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What’s killing poor white women?
Sep 3rd, 2013 at 10:01 am by susie
Everything about Crystal’s life was ordinary, except for her death. She is one of a demographic—white women who don’t graduate from high school—whose life expectancy has declined dramatically over the past 18 years. These women can now expect to die five years earlier than the generation before them. It is an unheard-of drop for a wealthy country in the age of modern medicine. Throughout history, technological and scientific innovation have put death off longer and longer, but the benefits of those advances have not been shared equally, especially across the race and class divides that characterize 21st–century America. Lack of access to education, medical care, good wages, and healthy food isn’t just leaving the worst-off Americans behind. It’s killing them.
The journal Health Affairs reported the five-year drop in August. The article’s lead author, Jay Olshansky, who studies human longevity at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a team of researchers looked at death rates for different groups from 1990 to 2008. White men without high-school diplomas had lost three years of life expectancy, but it was the decline for women like Crystal that made the study news. Previous studies had shown that the least-educated whites began dying younger in the 2000s, but only by about a year. Olshansky and his colleagues did something the other studies hadn’t: They isolated high-school dropouts and measured their outcomes instead of lumping them in with high-school graduates who did not go to college.
The last time researchers found a change of this magnitude, Russian men had lost seven years after the fall of the Soviet Union, when they began drinking more and taking on other risky behaviors. Although women generally outlive men in the U.S., such a large decline in the average age of death, from almost 79 to a little more than 73, suggests that an increasing number of women are dying in their twenties, thirties, and forties. “We actually don’t know the exact reasons why it’s happened,” Olshansky says. “I wish we did.”
Posted by kpete | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:53 AM (9 replies)
TUE SEP 03, 2013 AT 07:20 AM PDT
An Open Letter From an Older Radical
by WB Reeves
In this time of war and rumors of war, perhaps we should give thought to oldest and longest war of all.
For many, this seems a time for passionate urgency unprecedented in human history. We remain mired in a slow motion global economic crisis that could pick up speed at any moment. Economic inequality has reached astronomic levels both at home and abroad. The political and economic institutions that govern our lives, corrupt and empowered as never before by technology, seem poised to establish themselves as permanent leviathans. Ecological catastrophe looms. The prospect of military action and potentially, another war are on the horizon.
It's a daunting prospect but not unprecedented.
From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution onward, we have been engaged in a race between survival and obliteration. This is a lesson that my grandparent's generation and my parent's generation learned from the horrors of the Great Depression and two World Wars. It's a lesson I learned at age six with the realization that the world could be incinerated at any moment by the blunders of a powerful few. That whole populations of supposedly normal people could turn a blind eye to exploitation, brutality and murder, as long as the victims were of a different, religion, ethnicity or color.
All these realities called for passionate and urgent responses, because they were all battles in a larger conflict that continues to the present day. It is the fight for the future. It is the long war between those who struggle for human dignity and decency in a world that exalts the few at the expense of the many and those who would defend the status quo, even at the cost of human extinction.
We stand where countless others have stood before us.
So now, having been lied into two wars in a decade by politicians drunk with imperial ambitions, we fear being lied into another. Rightly so, as those of us who experienced the era of the Viet Nam War can attest.
I've never gotten over that one. I knew people who were sacrificed there in the name of anti-Communism but on the altar of empire. I might have shared their fate if the war had gone on longer. Fortunately, the draft was on the way out by the time I came of age. I also knew people, like one of my sister's boyfriends who was a draft resister, much to our father's disgust.
I was born into a society that had legal apartheid as its keystone and the violence of the white supremacist backlash against the Civil Rights Movement was the backdrop of my childhood.
I know what it's like to be arbitrarily singled out by the cops. I've experienced being searched, threatened and beaten unconscious with a billy club. At age 16 during Nixon's reign I was questioned by the FBI due to my political activism.
I witnessed the fall of Nixon after Watergate, the success of the Anti-Nuke movement and the reactionary wave that brought Reagan to power. I participated in the struggle against his brutal contra war against the revolutionary Sandinista Government of Nicaragua and his support of the genocidal regime of Rios Mont in Guatemala. I spent close to a decade fighting the resurgent KKK and the rise of the Nazi skinheads.
In 2000 I was the Press Secretary for the Green Party in my state. I was arrested by the military for trespass as part of the effort to close the School of the Americas. I was a founding member of my local Indymedia collective and participated in the anti-globalization movement. I was in the street with thousands of others attempting to stop the wars in Afghan and Iraq before they started. When the Occupy movement emerged I attended local General Assemblies and supported their actions.
I find reciting all this more than a little tiresome, not to mention self indulgent. I only do so because I want it to be clearly understood where I'm coming from.
For those of you who feel compelled to join this struggle, who feel called to take up the fight, I applaud your commitment and your efforts. I understand your frustration and impatience. Your sense of urgency is well founded.
Now I have to say some things you may not like. The most important lesson you can learn from previous generations of radical activists is to not repeat their errors and blunders. That means applying the same critical scrutiny and skepticism to them as you apply to the government, the right wing, etc.
I don't say this to draw a false equivalence. I say it because radical activists are human beings with all the flaws and failings that implies. One of these failings is a tendency, as they grow older, to attempt to relive their youth through others. Another is that a certain percentage have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. The most destructive failing though, is the natural tendency to withdraw from engagement with those of differing views into a consoling cocoon of mutual reinforcement. If that were an effective approach we wouldn't have experienced the past 30 plus years of reaction.
The hard reality is that we will not halt the march toward global corporate oligarchy with all its evils if we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to those who do not yet understand the stakes.
One last thing, it's extremely important when assessing the ideas that have come from previous generations to comprehend the context in which they arose. When it comes to Professor Chomsky, for example, you should keep in mind that his entire political outlook was shaped by the environment of the Cold War, the "Old Left" and the sectarian conflicts and modes of thought that it typified. This doesn't invalidate his very real contributions and insights but it does mandate an informed and critical reading of his work. The same scrutiny should apply to all inherited opinions.
I'll leave you with some words from a song that was written in the Vietnam era by an American anti-war GI.
"They took away Sacco, Vanzetti, Connolly and
Posted by kpete | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:38 AM (2 replies)
On Syria: The U.S. Is No Lone Ranger and Should Put That Six Shooter Away
Posted on Sep 2, 2013
I am not arguing that because the United States and its allies have indiscriminately killed large numbers of innocent noncombatants in the past, the Syrian government should be held harmless for its own gas attack at Ghouta, which killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Two wrongs never make a right. I am arguing that the United States is in no moral or legal position to play the Lone Ranger here. The first steps Washington should take are to acknowledge its own implication in such atrocities and to finish destroying its chemical stockpiles and join the ban on land mines and cluster bombs.
Now that we’re in the 21st century, moreover, it is time to cease using the supposedly macho language of violence in response to political challenges. Tossing a couple of Tomahawk cruise missiles on a few government facilities in Damascus is not going to deter the Syrian government from using chemical weapons, and it will not affect the course of the war. Sonni Efron, a former State Department official and now a senior government fellow at Human Rights First, has argued that the United States and Europe could have a much more effective impact by announcing that in response to the Baath provocation they were going to close the loopholes that allow Syrian banks to continue to interface with world financial institutions. This strategy would involve threatening third-party sanctions on Russian banks that provide Damascus with a financial backdoor. A united U.S.-EU push on this front would be far more consequential for the Syrian government than a limited military strike.
Posted by kpete | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 09:13 AM (0 replies)
Posted by kpete | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 09:10 AM (0 replies)
JUST SHUT UP
By Charles P. Pierce
Read more: Joe Lieberman Syria - Just Shut Up - Esquire
Follow us: @Esquiremag on Twitter | Esquire on Facebook
Visit us at Esquire.com
Let me be more precise. Just shut your fking piehole. Forever. You useless walking, bloodstained pile of casual death.
Lieberman said that he would urge lawmakers -- including his "amigos," Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) -- to approve an action in Syria. "I'm sure that our enemies are cheering now as a result of this decision because they realize it's not clear the president will get authority, and our allies are worried," he concluded. "That's why, again, this resolution or something like it has to pass Congress."
Let us be clear. There is no blazing, murderous maw into which Joe Lieberman would not be willing to feed someone else's child. There is no fiery death from above that he is not willing to inflict upon children in a distant land. The man could care less about the dead. He'd feed on them himself, if he could.
Fk him with a Hellfire.
Now that my throat's clear, let's start the day.
Posted by kpete | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 08:37 AM (70 replies)
Remember the "16 words"?
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa
Posted by kpete | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 08:27 AM (19 replies)
Here's just one interesting insight that should make us all step back and ask ourselves whether our long term interest might be better served by concentrating on a different issue that really does require American "intervention":
Survival was the key issue. The senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Syria turned to the USAID program for help. Terming the situation “a perfect storm,” in November 2008, he warned that Syria faced “social destruction.” He noted that the Syrian Minister of Agriculture had “stated publicly that economic and social fallout from the drought was ‘beyond our capacity as a country to deal with.’” But, his appeal fell on deaf ears: the USAID director commented that “we question whether limited USG resources should be directed toward this appeal at this time.” (reported on November 26, 2008 in cable 08DAMASCUS847_a to Washington and “leaked” to Wikileaks )
Whether or not this was a wise decision, we now know that the Syrian government made the situation much worse by its next action. Lured by the high price of wheat on the world market, it sold its reserves. In 2006, according to the US Department of Agriculture, it sold 1,500,000 metric tons or twice as much as in the previous year. The next year it had little left to export; in 2008 and for the rest of the drought years it had to import enough wheat to keep its citizens alive.
So tens of thousands of frightened, angry, hungry and impoverished former farmers flooded constituted a “tinder” that was ready to catch fire. The spark was struck on March 15, 2011 when a relatively small group gathered in the town of Daraa to protest against government failure to help them. Instead of meeting with the protestors and at least hearing their complaints, the government cracked down on them as subversives. The Assads, who had ruled the country since 1971, were not known for political openness or popular sensitivity. And their action backfired. Riots broke out all over the country, and as they did, the Assads attempted to quell them with military force. They failed to do so and, as outside help – money from the Gulf states and Muslim “freedom fighters” from the rest of the world – poured into the country, the government lost control of over 30% of the country’s rural areas and perhaps half of its population. By the spring of 2013, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), upwards of 100,000 people had been killed in the fighting, perhaps 2 million have lost their homes and upwards of 2 million have fled abroad. Additionally, vast amounts of infrastructure, virtually whole cities like Aleppo, have been destroyed.
If that doesn't sound like a premonition of many more crises to come, I don't know what does. Perhaps we should stop blowing things up for a little while and concentrate on being a global leader on the real existential crisis of our time: climate change. Tomahawk missiles aren't going to solve it, that's for sure.
I know it's long but please read this entire article. If you are persuaded, send it to your Representative, particularly if he or she is a progressive Democrat who is likely to be arm twisted by the Syria hawks in the Democratic leadership. It's vitally important that we break this cycle of military intervention to solve problems that can't be solved by military intervention. There are much bigger, long term challenges underlying all of this this that are papered over by America's status as the world's policeman and it's not serving any of us well.
Posted by kpete | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 08:00 AM (3 replies)
The problem for this reporter, however, began with the claim that the rebels had used Sarin gas. Already, I had interviewed someone with close ties to the humanitarian effort in Syria, a doctor who was familiar with chemical attacks. Rather than Sarin, the report given pointed to a completely different chemical agent, Tabun, a nerve agent with significantly lower rates of fatalities compared to other chemical agents. This would explain in part why there were such a high number of survivors. Tabun was last used during the Iran-Iraq war, alongside Sarin. Unlike Sarin, which is naturally a gas, Tabun is naturally a liquid, but can be turned into an aerosol for inhalation. Sarin kills within minutes, while Tabun is a far slower, more lingering danger. During the Iran-Iraq war, the two are used together due to their complementary methods of action, a cocktail mixture of agents designed to maximize their effect. However, the final word on what chemical was used, and who used it, is not due until the United Nations releases their findings.
Doing further digging, the earlier mentioned discrepancy over the reporter came clear. Since the initial release, Mint Press News has edited the article, making clear that the piece was written by Yahya Ababneh and not Dale Gavlak. Even more concerning, this appears to have been the sole piece ever written by Yahya Ababneh for the Mint Press News. Mr. Ababnah had previously written for other news agencies, ones which had praised the 9/11 attacks. The question comes, why would the leadership of the Syrian opposition speak to a journalist which worked for news agencies tied to propaganda, now working for a Minnesota news company which only came into existence less than 2 years ago?
Now, it is quite plausible for the Saudis to supply the rebels with weapons, given the bad blood between the Syrian regime and the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia had already been found to be applying pressure on Jordan to allow the rebels to operate out of its territory, a move which would inflame the conflict and potentially spread to Syria’s neighbor to the south. But would they introduce chemical weapons in to such a scenario? And if so, why this particular chemical weapon?
More plausible, should the weapons have been used by either side, their more likely source would be the stolen store of chemical weapons from Saddam Hussein. His regime already had developed the nerve agent cocktail which would fit the profile put forth. It is known that his storage facilities and factories for chemical weapons were looted following the US invasion. It is not a difficult jump to imagine those winding up in Syria, and available to either side of the conflict.
Read more: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/09/02/russia-pushes-story-attempting-to-blame-chemical-weapons-attack-on-syrian-rebels/#ixzz2dmmWP5AI
Posted by kpete | Mon Sep 2, 2013, 08:43 PM (1 replies)
Following his cancellation of a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama may infuriate the Kremlin further by meeting Russian human rights activists, including LGBT rights groups, during his upcoming trip to St Petersburg for the G20 summit.
Four Russian non-governmental organizations told BuzzFeed Monday they had been invited to the meeting, scheduled for this Thursday at St. Petersburg’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. The groups include veteran human rights activists Lev Ponomarev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, legal aid NGO director Pavel Chikov, and Coming Out, a St.
Petersburg-based LGBT organization. Another local LGBT group, the LGBT Network, is believed to be attending, though director Igor Kochetkov declined to comment to BuzzFeed, saying that he had been “asked not to say anything.”
Election monitoring group Golos is also believed to have been invited, though BuzzFeed could not reach its director or deputy director to confirm. Russia’s justice ministry forced Golos, which used to receive funding from USAID, to disband this summer under a law on “foreign agents” that many believed was created specifically to target the group.
It is believed to be the first time Obama has met with members of the Russian LGBT community. Asked about Russia’s anti-LGBT law in August, Obama told Jay Leno that he had “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.
Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/obama-to-meet-with-russian-activists-on-g20-sidelines
Posted by kpete | Mon Sep 2, 2013, 08:25 PM (9 replies)