Monday, 27 April 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Speakout

SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

Finland, Minnesota - The OrganicConsumers Association (OCA) issued the following statement today in response to plans by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to reintroduce a federalbill to preempt states'rights to enactGMOlabelinglaws, and create a voluntary non-GMOlabeling scheme.

"The Pompeo bill, aptly dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, is not only anti-consumer, but anti-democracy and anti-state'rights as well.

I defied my advanced age last week to board a  special train, with a thousand mostly young people, and join in the big "Blockupy" demonstration in Frankfurt/Main, Germany's big banking city. The trip,  though not the usual 4 ½ but seven hours, retained till well into the night a spirit of happy anticipation.

The occasion was the opening of a giant new European Central Bank building, over four years and $1.4 billion in the making, one more modernistic banking skyscraper to reshape the city's skyline, with two adjacent towers reaching up 201 meters (660 ft.).

Prior to announcing his bid for the presidency, in which he plans on raising an army of Christian conservatives to remake the US, TexasRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz was dumb founded by an unlikely heckler: a 3-year-old girl. Standing before a small group of people, Cruz was hell-bent on criticizing President Obama's foreign and domestic policies. After claiming that signing a nuclear enrichment treaty with Iran would cause another Holocaust, he then declared, "The Obama economy is a disaster… Obamacare is a train wreck and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind-the whole world is on fire!" 

Mar 26

Who Stands Behind?

By Elle Kurancid, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Cairo - To introduce the photograph above (unpublished until now), I was tempted to reiterate the scenes of "A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross," an execution video released on February 15, 2015, by militants who pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group (IS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

The five-minute video marches on with the decapitations of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Chadian man purportedly on a Libyan beach. Like me, perhaps you recall the bloody ideology gripping 42 men on camera: half of them wearing Gitmo-inspired orange jumpsuits, their lips moving in prayer with hands bound while kneeling in the sand, each of them paired with an IS executioner standing close behind.

All eyes are on Colorado to gauge the impact of the country's first-ever state law to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older. Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1, 2014, the state has benefitted from a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales, and an increase in jobs, while Denver has experienced a decrease in crime rates.

Now, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance brings another jolt of good news by providing comprehensive data on marijuana arrests in Colorado before and after the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012.

Imagine if an American presidential candidate made a plea to his supporters on election day with the following statement: "The Republican administration is in danger. Black voters are going en masse to the polls. Liberal NGOs are bringing them on buses."

Even in a country where Chris Matthews is a media celebrity and Pamela Geller is an intellectual, the statement would be scandalous, a political death wish even. In Israel, however, the opposite is true.

The bipartisan "Doc Fix" legislation (H.R. 1470, now H.R. 2) and proposed amendments will undermine traditional Medicare and advance the goal of privatization, according to Dr. Don McCanne in a series of posts to his popular health policy blog, the Quote of the Day. If enacted as it presently reads, it will:

1. Limit choice of physician in traditional Medicare. Physicians in traditional Medicare would be subject to onerous new documentation requirements for payment and financial incentives to avoid complex patients under the proposed "Merit-based Incentive Payment System." 

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed a comment with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent federal agency, urging the CFPB to add language related to protecting the finances of released prisoners to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid debit cards. Sixty-eight criminal justice reform groups, civil rights organizations and public interest law clinics joined in the comment.

The comment requests that the CFPB exercise its authority under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) to add language to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid accounts under EFTA and the Truth in Lending Act.

Having assessed in the last three posts the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) over the last five years,  we have seen that the ACA will not bring universal access, contain health care costs for patients and tax payers, or improve the quality of care. 

These are some of the main lessons we have already learned from the ACA's initial five years.

Zahra Shahtahmasebi: Thank you to everyone tuning in to this important interview. Joining me this morning is a very special guest, Nicky Hager.  I'm sure he needs no introduction for those of you in New Zealand, but for those who don't know him, he is the author of six books including Secret Power and last year's page turner: Dirty Politics. His most recent work examines theSnowden files extensively, to analyze New Zealand's role in the Five Eyes Alliance.

GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES
Optional Member Code

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


Speakout

SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

Finland, Minnesota - The OrganicConsumers Association (OCA) issued the following statement today in response to plans by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to reintroduce a federalbill to preempt states'rights to enactGMOlabelinglaws, and create a voluntary non-GMOlabeling scheme.

"The Pompeo bill, aptly dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, is not only anti-consumer, but anti-democracy and anti-state'rights as well.

I defied my advanced age last week to board a  special train, with a thousand mostly young people, and join in the big "Blockupy" demonstration in Frankfurt/Main, Germany's big banking city. The trip,  though not the usual 4 ½ but seven hours, retained till well into the night a spirit of happy anticipation.

The occasion was the opening of a giant new European Central Bank building, over four years and $1.4 billion in the making, one more modernistic banking skyscraper to reshape the city's skyline, with two adjacent towers reaching up 201 meters (660 ft.).

Prior to announcing his bid for the presidency, in which he plans on raising an army of Christian conservatives to remake the US, TexasRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz was dumb founded by an unlikely heckler: a 3-year-old girl. Standing before a small group of people, Cruz was hell-bent on criticizing President Obama's foreign and domestic policies. After claiming that signing a nuclear enrichment treaty with Iran would cause another Holocaust, he then declared, "The Obama economy is a disaster… Obamacare is a train wreck and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind-the whole world is on fire!" 

Mar 26

Who Stands Behind?

By Elle Kurancid, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Cairo - To introduce the photograph above (unpublished until now), I was tempted to reiterate the scenes of "A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross," an execution video released on February 15, 2015, by militants who pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group (IS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

The five-minute video marches on with the decapitations of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Chadian man purportedly on a Libyan beach. Like me, perhaps you recall the bloody ideology gripping 42 men on camera: half of them wearing Gitmo-inspired orange jumpsuits, their lips moving in prayer with hands bound while kneeling in the sand, each of them paired with an IS executioner standing close behind.

All eyes are on Colorado to gauge the impact of the country's first-ever state law to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older. Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1, 2014, the state has benefitted from a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales, and an increase in jobs, while Denver has experienced a decrease in crime rates.

Now, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance brings another jolt of good news by providing comprehensive data on marijuana arrests in Colorado before and after the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012.

Imagine if an American presidential candidate made a plea to his supporters on election day with the following statement: "The Republican administration is in danger. Black voters are going en masse to the polls. Liberal NGOs are bringing them on buses."

Even in a country where Chris Matthews is a media celebrity and Pamela Geller is an intellectual, the statement would be scandalous, a political death wish even. In Israel, however, the opposite is true.

The bipartisan "Doc Fix" legislation (H.R. 1470, now H.R. 2) and proposed amendments will undermine traditional Medicare and advance the goal of privatization, according to Dr. Don McCanne in a series of posts to his popular health policy blog, the Quote of the Day. If enacted as it presently reads, it will:

1. Limit choice of physician in traditional Medicare. Physicians in traditional Medicare would be subject to onerous new documentation requirements for payment and financial incentives to avoid complex patients under the proposed "Merit-based Incentive Payment System." 

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed a comment with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent federal agency, urging the CFPB to add language related to protecting the finances of released prisoners to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid debit cards. Sixty-eight criminal justice reform groups, civil rights organizations and public interest law clinics joined in the comment.

The comment requests that the CFPB exercise its authority under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) to add language to a proposed rule regarding regulation of prepaid accounts under EFTA and the Truth in Lending Act.

Having assessed in the last three posts the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) over the last five years,  we have seen that the ACA will not bring universal access, contain health care costs for patients and tax payers, or improve the quality of care. 

These are some of the main lessons we have already learned from the ACA's initial five years.

Zahra Shahtahmasebi: Thank you to everyone tuning in to this important interview. Joining me this morning is a very special guest, Nicky Hager.  I'm sure he needs no introduction for those of you in New Zealand, but for those who don't know him, he is the author of six books including Secret Power and last year's page turner: Dirty Politics. His most recent work examines theSnowden files extensively, to analyze New Zealand's role in the Five Eyes Alliance.