California of Fire and Profit – Global Research


05-11-19 04:40:00,

California is burning. This sentence is all too familiar by now, a kind of mantra that is repeated every year with the onset of “fire season,” when live television broadcasts start to show homes threatened by flames and the wails of fire sirens cutting through the sweltering air.

This year as well, the fires have targeted mainly the cities of wine country above San Francisco and the upscale neighborhoods on the west side of Los Angeles. Both regions have been hit by blazes fanned by the desert winds that kick up every fall here, with an ominous rustle of leaves that is a harbinger of more and more devastating disasters.

Two years ago, the “Diablo winds” blowing in the north of the state caused a firestorm that consumed 1,200 homes in Santa Rosa. The fire reduced the town of Snoopy to less than a ghost town, with nothing left but row after row of blackened foundations on gray ash-covered plots, the only remnants of the suburban homes abandoned by the thousands of fleeing residents.

Last year, the Santa Ana winds pushed the flames toward Malibu, sowing panic among the Hollywood glitterati: among the dwellings that went up in smoke were those belonging to Kim Basinger, Miley Cyrus and Neil Young. But the real tragedy took place 500 km further north, in the town of Paradise, which was turned into an inferno worthy of a Stephen King novel, engulfed by a wall of flame which also cut off the only exit road, trapping hundreds of cars that were trying to escape to safety. It was a tragedy that took the lives of 85 people.

The Plains of Id

History keeps repeating itself, worse and worse every time – partly because of human pressures affecting ecosystems in which fires, much like in all Mediterranean-type areas, are part of the ecological cycle of growth, drought and natural fertilization, something to which the local fauna and native vegetation have adapted. This cycle, however, cannot accommodate the permanent presence of villas, SUVs and golf courses (“the Plains of Id,” as the architect Rayner Banham memorably described this architecture born of hubris and wealth).

The evacuations and scenes of mass panic are partly a result of a pattern of consumption-driven urban growth which is simply unsustainable,

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Poisoned for Profit: We Are Not the Agrochemical Industry’s Guinea Pigs – Global Research


28-07-19 08:47:00,

Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Chemicals Regulation Division (HSE) in the UK claiming that the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup has poisoned her nature reserve in South Wales and is also poisoning people across the UK (she includes herself here, as she struggles with a neurodegenerative condition). She notes that the widespread spraying of glyphosate went against the advice of directive 2009/128/EC of the European parliament but was carried out at the behest of the agrochemicals industry.

Mason has sent a 24-page fully referenced document with her letter in support of her claims. It can be accessed in full here. What follows is a brief summary of just a few of the take-home points. There is a lot more in Mason’s document, much of which touches on issues she has previously covered but which nonetheless remain relevant.

The thrust of her open letter to these agencies is that glyphosate is a major contributory factor in spiralling rates of disease and conditions affecting the UK population. She also makes it clear that official narratives – pushed by the pesticides industry, the media and various key agencies – have deliberately downplayed or ignored the role of agrochemicals in this. Instead, the focus has been on the role of alcohol use and obesity, conveniently placing the blame on individual behaviour and the failure of people to opt for ‘healthy lifestyle’ choices.

Mason argues that Monsanto emails released into the public domain have revealed that Roundup was kept on the market by capturing regulatory agencies, corrupting public officials, bribing scientists and engaging in scientific fraud. In addition, she notes that documents show that the European Commission bowed to the demands of pesticide lobbies. Former PM David Cameron, Defra, the European Food Safety Authority, the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency all ignored the warnings that GM crops and Roundup were hazardous to human health and the environment.

In the run-up to the relicensing of glyphosate in the EU, Mason states that in its analysis the Glyphosate Task Force omitted key studies from South America (where herbicide-tolerant GM crops are grown) that associate Roundup with cancer,

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Pedagogy for Profit: Education Under Capitalism

Pedagogy for Profit: Education Under Capitalism

23-10-18 05:55:00,


“We’re Not Migrating, We’re Fleeing”: Hondurans’ Perilous Journey North

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How Five Climate Activists Shut Off the Equivalent of 15 Percent of US Oil

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Pedagogy for Profit: Education Under Capitalism

Economy & Labor

Women Are Speaking Up About Systemic Abuse in the US Food Industry

Politics & Elections

Supreme Court Shields Wilbur Ross From Testifying Under Oath About His Perjury

Politics & Elections

Journalist Conducted “Secret Interview” With Khashoggi Before His Murder

Public schools are under attack by billionaires, conservative think tanks, philanthropists, business lobbying groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Trump administration. These attackers argue that public schools are an ineffective, needless tax expense that can be replaced by privatized, profit-making charter schools that they claim are “more efficient.”

In Waiting for Superman, a film critical of public schools, this outlook was stated thus: “For generations, experts tend to blame failing schools on failing neighborhoods. But reformers have begun to believe the opposite — that the problems of failing neighborhoods might be blamed on failing schools.”

This debate — between the “reformers” who blame “bad” schools, teachers and teachers’ unions for a decline in education, and the defenders of public schooling (such as teachers, teachers’ unions and community activists) — is important because it exposes the self-serving actions of many of the “reformers,” as well as the struggles of the defenders. The debate is also deceptive, for, with few exceptions, it ignores the fact that public education is an integral part of the political economy, and that many problems involving public schooling reflect problems within capitalism. Over the years, as US capitalism has changed, public education has also changed.

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Laissez-Faire Capitalism

The era of laissez-faire capitalism ending in the Gilded Age was a time of unregulated capitalism that brought forth the creation of public schools needed to train compliant workers and citizens as industrial capital rapidly grew.

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