Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ousted Administrator Has Doubts About Jindal's Privatization Plan

The privatization bug has bitten the GOP all over the country, as evidenced in the push for charter schools, martial law in Michigan used to takeover local government statutory authority and crush the teacher's union in Detroit, efforts to sell off public utilities to industry in Wisconsin, and many other examples. These efforts are all about making money with state (public) resources and will not in any way benefit citizens. This story details legislation in Louisiana to privatize the state public employees health insurance plan, in what appears to be a gift to industry that will cost both the state and the public in the long run.

Cagey Obama Sets an Election Trap for Paul Ryan and the Koch Bros.

This is an encouraging piece that shows how President Obama has responded to Rep. Ryan's (R-WI) draconian budget bill in recent public comments. It also suggests that Obama's strategy is to aggressively attack destructive political agenda of the Koch brothers in the upcoming election.


Vermont became the first state in the Union to pass universal healthcare legislation with a single payer system that promises to dramatically reduce health costs while guaranteeing all citizens universal access to medical care. This is a historic development and very exciting news indeed.

Oil Prices: Gouge Us Baby One More Time

This link connects to a short piece on the causes of the recent rise in oil prices that have driven gasoline over $4 a gallon, as well as the GritTV video report from Laura Flanders. Good stuff.

Obama: 'Strongly Disapprove' Of Ohio, Wisconsin Union Bills

The President has been largely silent in the wake of at least 18 states introducing legislation to strip collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. Some believe, and I hope, that this is a deliberate policy to allow the GOP to continue its overreach with the result that the public will unleash an electoral backlash on those who support the anti-worker policies. In Ohio there is an effort underway to garner the 231,000 signatures required to put a repeal of the legislation on the ballot.

Daniels to defund Planned Parenthood in Indiana

I haven't heard or read much about citizens standing up against Gov. Daniel's anti-worker and anti-environment agenda and legislation in Indiana and I hope there is a resistance movement building in the state. Now, the governor has said he will sign a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and deprive as many as 22,000 women access to Pap tests, birth control and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

GMO Pesticides Linked to Birth Defects, Disruption of Male Hormones, Cancer

Recent studies have expanded the body of evidence of the dangerous health impact that GMO pesticides such as Roundup have on human health. The new studies and links to previous scientific reports are rarely, if ever, reported in the mainstream media. We should all do our best to get the word out about the public health dangers represented by the biotech industry and realize that the major reason the US has the world's highest cancer rates is the lack of vigilant regulation of the chemical industry that is pervasive in the nation today.

“Inert” Ingredients in Roundup Pesticide Contain Dioxane!

This piece documents that Roundup Super Concentrate Weed and Grass Killer contains dioxane, known to be carcinogenic and to cause damage to liver, kidney, brain and lungs. The story also reports that a new GE maize capable of expressing six different insecticidal toxins is likely to be approved for use in Europe.

What Stanley McChrystal Did to Pat Tillman’s Family

President Obama has apparently appointed General McChrystal to head a new initiative to help military families despite the fact that he covered up Pat Tillman's friendly fire death with a false Silver Star citation and nationally televised ceremony.

Insurers Getting Rich By Not Paying for Care

We pay the most for healthcare in the world and receive the least in return with 50 million uninsured and ever larger co-payments and premium rates. The health insurance industry makes money by denying care and the big seven managed care companies are raking it in despite the hysteria over Obamacare.

Government-backed corn ethanol lurches on, paving a road to nowhere

Ethanol derived from corn is an inefficient alternative to fossil fuel with a nominal impact on greenhouse reduction and is environmentally destructive. We need to stop subsidizing it from the highest levels of government.

Frankenfoods in Your "Natural" Foods Store: Whole Foods or Whole Hypocrisy?

I find that the issue of genetically modified and transgenic food, which is already dominant in the US food market, is particularly hard for people to contemplate and take action on. These foods are so commonplace and most of us have been eating them for the past 15 years without many apparent side effects. Yet allergies and diabetes have skyrocketed over the past two decades, and there are many other aspects of the biotech takeover of our food supply of monumental concern, including increased sterility rates, ADHD and obesity in our society, problems that have been linked in scientific analysis and study to these GM seeds and food products that are engineered as ingredients for virtually every food item you will find in a store. 

There are also serious legal issues in the biotech industry that are centered around the patent protection of GM seeds as intellectual property. This US Supreme Court ruling gave companies like Monsanto the legal wherewithal to prosecute non-participating or compliant farmers with theft of intellectual property, resulting in hundreds of lawsuits. Based on spurious accusations that claim that conventional farmers, whose crops had likely been contaminated with GM seed through naturally occurring pollination, stole Monsanto GM seed (Corn, Soy, Sugar Beets and now, Alfalfa) even though there could be zero incentive for them to do so. Hundreds of farmers have been bankrupted by these suits, that often originate with undercover Monsanto operatives infiltrating the community under false pretenses and even contacting farmers at AA meetings. Several thousand farmers in India have committed suicide as a result of a disastrous investment in the promise of biotech riches. Recent USDA rulings for GM Alfalfa and Sugar Beets threaten to contaminate the certified organic Alfalfa critical to the organic market.

This situation is really bad but it is not hopeless. Even though more than 90% of corn and soy grown in the US is genetically modified, and the dominance of Roundup Ready seed and pesticide presents two formidable corporate adversaries, people still have the ability to push back in a meaningful way. But, we have to pay attention and get in the game!

Here is a link to the OCA action page for those who want to get involved in the fight against GMOs.

Radioactive Rubberstamp - Greenpeace Petition

The NRC is way too cosy with the nuclear industry in the United States and has been pushing nuclear power and its safety despite the catastrophic meltdown in Japan. As we consider energy options for the nation moving forward I strongly believe that nuclear energy, that is so dangerous that the private sector will not invest without government subsidies and limits on liability, is not worth the myriad risks that it presents. Please sign this Greenpeace petition to halt the re-licensing of old reactors in the States. It only takes a moment and collectively we can make a difference by applying pressure to policymakers.