The ‘value’ of ‘thoughts and prayers’….

October 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/40/19797

USG long distance murder foreign policy

October 1, 2019 § Leave a comment

The human cost of the US sanctions on Venezuela

 

DW – by Michael Fox, January 10, 2019

 

The US has a total embargo on Venezuela. The EU has imposed new sanctions. The goal is to oust President Nicolas Maduro. But the measures are hitting Venezuelans hard and are likely to kill many people.

 

 

Carolina Subero lives with her mother, sister and three children, in a tiny two-bedroom cinderblock home in the poor barrio of Caucaguita in eastern Caracas.

 

Subero sits on her couch, with her youngest daughter Jenjerlys. She’s 5 years old, with long dark hair and big brown eyes. But she’s also autistic and epileptic, which means she needs medicine regularly — medicine she can’t get.

 

“She has seizures every day,” says Subero. “The medicine helps to make them not as bad. When we can’t get her medicine, they send her to the hospital.”

 

She says that Jenjerlys used to take four different medicines for her seizures. But now because of the US sanctions that are blocking the import of essential medicine,Carolina can only get one of the drugs. And that only some of the time, because it’s too expensive.

A box of pills that will last 10 days, costs around $8 (€7.3). That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a fortune in a country rattled by hyperinflation and a devalued Bolivar.

 

“I’ve had to trade food for the medicine,” says Subero.

 

Jenjerlys is just one of more than 300,000 people who are estimated to be at risk because of lack of access to medicines or treatment because of sanctions on the country. That includes 16,000 people who need dialysis, 16,000 cancer patients and roughly 80,000 people with HIV, according to a report published in April by the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.

 

The situation is poised to get worse, with the total US embargo of the country, announced in August, and new EU sanctions levied last week.

 

“We understand that the Pan American Health Organization has had to change the accounts [used to purchase the medicine] four times, because they keep getting blocked,” says Marcel Quintana, the person in charge of the distribution of antiviral meds to the country’s HIV patients, something Venezuela has provided free of charge for decades.

 

Venezuelans lining up for drinking water in Caracas (2019)

 

“The blockade is not just against the government, it’s against the people who are living with HIV, it’s against the people living with cancer, because they don’t allow the medicine to come into the country.”

 

US pressure

 

The United States has been clear about its goal of imposing the sanctions to push for the ouster of Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro. The Trump administration has openly supported Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly President Juan Guaido. In January, he proclaimed himself president, which the United States and many EU countries quickly recognized.

 

Since then, Guaido has tried to overthrow Maduro with street protests, a showdown at the border with truckloads of humanitarian aid, and an attempted military uprising on April 30.

Those in the opposition blame Maduro for corruption, shortages, a failing economy and hyperinflation. Government supporters say the United States and an economic war are behind the growing crisis in the country.

 

U.S. sanctions have become increasingly aggressive since they were first announced by former US President Barack Obama in 2015. Under pressure from the United States, foreign companies stopped doing business with the country. Citibank closed Venezuela’s foreign accounts.

 

President Donald Trump intensified sanctions in 2017 and this year imposed an oil embargo that blocked the purchase of petroleum from Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. It also confiscated Venezuela’s US subsidiary CITGO, worth $8 billion. It was a huge blow for Venezuela, which received 90% of government revenue from the oil industry.

 

The U.S. government has also frozen $5.5 billion of Venezuelan funds in international accounts in at least 50 banks and financial institutions. Even if Venezuela could get money abroad, the United States has long blocked international trade by threatening sanctions on foreign companies for doing business with the country.

 

Food items being handed out to Venezuelans

 

Failing equipment and broken parts

 

According to representatives from Hidrocapital, the state water agency for the capital, Caracas, roughly 15%-20% of Venezuelans don’t have access to potable water in their homes, because the government cannot acquire new foreign-built parts to fix broken pumps and pipes.

 

“With the blockade, we’ve had situations, where we have the pumps and the motors and they are about to ship and then comes the all-powerful hand of the United States and they block the money in the bank or sanction the company that is working with us, just for selling us this equipment and without seeing that they are affecting people’s lives,” says Maria Flores, vice president of operations at Hidrocapital.

 

In response, Hidrocapital ships truckloads of water each week to needy communities. But the blockade, and the lack of parts for vehicles, is also impacting the number of water trucks Hidrocapital can keep on the road. Maria Flores says their fleet has been reduced by 75% over the last three years, to now only a handful of trucks.

 

An unequal crisis

 

Those with access to dollars, in the wealthier neighborhoods of Caracas, are weathering the storm.

 

Shoppers pour in and out of the upscale Sambil mall on the eastern end of the city. On the top floor, a sushi restaurant is packed. A two-person meal there can cost several times more than the monthly minimum wage.

 

But in the poor barrios, many try to hold down multiple jobs. Jobs with access to dollars, if possible. Millions have left the country in search of opportunities abroad.

 

Carolina Subero’s husband is one of them. He sends money home each month. But it’s still not enough to pay for their little girl’s medicine or to make ends meet.

 

Subero is not a huge fan of President Maduro. But she also doesn’t blame the government. The problem, she says, are the US sanctions.

 

“They don’t care. They think they are hurting President Maduro, and they’re really hurting the people,” says Subero. “If they really wanted something good for Venezuela, they would not be doing what they are doing right now.”

 

https://www.dw.com/en/the-human-cost-of-the-us-sanctions-on-venezuela/a-50647399

 

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Petitioning his government in a language it understands…

October 1, 2019 § Leave a comment

Man Charged With Repeatedly Farting During Strip Search

A man in Scotland has been ordered to perform 75 hours of community service after intentionally passing gas as police officers conducted a body cavity search.

Police responding to a vehicle collision on the Lang Stracht in Aberdeen noticed Stuart Cook, 28, speaking to the driver of another car. After observing a strong marijuana odor emanating from Cook, officers searched him and his vehicle, findind a “small amount of cannabis,” according to the Evening Express.

Police handcuffed Cook, who immediately began to scream and act aggressively, He was brought to the police station in Kittybrewster where he was booked and strip-searched. During the procedure, officers claim, Cook passed wind intentionally multiple times.

“Cook… deliberately farted in the direction of the officer three times, stating, ‘How do you like that?'” reported prosecutor Lucy Simpson.

farting police officers

Stuart Cook, 28, was convicted of farting on police three times during a strip search. Getty Images

His defense attorney, Laura Gracie, downplayed the incident, telling the court Cook “had been smoking a cannabis joint at the time and felt police overreacted in the way they dealt with him. He became increasingly upset with them and acted in the manner libeled.”

Cook pled guilty to possession of cannabis and to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner. He was admonished without penalty for the drug charge.

This isn’t the first time police have brought charges for breaking wind: In 2008, 34-year-old Jose Cruz was pulled over in West Virginia for driving without his headlights on. Cruz failed multiple field-sobriety tests and was taken to the police station to sleep it off.

While there, a criminal complaint alleged, he deliberately passed gas and made a waving motion towards a police officer in an attempt to distribute the smell toward him.

“The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature,” the complaint stated, recommending a battery charge be filed. The Kanawha County prosecutor’s office ultimately dropped the matter.

Farting can also give suspects away: In July, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri reported that it was able to find a hiding suspect wanted on drug charges because of his loud farts.

“If you’ve got a felony warrant for your arrest, the cops are looking for you and you pass gas so loud it gives up your hiding spot, you’re definitely having a [poop emoji] day,” the department wrote in a Facebook post.

Petitioning his government for a redress of grievances in a language it understands.

https://www.newsweek.com/deliberately-farting-strip-search-1460505

QFTD or QOTD

September 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

“Inhaling oil into your lungs is extremely dangerous behavior that could result in death. That is probably the biggest message we can get out of this.”

 

—Thomas Eissenberg, who studies vaping at Virginia Commonwealth University, tells the New York Times about what’s behind a recent surge in severe lung ailments.

Amazon, Inc. modern slavery

September 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/carolineodonovan/amazon-next-day-delivery-deaths?utm_campaign=the_download.unpaid.engagement&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=76335493&_hsenc=p2ANqtz—or9NlkWTEh5sOoWI7OKvLTx5kJRdJ_nBZ1wKCwewTMZUuY6YX198Xf0ZWTUQC2P0vjVDuWz-ipntFt8LbmMR0dQ_kA&_hsmi=76335493

Hitler was encouraged by the West and defeated by the Russians…

September 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/01/re-reflections-start-world-war-ii

 

“…fascism already had a warm reception in the halls of British power. Winston Churchill swooned over Italy: “Their triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism renders a service to the whole world.” The effusion would continue and increase as Hitler proved his anti-communist bonafides.”

 

” Britain had publicly declared before the invasion [of Austria] that it would defend Austrian independence. But when confronted with Hitler’s aggression, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain soothingly replied, “I understand Germany’s desire for unification.”

 

The West kills more than the Taliban

August 27, 2019 § Leave a comment

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/30/nearly-4000-afghan-civilians-killed-or-wounded-in-first-half-of-2019-un-says