Does it matter?
The Venezuelan government has targeted critics of its ineffective efforts to alleviate severe shortages of essential medicines and food while the crisis persists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Regional governments should press the administration of President Nicolás Maduro to adopt immediate measures to better address the profound humanitarian crisis, including by exploring avenues for increased international assistance.
The 78-page report, “Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis: Severe Medical and Food Shortages, Inadequate and Repressive Government Response,” documents how the shortages have made it extremely difficult for many Venezuelans to obtain essential medical care or meet their families’ basic needs. The Venezuelan government has downplayed the severity of the crisis. Although its own efforts to alleviate the shortages have not succeeded, it has made only limited efforts to obtain international humanitarian assistance that might be readily available. Meanwhile, it has intimidated and punished critics, including health professionals, human rights defenders, and ordinary Venezuelans who have spoken out about the shortages.
I’m spending a few days at the State Policy Network annual convention. It might sound boring, but it has actually been tremendously fascinating and intellectually exhilarating.
There are 1,300 people here, most of whom are associated with a think tank, research firm, consulting group, or lobbying team dedicated to holding back government expansion in every area of life. Nearly everyone here would identify themselves as some kind of libertarian. But it is not ideology on display here, but rather the nuts and bolts of policy effectiveness.
The fate of the disabled is a profoundly important moral issue. It speaks to the status of human rights and human dignity in a society. Will people – all people regardless of physical characteristics – be treated with respect and cared for with compassion and love, valued regardless of conditions which fate has imposed on them? Or will they be discarded and tossed out of the human family if they are insufficiently useful for our purposes?
And so Hillary Clinton, showing desperation to engage people in some moral issue, has chosen to take up the cause. The disabled are, “a group of Americans who are, too often, invisible, overlooked and undervalued — who have so much to offer, but are given far too few chances to prove it,” she said. “That’s been true for a long time,” she said, “and we have to change it.”
My in-laws finally started watching Breaking Bad. Their binging has taken them to the finale in just under two weeks. Impressive.
So, I was at their house re-watching the episode where Hank, a federal DEA agent, interrogates Saul Goodman’s bodyguard. Hank fools him into spilling information on Walt by holding up a staged photo of Jesse’s head next to a bloody mess of raw meat. Hank calms the bodyguard by saying he is not a suspect in conspiracy for murder, flashing the photo of Jesse without comment.
The Egyptian mass protests can only be classified as a reform movement that had hoped to create a liberal order. A modest goal that has degenerated into a full-spectrum military autocracy.
The mass protests that erupted in Egypt in 2011, and their aftermath, were dubbed ‘a revolution’ by both opponents and proponents.
The label, on the one hand, has been used to discredit the protests; described as a destructive force that is the reason for the abysmal state of the Egyptian economy. On the other hand, the same label has also been used to romanticize the struggle against the Mubarak regime and its successors.
Remember the Panama Papers leak..anyone?? If you do, then several African nations are amongst you. Obscure “customers” within their borders, according to leaks, were linked to offshore activities on the continent. Welcome to a new chapter of a forgotten scandal. It’s complete with inquiries pending and leaders questioned, topped off with journalists allegedly warned to stay away.
Mossack Fonseca, a firm center-piecing the Panama papers leak, sent business cards to several customers in Africa in 2010. According to ICIJ, the firm regarded the continent as “target territory”, filled with wealthy “customers”. However, since the leak–which outed everyone and everything from celebrities to military contractors–many of those customers have been questioned by African governments.
A wave of suicides among government officials has claimed two more lives. In June 12, two officials from Guangdong province died by suicide. Liu Xiaohua, deputy secretary general of Guangdong government, hanged himself in his apartment, and Head of Confidential Secretary Xiao Bibo from Shenzhen Yantian District jumped off a bridge.
More than 80 Chinese government officials have died by suicide or died an “unnatural death” since 2014, and many of them were under investigation for corruption when they ended their lives. The situation has been so grave that some media outlets described it as suicide “epidemic”.
State-affiliated media have reported that these government officials who have ended their lives have done so because of work pressure or depression. However, the spike in suicides seems correlated with the Chinese government’s ongoing anti-graft campaign, leading many Chinese to believe the officials were attempting to end any investigations against them by killing themselves. Instead of public sympathy, their deaths are often viewed as the ultimate cover-up of corruption.