* IN BARCELONA, AUSTERITY WITH AN IRON FIST
By Peter Gelderloos, Truthout
Criminalizing public meetings, expanding police powers and weaponry, and applying anti-terrorist measures to street protests: it sounds like Spain in the Franco years, but all of these measures have been proposed in Spain in just the last couple of weeks. Far from being a throwback to the years of dictatorship, these repressive developments go hand in hand with the current economic crisis. Considering the connection between the 15M plaza occupation movement and the subsequent Occupy movement that spread to several countries around the globe, between the March 29th general strike in Spain and the upcoming May 1st general strike called in the United States, between the brutal austerity measures implemented already a year or two ago by the government in Madrid and the increasing signs of shakiness from more stable EU countries such as France, Spain is, if anything, ahead of the curve. […]
[…] In the aftermath of the strike, Catalunya’s notorious interior minister, Felip Puig, reacted with indignation and promised harsh new security measures. But honestly, what do ruling politicians and their banker friends expect? That they can take away people’s health care, homes and livelihood while they live it up in exclusive neighborhoods, vote themselves pay raises, drive around in luxury cars, and go to private clinics and private schools? That there aren’t any consequences for slashing retirement and unemployment benefits with the excuse that there isn’t enough money to go around because they’ve spent it all on bailouts? Do they honestly expect that people are going to be shocked by the smashing of banks when those same banks have kicked them out of their houses or swallowed up the money that used to go to health care and unemployment?
The new security measures and police powers the Catalan government in particular is granting itself are not a reaction to the rebelliousness of the March 29th general strike, Puig’s hypocritical handwringing notwithstanding. In the early months of the crisis, before any popular outburst could provide the excuse, it had already become clear that one of the only growth sectors for employment in the foreseeable future would be police and private security. Puig made it clear where his priorities lay from the moment he stepped into office in December 2010: among his first acts were removing the article in the police protocol that prohibited torture and removing the cameras from Catalan police stations – cameras that had proven their usefulness in the previous administration by catching frequent beatings and acts of torture carried out by police. It was Puig who presided over the brutalizing of thousands of peaceful protesters involved in the occupation of Plaça Catalunya last May. Also under his tenure, private security in the metro and elsewhere have been given police powers. Violence and repression has always been this politician’s preferred response to popular discontentment. […]
[…] And of course, Interior is pushing for harsher sentences for a variety of crimes. While Puig graciously admits that, “vandalism is not the same as terrorism,” he nonetheless proposes making the sentencing the same and allowing two years of pretrial imprisonment for public-disorder-related accusations, effectively giving the police the power to pass prison sentences of up to two years without trial. […]
* GOVERNMENT EXPLAINED
* EXPOSING ALEC: HOW CONSERVATIVE-BACKED STATE LAWS ARE ALL CONNECTED
A shadowy organization uses corporate contributions to sell prepackaged conservative bills — such as Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute — to legislatures across the country.
By Nancy Scola, The Atlantic
[…] Having the bills all in one place painted a certain picture. “If it’s voter ID, it’s ALEC,” observed Doug Clopp, deputy director of programs at Common Cause. “If it’s anti-immigration bills written hand-in-glove with private prison corporations, it’s ALEC. If it’s working with the N.R.A. on ‘Shoot to Kill’ laws, it’s ALEC. When you start peeling back state efforts to opt out of the regional greenhouse gas initiative, it’s ALEC.” Adopted first in the states, by the time these laws bubble up to the national level, they’re the conventional wisdom on policy. […]
[…] ColorofChange.org came up with a strategy. It would start by meeting face-to-face with corporations to explain to them why their participation in ALEC was troublesome. Some companies made the case, said Robinson, that they were simply dedicated to making sure all viewpoints were represented in public debates. “There’s no two sides to black people voting,” Robinson said he and his organizers countered. But always present was the cudgel: the tremendous public attention that ColorofChange.org could bring to bear with a few clicks. The group claims a membership of some 900,000 people. […]
* CHICAGO: #SaveOurClinics OCCUPIES MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC SLATED FOR CLOSURE
[…] Mental Health Clinic Facing Closure Occupied by Patients and Advocates
Mental Health Movement barricaded inside Woodlawn Clinic until Rahm Emanuel backs off clinic closures
Dozens of people who use Chicago’s mental health clinics along with other advocates have barricaded themselves into the Woodlawn Clinic at 6337 S. Woodlawn, one of 6 clinics facing closure. They intend to remain there until Mayor Emanuel agrees to keep all of Chicago’s public clinics open, fully funded and fully staffed.
Two of the clinics slated for closure – the Northwest Clinic in Logan Square and the Northtown Clinic in Rogers Park – shut their doors last Friday. Four others (Woodlawn, Auburn/Gresham, Back of the Yards and Beverly/Morgan Park) are scheduled to close April 30th. The Mental Health Movement, which put out a report and a video undermining the Chicago Department of Public Health’s claim that all patients will continue to receive care, has been calling for hearings on the clinic closures since October. Despite repeated promises and a resolution calling for hearings, the Emanuel Administration has prevented any hearings from taking place in order to avoid public scrutiny of the plan, which has come under fire even from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
“We have tried everything we could to be heard. We visited Mayor Emanuel when he was a candidate. We delivered him over 4,000 letters. We have talked to almost all 50 Alderman. We have held press conferences, rallies and even sat-in for 10 hours on the 5th floor of City Hall. We are the ones who know the disaster these clinic closures will mean for our communities and our city but Mayor Emanuel been unwilling to listen to us, so we are taking drastic measures to avoid a tragedy and defend our human rights,” says N’Dana Carter, who goes to one of the city clinics and is a spokesperson for the Mental Health Movement. […]
* SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE: $570 BILLION CHEAPER
[…] Gerald Friedman at Dollars & Sense:
The Expanded & Improved Medicare for all act” (HR 676) would establish a single authority responsible for paying for health care for all Americans. Providing universal coverage with a “single-payer” system would change many aspects of American health care. While it would raise some costs by providing access to care for those currently uninsured or under-insured, it would save much larger sums by eliminating insurance middlemen and radically simplifying payment to doctors and hospitals. While providing superior health care, a single-payer system would save as much as $570 billion now wasted on administrative overhead and monopoly profits. A single-payer system would also make health-care financing dramatically more progressive by replacing fixed, income-invariant health-care expenditures with progressive taxes. This series of charts and graphs shows why we need a single-payer system and how it could be funded. […]
* FDA PROTECTS DRUG COMPANIES AGAIN?
Source: The Daily Bell
Prescribing labels for Merck & Co’s drugs for baldness and enlarged prostate will add reports of sexual side effects that continued after use of the medicines was stopped, U.S. health regulators said. Labels will be revised for Proscar, which treats symptoms of enlarged prostate, and hair-loss treatment Propecia, the Food and Drug Administration said. The active ingredient in both drugs is finasteride. The Propecia label will now include notification of problems with libido, ejaculation and orgasms that continued after use of the drug was ended. Proscar’s label will include notification of decreased libido. – Reuters […]
[…] Here’s what Mike Adams, the “health ranger,” had to say about the FDA’s announcement regarding Merck:
Hey, men! Looking for a way to ruin your sex life and become infertile? Try Propecia or Proscar, two drugs from the vaccine giant Merck, whose top vaccine scientist Dr. Maurice Hilleman already admitted that Merck’s vaccines contained “stealth viruses” that cause cancer.
Now, the FDA is finally – after years of delays and denials – calling for new warnings on the labels of male baldness drugs made by Merck. According to the FDA, Propecia and Proscar are now linked to:
• Ejaculation disorders (oops!)
• Libido disorders (not tonight, honey)
• Orgasm disorders (still nothing?)
• Erectile dysfunction (life is hard, but you’re not)
• Male infertility (you’re firing blanks, dude…)
And the best part about these male baldness drugs? These effects continue even after you stop using the drugs! … So let’s see: A guy starts to go bald and thinks his male virility is slowly slipping away, but at least he can still get erections without pills, he thinks to himself. So he reaches for Propecia or Proscar to solve his male baldness problem. But a month later, he might have another tuft of hair on his head, but his manhood has gone soft. And five months down the road, he’s got so much hair that “chicks are digging me!” but in bed he’s softer than a baseball bat made of Jell-O. […]
* GULF OIL SPILL KILLED LIFE DEEP BENEATH SEA LEVEL
The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico damaged life nearly a mile below sea level, and a new report says it may only be the beginning of a severely damaged ecosystem
By Jason Koebler, US News Weekly
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have had a greater impact on the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems than previously thought, including damage to life nearly a mile beneath the gulf’s surface, according to a report released Monday.
Researchers say that coral reef seven miles southwest of the spill and nearly a mile beneath water level showed extensive damage about eight months after the spill. Many researchers believed the spill’s ecological damage would be mainly limited to the surface and shallow water, because oil usually floats on the water’s surface. […]