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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 12:46 PM
Number of posts: 39,552

Journal Archives

John Conyers: Let Americans know what's in their food

This week, the House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that would take unprecedented steps to deny us all the right to know basic information about what we eat.

The Orwellianly-titled "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act," HR 1599, would bar the Food and Drug Administration from introducing mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods and ban states from doing the same -- even if voters demand such labeling through a ballot measure. The bill would also block many state and local efforts to protect farmers and the public from concerns including seed and pesticide drift and would forbid states from making it illegal for companies to label GMO products as "natural," as Connecticut has done.

The bill is a serious attack on transparency and presents a dubious one-size-fits-all approach to federal policy making. Most importantly, it presents a potentially serious threat to our long-term health.

The fact that Congress is even considering a proposal to deny Americans basic information about their food speaks to overwhelming power of these corporate lobbyists over the public interest.

more at link

Obama Scolds Major Garrett For 'Nonsense' Question "That's nonsense(video)

"That's nonsense. And you should know better."

President Barack Obama publicly scolded CBS News' Major Garrett during a gathering of the press corps at the White House on Wednesday, chastising the reporter for asking if the president is "content" to celebrate the Iran nuclear deal while four American hostages remain in Iran.

"That's nonsense. And you should know better," Obama replied.

Obama answered questions about the Iran nuclear deal during the gathering, saying it's "our best means of assuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon."

“The bottom line is this. This nuclear deal meets the national security interests of the United States and our allies," Obama said. "It prevents the most serious threat of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon… that’s why this deal makes our country safer and secure.”

“I’ve got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions,” Obama said, before admonishing the reporter.

“The notion that I’m content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails, Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better,” the president said.

“My question did not suggest that he was content with the captivity of those four Americans,” Garrett said. “My question was about the contentment, or the satisfaction, or the realization that it was necessary within the context of this deal to leave them unaccounted for. That was the essence of the question.”

“Clearly it struck a nerve,” he added. “That was my intention.”


Birth Control Coverage Guaranteed for All — Despite Religious Exemptions

Source: Yahoo

The Obama administration on Friday issued a workaround to last year’s Hobby Lobby ruling which gave companies religious exemptions on coverage of certain forms of birth control.

A new rule issued by the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday affirmed that, even given the religious exemptions provided by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burrell v Hobby Lobby last year, all women will still be able to get coverage for all forms of birth control through the Affordable Care Act.

The rule creates an accommodation, which permits companies to opt out of providing coverage but the insurance carrier still must provide it — which ensures that women will have access to no-cost birth control, no matter where they work.

For a company to receive a religious exemption from providing coverage for the methods of birth control outlined in last year’s Hobby Lobby case — that is, any form of birth control that prevents implantation such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the emergency morning-after pill, the new standard will be that it must be a for-profit company not publicly traded with 50 percent ownership by five or fewer individuals, with members of a nuclear family all counting as one individual. Additionally, the company must produce a formal corporate statement that expresses their religious beliefs.

White House Finds Way Around Hobby Lobby Birth Control Decision
Under the new rule, a closely held for-profit company that objects to covering contraception in its health plan can write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services stating its objection. HHS will then notify a third-party insurer of the company's objection, and the insurer will provide birth control coverage to the company's female employees at no additional cost to the company.

“Women across the country should have access to preventive services, including contraception,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “At the same time, we recognize the deeply held views on these issues, and we are committed to securing women’s access to important preventive services at no additional cost under the Affordable Care Act, while respecting religious beliefs.”


Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/health/breaking-birth-control-coverage-guaranteed-for-123731031997.html

Administration issues final rules on coverage of certain recommended preventive services without cost sharing

Final rules secure women’s access to contraceptive services while respecting religious beliefs

Today, the Administration took important steps to make sure women have access to recommended preventive services, including contraceptive services, at no additional cost as required by the Affordable Care Act. The first action announced today maintains the existing accommodation for eligible religious nonprofits, but also finalizes an alternative pathway for those organizations to provide notice of their objection to covering contraceptive services. A second action announced today provides certain closely held for-profit entities the same accommodations. Today’s rules also finalize interim final rules on preventive services coverage generally, with limited changes.

“Women across the country should have access to preventive services, including contraception,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell. “At the same time, we recognize the deeply held views on these issues, and we are committed to securing women’s access to important preventive services at no additional cost under the Affordable Care Act, while respecting religious beliefs.”

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury, finalized interim final rules that establish an alternative way for eligible organizations that have a religious objection to covering contraceptive services to seek an accommodation from contracting, providing, paying, or referring for such services. These rules allow these eligible organizations to notify HHS in writing of their religious objection to providing contraception coverage, as an alternative to filling out the form provided by the Department of Labor to provide to their issuer or third-party administrator. HHS and the Department of Labor will then notify insurers and third party administrators of the organization’s objection so that enrollees in plans of such organizations receive separate payments for contraceptive services, with no additional cost to the enrollee or organization, and no involvement by the organization.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, the Departments are also issuing final rules that provide the above accommodations to closely held for-profit entities. Relying on a definition used in federal tax law, the final rules define a “closely held for-profit entity” as an entity that is not publicly traded and that has an ownership structure under which more than 50 percent of the organization’s ownership interest is owned by five or fewer individuals, or an entity with a substantially similar ownership structure. For purposes of this definition, all of the ownership interests held by members of a family are treated as being owned by a single individual. Based on available information, the Departments believe that this definition includes all of the for-profit companies that have challenged the contraceptive-coverage requirement on religious grounds.

The rules finalize standards concerning documentation and disclosure of a closely held for-profit entity’s decision not to provide coverage for contraceptive services.

Today’s rules also finalize interim final rules on the coverage of preventive services generally, with limited changes. They reflect public feedback received in response to the interim final rules issued in 2010 and proposed and interim final rules issued in August 2014.


Rep. Barbara Lee: Time to end the Hyde Amendment

The war on women isn’t over.

Nearly every day, there is a new unconscionable attack designed to restrict access to abortion. The oldest of these attacks is the Hyde Amendment, which Congress adds each year to strip women of their fundamental right to access all of their health care options. The amendment prevents women who receive their health insurance through the federal government from receiving abortion coverage.

It is clear that these attacks have one goal: preventing women, especially low-income women and women of color, from making the best health care decision for themselves and their families. This needs to stop.

Today, we start pushing back. Today, we make it clear that every woman has a right to make her own health care decisions, especially with such an important decision as whether to become a parent.


Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and Diana DeGette, introduce EACH WOMAN ACT

Just introduced new bill to ensure poor women can access their constitutional rights to reproductive care


Politicians should NEVER be allowed to interfere in a woman’s personal health decisions or restrict her choices because of income

No matter how a woman is insured she should have the right to make her own decisions

EACH woman, every option
With the just-introduced but long overdue EACH Woman Act – sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) -- every woman will be allowed to make the choices in her pregnancy that are best for her and her family, without interference from lawmakers. This policy is supported by a majority in our country. For the AAPI community, this is a no-brainer— the majority of AAPIs believe a woman’s decision to get an abortion is a private matter, not one for political interference. Under the EACH Woman Act, insurance coverage of abortion will no longer be a political pawn in Congressional floor debates, or subject to the moral doctrines of anti-choice legislators.


Life’s most personal decisions – such as when to become a parent – should be just that. But far too often politicians interfere in this most personal decision by banning insurance coverage for abortion care.

That’s why I introduced the EACH Woman Act. It ensures health coverage of abortion for every woman regardless of what she earns or where she lives. Essentially, this bill would repeal Hyde Amendment provisions that prevent a woman from accessing all of her health care options just because she is poor.


Martin Sheen to Host and Narrate Siegelman Film

We are happy to announce that Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The West Wing) is now attached to the Killing Atticus Finch project as narrator and host.

“We are honored to have such a venerated actor and activist as a key part of both our fundraising efforts and film production. Mr. Sheen has one of the most recognizable voices in the world, and will add a powerful ring of truth to the travesty of justice involved in Gov. Siegelman’s case,” said Steve Wimberly, the film’s director.

With Mr. Sheen’s involvement, the film project,Killing Atticus Finch, is building momentum. The film's producers, Academy Award winner, Maria Forio, and accomplished actor and activist, Mimi Kennedy, hope to raise enough money in the coming weeks to go directly into production.

To see our updated trailer with Martin Sheen go to Killing Atticus Finch - WATCH THE TRAILER.


WEEKLY ADDRESS: The Affordable Care Act is Here to Stay

Source: White House

In this week's address, the President called the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act a victory for hardworking Americans across the country, whose lives are more secure because of this law. The Affordable Care Act is working, and it is here to stay. So far more than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage. Nearly one in three Americans who was uninsured a few years ago is insured today. The uninsured rate in America is the lowest since we began to keep such records. With this case behind us, the President reaffirmed his commitment to getting more people covered and making health care in America even better and more affordable.

Read more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/06/27/weekly-address-affordable-care-act-here-stay

Five years ago, we finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for all. And this week, after more than fifty votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law; after a Presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law; after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, we can now say this for certain: the Affordable Care Act still stands, it is working, and it is here to stay.

On Thursday, when the Court upheld a critical part of the Affordable Care Act, it was a victory for hardworking Americans all across this country whose lives are more secure because of this law. This law means that if you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26. If you’re a senior, or an American with a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions. You can’t be charged more just because you’re a woman. And you can’t be discriminated against just for having a pre-existing condition.

This law is working exactly as it’s supposed to – and in some ways, better than we expected it to. So far more than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage. Nearly one in three Americans who was uninsured a few years ago is insured today. The uninsured rate in America is the lowest since we began to keep such records.

The law has helped hold the price of health care to its slowest growth in 50 years. If your family gets insurance through the workplace, not through the Affordable Care Act, you’re paying about $1,800 less per year on average than you would be if trends before this law had continued – which is good for workers and it's good for the economy.

The point is, this is not some abstract political debate. For all the misinformation campaigns, and doomsday predictions; for all the talk of death panels and job destruction; for all the repeal attempts – this law is helping tens of millions of Americans. This isn’t just about Obamacare. This is health care in America.

With this case behind us, we’re going to keep working to make health care in America even better and more affordable, and to get more people covered. But it is time to stop refighting battles that have been settled again and again. It’s time to move on.

Because as Americans, we don’t go backwards, we move forwards. We take care of each other. We root for one another’s success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation coming behind us. With this behind us, let’s come together and keep building something better right now.

This couple waited to get married over 50 years and today they can make their love official.


Adorable couple together for 55 years marry as Texas AG blasts Supreme Court ruling


WaPo: Bernie Sanders packs thousands into a Denver gymnasium

Bernie Sanders, who’s emerged as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, drew an estimated 4,500 people to the University of Denver on Saturday night for what appeared to be one of the largest political rallies of the 2016 cycle.

Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist senator from Vermont, delivered a fiery speech in a packed university gymnasium, where he decried the greed of the billionaire class, saying it is “destroying this nation.” Besides the more than 3,000 people in the gym, others listened in an adjacent atrium, where speakers were set up, and on a nearby lacrosse field, where the speech was streamed on the scoreboard, according to those on the scene.

The extraordinary turnout was the latest evidence that Sanders, 73, has tapped into the economic anxiety of the Democratic electorate. In recent weeks, his crowds have swelled, and his poll numbers have been on the rise, particularly in New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary state.

Sanders touched on familiar themes during his speech, which was streamed live on social media sites Saturday night. He called the nation’s current minimum wage of $7.25 “a starvation wage.” He lamented that the United States does not guarantee medical leave and vacation time. He derided a trade deal being pushed by President Obama, and he urged that more be done to combat climate change.


Overflow crowd--biggest for any candidate yet this year--greets @BernieSanders in Denver. Remind me why he can't win?

Some pics from Denver: John Frank, The official crowd est. for Sanders event: 4,800 to 5,000

Thanks to the more than 5,500 Coloradans who came out to our Denver town hall last night. http://bernie.to/denver-turnout


massive, overflow crowds to support Bernie Sanders #2016 at town hall in denver, co tonight.

overflow crowd outside!!!

(not sure if this is Denver too)

8,000 RSVP’d online to see @BernieSanders in Denver. Look at this pic from @People4Bernie - and an overflow crowd

This is the view from @BernieSanders' #Denver stage. LOOK AT THAT CROWD!! No joke. There are THOUSANDS. #FeeltheBern


BernieSanders event over 5000 in packed house in Denver listening to Neil Young's Old Man Take A Look At My Soul!!!


The official crowd est. for Sanders event: 4,800 to 5,000 -- the largest since his May campaign kickoff.
John Frank
Denverpost political reporter and craft beer writer.
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