Monsanto’s ‘healthier environment’ ads banned in South Africa

AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen
AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa has ordered biotech titan Monsanto to withdraw its ads on local radio in which the company boasts the supposed benefits of GM crops, including a “healthier environment” and “more food sustainably.”

The authority’s order for Monsanto to withdraw its commercial on Radio 702 will take immediate effect, according to a press release on the entity’s website.

According to the ASA, the claims made by the leading producer of genetically engineered crops are unsubstantiated.

The move follows a complaint to the ASA lodged by the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) about the commercial.

In the ads, the agricultural giant claims that GM crops “enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources; provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides; decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase crop yields substantially.”

The compliant was supported by Judith Taylor from the environmental and anti-nuclear organization Earthlife Africa, according to the ASA.

Monsanto responded to the complaint but was unable to provide input from an independent and credible expert confirming the ostensible benefits of GM crops, as is required by South African advertising law.

“We are elated with this decision. Monsanto has already been warned by the ASA as far back as 2007, that it needs to substantiate its claims from an independent and credible expert in the matter of GM Food/M Wells/ 8739 (18 June 2007) regarding its claims of the so called benefits of GM crops. However, it appears Monsanto does not have much regard for South African law as it is hell bent on disseminating false information to the South African public, “ said Mariam Mayet, executive director of the ACB, according to its press release.

The ASA has warned Monsanto that “it should ensure that it holds proper substantiation for its advertising claims” or risk the expansion of further sanctions on the company – the products of which have already been banned in several countries.

France is among those countries which have enacted a recent ban. The nation’s agricultural ministry on Saturday banned the sale, use, and cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified maize MON 810. France insists that GM crops pose significant environmental risks. Another ban was imposed by China when the country last year refused no fewer than five shipments of American corn allegedly over concerns that it could have been tainted by a biotech variety of the crop.

Source: RT

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How to Fabricate Evidence: Wells Fargo’s Foreclosure Manual Confirms the Worst

If there was any doubt in your mind that banks have been forging evidence, put it to rest. According to the New York Post, an internal Wells Fargo manual has now leaked confirming the exact procedures Wells and its attorneys use to fabricate evidence in foreclosure cases—down to the computer codes they use to order […]

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Moody’s: Moderate demand will temper power prices in 2014

The rise of solar power and environmental regulations could pose a threat to the utility industry in 2014 and beyond, according to a new forecast from the credit rating firm.

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Mexico’s congress certifies oil reform approval

Mexico’s federal congress has certified that 24 of the country’s 31 state legislatures have approved sweeping energy reforms that allow private companies to explore for and produce oil and gas.

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“Fear and concern” keeping MSNBC hosts quiet in union dispute, AFL-CIO suggests

The AFL-CIO urged MSNBC hosts Wednesday to defy “fear and concern” and break their silence about NBC’s alleged anti-union “hypocrisy.” None of the five high-profile progressives they’ve targeted – Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell, Chris Hayes and Ed Schultz – has so far directly and publicly addressed allegations that NBC-owned Peacock Productions exploited fear tactics and legal tricks to avert unionization. NBC and the five hosts did not immediately respond to Wednesday morning inquiries, or to prior requests for comment over the past week.

“These hosts have a particular responsibility,” AFL-CIO organizing director Elizabeth Bunn told Salon. “They have respect and they have clout that producers alone don’t have, and they’re part of the larger progressive movement.” She said the five anchors were “uniquely positioned to hear the stories of what their parent company is doing to workers, and broadcast that to the larger American public.” She urged them to follow the “inspirational example” of workers at Peacock Productions – a company that produces some MSNBC programming – who’ve chosen to take collective action.

Continue Reading…

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BP, ConocoPhillips announce Gulf of Mexico oil discovery

BP and ConocoPhillips announced a sizable oil discovery at the jointly-owned Gila prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, the two companies announced Wednesday.

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Argentina’s ‘shale capital’ basks in new riches

Argentina’s shale boom is being supported by companies such as Chevron Corp. and YPF SA, which are investing billions of dollars to tap the world’s second-largest shale gas deposit, known locally as Vaca Muerta, or Dead Cow

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Number of Kids on Rx Drugs Tripled and Its Implications

image source

Catherine J. Frompovich
Activist Post

According to Consumer Reports, “The number of children taking powerful antipsychotic drugs has nearly tripled over the last 10 to 15 years, according to recent research.”

Whooaah! Has anyone done a retrospective study to find if there’s a correlation between antipsychotic drug taking and the increase in violent crimes by members of society younger than 20 years of age?

According to Monica G. Young at NaturalNews.com,

In the pre-medication era, it was known that with time, people usually recovered from depression. If kids had tantrums, were unruly or shy, they were apt to outgrow it. Today, individuals branded with disorders are likely to receive long-lasting diagnoses, endless prescriptions and the poorer ones tend to remain on disability for life. [1]

To learn more, please visit here.

Furthermore, how about factoring in this from Consumer Reports,

Increasingly, kids are prescribed antipsychotic medications at their pediatrician’s office, rather than by a psychiatrist. The number of prescriptions for the drugs written by pediatricians has increased steadily over the last several years and is up nearly 25 percent since 2006. [CJF: Based upon that ‘trajectory’, what should we expect?]

According to Dr. Allen Frances, MD, who is critiquing the risks of the American Psychiatric Association’s new DSM-5, the antidepressant Rx business amounts to US$12Billion a year, while the stimulant drug market comes in at US$7Billion a year – not exactly “small potatoes.” According to the then-projections, the vaccine market for 2010 was supposed to be about US$19.2Billion with some predicting an average annual growth of sales to amount to 21 percent!



According to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News,

In 2010, the world market for preventive vaccines totaled $25.3 billion, up from $21.7 billion in 2009. The world vaccines market is predicted to increase at a compound annual rate of 9.3% during 2010–2015, reaching $39.5 billion in 2015 as new product introductions continue and usage of current products expands further. [CJF emphasis added] 

Doesn’t that seem to be what it’s all about – not factual science – but the scientific, medical, and political disregards for the harms of neurotoxins and hazardous chemicals in vaccines, some of which are being steered deliberately into the human brain?

Comparatively, psychotic prescription drug increase and use in children is nothing compared with the uptake in mandated vaccines, vaccinations, and their toxins for children that starts usually within 24 hours of birth with the Hepatitis B vaccine and barrels along at two-month intervals when infants are taken to their pediatricians for what are called “well-baby” visits at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, only to be pumped with as many as nine (9) vaccines at one time that usually make them have an adverse reaction, minor or serious, or contribute to life-long health anomalies.

Now, let’s figure out how many times vaccinations have increased? 

According to a chart provided by Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children, 4 vaccines (Smallpox and DTP [Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (3)] were given to children in the 1940s. Let’s use that number as our base rate for sake of argument.

According to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP),

The smallpox vaccine was discontinued for routine use in the United States in the early 1970s.

However, instead of that reducing the number of vaccines given, the number of vaccine doses given in 1980 increased to 21 vaccines: DTP [3] & Polio at 2 months; DTP [3] & Polio at 4 months; DTP [3] & Polio at 6 months; MMR [3] (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) at 12 months; DTP [3] at 18 months; DTP [3] at 5 years.

Therefore, the 1980 vaccine/vaccination schedule of 21 vaccine doses resulted in a 5-and-a-quarter times increase over the base [4 vaccines] 1940s vaccination schedule.

Juvenile Crime

Now, this writer wishes to interject something that will be challenged, but needs to be pointed out: Juvenile crime, which has increased exponentially and dramatically in the time frame after the 1980 mandated vaccine schedule that introduced more toxic chemicals into children’s brains and bodies.

According to the website www.justice.gov/“The number of teenagers under eighteen arrested for murder has risen over one hundred fifty percent from 1985 to 1994,” as stated in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1994. While “Seventeen percent of all serious violent crimes in 1991 were committed by juveniles, either alone (eleven percent) or in juvenile groups (six percent).” [Recall vaccine doses increased 5 ¼ times in 1980.] Other reports are cited stating, “Increasing youth violence has become a national concern, and juvenile arrests are on the rise.” “The most alarming statistics among these increases are the growth in homicides and weapons violations among younger juveniles.” [CJF emphasis added] [Does violence as entertainment also play a role in crime?]

http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm00102.htm

Now, let’s see what the 2012 vaccine/vaccination schedule produced. 

Prenatal: pregnant mother’s H1N1 flu vaccine; Hepatitis B at birth; Dtap [3] (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis), Polio, Hib, Pneu, Rotavirus, HepB for a total of 8 vaccines at 2 months of age; the very same schedule as at 2 months with no HepB for 7 vaccines at 4 months of age; Dtap [3], Polio, Hib, Flu/H1N1 for a total of 6 vaccines at 6 months of age; another Flu/H1N1 vaccine at 7 months of age; Pneu and MMR [3] for a total of 4 vaccines at 12 months of age, or 28 vaccine doses by one year of age.  By the end of the first year of life according to the 2012 vaccination schedule, vaccine doses increased seven (7) times, i.e., 28 vaccine doses, over the doses given in the 1940s.

Continuing on still, a child receives 19 more vaccine doses by age of 6: Varicella and Hepatitis A [2] vaccines at 15 months old. The Dtap [3], Polio, Hib, HepA, and Flu/H1N1 for a total of 7 vaccines at 18 months of age. Another Flu/H1N1 vaccine at 2 ½ years of age. Between 4 and 6 years of age, a child receives 9 vaccines at one time: Dtap [3], Polio, MMR [3], Varicella, and Flu/H1N1.

By a child’s 6th birthday, his or her vaccine/vaccination mandated schedule grew almost 12 times over what they were in 1940, for a total of 47 doses of vaccines! Vaccination schedules increased from only 4 vaccines to almost twelve times that amount or 47 vaccine doses, per this writer’ calculations.

However, there is a caveat to those figures. They do not include the boosters and newer vaccines, e.g., the HPV vaccines for male and female children up to 18 years of age, which appear on the CDC’s schedule here.

But we shouldn’t stop there. Now take a look at the recommended vaccination schedule for adults.

If readers have read my October 2013 book, Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, you can readily understand how many toxic chemicals and neurotoxins are being pumped into infants, toddlers, teens, and adults. So, can we do a quick guestimate on the increase of those toxins in vaccines over one’s life time? Well, that depends upon how long a person may live, once you study the 2013 Adult Schedule for Immunization in the USA.

Who’s to Blame?

Furthermore, we know that 300 new vaccines are in development stages. Question: How will the 2013 vaccination schedules, plus those newbie vaccines, dramatically increase the amount of toxic drugs given to everyone? Exponentially is an accurate answer. Therefore, is it any wonder that the USA has a totally legal drug culture that keeps growing day by day, and year by year? And the medical societies are to blame! They keep ‘sanctifying’ and pushing more and more chemical drugs, especially vaccines, any which way they can into humans, even from before birth using fear tactics and health agency mandates. This writer remembers a time when not even an aspirin was recommended to be taken by a pregnant woman.

Instead of implementing complementary medicine protocols when appropriate and a holistic approach to lifestyles along with a nutritious, organically-grown, GMO- and chemical-free dietary, the medical profession, federal, and state health agencies keep pushing drugs like any drug dealer does, except their pushing is legal – and in many cases MANDATORY, as with vaccines and chemotherapy for cancer treatments, especially for children when parents prefer other treatments. Read 11-year-old Sarah Hershberger’s sad story.

Unfortunately, citizens do pay the price, rather expressly with adverse events, ill health, or even death in many instances.

According to Gary Null, PhD,

Out of the 783,936 annual deaths from conventional medicine mistakes, approximately 106,000 of those are the result of prescription drug use. [2]

And still no one is doing anything about it other than fining Big Pharma big fines. Where do all those big fines go? Shouldn’t there be an accounting of how those fines are used or spent? Do they finance the U.S. FDA’s operations? Or is it a matter of someone scratching someone else’s back?

Change IS on the Horizon – not the other kind of change 

Starting in January 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will initiate a prescription drug take-back program. MedReturn collection boxes will be at locations throughout the state so consumers can properly dispose of prescription drugs. “Abuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem that can lead to addiction, overdose and death,” said DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis. [3]

The more drugs the medical profession and Big Pharma push into consumers, the more problems. Antibiotics in food animals are other drug problems that need addressing. Finally, after all these years of use and abusing antibiotics for fattening animals for market, the FDA is going to do something. See “Phasing Out Certain Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals”. Don’t you think those veterinary drugs also put a little more meat and fat on humans’ hindquarters, too, in addition to compromising the human immune system?

But here’s the piece de resistance, as far as this writer is concerned. It’s a story out of the U.K. about the hyping and issuing of false news claims about the measles epidemic earlier this year in Wales that was promoting vaccinations, i.e., the MMR vaccine which many parents don’t want their children vaccinated with.

Another equally-enlightening article is “The Vaccine Hoax is Over Documents from UK reveal 30 Years of Cover-up.”  And still they keep on pushing vaccine drugs and people keep on believing the hype. All this drug-pushing with vaccines, antipsychotics, veterinary antibiotics in animal feeds, plus add to that over 100,000 chemicals that can be used in our environment and food chain, from crop fields to processing to manufacturing- and shipping-chemicals, humans have become walking toxic waste dumps. On top of all that, add the heavy metals, chemicals, probable viruses, and toxins being sprayed daily over our heads from airplanes that create chemtrails.

All that still does not include the radioactive waste aerial plumes that flow across the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima. What does all that do to us, especially infants, toddlers, and teens?

Autism

Finally, to come full circle, we need to look at the rates of autism over the years? Autism was first detected by Dr. Leo Kanner, a child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He first reported about autism in his 1943 paper. At first autism was called the Kanner syndrome; it was so rare Dr. Kanner did not mention it in many of his publications.

Here are the generally accepted statistics regarding autism:

  • Until about 1970, it is generally believed that the autism rate was one in 10,000.
  • In 1975: one in 1,500; in 2009: one in 110; in 2012: one in 88; in March 2013: one in 50.
  • According to some, the rate of autism has increased by 600% in the last 20 years.

Is Correlation Causation?

However, there is something that medicine and public health agencies overlook and don’t even want to hear about. It is this: If one cross-references or juxtaposes the increase in vaccines given to infants, toddlers, and teens according to draconian vaccination mandates, which unequivocally document an almost 12-times increase in the number of vaccine doses given children to age 6 between the timeframe of the 1940s and 2012, there is an apparent correlation rather than coincidence. It’s about time we stop accepting that vaccines do not harm nor cause damage, and anything that happens after receiving a vaccine is mere coincidence. That’s nothing but sanitized poppycock!

Furthermore, the U.S. Vaccine Court is proof that something is amiss with vaccines. That court has paid out close to US$3Billion in vaccine damage claims since its inception in the late 1980s. As of April 2013, close to US$6Million alone was paid to only 49 victims damaged by the HPV vaccine (Source).

Other Toxic Issues

Before we leave the issue of oversupplying toxic chemicals in drugs to children, let’s consider other products we use daily that compromise us chemically. Consider what the U.S. FDA recently said about those ‘all important’ antibacterial soaps. As Food Safety News put it,

According to FDA, there is no evidence that antibacterial soaps are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. Some data even suggest that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products — triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps — could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects. [4] [CJF emphasis added]

Could the hormonal effects implied to antibacterial products be similar to endocrine disruption that comes from Bisphenol A (BPA)? However, BPA’s replacement, BPS, is even more problematic insofar as it is more readily absorbable upon contact. Ponder this:

The study detected BPS in all the receipt paper they tested, 87 percent of the samples of paper currency and 52 percent of recycled paper. The researchers estimate that people may be absorbing BPS through their skin in larger doses than they absorbed BPA when it was more widely used – 19 times more BPS than BPA. People who handle thermal paper in their jobs may be absorbing much more BPS. [5] [CJF emphasis added]

This writer contends that society is over-chemicalized – deliberately – either because of pseudo-science or profit-making ventures and proprietary interests seeking spectacular bottom line figures. I discuss those issues in my 2009 book, Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick. The number of drugs given to young children, in particular, has more than tripled; how about twelve times for vaccines alone, plus other Rx drugs kids take – and legally! We have a drug-zombie culture from street drugs and those legally mandated, prescribed or overprescribed, and provided by those who should know better: the medical profession. How many Rx’s do senior citizens take?

The Wall Street Journal in its December 28, 2010 article “So Young and So Many Pills” [6] printed the exceptional graphic below. Please study the data associated with each type of medication. The numbers are astounding! Why so many children on so many meds? Take a look at sleep aids and statins being prescribed to 0 to 9 year olds! What’s causing such a ‘pandemic’ of chronic illnesses in the very young? Can it be the synergistic biological interaction of heavy metals in vaccines and other meds, plus all the toxic man-made chemicals humans are mandated to intake in everything from the air we breathe to the water we drink to the food we eat to the clothing we wear to the furniture we sit on to the cars we drive?

When will we wake up enough to realize that we do not have a deficiency of man-made chemicals, especially pharmaceutical drugs foisted upon us in the name of medical science? Actually, we are inundated! When will we finally realize that we and our children are being poisoned in the name of medical science gone off the deep end with its hard core influences in government, business, and the media? When will we decide enough is enough and stop buying into pseudo-scientific hype, which after many years down the line of our buying into such deceitful hype finds pharmaceuticals are recalled for all the damage they have done?

Well, finally someone has realized what’s going on with poisoning us, especially children.

A California Superior Court judge in San Jose ordered three current or former paint companies to pay $1.1 billion into a fund to be used to clean up hazards from lead paint in hundreds of thousands of homes in the state. [7]

Incidentally, science, society, and vested interests finally had to accept the problems associated with lead [Pb] and the damage it causes to human health and the environment. Reluctantly, after decades of tobacco science saying smoking didn’t harm us and that medical doctors preferred certain brands of cigarettes, the tobacco industry has to decorate their brands with truth in advertising like the following:

Graphics Source: Cigarette Pack Warning

Take note of the Warning Label regarding fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight! Why didn’t such warnings appear earlier than they have? We need similar ‘bridles’ for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. They really are not too big to be made to comply with factual science.

It’s Congress’s Fault

The problem, as this writer sees it, is Congress! Congress’s unwillingness to take the bull by the horns and do its job of oversight, plus stop taking all the gifts that K Street lobbyists have to offer, which in turn, only buy influence that looks favorably upon introducing or passing laws that vested interests want enacted to protect their corporate interests.

Seeming examples are Monsanto with non-labeling of GMO edibles in the USA, and the ‘coup’ the pharmaceutical industry was able to pull off in getting the 1986 law President Ronald Reagan signed: the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which took away all legal liability for vaccine damage from Big Pharma and vaccine makers, and which undoubtedly has led to the overproduction of a product—vaccines—that is mandated to be given to infants, toddlers, teens, and adults, and which causes horrendous damage and no one is held accountable.

It seems the more they can get away with, the more they will offer and no one stands in their steamroller way. What a shame!

Notes:

[1] www.naturalnews.com/033133_psychoactive_drugs_Big_Pharma.html
[2] Null, Gary PhD. Death by Medicine. 2011. Mount Jackson, VA: Praktikos Books.
[3] http://www.kctv5.com/story/24230762/governor-corbett-launches-statewide-healthy-pennsylvania-drug-take-back-initiative
[4] http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/12/fda-proposes-new-rule-on-antibacterial-soap/#.UrB2k3t3v9I
[5] http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2012/acs-press-pac-july-11-2012/widespread-exposure-to-bpa-substitute-is-occurring-from-cash-register-receipts-other-paper.html
[6] http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203731004576046073896475588
[7] http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB20001424052702304173704579262851705350832

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).

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State lawmakers want severance tax on natural gas drillers

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — They know it’s a long shot, but a small bipartisan group of state lawmakers is rolling out a plan for a severance tax on Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry.

While the four lawmakers might have crossed the aisle to work on the proposal, there’s doubt from opponents that they’ll cross the finish, though.

That’s largely because Gov. Tom Corbett does not support a severance tax.

Kevin Shivers, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, doesn’t even think the plan from will make it through the General Assembly.

“To tax it now is killing the golden goose,” Shivers said, pointing to the jobs, tax revenue and infrastructure improvements the gas industry has already brought to Pennsylvania.

Shivers warned that — even though Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale play is rich in natural gas — drilling companies could flee to friendlier climes if taxed further .

DRILLING FOR REVENUE: Four Pennsylvania representatives are proposing a severance tax on natural gas extracted from the type of wells shown above.

DRILLING FOR REVENUE: Four Pennsylvania representatives are proposing a severance tax on natural gas extracted from the type of wells shown above.

State RepsGene DiGirolamoPamela DeLissioThomas Murt and Harry Readshaw will give it a shot anyway, painting their proposal as a fairer replacement for the local impact fees that natural gas drillers pay now.

While the state keeps about $25 million of the total fees each year, 60 percent of the remainder goes to counties and municipalities directly involved in natural gas drilling.

The push for a revenue stream that could be spread across the state instead invited questions of whether the proposal was simply a publicity ploy, given Corbett’s unwavering opposition to a severance tax.

“We are equal partners in state government … and we’re throwing this idea out there to have a debate about it,” DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, responded.

While the lawmakers pointed out that Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax, Patrick Henderson, Corbett’s top energy adviser, countered that no other state has an impact fee.

“Capital investment is mobile and unemotional,” he said. “It will go to the more favorable business climate. The governor believes Pennsylvania and its elected officials — particularly through the leadership exhibited in the General Assembly —  has struck the appropriate balance.”

The proposed legislation would institute a 4.9 percent severance tax on natural gas. While the impact fee has generated more than $400 million over two years, a severance tax would pull in even more revenue, the lawmakers said.

Readshaw, D-Allegheny, said he hopes the increased funding could be in place for next fiscal year, when the state faces a projected $839 million budget deficit. The fiscal year begins in July

Under the lawmakers’ proposal, 40 percent of the tax would go toward sustaining existing impact fee programs. The bulk of the remaining funds would be directed to basic education, with the rest split among environmental initiatives and health and human services, among other areas.

“We think it’s reasonable, we think it’s fair, we think it’s the right thing to do,” DiGirolamo said, pointing to evidence the industry is doing well.

From 2011 to 2012, Pennsylvania jumped from the seventh-largest to third-largest marketed-gas producing state in the country, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. There’s a chance Pennsylvania might become the second-largest natural-gas-producing state this year, the administration indicated.

“As a result of doing well, they can also do good,” said DeLissio, D-Philadelphia-Montgomery.

The industry, though, did not embrace the proposal.

While David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, acknowledged that the natural gas output from Pennsylvania has been “prolific,” he said adding another tax would be “short-sighted and ill-advised.”

“More than 100 rigs were operating in Pennsylvania in 2012. Yet today, given low natural gas prices and the increasing number of competitive shale plays across the country, and around the world, there are roughly 50 rigs operating here,” Spigelmyer said in a statement. “New energy taxes will reduce development in Pennsylvania, and more capital — not less — will be directed to other states or countries.”

The lawmakers’ proposal attracted support from Citizens For Pennsylvania’s Future, an environmental advocacy group. It also drew praise from the Service Employees International Union labor group, the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania and the powerful Pennsylvania State Education Association.

Michael Crossey, PSEA president, said the state’s public school system is in desperate need of resources, “and those resources are right under our feet.”

But the NFIB’s Shivers shook his head at the long-shot proposal, saying it shows “there are different shades of green” among groups who have spoken out against the drilling industry only to now look at is a revenue source.

“The message that I took out of this event was just one of pure greed,” Shivers said. “That’s it not about creating jobs. It’s not about helping to restore Pennsylvania’s economy. It’s just about raising more taxes.”

Andrew Staub is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Andrew@PAIndependent.com.  Follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.

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What Would Happen If We Really Went to War Against Christmas?


You’ve heard about the “War on Christmas,” a cynical but largely successful attempt by grown men and women to drive up cable news ratings and sell terrible books. But what about an actual war on Christmas? If President Barack Obama wanted to take down Santa Claus*, how would he do it? And would it work? A classified report obtained by Mother Jones sheds new light on the Department of Defense’s plans. Take a look:

Overwhelming force: On paper, it looks possible. The United States has 16,000 military personnel in Alaska, mostly at major Air Force bases outside Anchorage and Fairbanks (home to the 354th fighter wing). A military airstrip at Barrow, the country’s northernmost point, could also be used a forward operating base, as could Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland, 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The Navy and Air Force regularly conduct carrier group exercises in the Gulf of Alaska; so they’re not exactly coming in cold.

But Santa’s best defense is that the North Pole is—spoiler—really cold. The US Navy doesn’t have any icebreakers, and the Coast Guard only has two, both of which are research vessels. (An amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act would have commissioned four new icebreakers, but that’s still pending congressional approval.) And unlike the Russians and the Finns, the United States doesn’t have any ground units specifically trained to handle polar climates.

Nor is Santa himself a pushover. Some images of the old man depict him with a Kalashnikov. Elsewhere, he’s armed with a sword. Futurama‘s Robot Santa has some sort of laser blaster. In Scrooged, Santa is able to repel a terrorist attack with an M16A2; his elves carry M60 machine guns. Oh, and about those elves. According to NorthPole.com, “There are an unlimited number of elves because it takes a lot of help to keep the northpole maintained and the presents made every year” [sic]. Even if an expeditionary force succeeds in taking the workshop, the elves’ sheer numbers make the possibility of a post-invasion insurgency likely. And then there’s Santa’s sidekick Krampus, a massive goat-demon who according to Germanic legend, captures his enemies in a bathtub, eats them, and transports them to hell. How do you stab the devil in the back? No, really—it’s our only hope.

Leo/Shutterstock

Missile intercept: Targeting Santa while he’s on his rounds sounds good in theory. NORAD already purports to track Santa’s progress on its website, owing to a typo in a 1955 Sears advertisement that accidentally broadcasted a secret government phone line to the general public. And the NSA is well-equipped to spy on Santa’s kingdom. Arctic Fiber, a Canadian company, is laying a new fiber-optic cable underneath the North Pole that will link Tokyo and London, to get a leg up on high-frequency stock market trading, but it could also give the US government’s super-secret (until recently) data-collection programs the lowdown on what’s going on at the workshop.

But the United States has never successfully shot down a ballistic missile, which doesn’t inspire confidence in its chances at taking down Santa, whose packed schedule requires him to travel at pace somewhere between ridiculous and ludicrous speed. Norwegian physicist Knut Jørgen Røed Oedegaar argues that Claus is equipped with an ion shield, which prevents him from being torn apart by gravitational forces and protects him from being incinerated (by fireplaces, atmospheric reentry, or missiles). Also, he travels between dimensions.

Special ops: Why not? Let us count the ways: “I cannot think of too many worse environments to infiltrate and then exfiltrate from than the North Pole,” says Andrew Exum, a former special adviser for Middle East policy at the Department of Defense who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I have no idea how many elves would remain loyal to Santa Claus, but given the open terrain, you would probably want to surround Santa’s workshop with at least a company of Army Rangers before sending in a team from one of our special missions units to capture or kill Santa himself. That’s 150 to 200 men right there that would have to make their way to one of the most remote locations on Earth, carry out a very difficult mission in low visibility and freezing temperatures, and then march back out. As much as I love and admire our special operations forces, that’s a huge ask.”

Drones: There’s nothing to stop the United States from sending a few Predator drones over the North Pole and targeting Claus’ infrastructure—the workshop, the reindeer runway, the gingerbread valley. But that would trigger an international incident with Russia, which in 2007 claimed the pole falls on its continental shelf and is therefore sovereign territory. Canada recently made the same claim (invoking Santa in the process), although the evidence was dubious. The United States could claim the North Pole for itself too, but only if the Senate gets around to ratifying the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. (Also, holy collateral damage, Batman!)

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The long game: Probably our best shot. Santa’s workshop is a political powder keg just waiting for a spark. With only reindeer milk, fish, and the odd seal readily available in the harsh Arctic landscape, the North Pole has to import eggs, dairy, and sprinkles to sustain its inhabitants’ principal diet of Christmas cookies. Elves also consume enormous quantities of maple syrup, which must be imported from the United States or Canada by way of a cartel. All that makes the North Pole uniquely vulnerable to tough international sanctions and a coordinated push for regime change—by aiding militant factions if necessary.

The North Pole is also vulnerable to climate change, putting an already fragile environment in flux. Literally. The North Pole is now shifting because melting glaciers are affecting Earth’s mass. And Santa’s workshop sits above potentially lucrative deposits of oil and gas that energy companies want to get their hands on ASAP. It’s only a matter of time before the locals face displacement in the face of humanity’s unceasing thirst for material wealth.

Under the brutal Claus regime, which exiles its radicals to the Island of Misfit Toys, the elite few have grown fat on the labor of the many. How long can Santa’s elves endure such pressures before they begin to question the leader they’ve followed blindly for so long? How long before the workers seize the means of production?

The problem with waiting for an elvish uprising, Exum says, is that it might take a while—even if they get assistance from the Green Berets. “I have no idea how combat-ready these elves are. They could be like the elves in the Lord of the Rings, in which case they shouldn’t need much training, or they could be like those Keebler elves, in which case I can’t imagine they have any military training or experience. So I’m afraid Christmas is likely to go on this year as planned in all its gaudy commercial excess.”

Just kidding, kids. Santa is your parents.

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