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Showing posts from January 4, 2015

Bill Moyers' Retirement from Television "Lays Down a Challenge" for Next Generation of Journalists

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[Ain't that the truth! I thank Bill Moyers for all the good he has fought to accomplish and wish him the very best of retirements! After more than forty years as celebrated and progressive voice in broadcast news, veteran journalist says... "Over to you, welcome to the fight." *RON*]

by Jon QueallyCommon Dreams, 2 January 2014

Now available online and airing on PBS stations across the country over the weekend, the final episode of the weekly commentary and news show Moyers & Company will mark the official television retirement (though not the career) of veteran journalist Bill Moyers.

In the fall of last year, Moyers announced with little fanfare that the show would be ending and he would retire from television (yes, this time he means it) after more than forty years working in print and broadcast media. Though Moyers will end his near- weekly appearance in the homes of millions of Americans, the website which he created in 2…

Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale

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[Hundreds of churches have closed or are threatened by plunging membership, posing the question: What to do with the unused buildings? St. John’s church in Bacup, England, for example, is said to feature "a lofty nave as well as basement rooms with stone-vaulted ceilings," and can be had for about $160,000. As an interesting accompaniment see also The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls*RON*]

By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal, 2 January 2015
ARNHEM, Netherlands—Two dozen scruffy skateboarders launched perilous jumps in a soaring old church building here on a recent night, watched over by a mosaic likeness of Jesus and a solemn array of stone saints.
This is the Arnhem Skate Hall, an uneasy reincarnation of the Church of St. Joseph, which once rang with the prayers of nearly 1,000 worshipers.

It is one of hundreds of churches, closed or threatened by plunging membership, that pose a question for communities, and even govern…

Trans-Pacific Trade (TPP) Agreement Must Be Defeated

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[Globalization is the corporatocracy. Bernie Sanders for President! *RON*]
By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News, 03 January 15
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.

The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process.

Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests.

The…

Infographic: The Apps That Know Everything About You

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[The surveillance state and the corporatocracy are one and the same. You'd may be surprised at the dozens of pieces of data that some of the most popular apps are collecting about you every day. E.g., did you know that once you install Facebook it controls your microphone? *RON*]
By Eric Markowitz, EJ Fox, Vocativ, 30 December 2014

It’s no secret that Facebook can track pretty much every detail about your personal life. But did you know that Happy Fish—a popular kids game based on the Android operating system—might be a worse privacy offender?

Happy Fish’s developer, HappyElements, programmed the game so that it can collect a trove of information about you (and your kids) through the app. The game knows your precise location, has access to your photos and can read your text messages. It can even tell which Wi-Fi network you’re using.

We’ll get to why the game does this in a minute—and what it does and doesn’t do with that information—but let’s …

Stephen Harper continues to make Canada into an international environmental pariah

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[Harper wants primary resources extracted from the arctic post haste and he will not commit Canada to protecting our iconic northern wildlife because this would slow down, or even occasionally stop, the profit-machine. *RON*]

"Pariah: a person who is hated and rejected by other people." Miriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary
Warren Bell, Vancouver Observer, 4 January 2015


Once again, showing contempt for international standards and principles, Stephen Harper has turned his back on a shared global norm.

In a stunning display of contrarian behaviour, the Canadian government refused, at the September, 2013 meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to enhance protection for 76 plants and animal species under threat. Documents revealing this action have only just come to light.

Canada, in one single meeting, displayed more indifference to species protection than any other country has since CITES came into effec…

Suicides highlight the grim toll of benefits sanctions in austerity Britain

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[Department for Work and Pensions investigates 60 claimant suicides, with sanctioning connected to crime and depression. *RON*]
Ashley Cowburn, The Guardian / The Observer, 3 January 2015
Less than two years ago, 50-year-old David tried to take his own life in a council house in Salford. You can still see the scars when he stretches out his arm to light a roll-up cigarette.

“Everything just builds up after a while. I was walking around thinking where I was going to get money from, what [was] I going to do about the kids, how was I going to survive?” says David, as his two daughters sit quietly next to him on the sofa. “I’ve been through the bins and all sorts, trying to make ends meet. I’m not proud of it, but needs must at times.”

For four months – including Christmas 2012 – David was sanctioned by Jobcentre staff for failing to turn up for an appointment. His jobseeker’s allowance payments were immediately suspended and with it his housing and co…