Propaganda wars: ‘pro-science’ GMO, chemicals boosters funded by climate change deniers

Stephan:  It is become harder and harder to find credible information  about controversial issues because there is a large well-funded and well organized Rightwing disinformation campaign being run to protect corporate interests. Here is a description of what is going on. Particularly note the correlation between the pro-GMO movement and the climate change denier movement, both in service to corporate interests.

They promote GMOs, defend toxic chemicals, and attack people who raise concerns about those products as ‘anti-science’. But behind the slick ‘astroturf’ PR fronts lurk some very dubious funders: the same arch-conservative foundations that finance climate science denial.

The funders behind climate-science denial also bankroll a network of PR operatives who have built careers spinning science to deny the health risks of toxic chemicals in the food we eat and products we use every day.

British writer George Monbiot has a warning for those of us trying to grasp the new political realities in the US and the UK.

“We have no hope of understanding what is coming until we understand how the dark money network operates”, he wrote in the Guardian.

Corporate America may have been slow to warm up to Donald Trump, but once Trump secured the nomination, “the big money began to recognize an unprecedented opportunity”, Monbiot wrote.

“His incoherence was not a liability, but an opening: his agenda could be shaped. And the dark money network already developed by some American corporations was perfectly positioned to shape […]

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Exclusive: Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California

Stephan:  When you hear people talking about the collapse of American infrastructure, does it all seem rather abstract. Bridges, well yeah. Potholes, absolutely know about that. But I don't think many people realize yet that in large parts of the U.S. drinking water is becoming problematic. This story and the next story describe what I mean. I have said this before, let me say it again: Have the water that comes out of your tap fully checked for metals, bacteria, and other toxins.

Credit: Reuters

NEW YORK — Dozens of California communities have experienced recent rates of childhood lead poisoning that surpass those of Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher, blood testing data obtained by Reuters shows.

The data shows how lead poisoning affects even a state known for its environmental advocacy, with high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles. And the figures show that, despite national strides in eliminating lead-based products, hazards remain in areas far from the Rust Belt or East Coast regions filled with old housing and legacy industry.

In one central Fresno zip code, 13.6 percent of blood tests on children under six years old came back high for lead. That compares to 5 percent across the city of Flint during its recent water contamination crisis. In all, Reuters found at least 29 Golden State neighborhoods where children had elevated lead tests at rates at least as high as in Flint.

“It’s a widespread problem and […]

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This lead-poisoned Indiana city could be the next Flint

Stephan:  I hope this story, and the preceding one, make it clear to you that Flint, Michigan's water problems were but the tip of an iceberg. We have so much negative news coming out of Washington that ordinary crises like safe water just don't make it to the top of the news pile. But SR covers trends and this is a trend that may immediately effect your life, and that of your family.

East Chicago
Credit: Adam Moss

In East Chicago, Indiana, where 90 percent of this population of 29,000 are people of color and one-third live below the poverty line, a lead crisis is unfolding and residents are concerned that the Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt is unlikely to respond.

For decades, industrial plants polluted the air and soil with lead and arsenic in East Chicago neighborhoods that included a public housing complex and an elementary school. In 2014, the EPA declared the lead plant in the area a Superfund site and began the cleanup, but a Reuters investigation in 2016 found that children living near the Superfund site still had elevated levels of lead in their blood. The EPA subsequently tested the water and found that not only did the homes in the vicinity have elevated levels of lead in their drinking water, but so did the entire city — much as Flint did during its 2014 water crisis. The EPA estimated that up to 90 percent of […]

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“It’s a Cover-Up, Not a Clean-Up”: Nuclear Waste Smolders in Sites Across the US

Stephan:  Here is another trend that is becoming increasingly urgent, but receiving almost no public discussion. One of the unintended consequences of having sustained a fascist coup at the top of the government is that everything else just gets lost in the backwash. Nuclear waste is one of those lost trends Here's an assessment of what is involved.

Hanford, in Washington State, the scene of the largest radioactive cleanup in the country. Cleanup of toxic waste at Hanford has passed the 20-year mark already, and is expected to continue for decades.
Credit: : Courtesy of Columbia Riverkeeper

Renowned wartime journalist Wilfred Burchett described the damage from the atomic bomb that flattened Hiroshima as “far greater than photographs can show.” When it comes to the enduring legacy of the Manhattan Project on home soil, the damage to the environment and human health is proving similarly hard to grasp.

The covert project to create the world’s first atomic weapon during WWII, coupled with the nuclear proliferation of the Cold War era, has left a trail of toxic and radioactive waste at sites across the nation that will necessitate, by some margin, the largest environmental cleanup in the nation’s history. The amount of money that has been poured into remediating the waste already is staggering. Still, it appears that the scale of the problems, and the efforts needed to effectively tackle them, continue to be underestimated […]

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The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency

Stephan:  This is a brilliant portrait of one of the Neo Feudal families that are financing the transformation of the United States thanks to Citizens United, which legalized bribery. This is the culmination of a more then 30 years of planning which, in my mind dates back to Reagan, and particularly his elimination of the fairness doctrine in media, as well as allowing ownership of multiple media in the same market. You probably don't know the Mercers but they are the largest donors to Trump, as well as being owners of  Breitbart media. They have a very weird view of America, and they are paying to see it is imposed on you.

Rebekah and Robert Mercer
Credit: Politico

Last month, when President Donald Trump toured a Boeing aircraft plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, he saw a familiar face in the crowd that greeted him: Patrick Caddell, a former Democratic political operative and pollster who, for forty-five years, has been prodding insurgent Presidential candidates to attack the Washington establishment. Caddell, who lives in Charleston, is perhaps best known for helping Jimmy Carter win the 1976 Presidential race. He is also remembered for having collaborated with his friend Warren Beatty on the 1998 satire “Bulworth.” In that film, a kamikaze candidate abandons the usual talking points and excoriates both the major political parties and the media; voters love his unconventionality, and he becomes improbably popular. If the plot sounds familiar, there’s a reason: in recent years, Caddell has offered political advice to Trump. He has not worked directly for the President, but at least as far back as 2013 he has been a contractor for one of Trump’s biggest financial […]

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