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 History/Culture: Easter/Ostara and the Goddesses of Dawn

HolidaysBy Sherlyn Meinz

I think Spring must be one of the most long-awaited and welcome of the seasons, especially in northern climates. March 20 marks the Vernal Equinox and the change of season to Spring, the time when night and day are in balance. Living in Vermont (US) that’s reason for a big hurrah and celebration!

Celebrated since ancient times as Ostara (Oestara, Eostre’s Day, Rite of Eostre, Festival of the Trees, Lady Day) from this holiday comes many of our Easter traditions. Others point to the 25th of March, or the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox as the date of Ostara. Easter is timed according to the Vernal Equinox and falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Equinox, but cannot fall on the day of the full moon itself, in rejection of ancient Moon rituals that had long been celebrated marking this season.

In ancient Germany Ostara was honored, in Greece it was Eostre, both were Goddesses of the Dawn. Spring is associated with dawn and follows the season of darkness (night) or winter. The goddess Ostara was thought to be able to take the form of a rabbit or hare. April is considered Ostara’s month, and her name is related to dawn, morning light, and the direction East. Our words Easter and estrogen both come from the name of the Greek Spring goddess Eostre…

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, April 19 @ 19:59:37 EDT (25 reads)
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 Screwed Again: “Freedom of the Press” and “The Shield Law”:

The News
“Protecting the Public” from Independent Alternatives to the Mainstream Media

By Devon DB

Currently being debated by the Senate, but rarely discussed on mainstream television, is the Shield Law. While on the surface it may seem to be rather innocuous, some of the language in it and its implications are quite problematic for journalists.

A Shield Law is a law which “provides statutory protection for the ‘reporters’ privilege’— legal rules which protect journalists against the government requiring them to reveal confidential sources or other information.”[1] Generally, this is a positive occurrence as journalists are much more able to conduct their work and bring information to public light if they do not need to worry about having to reveal their sources. While Shield Laws have occurred in the past, they have only been on the state level. This currently proposed Shield Law is the first one to reach the federal level and the main goal is to protect journalists from having to reveal confidential sources in federal cases.[2]

However, there are certain instances in which journalists will have to reveal sources, such as “(1) The party seeking disclosure has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources of the information; (2) The requested information is essential to resolving the matter; (3) Disclosure of the requested information would not be contrary to the public interest; and (4) In criminal cases, if the requesting party is the federal government, the government must show that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred.”[3]

While overall it may seem like a good bill, there are a number of problems with this Shield Law, officially known as the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013. For starters, this law would “allow the government to seize reporters’ records without notifying them for 45 days – a period of time that could be renewed by a judge 45 additional days – if investigators convince a judge pre-notification ‘would pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of a criminal investigation.’”[4] This power of seizing records without notifying reporters was used most recently in regards to the Associated Press, when the federal government seized their phone records in May of last year, with the government only saying that “they were needed for investigation of an unspecified criminal matter.”[5] Oh yes! What transparency and accountability! Infringing upon the First Amendment rights of reporters and then only giving what is essentially a BS, purposefully vague explanation.

In addition to this, the government can force journalists to give up information in the name of national security.[6] This is quite worrying as the US government has time and time again been involved in operations of entrapment.[7,8] ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, April 16 @ 18:40:53 EDT (73 reads)
(Read More... | 16867 bytes more | Comments? | Screwed Again | Score: 5)

 Politics: Replacing Russian Gas Deliveries with US Shale Gas?

International Washington Lies to the EU

By F. William Engdahl

The White House and State Department have engaged in brazen lying to EU governments regarding the ability of the US to supply more than enough natural gas to replace Russian gas deliveries. Recent statements by US President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are so patently false that it betrays an incredible desperation in Washington over the situation in Ukraine versus Moscow. Or it suggests that Washington is so out of touch with any factual reality she simply doesn’t care what she says. Either way, it suggests an unreliable diplomatic partner for the EU.

After his recent meeting with EU leaders Obama issued the incredible statement that the secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being secretly negotiated behind closed doors by the major private multinational companies would make it easier for the United States to export gas to Europe and help it reduce its dependency on Russian energy: “Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licenses for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical environment,” Obama stated.

That bit of political opportunism to try to push the stalled TTIP talks by playing on EU fears of Russian gas loss after the US-orchestrated Ukraine coup of February 22, ignores the fact that the problem in getting US shale gas to the EU does not lie in easier LNG licensing procedures in the USA and EU. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, April 12 @ 22:51:21 EDT (123 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #127 - April 2014

OpinionBy William Blum

Indoctrinating a new generation

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads: ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, April 08 @ 20:16:27 EDT (201 reads)
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 International: Toxic Tech

Business News
Apple and other big manufacturers must swap less-deadly chemicals for the cancerous ones poisoning their Chinese workers.

By Andrew Korfhage

Ming Kunpeng went to work for ASM Pacific Technology — a chip supplier for Apple — when he was 19 years old. Required to handle the known carcinogen benzene on a daily basis without adequate training or protective gear, the young worker fell ill at the age of 22. Doctors eventually diagnosed him with occupational leukemia.

After a year-long dispute, ASM Pacific Technology agreed to compensate Ming for his illness, but the settlement was insufficient to cover the care he needed. On December 28, 2013, this young man became one of the much-publicized Chinese electronics-worker suicide cases.

He took his own life, jumping from the top of the hospital where he was receiving treatment.

Ming’s story is just one of many told in filmmakers Heather White and Lynn Zhang’s new short-form documentary, Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics.

In their film, White and Zhang explore the use of dangerous toxic chemicals in Chinese factories. They focus on the effects of these chemicals on the millions of workers exposed while making the iPhones, iPads, and other electronics that global consumers have come to depend on. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, April 04 @ 23:10:12 EDT (238 reads)
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 History/Culture: April Fool’s Day/All Fool’s Day

HolidaysBy Blue1Moon aka Sherlyn Meinz

Well Happy April Fool’s Day! Stay aware today, things may not be what they seem. I hadn’t really known anything about April Fool’s Day before I began researching it. Like the other holidays we celebrate, April Fool’s Day has a long and rich history. Of course the best April Fool’s jokes are ones that allow everyone to laugh, even the person who is the butt of the joke. Hoaxes, pranks, practical jokes, and tricks played on the unsuspecting, or gullible have abounded for centuries in many countries. It was not until the 20th century that it became common for the media to play out hoaxes on the public.

Throughout much of the ancient world, Spring was considered to be the beginning of the New Year. In 1562, Pope Gregory introduced a new Christian calendar, replacing the Julian Calendar, and set the date of the New Year as January 1st. The Gregorian Calendar was accepted in France in 1582 under the rule of Charles IX. However, as communication depended primarily on word of mouth, many hadn’t heard of the change or didn’t believe that the date of the New Year had changed. Others just refused to accept it. It was upon these “backward” people that jokes were played, as they were considered ‘fools.’ ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, April 01 @ 09:23:46 EDT (238 reads)
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 History/Culture: A Tortured Twist on Ethics

The News
Why isn't the American Psychological Association pursuing ethics charges against psychologist John Leso for abuses he helped carry out at the Guantánamo prison?

By Yosef Brody

George Orwell wisely observed that our understanding of the past, and the meaning associated with it, directly influences the future. And as the unprecedented public feud between the CIA and Congress makes clear, there are still significant aspects of our recent history of state-sponsored torture that need examination before we put this national disgrace behind us.

Important questions remain unresolved about the U.S. torture program in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. And the four-year, $40 million Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture is unlikely to provide sufficient answers, even if it’s ever declassified and released.

For example, what will be done about doctors who helped create U.S. torture programs and participated in their implementation? And is there any evidence that cruel, inhuman, and degrading practices continue under official policy, even to this day?

The question of whether American health professionals previously involved in military torture programs should be allowed to quietly and freely continue their careers came to a head recently when it was revealed that the American Psychological Association (APA) refused to pursue ethics charges against psychologist John Leso. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, March 28 @ 23:00:06 EDT (267 reads)
(Read More... | 6303 bytes more | Comments? | History/Culture | Score: 5)

 Truth To Power: Sanctions? How About Sanctions Against the United States?

OpinionBy Andy Piascik

As the United States imposes sanctions on Russia and moves to do likewise to Venezuela, it’s essential to keep in mind which country it is that’s the most destructive and dangerous in the world today. When such questions have been posed in international polls in recent decades, the answer overwhelmingly is the United States. Not Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia or any of the many other nations the ruling class and corporate media here regularly demonize, but the United States.

People in the global South know this all too well from the long and brutal history of US foreign policy. Because we live in such a closed society, however, where critical analysis of imperialism is by definition excluded from discussions in Washington and the national media, people here must search long and hard for such information. Should information of this sort seep into the mainstream, ruling elites invariably vilify it and those imparting it just as they vilify international figures they regard as enemies.

According to Washington, sanctions are being considered against Venezuela because of repressive measures and violence that is attributed almost exclusively to the government. In reality, counterrevolutionaries are responsible for the majority of those killed including at least one death of a motorcyclist decapitated by wire strung across a street. This tactic was suggested by retired General Angel Vivas, who has become a hero of the counterrevolution for his armed defiance of the government’s attempt to arrest him for the motorcyclist’s death. Simultaneously, the US has imposed sanctions against Russia and is threatening military escalation in response to the incursion into Crimea.

Conveniently left out of the narrative is any connection between Russia’s actions and the coup in the Ukraine led by fanatically anti-Russian neo-fascists, an effort supported by the US to the tune of $5 billion, according to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, March 24 @ 22:52:00 EDT (342 reads)
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 The News: A Silver Anniversary for the World Wide Web

Business News
Do we have to celebrate Internet billionaires, too?

By Sam Pizzigati

Exactly 25 years ago, the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee conceptually “invented” the World Wide Web — and set in motion a process that would rapidly make the online world an essential part of our daily lives.

By 1995, 14 percent of Americans were surfing the Web. The level today: 87 percent. And among young adults, the Pew Research Center notes, the Internet has reached “near saturation.”

Some 97 percent of Americans 18 to 29 are now going online.

Tim Berners-Lee never saw this inequality coming. He didn’t invent the Web to get rich. He released the code to his new system for free.

But others certainly have become rich via the Web. Some 123 billionaires today, Forbes calculates, owe their fortunes to high-tech. The top 15 of these high-tech billionaires hold a collective $382 billion in personal net worth. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, March 20 @ 21:06:05 EDT (413 reads)
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 Going Green: Cry a River over California’s Drought

Environment
With so much of the nation's food supply concentrated in the "Shake and Bake" state, its good weather is bad news for us all.

By Jill Richardson

As a Californian, I have not gotten too much sympathy from friends and family about our rotten weather this winter. Yes, I said rotten weather. It’s been incredibly pleasant— except for a few times when the temperature crept up to 90 — but we’ve hardly had any rain.

Cry me a river, you might think. Especially if you live in a part of the country where the term “polar vortex” was added to your vocabulary in the past few months. Boo-hoo. It was too sunny and perfect every day.

California’s climate problems have nothing to do with human comfort — but they have everything to do with human food. And not just for California.

Unfortunately for the rest of the country, Californians provide a huge share of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. If we can’t grow crops because we have no water, everybody misses out.

A recent Mother Jones article points out that nearly all of America’s almonds, walnuts, strawberries, broccoli, grapes, and more come from the Golden State. And just one walnut requires a whopping 4.9 gallons of water. That’s not 4.9 gallons for a pound of walnuts. That’s for just one nut. A stick of butter? That takes 109 gallons of water to produce. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, March 13 @ 00:01:55 EDT (582 reads)
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 Screwed Again: The War on Veterans

Politics
Congress and the White House are much better at starting wars than cleaning up after them.

By Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins

Do you remember Cory Remsburg? He’s the Army Ranger who received a standing ovation from Congress during President Barack Obama’s State of theUnion address a few weeks ago.

Applause is nice, especially from such influential people. It sure beats those cuts the Pentagon wants to make to veteran benefits.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is now trying to sell vets on his plan to scale back the number of U.S. troops, as well as what taxpayers are spending on active-duty and retired forces. After he announced his ideas, Hagel brought them straight to a town hall meeting with soldiers at Fort Eustis in Virginia. “There was no applause,” Military.com reported.

Whenever Washington winds down its wars and our troops become needy veterans, interest in their welfare always flags. Senate Republicans just blocked a comprehensive $21 billion bill that would have beefed up veteran education, health, and other benefits. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, March 09 @ 22:59:11 EDT (648 reads)
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 The News: Why You Should Fear Big Bad Cable

Action Alert
Comcast's plan to merge with Time Warner Cable could leave millions of Americans stranded on the digital equivalent of a winding dirt road.


 By Timothy Karr

Twenty-five years ago this month, Sir Tim Berners-Lee introduced an open protocol for sharing information that gave everyday Internet users the power over what they created and whom they connected with online.

His concept quickly evolved into the World Wide Web. One British research scientist’s idea for people-to-people communications became a global engine for empowerment, economic growth and free speech.

Berners-Lee’s idea was to create a web of limitless access and choice. And he was largely successful.

We can use YouTube to share and watch videos, or we can switch over to Vimeo, Instagram, or Blip. We can speak directly with friends using Skype, Hangout, FaceTime or other voice and video services. We can connect and communicate anything with anyone at any time.

But all of that could change. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, March 05 @ 21:09:09 EST (747 reads)
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 Truth To Power: What if Americans Demanded the Ouster of This Government?

PoliticsCriticizing repression of protest abroad, practicing it at home

by: Dave Lindorff

Ukraine’s new rulers, in one of their first acts, have disbanded that country’s riot police.

Now without getting into the complex politics of the ongoing struggles in that country, or into the question of the covert role of the US in backing the protests that brought down the old government in Kiev, this elimination of a brutal paramilitary police organization got me to thinking: If Ukraine, which has just gone through a spasm of deadly violence, and which is still in a very dangerous and politically unsettled situation, can get along without riot police, why can’t the United States?

Lately, with political struggles occurring in the streets of Venezuela, Thailand, Ukraine and a number of other places, the US government has been declaring over and over that the governments being challenged should not resort to violence against their own people.

Here’s US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Venezuela:

“We support human rights and fundamental freedoms – including freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly – in Venezuela as we do in countries around the world.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, February 26 @ 21:21:22 EST (918 reads)
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 History/Culture: Learning from the Twin Tragedies of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis

The News
All children deserve the same benefit of the doubt regardless of the color of their skin.

By DeNeen L. Brown

On a cold night this winter, 60 African-American teenagers lined up in a banquet room. Each wore a suit and tie. Each had a straight-A grade point average.

“I wish the media were here now,” said the president of the organization recognizing the students in one of the best school systems in the country. “If there were some shooting, they would be here.”

I was sitting at a table in that banquet hall, not as a reporter but as a mother. I wept at the truth of that statement. And I wondered why our society doesn’t see our black teenage boys for who they are — children.

Why do these kids not have the privilege of walking freely through the world, un-judged? Why don’t they get the privilege “benefit of the doubt” bestows on other children?

I wish the world could see what a black mother sees — how our sons laugh and study late at night. How before the sun rises, they’re up early, studying even more for a physics test. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, February 24 @ 21:29:45 EST (870 reads)
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 Politics: America’s Five Criminals: In the U.S. the Gestapo Has Replaced the Rule of Law

Rants
"Concentration camps are a likely future reality for Americans", according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

RT is the best English language news source available to Americans. On January 29, RT published a photo of 5 presidential appointees lying through their teeth to Congress. [National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testify during a hearing before Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee January 29, 2014]

All five of these Gestapo wannabes are in violation of their oath of office to protect the Constitution of the United States. They have relentlessly violated the Constitution, which makes these five, who are in charge of US intelligence and black operations, traitors to the United States. Yet, they have not been arrested and put on trial. Congress is content to sit there and listen to their ongoing lies time after time after time, despite the fact that these 5 have committed more and worse crimes against our country than the “terrorists” that serve as an excuse for the crimes committed by the intelligence agencies.


Remember, dear readers, it is a crime for you to lie to any federal agent even if you are not under oath or before Congress. How much more evidence do you need that you are not a citizen of the United States but a mere serf of the federal government? Will you ever wake up? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, February 19 @ 20:19:46 EST (937 reads)
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