The former Obama White House official who negotiated the reopening of relations with Cuba is sharply criticizing President Biden’s policies toward that country, saying his administration is “gaslighting” Havana by maintaining and even expanding harsh sanctions imposed by former President Trump.
“Disappointed doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of how I feel about the Biden-Cuba policy,” said Ben Rhodes, who served as Obama’s deputy national security adviser, in an interview for the Yahoo News’ “Conspiracyland” podcast. “The Cuban government made an agreement with me based on the idea that they could trust that we would keep our agreement.”
“Granted it was Trump” who initially reversed Obama’s policy of normalizing relations with Cuba, he added. “But then Biden doubles down” on Trump policies, Rhodes said.
“Why would any Cuban official ever, ever negotiate anything with America ever again after this? We had Trump — in the most grotesque, callous way — politicizing this. But then to have a Democratic administration legitimize what Trump did by continuing it — it’s a gaslighting to those people in Cuba, you know?”
File it under another Biden Blunde.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday:
The case was brought to court in 2020 by a group of Republican Party connected Texas Christian fundamentalists on the behalf of Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics, arguing that the lifesaving drugs such as Tuvada and Descovy can “facilitate or encourage homosexual behaviour,” with the plaintiffs challenging the legality under the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The Biden administration has announced it is “reviewing” the decision.
US District Judge Reed O’Connor went further than just HIV prevention, however, using it as a launching board for a broad attack on the entire framework of coverage for preventative services recommended by the US Preventative Task Force which are covered by private health insurance at no cost to the patient under ACA rules. The American Medical Association and a coalition of 60 medical organizations have warned that the ruling could mean that “patients would lose access to vital preventive healthcare services, such as screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, preeclampsia, and hearing.'
In fact, this is one of the primary aims of the lawsuit. No doubt businesses would be thrilled at the cost savings of not covering preventative care for their employees, and as will be shown, the real plaintiff to the case is the Republican Party, one of the twin parties of big business in the US. As much as the American financial oligarchy has moved to dismantle public health, letting diseases like COVID-19 and Monkeypox run rampant, so too does it move to remove access to life saving drugs. As Lenin wrote, “Political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism.” Its attitude to public health is no different.
Since their approval in the last decade, HIV PrEP treatments have become one of the necessary measures required to prevent further transmission of the virus, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) crediting its use with the decline in HIV diagnoses. Nearly 2.8 million people around the world rely on the drug according to the Global PrEP tracker database.
According to the Centers of Disease Control new HIV diagnoses decreased by 8 percent in the US from 2016 to 2019.
The Middle East is heating at nearly twice the global average, threatening potentially devastating impacts on its people and economies, a new climate study shows.
Barring swift policy changes, its more than 400 million people face extreme heatwaves, prolonged droughts and sea level rises, said the report released ahead of the UN's COP27 climate summit in Egypt later this year.
The study found an average increase of 0.45 degrees Celsius per decade across the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region, based on data for 1981-2019, during which the global average rise was 0.27 degrees per decade.
Without immediate changes, the region is projected to heat up by five degrees Celsius by the end of the century, possibly exceeding "critical thresholds for human adaptability" in some countries, the report states.
People "will face major health challenges and risks of livelihood,
especially underprivileged communities, the elderly, children and
pregnant women", wrote Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for
Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute, which both provided support for the
The study covers the region stretching from Greece and Egypt in the west through to Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and the Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates as well as Iran in the east.
Anyone in the UK who imagined they lived in a representative democracy – one in which leaders are elected and accountable to the people – will be in for a rude awakening over the next days and weeks.
TV schedules have been swept aside. Presenters must wear black and talk in hushed tones. Front pages are uniformly somber. Britain’s media speak with a single, respectful voice about the Queen and her unimpeachable legacy.
Westminster, meanwhile, has been stripped of left and right. The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties have set aside politics to grieve as one. Even the Scottish nationalists – supposedly trying to rid themselves of the yoke of centuries of an English rule presided over by the monarch – appear to be in effusive mourning.
The world’s urgent problems – from war in Europe to a looming climate catastrophe – are no longer of interest or relevance. They can wait till Britons emerge from a more pressing national trauma.
Domestically, the BBC has told those facing a long winter in which they will not be able to afford to heat their homes that their suffering is “insignificant” compared to that of the family of a 96-year-old woman who died peacefully in the lap of luxury. They can wait too.
In this moment there is no public room for ambivalence or indifference, for reticence, for critical thinking – and most certainly not for Republicanism, even if nearly a third of the public, mostly the young, desire the monarchy’s abolition. The British establishment expects every man, woman and child to do their duty by lowering their head.
Twenty first-century Britain never felt so medieval.
There are reasons a critical gaze is needed right now, as the British public is corralled into reverential mourning.
The wall-to-wall eulogies are intended to fill our nostrils with the perfume of nostalgia to cover the stench of a rotting institution, one at the heart of the very establishment doing the eulogising.
The demand is that everyone show respect for the Queen and her family, and that now is not the time for criticism or even analysis.
[. . .]
At the height of her rule, 20 years later, British troops were given a green light to massacre 14 civilians in Northern Ireland on a protest march against Britain’s policy of jailing Catholics without trial. Those shot and killed were fleeing or tending the wounded. The British establishment oversaw cover-up inquiries into what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.
And in the twilight years of her rule, her government rode roughshod over international law, invading Iraq on the pretext of destroying non-existent weapons of mass destruction. During the long years of a joint British and US occupation, it is likely that more than a million Iraqis died and millions more were driven from their homes.