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How Mike Pence Enshrined Life-Threatening Catholic Hospital Religious Practices Into Indiana Law

According to reporting by Rewire.News, catholic hospitals across the country are imposing dangerous and life-threatening mandates on their patients, including requiring fetal burial after a miscarriage and restricting access to contraception, abortion, fertility treatments and gender-affirming care for transgender patients. And now, right-wing politicians like Vice President Mike Pence are pushing to enshrine these dangerous practices into law. For more, we speak with Rewire investigative journalist Amy Littlefield.

Please check back later for full transcript.

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Eight Years After BP Oil Spill, Sick Cleanup Workers Still Waiting for Day in Court

Rally in front of the Federal Court in New Orleans on April 20, 2018. (Photo: Julie Dermansky)

Thousands of workers BP hired to clean up the spill that polluted the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 have claimed exposure to oil and the dispersant has made them sick and still have not had their day in court. Cleanup workers and their supporters are calling for federal judge Carl Barbier to reverse his decision to delay hearing remaining cases of cleanup workers indefinitely. On April 20th, they delivered a petition with 25,000 signatures seeking justice.

Rally in front of the Federal Court in New Orleans on April 20, 2018. (Photo: Julie Dermansky)

On the eighth anniversary of the BP oil spill, Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré stood in front of the New Orleans Federal Court House and called “bullshit” on the court’s handling of claims made by those who participated in the cleanup efforts.

Thousands of workers BP hired to clean up the spill that polluted the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 have claimed exposure to oil and the dispersant has made them sick and still have not had their day in court. “It’s a crying damn shame we’ve allowed this in America,” Honoré said.

“Guess who don’t have their life back? The people who did the cleanup, the people who have to go home and get public assistance to stay alive, and it’s had an impact on their family,” Honoré said on April 20 at a rally aimed at seeking justice for cleanup workers.

Honoré joined cleanup workers and their supporters calling for federal judge Carl Barbier to reverse his decision to delay hearing remaining cases of cleanup workers …read more

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As Big Pharma Goes on Lobbying Blitz, US Waits for Trump to Tackle Drug Pricing

(Photo: DNY59 / Getty Images)

President Trump postponed a speech on bringing down prescription drug prices this week after promising to roll out a set of sweeping policy proposals with help from his health czar, Alex Azar. Trump has talked tough about reining in drug prices, but critics point out that Azar is a former pharmaceutical executive and real price controls would require policy changes the industry doesn’t like.

(Photo: DNY59 / Getty Images)

President Trump postponed a speech on drug pricing this week, leaving observers to wonder whether the White House is rethinking its long-awaited plan to fulfill a major campaign promise and bring down the price of prescription drugs.

During his State of the Union address in January, Trump said that “fixing the injustice” of high drug prices was one of his administration’s top priorities. On March 19, Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said they would roll out a list of policy proposals for decreasing drug prices “in about a month” while speaking at an event in New Hampshire. That was more than four weeks ago.

Meanwhile, first-quarter lobbying spending by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the trade group for the pharmaceutical industry, has increased for the second year in a row, from $8 million last year to almost $10 million in 2018, according to federal lobbying disclosures. Last year, PhRMA’s first-quarter spending spiked by 34 percent in the wake of Trump’s election.

As Truthout has reported, the cost of pharmaceuticals is expected be one of the top issues shaping the midterm elections. …read more

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Defending Nuclear Pact, Iran's Rouhani Says Trump Has “No Clue” About International Treaties or Law

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani gives a speech in the city of Tabriz in the northwestern East-Azerbaijan province on April 25, 2018. (Photo: Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images)

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani gives a speech in the city of Tabriz in the northwestern East-Azerbaijan province on April 25, 2018. (Photo: Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images)

“The nuclear deal is the nuclear deal,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in response to comments by both US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House a day earlier in which Macron suggested that changes could be made to (or alongside) a multi-lateral nuclear agreement in order to save it from sabotage by the Trump administration.

In a televised speech in Iran on Wednesday, Rouhani said that he spoke with Macron at length — presumably before Tuesday’s events in Washington, DC — and told the French president “explicitly that we will not add anything to the deal or remove anything from it, even one sentence.”

Not sparing Trump direct rebuke, Rouhani blasted the US president as unqualified for his position, declaring: “You have no clue about politics, no clue about the law or international treaties. You are just a businessman, a tradesman. You are a tower builder. How is he going to pass judgment on international issues?”

Rouhani warned that Trump and Macron cannot simply re-write a deal that was agreed to by seven parties. “Who allowed you to do that?” the Iranian president asked. “For what? With what right?”

He continued by saying that by agreeing to the the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) — and by upholding all their commitments to it — Iran had “shown goodwill to the …read more

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History Shows Hypocrisy of US Outrage Over Chemical Weapons in Syria

Protestors carry placards as they demonstrate against the UK's military involvement in Syria, outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on April 16, 2018. - British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday faced anger from lawmakers for conducting air strikes with the United States in Syria in their first major military action since coming to power. (Photo: OLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Given the US culpability in the deaths of tens of thousands of people by Iraqi chemical weapons barely 30 years ago, even many of Bashar al-Assad’s fiercest opponents have to question US motivations for bombing Syria earlier this month.

Protestors demonstrate against the UK’s military involvement as the US and its allies conduct air strikes against Syria. (Photo: Olga Akmen / AFP / Getty Images)

There are serious legal and strategic concerns regarding the decision by the United States, along with France and Great Britain, to bomb Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma. Even if one considers the April 13 airstrikes on a series of targets in two Syrian cities to be legitimate, it would be naïve to assume that Western powers conducted the bombing out of any sincere moral concern about Syria’s apparent use of these horrific banned substances.

To begin with, conventional ordnance provided by the United States, France and Britain to the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Iraq and other allied governments have killed many times more civilians than those who have died from chemical attacks in Syria. While, both legally and historically, there is indeed a qualitative difference between chemical and conventional weapons, the use of any ordnance on civilian targets is illegal under international law and is a moral outrage.

Regarding the specific use of chemical weapons, however, the reaction by the United States government nations has been inconsistent.

It was the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, that used chemical weapons on a scale far greater than any …read more

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Experts on Bayou Bridge Robocalls Have Ties to TigerSwan, Industry Groups

In late March, residents across Louisiana picked up the phone to hear a recorded voice inviting them to join experts for a “free informational conference call on the Bayou Bridge pipeline.”

But residents who stayed on the line were never informed that one of those experts — James “Spider” Marks — has close ties to TigerSwan, a mercenary private security firm that used counter-terrorism tactics against water protectors at Standing Rock and that’s been denied a license to work in Louisiana.

That’s not all listeners weren’t told.

On a partial recording of the call shared by a Louisiana resident, moderator Craig Stevens identified himself as a “spokesman for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now” (GAIN) and told listeners that he’d brought together some “really smart people” to tell them about the pipeline and take some of their questions.

The 163-mile Bayou Bridge pipeline is currently under construction and if completed, will stretch from Lake Charles to St. James Louisiana, cutting through 11 Louisiana parishes and crossing 700 bodies of water. It is part of a larger project slated to connect Energy Transfer Partners’ controversial Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota to refineries in St. James Parish and nearby export terminals.

Stevens didn’t divulge that he’s is also a vice president at DCI Group, a Washington DC-area public relations and lobbying firm with ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is known for persuading legislators to introduce prepackaged bills written by the organization and which serve the interests of its corporate members.

DCI Group has a history of using astroturfing — a type of campaigning that creates the illusion of having grassroots support — to advocate against net neutrality, oppose health care reform and promote big tobacco. The …read more

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Why Young People Are Joining Unions Again

This article was published by TalkPoverty.org.

At the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, rays of sunlight break through an unseasonably cold March, through the ordered, brutalist buildings that line Pennsylvania Avenue. Hundreds of thousands of people crowd the avenue, just as they have been crowding legislators’ phone lines and email inboxes in recent weeks. On a stage strategically positioned in line with the Capitol building, 17-year-old Cameron Kasky, a Parkland shooting survivor, delivers this proclamation:

To the leaders, skeptics, and cynics who told us to sit down and stay silent, wait your turn: Welcome to the revolution. It is a powerful and peaceful one because it is of, by, and for the young people of this country. Since this movement began some people have asked me, do you think any change is going to come from this? Look around, we are the change. Our voices are powerful, and our votes matter. We hereby promise to fix the broken system we’ve been forced into and to create a better world for the generations to come. Don’t worry, we’ve got this.

Kasky’s statement was, of course, about guns. Seventeen of his classmates and teachers had been taken from him, and from their families, friends, and their own futures, five weeks earlier by a gunman who used an automatic weapon to kill 17 people in 6 minutes and 20 seconds. But they were also taken by a system — a political system wherein a vast majority of Americans, and particularly young Americans, support policies to clamp down on gun deaths but politicians, bought off by the NRA, …read more

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People Have to Strengthen the Laws Protecting Our Water

Water coming out of several faucets.

This is how water rights work in this country: residents of Flint, Michigan, have been told that the state that poisoned their drinking water will no longer provide them free bottled water. They’ll be going back to paying some $200 a month for unsafe water. At the same time, Michigan approved a permit letting the Nestlé Corporation pump more fresh water out of the Great Lakes Basin to bottle and sell at a profit.

(Photo: Pixabay)

Janine Jackson: It is impossible, really, not to connect two recent pieces of news: Residents of Flint, Michigan, have been told that the state that poisoned their drinking water will no longer provide them free bottled water. They’ll be going back to paying some of the highest prices in the country, some $200 a month, for water that may still be making them sick. The Washington Post reports at least 12,000 homes in Flint still waiting for replacement of lead pipes.

At the same time, Michigan approved a permit letting the Nestlé Corporation pump more fresh water out of a well in the Great Lakes Basin to bottle and sell at a profit, more than half a million gallons a day, the right to which will cost Nestlé…wait for it…around $200 a year. And that won’t increase, although the amount of water they are taking will — by 60 percent.

This is, in fact, how water rights work in this country, but if it feels wrong to you, you are far from alone. What can be and what is being done? Joining us now to discuss this critical story is Peggy Case. She’s president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. She joins us now by phone …read more

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