Monthly Archives: February 2015

‘This Is Not A Game,’ Declares Greek Minister as Talks Collapse in Brussels

Image via Twitter.

Image via Twitter.

‘Europe must cut its lossses with a program that is not working,’ declares Syriza’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

By Jon Queally, Published February 16, 2015 by Common Dreams 

Without any apparent progress, talks in Brussels between the Syriza-led government of Greece and finance ministers of the Eurogroup collapsed on Monday just hours after negotiations began.

An official with the Greek delegation first told Reuters that talks were called off after finance minister Yanis Varoufakis rejected a proposal put forth by the Eurogroup ministers which essentially called for an extension of the current bailout scheme with no alterations to the terms.

“Some people’s insistence on the Greek government implementing the bailout is unreasonable and cannot be accepted,” the Greek official reportedly said. “Those who keep returning to this issue are wasting their time. Under such circumstances, there cannot be a deal today.” Continue reading

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Rolling Bombs and Leaky Pipelines

On Saturday night, a Canadian National Railway (CN) train with 100 tank cars of crude oil derailed about 80 kilometers south of Timmins, Ontario. The derailment was on the CN mainline, in an area inaccessible by road. 29 cars jumped the track, and seven were still burning the following afternoon. An unknown amount of oil was spilled.

Yesterday, twenty five cars of a 109 car CSX train derailed in Adena Village in Fayette County, West Virginia. At least one car ended up in the Kanawha River, while another slammed into a house. At least fourteen cars caught fire, and some exploded. Kelley Gillenwater, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said that the DEP was told the train was carrying “crude oil and possibly other materials.”

West Virginia, February 16, 2015. Photo via Twitter

West Virginia, February 16, 2015. Photo via Twitter

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‘Not One Step Back’: Moral Marchers Converge in North Carolina

Demonstrators rise up against attacks on voting and women’s rights, economic justice, public education, equal protection under the law, and more

Written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-14-2015.

Last year’s Moral March on Raleigh. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

Rallying around a 14-point “People’s Agenda,” thousands gathered in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday for the annual Moral March calling for livable wages, environmental justice, healthcare for all, an end to racism and inequality, and more.

The movement stands in opposition to “the extreme and regressive agenda being pushed in North Carolina”—an agenda it says is “a reflection of what is happening across the United States.”

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Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Big Pharma giveaway

By Conor J. Lynch

Out of all big industries making billions in profit, the pharmaceutical is probably the most ethically questionable.

Pills.

Pills. Kandy Talbot/Wikicommons. Some rights reserved.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal is causing quite a stir around the world, and for good reason. There are multiple pro-corporate provisions within this massive trade deal that certainly merit being labeled “profit over people.” One of these is the Investor-State dispute settlement, which gives foreign corporations the ability to sue governments if a new law or regulation has effects on their profit rate; a blatantly pro-investor mechanism. Beyond this, intense criticism has also been provoked by some generous giveaways for the pharmaceutical industry.Provisions within the deal would expand patent rights for big pharmaceutical companies, which would keep important medicines overpriced around the world. One of these provisions, “patent term extensions,” would allow companies to extend their patents beyond the original twenty years, preventing other companies from bringing the medicine onto the generic market, which generally lowers costs by 30-80 percent. Other provisions would allow companies to re-patent drugs after twenty years for developing “new uses” or slightly altering the chemical.

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When Trust Becomes a Casualty of War

By Kani Xulam, Guest Contributor. Originally published February 13, 2015 in Rudaw. Republished here with author’s permission.

American Sniper. Image via Facebook.

American Sniper. Image via Facebook.

President Obama says we’re in a “season of fear.” A leading Washington commentator writes a book that echoes his sentiment, National Insecurity. The Islamic State barbarians burn a Jordanian pilot alive—and before that, this past August, they also kidnapped and enslaved as many as 5000 Yezidi women and girls.

Perhaps this sordid slice of our turbulent reality is propelling Americans in record-setting numbers to Hollywood’s latest blockbuster, American Sniper, a biopic celebrating the life and exploits of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sharpshooter in the history of American military. Continue reading

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Harvard Students Launch Open-Ended Sit-In Demanding Full Divestment From Fossil Fuels

Published on Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Common Dreams
Over 30 students launched a sit-in protest at Harvard demanding divestment from the fossil fuel industry, Thursday, February 12. (Photo courtesy of Divest Harvard)

Over 30 students launched a sit-in protest at Harvard demanding divestment from the fossil fuel industry, Thursday, February 12. (Photo courtesy of Divest Harvard)

Dozens of students on Thursday morning launched a sit-in at Harvard University to demand that the institution divest its $36.4 billion endowment—the largest college nest egg in the world—from fossil fuel companies, in step with a global movement to de-fund and de-legitimize the industries driving global warming.

At the time of publication, over 30 students were still occupying Massachusetts Hall, which houses administrative offices, including that of President Drew Faust.

Jasmine Opie, member of Divest Harvard, told Common Dreams over the phone that the direct action is “open-ended” and students are prepared to stay the night. The mood at the protest is “excited and enthusiastic,” said Opie, despite the administration’s refusal, so far, to engage in meaningful and transparent discussions with demonstrators.

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Antidote to Growing Inequality = Universal Healthcare: World Health Organization Head

Published on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Common Dreams

“It’s clear that universal and comprehensive health coverage is a key to fighting inequality,” said Dr. David Himmelstein.  (Photo:  Ted Swedenburg/flickr/cc)

Providing universal health coverage is a key way to address increasing global inequality, the head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan made the comment—which echoes previous comments she’s made—during a keynote address on the first of a two-day conference on universal health coverage taking place in Singapore.

“Universal health coverage is one of the most powerful social equalizers among all policy options. It is the ultimate expression of fairness,” Agence France-Presse quotes her as saying.

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Emasculating The EPA

This may come as somewhat of a shock to our younger readers, but protecting the environment used to be a subject of bipartisan agreement. The Environmental Protection Agency was proposed by President Richard Nixon (a Republican) on January 1, 1970. On December 2 of the same year, the EPA was born.

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

For the first ten years, the EPA remained fairly non-controversial. This changed, as did so many other government programs, during the Reagan years. Since the beginning of Reagan’s first term in 1981, enactment of significant environmental programs and legislation have had a direct relationship to which party occupied the White House for the most part. Continue reading

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The New Face Of Judicial Extortion

Protest at Ferguson police Department, August 2014. Photo by Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Protest at Ferguson police Department, August 2014. Photo by Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday evening, on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown, a group of civil rights lawyers filed a pair of lawsuits on behalf of 11 residents of Ferguson and 9 residents of Jennings; two suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri.

The lawsuits claim the cities involved have pursued the “policy and practice … to jail people when they cannot afford to pay money owed to the city resulting from prior traffic tickets and other minor offenses without conducting any inquiry into the person’s ability to pay and without considering alternatives to imprisonment as required by federal and Missouri law.” Continue reading

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To Honor Women on February 14

On the day known for love, the world will come together for the biggest event in world history to call attention to violence against women.

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history.  The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

There is time for you to join this world action. Women and men who support their cause in every country, in major cities and places unheard of are joining together. Find the one nearest you and join the revolution.

We plan on attending with signs already made that state WHY WE RISE. Connect with others involved through social media. Send us your photos from your event and we will put them on our Facebook Page.

In case you still can’t get enough, here is the video from the previous year. At the end, there is a link that directs you to a video that teaches all the simple dance steps. It can’t get any easier to make a big impression.

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