Unsealed documents shed light on state conspiracy against Chelsea Manning By Kevin Reed

The unsealed documents shine a light on the desperate measures to which the US government has resorted in pursuing a legal pretext to prosecute Julian Assange. It also exposes the fact that Chelsea Manning has been the target of an endless campaign of intimidation and conspiracy in violation of her democratic rights.

The New Dark Age

22 March 2019 — WSWS

On Wednesday, the U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia unsealed several filings concerning Chelsea Manning’s legal challenge to the subpoena attempting to force her to testify before a grand jury involved in fabricating charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

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False Confessions: How Police Pressure Innocent People to Confess

False Confessions: How Innocent People Confess to Crime in the US

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

This documentary is about powerful psychological techniques American cops use to pressure innocent suspects into making false confessions. It also interviews public interest attorneys who take on the arduous work of legally exonerating prisoners whose convictions result from false confessions. More than 25% of all wrongful convictions that are overturned are based on false confessions.

One of the most common tactics American police use to extract false confessions is to lie to suspects – usually by claiming evidence that conclusively establishes their guilt. In most countries, it’s illegal to lie to suspects in this way.

The documentary examines three convictions based on false confessions that have been successfully overturned. One, the infamous Central Part 5 case (see See Central Park 5: A Classic Case of Racist Law Enforcement ), was only overturned when the real perpetrator stepped forward and claimed responsibiliy. The oldest suspect in the Central Park 5 case spent 13 years in adult prison (including four years in solitary confinement) before he being proven innocent.

The documentary can’t be embedded for copyright reasons but can be viewed friend until April 10 at the Al Jazeera website: False Confessions

 

Too Much Medicine: Preventing Overdiagnosis

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As the tree of overdiagnosis has grown, efforts have been made to trim the branches. Initiatives such as Preventing Overdiagnosis, Too Much Medicine, Slow Medicine aim to increase our understanding of how it manifests itself. Efforts such as Choosing Wisely are underway to affect policy and change patient expectations and to change well-entrenched medical practices.

Abstract

Overdiagnosis and overtreatment are common, harmful to patients, and expensive. Doctors and patients tend to overestimate the benefit and underestimate harm of interventions. Choosing Wisely is a medically led campaign focusing on engaging doctors and patients in decisions about potentially unnecessary medical tests, treatments, and procedures. It started in the US in 2012 and has now been taken up in 22 countries worldwide, including the UK.

Read the full text on The BMJ, 2018.

via Helping patients choose wisely — DES Daughter Network

Monetary Policy Takes Center Stage: MMT, QE or Public Banks?

MMT advocates say the government does not need to collect taxes before it spends. It actually creates new money in the process of spending it; and there is plenty of room in the economy for public spending before demand outstrips supply, driving up prices. Lincoln did it with Greenbacks and Roosevelt with with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Both were spectacularly successful in saving the economy and reducing human misery.

WEB OF DEBT BLOG

As alarm bells sound over the advancing destruction of the environment, a variety of Green New Deal proposals have appeared in the US and Europe, along with some interesting academic debates about how to fund them. Monetary policy, normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic meetings behind closed doors, has suddenly taken center stage.

The 14 page proposal for a Green New Deal submitted to the US House of Representatives by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez does not actually mention Modern Monetary Theory, but that is th it’s e approach currently capturing the attention of the media – and taking most of the heat. The concept is good: abundance can be ours without worrying about taxes or debt, at least until we hit full productive capacity. But the devil is in the details….

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The Medical Industrial Complex: Never A Cure to be Found

In order to cure anything, a physician or the medicine he or she applies would have to cause the diseases involved to be replaced with new, healthy cells and tissues that are able to function normally from a physiological standpoint. This criteria is not even close to being satisfied in modern allopathic medicine. Only the body can cure specific diseases or more appropriately named, physiological expressions.

The PPJ Gazette

wp-image-879162634By Dr. John Reizer

It’s vitally important to understand how the medical industrial complex operates in order to understand why there have never been any cures to any diseases.

Now I understand that some people like to point out that surgeons can cure tonsillitis, appendicitis, infected gallbladders, and a plethora of other conditions by removing diseased tissues. But that’s not technically a cure because the surgeon is cutting out the disease and not really curing anything. If done often enough, this practice would make the patient disappear.

In addition to those claims, others like to point out that Polio and Smallpox were cured through vaccination programs. This is also not accurate because both of these diseases declined through natural adaptations within human physiology, better sanitation, better public health practices, and some very clever statistical reporting by regulating agencies that reclassified Polio as viral meningitis after vaccines were administered. This is…

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Low-wage federal workers still want their shutdown pay, please

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The government shutdown ended almost two months ago. Its financial toll on contractors lingers like a bad hangover.

It will take Lila Johnson months to rebound from the financial hit she endured earlier this year, going for weeks without pay during the federal government shutdown.

A contracted custodian who has worked for the past 21 years at the Department of Agriculture, Johnson still has not been reimbursed for her lost income, and her rage at President Donald Trump — who forced the shutdown in a bit to procure funding for his border wall — continues to grow. “It was just ridiculous for him to act the way he did as a leader,” Johnson told ThinkProgress.

“He punished the people, held us hostage because of something that he promised his voters. He promised his voters that he was going to build the wall. He’s the one who promised Mexico was going to pay for the wall,” she said.

“And when he couldn’t get his way, he was like, ‘I’m going to shut everything down.’ And that is not leadership of running the United States.”

A great-grandmother in her seventies, Johnson cleans bathrooms four hours per night, five days a week. Two months ago, for 35 days — the longest U.S. government shutdown in history — she went without pay.

The hit on her income has left Johnson in a financially precarious position, scraping, scrimping, struggling more than ever to get by. She is holding out now for her tax refund. “Maybe that will pull me up more than I am now,” she said.

While 800,000 federal workers were either furloughed or forced to work without pay, Trump held a nation captive over his border wall, the construction plans for which read like scribbles from his dream journal: it is to be a “powerful wall,” perhaps a “steel barrier,” or maybe, actually, a “smart wall” utilizing drones and sensors.

Needless to say, the wall has not arrived, in any form. Nor, for federal contractors like Johnson, has back pay. Although federal employees were eligible for and ultimately received back pay, the federal contractors who were also affected by the shutdown have not. (Since they are privately hired, estimates about just how many federal contractors there are range pretty widely, with some estimates putting the number nationwide at more than a million.)

The government pays third-party companies for contractor work, which means contractors don’t get paid unless their services are actually used.

Last month, Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced a bill to ensure back pay for federal contract workers: the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act, which “aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees—including janitorial, food, and security services workers—who were furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the recent government shutdown.”

Since it was engineered for low-wage workers, the bill had its limits: payments would be capped at $965 per worker per week. But Trump refused to sign a spending package that included back pay for contractors.

“It’s not fair for the American people to live the way they’re living because [Trump] is selfish,” Johnson said. “He only thinks about what he wants. That’s the mind of a child, to me. That’s not leadership.”

“There is an important piece of unfinished business from the past government shutdown that we still need to resolve: providing back pay for the employees of federal contractors who lost over one month’s pay,” Smith said in a statement to ThinkProgress.

“These thousands of Americans work shoulder to shoulder with federal employees for all of us — many as security guards, cafeteria workers, and people who clean office buildings—and they must be made whole. Several of my Republican colleagues and the entire Democratic caucus supports this effort, so we should be able to find a solution.”

During the shutdown, stories about these contractors — who overwhelmingly are immigrants and people of color —  made headlines. There was a Smithsonian museum security guard whose car was repossessed, another who rationed her children’s asthma medicine, still others applying for food stamps and fearing eviction. The shutdown’s financial toll on contractors lingers like a hangover the country can’t shake.

In a statement, Jaime Contreras, a vice president at 32BJ SEIU, the guild which represents over 600 federally-contracted workers, said the union “will not rest until federal agencies pay the men and women who clean and secure federal buildings the back pay they deserve and need for bills they still can’t afford to pay.”

These workers “live paycheck to paycheck and faced eviction, power shut off and hunger among many hardships during the Trump shutdown,” Contreras said [. . .]

via Low-wage federal workers still want their shutdown pay, please – Mar 20, 2019, 2:12 pm — Just Sayin’

Recycle Crisis Sweeps Across America After China Halts Plastic Waste Imports, by Tyler Durden

In the book The Zero Waste Solution, Paul Connett writes that recycling was a scam dreamed up by soft drink bottling companies to head off mandatory deposit/return schemes. See https://stuartbramhall.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/zero-waste-were-closer-than-you-think/

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

The economics of recycling don’t work out if nobody wants your recyclables. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The green movement of the 1970s formed the modern American recycling industry, although there is some concern today that it could be collapsing in many parts of the country, The New York Times warned.

“The sooner we accept the economic impracticality of recycling, the sooner we can make serious progress on addressing the plastic pollution problem,” said Jan Dell, an engineer who leads Last Beach Cleanup.

The report cited Philadelphia, Memphis, and Sunrise and Deltona, Florida, as metropolitan areas where the economics of recycling are not feasible anymore.

“We are in a crisis moment in the recycling movement right now,” California state treasurer Fiona Ma told the Times.

The major dilemma, per the Times, is China’s ban on imported plastic waste.

Continue reading→

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