Friday, 22 May 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.

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."

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. 

Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al Sisi'iron grip on dissident is likely to be put to the test with the sentencing to death of 11 soccer fans for involvement in a politically loaded football brawl three years ago that left 74 militant supporters of storied Cairo club Al Ahli SC dead.

The brawl and the subsequent sentencing to death in an initial trial two years ago of 21 supporters of the Suez Canal city of Port Said's Al Masri SC sparked mass protests by Al Ahli fans demanding justice in the walk up tothe court hearings and a popular revolt in Port Said and other Suez Canal cities once the verdict was issued that forced then President Mohammed Morsi to declare an emergency and deploy military troops tothe region.

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.

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

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?

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..."

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.

The Drug Policy Alliance and Learn Liberty have teamed up to tell the emotional story of Sophia Nazzarine, a 7-year-old girl suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy, in a new video.

Between clips of Sophia singing and playing with her parents in her hometown of Cincinnati, the audience is shown saddening footage of Sophia seizing as a newborn, while her parents describe their discovery of Sophia's epilepsy and their exhaustive struggle to find an effective treatment.

On March 26, I was in Nevada in my role as event coordinator for Nevada Desert Experience, preparing for the annual Sacred Peace Walk, a 65-mile trek through the desert from Las Vegas to the nuclear Test Site at Mercury,Nevada, an event that NDE has sponsored each spring for about 30 years. Two days before the walk was to begin, a car load of us organizers traced the route.

The last stop but one on the traditional itinerary is the "Peace Camp," a place in the desert where we usually stay the last night before crossing Highway 95 into what is now known as the Nevada National Security Site.

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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.

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."

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. 

Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al Sisi'iron grip on dissident is likely to be put to the test with the sentencing to death of 11 soccer fans for involvement in a politically loaded football brawl three years ago that left 74 militant supporters of storied Cairo club Al Ahli SC dead.

The brawl and the subsequent sentencing to death in an initial trial two years ago of 21 supporters of the Suez Canal city of Port Said's Al Masri SC sparked mass protests by Al Ahli fans demanding justice in the walk up tothe court hearings and a popular revolt in Port Said and other Suez Canal cities once the verdict was issued that forced then President Mohammed Morsi to declare an emergency and deploy military troops tothe region.

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.

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

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?

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..."

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.

The Drug Policy Alliance and Learn Liberty have teamed up to tell the emotional story of Sophia Nazzarine, a 7-year-old girl suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy, in a new video.

Between clips of Sophia singing and playing with her parents in her hometown of Cincinnati, the audience is shown saddening footage of Sophia seizing as a newborn, while her parents describe their discovery of Sophia's epilepsy and their exhaustive struggle to find an effective treatment.

On March 26, I was in Nevada in my role as event coordinator for Nevada Desert Experience, preparing for the annual Sacred Peace Walk, a 65-mile trek through the desert from Las Vegas to the nuclear Test Site at Mercury,Nevada, an event that NDE has sponsored each spring for about 30 years. Two days before the walk was to begin, a car load of us organizers traced the route.

The last stop but one on the traditional itinerary is the "Peace Camp," a place in the desert where we usually stay the last night before crossing Highway 95 into what is now known as the Nevada National Security Site.