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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.

Governor Jerry Brown has finally admitted what most Californians have known all along - the "conservation" and "habitat restoration" components of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan have been nothing but window dressing for the twin tunnels water grab, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history. 

On April 13, Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition of anti-tunnels organizations and individuals, and theCenter for Biological Diversity responded to the governor's abandonment of the pretense of "conservation" and "restoration" and move to permit a "tunnels only" Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as reported in the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and other media outlets. 

Apr 27

Nepal Qualifies for Debt Relief

By Staff, Jubilee USA | Press Release

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing at least 1,500 people and prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. The tremor caused avalanches on Mount Everest and destroyed buildings across the capital city of Kathmandu. Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 145th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index. Nepalowes $3.8 billion in debt to foreign lenders and spent $217 million repaying debt in 2013. Nepal is one of 38 countries eligible for assistance from the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) new Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR). 

"Nepal could qualify for immediate relief," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "Nepal's earthquake is why the International Monetary Fund created a new rapid response relief fund."

This is Dan Falcone's letter to a teacher named Marilyn Zuniga. Zuniga's students apparently wanted to write Mumia Abu-Jamal "get well" letters after learning he had fallen ill. The students knew of him from a Black history lesson on the topic of civil rights. Zuniga was disciplined for the activity and suspended without pay. Since the suspension, the students' rights to be facilitated by the instructor has received support from the dean of the University of San Francisco's School of Education, Kevin Kumashiro; world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky; professor and social commentator Marc Lamont Hill; and Baruch College history professor Johanna Fernandez.

UN independent human rights experts on migrants, Francois Crépeau, and on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, react to the announcement made at the end of the emergency European Union summit on migrants yesterday.

The decision made yesterday by EUleaders overwhelmingly continues to focus on the securitization of borders. Increasing repression of survival migration has not worked in the past and will not work now.

The unique approach of Boston School Bus Union, Steelworkers Local 8751 offers a much needed new blueprint for building power within poor and working class communities. This particular union marks the spot where organized labor meets oppressed and marginalized people where they are. During my travels to Boston, it was quite inspiring to see a local union work hand in hand with neighborhood youth against police violence. It was quite encouraging to see the rank-and-file of the Boston school bus drivers work with parents and community members to organize against school closings and badly timed budget cuts to public education.

In recent months HIV/AIDS infection rates have skyrocketed in rural Indiana, in large part because of the sharing of syringes used for the injection of the prescription painkiller Opana, heroin, and other drugs. In response Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence allowed one county to implement a 30-day syringe exchange program to reduce infection rates.

Governor Pence extended the program another 30 days this week, but advocates have pointed out that a temporary program in just one county is not enough to stop an epidemic. The legislature is considering legislation to make sterile syringes available on a broader and permanent basis.

New York - Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released the following statement in response to a front-page story in The Washington Post about the Obama administration's plans to close the Guantanamo prison camp:

"We are encouraged by the Obama administration's restated commitment to closing the prison before the president leaves office, but are concerned that the Pentagon is working against closure and that the White House is being too slow to respond..."

Apr 24

The Carcinogenic Murder of Audrey Moore

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I met Audrey Moore in April 2014. She and a few other Oregon environmentalists invited me to talk about my book, "Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA" (Bloomsbury Press, 2014, paper 2015).

The reason why these Oregonians wanted to hear me talk about regulation and the Environmental Protection Agency is simple. They read "Poison Spring" and found its message spoke to their needs. They appreciated my clearing the confusion about regulation. Who regulates whom? Is the government regulating the industry or the industry the government?

Patent monopolies provide the pharmaceutical industry with incentives for innovation and research. However, they can also encourage a range of rent-seeking behaviors that impose significant costs.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research assesses the cost associated with one form of rent-seeking, the mismarketing of drugs. This can occur when a drug company seeks narrow Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug then promotes its use for other purposes. In addition, companies may conceal evidence that their drugs are less effective than claimed or possibly even harmful. The authors of the report find that in the case of just five drugs, this form of rent-seeking has resulted in cumulative costs of morbidity and mortality of $382 billion.

Apr 24

Gradual Injustice

By David Swanson, Let's Try Democracy | Op-Ed

Chris Woods' excellent new book is called Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars. The title comes from a claim that then-President George W. Bush made for drone wars. The book actually tells a story of gradual injustice. The path from a U.S. government that condemned as criminal the type of murder that drones are used for to one that treats such killings as perfectly legal and routine has been a very gradual and completely extra-legal process.

Drone murders started in October 2001 and, typically enough, the first strike murdered the wrong people. The blame game involved a struggle for control among the Air Force, CENTCOM, and the CIA.

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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.

Governor Jerry Brown has finally admitted what most Californians have known all along - the "conservation" and "habitat restoration" components of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan have been nothing but window dressing for the twin tunnels water grab, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history. 

On April 13, Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition of anti-tunnels organizations and individuals, and theCenter for Biological Diversity responded to the governor's abandonment of the pretense of "conservation" and "restoration" and move to permit a "tunnels only" Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as reported in the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and other media outlets. 

Apr 27

Nepal Qualifies for Debt Relief

By Staff, Jubilee USA | Press Release

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing at least 1,500 people and prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. The tremor caused avalanches on Mount Everest and destroyed buildings across the capital city of Kathmandu. Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 145th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index. Nepalowes $3.8 billion in debt to foreign lenders and spent $217 million repaying debt in 2013. Nepal is one of 38 countries eligible for assistance from the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) new Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR). 

"Nepal could qualify for immediate relief," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "Nepal's earthquake is why the International Monetary Fund created a new rapid response relief fund."

This is Dan Falcone's letter to a teacher named Marilyn Zuniga. Zuniga's students apparently wanted to write Mumia Abu-Jamal "get well" letters after learning he had fallen ill. The students knew of him from a Black history lesson on the topic of civil rights. Zuniga was disciplined for the activity and suspended without pay. Since the suspension, the students' rights to be facilitated by the instructor has received support from the dean of the University of San Francisco's School of Education, Kevin Kumashiro; world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky; professor and social commentator Marc Lamont Hill; and Baruch College history professor Johanna Fernandez.

UN independent human rights experts on migrants, Francois Crépeau, and on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, react to the announcement made at the end of the emergency European Union summit on migrants yesterday.

The decision made yesterday by EUleaders overwhelmingly continues to focus on the securitization of borders. Increasing repression of survival migration has not worked in the past and will not work now.

The unique approach of Boston School Bus Union, Steelworkers Local 8751 offers a much needed new blueprint for building power within poor and working class communities. This particular union marks the spot where organized labor meets oppressed and marginalized people where they are. During my travels to Boston, it was quite inspiring to see a local union work hand in hand with neighborhood youth against police violence. It was quite encouraging to see the rank-and-file of the Boston school bus drivers work with parents and community members to organize against school closings and badly timed budget cuts to public education.

In recent months HIV/AIDS infection rates have skyrocketed in rural Indiana, in large part because of the sharing of syringes used for the injection of the prescription painkiller Opana, heroin, and other drugs. In response Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence allowed one county to implement a 30-day syringe exchange program to reduce infection rates.

Governor Pence extended the program another 30 days this week, but advocates have pointed out that a temporary program in just one county is not enough to stop an epidemic. The legislature is considering legislation to make sterile syringes available on a broader and permanent basis.

New York - Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released the following statement in response to a front-page story in The Washington Post about the Obama administration's plans to close the Guantanamo prison camp:

"We are encouraged by the Obama administration's restated commitment to closing the prison before the president leaves office, but are concerned that the Pentagon is working against closure and that the White House is being too slow to respond..."

Apr 24

The Carcinogenic Murder of Audrey Moore

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I met Audrey Moore in April 2014. She and a few other Oregon environmentalists invited me to talk about my book, "Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA" (Bloomsbury Press, 2014, paper 2015).

The reason why these Oregonians wanted to hear me talk about regulation and the Environmental Protection Agency is simple. They read "Poison Spring" and found its message spoke to their needs. They appreciated my clearing the confusion about regulation. Who regulates whom? Is the government regulating the industry or the industry the government?

Patent monopolies provide the pharmaceutical industry with incentives for innovation and research. However, they can also encourage a range of rent-seeking behaviors that impose significant costs.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research assesses the cost associated with one form of rent-seeking, the mismarketing of drugs. This can occur when a drug company seeks narrow Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug then promotes its use for other purposes. In addition, companies may conceal evidence that their drugs are less effective than claimed or possibly even harmful. The authors of the report find that in the case of just five drugs, this form of rent-seeking has resulted in cumulative costs of morbidity and mortality of $382 billion.

Apr 24

Gradual Injustice

By David Swanson, Let's Try Democracy | Op-Ed

Chris Woods' excellent new book is called Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars. The title comes from a claim that then-President George W. Bush made for drone wars. The book actually tells a story of gradual injustice. The path from a U.S. government that condemned as criminal the type of murder that drones are used for to one that treats such killings as perfectly legal and routine has been a very gradual and completely extra-legal process.

Drone murders started in October 2001 and, typically enough, the first strike murdered the wrong people. The blame game involved a struggle for control among the Air Force, CENTCOM, and the CIA.