I can’t believe these evil Christo-Nazis are actually murdering people with HIV by discouraging them from seeking medical treatment.
Aug 20 2013
Bill came home from the grocery store to find his front hallway bathed in sunlight, the air smelling of roses. He looked around, plastic bags in hand. When a man’s voice spoke to him, he knew with perfect certainty that it was the voice of God. God reassured Bill that he would be healed of the HIV he had lived with for more than 10 years. The long struggle was over, God reassured him; from now on he would be healthy.
Standing in the hall, still clutching his his grocery bags, Bill felt calm and comforted. His burden was lifted.
Two weeks later, I saw Bill as a patient at my HIV clinic. He described his vision embarrassedly at first, but grew more and more enthusiastic in the telling. “It was a wonderful feeling,” he said. In a final rush he confessed he had stopped taking his HIV medications.
“I know, I know, it sounds crazy. It is crazy,” he said. “But I think I have to follow this through.” He alluded to the biblical parable of Abraham and Isaac, to faith that transcends reason. “This is my test,” he said.
I made sure he understood the risks of his decision. I did a careful neurological examination. I assessed Bill for signs of psychosis or delusional thinking. His partner Kay was with us and confirmed that Bill had been behaving normally otherwise, at home and in the floral shop they share. Kay was horrified by Bill’s decision. Also HIV-positive, Kay had taken HIV medicines for nearly a decade, too. “How could he throw it all away?” Kay asked.
HIV medications are widely regarded as a miracle of modern medicine. They have turned the HIV epidemic on its head; while HIV was once the leading cause of death among young Americans, life expectancy among people with HIV is now nearly normal.
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-lagerstrom/transgender-youth_b_3785132.html
I cringe when people marvel at how accepting we are towards Sam, because that wasn’t always the case. As a young child he told us he was really a boy until he was blue in the face, but we plugged our ears and let fear be our tour guide. We depended upon society’s Tomboy label to explain Sam’s choice of clothes, type of play and masculine demeanor. And we clung to unsolicited words of advice from friends who proudly proclaimed being just like Sam when they were young. Women who now wore flawless makeup and lace bras under form-fitting dresses, while sporting gemstones on perfectly manicured fingers.
Even when we started to realize that there might be something more going on than ‘a phase,’ as we also used to wishfully call it, we still did not move swiftly to help Sam transition — a fact that makes me wince. While everything about him screamed, “I AM MALE,” we made him dwell in an in-between hell, insisting on waiting ‘…just to make sure.’ And we didn’t just drag our feet. Instead we got fitted for cement shoes that kept us firmly planted in the middle of this state of denial, because quite frankly, we were too scared to admit out loud what we already knew in our hearts to be true.
One of the tactics I employed back then was to try to convince Sam that it was okay to be masculine and female, erroneously thinking he just didn’t want to be a girly girl. I bought him books proclaiming “Girls Can Do Anything,” and stopped asking him to wear dresses or anything pink, but all of these efforts fell on deaf ears. And then I heard about a camp for 12-year-old girls that emphasized science, technology, engineering and math — subjects society historically only encouraged boys to pursue. A camp that replaced traditional activities such as making friendship bracelets and arts and crafts with classes in physics and electronics. I remember thinking (and hoping), this was a camp that might just show Sam it is okay to be a girl.
The concept was simple. Campers would spend the week learning how to build their very own remote-controlled boat. Along the way the girls would be exposed to the science and math disciplines behind the creation of this watercraft. The week would culminate with the girls racing their boats against one another in front of an audience made up of parents and teachers. I could not have hoped for a less feminine camp if I had created it myself. Or so I thought.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-lagerstrom/transgender-youth_b_3785132.html
From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/27/new-mexico-gay-marriage-albuquerque
Associated Press in Albuquerque
theguardian.com, Tuesday 27 August 2013
More than 100 people were lined up in Albuquerque on Tuesday morning as the clerk in New Mexico‘s most populous county began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
The clerk opened her office to the crowd at 8am, and a mass wedding was planned at noon in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza.
Patricia Catlett, a 61-year-old graphic designer from Albuquerque, and her partner of 25 years, Karen Schmiege, a 69-year-old retired librarian, were the first to get their license in Bernalillo County.
“I am so excited I can’t stand it,” Schmiege said as they were signing their papers.
As they walked out of the booth where they received their license, the crowd applauded and yelled in celebration. The couple raised their hand, and the crowd responded by putting their fists in the air.
“I want her to take me to Costa Rica,” said Schmiege. “She promised.”
The Bernalillo County Clerk joined clerks from the state’s other two population centers in recognizing same-sex unions after a judge Monday declared gay marriage legal.
State District Judge Alan Malott on Monday ruled New Mexico‘s constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The decision comes on the heels of an order last week from a judge in Santa Fe that directed the county clerk there to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Two days earlier, the clerk in the southern New Mexico county of Dona Ana decided to recognize same-sex couples.
But Malott’s ruling was seen as more sweeping than the temporary Santa Fe order because he directly declared that gay marriage was legal.
Laura Schauer Ives, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, called it “monumental” and said the group didn’t expect such a broad decision by Malott. The judge had been asked only to order that the state recognize, on her death certificate, a dying woman’s marriage Friday in Santa Fe to her longtime partner.
Continue reading at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/27/new-mexico-gay-marriage-albuquerque
Forget (again) about getting the facts right about chemical or any other weaponry; the Western countries see that the window of opportunity for war on Syria is now.
By Pepe Escobar
August 27, 2013
The ”responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine invoked to legitimize the 2011 war on Libya has just transmogrified into ”responsibility to attack” (R2A) Syria. Just because the Obama administration says so.
On Sunday, the White House said it had ”very little doubt” that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry ramped it up to ”undeniable” – and accused Assad of ”moral obscenity”.
So when the US bombed Fallujah with white phosphorus in late 2004 it was just taking the moral high ground. And when the US helped Saddam Hussein to gas Iranians in 1988 it was also taking the moral high ground.
The Obama administration has ruled that Assad allowed UN chemical weapons inspectors into Syria, and to celebrate their arrival unleashed a chemical weapons attack mostly against women and children only 15 kilometers away from the inspectors’ hotel. If you don’t believe it, you subscribe to a conspiracy theory.
Evidence? Who cares about evidence? Assad’s offer of access for the inspectors came ”too late”. Anyway, the UN team is only mandated to determine whether chemical weapons were deployed – but not by who, according to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman.
As far as the Obama administration and UK Prime Minister David ”of Arabia” Cameron are concerned – supported by a barrage of corporate media missiles – that’s irrelevant; Obama’s ”red line” has been crossed by Assad, period. Washington and London are in no-holds-barred mode to dismiss any facts contradicting the decision. Newspeak – of the R2A kind – rules. If this all looks like Iraq 2.0 that’s because it is. Time to fix the facts around the policy – all over again. Time for weapons of mass deception – all over again.
Hey, George W. Obama, how about immunity for Chelsea Manning? She exposed war crimes.
Or do you only give immunity to actual war criminals?
From Common Dreams: https://www.commondreams.org/further/2013/08/26
by Abby Zimet
Days before Bradley – now Chelsea – Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for helping expose U.S. war crimes in Iraq, the Obama Department of Justice filed a petition in federal court arguing that the perpetrators of those crimes – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al – enjoy “absolute immunity” against criminal charges or civil liability. The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted a “crime of aggression” under a law used in the Nuremberg trials. With neither Congress nor Obama willing to hold Bush & Co. accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, supporters see the suit as a last-chance tactic to force the issue back into the public eye – an effort the Obama adminstration clearly opposes. More, all dispiriting, on the increasingly flawed Bush-Obama-lesser-of-two-evils thesis, and the current culture of impunity.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/27-1
The summer of 1988 was long and hot. One scorching day I casually said to a deliveryman, “Awfully hot.” He responded, “I talk with old-timers who can’t remember anything like it in 60, 70 years.” He continued, “It’s probably this ‘greenhouse effect.’ If you ask me, it’s a warning. All the poisons we’re putting into the air and the water – if we don’t get our act together, we’re going to make the earth a place that people can’t live on.” I sat down and penned an op ed that appeared in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers twenty-five years ago this week.
I noted that as a historian, I’m always on the lookout for subtle signs that indicate deep changes in social outlook. When that conversation shifted from local weather to the global biosphere, I felt I was witnessing “the opening shot of the second ecological revolution.”
The first ecological revolution was based on a popular recognition of the links between the different aspects of the micro-environment: that you cannot poison the bugs without also killing the birds. The result was a popular movement involving millions of people that produced an array of environmental legislation in dozens of countries.
The second ecological revolution, I argued, would grow out of a recognition of the links of the macro-environment: “that cutting rain forests in Costa Rica or burning coal in Gdansk may contribute to crop failures in Iowa and tree death in the Black Forest.” Its prime characteristic would be “its commitment to international solutions.”
Sadly, I was wrong: There was no revolution, and today we are paying the price. For twenty-five years we have tried to ignore my deliveryman’s warning. Now we know he was right. The carbon and other greenhouse gasses we have put in the atmosphere are indeed causing a greenhouse effect. And that is indeed making the earth less and less hospitable for human life.
Twenty-five years ago it was already evident that damage to the global environment threatened the basic conditions on which life depends and posed a clear and present danger that required a global response. Why, I asked, aren’t governments and politicians racing to meet this looming threat? Why, we might ask today, are we still unable to “get our act together” and make the necessary changes in time?
Perhaps here I was more prescient. “The disturbing answer is that the measures we need to protect the global ecosphere will reduce the power of the world’s most powerful institutions. National governments will have to accept international controls. Corporations will have to forego opportunities to make money at the expense of the environment. Military establishments will have to abandon programs that threaten the air and water. Beyond that, virtually everyone will have to adjust to substantial change – though not necessarily deterioration – in lifestyle.”
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/27-1
By Harvey Wasserman
Aug 26, 2013
The horrifying news from Fukushima worsens daily. It is an unparalleled global catastrophe that cries out for anyone and everyone with nuclear expertise to pitch in.
Topping this list should be Dr. James Hansen. Hansen is a climate scientist and a hero of the global warming movement. He has courageously engaged in civil disobedience against mountaintop removal and the Keystone Pipeline.
Hansen also claims some nuclear expertise, a credential he’s used to justify his support for a new generation of Small Modular Reactors.
Many of us in the No Nukes campaign find this advocacy profoundly mystifying. Even under the best of circumstances, there will be no SMR prototype for as long as a decade or more.
The SMR’s primary customer, the Tennessee Valley Authority, has now pushed back to 2015 the target date for submitting its construction permit application. Even if wildly successful, the SMR could not meaningfully affect climate change for another 20 years—this in the midst of a crisis Hansen and so many others see as critical and immediate.
The SMR blueprint hinges on technologies that have already failed. The leading candidate for SMR production at this point seems to be Babcock & Wilcox, which brought us Three Mile Island and Ohio’s infamous Davis-Besse. It was there that boric acid ate through a pressure vessel to within a fraction of an inch of major disaster.
Big questions remain unanswered about the SMR’s health and environmental impacts such as on water, vulnerability to terrorism, its effects on waste disposal and much more.
From The San Diego Free Press: http://sandiegofreepress.org/2013/08/global-warming-is-cooking-the-planet-now-not-in-some-far-off-future/
by John Lawrence
on August 25, 2013
As Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, states in his book, Eaarth, global warming is not some far-off event that we will have to prepare for sometime in the future; it is here today and the effects of global warming are being manifested here today. Yet the oil and gas industry is pulling out all the stops to convince people that global warming is just a myth perpetrated by fuzzy headed liberals.
Extreme weather events, billion dollar weather events, are happening with increasing frequency just as Wall Street analysts are computing Big Oil’s stock price based on all the assets yet in the ground and which the industry is bound and determined to pump out on its way to becoming part of the atmosphere. If such were to be the case, kiss the earth, as a habitable place for the human species, good-bye.
In his book McKibben states:
“…global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat, no longer a threat at all. It’s our reality.We’ve changed the planet, changed it in large and and fundamental ways. And these changes are far, far more evident in the toughest parts of the globe, where climate change is already wrecking thousands of lives daily. In July 2009, Oxfam released an epic report, ‘Suffering the Science,’ which concluded that even if we now adopted ‘the smartest possible curbs’ on carbon emissions, ‘the prospects are very bleak for hundreds of millions of people, most of them among the world’s poorest.’”
Extreme weather events are happening daily although news outlets are reluctant to label them the results of global warming. Why? Some of the major sponsors of TV news are oil and gas companies whose total focus on short term profits doesn’t allow for a glance at the fact that their products are threatening the long term survival of the human species. After all oil company executives will probably be dead before the earth becomes uninhabitable.
In 1859, the same year that oil was discovered in Pennsylvania by Colonel Edwin Drake, the Irish scientist John Tyndall discovered that carbon dioxide traps heat. 36 years later in 1895 Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius presented a paper to the Stockholm Physical Society titled, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground.”
By Ernest Callenbach
August 25, 2013
[This document was found on the computer of Ecotopia author Ernest Callenbach (1929-2012) after his death.]
To all brothers and sisters who hold the dream in their hearts of a future world in which humans and all other beings live in harmony and mutual support — a world of sustainability, stability, and confidence. A world something like the one I described, so long ago, in Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging.
As I survey my life, which is coming near its end, I want to set down a few thoughts that might be useful to those coming after. It will soon be time for me to give back to Gaia the nutrients that I have used during a long, busy, and happy life. I am not bitter or resentful at the approaching end; I have been one of the extraordinarily lucky ones. So it behooves me here to gather together some thoughts and attitudes that may prove useful in the dark times we are facing: a century or more of exceedingly difficult times.
How will those who survive manage it? What can we teach our friends, our children, our communities? Although we may not be capable of changing history, how can we equip ourselves to survive it?
I contemplate these questions in the full consciousness of my own mortality. Being offered an actual number of likely months to live, even though the estimate is uncertain, mightily focuses the mind. On personal things, of course, on loved ones and even loved things, but also on the Big Picture.
But let us begin with last things first, for a change. The analysis will come later, for those who wish it.
Hope. Children exude hope, even under the most terrible conditions, and that must inspire us as our conditions get worse. Hopeful patients recover better. Hopeful test candidates score better. Hopeful builders construct better buildings. Hopeful parents produce secure and resilient children. In groups, an atmosphere of hope is essential to shared successful effort: “Yes, we can!” is not an empty slogan, but a mantra for people who intend to do something together — whether it is rescuing victims of hurricanes, rebuilding flood-damaged buildings on higher ground, helping wounded people through first aid, or inventing new social structures (perhaps one in which only people are “persons,” not corporations). We cannot know what threats we will face. But ingenuity against adversity is one of our species’ built-in resources. We cope, and faith in our coping capacity is perhaps our biggest resource of all.
Mutual support. The people who do best at basic survival tasks (we know this experimentally, as well as intuitively) are cooperative, good at teamwork, often altruistic, mindful of the common good. In drastic emergencies like hurricanes or earthquakes, people surprise us by their sacrifices — of food, of shelter, even sometimes of life itself. Those who survive social or economic collapse, or wars, or pandemics, or starvation, will be those who manage scarce resources fairly; hoarders and dominators win only in the short run, and end up dead, exiled, or friendless. So, in every way we can we need to help each other, and our children, learn to be cooperative rather than competitive; to be helpful rather than hurtful; to look out for the communities of which we are a part, and on which we ultimately depend.