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Welcome! "The Evening Blues" is a casual community diary (published Monday - Friday, 8:00 PM Eastern) where we hang out, share and talk about news, music, photography and other things of interest to the community.  

Just about anything goes, but attacks and pie fights are not welcome here.  This is a community diary and a friendly, peaceful, supportive place for people to interact.  

Everyone who wants to join in peaceful interaction is very welcome here.

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singer Peppermint Harris.  Enjoy!

Peppermint Harris - Wait until it happens to you

“. . . In all parts of our globe, fanatics have cut each other's throats, publicly burnt each other, committed without a scruple and even as a duty, the greatest crimes, and shed torrents of blood . . .

Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under divers names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty. We find, in all the religions, 'a God of armies,' a 'jealous God,' an 'avenging God,' a 'destroying God,' a 'God,' who is pleased with carnage, and whom his worshippers consider it a duty to serve. Lambs, bulls, children, men, and women, are sacrificed to him."

  --  Baron d'Holbach

News and Opinion

Wow! What an asshole!

Netanyahu: Hamas Wants To Pile Up ‘Telegenically Dead Palestinians’

Israeli PM Says Palestinians Revel in Their Own Casualties

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of cynically exploiting Palestinian deaths to create striking televised images that will garner international sympathy.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday, Netanyahu said Palestinian members of Hamas “don’t care” about the casualties they have inflicted on their own people. ...

“They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can,” Netanyahu added. “They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better.”

Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer Raji Sourani Likens Netanyahu to Bin Laden for Killing Civilians

532 Palestinians, 20 Israelis Killed in Escalating Gaza War

80% of Palestinian Dead Are Civilians; 18 of 20 Israelis Are Soldiers

The latest Israeli war in the Gaza Strip continues to escalate today, with 13 Israeli soldiers killed in overnight fighting in the strip, including seven killed when their APC drove over an explosive.

The death toll on the Palestinian side is still soaring, with around 100 killed today, bringing the overall toll to 532 dead [Of the 532, over 100 were children], and well over 2,000 wounded. The Red Cross is working to broker a ceasefire to allow the dead and wounded to be taken out of the battlefield.

Sharif Abdel Kouddous on Israel’s Gaza Massacres: F-16 Kills 24 Relatives After 72 Die in Shejaiya

Massacre in Shuja'iyya: Over 60 Killed in Heavy Shelling of Gaza Town

IDF Officers say they are now "taking off the gloves"

n what has become the bloodiest period since the attack on Gaza commenced on July 8, dozens of men, women and children were killed overnight as Israeli forces besieged the Gaza City suburb of Shuja'iyya.

According to Palestinian health ministry spokesman Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, upwards of 60 bodies have already been removed from the rubble of homes and apartment buildings in the northern neighborhood, at least 17 of whom are children. More than 200 people are being reported as wounded.

The International Red Cross, which on Sunday negotiated a two-hour "suspension of hostilities" so that medical workers could evacuate the sick and injured, warned that the real death toll is likely higher. ...

According to Haaretz, IDF officers are referring to the significant escalation in fighting overnight as "taking off the gloves," saying that "it's not an operation now, it's a war."

Barack Obama and UN call for immediate ceasefire

US President Barack Obama has called for an "immediate ceasefire" between Israel and Hamas as the death toll among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip reached 509.

Israel continued its assault on the neighbourhood of Shujai'iya on Monday, where bombardment and fierce fighting on the ground between Israeli troops and Hamas militants on Sunday left shattered streets littered with bodies after Israeli forces subjected it to an intense attack.

At least 120 Palestinians were killed on Sunday in Shujai'iya, a third of them women and children. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were also killed on the same day, in the heaviest loss of life for the Israeli military in years, two of them US citizens. ...

In the West Bank, Palestinians began three days of mourning for the dead in Gaza. A general strike was under way on Monday.

"U.S. Complicity Brought Up to Date" in Israel's War against Gaza

WORONCZUK: And what has the U.S. administration been doing about this over the past ten days? I think the most that I tend to hear is that they say that Israel has the right to defend itself and that they find the deaths of Gazan civilians regretful.

BENNIS: Yes, that's what they say. What they do has been to add a third of a billion dollars more to the $3.1 billion in military aid that the U.S. already gives Israelis this year. This was just approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee a day or two ago. This is to help Israel further work on its missile defense system, etc., etc. So it's simply escalating the military aids, making its endorsement, its uncritical endorsement of what Israel is doing in Gaza a reality, so that the U.S. complicity has been, shall we say, brought up to speed, brought up to date.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And I want to turn to an op-ed that was published in The Jerusalem Post this morning. Its author is Gilad Sharon, who is the son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. Let me read an exerpt to you. In it he says,

"THE DESIRE to prevent harm to innocent civilians in Gaza will ultimately lead to harming the truly innocent: the residents of southern Israel. The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren't hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences."

Later he goes on to say,

"We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn't stop with Hiroshima--the Japanese weren't surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too."

I mean, a really--just a sober reading of that just sounds like it's just a call for genocide. Do you think that this is representative of, like, the actual debate that's taking place right now in Israel?

BENNIS: I think the debate is over. I think this is a reflection of the actual public opinion widespread throughout Israel. Recent polls have indicated 91 percent support for what the Israelis, what the military is doing in Gaza. And even this kind of, as you say, direct call to genocide is not coming simply from some fringe elements that are easy to dismiss. This is coming from the highest levels. This is a dramatic escalation of the kind of rhetoric that we've been hearing.

There was a member of the Knesset a few days ago who gave a major speech in which she said that Hamas is not our enemy, the people of Gaza are our enemy--very similar to the young Sharon's view in this Jerusalem Post op-ed. And she said--she was asked about killing women, and she said, yes, women too, because otherwise they will continue to give birth to what she called "little snakes". "Little snakes" was her term for Palestinian babies. It was so reminiscent of the kind of language that was heard in the United States during the wars of genocide against Native Americans, when Indians were considered vermin. And there was a famous statement from one of the generals, who was asked, what about the children? And he said, "nits make lice"--kill the children, too. This is the same language that we're hearing in Israel now, and it has become very, very mainstream.

The efforts by some in the Israeli establishment to claim that, among other things, the horrific murder of the young Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem, now last week--it's almost been dwarfed by so many other crimes, but that one was a particularly horrific crime because of the way he was tortured to death. And there were calls from Israel saying, this does not represent us, this is not what Israelis do, Jews don't do this. Well, it turns out Israelis and Jews do exactly this, do exactly this. And the notion that this is somehow a fringe element that can be dismissed or can be disregarded or we can somehow distance ourselves from it simply doesn't match the reality of where political opinions are right now inside Israel.

Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

The Israeli military is using flechette shells, which spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts, in its military operation in Gaza.

Six flechette shells were fired towards the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, on 17 July, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. ... The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not deny using the shells in the conflict. "As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict," a spokesperson said in response to a request for specific comment on the deployment of flechettes.

B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, describes a flechette shell as "an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank. The shell explodes in the air and releases thousands of metal darts 37.5mm in length, which disperse in a conical arch 300 metres long and about 90 metres wide".

The munitions are not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B'Tselem, "other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries."

In Latest Attack on Gaza Medical Site, IDF Shells al-Aqsa Hospital; 5 Dead, Dozens Hurt

Israeli Military Destroyed El-Wafa Hospital Even Though It Knew There Were No Weapons Inside

The Israeli army targeted and destroyed the Gaza strip’s only rehabilitation hospital even though Israeli authorities said they did not believe weapons were inside of the facility. El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, which treats long-term injuries and physical disabilities, was heavily shelled Thursday evening causing an emergency evacuation of all staff and patients. El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital treats long-term injuries and physical disabilities. All of the patients have some degree of paralysis, require around the clock care and many are on oxygen support and feeding tubes. ...

“We’ve seen a lot of launches of rockets that came from exactly near the hospital, 100 meters near,” said a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), continuing, “Obviously the target was not the hospital.”

The IDF News Desk also confirmed that the military understood there were no weapons inside of el-Wafa hospital. When asked how far a humanitarian site needs to be to ensure there is not direct fire, the IDF said, “It’s not a matter of science, the IDF is very precise and they usually target what they intend to target.”

Still the hospital was an army target.

While under fire from the Israeli military on Thursday, hospital director Basman Alashi  communicated with the army via a delegate from the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC). The military said that they were not only going to shell the facility, but that it would be fired upon so heavily that they recommended all people in the hospital evacuate.

Editorial Position of the New York Times: Thumbs Up for Gaza Slaughter

Over the weekend, the New York Times sent out a clear signal: the mass slaughter of civilians is acceptable when the Israeli military is doing the killing.

Under the headline “Israel’s War in Gaza,” the most powerful newspaper in the United States editorialized that such carnage is necessary. The lead editorial in the July 19 edition flashed a bright green light -- reassuring the U.S. and Israeli governments that the horrors being inflicted in Gaza were not too horrible. ...

Most of all, the vile core of the Times editorial was its devaluation of Palestinian lives in sharp contrast to Israeli lives.

The Times editorial declared that Hamas leaders “deserve condemnation” for military actions from civilian areas in the dense Gaza enclave -- but Netanyahu merited mere expressions of “concern” about “further escalation.” Absent from the editorial was any criticism of Israel’s ongoing bombardment of homes, apartment blocks, hospitals, beaches and other civilian areas with U.S.-supplied ordinance.

At the time, there had been one Israeli death from the hostilities -- and at least 260 deaths among Gazans as well as injuries in the thousands. The contrast illuminates a grotesque difference in the Times’ willingness to truly value the humanity of Israelis and Palestinians.

In the morally skewed universe that the Times editorial board evidently inhabits and eagerly promulgates, Hamas intends to “terrorize” Israeli citizens while Israel merely intends to accomplish military objectives by dropping thousands of tons of bombs on Palestinian people in Gaza.

MH17: Dutch experts arrive at crash scene as heavy fighting breaks out

As Dutch forensic experts arrived at the scene of the Malaysia Airlines crash on Monday and promised that the train being loaded with the victims' bodies would be moved before the end of the day, heavy fighting broke out between the Ukrainian army and rebels on the outskirts of Donetsk, the main regional city and the hub of the insurgency.

There has been widespread international anger that the rebels have failed to allow proper access to the crash site to investigators, and suspicions that they have seized the black boxes and are attempting to destroy evidence.

But it was the Ukrainian army that seemed intent on disrupting expert work on Monday, as they apparently launched an offensive against rebel positions close to Donetsk railway station, as well as in other towns across the region.

Russia says Ukrainian warplane was in vicinity of MH17 before crash

The Russian defence ministry says it detected a Ukrainian warplane within 3-5 km of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 before it crashed.

The ministry denies passing any SA-11 BUK missile systems "or any other weapons" to Ukrainian separatists and says it did not detect any missiles launched near MH17. It has asked the US to share satellite images "if they have them".

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

In the heat of the U.S. media’s latest war hysteria – rushing to pin blame for the crash of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – there is the same absence of professional skepticism that has marked similar stampedes on Iraq, Syria and elsewhere – with key questions not being asked or answered.

The dog-not-barking question on the catastrophe over Ukraine is: what did the U.S. surveillance satellite imagery show? It’s hard to believe that – with the attention that U.S. intelligence has concentrated on eastern Ukraine for the past half year that the alleged trucking of several large Buk anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia to Ukraine and then back to Russia didn’t show up somewhere.

So why hasn’t this question of U.S. spy-in-the-sky photos – and what they reveal – been pressed by the major U.S. news media? How can the Washington Post run front-page stories, such as the one on Sunday with the definitive title “U.S. official: Russia gave systems,” without demanding from these U.S. officials details about what the U.S. satellite images disclose?  ...

What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.

All Parties Involved to Blame for Malaysian Aircraft Disaster in Ukraine

US Beats War Drums Over Downed MH17 Plane, But Evidence Sketchy

US officials continue to get more shrill in their accusations against Russia about the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17, and push for further hostile actions against Russia in retaliation for blame which is based primarily on secret evidence, and a handful of photos of extremely dubious origin. ...

We’re only a couple of days on from allegations that the rebels, who were previously not believed to have the 9k37 Buk vehicle allegedly used in the shoot-down, were suddenly claimed to have seized a Buk from the Ukrainian military.

Today, the State Department has revised the story wholesale, claiming a convoy of 150 Russian vehicles shipped to the rebels only last weekend, including the Buk and massive numbers of other advanced weapons.

Both stories are problematic. In either case, the fact that no public statement was made as to the rebels getting these new, dangerous weapons until long after the plane was already shot down, meaning the US and Ukraine kept the important information to itself. It also makes little sense that Ukraine’s military began making significant gains against the rebels immediately after the rebels got a huge influx of advanced weaponry.

In Wake of MH17 Crash, Civilian Casualties Mount in East Ukraine

While much is being said about the remains of downed Malaysia Airline flight MH17 and the location of the 298 casualties of the crash, little is being reported on the mounting civilian deaths in eastern Ukraine as government troops have escalated their attack on the rebel-held region in the days following Thursday's tragedy.

According to international journalist Harriet Salem, the Red Cross in Luhansk is reporting that 44 civilians have been killed in the past two days as a result of the heavy shelling of the region.

On Friday, the BBC reported that Ukrainian government troops had captured the southeastern section of the city and had surrounded the airport. Electricity and water supplies were both cut off in much of the city and the Russian-owned Lisichansk oil refinery was set on fire.

“The shells are bombarding practically all the residential districts of the city, including its center," the Luhansk People’s Republic press service reported Friday.

Time Runs Out for Christian Iraq

The last Christians in northern Iraq are fleeing from places where their communities have lived for almost 2,000 years, as a deadline passed for them to either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or be killed.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) issued a decree last week offering Christians the three options accompanied by the ominous threat that, if they did not comply by midday on 19 July, “then there is nothing to give them but the sword”.

It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War. Isis, which now rules an area larger than Great Britain, has already eliminated many of the ancient Christian communities of eastern Syria, where those who had not escaped were given a similar choice between conversion, payment of a special tax or death.

Christians leaving Mosul – which was captured by Isis on 10 June – in order to seek refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan are being stripped of all their possessions. ...

Mosul is one of the most ancient centres of Christianity and on the east bank of the Tigris river that flows through the city is a mosque housing the tomb of the Biblical figure of Jonah. This is now in danger of being destroyed by Isis, whose puritan and iconoclastic version of Islam is opposed to the worship of tombs, shrines, statues and pictures.

Iran Fulfills Nuclear Promise by Eliminating Most Potent Uranium

IAEA says Iran has kept other commitments as well in bid to prove it has no nuclear weapon ambitions

The Iranian government has fulfilled its commitment to an international agreement signed last year by eliminating the most highly-enriched uranium in its stockpile, according to reporting from the international agency overseeing the process.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran has stood by its promise to dilute the nuclear fuel that is closest to being useful in a possible nuclear weapon. Iran has consistently stood by the assertion that its nuclear research and development is only intended for civilian uses, such as energy production and medical purposes.

Government agents 'directly involved' in most high-profile US terror plots

Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the "direct involvement" of government agents or informants, a new report says.

Some of the controversial "sting" operations "were proposed or led by informants", bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system's ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

"In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act," the report alleges.

Out of the 494 cases related to terrorism the US has tried since 9/11, the plurality of convictions – 18% overall – are not for thwarted plots but for "material support" charges, a broad category expanded further by the 2001 Patriot Act that permits prosecutors to pursue charges with tenuous connections to a terrorist act or group. ...

Human Rights Watch’s findings call into question the post-9/11 shift taken by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies toward stopping terrorist plots before they occur. While the vast majority of counterterrorism tactics involved are legally authorized, particularly after Congress and successive administrations relaxed restrictions on law enforcement and intelligence agencies for counterterrorism, they suggest that the government’s zeal to protect Americans has in some cases morphed into manufacturing threats.

The US needs immigration reform, not another opportunity to blame the GOP

The Obama administration has a problem on its hands: the moral implications and aesthetic disaster of cameras documenting defenseless young child refugees being returned by force to their often-dangerous motherlands. This could be an opportunity for the administration to push for immigration reform (or show some kind of leadership on the issue), but it seems as though the White House's strategy is to deflect uncomfortable questions about mass deportations, avoid the moral and political consequences of estranging the Latino community and hope the GOP does something even worse.

In the latter, at least, they've had some help. From extremist protesters who gathered in Arizona last week carrying "Return to Sender" signs to protest what they thought was a busload of child immigrants (it turned out to be kids on their way to the YMCA) to the Republican sheriff, Paul Babeu, who leaked the bus route (he later explained that he felt forced to reveal the location of the bus because the federal government failed to inform him who was on it), immigration opponents have done a quality job of making mainstream Democrats look reasonable by comparison on the issue of immigration policy. ...

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security last week returned about 40 Hondurans, including children, to their homeland – and they have promised that this is only the beginning of the newest waves of deportations. "We expect additional migrants will be returned to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in the coming days and weeks," an official told NBC News.

That's certainly consistent with the Obama administration's policy of deportations. The total number of deportations during Obama's tenure recently passed 2 million – earning him the title "Deporter-In-Chief" from pro-immigration activists. ... But what is actually clear from Obama's tanking numbers among Latinos is that the administration takes their support for granted– and that Democrats are banking on the being the lesser evil on immigration policy when those voters head to the polls in November.

What Would Happen if we Wiped out the Debt?

States with Higher Minimum Wage Boast Faster Job Growth

Adding fuel to the growing populist call for a higher minimum wage and throwing water on the conservative argument that fair pay will threaten employment, new data released Friday shows that states with higher wages are gaining more jobs.

According to an Associated Press analysis of the Labor Department's latest hiring statistics, in the 13 states that raised their minimum wage at the beginning of 2014, the number of jobs grew an average of 0.85 percent from January through June—compared with just 0.61 percent in the remaining states.

"It raises serious questions about the claims that a raise in the minimum wage is a jobs disaster," said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Schmitt added that although the data "isn't definitive," is is "probably a reasonable first cut at what's going on."

Monty Python stars bid an emotional farewell in final show

The Evening Greens

California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

State’s drought has forced farmers to rely on groundwater, even as California aquifers have been intentionally polluted due to exemptions for oil industry.

California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.

The state's Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal "poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources." The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.

The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis.

The problem is that at least 100 of the state's aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access. Years ago, the state exempted them from environmental protection and allowed the oil and gas industry to intentionally pollute them. But not all aquifers are exempted, and the system amounts to a patchwork of protected and unprotected water resources deep underground. Now, according to the cease and desist orders issued by the state, it appears that at least seven injection wells are likely pumping waste into fresh water aquifers protected by the law, and not other aquifers sacrificed by the state long ago.

Climate Failure: U.S. Passes Saudi Arabia As World’s Largest Oil Producer

Is President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy a success? Or a climate failure?

A report issued recently by Bank of America declared the United States has now surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. The daily output average for the first quarter of 2104 exceeded 11 million barrels, a significant increase from the previous quarters’ (Sept-Dec 2013) average of 7 million barrels, according to the International Energy Agency.          

The expansion of domestic oil production in the U.S. has been significant under President Obama, supported by his “all of the above” — or rather the American Petroleum Institute's “all of the above” — energy strategy which has overseen a four-fold increase in drilling rigs under his administration.    

News of the surge in U.S. oil production was reported almost concurrently with the release of another news item: global climate scientists have again reported historically high levels of atmospheric carbon.  As reported by Climate Central, June 2014 was the third month in a row in which carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere topped an average of 400 parts per million — a level not seen on Earth in at least 800,000 years.

Washington state just lopped up to $2,500 off the cost of solar panels

Until now, the process of legally installing solar panels on a building in Washington has been what it is in most of the U.S.: while there are state and national building codes, each county enforces them differently. What this meant was that the process of putting in solar ranged from the very simple (a solar panel installation was seen as the equivalent of putting on an extra layer of shingles)  to the complicated and prolonged (any installation, no matter how much of a no-brainer, required a full set of plans, signed by a licensed structural engineer, which added between $800-$2,500 to the final bill.) Solar installers were spending a lot of time learning about how permits were handled from county to county, and avoiding some areas altogether because the  process was so daunting.

Then this April, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order to deal with carbon emissions — and that order paved the way for the standardization and simplification of solar permitting. It was a surprisingly agreeable process, says Mia Devine, a project manager at Northwest Solar Communities, a coalition that helped with the rule changes. “The mandate of the governor’s office really made people pay attention. It actually passed unanimously.”

Feds move to restrict neonic pesticides — well, one fed at least

So far the EPA has refused to ban use of neonicotinoid insecticides — despite mounting evidence that they kill bees and other wildlife, despite a ban in the European Union, despite a lawsuit filed by activists and beekeepers.

But if the EPA is somehow still unclear on the dangers posed by neonics, it need only talk to the official who oversees federal wildlife refuges in the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Ocean.

Kevin Foerster, a regional boss with the National Wildlife Refuge System, directed his staff this month to investigate where neonics are being used in the refuges they manage — and to put an end to their use. Foerster’s office is worried that farming contractors that grow grasses and other forage crops for wildlife and corn and other grains for human consumption on refuge lands are using neonic pesticides and neonic-treated seeds. There are also fears that agency staff are inadvertently using plants treated with the poisons in restoration projects.

“The Pacific Region will begin a phased approach to eliminate the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (by any method) to grow agricultural crops for wildlife on National Wildlife Refuge System lands, effective immediately,” Forster wrote in a July 9 memo that was obtained and published last week by the nonprofit Center for Food Safety.

Blog Posts of Interest

Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
What's Happenin' Is On Hiatus

Netanyahu’s “telegenically dead” comment is grotesque but not original

Palestinian Mohammed Suliman's twitter feed

US Empire Reaches Breaking Point – Time To End It

Chris Hedges: The Actor and the Minister

The EPA Dithers While a Popular Pesticide Threatens Ecosystems

Opol went to the movies, reports back on a good one:

The Act of Killing

Obama embraces the failed state model

A Little Night Music

Peppermint Harris - I Got Loaded

Peppermint Harris - Raining In My Heart

Peppermint Harris - Wait Until It Happens To You

Peppermint Harris - Maggie's Boogie

Peppermint Harris - There's A Dead Cat On The Line

Peppermint Harris - Bye Bye Fare Thee Well

Peppermint Harris - Fat Girl Boogie

Peppermint Harris - Middle Of Winter

Peppermint Harris - Cadillac Funeral

Peppermint Harris - Goodbye Blues

Peppermint Harris - I Don't Care

Peppermint Harris - Ain't No Business

Peppermint Harris - Angel Child

Peppermint Harris - I've Often Wondered

Peppermint Harris - Bad Bad Whiskey + Lonesome as can be

Peppermint Harris - It's You, Yes It's You

Peppermint Harris - Black Cat Bone

Peppermint Harris - Come on let's ride

Peppermint Harris - Mama Mama

Peppermint Harris - My Blues Have Rolled Away

It's National Pie Day!

The election is over, it's a new year and it's time to work on real change in new ways... and it's National Pie Day.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to tell you a little more about our new site and to start getting people signed up.  

Come on over and sign up so that we can send you announcements about the site, the launch, and information about participating in our public beta testing.

Why is National Pie Day the perfect opportunity to tell you more about us?  Well you'll see why very soon.  So what are you waiting for?!   Head on over now and be one of the first!

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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