Progressive Briefing for Tuesday, August 21

Microplastics in beer, CNN "fact check" on Medicare for All is bogus, ZInke caught red handed trying to sell off public lands, and more.

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TSA’s ‘Quiet Skies’ surveillance program receives backlash, DHS to further review program’s legality

The Boston Globe recently uncovered a controversial surveillance program conducted by the Transportation Security Administration that has many federal lawmakers and civil rights groups demanding more information about “Quiet Skies.” After the Globe revealed that thousands of passengers in the U.S. were unknowingly being watched and tracked in airports and on flights throughout the country, the office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will further review Quiet Skies.

Nearly three days later, Jake Tapper admits CNN “fact check” on Medicare for All was, uh, not factual

After nearly three days of constant pressure, clear explanations of basic facts, and bit of healthy shamingCNN‘s Jake Tapper on Sunday finally relented to the sheer force of the evidence and admitted that his Medicare for All “fact check” – which aimed to discredit Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) claim that a Koch brothers-funded study showed single-payer would save Americans $2 trillion – was horribly misleading and is in need of a substantial “redo.”

Zinke caught red-handed trying to sell off public lands

Environmental groups caught the Department of the Interior trying to sell off part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, despite a pledge by Secretary Ryan Zinke never to put public lands up for sale.

After massive backlash from environmental groups and the public, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) late Friday canceled all plans to sell off the land. The 1,610 acres of public lands that the BLM proposed selling to private interests had been part of the Grand Staircase national monument until President Donald Trump – in an extremely controversial move – radically shrunk the size of the monument last December.

Beer, drinking water and fish: Tiny plastic is everywhere

Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what’s out there.

Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it’s thrown away, it doesn’t just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces.

Scientists call the tiny pieces “microplastics” and define them as objects smaller than 5 millimeters – about the size of one of the letters on a computer keyboard. Researchers started to pay serious attention to microplastics in the environment about 15 years ago. They’re in oceans, rivers and lakes. They’re also in soil. Recent research in Germany found that fertilizer made from composted household waste contains microplastics.

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