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99th_Monkey

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Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 11,630

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Doctors Worldwide Blast TPP's 'Chilling Effect' on Health, Climate Protections

Doctors Worldwide Blast TPP's 'Chilling Effect' on Health, Climate Protections
While U.S. corporations have been involved in negotiations, 'health agencies have been forced to rely on leaks,' physicians point out in letter to be published Saturday
by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer * Friday, February 13, 2015 * Common Dreams

An international coalition of doctors representing seven Pacific Rim countries is demanding the public release of draft trade agreements currently being negotiated in secret between world governments.

The corporate-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the equally troubling Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), "threaten the ability of governments worldwide to provide affordable health care and to put in place health and environmental laws that protect public health and mitigate health inequity," reads a letter (pdf) signed by 27 health leaders, to be published Saturday in the international health journal The Lancet.

"Although USA-based industry advisors have been granted privileged access to negotiating documents, health agencies have been forced to rely on leaks for information," the document continues, referring to WikiLeaks's efforts to shed light on the draft texts.

The signatories hail from New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., Canada, Chile, Malaysia, and Vietnam—7 of the 12 countries that would be covered by the TPP—and the list includes leaders of the World Medical Association and World Federation of Public Health Associations. The effort was led by medical providers from New Zealand and Australia, who note that TPP provisions could "push up the cost of affordable and life-saving medicines" for vulnerable populations in those countries and elsewhere.

"The negotiations are not about the way most of us think of trade—you and me buying and selling things," said New Zealand psychiatrist Erik Monasterio, a co-author and lead signatory. "Instead they are protecting the massive investments profits of multinational companies that are bigger than the whole New Zealand economy. They want to make sure that countries won’t be able to pass laws or change policies, no matter how important to the local country, if that would cut profits of an overseas investor."

"And all the while, the text is shrouded in secrecy," he added.
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/02/13/doctors-worldwide-blast-tpps-chilling-effect-health-climate-protections

IS YOUR CHILD A TERRORIST? U.S. GOVERNMENT QUESTIONNAIRE RATES FAMILIES AT RISK FOR EXTREMISM

IS YOUR CHILD A TERRORIST? U.S. GOVERNMENT QUESTIONNAIRE RATES FAMILIES AT RISK FOR EXTREMISM
BY MURTAZA HUSSAIN, CORA CURRIER, AND JANA WINTER * The Intercept * Feb 15, 2015

Are you, your family or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? That’s the premise behind a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center, according to a document marked “For Official Use Only,” and obtained by The Intercept.

The document — and the rating system — is part of a wider strategy for Countering Violent Extremism, which calls for local community and religious leaders to work together with law enforcement and other government agencies. The White House has made this approach a centerpiece of its response to terrorist attacks around the world, and in the wake of the Paris attacks, announced plans to host an international summit on Countering Violent Extremism on February 18th.

The rating system, part of a 36-page document dated May 2014 and titled “Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts,” suggests that police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as: “Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,” “Talk of Harming Self or Others,” and “Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity).” The ranking system is supposed to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies.

Families are judged on factors such as “Aware of Each Other’s Activities,” as well as levels of “Parent-Child Bonding,” and communities are rated by access to health care and social services, in addition to “presence of ideologues or recruiters” as potential risk factors.

A low score in any of these categories would indicate a high risk of “susceptibility to engage in violent extremism,” according to the document. It encourages users of the guide to plot the scores on a graph to determine what “interventions” could halt the process of radicalization before it happens.
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/09/government-develops-questionnaire-see-might-become-terrorist/

Meet the Oregon Muckraker Who Keeps Taking Down Oregon Democratic Governors

Would that Nigel would move to Wisconsin (Scott Walker) or Florida (Rick Scott), so he could "take down" Governors who are anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-democratic racist assholes; instead of Dems who didn't manage to quite cover their asses adequately re: their personal lives.

Meet the Oregon Journalist Who Keeps Taking Down Governors
John Kitzhaber and Neil Goldschmidt have something in common: they ended up on the wrong side of Nigel Jaquiss's reporting.
by Joel Weber & Anthony Effinger * Bloomberg * Feb. 14, 2015

The resignation of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber on Friday is another pelt on the wall for Nigel Jaquiss, a Goldman Sachs oil trader turned muck-raking journalist.

Jaquiss, 52, works at Willamette Week, the free alternative weekly in Portland where he reported on allegations of Gov. John Kitzhaber's influence peddling. From that modest perch, Jaquiss also won a Pulitzer Prize, in 2005, for exposing long-hidden sexual assault by former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, the godfather of Oregon politics. And in 2009, Jaquiss's reporting revealed an improper sexual relationship between then-Portland Mayor Sam Adams and a legislative intern, which Adams initially denied.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-02-14/meet-the-oregon-journalist-who-keeps-taking-down-governors

Weather Weaponry: As if we needed one more reason to dismantle the CIA, NSA, et. al.

Spy agencies fund climate research in hunt for weather weapon, scientist fears
US expert Alan Robock raises concern over who would control climate-altering technologies if research is paid for by intelligence agencies
by Ian Sample * The Guardian * Feb. 15, 2015

A senior US scientist has expressed concern that the intelligence services are funding climate change research to learn if new technologies could be used as potential weapons. Alan Robock, a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has called on secretive government agencies to be open about their interest in radical work that explores how to alter the world’s climate.

Robock, who has contributed to reports for the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), uses computer models to study how stratospheric aerosols could cool the planet in the way massive volcanic eruptions do. But he was worried about who would control such climate-altering technologies should they prove effective, he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose.

Last week, the National Academy of Sciences published a two-volume report on different approaches to tackling climate change. One focused on means to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the other on ways to change clouds or the Earth’s surface to make them reflect more sunlight out to space.

The report concluded that while small-scale research projects were needed, the technologies were so far from being ready that reducing carbon emissions remained the most viable approach to curbing the worst extremes of climate change. A report by the Royal Society in 2009 made similar recommendations.

The $600,000 report was part-funded by the US intelligence services, but Robock said the CIA and other agencies had not fully explained their interest in the work. “The CIA was a major funder of the National Academies report so that makes me really worried who is going to be in control,” he said. Other funders included Nasa, the US Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/15/spy-agencies-fund-climate-research-weather-weapon-claim

Rand Paul caught lying re: his college record? How about 6 mo. suspension from Congress w/no pay?

If it's good for Brian Williams, why not for Rand Paul?

Rand Paul caught lying about his college record
Senator's office forced to admit that he never graduated from Baylor University
by LUKE BRINKER * Salon * FRIDAY, FEB 13, 2015 01:15 PM PST

Ophthalmologist-turned-politician Rand Paul may have a medical degree from Duke University, but the Kentucky senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate never completed his undergraduate education at Baylor University. So why did Paul assert twice yesterday that he holds two bachelor’s degrees from the institution?

The senator embellished his record during an appearance at the Lincoln Labs “Reboot Congress” event Thursday. In two instances highlighted by Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, Paul falsely suggested that he had obtained undergraduate degrees. First came this exchange between Paul and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington:

ARRINGTON: Let’s talk about economics because maybe you can actually explain this to me. I have an econ degree which means I know just enough not to understand any of what our government is …

PAUL: Mine’s in biology and English so this is going to be a great conversation.

Later on, during a discussion of the virtual currency Bitcoin, Paul said, “This is just me. I have a biology degree, okay? But with Bitcoin my concern always was whether or not something has real value. So I could imagine a kind of coin that was exchangeable. This gets back to the whole idea, does money have to be exchangeable for something to be of value?”

http://www.salon.com/2015/02/13/rand_paul_caught_lying_about_his_college_record/

5 Amazing New Discoveries About the Potential of Marijuana

I had surgery for bladder cancer over a year ago, which has not returned; so
this first one was of particular interest to me. Fortunately I live in Oregon,
where we just legalized weed.


* Men Who Smoke Pot Possess a Reduced Risk of Bladder Cancer
* Long-Term Pot Exposure Isn't Damaging to Lung Health
* Alcohol, Not Pot, Alters the Brain
* Marijuana Use Doesn’t Lead to Depression
* Marijuana Possesses a Unique Margin of Safety Compared to Other legal and Illegal Drugs

http://www.alternet.org/drugs/latest-cannabis-science-need-know

Jeb’s quiet wingnutty past: Why he has to distance himself from… himself

Jeb’s quiet wingnutty past: Why he has to distance himself from… himself
All the geniuses calling Jeb Bush the "moderate" candidate in the GOP primary are missing one thing: his history
FRIDAY, FEB 13, 2015 * by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON * Salon

One of the more amusing aspects of he Republican establishment’s quest to anoint Jeb Bush as the “moderate” candidate who can bring all sides together is that the poor man is going to have to walk a tightrope made of dental floss over the next year or so — as he attempts to obscure his wingnutty past from the donor class, without alienating the right wingers he needs to vote for him. Managing these two competing constituencies is a difficult task for all the GOP presidential hopefuls, but Bush’s is perhaps the toughest.

There has been a lot of talk about how he will have to find a way to adequately explain his support for immigration reform and the Common Core education curriculum to the base, which loathes those two programs with a fervor they usually reserve for gay marriage and arugula. He seems to be picking his way through that and we’ll see soon enough if he still has the political chops he developed as Governor of Florida to successfully dogwhistle the base while offering a sheen of “reasonableness” that will keep the political press onboard the establishment train. Those issues will be in contrast with his almost maniacal adherence to the social conservative agenda in the Schiavo case and if he plays his cards right it’s possible he could neutralize his heresies. It will take skill and cunning he hasn’t heretofore demonstrated but you never know.

Where Bush has a more serious problem is in foreign policy and national security. Some of the reasons for that are more obvious than others. The most glaring, of course, is the fact that he’s George W. Bush’s brother. Despite what people say, W never lost the base of the party — that 28% approval rating he had at the end were the bitter-enders who loved him for his big swinging swagger. But he was unpopular with the very people the Big Money Boyz are banking on getting behind Jeb: independents and moderate Republicans. Aside from the obvious fact that Jeb doesn’t want to run against his own brother’s policies, he will have a big problem with the base if he strays too far from the right’s blood-thirsty foreign policy orthodoxy. But if he tacks too close a whole lot of normal Americans will instinctively recoil.

Luckily for Jeb, W isn’t the only Bush he can emulate. There’s his Dad, another “wartime” president whose war was substantially more popular and widely assumed to be successful even among Democrats and independents. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported that in the Dialing for Donor Dollars primary Jeb is signaling that he’s going to follow in his daddy’s footsteps rather than W’s:

Jeb Bush seemed to grapple with what course he should take on foreign policy last week at the Detroit Economic Club. He responded to a question about terrorist threats by linking the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. “We have to be engaged, and that doesn’t necessarily mean boots on the ground in every occurrence,” he said. Resisting a label for his outlook, he added: “I don’t know what that makes me—everyone has to have a type.”


http://www.salon.com/2015/02/13/jebs_quiet_wingnutty_past_why_he_has_to_distance_himself_from_himself/

Along with worker owned co-ops, public banks point the way

to a much economic future for all Americans.

I just posted this other OP today on worker-owned co-ops, here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026217220

Publicly owned banks are a perfect corollary to worker-owned co-ops and they
are "tried & true" .. see the Bank of North Dakota.

Why Public Banks Outperform Private Banks: Unfair Competition or a Better Mousetrap?
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 * By Ellen Brown * Truth Out dot com

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned bank, “is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003.” The article credited the shale oil boom; but as discussed earlier here, North Dakota was already reporting record profits in the spring of 2009, when every other state was in the red and the oil boom had not yet hit. The later increase in state deposits cannot explain the bank’s stellar record either.

Then what does explain it? The BND turns a tidy profit year after year because it has substantially lower costs and risks then private commercial banks. It has no exorbitantly-paid executives; pays no bonuses, fees, or commissions; has no private shareholders; and has low borrowing costs. It does not need to advertise for depositors (it has a captive deposit base in the state itself) or for borrowers (it is a wholesome wholesale bank that partners with local banks that have located borrowers). The BND also has no losses from derivative trades gone wrong. It engages in old-fashioned conservative banking and does not speculate in derivatives.

Lest there be any doubt about the greater profitability of the public banking model, however, this conclusion was confirmed in January 2015 in a report by the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) (the Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation), a non-profit organization founded by the the Sparkassen Finance Group (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) in Germany. The SBFIC was formed in 1992 to make the experience of the German Sparkassen – municipally-owned savings banks – accessible in other countries.

The Sparkassen were instituted in the late 18th century as nonprofit organizations to aid the poor. The intent was to help people with low incomes save small sums of money, and to support business start-ups. Today, about half the total assets of the German banking system are in the public sector. (Another substantial chunk is in cooperative savings banks.) Local public banks are key tools of German industrial policy, specializing in loans to the Mittelstand, the small-to-medium size businesses that are at the core of that country’s export engine. The savings banks operate a network of over 15,600 branches and offices and employ over 250,000 people, and they have a strong record of investing wisely in local businesses.

In January 2015, the SPFIC published a report drawn from Bundesbank data, showing that the Sparkassen not only have a return on capital that is several times greater than for the German private banking sector, but that they pay substantially more to local and federal governments in taxes. That makes them triply profitable: as revenue-generating assets for their government owners, as lucrative sources of taxes, and as a stable funding mechanism for small and medium-sized businesses (a funding mechanism sorely lacking in the US today). Three charts from the SBFIC report are reproduced in English below. (Sparkassen results are in orange. Private commercial banks are in light blue.)

Very Cool graphs at link:
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29054-why-public-banks-outperform-private-banks-unfair-competition-or-a-better-mousetrap

Democratizing Our Economy, One Worker-Owned Co-op At a Time (22 minute video)

Widespread formation of Worker Co-ops IMHO is a very practical grass-roots way to 'become the change we want to see' in the workplace and to humanize capitalism.

What Does It Take to Start a Worker Co-Op? A Practical Video Guide to Democratizing Our Economy
A new film asks whether practicing workplace democracy would be easier if our media gave us as many visions of collaboration as they do of competition?
by Laura Flanders * Common Dreams * Thursday, February 12, 2015

As Sarah van Gelder pointed out recently, 2014 research by the Pew Center found that 78 percent of Americans believe that too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few huge companies. More than half—62 percent—believe our current economic system is rigged in favor of those with the most power.

That belief, backed by the reality of gaping inequality and downward pressure on most Americans’ wealth and wages has led many people to look for ways, not only to ameliorate the pain and pressures of business-as-usual, but to find new ways of doing business. Worker-owned cooperatives, where workers are offered a share in the company and a say in decision-making, are one way to make the workplace more democratic. The most successful cooperatives have a good record of reducing inequality and building local assets, but co-ops aren’t easy, and they aren’t for everybody.

A year ago, GRITtv and TESA the Toolbox for Education and Social Action teamed up to look more closely at what it takes for a worker-owned cooperative to get started, and to succeed. The result is Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time.

Would practicing workplace democracy and working together be easier if our media and our education system gave us as many visions of collaboration as they do of competition? What if we were encouraged to participate in our communities as much as we are pushed to purchase stuff? If we measured prosperity not by how high we could pile up resources, but how widely we could spread them out, would our heroes, not to mention our economy look different?

We believe so. Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time is one contribution to a broader vision.

22 minute video

House GOP Wants Poor to Eat Cat Food

Republicans Eye Changes to Food-Stamp Program
House Lawmakers Want Revision After Plan’s Sharp Expansion During Recession
By TENNILLE TRACY * Feb. 11, 2015 5:28 p.m. ET * Wall St. Journal

House Republicans are laying the groundwork for a revision of the food-stamps program after its sharp expansion during the recession.

The effort kicks off Feb. 25 when the House Agriculture Committee holds the first of several hearings scheduled this year on food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Texas), who is leading the charge, said he wants to stay away from the type of party politics that can doom reforms before they are proposed. But as the son of a roughneck on oil rigs, he said he favors the kind of hard work that “built America,” suggesting any changes will lead to a smaller program and fewer recipients.

“A family that depends on their own work is more secure,” he said in an interview. “There’s a dignity in taking care of yourself.”

Some 46.5 million people—about 15% of the U.S. population—receive benefits, double the number from a decade ago. The costs, meanwhile, have nearly tripled in that time, going from $27 billion in fiscal year 2004 to $74 billion in 2014.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/republicans-eye-changes-to-food-stamp-program-1423692057
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