Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mostly good news

Hi.  As the Romney debcle continues, I promise not to send you stuff unless it's newly revelatory.
As evidence or penance, here's a 180 u'ey.   Feel good.  -Ed 
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 8:15 PM
Subject: Bits of mostly good news

 ., in a major decision that could lead to Pennsylvania's harsh voter ID law being overturned, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has vacated the ruling of a lower court which upheld the law.

The Supreme Court has now given the lower court two weeks to determine if the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation can provide reasonable access to photo IDs for residents who currently lack them. If the court finds that the Department of Transportation is unable to do this in time for the upcoming election, then the law will be overturned.

Given that the number of people who currently lack photo IDs in Pennsylvania is estimated to be around 750,000, there is a good chance that providing reasonable access to new IDs will prove to be impossible, and thus the voter ID law will not be in effect this November.


From Amazon Watch:

 Late last week I called Achuar leader Peas Peas Ayui with terrific news: Our long and hard campaign has forced Talisman Energy to abandon oil drilling plans in Achuar territory in the Peruvian Amazon.

“I thank you and our allies for standing with us in solidarity to confront this problem,” Peas exclaimed. “It brings me great happiness to have achieved what we set out to do.”

It's your support of Amazon Watch that makes victories like these possible.
Talisman is the fifth oil company that the Achuar have forced to leave. It demonstrates that together we can stop the destruction of the rainforest. Here's how:

    The Achuar remained strong and united with support from around the world.
    Over 10,000 of you signed a petition demanding Talisman to leave.
    Hundreds supported Achuar leaders' travel to Canada.
    Dozens turned out to protest outside Talisman's offices in Calgary, Canada.

Peas Peas Ayui          

“It does not end here, we have to remain awake.
We ask that our allies do not forget us and do not leave us.”
— Peas Peas Ayui

We cannot walk away now. Peru and Ecuador are poised to auction new oil concessions in and around Achuar territory. In response Amazon Watch is building international solidarity for the Achuar cause, pressuring the Peruvian government to abandon oil drilling plans, and supporting the Achuar's own vision of development with sustainable income projects, traditional medicine centers and bilingual education.

Our combination of hard-hitting international campaigns and direct support for the Achuar is working. Help support an Amazon without oil drilling: Donate today.

For the Achuar,

Gregor MacLennan
Gregor MacLennan
Peru Program Coordinator


Dear Organic Consumer,

We are entering the home stretch of the most important food policy fight in your lifetime. Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, is a November 6 grassroots-powered, citizens’ ballot initiative that has huge implications for the future of food in this country.

This is a battle that pits the people – you, me, moms, dads, rich, poor, young, old - against fat-cat pesticide, biotech, and junk-food corporations who for years have shamelessly manipulated science, the political system, and the truth in order to rack up obscene profits at the expense of your health and safety.

This is a battle that has nothing to do with partisan politics. National polls show that 91% of Americans – republicans, democrats, independents, libertarians - want GMOs labeled.

This is a battle that began on the ground in California and has caught fire, garnering national and international media attention, drawing donors and volunteers from all 50 states.

This is a battle that we must win . . . if we are ever going to have what citizens in nearly 50 other countries already have: the basic right to know if our food contains pesticide-injected, bacteria and virus-laced genetically modified ingredients. Ingredients that, according to a growing number of scientists, are making us sick with everything from allergies and obesity, to cancer and organ failure.

In a few short weeks, early voting begins in California. By Nov. 6, this battle will have been won or lost.

If you eat food, this is your fight. If you haven’t joined in, now is the time.

You take the risks, Monsanto gets the benefits

Would you knowingly feed your family foods that are linked to cancer and organ failure? Absolutely not. Monsanto knows this. Monsanto knows that the FDA has given it a free ride for more than 15 years, allowing its bioengineers to concoct laboratory experiments using you as their lab rat. Between 75% - 80% of all non-organic processed foods contain GMOs. Unless those foods are labeled, you are most likely a human lab rat in a vast genetic experiment.

You take all the risks, Monsanto gets all the benefits.

Scientists point to a growing body of evidence to support claims that GMOs are linked to a host of health concerns. Why didn’t we know this 15 years ago? Because without labels, it’s impossible to trace specific health concerns to their food origins. The FDA conducts no pre-market safety testing on GMO foods, instead relying on Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow chemical to vouch for their safety.

Yes, believe it or not, the FDA allows the same companies that lied to us about the safety of DDT, Agent Orange, PCBs and bovine growth hormone to conduct their own dubious safety testing on GMOs, and then use those tests as ‘proof’ that GMOs are safe.

If genetically modified foods are so safe, why is Big Ag afraid to label them? If genetically engineered foods are safe, why are biotech companies, food manufacturers, and supermarket chains spending millions of dollars to deny you your right to know?

Prop 37 is our best hope – maybe our only chance

It’s not a stretch to say that if we lose the GMO labeling battle in California, we may never get another chance to force Big Biotech and Big Food to come clean about what they are doing to the food that you and I feed to our families. While some argue that we should be focused on a national GMO labeling law, those in the know understand that without this win in California, we don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of passing a nationwide GMO labeling law.

In the past two years alone, more than 19 states have attempted to pass GMO labeling legislation. Yet despite overwhelming bipartisan public support, every one of those efforts has failed. Why? Because powerful agribusiness lobbyists have corrupted the political process.

A federal bill? Forget it. More than a million people signed a petition to the FDA demanding it act on GMO labeling – more than any other FDA petition in history – yet your guys and gals in Washington have failed to act. As long as former Monsanto guns like Tom Vilsack and Michael Taylor hold key government positions and powerful influence, there will be no federal GMO labeling law.

As California goes, so goes the nation

Major food companies have already conceded that if we pass Prop 37 in California, we may as well pass a national GMO labeling law. If this law passes, food manufacturers will take GMOs out of their products, rather than risk losing sales by slapping a label proclaiming “This product contains GMOs” on every package. They admit that from a production standpoint, it makes no sense to reformulate only the products they sell in California, the eighth largest economy in the world – they’ll be forced to reformulate all of their products for all US markets.

If this law passes, we’ll finally see GMOs disappear from products in all 50 states, just as they’ve disappeared from foods in nearly 50 other countries that already have mandatory GMO labeling laws.

The opposition knows what’s at stake. That’s why they’ve amassed a war chest of more than $32 million – so far - to kill this initiative. Monsanto alone has kicked in $7.2 million. DuPont and its subsidiaries have dumped in $4.2 million, Dow and Bayer CropScience $2 million each, and the Kings of Junk Food, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, have contributed a combined $2.8 million. The biotech and junk food processing industries are running scared because, finally, GMO labeling is going to be decided by the people – not politicians or industry lobbyists.

The battle for GMO labeling relies on you

The Organic Consumers Association and our allied lobbying organization, the Organic Consumers Fund, have been a key player in Prop 37 from the very beginning, spending countless hours, serving on the campaign’s steering committee, and raising funds. OCF has pledged $1 million – money we’ve raised from people like you who are outraged that our elected officials have ignored pleas from the overwhelming majority of their constituents to require mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Today, I ask for your continued support in this monumental David- versus-Goliath fight for what ought to be a guaranteed, basic right – a right we’ve been denied for far too long. The more money the opposition throws at this fight, the more obvious it is that for the first time ever, they believe their science experiments and huge profits – at your expense - may be at risk.

The polls show us leading in California, despite being behind in terms of raising money. But money alone won’t win this battle. It will take a herculean effort by tens of thousands of volunteers to overcome the opposition’s massive advertising campaign, a campaign of lies meant to frighten and intimidate voters into thinking a few extra words on a label will somehow be more dangerous than being a lab rat for Monsanto.

If you haven’t already, please pitch in today using our secure online donation system, by sending a check, or by calling our office to help with the ongoing mobilization of volunteers, printing of leaflets and signs, and outreach to the media to keep this issue at the forefront of voters’ minds.

If we win this battle in California, we win it for all of us. If we lose? Monsanto will grow larger, more powerful, more arrogant, more dangerous. And the quality of your food – and most likely your health – will deteriorate.

This is your fight. And time is running out. Thank you!

Organically yours,

For an Organic Future,

Ronnie Cummins
Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund


Historic Victories for Our Oceans

It's not often that you know you're witnessing history.

But at last month's Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands, that's exactly what happened to CI's delegation. Among the highlights: the announcement of two new Marine Protected Areas totaling more than 2.5 million square kilometers — more than 10 times the size of the United Kingdom!

Protecting these valuable ocean habitats will bring incredible benefits to the people of the Pacific and the species that call it home. Read on to learn more about CI's work in the Pacific — including our efforts to create the Pacific Oceanscape, the most ambitious conservation plan in history.


From Daily Kos

WI-Sen: Two different polls have good news in the Wisconsin Senate race, where previous polls following the GOP primary have all given Republican ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson a lead. Both of the polls giving Dem Tammy Baldwin the lead are Democratic- sponsored polls, though, so keep that caveat in mind. One is a poll from the Feldman Group for the Baldwin campaign; they give her a 50-45 lead. (They also give us trendlines by way of reference to an August poll which, naturally, they didn't release, seeing it had Baldwin trailing 50-44.)

I'd be a little skeptical, but we've got confirmation from a good second source: PPP, though here it's on behalf of DFA, rather than on their own accord. This poll puts Baldwin ahead of Thompson 48- 45, though it has one very surprising result: Baldwin is actually running ahead of Barack Obama, who's leading Mitt Romney 49-48. (I'm having trouble visualizing what a Romney/Baldwin voter looks like.) This poll gives Thompson terrible 40/53 favorables, so more so than a convention bounce, this may reflect that steady ads hitting Thompson on his DC-insider-ness by third-party groups may be taking a toll. At any rate, we'll get some more confirmation later this week, from both PPP again (this time on their own) and from Marquette Law.

Also a potential explanation for Thompson's sudden reversal of fortune: his campaign has been unusually quiet for the last few weeks, while Baldwin's has been highly active. The Wisconsin State Journal calculates that Thompson has only had three public appearances since he won the nomination, while Baldwin has had at least 24 in the same period. You might think the septuagenarian Thompson needs some time to physically recuperate after the bitter primary, but according to observers, it sounds more like he's trying to fix financial damage from the primary, focusing on refilling his coffers. (In the pre-primary FEC report, Thompson had only about 10% as much cash on hand as Baldwin.)

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"War's never a winning thing, Charlie.  You just lose all the time, and the one who loses last asks for terms.  All I remember is a lot of losing and sadness and nothing good at the end of it.  The end of it, Charles, that was a winning all to itself, having nothing to do with guns."

    --Ray Bradbury, from the short story "The Time Machine" 1957

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