to make a donation, direct it to a charity or organization that benefits all the victims of this terrible event,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

The fires continue to rage in the area. Stay up to date with Safari West on their Facebook page.

 

http://uplift.theepoch.com/uplift/ordered-to-evacuate-a-wildlife-preserve-one-77-year-old-man-refuses-and-stays-behind-to-save-the-animals_2331162.html

Ole Dammegard | The Vegas Shooting: Inconsistencies & Strange Symbolism


In a rush this week, we have Ole Dammegard back to break down the latest tragedy, the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting. Of course, because of Ole’s continued work dissecting false flags and terror events, he is one of the first to recognize elements at play that seem to follow the same template – a template that suggests these are highly planned and coordinated events, rather than the work of random, unmotivated, lone attackers. Our deepest sympathies to anyone who has experienced pain and loss due to such an event. To me, digging deeper into things that seem suspicious and inconsistent with media reports, is the best and most honorable thing we can do, short of going back in time. I know if I died in one of these situations, the last thing I’d want is for it to be a false flag situation that isn’t properly investigated. That said, what you’re getting here is a conversation about elements that don’t seem to add up, or contain strange symbolism/foreshadowing. We also discuss the major alternative theories and motivations. This is largely a synthesis of what we’re seeing so far, all alleged, and not everything can be fully vetted at this time. All we can do is examine it, and try our best to seek the truth. This isn’t fear porn. This isn’t capitalizing on a tragedy. Ole’s website: https://www.lightonconspiracies.com/

Criminalizing Dissent: Censoring Global Cooling / Grand Solar Minimum – Share This While You Can ~ Ice Age Farmer


Note: Now that data revealing the extent of the global warming scam is circulating, the Canadian ‘system of domination and control’ is attempting to silence people sharing the truth. As global weather systems spiral out of control people are awaking to the fact something is amiss, if there’s nothing to hide why the censorship?
Published on Sep 17, 2017
Truth fears no questions. And yet, the establishment is criminalizing opinions about climate change! In fact, we continue to see significant evolution in the language used around “climate change,” “climate denialism,” and the “Grand Solar Minimum.” As extreme climate/seismic/volcanic/electric activity continues to accelerate exponentially, it seems all rational discussion will simply be made illegal, much as has happened to the history of the holocaust. Subscribe to the Ice Age Farmer today, and help grow our resilient community of self-sufficient researchers. __ START GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD TODAY. SUPPORT on Patreon — gain access to special IAF discounts! http://patreon.com/iceagefarmer http://iceagefarmer.com http://twitter.com/IceAgeFarmer http://facebook.com/IceAgeFarmer http://iceagefarmer.com/stitcher http://iceagefarmer.com/itunes

Eerie Predictions in Vegas… Cui Bono? ~ Truthstream Media


 

Support us on Patreon, read our goals here: https://www.patreon.com/truthstreammedia Truthstream Can Be Found Here: Website: http://TruthstreamMedia.com Minds: @InformedDissent (Join here! https://tinyurl.com/y8voad27 … we’re going to dump Facebook soon.) FB: http://Facebook.com/TruthstreamMedia Twitter: @TruthstreamNews DONATE: http://bit.ly/2aTBeeF Amazon Affiliate Link (help support TSM with every Amazon purchase, no cost to you!): http://amzn.to/2aTARRx Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bbxcWX ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*­~*~*~*~*~ Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Puerto Rico: A Public Health Catastrophe By Stephen Lendman Global Research, October 03, 2017


VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke deplorably called the federal response to crisis conditions in Puerto Rico a “good news story,” adding she’s “very satisfied.”

San Juan Mayor Yulin Cruz emotionally responded, saying

“(w)ell, maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good-news story.”

“When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good-news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good-news story.”

“When you have to pull people down from their buildings – I’m sorry, but that really upsets and frustrates me.”

“I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that, which frankly is an irresponsible statement and contrast with the statements of support that I have been getting since yesterday when I got that call from the White House.”

Cruz continued adding

“(d)ammit, this is not a good-news story. This is a people-are-dying story. This is a life-or-death story.”

“This is ‘there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food or water.”

“If I could scream it a lot more louder: It is not a good-news story when people are dying when they don’t have dialysis, when their generators aren’t working and their oxygen isn’t providing for them.”

“Where is there good news here? The good news is we’re getting heard. For heaven’s sake, somebody let them do their job. Let them get the food and water into the hands of people, and then we can talk about good news.”

Washington knows what to do.

“For heaven’s sake,” start doing it, Cruz stressed. “(W)hen you have people dying literally, scraping for food, where is the good news?”

Thousands remain in temporary shelters, many others stranded in the wreckage of their residences. Around 80% of Puerto Rican agriculture was destroyed. Nearly all power transmission lines were knocked out, over 95% of the island still without power, continuing for many months in isolated areas.

Around half the population has no access to drinking water. Hospitals can’t function normally, struggling to keep seriously ill patients alive. Many thousands of jobs were lost for impoverished islanders, many working in agriculture.

According to Agricultural Economics Professor Jayson Harper, Hurricane Maria destroyed high value crops. Some will take years to replace, he explained.

The coffee industry was hit at the worst time, just before beans are harvested, the crop largely destroyed.

Supplies delivered to ports are stuck in docks for lack of transportation. Nearly two weeks ago, the strongest hurricane in nearly 90 years devastated the Island, creating crisis conditions for its 3.4 million residents.

On Monday, Florida International University Dean Tomas Guilarte said conditions in Puerto Rico continue deteriorating. A public health catastrophe looms.

“When the sewer system stops working, wastewater – aka human feces and urine – and seaborne bacteria contaminate the water supply.”

“This leads to bacterial infections – such as cholera, dysentery, E. coli and typhoid – that can be disastrous. The typical treatments, like tetanus shots or powerful antibiotics, are not readily available on the island, where medical supplies are quickly running out.”

According to FEMA, 58 of the island’s 69 hospitals have no power or fuel for generators. Only one is operating normally. Water can’t be boiled to kill bacteria. Some toxins become concentrated by the boiling process.

It kills harmful organisms, not toxic chemicals, compounds, salts, and heavy metals. Disease-causing pathogens contaminated areas affected by floodwaters.

Toxicity seeping from Puerto Rico’s Battery Recycling Company in the Arecibo coastal area alone “could be off the charts,” said Guilarte.

Immediate congressional action is vital, appropriating enough funds for food, medical supplies and medicines, along with other essentials to life.

Most islanders are impoverished. Residents evacuated by government aircraft and other means of transportation have to sign promissory notes to repay the cost, a disgraceful situation.

Public health and welfare are essential human rights. Trump disgracefully lied, tweeting

“(w)e have done a great job with the impossible situation in Puerto Rico.”

Islanders are suffering under devastating conditions. The Trump administration failed to go all-out to help.

It serves privileged Americans exclusively, disdainful of others – notably millions of Puerto Ricans, Floridians and Texans devastated by hurricane damage, largely on their own to cope.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Volunteer Pilots Swoop Into Puerto Rico With Supplies and Leave With Survivors


Paul Weissman/Facebook

ANGELS

They came from as far away as Connecticut at a moment’s notice, landing at an airport without radar, and taking off with women and children.

Paul Weismann got the call for help Monday night at his home in Connecticut. By Tuesday afternoon, he was flying to Puerto Rico on his personal plane, with food, water, and power generators as his passengers.

“You fly over Puerto Rico on the way to the airport, and you see the place is wrecked,” Weismann told The Daily Beast. At night, “a few streets and highways are lit up, because of people and businesses with generators. But the rest of the island was just pitch black.”

After landing on the island destroyed by Hurricane Maria last week, Weismann reloaded his plane—this time with young children, mothers, and senior citizens—and took off for the U.S. mainland.

Weismann isn’t a professional rescue pilot though. He’s a Connecticut-based investor working with Patient Airlift Services (PALS), a network of volunteer pilots. PALS mobilized pilots from across the U.S. to help Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this hurricane season.

“You name it, we’ve done it,” said Eileen Minogue, the executive director of PALS. “We literally jumped into the deep end together to provide disaster relief and it just hasn’t stopped. We’ve been working for 30 days in a row right now pretty much round the clock just trying to provide support first in Houston and now in the islands.”

Her group, which usually provides airlift relief support within the United State’s northeast region, has partnered with other nonprofits to serve hurricane-stricken regions in Texas, Florida, and now the Caribbean. Since Maria hit, PALS has sent volunteer pilots to Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico daily, bringing satellite phones, water filters, generators, tarps, hammers, and medical supplies.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Pilots flew to Puerto Rico at their own risk; the storm disabled several traffic-control radars in San Juan.

“The hurricane knocked out all their radars, and I think most of their radio communications,” Weismann said. “They have technical teams, but the roads are all blocked, and the radars are up on the mountains.”

Much of Weismann’s work has been delivering supplies to air traffic controllers, so the airport can handle more planes. But he and other PALS pilots have also worked to evacuate some people to Florida, especially young children and senior citizens. Those chosen for evacuation are vetted through FEMA or other philanthropic groups on the ground.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Bob Lambert is a pilot from Michigan and has flown rescue missions for the past 10 years. He said he recently evacuated around 20 people, including children and their chaperones, from St. Thomas after flying rescue workers to the island.

“What becomes a little difficult mentally when you evacuate people, is deciding who really needs to go first,” he said. “That’s always a tough one mentally for me… That’s the emotional drain, making sure the people are safe and doing the best you can for the people.”

Paul Weissman/Facebook

On Thursday morning, Weismann had evacuated 16 people, and was flying to Dominica, where he planned to evacuate more. Sometimes, as was the case with four mothers and their young children, Weismann coordinated with families to plan evacuations in advance. But spotty post-hurricane cellphone service meant that some planned evacuations fell through.

“People are contacting me asking if I can bring people out,” he said. “These contacts try to get in touch with people, telling them to get to the airport at the agreed time and find me. But they can’t get ahold of anybody because the phones are so terrible and spotty. People’s phones are going dead and can’t be recharged because they have no power.”

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Fortunately, communications are still working from the air. Lambert said the only difference between flying to a storm-ravaged area and flying under normal conditions is that pilots need to carry extra fuel for the plane in case they receive incorrect information about landing conditions and have to turn back.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

“It’s just human nature to try and help,” Lambert said. Small aircraft like those he and fellow PALS volunteers fly are “not a long-term necessity but the ability to react immediately and get on station quickly and land at small airports… we can literally respond in minutes or hours given the large number of airplanes that are willing to do this.”

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Minogue said PALS expects to continue their efforts in Puerto Rico for the next four to six weeks.

“It just has escalated,” she said. “The 150 flights that we did in Harvey was a piece of cake compared to what we’re having to do in the islands.

Weismann said with increased demand has come a flood of volunteers.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

“There’s hundreds of people coming out of chartered airlines,” Weismann said. “And firefighters, park service workers, forestry workers, rangers, and police. I saw a lot of FDNY there stacked up, ready to go inland and deploy. It was pretty moving to see what’s going on.”

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/volunteer-pilots-swoop-into-puerto-rico-with-supplies-and-leave-with-survivors

Iceland’s Government Just Collapsed Amid A Pedophilia Scandal


Meanwhile, Brexit is destabilizing the region, Donald Trump is rattling NATO and China is flexing its muscles.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland ― Iceland’s government has collapsed amid uproar over Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s father helping expunge the criminal record of a convicted child rapist.

The centrist Bright Future party dropped out of the three-party, conservative coalition, eliminating its one-seat parliamentary majority. Benediktsson called a snap election on Friday as protesters gathered near the parliament building in this city’s posh downtown area.

“We have lost the majority, and I don’t see anything that indicates we can regain that,” Benediktsson said Friday at a press conference. “I am calling an election.”

The party blamed Benediktsson for failing to inform the government that his father wrote a letter recommending a pardon for Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson. Hauksson was convicted in 2004 of raping his stepdaughter almost daily for 12 years, starting when she was 5 years old. He served nearly six years in prison, but was granted “restored honor” last August ― a legal status encoded in old Icelandic law that allows criminals who receive three letters of recommendation speaking to their good character to have their records wiped clean and go on to serve in public office or work as an attorney.

Hauksson’s victim described the pardon as “surreal” and said he continues to harass her in text messages and phone calls, according to The Reykjavík Grapevine, an English-language newspaper in Iceland.

Benediktsson said elections would take place in November. Despite the scandal, he could return to power.

Asgeir Asgeirsson / Reuters
Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson arrives at the presidential residence in Bessastadir, Iceland, on Saturday. 

The Independence Party leader refused to step down as the nation’s finance minister after his name appeared in the Panama Papers last year, despite 60 percent of Icelanders calling for his departure. The leaked cache of financial documents showed he once owned part of an offshore investment firm in the Seychelles. Then-Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned two days after reporters began publishing the documents, as an estimated 6.6 percent of Iceland’s population took to the streets in protest.

The tree-lined square near the parliament building was quiet on Saturday night, as well-heeled tourists dined at the neighborhood’s trendy restaurants and drank in its pubs.

Yet the disintegration of the coalition ― which had been in power for just nine months ― comes at a particularly sensitive time for the island nation of less than 335,000 people.

“Iceland needs to remain a functioning country despite the crisis at election time,” Damien Degeorges, a Reykjavik-based international consultant, told HuffPost on Saturday evening. “There’s no room for putting things on hold because you’re waiting on a new government.”

The head of the legislature, called the Alþingi, canceled a budget debate Friday after the government disbanded, and no other sessions were listed on its official website. Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a parliamentarian from the anarchist Pirate Party, told HuffPost on Sunday that she was fighting to convene lawmakers at least one more time before the legislative session officially ended.

“The parliament is supposed to be a safety valve in regard to the executive branch,” she said in a phone interview, during which she jokingly derided Benediktsson as the “crime minister.”

“We still have pending bills and resolutions that need to be ratified,” she added. “It’s time-sensitive stuff.”

Top party officials are scheduled to meet Monday morning to discuss plans to move forward, she said. Alþingi President Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir did not immediately respond to a call and email requesting comment on Sunday.

Iceland emerged from a deep financial crisis in 2011 to a tourism-fueled economic boom. The country is set to welcome a record 2.3 million visitors this year, a 30 percent surge from 2016. The economy expanded 7.2 percent last year. In March, the government lifted capital controls put in place nine years ago after three banks failed and sent the country spiraling into its great recession. Cranes dot the skyline, a sign of rapid housing construction.

But Iceland’s recovery, hailed by some as a miracle, has made it a critical player in the drama over Britain’s exit from the European Union. The United Kingdom was Iceland’s second-largest trading partner in 2015, buying $611 million of the country’s roughly $5.4 billion in exports. Iceland is not a member of the EU, but it participates in the European Free Trade Association alongside Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Icelandic Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Thór Thórðarson extended an olive branch to the British during an interview on BBC Radio 4 earlier this month. The British risk being penalized by France and Germany in Brexit negotiations.

“Everyone wants to make a free-trade deal with Britain,” he said. “You are the fifth-largest economy in the world. Everyone wants to sell you goods and services. It’s as simple as that.”

Without a stable government in Iceland, British Prime Minister Theresa May appears even more alone. Her political mandate shattered after the Labour Party’s surprise surge in the election.

“Iceland needs to be functioning well for this period,” Degeorges said.

Despite its size, Iceland has long played an outsize role in international affairs. It hosted the famed 1986 summit between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union premier Mikhail Gorbachev that marked the beginning of the Cold War’s end.

The country also looked to confirm its status as an arbiter between the U.S. and Russia earlier this year, when officials in Washington and the Kremlin considered it as a venue for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit never took place, but the talks underscored the strategic importance of a country that has no military and therefore depends on NATO for its defenses. Trump has repeatedly threatened NATO allies for not paying enough for their defenses and made unprecedented suggestions that he would not honor long-standing security pacts.

Iceland has long courted superpowers. In 2013, it became the first European country to sign a free-trade agreement with China. The accord came as China ramps up its ambitions in the Arctic. Last year, Beijing took a nearly 10 percent stake in a Russian natural gas project, amounting to a $1.2 billion investment from its $40 billion Silk Road Fund. China has yet to expand into Nordic countries, but in March, two top Icelandic executives wrote an op-ed in The Diplomat proposing Beijing as a natural partner to build up infrastructure in the region.

Iceland seems keen to hold China at a comfortable distance. Earlier this month, the ruling coalition moved to tighten rules limiting foreign ownership of Icelandic land. The decision appeared to be aimed at blocking an unidentified Chinese investor from buying a nearly 5-square-mile plot of land to build a resort in the island’s touristy Golden Circle, according to Bloomberg.

But, at least for now, those have become a distant worry.

“Violence against women is a direct threat to the democratic participation of women, and therefore a direct threat to Icelandic democracy,” The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association wrote in a statement following the government’s collapse. “How can we build an equal and progressive society, when we still can’t guarantee the safety of all our citizens?”

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/iceland-government-collapse_us_59bddeb2e4b02da0e1427d63

GMO Crops Have Become the Hot Potato of Maui Politics Under Pressure, A&B Attempts to Mislead Maui County Council and Public About Their Plans For Former Sugar Plantation Land


gmos-roundworms-found-to-be-resistant-to-bt-corn

In April at the Maui Energy Conference, Rick Volner, the general manager of diversified agriculture for Alexander & Baldwin, gave a presentation on how Maui’s thousands of acres of former sugar cane land could be utilized in the future.

“We have the significant opportunity to alter that landscape,” he said. “Our lands are uniquely positioned to succeed in diversified agriculture.”

Alluding to Gov. David Ige’s pledge to reach the state goal of food and fuel self-sufficiency, he added, “We think the central valley agricultural lands will play a significant role in that.”

Nowhere in that talk did Volner reveal that A&B’s “self-sufficiency” plans included covering Maui’s pesticide-laden central valley with hundreds of acres of Monsanto’s GMO Bt corn.

Community activists and earth protectors, alerted through social media (including this Maui Independent feature) that A&B was growing GMO corn, packed a September 5 Maui County Council hearing on A&B’s ag plans. Most public comment expressed strong opposition to growing GMO crops on the former sugar plantations.

Bt corn has generated controversy in the last few years, as it’s been implicated in the death of monarch butterflies,  has contaminated native corn species, is requiring more pesticides as insects develop resistance,  and may not be safe for human consumption.

During the meeting, where committee chair Yuki Lei Sugimura tried to suppress public comment on GMO crops, Volner stated his company is not working on or working with any tenants growing GMO food crops. He denied GMO crops were being grown for animal feed. They were only being grown for bio-energy he said.

When queried by Council member Elle Cochran about their GMO crop, Volner stated: “None of the GMO corn is for animal feed.”

This was very surprising news to earth activist Autumn Ness, who a week earlier, had been standing in a harvested field of GMO corn, and was told some of the crop was going to be shipped to Big Island Dairy, which had been growing their own GMO corn.

“We have confirmed that Big Island Dairy has received or will soon receive A&B’s corn,” says Ness, who is on the advisory board of the Hawai’i Center for Food Safety. “They (A&B) are actively looking for buyers.”

Attending an event hosted by Maui Chamber of Commerce and the Maui Farm Bureau, Ness was told by A&B rep Shiloh Stafford Jones that the company had harvested 140 acres of corn – 75% was Bt corn and 25% was conventional non-GMO corn.

“Dick Meyer and I went on their tour and we were standing in the middle of the field,” says Ness, “We watched the combine harvester cut the last few rows of corn and we were told that was their biggest harvest of 140 acres. The next step is to scale up to 500 acres.”

“When HC&S shut there was a collective hope they would continue on an agriculture path. The fear is they are more focused on real estate through land and water banking.”

Mark Sheehan, a leader in the SHAKA movement, concurs. “A&B’s farm plan looks like window dressings,” he says. “A&B is applying to be certified as a real estate investment trust. With 95% of its income coming from property, the company is not an agricultural enterprise. The bottom line is they are land banking and water banking, pretending to do ag while planning to get well compensated when the state agencies give them approvals for malls and subdivisions.”

“While they have declined to meet with the one successful biofuel company from Maui (Pacific Biofuels), they purport to have as many as 60 contenders to lease land, so that’s why they need tons of water.”

Sheehan feels that collective outrage over A&B hogging super-cheap public water while polluting land with GMO crops is having an impact. As The Maui Independent has reported, A&B pays a fraction of 1% of the market value price paid by small Maui farmers for public water, while using more than five times as much public water as everyone else on Maui put together.

“That impact will be more powerful when more people talk back to those Council members who can’t hear the public because they have earplugs supplied by their donors,” he says.

“Just as the Republican mayor and supposedly non-partisan Council votes as a block to promote all corporate/development interests, the ‘aina warriors need to build and maintain a force of protectors who will constantly show up, stand up, speak up to call our the sell out of what are public resources – air, water, soil. Because the pesticides used on crops, whether GMO or not, wind up in our soils, streams, ocean and air. We are having a huge impact and things will never roll back to the good old days of plantation haze.”

For the first time publicly we can report that Maui County Council member Alika Atay met with A&B’s Volner a few weeks before the contentious County meeting to present an extraordinary, innovative proposal that could potentially completely revolutionize agriculture on Maui.

Atay shared a vision based on the principles of permaculture and Native wisdom where 400-foot-wide food forests are divided with 400 foot wide open food crops, working down the mountain. This would include diversified trees, permanent trees, ulu, coconuts etc.

Atay suggested a technique of water utilization using the lay of the land. Referring to the hundreds of miles of roads that are adjacent to farmable lands he noted that 85% of rain catchment is possible with paving improvement of these roads.

“The blacktop can provide the rain to be aimed at the swale (low tract of land) and fill up the punawai (fresh water),” he said. “Rain catchment is anywhere from 20” to 90,” so water from East Maui is not needed as much. When it rains plenty you can pump it into the ditch.

“We can plant forests above and irrigate the fields below. You could literally make microbial spray solutions and spray from a truck along the roadside. Trucks can spray about 20 feet, imagine that for hundreds of miles.”

Atay told the A&B representatives that the greatest goal in life is to become a great ancestor. He told them that your predecessors of A&B have done a poor job. “You have the opportunity to become a great ancestor and to make great decisions for Maui County. You folks have opportunity.”

Just in that arena of food production alone, he said A&B has huge potential. “You will create jobs. You guys get the chance to do great things.”

“We cannot put all our eggs in one basket with tourism,” he emphasized. “As disasters occur the mentality is no-travel. What happens to our economy then? It’s dangerous to be solely dependent in one economy.”

“We need to be strong in diversified industries,” Atay concluded. “It’s a paradigm shift, it’s an entrepreneurial shift to empower. I call it an aloha paradigm shift with collaborative cooperatives.”

Maui’s grassroots organizer Mark Sheehan questions whether A&B will be willing to listen to Atay’s innovative ideas for Maui’s agricultural future.  “A&B has ignored input from local farmers and environmental groups for decades,” Sheehan says. “They have neither the knowledge to do better nor even an interest to do the right thing.

“With a climate catastrophe a week hitting somewhere, Maui needs to take control of its resources to assure food security for the future.  We can not waste a day as so much needs to be done to: decontaminate the land, assess best soils, regenerate the soils with proper mycorrhizae and minerals to allow farmers to grow nutrient dense food for local markets.  UH Maui College has been training a new generation of farmers, the Hawaii Farmers Union United has coordinated a network of farms, farmers and apprentices to extend that education. We should soon have a farm plan along with a tenet farmer lease-to-own arrangement to allow farm families to live where they are growing.”

“Nutrient recycling centers and food hubs need to be formed along with marketing channels. A Malama Wai plan should follow to outline the best use of the public trust waters. Such a plan will involve how to restore the EMI system, allowing greater allocation of water for East Maui stream dwellers and upcountry farmers.”

Autumn Ness too wonders why A&B is not focusing on growing food. “There’s a state wide goal to produce more food,” she says. “And there are plenty of crops like hemp or sunflowers, crops that are really hardy and don’t require a lot of labor. I can’t figure out why they would put their whole model in GMO corn. It doesn’t make any sense.”

 

http://mauiindependent.org/gmo-crops-become-hot-potato-maui-politics/

The House Just Stripped Medical Marijuana States Of Protection From The DEA


Note: I’d have more to say on Attorney General Granny Clampets latest move to ignore the non-consent of the governed to repeal medical marijuana protections; but, as my grandmother always said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nything at all. Hopefully the Senate will stop that wretched Granny in her tracks…

Seriously, what good is this man as AG when the Clintons. Podesta and Bush’s still run free. Banker’s are still stealing peoples homes. And where are all the mass arrests for high profile pedophiles? Sessions is nothing but a prison for profit WHORE, another Swamp Monster who could care less about the wishes of American’s whose taxes fund his paychecks…

Oopss…that wasn’t very nice was it – sorry Grandma!

States that have legalized medical marijuana could soon get an unwanted visit from the DEA. Yesterday, Congress stunned the cannabis industry by rejecting the only legal protection preventing Attorney General Jeff “good people don’t smoke marijuana” Sessions from cracking down on those 30 states for violating federal cannabis prohibition.

Back in 2014, lawmakers passed an amendment to the federal budget to protect state-legalized medical marijuana industries and the patients they serve. The amendment prevented the DEA from spending a single penny on enforcing cannabis prohibition in those states. It didn’t overturn federal cannabis prohibition or legalize medical marijuana, but it did tie the Department of Justice’s hands by freezing their finances.

At the time, medical marijuana was legal in 21 states, a number that has grown to 30 since then. But they could all be shuttered soon because that amendment — which has to be renewed with every budget — was rejected yesterday by the House Rules Committee. That means the House can’t include the rider in their final version of the federal budget.

If the budget passes without that rider, budtenders, dispensary owners, doctors recommending cannabis and even medical marijuana patients could face prosecution for their involvement in the industry. And not just for what they’re doing right now. They could be charged with offences dating back to when they got involved in the state’s cannabis industry.

And Attorney General Sessions might do just that since he’s been itching to crackdown on those states. Since taking office, Sessions has ramped up anti-marijuana rhetoric in America. And last May, he asked Congress to drop the amendment so that he could unleash the DEA on medical marijuana states if he saw fit. His request was denied in July by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but it seems like his message resonated in the House.

The fight for the marijuana amendment isn’t over yet though. The budget has yet to reach the Senate, where the rider could be re-inserted with support from Senators Cory Booker (D – NJ), Mike Lee (R – UT), Lisa Murkowski (R – AK), Rand Paul (R – KY), Bernie Sanders (D – VT) and others.

But even if it does get reinserted and passed, the amendment only buys patients, doctors and businesses a small window of relief before they have to start looking over their shoulders for DEA helicopters again. The reality is that the industry won’t be safe until Congress listens to the 94 percent of Americans who support medical marijuana and changes the country’s criminally outdated cannabis laws.

 

https://www.civilized.life/articles/medical-marijuana-states-stripped-dea-protection/

Ohio Reporter Shot Without Warning For Photographing Routine Traffic Stop


In one of the more bizarre stories to hit national news this week, an Ohio sheriff’s deputy is under investigation for shooting a local reporter who innocently set up a camera and tripod on a public sidewalk to document a routine traffic stop. What’s more is the shooting took place in a small town where “everyone knows everybody” and the police officer and victim were actually friends.

Ohio based New Carlisle News reports that its own photographer was shot in the incident which occurred Monday night:

Andy Grimm was shot by a Clark County deputy Monday evening. Andy had left the office around 10:00 p.m. to take pictures of lightning. There was a traffic stop on Main Street near Studebaker’s Restaurant, but Andy was not the subject of the stop. He had his camera and tripod in his hands and Deputy Jake Shaw apparently mistook it for a weapon and fired, striking Andy in the side. He was rushed to Miami Valley Hospital for surgery. He is expected to recover from his wounds.


Image source: New Carlisle News

Body camera video released by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office shows Deputy Jake Shaw shoot Grimm. The shooting sequence begins at 3:20 in as the officer is checking info inside the police car on speeder he pulls over.

In an unexpected twist, the wounded cameraman is now pleading for the officer to keep his job. Grimm told local reporters, “I know Jake. I like Jake. I don’t want him to lose his job over this,” in reference to the sheriff’s deputy that shot him.

The victim’s father, Dale Grimm, told The Washington Post that his son “got out, parked under a light in plain view of the deputy, with a press pass around his neck. He was setting up his camera, and he heard pops.” Sheriff’s deputy Jake Shaw reportedly gave no warning before firing.

The case has been turned over to the the Ohio state attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Division. While it’s entirely possible that there’s much more here than what’s being reported – for example, there could have been some kind of personal dispute between the friends – the strange incident is part of a growing list of “shoot first, ask questions later” incidents which display an increasingly militarized and trigger-happy mentality by local and state police.

As we reported last week in The Alarming Militarization of American Police, it is deeply disturbing that the federal government currently seeks to pass on military hardware to local and state authorities which continue to display lack of judgement as well as over the top tactics while dealing with routine local civilian matters. Local police forces should never operate like the Pentagon, but it appears we’re headed down precisely that path:

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order clearing the way for local police in America to receive military gear such as grenade launchers, high-calibre weapons, and armored vehicles. Trump and the DOJ have just reversed former President Barack Obama’s restrictions that allows local police departments to receive surplus military equipment.

…Let’s not kid ourselves, America by the day is turning into a police state where power through police force is the objective. The citizens of the police state may experience restrictions on social or financial mobility, or even on their freedom to express or communicate alternative political views.

No, the sheriff’s deputy who possibly mistook a simple camera and tripod on a small-town street for a mounted assault rifle should not keep his job – he is an absolute danger to society. But could we imagine if such police made regular use of mounted 50-caliber machine guns and grenade launchers?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-06/ohio-reporter-shot-without-warning-photographing-routine-traffic-stop

Texas Republicans Pushed to Kill Safety Regulations for Arkema Chemical Plant Before Explosion ~ Democracy Now


https://democracynow.org – The flooded Arkema chemical plant in the town of Crosby, Texas, that saw two explosions on Thursday, could see as many as six more blasts, and a new investigation reveals this comes after Arkema successfully pressured federal regulators to delay new regulations aimed at improving safety procedures at chemical plants. It also found that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton aggressively attacked a proposed chemical plant safety rule, after his election campaign garnered over $100,000 from chemical industry donors. We speak with David Sirota, senior editor for investigations at the International Business Times. His story is headlined “Texas Republicans Helped Chemical Plant That Exploded Lobby Against Safety Rules.” We also speak with Stephanie Thomas, Houston-based organizer for Public Citizen, and Matt Dempsey, a Houston Chronicle data reporter who contributed to a series called “Chemical Breakdown,” which investigated regulatory failures of the chemical industry.

2nd Explosion Sept 1, 2017: Arkema chemical plant Crosby, Texas goes up in smoke

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Only international pressure can save Rohingya now, how many lives will it take for the international community to act?


Ed Note: Among other crimes against humanity, entire villages of women being raped, infants and children being murdered. This needs to hit every petition site HARD! Friggin UN is worthless, it’s part of the problem…they haven’t done sh*t for the Kanaka thru the DRIPS resolution, or any other indigenous tribe. It’s up to us, regular people. If you have time to start a petition, this is an URGENT cause which needs immediate attention.  

Mahalo!

The Rohingya are often said to be the world's most persecuted minority [Reuters]The Rohingya are often said to be the world’s most persecuted minority [Reuters]

By 

Tun Khin is President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya are fleeing for their lives as the Burmese military engages in a scorched earth policy against Rohingya civilians. My organisation, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, has confirmed more than 1,000 deaths so far, but the figure is probably much higher. More than 10,000 homes have been burned or destroyed, as have shops and businesses. The military is systematically going from village to village, looting and destroying everything. They leave nothing behind. There is nothing for Rohingya to return to.

The question I am asked over and over again by my Rohingya brothers and sisters in Burma is, how can this be allowed to happen again?

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has described what is happening now in Rakhine State, Burma as predicted and preventable. History is repeating itself, but on a more horrific scale.

Last October, attacks on police stations by a new armed Rohingya organisation, now calling itself the Arakan (Arakan is another name used for Rakhine State) Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), triggered a major military operation in which hundreds were killed, villages were destroyed, and mass rape of Rohingya women took place. The United Nations described what took place as possible crimes against humanity, and the Human Rights Council established a Fact Finding Mission to investigate. The government of Burma is refusing to allow them into the country.

It was always feared that more attacks by ARSA would lead to a new offensive by the military, and that is what happened on August 25. As in 2016, the military offensive is not targeting ARSA, it is targeting civilians, with mass killings of civilians and destruction of civilian property.

We had hope that when a new government led by Aung San Suu Kyi came to power in 2016, things would change. Instead, she kept all the laws and policies which oppress us in place. She even kept in place restrictions on aid to Rohingya living in camps since their homes were destroyed by attacks in 2012. Those restrictions kill children and leave others stunted and malnourished.

READ MORE: Rohingya – ‘Even a baby was not spared by the army’

One positive step by the government was the establishment of a commission chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. However, it excluded any Rohingya from being members and had a limited mandate, not being allowed to look at human rights violations last week. At times, it seemed like a delaying tactic and was used as an excuse by the government for delays in changing policy and refusing to allow in the UN investigators. Last week, it did put forward some positive proposals, which the government accepted.

The situation of the Rohingya in Burma can be resolved if the political will is there. It won’t be easy but it can be done.

However, at the same time as Aung San Suu Kyi was talking about implementing the recommendations, her office and government were doing the opposite of what the report recommended, using social media and state media to whip up fears and tensions against Rohingya. Her government has even gone so far as to imply the UN and other international aid agencies are helping what the government called “extremist Bengali terrorists”. Stirring up pre-existing allegations some Rakhine nationalists have made in this way puts aid workers at risk of attacks and risks stopping delivery of life-saving aid to vulnerable people, including tens of thousands of children.

When the military launched its operation against us in October 2016 instead of trying to protect us, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government launched a propaganda offensive defending the military and denying human rights violations were happening. Flashing “Fake Rape” signs were on her Facebook page and website. The UN later confirmed the most horrific details of mass rape of Rohingya women.

Aung San Suu Kyi used to be our only hope for changing policies and attitudes towards the Rohingya. With that hope gone, we looked towards the international community for help, but they also failed us.

Despite the establishment in March of the investigation by the UN into possible crimes against humanity committed by the Burmese military against Rohingya, and possible crimes against humanity and war crimes against other ethnic groups, no pressure has been put on the military. In fact, the opposite has happened.

OPINION: Regional actors should take a stand against Myanmar

In Europe and Asia, Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military, is given red carpet treatment as an honoured guest. The EU has an arms embargo against Burma, but European companies are still supplying the military with other equipment.

As the international community is trying to sell him equipment instead of trying to prosecute him for violating international law, it is no surprise that he has now confidently ordered a new offensive against my people. Within Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi protects him. He knows he can act with impunity and my people pay the price.

As this new military offensive continues we will start to get many more horrific eye-witness testimonies of atrocities committed by the military – of rape, torture, babies and children being killed. All, as the UN human rights head has said, were preventable.

A major change in approach is needed by the international community if we are ever going to stop this cycle of violence against the Rohingya. The government of Burma needs to be told that international support and finance is conditional on a major change in policy towards the Rohingya. Propaganda and incitement of hatred and violence against Rohingya must stop, discriminatory laws and policies must go, the recommendations of Kofi Annan’s commission must be implemented immediately and in full.

Policy must change towards the military must change as well. A visa ban should be in place for military personnel, instead of red carpet visits. There must be engagement, but it must be critical engagement on human rights and democracy, no more training and cooperation between militaries. Sanctions should be considered against military owned companies. When the UN fact-finding mission makes its report in March next year, its recommendations to hold those responsible for violence accountable, and ending impunity, must be acted upon.

The situation of the Rohingya in Burma can be resolved if the political will is there. It won’t be easy but it can be done. The only alternative to action is letting us be killed. Letting Rohingya be killed has been the approach of the international community so far. There is no sign of that changing.

Tun Khin is the current president of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, which has been a leading voice for Rohingya people around the world. He has briefed officials on the continuing human rights violations committed against Rohingya populations in the US Congress and State Department, British Parliament, Swedish Parliament, European Union Parliament and Commission, the UN Indigenous Forum in NY and the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/08/international-pressure-save-rohingya-170830122257236.html

CAUTION: What it will take to make Houston habitable again (ENVIRONMENTAL TOXIC SOUP)


Joe Martens, former commissioner of New York’s department of environmental conservation, discusses the cleanup efforts that will be required for parts of Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Arkema Explosions – Plume may increase Evac Zone…Texas Republicans Helped Chemical Plant That Exploded Lobby Against Safety Rules 8/31/17


Texas Republicans Helped Chemical Plant That Exploded Lobby Against Safety Rules

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UPDATE at 4:13pm ET: Arkema originally reported that there were two explosions at its Crosby facility. Law enforcement authorities have since said that there were no explosions. The company’s CEO has said that there is “noxious” smoke coming from the facility. This story will continue to be updated to reflect the ongoing situation.

The French company that says its Houston-area chemical plant is spewing “noxious” smoke and may explode successfully pressed federal regulators to delay new regulations designed to improve safety procedures at chemical plants, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times. The rules, which were set to go into effect this year, were halted by the Trump administration after a furious lobbying campaign by plant owner Arkema and its affiliated trade association, the American Chemistry Council, which represents a chemical industry that has poured tens of millions of dollars into federal elections.

The effort to stop the chemical plant safety rules was backed by top Texas Republican lawmakers, who have received big campaign donations from chemical industry donors.

Representatives from Arkema Americas and the American Chemistry Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2013, a West, Texas, chemical plant explosion killed 15 people, prompting the Obama administration to try to raise chemical plant safety standards (investigators later found the explosion was caused deliberately). In an executive order that year, President Obama proposed an overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program with the goal of increasing safety and transparency at chemical plants by strengthening existing regulations. The EPA said the enhanced rules would “seek to improve chemical process safety, assist local emergency authorities in planning for and responding to accidents, and improve public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated source.”

Arkema has six production plants in Texas and has received more than $8.7 million worth of taxpayer subsidies from the state. Arkema’s Crosby plant — which OSHA fined more than $90,000 for ten “serious” violations earlier this year and has spewedsmoke in Crosby — appears to be covered under the existing EPA rules because of the kinds of chemicals it uses. While Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has given chemical companies legal cover to hide the locations of their EPA-regulated chemicals, the Associated Press reports that the imperiled Arkema facility houses large amounts of toxic sulfur dioxide and flammable methylpropen, which required Arkema to submit a risk management plan to the agency —  and which would have subjected the company to the strengthened safety rules.

However, those rules — which would have taken effect on March 14 — were blocked by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. The move was a big win for the chemical industry that has spent more than $100 million supporting federal lawmakers since 2008. Among those who have received more than $100,000 from the industry are powerful Texas lawmakers including Sen. John Cornyn (R), Rep. Joe Barton (R), Rep. Pete Olson (R), Rep. Gene Green (D), Rep. Pete Sessions (R) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R).

“Will Likely Add Significant New Costs”

Documents reviewed by IBT show that Pruitt’s announcement followed a lobbying campaign by Arkema and its colleagues in the chemical industry.

In May of 2016, Arkema sent a letter to the EPA criticizing the proposed rule. One part of the letter said the rule’s requirement of independent risk management audits “will likely add significant new costs and burdens to the corporate audit process.” The company also took issue with the rule’s “Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis” (STAA) requirements.

Those provisions would have required that companies consider using “inherently safer technology” that would encourage companies to “substitute less hazardous substances” and encourage firms to “simplify covered processes in order to make accidental releases less likely or the impacts of such releases less severe.”

“The additional requirement for STAA would be burdensome because there is no consensus methodology, definitions or standards for STAA,” the company told the agency. “Knowledge of ‘inherently safer technologies’ can vary greatly depending on the process being examined and the knowledge and expertise of the team performing the analysis. As a result, implementation of STAA would likely be inconsistent across companies.”

Federal records reviewed by IBT show that Arkema specifically lobbied on the chemical safety rules. In the first quarter of 2017, as the Trump administration was reviewing the rule, federal records show the company was lobbying on “EPA chemical regulations, including Significant New Use Rules and the Significant New Alternatives Policy program and EPA Risk Management Program regulations.” The records show the company directly lobbied the EPA and the White House on the issue. In the second quarter, federal records show Arkema lobbying the EPA and the National Economic Council on “EPA risk management program regulations.”

Of Arkema’s six production plants in Texas, five, including the Crosby plant, are near the coast and in the Houston area, raising the prospect of additional explosions due to flooding. The town of Beaumont, where there is a taxpayer-subsidized Arkema plant, has experienced severe flooding. Another plant is located in Houston, and two more, in nearby Pasadena, sit right on the Trinity Bay; one of these plants took in nearly $5 million in subsidies.

Arkema Push To Stop Rules Gets Boost From Its Lobbying Group & From Texas Republicans

In its letter to the EPA, Arkema noted that it is a member of the American Chemistry Council — a powerful lobbying group that has delivered $1.6 million of campaign donations to federal lawmakers since 2010. That Arkema-backed group helped spearhead the effort to block the EPA’s chemical plant safety rule. In January, the council was one of 21 groups that sent a letter to congressional leaders asserting that the new rule’s costs were not worth the alleged safety benefits.

“The lack of identifiable and quantifiable benefits stands in stark contrast to the clear costs associated with this rule,” said the letter. “Whether it be the requirement of third-party auditor participation that will reduce the pool of qualified auditors, changing well-established audit procedures already designed to maximize safety effectiveness, or imposing ineffective requirements to consider ‘inherently safer technology/design,’ the final rule includes a litany of costly changes that have not been shown to increase safety.”

The push to persuade the Trump administration to block the chemical plant safety rules was bolstered by an American Chemistry Council-backed resolution introduced on February 1 by Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma.

Among the 65 co-sponsors of the measure to block the rules were 10 members of the Texas Congressional delegation, including five who represent Houston area districts: Brian Babin (TX-36), whose district encompasses Crosby, where the Arkema plant lies; Michael McCaul (R-10), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, whose district sits northwest of Houston; John Culberson (R-7), whose district covers part of Houston; Randy Weber (R-14), who represents a coastal district just outside of Houston; Blake Farenthold (R-27), a representative whose coastal district lies southwest of Houston. Other co-sponsors include Louie Gohmert (R-1), vice chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Lamar Smith (R-21), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology who has challenged climate science. Weber and Babin are also members of that committee.

The Texas lawmakers who sponsored Mullin’s bill to block the chemical plant safety regulations have received more than $652,000 from the chemical industry, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Federal contribution data show the American Chemistry Council specifically has delivered more than $160,000 to the entire Texas congressional delegation since 2008, with top recipients including Gene Green ($20,288), Olson ($18,999), McCaul, who co-sponsored the Mullin bill, ($13,500), Barton ($16,500) and Sen. Ted Cruz ($15,000). Babin and Weber, who also co-sponsored the bill, each received $3,000 from Arkema. The National Institute on Money In State Politics reports that the American Chemistry Council has given more to federal lawmakers in Texas than lawmakers in any other state.

In 2017, after Mullin bill was moving through Congress, the American Chemistry Council directly lobbied the EPA — along with the U.S. House and Senate, the Department of the Interior, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Agriculture — on the resolution on behalf of Arkema and its many other corporate sponsors. In a May 2017 letter to the EPA, the American Chemistry Council advocated that the implementation of the safety rule be delayed for “at least eighteen months” — until February 19, 2019, arguing that the current rule would be too expensive for its members such as Arkema to implement.

“The Final Rule raises significant security concerns and compliance issues that will harm ACC members and others in the regulated community,” the trade association wrote to the EPA. “Certain provisions, such as the requirement to audit ‘each covered process’ in a facility’s compliance audit, impose costly and burdensome obligations on facilities.”

 

Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/texas-republicans-helped-chemical-plant-exploded-lobby-against-safety-rules

Graham Hancock: Archaeologist ‘Back From The Gates Of Death’ After Mysterious Seizures [Opinion]


August 22, 2017

 

Image result for http://www.inquisitr.com/opinion/4445900/graham-hancock-archaeologist-back-from-the-gates-of-death-after-mysterious-seizures/

Graham Hancock, a maverick archaeologist, and Fingerprints of the Gods writer, who has never been afraid to go against the established narrative of history, suffered a dramatic seizure while visiting New Mexico in May. On August 14, Hancock suffered another seizure at his home in Bath, UK, according to the account on Hancock’s website.

“Having spent most of the past week at the gates of death, I thought I would take this opportunity to bring friends, readers, allies, and critics up to date with what has been happening to me.”

Graham Hancock’s alternative view of life over 11,000 years ago has his readers enthralled, but until early 2017, the mainstream archeological community refuted Hancock’ claims. Now an obscure but credible scientific paper supports his claims, according to the Daily Mail.

What is being reported as strong archeological evidence that seems to confirm Graham Handcock’s theory of a previous, highly advanced civilization on the Earth more than 10,000 years ago should have Graham very excited. Instead, recent months have been frightening for Hancock, due to his illness.

There is strong evidence that carvings found in Gobekli Tepe are over 11,000 years old and the civilization that created them was apparently quite advanced. Graham Hancock has written extensively on Gobekli. The new paper that cites Graham’s work is an obvious victory for Hancock.

Sadly, Graham Hancock has been unable to fully enjoy his victory. Though his work was cited by a scholarly paper who agreed with Hancock’s findings, Graham has been ill.

Graham Hancock posted on his website that he has been suffering from mysterious seizures which eventually left him in a medically induced coma for 48 hours as doctors fought to save his life. Hancock’s first seizure occurred while he was traveling in New Mexico in May.

Apparently, the doctors there saved his life but misdiagnosed his illness according to Graham Hancock’s website as well as a copy of the message on his Facebook page.

“I suffered a major seizure with sustained loss of consciousness while traveling and researching in the US in May (the new non-fiction book I am working on is focused on ancient North America).”

Graham explained the diagnosis given to him in New Mexico.

“I was stabilized in the ER in Farmington New Mexico, diagnosed with atrial fibrillation of my heart, and discharged the following day on anti-coagulants to prevent a possible recurrence of what was diagnosed as a transient ischaemic attack — in other words, a ‘mini stroke.’”

Later, when Graham Hancock returned home, he suffered another seizure and was hospitalized. It was a frightening situation.

“In the early hours of Monday, 14 August, when I suffered further, far more severe grand mal seizures here at my home in Bath, UK. Again I was rushed to the ER and then to the intensive care ward.”

Doctors prepared Graham Hancock’s wife Santha for the worst. Graham had a brush with death, as violent seizures overtook his body.

“This time the seizures were multiple and recurrent and my beloved wife Santha was taken aside by the neurologist who advised her to prepare herself for my death or if by chance I survived that I would be so badly brain damaged that I would effectively be a ‘vegetable.’”

Thankfully, Graham Hancock recovered and was awakened two days later. Graham seems to be OK, and the lengthy note explaining the situation is evidence Hancock can still write. Doctors, however, say Graham Hancock cannot drive a car anymore, at least for now. Hancock explains the situation on his website.

“It was Wednesday 16 August, late afternoon, when I began to return to some form of consciousness baffled to see that Sean and Shanti, two of my grown-up children, had flown from Los Angeles and New York to be with Santha at my bedside together with Leila and Gabrielle, two more of our grown-up children who live in London. For quite some time I couldn’t understand what had happened.”

Gobekli Tepe dig site discussed in Graham Hancock books
Gobekli Tepe dig site [Image by Ilkaydede/iStock images]

Graham Hancock indeed suffers from atrial fibrillation, but there were other factors at work in his condition. Hancock has suffered from severe migraines since he suffered an accidental electrocution at the age of 17.

Fifty years ago Graham Hancock was accidentally electrocuted, receiving a massive electrical shock. Since then, Hancock has suffered from severe migraines. The only thing that relieved his pain was injections of a migraine medication called sumatriptan. Graham has been receiving up to 12 shots a month for the past 20 years.

Now, Graham Handcock is faced with suffering his painful migraines without relief, due to the deadly risks involved in taking sumatriptan.

“Turns out having a migraine is itself a risk-factor for epilepsy, and research has established a link between triptans (especially when overused) and seizures. It’s almost certain that it was the sumatriptan that had brought me to death’s door and it is now obvious that I must simply suffer the hideous and mind-numbing pain of my migraines or end up dead or a vegetable.”

Graham Hancock revealed that he felt negative and hateful comments directed at him, on a YouTube video, were a triggering factor in the overall breakdown of his health.

“Strangely it is as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. A darkness that had been hanging over me for most of this year reached its peak intensity at the time of the heated debate that Randall Carlson and I participated in with skeptic Michael Shermer and establishment geologist Marc Defant on the Joe Rogan Experience in May.”


It seems that a relatively small group of people, using multiple accounts, attacked Graham Hancock with mean-spirited remarks in the comments section of the YouTube video.

“The focused hatred directed at me in the comments section in the first three weeks after the debate is hardly visible in the more recent comments but, at the time, it affected me energetically in a very bad way and my intuition is that it was a contributing factor in my health breakdown.”

Graham Hancock now feels that he is not only recovered but energized as well. Graham said that he felt a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

Graham Hancock is a very controversial writer who challenges many of the currently held views of mainstream archaeology. Specifically, Hancock’s work challenges the timeline of civilization. Graham Hancock has found some impressive evidence that the Sphinx and pyramids at Giza are far older than current thinking allows. His recent works discuss the Gobekli carvings, at Gobekli Tepe, which depict the stars in the sky as they appeared around 9,000 BC according to the Daily Mail. The artwork also depicts a comet striking the earth.

Gbeklitepe ancient carvings
[Gbekli Tepe ancient carvings by Ishan Gercelman and undefined/iStock Images]

Graham Hancock, usually bold in the face of an almost universal denial from the archaeological community, has held to his theory of a previous civilization on Earth, explained in Fingerprints of the Gods in 1995, with continued theories all the way through his more recent work.

Graham Hancock provides a vital balance in the archaeological community. For a body of science to continue without a dissenting voice renders the increase of knowledge impossible. How can progress be made if new evidence is ignored because of old theories?

Archaeology needs Graham Hancock, though they may not always appreciate his input. Graham, however, is more aware than ever of his own mortality.

Graham Hancock explained what he had learned from his second near-death experience.

“One thing I know for sure now, if I had not fully grasped it before, is that the borderline between life and death is poignantly thin, fragile and permeable. We feel firmly fixed in our lives but any of us may cross over at any time. Sometimes we come back. Sometimes we don’t.”

Graham Hancock, maverick archaeologist, has survived his second brush with death, and it is hoped Graham will be around to challenge the archaeological status quo for a long time.

[Featured Image by Uchar/iStock Images]

http://www.inquisitr.com/opinion/4445900/graham-hancock-archaeologist-back-from-the-gates-of-death-after-mysterious-seizures/

Campbell Soup Company Buys Organic Pacific Foods for $700 Million


Campbell's Buys Pacific Foods
image via Pacific Foods

The Campbell Soup Company announced last Thursday its $700 million acquisition of Oregon-based organic nondairy milk, broth, and soup company, Pacific Foods.

“Pacific Foods is an excellent fit with Campbell,” said company president and CEO Denise Morrison in a statement. “Culturally, Campbell and Pacific Foods share similar values and a commitment to a purpose-driven approach. Philosophically, both companies believe in making food that we are proud to serve at our own tables using simple, recognizable ingredients.”

Thirty-year-old Pacific Foods will continue to operate from its certified organic plant in Tualatin, Oregon, and company CEO and co-founder Chuck Eggert will remain on board as a supplier of key ingredients through his family farms.

“We’ve spent the past 30 years focused on making nourishing foods with an emphasis on simple, organic ingredients and authentic, rich flavors,” said Eggert. “Looking ahead, a future with Campbell means we can maintain what we value while accelerating growth of the brand in a way that we couldn’t do alone, reaching more people while increasing our impact on sustainable agriculture.”

Pacific Foods also produces shelf-stable plant-based beverages and meals like baked beans, hummus, and cooked chicken in stock.

Pacific Foods will mark Campbell’s fifth purchase in five years, which include organic baby-food maker Plum Organics, salsa and hummus producer Garden Fresh Gourmet, and smoothie producer Bolthouse Farms. Alongside the company’s commitment to phase artificial ingredients out of its soups by 2018, these purchases show that Campbell’s is attempting to align itself the current trend in a consumer demand for natural and organic products.

“The acquisition is a smart move for Campbell, which has struggled with lagging demand for its marquee condensed soups and disappointing revenues for its Fresh segment,” reports Food Dive; in Campbell’s last earnings report, sales from the Campbell Fresh division, which includes salad dressings and refrigerated soups, had fallen 6 percent to $248 million.

“Analysts have said that Campbell’s foray into fresh is a cautionary tale of a CPG company trying to apply its previous center store success to the very different world of the store’s perimeter,” continues Food Dive.

USA Today reports that the deal still needs approval from regulators before being finalized.

Related on Organic Authority
Campbell’s Will Pull BPA After Study Found the Toxic Chemical in All of Its Canned Soup
Campbell’s Soup Pledges to Drop Artificial Ingredients by 2018
Stock Up on Campbell’s Soup: The Company is Shifting its Focus Away from Cans

 

http://www.organicauthority.com/campbell-soup-company-buys-organic-pacific-foods-for-700-million/

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