Until last night, I knew nothing about them… but as I attended the F.A.R.M. program (Food Art Revolution Media) last night it was one of the topics that Melinda and Dan Hemmelgarn discussed last night. These laws currently exist in 13 states and do things like banning photographers from taking pictures of food processing plants, or writing articles protesting farms that spray their crops with Monsanto poisons, or just discussing in the public press (and no doubt in blogs like this one) the disadvantages of non-organic farming. The food disparagement movement has major corporate support (Monsanto, Dow, Buckeye Eggs and others) and haul people into court with their heavy economic advantage if the smallest criticism is raised. This has been going on since the 1990′s (a lot of it came out because of films like “Food, Inc.” or the works of Michael Moore.)
Here in West Virginia we are seriously interested in reforming the coal mining industry – whether easing it out entirely or at least improving the pollution of the air and water due to mining practices – but the most important reform necessary is mine safety,
There have been many regulations passed over the years to improve mine safety including inspections, improved methods and both labor and management responsibilites. One year ago today, however, a company called Massey Energy and an inspection system that was basically ignored, was responsible for an explosion in the Upper Big Branch Mine, Montcoal, WV (about 30 miles south of Charleston.)
29 miners died.
On May 24th I’ll be sixty five and another 1st generation Baby Boomer will be officially “Old” (though, because of our cruddy economy which stands between employment and age, I am already retired and at the mercy of Social Security… which my Congressional leadership wants to do away with).
Most of my adult life I have been a liberal Democrat… in college during the height of the Civil Rights movement and the fiercest part of the anti-Vietnam War campaign, as a working citizen through booms and busts in the economy ending in the major recession we are apparently now out of (except in my house… yours too?)… and I voted as a liberal Dem in the past couple of elections. Now I’m not certain that “liberal Democrat” has meaning anymore.
I’m watching the vote as the Republican majority votes on debate rules to defund National Public Radio. So far all Republicans are voting to cut the funds and all Democrats are voting to save the funding. If it keeps up like this, NPR has no chance.
C-SPAN is taking in phone calls during the vote, alternating between Democrats and Republicans, and the trend among callers of both parties is that NPR should keep its funding. Oh, there are a few who are supporting it because they claim it’s the government telling people what to watch (where they get that from, I don’t know.)
There is a new product out called Makena (Ma – Kee – na) which prevents pre-term labor in women who are prone to premature birth. The drug is a form of progesterone, and, for years, has been available to doctors from special compounding pharmacies at a patient cost of $10. to $20. a shot. And it has been pretty effective.
But things can change… and sometimes the change is devastating.
Today people are returning to the Wisconsin capitol building to protest the act of the Republican Senators and the approval they have received by Scott Walker. The organization of trade unions is becoming intense and recalls of some legislators and a build up to recalling Walker (which cannot happen until next January by Wisconsin law) are in process.
Frank Emspak of the Workers Independent News in Madison stated:
“We’ve had democracy by deception here. You’re talking about disenfranchising millions of people, not only in Wisconsin, but also throughout the Midwest, and basically saying that working people, in an organized fashion, have no right to participate in the electoral process. That is what the Republicans are doing.”
Chris Hedges has posted quite a long article in Truthdig called This Time We’re Taking The Whole Planet With Us. It is devastating… not because it makes up a fantasy of destruction, but because it deals directly with the truth. Here are 2 excerpts, but I urge you to go HERE and read it all… then tell your friends and even casual aquaintences to read it… then look at what is being done in Wisconsin and Ohio and Indiana and other places dominated by Tea Party attackers and decide to join the rest of us in doing something…anything…about it (I recommend listening to Michael Moore’s speech from Saturday which I posted earlier this morning.
If only Mount Rushmore could talk! Think what thoughts these great and former Presidents might have on the anti-Union aggression of Gov. Scott Walker and his minions…
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
– George Washington
“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Obama is getting ready to put in his budget cut proposals and it looks like the folks who are going to be asked to hold their breaths and take the biggest cuts are those of us on the bottom.
This from the Associated Press:
Less than two months after signing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans into law, President Barack Obama proposed a spending plan to Congress that cuts funding to programs that assist the working poor, help the needy heat their homes, and expand access to graduate-level education, undermining the kind of community-based organizations that helped Obama launch his political career in Chicago.
“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
– Mark Twain
As I settled in this afternoon awaiting a coming ice storm (the first of these just missed us last night) and curious about what’s going on in Egypt where around 2 million people were demonstrating today for Hosni Mubarak’s resignation (in a speech this afternoon he said he would not run for reelection and would be out of office by the Fall… as you might guess, this does not seem good enough for the demonstrators who want him out now) I wondered what was happening on C-Span 2.