Articles

Ukraine as I Knew It Is Over Forever – Graham Phillips

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

Hard as it is to say, sad as it is for those of us who liked Ukraine, as I liked Ukraine – over 2 years living there pre-war, it was a country I was very fond of – but post-Euromaidan, Ukraine is dead. Here’s why – 1. If there’s no law, it’s not a country, it’s a failed state – the recent wave of killings of anyone perceived to be ‘anti-regime’ in Ukraine, accompanied by not only resounding failure to investigate, but actually official endorsement of those responsible – the fact that the police in Ukraine defer to terrorist group Pravy Sektor. Just the start of a long list. There’s no law whatsoever in post-Euromaidan Ukraine. 2. If there’s no democracy, it’s not a country. It’s a banana state. On February 22nd, 2014, Euromaidan kicked out not only a democratically-elected president, but a democratically-elected government. It waited three months before holding elections for a new president, 8 months before parliamentary. By that time, all too late, the extremist element had already taken a stake way beyond electoral control – neo-Nazi party Svoboda, despite scoring less than 5% in the parliamentary elections, still vocally sit in Ukraine’s parliament, regularly send fighters to the front. Leader of neo-Nazi terrorist group Pravy Sektor Dmitry Yarosh (pictured), who polled less than 1% in the

An Alternative To Failed Education ‘Reform,’ If We Want One – Jeff Bryant

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

The movement to boycott standardized testing has caught the media totally by surprise. The mostly parent-led effort started with Facebook pages and neighborhood meetings has grown into a firestorm of resistance. As the Associated Press reported this week, “This ‘opt-out’ movement remains scattered but is growing fast.” The article points to New York – where perhaps as many as 200,000 students recently sat out the standardized tests – but also mentions strong opt-out movements in New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Even education policy influentials who have long advocated for an accountability system driven by standardized tests have been shaken by the resounding opposition to their policies. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, momentum is growing behind a US Senate bill rewriting No Child Left Behind legislation that governs national education policy. As Zoë Carpenter describes for The Nation, the new bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, isn’t exactly “a stake through the heart of NCLB,” but it likely puts the accountability mandates of NCLB into a state of flux in which federal enforcement of Adequate Yearly Progress would end and states would have more leeway in crafting their own accountability measures. It would seem that at a time, such as now, when the nation’s education policy is in such disarray,

To shield tech executives, California’s biggest water users are secret – Katharine Mieszkowski and Lance Williams

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

In the midst of a historic drought, Californians have no way of knowing who’s guzzling the most water. That’s not an accident. It’s by design, thanks to an obscure 1997 measure that weakened one of the state’s chief open government laws, the California Public Records Act. For the source of this legislation, look no further than Silicon Valley, where the city of Palo Alto decided it needed to do more to protect the privacy of the tech elite. “Palo Alto, even then, was home to a number of very high-profile tech-­related residents,” said Ariel Calonne, who was the city attorney at the time. “We had fairly extensive databases that covered a lot of sensitive information for a lot of noteworthy people, and that became a concern for our utility managers.” In the name of privacy and security, the city of Palo Alto backed legislation sponsored by Byron Sher, the local state senator. It allowed utilities to keep secret their customers’ “utility usage data” – that is, how much water and power they were using. Read

US Lawmakers Quietly Advance Legislation to Penalize Boycott of Israel – Sarah Lazare

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

U.S. lawmakers are quietly advancing legislation that would penalize international participation in the growing movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) Israel for human rights abuses against Palestinians. With little notice, anti-BDS directives were injected into the “Fast Track” legislation that passed the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday night, despite broad opposition to the bill, which gives the administration of President Barack Obama authority to ram though so-called “free trade” deals. An amendment, included in the bill and sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), stipulates that, as a principle of trade negotiations, the U.S. should put pressure on other countries not to engage in BDS against Israel of any kind, including refusal to do business with settlements. The passed amendment has not yet been made public, but Josh Ruebner, policy director for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, told Common Dreams that Cardin’s office confirmed that the language was based on the Senate legislation S.619, which states: To include among the principal trade negotiating objectives of the United States regarding commercial partnerships trade negotiating objectives with respect to discouraging activity that discourages, penalizes, or otherwise limits commercial relations with Israel, and for other purposes. Read

FDA Database: 93% of Food Additives Aren’t Properly Studied – Barbara Minton

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

If the mandate of the FDA includes protecting public health by assuring the safety of the food supply, why is the organization allowing a staggering amount of additives to adulterate our food? Many of these additives have dire consequences to the health this agency is supposed to protect. Since the advent of commercially processed foods in the 1950’s, many non-food substances have come into common usage to preserve and enhance the taste and appearance of products made with cheap ingredients. Increasingly, these additives such as indigestible gums have been used to replace real food ingredients. The use of food additives has allowed food producers to make higher profits at the expense of public health. Today, thousands of different food additives are allowed by the FDA, although a 2013 study found that almost 80% of them lack the relevant information needed to estimate the amount that consumers can safely eat. In the FDA’s own database, 93% of food additives lack reproductive or developmental toxicity data. Of the totality of FDA-regulated additives, both directly and indirectly allowed in food, almost two-thirds don’t have publicly available feeding data. The report concluded that in the absence of toxicology data on the majority of chemicals added to food, their safety in humans may

Compassion meditation reduces ‘mind-wandering,’ research shows

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

Research at Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education shows that formal compassion training increases both mental focus and caring behavior. The practice of compassion meditation may be a powerful antidote to a drifting mind, new Stanford research shows. Compassion meditation focuses on benevolent thoughts toward oneself and others, as the researchers noted. It is different in this aspect than most forms of meditation in the sense that participants are “guided” toward compassionate thoughts. The research article, “A Wandering Mind is a Less Caring Mind,” was recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. “This is the first report that demonstrates that formal compassion training decreases the tendency for the mind to wander, while increasing caring behavior not only towards others but towards oneself,” said James Doty, a co-author on the study, Stanford neurosurgeon and the founder and director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. “Mind-wandering” is the experience of having your thoughts not remain on a single topic for long. Prior research suggests that people spend as much as 50 percent of their waking hours in mind-wandering, often without realizing it. Doty said that mindfulness is extremely useful in today’s world with its myriad of

Panel of international climate scientists says the world has only until 2050 to become a zero-carbon society − but the rewards for doing so would be immense. – Alex Kirby

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

If you want to know what we have to do to avoid catastrophic climate change, 17 of the world’s leading climate scientists have worked out a simple but challenging solution: the world, they say, must turn by mid-century into a zero-carbon society. The signatories to today’s “Earth Statement” say: “This trajectory is not one of economic pain, but of economic opportunity, progress and inclusiveness. It is a chance too good to be missed. “The latest science indicates that there are critical thresholds in the Earth system. Transgressing them may lead to dramatic and irreversible environmental changes. “We are probably edging very close to such thresholds, and may already have crossed one with regard to melting of parts of Antarctica. Sea-level rise of more than one metre due to this event alone may be inevitable.” Window of opportunity They are convinced that time is short. “The window of opportunity is closing fast,” says Johan Rockström, chair of the Earth League, an international group of scientists from leading research institutions working on issues caused by climate change, natural resource depletion, land degradation and water scarcity. “We are on a trajectory that will leave our world irrevocably changed, far exceeding the 2°C mark.

Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company – JO BECKER and MIKE McINTIRE

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

The headline in Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when the newspaper served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.” The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain. But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one. Read

Six Month-Old Baby Dies Just Five Days After Receiving 13 Vaccines – Christina England

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

Imagine being emotionally blackmailed by your doctor to have your baby vaccinated with a lethal cocktail of 13 vaccines, which included two doses of the DTaP, three doses of the oral rotavirus vaccine and two doses of the polio vaccination. It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? However, this is exactly what happened to Alisa Neathery when she took her six month-old unvaccinated baby to the doctor for the first time. She told VacTruth: “Prior to the shots being given, when the doctor was discussing the pros of getting vaccinated with me, he explained how he was from a village in Africa. That we were lucky in America to have the opportunity to receive vaccines because where he was from, the mothers had to have like 11 kids each, since most would die off from disease because they were not as fortunate to receive vaccines like we are here in America. He really pushed them on me hard. He spent a lot of time convincing me to give Bently the vaccines, but when it was done, we never saw the doctor again.” According to Alisa, the doctor spent a long time deciding exactly which vaccinations Bently should receive and told Alisa that

With ‘Brave Tactic,’ Sanders Tries to Slam Brakes on Fast Track – Sarah Lazare

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

In what is being heralded as a “brave tactic,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday temporarily blocked lawmakers from rushing through legislation that would allow the Obama administration to “Fast Track” the controversial and highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Sanders forcibly delayed the Senate Finance Committee from considering Fast Track legislation by using a rarely invoked senate scheduling rule, effectively preventing the panel from looking at the trade bill until at least 4:00 PM. The committee was widely expected to endorse the legislation. Although not technically a filibuster, Sanders’ maneuver is being compared to the delaying tactic and is being met with vows from Fast Track proponents to do whatever it takes to move the legislation forward. Huffington Post reporter Zach Carter explained Wednesday that the delay, nonetheless, is significant “because Senate Democrats, including Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), have prepared dozens of amendments to the fast-track bill, which will take several hours to address in committee. If the panel can’t finish its work Wednesday, or just decides to call it a day early and resume its business tomorrow, Sanders can raise the same objection again, potentially delaying the process for several days.” Sanders said he took this step over concerns that the deal, despite its vast impact, is
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