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Monday, September 17

17.Sept.2012: Occupy Wall Street, Government Spying on You, Denouncing Free Speech, Constitution Day, Artificial Intelligence, Parade of Inequality, Failing Democracy, Corrupt Ron Paul, Foreclosure Stories, Financial Aid, 9/11 'Truthers,' Breaking Consumerism, Poverty Report, Orthodox Baby Dies of Herpes, Taxing Church Properties, Future of America

What happened to Occupy?
"Occupy" security-style tape is stuck to Laura Nagy during an Occupy Wall Street anniversary concert in Foley Square in New York on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.

Occupy Wall Street Anniversary: One Year Later, the Movement Has Failed, With Only Itself to Blame

What happened to Occupy?On my way to the subway station the other day, I was somewhat startled to glimpse a community newspaper headline screaming “OCCUPY’S ONE-YEAR BLUES” on a newsstand. Then I remembered that, lo and behold, the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests is fast approaching. I was momentarily taken aback by the headline because I had almost totally forgotten about Occupy Wall Street. Less than a year ago, the airwaves and interwebs were burning up with talk about this audacious and potentially game-changing new movement. Now, in the middle of an election campaign that will determine whether and how Washington will address OWS’ concerns, the movement itself seems moribund. What happened?

TSA Gone Wild: 8 Unexpected Ways the Government is Spying on You

Near-constant surveillance is the new normal. We’ve come to expect it. On the bus to work, I used to take note of the number of speed and surveillance cameras, private and public, along the two-mile route. My tally passed eleven, then twelve, then thirteen, then I lost count. 

Conservatives, Democrats and the Convenience of Denouncing Free Speech
Nothing tests one's intellectual honesty and ability to apply principles consistently more than free speech controversies. It is exceedingly easy to invoke free speech values in defense of political views you like. It is exceedingly difficult to invoke them in defense of views you loathe. But the true test for determining the authenticity of one's belief in free speech is whether one does the latter, not the former.

Behind the 'Green Economy': Profiting From Environmental and Climate Crisis

This article examines the real intentions behind the proposals for a "Green Economy". It is the introductory chapter to a Compendium on the Green Economy that was prepared as a common position for RIO+20 and that was published collectively in Spanish by GRAIN,Alianza BiodiversidadWorld Rainforest Movement (WRM), and Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC).

It’s Constitution Day! Time to Teach Obedience or History?

Pearson-Prentice Hall’s high school textbook, United States History, opens its chapter on the Constitution with this Daniel Webster quote: “We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land—not, perhaps, the sun and stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. The chart is the Constitution.” United States History tells students approvingly that Ronald Reagan and others have recited this Webster quote at celebrations of the Constitution.

Civil Society Organizations Say… "Flush the TP…P!”

No, it really was not a rallying cry for sanitation—but rather the “TP..P” stands for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and the call was made by hundreds of non-profits, labor unions and family farm groups on September 9 at the site of the closed-door trade negotiations in Leesburg, VA. How many people remember the North American Free Trade Agreement? Well, the TPP is supposed to be a bigger version of NAFTA. Just when we thought that the free trade paradigm had come to a sobering halt (what with the WTO in a coma, a global economic crisis and recent food crises forcing hard questions about our global trade, finance and agriculture policies), we need to think again!

How artificial intelligence is changing our lives

Temp Headline Image

In Silicon Valley, Nikolas Janin rises for his 40-minute commute to work just like everyone else. The shop manager and fleet technician at Google gets dressed and heads out to his Lexus RX 450h for the trip onCalifornia's clotted freeways. That's when his chauffeur – the car – takes over. One of Google's self-driving vehicles, Mr. Janin's ride is equipped with sophisticated artificial intelligence technology that allows him to sit as a passenger in the driver's seat.

8 Ways to Stay Safe at Occupy Wall Street's One-Year Anniversary Protests

The NYPD may try to criminalize activists, but here's how you can outsmart them at their own game.

More Than 46 Million Americans Still in Poverty

15 percent of the US population lives in poverty. The poverty rate for children remains more than 20 percent for the third year in a row.

Politics and Plutocrats: A Parade of Inequality

Not only is our economy out of balance with nature, our economy is also out of balance with the practical limits of physical and fiscal reality.

Ron Paul Is One Of The Most Corrupt Members Of Congress

Ron Paul, the libertarian fantasy candidate, is one of the most corrupt members of our government, according to a watchdog group called, “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.” They made the allegations in a study published recently.

Report Finds USA As An Example Of A Failing Democracy
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security on March 4th, 2011, with the goal of highlighting the importance of integrity in electionsand democracy’s role in achieving a more secure, prosperous and stable world. As part of this mission, the 12 members of the commission released a report yesterday, titled “Deepening Democracy: A Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide.”

10 Heartbreaking Foreclosure Stories

This country’s foreclosure crisis may not get as much media attention as it once did, but it is far from over, with the rate of foreclosures increasing in recent months.

No "Red Line" for Israel

Israeli news outlets reported today that President Obama rejected an appeal by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to set a specific "red line" to stop any further Iranian uranium enrichment. 

According to reports, in an hour-long conversation on Tuesday, Obama deflected Netanyahu's proposal to make the size of Iran's stockpile of close-to-bomb-grade uranium the threshold, the crossing of which would trigger a US military strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.

Stop calling student loans “financial aid”

Students who take out loans aren't receiving special favors. They're making a financial transaction like any other

The New American Reality
Once again the American people are offered the choice between two lousy candidates that honestly, nobody really wants. There, I said it. Nobody really wants Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Maybe there are a few deluded Democrats and deluded Republicans that are solidly behind their candidates, but from what I've heard from people on the street, this is a battle between the lesser of two evils.

Bush Era Organic Scandal Ends in $7.5 Million Settlement

oulder, Colorado: What has been billed the largest scandal in the history of the organic industry has now resulted in a court settlement on behalf of consumers against Aurora Dairy, a giant factory farm operator with industrial-scale operations in Colorado and Texas. 

OWS begins ‘Year II’ with three-day convergence and call to debt resistance
September 17 (S17) is of course the one-year anniversary of the occupation of Zuccotti Park, a reclaiming of public space that galvanized the political imagination of the country and the world with its proclaimed opposition between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, its prefigurative emphasis on horizontality and mutual aid, and its linking of grievances from climate change to Stop and Frisk to predatory debt.

U.S. Government Is Bullying an American Hero

very day thousands of Americans working for the U.S. government spend all their waking hours keeping their fellow citizens safe. The vast majority of them work quietly - and anonymously - as they track our enemies, aid our allies, and seek out any and all threats to our country. And most of the men and women don't give a damn about the absurd posturing and contrived drama generated by America's political process. 

The Human Cost of Western Fundamentalism
As the virulently anti-Islam, anti-immigration Dutch politician Geert Wilders sought re-election in Wednesday’s (12th September) polling in the Netherlands, light has been thrown on the links of his less than transparent parliamentary party.

What is a 9/11 “truther”?
Our Truth, and Theirs
Disgusting op-ed in NYT by a truther implying Bush knew of 9-11/let it happen. NYT decries lack of civility, then adds to it.”

Do Americans Harbor Childlike Delusions About the Future?
James Howard Kunstler Says Watch Out

America the Possible: Breaking the Chains of Consumerism

The following is an excerpt from the recently published America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012). The book, written as the third volume of Speth's award-winning American Crisis series, calls for deep, transformative change in a dozen areas of national life, including a reimagination of our political economy, a halt to debt-inducing consumerism, and a host of prescriptions for our bad case of affluenza. This appears with the kind permission of the author.

Anti-US protests rage across the Middle East

Angry anti-US protests, including the storming of embassies, continued for a fourth day Friday from Indonesia to Morocco. Sparked by a rabidly anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube, the demonstrations have seen clashes with security forces leading to over a dozen deaths across several countries.

The US poverty report and the Obama “recovery”

The poverty report released Wednesday by the US Census Bureau is another shattering refutation of the Obama Administration’s claims to be overseeing an economic “recovery” and working to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

Bigotry is Not An American Value, Gov. Romney

Gov. Romney, you not only got your facts wrong in your response to this tragedy, you have also more troublingly thrown your hat in as the archdefender of extremist rhetoric that incites the kind of violence that kills diplomats in embassies. Instead of standing with America as we mourned the fallen and condemned the violence — as President Obama and his Administration actually did in the wake of the attack, you, Gov. Romney have aligned yourself with with the KKKs, the Terry Joneses, the Westboro Baptists and the secretive filmmakers of the most recent documentary who exploit our hard-won, long-defended freedom of speech in order to spew hate, violence and vitriol.

Have We Forgotten How to Be Secular?

According to Jacques Berlinerblau, associate professor of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University, more biblical verses have been invoked by presidents and presidential candidates in the past four years than they have in the previous two or three decades. Berlinerblau posits that our society may be forgetting how to be secular, or what “secularism” even means, and has written a new book entitled “How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom” in order to address the issue.

Blasphemy riots: less about theology, more about power plays

Although riots in Egypt and Libya were said to be provoked by a blasphemous portrayal of the prophet Muhammad, Islam scholars say the teachings are ambiguous and co-opted for political ends. 

Despite baby dying after getting herpes, Orthodox rabbis say they’ll defy law on ancient circumcision ritual
Two children are dead, more are injured — yet a group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis say they plan to defy a health order in the name of religious freedom.

Stem cells bring back feeling for paralysed patients
Three people with paralysis received injections of 20 million neural stem cells directly into the injured region of their spinal cord. The cells, acquired from donated fetal brain tissue, were injected between four and eight months after the injuries happened. The patients also received a temporary course of immunosuppressive drugs to limit rejection of the cells.

Obama and Romney Tackle 14 Top Science Questions

Find out where the candidates stand on climate change, research, energy, space and more

Texas man allegedly killed soldier for not believing in God

Can being an atheist in America get you killed? If police in the small Texas town of Petrolia are to be believed, the answer to that question is yes.

Dalai Lama tells his Facebook friends that religion “is no longer adequate”

All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.

Financially troubled parts of Europe consider taxing church properties

Cash-strapped officials in Europe are looking for a way to ease their financial burden by upending centuries of tradition and seeking to tap one of the last untouched sources of wealth: the Catholic Church.

The research, lead by Andrew Vickers with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, pooled together and re-analyzed the results of 29 previous scientific studies on acupuncture, trials which represented more than 18,000 patients. The scientists found that acupuncture has a small mitigating effect on the level of pain felt by sufferers of chronic pain. At Science-Based MedicineSteven Novella summarizes the results: When compared against people who were given no treatment for their pain, acupuncture patients pain levels were 35% lower. When compared against people who were given “sham acupuncture,” where fake needles are used which don’t actually penetrate the skin, acupuncture patients saw only a 5% reduction in pain levels.

Further down the 9/11 rabbit hole

Ask for directions and go to jail 

Sacrifice Zones of America 

Border patrol nowhere near the border

The Future of America and the Globe

Steve Dustcircle can be found at:
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