Censored News Cluster, Chapter 1, Censored 2012
By Elaine Wellin and Kristen Saraphin
Corporate media frame environmental events, issues, and especially health outcomes as isolated events, denying what even today’s school children know about the complex interconnectedness of the world’s ecosystems and effects on individuals within them. Radiation and health, whether from TSA naked body scans at airports or from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan or America’s most dangerous nuclear plant, affect health and wellbeing; no levels are safe; there is nothing ‘clean’ about it.
Project Censored participants were particularly concerned with environmental contamination and health, stories about the ways that waste and contamination of the environment, and its effects, are ignored, wrongly framed or deeply flawed and misrepresented by the corporate media: superbug bacteria spreading globally, the emerging Lyme disease epidemic, oil and toxic dispersant contamination from the BP oil explosion disaster, the ongoing hazards to health and the environment from nuclear power plants as well as the unfolding effects of one off the world’s worst nuclear reactor accident since Chernobyl, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants in Japan.
That the federal government has freed big polluters from environmental oversight and that half of the newly elected members of Congress deny climate change. Taken together, these stories connect the dots to show that environmental degradation and its impacts on human health occur and worsen as a result of corporate media cover ups, misrepresentation and negligence; corporate malfeasance; and governmental inaction and alliances with major polluters.
Vermont professor and 350.org Campaign founder Bill McKibben reminds us that it is vitally important to increase awareness of all of these issues, to connect the dots and to make the connections between massive weather events, government and corporate greed and environmental degradation of land, air, oceans, and consequent impacts on life on Earth.
Our main sources of information—corporate media, frame twin twisters in Joplin and Tuscaloosa as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. Instead the LA Times and most other news sources in the country feature a concerned President Obama in site visit promising that “the country will be there with you every single step of the way.” (Murphy 2011) There is little effort to connect these violent weather aberrations with fires burning across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico which are drier than they’ve ever been and record snowfalls and rainfalls across the Midwest—resulting in flooding across the Mississippi—all of these events predicted by scientists warning of global climate change. Climatologists have been telling us for years that carbon emissions will start both drying and flooding the planet, since warm air holds more water vapor than cold.
Record food prices are clear consequences of waves of disasters during the past year. The failed grain harvest from the Russian heatwave, Queensland’s failed grain harvest from its record flood, and France and Germany’s current drought-related crop failures, the death of the winter wheat crop in Texas, and the inability of Midwestern farmers to get corn planted in their sodden fields – how can we deny that these equally extreme conditions might all be related.
Corporations profiting from continued reliance on fossil fuels are intimately connected to global climate change by producing dangerous levels of carbon in the atmosphere. Those profiting from the conditions bringing global climate change promote corporate media’s intentional denial of the essential connectedness of all these phenomena.
Instead, environmental issues are framed as isolated events, with a beginning and isolated cause, an estimated cost, maybe a bit of passing human interest, and an end. The real and ongoing stories, the remaining damages, seldom hit the press.
Rarely if ever is accountability or real environmental impacts included in the analysis. After responsibility for the worst environmental disaster in American history, BP ultimately got off the hook, with continued drilling throughout the disaster and of course new rigs going up within a year. The most basic environmental principle, that everything is connected and so any event has impacts and implications, the interconnected web of life, all that has no reality to corporate media.
Nuclear power presents a security threat of unprecedented proportions: It’s capable of a catastrophic accident that can kill tens or even hundreds of thousands of people, with a byproduct that is toxic for millennia. To call nuclear power “clean” is an affront to science, common sense, and the English language itself, yet industry backers, inside and outside of government, are attempting to establish a new “Clean Energy Standard” to promote nuclear power. These proposals suffer from three fundamental misconceptions: 1) that pollutants other than carbon dioxide are irrelevant when defining a “clean energy” 2) that because radiation is invisible and odorless, it is not a toxic pollutant; 3) that nuclear power is carbon-free. None of these is true. The earthquake and tsunami is a stark reminder of the risks inherent in nuclear power. Over two months later, on May 28, Japanese officials finally admitted that one of the reactors at the crippled facility plant did suffer a full nuclear meltdown, describing a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel.
Fukushima is now considered equal to the worst previous nuclear power plant disaster in history, Russia’s Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown in Ukraine. Both Fukushima and Chernobyl are now classified as level 7 events, enabling the use of Chernobyl outcomes to foresee deaths from radiation and cancer at Fukushima and at other nuclear reactors. Estimates of the number of deaths resulting from the Chernobyl meltdown vary: 31 deaths are directly attributed to the accident, all among the reactor staff and emergency workers. A United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. In time, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests it could reach 4,000. The 2006 TORCH report by European Greens predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout. Tragically, the Japanese now face similar consequences, as will, inevitably, human populations and environs near future nuclear reactor meltdowns anywhere in the world.
For Americans, Fukushima has heightened concern about the safety of nuclear power facilities in the United States. Yet, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the federal agency responsible for ensuring that U.S. nuclear plants are operated as safely as possible, gets mixed reviews in a March 2011 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report, The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2010: A Brighter Spotlight Needed. Authored by UCS nuclear engineer David Lochbaum, the report examines 14 “near-misses” at U.S. nuclear plants during 2010 alone, and evaluates the NRC regulatory response in each case. The events exposed a variety of shortcomings, such as inadequate training, faulty maintenance, poor design, and failure to investigate problems thoroughly. Clearly, the difficulties and failures in oversight of all U.S. nuclear reactors represent a further and major problem affecting the safety and ‘cleanliness’ of nuclear energy. One of the NRC’s egregious oversight problems concerned Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear plant on the Hudson River.
Indian Point, one of the five worst nuclear reactors in the United States, made headlines for its faulty emergency cooling system that was deemed “…certain to fail” by nuclear engineers. According to engineers, the head company Entergy has known about its mechanical issues and lackluster nuclear meltdown plan for over 6 years and has continued to talk down its controversial meltdown scenarios, as well as its supposed repairs on their cooling system. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has known about this since 1996 but both the NRC and Entergy claim there’s no rush to fix these issues because a breakdown isn’t likely. A terrorist attack might prove otherwise and indeed Entergy’s participation in a mock terrorist exercise demonstrated just how vulnerable the plant is. Indian Point is only twenty-two miles from Manhatten – a nuclear accident would expose millions of American’s to cancer causing radiation.
The Obama Administration has long backed nuclear energy as “clean,” and carbon free when it is neither. Entergy’s green washing of nuclear power reflects this in their campaign for Affordable Energy and Economic Justice in response to protesters efforts to close the Indian Point plant due to ongoing safety and security concerns. The campaign promoted nuclear energy as a clean alternative to coal whose benefits include revitalizing impoverished neighborhoods and maintaining good health through the prevention of respiratory illnesses. Campaign representatives used fear and misinformation to gather support for keeping Indian Point open and in business. Entergy’s alliance with politicians such as Hilary Clinton -who accepted campaign contributions for her husband’s candidacy- have also allowed the plant to operate with little oversight.
In a nukes plants can be safe Associated Press’s Mathhew Daly writes,
“The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said inspections conducted after the Japan nuclear crisis found reason for concern, although it continues to believe that the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors are safe.
Inspectors found that many plant operators have not done enough to train their staff on the voluntary emergency guidelines or update their procedures, said Eric Leeds, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. The guidelines were put in place in the 1990s and are meant to contain or reduce the impact of accidents that damage a reactor core.
“While overall we believe plants are safe … we are concerned that our inspectors found many of the plants have work to do in either training their staff on these procedures or ensuring the guidelines are appropriately updated,” Leeds said.”(Daly 6/6/11)
According to Associate Press and the Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRC) proper safety training at nuke plans will keep us all safe. The NRC story received widespread coverage in the corporate media in the US.
Important to those promoting nuclear power as clean energy is that nuclear power is carbon-free, increasing carbon levels in the atmosphere seen as the major cause of global climate change. Nuclear power is not carbon-free – they do release small amounts of radioactive carbon. But they are carbon-intensive to build requiring enormous amounts of concrete, steel and carbon-based fuels for transport of materials. The nuclear fuel chain necessary to support reactor operations (e.g., uranium mining, processing, enrichment, and fuel fabrication), reactor operation, and finally millennia of radioactive waste storage all result in substantial and unavoidable carbon emissions. The nuclear food chain itself is a massively polluting process. Nuclear power results in water pollution because reactors require massive amounts of water for cooling their red-hot nuclear cores, some 20,000 gallons per minute to 500,000 gallons per minute diverted from rivers, lakes, or oceans, and then spewed back out again, discharging it five to ten degrees warmer than it was when it went in, and causing havoc among marine environments and affecting downstream industrial uses and even drinking water.
In their most recent report, released in 2005, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences determined that no safe level of radiation exposure exists—every exposure to radiation increases the risk of cancer, birth defects, and other disease. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) accepts the linear no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis, which states that any increase in dose of radiation, no matter how small, results in an incremental increase in risk, as a conservative model for estimating radiation risk.
Carbon dioxide is not the only pollutant to be considered when assessing a ‘Clean Energy Standard’ and ignores fifty years of accumulated knowledge of the effects of other long-lasting and toxic pollutants, not the least of which is the carcinogens released by radionuclides from nuclear reactors: Tritium, Strontium-90, Ceisim-137, Plutonium-239, and dozens more.
These carcinogens are toxic, persistent, and long lasting, and it doesn’t take an accident to become contaminated by them: nuclear reactors emit radiation into our air and water as part of their routine, daily operations. And that it cannot easily be detected, or avoided, makes radiation even more dangerous.
Core to the issue is bioaccumulation, the process by which the concentration of many contaminants increases as one moves up the food chain. Radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium, all beta emitters, become concentrated in the food chain because of bioaccumulation. At the top of our food chain, are humans, including fetuses, and human breast milk. In 1963, one week after an atmospheric nuclear bomb test in Russia, our scientists observed the magnifying power of bioaccumulation when they detected radioactive iodine in the thyroids of mammals in North America even though they could not detect smaller amounts in the air or on vegetation. Bioaccumulation is one reason why it is dishonest to equate the danger to humans living 5,000 miles away from Japan with the minute concentrations measured in our air. If we tried, we would now likely be able to measure radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium bioaccumulating in human embryos in this country.
Radioactive tritium releases in particular have been acknowledged from existing nuclear reactors, releases that exceed safe drinking water standards at 37 different nuclear plants, more than half of all those now in operation. Normal background levels of radioactive tritium in drinking water are 3 to 24 picocuries per liter. Astonishingly radioactive tritium levels above 1,000,000 picocuries per liter were measured at nine sites covering 18 reactors.
In another bioaccumulation issue, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began rolling out full-body scanners at US airports in 2007, but stepped up deployment of the devices this year when stimulus funding made it possible to buy another 450 of the advanced imaging technology scanners. Some 315 “naked” scanners are currently in use at 65 US airports, according to the TSA.
Warnings of potential health dangers of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) naked body scanners (backscatter scanning) at airports have been raised by x-ray imaging specialists from the University of California and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Author Karin Zeitvogel cites Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University saying that air passengers risk cancer and gene mutations by subjecting themselves to these scanners. Government officials, on the other hand, have said that the scanners have been tested and meet safety standards.
In an April 2011 letter to Obama’s science and technology adviser John Holdren, University of California, San Francisco x-ray imaging specialists Dr. Russell Blaylock, and Doctors John Sedat, David Agard, and Rober Stroud; and Dr. Marc Shuman, maintained that naked body scanners may be dangerous to your health and that their safety has never been demonstrated, especially not by an independent panel of qualified scientists. They say the ionizing radiation emitted by these devices can alter your DNA.
In his article, There is no ‘safe’ exposure to radiation, Brian Moench notes that radiation from Japan is now detectable in the atmosphere, rain water and food chain in North America. Fukushima’s four reactors, still out of control months after the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and crippled the plants, hold 10 times more nuclear fuel than there was at Chernobyl, thousands of times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Yet, the official refrain carried by major corporate media is, “No worries here, perfectly harmless.”
Arnie Gundersen, an energy advisor with 39 years of nuclear power engineering and a licensed reactor operator, said in an interview June 3, 2011, that the average human being breathes about 10 cubic meters of air daily. And the air filters measuring air in the Seattle area in April 2011, when they pull 10 cubic meters through them had 10 hot particles in them. (Gundersen, 2011)
Americans are, and should remain, uneasy but their real concerns are neither reflected nor addressed by major corporate media. Instead, as daily news of the Fukushima disaster disappears, and these articles failed to reach people through corporate mainstream media, paid advertisements by power generation companies such as Entergy’s green washing media campaign dominate air time touting clean nuclear power and America’s stake in nuclear power generation for jobs and income – leading Americans to connect all the wrong dots.
Did You Really Think Your Plastic Was Being Recycled?
Many people have heard that there is a swirling mass of plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that qualifies as the planet’s largest garbage dump. However, the Pacific Garbage Patch is not the only trash vortex out there; there are five massive trash gyres. Located in the North and South Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and in the Indian Oceans, the trash gyres now contain an estimated 315 billion pounds of plastic. Much of the world’s trash has accumulated in part of the Pacific Ocean (roughly 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N), based on the movement of ocean currents.
How did the plastic pollution get to the trash gyres? Not all plastic in the cycling bin gets recycled and people carelessly toss plastics away. Plastic litter often ends up in the waterways and currents carry it out into the ocean. How much plastic is in the Pacific Garbage Patch? No one really knows, but we do have estimates on the size of the patch, at least in terms of surface area. Researchers peg the trash gyre to be as large as the continental United States, and according to HowStuffWorks.com, every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic and plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans.
These pieces of plastic have a dire effect on marine life. Turtles confuse plastic bags for jellyfish and birds confuse bottle caps for food. They ingest them but can’t digest them, so their stomachs fill with plastic and they starve to death. And evidence is mounting that trash vortexes also have significant impacts on human health.
Yet, how do five massive oceanic garbage patches exist, patches as big as the continental US, and so few really know about it, let alone what to do about it? Can ocean gyres be cleaned up? The only way to affect massive global garbage pollution, mostly plastics that kill species that mistake bottle caps and other plastics for food, is to stop humans from throwing plastic away, to stop human carelessness, to clean up waterways and beaches before the plastic reaches the sea and follows major ocean currents to the five, continent-size gyres or garbage patches in the world.
Corporate media coverage (Hoshaw, 11/10/09) (Erdman, 8/4/09) of the world’s garbage patches precludes any effective action because the solution is to get the information and ways to stop plastic pollution to every human being in society. It will take a massive public interest campaign to change our throwaway plastic behaviors and the most effective avenue is the major media. In this case, the corporate media blocks all hope of stemming the tide of plastics and other refuse going into our waterways and oceans and into the swirling gyres or ocean dumps. The media, by not actively and comprehensively covering the garbage patches of the world, directly inhibits the only known and effective solution to the problem.
Don’t Order the Gulf Shrimp No Matter What
Corporate spin for British Petroleum was in top form with a media blitz that included a “Voices from the Gulf,” Campaign and politicians parroting ad slogans that it was business as usual in the Gulf. The VOG campaign ignored the VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and showcased happy residents assuring the public that “fisherman are working,” “local shrimp is on the menu,” and the beaches are back just in time for spring break! Idyllic shots of contented fishermen hauling in crab, a restaurant owner ladling steaming gumbo into a bowl, and a hotel owner promoting sparkling white beaches created an ambiance for an otherwise public relations nightmare.
Government and media complicity in this campaign included statements from local politicians such as Governor Haley Barbour that it was safe to go back in the water. Images of the movie Jaws come to mind except in this scenario shark and human are the victims of a Blob – of oil and chemical dispersant – the size of 312 Olympic swimming pools. The trinity of government, big business and corporate media colluded to deny reality while creating a deadly illusion of clean safe beaches and seafood. This type of gas-lighting – a term used to describe the process by which psychopaths deny their victims reality – is crazy making.
In order to sell “crazy,” BP hired advertising agency Purple Strategies and spent fifty million dollars on its campaign after an estimated 185 million gallons of oil were dumped into the Gulf. (Tapper, 2010) Their strategies to cap the well and their solution for clean up were equally “crazy.” A media critique addressing company knowledge of safety hazards at the Maconodo well and on the Deepwater Horizon rig was mostly absent except for Congressional hearings, which showed an somewhat apologetic BP-CEO Tony Hayward. A scientific analysis providing an accurate number of barrels spilled per day was ignored. In depth reporting about the dangerous use of dispersants – which experts say shouldn’t be used at all – was left out. Finally the serendipitous branding of the spill itself protected those who were responsible.
One month before the “Gulf Oil Spill,” BP CEO Tony Hayward sold approximately one third of his holding in the company. (Swaine, 2010) So did Goldman Sachs, selling 250 million of their BP shares. Former BP Chairman Peter Sutherland is now Chairman of Goldman Sachs International. Former BP board member Rodney Chase is on the board at Nalco Holding Company (NHC). After the spill BP purchased all of NHC’s inventory of toxic oil dispersant Corexit. The companys stock jumped 18%.
An accurate number of barrels gushing into the sea and the safest most effective way to clean them up were ignored or suffered minimal reporting. BP’s spin doctor Bill Salvin stated, “We’ve said all along that there is no way to estimate the flow coming out of the pipe accurately.” Eugene Chiang, Professor of Astrophysics at UC Berkeley and Steven Werely, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, used science and software to estimate the number of barrels. At minimum 29,000 barrels and at most 100,000 per day. (Harris, 2010)
After an estimated 185 million barrels of oil were dumped into the Gulf, few alternatives to toxic oil dispersant Corexit were examined and discussed. Media reported on BP’s frantic efforts to clean up the spill and in the malaise forgot to focus on alternatives, which were more effective and lesss toxic to humans and the environment. The tragic reality that Corexit’s chemical formula acts as an “oil delivery,” mechanism, actually bringing it deeper into the body was completely ignored. The toxic effects on humans and the environment were hardly mentioned. The fact that using this dispersant after being broken up into small droplets and then spread depending on the currants of the oceans was not addressed. The long-term consequences to the health of human beings and the environment were downplayed and replaced by reporting that BP was going to “make it right,” and the spill had been cleaned up. An analysis of the reckless profit driven decision making process of corporate heads and support by government agencies was left out of the story. The EPA’s approval of Corexit showing government complience and potential criminal negligence was never discussed.
Branding is critical to invoking particular frames. Corporate media’s misrepresentation of the oil “spill,” helped maintain the BP spin. Essential to this was also leaving out the words British Petroleum, Halliburton or Transocean to protect those responsible. A “spill” doesn’t conjure up the image of the millions of gallons of oil and chemicals that flowed into the sea for three months. Today, the spill is still referred to as “The Gulf Oil Spill.”
In sum corporate media failed to connect the dots with the major players in the biggest environmental catastrophe in history. Why did BP go with Corexit instead of the myriad of less toxic options – like the water based Dispersit by Polychem? (waronyou.com 2010) An examination of stock trading and past and present board members makes the insane, sane and framed by corporate media as a desperate attempt to clean up the oil. Finally, ignoring deadly toxic effects to human health allowed corporate owners to dump 1.9 million gallons of Corexit into the Gulf. The EPA stamp of approval and the lack of scientific based evidence of the impact on the environment provides complicity in this mendacious behavior. Corporate media could have explored safer more effective clean up alternatives.
The corporate media follows administration and state politicians’ stories that the BP oil spill is dispersed and there is no longer a problem. State health departments in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama issued swimming advisories while BP’s well continued to gush oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, however, all three states have declared their beaches, waters and seafood safe from oil disaster related toxins. Alongside these are scores of studies showing high levels of dangerous chemicals in seafood, and stories about increasing illnesses and mounting environmental destruction that rarely see the light of day.
“BP blamed for Toxification,” By Dahr Jamail, shows that the corporate media go further than simply refusing to connect the dots; they collude in the cover-up propagated by Gulf states officials, BP, and the Obama administration that ‘everything is just fine,’ when in fact, sampling reveals oil and hazardous dispersants on the Mississippi coast. “This is the biggest cover-up in the history of America,” Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told reporters. Many of the chemicals present in the oil and dispersants are known to cause headaches; nausea; vomiting; kidney damage; altered renal functions; irritation of the digestive tract; lung damage; burning pain in the nose and throat; coughing; pulmonary edema; cancer; lack of muscle coordination; dizziness; confusion; irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat; difficulty breathing; delayed reaction time; memory difficulties; stomach discomfort; liver and kidney damage; unconsciousness; tiredness/lethargy; irritation of the upper respiratory tract; and hematological disorders.
The blowout of the Macondo well gushed at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. BP responded by using at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic dispersant to sink the oil. Dr. Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor, said. “People are being made sick in the Gulf because of the unprecedented release of oil and toxic chemicals from this past summer in response to BP’s disaster.” Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact. Health impacts include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitization, hypertension, central nervous system (CNS) depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. The chemicals are also teratogenic, mutagenic and carcinogenic.
Workers on BP’s VOO’s (Vessels of Opportunity) have VOC’S (Volatile Organic Compounds) in their blood after tests revealed the presence of Ethyl benzene, P-xylene, and Hexane. Symptoms of exposure include nausea, headaches, burning eyes and skin. BP’s dumping 1.9 million gallons of dispersant Corexit 9500 made the problem worse according to Dr. Rikki Ott, marine biologist, toxicologist and survivor of the Exxon Valdez spill. Corexit contains petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanal. The dispersant acts as a delivery system bringing the oil deeper into the body. The effects on the human body are staggering; headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chest pain, respiratory system damage, hypertension, skin sensitization, central nervous system depression, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiovascular damage, and neurotoxic effects.
Lyme Disease: An Emerging Epidemic
Lyme disease is growing with new cases appearing faster than AIDS and West Nile Virus combined. Lyme – one of the most political and controversial disease of our times –is transmitted through the bite of a tick. The bacteria can remain hidden in the human body mimicking other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gherig’s, ADHD and other neurological conditions.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA) sets the standard for the treatment of Lyme. Their guidelines – arbitrarily designed – specify a two to four week course of antibiotic therapy. If antibiotics don’t eliminate Lyme symptoms than doctors must conclude it is another disorder. Doctors who treat Lyme outside the guidelines risk losing their medical license. Insurance companies refuse to pay for long-term treatments.
Insurance companies maintain that Lyme disease is hard to catch (bite of an infected tick) and easy, and fast, to cure. Yet Lyme can mimic mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia or look like neurodegenerative disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease. It has been found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s victims. It can manifest as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis. Patients have been told they have Lupus or Crohn’s disease. These spirochete bacteria are also of the same phylum as syphilis..
Physicians who treat chronic Lyme patients recognize scientific research showing that even the two to four week course of treatment some Lyme bacteria can survive (persistent infection). Despite treating physicians’ understandings that Lyme disease patients may need longer term care, insurance companies, and their ‘lockstep’ medical panels such as the IDSA/Infectious Diseases Society of America, have taken strong actions to limit treatment to short term antibiotic therapy and to prevent Lyme patients from receiving additional antibiotics. Indeed most treating physicians understand that IDSA guidelines were written not with patient health in mind but profit. The true purpose of IDSA’s guidelines: 1. Restrict treatment, 2. Penalize doctors who recognize and treat chronic Lyme (i.e. suspension of medical license) and 3. Deny coverage for treatment.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law in the 2011 Budget language on doctor protection for Lyme disease treating physicians. The law permits doctors to clinically diagnose and treat patients long term. The state medical board cannot bring charges against a doctor solely for prescribing long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease.
Superbug Bacteria Spreading Worldwide
Lethal superbugs are emerging that do not respond to any known drugs. Pharmaceutical companies are seen as a major source of the problem as superbug bacteria spread worldwide. Big Pharma’s quest for making greater profits rather than meeting the growing global crises created by antibiotic-resistant infections has resulted in unprecedented levels of superbugs that now outstrip our ability to fight them. Each year in the European Union (EU) over 25,000 people die of bacterial infections that are able to outsmart even the newest antibiotics. That figure will increase to even greater numbers unless new more powerful antibiotics are developed. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the situation has reached a critical point and a united push to make new drugs is urgently needed because there are a number of bacteria’s that are now resistant to all drugs.
Super bugs such as the New Delhi or NDM-1 are resistant to carbapenem antibiotics, which is a major concern to experts because they are used for hard to treat infections that evade other drugs.
Emerging in India the superbug has made some appearances in North America. GlaxoSmithKline a London based Pharmaceutical Company currently holds a chemical compound, which if processed could treat NDM-1. Yet the super drug for the superbug remains in its chemical form with no human trials underway. Profit is not in the generation and testing of new antibiotics, it’s measured in sales volume – a market must exist independent of the need. Thus pushing current drugs that contribute to antibiotic resistance set precedent over clinical trials for new drugs that might cure them.
While doctors and patients are blamed for over use of antibiotics, the real cause for urgent action is the lack of development of new drugs, an issue largely unknown outside relevant medical communities. As current treatments become useless, needs for new drugs becomes greater, yet pharmaceutical companies continue to put off developing new antibiotics in favor of research and development of the more profitable drugs. This is now the major reason that antibiotic resistance poses a significant problem.
Big Polluters Freed From Environmental Oversight
What the public did not know as the Obama administration doled out billions in economic stimulus packages to corporations is that known big polluters were categorically freed from Environmental Protection Agency oversight as they received those funds. Complaining that meeting NEPA standards would take time and money, big name polluters were among those that the administration awarded more than 179,000 “categorical exclusions” to stimulus projects funded by federal agencies. ‘Categorical exclusions freed those projects from review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Coal burning utilities like Westar Energy and Duke Energy, chemical manufacturer DuPont, and ethanol maker Didion Milling are among the firms with histories of serious environmental violations that have won blanket NEPA exemptions.
Passed by Congress in 1969, NEPA provides one of the few proactive protections in an environmental enforcement system that typically relies on penalties after harm has afflicted the environment and human health. The federal law requires companies to study possible benefits and threats to landscape, wildlife, or human health before proceeding with a major federal project giving officials one last chance to intervene if the work imposes a “significant impact.” Ultimately, NEPA is meant to ensure environmental factors weigh as much as economic ones. Yet the Obama administration chose to overrule or ignore federal law because industry groups complained that NEPA compliance can delay projects by months or years, tying up companies with public notices and scientific studies costing millions of dollars. The Obama administration was thus influenced to ignore federal law and grant NEPA exemptions to streamline the environmental review process for “shovel-ready stimulus projects that could create jobs quickly in a recession and yield ‘green energy’ benefits down the road.
The so-called ‘stimulus’ funding came from the $787-billion legislation officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in February 2009. Documents show that the administration devised a speedy review process that relies on voluntary disclosures by companies to determine whether stimulus project pose environmental harm. Corporate polluters often omitted mention of health, safety, and environmental violations from their applications and were able to do so because administration officials chose to ignore companies’ environmental compliance records in making grant decisions and issuing NEPA exemptions, saying they considered such information irrelevant.
Half of Newly Elected Congress Members Deny Climate Change
While mainstream medicine denies the connection between human health and the environment fifty percent of newly elected GOP congressmen deny the impact of human-made emissions on the health of the earth. Despite clear scientific evidence, Think Progress discovered that 50% of GOP freshman deny the existence of human-made climate change. Eighty six percent reject climate change legislation that would increase government revenue. These Congress Members are on record saying they reject the decades of sound evidence compiled by scientists that shows human-made emissions are warming the atmosphere, and do so in a year slated to become the hottest ever recorded.
Top Censored News Stories – 2010-2011
Censored #8: The Fairytale of Clean and Safe Nuclear Power
“Germany Backs Away from Nuclear,” By Lindsey Blomberg, The Online Home of E–The Environmental Magazine, 31 May 2011. http://www.emagazine.com/daily-news/germany-backs-away-from-nuclear
“Americas Nuclear Nightmare,” By Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 27 Apr. 2011. Print.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy, By Matthew Hick, Web Update: 04 April 2011. http://renewableenergy-today.com/Renewable-Energy/Advantages-Disadvantages-Renewable-Energy.html
“Nuclear Energy Is Dirty Energy (and Does Not Fit into a “clean Energy Standard”).”
By Michael Mariotte. Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Jan. 2011. http://www.nirs.org/home.htm.
“Nuclear Reactor Crisis in Japan FAQs.” Union of Concerned Scientists. Posted: April 7, 2011. http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/safety/nuclear-reactor-crisis-faq.html
“Radiation Exposure and Cancer.” U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Posted. Oct. 20, 2010. http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/health-effects/rad-exposure-cancer.html
Student Researcher: Aaron Peacock, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University
Censored #12: Pacific Garbage Dump—Did You Really Think Your Plastic Was Being Recycled?
“Ocean Animals and Plastic Pollution,” Fabien Cousteau, TEDx, November 6, 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXv4Xc_60C8
“Message on a Bottle,” David de Rothschild, UNEP: Our Planet, April 2011: http://unep.org/pdf/op_april/EN/OP-2011-04-EN-ARTICLE7.pdf
“Seven Misconceptions about Plastic and Plastic Recycling,” The Ecology Center,
Web Update: April 2011: http://www.ecologycenter.org/ptf/misconceptions.html
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Bigger Than the Continental US: Here’s What We Can Do About It,” Jaymi Heimbuch, July 13, 2010. Alternet.
“The Dirt on Ocean Garbage Patches,” Jocelyn Kaiser, Science 328, no. 5985, June 18, 2010. Print.
“Plastic Debris in the Ocean,” United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP Year Book 2011. http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2011/pdfs/plastic_debris_in_the_ocean.pdf
“The Fallacy of Gyre Cleanup,” Stiv Wilson, 5 Gyres, July 5, 2010: http://5gyres.org/posts/2010/07/05/the_fallacy_of_gyre_cleanup_part_one_scale
Student Researchers: Laralyn Yee, UC Berkeley and Allison Holt, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University
Censored #15: Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight
Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight by Stimulus, By Kristen Lombardi and John Solomon,
The Center for Public Integrity, November 28, 2010
Student Researcher: Courtney Rider, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Keith Gouveia, Sonoma State University
Censored # 17 Superbug Bacteria Spreading Worldwide
Super Bugs flee India and Takeover Europe
Author: Michelle Roberts
Publication: BBC News, April 6, 2011
Student Researcher: Nzinga Dotson-Newman
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University
People getting cosmetic surgery in India have brought back to Britain a new gene that allows any bacteria to become a superbug, and scientists are warning this type of drug resistance could soon appear worldwide. 8/11/10 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38655676/ns/health-infectious_diseases/t/scientists-worry-new-superbug-could-spread-worldwide/
Though already widespread in India, the new superbug gene is being increasingly spotted in Britain and elsewhere. Experts warn the booming medical tourism industries in India and Pakistan could fuel a surge in antibiotic resistance, as patients import dangerous bugs to their home countries.
USA Today 9/17/10 Carbapenam-resistant germs are diagnosed mostly in hospital patients and are not spreading in the community. They’re far more common nationwide than bacteria carrying a gene called NDM-1 that made headlines this week, Fishman says.
Those NDM-1 bacteria, named for the city of New Delhi, are rare in the USA and have been found mainly in people who obtain medical treatment in India, Arjun Srinivasan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday.
Although KPCs are most common in New York and New Jersey, Srinivasan says, “they’ve now been reported in more than half of the states.” A decade ago, only 1% of Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria reported to CDC by hospitals were carbapenam-resistant. Today, resistance has spread to more than 8% of these bacteria. No one knows precisely how many people have KPC infections because cases aren’t routinely reported to the CDC.( Sternburg 2010)
Censored #21: Lyme Disease: An Emerging Epidemic
Statement of the National Non Profit Lyme Disease Association on the IDSA Guidelines Panel Decision, Lyme Disease Association, April 22, 2010
“MA Governor Signs Lyme Disease Doctor Protection Bill into Law.” Lyme Disease Association, June 30, 2010
HealthWatch: Bay Area Lyme Disease Patient Fights Insurer, CBS-San Francisco, Nov. 23, 2010. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2010/11/23/healthwatch-bay-area-lyme-disease-patient-fights-insurer
“Reported Cases of Lyme Disease by Year.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Posted: August 26, 2010.
Basic Information about Lyme Disease. ILADS – International Lyme and Associated
Under Our Skin, Documentary, Andy Wilson, Director. Open Eye Productions, 2008.http://www.underourskin.com/index.html.
Student Researcher: Ashley Myers, San Francisco State University
Faculty Advisor: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University
Related Validated News Stories
Scientists Warn Naked Body Scanners May Cause Cancer, Agence France Presse, November 12, 2010
Title: Radiation Scientists Agree TSA Naked Body Scanners Could Cause Breast Cancer and Sperm Mutations, By Mike Adams, Natural News, December 03, 2010
Student Researcher: Alyssa Andrews, Florida Atlantic University
Faculty Advisor: James Tracy, Florida Atlantic University
50% of the New Congressmen Deny Climate Change, By Brian Merchant, treehugger.com, November 5, 2010
Student Researcher: Courtney Rider, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Eric Williams, Sonoma State University
Don’t Order The Gulf Shrimp No Matter What BP Tells You, Twenty-three authors and sources listed at: http://www.mediafreedominternational.org/2011/04/09/don%E2%80%99t-order-the-gulf-shrimp-no-matter-what-bp-tells-you/
Graduate Student researchers: Rashanah Baldwin, Maureen Foley, Monica Macellari
Faculty Evaluator: Marla Donato , DePaul University, Chicago
BP blamed for Toxification, By Dahr Jamail, Al Jazeera English, November 9, 2010
Student Researcher: Keith Garrett (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Ervand Peterson, Sonoma State University
Daly, Matthew, Associated Press, NRC: Nuke plants need more training on emergencies, June 6, 2011
Erdman, Shelby, Scientists study ‘garbage patch’ in Pacific Ocean
CNN, August 04, 2009
Gunderson, Arnie, June 3, 2011,2011, Exclusive Arnie Gundersen Interview: The Dangers of Fukushima Are Worse and Longer-lived Than We Think http://www.chrismartenson.com/
Harris, Richard, Gulf Spill May Far Exceed Official Estimates
Hoshaw, Lindsey, Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash
New Your Times, November 9, 2009,
Sternbert, Steve, USA Today, 9/17/2010, Drug-resistant ‘superbugs’ hit 35 states, spread worldwide
Swaine Jon, and Robert Winnett, BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill, Telegraph, June 5, 2010
Tapper, Jake, BP Turns to Political Shop for $50 Million Ad Buy to Convince You the Company ‘Will Get This Done’ and ‘Make It Right’ ABC News. June 4, 2010
Waronyou.com, 5/20/10, Media ignores Goldman Sachs’ ties to Corexit dispersant, ,