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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,404

Journal Archives

Alberta reaches tentative deal on cystic fibrosis drug on behalf of provinces

TVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, May 31, 2014 11:39AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 31, 2014 6:55PM EDT

A 12-year-old Ontario girl who relies on an expensive cystic fibrosis drug may soon be able to get the drug at no cost, after Alberta's health minister successfully negotiated a tentative deal that will allow the provinces to cover the cost of the medication on their provincial drug plans.

Madi Vanstone and her family had lobbied the Ontario government to help cover the cost of Kalydeco, a life-saving drug that costs about $350,000 a year.

Alberta had been leading the talks with the drug's maker, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., on behalf of all of the provinces. Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne said he was seeking to negotiate a price so that the provinces could afford to cover the drug on their health plans.

Madi’s family said Saturday they received a phone call from Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews office to inform them of the deal.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/alberta-reaches-tentative-deal-on-cystic-fibrosis-drug-on-behalf-of-provinces-1.1846955#ixzz33VP1MgOR

Doctors reporting first success using immune therapy against cervical cancer

Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
Published Monday, June 2, 2014 7:54AM EDT

This photomicrograph shows cancerous cells detected by a Pap test, named after Georgios Papanicolaou, the Greek doctor who invented the test.

CHICAGO -- Two years ago, Arrica Wallace was riddled with tumors from widely spread cervical cancer that the strongest chemotherapy and radiation could not beat back. Today, the Kansas mother shows no signs of the disease, and it was her own immune system that made it go away.

The experimental approach that helped her is one of the newest frontiers in the rapidly advancing field of cancer immunotherapy, which boosts the body's natural ways of attacking tumors.

At a conference in Chicago on Monday, doctors also reported extending gains recently made with immune therapies against leukemia and the skin cancer melanoma to bladder, lung and other tumour types.

The cervical cancer experiment was the first time an immune therapy has worked so dramatically against a cancer caused by a virus -- HPV. In a pilot study by the National Cancer Institute, the tumors of two out of nine women completely disappeared and those women remain cancer-free more than a year later. That's far better than any other treatment has achieved in such cases.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/doctors-reporting-first-success-using-immune-therapy-against-cervical-cancer-1.1848620#ixzz33VO3sQqX

The Rise of Podemos, Spain's “We Can” Citizen Party

Translation posted 1 June 2014 16:41 GMT

"For Spain, the big news in the European elections is the triumphant emergence onto the political scene of “Podemos” (We Can) (@ahorapodemos), a political entity created four months ago, led by the charismatic Pablo Iglesias, professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. With an electoral programme that brings together the main demands made by the different social movements that arose during the wave of opposition to austerity policies, Pablo Iglesias has managed to position himself as the fourth largest political power in the country."

"The results of the European elections, held on the 25th of May 2014, have drawn a political map marked by abstentionism and the rise of right-wing nationalist parties on the old continent. In countries like France with the Front National (FN) as winner, the Netherlands where the anti-Muslim party is gaining relevance, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Hungary, the rise of extremists paints a desolate landscape.

In Spain, although the Partido Popular (People's Party) returned to the lead in the European election results, and the PSOE, the social democrat group, is still the country's second largest party, an unprecedented crisis of the two-party system is emerging. For the first time in Spain's democratic history, the two main parties only managed to win half of the votes between them. This is especially important in the face of the general elections that will be held next year on the Iberian Peninsula."

"The objective is to dismantle the austerity measures put in place by the different governments that have been in power. To strengthen and increase citizens’ rights to political participation, education, housing, health and the fight against corruption are the core elements of the party's programme. Citizens have expressed their support for these measures at the ballet box, on the streets and on the internet."

Full article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/06/01/the-rise-of-podemos-in-spain-the-citizens-party/

Venezuela: Questions about Democracy and a Free Press

By James D. Cockcroft

Source: Mr Zine

June 1, 2014

First question: Why?

If Venezuela’s government is a dictatorship, why have there been 18 elections in 15 years under the late president Hugo Chávez Frías (d. 2013) and his democratically elected successor Nicolás Maduro? Why is it that according to many international observers Venezuela’s democratic elections are, in the words of ex-president Jimmy Carter, “the best in the world”?

If the government violates constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press, then why does it permit the 80% of the mass media controlled by wealthy capitalists to call for its violent overthrow? Why does it allow the same media to use photographs from other countries of police clubbing demonstrators in order to allege a “repression of peaceful protests” in Venezuela?

Why does the Maduro administration put up with the media’s duplicitous claim that the protests of the mid-February to early May period of 2014 are carried out by a majority of Venezuela’s students when only a tiny minority of the nation’s 2.6 million university students take part — their main leaders paid or coached by foreigners from the US Embassy, the US Agency for International Development (AID), and the U.S.-funded nongovernmental organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED)? Why is so little attention paid to the media’s assertions that the demands of this minority of pro-private education Venezuelan students are the same as those of the far larger numbers of non-violent students calling for democracy and free universal public education in Chile, Mexico, or Quebec? Why do the media not report that, in early May 2014, students accounted for only 7% of the 180 persons still under arrest for acts of violence in Venezuela, many of the rest being paramilitaries, snipers (francotiradores), mercenaries, private military contractors, street thugs, and drug traffickers?

Why, above all, do the mass media describe the protests as nationwide, multi-racial, and multi-class, when in fact they take place in only 5% of the municipalities and in largely white, affluent neighborhoods? Why do they never report that Venezuela is not a white nation but a heavily mestizo one with a distinguished African and indigenous heritage? Could that possibly be a reason behind the political opposition’s attacks on the dark-skinned Chávez and Maduro?

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/venezuela-questions-about-democracy-and-a-free-press/

Exposing the Flaws of the U.S. Media's Dangerous Ukraine Propaganda

AlterNet / By Eric Zuesse

The press has taken a near-sighted view of the crisis, spinning in ways that only create a partial picture.

Photo Credit: Mykhaylo Palinchak / Shutterstock

May 30, 2014

The New York Review of Books is a leading intellectual publication in the United States, and it (like all of the major U.S. “news” media) has "reported" on the Ukrainian civil war as having been incited by Russia's Vladimir Putin -- a simple-minded explanation, which also happens to be deeply false. The reality is that the residents of southern Ukraine, the part of Ukraine adjoining Russia, were overwhelmingly opposed to the overthrow of Ukraine's democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, though they are portrayed in NYRB (and other “news” media) as being mere stooges of Russian propaganda for their opposing the coup that overthrew the President for whom they had voted overwhelmingly. (The only thing that America’s “news” media had previously reported about Yanukovych is that he was corrupt; but so were all of his predecessors, and U.S. media ignored this crucial fact. Selective reporting is basic to propaganda, and the U.S. major media are trained masters at it. Without a person’s knowing that Ukraine is by far the most corrupt country in the former Soviet Union, and the one with the worst economic performance of them all, Ukraine’s politics just can’t be understood at all: it has long been an extreme kleptocracy, ruled by psychopathic politicians, for the benefit of psychopathic oligarchs, who have robbed the country blind. That’s the deeper truth -- and it's key to understanding the current situation there.)

So: by digging into an example, the rot in U.S. “news” media will be dissected here, and the truth in Ukraine will be exposed here.

On 28 April 2014, NYRB's reporter Tim Judah headlined from Donetsk in the south, "Ukraine: Hate in Progress." He (falsely) analogized the opponents against that coup as being similar to the separatists in Yugoslavia whose ethnocentrism had produced the atrocities during the civil war that broke up Yugoslavia. Judah wrote:

"Talk to people manning the anti-government barricades and taking part in the demonstrations against Kiev here, ... and one thing in particular is scary. After a day or two you realize that they all say more or less the same thing. ‘We want to be listened to,’ people say. The government in Kiev, which took power after the pro-European revolution there, is a ‘fascist junta’ backed by Europe and the US. It is as though the Russian media—which is widely watched and read here—has somehow embedded these messages into the heads of people and they have lost the ability to think for themselves. ... All that seems to be registering right now is a nationalist and hysterical drumbeat from Russia about the new Nazis of Kiev and their NATO masters. This is ominously reminiscent of what the Serbian media and other bits of the former Yugoslav media did when Yugoslavia collapsed. Then, Serbs were subjected to endless documentaries about Croatia’s wartime fascists, whom they were told were coming back. Now the Russian media says the fascists have returned."

Full article: http://www.alternet.org/world/exposing-flaws-us-medias-dangerous-ukraine-propaganda?page=0%2C1&paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark

WATCH: Daniel Schulman Talks Koch Family History

Fri May 23, 2014 5:32 PM EDT

Mother Jones senior editor Daniel Schulman joined Chris Hayes on MSNBC to discuss his new book, "Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty." We published a scintillating excerpt from the book here and posted a rare Koch family home video from the 1940s depicting the boys fighting with boxing gloves here.

VIDEO. Reading into the Koch family.


Hope in the gloom as left gains in Greece, Spain, Ireland

By Dick Nichols

Source: Links.org

May 31, 2014

The result of the May 25 European parliamentary poll was dominated by the victories of the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) in France (26%, 24 MEPs, Members of the European Parliament) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain (26.8%, 24 MEPs). It has set off a wave of mainstream media angst across the old continent.

The angst is understandable. Five years after the 2009 European elections, the political basis for European Commission austerity policy has been severely weakened and “governance” of the 28-member European Union has become even more fraught.

Moreover, old European spectres have re-emerged, with a surge in support for formations that directly identify as Nazi or fascist—like the Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary and the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Germany. Their victories are a direct result of the economic crisis and the austerity policies of “Brussels”.

From scoring 0.46% and 23,566 votes in the 2009 European Parliament elections, Golden Dawn has risen to 9.38%, with hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/hope-in-the-gloom-as-left-gains-in-greece-spain-ireland/

Bush/Blair Iraq War Plotting to Remain Largely Hidden From Public: UK

Published on Friday, May 30, 2014 by Common Dreams

'Neutered' Iraq War inquiry to censor full content of conversations in lead-up to 2003 invasion

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Critics are charging that a UK inquiry into the country's role in the Iraq War has "neutered" its own investigation by censoring critical conversations between George W. Bush and Tony Blair in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion.

Headed by Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry was convened in 2009 by the UK government and tasked with establishing "what happened" in Iraq and identifying "the lessons that can be learned." The report's released is years behind schedule, in part due to debate over the release of 25 letters and 130 recordings of conversations between Blair and Bush.

The U.S. has heavily pressured the UK government to block the release of these conversations, which the U.S. says are classified. The UK government has also fiercely lobbied against the full release of the documents.

In a letter dated Wednesday (pdf), Chilcot stated that an agreement has been reached with the UK government to release the "gist" of the conversations and only use direct quotes "the minimum necessary to enable the Inquiry to articulate its conclusions." According to Chilcot, "Consideration will be based on the principle that our use of this material should not reflect President Bush's views......"

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/30-3

Maya Angelou, Still She Rises

Published on Thursday, May 29, 2014 by TruthDig.com

by Amy Goodman

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise”

Maya Angelou wrote those words in her poem “Still I Rise.” She died this week at 86 at her home in North Carolina. In remembering Maya Angelou, it is important to recall her commitment to the struggle for equality, not just for herself, or for women, or for African-Americans. She was committed to peace and justice for all.

If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat,” she wrote in the opening pages of her first breathtaking autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which chronicles her childhood to the age of 17. Born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, at the age of 7 or 8, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. He was killed shortly thereafter. As a result of the trauma, she remained virtually silent for five years, speaking only to her brother. She became a single mother at 17, and struggled to support her son as she worked a variety of jobs, eventually gaining success as a calypso singer.

She heard Martin Luther King, Jr. address the Harlem Writers Guild, of which she was a member, and joined with a fellow performer to produce and sing in “Cabaret for Freedom” in Greenwich Village, to raise funds for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. By some accounts it was King, or the legendary activist and organizer Bayard Rustin, who asked her to take on a leadership role with the SCLC, which she accepted, becoming the group’s Northern coordinator.

Maya Angelou became a supporter of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. She met and fell in love with a South African civil-rights activist, and they moved to Cairo with her son. They stayed together for three years, but she stayed on in Africa, moving to Ghana, where she met Malcolm X. The two collaborated on the pivotal political project that Malcolm X was developing, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. She returned to the U.S. to support the effort, but Malcolm X was assassinated shortly after her return. That tragedy, and the 1968 assassination of her friend Martin Luther King Jr., devastated Angelou. It was in 1969 that she was encouraged by the author James Baldwin, among others, to focus on her writing. Thus was born her first of seven autobiographies and the phenomenal career for which Maya Angelou is known around the world. Reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s first inaugural in 1993 catapulted her into the mainstream consciousness.

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/29-10

I will always love this woman.

Illegal Wood and Murdered Activists in the Amazon

Published on Friday, May 30, 2014 by Greenpeace

by Jason Schwartz

Last Saturday (May 24th) marked the third anniversary of the murder of husband and wife activists Ze Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo.

Although a properly managed and inclusive process of timber extraction could be beneficial to both local communities, extractors, and consumers, the global demand for Amazonian wood has produced a culture of lawlessness, impunity, and dysfunction among the timber industry in Brazil. Indigenous and other local forest communities have seen their land seized, their lifestyles destroyed, and their livelihoods stolen. They have also faced constant violence. Since 1996, at least 1000 activists have been murdered in Brazil while facing down the the timber industry’s chainsaws.

Chico Mendes is an icon of the fight for the Amazon and its people. Originally a rubber tapper, he became an outspoken union leader and led the movement to defend the Amazon against the Brazilian military dictatorship’s ‘development by force.’ He was murdered in his home in Xapuri, Acre in 1988.

José Dutra da Costa, or Dezinho, was the president of the Rural Workers Union in the municipality of Rondon, in the state of Pará. He was a key figure in the fight to expose the slavery-like working conditions in the region’s agricultural sector. Dezinho fought for landless families and workers by campaigning against inappropriate private use of public and community lands. He was murdered in his home in November of 2000. The man who pulled the trigger, Wellington de Jesus da Silva, was arrested and condemned to 27 years in solitary confinement. However the farmer who ordered the killing, Décio José Barroso Nunes, was only convicted this year. He received 12 years.

At dawn, on August 25th, 2001, Ademir Federicci, or Dema, was murdered. Dema, a community leader for the Workers Party, spoke out against illegal logging inside indigenous lands. He exposed fraud inside the office Superintendent for Amazon Development. In the early 2000’s, at the time of his murder, he was leading a community movement opposing the construction of the Belo Monte mega-dam. Today, there is a fund created in Dema’s name for forest conservation and social justice projects in the Amazon.

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/30-3
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