The mad GOP push for privatization of municipalities and public sector services is raging across the country and particularly in Michigan. Stripping locally elected mayors and officials while invoking Emergency Financial Management power under one administrator is happening in Detroit and Benton Harbor right now. Functional, breakthrough schools are slated to be closed or privatized against the will of local residents who are arrested for protesting to keep the schools open. Public beachfront in Benton Harbor, withheld from development by the local community, may now be seized on the authority of the EFM official against the will of the people. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is trampling over democracy as he works to facilitate lower cost labor and privatization riches for the amoral business community.
Gov. Snyder's Emergency Manager Crushes Student Protest
Citizen's Group Files Petition to Recall Snyder
Michigan Pension Boards File Suit Over Emergency Management Law
Martial Law Now A Reality in Michigan
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The USDA is abdicating its responsibility to ensure the safety of GM crops by conducting Environmental Impact Statements, choosing instead to allow companies such as Monsanto, who have a vested interest in the promotion of GM seed and Roundup herbicides, to test for safety themselves in a pilot program.
The only difference between the Japanese nuclear energy program and what we have in the States is that American operators would never have the humility to get own their knees and ask for forgiveness from the people who are suffering because of the cosy, profit-driven relationship between passive regulators and plant operators. This article illustrates that maintenance of plants and safety hazards took a back seat to expedience and cost-cutting at the stricken Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan. BTW, this concept of voluntary reporting and maintenance of sub-standard conditions by industry is an absolute joke. The ONLY way that industry will comply with safety regulations is if there is vigorous oversight and enforcement by regulatory authorities. This NYT piece generally does an excellent job of exposing the culture of promotion between regulators and industry but errs in claiming that the US NRC does not rely on industry to draft proposals and rules to regulate nuclear power. The NRC absolutely does solicit and utilize industry written guidelines in its regulatory capacity.
U.S. Nuclear Regulator Lets Industry Help With the Fine Print
Too much deference to the natural gas industry, an ongoing push to lessen enforcement of existing regulations and aggressive efforts to discourage additional measures to protect public safety in Pennsylvania have tremendous consequences in the battle to ensure safe and responsible gas drilling. Gov. Corbett is a major advocate of fracking in PA and seems to have little interest in protecting the water supply, environment and long-term health of his constituents, preferring to curry favor with proponents of the gas drilling boom that is sweeping across the country. In the case of a recent large accident and spill emergency response teams were flown in from Texas as responders, allowing nearby rivers and land to be contaminated by waste products and escaping methane.
Dave Roberts is a vigilant investigative reporter from Grist who regularly covers environmental issues on that site. This column refers to a analytically flawed Climate Shift report that falsely claims that the environmental lobby spends more than industry in the debate on climate issues. Roberts preference is to write about solutions but he felt compelled to comment on the hullaballoo over this report and the misinformation that it's authors, aligned with the Breakthrough Group, promote in the report. It's very interesting and detailed reading on the internal workings of the environmental movement.
The suit, resulting from a law to protect privacy information on behalf doctors in Vermont, addresses the issue of whether MD's prescribing habits can be mined and sold to the pharmaceutical industry without the approval of the doctors themselves.
As humans and wildlife in the Arctic and Canada increasingly get sick with cancers and other maladies directly related to oil and gas extraction, indigenous communities are fighting back.
New York State's Attorney General demands that the Delaware River Basin Commission conduct a full environmental impact study before allowing natural gas fracking in the region, or he will sue on behalf of the 15 million people on the basin for drinking water.
Vermont's action is an inspiring testament to the possibilities in a democracy when the electorate is animated and organized around issues they care deeply about. Other states present more obstacles to like-minded reforms and policy but Vermont's momentous legislation should remind us all that dramatic change is possible. Nonetheless, the law will be challenged and it remains to be seen whether a single-payer system will, in fact, be implemented.
The astroturf lobbyists behind recent Dodd-Frank Exposed propaganda have produced an outrageously hyped scare video to combat reforms of the financial industry with misinformation.
Despite the myriad problems facing the country, the mainstream media gave virtually no exposure to The People's Budget created by the Congressional Progressive Caucus last month.
The International Association of Firefighters became the first major union to freeze political contributions to federal candidates, signaling to Democrats that they will no longer provide easy money for a party that repeatedly has sold out labor's interests. The focus of the Firefighters political support will now be directed to state level candidates.
Greenpeace is keeping an eye on corporate responsibility and has found that the largest fast-food company in the world, YUM!, has been encouraging rainforest destruction in its packaging business.
The New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, is wielding a heavy hammer as he refuses to tax millionaires over seniors, subverts collective bargaining law, and decries draconian budget cuts including more than $1 billion in education. That cut may well be ruled in violation of federal education standards in a lawsuit brought by the Education Law Center.
Non-Draft Military Means More Military Influence -- and More Americans out of Touch with Military Decisions
There is irony that we might well be better off with a military draft because it would force the country as a whole to reckon the loss of life and limbs from American wars. The percentage of families with connections to the military has decreased dramatically since the inception of the volunteer army. It is now possible for the US to fight long wars (Afghanistan 10, Iraq 8, Libya?) with very little public scrutiny and compliant media coverage on the ground.