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Wed, 2013-05-22 15:10Guest
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IRS Sleuths Were on the Right Track: Big Tobacco Created Tea Party in 1994

This is a guest post by Pam Martens, cross-posted with permission from Wall Street On Parade.

On February 25, 2013, James Hepburn, writing at Daily Kos, made the emphatic assertion in a headline that “Big Tobacco Had Nothing to Do With Tea Party Formation.” That is likely to be the one headline that will haunt Mr. Hepburn to his grave. 

I decided to follow in the treacherous footsteps of the IRS and engaged in that unforgiveable sin: I targeted the “tea party” as a key word search at the legacy tobacco document archive.  Resting quietly in the archive is full blown proof that Big Tobaccodirectly created multiple Tea Parties in 1994 as push back against a planned increase in the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on cigarettes.  

In fact, Big Tobacco not only created the Tea Party, it has promoted it over decades, pumped millions into marketing it, and pulled it out of its magic hat every time it needed to produce an overnight, spontaneous “grassroots” movement. 

Wed, 2013-05-22 07:00Guest
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Exxon Knew of Dangerous Contamination from Arkansas Spill, Yet Claimed Area “Oil Free”

This is a guest blog by Jesse Coleman, cross-posted from Greenpeace blog The Witness

On March 29 ExxonMobil, the most profitable company in the world, spilled at least 210,000 gallons of tar sands crude oil from an underground pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas. The pipeline was carrying tar sands oil from Canada, which flooded family residences in Mayflower in thick tarry crude. Exxon’s tar sands crude also ran into Lake Conway, which sits about an eighth of a mile from where Exxon’s pipeline ruptured.

The cove of Lake Conway which Exxon claimed was “oil-free”
Fri, 2013-05-10 10:47Guest
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Will Future Generations Call Obama The ‘Environmental President’ Or An Abject Failure?

This is a guest post by Joe Romm, cross-posted from ClimateProgress with permission. 

It's tempting to grade the President on a curve, but future generations won't – if we destroy the livable climate they'll need to feed 9 billion people.

Fri, 2013-05-10 05:00Guest
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Into Wine: New Book by Olivier Magny Explores Terroirism, Soil Health and More

This is a guest post by French sommelier Olivier Magny, author of the new book, Into Wine: An Invitation to Pleasure

When you like wine, and start to learn more about it, you quickly realize that the soil makes a difference. Studying how vineyards were farmed has helped me grasp that the importance of the soil actually goes far beyond wine, and that the implications of mistreating it are also much more far-reaching that we think.

Under the combined effects of chemical pesticides, chemical fertilizers, deep plowing and tractors, we’ve managed to eradicate most of the life of our soils. Even though it may come across as unchanged on the surface, the truth is that for the most part, our soil has now turned to dirt.

After a few decades of mining our soils instead of farming them, we have destroyed them[1]. Messing with the soil is a gigantic mistake—and Nature has already started to get back at us for it.

Mon, 2013-05-06 17:02Guest
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The Death of ‘Sustainability’

This is a guest post by Glenn Hurrowitz, author and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.

Can destroying a tropical rainforest be “sustainable”?

Well, according to a decision taken yesterday by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the major industry-NGO body, this greatest of environmental crimes is now officially “green.”

Sun, 2013-04-28 12:45Guest
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Coal Exports: An Update On Pacific Northwest Coal Fights

This is a guest post by Josephine Ferorelli, originally published at Occupy.com.

There is not enough room in the national headlines for all the battles between fossil fuel expansion projects and climate activists occurring right now. But the Keystone XL proposal’s public comment period ends on April 22nd, so we can shift our focus to coal exportation for a moment. Domestic coal use is one of the few figures that has been steadily dropping, with coal-fired power plants closing in many states, and utilities shifting toward other sources (mainly natural gas) for power generation.

So coal companies are scrambling with proposals to extract coal in Montana and Wyoming, ship it by train to ports in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, then freight it to Asian markets. For a good overview of domestic coal use vs. export written last year, read Ben Jervey’s analysis at DeSmog Blog.

It is frustrating (and terrifying) to devote so much of our effort to preventing fossil fuel expansion rather than actually reducing emissions, but springtime brings some good news from the northwest coast. Of the five port proposals for increased coal export capacity in the US this year, one has lost its investors and failed. The other four are facing serious public and legal opposition, and are destabilized by the shifting sands of corporate prospects; Ambre Energy in particular is dogged by rumors of insolvency. No permits have been issued yet.

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