Tuesday, 28 July 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • FDA Examines Whether MRI Drugs Accumulate in Brain Tissue

    The Food and Drug Administration says doctors should consider limiting MRIs to reduce exposure from certain image-enhancing drugs that contain the metal gadolinium.

  • A Supreme Threat to US Democracy

    If a future Republican president replaces even a single liberal justice with a conservative, we could wind up with a democracy of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations.

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.

The long-awaited ruling by the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) supporting subsidies/tax credits for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been hailed by the mainstream media (even including MSNBC) as a landmark event showing the success of health care reform. Granted, the ACA after five years has brought new coverage to 16 million people through the exchanges and expanded Medicaid, and has established some limited insurance reforms, such as banning insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. But as the media celebrate and hype this event, we need to ask some hard questions about where we now find ourselves in reforming our dysfunctional system.

Bolivian President Evo Morales issued Supreme Decree 2366 in May, opening up Bolivia's national parks - which are protected under the Constitution as ecological reserves - to oil and gas extraction. Then, earlier this June, Morales proclaimed that his on-again, off-again plan to build a highway through the TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory in the Bolivian Amazon will finally be realized.

The coincidence of these announcements was not lost on TIPNIS road opponents, who have long suspected that the advancement of oil and gas interests is a major impetus behind the road.

On Friday, I read the article that would almost immediately throw my life into upheaval and challenge me in ways I didn't realize. That article was in Timeout Chicago, saying that eccentric Greek billionaire Alki David would give $250,000 to anyone who streaked Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

After reading it, I thought, "I can help fund a lot of projects fighting for social justice in Chicago with $250,000." Immediately, my friend and I stopped everything to go find Rahm. We drove around his neighborhood, waited near his house hoping he'd come home. In the many hours we spent casually waiting in the car, we searched for all the info on David's dare.

As a child my life was one of constant trauma. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, prone to rage, physical violence, self-hate, and alcoholism - a horrible combination. It was not easy to be the eldest child in my family. I was made responsible for things that were far beyond my years. The level oftrauma I experienced could only be described as growing up in a war zone. My sister and I never knew when or where the attacks upon our small bodies would be launched.

On June 22, 2015, at the close of its 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), for the 10th consecutive year, unanimously adopted a strong resolution in support of Mayors for Peace, noting that August 6 and 9, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As the centennial anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement rapidly approaches, the time is now to reflect upon its vast implications. Officially recognized as the Asia Minor Agreement, the Sykes-Picot Agreement was negotiated and agreed upon between 1915 and 16 by the British diplomat Mark Sykes and the French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab provinces outside of the Arabian Peninsula were divided into two regions. Region (a) was placed under the French "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Syria and Jordan; region (b) was placed under the British "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Iraq. 

Jun 25

Snake Oil Won't Cure Inequality

By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

At last, America's political leaders now feel the pain of the poor and empathize with the millions of working families slipping out of the middle class.

For years, politicians paid no attention to the ever-widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us. But it's recently emerged as a central issue for such Republican presidential contenders as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. They're publicly lamenting the wealth gap and - by golly - proposing solutions.

Last August the president began his air war against the Islamic State, which controls two Iraqi provincial capitals and the city of Falluja. Obama declared that his purpose was to "dismantle" the IS. By April of this year, the Pentagon's 4,050 missile and bombing strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria had cost over $2.1 billion, over $8 million a day, but without any success. Then on May 16, after assuring the country that "I will not allow the US to be dragged into another war in Iraq," the president sent a group of US commandos on their first raid into Syria. Since Congress has not declared war, this unauthorized attack and intensification would make Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon proud. Can the Nobel Committee withdraw a Peace Prize for cause?

Over the year, I realized that the term "left" is not exclusive to a political ideology, but a mode of thinking championed mostly by self-tailored leftistwestern intellectuals. I grew to dislike it with intensity.

But that has not always been the case.

Jun 25

Medicare at 50: Strengths to Build On

By John Geyman, Truthout | Op-Ed

Traditional, or Original Medicare, turns 50 on July 30, having had many challenges and achievements from the days of its passage to today. It is time to celebrate its many successes, note some of its current challenges and threats to its future, and briefly discuss how it gives us a strong foundation upon which to build still-needed health care reform.

When it was enacted in 1965, about one-half of seniors in the U. S lacked health insurance, and many could not afford necessary health care. When it was passed with strong bipartisan support (313-116) in the House, and 70-24 in the Senate), 20 million Americans age 65 and older gained health insurance.

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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.

The long-awaited ruling by the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) supporting subsidies/tax credits for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been hailed by the mainstream media (even including MSNBC) as a landmark event showing the success of health care reform. Granted, the ACA after five years has brought new coverage to 16 million people through the exchanges and expanded Medicaid, and has established some limited insurance reforms, such as banning insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. But as the media celebrate and hype this event, we need to ask some hard questions about where we now find ourselves in reforming our dysfunctional system.

Bolivian President Evo Morales issued Supreme Decree 2366 in May, opening up Bolivia's national parks - which are protected under the Constitution as ecological reserves - to oil and gas extraction. Then, earlier this June, Morales proclaimed that his on-again, off-again plan to build a highway through the TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory in the Bolivian Amazon will finally be realized.

The coincidence of these announcements was not lost on TIPNIS road opponents, who have long suspected that the advancement of oil and gas interests is a major impetus behind the road.

On Friday, I read the article that would almost immediately throw my life into upheaval and challenge me in ways I didn't realize. That article was in Timeout Chicago, saying that eccentric Greek billionaire Alki David would give $250,000 to anyone who streaked Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

After reading it, I thought, "I can help fund a lot of projects fighting for social justice in Chicago with $250,000." Immediately, my friend and I stopped everything to go find Rahm. We drove around his neighborhood, waited near his house hoping he'd come home. In the many hours we spent casually waiting in the car, we searched for all the info on David's dare.

As a child my life was one of constant trauma. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, prone to rage, physical violence, self-hate, and alcoholism - a horrible combination. It was not easy to be the eldest child in my family. I was made responsible for things that were far beyond my years. The level oftrauma I experienced could only be described as growing up in a war zone. My sister and I never knew when or where the attacks upon our small bodies would be launched.

On June 22, 2015, at the close of its 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), for the 10th consecutive year, unanimously adopted a strong resolution in support of Mayors for Peace, noting that August 6 and 9, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As the centennial anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement rapidly approaches, the time is now to reflect upon its vast implications. Officially recognized as the Asia Minor Agreement, the Sykes-Picot Agreement was negotiated and agreed upon between 1915 and 16 by the British diplomat Mark Sykes and the French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab provinces outside of the Arabian Peninsula were divided into two regions. Region (a) was placed under the French "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Syria and Jordan; region (b) was placed under the British "sphere of influence" and encompassed modern day Iraq. 

Jun 25

Snake Oil Won't Cure Inequality

By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

At last, America's political leaders now feel the pain of the poor and empathize with the millions of working families slipping out of the middle class.

For years, politicians paid no attention to the ever-widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us. But it's recently emerged as a central issue for such Republican presidential contenders as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. They're publicly lamenting the wealth gap and - by golly - proposing solutions.

Last August the president began his air war against the Islamic State, which controls two Iraqi provincial capitals and the city of Falluja. Obama declared that his purpose was to "dismantle" the IS. By April of this year, the Pentagon's 4,050 missile and bombing strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria had cost over $2.1 billion, over $8 million a day, but without any success. Then on May 16, after assuring the country that "I will not allow the US to be dragged into another war in Iraq," the president sent a group of US commandos on their first raid into Syria. Since Congress has not declared war, this unauthorized attack and intensification would make Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon proud. Can the Nobel Committee withdraw a Peace Prize for cause?

Over the year, I realized that the term "left" is not exclusive to a political ideology, but a mode of thinking championed mostly by self-tailored leftistwestern intellectuals. I grew to dislike it with intensity.

But that has not always been the case.

Jun 25

Medicare at 50: Strengths to Build On

By John Geyman, Truthout | Op-Ed

Traditional, or Original Medicare, turns 50 on July 30, having had many challenges and achievements from the days of its passage to today. It is time to celebrate its many successes, note some of its current challenges and threats to its future, and briefly discuss how it gives us a strong foundation upon which to build still-needed health care reform.

When it was enacted in 1965, about one-half of seniors in the U. S lacked health insurance, and many could not afford necessary health care. When it was passed with strong bipartisan support (313-116) in the House, and 70-24 in the Senate), 20 million Americans age 65 and older gained health insurance.