Tilda Swinton risked arrest waving a rainbow flag in front of the Kremlin in violation of Russia’s new homosexual propaganda bill. And she wants everyone who can to reblog it in solidarity.
One of the most troubling things about the AIDS epidemic is that it could have been stopped so easily by rolling out life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) early on. Not only do ARVs prevent HIV from developing into AIDS, they also reduce transmission rates and increase people’s willingness to get tested.
But Western pharmaceutical corporations have colluded in pricing these essential drugs way out of reach of the poor. When they were first introduced, patented ARVs cost up to $15,000 per yearly regimen. Generic producers were able to manufacture the same drugs for a mere fraction of the price, but the WTO outlawed this through the 1995 TRIPS agreement to protect Big Pharma’s monopoly.
It was not until 2003 that the WTO bowed to activist pressure and allowed southern Africa to import generics, but by then it was too late – HIV prevalence had already reached devastating proportions. In other words, much of the region’s AIDS burden can be directly attributed to the WTO’s rules and the corporations that defended them. And they are set to strike again: the WTO will cut patent exemptions for poor countries after 2016.
This dearth of basic drugs has gone hand in hand with the general collapse of public health institutions. Structural adjustment and WTO trade policies have forced states to cut spending on hospitals and staff in order to repay odious debts to the West. Swaziland, ground-zero in the world of AIDS, has been hit hard by these cuts. When I last visited I found that many once-bustling clinics are now empty and dilapidated. Neoliberalism has systematically destroyed the first line of defence against AIDS.
The point I want to drive home is that the policies that deny poor people access to life-saving drugs and destroy public healthcare come from the same institutions and interests that helped create the conditions for HIV transmission in the first place.
Asshole of the Day for January 1, 2014: Ken Langone
Pope Francis has been emphasizing the Jesus of the New Testament, you know the one who hung out with the poor and downtrodden and stopped the self-righteous from stoning sinners. And it’s making some people uncomfortable. Social conservatives who’ve spent the last decade focused only on keeping gays and women from having sex are shocked to find the Pope deemphasizing that message for one about helping the poor. But it’s the rich capitalists and their apologists who are most disturbed— they are upset that the Pope said that “trickle-down economics” not only doesn’t work, but isn’t consistent with Christ’s teaching. Ouch!
Billionaire Ken Langone is really upset, but rather than argue with the Pope’s statements on their merits, he just wants to shut him up:
Billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone has a warning for Pope Francis.
A major Republican donor, Langone told CNBC in a story published online Monday that wealthy people such as himself might stop giving to charity if the Pope continues to make statements criticizing capitalism and income inequality.
Langone said he was worried the Pope’s comments about an “exclusionary” “culture of prosperity” that may make some of the rich “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”
It takes a real asshole to try to bully the Pope with threats to withhold donations, and is perhaps even misguided since this Pope doesn’t live in the palace or go around in Prada shoes. That he’s bullying the Pope over preferring the poor to the rich, which is so clearly Jesus’s message in the Gospels, well, that’s what makes Ken Langone Asshole of the Day.
Oh, and one last thought for Mr. Langone: You may want to stop badmouthing this Pope, otherwise people may become incapable of feeling compassion for the rich.
It is Ken Langone’s first time as Asshole of the Day.
Every time I think the right wing nutjobs have reached peak derp, they go and surprise me.
Keep reaching for the stars, stupid!
my sim befriended the grim reaper when her roommate died in a fire and now she’s graduating from university and so i invited the grim reaper to the ceremony and when he came he had to change into formal clothing and this is what he looked like
i want to force like 75% of male nerddom to watch this conversation