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Jefferson23

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Connecticut
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Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 20,834

Journal Archives

The Invisible Class

Children with no parents. Combat war veterans still suffering from the effects of war. Elderly people who have lost insurance or have medical bills that are too high. Families who live out of a van. Women fleeing from abusive relationships. These are just some of the stories that make up the homeless population in America.


Yet when we think of homelessness we only see one face. And while these most visible of homelessness deserve our help and attention as well, they are only a fraction of the overall homeless population. The Invisible Class tells the story of the entire homeless population, which is something that has never been done before in film.


We answer several questions. Where did homelessness come from? Why do we spend billions a year, but seem to have very little progress? What’s being done that actually works? Is there a way to solve this problem?


The Invisible Class will forever change your perception of what you know about homelessness in America.

http://theinvisibleclass.com/About_The_Cause.html

Concerned for stability, Saudi Arabia tightens curbs on dissent

Sunni Islamists, Shi'ite Muslims, liberal reformers, atheists and human rights advocates have all been targeted through a series of arrests and new laws.

By Reuters | Apr. 17, 2014

Saudi Arabia, rattled by regional turmoil that has destabilized the Middle East, is intensifying a crackdown on domestic dissent, raising fears that a more open space for public debate that emerged in recent years is under threat.

Sunni Islamists, Shi'ite Muslims, liberal reformers, atheists and human rights advocates have all been targeted through a series of arrests and new laws in what one activist has described as an "undeclared state of emergency."

Social media, and what analysts describe as King Abdullah's efforts to foster a more open atmosphere since the turn of the century, have given Saudis greater scope than ever before to criticize the authorities and discuss topics once seen as taboo.

However, since the 2011 Arab uprisings, the world's No. 1 oil exporter, has taken a far harsher line against many forms of dissent, jailing liberal reformers and religious critics on charges ranging from sedition to jeopardizing state security.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.586112

How Egypt’s Rebel Movement Helped Pave The Way For A Sisi Presidency

For the first time, one of the five founders of the Tamarod, the movement that led the protests that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood last year, admits his movement was taking orders from the army. “We were naive, we were not responsible.”

April 15, 2014 at 2:23pm EDT

CAIRO — On the night of July 3, 2013, Moheb Doss stood looking at his television set in disbelief as a statement was read in his name on national television.

The words coming out of the presenter’s mouth bore no resemblance to the carefully drafted statement that Doss, one of the five co-founders of the Tamarod, or Rebel, movement had helped draft hours earlier. It was a statement to mark the moment of Tamarod’s victory, as the protests the group launched on June 30 led to the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government just five days later. It was a statement, Doss said, that the group hoped would have a stabilizing effect on the Egyptian public, as it called for a peaceful transition toward a democratic path.

Instead, the presenter quoted Tamarod as calling for the army to step in and protect the people from “brute aggression” by terrorists during potentially turbulent days. The statement supported the army’s forcible removal and arrest of Brotherhood leader and then-President Mohamed Morsi, and dismissed charges that what was happening was a coup.

“What we drafted was a revolutionary statement. It was about peace, and going forward on a democratic path,” Doss told BuzzFeed. “What was read was a statement that could have been written by the army.”

For five days, millions of Egyptians had taken to the streets and demanded an end to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their numbers surpassed even the wildest expectations of Tamarod, a then-largely unknown group that organized the protests. The five founders became instant celebrities, and on the night of July 3, the moment it appeared their victory was imminent, all of Egypt’s television stations had turned to them for a statement on what would happen next.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/how-egypts-rebel-movement-helped-pave-the-way-for-a-sisi-pre

MI6, the CIA and Turkey's rogue game in Syria

World View: New claims say Ankara worked with the US and Britain to smuggle Gaddafi's guns to rebel groups



The US's Secretary of State John Kerry and its UN ambassador, Samantha Power have been pushing for more assistance to be given to the Syrian rebels. This is despite strong evidence that the Syrian armed opposition are, more than ever, dominated by jihadi fighters similar in their beliefs and methods to al-Qa'ida. The recent attack by rebel forces around Latakia, northern Syria, which initially had a measure of success, was led by Chechen and Moroccan jihadis.

America has done its best to keep secret its role in supplying the Syrian armed opposition, operating through proxies and front companies. It is this which makes Seymour Hersh's article "The Red Line and The Rat Line: Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels" published last week in the London Review of Books, so interesting.

Attention has focussed on whether the Syrian jihadi group, Jabhat al-Nusra, aided by Turkish intelligence, could have been behind the sarin gas attacks in Damascus last 21 August, in an attempt to provoke the US into full-scale military intervention to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. "We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdogan's people to push Obama over the red line," a former senior US intelligence officer is quoted as saying.

Critics vehemently respond that all the evidence points to the Syrian government launching the chemical attack and that even with Turkish assistance, Jabhat al-Nusra did not have the capacity to use sarin.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/mi6-the-cia-and-turkeys-rogue-game-in-syria-9256551.html

The Iranian Nuclear Weapons Programme That Wasn’t

By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON, Apr 12 2014 (IPS) - When U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz unsealed the indictment of a Chinese citizen in the UK for violating the embargo against Iran, she made what appeared to be a new U.S. accusation of an Iran nuclear weapons programme.

The press release on the indictment announced that between in November 2005 and 2012, Sihai Cheng had supplied parts that have nuclear applications, including U.S.-made goods, to an Iranian company, Eyvaz Technic Manufacturing, which it described as “involved in the development and procurement of parts for Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
The text of the indictment ...was yet another iteration of a rhetorical device used often in the past to portray Iran’s gas centrifuge enrichment programme as equivalent to the development of nuclear weapons.

Reuters, Bloomberg, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune and The Independent all reported that claim as fact. But the U.S. intelligence community, since its well-known November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, has continued to be very clear on the pubic record about its conclusion that Iran has not had a nuclear weapons programme since 2003.

Something was clearly amiss with the Justice Department’s claim.

The text of the indictment reveals that the reference to a “nuclear weapons program” was yet another iteration of a rhetorical device used often in the past to portray Iran’s gas centrifuge enrichment programme as equivalent to the development of nuclear weapons.

in full: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/04/iranian-nuclear-weapons-programme-wasnt/

FDR and the Four Freedoms Speech ( What we must remember and fight for, again )

How do we secure this? Public funded elections would be a fight worth our time and effort.

** This week, Bill speaks with historian Harvey J. Kaye, author of the new book, The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, about how FDR’s speech was a rallying cry to build the kind of progressive society that Roosevelt hoped for but did not live to see at war’s end.

Kaye says the president was able to mobilize Americans who created “the strongest and most prosperous country in human history.” How did they do it? By working toward the Four Freedoms and making America “freer, more equal and more democratic.”

He believes Americans have not forgotten the Four Freedoms as goals, but have “forgotten what it takes to realize them, that we must defend, sustain and secure democracy by enhancing it. That’s what Roosevelt knew. That’s what Jefferson knew. And no one seems to remember that today. That’s what we have to remind people of.”


http://billmoyers.com/episode/fighting-for-the-four-freedoms/

snip*Franklin Roosevelt was elected president for an unprecedented third term in 1940 because at the time the world faced unprecedented danger, instability, and uncertainty. Much of Europe had fallen to the advancing German Army and Great Britain was barely holding its own. A great number of Americans remained committed to isolationism and the belief that the United States should continue to stay out of the war, but President Roosevelt understood Britain's need for American support and attempted to convince the American people of the gravity of the situation.

In his Annual Message to Congress (State of the Union Address) on January 6, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt presented his reasons for American involvement, making the case for continued aid to Great Britain and greater production of war industries at home. In helping Britain, President Roosevelt stated, the United States was fighting for the universal freedoms that all people possessed.




http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/fourfreedoms

Groups Want Federal Autism Dollars Reallocated

By Michelle Diament

April 11, 2014

With the nation’s primary autism legislation set to expire soon, some disability advocates are pressing for major changes in the federal government’s approach to the developmental disorder.

In a letter this week to key members of Congress, 18 national organizations are asking for a greater emphasis on services and the needs of adults with autism when lawmakers reauthorize legislation known as the Combating Autism Act.

“Congress should make common-sense changes that will ensure that federal funds are better used to benefit the community that this legislation is designed to serve,” wrote the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Autism Society of America, the American Association of People with Disabilities, TASH, the National Disability Rights Network and other groups in the letter.

snip* The groups also said they’d like the law renamed to remove the negative connotation they see in the word “combating” and want to see changes at the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory panel comprised of government officials and members of the autism community. Specifically, in the letter advocates told lawmakers that the IACC should include greater representation from people with autism and the committee ought to be reorganized to address more than medical research.

“Autistic people do not like being excluded from a conversation that at the end of the day is about us,” said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. “(The Combating Autism Act) really needs to be about supporting autistic people.”


http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/04/11/groups-autism-reallocated/19276/

Reforming China’s State-Market Balance

BEIJING – No country in recorded history has grown as fast – and moved as many people out of poverty – as China over the last thirty years. A hallmark of China’s success has been its leaders’ willingness to revise the country’s economic model when and as needed, despite opposition from powerful vested interests. And now, as China implements another series of fundamental reforms, such interests are already lining up to resist. Can the reformers triumph again?

In answering that question, the crucial point to bear in mind is that, as in the past, the current round of reforms will restructure not only the economy, but also the vested interests that will shape future reforms (and even determine whether they are possible). And today, while high-profile initiatives – for example, the government’s widening anti-corruption campaign – receive much attention, the deeper issue that China faces concerns the appropriate roles of the state and the market.

When China began its reforms more than three decades ago, the direction was clear: the market needed to play a far greater role in resource allocation. And so it has, with the private sector far more important now than it was. Moreover, there is a broad consensus that the market needs to play what officials call a “decisive role” in many sectors where state-owned enterprises (SOEs) dominate. But what should its role be in other sectors, and in the economy more generally?

Many of China’s problems today stem from too much market and too little government. Or, to put it another way, while the government is clearly doing some things that it should not, it is also not doing some things that it should.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/joseph-e--stiglitz-asks-what-role-government-should-play-as-economic-restructuring-proceeds#qBs5kk4cAjOicVkq.99

Corporates carve up the African cake


03 April 2014

A guest post from Stanley Ellerby-English.

This week World Development Movement activists, dressed as representatives of some of the world's largest food and drink companies, delivered an Africa shaped thank-you cake to the Department for International Development (DfID). This tongue-in-cheek action highlights the support that DfID is giving to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the stated aim of which is to lift 50 million people out of poverty and improve food security.

"Sounds great", I hear you say. "WDM has clearly made some kind of mistake; these folks are just doing their best to tackle hunger". Well, if you're on WDM’s website you're probably not saying that, but many people might think so. So what’s this all about?

The New Alliance sees ten African countries making commitments to change their land, seed and trade policies to encourage greater agricultural investment, in return for aid money and commitments from major companies to expand their businesses. Unfortunately, this is likely to do little to support the small-scale farmers who feed the majority of the African population – and instead, looks set to exacerbate poverty and inequality.

Despite their supposed goals, policies being adopted by African governments that have joined the New Alliance have been largely aimed at integrating African farmers more directly to international markets. This is good for multinational companies which are set to sell more of their products, and can source raw materials from a larger number of producers. But it’s not a recipe for reducing hunger and poverty.


http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/blog_comments/corporates_carve_up_the_african_cake


Tech Company Ramps Up Hiring Of Workers With Autism

* Good stuff!


By Michelle Diament

April 1, 2014

An international software giant that’s looking to tap the unique talents of those with autism is taking on its first group of American employees on the spectrum.

Germany-based SAP said it has added workers with autism at its offices in Palo Alto, Calif. and Newtown Square, Pa. The hires bring the number of people with the developmental disorder working as software developers, data quality assurance specialists and in other positions at the company to more than 30 worldwide, SAP said.

Last year the company said it would launch a strategic effort to employ people with autism, saying that doing so offered a “potential competitive advantage.”

Prior to bringing the concept to its offices in the United States, SAP piloted the idea in India, Ireland and Germany. Opportunities will be available in Canada as well starting this spring, the company indicated.

in full: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/04/01/tech-hiring-autism/19243/
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