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Greenwashed Timber: How Sustainable Forest Certification Has Failed

Greenwashed Timber: How Sustainable Forest Certification Has Failed

The Forest Stewardship Council was established to create an international system for certifying sustainable wood. But critics say it has had minimal impact on tropical deforestation and at times has served only to provide a cover for trafficking in illegal timber.

When the Forest Stewardship Council got its start in 1993, it seemed to represent a triumph of market-based thinking over plodding command-and-control government regulation. Participants in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit had failed to reach agreement on government intervention to control rampant tropical deforestation. Instead, environmental organizations, social movements, and industry banded together to establish a voluntary system for improving logging practices and certifying sustainable timber.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) soon set standards that seemed genuinely exciting to environmental and social activists, covering the conservation and restoration of forests, indigenous rights, and the economic and social well-being of workers, among other criteria. For industry, FSC certification promised not just a better way of doing business, but also higher prices for wood products carrying the FSC seal of environmental friendliness.

A quarter-century later, frustrated supporters of FSC say it hasn’t worked out as planned, except maybe for the higher prices: FSC reports that tropical forest timber carrying its label brings 15 to 25 percent more at auction. But environmental critics and some academic researchers say FSC has had little or no effect on tropical deforestation. Moreover, a number of recent logging industry scandals suggest that the FSC label has at times served merely to “greenwash” or “launder” trafficking in illegal timber:

  • In a 2014 report, Greenpeace, an FSC member, slammed the organization for standing by as FSC-certified loggers ravaged the Russian taiga, particularly the Dvinsky Forest, more than 700 miles north of Moscow. Greenpeace accused FSC-certified logging companies there of “wood-mining” forests the way they might strip-mine coal, as a nonrenewable resource, and of harvesting “areas that are either slated for legal protection or supposed to be protected as a part of FSC requirements.”
 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“The People Live In Terror” – Military Intervention Imposed In Rio As Unrest Worsens

Brazil’s Senate has overwhelmingly approved a military intervention in Rio de Janeiro that was first proposed by President Michel Temer last week – the latest step in the president’s crackdown on crime and social unrest ahead of a hotly contested local election coming later this year.

As we noted last week, Temer is ordering the military to restore order in the drug-ravaged streets of Rio in the largest intervention since Brazil’s return to Democracy in the mid-1980s. A collapse in public spending on social services has caused crime to reemerge in Brazil’s slums, spiking to levels unseen since 2009.

The decree, which was issued on Friday, had already passed the House, and the Senate vote was the final obstacle to a military takeover of the local police. However, per the AFP, while support for the crackdown is broad-based, it also has its critics: There is particular controversy over government calls for the army-led police to be able to serve mass search and arrest warrants in favelas.

In fact, the prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who ran infamous anti-corruption operation car wash – which nearly ensnared Temer – said there’s no legal precedent or justification for such mass searches of favelas.

“The penal code does not authorize serving collective or generic search warrants. On the contrary, it demands the greatest possible precision in the homes being searched,” he tweeted.

Furthermore, there’s concern that the crackdown – which was inspired by a series of street robberies during Carnevale festivities in the city – will lead to abuse of the poorest most vulnerable citizens while doing little to address systemic problems like pervasive poverty and poor access to education.

However, the horrifying stories of the crime wave have helped rally popular support for the crackdown.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russiagate Isn’t About Trump, And It Isn’t Even Ultimately About Russia 

Russiagate Isn’t About Trump, And It Isn’t Even Ultimately About Russia 

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes recently asked a question of his Twitter following that was so heavily loaded it wouldn’t be permitted on most interstate highways: “Aside from genuine cranks, is there anyone left denying it was the Russians that committed criminal sabotage in the American election?”

Hayes asked this fake question because he works for MSNBC and it is therefore his job, and he asked it in response to a report first made viral by deranged espionage LARPer Eric Garland that a Dutch intelligence agency had been observing Russian hackers attacking US political parties in advance of the 2016 election. Like all “bombshell” Russiagate reports, this one roared through social media like wildfire carried on the wings of liberal hysteria about the current administration, only to be exposed as being riddled with gaping plot holes as documented here by independent journalist Suzie Dawson. The report revolves around an allegedly Russian cyber threat now known in the west as “Cozy Bear”, which as Real NewsMax Blumenthal notesis not a network of hackers but “a Russian-sounding name the for-profit firm Crowdstrike assigned to an APT to market its findings to gullible reporters desperate for Russiagate scoops.”

This “bombshell” overlapped with another as it was reported by the New York Times that at one point many months ago Trump had wanted to fire Robert Mueller, but then didn’t.

*Cough.*

Why does this keep happening? Why does the public keep getting sold a mountain of suspicion with zero substance? Over and over and over again these “bombshell” stories come out about Trump and Russia, Russia and Trump, only to be debunked, retracted, or erased from the spotlight after people start actually reading the allegations and thinking critically about them and see they’re not the shocking bombshells they purport to be?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Deep State and the FBI – Federal Blackmail Investigation

Deep State and the FBI – Federal Blackmail Investigation

Deep State and the FBI – Federal Blackmail Investigation

It’s hilariously naive how mainstream American news media feign an air of disdain concerning accusations of impropriety by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the last presidential elections.

Allegations that senior ranks of the FBI were involved in “dirty tricks” to fix the 2016 presidential vote in favor of Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton – potentially highly criminal conduct – are treated as if such allegations are scurrilous distractions thrown up by the Trump White House or Republican supporters.

When President Donald Trump has alluded to FBI collusion with the previous Obama Democrat administration to destroy his election campaign, or when Republican congressmen released a secret memo earlier this month also suggesting Deep State dirty tricks, there were gasps of disdain among major news media. Outlets like the New York Times and CNN affected a sanctimonious air that such allegations were contemptible slurs against the honor of the Feds – the nation’s top law-enforcement agency.

“Don’t dare impugn the reputation of our law officers,” is the attitude. Former FBI director James Comey – who was fired by Trump – is held up as a paragon of civic duty and squeaky-clean conduct. So too is Robert Mueller, a previous FBI chief who is carrying out a probe into alleged Russian collusion during the last election.

Of course, those media outlets would prefer to keep the focus on allegations of Russian interference in the US elections and supposed Kremlin collusion with the Trump campaign that somehow got him into the White House. That media bias is partly to do with their current political affiliation with Democrats and supposedly liberal politics.

Even though, after more than a year of constant, saturated media coverage on the so-called Russiagate story there is an embarrassing paucity of any supporting evidence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Socialism Always Moves to Tyranny

 

The economic message taught in most universities is very distorted. It universally teaches children to judge economic systems from the perspective of their victims. They will endlessly point out the impoverished people and the devastation of the climate as proof that capitalism is evil and that we need government to intervene. We have economist after economist talking always about income disparity as an evil implying that everyone should earn close to the same – one income fits all.

Socialism is a Sin

As they always point a finger at the rich and covet whatever they have in direct violation of the Ten Commandments, politicians are elevated to a pedestal and championed as our savior ignoring how they too leave office clothed in riches and the fool is always the person who buys into the whole political-economic-socialist agenda.

Hillary Clinton saw nothing wrong with renting a house for $50,000 a week in the Hamptons hamlet of Amagansett. I know a lot of wealthy people who would not spend that much to rent a house for a vacation for just one week. It was Hillary during the campaign who pointed to the fact that Trump was a billionaire and said: “Think of what we could do with that!”

Then we have Obama – another champion of the poor. He bought a house in DC and paid $8.1 million. Of course, there was the scheming Obama who turned to real corruption to buy a house for $1.6 million BEFORE he was a Senator. He cut a deal with an indicted felon who bought a property for $625,000 and then sold it to Obama for $104,500 as Obama said it was fair value – right!. Obama has magically earned millions from public service.

Then there is Obama’s famous Rolex watch.  His watch is a Rolex Cellini, the cheap version which tells time-only. It is a white gold case and a classic alligator strap which goes for $15,200.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Meet the Italian government’s Orwellian new automated tax snitch

Meet the Italian government’s Orwellian new automated tax snitch

By the end of the 3rd century AD, the finances of ancient Rome were in terminal crisis.

Years and years of debasing the currency had resulted in severe hyperinflation– a period of Roman history known as the Crisis of the Third Century (from AD 235 through AD 284).

During the time of Julius Caesar, for example, the Roman silver denarius coin was nearly 98% pure silver.

Two centuries later in the mid-100s AD, the silver content had fallen to 83.5%.

And by the late 200s AD, the silver content in the denarius was just 5%.

As the money continued to be devalued, prices across the Empire skyrocketed.

Wheat, for example, rose in price by over 4,000% during the first three decades of the third century.

Rome was on the brink of collapse. And when Emperor Diocletian came to power at the end of the third century, he tried to stabilize the economy with his ill-fated Edict on Wages and Prices.

Diocletian’s infamous decree fixed the price of everything in the Empire. Food. Lumber. Salaries. Everything.

And anyone caught violating the prices set forth in his edict would be put to death.

Another one of Diocletian’s major policies was reforming the Roman tax system.

He mandated widespread census reports to determine precisely how much wealth and property each citizen had.

They counted every parcel of land, every piece of livestock, every bushel of wheat, and demanded from the population increasing amounts of tribute.

And anyone found violating this debilitating tax policy was punished with– you guessed it– the death penalty.

Needless to say, Diocletian’s reforms didn’t work.

Every high school economics student knows that wage and price controls don’t work… and that excessive taxation bankrupts the population.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal

UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal 

On 30 January, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act of 2014 (DRIPA), which made way for the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 (IPA), did not restrict the access of confidential personal phone and web browsing records to investigations of serious crime. The IPA means that Internet service providers must now store details of everything we do online for twelve months and render it accessible to dozens of public bodies. 

This data can be virtually everything, from browsing records to personal information on private citizens, to include but not limited to: search engine activity, every phone call to text message plus geographical location, private financial and credit repair services, personal correspondence, medical records, and data from banking, insurance, and investment services which is stored on computers and mobile telephones.  This law obliges technology companies to hand over the data that they have about private citizens to intelligence agencies and it can force tech companies like Apple to remove encryption, ultimately weakening the security of their own products in total secrecy.

The ability of the government to spy on private citizens’ includes the encroachment upon the fundamental rights of privacy in financial matters, such that a “super-spy search engine” has become part of the arsenal that the Home Office is accused of hosting.  What does surveillance mean in an era where financial information needs to be safeguarded and when economic interests such as crypto robots and cryptocurrencies could face government spying?

Let’s step back to 2004, when philosopher Giorgio Agamben refused to submit passport biodata in 2004 in the United States when he famously rescinded his appointment to lecture at New York University.  Resisting the submission of fingerprints required to enter

the United States as a foreign visitor, Agamben’s actions then foreshadowed what he would later address in his 2013 Athens lecture:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean

Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean

Photo by Christopher Michel | CC BY 2.0

“We’ve been doing this kind of thing [electoral meddling] since the CIA was created in 1947.”

Loch K. Johnson, New York Times, Feb 17, 2018

Electoral meddling has become the gruel of US politics for months, and more servings are being promised in the wake of the indictments against 16 Russians and Russian entities dished out Robert Mueller last week.  Such actions can, when taken in isolation, seem sensible.  Righteous indignation can be channelled appropriately, and given the suitable icing of exceptionalism.

One of the difficulties behind the podium stance of virtue taken by the US political establishment on Russian interference in the country’s electoral process is one of simple hypocrisy.  In the game, and importantly theatre, of international relations, the shove, give, and take are all powerful incentives.  Express outrage, by all means, but do so with a certain sentient awareness that you have been as culpable as your opponent of the same charge.

Idealism, however, is the magic mushroom that clouds such assessments.  Filled with pride and a sense of purpose, individuals such as former CIA director James Woolsey are happy to first say that the CIA “probably” inserts its nose in the electoral affairs of other states, then justify it.

Friday’s encounter with Laura Ingraham of Fox News was sufficiently frank, if unsettling, in pulling down any pretence about the role of US power and its self-justified assertiveness in the electoral processes of other states.  “Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries’ elections?” posed Ingraham.  “Oh, probably,” came the humoured response, “but it was for the good of the system in order to avoid communists taking over.”

Then came a few points of illustration: “For example, in Europe, in ’47, ’48, ’49, the Greeks and the Italians, we CIA…” Ingraham, at that point, charged in with an interruption, asking whether the US “did that anymore”.  “We don’t mess around in other peoples’ elections, Jim?”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Swedish Authorities Fear “Negative Spiral” As Society Goes Cashless ‘Too Fast’

In 1660, Sweden’s Riksbank was the first central bank in the world to issue paper currency.

In 2016, Sweden began to accelerate its transition from cash to digital currency.

At the time, Deputy Riksbank Governor Cecilia Skingsley warned:

“We need to do the homework because it’s not an option for the public sector to stay on the sidelines and see the private sector cut off access to central bank money for individuals.”

A year later, in 2017, cash in circulation was plummeting and establishment economists celebrated the battle in the war on cash.

Additionally, Riksbank was actively looking toward cryptocurrencies as potential government-backed money.

But now, in 2018, Swedish officials are worried that too much (or too little in this case) is a bad thing warning:

“If this development with cash disappearing happens too fast, it can be difficult to maintain the infrastructure” for handling cash.

As Bloomberg reports, Sweden is widely regarded as the most cashless society on the planet. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; many shops, museums and restaurants now only accept plastic or mobile payments.

But there’s a downside, since many people, in particular the elderly, don’t have access to the digital society.

“No cash accepted” signs are becoming an increasingly common sight in shops and eateries across Sweden as payments go digital and mobile.

Last year, the amount of cash in circulation in Sweden dropped to the lowest level since 1990 and is more than 40 percent below its 2007 peak. The declines in 2016 and 2017 were the biggest on record.

But the pace at which cash is vanishing has authorities worried.

“One may get into a negative spiral which can threaten the cash infrastructure,” Mats Dillen, the head of the parliamentary review, said.

“It’s those types of issues we are looking more closely at.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16)

Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16)

Google eyes

Google eyes

Recently it was my birthday (I’m not going to say what date that was, for reasons which will become clear later) and when I did a Google search, I was surprised to find a “Happy Birthday” greeting from Google, complete with an image of candles.  I didn’t know how Google knew that, but I was busy at the time, I couldn’t be bothered looking into it and I just wrote it off as one of those “weird web” things.

The issue surfaced again more recently in a more sinister form when I tried to delete an online “profile photo” of myself stored in my Google account.  There was nothing particularly sinister about the photo, just a standard head and shoulders shot, but it was out of date and not particularly flattering and I thought “let’s get rid of it then”.  I couldn’t.  I spent an hour trying to delete that photo when it was the Christmas holidays and I had better things to do.  I consider myself a fairly proficient Internet user, but I tried everything I could think of to delete that photo without success.  First I tried following all the obvious links to things like “my account”, “my profile”, “update details”, “images” and so on.  I right clicked and left clicked on the picture and hit the “delete” button many, many times.  I tried to replace it by uploading a neutral landscape photo.  It was very easy to upload a new photo, but impossible to delete the one which was already there: I just found that both photos were then stored in my Google account.  I tried Googling for “how to delete your Google profile photo” and found some instructions, but when I tried to follow them, they didn’t work.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Five Reasons To Be Absolutely Certain That The Establishment Is Lying About Syria

Five Reasons To Be Absolutely Certain That The Establishment Is Lying About Syria 

Whenever you see UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on video she’s trying to start World War Three. At today’s UN Security Council Haley gave remarks about why the UN should “take action” against two of the US power establishment’s favorite targets, Russia and the Syrian government, due to allegations that Bashar al-Assad has been using chemical weapons.

That’s right, just three weeks after the Trump administration unveiled its planto keep thousands of US troops in Syria in order to force regime change, the tired old chemical weapons allegations have been unearthed and recirculated to trusting western mainstream media audiences.

I am not a Syria expert by any stretch of the imagination. If you want detailed information about what’s really going on in that nation I recommend getting in touch with real Syrians online and following the work of independent investigative journalists who regularly go there like Vanessa Beeley. Nevertheless, despite my lack of boots-on-the-ground expertise and intimate knowledge of every detail of what’s going on in that country, I am absolutely certain that the western power establishment is lying very extensively about what is going on in Syria.

One hundred percent certain, zero margin for error. I’d bet my life on it.

How can I be so sure? I’ll show you.

There are many, many, many piles of evidence substantiating the fact that the Syrian government has become the target of what is surely one of the largest and most sophisticated propaganda campaigns in human history, but most people don’t have time to comb through all the tiny details and sort through the complexities of what’s what. For this reason I thought it would be useful to compile a short list for people who, like me, don’t have time to dedicate themselves intimately to the in-depth study of Syria.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China: Testing Ground for U.S. Surveillance

China: Testing Ground for U.S. Surveillance

There is little doubt for most of us that the recent shootings in Florida were not merely a “spontaneous, random event,” precipitated by one individual. At the very least, if Cruz (the alleged shooter) was a “lone wolf,” then the Deep State and those who back it in the Congress are going to exploit it. They will not allow such a crisis to go to waste. Now a new “crusade” is forming by the Statists for gun control.

They know: once they control the guns, the gulags can follow.

Indeed, the Democrats have just announced they will submit “reforms” totaling more than 100 pages on gun control. It has been announced that all 49 Democrats of the Senate will be in lock step with this one. Is McCain counted among that number? Taking the guns away from the citizens is just one part of the equation. The other part (equally as sinister) is the ubiquitous state of surveillance that is being emplaced throughout the United States.

China is the “testing ground.” If it works in China, the Statists are convinced it will also work in the United States in the future…when they intend to unveil it. We have already seen drastic measures being taken with bills that include biometric passports with more difficulty for American citizens to leave than for anyone to enter. That is because citizens are subjects, and we pay the monstrous taxes…the highest of any country in the world…to keep us impoverished, keep us on the treadmill, keep the system going…the infallible system, that of the existing social, political, and economic order.

Popular Science writer Rob Verger just released an article on 2/8/18 entitled Chinese Cops are Using Facial-Recognition Sunglasses: Here’s How that Tech Works, that bears reading.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Kofi Annan Echoes Soros Scaremongery: “Social Media Threatens Democracy”

Just a few short weeks after billionaire George Soros spoke in Davos, demanding that the European Union regulate social media because voters’ minds are being controlled and “manipulated,” none other than former secretary-general of the United Nations and Nobel Peace laureate, Kofi Annan, has issued an op-ed very much in support of Soros’ free-speech suppression ideas… with very similar phrasing… and using the same double-speak ‘war is peace, ignorance is strength’ narrative to demand the regulation of social media.

In his Davos speech (above), Soros claimed the reach of social media firms made them a “public menace” while arguing they had led people to vote against globalist causes, including electing President Trump (all his ramblings about “open societies” aside)…

“They deceive their users by manipulating their attention, targeting them to their own economic interests and (…) depending on their services (…)

The platforms are similar to gambling companies (…) and force people to renounce their freedom (…). …), to renounce what John Stuart Mill called the freedom of thought “

And now, via Project Syndicate, Kofi Annan echoes the same sentiment…

How IT Threatens Democracy

Social media could be just the start of a slippery slope leading to an Orwellian world controlled by Big Data Brother, accelerated by convergence with the sensors in our devices and rapid advances in artificial intelligence. Some authoritarian regimes are already marshaling these developments to exercise control on an unprecedented scale.

The Internet and social media were once hailed for creating new opportunities to spread democracy and freedom. And Twitter, Facebook, and other social media did indeed play a key role in popular uprisings in Iran in 2009, in the Arab world in 2011, and in Ukraine in 2013-2014. Back then, the tweet did at times seem mightier than the sword.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Kim Dotcom: “Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn’t Even A Hack”

Kim Dotcom has once again chimed in on the DNC hack, following a Sunday morning tweet from President Trump clarifying his previous comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.


I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!


In response, Dotcom tweeted “Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn’t even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why,” adding “Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds!” alluding of course to Trump’s “400 pound genius” comment.

Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn’t even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why. Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds!https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.smh.com.au/world/us-election/dnchack-did-kim-dotcom-warn-the-world-about-the-democratic-party-hacking-20160622-gpp15a.html  https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/965202556204003328 


Dotcom’s assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator, who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s – a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network – yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.

The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC “hack” was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘No Cash’ Signs Everywhere Has Sweden Worried It’s Gone Too Far

  • Cash usage declining both as share of GDP and in nominal terms
  • Riksbank committee could publish report on issue in summer
Sweden ‘Most Cashless’ Society in the World
The value oof notes and coins in circulation are the lowest in nearly 30 years. Bloomberg’s Amanda Billner reports.

“No cash accepted” signs are becoming an increasingly common sight in shops and eateries across Sweden as payments go digital and mobile.

But the pace at which cash is vanishing has authorities worried. A broad review of central bank legislation that’s under way is now taking a special look at the situation, with an interim report due as early as the summer.

Going Cashless: Bad for Tax Cheats, Privacy, the Poor: QuickTake

“If this development with cash disappearing happens too fast, it can be difficult to maintain the infrastructure” for handling cash, said Mats Dillen, the head of the parliamentary review. He declined to give more details on the types of proposals that could be included in the report.

Sweden is widely regarded as the most cashless society on the planet. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; many shops, museums and restaurants now only accept plastic or mobile payments. But there’s a downside, since many people, in particular the elderly, don’t have access to the digital society.

“One may get into a negative spiral which can threaten the cash infrastructure,” Dillen said. “It’s those types of issues we are looking more closely at.”

Last year, the amount of cash in circulation in Sweden dropped to the lowest level since 1990 and is more than 40 percent below its 2007 peak. The declines in 2016 and 2017 were the biggest on record.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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