Thursday, March 31, 2011

The GOP's Pathetic Attack on Elizabeth Warren

The GOP offensive to derail the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is directed at Warren, a fierce advocate of financial fraud protections for citizens. These attacks are a greedy push to allow the financial sector to maximize profits at the expense of ordinary folks and avoid regulations designed to prevent a repeat of the mortgage crisis. It is a moment reminiscent of the failed attempt to establish the Consumer Protection Agency championed by Ralph Nader in 1978, in which President Carter failed to actively seek votes for passage. Clearly, Obama will need to step up if the CFPB is to be nothing more than a shell of what it promises to the public.

What Is ALEC? Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows

AlterNet reports on the conservative-funded legislative council that prepares and disseminates legislative draft proposals to Republican lawmakers. Perhaps after reading this piece you'll agree that, at the very least, ALEC should be stripped of its 501c3 tax-exempt status as a charitable organization.

50,000 people tell the Senate to protect people, not polluters

Burning coal costs voters as much as $500 billion each year on top of energy costs, and coal pollution kills as many as 34,000 Americans each year. That price doesn't even consider the environmental degradation that flows from mountaintop removal in Appalachian states like West Virginia and Kentucky.

Any Radiation Can Be Harmful

This report from Food & Water Watch asserts that no level of radiation in food or water is safe, and contends that the government should be telling people how to protest themselves rather than simply saying not to worry.

"Let’s start with the bottom line: the National Academy of Sciences says that exposure to even low levels of radiation can be harmful..."

Ohio to host second major union-fueled election of 2011

Ohio voters can force a referendum in November on the draconian GOP Senate Bill 5, severely stripping collective bargaining rights for 350,000 workers, if they get 6% of the electorate in the last election to sign a petition. Currently Ohio residents oppose the law by a 54%-31% margin and a victory in this referendum on labor rights could galvanize millions of workers for future elections.

Ohio Legislature OKs Collective Bargaining Limits

This action against organized labor in Ohio strips over 350,000 workers, including police and firefighters, of collective bargaining rights on heath care, sick time, pension benefits, and bans the workers from striking. In Wisconsin the cops and fire unions were exempted from the union-busting law, presumably to ensure their cooperation in maintaining order. This could change the ballgame.

Ohio Collective Bargaining Restrictions Spark Strong Reaction From Police, Firefighters

Sometimes It Takes a Fire to Wake Us Up

What will it take to wake up the populace now. Will the anti-union extremism of the GOP result in sustained opposition to unfair labor practices? Will people rise off of their couches to protest the 30-year transfer of taxation burdens onto working families? Is it possible that anything can bring us together to fight for social justice in this entertainment and misinformation culture in which we live? Let us not forget that generations of laborers fought for the rights which we now take for granted. We must fight for what we believe in or it will all be lost.

"In 1911, the world was shocked when it came to light that the owners of the Triangle Factory had locked workers inside a death trap. Yet just seven years ago, we learned that Walmart had regularly locked workers inside its stores overnight, claiming it was necessary to prevent theft, heedless of the fact that it prevented critically injured workers from obtaining badly needed medical care."

Big Pharma Strikes Again

"Republicans often bemoan what they view as the heavy burden of government regulation. But the absence of such regulation, combined with the prevalence of industry-bought loopholes, adversely affects Americans every single day." 
This story is about faulty hip replacement devices that a company, DePuy Orthopaedics knowingly marketed to patients despite doctors complaints of serious infections...

Truthout Articles Vandalized Last Night

I received the email message below from Truthout this morning. There may be several links on the Ransacked Nation site with links that go to Truthout and say "page not found." The "Chapter Three: Banding Together For The Common Good" and "WikiLeaks and the First Amendment" are one such cases. Hopefully, these pages will be restored quickly.

Dear Readers,
Late last night, was attacked and our content over the past ten days was deleted. We're working to capture the cache versions of those stories that are no longer available and republish them on our website.
You may find that some links will take you to "Page Not Found." Right now we're working to restore the vandalized stories.
We will update you as soon as we have more information, and hope to be back in full force very soon.
Thank you for your patience and your support!

The Truthout Team

Breaking: The Republican attack on clean air isn’t popular

Grist provides a lengthy sampling of reporting against the GOP's proposals to severely inhibit the EPA and limit the Clean Air Act.

Low Levels Of Radiation Found In U.S. Milk

The sample, taken in Washington State, is said to be harmless and well below safety thresholds. Let's hope so, and continue to contemplate whether the risks of nuclear energy are simply too high.

Chapter Three: Banding Together for the Common Good

This serialized book chapter from Thom Hartman recounts the origins of social and communal human relationships, democratic government and the unanticipated rise to power of corporations.

The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All - Persona Management Strategies to Build Consensus

Emails released in an Anonymous raid on the security software firm HB Gary show details of an automated software-driven program to create and propagate personas through social media for the purpose of manufacturing artificial 'consensus' on issues.

At the end of this piece the author cites a US government request for Persona Management Software for use in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing a document and a link. The site, alas, no longer lists the solicitation number from the document.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wal-Mart's Washington Shock Doctrine

Wal-Mart is making an all-out push to open four stores in the DC area that would have a ruinous effect on the city's recent renaissance. This is a lengthy yet humorously written column that calls for communities to fiercely resist the wage and job depressing, ruthless giant retailer.

Walmart Won't Fix New York, New Yorkers Will

Whole Foods Market Caves to Monsanto

This is from January and it spells bad news for the fight against GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in our food supply. Apparently 'natural' foods are allowed to contain GMOs whereas certified organic foods are GMO-free. Over 90% of the public in several surveys favor labeling foods that contain GMOs but Whole Foods and Organic Valley have now agreed to cease lobbying against products which are not required to be safety tested.

For more detail on these issues click on the Organic Consumers Association/Millions Against Monsanto link under Causes and Activism to the right.

Post-Japan Disaster, Legislators Dish Out Pro-Nuclear Spin

We need to have a fact-based and rigorous review of nuclear energy in this country, and resist the laissez-faire assurances of political leaders with long-standing ties to the nuclear industry.

WikiLeaks and the First Amendment

The political establishment appears to be very serious about prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. WikiLeaks, meanwhile, appears to be repositioning the organization, moving away from anarchism and embracing a more journalistic identity perhaps to strengthen their First Amendment rights in legal confrontations. The article also raises the question of whether the Obama Administration might have had something to do with Sweden's bizarre and highly unusual action in charging and attempting to extradite Assange, right after WikiLeaks released thousands of classified documents relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reversals of support by PayPal, Amazon and Visa may also have been a response to political pressures from the government. Without transparency we may never know...

Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Oil and Gas Inspectors

This GOP Governor Corbett seems reckless to the extreme regarding environmental safety and seems to be hellbent on protecting the rapacious natural gas extraction that's taking place in Pennsylvania. One would think that the Feds could step in if a state's action put the population at risk by allowing potentially catastrophic pollution of the water supply for major cities like Pittsburgh.

While Nuclear Waste Piles up in U.S., Billions in Fund to Handle It Sit Unused

A 1982 law created a $24 billion fund to develop a permanent solution for dealing with spent nuclear fuel but no solutions have yet been approved after the Yucca mountain plan was sidetracked. Meanwhile the money cannot be used for remedial solutions to deal with fuel rods that are sitting in pools across the nation. We need to get some action on this issue and start dealing responsibly with these dangerous materials.

Obama's "Secret" Climate Adaptation Plan

Obama tells the government to prepare for climate change, whether Congress likes it or not.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Attacking the Messenger: Smearing "Gasland" Producer Josh Fox - The Natural Gas Industry Pushes for Profits At All Costs

I shouldn't still be surprised by the blind greed of corporations, but their vigorous deceptions shock me nonetheless. The ONLY thing most of these entities care about is profit - until the LAW prohibits a specific destructive practice, or people rise up in sustained and dramatic defiance, they will persist in their actions. Many corporate 'citizens,' who enjoy the Constitutional rights but not the responsibility and accountability of individuals, will pursue profit at the expense of society. In particular, the Oil & Gas Industry (and Chemical) are as brazen as it gets - they will poison your drinking water and then mislead and lie about it until the bitter end.

Bernie Sander's Top Ten Tax Avoiders

The Vermont Senator has been putting pressure on corporate tax delinquents recently with a number of public statements. It's time to close all of these loopholes and force corporations to pay their fair share of taxes!

Wisconsin Judge Checks & Balances Lawless Governor, Making it "Crystal Clear" Anti-Labor Bill Is Blocked

Wisconsin Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi barred state workers from implementing Gov. Walker's law because of an earlier court ruling that the GOP tried to circumvent. Another ruling earlier in the day by Court of Appeals justices rejected a request from the state Attorney General to remove barriers to implementing the union-busting law.

The Extremist GOP Agenda and the Fungible Federal Dollar Theory

GOP 'welfare reform' targets strikers and... abortion

The Surprising New Class Politics

An interesting essay on how the GOP strategy of pitting private and public sector workers against each appears to have blown up in their faces. The April 5 Supreme Court election in Wisconsin will be the first test as to whether there has been a meaningful shift in public opinion against the divisive Republican tactics.

Polling tight in Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign

The Radioactive Ocean

With increasing radioactivity levels in the oceans near Fukushima it's instructive to review civilization's history of exploding and dumping dangerous radioactive materials into the oceans of the world.

The failure of shareholder capitalism

This story completely refutes the assertion that increases in productivity will lead to more jobs in the US. It also details the continued evisceration of our manufacturing base in this country as more and more jobs are shipped overseas in pursuit of cheaper labor and unregulated markets.

The Perils Of Corporate Media: MSNBC Makes Few Mentions Of Tax Avoidance By Parent Company GE

The only substantive coverage on GE tax dodging by MSNBC was a full segment on Lawrence O'Donnell's show, and a partial segment clip is in this story. The  news, that MSNBC parent GE received a $3.2 billion tax credit on $14 billion in profits for 2010, was only mentioned briefly twice by the network in a three-day period.

Jon Stewart Slams GE for Corporate Tax Hypocrisy

Michigan Cuts Jobless Benefit by Six Weeks

The primary reason for all these severe state budget crises is a lack of tax revenue. Business is sitting on trillions of dollars and one third of American corporations pay zero tax with many getting large refunds. Corporations paid only 6.6% of tax revenues last year. And the people continue to suffer the consequences of businesses and lawmakers refusing to make Corporate America pay their fair share into the society from which it profits. "Shared burden," anyone?

Undoing the Great Risk Shift

This paper identifies the major shift financial risk from corporations and the government onto families and individuals that has taken place over several decades.

The GOP's Absurd Plan for the Economy: Lowering YOUR Wages

The Republican assault on labor is based on misleading assertions that they will result in more jobs for Americans. It's a new generation voodoo economics and will only serve to further reduce income for working people in an economy in which wages have been largely stagnant for decades. One economist estimates that the spending cuts, if enacted, will cost 700,000 jobs.'s_absurd_plan_for_the_economy:_lowering_your_wages/?utm_

Right-Wingers Using Public Employees as 21st-Century Welfare Queens

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Populist Moment

An excellent summary and analysis of the current political climate and the prospects for impacting change. One of the keystone items is a constitutional amendment that clarifies that corporations are not persons who are eligible for civil rights.

Worst Political Campaign Speech Ever

This is hysterical, from YouTube...

Supreme Court may strike another blow to campaign finance laws

Another disappointing development in efforts to reform campaign finance laws.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 121

Greg Mitchell has been providing weekly updates on WikiLeaks-related developments. They provide a great resource for those interested in following the story despite Mitchell plugging his upcoming book on Pvt. Manning.

Wisconsin stops collecting union dues, starts charging more for health care

The Walker-led Republicans are moving to implement their union-busting law despite the fact that the Secretary of State says it is not yet in effect. A court hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Indiana House Democrats have returned to the state after securing concessions from Republicans in the legislature.

Big Solar's Death Panels

This is an interesting piece on the conflict between installing renewable energy capacity and preserving the ecosystem. Alas, it's going to be complicated and litigious every step of the way!

Weekly Standard Publishes Hagiography To Koch Brothers, Doesn’t Disclose Financial Ties To Kochs

The ever-vigilant site ThinkProgress reports on the undisclosed conflicts of interest of the Weekly Standard and its reporters, and their misleading and disingenuous story.

Radioactive water spilling into tunnels beneath Japan's quake-damaged nuclear plant

None of the news coming out of Japan is very encouraging.,0,2784682.story?track=rss&utm_

Fukushima may end up as a concrete-encased ghost plant, says expert

American Thought Police

Krugman weighs in of the Wisconsin GOP's attempt to silence Professor Cronon.

The American Historical Association Deplores Effort to Intimidate Professor Cronon.

The Fate That Geraldine Ferraro Didn't Deserve

I remember being outraged at the press reviews after the Vice-Presidendial debate with Bush I. I thought Geraldine had kicked ass...

Paul Stamets On 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World

This is an incredible video from TedTalk of a lecture by mycologist, Paul Stamets. It's fascinating, both technical and historical in nature, and he demonstrates the power of these natural organisms to clean up toxins in six case studies.

Below is a link to The Nuclear Forest Recovery Zone - a plan developed by Stamets to remediate the radiation damage at Fukushima in part by planting mushrooms that use radiation as an energy source. Here are a few words thoughts from Stamets on the situation:
"The tragedy in Japan has brought into focus, for me, what we could do to help heal the ecosystem. I suggest a novel mycoremediation strategy: The Nuclear Forest Recovery Zone. This approach would be to utilize the abundant wood debris, chipping it, and placing the chipped wood over the most contaminated landscapes. Thereupon, trees with mycorrhizal mushrooms, native to Japan, would uptake and hyperaccumulate radioactive metals, a phenomenon brought into focus after Chernobyl where one mushroom, Gomphidius glutinosus, concentrated 10,000 x the background, ambient levels of cesium 137."

End Tax Breaks for Profitable Corporations

Bernie Sanders calls on Corporate America to pay their fair share of taxes and for the government to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. Hopefully we will hear more and more about this until the laws are finally rewritten.

Ten Big Corporate Tax Breaks, and Who Benefits

In Lawless Fitzwalkerstan: A Constitution Officer Refuses to Bend to a Royal Governor's Dictate

The Secretary of State, Doug LaFollette, restores some of the dignity that once was a hallmark of Wisconsin statehood.

Justice For Sale in Wisconsin

The Citizen's United ruling that allows unlimited contributions from corporation in political races had the effect of overturning a ban on corporate election spending that was enacted back in 1905. Now, the GOP is opening the floodgates to help their conservative candidate win the crucial April 4th election.