Comparing Policies With Appearances

The obsessive compulsive itch to provide “balance” is an unhealthy psychosis within the fevered hive mind we call the media.

This is readily apparent (and annoying as hell) when it comes to comparing Republicans with Democrats.  Take a gander at Joe Murry’s effort in the Evening Bulletin:

Ever since the days of New Deal, and maybe even before, the Democratic Party has done its best to stereotype the GOP as the party of the rich.
Hoover was the man responsible for the greatest economic hardship in our nation, Reagan’s supply-side economics was for Wall Street and not Main Street, and when Bush 41 raised the capital gains tax and caused a recession, putting a monkey wrench in the “voodoo economics” he decried, he denied such a recession existed.
The charge against the GOP has long been laid out: Its candidates are out of touch, rich white men, who resemble more of Frasier and less of Norm. The fact that John Kerry failed to understand how to order a Philly cheesesteak – he ordered Swiss and not Cheese Wiz – and John Edwards receives $400 haircuts is to be ignored, for Democrats may still be rich, but they can still relate to, and feel, the pain of the people.

Is he really comparing the depression to a cheesesteak?  What the hell?  That’s the best he can come up with to suggest the Democrats might also be the party of the rich?  I’m sure given all the trade agreements, efforts on health care, education, labor, credit, corporations and taxes, there is one policy item that suggests the Democrats might not always be slugging for the common American.  (And if not, then there really isn’t any comparison to make, is there?)

Most politicians are (or become) wealthy.  This in itself is a problem.  But to compare the wealth of one parties members to the political actions of another is just bad reporting.  Its the kind of logic that would get you slapped if you snuck it into a term paper.  But its apparently right at home in the Evening Bulletin, and in every other news outlet where you can find “balanced reporting”.

Compassionless Conservatives

When taking the time to retro fit your political idealogical in a more attractive guise, care must be taken.  Wouldn’t want your future actions contradicting your message (or confirming an opponents!).  Apparently the so called political genius Rove and the team behind Bush’s run for office neglected to consider how their “Compassionate Conservative” tagline might play out over the years.  Austin Cline has taken a look, and the body under the tarp is not decomposing nicely:

Deeds are more important than words, so rather than pretend that conservatism can be made compassionate by a mere rhetorical flourish, we should instead ask how the Bush administration has acquitted itself over the past years. It’s hard to see anything remotely “compassionate” in a single policy, proposal, signing statement, or any other action taken by the Bush administration. Indeed, there are so many actions that seem to be the opposite of compassionate that it would be difficult to single any one out as truly emblematic of the Bush administration’s true character.

Austin takes a look at Bush’s response regarding health insurance for children (emphasis mine):

In explaining why he opposed any expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, George Bush made it clear that his position was purely ideological. It’s not the S-CHIP fails to work or fails to be efficient, but it’s a government program and that’s enough. In response to suggestions that children need access to adequate health care, Bush insisted that everyone has access to health care: “you just go to an emergency room.”

This is more than a “let them eat cake” moment for Bush.  It is a rhetorical stab right into the heart of conservatism.  As Austin points out:

Something had to be deeply wrong with conservatism if anyone imagined that the public needed to be told that it was possible to be conservative and compassionate at the same time, or that conservatism was being transformed into an ideology more compassionate than in the past.

If this is how compassionate “Compassionate Conservatism” is, what must so called “real” or “classical” conservatism be like?  In fact if you look at the current crop of Republican candidates for 2008, is there a single one who would take the compassionate road of ensuring children have health insurance?  Would any of them oppose any federal effort just on the basis of idealogical opposition to federal law?

Austin is absolutely right.  There is a huge opportunity here.

Let’s ensure that “conservative” is welded hard and fast to the government response to Katrina, to denying medical insurance to children, to wars based on lies, to denying gays equality under the law, to religious extremism, and so forth.

The phrase “bleeding heart” liberal has been thrown around for ages.  But it is a very instructive insult.  The opposite is the stone heart.  The ruthless corporatist who is so obsessed with small government and tax reform that they are willing to let people die and lives be ruined so long as the wheels of industry keep turning.  In conservative America, for all the harping on the individual, the individual does not matter.  The conservative position is that everyone has the potential to become or remain an individual who matters and has rights. It is this potential and the definition of who matters that they are so set on defending.  So much so that they have no compassion for those who for one reason or another fail to become someone who matters (and therefore someone who deserves even the most basic rights).

Conservatism represents a fundamentally broken approach to government.  One that ignores the heart.

Fight Back: Fox Isn’t a News Organization

Fox News is not a news organization. They mix in slices of current events into a hearty stew of entertainment and outright propaganda. They routinely offer false and misleading information to be consumed by their target market: us.

At some point, when a blowhard like Bill O’Reilly demonizes the left, it can feel like more of an abstract. But make no mistake that he is actively campaigning against us (Rick Perstein via Sara, Orcinus, emphasis mine):

Reflect, for a minute, on who America’s grandparents are being taught to hate: Americans who do what Americans are supposed to do, what our founders implored us to do: debate vigorously and in the open, the meaning of the public good. They used to call these people “citizens.” They’re “like the Nazi Party,” Bill O’Reilly says. They are you and me.

We don’t need to take this sitting down. We can take it right to their pocketbook:

I’ve just become a proud “FOX Attacker”. Now you can too. It’s not a boycott. It’s simply calling advertisers and informing them what FOX says. FOX can’t survive that. Have a blog? Then help spread the word.

“FOX can’t survive that.” Powerful words. In one sense this is a call to spocko Fox News. The idea being that advertisers will not want to be associated with an organization that peddles the kind of bull Fox serves up in a quivering news-lite form.

In another sense this is an aggressive step forward for progressives in the ongoing framing wars. Fox News and its controversial hosts are working overtime to paint liberals as traitors, and their media competition as liberal. Both points are demonstrably false.

In fact the accusations hurled at opponents often come back to bite them, and ironic teeth are the sharpest of all (Tom,This Modern World):

The well-known hate site BillO’Reilly.com is being investigated by the Secret Service for threatening Hillary Clinton’s life. Well, actually it was just some commenter, but by Billo’s own standards, if the comment is on his site, that means he condones it. Why does Bill O’Reilly want Hillary Clinton to die?

By advancing and making clear how we all see Fox News, we are doing more than attacking their source of funding. We are launching a direct offensive on their most valuable resource of all: their legitimacy.

A News organization with zero credibility is out of business. There is no need for a boycott.

So join the coalition against Fox News. Become a Fox Attacker. Fox is doing everything they can to paint liberals as political monsters. We must fight back. Fortunately, to fight back, we don’t have to paint. We just have to point out.

Campaign ’08: Did I Miss the Penis Coverage?

CNN’s Political Ticker is sending mixed signals.  The post Alexander Mooney is titled Clinton Seeks Cleavage Cash.  This is unfortunately phrased, to say the least:

White House hopeful Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sent a solicitation to supporters Friday with the attention-grabbing header in order to decry a recent Washington Post article devoted to the New York Democrat’s chest — and raise campaign cash in the process. “Frankly, focusing on women’s bodies instead of their ideas is insulting,” Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to Clinton, wrote in the e-mail.

Clinton is fighting back against a really shitty media double standard.  One Alex couldn’t help but exemplify.  Take a look at how he closes his post:

But Clinton isn’t the only presidential candidate whose appearance has undergone scrutiny. Edwards’s pricey haircuts, Obama’s frequently ‘open collar’, Arizona Sen. John McCain’s V-neck sweaters, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s expensive make-up jobs have all been the subject of past media attention.

Notice the conspicuous lack of sexually specific anatomy among the male examples.  No quotes like “There was groin bulge on display Wednesday afternoon on C-Span2.  It belonged to Sen. John McCain.”.  You really only see this pulled on women like Jessica from Feministing, in particular those with power and influence.  Apparently the halls of power have a sex check at the door.

What Alex’s post says, intentionally or not, is hey, Hillary is using her breasts to fundraise, and all the other candidates have their appearances critiqued, so she might as well lighten up.

The thing is, this is getting tiresome.  She’s a woman.  We get it.  Hearing a thousand variations in high and low key notes along the lines of “OMG a woman is running!” is as grating as every “My God, Obama is Black, and he might be President” article.

There are more than enough stark policy differences to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Obama Understands Diplomacy

Obama and Clinton have started a great argument on diplomacy. Unfortunately for Hillary, Barack is absolutely right. William Arkin at the Washington Post doesn’t get it. Let’s take a look (emphasis mine):

My conclusion from this affair comes in two parts. First, maybe Obama really is different (if also naive). And second, maybe he needs some new advisers.

Obama dismissed Sen. Hillary Clinton’s national security approach as “Bush-Cheney Lite” yesterday and said his priority as president would be to “unite” the country and seek change. His remarks came a day after Clinton smacked him down as “irresponsible and naïve” for his remarks during Monday’s CNN-YouTube debate.

In other words, Obama seems to have misstepped according to Arkin. The supposedly problematic position is actually both wise and necessary (emphasis mine):

Obama also held a conference call with reporters, characterizing Clinton as no different from the Bush administration for foreswearing dialogue. “If that’s not what she means, then she should say so,” he said. “Nobody expects that you would just sit down with them for coffee,” he said, speaking of the preparations he would make for meetings with the leaders of North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and other nations. But he stuck with his answer and said he would not impose preconditions.

This is a very important position to take. It understands the primacy and the value of dialog. It also understands the danger and the cost of the alternatives. Hence Obama’s very apt comparison of Hillary’s outright rejection of dialog as following in Bush and Cheneys bloody footsteps.

So why frame this as naive?

Well, this is not necessarily bad, nor it is necessarily wrong, but it is naïve. The president of Iran doesn’t even recognize Israel’s right to exist. Sitting down to chat with him would be like sitting down with Osama bin Laden to explain that it’s all a big misunderstanding, that America shares his ideals for a better life. Sorry, Obama, but those aren’t everyone’s ideals, and that’s not bin Laden’s beef.

That first sentence is so flatly dishonest in such a small space it should make your brain do a backflip. He’s just trying to soften the blow with “not necessarily bad, nor it is necessarily wrong”. Or is naive foreign policy “good and right” in Arkin’s estimation?

The benefit of dialog is it invites people to the table. It creates options instead of shutting doors. If you sit down to talk with a despot, this does not commit you to agree and acquiesce!  At the very least, it creates a diplomatic space in between a workable solution and a violent last resort.

One thing this world does not need more of is war.  And we do not need a Presidential candidate who automatically ticks off an alternative to war on some misguided principle or mistaken notion of good foreign policy.  Not all experience is useful or good, and Hillary Clinton is unwittingly making that readily apparent by playing the experience card as a counter to Obama’s position.

Keep options on the table.  Keep a cool and level head.  That will result in sound foreign policy, and is the mark of a true stateswoman/statesman.

Obama should be aggressive on this and fight the “naive” label before it starts to stick.  His position on diplomacy shows quite he is quite the opposite.

Dear Reuters: Criticizing Opponent != Negative Tone

How utterly clueless is Steve Holland?  Candidates firing back at each other over the age old “experience vs new direction” battle is to be expected in a Presidential race.  We saw it when Cheney and Edwards debated (which was actually a very enjoyable debate to watch, much more evenly matched than Kerry vs Bush).  We are seeing it now with Hillary vs Barack.

Just calling your opponent naive or linking your opponent’s stance to an unpopular administration hardly counts as “negative” campaigning.  It is smart campaigning.  Hillary is doing the best she can without changing her position.  She is spinning her unpopular, more hawkish stance as derivitive from experience Obama lacks.  Its really the only card she can play here.  Obama is rightly firing back by comparing her to the current administration.  That’s just good campaigning.

None of this stops Steve from breathlessly relating the “nastiness” of the “flap”:

Neither side was backing down from a dispute that erupted at a debate on Monday and turned nastier as the week went on, wrapping up with bitter exchanges between top Clinton strategist Howard Wolfson and his Obama counterpart, David Axelrod.

Clinton considers the first-term senator from Illinois naive for saying he would be willing to meet leaders of hostile nations like Iran and Cuba, while Obama thinks Clinton is sticking to the foreign policy status quo of the much-criticized Bush administration.

Note to Reuters.  This is not a “feud”.  It is a policy difference, and two candidates are using the implications and the context of that difference to paint their opponents as less qualified.

“If you’re looking for what’s wrong in Washington, why the system is broken, one perfect example is what’s been happening over the last four days. We’ve had two good people, Democratic candidates for president, who’ve spent their time attacking each other instead of attacking the problems facing our country,” Edwards, the party’s 2004 vice presidential candidate, told an Urban League annual conference in St. Louis.

Actually, Edwards is wrong here.  This is an important debate to be having.  Given a candidate who seems to finally understand you need to fight to control the discourse, you’d think he’d grasp that this battle of identity and purpose over foreign policy is an example of what Washington needs more of:  Democrats who take a stand.

Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said both sides got out of it what they wanted.

But he said he believed Clinton came out the winner. Obama’s attack on Clinton as “Bush-Cheney lite” undermined his message that his campaign represents politics of hope over negativity — “the exact elements that made him interesting in the first place,” said Lehane.

You can’t utterly avoid the negative and run a campaign of sunshine and candy apples.  Pointing out a vital policy difference, and then explaining why that sets you apart from your opponent is an inescapable and necessary part of a political campaign.

Kudos to both the Clinton and Obama camps for ignoring the concern trolls and sticking to their guns.

You’ll Talk, But You Won’t Act

A Reuters article on bottled water touches on issues of corporate control, water sources, and truth in advertising.  At the very end is a very interesting quote from a portfolio manager (emphasis mine):

Dave Kolpak, a portfolio manager at Victory Capital Management, said the environmental objections will have little impact on the bottom line for either Pepsi or Coke, though he admitted it could slow the market’s growth rate.

“Pepsi and Coke do not make a lot of profit” on bottled water, said Kolpak, adding that people may talk about the issue, but will likely continue buying some bottled water. Victory Capital owns about 3 million shares of PepsiCo among its $62 billion under management.

There is a confidence there that comes from knowing without a doubt exactly how we react to the concerns of the day.  The environmental impact of bottled water could be huge, and investors and executives can reasonably assume most of us will do nothing about it.  Corporate monopolization of a natural resource like water is a huge concern, but it is the cocky assumption of interested inaction that bothers me.

What about you?  Do you act?

Is individual action even effective, or must it be collective action?

Southern Poverty Blog Center

SPLC has a blog! (hat tip David,Orcinus)

Blogroll ’em.  Digg ’em.  Bookmark, subscribe, heck, write a small python script to parse their rss feed for issues of interest.

The first post to hit you will likely be this one about a lawsuit against the Klan:

This morning, the Southern Poverty Law Center followed up an earlier lawsuit against two Klansmen by filing a complaint against their organization, the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), and three additional individuals (full story here). Both legal actions are based on the savage July 2006 beating by several IKA members of a 16-year-old boy at the Meade County Fairgrounds in Brandenburg, Ky. The attackers, one of whom weighed 300 pounds, called their 150-pound victim a “spic” and left him with broken bones and other serious injuries.

Hate like this festers where ignorance and fear grow unchecked.  Good intelligence is essential to providing that check.  Now bloggers of conscience everywhere have a great new source for info, and a powerful, experienced ally.

2008: A Monster Worse Than Bush

The Register has a searing article on Bush and his efforts to smear the truth with unsubstantiated fears.  This gives us real insight into the Republicans in the ’08 contest.  The ones who want to drape themselves in his flag.  Because they (especially Giuliani and Fred Thompson) have been making every effort to follow the President’s rhetorical lead on Iraq.

It’s a pity for the Bushies, because now that the senseless bloodletting caused by American forces, both directly and indirectly, has far exceeded that perpetrated by Saddam Hussein, Bush needs a monster in Iraq considerably worse than the late dictator. Indeed, at this point, he needs a monster worse than himself. Naturally, bin Laden’s al Qaeda would fit the requirement. Unfortunately, there appears to be scant evidence of its involvement.

The thing is, Bush has a monster worse than himself at hand.  Several in fact, all conveniently located in the current crop of Republican candidates (and soon to be candidates).  They want to continue the bloodshed in Iraq.  By extension, they want to allow Al Qaeda to continue unopposed.

White House flack Tony Snow summed it all up, explaining to sceptics that, “when somebody tries to argue that al Qaeda in Iraq is not a key part of the problem, it creates a basis for saying, well, you need to go someplace else”.

So the Administration has admitted it: people have got to be told that the US is fighting Osama in Iraq (where he is not), or they might expect him to be fought in Pakistan (where he is). It’s clear that the Bushies have no intention of fighting the real al Qaeda management team, who are official guests of the nation of Pakistan and will not be going away any time soon. We’ll be stuck with Osama & Co. for some time to come, that’s for sure.

At some point is has to become clear to even the most loyal winger that ignoring Osama and wasting our blood in Iraq is letting them grow stronger while we grow weaker.  The idea that the Republican Party is “strong on security” is a sick gag.  All the Republicans who support the war in Iraq, who want to wait for just one more set of benchmarks, show a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to this nation’s security.  They also show a willingness to cause widespread death and destruction to keep up appearances.

These appearances are costing us dearly.  They place a burden of blood and pain upon the world by our own hand.  We need to take responsibility and stop it.

In 2008, Some Republicans will try to run wearing Bush’s crown.  We must do our best to remind them how very heavy it is.  We must show them Bush’s legacy leads only to defeat.

Comcastic

I’ve been a bit spotty of late, kind of like my internet “connection”.  Well, it finally died absolutely.  This has slowed me down a good clip.  Rumors have it that my internets will be connected, functional, etc on Thursday.  As of yet (and given their recent record of service), I’m not especially confident that this is a substantial rumor.

This is what lack of real competition buys you.  Great service.

Here’s hoping you too have a Comcastic day.

Goodbye Property Rights, Hello Executive Order

The Treasury Secretary can order your property rights suspended without trial, evidence, or notice (Emily, YOUTHinkLeft):

Bush has just issued an Executive Order titled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq” which states that the Treasury Secretary is now solely responsible for deciding who is and who is not a real threat to stabilization efforts in Iraq. If a person (or group or company or organization or partnership, etc.) is found guilty of posing such a threat, the Executive Branch can- without allowing a trial, or presenting evidence, or even giving notice- immediately freeze all of their assets, making it illegal to obtain food, shelter, clothing, or other such necessities.

Just like that, boom, everything you own is gone.  You cannot purchase anything.  Don’t get on the wrong side of the Bush administration!

Anyone can have everything they’ve ever owned taken away on a whim. And the language is so vague, and the order so outrageous, that it really could be anyone.

At some point the seething rage George Bush’s thoughtless actions give birth to has to find an outlet.   Fuck censure.  That was cute when Feingold first started talking about it.  “Awww, someone’s going to oppose the President!”.  No, at this point we need to be talking about taking away Chimpy’s signing pen before he signs away even the pretense of individual rights.  Impeach him.  Pass a law restricting the scope and power of executive signing statements and executive orders.  Do something for fuck’s sake.

The legal protections that keep our rights a reality are being removed one by one.  And for every right we struggle to push back into place, another one is kicked out.  We need to stop this at the source, and Congress needs to step up to the plate and defend our rights.

Ron Paul on Immigration: Just Another Conservative

Ron Paul is just another “stop immigration” bigot.  When it comes to the white hot issue of immigration in this country Ron sides with the nativist wing of the Republican party.

I sometimes follow the incoming links to see how people get here.  One such link led to a confused post wherein the author labels me a “neocon”.  Curious.  Anyway the interesting phrase came a bit later on:

He just doesn’t think we should merely pretend to defend our country by invading another one and then acting as resident sitting ducks for terrorists and their sympathizers – while leaving our own southern border completely unprotected

It was that southern border part that caught my eye, and so I decided to do a bit of research.  In Immigration and the Welfare State, Dr Paul writes:

The problem of illegal immigration will not be solved easily, but we can start by recognizing that the overwhelming majority of Americans – including immigrants – want immigration reduced, not expanded.

Note:  Not “illegal immigration reduced”.  “Immigration Reduced”.

He taps into more than a few conservative favorites in The Immigration Question:

The recent immigration protests in Los Angeles have brought the issue to the forefront, provoking strong reactions from millions of Americans. The protesters’ cause of open borders is not well served when they drape themselves in Mexican flags and chant slogans in Spanish. If anything, their protests underscore the Balkanization of America caused by widespread illegal immigration. How much longer can we maintain huge unassimilated subgroups within America, filled with millions of people who don’t speak English or participate fully in American life? Americans finally have decided the status quo is unacceptable, and immigration may be the issue that decides the 2008 presidential election.

Its funny, but between attending schools, working, and taking part in the political process via campaigning, protesting, and advocacy, I’d think Ron might find something that qualifies as participation in “American life”.  Could the good doctor qualify that statement?

Perhaps one the more interesting sites on Ron Paul is here.  Let’s take a brief look at his voting record on immigration:

  • Keep rule barring immigrants from running for president. (May 2007)
  • Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)
  • Voted YES on preventing tipping off Mexicans about Minuteman Project. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. (May 2004)
  • Voted YES on extending Immigrant Residency rules. (May 2001)
  • Voted YES on more immigrant visas for skilled workers. (Sep 1998)
  • Rated 100% by FAIR, indicating a voting record restricting immigration. (Dec 2003)

Wow.  This guy is for the border fence.  But two gems stand out among the rest.  He voted to prevent tipping off Mexicans about the vigilante group the Minuteman Project.  He voted to report illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment.

Let’s look at a quote from his essay again:

How much longer can we maintain huge unassimilated subgroups within America, filled with millions of people who don’t speak English or participate fully in American life?

Ron Paul isn’t talking about illegal immigrants here.  He’s talking about immigrants in general.  His votes and his rhetoric paint the picture of a politician who is staunchly anti-immigration.  I don’t see how this squares with the libertarian image he struggles to sell to anyone beyond the true believers.  What is achingly obvious is that Ron Paul is in no way shape or form a liberal candidate.  He may be against the corporate state, but that is starting to make a whole lot of sense.  After all, his positions on immigration are at odds with the corporate wing of the Republican party’s position and stake.

The modern Republican party has two wings struggling for dominance.  One of them is the old school small gummint no taxes no foreigners wing, and the other is the newer corporate power play party.  In this sense, Ron Paul is clearly at odds with Bush, Thompson, and the rest of that wing of the Republicans.  But he is a Republican through and through, not a libertarian.  And his stance on immigration makes this as clear as day.

Note to Romney: If You Spin, Spin Well

Romney’s campaign should be pretty practiced by now at explaining away the former Governor’s more embarrassing moments and positions. Which makes this latest bit of backpedaling so confusing. Mitt was caught with a possible supporter holding the following sign:

Note the second picture. He isn’t just stopping to smile for the cameras here. He is actually hoisting up that sign himself.

How can we imagine even for a second a Presidential candidate was unaware of the fuss over members of the conservative media conflating Obama’s last name with that of America’s most hated terrorist enemy?

Which brings us to the spin:

What did his campaign say in response to the appearance of Mitt endorsing the message? Election Central:

“The governor stopped briefly for a picture with a supporter who just happened to be holding their own sign with an alliterative play on words,” [Romney spokesman Kevin]Madden said, via e-mail. “I don’t think it was equating or comparing anyone.”

Whoever handed that crap to Kevin Madden should be fired. If Madden himself wrote it, then let the incompetent go. What Romney did by holding up the sign was stand behind its message. Setting aside the obvious issues with the Obama name “mixup” catastrophe, Romney saw a sign that clearly equated opposing Osama with opposing the two Democratic front runners. He then posed with an “elect-me” caliber smile, and held the sign aloft. Its hard to spin that, but someone on his campaign should have at least made the effort. Selling it as an appreciation for an alliterative play on words is beyond idiotic. Mitt Romney has enough to worry about without “big macaca moment” blasting a hole in the bottom of his struggling campaign.

HIV Still a Death Sentence for the Poor

Despite the glowing praise coming out of the Syndey conference, HIV remains a death sentence for those unable to access the most modern treatments.

On the one hand there is progress in how we are able to treat the disease:

Sydney – HIV infection is no longer a death sentence, with patients likely to have a “fairly robust” life expectancy if given the right drugs, a major HIV/Aids conference in Australia heard on Monday.

Michael Lederman, of Case Western Reserve University, has been treating HIV patients for more than 20 years and said he has seen such improvements that he believes the world could be on the cusp of ending the pandemic.

But thanks to the unchecked greed of the pharmaceutical companies, that progress comes at a steep price:

Newer, less toxic anti-AIDS drugs will cost a whopping 500 per cent more, according to a report launched Monday at an international AIDS conference by the medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). The substantial price increase, from 99 to 487 dollars, was for first-line combination antiretroviral treatment recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In addition, new infections are outpacing treatment:

Dr Anthony Fauci told a conference in Sydney that progress had been made, but more people were being infected with HIV than were being treated.

“For every one person that you put in therapy, six new people get infected. So we’re losing that game, the numbers game,” he said.

The crisis of HIV/Aids is shifting from a scientific struggle to a socio-economic struggle.  The disease is treatable now, but for many, that treatment is beyond their reach.  The pharmaceutical companies and the governments that shelter their ip claims and their profiteering are putting the value of a dollar over the value of human life.

HIV will cease to be a death sentence when we step in to stop the executions.  Left unchecked, pharmaceutical companies are not likely to develop a conscience.

VA State Senate Candidate To Fight Driving Fees

Someone was bound to step up to the plate and fight back.  Chap Peterson, a Democrat running against Republican Jeannemarie Davis, is making the VA driving fees a campaign issue.

His campaign has posted an ad about this on youtube:

Chap is already a strong candidate on the issues.  This is just one more reason to support him.  The opposition is a bit nervous.  Let’s offer them a nice relaxing vacation package.

Take Action:

Here is his ActBlue page if you are able to donate.

There will also be a canvassing event tomorrow, July 21st.  You can find a list of future events here.