a repost: Colleges and universities increasingly seen as scams that fail to prepare students for the real economy

Article posted on Collective-Evolution (click link for original)

 

 

Image: Colleges and universities increasingly seen as scams that fail to prepare students for the real economy

By Ethan Huff

 

To many, it serves as a shiny badge of upward mobility – a milestone that someone took their education seriously and is now ready for the next level of responsibility in the world. But a college degree doesn’t always deliver on its promises anymore, as many graduates today are learning the hard way. Not only are many of these freshly-minted degree holders discovering that they can’t just waltz into their dream jobs simply because they hold a piece of paper. Some of them are also coming to the stark realization that they were duped by their alma maters, which failed to teach them the necessary life skill for facing the “real world” post-commencement.

Depending upon which school a student attended and the primary subject he specialized in, a degree admittedly holds varying degrees of value. A computer scientist, for instance, will have more than likely interned at a large company prior to graduating, after which time he’ll take up a full-time position for great pay. A women’s studies major, on the other hand, will find that she basically shelled out several hundred thousand dollars for a four-year safe space, and now has no marketable skills to find a real job.

There are various other factors that determine whether or not a college degree is valuable, of course. But the main point is this: College isn’t for everyone. For many young people coming out of high school, community college or technical school is a much better and typically more affordable option that offers real-life training in actual skilled work. But how many students are being told this by their guidance counselors before they sign right up for traditional college or university, a.k.a. agreeing to ratchet up huge debt unless they’re independently wealthy?

“Colleges have convinced nearly everyone that you need a degree to be an effective employee or higher-income adult, but this is just not true,” writes Daniel Ameduri from FutureMoneyTrends.com (as published in an article by SHTFplan.com).

“I can tell you as an employer that I’ve never asked a single person what their grades were and I’ve never asked to see a degree. The ugly truth is the ones with college degrees usually end up writing SEO articles for $15 an hour and the skilled workers who’ve been writing code as a hobby or editing videos for years on a MAC end up as managers making $75+ per hour.”

Unless a student is awarded grants or scholarships, attending college is expensive. According to the College Board, the average cost to attend an in-state public college is now nearly $25,000 per year. At a private college, this yearly cost doubles to almost $50,000.

This means that by the time a student graduates – assuming he pays these costs out of pocket or with loans – he will already be between $100,000 to $200,000 in debt. Based on job availability, this debt could haunt him for decades, or worse – ruin his credit if he ends up defaulting due to an inability to pay.

There are so many other options besides going this precarious route, including taking short courses online or at a local training facility, or even on the job depending on the industry. There are many ways to learn useful information that don’t have to cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“When I was 18 years old, I made $55,000 while my peers sat in a classroom learning things that were forgotten before they even left the campus that day,” Ameduri adds, noting that the four years that many young people typically spend to earn their Bachelor’s degrees could have been spent getting a head start in life.

ED vs. EL-a repost: Dean Foods just acquired Uncle Matt’s Organic… watch out for ingredient alteration and unethical business practices

Article posted on Natural News (click link for original)

 

Image: Dean Foods just acquired Uncle Matt’s Organic… watch out for ingredient alteration and unethical business practices

By Isabelle Z.

Dean Foods announced in a press release that it has acquired organic juice company Uncle Matt’s Organic, prompting concerns about just how “organic” their beverages will remain moving forward.

According to the press release, Uncle Matt’s Organic is the oldest organic juice company in the U.S. Their offerings include juices such as orange, grapefruit, apple and lemonade, along with fruit-infused waters and probiotic-infused juices, and their products are popular among health-conscious consumers.

The Dean Foods press release says: “Uncle Matt’s Organic is committed to producing the highest quality juices, using only premium 100% organically grown fruit that is free from GMOs, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.”

It’s a commendable stance, but how long will that continue to be the case? If Dean Foods Company’s track record when it comes to acquisitions is any indication, fans of Uncle Matt’s products had better stay on their toes.

When Dean Foods Company acquired the Silk brand soy milk, they engaged in some very deceptive practices that left a lot of consumers so angry that many continue to boycott them to this day. Silk’s soy milk had been made using organic soybeans until early 2009, and customers who sought organic products at that time knew this milk was a safe bet.

However, after taking over the brand, Dean essentially employed a “bait and switch” tactic that left a lot of consumers with a very bad taste in their mouths. They started to use conventionally grown soybeans rather than organic ones, but they continued to use the same bar codes on their products and only slightly shifted the wording on their label to make it say “natural” instead of “organic.” Many consumers believed it was still organic, not realizing that “natural” is not a word that is regulated and that any product can claim to be natural regardless of whether it has been sprayed with toxic pesticides, as many soybeans are.

Adding insult to injury, they kept selling it for the same price, which meant people were paying organic prices for toxin-laced milk.

The deception was so underhanded that even retailers didn’t realize what was happening at first, with watchdog groups calling out Target for misleading shoppers by continuing to advertise the product as “organic” even though it no longer was.

This was more than just a one-off incident. Dean Foods has long shown a lack of honesty when it comes to organic food. They are the parent company of Horizon Organic, whose milk was once the subject of a boycott for not being legitimately organic. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, once called the company “the Enron of the food industry” on account of its lack of ethics. Dean also contributed more than $250,000 in an effort to defeat the GMO labeling initiative Prop 37 in California in 2012 – something that Uncle Matt’s, on the other hand, supported.

It’s hard to say whether Uncle Matt’s juices will pull a similar trick on the public. There are some positive signs, such as the fact that Uncle Matt’s will become a subsidiary of Dean Foods but will continue to operate from its current offices in Clermont, Florida.

In addition, the company’s founder, Matt McLean, will continue to lead the brand. According to Uncle Matt’s website, he became passionate about an organic way of life in 1995, which he said is akin to the way his grandfather and great-grandfather grew their fruit. He believes in making soil healthy to nurture trees that can defend themselves naturally against disease. One can only hope that he will be able to convince his higher-ups to adopt the same philosophy.

a repost: Legalized Pedophilia In The US: More Than 200,000 Children Married In The Last 15 Years

Whoa. Did not know this was going on, but I shouldn’t be surprised either.

 

Article posted on Collective-Evolution (click link for original)

By Kalee Brown

At least 100,000 children are prostituted annually in the U.S., adding to the $9.8 billion U.S. sex trafficking industry. Children all over the country are subject to physical and sexual abuse, and most of the time it happens a lot closer to home than we would expect. Ninety percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator, and an astonishing 68% are abused by family members.

What’s worse, some of the laws surrounding child sexual abuse and child marriage (or lack thereof) actually enable their practice. As a result, more than 200,000 children in the U.S. were married in the past 15 years alone. We often view child marriage as only being an issue in third-world countries, but in reality, it occurs right here in North America, too. Children as young as 10 have been married to far older adults, despite the legal requirement to wed being 18, or legal adulthood, nationwide.

This is because many states have “legal loopholes” that allow adults to marry children. Not all states are willing to provide statistics on this problem, and many have provided only some details rather than the full scope, so that 200,000 is likely far below the real number of American child brides and grooms.

Why Child Marriage Is a Huge Problem in the U.S.

In May of this year, the Republican governor of New Jersey declined an offer to sign a law that would have made New Jersey the first state to ban child marriage without exception. Many people probably assume that child marriage is illegal in the U.S., but the sad reality is that these loopholes allow children to get married at a very young age. In New Jersey alone, approximately 3,500 children were married between 1995 and 2012.

The governor claimed that signing the law would have “conflicted with religious customs.” Some of these loopholes include if the child has gotten pregnant or if the child receives parental consent. Can you imagine your parents arranging a marriage for you, prior to the age of 18? Yes, this is the reality for many people all over the world, but few realize this happens in America too. Alternatively, could you imagine getting pregnant at the young age of 13 and then being forced to wed? This is a terrifying reality for many victims of child marriage.

207,468 minors are known to have been married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015, but 10 states provided absolutely no data or inaccurate statistics on child marriage, so this number does not reflect the true scope of the issue. Of this number, most of the children were girls who were married to much older men, and many were as young as 13. Eighty-seven percent of these minors were girls, and although the majority were aged 16 or 17, many were much younger.

Amongst the youngest to get married were three 10-year-old girls in Tennessee, who married men between the ages of 24 and 31. Another young boy was married at the age of 11 to a 27-year-old woman in the same state.

It’s not just Tennessee; children as young as 12 were married in Alaska, Louisiana, and South Carolina, and 11 other states permit 13-year-old children to get married. Keep in mind that, in most of these cases, the minors were marrying older adults, not other minors. Only 14% of these minors were actually marrying other minors, but even still, is it really okay for a 17-year-old to marry a 13-year-old?

Although most of them married adults no older than 30, in some cases, children were permitted to marry adults decades older than them. There was one case in Alabama where a 14-year-old girl married a 74-year-old man, and another in Idaho in which a 17-year-old married a 65-year-old man.

Let’s remember that, although most states recognize that sexual consent can be granted by those aged 16 to 18, a person can still be charged with statutory rape for having sex with a minor. Despite this, many states are granting children with marriage licenses, including minors who are much younger than 16.

Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy at Tahirih Justice Centre Jeanne Smoot explained that most of the children who get married as minors are those living in poverty. She stated: “Almost all the evidence indicates that girls in cities don’t get married young, that girls from middle class or wealthy families, don’t get married young. This is a rural phenomenon and it is a phenomenon of poverty.”

An astonishing 27 states don’t even have laws to set an “age floor,” meaning that no laws exist to establish the youngest age a minor can get married. Loopholes like this one are what allow minors to get married in the first place. The irony is that sexual abuse is “illegal,” yet the government is allowing minors to get married as young as 10 years old. What do these judges expect will occur in these marriages? This is not a way to protect these children, as child marriage can enable abuse and pedophilia.

It’s clear that child marriage isn’t just an issue in third-world countries. If we truly want to become leaders in this world and set the stage for other countries, we need to reflect that both in our laws and in our morals. Children deserve rights and protection, and this desperately needs to be reflected in our judiciary system.

a repost: What Happened To My Body When I Didn’t Eat For 21 Days

Article posted on Collective-Evolution (click link for original)
By Alanna Ketler

I recently did the unthinkable – I stopped eating food altogether for 21 days, and you know what happened? I healed my body, gave my digestive system a much needed rest, cleared up my candida, passed some parasites, and got my cystic acne under control –and would you believe it? I am still here to tell the story.

I have been battling with what I had been diagnosed as having an issue of candida overgrowth– for almost two years, but now I question whether it may have just been a parasite all along. There are tons of illnesses out there that are commonly labeled as mystery illnesses because mainstream medicine has neither discovered a cause or a cure, leaving many people in the dark when it comes to healing.

When I first learned about the Master Fast System I felt that the idea of fasting resonated with something that could help me once and for all and I was excited about the idea of challenging myself, although the recommended 40 -108 days felt like a little bit too long for me. I decided to try out the fast, but customize it towards my needs and what I felt intuitively would help my body.

I did 21 days of the full on master fast system, which means only grape juice mixed with lemon, herbal tea and potent tinctures, daily enemas, a mixture psyllium husk powder, bentonite clay and activated charcoal mixed with grape juice and lemon this is known as plasma “pudding”and daily dry fasts (nothing at all in the system) of between 14 – 18 hours.

Won’t You Lose A Lot Of Weight?

Throughout the 21 days I lost a total of 15 pounds -a lot of which was just water weight. As you can see from the picture, the main area that shrunk was my stomach, but it’s because it was always so bloated and uncomfortable before. This fast has completely cleared up the bloating and swelling that was almost a constant in my life for 2 years. This is certainly what sweet relief feels like.

Isn’t Fasting Hard?

Yes. But does that mean that it’s not worth doing? No. Of course not eating for an extended period of time isn’t easy, but that isn’t because you’re hungry, it’s because of your mental addictions to food. It’s interesting because we feel we need to eat, but most of us don’t really realize just how addicted to food we really are because it is not only a HUGE part of our culture, but we need to eat to survive. Not until you go without food do these addictions become apparent.

Fasting is a way to not only clear out the body and give the digestive system a break, but it also is great for clearing out the mind. It’s amazing how clear the head is when there is nothing in the system, no stimulants or any other distractions. I found I became a lot more aware of my emotions as well. When something comes up, and you have no escape – in the form of food or anything else, you are forced to sit with it and feel it. That was a very interesting experience throughout this whole thing as well.

I realized that we have a lot of preconceived ideas about food, we believe that we need a certain amount to be healthy, but I strongly believe that if we just tune into our body, give it what it needs, and give our digestive system a break from time to time, we will be fine. The idea of stuffing our faces with 3 large meals a day seems absurd to me, and things like intermittent fasting actually make a lot more sense.

Is Fasting For You?

I strongly believe fasting is something everyone can benefit from. But if you are suffering from any digestive health issues, then you especially could benefit from fasting. There are certain ways to go about it, however, and it is important to do adequate research and choose a method that is suited towards your needs and works for you.

 

ED vs. EL-a repost: Contraceptive drugs are turning fish into transgenders

My loved ones and those who know me are shocked that I don’t eat any meat of any kind. “Not even fish?” They ask me. “Nope,” I respond. Definitely not after reading this.
If they knew this information, I guarantee they wouldn’t eat fish as well.
I take that back.
They’d still it eat! They’d pray to God before consuming the trash hoping that he (or she) will protect them from their ignorance.
(Sigh)

 

Article posted on Natural News (click link for original)
Image: Confirmed: Contraceptive drugs are turning fish into transgenders

By Amy Goodrich

Despite the evidence suggesting that there are many possible dangers associated with birth control drugs, an estimated 12 million women in the United States take an oral contraceptive, commonly referred to as “the pill,” to prevent pregnancy.

While birth control pills are convenient and, for the most part, effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies, they are not only harming the human body, they are also having a severe impact on the environment. Due to pollution and overuse of chemicals and drugs, a mix of endocrine disruptors is entering rivers via toxic waste and rain water at an alarming rate.

Professor Charles Tyler, a leading eco-toxicologist from the University of Exeter in Britain, and colleagues discovered that chemicals found in contraceptives and common household products (including by-products of cleaning agents, plastics, and cosmetics) that are flushed down the drain are giving rise to transgender or intersex fish in British rivers.

Their data showed that one fifth (or 20 percent) of male river fish, coming from 50 different sites, were displaying more feminine traits and some were even producing eggs in their testicles. The team also reported that the intersex fish were less aggressive and had a lower sperm count. All these factors combined made them less competitive, reducing their chances to breed successfully. Furthermore, offspring of transgender fish can be more sensitive to the effects of toxic exposure.

The research identified more than 200 chemicals

Tyler recently gave a keynote speech on the topic of transgender fish at the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society in the British Isles at Exeter University, which was held at the beginning of July.

Tyler’s key findings originate from a 2008 research projectRoach, Sex, and Gender-Bending Chemicals: The Feminization of Wild Fish in English Rivers — he was involved in. During the study, the team identified more than 200 chemicals in river water.

Next to estrogen-like drugs, known to mess up the endocrine or hormonal system, the researchers also discovered other drugs, such as antidepressants, which could alter the fish’s natural behavior. Antidepressants have been shown to reduce the natural shyness of some fish species, making them more vulnerable to predators. Furthermore, the team also noted that estrogen found in some plastics may affect the valves in the heart.

“It all depends how feminized they become. If they are moderately to severely feminized, they are compromised as individuals and they really struggle to pass on their genes,” Tyler said. “One thing scientists are becoming much, much more conscious of now … is wildlife populations are exposed to a combination of stresses,” he added.

RT reported on a similar study from 2010 where researchers found that more than 80 percent of male bass fish in the Potomac River in Washington DC exhibited female traits, including eggs in their testicles.

A call for stricter regulations

The chemicals causing these effects are often flushed down the toilet without giving a second thought. Chemicals in contraceptives, cleaning products, and other household products not only threaten our health but that of the environment too. Therefore, Tyler called for better regulations and a ban on certain chemicals.

“It’s blindingly obvious when you stick a poison out and it kills something. It’s an incredibly difficult challenge to understand sub-lethal effects and how these things affect behavior,” Tyler said. “If we get sufficient evidence indicating there’s a high likelihood of a population effect, perhaps we need to be more proactive about restricting … or banning these chemicals,” he added.

The Folly of Sports Pt. 5 -a repost: Why It’s a Problem When NBA Stars Take Less Money Than They’re Worth

(This is a continuation of my The Folly of Sports series)

Article posted on TheRinger.com (click link for original)

By Michael Baumann

On Thursday, Dirk Nowitzki, the NBA’s active leader in games and minutes played, points, free throws, and defensive rebounds, re-signed with the Dallas Mavericks for $10 million over two years. Compared to Nowitzki’s $25 million team option for 2017–18, which Dallas declined, it’s a huge haircut for the future Hall of Famer, but Nowitzki is 39 years old and coming off a season in which he played fewer minutes per game (and fewer games overall), scored fewer points per game, and attempted fewer shots per game than he had in any season since his rookie year. Nowitzki is certainly on the decline, and far from his MVP form of a decade ago.

Still, Nowitzki will make less over his two-year deal than free-agent bench guy Amir Johnson will make with the Sixers next season alone. He’ll make $8 million less per year than Joe Ingles (career high 7.1 PPG in his age-29 season last year), less than half as much as Zach Randolph, who’s almost as old as Nowitzki, and only a half-million per year more than Justin — not Jrue, Justin — Holiday. But this deal keeps him with the only NBA franchise he’s ever played for, and Nowitzki has already made over a quarter of a billion dollars in salary over his career. While some might question the wisdom of taking an 80 percent pay cut to keep living in Texas and playing for a lottery-bound club, he’s a grown-up and can do what he likes.

Like Golden State’s Kevin Durant, who’s fresh off a $10 million pay cut of his own, Nowitzki can do whatever he likes, but that doesn’t make it admirable.

The putative reason Durant took less money to stay with the Warriors was so that money could be redistributed to his teammates and strengthen the team’s roster. To Golden State’s credit, that’s happened: Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala got pay bumps, and Nick Young, the NBA’s god of folly, came up the coast from the Lakers at a cost of $5.2 million. The rules that govern NBA salaries and transactions are Byzantine to say the least — just look at all the shifting pieces behind Chris Paul’s move to the Rockets from the Clippers — but in short, Durant’s pay cut didn’t make the Livingston and Iguodala extensions possible, it made them cheaper, both in terms of the Warriors’ overall salary outlay and in terms of their luxury tax bill. Warriors ownership, led by venture capitalist Joe Lacob, could have paid Durant, Livingston, and Iguodala and just gone deeper into the luxury tax, but they chose not to. (Maybe Young doesn’t come over as the team’s midlevel exception if Durant takes the max, but I don’t think Swaggy P is going to be what puts the Warriors over the top in 2017–18.)

Meanwhile, the Mavericks, who finished 11th in the Western Conference last season, are almost certainly not going to make the playoffs this season, and have thus far failed to attract any notable free agents. That shouldn’t be Nowitzki’s problem, anyway; his job is to use his arsenal of YMCA dad moves to score points, not assemble a competitive roster.

But as The Ringer’s Danny Chau wrote when Durant first signed, “Durant’s decision makes it painfully clear that it will always be the players who have to make ‘sacrifices,’ never the owners.”

On the grand scale of global economic injustice, Durant making $25 million next year and not $34.5 million isn’t even a drop in the bucket. Since time immemorial, people have complained about how much athletes get paid, and to be totally frank, those complaints aren’t without merit. Durant is a godlike basketball figure, a former league MVP, last year’s Finals MVP, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a four-time scoring champion, and an eight-time All-Star. Countless millions of people, including me, love watching him play basketball, and while there’s great value in entertaining the public, he’s not healing the sick, teaching people to read, or performing any function that’s strictly essential to society as we know it. On some level, Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler’s much-pilloried take about Steph Curry (who is himself underpaid according to LeBron James’s treatise on the intersection of basketball and the labor theory of value) making the equivalent of 1,000 schoolteachers’ salaries is spot-on. We probably would be better off if we took $40 million from either Lacob or Curry and spent it on teachers.

Of course, that’s not the choice Durant or Nowitzki made. In an egalitarian utopia, sports teams would be public utilities, like a parks department or a library system, provided by a city for the emotional and intellectual well-being of its citizens. Sports teams are essentially civic institutions now anyway, and average people take great pride in their success, to the point where we root for the institution, sometimes — specifically when it comes to salary negotiations — against the individual athletes who make it successful.

Sports owners have co-opted that civic pride and are squeezing not only their workers but us fans. Civic pride causes us to support “Dallas” or “Golden State” or “New York,” but sports owners, who will charge you $11 for beer because they can, have insinuated themselves into that relationship, to their great profit. It’s perverse, but predictable in a society that’s so devoutly capitalist that politicians run as “pro-business” (as opposed to “pro-people”) and we vote for them by the tens of millions.

Make no mistake, the Warriors aren’t a public utility, but a for-profit business, so their labor savings here aren’t being passed on to the consumer. The average Warriors ticket — in the Bay Area, the Xibalba of Gentrification — cost 69 percent more in 2015–16 than it did the year before. Now that Durant’s taking a pay cut, Lacob’s organization is raising the cost of season tickets 16.9 percent in 2017–18. As little as $10 million means to Durant, or $20 million to Nowitzki, it means even less to Lacob and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

So we, the fans, the citizens who buy tickets and jerseys and overpriced hot dogs and pay the taxes that fund arena construction, aren’t getting that money back, whether in cash or in the way we would with parks or libraries or higher teacher salaries — short of worldwide proletarian revolution. It’s either going to Durant and Nowitzki, who are what make basketball compelling, or the owners, whose function in society is to turn millions of dollars into billions of dollars.

Without players, the owners would have no product at all. Without owners, players would have to hire their own administrative and marketing arms, which probably wouldn’t cost anywhere near the 50 percent of basketball-related revenue the owners get. I like watching Durant and Nowitzki play basketball, but I don’t know what function owners serve that couldn’t be filled more cheaply and effectively by hired-gun administrators in a league owned by the players. Meanwhile, Lacob is a venture capitalist. Cuban is a relic of the dot-com bubble turned reality television heel. Cuban sometimes veers into taking the title “owner” too literally, while Lacob has a weird relationship with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but they’re relatively benign as billionaires go. For as much as Durant and Nowitzki aren’t healing the sick, though, Lacob and Cuban don’t even make you smile — unless you’re a fan of Shark Tank or throwing money at a 3-D orthodontics company.

That’s more than you could say for Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, who as the former CEO of Microsoft was complicit in making Internet Explorer your default web browser, even though it doesn’t work that well. Some NBA owners, like the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss and the Knicks’ James Dolan, did nothing more to deserve their billion-dollar piece of the basketball pie than being born into the right family.

Other NBA owners actively, often primarily, profit from the immiseration of working people. Bucks owner Wes Edens is either a “subprime scion” if you read the New York Post or the “king of subprime lending” if you read the Wall Street Journal. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander owns a stake in a for-profit student loan company. Richard DeVos, the nonagenarian owner of the Orlando Magic, made his fortune running a pyramid scheme and funds organizations that fight against LGBT rights. Dan Gilbert, the typographically creative owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers — last seen standing athwart the boneheaded double of anointing the inexperienced Chauncey Billups to run his organization, then lowballing the TV commentator into turning the gig down — rode into his native Detroit on a white horse, promising to alleviate the urban blight that his company, Quicken Loans, had been instrumental in creating.

The players aren’t blameless. Many of them, most notably Michael Jordan, who crossed over and bought the Charlotte Hornets, see themselves as tycoons in the making, not laborers. In other words, they see ownership as role models, not the people keeping them down. Under the leadership of Chris Paul, the players’ union has fought for provisions like the supermax contract (which benefits superstars and teams) instead of using that negotiating capital to go after something, like abolishing the draft or restricted free agency, or even a higher percentage of revenue, that would have been a greater benefit to the union’s poorest members. Even among workers, the rich exploit the poor.

After all, Durant and Nowitzki could have demanded to be paid what they’re worth. Nowitzki in particular, as the immensely popular face of a franchise that’s treading water, is the rare athlete who could win the PR battle in a contract dispute against the abrasive Cuban.

Perhaps Nowitzki and the Mavericks have a handshake deal regarding Nowitzki’s post-basketball career, but a sinecure special assistant to the GM role likely wouldn’t pay $10 million a year — even if the whole arrangement didn’t smack of cap circumvention. And sure, being close to Silicon Valley helps Durant network with the business leaders he might one day hope to become, though in the age of videoconferencing and private jets, physical location matters much less than it used to. Durant was a global icon when he played in Oklahoma City, after all. And though it’s been said that both Nowitzki and Durant could make their money back through endorsements, Nowitzki has famously eschewed endorsement deals, except for his Nike contract, and it doesn’t matter if Durant makes the money back through endorsements. Why couldn’t he have signed the bigger deal and still garnered all the same endorsements?

Besides, a couple of lost millions for super-rich athletes aren’t the real problem here.

In today’s American labor culture, demanding to be paid the value of your labor is frequently painted as “not being a team player,” which is a cardinal sin for a team sport athlete. Athletes are trained not only to play a game, but to be obedient and to respect people in power just because they’re powerful, and regardless of whether they’re shown the same respect in return. When Durant or Nowitzki — themselves both worth hundreds of millions of dollars — gets mesmerized by that power, it’s not a huge deal. But when the lessons of those relationships get translated to ordinary worker-employer relationships, it is. When was the last time your boss used the phrase “be a team player” and gave you good news? Why should you sacrifice for your employer?

Suffice it to say, I’d rather the odd $10 million go to the players, and not the owners. And unless you’re in the business of ripping off housewives or saddling college kids with lifelong debt or kicking people out of their homes, so should you.

Did You Know?- a repost: Congo, my Precious: The Curse of the Coltan Mines in the Congo

Thank these people for our ability to talk on our cellphones, or the use of our laptops, or any of our electronics that are wireless that we use daily. Blood has been literally shed for our ability to indulge in modern technology.

Please spare fifty-two minutes and check out the video. Very eye-opening.

(via Tales of the Conspiratum)

The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries. A wide range of rare minerals can be found here in abundance, all commanding high prices in world commodity markets. Diamonds for jewellery, tantalum, tungsten and gold for electronics; uranium used in power generation and weaponry and many others. Congo has copious deposits of raw materials that are in high demand internationally but remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

From colonisation, with the horrors of slavery and other atrocities, to a turbulent and equally brutal present in which militant groups control the mines, Congo’s richness in natural resources has brought nothing but misery. Referred to as “conflict minerals”, these riches leave only a trail of death, destruction and poverty.

Under Belgian rule, Congolese labourers were often required to meet quotas when mining different minerals. Failure could mean punishment by having a hand cut off with a machete. The country gained independence in 1960, but that didn’t put a stop to slave and child labour or to crimes being committed to extract and exploit the minerals. Warring militant fractions from inside the country and beyond seized control of mines for their own benefit while terrorising local populations.

For our translator, Bernard Kalume Buleri, his country’s history of turmoil is very personal; like most Congolese people, he and his family fell victim to the unending mineral based power struggle. Born in the year of his country’s independence, he has lived through war and seen his homeland torn apart by violent looting and greed. His story is a damning testament, illustrating how nature’s bounty, instead of being a blessing, becomes a deadly curse.

 

Watch more on illegal mining:  https://rtd.rt.com/tags/illegal-mining/

 

 

a repost: “The African Disillusions of My Youth” , from the blog MINDSIGHTCOLLECTIVE

This is a powerful poem you must read!!!

 

I am an African who had their scales fall from their eyes Traumatised from the revelation behind their lies Of “You can be anything you want to be” And “Follow your dreams”; I mean, look what happened to Dr King Follwing those smooth slithering serpents’ doctrines. While I’m climbing on the rough side of this […]

via The African Disillusions of My Youth — MINDSIGHTCOLLECTIVE

ED vs. EL- repost: Why You Can Eat Bread In Europe But Not In The United States

Maybe you once struggled with joint and muscle pain, or perhaps chronic bloating or diarrhea. Perhaps you used to feel fatigued all the time. Everybody you knew was talking about going “gluten free,” and said how much better they felt when they did. But you hesitated—after all, bread is delicious! Could you really go the rest of your life without eating “real” pasta or pizza crusts or fresh-baked bread? You Googled it and found that all kinds of “reputable” sources said gluten sensitivity wasn’t real.

But still… could everyone you knew be wrong?

At last you just tried it, and you were amazed at how much better you felt without gluten as a staple in your diet. But that still didn’t totally make sense to you. Our ancestors have been eating wheat for thousands of years, after all! 

Then maybe you went on vacation in Europe, and thought, what the heck… I’m going to eat what I want. It’s vacation! To your surprise, the Italian pasta and the French pastries caused you no problems whatsoever. You wondered if maybe you’d imagined gluten sensitivity after all… until you came back to the States and tried to maintain your new diet. Quickly, all the old symptoms returned.

So are you allergic to gluten, or aren’t you?

I’d heard this story many times from my patients before it happened to me personally. Bread is one of my favorite things, but I learned the hard way that eating gluten makes my gut very unhappy. It’s just not worth it. Yet while vacationing in Southern Ireland, the hearty brown bread served at nearly every meal looked too good to pass up. I ate it at every opportunity (it was vacation, after all)… and I felt just fine. But when I tried to eat the brown bread in Northern Ireland (part of the UK), I felt sick again. We crossed over to Southern Ireland again (part of Europe): no problems. Then in the States: sick again.

After investigating this upon my return, I found that there are three main possible causes of the disparity between gluten in the US (and the UK potentially), and gluten in Europe.

Differences in Gluten Abroad vs At Home

  • Wheat has higher gluten content in the States than in Europe. In the states, our wheat is roughly 15% gluten. In Europe, it’s more like 10%.
  • Conventional wheat in the US is often soaked in Round-Up prior to harvesting. Round-Up, the pesticide at the center of the GMO controversy, contains the active ingredient glyphosate. This acts as a pesticide by perforating the intestines of insects. While Monsanto, the parent company, claims that ingestion by humans is safe, the data suggests that it leads to inflammatory diseases as well as gluten sensitivity specifically. In Europe, while Round-Up is not completely prohibited, usage is far more restricted.
  • Cooking with buttermilk. I noticed many European bread recipes call for buttermilk. Buttermilk is made from introducing lactic acid bacteria to milk, which ferments the lactose into lactic acid. Lactic acid serves to break down the gluten protein, rendering the gluten content in the bread lower than it might be with other ingredients. This is the same reason why gluten sensitive individuals can often consume sourdough bread without a problem.

Can You Have Your Bread (and Eat It Too?)

If you are gluten sensitive (not Celiac) in the US, but you don’t want to move to Europe OR give up your bread, here are a few approaches to try.

  1. Choose 100% Sourdough. As mentioned here, sourdough pre-digests the gluten protein for you, so that most people who are gluten sensitive can eat sourdough bread without a problem. If you buy sourdough from the grocery, though, it’s likely been mixed with regular flour. The safest way to do it is to buy a sourdough starter and make your own.
  2. Choose sprouted grains. The sprouting process also breaks down the gluten proteins. It does not render the bread completely gluten free, but it does lower the gluten content enough that some people who are gluten intolerant can eat it without a problem. It is possible to sprout your own grains, or you can choose some of the sprouted brands already on the market.
  3. Choose organic wheat. The organic label means non-GMO, and no synthetic pesticides. This is a good way to avoid the Round-Up content in your wheat. While you’re at it, consider baking recipes that include buttermilk as well.

ED vs EL- repost: Were Those Who Roamed The Earth Before Us Nearly All Vegetarian?

Article was posted on Collective Evolution (click link for original)

 

By Arjun Walia

 

*The title of this article was inspired by a guest post written for Scientific American

If you’re considering a vegan/vegetarian diet, modern day science is showing that it is completely natural, and that our bodies our totally capable of sustaining one. In fact, a lot of evidence is showing that a vegan/vegetarian diet (if done correctly) can have a tremendous amount of health benefits.

“Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source)

You can find out more information about that (to start you off on your research) here.

Whether you subscribe to the theory of evolution, or creationism, a bit of both, or anything else it, is irrelevant to this article. This article does not go into these complexities as that is an entirely different subject, with lots of information, examination and factors to consider.

There is still much we don’t understand and, the connection between humans and what we refer to as our ‘ancestors’ isn’t solid enough to regard it as truth. Evolution is real, and can be seen throughout nature, but the human connection to it is still a mystery.

It’s no secret that human beings do not require meat to survive and live a healthy lifestyle. In fact, large amounts of research now suggests that a vegetarian diet is actually a healthier option as opposed to eating meat, or what is commonly referred to as the “Paleo Diet.” (source)(source)(source) Whether you believe this or not, you do not need meat to live a healthy lifestyle and get all of the nutrients you need.

The general gist of the Paleo Diet, also known as the “caveman diet,” the “Stone Age diet” or the “hunter-Gatherer diet” is based on the idea that if our ancestors who lived in the Palaeolithic era -a period lasting approximately 2.5 million years that ended about 10,000 years ago -ate it, then we should be doing the same.

What advocates of this diet -and those who often point towards our ancestors as justification for eating meat -fail to realize is that scientists and researchers have not been able to pinpoint with one hundred percent certainty what our ancestors really ate, and how often they ate it.

The belief that our ancestors exclusively consumed meat is completely false, and a great example of how many can believe a theory, or have a belief system and accept it as absolute fact when there is evidence to the contrary.

The majority of the food eaten by primates is plant-based, not animal, and there is research suggesting that it’s been that way for a long time. Our ancestors were clearly not the meat-eating caveman that they are so often portrayed to be, and even if they did eat meat, that doesn’t mean that we are genetically wired to do the same:

“It’s difficult to comment on ‘the best diet’ for modern humans because there have been and are so many different yet successful diets in our species. Because some hunter-getherer society obtained most of their dietary energy from wild animal fat and protein does not imply that this is the ideal diet for modern humans, nor does it imply that modern humans have genetic adaptations to such diets.”  – Katherine Milton, anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley (source)

Today, there are a number of papers that’ve been published -in peer-reviewed scientific journals -that have analyzed the diets of a variety of ancient hominin species by looking at their fossilized teeth. These findings have shown that human ancestors ate far more plant material than what was previously suspected.

One study, for example, analyzed the diet of Neanderthals (who are closely related to human beings), a species that disappeared sometime between 20,000 and 24,000 years ago. Up until a few years ago it was believed that their diet consisted predominantly of meat, but this all changed when a large amount (and growing) body of evidence emerged suggesting that their diet also included a variety of plants. The researchers also offered evidence that these plants were also used for medicinal purposes. (source)

Another team of researchers published a study in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology which stated:

“We are suggesting that animal proteins would be less important overall and that’s particularly true for interpretations of Neolithic farmers. What that would mean is that they are having more of a balance of animal and plant protein in their diet, suggestive of a mixed existence strategy.” (source)

A Scientific American Blog Post

An article by Rob Dunn written for Scientific American by titled “Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians“, goes into great detail about this issue, from an evolutionary perspective, brining up multiple details and points about how our guts might be evolved to stick to a vegetarian diet, with perhaps the occasional piece of meat here and there as a rare treat.

“So what do other living primates eat, the ones with guts mostly like ours, eat? The diets of nearly all monkeys and apes (except the leaf-eaters) are composed of fruits, nuts, leaves, insects, and sometimes the odd snack of a bird or a lizard (see more about chimpanzees). Most primates have the capacity for eating sugary fruit, the capacity for eating leaves and the capacity for eating meat. But meat is a rare treat, if eaten at all. Sure, chimpanzees sometimes kill and devour a baby monkey, but the proportion of the diet of the average chimpanzee composed of meat is small. And chimps eat more mammal meat than any of the other apes or any of the monkeys. The majority of the food consumed by primates today–and every indication is for the last thirty million years–is vegetable, not animal. Plants are what our apey and even earlier ancestors ate; they were our paleo diet for most of the last thirty million years during which our bodies, and our guts in particular, were evolving. In other words, there is very little evidence that our guts are terribly special and the job of a generalist primate gut is primarily to eat pieces of plants. We have special immune systems, special brains, even special hands, but our guts are ordinary and for tens of millions of years those ordinary guts have tended to be filled with fruit, leaves, and the occasional delicacy of a raw hummingbird.” (source)

He also goes on to show evidence for the fact that our bodies might not have really been designed to eat meat, but rather evolved and developed in order to eat and digest meat. It’s kind of like Milk, and why most of the world is lactose intolerant.

Every other species weans and then never drinks milk again for the rest of their lives, and because of that they don’t have an enzyme to break down the sugar in milk. But during human evolution, some humans experienced a mutation in the LTC gene, the lactase gene, these mutations allow us to process lactose as adults. With approximately 65- 75 percent percent of humans on the planet unable to properly process it, it is evidence enough that we are not doing what is natural and in accordance with our bodies. You can read more about this in detail HERE. 

A Very Brief Dietary History of Human Ancestors & ‘Relatives’

“For a long time, primates stuck by the old restaurants –leaves and fruits –and by 3.5 million years ago, they started exploring new diet possibilities –tropical grasses and sedges –that grazing animals discovered a long time before, about 10 million years ago” – University of Utah geochemist Thure Cerling (source)

Since Cerling has published some of the most recent work in this field, I thought it would be a good idea to go with his very brief historical account of the history of our ancestral diet:

Previous research showed that 4.4 million years ago in Ethiopia, early human relative Ardipithecus ramidus (“Ardi”) ate mostly C3 leaves and fruits.

– About 4.2 million to 4 million years ago on the Kenyan side of the Turkana Basin, one of Cerling’s new studies shows that human ancestor Australopithecus anamensis ate at least 90 percent leaves and fruits – the same diet as modern chimps.

– By 3.4 million years ago in northeast Ethiopia’s Awash Basin, according to Wynn’s study, Australopithecus afarensis were eating significant amounts of C4 grasses and sedges: 22 percent on average, but with a wide range among individuals of anywhere from 0 percent to 69 percent grasses and sedges. The species also ate some succulent plants. Wynn says that switch “documents a transformational stage in our ecological history.” Many scientists previously believed A. afarensis had an ape-like C3 diet. It remains a mystery why A. afarensis expanded its menu to C4 grasses when its likely ancestor, A. anamensis, did not, although both inhabited savanna habitats.

– 3.4 million years ago in Turkana, human relative Kenyanthropus platyops had switched to a highly varied diet of both C3 trees and shrubs, and C4 grasses and sedges. The average was 40 percent grasses and sedges, but individuals varied widely, eating anywhere from 5 percent to 65 percent.

– About 2.7 million to 2.1 million years ago in southern Africa, hominins Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus ate tree and shrub foods, but also ate grasses and sedges and perhaps grazing animals. A africanus averaged 50 percent C4 grass-sedge-based foods, but individuals ranged from 0 to 80 percent. P. robustus averaged 30 percent grasses-sedges, but ranged from 20 percent to 50 percent.

– By 2 million to 1.7 million years ago in Turkana, early humans, Homo, ate a 35 percent grass-and-sedge diet – some possibly from meat of grazing animals –while another hominin, Paranthropus boisei, was eating 75 percent grass –more than any hominin, according to a 2011 study by Cerling. Paranthropus likely was vegetarian. Homo had a mixed diet that likely included meat or insects that had eaten grasses. A drier climate may have made Homo and Paranthropus more reliant on C4 grasses.

– By 1.4 million years ago in Turkana, Homo had increased the proportion of grass-based food to 55 percent.

– Some 10,000 years ago in Turkana, Homo sapiens’ teeth reveal a diet split 50-50 between C3 trees and shrubs and C4 plants and likely meat –almost identical to the ratio in modern North Americans.

Modern Day Food Industry

Again, it’s clear when we examine the diet of those who roamed the Earth before us, that a large portion of their diet was  vegetarian, and as outlined, possibly one hundred percent vegetarian for some individuals. One thing is for certain, it was not all predominately meat. So ask yourself, when did the notion of the “cave man” diet become such a backbone for people to use as justification for eating meat? Why do so many people believe that our ancestors ate so much meat, and that it’s all they ate?

The average North American diet today is one that involves ingesting what seems to be abnormal amounts of meat, on a daily basis. Even if our ancestors did consume meat, they did not consume it on a daily basis. In fact, there is evidence suggesting that those who lived in the “hunter gatherer” period went very long periods without eating at all. This – as pointed out by Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University – is precisely why our bodies have evolved to go long periods of time without food, and why intermittent fasting is now a healthy practice with a tremendous amounts of health benefits. (source) You can read more about fasting here.

As for the modern day meat industry, billions of animals are killed every year for food consumption alone. They are being raised to be slaughtered, injected with various chemicals, mistreated and more. They are also roaming in pesticides and fed GMO feed (which studies have shown to be detrimental to human and animal health, something we’ve written about in depth and provided evidence for on our website).

Our modern day food industry is one that is full of harmful substances, chemicals and other artificial ingredients that are making many wonder how we can even call it “food” anymore.

We still have a long way to go and lots of work to do if we want to become a healthy species again, something we are far from achieving.

The Health Science Says About A Meat Free Diet

Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source)

The science regarding a meat free diet is also showing that human beings might not be build to eat it. For the sake of shortening this read, I’m going to link some previous heavily sourced articles that go into more detail.

The Heart Disease Rates of Meat Easters Compared To Vegetarians/Vegans

9 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat 

Plant-Based Protein vs. Protein From Meat. Which One Is Better For Your Body? 

Be sure to check out those articles for a brief glimpse of what I mean. Before you do, you can check out a snippet of an interview below with Michelle McMacken. She’s an internal medicine physician, Assistant Professor of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine Director, Bellevue Hospital Weight Management Clinic. It’s one of the largest safety-net hospitals in New York City.