TX: Mom accused of subjecting son to 323 hospital visits, 13 surgeries

Source: Fox News

“A Texas mother is in jail after hospital staff sounded alarm over a boy who had been seen 323 times at various medical centers and undergone 13 major surgeries in his eight years of life. Kaylene Bowen, who has allegedly previously claimed her son was dying of a genetic disease, fighting cancer and suffering from several other ailments over his lifetime, was arrested on a warrant accusing her of injury to a child with serious bodily injury, The Star-Telegram reported. Bowen, 34, remains in Dallas County Jail while the boy, whose name is Christopher, and his two half-siblings have been placed in foster care. The boy’s father, Ryan Crawford, said he’s tried alerting authorities to Bowen’s actions previously, but was shut down by courts who sided with her.” (12/13/17)


How Brexit is turning into a disaster for Ireland

Source: The American Conservative
by Philip Jenkins

“The island of Ireland consists of both an independent republic of 26 counties, as well a six-county province — Northern Ireland, or Ulster — that is part of the United Kingdom. That division has through the years produced bitter conflicts, as the existence of the North remains offensive its Catholic minority who want a united Ireland. That both Great Britain and the Irish Republic were members of the European Union proved immensely beneficial at soothing tensions and effectively eliminating the internal border. But what will happen when Great Britain leaves the EU while Ireland remains? There will have to be some frontier between northern and southern Ireland to check goods and/or migrants entering ‘Europe.’ This can be done in two ways, each one desperately unpalatable to a major constituency.” (12/13/17)


New blood pressure guidelines raise concerns about interest group lobbying

Source: Independent Institute
by Raymond March

“On November 13, millions of Americans had high blood pressure for the first time. It wasn’t even Thanksgiving. That day the American College of Cardiology (ACC), working with the American Heart Association (AHA), released new guidelines regarding what constitutes high blood pressure. Since 2003, a reading below 140/90 was considered normal. Now, any blood pressure over 120/90 is considered hypertension. … Whenever government works with special-interest groups to set industry standards it is important to examine the underlying incentives. When government imposes more stringent health standards, more resources are devoted to meet them. This can include more physicians, medical devices, prescriptions, dietary products, and other health-related goods. This is lucrative for many healthcare professionals. Perhaps more importantly, we should ask: How successful has government been in advancing health in the past?” (12/13/17)


Turkey: Erdogan urges Muslim leaders to recognize East Jerusalem as Palestine capital

Source: Deutsch Welle [Germany]

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging the Arab world to issue a strong reaction to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by recognizing East Jerusalem as the ‘occupied capital of the Palestinian state.’ ‘With this decision, Israel, which is responsible for occupation, blockade, unlawful settlements, home demolitions, evictions, land asset appropriations, disproportionate violence and murders, was rewarded for all its terrorist actions,’ Erdogan told delegates at Wednesday’s Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul. … The US'[s] decision on Jerusalem provoked worldwide condemnation from leaders, Arab and otherwise, and sparked violent protests across the Arab world …. However, no state has yet announced any concrete measures against the US or Israel.” (12/13/17)


Intercepted Podcast, 12/13/17

Source: The Intercept

“This week on Intercepted: an exclusive interview with former Nixon White House counsel John Dean about the Mueller investigation, how the CIA and military may benefit from Trump’s presidency, and how Trump stacks up to Nixon and Reagan. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg talks about the classified secrets he has kept for decades. … Jeremy takes on the false news report about the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks that was aggressively promoted by CNN, MSNBC, and CBS. … We talk to the co-director of ‘American Carnage,’ Farihah Zaman. Patterson Hood of the band Drive-By Truckers talks about growing up in Alabama and how the civil rights struggle and George Wallace impacted his life. Donald Trump calls in to Delilah for life advice.” [various formats] (12/13/17)


Turning childhood into a mental illness

Source: spiked
by Frank Furedi

“The growing trend for redefining the problems of life as issues of mental health has had a particularly pernicious effect on children and child development. Since the late 1970s, there has been a creeping tendency to portray children as uniquely vulnerable to emotional damage. Before then, it was commonly believed that children could recover their strength and resilience in the aftermath of an emotionally difficult experience. But in the late 20th century, in line with the expanding medicalisation of everyday life, society became preoccupied with the apparent fragility of childhood. It was at this point that the idea that mental illness is a common feature of childhood started to gain resonance. In the decades that followed, more and more children came to be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness.” (12/13/17)


Yemen: Saudi invaders kill at least 30 prisoners with air strikes

Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar]

“At least 30 prisoners have been killed in Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen’s rebel [sic]-controlled capital, Sanaa, according to local media. Al Masriet, an online publication, reported on Wednesday that dozens of people were also injured in seven raids targeting facilities controlled by the Houthi rebels [sic], including the prison housing about 180 prisoners at the time of the attack. There was no immediate reaction by the Saudi-led coalition.” (12/13/17)


It’s never fun to lose a Senate seat, but the GOP dodged a bullet

Source: National Review
by Jim Geraghty

“The populists are indeed miracle workers, they’ve managed to elect a Democrat in Alabama. Roy Moore may very well have been the worst Senate nominee for any major party in American history. Even if you dismissed the allegations of him sexually pursuing teenagers in his 30s — and there was no compelling reason to believe Moore’s shifting denials — he managed to create appalling new controversies in almost every appearance. He completely avoided the campaign trail in the final days, because he could not be trusted to speak to the public. Despite the frustration of a 52-seat majority becoming a 51-seat majority, tonight’s result is in fact, a long-term victory for the Republican Party.” (12/12/17)


FISC assurances on spying leave too many questions unanswered

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by India McKinney

“Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced questions from the House Judiciary Committee about how his department is implementing one of the government’s most powerful surveillance tools. Despite repeated bipartisan requests, Director Wray refused to tell the Members of the Committee how many Americans have been impacted by Section 702, enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act. This isn’t the first time the FBI has refused to answer to Congress. … Section 702 authorizes the acquisition of foreign intelligence information; however, because many Americans communicate with foreign persons outside the United States every day, our communications are also being captured and read without a warrant. How many Americans have had their communications ‘incidentally collected’ under Section 702? We don’t know. In fact, not even Congress knows. Although the House Judiciary Committee has sent several bipartisan letters to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence asking this exact question, ODNI has refused to respond.” (12/12/17)


Is the Republican tax plan intentionally sloppy?

Source: The New Republic
by David Dayen

“The Republican tax bill being negotiated this week is like a Sudoku puzzle: daunting to novices, but in the hands of an experienced master, a simple case of plugging in numbers. The opportunities for gaming the new rules will make tax lawyers unspeakably rich for the rest of time, finding endless opportunities to shelter, transform, or reassign income to lower their clients’ payments. And there’s another group poised to get in on the tax loophole fun: state governments that, in a few simple steps, can and probably will nullify the biggest sources of revenue in the bill. All of this fits with a longstanding conservative project: Starve the government of taxes, and use that as a rationale to slash social spending. This would achieve their goal of re-channeling government benefits from the working poor, who require safety net assistance, to oligarchic holders of dynastic wealth.” (12/12/17)