The Holocaust survivor, 87, facing eviction in California: ‘Will they throw me to the ground?’


Exclusive: Musiy Rishin speaks out about landlord who wants wealthier tenants and has fought to evict him and his dying son

Musiy Rishin knows how to survive.

He narrowly escaped the Nazis’ massacre of Jews in the Ukraine in 1941. His family lived through wartime famine, and an earthquake in Uzbekistan, before they fled political turmoil in 1998. He persevered after the recent deaths of his wife and son.

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WHO: Influenza Vaccine Response During The Start Of A Pandemic


We have often talked about the importance of NPIs (Nonpharmaceutical Interventions) like flu hygiene, school closures, and social distancing in the opening months of any pandemic because the creation, mass production, and distribution of an emergency  vaccine is a difficult, uncertain, and time consuming endeavor.

We were lucky in 2009, in that the pandemic virus required a relatively simple `strain change’, and it did not require – as first feared – two shots spaced a month apart to produce immunity. 

Even so, the first batches of the emergency vaccine arrived after the peak of the pandemic, and in much smaller quantities than predicted.  Fortunately, the novel H1N1 virus proved to be relatively mild compared to past pandemics.


Last May, in Manufacturing Pandemic Flu Vaccines: Easier Said Than Done, we looked at a Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer (Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited) – which in 2011 received a Japanese government contract to supply H5N1 vaccines for 40 million people in the time frame allotted (6 months) – having to formally apologize for being unable to fulfill the terms of the contract.

Illustrating that gearing up to produce a pandemic flu vaccine in quantity, and in a timely manner – even when we are not hampered by an active pandemic – is a tall order.

While novel influenza is – at least based on recent history – the most likely cause of the next pandemic, it isn’t the only possibility. And non-influenza vaccines are often harder to create.

Despite 16 years of research, there is still no commercially available SARS vaccine. Seven years after MERS emerged in the Middle East, a vaccine remains elusive (see Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Vaccine Candidates: Cautious Optimism), and twenty years after its discovery, a Nipah vaccine is still in the works.

None of this is meant to diminish the importance of developing, and distributing, a safe and effective pandemic vaccine in the shortest time frame possible. Even if it isn’t made available for the first wave, once it arrives, it could still save millions of lives.

But for that to happen, governments and vaccine manufacturers will have to work together, share information and virus strains, and agree to how (and where) the first vaccines available are allocated.  

The World Health Organization has been working for years to develop a global framework for emergency pandemic vaccine production, and has recently published the results of their Third WHO Informal Consultation, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland, in June of 2017.

This 37-page PDF file outlines the anticipated obstacles and bottlenecks to emergency vaccine production, which includes not only scientific and logistical problems, but political ones as well.

From the Executive Summary:

This meeting report provides an overview of discussions and outcomes from the third WHO informal consultation on influenza vaccine response during the start of a pandemic, held in June 2017. The aim of the meeting was to address challenges and bottlenecks in vaccine response at the start of an influenza pandemic, including issues associated with the decision to start the pandemic vaccine production which might entail the switch from seasonal to pandemic vaccine production.

The first WHO informal consultation on this topic, which took place in 2015, analysed the complexities of vaccine response at the start of an influenza pandemic and provided clarity and understanding among key players on roles and responsibilities of the response. The 2 nd WHO informal consultation in 2016 furthered the discussion to developing principles and processes of decision making of the start of pandemic vaccine production and addressing bottlenecks surrounding the switch. Based on the outcome from the two consultations, the 2013 interim WHO pandemic guidance WHO Pandemic Risk Management Framework (PIRM) was finalized in 2017.

The third informal consultation developed operationalization of the outcomes from the previous two consultations jointly with influenza experts, public health officials, and other stakeholders to address vaccine response at the start of an influenza pandemic, in particular, issues surrounding the potential switch from seasonal to pandemic vaccine production. In addition, the specific challenges for low- and middle-income countries were discussed.

During the consultation, participants drafted an operational framework for pandemic vaccine response, developed a common understanding of an effective pandemic vaccine response, and identified key challenges and potential bottlenecks that would interfere with switching from seasonal to pandemic vaccine production. 

Guiding principles of technical, ethical and political aspects involved in making the decision to start pandemic vaccine production were also elaborated.

Key outcomes from the third informal consultation included the following:

  • A clear, transparent and integrated approach to initiating pandemic vaccine production was proposed; this proposed approach will be further developed by WHO working groups.
  • At the start of a pandemic, WHO will issue recommendations on pandemic vaccine composition and use which will be based on a variety of criteria clearly communicated to all stakeholders involved in the pandemics vaccine response. 
  • Such criteria will be based on risk assessment and to be developed by
    WHO working groups. These will inform the vaccine production decisions.
    Solutions to potential bottlenecks in the pandemic vaccine response at the start of a pandemic should be further prioritized, addressed or operationalized through WHO working groups
  • Communication to clarify the critical responses – including the declaration of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), the declaration of an influenza pandemic, the recommendation to start pandemic vaccine production and subsequent availability of pandemic vaccines should be comprehensively incorporated into global and national pandemic preparedness planning.

These informal consultations clarified critical complexities at national, regional and global levels, and the need for WHO coordinated global response especially the decision to commence the start of pandemic vaccine production based on risk assessment.

The entire document is well worth reviewing, as many of the barriers to developing and distributing an emergency vaccine are not immediately obvious, nor easily solved.

As the chart below illustrates, their 6-months to the first vaccine availability timeline is based on everything going right.

The following timelines represent ideal circumstances, when all staff, facilities, reagents, equipment and process stages are in place and function optimally. If some activities do not go well, they may take longer and this is indicated by the hatched areas of the chart. Due to the interrelatedness of many of the activities, a delay in one activity would delay others in the timeline.

The reality is, even under the best of circumstances, most of the world would not see a pandemic vaccine for a year, maybe longer. Lesser developed countries, particularly those without domestic vaccine production capabilities, would likely find themselves at the back of the line. 

But no one is guaranteed that they’ll see a vaccine in a pandemic. 

Last year Johns Hopkins presented a day-long pandemic table top exercise (see CLADE X: Archived Video & Recap), where a vaccine was expected `within 6 months’, but turned out to be a failure.

If you don’t have the time to watch the (highly recommended) entire 8 hour exercise, I would urge you to at least view the 5 minute wrap up video. It will give you some idea of the possible impact of a severe – but not necessarily`worst case’ – pandemic.

Recap Video

While telling people to wash their hands, cover their coughs, avoid crowds, and stay home while sick may seem like an inadequate response to a pandemic – they and other more disruptive measures like school closures, cancellation of public events, etc. will almost certainly be our most powerful weapons until a pandemic vaccine becomes widely available.

Classics, Revisited: Zaynab Fawwaz

Zaynab Fawwaz (1850?-1914) was a Lebanese poet, novelist, and historian of famous women:

Fawwaz is unusual among nineteenth-century women authors in that she was born into modest circumstances. According to Joseph Zeidan, writing in Arab Women Novelists: the Formative Years and Beyond, Fawwaz was “born to a poor, obscure, and illiterate Shiite family in the village of Tabnīn in southern Lebanon. Most sources agree that when she was young, Fawwaāz served as a maid at the palace of ʿAlī Bey al-Asʿad al-Ṣaghīr.” According to Marilyn Booth, in “Exemplary Lives, Feminist Aspirations,” Fawwaz emigrated to Egypt around 1870, “possibly as a domestic employee to a wealthy family.”

By the 1890s, when Fawwaz was in her 40s, she began to gain renown for her essays, published in Egyptian newspapers.

Although she wrote novels, a play, and poetry, Fawwaz was also interested in other women’s accomplishments. She corresponded with Egyptian poet Aisha Taimour and Lebanese poet Warda al-Yazigi, and she is particularly known for her encyclopedia of famous women.

In the introduction, Fawwaz wrote — here translated by Marilyn Booth — that although Arab historians have been interested in writing about many renowned men, “I have not observed anyone who has gone to extremes and set aside a single chapter in the Arabic language for half the human world, in which is brought together those women who were famed for their merits and who shunned bad qualities, even though a group of these women has excelled, having writings to their names with which they have rivaled the greatest learned men and engaged in poetic competition with the master poets.”

Fawwaz probably didn’t quite mean that, about a single chapter: there is Ibn al-Sa’i’s Consorts of the Caliphs, for one, and Booth notes that Maryam Nahhas Nawfal (1856-88) had composed a biography of renowned women and published it in 1879. But, according to Booth, Fawwaz’s words were aimed less at the ancients (or at Maryam Nahhas Nawful) than at her male contemporaries.

A classic of women’s history from the 1890s: pioneering Arab feminist writer Zaynab Fawwāz’s encyclopedic biographical dictionary of more than 450 prominent women in world history, a large folio-size volume of 552-pages published in 1894–96 by the official press at Bulaq, Cairo.

— Musannaf (@afzaque) March 8, 2019

She also wrote essays and sometimes fierce polemics, such as “Justice,” where she argued for women’s social and intellectual equality with men.

I sat down to choose a reading by the 19th-century poet and feminist thinker Zaynab Fawwaz for my Arabic literature seminar this term, and ended up flagging a dozen of her newspaper articles. What a fascinating figure.

— Elias Muhanna (@QifaNabki) February 26, 2019

Surely there’s work to be done in bringing her words to contemporary readers.

Also read:Exemplary Lives, Feminist Aspirations: Zaynab Fawwāz and the Arabic Biographical Tradition,” by Marilyn Booth

The Misconception about Baby Boomers and the Sixties | The New Yorker

Louis Menand writes about a cultural misperception about baby boomers and their role in the social and cultural events of the nineteen-sixties.

Source: The Misconception about Baby Boomers and the Sixties | The New Yorker

No point here – move along. Boomers accepted and made the ideas, music, culture and art created by those ten years ahead of them the 60’s. Without acceptance and consumption by the boomers, the 60’s would have been the 50s redux. History is not defined by historians. They only see what they think others should see.

Trump and Netanyahu are playing a bigoted game of chicken


The US president feigns concern for Jews to justify bullying Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Israel is happy to play along

Why would a president who has elevated white nationalism, who said there were “very fine people on both sides” in the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, decide that it’s his duty to identify American leaders who he sees as threats to the Jews and to Israel? Why would a man who has given a platform to proud antisemites like Sebastian Gorka and Ben Garrison decide that the safety of the Jewish people rests on his shoulders?

President Trump’s game of feigning concern for Jews in order to undercut women of color in Congress is all too transparent. And this time, his racism has been handed a new amplifier in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump and Netanyahu are ratcheting one another’s bigoted behaviors up in a game of anti-democracy chicken, where only these two election-frenzied men can win and many have their free expression and civil rights to lose.

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Trump suspends CNN analyst’s credentials in another shot at the press


The move stems from a July altercation with Breitbart reporter Sebastian Gorka, and echoes actions against CNN’s Jim Acosta

The Trump administration has fired another shot in its war with the US press, suspending the credentials of Brian Karem, White House correspondent for Playboy and an analyst for CNN.

Related: ‘The president’s insane’: book by CNN’s Jim Acosta charts Trump war on press

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رشيدة طليب: ضحية الفلسطيني الذي يبحث عن أيقونة تحرر


انقلبت مواقع التواصل رأسا على عقب هجوما على عضو الكونغرس الأمريكي من أصل فلسطيني رشيدة طليب. لم يكن وقتا بعيدا، انقلاب مواقع التواصل الاجتماعية فرحا ودعما لطليب عندما حلفت يمين تعيينها بالكونغرس بينما كانت ترتدي ثوبا فلسطينيا، وتتويجها كأيقونة محررة.

بين الامس وقرار ارتداء رشيدة الثوب الفلسطيني بالكونغرس، وبين اليوم وقرارها زيارة بلدتها بفلسطين وارسالها برسالة استرحام لوزير الداخلية الإسرائيلية لزيارة قريتها من اجل رؤية جدتها المسنة والتزامها بعدم الخوض بموضوع المقاطعة. أي ان زيارتها إنسانية فقط. وتكسير الايقونة على رأسها واعتبارها خسيسة.

كانت قد أعلنت رشيدة طليب مع زميلتها الهان عمر قبل أسابيع رغبتهما بالقدوم الى فلسطين\ إسرائيل للتأكيد على ممارسات إسرائيل العنصرية ضد الفلسطينيين. لم يكن غريبا ان تمنع إسرائيل النائبتين الامريكيتين من الدخول الى “أراضيها”، بوقت يحكم أمريكا الرئيس ترامب. فموقفه واضح تجاه إسرائيل، فهو مع ما تقوم به الحكومة الإسرائيلية بدعم تام، حتى ولو مست هذه الحكومة هيبة أعظم دولة في العالم. بالمحصلة، فان النائبتين تشكلان ازعاجا للرئيس الأمريكي ولا يعترف بهما شخصيا ولكنهما مفروضتان عليه. فما قامت به إسرائيل من منع لا يقدم الى ترامب الا هدية.

بالعادة، قد يكون مجرد منع النائبتان من الدخول هو الفضيحة الأكبر. قد تكون هذه الخطوة بمثابة ضربة بالإعلام الأمريكي. للإنسان الأمريكي العادي الذي لا يعرف من العالم الا ما تنقله شبكات اعلامه الموجهة، واعتقاده انه سيد العالم. والنائبتان تشكلان هيبة الدولة الامريكية التي اهانتها إسرائيل.

ولكن، يبدو ان جينات رشيدة طليب الفلسطينية حنت الى قريتها، واصرت على الدخول تحت أي شرط. ربما بالفعل كذلك، توجب عليها القدوم من اجل لقاء أخير لجدتها المسنة. فمهما حاولنا وضع الناس في قوالب مقدسة او خارقة، بالنهاية هؤلاء الناس بشر، لهم عائلات، وأحبة، وواجبات وحقوق تنطلي على حياتهم اليومية كما بحياتنا نحن البشر المنتظرون للشخوص الخارقة.

وهنا يبدو ان الجين الفلسطيني غلب الجينات المكتسبة الامريكية، فوجدت رشيدة طليب نفسها تتوسل من اجل العبور.

رشيدة طليب لا تختلف عن أي فلسطيني يحتاج ان يمر عن حاجز، فيعمل ما بوسعه من اجل الحصول على تصريح.

استثناء هم الفلسطينيون الذي لا يريدون العبور عن حاجز، وقد يكونوا غير موجودين أصلا. ولكن هناك قاعدة لا يمكن ان نتغاضى عنها، وهي تلك المتمثلة بصك العبور الذي تسمح به إسرائيل. لا يوجد من هو وطني ومن هو اقل وطنية بهذا. يوجد حاجة للمرور او العبور يتطلبها الموقف، وسيدها واحد: جندي إسرائيلي. وفي حالة رشيدة طليب، سيد الموقف هو وزير الداخلية الإسرائيلية. ولا فرق بين الجندي والوزير هنا في الحط من هيبة الانسان الفلسطيني مهما علا شأنه وتغيرت جنسيته، فأعلى من يتخذ القرار بشأنك هو عسكري برتب مختلفة.

لن يكون غريبا، ان تكون الرسالة التي كتبتها طليب من اجل الدخول الى “إسرائيل” معدة مسبقا وبالكلمة من قبل وزارة “الدفاع” الإسرائيلية. هل لنا ان نتخيل فقط الآلاف من رسائل الاسترحام التي يكتبها الفلسطينيون من اجل العبور، ويتم منحها بالمقابل تحت اسم “الإنسانية”؟

وقعت طليب بلا شك في شرك نصب لها بخباثة صهيونية معتادة. وتم استخدامه ضدها بتلقائية وسط نهج صهيوني ممتهن ولا يحتاج الى حنكة.

ولكننا، دائما ننجح ان نقدم للاحتلال إنجازات لا يتوقعها، وهو الهجوم الشعبي على المرأة، وكأنها باعت فلسطين.

منذ لحظة تحميل رشيدة طليب مسؤولية تحرير فلسطين من الكونغرس، كان الاندفاع كما كل مرة نحو الهاوية. لم نعبأ لفكرة ان المرأة لا يمكن لها ان تشغل أكثر من منصبها الذي تمليه عليها قواعد العمل في أمريكا بهذا الشأن. تم انتخابها من اجل مجموعة من الناس الأمريكيين في مكان ما تعيش به، لم يكن منتخبوها فلسطينيون، ولم تكن حملتها الانتخابية متعلقة بتحرير فلسطين. وهذا هو الطبيعي. ولكننا تأملنا، كعادتنا، لأننا كالغريق المتعلق بقشة، وهذا عادي كذلك.

وبين توقعاتنا وامالنا من طليب، وبين حقيقة ما تستطيع طليب ان تكونه تكمن المصيبة.

وردة افعالنا في كل مرة هي المصيبة الأكبر، فبتدشينها ايقونة فلسطين على مقاعد الكونغرس من خلال ثوب ملأنا فيه نشوة انتصاراتنا في ظل انهزام محتم نعيشه، قد نكون السبب في تعطيل مهمتها الأساسية وتحويلها الى مدافع عن القضية الفلسطينية في منبر ليست القضية الفلسطينية هي هدفه الدائم. مجرد عنوان ضمن مئات او الالاف العناوين. كنا بحاجة لعضو كونغرس فلسطيني بلا شك، فهو بالتأكيد إضافة لنا كفلسطينيين، نكسر من خلالها فكرة التخلف والإرهاب الموسومة بنا. كان سيذكرهم دائما وجود امرأة فلسطينية بالكونغرس، ان الفلسطيني له ابعاد واشكال غير تلك التي ترسمها حكومتهم عنا. ولكن قبلت طليب ان ترتدي عباءة “الأيقونة” وريما صدقت ان وجودها بالكونغرس سيحرر فلسطين. لو كنت مكانها لأخذتني النشوة الى التصديق. فتحولت المرأة بقدرة قادر الى ايقونة التحرير بمجرد لبسها لثوب فلسطيني بالكونغرس!

الحرب العشواء المقامة ضدها اليوم من الفلسطينيين، تقول كذلك ان العطب في الجين الفلسطيني آخذ بالازدياد. فنحن بحاجة الى العشرات من رشيدة طليب بالكونغرس. وشطبنا عن الوحيدة هناك كمن يطلق النار على قدمه من جديد. كم سهل ان تنسى طليب بعد هذه الهجمة الشعواء عليها أي صلة لها بفلسطين؟ كم سهل ان يحتضنها الصهيوني الملازم لها كظلها في كل وجهة تنظر اليها؟ كم سهل ان تركز فقط على قضاياها الامريكية بلا عناء ولا اهتمام لقضية يهجم أصحابها كالوحوش المتعطشة لضحية ونهشها عند كل زاوية؟

نفس الناس الذين توجوها أيقونة هم الذين ينزلونها الى قائمة اراذل البشر اليوم. فهل يعني هذا انكم كمشاعركم بعيدون كل البعد عن الفهم بالسياسة وما تطلبه؟ ام أنتم مجرد منافقون مطبلون لكل مرحلة، لا تختلفون عن النظام السائد من التطبيل نحو هتافات فارغة نرفضها بالعلن ولا نتوانى عن استخدامها كلما احتجنا لها.

من منكم بلا حاجة لصك عبور يمنحه الإسرائيلي.. فليرجمها!!!


Second Look Behind the Headlines

Culture War, Class War

Culture War is Class War disguised. The Wealthy Elite--the "Filthy Rich"--foment Culture War in society to distract and cover their real economic motives. Culture War, Class War explores the resulting cultural divide--how it was instigated and kept alive for fifty years in America by certain elite powers and how and why they choose to benefit while tearing families in two and keeping America paralyzed.


an A to Z guide to Vaccines


Arabic Literature and Translation

Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

Second Look Behind the Headlines

Truth Troubles

Why people hate the truths of the world.

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

that all men are created equal

Yanis Varoufakis



Wellness Leadership Education

Systemic Disorder

Essays on economic crisis, decoding dominant ideologies and creating a better world

Media Diversified

Foregrounding voices of colour

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine


living in the shoes of a woman

Une Lettre Jamais Arrivée

A Letter Never Received


His mom, kind of.

Mary Miley's Roaring Twenties

A Unique Decade in American History

penned in moon dust

words infused with art

Night Owl Poetry - Dorinda Duclos

"The silence of the night awakens my soul"

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