Map of proposed KXL pipeline route over American aquifers
It's difficult to name an issue that is more fundamental to humankind than a functional global environment. In American society, it would be even more difficult to find agreement on what can and must be done to ensure that our actions do not render our global ecosystem uninhabitable.
First, it would be near impossible to reach consensus on the central premise, that human action impacts the environment and could eventually damage it to the extent that society as we understand it could not function. Read the rest of this item here
And that is why TransCanada, the Canadian corporation had earmarked $5.4 billion of its $49 billion in assets in the project, which it initially expected to be complete by 2012, with plans presently to invest $7 billion total, pending approval by President Barack Obama. Because the pipeline would cross an international border, President Obama has sole authority to accept or reject the deal during his administration. Read the rest of this item here
The claim of Keystone XL supporters that has drawn the most scrutiny and criticism, and one of the most repeated, is the number of jobs that the KXL project would generate. Despite significant, substantiated research that disproves it, a persistent claim -- made repeatedly in many venues -- holds that KXL will create 20,000 jobs in the United States.
Proponents say those 20,000 jobs are just the tip of the iceberg. The Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee insists that an additional 100,000 jobs will spring from the pipeline. The oil industry-funded American Petroleum Institute asserts that those numbers will increase to 500,000 by 2035.
Those who have been walking the halls of Congress to discuss the issue say those claims have little substance to support them. They say the jobs vs. environment trope is an overused red herring. Read the rest of this item here
"TransCanada set out to build this pipeline five years ago, and they still haven't. That's saying something about the efforts of activists throughout the country, in spite of all of the money invested in seeing it happen," Natural Resources Defense Council analyst Anthony Swift says.
"In the southern portion of the pipeline, we saw ranchers, we saw longtime Texas farmers joining with the climate justice activists from Tar Sands Blockade, working to block the tar sands," says Kevin Zeese, co-director of It's Our Economy. "And they did a good job. They slowed it down and made it more difficult and more expensive. And they're effective; a big French investor pulled out because it was getting too expensive." Read the rest of this item here
As paranoid and fantastical as that sounds, it has a surprising level of support in Washington DC. Politicians who collect campaign checks from fossil fuel corporations repeat these crackpot theories as though they were carved by flame on stone tablets. Lobbyists and think tanks whose luxury suites are paid for by Big Oil write the talking points that make up the climate denial gospel.
For a majority of Republicans, that global warming is a hoax is an article of faith. And, like so many zealots, climate change deniers are impervious to contrary facts, no matter how plainly they are laid out. Read the rest of this item here
February 13, 2013, was a very special day in Washington DC. It wasn't merely because hundreds of demonstrators marched in front of the White House to stop the KXL pipeline. It wasn't because environmental activists like Robert Kennedy, Jr., and celebrities like actress Daryl Hannah were among the dozens of demonstrators arrested; as longtime activists, they are no strangers to civil disobedience. Nor were the arrests of veteran civil rights leader Julian Bond and former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who famously said developing Canada's tar sands would be "game over" for the climate, what made this day special.
The remarkable thing that happened that day was the arrest of two people whose names you likely have never heard: Michael Brune and Allison Chin. Read the rest of this item here.
Throughout the years-long "John Doe" investigation into Scott Walker's staff during his time as Milwaukee County Executive, Wisconsin's current governor feigned ignorance: he insisted that he had no knowledge of the campaign activities taking place within his office, implied that he did not know his employees were using a secret email system and private email accounts, and told the press he had no idea that prosecutors had raided the home of a top aide.
Thousands of pages of emails unsealed last week indicate Walker and his staff knew much more than they were letting on. Read the rest of this item here
As Comcast moves forward with its plan to take over Time Warner Cable, their legislative agenda is facing greater scrutiny. As CMD has documented, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable are funders of ALEC, a corporate bill-mill where corporations and state lawmakers vote behind closed doors on bills that benefit the corporations’ bottom line, often at resort meetings where legislators are wined and dined at corporate expense.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable also financially underwrite a large network of state-based “think tanks” that work to push ALEC’s corporate agenda into law. Read the rest of this item here
I spent a day reading Kelly Rindfleisch's emails. They were released as part of the final court proceedings regarding the first John Doe, the closed-door, criminal investigation of Scott Walker's staff during his time as Milwaukee County Executive and running for governor in 2010.
One of the first things I spotted left me scratching my head. "Fortunately Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has decided that government in secret is not in the interest of taxpayers." This is from "gopfran" or Fran McLaughlin's email, Scott Walker's former Press Secretary. McLaughlin was given immunity for her testimony in the investigation, but clearly spent much of her time sending around campaign-related emails on the secret Wi-Fi system set up by Walker aides. (Transcript, pg. 53)
Thus began a sordid journey through some 30,000 pages of emails that helped convict six people, but left many wondering, why weren't more people charged? Read the rest of this item here
It's debt ceiling time, and the United States economy is once again on the brink, held hostage by extremists hell-bent on forcing cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Oh, wait. That was last year.
In 2014, for the first time in three years, the vote to extend the nation's debt ceiling did not bring the United States to the brink of default in a high-stakes game of slash and burn.
Last week, the House voted to raise the government's borrowing limit until March 2015 without any conditions. In fact, if the Speaker had his way, he would have tied the vote to the repeal of cuts to military retirement pensions. The Senate concurred, sending a clean debt ceiling bill to the President's desk. Read the rest of this item here
An order from the Wisconsin Supreme Court halting the John Doe campaign finance investigation would directly affect the same organizations that helped put four of the justices on the bench, calling into question whether any of those justices can be impartial.
On February 7, two unnamed petitioners filed a motion for an original action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, asking the justices to halt the John Doe criminal investigation into possible campaign finance violations during the state's 2011 and 2012 recall election. The names of the petitioners and the court filings are not public, but if the Court accepts the motion for an original action -- meaning the Court takes the case directly, rather than having it advance through the lower courts -- the court's four-justice conservative majority could have the power to halt a criminal investigation into groups that have played a key role in getting those same justices elected. Read the rest of this item here.
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EXPOSED: America's Highest Paid Government Workers*
*They're not who you think they are
Lavish salaries. Platinum health care and retirement plans. Job security despite massive screw ups. These are the hallmarks of America’s highest paid “government workers” – and they cost taxpayers millions of dollars. But these well-paid workers aren’t the local teachers, social workers and corrections officers that Americans were told are responsible for state and local budget woes. Rather, they are the corporate executives who worked hard to privatize public services and who use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves with outlandish salaries and benefits.
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) recently denounced false claims filed in federal court by Eric O’Keefe and Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG) who are seeking to derail a bipartisan, multi-county criminal investigation into their electoral activities. Executive Director Lisa Graves believes CMD has been targeted as part of an effort to discredit the organization and its thoroughly documented investigative reporting about O’Keefe/WCFG, Citizens for a Strong America, David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and other groups.
Newly-unsealed court documents and media leaks add to a growing body of evidence that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign is at the center of a wide-ranging secret probe into campaign finance violations during the state's contentious 2011 and 2012 recall elections.
A secret court ruling in the "John Doe" probe into campaign finance violations during Wisconsin's 2011 and 2012 recall elections could have implications well beyond the investigation -- if news reports from anonymous sources are accurate. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal editorial board reported that Wisconsin Judge Gregory Peterson had quashed subpoenas issued to Wisconsin Club for Growth and Citizens for a Strong America in the closed-door John Doe criminal investigation.
SourceWatch.org is an interactive wiki website that depends on readers like you to improve content. If you want to help us grow SourceWatch with well documented research and become a volunteer editor, click here for more information.
Excerpt from a longer SourceWatch article on Ag-gag laws:
Ag-gag laws are laws intended to prevent whistleblowers from exposing animal cruelty on farms. Reporters have noted that some of these laws could also be used to criminalize anti-fracking activists, or those who protest the drilling of shale oil and gas using the radical and polluting hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" technique. The term "ag gag" for the laws was coined by Mark Bittman in an April 2011 New York Times column. Bills to ban photographing or videotaping animal enterprises without the owners' or managers' consent or to restrict investigation of animal cruelty or safety were proposed or are active in Idaho (passed, signed),Arizona,Indiana and New Hampshire in 2014.
Idaho Ag-Gag Commercial by HSUS
On February 10, 2014, Sen. Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls) and Rep. Gayle Batt (R-11) introduced S1337, "to provide for the crime of interference with agricultural production," punishable by up to a year in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, along with restitution to the agricultural facility, and "declaring an emergency." The bill passed the Senate on February 14 and the House on February 26 and was signed by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter on February 28. Idaho therefore became the seventh state to criminalize reporting on animal abuse and safety violations inside livestock facilities via hidden camera.
The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Patrick, compared those attempting to record animal cruelty and food safety violations to "marauding invaders centuries ago who swarmed into foreign territory and destroyed crops to starve foes into submission."
Mercy for Animals executive director Nathan Runkle said upon S1337 becoming law, "This is a sad day for animals, consumers, the constitution, and the media… Idaho's flawed and misdirected new law will now throw shut the doors to industrial factory farms and allow animal abuse, environmental violations, and food contamination to flourish undetected, unchallenged, and unaddressed."
Recently, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of the award-winning ALECexposed.org, launched OutsourcingAmericaExposed.org, a web resource devoted to helping taxpayers identify the corporations seeking to privatize public assets and services in their communities: including their schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, court systems, and more.
Outsourcing America Exposed
CMD has unveiled corporate profiles of America’s most notorious corporations that are quietly working with state and local lawmakers to take over public services with little accountability, along with in-depth examinations of the CEOs personally profiting from this corporate coup.
For this report, which focuses on ALEC’s 2013 legislative agenda, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) researched five areas: 1) Voter ID and Stand Your Ground legislation, 2) wages and worker rights, 3) public education, 4) the environment, and 5) citizen access to the courts. Research continues on other areas of ALEC’s agenda.
Read the full report with charts of ALEC bills here.
Pete Peterson Exposed: The "Grand Bargain" Hoax
The "Grand Bargain" is a hoax. Find out more about who's behind the push for austerity in deficit hawk America. Learn more about billionaire Pete Peterson and his "Fix the Debt" group.
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