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LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Trophy 0328wrp opt(Photo: Ann Wuyts / Flickr)Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has assembled a new outdoor recreation advisory panel dominated by top executives from the industry.

The 15-member "Made in America" Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee will advise Sec. Zinke on issues surrounding public lands. They include officials that represent fishing, shooting sports, motorized vehicles and hospitality as well as national park concessionaires.

"The Made in America Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee is made up of the private sector's best and brightest to tackle some of our biggest public lands infrastructure and access challenges," Zinke announced Monday.

"The committee's collective experience as entrepreneurs and business leaders provide (sic) unique insight that is often lost in the federal government."

The Washington Post reported that Zinke did not appoint committee nominees offered by the Outdoor Industry Association, which advocates for activities such as mountain climbing, hiking and kayaking. The association has criticized President Trump's decision last year to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Spill 0328wrp opt(Photo: Patrick Luckow / Flickr)An oil spill of approximately 550 barrels (23,100 gallons) has killed more than 2,400 fish, birds and reptiles near the city of Barrancabermeja, Colombia, RCN Radio reported.

Oil started spilling from the Lizama 158 oil field in early March and spread down 15 miles of the Lizama river and 12.4 miles of the Sogamoso river.

According to local media, it took Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol three weeks to respond to the environmental disaster.

Colombia Reports noted that the crude started escaping the oil field on March 3 but it was only this past Saturday that Ecopetrol vowed to send heavy equipment that could stop the spill.

The company said Tuesday that the spill is fully controlled and workers are carrying out environmental monitoring of the rivers. The cause of the spill is currently unclear but an investigation is underway.

ROB OKUN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

4689566084 cd1659e03e oA display of machine guns. (Photo via [FLICKR] / Flickr)

It's time to listen to the students. Across the country, teenagers have walked out of classes, stood in holy silence, and delivered stirring speeches calling out their elders for failing to prevent their schools from becoming shooting ranges for raging men. On Saturday they protested in Washington with adult allies among the throngs in the capital and at hundreds of student-organized satellite rallies nationwide.

Students have been fierce and articulate in their unequivocal demand that they attend safe schools. Recognizing the role of gender in mass murders like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is critical to accomplish this goal. 

We certainly must applaud these young people for calling out the NRA -- "Our lives are worth more than your wealth" -- as well as outing the politicians whose coffers the gun lobby has lined. They know the NRA is about men and money.

In my years working to transform societal ideas about masculinity and manhood, it has become undeniable that the gender of the shooter -- almost always male -- is as essential in the gun debate as are stricter laws and mental health screenings. I'd welcome hearing high school students' thoughts in a cross - generational dialogue that included how we raise boys and how we navigate the culture of violence in which we live.

We in the 40-year old profeminist antiviolence men's movement have always viewed shootings like Parkland, Florida through a gendered lens. Men's mass murders at schools (or churches or movie theaters) need to be understood not by their location but in the larger context of our culture of violence, including, of course, men's disproportionate enactment of that violence.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT 

A massive sinkhole in Winkler County, Texas. Google EarthA massive sinkhole in Winkler County, Texas. (Photo: Google Earth)

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

West Texas is already home to two giant sinkholes near the town of Wink caused by intensive oil and gas operations. Now, according to an unprecedented study, the "Wink Sinks" might not remain the last in the region.

Geophysicists at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas have found rapid rates of ground movement at various locations across a 4,000-square-mile swath around the two sinkholes. This area is known for processing extractions from the oil-rich Permian Basin.

The scientists made the discovery after analyzing radar satellite imagery taken between November 2014 and April 2017. Combined with oil-well production data from the Railroad Commission of Texas, the researchers concluded that the area's sinking and uplifting ground is associated with decades of oil activity and its effect on rocks below Earth's surface.

"Based on our observations and analyses, human activities of fluid (saltwater, CO2) injection for stimulation of hydrocarbon production, salt dissolution in abandoned oil facilities, and hydrocarbon extraction each have negative impacts on the ground surface and infrastructures, including possible induced seismicity," the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, says.

One location saw as much as 40 inches of movement over the past two-and-a-half years, the geophysical team found.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Norway 0326wrp opt(Photo: Ken Douglas / Flickr)Norway - home to the world's highest per capita number of all-electric cars—is also planning to go emission-free in the friendly skies.

The Scandinavian country aims to be the first in the world to switch to electric air transport.

State-owned Avinor, which operates most of the country's airports, plans to adopt battery-powered planes in the coming years to help slow climate change, Reuters reported.

"In my mind, there's no doubt that by 2040 Norway will be operating totally electric" on short-haul flights, Dag Falk-Pedersen, head of Avinor, said at an aviation conference in Oslo.

The long-held dream of electric airliners has been stymied by battery technology and limited range. However, the aviation industry is stepping up to make this dream a reality.

VERONIKA KYRYLENKO FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

China 0326wrp optChina Pavilion (Photo: Wojtek Gurak / Flickr)This month, China's National People's Congress, its Communist Party controlled legislature, has passed a new edition of the country's Constitution. Among other amendments, Chinese parliamentarians have almost unanimously approved an amendment to abolish the term limit on the presidency. The press secretary of the parliamentary session, Zhang Yesui, has stated that there is a need to adopt these amendments due to the "revolutionary changes ... especially after the 18th Party Congress," when the affirmation of a "socialism with Chinese characteristics" as a system (zhidu) was first written into the Party constitution, and Xi Jinping was elected a general secretary of the Communist Party and the president of a country. As for such "revolutionary" changes in China, they are, indeed, facing a need to deal with the new challenges -- primarily in the economy.

In 1989, after the infamous Tiananmen Square Massacre, China started to develop a unique civilizational path that integrated an authoritarian (nearly totalitarian) political regime with a market economy. Back then, China neglected to choose a path of democratization, having seen its disastrous results for Russia right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the early '90s, Russia tried to adapt a market economy without any necessary preparation and embraced an unlimited market freedom without any government regulation or control whatsoever.

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

nancypelosi2The Republicans continue to smear Nancy Pelosi in efforts to retain a majority in the House. (Photo: NASA HQ PHOTO)

At BuzzFlash and Truthout we never shy away from criticizing powerful corporate and political forces. Support this work by making a tax-deductible donation now.

Will Nancy Pelosi continue to be the gift that keeps on giving election victories to Republicans? Since she was first elected Speaker of the House in 2007, the Republican Party has been unrelenting in its anti-Pelosi bashing, with it basically becoming the number one item in the Republican Party’s congressional electoral playbook. With the Trump presidency at stake in this year’s mid-term elections, will demonizing Pelosi -- the wealthy San Francisco-based Democrat who would likely become Speaker of the House if Democrats win control -- continue to be the hook that the GOP hangs its politics on? Can what has been the tried and true strategy of tying Democratic congressional candidates to Pelosi work again this year? Or, will the GOP and its surrogates blend anti-Pelosi rhetoric with other issues?

Pelosi’s advisers estimated that in 2010, “Republicans devoted more than $50 million in negative advertising targeting her that election season,” The Washington Post's Paul Kane reported. In early February, CNN’s Chris Cillizza pointed out that “That number has likely tripled over the last seven years.”

In a recent speech in Cincinnati, President Trump said: "Nancy Pelosi -- what she's doing to this country. And she's gone so far left, and (Chuck) Schumer has gone so far left. Oh, I look forward to running against them."

"Every morning I wake up and I take a moment to be thankful that the Republican Party still has Nancy Pelosi because Nancy Pelosi is absolutely toxic," Corry Bliss, who runs a Republican super PAC, told the Washington Times in June of last year.

She may be toxic to Republicans, but Pelosi has demonstrated that she can get things done. Since 2003, when she became the Democrats’ House leader, “She pushes hard for liberal policies, but also has a keen understanding of what legislation can’t get through Congress, no matter how much she may personally favor it. She has probably done a better job of keeping her caucus unified, in the majority and minority, than any other recent congressional leader, The New York Times David Leonhardt recently pointed out.

JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Capitalism 0322wrp opt(Photo: The Hamster Factor / Flickr)Today's captains of corporate capitalism like to think of themselves not as mere businesspeople, but as modern society's genius "innovators."

Sounds positive... until you ask the key question: Innovation for what purpose? After all, some of society's most inventive minds are flimflammers, Ponzi-schemers, gamers and embezzlers. Sure enough, an inordinate amount of the innovation comes out of corporate suites these days, amounting to shameless schemes to dupe and rip off rank and file workers.

The latest of these is a hustle called "gamification," an attempt by such giants as T-Mobile and Walt Disney to give game-like, "psychological" prizes to employees rather than giving pay raises or cash bonuses. As the honchos of United Airlines learned, however, not everyone bites the corporate bait.

Thursday, 22 March 2018 07:04

Normalizing the United States of Violence

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

War 0322wrp opt(Photo: Stewart Black / Flickr)Addressing the Parkland shootings last month, and the apparent emergence of a movement for tougher, saner gun laws that has followed, a USA Today article asked: "What has been so different from all the other mass shootings over the years?"

In one sense, this is a reasonable question. Why now? Why didn't it happen after, you know . . . Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Orlando, Charleston, Sandy Hook, Aurora? And the list goes on.

But, come on. Doesn't something stunningly horrifying resonate, however faintly, in these words? How can this phrase — "all the other mass shootings?" — be out there with such matter-of-fact, cheerful neutrality, such ordinariness?

The answer, of course, is that this is a violent — an increasingly violent — country. But I still feel a disbelieving cry echo somewhere deep in my being as I read these words, and refuse to simply push on. It's almost as though the wording in this paragraph contains not just the question but the answer: If the slaughter of innocent people can be folded so neatly into a phrase, "mass shooting," allowing us to categorize one, then another, then another act of senseless carnage and file it away as recent history, then move on with our lives, might that not be a serious cause of the nothing-we-can-do-about-it syndrome gripping America?

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Cash0321wrp opt(Photo: Jackie / Flickr)Over the past several months, firearms companies and gun dealers are complaining about a "Trump Slump," with several companies reporting disappointing sales. Nevertheless, many states remain economically dependent on the firearms industry.

In a new report titled "2018's States Most Dependent on the Gun Industry," the personal finance website, WalletHub, "compared the economic impact of guns on each of the 50 states to determine which among them leans most heavily on the gun business, both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through ownership."

How heavily does your state depend on the firearms industry? Where does your state stand in relation to the rest of the nation, in terms of gun industry jobs, political contributions from gun advocacy organizations, and gun ownership?

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