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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

23 Jul Morning BlogNews

Conservative Democrats Have All the Qualities Of a Dog, Except Loyalty

America's Shame

Forty-three percent of homeless men over 25 are veterans, although veterans represent only 27% of men over 25 in the population at large.

According to a CNN article from 2008, there are nearly 200,000 homeless veterans nightly in America. The majority are veterans of Viet Nam, but an increasing number of Iraq/Afghanistan vets are finding it difficult to find affordable housing upon their return. It's estimated that as many as 500,000 veterans were homeless as recently as 2004, and the Veterans Administration had only capacity to serve 100,000 of them.

Michael Shaw: Reading the Pictures: Bagram: Nobody Here But Us Humanitarians

One of the hallmarks of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns has been the absurd disconnect between what the military showcases for the visual media as compared to what otherwise is happening "on the ground."

The Silent Riot At Bagram

From the did you know file, did you know that the United States continues to operate, and assert the legality of operating, a detention facility that indefinitely locks up suspects without charging them? No, not Guantanamo, which the President has vowed to close. I'm talking about Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, which is not merely a POW facility but which ships in terror suspects from all over the world and confines them in a legal black hole. There is little knowledge of this or outcry about it in the United States, but the prisoners themselves have begun acts of civil disobedience.

The prisoners at the largest U.S. detention facility in Afghanistan have refused to leave their cells for at least the past two weeks to protest their indefinite imprisonment, according to lawyers and the families of detainees.

The prison-wide protest, which has been going on since at least July 1, offers a rare glimpse inside a facility that is even more closed off to the public than the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Information about the protest came to light when the International Committee of the Red Cross informed the families of several detainees that scheduled video teleconferences and family visits were being canceled.

Representatives of the ICRC, which monitors the treatment of detainees and arranges the calls, last visited the Bagram prison on July 5, but inmates were unwilling to meet with them.

"We have suspended our video telephone conference and family visit programs because the detainees have informed us they do not wish to participate in the programs for the time being," said Bernard Barrett, a spokesman for the organization.

The 620 prisoners at Bagram, more than twice that of Guantanamo, have no access to attorneys. The facility is being rebuilt to hold even more prisoners, up to 1,000. And at least over three dozen of them have been captured around the world and transferred to Bagram, with no connection whatsoever to the war in Afghanistan.

This is a blight on our country, we must deal with the human rights and legal abuses at all of our detention facilities, including Bagram. What's disgusting is that the prisoners are more actively engaged in this than almost anyone in this country.

The Military-Industrial CONGRESSIONAL Complex ?

Delay in return of Swat displaced

More than 350,000 people have returned to their homes after the army said it had cleared the area of militants.

But as part of an effort to manage the stream of people returning, no official or private vehicles will be allowed in the region for one day, the army says.

Two million people were displaced as the army took on the Taliban in Swat.

Israeli settlers burn olive groves in ‘price tag’ retaliation attack

Israeli settlers on horseback set fire to fields of olive trees and stoned Palestinian cars in the West Bank yesterday, apparently in response to the Israeli army’s removal of an illegal outpost in the area.

At least 1,500 Palestinian-owned trees were destroyed and two Palestinians were injured in the attack, near the city of Nablus, by about 30 settlers, security officials said. Farmers fought fires late into the afternoon, as fears grew that the flames would spread across the dry summer fields.

It was the most recent example of the “price tag” policy, in which settlers seek revenge by attacking Palestinians for every outpost that is demolished. “The goal is to create a price for each evacuation, causing Israeli authorities to think twice about carrying them out,” the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said.

A settler activist, Itamar Ben-Gvir, put it more directly: “We will not be suckers for the Israeli Government. We will not sit idly by and allow them to remove our homes,” he said.

Paging Erin Brockovich

No one seems to want to admit when American water isn’t safe to drink. Instead, they try to hide it.

For years, U.S. health officials have claimed that although the drinking water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune is contaminated, it poses no danger to Marines or their families. This April, the government reversed itself, saying that its assessment of the water contained “omissions” and “inaccuracies,” and adding that a million people over the course of three decades may have been exposed to the carcinogen benzene in their water.

In the largest petroleum spill in American history—three times bigger than the one caused by the Exxon Valdez—between 17 and 30 million gallons of oil and waste were gradually dumped from Brooklyn’s once-bustling refineries into Newtown Creek, an estuary dividing Brooklyn from Queens. In the decades since, the spill has seeped into the groundwater and now gurgles under a 55-acre swath of the Greenpoint neighborhood.

Why would Hooker Chemical sell the charming Love Canal neighborhood to the city of Niagara Falls for just $1? Perhaps because Hooker had used the canal as a dumping site for 20,000 tons of its waste. When the city built low-income housing and a school on the buried canal and its surrounding land, it failed to warn citizens about the mountain of poison beneath them. Soon, children were coming home with chemical burns, women passed poison on to their children through breast milk, and neurological problems and cancer rates rose sharply. In 1979, the EPA called the town’s miscarriage rate “disturbingly high.” Eventually forced to intervene, the federal government relocated all 800 Love Canal families.

Location Woburn, Massachusetts
Years 1964 to 1979
In the mid-1970s, when children in East Woburn began dying of leukemia at unusually high rates, parents correctly feared tainted groundwater. Since the 1960s, workers at a W. R. Grace & Co. Cryovac food-packaging facility had been dumping waste trichloroethylene, a toxic solvent, onto the ground behind the plant. And Beatrice Foods, which owned a local tannery, was storing 55-gallon drums of waste near the Aberjona River. Seven families sued, and a notoriously loopy trial (documented in the book A Civil Action) saw Beatrice acquitted and Grace fined only $8 million, most of which went to legal fees.
Location Hinkley, California
Years 1970s to 1980s
A small town near natural-gas pipelines in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Hinkley was the perfect place for one of Pacific Gas and Electric’s compressor stations. The company began storing cooling-tower water in unlined ponds, assuring residents that the hexavalent chromium added to the water to prevent rust was safe for consumption. But when the chromium leached into the groundwater, Hinkley citizens began experiencing a number of ailments, including cancers and birth defects. In 1993, with the help of a legal clerk named Erin Brockovich, the townspeople sued and won $333 million in damages.
Location Washington, D.C.
Years 2001 to 2004
Washington’s Water and Sewage Authority became aware that dangerous amounts of lead had seeped into the city’s drinking water. The water authority hid its findings until a 2004 Washington Post article exposed the elevated lead levels. Along with many others, a father of twin boys exposed to the contaminated water is now suing the WASA for $200 million, alleging that problems associated with his sons’ lead poisoning costs his family upwards of $40,000 per year.

The Water Issue - Making the Most of the Water We Have

( My links on the topic fill quite a file. Water - Wealth and Power : Collections forwarded to Blogger

Watch "California Closed" and then help stop the horrific budget deal that prioritizes oil company profits over children and the disabled

Doctor forgoes employer's health plan

A Cowboy's Guide to Life
1. Don't squat with your spurs on.

2. Don't interfere with something that ain't bothering you none.

3. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

4. Always drink upstream from the herd.

5. Telling a man to git and making him do it are two entirely different propositions.

6. When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

7. If you're riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still back there.

8. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.

9. If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around.

10. And never, ever, miss a good opportunity to shut up.

Cowboss' News Items

Cow & Gate baby milk formula ads banned over misleading claims

Listeriosis report recommendations reveal mistakes made by Harper government
It's clear that regulatory changes made by the Harper government factor significantly into the story of the listeriosis outbreak.

Meat plants must report any public safety threats to the government, not just those stemming from positive bacteria tests.

( Did you know that the government no longer staffs meat packing plants with inspectors making routine quality control tests but instead 'relies' on b.s. reports? If they were trustworthy we never would have needed inspectors before. What has changed now is abandonment of government oversight.)

Few meat inspectors mean more 'shortcuts'

Food Safety Newsroom

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