Democracy Now! - June 11, 2015
As the Obama administration praises the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), backlash continues to grow against the deal. WikiLeaks has just published another section of the secret text — this one about public healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. Newly revealed details of the draft show the TPP would give major pharmaceutical companies more power over public access to medicine, and weaken public healthcare programs. The leaked draft also suggests the TPP would prevent Congress from passing reforms to lower drug costs. One of the practices that would be allowed is known as "Evergreening." It lets drug companies extend the life of a patent by slightly modifying their product and then getting a new patent. We speak to Peter Maybarduk of Public Citizen and John Sifton of Human Rights Watch about their concerns.
A year ago this month, fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State declared they had established a caliphate in the territories they controlled in Iraq and Syria. Since then the Islamic State has continued to grow, building affiliates from Afghanistan to West Africa, while recruiting new members from across the globe. In response, President Obama has sent thousands of U.S. troops back to Iraq. The deployment of another 450 troops was announced on Wednesday. Meanwhile the rise of the Islamic State has reshaped the jihadist movement in the region, essentially bringing al-Qaida to the brink of collapse. According to a new investigation by the Guardian, the Islamic State has successfully launched "a coup" against al-Qaida to destroy it from within. The Islamic State began as al-Qaida’s branch in the heart of the Middle East but was excommunicated in 2014 after disobeying commands from al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. While the Islamic State has since flourished, the Guardian reports al-Zawahiri is now largely cut off from his commanders and keeping the group afloat through little more than appeals to loyalty. We are joined by Guardian reporter Shiv Malik.
This week has seen a new round of restrictions on reproductive rights in the United States. In Texas, a federal appeals court Tuesday upheld anti-choice provisions which threaten to leave Texas with just 10 or fewer abortion clinics. The ruling upholds restrictions forcing abortion facilities to meet the standards of hospital-style surgery centers and forcing providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. If the decision goes into effect in about 20 days, attorneys for the clinics have estimated about 900,000 reproductive-age women will live more than 150 miles from the nearest open abortion facility in the state. The clinics plan to take their appeal to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill into law forcing women to wait at least 24 hours to have an abortion. And the Wisconsin state Senate has approved a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Like similar bans in other states, and a federal ban passed by the U.S. House last month, the bill is based on the medically debunked claim fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks. We are joined by Heather Busby, executive director ofNARAL-Pro Choice Texas.