TARGET: Save with the Red Card!


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Green Apps



Burpee Gardening

Whole House Water Filter


Soft Phone Banner



Natural Mosquito Control

10% Off Mosquito Magnet Accessories - Use Code MMACCTEN

FTC Disclosure

Green Reflection may receive remuneration from the advertisers on this site.

Trump’s Re-Election Campaign Doubles Its Spending on Legal Fees

The majority of the legal payments reflected in the second-quarter reports — $545,000 — went to the law firm Jones Day. It has represented the campaign in election law matters and ongoing lawsuits, and is also advising it on legal issues related to the Russia investigations.Continue reading the main storyThe campaign has been sending letters to former employees instructing them to retain documents that could be relevant to the ongoing investigations, according to several people who received them. Some of the letters, signed by the campaign’s executive director, Michael Glassner, alert the former employees that lawyers from Jones Day might contact them.Representatives from Jones Day, the Trump campaign and the White House did not respond to questions about the firm’s role in helping the campaign navigate the Russia investigations, which have expanded to include several former campaign officials, as well as the campaign’s digital operation.Federal election law permits campaign committees to pay legal fees incurred as a result of activity related to the campaign.The Trump campaign also paid nearly $90,000 to the Trump corporation for legal consulting and $120,000 in rent for the campaign’s offices at Trump Tower in Manhattan.In addition to the re-election campaign, two joint fund-raising vehicles established with Republican Party committees also filed reports to the commission. The committees ramped up their big-donor fund-raising during the second quarter of the year, raising $13.2 million — much of which came from big donors — according to the reports.The reports make it clear that although Election Day 2020 is nearly three and a half years away, Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign operation is already in high gear, and that it is working to engage the Republican Party’s deepest pockets in a way that his unconventional 2016 campaign did not.Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyThank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.About 43 percent of the second-quarter total came from donors who gave $10,000 or more to the committees, according to the reports […]

No, Palm Oil Is Not Responsible For 40% Of Global Deforestation

Victor Baron, Cirad; Alain Rival, Cirad, and Raphael Marichal, CiradA little over a month ago, Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry sought to extend a moratorium on issuing new licenses for using forest and peatland in the country for two years.Indonesia faces a massive ecological issue as its forests are rapidly disappearing and palm oil has been blamed for it. Indeed, the palm oil industry symbolizes tensions between the urgent need to preserve natural spaces and the necessary support for economic development in the global South.Palm is an exceptional oleaginous crop with an unequaled oil yield per hectare. It produces an abundant and inexpensive multi-purpose oil, which is sought by both the agro-food and biofuels industries.When properly developed and managed, palm oil plantations can play an important role in improving livelihoods and eradicating poverty in the tropics’ rural areas. […]

Can science save the banana?

The most popular fruit in the world is such a vast monoculture that it doesn’t stand a chance in the face of fungal infestation. […]

Something Blue – Emma Jameson

Something Blue Emma Jameson Genre: Mysteries & Thrillers Publish Date: May 22, 2013 Publisher: Lyonnesse Books Seller: Lyonnesse Books The New York Times Bestselling Series SOMETHING OLD… Anthony Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave and chief superintendent for New Scotland Yard, will marry Kate Wakefield in three weeks. It’s inevitable–the invitations are out, the flowers are ordered, the cake is chosen. But murder waits for no man, and no wedding. SOMETHING NEW… In London’s prestigious West End, a disgraced CEO has been murdered at Hotel Nonpareil, an exclusive destination. No one, it seems, liked Michael Martin Hughes. Not his estranged wife, Thora, or his defiant son, Griffin. Not Hotel Nonpareil’s manager, its head of security, or perhaps even the other two women in Hughes’s life: his future bride, Arianna, or his secret girlfriend, Riley. Still more ominously, before Hughes died, he incurred the wrath of a potentially more unforgiving foe: Sir Duncan Godington, longtime nemesis of both CS Hetheridge and DS Deepal “Paul” Bhar. SOMETHING BORROWED… For the first time, CS Hetheridge, Kate and Bhar find themselves under tremendous pressure to uncover the killer in the shortest time frame ever. Has Scotland Yard, not to mention Downing Street, lost confidence in Hetheridge? Will the murder conviction rest on hard forensic evidence, a mountain of circumstantial details, or an impulsive theft? Find out by returning to the world of ICE BLUE and BLUE MURDER in SOMETHING BLUE, the third mystery featuring Lord Hetheridge, Kate Wakefield and Paul Bhar. […]

McClendon’s Legacy As Warning

Just moments after posting a scathing comment to Facebook regarding Aubrey McClendon’s recent indictment by the Department of Justice on conspiracy charges, I read news of his shocking death in a car accident. I didn’t know McClendon personally, but he is indeed a legend in the story of the fracking boom. So much so I dedicated an entire chapter of my forthcoming book Frackopoly to him. And in the light of news of his death my scathing assessment of him may seem uncharitable to those unfamiliar with his record. The fact is, McClendon was a contemporary oil baron who at times excelled at high stakes financial gambling. When he was on a roll making billions, it came at the expense of the planet and people–whether it was the leaseholders he allegedly conspired against, the communities that fracking harmed or the impacts on our global climate. His story, from start to finish, is a tragedy all around. But he’s just one figure in the system that has helped bring about a boom in fracking, the continued reliance on fossil fuels, and a system of market-based schemes masquerading as environmental “solutions” and being pushed by vested interests. The story I tell in Frackopoly doesn’t end or begin at McClendon, but he’s a major piece of the contemporary story of fracking, and only the latest in a long line of oil and gas industry profiteers that have existed since the heyday of John D. Rockefeller. McClendon said in a statement Tuesday about his indictment that he was being singled out. One thing is for sure: he was right that this type of collusion in the oil industry goes on all the time. As I wrote in my original Facebook post, the real scandal about his conspiracy charge is how much this kind of behavior is tolerated without any investigation or concern–and has been for decades. As a result of McClendon’s aggressive and irresponsible business practices, he had many enemies and so I do believe that his death should be thoroughly investigated. No matter what, it is time to take back our democracy from billionaires that control major industries like oil and gas, and whose influence spreads far and wide to create policies that keep us hooked on what they’re selling. That’s the story in Frackopoly that I do believe I was able to tell adequately, even if McClendon’s story ended abruptly after the book went to print. His legacy should serve as another warning that the age of oil barons must end, and that we must take energy policy back from billionaires as if our life depended on it–because it does. This post originally appeared at Food & Water Watch’s site. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

Cambodia’s New Anti-Illegal Logging Campaign: Crackdown or Shakedown?

Cambodian press and some environmental groups have largely viewed the national government’s creation of a committee to curb an illegal wood trade as a sign of real progress. But upon closer inspection, the federal crackdown may be more of a shakedown. By Kerstin Canby and Will Tucker. Adapted from Forest Trends’s Viewpoints blog — Last month, Cambodia’s prime minister created a national committee charged with curbing illegal wood trade on the country’s eastern border with Vietnam, and the government and military conducted raids to seize illicit timber and investigate high-profile business leaders allegedly involved in the trade. The Cambodian press was quick to describe the move as a “crackdown” and some environmentalists hailed it as a “good first step” toward curtailing illegal logging. But after almost a month doubts are being raised about the true purpose and likely impact of the campaign. A few well-connected businessmen are benefiting tremendously from the crackdown, while only a small number of low-level people involved in the illegal activities have been arrested. At first glance it might appear that the Cambodian government is taking a principled stand on forest protection. Revelations that timber exports to Vietnam, alone, reached US $386 million in 2015 — 50% higher than the previous year — were made more shocking by evidence that this trade was mostly illegal and largely targeted at the country’s rarest and most endangered wood species. But observers familiar with the situation insist that the campaign’s real motives can be traced to simmering rivalries and jostling among the most influential players in Cambodia’s logging sector. It appears likely that this latest effort to disrupt illegal logging, though highly publicized, represents less of a “crackdown” and more of a “shakedown.” The whole episode might be no more than the latest turf war between Cambodia’s biggest logging cartels to re-negotiate how the fruits of illegal trade get divvied up. Despite a 1995 ban, logging continues in Cambodia on land designated for agriculture (Anonymous / Forest Trends) One cause for skepticism is a 2014 agreement that grants Try Pheap — logging baron and previous personal adviser to the prime minister — the exclusive right to buy up wood confiscated by the Cambodian government at below-market prices. Obviously, any scenario in which illegal logs end up simply changing hands from one tycoon to another would remove any illusion of protecting the forests, and would rob the government of much needed revenues. Environmentalists in Cambodia have for years expressed concern about ties between the country’s most prominent logging bosses and Prime Minister Hun Sen. In 2007, when the NGO Global Witness published a report entitled “Cambodia’s Family Trees: Illegal logging and the stripping of public assets,” the government responded by ordering all copies of the report seized and destroyed. (It had already banned the organization from entering Cambodia after a 2005 report questioned the prime minister’s connections to logging.) As recently as November 2015, the prime minister went to bat for Try Pheap and another tycoon when he publicly denied allegations that the two had illegally logged in a national park along Cambodia’s borders with Vietnam and Laos. And soon after the government began its new campaign, The Cambodia Daily reported that one Facebook user found himself embroiled in a defamation lawsuit after posting allegations that the Hun family was complicit in the illicit wood trade. Another reason to remain wary is the lack of information emerging from these high-profile military raids. Weeks after the formation of the illegal logging committee, we’ve yet to see any official statement about the outcome of the crackdown — what was confiscated and where. As one skeptical lawmaker put it, “The crackdown is like a storm. It will last only a short period of time and [then] be gone.” Unfortunately, that prophecy seems to be coming true. Latest reports indicate that the raids have yielded only “a handful of low-level arrests.” “[Environmental protection groups] say past crackdowns announced by the government have done little, if anything, to curb the trade and remain skeptical that the latest drive will prove different,” noted The Cambodia Daily. Forests covered almost 60% of Cambodia in 2010, but that number is shrinking (“Conversion Timber, Forest Monitoring, and Land-Use Governance in Cambodia”) Misgivings about whether illegal actors would be held accountable were reinforced in recent weeks, when stockpiles of timber in an eastern province were burned in a suspected attempt to destroy evidence of wrongdoing. The Phnom Penh Post cited accusations by local residents linking the wood to businessman Seong Sam Ol, whom the government has reportedly identified as a primary target of the crackdown. Elsewhere along the Vietnam border, authorities were reluctant to point fingers after locals twice uncovered hidden caches of high-value logs buried on property owned by another wealthy trader. The fact that this latest campaign does explicitly target at least some of the most powerful of the tycoons — a privileged class regarded by many as “untouchable” — is what sets this episode apart from similar spectacles in the past. The crackdown might reveal an escalation of infighting within that group. But don’t be surprised if, in the end, it’s the smaller loggers and low-level actors who get caught up in the dragnet, while the big players are left alone to consolidate their monopoly on the illicit trade and renegotiate the balance of power. Previous “crackdowns” that followed that pattern have failed to produce meaningful results. One thing is certain: We won’t see real change until the true orchestrators of illegal logging are held accountable. As long as these high-level culprits continue to operate in the sector, Southeast Asia’s most precious forests remain under imminent threat, and any sustainable forest management or protected area scheme is bound to fail. — Kerstin Canby is the Director of the Forest Trade and Finance program at Forest Trends, where she oversees the REDDX Initiative as well as the Forest Law and Governance workprogram. She can be reached at [email protected] Will Tucker is the Senior Communications Associate at Forest Trends. He is a writer with a background in climate change communication, history, and public health. He can be reached at [email protected] — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

Rising Appalachia: 200,000 Say End Mountaintop Removal in Historic Petition

Signaling a watershed shift in recognizing the national health crisis from cancer-linked strip mining in central Appalachia, more than 200,000 people have signed historic CREDO Action and Earthjustice petitions, calling on Congress to pass the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act (H.R. 912) and enact a moratorium on new mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR). With the Appalachian coal industry in a tailspin and the global banking community pulling out of mountaintop removal financing, the extraordinary show of support for the ACHE Act campaign effectively acknowledges that the only defenders of the cancer-linked radical strip mining operations are a handful of absentee coal companies, indicted coal baron Don Blankenship, and their fringe supporters in Congress. A new Appalachia is rising: Fed up with the stranglehold of mountaintop removal mining blocking any economic future, residents are pushing a regeneration plan for a diversified economy, and calling for Abandoned Mine Land funds and investment from President Obama’s Power Plan to counter the irreversible health and environmental damage from strip mining. “The more health research we conduct on mountaintop removal the more truth we discover. We have already discovered enough truth that any reasonable thinking person understands we must take urgent action to stop any further MTR until it is proven that MTR is not a public health threat,” said Bo Webb, who lives under a mining operation and co-founded the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Campaign. “Any politician, person, agency, or organization that refuses to act quickly to protect our children from further exposure to mountaintop removal’s toxic fallout is not serving The People well,” Webb added. The appeal to Congress on the basis of deadly and massive health costs sidesteps the Obama administration’s flawed regulatory approach, which has hedged on any further crack down on the devastating mining process despite years of evidence and two dozen peer-reviewed health studies on the impacts of the extreme mining process. The historic petitions, in fact, were delivered within days of the anniversary of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, which granted federal sanctioning to mountaintop removal mining in 1977 over objections by President Jimmy Carter. Keep that date in mind: How do you ask a plundered coal mining community to be the last community to die for a mistake? Image courtesy of Coal River Mountain Watch Despite recent news headlines that mountaintop removal mining has dropped over 60% since 2008, according to an EIS assessment, residents living in strip mining areas in central Appalachia were quick to remind the news media that destructive mine blasting and its toxic fallout continued to flourish in close proximity to houses, schools and farms, even though they had not been registered as mountaintop removal operations. “While some companies may claim that they no longer conduct mountaintop removal, the blasting methods and health consequences are the same regardless of what they call it,” said Bob Kincaid, President of Coal River Mountain Watch. “Tonnage may be down in some places, but companies such as Alpha Natural Resources are still blasting above our communities and seeking new permits. Given the host of diseases associated with it among an innocent population, we can live without it far easier than with it.” Last week, in fact, on the same day the EIS assessment appeared, Coal River Mountain residents in West Virginia testified in opposition to a new 847-acre Alpha Natural Resources strip mine in their area. “Mountaintop removal coal mining is a crime against Appalachia,” said Josh Nelson, communications director with CREDO Action. “That’s why grassroots activists around the country are demanding that Congress pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act and put an end to this deadly and unnecessary practice.” “The coal industry is destroying Appalachia, detonating millions of pounds of diesel fuel and explosives daily to rip the top off of mountains for coal,” said Marty Hayden, Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation. “More than 22 peer-reviewed scientific studies have found that cancer, disease, and birth defect rates are significantly higher in these areas. It’s high time for Congress to pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (ACHE Act), which would place an immediate moratorium on new mountaintop removal mining permits.” — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]