Chuck Spinney: Gary Leupp on Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide — PLUS Sunni-Shia Graphic and ISIS RECAP

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

ISIS and Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide

“Most Americans Don’t Have a Clue”

by GARY LEUPP

Counterpunch, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

EXTRACTS

Patrick Cockburn reports that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington (1983-2005), once told  M16 head Sir Richard Dearlove: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will literally be ‘God help the Shia.’ More than a billion Sunni have simply had enough of them.”

There are thus deep animosities within Islam, as there have been, historically, within Christianity.

There was a time when Protestants viewed Roman Catholics as idolatrous heretics and bloody wars of religion ravaged Europe. ISIL is now fighting such a war against Shiites, Christians, Yezidis, secularists, and others it sees as unbelievers and as stooges of the west. But its primary target is the Shiites.

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Sep 17

Mother Jones: Fact Checking Coming of Age? One Man Wrote Hundreds of Letters Warning Politicians Not to Lie.

mother jones masterThis Man Wrote Hundreds of Letters Warning Politicians Not to Lie. It Worked.

Political scientist Brendan Nyhan explains why fact-checking keeps candidates honest…sometimes.

Nyhan hasn’t just been studying the fact-check movement; he was there at its origins. In the early 2000s, he coauthored a site called Spinsanity.com, a nonpartisan fact-checking outlet. It was the beginning of a wave: In 2003, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania launched FactCheck.org. But the real fact-checking movement kicked into gear in the late 2000s, with the launch of PolitiFact, by far the most widely known of these outlets, as well as the 2007 launch of the Washington Post fact-checker column, now written by Glenn Kessler.

. . . . . .

So what does the evidence show about this endeavor?

First the good news: Overall, the fact-checkers have reinforced the idea that reality exists, and journalists are capable of discerning what it is.

. . . . . .

A far tougher issue, though, is whether minds change when fact-checkers make their pronouncements. On the level of individual psychology, repeated studies by Nyhan and others have shown that it is very hard to correct a misperception once it is out there in the media ether.

Read full article.

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Sep 13

SchwartzReport: Municipalities versus Telecomms on Internet Speed

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

This is why the U.S. has second rate internet. Third rate compared to countries like Korea. This is a classic monopolist move to block competition and keep prices high and service poor. Only citizen action is going to stop this. You need to get involved. It’s just that simple, we all need to get involved. Only 57,1% of Americans voted in the last Presidential and that was one of the largest percentages in ! years. That means in our best years over 42% of those eligible don’t vote.

How Big Telecom Smothers City-run Broadband
ALLAN HOLMES – The Center for Public Integrity

Janice Bowling, a 67-year-old grandmother and Republican state senator from rural Tennessee, thought it only made sense that the city of Tullahoma be able to offer its local high-speed Internet service to areas beyond the city limits.

. . . . . . .

She viewed the network, which offers speeds about 80 times faster than AT&T and 10 times faster than Charter in Tullahoma according to advertised services, as a utility, like electricity, that all Tennesseans need.

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Sep 13

Berto Jongman: Naomi Klein on Capitalism versus Climate Change — a “People’s Shock” Coming? Robert Steele Disagrees — Precipitants of Revolution Missing

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

“Worth a look.”

Naomi Klein to Degrowth Conference: Climate Change Can Deliver ‘People’s Shock’

Status quo is not an option if we are to rein in runaway emissions, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. the Climate author says in address to conference

“You’re having the core conversation of our time.”

That was the message delivered on Tuesday by author Naomi Klein to participants of a conference whose focus is on “concrete steps towards a society beyond the imperative of growth.”

Klein’s opening address to the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, which kicked off Tuesday in the German city of Leipzig, made perfect sense, as the themes of her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate, overlap those of the conference — that addressing the climate crisis is incompatible with the current growth-focused economy.

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Sep 5

Jean Lievens: Sharing Economy Sucking Chest Wounds…

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

The Unbearable Loneliness Of The Sharing Economy

by Brian S Hall

August 25th, 2014

The sharing economy promises the potential for riches, personal empowerment, new modes of work, and fear, the kind of fear that swells from a livelihood dependent upon algorithms, star ratings, and the feedback of strangers.

When we imagined the future, certainly starting from the point when the smartphone was born, few of us expected a world where in-kind tips and real time number crunching might determine where we live, how well we ate, the size of our home, the composition of our dearest friends.

Of course, in a world where billions are virtually connected, all fighting over the same job, the same task, the same dollars to be made by sharing our rooms, our cars, our talents, can we have any real friends? Or does everyone morph into some 21st century amalgamation of customer-competitor?

The billions of dollars fueling Uber, Airbnb and the sharing economy appears to generate as much fear as it does potential, and rightly or no, the great minds and deep pockets of Silicon Valley are failing to address these fears.

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Aug 29

SchwartzReport: Market Basket — Board Fires Progressive CEO, Boomers Go on Strike to Reinstate — Mutuality Economics from the Bottom-Up

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

This is a lovely story of how capitalism could be run. It illustrates very clearly the difference between the vampire capitalism that dominates our economy, and the compassionate capitalism we could have.

Market Basket: The Return of Boomer Activism
LAUREN STILLER RIKLEEN – Forbes

Workers at the Market Basket supermarket chain just successfully undertook a high-risk job action with potentially historic repercussions. But this was more than just a fight for leadership control. It was also a story about boomers standing up for workplace values.

. . . . . . .

Arthur T. ran Market Basket with a straightforward and progressive management philosophy: treat its 25,000 employees (and customers) with respect and attention; promote from within; provide great pay and retirement benefits and continually invest in your staff. As a result, he developed an extraordinarily devoted workforce of people who grew up at the company and remained for decades and took great pride in making the stores so successful.

Over time, though, Arthur T.’s pension programs and above-market salaries were criticized by the board, who felt such generosity depressed shareholder dividends. On June 23, the board ultimately voted to remove Arthur T. as president.

The Employees Push to Bring Back Their Boss

That’s when the chain’s employees – many of them boomers – rose up in revolt. Some went on strike; others played key roles in protests including rallies attended by thousands.

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Aug 29

John Maguire: Edgar Morin WISE 2013 Special Address YouTube (18:04) 7 Complex Lessons for Education

Focus on error and illusion, need to deal with uncertainty. A great deal of error arises from reductionism.

See Also:

2013 WISE Prize Laureate: YouTube (4:34) Vicky Colbert of Colombia on The New School for the Silent Revolution

2011 Edgar Morin on YouTube (12:23): Edgar Morin: Seven Complex Lessons in Education

Review: Homeland Earth

Review: Seven Complex Lessons for the Future

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Aug 28

Jean Lievens: Sharing Industry Insurance Challenges

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

How the sharing industry gets insurance

Sharing may sound utopian. But the sharing industry has a dark side and its name is insurance.

“Probably one of the hardest things we had to do in order to start our company was to get the insurance,” says Seth Peterson, co-founder and CEO of AllYouCanArcade.com, an arcade game rental business. Peterson says he had to call more than 100 insurance agents before he found one willing to work with him.

“Eventually what I did was I started to get my insurance license,” he says, “because I thought if no one is going to underwrite this, I’ll underwrite this myself.”

Peterson says the brokers he talked to were okay with the arcade game part of his business: “Then we would say, ‘Well, actually, though, we have these independent contractors who work for us, who fill demand across the entire United States.’ And that was the point where they just freaked out.”

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Aug 28

Owl: CDC Whistleblower Reveals Massive US Government – Corporate — Media Complicity in Concealing Vaccine Cause of Autism — 340% Increased Risk Documented Long Ago — Lawsuits Planned Legions of Parents Anguished

Who?  Who?

Who? Who?

Major CDC Cover-up on Connection of Vaccines and Autism is About to Blow Open Like Mount Vesuvius

This story about a very big cover-up on the link between vaccines and autism committed by the CDC has been making the rounds on alternative media for the last ten days. The implications to be seen in this story so far are like the loud rumblings of a volcano about to blow. But if this volcano of a cover-up does blow open very soon into the mainstream, as is most likely – since alternative media outlets have reported on massive lawsuits being planned – given the connection, in this case to African-American children, this promises to rain down on the public a greater-than-ever-before awareness of corporatist-government collusion and corruption occurring on a massive, never-seen-before scale. Until now, the identity of the CDC whistle-blower was kept a secret, but his name is now out (highlights are mine):

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Aug 26

Eagle: Misery Index 2.0 – Real Unemployment, Real Income, Labor Share, Money Velocity (Charles Hugh Smith)

300 Million Talons...

300 Million Talons…

The New Misery Index

Charles Hugh Smith

The Status Quo is desperate to mask the declining fortunes of those who earn income from work, and the Misery Index 2.0 strips away the phony facade of bogus unemployment and inflation numbers.

The classic Misery Index is the sum of unemployment and inflation, though later variations have added interest rates and the relative shortfall or surplus of GDP growth.

Since the Status Quo figured out how to game unemployment and inflation to the point that these metrics are meaningless except as a meta-measure of centralized perception management, the Misery Index has lost its meaning as well.

I propose a Misery Index 2.0 of four less easily manipulated (and therefore more meaningful) metrics:

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Aug 25