Five More States Consider ‘Ag Gag’ Laws To Silence Factory Farm Whistleblowers





As state legislatures begin their 2013 sessions, a flurry of new “ag gag” bills to protect factory farms from potential undercover whistleblowers have been introduced in 5 states. This week, the Indiana Senate is debating a proposal to criminalize taking photographs or videos inside an agricultural or industrial operation without permission.

Senate Bill 373 is the first of two ag gag bills introduced during Indiana’s 2013 session. New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming and Arkansas are also considering them.

Since trespassing is already illegal, ag gag laws can only have one clear motive: to punish whistleblowers, advocates, and investigative reporters who use undercover recordings to reveal the abysmal conditions in which our food is produced. Undercover investigations have captured factory farms all over the country abusing livestock, passing off sick cattle as healthy, and discharging unregulated amounts of animal manure, which the US Geological Survey identified as the largest source of nitrogen pollution in the country.

The bill’s author, Sen. Travis Holdman (R), added a provision exempting anyone who turns over their video or photos to law enforcement within 48 hours — as long as they do not also share the footage with non-law enforcement, such as media or an animal rights group. But, as the Indy Star points out, many exposés are “undertaken precisely because the authorities failed to do their job. Sometimes, they have spotlighted conditions that were not illegal but were disturbing enough to inspire new laws.”

Indeed, factory farms have largely escaped regulatory and legal scrutiny. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency abandoned an effort to require these operations to report even basic information like location, number of animals, and amount of manure discharged. Meanwhile, the meat lobby’s grip on lawmakers is so powerful that the USDA was pressured into apologizing for an internal “Meatless Monday” last year by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who claimed the optional vegetarian day was a full-scale attack on agriculture.

One USDA inspector even had his job threatened after he tried to report egregious violations at a California slaughterhouse. He then tipped off the Humane Society, which released aninfamous video of employees torturing and slaughtering downer cows (sick cows deemed “unfit for human food” by the USDA). The video triggered the largest beef recall in U.S. history and resulted in an unprecedented $500 million penalty.

In March of last year, Iowa became the first state to pass an ag gag law in two decades. It is now illegal to seek employment at Iowan factory farms under false pretenses. Not by coincidence, the bill was formulated soon after a 2010 Humane Society undercover exposé of Iowa egg farms went viral. Cody Carlson, one of the egg farm investigators, took an entry-level job at four different farms and wore a pinhole camera to work every day. As he reported in the Atlantic:

At each facility, I witnessed disturbing trends of extreme animal cruelty and dangerously unsanitary conditions. Millions of haggard, featherless hens languished in crowded, microwave-sized wire cages. Unable to even spread their wings, many were forced to pile atop their dead and rotting cage mates as they laid their eggs.

Just a few months later, several Iowa egg farms were fingered in a massive salmonella outbreakthat led to the biggest egg recall in U.S. history.

Ag gag laws are already on the books in Iowa, Missouri, Utah, North Dakota, Montana, and Kansas. If Indiana and the 5 other states mulling these bills follow suit, the facilities producing99 percent of American meat will be completely shielded from the public eye.


North Korea and the United States: Will the Real Aggressor Please Stand Down?

Korean War.Troops land at P’ohang-Dong, Korea during the Korean war. (Photo: Expert Infantry / Flickr)US political leaders and media pundits trumpet North Korea’s recent testing of missiles and nuclear weapons as a great threat. But the US mass media do not tell the whole story. Without the context of history and current events, the actions of North Korea look insane, but when put in context we find that the United States is pushing North Korea on this path. North Korea is really not a significant threat compared to what the United States is doing with nuclear weapons, the Asia Pivot and war games off the Korean coast. In this article, we seek greater understanding by putting ourselves in the place of North Korea.

Historical Context: Korea, a Pawn for Big Power, Brutalized by the United States

The history between Korea and the United States goes back to the late 1800s when the US had completed its manifest destiny across North America and was beginning to build a global empire.  In 1871, more than 700 US marines and sailors landed on Kanghwa beach in west Korea, seeking to begin US colonization (a smaller US invasion occurred in 1866).  They destroyed five forts, inflicting as many as 650 Korean casualties. The US withdrew, realizing it would need a much larger force to succeed, but this was the largest military force to land outside the Americas until the 1898 war in the Philippines. S. Brian Willson reports that this invasion is still discussed in North Korea, but it has been erased from the history in South Korea as well as in the United States.

Korea succumbed to Japanese rule beginning in 1905, often serving as a pawn between Japanese conflicts with China and Russia. This was a brutal occupation. A major revolt for Korean democracy occurred on March 1, 1919, when a declaration of independence was read in Seoul. Two million Koreans participated in 1,500 protests. The Koreans also appealed to major powers meeting in Versailles after World War I, but were ignored as Japan was given control over the East. The Japanese viciously put down the democracy movement. Iggy Kim, in Green Left, reports they “beheaded children, crucified Christians and carried out scores of other atrocities. More than 7,500 people were killed and 16,000 were injured.”

Near the end of World War II, as Japan was weakened, Korean “People’s Committees” formed all over the country and Korean exiles returned from China, the US and Russia to prepare for independence and democratic rule. On September 6, 1945, these disparate forces and representatives of the people’s committees proclaimed a Korean People’s Republic (the KPR) with a progressive agenda of land reform, rent control, an eight-hour work day and minimum wage among its 27-point program.

But the KPR was prevented from becoming a reality. Instead, after World War II and without Korean representation, the US quite arbitrarily decided with Russia, China and England, to divide Korea into two nations “temporarily” as part of its decolonization. The powers agreed that Japan should lose all of its colonies and that in “due course” Korea would be free. Korea was divided on the 38th parallel.  The US made sure to keep the capital, Seoul, and key ports.  Essentially, the US took as much of Korea as it thought the Russians would allow. This division planted the seeds of the Korean War, causing a five-year revolution and counter-revolution that escalated into the Korean War…


Only 6% Rate News Media As Very Trustworthy

Most voters still get their news from television and consider the news reported by the media generally trustworthy.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Likely U.S. Voters say they get most of their news from TV, including 32% who get it from cable news networks and 24% who get it from traditional network news. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that another 25% use the Internet as their main source of news, while only 10% still rely on print newspapers. Seven percent (7%) get most of their news from radio. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-six percent (56%) of all voters regard the news reported by the media as at least somewhat trustworthy, but that includes just six percent who think it is Very Trustworthy. Forty-two percent (42%) don’t trust the news media, with 12% who believe the news it reports is Not At All Trustworthy.  

Last September, as the final stretch of the presidential race heated up, 40% of American Adults said the Internet was the best way to get news and information in today’s world, while 37% viewed television that way. Nine percent (9%) rated radio as the best source, and seven percent (7%) chose print newspapers. TV broadcast news was considered the most reliable, followed by the Internet and newspapers.  

Forty-one percent (41%) of voters think the average media reporter is more liberal than they are, down slightly from 46% in June 2011. Unchanged from the earlier survey are the 18% who feel the average reporter is more conservative than they are, while 26% think their views are about the same. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.  …


Why economists get things so wrong


Punk Economics – Economics in the dock – Why economists gets things so wrong.

Writer/Director: David McWilliams
Producer/Filming/Editor: Ado Brett
Researcher/Editor: Eoin Cunningham
Artist: Mark Flood
Music: Hassle Merchants “Run Rabbit Run”
It Was All a Bit Black & White – ‘Mechanical Paradise’ & ‘Bottle Rockets’

What is Modern Monetary Theory?


Thom Hartmann talks with Dr. Stephanie Kelton, Economist & Chair-Department of Economics University of Missouri-Kansas City / Editor-in-Chief, New Economic Perspectives, Website:, about Modern Monetary Theory.

Are US police above the law?



Follow The Stream on Al Jazeera:…







We look at continued distrust between the police and certain communities in the US.

Thumbnail:New York Police Department officers monitor a march against stop-and-frisk tactics used by police on February 23, 2013 in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP

Think (Song with Video)


Published on Feb 27, 2013
Some guy (who wishes to remain anonymous) made this cool video for the song I posted here before. Many thanks to Mr. Mystery Guy for doing this.

“THINK” by Larken Rose

not taught to think
not taught to judge
not meant to understand a thing

raised up to be
just a battery
powering someone else’s machine

they own you, body and soul
though the truth you will not hear
so hard to free the fool
from the chains that he reveres

not taught to think
not taught to judge
you take pride instead in subservience

what a strange belief
you put the lowest thief
upon a pedestal, it makes no sense

they dominate you and you call it law
and proudly you obey
you live your life by the code of the flock
while humanity you betray

but born as a human being
your only obligation is to do…

not what is commanded
not what is expected
not what is legal
not what is popular
not what is comfortable
or what is praised

but only what is right

not taught to think
not taught to judge
you echo the slavespeak faithfully

you worship the ones
who hold you down
hate those who wish you to be free

love and adore exploiters and thieves
take comfort in their bald-faced lies
you call it thought when you blindly believe
you wear your chains with pride

taught not to think
taught not to judge
you seek only the approval of your lords

always you’ve been
a good citizen
a drop in the sea of mindless hordes

nothing noble in being a pawn
in serving tyrants well
you fuel their machine, you give them their power
you pave the road to hell

but born as a human being
your only obligation is to do…

not what is commanded
not what is expected
not what is legal
not what is popular
not what is comfortable
or what is praised

but only what is right

LAPD sings “We Didn’t Start The Fire” after burning Christopher Dorner alive (par


Published on Feb 26, 2013
This parody video depicts the LAPD singing Billy Joel’s classic song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” after clearly setting fire to the cabin in which ex-cop fugitive Christopher Dorner was holed up.

After burning Chris Dorner alive and being caught on police radio plotting and carrying out the planned murder of Dorner, the LAPD then publicly denied setting any fires at all.

FAIR USE of all photos and music for non-commercial purposes of public commentary and social awareness.

BPA Can Lead to Brain Impairment, Neuro-disorders

Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found in most plastics, cans, and other types of food and drink packaging is already linked to obesityinfertility and reproductive disorders in both genders, breast cancer, behavioral problems, and more.

Add disrupted brain function and development to the list. A telling new study explains how. Find ways to counteract BPA below.

The journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study led by Dr. Wolfgang Leidtke finding that BPA could “suppress genes that are critical to early development of the central nervous system, which may predispose both animals and humans to neurodevelopmental disorders.”

Liedtke, a Duke University associate professor of medicine and neurobiology explains:

Chloride going from high to low around the time of birth, in a very choreographed manner, is an absolute prerequisite for the nerve cell to find its right place. That is perturbed by BPA. If chloride is high, things go wrong. Nerve cells in the central nervous system are protecting themselves by pumping out chloride all the time.

BPA chemical prohibits a chloride transporter in the brain (KCC2) from getting chloride out of the cells. When the chloride levels remain high, neural circuits don’t connect or form the normal way.

This study showed a more pronounced effect on the female brain and subsequent brain development issues for unborn babies. “The process of emptying out chloride from the neuron is faster and more dynamic in females.” Exposure to BPA could lead to neuro-developmental problems later in life or triggered during trauma and stress, the researchers said. Previous studies point to reproductive and sex hormone problems for women, and this study goes into the neurological problems associated with BPA. For men, the fake estrogen effect of BPA led to gender-bending hormone issues when studied in mice.


Two Latest GE-Related Health Threats: ‘Monster Salmon,’ and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria from GE Experiments Found in Chinese Waterways

SWEET! – “synthetic plasmid vectors may represent a source of antibiotic resistance in humans.”

By Dr. Mercola

Fish — and salmon in particular — has always been an ideal source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, fish in general have become less viable as a primary source of healthful fats.

Soon, there will be even more to worry about as salmon is getting a genetic makeover.

Not only will you need to beware of inferior and poorly labeled farmed salmon, you’ll also have to contend with it possibly being genetically engineered (GE), since the US still does not require GE foods to be labeled as such.

On December 21, 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a giant step closer toward the final approval of the first genetically engineered (GE) food animal — a salmon designed to grow abnormally fast,1 and to an unnaturally large size.

It now appears the first GE fish could reach your dinner plate within the next year or two, unless a sufficiently strong opposition is mounted.

According to the FDA,2 the GE salmon is “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon,” but many have brought up significant flaws and limitations of the environmental assessment (EA) on which this conclusion is drawn.

In recent years, mounting evidence shows that initial suspicions that GE foods might have unforeseen consequences were indeed correct — from alteration ofsoil composition, to contaminating waterways with antibiotic resistant bacteria linked to GE crops,3 to serious health consequences for animals and humans who consume GE products.

Latest GE-Related Health Threat: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria from GE Experiments Found in Waterways…

The first-ever study45 to address GE crop-related pollution of waterways discovered that Chinese rivers are contaminated with antibiotic-resistant genes from genetic engineering experiments, which (again) may have unforeseen repercussions for human health. According to the authors:6

“Antibiotic resistance poses a significant challenge to human health and its rate continues to rise globally. While antibiotic-selectable synthetic plasmid vectors have proved invaluable tools of genetic engineering, this class of artificial recombinant DNA sequences with high expression of antibiotic resistance genes presents an unknown risk beyond the laboratory setting.

Contamination of environmental microbes with synthetic plasmid vector-sourced antibiotic resistance genes may represent a yet unrecognized source of antibiotic resistance.

In this study, PCR and real-time quantitative PCR were used to investigate the synthetic plasmid vector-originated ampicillin resistance gene, β-lactam antibiotic (blá), in microbes from six Chinese rivers with significant human interactions. 

Various levels of blá were detected in all six rivers… The resistance spectrum of transformants from the Pearl and Haihe rivers, in particular, had expanded to the third- and fourth-generation of cephalosporin drugs, while that of other transformants mainly involved first- and second-generation cephalosporins.

This study not only reveals environmental contamination of synthetic plasmid vector-sourced blá drug resistance genes in Chinese rivers, but also suggests that synthetic plasmid vectors may represent a source of antibiotic resistance in humans.”..