According to a letter sent to the EPA by the California State Water Resources Board, approximately 3 billion gallons of wastewater was illegally injected into aquifers throughout central California from at least nine fracking sites. Water samples showed high levels of dangerous chemicals such as arsenic and thallium, a toxin used in rat poison.  


These sites were shut down by the state, but do we have so much water that we can wait for the damage to be done before stopping this dangerous and harmful practice? 


Fracking uses too much water when nothing goes wrong and it risks poisoning the whole supply. It should be banned outright.




The Citizens United decision unleashed unlimited anonymous spending on campaigns, making it easier for Big Money to unfairly influence our political system in ways that are not healthy for the citizens of our country.


We need a more transparent and regulated system. One possible solution is the Government by the People Act (H.R. 20). Co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of more than 150 members of Congress, it would combat the influence of Big Money in politics, raise civic engagement and amplify the voice of average Americans.


We are all paying the price of our current campaign finance system. We need awareness of the issue and that there are other options that could bring the democratic process back in check.





It is decidedly gratifying to note the manner in which media commentary regarding West Africa’s Ebola-virus outbreak increasingly points an accusatory finger at these nations’ incredible degree of impoverishment in so far as it is a contributing factor to the epidemic’s severity.


Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone occupy an absolutely subordinate position in the global economy. As exporters of raw materials and importers of manufactured items, they are effectively consigned by transnational corporatism to what can only be termed servitude. It is a measure of their plight that they are not even agriculturally self-sufficient despite the fact that a substantial majority of their economically active citizens are peasant farmers. They truly are in the worst possible socioeconomic situation, even during what passes for “normal” times.


Ebola is indeed a public health crisis of the very worst sort, but it is also imperative that the emergency’s class and economic aspects be included in any worthwhile analysis of what is taking place.


Liberia is the worst-hit of the afflicted nations. It is interesting to note that a higher share of the Liberian GNP is accounted for by direct foreign investment than in any other country in the world. Iron ore and rubber exports account for the preponderance of that country’s export revenues. Yet only a very small proportion of its labor force is at work either mining ore or tapping natural rubber. Foreign investors and their local helpmates have constructed what amounts to an “enclave of prosperity” within a much larger sector of the population that is either stuck in subsistence forming, or else is substantively unemployed.


This situation has existed ever since the country adopted what it calls its “economic open door,” but it is pretty obvious that foreign investment has done very little for the Liberian public health situation.


Ebola will eventually be beaten back, but any lasting answer to the sort of social emergency it represents will only come from steady economic development, determined investments in education and health, and a decision at the highest levels to place the wellbeing of local inhabitants over the business prerogatives of foreigners. 





Racism did not suddenly disappear with the Civil Rights Act. Racism did not suddenly disappear with the election of President Obama. Racism did not disappear in the ’60s, or the ’90s, or the 2000s. Racism did not suddenly disappear because some people want to sweep it under the rug.


I’m sad to say racism does exist, unfortunately. It exists everywhere you go, in many forms, in many ways. By the way, FOX News has reported that the cop who shot Michael Brown had all those horrible injuries. But did you happen to notice that the person who reported that was an “unidentified source?” Nowhere else is there any indication that the police officer was injured in that incident. No photographs of an injured police officer have appeared. No reports of it. 


Some people pick and choose what they want to believe. But none of us really knows what happened. What we do know is that Brown was unarmed and that he was shot six times by Officer Wilson. The rest of the information will have to wait for the investigation. But because “Jim Crow” is still in effect in so many parts of our country and, unfortunately, in the minds and hearts of so many of our citizens, it is no wonder that people become outraged at such occurrences.






Re: “Badge of Honor,” Sept. 17

The city of Los Angeles is one of the most diverse areas in the world, so naturally their police departments would be pretty diverse. It’s not like the PPD puts an ad in the want ads, “Wanted, Mexican to enforce the laws of the land.” As difficult as it is these days to find a halfway competent employee, the PPD and any agency will hire anyone with a pulse and can pass a background.


Re: “Stop and Scan,” Oct. 23

They already have my prints and it will probably be hard to resist the iris scan because they can subdue and strap you down but the voice thing is easy. Just do a high-pitched Borat or something. I can keep that shit up indefinitely.




There was an error in the Nov. 6 movie section, one in which the listings from a previous week’s film offerings appeared in print. We regret any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused. n



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