Archive | March 8th, 2020

Greece Vetoes NATO Approval of Turkish Aid to Al-Qaeda in Syria

The Permanent Mission of Greece to NATO on Friday evening vetoed a statement that the alliance was preparing to make in support of Ankara, following the recent killing of 33 Turkish troops, Greek newspaper Vima reported, citing information from Greek sources.

According to the newspaper, the foreign minister of Greece, Nikos Dendias, issued direct instructions to representatives to use a veto if the text of the joint statement does not include a Greek proposal to refer to compliance with the March 2016 EU-Turkey declaration on refugees and migrants.

The Greek demand was reportedly met with resistance by a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and France.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu demanded to begin political consultations provided for in Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, which allows a member country to ask for the organization’s assistance if it considers that its security, territorial integrity or political independence are threatened.

Ankara also requested that its allies assist on air defense and intelligence in connection with the situation in Idlib, but no agreements have been reached on the issue, according to the publication.

The report comes as 33 Turkish troops were killed by a Syrian airstrike in the Idlib Governorate on Thursday. The Russian military later explained that the Syrian army targeted Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists operating in the province, adding that Syrian government forces were not informed about the Turkish presence in the area.

The latest spike in fatal skirmishes follows several weeks of tensions triggered by attacks from Turkish-backed militants against the Syrian army.

Posted in Greece, Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Greece Vetoes NATO Approval of Turkish Aid to Al-Qaeda in Syria

‘An Outrage’: HHS Chief Azar Refuses to Vow Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Affordable for All, Not Just the Rich

“This is what happens when you put a Big Pharma CEO who doubled the price of insulin in charge of regulating Big Pharma.”

byJake Johnson,

staff writer

US President Donald Trump (L) looks on as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House on February 26, 2020. (Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of Congress and advocacy groups are voicing outrage after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar—a former pharmaceutical executive—repeatedly refused during House testimony Wednesday to guarantee that any coronavirus vaccine or treatment developed with taxpayer money will be affordable for all in the U.S., not just the rich.

“Under the Trump doctrine, if you are wealthy you can buy a vaccine and not succumb to the sickness,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement. “If you are poor or working class, you may have to get sick or even die. That is an outrage. That is unacceptable. We need a vaccine that is available to all.”

“He’s giving Big Pharma a blank check to monopolize them instead.”
—Rep. Jan Schakowsky

During testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, Azar was pressed multiple times to vow that vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus will be priced fairly and made affordable for all U.S. households.

“We would want to ensure that we’d work to make it affordable,” Azar told Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), “but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest.”

Schakowsky tweeted following the hearing that she gave Azar “THREE chances to assure us that any coronavirus vaccines or treatments developed with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be affordable and accessible to everyone and he flat out refused to do so.”

“He’s giving Big Pharma a blank check to monopolize them instead,” added Schakowsky.

Progressive advocacy group Social Security Works said late Wednesday that “this is what happens when you put a Big Pharma CEO who doubled the price of insulin in charge of regulating Big Pharma,” referring to Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly.

“Pharma and their friends in the Trump admin don’t care how many people die,” the group wrote, “as long as they get to make a profit.”


This is what happens when you put a Big Pharma CEO who doubled the price of insulin in charge of regulating Big Pharma.

Pharma and their friends in the Trump Admin don’t care how many people die, as long as they get to make a profit. …

Michael McAuliff@mmcauliff


Azar refuses to promise a coronavirus vaccine will be affordable for anyone:

“We would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest.. Price controls won’t get us there.”

Hours after Azar’s testimony, President Donald Trump announced in a press conference with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials that Vice President Mike Pence will lead the administration’s effort to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Azar was reportedly “blindsided” by the president’s decision to put Pence in charge.

Trump continued to downplay the threat the virus poses in the U.S., claiming “we’ve had tremendous success, tremendous success beyond what many people would’ve thought,” as his administration faces criticism for its slow and woefully inadequate response.

“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,” Trump claimed.

Shortly following Trump’s press conference, CDC officials announced that a person in California tested positive for the coronavirus.

The individual “was not exposed to anyone known to be infected with the coronavirus,” the New York Times reported, “and had not traveled to countries in which the virus is circulating.”

“It brings the number of cases in the country to 60,” the Times noted, “including the 45 cases among Americans who were repatriated from Wuhan, China—the epicenter of the outbreak—and the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was overwhelmed by the virus after it docked in Japan.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on ‘An Outrage’: HHS Chief Azar Refuses to Vow Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Affordable for All, Not Just the Rich

‘The OAS Has a Lot to Answer For’: New Study Disputes Key Claim That Paved Way for Right-Wing Coup in Bolivia

The Organization of American States “greatly misled the media and the public about what happened in Bolivia’s elections.”

by: Eoin Higgins,

A Bolivian indigenous woman, supporter of Bolivian ousted president Evo Morales, holds a Wiphala flag—representing native peoples—during a protest against the interim government in La Paz on November 15, 2019.

A Bolivian indigenous woman, supporter of Bolivian ousted president Evo Morales, holds a Wiphala flag—representing native peoples—during a protest against the interim government in La Paz on November 15, 2019. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study released by a pair of MIT researchers Thursday reveals that, contrary to claims from the U.S.-backed Organization of American States, there was no fraud in Bolivia’s October 20, 2019 elections—an accusation used by the OAS and others as a pretext for supporting the coup in the country that deposed President Evo Morales and replaced him with an unelected right-wing government. 

“Good lord,” tweeted MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes. “Given the fact the entire Morales government was toppled over accusations of election fraud, the OAS has a lot to answer for.”

The Intercept‘s Jon Schwarz took a similar approach to the findings and the OAS’ conclusions. 

MIT researchers John Curiel and Jack R. Williams reviewed the OAS report on the election for the Washington Post and found that the “election irregularities” cited by the group were based on “problematic” statistical claims. The OAS report rested its claim on the assumption that these so-called irregularities gave Morales a boost in numbers that raised his results over 10% higher than any other candidate, precluding a runoff election.

The researchers say they requested a response from the OAS about their findings, but received no reply.

Curiel and Williams’ study was commissioned by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). The group’s co-director, Mark Weisbrot, said in a statement that the OAS has a lot of explaining to do after facilitating the coup through faulty information. 

“The OAS greatly misled the media and the public about what happened in Bolivia’s elections, and helped to foster a great deal of mistrust in the electoral process and the results,” said Weisbrot.

The organization’s report bolstered the accusations of fraud in the November 10 OAS report that precipitated the coup and the institution of hard-right legislator Jeanine Añez as president. The ensuing unrest and threats against Morales and his family, as Common Dreams reported at the time, forced the deposed president to flee the country for Mexico. 

According to Curiel and Williams, the data used by OAS doesn’t line up with the organization’s conclusion:

Our results were straightforward. There does not seem to be a statistically significant difference in the margin before and after the halt of the preliminary vote. Instead, it is highly likely that Morales surpassed the 10-percentage-point margin in the first round.


There is not any statistical evidence of fraud that we can find—the trends in the preliminary count, the lack of any big jump in support for Morales after the halt, and the size of Morales’ margin all appear legitimate. All in all, the OAS’ statistical analysis and conclusions would appear deeply flawed.

CEPR’s Weisbrot declared the researchers’ findings troubling and questioned the OAS’ credibility.

“This important analysis from MIT election researchers is the latest to show that the OAS’ statements were without basis, and that simple arithmetic shows that there is no evidence that fraud or irregularities affected the preliminary results, or the official results―the ones that actually matter,” Weisbrot said. “The OAS needs to explain why it made these statements and why anyone should trust it when it comes to elections.”

“So much for that Bolivian election fraud,” tweeted the Intercept‘s Ryan Grim.

The OAS is set to monitor new national elections in Bolivia set for May 3. Morales, still in exile, has effectively been barred from running.

Williams told Common Dreams that his and Curiel’s findings cast doubt on the organization’s impartiality and ability to act as a neutral arbiter.

“The OAS’s report has basic methodological and statistical errors that make it difficult to see the OAS as an impartial election observer,” said Williams. “The fact that they did not respond to researchers asking about their report on Bolivia seems to suggest they know this.” 

National Nurses United director of communications Charles Idelson said on Twitter that the findings throw cold water on an attack line deployed by right-wing opponents of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination who have used his statement at Tuesday’s debate that the U.S. meddles in other countries against him. 

“The fraudulent right wing military coup in Bolivia was carried out with Trump administration support,” said Idelson, “but some apparently still pretend the U.S. never overthrows governments of other countries.”

Curiel and Williams also point to the role in the media for uncritically regurgitating OAS claims on face value as the coup against Morales’ Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS-IPSP) party was underway.

“The media has largely reported the allegations of fraud as fact,” the researchers write. “And many commentators have justified the coup as a response to electoral fraud by MAS-IPSP.”

Utah-based progressive activist Tom Taylor called for accountability on the part of the media.

“Our news outlets took what known liars like John Bolton said about Morales at face value,” said Taylor. “Zero critical thinking. The journalists were old enough to remember when we were lied into the Iraq War.”

“There’s no other way to put it,” Taylor added. “Our media supported a coup.”

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, BoliviaComments Off on ‘The OAS Has a Lot to Answer For’: New Study Disputes Key Claim That Paved Way for Right-Wing Coup in Bolivia

‘No Time for Being Patronized,’ Say Youth Climate Leaders as UK Cops Warn Parents Over Fridays for Future Protest

“Young people should not be underestimated—we have a voice and we are strong.”

byJake Johnson,

Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a “Fridays for Future” demonstration in Hamburg on February 21, 2020. (Photo: Christian Charisius/Picture Alliance via Getty Images)

Youth organizers of a Friday climate protest in Bristol, United Kingdom said they have “no time for being patronized” after local police sent a letter to parents warning of inadequate safety measures for the upcoming demonstration, which teenage activist Greta Thunberg and thousands of others are expected to attend.

“Social media has gone viral with interest, which leads me to believe it will be thousands of people,” wrote Bristol police commander Andy Bennett. “We have confirmation of people traveling from across the U.K. by car, bus, coach, and train. I am told in Hamburg approximately 60,000 came to see Greta speak. Whilst I am not suggesting it will be this big, you can see the scale of the potential attendance.”

Bennett warned of the “potential for trips, slips, falls, and crushing” and urged attendees to take extra precautions.

Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate, which organized the demonstration, tweeted Thursday that authorities’ safety concerns are exaggerated.

Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate@bristolYS4C

In response to #BBC article. We’ve got…

60 metres of festival barriers
2 events companies supplying gear
A safe zone at the front sectioned off for young children
80+ stewards
An accessibility area

No time for being patronised …Police warn of ‘inadequate safety’ at Greta Thunberg protestPolice said there was a risk of “falls and crushing” if thousands of people joined the Bristol

“But of course,” the group added in a follow-up tweet, “in a public event everyone should also be aware of their personal safety at all times. Be kind to others and look out for each other.”

Thunberg announced her plans to attend the demonstration in a tweet last Saturday. The Telegraph reported Thursday that the world renowned 17-year-old climate activist “had originally intended to visit London, but as the area planned for the protest in the capital was too small the organizers had recommended Bristol instead.”

Greta Thunberg@GretaThunberg

Heading for the UK! This Friday, the 28th, I’m looking forward to joining the school strike in Bristol! We meet up at College Green 11am! See you there! @bristolYS4C

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

49.8K11:22 AM – Feb 22, 2020

In a joint statement Wednesday, Bennett and Bristol City Council executive director Mike Jackson said the youth-led demonstration will likely cause “major disruptions.”

“We have seen a number of protests over the last year. However this one will be significantly larger,” said Bennett and Jackson. “Please do not underestimate the scale of this protest.”

Willow, a 15-year-old activist from Gloucestershire who plans to skip school to attend the protest, told The Guardian that the expected size of the demonstration “shows that young people should not be underestimated—we have a voice and we are strong.”Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

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Posted in Campaigns, UKComments Off on ‘No Time for Being Patronized,’ Say Youth Climate Leaders as UK Cops Warn Parents Over Fridays for Future Protest

Roaming Charges: Super Tuesday at Manzanar


Watchtower, Manzanar. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

My plan to spend Super Tuesday scaling the eastern flank of Mt. Whitney until my knees or lungs gave out was foiled by the closure of the Whitney Portal Road, which was buried under a late, but welcome, snowstorm. I had no interest in returning to the motel to watch the Democratic Party self-destruct again, so I headed through the fractured boulders of the Alabama Hills north about 8 miles to visit the ruins of Manzanar, the desert concentration camp named after an apple orchard.

I entered Manzanar from the south, drove past the two stone guard houses and stopped at the marker for the foundation of the first building. The sign read: “Internal Police.” Next to it were the cornerstones for the “Manzanar Free Press,” the camp paper run by detainees under the censorious eye of guards. The proximity of the two buildings seemed symbolic of our current predicament.

There are ghost towns, abandoned ranches and mining camps all over the Owens Valley. But Manzanar was wiped clean after the prison closed. The tarpaper barracks were chopped up and sold as cheap housing to returning GIs. The watchtowers were torn down, the spotlights and machine guns returned to Army bases in California and Nevada. They didn’t even leave the hospital, which could have served the local residents of Lone Pine and Independence and the few Owens Valley Paiute who hadn’t been uprooted by the government and relocated to Fresno, LA and San Francisco. It’s as if they wanted to wipe the memory of what happened here off the surface of the desert.

Perimeter fence, Manzanar. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

And Manzanar is a desert, averaging about 5 inches of rain year. Though, 110 years ago, it was a relatively lush one thanks to the meandering Owens River, which using the old ditch irrigation system first developed by the Paiutes enabled the valley to grow fruit trees, melons, beans, potatoes and alfalfa. That all ended in 1913 when the city of Los Angeles covertly acquired most of the land and all of the water rights in the valley and diverted the water into the Los Angeles aqueduct. Even today, the aqueduct remains locked behind gates and barbed wire fences, as if the water itself were a prisoner.

LA Power & Water owned the 6,000 acres of land that became Manzanar Concentration Camp, which it leased to the US Army in 1942. Many of the construction workers who built the camp formerly lived in the area until they lost their water to LA, including some members of the Paiute tribe. Sixty years earlier, the US Army had been dispatched to the Owens Valley to forcibly relocate more than 1000 Paiutes to Fort Tejan in order to clear the Manzanar area for white farmers, ranchers and miners.

Today the winds are fierce coming down off the Sierras, snow is flaring off the summit of Mt. Williamson and dust devils are dancing across the grounds of Manzanar. I park near the Internal Police site and walk into the heart of the concentration camp. Manzanar is laid out in a grid pattern of 68 “blocks”, which often contained 16 tarpaper barracks. All of them were removed shortly after then end of the war. In an attempt to make Manzanar a tourist destination, the Park Service has recreated several structures in Block 14: a mess hall, a barrack, and a women’s latrine, which includes toilets and showers. I got the impression that they included the showers to suggest that the US Army’s concentration camps weren’t like the Nazis’ camps. After all, they didn’t make replicas of the stockade, the forced labor sweatshops or military police buildings. These showers only poured out water, water that had been, like the prisoners themselves, illegally detained, relocated and impounded, but water none-the-less.

Women’s showers, Manzanar. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

I search for the stone foundations, the water pipes, and rock gardens made by the detainees themselves as the real evidence of what happened here. You can’t help being disoriented by the dissonance of this place. There is no more beautiful landscape on the continent than the Owens Valley in late winter with the snow-capped granite ramparts of the Sierras to the west and the dark swell of the Inyo Range to the east. Yet this is a crime scene. And I, somewhat shamefully, can’t stop taking photos of the place.

I’m reminded of the Japanese-American photographer Toyo Miyatake. Miyatake was born in Japan in 1896 and immigrated with his parents to Los Angeles in 1909. In his 20s, Miyatake started working as a photographer and opened his own studio in Little Tokyo, where he eventually became friends with the young Edward Weston. Miyatake gave Weston his first gallery show. In 1942, Miyatake and his wife and four children were swept up by immigration police and sent to Manzanar. He smuggled a camera lens into the camp and later had a camera body manufactured from wood. A friend supplied Miyatake with film. He hid the camera in a hole in the barracks and rose early in the morning to secretly photograph the conditions of life in the camp. In a camp crawling with spies and undercover agents, Miyatake was soon discovered and his camera seized. He appealed to camp superintendent Ralph Merritt, pleading with Merritt to name him official camp photographer, so he could at least photograph weddings and birthdays. Merritt eventually agreed, but stipulated that while Miyatake could frame the shot and focus the lens the actual shutter release had to be done by a camp guard. After a few weeks, this bizarre condition was eventually lifted, after the guards complained about having follow Miyatake around all day. Miyatake’s photographs, which were published along with his friend Ansel Adams’ portraits of the camp in the exhibition and book, Two Views of Manzanar, are some of the most intimate images ever made of life inside of a concentration camp.

Barracks, Manzanar. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

I meandered west through the camp toward the gleaming pyramid of Mt. Williamson, the second tallest peak in the Sierras. The mountain is named after Lt. Robert Stockton Williamson, who conducted the surveys for the rail system that would eventually haul Japanese-Americans to the concentration camp. I stopped at a small rock garden in Block 22, which had been designed and constructed by a detainee named Harry Ueno. Ueno was born in the Hawaiian village of Pa’auilo in 1907. His parents were field laborers from Hiroshima, who came to Hawaii to work on the pineapple plantations. Ueno was what was known as a Kibei, a Japanese-American who had been educated in Japanese schools. This made him a marked man for the US government after Pearl Harbor. By 1930, Ueno was living in LA, with his Japanese-born wife, Yaso, working at a fruit stand. He and Yaso, and their three sons, were sent to Manzanar in 1942, along with 10,000 other inmates, mostly from Los Angeles. At Manzanar, Ueno cut sagebrush for a few weeks, then went to work as the cook’s assistant in the mess hall on Block 22. He built the rock garden and pond as a meditation spot for the internees as they waited in line to get their meals. It wasn’t long before Ueno discovered that food supplies, especially sugar, were going missing. Ueno put together a workers committee to investigate and soon fingered the culprit as the camp’s assistant director, Ned Campbell, who had been sneaking 100-pound sugar sacks out of the camp for sale on the black market.

Japanese-American cemetery, Manzanar. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

In response to the wretched working conditions at Manzanar, Ueno formed the Mess Hall Workers Union, which was a provocative violation of camp rules. But Ueno had many of the internees on his side. Of the 4,000 workers at Manzanar more than 1,500 worked in the kitchens, many of them, like Ueno, were Kibei. Ueno’s formation of the union eventually led to what became known as the Manzanar Riots, after Ueno and two other union members were arrested for beating up a suspected undercover FBI informant in the camp. Ueno was probably not involved in the beating, at least directly, and his arrest prompted 4,000 internees to rush the jail, demanding his release. The camp superintendent called in the military police and ordered them to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd. But several of the police began shooting into the crowd with rifle fire instead, killing two people, including a 13-year old Nisei boy, and wounding 8 others. Ueno was quickly spirited out of Manzanar and into the detention prisons for suspected Japanese-American radicals: Moab Isolation Center, the Leupp Isolation Center and, finally, the ultimate prison within a prison facility, the Tule Lake Segregation Center in the lava beds of northern California, where Ueno spent the last bleak years of the war.

But Ueno’s rock garden, not even considered worthy of destruction by the merciless managers of Manzanar, survived as the rest of the camp was leveled, chopped up, and carted off–beautiful stones of resistance, intruding through the dust, as immutable as the Sierras themselves. Only the water, once more back in the grip of Los Angeles Water and Power, is missing.

Stone garden, Manzanar. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment
Linda Gordon and Gary Y. Okihiro

The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Days of Hollywood
Sam Wesson

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

I Think I’m Good
Kassa Overall

Here Be Dragons
Oded Tzur

That’s What I Heard
Robert Cray Band

We Dreamed of Apple Blossoms…

Posted in USAComments Off on Roaming Charges: Super Tuesday at Manzanar

Russian Meddling Again


Photograph Source: thierry ehrmann – CC BY 2.0

Joe Biden is not the only bad idea, way past its “best if sold by” date, that the Clintonites who call the shots for the Democratic Party have resurrected; a Cold War with Russia and with China too, insofar as it can be done in a way that does not imperil the American economy, is another.

By “Clintonites,” I don’t just mean Bill and Hillary and their cohort, but all the Wall Street, military-industrial-national security state complex, corporate-friendly “liberals” who have made “Trumpism” inevitable.

By “Trumpism,” I mean Wall Street and corporate-friendly xenophobic, white supremacist, nationalism. The rapacious, self-aggrandizing ignoramus occupying the White House currently is a noxious promoter of this world-view. In light of his role in unleashing a particularly virulent strain of it, it is fair that it be named after him.

Alarmingly many people who ought to know better are looking to Clintonites – to Biden specifically — to defeat that miscreant in order to restore some semblance of the pre-Trump era status quo. To believe that the way to defeat Trump is by electing someone who personifies all that has made Trumpism possible is silliness on stilts.

Shame on them for being fooled into thinking that way; and shame on them too for believing that “moderates” are more suited for ridding the world of Trumpism than are those who would up-date and then continue the tradition of New Deal-Great Society liberalism or, insofar as there is a difference, construct a twenty-first century Americanized version of mid-century European social democracy.

Today’s Democratic Party moderates do want to send Trump and his minions packing; what minimally decent and sane person does not? But whether they know it or not, what they are actually doing is helping their party’s leaders and donors get what they want most of all. That would be to keep prevailing political and economic power relations as intact as possible in the face of the left-wing insurgency championed by Bernie Sanders and also, less conspicuously, by the two other, currently inactive progressive candidates, Elizabeth Warren and the good billionaire, Tom Steyer.

Shame therefore on all the moderates who threw in the towel so that Biden could lead the anti-progressive charge unimpeded — on Mayor Pete and Amy Klobuchar, on Beto O’Rourke and Harry Reid and all the other Democratic Party bigwigs who rushed to endorse Biden in the past week, and, above all, on Jim Clyburn and the other African American Clintonites who managed somehow to revive Biden’s moribund candidacy in the wink of an eye in that dreadful South Carolina primary.

Shame also on the comparatively thoughtful Clintonite whom Biden, feigning friendship and familiarity, and having once praised him for being an articulate and clean African American, has taken to calling “Barack.” Obama has yet to endorse his former Vice President officially, but, true to his nature, he was doubtless working hard behind the scenes to keep the Democratic Party on Wall Street’s side.

Better Sanders than Biden on any remotely relevant dimension, and better Bloomberg than Biden too — if only because, in a struggle against what Sanders calls “the billionaire class,” it would be cleaner, as it were, to smash the electoral prospects of a true billionaire rather than of some miserable billionaire flunky.

However, thanks to South Carolina, a more than typically retrograde Southern state whose electoral votes Democrats have no hope of winning in any case, this is not to be.

Indeed, as the dust from Super Tuesday was still settling, Bloomberg bowed out and, along with the others, endorsed Biden, pledging to do all he could to get the doofus elected. That would mean spending a lot of money on his behalf. Say what you will about Bloomberg, he puts the interest of his class first; unlike the Donald who puts his own interests first, last, and always.

That Biden and Democrats like him now seem capable of hanging onto power by the skins of their teeth – and with the help of servile corporate media and the financial aid of the very large anti-Trump fraction of the ruling class – is disappointing, to say the least.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party’s Cold War revivalism is more worrisome by far. It could easily lead not only to lethal proxy wars or “minor” skirmishes between major nuclear powers, but also to a war that, unlike what proponents of America’s entry into World War I promised, really would end all wars – not by institutionalizing world peace, but by ending life on earth “as we know it.”

When thinking about Russian meddling in American elections, it is well to keep that thought in mind.


When persons speaking for the United States, the world’s foremost serial meddler in the affairs of other nations, complain that Russia is meddling in American elections, their hypocrisy, irony, and unmitigated gall is stupefying.

Along with the other former Soviet republics and the USSR’s former Eastern European “satellites,” Russia has been the prime target of American meddlers for more than the last hundred years.

One also has to wonder what all that Russian meddling has been about. Corporate media assure us that Vladimir Putin — by their lights, the twenty-first century’s foremost demon — interfered with the 2016 election, and that he and minions are hard at work meddling this election season too. No matter that precisely what they are supposed to have done or to be doing now is far from clear.

The most that the authorities tell us is that it has something to do with sowing seeds of discontent on social media. Perhaps someday, when they are able finally to concoct a plausible, evidence-based account, they will be more specific.

There are those who sometimes say, not too facetiously, that foreigners ought to meddle in American elections — maybe even have a vote — because what American presidents do directly affects them, along with nearly everybody else on the planet.

Nobody takes this suggestion seriously, but the thinking behind it is not entirely disregarded. It figures, for example, in the fact that the American political class has seldom had a problem with Israeli meddling, even when Israel’s aim is to cause the United States to go to war. That the Israelis would nowadays like to stir up animosities between the United State and Iran is not exactly a state secret.

Indeed, from time to time, Congress has actively encouraged Israeli meddling. To be sure, much of it is carried out under the pretense that nothing more nefarious is going on than garden variety interest-group domestic politics. But the reasons why, for example, AIPAC and other fixtures of the Israel lobby are not forced to register as agents of a foreign government are almost entirely political, no matter what legalistic technicalities are invoked, when necessary, to keep that from happening.

The meddling that Democrats and others are currently so worked up over, even if it is actually going on, would likely seem trivial, but for the current spate of efforts to revive the Cold War – in other words, but for the unholy alliance between the Democratic Party and its media flacks, on the one hand, and the CIA and other pillars of “the intelligence community” on the other.

The original Cold War era began at the end of World War II and continued until 1989, with the demise of Communism in the Soviet Union and throughout its sphere of influence, and in 1991 with the implosion of the Soviet Union itself.

By then, Biden – known at the time as “Plagiarism Joe,” for having stolen a few lines from a speech given by the British Labor Party’s leader, Neil Kinnock – had already tried and failed to get the Democratic Party nomination for president once. That role fell instead to the similarly hapless Michael Dukakis.

In those saner times, assurances from the CIA would be more likely to be greeted with well-justified skepticism than accepted as gospel truth. In liberal circles especially, a CIA connection of any sort was about as welcome as leprosy in Biblical times.

Back then too, it was hardly expected that members of the military would be routinely thanked for “their service.” Evidently, the advances in public consciousness that emerged in the sixties and seventies and that lingered on for another decade or so have largely disappeared without a trace.

From the very first days of Donald Trump’s run for the White House four years ago, it was well understood by everyone paying attention that his election would pose a clear and present danger to the body politic and indeed the entire world. However, the extent to which he would become the worst American president ever was not yet entirely clear.

Nevertheless, Trump’s barely literate and often incoherent tweets and his rants at shamelessly fascistic campaign rallies suggested that his heart was not exactly into Cold War revivalism. In this one respect, it was arguably almost reasonable to regard him, not Hillary Clinton and the Clintonite Democrats behind her, as the lesser evil.

Perhaps it was because he saw some percentage in it for himself. Perhaps, as many informed observers have suggested, his expressed fondness for Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian leaders was of more clinical than pecuniary interest.

Whatever the reasons, for those who tried hard enough or who were capable of deceiving themselves extensively enough, a Trump presidency could actually seem less likely to take a disastrously, perhaps even catastrophically, lethal turn than a Clinton presidency would.

The idea that Trump might actually have been less bellicose than Clinton is harder to sustain now than it was four years ago. This is not because the mainstream Democratic Party has gotten better; it is still as much a part of the problem, and as far from being part of the solution, as it ever was. It is because Trump’s limitations are nowadays more widely acknowledged than they used to be, and because, as the Donald ages gracelessly, he has been mentally decomposing in plain view and for all to see.

Contrary to the notion that corporate media have worked so hard to turn into “common sense,” Sanders, were he to become the Democrats’ nominee, would go on to defeat Trump more easily than Biden has any chance of doing, and the struggle against Trumpism could then proceed under conditions more favorable than those that would otherwise obtain.

But the results from Super Tuesday have made this prospect less likely than it seemed to be only minutes before the results began to come in. In any case, even if the tide turns again and all goes exceptionally well after that, it would still be a long way from here to there.

It is possible, though, that as a Democratic Left at last takes shape, at least some of today’s “moderates” will morph into genuine “centrists.” Centrists occupy middle positions on actually existing political spectra in times of political stability or quiescence. In times of comparative instability, they gravitate towards the poles, more or less in proportion to how the winds are blowing at the time.


Before the First World War, public opinion in the United States was not particularly anti-Russian; the general view, in enlightened circles, was that Russia was an economically backward, priest-ridden country, and that it lagged behind most of Europe in many, though hardly all, important respects. There was no particular animosity, however.

This changed radically after the Bolshevik Revolution. Then the idea, driven home relentlessly by the media of the day, was that the West and the Soviet Union had incompatible political-economic systems and that the world was not big enough, as it were, for the two of them to coexist.

That sense of things never entirely disappeared, though, before long, the focus drifted away from the view that Communist Russia posed a geopolitical threat to the United States, and towards the rather different notion that the Communist regime in place there aggravated class struggles in the capitalist West – through the force of example and, more importantly, thanks to its meddling.

However, with the rise of Nazi Germany and the emergence of other fascist movements around the world, geopolitical concerns soon took center stage again. Thus, during World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies.

Then, with the onset of the Cold War, the idea that “godless atheistic Communism” was the mortal enemy of “truth, justice, and the American way,” reemerged with a vengeance, supplemented by the slightly preposterous notion that Communist Russia, barely able to defend itself, was hellbent on world domination.

No doubt, many of the people promoting that contention believed their own propaganda to some extent. But even the most deluded must have realized at some level that what was really going on had mainly to do with domestic politics; specifically, with maintaining or at least not seriously challenging or in any significant way diminishing the economic and political power of the economically and politically powerful.

There were, to be sure, geopolitical considerations in play as well. The United States was intent, as it always is, on extending its sphere of influence, the better to serve the interests of American capitalism; the Soviet Union was intent on dominating countries around its borders so as better to protect itself from Western aggression.

On the Soviet side, the Cold War was also good for maintaining and expanding Stalin’s and then his successors’ control over state and party institutions, and over what there was of a civil society.

On the American side, the main thing was to make the world safe for the emerging military-industrial complex; it already having become a settled opinion in ruling circles, as the war wound down, that when peace finally came, the economic outlook would be at least as gloomy as it had been during the Depression years — unless military spending could somehow be maintained at a level sufficient for continuing to spur the economy on to wartime levels.

How impertinent, therefore, of those pesky Russians; threatening, by self-immolation, to deprive the American economy of an enemy to die for! And how foolish of anyone to think that would actually happen.

When it comes to feathering their own nests, American capitalists and the politicians that serve them are ingenious and determined. They saw to it that the goose laying the golden eggs keeping them afloat hardly even needed to slacken her pace. “Peace dividends” be damned; military spending was back up and running at respectable levels in hardly any time at all.

Religious fanatics in the Muslim world, conjured into being in part by the machinations of the Brzezinski State Department in the waning days of the Carter administration and by the CIA was good for that, for a while; it still is, but not good enough.

For a truly serviceable Cold War, a worthy adversary is indispensable. Thus, it eventually became clear that, after milking “the clash of civilizations” for all that it is worth and finding it not nearly up to the task, the time had come, for want of a better alternative, to revive the clash of nuclear superpowers that had been presumed dead for almost three decades.

The problem with that, though, is that it was no longer possible to talk of a clash of political-economic systems. The Soviets of yesteryear are capitalists now. So, alas, is everyone else.

Some capitalisms are sleazier than others; the Russian variety scores high on that metric. Some, like the Chinese variety, involve the state more directly than American capitalism does; others, elsewhere in east Asia, do much the same thing though in different ways. These are only details, however. It is no longer possible to concoct Cold Wars out of clashes of political-economic systems.

The sad fact is, though, that this hardly matters.

If Clintonites and the media that serve them can make a comeback kid out of a doddering doofus who is even more feckless than Hillary Clinton, they can certainly conjure up enough anti-Communist nostalgia to get a serviceable Cold War going again.

Desperate to find excuses for losing to the likes of a Donald Trump, they had ample motive, and with their CIA friends and the “quality press” and “liberal” cable channels behind them, they had the means and the opportunities.

And so, Clintonites “don’t need no stinkin’ Communists” to revive a Cold War that was originally fought ostensibly to battle Communism any more than in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” the bandits needed “stinkin’ badges” to get what they wanted.

The Sanders movement is the only thing that can stop the Clintonites now; and, thanks to the speed and efficiency with which Democratic Party honchos moved to crush the Sanders insurgency, the perfidy of Clintonite African American politicians, and the failure of so many younger voters to bother to vote, the Sanders campaign is now on the ropes.

One can only wonder what harm those Russian meddlers could hope to do that we Americans have not done many times more effectively to ourselves.

Think of it. In the last presidential election, voters had to choose between two god-awful candidates, one clearly less odious than the other, but both more than odious enough to cause a thinking person to despair.

Four years later, after so much time, effort and treasure have been expended to make it better this time around, the likelihood is that it will be even worse: because Trump is a far worse choice now than he was four years ago and because, awful as Clinton was and is, Biden is, by any plausible measure, more awful still.

Therefore, even if there really is something that the Russian government would actually hope to gain from meddling in the election next November, they would be better off just lying back and letting homegrown Clintonites and Trumpians do the heavy lifting. Nobody does it better.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Russian Meddling Again

The Neoliberal Plague


Cover of the first edition of The Plague – Public Domain

For those who aren’t familiar with Albert Camus’ The Plague, disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. Today, by way of the emergence of a lethal and highly communicable virus (Coronavirus), we— the people of the West, have an opportunity to reconsider what we mean to one another. The existential lesson is that through dread and angst we can choose to live, with the responsibilities that the choice entails, or just fade away.

Through the virus, a new light is being shone on four decades of neoliberal reorganization of political economy. The combination of widespread economic marginalization and a lack of paid time off means that sick and highly contagious workers will have little economic choice but to spread the virus. And the insurance company pricing mechanism intended to dissuade people from overusing health care (‘skin in the game’) means that only very sick people will ‘buy’ health care they can’t afford.

Market provision of virus test kits, vaccines and basic sanitary aids will, in the absence of government coercion, follow the monopolist’s model of under-provision at prices that are unaffordable for most people. The most fiscally responsible route, in the sense of assuring that the rich don’t pay taxes, is to let those who can’t afford health care die. If this means that tens of millions of people die unnecessarily, markets are a harsh taskmaster. (3.4% mortality rate @ 2X – 3X the contagion rate of the Spanish Flu @ 4 X 1918 population).

If this last part reads like (Ayn) Randian social theory as interpreted by a budding sociopath in the basement of his dead parent’s crumbling tract home, it is basic neoliberal ideology applied to circumstances that we can see playing out in real time. According to Ryan Grim of The Intercept, Bill Clinton eliminated the ‘reasonable pricing’ requirement for drugs made by companies that receive government funding. This has bearing on both commercially developed Coronavirus test kits and vaccines.

Leaving aside technical difficulties that either will or won’t be resolved, how would any substantial portion of the 80% of the population that lives hand-to-mouth be effectively quarantined when losing an income creates a cascade effect of evictions, foreclosures, starvation, repossessions, shut-off utilities, etc.? The current system conceived and organized to make desperate and near desperate workers labor with the minimum of pay and benefits is a public health disaster by design.

While the American response to the Coronavirus threat seems to be less than robust, there was a near instantaneous response from the Federal Reserve to a 10% decline in stock prices. The same Federal Reserve that has been engineering a non-stop rise in stock prices since Wall Street was bailed out in 2009 knows perfectly well how narrowly stock ownership is concentrated amongst the rich— it publishes the data. It quickly lowered the cost of financial speculation as the cost of Coronavirus tests and a vaccine— and the question of who will bear them, remain indeterminate.

If priorities seem misplaced, you haven’t been paying attention. The statistics on suicides, divorces, drug addiction and self-destructive behavior that result from the loss of employment were understood and widely published by the early 1990s, at the peak of that era’s round of mass layoffs. Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger.

The brutality of the logic used by the Obama administration in constructing the ACA, Obamacare, is worthy of exploration. The premise behind the ‘skin in the game’ idea is neoliberalism 101, developed by a founder of neoliberalism, economist Milton Friedman, to ration health care. The basic idea is that without a price attached to it, people will ‘demand’ more health care than they need. That from a public health perspective, oversupplying health care is better than undersupplying it, is ignored under the premise that public health concerns are communistic. (Read Friedman).

But how likely is it that people will ‘demand’ too much healthcare? The starting position of Obamacare was that the American healthcare system provided half the benefit at twice the price of comparable systems. Through the ‘market’ pricing mechanism that existed, the incentive was for people to avoid purchasing healthcare because it was / is wildly overpriced. Not considered was that through geographical and specialist ‘natural monopolies,’ health care providers had an incentive to undersupply health care by providing high-margin services to the rich.

Furthermore, why would a healthcare system be considered from the perspective of individual users? In contrast to the temporal sleight-of-hand where Obamacare ‘customers’ are expected to anticipate their illnesses and buy insurance plans that cover them, the entire premise of health insurance is that illnesses are unpredictable. Isn’t the Coronavirus evidence of this unpredictable nature? And through the nature of pandemics, it is known that some people will get sick and other people won’t. Not known is precisely who will get sick and who won’t.

While there are public health emergency provisions in Obamacare that may or may not be invoked, why does it make sense in any case to require that people anticipate future illnesses? Such a program isn’t health care and it isn’t even health insurance. It is gambling. Guess right and you live. Guess wrong and you die. Why should we be guessing at all? Prior to Obamacare, health insurance companies gamed the system with life and death decisions. In true neoliberal fashion, Obamacare randomized the process as health insurers continue to game the system.

As I understand it, the public health emergency provision in Obamacare might cover virus testing and the cost of a vaccine if one is ever found. Great. What about care? How many readers chose a plan that covers Coronavirus? How many days can you go without a paycheck if you get sick or are quarantined? Who will take care of your children and for how long? How will you pay your rent or mortgage? Who will deliver groceries to your house and how will you pay for them? How will you make the car payment before they repossess it and how will you get to work without it if you recover?

The rank idiocy— and the political content, of the frame of individual ‘consumers’ overusing health care quickly devolves to the fact that some large portion of the American people can’t afford to go to the doctor when they need to. Even if they can afford the direct costs, they can’t afford the indirect costs. When Obamacare was passed, the U.S. had the worst health care outcomes among rich countries. Ten years later, the U.S. has the worst healthcare outcomes among rich countries. And medical bankruptcies are virtually unchanged since Obamacare was passed.

The reason for focusing on Obamacare is it is the system through which we encounter the Coronavirus. In the narrow political sense of getting a health care bill passed, Obamacare may or may not have been ‘pragmatic.’ In a public health care sense, it is a disaster decades in the making. The problem wasn’t / isn’t Mr. Obama per se. It is the radical ideology behind it that was posed as pragmatism. Mr. Obama’s success was to get a bill passed— a political accomplishment. It wasn’t to create a functioning healthcare system.

The otherworldly nature of neoliberal theory has led to a most brutal of social philosophies. Mr. Obama later put his energy into lengthening drug company patents to give drug companies an economic advantage provided by the government. Economist Dean Baker has made a career out of hammering this general point home. Michael Bloomberg benefited from government support for both technology and finance. His fortune of $16 billion in 2009 followed stock prices higher to land him at $64.2 billion in 2020.

Donald Trump inherited a large fortune that likewise followed stock and Manhattan real estate prices higher. Both he and Mr. Bloomberg could have put their early fortunes into passive portfolios and received the returns that they claim to be the product of superior intelligence and hard work. Analytically, if the variability of these fortunes tracks systemic, rather than personal, factors, then systemic factors explain them. The same is true of most of the great fortunes of the epoch of finance capitalism that began around 1978.

The point of merging these issues is that they represent flip sides of the neoliberal coin. In a broad sense, neoliberalism is premised on economic Darwinism, the quasi-religious (it isn’t Darwin) idea that people land where they deserve to land in the social order. This same idea, that systemic differences in economic outcomes are evidence of systemic causes, applies here. However, differences in intelligence, initiative and talent don’t map to systemic outcomes, meaning that concentrated wealth isn’t a reward for these.

The ignorant brutality of this system appears to be on its way to getting a reality check through a tiny virus. Unless the Federal government figures this out really fast, most of the bodies will be carried out of poor and working class neighborhoods like mine. Few here have health insurance and most health care providers in the area don’t take the insurance they do have. More than a day away from work and many of my neighbors will no longer have jobs. Evictions are a regular state of affairs in good times. There are no resources to facilitate a larger-picture response.

Liberalism, of which neoliberalism is a cranky cousin, lives through a patina of pragmatism until the nukes start flying or a virus hits. Getting healthcare ‘consumers’ to consider their market choices follows a narrow logic up to the point where none of the choices are relevant to a public health emergency. One I plus another I plus another I doesn’t equal us. The fundamental premise of neoliberalism, the Robinsonade I, has always been a cynical dodge to let rich people keep their loot.

The mortality rate and contagion factor recently reported for Coronavirus (links at top) place it above the modern benchmark of the Spanish Flu of 1918 in terms of potential lethality. What should make people angry is how the reconfiguration of political economy intended to make a few people really rich has put the rest of us at increased risk. These are real people’s lives and they matter.

Finally, for students of neoliberalism: there is no conflation of neoliberalism with neoclassical economics here. Milton Friedman, one of the founders of neoliberalism through the Mont Pelerin Society, produced a long career’s worth of half-baked garbage economics. On the rare occasions when he wasn’t helping Chilean fascists toss students out of airplanes in flight, he was pawning his infantile theories off on future Chamber of Commerce and ALEC predators. His positivism was already known to be a farce when he took it up. Here is a primer that explains why it is, and always will be, a farce.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Neoliberal Plague

Cancer in US Navy Nuclear Powered Ships


USS Ronald Reagan, Kitty Hawk and Abraham Lincoln. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Todd P. Cichonowicz.

Here is a good one. In 2011, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was about 100km off the coast of Japan at the time of the Tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima reactor explosions. It was directed by the US government to ride to the rescue in what was later called Operation Tomodachi (friendship)–to provide assistance to the victims of the floods. What no-one on board was told was that the reactors had exploded and a plume of highly radioactive material was blowing east from the site into the path of the vessel. Of course, when this arrived, all the radiation monitors on the boat started screaming, and the planes and helicopters that had flown the rescue sorties were contaminated.

In 2014 I was engaged by some California attorneys to advise on a court case being taken against the Japanese company TEPCO and the US reactor makers GEC on behalf of the sailors who served on the aircraft-carrier. A significant number of the Ronald Reagan crew were reporting a wide range of weird illnesses including cancers, all of which they were attributing to their radiation exposures. Between 2014 and now, the court arguments were all about procedure: whether the cases should be heard in Japan or in the California where the vessel’s home port of San Diego was. There was a lot of publicity [1]. Eventually, and recently, the California judge decided that the case had to be heard in Japan. This is (in passing) monstrously unjust since Japanese law is different and the sailors cannot afford to go to Japan and hire Japanese lawyers. But this is not the story here.

In 2014, following all the publicity about the cancers, a number of US Senators and important people were asking pertinent questions—the Navy had to do something to answer the accusations that the Fukushima radiation was killing those who sailed on Operation Tomodachi. They panicked. A big report was prepared by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), entitled: Final Report to the Congressional Defense Committees in Response to the Joint Explanatory Statement Accompanying the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, page 90, “Radiation Exposure” [2]. Never use one word when ten will do.

This report rambled on about how low the Fukushima doses were, how everyone acted wonderfully and how all the radioactivity was rapidly cleaned up. The dose reconstruction showed no one got more than a fraction of the Natural Background dose and so forth. We have been here regularly. (The methodology for the dose reconstruction has since disappeared from the link given in the report). Since no-one believes any of this dose bullshit any more, to prove that there was no cancer excess, the Navy took one step too far. They reported the results of their own epidemiology study which they carried out on the Ronald Reagan sailors. This compared the illness yield (including cancers) of the 4,843 RR sailors with a matched control group of 65,269 sailors on nuclear powered ships that were not anywhere near Fukushima. The period of analysis was from 2011 to 2013, about 3 years. This showed that there were more cancers in the control group over that period. The idea clearly was to knock on the head any suggestion that the radiation from Fukushima was the cause of the cancers and other stuff that was the basis of the court case. And this it apparently did.

Their move was to compare the matched “unexposed” control group with the Ronald Reagan group. There were 30% more cancers in the control group after adjusting for age. But what I did was to compare the control group with the National population, using data on cancer rates by age group from the SEER database [3]. The result showed an astonishing 9.2-fold excess of cancer in the sailors on nuclear-powered vessels. There were 121 cancers predicted on the basis of the national rates, and 1119 reported by the DTRA study. For the Reagans it was about 6-fold with 46 reported and 7.76 expected. Now this result is astonishing. I wrote my study up for a good scientific peer reviewed journal, and it was published last week [4]. You can find it on if you can’t afford the journal cost.

What I discuss in the paper to explain the result is my usual argument about how the radiation protection legislation is wildly incorrect when dealing with internal contamination from radionuclides. The legal limits in USA and the West are based on the comparison of cancers in those exposed to acute external gamma ray doses to the Japanese A-Bomb populations and cannot apply to internal exposures to substances which target DNA (Uranium, Strontium-90) or which provide huge local ionisation to some living cells but nothing at all to others (DU particles, reactor discharge particles).

But this time it really is a big deal. Nine times the expected rates? What are they going to do? It is their own data which they stupidly released. It shows that all the sailors on nuclear powered Navy ships are dying from cancer. You can bet the telephone lines are hot, and that we won’t see any coverage of this in the Theatre newspapers and media. But the sailors themselves and the veterans? What will they think when they find this online but not reported?

Studies of nuclear workers have been the new battleground for this Chess game since it became apparent in the last few years that the Japanese A-Bomb studies were dishonestly manipulated and ignored internal exposures to fallout and rainout [5]. We have seen a number of attempts to kill the argument about low dose radiation and health using nuclear worker studies. There was the Lancet publication in year 2015 [6]. There was the desperate and disgraceful Royal Society publication last year [7]. The late Alexei Yablokov and I wrote to the Lancet Editor on behalf of the Independent WHO [8] asking if we could point out in the journal that the Lancet articles reassuring everyone that the science of radiation risk was secure were written by nuclear industry scientists and were unsafe. The Lancet refused. I wrote to the Royal Society. They also refused to publish anything. What is Truth—says Pilate—waits for no answer.

Nuclear workers work outside at a nuclear site where the discharges get dispersed. Nuclear sailors live in a tin box that also contains the reactors. Nuclear worker studies are based on data that is provided by the nuclear industry to show there are no cancers. The DTRA study had to show more cancers in order to swamp the Ronald Reagan sailors’ cancers. But to do this, they brought out their Queen. And it was taken

Anyway, let’s not walk further into the What is Truth swamp and discuss the News Theatre. Thankfully this story shows that in this truth argument there are two last frontiers. These are the scientific peer-review literature and the courts. I am representing the widow of a UK nuclear submariner, a man who was a reactor servicing technician and who died from cancer. Let’s see what the Scottish court makes of this paper. Read it yourself and have a laugh. If you are a Navy sailor on a nuclear-powered ship, be very frightened. Write to your Senator. Kick up a fuss.



2) Radiation Exposure Report – › Reference-Center › Reports › 2014/06/19 › Radiati…







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Why Mike Pence is the Worst Person to Lead the COVID-19 Response


A year after Trump took office, Saturday Night Live did a sketch called “What Even Matters Anymore?

Game show host Jessica Chastain read a list of outrageous things Trump has done and asked, “Does it even matter anymore?” Each time, the contestants thought it should, but they were wrong.

For instance, the president had an affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant and then had his lawyer pay her hush money. Does it matter? No, the host countered, nothing even matters anymore.

Here’s a new one: A novel virus, COVID-19, spreads around the world and Trump appoints Mike Pence to lead the U.S. response. That’s the same Pence who allowed the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana history to spread unchecked while he was governor.

Does it even matter anymore?

The outbreak was tied to intravenous drug use. Experts recommended a needle-exchange program to reduce the risk of diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

Pence not only opposed needle exchanges — he also made it more difficult to even test for HIV. As a member of Congress in 2011, he voted to cut public funding for Planned Parenthood. Two years later, when Pence was governor, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Scott County, Indiana was forced to close due to public funding cuts.

Scott County turned out to be the epicenter of the outbreak. And that Planned Parenthood clinic was the only HIV testing center in the county.

The first HIV case in the outbreak was diagnosed in November 2014. The state waited another two months until 17 more people were diagnosed to begin an investigation.

Experts recommended a needle exchange program to stop new infections. Pence refused, because (after praying about it) he said he thought they enabled drug use, even though studies show they reduce disease transmission and do not increase drug use.

Pence waited yet another two months, until late March 2015, to declare a public health emergency. Only then did he allow a temporary, 30-day needle exchange in Scott County.

In May, Pence finally signed a law allowing other counties in Indiana to establish temporary needle exchange programs in cases of public health emergencies. They got no state financial support. And by that point, the outbreak had already reached its peak.

Furthermore, Pence undercut his own actions by signing a second bill on the same day. The second bill made possession of a syringe intended for drug use a felony with a prison sentence (it had previously only been a misdemeanor), potentially deterring people from using needle exchanges.

In fact, the Scott County needle exchange established in April 2015 had some initial trouble from police officers confiscating syringes from those distributing them for the program.

Pence’s refusal to put public health infrastructure in place in the first place — and then waiting months to act after an outbreak was first identified — allowed 215 people to contract HIV when it could have been limited to a fraction as many.

So…. placing an ideologue with a proven track record of botching a response to a disease outbreak in charge of handling a global pandemic? Requiring scientists and experts to clear any statements with Pence before communicating them to the public?

And all this from the same Pence who also once penned an op-ed assuring people that “smoking doesn’t kill”?

Does it even matter anymore?

The Trump administration seems to be dealing with COVID-19 more as a PR issue than a public health one. Like always, Trump is more interested in his approval ratings than the well-being of the American people.

This time around, mistakes will result in people needlessly dying. Yes, it does still matter, and we need an administration that acts like it does.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on Why Mike Pence is the Worst Person to Lead the COVID-19 Response

Zionist Mossad puppet intel chief visits Damascus

Image result for mossad logo

The Director of the Zionist Mossad puppet Egyptian General Intelligence visited Damascus on Saturday to meet with his Syrian counterpart, a source reported from the Syrian capital.

According to the source, the  Zionist puppet Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, visited Damascus last Monday and met with high-ranking officials like Major-General ‘Ali Mamlouk.

The source said the visit concentrated on increasing coordination between Syria and Egypt in regards to fighting terrorism and enhancing bilateral ties between Cairo and Damascus.

The visit came at the same time that a Libyan delegation made their first official visit to Damascus to announce the reopening of their diplomatic mission in Damascus.

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