Welcome back to another OptOut newsletter!

We begin with a story you probably are not aware of, but should be. Public health agencies are sounding the alarm over rising tuberculosis (TB) cases across the country. STATES NEWSROOM had the story.

Tuberculosis cases rise, but public health agencies say they lack the resources to keep up ⋆ Michigan Advance
Until COVID-19, tuberculosis was the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing about 1.5 million people annually. Contrary to public perception, the disease is still active in the United States. The number of TB cases in the U.S. briefly dropped at the start of the pandemic, but there was a 5% i…
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TB was the world's deadliest infectious disease prior to the emergence of COVID-19. Although case numbers are low in the U.S. the increase is concerning, particularly given the rise of multidrug-resistant strains.

But public health agencies are not equipped to handle the increase in case numbers, lacking the resources and funding necessary to address the threat.Worse, there is no appetite to remedy the problem.

Science denial is on the rise. In recent years, public health as an institution has taken a beating from right-wing groups and operatives looking to undermine science for political reasons. As it has done for years with climate science, the business-aligned right wing promoted  worked to muddy the waters around the science of COVID with the aim of minimizing economic disruption and government intervention.

Epidemiologist and Yale School of Public Health professor Gregg Gonsalves wrote about the attacks on public health–and the weak pushback–in a piece for THE NATION. Indeed, the end result of the politicization of science amid COVID has been a rise of anti-vaccine sentiment and laissez-faire federal and state policies that have failed to prevent hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths.

We’re Letting a Public Health Disaster Unfold In Slow Motion
Republicans are working hard to destroy our public health infrastructure. Too many Democrats are helping them. It needs to stop now.
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Ignoring science does not make problems go away. Measles cases are now on the rise and the operatives who helped politicize COVID are doing the same routine. Anti-vax Florida Surgeon General Joe Ladapo, for example, sent a letter advising parents that they could send their unvaccinated, measles-infected kids to school. FLORIDA PHOENIX reported.

Amid measles outbreak in South Florida in Broward, another infection emerged in Central Florida - Florida Phoenix
Since late last week, two more Floridians appear to have contracted highly contagious measles, adding up to what looks like nine cases in all. The Florida Department of Health reported a probable case in Broward and another infection in Polk County, according to the state’s reportable disease survei…
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Science isn't always convenient. Sometimes best practices, meaning those that save lives and prevent unnecessary suffering, involve individual sacrifices for the good of our communities–school and business closures amid outbreaks of a deadly, novel virus; disruption of daily routines. Public health requires funding our government and enabling it to exercise power in crisis. "You do you" is not a viable or humane plan to deal with COVID, TB, measles, or whatever lies in wait for us tomorrow.

That's the reality.

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Democracy in America

You may have missed it, but CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, happened last week and over the weekend. The conference was attended by open neo-Nazis and far-right extremists. Worse, one of the speakers, conservative activist Jack Posobiec openly declared his intent to overthrow American democracy.

“Welcome to the end of democracy," he said to cheers. "We are here to overthrow it completely."

THE NEW REPUBLIC reported that story.

MAGA Republican Pledges “End of Democracy” to Rabid Cheers at CPAC
Republicans at CPAC 2024 are openly vowing to take down democracy.
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Meanwhile, Trump, who spoke at CPAC, continued his march to the GOP nomination, crushing opponent Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina. STATES NEWSROOM reported.

Trump triumphs over former SC Gov. Nikki Haley in SC GOP primary | Nebraska Examiner
Former President Donald Trump won an expected blowout victory over former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley Saturday in the South Carolina Republican primary.
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Trump's allies, meanwhile, have a plan to ban abortion nationally should he win the presidency. THE NEW REPUBLIC had the story.

The Zombie Law Trump Wants to Use to Ban Abortion Nationwide
Members of the former president’s inner circle are worried that he’ll blab about their plan to gut what remains of our reproductive freedoms.
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Across the aisle, Biden has appointed nearly 180 judges to the federal bench, providing a counterweight to right-wing efforts to stack the judiciary with extremists with lifetime appointments. Biden's judges include public defenders and civil rights attorneys, in a departure from previous presidents who have leaned heavily on corporate lawyers. RING OF FIRE did a segment on it.

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Israel's American-Backed War

Israel's war in Gaza has claimed more than 29,000 Palestinian lives. +972 MAGAZINE published an important, devastating piece from a former teacher in Gaza turned journalist.

An ode to my school, destroyed by Israel
The school where I taught in Gaza City was my second home. Now it lies in ruins, some of my beloved students are dead, and I am terrified for the rest.
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Over 200 unions, representing about 9 million workers, have now called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as the administration continues pushing for more aid to Israel. MEANS MORNING NEWS had a segment on it.

Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Andy Ogles came under fire for a genocidal remark he made about Gaza in a heated exchange with a ceasefire activist. “You know what? So, I think we should kill ’em all, if that makes you feel better,” declared Ogles. “Everybody in Hamas.” THE NEW REPUBLIC had the story.

“Kill ’Em All,” Republican Congressman Says of Palestinians in Gaza
Republican Representative Andy Ogles really does not care if even more kids are killed in Gaza.
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