Beyond Extreme Energy Disrupts Senate Hearing For FERC Commissioner


By Jimmy Betts for Beyond Extreme Energy. WASHINGTON, DC – Once accustomed to operating in the shadows, controversy around the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and its role in the permitting of harmful and unnecessary fracked gas infrastructure was thrown into the limelight on Thursday morning when five people disrupted the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominations to the Commission, causing delay while speakers tried to proceed. After the hearing was called to order, and introductions occurred, protesters methodically, yet unpredictably, loudly exclaimed “FERC hurts families, Shut FERC down!” and “FERC hurts families, FERC hurt towns” and “The future is watching”. One protester said “I am compelled to interrupt this because I have seen the damage of climate change”. The protesters were ejected, four arrested and one detained.

First Ever Global Health Study Finds Massive Inequity


By Dean R. Owen and Rachel Fortunati in SEATTLE – A first-ever global study finds massive inequity of access to and quality of health care among and within countries, and concludes people are dying from causes with well-known treatments. “What we have found about health care access and quality is disturbing,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “Having a strong economy does not guarantee good health care. Having great medical technology doesn’t either. We know this because people are not getting the care that should be expected for diseases with established treatments.” For example, on a scale of 0 to 100 for health care access and quality, Norway and Australia each scored 90 overall, among the highest in the world.

Journalist Arrested For ‘Yelling Questions’ At HHS Secretary Tom Price

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By Ed Mazza for The Huffington Post – The complaint claimed that Heyman “was aggressively breaching” Secret Service protection for Price and Conway and “was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price.” Price commented on the arrest Wednesday, saying “that gentleman was not in a press conference.” Asked by a STAT reporter whether Heyman should have been arrested, Price said, “That’s not my decision to make.” Valerie Woody, who was on the scene with the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, said Heyman was simply trying to get Price’s attention as his entourage moved quickly through the capitol. “I saw nothing in his behavior, I heard nothing that indicated any kind of aggressive behavior or anything like that,” she was quoted as saying by Public News Service. “Just simple, you know, trying to get somebody’s attention and ask them a question. It seems to me there was no violation of anyone’s space, or physicality, other than the arrest itself.”

Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights For New Trial And Freedom


By Jeff Mackler for Counter Punch. Pennsylvania – On Mumia Abu-Jamal’s birthday, April 24, about 125 demonstrators mobilized outside Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas in solidarity with Mumia’s effort to reverse his 1982 frame-up murder conviction and win a new trial that could lead to his freedom. Mumia Abu-Jamal is perhaps the world’s best known political prisoner. He has been imprisoned for 36 years, and was on death row for 30 of those years. His fight for a new trial and freedom has been supported by organizations ranging from Amnesty International and the NAACP to the European Parliament and scores of national and local trade unions and city governments in the U.S. and abroad. Represented by Judy Ritter, Mumia’s Philadelphia-based attorney, and Christina Swarms, of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, Mumia petitioned the court for a new Post Conviction Relief Act hearing based on last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Williams v. Pennsylvania.

Newsletter: The State Of The Union And Movement


By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The United States is a failing empire: the domestic economy has fallen to a level equivalent to a developing nation for most of us while the stock markets, especially for weapons-makers, are at record levels. It has taken decades for the US to get here. Long-term mis-leadership created the environment where a “Make America Great Again” presidential candidate, whose fame came from being a reality-TV star and someone who put his name in giant gold letters on every business he ran, could con his way into office in large part because he is not a politician. Trump’s election woke a lot of people up and sparked new levels of activism. As we reach the one-hundredth day of this new administration, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of the union and of the movements for peace and justice.

Business Leaders, Physicians And Health Advocates’ Open Letter To President Trump

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By Staff of Health Over Profit – We are business owners, physicians and health policy experts writing to urge you to take action that will truly solve the healthcare crisis in the United States. The current approach is the most expensive and inefficient in the advanced world, is a drag on our economy and yields relatively poor health outcomes. We are writing to seek a meeting with you to discuss how to create a national system that provides health care for all in a far more cost-effective and efficient manner than our current system provides. We agree with you that the Affordable Care Act is a problem. It has not changed the fact that the United States spends the most on health care simply because the cost of services, pharmaceuticals and administration are the highest in the world. Healthcare spending is rising faster than wages and inflation and is consuming an increasing share of our Gross Domestic Product. This is not sustainable. The business sector spends more on administering and paying for employee health benefits than it gains in net profits. This makes it impossible for US corporations to compete internationally with countries that have a universal, national health system funded by taxpayers.

Major Oil Spill In NYC Harbor Kept Secret Until Someone Noticed


By Carly Miller for Bklyner. The 27,000 gallon spill at Bayside Fuel Depot began before sunrise on Thursday, March 30, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYC DEC) official Rodney Rivera confirmed after we obtained photographs and video of the spill’s aftermath and extensive cleanup. Within hours of the report, the response team, which includes the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the US Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), rushed to contain the spill, shroud the soil in plastic, and vacuum up oiled water, said Rivera. They are not, however, required to make a public announcement. And by late Friday afternoon, while most New Yorkers were driven inside by the whipping rain and winds, workers in hazmat suits filed to and from the shore at the Bayside Depot, vacuuming oiled residue into trucks from a private waste removal contractor specializing in oil spills.

The Worst ‘Alternative Facts’ About Abortion

Maternal-fetal medicine specialist Dr. Byron Calhoun claimed in 2013 that he saw people admitted for serious post-abortion complications at his West Virginia teaching hospital on a weekly basis. (After Calhoun initially made this claim, the administrator at the teaching hospital where Calhoun worked investigated and found no evidence to support it.)	
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By Sofia Resnick for Rewire – During her first weekend as counselor to the 45th president of the United States, Kellyanne Conway introduced the country to a foreboding new catchphrase: “alternative facts.” Many an editorial, even from conservative writers, expressed dismay that a top aide to the president appeared to be openly challenging the meaning of the word “fact.” But longtime observers of Conway’s work and the anti-choice movement from which she rose to become the first woman to manage a successful presidential campaign should not be surprised. The leaders and lawmakers of this movement have been dealing in “alternative facts”—also known as lies—about abortion and other reproductive health issues for decades. They have created a cottage industry out of devising bogus claims and flawed researchto advance anti-choice policy. The administration of President Donald Trump promises to bring many challenges to accessing reproductive health care, helped by a GOP-controlled Congress eager to obliterate the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood.

Trump Reverses Rule Protecting Women’s Access To Basic Healthcare

Marking International Womens Day 1975, the feminist magazine Spare Rib reported: '4,000 women marched through London's East End.' Photograph: Red Women's Workshop Red Women's Workshop/Public Domain

By Staff of Center for Reproductive Rights – In the past few years, an increasing number of states have tried to block trusted reproductive health care providers—including providers that offer abortion care with non-Title X dollars—from participating in Title X. Since 2011, at least 13 states in which Title X funds flow through the state government have approved restrictions that would exclude qualified providers from the Title X network. Mounting evidence shows that the exclusion of reproductive health care providers from publicly funded health programs harms health outcomes, widens disparities, and erects new barriers to care. These barriers are particularly pronounced for those who are already have trouble accessing care—including low-income individuals, people living in rural communities, and people of color. In response to these political attempts to restrict where a woman can get her health care, President Obama issued the rule last year reinforcing that Title X grantees—which in many cases are states—must select subrecipients solely based on their ability to provide care to Title X patients…

6 Ways Trump Administration And Congress Have Threatened Women’s Health In Just A Few Months

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By Miriam Berg for Planned Parenthood – Since Ronald Reagan was in office, a harmful policy known as the global gag rule has been taken off the books by every Democratic president and put back on by every Republican president. It bans foreign NGOs that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling on, referring for, or even advocating for abortion. It’s a policy that hurts the world’s most vulnerable women – and stifles free speech. In one of his first executive actions in office and surrounded by smiling white men, President Trump instated an even worse version of this already dangerous rule. His action will be catastrophic for communities around the world that rely on U.S. funding to fight against Zika and to provide HIV/AIDS and maternal health care. This expanded version of the global gag rule threatens to undermine and reverse progress that family planning has made in lowering maternal mortality rates and preventing unsafe abortion worldwide. In fact, it could endanger the lives of millions of women and girls, and their babies.

Rich Americans Live Up To 15 Years Longer Than Poor Peers, Studies Find

Wealthy Americans can expect to live 15 years longer than poor peers, studies in the Lancet find. Photograph: Ariel Skelley

By Jessica Glenza for The Guardian – Health insurance system – the most expensive in the world – is worsening situation, researchers find, arguing healthcare should be treated as human right. You can’t buy time – except, it seems, in America. Increasing inequality means wealthy Americans can now expect to live up to 15 years longer than their poor counterparts, reports in the British medical journal the Lancet have found. Researchers said these disparities appear to be worsened by the American health system itself, which relies on for-profit insurance companies, and is the most expensive in the world. Their conclusion? Treat healthcare as a human right.

A Q&A About Police Violence And Reproductive Health

To understand the connections between law enforcement violence and reproductive justice, doctors and researchers have to think broadly about how history and policy affect care and barriers. 
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By Cynthia Greenlee for Rewire – Police violence and interaction could be seen as particularly extreme forms of maternal stress. If one lives in a community that is frequently policed, the accumulative effects of these interactions can have health consequences more insidious than those caused by actual physical violence. When there is a police shooting, somewhere a doctor or medical staff are involved. They treat the living wounded, and as coroners, they read the bodies of the dead and produce autopsies that will be scrutinized by the public, the media, and the criminal justice system. Those documents underline that the provision of medical care is political. Physicians do not shed their biases and beliefs when they don white coats. Individual doctors and medical associations have been agents of social change and, in other cases…

April 3 - 7: Week Of Action For Medicare For All


By Health Over Profit for Everyone. This is an exciting time because support for HR 676: “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” is growing. Five new co-sponsors signed on last week. And, thanks to pressure from grassroots activists, Senator Sanders announced that he will introduce a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. We expect it in mid-May. From April 3 to 7, actions such as teach-ins, marches and speak outs are taking place across the country. Friday, April 7, is the international day of action against the privatization of health: “Our Health is NOT for Sale!”.

Protesters’ Outcry Against Live-Fire Bombing In Hawai’i


By Shauna Krystin for The Fifth Column News. Kailua, Hawaii (TFC) – Activists on Hawai’i Island are asking for the end of live-fire bomb training at Pohakuloa Training Area. One primary concern is the use of depleted uranium (DU) in on-going military training is polluting the air and making Hawaiian residents sick. Background levels of radiation are considered safe and range from about 5-20 ppm. One activist with a radiation meter saw levels as high as 70ppm while standing near the main gates to the training area. According to activist Lindafaye Kroll, of STOP Bombing Hawaii, the “elevated radiation is from a U.S. military source.” While government and military officials claim that depleted uranium has a low-level radioactivity and is safe, activists are concerned about its toxicity and half-life of 4.5 billion years. Military testing in Hawai’i has been ongoing since the end of World War II; the island of Kaho’olawe was bombed to such a point that locals began to call it “Target Island,” and is uninhabitable thanks to a cracked water table and a proliferation of undetonated explosives.

Single Payer Sanders Morphs Into Public Option Dean


By Russell Mokhiber for Single Payer Action. Right before our eyes, we are seeing the transformation of single payer Bernie Sanders into public option Howard Dean. During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Sanders took off like a rocket, fueled by the promise of a single payer, Medicare for All single payer system. His single payer plan paralleled HR 676, the single payer bill in the House of Representatives that now has 72 co-sponsors. HR 676 is the gold standard of single payer bills. It would deliver one public payer, no deductibles, no co-pays, lower costs, everyone in, nobody out, no more medical bankruptcies, no more deaths from lack of health insurance and free choice of doctors and hospitals. That was the promise of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign. But since then, Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Then become part of Senator Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic leadership.