My good friend Jeff has said to me on numerous times in the past two years how he admires that I mostly manage to stay even-keel about all the atrocities being committed in the Trump administration.
Oh, of course I get extremely pissed about the separation of children from their families at the border, and the rampant corruption in this White House, and just how amazingly destructive Scott Pruitt was able to be in his short time as head of the EPA. But generally, I try really, really hard not go crazy about every horrible thing.
But this story I read in The New York Times Sunday just sent me over the edge. Maybe you heard about it, but likely not. It’s about a completely non-controversial resolution from the World Health Organization about encouraging breastfeeding. Here’s the lede to the story, and please, try to contain your outrage for a moment.
A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.
Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.
American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.
When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.
The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.
The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States.
Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, most of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.
In the end, the Americans’ efforts were mostly unsuccessful. It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them.
THIS IS INSANE. So many parts of this story are horrible, but how about threatening military aid to Ecuador if they don’t withdraw the resolution? Really, that’s what we’re going to do over a freaking breastfeeding promotion resolution???
And the part about Russia introducing the measure and all of a sudden the U.S. not objecting is just too priceless. Gee, I wonder why Russia would somehow get favored but not Ecuador?
I mean, I just cannot deal with this. I said on Twitter right after I read this that it’s truly astonishing on how many issues the U.S. is now standing alone from the world. I mean…breast milk is now a reason to threaten another nation?
Good God, are there no depths to which our President and his administration will not sink, no issue on which they won’t bully? Just awful. And outrageous.
**Next up today, I thought this was pretty hilarious. Hockey writer Sean McIndoe Tweeted this the other day: “My daughter just asked to borrow my phone and when I got it back she had texted this to my wife, please advise.”
This is what young McIndoe texted:
Pretty freaking funny if you ask me. When a reader asked how old his daughter was, McIndoe replied “As old as she’s gonna get.”
**Finally today, I wanted to point you to a phenomenal piece of writing, a blistering screed, by the great David Simon, creator of ‘The Wire,” and many other wonderful things.
Simon is writing about the five people murdered at the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Maryland last week, and he is writing passionately and brilliantly about how just because this specific shooter had multiple motives to inflict violence against the newspaper doesn’t mean Donald Trump and the culture of hatred and poison toward the media he’s spewing isn’t toxic.
This is just an excerpt, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing (hat tip to loyal reader Sanford for first pointing me to this.) This section is right after Simon talked about the two dead who he knew personally:
These are the people I see when I think of the president declaring time and again for the villainy of journalists, or when I read the online screeds of his followers and devotees validating or excusing the insanity, stepping sideways from the pathetic spectacle of a United States President using his bully pulpit to, well, bully the free press of a republic. It is a reach to claim — and so I have not — that Donald Trump contemplated all of what was to come when he began his prolonged campaign against the American press. I don’t think he imagined the blow landing on Rob Hiaasen or John McNamara or the other committed journalists murdered with them, or that the violence would explode at a community-based newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, or even that the reckoning for his adversaries in the press would be so lethal. I don’t think Donald Trump imagines very much at all. But premeditation is scarcely required for a verdict of gross negligence — for me to say, deliberately and dispassionately, that this empty, soulless man, in his unfitness for the high office, in his petty rancor and heedless verbiage, purposely created a climate that helped to murder my friends.
Fabulous, necessary stuff from David Simon.