America's Last Reporter, Greg Palast, explains that the Peruvian government's seizure of indigenous lands -- a seizure made easier by our "free"-trade agreement with that nation, which we unsuccessfully fought in this space in 2007 -- is part of a long tradition of finding oil beneath Indians and then getting rid of the Indians. We travel from 1980s Oklahoma to 1969 Alaska to modern-day Ecuador, but we don't get much hope: even when Shell Oil pays out a $15 million settlement to the Ogoni people, it's only a drop in the bucket, as they say, for them. One hopes that Noam Chomsky is right: that world public opinion has emerged as a world superpower. If so, corporations will have to be cagier, if nothing else.
The Institute for Southern Studies provides evidence suggesting that exposure to arsenic makes you more vulnerable to swine flu. Regulating arsenic has been a federal bone of contention for some time; remember the glory days of 2001, when Mr. Bush very reluctantly accepted a Clinton-era EPA mandate to reduce arsenic from 50 ppm to 10 ppm in drinking water? Well, many, many areas of the country (especially in the South) still have much higher levels of arsenic in their water than that, and many areas of Mexico (where the H1N1 strain was first reported) also have very high levels of arsenic in their water. Of course (as the article's expansive second section demonstrates), arsenic is a fairly common emission of coal-burning power plants. "Clean" coal plants, too, I'll bet.
If you need more evidence that the right-wing's push-back against public health insurance is a complete failure on the merits, check out this factcheck.org analysis of a Conservatives (sic) for Patients Rights (sic) ad. OMFG the public health option would move 119 million people off their health insurance...onto, er, public health insurance, and that's only the most unlikely scenario. The ad also quotes something someone said in the New York Times as if the New York Times itself said it. And, er, "hundreds of choices in health care today"? That is to laugh. Allowing HMOs to buy out and gut other HMOs gives us fewer choices, and, ah, 47 million folks have only one "choice" for health care: the ER -- which in turn means we have no "choice" but to pay charity care bills through higher premiums on our own health care. Of course, though the right-wing's case is a complete failure on the merits (don't get me started about "rationing" -- hello? The "free market" has already "rationed" 47 million Americans out!), that doesn't mean they won't win -- former single-payer advocate Barack Obama is out there now campaigning for his fall-back position, and you can't count on the "liberal" media or the cowardly Congress to see what's in front of their nose.