ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Do You Know What You Are Supporting?

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for the ALS Association is sweeping the nation, and going viral in social media. However, do you know what you are supporting if you contribute funds to the ALS Association?

The ALS Association describes their “mission”:

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Restaurant Studies How Customers' Behaviour Changed

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This Article was originally published on Distractify:

A busy NYC restaurant kept getting bad reviews for slow service, so they hired a firm to investigate. When they compared footage from 2004 to footage from 2014, they made some pretty startling discoveries. So shocking, in fact, that they ranted about it on Craigslist.

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Tuition Free Higher Education: It’s Here

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By Professor Doom

I’m pretty sure, “once or twice”, I’ve mentioned the corruption of higher education, and how it’s completely insane to teach 6th grade math to adults, charge a fortune for it, and call it “higher education.” The main reason higher education is so “successful” in the US today is the massive student loan and grant scheme, which pours outrageous sums of money on institutions to teach students, teach them anything, no matter how ridiculous, useless, or outright wrong the material may be. The main reason student loan debt is soaring is the same reason there was a housing bubble, or a stocks bubble before that: government money pouring into a system causes prices to rise in that system. With tuition rising, the loans rise, the tuitions rise again, the loans rise again. It’s pretty simple. People feel trapped into taking ever higher loans, because they feel they *must* have a degree to get a job. I have my doubts about that, because the kind of degree is pretty important (and most of the crap sold at US institutions isn’t useful for getting a job), and even jobs for the right degrees are far from a sure thing. The fact remains: people are willing to pay (or borrow) whatever it takes to get that degree, so they can get that magic rainbow job. Trouble is, houses and stocks are actual things, there’s a minimum, intrinsic value there. Education? Ultimately it’s just a piece of paper, which, much like US dollars, can be generated in basically infinite amounts. Only the rigged system traps students into thinking a piece of paper means anything and should cost a fortune. But what if some place outside the system was formed, where tuition didn’t rise, and, in fact, was very cheap? If the education was every bit as good as in the US (and that’s a low, low, bar for most institutions), what would happen to the higher education bubble? Can someone say “pop”?      Well, it’s happened. I present to the gentle reader, University of the People. If you or a loved one might be going into higher education for getting a job, I strongly recommend checking out the TED talk on that link. Fair disclosure: I’ve done some work for UoPeople, though I’m no officer or administrator or anything like that. Allow me to explain the good and ill of UoPeople. First, price is by far the good. It’s tuition free. In case someone didn’t hear me, I repeat: TUITION FREE. One more time, because it’s just that important:

TUITION FREE!!!!!      How exactly are traditional US institutions, with their $20,000 a year tuition, going to compete with that? I suspect laws will be passed very quickly to shut this place down, but, for now, the price is awesome. The only drawback is students must pay for tests, $100 apiece. For typical courses, that means the entire 4 year degree costs about $4,000 bucks. That’s for the entire degree, not just a year, or a semester. That’s ridiculously cheap compared to anything being offered in the US. Second, textbooks are free. I’ve written a little on the textbook scam, which seems to only get worse. UoPeople only uses public domain textbooks. A 4 year education at a traditional school could cost $4,000 or more just for the textbooks. That’s pretty much it for the good. I’m not damning with faint praise here, knocking 95% or more off the usual price of a legitimate university education is such a powerful good that there really is nothing I can say in the realm of “bad”  that will be comparatively relevant. I’ll say it all the same. As you might expect, UoPeople is all online. I’ve written before that online degrees are highly questionable, and are of minimal value in the marketplace. Of course, people are paying huge fortunes for online degrees now, so UoPeople’s very cheap online degree is superior in the only way that counts, once you consider its product is identical. This is “blessing with faint criticism” as far as I’m concerned. Well, not exactly identical. UoPeople is taking the high road here (that’s why I do work for them, is they have that “integrity” thing that is sorely lacking in much of the US’s higher education system). UoPeople only has 2 degree programs: business administration, and computer science. The coursework is exactly what students need for those degrees. These are the exact two degrees in super-high demand in the job market, and that’s what UoPeople is all about. So, no Gender Studies or Queer Musicology or other crud. UoPeople exists exactly for those people that think a college degree is necessary for a job, and it sells the best possible such degrees to those people, without crippling them with a lifetime of student loan debt. There’s no liberal arts at UoPeople. Nothing against liberal arts (and my degree is in liberal arts), but it really is long past time to stop taking advantage of people that want higher education just for a job. How does UoPeople pay the faculty and staff? Not much, the people aren’t in it for the money (I volunteered). Again, it’s about integrity. It simply is wrong to cripple young people with debt for a worthless education, and I’m hardly the only faculty member willing to volunteer to stop crimes being done to the young. Realize, online schools are very limited in interaction with an expert, and even moreso in UoPeople. Students grade each other’s work, and are, largely, responsible for their own education. Yes, they totally can cheat…but with no money involved, I’d like to think integrity is more common than in the cheating-infested for-money system everyone else uses. It can’t be less common than any other online school, after all. Oh, one more detail. University of the People is FULLY ACCREDITED. Yes, accreditation is a scam, and I suspect, if UoPeople starts to threaten US higher education, accreditation will capriciously be revoked. Until that happens, however, a degree from UoPeople is every bit as legitimate as University of Pheonix, or your typical bloated state university, or just about any place else. It’s also every bit as valuable in the job’s just so much cheaper. If UoPeople can stay away from student loan scams, not be taken over by plundering integrity-destroying professional administrators, and not be cheated out of being accredited, it can single-handedly snap the neck of the incredibly corrupt higher education system in the US. The only question is how long it will take before people realize “hey, I can pay $4,000 or $100,000 for the exact same product” and make the obvious decision. Any guesses how long that will take?

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Pro-Israeli Security Council Gaza Resolution

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This Article was written by Stephen Lendman originally published on RINF:

On August 21, Washington joined Germany, Britain and France. They presented a largely one-sided Security Council resolution to end over six weeks of conflict.

It’s pro-Israeli. It’s pro-Western. It’s anti-Palestinian. It’s more Gazan Versailles than legitimate peace plan. It demands rejection.

It’s in lieu of what’s fundamentally needed:

A resolution holding Israel responsible for premeditated genocidal aggression;

  • holding Netanyahu and other Israeli officials accountable;
  • ordering them prosecuted in a Nuremberg-style tribunal;
  • unconditionally ordering Gaza’s siege be lifted;
  • mandating Israel alone pay for damage it caused, compensate surviving family members for their losses, and fully cover the cost of medical treatment for injured Gazans;
  • assuring long denied justice for beleaguered Gazans;
  • ordering Israel to halt settlement construction;
  • mandating an end to occupation; and
  • guaranteeing support for unconditional Palestinian self-determination within 1967 borders by a specified date.

The current resolution is deeply flawed. Claiming it’ll end fighting is fantasy. Or achieve any form of long denied justice. The two-page document is titled “Elements.”

They include:

  • returning Gaza to PA control;
  • reconstructing it under international supervision;
  • preventing Hamas from rearming;
  • wanting it kept defenseless against certain future Israeli aggression;
  • restarting sham Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; and
  • doing so based on what Israel categorically rejects – within pre-1967 borders – with no enforcement teeth.

Abbas and other PA officials are longtime Israeli collaborators.

Fact: They have no legitimacy.

Fact: They serve as Israeli enforcers.

Fact: They betray their own people.

Fact: Hamas is Palestine’s democratically elected government.

Fact: International law prohibits any nation or combination thereof from interfering in the internal affairs of others.

Fact: Palestinians alone may decide who’ll govern them under laws, principles and norms they choose.

Fact: Not Israel, Washington, Germany, Britain, France, or Security Council resolution denying them their inalienable right.

The proposed document condemns “all violence and hostilities directed against civilians, as well as indiscriminate attacks resulting in civilian casualties, and all acts of terrorism.”

It calls for an “immediate, sustainable” ceasefire on both sides. It’s based on the following principles:

  • returning Gaza to PA control;
  • undefined security arrangements to prevent resumption of hostilities;
  • denying Hamas the right of self-defense;
  • doing so by prohibiting all weapons and munitions sales to Gaza without PA permission;
  • preventing the financing of Israel’s notion of terrorism;
  • assuring Gazan self-defense is defined this way;
  • assuring Israeli aggression is called its right to self-defense;
  • lifting “economic and humanitarian restrictions” short of unconditionally ending siege;
  • permitting reconstruction, economic rehabilitation and development based on what Israel will allow under rules it establishes;
  • reopening all border crossings without assurances against future unilateral Israeli closures; and
  • doing so in accord with the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.

Washington and Israel brokered it. It was supposed to let PA officials control border crossings after Israel’s 2005 Gazan disengagement.

The resolution establishes a Western controlled international monitoring and verification body.

It would oversee implementation of agreed on principles, investigate ceasefire violations, inform the Security Council, facilitate movement of people and goods, as well as “ensure effective communications” between both sides.

Other draft provisions include:

  • helping PA officials establish “effective governance” in Gaza – under rules acceptable to Israel and Western states;
  • urging UN member states to contribute to rebuilding Gaza;
  • doing so in lieu of demanding Israel pay for the enormous damage it caused;
  • holding an international conference on rebuilding Gaza;
  • urging attending nations to help pay Gazan civil servants and aid PA security forces; and
  • initiating “renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to resume the negotiations in order to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of two democratic states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side on the basis of the pre-1967 borders in peace and security.”

It’s hard imagining Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups accepting what demands rejection.

The draft resolution violates international law. It’s a dagger in the heart of equity, justice and peace.

It lopsidedly favors Israel. It renders Hamas defenseless. It offers what Israel can unilaterally abrogate for reasons it invents.

It puts longtime Palestinian collaborators in charge of governing Gaza. It assures justice denied.

It restarts sham peace talks. It proposes doing so on terms Israel categorically rejects.

It perpetuates the greatest hoax in modern times. Talks were stillborn from inception. Israel rejects peace and stability.

Palestinians have no say whatever. They’ve been brutalized for decades. They’re denied all rights. They’re virtual prisoners in their own land.

Oslo was unconditional Palestinian surrender. So were Oslo II, Wye River, Camp David, Taba, Bush’s Road Map, Annapolis, other negotiating rounds, and the most recent failed talks had they continued.

The current Security Council proposal holds Gazans hostage to Israeli and Western diktats.

It leaves Israel unaccountable for high crimes against peace. It assures future Israeli aggression.

It lets occupation harshness continue. It perpetuates decades of injustice. It leaves Palestinians isolated on their own.

It gives Israel wiggle room to interpret provisions to its own advantage. It denies Gazans the same right. It leaves major issues unaddressed.

They include:

  • internationally guaranteed/universally recognized Palestinian sovereignty;
  • ending occupation;
  • letting diaspora Palestinians return;
  • compensating them and Palestinian refugees for land and possessions Israel stole;
  • ending settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land;
  • giving Palestinians control of their airspace, coastal waters, and resources (including offshore gas reserves); as well as
  • East Jerusalem as their exclusive capital.

The resolution instructs UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to initiate proposals to “implement the relevant provisions.” He’s a longtime pro-Western/pro-Israeli imperial tool.

It lets Security Council members circumvent international law. It lets them impose punitive measures if either side violates resolution provisions. It assures imposition on Palestinians alone.

It lets pro-Israeli Western nations force-feed unacceptable terms on Gaza. It gives Gazans no say. It punishes them for rejecting unacceptable demands.

It destroys Fatah/Hamas unity. It perpetuates longstanding injustice. It assures future conflict.

Current Israeli genocidal aggression continues. Western leaders support it. Israel murdered nearly 2,100 Palestinians. Over 10,300 were injured.

Large parts of Gaza lie in ruins. A pre-dawn air strike killed three al-Qassam Brigades commanders.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians marched through Rafah. They did so in mourning. They honored Mohammed Abu Shamalah, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed Attar.

Their deaths came a day after Israel unsuccessfully tried to assassinate senior al-Qassam Brigades leader Mohammed Deif.

An airstrike on his home killed his wife and eight-month-old son. Netanyahu tried to link his aggression to Obama’s war on the Islamic State in Iraq.

He lied calling both groups a “branch of the same tree.” He did so without a shred of credible evidence. None exists.

At the same time, Israel activated another 10,000 reserves. Hardliners Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and others want Hamas entirely destroyed.

Perhaps a second ground invasion will follow. Since Israel sabotaged Cairo talks, it murdered around five dozen more mostly civilian Palestinian men, women and children.

They included five family members digging a grave in Sheikh Radwan cemetery. They were doing so for lost loved ones.

They were noncombatants. They posed no threat. Israel deliberately murdered them in cold blood. It considers civilian men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm legitimate targets.

Doing so is part of its longstanding collective punishment policy. It’s in flagrant violation of international law.

It doesn’t matter. Western leaders support Israeli genocide. They turn a blind eye to its worst high crimes against peace.

They continue daily throughout Occupied Palestine. Gazans suffer most.

Long denied justice is nowhere in sight. The US/German/British/ French resolution assures keeping things this way.

Palestinians remain isolated on their own. Gazans remain trapped on their own land.

Israel is free to wage aggressive wars on whatever pretexts it invents. Business as usual continues.

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Russia-China Launch Central Asian Military Drill

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More than 7,000 troops from China, Russia and four central Asia countries have gathered in Inner Mongolia for their biggest joint drills "to fight terrorists".

The drills are purportedly to prepare troops to protect the so-called Silk Road economic and transport belt that will run through central Asia from China to Europe from terrorist attack, but as one analyst notes, "it is kind of rare to have an anti-terrorist mission which uses battle tanks." Furthermore, as part of a drill:


So, surface-to-air missile tests? Not very "de-escalation"-y. Perhaps this statement is a clue, "we are trying to exercise together to coordinate our troops to meet any potential eventuality."

As The Jakarta Globe reports,

A total of 23 Chinese aircraft will participate in Peace Mission-2014, along with tanks, drones and air-defense missiles from countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported. The SCO groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The exercises are another sign China and Russia are willing to work together as both seek to upgrade their military capacity in the face of rising territorial tensions. The drills will prepare troops to protect the so-called Silk Road economic and transport belt that will run through central Asia from China to Europe from terrorist attack, China Radio International reported.

“It is kind of rare to have an anti-terrorist mission which uses battle tanks,” said Matthew Sussex, head of politics and international relations at the University of Tasmania. “It says: ‘We are trying to exercise together to coordinate our troops to meet any potential eventuality’ — in other words war.

China’s President Xi Jinping, the head of the Central Military Commission, has made it a priority to better prepare the People’s Liberation Army for combat, while Russia’s Vladimir Putin has embarked on the biggest overhaul of his country’s armed forces since the Cold War.

Russia and China in May held their first joint naval exercises near Japanese-controlled islands that are at the center of a Chinese-Japanese rift. Russia further inflamed tension with Japan last week when it started military exercises in the disputed Kuril Islands.

But then, as Reuters adds...


De-Escalation? Doesn't look like it...

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Germany Ebola scare: 600 people into quarantine

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Germany Ebola scare as Nigerian woman showing symptoms of killer disease faints in jobcentre forcing 600 people into quarantine

  • Woman arrived at the jobcentre with a high fever, then collapsed
  • Hundreds of visitors and staff in the building were held for several hours
  • The suspected Ebola victim has been taken to Berlin's Charite hospital

A woman was rushed to hospital and hundreds of people were quarantined today after she showed symptoms of Ebola virus infection in a jobcentre in Germany.

As many as 600 visitors and staff at the employment office building in Berlin were also stopped from leaving for several hours as emergency services sealed off part of the street.

The mass-circulation daily Bild said the woman had fainted, that she hailed from Nigeria and that she said later that she had recently been in contact with people infected with Ebola.


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Staged Provocations Ahead Possible US-Syrian War

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With the alleged brutal murder of American journalist James Wright Foley, a wave of anger and aggression across Western audiences has been generated. Upon that wave rides two objectives. One is to create plausible deniability for the West which created the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), the other is to create a further pretext to justify a resurgence of direct US military intervention across the region.

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Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: Psy Op and Propaganda Stories

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In the name of Allah, the Merciful to all, the Compassionate

Today I encountered an image on Twitter, featuring an Israeli soldier who allegedly boasts in his Social Media accounts that he killed 13 children from Gaza in just one day:


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Kurdistani Ethnic Cleansing Blamed on Islam

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In the name of Allah, the Merciful to all, the Compassionate

When last month the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), captured Mosul and attacked Kirkuk, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, did not hesitate to capture Kirkuk to save it from ISIS. Everyone knew that in no way did Kurdistan have plans of leaving Kirkuk. It was a big prize handed over to them on a silver platter. Without Kirkuk, Kurdish independence was meaningless.

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Quds Day Massacre by Nigerian Soldiers in Zaria

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In the name of Allah, the Merciful to all, the Compassionate

إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

Friday 25-07-14 is a sad day in which some security agents of the federal republic of Nigeria, according to PressTV, gunned down twenty-five demonstrators and arrested 12 others, during an anti-Israeli rally held to mark International Quds Day in Zaria in Kaduna State.

Later, military forces reportedly executed all detainees without trial, including the two sons of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, before handing over their bodies to Ahmadu Bello University (Abu) teaching hospital. As a result of the crackdown, El-Zakzaky lost three of his sons while another one was among those injured by government forces. Meanwhile, government forces attacked a mosque in Nigeria on Saturday, killing three more people.

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