Guantanamo inmates have been on a hunger strike for months, to no small degree because the guards were not respecting their religious practices. The U.S. government has been force-feeding them in a dehumanizing process – read a brief but harrowing account here (HT Jake Chase-Lubitz). Now, with the religious fasting of Ramadan upon us, the government decided to torture the inmates while “respecting” their religion:

The US government has said that barring “unforeseen emergency or operational issues” it will respect the daylight fast by trying only to force feed 45 detainees at night.

How kind. The link above has a video of Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) being subjected to force feeding, for awareness. Don’t know what I think about that.


Below the fold: the racialized portrayal of Brazil’s Protest, and a proposal to socialize pharmaceutical companies.

When The Bullets Aren’t Rubber 

Protests have shakenBrazil. But there’s a distinctly racial tinge to media portrayals. Images of white protestors being assaulted are rife. Meanwhile,

 black Brazilians were largely stripped of their right to demonstrate. The media, among others, branded them not as concerned protesters, but as violent vandals, whose own experiences of police brutality were deemed of little interest

There really is no escaping discourses on race. Really good read.

More on Brazil:

The Brazil Protests are Really about the Right to the City


Socialize Big Pharma

Jacobin’s Leigh Phillips argues in this provocative piece. We have a huge problem facing us:

In March, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden, warned authorities of their “limited window of opportunity” to deal with the “nightmare” presented by the rise of a family of bacteria highly resistant to what are often our last line of antibiotic defense: the suite of drugs known as carbapenems. A few months earlier, the UK’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, used similar language to describe a future “apocalyptic scenario” in 20 years’ time, when people will be dying from infections that are currently understood to be trivial, “because we have run out of antibiotics.”

The incentives of for-profit phrarmaceutical companies are all wrong, and so now we’re faced with a serious threat.

For too long, the most common criticism from progressive quarters of these companies has been that their profit-seeking hurts the poor of the developed and developing world, who can’t afford their drugs. This is true as far as it goes, but doesn’t tackle the scale of this problem. The private pharmaceutical sector is a threat to public health and needs to be done away with entirely.

It’s a long read, but save it up for when you have some time. It’s good.


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