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800px Bears Alaska 3 Carl Chapman /Wiki Commons/ Driving to Alaska

The Trump administration has proposed new regulations to overturn an Obama-era rule that protects iconic predators in Alaska's national preserves.

Wildlife protection organizations condemned the move, as it would allow hunters to go to den sites to shoot wolf pups and bear cubs, lure and kill bears over bait, hunt bears with dogs and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou. Such hunting methods were banned on federal lands in 2015 that are otherwise permitted by the state.

The proposed rule, posted Tuesday in the federal register and pushed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, "would remove a regulatory provision issued by the National Park Service (NPS) in 2015 that prohibited certain sport hunting practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska."



sandyhookgunsNo end in sight to the tidal wave of guns in the United States. (Photo: Patrick Feller)

The school massacres and shootings keep mounting. It is an epidemic. There are so many that we tend to bury past school gun deaths at the backs of our minds. After all, it was not long ago, in 2012, that the grotesque killings occurred at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. The nation was in shock until the next mass shootings. As CBS News reported about the incident:

Adam Lanza … who reportedly had a preoccupation with mass shootings, in particular the 1999 Columbine massacre, killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, and then drove to the elementary school, where he shot and killed 26 people, including 20 first-graders, in less than 11 minutes, before taking his own life. Two other school staffers were wounded by gunfire.

As with each mass shooting in the United States, there were calls for gun reform. However, six years later, we are still waiting on the federal level to achieve any substantial positive change in the nation's gun laws. In fact, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has quietly passed bills in Congress that ease gun control, rather than make it tighter. Furthermore, the NRA bats down gun reform bills like pesky mosquitoes. How long has it been since Columbine? The only congressional action since then on assault weapons was to remove the ban on them in 2004.

Trump has also signed executive orders that favor NRA positions. The NRA spent approximately $31 million to help elect Trump president. Ironically, Trump recently attended the annual NRA convention in Dallas, and he spoke in a gun-free zone. Yes, the Secret Service had all attendees who wanted to hear the president walk through metal detectors to ensure that they were not carrying firearms. The same was true for Vice President Pence, who spoke to the group earlier. Apparently, Trump and Pence are beneficiaries of gun-free zones, but students are not.


hauser 5 22 18The FTC should have appointed a leader of the Bureau of Consumer Protection with a proven commitment to consumer protection.

Only in a world in which the head of the Environmental Protection Agency treats the environment like an enemy of his family does the latest news from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) make any semblance of sense.

On May 16, Trump's handpicked FTC Chairman Joseph Simons and his fellow Republican commissioners installed revolving door veteran Andrew Smith to a senior leadership position at the FTC. Smith, who has spent several years specializing in advising firms which harm consumers, will now run the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

"Harm consumers" might sound like an exaggeration, but a glance at Andrew Smith's client list reads like a "who's who" of the worst consumer rip-offs of the past 18 months, including representing Facebook, Uber and Equifax. 

It's a wonder Wells Fargo seems to have never sought input from Smith.

The FTC's "About the FTC" page identifies as its mission: "[w]orking to protect consumers."


Meat 0521wrp optMeat mural. (Photo: b.ug / Flickr)Missouri state lawmakers passed an omnibus agriculture bill on Thursday that includes a provision prohibiting plant-based products from being labeled as "meat."

This measure would ban companies from using the term "plant-based meat" to describe their products. It would also prevent any future lab-grown products that hit the market from using the labeling.

The change was approved on a 125-22 vote and was backed by the state's pork producers, the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.

Critics see the act as an attempt from the beef lobby to clamp down on the $5 billion "fake" meat industry, which has boomed from the public's increasing appetite for healthier, more humane and environmentally sustainable food products.


Fam 0521wrp optFamilies separated at the US-Mexican border. (Photo: BBC World Service / Flickr)Families are being split up in the name of "zero tolerance" immigration policies. Jeff Sessions said, "[Your] child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border." John Kelly, White House chief of staff, added, "The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever." Yes, he said "whatever."

This isn't much different from slave-trading days. People then were forced INTO the country and families separated; now they're forced OUT OF the country and families separated. In both cases families have done whatever is necessary, in their own personal worlds, to survive and stay together and find happiness. And in both cases an institution of authority has made rules on behalf of the better-positioned segment of society, rules which impact the lives of those deemed somehow less valuable.

This may not be the deadliest act committed by American leaders, but it's incomparably vile in its cruelty toward human beings who have been living among us, sometimes for many years. For conservatives who are always preaching the importance of stable families, it's shocking to see the little opposition to breaking up and turning out so many loving mothers and fathers and children.


Stack 0518wrp opt(Photo: Billy Wilson / Flickr)April 2018 was the 400th consecutive month of global temperatures above the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday.

That means the last time Earth was cooler than that average was December 1984—the same month Band Aid released "Do They Know It's Christmas."

This three-decade streak is not some fluke, NOAA scientists remarked.

"It's mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming," NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN. "Climate change is real, and we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future."

The rising temps could be explained by natural causes such as an El Niño, but as Sanchez noted, "if you were to remove the human factor, you would still see a variability, but it would be up and down."


medicarealljpgCan universal coverage emerge from Trump's health insurance chaos? (Photo: Molly Adams)

Although Donald Trump continually bellows that he is going to resolve the health care insurance crisis, the facts belie his assertions. During his efforts to repeal Obamacare last year, he revealed either a cynical demagogic streak on the issue or an ignorance of the issue that impacts the most essential right of every person in the US: health. It probably is a combination of the two. After all, as Mother Jones reported in 2017, "Trump still doesn’t know the difference between health insurance and life insurance." Yes, that's correct, the president of the United States believes that extremely complicated and expensive health insurance works like term life insurance.

However, a recent poll indicates that Trump's ignorance and zeal to undo Obamacare may come back to bite the Republicans running for Congress in the midterms. As revealed in a May 16 Yahoo Finance column:

The number of uninsured Americans in 2017 saw its largest single-year increase since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion, according to Gallup data....

According to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, the number of Americans without health insurance rose by 1.3 percentage points in 2017, representing about 3.2 million people. 

Those who experienced the largest declines in coverage included people between the ages of 18 and 25, Black and Latino people, and individuals with an annual household income of less than $36,000, according to the column.

It is not surprising, given the Republican demographics, that those most affected by anti-Obamacare campaign are the poor, people of color and the young. Remember that although Trump and the GOP were not successful at repealing Obamacare, they wounded it in many ways. This occurred through Trump executive orders and even congressional action, such as the tax restructuring bill from last year.


chow 5 17 18A new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows an "unexpected and persistent increase" in global emissions of an ozone-depleting chemicals. NASA

A new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows an "unexpected and persistent increase" in global emissions of an ozone-depleting chemical even though an international treaty forced production to completely halt by 2010.

NOAA scientists suggest that emissions are most likely from new, unreported production from an unidentified source in eastern Asia.

Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, were once found in countless products, including air-conditioning, refrigeration and aerosol-spray propellants. However, it was discovered they caused a giant hole in the ozone layer, which shields the sun's dangerous ultraviolet radiation from reaching Earth's surface.

CFCs -- including the second most abundant ozone destroyer, CFC-1 -- were banned under the landmark Montreal Protocol of 1987, and since then parts of the ozone layer have been slowly recovering.

According to the NOAA analysis, published Wednesday in Nature, the rate of decline of atmospheric CFC-11 concentrations was constant from 2002 to 2012, and then slowed by about 50 percent after 2012. From 2014 to 2016, however, emissions of CFC-11 increased by 25 percent above the average measured from 2002 to 2012 despite reported production being close to zero since 2006.

As the study points out: "The increase in emission of CFC-11 appears unrelated to past production; this suggests unreported new production."


John KellyWhen John Kelly says "they don't speak English. They don't integrate well, they don't have skills," history shows he means it doesn't matter what happens to them. Or to their children. (Photo: Jetta Disco / DHS)

Such gentle abhorrence! It almost doesn't seem like racism.

"But they're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They're overwhelmingly rural people in the countries they come from -- fourth, fifth, sixth grade educations are kind of the norm. They don't speak English, obviously that's a big thing. They don't speak English. They don't integrate well, they don't have skills."

Why bother keeping these words of John Kelly alive? There's so much bigger news out there than the White House chief of staff's outpouring of ignorance and pseudo-empathy last week, during an interview on NPR.

"They're not bad people," he said. "They're coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws."

This is so Trump Lite! We're so sorry, oh uneducated Central Americans, but we have to keep you out of America and we have to, in addition, confiscate any children you bring with you to the border in order to discourage others of your kind from trying to sneak in. The law is the law.


journotruthThe truth revealed by journalists is under attack around the world. (Photo: Kevin Harber)

The International Federation of Journalists reports that as of April 30 this year, 34 journalists have been killed throughout the world. In 2017, 65 journalists were slain, according to Reporters Without Borders. If the pace of murders continues this year -- and that will only be known at the end of 2018 -- 102 journalists will be killed.

These figures do not include those wounded, such as the several journalists shot in the recent deadly Israeli attacks on Gaza in the last two months.

Many motives are behind journalists being killed. Sometimes they are killed by those seeking to stop them from uncovering corruption or conducting reporting that is objectionable to governments. Other times they become targets for terrorists or die due to the risks of being in conflict zones.

In Gaza, it is possible that Israel is actually targeting journalists to prevent them from offering a counter-narrative against Israeli propaganda about the need for the appalling massacre of unarmed Palestinians. The journalists, after all, wear vests that clearly identify them as members of the press. This is a brutal example of a government attacking the media through its military.

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