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Dollar Gold

CEO with a conscience reduces his salary to give his employees huge wage increases

© Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times
Employees reacting to the news. The average salary at Gravity Payments had been $48,000 a year.
Dan Price, C.E.O. of Gravity Payments, surprised his 120-person staff by announcing that he planned over the next three years to raise the salary of every employee to $70,000 a year.

The idea began percolating, said Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, after he read an article on happiness. It showed that, for people who earn less than about $70,000, extra money makes a big difference in their lives.

His idea bubbled into reality on Monday afternoon, when Mr. Price surprised his 120-person staff by announcing that he planned over the next three years to raise the salary of even the lowest-paid clerk, customer service representative and salesman to a minimum of $70,000.

"Is anyone else freaking out right now?" Mr. Price asked after the clapping and whooping died down into a few moments of stunned silence. "I'm kind of freaking out."

If it's a publicity stunt, it's a costly one. Mr. Price, who started the Seattle-based credit-card payment processing firm in 2004 at the age of 19, said he would pay for the wage increases by cutting his own salary from nearly $1 million to $70,000 and using 75 to 80 percent of the company's anticipated $2.2 million in profit this year.

Comment: Sadly, it is a rare gesture for an executive to show such compassion to those who make his living possible. If there were more CEO's like this man running businesses, rather than the greedy psychopaths who are at the top of most corporations, the record levels of income inequality and poverty might be alleviated.


Pills

British soldiers seek psychiatric treatment after taking "zombie drug"

© Reuters / Nigel Roddis
The British military is accused of failing to protect its soldier's mental health. Figures show nearly 1,000 have sought psychiatric treatment after being given the MoD's budget price anti-malarial drug Lariam.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request revealed the figure is much higher than previously thought, with 994 service personnel being admitted to mental health clinics or psychiatric hospitals since 2008.

The figures only go back to 2007, so the true number may be much higher, as Lariam, also known as mefloquine, has been in use for much longer.

The MoD has consistently defended the drug, which is one of several it issues to troops, amid concerns that Lariam is contributing to an Armed Forces mental health epidemic. This is despite growing pressure from senior military figures, campaigners and relatives of those affected.

The drug, banned by US Special Forces two years ago, and which the UK military avoids giving to pilots or divers, is still issued to UK troops.

Comment: The ideals of the warrior are long gone in the West. If the combat stress that comes from killing civilians, devastating societies and stealing resources doesn't defeat them, let's just dope them up with homicidal, psychotic drugs!


Nuke

Once again thieves steal deadly radioactive material in Mexico

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© Reuters
Authorities have issued emergency warnings to five Mexican states after it was reported that thieves had stolen potentially deadly radioactive material, the latest such heist to strike the Latin American country.

The interior ministry issued an alert in the states of Tabasco, Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz that a container holding iridium-192 - a man-made radioactive element that can cause burns, acute radiation sickness and even death - was stolen on Monday from a truck in Cardenas, a town in southern Tabasco.

"This source is very dangerous to people if it is removed from its container," the statement said.

Comment: Somebody wants to procure this material really badly.


Arrow Up

Low-wage workers unite to fight for living wage in largest protests in US history

© Andy Katz/Demotix/Corbis
Marchers with #FightFor15 banner on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City during rally on behalf of low-income workers nationwide.
Workers in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and more than 200 cities across the US walked out on their jobs or joined marches and protests on Wednesday during what organisers claimed was the largest protest by low-wage workers in US history.

Some 60,000 workers took part in the Fight for $15 demonstrations, according to the organisers. The protests are calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour in the US, more than twice the current federal minimum of $7.25.

By late afternoon on the east coast no arrests had been reported, a marked contrast to last May's action when more than 100 people were arrested during a protest outside McDonald's Chicago headquarters.

The demonstrations were the latest in a series of strikes that began with fast-food workers in New York in November 2012. The movement has since attracted groups outside the restaurant industry: Wednesday's protesters included home-care assistants, Walmart workers, child-care aides, airport workers, adjunct professors and other low-wage workers. It also sparked international support, with people protesting low wages in Brazil, New Zealand and the UK.

Comment: The only way that the corporations who exploit these employees are going to pay them a living wage is for enough of the workers to finally come together and give them no other choice. Those running large corporations have no concern for the well-being of their workforce, which is why income inequality, and poverty are at record levels and children are going hungry while corporations profit handsomely at the expense of everyone else.


People 2

Yemen: UN's Zeid wants investigations into civilian casualties

© rebloggy.com
Killing the children, how honorable is that?
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Tuesday reminded all sides to the conflict in Yemen to ensure that attacks resulting in civilian casualties are promptly investigated and that international human rights and international humanitarian law are scrupulously respected during the conduct of hostilities in the country.

In addition to hundreds of fighters, at least 364 civilians are reported to have lost their lives since March 26, including at least 84 children and 25 women. Another 681 civilians - possibly more - have been injured. Dozens of public buildings, including hospitals, schools, airports and mosques have been destroyed in airstrikes, through shelling and other attacks.

© armiesofliberation.com
Yemeni combatants have a history of using children in clashes. Up to 50% of fighters in tribal wars are children.
Over the past week, street fighting also intensified in densely populated areas, particularly in Aden between armed groups affiliated with President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi on one side, and those affiliated with the Houthis and the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the other. There have also been accounts of recruitment of children as fighters in Aden, Dhale and Mareb.

"Every hour we are receiving and documenting deeply disturbing and distressing reports of the toll that this conflict is taking on civilian lives and infrastructure," High Commissioner Zeid said."Such a heavy civilian death toll ought to be a clear indication to all parties to this conflict that there may be serious problems in the conduct of hostilities. The parties to the conflict are obliged to ensure that international humanitarian law and international human rights law are scrupulously respected and that the civilian population is protected. Any suspected breach of international law must be urgently investigated with a view to ensuring victims' right to justice and redress and to ensure that such incidents do not recur."

Comment: Children killed in drone strikes: "If ever these strikes are reported in the MSM, many of these children are listed as "militants," a word redefined by President Obama to mean any male of military age in a strike zone, so as to disguise the number of children killed by his drone policy. Under this abuse of presidential power with lack of judicial oversight, Obama has escalated George W. Bush's drone program more than five times over. Not only are children & civilians caught in strike zones, but drones are killing rescuers & family members with the "double tap" method, a second strike in the same zone. The "double tap" is considered to be a war crime under international law."

Perhaps there is just this romantic notion that wars are fought by military against military. And, well, it should be that way. However, the more removed we become from the actual ground-zero battle due to proxy armies, drones, strategies thousands of miles away, etc., the easier it is to be indiscriminate of civilian casualties and a country's historic legacy. War has degenerated. It reveals how high the cost and how low the devaluation of life has become. It is not a pretty world and run by not pretty people.


Cheeseburger

Texas chef fined for feeding the homeless

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© Reuters / Andrew Innerarity
A Texas chef who has fed San Antonio's homeless population for the past 10 years from a non-profit mobile food truck was suddenly cited and fined by local police for feeding the homeless.

Despite the ticket being issued a week earlier, Joan Cheever, founder of a San Antonio mobile food truck called the Chow Train, was nevertheless out feeding the homeless on Tuesday. There has been an outpouring of support for Cheever after news of the ticket surfaced, which she still has to fight in court in June - and which she said she would do under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Cheever told Texas Public Radio she was inspired by the show of support.

"It warms my heart but it doesn't surprise me because the community is behind me and they are behind every other nonprofit that does what I do and there are a lot of them," she said.

Comment: Psychopathic governments don't want people showing empathy for others.


Satellite

Introducing the 'Outernet': Information warfare taken to a whole new level

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The information war can be quickly lost if one cannot get their assets onto the "battlefield." For the US, UK or Europe, the constant din of their propaganda spread across the planet via their impressive and immense media networks has recently run into a few snags.

In nations like Russia, China or Iran, ruling governments and local industry have begun creating their own Internets, their own alternatives to US-controlled social media platforms and search engines, and in some cases, even their own hardware to run it all on. They have also taken a cue from the US and decided to put in "kill switches" and censorship measures to prevent information from abroad being piped into their nation and disseminated among their populations.

Or more accurate than saying "to prevent information from abroad," one could say, "propaganda from abroad."

For instance, the US State Department's Voice of America network openly attempts to insert narratives favorable to US interests in targeted countries. So important does the US State Department see this mission, it has even attempted to construct independent communication networks by building their own towers and relay stations.

Comment: Another highly sophisticated, super covert, extremely cynical method for trapping your heart, mind and soul. And, of course, it starts by playing on an individual's best instincts. But that's usually how it goes. COINTELPRO takes many different forms and this is just a new one to be aware of. There are many though, and the stakes are very very high.


Heart - Black

The U.S. is 'World Leader' in child poverty - by the numbers

The callousness of America's political and business leaders is shocking once you start looking at the numbers.
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© www2.maxwell.syr.edu
America's wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60 percent.

Financier and CEO Peter Schiff said, "People don't go hungry in a capitalist economy." The 16 million kids on food stamps know what it's like to go hungry. Perhaps, some in Congress would say, those children should be working. "There is no such thing as a free lunch," insisted Georgia Representative Jack Kingston, even for school-kids, who should be required to "sweep the floor of the cafeteria" (as they actually do at a charter school in Texas).

The callousness of U.S. political and business leaders is disturbing, shocking. Hunger is just one of the problems of our children. Teacher Sonya Romero-Smith told about the two little homeless girls she adopted: "Getting rid of bedbugs, that took us a while. Night terrors, that took a little while. Hoarding food.."

America is a 'Leader' in Child Poverty

The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, "[Children's] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States."

Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty.

$5 a Day for Food, But Congress Thought it was Too Much.

Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, and they averaged about $5 a day for their meals before the 2014 farm bill cut $8.6 billion (over the next ten years) from the food stamp program.

In 2007 about 12 of every 100 kids were on food stamps. Today it's 20 of every 100.


Comment: So, according to the government, the way to handle child hunger and poverty is to have kids eat less?


Comment: Children live in poverty if the government and leaders allow it. Unfortunately, as bad as things are for children and families in the U.S. right now, things are only going to get worse. What will happen when the economy truly collapses? Don't depend on the pathological government or greedy corporations to save you or your family. Make preparations:


Syringe

Medical tyranny: Student nurse who refused to lie about vaccines kicked out of college

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A Baker College instructor told their nursing students to threaten patients into vaccinations, a new lawsuit claims. The lawsuit, filed by Nichole Bruff, a promising nursing student at Baker College, was "dismissed shortly before she was to graduate for allegedly questioning an instructor's advice to coerce parents into vaccines with misleading information."

This is a groundbreaking lawsuit for a variety of reasons, and those who protest the use of vaccines as well as those who encourage them will surely be watching this case against Baker College with bated breath.

Mlive reports:

Comment: So speaking the truth against the lies of big pharma gets you kicked out and ruins your academic career.


Target

The FBI informant's sting operation against the FBI

© www.thefilmcollaborative.org
(T)ERROR
When you're introduced to Saeed Torres in the new documentary (T)ERROR, you hear him bickering with the filmmaker, Lyric Cabral. The screen is black.
"I told you I didn't want my face in that shit," he says.
"Even if your face is shown, how would somebody come after you?" Cabral asks.
"You'd be surprised who knows me," Torres insists.

The blackness lifts. Torres is dressed in a chef's apron and a white headscarf, making hot dogs at an amateur basketball game, as if he were an all-American guy.

"I might not even make no fucking independent film," he says, irritated.
Torres isn't an all-American guy. He's an FBI informant, one of more than 15,000 domestic spies who make up the largest surveillance network ever created in the United States. During J. Edgar Hoover's COINTELPRO operations, the bureau had just 1,500 informants. The drug war brought that number up to about 6,000. After 9/11, the bureau recruited so many new informants — many of them crooks and convicts, desperate for money or leniency on previous crimes — that the government had to develop software to help agents track their spies.

Torres agreed to participate in that independent film, of course. In (T)ERROR, which has its New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 16, he offers the rest of us an unprecedented look inside an FBI counterterrorism sting as it unfolds. The documentary is compelling for its intimate portrayal of a single informant who has played a key role in several major terrorism cases.


Comment: Where is the line drawn between convicting someone for a crime they willingly commit and one they are tricked into participation by those who seek to incriminate that person? Apparently there isn't one. Odd it is called counterterrorism since for that "criminal" victim, the terrorism is just beginning. Entrapment is a form of terror. An agent may authorize an average of 15 crimes a day from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials, coercing terrorist activity and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said permitting their informants to break the law is an indispensable part of investigating criminal organizations. Creating more crime and criminals prevents crimes from taking place and keeps criminals off the streets...twisted logic that provides the FBI with a budget that keeps its homegrown, paid criminals paying taxes that support the FBI and gives it raison d'être.