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Member since: Wed Oct 7, 2015, 07:51 AM
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Why are Milwaukee’s black babies dying?

By: Daniel Dale Washington Bureau, The Toronto Star

"The infant mortality rate for the city’s white babies is similar to Canada’s. The death rate for its black babies compares to the Gaza Strip.

MILWAUKEE—Dasia Oliver, eight months pregnant and working at Walmart, didn’t particularly want to spend her free time in a hospital class on safe sleeping for babies.
Then she thought of a friend whose baby died in bed this summer. Then she thought of the brother she never met. He died in bed as a baby, too.

“I’d rather sit here for an hour,” Oliver, a 20-year-old black woman, said at the hospital in November, “than be planning a funeral.”
There are a whole lot of baby funerals in Milwaukee. At most of them, it is a black mom crying over the casket.
Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in America. Its white infants die at around the same rate as infants in Canada. Its black infants die at around the same rate as infants in the Gaza Strip.

Five deaths per 1,000 births for white babies. Fifteen deaths per 1,000 births for black babies.
“Babies just dying every day,” said Mary Love, 25 and expecting her third child, at the popular Blanket of Love prenatal class held weekly at a black church. “It’s not making no sense.” "

Denelle McManus with her son Cordae, 4. McManus's other son, Tavion, died after eight days in the hospital following his premature birth in 2007. Two-thirds of black infant deaths in Milwaukee are the result of premature birth.



The bottom 40% of the American workforce continues to suffer in the shadows.

Baltimore police trial resumes after Freddie Gray arrest video draws tears

Source: Reuters

The trial of a Baltimore police officer charged with manslaughter in the death of a young black man is due to resume on Friday, a day after prosecutors showed a video of his arrest that reduced his family to tears.

Officer William Porter has also been charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in the April death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

On Thursday, Gray's mother and other relatives wept as a cellphone video, taken by bystander Kevin Moore, showed Gray screaming as he was arrested and people yelling at police.

Gray died a week after being taken into custody for fleeing from an officer and possessing a knife.

Porter, 26, is one of three black officers charged in the case. He could be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

He is the first of six officers to go on trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court in connection with Gray's death, which triggered riots and intensified a U.S. debate on the use of excessive force by police, especially against black men.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-baltimore-police-idUSKBN0TN12F20151204#JfBJzfAlQzOoWJmS.97

"People Who Become Cops Tend to Have Authoritarian Personality Characteristics
Research shows a correlation between police behavior and authoritarianism.

There have been many articles written about the political personality types of the police. One of the most influential is the 1972 work, The Police Personality: Fact or Fiction by Robert Balch. He explores several questions in an effort to crystallize the various arguments in the research on police psychology: are authoritarian personality types more likely to choose police work as a profession? Are police more or less likely to have authoritarian personality types than the general public? Does being a police officer exacerbate authoritarian impulses?

On the topic of authoritarianism and police, Balch summarized one of the main veins of thinking from the literature at that time:

a. Conventionalism: rigid adherence to conventional, middle-class values.

b. Authoritarian Submission: submissive, uncritical attitude toward idealized moral authorities of the ingroup.

c. Authoritarian Aggression: tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values.

d. Anti-intraception: opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, the tender-minded.

e. Superstition and Stereotypy: the belief in mystical determinants of the individual's fate; the disposition to think in rigid categories.

f. Power and "toughness": preoccupation with the dominance-submission, strong-weak, leader-follower dimension; identification with power figures; overemphasis upon the conventionalized attributes of the ego; exaggerated assertion of strength and toughness.

g. Destructiveness and Cynicism: generalized hostility, vilification of the human.

h. Projectivity: The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world; the projection outwards of unconscious emotional impulses.

i. Sex: Exaggerated concern with sexual "goings on." "


U.S. trade deficit widens as exports hit three-year low

Source: Reuters

Dec 4 - The U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly in October as exports fell to a three-year low, suggesting that trade could again weigh on economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap rose 3.4 percent to $43.9 billion, a sign that the worst of the drag from a stronger dollar was far from over. September's trade deficit was revised up to $42.5 billion from the previously reported $40.8 billion. The government revised trade figures going back to April to incorporate more comprehensive and updated quarterly and monthly data.

Economists had forecast the trade gap shrinking to $40.5 billion in October. When adjusted for inflation, the deficit increased to $60.33 billion from $57.37 billion in September.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-trade-idUSKBN0TN1GM20151204#7iaaQ1ATKk2I0iUC.97

Do our never ending trade deficits really matter? Seems like they do...

"Many attempts have been made to create economic excuses for the trade deficit. A frequently heard claim is that trade deficits do not matter, while others argue that “the trade balance is generally determined by macroeconomic factors.”1 Both views suggest that trade deficits will be largely unresponsive to trade policies, and may be safely ignored, as long as the nation is following sound macroeconomic policies.

These laissez-faire views are both wrong and dangerous to the health of our economy. One major source of confusion is the use of simple correlations, or economic identities, in the place of meaningful economic analysis of the causes of our trade problems. The most recent Economic Report of the President makes this mistake in several places, as shown below. The Report emphasizes the accounting relationship between savings and investment without sufficiently examining the cause of changes in these variables. Improvements in our trade balance, through increased exports, can increase income and hence raise national savings, thereby reducing our reliance on imported capital while creating better jobs in the economy at the same time. If, on the other hand, we ignore the trade deficit, our incomes will continue to stagnate and the risks of an economic collapse will grow in the future."


Inequality-adjusted Human Development index (IHDI) -- where we rank.

"This is a list of countries by inequality-adjusted human development index (IHDI), as published by the UNDP in its 2013 and 2011 Human Development Reports. According to the 2010 Report, "the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for inequality)" and the unadjusted calculations for the HDI "can be viewed as an index of potential human development (or the maximum IHDI that could be achieved if there were no inequality)".[1][2] The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. The HDI was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, is anchored in the Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s work on human capabilities, often framed in terms of whether people are able to "be" and "do" desirable things in their life,[1] and was published by the United Nations Development Programme.[2]"


Rank Country IHDI
1 Norway 0.891
2 Australia 0.860
3 Netherlands 0.854
4 Switzerland 0.847
5 Germany 0.846
6 Iceland 0.843
7 Sweden 0.840
8 Denmark 0.838
9 Canada 0.833
10 Ireland 0.832
11 Finland 0.830
12 Slovenia 0.824
13 Austria 0.818
14 Luxembourg 0.814
15 Czech Republic 0.813
16 United Kingdom 0.812
17 Belgium 0.806
18 France 0.804
19 Japan 0.799
20 Israel 0.793
21 Slovakia 0.778
22 Spain 0.775
23 Italy 0.768
24 Estonia 0.767
25 Greece 0.762
26 Malta 0.760
27 Hungary 0.757
28 United States 0.755 <------------------- USA
29 Cyprus 0.752
30 Poland 0.751
31 Lithuania 0.746
32 Portugal 0.739
33 South Korea 0.736
34 Montenegro 0.733
35 Belarus 0.726
36 Latvia 0.725
37 Croatia 0.721
38 Romania 0.702
39 Bulgaria 0.692
40 Argentina 0.687
41 Russia 0.685
42 Bahamas 0.676
43 Ukraine 0.667
44 Kazakhstan 0.667
45 Serbia 0.663
46 Uruguay 0.662
47 Mauritius 0.662
48 Chile 0.661
49 Azerbaijan 0.659
50 Armenia 0.655
51 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.653
52 Trinidad and Tobago 0.649
53 Sri Lanka 0.643
54 Turkey 0.639
55 Georgia 0.636
56 Macedonia 0.633
57 Albania 0.620
58 Mongolia 0.618
59 Venezuela 0.613
60 Fiji 0.613
61 Costa Rica 0.611
62 Jordan 0.607
63 Lebanon 0.606
64 Palestine 0.606
65 Panama 0.596
66 Mexico 0.583
67 Moldova 0.582
68 Jamaica 0.579
69 Thailand 0.573
70 Peru 0.562
71 Uzbekistan 0.556
72 Indonesia 0.553


We ranked surprisingly low when the Human Development Index was adjusted for inequality. The US was essentially down there with Belarus and other second-world nations. How surprising in some ways, but on reflection perhaps not so unexpected in light of the economic plight of the lower 40% of American workers. Throw in the continued effects of systemic racism and I guess its not really surprising at all. It is eye opening though.

More Russian oil drilling shows its resolve to OPEC

"MOSCOW, Nov 30 Russian oil firms are drilling more, showing the world's top crude producer is ready for a longer fight for market share with OPEC, as its industry can carry on even if oil prices reach $35 per barrel.

As OPEC prepares to meet on Friday in Vienna, Russia is sending a low key delegation for talks which are very unlikely to result in any output deal.

OPEC oil ministers have repeatedly said they would only cut production in tandem with non-OPEC.

According to Eurasia Drilling Company (EDC), the largest provider of land drilling services in Russia and offshore in the Caspian Sea, Russian drilling measured in metres rose 10 percent in the first six months of this year from a year ago, despite a decline in oil prices to less than $50 per barrel from their peaks of $115 in June 2014.

"Despite the recent fall in oil prices, Russian production continued to accelerate as oil producers remained profitable even in the lower oil price environment, helped by the effect of a weak rouble on costs and lower taxes, which decline in a lower oil price environment," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in recent research."

Moscow has surprised the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries by ramping up output to new record highs this year despite low oil prices, which OPEC had hoped would depress production from higher cost producers.

Moscow responded by steeply devaluing the rouble, giving an edge to its exporters. In many OPEC Gulf producers currencies are firmly pegged to the dollar.



Hmmm, surprizing outcome. Also, since Saudi Arabia pegs its currency to the dollar, meaning it can not similarly devaluate it to be make exports more competitive, there is serious discussion about the drastic impacts on the Saudi economy itself.

"How Cheap Oil Will Hurt the Saudi Arabian Economy"

Supreme Court Halts Historic Hawaiian Election

by Chris D'Angelo, Associate Editor, HuffPost Hawaii

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a historic and controversial election from moving forward in Hawaii.

Native Hawaiians are currently nearing the end of a month-long election to select delegates for a constitutional convention, but on Friday, Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an order blocking both the counting of votes and the certification of any winners "pending further order" by the court.

The election is seen by many as a first step for Native Hawaiian self-determination. The elected delegates would attend a constitutional convention and recommend a form of self-government, deciding what -- if any -- relationship that government should have with the United States.

But opponents of the election say the process is unconstitutional and racially exclusive.

A group of native and non-native residents is challenging the election, arguing Hawaii residents who don't have Native Hawaiian ancestry are being excluded from a vote that affects the state. They also argue that the election is racially exclusive and therefore unconstitutional.

Attorneys representing Hawaii have argued that the state isn't involved in the election -- an argument that a federal judge agreed with last month. In October, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright said the election was legal since it was a private poll being conducted by the private nonprofit Nai Aupuni.

Nai Aupuni said in a statement Friday that Native Hawaiian self-governance has been discussed for over two hundred years without tangible results. And despite the recent ruling, the group remains confident that the election will ultimately be ruled legal.

"Reorganizing a government is not easy and it takes the courage and will of the candidates to take the first step in this historic process," Nai Aupuni said.


Thousands gather for funeral of top Kurdish lawyer

"Thousands gathered for the funeral of Tahir Elci, a Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist gunned down on Saturday in a southern eastern city at the center of months of violence.

The funerals for the two policemen killed in the attack in Diyarbakir also took place.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday the gun found next to Elci's body was the same weapon used in the attack on the police officers. He vowed to catch the killers.

Police surveillance camera footage released on Saturday showed policemen being shot at from inside a cab, falling onto the ground before the passengers ran on. Another video shows plain clothed police shooting at two men running in the direction Elci was believed to be standing.

Elci, who was shot after speaking to journalists, was facing trial for saying the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organization, as the government describes it. He had, however, denounced PKK violence.

Hundreds of people have been killed since a ceasefire between the PKK and Turkish security forces collapsed in July, reigniting a conflict in which some 40,000 people have died since it began in 1984.

Elci's killing was likely to fuel further unrest in Turkey's mostly Kurdish southeast."



A increasingly Islamist Turkey, a NATO ally, doing political assassinations of an outspoken dissident -- where's the outrage?

The scariest thing about Islamic State? Its kinder, gentler side.

By Jacqueline Lopour November 27, 2015 via Reuters

The attacks on Paris brought Islamic State’s brutality home to the Western world. Before last week, reports of the group’s atrocities were shocking but easier to dismiss, happening far beyond European borders. The world expressed outrage but largely stood by as the group pushed out recruitment propaganda depicting sex slavery and the brutal torture and murder of its captives. These incidents are horrific, but they overshadow a more insidious, long-term threat: Islamic State’s kinder, gentler side.

Thousands of peace-loving people live in Islamic State-occupied areas and are fed a steady stream of positive propaganda: Islamic State members feeding the poor, and hosting ice cream socials, carnivals, and tug-of-war contests. Islamic State is trying — and in some areas, succeeding — in winning hearts and minds. Left unchecked, its public support will grow, making the group more difficult to defeat in the long run and giving it the space it needs to conduct future attacks like those in Paris and Beirut.

Charlie Winter, of the counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, performed a month-long study of Islamic State propaganda. Winter discovered that — contrary to what we see in Western media — over half of Islamic State propaganda shows people going about everyday activities in a peaceful and normal manner.

In many ways, the group serves as a functioning government in the areas it controls, offering services once provided by the Syrian and Iraqi regimes. It collects taxes, picks up trash, runs schools, issues marriage licenses, provides security, and even employs former government bureaucrats to make sure everything runs smoothly. In Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province, Islamic State has issued regulations to protect natural resources and the environment, suggesting that the group is settled in for the long run. Some Syrian citizens under Islamic State control claim that the group’s efforts have helped return some sense of normalcy to their lives, a welcome reprieve from the grueling civil war.

One resident of an Islamic State-controlled city told Time magazine that he originally opposed Islamic State, but changed his mind after it paid for his brother’s wedding, provided him with fuel, and helped fix his neighbour’s house. Islamic State also carefully controls what those under its control can read and hear: outside media and anti-Islamic State messages are forbidden. This is terrifying. Given enough time, this captive audience could eventually determine that Islamic State’s harsh system of rule is worth the veneer of peace and normality, and grow to support the group. This is classic Stockholm Syndrome, but on a much wider and far more devastating scale.

There is precedent for such a transformation. In the 1990s, the Taliban gained considerable public support by establishing law and order in a chaotic Afghanistan. Groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah used charitable acts and social welfare programs to transform themselves from violent fringe groups into political entities with support from wide swaths of the population. Both groups have devoted significant time and resources to social welfare wings, which support schools, libraries, medical clinics, orphanages, food aid, and sports leagues. By 2006, Hamas had enough support to win a decisive victory in Palestine’s parliamentary election. By 2008, Hezbollah had gained control of over a third of Lebanon’s cabinet seats.


“Sorry we killed your family”: We are the terrorists in the Middle East

“Sorry we killed your family”: We are the terrorists in the Middle East, and our compliant media will never tell the truth"

The real Middle East terrorists? Look in the mirror. We'll never face it, because the media won't level with us.
As the great American lawyer and statesman John Adams noted, “facts are stubborn things.”

Anybody paying attention to the facts regarding the U.S. bombing of a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on Oct. 3 could come to the conclusion that the attack was not a “mistake” but a targeted strike. To come to this conclusion one would have to abandon the belief that U.S. intentions are always benevolent and tragedies like Kunduz are simply “accidents” that happen in the fog of war. More importantly, such a conclusion would require one to put two words back to back that the mainstream U.S. press would find ludicrous: Western terrorism. It is unlikely that the U.S. media would ever consider such journalistic blasphemy.

But should it? Even a brief examination of the historical record over the past 16 years reveals a number of glaring “mistakes” in America’s bombing and strafing campaigns. Nevertheless, these attacks have been filed away in the dustbin of History after the U.S. government and media made clear that they were “mistakes.” But could they all be mistakes?

Take for example NATO’s bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999. Then-President Bill Clinton and CIA Director George Tenet trumpeted the official NATO line that the bombing was accidental. Defense Secretary William Cohen claimed that, “One of our planes attacked the wrong target because the bombing instructions were based on an outdated map.” Skeptical observers, including the Chinese themselves, were more interested in the facts on the ground. This led some to claim that the attack was intentional retaliation for the Chinese trying to acquire stealth fighter technology from the Serbs, who had shot down a stealth fighter jet earlier in the war. The Chinese government stated, “We do not believe the embassy was bombed because of a mistake with an out of date map.”

Another fact in the history of U.S. bombing “mistakes” was reported by the New York Times in October 2001. The Times noted that, “American warplanes bombed and largely destroyed the same Red Cross complex in Kabul that they struck 10 days ago [emphasis added], an error the Pentagon admitted tonight, saying it occurred because military planners had picked the wrong target.” If such a “mistake” were made by another technologically superior military like Russia or China it would certainly have been reported as terror bombing. But the U.S. government and media claimed it was a “mistake,” and thus it was. There was little outcry and no follow-up."


Turkish Media lies about "aid" truck convoy

"Russian warplanes bombed a Turkish truck convoy at the Syrian border on Wednesday amid increasing tensions between the two countries over Turkey's downing of a Russian jet.

Turkish media said the trucks belonged to IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, an Istanbul-based humanitarian organization with connections to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. IHH said it has teams in the area but did not own the trucks."



Sounds like the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation wasn't willing to lie about the trucks even though they have "connections to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan", wow, -- I guess Turkey will have to try again to smuggle weapons to ISIS and al Nursa.
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