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The Fracking Nightmare, July 3, 2014

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  • Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future.
  • Part 1: Minnesota Town Caught in 'Frac Sand' Mining Rush Wants Answers on Pollution
  • Part 2: New York Towns Can Ban Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Minnesota Town Caught in 'Frac Sand' Mining Rush Wants Answers on Pollution

Residents of Winona, Minn., a frac sand transportation hub, say data from the state pollution control agency is months overdue. The state Pollution Control Agency (PCA) said the data would be released in March.

Zahra Hirji, InsideClimate News

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Jim Fuller

winona3.jpg Winona, Minn. is the first local government in the nation to monitor air pollution escaping from the piles of frack sand being trucked through its downtown. Data was promised in March, but because of a dearth of labs to process the data, the community is still waiting. Credit: Ryan Keene 

Jun 23, 2014 | How much dangerous dust is being kicked into the air from the mounds of frac sand hauled daily across the southern Minnesota town of Winona?

Looking for answers, the community got the state to install in January a pollution monitor for crystalline silica, or frac sand­, the first in Minnesota not financed by industry. Located on a building above a major intersection for sand trucks bound for fracking fields, it's been collecting data ever since.

Zahra Hirji: Reporter, InsideClimate News

Full story … 



Part 2: New York Towns Can Ban Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules

The ruling may lead the oil and gas industry to abandon fracking in New York as Cuomo considers whether to lift a statewide moratorium instituted in 2008 that he inherited when he took office.

Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg

i3I03JbyW.Hc.jpg June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg’s Betty Liu reports that New York State’s highest court ruled that towns and cities can block hydraulic fracturing within their borders, upholding a six-year-old statewide moratorium on the practice. She speaks on “In The Loop.” 

Jun 30, 2014 New York’s cities and towns can block hydraulic fracturing within their borders, the state’s highest court ruled, dealing a blow to an industry awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision on whether to uphold a six-year-old statewide moratorium.

The Court of Appeals in Albany today upheld rulings dismissing lawsuits that challenged bans enacted in the upstate towns of Dryden and Middlefield.

Chris Dolmetsch: Bloomberg News legal reporter, covering NY state courts.

Full story … 

 

Brick by brick

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  • Jeff Bezos' radical vision for the Washington Post
  • After years of shrinking ambition at The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has the paper thinking global domination.

Michael Meyer, Columbia Journalism Review

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meyer-opener-goldbricks.jpg Andrew B. Myers 

June 26, 2014 | In April, six months after her family sold the newspaper it had controlled for eight decades to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth walked onstage in the paper’s auditorium to reverse what had been the signature strategy of her six years at the helm. Since she was named publisher in February 2008, a year the newspaper division of The Washington Post Company declared a loss of $193 million, Weymouth had sought to codify the Post’s identity as a paper “For and about Washington.” While touted as a strategy to leverage the Post’s brand of national politics reporting in the digital era, “For and about Washington” was, in the grand tradition of Beltway wordsmithing, a phrase meant to put a positive spin on a period of retrenchment. 

As a practical matter, “For and about Washington” meant the Post no longer covered stories beyond its circulation area unless they had a direct link to political Washington or a federal government interest. Exceptions were made for impossible-to-ignore events, like school shootings and other catastrophes, but all domestic bureaus were closed and correspondents were called home. Digital growth was certainly a goal, but the deeper logic of the strategy was that the relative value of a print subscriber trumped that of a digital subscriber. Print continued to provide the vast majority of the paper’s revenue, and newsroom employees were told repeatedly by Weymouth and her deputy, Post president and general manager Steve Hills, that preserving this revenue stream was the organization’s central priority and hope for continued solvency. Digital growth was encouraged to the extent that it fit with the goal of continuing to be the dominant news outlet in the DC region. In fact, the Post achieved impressive digital growth and a major increase in its national audience under this strategy. But it was all achieved under the banner of narrowing ambitions, and no amount of Pulitzer Prizes or popular new blogs or experimental infusions of digital stem cells could make up for this paradox. 

Michael Meyer is a Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) staff writer.

Full story … 

Related:

Iraq War Boosters Get Second Chance In Media Spotlight, Michael Calderone, Huffington Post

  • This is the American corporate media at its perpetual game, manipulating public opinion as always, against the public interest-- favoring transnational corporations and transnational investors who don't give a damn about this country, or anything beyond their profits.
  • Report from Iraq: U.S. Invasion in 2003 Helped Set Path for Crisis Pulling Nation Apart

 

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A Modest Proposal to Create a Business for Corporate Parasite Bounty Hunters and Whistle Blowers

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If some companies go out of business, so be it. We have too many corporate parasites and the world will be better off either curing them of their parasitic behaviors or ending them by putting them out of business.

Rob Kall, OpEdNews

Cuppa%20Java-lg%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgJournalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. All reader supported Evergreene Digest relies on reader donations. Click on the donation button above to make a contribution and support our work.

s_300_farm8_static_flickr_com_2_13735406113_555af090cf_n_686.gif 5/31/2014 | We know that corporations often make profits because they parasitize the commons-- stealing assets, like clear water, clear air, uncompensated or treated worker injuries, use of educated workers or use of roads that far exceeds the average human's use.

If those corporations paid for those abuses-- paid to the commons-- then we might not have the budget problems we have and we might have a lot less problems with the environment or workers or other ways that corporate parasitization exploits our commons.

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com.

Full story … 

Related:

Joseph E. Stiglitz Calls for Fair Taxes for All, Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers & Company

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  • “I think we can use our tax system to create a better society, to be an expression of our true values.” Stiglitz says. “But if people don’t think that their tax system is fair, they’re not going to want to contribute. It’s going to be difficult to get them to pay. And, unfortunately, right now, our tax system is neither fair nor efficient.”
  • The Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz on why America’s future prosperity depends on tax reform today.

 

 

 

 

Robbing Main Street to Prop Up Wall Street

  • There is no need to sequester funds urgently needed by Main Street to pay for Wall Street's malfeasance. Californians can have their cake and eat it too -- with a state-owned bank.
  • Why Jerry Brown's Rainy Day Fund Is a Bad Idea
  • Special Project | From the Archives: Bail-Out is Out; Bail-In is In

Ellen BrownOpEdNews 

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jerry-brown-7471-2014_05_07_14_26_24-150.jpg Mandating austerity by sfgate.com

 5/7/2014 | Governor Jerry Brown is aggressively pushing a California state constitutional amendment requiring budget surpluses to be used to pay down municipal debt and create an emergency "rainy day" fund, in anticipation of the next economic crisis.

On the face of it, it is a sensible idea. As long as Wall Street controls America's finances and our economy, another catastrophic bust is a good bet.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her websites are http://WebofDebt.com, http://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.

Full story … 

Related:

Special Project | From the Archives: Bail-Out is Out; Bail-In is In, Ellen Brown, NationofChange.org

  • The new rules for keeping the too-big-to-fail banks alive: use creditor funds, including uninsured deposits, to recapitalize failing banks.
  • Time for some publicly owned banks
  • From austerity to prosperity

Walmart’s latest organic scheme is just part of its plot to take over our food system.

  • To me, the pivotal question that ought to frame any discussion about Walmart’s role in our food system is: Will people and the planet be better off if Walmart grows to control 50 percent of the U.S. grocery market?
  • A Trojan Carrot 

Stacy Mitchell, Grist

grocery-aisle-shutterstockShutterstock

April 25, 2014 | Walmart recently announced that it would stock a selection of lower-cost organic packaged foods. A storm of positive press followed, including two U.S. News columns (here and here) by David Brodwin of the American Sustainable Business Council, who argued that, despite Walmart’s many sins, it was doing good in this case by legitimatizing and mainstreaming sustainable products in the eyes of consumers, investors, the media, and other companies.

I’m a big fan of David’s work, and of ASBC, but I think he’s got this one backward. The story that Walmart created with its announcement was not: Wow, organics have changed. They’ve gone mainstream. (That’s not really news, after all.) Instead, the story was: Wow, Walmart has changed. It’s gone organic. In other words, Walmart is not legitimizing organic foods so much as using organic foods to legitimize its own business model.

Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and author of the report Walmart's Assault on the Climate.

Full story … 

My personal Wal-Mart nightmare: You won’t believe what life is like working there

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  • The president's visiting my store Friday. He won't see how I sleep on my son's floor and eat potato chips for lunch
  • Walmart Prices Would Rise By Pennies If It Paid Workers More Than Poverty Wages

Pam RamosSalon

pam_ramos2-620x412.jpg Pam Ramos

Thursday, May 8, 2014 | When I woke up to see the news, I could hardly believe it: President Obama is planning a visit to the Mountain View Wal-Mart where I work.

But the excitement quickly passed when I found out the store would be shutting down hours in advance of his visit. I wouldn’t be able to tell the president what it’s like to work at Wal-Mart and what it’s like to struggle on low wages, without the hours I need. I am living at the center of the income inequality that he speaks about so often, and I wanted to talk to him about how to change this problem.

Pam Ramos has worked for four years at the Walmart in Mountain View, California. She is also a member of OUR Walmart, the worker organization calling on Walmart to publicly commit to paying workers $25,000 a year, providing full-time work and ending illegal retaliation.

Full story … 

Related:

Walmart Prices Would Rise By Pennies If It Paid Workers More Than Poverty Wages, Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress 

  • If Walmart paid its employees a living wage …
  • Food Stamps Don't Keep Walmart's Prices Low; They Keep Its Profits High

Section(s): 

Ralph Nader Wants You to Join Right-Wing Libertarians to Solve America's Problems

  • The legendary consumer advocate has lost his political compass.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

CJ Werleman, AlterNet

May 2, 2014  | If you’re looking for the genesis of America’s widening income inequality, you can find it in a memo written in 1971 by the corporate lawyer and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. The memo was titled “Attack on American Free Enterprise System” and it outlined ways in which corporations could shut out those who were hostile to corporate interests. Essentially, this memo became the blueprint for moving the boardrooms of Wall Street to the congressional chambers of Washington DC.

Powell named consumer activist Ralph Nader as corporate enemy number one. In the years 1966 to 1973, Congress passed 25 pieces of consumer legislation, nearly all of which contained Nader’s fingerprints, including auto and highway safety laws, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnson said of Nader in an interview, “The big books they [Nader and associates] put out were serious, first-rate journalism. Corporate America was terrified by this.”

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel). 

Full story … 

 

Why are Senate DFLers blocking the toughest payday loan restrictions?

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Unified Republican opposition doesn't help, but the majority Democrats have found it hard to crack down on an industry that charges borrowers 237 percent interest per annum.

Doug Grow, MinnPost

The House bill more strictly limits payday lenders’ repeat business, with tougher checks on borrowers’ ability to repay. MinnPost file photo by Sharon Schmickle

05/14/14 | Efforts to crack down on payday loans in Minnesota could again be headed to “Wait’ll-next-year’’ status.

Yes, the Minnesota House has passed a bill that would put tougher restrictions on operations that charge the state’s poorest interest rates of 250 percent-plus.

And yes, the governor on Monday tried to shed more light on the business practices that operate in the shadows of decency.

Doug Grow writes about state politics, public affairs and other topics. He was a newspaper journalist for 37 years, writing sports columns for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Minneapolis Star, and then a metro column for the Star Tribune. 

Full story … 

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