Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chernobyl: distorted reality and unanswered questions

This is a sobering account of a recent Greenpeace expedition to the areas near Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster. The radiation that was released in the accident continues to impact the lives of the people of the region 25 years after the accident, and it will be this way for hundreds of years for these residents of the Ukraine.

The Warped US Tax System: Taxpayers Subsidize Their Own Destruction

The corporate welfare system in the States subsidizes anti-union companies with taxpayer dollars and works against the public interest. Companies like Boeing pay little, if any tax, and seek tax breaks from their home state while shipping jobs to "right to work" states that provide even more tax credits. It's a vicious cycle and it needs to be reformed if we are to have any chance to maintain our educational system and rebuild the critical infrastructure that supports both the population and economic activity.

We need a whole new kind of capitalism as we aim for sustainability

This piece outlines a radical new vision for capitalism as we retool the global economy to deal with inequity, massive debt and climate change.

A Reasonable Request in Unreasonable Times: Recount the Ballots in Wisconsin's Close and Contested Court Race

Despite intense pressure to accept the controversial Supreme Court vote in Wisconsin, Democratic Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg is seeking a full recount and also asking for a full investigation into the troubling irregularities in Waukesha County where over 14,000 votes were found that swung the election to the conservative candidate.

The Public Overwhelmingly Wants It: Why Is Taxing the Rich So Hard?

This AlterNet feature examines the institutionalized bias of politicians to ignore the lower rungs of society and give precedence to the views of wealthy patrons and multinationals in matters of public policy. In light of this reality it will take overwhelming demonstrations of public opinion on the part of the populace to force action on taxation fairness and, by extension, virtually all matters of legislation that collide with the profit agenda of powerful interests in our society.

President Obama speaks on Manning and the rule of law

President Obama recently pre-judged Private Manning's guilt in his release through WikiLeaks of classified US documents, in comments to a group protesting the whistleblower's treatment. He also seeks to suggest that Manning's act was more severe than Daniel Ellsberg's (above) release of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, even though those documents had a higher "Top Secret" clearance. And, regrettably, Obama's declaration that we are a nation of laws seems to disregard the fact that our laws are selectively applied and frequently do not apply to the elites of our political and business power brokers.

Action Item: Draft Executive Order Would Promote Election Disclosure, Call the President!

The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch reports on a proposed Executive Order that would require more detail on funding sources used in political campaigns. This regulation would lead to less secret spending on behalf of corporate interests through front groups, such as Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS which spent almost $17 million attacking Democrats during the 2010 election cycle but did not identify its donors. In fact, over 46% of spending in that election was entirely secret. This order would help bring more transparency to elections and I just made the call to the White House but, alas, the comment line is only monitored M-F 9am-5pm, so I'll try again on Monday morning.

Earth Day Every Day

The New York state Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has filed a number of legal actions on behalf of the state with regard to fracking in the Delaware River Basin and the proposed storage of spent nuclear fuel for 60 years at shuttered nuclear power plants without assessing public and environmental impact, in addition to taking on out-of-state air polluters. This will be an important part of the struggle to rein in industrial interests who are more concerned about profits than public health.

The Contradiction and Deep Pockets of Clean, Natural Gas

Public Relations versus Reality: the marketing of clean, natural gas and the expanding body of evidence that the relatively new and widely popular hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drilling method is a dangerous threat to public health.

Big Bank Ignored Warnings That It Was Being Used To Launder Money By Mexican Drug Cartels

The criminality and greed of the financial sector seems to know no bounds. It's really appalling that so much illegal and unethical dealing is taking place right out in the open!