Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Drilling Opponents Spied on Like Terrorists

I found this story on the ACLU website which I only recently discovered. There's a lot of good stuff there and I'm going to sift through their archives and try to keep up with some of their priorities as this organization is one of the few true defenders of civil rights left in America. They deserve our support and shouldn't be marginalized in response to the endless conservative sponsored attacks on a principled organization that is founded on the principle of protecting the rights of citizens against the illegal abuse of constitutionally protected activities. This story is from last fall but is important because it sheds light on the current legal and PR battle on the issue of natural gas fracking, an issue of nationwide relevance to the American public. It turns out that the government, under the guise of terrorist surveillance by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security, has been spying on activists opposed to this destructive and unregulated fracking gas rush.

Surprise! TSA Is Searching Your Car, Subway, Ferry, Bus, AND Plane

The trampling of our privacy rights continues unabated, in the name of the War on Terror, as the TSA extends its reach beyond air travel and into trains, subways, private cars, trucks and other arenas. The ear-splitting hype of the security agenda, hyped incessantly in the media and by politicians despite the fact that there is very little statistical risk, is the wave of the present and the never-ending future. This is the enemy that the enablers and profiteers of the military industrial complex dreamed of when the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union ceased to be the evil empire. And Americans, numbed by mainstream television and the frenzies of pervasive technology, just play along without much more than a whimper to defend their hard-fought and quickly eroding civil rights.

To be clear, I am not demonizing the more than 55,000 TSA employees charged with carrying out government policy. In fact, it's important to realize the poor treatment that these employees have endured over the years, and how the government and GOP noise machine have managed to prevent these federal workers from utilizing the same collective bargaining rights that employees of other agencies enjoy. AlterNet, as is their trademark, does an excellent job in the lengthy investigative piece below of uncovering the right-wing, anti-labor interests who have successfully kept these federal employees from unionizing.
Did You Fall for It? America's Outrage Over TSA Naked Body Scanners Was Right-Wing PR to Prevent Workers from Unionizing's_outrage_over_tsa_naked_body_scanners_was_right-wing_pr_to_prevent_workers_from_unionizing/?utm

Peru's capital declares itself a GMO-free zone

The city of Lima, Peru has declared itself a GMO-free zone after the legislature passed a 10-year moratorium on the import of GMOs in foods and seeds. Unfortunately, we're a long way from such action in the US but this Peruvian action is inspiring and hopeful nonetheless.

Which Countries Have Banned GMOs?

President's Libya War is Undeclared, Unconstitutional, Unnecessary

In an era of long-term and falsely justified wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention more secret actions in Yemen and elsewhere, America has become more of a warring nation than ever. It's time to reassert the rule of law, in the for of the War Powers Act, and insist that Congress vote to approve military operations that fall under that statute. In the case of Libya, President Obama has rejected the legal advice of top lawyers in the Pentagon and DOJ that the action falls under the definition of war that would require Congressional approval and chosen to bypass that body. Now there is a bill that aims to force a determination to formally authorize the military action in Libya, or bring our involvement to an end.

Kerry and McCain Introduce Libya Resolution

Two Top Lawyers Lost to Obama in Libya War Policy Debate

Walmart Case: Supreme Court Aids The Powerful

The Supreme Court decision this week dismissing a class action gender discrimination suit against WalMart is a counterintuitive ruling that prohibits workers from concentrating their bargaining power in much the same way that multinationals are allowed to exercise purchasing power based on their size and influence on markets. It's a double standard that works against the public interest and another sign that the Supreme Court favors the interests of corporations over people's rights.

Justices Rule for Wal-Mart in Class-Action Bias Case

Senate Bill Addresses Antibiotics in Animal Feed

A bi-partisan bill introduced in the Senate would phase out the use of seven antibiotics deemed critical to human health, and require that new treatments be proven safe to the population. There's a similar bill in the House and this is good news indeed. Let's just hope it doesn't get watered down too much and that it becomes law.