Cholera Outbreak Continues to Surge in Yemen | The American Conservative

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson
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I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson
Read more at:

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson

Predator Nation

“Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. Federal policy is increasingly dictated by the wealthy, by the financial sector, and by powerful (though sometimes badly mismanaged) industries such as telecommunications, health care, automobiles, and energy.

These policies are implemented and praised by these groups’ willing servants, namely the increasingly bought-and-paid-for leadership of America’s political parties, academia, and lobbying industry.

If allowed to continue, this process will turn the United States into a declining, unfair society with an impoverished, angry, uneducated population under the control of a small, ultrawealthy elite. Such a society would be not only immoral but also eventually unstable, dangerously ripe for religious and political extremism.”

Charles Ferguson, Predator Nation, 2012

our corrupt “press”

The Fixer

I don’t know what to do with a press corps that knew exactly what Barr was and pretended they didn’t.

I like to imagine they are stupid, because it’s preferable to the alternative, but they aren’t stupid. They do it on purpose. Their roles are scripted and they perform them and get mad at anybody who doesn’t or points it out.

>> @ChuckTodd on NBC’s special report: “The way this has been rolled out has been very helpful to the president… In essence, he’s gotten a three and a half week ahead start.”

— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 18, 2019

and how did that happen? such a mystery. so weird.
by Atrios at 13:52

Bernie Sanders and the Science of Smears… Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone

The media’s focus on personality is designed to shift attention away from dangerous ideas
By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone 4-18-19

The satirist Ambrose Bierce, author of the Devil’s Dictionary, once defined radicalism as “the conservatism of tomorrow injected into the affairs of today.”

What Bierce wittily captured — that today’s radicals are tomorrow’s normies — means that at any given moment, the current political establishment will be fighting off the inevitable.

The Brahmins of today don’t battle with ideas, because as Bierce pointed out, their belief systems are usually regressive and unpopular, only they don’t know it yet. The battle is almost always waged instead over personality, because while certain “radical” ideas may be unstoppable, individual politicians are easily villainized, delaying change — a little.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders made headlines this week by taking on the Center for American Progress, long known as a messaging arm of the mainstream Democratic Party. Sanders wrote a letter criticizing the CAP board for playing a “destructive role” in the “critical mission to defeat Donald Trump,” a critique seemingly crafted in response to recent efforts by ThinkProgress, a news site founded by CAP, to paint Sanders as a hypocrite for being a millionaire author.

The Sanders letter to CAP formalized the rift between the Democratic establishment and the labor-based movement of millions Sanders represents. That we’re talking about a petty PR battle and not the hardcore disagreement about policy and (especially) campaign funding sources that created this divide is Exhibit A proving the old propaganda method is still working.

The practice of painting dissident challenges as selfish, hypocritical acts — as opposed to the selfless altruism of corporate-funded candidates — has been going on forever. Long before Sanders was framed as a thin-skinned, cranky narcissist who’s “all about himself,” Dennis Kucinich went through the same thing.

Kucinich was/is living proof of the Bierce aphorism. When he announced his run for president in October of 2003, the Ohio congressman “stood up against corporate interests,” promised to revoke NAFTA, endorsed decriminalization of marijuana, called for universal health care and trumpeted “amnesty and legalization for illegal immigrants.”

He was the only candidate promising to withdraw troops from Iraq, and in those jingoistic years after 9/11, he not only brought an imam on stage for his launch, he took a shot at Columbus Day. From the New York Times account:

“The Cleveland event had a tailored multicultural appeal, starting out with prayers from a rabbi, an imam and a Baptist preacher. The speakers were racially diverse, and Mr. Kucinich took a moment to acknowledge the American Indian communities on Columbus Day.”

Many of these ideas are now blue-state orthodoxy. “Universal health care” is an official goal of the Democratic Party, even if the party doesn’t mean it in the same way Kucinich did. He was right about Iraq — he was the only one right about Iraq in that field — and significant parts of the electorate are beginning to suspect he was right about NAFTA, the legalization of marijuana and a bunch of other things.

Kucinich may even have been ahead of the curve on Columbus Day: four states and 50 cities now celebrate “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” instead.

But back in the 2000s, when Kucinich still had a small voice in national politics, he was routinely denounced as something worse than a radical: a kook, nut and egomaniac. I covered both of the Kucinich runs for the presidency and saw how frustrated he became over time as his ideas were ignored and his campaigns were denounced as indulgences.

What little coverage he got tended to be stuffed below the fold, and focused on him as a “lower-tier” eccentric, a vegan who dabbled in ventriloquism, wore wing-tips and was too short (the standard modifier attached to him was “elfin,” as in “the elfin peace candidate”).

Reporters from 2008 will remember the “hot mic” debate exchange between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, when the contenders whispered about thinning a field of eight that included Kucinich and Mike Gravel.

“We should try to have a more serious… smaller group,” Edwards offered, leading to the following exchange:

Clinton: Well, we’ve got to cut the number, because they are just being trivialized.
Edwards: They are not serious.
Clinton: No.

About the seriousness: when asked later that year by Wolf Blitzer why he was the only candidate who’d had a chance to vote on the Patriot Act to vote against it, Kucinich shot back, “Because I read it.” He was probably right that none of the others had.

But he was seen as the unserious one. By 2010, when he was opposing the Affordable Care Act for many of the same reasons driving today’s Medicare-for-All movement, even would-be liberal commentators like Markos Moulitsas were denouncing him. He was a modern Nader, pushing “unrealistic” and “self-defeating” politics, someone who’d never accomplished anything.

The treatment of Kucinich was pure high school. I used to get an unpleasant pang of recognition listening to the cool kids on the press plane laughing at the “lefty elf” who refused to get the hint he wasn’t wanted on the debate stage.

Back when Sanders didn’t seem like a threat to win anything, he got much of the same. He was dismissed as a geek and a wallflower who’d be defined by whether he chose to be a help or a hindrance to the real candidate, Clinton. The New Yorker’s John Cassidy in early 2015 mock-welcomed Bernie to the race, insisting the entrance of the “loner” would be a “plus” for the Clinton campaign, since he would “occupy the space to the left of Clinton, thus denying it to more plausible candidates, such as Martin O’Malley.”

It wasn’t until Sanders started piling up delegates that he began to take on the villainous characteristics for which he is now infamous. After he won primaries in 2016, suddenly reporters ripped him as a divisive narcissist with three houses who was the ideological mirror of Donald Trump, boasting racist, sexist and violent followers.

This was all part of the age-old technique of focusing on the person instead of the ideas or the movement behind them. Sanders wasn’t winning in 2016 because Bernie Sanders is some great stump act — he isn’t. A fair portion of his support was coming from people who were fed up with both parties even before he decided to run.

The easiest way to avoid dealing with uncomfortable truths is to create an ick factor around the politician benefiting from them. That was Sanders in 2016 and it’s still him, mainly. However, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii have also been pre-emptively dipped in the ick this cycle, cast as crippled politicians whose mere presence in the race will “undermine” Democrats in the end.

Additionally, and I could see it coming even a year ago, politicians benefiting from domestic discontent with the status quo are being denounced as Kremlin favorites as well as selfish agents of division.

On the day Gabbard announced her run for the presidency, MSNBC ran a story claiming Russian-linked social media accounts were pushing a “possible campaign of support” for the Hawaii Democrat. The story was sourced to the firm New Knowledge, which had been caught by the Times faking an almost identical story about Russian trolls and Alabama Republican Roy Moore.

Sanders was described as the Kremlin candidate in the Washington Post just a few days ago. This was unsurprising since the Post was asking as far back as the fall of 2017 how Democrats would respond to Putin playing dirty tricks for Sanders in 2020.

There are people who will protest that descriptions of such Russian activity boosting Sanders are rooted in fact, as efforts to reach his supports are described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of the Internet Research Agency. That’s fine. I would counsel anyone who thinks Russia is responsible for the rise of Sanders or people like Gabbard or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should go out and interview voters around the country, especially in remote areas.

The anger toward the political establishment that drives support for such politicians began to be visible over a decade ago, long before Sanders or Gabbard were factors in any kind in national politics.

Those voters aren’t selfish, or hypocrites, or Kremlin favorites, and they’re not going anywhere. What a lot of DC-based reporters and analysts don’t grasp is that if you remove Bernie Sanders from the scene, there will still be millions of people out there mad about income inequality. Remove Gabbard, and discontent about the human and financial costs of our military commitments will still be rampant. Removing Warren won’t cancel out anger about Wall Street corruption.

Covering personalities instead of political movements only delays things for a while. Sooner or later, the conservatism of tomorrow arrives. You can only delay the inevitable for so long.

Researchers develop new platform that recreates cancer in a dish to quickly determine the best bacterial therapy

Engineering bacteria to intelligently sense and respond to disease states, from infections to cancer, has become a promising focus of synthetic biology. Rapid advances in genetic engineering tools have enabled researchers to “program” cells to perform various sophisticated tasks. For example, a network of genes can be wired together to form a genetic circuit in which cells can be engineered to sense the environment and modulate their behavior or produce molecules in response.

Recent research has found that many bacteria selectively colonize tumors in vivo, prompting scientists to engineer them as programmable vehicles, biological “robots” in other words, to deliver anticancer therapeutics. Researchers are also developing new, “smart” medicines by programming bacteria to tackle other diseases, such as gastrointestinal disease and infections. Key to advancing such “living medicines” is being able to identify the best therapeutic candidates.

The Truth About Dentistry – The Atlantic

It’s much less scientific—and more prone to gratuitous procedures—than you may think.

THE ATLANTIC Ferris Jabr May 2019 Issue

n the early 2000s Terry Mitchell’s dentist retired. For a while, Mitchell, an electrician in his 50s, stopped seeking dental care altogether. But when one of his wisdom teeth began to ache, he started looking for someone new. An acquaintance recommended John Roger Lund, whose practice was a convenient 10-minute walk from Mitchell’s home, in San Jose, California. Lund’s practice was situated in a one-story building with clay roof tiles that housed several dental offices. The interior was a little dated, but not dingy. The waiting room was small and the decor minimal: some plants and photos, no fish. Lund was a good-looking middle-aged guy with arched eyebrows, round glasses, and graying hair that framed a youthful face. He was charming, chatty, and upbeat. At the time, Mitchell and Lund both owned Chevrolet Chevelles, and they bonded over their mutual love of classic cars.

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Lund extracted the wisdom tooth with no complications, and Mitchell began seeing him regularly. He never had any pain or new complaints, but Lund encouraged many additional treatments nonetheless. A typical person might get one or two root canals in a lifetime. In the space of seven years, Lund gave Mitchell nine root canals and just as many crowns. Mitchell’s insurance covered only a small portion of each procedure, so he paid a total of about $50,000 out of pocket. The number and cost of the treatments did not trouble him. He had no idea that it was unusual to undergo so many root canals—he thought they were just as common as fillings. The payments were spread out over a relatively long period of time. And he trusted Lund completely. He figured that if he needed the treatments, then he might as well get them before things grew worse.

Meanwhile, another of Lund’s patients was going through a similar experience. Joyce Cordi, a businesswoman in her 50s, had learned of Lund through 1-800-DENTIST. She remembers the service giving him an excellent rating. When she visited Lund for the first time, in 1999, she had never had so much as a cavity. To the best of her knowledge her teeth were perfectly healthy, although she’d had a small dental bridge installed to fix a rare congenital anomaly (she was born with one tooth trapped inside another and had had them extracted). Within a year, Lund was questioning the resilience of her bridge and telling her she needed root canals and crowns.


New York anti-vaxxers suing for right to infect public


As ongoing and growing measles outbreaks flare up around America some New York City anti-vaxxers are suing to block last-minute emergency measures city leaders are taking to slow the spread of infectious disease.

The anti-vaxxers are relying on the repetition of known bad science to carry the day.


Drought Map for April 18th 2019