Emergency Contraception Betrayal: Does President Obama Really Oppose Family Planning?

Now Press Release: http://www.now.org/press/12-11/12-07.html

Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

December 7, 2011

In a stunning betrayal of women, the Obama administration has sided with radical right politics in rejecting the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to remove an age restriction on emergency contraception.

The experts on the FDA advisory committee resoundingly supported all available scientific and medical evidence, declaring Plan B One-Step to be safe and effective for all women over the counter, regardless of age.

Today, Plan B One-Step is available without prescription to women ages 17 and above. However, because of the age restriction, it is held behind the counter in pharmacies, and women are required to produce either proof of age or a doctor’s prescription to access the drug.

Two years ago, a district court found that the FDA’s earlier decision to limit access on the basis of age was motivated exclusively by politics. The court ordered the FDA to reconsider, and the FDA ultimately complied, recently deciding to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter to all women regardless of age.

It is an unusual and infuriating move for the Obama administration to overrule that decision, especially at a time when rumors are flying that the president is on the brink of caving in to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by expanding religiously affiliated employers’ ability to deny contraceptive coverage to women under the Affordable Care Act.

NOW calls on the president to stop playing politics with the lives of women and girls. During the Bush years, women’s reproductive health was under constant attack. We don’t need more of the same from the Obama administration.

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Secretary Clinton’s Historic Speech on LGBT Human Rights

Why the “Left” Establishment Can’t Create Demands for the Occupy Movement

From Truth Out:   http://www.truth-out.org/nine-demands-99-percent/1322862827

by: J.A. Myerson
Monday 5 December 2011

Did you hear the big news? The 99 percent released nine demands! After months of hectoring, we finally know what the movement is after: it’s all right there on a web site – 9 DEMANDS OF THE 99%.

Four problems immediately spring to mind:

Firstly, the whole “9 for 99” bit smacks a bit of Herman Cain.

Secondly, this was not endorsed by Occupy Wall Street. Readers would be forgiven for the confusion, since the “99 percent movement” is used in many media outlets as a synonym for the nation’s various occupations, which are famous for chanting, “We are the 99 percent.”  The 9 Demands web site is registered to Working America, a coalition of labor unions and, somehow, Daily Kos, which, of course, never directly claims that it speaks for the occupiers. (The general assembly’s statement of autonomy  says, “SPEAK WITH US, NOT FOR US,” after all.) But the site does a lot of insinuating to create the impression that it does the latter and not much at all to clarify. Indeed, when you click the “Tweet” button, the automatic tweet has affixed to it the hashtag #ows, meaning Occupy Wall Street, which is unmentioned on the web site.

Thirdly, there aren’t actually nine demands. There are eight demands. The last demand is blank. “ADD YOUR OWN!” the web site commands you. Then it asks for your first and last name and your email address and zip code, and offers you the option to “Become a member of Working America” (default option: yes). This means building Working America’s email list. Of course. Working America is not actually interested in what your demand is. It’s not actually interested in what Occupy Wall Street’s demand is. It’s got an agenda to promote. And speaking of which …

Continue reading at:    http://www.truth-out.org/nine-demands-99-percent/1322862827

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Hypocritical Christo-Fascist “Good Hair” Perry Should Remember What Psychiatists Say about Homophobia Being a Sign of Secret Gay Desires

When Fascism Comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible.  (Sinclair Lewis)

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Prosecutors Dropping Death Penalty Against Mumia Abu-Jamal

Next step is freeing him from this wrongful conviction…

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/12/07/us/AP-US-Mumia-Abu-Jamal.html?scp=1&sq=mumia&st=cse

Published: December 7, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Prosecutors have called off their 30-year battle to execute former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal for murdering a white police officer, putting to an end the racially charged case that became a major battleground in the fight over the death penalty.

Flanked by the police Officer Daniel Faulkner’s widow, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced his decision Wednesday, just two days short of the 30th anniversary of the killing. He said continuing to seek death penalty would open the case to “an unknowable number of years” of appeals.

“There’s never been any doubt in my mind that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner. I believe that the appropriate sentence was handed down by a jury of his peers in 1982,” said Williams, the city’s first black district attorney. “While Abu-Jamal will no longer be facing the death penalty, he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life, and that is where he belongs.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/12/07/us/AP-US-Mumia-Abu-Jamal.html?scp=1&sq=mumia&st=cse

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WTO Turnaround: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Development First!

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/06

by Deborah James
Published on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

December 15-17, 2011, Trade Ministers will convene in Geneva, Switzerland for an 8th WTO Ministerial Meeting. After many failed Ministerial meetings and nearly ten years of negotiations, the Doha Round of WTO expansion is at a crossroads. Increasingly, developed countries have tried to push aside agreements to negotiate on key developing country issues intended to correct the imbalances within the existing WTO, which formed the basis of the development mandate of Doha. Instead, rich-country governments appear to be re-packaging the old liberalization and market access demands of their corporate interests as so-called “21st century” issues. This Ministerial will determine the future path of WTO negotiations, and the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network is calling for a fundamental transformation.

November 30 marked the 12th anniversary of the massive protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, Washington, which succeeded in preventing the launch of the so-called “Millennium Round” of WTO expansion negotiations. Developing countries, led by African ministers and buoyed by massive street protests, opposed the launching of a new round of liberalization, focusing instead on their demands to fix the problems left over from the last round. Two years later, after receiving promises from rich countries that the next round would focus on development, these same countries acquiesced to a new “Doha Round.”

Throughout the last ten years, negotiations have collapsed several times, but have always been re-started. Unfortunately, the development mandate has been all but abandoned, with negotiations shifting to focus on the desires of corporations in rich countries, in services, agriculture, and manufactured goods, to achieve greater access to markets in developing countries. Nevertheless, they came perilously close to concluding in the summer of 2008. Since then, the emergence of the economic crises has resulted in a global re-think of the neoliberal economic model by citizens around the world, with resulting domestic pressure against governments to further entrench such a calamitous economic paradigm.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/06


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Occupy the Human Rights Campaign Store 3 Dec 2011

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Transgender(sic) widow to plead guilty to theft

I haven’t found much in the case of Nikki Araguz and her sociopathic games to cause me to feel compelled to waste any energy in her defense.

Here is a person who has cause a lot of harm to post-transsexual women with her behavior.  After Lettica Van De Putte pushed through a bill that permits post transsexuals to marry members of the opposite sex Nikki comes along and gets married to a man prior to SRS.  Doesn’t get a will.

The whole deal sounds sketchy given her past and present behavior.

First she’s up for some sort of reality show, then she is busted for ripping off a Rolex.

Really great role model, don’t cha think???

From The Houston Chronicle:  http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Transgender-widow-to-plead-guilty-to-theft-2345614.php

Updated 08:57 p.m., Monday, December 5, 2011

The transgender widow of a Wharton firefighter who is battling her dead husband’s family over the legitimacy of the couple’s marriage will plead guilty to felony theft after the holidays.

Nikki Araguz, 36, will admit she stole a Rolex watch from a woman at a bar in exchange for 30-day jail sentence and restitution of $2,800, said her attorney, Jeff Downing.

“Both sides had issues with their cases, so I thought this was a good result,” Downing said.

Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, declined to comment and said the office could not answer any questions about a possible deal.

Downing said Araguz wanted to put the criminal case behind her to fight an appeals court battle in which she is trying to get legal recognition of her marriage to Thomas Araguz, a Wharton County firefighter who was killed in a fire on July 4, 2010.

Continue reading at:  http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Transgender-widow-to-plead-guilty-to-theft-2345614.php

J Edgar Hoover and me: how I was spied on by the FBI

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/dec/02/j-edgar-hoover-and-me

Clint Eastwood’s film obscures the fact that Hoover’s obsession with sniffing out so-called subversives terrorised America

, Friday 2 December 2011

I’d rather have a dead son than a daffodil son.

– Judi Dench as J Edgar Hoover’s possessive mother in the Clint Eastwood film

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s long time chief, J Edgar Hoover, almost was a member of my family. In the 1920s, during the infamous “red scare” Palmer Raids, agents of his newly-formed Bureau of Investigation arrested, beat up and tried to deport my immigrant father for “criminal syndicalism” (union organising).

Combatively anti-labor, reflecting the director’s prejudices, Hoover’s “G-men” also tried stemming the 1930s union upsurge, in which both my parents were vocal rank-and-filers, by threatening militants and their sympathisers and feeding dirt to employer groups and anti-union newspapers. During the second world war, the FBI split their energies between tracking down the few Nazi spies and much greater number of home-grown radicals and union redhots – no real difference between them Hoover could see except that the Bolshevik menace would always be uppermost in his mind. My mother, cousins and favorite uncle all became fodder for Hoover’s extraordinary card-index system.

From the time I was 16, and later during the cold war, the FBI was on me for 15 solid years, even – illegally snooping – when I emigrated to England. How could I make these fedora-wearing, smartly-suited snoops understand that, influenced by a James Cagney movie, I had been a Junior G-Man myself by sending in Quaker Oats boxtops? I proudly wore my tin badge and pinned to my wall J Edgar Hoover’s commendation letter to me.

It’s all coming back to me because I’ve just seen Clint Eastwood’s draggy, so-darkly-lit-it’s-hard-to-follow, superficially detailed but essentially untruthful case for the defense of America’s Himmler as a homosexually repressed mama’s boy. I’m a fan of Leonardo di Caprio but, hey, come on, you don’t send a boy to do a very, very weird man’s job, even with the best makeup artists in the world. The script, by Dustin Lance Black, who did such a great job with Milk, is an obscurantist mess of voice-over and backtracks and flash-forwards, where everything but the kitchen sink is dragged in – Emma Goldman! The Lindbergh baby! – but dramatic and even factual truth is left out.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/dec/02/j-edgar-hoover-and-me

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Lawyers plan for possible eurozone break-up

From Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2468ec0c-1eb5-11e1-a75f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1fgfQw2Pw

By Caroline Binham and Tracy Alloway in London
December 6, 2011

An obligatory shutdown of the banking sector, exchange controls and mass litigation resulting in judgments that cannot be enforced. . . These are among the adverse effects that lawyers and advisers are now modelling for clients amid fears that a country could leave the eurozone.

Companies and legal experts are planning for the worst as European Union leaders engage in a frenetic week of talks and diplomatic arm-bending to save the euro.

Leading US and UK legal firms have mobilised teams for clients – ranging from banks, corporates and hedge funds to governments – to try to spell out the implications of what happens if the eurozone starts to fall apart. Their worst-case forecasts show how high the stakes are.

Continue reading at:  http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2468ec0c-1eb5-11e1-a75f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1fgfQw2Pw


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Europe’s theatrical puppetry before an audience of bankers

From RoarMag:    http://roarmag.org/2011/12/italy-austerity-eurozone-eu-fiscal-union-crisis/

by Jérôme E. Roos
December 6, 2011

Talk of a fiscal union and austerity in Italy merely serves to entertain the financial gods by sacrificing the people. None of it will prevent ‘Eurogeddon’.

Europe is getting desperate now. Faced with apocalyptic warnings by analysts and officials that it has “10 days to avert collapse” (only five left by now), EU leaders will convene in Brussels on Friday in yet another bid to end the ongoing eurozone debt drama once and for all. To set the stage for this grand finale, Italy’s unelected government just announced a radical new austerity budget, involving a frontal assault on its own working population.

And then there was the big announcement by Angela Merkel last week: “We are not only talking about a fiscal union, we are beginning to create it.” Stock markets rallied in anticipation of the ‘grand bargain’. But as the Bonfire of Illusions rages on, these hopes will prove just as short-lived as the ones that came before. In reality, the current proposals won’t do a thing to stop the break-up of the eurozone. Indeed, they will only make meltdown more inevitable.

To understand why, we have to look below the surface of the political discourse. The beautiful words about “Europe pulling together” are a mere chimera; what we are really witnessing is just a thinly-veiled theater play in which governments are launching an assault on their own people in the hope that the audience, mostly made up of wealthy bankers, will revel at the spectacle and reward the cast with a warm applause in the form of reduced borrowing costs.

As Wolfgang Münchau just wrote for the Financial Times, “contrary to what is being reported, Ms Merkel is not proposing a fiscal union. She is proposing an austerity club, a stability pact on steroids. The goal  is to enforce life-long austerity, with balanced budget rules enshrined in every national constitution.” Ultimately, these measures will provide the legal framework for a permanently depressed periphery, making a cascading series of defaults inevitable.

Continue reading at:  http://roarmag.org/2011/12/italy-austerity-eurozone-eu-fiscal-union-crisis/

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The water, energy and food nexus

From The Institute for Agriculture and Trade: http://www.iatp.org/blog/201112/the-water-energy-and-food-nexus

by Shiney Varghese
Posted December 2, 2011

As I flew back from Bonn last week, on my way back from the Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference (16–18 November), one thing was clear to me. Corporate environmentalism is entrenching itself firmly in the corridors of global governance, and challenging its advance will require new strategies. The “in-your-face” approach of yesterday is being replaced with a softer, albeit more dangerous “corporate responsibility” garb. This softer path also seeks to ensure that civil society stakeholders are seen as party to the decisions.

The Bonn Nexus conference is symptomatic of the way that corporate environmentalism is developing. “The water, energy and food security nexus, Solutions for the Green Economy,” as it is called, is an initiative of the federal government of Germany to develop specific contributions to the Rio+20 Conference. It is an important event because this is the first of several nexus conferences being planned to gain political support for advancing the green economy at Rio+20. The next follow-up conference is being organized by World Economic Forum and will be held in January 2012.

In its recognition of a “nexus,” these conferences could be seen as a step forward. Two years ago, when we published a report on the need for integrated solutions for the water, climate and food crises, the idea of connections between these three sectors was simply not on any official agenda.

But the conference understood the “nexus” through a distinctive lens—that of the “green economy.” This term has been coming to a new prominence over the last year or two. And what it actually means was brought out well in the Bonn proceedings. The majority of experts at the conference were from international institutions (including globally operating NGOs), and for-profit companies, with a limited number of experts and representatives from a broader group of smaller NGOs and the global South. Moreover most sessions seemed to be focused on the technocratic approach of increasing resource use efficiency. In fact, some of these concerns were brought up by us in a letter to the organizers of the Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference.

Continue reading at:   http://www.iatp.org/blog/201112/the-water-energy-and-food-nexus

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Bachmann Picks Up the Support of Her “Dear Mentor,” Phyllis Schlafly

From Right Wing Watch: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/bachmann-picks-support-her-dear-mentor-phyllis-schlafly

Submitted by Brian Tashman on December 5, 2011 – 10:00am

Michele Bachmann yesterday picked up the support of the person she called “the most important woman in the United States in the last one hundred years,” Phyllis Schlafly. The Des Moines Register reports that the anti-feminist leader and head of Eagle Forum urged Iowa caucus-goers to back Bachmann:

In a written statement, Schlafly says: “Most important, Michele has the courage to be a leader among her peers. She is a real champion in speaking up for values we care about. Michele is a woman of faith and the mother of a beautiful family. She has a 100 percent pro-life record and is a strong supporter of traditional marriage.”

“If I were an Iowa voter, I would be making plans right now to cast my vote for Michele Bachmann for president on January 3. I hope you will take advantage of this golden opportunity to support a candidate we can all be proud of.”

Schlafly said conservatives don’t want the media to choose their candidate, “or tell us we must choose one of the two who currently lead in the polls.”

Complete article at:  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/bachmann-picks-support-her-dear-mentor-phyllis-schlafly

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China’s Future Up in the Air

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/chinas_future_up_in_the_air_20111205/

By Eugene Robinson
Posted on Dec 5, 2011

HONG KONG—China has to find a way to continue its rapid growth without choking to death. Literally.

When I landed in Beijing last week, the sky was a brownish miasma through which distant landmarks were only faintly visible. The moment I stepped outside the city’s vast international airport, I noticed an acrid hint of burning coal in the all-too-palpable air. The next day, when I went to see the Great Wall, China’s most famous cultural treasure was wreathed in a gauzy shroud of pollution.

In Shanghai, the story was much the same. The city seemed to hide itself in an obscuring haze. Skyscrapers revealed themselves suddenly; you got close enough and all at once a huge building appeared. It was as if the architecture had decided to play hide-and-seek.

Even Hong Kong’s skies were grayish rather than blue when I landed here Sunday. The last time I visited the city, about 15 years ago, the sky was crystalline. Locals say that smog from the churning factories of southern China often drifts over Hong Kong—nothing like the pall that encloses Beijing and Shanghai, but enough to notice.

Pollution is just one of the mega-problems this country must solve as it continues its unprecedented pace of development. One week and change in China does not an expert make. But my solid first impression is that for the foreseeable future, the authoritarian Chinese leadership is going to have to focus attention and resources inward. What they’re attempting is a high-wire act extraordinaire.

China now has the world’s second-largest economy, but it also has 1.4 billion people, an estimated 500 million living in dire poverty. Per-capita gross domestic product is just $4,300 a year, compared to about $47,000 in the United States. In glittering Shanghai, where celebrity chefs service a Gucci-clad clientele along the historic Bund, I walked through a maze of alleys where the tiny, run-down homes lack even indoor plumbing.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/chinas_future_up_in_the_air_20111205/

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Fukushima 45 ton radioactive water leak poisons ocean

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Leverage: The Dynamite Strapped to Our Markets

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-ratigan/leverage-the-dynamite-str_b_1132266.html


Last week, I was talking to my friend, Landon Rowland. Landon is the kind of guy who knows what is going on in the business world. He’s highly respected as a national leader in the industrial space, having run a major railroad. But he’s also the chairman of Janus Capital, he understands finance like the back of his hand, and he is a major civic leader with a deep knowledge of politics and the regulatory world. Last week, he says to me, “Dylan, no matter who I talk to, no one can give me the total American bank exposure to the Eurozone.” Landon knew how much his own bank stood to lose directly if the Eurozone banks couldn’t pay their debts, but as to the total risk to our system, no way. He couldn’t find out. And it’s not because people were keeping secrets, it’s probably because no one knows. So the danger is that some random strikes in Greece, a country whose economy is the size of Dallas, could set off a chain reaction destroying the American banking system.

The world’s financial system is so tightly linked, so tightly coupled, that semi-random events halfway around the world with zero real economy impact on anything American can still crash our economy. And the links are opaque, so we don’t really know who is vulnerable or how to firewall off the real economy from financial speculation.

The root cause is something I’ve written about in my book, Greedy Bastards: leverage. Leverage means borrowing money and using the proceeds to invest or speculate — it’s a way to multiply gains and losses. Leverage isn’t good or bad — like dynamite, it can be used on construction projects, or as a dangerous weapon. When you buy a house with a mortgage, you’re using leverage. When you borrow from your father to go gambling in Las Vegas, that too is a form of leverage. And let’s not even get to complex betting instruments used by big banks known as derivatives, because then leverage starts to get dangerous.

Leverage matters on a systemic level because it is the mechanism that links your financial condition to that of your debtors and creditors. You might look solvent, or even wealthy, but if one of your debtors goes under can’t pay you back, suddenly you are broke too. And then your own creditors might also be broke, and on up the chain. If enough entities are borrowing and lending enough money to each other, the net effect is that their balance sheets effectively combine into one mega-balance sheet. Since you look wealthy, neither you nor regulators would even know how close to going bankrupt you might actually be. This is why Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke called the subprime crisis “contained” in 2007. He thought, like many officials, that there would be a mild economic disruption due to falling housing prices, but he had no idea that the entire financial system was on the verge of a meltdown. He simply didn’t know how interlinked subprime mortgages had become with global bank balance sheets.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-ratigan/leverage-the-dynamite-str_b_1132266.html

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Halliburton ‘destroyed’ Gulf of Mexico spill evidence

From BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16044836

6 December 2011

Oil giant BP has accused oilfields services firm Halliburton of destroying damaging evidence relating to last year’s oil well blast in the Gulf of Mexico in which 11 people were killed.

At a hearing in a New Orleans’ court, BP said Halliburton had “intentionally” destroyed test results on its cement product used at the Macondo well.

Halliburton denied this, saying the claims were “without merit”.

Cement was a key factor in causing America’s worst offshore oil spill.

The blast that followed at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April led to the release of 780m litres (206m gallons) of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP and Halliburton are locked in a legal battle ahead of a trial on damages early next year.

Through their lawyers, the former partners in the venture are seeking maximum pre-trial advantage, the BBC’s Steve Kingstone in Washington reports.

Continue reading at:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16044836

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