You are hereHuman Rights

Human Rights

human rights

Lawsuit to Attempt to Stop Swine Flu Vaccinations

Lawsuit to Attempt to Stop Swine Flu Vaccinations
By Richard C. Cook

Jim Turner, a Washington, D.C., attorney noted for his work on consumer health issues, is filing suit today in federal court to stop all swine flu vaccinations from being given in the United States. The action was reported this morning on the health website

According to editor Mike Adams, “The lawsuit charges that the FDA violated the law in its hasty approval of four swine flu vaccines by failing to scientifically determine neither the safety nor efficacy of the vaccines.”

Turner is filing the suit on behalf of plaintiff Gary Null, the New York health broadcaster and author, as well as health professionals in New York State who are being told to take the shot or get fired.

The suit seeks to overturn FDA’s approval of the vaccine as well as persuade the court to issue an injunction against any mandatory vaccinations. Turner told Adams on Thursday night’s internet radio show, “The FDA is required by law to establish that a vaccine is safe and effective before it can be given to the public. We are arguing that they did not establish that the vaccine was effective, and did not establish that it was safe. They are trying to get it on the market by a waiver.”

According to comments by Mike Adams, “To date, the FDA has produced absolutely no scientific evidence documenting safety tests for any of these swine flu vaccines. There are no published studies, no records of any clinical trials, and no publicly-available paper trail demonstrating that any safety testing was done whatsoever. There is no researcher who has publicly put their name on the record declaring the vaccines to be safe, and no FDA official has ever stated that scientifically-valid safety testing has ever been conducted on the vaccine / adjuvant combinations now being distributed across America.” Read more.

A Historian's Account Of Democrats And Bush-Era War Crimes

A historian's account of Democrats and Bush-era war crimes
By Glenn Greenwald | Salon

(updated below - Update II - Update III)

The American Propsect's Adam Serwer notes that, yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman successfully inserted into the Homeland Security appropriations bill an amendment -- supported by the Obama White House -- to provide an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act's mandates by authorizing the Defense Secretary to suppress long-concealed photographs of detainee abuse. Two courts had ruled -- unanimously -- that the American people have the right to see these photographs under FOIA, a 40-year-old law championed by the Democrats in the LBJ era and long considered a crowning jewel in their legislative achievements. But this Lieberman amendment, which is now likely to pass, undermines all of that and -- as EBay founder Pierre Omidyar put it today -- its central purpose is to "legalize suppression" of evidence of American war crimes.

What made those detainee photographs so important from the start is that they depict brutal abuse well outside of the Abu Ghraib facility and thus reveal to Americans -- and the world -- that America's torture was not, as they've been constantly told, limited to rogue sadists at Abu Ghraib and the waterboarding of three bad guys. Instead, our torture regime was systematic, pervasive, brutal, fatal, and -- because it was the by-product of conscious policies set at the highest levels of government -- common across America's "War on Terror" detention regime. These photographs would have documented those vital facts; combated the false denials from torture apologists; fueled the momentum for accountability; and revealed, in graphic and unavoidable terms, what was truly done by America's government. But a Democrat-led Congress, at the urging of a Democratic President, is now taking extraordinary steps -- including a new law which has no purpose other than to suppress evidence of America's war crimes -- to ensure that this evidence never sees the light of day. Read more.

Will Civil Disobedience For Health Care Make Obama and Dems Listen?

Will Civil Disobedience For Health Care Make Obama and Dems Listen?
By Bruce Dixon | Black Agenda Report

Last week 17 people were arrested in the New York offices of Aetna Insurance, demanding Medicare For All. This week the wave of sit-ins will hit insurance companies in Chicago.

Next week, say organizers, as many as 15 cities will see civilly disobedient actions demanding the kind of everybody-in-nobody-out kind of health care that polling shows two thirds of Americans want, but Washington seems unable to deliver.

They're not listening. They're just not listening. It simply does not matter to the president and his advisors, to Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, or to those who decide what is broadcast and published in corporate media that two thirds of the American people still favor an everybody-in-nobody-out health care system, a Medicare For All solution to the nation's health care crisis. For these players Big Pharma favors and insurance company dollars speak louder than their own campaign promises, louder than the will of the American people. Maybe it's time to turn up the volume.

45,000 Americans die every year for lack of affordable, available health care. Not for lack of insurance --- for lack of care. Almost a million Americans went bankrupt last year, two thirds of them for unpayable medical bills. Most of those did have insurance when they first became sick or injured. If we really want health care for everyone --- all of us in and nobody out, maybe it's time to stop deferring to our imagined betters. Maybe it's time to get loud, to get impolite. Maybe it's time to raise their cost of business as usual to unacceptable levels. Our costs, the costs of ordinary American families have been unacceptable for some time now.

Maybe it's time to show we know the truth and to speak that truth to power. Read more.

WTF? Obama Gets the Nobel Peace Prize?

By Dave Lindorff

It’s not as much of a travesty as when Henry Kissinger, a war criminal of the first order who was an architect of the latter stages of the Indochina War, and was personally responsible for the slaughter of well over a million innocent people, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, while that war was still raging, but the awarding of the latest Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama is travesty enough.

We’re talking about a man whose practically first act upon taking office early this year was to escalate the ugly and pointless war in Afghanistan with the addition of some 20,000 troops, and who, even as the Nobel committee was discussing his award, was meeting with his military and political advisors to consider expanding that war even further, both in Afghanistan and across the border into Pakistan.

More Women Than Men Dismissed From Military For Being Gay

More women than men dismissed from military for being gay
By Adam Levine | CNN

Women were dismissed from the military for being gay at a greater rate than men last year, according to new statistics obtained by a California research group.

All the services kicked out a disproportionate number of women under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, according to Department of Defense data obtained by the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The center studies gender and sexuality in the military.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, implemented in 1994, bans troops who are openly gay from serving in the military. Read more.

Congress' Torture Cover-Up

Congress' Torture Cover-Up | Tapped

Since 2003, the ACLU has been seeking torture documents through a FOIA lawsuit. In 2005, the Southern District Court of New York ordered the government to release a set of photos depicting detainee abuse, a decision that was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in September of 2008. After the Obama administration took office, they agreed to release the photos -- before reversing course in May, citing the potential effect on American soldiers abroad because of the photos' potential to inflame anti-American sentiment. The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether it will hear the administration's appeal.

The administration, perhaps sensing that they're not really on solid legal ground when it comes to arguing that the government should be able to hide evidence of its own wrongdoing under the rubric of national security, is getting a little cover from Congress. Yesterday, the conference summary of the current homeland security appropriations bill indicates that an amendment from Sen. Joe Lieberman that would exempt the photos from the FOIA Act has been adopted, which means that the government could legally withhold the pictures if the bill is passed. The same Sen. Lieberman, deeply concerned about the constitutionality of executive branch "czars," has inserted language into a bill allowing the government to conceal evidence of its own abuses. Read more.

Outside Looking In

Outside Looking In
By Missy Beattie | CounterPunch

Early on, Barack Obama issued the challenge to the American public to make him do it. If we believe in something, anything, we must convince him of our righteousness.

On Monday, about 500 of us gathered at the White House during Obama’s Rose Garden meeting with doctors who are supportive of his health care plan. Through the hedges, we could see movement and I’m certain he and his invitees could hear us as we bullhorned, “Healthcare not warfare.”

We protestors from many organizations, including World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Peace Action, and Witness Against Torture, arrived before the garden party began and as we walked the sidewalk and stated our demands to ‘make him do it,’ police officers told us we could not remain on the sidewalk. “Move to the street,” we were directed.

When I stayed where I was, an officer said, “You’ll have to leave the sidewalk.’ I asked him if my nephew died in Iraq for this—a loss of my freedom to stand on a public sidewalk. Read more.

Vermont, Hawaii Top Health Care Scorecard

Vermont, Hawaii Top Health Care Scorecard
Mississippi, Other Southern States Do Poorly as Midwest, New England Provide Best Care
By Susan Donaldson James | ABC News

Vermont leads the nation in the delivery of its health care, while Mississippi is rated the worst, according to a non-partisan study that compares all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine and New Hampshire ranked 1 to 5 in 38 indicators of health care.

At the bottom were Mississippi, along with Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nevada and Texas.

The Commonwealth Fund Commission's "Scorecard on Health System Performance," which was released today, rated the states on access, quality, costs and health outcomes in a follow up to their 2007 report.

Overall, the states which did best on the Commonwealth scorecard were in New England and the upper Midwest, and the worst states were in the South. Read more.

IBM CEO Sees Big Opportunity In Health-Care Technology >IBM

IBM CEO Sees Big Opportunity In Health-Care Technology >IBM
By Peter Loftus | WSJ

The chief executive of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) sees a huge business opportunity in making the U.S. health-care system more efficient.

"Someone is going to drive incredible progress," IBM Chief Executive Sam Palmisano told a conference on medical innovation at the Cleveland Clinic Tuesday. "Someone is going to unlock this incredible economic opportunity. And I suggest, why shouldn't it be us?"

Palmisano sees IBM providing everything from electronic-health records technology to ultra-tiny personal devices that read DNA and cost less than $1,000. He likened those technologies to health-care equivalents of universal bar-codes in the retail industry, which made that industry more efficient.

But for health care to capitalize on technology, Palmisano said open standards are needed to allow sharing of information such as electronic health records. Strong ethics and privacy policies are also needed to protect patients, he said.

Not surprisingly, Palmisano sees a relatively limited role for government in forging new health technologies. The government should define the types of health data that should be shared under new technological systems and create an "architecture." But then government should "get out of the way" and let people in the health system innovate, he said. Read more.

The Lie Machine

The Lie Machine
GOP operatives are running a secret campaign to kill health care reform, and it's based on Karl Rove's old playbook
By Tim Dickinson | Rolling Stone

On the first day of August, a mob of 200 right-wing Texans stormed the parking lot of a Randalls grocery store in southwest Austin. They were united in a single goal: Disrupt the "office hours" that Rep. Lloyd Doggett, the district's congressman, had scheduled for his constituents. The protesters targeted Doggett for his role in crafting the House's bill to reform health care, brandishing signs that read "No Government Health Care" and "No Government Counselor in My Home!!!" But their anger seemed to encompass a universe of conservative fears: higher taxes, illegal immigration, socialism. The threat of violence was thinly veiled: One agitator held aloft a tombstone with the name Doggett. Screaming, "Just say no!" the mob chased Doggett through the parking lot to an aide's car — roaring with approval as he fled the scene.

Conservatives were quick to insist that the near-riot — the first of many town-hall mobs that would dominate the headlines in August — was completely spontaneous. The protesters didn't show up "because of some organized group," Rick Scott, the head of Conservatives for Patients' Rights, told reporters. "They're mad about the stimulus bill, the bailout, the economy. Now they see that their health care is about to be taken over by the government."

In fact, Scott's own group had played an integral role in mobilizing the protesters. According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Conservatives for Patients' Rights had been working closely for weeks as a "coalition partner" with three other right-wing groups in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings just like Doggett's. Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry. Call it the return of the Karl Rove playbook: The effort to mobilize the angriest fringe of the Republican base was guided by a conservative dream team that included the same GOP henchmen who Swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, smeared John McCain in 2000, wrote the script for Republican obstructionism on global warming, and harpooned the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton in 1993. Read more.

Afghanistan Anniversary Cost Check: Eight Years = $228 Billion

Afghanistan Anniversary Cost Check: Eight Years = $228 Billion | Public News Service

RICHMOND, Va. - Today (Wednesday) is the eight year anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. As President Barack Obama huddles with advisers to examine strategy for the war, with requests for more troops from General Stanley McChrystal and other top military officials, its cost is also being analyzed.

According to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit research organization that analyzes federal data,
the tab is more than $228 billion. Jo Comerford, the group's executive director, says Virginia taxpayers are on the hook for $6 billion of that total. Since such large numbers can be difficult to understand, she explains, her organization breaks the spending down to the local level.

"The $228 billion also means taxpayers in Richmond, Virginia, have spent $115 million. That's 21,000 fully-funded Pell Grants."

Pell Grants are federal, need-based financial aid for students who want to attend college. The combined costs for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq will top $1 trillion in March 2010, she adds.

While more military spending is often equated with better national security, Comerford believes that assumption should be receiving greater scrutiny - not just in terms of how much is being spent, but where it's being spent.

"Right now, our military spending is unbridled. We're not being good stewards of the taxpayers in the United States that we need to be."

Comerford notes that the lives lost in the wars also deserve acknowledgment, although the casualty numbers are not part of these statistics. The full report is online at National Priorities Project.

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories.

Tonight! NY'rs Mark Afghan War Anniversary - Ending Obama's War; Solidarity With the People of Afghanistan & Pakistan

Tonight: NYC Event on Afghan War Anniversary


When: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 7:00pm
Where: Proshansky Auditorium, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave at 34th Street [BDFV & NQRW trains to 34th St, 6 train to 33]

October 7th marks the eighth anniversary of the launch of the US led “War on Terror” in Afghanistan. Defending it as a “war of necessity,” the Obama administration is on the precipice of an enormous troop surge in Afghanistan and an escalation in Pakistan, which has already begun with drone attacks. This strategic dialogue will explore a deeper historic analysis of the realities on the ground in order to inform our resistance in the U.S. and to develop a more effective solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Speakers Include:

Jeremy Scahill: Independent journalist, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He is a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine and a correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now! He is currently a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. He has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS’s The NewsHour, Bill Moyers Journal. Rebel Reports

Zoya: a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Like many RAWA members, Zoya has witnessed and endured more tragedy and terror than most people do in a lifetime. Zoya grew up during the wars that ravaged Afghanistan and was robbed of her mother and father when they were murdered by fundamentalists - Zoya was only fourteen. Devastated by so much death and destruction, she fled Kabul with her grandmother and started a new life in exile in Pakistan. After attending a school funded by RAWA, she joined the underground women’s organization and continues their work resisting fundamentalism and war today. RAWA

Bill Fletcher: the Executive Editor of The Black Commentator and founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. A longtime labor, racial justice and international activist, he is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. Black Commentator

Adaner Usmani: works with the Labor Party of Pakistan (LPP) and Action for a Progressive Pakistan (APP). With these and other groups, he has been involved in antiwar work, principally in Pakistan but also in the US, as well as assorted campaigns for peasant and worker rights. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology from NYU. Blogspot

Sponsored by the South Asia Solidarity Initiative & Center for Place, Culture and Politics.

Florida Mass March to End War Economy: Healthcare, Not Warfare, Orlando, Oct. 17, Noon

44,000 Uninsured Americans Die Annually While U.S. Spends $651 Billion on Military

Florida Mass March to End War Economy: Healthcare, Not Warfare

When: 12pm, Saturday, October 17th

Where: Main entrance to the University of Central Florida, Orlando (South East corner of Alafaya Blvd. & University Blvd).

ORLANDO – On Saturday, October 17, citizens from across Florida will participate in the “Florida Mass March to End the War Economy” in Orlando, Florida. The march is being held in solidarity with anti-war groups around the nation who are participating in a day of protest and action called for by the National Assembly Against the Occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than 44,789 Americans die annually for lack of healthcare services ("Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults"), a fact recently pointed out by Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-8). The state of Florida has the second largest number of deaths resulting from lack of health insurance, more than 3,900 (report).

Meanwhile, in 2009 the U.S. has allotted $651.2 billion dollars for military spending, including emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending (document). Orlando’s Research Park is home to four of the top 10 recipients of tax payer dollars via the United States’ bloated military budget including: Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and General Dynamics corporations. Together, these corporations received $96 billion dollars in tax payer dollars via the 2007 military budget.

On October 17, 12pm, protestors will march from the main entrance to the University of Central Florida (South East corner of Alafaya Blvd. & University Blvd) to the Central Florida Research Park entrance to protest local divisions of Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and General Dynamics.

UN Council To Discuss Gaza Report

UN council to discuss Gaza report | alJazeera | Submitted by Michael Munk |

But, then, Brigadier Eli Avraham, an Israeli representative, played a videotape showing a meeting between Abbas and Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister during the Gaza war, in which Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, was also present, the report said.

The tape showed Abbas trying to convince Barak to continue the offensive, according to the Shahab report.

Avraham also played an audiotape of a telephone call between Dov Weissglass, a senior Israeli official, and al-Tayyib Abdul Rahim, secretary-general of the Palestinian president's office, the report said.

In the conversation, Abdul Rahim noted that circumstances were suitable for entry of the Israeli army into Jabalya and al-Shatea refugee camps, and said that the fall of these two camps would end Hamas's rule in Gaza Strip, Shahab said in its report.

Weissglass then told Abdul Rahim that such an army operation would lead to the deaths of thousands of civilians, but, according to Shahab, Abdul Rahim said: "They have all elected Hamas, so they are the ones who have chosen their fate, not us."

Members of the UN Security Council will meet to discuss Libya's request for an emergency session on a report that claimed war crimes were committed by Israel during last year's offensive on Gaza.

Le Luong Minh, Vietnam's ambassador who holds the council presidency this month, said he had scheduled closed-door talks for Wednesday after receiving a request from Libya, the only Arab member on the 15-nation council.

Libya circulated a letter on Tuesday on behalf of the UN Arab group urgently seeking "an emergency meeting" of the council to consider the Goldstone report, Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador, said.

The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, Switzerland, postponed a vote last Friday on a resolution that would have condemned Israel's failure to co-operate with its investigation into the December-January war. Read more.

No Arbitration For Rape in DoD Contracts

UPDATE: Senator (Finally!) Franken's Proposal To Guarantee Sexual Assault Victims Their Day In Court Passes - see how YOUR Senators voted here.

No Arbitration for Rape in DoD contracts | Stop Family Violence

Jamie Lee Jones was brutally gang raped when she worked for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq. When she tried to sue she learned her contract required her to use arbitration - a secret proceeding that denies civil rights.

Tuesday the Senate will vote on an amendment (SA 2588) that will prohibit defense contractors from requiring arbitration in cases of rape or sexual harassment.

ACT NOW to send your Senators a free, pre-written message urging them to pass this important piece of legislation. Read more, act.

Bombing Afghanistan: Where Have All the Photos Gone?

Bombing Afghanistan: Where Have All the Photos Gone?
Mounting Civilian Casualties ...Silently
By Sibel Edmonds

The latest bombing in Afghanistan killed at least nine Afghan civilians, including six children. Here are a few excerpts from the report:

“Nine civilians including six children were killed in a NATO air strike targeting a Taliban position in restive southern Afghanistan, the provincial governor's office said on Thursday.”Six children and three women were killed and another three civilian men were wounded," he said.”

“Ehsanullah, an elder from Khoshal village, where the strike took place, earlier told AFP that Haji Kot Aka's house was hit late Wednesday."They had four guests at home when the bombing took place. The bomb killed Aka, his wife, four children and three of the guests. One of the guests was wounded," he said.

Civilian casualties are a sensitive issue in Afghanistan, creating a rift between President Hamid Karzai's government and international forces as well as resentment on the ground against foreign troops.”

Here is a section from my op-ed piece last May on Mr. Obama’s presidency and the mounting casualties in Afghanistan:

Here is the first paragraph in a New York Times report on May 15, 2009:

“The number of civilians killed by the American air strikes in Farah Province last week may never be fully known. But villagers, including two girls recovering from burn wounds, described devastation that officials and human rights workers are calling the worst episode of civilian casualties in eight years of war in Afghanistan.”

The report also includes the disagreement over the exact number of ‘Civilian Casualties’ in Afghanistan by our military airstrike: Read more.

Ineffectiveness and Dangers of Flu Shots

Ineffectiveness and Dangers of Flu Shots
By Stephen Lendman

Believing what governments say can be hazardous to your health. It's even truer from corporate-sponsored studies on the benefits of their products. Thus, be very leery about the new CSL Ltd. one on the effectiveness of taking one Swine Flu dose. More to the point, any Swine Flu shot as, in single or multiple doses, they're all extremely toxic, dangerous, and must be avoided to protect human health from the pathogenic onslaught vaccines are designed to unleash.

CSL is "Australia's leading biopharmaceutical company (and) the only commercial manufacturer of influenza vaccines in the Southern Hemisphere." It's currently producing "a pandemic influenza vaccine called Panvax H1N1 which uses the proven technology that has enabled us to provide Australia with seasonal flu vaccines over the last 40 years."

Late Night: Vertebrates on Parade

Late Night: Vertebrates on Parade By Gregg Levine | FireDogLake

Dana Milbank, whose incredibly stressful job at the Washington Post allows him to go to White House press briefings, watched Thursday as Helen Thomas did something she has done pretty much every time she’s had the chance for the last half-century—she asked a straight question, and then pushed for a straight answer.


On Thursday afternoon, Thomas gave a clinic in fortitude to President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, during the briefing. "Has the president given up on the public option?" she inquired from her front-row-middle seat.

The press secretary laughed at this repetition of a common Thomas inquiry, but this questioner, who has covered every president since Kennedy, wasn't about to be silenced. "I ask it day after day because it has great meaning in this country, and you never answer it," she said.

"Well, I -- I -- I apparently don't answer it to your satisfaction," Gibbs stammered.

"That's right," Thomas snarled.

"I -- I'll -- I'll give you the same answer that I gave you unsatisfactorily for many of those other days," Gibbs offered. "It's what the president believes in --"

"Is he going to fight for it or not?" Thomas snapped. Read more.

Vets Loving Socialized Medicine Show Government Offers Savings

Vets Loving Socialized Medicine Show Government Offers Savings
By Kristin Jensen | Bloomberg

Rick Tanner is one American who loves his government-run health care.

After serving in Vietnam and spending three decades in the U.S. Navy, Tanner retired in 1991 with a bad knee and high blood pressure. He enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration and now benefits from comprehensive treatment with few co-payments and an electronic records system more advanced than almost anywhere at private hospitals.

“The care is superb,” said Tanner, 66, a San Diego resident who visits the veterans medical center in La Jolla, California, and a clinic in nearby Mission Valley. The record- keeping, he said, is “state of the art.”

As Congress considers changing Americans’ access to health care, the veterans agency, whose projected budget this year is $45 billion, is evidence that the government can provide care favored by patients that may offer savings when compared with private insurers.

Researchers publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and the Annals of Internal Medicine in recent years have endorsed the system. A Canadian policy journal, Healthcare Papers, devoted an entire issue to it in 2005.

“The VHA’s experiences have become a model around the world,” the editor-in-chief of Healthcare Papers, Peggy Leatt, wrote at the time.

The government is both payer and provider of care to the veterans, employing 19,000 salaried doctors in 153 medical centers and more than 900 outpatient clinics. Last year, 5.1 million veterans were treated, and millions more are enrolled. Read more.

Chicago Preps to Welcome US Labor Against The War, 12/4-6/2009, Plan & Register Now!


  • Iraqi Oil Worker Union Leaders
  • Pakistani Women, Youth & Labor leaders
  • Scholars and Policy Experts on Afghanistan
  • Antiwar Trade Unionists from Across the US
  • Iraq & Afghan War Veterans

We are at a turning point in US History. In 2008 the labor movement had a moment of triumph, playing a critical role in electing Barack Obama and a majority Democratic Congress. In 2009 we find ourselves still in the middle of a devastating economic crisis with wars and militarism standing between working people and the peaceful just world we seek and deserve.

Revealed: Millions Spent By Lobby Firms Fighting Obama Health Reforms

Revealed: millions spent by lobby firms fighting Obama health reforms
Six lobbyists for every member of Congress as healthcare industry heaps cash on politicians to water down legislation
By Chris McGreal |

America's healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama. The campaign against the president has been waged in part through substantial donations to key politicians.

Supporters of radical reform of healthcare say legislation emerging from the US Senate reflects the financial power of vested interests ‑ principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ that have worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits.

The industry and interest groups have spent $380m (£238m) in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress. The largest contribution, totalling close to $1.5m, has gone to the chairman of the senate committee drafting the new law.

A former member of Bill Clinton's cabinet says fears that the industry could throw its money behind the populist rightwing backlash against public insurance have scared the Obama White House into pulling back from the most significant reforms in return for healthcare companies not trying to scupper the entire legislation.

Drug and insurance companies say they are merely seeking to educate politicians and the public. But with industry lobbyists swarming over Capitol Hill ‑ there are six registered healthcare lobbyists for every member of Congress ‑ a partner in the most powerful lobbying firm in Washington acknowledged that healthcare firms' money "has had a lot of influence" and that it is "morally suspect". Read more.

You Can't Trust A Tortured Brain: Neuroscience Discredits Coercive Interrogation

ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2009)--According to a new review of neuroscientific research, coercive interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration to extract information from terrorist suspects are likely to have been unsuccessful and may have had many unintended negative effects on the suspect's memory and brain functions.

A new article, published in the journal, Trends in Cognitive Science, reviews scientific evidence demonstrating that repeated and extreme stress and anxiety have a detrimental influence on brain functions related to memory.

Mother Speaks Out on Insurance Giant CIGNA’s Denial of Healthcare to Cancer-Stricken Twin Daughters

Mother Speaks Out on Insurance Giant CIGNA’s Denial of Healthcare to Cancer-Stricken Twin Daughters

Stacie Ritter’s twin daughters were diagnosed with cancer at the age of four. Their insurance provider, CIGNA, denied them coverage even though they had been covered by the family’s former insurer. The incident marked just the latest chapter in the family’s ongoing troubles with the health insurance industry. A few years ago, the Ritters filed for bankruptcy due to their high medical expenses—even though they had health insurance at the time. Stacie Ritter joins us to tell her story. Read and watch it here.

Hey PA! Come On To The Capitol for Health Care for All! Mark Your Calendars!

Sick of Congress ruining healthcare reform? Join the effort to make Pennsylvania the first state to provide Medicare for All -- come with us to Harrisburg on Tuesday, October 20, to Rally for the state single payer bill in Harrisburg in the Capitol Rotunda 10 AM to noon, flyer attached. Take the 7:25 AM Amtrak train from Philadelphia for $46 round trip (15 % off for seniors) or take the bus from Bala Cynwyd at 7:25 AM for $25, details below.

But first, check out our blog and see just how alive single payer is in PA!
All About Single Payer for Pennsylvania.

Click here to reserve online for the Bala Cynwyd Bus: Call Joan Martini 215 242 4057 for questions.

Tell us about any insurance company horror stories here.

Video Don't Lie -Or Does It? (Yes, *Another* ACORN Diary)

Video Don't Lie -Or Does It? (Yes, *Another* ACORN Diary)
By shanikka | Daily Kos

From the Associated Press:

shanikka's diary:

In New York, Baltimore, Washington, San Diego and San Bernadino, ACORN workers gave advice to Hannah Giles, 19, and the man who rescued her, James O'Keefe, age 26, about how to get a mortgage to buy a house where Giles and the girls would no longer be abused and exploited by "Sonny", a pimp with ties to the Mafia known for his violent physical abuse. Giles, isolated from her family, said that all previous efforts to get help had been rebuffed by mainstream lenders who had discriminated against her because merely she was a prostitute. O’Keefe, a law student and aspiring politician, said that he came forward because he needed to ensure that Hannah and the girls were safe. ACORN workers gave the couple school advice, tax advice and urged Giles and O'Keefe to reach out to family and friends for help while evaluating their current choices. "We are not going to judge these young people in their efforts to save themselves", said a spokesperson for ACORN. "They are poor, they need help, and it is our mission to help them since it was made clear that no one else would. We are confident that with just a little help and guidance, Giles will be able to leave the Life behind someday thanks to O'Keefe promising future and commitment to Giles. Certainly, they have shown through their insistence that they free other young girls from sex slavery from the same pimp that abused Giles that they are worthy of help.

I've sort of exhausted myself this past two weeks here defending in the comments section of numerous diaries (most of which, to be fair, were trying to help folks understand what really was happening with this story) the reputation and importance of the largest community organizing group in the United States, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), against what has been a plethora of claims about its being a "corrupt criminal enterprise" that "turns a blind eye to prostitution." And against claims that ACORN is unimportant to the Left because "it raises no serious money" and "has no vital constituency" and should be thrown overboard post-haste for political cover.

But I hadn't seriously defended the alleged conduct of that handful of employees/volunteers out of the 400,000 nationwide who had supposedly been "caught". I had not raised any serious challenge to the narrative. I merely assumed without actual close study that the ACORN employees had indeed done what they are repeatedly being accused of having done, a fair summary of which is this: Read more.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.