19 Jun

‘Every Plant and Tree Died’

Nation of Change

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

‘Every Plant and Tree Died:’ Huge Alberta Pipeline Spill Raises Safety Questions as Keystone Decision Looms

Kiley Kroh, News Investigation: A massive toxic waste spill from an oil and gas operation in northern Alberta is being called one of the largest recent environmental disasters in North America. First reported on June 1, the Texas-based Apache Corp. didn’t reveal the size of the spill until June 12, which is said to cover more than 1,000 acres. The latest disaster is raising serious concerns about the safety of Canada’s rapidly expanding pipeline network.

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Buzz Off, Monsanto

Paul Towers, News Analysis: Last week, the term “bee-washing” emerged in public conversation. It doesn’t refer to some new bee cleaning service, but to the insidious efforts of Monsanto and other pesticide corporations to discredit science about the impacts of pesticides on bees—especially neonicotinoids—by creating public relations tours, new research centers and new marketing strategies. Pesticides are playing a key role in bee deaths.

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The Terror Diaspora

Nick Turse, Op-Ed: As the war in Afghanistan—a conflict born of blowback—winds down, there will be greater incentive and opportunity to project U.S. military power in Africa. However, even a cursory reading of recent history suggests that this impulse is unlikely to achieve U.S. goals. While correlation doesn’t equal causation, there is ample evidence to suggest the U.S. has facilitated a terror diaspora, imperiling nations and endangering peoples across Africa.

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Despite the President’s Plea, Guantanamo Bay to Remain Open

Ashley Curtin, News Report: Despite the increasing hunger strike, widening protests and a plea from President Obama, Guantanamo Bay will remain open. After a vote in the House of Representatives denied a bill to close the prison, the House instead added a restriction to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 making it all that much harder to transfer prisoners. More 166 inmates will instead remain prisoners at Guantanamo Bay after the amendment passed, 236 to 188.

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Grassroots Campaign Monsanto Video Revolt Brings Fight Against Monsanto Online July 24th

Anthony Gucciardi, Video Feature: With the tremendous success of recent grassroots activism against the mad scientist corporation known as Monsanto, a massive new online campaign is aimed at bringing the fight against Monsanto to a whole new level online. On July 24th (and even before then), we are calling for all concerned citizens, those who just want to eat real food that’s not polluted with GMOs, activists and others to create and upload a video of any length telling Monsanto why you stand against their control of the food supply and mutation of crops worldwide.


Time is Running Out to Stop Student Loan Rate Hikes

Jane Yurechko, Op-Ed: The clock is ticking on student loan interest rates. The rates for federally-backed student Stafford loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. And what has Congress done to help these already struggling students? Absolutely nothing. Student debt now totals $1 trillion, and Congress is still deadlocked when it comes to preventing an increase in the interest rate on student loans. The House has managed to pass a bill, mainly on party lines, that would in fact seriously harm these students.

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Secret Government in Vermont is Bi-Partisan

William Boardman, News Analysis: The story from Vermont, of all places, is breath-takingly simple: the elected city council, in a bi-partisan vote, has decided to keep its law-making process secret, rather than openly address the question of whether a draconian no-trespass law it passed last winter is patently unconstitutional. That’s right, rather than explain why the law it passed is constitutional, the Burlington City Council is hiding behind lawyer-client privilege as if it—the council were some private corporation rather than a democratically-elected local government.

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Jim Hightower | Repeal the Patriot Act

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: Since 2006, Team Bush, and then Team Obama, have allowed the little-known, hugely powerful National Security Agency to run a daily dragnet through your and my phone calls—all on the hush-hush, of course, not informing us spyees. Now exposed, leaders of both parties are piously pointing to the Patriot Act, saying that it legalized this wholesale, everyday invasion of our privacy, so we shouldn’t be surprised, much less upset by NSA’s surreptitious peek-a-boo program.

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Groups Seek Justice Department Intervention in Dallas-Area School Discipline

Joy Crane, News Investigation: Dallas-area students who are tardy or accused of unexcused absences are allegedly being handcuffed at school, forced into court and saddled with fines of up to $500—in violation of their constitutional and civil rights, according to a complaint three civil rights groups filed Wednesday with the U.S. Justice Department. The complaint was filed against four Texas school districts in the Dallas region and against Dallas County truancy courts, where children accused of excessive absences must appear before judges.

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Obama Batters ‘Great Man’ Theory

Robert S. Becker, Op-Ed: A curious path to greatness. Hell, Obama could make history as the first president impeached for the high crime of hypocrisy: winning office as “the anti-Bush,” then governing as “the pro-Bush,” with mixed results on health care, taxes, the environment, gay and civil rights. If Obama’s fate recapitulates Clinton’s, he’d be the first president impeached less for overt crimes against the state than zealous commitment to safeguarding entrenched powers far and wide.

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Froma Harrop | Another Way We Overpay for Health Care

Froma Harrop, Op-Ed: Little victories in curbing health care costs can add up. In truth, they seem little only next to the titanic $2.6 trillion Americans spend a year on health care. So let us salute them. Case in point, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (Medpac) proposes ending a ridiculously expensive practice: Medicare paying hospital outpatient departments vastly more than it does doctors providing the same routine service in their offices.

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