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WindFarm 0803wrp(Photo: steeedm / Flickr) 

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Renewable energy is truly getting cheaper every day. The 800-megawatt wind farm Vineyard Wind project, the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S., has offered a total levelized price of $65 per megawatt-hour (MWh)—a record low.

The planned wind farm, located 15 mies south of Martha's Vineyard, will be jointly developed by Avangrid Inc. and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Their contract was filed Wednesday with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

In all, Massachusetts electricity users will save about $1.4 billion over the 20-year duration of the contract, Bloomberg reported.

Published in Guest Commentary

Penguin 0801wrpA King Penguin ckick. (Photo: Amanda Graham / Flickr)

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The world's largest colony of king penguins declined nearly 90 percent in the last three decades, researchers announced Monday.

The colony inhabits France's subantarctic Île aux Cochons or Pig Island. Observations from the 1980s showed that it was once home to 2 million king penguins, making it the planet's largest colony of the species, and also the second largest colony of all penguins.

However, new satellite images and aerial photographs taken from a helicopter show that the colony's breeding grounds have been overrun by vegetation, according to a paper published in the journal Antarctic Science.

Published in Guest Commentary
Wednesday, 01 August 2018 07:29

Let's Tax the Rich

Tax 0801wrp"Monopoly" in real life. (Photo: Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

LAWRENCE WITTNER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Progressive income taxes―designed to fund government services and facilities—go back centuries, and are based on the idea that taxes should be levied most heavily on people with the ability to pay them. In the United States, the federal government introduced its first income tax in 1861, to cover the costs of the Civil War. Although new federal income tax legislation in the 1890s was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, the resulting public controversy led, in 1913, to passage of the sixteenth amendment to the Constitution, firmly establishing the legality of an income tax.

The progressive income tax―levied, at its inception, only on the wealthiest Americans―was a key demand and political success of the Populist and Progressive reformers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As might be expected, most of the wealthy regarded it with intense hostility, especially as the substantial costs of World War I sent their tax rates soaring. The development of jobs programs and other public services during the New Deal, capped by the vast costs of World War II and the early Cold War, meant that, by the 1950s, although most Americans paid income taxes at a modest rate, the official tax rate for Americans with the highest incomes stood at about 91 percent.

Of course, the richest Americans didn't actually pay at that rate, thanks to a variety of deductions, loopholes, and its application to only the highest increment of their income. Even so, like many of the wealthy throughout history, they deeply resented paying a portion of their income to benefit other people―people whom they often regarded as inferior to themselves. Consequently, cutting taxes for the rich became one of their top political priorities.

Published in Guest Commentary
Monday, 30 July 2018 07:37

A World Designed by Playground Bullies

Mural 0730wrp(Photo: Jeanne Menjoulet / Flickr)

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

As the week's news slaps against my consciousness like road slush, some fragments sting more than others. For instance:

"According to the DOJ's court filing, parents who are not currently in the U.S. may not be eligible for reunification with their children."

I can't quite move on with my life after reading a sentence like this. A gouge of incredulity lingers. How is such a cruelly stupid rule possible? What kind of long-term ramification will it have on the entirety of the human race?

Published in Guest Commentary
Monday, 30 July 2018 07:07

Will Trump Declare Martial Law?

Poland 0730wrpA derelict troop transport outside the Roads to Freedom museum near Gdansk, Poland. (Photo: Trojan_Llama / Flickr)

ELLIOT D. COHEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The signs and symptoms that the U.S. is heading toward the deep and dangerous headwaters of martial law may be gleaned from historical analogies. One such case is that of Poland beginning in the early 1980s.

In 1981, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Poland's Prime Minister and Leader of its Communist Party, declared martial law. Democratic institutions and organizations were shut down; activist leaders jailed or killed; media and educational institutions were placed under government control, and censored; borders were closed, preventing travel in and out of the nation; travel inside the nation was also restricted; mail was censored; telephone communication was regularly wiretapped and monitored; and military courts were set up to try journalists and professors for spreading "fake news" and "subversive ideas."

Jaruzelski was effectively a puppet of then Russian President Leonid Brezhnev. To quash progressive opposition to communism, Jaruzelski was given the alternative of placing Poland under martial law, or having Russian troops invade Poland instead. Jaruzelski chose the latter; and in the dead of the night on December 13, 1981, while Poland slept, the tanks began rolling in.

Published in Guest Commentary

Water 0727wrp(Photo: BriarCraft / Flickr)

MEGAN FRENCH-MARCELIN AND RONALD SIMPSON-BEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In April 2018, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declared the water in the city of Flint safe to drink. This was not a proactive statement by a concerned governor, it was a choice of political expediency to bring resolution to a four-years-long crisis. By the time of Snyder's statement, a community of 100,000 people (including children) were exposed to toxic levels of lead and other corrosive contaminants. Additionally, people incarcerated in Flint's jail had been drinking the poisoned water all along.

This is not just a water crisis. This is a crisis of racial, environmental and economic injustice perpetuated by elected officials.

For people living in Flint, death, disease, miscarriages, and countless other physical and psychological harms rippled through communities because of the contaminated water. Communities' confidence in government to protect its health has been shaken to its core, as those harms have continued to linger and grow.

Published in Guest Commentary

 HotJapan 0725wrpA hot day in Tokyo. (Photo: Paul Keller / Flickr)

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Hot, dry and fiery conditions are being seen by many parts of the globe right now. This includes Japan, where the nation's meteorological agency just declared the extreme heat a "natural disaster." An agency spokesman said that "unprecedented levels of heat" were being felt, as quoted by AFP.

The city of Kumagaya, located about 40 miles northwest of Tokyo, even broke the country's all-time record when it reached 106 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday. The previous record was 105.8 degrees, set on Aug. 12, 2013 in the town of Ekawasaki.

The ongoing heatwave "is fatal, and we recognize it as a natural disaster," the weather agency spokesman added.

Published in Guest Commentary

Trumpuppet 0725wrp(Photo: cool revolution / Flickr)

WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

It was quite a shock to see the President of the United States bend the knee to Vladimir Putin and act as obsequiously as a Little Leaguer standing next to Aaron Judge. Of course, when Donald Trump spoke while Vladimir Putin drank a glass of water, we all applauded.

In their joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland, Donald Trump made Neville Chamberlain look like a historical badass. He's given slobbering lapdogs a bad name. Probably compelled Ronald Reagan to spin in his grave so fast you could light up the entire Eastern Seaboard.

Both conservatives and liberals expressed outrage and confusion to see Trump suck up to Vlad the Impaler so hard, many were surprised the Russian President didn't sport hickeys the size of small manhole covers. Not saying Trump's behavior was a bit smoochy but Melania has to be hoping he wore a condom.

And that was in public.

Published in Guest Commentary

 Typhoon 0723wrpTyphoon Soudelor Seen from the ISS. (Photo: NASA / Flickr)

OLIVIA ROSANE OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

From flash floods in Vietnam to a blistering heat wave in Japan, countries across Asia are suffering from extreme weather, CNN reported Sunday.

The events come nearly two months into the continent's annual rainy season that extends from June to November, according to The Straits Times.

A 2016 study showed that typhoons in Asia had gotten 50 percent more intense in the last 40 years due to increased ocean temperatures and were likely to get even more intense due to climate change, The Guardian reported.

Published in Guest Commentary

WP 0723wrp(Photo: Patrick Feller / Flickr)

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Hoping to take advantage of the Trump/Putin love connection, the League of the South (LoS) "is launching a Russian-language section of its website designed to attract people interested in 'Southern nationalism,'" al.com's Leada Gore recently reported. The aim of the webpage is to push the idea that the Russian people and white Southerners are "natural allies," while at the same time, raising the League of the South's profile.

"As fellow Whites of northern European extraction, we come from the same general gene pool. As inheritors of the European cultural tradition, we share similar values, customs, and ways of life. And as Christians, we worship the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our common faith binds us as brothers and sisters," League president Michael Hill wrote in a letter posted at the group's website.

"A firm and resolute understanding and commitment to cooperation between the Russian people and the people of the South could indeed be the foundation for a better world in which our peoples thrive and prosper far into the future," he added.

Published in Guest Commentary
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