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News Why World Change is Necessary

Poverty is a burden on schools

Academic success is impossible for a child whose basic physical and emotional needs are not being met. If neither the child's family nor her community is meeting those needs, and if the school expects her to succeed academically, then the school must meet them. By demanding that schools meet rigid measures of academic success, the laws effectively are requiring those schools to assume the task of meeting the many non-academic needs that are a prerequisite to academic success. In schools with a high percentage of impoverished children, those needs are many. As a community, we should demand that all children have the academic foundation needed for career success. If we want our schools to bear the full burden of accomplishing this task, we must recognize we are asking them to perform functions not traditionally demanded of schools. Either we need to acknowledge this reality with increased funding, or as a community we need to find other ways to meet the non-scholastic needs of children living in poverty.

Oil Train Explosion: Tragic Reminder of High Cost of Fossil Fuel Dependency

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While the industry and an economy based on fossil fuels are destroying the communities surrounding the oil fields where the fracking occurs, the transportation of such volatile and toxic fuel "also destroys the communities along the way. The industry has built up rail as the safest way to transport [this fuel]. Pipelines are more dangerous—partly because of volume, when they do spill it's a much bigger disaster. Also, the number of incidents are even higher. But trains aren't safe either. It's never safe to transport fossil fuels...the emphasis [for the industry] is not on safety certainly but on Profit.

Four Contemptible Examples of Corporate Tax Avoidance by Paul Buchheit

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1. Just 32 companies avoided enough in 2012 taxes to pay the ENTIRE 2013 federal education budget. 2. Bank of America: 82% of Revenue in U.S., $7 billion loss. (But big foreign profits.) 3. Relative to workers' payroll tax, corporate taxes have dropped from $1.00 to 7 cents. 4. Sales tax on school supplies: 10%. Sales tax on $1,000,000,000,000,000 of financial securities: ZERO.

We Are All Aboard the Pequod

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"We, like Ahab and his crew, rationalize madness. All calls for prudence, for halting the march toward environmental catastrophe, for sane limits on carbon emissions, are ignored or ridiculed. Even with the flashing red lights before us, the increased droughts, rapid melting of glaciers and Arctic ice, monster tornadoes, vast hurricanes, crop failures, floods, raging wildfires and soaring temperatures, we bow slavishly before hedonism and greed and the enticing illusion of limitless power, intelligence and prowess." Chris Hedges

Counting the cost of Labour's open door

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UK: Maternity wards bursting at the seams... schools struggling to cope with the endless ‘churn’ of foreign children... ‘disproportionate levels’ of shoplifting and disorder among destitute Eastern Europeans... migrant workers living in garden sheds... The Home Office study we reported yesterday confirms the public’s worst fears about mass immigration – with half of the population now living in an area under strain from ‘high levels’ of incomers.

The Real Threat to Our Future is Peak Water

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As population rises, overpumping means some nations have reached peak water, which threatens food supply There are substitutes for oil, but not for water. We can produce food without oil, but not without water. Today some 18 countries, containing half the world's people, are overpumping their aquifers. Among these are the big three grain producers – China, India, and the United States – and several other populous countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Mexico. During the last two decades, several of these countries have overpumped to the point that their aquifers are being depleted and their wells are going dry. They have passed not only peak water, but also peak grain production. Their aquifers are being depleted, their wells are going dry, and their grain harvests are shrinking. Among the countries whose use of water has peaked and begun to decline are Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In these countries peak grain has followed peak water.

The 'Religious Freedom' Ploy to Block Healthcare Coverage of Birth Control

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Rightwing Christians are abusing the right to religious liberty to impose their views on others and restrict access to contraception. Taking the Hobby Lobby's -owned by conservative Christians who oppose hormonal contraception- argument to its logical conclusion, what if you're a plumber whose company happens to be owned by Jehovah's Witnesses: should your boss have the right to determine that your health insurance won't cover any surgeries or procedures that involve blood transfusions? What if you're a lawyer and the head of your firm is a Scientologist: should he be able to exclude coverage of psychiatric medication and treatment? What if you're a restaurant employee and the owner is a Muslim fundamentalist who opposes polio vaccines: should he have the right to refuse vaccination coverage? What if you're an administrator for a company owned by Christian Scientists: should they have the right to entirely refuse to cover their employees' healthcare?

American Ghosts

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Millions of Americans have joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed -- and the long-term forgotten. How bad is it? The official unemployment rate is unchanged, at 7.6 percent, but even that figure barely scratches the surface. As Drew DeSilver points out, the seasonally adjusted length of unemployment - a real indicator of extended human suffering -- is 35.6 weeks, barely down from its high of 40.7 weeks at the worst of the crisis. Dig a little deeper into this number. You'll find that one of the main reasons it's so high is that a core group of millions of people has been out of work ever since the crisis hit. They've gone from being productively employed citizens to economic cast-offs, written off as collateral damage in Wall Street's war on the human economy.

The Silence of Empire

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The very fact of empire as such is invisible to most within the United States. Meanwhile, its violent and unjust manifestations - from Afghanistan to Diego Garcia, Gaza, and Guantanamo to Iraq and Yemen to the large sectors of the population at home impoverished by a military budget that rivals those of all the rest of the world’s countries combined - are widely accepted as the way things should be, or simply the way things are, with little that can be done to change the situation. What allows empire to endure in part is the quiescence of those among us who see empire as simply wrong.

Jobs Report: ‘New Normal’ Is Neither New, Normal nor Acceptable

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More than 22 million Americans remain in need of full-time work. The participation rate in the labor force – 63.5 percent – remains mired near recession lows. Wages continue to stagnate; young people struggle to get jobs; young African Americans face devastating rates of unemployment; inequality grows more extreme. In previous recessions, government spending and hiring helped fuel the comeback. In this one, perverse austerity policies are pulling the economy down, not helping it up. And now Congress is gearing up for another mindless fight focused on reducing deficits rather than putting people to work.

Patriotism vs. Solving Global Problems

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Close to July 4, please chew on this quote from Emma Goldman, circa 1908 Patriotism means that “those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die … to impose their superiority upon all the others.”

John Boehner: 'Unemployment Rate Is Far Too High' - and there is no Plan to take YOU out of the Recession unless you are 'Middle Class'

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Friday's report revealed that the U.S. economy added 195,000 mostly low-paying jobs, with the unemployment rate fixed at 7.6 percent. Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan B. Krueger admitted that "more work remains to be done" but labeled the report as another step to recovery. from the "worst downturn since the Great Depression." "It is critical that we remain focused on pursuing policies to speed job creation and expand the middle class, as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007," said Krueger in a statement released by the White House.

British children's junk food are diets 'worse than rationing' and to blame for the return of wartime diseases like scurvy and rickets

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British children are suffering from wartime diseases because their junk food diets are worse than during rationing, doctors have warned. They say that cases of scurvy and rickets are on the rise because of a reliance on takeaways and microwave meals by today's junk food generation. Dr Mark Temple, chairman of the British Medical Association's public health medicine committee, said: 'Food standards in the UK are worse now that they were during the rationing during the war.'

Social Inequality in America: Enrichment of Business Executives. Double-digit Rise in CEO Pay

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The 200 highest paid CEOs at US public companies with revenue above $1 billion received a median compensation package of $15.1 million in 2012, 16 percent higher than the previous year, according to a report published Sunday by the New York Times. The Times compiled its report based on data provided by the executive compensation analysis firm Equilar Inc. The Times also published an adjoining article on the ongoing practice of granting retiring and even fired CEOs multi-million-dollar “golden parachute” retirement packages. The articles provide insight into the further enrichment of the corporate elite, under conditions of declining wages and mounting poverty for millions of workers and youth in the US.

Global Warfare. Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran

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Humanity is at a dangerous crossroads. War preparations to attack Iran are in “an advanced state of readiness”. Hi tech weapons systems including nuclear warheads are fully deployed. This military adventure has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board since the mid-1990s. First Iraq, then Iran according to a declassified 1995 US Central Command document. Escalation is part of the military agenda. While Iran, is the next target together with Syria and Lebanon, this strategic military deployment also threatens North Korea, China and Russia. Since 2005, the US and its allies, including America’s NATO partners and Israel, have been involved in the extensive deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems. The air defense systems of the US, NATO member countries and Israel are fully integrated. This is a coordinated endeavor of the Pentagon, NATO, Israel’s Defense Force (IDF), with the active military involvement of several non-NATO partner countries including the frontline Arab states (members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative), Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, among others. (NATO consists of 28 NATO member states Another 21 countries are members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), The Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative include ten Arab countries plus Israel.)

The Privatization of War: Mercenaries, Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC)

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Private military and security companies (PMSC) are the modern reincarnation of a long lineage of private providers of physical force: corsairs, privateers and mercenaries. Mercenaries, which had practically disappeared during the XIXth and XXth centuries, reappeared in the 1960’s during the decolonization period operating mainly in Africa and Asia. Under the United Nations a convention was adopted which outlaws and criminalizes their activities. Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions also contains a definition of mercenary. Private military and security companies operate in a legal vacuum: they pose a threat to civilians and to international human rights law. The UN Human Rights Council has entrusted the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, principally, with the mandate: “To monitor and study the effects of the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the international market on the enjoyment of human Rights (…) and to prepare draft international basic principles that encourage respect for human rights on the part of those companies in their activities”.

Food and the Walmartization of Agriculture

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Walmart has become an icon of the corporate rush to keep costs low and profits high, regardless of the effects on society. They sell cheaply made goods—often produced in deplorable conditions—for low prices and keep overhead costs low by refusing to pay their workers a livable wage. It is this business strategy that catapulted them to be among the largest corporate interests in the world and allowed them to spread into virtually every corner of the United States.

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