In the endless blather by the Right about the debt, which is meaningless in the short-term, but which has captured the media, the issues covered in this report rarely get attention. They should. This is the real crisis.
Solve the Real Problems – Poverty Retirement and Health Insecurity – and the Economy Will Recover
KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS – Truthout.org
When we confront the crises of poverty retirement and health insecurity, we discover that Social Security and Medicare are not the problems; they are the solutions.
We have endless money for war, and we subsidize Big Oil to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, even as their profits soar to empyrean levels. Yet the basic infrastructure of the country is slowly coming apart in front of us, as this report shows. Millions of jobs could be created if we took our future seriously. But we don’t.
America’s Maritime Infrastructure: Crying Out for Dollars
The Economist (U.K.)
NEW ORLEANS — THE Industrial Canal Lock in New Orleans connects two of America’s highest-tonnage waterways: the Mississippi River-which handles more than 6,000 ocean vessels, 150,000 barges and 500m tonnes of cargo each year, as well as much of its grain, corn and soyabean production-and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which runs from refinery-rich south-eastern Texas to Florida. Ships pass from one to the other via a lock that was built in 1921, and is 600 usable feet long, or half the length of a modern lock. Its replacement was authorised in 1956. Construction on the replacement was authorised in 1998, and then stalled by lawsuits. The most optimistic predictions of the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains America’s inland waterways, see the new lock being completed in 2030.
Superbugs, superweeds. There is an inherent problem with an approach to nature that is predicated on dominance as opposed to cooperation. Whether it is antibiotics or herbicides that approach never gets all the “bugs” in a hospital, or the weeds in a farm field. The result: the survivors mutate and become resistant, so strong antibiotics, and stronger poisons are required in a future round until, eventually, the d! rugs and poisons no matter how strong just stop working. That’s where we are in our hospitals, and now where we are in our fields. You’d think this progression would be obvious. But the corporate greed for short-term profit just overwhelms good sense.
Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds
TOM PHILPOTT – Mother Jones
But of course there’s another way. In a 2012 study I’ll never tire of citing, Iowa State University researchers found that if farmers simply diversified their crop rotations, which typically consist of corn one year and soy the next, year after year, to include a “small grain” crop (e.g. oats) as well as offseason cover crops, weeds (including Roundup-resistant ones) can be suppressed with dramatically less fertilizer use-a factor of between 6 and 10 less. And much less herbicide means much less poison entering streams-“potential aquatic toxicity was 200 times less in the longer rotations” than in the regular corn-soy regime, the study authors note. So, despite what the seed giants and the conventional weed specialists insist, there are other ways to respond to the accelerating scourge of “superweeds” than throwing more-and ever-more toxic-chemicals at them.