Articles

Gun deaths in US remain highest among high-income nations

February 5, 2016

Gun deaths are a serious public health issue in the United States and the scope of the problem is often difficult to illustrate. A new study published inThe American Journal of Medicine lays out the risk in concrete terms. When compared to 22 other high-income nations, Americans are ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than their counterparts in the developed world. Specifically, gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S. and, while the overall suicide rate is on par with other high-income nations, the U.S. gun suicide rate is eight times higher. In order to help put America’s relationship with guns into perspective, researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed mortality data gathered by the World Health Organization in 2010. Investigators found that despite having similar rates of nonlethal crimes as other high-income countries, the U.S. has much higher rates of lethal violence, mostly driven by extremely higher rates of gun-related homicides. Read

SCOTT MCLARTY – Political Revolution and the Third-Party Imperative

February 5, 2016

“You’ve had your fun with Bernie. Now it’s time to get serious and support Hillary.” That’s the harangue Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been hearing from mainstream Democratic Party leaders and their apologists in the media. It’s bound to intensify in the wake of the virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses on February 1 and his projected win in the New Hampshire primary contest. When Dem leaders look at Mr. Sanders, they shudder over the prospect of a repeat of George McGovern’s crushing loss to Richard Nixon. Like Mr. McGovern in 1972, Mr. Sanders is running a populist campaign on a (mostly) progressive platform. The Democratic National Committee is run by corporate-money centrists who believe the only way to defeat a billion-dollar-plus GOP campaign is to field a corporate-money centrist with a billion-dollar-plus war chest. Whatever his public appeal, the corporate PACs and One Percenters who write big campaign checks won’t fund a Sanders campaign and he won’t take their money. Pundits like Paul Krugman and politicians within the party are scolding those who threaten to spoil a Clinton coronation. Read

Jan Rocha – Global warming linked to spread of zika virus

February 5, 2016

Climate News Network, 5 February, 2016 – The Zika virus, transmitted by the same mosquito as dengue fever, has spread with alarming speed throughout South and Central America – and scientists in Brazil suspect that global warming is exacerbating the problem. Although the virus, named after the Ugandan forest where it was first identified, usually causes only mild symptoms and often passes undetected, it has been associated with a surge in the number of cases of babies born with microcephaly, which can cause brain damage. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now declared the situation an international public health emergency. Read

Barry Grey – Wall Street donors account for 40 percent of super PAC funds in US election

February 5, 2016

The 2016 US election campaign has exposed deep-seated popular alienation from the entire political establishment and growing anger over the domination of US society and politics by Wall Street. Democratic contender Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, has capitalized on this sentiment by basing his campaign on denunciations of the “billionaire class” and an electoral process dominated by corporate money. New figures on the funding of so-called “super PACs,” the nominally independent “political action committees” that are the main vehicles for corporate bribery of would-be officer-holders, shed light on the degree to which the political system is controlled by big business in general, and Wall Street in particular. Statistics compiled from Federal Election Commission reports by the Center for Responsive Politics, an election watchdog group, and the Wall Street Journal show that cash from major banks and investment, real estate and insurance firms accounts for more than $116 million of the $290 million raised thus far in the current election cycle by super PACs and other independent campaign organizations. That amounts to 40 percent of the total. Read

David Cay Johnston – The Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens our liberty

February 5, 2016

Economic theory holds that removing trade barriers among nations should increase global wealth. But the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that Congress must soon give a straight up-or-down vote threatens our liberties as Americans and is likely to add almost nothing to U.S. economic growth. I have been a longtime critic of the agreement, especially since WikiLeaks obtained a draft of its intellectual property provisions, showed a clear bias in favor of corporations. Since Washington made the text public in October I have come to see some very real benefits in the agreement — but not nearly enough to warrant making it the law of the land. What I see now is a pact that would make government subservient to corporations, posing a real threat to freedom and self-governance. Read

Final Shots: the Clintons and Colombian Death Squads

February 5, 2016

From 1993 to 2001, Alexander Cockburn and I wrote dozens of articles on the political corruption of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their cronies in DC and Arkansas. In many ways, those years represented the golden age of political journalism, with a fresh scandal ripening each month. As Hillary cruises toward the Democratic nomination, if not the White House, it’s time to dig into the Clinton Files and resurrect the stories of sleaze, malfeasance and transgression from that feculent decade. — JSC If ever there was a couple 
who left a sour taste in the mouth by the manner of their parting it was surely 
Bill and Hillary Clinton. From time to time, against our better judgment, we’ve tried to summon some sympathy for them, and time after time they’ve brusquely brought us back to Earth
 with some bleak reminder of their all-round rottenness. Read

Israeli Study: Your Cell Phone Is Killing Your Sperm

February 5, 2016

Over the years, science has thoroughly documented the global decline in male fertility, which has been ongoing since the 1940s. Several possible culprits have been blamed such exposure to pesticides, estrogen-mimicking chemicals, and sedentary lifestyles. However, a team of Israeli scientists has found another possible environmental cause. Researchers at Haifa’s Technion- Israel Institute of Technology and Carmel Medical Center, conducted a study involving 106 men who were given a semen analysis. They have found that men who wear their cell phones in their pants pockets, have significantly higher rates of abnormal sperm. 47% of men who stored their cell phones in their pants had abnormal sperm, compared to just 11% for the average male. Read

Attacks on Planned Parenthood Are Devastating Women’s Choice, New Study Confirms

February 5, 2016

A new study confirms that politically-motivated attacks on Planned Parenthood are hurting low-income women, who are losing out on access to birth control as clinics are increasingly forced to reduce their shutter their doors. Texas, where the conservative legislature has led a campaign to defund the public health organization, has seen “adverse changes in the provision of contraception” in the state, according to a new study publishedWednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the two years since the state cut off public funding for the organization, areas with a Planned Parenthood saw a drop by more than 30 percent in provisions of the most effective reversible methods of contraception—injections, implants, and intrauterine devices (IUDs)—while Medicaid-paid births jumped by 27 percent, researchers with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) at the University of Texas at Austin found. Read

Sanders Vows To Kill TPP If Elected. Will Clinton?

February 5, 2016

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free-trade” agreement was signed in New Zealand by representatives of the 12 participating countries, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strongly voiced his opposition and committed to doing what he can to kill the deal if he is elected president. Rival Hillary Clinton has also stated opposition to the TPP, but will she also vow to kill it if elected? Sanders Vows To Kill TPP Read

Loss of wild flowers matches pollinator decline

February 5, 2016

The first Britain-wide assessment of the value of wild flowers as food for pollinators shows that decreasing resources mirror the decline of pollinating insects. The study, by researchers at the University of Leeds and University of Bristol supported by theCentre for Ecology and Hydrology and Fera Science Ltd, combines vegetation surveys taken over the last 80 years with modern-day measurements of nectar to provide the most comprehensive assessment ever published. An article published in the journal Nature today provides new evidence to support the link between plant and pollinator decline. Read
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