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.
A remarkable article appears in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
The authors, experts in public health, are listed with all their academic credentials: William H. Wiist, DHSc, MPH, MS, Kathy Barker, PhD, Neil Arya, MD, Jon Rohde, MD, Martin Donohoe, MD, Shelley White, PhD, MPH, Pauline Lubens, MPH, Geraldine Gorman, RN, PhD, and Amy Hagopian, PhD.
How private is the data on your cell phone? That was the big question before the Supreme Court last week in a pair of cases, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, with the potential for huge consequences for the future of information privacy.
The cases involve a longstanding exception to the Fourth Amendment that permits the police to search items on or near someone they have arrested, no warrant required. The rule was intended to keep officers safe and prevent the destruction of evidence. In recent years, however, the rule has given police free rein to seize and search the devices that store our calls, text messages, e-mails, and troves of other personal data such as our financial history, medical information, and daily movements.
Just as the media in the Soviet Union were not allowed to talk about alternatives to one-party rule, the Washington Post apparently can't raise the issue of alternatives to patent supported drug research in the United States. This should be apparent to readers of an article on Sovaldi, a new drug to treat Hepatitis C.
The drug is currently subject to a government granted patent monopoly which allows its manufacturer, Gilead Science, to sell a year's dosage for $100,000. By contrast, a generic version sells in India for about 1 percent of this price. As the piece tells readers:
The Bosses are worried sick.
The Bosses are worried sick about Vermont. They think democracy has gone wrong because voters there just passed a law (that the Bosses hate), which will take effect on 1 July 2016 that would make it possible for shoppers to know which of their foods contain DNA from GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Come July 2016, all consumers will have to do is read food labels.
With the Senate set to take up consideration of a package of over 50 tax breaks, the FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition is reminding the American people of two of the more egregious breaks included in the bill and of their impact on this country.
The two tax breaks are the "active financing exception," which would cost $58.8 billion if extended for ten years, and the controlled foreign corporation (CFC) "Look-Through Rule," which would cost $20.3 billion over ten years.
Running up a down escalator is itself mighty difficult. But trying to keep your footing on both an up and a down escalator at the same time is simply hard to imagine. Yet it gives an idea of Germany's present Ukrainian policy.
Soon after Soviet soldiers left East Germany between 1989 and 1994, the newly-unified country swiftly forgot all promises to the contrary and joined in expanding the more economic European Union and the more military NATO - first into East Germany, then on to Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, to Bulgaria, Romania and, not yet quite fully, to Azerbaijan and Georgia. A glance at a map makes it all too clear: adding the wide Ukrainian expanse would mean almost total western encirclement of Russia's main territory, further diminishing its access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and moving alarmingly close to its heart.
As the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reached its two-year anniversary today, labor and human rights organizations say the pact's failure to curtail labor rights abuses in Colombia illustrates the shortcomings of the current labor chapter and side agreements like the "Colombia Labor Action Plan" (LAP).
"It's time we recognize that promises to Colombia's workers have been broken," said James P. Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters. "We must put human rights at the center of our trade policy, not at the fringe. And as violent as things are in Colombia, respect for basic labor rights in countries like Vietnam and Brunei is in many ways even worse. Signing to the TPP before these abuses are adequately addressed would only allow them to continue."
Is overwhelming national military power a reliable source of influence in world affairs?
If so, the United States should certainly have plenty of influence today. For decades, it has been the world's Number 1 military spender. And it continues in this role. According to a recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States spent $640 billion on the military in 2013, thus accounting for 37 percent of world military expenditures. The two closest competitors, China and Russia, accounted for 11 percent and 5 percent respectively. Thus, last year, the United States spent more than three times as much as China and more than seven times as much as Russia on the military.
Lyme Victims from Around US to Gather at IDSA Headquarters and Demand Changes to Guidelines for LymeBy Staff, The MayDay Project | Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC—On Thursday, May 22, 2014, Lyme disease victims from around the U.S. will unite at the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) headquarters for the 2014 Mayday Project protest. They will demand IDSA update its controversial guidelines for Lyme disease to reflect the current state of science and that IDSA acknowledge the evidence for a chronic form of Lyme disease that is resistant to antibiotic treatment.
Mayday coordinator Josh Cutler has been fighting late stage neurological Lyme disease for eight years. This condition affects the brain, the central nervous system, and the autonomic nervous system that regulates blood pressure and other vital functions. Cutler was rushed to the emergency room on a dozen occasions and at one point was confined to a wheelchair. According to the IDSA, Cutler cannot possibly still have Lyme because he was treated according to their guideline's recommendations.
Shareholders and Activists Call on Google to Increase Political Spending Transparency, Lead on Climate Change Action, and Treat Its Workers RespectfullyBy Staff, Public Citizen | Press Release
MOUNTAIN VIEW, California - Shareholders and activists from around the country and region are rallying today at Google's shareholder meeting, calling on the tech giant to stay true to its stated commitments to transparency, an open Internet and climate action by disclosing its lobbying spending and leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – two powerful groups that oppose those values. They are also urging Google to support good jobs for subcontracted security officers on its own campus, many of whom struggle to make ends meet despite the company's staggering wealth. Groups will be using the hashtags #DontFundEvil and #DontBeEvil.
This morning and the previous two mornings, activists handed out fliers to Google employees at bus stops informing them of the company's prodigious political spending on lobbying and its funding of groups that oppose taking action on climate change. Advocates also shed light on the company's footprint in the local Bay Area community, where the eviction and affordability crises are escalating as companies like Google draw more high-income people to the region without supporting the right of longtime residents to stay. In San Francisco, Google is also perpetuating a two-tier system that privileges private over public transportation.