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Tilting at Windmills

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June 1, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

AIDS....Heather Hurlburt has a global HIV/AIDS quiz over at Democracy Arsenal. I can't say that I did very well on it. Head on over and see if you can do better.

Kevin Drum 1:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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It's yet another success Bush doesn't get credit for. It's not surprising; the news thrives on sensationalism, and AIDS is merely tragic, not sensational.

It's actually amazing how cheap it would be to provide AIDS medication for all. 20 billion isn't much, considering how many ways the tab can be split.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 1, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you've always been enamored with Democracy Arsenal. Why?

I read and commented there--based on you pointing me there--and it's just some pompous Beltway Dem othink tank types that are looking for facts to bolster their conventional wisdom view of the world.

Also, it's kinda telling that these Dem think tanks choose to hire absolutely no people with military experience to work on security issues. Advanced degrees from insider East Coast universities YES! Real military service is for suckers.

How come Dem-aligned blogs have plenty of veterans commenting, but Dem-aligned think tanks can't seem to find any veterans to work on security issues?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on June 1, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Democracy Aresenal is awesome. I'm really glad they're doing a story focusing on the development side of our foreign policy. I would like to see more stories done about the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals include stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as putting an end to extreme global poverty by 2015.

Not many people know about the fact that the US and 190 other nations signed onto these goals at the Millennium Summit back in 2000. Nor do people know that the US pledged .7% of GDP to help fund these goals. In fact, the average citizen thinks that we give around 24% of our GDP toward development. 24%! It's time to start putting pressure on our leaders to following through on the promise that the US made. The Millennium Goals are not some idealistic pipe dream, but rather a feasible plan to drastically reduce poverty and disease. We need to get the word out and get people excited about the Millennium Development Goals. Its starts with you and me.

Posted by: Than on June 1, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are really thinking in a positive and progressive way. And, might I add, in a very good way.

Our military budget was $420 billion this year. As we slowly wrap up in Iraq (hopefully...), it would be entirely reasonable to redirect some of our money to the Millennium Goals. In fact, all that's required of the US is $19 billion. Put that in perspective--$247 billion spent on the Iraq War thus far.

Like Than said, we can create some political pressure on our elected officials and we can actually do this. Let's get the Millennium Goals some attention in DC.

Posted by: Nilesh on June 1, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

That's so true Than; it's so awesome that you mentioned the Millennium Goals. Controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a crucial part of the Millennium Goals. I volunteer with the Borgen Project a global poverty-focused organization which has nationwide volunteers, if you're interested... It really does start with everyday people who care enough to simply call their representatives and tell them "I want Congressman __ to address the Millennium Goals". Just think, if you input numbers of your representatives in your cellphone, you can call them while you're in traffic, waiting in line, on lunch. A simple 20-second phone call can influence many people. Borgen Project has spoken to many reps on Capitol Hill and they all say that in order to know what the people want, they need to hear from them. So they need to hear from you!

If anybody is interested please visit: www.borgenproject.org there is a lot more information on the Millennium Goals and ways we can help achieve it.

Posted by: Eva on June 1, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually amazing how cheap it would be to provide AIDS medication for all. 20 billion isn't much, considering how many ways the tab can be split.

One of the few comprehendable things you've written, Chickenhawk. You're absolutely right, AIDS meds can be secured rather cheaply and would go a long way to halting the spread of AIDS.

I, for one, was willing to give Bush all the credit in the world for his AIDS programs, until I read the details. His AIDS task force was chaired by the former CEO of Eli Lilly and decided that no generic meds could be used. So our money going for meds that cost up to 400% more than generics.

Also, a full 1/3 of the US contribution goes to abstinance instruction. And guess what? They're not permitted to discuss using condoms to help slow the spread of the disease.

Look at the facts, Chickenhawk, and you'll see that Bush's contribution isn't all it's cracked up to be. I mean, you were up in arms yesterday about the government spending $300 million per year to fund the CPB, obviously, given your grave concern about public expenditures, surely you will agree that his program is a waste of taxpayer money, right? Right?

Chcikenhawk, are you there...?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 1, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I did not score well, but I don't feel too awful in that my answers were mostly a *lot* more pessimistic than the real ones. The only number I was close on was the number getting treatment.

Posted by: Scorpio on June 1, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin and everybody who checked out my "quiz." The Millennium Goals, though they've been hard to put your hands around, are a great way of encapsulating both how much there is to do in fighting global poverty AND how accomplishable at least some of the tasks are. Carl, I'm sorry you didn't read my post before sounding off at our blog's "conventional wisdom..." but my Michigan neighbors will sure be tickled to hear that our street is inside the Beltway. Property values will soar!

Posted by: Heather Hurlburt on June 1, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't understand why George Bush's increase for AIDS funding gets as much praise as it does. It has been demonstrably shown that because of all the restrictions put on the funding, and because of the fact that the money does not go into the Global Fund, the Bush AIDS policy has been largely counterproductive and goes a long way in explaining why despite a recent surge in AIDS spending there has not been a concomitant improvement in the global AIDS outlook.

The most glaring example of the Bush policy's criminal ineffectiveness is perhaps Uganda, where because of restrictions against using money for anything but abstinence-only education has left the country with a chronic undersupply of dispersed condoms. The condoms are there, but are being held for 'safety testing' purposes (and have been there for years now). In the mean time the once-shining example of how to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa has seen its rate of infection increase.

George Bush deserves a large share of the blame for every death in Uganda due to AIDS from here on out. If he were put on trial for this madness and treated like any other homicidal maniac he would be put to death.

Posted by: reader on June 1, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

I saw the list of questions, but I couldn't figure out where to click to answer them.

Posted by: jerry on June 1, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Both reader and MeLoseBrain? above have identified the real issues behind Bush's supposedly compassionately conservative approach to HIV/AIDS.

Internationally, we're seen as a sick joke on this issue.

In many parts of Africa, HIV thrives along trucking routes and around mines; HIV seropositive rates are sky-high in the sex worker "villages" that have sprung up, for example, near the mines in Gauteng Province in South Africa.

Imagine an "abstinence-only" campaign in such circumstances.

Posted by: Wonderin on June 1, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: lami on June 1, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

PBS this week aired "The Age of AIDS," perhaps the most powerful and devastating documentary on American television in years. The two part, four-hour special featured interviews and history from six continents and over a dozen countries detailing the path, the politics and the pain of 25 years of the AIDS pandemic.

Perhaps the most disturbing thread running through "The Age of AIDS" is the myopic complicity of the American radical right in the needless death and suffering of thousands worldwide. Through sins of commission and omission, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Jesse Helms and other champions of the Christian right helped ensure the spread of an unfolding global tragedy.

For the story, see:
"Reagan, Bush and the Age of AIDS"

Posted by: AvengingAngel on June 1, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

melosebrain is exactly right, he has no brain.

Recomment clicking through to the link.

http://cumulativemodel.blogspot.com/2006/05/aids-treatment-performance.html

Posted by: aaron on June 2, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly!

Posted by: Wang on June 2, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Heather, let's spot check Democracy Arsenal.

Top post: Beinart's book. What are we supposed to learn from a guy who was wrong, but won't reflect on why he was wrong?

Next post: Nossel says she's skeptical good can come from negotiating with Iran.

Next: a post praising Mike Huckabee as an evangelical.

Next: a meandering entry that touches on multiple subjects.

Let's tell the truth about Democracy Arsenal. You guys are allowed to say anything as long as there's no chance of significantly offending AIPAC.

And that condition kinda boxes Dem Arsenal into irrelevancy.

Markos Moulitsas got out of the Army as an E-4? E-5? He created Daily Kos by writing about the Iraq War.

Democracy Arsenal brings all these Masters & PhDs to the table. All the money. All the contacts. How much traffic does Democracy Arsenal get? How much thinking do you inspire?

I get more comments on my blog covering one township in Cook County.

But Heather, keep telling yourself you're hanging with the important people.

BTW, I'm sorry I didn't notice you live in Michigan, but you've got a DC resume.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on June 2, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Really, aaron? Try this one:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0602-04.htm

Posted by: Wonderin on June 2, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, um, what's your point? Condoms aren't very effective without abstinance/faithfulness campaining. It's the combination of all three that is most effective. Granted, there's not much point where protitutes are the target market, but it might get some out of the business.

Again, abstinance only (not very, if at all, effective) is a small (but unknown) part of the small part the budget that goes to education. Bush has made it so generics can get FDA approval so that they can be used abroad.

Posted by: aaron on June 2, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: biu on June 3, 2006 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Bush funding for abstinence is a big percentage, and it's impact - in terms of undermining effective approaches is even bigger. Uganda, which is presented by Bush as the pin-up for success for ABC approaches, actually achieved success by community based, comprehensive efforts. Bush's push towards A+B and, "if you fail at those, then C" has led to recent reports of increasing prevalence.

Arsental says that "death rates are falling"...actually, not. The total number of deaths is increasing, and rates are as well, and will continue to increase for some time.

According to UNAIDS, 2.8 million people died in 2005, compared to 2.6 million in 2003. 38.6 million are living with HIV in 2005, compared to 36,2 million in 2003.

The questions I would ask are:

1) what evidence is there that abstinence-until-marriage programs work? (none)
2) how much money does the US spend on abstinence-until-marriage programs and on funding for evangelical groups with no experience in AIDS prevention? (hundreds of millions of dollars)
3) where are the fastest growing epidemics, and what is driving those epidemics? (eastern europe and asia; injecting drug use and the lack of human rights protections for IDU)
4) are harm reduction programs - providing clean needles and substition therapy - effective? (yes, they are the most studied, and most effective HIV prevention programs ever developed)
5) how much money is the US spending on harm reduction programs ($0)
6) why is the US continuing to adopt an approach to the global epidemic that is counter to science and instead takes moralistic approaches? (because they are not truly intrested in stopping the epidemic, but in using it for purposes of advancing evangelical goals????????????)

Posted by: joe on June 3, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK


Constantin
avrakot@rambler.ru
Good morning! I hope all is well with everyone. I'm so glad it's Friday. Can't wait to sleep in tomorrow. I shall go I shall come on the site (All about cellular telephones
http://cellphone.ccity1.com/

Posted by: Constantin on June 4, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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