Category: Complacency / Apathy

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American Hunger-Related Healthcare Costs Exceeded $160 Billion in 2014, According to New Study

Food insecurity, especially for children, remains near record high despite the Great Recession’s official end.

BY Elizabeth Grossman

Currently about 50 million Americans meet the USDA criteria for food insecurity. About 15 million of them are children.

While the official end of the Great Recession is a full five years behind us, there are now nearly 12 million more Americans who lack enough resources to access adequate food than there were in 2007, a number that has only improved slightly since United States food insecurity peaked at over 21 percent in 2009. These statistics alone are disturbing. But as detailed in a new study released today as part of Bread for the World Institute’s 2016 Hunger Report, absence of food security in the U.S. carries enormous healthcare costs, more than $160 billion in 2014.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Census Bureau and research on food security published in peer-reviewed academic journals between 2005 and 2015, a team of researchers led by Boston University School of Medicine associate professor of pediatrics John Cook, estimated these health care costs by looking at the costs of treating diseases and health conditions associated with household food insecurity plus earnings lost when people took time off work because of these illnesses or to care for family members with illnesses related to food insecurity.

As Cook, who is also research scientist and principal investigator with Children’s Health Watch, explained to In These Times, lack of access to adequate food does not necessarily directly cause a particular illness but “plays a role in that disease occurring.” Years of research consistently shows food insecurity increases the risk for a range of health problems. These risks are particularly great for children but poor and inadequate nutrition also increases risk for adult health problems, including obesity and chronic diseases, among them diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. It also exacerbates illness duration and severity–in some cases simply because people lack money for medication–and therefore treatment costs.

Putting this in a broader economic context, Bread for the World Institute points out that the U.S. “spends more per capita on health care than any other high-income country but compares poorly with these others on key population health indicators such as life expectancy and child survival. This is due,” report authors, “in part to our tolerance as a nation, for higher levels of poverty and hunger.”

Currently about 50 million Americans meet the USDA criteria for food insecurity. About 15 million of them are children. In 2014, 19.2 percent of U.S. households with children were food insecure–about a third higher than households without. The Boston University research team found if the costs of special education for children whose learning abilities are adversely affected by food insecurity are factored in along with related education impacts for high-schoolers, the $160 billion rose by an additional  nearly $18 billion. This brings a total estimate of direct and indirect health care costs of U.S. food insecurity in 2014 to $178.93 billion.


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the guardian

Thomas Smith said he was unaware that taking bottles and cans left in shopping carts violated store policy as advocate argues race issues were behind firing

Walmart: all your trash are belong to us.
Walmart: all your trash are belong to us. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

An Albany-area Walmart employee fired from his job for redeeming $2 worth of cans he collected while gathering shopping carts in the store’s parking lot has drawn widespread sympathy and support on social media.

Thomas Smith, 52, told the Albany Times Union that he was fired in early November for redeeming a total of $5.10 worth of cans and bottles on two occasions, and said he was unaware that doing so violated store policy.

Support for Smith grew after a story on his termination from the Albany Times Union. A GoFundMe drive for Smith set up by Dounya Hamdan, of Chicago, has nearly reached the $5,000 goal as of Friday afternoon.


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National Report

America’s #1 Independent News Source

City in Michigan First to Fully Implement Sharia Law

Posted about 2 years ago | 816 comments shariah-law-picture

<NationalReport>In a surprise weekend vote, the city council of Dearborn, Michigan voted 4-3 to became the first US city to officially implement all aspects of Sharia Law.  The tough new law, slated to go into effect January 1st, addresses secular law including crime, politics and economics as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, fasting, prayer, diet and hygiene.

The new law could see citizens stoned for adultery or having a limb amputated for theft. Lesser offenses, such as drinking alcohol or abortion, could result in flogging and/or caning. In addition, the law imposes harsh laws with regards to women and allows for child marriage.

Some in town seem to welcome the new legislation while others have denounced the move as “abhorrent”, a threat to freedom and incompatible with the Constitution.  When asked by National Report about the need for such a law, local resident Jeremy Ahmed stated:

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Darren Paden

A child sex abuse victim says she’s been denied housing after accusing a “good man” of molesting her for years — and Missouri prosecutors are mystified that so many community members are supporting the admitted sex offender.

Darren Paden was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty in August to two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy — but friends, family members, church elders and community leaders begged a judge to go easy on him.

Prosecutors said the 52-year-old Paden sexually abused the girl up to 300 times over a decade, beginning before she was 5 years old. His 28-year-old son, Anthony Paden, was also charged with sex abuse, although his case remains pending.

But community members have turned their backs on the girl, who is now 18 years old and testified against her abuser in court, and rallied around Paden.

“There are certainly a few good people in this community who have offered support to this young victim,” said Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd. “It is shocking, however, that many continue to support a defendant whose guilt was never in doubt. If it takes a village to raise a child, what is a child to do when the village turns its back and supports a confessed child molester?”


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Sam Gerrans is an English writer, translator, support counselor and activist. He also has professional backgrounds in media, strategic communications and technology. He is driven by commitment to ultimate meaning, and focused on authentic approaches to revelation and realpolitik.
© Carlo Allegri
The United States is in decline. While not all major shocks to the system will be devastating, when the right one comes along, the outcome may be dramatic.

Not all explosives are the same. We all know you have to be careful with dynamite. Best to handle it gently and not smoke while you’re around it.

Semtex is different. You can drop it. You can throw it. You can put it in the fire. Nothing will happen. Nothing until you put the right detonator in it, that is.

To me, the US – and most of the supposedly free West – increasingly looks like a truck being systematically filled with Semtex.

READ MORE: ‘US 2016 race: People sick of politics of personalities, want substantive debate’

But it’s easy to counter cries of alarm with the fact that the truck is stable – because it’s true: you can hurl more boxes into the back without any real danger. Absent the right detonator, it is no more dangerous than a truckload of mayonnaise.

But add the right detonator and you’re just one click away from complete devastation.

We can see how fragile the U.S. is now by considering just four tendencies.

1. Destruction of farms and reliable food source

The average American is a long way from food when the shops are closed.

The Washington Post reports that the number of farms in the country has fallen by some 4 million from more than 6 million in 1935 to roughly 2 million in 2012.

And according to the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, only about 2 percent of the US population live on farms.

That means that around 4.6 million people currently have the means to feed themselves.

Food supply logistics are extended, sometimes stretching thousands of miles. The shops have nothing more than a few days’ stock. A simple break in that supply line would clear the shops out in days.

© Stephen Lam

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Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines


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‘A Pipeline Straight to Jail’

Posted on Oct 11, 2015

By Chris Hedges

Boris Franklin in a classroom at Rutgers. When he was in prison, he was a student under the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium (NJ-STEP), and he is now attending Rutgers under the university’s Mountainview Program. (Michael Nigro)

The defeat of the Harvard University debate team by a team from the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in the Catskills elucidates a truth known intimately by those of us who teach in prisons: that the failure of the American educational system to offer opportunities to the poor and the government’s abandonment of families and children living in blighted communities condemn millions of boys and girls, often of color, to a life of suffering, misery and early death. The income inequality, the trillions of dollars we divert to the war industry, the flight of manufacturing jobs overseas and the refusal to invest in our infrastructure wrecks life after innocent life.

I spent four years as a graduate student at Harvard University. Privilege, and especially white privilege, I discovered, is the primary prerequisite for attending an Ivy League university. I have also spent several years teaching in prisons. In class after class in prison, there is a core of students who could excel at Harvard. This is not hyperbolic, as the defeat of the Harvard debate team illustrates. But poverty condemned my students before they ever entered school. And as poverty expands, inflicting on communities and families a host of maladies including crime, addiction, rage, despair and hopelessness, the few remaining institutions that might intervene to lift the poor up are gutted or closed. Even when students in inner-city schools are not the targets of racial insults, racism worms into their lives because the institutions that should help them are nonexistent or deeply dysfunctional.

I stood outside a prison gate in Newark, N.J., at 7 a.m. last April 24. I waited for the release of one of my students, Boris Franklin, who had spent 11 years incarcerated. I had ridden to the gate with his mother, who spent her time reading Bible verses out loud in the car, and his sister. We watched him walk down the road toward us. He was wearing the baggy gray sweatpants, oversize white T-shirt and white Reeboks that prisoners purchase before their release. Franklin had laid out $50 for his new clothes. A prisoner in New Jersey earns $28 a month working in prison.


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 Iraqi refugees in Syria


October 07, 2015

Last week I arrived back home to Iraqi Kurdistan, exhausted but proud of a small but real triumph over the Islamic State. Three women and two toddlers came back with me—five human beings just rescued from enslavement by ISIL. For over a year, they were abused, raped and traded fighter to fighter because of one reason: our Yazid religion. I am determined to save every last one of the more than 2,000 Yazidi women and girls still waiting to be freed.

They thought they were abandoned. Their ISIL captors told them that no one wanted them, in their shame and defilement, and that no one was looking for them. But I insist on reaching out to them through pleas on Arabic radio and TV. I give them my phone number, and tell them that we love them and we want them back. Some brave women hear these messages and contact us, and a rescue mission commences. I answer the phone every time, determined to do all that I can, but it is little, and it is not enough. I know there will always be another call, another Yazidi who is terrified and broken and in need of hope, as the world looks the other way.

One of the women, clutching her 2-year-old child, was so distraught. The child kept asking for her 7-year-old sister, who had been taken away from her mother and enrolled in a religious institution where she would be forced to convert to Islam. Her mother had had no choice but to escape without her, and she told me she feared the girl would be raped at the hands of the militants. We have evidence of the militants raping our girls as young as age 8.

For that brief time in August 2014, the United States launched airstrikes to halt the advance of ISIL after its troops took over a third of Iraq, saving the Yazidi people from total massacre by ISIL troops. But since then, we’ve been abandoned and forgotten by Washington and the rest of the international community. For every story of a girl who has been rescued, there’s another one about a girl who is still in captivity, where she is starved, raped, beaten and sold—often to “fellow” Iraqis. And 500,000 Yazidis, a full 90 percent of the indigenous Yazidi population, are in displaced persons’ camps, living in abject misery and isolation with less than minimal sustenance. We languish in these camps, live without income, and without food, medicine or even shelter durable enough to keep the rain out. As long as ISIL remains intent on wiping my people off the map; and as long as the Iraqi and Kurdish Regional governments continue to see Yazidis as less than second-class citizens, unworthy of significant aid and attention, these horrors will continue.

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Macomb County man David Stojcevski died of drug withdrawal and neglect as officials ignored his plight.

Macomb County

Local 4 / clickondetroit

It was a death sentence.

David Stojcevski, a 32-year-old resident of Roseville, Michigan, was arrested for failing to pay a $772 fine stemming from careless driving. A court ordered him to spend a month in the Macomb County jail.

Over the next 17 days of his incarceration in a brightly lit cell—where he was denied clothing—he lost 50 pounds, suffered convulsions, and eventually began to hallucinate. He died in agony, from a combination of obvious, untreated drug withdrawal and galling neglect.

Making matters worse (if anything could be worse than that), the entirety of his demise was captured on jail surveillance footage. Indeed, Stojcevski was under self-harm watch—stemming for a profound misdiagnosis of his condition, which was drug addiction, not mental instability—and jail officials were supposed to be watching him constantly. Either their vigilance was inadequate, or they watched and simply didn’t care.

WDIV’s report on the story is a must-see, though it’s highly disturbing: the video shows clips from the jail footage while a medical expert offers commentary on the inhumanity of Stojcevski’s treatment.


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End Of The American Dream

The American Dream Is Becoming A Nightmare And Life As We Know It Is About To Change

Puzzle Last Piece - Public Domain


One of the biggest steps toward a one world government that we have ever seen is happening this week, and yet barely anyone is even talking about it.  In fact, it is even being called a “new universal Agenda” for humanity.  Those are not my words – those are the words that the United Nations is using.  If you don’t believe this, just go look at the official document for this new UN agenda.  You won’t have to read very far.  The phrase “new universal Agenda” is right near the end of the preamble.  Officially, the name of this ambitious new program is “the 2030 Agenda“, and it is being hyped as a way to get the whole world to work together to make life better for all of us.  And a lot of the goals of this new agenda are very admirable.  For example, who wouldn’t want to end global poverty?  But as you look deeper into what the UN is trying to do, you find some very disturbing things.

If you didn’t like Agenda 21, then you really are not going to like the 2030 Agenda, because the 2030 Agenda takes things to an entirely new level.  Agenda 21 was primarily focused on climate change and the environment, but the 2030 Agenda goes far beyond that.  As I have noted previously, the 2030 Agenda addresses economics, agriculture, education, gender equality, healthcare and a whole host of other issues.  It has been argued that there are very few forms of human activity that do not fall under the goals of the 2030 Agenda in one way or another.

The UN says that this new Agenda is “voluntary”, and yet virtually every single nation on the entire planet is willingly signing up for it.  In the official document that all of these nations are agreeing to, there are 17 sustainable development goals and 169 very specific sustainable development targets.  You can read them for yourself right here.


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Time to Trade in Your Jag, Benz, BMW for a Dented Econobox: Days of Rage Are Coming

The resistance will take the form of subverting the signifiers of wealth that exemplify the few who have benefited so greatly while everyone else lost ground.
It’s time to trade in your Jag, Mercedes, BMW (and maybe your Prius, Volvo, Lexus, etc.) before the Days of Rage start. As I’ve explained before ( As the “Prosperity” Tide Recedes, the Ugly Reality of Wealth Inequality Is Exposed), the rage of the masses who have been losing ground while the Financier Oligarchs, the New Nobility and the technocrat class reap immense gains for decades has been suppressed by the dream that they too could join the Upper Caste.
But once the realistic odds of that happening (low) sink in, the Days of Rage will begin. For those still who don’t know the facts of rising inequality, here’s what you need to know.
The top 1% skim 23% of all income:
While the top 5% has enjoyed substantial income gains over the past 45 years, adjusted for inflation, the bottom 90% have lost ground:
The last time there was mass unrest in America was the civil rights/Vietnam War era. The power of the civil rights movement arose from the core injustice of segregation (separate and unequal) and institutionalized racism/bias. This institutionalized injustice drew people from all classes and ethnicities into the streets, where they were promptly beaten by police.

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