Saturday, September 17, 2022

Oh, Meghan








Senator Patty Murray: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. now has over 21,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox -- more than anywhere else in the world, and my home state of Washington has over 500 cases. I've heard from families who are rightly concerned by how bad this has gotten.  And public health officials -- including back in Washington state -- who are frustrated to see our response run into issues we should be prepared for by now. That’s why I continue to push the Biden Administration about my concerns with the monkeypox response, and urge quick action: on testing, treatments, and vaccines, and on clear guidance to the public, health care providers, and state public health officials.  So it's reassuring to see we are making progress. On testing, capacity has increased one thousand percent, and FDA just approved a faster track for additional tests. On vaccines, BARDA is helping to stand up a new vaccine fill and finish site in Michigan, HHS is working to expand the number of distribution sites in states, and the Administration's advice for splitting doses has greatly stretched our vaccine supply.  On outreach, the Administration has started working with states to make vaccines available at events with many people from the LGBTQ+ community in attendance. And perhaps most importantly -- the rate of new cases is going down.  Now that is all encouraging news, but let me be clear -- we must remain vigilant in our response. And these promising improvements don;t excuse the issues I have been hearing about from communities, state health officials, and advocates from the start of this outbreak. Patients have spoken out about how hard it is to get tested -- some even waited days, despite having clear symptoms. Providers have had to jump through hoops to get their patients treatments. And I'm constantly talking to public health officials in my home state of Washington, who have told me how communications with states could have been far clearer -- and faster, and how the challenges in accessing tests and vaccines have delayed our response. I know states have especially struggled with the federal government's decision to forgo the system we typically use to distribute vaccines, the one we are already using for COVID vaccines. When it comes to vaccine distribution, some shipments have been sent to the wrong state, and even spoiled after storage at the wrong temperature. There have been issues with vaccine supply too -- like when thousands of vaccine doses were delayed because FDA had yet to inspect the new plant they were from, or when the Biden Administration missed an opportunity to procure more vaccines at a crucial point in this outbreak. And again, we are seeing inequities worsen this outbreak for some communities. Advocates in the LGBTQ+ community -- who have faced the vast majority of cases -- have also made clear they feel they are being overlooked, or in some instances stigmatized. We need to keep focusing and improving on outreach and on getting information and resources -- like vaccines-- to those who are most in need, and most at risk. And that must include communities of color, who we know don't have equitable access to vaccines. This is especially important as early data suggest Black and Latino communities are disproportionately burdened by this outbreak. We must do better. We need to be applying what we learned from the COVID response, and providing the resources communities have made clear they need.  Of course, there is an enormous difference between this and the COVID pandemic, which is: thanks to decades of investment in smallpox research, we already had tests, treatments, and vaccines ready to go before this crisis even began. That should serve as a reminder to all of us about the immense value of investing in public health preparedness. But it's also why the stumbles in getting these tools deployed were especially frustrating and inexcusable. To learn from this, we need to be clear-eyed about what went wrong. Not just on challenges we faced in the last several months, but that we have faced for decades --challenges that, to be frank, have spanned many Administrations, not just this one. For example, we had over 20 million vials of smallpox vaccine in our national stockpile -- but they weren;t replaced as they expired over the course of a decade. I know I join my Ranking Member and members of this Committee when I say we have to do better -- not just on COVID, not just on monkeypox -- but on public health threats, period. Because we know there will be more. Just last week New York declared an emergency due to polio -- yet another public health risk we need to watch closely. So I want to hear from our witnesses today about not just what they are doing right now to improve our response to the monkeypox outbreak  -- and fast -- but also how we can fix this in the long term and make sure the stumbles of the past couple months never happen again. I want to know what you and the Administration are doing to make sure we have enough tests, treatments, and vaccines for this outbreak-- and get them where they need to go while also maintaining an adequate stock of supplies for any smallpox threats. What are you doing to improve outreach to the LGBTQ+ community, address the disproportionate harm to Black and Latino communities, fight stigma and misinformation, and right the inequities we[ve seen in our response so far? How are we making the most of new research to develop promising vaccines and therapeutics, and then make them more quickly available -- while continuing to uphold the gold standard of safety and effectiveness? And are we getting schools and colleges everything they need to stay open and keep students and the school community safe? I'm glad CDC has provided guidance for K-12 schools -- and fortunately the science tells us elementary and secondary school kids are not at high risk right now, and CDC has also released resources for colleges which is critical with students returning to campus this fall. We need to make sure colleges and universities are equipped to prevent potential outbreaks as students move into dorms and live in close quarters with each other. I realize you've got your work cut out for you on all of this, especially with COVID still raging -- but there's no reason for us to fall behind. So I'm going to keep pushing you here, because families back in Washington state and across the country are counting on you to get it right. That's also why I'm going to keep pushing my colleagues here in Congress about the need for funding to support all this work. I know I'm not the only one here with concerns about the monkeypox response but we can't just say 'this isn't working' without providing the funding to end this outbreak and build the public health system Americans deserve.  So I will continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and push to deliver the resources that will help get families the testing, treatments, and vaccines they need.  And I'm interested in hearing from the witnesses on what the needs are when it comes to investing in our monkeypox response. It is also important to me we continue to keep our eyes on the horizon when it comes to future outbreaks and pandemics, and build a stronger public health system for whatever threat comes next.  As the saying goes -- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That starts with building a world class public health system, rather than one that lags behind our peers. Our communities deserve to be as safe as anyone in the world, which is why Senator Burr and I are continuing to work to pass our PREVENT Pandemics Act.  Our bipartisan legislation implements the lessons from our COVID response and improves our policies and processes on issues like strengthening supply chains, improving management of our national stockpile, modernizing data systems, and other items which would address many of the challenges we've faced with monkeypox. But a strong public health system also requires strong investments. Because our public health system was underfunded before COVID struck -- and it has been overwhelmed ever since. We have to end the cycle of crisis and complacency by making sustained investments that allow us to build, and maintain, robust public health infrastructure at all levels.  And I'm going to keep pushing for all of these steps, because we should all know by now just how much is at stake. I can tell you, families in Seattle know, parents in Spokane know, nurses in Yakima know, workers in Olympia know, people across Washington state, and across the country, know: COVID was never going to be the last public health crisis we face -- and neither is monkeypox. The question is not whether there will be a new threat -- it is when it will strike and whether we will be ready. The truth is, the monkeypox response so far has not been encouraging -- but there are some clear signs of progress, and there are clear steps we can, and should, take to improve. And I don't just want to hear today about the steps you will be taking -- I want to see action. And you better believe I'll be watching closely.

She was speaking Wednesday at the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  Appearing before the committee were Dr Rochelle Walensky (Director of the CDC), Dawn O'Connell (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response), Dr. Robert Califf (FDA Commissioner) and Dr Anthony Fauci (NIH Director).  Murray is the Committee Chair, Senator Richard Burr is the Ranking Member.

Committee Chair Patty Murray: [. . .] I say, frankly, too many missteps were made early on in the response and a couple hundred cases turned into 21,000.  It is unacceptable to communities who already experience barriers to accessing healthcare like the LGBTQ+ and the Black and the Latino communities that are hardest hit by this outbreak.  Access to testing was an early challenge in the monkeypox response with many people reporting significant delays in both accessing the test and learning their results.  To continue to have these challenges around testing is just simply unacceptable.  So, Dr Walensky, let me start with you.  How is the CDC working to make sure that tests are more accessible and results are available earlier?

Dr Rochelle Walensky: Thank you, Senator, for that question.  One of the big challenges that we had in terms of access to testing was both patients understanding that they were presenting with a new infection and providers understanding that this was a new infection that they had to test for. Indeed, another important clinical consideration was that people were coming in requesting a test when they had no symptoms and they had no rash.  As Dr Califf noted, the test for this infection is a swab of the rash so if there is no other FDA approved test, we need to have a rash in order to conduct those tests.  So much of what we've done -- and I should mention that we've always had more capacity than we've had tests coming in -- to date, we've used about 14 to 20% of our capacity.  But to address these access issues, we had to work with clinicians, we had to work with patients, we had to do an extraordinary amount of outreach so that providers would understand how to test, patients would understand when to come in for a test and our public health partners would know not to gatekeep those tests.  And so that was a work that we did early on.

Yes, Walensky, and that is your job.  That is your defined job.  That's what the CDC does.  Stop making excuses and pretending you were suddenly tasked with new responsibilities.

Chair Patty Murray: Dr Califf, Secretary [Xavier] Becerra recently declared that FDA can use the emergency use authorization pathway for monkeypox tests.  How will that improve the availability of new tests and what steps are you taking to improve on the progress that you've made?

Dr Robert Califf:  First of all, let me concur with Dr Walensky, there's never been a shortage of tests but there's been a shortage of access to tests because of inefficiencies in the system so the EUA authority has enabled us -- we've given one EUA already but we also have five commercial labs which are offering the tests at this point and we issued a guidance just the other day which, uhm, makes it clear that individual institutions that are developing laboratory developed tests should proceed ahead and we've given people clear guidance templates for developing their tests and figuring out if they work.  So I'd say, on all fronts, the gates are open under a watchful eye because we also must keep in mind that one of the lessons from COVID was that when the gates were open a lot of the tests turned out to be not so good, got a lot of them out there and we had to reign them back in.

Chair Patty Murray:  I -- Well, look.  I'm encouraged by the declining cases.  But it really is imperative that we remain vigilant.  And despite efforts by HHS to increase access to vaccines, some people in my home state of Washington still go to great lengths to get one -- including crossing the border into Canada to get one.  Now people, understandably, want to be vaccinated before they get exposed but that means we need more vaccines.  Ms. O'Connell, some serious stumbles were made this year when it came to our vaccine supply.  What have you done to make sure that never happens again? And what are you doing to increase the supply and distribution of vaccines right now.

Dawn O'Connell: Chairman Murray, thank you so much for that question.  What's most important to us is that those who need access to this vaccine get it.  So if you continue to hear from constituents that are unable to access the vaccine or having to cross the border, please let us know.  We are in the business right now of knocking down those hurdles and making sure the vaccine can be accessed.  We did take a very small stockpile that was intended for small pox that was eventually intended to be lyophilized -- freeze dried -- for small pox and converted it to this active monkeypox response.  And that required a couple of challenging problems to solve.  We moved the fist 372,000 vials, as I mentioned in my opening statement, immediately.  We needed FDA to approve -- and they were terrific partners moving quickly -- to approve that second manufacturing line that began, uh, drew the 800,000 vials we were waiting for.  That's what it manufactured on. We needed that approval to happen before we could deploy those. FDA worked quickly and we got those out in July.  We have also ordered an additional 5.5 million vials of the bulk drug substance that was intended to be lyophilized for small pox -- we have ordered that to be filled and finished and shipped to the United States.  And the 2.5 million of those will be manufactured in the United States. 

 The hearing can best be summed up with one statement from Ranking Member Richard Burr, "You failed on vaccines."


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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Glad he got demoted




That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Question." It went up earlier tonight. Now I'm going to post a video.


 Janet Jackson's "Son of a Gun."  It's been on my mind most of the day after I read this:

Don Lemon will lose his primetime CNN show on weekends to co-anchor the network's reimagined morning show with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins, the network announced Thursday.

The new morning show will debut later in the year with a new name, format and set — and signals the end of "Don Lemon Tonight" after an eight-year run. CNN did not announce any plans for how it will fill Lemon's primetime slot, which has long lagged behind Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" in the ratings.

 From "Son of a Gun," I especially think of this part when I think of Don:

Ha ha, hoo hoo, thought you'd get the money too
Greedy motherf**kers try to have the cake and eat it too

 Don is an idiot who learned to scream and yell and play the victim.  His show was nothing but a con job.  And never forget that he was also tipping off Jussie Smollett about the police not believing him -- and he was presenting Jussie as a truth teller.

Don's just a con artist.  

I do believe he assaulted that guy, by the way.  It's just the sort of bitchy little thing he'd do -- rub his hand down his pants and then shove his smelly fingers in someone's face.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, September 15, 2022.  Joe Biden's lies exposed as he continues to persecute Julian Assange, a documentary filmmaker calls out Hillary Clinton and chaos and climate destruction continue in Iraq.

When US President Joe Biden isn't lying, he's busy persecuting Julian Assange.  Julian is guilty of . . . exposing the truth.  War Crimes were committed.  Joe Biden's not going after those.  He's going after Julian for exposing the War Crimes.  An outraged world watches as Joe tries to destroy freedom of the press and continues the persecution of Julian.  EFE reports:

The mayor of Mexico's capital presented the keys to the city on Wednesday to the father and brother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, currently jailed in London facing possible extradition to the United States on charges of violating the Espionage Act.

"It is an honor to give you the keys to the city. It is a act symbolic of what Mexico City represents: freedom of expression," Claudia Sheinbaum said.

Gabriel Shipton said the ceremonial gesture of awarding Mr Assange the keys to the city was a "surprise" and he was "blown away" by the support for his brother in Mexico.

Mr Assange has been in British custody since being expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019.

The WikiLeaks founder could face a 175-year prison sentence if extradited to the US and convicted of the charges.

TELESUR offers this video report.

Lopez Obrador has often pledged his support for Assange, urging US President Joe Biden to release Assange, whom he considers "the best journalist of our time."

The Mexican president has also said that "Mexico's doors are open for Assange," offering him political asylum.

"I left a letter to President Biden explaining that he did not commit any serious crime, Assange, he did not cause anyone's death, he did not violate any human right, and that detaining him would mean a permanent affront to freedom of expression and freedom. And I explain that Mexico offers protection and asylum to Julian Assange", Lopez Obrador said in July.

He said if the US does not free Assange, he would start a campaign to remove the Statue of Liberty in New York City.​​​​​​​

In June, Assange’s lawyers sued the CIA, accusing the agency of spying on him while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy. 

“The legal proceedings in the U.K. are just a thin veil that is held in front of Julian’s persecution,” said Gabriel Shipton at Tuesday's conference.

He called the security company hired by the Ecuadorian embassy a “CIA asset” and accused the agency of installing cameras and microphones in the facilities in order to record Assange’s meetings with lawyers, doctors, journalists and other visitors.

“This legal proceeding — you have one side that has all the knowledge of the legally privileged conversations with Julian and his lawyers, all his legal documents, which is no legal proceeding at all,” he said.

Gabriel also extolled the effects of his brother’s work with WikiLeaks on Mexican society, saying that it allowed people to make more informed decisions about their government.

The world is watching.  Joe Biden doesn't care because he keeps getting away with lies.  In Philadelphia, he gave a very divisive speech.  But there's more to it than just that and his and Kamala Harris' efforts to demonize people they call election deniers.  These comments are to make you scared.  Should you be scared?  You should be scared of Joe Biden.  Barry Grey (WSWS) reports:

In the final primary contests before the November midterms, the Democratic Party once again spent millions of dollars to help fascistic Trump acolytes and “stolen election” liars defeat more moderate Republican opponents and advance to the general election.

The final three primaries were held Tuesday in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware. Attention was focused on New Hampshire, where the state’s two House seats and one of its Senate seats, currently held by Democrats, are considered vulnerable. In the narrowly divided House of Representatives, the Republicans need to pick up only five seats to win the majority.

The Senate is currently split 50/50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote. It will take only one seat changing hands there to tip the balance to the Republicans.

Trump did not endorse any of the Republican primary candidates in the three states’ races, unlike earlier contests in states such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona, Ohio, Washington, Wyoming, Nevada and West Virginia, where Trump-endorsed candidates were victorious. Trump-endorsed candidates lost their primaries in Georgia, Alaska and Wisconsin.

However, in New Hampshire, Republicans who ran as full-bore MAGA Republicans and promoters of the lie that Biden’s election was the result of massive vote fraud defeated more moderate candidates who were backed by Republican Governor Chris Sununu, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

In at least two of three critical races, the most fascistic Republicans benefited from TV ads paid for by Democratic political actions committees or other Democratic campaign groups.

[. . .]

While Biden and the Democratic leadership as a whole either tacitly or openly support the policy of boosting fascistic Trump Republicans against more moderate candidates in the Republican primaries, scattered voices in the party establishment are denouncing it as a disastrous policy that plays into the hands of Trump.

Former Indiana congressman Tim Roemer, who headed up a letter from former Democratic lawmakers criticizing the party for using the tactic, said: “This is a deeply, deeply precarious and dangerous strategy to deploy. It risks elevating these liars and giving them a platform for another three or four months—even if they end up getting beat—to drumbeat their message into the electorate and further erode trust.”

In fact, it thoroughly exposes the fraud of the Democrats’ claims to be defenders of democratic rights and the Constitution against the openly fascist politics of the Republican Party under Trump.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Democratic Party has spent $53 million in Republican primaries this year. It has intervened in nine states and at least 13 primaries to boost the most far-right MAGA candidates, many of them Trump-endorsed. These include criminals such as Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who were present at the White House and the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and personally participated in the events that culminated in the attack on Congress.

These people are awful, Joe screeches and he screeches this as the DNC pumps money into to make them the candidates for the GOP.  It's the sort of rat f**king that Republicans did in the late 60s and 70s.  So the Democratic party elevates the campaigns of these 'deniers' and then Joe Biden trashes these 'deniers' and insists you must not vote for them.  It's hypocrisy and it's stupidity.

ROE V WADE is over for a number of reasons.  No, Barack wasn't the first feminist president -- MS. MAGAZINE can you please correct that cover.  And Kim Gandy, can you apologize for pimping Barack in 2007 and 2008 and telling us that he would codify ROE?  He didn't.  And that's one reason ROE's dead.  Not the only reason.  The justices that Donald Trump appointed to the Supreme Court?  Slice off a piece of the blame for Donald.  But don't forget Hillary Clinton.  What's being done right now?  Democrats elevating the worst candidates on the GOP side because they 'know' they can win against those?  That's what Hillary and her campaign did in 2016.  Hillary just knew she could win against Donald Trump.

How'd that work out again?

Oh, that's right.  She lost.  She was publicly humiliated -- something she's been her entire life.  No, Hillary, it is not gutsy to stay in a bad marriage where your husband repeatedly cheats on you.  And, no, Hillary it is not gusty to lose to Donald Trump.  That is how awful she is -- she lost to Donald Trump.

And because of what she did, ROE is dead.  And now the Democratic Party wants to risk us being screwed over even worse?  Joe Biden should be ashamed of himself and every outlet should be calling this scheme out.

But few have the courage to speak the truth. Laura Poitras is one of the few with courage.  Adam Benzine (VARIETY) reports:

  Oscar-winning documentarian Laura Poitras slammed the Venice and Toronto film festivals for “providing a platform” for the Clinton family to engage “in a kind of whitewashing.”

Her comments come as TIFF this week hosted the Canadian premiere of Poitras’s “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” a documentary about the artist and activist Nan Goldin, and just days after the film won Venice’s top prize, the Golden Lion.

It is the rare doc to land slots at the superfecta of Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, and Poitras said she thought “long and hard” about whether or not to voice criticism at the same venues feting her latest work. Nevertheless, she said, “journalists need to ask hard questions.”   

  Poitras argued that Clinton was “engaging in a form of whitewashing,” accusing the former secretary of state — who was at TIFF to promote the upcoming Netflix doc In Her Hands, about one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors and the first doc from her own production company — of being actively involved in and supporting the increase in U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan while in office.

The documentarian — speaking following All the Beauty and the Bloodshed‘s screening at TIFF on Monday — raised the subject of Clinton, which she admitted she was initially hesitant to do, while discussing Julian Assange (who featured in her Oscar-winning doc Citizenfour and was the subject of her 2016 film Risk) and the current attempt by the U.S. government to extradite him from the U.K. and charge him under the Espionage Act. The effort, she claimed, was “literally the most important issue facing journalism globally right now.”

Poitras said there was “nothing more serious that threatens the First Amendment,” because what the U.S. was trying to do was charge Assange for “publishing, for literally revealing war crimes in the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

She offered Clinton “a challenge”: to call for the end to the “prosecution and persecution” of Julian Assange. “Because all she has to do is pick up her phone, because she has all their numbers on her phone, and these are the most powerful people in the world.”

“This is literally the most important issue facing journalism globally right now is the U.S. prosecution of Assange over the Espionage Act,” Poitras said. “There is nothing more serious that threatens the First Amendment, not just in this country, but also threatens journalism globally, because what the U.S. government is doing is they are trying to extradite him, bring him back, try him under the Espionage Act for publishing, for literally revealing war crimes in the U.S. occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan.”

She continued, “The last years have been terrifying for journalists. First, the Obama administration — it mobilized the Espionage Act more than it had ever been used, targeting whistleblowers and journalists. And now it’s escalated not just to whistleblowers and sources under Obama, now it’s being used towards a publisher [Assange].”

Poitras also suggested it was hypocritical for Venice and TIFF to simultaneously program the Clintons’ work while showcasing No Bears, the latest film by jailed Iranian director Jafar Panahi. She noted, “The U.S. government’s effort to indict and prosecute Assange is, I would say, not dissimilar to imprisoning Jafar Pahani in Iran.”

Turning to Iraq -- the country Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden helped destroy -- Fawaz Turkey writes at GULF NEWS:

Why is it that certain states, which seemingly have it all — abundant wealth, a storied history, an educated elite, a distinctly articulated cultural heritage and a collective will-to-meaning by the populace — botch their chances at becoming prosperous, stable nations, thus denying the citizenry their place in the sun?

This is the question that we have been asking in recent months as we contemplated the anarchy that has come to define Iraq’s political culture in our time — certainly since 2003, when the US earnestly attempted but dismally failed to graft on the country a neoliberal system of government.

Anarchy, we all remember from Poli-Sci 101, is not anarchism. The latter (from the Greek anarchos, “without authority”) is a political philosophy that, as a movement, seeks to abolish those institutions in society that exercise authority over people’s lives, leaving it to citizens to arbitrate their own disputes and determine their own destiny (sure, dream on, utopians), whereas the former refers to the falling apart in a polity of the social contract between ruler and ruled, leading to endless suffering and widespread despair, often followed by intercommunal violence.

Yes, the political stalemate continues.  11 months and counting.  October 10th, Iraq held elections, all this time later, still no prime minister or president.  The answer, some now insist, is to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections.  

And after Moqtada doesn't like those results, will it be time for another early election?  And then another?  And then another?

Because Moqtada is the most likely loser in any snap election.

People who sat out the election in 2021 are not planning to do that again.  Arabic social media expresses the outrage many feel towards Moqtada.  And he wasn't popular before he had his cult storm the Parliament.  He's only gotten less and less popular and that rejection of his father's spiritual leader -- that man rejecting Moqtada?  It registers a lot more in Iraq than the western media seems to notice.

Iraq continues to suffer, the US Institute of Peace notes.

Iraq is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Amid a protracted political crisis, sweltering temperatures, water scarcity and other climate-related challenges threaten the country’s stability and add to Iraqis’ grievances. Zena Ali Ahmad, the United Nations Development Program’s resident representative in Iraq, analyzes how climate change impacts Iraq and its stability and discusses solutions to address these impacts.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Unlike the Green Party, Howie Hawkins keeps working

This is why my political party gets dismissed by a lot of people in the US.

That link goes to the press releases at the Green Party website.  In case you missed it, we do have Green Party candidates running for office, trying to be elected in the next few weeks.

And they need their names out there.  

But use the link and notice that the Green Party has not posted a press release since August 3rd -- and that was about a death, not a candidate running for office or responding to assertions and plans Joe Biden's promoting.  

August 3rd.  It is September 14th.  A month and eleven days.

And we're a political party but we can't get off our ass and get to work.

I'm a Green.  I'm not stupid though and I'm not a whore.  So I can, and will, call out my own party.

When idiots like Sabby Sabs start trashing Howie Hawkins, they need to check their stupidity.

Howie ran a good campaign in 2020 for president of the United States.  That ended on election day of 2020.  Yet all this time later, Howie is still getting the Green Party issues out.  At least once a week -- at least -- he has delivered a video on Green issues.  He has written pices during this time as well.

If the Green Party had half the energy Howie does, we might be getting somewhere.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Wednesday, September 14, 2022.  Climate change is destroying Iraq and a bunch of unqualified fools on the US court system are determined to destroy rights and liberties.

In the US, the court system has an all time low rating and that's because you've got a bunch of wack jobs unfit to serve -- that includes the likes of Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court but it's not just the Supreme Court -- it's the idiots and fools lower in the court system funneling cases on up to destroy the lives of many.  As Clarence made clear in his opinion in DOBBS, it's not just abortion rights that they want to end.  He's going after birth control and marriage equality.  

Last week a Federal Judge in Texas ruled unconstitutional an Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that US healthcare plans cover a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug which prevents the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The judge made this reactionary attack on public health on the basis that covering HIV prevention drugs violates the religious freedom of the plaintiffs. The WHO says that HIV, which, left untreated, leads to the life-threatening AIDS syndrome, is still a major global health emergency with more than 40 million deaths worldwide to date.

The case was brought to court in 2020 by a group of Republican Party connected Texas Christian fundamentalists on the behalf of Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics, arguing that the lifesaving drugs such as Tuvada and Descovy can “facilitate or encourage homosexual behaviour,” with the plaintiffs challenging the legality under the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. 

The Biden administration has announced it is “reviewing” the decision.  

US District Judge Reed O’Connor went further than just HIV prevention, however, using it as a launching board for a broad attack on the entire framework of coverage for preventative services recommended by the US Preventative Task Force which are covered by private health insurance at no cost to the patient under ACA rules. The American Medical Association and a coalition of 60 medical organizations have warned that the ruling could mean that “patients would lose access to vital preventive healthcare services, such as screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, preeclampsia, and hearing.'

In fact, this is one of the primary aims of the lawsuit. No doubt businesses would be thrilled at the cost savings of not covering preventative care for their employees, and as will be shown, the real plaintiff to the case is the Republican Party, one of the twin parties of big business in the US. As much as the American financial oligarchy has moved to dismantle public health, letting diseases like COVID-19 and Monkeypox run rampant, so too does it move to remove access to life saving drugs. As Lenin wrote, “Political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism.” Its attitude to public health is no different.

Since their approval in the last decade, HIV PrEP treatments have become one of the necessary measures required to prevent further transmission of the virus, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) crediting its use with the decline in HIV diagnoses. Nearly 2.8 million people around the world rely on the drug according to the Global PrEP tracker database.

According to the Centers of Disease Control new HIV diagnoses decreased by 8 percent in the US from 2016 to 2019. 

Male-to-male sexual contact still constitutes the vast majority of HIV infections in the US. That said, 1 in 5 new HIV infections are among women, according to the CDC, with the vast majority being through heterosexual contact. HIV operates on objective biological laws; it does not ask if someone is a gay male before infecting them, contrary to the idiotic insinuations of the Republican Party Christian fundamentalists. In short, anyone can acquire HIV.

Your stupidity is not a  religious objection.

Insurance is to cover medical conditions.  You don't want to cover medical conditions?  I guess we can outlaw all of insurance then, right?  Certainly the Christian Science faith would be a reason to drop coverage for cancer treatment or really anything.  Per that religion, you can basically pray anything away, right?  

So I guess this CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR could announce to their employees that all health coverage was ended because their faith -- the faith of their founder -- was that disease is the cause of a person's estrangement with the Lord Jesus Christ, no health coverage -- other than prayer -- is necessary or needed.

Religious freedom means you can worship whatever you want and you can attend any faith assembly you want.  It's not supposed to mean that your crock pot fantasy that Jesus or whomever would object to property tax means you don't have to pay it.  By the same token, it shouldn't apply to insurance either.

If the people working for the homophobic Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics  in Texas have religious freedom, it can also be argued that their religious freedom is being challenged and threatened by the decision -- they have the right to believe PrEP should be covered.  So isn't the decision siding with the owners challenging the employees religious freedom?

The case never should have been brought to begin with.

Medical care that's needed should be covered.  The homophobic and hateful people in charge at Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics  should have been told that by the court.  They should have been told that they sound like hateful idiots who don't grasp that AIDS is a disease and that insurance is for treating health issues.  

Instead, an idiot on the court has encouraged them and now it will wind on through the system, possibly up to Clary Thomas -- Idiot of the Supremes.  

Braidwood's religious beliefs do not trump the religious beliefs of others or the rights of anyone to be free of religious dictates in the United States of America.

In a functioning society, people would have made reality clear to Braidwood -- both in the court system and at the clinic itself by refusing to utilize it and put it out of business.

Next up, the idiots at Braidwood sue over regulations on emissions because they don't believe in climate change or because they believe global warming is God's will and that efforts to mitigate it or slowing the end of times.

On the issue of climate change, AFP notes

The Middle East is heating at nearly twice the global average, threatening potentially devastating impacts on its people and economies, a new climate study shows.

Barring swift policy changes, its more than 400 million people face extreme heatwaves, prolonged droughts and sea level rises, said the report released ahead of the UN's COP27 climate summit in Egypt later this year.

The study found an average increase of 0.45 degrees Celsius per decade across the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region, based on data for 1981-2019, during which the global average rise was 0.27 degrees per decade.

Without immediate changes, the region is projected to heat up by five degrees Celsius by the end of the century, possibly exceeding "critical thresholds for human adaptability" in some countries, the report states.

People "will face major health challenges and risks of livelihood, especially underprivileged communities, the elderly, children and pregnant women", wrote Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute, which both provided support for the research.
The study covers the region stretching from Greece and Egypt in the west through to Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and the Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates as well as Iran in the east.

We'll note these Tweets:

Iraq's famous Lake Sawa in southern al-Muthanna province is now completely dry. (Image: )
Lake Sawa in Iraq’s southern al-Muthanna province ceased to exist. (Image by @IraqClimate, March 2022)
Climate change leaves Iraq’s ‘breadbasket’ with less water, wheat, and farmers:
#Iraq is the world’s 5th most vulnerable nation to the effects of #climate_change, including #water & food. How this threat interconnects w/ other political and security challenges the country is facing? Read Policy Note:

Turning to other realities . . .


Anyone in the UK who imagined they lived in a representative democracy – one in which leaders are elected and accountable to the people – will be in for a rude awakening over the next days and weeks.

TV schedules have been swept aside. Presenters must wear black and talk in hushed tones. Front pages are uniformly somber. Britain’s media speak with a single, respectful voice about the Queen and her unimpeachable legacy.

Westminster, meanwhile, has been stripped of left and right. The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties have set aside politics to grieve as one. Even the Scottish nationalists – supposedly trying to rid themselves of the yoke of centuries of an English rule presided over by the monarch – appear to be in effusive mourning.

The world’s urgent problems – from war in Europe to a looming climate catastrophe – are no longer of interest or relevance. They can wait till Britons emerge from a more pressing national trauma.

Domestically, the BBC has told those facing a long winter in which they will not be able to afford to heat their homes that their suffering is “insignificant” compared to that of the family of a 96-year-old woman who died peacefully in the lap of luxury. They can wait too.

In this moment there is no public room for ambivalence or indifference, for reticence, for critical thinking – and most certainly not for Republicanism, even if nearly a third of the public, mostly the young, desire the monarchy’s abolition. The British establishment expects every man, woman and child to do their duty by lowering their head.

Twenty first-century Britain never felt so medieval.

Wall-to-wall eulogies

There are reasons a critical gaze is needed right now, as the British public is corralled into reverential mourning.

The wall-to-wall eulogies are intended to fill our nostrils with the perfume of nostalgia to cover the stench of a rotting institution, one at the heart of the very establishment doing the eulogising.

The demand is that everyone show respect for the Queen and her family, and that now is not the time for criticism or even analysis.

[. . .]

At the height of her rule, 20 years later, British troops were given a green light to massacre 14 civilians in Northern Ireland on a protest march against Britain’s policy of jailing Catholics without trial. Those shot and killed were fleeing or tending the wounded. The British establishment oversaw cover-up inquiries into what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.

And in the twilight years of her rule, her government rode roughshod over international law, invading Iraq on the pretext of destroying non-existent weapons of mass destruction. During the long years of a joint British and US occupation, it is likely that more than a million Iraqis died and millions more were driven from their homes.

The following sites updated: