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On April 16th, 2014, I hosted a conference call on creating government accountability. There were three other people on the call: Lewis M. Shepard, a fellow Green Party member and cofounder of Cancer Action NY; Dale Pondysh, a North Country environmental activist and Daniel Flatley, a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. There was a great feeling of people rising free of bad government and making progress toward replacing the bad government with good government on this call.
Lewis M. Shepard spoke about the failure of the United States government to protect Americans against asbestos exposure during a long period of time after it was known that asbestos exposure was causing serious harm to health. He compared government's downfall on asbestos with what is currently happening with mercury dental amalgams. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the use of mercury amalgams when this practice has been banned elsewhere. The placement of a highly toxic neurotoxin in people's mouths goes against all common sense. Nevertheless, this practice continues because the use of mercury amalgams is a moneymaker for dentists.
Dale Pondysh shared a list of actions for which he would like to see government held accountable: wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; promoting unrest in the Ukraine; allowance of GMO products to be sold without labeling and failure to tax the most wealthy of Americans. He voiced the sentiment that this was far from what he wanted government to be doing.
I described my work of attempting to hold governmental public health entities including: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute and the New York State Department of Health accountable for their failure to warn Americans of avoidable chemical exposure cancer hazards. This work involved the publication of the Cancer Action NY report, "Disinformation Cancer Epidemic", which focused upon deceptive and incomplete public health messaging regarding dioxin exposure.
I stated my belief that legislation could serve to create government accountability. I provided details of three laws serving such a purpose. The first law would require that government employees and officials participate in on the record discussion of citizen complaints of failure to properly conduct government work. These recorded discussions would be the property of the citizen making the complaint. The recordings could be placed on the internet to raise public awareness of the work failure. The second law would establish a government office charged with investigating citizen complaints of failure to do work properly. The third law would give legal standing to any citizen wishing to file suit alleging failure of a government employee or official to properly do the work required in that position. This law would make government employees and officials personally liable for paying any penalties imposed by the court.
Daniel Flatley asked a most highly important question, why were Americans not taking action on the many problems of failed government? I answered that the people were struggling to deal with the immensity of the government failures. I stated that it was my belief that a strong social movement was growing in opposition to hydro fracking and that this movement might inspire citizen efforts to address other government failures.
Donald L. Hassig, Director
Cancer Action NY
Cancer Action News Network
42 Green Pond Lane
Colton, NY USA 13625
Cancer Action News Network
Donald L. Hassig, Producer