A still from the video "Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts" (Credit: YouTube/The Center for Medical Progress) It’s a tale as old as time. Conservatives find themselves backed into a political corner, usually right before a contentious election season. In need of something to mobilize their anti-choice base, they launch an attack on reproductive health through another attempt to shut down the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The collateral damage: time, energy and resources spent responding to the attack, instead of focusing on the crisis of reproductive health care access in America.
It was just before the 2012 election that conservative Republicans made their last previous attempt at passing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Now again, we can anticipate that legislation will be introduced in Congress to prevent any federal funds going to the country’s biggest provider of reproductive health care.
The old playbook is out again. Recently an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress, representing itself as a medical research firm, released secretly recorded, and heavily edited, videos of Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donation, a service Planned Parenthood offers to its patients. Should they choose, someone who gets an abortion at Planned Parenthood can make the fetal tissue available for medical research purposes. Planned Parenthood denies any profit or wrongdoing.
On Tuesday, a court issued a temporary restraining order preventing The Center for Medical Progress from releasing videos featuring leaders of a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers. Despite this, the attacks continue. The websites of Planned Parenthood, The National Network of Abortion Funds and the Abortion Care Network were hacked and shut down. A separate anti-abortion group, calling themselves “E,” took credit for hacking the nonprofits databases and gaining access to employee names and emails.
Though we all made this argument the last time Planned Parenthood was under attack, it bears repeating: Due to the Hyde Amendment, no federal funding can pay for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest and life endangerment. This, of course, includes any funding Planned Parenthood gets for contraception, cervical cancer screenings, and well-woman exams. Nonetheless, demonstrating no commitment to the facts, Texas Sen. John Cornyn falsely cited the Hyde Amendment as justification for passing an anti-abortion bill now under consideration in Senate, saying: “This legislation will bring Planned Parenthood in line with something that’s been the law since 1976.”
Instead of once again making the same arguments, playing into the conservative plan to focus on Planned Parenthood and change the conversation, this time let’s focus on a few reproductive health issues that ought to be in the news but aren’t:
2. Safety for women and children in immigration detention centers. This week a federal judge ruled that the detention of migrant children and their mothers is in breach of the law, and that the families should be released as soon as possible. Judge Dolly Gee issued a ruling, calling the conditions inside these detention centers “deplorable” and determined that Obama administration’s detention of children and their mothers is illegal and unjust. If those who assert their commitment to innocent lives, in fact cared about innocent lives, they would be picketing these detention centers where women and children are being held without being charged with a crime, subject to the horrific conditions of inadequate food, medicine and sanitation.
3. The horribly unjust and unconscionable Hyde Amendment, which prevents many low-income people from getting access to abortion coverage through health care, just because they are poor. May it’s overturn come soon and swiftly. While some are taking comfort in the fact that the Hyde Amendment is the law of the land, those of us that care about equality and economic justice should be fighting tooth and nail to overturn it. In fact, there’s new legislation, called the EACH Woman Act, that would do just that. We would do well to respond to these attacks against reproductive freedom by passing it.
Those of us, and there are many, who believe that these attacks against Planned Parenthood are disingenuous and troubling ought to be sure not to take our eyes off our goals, and off these important stories. We must refuse to get pulled into the smoke and mirrors show that anti-choice activists are using to distract us: many lives depend on it.
Eesha Pandit is a writer and activist based in Houston, TX. You can follow her on twitter at @EeshaP, and find out more about her work at eeshapandit.com.
(NaturalNews) Have the U.S. government and American researchers been toying with the notion of controlling, changing or otherwise adapting the weather? According to this comprehensive and exhaustive list of patents, the answer is yes.
In fact, researchers have spent the past century working to develop climate and weather control technologies. But a 1999 study by the U.S. Air Force nailed it: Within three decades, the report's authors concluded, the United States military should have perfected methods to control weather.
As reported at the time by WorldNetDaily, the Air Force study titled, "Weather as A Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather In 2025," which was commissioned by then-Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Ryan and first presented in 1996, authors predicted that the technology was within reach.
As noted by WND:
Military planners have often bemoaned the fact that during critical operations weather has been a mitigating factor. Though the U.S. military is generally considered superior to the forces of other nations and can wage war in most kinds of weather, Air Force operations traditionally have suffered the most from inclement weather like rain, fog, and other low-visibility conditions. Click here to search GoodGopher.com for more information about geoengineering.
Weather control as a weapon
The Air Force is the branch of service tasked with most of the military's satellite and space surveillance; weather conditions can degrade the ability of sensitive surveillance equipment like infrared technology and imagery programs. As such, the Air Force has long sought to defeat natural phenomena because planners believe that without weather-modification capability, critical combat missions in the future would be hampered, to the detriment of U.S. forces.
"Achieving such a highly accurate and reasonably precise weather-modification capability in the next 30 years will require overcoming some challenging but not insurmountable technological and legal hurdles," the report said.
The authors added that altering weather patterns would eventually become an "integral part of U.S. national security policy with both domestic and international applications."
"Society will have to provide the resources and legal basis for a mature capability to develop," they wrote, signaling that the Air Force believes public reluctance and likely legal battles would be hurdles to the development and deployment of a global weather-modification system.
Today, one of the most widely pursued weather modification techniques is called cloud seeding, using in an attempt to cause rain or snow, generally to boost an area's moisture content.
"Weather modification, commonly known as cloud seeding, is the application of scientific technology that can enhance a cloud's ability to produce precipitation," says the web site Weather Modification, Inc., which says the company is able to provide aerial or ground-based cloud seeding.
The company's current projects listing includes federal and state governments, as well as academic institutes and private corporations (interestingly, the company's client list doesnot include the state of California, which is currently experiencing a historic drought).
Then there is HAARP, one of the better-known weather modification projects. Officially called the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, its aim is not simply weather modification but also electromagnetic warfare, according to Canada-based Center for Research on Globalization.
"It isn't just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. The European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks. Despite those concerns, officials at HAARP insist the project is nothing more sinister than a radio science research facility," said a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, cited by Global Research.
HAARP is a U.S. military program; researchers at the Global Research center believe the technology is part of the Defense Department's "Joint Vision 2020," which seeks to achieve "full spectrum dominance" of battle spaces.
A history of covert military weather modification programs
Weather modification for military defense is not a new idea; in fact, the U.S. military attempted to create weather obstructions during the Vietnam War by dropping silver iodide particles in the clouds during the infamous Operation Popeye. Altheadlines.com describes the operation: Between 1967 and 1972, the US air force carried out "Operation Popeye", the first use of weather as an instrument of war. Almost 3,000 flights were sent into the skies above the Ho Chi Minh Trail, where planes seeded clouds with silver iodide particles, causing storms and extendingthe monsoon season. "Popeye" turned the strategic pass into a bog -- and appalled the international community. In 1977, the Enmod (Environmental Modification Convention) treaty outlawed weather warfare.
According to a 2000 report by the American Forces Press Service:
Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.
While full-spectrum dominance is the goal, the way to get there is to "invest in and develop new military capabilities." The four capabilities at the heart of full-spectrum dominance are dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics and full-dimensional protection.
Read the full Center for Research on Globalization's HAARP report here.
(ANTIMEDIA) Halliburton, the transnational oil field services company formerly run by former Vice President and accused war criminal Dick Cheney, is under public scrutiny again after it was revealed its former subsidiary is suing Iraq War veterans for $850,000.
In 2012, a federal court in Portland, Oregon, awarded $85 Million in reimbursements to twelve Oregon National Guardsmen who had been exposed to and fell ill from the cancer-causing toxin sodium dichromate at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in Iraq. One veteran described his current health situation, saying that his children “saw me go from being such a big, strong soldier to just a crumpled down man dying of cancer.”
The Qarmat Ali water treatment plant was operated by KBR (a subsidiary of Halliburton at the time). The 9th Circuit Court threw out the2012 judgement on appeal, announcing the veterans must sue the company in Texas, the state where KBR’s headquarters is located.
The case against KBR is being filed again in Houston, but KBR is now attempting to sue the veterans for $850,000 in legal fees from the first case—a thinly veiled attempt to punish the veterans for seeking justice for their severe mistreatment.
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has expressed concern over the latest developments in this case. In a letter addressed to the Department of Defense, he said, “[W]e are concerned about the possibility of the DoD — and ultimately the American taxpayer — footing the bill for this seemingly endless and expensive litigation. In light of recent developments, and the potential for taxpayer dollars to enable the bankrupting of war veterans, we urge you to take control of this litigation and reach and equitable settlement.”
According to Military.com, “[T]he company (KBR) has argued in court that it can’t be held liable for wartime decisions made by the U.S. military, and that it was essentially following orders given by the government when it created the burn pits.”
Hundreds of other veterans have launched similar lawsuits against Halliburton, KBR, and several other military contractors in 42 states for negligence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One veteran, David Montoya, who is suing both Halliburton and KBR after he fell ill to cancer, summed up this situation best:
“You just kind of feel betrayed by corporate America, you know? Regardless of your beliefs on the war, when it comes down to corporate America profiting so much and the amount of money they make, they can take the time and right steps to ensure the safety of the service member.”
Senate panel passes bill lifting crude oil export ban
BY KEVIN FREKING, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Energy legislation crafted by Alaska U.S. Sen.
Lisa Murkowski and Washington U.S.
Sen. Maria Cantwell passed out of the committee
Murkowski chairs on July 30. The bill would
lift the crude oil export ban, and includes
revenue sharing for Alaska from Outer Continental
Shelf oil and gas production.
AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel approved energy legislation Thursday that would lift the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports and open more areas of the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas exploration.
Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, chairman of the panel, championed the bill, which passed by a party-line vote of 12-10. She said lifting the ban would turn the U.S. into an energy superpower.
Democrat Maria Cantwell of Washington said after the vote that she has questions about what lifting the ban would mean for gasoline prices in her state, which she said are among the highest in the nation.
The committee also passed a comprehensive energy bill, but with bipartisan support.
The legislation includes measures designed to make energy cheaper, such as streamlining the permitting process for some hydroelectric and geothermal companies, and sets up a grant program that will fund apprenticeship programs for people seeking to work in the energy sector.
It also would make the Energy Department the agency responsible for coordinating the response if the energy grid is hacked.
Lawmakers saved many of the more contentious amendments for debate on the Senate floor. Cantwell described Thursday's votes as an important first step.
"We need to remind people of the good in the broader picture," Murkowski said.
The legislation to end the oil export ban faces a tougher path. No Democrats on the committee voted for the bill, which has been criticized by environmental groups.
The group Oceana called it "a massive give-away to Big Oil and a slap in the face to coastal communities that have vocally opposed offshore drilling."
A trade group representing the oil and gas industry said it's ironic that the U.S. would strike a deal to allow Iranian crude onto the global market while refusing to give the same opportunity to American producers.
"Together, these two bills include vital components of any truly comprehensive energy strategy," said Louis Finkel, the executive vice president at the American Petroleum Institute. "We urge the House and Senate to quickly send this important legislation to the president's desk."
OCS revenue sharing approved
The legislation approved by the committee also includes revenue sharing from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas production for states and coastal communities.
Murkowski’s legislation would provide for revenue sharing in the Alaska OCS region for the state and coastal communities.
Alaska currently receives 27 percent of revenues from oil and gas leasing and production in the 8(g) zone, the area between three and six miles from shore, but does not receive revenue sharing beyond the six-mile limit.
Murkowski’s bill would provide additional long-term benefits to Alaskans by directing 12.5 percent of the revenues from offshore development to a newly established Tribal Resilience Program.
“In the near term, providing energy and revenues to Alaskans will require us to increase access in the areas where we already receive revenue sharing, most notably within the six-mile limit,” Murkowski said. “But in the longer term, my legislation will ensure that the State of Alaska and coastal communities supporting development will receive a substantial share of the revenues from production to compensate for the impacts of development. My bill will also provide a source of funds for tribes to build resilient communities by investing in energy systems and critical infrastructure.