Christina Sarich
News Report

The debate on the dangers of GMO seem like they should already be a foregone conclusion, but with industry cover-ups of scientific data, and rigged research, biotechnology advocates are still pushing the safety of genetically modified organisms unchecked.

 

In another attempt to discredit non-GMO supporters, C-Span recently debuted a 2-hour debate at the Vail Symposium in Colorado, between consumer advocate and Executive Director ofInstitute for Responsible Technology, as well as maker of the documentary, Seeds of Deception, Jeffrey Smith, and doctor of biotechnology and entrepreneur Gregory Stock who has written a book called, “Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future.” I can’t help but add that this title alone smacks of the ideas of ‘the singularity’ – the notion that scientists can create a ‘super-human’ while discarding those of us who are merely just ‘human’.

 

As usual, the biotechnology side tried to discredit the messenger, and not the clear scientific message, by discounting Smith’s background, but during the long discussion, topics ranging fromthe ethics of GMOs, the role of the government in GMO production and licensing of GM seed, GMO labeling, and the potential for GMO to solve world hunger were contended. Audience member questions were also addressed.

 

As Smith explained, currently there are nine GMO crops planted across our nation: soy, corn, canola, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, zucchini, yellow squash and papaya. These genetically altered crops are on our plates due to a sentence in the US Food and Drug Administration’s policy from 1992, which basically states that the agency is not aware of any information which shows that GMOs are significantly different than non-GMO foods, and therefore no safety testing is necessary, and no labeling is necessary.

 

This logic can be traced to vintage propaganda campaigns when our physicians told us that smoking cigarettes was good for us. Warning labels did not appear on packages of RJ Reynolds products until the 1970s. While American Indians smoked natural herbs, cigarettes full of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals were not labeled for over a hundred years after their introduction into mainstream consciousnessWe can’t wait that long with GMOs.

 

The ‘science’ which biotech experts hold on to is unproven. It is based on assumptions made about GMO without long-term trials and much of truth about GMO ...

Oklahoma Gets Hit with 20 Earthquakes in One Day
Emily Atkin
News Investigation

Oklahoma’s Geology Survey recorded an unprecedented 20 small earthquakes across the state on Tuesday, highlighting the dramatic increase of seismic activity that has occurred there as the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing — otherwise known as fracking — has spread across the state.

Though 18 out of the 20 earthquakes that occurred Tuesday were below Magnitude 3, rendering them mostly imperceptible, the largest one registered as a 4.3 near Guthrie, a city of more than 10,000 residents. And while U.S. Geological Survey scientists have said that Oklahoma is historically known as “earthquake country,” they also warn that quakes have been steadily on the rise; from 1978 until 2008, the average rate of earthquakes registering a magnitude of 3.0 or more was only two per year.

“No documented cases of induced seismicity have ever come close to the current earthquake rates or the area over which the earthquakes are occurring,” the Oklahoma Geology Survey said in a recent presentation addressing the alarming increase in quakes. By “induced seismicity,” the OGS is referring to minor earthquakes that are caused by human activity, whether that be fracking, mass removal mining, reservoir impoundment, or geothermal production — anything that could disrupt existing fault lines.

One of the most researched human activities that could be causing the dramatic increase in earthquakes is fracking. The process that could be causing the quakes is not the fuel extraction itself, but a process called “wastewater injection,” in which companies take the leftover water used to frack natural gas wells and inject it deep into the ground. Scientists increasingly believe that the large amount of water that is injected into the ground after a well is fracked can change the state of stress on existing fault lines to the point of failure, causing earthquakes.

Cornell University geophysics professor Katie Keranen is the latest researcher to produce a scientific study showing a probable connection between earthquakes wastewater injection, finding in July that the more than 2,500 small earthquakes that have hit Oklahoma in the past five years can be linked to it. Keranen’s study analyzed four prolific wastewater disposal wells in southeast Oklahoma City, which collectively inject approximately four million barrels of wastewater into the ground each month. The research showed that fluid from those wells was migrating along fault lines for miles, and Keranen’s team determined the migration was likely responsible for earthquakes occurring as far as 22 miles away.

The link between earthquakes and wastewater injection from fracking is not ...

Graham Peebles
Op-Ed

Happiness, or at least the search for it, is a human right. It is in America anyway, where at birth the founding fathers boldly stated in the Declaration of Independence that, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are “unalienable rights”, given to all humanity by “the creator” and which government is duty bound to protect. This virtuous document goes on to state that if the government “becomes destructive of these ends”, the people have the right “to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government” – one that is “most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” In Britain a recent report on mental health (albeit motivated by the cost of mental illness to the National Health System) concluded that, “the 'pursuit of happiness' must become an explicit and measurable goal of government.”

 

The commonsense deduction that government policy should cultivate happiness, runs contrary to the impact and, many would argue, intention, of democratic corporate politics, which despite the liberal rhetoric, creates the conditions in which people – the 99% – live with perpetual anxiety and insecurity. Discontent is fostered, feeding the urge for comfort and pleasure: for escape. Transitory habit-forming relief is supplied in a range of colours by a plethora of corporations, including the pharmaceutical giants who annually make worldwide profits of, according to the World Health Organisation around 100 billion US $.

 

It is hard to be happy, or to have the energy and psychological space to pursue happiness when trapped under the suffocating, inhibiting shadow of fear. The basic requirements for happiness are clearly documented. Unsurprisingly they are food and shelter, friendship, to feel part of something – a family, community etc. – valued, loved even. When these externals are threatened, so too is our fragile sense of wellbeing and happiness: anxiety floods our nervous system replacing these transient dependent states.

 

Pleasure or Happiness?

 

Whether recognized as a universal human right or not, happiness is a state of being to which we all naturally aspire. Children throughout the world, often despite their circumstances, wake with it, bear testimony to its living presence and, free from longing, spread it abroad. It is an inherent part of our nature, as the great 20th century Indian Sage Ramana Maharshi said, “happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.” The current economic paradigm forces us to do precisely this: it preaches a doctrine of happiness based on consumerism and materialism, and devotees of the divisive, worn out system, that sits at the poisonous root of ...

The Ghost of Dred Scott Haunts the Streets of Ferguson
Amy Goodman
Op-Ed

The ghost of Dred Scott haunts the streets of Ferguson.

Thousands have been protesting the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. He was due to start college just days after he was shot dead in broad daylight. Police left his bleeding corpse in the middle of the street for over four hours, behind police tape, as neighbors gathered and looked on in horror. Outraged citizens protested, and police brutally cracked down on them. Clad in paramilitary gear and using armored vehicles, they shot tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and flash-bang grenades, aiming automatic weapons at protesters. Scores of peaceful protesters as well as journalists have been arrested.

The protests have raged along Ferguson’s West Florissant Avenue. Four miles south of the protest’s ground zero, along the same street, in the quietude of Calvary Cemetery, lies Dred Scott, the man born a slave who famously fought for his freedom in the courts. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 is considered by many to be the worst one in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. It ruled that African-Americans, whether slave or free, could not be citizens, ever.

Scott was born into slavery in Virginia around 1799 (the same year noted Virginia slaveholder President George Washington died). Scott’s owner moved from Virginia, taking him to Missouri, a slave state. He was sold to John Emerson, a surgeon in the U.S. Army. In 1847, Scott sued Emerson for his freedom in a St. Louis court. Scott and his family prevailed, winning their freedom, only to have the decision overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court. The case then went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the court’s majority opinion, Chief Justice Roger Taney, a supporter of slavery, wrote, “A free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a ‘citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States.” Thus, the court ruled that all African-Americans, whether slave or free, were not citizens, and never would be.

 

The ruling also declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. The compromise made Missouri a slave state, but dictated that northern territories in the rapidly expanding United States would be free territories, with slavery outlawed. The Dred Scott decision opened up all of these new territories to slavery, and was deemed a victory for the Southern slave states. The decision sent shockwaves through the country. Abraham Lincoln invoked the decision in his famous “House Divided” speech, saying: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.” The Dred Scott decision would help lead to the election of Lincoln as president, and push the country ever closer to civil war.

Professor john a. powell (who writes ...

John Nichols
Op-Ed

“A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both,” declared James Madison, the author and champion of the Bill of Rights. “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

This is still the essential truth of an American experiment that can only be advanced toward the equal and inclusive justice that did not exist in Madison’s time by a broadly informed and broadly engaged citizenry. When journalists are harassed, intimidated, threatened and detained, the basic premise of democracy — that the great mass of people, armed with information and perspective, and empowered to act upon it, will set right that which is made wrong by oligarchs — is assaulted.

Where assaults on the gatherers and purveyors of popular information occur, those assaults must be challenged immediately. Social media and then mainstream media did just that after Washington Post writer Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post writer Ryan Reilly were arrested, detained and then released without charges or an explanation by police in Ferguson, Missouri, as they were reporting on the tensions that developed after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed in a police shooting. The detention of reporters is merely one illustration of the seriousness of the broader battering of civil liberties and civil rights in Ferguson, a battering so severe that Amnesty International has made the unprecedented move of deploying human rights observers to the city.

The detentions of Lowery and Reilly stirred an outcry. Washington Post editor Martin Baron decried the incident as “wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news.” President Obama said the next day, “Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs.” Amid a steady stream of reports that other reporters, still photographers and camera crews were being threatened, teargassed, assaulted and detained in Ferguson, forty-eight national media organizations and press freedom groups signed a letter to local authorities declaring, “This type of behavior is anathema to the First Amendment and to journalists everywhere.”

These are necessary answers to what happened with Lowery and Reilly, and to the growing list of complaints from journalists in Ferguson. Yet no one should be satisfied with emergency responses to ...

VOICES FOR CHANGE

The Ghost of Dred Scott Haunts the Streets of Ferguson
Amy Goodman
"

The ghost of Dred Scott haunts the streets of Ferguson.Thousands have been protesting the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager in ...

" ::
Corporate Capitalism Versus Human Happiness
Graham Peebles
"

Happiness, or at least the search for it, is a human right. It is in America anyway, where at birth the founding fathers boldly stated in the Declaration of Independence that, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are “unalienable rights”, given to all humanity by “the creator” and which government is duty bound to protect. This virtuous document goes on to state that if the ...

" ::
GMO Debate Heats Up on Mainstream News
Christina Sarich
"

The debate on the dangers of GMO seem like they should already be a foregone conclusion, but with industry cover-ups of scientific data, and rigged research, biotechnology advocates are still pushing the safety of genetically modified organisms unchecked. In another attempt to discredit non-GMO supporters, C-Span recently debuted a 2-hour debate at the Vail Symposium in Colorado, between consumer advocate and Executive Director ofInstitute for Responsible ...

" ::
Ferguson Exposes the Creeping Militarization of Police Forces
Jim Hightower
"

The tragedies unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, are doubly infuriating.First, there is the obvious outrage of yet another unarmed black teenager being stopped by one of the town’s white police officers as he was walking to his grandmother’s home.A scuffle ensued, and officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown (six times, ...

" ::
Racing Through Nature
Froma Harrop
"

The story of a young man's speed-hiking the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail has raised some environmentalist eyebrows, albeit only slightly. He was racing from California's border with Mexico to Washington state's with Canada.

" ::
The GMO Lawn Engineered to Withstand Monsanto’s Toxic Pesticides
Christina Sarich
"

Are you ready for some Kentucky Bluegrass? Kentucky Bluegrass isn’t the name of a band touring the South, easing work-a-day blues with a ...

" ::
What We’ve Paid for War and Afghanistan and Iraq
Jim Hightower
"

War is Hell.Major General Harold Greene could certainly tell you all about that — but, sadly, he's dead. On Aug. 5, General Green became the highest-ranking American soldier ...

" ::
Rebellion in Ferguson: A Rising Heat in the Suburbs
Chris Hedges
"

The public reaction to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., exposes the shifting dynamic of ...

" ::
The Disease of American Democracy
Robert Reich
"

Americans are sick of politics. Only 13 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, a near record low. The President’s approval ratings are also in the basement.

" ::
Nestle/Gerber Won’t Listen: Boycott the Company Who Puts GMO Bt Toxins in Baby Food
Christina Sarich
"

Like many food producers supplying some of the most popular foods, some baby food companies, such as Purity Brands, are going GMO-free due to public demand. But other companies stuffed with the hot air of their own inflated CEO’s egos refuse – Nestlé International, the parent company of both Nestlé USA and Gerber baby foods – is adamant ...

" ::

NOC BULLHORN

The Supreme Court

Join the dissent and stop CEOs in America from “forcing their personal beliefs on employees.” Take action and tell lawmakers to give us back control of our own bodies.

Human Rights

Steven Salaita was recently fired from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign because he was allegedly an open critic of Israel and Zionism, but many are fighting back in his defense.

Fracking

Protesters took to city streets all over the UK and occupied many government buildings demanding a stop to the future of fracking.

Education

Hundreds of students, parents and community members gathered at the Board of Education on Monday demanding that funding be put back in the schools.

Bee Protection

We must take down the companies that are contributing to the pollinator decline and help save the bees.

Israeli/Palestinian Peace Process

A peaceful protest formed in Rabin Square where thousands demanded peace talks go into effect with the Palestinian authority.

Police Brutality

As things continue to heat up in Ferguson, Missouri, Amnesty organization deployed observers to ground zero.

Environment

The benefit concert will headline Willie Nelson and Neil Young on a farm fighting the sale of their land for the pipeline.

Gun Rights

Take action today and sign the petition telling Congress to update Second Amendment. Sign the petition.

Agriculture

Even more pollinations is likely to help farmers yield more flourishing bountiful food.

Human Rights

As protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri, residents of Gaza tweet tips to protesters in dealing with militarization of police.

Workers’ Rights

With more than 13 million restaurant workers in the U.S., most tipped employees are living below the poverty line, let’s get with the times and make a change.

Terror Suspect

Muslim Americans have filed a suit against the federal government for routinely adding their names to the Terror Screening database without their right to due process.

Human Rights

Female environmental activists are part of an international movement against environmental destruction.

Environment

City bike share programs are popping up in metropolitan areas nationwide and the cost benefit of these programs are huge.

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