but it’s OK when you enact

. . . but it’s OK when you enact Arizona type S.B. 1070 legislation . . . it camouflages the criminal justice system and everyone, oops – except those of “color” – is happy . . .

 

1 in 3 Black Men Go To Prison? The 10 Most Disturbing Facts About Racial Inequality in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

 

In light of these disparities, it is imperative that criminal-justice reform evolves as the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

READ MORE  By Sophia Kerby / The American Prospect

but our KILLING machine is OK

… This show of hypocrisy allows us to sleep better knowing our athletes are protected as we unleash our military industrial corporate congressional complex KILING machine upon innocent civilians Iraq – Afghanistan – and soon they hope on Iran …

 

 

NFL hits Saints with harsh penalties for bounty system

03-21-2012  •  Washington Post

The NFL imposed some of the most severe penalties in pro football history when Commissioner Goodell suspended 3 New Orleans Saints coaches and the team’s GM for operating and tolerating a bounty system that paid players for hits that injured opponent

challenging these outlandish lies

What is it that prevents us from challenging these outlandish lies promulgated by Mon$anto … Dow … Syngenta … BAS … Dupont and Friend$ …?

 

Outrageous Lies Monsanto and Friends Are Trying to Pass off to Kids as Science …The claims made in a book from the biotechnology industry are laughable. But these blatant lies are passed off as ‘science’ for schoolchildren.

 

 

March20,2012…AlterNet / By RonnieCumminshttp://www.alternet.org/story/154602/outrageous_lies_monsanto_and_friends_are_trying_to_pass_off_to_kids_as_science?page=entire

 

It’s not enough that the biotech industry — led by multinational corporations such as Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, BAS, and Dupont — is poisoning our food and our planet. It’s also poisoning young minds.

In a blatant attempt at brainwashing, the Council for Biotechnology Information(CBI) has widely circulated what it calls a Biotechnology Basics Activity Bookfor kids, to be used by "Agriculture and Science Teachers." The book — calledLook Closer at Biotechnology – looks like a science workbook, but reads more like a fairy tale. Available on the council’s Web site, its colorful pages are full of friendly cartoon faces, puzzles, helpful hints for teachers — and a heavy dose of outright lies about the likely effects of genetic engineering on health, the environment, world hunger and the future of farming.

CBI’s lies are designed specifically for children, and intended for use in classrooms.

At a critical time in history when our planet is veering toward a meltdown, when our youth are suffering the health consequences (obesity, diabetes, allergies) of Big Ag and Food Inc.’s over-processed, fat-and sugar-laden, chemical-, and GMO-tainted foods, a time when we should be educating tomorrow’s adults about how to reverse climate change, how to create sustainable farming communities, how to promote better nutrition, the biotech industry’s propagandists are infiltrating classrooms with misinformation in the guise of "educational" materials.

Brainwashing children. It’s a new low, even for Monsanto.

You don’t have to read beyond the first page ofLook Closer at Biotechnology to realize that this is pure propaganda:

Before we take a closer look at the lies laid out in Look Closer at Biotechnology – lies that are repeated over and over again, the better to imprint them on young minds — let’s take a closer look at the book’s publisher. The Council for Biotechnology Information describes itself as "a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization that communicates science-based information about the benefits and safety of agricultural biotechnology and its contributions to sustainable development."

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a 501(c)(6) organization is a "business league" devoted to the improvement of business conditions of one or more lines of business. The mission of a 501(c)(6) organization "must focus on the advancement of the conditions of a particular trade or the interests of the community."

The bottom line is that CBI exists to advance the interests of the corporations that it was formed to promote — in this case, the biotech industry. While it purports to communicate "science-based information," in fact, that’s not its mission at all. Its mission is to maximize the profits of Monsanto and the biotech industry.

Not surprisingly, CBI is funded largely by the biotech, chemical, pesticide, and seed industry giants: BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow Agro Sciences, Dupont, Monsanto, and Syngenta.

There’s nothing new about corporations lying to the public. Corporations routinely lie to their employees. They lie in advertising. They lie in the lopsided so-called studies and research projects that they self-fund in order to guarantee the outcomes that support their often false, but self-serving premises. They buy off politicians, regulatory officials, scientists, and the media.

Although here we’re focusing on the biotech industry trying to brainwash our kids, CBI certainly does not limit its propaganda to just children. CBI recently contributed $375,000 to the Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law — a Sacramento-based industry front group working to defeat the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012. If passed in November, this citizens’ ballot Initiative will require food manufacturers and retailers to label foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, as well as ban the routine industry practice of labeling or advertising GE-tainted foods as "natural" or "all natural." CBI, the Farm Bureau, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association are campaigning furiously to preserve their "right" to keep consumers in the dark about whether their food has been genetically engineered or not, and to preserve their "right" to mislabel gene-altered foods as "natural."

Clearly, the Council for Biotechnology Information has little or no regard for "science-based" information. But lies aimed directly at kids — under the guise of science education? In our schools?

Let’s take a closer look at the claims made in Look Closer at Biotechnology.

Lie #1: "Biotechnology is one method being used to help farmers grow more food." (page 7)

This statement is patently false.

In 2009, in the wake of similar studies, the Union of Concerned Scientists examined the data on genetically engineered crops, including USDA statistics. Their report – Failure to Yield – was the first major effort to evaluate in detail the overall yields of GE crops after more than 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization in the United States. According to the definitive UCS study, "GE has done little to increase overall crop yields." A number of studies indicate in fact that GE soybeans, for example, actually produce lower yields than non-genetically engineered varieties.

Research conducted by the India research group, Navdanya, and reported in The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes turns up the same results:

Contrary to the claim of feeding the world, genetic engineering has not increased the yield of a single crop. Navdanya’s research in India has shown that contrary to Monsanto’s claim of Bt cotton yield of 1500 kg per acre, the reality is that the yield is an average of 400-500 kg per acre. Although Monsanto’s Indian advertising campaign reports a 50-percent increase in yields for its Bollgard cotton, a survey conducted by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology found that the yields in all trial plots were lower than what the company promised. (Page 11).

The claim that GE crops increase agricultural yields is a blatant lie. Equally untrue is the industry’s claim that it is motivated by the desire to feed the hungry of the world. As the Union of Concerned Scientists points out: "For the most part, genetic engineering techniques are being applied to crops important to the industrialized world, not crops on which the world’s hungry depend." Where does all the genetically engineered soy and corn — two of the largest GE crops — end up? In animal feed, processed junk foods — and school lunchrooms. Precious little goes to feed the hungry in impoverished regions.

One of the sub-arguments related to increasing yields is the biotech industry’s claim that GMO crops are more resistant to pests — hence more of the crops survive. In Look Closer at Biotechnology kids are told that agricultural biotechnology is a "precise way to make seeds with special qualities. These seeds will allow farmers to grow plants that are . . . more resistant to pests . . ." In fact widespread commercialization of herbicide-resistant and Bt-spliced GE crops has engendered a growing army of superweeds and superpests, oblivious to all but the most powerful and toxic pesticides.

What we should be teaching kids in science class is what scientists have been warning for years — that any attempt to increase resistance to pests through genetic engineering will ultimately fail. Insects — and diseases — will build up a tolerance over time, and evolve into stronger and stronger strains. That’s how nature works — and even Monsanto can’t fool Mother Nature. Organic agriculture, on the other hand, utilizing crop rotation, biodiversity, natural fertilizers, and beneficial insects, reduces crop loss from pests and weeds, without the collateral damage of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.

Recently, 22 leading scientists told the US Environmental Protection Agency that it should act with "a sense of urgency" to urge farmers to stop planting Monsanto’s genetically engineered Bt corn because it will no longer protect them from the corn rootworm. Bt corn is genetically engineered with bacterial DNA that produces an insecticide in every cell of the plant, aimed at preventing corn rootworm. Except that corn rootworms have now developed resistance to these GE mutants.

Just as scientists had predicted years ago, a new generation of insect larvae has evolved, and is eating away at the roots of Monsanto’s Bt corn — a crop farmers paid a high price for on Monsanto’s promise that they would never have to worry about corn rootworm again. Scientists are now warning of massive yield loss and surging corn costs if the EPA doesn’t act quickly to drastically reduce Bt crops’ acreage and ensure that Monsanto makes non-GMO varieties of corn available to farmers.

"Massive yield loss" doesn’t sound like "more food" — whether you’re 12 years old or 112.

What we should be telling kids is what responsible scientists and farmers — experts at the United Nations — have been saying all along: Eco-farming candouble food output. According to a UN study:

  • Eco-farming projects in 57 nations showed average crop yield gains of 80 percent by tapping natural methods for enhancing soil and protecting against pests.
  • Projects in 20 African countries resulted in a doubling of crop yields within three to 10 years.
  • Sound ecological farming can significantly boost production and in the long term be more effective than conventional farming.

Lie #2: "Biotechnology can help farmers and the environment in many ways." (page 8)

Two lies for the price of one.

Biotechnology — specifically genetic engineering — helps neither farmers nor the environment, according to the majority of legitimate scientists and economists. In fact, the opposite is true. Genetic engineering of seeds has wreaked havoc on the environment and brought misery to hundreds of thousands of small farmers all over the world.

The majority of farmers in developing countries struggle to afford even the most basic requirements of seeds and fertilizers. Their survival depends on the age-old practice of selecting, saving and sharing seeds from one year to the next. When multinational corporations move into areas previously dominated by small farmers, they force those farmers to buy their patented seeds and fertilizers — under pretense of higher yields, and under threats of lawsuits if they save or share the seeds. Every year, they’re forced to buy more seeds and more chemicals from corporations — and when the promises of higher yields and higher incomes prove empty, farmers go bankrupt.

Compounding their corporate crimes, when Monsanto’s patented seeds contaminate the non-GMO crops of small farmers (because the seeds drift across property lines) Monsanto routinely sues farmers for growing their patented seeds illegally, even though the seeds were actually unwanted trespassers. Further, the company has ruined the livelihoods of small farmers by harassing them for illegally growing patented seeds, even in cases where no patented seeds have been grown, either knowingly or by accident.

As Monsanto and others have expanded worldwide, into India, China, Pakistan, and other countries, the effect on small farmers has been devastating. In India, for instance, after World Trade Organization policies forced the country in 1998 to open its seed sector to companies like Cargill, Monsanto and Syngenta, farmers quickly found themselves in debt to the biotech companies that forced them to buy corporate seeds and fertilizers and pesticides, destroying local economies. Hundreds of thousands of India’s cotton farmers have committed suicide.

And according to a Greenpeace report, poorer farmers in the Philippines were sold Monsanto’s Bt corn as a "practical and ecologically sustainable solution for poor corn farmers everywhere to increase their yields" only to find the opposite was true: Bt corn did not control pests and was "not ecologically sustainable."

Which brings us to one more of the Council for Biotechnology Information’s lies to kids: That agricultural biotechnology is good for the environment.

Study after study, over more than a decade, has warned us of just the opposite. Even the pro-biotech USDA has admitted that GE crops use more pesticides, not less than non-GE varieties. Genetic engineering results in evermore pesticides being dumped into the environment, destroying soil and water, human and animal health, and threatening the biodiversity of the planet.

How about telling kids instead that numerous reports, including one from theGerman Beekeepers Association, have linked genetically engineered Bt corn to the widespread disappearance of bees, or what is now referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder? And while we’re at it, maybe we should remind kids of the Albert Einstein’s quote: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Maybe we should also tell them that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, kills Monarch butterflies, fish, and frogs, destroys soil fertility, and pollutes our waterways and drinking water.

The fact is, widespread use of Monsanto’s Roundup in all agricultural and urban areas of the United States is destroying the environment, pure and simple. US Geological Survey studies released this month show that Roundup is now commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed, where most applications are for weed control on GE corn, soybeans and cotton. Here’s the real truth, from an article published this past week: Monsanto’s Roundup is actually threatening the crop-yielding potential of the entire biosphere. According to the article, new research published in the journalCurrent Microbiology highlights the extent to which "glyphosate is altering, and in some cases destroying, the very microorganisms upon which the health of the soil, and — amazingly — the benefits of raw and fermented foods as a whole, depend."

Lie #3: "Scientists are using biotechnology to grow foods that could help make people healthier." (page 11)

This is the perhaps the most outrageous lie of all. Telling kids that GE foods are more nutritious is tantamount to telling them Hostess cupcakes and Coca-Cola are health foods.

Genetic engineering — of human food and food for animals that humans eat — has been linked to a host of diseases and health issues, including auto-immune disorders, liver and kidney damage, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, accelerated aging, infertility, and birth defects.

There’s a growing and alarming body of research indicating that GMO foods are unsafe, and absolutely no research whatsoever proving that they are safe. And yet the USDA and FDA continue to approve, and just this past month even agreed tospeed up approval of these crops that scientists and physicians increasingly link to poor health.

Instead of force-feeding kids lies in bogus activity books, how about having them read some truthful articles?

The study Bt Toxin Kills Human Kidney Cells says Bt toxins are not "inert" on human cells, and may indeed be toxic, causing kidney damage and allergies observed in farmers and factory workers handling Bt crops. The article supportsprevious studies done on rats, showing that animals fed on three strains of GE corn made by Monsanto suffered signs of organ damage after only three months. 

Or how about this: "19 Studies Find That GMOs Aren’t Up to Consumer Safety Protection Standards" which reports:

It is abundantly clear that both GMOs made to be resistant to herbicides (aka "Roundup Ready") and those made to produce insecticides have damaging impacts on the health of mammals who consume them, particularly in the liver and kidneys. We already know that from the trials of 90 days and less. In looking a little deeper into the info, we found a number of issues that point to a probable increased level of toxicity when these foods are consumed over the long term, including likely multi-generational effects.

Multi-generational effects. Eating GMO foods harms not only our health, and our kids’ health — but quite possibly their kids, too — even if we stop eating them today.

In a recent report to the United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council by Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, Schutter outlines the case for sustainable agricultural practices (the antithesis of industrial agribusiness, with its GE crops and heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides). He also addresses the links between health and malnutrition. In the report, Schutter shows why undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency and overnutrition are different dimensions of malnutrition that must be addressed together through a life-course approach. From the report’s summary:

Existing food systems have failed to address hunger, and at the same time encourage diets that are a source of overweight and obesity that cause even more deaths worldwide than does underweight. A transition towards sustainable diets will succeed only by supporting diverse farming systems that ensure that adequate diets are accessible to all, that simultaneously support the livelihoods of poor farmers and that are ecologically sustainable.

Corporate greed plus a complicit government have allowed for the rampant poisoning of our food and environment, and the demise of sustainable agriculture practices — practices sorely needed if we are going to feed the world’s population, and avoid a world health crisis. And we’ve exported the same misery and destruction to foreign countries far and wide.

Propaganda like the CBI’s Look Closer at Biotechnology has brainwashed many of our kids into thinking that the biotech industry has people — not profits — in its best interests. The book’s claims are laughable. But framing blatant lies as "science" for children in schools borders on criminal.

For parents and teachers out there, here’s an alternate lesson plan. Because world hunger is a concern, because saving our planet does matter, and because better health is a worthy and achievable goal, let’s ask our kids to think critically, instead of accepting at face value "information" attractively packaged by multinational corporations.

Don M. Huber, emeritus soil scientist of Purdue University puts it in terms everyone, kids included, can understand. Huber talks about a range of key factors involved in plant growth, including sunlight, water, temperature, genetics, and nutrients taken up from the soil. "Any change in any of these factors impacts all the factors," he said. "No one element acts alone, but all are part of a system." "When you change one thing," he said, "everything else in the web of life changes in relationship."

This is what we should be teaching the future stewards of our planet.

Ronnie Cummins is founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association. Cummins is author of numerous articles and books, including "Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers" (Second Revised Edition Marlowe & Company 2004).

 

upholding the law as it is interpreted

… I don’t know that COPS believe they are above the law … I do believe they feel they are upholding the law as it is interpreted for them by their corporate handler$ …

 

More Evidence Cops Believe They’re Above The law

03-22-2012  •  http://www.prisonplanet.com, YouTube

Cops think they’ve got free reign to break the law. 

never ending war

… Let us stay as it make us closer to Iran when we start the “next” phase of America’s military industrial corporate congressional complex never ending war … and more war … got it …

 

U.S. general: Delay cut in Afghan war force

-23-2012  •  Washington Post

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan indicated on Thursday that he believes there should be no American troop draw-downs in 2013, leaving the total at the 68,000 who will remain following scheduled withdrawals this year.

they will screw us

. . .Look if corporate can’t screw us at the administrative level (EPA) then they will screw us at the judiciary level  . .  after all they own both . .

 

 

Court Reverses E.P.A. on Big Mining Project

 
 
READ COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE … By JOHN M. BRODER…Published: March 23, 2012…http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/science/earth/court-reverses-epa-saying-big-mining-project-can-proceed.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1332609090-1Igskhu3dVfTCV4vbUG03w

 

WASHINGTON — In a sharp rebuke, a federal judge on Fridayreversed a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke a critical permit for one of the nation’s largest mountaintop removal mining projects.

 

The United States District Court judge, Amy Berman Jackson, said that the E.P.A.’s unilateral decision in January 2011 to rescind the waste disposal permit for the Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County, W.Va., exceeded the agency’s authority and violated federal law. She declared that the permit was now valid, paving the way for a mining project covering 2,278 acres to go forward.

In taking the rare step of revoking the permit, granted in 2007 by the Bush administration, the E.P.A. said that mining would have done unacceptable damage to rivers, wildlife and communities. The mine, owned by Arch Coal of St. Louis, would have buried hundreds of miles of streams under tons of residue.

The agency said at the time it was using its authority under the Clean Water Act to rescind a legally issued permit, an action it had taken only twice in 40 years and never for a coalmine.

Judge Jackson said the action was “a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself” that the law did not support.

She said that the agency had resorted to “magical thinking” to justify its action revoking the permit. “Poof!” she wrote.

The agency said that it was reviewing the decision and that the ruling would “not affect the E.P.A.’s commitment to protect the health of Appalachian communities who depend on clean water.”

 

more holes than swiss cheese …

…If this is actually

signed it will be so

watered down and

full of more holes

than swiss

cheese…

Insider Trading Ban for Lawmakers Hits Obama’s Desk


Read the Article at The Los Angeles Times

 

look in any mirror

… And before we automatically point our finger and blame industry look in any mirror and ask that person looking back at you what he/she does every day which contributes to polluting our water supply …

5 Deadly Threats to Our Precious Drinking Water Supply

 
By Tara Lohan, AlterNet…Posted on March 21, 2012, Printed on March 25, 2012
http://www.alternet.org/story/154648/5_deadly_threats_to_our_precious_drinking_water_supply

If you brushed your teeth this morning or flushed the toilet or had a cup of coffee, consider yourself lucky. Actually, if you turned on your tap and potable water freely came out, consider yourself truly blessed. Because so many of us in the United States are in this situation it can be easy to forget that nearly 900 million other people aren’t so lucky. It can be easy to forget that globally we face a frightening water crisis. And it can be hard to notice that even here in the US there are dire threats to our water supply right now.

The people hardest hit by the water crisis are in developing countries — places it is easy for many world leaders (and the rest of us) to overlook. And even the number of those without clean water — last tallied at 884 million — can be hard to grasp. Here’s another way of looking at it: if you take that number and translate it into the population of developed countries, the people living in the world today without access to clean drinking water would equal all the people living in the US, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia and Norway.

Like our economic, food, health and climate crises, if you’re a person of color and/or poor, you’ll be hardest hit. According to the United Nations, if you are a poor person living in a slum you’re likely to pay five to 10 times more for water than wealthy people living in the same city. And so too, are women disproportionately affected because they are the ones responsible for getting water each day in most developing countries — work that often means hours of difficult labor under dangerous conditions.

In a story for National Geographic, Tina Rosenberg writes about Aylito, a 25-year-old woman who has to walk an hour each way to a dirty stream to collect water for her family — three times a day. Seventy percent of the people in her community have a waterborne disease and even the nearest health center often lacks clean water. When an NGO proposes a project that could bring clean water and sanitation to within steps of her home, Aylito’s response is heartbreaking. Rosenberg writes, "She has never dared to think that someday life could change for the better — that there could arrive a metal spigot, with dignity gushing out the end."

With that sentence, Rosenberg captures the essence of the water crisis; it is about life and death, but it is also about the quality of our lives and our human dignity. Who we are as people is tied to our access to water throughout our lives. From our birth to our breakfast this morning, our lives have been shaped by how much water we have, where we got it from, and how clean it is. And depending on where we live, the water problems we may face will look vastly different — from drought to pollution to poor management.

Here in the US, clean, affordable, safe drinking water faces five threats:

1. Racial and Economic Inequalities

While an international law recognizes the human right to water, unfortunately there is no binding enforcement and in the US there are no laws guaranteeing that you’ll have clean water or that you’ll be protected from water shut-offs if you can’t afford it. One of the areas that has been hardest hit is Detroit, a city that is majority African American. The unemployment rate is 1 in 6 and in some neighborhoods as high as 50 percent. As a result, water use went down too — Detroit’s water utility supplied 20 percent less water in 2009 than it did in 2003.

Usually we think using less water is a good thing, but the city’s water utility saw the loss of water use as a loss of revenue, so they hiked rates. A community already hit hard struggled even more to keep up. In 2006, the number of people who had their water shut off reached 45,000. Unpaid water bills were added to property taxes, meaning that people who couldn’t pay risked losing not just access to clean water and sanitation, but their homes as well.

Elsewhere in the US there are similar issues. An estimated 13 percent of Native Americans lack access to safe water and/or wastewater disposal, compared to less than 1 percent of non-native American households.

The racial disparities abound elsewhere, too. In California’s Central Valley, many Latino farmworker communities have unsafe drinking water, mostly from nitrate pollution from farms and feedlots. As Rebecca Plevin writes for New America Media: 

In Tulare County — where 60 percent of residents are Latino and 23 percent of people live below the poverty line — about 20 percent of the small public water systems are unable to meet the nitrate maximum contaminant level on a regular basis, and another 20 percent of small systems are over half that maximum level, according to the report.

High levels of nitrate come from fertilizers, animal factory waste, and leaky septic systems, according to the Community Water Center. Nitrate levels above state and federal standards can cause death in infants less than six months old, stillbirths, and cancer in adults.

Valley communities inevitably shoulder the costs of this water pollution, de Albuquerque said. She describes how residents of Seville — where the median household income is $14,000 — devote about 20 percent of their income to water and sanitation costs.

2. Privatization

We all know the water we drink comes at a price, but many of us may not think about who "owns" our water. Does it matter if our water comes from a public utility or a private company? Sometimes it may matter a great deal.

The former logging town of Felton, California, found this out when the small company running its system was sold to California American, a subsidiary of American Water, which was then acquired by the London-based Thames Water. In the first year, the company issued a 74 percent proposed rate increase over three years. The town fought back, but within a few years, services had gone down, rates had gone up and residents began to organize. They formed FLOW — Friends of Locally Owned Water and came up with a plan to buy back their water system and have it run instead by a neighboring public utility. They had to convince their neighbors to pass a ballot initiative for $11 million — which meant accepting a property-tax increase of $600 for 30 years. People were so unhappy with the company that they passed the ballot measure with 74 percent of the vote.

A similar story happend in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, when the town decided to sell off its drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 2001 and invest the money in a trust fund to be used for city services. Privatization didn’t end up being the economic boon the city was promised. Tough economic times drained the city’s trust quickly and residents saw their water and sewer rates jump 85 percent since American Water, the largest water corporation in the country, took over. Then in 2010, the company proposed a 229-percent rate hike for sewer services, forcing the city to have to spend more money legally fighting the increases.

Actually, the economic problems of cities is one of things that often draws interest from multinational water companies looking to buy or lease public water systems. Much like Naomi Klein’s explanation of "disaster capitalism" in The Shock Doctrine, companies use a crisis to cash in. But often things don’t work out for the best interest of the city or town. According to a 2002 Century Foundation survey of 245 municipalities, 73 percent of them ended private water contracts because of poor service. And a 2009 report from Food and Water Watch found that out of nearly 5,000 water utilities and 1,900 sewer utilities, private companies–which are beholden to shareholders–charge up to 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewer services.

For some the idea of private versus public water systems may come down to a matter of economics and efficiency — who provides the best service and best prices. Of course, people don’t get to shop around to determine which water company they want: there is one set of pipes in town.

For others, is it a matter of principle and the belief that water, which is essential for life, should be publicly controlled and not run by a company that has its shareholders as its top priority.

3. Aging Infrastructure

One of the reasons municipalities are faced with difficult choices when it comes to their water systems is because a whole lot of our infrastructure is old — 100-plus-years old in some places — and the cost of repairing or rebuilding that infrastructure has become expensive at the same time communities are struggling economically in other ways. The federal government used to pay for most new water projects. Prior to the 1980s, 78 percent of funding for new water infrastructure came from the federal government, but that’s down to only a few percent now. And money once doled out through the Sate Revolving Fund has been drastically cut as well.

It’s all part of a larger privatization push in the last 40 years that has resulted in a fire sale of things that were once part of the commons and belonged to the people.

Currently our infrastructure leaks about 7 billions gallons of water a day — enough to supply 70 million people a day. In 2009 the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure a grade of D- and the current EPA estimate of how much it may cost to fix it is around $335 billion more a year for 20 years, according to Elizabeth Royte in the anthology Water Matters.

There are a number of scenarios on how to get the money needed for upgrades. For one, we can raise rates across the board — usually not the most popular option, but some communities have raised rates on a tiered basis, with those with the highest usage (like the folks who fill swimming pools and water large lawns) paying a higher rate then families who use water for just the basics. The second idea is a federal trust fund (similar to what we have for highways and harbors), where taxes on industries that draw on or dispose waste into the water would help support grants that would be distributed to communities through the State Revolving Fund. This is a favorite of enviro groups, but not so for big industry, which prefers a water infrastructure bank, backed by the Treasury, that would make low interest loans to communities.

Of course the other idea would be to drastically rethink our infrastructure with more water recycling, efficiency, green design, green roofs, permeable pavement, rainwater harvesting and a whole lot of solutions that are being implemented little by little.

4. Licenses to Pollute

 … And before we automatically point our finger and blame private industry… look in any mirror and ask how do my personal actions every day create and add to water pollution …

How have we done in the 40 years since the Clean Water Act was passed? Back when the Cuyahoga River was flammable, about two-thirds of our rivers and lakes weren’t safe for fishing and swimming. Today, the number is around 40 to 50 percent. Better, but not great. Why? Because the law has been chipped away over the years — and it was an imperfect law to start, particularly because of its exemption for agriculture.

Two Supreme Court Cases in 2001 and 2006 created ambiguity over which waterways would be protected and there has been a recent legislative assault coming mostly from Republicans. In the last two years several bills have come out of the House of Representatives — although not passed by the Senate — that blatantly attack clean water laws. The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 basically stripped the EPA’s right to carry out its duties to enforce the Clean Water Act. And there have been calls from Republicans to abolish the EPA altogether.

Investigative reporting from the New York Times‘ Toxic Water series puts into context how troubling this is. Without safeguards like the Clean Water Act we’re in serious trouble. In fact, we need to be doing more, not less to protect our waters. In 2009 Charles Duhigg wrote for the Times:

Records analyzed by The Times indicate that the Clean Water Act has been violated more than 506,000 times since 2004, by more than 23,000 companies and other facilities, according to reports submitted by polluters themselves. Companies sometimes test what they are dumping only once a quarter, so the actual number of days when they broke the law is often far higher. And some companies illegally avoid reporting their emissions, say officials, so infractions go unrecorded. …

Some violations are relatively minor. But about 60 percent of the polluters were deemed in "significant noncompliance" — meaning their violations were the most serious kind, like dumping cancer-causing chemicals or failing to measure or report when they pollute.

Even more shocking then the fact that companies are polluting this much is that they’re getting away with it. As Duhigg writes, "The Times’s research shows that fewer than 3 percent of Clean Water Act violations resulted in fines or other significant punishments by state officials. And the E.P.A. has often declined to prosecute polluters or force states to strengthen their enforcement by threatening to withhold federal money or take away powers the agency has delegated to state officials."

In Water Matters, Jeff Conant says, "It is not merely who owns the water, but who has a right to pollute and exploit it." Right now, we’ve given industry a virtual free pass to pollute. In one example, Duhigg writes about the effects of coal mining where the toxic waste slurry that is leftover after the coal is cleaned is injected into abandoned mines where it can leak into the water supply. He explains what has happened in one area near West Virginia’s capital:

In the eight miles surrounding Mrs. Hall-Massey’s home, coal companies have injected more than 1.9 billion gallons of coal slurry and sludge into the ground since 2004, according to a review of thousands of state records. Millions more gallons have been dumped into lagoons.

These underground injections have contained chemicals at concentrations that pose serious health risks, and thousands of injections have violated state regulations and the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to reports sent to the state by companies themselves.

For instance, three coal companies — Loadout, Remington Coal and Pine Ridge, a subsidiary of Peabody Energy, one of the largest coal companies in the world — reported to state officials that 93 percent of the waste they injected near this community had illegal concentrations of chemicals including arsenic, lead, chromium, beryllium or nickel.

Sometimes those concentrations exceeded legal limits by as much as 1,000 percent. Those chemicals have been shown to contribute to cancer, organ failures and other diseases.

But those companies were never fined or punished for those illegal injections, according to state records. They were never even warned that their activities had been noticed.

5. Dirty Energy

The battle over our energy future is already in full swing. As fossil fuels become harder to get to, will we continue to use more and more outrageous practices to extract them, or will we make the switch to clean energy? So far, as the BP spill in the Gulf reveals, we are still trying to get to fossil fuels that are well out of reach. Oil companies are clamoring to drill in the Arctic; coal companies are using destructive mountaintop removal mining; gas companies are resorting to hydrofracturing (or fracking) shale; and Alberta is being plundered in the dirty pursuit of tar sands.

All of that will have huge implications for our water supply — how much we have to use and how clean it is.

Mountaintop removal mining has buried over 1,200 miles of headwater streams in Appalachia. Communities have seen their wells polluted from mining waste and live in constant fear of floods and spills from waste — like the sludge impoundment that breached its dam in 2000 in Martin County, Kentucky sending over 300 million gallons of toxic sludge into creeks and across people’s lands, destroying the drinking water for 27,000 residents.

Tar sands production in Alberta, Canada uses 2.5 to 4 barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced and has resulted in waste-filled lakes as big as 50 square kilometers that are so toxic they’re deadly to any birds that land in them. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry more tar sands across the US — all the way to the Gulf, where it will be mostly shipped overseas. The potential for a spill in US is big. TransCanada said its first Keystone pipeline which is already operational, would likely spill once in seven years but there have been 35 spills in two years.

And fracking, which has gained notoriety from the popular film Gasland is threatening water quality all across the US — from Pennsylvania to Texas to Wyoming to California. Residents near fracking sites have complained of health problems, water contamination and even dangerous methane leaks. Companies looking to cash in on the natural gas gold rush are also steamrolling local governments. In Steven Rosenfeld’s report on Pennsylvania’s new Act 13 law, he writes:

Act 13 stripped local municipalities of zoning authority to block wells and any related operation–pads, pipelines and processing plants. It imposed a new tax on wells–but only shares those revenues with towns that delete anti-drilling provisions from local zoning codes. It empowers the state’s Public Utilities Commission to invalidate zoning codes that might block drilling, and tells the PUC it must act on behalf of "aggrieved" landowners or gas companies. Similarly, Act 13 gives gas companies eminent domain power to take property for drilling operations. And it imposes confidentiality rules for physicians and health professionals who might treat anyone suffering from a drilling-related illness, and says those medical files are not public records.

Turning Crisis into Opportunity

Much like the climate crisis staring us down right now, our water woes offer a chance to rethink business as usual. Water puts us at a crossroads of food, agriculture and energy. All are areas that need to be overhauled if we are to stave off crisis and get this country back on track. But to do that we’ll need leaders capable of seeing further down the line than the next election cycle. And leaders who aren’t in the pocket of corporations because the water crisis is also a crisis of politics, democracy and economics. And we’ll also need not just elected officials, but people in their communities who are willing to fight back against polluters, against inequality in distribution, and for greener and more holistic solutions to water management.

This is not something we should do; it is something we have to do.

 

who and how is any water declared SAFE

… A far more relevant question is who and how is any water declared SAFE to drink … the answer might surprise you and I suggest cause you to doubt I am telling you the truth … I can only suggest you verify this for yourself …

… The answer is … water purveyors … public and private declare water SAFE behind closed doors without your or my participation …  Just trust us …

 

So, Is Dimock’s Water Really Safe to Drink?

Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica: "When the Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that tests showed the water is safe to drink in Dimock, Pennsylvania, a national hot spot for concerns about fracking, it seemed to vindicate the energy industry’s insistence that drilling had not caused pollution in the area. But what the agency didn’t say is that the water samples contained dangerous quantities of methane gas, a finding that confirmed some of the agency’s initial concerns and the complaints raised by Dimock residents since 2009."

Read the Article

This unfortunately has the potential to become true

… This unfortunately has the potential to become true especially as our “press” heralds the likes of former Az State Senate President Russell Pearce and his racist SB1070  … a corner stone of our current Governor Jan Pearce, Oops,  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer social services policy … and her undying commitment to making Arizona the PRIVATE PRISON state … what a legacy…

"Shoot to Kill" May Soon Be Replacing "In God We Trust" as US Motto

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: "Racist whites are coming out of the woodwork now. The fear of the other – blacks, Muslims, Mexicans – has now become a virulent public cancer destroying our civil society and democratic principles."


Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.