Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Way of Life/The Way of Death


Editor's note: This is a British board. Whitechapel is the cheapest property.
The Way of Life/The Way of Death
by Coast Watcher



It’s pretty much evident that capitalism is destroying our world. This parasitical philosophy treats everything as a commodity to be exploited for the maximum amount of money possible. People—ordinary human beings—are an endless source of wealth. We are lied to, coerced, bribed, blackmailed and outright threatened to make us continue working for the System. No matter where we turn in life, a capitalist is there, ready and willing to screw us over.


Big Business owns governments. The United States government, founded on such principles as liberty and justice for all is a wholly-owned concern of capitalism, but this should not come as too much of a surprise when you consider the Founding Fathers were all rich white guysin other words, the very stuff of capitalism. Many of them owned slaves. After the successful revolution against British rule it took decades and a bloody war to abolish slavery, yet even that abolition didn’t stick.  


Although slavery and involuntary servitude were outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, an exception was made as a punishment for crime. Capitalists seized upon this exception and set up for-profit prisons in which those incarcerated are forced to work for Big Business. To ensure a ready supply of labor, the capitalists persuaded lawmakers to introduce the "three strikes and you’re out" laws for petty infringements, such as possession of marijuana. It’s a matter of record that African-Americans are the section of society most afflicted with these laws and the ones least likely to afford a competent legal counsel.


In California, volunteer convict firefighters are instrumental in fighting the terrible wildfires afflicting the state. They’ve helped save countless lives and property—including homes belonging to the rich—yet once they leave prison they are not allowed to parlay their hard-won experience into a permanent firefighting job. How is it just that a person who risked his or her life to help others is not allowed to benefit from it? What is even more infuriating is the fact that most of the recent wildfires were caused by PC&G electric company’s lack of maintenance on their power lines. Maintenance is given zero priority because it gets in the way of yet greater profitsat the cost of serious damage to the environment.

Of course, the sale and purchase of people is still illegal—just—but the capitalists have found a way to circumvent such things. Take the trade in children forcibly separated from parents who entered the US, either illegally or in search of asylum. (No, Mr. Trump, under the UN charter which the United States signed, seeking asylum is not illegal). Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has shares in companiesthat trade in adoptions, and a ready supply of children is essential to her healthy profit margin. Those kids, over ten thousand of themand mostly of Hispanic ethnicity, will likely go to affluent white people to be brought up as white, losing their heritage along with their true parents. And some of those poor children end up in the hands of pedophiles, adding sexual abuse to their woes."
The destruction of the environment in pursuit of profit is a major goal of Big Business. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) pour hundreds of thousands of tons of animal effluent into water courses each and every day all year round. Agribusinesses spray pesticides,herbicides, and fertilizers onfields in similar amounts, the run-off from which also finds its way into water courses. The net result of this is a massive increase in algae blooms as the cyanobacteria present feeds on the nitrogen in fertilizer and effluent. 

Cyanobacteria excretes toxins into water and the air. It has been linked to a variety of medical conditions including ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer’s Disease, and has killed animals that come into contact with it. The gene that allows genetically altered "Roundup Ready" plants to tolerate the carcinogenic herbicide was extracted from cyanobacteria.


Big Business knows that the public would close down CAFOs in a heartbeat for this, let alone the horrible mistreatment of animals that occurs in such places. To protect its vast profits the companies that own and run CAFOs succeeded in getting a law pass that forbids the public from taking photographs of their operations. They also succeeded in persuading a number of state to exempt CAFOs from most regulations regarding animal welfare.


Nuclear power plants in North America are aging and increasingly dangerous. Three Mile Island is the most notorious example, but there have been other incidents involving pressurized water reactors that the public was not made aware of. The Davis-Besse plant, located between Toledo and Cleveland, is a decrepit facility, yet First Energy, the owner, has rammed a bill through the Ohio state house giving them a heavy subsidy for keepingthe plant open. This in spite of a near meltdown in 2006 which only came to light in 2011. A mere sixteenth of an inch of metal—that’s the width of a slice of processed cheese—stood between the nuclear core and the total devastation of the western Lake Erie basin. 

If you think the public will be warned if such a meltdown should ever happen, think again. The power industry decided long ago it wouldn’t be feasible to evacuate major cities, so they won’t bother. Oh, and you can’t sue them if you are displaced by a nuclear incident. Yep, Big Business ensured that law got passed long ago.



We can also look at the way oil pipelines are forced through rural areas of America in spite of vehement opposition from residents, usually Native Americans. Back in the 1930s Big Oil got the government to give them the right to claim eminent domain when building pipelines.  

Recently it got the government to rate such pipelines as "infrastructure," which means anyone protesting or damaging them are liable for trial under terrorism charges. If convicted it would mean several years to life imprisonment. People have gone to jail for obstructing pipelines crossing their own land. Big Oil gets around local objections by promising jobs, without mentioning that the jobs involved amount to local security and minor construction. The big ticket jobs like engineering and specialist construction come from out of state. Numerous cases of murder and rape have been leveled at construction workers while oil pipelines are being built, but few convictions come from them.


As an aside it’s interesting to note that when a proposed pipeline was scheduled to pass through a large country estate belonging to a billionaire in Pennsylvania, the proposal was dropped when said billionaire threatened a lawsuit against the oil company. The same thing happened when a fracking operation was to be set up next to a stud farm owned by another billionaire. The proposal was dropped like a hot potato the moment he threatened to sue.


The way of life will be to curb the activities of Big Business, forcing them to clean up their mess and enforce the laws and regulations preventing them from polluting our planet ever again. The way of death will be to allow these rich individuals and their corporations to continue as they’re done for far too long. 


Which is it to be? It’s past time we decided once and for all.


BIO: Coast Watcher is keeping score. The crimes of the capitalists will not be forgotten--or ignored much longer. The people are awake and watching. Now is the winter of our discontent--and our political revolution!


Related articles:

Top 26 Billionaires Worth $1.4 Trillion--As Much As 3.8 Billion Other People
https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/20/business/oxfam-billionaires-davos/index.html

Stop Drinking the Kool-Aid
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/socialjesus/2019/11/stop-drinking-kool-aid/

In a Step Towards Justice, US Senate Passes Bill with Funds for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women 
https://www.nationofchange.org/2019/11/06/in-a-step-towards-justice-us-senate-passes-bill-with-funds-for-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women/
https://www.ecowatch.com/us-pesticide-usage-bans-2638789192.html

US Annually Uses 388 Million Pounds of Potentially Fatal Pesticides Banned in EU, China and Brazil
https://www.ecowatch.com/us-pesticide-usage-bans-2638789192.html

Over 10,000 Migrant Children Are In US Government Custody
https://www.businessinsider.com/children-in-custody-trump-administration-immigration-zero-tolerance-policy-2018-5
 
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Climate Hawks Vote


Communities of color on the frontlines of the climate crisis have been battling environmental injustice for decades. Landfills, dirty industrial plants, and warehouse / truck depots all are located, by design, in lower income, black and brown communities.


That means the people who live, work, and raise their kids in these areas face greater health risks from pollution. It means their kids cannot comfortably play outside without breathing dirty air or drink water from their tap. It means that these frontline communities will continue to bear the brunt of the climate crisis as politicians kick the can further and further down the road. Meanwhile, the rest of society lives a comfortable distance from the consequences.




U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) have drafted the Climate Equity Act, a legislative proposal to achieve the key principle of justice for frontline communities. This legislation focuses on communities most affected by the crisis and the transition to renewable energy. It will require environmental and climate-related legislation receive an equity score that will transparently estimate the impact on frontline communities, require environmental and climate-related rules and regulations have significant impact on frontline communities, and ensure that representatives of frontline communities are at the table during the review of rules and regulations of a newly established Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability.


If brought into fruition, the Climate Equity Act will help rebuild communities affected by environmental injustice, ensuring they receive adequate attention from Congress looking forward.

Join our national grassroots network mobilizing for climate equity.
DEMAND CONGRESS ADDRESS CLIMATE EQUITY

Your fellow climate hawk,
RL Miller



Reference:

“Harris and Ocasio-Cortez Announce Landmark Legislation to Ensure Green New Deal Lifts Up Every Community,” Office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris
https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/harris-ocasio-cortez-announce-landmark-legislation-to-ensure-green-new-deal-lifts-up-every-community


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From Roots Action:

Julian Assange is being held in prison in the United Kingdom, convicted of and charged with no crime there. He is in danger of being extradited to the United States to be prosecuted for publishing accurate information in the public interest. This is a threat to journalism and to democracy, not just to WikiLeaks and Assange.

Click here to sign a petition to the government of the United Kingdom.


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Click here to sign the following petition.

To the Government of the United Kingdom:

We the undersigned respectfully call on the appropriate authorities of the United Kingdom to immediately release Julian Assange, citizen of Australia, from Belmarsh prison where he is being unjustly and cruelly incarcerated.

Acting as a publisher through WikiLeaks, Mr. Assange has done the world a service in documenting the war crimes and other abuses of the United States and other governments, organizations, and corporations.

He is not charged with any crime or even misdemeanor in the United Kingdom, and has fully served his sentence for his single offense: jumping bail to avoid extradition to the United States via Sweden. He was not and is not charged with any crime in Sweden.

The sole charges against Mr. Assange originate in the United States, where he is charged with the publication of accurate information provided by informed sources, as well as with encouraging a source, and protecting a source. These are regular and necessary practices of journalism in a free and democratic society. The prosecution of a publisher for publishing accurate information that is clearly in the public interest is a threat to journalism and to democracy.

The "espionage" prosecution by the United States of a non-U.S. citizen who has not been in and is not in the United States would be an additional dangerous precedent to set.


It is quite clear that in its current treatment of Julian Assange, the United Kingdom is debasing itself as a mere instrument of political repression exercised by the United States. The current imprisonment of Mr. Assange is a blot on the United Kingdom’s judicial system, a disgrace to British decency.

There is every reason to fear an unfair trial, or cruel imprisonment without trial, in the United States. We appeal to your sense of justice to uphold the best traditions of British democracy and respect for human rights by immediately freeing, rather than extraditing, Julian Assange.




After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.


***
From Progress America:

Tell Congress:
 
"We, the undersigned, call on Congress to support legislation that would end surprise medical bills and hold down health care costs overall. We shouldn’t be left to foot the bill when health care industries disagree."


Nichole Briggs woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pain and went to the local hospital for an emergency appendectomy. She double-checked that the hospital was covered by her insurance, yet she still received a bill for nearly $5,000 because the surgeon within the hospital was outside her network. She refused to pay the unfair bill. A credit agency then took her to court and put a lien on her home, all for a bill she shouldn’t owe in the first place.

This should not be the status quo, but one in five emergency department visits result in a surprise medical bill. These bills occur when a person is charged for care they receive from a health care provider or facility that is outside of their health plan’s network, even though they didn’t choose to go out of network to begin with.



Thanks,

Progress America
 ***
Email from Brand New Congress


We have been closely monitoring recent developments in Bolivia as President-Elect Evo Morales was forced to resign yesterday at the hand of the Bolivian military. Despite the tepid response from major American media outlets, let us be clear that this is a coup.

Bolivia has been rocked by weeks of protests challenging the validity of the October 20th election results in which Morales, the popular first president from Bolivia’s indigenous population, was elected to a third term. 

Morales, who has served for 14 years, agreed to an audit of the results to be conducted by the Organization of American States (OAS). His right-wing challenger, Carlos Mesa, did not agree to any such audit.

It’s important to know that the OAS has a record of overturning elections in left-leaning countries while turning a blind eye to emerging right-wing regimes backed by U.S. foreign policy and American corporate interests.

The United States has backed 12 coups throughout Latin America. It is clear that these governments are targets because they are considered hostile to U.S. capital and strategic interests, not because they are undemocratic.

The OAS follows a specific script of contesting the legitimacy of the elections, vowing to restore democracy with the new hand-picked leader, and downplaying U.S. involvement which translates to funding and arming the opposition, waging an economic war, and of course, blaming the target for civil unrest, corruption, and authoritarianism.

But if the OAS were concerned with democratic elections, where were they when loyalists of Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, conspired to lock up his rival, Lula da Silva, to clear Bolsonaro’s path to the presidency? And why, following a contentious election in Venezuela, did the OAS align with Tri, and rush to recognize Juan Guaidó as the rightful president over Maduro? To this day, the OAS continues their effort to legitimize Guaidó, a man who is known to be friendly to U.S. oil interests. 

If the OAS were concerned with recognizing the will of the people, why didn’t they demand a proper audit of those election results? Or call for a new election with independent international oversight?

Brand New Congress believes unequivocally in the right to self-determination in governance. It is a cornerstone of our 21st Century Bill of Rights.

Our founders believed that government must be of the people, by the people, and for the people. That is a human right, and these principles must be protected even when the will of the people runs counter to U.S. business interests.

No one -- not the OAS, not the United States government, not multinational corporations looking to exploit natural resources -- no one but the people of a nation has the right to dictate who will govern that nation.

We must stand in solidarity with the people of Bolivia and support a truly independent audit of the election results to ease political tensions in their deeply-divided country.

In solidarity,
Roza Calderon
Brand New Congress






Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Why Does God Allow Capitalism?



Why Does God Allow Capitalism? 
By C.A. Matthews
It’s a question that’s often on my mind, day and night. Yes, I actually lose sleep over pondering it. Or maybe it’s just gives me something to mull over in the dark hours as I lie awake suffering from a particularly nasty acid reflux attack or sheering pain radiating down my arm from a trapped nerve. Either way, it does make one wonder why the Creator of Life, the Universe, and Everything (including the brilliant Douglas Adams) would allow such an abomination as capitalism to exist on the Good Earth.

After all, if God (or your Higher Power, if you prefer) made us in his/hers/its/their image, why would he/she/it/they possess such a sociopathic personal attribute that would allow capitalism to flourish? Why would God allow any part of his/hers/its/their nature to become so cold, cruel and downright mercenary? If it is as 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love,” then how could something as unloving and inhumane as capitalism come out of the human heart which was created by Compassion itself?
Case in point: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Why would any celestial being create such a vile creature as DeVos to begin with is beyond me as well, but let's hold off on that discussion for another day. The thing is DeVos exists—in the here and nowand she’s demonstrated repeatedly that she has no regard for the civil rights or feelings of her fellow human beings. As a billionaire, she’s already suspect as a sociopath, but with DeVos it goes much further than mere self-centeredness. 

Betsy DeVos and her family benefit directly from keeping students in debt for the majority of their working lives. Apparently she is also profiting from the heartache and terror of recent immigrants by taking their children and putting them up for private adoption to the highest bidders.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything less compassionate or more evil than stealing children from desperate families in order to make a quick buck. 

Even sicker, these immigrants are only seeking a safe place in America to raise their children because they were forced out of their homes due to US military interventions and shenanigans. In other words, if we hadn't bombed their countries back to the Stone Age and/or unleashed criminal despots friendly to American Big Business to rule them, these folks wouldn't currently be refugees seeking asylum here. They'd still be living in their native lands.

Unfortunately, DeVos is  not engaging in a new activity for Americans. All you have to do is crack open a US history text (even a poorly written one intended for Betsy's private schools) and turn to the chapter on the Civil War and its antecedents. There you will find sad illustrations of kidnapped Africans in chains being sold as slaves, permanently separated from their loved ones. Once enslaved, African women were often raped by their white masters and overseers, and those children were taken from their mothers to be sold on the auction block. There certainly was no “love” involved in breeding “livestock” as slaves were thought of by their owners.

Euro-Americans have always bought, sold and used other human beings—starting notably with the Native Americans. Whites drove the "Indians" off their lands, eventually killing or containing them on reservations. Native American orphans were kidnapped and educated to become “white” in Carlisle Schools but without all the benefits of possessing a European genetic heritage and bank account. 

The common denominator in American slavery seems to be the more red, brown or black pigmentation in your skin, the more likely you are considered less than human. Persons of color traditionally have had less civil rights and today are more likely to be killed, kidnapped, sold, or adopted out to the wealthy, and their families placed into eternal servitude (student loan and medical debt being forms of wage slavery).

What causes one group of humans to create slaves of another group of humans? The simple answer is, of course, greed. The mechanism greedy Americans use to exercise their need to hoard and take wealth from (or use the very body of) others is known as capitalism. It works on the profit principle. If an activity makes a capitalist profits, then it is allowable and heartily encouraged.

Jacking up college tuition and creating a student loan system that keeps former students forever paying off loans is a perfect example of capitalism functioning as it was designed. And what Betsy DeVos and her capitalist posse are doing by taking children from immigrant parents and making money off their misery is on the par with 19th century slave owners.
So, why does the Almighty allow "slavery in all but name" to continue? Is it a test of some kind? Are we supposed prove to our Higher Power that we can become better human beings by doing all we can to take down our corrupt capitalist system? Are we supposed to exposeand perhaps punishthe elitists hoarding the majority of the material wealth on the planet and wielding all of the political and military power? I don’t know.

Unlike others, I don’t see capitalism as an inevitable step in the evolution of civilization. At best, it’s a spurious path that ultimately leads to a dead end and many prematurely dead people, such as those Americans without adequate health care forced to ration their insulin and ultimately losing their lives. Only until the world embraces the concept of community (as demonstrated in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, verses 44-45: “[They] had all things in common...”) will we begin to see each other as equals, deserving of love and respect. Only then can we begin to heal the wounds of racism, sexism, ageism, classism...

Isn't it time we used the hearts, minds and hands we've been created with to fight the selfish destructiveness of capitalism in the world? There is such a thing as "free will," and as long as we can exercise ours, shouldn't we at least speak out against evil and refuse to cooperate with it? 

Why does God allow capitalism? Maybe it’s not God that allows it but us.  We each need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and decide which side of the moral struggle we want to be on as the spectacle of capitalism becomes grimmer in the coming days.
Tally of children Split at Border Tops 5400 in New Count
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/tally-of-children-split-at-border-tops-5400-in-new-count

The Trump Administration is Making Immigrant Parents Pay $800 for DNA Tests to Get Their Kids Back
https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/trump-administration-making-immigrant-parents-161314120.html

High Price of Insulin Leads Patients to Ration the Drug
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/01/641615877/insulins-high-cost-leads-to-lethal-rationing

Education Department Awards Debt Collection Contract to Company with Ties to DeVos
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2018/01/11/education-dept-awards-debt-collection-contract-to-company-with-ties-to-devos/



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 From Faithful America:

Church volunteer Scott Warren was put on trial in June for giving immigrants water and first aid. His case ended in a mistrial -- but Trump's prosecutors are about to try again, with a second trial starting November 12. Scott could face years in prison, just for giving shelter to people in need.

Scott volunteers with No More Deaths, a Unitarian-Universalist ministry that offers water, food, blankets, and medical aid along the border in Arizona. His arrest was a clear attempt by the Trump administration to crack down on immigrants -- and on all Americans who welcome the stranger and show love to our southern neighbors. 

Let's show the Trump administration that these scare tactics won't work: Christians and other people of faith are still paying attention to this story, we are still committed to human rights for immigrants, and we will not stand for this crackdown on Good Samaritans!

Add your name now to tell federal prosecutors: No second trial for Scott Warren -- drop all charges at once!

Thanks for everything you do to love your neighbor and resist intimidation.
In peace,
- Rev. Nathan and the Faithful America team




 ***
From Credo:

Here's a frightening idea: Grand Canyon, sponsored by Coca Cola. Yosemite, brought to you by McDonalds. Acadia, a subsidiary of Aramark.

Under a scheme hatched by former disgraced Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, that could be the eventual fate of America's national parks.

Reporters recently uncovered shady plans between the Interior Department and national park profiteers, the RV and hospitality industries, and enemies of public lands to privatize national park campgrounds, allow commercialized food trucks and other services at parks, limit benefits for seniors and increase prices.1
This plan would be a massive giveaway to corporate interests and Trump donors who stand to profit from national park privatization. We must speak out now to stop it.

Tell the Department of the Interior: Stop the privatization of national parks. Click here to sign the petition.

According to the recently discovered memo, the Trump administration’s “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee recommends privatizing national park campgrounds, which are currently managed by the National Park Service, instituting blackout dates and restrictions on senior benefits, increasing fees, expanding infrastructure that could harm wildlife habitat, and allowing mobile food trucks and camp stores on national park grounds.2

These measures will not only limit access for seniors and low income people to these pristine public lands - selling out our national parks to private interests will also line the pockets of Trump donors. Jerry Jacobs Jr., the billionaire chairman of Delaware North, a massive food service and concessionaire with deep interests in America's national parks, sits on the “Made in America” committee, donated at least $167,700 to Trump and stands to make massive profits if the Interior Department follows through with this scheme.

Privatizing America's national parks is another example in a long line of actions by the Trump administration to hand over public lands to private interests and donors, whether it's the fossil fuel industry, mining companies or corporate food and lodging. According to Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill, "Privatizing America’s public campgrounds and jacking up national park fees to appease big-business concessionaires and powerful corporate campaign donors is just the latest egregious attempt to rip public lands out of public hands."3

Activism to protect our national parks from Trump donors and corporate interests works. Thanks in part to more than 143,000 CREDO members who signed our petition, the names of historic locations at Yosemite National Park will be restored to their well-known names, a big victory over billionaire Jacobs, who brought a frivolous lawsuit against the NPS.4

We must speak out loud and clear that our beloved national parks are America's public lands, not a private, money-making playground for billionaire Trump donors. Click the link below to sign the petition:

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/national-park-privatization?t=9&akid=34738%2E9999572%2EwBJzBW

Thanks for speaking out.
Heidi Hess, Co-Director CREDO Action from Working Assets



Sign the petition ►
References:

  1. Frederick Reimers, "A New Plan to Make Camping in National Parks Worse," Outside, Oct. 21, 2019.
  2. Alexander Nazaryan, "Trump advisory council recommends expanding private business in national parks," Yahoo News, Oct. 11, 2019.
  3. Yetta Stein, "Plans to Privatize National Parks Outlined in Trump Admin Memo, Would Enrich Donors & Special Interests," Western Values Project, Oct. 11, 2019.
  4. Josh Nelson, "Victory: Yosemite keeps historic names," CREDO Mobile, Sept. 9 2019.


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Life-Saving Medicines Can Now Prevent the Spread of HIV. Tell All U.S. States to Ensure This Medication Is Readily Available!
 

Sign Now

 


An HIV diagnosis used to be death sentence. But thanks to medical advancements, HIV can be treated as an infection that is manageable with the help of several new prescription drugs. Now, new medications — known as PrEP (to be taken before exposure to HIV) and PEP (to be taken after exposure) — help protect HIV-negative people from the risk of infection.
You'd think ensuring these drugs are widely available to anyone who needs them would be a public health priority. Yet, it's alarmingly difficult for people to get access to these prevention drugs. Worse, many insurance companies don't cover it, so people face the unfathomable choice of protecting their physical health or financial wellbeing.
Luckily, leaders in at least one U.S. state are seeking to change all this. Lawmakers in California have just passed a new law that will allow pharmacies to dispense PrEP and PEP without a doctor's prescription. That means that those at risk of infection will no longer have to see a doctor to access these important drugs.
This is a huge deal, and other U.S. states need to follow suit!
Thank you,
Kelsey B.
The Care2 Petitions Team
 
P.S. Medications can't save lives if people can't access them. Sign the petition to urge states to improve access to HIV prevention drugs!






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