Don’t Assume that just Because I am a Post-Transsexual Dyke…

Some things you shouldn’t assume.

Don’t assume that just because I’m an old dyke I want to go to the Michigan Wymonz Muzack Festival. As much as I like the country I haven’t any desire to sleep on the ground when there are perfectly good beds to be had.

Besides which I pride myself in having really eclectic musical tastes and while I might well listen to some of the artists who play the MWMF there are many I have never heard of.

I also like to support local music and musicians.

I haven’t a clue as to local lesbian bars.  My partner and I don’t drink.

I don’t do Pride Day.  It is generally really freaking hot, parking is non-existent and I am usually at work.  Besides I’m old and I’ve been there and done that… Way too many times.

I don’t know any trans-bars or local organizations/rap groups. I had SRS well over 40 years ago and every traumatic transition story is basically the same.  Time to give young folks the pride of doing their part and being activists.

What’s a “genderqueer”? (Snark) We used to say people doing “genderqueer” were doing “Gender Fuck”.  Back in the post-1960s people understood camp and detournement, today everyone is so freaking deadly serious and expect you to automatically know and use proper pronouns even when they made those pronouns up.

I’m a vanilla crunchy old hippie dyke.  I think all the emphasis on gender is really retro and conservative. I don’t do BDSM…  If it floats your boat… Whatever… I too have hobbies that some think are strange, like going to a gun range and shooting my 9mm.

Same sex marriage is more important to me now I am old than it used to be.  I used to think it reactionary but I’ve seen how the powers that be fuck over unmarried people, particularly old folks when one partner dies.

I vote Democratic.  I’m pretty much a working class Democrat.  Don’t assume I embrace “identity politics”.  I don’t.  I think they are a curse that keeps people from supporting progressive politics.

I don’t like the police state.  I think it is time to end the drug prohibition, in part because I think pot might help with the pain in my hands and other joints. I oppose most progressives on matters of gun control and think many of the roots of gun control are both racist and classist.

I believe in unions and I am skeptical of the efficacy of anti-discrimination laws in a world where workers have no real rights.  In that sort of world anti-discrimination laws seem like a diversion.

I know it is trendy for progressives to be anti-Israel.  I support Israel, I think it is the only real democracy in the Middle East, the only place in the region where women and LGBT people have any real rights.  Besides Israel is one of our strongest and best allies.

Don’t assume I like pop music or give a rat’s ass about various divas.  Or cable shows featuring TG-folks.  I’ve never seen Orange is the New Black.  Yes Laverne Cox is a great advocate for TS/TG folks but I could barely put up with “The L-Word” and prison dramas… Well there are way too many folks actually in prison and I doubt any dramas do them justice.

I’m an old hippie.  I like roots music, interesting food. I work to be able to live. I don’t live to work and earn lots of money for my employer. I do art, play music and the like because I like doing it, not because I’m really good at it and can make lots of money.

I may be post-transsexual but I don’t own any high heels, I prefer athletic shoes and Birkenstocks. I don’t wear make-up and consider fashion a bore. Actually I consider fashion rather stupid, “Vogue on the outside, vague on the inside.”

I’m not a member of the Transgender Community… It came along long after I was post-transition.  I have TS/TG friends. I support the rights but the drama and fighting gets to me. I think calling transsexuals who claim that label elitists is fucked up  Everyone else gets to pick their own labels why not transsexuals?

While I’m at it transsexuals have the right to experience life after SRS as individuals and not according to the ideology of some committee made up of transgender authorities.

Stop assuming we are all the same. I’m working class, a hippie, a crunchy dyke.  My experiences make me different than a middle class person who came in middle age after a marriage and fully developed career.  We don’t have all that much in common.

Invasion of the Data Snatchers

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Do Democrats want to fix inequality? Or just complain about it?

From The Guardian UK:

If progressives think they’ve got any chance at midterm victory, it’s time to focus on dramatic solutions for young and minority voters – before it’s too late, Monday 20 October 2014

On Friday, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen warned that “income and wealth inequality are near their highest levels in the past hundred years”. On Saturday, Senator Elizabeth Warren called for federal student loan refinancing, and declared: “The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it.” On Sunday, along with a secret memo that threatened “crushing” defeats, there was the headline on the front page of the New York Times: “Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate”.

Inequality: it’s all anybody can talk about … except Democrats on the campaign trail who, with two weeks before Election Day, desperately need to turn out the very people so disproportionately affected by it – young and minority voters.

Sure, the teacher-backed Super-Pacs are hitting Republicans from Arkansas and North Carolina to Hawaii and back again for wanting to “shut down” public education. Yes, ignoring affordable housing is the stuff attack ads are made of.

But housing and education are issues of inequality that have solutions, not just stump-speech lines or YouTube-ready complaints. And if Democrats have any hope left in the midterms, they cannot be this shamefully muted on bold progressive policies that could dramatically improve the lives of voters who just happen to hold the keys to a majority of the United States Senate.

Barack Obama’s neglect on foreclosure has been well-documented. The housing crisis turned countless former homeowners into renters and, now, into would-be voters in dire straits. More than four in 10 of very low-income US households have no access to subsidized housing, and are instead paying more than 50% of their income in rent, living in horrific conditions or both. We have about as much public housing today as we did in the mid-1970s, losing 10,000 units per year, even though the US population is now 47% bigger.

An easy fix would be to simply expand the stock of affordable housing, especially units available to low- and moderate-income households. And believe it or not, the Obama administration has the unilateral authority to do so, without Congress. The National Housing Trust Fund, a program created during the second Bush administration, was never actually funded. But the National Low Income Housing Coalition believes we could end homelessness in America in 10 years if it was funded now. So what are Democrats so afraid of?

Money for the fund is supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but their regulator – the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) – has been preventing the cash from flowing. Now Fannie and Freddie are profitable, and putting all of those profits towards deficit reduction, instead of setting aside a small portion for people who need somewhere to live.

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Trans: Beyond the Journey, Beyond Transition

I know it’s heresy but then I went through the “Journey” part of my life long before most who are an active part of the “Trans-Community”.

I was an outlier even then. Being part of the Hippie Trip and being part of the Anti-war Movement was every bit as important to me as being transsexual.

I differed from many of my sisters in my attachment to Hippie.  For me Hippie wasn’t just a fashion trend of flowers and peace symbols.  It was a way of life.

Over the years the hippie ethos has caused me to take part in other movements including gay/lesbian liberation, feminism and the environmental movement.

It has fed my identity as an artist, made me fearless in trying new ways of expressing my thoughts from photography, to writing to painting.

I’ve picked up musical instruments and tried to learn them knowing the learning was more important than the expertise.

I’ve taken classes at a dozen or more colleges and universities including NYU, UCLA, and UC Berkeley.  Learning has been more important than a degree.

I try to avoid mindless consumption with some success except for books and music.

Pop stars, fashion and models bore me.  I would be hard pressed to name any of the popular TV Shows on network TV.

I know Trans-activists want people to stay part of the “Transgender Community” forever.  Identity is the glue that holds political blocs together when the political ideals are weak.

I can’t count the times I have been exhorted to “Care” when a sister is murdered in a distant land.  It is a platitude like “pray for”, meaningless in the absence of any ability to actually do something that would prevent such tragedies. I’m saddened by stories like the murder of  Jennifer Laude, but I can’t do any thing to change what happened.

If there is a typhoon, hurricane or earthquake I can send a few dollars to the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, it may be a drop in the financial bucket but it has real meaning whereas sitting around saying how much I care doesn’t.

Recently some in the Trans-Community” have been up in arms about a satirical skit Sarah Silverman did about changing sex so she could earn what men earn.  The outrage machine hit overdrive.  Yet many in the trans-community are shocked when they are no longer employable in their former professions once they transition.  Shocked to find they will lose 20-30% of their earning power.

Except for jobs I had in my late teens I’ve always been employed as a woman and have seen the sexism in the work place.  Some of the worst has been in the tech field. As my late friend Ruth used to say, “I wonder where the penis goes?  why are men getting 30% more than we are for the same job?”

Life goes on. some of the neatest folks I know on Facebook realize that even during their “Journey”.  The truth is I think most of us realize that trans is only a part of who we are and only a part of our lives.

Our jobs, our relationships, our cause, our passions make us whole people.

Transition requires a tremendous amount of energy and focus, but after you are a person, only one who grew into your true self.  That still leaves a world in which (paraphrase of an old Zen saying) we chop wood and get water because wood needs to be chopped and water needs to be gotten.

Most of us will still get old, will still have some ideals, some passions, a desire for love and companionship, a need for security in our old age.

The Twelve Steps helped me to sort out things I could change and things I couldn’t change.  I first encountered the Serenity Prayer on the wall of the Gender Clinic at Stanford.  It took getting sober at the end of 2000 to bring it back into my life.

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Women don’t owe you anything

From Raw Story:

Amanda Marcotte
Oct. 10, 2014

There’s been a lot of great writing in recent weeks about the concept of affirmative consent. Sadly, there’s also been a lot of gross, distasteful writing defending the status quo, where women are expected to be available to men—sexually, emotionally, etc.—unless we say otherwise. I want to recommend this excellent piece by Amanda Taub at Vox explaining why she believes we really do need a shift from consent being an “opt-out” culture to an “opt-in” one. (As I’ve said before, putting women’s bodies on the same level we put houses and wallets, where you are assumed not welcome unless explicitly invited.) Part of the problem is that by telling women we are assumed to be consenting unless we say otherwise, the “say otherwise” is always up for debate by a man who believe our “no” is not good enough.

That burden isn’t just annoying for women. It’s dangerous. By exempting sexual aggressors from the responsibility of figuring out whether their partners are “eager and ready to sleep with them,” we’re asking their targets to either give in to sexual activity they don’t want, or to run the risk that a firm, assertive, continued rejection will end in violence.

This week, a Detroit man murdered a 27-year-old mother of three named Mary Spears after she rejected him in a bar. Right now, a woman is in critical condition in a New York City hospital because a man slashed her throat on the street after she declined to go on a date with him. In April, a Connecticut teenager was murdered by her 16-year-old classmate after she turned down his invitation to prom. Stories like these (and there are others) should remind us that women have a lot of reasons to fear the consequences of saying “no.” That’s all the more reason why silence shouldn’t be presumed to be consent.

The violence that erupts when a man decides that a woman hasn’t worked hard enough to opt out of her supposed obligation to please him seems shocking, but it’s entirely predictable in a society such as ours. Take, for instance, my post yesterday where I made fun of a man who wanted me to get off my bike, take off my headphones and engage me in a lengthy conversation about my body and his opinions on it. Many people in comments were upset, arguing that I did, in fact, have an obligation, merely by being a woman in the world, to drop what I was doing and give this man what he wanted because he wanted it. That my “no” was not good enough. That in order to opt out of the presumption of consent, I had to come up with more reasons that fuck-you-I’m-not-a-toy.

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It’s time to shout stop on this war on the living world

From The Guardian UK:

Our consumption is trashing a natural world infinitely more fascinating and intricate than the stuff we produce

Wednesday 1 October 2014

This is a moment at which anyone with the capacity for reflection should stop and wonder what we are doing.

If the news that in the past 40 years the world has lost over 50% of its vertebrate wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) fails to tell us that there is something wrong with the way we live, it’s hard to imagine what could. Who believes that a social and economic system which has this effect is a healthy one? Who, contemplating this loss, could call it progress?

In fairness to the modern era, this is an extension of a trend that has lasted some 2 million years. The loss of much of the African megafauna – sabretooths and false sabretooths, giant hyaenas and amphicyonids (bear dogs), several species of elephant – coincided with the switch towards meat eating by hominims (ancestral humans). It’s hard to see what else could have been responsible for the peculiar pattern of extinction then.

As we spread into other continents, their megafauna almost immediately collapsed. Perhaps the most reliable way of dating the first arrival of people anywhere is the sudden loss of large animals. The habitats we see as pristine – the Amazon rainforest or coral reefs for example – are in fact almost empty: they have lost most of the great beasts that used to inhabit them, which drove crucial natural processes.

Since then we have worked our way down the foodchain, rubbing out smaller predators, medium-sized herbivores, and now, through both habitat destruction and hunting, wildlife across all classes and positions in the foodweb. There seems to be some kink in the human brain that prevents us from stopping, that drives us to carry on taking and competing and destroying, even when there is no need to do so.

But what we see now is something new: a speed of destruction that exceeds even that of the first settlement of the Americas, 14,000 years ago, when an entire hemisphere’s ecology was transformed through a firestorm of extinction within a few dozen generations, in which the majority of large vertebrate species disappeared.

Many people blame this process on human population growth, and there’s no doubt that it has been a factor. But two other trends have developed even faster and further. The first is the rise in consumption; the second is amplification by technology. Every year, new pesticides, fishing technologies, mining methods, techniques for processing trees are developed. We are waging an increasingly asymmetric war against the living world.

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Gay marriage opponents reduced to blabbering incoherently

From Raw Story:

13 Oct 2014

I’m hesitant to be one of those people who declares victory in the battle over same-sex marriage before it’s, you know, actually legal and honored in all 50 states. Remember that desegregation is still being battled in much of the South, even if they do it in more oblique ways than they used to. (Though not always.) It’s never as easy as you think it’s going to be. But the tide really does seem to be turning, so much so that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council got a hostile hearing on Fox News of all places. Raw Story’s David Edwards explains how both Ted Olson and Chris Wallace tore into his notion that same-sex marriage somehow degrades the institution and harms straight couples:

“Do you want the sky to fall because because two people that are living next door to you?” Olson asked. “Court after court has said that allowing people of the same sex to marry the person that they love and be a part of our community, and to be treated equally does no damage to heterosexual marriage. And what court after court after court has said [is] that children living in a same-sex relationship do as well or better that people in other communities.”


“Alright, you and your wife live happily in this house,” Wallace said. “There’s a same-sex couple living here. What’s the damage to you?”

“Let’s talk about the wedding vendors that have been put out of business,” Perkins said.

“I’m not talking about that,” Wallace interrupted. “That’s a different issue. I’m asking you, what’s the impact on you and your family to have these people living next to you.”

Perkins insisted that his children would be “taught values and morals against what I teach as a parent at home.”

Olson pointed out that there was no evidence that heterosexual couples were getting divorced because LGBT people had the right to marry.

Of course, the notion that your neighbors should be denied rights in order to impart your values on your own children would be a double-edged sword, if taken seriously. What if an atheist couple claimed their neighbors should be denied the right to go to church in order to prevent atheist children from getting ideas?

But watching all this go down was another reminder that anti-gay activists are, in a lot of ways, their own worst enemies. They’re so afraid of being called “bigots” that they refuse to make their arguments openly, instead just gesturing at them and hoping people get the hint. The problem with arguing by implication, however, is people have to know what you’re implying. But the real argument for why same-sex marriage supposedly hurts straight marriage is so rarely uttered that people legitimately forget what the argument was. The argument is that by allowing gay people to get married, you “degrade” the institution of marriage and straight people won’t want it anymore because gay people ruined it, merely by existing.

Obviously, that argument relies on bigotry. It’s an argument in favor of segregation, similar to the arguments made in favor of excluding black people from schools and neighborhoods. It so quickly marks the person arguing it as a bigot that it’s understandable that anti-gay activists are wary of making it directly, and instead are reduced to shrugging in its general direction. But they’ve been shrugging so long and are so afraid to make the argument that people forgot what their argument was in the first place.

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Naomi Klein: Diverse Climate Movement United by Love of Place, Need for Water

From Common Dreams:

Speaking in the UK, Canadian author of the new book, ‘This Changes Everything,’ says that our atmosphere should be seen as the biggest political tent of. ‘We’re all under it and we need to start acting like it.’

by Jon Queally

Published on Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Speaking with the Guardian’s Owen Jones in London on Monday night, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein continued to broadcast the message of her new book, This Changes Everything, by arguing that the anti-fracking movement that has taken hold in the United Kingdom is a prime example of people rising up against the fossil fuel industry in ways that were once unheard of. Though these fights are always grounded in the particulars of local politics and dynamics, Klein says, they also share common bonds that are turning otherwise singular battles into a unified global movement.

“The movement against fracking has been heroic,” Klein said. “People get involved in fighting fracking not because of climate change but because they’re worried about their water. Water is what unites so many of these movements, whether it’s against tar sands, pipelines or fracking, coal mining, it’s water and love of place.”

Klein said the power of the global climate justice movement is not only the number of people involved, but about the movement’s inherent and growing diversity. Asked about the recent People’s Climate March in New York City, which drew more than 400,000 people to the streets ahead of the UN Climate Summit in September, she said: “To me, it was not just the size of it, this march had a quality to it that I’d never seen at a mass environmental demonstration.”

To the applause of the crowd, Klein continued, “I think we need to be very clear about this – the only way you can win against forces with a huge amount to lose is to build a movement of people, many more people, with a huge amount to gain.”

From saving our local natural resources to fighting back against what she called the “brutal logic of austerity,” Klein said the crisis of climate change is offering new ways to organize against the existing neoliberal order that is ravaging our economies and democracies, our ecological systems, and the places where people live.

“Climate is the big tent we’ve been waiting for, and why wouldn’t it be,” she said. “The atmosphere is the biggest tent of all, we’re all under it and we need to start acting like it.”

Watch the full discussion:

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Christian right’s huge dilemma: How social conservatives could doom Republicans

From Salon:

Tension between the GOP and its religious base is a long tradition — but it all may come to a head now. Here’s why

Thursday, Oct 9, 2014

I wrote a piece earlier about the GOP’s “three-legged stool” that stands for “family values, small government and strong national defense” in light of the recent resurgence of jingoistic fear-mongering in the 2014 campaign ads. The commentary on the right has been shifting perceptibly day by day as the threat of ISIS and our renewed military involvement in the Middle East tickled the martial lizard brain into action. But what of the other legs on the stool? The Christian Right is very likely to be on board with whatever military adventures the Republicans push (they usually are) but they are also likely to be agitated at the loss of prestige within the party and what they see as a defeatist attitude toward such issues a gay marriage and contraception.

The right wing firebrands’ reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision not to make a decision on marriage equality this week is instructive. The Tea Party king Ted Cruz wasted no time in condemning the Court saying, “by refusing to rule if the states can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution.” (He went on to bizarrely call the Court’s failure to act “judicial activism at its worst.” Ok.)

Christian Right leader and possible presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said:

“It is shocking that many elected officials, attorneys and judges think that a court ruling is the ‘final word,’” Huckabee said. “It most certainly is not. The courts are one branch of government, and equal to the other two, but not superior to either and certainly not to both. Even if the other two branches agree with the ruling, the people’s representatives have to pass enabling legislation to authorize same sex marriage, and the President (or Governor in the case of the state) has to sign it. Otherwise, it remains the court’s opinion. It is NOT the ‘law of the land’ as is often heralded.”

(And then he stood on the courthouse steps and thundered, “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say No gay marriage now! No gay marriage tomorrow! No gay marriage forevuh!”)

In fairness, Huckabee has been out of government for some time now, kicking back, playing guitar on his Fox News gig with his buddy Ted Nugent so he’s probably forgotten how American government works. Still, he probably spoke for many members of the religious right in his anger that the Court didn’t take the opportunity to strike down the abomination of marriage equality, especially since they’d been led to believe that they finally achieved their goal of a conservative majority that would give them everything they want when they want it. Why if it weren’t for decisions allowing corporations “religious liberty” and banning buffer zones at abortion clinics, they wouldn’t have had anything to cheer about in 2014 at all.

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ISIS-ISIL-IS: Thy Name Is Slavery, Rape and Murder

From Huffington Post:

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Stan Rogers

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Men deserve everything women get: waiting periods, purity control and science-free sex education

From The Guardian UK:

It’s time to end the battle of the sexes and protect men with the same zeal as we do women, Monday 6 October 2014

As state after state strips women of their access to abortion and the US supreme court rules to strip women of access to contraception, it seems only fair that men should be “helped” in the same way that women have been “helped” all these years. Right? After all, the laws are said to be there to protect us, from ourselves, and we wouldn’t want men to feel left out.

So, before engaging in any sexual act that could lead to procreation, what if all men had to undergo years of male-centric, abstinence-only education to learn about the horrors and all-around grossness of male sexuality? And what if the standards for how we legislated male sexuality and what we taught about it were based on scientific data of the same quality as that which is applied to women?

Boys, for instance, might be taught that each time you put your penis inside a different woman, it gets smaller. It’s “true”! Don’t leave your future wife with a bummer boner – abstain from sex until marriage.

Young men would also need to learn how to truly respect themselves and their bodies, because women have certain needs, and are stimulated visually. Gentlemen, if you go around wearing shirts that show off your biceps or jeans that hug your bottom (or, God forbid, your “package”), young women will think that you’re that that kind of guy. If you don’t aim to please, don’t aim to tease!

When a young man decides that he’s ready for sex – preferably within the confines of marriage – he would be taught that he is expected to be the sole party responsible for birth control? Yes, boys, maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll meet a woman who’s on the pill. But most women find that taking a daily hormone really lessens their enjoyment of sex, so you’d have to be prepared to get gel injected into your scrotum as often as needed to make sure the woman to whom you give your body doesn’t have to choose between really enjoying sex … and the potential negative consequences of having it without birth control.

But don’t get too excited! Before you’d be allowed to actually have sex, what if you had to wait 72 hours to make sure that’s really what you wanted to do? It’s a serious decision after all, with adult consequences, and men are not generally known for their ability to think while aroused. During that 72-hour waiting period (which you’d have every time you want to have sex, not just the first time), you would be treated to a battery of invasive medical procedures making sure you’re free of all sexually transmitted infections. (I’ve heard this involves something like a pipe-cleaner going into your penis-hole, but I try not to think too hard about dude stuff – it’s pretty confusing down there!)

Once your waiting period is over, you might have to get yourself to your nearest men’s health center – which can legally be as far as 150 miles from your hometown, which is not far enough to constitute any real burden – for education on child support and information about the psychological damage men can incur from having sex and how it probably causes penis cancer. You could also be shown a video about how women generally find men who have premarital sex to be disgusting and shameful.

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UN Report: Human-Caused Climate Disruption Is “Severe, Pervasive, Irreversible”

From Truth Out:

By Dahr Jamail
Monday, 22 September 2014

“Why is it . . . that in this world there are men [and women] whose hearts have been so numbed, whose sentiments of honor and delicacy have been so deadened, that one sees them pleased and amused by what degrades and soils them?” – Marquis de Sade

A recently released draft of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report concluded that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is fully upon us, will dramatically worsen unless something is done immediately – and that something is on the level of a wartime response. The report noted that ACD is “severe … pervasive … irreversible.”

The authors of the draft report used the word “risk” 351 times, “vulnerable” or “vulnerability” 61 times, and “irreversible” 48 times, and added: “The report found that companies and governments had identified reserves of these [fossil] fuels at least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level.”

The world is already on track to be at least 4 degrees Celsius warmer before the end of the century due to missed carbon targets, while incredibly, worry over short-term costs of investments to address the risks resulting from runaway ACD continues to paralyze any meaningful action toward its mitigation.

As though that’s not enough bad news, the World Meteorological Organization announced in early September that global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached record levels in 2013, and are rising at their fastest rate since 1984.

The UN also announced that the usual “cushions” against ACD, like forests and oceans absorbing carbon dioxide, are less effective at doing so as carbon dioxide levels continue to ramp up.

Recently, a team of scientists completed a series of flights over California to develop new methods of detecting and measuring carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere for NASA. “Our understanding of methane emissions from many important sources remains poor,” the principal investigator on the study, Ira Leifer, told Truthout: “For example, a recent review of many field studies over the last decade concluded that industrial fossil fuel emissions – the primary methane source – had been underestimated by a factor of approximately two.”

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