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Showing posts from September 7, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Egypt: Torture Epidemic May Be Crime Against Humanity

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[Beatings, electric shocks, stress positions routinely used against dissidents. *RON*]

Human Rights Watch, 6 September 2017

(Beirut) – Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, and sometimes rape, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

Widespread and systematic torture by the security forces probably amounts to a crime against humanity, according to the 63-page report, “‘We Do Unreasonable Things Here’: Torture and National Security in al-Sisi’s Egypt.” Prosecutors typically ignore complaints from detainees about ill-treatment and sometimes threaten them with torture, creating an environment of almost total impunity, Human Rights Watch said.

Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with t…

'We're trying to go all in': Chocolate giant Mars pledges $1 billion to fight climate change

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[I suppose this really should be posted under Today's Trumpery, but I thought that Mars' actions were well worth noting by themselves. *RON*]
Oscar Williams-Grut, Business Insider, 6 September 2017
Mars has pledged to spend $1 billion on its "Sustainability in a Generation" plan.It aims to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and promoting sustainable farming.Mars wants big companies around the world to follow its lead.It's warning that "more extreme weather events" could cause "significant challenges and hardships" unless more action is taken. LONDON — The chocolate giant Mars is promising to spend close to $1 billion over the next few years fighting climate change.

The $35 billion food giant behind brands like M&Ms, Skittles, and Twix on Wednesday launched its "Sustainability in a Generation" plan, aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of its business and supply chain …

Amazon is under fire for reported Hurricane Irma price gouging, with 'life-sustaining necessities' selling for wildly inflated prices

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[Seems to be a lot of this going around. If you get caught, say "Oops!" and hope for the best: normally about $6, "a 24-pack of Nestle bottled water with expedited shipping was priced at $179.25." See also: Best Buy explains why it charged $42 for a case of water in Texas during the hurricane in 'a big mistake'. *RON*]

Kate Taylor, Business Insider, 6 September 2017

Amazon is under fire for reportedly inflating prices as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma.

With local grocery stores selling out of basics such as water and other emergency supplies, many shoppers have turned to Amazon to prepare for the Category 5 storm.

However, some people have been disturbed to find wildly inflated prices for essentials such as water on the e-commerce site.
Followعزمية مكان
✔@AZMIAakaMIA
shame on @amazon for price gouging/allowing price gouging on life-sustaining necessities like water. #Irma $18 a case?!
5:57 AM - Sep 6, 2017 22 Re…

Diseases of Despair

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[Argues that opioids, mass shootings, suicide, morbid obesity, obsessive gambling - are signs of a diseased culture. *RON*]

Chris Hedges, Truthdig, 3 September 2017
The opioid crisis, the frequent mass shootings, the rising rates of suicide, especially among middle-aged white males, the morbid obesity, the obsession with gambling, the investment of our emotional and intellectual life in tawdry spectacles and the allure of magical thinking, from the absurd promises of the Christian right to the belief that reality is never an impediment to our desires, are the pathologies of a diseased culture. They have risen from a decayed world where opportunity, which confers status, self-esteem and dignity, has dried up for most Americans. They are expressions of acute desperation and morbidity.

A loss of income causes more than financial distress. It severs, as the sociologist Émile Durkheim pointed out, the vital social bonds that give us meaning. A decline i…

We May Have Finally Discovered The Trigger That Starts Autoimmune Diseases

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[Potentially fantastic news for millions of sufferers. *RON*]

David Nield, Science Alert, 2 September 2017
When the body attacks itself.

Scientists have identified a chain reaction that explains why our own bodies can turn against healthy cells, potentially transforming the way we look at autoimmune diseases and the way we treat them.

The reaction, discovered after four years of research in mice, has been described as a "runaway train" where one error leads the body to develop a very efficient way of attacking itself.

The study focussed on B cells gone rogue. Ordinarily these cells produce antibodies and program the immune cells to attack unwanted antigens (or foreign substances), but scientists found an 'override switch' in mouse B cells that distorted this behaviour and caused autoimmune attacks.

"Once your body's tolerance for its own tissues is lost, the chain reaction is like a runaway train," says one of the team