Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish

New DNA sequencing techniques used by biologists and advocates for sustainable fisheries has revealed that 20-25% of all commercial fish are mislabeled to the public. And so, though you paid for Mahi Mahi you might be getting Yellowtail or Mako Shark instead of Swordfish. Tilapia is also frequently mislabeled as other species as it is cheap to farm and very profitable for the unscrupulous to sell. The FDA has been behind the curb on this issue and a great deal of over-fishing combined with such tactics threatens to destroy a naturally occurring and sustainable resource, fish in the ocean. For those interested in this critical issue I recommend the excellent documentary "The End of the Line," available for streaming or DVD delivery on Netflix.

EPA Chief Tells Congress 'There's No Proof Fracking Is Dangerous'

Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, has ventured into the politics of natural gas drilling by trying to assure GOP lawmakers that she and the agency are for gas drilling in the US as a way to reduce fossil fuel emissions. She also had the audacity to declare that there is no evidence that fracking has ever been connected to pollution of ground water when even natural gas executives have admitted that it does. She should be spending her time insisting that fracking be regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act and other laws from which it is currently exempt. I'd also like to think that the EPA would demand a complete listing of all chemicals used in hydraulic fracture drilling, between 600 and 900 toxic substances, so that the agency could better assess the danger to public drinking water supplies. This is an extremely disappointing indication of the EPA administrator's priorities.

The Big Debt Lie

The thirty year supply-side, trickle-down economic theory, originating from the Reagan Administration, has been thoroughly debunked by economists and pundits over the years. Yet, people still buy this fairy tale of a fiscal policy and Republicans continue to howl daily about the need to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations. It's a testament to the ignorance of a population in a country that has added $14 trillion in debt, 90% under GOP presidents, over three decades and sports a world-class inequality gap, where the richest 300,000 have as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans, that this policy has any traction at all.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Claims It’s Unconstitutional For States To End Company’s Multimillion Dollar Tax Dodging

Okay, we all probably like to save on sales tax when we make an online purchase. Yet, it's important to realize that the Amazon Loophole, in which companies set up subsidiaries in states and then claim they do not have to collect sales tax, provides an unfair advantage for online over local businesses, and starves states of desperately needed sales tax revenue. For example, in 2011 Wisconsin will lose an estimated $127 million in uncollected sales taxes for online purchases.

Senate does not eliminate Big Oil tax breaks

Salon points out that all the recent buzz in the Senate about eliminating subsidies for oil companies was nothing more than an empty exercise in political theater. Both parties were able to strengthen their credentials within their bases but the Senate simply did not have the Constitutional power eliminate the subsidies because doing so would raise revenues and by law any legislation that increases revenue MUST originate in the House.