by Sheila Velazquez - penandplow.net In California, where most of the food eaten in this country is grown, the painful drought is being addressed in a number of ways. One is that waste treatment water is being turned into drinking water.
As noted in the Mother Jones article “It Takes How Much Water to Grow an Almond?!”, according to 2010 figures, the average daily water use, not including for farming, of one person living in Palm Springs is more than 700 gallons a day.
I’m guessing that while the repurposed toilet water is not going to families in Palm Springs, others drink what they flush–water from which the pesticides, carcinogens and crap have been filtered out.
To be fair, cities with the lowest usage, like San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, offset the Palm Springs numbers, and hopefully people across the state are not flushing as often. Remember, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” While this idea may be abhorrent to some people, a family could save thousands of gallons a year by following this dictum.
Michelle Bachelet Returns To Her Old Job, Being President Of Chile
by Brian McAfee
Michelle Bachelet's first term as president of Chile ran from 2006 to 2010. After her term as president ended she was chosen to head "UN Women", a newly created UN entity that promotes gender equality.
Bachelet accepted the presidential sash from Senate President Isabel Allende, the daughter of Chile's late Socialist President Salvador Allende. Both women have had remarkable lives given the hardships both have had to endure.
Michelle Bachelet's father Air Force General Alberto Bachelet was loyal to the idea of democracy and to the Allende presidency and because of this on September 11, 1973, the day of the Pinochet/Nixon Kissinger coup, was jailed. General Bachelet died March 12, 1974 in one of Pinochet's prisons; he died of a heart attack after being tortured.
by Robert Parry - ConsortiumNews Not since Feb. 6, 2003, the day after Secretary of State Colin Powell wowed the world with his slam-dunk speech “proving” that Iraq was hiding WMD, has the Washington Post’s editorial section shown this unity of “group think.” On Thursday, the Post presented a solid phalanx of denunciations directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Across the two editorial pages, Post writers and columnists stood, shoulder to shoulder, beating their chests about Putin as evil, mad or both. “A dangerous Russian doctrine,” screamed the lead editorial. “An elemental fear” was the headline of a George F. Will column. “Making Russia pay” was the goal of Sen. Marco Rubio’s opinion article. “Putin’s fantasy world” was explored by editorialist Charles Lane.
The one slightly out-of-step pundit was E.J. Dionne Jr. whose column – ”Can Crimea bring us together?” – agreed on Putin’s dastardly behavior but added the discordant note that most Americans weren’t onboard and didn’t want their government to “get too involved” in the dispute over Ukraine and Crimea.
All the other opinion articles marched in lockstep to the theme that Putin was crazy and delusional. The Post’s lead editorial favorably quoted Secretary of State John Kerry as saying that Putin’s speech about the Ukraine crisis “just didn’t jibe with reality.”
This was the same John Kerry, who earlier in the Ukraine crisis, denounced Putin’s intervention in Crimea by declaring that “you just don’t in the 21st Century behave in 19th Century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext.” Kerry, of course, voted in 2002 to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq in pursuit of hidden WMD stockpiles that didn’t exist.
However, what now should be painfully clear is that since almost no one in Official Washington paid any serious price for following neocon propaganda into the Iraq War a decade ago, the same patterns continue to assert and reassert themselves in other crises a decade or more later, often executed by the same people.
The Washington Post’s editorial page is run by literally the same people who ran it when all those Post’s opinion leaders were standing with the estimable Colin Powell on Feb. 6, 2003, and asserting the existence of Iraq’s WMD as “flat fact.” Fred Hiatt is still the editorial-page editor and Jackson Diehl is still his deputy.
The 'Professorial President' and the 'Small, Strutting Hard Man'
by David Cromwell and David Edwards Exactly what is happening in Ukraine is not easy to disentangle from corporate news media reports. The current crisis began last November when the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, withdrew from a cooperation agreement with the European Union to forge closer ties with Russia. As Peter Oborne notes:
'Up to that point, the West had concealed any distaste for Yanukovych. Thereafter, we [sic] started to ally ourselves with the protesters against his regime.'
These included 'a group of violent and unpleasant Right-wing parties'. Three months of violent protests followed in Kiev. On February 22, Yanukovych suddenly fled Kiev and the pro-Western opposition took power. Peter Schwarz and David North write that:
'The United States and Germany instigated the crisis in Ukraine, installing a right-wing nationalist regime completely subservient to Washington and NATO, with the intention of provoking a confrontation with Russia. [...] American warplanes have been dispatched to the Baltics and US warships have entered the Black Sea.'
Within days of the coup, troops loyal to Russia took control of Crimea, the peninsula in the south of Ukraine. Later, on March 6, the Crimean parliament asked Moscow to become part of Russia, which it had been in the past (Crimea was transferred from Russia to Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, in 1954).
The motives and actions of the various factions involved, and the rapidity of developments, make 'the story' difficult to follow; certainly as presented by the 'mainstream' media. But one unchanging and reliable factor is that BBC News sticks to a propaganda framework which reflects the values and priorities of the UK government and wider Western power.
For example, there was repeated headline coverage given to the deceptive rhetoric of Foreign Secretary William Hague:
'We have to recognise the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine has been violated, and this cannot be a way to conduct international affairs.'
Or, even more galling, US Secretary of State John Kerry:
'You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.'
But when it came to purported 'analysis' by senior BBC correspondents, such as Bridget Kendall and John Simpson, nobody made any reference to the West's invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. Not a single BBC journalist, as far as we know, pointed out the hypocrisy displayed by Hague and Kerry. And not even just hypocrisy; but something bordering on contempt for public memory and understanding of recent historical events.
For BBC News to be a prime mover in this sham tells us much that we need to know about the BBC's propaganda role.
Seventy years ago, my father – 2nd Lt. Eric Fletcher Waters – died in Italy fighting the Nazis. He was a committed pacifist, and a conscientious objector at the start of the war, but as Hitler’s crimes spread across Europe, he swapped the ambulance he had driven through the London blitz for a tin hat and a commission in the Royal Fusiliers and he joined the fight against fascism.
He was killed near Aprilia in the battle for the Anzio Bridgehead on Feb. 18, 1944. My mother – Mary Duncan Waters – spent the rest of her life politically active, striving always to ensure that her children, and everyone else’s children, had no Sword of Damocles in the form of the despised Nazi Creed or any other despicable creed hanging over their heads.
Last month, thanks to the good people of Aprilia and Anzio, I was able to pay tribute to the father I never knew by unveiling a memorial in the town where he died and laying a wreath to honor him, and all the other fallen.
Losing my father before I ever knew him and being brought up by a single, working mother who fought tirelessly for equality and justice colored my life in far-reaching ways and has driven all my work. And, at this point in my journey, I like to think that I pay tribute to both my parents each time I speak out in support of any beleaguered people denied the freedom and justice that I believe all of us deserve.
Car Trouble: Tarnished Icons and Imaginary Friends
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque O the horror, the horror. To see the "shameless descent" of the "one-time countercultural figurehead" -- who had made his name as a bold stylistic innovator and powerful voice of authenticity -- now reduced to a corporate shill, parading himself, hussy-like, in a national advertisement.
How it had it happened? He had been a rawboned kid from the Midwest, a seeker and searcher who burst out of the stifling confines of bourgeois life and made his way to the very heart of the revolutionary artistic ferment raging in one of the world's great centers of countercultural bohemia. He had thrived there, magpie-like, picking up tricks of the trade, learning from mentors, stealing riffs from rivals; a little seedy, a little needy, passionate, faithless, bursting with talent. In the end, he forged an original voice that made him a towering figure in American culture and one of the most famous people on the planet, influencing generations of artists who came after him. Every year, there was serious talk of him winning the Nobel Prize -- and now this.
There he was -- posturing for the camera, an aging, taxidermy caricature of his dynamic younger self. There were his words -- his own words! -- once regarded as blazons of truth, now gummed into dim banality just to push some product to the rubes.
A Kuffiya for Tony Benn – The British Warrior Who ‘Matured with Age’
by Ramzy Baroud - PalestineChronicle.com Long before the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign inched slowly from the fringes of global solidarity with Palestinians to take center stage, Tony Benn had been advocating a boycott of Israel with unrestricted conviction, for years.
“Britain should offer its support for this strategy by stopping all arms sales to Israel, introducing trade sanctions and a ban on all investment there together with a boycott of Israeli goods here and make it a condition for the lifting of these measures that Israel complies with these demands at once,” Benn wrote in his blog on April 19, 2002, under the title "A STATE OF PALESTINE NOW".
The ‘strategy’ of which Ben spoke was for Arafat to declare a state, and for ‘friendly nations’ to recognize it.
Yes, the title was all in caps. It was as if Benn, a principled British left wing politician, had wanted to loudly accentuate his insistence that the Palestinian people deserved their rights, freedom and sovereignty.
Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel by Alison Weir
A Book Review by Gilad Atzmon
Alison Weir’s new book is by far the most comprehensive and precise expose of the depth of Zionist interference with American life in general and the politics of the United States in particular. It is a book every American should obtain, read and discuss openly.
In spite of its succinctness, the book is saturated with information and insights that are backed by valuable historical references and primary source quotes. Since I am an avid reader of modern Jewish history, I was surprised to learn so much from such a relatively short text.
The story that is told by Weir is devastating – for more than a century, a matrix of Jewish political lobbies, pressure groups, media operators and agents within the American government and legal system have been dominating the United States' public life as well as its foreign policy.
Consequently, the United States has been operating against its own best interests. It has compromised its most precious principles and even its own security.
by Mike Whitney - Counterpunch The Obama administration suffered its worst foreign policy defeat in 5 years on Sunday when the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to reject Washington’s Nazi-backed junta government in Kiev and join the Russian Federation.
The balloting, in which more than 93 percent of voters “approved splitting off and joining Russia” reflects the strong ethnic, cultural and historic ties its people share with Moscow as well as the understandable fear that being “liberated” by the US could lead to grinding third world poverty and widespread mayhem the likes of which are manifest in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.
The Obama administration rejected the nearly-unanimous referendum opining that they would not accept the results and would push for economic sanctions on Russia as early as Monday. In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the referendum “complied with international law” and that he would honor the will of the people.
“I never thought I’d live to see the day when the US State Department whitewashed the neo-Nazi views and heritage of a gang of thugs who had seized power in a violent coup d’état. In Iraq, Libya, and Syria, US policymakers empowered radical Islamists of one sort or another. That was bad enough. Today, however, in Ukraine they are empowering the heirs of Adolf Hitler. How is this not a scandal?” – Justin Raimondo, From Iraq to Ukraine: A Pattern of Disaster
by Nicholas Cunningham - Oilprice.com According to Reuters , Crimea may nationalize oil and gas assets within its borders belonging to Ukraine, and sell them off to Russia. Crimea’s Deputy Prime Minister hinted at the possibility that it would take control of Chornomorneftegaz, a Ukrainian state-owned enterprise, and then “privatize” it by selling it to Gazprom.
“After nationalisation of the company we would openly take a decision - if a large investor, like Gazprom or others emerges - to carry out (privatisation),” Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said.
Crimea’s Russian-backed government has decided to hold a referendum on March 16 to secede from Ukraine. At the time of this writing, Russia’s heavy involvement in the drive for Crimean secession makes it hard to believe that Sunday’s result will be anything other than an overwhelming result in favor of breaking ties with Kiev (either greater autonomy or annexation by Russia). The next steps are much less clear, however.
Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping Russia will hold off on fully annexing Crimea, leaving open the possibility of some diplomatic way of resolving the crisis.
by Robert Parry - ConsortiumNews.com As the Ukraine crisis continues to deepen, the mainstream U.S. news media is sinking to new lows of propaganda and incompetence. Somehow, a violent neo-Nazi-spearheaded putsch overthrowing a democratically elected president was refashioned into a “legitimate” regime, then the “interim” government and now simply “Ukraine.”
The Washington Post’s screaming headline on Sunday is “Ukraine decries Russian ‘invasion,’” treating the coup regime in Kiev as if it speaks for the entire country when it clearly speaks for only a subset of the population, mostly from western Ukraine. The regime’s “legitimacy” comes not from a democratic election but from a coup that was quickly embraced by the U.S. government and the European Union.
Objective U.S. journalists would insist on a truthful narrative that conveys these nuances to the American people, not simply behave as clumsy propagandists determined to glue “white hats” on the side favored by the State Department and “black hats” on everyone that the U.S. government disdains. But virtually the entire mainstream press corps has opted for the propaganda role, much as it has in the past. Think Iraq 2002-03.