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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 10,571

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Meanwhile, Canada's Health Minister advocates lowering their Pharma costs

While we in the United States are caught up in how much our health care is about to be cut and in arguing about votes on bills whether or not to import Canada's marginally lower priced pharmaceuticals, Canada has moved on to seeking how to lower their drug prices to bring them more in line with other countries.

I was flipping channels the other day and caught a small segment of a Canadian program in which their Health Minister was speaking about the need to lower their drug prices.

I searched for more information and found some in this article.


Patented drug prices in Canada are regulated by comparing what we pay to the average price paid by seven other countries. As long as our prices are in line with that average, no action can be taken.

The problem, Philpott said, is the United States is one of those seven countries, which skews the average high because the United States has the highest drug prices in the world.

She wants to remove the United States from that list and replace it with a country like New Zealand, which has some of the lowest drug prices in the world.

"We are going to be introducing some of this work in the coming months," she told the fifth estate.

What's stunning to me is that we are so far behind the curve in the United States on having affordable health care which should include the cost of necessary medication that we have to fight about small measures to allow importing/reimporting drugs from the 2nd most costly nation.

Meanwhile Canada is seeking to bring their costs down in line with other countries that have more comprehensive coverage/care and the debate there is whether they keep their current system and reform it as above or change to adopt a system closer to New Zealand's which provides lower prices for its citizens.

Note that I am not blaming our Representatives for trying to at least mitigate costs by working on legislation to allow us to import from Canada. I'm glad they are trying to effect that small change even as they are not in full agreement on how to accomplish it. I'm just shaking my head at the American exceptionalism that has created this situation in the first place.

"James Comey Cannot Be Trusted With a Trump-Russia Investigation"


This matter requires an unquestionably independent investigation because the outstanding questions go to the heart of our democracy and to the legitimacy of the Trump presidency. They include:

• Did Trump campaign officials – or intermediaries such as Roger Stone – have knowledge of the Russian government’s campaign to hack the email accounts of Democratic party officials and release the information through Wikileaks?

• Did Trump campaign officials, including former chairman Paul Manafort – who once worked for a Putin-backed autocrat in Ukraine – change the party’s platform at the behest of the Russian government?

• What are the extent of Trump’s business dealings in Russia, and is there any truth to the allegations the Russian government is sitting on information with which it plans to blackmail him?

• Did Trump campaign officials such as incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn, a paid contributor to the Kremlin-financed RT television network, participate in the official Russian propaganda campaign to elect Trump that the intelligence community described in its public report?

Russia waging information war against Sweden, study finds

Source: The Guardian

Sweden’s most authoritative foreign policy institute has accused Russia of using fake news, false documents and disinformation as part of a coordinated campaign to influence public opinion and decision-making in the Scandinavian country.

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs said in a comprehensive study that Sweden had been the target of “a wide array of active measures” aimed at “hampering its ability to generate public support in pursuing its policies”.

The study said Russia had used misleading reports on its state-run news website Sputnik, and public interventions by Russian politicians in Swedish domestic affairs, as well as more covert methods.

These included forged documents and fabricated news items that appeared in Swedish media and were subsequently picked up by Sputnik and “other sources of Russian public diplomacy” and broadcast to an international audience, it said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/11/russia-waging-information-war-in-sweden-study-finds

Dutch trains become 100% wind-powered

Source: Agence France-Presse in The Hague

All Dutch trains have become 100% powered by electricity generated by wind energy, the national railway company NS said yesterday.

“Since the first of January, 100% of our trains are running on wind energy,” said NS spokesman, Ton Boon.

Dutch electricity company Eneco won a tender offered by NS two years ago and the two companies signed a 10-year deal setting January 2018 as the date by which all NS trains should run on wind energy.

“So we in fact reached our goal a year earlier than planned,” said Boon, adding that an increase in the number of wind farms across the country and off the coast of The Netherlands had helped NS achieve its aim.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/10/dutch-trains-100-percent-wind-powered-ns

The Committee to Protect Journalists - Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep noted the importance of supporting freedom of the press in her Golden Globes speech and how vital it is for the "principled press to hold power to account."

Here's more information about the CPJ.

As the new presidential administration prepares to take over, CPJ examines the status of press freedom, including the challenges journalists face from surveillance, harassment, limited transparency, the questioning of libel laws, and other factors. Meryl Streep calls for support for CPJ's work to protect journalists holding government accountable.


As Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2017 Golden Globes ceremony on January 8, 2017, she called on the audience and the broader community to join her in supporting CPJ. You can #StandWithStreep and click here to make a donation.

In her speech, Streep said, "Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. ... We need the principled press to hold power to account. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution."

So, Streep continued, "I only ask ... all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we're going to need them going forward, and they'll need us to safeguard the truth."

CPJ was founded 35 years ago by a group of U.S. journalists who realized they could not ignore the plight of colleagues whose reporting put them in peril on a daily basis. To protect journalists globally, the Forbes article said, CPJ documents cases of press freedom violations, publishes reports, conducts high-level advocacy, and provides "individual moral and material support."

German police quash Breitbart story of mob setting fire to Dortmund church

Source: Agence France-Presse in Berlin

German media and politicians have warned against an election-year spike in fake news after the rightwing website Breitbart claimed a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” had set fire to a church in the city of Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.

After the report by the US site was widely shared on social media, the city’s police clarified that no “extraordinary or spectacular” incidents had marred the festivities.

The local newspaper, Ruhr Nachrichten, said elements of its online reporting on New Year’s Eve had been distorted by Breitbart to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda”.

The justice minister of Hesse state, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, said that “the danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own”.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/07/german-police-quash-breitbart-story-of-mob-setting-fire-to-dortmund-church

It's looking more and more like the coalition of Putin and Trump is trying to interfere with German elections and perceptions of Germany in a similar way to what they did here, with a combination of hacking and hate-filled fake news.

Good to see that their lies are being actively countered there.

"Trump victory spurs women to run for office across US: 'Our time is coming' "


VoteRunLead (VRL), an organization that trains future female politicians, normally receives between 30 and 80 applicants for each of its regular webinars.

“In a 48-hour period after the election, we had 1,100 women sign up for our next webinar and we had to close it and start a wait list,” said Erin Vilardi, executive director of VoteRunLead.

“Most women said they woke up on November 9 and realized they could no longer just spectate or click on online petitions, they wanted to know how to run for office, whether it’s the school board, the city council, state or national representation,” she added.

VRL is a non-partisan organization and women signing up are not asked whether they intend to run as Democrats or Republicans. The main theme of the new influx could be summed up as “a rejection of Trump”, Vilardi said. Two-thirds of existing VRL members who state an affiliation are Democrats. Other organizations that specifically aim to put Democratic women in power, such as Emily’s List and Emerge America, are also reporting a dramatic spike in interest from women.

Universal basic income trials being considered in Scotland

Source: The Guardian

Scotland looks set to be the first part of the UK to pilot a basic income for every citizen, as councils in Fife and Glasgow investigate trial schemes in 2017.

“Like a lot of people, I was interested in the idea but never completely convinced,” he said. But working as Labour’s anti-poverty lead on the council, Kerr says that he “kept coming back to the basic income."


Kerr sees the basic income as a way of simplifying the UK’s byzantine welfare system. “But it is also about solidarity: it says that everyone is valued and the government will support you. It changes the relationship between the individual and the state.”

The concept of a universal basic income revolves around the idea of offering every individual, regardless of existing welfare benefits or earned income, a non-conditional flat-rate payment, with any income earned above that taxed progressively. The intention is to provide a basic economic platform on which people can build their lives, whether they choose to earn, learn, care or set up a business.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/01/universal-basic-income-trials-being-considered-in-scotland

Starting to look like an idea whose time has arrived.

On the topic of the movement bringing forth leadership.

I'd like to point out a bright spot that fits here - the election of Pramila Jayapal to McDermott's Washington State House seat.

She comes from a grass roots and community organizing background and I think she will be one to watch and support in 2017.

During the dark years of Bush Jr., she organized and advocated for immigrant rights. She pulled people together to advocate for rights during that challenging and dark time of edicts like the Patriot Act and the push into the Iraq war.

She didn't give up, but instead organized and built an organization that continues that fight.


Pramila Jayapal, OneAmerica Founder and Executive Director, has announced she will step down from leading OneAmerica in the spring of 2012.

Ten years ago, in the wake of 9/11, Pramila gathered some concerned community members to address the backlash against immigrant communities of color. A decade later, OneAmerica has grown into the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington State and a leading force for immigrant rights nationally.

OneAmerica board and staff thank Pramila for providing her visionary leadership and unyielding commitment to social justice in helping create a powerful, sustainable, and ever-growing organization that impacts so many residents across the state.

Please see statements below from Pramila and OneAmerica Board President Luis Fraga on her announcement. For more on Pramila's incredible leadership and OneAmerica's transition plan and our search for a new Executive Director, see below.

Now we in Washington State are sending her to DC and I look forward to seeing the work she can do with allies in Congress.

David Bowie and Bing Crosby

Still poignant after all these years.

Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth

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