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The Top Censored Stories of 2012 - Page 5 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Project Censored   
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 05:40

(21) Lyme Disease: An Emerging Epidemic

Lyme disease is one of the most political and controversial epidemics of our time. Lyme originates from a bacteria transmitted through the bite of a tick and can remain hidden – often being called the great imitator, mimicking other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, ADHD, and other neurological conditions. And it is growing: New cases of Lyme occur each year at a rate 10 times higher than AIDS and the West Nile Virus combined.

Current Lyme treatment guidelines were developed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA), a group associated with pharmaceutical, insurance, and university interests that are profiting from the diagnostic criteria, vaccines, and recommended treatments for Lyme. These guidelines, endorsed by the National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, define the treatment of Lyme as a two- to four-week course of antibiotic therapy.

Physicians who believe Lyme is a more chronic condition needing long-term treatment risk losing their medical license for treating patients outside IDSA guidelines. And insurance companies refuse to pay for longer treatments despite evidence that illustrates the chronic nature of the condition and the effectiveness of long-term therapies. This leaves thousands of Lyme patients suffering from a commercialized medical community that won’t acknowledge the chronic nature of their illness, and it also leaves the public uneducated about a growing epidemic.

(22) Participatory Budgeting – A Method to Empower Local Citizens & Communities

“Participatory Budgeting” (PB) is a process that allows citizens to decide directly how to allocate all or part of a public budget, typically through a series of meetings, work by community “delegates” or representatives, and ultimately a final vote. It was first implemented in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1990, and has since spread.

PB has recently taken root in Canadian and American soils.

Chicago’s 49th Ward, for example, uses this process to distribute $1.3 million of annual discretionary funds. The ward’s residents have praised the opportunity to make meaningful decisions, take ownership of the budget process, and win concrete improvements for their neighborhood – from community gardens and sidewalk repairs to street lights and public murals. The initiative proved so popular that the ward’s alderman, Joe Moore, credits PB with helping to reverse his political fortunes.

The wave is not stopping in Chicago, either. Elected officials and community leaders elsewhere – from New York City to San Francisco and from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Springfield, Massachusetts – are considering launching similar initiatives.

(23) Worldwide Movement To Ban or Charge Fees For Plastic Bags

Shoppers worldwide are using 500 billion to 1 trillion single-use plastic bags per year. The average use time of a plastic bag is 12 minutes. Plastic bags pollute our waters, smother wetlands, and entangle and kill animals. This eventually affects our health, because larger animals eat small, plastic-laden creatures, and plastics work their way up the food chain until we consume animals that have eaten some form of plastic. Plastic is non-biodegradable and is made from a nonrenewable resource: oil. An estimated 3 million barrels of oil are required to produce the 19 billion plastic bags used annually in California.

Now 35 countries have already banned the use of plastic bags, nine countries have passed levies and fees on their use, 12 countries are considering bans or fees, and 26 states in the
U.S. have introduced a form of legislation concerning plastic-bag use. Most plastic contains harmful chemicals such as BPA and phthalates, which can be unsafe for human consumption or use. These can be avoided by using alternative materials such as reusable cloth bags, stainless-steel water bottles, and other wooden, glass, and metal substitutes.

(24) South Dakota Takes Extreme Measures to Be the Top Anti-Abortion State

South Dakota considered extreme action against any person who performs an abortion within the state’s borders – part of some aggressively anti-abortion legislative efforts throughout the country. The South Dakota House took up a bill to redefine “justifiable homicide” that could “make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions,” Mother Jones reported. The bill read: “Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished.” The bill was ultimately tabled.

Other recent proposed restrictions:

• GOP state lawmakers in Arizona and Ohio unveiled so-called “Heartbeat Bills” to “prohibit women from ending pregnancies at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.” The heartbeat can be heard “within 18 to 24 days of conception” and “in almost all cases by six weeks” – a period in which “many women don’t even know they’re pregnant.”

• Texas Governor Rick Perry “fast-tracked” an anti-abortion bill mandating that “pregnant women be shown an ultrasound of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion.” Physicians would have to show the fetus’ dimensions, limbs, or internal organs, and – if audible – the fetal heartbeat.

• Arizona GOP Representative Steve Montenegro introduced bills to criminalize abortions if they’re sought because of race or sex. The bill would charge doctors with a Class 3 felony if they “knowingly perform abortions for these reasons.”

• On the federal level, House Republicans took the first two months of the new year to marginalize the rights of women. First, they tried to exclude certain victims – including women who are drugged, women who do not physically fight off the offender, and some minors – from abortion coverage by redefining rape. Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pennsylvania) then introduced the “Protect Life Act,” a bill that would put the health of the fetus above that of the woman carrying it. claimed: “It gives doctors the green light to let pregnant women die if they have a life-threatening condition and need an emergency abortion.”

(25) Extension of DU to Libya

President Obama’s undeclared and congressionally unauthorized war against Libya may have been compounded by spreading toxic uranium oxide in populated areas of that country.

Concern is being voiced by groups such as the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, which monitors the military use of so-called depleted-uranium (DU) anti-tank and bunker-penetrating shells.

In March, the U.S. introduced its A-10 Thunderbolts, known also as Warthogs, into the Libyan campaign. The A-10 has a particularly large automatic cannon which fires an unusually large 30-millimeter shell. These shells are often fitted with solid uranium projectiles.

A-10s were heavily used in the Balkan conflict, and Kosovo officials were dismayed to learn that some 11 tons of uranium weapons were fired there, leaving dangerous uranium-dust fallout in their wake.

The U.S. military is fond of DU weapons because the material – made from uranium from which the fissionable U-235 has been removed – is extremely heavy, and, in alloy form, also extremely hard. Because of its mass, such projectiles can penetrate even the heaviest armor. Then, in the heat caused by the collision with an object, the uranium bursts into flame, causing an explosive (and toxic) inferno inside a tank or other vehicle. Soldiers inside a target vehicle are incinerated. The problem is that the resulting uranium oxide produced by such explosions, besides being highly toxic, is also a microscopic alpha-emitter, which if inhaled or ingested by human beings is extremely carcinogenic and mutagenic.

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