Giraffes Silently Added to Endangered Species List


The world’s tallest animal is on a “silent slide toward extinction,” Giraffe Conservation Foundation says The International Union for Conservation of Nature has added 7 out of 9 giraffe species to its Red List of Threatened Species. In an announcement completely ignored by the media (except India Today), the organization categorized two species of giraffe as “critically endangered” and one as “endangered.”

The conservation status of the rest range from “vulnerable” to “near threatened.”

“Many people, including conservationists, remain unaware that the world’s tallest animal is experiencing a silent slide towards extinction,” said Julian Fennessy, director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, in a press release.

The global giraffe population has plummeted 40 percent in just 30 years, from 157,000 to 97,500, according to The Guardian.

“Human population growth poses the largest threat to giraffes,” says the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

“Habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, illegal hunting, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest are all factors” […]

via Giraffes Silently Added to Endangered Species List — Return to Now

Michigan congressman Justin Amash becomes first GOP lawmaker to call for impeachment


U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan on Saturday became the first Republican lawmaker to say President Trump had “engaged in impeachable conduct.” In a series of tweets, Amash wrote he had read the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller and had concluded there is a “threshold for impeachment.”

“Under our Constitution, the president ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,’” Amash wrote Saturday. “While ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors’ is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.”

Amash also wrote that impeachment does not require “probable cause” has been committed, but rather “simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt or otherwise dishonorable conduct.”

After Mueller concluded his report in mid-March, Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary, which Amash said “deliberately misrepresented” the full 448-page report. “Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice,” he wrote.

Amash wrote that, contrary to Barr’s initial assessment of Mueller’s report, Mr. Trump had “engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.

Congress, too, was not spared from criticism by Amash. He called out the partisanship of many lawmakers, saying they shift their perceptions “180 degrees” when discussing former President Bill Clinton and Mr. Trump.

“Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation — and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release,” Amash wrote.

Amash, who has been described as the “new Ron Paul” due to his Libertarian beliefs, has broken ranks with the Republican party before — and especially against Mr. Trump, whom he did not endorse in 2016. Earlier this year, he was one of 14 Republican representatives who tried to override Mr. Trump’s veto over an emergency declaration for the border wall. In March, Amash did not rule out running for president as a Libertarian in 2020 […]

via Michigan congressman Justin Amash becomes first GOP lawmaker to call for impeachment — Nappy News

Systemic Societal Change, Not Self-Care, Will Fix Our Nation’s Mental Health Crisis


Ending austerity, individualistic thinking and unstable employment must be the first steps to addressing the ever-growing epidemic of mental health.

Childhood obesity is a serious problem. We see this public health issue as a collective responsibility, therefore different approaches were utilised to address it. Talking and creating awareness was not enough, so the government stepped in with public education around healthy eating, but also a broader range of interventions such as the sugar tax and healthy school meals. So why, then, are people being forced to address their own mental health issues without help from the government?

They have been raising awareness and getting people to talk, which is more of an achievement for charities and the media than the state. Other than this, little has done little in the form of government intervention – in fact government policies are making it worse.

We live in a society that worships individualism; that makes us believe that our mental health is our own responsibility, even in situations when there’s nothing we can do about it. Some things that lead to mental health problems in the first place are beyond many human beings’ control, even more so if you are part of a discriminated minority.

In a time of austerity, rising personal debts and precarious work, we are encouraged to be an individual that should not rely upon anybody for anything. If we do, society perceives us to have failed in life and look weak. The narrative that many people ‘choose’ to be on zero-hours contracts is false. They sell the gig economy as being empowering and entrepreneurial, yet an unstable paycheck and lack of workers’ rights says something else. The stress this puts on someone, already struggling to manage, can be immeasurable. It also leads to higher personal borrowing as the cost-of-living rises but the wages have stagnated, the UK has hit record levels of personal household debt.

With increasing income inequality also comes higher health and social care problems. I worked in an emergency department for several years as a mental health nurse, assessing people that had tried to take their own lives. Many of my patients were not mentally ill, they were desperate and stressed by things such as marriage problems, bringing up children, lack of support from services, employment issues and money problems.

People may say individuals should sort these problems out themselves, but the truth is you need help from family, friends, and government services. If these services were funded correctly to help people, then they could get back to being contributing members of society that pay taxes, help friends out, look after elderly relatives, bring up children and work, which feeds into the economy. Without functioning citizens, you cease to have a functioning country.

However, the problem goes back much further than the austerity era of the last decade. Since the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the UK has slowly gone from a collective community supporting each other to a country with an individualistic, ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude. It was Thatcher who introduced an ideology that would see state companies privatised and many industrial towns lose their economic soul. The age of individualism is here, and if you cannot make it, then you are seen as faulty. As we can see from social media, we are more obsessed than ever by who has what. Sending a false image of ourselves to others, we ruminate about how others see us, when in reality it’s our own self-confidence that is suffering […]

via Systemic Societal Change, Not Self-Care, Will Fix Our Nation’s Mental Health Crisis — Edward Lawrence

Britain’s shame as teachers have to turn to foodbanks to feed hungry school kids

Teachers decided they couldn’t bear to see hungry children watching other kids eat any more. Support from the foodbank means some children receive free school meals, while food is heavily subsidized for others.

Govt Newspeak

Foodbank founder Imran Hameed with volunteer Jack Bagnall 

At a school in West Bromwich, a van pulls up unloading boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s not a normal supermarket delivery. At this school, so many of the pupils were going hungry that it’s supplied by a foodbank.

More than half of the pupils at Sandwell Valley School should be eligible for a free meal, but because of benefit delays – including problems with Universal Credit and children waiting for asylum claims – the school only gets funding for around one in 10.

Teachers decided they couldn’t bear to see hungry children watching other kids eat any more. Support from the foodbank means some children receive free school meals, while food is heavily subsidised for others.

More than half the pupils at Sandwell Valley School should be eligible for free meals 

 “I pay £2 towards my school dinners a week,”…

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Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks


By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | May 17, 2019

NEW YORK — For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.

A high-quality photo, top, shows the area the dancing Israelis were staged. Credit | Panamza

According to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.” At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives. According to one of their lawyers, one of the men, Paul Kurzberg, had previously worked for the Mossad in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Another of those arrested, Oded Ellner, subsequently stated on Israeli TV that the five Israelis had been in New York at the time “to document the event,” meaning the attack on the World Trade Center.

The FOIA release of the photos is notable because responses to prior FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, had previously claimed that all of the photos taken by the Israeli nationals had been destroyed in January 2014. The photos themselves are heavily redacted, making it impossible to see the Israelis’ facial expressions. However, previously declassified yet heavily redacted FBI reports state that the Israelis are “visibly happy” in nearly every photo, even when the burning towers are in the background. The photos released are also not original copies and instead appear to be photocopies of photocopies of the original pictures. In addition, of the original 76 pictures developed by authorities from the camera in the Israelis’ possession, only 14 were released.

However, three of these photos — despite the heavy redaction and poor quality — are damning. Since 2001, even though the photos were never released until now, it had been known that one of the Israelis arrested — Sivan Kurzberg — was seen in a photo “holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the twin towers] in the background,” according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Timesreport from November 2001.

The picture of Kurzberg with the lit lighter appears to be photo #5 in the new FOIA release. Yet, the picture released includes a visible date of September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos — images #7 and #8 in the collection — whereas all other photos with dates show only the month and the year (9 ‘01). The FOIA release did not provide any information as to the apparent discrepancy in dates […]

via Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

Freeganism: A Portuguese Experiment

Wasted Waste

Directed by Pedro Sera (2018)

Film Review

This documentary is mainly about Freeganism, a Portuguese movement in which members opt out of the money system by spending their time growing or “recycling” food and other basic necessities, “occupying” homes instead of renting, and foregoing most consumer goods to avoid engaging in paid work.

The movement is a reaction against rampant consumerism, which Freegans reject. They view consumerism as an addition that’s destroying the planet.

The film’s main focus is western society’s incredible wasteful food system, in which one-third of the food produced is wasted. If this discarded food could be distributed somehow to needy families, global hunger could be eliminated.

In Europe 198 hectares of land (an area the size of Mexico) goes to produce food that’s never consumed. Up to 50% of food never leaves the farm because it fails to meet arbitrary supermarket appearance standards. The rest is discarded due to overcautious “sell by” dates ( enabling Freegans to scavenge it from supermarket dumpsters).

“Food travel,” whereby corporate food networks transport food halfway around the world, is also incredibly wasteful. It’s estimated to produce 750 times the carbon emissions as locally produced food.

In addition to examining various Freegan projects that prepare “recycled” food to distribute free on the streets, the documentary looks at other Portuguese cooperatives, social enterprises and charities that reduce food waste in other ways.

One coop collects “ugly” food directly from farmers to sell to its members. As Food and Good After are social enterprises that purchase (at a discount) expired supermarket food and sells them at cost in their own facilities. There’s also a bulk foods store which eliminates plastic packaging by requiring patrons to bring their own containers.

They also interview a Zero Waste advocate who has produced zero trash in four years; the coordinator of Portugal’s Time Bank Network (where members trade services instead of purchasing them); and a Portuguese legislator with a bill (similar to existing laws in France and Italy) requiring all outlets larger than 400m2 to provide for the allocation of food wastes to charities and social enterprises for distribution to the needy.




On The Edge Of Disaster: 59 Percent Of Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

When the next recession strikes, millions of Americans that suddenly lose their jobs could find themselves facing financial disaster almost immediately.

Tales from the Conspiratum
May 16, 2019

Living on the edge, being dragged down by debt, and having little hope for the future is no way to live.  But that is precisely where most Americans find themselves in 2019.  Despite a supposedly “booming economy”, the middle class continues to shrink and most of the country is barely scraping by from month to month.  In fact, a brand new survey that was just released by Charles Schwab discovered that 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck

Overall, 59 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, according to the survey of 1,000 U.S. adults by Charles Schwab.

However, the Millennial generation (people ages 23-38) was the most likely to struggle in between payday, at 62 percent, followed by Generation X (60 percent), Generation Z (55 percent) and Baby Boomers (53 percent).

I realize that those numbers…

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