Thursday, June 30, 2011

Feds Raid Amish Farm for Crime of Selling Raw Milk

When over 100,000 die of drug interactions each year in the US, and no one is getting sick from consuming raw milk, it is intolerable that the FDA is using public funds to persecute raw milk farmers with secret undercover investigations and armed raids. I think these actions also speak volumes about the industrial corporate influence on FDA policy.

Story of the raid and yearlong investigation from the Washington Times.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MIT’s Fracking Report Backs its Donors: Gas Companies

You know things are really getting bad when supposedly independent academic institutions release research of great importance to public health that is demonstrably influenced by the agenda of big corporate donors. Check out ProPublica's story on the recent MIT fracking report that claimed hydraulic fracturing for natural gas does not threaten to contaminate water supplies.

Bank Errors Continue to Cause Wrongful Foreclosures

With regulations due to go in effect later this summer that will prohibit banks from selling a home in foreclosure before a final decision on a mortgage modification, banks are rushing to foreclose on as many homes as possible. Thousands of people engaged in loan modification efforts have seen their homes sold before the process was completed and for far less than they were worth. It's a senseless situation that's causing terrible disruptions throughout the country. Regulators acknowledge that these banks are breaking rules in this practice but so far have done little to stop it. ProPublica has been investigating these ongoing  foreclosure scams aggressively ever since the bubble burst in 2008.

Los Alamos Lab Under Siege From Wildfire

This is a story that I only heard about today from a co-worker, but apparently there is an unbelievable amount of deadly nuclear and other types of waste stored at the WWII era Los Alamos site. The lack of controls and prudent safety measures taken by our government with regard to storing spent nuclear fuel rods and other potentially devastating and catastrophic contaminants is astounding. When are we, as a nation, going to come to terms with the risks posed by massive radiation and chemical vulnerabilities? We cannot afford to play the riverboat gambler on public health issues that could poison millions and cripple the country.

As Obama Quietly Pushes for a Nuclear Weapons Renaissance, Wildfire Threatens Los Alamos Nuclear Lab

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FDA Unfairly Maligns Tobacco Plant With Graphic New Cigarette Warning Labels

Read the title of this piece by Mike Adams of carefully before you dismiss it. I didn't even read the piece for several days, because I didn't understand where he was coming from. The pint is that tobacco by itself, without hundreds of chemical additives, is far less dangerous than conventional cigarettes. There are 599 chemical additives that produce over 4,000 chemicals that are inhaled when the user lights up. Smoking the tobacco plant is not a safe practice, due to the naturally produced chemicals released when burning substances, but it does not deliver the toxic cocktail you get with processed cigarettes. The FDA refuses to acknowledge this distinction and as such is being intellectually bankrupt in its duties to ensure the safety of food and drugs in our society. The FDA refuses to put warning labels pointing out the dangers of chemical additives in processed food, such as sodium nitrate, aspartame, MSG, partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils, and artificial food colors, all known to cause diseases that are a common cause of human suffering and burdensome expense in America. This is a contradiction that citizens should no longer tolerate and it's got to change.

A nuclear-free future for America

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, writing for the Guardian, reviews the mounting problems, conflicts and safety issues facing the nuclear energy industry in this country. She also points out that the public in Georgia has already paid $1 billion in increased rates for the Vogtle plant there, despite $8.3 billion in federal guarantees awarded by the Obama Administration to the project. We learn some details about Obama's connections to the industry and more on the lax regulatory culture promoted by the NRC. Goodman argues that we should scrap nuclear energy altogether and begin a public works program to retrofit buildings to be more energy efficient as we continue develop alternative energy capabilities, and I agree. Let's create some jobs that benefit society as a whole and can't be outsourced!

U.S. Regulators Opening Up on Flawed Nuclear Power Plant Policing

Bribery, but Nobody Was Charged

When a manager in a Mexican livestock operation owned by Tyson Foods uncovered payments to the wives of staff veterinarians tasked with ensuring the safety of food processing there, executives decided to pay the vets directly through honorariums so that they would continue to overlook regulatory abuses at the plant. These payments represented bribery and the practice put public health at risk, but when the company finally came clean they only paid a fine and no prosecutions resulted. A new writer for the NYT, James B. Stewart, author of Den Of Thieves, does an excellent job of running down clues and clarifying issues of effective enforcement of corruption laws, pointing out the value of prosecution of executives as a deterrent, in his very first article for the paper.

Fracking In California Prompts State Legislators To Introduce Regulation Bill

It turns out that there has been a frack well operating in a wine region of California, unbeknownst to the public and many government officials, and the discovery has lead state legislators to introduce more stringent laws to govern or restrict the activity. Man, these greedy bastards are not only reckless but brazen as hell too. The law, if passed in the State Assembly, would be one of the toughest in the country and require operators to disclose the chemicals they use as well as the vast amounts of water require in the process.

Gov. Perdue vetoes voter ID bill

This is welcome news as the Governor of North Carolina pushes back against a restrictive Voter ID bill that would disenfranchise many eligible voters in her state. Unfortunately, it also appears that Perdue would be willing to sign a less restrictive Voter ID bill. There's a flurry of such activity around the country in response to the US Supreme Court upholding Indiana's voter ID bill in 2008. The post also details many of the intricate legislation tactics that are being employed in the effort to reduce democratic-leaning voters.
“The right to choose our leaders is among the most precious freedoms we have – both as Americans and North Carolinians. North Carolinians who are eligible to vote have a constitutionally guaranteed right to cast their ballots, and no one should put up obstacles to citizens exercising that right.
“We must always be vigilant in protecting the integrity of our elections. But requiring every voter to present a government-issued photo ID is not the way to do it.  This bill, as written, will unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters.  The legislature should pass a less extreme bill that allows for other forms of identification, such as those permitted under federal law.
“There was a time in North Carolina history when the right to vote was enjoyed only by some citizens rather than by all. That time is past, and we should not revisit it.
“Therefore, I veto this bill.”

Eric Cantor's glaring conflict of interest

This is rather unbelievable: Eric Cantor, the #2 Republican in the House, has an investment that profits when US debt becomes undesirable, say in the case of Congress voting NOT to increase the debt ceiling. Of course, conflicts of interests are rampant in our government and academic institutions but that doesn't make it right. Check it out.

What will replace oil?

This is a thoughtful and I think quite fair discussion of the prospects for energy production thirty years from now, when oil and gas will most certainly be largely phased out due to global warming concerns as well as supply issues. The author claims that without technological advancements related to storage and a new integrated energy grid that solar and wind are likely to produce only about 4% of world energy (from 1%) by 2041. Let's get going on that new energy grid!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Idaho Will Defy No Child Left Behind, Schools' Chief Luna Tells Duncan

The state of Idaho has fired a shot across the bow of the Obama Administration's NCLB education policy by declaring that it will ignore the federal law without applying for an exemption as required. Many educators believe the misplaced emphasis on standardized testing in this Bush era law is counterproductive, and by flouting it Idaho hopes to add momentum to a national movement to have it repealed.

Death threats for Australian climate scientists

This post is a couple of weeks old but it nonetheless demonstrates the perils of speaking out against mainstream industrial interests in our global world today. If you have the courage to articulate unpopular opinions, you will likely become the object of scorn, threats and other efforts aimed at discrediting your voice or that of the institution or organization that you represent. This is true even if you are an academic and have scientific studies backing up your arguments. Such is the state of the world and so now are we at the point where people with courage and conviction, who are aware of the risks and willing to sacrifice based on principle, must rise to the occasion for the sake of the planet and future generations.


Chronic illnesses and a propensity of doctors to order expensive tests for patients has lead to an explosion of expenses for healthcare in the US. Meanwhile, there is little emphasis spent on preventing disease in this country, and our health insurance model leads to a lot of unnecessary healthcare expenditures that produce a lot of profits for industry but very little for the population. These issues present a big problem for the country and are dragging the economy down as healthcare now represents 17.6 percent of GDP. Single payer healthcare, anyone?

Dane County Sheriff's Office Investigating Alleged Prosser 'Chokehold' Incident

Good grief. The controversial conservative justice in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, and ally to Gov. Scott Walker, is now accused of physically assaulting one of the liberal members of that court. This is after another verified incident in which he called the chief of the court a 'total bitch,' and other recent claims by members of the Court that the conservative majority fudged the legal facts in their decision to uphold an injunction by another court on the anti-labor bill that Republicans passed without public comment a few months ago. There seems to be a great deal of turmoil on the bench in Wisconsin's Supreme Court and now there are two investigations into the latest demonstration of uncivil conduct there.

Bernie Sanders to Obama and the Democrats: Stand Up to the Economic and Political "Schoolyard Bullies"

Bernie Sanders made an important speech today on the Senate floor urging President Obama, Democrats and working people to stand up to the Republican who seek to defund Medicaid and Medicare and they continue to serve wealthy corporations and billionaires rather than the interests of the American people. As a veteran community organizer the Senator stressed that it is time for people to make their voices heard on critical issues that will dramatically affect the future well-being of Americans, and give the President the courage to stand up and fight.

The full text of Sanders' speech can be read here:
Bernie Sanders Tells Obama, "We Will Not Balance The Budget On The Backs Of Working Families"

If you wish to support Senator Sanders' push in defense of working families and include wealthy individuals and corporations in the 'shared sacrifice' that is being called for, please read and sign his petition.
Shared Sacrifice Petition Sponsored by Bernie Sanders

E. Coli and the Misuse of Antibiotics

Finally there's another piece in the media about the antibiotic resistance characteristics of the E. coli outbreak that recently struck in Germany. The author also states that the source of that pathogen is still unknown, and refrains from blaming it on bean sprouts as so much of the media has mindlessly parroted the official line. Bravo.

A Decade of Dangerous Food Imports from China

This report from Food & Water Watch details a long list of unsanitary and unhealthy practices from China's agricultural industry, a major exporter to the US. Let's all start paying some serious attention to the myriad food issues that abound in our increasingly global world.

New York State must treat hazardous fracking waste as such

This release by the Citizen's Campaign for the Environment details the loopholes that allow natural gas companies to dump untreated fracking wastewater in public waterways. Key to the logic of states who wish to ban current fracking practices is that the chemicals that are shipped to drilling sights are required to have warnings about their toxicity displayed on shipping containers yet when these same chemicals are pumped into the ground the responsibility to inform the public about the dangers disappears down that deep hole in the ground. CCE also points out that due to the nature of the drilling these fluids accumulate radioactive characteristics from the earth and massive levels of naturally occurring salts, in addition to the chemicals used in the process.

Natural gas fracking is being falsely hailed as a clean alternative to America's energy needs and the wave of the future by industry and numerous politicians, including the Obama Administration, who are beholden to Big Oil interests. The Times' Ian Urbina, who broke the influential investigative piece on fracking dangers to drinking water supplies during the winter, lays out details of the support and opposition to this widespread and unregulated practice. This report, however, focuses on revelations revealed from internal documents within the governments Energy Information Administration that the industry may be over-hyped, beset by conflicts of interest and set up for financial bust, regardless of the environmental issues.

Behind Veneer, Doubts on Future of Natural Gas

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Unusual Traits Blended in Germany E. Coli Strain

This article is useful but only as far as it goes. There are monumental open questions about the E. Coli that has killed over 40 people in Europe and destroyed livers of hundreds who will need monthly dialysis for the rest of their lives. If the pathogen is resistant to eight classes of antibiotics, as reported, then how did it get that way? Nobody seems to be asking this critical question.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World's Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems, New Report Finds

The US government has known since 1980 that glyphosate, the active ingredient used in the GMO pesticide Roundup, causes birth defects, but chose not to inform the public. There are a host of other problems as well with Roundup, including the promotion of soil pathogens that cause spontaneous abortion in livestock and super weeds that require more and more pesticides to be used. This herbicide is a public health disaster and needs to be taken off the market, but regulators in Europe recently postponed a review until 2015 and the USDA seems quite unconcerned by all the damning data available on this popular and profitable weedkiller herbicide.

An updated account from the same author with more detail and information.

Roundup: Birth Defects Caused By World's Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say

More Problems With Glyphosate: Rice Growers Sound Alarm

Monsanto Pesticide (Roundup) Found to Infect Plants With AIDS-like Disease

Existing Technology can Slash Mercury, Toxic Power Plant Emissions that Harm Children

This well-researched paper points to delays in issuing EPA guidelines under the 1990 Clean Air Act for pollution control devices to reduce mercury, lead and arsenic emissions from coal-burning power plants in the US. In 17 states that already have these regulations in place, superseding the federal limits, the scrubbing equipment was cost-effective to install and resulted in dramatically reduced emissions. Nonetheless, several of the country's largest coal plant operators are fighting to delay the new limits which would bring economic benefits, in terms of reduced sickness and disease, between $48 billion and $130 billion in 2016 alone. Coal plants emit 40% of the mercury in this country and the toxin causes severe developmental disabilities, deafness and blindness with prenatal and infant exposure.

New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Benefits Rollback for Work Force

The withering legislative attacks on public sector workers and their collective bargaining rights are now landing right across the Hudson River, in New Jersey. And, in this case, some Democrats voted to strip rights and dramatically increase health care payments for state workers while also raising the retirement age. This is very bad new indeed for all workers as the standards of compensation for employment are furthered squeezed and will do nothing but increase the income inequality gap that has come to define America.

Eco Etiquette: Is Genetically Modified Food Linked To Kids' Food Allergies?

Since the introduction of genetically modified foods in the mid-90's, food allergies have increased by 265 percent. Currently, about 75% of all food in grocery stores contain GMOs in America but this products are unlabeled. About 40% of those who get food allergies each year have such severe reactions that they end up in the hospital. There are also a host of other health issues related to GMOs that should concern consumers. Let's slow the GMO tide by fighting for labeling of these products in the US, as they are in every of developed country.

Label GMOs: A 2012 Ballot Initiative Campaign

Polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority, on the order of 80%, of Americans want to see GMOs labelled. In California efforts are building to prepare for a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot this Fall. If you live in Cali and want to get involved check out the link below. Remember that every other industrialized country has already banned GMOs or mandated their labeling, including Europe, Japan and New Zealand, and more recently, Bolivia and the city of Lima in Peru who have outlawed GMOs outright. Let's get the ball rolling in the USA. California would be a great way to put this issue on the map with the rest of America.

15 Prominent Republicans Urge President Obama to Strengthen Fuel Efficiency Standards

While it would be even better if sitting Republicans made such a strong statement for increased fuel standards to reduce carbon emissions and save money at the pump, it's still heartening to read about this action to press for 60 mpg standards by 2017. Now, how do we get rank and file politicians on board?

Lower Blood Pressure And Improve Health Naturally With Celery

It's absolutely amazing to learn about the health benefits of raw vegetables. That's why it's immensely important that we protect the integrity of natural plants, and push back against the powerful interests pushing the worldwide GMO agenda. In this story you can check out the scientific evidence that celery helps to lower blood pressure and promote a healthy circulation system. All parts of the plant have powerful therapeutic effects including the seeds which are known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic. I've been juicing a lot of celery lately and combined it with kale and fresh coconut water this morning. Yum.

Big Pharma Attempting to Corner the Market on Medical Marijuana

With the DEA and IRS continuing to harass medical marijuana distributors, Big Pharma is maneuvering the push for federal regulation of the drug for medical uses, usurping state's rights to regulate the weed. Such a move would also open the door for a Big Pharma cash windfall as attempt to capture the market with liquid cannabis drugs like Sativex.

What Happened to Media Coverage of Fukushima?

What's up with the media in this country? Where's the coverage of the ONGOING nuclear disaster in Japan? How can we collectively put our heads in the sand with such a devastating catastrophe? Don't we need to know what the f is going on? There's virtually no testing going on, infant mortality is up 35% in the Pacific Northwest and our government persists in defending a nuclear industry that regularly flouts the regulations that the captive NRC reflexively lowers to keep aging reactors in service. It's a travesty and they are keeping critical information away from the American public. Radiation continues to leak massively from Fukushima and the situation is much worse than our leaders and media are leading us to believe. Kelp pills are known to counteract radiation and so is potassium iodide. I recommend that you pick some up. Meanwhile, how do we get the NYT to cover this story every day like it should?

Update on Lawsuit to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees

The biotech industry is gearing up for a major commercial release of GE trees over the next couple of years and one of the only obstacles in their way is the Stop GE Trees Campaign and the lawsuit it has filed to halt planting across seven southern states.

Victims Testify: North Carolina Forcibly Sterilized Thousands Of Poor, Uneducated, And Mentally Unstable People

A horrifying bit of history from the state of North Carolina, where thousands of poor and uneducated people were forcibly sterilized against their will in the state's spooky Eugenics program. Now, survivors are going public and the state is considering whether to compensate victims for suffering.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CHART OF THE DAY: New GOP Governors Tanking Nationwide

The anti-labor, anti-public interest policies of the new crop of Republican Governors has created quite a ruckus all over the land. Try and guess which of these deregulation-prone, tax-cuts for the wealthy and corporations screaming, collective bargaining stripping Republicans has suffered the most precipitous fall from grace. I was a little disappointed in one of the numbers...

The Inner Secrets of the Right-Wing Echo Chamber

The persistent misinformation heard on all media that social security is going bankrupt and that we will need to raise the retirement age to sustain it goes hand-in-hand with the persistent calls to privatize social security. As it turns out the origins of this thinking and the repeated position papers supporting these policies were developed by Koch brother-funded think tanks like the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation and others. Their staffers then parade all over the media spectrum repeating the falsehoods over and over until the public believes that it's all true. Well, it's absolute malarkey, S.S. has a $2.7 trillion surplus according to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Brave New Media put together an excellent short video illustrating the mechanism for the misinformation campaign to manipulate public opinion.

Drug Companies Win Two Supreme Court Decisions

The pro-business tilt of the Supreme Court continue to show itself in two decisions that benefit Big Pharma. The application of 1st Amendment protections to businesses, as though they were individuals, is undoing much legal precedent for handling commercial claims. It seems the 'public interest' aspect of these decisions is sadly relegated to the sidelines by the current court. There are gong to be serious implications for these laws that continue to strip companies of liability and also to allow further intrusive data mining and marketing leeway with personal pharmacy records.

Supreme Court strikes down Vermont prescription privacy law

The True History of Dole, Banana Plantations, Chemical Pesticides and Human Suffering

Lest we forget that the pesticides on commercially produced produce unnecessarily threaten not only the health of those who consume these fruits and vegetables, but have also caused sterility, miscarriages, still births, birth defects, cancers, depression, impotence and other maladies for farm workers exposed to these dangerous substances, we should take a moment to regard the record of the world's largest fresh fruit company, Dole. If you think this is bullshit and don't want to support such morally bankrupt practices then do what you can to buy organic bananas and other fruits and vegetables.

Chief Scientists Continue to Ignore Science by Promoting GMOs

The propaganda war to spread patented GMO seeds throughout the planet is being waged every day in a never-ending sort of echo chamber. Now a report designed to encourage tolerance of GMOs and to counteract valid scientific criticisms of GM crops is being touted a prominent British scientist as a scientific endorsement of a bioengineered, pesticide-intensive industrial agriculture future. And, regrettably, this sort of strategy is proved brilliant by a British press that ran wild with the misinformation to the public.

GMO Scientists Ignore Science - Again

Baking Soda Can Clean Your Teeth, Clear Your Complexion and Act as a Natural Antacid

Just about everything Americans consume, meats, fish, dairy products, most grains, sugars, alcohol and caffeinated drinks put the body in an acid state that prompts it to rob alkaline from the bloodstream, leading to health problems including arthritis and other ailments. It's much better to maintain an alkaline balance and daily use of baking soda can do the trick. Of course, you can also brighten your teeth and support the health of your gums by sprinkling a little baking soda on your toothbrush (and avoiding the chemicals in most commercial brands).

Reason to Smile: Natural Health Remedies May Prevent Memory Loss

Wildlife Refuges to be Planted with GMOs

This news really sucks and also demonstrates the overwhelming influence wielded by the biotech industry in our national politics. For no discernible reason, other than to disperse genetically modified DNA as widely as possible, the Obama Administration has agreed to allow unlimited planting of GMO crops, accompanied by their Roundup Ready toxic herbicides, on more than 50 wildlife refuges in America.


The absurdity of the fiscal discourse these days is downright malicious. Corporations have gamed the system to avoid taxes while states are in crisis due to the decreased revenues, swimming in a pool of budget deficits and proposed spending cuts to close the gap. Meanwhile, we are still in a recession and the economy is going nowhere. Even the chairman of the Fed believes that spending cuts will worsen the recovery and result in more job layoffs. Yet, the mainstream of the media and public still talk about spending cuts as the way to spur the economy.

Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Wendell Berry Call for Civil Disobedience on Tar Sands

The picture above depicts emissions from and a mining operation in a Canadian tar sand pit. Around Labor Day this year the State Department and the White House must decide whether to grant a certificate of "national interest" which would allow the "most environmentally devastating, energy project on earth" to proceed. If allowed by Washington oil and gas extractors would build a 1,661 mile pipeline extension across the heartland to transport the tar sand to refineries in Texas. With enormous and powerful interests pushing for an energy project that would greatly exacerbate global warming, environmental leaders are calling for peaceful public resistance to the project, in the form of civil disobedience, near the end of summer. The stakes of this policy are very high, like the floodwaters that have inundated America, and it will go forward unless a lot of people tune in and register their opposition. They've got the bucks but in theory we have the bodies. The organizers are stressing that this is not a regular demonstration but rather calls for principled civil disobedience that might well result in arrest. They are emphasizing message discipline as well by insisting on training prior to the event and encouraging participants to maintain decorum and appearance to maximize the impact of the action.

Tar Sands Action Signup Info

Washington Marijuana Legalization: Former Seattle U.S. Attorney Sponsors State Pot Initiative

An initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use in Washington is being lead by a former federal prosecutor who believes that the War on Drugs has failed and that the prohibition on marijuana only serves to make drug cartels and crime rings more powerful. The law would institute legal limits of 21 for use and allow up to an ounce of dried marijuana. There would be licensed dispensaries and sales would be taxed to bring the state revenue. If the group, New Approach Washington, succeeds in getting enough signatures then lawmakers can approve it or allow the initiative to go to the ballot.

The Triumph of New-Age Medicine

This article from The Atlantic provides a comprehensive view of the state of alternative medicine, and it's increasing value in the eyes of traditionally trained doctors. There is quite a bit on acupuncture and an examination of the claims that the practice is a sham because it's effects are not demonstrated in randomized controlled studies. I can personally attest to acupuncture which helped me to heal sciatica and later, with a chinese medicinal herb, to cure a swelling of the uvea in my right eye called Uveitis, that and avoid using the heavy-duty six-week course of prednisone that doctors at the Eye and Ear Infirmary wanted to prescribe.

“Mainstream medicine uses the placebo effect all the time,” says Ted Kaptchuk, a Harvard researcher who studies the impact of placebos. “Doctors don’t tell you the drug they’re giving you is barely better than a placebo. They all spin.” To be approved by the FDA, a drug has to do better than a placebo in studies—but most approved drugs do only a little better, and for many drugs the evidence is mixed. A number of studies have indicated, for example, that most antidepressants don’t do better than placebos, but patients filled more than 250 million prescriptions for them in 2010. The vast majority of drugs don’t work in as many as 70 percent of patients, according to an estimate from within the pharmaceutical industry. One recent study concluded that 85 percent of new prescription drugs hitting the market are of little or no benefit to patients.

“Doctors are paid for providing treatments, not for spending time talking to patients,” says Victor Montori, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic. A medical system that successfully guided patients toward healthier lifestyles would almost certainly see its cash flow diminish dramatically. “Last year, 75 percent of the $2.6 trillion the U.S. spent on health care was for treating chronic diseases that, to a large degree, can be prevented or reversed through lifestyle change,” says Dean Ornish of UCSF. Who (besides patients) has an incentive to make changes that would remove that money from the system?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Drilling Opponents Spied on Like Terrorists

I found this story on the ACLU website which I only recently discovered. There's a lot of good stuff there and I'm going to sift through their archives and try to keep up with some of their priorities as this organization is one of the few true defenders of civil rights left in America. They deserve our support and shouldn't be marginalized in response to the endless conservative sponsored attacks on a principled organization that is founded on the principle of protecting the rights of citizens against the illegal abuse of constitutionally protected activities. This story is from last fall but is important because it sheds light on the current legal and PR battle on the issue of natural gas fracking, an issue of nationwide relevance to the American public. It turns out that the government, under the guise of terrorist surveillance by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security, has been spying on activists opposed to this destructive and unregulated fracking gas rush.

Surprise! TSA Is Searching Your Car, Subway, Ferry, Bus, AND Plane

The trampling of our privacy rights continues unabated, in the name of the War on Terror, as the TSA extends its reach beyond air travel and into trains, subways, private cars, trucks and other arenas. The ear-splitting hype of the security agenda, hyped incessantly in the media and by politicians despite the fact that there is very little statistical risk, is the wave of the present and the never-ending future. This is the enemy that the enablers and profiteers of the military industrial complex dreamed of when the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union ceased to be the evil empire. And Americans, numbed by mainstream television and the frenzies of pervasive technology, just play along without much more than a whimper to defend their hard-fought and quickly eroding civil rights.

To be clear, I am not demonizing the more than 55,000 TSA employees charged with carrying out government policy. In fact, it's important to realize the poor treatment that these employees have endured over the years, and how the government and GOP noise machine have managed to prevent these federal workers from utilizing the same collective bargaining rights that employees of other agencies enjoy. AlterNet, as is their trademark, does an excellent job in the lengthy investigative piece below of uncovering the right-wing, anti-labor interests who have successfully kept these federal employees from unionizing.
Did You Fall for It? America's Outrage Over TSA Naked Body Scanners Was Right-Wing PR to Prevent Workers from Unionizing's_outrage_over_tsa_naked_body_scanners_was_right-wing_pr_to_prevent_workers_from_unionizing/?utm

Peru's capital declares itself a GMO-free zone

The city of Lima, Peru has declared itself a GMO-free zone after the legislature passed a 10-year moratorium on the import of GMOs in foods and seeds. Unfortunately, we're a long way from such action in the US but this Peruvian action is inspiring and hopeful nonetheless.

Which Countries Have Banned GMOs?

President's Libya War is Undeclared, Unconstitutional, Unnecessary

In an era of long-term and falsely justified wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention more secret actions in Yemen and elsewhere, America has become more of a warring nation than ever. It's time to reassert the rule of law, in the for of the War Powers Act, and insist that Congress vote to approve military operations that fall under that statute. In the case of Libya, President Obama has rejected the legal advice of top lawyers in the Pentagon and DOJ that the action falls under the definition of war that would require Congressional approval and chosen to bypass that body. Now there is a bill that aims to force a determination to formally authorize the military action in Libya, or bring our involvement to an end.

Kerry and McCain Introduce Libya Resolution

Two Top Lawyers Lost to Obama in Libya War Policy Debate

Walmart Case: Supreme Court Aids The Powerful

The Supreme Court decision this week dismissing a class action gender discrimination suit against WalMart is a counterintuitive ruling that prohibits workers from concentrating their bargaining power in much the same way that multinationals are allowed to exercise purchasing power based on their size and influence on markets. It's a double standard that works against the public interest and another sign that the Supreme Court favors the interests of corporations over people's rights.

Justices Rule for Wal-Mart in Class-Action Bias Case