A Miami man who flew to China worried he might have coronavirus. He may owe thousands.

As reported by Ben Conarck in the Miami Herald on February 24, 2020:

After returning to Miami last month from a work trip in China, Osmel Martinez Azcue found himself in a frightening position: he was developing flu-like symptoms, just as coronavirus was ravaging the country he had visited.

Under normal circumstances, Azcue said he would have gone to CVS for over-the-counter medicine and fought the flu on his own, but this time was different. As health officials stressed preparedness and vigilance for the respiratory illness, Azcue felt it was his responsibility to his family and his community to get tested for novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room. Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he’d need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first.

“This will be out of my pocket,” Azcue, who has a very limited insurance plan, recalled saying. “Let’s start with the blood test, and if I test positive, just discharge me.” Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened. He had the flu, not the deadly virus that has infected tens of thousands of people, mostly in China, and killed at least 2,239 as of Friday’s update by the World Health Organization.

But two weeks later, Azcue got unwelcome news in the form of a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270.

In 2018, President Donald Trump’s administration rolled back Affordable Care Act regulations and allowed so-called “junk plans” in the market. Consumers mistakenly assume that the plans with lower monthly costs will be better than no insurance at all in case of a medical catastrophe, but often the plans aren’t very different from going without insurance altogether.

Hospital officials at Jackson told the Miami Herald that, based on his insurance, Azcue would only be responsible for $1,400 of that bill, but Azcue said he heard from his insurer that he would also have to provide additional documentation: three years of medical records to prove that the flu he got didn’t relate to a preexisting condition …

Azcue said he earns about $55,000 a year working for a medical device company that does not offer health insurance, but his insurance plan wasn’t always so narrow. Last year, Azcue said he was covered under an Affordable Care Act-compliant plan that cost him about $278 in monthly premiums.

Those premiums shot up to $400 a month when his full year salary kicked in, so he canceled his plan in November, he said. Azcue said he now pays $180 per month for the limited plan from National General Insurance.

The limited plan’s requirement to provide three years of medical records before coverage kicks in, Corlette said, is not uncommon. The professor said she’s seen it come up for conditions like cancers that were never diagnosed but might have been hinted at in doctors’ visits from years past.

“That’s the critical difference between [Affordable Care Act] plans and junk plans,” she said. “[Junk plans] will not cover preexisting conditions.”

A spokesperson for National General Insurance did not immediately respond to a request for comment …

Read more.

This is a typical example of the financial perils of Healthcare (insurance) in the United States today. It is a system still in need of extensive revision.

From Lefticon:

Healthcare – a term in evolution, which currently is used as a synonym for health insurance.

Healthcare is a socio-political construct that evolved from the older concept of health care, which had supplanted medical care, preventive medicine, and nursing care. The single-word neologism healthcare de-emphasizes the actual treatment of disease and emphasizes the political control of the eligibility process. It now means health insurance but may in the future mean single-payer socialized medicine as is now available in the advanced social democracies of Western Europe.

Somewhat a misnomer, healthcare implies the maintenance of health. On a population level, health of the collective is maintained by sanitation, potable water supplies, food safety monitoring, atmospheric depollution, waste management, mosquito and rodent control—none of which has anything to do with health insurance. On an individual level, health is maintained by exercise, a balanced diet, moderation in alcohol intake, and avoidance of stress, smoking, and sexual promiscuity, to which healthcare as health insurance gives only token support. It may pay for annual “wellness visits” which are little more than a questionnaire and a blood pressure check followed by obligatory “advice.” The bulk of health insurance payments are for prescription drugs, multilevel diagnostic testing, hospital stays, nursing care, prosthetics, orthotics, and the medical/surgical treatment of disease, not health.

Healthcare prioritizes the interests of large capitalist enterprises such as the pharmaceutical industry, health information technology, the drug benefit management industry, and the health insurance industry itself.

Obamacare the popular term for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which resulted in the restructuring of health insurance in the United States. It was the crowning achievement of the presidency of Barack Obama and was memorialized in his name as Obamacare.

ACA, the legacy of a visionary and transformative President, was passed in 2010 through the efforts of congressional Democrats who voted unanimously for it despite unified opposition from congressional Republicans. The final bill, a tour de force of 2700 pages, demonstrated the collective expertise of healthcare planners, providers, lobbyists, and foundations. It had the support of organized medicine, academic medicine, and the health insurance, information technology, and pharmaceutical industries.

Notably, this bill protected patients from uninsurability due to preexisting illness, and termination of insurance coverage after a new illness. These provisions increased the actuarial risk to the private insurers and hence the cost to the insured. The resulting increase in premiums was partly offset by income-based federal premium subsidies and high deductibles. The high deductibles shielded the insurance industry from the need to honor lesser claims. They also gave the insured a special awareness of the cost of their care and a unique opportunity to participate directly in the payment of their health care providers.

One of the goals of Obamacare was health insurance for all the people, not just those employed by large corporations. To accomplish this, the ACA mandated that all businesses with fifty employees or more provide insurance to all employees working full time, which it defined as thirty or more hours per week. This had the unintended consequence of companies changing employees from full-time to part-time. In addition to losing health insurance coverage, many employees who depended on a full-time income to support a family had to seek a second part-time job during a period of “jobless recovery” from an ongoing recession. Many were unsuccessful and joined the ranks of the “working poor.”

For those citizens without health insurance provided by their employer, the ACA mandated that they purchase insurance privately, with a penalty/tax for non-compliance collected by the Internal Revenue Service.

Through subsidies, the ACA incentivized states to expand the enrollment and coverage of their health benefit plans for the poor, known as Medicaid. It lowered the income criteria for Medicaid eligibility to achieve inclusion of more low-income families, including the “working poor” it had helped to create.

The ACA also provided subsidies to the states to set up their own insurance brokerages, called exchanges, to service all those who would be enjoying the benefits of health insurance for the first time. Twenty-three states agreed to run these exchanges; the insurance was provided by approved private “carriers.” Most exchanges failed because of low enrollment and abandonment by the carriers who could not adapt to losing money despite the high premiums and high deductibles.

The Republicans, who opposed Obamacare at its start, called it a failure. According to President Obama and the Democrats, it was a success because it brought health care to a large population that was previously uninsured.

Note:  Some observers believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was neither protective nor affordable, and designed from the very beginning to apply a Cloward-Piven strategy to healthcare. By overwhelming the healthcare system, the anticipated failure would create a demand for a single-payer system of the kind available in Western Europe, Canada, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Sources: GOP report clears Ukraine of 2016 interference allegations

This article by Jake Tapper of CNN appeared in the Mercury News of December 12, 2019 and illustrates the use of sources by our accredited media.

The Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee looked into allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and found no evidence to support the claims, according to sources familiar with the matter.

This squares with the overall conclusion of officials who have looked into the matter. Sources tell CNN that no US intelligence agency has ever produced a product accusing the Ukrainian government of interfering in the 2016 US election.

Some Republican lawmakers continue to misleadingly say that the government of Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election on the same level as Russia, despite the GOP-led committee looking into the matter and finding little to support the allegation. The committee went so far as to interview former Democratic National Committee operative Alexandra Chalupa — a central figure in theories that say Ukraine interfered in the election — before closing that aspect of their probe, according to the sources. Politico on Monday was first to report the committee’s exploration of Ukraine’s actions in 2016.

The committee looked into any possible Ukrainian interference because — as committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, told reporters on October 4, 2017 — the investigation was to look into a number of measures, including “any collusion by either campaign during the 2016 elections.”

Twelve days after he said that, sources tell CNN, Chalupa met with staffers on the committee for a more-than-two-hour meeting covering a range of subjects, including why she was so alarmed in 2016 to learn that candidate Donald Trump had hired Paul Manafort, who worked with corrupt Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Chalupa was never called back before the committee and investigators considered the matter closed, sources say. Chalupa could not be reached for comment.

Burr told CNN that some officials from Ukraine actively supported Hillary Clinton but “I don’t think anybody interfered in the same way Russia did.”

Burr wouldn’t comment when asked about Chalupa’s testimony.

Sources familiar with the matter say that on October 5, 2017, the committee also interviewed Shawn Henry, the president of Crowdstrike Services, the cybersecurity company that has become a focus of conspiracy theorists on the matter including Trump. Henry declined to comment when reached by CNN …

Read more.

From Lefticon:

Sources – the plural of source, used by the media to denote the anonymous origin of undocumented information.

Journalists use anonymous sources extensively, especially when disseminating propaganda, to lend credence to what would otherwise be called hearsay or gossip. Sources are interchangeable with experts, officials, or authorities. A typical disclaimer might read “Our sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.”

The confidentiality of sources is protected by law. Shielding real sources from the discovery of their identity also shields fabricated sources. The credibility of anonymous sources, therefore, depends on the credibility of the journalist. Since the great majority of journalists are firmly grounded in the progressive values of the postmodern left, the discerning reader can judge the credibility of their sources accordingly.

A related term, “primary sources,” is used by academic historians to denote authenticity, as distinct from secondary sources.

Note:  Sources and the related terms experts, officials, and persons familiar are usually used in the plural to indicate mutual corroboration and increase credibility. The adjectives multiple and several can add further impact, but many, a few, or a couple of are to be avoided. These general rules apply equally well whether the sources are documented, anonymous, or fabricated.

Bernie Sanders isn’t a democratic socialist.

In today’s edition of Quartz (February 23, 2020), geopolitics reporter Annalisa Merelli makes an interesting observation :

Democratic primary frontrunner Bernie Sanders took home a second win last night in the Nevada caucuses, where he dominated the polls and got 46% of preferences—more than twice as many as Joe Biden, who came in second with 19.6%.

Sanders, who earlier won New Hampshire’s primary and essentially tied rival Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses, is gaining undeniable momentum. His success has caused serious excitement in the White House. In a tweet commenting on the results, Donald Trump rejoiced that Sanders was winning the state, encouraging him not to “let them take it away from you” (presumably, “them” is the Democratic party establishment).

The reason Trump is excited about this development is likely his own campaign strategy, which has used the specter of socialism to warn against voting for the Democrats.

Sanders, who describes himself as a “democratic socialist,” provides fuel to Trump’s rants against a socialist takeover of America. But despite the longstanding negative connotations of socialism—and its powerful effect in halting social reforms such as universal health coverage—the senator from Vermont doesn’t seem too concerned about the effect a socialist label can have on his campaign or proposals.

While it might not sound as dramatic, what Sanders is isn’t a socialist—democratic or otherwise—it’s a social democrat. Social democracy is a reformist approach that doesn’t do away with capitalism in its entirety (as, instead, socialism eventually suggests) but instead regulates it, providing public services and substantial welfare within the frame of an essentially market-led economy. Other leftist politicians such as Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also fall into this camp.

Why Sanders brands himself a democratic socialist remains unclear…

The Democratic Socialists of America describe their proposals as social democratic , essentially using the two labels interchangeably, advocating that social democratic reform “must now happen at the international level” and using northern European countries as references for their vision. This seems inaccurate, however, and feeds the misunderstanding Trump is banking on…

The key difference between democratic socialism and social democracy is precisely that the former advocates for social ownership of the means of production, and does not believe in reforms within capitalism (although it does support temporary social democratic actions), but in a revolution of the system.

The platform Sanders is running on is reformist, and what he is proposing is a US that looks much more like Canada, or Europe—which certainly are not socialist nations. Whether he believes that the end goal is beyond what Europe has achieved (and the history of his political beliefs suggests so), he still isn’t proposing an actual revolution (not within his lifetime, at least) and should just label himself accordingly.

Read more.

From Lefticon:

Democratic socialism – a form of socialism that allows workers to participate democratically in the management of industries owned by the state.

Democratic socialism is compatible with state capitalism, and is not to be confused with social democracy, which provides state-administered social welfare but allows private ownership of industry.

Social democracy – an intermediate or hybrid democratic form of government where capitalism coexists with welfare socialism. Also called European socialism and Eurosocialism, it is the form of socialism practiced in Western Europe.

While still permitting capitalism and individual ownership of private property, social democracies expropriate the wealth of private enterprise through high taxation and distribute it to welfare recipients and government employees. A social democracy can have multiple political parties that are all socialist—even those that are nominally conservative—forming coalitions and competing for control of a parliament through democratic elections. When most of the electorate are recipients of government benefits and/or salaries, continuation of this form of socialism is assured.

Because they provide comprehensive social welfare programs, social democracies are called welfare states. They also provide universal access to education and health care. Health care is controlled by government and features salaried providers rather than independent practitioners.

A social democracy requires big government, a large administrative bureaucracy, a large and permanent dependency class, and control of the media, entertainment, and education. The dependency class can be augmented by immigrants and refugees from less developed countries. Immigrants provide the benefits of cultural and racial diversity, and generously contribute to the birth rate of countries that no longer maintain a replacement rate of their ethnic majority.

A positive consequence of supporting these costly programs is that only a very small part of the national budget, like 1-2%, can be relegated to defense. As a result, social democracies have only weak, token military forces. This makes war between social democracies extremely unlikely, but it makes them vulnerable to the imperialist ambitions of more powerful states. For that reason, they need an alliance with a superpower for a defense umbrella against the real or imagined threat of another superpower. Such an alliance, in the world of smart power and realpolitik, has a price in terms of weakened national sovereignty and the obligation to support the geopolitical policies of the superpower ally. NATO is a prime example.

Social democracy is politically compatible with regional unions of nation states (such as the European Union and the proposed North American Union), and the ultimate merger of regional unions into a single, supranational, world socialist government.

Note:  Social democracy is not to be confused with democratic socialism, in which the state owns all businesses but allows workers to democratically participate in their management.

State capitalism – a form of monopoly capitalism that is compatible with socialism and communism.

In state capitalism under communism, the state owns the industrial means of production, which can be structured and run like any capitalist enterprise. This is acceptable because the state and the people are synonymous, and production is for use of the people and not for generating profit. Any revenue resulting in surplus value can remain in the company for expansion, research and development, or go to the state for the beneficial use of all the people. Because ownership is collective, there is no need for an equity market prone to manipulation and corruption.

An additional benefit is the elimination of the need for advertising. Without advertising there is no impulse spending. Purchases are based on actual need rather than whim, desire, or preference. With no advertising expenses, surplus value is enhanced significantly over that achievable in a competitive free market. There is no wasteful competition between many brands of same or similar products seeking market share. Consumers are thereby liberated from difficult decisions in selecting which brand of product to buy among many. Additionally, the stress of “keeping up with the Joneses” is eliminated. The salutary result is consumer equality and real economic justice.

In a free-market economy, the term state capitalism is sometimes used to describe companies that are “too big to fail.” Such companies enjoy a special relationship with a government which stands ready to rescue them with a “bailout” of emergency financial assistance in the event of impending failure. Their executive leaders are thus free to make high risk decisions, knowing that they will be generously rewarded for success and highly compensated despite failure. Lesser companies do not qualify for bailouts unless they are in a subsidized, politically favored industry such as alternative energy or electric cars.

Israel Shamir: OK Boomer

In this essay in the Unz Review, February 21, 2020, Israel Shamir describes the long-gone international zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s.

What a wonderful enchanted life we boomers have had! Living was easy, accommodation plentiful and inexpensive, salaries were high, girls willing. The world was offered to us like a heap of pearl oysters on the silver tray. We could travel, change our countries and jobs as we like, we could fight for justice and mercy for others, we could seek our own way to God. It was great to be born after the war.

You won’t believe it, the children of latter (or earlier) generations, that life could be so splendid. We could buy a two-bedroom maisonette in Kensington on my junior BBC journalist salary. We could cross Africa and climb Kilimanjaro, trek Nepal, report on wars, go to Paris for weekend.

And the world was full of variety; not the sickening fake diversity of living next door to a black, a Chinese and an Indian who shop in the same supermarket and watch the same Hollywood movies you do; but real variety of England being English and Japan being Japanese. In London of late sixties-early seventies, pubs served warm real ale, British grey sausages and steak-and-kidney pie; Ty-Foo tea at five o’clock; we could smoke at the table; we could jump on and off open double-deckers; seat belts were unheard-of. Waitresses in greasy spoon cafes called me “luv”. In Kyoto, women went around in kimono; and men spent long nights drinking sake; Noh and Sakura Viewing were popular. Sweden was unashamedly blond, and topless Nordic maidens suntanned and splashed in the cool lakes.

Israel was a poor struggling country of suntanned boys and girls in keffiyeh. We were proud of our army service and of growing wheat in the kibbutz; while Arabs were noble peasants, and lived in beautiful old houses. Israelis had a good reputation those days as tireless trekkers. “White hunters”, we called ourselves after Hemingway’s African stories.

(All that is gone. Recently I could not find a single English pub in London; they served wine and European fare. No kimonoed lady was sighted in Kyoto. Swedish girls donned bra as the immigrants stared too intensely. Israelis became fat and insolent. As for smoke, you just may not smoke anywhere, you mayn’t drink and drive, and the damn belts became compulsory even in the buses.)

Our generation was more sophisticated than the preceding one. We forbade forbidding in 1968. We stopped the Vietnam War. We ended race discrimination. Gays danced and didn’t think of marriage – they added an exotic element to the fabric of life, and so did foreigners who were scarce even in London and Paris. I was such a rare bird, mixing with other writers in Parisian cafes. Workers were invariably local and native, and so was food and drink.

Art of cinema had flourished. The best films were made for us by Bergman and Bunuel, Godard and Oshima. We witnessed the Space Race of two superpowers and thought we shall land on Mars. Social optimism was endless, we were sure our tomorrow would be better than our present …

Read more

From Lefticon:

Zeitgeist – the spirit of the times, a term of German origin (zeit = time, geist = spirit) used to describe the prevailing mood or ambiance of an era.

For example, love and peace were part of the communitarian zeitgeist of the 1960s, soon to be replaced by the individualism of the 1970s. The sixties were a time of social upheaval and counter-cultural movements in the United States. The slogan, “Make love not war,” was both a plea for free love and against the war in Viet Nam. Liberals then were pro-peace and anti-war, and their women, through the struggles of second-wave feminists, had achieved sexual liberation. They sang and listened to songs of love and peace and community. The women sought and appreciated the attention of men. Together with those young men who managed to avoid the draft and remain in the States, they enjoyed very good times indeed, culminating in the Woodstock lovefest in 1969.

There was hate then, but it was directed against repressive law enforcement and those elements of academia who symbolized authoritarian oppression. There were direct actions which were open and peaceful, like those of the Students for a Democratic Society, while others were covertly planned and violent, such as those of the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army, FALN, and the Symbionese Liberation Army. There were Civil Rights marches and race riots in high-density urban areas. Despite that, in the culture of the progressive left, love overwhelmingly  prevailed.

A half century later, the zeitgeist of the left changed from love to its binary opposite, hate. Rap, with its misogynism and violence, displaced folk music and kumbaya. The focus of young progressives shifted to hating hate, but only when exhibited by white men and their racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, nationalism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, patriarchy, white hegemony, white supremacy, white privilege, white male privilege, and whiteness. The Duke lacrosse case in 2006, the Mattress Girl accusations in 2014-2015, the Women’s Marches, pussy hats, and finally the #MeToo movement of 2018 put cisgender, heterosexual, progressive men in their proper place and on notice that the promotion of traditional love and even courting behavior or casual flirting was over.

All the while, that other pair of binary opposites, war and peace, was also having a polar shift. When the liberal establishment became neoliberal and joined neoconservatives in supporting serial wars for regime change in distant lands, peace also lost its appeal and a spirit of anti-antiwar took over. With an entirely voluntary military, there was no threat of conscription to dampen the newfound enthusiasm for wars to bring democracy and progressive values to the rest of the world.

Then came antifa to bring an end to peaceful protests. “Make love not war” became a faded flicker in the passing of time.

Oligarch Buys Political Party – Seeks to Become President

“B” reported in Moon of Alabama on February 15, 2020:

Mike Bloomberg is the world’s ninth richest person. An oligarch known for strong racism and insulting sexism who once was the Republican mayor of New York City. He since decided that he wants to become president.

As he saw no chance to run for a Republican party that is happy with Trump he filed to run as a Democratic candidate. Bloomberg has since bought the Democratic Party in every state as well as the DNC …

A few months later, they changed the debate rules to let oligarch Bloomberg into the debates… after he gave the DNC $300K.

His political tactic is very simple. He does not talk about issues, as people would not like what he has to say, but simply spends tons of money …

To this date Bloomberg has spent more than $350 million for his campaign. He is willing and can afford to put several billions into it. Over the years Bloomberg has given more than $10 billion to build a political and philanthropical empire. He used that money to suppress voices critical of him …

In 2015, Center for American Progress researchers wrote a report on U.S. Islamophobia, w/a 4300-word chapter on the Bloomberg-era NYPD.

When the report was published, the chapter was gone.

By then, Bloomberg had given CAP ~$1.5mm. That number has grown.

The really bad thing is that it works …

The Democratic Party and lots of its bought off functionaries seem to be happy with this. They do not mind that it makes the U.S. look worse than the Ukraine.

Read more

It seems that many writers are referring to Michael Bloomberg as an oligarch or a plutocrat. He is, in many ways, an example of both.

From Lefticon:

Oligarchy – government by a few, i.e., a small number of people (oligarchs) who control the power structures of a country. An oligarchy based on wealth is also called a plutocracy. One based on elitism and class is also called an aristocracy.

Capitalist oligarchs are generally open about their wealth but secretive about the reaches of their power, which is mostly wielded by intermediaries. They self-identify as champions of the poor and the working class, support charitable foundations built by fellow industrialists but run by socialists, and fund the political campaigns of their chosen candidates. Their candidates, when elected, are more beholden to them than to the constituents who voted for them.

Though some oligarchs openly enter the political process and compete with lesser beings for political office, most remain completely anonymous and trust their anonymity to distance themselves from the unpredictable actions of an uprising of the oppressed masses.

Plutocracy – an oligarchy controlled by a small minority of wealthy people (plutocrats).

By the very nature of capitalism, with its opportunities for the acquisition and accumulation of wealth, successful capitalist countries tend to evolve into plutocracies. Those individuals who have accumulated the most wealth, often as members of families whose wealth has grown over many generations, become a “donor class.” By giving a relatively small portion of their wealth to political parties and action committees, campaign contributions to selected politicians, lobbying, and the funding of charitable foundations and nominally nonpartisan NGOs, they can reap disproportionately large returns in money and power. This is a form of corruption that is both legal and prevalent; it is partly responsible for the income gap between the rich and the poor in capitalist countries.

Note:  Plutocrats are justifiable targets of activists seeking economic justice, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement, which targeted “the 1%” Who possess “90%” of the wealth in the United States. An example of controlled opposition, this movement was funded by one of the wealthiest plutocrats, George Soros. It functioned as a pressure-release valve for economic justice advocates and was terminated by police action when it was no longer useful. Curiously, it was finally shut down by the NY Police acting on the orders of another plutocrat, Michael Bloomberg, who was mayor of New York at that time.

A Grocery Chain Asked Customers To Report Shoplifters Of Tampons. It Has Since Apologized

Tanya Chen reported on BuzzFeed, February 4, 2020:

Tesco, a British grocery chain that operates in multiple countries, told BuzzFeed News it has removed signs placed above tampons and other menstrual health products that asked people to report shoplifting of these items in its store in Kensington, London. The signs caused mass uproar online when a shopper took a photo and sent it to a friend, who shared it to Twitter last week.

A spokesperson for the company added that it is “very sorry for any offense caused” and claimed that this depicted sign was placed “in error.”

“Help us build safer communities — report shoplifting to a member of staff,” the sign read.

Carl Cattermole, a London resident, first took the photo last week and sent it to his friend Oonagh Ryder. She took great issue with it.

“Signs like these encourage ordinary people to be suspicious and resentful toward their neighbors, rather than be angry about the root causes of someone needing to shoplift menstrual products,” Ryder told BuzzFeed News. “The UK has very high levels of inequality due to the decisions of successive governments, with increasing numbers of people unable to afford basic necessities.”

Her tweet and other criticisms of the sign have gone viral, inspiring more conversation online about the cost burdens placed on people who need menstrual health products.

“Shoplifting isn’t the problem,” said one Twitter user. “It’s the fact that sanitary products aren’t free and accessible to those who menstruate” …

In response, Tesco said it’s very much aware of the inequalities people who menstruate face when it comes to their sanitary products …

“We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores and are very sorry for any offense caused,” they added.

Online, people said if they were ever considering reporting people who steal menstrual health products out of need, now they’re looking the other way.

Read more.

It is apparent that Tesco needed to be educated in the concept of reproductive justice.

From Lefticon:

Reproductive justice – social justice applied to the reproductive rights of women of color who, because of the intersectionality of multiple oppressions, find it more difficult to access health care services, contraceptives, and abortion on demand.

While the right to abortion on demand was established by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, the right to free contraceptives and tampons in all health insurance programs, student health clinics, and community health centers was not clearly defined. It is one of the ongoing struggles of the postmodern feminist movement.


Barnes & Noble cancels launch of classic novels with new covers promoting diversity

As reported by Amy Davenport in AMNewYork on February 3, 2020:

Barnes & Noble has shelved their plans to release a collection of classic books with new “culturally diverse” covers following internet backlash.

Penguin Random House and Barnes & Noble Fifth Avenue had originally up to give twelve classic young adult novels new covers, known as “Diverse Editions.” The books were meant hit the shelves on Feb. 5, and the books were to be on display in their massive storefront throughout the month of February. Barnes & Noble Fifth Avenue was also supposed to host a launch event to celebrate the release.

Each title had five culturally diverse custom covers designed to ensure the recognition, representation, and inclusion of various multiethnic backgrounds reflected across the country. The new covers are a part of a new initiative to champion diversity in literature.

Following the news of the new covers, many Twitter users expressed their anger and disappointment over the situation, citing that a better option would have been to promote authors of color.

Barnes & Noble released a statement on Twitter acknowledging the concerns of the public and ultimately canceling the release event at the store.

Apparently, promoting diversity by changing the race of key characters in novels written by white men still had the adverse effect of calling attention to the white authors, thus triggering resentment in some progressives.

From Lefticon:

Race a social construct based on skin color and region of origin.

The identification of race by skin color is problematic. Whites are not really white, blacks not black, native Americans not red, and East Asians certainly not yellow. Though the terms white and black are currently acceptable, yellow and red are offensive. It is far more legitimate to view color as only one component of a racial identity.

In our white-hegemonic culture, having a racial identity other than white can have disadvantages which are partly offset by the special protections and preferences given to non-whites by the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968.

Race is one of the bases of identity politics. In fact, some politicians with privileged white backgrounds assume hybrid racial identities by self-identifying preferentially with a part-black or part-native-American ancestry to signal kinship with a victim group.

Those who believe in human biodiversity espouse racialism (as distinct from racism). They hold that race is a biological construct much like the breed of a non-human animal species, with members of a race sharing genetically transmitted common traits of pigmentation, bone structure, and intelligence.