Friday, March 25, 2011

These GOP Budget Cuts Might Make You Puke (or Worse)

I watched Food Inc. recently and am horrified to read of these GOP proposed budget cuts to USDA and FDA that would result in fewer inspections of our food supply. We need to restore some balance to the corporate push for profits and the well-being of American families. The US already has much higher rates of food-borne illness than France (on the order of 20 times higher), and these cuts will put more people at risk of serious illness or death.

Food-borne illnesses in the US cost $152 billion a year according to this piece.

In Prison for Taking a Liar's Loan

This is an unbelievable story about the government aggressively pursuing someone who exaggerated their income on a loan application. Banks systematically knowingly processed liar's loans, 49% of Credit Suisse's loans during a two year period were of this type, but they escape prosecution for fraud. Instead they send this guy to jail?

Study: Organic Chicken Carries Significantly Lower Salmonella Risk

Organic farm methods are much safer for the environment than standard industrial CAFO farms. You also won't find antibiotics or antimicrobial in the feed given to organically raised chickens. BTW, the conventional birds in this study not only had much more salmonella but 40% of them had antibiotic-resistant salmonella!

Corporate Interests Try to Split American Workers for Political and Economic Gain

The attack on public sector workers continues as corporate interests, such as the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, fund campaigns designed to undermine support of union workers. The effort is dually motivated; to weaken union support of Democrats in elections, and to open the door for more privatization of services. There's a fascinating section about the 'divide and conquer' strategies developed by Philip Morris back in 1996, when they set out to weaken collective opposition and fomenting infighting by "enhancing internal conflicts" between the American Lung, Cancer and Heart Associations.

Have You No Decency, Scott Walker?

The Wisconsin GOP is conducting a witch hunt against a highly regarded university professor, William Cronon, who speculated in a blog post that the conservative group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) might be behind the legislative assault on worker's collective bargaining rights. The GOP is using Open Records Law to request all of Cronon's email communications in an attack designed to silence his criticisms and intimidate others that may join the debate.

More on this story from Daily Kos...

...and Professor Cronon's blog, "Scholar as Citizen."

Setbacks at Fukushima, Black Smoke, Evacuations, Dangerous Radioactive Iodine in Tokyo Tap Water

Lest we forget, with much of the media moving on to other topics, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is still raging in Japan. Can you imagine what's going through the minds of those workers, or the fear that must be consuming the Japanese public? Is nuclear energy really worth the risk?

Koch's Profit From Canadian Eco-Nightmare

Another primer on the Tea Party-financing, anti-climate regulations Koch brothers. Watch out, they're gearing up to finance the most conservative Republicans they can find in 2012 so they can continue to massively pollute our country.

Ohio Passes Nation's Most Restrictive Voter ID Law

Here we go again. Ohio, the site of massive and largely under-reported voting manipulation and fraud in the 2004 general election, is now passing restrictive measures designed to reduce turnouts in the future. It's a widely held concept that lower turnouts benefit the GOP, and that's why reductions of voting machines in democratic districts was so effective and disturbing in 2004. The criminal manipulations arguably were the difference in the state of Ohio going to Bush and allowing him to win the election. 22 other states are now developing similar voter restrictive statutes in preparation for the 2012 election.

Buried Provision in House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps If One Family Member Strikes

42 million Americans are on Food Stamps as this banker-induced recession continues. The GOP is using a stealth maneuver to further limit workers rights in a new bill.

That's "Chief Justice Bitch"

This is a follow-up to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court election to be held on April 4. Gov. Walker's conservative ally David Prosser on the court is up for re-election and appears to be not only intemperate but also serves as an ideological rubber stamp to the Governor's anti-labor anti-middle class agenda. It's hugely important that they replace this judge on the State Supreme Court panel with all manner of legal challenges important to working people slated to come before the court.

Prosser and other conservatives on Wisconsin court let lobbyists write judicial ethics laws. Specifically, this law allows justices to hear cases when one of the litigants have contributed to their election campaigns.

Top Ten Things You Should Know Before Blowing The Whistle

Despite laws enacted to protect whistleblowers there are many hazards to the practice. It's best to be fully informed and prepared if you are in a position to blow the whistle on corruption and fraud.

The National Whistleblowers Center has been on the beat for 25 years and is a great resource for those contemplating action.

Fox News Resurrects Petrobras Conspiracy Theory Against Obama

It's shocking to me that US law allows fabrication and distortion of information, bald-faced lies, to be broadcast on public airwaves. This case of mis-informing public opinion has to do with a spurious claim that Obama arranged a massive loan for George Soros at the expense of the US government.

For more on the fact that it is legal to lie on the air in the US, check out this previously posted story on the decision of US courts regarding investigative journalists who refused to put lies and misinformation into a report on rGBH in milk and Monsanto, but were denied whistleblower status.

This is a piece from one of the reporters, Jane Akre, summarizing the entire case. From both articles you will see that there is no laws that prohibits misinformation when presenting the news.

How Wall Street Crooks Get Out Of Jail Free

Corporations have become too big and too powerful and now routinely avoid prosecution for criminal activities. The preferred approach of the DOJ under Bush and Obama is 'deferred prosecution' and generally insignificant fines that companies treat as another cost of doing business.,0

Why Did Justice Department Fail to Prosecute Tom DeLay?

More on the CREW lawsuit to obtain DOJ records of the DeLay investigation.

GE's Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether

Corporations now pay only 6.6% of all US tax receipts, down from 30% in the 1950's. GE expects to get a tax benefit of $3.2 Billion for 2010 due to its aggressive strategies in pursuing loopholes and influencing legislation. No wonder we have such revenue problems in the country these days!

How the "Peaceful Atom" Became a Serial Killer

An excellent piece on the absurd costs of nuclear energy plant construction and the misinformation that drives the debate from its advocates. The article also point out that the nuclear industry is heavily subsidized with taxpayer dollars because banks won't touch a nuclear project because of cost overruns and other liability. We also learn that the government (read public) is on the hook for all costs related to handling dangerous 'spent' fuel rods and that the nuclear industry has negotiated limited liability in the event of a nuclear accident.

"Obama Loves Nukes" at the expense of renewable energy alternatives. From The Nation.

Indiana Prosecutor Suggested Walker Stage A False Attack Against Him To Discredit Wisconsin Unions

Another disturbing report of reckless GOP activity in America's heartland. In another case the Indiana Deputy Attorney General suggested that Gov. Walker use live ammunition on the Wisconsin protesters.These guys are wacko...

Hold Onto Your Underwear

This article by Tom Engelhardt is over a year old but provides important perspective on the media's propensity to hype threats of terrorism since 9/11. It's important to realize that Americans are in much greater danger driving their cars, from alcohol or tobacco, E. coli bacteria in food, fires, domestic abuse, murder or the weather than they are from terrorism. The "War on Terror" has created a new industrial-complex and the media and politicians exploit the public's inherent fear of terrorism relentlessly.

Monsanto's Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup pesticides, have been linked to nutrient deficiencies in humans and farm animals that result in disease. Alzheimer's, for example, is linked to reduced copper and magnesium in diets and has sky-rocketed 9000% since 1990. GM Alfalfa has been approved now by the USDA and will threaten the entire organic farming industry through irreversible contamination. This article is heavy reading but contains a great deal of valuable information.