The White Flag


Moving Forward
March 13, 2011, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

Scott Walker signs bill into law that strips public workers of bargaining rights.
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“The measure set off weeks of protests at the Capitol and sparked a walkout by Senate Democrats. It passed the state Assembly on Thursday, a day after the state Senate used a legislative maneuver to pass the bill without the 14 Democratic senators who fled the state in an effort to block it.”

Obama promised many things, you didn’t actually believe them all did you?
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“In just over two years since President Barack Obama took office, prosecutors have filed criminal charges in five separate cases involving unauthorized distribution of classified national security information to the media. And the government is now mulling what would be the most high-profile case of them all – prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

“Not only that, these advocates say, it runs counter to Obama’s pledges of openness by making it a crime to shine a light on the inner workings of government – especially when there are measures that could protect the nation’s interests without hauling journalists into court and government officials off to jail.”

“Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department attorney now with the Government Accountability Project, said it’s ‘very destructive and damaging to be going after people for leaks that embarrass the government.’ The policy, she said, is ‘a disturbing one particularly from a president who got elected pledging openness and transparency — and someone who also got elected thanks to a lot of [Bush-era] scandals that were revealed by whistleblowers.’ ”

If Nixon thought it, it must be a great idea.
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“Legalization has to be on the table. Not because it is necessarily the best solution. Not because it is the obvious alternative to the evident failures of drug prohibition. But for three important reasons: first, because it is the best way to reduce dramatically the crime, violence, corruption and other extraordinary costs and harmful consequences of prohibition; second, because there are as many options — indeed more — for legally regulating drugs as there are options for prohibiting them; and third, because putting legalization on the table involves asking fundamental questions about why drug prohibitions first emerged, and whether they were or are truly essential to protect human societies from their own vulnerabilities. Insisting that legalization be on the table — in legislative hearings, public forums and internal government discussions — is not the same as advocating that all drugs be treated the same as alcohol and tobacco. It is, rather, a demand that prohibitionist precepts and policies be treated not as gospel but as political choices that merit critical assessment, including objective comparison with non-prohibitionist approaches.”

Environment

Rupert Murdoch is not a hypocrite for making his network carbon neutral while having people on his network discredit climate science because he was not even aware of that, he watches MSNBC for news (they are more accurate).
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“NewsCorp owner Rupert Murdoch announced last week that his company reduced its global warming emissions to zero.”

“But Murdoch’s calculations do not include another form of pollution: the constant stream of misinformation NewsCorp subsidiary Fox News routinely broadcasts about climate science to millions of viewers.”

“Take a typical episode of Sean Hannity’s program. During one show in 2009, Hannity erroneously claimed the year had been the ‘ninth coldes’ on record.”

“In fact, according to NASA, 2009 was the second warmest year globally on average since reliable measurements began in the 1880s.”

“Last December, for example, Media Matters released an email from Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon in which he urged news staff to highlight criticisms of climate science whenever they mention it.”

“But Fox News’ misinformation seems to work. While scientists have conclusively shown that human activities are driving climate change, 30 percent of regular Fox News viewers surveyed in a University of Maryland / WorldPublicOpinion.org poll thought that scientists have concluded exactly the opposite. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the general public polled in that survey shares that inaccurate view.”

Monsanto, a fine American citizen.
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“Organic farmers can lose sales if genetic engineering is detected in their crops, which occurs through cross-pollination from a nearby field or through intermingling of seeds. And exports of nonorganic but nonengineered crops to certain countries can be jeopardized if genetically engineered material is detected in significant amounts.”

“The genetically modified crop — developed by Monsanto and Forage Genetics, an alfalfa seed company that is owned by the Land O’Lakes farming and dairy cooperative — contains a gene that makes the plant resistant to the herbicide Roundup. That allows farmers to spray the chemical to kill weeds without hurting the crop.”

“Alfalfa is grown mostly to make hay fed to dairy cows and horses. More than 20 million acres are grown in the United States; it is the nation’s fourth-largest crop by acreage, behind corn, soybeans and wheat, with a value of about $8 billion. About 1 percent of alfalfa is organic.”

Who could do a better job protecting the environment than a person with past experience polluting the environment? Besides the environment is not forever, like a job…
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“Pennsylvania has come under fire lately as pollution from drilling in the Marcellus Shale threatens water resources across the state. But instead of ratcheting up oversight, Gov. Tom Corbett wants to hand authority over some of the state’s most critical environmental decisions to C. Alan Walker, a Pennsylvania energy executive with his own track record of running up against the state’s environmental regulations.”

“Walker was Corbett’s first appointee—he chose him to lead the Department of Community and Economic Development in December, before taking office. Now, as Corbett stakes much of the state’s economy on Marcellus Shale gas drilling, a paragraph tucked into the 1,184-page budget gives Walker unprecedented authority to “expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted.” That includes, presumably, coal, oil, gas and trucking.”

“ ‘I have never seen anybody give an economic development director the authority to tell every other agency in the state what to do with regard to its statutory responsibilities,’ said Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental group active on drilling issues.”

“Walker’s ties to the energy industry are deep. He is listed on state disclosure forms as an executive of the Pennsylvania Coal Association and he has served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. He also has firsthand experience with the state’s environmental regulations, because his companies would likely have applied for permits similar to those the oil and gas industry is now pursuing in the Marcellus. And like many energy companies, his, too, have run into problems with the state.”

Health

Diet pill side-effects are kind of frightening, but do not worry, we have several other medications to counteract heart disease and tumors. No one can put a price on looking good.
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“A few months ago, an FDA advisory panel had voted to recommend approval of Contrave, which is made by Orexigen. Contrave was thought to have the best shot at approval, compared with two other experimental weight-loss drugs from other manufacturers, Lorqess and Qnexa. Lorqess was rejected last September because one of its ingredients increased the risk of breast tumors in lab animals. And Qnexa was rejected twice, once in October over heart risk concerns, and again this past January because one of its ingredients is associated with cleft lips in the children of women who take it.”

“The really insidious thing about Contrave is that it is a combination of two existing drugs: naltrexone, used to treat alcohol and drug addiction, and sustained-release bupropion, an antidepressant known by the brand name Wellbutrin.”

“Wellbutrin’s side effects include agitation, headaches, nausea, tremors, insomnia, blurred vision, high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, confusion, hostility, hearing changes, irregular heart rhythms—and seizures.”

“Unfortunately, SSRIs are extremely addictive, and withdrawal from them can cause physical pain and nausea, not to mention a relapse in depression so severe as to drive the patient to suicide.”

Republicans and other groups are working hard to cut funding to a new consumer safety website launched by the government because they know that this web site’s main agenda is to confuse Americans and hurt business.
Visit the website
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“On March 11, the Consumer Products Safety Commission plans to unveil a search-able website designed to warn the public about dangerous products despite an effort now under way in Congress to defund it, the agency said Friday.”

“Sens. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, are mounting an effort to save the database.”

“Inouye called the House vote to kill it a ‘purely political’ move intended to ‘score points or placate supporters.’ He said Friday that the House amendment will not be included in the Senate’s version of the federal funding bill.”

“Earlier, the National Association of Manufacturers said the database ‘has alarmed manufacturers, who fear that it will be a poorly monitored [website] that encourages reputation-harming complaints.’ ”

“But CPSC said it has a ‘review and comment process’ that will let manufacturers respond to complaints before they are available to the public in the database.”

War

U.S. military murders nine young boys.
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“The people of Afghanistan know who was flying the two helicopter gunships that brutally hunted down and slaughtered, one by one, nine boys apparently as young as seven years old, as they gathered firewood on a hillside March 1. In angry demonstrations after the incident, they were shouting ‘Death to America.’ ”

“The gunships, according to the account of a lone 11-year-old surviver [sic] who was hidden by a tree, systematically hunted down the other nine boys, hitting them with machine gun and rocket fire and killing them all–their bodies so badly damaged that their families had to hunt for the pieces in order to bury them.”

“Even in Iraq, 12 year olds were being classified by the US military (in contravention of the Geneva Conventions) as being ‘combat age,’ for example in the assault on the city of Fallujah.”

“The blood of these poor Afghan kids is smeared not just on the hands of Obama and the generals, and the soldiers who pull the triggers and push the buttons that unleash death, but on the desks and keyboards of American newsrooms that cover up their crimes.”

Civil Liberties

What would America be without deception and bad science? Bad science and capitalism are like spaghetti and meat balls.
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“Hundreds of protesters rallied at the Indiana statehouse on Tuesday in opposition to restrictive abortion measures that would, among other things, require doctors to tell pregnant women about a controversial theory that says having an abortion could lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.”

“The bill would also require physicians to inform a pregnant woman seeking an abortion that the fetus could feel pain and require patients to view an ultrasound.”

“Indiana wouldn’t be the first state to promote this theory. According to the Guttmacher Institute, five states — Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia — currently include mentions of a link between abortion and breast cancer in written counseling materials.”

“In February 2003, the U.S. National Cancer Institute brought together ‘more than 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk.’ They found that neither induced nor spontaneous abortions lead to an increase in breast cancer risk. In fact, the risk is actually increased for a short period after a woman carries a pregnancy to full term (i.e., gives birth to a child). According to ACS, these findings were considered ‘well established,’ which is the highest level for scientific evidence.”

Progress

Tolerance
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“Southern Illinois University sociologist Darren Sherkat posts on his blog a brief rundown of analysis he performed on raw data from 2010 that GSS recently released. Sherkat reports that for the first time in American history, same-sex marriage has more support than opposition, a massive shift from the first time GSS asked the question just 22 years ago, when more than three-quarters of Americans opposed same-sex marriage and only 12.4 percent supported it.”

Philanthropists buy PCs.
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“Forbes will release its 2011 billionaires list on Wednesday and Gates, investor Warren Buffett and last year’s richest man, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, will almost certainly be in the top three. The trio have topped the list for the past five years.”

“But it would be no contest if Microsoft co-founder Gates had not already given away more than a third of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on global health and development and U.S. education.”

“But had Gates not given away any money, he would be worth $88 billion, Lincoln said.”

“Gates and his wife Melinda have so far given $28 billion to their foundation, the largest in the United States.”

“Glen Macdonald, president of the Wealth and Giving Forum, said Gates’ philanthropy had influenced the way other rich people in the United States approach their own philanthropy.”

“So far 59 billionaires have joined The Giving Pledge, publishing their letter at http://www.givingpledge.org. The campaign does not accept any money nor tell people how to give away their wealth, it just asks for a moral commitment.”

Petition: Help protect the air you breathe.
Take Action

Petition: Do not let the government take away women’s opportunities/options, e.g. Planned Parenthood.
Take Action

Petition: Do not allow Florida to make it more difficult for people to vote.
Take Action

Petition: Protect the Internet, support H.R. 96.
Take Action

Petition: This bill would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases many of which are harmful to human health and the environment.
Take Action

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