Progressive Dems Start Calling Out Polluters and Their Apologists

Toxic Sludge from ‘Fracking’

Dems seek EPA Natural Gas Drilling

Controls on Heels of NY Times Exposé

By Ben Geman –
The Hill

02/27/11 – A top House Democrat is urging EPA to quickly toughen regulation of natural gas drilling following a New York Times report on the discharge of dangerous pollutants into rivers that supply drinking water.

The Times – citing internal documents from EPA and elsewhere – claims that chemicals and radioactive elements in wastewater from gas projects are creating “dangers to the environment and health [that] are greater than previously understood.”

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson a detailed letter Saturday calling for “immediate action.”

“I am outraged that state and federal regulators were evidently well aware of the risks that the wastewater might pose, but instead chose to adopt a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach to regulation by ignoring them,” writes Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.

Continue reading Progressive Dems Start Calling Out Polluters and Their Apologists

The Truth Comes Out: The New York Times Bombshell on Natural Gas ‘Fracking’ Everyone’s Talking About

Drilling Down: Regulation Lax as

Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

New York Times

Feb. 26, 2011 – The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century’s gold rush — for natural gas.

The gas has always been there, of course, trapped deep underground in countless tiny bubbles, like frozen spills of seltzer water between thin layers of shale rock. But drilling companies have only in recent years developed techniques to unlock the enormous reserves, thought to be enough to supply the country with gas for heating buildings, generating electricity and powering vehicles for up to a hundred years.

So energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.

But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

Continue reading The Truth Comes Out: The New York Times Bombshell on Natural Gas ‘Fracking’ Everyone’s Talking About

Worker Solidarity Comes To Harrisburg, Too!


‘We Are Wisconsin’ Rally on Capitol Steps Draws 1,000

LARA BRENCKLE, The Patriot-News


Harrisburg’s Patriot-News

Feb 26, 2001

We are Wisconsin rally

Carla Crawford of Pittsburgh yells towards protesters during a We Are Wisconsin rally to show support for the state’s workers. Wisconsin’s governor and Republican legislature are seeking to end collective bargaining for state employees.

Tom Banks of Lemoyne (with flag) shows his support during a "We Are Wisconsin" rally to show support for the state’s unionized workers. Wisconsin’s governor and Republican legislature are seeking to end collective bargaining for state employees.

rally 2 0226 sds

Saying they’re sending an SOS for the American Dream, a thousand people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol this afternoon in support of union workers and the middle class.

Organized by Keystone Progress and dozens of other  organizations, the event was part of a nationwide day of action against efforts in Wisconsin and other states to eliminate collective bargaining for unionized state employees.

Continue reading Worker Solidarity Comes To Harrisburg, Too!

Egypt and the United States – Victims of the Neoliberal Agenda

A revolution against neoliberalism?

If rebellion results in a retrenchment of neoliberalism, millions will feel cheated.
‘Abu Atris’ Last Modified: 24 Feb 2011 17:04 GMT

On February 16th I read a comment was posted on the wall of the Kullina Khalid Saed (“We are all Khaled Said”) Facebook page administered by the now very famous Wael Ghonim. By that time it had been there for about 21 hours. The comment referred to a news item reporting that European governments were under pressure to freeze bank accounts of recently deposed members of the Mubarak regime. The comment said: “Excellent news … we do not want to take revenge on anyone … it is the right of all of us to hold to account any person who has wronged this nation. By law we want the nation’s money that has been stolen … because this is the money of Egyptians, 40% of whom live below the poverty line.”

By the time I unpacked this thread of conversation, 5,999 people had clicked the “like” button, and about 5,500 had left comments. I have not attempted the herculean task of reading all five thousand odd comments (and no doubt more are being added as I write), but a fairly lengthy survey left no doubt that most of the comments were made by people who clicked the “like” icon on the Facebook page. There were also a few by regime supporters, and others by people who dislike the personality cult that has emerged around Mr. Ghoneim.

This Facebook thread is symptomatic of the moment. Now that the Mubarak regime has fallen, an urge to account for its crimes and to identify its accomplices has come to the fore. The chants, songs, and poetry performed in Midan al-Tahrir always contained an element of anger against haramiyya (thieves) who benefited from regime corruption. Now lists of regime supporters are circulating in the press and blogosphere. Mubarak and his closest relatives (sons Gamal and ‘Ala’) are always at the head of these lists. Articles on their personal wealth give figures as low as $3 billion to as high as $70 billion (the higher number was repeated on many protesters’ signs). Ahmad Ezz, the General Secretary of the deposed National Democratic Party and the largest steel magnate in the Middle East, is supposed to be worth $18 billion; Zohayr Garana, former Minister of Tourism, $13 billion; Ahmad al-Maghrabi, former Minister of Housing, $11 billion; former Minister of Interior Habib Adli, much hated for his supervision of an incredibly abusive police state, also managed to amass $8 billion — not bad for a lifetime civil servant.

Continue reading Egypt and the United States – Victims of the Neoliberal Agenda

Solidarity Rally Thursday, Noon, Feb 24, in Pittsburgh! More to Follow…

Show Pennsylvania’s

Support for the Fightback!

From Steffi Domike, USW

Dear Pennsylvania USW Friends and Associates:

The billionaire backed Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has declared all-out war on workers’ freedoms. He’s slashing taxes for the richest residents of his state, and wants to eliminate the rights of workers to organize a union, bargain for fair wages or advocate for decent pay and benefits.

In response, more than 25,000 protesters have converged on the state house in Madison to stage a sit-in that blocks the halls, bars the doors of the Senate and fills the state house lawn with tens of thousand of workers.  They’re fighting for their livelihoods and they’re fighting for ours as well because if workers lose in Wisconsin, the wave to take away our job rights and wages will spread across the country.

Pennsylvania is joining the Fight Back!

PLEASE JOIN US as we rally in support of American working families and the American Dream.

Today, Wednesday, 2/23, Pennsylvanians will be standing up in solidarity with Wisconsin workers in SCRANTON

WHAT:         Solidarity Rally for Wisconsin Workers

WHEN:         12:00 Noon to 12:30, Today, Wednesday, 2/23

WHERE:      Labor Leader John Mitchell Statue, Lackawanna Courthouse (Adams Avenue Side) Scranton, PA

On Thursday, 2/24, working Pennsylvanians will be rallying in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

WHAT:         Solidarity Rally for the Wisconsin Workers

WHEN:         11:30am, Thursday, 2/24

WHERE:      Municipal Services Bldg PlazaAcross from City Hall PHILADELPHIA

WHAT:         Solidarity Rally for the Wisconsin Workers (Lunch will be provided)

WHEN:         12:00 pm Noon, Thursday, 2/24

WHERE:      United Steelworkers Headquarters, 5 Gateway Center, 60 Blvd of the Allies PITTSBURGH

On Saturday, 2/26, working Pennsylvanians will be rallying to save the American Dream in Harrisburg.


WHAT:         Rally to Save the American Dream

WHEN:         Saturday, 2/26 at NOON

WHERE:      Capitol Steps, Harrisburg

Please do you best to attend these rallies and please spread the word about them.


Solidarity Is More Than Shouting Slogans, So Lend a Hand!




Folks from outside Wisconsin are contacting me and asking how to help with the battle to save collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.   (Additional information on the current status of things here is at the end of this letter.)

People of generally modest means, including many college students, are continuing the occupation of the Capitol and the daily picketing in resistance to the Governor’s plans. Most teachers have had to/have chosen to return to their classrooms, but many other union members remain, people from private sector unions and public unions including police and firefighters.  There are many private citizens, often seniors.  Those remaining in the capitol and on the picket lines need food, water, transportation, housing. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is coordinating much of that support. No matter how small, financial support is welcome:

ONLINE:  The AFL-CIO is accepting donations online through PayPal or any major credit card. Please go to  for the link.

Continue reading Solidarity Is More Than Shouting Slogans, So Lend a Hand!