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Bills Presented to the President

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Approving the location of a memorial to commemorate the more than 5,000 slaves and free Black persons who fought for independence in the American Revolution.

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2013

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

A bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the American Falls Reservoir.

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

US House Floor Today

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Strongly supporting the right of the people of Ukraine to freely determine their future, including their country's relationship with other nations and international organizations, without interference, intimidation, or coercion by other countries. (09/17/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

US Senate Floor Today

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Stephen G. Burns, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the term of five years expiring June 30, 2019, vice George Apostolakis, term expired. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Jeffery Martin Baran, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the remainder of the term expiring June 30, 2015, vice William D. Magwood, IV, resigning. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Linda A. Schwartz, of Connecticut, to be an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Policy and Planning), vice Raul Perea-Henze, resigned. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Nina Hachigian, of California, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Todd D. Robinson, of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Guatemala. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Matthew T. Harrington, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Lesotho. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Jane D. Hartley, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the French Republic. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Gordon O. Tanner, of Alabama, to be General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force, vice Charles A. Blanchard, resigned. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Jane D. Hartley, of New York, to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Monaco. (09/16/2014 legislative day)

Nasa News

NASA Mars Spacecraft Ready for Sept. 21 Orbit Insertion
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is nearing its scheduled Sept. 21 insertion into Martian orbit after completing a 10-month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles.

NASA Announces a New Challenge at World Maker Faire
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

NASA will announce a new challenge to engage the public in the agency’s journey to Mars Saturday, Sept. 20, at the World Maker Faire in New York City. NASA Chief Technologist David Miller will announce the details of the new challenge during a talk in the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

NASA Chooses American Companies to Transport U.S. Astronauts to International Space Station
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

NASA to Make Major Announcement Today About Astronaut Transport to the International Space Station
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

NASA will make a major announcement today at 4 p.m. EDT regarding the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States. The agency will make the announcement during a news conference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

NASA Airborne Campaigns Focus on Climate Impacts in the Arctic
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

Over the past few decades, average global temperatures have been on the rise, and this warming is happening two to three times faster in the Arctic. As the region’s summer comes to a close, NASA is hard at work studying how rising temperatures are affecting the Arctic.

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory Finds Planet That Makes Star Act Deceptively Old
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

A planet may be causing the star it orbits to act much older than it actually is, according to new data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This discovery shows how a massive planet can affect the behavior of its parent star.

NASA Awards Cross-track Infrared Sounder Instrument for the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 Mission
Posted on Monday September 15, 2014

NASA has awarded a sole source contract modification to Exelis, Inc., Geospatial Systems, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) Instrument for flight on the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission.

NASA Announces 2014 Aeronautics Scholarship Recipients
Posted on Monday September 15, 2014

NASA has selected 20 students from across the nation to receive the agency's Aeronautics Scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year.

FMA Live! Celebrates a Decade of STEM Success with 2014 Fall Tour
Posted on Monday September 15, 2014

NASA and Honeywell are kicking off the 2014 fall tour this week of the award-winning science education program FMA LIVE! Forces in Motion with performances at three schools in the greater Seattle area.

NASA to hold Sept. 17 Briefing on MAVEN Mars Orbit Insertion, Events Coverage
Posted on Friday September 12, 2014

NASA will host a televised media briefing at 1 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, Sept. 17, to outline activities around the Sunday, Sept. 21 orbital insertion at Mars of the agency’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft. The briefing will be held in NASA’s Headquarters’ auditorium, 300 E Street SW in Washington, and broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

VOA News

US Attorney General to Propose More Rewards, Agents to Fight Wall St Crime
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

Wall Street whistleblowers who provide U.S. prosecutors with evidence of financial fraud should get larger rewards for their efforts, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to say in a speech on Wednesday, according to a Justice Department official. The FBI also needs more agents, including those with expertise in forensic accounting, to better pursue complicated financial crime investigations, Holder will say, said the person, who declined to be named. The comments, expected in a...

Federal Reserve Could Use Policy Statement to Hint at Rate-Hike Plan
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday could offer fresh clues on when it plans to begin lifting interest rates and how quickly it will move, as it prepares for a momentous policy turn after years of aggressive monetary stimulus. Although a tightening of monetary policy is not expected until mid-2015, the central bank could use a policy statement on Wednesday to lay important groundwork. In particular, speculation is rife the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee may change its...

US Congratulates Ukraine for Forging Closer Ties with EU
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

The United States has congratulated the Ukrainian and European parliaments for simultaneous ratification of Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the European Union. Washington also called on Russia and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to honor the Minsk cease-fire agreement. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf Tuesday said the people of Ukraine “made history” in forging ahead with the agreement "in the face of great challenges." She said Ukraine’s leaders have...

Obama Vows No US Ground Troops to Fight IS in Iraq
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq, seeking to reassure Americans about the level of U.S. involvement after a top general suggested some combat troops could be deployed. Obama, who has spent much of his presidency distancing himself from the Iraq war, stressed during a speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa that airstrikes would be the central U.S. contribution to the fight against Islamic State, along with coordinating...

Ukrainian Leader to Seek Greater US Support on Visit
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visits Washington this week amid a shaky cease-fire with Russian-backed separatists, the ratification of an EU pact, and moves to grant self-rule to eastern Ukraine. As he tackles a range of challenges, the Ukrainian leader is expected to press for greater U.S. support during talks Thursday with President Barack Obama at the White House. VOA's Aru Pande has more from Washington.

Ukrainian Leader to Seek Greater US Support on Visit
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visits Washington this week amid a shaky cease-fire with Russian-backed separatists, the ratification of an EU pact, and moves to grant self-rule to eastern Ukraine. As he tackles a range of challenges, the Ukrainian leader is expected to press for greater U.S. support during talks Thursday with President Barack Obama at the White House. Taxed and tired, out-manned and out-gunned -- Ukrainian forces for months have struggled to beat back heavily-armed...

US Indicts Man for Attempted Support to Islamic State Group
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

A U.S. federal grand jury has indicted a man on charges of attempting to provide support and resources to the Islamic State group and attempted murder of U.S. military members. The Justice Department said Tuesday that 30-year-old Mufid Elfgeeh of Rochester, New York encouraged two people to travel overseas to fight for the Islamic State, and also sent $600 to a person in Yemen so that they could travel to Syria to fight with the militants. Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S....

NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.

US Man Arrested in River Swim to North Korea
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

The South Korean military says it has detained a U.S. citizen who was apparently trying to swim across a river into North Korea. Seoul's defense ministry said the man was detained late Tuesday by South Korean marines guarding the Han River near the Demilitarized Zone. The Yonhap news agency reported the man, who appeared to be in his 30s, was found lying on the shore, apparently exhausted from swimming. The report said the man told officials he wanted to meet with North Korean...

Efforts Underway to Reduce Confrontations Between Police, African American Youth
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9 touched off days of unrest and racial tension in the Saint Louis suburb. The incident also highlighted the problem of racial animosity between police and Ferguson's African American community. Now some African-Americans parents and social workers are talking to young people about how to act when stopped by police. VOA's Chris Simkins has more.

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Today's Featured Storys

Sexual Abuse of 1400 Children Unreported Due to ‘Racism’ Fears


Joe Rogan Exclusive: The Police State, Geoengineering, and Why He Became a Comic


Report: U.S. begins surveillance flights over Syria


Globalist Master Plan Revealed By Their Own


Superintendent Forces Students to Bend Over During Dress Code Check


Gov. Jerry Brown Announces Collapse of California and Ultimately the U.S.


Florida Man Records Himself Getting Attacked by Cop for not Rolling Down Window all the way


Report: Napa Valley In Ruins


Republican candidate exploits Foley beheading video in ad campaign


Napa Valley: Epicenter Of Destruction


Infowars Nighly News

Infowars Nightly News for Monday, July 28, 2014

Infowars Nighly News Tuesday July 29, 2014

Infowars Nightly News: Wednesday July 30, 2014

Infowars Nightly News Thursday July 31, 2014

Infowars Nightly News: Friday August 1, 2014

RT Breaking News


Alex Jones Show: Friday (8-1-14) Chris Burgard, Zach Taylor & Obama Phone Lady

The federal government is building a 532-bed community for illegal aliens, which includes flat-screen TVs and workout facilities, and Alex breaks it all down on this Friday, August 1 edition of the Alex Jones Show. The feds say the rooms at the facility will be called "suites" and the illegals will be called "residents." Filmmaker Chris Burgard joins today's show to discuss this current border collapse, which he predicted in his 2007 film Border. Also joining the show is former Border Patrol agent Zach Taylor, who said the collapse is government-sponsored "asymmetrical warfare" against the American people during an interview for Burgard's upcoming documentary.

Kirk Cameron Presents: MONUMEMTAL

Join the People's Campaign for the Constitution!

RT US News

Man who climbed White House fence was denied admission to mental hospital, told to talk to Obama about insurance
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

A 26-year-old New York state man with mental disabilities who was detained for trespassing on White House grounds while wearing Pokemon-themed attire was reaching out to President Barack Obama for help with his health care, the man’s mother says.
Read Full Article at RT.com

'Facebook for the rich' begins accepting members at $9,000 apiece
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

Consider this hypothetical situation: You, a wealthy socialite, want to make friends over the internet, but without encountering any of the riff-raff that hangs out on traditional social networking sites. What do you do?
Read Full Article at RT.com

Biden accused of anti-Semitism after Shylock comment
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

US Vice President Joe Biden has drawn criticism from a top Jewish group for calling bankers who have preyed on service members deployed overseas as “Shylocks,” a term often condemned as an anti-Semitic stereotype.
Read Full Article at RT.com

ISIS tells Obama 'fighting has just begun,' claims recruiting boost
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

Islamic State responded in a video to US President Barack Obama’s vow to “ultimately destroy” it, promising to kill any American ground forces deployed. The extremist group has gained recruits since Obama’s declaration, according to observers in Syria.
Read Full Article at RT.com

US man charged for ‘helping’ Islamic State
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

A New York State man has been charged with allegedly aiding terrorist organization Islamic State (IS). He is accused of helping three individuals travel to Syria to fight with IS and also plotted to murder US troops returning home from the Middle East.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Swim to Kim? American attempts river crossing to N. Korea, arrested by South
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

South Korean Marines have arrested an American citizen who was attempting to enter North Korea by swimming across a river – allegedly, all in an effort to meet the country’s ruler, Kim Jong-un.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Hitchcock suspense prompts brain activity in vegetative patient
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

A man who has been in a vegetative state for 16 years showed neural activity while watching a Hitchcock film. Researchers say that for the first time, they've discovered that “a patient with unknown levels of consciousness can monitor their environment.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Mike Brown jury gets extension, charges for Ferguson officer may be delayed until January
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

A St. Louis judge has granted an extension to the grand jury that has been tasked with deciding whether to charge a Ferguson police officer in the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown. The jury now has until January 7 to decide on an indictment.
Read Full Article at RT.com

US will have ‘many more’ 9/11s if it fails to act against Islamic State – House Rep
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

If the US fails to attack Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria, the country could face the prospect of “many” terrorist attacks similar to September 11, a top-ranking Democrat says. It comes as the House debates arming Syrian rebels to fight IS.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Real-life ‘Breaking Bad’: Chemistry teacher brings date-rape drug recipes to school
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

A Houston-area chemistry teacher had recipes for date-rape drugs in her possession when she was arrested at school Friday. Police have found a cache of drugs and a loaded shotgun in her home.
Read Full Article at RT.com



Oath Keepers

Join Oath Keepers Here

Now We Come To Vaccines And Depopulation Experiments
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

You have to understand that every promoted so-called “pandemic” is an extended sales pitch for vaccines. And not just a vaccine against the “killer germ” of the moment. We’re talking about a psyop to condition the population to vaccines in general.

Cop On Tape: “You Must Be Doing Something Wrong If You Need To Invoke Your Rights”
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

This article was written by Melissa Melton and originally published at The Daily Sheeple It has been upheld time and time and time and TIME again that the First Amendment protects one’s right to film police officers in public. Period. That is it. End of story. It is also not illegal to film locations from public [...]

Obama To Send Troops To Africa To Fight Ebola
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

It seems every problem can be solved by throwing more troops at it, including the Ebola epidemic in Africa.  My suspicion is that this will not turn out well.  How would you like to be a soldier ordered to go to ground zero of an Ebola hot zone so that you can [...]

Over The Last Ten Years 16 million Americans Have Dropped Out Of The Labor Force
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

This article was originally published at My Budget 360 The US economy has not recovered in typical fashion. Following the Great Recession, we witnessed a large growth in those not in the labor force. Part of this has to do with an older population but that does not address the issue completely. [...]

Hillary Clinton Bombshell: Whistle Blower Tells Investigators That State Department Shredded Benghazi Records
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

Democratic Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, who oversaw the State Department during the Benghazi attacks that led to the deaths of four Americans, may soon face Federal charges for tampering with and destroying evidence.

Congressman Louis T. McFadden’s Speech On June 10, 1932
Posted on Monday September 15, 2014

Congressman Louis T. McFadden served as Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency from 1920 thru 1931. He was thus a supreme expert witness to events which culminated in the first Great Depression.

“Moderate” Syrian Rebels Sign Non-Aggression Pact With ISIS; Iraq Defies US
Posted on Saturday September 13, 2014

First it was the 'broad coalition' that appeared a little narrower than President Obama explained to the world last week. Today, 2 more crucial aspects of the 'strategy' appear to be faltering.

Missouri Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto Of Pro-Gun Bill
Posted on Friday September 12, 2014

During a special session called by the Missouri legislature specifically to consider Governor Ray Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 656, lawmakers voted to override his veto on Wednesday.

Obama’s Broad Coalition Cracks – UK, Germany Won’t Support Airstrikes In Syria
Posted on Thursday September 11, 2014

Well that didn't take long. After espousing his strategy last night of leading a broad coalition against ISIS, it appears President Obama's "allies" are backing away from the plan.

House Republican Introduces Bill That Would Give President ‘Dictatorial Powers’ To Wage War
Posted on Thursday September 11, 2014

This article was written by Nick Bernabe and originally published at D.C. Clothesline Following the clear failure of the ‘War on Terror’, launched by George W. Bush following 9/11, the US will re-up it’s efforts, which have only seemed to cause an increase in terror operations around the world. Members of Congress, including many within the [...]

Ron Paul News

Ron Paul: Can Karzai’s Antics Help Us Save Face in Afghanistan?
Posted on Monday November 25, 2013

by Ron Paul After a year of talks over the post-2014 US military presence in Afghanistan, the US administration announced last week that a new agreement had finally been reached. Under the deal worked out with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the US would keep thousands of troops on nine military bases for at least the […]

Ron Paul: Harry Reid’s ‘Radical’ Rule Changes Guarantees Yellen Confirmation
Posted on Thursday November 21, 2013

Ron Paul: Federal Reserve Steals From the Poor and Gives to the Rich
Posted on Monday November 18, 2013

by Ron Paul Last Thursday the Senate Banking Committee held hearings on Janet Yellen’s nomination as Federal Reserve Board Chairman. As expected, Ms. Yellen indicated that she would continue the Fed’s “quantitative easing” (QE) polices, despite QE’s failure to improve the economy. Coincidentally, two days before the Yellen hearings, Andrew Huszar, an ex-Fed official, publicly […]

Ron Paul: The Hidden Truth about Inflation
Posted on Monday November 11, 2013

by Ron Paul One of the least discussed, but potentially most significant, provisions in President Obama’s budget is the use of the “chained consumer price index” (chained CPI), to measure the effect of inflation on people’s standard of living. Chained CPI is an effort to alter the perceived impact of inflation via the gimmick of […]

Ron Paul: The Interventionists Haven’t Learned their Lesson from the Iraq Debacle
Posted on Monday November 04, 2013

by Ron Paul October was Iraq’s deadliest month since April, 2008. In those five and a half years, not only has there been no improvement in Iraq’s security situation, but things have gotten much worse. More than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq last month, the vast majority of them civilians. Another 1,600 were wounded, […]

Ron Paul: Debt Ceiling Deal a Victory for the Political Class and Special Interests
Posted on Monday October 21, 2013

by Ron Paul Washington, DC, Wall Street, and central bankers around the world rejoiced this week as Congress came to an agreement to end the government shutdown and lift the debt ceiling. The latest spending-and-debt deal was negotiated by Congressional leaders behind closed doors, and was rushed through Congress before most members had time to […]

Ron Paul: New Fed Boss, Same as the Old Boss
Posted on Sunday October 13, 2013

by Ron Paul The news that Janet Yellen was nominated to become the next Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System was greeted with joy by financial markets and the financial press. Wall Street saw Yellen’s nomination as a harbinger of continued easy money. Contrast this with the hand-wringing that took […]

Ron Paul Warns of Martial Law and Economic Collapse
Posted on Saturday October 12, 2013

Ron Paul: Neocons Infuriated by Iran Peace Talks
Posted on Monday October 07, 2013

Last week, for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the US president spoke with his Iranian counterpart. Their 15 minute telephone call was reported to open the door to further high-level discussions. This is a very important event. I have been saying for years that we should just talk to the Iranians. After […]

Ron Paul: The U.S. Government Won’t Default
Posted on Wednesday October 02, 2013


Naomi Klein on the Great Clash Between Capitalism and the Climate
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

Klein discusses her new book, "This Changes Everything."

Naomi Klein's new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate is coming out just as the UN is meeting on climate change, and a massive rally to protest the lack of progress on global warming is shaping up in Manhattan on Sunday. Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine, one of the most influential books of the past 50 years. She sees her new book as the natural successor to The Shock Doctrine as she deepens her critique and insists we need to fundamentally rethink our approach to climate. The inconvenient truth about global warming is that it isn't really about carbon, but rather capitalism. Our economic model is waging war on the earth, and unless capitalism is dramatically changed, we are doomed. Yet Klein is no pessimist. She sees the seeds of a broad cross-sectional mass movement emerging that will lead to a transformation of our failed economic system to something radically better. Sunday's People's Climate March in New York is a key step toward a future we must create in order to survive and thrive.

AlterNet editors Don Hazen and Jan Frel spoke with Klein via phone in Canada, where she lives, on Friday, Sept. 12, prior to her traveling to New York and participating in a wide range of protest events, debates and discussions. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and readability.

AlterNet: Let's start with the big climate march on Sunday and your support of and involvement in it. Do you have a reaction to Chris Hedges' critique of the march which seems to be consistent with your critique of the big enviro groups in your book? Basically he says the demands are amorphous, anybody can join, it doesn't have much meaning.

Naomi Klein: Knowing the amount of work, energy and coalition-building and care that has gone into the organizing, the march—which you know obviously it's not perfect—but I think it was grossly mischaracterized as being simply some big green thing. When It's actually been incredibly grassroots.

Do I think a march is going to do anything? No. The point is this march is different in that it's a manifestation of real rooted movements that are fighting fracking in their backyard, and refineries that are giving their kids asthma, and students who are demanding divestment of fossil fuels at their universities, and faith groups who are doing the same in their churches and synagogues. And what the march will be is a moment where people feel the size of this movement, and it will give people the strength to go home and continue at these moments of convergence too. Every once in a while it's nice to see how big you are. Especially since so many of these movements are local, right? It can feel small and isolated. There haven't been many moments of convergence like this for the climate movement, so I think it's great.

And I don't see the point of throwing stones. The decision was made to have an open call so that any group could endorse the march as long as they abided by certain organizing principles. And so the groups that are drawing attention, some of which I've gone after in the book, are not the groups who organized it. They're just groups that endorsed because, for whatever reason, they thought it would be useful for them. Which I think speaks to more of the strength of this movement, and that everyone wants to be a part of it. But I just think to dismiss all of this incredible organizing in this kind of guilt-by-association way; frankly I'm a little offended by.

AlterNet: Hedges seems to have sit-ins and protest at the U.N. as his priority.

Klein:Well there's going to be direct action. And I support the direct action, I support the Flood Wall Street action on Monday as well, and the people who are organizing that also support the climate march. So I don't see what the point of sowing these divisions is right now. I don't. I'm not saying it's perfect. But there was a big debate about the fact that Zionist groups are also marching. And the response to that is that there's going to be a really strong Free Palestine bloc, which I think is fantastic, and they have all my support...I'll just leave it there.

AlterNet: Here's a different kind of question. You mentioned privatization and deregulation as pillars of neoliberalism, which of course are true, but shouldn't we add militarization? And there's nothing like wars to really screw up the environment. And since 9/11 we've had nothing but war, and now we're heading into a new war with massive pollution. And there's no end in sight: more bombs, more deaths, more messes. How do you reconcile the constant presence of war all over the world with the need to change everything in terms of the climate?

Klein: Well, it's a huge piece of the puzzle and I think a lot of the original peace organizing activities in the region had fossil fuels at their heart, and continue to. So it's intimately linked. It's something I do talk about—the pollution associated with the military, carbon pollution, and also the need to just get that money, huge resources that are spent on the military, and funnel it toward the building of the new economy that we need. Because part of what's standing in our way is that we're told that we're broke all the time. And we're not broke, it's just that the money is in the wrong places. So we need to get more of the resources from polluters, whether they're fossil fuel companies or whether it's the military.

But I could easily have had a chapter in the book on drawing stronger connections between the anti-war movement and the climate movement. It's a big book and it does a lot, but it doesn't do everything. And my greatest hope, frankly, and already in having conversations about the book, is that it will inspire lots of smart people to go, hey it's about this, and what about this, this is also a climate issue. And, it's like, yes, exactly, write that. Having the anti-war movement more engaged in climate and vice-versa, is exactly what we need.

AlterNet: Speaking of how a book can't do everything, your previous book, The Shock Doctrine, had a tremendous impact and influenced many people. The book basically makes the case that capitalism is at its worst when there are crises. And as the climate crisis gets worse, isn't the response of capitalism going to get worse if we believe what you wrote in your previous book? Do you see any contradiction here?

Klein:I don't think it's a contradiction. I think that's exactly why I wrote this book. The Shock Doctrine really ends with the disaster of apartheid in New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina and this is the future that we will have if we stay on this road. We can count on neoliberalism to respond to climate change as an opportunity for land grabbing, for trading weather futures. If we don't radically change course the weather is going to get hotter, things are going to get way more brutal. And I think we, on some level, know that.

That's why every disaster flick seems to be about a future of post-apocalyptic 1 percent, the 1 percent of the 1 percent at the front of the train or up on a planet of their own. Whatever it is—Hunger Games, Elysium, Snowpiercer—we just keep telling ourselves the same story, right? What I argue in The Shock Doctrine is that crisis either makes us fall apart or makes us grow up.

And there are precedents of crises being progressive moments. That's what brought us the New Deal. We responded to crisis in a way that actually got at the roots of why the crisis was happening. So that's when you had the most dramatic regulation of the banking sector. And that's when you had the kind of huge investments in the public sphere that we need in this moment. So we are capable of responding to crisis differently than in the way that I described in The Shock Doctrine. And the fact that I argue in The Shock Doctrine that the whole technique was developed by right-wing think tanks because they knew that in natural crises, if you don't get in there, it will become progressive moments. The Right is afraid of another New Deal moment. Everything about the right in the states is about undoing the gains of the New Deal and making sure it never happens again, right? That's why the whole think tank infrastructure exists. And that's why that whole tactic was developed.

So, yes, there are lots of precedents for crises being moments where inequality is deepened unless things get a whole lot worse. And no one knows that better than me. I don't see there's a contradiction there. I'm trying to prevent that from happening with climate change. For me, it follows quite naturally.

AlterNet: So would you say you are more optimistic after writing this book than after writing Shock Doctrine?

Klein:You know, what makes me optimistic is that I see a lot of movement. I saw a lot of things changing. In the first couple of years I was writing this book. At first I think I was really quite depressed because I was seeing Shock Doctrine tactics repeated all over Europe in the context of the economic crisis, and in the U.S., and even though people were resisting, it wasn't working to prevent even worse things from happening. And the climate science is never fun. But in the last few years of this research, there's just been such an explosion of grassroots activism. And this new militancy within the climate movement, led by indigenous people and by young people. As I say at the end book, it's been happening so fast that I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with it. So I feel more hopeful because I feel like we are at the beginning of a real movement moment.

I think things are changing and it isn't about a brand-new movement. It's about so many of our past movements coming together. You know, I've talked to journalists, and they're like, well movements don't work, look at Occupy. Occupy didn't disappear. Everybody who was engaged during Occupy is still deeply involved in trying to fight for a better world, and lots of them are now engaged on climate change, and a lot of them are involved in the Flood Wall Street organizing. And many were involved in Occupy Sandy. So movements change and different strings come together, and I think we're in one of those movements of convergence where we're seeing patterns, we're seeing common threads, and people are feeling more courageous, too. So that always makes me feel hopeful.

AlterNet: As your book opens, you talk about your "aha" moment, meeting with the young Brazilian ambassador Angélica Navarro Llanos, and how her imagination of how first-world countries, the major polluters, must come to the aid of third-world countries suffering from climate change through mostly no fault of their own. Can you tell us how her vision helped shape your vision?

Klein: I was in Geneva at the time writing a story for Harpers about reparations for slavery and colonialism and was covering a UN conference where somebody told me that I should meet with Angélica Navarro. And I did and she put the case to me that the perennial question of how we address these deep scars left behind by colonialism and slavery that has so distorted the distribution of wealth around the world and within the our own country in the Global North—that climate change could be a tool to heal these wounds.

Because, of course, the history of colonialism and the history of slavery are intimately tied to the history of fossil fuels. You know, coal built the modern world. And when European countries gained access to the steam engine, that sort of supercharged the coal exchange between North and South. And while that was happening we were also pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And the thing about carbon is it sticks around for a couple of hundred years and is steadily warming the planet. So the legacy of that today is the legacy of climate change. So in addressing climate change in a just way and a way that recognizes historical responsibility, which our governments have all agreed to do when they signed the UN Climate Convention, we have an opportunity to address these core inequalities. We have another chance, really.

And that was Angélica's argument. If we live up to our historical responsibilities and have a just climate response it would mean that the countries that created the crisis would lead the way, would cut our emissions first, but also help developing countries to pull themselves out of poverty without repeating our errors by leapfrogging over fossil fuels and moving straight to clean energy. Which would mean that this could really be a tremendous force for social justice.

And when she laid out this case, which she called the Marshall Plan for Planet Earth, I suddenly saw how climate change could be a catalyst for tremendously positive change. And then as I started paying attention to climate negotiations and going to Copenhagen and covering the Copenhagen Summit, it became clear that this issue of whether or not the Global North is going to live up to its responsibilities, whether there's going to be a just response, its the fundamental issue at the heart of the negotiations. And it's why so little progress has been made because Northern countries refuse and generally refuse to acknowledge that responsibility. And that's the intractable problem.

AlterNet: As you point out clearly in the book, climate deniers know full well the ramifications of dealing with climate change. It's going to mean a huge dent in capitalism, which is probably why they're deniers. How will they be convinced to provide the billions of dollars for the Marshall Plan when they're going to think, at least economically, that they're going to be victims of climate change as well?

Klein: Well, I don't think this is about convincing climate deniers. It's about engaging a much larger constituency of people who do believe that climate change is real, or not actively denying the science, but are looking away because there doesn't seem to be a way out of this crisis that is in any way hopeful, is any way inspiring, is any way doable. So really the book is a call for a revival of the kind of broad-based social movements that have won mass progressive victories in the past. We don't have that anymore. We have slick NGOs, and everybody's in their silos, and everybody tackles their issue and they only talk to each other. And climate change connects the dots between so many issues: labor, women's right, indigenous rights, like I said, reparations, the decay of our cities, the dismantling of the public sphere, racial justice. I mean it's everything, immigration. And why wouldn't it be? This is our home, this is not an issue. This is everything. So it is a framework, really, for bringing movements together.

And that is the only way that we have ever changed our economy. If we think about, how did social movements win the victories of the New Deal? Or win social security and healthcare? Any of the great progressive victories of the past have been won by large broad-based social movements. And climate change hasn't had that kind of movement before. There's been a theory that you had to do it from the top down. It had to be a former vice-president and billionaires and Hollywood celebrities who are going to get together and fix this for us. And I think that's part of the reason why a lot of lefties tuned out, because it seems to be this very elite. And it was, but it doesn't have to be.

And I think that that's really changing. We're going to see in New York in the Climate March, the face of a much broader grassroots climate movement that is born out of frontline struggles against fossil fuel extraction. And it's the flip side of the fossil fuel frenzy that has been ripping up our continent of late, and these fossil fuel companies have been so aggressive in laying claim to more and more land and more and more waterways that they've built their own opposition in the form of the anti-fracking movement, and the anti-tar sands and anti-tar sands pipeline movement, anti-coal movement. They've gone into a lot of hostile territory. People are fighting back but they're also connecting with one another. And I think what will be exciting about the Climate March is that a lot of these connections are happening online, and are happening in small pockets, but I think we're going to see the physical manifestations of that on the streets of New York.

AlterNet:Following up on your last answer you must have grappled many times as you wrote this book with the effects that messages of looming apocalypse have on people. Setting up the situation where informing people of the nature of the problem encourages them to do nothing about it, not unlike, say, telling someone that their shoelaces are untied. Did you feel like you arrived at the best way to convey these messages for social change?

Naomi Klein: Because the climate movement has been so ineffective, it's very sort of faddish in terms of messaging. So one year it will be like, okay, scare people, make them really scared. And then the next year it's like, okay don't scare people, don't scare people. And I don't think there's anything wrong with scaring people if it's true. I think we need to be honest that this is a scary moment and we don't have that much time left. What I think is ineffective is thinking that just scaring people is going to turn people into activists. Just scaring people just makes people scared. And when people are scared, they want to curl up in a ball.

I think it's the combination of telling the truth about how serious the situation is and that we're out of deadlines, that this is the real one, and that there's nowhere to run to, right? We need to leap, but we need somewhere to leap to that is exciting. Like you go to a UN conference and it's on mitigating the effects climate change. And it's just like, is that the best we can do, mitigating it back? It just sounds terrible. And is there a way that we can survive? Is there a way that we can have better cities, and better communities, and better relationships, and better jobs, and a better relationship to work, and can we address so many other things that aren't working in our societies?

So I think if we allow ourselves to dream a little bit and take a picture of a place that could leap to, I believe that we may leap. And I say leap because I'm not here to be Pollyannaish about this. I don’t believe we are doomed, nor do I believe that success is guaranteed. I think we've got a shot and we have to do our best. But in terms of being afraid of scaring people and painting pictures of looming apocalypse, when the World Bank is telling you you're headed for 4 degrees warming, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers is saying no, it's 6 degrees, you've got to listen up, you know, and pay attention to what that actually means. Because that, first of all, is Celsius. Somebody made the argument that the big problem of climate change is that it's all in Celsius and Americans think it's vaguely Communist.

At any rate, I think it's the combination of that real fear and we should be scared. And the deadline, and I really believe in deadlines because I'm a writer, and I know how important deadlines are, and having somewhere to run. I think that's the combination.

AlterNet: One followup on this question of "we." There is the mass society but there's pretty clear evidence from history and in our industrial past, that the strongest arrangements are between manufacturers, financiers and governments that preside over them. And say, for example, in the case of Bangladesh, where there were factories that collapsed, and huge media attention, there were only just the slightest tweaks in the arrangements between those parties. So you have, say, a warning from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, but how do you actually get the folks who are part of "we" but really have a much bigger role in the way society is structured in reforming those agreements when they're hugely profitable and they're the means of staying powerful. Have you entertained the possibility that those are the very parties that are going to need to have a way to stay rich and powerful revealed to them without extracting carbon-based fuels?

Klein:It's not that there's no money to be made and no wealth in a green economy, in a renewable economy, or regenerated economy. That it's not going to generate the kind of wealth that fossil fuels develop. Fossil fuels really do create a hyper-stratified economy. It's the nature of the resources that it's concentrated, and you need a huge amount of infrastructure to get it out and to transport it. And that lends itself to huge profits and they're big enough that you can buy off politicians.

And the problem with renewable energy is not that you can't make money off of it, but you're never going to make that kind of huge money off of it because it's inherently decentralized. The air and wind are free, first of all, and they're everywhere. So it's a different kind of economy. It's a more decentralized economy. It's a more level economy. So does power concede anything without a fight? No. It doesn't mean that there's no role for the powerful in this, but the idea that they're just going to do it for us, which is basically the model that the UN is still advancing. If you look at the plans for the official summit in New York, it's all about the politicians and it's the idea that they are going to address this problem of the goodness of their hearts… Well it's not going to happen that day. So we haven't quite solved it. We haven't solved the problem of entrenched wealth. I'm going to leave that to you guys.

Visit Naomi Klein's official website to learn more about her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate


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How Denial Caused One Major Health Catastrophe, and How It May Trigger More Crises
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

We haven't learned our lessons yet.
Nearly 15 years ago, the unspeakable happened in AIDS-ravaged South Africa. The nation’s president, Thabo Mbeki, was apparently fooled by posts on Western Internet websites that disputed whether HIV caused AIDS, and he ordered that the country’s physicians stop administering antiretroviral drugs to citizens afflicted with HIV, which was almost 1 in 10 at the time. President Mbeki aggressively defended his actions, claiming that AIDS in Africa was primarily a heterosexual paradox. He insisted that the disease was "a uniquely African catastrophe," and said that conventional medicine from the West was an "absurd and illogical" solution to the country’s health crisis.

Mbeki deferred to a group of dissident—and thoroughly discredited—academics and naysayers in the U.S. With AIDS predicted to decimate a full 25% of South Africa's population by the year 2010, Mbeki pinned all South Africa’s hopes on containing the disease on the advice of a controversial molecular biologist, Peter Duesberg, who claimed HIV was relatively harmless and that AIDS was caused more by poverty-related conditions such as undernourishment than by unprotected sex. So, instead of administering the cocktail of HIV medications known to be effective, Mbeki had his health minister contrive alternative remedies for AIDS, including beetroot and garlic.

The results were devastating for South Africa. More than 330,000 people died prematurely from the disease between 2000 and 2005 due to Mbeki’s AIDS denialism, and at least 35,000 babies were born with HIV, infections that could have been prevented using conventional medicine, according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Contagion in the United States

While there is no direct institutional denialism of conventional medicine here in the U.S., the denialist movement is active and spreading nonetheless. Vaccine denialism—especially in states with lax public-health laws—has already shown to have a negative effect on public health in some regional pockets, and it’s leaving those communities open to outbreaks of diseases that had been all but eradicated, including measles, polio, whooping cough (pertussis), and even smallpox.

In 2013, researchers confirmed that a 2010 whooping cough outbreak in California—the worst in the U.S. in more than 50 years—was spread primarily by the children of parents who received non-medical exemptions for school vaccinations from the state. The study showed that the outbreak was found exclusively in clusters where children were not vaccinated. There were more than 9,000 cases of the disease in California in 2010 and 10 deaths. In San Diego County, where there were about 5,000 immunization exemptions, there were 980 cases of whooping cough.

Meanwhile, some states were slashing programs for children's vaccinations. In 2011, the year after the whooping cough outbreak in California, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott cut a state program that provided whooping couch vaccines for poor mothers of babies too young to get their first whooping cough vaccines. There has since been a whooping cough outbreak in Florida with a six-week-old boy dying from the disease

These whooping cough outbreaks have been followed by a measles outbreak that began in Texas this year, which is now spreading throughout the U.S. Measles had also been declared eliminated, but in recent years it has appeared in areas with low-vaccination rates. The original Texas outbreak affected 21 children who attended the Eagle Mountain International Church in northern Texas, a congregation skeptical of vaccines. The outbreak began after an un-​immunized man visited Indonesia and then the church, which is part of the Kenneth Copeland ministries. None of the children affected had been vaccinated.

"This is a good example, unfortunately, of how birds of a feather flock together," Jason Terk, an infectious disease specialist recently told NPR. "If you have individuals who are vaccine-hesitant or vaccine-hostile, they congregate together, and that creates its own unique situation where a population of individuals is susceptible to getting the very disease that they decided they don't want to protect themselves from."

Overall, measles has infected nearly​ 600 ​people in 18 localized breakouts across 21 states in the U.S. this year. And despite more than 90% of the U.S. population being immunized against measles, this is the worst measles outbreak in decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nearly three times the number of people have been infected through the end of August than were infected in all 2013.

So far, there are no reported deaths from measles in the U.S. this year, but researchers say it’s all a numbers game. Between one and two of every 1,000 cases of measles are fatal, according to the CDC.

Can Vaccine Denialism in the U.S. Turn Deadly?

One of the scariest facets of vaccine denialism ​are those who claim they’re “not anti-vaccine, but pro-safe vaccine.” Thus, they validate themselves as responsible and immunize themselves (pardon the pun) from criticism once outbreaks of measles and whooping cough occur. Thus, those who choose to delay vaccinations or not stick by the prescribed schedule can deny culpability. But their apprehension and ambiguity — whether denialism or not — feeds the doubt that keeps other parents from immunizing their children. And any rhetoric against vaccinations can have a negative impact.

Take the Taliban-occupied areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, regions where children are being kept from critical vaccinations. This tragedy has nothing to do with denial, but instead anger with the U.S. Leaders of the radical Islamic sect have attacked healthcare workers, killing 61 of them and their escorts in the past two years, and have banned the dispersal of the polio vaccine after they discovered a fake vaccination campaign was used to hunt down Osama bin Laden through his family’s DNA several years ago.

The results of the Taliban’s quasi-institutional embargo on vaccinations have been devastating. Last week, Pakistan reported another 11 new cases of polio, bringing this year’s total to 138, compared with 34 cases of the crippling disease from just a year earlier.

Once nearly extinct, polio’s comeback in the Middle East and northern Africa has elicited a declaration of a global health emergency from the World Health Organization, which has asked these and other countries to ensure their residents are vaccinated before they travel abroad.

Can polio make a comeback in the US? Researchers in Europe are saying that the disease can make a comeback there as regional conflicts are undermining a $10 billion immunization campaign. They’re also concerned about polio’s recent reemergence in war-torn Syria, and the possibility that ​unimmunized refugees who carry the virus may flee to European countries that have been polio-free for decades.​​

Earlier this year, Penn State’s Department of Biochemistry warned that national and global events could combine into some reemergence of polio here, but only for communities that don’t immunize, like the​ 2005 breakout in a Minnesota Amish community. But for the general U.S. population, there’s little risk of polio flaring up, as is happening overseas.

But even as vaccination rates are high in the U.S., the anti-vaccine movement is growing in some states, aided by permissive religious and personal exemptions allowed by state laws. Paul Offit, the noted pediatrician and vaccine advocate, notes that states like Idaho, Michigan, Oregon and Vermont have rates of unvaccinated kindergartners that are four times the national average. These states could become potential hotspots for infectious diseases, especially in more vaccine-wary communities.

But it’s not only the children whose parents choose not to vaccinate or to delay vaccination that are at risk. Also defenseless are infants and toddlers too young to have their vaccinations, children with immunodeficiencies, and people who, for medical reasons, can't be vaccinated and rely on “herd immunity” from others' vaccinations to keep them protected. So, the denialism of parents who chose not to vaccinate can harm or even kill the small children of parents with every intention of abiding by the vaccination schedule.

"People assume this will never happen to them until it happens to them," Offit told USA Today in April. "​I​t's a shame that's the way we have to learn the lesson. There's a human price for that lesson."​​

What NFL Star's Scandal Reveals About Black vs. White Child-Rearing
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

Black parenting is often too authoritative. White parenting is often too permissive. Both need to change.

In college, I once found myself on the D.C. metro with one of my favorite professors. As we were riding, a young white child began to climb on the seats and hang from the bars of the train. His mother never moved to restrain him. But I began to see the very familiar, strained looks of disdain and dismay on the countenances of the mostly black passengers. They exchanged eye contact with one another, dispositions tight with annoyance at the audacity of this white child, but mostly at the refusal of his mother to act as a disciplinarian. I, too, was appalled. I thought, if that were my child, I would snatch him down and tell him to sit his little behind in a seat immediately. My professor took the opportunity to teach: “Do you see how this child feels the prerogative to roam freely in this train, unhindered by rules or regulations or propriety?”

“Yes,” I nodded. “What kinds of messages do you think are being communicated to him right now about how he should move through the world?”

And I began to understand, quite starkly, in that moment, the freedom that white children have to see the world as a place that they can explore, a place in which they can sit, or stand, or climb at will. The world, they are learning, is theirs for the taking.

Then I thought about what it means to parent a black child, any black child, in similar circumstances. I think of the swiftness with which a black mother would have ushered her child into a seat, with firm looks and not a little a scolding, the implied if unspoken threat of either a grounding or a whupping, if her request were not immediately met with compliance. So much is wrapped up in that moment: a desire to demonstrate that one’s black child is well-behaved, non-threatening, well-trained. Disciplined. I think of the centuries of imminent fear that have shaped and contoured African-American working-class cultures of discipline, the sternness of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ looks, the firmness of the belts and switches applied to our hind parts, the rhythmic, loving, painful scoldings accompanying spankings as if the messages could be imprinted on our bodies with a sure and swift and repetitive show of force.

I think with fond memories of the big tree that grew in my grandmother’s yard, with branches that were the perfect size for switches. I hear her booming and shrill voice now, commanding, “Go and pick a switch.” I laugh when I remember that she cut that tree down once we were all past the age of switches.

And then I turn to Adrian Peterson. Not even a year ago, Peterson’s 2-year-old son, whom he did not know, was murdered by his son’s mother’s boyfriend. More recently, Adrian Peterson has been charged with negligent injury to a child, for hitting his 4-year-old son with a switch, in a disciplinary episode that left the child with bruises and open cuts on his hands, legs, buttocks and scrotum.

In the text messages that Peterson sent to the boy’s mother, he acknowledged having gone too far, letting her know that he accidentally “got him in the nuts,” and that because the child didn’t cry, he didn’t realize the switch was hurting him. It would be easy to demonize Peterson as an abuser, but the forthrightness with which he talked about using belts and switches but not extension cords, because he “remembers how it feels to get whooped with an extension cord,” as part of his modes of discipline suggests he is merely riffing on scripts handed down to him as an African-American man.

These cultures of violent punishment are ingrained within African-American communities. In fact, they are often considered marks of good parenting. In my childhood, parents who “thought their children were too good to be spanked” were looked upon with derision. I have heard everyone from preachers to comedians lament the passing of days when a child would do something wrong at a neighbor’s house, get spanked by that neighbor, and then come home and get spanked again for daring to misbehave at someone else’s house. For many that is a vision of a strong black community, in which children are so loved and cared for that everyone has a stake in making sure that those children turn out well, and “know how to act.” In other words, it is clear to me that Peterson views his willingness to engage in strong discipline as a mark of being a good father.

Perhaps it is time to acknowledge that the loving intent and sincerity behind these violent modes of discipline makes them no less violent, no more acceptable. Some of our ideas about discipline are unproductive, dangerous and wrong. It’s time we had courage to say that.

I am not interested in haggling any more with black people about the difference between spankings and abuse, because when emotions and stakes are both as high as they are, lines are far too easily crossed.

Stakes are high because parenting black children in a culture of white supremacy forces us to place too high a price on making sure our children are disciplined and well-behaved. I know that I personally place an extremely high value on children being respectful, well-behaved and submissive to authority figures. I’m fairly sure this isn’t a good thing.

If black folks are honest, many of us will admit to both internally and vocally balking at the very “free” ways that we have heard white children address their parents in public. Many a black person has seen a white child yelling at his or her parents, while the parents calmly respond, gently scold, ignore, attempt to soothe, or failing all else, look embarrassed.

I can never recount one time, ever seeing a black child yell at his or her mother in public. Never. It is almost unfathomable.

As a kid in the 1980s and 1990s I loved family sitcoms. “Full House,” “Who’s the Boss?,” “Growing Pains.” You name it. But even before my own racial consciousness was fully formed, I remember knowing that I was watching white families very different from my own, in part, because of how children interacted with their families. Invariably on an episode, a child would get mad, yell at a parent, and then run up the stairs (white people’s sitcom houses always had stairs) and slam the door.

What I know for sure is that yelling, running away or slamming anything in the house that my single mama worked hard to pay for would be grounds for some serious disciplinary reprisal. Even now, when I think about what kind of behavior I would permit as a parent, I am clear that slamming doors in my home is unacceptable.

Still, I also know that my anger was not an emotion that found a free and healthy range of expression in my household. My mother is my own personal hero, but just as she did many things differently than her own mother did when it came to raising daughters, I know I will think very intentionally about making space for my children to experience a full range of emotions – anger included — in the safety of home. They can’t slam the door, but they can close it.

As for Adrian Peterson, he will have to deal with the legal consequences of his actions. It has long been time for us to forgo violence as a disciplinary strategy. But as Charles Barkley notes, if we lock up Adrian Peterson, we could lock up every other black parent in the South for the same behavior. Instead, I hope Peterson is a cautionary tale, not about the state intruding on our “right” to discipline our children but rather a wakeup call about how much (fear of) state violence informs the way we discipline our children.

If the murder of Michael Brown has taught us nothing else, we should know by now that the U.S. nation-state often uses deadly violence both here and abroad as a primary mode of disciplining people with black and brown bodies. Darren Wilson used deadly force against Michael Brown as a mode of discipline (and a terroristic act) for Brown’s failure to comply with the request to walk on the sidewalk.

The loving intent and sincerity of our disciplinary strategies does not preclude them from being imbricated in these larger state-based ideas about how to compel black bodies to act in ways that are seen as non-menacing, unobtrusive and basically invisible. Many hope that by enacting these micro-level violences on black bodies, we can protect our children from macro and deadly forms of violence later.

Perhaps it is audacious of me to encourage black parents to focus less on producing well-behaved children in a world that clearly hates them. Black boys and girls are suspended or expelled from school more than all other demographics of boys and girls, often for similar behaviors, simply because their engagement in those behaviors is perceived as more aggressive.

White children in general are raised to be Columbus, to “discover” the world anew and then to manipulate and order the universe to their own liking. If we take away the colonizing impulse in living this way, I think it would be amazing to have the luxury of raising black children who also view the world as a space of their own making, a space to be explored, a space to build anew. A space where occasionally, simply because you live there, you can opt to walk in the middle of the street instead of being confined to the sidewalk, much as you might sling your leg across the arm of a chair in your own home, because it is home.

But for so many black children, these kinds of frivolous choices will get you killed or locked up. For black children, finding disciplinary methods that instill a healthy sense of fear in a world that is exceptionally violent toward them is a hard balance to find.

The thing is, though: Beating, whupping or spanking your children will not protect them from state violence.  It won’t keep them out of prison. Ruling homes and children with an iron fist will not restore the dignity and respect that the outside world fails to confer on adult black people.

What these actions might do is curtail creativity, inculcate a narrative about “acceptable” forms of violence enacted against black bodies, and breed fear and resentment between parents and children that far outlasts childhood.

Violence in any form is not love. Let us make sure first to learn that lesson. And then if we do nothing else, let us teach it to our children.


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3 Things That Will Happen to Your Wallet in the Next Year
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

Is the so-called recovery coming your way?

Lately, we’re hearing a lot of upbeat news about the economy. U.S. hiring recently hit the highest level in almost seven years. And America’s economic output, or GDP, rose over 4 percent in the last quarter. But this cheery news is really just the economy wearing a mask. What’s underneath that mask is an underlying weakness— a weakness poll after poll has shown that many Americans sense today: Five years after a statistical recovery began in 2009, ordinary people are still hurting.

Headlines like these tell a story that isn’t about recovery: “U.S. Consumer Spending Flat in August” (Gallup); “America’s Fed Up: Obama Approval Rating Hits All-Time Low, Poll Shows” (NBC News); “ Student Debt Linked to Worse Health and Less Wealth (Gallup)”; and “Americans Losing Confidence in All Branches of U.S. Gov’t (Gallup).”

So, while consumer sentiment might be rising, people are deeply skeptical of this so-called recovery even as the Federal Reserve is talking about raising interest rates and "normalizing policy" — moves which are supposed to signal that things are going well. 

When the Fed raises interest rates — the rate at which banks borrow money — it has a ripple effect across the entire economy. Loans to households and businesses become more expensive on everything from small business loans to mortgages to cars.

Let me be honest here; we are nowhere near the point where the economy can support rate hikes. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting a measly 1.5 percent growth for the U.S. economy in 2014. Yes, the U.S. is in a full-blown cyclical recovery now. But the recovery is one that has been muted because of lingering effects from the financial crisis and zero wage growth for middle-class Americans. Did you know, for instance, that this recovery has been the weakest in terms of wage growth of all post-war U.S. recoveries?

You don’t get a robust economy with low wage growth, because ordinary people don’t have enough money in their pockets to buy goods and services, which causes businesses to freeze hiring, or even worse, go under.

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention either that all of the gains have been going to the top 20 percent. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the households in the top 20 percent saw income grow $8,358 per year from 2008 to 2012, while the households in the bottom 20 percent actually saw income decline $275 per year. So, technical recovery or not, it’s hard to be optimistic when we see these kinds of figures.

So what can you expect on the horizon? If you’re a regular Joe or Jane, working for a living, here are three things you can expect in the next year.

1. You might have an easier time finding a job.

The labor market is tightening and we should expect that trend to continue. Unemployment is now at 6.2 percent, down from a 26-year high in late 2009. Job openings recently hit a 13-year high of 4.7 million. The number of workers hired inched up to 4.8 million, while 2.53 million felt comfortable enough with their employment options to quit in June, the highest level in 6 years. And jobless claims are averaging a tad under 300,000, about the lowest level since the halcyon days of the housing bubble. This is all good and will eventually lead to wage growth. But to date, according to a recent Bloomberg News report, only households in the top 20 percent have seen gains. Plus, we don’t know how much growth there will actually be. Nor do we really know what industries will benefit.

2. Things are going to get a little more expensive.

Even if you do see a little more money in your paycheck, what if that money doesn’t go quite as far as it used to? That could happen if the Fed makes certain moves.

It looks like the Fed will continue to tighten policy unless we get an abrupt downshift in the economy. Now, remember, economic policy in the U.S. has been geared toward the wealthy. We have been tightening fiscal policy, which means cutting government spending on social programs, infrastructure, education, and the things that regular people need in order to prosper.

We’ve also been loosening monetary policy to drive recovery, which increases the appetite for risk and speculation on the part of the wealthy. That’s where the dichotomy between the top 20 pecent of households and the bottom 20 percent comes from. But if you listen to Fed officials, it’s clear this policy tilt is coming to an end. Instead, we will have tighter fiscal policy and tighter monetary policy, too. This is going to put pressure on asset prices and could temper wage gains that would otherwise come. Businesses that feel the pressure of Fed rate hikes will be less likely to take on new staff and less likely to increase wages.

3. It will be harder for you to get a loan for a car.

Very likely, banks will tighten lending standards as rate hikes and signs of poor lending hit the bottom line. As an example, in the past couple of years, more people wanted to buy cars because banks were loosening credit standards. The banks wanted to create loans that they could package up into auto asset backed securities as they did during the housing bubble with mortgage loans and mortgage backed-securities.

Just as we saw with housing last cycle, lenders are sub-priming the market, preying on lower credit buyers and putting them into higher rate loans worth more than the price of the vehicle. The New York Times did a must-read exposé on this market. What they found was fraud — like what we saw in mortgages during the housing bubble. So, this is a disaster waiting to happen. And I believe it will happen when the Fed hikes rates because signs that auto demand is slowing and that delinquencies are rising have just started to accumulate.

So what does this mean all together? It means that the American economy has a cyclical recovery that’s not going to do a whole lot of good for you and me. It’s really based on low-interest rates instead of wage gains that will likely weaken due to tighter monetary policy and higher interest rates.

In the end, when monetary policy tightens and interest rates go up, fewer people will have the ability to buy houses, cars and more consumer goods. And consequently, I fear that the opportunity for wage gains to kick in will diminish just as the "real" recovery is beginning.

With most of the gains of this so-called recovery going to the wealthy, one thing is clear: policy needs to change. Income inequality is on the rise and many households are just treading water. Recovery or not, these trends are not good for our economy in the long run.


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Chelsea Manning: How to Make ISIS Fall on Its Sword
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

Degrade and destroy? The west should try to disrupt the canny militants into self-destruction, because bombs will only backfire.

The Islamic State (Isis) is without question a very brutal extremist group with origins in the insurgency of the United States occupation of Iraq. It has rapidly ascended to global attention by taking control of swaths of territory in western and northern Iraq, including Mosul and other major cities.

Based on my experience as an all-source analyst in Iraq during the organization’s relative infancy, Isis cannot be defeated by bombs and bullets – even as the fight is taken to Syria, even if it is conducted by non-Western forces with air support.

I believe that Isis is fueled precisely by the operational and tactical successes of European and American military force that would be – and have been – used to defeat them. I believe that Isis strategically feeds off the mistakes and vulnerabilities of the very democratic western states they decry. The Islamic State’s center of gravity is, in many ways, the United States, the United Kingdom and those aligned with them in the region.

When it comes to regional insurgency with global implications, Isis leaders are canny strategists. It’s clear to me that they have a solid and complete understanding of the strengths and, more importantly, the weaknesses of the west. They know how we tick in America and Europe – and they know what pushes us toward intervention and overreach. This understanding is particularly clear considering the Islamic State’s astonishing success in recruiting numbers of Americans, Britons, Belgians, Danes and other Europeans in their call to arms.

Attacking Isis directly, by air strikes or special operations forces, is a very tempting option available to policymakers, with immediate (but not always good) results. Unfortunately, when the west fights fire with fire, we feed into a cycle of outrage, recruitment, organizing and even more fighting that goes back decades. This is exactly what happened in Iraq during the height of a civil war in 2006 and 2007, and it can only be expected to occur again.

And avoiding direct action with Isis can be successful. For instance, in 2009 and 2010, forerunners to the Isis group attacked civilians in suicide and car bombings in downtown Baghdad to try and provoke American intervention and sectarian unrest. But they were often not effective in their recruiting efforts when American and Iraqi forces refused (or were unable) to respond, because the barbarity and brutality of their attacks worked against them. When we did respond, however, the attacks were sold to the Sunni minority in Iraq as a justified response to an occupying government favoring the Shia government led by former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Based on my intelligence work in Iraq during that period, I believe that only a very focused and consistent strategy of containment can be effective in reducing the growth and effectiveness of Isis as a threat. And so far, Western states seem to have adopted that strategy. With very public humanitarian disasters, however, like the ones on Mount Sinjar andIrbil in northern Iraq, and the beheadings of journalists James Foley andSteven Sotloff, this discipline gets tested and can begin to fray.

As a strategy to disrupt the growth of Isis, I suggest focusing on four arenas:

Eventually, if they are properly contained, I believe that Isis will not be able to sustain itself on rapid growth alone, and will begin to fracture internally. The organization will begin to disintegrate into several smaller, uncoordinated entities – ultimately failing in their objective of creating a strong state.

But the world just needs to be disciplined enough to let the Isis fire die out on its own, intervening carefully and avoiding the cyclic trap of “mission creep”. This is certainly a lot to ask for. But Isis is wielding a sharp, heavy and very deadly double-edged sword. Now just wait for them to fall on it.


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How the Bush Administration Covered Up the Saudi Connection to 9/11
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

It's a story of how the White House sought to suppress evidence that would reveal how much it knew of the attack plot.

In his New Yorker article, posted on the magazine’s web site last week, Lawrence Wright tells how the Bush administration deleted 28 pages in the 2002 report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on 911 probably because they describe in detail the Saudi connection to the Al Qaeda attack and Saudi financing of its operatives in the United States—people who knew two of the hijackers, and may well have been used as conduits for Saudi cash. Some of the money may have come from the royal family through a charity.

In removing the 28 pages Bush said the publication of the information would damage American intelligence operations. The Saudis deny all this.

In fact no one would be talking about it now were it not for families of victims of the attack and insurers, who are suing the Saudis.

Wright goes on to report:

“There’s nothing in it about national security,” Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina who has read the missing pages, contends. “It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.” Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told me that the document is “stunning in its clarity,” and that it offers direct evidence of complicity on the part of certain Saudi individuals and entities in Al Qaeda’s attack on America.   “Those twenty-eight pages tell a story that has been completely removed from the 9/11 Report,” Lynch maintains. Another congressman who has read the document said that the evidence of Saudi government support for the 9/11 hijacking is “very disturbing,” and that “the real question is whether it was sanctioned at the royal-family level or beneath that, and whether these leads were followed through.” Now, in a rare example of bipartisanship, Jones and Lynch have co-sponsored a resolution requesting that the Obama Administration declassify the pages.

But there are other questions here, and they involve the story of how the Bush administration sought to suppress evidence that would reveal how much it knew of the attack plot —and didn’t do anything to stop it.

To resume the story briefly:

Two of the flight 77 hijackers—Khalid al-Mihdhar, a Saudi who fought for al-Qaeda in Bosnia and Chechyna, and Nawaf al Hazmi, another Saudi with battle experience in Bosnia, Chechyna and Afghanistan, met at an al-Qaeda  strategy meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January, 2000. The CIA had asked the Malaysian intelligence service to conduct surveillance, but it proved not to be very effective. The two left that meeting, went to the airport and boarded a commercial flight to Bankok on January 8, and subsequently took a United Airlines flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles, landing without incident and passing through US immigration.

By that time, according to the Joint Inquiry Report, “the CIA and NSA had sufficient information available concerning future hijackers al-Midhar and al-Hamzi to connect them to Usama Bin Laden, the East Africa embassy bombing and the USS Cole attack…and they should have been placed on the State Department TIPOFF watch-list and the INS and Customs watch-list.’’

By July 2001, analysts operating on their own confirmed the two had landed in the US and notified the FBI. The Bureau alerted its offices in New York, but not in Los Angeles or San Diego. And no one thought to tell the FAA, INS or Customs Service not to let these men fly on planes.

Once in the US, the two hijackers passed unnoticed beneath noses of the CIA and FBI. They went from Los Angeles to San Diego, where they rented an apartment, got Social Security cards, drivers licenses, credit cards and a car. They soon began flight training.

The two had contact with a radical iman, who the FBI was watching and with a leader in the local Saudi community who was believed to be a Saudi financial conduit to the hijackers.

Perhaps most significant they had contact with a local FBI informant, in fact, living in his house. This man was charged by the FBI with keeping tabs on the local Saudi community. “He stayed at the home of a source of ours,’’ an FBI counterterrorism official later told James Bamford, author of the book A Pretext for War.  “Had we known about them we would have followed them and said, ‘Hey,these guys are going to aviation school.’’’

The Joint Inquiry concluded that the informants contacts with the hijackers, had they been followed up, would have given the FBI’s San Diego office the best chance to unravel the plot. Later efforts by the Joint Inquiry to interview the informant were thwarted by the FBI and Justice Department.

According to former Florida Senator Bob Graham, in his bookIntelligence Matters, when the Joint Inquiry asked the FBI for all its files on the informer, the members were denied access to him and when the Joint Inquiry subpoened him, the FBI stalled. Graham called a meeting with CIA director George Tenet, FBI director Robert Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft. They suggested Graham question the informant in writing. But by the time the FBI sent out their questions, the informant had retained a top lawyer, a former employee of the Justice Department. The lawyer demanded immunity for the informant before testifying. Graham writes in his book, “It seemed strange that an individual who claimed to have done nothing wrong and who the FBI argued continued to be a valuable source of information would request immunity.’’

The committee turned down the request.

Graham wrote, the FBI  ”insisted that we could not even in the most sanitized manner, tell the American people that an FBI informant had a relationship with two of the hijackers.” The Bureau opposed public hearings, deleted any reference to the situation from the Joint Inquiry’s unclassified report. Only a year later did the FBI allow a heavily-redacted version of the story in the public report.

Finally in his book Graham describes a letter from a member of the FBI’s congressional staff explaining the Bureau had been uncooperative on orders of the administration.  “We were seeing in writing what we had suspected for some time. The White House was directing the coverup.

“Later, when the 911 Commission conducted its own investigation, both Bush and Cheney met with them in a private, off-the-record conversation.”

This story and the new piece by Wright strongly suggest the President, Vice President and head of the FBI were engaged in obstruction of justice. If so, that would call for the convening of a federal grand jury. Would the Justice Department, which runs the FBI, do that? Probably not.

So it is left to the families suing the Saudis to find and publish the truth.

In America, Healthy Eating Is for the Privileged
Posted on Monday September 15, 2014

A luxury item.

Although kale salad is making its way to some family dinners, the fact remains that eating healthy is often thought of as something for the rich to entertain, and for the bottom rung to struggle with. According to new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, authors give credence to this gap, finding that the rich are eating healthier and the poor are still eating worse.

Using a survey from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the authors charted the eating habits of American diets from roughly 29,124 adults from 1999 to 2010. They indexed the habits using the Harvard School of Public Health’s Alternate Eating Index, which, while monitoring healthy eating habits, is also used to predict chronic diseases in the U.S. population.

If an individual scored higher on the index, it indicates they eat healthier food items such as fruits (not including juice), vegetables (not including starches like potatoes) and whole grains. A lower score entails the opposite, where the individual most likely eats foods high in fat, sugar and sodium.

What they found was that scores for low-income adults were lower than the average but also their numbers did not increase in the past 12 years. Compare this to high-income adults whose scores increased more than six points from 2009 to 2010.

On the bright side, and not accounting for socioeconomic status, we’re drinking less sugary drinks and fruit juices. We’re also eating more fruits and whole grains, nuts legumes and polyunsaturated fats. On the down side, we’re not eating enough vegetables, we’ve increased our sodium intake and still haven’t made a significant dent in eating any less red or processed meats.

“The good news is that the overall quality of the U.S. diet has been increasing in the past decade,” Frank Hu, one of the study’s authors, told The Atlantic. He also said the gap was “disturbing” and graded the U.S. diet in the B- range.

Today more than one-third of adults and 17 percent of youth are obese, according to the CDC. Recently, a new report found that obesity rates rose in six states in 2013, which is actually somewhat good news considering in 2005 every state increased their obesity rates.  The ubiquity of processed foods in America makes eating healthy foods, to say the least, nearly impossible.

The authors believe much of the healthy-eating gap could be explained by price, which is obviously a big concern when choosing what to eat, especially when real median incomes have remained the same since 1989. As Tom Philpott points out in Mother Jones, according to the USDA, “food-secure households spent 30 percent more on food than their food-insecure peers in 2013, and that includes expenditures from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).”

On top of this, the study authors add that healthy foods generally cost more than unhealthy ones and that access to healthful foods also widens the gap — many low-income residents do not own a car to reach supermarkets with better, healthier foods. Lastly, education plays a big role as the dietary quality “was lowest and improved slowly in participants who had completed no more than 12 years of education, whereas dietary quality in participant who had completed college was consistently high and improved exponentially.”

As the authors write it’s “imperative for sustainable dietary quality improvement” especially for those whose socioeconomic status places them in the bottom levels of income, adding: “Collective actions, such as legislation and taxation, that aim toward creating an environment that fosters and supports individuals’ healthful choices are more effective at reducing dietary risk factors than actions that solely depend on personal responsibility, such as consumers’ individual voluntary behavior change.”

Among the study’s others findings, poor eating habits among blacks and whites “disappeared” once the socioeconomic variants were adjusted, meaning, once they both became sufficiently rich. However, Mexican Americans and whites maintained their significant differences across the board, something the authors believes is a matter of traditions and culture and not so much economic standing. Mexican Americans also had the best dietary quality of the race/ethnic groups and blacks had the poorest diets.


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WATCH: Jon Stewart Mocks Joe Scarborough's Hypocritical Fury at Hillary Clinton's Gamesmanship
Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

"Willary or Won'tary?" Most pundits think they already know the answer."

Jon Stewart covered the earth-shattering news that Hillary Clinton attended Senator Tom Harkin's Annual Steak Fry in Iowa last week, her first visit to the state that pretty much screwed her in the 2008 presidential elections (she came in third after Edwards.) Edwards!

She did not announce that she is running, however. She did admit that she was consdering it.

Boy, did that piss off the punditocracy! Especially the right-wing punditocracy.

No one was more annoyed than Morning Joe Scarborough, who wagged his finger and said, "You go aound on glorified book tour just so people will ask you if you're running. Do it or don't do it."

Funny, he seems to forget his own "glorified book tour" of his brilliant tome, "The Right Path." When asked if he was considering running, he replied, "I haven't ruled it out."

Gotcha, Morning Joe. Have a little hypocrisy with your coffee?

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Pro-War Talking Heads on TV Have Big Ties to Military Contractors
Posted on Monday September 15, 2014

Shouldn’t the public know about these pundits' links to some of the largest military contractors in the world?

If you read enough news and watch enough cable television about the threat of the Islamic State, the radical Sunni Muslim militia group better known simply as ISIS, you will inevitably encounter a parade of retired generals demanding an increased US military presence in the region. They will say that our government should deploy, as retired General Anthony Zinni demanded, up to 10,000 American boots on the ground to battle ISIS. Or as in retired General Jack Keane’s case, they will make more vague demands, such as for “offensive” air strikes and the deployment of more military advisers to the region.

But what you won’t learn from media coverage of ISIS is that many of these former Pentagon officials have skin in the game as paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world. Ramping up America’s military presence in Iraq and directly entering the war in Syria, along with greater military spending more broadly, is a debatable solution to a complex political and sectarian conflict. But those goals do unquestionably benefit one player in this saga: America’s defense industry.

Keane is a great example of this phenomenon. His think tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which he oversees along with neoconservative partisans Liz Cheney and William Kristol, has provided the data on ISIS used for multiple stories by The New York Times, the BBC and other leading outlets.

Keane has appeared on Fox News at least nine times over the last two months to promote the idea that the best way to stop ISIS is through military action—in particular, through air strikes deep into ISIS-held territory. In one of the only congressional hearings about ISIS over the summer, Keane was there to testify and call for more American military engagement. On Wednesday evening, Keane declared President Obama’s speech on defeating ISIS insufficient, arguing that a bolder strategy is necessary. “I truly believe we need to put special operation forces in there,” he told host Megyn Kelly.

Left unsaid during his media appearances (and left unmentioned on his congressional witness disclosure form) are Keane’s other gigs: as special adviser to Academi, the contractor formerly known as Blackwater; as a board member to tank and aircraft manufacturer General Dynamics; a “venture partner” to SCP Partners, an investment firm that partners with defense contractors, including XVionics, an “operations management decision support system” company used in Air Force drone training; and as president of his own consulting firm, GSI LLC.

To portray Keane as simply a think tank leader and a former military official, as the media have done, obscures a fairly lucrative career in the contracting world. For the General Dynamics role alone, Keane has been paid a six-figure salary in cash and stock options since he joined the firm in 2004; last year, General Dynamics paid him $258,006.

Keane did not immediately return a call requesting comment for this article.

Disclosure would also help the public weigh Keane’s policy advocacy. For instance, in his August 24 opinion column for The Wall Street Journal, in which he was bylined only as a retired general and the chairman of ISW, Keane wrote that “the time has come to confront the government of Qatar, which funds and arms ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups such as Hamas.” While media reports have linked fundraisers for ISIS with individuals operating in Qatar (though not the government), the same could be said about Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where many of the major donors of ISIS reportedly reside. Why did Keane single out Qatar and ignore Saudi Arabia and Kuwait? Is it because his company, Academi, has been a major business partner to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar’s primary rival in the region?

Other examples abound.

In a Washington Post story about Obama’s decision not to deploy troops to combat ISIS, retired Marine General James Mattis was quoted as a skeptic. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis told the paper. Left unmentioned was Mattis’s new role as Keane’s colleague on the General Dynamics corporate board, a role that afforded Mattis $88,479 in cash and stock options in 2013.

Retired General Anthony Zinni, perhaps the loudest advocate of a large deployment of American soliders into the region to fight ISIS, is a board member to BAE Systems’ US subsidiary, and also works for several military-focused private equity firms.

CNN pundit Frances Townsend, a former Bush administration official, has recently appeared on television calling for more military engagement against ISIS. As the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit that studies elite power structures, reported, Townsend “holds positions in two investment firms with defense company holdings, MacAndrews & Forbes and Monument Capital Group, and serves as an advisor to defense contractor Decision Sciences.”

“Mainstream news outlets have a polite practice of identifying former generals and former congressmembers as simply ‘formers’—neglecting to inform the public of what these individuals are doing now, which is often quite pertinent information, like that they are corporate lobbyists or board members,” says Jeff Cohen, an associate professor of journalism at Ithaca College.

Media outlets might justify their omissions by reasoning that these pundits have merely advocated certain military strategies, not specific weapons systems, so disclosure of their financial stake in the policy need not be made. Yet the drumbeat for war has already spiraled into calls for increased military spending that lifts all boats—or non-operational jets for that matter.

When the Pentagon sent a recent $2 billion request for ramped-up operations in the Middle East, supposedly to confront the ISIS issue, budget detailsobtained by Bloomberg News revealed that officials asked for money for additional F-35 planes. The F-35 is not in operation and would not be used against ISIS. The plane is notoriously over budget and perpetually delayed—some experts call it the most expensive weapon system in human history—with a price tag now projected to be over $1 trillion. In July, an engine fire grounded the F-35 fleet and again delayed the planned debut of the plane. How it ended up in the Pentagon’s Middle East wish list is unclear.

“I think an inclination to use military action a lot is something the defense industry subscribes to because it helps to perpetuate an overall climate of permissiveness towards military spending,” says Ed Wasserman, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School for Journalism. Wasserman says that the media debate around ISIS has tilted towards more hawkish former military leaders, and that the public would be best served not only with better disclosure but also a more balanced set of opinions that would include how expanded air strikes could cause collateral civil casualties. ”The past fifty years has a lot of evidence of the ineffectiveness of air power when it comes to dealing with a more nimble guerrilla-type adversary, and I’m not hearing this conversation,” he notes.

The pro-war punditry of retired generals has been the subject of controversy in the past. In a much-cited 2008 exposé, The New York Timesrevealed a network of retired generals on the payroll of defense contractors who carefully echoed the Bush administration’s Iraq war demands through appearances on cable television. 

The paper’s coverage of the run-up to a renewed conflict in the region today has been notably measured, including many voices skeptical of calls for a more muscular military response to ISIS. Nonetheless, the Times has relied on research from a contractor-funded advocacy organization as part of its ISIS coverage. Reports produced by Keane’s ISW have been used to support six different infographics used for Times stories since June. The Times has not mentioned Keane’s potential conflict of interest or that ISW may have a vested stake in its policy positions. The Public Accountability Initiative notes that ISW’s corporate sponsors represent “a who’s who of the defense industry and includes Raytheon, SAIC, Palantir, General Dynamics, CACI, Northrop Grumman, DynCorp, and L-3 Communication.” As the business network CNBC reported this week, Raytheon in particular has much to gain from escalation in Iraq, as the company produces many of the missiles and radar equipment used in airstrikes.

In addition to providing reports and quotes for the media, ISW leaders have demanded a greater reaction to ISIS from the Obama administration. In The Weekly Standard this week, ISW president Kim Kagan wrote that President Obama’s call for a limited engagement against ISIS “has no chance of success.” 

ISW’s willingness to push the envelope has gotten the organization into hot water before. In 2013, ISW suffered an embarrassing spectacle when one of its analysts, Elizabeth O’Bagy, was found to have inflated her academic credentials, touting a PhD from a Georgetown program that she had never entered.

But memories are short, and the media outlets now relying heavily on ISW research have done little to scrutinize the think tank’s policy goals. Over the last two years, ISW, including O’Bagy, were forcefully leading the push to equip Syrian rebels with advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry to defeat Bashar al-Assad.

For Keane, providing arms to Syrian rebels, even anti-American groups, was a worthwhile gamble. In an interview with Fox Business Network in May of last year, Keane acknowledged that arming Syrian rebels might mean “weapons can fall into radical Islamists’ hands.” He continued, “It is true the radical Islamists have gained in power and influence mainly because we haven’t been involved and that is a fact, but it’s still true we have vetted some of these moderate rebel groups with the CIA, and I’m convinced we can—it’s still acceptable to take that risk, and let’s get on with changing momentum in the war.” 

That acceptable risk Keane outlined has come to fruition. Recent reports now indicate that US-made weapons sent from American allies in the region to Syrian rebels have fallen into the hands of ISIS.

Keane, and ISW, is undeterred. The group just put out a call for 25,000 ground troops in Iraq and Syria.


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10 Sneaky Sugar Sources That Hold Your Weight Hostage
Posted on Tuesday September 16, 2014

You may be shocked to know that these seemingly innocuous foods contain added sugars.

Years ago, I had a client who ate pristinely, removed food intolerances from her diet, combined weight resistance with burst training, got eight hours of sleep every night, and controlled her stress levels.

Despite that persistent effort, the scales wouldn't budge, and I remained baffled.

Until one morning, that is, when I ran into her on my way to the gym holding a venti Starbucks. "Coffee or tea?" I asked.

Turns out, she was drinking a non-fat Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Since this was pre-iPhone, during my next visit to Starbucks I picked up a nutrition guide. Turns out that "skinny" drink contained a whopping five teaspoons of sugar. Bam. I found the culprit.

Unlike my client, perhaps you're aware coffee drinks can become sugar bombs, but even the most health-conscious among us struggle to know everywhere sugar hides and how to avoid those things. It can feel incredibly daunting.

Sneaky sugars hide in places you'd never suspect, including whole foods, diet foods, packaged fruit, drinks, and dressings. Stevia in the Raw packets, which sound perfectly healthy, contain dextrose (sugar) as its first ingredient. A little misleading, eh?

The first step to curbing sugar consumption involves learning its many names. My friend Jonathan Bailor conveniently compiled 57 (!) of them in this HuffPost blog.

Once you have that list, you'll want to diligently inspect labels. Never mind whether it says "no sugar added" or any other nutrition claims. You've got to actually read ingredients to know for sure.

Even I became shocked to learn about seemingly innocuous foods that contain added sugars. How many of these 10 offenders would you have guessed?

1. Balsamic vinaigrette. Authentic, traditional balsamic vinegar comes from Italy, requires 12 years or longer to age, and undergoes rigorous testing before it goes to market. Commercial balsamic vinegar doesn't undergo this painstaking process. Instead, manufacturers usually make it from white wine vinegar and add caramel coloring (for color and added sweetness) as well as thickeners like cornstarch and gum, which ramp up the calories and sugar. Next time you order a salad, skip the balsamic and drizzle olive oil and vinegar.

2. Dried fruit. You wouldn't pour M&M's or Skittles onto your salad, but that's pretty much what you do when you add raisins, dates, dried cranberries, and "candied" fruit. According to Ocean Spray's website, a quarter-cup of Craisins (dried cranberries) contains 29 grams, or nearly six teaspoons, of sugar. Why would you do that to a perfectly innocent salad?

3. Smoothies. Craftily positioned as a fast, healthy breakfast alternative, most commercial smoothies are nothing more than adult fruity milkshakes. A 16-ounce (their smallest size) Jamba Juice Banana Berry Smoothie carries a whopping 12 teaspoons of sugar. While it packs an impressive 16 grams of protein, a 16-ounce Starbucks Orange Mango Smoothie isn't much better with 37 grams of sugar.

4. Meat sauces. Restaurants love to drown perfectly healthy fish, chicken, and beef in syrupy sauces, sometimes to disguise inferior meats. Any dish described as glazed most likely contains sugar. Even if they're not sweet, those mysterious brown sauces in Chinese and Thai dishes pack cornstarch (which converts to sugar) and other dubious ingredients. Be very specific that you want meat grilled, baked, or broiled. Otherwise, you might have your dinner with dessert when your entrée arrives.

5. Protein bars. If "Caramel Nut Blast" sounds like a candy bar, you're not far off. I counted at least four types of sugar in this "healthy" Balance protein bar. Adding a little fiber and some nutrients doesn't suddenly make a protein bar healthy; it simply transforms a candy bar into an overpriced nutrient-enriched candy bar.

6. Almond butter. People like their nut butters sweet, which explains why most peanut butters come loaded with sugar. Almond butters can also contain added sugar, and here's a great example how a perfectly healthy food can become botched when you don't read labels. MaraNatha no-stir almond butter contains organic evaporated cane sugar as its second ingredient, whereas their organic raw almond butter contains 100 percent raw organic almonds and nothing else.

7. Yogurt. You're not alone if you become overwhelmed with the vast yogurt array at your grocery dairy aisle. Some of them, especially fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts, could have as much sugar as a candy bar. One tiny container of Fage Total 0 percent Honey packs 29 grams of sugar. Yeah, it's honey, but your body breaks it down just like table sugar. If you're not dairy-intolerant, stick with full-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt and read those labels: It should contain no added sugar.

8. Bottled teas. Green tea deservedly earns a health halo, but loading it down with sugar like some manufacturers do quickly demotes that aura. A 16.9 ounce bottle of Honest brand Honey Green Tea contains organic cane sugar as its second ingredient. Switch instead to unsweetened green-tea varieties and add your own healthy sweetener. Better yet, brew your own.

9. Wheat bread. Long positioned as a healthier alternative, most commercial wheat breads come stripped of fiber and loaded with the same added sugar, preservatives, and other junk as white bread. "Two slices of whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar," writes Dr. Mark Hyman. "There is no difference between whole wheat and white flour here. The biggest scam perpetrated on the unsuspecting public is the inclusion of 'whole grains' in many processed foods full of sugar and wheat, giving the food a virtuous glow." Instead of wheat bread and wraps, opt for gluten-free rice wraps or coconut wraps.

10. Green juices. You wouldn't sit down and eat four pieces of fruit, but a juice can easily pack that much sugar without fiber to buffer it out. Because they're lower in sugar, vegetable juices at least sound better, yet bottled juices sometimes become misleading. Naked Green Machine, which sounds like a vegetable juice, promises "no sugar added." Yet despite its name, this drink is mostly fruit, and an entire 15.2 ounce bottle contains almost 12 teaspoons of sugar.

If you're like me, you're shocked about sneaky sugars in these and other seemingly healthy foods. What one food or drink did you once consider healthy but now know otherwise? Share your thoughts below.

© 2014 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food intolerances and crush their sugar cravings. She is author of New York Times Bestsellers The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days, The Virgin Diet Cookbook: 150 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Lose Weight and Feel Better Fast and coming November 4, 2014: The Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Hidden Sugars, Lose up to 10 Pounds, Just 2 Weeks. JJ is also a frequent blogger at Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, and other outlets as well as a popular guest on TV, radio, and in magazines. Learn more at www.jjvirgin.com.


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