Sunday, October 25, 2015

PNN Harvest Time

Progressive News Network - Harvest time

Brook Hines Political Commentator
Jennifer Hecker SW Nature Conservancy on FLORIDA FRACKING SUMMIT
Emine Dilek Progressive Press (Publisher/Editor)
Melinda Hemmelgarn The Food Sleuth
Frank Day Panhandle Progressive

1. Environmentalists file Amendment 1 lawsuit
By JennaBuzzacco-Foerster
Naples Daily News
Environmental activists are asking a judge to order the state’s top financial officer to transfer more than $237 million to Florida’s land acquisition trust fund, the latest move in a lawsuit claiming the state misused money available for land and water conservation.
Conservation groups have asked a judge to rule the Legislature violated the state Constitution by spending a portion of the $740 million from Amendment 1 to pay for the salaries and other expenses of environmental agencies, which in the past were funded with money primarily from the state’s general revenue. The complaint also calls on Leon County Circuit Court Judge George Reynolds to require Jeff Atwater, the state’s chief financial officer, to transfer $237 million of the state’s general revenue surplus to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

“This is a long standing issue for us, that we would have long-term funding for conservation land acquisition,” said Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, which is one of the groups involved in the suit initially filed in June and amended in August. “We think it’s critical, and we don’t think the state is doing the job. We think the Legislature misappropriated funds.”
Both the legislative parties and Atwater have filed motions to dismiss the suit.
Amendment 1, a land and water conservation provision sponsored by Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, passedwith 75 percent of Floridian’s votes in November. The measure sets aside one-third of money collected through taxes on real estate documentary stamps to protect environmentally sensitive areas for the next 20 years.
The group had hoped the state would dedicated $170 million to Florida Forever, a state program to buy land for preservation, to protect and maintain conservation lands and local parks. This year, lawmakers set aside $17.4 million, not all of which came from Amendment 1 money, for Florida Forever.
Of the 14 environmental organizations that were part of the amendment’s steering committee, two — the Florida Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club — have joined the lawsuit now challenging the Legislature’s handling of the money.
In a Sept. 8 filing on behalf of the state Legislature, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner, attorneys said the lawsuit’s request “ignores the separation of powers and the Legislature’s exclusive authority” to appropriate public funds.
The legislative filing goes on to say the court has “no authority to redistribute public funds,” and that an order to transfer funds would be “a quintessentially legislative function and violate the Legislature’s long-settled, exclusive authority to control public funds.”
Atwater, in his Oct. 7 motion to dismiss, said his office has no independent authority to draw money from the state Treasury or re-balance trust funds.
“Simply stated, the general revenue fund is not a piggy bank from which the CFO may draw funds as he sees fit. Yet this erroneous metaphor is how the plaintiffs would have the court visualize the CFO’s role in the administration of the State Treasury,” the Department of Financial Services said in its motion.
David Guest, an attorney at Earthjustice, which filed the suit on behalf of environmental groups, said the courts have ruled in the past on whether the Legislature misappropriated money. In some cases, Guest said the appropriation was invalidated or struck from the books. Requiring the comptroller to repay the fund, however, hasn’t been done before.
Guest said the suit doesn’t ask Atwater to set aside money to be spent for a specific purpose. Instead, they’re asking that the $237 million be transferred into the Land Acquisition Trust fund and reserved for uses permissible under the state constitution.
But what is permissible remains in question. Lawmakers said they acted within the law by using money for salaries and other expenses, while conservation groups have said the money was intended to be used to buy more conservation land.
Guest said he hopes the court gives guidance on how lawmakers should allocate money from the amendment during its next legislative session, which begins in January. Environmental organizations, will also be pushing lawmakers to increase environmental spending in the coming year.
“The hope is always that the Legislature will abide by the requirements of the constitution that 75 percent (of voters) told them to do,” said Guest. “We have not seen yet any signal from the Legislature that they intend to mend their ways. One would hope they would.”
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 3.
This is a long standing issue for us, that we would have long-term funding for conservation land acquisition. We think it’s critical, and we don’t think the state is doing the job. We think the Legislature misappropriated funds.”
Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation

2. TTIP: EU negotiators appear to break environmental pledge in leaked draft

The EU appears to have broken a promise to reinforce environmental protections in a leaked draft negotiating text submitted in the latest round of TTIP talks inMiami..
In January, the bloc promised to safeguard green laws, defend international standards and protect the EU’s right to set high levels of environmental protection, in a haggle with the US over terms for a free trade deal.
But a confidential text seen by the Guardian and filed in the sustainable development chapter of negotiations earlier this week contains only vaguely phrased and non-binding commitments to environmental safeguards.
No obligations to ratify international environmental conventions are proposed, and ways of enforcing goals on biodiversity, chemicals and the illegal wildlife trade are similarly absent.
The document does recognise a “right of each party to determine its sustainable development policies and priorities”. But lawyers say this will have far weaker standing than provisions allowing investors to sue states that pass laws breaching legitimate expectations of profit.
“The safeguards provided to sustainable development are virtually non-existent compared to those provided to investors and the difference is rather stark,” said Tim Grabiel, a Paris-based environmental attorney. “The sustainable development chapter comprises a series of aspirational statements and loosely worded commitments with an unclear dispute settlement mechanism. It has little if any legal force.”
The document contains a series of broadly sympathetic statements about the importance of conservation and climate action. But it offers no definitions of what core terms – such as “high levels of protection” for the environment or “effective domestic policies” for implementing them – actually mean.
 The leaked draft document on sustainable development
Last year, more than a million people across Europe signed a petition calling for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks to be scrapped. Their concern was that multinationals could use the treaty’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions to sue authorities in private tribunals, not bound by legal precedent.
In one famous case, Lone Pine launched an unresolved $250m suit against the state of Quebec after it introduced a fracking moratorium, using ISDS provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

US officials maintain that few such cases are ever likely to be brought under theTTIP, which could wipe away tariffs in the world’s largest ever free trade deal.
However, environmental cases accounted for 60% of the 127 ISDS cases already brought against EU countries under bilateral trade agreements in the last two decades, according to Friends of the Earth Europe. Europe’s taxpayers paid out at least $3.5bn to private investors as a result.
Natacha Cingotti, a trade campaigner for the group, said that only a carve-out of environmental protections from the tribunal process could prevent such cases mushrooming after a TTIP deal.
“This new leak illustrates that the European commission is not serious about protecting essential safeguards for citizens and the environment in the context of the TTIP talks,” she told the Guardian. “Powerful corporate polluters are likely to get VIP treatment under it, while the only chapter that could bring strong language to protect essential regulations to build a sustainable future is weak and unenforceable.”
A trade deal is supposed to be clinched by the end of 2016, although the deputy US trade representative, Michael Punke, said on Wednesday that the negotiations had not been moving as “constructively and ambitiously” as planned.
 The promised ‘transparency’ around TTIP has been a sham
Sven Giegold
 Read more

But lawyers and campaigners fear that any further progress around the Miami table could come at the expense of environmental concerns, with the latest round of talks due to close in Miami on Friday.
An EU promise that TTIP would “support our climate targets, for example by promoting trade and investment in green goods and services” has already been thrown into doubt by the leak of a draft energy chapter last May. In it, Europe’s negotiators pushed for “a legally binding commitment in the TTIP guaranteeing the free export of crude oil and gas resources”.
By comparison, “sustainable development is being treated like an appendage or unwanted stepchild,” Grabiel said. “The unequal treatment of sustainable development cannot be reconciled with the EU policy objectives in this area.”

3.TPP, the Export Import Bank (ExIm) and .....

Is the House of Representatives vote on the re-authorization of Export Import bank going to take place on Tuesday October 26, 2015?

The re-authorization of the Export Import Bank cleverly maneuvers Congressional votes to be in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership whenever the TPP voting takes place. 

I was disheartened to discover a few days ago that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) as a whole has assisted in the first steps for re-authorization of the Export Import Bank. (ExIm)

This is similar to the linkage of AGOA, TAA, in spite of the objections of the Congressional Black Caucus, during the multiple Trade Promotion Authority debates and voting in Congress. (See references below)

Do they (CBC) actually believe that the power elite will finally provide assistance to their downtrodden constituents? Most likely they are at the funding trough for their personal gain - ready to glide through the revolving door themselves - all the while pretending to not understand the disastrous implications of their actions. 

The Export Import Bank addicts (big business corporate users such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin - both weapons manufacturers) instead of using their own money as the loans to foreign countries have made use of U.S. taxpayer guaranteed loans. (Hello Occupy!)

The likes of GE (another "defense contractor") threatens to move even more jobs overseas if ExIm is not put back in place. (GE should be spanked now that they are a real boy.)

4.What Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden
The former secretary of state attacked the NSA whistleblower without bothering to get her facts straight.
Hillary Clinton is wrong about Edward Snowden. Again.
The presidential candidate and former secretary of state insisted during the recent Democratic debate that Snowden should have remained in the United States to voice his concerns about government spying on U.S. citizens. Instead, she claimed, he “endangered U.S. secrets by fleeing to Russia.”
After accusing Snowden of stealing “very important information that has fallen into the wrong hands,” she added: “He should not be brought home without facing the music.”
Clinton should stop rooting for Snowden’s incarceration and get her facts straight.
First, Snowden is a whistleblower, not a leaker. Whistleblowing is the act of bringing to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, law-breaking, or dangers to public health or safety. Snowden did exactly that when he divulged proof that the National Security Agency was illegally snooping on all of us.
Second, Snowden knew it was impossible to report this wrongdoing through his chain of command at the NSA, where he was working as a contractor employed by the consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton.
I’ve written previously about whistleblower Tom Drake, who went through his own chain of command to report an earlier illegal wiretapping scheme by the NSA. Drake went to his bosses, his office’s general counsel, the NSA’s inspector general, the Pentagon’s inspector general, and congressional oversight committees — only to be charged with 10 felonies, including five counts of espionage.
CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, who reported wrongdoing in a CIA operation related to the Iranian nuclear program through his chain of command, was similarly charged with multiple counts of espionage. Now he’s serving 42 months in prison.
The sad fact is that many national security chains of command are overtly hostile to people who report wrongdoing. I learned this firsthand when I spent nearly two years behind bars for denouncing the CIA’s use of torture years after I left the agency. And I didn’t go to any country club. I went to a real prison.
Indeed, one of my former supervisors at the CIA called whistleblowing “institutionalized insubordination.” In other words, employees should just “follow orders,” even if those orders are illegal.
Didn’t Nazi war criminals say that they were just following orders, too? To me, their compliance was criminal.
Third, Clinton claimed that Snowden would have enjoyed protection from theWhistleblower Protection Act if he’d remained in the United States to make his revelations.
I’m disappointed, frankly, that somebody running for president of the United States doesn’t know that the Whistleblower Protection Act exempts national security whistleblowers. There are no protections for you if you work for the CIA, NSA, or other federal intelligence agencies — or serve them as a contractor. You take a grave personal risk if you decide to report wrongdoing, and there’s nobody who can protect you.
Even the federal body that’s supposed to protect whistleblowers, the Merit Systems Protection Board, got itself in trouble in October for suspending and retaliating against its own whistleblower, who revealed that the agency had a huge backlog of cases and was taking far too long to adjudicate them. That certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.
Finally, let’s get this straight: Snowden didn’t “flee to Russia.” Snowden stopped in Moscow on his way from Hong Kong to South America when Secretary of State John Kerry revoked his U.S. passport. Snowden never intended to move to Moscow. Kerry made that decision for him.
Of all people, Hillary Clinton — Kerry’s predecessor at State — should know that.
I get that Clinton doesn’t like Snowden. I doubt he’s too upset about that. But Clinton should get her facts straight if she’s going to take a stand against those federal employees and contractors who take their oaths to uphold the Constitution seriously enough to report crimes against it.
She should be celebrating whistleblowers, not vilifying them and suggesting they waltz into the nearest penitentiary.
OtherWords columnist John Kiriakou is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He’s a former CIA counterterrorism officer and senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

5. Your Internet Provider Is Distorting Free Speech
Comcast thinks it has the right to censor you.
Earlier this year, the Newseum Institute asked 1,000 Americans to name their rights under the First Amendment. A clear majority listed freedom of speech first — before freedom of religion, assembly, and other core civil liberties.
And that makes sense. Protecting free speech is essential to the health of any functioning democracy.
Free speech matters to the hundreds of millions of Internet users who exercise this right every time they connect with others online. But if you ask some of the lawyers working for the companies that sell you Internet access, they’ll insist that it’s more important to protect the free speech rights of phone and cable giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.
In a convoluted twist, they argue that the First Amendment gives these same companies the right to block, throttle, and degrade the communications of everyone using their services.
Did you get that? Comcast thinks it has the right to censor you.
We owe this Orwellian shift in thinking to a growing number of court decisions, among them Citizens United, that define corporations as people and their business practices as speech.
Harvard Law School’s John C. Coates documented this change in a study released last February, noting that “corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment.” This trend, Coates writes, isn’t just “bad law and bad politics.” It’s also “increasingly bad for business and society.”
It was only a matter of time before Internet service providers — or ISPs for short — decided to get in on this dangerous game.
In February, they lost a monumental battle when the Federal Communications Commission adopted strong Net Neutrality protections that prevent providers from blocking or slowing down online traffic and services. By summer, their legal teams hadfiled 10 lawsuits against the FCC’s ruling to undermine the protections it extends to Internet users.
“Broadband providers are First Amendment speakers,” reads a brief filed by one of these ISPs. The new FCC rules, the brief claims, “strip providers of control over which speech they transmit and how they transmit it.”
When it sued the FCC over the agency’s 2010 rules on Internet access, Verizon’s lawyers explained this position in more detail. “Broadband providers possess ‘editorial discretion,’” they claimed. “Just as a newspaper is entitled to decide which content to publish and where, broadband providers may feature some content over others.”
Not quite. ISPs aren’t like newspaper editors — their services merely transmit our speech. A long list of prominent First Amendment scholars agree: Acting as a conduit for our messages isn’t the same as engaging in free expression.
“Whether it’s a phone call, a text, an email, a webpage request, or a video stream the carrier transmits, making that delivery isn’t an editorial function,” notes my Free Press colleague Matt Wood.
Indeed. The framers of the Constitution couldn’t have foreseen a time in which technology allowed more than 2.7 billion people to communicate worldwide via interconnected digital platforms. This exponential growth of speech is without precedent — and it requires us to be clear on who the real speakers are.
As the court case against the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules unfolds, the First Amendment shouldn’t be used to take communication rights away from the very people it was designed to protect.
Timothy Karr is the senior director of strategy for Free Press.
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6.Another Day, Another Massacre
Fear and distrust keep many Americans attached to the very weapons that kill thousands of us each year.
Yes, it’s happened again. A man with a legally acquired arsenal walked onto a college campus. Moments later, 10 people were dead, and nearly as many wounded.
Sick to your stomach? Of course you are. Surprised? Didn’t think so.
Like Aurora, Newtown, and a lengthy list of similar tragedies, the October 1 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon aimed the spotlight on the debate over guns in America. But there shouldn’t be a debate at all.
Arguing that guns are a sacred part of our culture just doesn’t cut it anymore. They’re instruments of death. Nothing else you can own can kill more easily or efficiently.
Guns in private homes extinguish the lives of loved ones far more often than they prevent the advance of an intruder. Children shoot other children. Adults shoot their spouses and their children. Accidental death or suicide is just a trigger pull away.
This, apparently, is the price we’ve agreed to pay to uphold a convoluted interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Sure, there’ll be calls for background checks to keep these weapons away from people stricken with severe mental illness, served with a restraining order, or convicted of violent crimes. But gun owners appear to have nothing to worry about.
After all, who’s going to suggest disarming ourselves completely?
From the Brady Campaign to Everytown for Gun Safety and Americans for Responsible Solutions, no prominent organization purportedly working to end gun violence — actually, they prefer the word “reduce” — has been willing to explicitly endorse giving up our firearms.
Instead, some of them — along with nearly any elected official you can think of — seem to go out of their way to express support for the Second Amendment. “Sensible” gun control, they say, is their objective.
Making it harder for the most troubled among us to acquire a gun would, of course, be a good thing. As would comprehensive mental health care for all, and a ban on assault weapons.
Yet well-intentioned as this strategy may be, it’s cursed with a deadly flaw: There’s no guarantee that anyone deemed a “responsible gun owner” today will still be one tomorrow.
The human mind is ever-changing. And there’s no end to the number of things that can send people into a nosedive — disintegrating relationships, devastating unemployment, unlucky biology, profound trauma. Passing a background check on a given day does nothing to ensure that a person buying a gun will remain emotionally stable for the rest of his or her life.
So how do we dig ourselves out of this mess?
The answer, I believe, lies in confronting the two-headed monster that’s left us in a state of perpetual paralysis.
Fear and distrust lurk beneath our collective psyche.
For example, people who wholeheartedly distrust our leaders delude themselves into thinking that, if properly armed, they’ll prevail in an apocalyptic shootout with the government.
Some gun buyers fear the neighborhood “bad guy” and comfort themselves by fantasizing about winning a duel in their living room. Others fear the aftermath of a prolonged natural (or man-made) disaster where fighting over — rather than sharing — food, water, and shelter becomes the norm.
To varying degrees, the odds would be stacked against us in any of those situations — just as they would be in a mass shooting. It’s only on the front end that we can improve our chances. The sooner we develop a genuinely compassionate and trusting society, the less likely any of us will find ourselves in such dire circumstances.
John Morlino is a former social worker and founder of The ETHIC (The Essence of True Humanity Is Compassion). He’s been writing about gun violence for more than a decade.
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7. The seagrass in Florida Bay is dying, a sign that the ailing bay could be going from bad to catastrophic.
Years of flood control on top of a prolonged drought wilted the bay over the summer, making already hot water twice as salty as it should be. When scientists hustled out to investigate last month, they found miles of dead seagrass: up to six square miles in Rankin Bight and seven square miles in meadows around Johnson Key, a flat once famed for redfish and snook. A cloud of sulfur had spread in water just off the Flamingo Visitor Center, leaving behind a stinky stain scientists call “yellow fog.” It may cover 25 square miles already.
But what really concerns them is this: The last time the bay looked this bad, a massive algae bloom followed. The bloom lasted for years, turning gin clear water a sickly pea green and unleashing a scourge in Everglades National Park that anglers and scientists still regard as a turning point for the bay.
Imagine if a third of Yellowstone National Park suddenly died.
To emphasize the severity of conditions, scientist Fred Sklar, who monitors the Everglades for the South Florida Water Management District, titled a presentation made last month, “Florida Bay Conditions: Another Perfect Storm?”
“I don’t think there’s anything we can do to stop this. The question might be, is there something we can do to slow it down,” he said. “The train is moving and the only thing we can do is put roadblocks in the way.”
Seagrass scientists who began monitoring the bay in 1995 after the unprecedented bloom threatened to derail the region’s $723 million fishing industry are just as worried.
“It looks like this die-off will be every bit as extensive as the episode in the 1980s,” said Paul Carlson, a marine ecologist with the state’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, who investigated the earlier crash. “There’s places where dead turtle grass … covers the bottom a foot deep.”
And it’s not just the grass that’s suffering. In July, when salinity peaked at 65 parts per thousand, toadfish that lurk on the bay bottom waiting to ambush prey died in Rankin Bight, said Chris Kelble, an oceanographer with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
“My hypothesis is they don't swim away like other fish and the double whammy of extreme high [salinity] and temperature just took them out,” he said.
his year’s winter fish counts turned up no freshwater minnows, the first link in a complicated food chain. Sea trout, a fish perfectly engineered to reflect the health of the bay, failed to show in last’s year count. Researchers caught juveniles this year, but in numbers “nowhere near where they should be or where their numbers have been in the past,” Kelble said.
How the bay got to this point is as much about human meddling as mother nature. For decades, water managers have been struggling to undo damage from the C-111 canal, which was built in the 1960s to barge rocket engines from Homestead to the coast. It shifted a vital flow of Everglades water away from northeast Florida Bay.
Another factor also may be at work: climate change.
With models showing a 10 percent to 20 percent decrease in rainfall over South Florida, heat waves and droughts will likely become more common, making water scarcer and creating Florida Bay’s equivalent of a California wildfire. Climate forecasts also call for fewer hurricanes, which help flush out salty water by stirring up the bay.
“It’s just like the fire analogy in the west,” said Ben Kirtman, a climate scientist at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science. “The water managers will have to make decisions based on that.”
And that means the fight for water — and whether to save the fish or keep the farms or both — could become more heated.
“That’s sort of the elephant in the room that we don’t really talk about,” he said.
Because it is such a complex ecosystem, scientists have struggled to understand how to fix the bay. At 850-square miles, it is actually made up of about 24 different basins, divided by mud banks. Each basin has its own distinct level of salinity, influenced by water from the Everglades, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean, along with years of man-made changes going back to Flagler’s plans to build a railroad across the bay and drain coastal marshes in an attempt to lure ranchers to the mosquito-infested wetlands. Knowing the right mix of groundwater and surface water could be the key to keeping salinity in check, Sklar said. But so far, the balance remains uncertain, he said.
What scientists do know is that to avert an algae outbreak, they need to get it right before time runs out. In the 1980s, a massive die-off spread across five basins. Five years later, an algae bloom unfolded. Most likely, the dead seagrass loaded the shallow bay with nutrients that triggered the bloom.
It took more than 12 years for the grass, considered a key indicator of the bay’s health, to begin recovering. The grass also is critical to maintaining the ecosystem: The rolling meadows provide food and shelter for sea life and stabilize the muddy bottom to keep water clear.
“These kinds of things have probably been happening periodically over time,” said Margaret “Penny” Hall, a state seagrass expert overseeing a team investigating the die-off. “It’s not a new phenomenon, but there was a perfect storm where it took off in 1987, probably exacerbated by water management decisions.”
After the 1980s disaster, the state began monitoring 17 spots in the bay, trying to understand what set of conditions might trigger a die-off. They focused on turtle grass, which was hit hardest and grows more slowly, and shoal grass, which can grow faster in harsher conditions. Knowing which grass grows where can give them a good idea of what’s going on in the water. In 1997, as grass began recovering, researchers found the amount of shoal grass had taken over western Rabbit Key basin after the turtle grass died. Overall, shoal grass more than doubled, an indication of harsher conditions.
Over the summer, on the heals of a dry winter that spiked salinity in Taylor Slough, a biologist at Everglades National Park spotted what she suspected was the beginning of a die-off and contacted the researchers who had studied the 1980s event, Carlson said.
When Hall’s team got there, they found two of the five basins hit hardest in the 1980s dead or dying. A third showed signs of trouble.
They think this is what happened: Without rain, the hot water turned saltier and heavier, creating a kind of lid, trapping sulfur in mud and keeping oxygen out. Seagrass can normally tolerate low levels of sulfide, the sulfur that occurs naturally in the mud. But the higher levels caused it to die. Once dead, the decaying grass released even more nutrients and continued the cycle.
“The sulfur is both cause and effect,” Carlson said.
Had more restoration projects been complete, scientists believe the extra water would have helped buffer the harsh drought. But lack of funding, bureaucratic delays and the demands of competing interests have delayed work that might have brought more water south.
This summer, for example, when the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers announced plans to conduct a two-year test on a series of canals, gates and flood control structures to restore water flows, the agency enraged environmentalists by opting for a plan environmentalists say favored farmers. The Corps decided to continue using a pump to keep farmland dry, a decision the Everglades Law Center called as “arbitrary and capricious as it is based on unsupported assertions.”
“We should be doing everything we can to benefit the bay right now,” said staff attorney Julie Dick. The Corps was unable to say whether an environmental study would be done when reached late Friday.
Even with restoration, park superintendent Pedro Ramos said the bay “relies on higher rainfall, which we have not been getting.”
And given climate change projections, he worried that keeping the bay healthy will become only more difficult.
“Things are changing for sure,” he said in a text message. “New territory for everyone, including scientists, and weather seems to just be getting more and more difficult to forecast.”
Recent rain — September had more than 10 inches — may have helped some, but it also changed conditions too quickly. Monitors at Buoy Key show salinity in parts per thousand dropping from the mid 40s to the high 30s in the last few days. Normal ocean conditions are 30 parts per thousand.
But scientists worry the bay is already in a downward spiral — and anglers have long reported seeing fewer fish.
“It’s the largest fish kill I’ve ever seen in the park,” said Capt. Dave Denkert, a guide who has fished the bay since the 1970s and spotted dead pinfish and snapper throughout the summer. “It goes from real salinity to almost completely fresh. It’s extreme one way and extreme the other. It all has to come together.”
When conditions go bad, some fear the fish will simply leave. Already the stock of bonefish, a catch that draws anglers from around the world, are “below the 30 percent threshold considered sustainable,” said Jerry Ault, a University of Miami fish ecologist, who warned that Florida Bay may be a microcosm of bigger problems to come.
“You get to where you really listen to the fishermen because they’re usually the first ones to find something wrong,” Hall said. “They may not know the name of the seagrass, but they know what it looked like.”

Read more here:

8. Group Promoting Peace and Love Labeled As Terrorists, Surveilled by DHS and Police

Missoula, Montana – According to the Missoula Police Department, peace and love are extremist views, and promoting these ideas could be a possible sign of terrorist activity.
The police department received a Department of Homeland Security grant of $254,930 last week, to assist them in fighting the terrorist threat. That threat was apparently posed by “the Rainbow Family,” a large hippy gathering that promotes peace and love.
In the application documents where the agency requested the grant, the Rainbow Family was listed as an “extremist organization” that requires constant surveillance.
Police Chief Scott Hoffman said that the department needed a “mobile command unit” to deal with the Rainbow Family threat.
“It’s a mobile command unit. It’s just like a motor home with communications and computers and radios and things like that. I don’t know what the hazards of the Rainbow people are,Hoffman said.
After the story went public, representatives from the police department have played damage control with the media, claiming that the operation is only to help with cleaning up and keeping the area safe.
When reporters with the Missoulian called the police department for a comment, they were told by Missoula Police Lt. Scott Brodie that the mobile command unit would be primarily for the clean up effort.
“When they have their gatherings, they historically have created a mess that needs to be cleaned up. The command center could just coordinate and speed things up, get it done faster. It’s a coordination tool is what it is,” Brodie said.
It becomes apparent how ridiculous the accusations of “extremism” are when doing some research into what the Rainbow Family stands for. They are a decentralized, loose-knit group of people who want to promote ideas of peace, freedom, equality, and love.
The group takes their name from the ancient Native American proverb that says “When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the rainbow.
Back in 2013, the U.S. Forest Service spent over $500,000 in efforts to police the event and only made two arrests. Otherwise, there were no issues or problems at the event.

9. Hillary Support
1. Foreign Policy
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was reportedly one of the most hawkish members of President Obama's cabinet, pushing for the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan and US intervention in Libya. She has also been a vocal proponent of the same drone war that has led to the deaths of 2,400 civilians. In her recent memoir,Hard Choices, she bragged about having presided over the imposition of "crippling sanctions" on the Iranian economy during her tenure as secretary of state. These crippling sanctions are a form of collective punishment and have benefited thewealthy only, while making life miserable for everyone else. In an interview with Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg in August 2014, she further outlined her views on Iran, staking out a maximalist position on Iranian nuclear enrichment, which effectively opens the door to military intervention. She also suggested that the United States should have done more to intervene in Syria, by, in her words, creating a "credible fighting force," while the lack of said force led to the rise of ISIS. In addition, she vociferously defended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the assault on Gaza. Not surprisingly, her bellicose rhetoric has received praise from neocon luminary Robert Kagan. Senator Clinton's vote in favor of the Iraq war, a vote for which it took her more than a decade to express regret, was clearly not a temporary lapse in judgment.

2. Economy
Her recent foray into vague populist rhetoric notwithstanding, Clinton has long nurtured close ties to the financial sector. Over the course of her political career, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have been among her top political donors, in addition to giving heavily to the Clinton Foundation. In October 2013, Clinton received $400,000 to speak at two Goldman Sachs events and delivered what was described as a "reassuring message" to the assembled bankers. In all likelihood, a second Clinton administration would involve the appointment of industry insiders to regulatory posts in the perpetually revolving door between Wall Street and the federal government. It's understandable then that her friends on Wall Street would be quick to shrug off her halfhearted attempt to shore up her left flank as anything but substantive. Nobody who was genuinely concerned with economic inequity would be hobnobbing with some of the same economic institutions whose reckless financial schemes helped engineer the 2008 economic collapse.
Hillary Clinton has a long history of being willing to serve the interests of large corporations. In 1976, while serving as legal counsel for the Rose Law Firm, sherepresented several Arkansas utilities companies that sued the state after a ballot initiative (sponsored by conservative boogeyman Acorn) passed that decreased utilities rates on Little Rock residents and increased them on businesses. In defending the utilities conglomerates, she argued that the initiative amounted to an unconstitutional seizure of property. The judge ruled in these companies' favor

3. Environment
As Grist magazine reported, during her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton took an active role in promoting hydrofracking worldwide through the Global Shale Gas Initiative. Clinton's State Department, and in some cases she personally, lobbied on behalf of companies like Chevron intent on expanding the practice, particularly in countries like Bulgaria and Romania where there was widespread public skepticism. This lobbying was met with mixed success, as Chevron eventually pulled out of Bulgaria due to a moratorium, while Romania's moratorium was repealed following US lobbying. Since stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton has continued to express support for the practice, which she outlined in a September 2014 speech to the National Clean Energy Summit. She has also remained disturbingly silent on the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline.

4. Civil Liberties
If you have been outraged by the Obama administration's abysmal record on civil liberties - from its continuation of NSA spying, rampant secrecy and overzealous prosecution of whistleblowers - and would like to see a change in the post 9/11 status quo, then Hillary Clinton is the last candidate you should expect change from. In the Senate, she voted for the Patriot Act as well as its subsequent reauthorization. In an appearance in April 2014 at the University of Connecticut, she defended NSA surveillance and chastised whistleblower Edward Snowden, accusing him ofsupporting terrorism.
5. Culture Wars
Clinton has a long history of cynical pandering on hot button social and culture war issues. As a senator, she frequently co-sponsored legislation that would make many on the left cringe. In 2005, she joined a bipartisan group of senators in signing onto the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which, according to the ACLU, would effectively have legalized discrimination. Later that same year, she introduced a bill that would have made flag burning a felony.
In addition, she has an extensive history of anti-video game demagoguery, something that wouldn't exactly endear her to younger voters. In July 2005, shecalled upon the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas over the "hot coffee mod" - a sexually explicit mini-game within GTA. This led to the game's rating being changed to Adults Only until Rockstar Games removed it from shelves. In November 2005, she introducedlegislation that would have banned the sale of games rated M for mature to anybody under the age of 17. Two years later, she again introduced similar legislation in the middle of her first presidential bid.
It's also worthwhile to note that many secular Americans would find some of the company she keeps disturbing. Beginning in 1993, Clinton was a member of "The Fellowship," a clandestine and influential evangelical group, which has recruited many prominent figures in business and politics and holds meetings in gender-segregated "cells."
If you agree with these positions, then by all means, Hillary Rodham Clinton is your candidate. If, however, you want a more peaceful foreign policy at a time in which an entire younger generation of Americans have never known anything other than a state of permanent undeclared war, or if you would prefer to see Wall Street and NSA spying reined in, then you should find a better candidate to support. If we don't address these vitally important issues now and Hillary does become the nominee following a no contest primary, then to get a change in the status quo, we will have to wait until 2020, if she loses (in which case we'd face the terrifying possibility of an ultra-reactionary Republican Party in control of the White House and both houses of Congress), or 2024, if she wins. Neither of these options bodes well for the future of the Democratic Party or the country.
If, as progressives, we simply allow ourselves to fall in line behind a Democratic establishment that smugly mocks us, then we will forever be marginalized and beholden to a political system in which the Overton window is permanently slanted to the right.

via / September 28, 2015 / Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data.
Review of the official Japanese marine monitoring programme reveals that the Japanese government is turning a blind eye to the risks of marine radiation from the stricken Fukushima site.
The strategy it has adopted, with the support of the IAEA, consistently ignores the latest evidence about the way marine radioactivity behaves in inshore marine environments and the potential radiological risks to coastal populations.
This strategy is based on a flawed hypothesis, developed by the nuclear industry through the late 1940s and early 1950s, when both oceanography and the study of the behaviour and fate of radioactivity in marine environments were in their absolute infancy.
As a result, the principal conclusions on the marine impact of the Fukushima event put forward in recent reports from the IAEA, the Government of Japan and it’s relevant agencies, minimise the environmental and public health negatives and emphasise a range of hypothetical ‘positives’.
This is a major flaw because the empirical evidence from ‘non-aligned’ research in the UK is that coastal communities are subjected to highly enriched doses of marine radioactivity through pathways of exposure, and from environmental parameters, which will not be analysed and researched under current Fukushima monitoring plans.
As a result, significant public health impacts of the event will not be documented, nor will important data about the way Fukushima marine radioactivity behaves at the coastline.
11 Nuclear Expert: US West Coast being continuously exposed to Fukushima radioactive releases, it’s an ongoing tragedy — Marine Chemist: Impossible to stop nuclear waste flowing into ocean; “It never will be… that’s what keeps me up at night” — Radiation levels spiked 1,000% since floods

12. “Mystery as scores of dead rare sea animals wash up” in Gulf of California — AP: Dozens of carcasses found on beaches and floating in water — Gov’t experts ‘baffled’ over mass death of dolphins, sea lions, turtles — “Long stretch of coastline closed off to public” (PHOTOS)
AP, Oct 15, 2015 (emphasis added): Mexican authorities are investigating the deaths of 36 marine animals that washed up on an island in the Gulf of California. The federal environmental prosecutor’s office says in a statement Thursday that 21 dolphins, 4 sea lions and 11 sea turtles were discovered at Altamura Island… decomposing remains were found on the beaches and floating in the water… The private island [has] dunes stretching some 12 miles… it’s rare to find so many at one time. Authorities are seeking to determine the cause of death and avoid possible health threats…

AFP, Oct 15, 2015: Four sea lions, 11 sea turtles and 21 dolphins have mysteriously turned up dead on an island in northwestern Mexico, sparking an investigation, authorities said Thursday. [The federal prosecutor's office for environmental protection] said in a statement that inspectors, park rangers and other experts were dispatched… to investigate the “unusual event.” They will collect evidence to figure out how the animals died, the statement said.
he Sun, Oct 16, 2015: Mystery as scores of dead rare sea animals wash up on stretch of coastline — A long stretch of coastline has been closed off to the public after the corpses of dozens of rare sea animals washed up on the beach. Mystery surrounds the sudden influx of dead marine life… Since none of the creatures appeared cut or marked, it has been ruled out that the animals died after being caught up in fishermen’s nets. There’s growing concern over what has caused the tragedy… Mexico’s Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Profepa, has activated a security protocol and tourists have been warned not to use the beacheswhile the water is being tested for signs of pollution and other evidence is collected. A [gov't] spokesman said: “We will be looking at what species are affected, their condition, size, age, physical appearance, nutritional state, health, visible traumas, the time and date, climacteric conditions, state of the sea, topography of the beach and accessibility of the area.”


This weeks guests with our lead Commentator Ms Brook Hines discussing adventures with Florida Democrats

Then we welcome Ms Jennifer Hecker who will give us the heads up on this coming weeks FLORIDA FRACKING SUMMIT in Fort Meyers.

We also welcome Melinda Hemmelgarn (aka the Food Sleuth) gives us her take on the Healthy way to celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Frank Day long time friend of the show brings us the Panhandle Progressives take on what his friends and neighbors are saying about the recent debates (R & D) alike with surprisingly good news for Progressive across Florida.

Emine Dilek publisher and Editor in Chief from ProgressivePress.Net brings us her unique perspective from Europe on all things Middle Eastern, from Syria, Turkey and Libya.

Sunday 7pm Eastern 

PNN Harvest Time Brook Hines & I welcome Melinda Hemmelgarn - The Food Sleuth, Jennifer Hecker SW FL Conservancy, Frank Day - Panhandle Progressive, Emine Dilek Publisher and Editor of Progressive Press and Steve Horn of DeSmog Blog on Energy bring you Progressive News

Progressive News Network - Harvest time
This weeks guests lead off with our Progressive Commentator Ms Brook Hines discussing adventures with Florida Democrats
Then we welcome Ms Jennifer Hecker of the SW Florida Conservancy who will give us the heads up on this coming weeks FLORIDA FRACKING SUMMIT in Fort Meyers.
We also welcome Melinda Hemmelgarn (aka the Food Sleuth) gives us her take on the Healthy way to celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Frank Day long time friend of the show brings us the Panhandle Progressives' take on what his friends and neighbors in the Florida Panhandle are saying about the recent debates (R & D) alike with surprisingly good news for Progressive across Florida.

Emine Dilek publisher and Editor in Chief from ProgressivePress.Net brings us her unique perspective from Europe on all things Middle Eastern, from Syria, Turkey and Libya. (With a comment or two on Hillary versus the Midgets)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

PNN 10/18/15 Rising Up and the Response

Our Guests and Stories
Brook Hines - 7:12pm
Merrilee Malwitz-Jipson 7:30
Prof. Wendy Lynn Lee 8pm
Luis Cuevas 8:17pm
Edwin Enciso 8:46pm

1. Apes asks a child for help  - please free me… in sign language

2. Special Forces had been onsite for several days knew it was a hospital

3. Republican Uncivil War

REP. CHARLIE DENT: The next Speaker should not appease those who make unreasonable demands. There are a number of members of our conference. You cannot get the yes on anything. For them the end will be the good.
In my view it's come time to marginalize those members who don't want to be part of the governing majority.
I've said for some time that in order to pass anything out of the House we need to assemble a bipartisan coalition whether it's on the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling, we will have to assemble a bipartisan coalition. That's the reality of this place and I don't think that any of our leaders should make accommodations to those who are going to make unreasonable demands...
I don't know what will happen. Anything is possible now. It's pretty clear to me that a number of us are not going to simply appease or accede to those who will make unreasonable demands. And so I suspect in order to govern around here we need a bipartisan coalition on all major bills.
If we can't get 218 Republican votes for a speaker, then we'll have to try other options. I don't know what those options are, but I certainly don't want to put somebody in the speaker's job who is going to appease those who are making unreasonable demands.

4. bombing peace rally in Turkey
Twin bombs kill 86 at pro-Kurdish rally in Turkish capital
Reuters, Oct 10, 2015 (with video reports, and with additional recommended reading listed below)
This was the fourth deadly bomb attack in recent months in Turkey targeting antiwar and Kurdish political forces. The Oct 10 antiwar rally in Ankara was organized by the country’s public sector workers’ trade union and other civic society groups, calling for an end to the renewed military conflict between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces.
5. Knew it All along
American special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on an Afghan hospital days before it was destroyed by a US military attack because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity, the Associated Press has learned.
It’s unclear whether commanders who unleashed the AC-130 gunship on the hospital — killing at least 22 patients and hospital staff — were aware that the site was a hospital or knew about the allegations of possible enemy activity. The Pentagon initially said the attack was to protect US troops engaged in a firefight and has since said it was a mistake.
The special operations analysts had assembled a dossier that included maps with the hospital circled, along with indications that intelligence agencies were tracking the location of the Pakistani operative and activity reports based on overhead surveillance, according to a former intelligence official who is familiar with some of the documents describing the site. The intelligence suggested the hospital was being used as a Taliban command and control center and may have housed heavy weapons.
After the attack — which came amid a battle to retake the northern Afghan city of Kunduz from the Taliban — some US analysts assessed that the strike had been justified, the former officer says. They concluded that the Pakistani, believed to have been working for his country’s Inter-Service Intelligence directorate, had been killed.
No evidence has surfaced publicly suggesting a Pakistani died in the attack, and Doctors Without Borders, the international organization that ran the hospital, says none of its staff was Pakistani. The former intelligence official was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Modal Trigger
Army Gen. John Campbell, commander of US and coalition forces in Afghanistan, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on Oct. 8.Photo: Reuters
The top US officer in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, has said the strike was a mistake, but he has not explained exactly how it happened or who granted final approval. He also told Congress he was ordering all personnel in Afghanistan to be retrained on the rules governing the circumstances under which strikes are acceptable.
The new details about the military’s suspicions that the hospital was being misused complicate an already murky picture and add to the unanswered questions about one of the worst civilian casualty incidents of the Afghan war. They also raise the possibility of a breakdown in intelligence sharing and communication across the military chain of command.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said questions about what the Defense Department knew about the clinic and whether it was communicated to personnel operating the gunship would be part of the Pentagon’s investigation. He said President Barack Obama was expecting a “full accounting.”
“As Gen. Campbell has said, we would never intentionally target a protected medical facility,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. “We have confidence that the ongoing investigations into this tragic incident will uncover exactly what happened and why this hospital was mistakenly struck.”
Doctors Without Borders has condemned the bombing as a war crime. The organization says the strike killed 12 hospital staff and 10 patients, and that death toll may rise. It insists that no gunmen, weapons or ammunition were in the building. The US and Afghan governments have launched three separate investigations. Obama has apologized, but Doctors Without Borders is calling for an international probe.
Modal Trigger
The charred remains of the hospital in Kunduz.Photo: AP
Doctors Without Borders officials say the US airplane made five separate strafing runs over an hour, directing heavy fire on the main hospital building, which contained the emergency room and intensive care unit. Surrounding buildings were not struck, they said.
Typically, pilots flying air support missions would have maps showing protected sites such as hospitals and mosques. If commanders concluded that enemies were operating from a protected site, they would follow procedures designed to minimize civilian casualties. That would generally mean surrounding a building with troops, not blowing it to bits from the air.
What the new details suggest “is that the hospital was intentionally targeted, killing at least 22 patients and MSF staff,” said Meinie Nicolai, president of the operational directorate of Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its French initials, MSF. “This would amount to a premeditated massacre. … Reports like this underscore how critical it is for the Obama administration to immediately give consent to an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to find out how and why US forces attacked our hospital.”
By one US account from the scene, American and Afghan troops were under fire in the area.
Nicolai said in an email exchange that the group’s staff “reported a calm night and that there were no armed combatants, nor active fighting in or from the compound prior to the airstrikes.”
Doctors Without Borders has acknowledged that it treated wounded Taliban fighters at the Kunduz hospital, but it insists no weapons were allowed in. Afghans who worked at the hospital have told the AP that no one was firing from within.
The airstrike came as US advisers were helping Afghan forces take Kunduz back from the Taliban, which had seized the city.
The US military’s cursory description of what transpired has changed over time.
Initially, the military portrayed the incident as an accident stemming from the fog of war. American forces in the vicinity were under attack, a US military spokesperson in Afghanistan said in a statement, and called in an airstrike “against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
Two days later, Campbell told reporters that “Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from US forces.”
He added, “An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck.”
The following day, however, Campbell told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “To be clear, the decision … was a US decision made within the US chain of command. A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”
Asked about the location of any US troops on the ground, Campbell said, “We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires.”
His remark did not make clear whether any American on the ground had a direct view of the hospital. Military officials declined to answer questions, citing the investigation.
According to the former intelligence officer, the commander on the ground has told superiors he was in the worst firefight of his career while taking fire from the building, which he said he did not know was a hospital. He requested the gunship strike. In that scenario, it’s not readily apparent why his unit couldn’t have retreated. The hospital is within a compound surrounded by a 12-foot wall that could have offered cover from fire emanating from one building.
The intelligence analysts who were gathering information about suspected Taliban activity at the hospital were located in various bases around Afghanistan, and were exchanging information over classified military intelligence systems. Typically, a decision to order a strike in a populated area would require many layers of approval and intelligence analysis of the potential impacts and civilian casualties.
It would be significant if US intelligence had concluded that Pakistani spies were continuing to play an active role helping the Taliban. The US and Afghan governments have long accused Pakistan of aiding the Taliban, but US rhetoric on the issue has cooled over the past year as American-Pakistani counterterrorism cooperation has improved.
Yet it’s theoretically possible that a staffer at a hospital in Afghanistan was working for Pakistan’s intelligence service. Two days before the strike, Afghan defense officials accused Pakistan’s intelligence service of playing a key role in the Taliban’s seizure of Kunduz.
Nicolai said, “There were only Afghan staff and nine international staff, none of whom were from Pakistan, working in the hospital. There was absolutely nothing that indicated at any level, including at senior management, that any of our staff was working for Pakistani intelligence.”
Disputes within the US government about airstrikes have played out before. In December 2013, the US military’s Joint Special Operations Command bombed a group of people it considered militants, but who outside groups claimed were civilians attending a wedding. Even after the CIA assessed that some civilians were killed in the strike, Pentagon officials continued to insist that all those hit were combatants.
The incident added an argument for some members of Congress who were resisting Obama’s proposal to shift the CIA’s drone killing program to the military.

6. Only Conservatives get to Question Candidates
At the CNN-sponsored Republican Party debate last month at the Reagan Library, one of the three panelistsCNN selected to question the candidates was conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, affiliated with the proudly right-wing Salem Radio Network.
But at Tuesday’s upcoming Democratic Party debate,CNN is not planning to include a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.
It’s clear that who gets to pose questions has impact on the tenor of the debate. For example, Hewitt used September’s Republican debate to declare that President Obama’s “knees buckled” over Syria and that every Republican candidate was “more qualified than” Hillary Clinton. Hewitt pressed Jeb Bush from the right over his comment about making sure guns are not in the hands of the mentally ill: “Where does it go from what you said last week, how far into people’s lives to take guns away from them?” (Hewitt’s appearance on the CNNpanel is reportedly part of an agreement by which CNN and the right-wingSalem Media company are teaming up on three GOP presidential debates.)
At CNN‘s Republican debate last month, along with Hewitt, the panel was composed of two journalists CNN presents as neutral or objective: CNN anchorJake Tapper and CNN correspondent Dana Bash.
At CNN‘s upcoming Democratic debate, the panel is to be composed of four journalists CNN presents as neutral: CNN‘s Bash and three CNN anchors (Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Espanol.)
Glaringly missing from this proposed lineup is an unabashed progressive advocate.
There are many qualified journalists for this seat—from respected progressive media institutions that haven’t taken sides in the Democratic primaries (likeThe Nation or Mother Jones, to name just two).
For the sake of basic fairness and balance, CNN should add to its panel an unapologetic progressive for Tuesday’s debate.
Please call on CNN to bring in a progressive perspective to its Democratic debate, just as its Republican debates include a conservative.
You can send messages to CNN here (or on Twitter @CNN). Feel free to leave a copy of your message to CNN in comments. Remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

PNN- Florida Voices and the Silence

Progressive News Network  - 10/11/15
RWS News Director & Producer
Brook Hines, Political Commentator, 
Sr. Democrat Florida House Mark Pafford
Professor Mickey Huff Director Project Censored


1. Dramatic increases in exposure to toxic chemicals in the last four decades 
Date:October 1, 2015
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Dramatic increases in exposure to toxic chemicals in the last four decades are threatening human reproduction and health, according to experts. Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals is linked to millions of deaths and costs billions of dollars every year, according to the authors. 

Miscarriage and still birth, impaired fetal growth, congenital malformations, impaired or reduced neurodevelopment and cognitive function, and an increase in cancer, attention problems, ADHD behaviors and hyperactivity are among the list of poor health outcomes linked to chemicals such as pesticides, air pollutants, plastics, solvents and more, according to the expert opinion.

Dramatic increases in exposure to toxic chemicals in the last four decades are threatening human reproduction and health, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the first global reproductive health organization to take a stand on human exposure to toxic chemicals.
The opinion was written by obstetrician-gynecologists and scientists from the major global, US, UK and Canadian reproductive health professional societies, the World Health Organization and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
FIGO, which represents obstetricians from 125 countries and territories, published the opinion in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics on Oct. 1, 2015, just prior to its Oct. 4 to 9, 2015, world congress in Vancouver, BC, where more than 7,000 clinicians and scientists will explore global trends in women's health issues.
"We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals, and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern," said Gian Carlo Di Renzo, MD, PhD, Honorary Secretary of FIGO and lead author of the FIGO opinion. According to Di Renzo, reproductive health professionals "witness first-hand the increasing numbers of health problems facing their patients, and preventing exposure to toxic chemicals can reduce this burden on women, children and families around the world."
Miscarriage and still birth, impaired fetal growth, congenital malformations, impaired or reduced neurodevelopment and cognitive function, and an increase in cancer, attention problems, ADHD behaviors and hyperactivity are among the list of poor health outcomes linked to chemicals such as pesticides, air pollutants, plastics, solvents and more, according to the FIGO opinion.
"What FIGO is saying is that physicians need to do more than simply advise patients about the health risks of chemical exposure," said Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, a co-author of the FIGO opinion and past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which issued an opinion on chemicals and reproductive health in 2013. "We need to advocate for policies that will protect our patients and communities from the dangers of involuntary exposure to toxic chemicals."
Chemical manufacturing is expected to grow fastest in developing countries in the next five years, according to FIGO. In the U.S. alone, more than 30,000 pounds of chemicals per person are manufactured or imported, and yet the vast majority of these chemicals have not been tested. Chemicals travel the globe via international trade agreements, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. Environmental and health groups have criticized the proposed agreement for weakening controls and regulations designed to protect communities from toxic chemicals.
"Exposure to chemicals in the air, food and water supplies disproportionately affect poor people," said Linda Giudice, MD, PhD, MSc, a FIGO opinion co-author, past president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and chair of the UCSF department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences. "In developing countries, lower respiratory infections are more than twice as likely to be caused by chemical exposures than in developed countries."
Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals is linked to millions of deaths and costs billions of dollars every year, according to the FIGO opinion, which cites the following examples:
• Nearly 4 million people die each year because of exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution as well as to lead.
• Pesticide poisonings of farmworkers in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to cost $66 billion between 2005-2020.
• Health care and other costs from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in Europe are estimated to be at a minimum of 157 billion Euros a year.
• The cost of childhood diseases related to environmental toxins and pollutants in air, food, water, soil and in homes and neighborhoods was calculated to be $76.6 billion in 2008 in the United States.
"Given accumulating evidence of adverse health impacts related to toxic chemicals, including the potential for inter-generational harm, FIGO has wisely proposed a series of recommendations that health professionals can adopt to reduce the burden of unsafe chemicals on patients and communities," said FIGO President Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, MBBS, who is also past president of the British Medical Association.
FIGO proposes that physicians, midwives, and other reproductive health professionals advocate for policies to prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals; work to ensure a healthy food system for all; make environmental health part of health care; and champion environmental justice.
Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The original item was written by Laura Kurtzman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


2. The scariest Trade Deal nobody is Talking About
The Obama administration’s desire for “fast track” trade authority is not limited to passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In fact, that may be the least important of three deals currently under negotiation by the U.S. Trade Representative. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would bind the two biggest economies in the world, the United States and the European Union. And the largest agreement is also the least heralded: the 51-nation Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).
On Wednesday, WikiLeaks brought this agreement into the spotlight by releasing 17 key TiSA-related documents, including 11 full chapters under negotiation. Though the outline for this agreement has been in place for nearly a year, these documents were supposed to remain classified for five years after being signed, an example of the secrecy surrounding the agreement, which outstrips even the TPP.
TiSA has been negotiated since 2013, between the United States, the European Union, and 22 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and others scattered across South America and Asia. Overall, 12 of the G20 nations are represented, and negotiations have carefully incorporated practically every advanced economy except for the “BRICS” coalition of emerging markets (which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
The deal would liberalize global trade of services, an expansive definition that encompasses air and maritime transport, package delivery, e-commerce, telecommunications, accountancy, engineering, consulting, health care, private education, financial services and more, covering close to 80 percent of the U.S. economy. Though member parties insist that the agreement would simply stop discrimination against foreign service providers, the text shows that TiSA would restrict how governments can manage their public laws through an effective regulatory cap. It could also dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, and turn those services over to the private sector. You begin to sound like the guy hanging out in front of the local food co-op passing around leaflets about One World Government when you talk about TiSA, but it really would clear the way for further corporate domination over sovereign countries and their citizens.
Reading the texts (here’s an example, the annex on air transport services) makes you realize the challenge for members of Congress or interested parties to comprehend a trade agreement while in negotiation. The “bracketed” text includes each country’s offer, merged into one document, with notations on whether the country proposed, is considering, or opposes each specific provision. You need to either be a trade lawyer or a very alert reader to know what’s going on. But between the text and a series of analyses released by WikiLeaks, you get a sense for what the countries negotiating TiSA want.
First, they want to limit regulation on service sectors, whether at the national, provincial or local level. The agreement has “standstill” clauses to freeze regulations in place and prevent future rulemaking for professional licensing and qualifications or technical standards. And a companion “ratchet” clause would make any broken trade barrier irreversible.
It may make sense to some to open service sectors up to competition. But under the agreement, governments may not be able to regulate staff to patient ratios in hospitals, or ban fracking, or tighten safety controls on airlines, or refuse accreditation to schools and universities. Foreign corporations must receive the same "national treatment" as domestic ones, and could argue that such regulations violate their ability to provide the service. Allowable regulations could not be “more burdensome than necessary to ensure the quality of the service,” according to TiSA’s domestic regulation annex. No restrictions could be placed on foreign investment—corporations could control entire sectors. 
This would force open dozens of services, including ones where state-owned enterprises, like the national telephone company in Uruguay or the national postal service of Italy, now operate. Previously, public services would be either broken up or forced into competition with foreign service providers. While the United States and European Union assured in a joint statement that such privatization need not be permanent, they also “noted the important complementary role of the private sector in these areas” to “improve the availability and diversity of services,” which doesn’t exactly connote a hands-off policy on the public commons. 
Corporations would get to comment on any new regulatory attempts, and enforce this regulatory straitjacket through a dispute mechanism similar to the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process in other trade agreements, where they could win money equal to “expected future profits” lost through violations of the regulatory cap.
For an example of how this would work, let’s look at financial services. It too has a “standstill” clause, which given the unpredictability of future crises could leave governments helpless to stop a new and dangerous financial innovation. In fact, Switzerland has proposed that all TiSA countries must allow “any new financial service” to enter their market. So-called “prudential regulations” to protect investors or depositors are theoretically allowed, but they must not act contrary to TiSA rules, rendering them somewhat irrelevant.
Most controversially, all financial services suppliers could transfer individual client data out of a TiSA country for processing, regardless of national privacy laws. This free flow of data across borders is true for the e-commerce annex as well; it breaks with thousands of years of precedent on locally kept business records, and has privacy advocates alarmed.
There’s no question that these provisions reinforce Senator Elizabeth Warren’s contention that a trade deal could undermine financial regulations like the Dodd-Frank Act. The Swiss proposal on allowances for financial services could invalidate derivatives rules, for example. And harmonizing regulations between the U.S. and EU would involve some alteration, as the EU rules are less stringent.
Member countries claim they want to simply open up trade in services between the 51 nations in the agreement. But there’s already an international deal governing these sectors through the World Trade Organization (WTO), called the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The only reason to re-write the rules is to replace GATS, which the European Union readily admits (“if enough WTO members join in, TiSA could be turned into a broader WTO agreement”).
That’s perhaps TiSA’s real goal—to pry open markets, deregulate and privatize services worldwide, even among emerging nations with no input into the agreement. U.S. corporations may benefit from such a structure, as the Chamber of Commerce suggests, but the impact on workers and citizens in America and across the globe is far less clear. Social, cultural, and even public health goals would be sidelined in favor of a regime that puts corporate profits first. It effectively nullifies the role of democratic governments to operate in the best interest of their constituents.
Unsurprisingly, this has raised far more concern globally than in the United States. But a completed TiSA would go through the same fast-track process as TPP, getting a guaranteed up-or-down vote in Congress without the possibility of amendment. Fast-track lasts six years, and negotiators for the next president may be even more willing to make the world safe for corporate hegemony. “This is as big a blow to our rights and freedom as the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America in a statement, “and in both cases our government’s secrecy is the key enabler.”


3. Even as lawmakers in both parties and an influential business group expressed concerns about its potential impact on private property rights, the measure passed.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 8-4 to support the measure (HB 163), filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, for the 2016 legislative session. It would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry firearms openly, something the state has banned since establishing conceal-carry rules in 1987.
Gaetz described his proposal as allowing citizens to be “armed with their own liberty.” We’re not sure how they weren’t ‘armed with their own liberty’ while concealing their firearms, but whatever.
His father, Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is sponsoring the Senate version (SB 300), according to the Sentinel.
“I can say that the statements from some of the shrillest voices that oppose the Second Amendment that this will lead to the wild, wild west are unfounded based on any review of the crime data and statistics maintained by the Department of Justice,” Matt Gaetz said.
“What we’re talking about is allowing people to walk down a street with a firearm in their hand — pointed down, not pointed at anyone but pointed down — they can lawfully walk past a bank, past a bar, past a school, not encased in a holster,” said Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Lake Worth) who voted against the measure. “The right to carry a weapon irresponsibly is not a constitutionally protected right, and that is what this bill will do.”
You know who else wanted to live in an Open Carry state? Laurel Harper, the mother of the Oregon mass murderer, moved to Oregon from California in order to live in a state that allowed Open Carry, so she stockpiled firearms because she feared stricter gun laws.
Chris Harper Mercer’s mother bragged on Facebook about the number of guns and assault rifles she owned and argued in favor of laws allowing the open carrying of firearms.
Just weeks after the Texas Legislature relaxed open carry laws, a rifle-toting gunman opened fire in a posh downtown Austin hotel.
In North Carolina, an Open Carry advocate opened fire on his two young children In August. His 3 and 4-year-old sons are dead.
In December of 2014, an Open Carry activist in Texas shot and killed her husband and stepdaughter.

What we’re saying here is, Open Carry activists aren’t the most stable people. We could write a longer list of their transgressions but you get the point.
It’s like Florida lawmakers were thinking ‘There’s another mass shooting. What do we do? I know, call the NRA – they’ll tell us!’


4. Cane burning now the focus of environmental outcry
Oct 8th, 2015 · by Melissa Beltz · Comments
It’s a common sight in rural South Florida during harvest season: large plumes of black smoke penetrating an otherwise clear blue sky. Pre-harvest burning is said to be the most economical and feasible method of preparing sugarcane before it is ready for harvest, according to growers and industry leaders.
Burning the stalks before harvest easily removes cane leaves which accumulate during the growing period. In South Florida, cane burns usually begin in October and last through April. 
The burns are regulated by the Florida Forest Service using rules implemented by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Growers are required to pull permits before each prescribed burn, which take into consideration the speed and direction of the wind on that specific day.
Despite these regulations, some agencies and residents still worry about the potentially detrimental effects cane burning can have on the residents who live nearby. 
The Sierra Club has started a campaign, “Stop Sugar Field Burning,” to shed light on the potential health risks associated with cane burning and to help steer the industry towards alternative harvesting methods. 
The Sierra Club cites studies conducted in Mexico and Brazil which have reportedly shown an increase in particle pollution from sugarcane burning and that those particles have led to cardiorespiratory diseases in rats.
Brazil, as well as Australia, have shied away from using pre-harvest burning in many areas and have moved towards green harvesting, where the leaves are cut from the stalks and left in the fields as organic matter.
But sugarcane growers contend this is not an option for South Florida because of its muck soil and tendency to reach near-freezing temperatures in the winter.
Leaving the leafy material in the fields reportedly forms a dense mat of vegetation that adds extra moisture to the already mucky soil and prevents the earth’s natural heat from radiating upward to warm new sugarcane seedlings during near-freeze events.
As for air quality, Hendry, Glades and Palm Beach counties enjoy some of the best air quality in the state, according to County Health Rankings released by the University of Wisconsin and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
According to those rankings, Hendry County comes in at number three in the state for physical environment, which includes air pollution; Glades County comes in as number two; and Palm Beach County number 24.
But the Sierra Club says chemicals produced during the burns are not monitored in these areas and, therefore, not documented.
Julia Hathaway, organizing representative with the Sierra Club in South Florida, said the organization is trying to participate in community conversation about pre-harvest burning, whether there are other methods that could be used in Florida and what those methods could be. 
The club, she said, is not trying to come in as outsiders to put anyone out of business.
“We’re trying to do our homework. We’re working with consultants to see what would be in the realm of possibility for Florida. Once we’re sufficiently educated, we want to see if the growers will talk to us,” said Hathaway, though she is not convinced the growers will. 
Local sugarcane growers, as well as those who work in the sugarcane industry, worry the Sierra Club and organizations like it are trying to destroy their livelihoods.
Brad Lundy, a third generation sugarcane farmer and member of the co-op Independent Harvesting, said pre-harvest burning is extremely important to all sugarcane farmers because it is the safest and most cost effective way to harvest.
“In our environment there are no other feasible methods at this time. I don’t think they [the Sierra Club] are going after just this method. I think it’s an attack on sugarcane farmers,” said Lundy.
Lundy said the agriculture industry in South Florida, especially for towns like Clewiston, is imperative for the survival of the community.
“It’s not just the jobs in the field or the jobs in the mill. It’s their spouses at the bank, the local hotel, the schools, the city marina. There’s an infrastructure from the agricultural community that makes it possible for others to have opportunities,” said Lundy. “It is discouraging when you have outsiders who don’t have roots or values in the ag industry and what it stands for who try to come in and convince families and friends that what they do is wrong, when it’s our way of life that puts food on their table.”
Hathaway says that is simply not true.
“We’re not doing what people have accused us of trying to do. That’s something the industry reps say, that we’re trying to put them out of business. I’m from here [South Florida]. I’ve done a lot of work relative to the environment in Florida. So I do understand the history and the difficulty that the past brings to the present. But if there’s away to do this better so that we don’t have to burn, so people aren’t affected by smoke, that’s something that we want to help build a path towards,” said Hathaway.

5. Assassination in Guatemala
Earlier this week, we ran a two-parter on the US, Guatemala, corruption, the CIA, genocide, torture, and more. Reader interest was considerable.
We now invite you to watch this video of a presentation made by Jennifer Harbury, an American whose late Guatemalan husband, a Mayan indigenous activist, was “disappeared” by the military. After hunger strikes and investigations, she learned thatEfraín Bámaca Velásquez had been tortured and then killed — and that the CIA knew all about it. Her story is a powerful one.


6. Congress-backed Interstate Oil Commission Call Cops When Reporter Arrives To Ask About Climate
By Steve Horn • Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 15:51
On October 1, I arrived at the Oklahoma City headquarters of theInterstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) — a congressionally-chartered collective of oil and gas producing states — hoping for an interview.
There to ask IOGCC if it believed human activity (and specifically oil and gas drilling) causes climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, my plans that day came to a screeching halt when cops from the Oklahoma City Police Department rolled up and said that they had received a 9-1-1 call reporting me and my activity as “suspicious” (listen to the audio here). 
What IOGCC apparently didn't tell the cops, though, was that I had already told them via email that I would be in the area that day and would like to do an interview.
That initial email requested an opportunity to meet up in-person with IOGCC's upper-level personnel, a request coming in the immediate aftermath of its Oklahoma City-based annual meeting, which I attended. After the cops came to the scene and cleared me to leave, I sent a follow up email to IOGCC outlining the questions I would have asked if given the opportunity to do so.
Days later, IOGCC finally responded to those questions and told me its climate change stance. Well, as you'll see later, they kind of did.
“Closed Business”
I was no stranger to IOGCC to begin with, which exists due to an act of Congress in 1935.
Indeed, the compact had granted me a press pass to attend and cover its industry-funded extravaganza that took place in the days before. I also attended its 2014 annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio and did a 41-minute interview with Carol Booth, IOGCC's communications manager, while there. 
According to the Oklahoma City Police officer who arrived and held me for about seven minutes to ask me questions and do a background check on me, IOGCC had “closed business” that day, though that was neither posted on its front door nor anywhere online. It is also not listed as a state holiday on the Oklahoma Secretary of State's website and it is not a federal holiday.
Why'd they close business, then? I asked IOGCC.  
“Mike and I gave the staff a couple of days of R&R [rest and recovery] after a weekend and late nights associated with our Annual Meeting (and 80th Anniversary),” Gerry Baker, associate executive director of IOGCC, told DeSmog via email. “We'll be closed again tomorrow [Friday, October 2], but will work on a response to your questions next week.”
Late Night Parties
Baker's response makes some sense, at least in so far as late nights go.
The IOGCC meeting agenda featured an opening night reception on the 50th and top floor of the Devon Energy Center, a second night industry-funded reception at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel located two buildings away from Continental Resources' corporate headquarters and across the street from that of SandRidge Energy, and a third night secretive dinner at Café Do Brasil that went unlisted on the public agenda and I found out about by hanging out on the sidelines of the annual meeting.
Fleeing the Scene
But Baker's claim that no one was in the office seems suspect for two reasons, both centering around the two cars parked at IOGCC's office when I arrived. Both of those cars, it turns out, were owned by IOGCC staff members I had emailed before showing up.
One of them was owned by Carl Michael (“Mike”) Smith, IOGCC executive director, confirmed to me by the officer who held me temporarily.
“Mike called about you being suspicious out here,” the officer told me. “I don't have a choice about what people call 9-1-1 about.”
Smith was the assistant secretary of fossil energy for the Bush Administration Department of Energy from 2004-2006, as well as Oklahoma's former Secretary of Energy. He is also listed as a senior advisor for the lobbying firm Abraham Consulting LLC, owned and run by former Bush Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham.  
The other car present was that of Carol Booth, the IOGCC communications manager. When I was held by the police officer, I overheard via his intercom system that it was her car parked in the back of IOGCC's office, which someone at the Oklahoma City Police Department's office confirmed to him by looking up her license plate in a database and reporting it back to him.
While Booth was still seemingly at the office when the officer arrived, Smith had already fled the scene in his car, doing so out of the side-door attached to his office while I stepped away from the building for a second to take a phone call before the cops arrived.
Baker told DeSmog that the cops came on their own volition and not because IOGCC called 9-1-1.
“Due to the location of the IOGCC office, which is adjacent to the Governor's Mansion property, there are sensitivities about who is in the area,” said Baker. “Oklahoma City police officers often keep track of who's using the property for obvious reasons.”
But I was told by both the officer and Oklahoma City Police Department staff members that the 9-1-1 call came from the IOGCC office address. DeSmog has requested the call log from the incident in question from the Department and will publish it here when we receive it.
IOGCC and Climate
Smith also wrote us a letter on IOGCC's climate change stance, copying the IOGCC chairwoman and co-chairmen on it, explaining that it “does not have a position on climate change” and is “not part of conversations on climate change.”
Historical records obtained by DeSmog, on the other hand, sing another tune about where IOGCC stands on climate change.
In 1998, IOGCC passed a climate change denial resolution stating that “there is continuing scientific debate as to what the impact of increasing contributions of greenhouse gases would be on the climate,” even issuing a press release after it passed.
Then in 2002, IOGCC invited prominent climate change denier Bjørn Lomborg to speak at its annual meeting and sign autographs of his then-new book “The Skeptical Environmentalist.”
But what exactly is IOGCC and why do they — and their stance on climate change — matter anyway?
Officially, IOGCC is a collective body of top-level state-level oil and gas industry regulators and permitters, not to be confused with environmental regulators. Though in the case of some states, such as North Dakota, agencies have a dual mission of permitting oil and gas drilling, as well as protecting the environment. 
Chartered by Congress in 1935, IOGCC's existence has flown under the radar for 80 years by most.
Meanwhile, its meetings and the organization's existence serve as ground zero for industry influence-peddling. A case in point: 39-percent of attendees present at its Oklahoma City meeting worked for the industry, according to a roster obtained by DeSmog and the majority of its members at-large work for the industry
IOGCC, like the more well-known American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), passes model resolutions at its annual meetings. It also brings together regulators, industry executives and lobbyists under one roof to do networking and rub elbows with one another.
At its most recent meeting, IOGCC presented two draft model resolutions, one of which would leave regulating methane emissions ensuing as a result of shale oil and gas drilling to the states as “the proper authority to encourage capture of methane emissions.” That resolution, published here for the first time, does not mention climate change a single time even though methane is a greenhouse gas 86-105 times more powerful than carbon dioxide
Its other draft resolution introduced in Oklahoma City, which calls for states to have authority over federally-controlled conservation areas in order to do oil and gas drilling, also fits within its broader “States First Initiative” push.
Shadow Lobbying Organ?
IOGCC has a rich history of serving as a key apparatus through which the oil and gas industry flexes its muscles.
It has done such a good job of doing so, in fact, that in 1978 then-U.S. Department of Justice attorney Donald Flexner — now working as a namesake of the powerful firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP — wrote and testified in front of Congress that IOGCC should no longer exist as a compact because it does “essentially lobbying work.” 
Three years later in 1981, instead of heeding Flexner's counsel, Congress decided to stop reauthorizing IOGCCevery three years and instead introduced an amendment giving it de facto permanent reauthorization
For an entity of its clout, the public knows very little about IOGCC's inner-workings. And that's not without reason.
For example, IOGCC has responded to an open records request sent by DeSmog by claiming a wholesale exemption to both state-level and federal-level open records laws because they are an interstate compact and not a government agency, even though its own by-laws claim its records are open to the public.
Interstate compacts, over 200 of which currently exist, can exist due to a clause in the U.S. constitution reading, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” 
Meanwhile IOGCC's own website describes it as a “multi-state government agency,” IOGCC staff members use “” email accounts, and its office is located on property given to them by the Oklahoma government and located adjacent to the Governor's Mansion. Current IOGCC chairwoman Mary Fallin, Oklahoma's Republican Governor, lives in said mansion. 
IOGCC tried — and failed — to use the cops as its private security service. It was a maneuver symbolic of the group's propensity for secrecy when it comes under scrutiny. 

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