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 on: Apr 15, 2015, 07:15 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hi Skywalker,

He was taken from his mother's arms just about six to seven years of age. From what I understand death from the gases in the chamber very much mimics drowning. When he was young in this life he also had extreme bouts of 'sleep walking' wherein he was literally back in that life, reliving it in this way.

There are other Uranian memories from that life that affected he emotional/ psychological behavior / choices in his current life. I am hoping you or others can see and identify them. The root archetype affected by these Uranian memories is one of trust.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 07:01 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hi Gypsie,

That would be great if you would like to do that. So if you do please do. You have a very keen ability with EA that can truly benefit others who come here to read this thread. It is certainly worth the wait for you to do this work.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:59 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Rad,

At what age was the child taken from his mother and put in the gas "shower"? I ask this to know if the fear of showering comes from that experience or if it may also be connected to other experiences in other lives since he goes into bouts of hysteria when his head was submerged, which could also stem from a fear of drowning, which may of happened in another life.

Thank you

All the best

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:58 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

Obama Yields, Allowing Congress Say on Iran Nuclear Deal

APRIL 14, 2015

WASHINGTON — The White House relented on Tuesday and said President Obama would sign a compromise bill giving Congress a voice on the proposed nuclear accord with Iran as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in rare unanimous agreement, moved the legislation to the full Senate for a vote.

An unusual alliance of Republican opponents of the nuclear deal and some of Mr. Obama’s strongest Democratic supporters demanded a congressional role as international negotiators work to turn this month’s nuclear framework into a final deal by June 30. White House officials insisted they extracted crucial last-minute concessions. Republicans — and many Democrats — said the president simply got overrun.

“We’re involved here. We have to be involved here,” said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the committee’s ranking Democrat, who served as a bridge between the White House and Republicans as they negotiated changes in the days before the committee’s vote on Tuesday. “Only Congress can change or permanently modify the sanctions regime.”

The essence of the legislation is that Congress will have a chance to vote on whatever deal emerges with Iran — if one is reached by June 30 — but in a way that would be extremely difficult for Mr. Obama to lose, allowing Secretary of State John Kerry to tell his Iranian counterpart that the risk that an agreement would be upended on Capitol Hill is limited.

As Congress considers any accord on a very short timetable, it would essentially be able to vote on an eventual end to sanctions, and then later take up the issue depending on whether Iran has met its own obligations. But if it rejected the agreement, Mr. Obama could veto that legislation — and it would take only 34 senators to sustain the veto, meaning that Mr. Obama could lose upward of a dozen Democratic senators and still prevail.

The bill would require that the administration send the text of a final accord, along with classified material, to Congress as soon as it is completed. It also halts any lifting of sanctions pending a 30-day congressional review, and culminates in a possible vote to allow or forbid the lifting of congressionally imposed sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. It passed 19 to 0.

Why Mr. Obama gave in after fierce opposition was the last real dispute of what became a rout. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said Mr. Obama was not “particularly thrilled” with the bill, but had decided that a new proposal put together by the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made enough changes to make it acceptable.

“We’ve gone from a piece of legislation that the president would veto to a piece of legislation that’s undergone substantial revision such that it’s now in the form of a compromise that the president would be willing to sign,” Mr. Earnest said. “That would certainly be an improvement.”

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the committee’s chairman, had a far different interpretation. As late as 11:30 a.m., in a classified briefing at the Capitol, Mr. Kerry was urging senators to oppose the bill. The “change occurred when they saw how many senators were going to vote for this, and only when that occurred,” Mr. Corker said.

Mr. Cardin said that the “fundamental provisions” of the legislation had not changed.

But the compromise between him and Mr. Corker did shorten a review period of a final Iran nuclear deal and soften language that would make the lifting of sanctions dependent on Iran’s ending support for terrorism.

The agreement almost certainly means Congress will muscle its way into nuclear negotiations that Mr. Obama sees as a legacy-defining foreign policy achievement.

The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation this month, and House Republican leaders have promised to pass it shortly after.

“Congress absolutely should have the opportunity to review this deal,” the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, said Tuesday. “We shouldn’t just count on the administration, who appears to want a deal at any cost.”

White House officials blitzed Congress in the days after the framework of a nuclear deal was announced, making 130 phone calls to lawmakers, but quickly came to the conclusion that the legislation could not be blocked altogether.

Moreover, officials increasingly worried that an unresolved fight could torpedo the next phase of negotiations with Iran.

“Having this lingering uncertainty about whether we could deliver on our side of the deal was probably a deal killer,” said a senior administration official, who asked for anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

Under the compromise legislation, a 60-day review period of a final nuclear agreement in the original bill was in effect cut in half, to 30 days, starting with its submission to Congress. But tacked on to that review period potentially would be the maximum 12 days the president would have to decide whether to accept or veto a resolution of disapproval, should Congress take that vote.

The formal review period would also include a maximum of 10 days Congress would have to override the veto. For Republicans, that would mean the president could not lift sanctions for a maximum of 52 days after submitting a final accord to Congress, along with all classified material.

And if a final accord is not submitted to Congress by July 9, the review period will snap back to 60 days. That would prevent the administration from intentionally delaying the submission of the accord to the Capitol. Congress could not reopen the mechanics of a deal, and taking no action would be the equivalent of allowing it to move forward.

Mr. Corker also agreed to a significant change on the terrorism language.

Initially, the bill said the president had to certify every 90 days that Iran no longer was supporting terrorism against Americans. If he could not, economic sanctions would be reimposed.

Under the agreement, the president would still have to send periodic reports to Congress on Iran’s activities regarding ballistic missiles and terrorism, but those reports could not trigger another round of sanctions.

The measure still faces hurdles. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, fresh off the opening of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, dropped plans to push for an amendment to make any Iran deal dependent on the Islamic Republic’s recognition of the State of Israel, a diplomatic nonstarter.

But he hinted that he could try on the Senate floor.

“Not getting anything done plays right into the hands of the administration,” Mr. Rubio said.

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, abandoned an amendment to make any Iran accord into a formal international treaty needing two-thirds of the Senate for its ratification, but he, too, said it could be revived before the full Senate.

Mr. Earnest said the president also wanted no more changes. “We’re asking for a commitment that people will pursue the process that’s contemplated in this bill,” he said.

Democrats had implored Mr. Obama to embrace the legislation.

“If the administration can’t persuade 34 senators of whatever party that this agreement is worth proceeding with, then it’s really a bad agreement,” Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said. “That’s the threshold.”

To temper opposition to the deal, Mr. Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz gathered with senators Tuesday morning in a classified briefing, after a similar briefing on Monday for the House.

But the administration met firm opposition in both parties.

The agreement “puts Iran, the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism, on the path to a nuclear weapon,” said Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, as he emerged from the briefing. “Whether that’s a matter of months or a matter of years, that’s a dangerous outcome not just to United States and allies like Israel but to the entire world.”


A Big Win For Workers As Obama’s New Pro-Union Rule Is Set To Take Effect

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, April, 14th, 2015, 7:28 pm   

Beginning tomorrow a new Obama administration rule that will speed up the process for workers to unionize will take effect, and it could have a big impact on unionization.

The Hill reported:

    An Obama administration rule that speeds up the process by which employees can unionize will take effect Tuesday after Republicans last month failed to block the measure.

    Under the new National Labor Relations Board rules, employees could potentially organize a union in less than two weeks, compared to the previous average of 38 days between the time a petition is filed and the election is held.

    Labor groups say this will prevent management from needlessly delaying union elections. But Republicans and business groups contend it will not give companies enough time to prepare for union elections.

Outraged Republicans and business groups are accusing the Obama administration of promoting ambush union organization, but the reality is that the new NLRB rule was put into place to address a serious problem. Anti-union businesses have used the period between elections to foot drag, delay, and mount campaigns filled with thinly veiled threats of job loss in order to discourage unionization.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, unionized workers earn $200 a week more than non-union workers. When benefits are included unionized employees earn $425 a week more than non-union employees. Increasing private sector unionization rates is an essential component to any plan to grow the middle-class. Any change that makes it easier for workers to unionize is a positive development.

Over the last three decades, the deck has been stacked by Republicans against unions. President Obama’s new rule is an important step towards unions finally being able to fight back.


White House Rips Republicans As Obama Vows Veto of $3 Million Tax Cut For Millionaires

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, April, 14th, 2015, 4:35 pm   

In a strongly worded veto threat, the White House shredded Republicans for a bill that would give millionaires and billionaires a tax cut that averages $3 million each.

The White House issued a stern veto threat of the latest Republican attempt to repeal the Estate Tax:

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1105, which would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit to provide large tax cuts exclusively to the very wealthiest Americans.

Repealing the estate tax exclusively benefits just the wealthiest one or two estates out of every thousand—which would receive a tax cut averaging more than $3 million each—because current law already exempts more than $5 million of wealth for individuals and more than $10 million of wealth for couples from the tax. Given these large exemptions, well over 99 percent of Americans, including virtually all small businesses and family farms, do not pay any estate tax. H.R. 1105 would also shift a greater share of the tax burden onto working Americans at a time when the top one percent already holds more than 40 percent of the Nation’s wealth and wealth disparities have risen to levels not seen since the 1930s.

H.R. 1105 is fiscally irresponsible and, if enacted, would add $269 billion to the deficit over ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The bill would worsen the Nation’s long-term fiscal challenges, jeopardizing programs and investments important to the middle class and national security. In addition, H.R. 1105, which was reported by the House Ways and Means Committee on March 25, is inconsistent with the budget resolution passed by the House of Representatives that same day, which depends on current law estate tax revenues to meet its purported fiscal goals.

H.R. 1105 is even more extreme than the temporary estate tax repeal enacted in 2001. That legislation provided for a “carryover basis” regime to prevent large amounts of accumulated wealth from escaping both income and estate tax. H.R. 1105 contains no such provision. Instead, it leaves in place the largest capital gains loophole in the tax code by retaining “stepped-up basis” rules that exempt capital gains on assets held until death from income taxes. The wealthiest Americans can often afford to hold onto assets until death, which lets them use the stepped-up basis loophole to avoid ever having to pay income tax on capital gains. By retaining stepped-up basis even after repealing the estate tax, enactment of H.R. 1105 would not only add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit to provide huge tax cuts to the most fortunate, it would endorse the principle that the wealthiest Americans should not have to pay tax on certain forms of income at all. By contrast, the President’s Budget would repeal the stepped-up basis loophole.

The Administration has consistently supported tax relief for middle-class and working families. The President’s FY 2016 Budget proposes tax credits that allow paychecks to go further in covering the cost of child care, college, and a secure retirement, and would create and expand tax credits that support and reward work. In addition, it would invest in accelerating and sharing economic growth through education, research, infrastructure, and help for working families. The President’s proposals are fully paid for, primarily by closing tax loopholes for the highest-income Americans. The Administration wants to work with the Congress on fiscally responsible tax relief for middle-class and working Americans. However, H.R. 1105 represents the wrong approach to the Nation’s fiscal and economic challenges. If the President were presented with H.R. 1105, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

The latest gift for millionaires and billionaires is a classic example of what Republicans mean fiscal responsibility. Boehner and McConnell see nothing wrong with adding $269 billion to the deficit as long as the money is going to the people who need it the least. All of the Republican budgets cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires while raising taxes on the poor and middle class because that is how the Republican economic ideology operates.

The GOP continues to be guided by fantasies like “job creators,” and the myths that tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs and trickle-down economics works. If it weren’t for President Obama, some or all of these horrible policies would be the law of the land.

As the media looks towards 2016, President Obama continues to fight for the middle-class and serve as the last line of defense against Republican economic failure.


Hillary Clinton Rocks The Kochs By Announcing Support For Overturning Citizens United

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, April, 14th, 2015, 3:20 pm   

At a campaign event in Iowa today, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

During a roundtable with students in Iowa, Clinton said:

    I want to be the champion who goes to bat for Americans in four big areas, four big fights that I think we have to take on because there are those who don’t agree with what I think we should be doing, and they’re pretty powerful forces.

    We need build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday. We need to strengthen families and communities because that’s where it all starts. We need to fix our dysfunctional political system, and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if it takes a constitutional amendment, and we need to protect our country from the threats that we see and the ones that are on the horizon.

Clinton’s answer represents a strengthening of her position against Citizens United. Last year, she answered a question on Citizens United by saying, “I would consider supporting an amendment among these lines that would prevent the abuse of our political system by excessive amounts of money if there is no other way to deal with the Citizen’s United decision.”

It is interesting that out of the four areas that she deemed the big fights getting the dark money out of politics was the one with the most detail. Those who were worried about whether Hillary Clinton would be progressive enough to represent the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party are seeing their concerns addressed quickly by former Sec. Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton’s support for a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United is a big deal. Clinton looks like a vastly different candidate compared to her 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination. Early on, it appears that Clinton has been listening to where the Democratic Party has shifted.

The issue of the wealthy and corporations being able to buy our democracy through unlimited and unaccountable campaign contributions is the biggest current threat to our electoral and political systems. The impact of Citizens United can be witnessed in the behavior the current Republican-controlled Congress. Republicans only care about their big donors, which is why they pursue an agenda that is the opposite of the priorities of the vast majority of the American people.

Hillary Clinton is hitting the campaign trail running, and her support for repealing Citizens United means that if she is elected to serve as the next President Of The United States, those who want to see Citizens United repealed will have a champion in the White House.


Bernie Sanders Drops A Bomb On Greedy Corporations With Bill To Make Them Pay Their Fair Share

By: Jason Easley

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) drops a bomb on corporations who are dodging taxes by hiding money overseas by introducing new legislation that will force tax dodgers to pay their fair share.

Here is part of what The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act of 2015 would do:

1. Ending the rule allowing American corporations to defer paying federal income taxes on profits of their offshore subsidiaries. (Section 2 of the bill.)

Current law allows American corporations to defer paying U.S. income taxes on profits of their offshore subsidiaries until those profits are “repatriated” (officially brought to the U.S.) which may not happen for years, if ever. As a result, American corporations would rather report foreign profits than domestic profits to the I.R.S. Deferral therefore creates an incentive to either move operations and jobs to a lower-tax country, or to use accounting gimmicks to make U.S. profits appear to be earned in a lower-tax country.

The Congressional Research Service has indicated that the cost of this tax avoidance to the U.S. Treasury approaches or exceeds $100 billion annually. The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act would end this tax avoidance by ending the rule allowing deferral of U.S. income taxes on offshore profits.

Under this legislation, American corporations would still be allowed a credit that reduces their federal income tax liability by an amount equal to income taxes paid to foreign governments on these profits. This foreign tax credit exists under current law and already prevents double-taxation of profits.

2. Closing loopholes allowing American corporations to artificially inflate or accelerate their foreign tax credits. (Section 4 of the bill.)

When U.S. corporations earn profits overseas, taxes paid to the foreign country are credited against U.S. tax liabilities, in order to avoid double-taxation. Under current rules and tax planning strategies, corporations are allowed to claim foreign tax credits for taxes paid on foreign income that is not subject to current U.S. tax (meaning foreign tax credits in excess of what is needed to avoid double-taxation). As a result, companies are able to use such credits to pay less tax on their U.S. taxable income than they would if it was all from U.S. sources – providing them with a competitive advantage over companies that invest in the United States. Under the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act, foreign tax credits generated by profits earned in one country could not be used against U.S. income taxes on profits earned in another country.

3. Preventing American corporations from claiming to be foreign by using a tax haven post office box as their address. (Section 5 of the bill.)

At a news conference to unveil the legislation, Sen. Sanders said, “”At a time when we have a $18.2 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit; at a time when many of the largest corporations in America are paying no federal income taxes; and at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high, it is past time for corporate America to pay their fair share in taxes so that we can create the millions of jobs this country needs.”

The House companion measure to The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act of 2015 is being introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who said, “Over the past 30-40 years, virtually every time Americans have been asked to make ‘tough choices,’ it has resulted in disproportionate harm to low- and middle-income individuals and families. Cuts to programs that help Americans get ahead and stay ahead have been significant, while tax breaks have been handed out like candy to captains of industry and the behemoth corporations they run. Most perversely, these tax breaks have incentivized moving revenue and jobs overseas. It’s time that we end that skewed system, and the Stop Corporate Tax Dodging Act would help us do that.”

There is a mounting wave of outrage building against corporations who are dodging their taxes by hiding profits overseas. There is a consensus on the left and right that this money needs to be brought back home. The problem is that many Republicans don’t believe that corporations should have to pay their fair share. In fact, the Republican budgets passed by both the House and Senate include big tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

As millions of hard working Americans and small businesses file their tax returns, it is important to remember all of the big and extremely profitable corporations who are forcing you to pay more while they pay nothing, or even get a rebate.

The issue is one of fairness. Those who make their money off of American consumers should be paying their share of taxes. The era of the free ride must come to an end for greedy corporate deadbeats, and Bernie Sanders is proposing the legislation that will accomplish this goal.


New Report: Taxpayers Subsidize $153.8 Billion In Corporate Profits Due To Low Wages

By: Rmuse
Tuesday, April, 14th, 2015, 11:11 am      

Generosity, or largesse, is a desirable trait for most Americans in the habit of giving freely of their assets to aid other Americans in need without expecting anything in return. As a virtue, charity has always been widely accepted as one of the most cherished virtues throughout history. However, one of the primary requirements of generosity, besides giving without expecting anything in return, is that the recipient is “in need.” If American taxpayers realized their largesse was going to those who need it least, highly-profitable corporations, they would likely put an end to their generous ways in a heartbeat.

While most American taxpayers do not object to, and in fact are supportive of, their tax dollars going to help other Americans in need, most taxpayers would recoil at charitable giving to those who need for nothing. Likely most taxpayers are unaware they are spending over $153.8 billion annually to subsidize corporate profits due to low wages that keep millions and millions of American workers on public assistance programs. It is that lack of awareness that prevents massive outrage against Republicans for  opposing raising the minimum wage.

This week on tax day, April 15, workers across America are planning to protest for higher pay and union representation for low-wage workers living in poverty and reliant on social safety nets to survive. The higher minimum wage protests are being organized by Fight for 15, a national worker movement engaged in the uphill struggle against Republicans to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The federal minimum wage is a pathetic $7.25 an hour that prevents a person working full-time at that rate from bringing in enough income over the course of a year to live above the federal poverty line for a family of two; with any children the poverty level is below dire. Subsequently, workers earning minimum wage cannot survive without depending on at least one form of government assistance if they are extremely frugal and pool their resources with another family.

The poverty wages Republicans claim are more than sufficient for Americans, or too high according to Republicans who want the minimum wage abolished, is an abomination and an insult to highly productive American workers. They are also costing taxpayers over $153.8 billion each year according to a recently released report from the University of California, Berkeley. The reason taxpayers are being tasked to supplement worker wages, and provide corporate welfare subsidies for profitable corporations, is because when hard working families are forced to subsist on low-wage jobs just to survive, they have little option but to depend on government social programs. These include Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF or welfare), and food stamps low-wage workers rely on just to make ends meet, barely.

The new Berkeley report examined how much the states and federal government spends on social safety net programs and discovered that the federal government spends about $127.8 billion per year, and states collectively spend about $26 billion per year on assistance programs for working families. Now, that $153.8 billion a year is not only being spent to help other Americans live, something most Americans are willing to provide for their struggling fellow citizens, it is yet another instance of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare. American taxpayers should not have to subsidize businesses that are already reaping profits on the backs of their highly-productive and low-paid workers and Americans’ tax dollars as well.

The study, “The High Public Cost of Low Wages” found that besides stagnant and poverty-level wages, the dearth of employer-provided benefits mean that minimum-wage workers in the United States are even more reliant on federal and state-run public assistance programs than previously thought. What that means for taxpayers is that their tax dollars are taking up the slack and subsidizing highly-profitable corporate employers who refuse to pay a living wage; that and only that reason is why there is a need for a federal minimum wage in the first place. Many employers, particularly large corporate employers will never pay decent wages without a federal minimum requirement and since  Republicans refuse to even entertain raising the minimum, it is left to taxpayers to “bear a significant portion of the hidden costs of low-wage work in America” according to the report’s authors Ken Jacobs, Ian Perry, and Jenifer MacGillvary.

The report revealed that 73 percent of Americans enrolled in the nation’s major assistance programs are members of working families. It is noteworthy that the $153.8 billion of taxpayer money spent annually is on “working families” and not, as Republicans claim, lazy moochers who need to learn the culture and value of hard work. After the 73 percent of Americans receiving some assistance who are working at low-wage jobs, the rest are children, the elderly and disabled Americans.

What is telling is that despite the recovering economy, record corporate earnings, and robust Wall Street gains, millions of workers are not being compensated at a rate commiserate with economic gains at the top. According to the report’s research, when adjusted for inflation, wage growth from 2003 to 2013 was either flat or negative for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution. To make matters worse, and cost to taxpayers higher, the number of non-elderly Americans receiving insurance benefits from their employer fell from 67 percent to 58 percent in 2013. One of the study’s co-authors and chair of the Berkeley Labor Center said “When companies pay too little for workers to provide for their families, workers rely on public assistance programs to meet their basic needs. This creates significant cost to the states.” And, a significant savings to corporations that translates into higher corporate earnings and greater compensation packages for CEOs.

Many Americans may think only fast food workers impact social safety net spending, but the study revealed that dependence on public assistance “spans a diverse range of occupations, including fast-food workers (52%), childcare workers (46%), home care workers (48%), and part-time college faculty (25%).” Add in retail employers such as Walmart and Target, and it is easy to understand why taxpayers are subsidizing corporations to the tune of $153.8 billion annually.

A few low-wage employers, like Walmart and McDonald’s, have announced pay raises in recent months to go into effect in the next year or so, but workers say it is not enough and they are hardly exaggerating. For example, McDonald’s plan to raise minimum wage by a whopping 10 percent that still will only affect a very small percentage of the company’s workers. Increasing the minimum wage by 10 percent will mean a worker will earn $7.98 per hour; that will still keep an employee in dire poverty and taxpayers on the hook for $153 billion annually as opposed to $153.8 billion. McDonald’s claims it has no control over how much its franchises pays their workers, but the corporation is a staunch opponent of raising the federal minimum wage and a major Republican donor.

The majority of  Americans do not oppose their hard-earned tax dollars going to help those who need assistance and many believe Republicans are barbaric for cutting what little low-wage earners receive now. However, it is highly likely they oppose those tax dollars going to subsidize payrolls of large profitable corporations that happily take the $153.8 billion in savings as higher earnings. It is a travesty that corporate mainstream media is not reporting where taxpayer dollars funding social safety net and assistance programs is really going, because if they did the outrage against Republicans refusing to consider raising the minimum wage would certainly produce results.


The numbers are staggering: US is ‘world leader’ in child poverty

Paul Buchheit, AlterNet
15 Apr 2015 at 04:57 ET

America’s wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60 percent.

Financier and CEO Peter Schiff said, “People don’t go hungry in a capitalist economy.” The 16 million kids on food stamps know what it’s like to go hungry. Perhaps, some in Congress would say, those children should be working. “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” insisted Georgia Representative Jack Kingston, even for schoolkids, who should be required to “sweep the floor of the cafeteria” (as they actually do at a charter school in Texas).

The callousness of U.S. political and business leaders is disturbing, shocking. Hunger is just one of the problems of our children. Teacher Sonya Romero-Smith told about the two little homeless girls she adopted: “Getting rid of bedbugs, that took us a while. Night terrors, that took a little while. Hoarding food..”

America is a ‘Leader’ in Child Poverty

The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, “Children's material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States.”

Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty.

$5 a Day for Food, But Congress Thought it was Too Much.

Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, and they averaged about $5 a day for their meals before the 2014 farm bill cut $8.6 billion (over the next ten years) from the food stamp program.

In 2007 about 12 of every 100 kids were on food stamps. Today it’s 20 of every 100.

For Every 2 Homeless Children in 2006, There Are Now 3

On a typical frigid night in January, 138,000 children, according to the U.S. Department of Housing, were without a place to call home.

That’s about the same number of households that have each increased their wealth by $10 million per year since the recession.

The US: Near the Bottom in Education, and Sinking

The U.S. ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. Early education should be a primary goal for the future, as numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps all children to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most. But we’re going in the opposite direction. Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history.

Children’s Rights? Not in the U.S.

It’s hard to comprehend the thinking of people who cut funding for homeless and hungry children. It may be delusion about trickle-down, it may be indifference to poverty, it may be resentment toward people unable to “make it on their own.”

The indifference and resentment and disdain for society reach around the globe. Only two nations still refuse to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: South Sudan and the United States. When President Obama said, “I believe America is exceptional,” he was close to the truth, in a way he and his wealthy friends would never admit.


Meanwhile ............

San Antonio ‘Good Samaritan’ chef ticketed and fined $2,000 for feeding homeless

David Ferguson
14 Apr 2015 at 15:55 ET   

A celebrity chef and anti-hunger activists was ticketed and is facing up to $2,000 in fines for feeding San Antonio’s homeless population without the proper permits.

According to, Joan Cheever of the nonprofit food truck Chow Train was cited on Tuesday evening for feeding homeless people in the city’s Maverick Park.

For ten years, police have looked the other way when Cheever fed the homeless population restaurant-quality meals from her food truck each night. However, on Tuesday evening, two bike-patrol officers stopped and cited Cheever for serving and transporting food from a vehicle other than her licensed and certified food truck.

Cheever — who is due in court on June 23 — reportedly plans to argue that feeding the needy is integral to her personal faith and beliefs and is therefore covered under the state’s “religious freedom” laws, which allow people of faith to break certain laws if to comply with them would place an undue burden on their faith.

In the following exchange with Officer Mike Marotta, Cheever asked him if this is how the City of San Antonio treats Good Samaritans.

    Cheever: So any Good Samaritan that offers food for people that are in need or are homeless…

    Officer Marrota: That’s great. You are a Good Samaritan…

    Cheever: No, but…

    SAPD Officer Marrota: It’s very nice that you are doing that. However…

    Cheever: Do Good Samaritans get tickets in San Antonio?

    Officer Marrota: Yes.

According to, “Cheever has also taken the Chow Train to areas around the country hit by natural disasters, like when deadly tornados hit Joplin, Missouri and Moore Oklahoma and when wild fires consumed Bastrop Texas. Cheever’s Good Samaritan culinary efforts caught the eye of cooking guru Rachael Ray and was invited on her television show last November.”

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:48 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Titan’s violent methane storms may solve dune direction mystery

April 14, 2015
Eric Hopton for – Your Universe Online

The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft has studied Titan for many years. But its tantalising discoveries about Saturn’s largest moon have led to new mysteries. One of those involves what seem to be wind-created sand dunes spotted by Cassini near the moon’s equator. These dunes are up to one hundred yards high, many miles in length, and point to the east. Climate simulations indicate that Titan’s near-surface winds, similar to Earth’s trade winds, blow toward the west. What’s going on?

Titan has a dense, hazy atmosphere, surface rivers, mountains, and methane seas and lakes. It’s one of the most Earth-like places in the solar system though its atmosphere, 98.4 percent nitrogen with the rest mainly methane and hydrogen, would be hostile to terrestrial life. Gravity is one-sixth that of Earth’s but its atmospheric density is four or five times higher. So modelling Titan’s climate and surface systems is challenging, making previous attempts at explaining the direction of the dunes harder.

Saturn’s gravitational tides, and various land features or wind dynamics on Titan have been suggested as causes but none were convincing.

Benjamin Charnay, a University of Washington post-doctoral researcher, and his co-authors, have a new theory, published in a paper in the journal Nature Geoscience.  Charnay and his team believe that violent, eastward blowing methane storms high in Titan’s dense atmosphere might be the answer. These methane storm gusts are much stronger than the usual westward surface winds.

“These fast eastward gusts dominate the sand transport, and thus dunes propagate eastward,” said Charnay.

The storm winds reach up to 10 meters a second (22 mph), about 10 times faster than Titan’s gentler near-surface winds. Although the storms happen only when Titan is in equinox and its days and nights are of equal length, about every 14.75 years, they strong enough to realign Titan’s dunes. Titan was last in equinox in August 2009.

Super-rotation station

Cassini’s observations also show that Titan’s atmosphere is in “super-rotation” above about 5 miles. In other words, the atmosphere there rotates a lot faster than the surface itself. The UW model suggests that these methane storms “produce strong downdrafts, flowing eastward when they reach the surface.” These downdrafts could be rearranging the dunes.

The linear dunes run parallel to Titan’s equator. Unlike Earth’s dunes made of sand, Charnay believes Titan’s dunes are made of hydrocarbon polymers formed from the decomposition of methane in the atmosphere.

Only direct observation by Cassini would confirm this hypothesis. Unfortunately, the Cassini mission will end in 2017 and Titan’s next equinox is not until 2023.

“But there will be other missions,” said Charnay. “There are still a lot of mysteries about Titan. We still don’t know how a thick nitrogen atmosphere formed, where the methane comes from nor how Titan’s sand forms. And it is not completely excluded that life can be there, perhaps in its methane seas or lakes. So Titan really is a fascinating and evolving world, which has to be understood as a whole.”

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:47 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Brazil police force squatters from intended Olympics luxury hotel

Over 100 people were leaving the building when police charged at them, causing squatters to retaliate and set fires inside

AP in Rio de Janeiro
Wednesday 15 April 2015 00.21 BST

An operation to remove squatters from a building planned as a hotel for the 2016 Olympic games erupted into chaos on Tuesday as Brazilian police stormed in and squatters set the structure alight.

The more than 100 squatters had agreed to leave of their own accord, but as they filed out of the imposing former apartment building, police in riot gear charged, sparking pandemonium. Squatters set two fires inside the building, and firefighters battled flames as police chased some of the squatters and their supporters through the streets.

“It didn’t have to end this way; they were already leaving,” said Joao Helvecio de Carvalho, an attorney with the state public defender’s office. “The police’s use of force was disproportional ... They didn’t need to act in that way.”

Dozens of squatters, many of whom said they’d recently been evicted from another building in downtown Rio, slipped into the building in Rio’s upper-middle-class Flamengo neighborhood a week ago. More people arrived throughout the week, and an attorney’s organization at one point counted more than 300, including 70 to 80 children, though many left after a judge ordered the building vacated.

The occupation normally might have gone largely unnoticed in a city where an overheated housing market has effectively priced many of the poorest residents out of their homes. But it attracted attention because the building, owned by popular Rio soccer club Flamengo, was leased a few years ago by Brazil’s then-richest man, Eike Batista.

The flamboyant magnate, who at his peak hit No 7 on the Forbes millionaires list, said he intended to turn it into a luxury hotel ahead of the Olympics.

But shortly after Batista’s company succeeded in dislodging all the residents in late 2012, his oil, mining, logistics and ship-making empire crumbled. The building was left empty for more than two years, attracting rats, roaches and muggers, its future as a hotel uncertain.

The squatters insisted they never intended to remain in the building, but invaded in hopes of pressuring city hall into providing affordable housing. But no deal was struck, and with a sizable police contingent surrounding the building early Tuesday, the squatters agreed to leave without any clear idea of where they’d go.

A protest sign reads in Portuguese "What are Olympics for if we don't have homes?" at the entrance to a building where police later evicted squatters in the Flamengo neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Minivans waited to take them to a distant homeless shelter, but many of the squatters, dragging oversized bags filled with foam mattresses and other possessions, said they planned to walk to city hall and sleep on the sidewalk there until their demands for housing are met.

At least one man was detained in the operation.

Celia Regina Cesario, a 58-year-old squatter who said she suffers from arthritis and diabetes, blamed the Olympics for putting her back on the street.

“The city has all this money for the Olympics,” she said, “but they don’t spend a cent on decent housing for people like us.”

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:43 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Havana: Obama Move to Drop Cuba from Terror List 'Fair'

by Naharnet Newsdesk 15 April 2015, 07:05

President Barack Obama's move on Tuesday to drop Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism was "fair," the foreign ministry in Havana said.

"The government of Cuba acknowledges the fair decision of the president of the United States to take Cuba off a list on which it should never have been included," said a statement signed by Cuba's top official for relations with Washington.

Obama on Tuesday notified Congress of his "intent to rescind" Cuba's inclusion on the black list, after a lengthy review launched late last year as Washington openly began a rapprochement with its Cold War foe.

U.S. lawmakers now have 45 days to oppose the move; otherwise, it will go ahead, removing a key hurdle to renewing U.S. diplomatic relations with the communist authorities in Cuba.

"As the Cuban government has reiterated on numerous occasions, Cuba rejects and condemns all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as any action meant to instigate, support, finance or conceal terrorist acts," added the ministry statement, which was read out on Cuban television.

Cuba "has been the victim of hundreds of terrorist acts," it added.

Source: Agence France Presse

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:42 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Xenophobic violence in South Africa leaves at least five dead

Hundreds forced to flee their homes amid unrest that has killed two foreigners and three South Africans, including a 14-year-old boy

Associated Press in Johannesburg
Tuesday 14 April 2015 19.09 BST

At least five people have been killed and hundreds forced to flee their homes in one of South Africa’s worst outbreaks of xenophobic violence in years, authorities said on Tuesday.

Most of the recent unrest occurred in and around the coastal city of Durban, where police said two foreigners and three South Africans were killed. The dead included a 14-year-old boy who was allegedly shot during looting on Monday night and died at a hospital, police colonel Jay Naicker said. Some 34 people have been arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms and other crimes in the last two days, he said.

“Police are deployed and in high alert in most of the areas where there are foreign nationals,” Naicker said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press.

Despite the increased police presence, authorities are hard-pressed to stop unrest that recalls similar violence in South Africa in 2008 in which about 60 people died. In January this year, four people died during a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and other violence in Soweto and other areas of Johannesburg.

Some South Africans have accused immigrants of taking jobs and opportunities away from them. The latest violence followed reported comments by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, an influential figure among the Zulu ethnic group, that foreigners should “pack their bags” and leave. The king has since appealed for an end to the unrest.

The southern African nation of Malawi plans to repatriate at least 400 of its citizens following the attacks in South Africa, said Kondwani Nankhumwa, Malawi’s information minister.

Malawi is currently in discussions with South Africa to arrange temporary travel papers for stranded Malawians because most lost their passports in the chaos, Nankhumwa said.

“Most of them fled with literally nothing to safe camps,” the minister said. “The numbers will swell since some Malawians are in hiding.”

South Africa president Jacob Zuma condemned the violence and assigned several Cabinet ministers to work on the problem with officials in KwaZulu-Natal province, which includes Durban.

The government is addressing South African citizens’ “complaints about illegal and undocumented migrants, the takeover of local shops and other businesses by foreign nationals as well as perceptions that foreign nationals perpetrate crime,” Zuma’s office said in a statement.

It quoted the president as saying that many foreign nationals are living legally in South Africa and are contributing to economic development.

On a visit to South Africa last week, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe thanked South Africa for hosting many Zimbabweans and said Zimbabwe would work with South Africa to improve border security. It is estimated that as many as 3 million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa, many as illegal immigrants.

The violence against immigrants is “an expression of a terrible failure of memory by South Africans” who endured racial intolerance under apartheid, two South African foundations said. The foundations are named after anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013, and Ahmed Kathrada, another campaigner against the white racist rule that ended in 1994.

In a statement, the foundations welcomed efforts by Zuma and other senior leaders to stop the unrest, but said: “For too long, South Africans in leadership positions have either ignored the crisis or stoked the fires of hatred.”

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:40 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Sierra Leone: it's back to school after Ebola crisis

A school in Freetown is one of many reopening after the shutdown, which kept the country’s 1.8 million children out of education for the best part of a year

Huw Poraj-Wilczynski in Freetown and Sam Jones
Tuesday 14 April 2015 17.54 BST

For a school whose classrooms and hallways have been silent since the main gates were locked last July, Rokel Secondary was quick to reacquire some of its familiar routines.

Students who turned up early on Tuesday wearing the wrong shoes or with their laces undone were gently reminded of the rules – as were those who committed the sins of talking or, worse, eating in class.

Despite the tellings-off and the thrill of seeing long-missed friends again, though, little at the school in central Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, is as it was nine months ago.

The 220 pupils who trickled through the gates in twos and threes as the sun rose over the hills were met by a teacher who aimed an electronic thermometer at their foreheads before telling them to wash their hands with chlorinated water.

Before the Ebola crisis, Rokel would have seen almost four times as many students course through its gates, some brought by local poda-poda buses, others by taxis.

But school staff were happy to take things slowly as Sierra Leone finally reopened its schools. The shutdown, which kept the country’s 1.8 million children out of education for the best part of a year, has brought challenges that transcend the medical.

“The turnout is small but we hope more will come by the end of the week,” said Sylvester Meheux, Rokel’s headteacher. “Some children have dropped out but the bulk will return. They have been trading and are now used to having a little bit of money.”

It didn’t help either, said Meheux, that thieves had broken into the school and stolen furniture and other items during the long, enforced vacation. “But there is enthusiasm now. We will provide a safe environment for children. Teachers have been trained for Ebola and will pass that information to the children.”

The push to inform and educate has permeated every fibre of the school fabric, from the assembly, where children were organised into lines and told not to get too close to one another, to the French class where the two students role-playing a conversation were reminded not to shake hands as they practised their greetings.

Beatrice Temple, 14, said it felt great to be back at school after so many months of radio lessons. “I was a little bit nervous yesterday,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if my friends would be here.”

    I was a little bit nervous yesterday. I wasn’t sure if my friends would be here.
    Beatrice Temple, 14

Some were; others were still under quarantine. One group that will not be allowed back, however, are the female students who have got pregnant during the Ebola crisis because the government has refused to lift the ban on pregnant girls attending school.

NGOs have appealed to the government to end the exclusion, arguing it is unfair and counterproductive. In a statement released on Tuesday, the charity Plan said: “Access to education is a fundamental human right and is also a powerful weapon to address teenage pregnancy and other forms of child abuses.”

Beatrice said teenage girls had had a particularly difficult time during the Ebola crisis. “Pregnancy has risen,” she said. “I feel bad and I hope they will come back to school some time.”

Her fellow student Henry John, 13, was also glad to be back. “I want to pass my exams and become a doctor,” he said. “I’ve been studying, but not everyone has.”

Many Sierra Leonean students, he added, had lost family to Ebola and found themselves unable to resume their studies. “There aren’t many students here; people are afraid,” said Henry. “But don’t be afraid: Ebola will go.”

Their teachers, too, were delighted to be back – despite the slightly muted atmosphere and the empty classrooms. “I’ve been doing nothing for quite some time,” said Wusman V Conteh, a senior teacher. “I’m glad the kids are turning up. Some are scared and some parents are holding children at home. But more will come when they see it’s safe.”

    I'm glad the kids are turning up. Some parents are holding children at home. But more will come when they see it's safe
    Wusman V Conteh, senior teacher

Only then will the full scale of the educational and emotional task facing both teachers and students become apparent.

“Some children could not [remember] the work done last year,” said Conteh. “They’ve not been reading so we need to recap and then catch up. Some have lost parents and family members; it’s difficult for them, but it is good for them to be back at school with friends and learning. I can’t over-emphasise the importance of education: education shapes their future.”

His words were echoed by Roeland Monasch, Unicef’s Sierra Leone representative, who described the reopening of the country’s 8,000 schools as “a major step in the normalisation of life”.

The disease, which has claimed more than 10,500 lives in west Africa, has killed more than 3,800 people in Sierra Leone. It does, however, appear to be on the wane at last: Sierra Leone reported a fifth consecutive weekly decrease from 25 confirmed cases in the week to 29 March to nine in the week to 5 April.

But a full return to pre-Ebola life remains a distant prospect. More than 8,600 Sierra Leonean children lost one or both parents to the disease, with many forced to find work to support themselves and their families.

“It will be hard for struggling families to sacrifice even that small income and send their children back, especially girls,” said Alison Schafer, World Vision’s mental health and psychosocial support specialist in Freetown. “Reopening schools is not just a one-off event. It’s going to be a months-long journey.”

Amid the relief and excitement of returning to school, said Schafer, there would also be fear and anxiety – which was why World Vision had helped train more than 1,000 teachers in psychosocial support skills. “Although children may be concerned about the possibility of catching Ebola in the classroom, they are more worried that they’ve forgotten everything they’ve learned,” she said. “They’re anxious about whether they can ever catch up.”

The disease’s more subtle legacies were not lost on Beatrice as she surveyed her school for the first time in 36 weeks. “It’s not a normal time,” she said. “We’re not allowed to play, there’s no body contact. I miss the old times when we used to play and do cool stuff. The girls threw the ball to each other and played hide-and-seek, and the boys played football.”

 on: Apr 15, 2015, 06:38 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Kenyan police chief's misuse of plane fuels anger over Garissa massacre

Fury over official response to al-Shabaab slaughter mounts as police air chief admits plane meant to fly commandos was taking his family home from holiday

Murithi Mutiga in Nairobi
Tuesday 14 April 2015 20.22 BST

Criticism of the Kenyan authorities’ slow response to the Garissa massacre has reached new heights after a police chief admitted that a plane meant to transport commandos to the scene was instead being used to fly his family back from holiday on the coast.

The revelation on Tuesday fed growing fury at the government’s failure to intervene during the day-long slaughter at Garissa University by al-Shabaab militants on 2 April, which cost 148 lives.

Some of the victims had initially managed to hide from the killers after the assault began at dawn, but were discovered and murdered in the afternoon, many hours later. The police commandos only arrived seven hours after the attack started, finally breaking the siege in the evening.

The plane at the centre of the controversy is a Cessna 208B aircraft, which eventually flew the police commando unit to Garissa. Following press reports that it was being used for private purposes on 2 April, the police air-wing chief, Rogers Mbithi, said the plane had been dispatched to the coast on a training mission but admitted that on its return, it had stopped to pick up his relatives in the coastal resort of Mombasa and take them to Nairobi.

“There is nothing to hide. It came back with [my daughter-in-law] and two small children. I took full responsibility and explained that,” Mbithi told the Daily Nation.

The Cessna only returned to Nairobi from Mombasa at 11.30am on 2 April, four hours after the al-Shabaab raiders had shot their way into student hostels at Garissa. It left Nairobi with the police squad at 12.30pm, landing in Garissa, 90 miles from the Somali border, at 1.56pm, according to police records.

After a briefing and a road trip to the university, the commandos stormed the hostels at 5pm and killed all four attackers shortly afterwards.

The al-Shabaab gunmen went from cubicle to cubicle, herding cowering students before dividing them by religion and shooting the Christians at close range. The attackers apparently had so much time that they made calls to several of the victims’ parents before shooting the students in the head.

The revelations add to the growing number of questions facing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, which had promised to take lessons from the four-day siege of Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in September 2013.

In his interview, Mbithi said the delay in deploying commandos was not attributable to the fact the plane was off on what appeared to be a jaunt but on the late decision to send the elite unit.

The explanation was greeted with derision by Kenyans on Twitter. Many described it as another example of the dysfunction within the security services that has left Kenya, a country once known as an island of stability in a turbulent region, vulnerable to repeated terror atrocities.

The outcry grew after pictures of two girls apparently enjoying a previous holiday trip to Mombasa on the same plane surfaced on Instagram. The identity of the girls has not been confirmed and the Instagram account was locked and its name changed on Tuesday. According to comments alongside the photos, the girls were on a trip to celebrate a birthday. The pictures show them posing in sunglasses on the steps of the plane.

The attack by al-Shabaab was the worst terrorist atrocity on Kenyan soil since the bombing of the US embassy in 1998, which cost more than 200 lives. Repeated attacks by the Somali-based Islamist militants have triggered such alarm in Kenya that an exploding transformer in the early hours of Sunday saw one student killed and dozens injured after they jumped from their rooms at Nairobi University halls of residence, thinking al-Shabaab had attacked.

Much of the anger in Kenya has focused on the widely reported fact that many of the Garissa victims hid for hours, texting their parents and praying that their lives would be saved before they were eventually discovered and killed.

The story of Lydia Akoth Obondi attracted particular attention. The second-year student first texted her mother, Christine, at 6.45am informing her of the attack. At 1.30pm her dad, James, called her line and she said: “Dad, our lives are at the mercy of al-Shabaab. Don’t call me again. Bye.”

The phone was soon snatched from her and a militant who spoke in a mix of Somali and Kiswahili accused Lydia’s parents of being unbelievers and shot the 21-year old in the head.

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