How Low Can We Go?

You have probably all seen this reported, and in the global scheme of things, it’s just one more (relatively minor) national embarrassment.

But still!

The United States government opposed a U.N. resolution recommending breastfeeding.

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.

And it wasn’t just a pro-forma vote. U.S. diplomats “twisted arms” and threatened supporters of the resolution. Ecuador had planned to introduce the measure; according to reports,  American officials warned Ecuador’s representatives that if they refused to drop their sponsorship of the resolution, “Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid.”

The Ecuadorean government–understandably–caved.

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.

Speaking of threats, some American delegates evidently went so far as to suggest that the United States might cut its contribution to the World Health Organization, which uses  America’s significant contribution to fund a variety of important global medical initiatives.

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.

It wasn’t just breastfeeding. The thuggery was extensive.

The confrontation was the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues.

In talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Americans have been pushing for languagethat would limit the ability of Canada, Mexico and the United States to put warning labels on junk food and sugary beverages, according to a draft of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times.

During the same Geneva meeting where the breast-feeding resolution was debated, the United States succeeded in removing statements supporting soda taxes from a document that advises countries grappling with soaring rates of obesity.

The Americans also sought, unsuccessfully, to thwart a W.H.O. effortaimed at helping poor countries obtain access to lifesaving medicines. Washington, supporting the pharmaceutical industry, has long resisted calls to modify patent laws as a way of increasing drug availability in the developing world, but health advocates say the Trump administration has ratcheted up its opposition to such efforts.

Words fail.

We have an administration that separates desperate families that have come to us to escape violence and (often) certain death. We put their babies in cages. Now we discover that the American government–our government– bullies health professionals who are working to save lives, in order to protect the pocketbooks of its political donors.

Permit me to modify Joseph Welch’s immortal lines : “Until this moment, I think I never really gauged the Trump team’s cruelty or recklessness… Clearly, they have no sense of decency.”


  1. Sheila,

    “Permit me to modify Joseph Welch’s immortal lines : “Until this moment, I think I never really gauged the Trump team’s cruelty or recklessness… Clearly, they have no sense of decency.””

    You miscalculated. It comes from being raised in Indiana, instead of the “Bible Belt.”

    You’re forgiven.

  2. The problem with using Welch to describe Trump…please use it to describe the United States of America. We’ve been doing the very same thing for a very long time.

    It’s just more fashionable now since a piece of shit is in the Whitehouse. But we’ve always been the world dictators and we used NATO and WHO to accomplish our plans for imperial stretch.

    Trump just told NATO allies to increase their donations to 4% of GNP even though most weren’t even spending the 2% goal. Now, why would we need more defense spending in 2018 when we are already globalized?

    Pad the checkbooks of Big Defense.

    Why pad the checkbooks of Big Sugar? Have you seen the polluted water in Florida caused by Big Sugar who owns both political parties? Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a high profile bribed official within the DNC ranks. She has a progressive challenger.

    Also, why would we advocate for Big Sugar when it’s making people fat and causing diabetes?

    Let me introduce you to Big Pharma players like Eli Lilly who profit handsomely from insulin and other diabetic drugs.

    Is it any wonder that Indiana leads the country in obesity? IU Health does nothing in the community to curb our consistently poor rankings in wellness. Guess who managed the statewide advocacy for wellness? The Chamber of Commerce. Zero impact.

    Yes, people, this is our country. Not Donald Trump’s problem, but our problem. We’ve been doing this for eons. Corporatization of America was complete long ago and this is how we do business and it’s also why we create many enemies. If we don’t like it, we just bomb the shit out of countries until their people flee the country so we can resettle and develop with our allies.

    Welcome to America–land of the global profiteers. 🙂

  3. Ah; the North American Free Trade Agreement is seeking to control our boobs, what a bunch of Boobs who are only in the business of making money. Is the American membership trying to make up for the money lost by businesses not allowing women employees to purchase birth control? In this country; can that be part of the reason this government is so against LGBTQs who need no birth control and rarely in the position to need to buy baby formula? A way to aid bakeries and pizza shops to recoup losses from the lack of serving same-sex couples?

    I’m beginning to worry about my own mental stability with the strange quirks my thought processes have been taking lately. The picture of my granddaughter nursing her baby daughter; which showed less of the top of her breast than a swim suit top and a partial side-view of the baby’s head and face, was requested to be removed from Facebook for being pornographic in nature. The beautiful picture was allowed to remain.

    By the way; my granddaughter also posted proudly on Facebook when she was approved to be a BM Donor; this caused quite a stir among those of us who are only familiar with BM referring to bowel movement. She quickly clarified the fact that she was a Breast Milk Donor for babies whose mothers for whatever reason could not or would not breast feed their babies. It is healthier but is not always plausible or possibly for any number of reasons but should not be a for-profit issue. Call it a “world health issue” all you want; it gets down to the nitty-gritty of “follow the money”.

    Today; nothing remains sacred or private in our lives, government intervention, obviously also on the international level, is attempting to rule every aspect of our lives…for profit.

  4. Anyone else notice that the whole thing was orchestrated to allow Russia to be the hero?

  5. One of the truly wicked problems with Capitalism is its need to grow. To that end, in the hands of unscrupulous leaders, we create/invent problems where none existed before just so we can offer a solution… at a profit of course. At this point in mankind’s existence we have made a monumental mess of our world feeding the economic system of greed.

  6. The really bad implications of the corporate effort as to breastfeeding was absent from coverage of the issue I read and saw. In the early 1980s, Nestle provided free formula to mothers, in third world countries, who still were breastfeeding a child. The free supply last only about as long as the time in which the mothers’ bodies would stop producing milk. At that point, of course, the formula no longer was free. That is really how low these corporate interests will go. They seek profits even if children are malnourished or starved.

  7. “At this point in mankind’s existence we have made a monumental mess of our world feeding the economic system of greed.”

    Theresa; and there can be no accounting, no statistics to show how many American families alone are going hungry or eating less healthy meals due to lack of a living wage due to “feeding the economic system of greed”. The prices at Kroger had gone up at a noticeable rate over the past week; produce especially, much of which is imported. And; we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

  8. Our nation has been a bully on the world stage for generations. The difference now is that our Thug in Chief has no filters and no intention of hiding our system of ‘use and abuse’.

  9. Mitch McConnell, his 50 GOP colleagues, Paul Ryan and his supermajority are complicit with this and all the other immortal acts of the Administration. Is Susan Brooks pleased with this action? Why are we, her constituents, not at her office door this morning in vast numbers? Offices of MOCs are our battlements. Flood MOC’s social media with protests. Work for Dee Thornton. Stop these crimes against humanity. Putin is in danger of laughing himself to death.

  10. I wonder if the fact mother milk comes from breasts and the so called evangelicals have problems with bodily function even remotely related to sex may have contributed to this as well. Trump and his supporters are the MAGA gang and far more dangerous than MS13 despiute being a national embarrassment

  11. Nancy,

    “The difference now is that our Thug in Chief has no filters and no intention of hiding our system of ‘use and abuse’”

    Adolph Hitler, made a foolhardy pact with the Russians, why wouldn’t his SECOND CLASS CLONE do the same. Adolph must be cringing in his grave. I forgot. Forgive me. Hitler, Trump’s hero, ended up not having one.

  12. PLEASE! Do not ask that question. The traitorous critter is meeting with his handler in Helsinki. I don’t think we really want to know how low this man is willing to sink US! People always fail to mention the fact that he stood at the podium and told his followers the night he was elected – ‘This one is for revenge!’… HE HATES THE UNITED STATES except for its MONEY! He can go to hell by himself I am not following that wanna be fuehrer anywhere! Something better be done and soon, this nation can collapse you know. History says nothing stays the same. And it looks like a new path for this country is in the works no matter how this turns out – our happy days are gone for some time. Hey! don’t call me a pessimist – read some history! (Especially B. Franklin’s address to the Continental Congress at the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.)

  13. The rumors must be true. The Republican controlled Congress is now in the process of passing a bill that declares all women’s breasts are now the property of Fake President Donald Trump.

  14. Reverend,

    “Hey! don’t call me a pessimist – read some history! (Especially B. Franklin’s address to the Continental Congress at the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.)”

    I would also recommend:

    PAUL REVERE (Won’t You Ride For Us Again?) Words by Joe Goodwin and Music by Halsey K. Mohr. Copyright MCMXVIII by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. Inc. 224 West 47th Street, New York

    With you lan-tern, Paul RE-vere,
    You rode miles a round,
    “One if by land,”
    “Two if by sea,”
    Spreading a-larm thru ev-ry town
    You warned us then of dan-ger that was near,
    We need an-oth-er warn-ing , Paul Re-vere:

    (Chorus (Not Fast)
    Paul Re-vere, Paul Re-vere ,
    Won’t you ride for us a-gain?
    Won’t you ride thru each ham-let, vil-lage and farm?
    Ride, Paul Rev-ere, and spread the a-larm;
    Paul Re-vere, Paul Re-vere,
    You’re a mem-‘ry we all hold dear,
    Tho’you’ve rest-ed for a–ges on His-to-ry’s pa- -ges,
    Ride for us now, Paul Re-vere. Paul Re-vere.

    I found this old, tattered, music sheet about twenty years ago, in a small bookstore in New York.

  15. Trump has one note: Money. Whatever the problem, money is at its core and the solution is cash flow – as long as it is in the proper direction. I listened to his “press conference” from Brussels this morning. According to him, the NATO allies are the best of friends after their brief conference, he convinced them to spend more money and they are all grateful to him and his superior intelligence. He also talked about how he and Stoltenberg are now the best of friends. Somwhow he still has supporters even though he demonstrates how delusional he is daily.

  16. Yes. Russia as hero in saving a resolution promoting nursing. Perfect irony, except for the implications of Trump’s handlers in Moscow pulling yet another string. This string, however, is actually quite comical in that by promoting baby “formulas” over breast milk actually denies being the type of creature we are: MAMMALS. BY DEFINITION, MAMMALS NURSE THEIR YOUNG. By denying the value of this most basic characteristic of our class, we are literally denying what we are.

    Then, of course, there is the absurdity of calling public nursing “pornographic”. Only demented churches with a penchant for denying ALL the basic human connections with biology – like reproduction behavior – would promote such stupidity. These same idiots will say “AWWW, isn’t that cute” to a cat or dog momma nursing its young, while proving to the world what hypocrites look like in the most basic ways.

    Todd is right about capitalism perverting all things biological, political and practical for the sake of profit. Profits, profits, profits and the necessity for constant growth will, as Karl Marx predicted, destroy our economies and societies based on profits, growth and the other horrors of uncontrolled capitalism. The Trump administration is merely fronting for capitalism because it indeed has no constraints and indeed presents NO decency, intelligence or forward thinking.

    Maybe Republicans/capitalists were all denied mother’s milk and were nursed by pigs.

  17. As someone more astute with words than I put it, “By definition, they can never hit absolute bottom in this bottomless atrocity of an administration, but by God they came close in opposing … mother’s milk”.
    Bear these words in mind, if you think Aggressive American Imperialism is a new phenomenon:

    Two time Medal of Honor recipient Major General Smedley D. Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) . Quotes,

    “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912.

    I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    And another apt quote from General Butler:
    “The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.”
    The Democrats are being provided a gold mine of issues to run for. My concern from what I read from the Democratic Party Apparatus is they want to make President Agent Orange, the primary target. The Democrats if they hope to win must appeal to the Independent Voters with solid statements of policy. Not only that the Democrats must get the word out.

  18. Maybe Trump should have been fed breast milk instead of a steady diet of corporate baloney.

  19. “At a press conference on Thursday, President Trump described the NATO summit as a success and again referred to himself as a “very stable genius.”

    The comment came after a reporter asked: “We understand your message, but some people ask themselves, ‘will you be tweeting differently once you board Air Force One?’”

    “No. That’s other people that do that,” Trump replied. “I don’t. I’m very consistent. I’m a very stable genius.”

    The above is copied and pasted from a new AOL news item; this assurance from Trump should quell all fears regarding the outcome of Trump’s performance(s) at the NATO summit; assure us his meetings in UK and with Putin will put us in good stead around the world. Of course; that does leave us still questioning his White House administration and our Congress.

    Sleep well tonight knowing Trump is about and all is right with the world; we can forget any consideration of “How Low Can We Go?” regarding the boob situation with the World Health Organization. But; don’t let those bedbugs bite!

  20. It’s 2020 and our history reads that we were able to get a message out to the rest of the world in 2018 about our disgust with “The Blunder of 2016” and encapsulate the Diabolical Executive by surrounding him with Legislative Democrats but the consequence is stasis. Robert Mueller and Rob Rosenstein were able to plea deal the Trump Family by offering no jail time in exchange for not running for reelection so Prince Pence runs against Kirsten Gillibrand and she triumphs.

    Are our troubles over?

    Not by a long shot. By then the summers in NYC are like we remember them being in Phoenix, the East coast is in full retreat from the rising waters, there is mass migration of people and animals formerly from Florida in and up the coast, workers can only afford health care overseas, we are a decade behind the rest of the world in getting off fossil fuels, FEMA has overtaken the military as our biggest expense and the depression has made breast feeding common as the only thing that working families can afford for their babies.

    Sorry Kirsten. Now you share the blame from authoritarians with Obama.

    The stains from this era will be with us through a couple of decades at the times we could least afford them. The only thing positive is that we re-learned what we learned in WWII about the danger authoritarian people have always represented.

    And this is the most optimistic possible scenario.

  21. Given that the HHS secretary is a former drug company exec and just about every Cabinet post is occupied by someone openly hostile to the mission of that agency, I suspect that we haven’t even begun to plumb the depths to which this administration will descend. The weasel words given by an HHS spokesperson off the record about breastfeeding show how compromised HHS already is. Science used to count for more in our decision-making. Now it’s just another opinion with no more standing than the crackpot theories and self-serving ideas used to promote bad policy. The idea of public service is an anathema to Trump and his ilk. Although Trump’s mother did some charitable work, I can find no evidence that Trump himself has ever engaged in any selfless act of charity or public service. For Trump it’s all about winning, which is always a selfish endeavor, made even more so by ridiculing the so-called losers. Helping people has never been one of his goals.

  22. President Agent Orange is carrying his usual tactic of attacking others in Europe. NBA Coach Gregg Popovich encapsulated President Orange rather well, on 17 Oct 2017

    “Popovich also spoke of his contempt for Trump’s inner circle. “This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner– and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets,” Popovich added.

    “We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it.”

    Quote from Bernie Sanders, “Mr. President, instead of demanding that Europe spend more on planes and guns, why don’t we join them in guaranteeing health care to all.”

    We spend $700 billion on defense, more than the next 10 nations combined, and end up with 30 million uninsured and crumbling infrastructure,” Sanders declared in a tweet.
    NBA Coach Gregg Popovich captured the stinking essence of President Agent Orange , a bag of mobile horse manure. Whenever, I see and hear President Agent Orange sputter on about Europe not contributing enough to NATO, my thoughts turn to all those deferments he received to avoid the draft. I just once wish the McMega-Media would bring up this Chicken Hawks lack of service to his country, when he was young.

  23. A piece published yesterday repeated an old interview with Ivana Trump, who is quoted as saying that breast feeding “isn’t sexy” because The Donald doesn’t like it.

    Breastfeeding is the best possible thing for newborns and mothers. For mothers, it aids in returning the uterus to normal size, eliminating excess fat and water stored during pregnancy (for the very purpose of milk production), and serves as a natural contraceptive for several months. For babies, breast milk is free, sterile, always the right temperature, it confers passive immunity to diseases the mother has had or been immunized against, and reduces allergies, diabetes and obesity in later life. It also aids the mother and baby in bonding.

    How goddam greedy do formula manufacturers have to be to get the U.S. to use its clout to discourage breastfeeding? In developing countries, water used to reconstitute formula may be contaminated. In really poor countries, mothers over-dilute formula to make it stretch, thus depriving their babies of the protein needed for early brain development. Again, this is a human rights, not political, issue.

  24. Several years ago, the world health organizations supported breast-feeding over formula for poor countries because formula had to be mixed with clean water which is not available to many women and communities in need of humanitarian assistance.

    I wish Nestle and other formula manufacturers were SO interested in providing healthy nutrition to third world countries that they were digging wells to provide safe, clean water to their new infant customers and their mothers.

  25. Actually striving to deprive infants of their mothers milk is consistent with depriving border children of their entire families.

    It’s also consistent with worrying more about fetuses than the children that some of them become. (Actually anthropogenic abortion is a relatively small part of the reasons why many can’t make the full journey.)

  26. maybe its time we got kicked out of the u.n. and china,by those people,and tell us , to f,,k off, and our money,,,

  27. Fran, Pete, and Nancy Papas: Yes, where are the children, many of whom do not know or recognize their own mothers right now? Instead of that urgent crisis, we are wasting taxpayer money in an attempt to draw and quarter Federal Agent Strzok. More smoke and mirrors by this ‘fake’ government! They make me tired. Angry and tired.

  28. Agent Strzok is standing strong and holding his own. This is the first time I have seen Democrats at any level speak out loud and clear on the truths of Trump and the Republican Congress. They are also pointing out the vast waste of valuable time and more tax dollars to point fingers at an American citizen for using his freedom of speech regarding a specific person, however he posted it and continue the attacks on Hillary Clinton’s E-mails…he did not show bias for or against either party. Trump has never in his money-making careers or his personal life deserved respect. Agent Strzok has been accused of not responding to questions from Republicans after repeatedly saying he was not allowed to speak to those issues due to the on-going investigation or due to orders to refuse to answer questions on specific issues for legal reasons.

    Republicans are again showing the high level of their ignorance to the world at large; the world is watching this country 24/7/365…and deservedly so.

  29. JoAnn –

    “I’m beginning to worry about my own mental stability with the strange quirks my thought processes have been taking lately.” There’s a cure. Turn off your TV. You (along with a lot of us) are a victim of “gaslighting,” (to gaslight is to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity) of which Trump is the world’s leading practitioner.

  30. Terry,

    “You (along with a lot of us) are a victim of “gaslighting,” (to gaslight is to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity) of which Trump is the world’s leading practitioner.”

    Perfect diagnosis. You’ve described the M.O. of many SOCIOPATHS, which, surely, includes Donald Trump.

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