…looking at it [DOT 11/5/21]

what are are we seeing...

…not to start the day of with a cliché…but sometimes what we see depends on how the picture is framed…& by who

The origin of America’s opioid crisis – the ludicrously profitable proliferation of addictive pain medications whose abuse killed nearly half a million Americans between 2000 and 2019 – arguably comes down to a single sentence. In 1996, the drug company Purdue Pharma, then owned and controlled by Mortimer and Raymond Sackler and their heirs, began selling the opioid drug OxyContin. (The family of a third brother, Arthur Sackler, sold their shares before OxyContin’s introduction.) The highly addictive medication was designed for people with severe pain, such as cancer patients, but went to market as a moderate pill for chronic pain sufferers, complete with a succinct, misleading seal of approval from the Food and Drug Administration: “Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.”

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/may/10/opioid-crisis-alex-gibney-the-crime-of-the-century

…so it’s not hard to see why sometimes it seems like a fresh set of eyes might be a good move

The families of 165 victims of police brutality in the US are calling on the United Nations to set up an independent inquiry into the ongoing scourge of police killings of Black men and women.

With the support of more than 250 civil society groups from around the world including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the families are hoping to engage the UN in efforts to rein in police violence against African American communities. The call comes in the wake of last year’s nationwide and international protests following the murder of George Floyd by the now ex-police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/10/us-police-brutality-black-victims-families-un-inquiry

Officers who killed Breonna Taylor should not have fired their weapons, internal investigator finds

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/10/breonna-taylor-internal-investigation/

Just after midnight on Halloween, a blaring car alarm and a loud banging sound startled Mirella Castaneda and woke her young son.

A man stood in her driveway in Forest Grove, Ore., slamming his fist into the Black Lives Matter flag draped over the metal garage door as the security alarm on the family’s pickup truck continued to beep.

Castaneda immediately called 911 — but when police showed up, they recognized the man as an off-duty officer named Steven Teets.

Instead of arresting Teets, though, one of the responding officers simply drove him home.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/10/oregon-police-blm-flag-attack/

While big-city police tend to get the most attention, the agencies that have been in the spotlight recently for uses of force — fatal shootings of Black men in Brooklyn Center, Minn., and Elizabeth City, N.C., and pepper-spraying a Black and Latino man in Windsor, Va. — are more illustrative of what American law enforcement looks like: small departments in places that rarely make the news.
[…]
Nearly half of all local police departments have fewer than 10 officers. Three in 4 of the departments have no more than two dozen officers. And 9 in 10 employ fewer than 50 sworn officers. Brooklyn Center, which has 43 officers, and Windsor, which reported a seven-member force, fit comfortably in that majority.

Experts say that while smaller departments have their benefits, including being able to adapt to their communities and hire officers with local ties, these agencies also are typically able to avoid the accountability being sought as part of the national movement to restructure and improve policing. These departments’ often limited resources and the decentralized structure of American law enforcement complicate efforts to mandate widespread training and policy changes, experts say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/08/most-police-departments-america-are-small-thats-partly-why-changing-policing-is-difficult-experts-say/

…after all…it can be hard to take the word of the people responsible for something

The ransomware group believed to be behind an extortion attempt that caused the shutdown of a key pipeline delivering petrochemicals to the north-eastern US has apparently posted a message on social media in which it claims its goal is to make money, not to advance geopolitical aims.

As relayed by DarkTracer, an investigative platform, the message apparently from DarkSide said in imperfect English: “We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for other our motives.

“Our goal is to make money, and do not creating problems for society. From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/10/colonial-pipeline-shutdown-us-darkside-message

…even if it seems like some might be inclined to

…I dunno…seems like a hell of a coincidence if you ask me

The Biden administration has invoked emergency powers as part of an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to avoid fuel shortages after the worst-ever cyber-attack on US infrastructure shut down a crucial pipeline supplying the east coast.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/10/us-invokes-emergency-powers-after-cyberattack-shuts-crucial-fuel-pipeline

A major fuel pipeline that was shut down after a brazen cyberattack will probably come back online by week’s end, officials said Monday, as security experts warned that the nation must take more seriously persistent vulnerabilities in America’s aging energy infrastructure.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/05/10/colonial-pipeline-gas-oil-markets/

A deputy national security adviser said that the government believed DarkSide was “a criminal actor” but was looking for any ties to nation-states.

The F.B.I. confirms that DarkSide, a ransomware group, was behind the hack of a major U.S. pipeline. [NYT]

“Cyber attacks [and] cyber operations are getting bigger and more complex,” said Camille Stewart, a former senior policy adviser at the Department of Homeland Security who is now global head of product security strategy at Google. “And CISA definitely has to scale its operations, its technology, to meet that challenge.”

CISA said this weekend that it’s “engaging” with other government agencies to respond to a ransomware attack on one of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline operators. And the agency is also still dealing with the fallout of the SolarWinds cyberattack, which the Biden administration has blamed on Russia.
[…]
The United States is on “the cusp of a global digital pandemic driven by greed,” former CISA director Chris Krebs told Congress last week. The crisis, Krebs said, is a “digital dumpster fire.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/10/cybersecurity-202-biden-new-cisa-director-will-confront-host-complex-challenges/

…it’s hardly news that sometimes we don’t hear the whole story

NDAs entered the public discourse amid the #MeToo movement around 2017. Many victims of Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of assaulting more than 80 women, said they were unable to speak out due to strict confidentiality clauses.

Their use in the tech world has remained far less known, however, Ozoma said. “The contracts people were outraged about are nearly identical to what we see in the tech world,” she said. “I think [NDA]s have been left behind because they are used to protect powerful people everywhere.”
[…]
Ozoma left Pinterest around the same time as her former colleague Aerica Shimizu Banks in June 2020. Both say they had to fight to be paid fairly compared with white colleagues, faced racist comments from their manager and were retaliated against for advocating for change.

Ozoma also says the company failed to protect her when a colleague shared her personal information with hate sites, and launched an inquiry into her rather than investigating the incident.
[…]
Upon leaving Pinterest, Ozoma accepted a severance agreement that included half a year of pay. But it also required her to sign an NDA ensuring she would not speak out about her time there, including about why she left.
[…]
“I could not stand by and let a company get away with posting ‘Black Lives Matter’ when they did not act like black lives mattered in the negotiations they had just concluded with us,” Banks previously told the Guardian.

She broke her NDA to speak out against Pinterest. Now she’s helping others come forward [Guardian]

…or that social media has some anti-social tendencies

Most Americans admit they use social media at least once a day, but they also believe platforms like Facebook and Twitter are doing more to divide the nation than to bring it together, according to brand-new results from the latest national NBC News poll.
[…]
The numbers are essentially unchanged from when the poll asked this same question in 2018 and 2019.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/poll-nearly-two-thirds-americans-say-social-media-platforms-are-tearing-us-apart

Despite Facebook’s repeated assurances that it would address poor workplace conditions for its content moderators, often contractors who spend their days reviewing graphic and violent images posted on the site, little has changed at the company, a former Facebook content moderator said in an interview that aired Monday on “NBC Nightly News.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/facebook-content-moderators-say-they-receive-little-support-despite-company-promises

A group of 40 state attorneys general on Monday urged Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to abandon plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.

“Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account,” the officials said in a letter that was also signed by the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories. “Further, Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/state-ags-urge-facebook-to-cancel-instagram-for-younger-kids

Five of the world’s leading social media platforms are “effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users,” according to a new report from GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy group.

In its inaugural Social Media Safety Index, released Monday, GLAAD evaluated the “LGBTQ user safety experience” of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Initially, the organization intended to grade each platform, but it changed course after it realized it would be giving all five failing grades, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said.
[…]
The 50-page report’s key conclusions — in addition to finding the “entire sector” unsafe — were identifying the “prevalence and intensity of hate speech and harassment” as the “most significant problem in urgent need of improvement” across social media platforms and labeling the “problem of anti-LGBTQ hate speech and misinformation” on the platforms as a “public health and safety issue.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/top-social-media-platforms-unsafe-for-lgbtq-users-report-finds

The Department of Homeland Security has begun implementing a strategy to gather and analyze intelligence about security threats from public social media posts, DHS officials said.

The goal is to build a warning system to detect the sort of posts that appeared to predict an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but were missed or ignored by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the officials said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/dhs-launches-warning-system-find-domestic-terrorism-threats-public-social-media

…maybe it might help if it were less true that money makes the world go round?

A nationwide shortage of restaurant workers is emerging as one of the defining quirks of the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic. The unemployment rate remains elevated at 6.1 percent, but even as dining establishments aggressively hire workers, data and anecdotal reports suggest they are having trouble luring anywhere near enough staff.
[…]
The unusual dynamic was underscored Friday by the release of the monthly labor statistics, which found that 266,000 jobs were created in April, far short of the roughly million new jobs that estimates had predicted. Some analysts blamed an economic recovery that isn’t as strong as it seems, but others have blamed powerful forces such as ongoing health fears and robust unemployment insurance for keeping people from seeking jobs in the service sector.
[…]
Worker and labor market advocates say that pay increases could be the solution for Miami’s and other cities’ hospitality labor crisis. A report released May 5 by the University California at Berkeley Food Labor Research Center and the labor nonprofit One Fair Wage, describes the problem not as a labor shortage but as a wage shortage, saying restaurants should just pay workers more.

But restaurant owners argue their margins are so slim — often 3 to 5 percent — they can’t afford to do that in any significant way.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/05/08/restaurant-jobs-shortage-workers-miami/

…now I’m not going to deny that the restaurant business is a tough one to make a go of…but in all seriousness, if your business model is predicated on the idea that people need to pay your staff via tips because the money from the bill doesn’t cover a living wage for the folks trying to make their living

Has the Republican Party, which has championed the interests of big business and sought to keep wages low since the late 19th century, suddenly become populist? Some of its rising stars would have you believe so. For example, after the 2020 election Senator Josh Hawley declared that “we must be a working-class party, not a Wall Street party.”

But while Republicans have lately attacked selected businesses, their beef with big companies seems to be over noneconomic issues. It bothers them a lot that some of corporate America has taken a mild stand in favor of social equality and against voter suppression.

What doesn’t bother them is the fact that many corporations pay little or nothing in taxes and pay their workers poorly. On such matters the G.O.P. is the same as it ever was: It’s for tax cuts that favor corporations and the wealthy, against anything that might improve the lives of ordinary workers.

Republicans Are Still Waging War on Workers [NYT]

…there’s something wrong with that picture

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/ill-informed-and-cruel-growing-number-gop-led-states-move-to-end-covid-benefits

When it comes to rhetoric, the new breed of conservative populists – Carlson, Hawley, Vance – love saber-rattling against “cosmopolitan elites”. When it comes to actual policy, they have no interest in challenging corporate power and few plans to invest in working-class communities. Take Vance’s recent opposition to universal childcare, which he called “a massive subsidy to the lifestyle preferences of the affluent”.

Vance’s alternative idea to help American parents, who frequently face a crushing, Catch-22 style choice between giving up their full-time jobs or paying astronomical amounts of money on childcare? Instead of an expanded social wage through a government program, Vance lauds a plan, proposed by Hawley, to give a tax credit to married parents with children under the age of 13. Not exactly transformative, New Deal-style reform to aid struggling Americans; if anything, it’s the kind of tepid, wonkish program that the New Democrats could have very well dreamt up 30 years ago.

‘Pro-worker’ Republicans are status-quo toadies cloaked as populists [Guardian]

…funny how that doesn’t quite seem to align with the picture I’m seeing

…well…not “funny ha-ha” obviously…more like “that smells kinda funny”, I guess

The millionaire CEOs of some of the American companies with the lowest-paid workers saw an average pay raise of 29% in 2020 while their workers saw a 2% decrease, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Institute for Policy Studies calculated that the average CEO compensation in 2020 was $15.3m when looking at the 100 companies with the lowest median wage for workers in the S&P 500 index.

The median worker pay was $28,187. This means that CEOs saw a 29% pay raise compared to 2019, while workers saw a 2% decrease. For all 100 companies, median worker pay was below $50,000 for 2020.

The compensation hike came as companies gave their top leaders hefty bonuses and forgiving performance benchmarks during the pandemic, allowing the top executives to cash in while their low-wage employees were essential workers.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/11/us-millionaire-ceos-saw-29-pay-raises-while-workers-had-decreases-report-says

…although…there’s kind of a lot of that in the air still

There is no evidence that former President Donald J. Trump’s narrow loss in Arizona’s presidential election in the fall was fraudulent. Nonetheless, 16 Republicans in the State Senate voted to subpoena ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and two-thirds of the state’s vote in November, for an audit to show Trump die-hards that their fraud concerns were taken seriously.

As recently as a week ago, officials said the review would be completed by May 14. But with that deadline a week away, only about 250,000 of the county’s 2.1 million ballots have been processed in the hand recount that is a central part of the review, Ken Bennett, a liaison between those conducting the review and the senators, said on Saturday.
[…]
The delay is but the latest snag in an exercise that many critics claim is wrecking voters’ confidence in elections, not restoring it. Since the State Senate first ordered it in December, the review has been dogged by controversy. Republicans dominate the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which supervised the election in the county. They said it was fair and accurate and opposed the review.

After a week marked by mounting accusations of partisan skulduggery, mismanagement and even potential illegality, at least one Republican supporter of the new count said it could not end soon enough.

“It makes us look like idiots,” State Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican from suburban Phoenix who supported the audit, said on Friday. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/09/us/arizona-vote-count-republicans.html

…& much as it’s at least a little heartening to hear this kind of thing emanating from within the ranks of the GOP

“A few days before Jan 6 , our GOP members had a conference call,” Kinzinger said on Twitter. “I told Kevin that his words and our party’s actions would lead to violence on January 6th. Kevin dismissively responded with ‘OK Adam, operator next question.’ And we got violence.”
[…]
On Monday, Kinzinger also said he had considered trying to force a vote of no-confidence in McCarthy after the insurrection.

“I don’t consider him to be speaking on behalf of the Republican party any more,” Kinzinger told Bloomberg News, adding: “I actually thought the person that should have their leadership challenged was Kevin McCarthy after 6 January because that’s why this all happened.”
[…]
But like most of his party McCarthy has sided with a former president whose grip on the party seems set to strengthen this week with the ejection from leadership of Liz Cheney, a Wyoming conservative who has also spoken against him.

Kinzinger has been one of Cheney’s few Republican defenders in Congress. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said: “Liz is the one playing defense, for what? What’s she playing defense for? Telling the truth and not ransacking the Capitol on 6 January?

“If you think about it from the forest, it’s ludicrous that she’s having to defend herself. That’s insane, but that’s where we are.”

Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, Kinzinger said his party was “going to get rid of Liz Cheney because they’d much rather pretend that the conspiracy is either real or not confront it than to actually confront it and maybe have to take the temporary licks to save this party and the long-term [future] of this country”.
[…]
Cheney is set to be replaced in a closed vote on Wednesday. On Sunday, Kinzinger also compared the trajectory of his party to the sinking of the Titanic, saying leaders were not acting responsibly.

“We’re like in the middle of this slow sink,” he said. “We have a band playing on the deck, telling everybody it’s fine, and meanwhile as I’ve said, Donald Trump is running around trying to find women’s clothing to get on the first lifeboat.

“I think there’s a few of us saying, ‘Guys, this is not good, not just for the future of the party, but this is not good for the future of this country.’”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/10/adam-kinzinger-kevin-mccarthy-capitol-attack-warned-republicans

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/kinzinger-says-mccarthy-dismissed-warnings-of-violence-ahead-of-jan-6-praises-cheney

Kevin McCarthy was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.

A few days before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, the House Republican leader had a conference call with GOP lawmakers. On the call, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois warned McCarthy that his and other party leaders’ claims — that the election had been stolen and that Republicans had the power to block Joe Biden’s victory from being certified — “would lead to violence on January 6th.”

The response? Crickets, Kinzinger said, and then McCarthy “dismissively” blew off the warning. “Ok, Adam,” the GOP leader replied, “operator next question.” The rest — a Capitol ransacked, certification halted, five dead — is history.

Kinzinger tweeted about the exchange Monday and expanded on it during a National Press Club virtual gathering. “This was entirely predictable,” the sixth-term lawmaker said of the deadly attack, “and it was disregarded.”

Kinzinger brought all this up, he said, because McCarthy is seeking to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) as the No. 3 House Republican over her refusal to embrace the “big lie” that then-President Donald Trump won the election — the very lie that provoked the Capitol attack. “Liz is being chased out for one thing,” Kinzinger said. “… Her consistency. She said the same exact thing that Kevin McCarthy said on January 6th, which is Donald Trump is responsible” for the insurrection.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/10/kevin-mccarthy-hits-bottom-barrel/

…the whole small-voice-in-the-wilderness thing kind of takes the shine off…I mean, if it seemed credible that these really were the death throes of one of the two perennially viable political parties in the US maybe I’d be looking to throw some sort of party of my own…but it doesn’t come off that way to me…even though arguably it should

Republicans seem to have decided that lying is their best option. Rather than risk the wrath of the disgraced former president, they lie about who won the election and who is responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection. Rather than confront the donor class and anti-government activists who insists on plutocratic economics, they opposed the American Rescue Plan en masse — and then went out to promote its benefits.

Deception soon morphs into self-delusion. The Post reports on a polling briefing that took place at a recent GOP retreat:

“When staff from the National Republican Congressional Committee rose to explain the party’s latest polling in core battleground districts, they left out a key finding about Trump’s weakness, declining to divulge the information even when directly questioned about Trump’s support by a member of Congress, according to two people familiar with what transpired.

“Trump’s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in the core districts, according to the full polling results, which were later obtained by The Washington Post. Nearly twice as many voters had a strongly unfavorable view of the former president as had a strongly favorable one.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/10/republicans-dont-just-lie-voters-they-lie-themselves/

Say what you will about Lindsey Graham; he has a knack for saying enlightening — and subtly honest — things about why the official Republican Party remains in Donald Trump’s grip.

It’s because it has no idea how to do anything else.
[…]
Is Graham really saying that the GOP is that beholden to Trump for its future prospects?

A look at his past commentary suggests that’s exactly what he’s saying. And not only that, but he’s provided us with a very specific reason: because Trump could destroy the GOP if he’s cast aside.
[…]
But it’s hardly the only subtly honest admission Graham has made about Trump — nor the only one in which he describes himself and his party as subservient to Trump.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/10/lindsey-graham-keeps-saying-quiet-part-out-loud-trump/

…but it does at least seem clear that there are, as the saying goes, lessons to be learned

Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton told House lawmakers Monday that the agency must begin to think of itself as a “protective agency” if it is to prevent future attacks on Congress like the one pro-Trump rioters carried out Jan. 6.
[…]
Bolton told lawmakers Monday that the force needs additional resources, including a stand-alone countersurveillance unit, to adequately address a growing number of threats to the U.S. Capitol and those who work there. According to the Capitol Police, there has been a 107 percent increase in such threats in 2021 compared to 2020. Bolton said Monday that the force’s caseload has been steadily increasing since 2017.

He also faulted outdated guidance and seemingly garbled orders for adding to the sense of chaos on Jan. 6 and the agency’s flailing response as rioters forced their way into the building. He said command and control issues are expected to be the focus of his next interim report, which he estimated would be completed in June, but lawmakers pressed him on such questions nonetheless.

Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) read to Bolton from a Capitol Police timeline, which she said indicated that a group of about 200 members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of violence, were allowed to roam the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6 while officers were sent to monitor just “three or four” counterdemonstrators. Federal prosecutors have charged several Proud Boys members in connection with the Capitol riot, including those suspected of leading the stampede that overwhelmed police.

“Who is responsible for deploying department personnel to monitor three or four counterdemonstrators but not the 200 Proud Boys?” Lofgren asked Boltonthe inspector general.

Capitol Police must make major cultural shift to confront rising threats, inspector general says [WaPo]

…I don’t know if it qualifies as being a good thing given the subject matter is tucker carlson…but…it made me feel a bit better about the world?

…I think we can agree that sometimes these guys kind of bring this stuff on themselves

Melinda French Gates had concerns about her husband’s dealings with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when she consulted lawyers to explore the option of divorcing the Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, according to reports.
[…]
The Wall Street Journal reported that in 2019 Melinda, 56, hired a team of lawyers from several high profile law firms to discuss a possible divorce. The Journal said several of its sources had said Melinda was concerned about her husband’s business dealings with Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges related to sex trafficking.

Melinda is said to have expressed unease at Bill’s relationship with Epstein since at least 2013. Her meeting with divorce lawyers in October 2019 is said to have taken place at roughly the same time as a New York Times article detailed Bill’s meetings with Epstein, which included an overnight stay at Epstein’s New York mansion.

The article, which detailed Epstein’s connections with the rich and powerful, said none of them “compared in prestige and power to the [then] world’s second-richest person, a brilliant and intensely private luminary: Bill Gates. And unlike many others, Mr Gates started the relationship after Mr Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.”

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/may/10/melinda-bill-gates-divorce-jeffrey-epstein-meetings

…I mean…it’s hard to see why that would be something you’d want to do…but then on the whole we don’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to doing what it seems like you’d want to do

Rare elements such as indium, yttrium, neodymium, cobalt and lithium are vital for the production of low-carbon technology, but many are being thrown away because of the lack of a requirement to recycle them, industry experts have warned.

Insufficient recycling of rare metals could hinder climate efforts, experts warn

…not that it’s exactly looking so much better out there in the world of not-america

Israeli police storm al-Aqsa mosque ahead of Jerusalem Day march [Guardian]

Weeks of simmering tensions in Jerusalem between Palestinian protesters, the police and right-wing Israelis suddenly veered into military conflict on Monday, as a local skirmish in the decades-long battle for control of the city escalated into rocket fire and airstrikes in Gaza.

After a raid by the Israeli police on the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem left hundreds of Palestinians and a score of police officers wounded, militants in Gaza responded by firing a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem, drawing Israeli airstrikes in return.

The catalyst for the escalation was the conflict over recent Israeli efforts to remove Palestinians from strategic parts of the city. The issue became a rallying cry for Palestinians, who saw the moves as ethnic cleansing and illegal, and right-wing Israeli Jews, who said they were fighting for their property as landowners while also attempting to ensure Jewish control over East Jerusalem.

The dispute, focused on a single Jerusalem neighborhood, has exploded into a major flare-up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, gaining world attention after a period in which the Palestinian cause had been largely marginalized — by the United States under President Donald J. Trump, by the Arab countries that normalized relations with Israel, and by Israel, ruled by a right-wing government for more than a decade.

By the end of the day Monday, Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, had fired rockets at Jerusalem for the first time in seven years. Israeli airstrikes left at least 20 Palestinians, including nine children, dead, according to Palestinian officials. And the region was bracing for a cycle of reprisal attacks.

After Raid on Aqsa Mosque, Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Airstrikes [NYT]

Israelis, Palestinians and Their Neighbors Worry: Is This the Big One? [NYT]

…even when things seem to be going better

New global cases are leveling off after rising steadily since March and peaking in late April, but the world is in danger as long as they remain at “an unacceptably high plateau,” the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday.

Scientists warn that if the virus is allowed to spread unchecked in parts of the world with lower vaccine coverage, dangerous variants will continue to evolve, threatening all countries.

Covid-19: Global Cases Fall but the Virus Is Surging in Countries That Lack Vaccines

…all in all it seems like the world might be doing its best to make us all crazy…but maybe what we need is…well…serious drugs?

After decades of demonization and criminalization, psychedelic drugs are on the cusp of entering mainstream psychiatry, with profound implications for a field that in recent decades has seen few pharmacological advancements for the treatment of mental disorders and addiction. The need for new therapeutics has gained greater urgency amid a national epidemic of opioid abuse and suicides.
[…]
The nation’s top universities are racing to set up psychedelic research centers, and investors are pouring millions of dollars into a pack of start-ups. States and cities across the country are beginning to loosen restrictions on the drugs, the first steps in what some hope will lead to the federal decriminalization of psychedelics for therapeutic and even recreational use.

“There’s been a sea change in attitudes about what not long ago was considered fringe science,” said Michael Pollan, whose best-selling book on psychedelics, “How to Change Your Mind,” has helped destigmatize the drugs in the three years since it was published. “Given the mental health crisis in this country, there’s great curiosity and hope about psychedelics and a recognition that we need new therapeutic tools.”

The Psychedelic Revolution Is Coming. Psychiatry May Never Be the Same. [NYT]

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15 Comments

  1. I watched the part 1 of the HBO documentary on opioids right before bed, try sleeping after that.
    BTW – beginning with drugs and ending with drugs, nice!

  2. The psychedelics are fascinating; I’ve read about their successful use in treating PTSD, depression, chronic pain, and those in hospice/palliative care situations. Any condition that would benefit from a brain reboot.

    @MatthewCrawley ALERT! Cousin M says:

    “A message to the Deadsplinteriat.

    I saw everyone s well wishes from yesterday. Thank you all so much. 

    As I lay here in  my broody silence waiting for the pain meds to kick in I once assigned each and every one of you a doppelganger from my real life: a sibling, an inlaw, someone. it worked really well and I had no repeats!

    I will be back among you soon enough, maybe around 6/1.”

    • Something tells me this stuff is hitting the news because B Gates is trying to play hardball with M and she’s not having it.
       
      He should have known there is no way he wins by dragging this out. I don’t know if he has the sense to settle though.

      • Absolutely but he won’t. Greed is a bizarre emotion. He’s worth $146 billion, effectively an infinite amount of money. No one could realistically spend that much, unless you’re pretty much a COUNTRY. Half of that is still virtually infinite. You could buy literally anything you wanted, if you still had things you wanted to buy. But he’s not going to see it that way. 

      • Agreed. She’s trying to put daylight between them, which sort of begs the question of “why?” I still wonder about Ghislaine Maxwell (too lazy to look up spelling) and what she’s holding to protect herself. I think a lot of Epstein’s business relied on implicit blackmail, and that would mean they were holding evidence. 

  3. I’m starting to think I might be Team Stefanik on this one.  Cheney gets hoisted by her own petard.  I’m morbidly curious to see just how fringe-right the Trumpist  leadership can get, and what the old-school Rep’s response will be.

    • Cheney voted in lockstep with Trump for four years, so yeah, her maverick label is … less than accurate. I keep waiting for the party to fracture, but it looks like the majority are just going along with “Dear Leader.” 
       
      The problem for the Republicans is, and I’ve said it before, personality cults are non-transferrable. If Big Orange should die, you’re going to have a significant portion of the base who will fade away, and won’t be motivated to vote at all. No current Republican can really occupy that “brand,” if you will. 

    • It’s all over but the shouting.  The old-school (and I use that term VERY loosely, because true old-school Republicans weren’t ever this insane), is now considered the fringe of the Party and they know it.  Trump swallowed the Party whole and is just spitting out the gristle.

    • …I forget if it was in the piece I linked but one of the things about cheney/stefanik noted that in terms of how they’ve voted the latter is arguably closer to the bill clinton line…barring the part where she hitched her wagon to team orange for endorsement purposes, obviously

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