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Last Updated: May 23rd, 2017 - 12:16:59 

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News
In Japan, Abe seeks repeal of the Peace Constitution
Lina Sankari: Taking advantage of tensions with North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a plan to bring about constitutional reform by 2020. ... He announced his intention to revise the Peace Constitution, adopted after Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II ... Article 9 of the constitution forbids Japan from initiating war, limits the capacity of the country’s armed forces to a defense capacity only, and requires Japan to pursue “international peace based on justice and order.” ... “Without Article 9, Japanese leaders would not have been able to say ’no’ to the war in Iraq,” pointed out the constitutional expert Higuchi Yoichi in the Japan Times... Visit Website ]
May 23, 2017, 12:17pm

Consider This....
UN Must Face Scientifically Predicted Consequences Of Nuclear War
Steven Starr: The preamble of the treaty to ban nuclear weapons now under consideration at the UN will be greatly strengthened if it includes a summary of the long-term environmental consequences of nuclear war, as described by a series of peer-reviewed studies done by prominent scientists ... The research predicts that a nuclear war fought between emerging nuclear weapon states—with less than 1 percent of the explosive power contained in the global nuclear arsenals—can produce catastrophic long-term damage to global environment and weather... Visit Website ]
May 23, 2017, 12:00pm

Commentary
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Susan Babbitt: Ana Belén Montes gave classified information to Cuba for 17 years before her arrest in 2001 for espionage. Pleading guilty, she avoided conviction for treason, which carries the death sentence. ... By the time Montes began spying for the Cubans, the US had been carrying out a ruthless “war against subversion” across Latin America for decades. The targets were anyone who resisted, or might resist, US hegemony in the region. ... She told the sentencing judge, “I engaged in the activity that brought me before you because I obeyed my conscience”... Visit Website ]
May 23, 2017, 11:41am

Meditations
Spiritual Shock Therapy
Martin LeFevre: I had an interesting conversation with a self-described "meditation teacher" recently who teaches at a well-known retreat center in California. She regularly leads 10-day and month-long silent retreats. Though I'm a life-long meditator, the benefits to the individual and society of long-duration silent retreats eludes me. ... More and more people are proudly wearing the hairshirt of grueling silent retreats over extended periods, which are held in the company of other sufferers. ... It's fair to ask, does this spiritual craze contribute to the noise, busyness and disorder that characterize this culture, by accentuating social adaptation rather than inward integration?...
May 22, 2017, 5:09pm

Consider This....
Ten Reasons Trump Should Not Be Courting Saudi Arabia
Medea Benjamin: 1. The Saudis export an extremist interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, around the globe. ... 2. The Saudis fund terrorism worldwide. ... 3. The government represses religious minorities. ... 4. Free speech and free association are forbidden in the kingdom. ... 5. The regime is the most misogynist, gender-segregated country in the world. ... 6. There is no political freedom in Saudi Arabia. ... 7. They have engaged in a catastrophic war in Yemen. ... 8. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world. ... 9. The Kingdom primarily functions on the backs of mistreated foreign laborers. ... 10. Saudi Arabia helps maintain the world’s destructive dependence on oil... Visit Website ]
May 22, 2017, 2:13pm

Commentary
The Death of the Republic
Chris Hedges: Our constitutional rights—due process, habeas corpus, privacy, a fair trial, freedom from exploitation, fair elections and dissent—have been taken from us by judicial fiat. These rights exist only in name. The vast disconnect between the purported values of the state and reality renders political discourse absurd. ... Corporations, cannibalizing the federal budget, legally empower themselves to exploit and pillage. It is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil. ... The relationship between the state and the citizen who is watched constantly is one of master and slave. And the shackles will not be removed if Trump disappears... Visit Website ]
May 22, 2017, 1:35pm

Meditations
The Donald Goes Global, Religiously
Martin LeFevre: As a religious philosopher, I'm loathe to write another column about Donald Trump and the chaos presidency. But as a religious philosopher, I feel a responsibility to attempt to convey what's happening at a deeper level than the merely political. ... Let's face it, what this 50-inch conduit of darkness occupying the most powerful office in the world is really about is insulting---no abusing---the intelligence of everyone so much that they give up the hope that humanity will ever awaken intelligence, much less at this crucial crossroads in human history...
May 20, 2017, 5:57pm

Health
Neurology Study Reveals What We Already Know: People of Color Get Worse Healthcare
Jess Guh, MD: In the most recent issue of Neurology, Dr. Altaf Saadi and colleagues reveal the disheartening news that African Americans and Hispanic Americans receive lower quality neurologic care than their white counterparts. ... Though most doctors are well intentioned and would like to be “color-blind” study after study has shown that we have also absorbed the subtle messages that society sends us that folks of color are inferior or less deserving of care. ... We would be better off spending research time and money on finding solutions as opposed to “rediscovering” the same problem over and over again... Visit Website ]
May 20, 2017, 12:31pm

Commentary
The Long Ordeal of Julian Assange
John Pilger: For the past decade, WikiLeaks has published groundbreaking evidence of government and corporate abuse while getting targeted for abuse itself, including a seven-year vendetta against founder Julian Assange ... The First Amendment protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers, whether it is the editor of the New York Times or the editor of WikiLeaks. The very notion of free speech is described as America’s “ founding virtue” or, as Thomas Jefferson called it, “our currency.” ... The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – last year ruled that Assange had been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden... Visit Website ]
May 20, 2017, 12:13pm

Blogosphere
Financial Weapons Of Mass Destruction: The Top 25 U.S. Banks Have 222 Trillion Dollars Of Exposure To Derivatives
Michael Snyder: The recklessness of the “too big to fail” banks almost doomed them the last time around, but apparently they still haven’t learned from their past mistakes. Today, the top 25 U.S. banks have 222 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives. ... When you buy a stock you are purchasing an ownership interest in a company, and when you buy a bond you are purchasing the debt of a company. But when you buy a derivative, you are not actually getting anything tangible. Instead, you are simply making a side bet about whether something will or will not happen in the future. ... Visit Website ]
May 19, 2017, 12:47pm

Books
The Book That Uncovered ‘Wealthfare’
Gerald E. Scorse: Over 20 years ago, long before the experts caught on, the writers Mark Zepezauer and Arthur Naiman zeroed in on the upward redistribution of income in the United States. They called it “wealthfare,” and used the term to open their 1996 book Take the Rich Off Welfare. Here’s the first sentence: “Wealthfare—the money we hand out to corporations and wealthy individuals—costs us at least $448 billion a year.” ... “subsidies, handouts, tax breaks, loopholes, rip-offs and scams". ... President Dwight Eisenhower: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."... Visit Website ]
May 19, 2017, 12:14pm

Meditations
Laughter, the Last Escape?
Martin LeFevre: It seems like all that's left is to escape into comedy. Even that is becoming quite a strain however, both to keep up with the surreal hilarity of the Trump Administration, and to keep laughing in the face of seriously scary shit. ... The default position on the left and moderate-right is the less-than-half-truth "our institutions and the checks and balances of our government are working." ... We need to pour the foundation for a new order before the old one lands on all our heads...
May 18, 2017, 4:52pm

Commentary
When Military Wars End in the Middle East, Medical Ones Begin
Robert Fisk: In one example, tissue samples from the three-week 2008-2009 Israeli-Hamas Gaza war show remnants of heavy metals in the wounds of Palestinians which can lead to cancers ... The details were horrific. Outside the besieged city of Mosul, 13,000 wounded civilians are today waiting for reconstructive surgery – from just this one seven-month battle. Another 5,000 Iraqi police militiamen are waiting for the same surgery from recent military offensives, in their case to be cared for by the Iraqi ministry of interior. But the health infrastructure that exists in the whole of Iraq cannot look after these wounded... Visit Website ]
May 18, 2017, 12:27pm

Environment
China, India to Reach Climate Goals Years Early, as U.S. Likely to Fall Far Short
Marianne Lavelle: While Trump administration rolls back emission controls, the other top emitters are moving quickly to fight climate change by cutting coal and boosting renewables. ... China is the world's leading carbon polluter and India is the third largest. Together, their reductions are enough to outweigh the effect of Trump's proposed rollback in U.S. climate policy ... China's coal consumption has declined for three consecutive years ... Beijing recently canceled plans for just over 100 new coal-fired power plants, some of which were already under construction. The fast growth of renewable energy—and slowing energy demand—made the new plants unnecessary... Visit Website ]
May 18, 2017, 12:16pm

Commentary
No Tears for the FBI
Margaret Kimberley: The FBI will always be in the business of crushing dissent. ... The FBI never relented in this strategy of actively opposing the black struggle for human rights. In fact every FBI agent was responsible for managing at least one informer to report on activities in black communities. ... The agency coordinates its work with police departments across the country with Joint Terrorism Task Force operations that target black people, Muslims of all races and anyone else who may fit a profile rife with racism and xenophobia. ... Visit Website ]
May 17, 2017, 12:48pm


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