Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Welcome To ThinkProgress Green: The New Reality

ThinkProgress' reality check on the failure of efforts to reduce global warming presents a sobering perspective on the crisis of global warming and what needs to needs to be done to stop it.

Scientists discuss the rash of natural disasters and how they are connected to global warming. Flooding of the Mississippi River has seen multiple 1-500 and 1-in-100 year floods in 1993, 2000, 2008 and now again in 2011.
Why Climate Experts are Using Tougher Language

Voters Around The Country Afflicted With Buyer’s Remorse Over New GOP Governors

Seven out of eight states that elected new Republican governors in the wake of the debt crisis spawned by the Great Recession that preceded the  2010 election would now elect Democrats. The harsh anti-labor and middle class policies of these extreme-right GOP governors has created a backlash of discontent.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees

The reckless collusion of federal regulators and their industry 'clients' seems to know no bounds. In this case, administrators have allowed a pesticide to be used commercially since 2003 that EPA scientists knew was toxic to honey bees, thereby threatening the longterm viability of agricultural crops worldwide. 

There's a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Deal With a Jobs Crisis -- Why Is Germany Doing It So Well?

The US was harder hit by the Great Recession than most industrialized countries. Unemployment in America soared to the third highest level in the western world, behind Spain and Ireland. In Germany, unemployment actually went down and there are specific labor and employment policies that helped that country weather the downturn.

In Reversal, Germany to Close Nuclear Plants by 2022

This is a dramatic development in the wake of Fukushima and demonstrable evidence that nuclear energy cannot truly be harnessed safely. The political activism of German citizens opposed to continued investment in nuclear energy forced the government to adopt this new sweeping program to develop sustainable alternative energy sources as a national strategy. Unfortunately, we are a long way from making that same commitment here is the US of A.

GOP is No Friend to Military Members Struggling During Recession

The patriotic hypocrisy of politicians across the board is belied by their actions and deeds when it comes to voting and advocating the well-being of the men and woman of the military. They may weep in public ceremonies but they too often will not raise some hell or lift a finger to provide safeguards and services that would benefit military families.

Don't Believe in Conspiracy Theories? Read This About Facebook

This story is not earth shattering but it provides important insight into the surreptitious methods used by companies to discredit competitors. The piece also explores the technical meaning of a 'conspiracy' and urges readers not to blindly dismiss theories but rather to examine the factual basis behind various allegations. Many 'conspiracy theories' have been proven true over time.

This Wired report is from 2010 but provides interesting background on FB's use and sale of user's personal information.

TEPCO Now Admits that Three Fukushima Reactors Have Melted With Large Holes in Containment Vessels

The poor decisions and lack of critical information provided to the public by TEPCO and the Japanese government have resulted in massive radiation releases and a worsening situation there. The industry/regulator coziness that exists in Japan, and undeniably in the US as well, puts public health in a precarious position by subjecting populations to unreasonable risk of radiation contamination from malfunctions and emergencies at nuclear energy plants. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why the Democratic Party Has Abandoned the Middle Class in Favor of the Rich

This is an excellent and lengthy analysis by Kevin Drum from Mother Jones on the degree to which the Democratic Party has been influenced by wealthy and corporate constituents, at the expense of the middle class, over the past several decades. Read it and weep, then talk it up with everyone you know...

For Anarchist, Details of Life as F.B.I. Target

This story recalls the days when J. Edgar Hoover had the FBI looking at every left-leaning citizen in the country. Since 9/11, under the expanded surveillance powers of the Patriot Act, domestic surveillance of Americans has increased directly under the flag of fighting 'terrorism.'

Republican Legislators Push to Tighten Voting Rules

Thirteen states with GOP-controlled legislatures are passing Voter ID bills and other measures designed to reduce turnout by making it more difficult for minorities and the young to vote. Of course, this is nothing new as Republicans always seem to be up to such tricks. Meanwhile not one case of voter fraud has been used to justify these laws that the GOP claims are for the purpose of insuring fair elections.

Noam Chomsky Talks at Syracuse Peace Conference

Noam Chomsky tells it like it is at a peace conference event from May 11. Though Chomsky is largely ignored by the mainstream media, as is the subject matter of his talks, he remains perhaps the most eloquent  intellectual critic of the United States and its foreign policy. However, Chomsky doesn't deal in opinion but rather nails down each of his analytical points with solid facts and background from the existing historical record.

This is an interesting post from Dollars & Sense highlighting how European companies now come to the US for cheap labor and lax regulations, as well as some developments in the foreclosure saga. It's also where I found the Chomsky clip.

Gil Scott-Heron, Voice of Black Culture - Poet, Musician, Social Critic - Dies at 62

I first discovered Gil Scott-Heron when I heard "Angel Dust" in the 70's while still in high school. The song, recorded with Brian Jackson, made a strong impact on me as his lyrics conjured the destructive loss of control and violent chaos that the street drug was wreaking on many of its users. I stayed away from Dust and that was likely the result of listening to what became one of my favorite songs over and over again. What I didn't realize until reading his obituary was that Scott-Heron had been a novelist at the age of nineteen, and I now see a strong literary influence and story-telling aspect in all his music. Of course, it's tragic that Gil Scott-Heron succumbed to the nightmare of addiction several times over the years, and that we lost a couple of decades of his work in this way, but I will always regard Gil as a brilliant voice speaking truth to power and I hope he will always be remembered that way. In the mid-80's I saw Gil Scott-Heron perform at a small club in Detroit, we were just a few rows away, and it was thrilling to see the man do his thing up close. I don't remember the show well, we were all pretty toasty and it was 25 years ago, but I do recall that the man had a lot to say that night. The fight goes on, in a timeless sort of continuum filled with the words and music of Gil Scott-Heron, a troubled man in a troubled world, and one of my heroes. The Revolution will not be televised...

WRTC Radio Archive Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron

I just added this link as it's the first thoughtful and detailed piece I've seen on GSH and his influence. This one transcends an obituary.
Gil Scott-Heron's Revolution

Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle

Gil Scott-Heron, Poet and Musician, Has Died

Spoken Word Musician Gil Scott-Heron Dies in New York

Gil Scott-Heron - Poet, Musician, Social Critic - Dies at 62

A link to several performance clips of Gil Scott-Heron going back to the 70's.

Truthdigger of the week: Gil Scott-Heron

Saturday, May 28, 2011

GOP Medicare debacle proves Americans 'love socialized medicine after all'

Daily Kos points out that the GOP has gotten itself into quite a jam after going on record to support the privatization of Medicare into a voucher program. In fact, it may be a good time for the Dems to force a vote on a public option to move that policy forward and keep the heat on Republicans.

Rand Paul, Tea Party Ask: What About Privacy?

As the Senate rushed to renew expiring provisions from the Patriot Act this week, Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, forcefully challenged both Republicans and Democrats to have an extended period of open debate on the particulars of the law. Harry Reid had promised a full week of debate on the Patriot Act and the specific provisions that allow the government to disregard standard civil liberties under the banner of fighting terrorism, but reneged. And, virtually all Senators were silent except for Paul who managed to open the door on privacy issues and force a vote on two Amendments. Paul has also joined with Sen. Leahy (D-VT) to sponsor a separate law to phase out the so called National Security Letters provision which allows the FBI to collect, without court approval, personal records from banks, credit card companies and Internet providers. Perhaps it's time to acknowledge that elements of the Tea Party could be important allies to Progressive Democrats in the fight to restore privacy rights.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Marijuana May Fight Lung Tumors

I believe this WebMD health item is legit even though I can't find anything else about the Harvard study on the Internet. The results showed that mice implanted with human lung cancer cells, who received THC treatment, demonstrated a fifty percent reduction in tumor size after three weeks. Preliminary results also show that THC, the primary ingredient in cannabis, may well be effective in fighting brain, prostate and skin cancers too. 

This Natural News piece details the National Cancer Institutes listing of cannabis as a Complimentary Alternative Medicine on its website for the first time, and how it subsequently distanced itself from cannabis treatment in later actions.

Understanding Cannabis Therapeutics Before it is Censored


NYC Wins Award for Most Marijuana Arrests in the World

10 Steps to Defeat the Corporatocracy

"Many Americans know that the United States is not a democracy but a "corporatocracy," in which we are ruled by a partnership of giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite and corporate-collaborator government officials. However, the truth of such tyranny is not enough to set most of us free to take action. Too many of us have become pacified by corporatocracy-created institutions and culture."

High School Student Stands Up Against Prayer at Public School and Is Ostracized, Demeaned and Threatened

When an high school student wrote to his public school that the prayer planned for graduation was unconstitutional and illegal, and that he would contact the ACLU if government-sponsored prayer occurred, his identity was leaked to the community. Damon Fowler, an atheist, would then suffer the wrath of Christians scorned - damn the law - as teachers, students and his own parents spouted rage and condemnation. Wouldn't it be nice to see a little more tolerance in the country and respect for constitutional law?

Bee Numbers Plummet as Billions of Colonies Die Across the World

The crisis in worldwide bee populations, called Colony Collapse Disorder, has been recognized since 2006. Three million bee colonies in America, and billions of bees worldwide, have died during that span. Scientists now expect a full third of the bee population to die each winter. The ramifications for agriculture and food production, should bees become extinct, is profound. Bees are responsible for pollinating most of the world's crops and if they were to perish so too would much of the foods that are commonly grown and raised today.

The USDA's Top Bee Scientist Talks Pesticides and Colony Collapse 

Bees 'Entomb' Pesticide-tainted Pollen in Effort to Protect Themselves From Extinction

Research prompts calls for GE food ban

A Canadian study has discovered pesticides associated with genetically modified foods circulating in the blood of pregnant women and fetuses. This has prompted watchdog organizations in New Zealand to call for thorough testing and a potential ban on GM foods. You may wonder why I often cite European stories related to GMOs and the primary reason is that there is very little awareness or concern about these issues in the US, not to mention a dearth of press coverage about the potential health hazards represented by biotech-driven agriculture. In fact, the USDA has willfully ignored rules that require Environmental Impact Studies on such crops and foods, having only performed two EIS studies in the 15 years that GM crops have been planted in the US, both times as a result of court-ordered directives.

Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.


Let's Get Pingy With It

We recently switched our Internet service to Verizon based on a price difference with RCN, against my rather passive disapproval. Fiber optic so far ain't what it's been cracked up to be, and the service seems to be exactly the same in terms of speed compared to the RCN cable feed. But I got a rude surprise tonight when I tried to go to the following website:
This is a site I've used to try and index my Ransacked Nation blog, and I think it's brought some traffic. With Verizon I cannot get to the site. Instead it directs me to a Verizon search page that says the address cannot be resolved. If they're filtering my Internet access and denying certain sites, I will immediately cancel the service and go back to RCN (for lack of a better choice in telecom options). I'd love it if some of you would try to go to the URL above and let me know the results and your carrier. Thanks.

Emails Show Drug Company Used Third-Party Medical Groups to Influence Regulators, Undercut Rivals

ProPublica, dedicated to investigative journalism in the public interest, continues to shed light on the pharmaceutical industry. This story reveals a public relations campaign unleashed by Sanofi-Aventis through several venerable contacts in the medical world to lobby the FDA to delay approval for a generic drug that threatened their blockbuster patented concoction.

FBI Arrests 4 Activists as “Terrorists” for Chalking Slogans, Leafleting and Protesting

The FBI has mounted a series of investigations and arrests against activists for various causes recently, charging them as 'terrorists' under provisions of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. This miscarriage of justice, serious felony charges for exercising free speech, is part of an alarming nation-wide trend of government actions to stifle and attack organizations and individuals who express dissent to policies of the US.

FBI Targeting Political Activists as Terrorists

Two Thousand Six Hundred Activists Arrested in US Protests

Senators Say Patriot Act Is Being Misinterpreted

Two Democratic Senators warned today, after passage to extend several expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, that the government has interpreted the law to allow more surveillance of Americans without cause. Kudos to them, but where are the other Senators on this issue? Like Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand from New York? Nobody cares about this stuff but it very well could be what brings American Democracy down, leaving an oligarchical police state in its stead.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish

New DNA sequencing techniques used by biologists and advocates for sustainable fisheries has revealed that 20-25% of all commercial fish are mislabeled to the public. And so, though you paid for Mahi Mahi you might be getting Yellowtail or Mako Shark instead of Swordfish. Tilapia is also frequently mislabeled as other species as it is cheap to farm and very profitable for the unscrupulous to sell. The FDA has been behind the curb on this issue and a great deal of over-fishing combined with such tactics threatens to destroy a naturally occurring and sustainable resource, fish in the ocean. For those interested in this critical issue I recommend the excellent documentary "The End of the Line," available for streaming or DVD delivery on Netflix.

EPA Chief Tells Congress 'There's No Proof Fracking Is Dangerous'

Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, has ventured into the politics of natural gas drilling by trying to assure GOP lawmakers that she and the agency are for gas drilling in the US as a way to reduce fossil fuel emissions. She also had the audacity to declare that there is no evidence that fracking has ever been connected to pollution of ground water when even natural gas executives have admitted that it does. She should be spending her time insisting that fracking be regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act and other laws from which it is currently exempt. I'd also like to think that the EPA would demand a complete listing of all chemicals used in hydraulic fracture drilling, between 600 and 900 toxic substances, so that the agency could better assess the danger to public drinking water supplies. This is an extremely disappointing indication of the EPA administrator's priorities.

The Big Debt Lie

The thirty year supply-side, trickle-down economic theory, originating from the Reagan Administration, has been thoroughly debunked by economists and pundits over the years. Yet, people still buy this fairy tale of a fiscal policy and Republicans continue to howl daily about the need to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations. It's a testament to the ignorance of a population in a country that has added $14 trillion in debt, 90% under GOP presidents, over three decades and sports a world-class inequality gap, where the richest 300,000 have as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans, that this policy has any traction at all. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Claims It’s Unconstitutional For States To End Company’s Multimillion Dollar Tax Dodging

Okay, we all probably like to save on sales tax when we make an online purchase. Yet, it's important to realize that the Amazon Loophole, in which companies set up subsidiaries in states and then claim they do not have to collect sales tax, provides an unfair advantage for online over local businesses, and starves states of desperately needed sales tax revenue. For example, in 2011 Wisconsin will lose an estimated $127 million in uncollected sales taxes for online purchases.

Senate does not eliminate Big Oil tax breaks

Salon points out that all the recent buzz in the Senate about eliminating subsidies for oil companies was nothing more than an empty exercise in political theater. Both parties were able to strengthen their credentials within their bases but the Senate simply did not have the Constitutional power eliminate the subsidies because doing so would raise revenues and by law any legislation that increases revenue MUST originate in the House. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Republican Governors Use Budget Woes To Wage War On The Arts

In five states Republican governors or legislatures have proposed either dismantling arts or completely eliminating funding streams in a renewed push to cut public funding for the arts and public broadcasting. The brazen, autocratic tactics employed by those pushing this agenda should make your blood boil.

Major Union Victory for Rite Aid Workers Offers Roadmap for Labor Movement

A very interesting and inspiring story detailing how Rite Aid workers were able to win a good union contract over a grueling five year period. They were able to win affordable health care, protections against outsourcing and wage increases despite Rite Aid's aggressive attempts to short-circuit their union movement in California with union-busters and intimidation. The union was persistent and creative over this long and costly battle, and found that reaching out to stockholders and board members can be a productive tactic in negotiations. 

Court of Appeals Dismisses Monsanto’s Appeal of Biotech Beets Case, Preserves Victory for Farmers, Environment

A recent Court of Appeals opinion denying Monsanto's attempt to bypass legally mandated Environmental Impact Studies for GM Sugar Beets designed for human consumption is a victory in the battle against genetically modified biotech crops. The USDA willfully disregarded its legal responsibility to study the impact of this crop before permitting planting and the court has ruled that it must comply with the law. Apparently there have only been two EIS studies on the effects of biotech crops since they came onto the scene about 15 years ago, and they were both court-ordered. The USDA has consistently put the interests of Monsanto above those of the American people. Many battles remain in this arena and I also worry about how Supreme Court might rule should they hear such a case on appeal, but this is good news in the interim.

Why The US Government is Keeping You Vitamin D Deficient and Who Stands to Gain

A recent decision to lower the standard for levels of Vitamin D considered adequate by the Centers for Disease Control for good health have raised questions about conflicts of interest within the extremely secretive National Academy of Sciences. There is apparently a rush to patent several Vitamin D analog drugs, to treat Vitamin D deficiency, and this article speculates that the new lower levels for identifying deficiency are a deliberate attempt to create a market for the drugs when they are approved by the FDA. Whether or not you believe in this theory, the story raises legitimate questions about the motivations of scientists specializing in Vitamin D who are concurrently developing treatments for patent. The article also takes the CDC to task for failing to sound an alarm regarding the fact that 70% of the African-American population in the US are already Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is a major health issue related to osteoporosis, MS, poor prognosis in breast cancer treatments, cancer, cardiovascular disease and severe asthma among others.

Vitamin D Deficiency Information

8 Possible Side Effects of Pesticides

This article was contributed by a reader and offers important information on the health risks that are connected to pesticide use in agriculture around the globe. I first read here about organ failure associated with pesticide use in India and several other specific side effects of our collective dependence on these agricultural chemicals.

The Pesticide Action Network is a terrific advocate for public health and vigilant regulation and study of the dangerous chemicals commonly found in pesticides.
Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Watch is another great resource for people concerned about the health effects of pesticides.
Pesticide Watch

Obama Justice Department Subpoenas New York Times Reporter In CIA Leak Case

The Obama Administration has been extremely aggressive in going after whistleblowers in court, having charged five persons with violating the Espionage Act (more than all other Presidents combined), and now they are going after journalistic sources. If the press is supposed to be the fourth pillar of our system of government, charged with keeping powerful interests honest (ha!), then protecting the freedom of the press and First Amendment rights are absolutely essential to the democracy.

Risk From Spent Nuclear Reactor Fuel Is Greater in U.S. Than in Japan, Study Says

This is an issue that should gravely concern us all. The largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet are stored at nuclear reactor sites, in spent fuel pools, all over the US. Apparently, when the reactors were conceived in the 60's it was assumed that spent fuel would be reprocessed to extract uranium and when that idea fizzled we never came up with another solution for dealing with this highly dangerous radioactive waste. This study urges swift action on the issue and I couldn't agree more that we have to bite the bullet and responsibly deal with the massive threat to the US population and humanity that the spent fuel represents.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reports Detail More Drug Industry Ties to Medical Societies

More from ProPublica on the conflicts of interest that are rampant in the pharmaceutical and medical device arena. A number of medical societies accept more than half their total operating budgets from companies who market products that the societies evaluate and recommend to patients. This money, and the promotional opportunities it provides drug companies, raises serious questions about the veracity and independence of research and recommendations made by various medical societies.

A Patriotic Duty: Repeal the Patriot Act

This piece points out that the Patriot Act was never about terrorism or Obama bin Laden per se, but rather the attacks on 9/11 provided an excuse to weaken Constitutional protections that had long been sought by law enforcement agencies in the War on Drugs. By throwing out protections against unreasonable search and seizure, the Patriot Act has over-whelmingly been used to pursue drug dealers rather than terrorists. Yet, we should all acknowledge that our own rights are threatened by this sweeping law that now allows warrantless wiretaps on any American in the government's overly broad War on Terror. Currently, provisions of the act are set to expire at the end of May and Congress is expected to vote a four year extension to these provisions with virtually no public debate.

The GOP's Jail Sell

While we're on the subject of prisons I might as well shine some light on the feverish push to privatize state prisons across the country. The privatization bug is essential code for capturing public utilities, prisons and school systems for private sector profit, often subsidized with public dollars and defined by cost-cutting measures that may yield profit but invariably result in reduced standards for constituents. The example cited in this story in Arizona, a state where a 2010 report by the Department of Corrections estimated that private prisons cost $5-$8 more per inmate, provides a clear view of the sort of incompetence privatizations can deliver to the public.

Justices, 5-4, Tell California to Cut Prisoner Population

Wow. This is a very big decision from the Supreme Court enforcing the integrity of the Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, and ordering the state of California to reduce its prison population or relocate prisoners to improve conditions. Two dissenters in the ruling, Scalia and Alito, shamefully conjured images of rampant criminal activity to result from the decision. This will no doubt spark a week or two of histrionic yelpings across the spectrum of the mainstream media, so we should all brace ourselves for the onslaught. I believe this is an important decision primarily because it reinforces a collective sense of morality, a system based on real-world principles, that has been sorely lacking in our country for quite some time. It gives me hope that we can reclaim some of the integrity that our system has discarded in pursuit of expediency over the past few decades.

A Little Less Corporate Political Corruption

The Executive Order that Obama is apparently considering to make corporations disclose their campaign contributions for two years, an effort to mitigate the impact of the Citizens United ruling, would be a welcome and unexpected surprise action to put a light on corporate influence on our politics.

The Regulators of Wall Street Want to Hear From You

I'm not sure the title of this Public Citizen letter writing petition is accurate, but it is undeniable that citizens should take action on the subject of Wall Street banking reform. If you've seen the brilliant and unassailably accurate documentary Inside Job, about the factors that caused the current recession after the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, you should have no doubt that we are all being robbed by the barons of the financial world. The ONLY way we can stop this from happening again and push back against the enormous power of the financial sector is to exercise our Constitutional rights of dissent and pressure regulators and elected representatives. As a people we have all become too passive (and ill-informed) and that has made it possible for interests motivated solely by greed to exploit the public trust. Enough is enough. If you care about the integrity of our financial markets and banking industry you MUST do something. In this case, you can take a minute or two to customize an email letter to Wall Street regulators. Then you can pester your friends and family to do the same. It's important and essential that people who know that we are being fleeced care enough to stand up and fight against those who would steal from our pockets and pensions if they can get away with it.

Okay, two things; maybe the Regulators do want to hear from you because this is a public comment forum and, secondly, modifying these letters (to give them more import to the recipients) takes a a little more than a minute or two. Perhaps it took me five minutes to work through the seven different letters. Base language is provided for each letter and they have all been customized for the target agency. I simply added one or two editorial comments within the body of the letter provide by Public Citizen.

Here are the bits I worked into the letters. I think it's okay to use or modify these, or you can bang out something of your own to personalize your messages:

Overzealous deregulation of financial markets, and the exemption of derivatives from direct oversight and regulation have destabilized our markets and harmed many millions of people in the US and throughout the world.

We need to re-establish accountability and performance as the basis for compensation in the financial industry.

It is unconscionable, unfair and unethical that fortunes have been made and amplified on deals that were designed and expected to fail over time.

Let us not blithely reward unethical and opportunistic behavior by members of the financial community.

Yet, these rewards are not in any way based on longterm viability and performance of financial instruments, but rather solely on short-term, un-vetted sales data.

Monday, May 23, 2011

NSA whistleblower Tom Drake talks Espionage Act, 9/11, intelligence with 60 Minutes

A major 60 Minutes profile of the NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake makes it clear that the man facing 35 years in jail for violating the Espionage Act is being hammered by the government for speaking truth to power. In trying to reveal mismanagement at NSA and waste of taxpayer funds, Drake never released a single classified document. Yet, the DOJ is trying to silence him on a trumped up charge of taking two meaningless classified documents to his home. In reality, Thomas Drake, and his courageous collaborators, acted with great courage to defend the Constitution and the public interest. I hope people will watch this captivating indictment of prosecutorial abuse and pass it along to others. This man should NOT go to jail.

Shameful Kowtowing to the Meat Industry: 147 Congressmen Diss Family Farmers

Politicians are overwhelming in the pocket of Industrial Agriculture factory farming interests that seek to control the entire US market. Protections designed to level the playing field for small farmers in the 2008 Farm Bill are opposed by a large contingent of Congress due to pervasive industry money and lobbying influence. The Food & Water Watch story contains a link to see if your representatives voted for or against the viability of small farmers.

Toxin from GM crops found in human blood: Study

A study in Canada has found the presence of Bt toxin, widely used in GM crops, in human blood for the first time. Industry has claimed that the toxins would be broken down in the human gut but no studies have ever been performed by regulators to test the safety of GM food products in the US. The FDA and USDA are major promoters of biotech GM products and have failed to adequately protect the American people from a wide range of threats posed by GMOs. The mainstream press in the US is similarly aligned with the biotech industry and continually promotes GMOs to the public. Rest assured that there is Bt toxins in your gut too, if you eat the vast majority of non-organic foods sold in this country.

Our Government Is Corrupt Through and Through -- Where's the Outrage?

A review of the conflicts legislators in America face immediately after election, the need to raise money for the next election, and how that impacts policy. The concept of 'state capture,' usually associated with Banana Republics, has been accomplished in the US through our election financing system resulting in overwhelming corporate influence in the political sphere. The corruption of our system extends to the Supreme Court where three justices routinely associate with conservative causes in clear violation of the Code of Conduct for United States judges.

Sweden heads for GM-free status: UK should follow Major company bans GM-fed pig meat

GM FREEZE is a UK-based advocacy group reporting on food issues related to GM crops and cloned animals in Europe and around the world. This story provides details of a consumer-based action in Sweden that has led to a ban on GM-fed meat in part of the country after major retailers began a policy of refusing GM products due to consumer activism despite the government's pro-GM policy. Perhaps direct action in US supermarkets calling for GMO labeling is the way to go here...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This week in the War on Women

Daily Kos gives us This Week In The War On Women, an extremist flood of actions from across the land that persecute women by denying healthcare and access to abortion. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Doctor’s Push for Single-Payer Health Care for All Finds Traction in Vermont

I've been following this story for a while and it's good to see the NYT put a front page story on their website about Vermont's new single payer health insurance law. Now we need only to adapt this model for the entire nation and we could cut healthcare costs dramatically and expand coverage to the uninsured.