The 99% Spring Is Here—Let's Take the Fight to Big Oil, Gas and Coal
It's a simple fact—Big Oil, Gas and Coal have bought and paid for our government. Last week the U.S. Senate voted on a bill that would have eliminated more than $2.4 billion in annual handouts to only the top 5 oil companies (who made more than one trillion dollars profit over the last decade). The bill was defeated. The 47 Senators that voted against repealing subsidies have taken four times more money in campaign contributions from oil since 1999 than the 51 senators who voted for the repeal.
The only oil subsidy that Congress has been willing to reduce is the one that helped poor people afford heating oil in the winter. Apparently it's okay with this Congress to help Big Oil, but not poor people. Enough said.
We need to fight this injustice on all fronts. You—the members of the Oil Change International community—do an amazing job fighting back against Big Oil (you honestly blow us away—we are genuinely inspired.). We can do even more now.
This April, we're proud to partner with the 99% Spring. Groups from every corner of our movement—inspired by the everyday heroes of Occupy Wall Street and Madison—are planning a massive campaign of bold nonviolent direct actions to make the voices of the 99% impossible to ignore.
During the week of April 9-15, in small towns and big cities all across America, 100,000 people will come together for an unprecedented national movement-wide nonviolent direct action training. We'll learn to tell the story of our economy and what went wrong, we'll learn the history of nonviolent direct action, and we'll learn how we can take action and create great change in this country.
Local organizations and volunteers are running more than 900 trainings in living rooms, union halls, churches and community centers nationwide. All we need now is to get as many people as possible to join in—people like you.
Our nation's greatest steps forward have come when everyday people stood up and took courageous, visionary, morally compelling direct action—from the struggle to secure the vote for women, to the strikes that built power for workers and unions, to the civil rights movement.
Now we need to create that kind of change again in America. We need to liberate our government from the clutches of the oil, gas and coal industries—and apparently we need to take our voices and our bodies to the streets to do it.
The 99% Spring is our chance to maintain and broaden that change-making energy, and learn how we can take action to challenge corporate power, end tax giveaways to the 1%, fight the influence of money in politics, and create an economy that works for all of us.
Our movement is uniting, and this is a chance for all of us to come together to shift the political landscape in America. Will you join in?
Click here to sign up for a 99% Spring action training in your area.
For more information, click here.
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In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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