A Conversation between Bill Gates Sr. and Howard Davies [Audio]        
Speaker(s): Bill Gates Sr., Howard Davies | Bill Gates Sr., is a prominent lawyer, civil activist, and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is the author of Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime, a memoir that shares reflections on lessons from a lifetime of 'showing up' - lessons he learned growing up during the Great Depression, and that he instilled in his children and continues to practice on the world stage as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
          Ruminations on Leadership        
Last week I had the honor of serving as a mentor at the Eureka! Library Leadership Institute, sponsored by Infopeople and the State Library of California. Led by my two favorite leadership and organizational development gurus, John Shannon and Becky Schreiber, this was an intense six day program designed to help newer members of the profession understand their own attitudes and aptitudes for leadership.

One of the themes that came out repeatedly during the week was the importance of the role of the directors and managers of these new library workers (some with MLS degrees, others without). The people who felt they had some level of control over their work, who felt like they were using all their talents in what they do, and who felt supported by upper management, tended to be much more optimistic and much likely to want to continue in the profession.

This idea was borne out in a recent study conducted by Education Week, Public Agenda, and Learning Point Associates, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Joyce Foundation. (Full disclosure: I'm the current chair of the Learning Point Associates Board of Trustees.) The report showed that fully 40% of America's classroom teachers are "disheartened." One of the leading characteristics of these disheartened teachers is the lack of support they feel from their principals and administrators.

Do we want 40% burn out --- or worse --- in the library profession? I don't think so, and I know the people who use our libraries don't want to see that. (I'll let you insert here the places you are forced to visit where the staff are less than enthusiastic about their work, and how that experience makes you feel.)

Joan Frye Williams and I did a program for the ASCLA President's program at ALA in Chicago about "Revitalizing the Library Experience." In fact, we'll be doing a slightly revised version of this as a webinar for Infopeople next month. But somehow, I think we may also have to think long and hard about revitalizing the library worker's experience. How can we get beyond empowerment to creativity? How can we be focused on getting to "yes," instead of defaulting to "no?" Where are the opportunities to allow every library worker to shine? How can branch managers, department heads, and directors support their staff when they're right, and help them learn, productively and without recriminations, when they're wrong?

Tough questions, but if this stuff were easy, they wouldn't have to pay us, right?
          Free University Credits Given Away in MOOCville         
Well, hello there. Good to see you again!

I've been away from MOOCville for a month, and you all know the old saying, "When the CAT is away the MOOCs will play." (Not sure what CAT stands for - maybe 'cagey ancient teacher' or 'covert anti-technocrat'??') So let's catch up. Today I'll focus on MOOCs for Credit.

More colleges are offering actual bankable credits for MOOCs.  The Baltimore Sun reports that the University of Maryland's University College will accept some MOOCs for college credit. This move is part of a broader study, funded by the Gates Foundation, to discover how students using MOOCs instead of conventional courses will do in further education.The courses will include those already approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) as equivalent to college courses. The students will earn their credits in two ways: (i) by earning verified certificates by taking proctored exams (trhe Coursera Signature Level concept), or (ii) by undergoing 'rigorous prior learning assessment' - essentially testing out - at the UMUC campus.  ACE is, not surprisingly, a partner in the study. UMUC has been offering college credits for life experience for forty years and this is a very natural - one might say inevitable - extension of that effort.

UMUC has been a leader in offering programs for adult and 'non-traditional students. If they can offer credit for diverse work experiences of undocumented relevance for academic growth, why not for actual courses certified by the appropriate body as equivalent to college courses. And if UMUC makes this move, what is to stop other colleges and universities from following? In fact, the acceptance of MOOCs for credit is certain to become a marketing move that other providers will find it difficult to resist. Students will demand to know why schools they are considering refuse to accept these courses, and instead force them to pay ever-increasing tuition fees for the same courses. And they won't belly up if they find good alternatives.

The take-away: the "MOOCs for Credit" trend is unstoppable.

MOOC-based credits as a marketing ploy. The University of Cincinnati has announced that it is offering 2 free credits for students participating in its MOOC, "Innovation and Design Thinking," - for students who gain the certificate of learning and then apply and are admitted to the University's Lindner College of Business. This goes one step further than a development announced by Temple University in Philadelphia (truth in advertising - Temple is my home base) last month to permit students taking its introductory level business MOOCs to test out of the parallel courses and qualify for more advanced standing. In the Temple move, the students do not save anything on their tuition payments but get to graduate with more advanced level courses for the same price. On the Cincinnati gambit the students instead get bankable credits and can thus graduate earlier and at less cost. It will be interesting to see which of these models (or both, or neither) catches on.

Takeaway: Universities will continue to invent and experiment with various alternatives in using MOOCs to make their programs appealing to cost-conscious students.   

          If MOOCs Are (or Are Not) the Solution, What Is The Problem?        
Steve Kolowich writes in yesterday's Chronicle of Higher Education that MOOCs may not be the disruptive technology they are being hyped to be. He notes that many recent attempts to translate MOOC certificates into college credits have crashed.

California bill SB 520, introduced in May, which would have required public universities in the state to grant credits for designated MOOCs, was first de-fanged - a successful amendment restored to the universities to power to accept or reject the MOOC certificates as they chose - and then withdrawn. Its sponsor, state senate leader Darrell Steinberg, gave in when the universities agreed to expand their on-line offerings.

Kolowich offers several similar examples, and concludes that political, regulatory, administrative and faculty barriers to credit for MOOCs have proven to be quite high. Nonetheless, Russell Poulin of The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Cooperation in Educational Technology states that "Credits are the coin of the academic realm, and if that's where the coins are, these companies (the MOOC platforms) are going to drive there." Kolowich concludes that "given the institutional monopoly on credit granting privileges" MOOCs will be "catering to colleges rather than attempting to undermine them."

Sebastian Thrun of Udacity seems to agree with this assessment. He has actively been forging partnerships with universities to generate credits for Udacity's MOOCs, saying that a learning medium where only web-savvy, highly motivated people sign up and only 10% succeed "doesn't strike me quite yet a solution to the problems of higher education."

This raises an interesting question: If MOOCs are (or are not) the solution, just what IS the problem?

We might define the problem in terms of the need for affordable yet effective universal higher education. If that is the problem, the recent crash of the San Jose State University use of MOOCs to teach remedial math could be seen as a serious setback. (For those not familiar with this episode, SJSU partnered with Udacity, with Gates Foundation funding, to pilot a MOOC for developmental courses. In a follow up study it was revealed that 74% of the students in the face to face group passed, compared to only 51% in the MOOC. In the aftermath, SJSU put its MOOC efforts on hold.) Of course, it might also be argued that the results from this pilot effort cannot be generalized. The LA Times editorialized that the project was "practically a model of how to do online education badly . . .rushed into existence and sloppily overseen". But let us grant that if we are trying to educate the least prepared college students well at low cost, MOOCs are not the solution.  

But maybe that's not the real problem. Think of it this way. When only 20% of American 18 year olds possessed a high school diploma, the diploma meant something. It differentiated its holders from 80% of the population, and could be used as a job filter to reduce transaction (search and selection) costs for firms with jobs to offer. Today 77% of the age cohort receives a diploma. At that rate, the diploma can hardly serve as a proxy for high levels of knowledge or skill - even the GED is more demanding. And more to the point, it doesn't differentiate diploma holders from anyone who would compete for a job. As the rate of graduation increased, the socio-economic advantages of the high school diploma decreased. Today a person with high school but no further education is little better off than the high school drop out, and the differential continues to shrink every year.

 As a result of the high school diploma's failure as a filter, employers turned to the college diploma as a job filter. But as more and more people gain college diplomas, they too differentiate less and less. As a result the college diploma also becomes less and less valuable as a job filter - it no longer can be used to decrease transaction costs. Adding to the proportion of diploma holders by providing access to the least prepared students will only make the problem worse - like the high school diploma, the college diploma will lose all differentiating value. Employers are already in need of new, more effective filters than college diplomas.

And this is where MOOC certificates enter the picture. In the age of the Internet, individuals can make themselves visible on line through websites and blogs and videos and comprehensive digital portfolios, and employers can use search capabilities to locate them. And in today's rapidly changing economy, employers are more interested in specific and demonstrable capabilities than markers of a standardized level of knowledge such as college degrees.

So maybe Thrun is simply wrong. Maybe a  learning medium where only web-savvy, highly motivated people sign up and only 10% succeed is the precise solution to the problem of higher education. It provides the next job filter for the highly competitive global economy, an economy no longer capable of providing jobs for all college grads that seek them.

This transition from diploma-based to capabilities-based filters will take some time. But MOOC certificates, as elements of digital portfolios, will play an important role in the process - connecting those with highly specific knowledge and skill demonstrated through certificates to employers with matching needs. To track this transition, keep your eye on Coursera's expansion into the employment agency business.

          Bird Flu Is Back in China, but This Time It’s H7N9        
Flu season may be coming to an end in some parts of the world, but a new influenza virus harbored by birds may be starting its global assault. On Tuesday, China reported four more cases of infection with the H7N9 influenza virus, a type of bird flu, in the eastern Jiangsu province. These cases follow the first three reports of the disease on Sunday, from Shanghai and Anhui province. The two Shanghai patients have died, and the Anhui patient is in critical condition. Researchers are testing the flu strains isolated from the patients, and so far the World Health Organization (WHO) says the cases do not appear to be connected. According to Xinhua, 167 people have been in contact with the four most recently infected patients, but none of these individuals show symptoms of respiratory problems or fever, as the patients did when they fell ill. And so far, the WHO says there is no indication of human-to-human transmission. Before these cases, scientists said there were no reports of people being infected with H7N9, a less virulent form of bird flu, so investigators are still tracing the patients’ whereabouts to figure out how they were infected. All the infected individuals were sick with fevers and other flulike symptoms before being diagnosed, and only one of the patients appears to have been in direct contact with birds. (MORE: Scientists Push to Resume Research on Virulent Man-Made Flu Virus) The reports of new cases, which first bubbled up from the social-media network in China, could mean that the Chinese authorities are getting a better handle on the virus. “When you don’t look, you don’t find them, but when you look, you’ll find,” Dr. Ray Yip, a public-health expert who heads the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in China, told the Associated Press. “A lot of people get severe respiratory conditions, pneumonias, so you usually don’t test them. Now all of a sudden you get this new reported strain of flu and so people are going to submit more samples to test, [so] you’re more likely
          Grant from APLU/USU Assists Cleveland State in Driving Student Success        

Will fund expansion of University’s efforts to help individuals complete their degrees

Stop Out

Cleveland State University will partner with College Now Greater Cleveland to expand its award-winning student success initiatives, thanks to a $50,000 grant awarded by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU). The program, called (Re)Connecting to College, will work to identify individuals who have “stopped out” of college and help them address their financial and academic needs so they can return to school and complete their degrees. The grant is one of 12 awarded to public institutions across the country to advance university-community partnerships as a means to boost student success. The awards, known as Collaborative Opportunity Grants, support innovative approaches that link student success with an institution’s community engagement.

“People stop-out for many reasons and in many cases academic guidance and financial counseling can help them address their issue so they can return to school,” notes Peter Meiksins, vice provost for academic programs at CSU. “However, most universities do not have the time or resources to engage these individuals and provide the assistance they need. This grant will allow us to partner with College Now, a local non-profit focused on post-secondary attainment, to properly identify students who have stopped out, provide needed advice and support and get them back on the path to graduation.”

As part of the initiative, College Now advisors will reach out to students who have stopped out, identify the issues that led to them leaving school and then work to assist them in addressing those challenges. Students will then be referred to the CSU Transfer Center where they will receive help in addressing academic issues and mapping out a path to a degree. CSU is also seeking additional funding to further develop the initative and expand its reach.

The effort builds on CSU’s award-winning student success programs which have helped reduce the cost of earning an undergraduate degree by more than $3,000 annually and assisted in increasing graduation rates by 60 percent over the last five years. In honor of these accomplishments, CSU was awarded a 2015 Excellence and Innovation Award by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

“The public universities receiving these grants have undertaken efforts that represent a sea change in the way we think about student success,” said Shari Garmise, vice president of APLU’s Office of Urban Initiatives and Executive Director of USU. “For decades, institutions have applied a nearly singular focus on addressing academic hurdles students face once they’re enrolled. These institutions are saying that isn’t enough. We have to work with community partners to ensure students have the required resources to apply, the necessary instruction to be prepared for the rigor of college coursework, and the tools they need to thrive in the workforce and drive positive change in their communities.”

In July, representatives from Cleveland State and the 11 other universities awarded grants will convene in Washington, D.C. to strategize and collaborate on their initiatives. USU and APLU will disseminate key findings from the institutions’ work after the Collaborative Opportunity Grant program has concluded to help promote best practices that other public universities can adapt.

The 11 other institutions receiving grants include: California State University, Fresno; California State University, Northridge; California State University, Los Angeles; Fort Valley State University; Georgia State University; the University of California, Riverside; San Jose State University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Memphis; University of South Alabama; and University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The Collaborative Opportunity Grant program is supported with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

          The American Dream in Black and White        
A design approach to a just economy Within the international development community, there is a growing interest in the role that design can play in solving poverty and injustice. The Gates Foundation has commissioned a study to better understand how to integrate design thinking into its work, and a recent request for proposal from the
          Bill Gates Says Foundation Is His Life's Work, Will Offer 'Part Time' Help At Microsoft        
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, continuing to work with the software maker’s board in selecting a new CEO, says his philanthropic work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is where he will continue to devote “the biggest part of my time.” “My full-time work will be the foundation for the rest [...]
          Chris Blattman on Chickens, Cash, and Development Economics        

poverty%20chickens.jpg Chris Blattman of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether it's better to give poor Africans cash or chickens and the role of experiments in helping us figure out the answer. Along the way he discusses the importance of growth vs. smaller interventions and the state of development economics.

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Podcast Episode Highlights

Intro. [Recording date: June 12, 2017.]

Russ Roberts: Today's episode is a little strange. It starts with the fact that a while back you wrote--not so long ago--you wrote an open letter to Bill Gates, a very wealthy man, reacting to his idea of giving poor people chickens--poor people in Africa--as a way to escape poverty. That open letter of yours to Bill Gates prompted a response from Lant Pritchett. And so, I interviewed Lant about the topic of how do we help the poor. And inevitably some of your arguments and points came into the conversation. So, I want to get your side of the story today on some of those issues and more broadly and more generally on how we should think about development. Let's start with Bill Gates's original idea. What was he suggesting, and how did you respond to it?

Chris Blattman: So, Gates and the Gates Foundation have a lot of big ideas; and this includes driving down financial transaction costs and tackling serious diseases. And generally terrific programs. One idea that Bill Gates has floated a few times in the last year is the idea that chickens are the future for Africa: basically, that they are very poor people who don't have a lot of income, and they are basically scrounging around a subsistence [?]. And, if we could give them chickens, they they'd be able to raise them. They could eat them, of course. But more importantly, they could sell them or they could sell the eggs, and make some extra money. And, this would make them much less poor: maybe they earned $2/day; maybe now they'll earn $4/day. Who really knows? And he called this one of the best investments we could make. Which is probably true to some extent, except what was unusual about his idea is that he envisioned perhaps 30% of Africans. So, this would be 300 million people raising these chickens rather than the existing number, which is maybe 5% of Africans--so, maybe 15 million people, for argument's sake.

Russ Roberts: And, you wrote this open letter. What did you say in that letter?

Chris Blattman: Well, I mean, so, you know, we share a common premise is that one of the reasons people are very poor is that they don't have the opportunity to engage in business: that it's actually not so hard for a lot of people to go from earning $1 a day to earning $2 a day or $2-$4 a day, or $5-$10 a day by starting up a small enterprise; and that the main thing stopping them from doing this is they don't have any capital. If they had capital, they wouldn't be poor. So, they don't have a lot of cash; they don't have a lot of assets; they don't have productive assets. And that could be tools, it could be buildings to build things in; that could be the raw materials, and the skills to build these things. It could be animals. A cow is an asset, or a form of capital; a chicken, or a bunch of chickens is. So, they don't have these things; and they generally don't have access to borrowing. And so, if they get access to capital, you often see people leap ahead and start businesses. So, I think we share this idea. And chickens probably aren't a bad--they aren't a terrible investment. I guess I--before Bill Gates, who is one of the most influential people in development--writes influential development letters--I think it's important to try to correct some possible problems. One is that it's not clear that anyone's going to actually make money if you suddenly go from 15 million to 300 million Africans producing--I think I've actually got my numbers wrong, actually: I'm not doing division and multiplication in my head.

Russ Roberts: It doesn't matter. It's a big [?] increase. And we're pretty sure that--

Chris Blattman: Yeah, 33%--a third of Africa.

Russ Roberts: That could affect the price of eggs. You know. Hypothetically.

Chris Blattman: Yeah. You know. I was surprised he made this argument because he's a very smart guy and he understands economics. So, this isn't a crazy idea: If a third of Africans start producing chickens and eggs, that the price of chickens and eggs are going to fall pretty fast. And there's probably limits to how many chickens and eggs people can eat. So, that's--it just struck me as an odd idea. And if it was some other organization saying, 'We're going to do this,' then I sort of roll my eyes. But when Bill Gates says he's going to do it, there's a good chance he's really going to try, and maybe succeed. So, it's not the best--not everyone should invest in the same thing. And then, of all the things people could invest in, it's not clear to me--and I think there's a lot of evidence pointing to the idea that: Chickens are a fine investment. But they are not necessarily a great investment. And so, why were folks [?] on giving people chickens? I don't know.


Russ Roberts: But, I thought your real point was: If we gave them money, they'd be free to buy chickens if they wanted; or they could buy a piece of a cow [i.e., a share of a jointly-owned cow--Econlib Ed.]; or they could buy a hammer; or they could buy access to electricity--or whatever it is. And presumably, people have a pretty good idea of what they need relative to what you think they need. And, chickens just obviously--to me--we're going to get more deeply into the economics of this--but it's obvious that chickens is the wrong answer. Whatever the virtues of chickens are, it can't be the case that giving 300 million something is--it's going to be better to give them money. I'm pretty confident about that. Now, you could argue that if you give them money they are going to use it on gambling, or drinking, or partying, or whatever you think is the wrong use of the money; but, 'They can sell the chicken, come on! They can convert it into money.' So, this romance, I think, 'Chickens are the key to the future,' like plastics are in the movie, The Graduate--it's just--or computers in 1978--it does seem a bit naive for someone who is clearly not a naive person. You could think of it as symbolic. But I think your point was: We've had these debates--which is what I think we talked about in a previous episode about different ways to help people with small amounts. Obviously, if you give them 1000 chickens--one person a thousand chickens, and one person a thousand of something else, and another person a thousand of something else, maybe it would really change their lives. But if we're going to give micro-amounts, like 5 chickens, or 1 chicken, cash might be even better. And you and I are both kind of fans of cash. There are problems with cash. That's a different episode. That's not what we're talking about today. We all understand that cash has drawbacks, too. But, I think you proposed--what was interesting about your response to Gates was: 'Let's have a horse race,' to add another animal to the metaphor mix. 'Let's see whether chickens outperform cash.' Right? Wasn't that the thrust of your point?

Chris Blattman: Yeah. And the reason is, is because it may be like a deeper point. It's not about whether--there's lots of reasons cash could be better than chickens, and for the reasons you've just mentioned; and there's some risks, as well. Those are all--and we don't have to talk about--I think generally the picture looks pretty good for cash, and we don't have to talk about the details today. But, the deeper point is the problem with a lot of programs--given that we're already giving--a lot of aid is donor agencies and governments giving very poor people stuff. It's giving them skills-training. It's giving them chickens. It's giving them cash. It's giving them other forms of capital. It's giving them productive assets. Right? And I'm excluding all the stuff that's about public goods, and water, and health--these are huge and they are important. And we're going to set them aside because they are just a different kind of thing. A lot of assistance is giving poor people stuff to either eat or to turn into something they can eat. Meaning, they can start a small business with it. And that's what the training and the cows and the [?] and some of the cash are mainly for. So, the problem with most of these programs is everyone thinks about the numerator: What's the impact of this program? And nobody thinks about the denominator, which is: What's the cost of providing this program? And then, we sort of divide that to get some sort of return. And when we compare those things, if you ignore the fact that some of these programs are dramatically more costly than others to deliver, then even if one is more effective in terms of its impact, in terms of how big a business someone can grow, if it's also 10 times as costly, that's a problem. And this is the problem with chickens, in some sense, is: Somebody has to go and buy the chickens; and then deliver them to the people. Or, somebody has to go and hire a trainer and bring them to the village, to train people in whatever it is you want to train. Maybe it's raising chickens--this is often a big part of these chicken programs. But maybe it's something that's standalone, like how to start a business. Or something. So, this is a problem, because those people--all that labor and all that transport is really, really, really expensive. And these people are often in remote areas. They are very poor. Even if they are in an urban area and not that remote, they are earning so little that giving some reasonably middle-class person in that country to go off and buy the chickens and then deliver them, or deliver the training, or even get the training to go and deliver the chicken, is so costly that it totally outweighs any potential benefits that--maybe not totally, but it grossly outweighs a lot of the benefits. Such that, some of these programs--the studies that have looked at chickens and giving people chickens and cows and goats randomly pay off, but it takes something like 15 or 20 years before they cover the costs. Basically, the impact is as much as the program costs. And that's a lot.


Russ Roberts: But I also thought your main--and that's a great point. Those are great point. And they raise a separate issue we may come back to, which is: 'Hey, I know what you need. Here.' I alluded to that earlier. It's like, 'You need to learn how to make butter. Here, let me teach you. I'll give you some butter machinery.' There's a certain lack of appreciation for knowledge and how hard it is to understand how to impact a person's life, and the material versus spiritual, and [?]--

Chris Blattman: Well, one of the other things that's going on--I have a lot of friends in these organizations. My wife works for an international rescue committee. I've spent a lot of time working with these organizations. And one of the--if you put yourself in their shoes--first of all, you don't always know. And the thing is that you've seen a lot of programs where people get chickens without the training--because that seemed like a good idea. Or they just get cash. Like, you see a lot of examples where people fail. You don't know if everyone fails. You don't know how many people succeed. You know a lot of people fail. And we know this is true. Like, the big cash experiments I've done, others have done--at least half the people don't really move ahead as a result of this cash. They start a small enterprise and it fails. This is what business is. And that's hard to--you don't know if on balance people are succeeding or failing, especially when you just give them cash. At least with the chickens you can see something there. And you are really hesitant to let people fail. So, you want to do, you want to invest as much as possible in people to minimize the risk of failure, because they are in your circle. You see them, you care about them, you are responsible, you've done something to their lives and in some ways you are responsible. And you have the ability to continue to help them. And you don't see all these other people you are not helping. So, doubling or tripling or quadrupling or even further increasing the cost of a program--not to make them dramatically more successful but just to reduce their costs of failure--is really natural human instinct. Some people would say that's their responsibility; you could make a moral argument that that's appropriate. But I think that's what drives this cost up. So, it's easy for me to sort of, from afar, say, 'Well, I don't know any of these people. They are all strangers to me, and I'd rather see more people helped for less; and if some fail, that's going to happen anyways,' rather than just investing in a small number of people and trying to keep them from failing. But, if I were in their position--certainly when I raise my children I don't take that approach. And that's another extreme example, right? So, you know, I'm sympathetic. But as a small NGO--a small Non-Governmental Organization--you can afford to make your own moral choice about whether you help a lot of people a little bit and let them fail sometimes, or if you help just a few people and really foster them through. But if you are the U.S. Government Aid agency, or you are the Ugandan Bureau of blah-blah-blah that's in charge of this, in some sense you don't get to make that choice. In some sense, your responsibility, I think, is to help the most people.

Russ Roberts: But I also thought you are making a methodological point with Gates which is really interesting, which is: Well, maybe it will have a good impact; maybe it won't. Obviously if you sat down, if you and I had 30 minutes with Mr. Gates we'd say, 'Gee, 300 million is a big increase. Maybe that's going to have an unexpected effect on--you wouldn't want to generalize from the 5% who have chickens now to the 30% you'd like to have them.' And he'd nod, say that's a good point. But I think you are trying to say, 'Let's try to actually measure this. Let's try to actually see--let's learn something. Before we launch this enormous, grandiose experiment, let's do a pre-experiment where we try to see which is better. And we'd learn so much that we would be able to help people much more down the road, not just with your venture.' Is that a fair summary?

Chris Blattman: Yeah. This is actually--I make [?] this point sort of in general: If I go to--pick a country--if I go to Uganda or like Uruguay[?] or Colombia which are all places where I spend a lot of time or have spent a lot of time, you'll see that the government or the World Bank or somebody saying, 'All right, we have this $5 million, or $100 million, or $500 million dollar program that we're going to roll out over the next 5 years; and we've written the program manual and we [?] spend all that money doing x.' And x is quite specific. It might be like chickens. It might be job training. And then they just launch into it. And inevitably it fails, because, what are the chances that you ever get that formula right from the outset when you implement it? And so, 2 or 3 years in they redesign and they start figuring it out; and, they don't have a lot of sense of what's going on. Maybe then they run some evaluations or they turn to more of the evidence. And let's say they get a slightly better program for the last half of that 5-year program. Then, that's a lot of money wasted. And if it's a credit to that country, meaning it's a loan to that country, then some future taxpayer of that country has to pay that back. Which seems kind of tragic. Or it has to be forgiven--some future taxpayer of this country has to pay that back. And that just was all money that--you know, that could have been averted. And I, so every time I'm there, I'm saying, 'Listen, instead of doing this, I'm saying: Why don't you do 5 or 10 things on a small scale for the first year? You have to scale up, you have to get moving. I understand the political pressure. So get moving; but why don't you just try 5 or 10 things? And maybe you then really rigorously study what you're going to do?' That would be fine. Sometimes we should do that. But even if you don't, it will probably be obvious which of those 5 or 10 things seems to be more successful than the others. Certainly the ones that are failures will be more obvious. And then you'll know with more precision, if you invest some money in studying it. So, as a general principle, this is just something that's not done with aid--the sort of trial and error and with some rigorous testing. And we've managed in the last 10 years to introduce the idea of randomized testing with randomized trials without introducing this idea of trial and error and moving ahead and trying many ideas. And that's a problem. I would like to see both. So, that's kind of what I'm saying--this is just another case. Instead of just scaling up your crazily specific program that's only been a little bit tested, why don't you try a few different things and then push ahead with the thing that's most successful? And in this case, I think we've got enough evidence to say, 'Actually, we're doing a lot of this chicken stuff, regardless of what Gates is doing. We're doing a lot of handing out of chickens and cows. And--I don't know if it's $1 billion, or $10 billion, or $100 million dollars a year, but it's somewhere in that range. And if we could spend $10 million dollars just to, like, tweak the direction of that, to sort of kill a bad idea and replace it with a less bad idea'--that's kind of what I want to see. I want to see us rigorously evaluate, like, run a horse race between these different things that we could do, these different varieties, kind of like trial and error but in a structured way. And then just replace the bad things with less-bad things. And thereby make a lot of very, very unfortunate people a bit better off. That's basically it.


Russ Roberts: So, I have a lot of things to say to that. It's a fantastic summary of, I think, the position you are taking. I just have to mention in passing, though: you said, 'Well, of course it fails.' And I think a lot of people would say, 'How could it fail? You are injecting all this money into these sectors, regions, poor people, whatever. It's got to have some effect--some overwhelmingly good effect. You're putting--you are going to add $100 million into this community?' And it's really, I think, a sobering reality that it often doesn't work very well. So I just want to mention that to the point where you say, 'Well, of course it doesn't work.' But I think most intuitive, everyday people would say it would work, akin to their natural inclination to inject money into the U.S. school system. 'Because the more you spend, the more education you get.' Which of course isn't true. It might be true. But it need not be true. And, if the incentives--

Chris Blattman: Right. And I would say, even if you are more optimistic--and I think if you put in more input you are going to get more output. You put in more money to the educational system, I think probably you are going to get more education, or better outcomes--not always, you are right. Same with this aid, chickens. The chickens are not going to be a bad idea. They are not going to all fail. It's just: We're putting so much money into this that--not only is someone going to have to pay back in future, but it's such a missed opportunity. Like, it's really desperate to--if you were making $1 or $2 a day, this means like, your child is probably going to--the chance your child dies in infancy or of some disease or that some crisis hits and really terrible things happen to someone in your family is just so high. And that's also true at any level of poverty. And it's just more dire and risky, the poorer you are. So, to sort of callously and irresponsibly, in my mind, not try to use the sort of trial-and-error approach and try to do the right thing, and rather than just have 33% of Africans or something producing chickens--they might be a bit better off, they'd probably be better off. What if--that's such a missed opportunity to really change some people's lives? One of the rare instances where I really think aid can have a big impact. It really is an area where we can be super-effective; and I don't say that about a lot of things. And so, it's such a sad, tragic thing not to do this more responsibly.


Russ Roberts: Well, I want to challenge the premise that underlies that, even though I'm sympathetic to it and it sounds great. We had on the program a while back, Adam Cifu, author of a very provocative book, co-author of a book, Ending Medical Reversal, where he shows that so many times a study will be done, a cross-sectional, longitudinal study, a statistical analysis of some device or some dietary change, some relationship in epidemiology, is alarming or effective, whatever it is. And people start doing this technique or avoiding this technique. And then, 15 years later, there's an actual randomized control trial where people are put into two different groups: You're not using statistical techniques to try to hold things constant; you are actually using a real experiment, not a pseudo-experiment. And you find out that the original finding doesn't hold up under the randomized control trial. So, this is why--we can call it the gold standard of experimental science. It's what scientists do: They see if things can be replicated; they try to actually test things directly. It's a really nice thing. And, there's a huge--I don't want to call it a fad--a trend, we'll call it a trend--it could be a fad--in Development Economics to do randomized control trials. Which is what you're talking about: Wouldn't it be great, do 5 or 10 experiments to see what works and what doesn't work? But, the problem it seems to me is that unlike epidemiology or medical things where a trial could actually often illuminate what does and doesn't work, it strikes me that in human societies, that's a lot more difficult. So, an example we've mentioned before on the program is deworming. Deworming, a lot of excitement about it because some experiments had showed it to be very effective in helping children--if you took the worms and parasites out of their system, they could sit in school longer, make more money, etc.--have better lives. But, it's not obvious that it scales. It's not obvious that it worked in other villages. It's not obviously--etc. So, isn't [?] part of the problem here--and is this a reality or am I being too skeptical?--that, the kind of knowledge that you would like to produce with those trials in the early stages of a large-scale rollout of a program--they are not necessarily going to be as reliable as a true scientific experiment would be?

Chris Blattman: Right. Well, yes. So, this is basically right. But the question is--I guess, my argument would be, I guess I think is a pretty basic premise: Through the accumulation of lots and lots of empirical evidence and theoretical thinking and then using that empirical evidence to sort of understand our theory of poverty--why are people poor and what kinds of things make them less poor? The accumulation of lots of evidence from lots of places is how we get a better theory. This is just how it works; and it will be harder than in physics or medicine for exactly the reasons you say. But, there's a big difference here. So, the deworming excitement is coming off of--I don't know if you know this: I worked on this experiment when I was a graduate student. This was like one of my first jobs in development: I ran one of the followup surveys.

Russ Roberts: I did not know that.

Chris Blattman: Yeah. So, I ran the 5-year followup survey. So, I spent a lot of time with these kids who got this deworming medicine. It's a very incestuous group, a small, incestuous group, development economics. So, listen: There was one big trial showing big effects, and it was on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, which is the birthplace of humanity, and then not coincidentally the birthplace of human parasites. So, an impact of deworming medicine there is going to be not surprisingly quite impactful; and if you go somewhere else, where you are not on the shores of a parasite-filled lake, then maybe it's going to be different. And that doesn't surprise me. And we don't actually have a lot of trials of deworming medicine elsewhere. And, the other ones haven't been very good, or they haven't been very long term, or they haven't measured economic outcomes and educational outcomes. So, we just don't know. Whereas, when it comes to policy, we have dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens. So, it's not just randomized control trials but all sorts of evidence. A great book is Poor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, who sort of pulled together all the descriptive and observational and qualitative, and experimental data. And just a lot of it points to a particular view of poverty--that people have constraints; that from little access to credit and to capital and little access to insurance; and overwhelming evidence that just one of those constraints is relieved, maybe cash, maybe by a chicken, that people leap ahead. That you can make improvements on the margin. And it's not some magic formula. And you can also improve the way financial markets function; and then people get more access to insurance and credit and capital and things. So, it's just a totally different story. And everything I'm saying about both chickens and cash are very consistent with that theory. And now, the randomized trials which I was proposing we do, on large numbers of people and large numbers of countries in different parts of the world, in a way that we could get at what you're saying is sort of getting at the finer details: saying, okay--not knowing if we can make any general statements but, do we see a general pattern across many types of people in many types of places that chickens tend to be lower return than cash? That, people tend to use cash wisely in many places. And then also, very importantly, to figure out what we call the general equilibrium effects. Or the spillover effects. Like, what happens to the whole local economy when you get this giant influx of chickens, or cash? Like it's good? Bad? And it could go either way. We don't really know. So, there's a really different evidence base. And then, the kind of experiment I was proposing, which costs $15 million dollars or some number like that because it's much bigger than anything that's ever been run, is in some sense designed to get around exactly this concern.


Russ Roberts: So, that's a nice defense. In fact, you are kind of channeling your inner Lant Pritchett there. When you talked about the accumulation of knowledge, he made this similar argument, which I found unpersuasive. But, I find it a little more persuasive in your case. He was talking about general economic theory that's small--any one piece of economic research may not be that informative but it eventually creates this great base of knowledge. And I think that's romanticizing what economic research does, somewhat inaccurately. But let's put that to the side--

Chris Blattman: Well, if I could just interrupt--one thing is: I don't think that knowledge is accumulated to a consistent understanding of how something works across lots of different areas. I also study--I mean, I'm a professor of global conflict studies. In principle, I spend most of my time studying violence, as well. And, we don't really have a good understanding of what reduces violence. Like the things have not accumulated to a coherent answer. Or if you take the macro study of aid, and whether aid is good or bad, and what its good or bad affects our economics or politics--we don't have a coherent answer. It's sort of cumulated into a mess. That was my--

Russ Roberts: Yeah, that was my--it's my, it's close to my view.

Chris Blattman: But there's--but, right. But, other things have turned out--sometimes in certain medical research, and in this case, I think [?] our micro-understanding of poverty turns out, 'Oh, this thing seems to work pretty much similar ways'--you know, we're wrong in lots of details I'm sure. But, more than other things I've understood. And this is why I come on podcasts, you're right, about we should act on this and I don't come on and talk about violence. I don't have a coherent message about what we should do to reduce violence. I don't know that we've accumulated a coherent answer. But, in this case the world works in a simple or straightforward-enough way to have enough evidence, or something about, something the situation is just, I think, points us to more confidence than a lot of other areas. And so, great. And the wonderful thing is it can, like, a lot of people who are in a really, really, really terrible place can benefit from that, in a relatively simple way. This is one of the things that aid does well. Like, just logistically, like just get a lot of stuff out there that seems to work on its own.


Russ Roberts: This isn't where I thought we'd end up. But let's stay here for a while, because it's so interesting. You are telling me that the aid literature is indecisive--imperfect. Which I think is true. Many people would disagree with you, by the way. I think some people would say, 'Oh, we know exactly what works.' In fact, Lant Pritchett said so: we know it's property rights and free markets and prices. And, while I'm sympathetic to that, I think it actually is more complicated than that. Other people would say, 'We know what works.' Jeffrey Sachs, on the program, 'We just need to give a lot more money. We need to spend it well.' And he thinks he knows how to spend it well. But you are skeptical. Okay. Fine.

Chris Blattman: Well, you know, but Jeffrey Sachs--if you want to say, like an African nation--how do we help an African nation go from $1500 a head to $3000 a head? That's not necessarily a hard problem. Or, you know, that's a hard problem. But it's a much different problem to say, how does that nation, what could we do as outsiders or what could that government do as insiders to get to $20,--- a head? Some sort of like middle-income status. And then nobody has a good answer to that. So, sometimes they are just talking about different changes. When you are talking about development, they can be talking to different things.

Russ Roberts: That's a great point. Just what I was going to say, actually. So, what I was going to say is that, if you are telling me that at the micro level, we know that it's good to give people more access to financial markets--the ability to borrow--because they are often financially constrained. Or, we know that if we give them things they will be better off--it's not so interesting, really. But it really comes to what I think is the crux of the matter. Which is, the, what I would call, the real essential point that Pritchett was upset about in that previous episode, which is the following. He is claiming that--and I have mixed feelings about this, but I don't care, it doesn't matter; whatever you have to say--he's claiming that the real problem isn't poor people. It's poor countries. These people are in places with bad economies: Bad government, bad economies. And to put a band aid on their economies with a chicken is the wrong thing to be spending time on. We ought to be spending time on [?] we ought to figure out how to liberate their economy, liberate the skills to cooperate together in a market setting--which is how we know, that's [?] how you get to $20,000. When you get to $20,000, you've got to have a vibrant labor market. You've got to have a vibrant skills market. You've got to have people trade and exchange with each other within a country and outside of a country. And, we know all that already. And so that's what we ought to be spending our time on, not whether 5 chickens are going to improve somebody's life. Of course they would. They'd improve mine, too. I'd eat them. I like chicken. My wife, she's a vegetarian, but she'd be happy to see me happy. We know all that. So, what's the--what is the defense of the approach that you are suggesting of these micro-experiments to get people truly out of poverty? We understand--what you're saying is all true. It's not important.

Chris Blattman: So, you know, these things aren't in complete contradiction. So, if you want to make--I think Lant's larger--he's got two big points. Lant--I think I've mentioned to you in the past--Lant is, I mean, Lant was one of my first teachers in Development, and still remains sort of one of my idols in Development. And everything of his I can read, I do read, because I think he's got--you know, he has a really, he says a lot of original things and he has his finger on the pulse of these things. And he's made two points here that I think are true. One is that the Development community at large has tended to focus on sort of this weird, extreme form of poverty rather than just thinking of other people who are vey poor instead of extremely poor. So, there's this artificial threshold of $1, $2 a day that distorts a lot of policy. That's fine; I agree with that; and a lot of things--all the chickens and cash stuff I'm talking about, you can ignore that concern. You could say, 'Well, I think the chickens and cash could help someone who is extremely poor and very poor and just a little bit poor.' All these people have limited access to capital. I think that's what we would, what we are learning from the evidence, what we would learn from my experiment. His bigger point is that there is maybe a misallocation of time and policy in academia: That, a lot of people are just focused on the small stuff; that there are these bright, shiny [?]s that come along; it's very appealing to get an answer that a lot of people--there's all this data and computer technology that lets us do, answer a lot of small questions while [?]--

Russ Roberts: You get an article real quick; you get an article on your CV (Curriculum Vitae).

Chris Blattman: Yeah. And so there's two--with a profession--the world would be a better place if more smart policy-makers and more smart economists and political scientists were spending more sweat and brains and money on big questions about growth in this case[?]. And then, and so--and I think that's probably right. I think we probably do have a slight misallocation--I think you could make a good argument. But that doesn't mean--it doesn't mean--he sort of made a--he sort of exaggerates as some do and say, 'We should only focus on growth. Most people should focus on growth.' And I think that's wrong for two reasons. One is, I think it's wrong big thing to focus on. And we could get to that. But I think more immediately, I think you can't ignore the poverty. Because, what this says--so listen: If I say, 'I'm going to--everyone needs to be focused on growth.' If we just dedicate all this time, even if he's right, and we were able to make future unborn generations better off, because we're spending all this time and money and brains and energy, on growth, the fact is that there's still a lot of horribly-off people today. Now, if you, if you sort of--some people make that tradeoff. They'll say, 'Listen. Better make 20 generations much better off than trade off making them slightly better off just to make these people less poor.' That's just--someone who is, say, a utilitarian who wants to make the most good for the most people, would say we need to sacrifice today's generation and help these future generations. That's the way to maximize the good. But if you have sort of a different moral calculus--that if you think, for example, that we're only as good as, say, the least among us; or that we have a responsibility to help the very, very least among us even if that means we wealthy people or future wealthy people who are not yet born will be substantially worse off--that's also a defensible claim. And I guess I would say I'm willing to make that tradeoff, to some degree. And I think a lot of--I think that's fundamentally why so much policy is dedicated toward alleviating poverty. That, even if we knew how to make future generations off with certainty, it would still make sense to spend a lot of time worrying about poverty today. That's a--not everyone is going to feel that way, but it's a totally justifiable way. And that's how I feel.


Russ Roberts: So, I'm not a utilitarian. But I do think we should improve future generations at the expense of the current one--for a different reason. So, let me lay that out. And you can respond. The people themselves who are alive today would want us to do that, because they love their children and their grandchildren. And if I said to them, 'I'm going to give you a choice. I'm going to give you a bunch of chickens and I'm going to make your suffering less dire,' or, 'You're not going to get any chickens. You're going to lead a miserable life, but your children and grandchildren are going to lead very, very greatly improved, materially improved lives,' I think most, if not all people would jump at the chance. And we see that people do that all the time. They take risks, and they impoverish themselves. They risk death to come to richer countries. So, that would be my argument there. But I think, to me, the real issue is just the severity of the poverty. For people who are, you know, near death, that, yes, we need to do something for those people now. For people who are just having a hard time--if we can, I add that proviso of course, if we know how. And I think people should choose morally to do that. But for people who are just uncomfortable, I think they'd be thrilled to live with that discomfort and have their children thrive.

Chris Blattman: Right. So, I mean, we can debate this. On some level it's a moot point to--yeah, I mean, it's a moot--sort of the defense of my argument--where we should--and I want--I'm, personally in my life, I agree with Lant[?]; I spend too much time on stupid randomized control trials and on poverty alleviation. It's important, but this is not what I think is really important or really where I can, you know, contribute in some way. So, in some sense I'm unbalanced. I fundamentally agree. But still I think this experiment, this grand thing that I pitched to Bill, Bill Gates, is important. And I would even work on it. The last thing I really want to do--it's really miserable to run these--it's really, really hard and miserable. I hate running these things. It's so logistically and managerially intensive. And you don't think. You just sort of make things happen. And I'm okay at that, I'm pretty good at that. But I don't enjoy it. And I would rather spend my time on something else. But I will do it, if I have to. Because nobody else seems to be doing it. I will do it, because we live in a world not where we are making these grand, philosophical choices, but how to orient aid--and we live in a world where the rich countries and poor countries have made the decision that we are going to spend $10 or $100 billion a year giving the very poorest people stuff. And if I can do a little thing, spend, like 10% of my time for 3 years and $15 million dollars, somebody else's money, to sort of say, 'Guess what? You could be twice as effective and really make an impact on people's lives if you just killed this bad idea and did something less bad,'--that's a huge thing. There's a way to just sort of--given the world we live in, on the margin, there's a handful of studies that I think could really reallocate how this giving people stuff is done. And, and that would be a big thing. And I think that's actually what--I think because I look back at the last 10 years and the cash-transfer work that's been done, including my own experiments--and I say, 'That's the impact this had.' Despite the fact that I wasn't working on what I really wanted to work on, it was important to work on and I actually think that had a lot more immediate impact, precisely because we live in a world where there's just buckets of money, pipelines of money going to these places, being spent poorly. And that can be improved, on the margin.

Russ Roberts: Superbly said. I salute that. Beautiful.


Russ Roberts: Has Bill Gates responded?

Chris Blattman: No. And, you know what? Someone pointed out to me--

Russ Roberts: Sound of crickets--

Chris Blattman: Well, I even--I got a chance to--so, someone pointed out to me after I wrote this letter that, 'Do you know that Bill Gates follows your Twitter?' Then it turns out he only follows, like, 300 people; and a number of them are development people, for obvious reasons; and one of them, it turns out, was me. So, I thought--I had no idea. I'm going to direct-message Bill Gates. Maybe he reads his Twitter feed. Like, why else would he only follow it, 2-300 people? So I even direct-messaged him on Twitter--politely, saying, 'With all due respect, this was my [?]; I'd love to have a conversation about this, if you're interested.' And then: Crickets.

Russ Roberts: Well, I don't know that he listens to EconTalk; but this could put him over the edge, if he does. You may be getting--when this comes out, you'll probably get a summons. And I'd be happy to interview Mr. Gates, by the way.

Chris Blattman: I'm a marginalist, right? I think that every little bit matters.

Russ Roberts: Definitely raised the probability. And I want to just say publicly I would love to interview Bill Gates for EconTalk. So, Bill, if you are listening, or if someone who knows you is listening and thinks that would also be a good idea, please get in touch. But it is an interesting question. By the way--this is a sub-point; and you're sort of--I think you have feet in all the various camps: The academic world--there's the academic world; there's the money world--which would be the Gates foundation--and then there's this weird, nether-region of international organizations like the World Bank that has academic people in it, in and out of it--they come and go. So, that whole thing is--they all have their own rules. I'd like to hear you react to the idea that the incentives are what ruin where development economists spend their time. Of course, people have written not-so-nice things about the appeal of traveling to exotic places and having nice meals and Range Rovers to carry you around, and all that. But, talk about the incentives that you experience as an academic, but also as somebody who is in these different worlds, even if you're not--you don't get calls from Bill Gates's cellphone.

Chris Blattman: Mmmhmmm. The incentives to go do these kinds of--

Russ Roberts: Whatever it is. I mean, they are incentives that encourage some people to just do all kinds of things--articles on this or that, spend time in a particular country because the World Bank funds it. And all of the--we do what we like, and we also care, most of us do, about what makes the world a better place. As you point out. And you confessed a minute ago that you wish you'd maybe spent a little less time on some of these things and more on the bigger things. So, just reflect on that.

Chris Blattman: Well, answering the bigger questions would still put me firmly, even more often, in foreign places. Like, right now, I'm really interested in, I happen to be studying a lot of gangs in Latin America and also in Chicago. And, the thing that's holding me back from being more effective is my lack of tie-in to go and spend time in these places. One of the fundamental incentives is that, I think that to answer important questions about other parts of the world, you have to spend a lot of time in other parts of the world. And you also--not just talking to people and collecting data, but also building relationships with other academics who are there or other policymakers. Because it's not an individual production function. So, that's--answering the question requires be there, big or small question, whatever if you are going to do this right. The incentives in the economics profession, for a long time, and to a lesser extent now, were always against young economists and especially graduate students going and spending lots of time in the field. And in some sense, there is still a discouragement to spend a lot of time often in other countries: still spend relatively little time compared to other academic disciplines. And it used to be zero. There's--an interesting set of people to bring on would be people like Michael Kremer, Chris Utry, who are development economists who broke the path in the, maybe the 1980s and 1990s by spending a lot of time in places like Ghana in Chris's case, and Kenya in Michael's case, doing this kind of work, pioneering it. There are others as well. They sort of stand out in my mind. And showing that you could do important work, and making development economics credible again in the profession. And showing--and sending their students to Ghana--like, this is why--why was I in Busia[?], Kenya running this deworming experiment? Because Michael's student, Ted Miguel [?], he sent to run some experiments and collect data. And Ted did his dissertation there; and he started his own studies in Busia[?], Kenya. And then I showed up at Berkeley, and Ted was this young prof, maybe just one or two years in, who became my dissertation adviser. And he sent me to Kenya, my first semester. And then, why did I end up working on violence in northern Uganda? Because the second time I got sent to Kenya, I was sitting in a cafe, and I met a woman--because it takes 20 minutes or 30 minutes for the Hotmail page to load up, which should tell you what year it was. And so I struck up a conversation with a woman next to me who was doing this qualitative study of children affected by conflict and child soldiers in northern Uganda. And then a year later I was landing by plane in northern Uganda to run a survey that looked a lot like what Ted was doing in deworming except I was studying the effects of violence. And that became my dissertation. And it also so happens that we produced several papers and a marriage, and now two children. Because they're more important than the papers.

Russ Roberts: Yeah; of course it is. But the best part about that story is--most unintended consequences are negative. But here we have the positive unintended consequence of a lousy internet access. That you were sitting there for 20 to 30 minutes waiting for your page to load, and you meet your future wife. What a great--

Chris Blattman: Right. But my--then I've sent my students to go work on my project in northern Uganda, and later Liberia; and now, Colombia. And now, they are graduating, they're Ph.Ds., they're getting jobs; and they are doing amazing research; and they are sending their students to these--or wherever they happen to work. And so, this has been this amazing thing that has happened: You talk about the incentives. It's against the grain, against the incentives to go and invest all this time really understanding a place. All the inputs required for all these experiments, or any big study, data--you have to collect your own data in a place like Africa. Most of the time. And so, the incentives are all against that. So, why are people doing it? I think they are really passionate about the questions. And, of course, now there's its own set of esteem[?], and you have your own dysfunctions as a profession; and we're doing a lot of the wrong things; and so on, and so on. But, nonetheless, like, this is still a big, positive change. And I've always said that the most important thing about randomized control trials is not the causal effect that lots of people, we've identified. The effect of like--the important part about the deworming experiment in all this time in Kenya by all these people is not--it's now[?] the fact that Ted Miguel and Michael Kremer could lecture you for hours on Kenyan politics and development in a very sophisticated way that has nothing to do with the causal estimate. Economists now have a much richer understanding of the way world works, how the aid sector works, what the political and social and organizational dysfunctions are from everything from USAID (United States Agency for International Development) to some government in some far corner of the world. There's this rich knowledge that was just not there before that I think is really affecting the way the theories were developing. It's affecting the cognitive teaching; it's affecting the questions we're asking; it's affecting the advice. And I think that's been so much more important than any stupid little causal effect.

Russ Roberts: That's great. And I think Adam Smith would be happy about it. Maybe I'm wrong. I like to think of Adam Smith--maybe I'm romanticizing, which I am prone to--but I do think of him as open to the richer understanding of human activity than our sort of blackboard theories; and obviously was a student of many aspects of human life, not just the financial and monetary side.

Chris Blattman: Right, right.

Russ Roberts: What you are really arguing is that it's good that we've become more like sociology. Which could be true.


Russ Roberts: I would have argued that the reason we shouldn't work on big picture issues and big picture questions is because we don't know much about them. So, I think most people would argue that governance, political institutions are a big problem. I suggested recently that what we should do with that $15 million dollars, say, is pay a leader to leave, and replace him with someone more--of course, obviously, replace him with another dictator is the problem. But if you could change a political system, that would be the way you'd spend your money. We don't know how to do that. And the idea that we should be spending more time understanding that doesn't necessarily follow; the idea that that's the most important thing. If we can't figure out the levers to improve it, it really doesn't matter. So, what are your thoughts on that?

Chris Blattman: I'm more hopeful. I think we don't know a lot about it. I think we also--I think that--I actually teach a class on this, and it turns out Lant Pritchett has just written a book on this as well, with two co-authors. He's focused more on building, on something a bit narrower, which is building state capabilities--which is basically making states more effective. And that includes public sectors and governments. It's actually a free book online, and I think it's actually one of my favorite books I've read this year. So, he didn't talk about that, but--

Russ Roberts: What's it called?

Chris Blattman: I think it's called Building State Capabilities.

Russ Roberts: We'll put a link up to it, for this episode.

Chris Blattman: Exactly. And he even negotiated to be able to get this free online. And I think he has a course, as well, where you can go along this as well. And so, there's both a book and a free course online. And I teach a class. Sometimes I call it "Order and Violence." Sometimes I call it "Political Economy Development." But, it's really about these big questions about saying: You know what? What doesn't--I think Lant would agree with this: Growth is the wrong way to think about this. We don't need more people focused on economic growth. I think we need more people focused on understanding state capabilities, and democratization, and politics in these countries. There's a fair amount already: most other political science--there's a lot of bad research; there's a lot of good research. And I--by spending a lot of the last 10 years reading that research and trying to teach it, and learning it; and when I say I want to reorient what I do, in some ways, I--this is the book I would like to write. Probably I won't write it for 10 years. But one day I will write this book about this kind of political development, if you will. And I think that's fundamentally the problem. And it's hard for me to believe, partly because I've read so much that really has changed the way I think about how the world works; and I think if it could be translated into terms, sort of messages that people could absorb and understand in a less academic way, I think it would be really impactful. So, one, I think we could translate more; two, I think we could do more of it. But it kind of a big--it's a big risk. It's hard to see immediate payoffs. Yet, I guess the reason I think it can't be ignored is, maybe you could put it simply like this: That, China and Brazil and Russia and Vietnam and a whole host of countries that are currently like middle income, or a little poorer or a little richer, are generally growing, you know, at a reasonably quick pace--like, say, I don't know, maybe it's 5% a year. In some years that will be higher; in some years that will be lower. But they are basically on their way to being high-middle, or upper-middle--or even upper-income countries. So, they are growing. And as long as there is no major world cataclysm, then in 20 years, those are going to be basically rich countries. And that's going to be most of the population of the world. And that's probably most countries in the world. But there's a bunch of countries, a couple in, you know, Central and South America, maybe Bolivia, certainly Guatemala, and maybe like a Honduras or Jamaica, and much of sub-Saharan Africa, and some parts of Central Asia that are just not growing at all, or they are growing a little bit but not very fast. Or, they are growing a little bit but there is a lot of inherent political instability and it's hard to imagine that growth lasting for long before there's some tanking[?]. So, it's possible that in 15 or 20 years there will be about 20 or 30 countries in the world that are still enormously poor and unstable, next to what are generally a relatively homogenous group of middle- and high-income countries. And that's going to be a bad situation. It's not--it's a better situation than today, where we've got a lot of poor people. But there's going to be this growing inequality; and these are going to be places of instability. And there's going to be a lot of negative spillovers for the

          A Starter Kit for Instructional Designers | EdSurge - Postsecondary Learning        
Follow on Twitter as @amyahearn11
"A 2016 report funded by the Gates Foundation found that in the U.S. alone, there are 13,000 instructional designers. Yet, when I graduated from college in 2008, I didn’t know this field existed. Surely a lot has changed!" inform Amy Ahearn, Online Learning Manager for +Acumen and a graduate of Stanford’s Learning, Design and Technology Masters program.

Photo: EdSurge

Instructional design is experiencing a renaissance. As online course platforms proliferate, institutions of all shapes and sizes realize that they’ll need to translate content into digital forms. Designing online learning experiences is essential to training employees, mobilizing customers, serving students, building marketing channels, and sustaining business models.

The field has deep roots in distance education, human computer interaction, and visual design. But I’ve come to believe that contemporary instructional design sits at the intersection of three core disciplines: learning science, human-centered design, and digital marketing. It requires a deep respect for the pedagogical practices that teachers have honed for decades, balanced with fluency in today’s digital tools.

Most people with “instructional design” in their job title are involved in converting “traditional” written curriculum or in-person teaching into an online course. But they can also be creating learning apps, museum exhibits, or the latest educational toy. My classmates from Stanford’s Learning Design and Technology master’s program have gone on to design for big brands like Airbnb and Google as well as edtech upstarts including the African Leadership University, General Assembly, Osmo and Udacity.

Over the last few years, we’ve traded resources, articles and work samples as we try to build our own starter kit for this fast-moving field. Below are some of the lessons and resources that I wish I knew of when I first went on the job market—a combination of the academic texts you read in school along with practical tools that have been essential to practicing instructional design in the real world. This is not a complete or evergreen list, but hopefully it’s a helpful start. 

Source: EdSurge

          Bakery Cleveland Ohio        

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          Cleveland Ohio Skyline        

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          Learning from Data-Driven Delivery        

Given confusion around the phrase “science of delivery,” it’s important to state that delivery science is not a “one-size-fits-all” prescription based on the premise that what works somewhere can work anywhere. And it does not profess that research and evidence ensure a certain outcome.
A few weeks ago, the World Bank and the Korea Development Institute convened a global conference on the science of delivery. Several development institutions assembled including the Gates Foundation, the Grameen Foundation, UNICEF, the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, and the mHealth Alliance. We discussed development opportunities and challenges when focusing on the extremely poor, including experiments in health care, how technology is reducing costs and increasing effectiveness, and the difficulty of moving from successful pilots to delivery at scale.
The consensus in Seoul was that a science of delivery underscores the importance of a data-driven and rigorous process to understand what works, under what conditions, why, and how. Too often in international development, we jump to conclusions without understanding counterfactuals and assume we can replicate success without understanding its constituent elements.

 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akisalimiana na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. Bill Gates aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017. 
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akizungumza na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. ill Gates aliyemtembelea  Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017.
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiagana na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. Bill Gates aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017. Pamoja nao ni Waziri wa Afya, Maendeleo ya Jamii, Jinsia Wazee na Watoto, Mhe. Ummy Mwalimu (kulia), Waziri wa Kilimo, Mifugo na Uvuvi, Mhe. Dk Charles Tizeba (wa tatu Kushoto), Msaidizi wa rais Masuala ya diplomasia Bi. Zuhura Bundala (kushoto)  pamoja na maafisa alioongozana nao Bw. Bill Gates
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akisalimiana na  Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017.
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiwa katika mazungumzo na   Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea  Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017.
Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiagana na  Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017. PICHA NA IKULU

          Core of Education Talks with Dave Gladney, LRMI Project Manager at the Association of Education Publishers        

Dr. Rod Berger turns up the heat on the ISTE podcast series with Dave Gladney who explains the LRMI project in simple terms and lays out how it will fundamentally improve the way students and educators access content. Dave speaks to how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has played a vital role in the project and clarifies the size of the developing initiative.

(PRWeb August 05, 2013)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/8/prweb10903034.htm

          From Evidence to Action: Typhoid Experts Exchange Data, Strategies During Biennial Conference        

More than 300 researchers from 45 countries gathered in Kampala, Uganda in early April for the 10th International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses. Hosted by the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Coalition against Typhoid, the three-day conference – the world’s only such meeting devoted to the diseases – centered on the theme “From Evidence to Action” as attendees reviewed crucial developments to reduce the global burden of these diseases.  

Typhoid fever, a bacterial illness transmitted through contaminated food or water, remains a significant public health threat in many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa and Asia. Approximately 21 million cases occur annually worldwide, killing an estimated 220,000 people, most of them children. Although typhoid vaccines have existed for decades, currently available vaccines are underutilized and have significant limitations. With antimicrobial resistance on the rise, there is an increasing need for new vaccines and improved treatments. This year’s conference provided an opportunity for researchers, policy makers and advocates to gather and discuss recent progress and ongoing challenges, and identify ways to address these factors and reduce the global burden of typhoid.

The global health community is well-positioned to achieve typhoid control worldwide. Anita Zaidi of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation opened the conference’s first session by encouraging attendees to recognize their ability to change the status quo. Zaidi highlighted that many countries have eliminated typhoid as a public health concern, and estimates of the global burden of typhoid have remained relatively steady in recent years. This progress has helped identify key areas of work and a pathway forward to achieve sustained reduction in typhoid by 2035.

Uganda, the host country of the 2017 conference, is one example of where progress has been made in the effort to control and prevent typhoid. Uganda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, spoke of recent advancements during Sabin’s reception on the first night, where she was the featured speaker. Following typhoid and nontyphoidal salmonella outbreaks in Uganda in recent years, Dr. Aceng praised a “robust disease surveillance and response system” that the Ministry of Health developed to stay ahead of future outbreaks.

Denise Garrett, vice president of typhoid projects at Sabin and director of the Coalition against Typhoid, heralded partnerships as one of the most effective ways to reduce the burden of typhoid. “It is not just one researcher or just one group that will make a change,” said Dr. Garrett, emphasizing that it takes a village to reduce the burden of these diseases. During the conference, Dr. Garrett welcomed the Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium, also known as TyVAC, to that village. TyVAC is a partnership between the University of Maryland, the Oxford Vaccine Group, and PATH, funded by a $36.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The group will collaborate with governments and policy makers to advance typhoid vaccine introduction around the world.

Although progress was celebrated throughout the conference, many of the sessions focused on tackling some of the greatest challenges facing the typhoid community. As Sabin’s President of Global Immunization, Bruce Gellin, stated in his welcoming remarks that in some ways a “perfect storm is brewing.” Challenges detecting, controlling and preventing typhoid are converging, creating added urgency for improved practices and technologies. Several researchers have spent the recent years evaluating the global burden of typhoid and spoke to the persisting social and data inequities between low- and high-income countries. The findings revealed that whereas high-income countries have seen a decline in typhoid cases following increased access to safe water and robust data, many low-income countries are still working to improve sanitation and improve surveillance, among other factors.

Researchers are currently trying to close the surveillance gaps all over the world, especially in the two regions most significantly burdened by typhoid and nontyphoidal salmonella: Asia and Africa. Sabin is working to improve surveillance fill knowledge gaps in Asia through the Surveillance of Enteric Fever in Asia Project (SEAP). Preliminary results from SEAP’s multi-country, multi-site, population-based surveillance were shared during the conference, shedding light on the impact of enteric fever in the region. Similarly, the International Vaccine Institute is leading typhoid surveillance efforts in Africa through their Severe Typhoid in Africa Program (SETA). SETA’s latest findings will help inform the introduction of typhoid vaccines in Africa.

Many presenters also addressed the threat of increasing rates of antimicrobial resistant typhoid and nontyphoidal Salmonella, which complicates treatment and control efforts. As typhoid strains develop resistance to first-line treatments such as the antibiotics ciprofloxacin, azithromycin and ceftiraxone, health providers are forced to rely on more expensive and less readily available antibiotics to treat the illness. These challenges are exacerbated when there are outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant typhoid, which is currently playing out in an ongoing outbreak of ceftriaxone-resistant typhoid in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Led by Farah Qamar of Aga Khan University, who is also a Principal Investigator for Sabin’s Surveillance of Enteric Fever in Asia Project, a team was formed to investigate the Hyderabad outbreak after it was detected in late 2016. As part of its investigations, the team has acquired special permission for a shipment of typhoid conjugate vaccines from Bharat Biotech International Ltd., an Indian biotechnology company, as an outbreak control measure. The team would use these vaccines to assess the impact of typhoid conjugate vaccine immunization on the control of an antibiotic-resistant typhoid outbreak.

Typhoid conjugate vaccines, like those under consideration for outbreak control in Pakistan, were a promising point of discussion throughout the conference. The typhoid conjugate vaccines in the pipeline have the potential to reshape global strategy for typhoid fever, with longer duration of protection, the ability to protect young children and the potential for delivery with other vaccines in routine immunization of infants. Additionally, several researchers shared findings that these vaccines would be cost-effective in certain Asian and African countries when implemented strategically. If these vaccines are prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO), they have the potential to dramatically reduce the burden of typhoid around the world and, consequently, help to prevent the occurrence of antibiotic resistance.

From new typhoid conjugate vaccines to antimicrobial resistance and everywhere in between, the 10th International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses enabled researchers from around the world to not only share the latest data but also discuss how to turn this evidence into action. As Adwoa Bentsi-Enchill of the WHO stated in the conference’s final session, data have long been major drivers of vaccine introduction demand and acceptability in countries. Data shared at the conference are already driving change: findings presented at the conference will inform discussions at the WHO later this spring, when experts gather to review recommendations on the use of typhoid vaccines. Changes to these recommendations could reshape global strategy on typhoid fever and come as early as next year.

The next International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses is anticipated for 2019. Sign up for the Coalition against Typhoid’s newsletter to stay tuned for more information about upcoming typhoid conferences. For photos, presentations and other resources from the conference, please visit the Coalition against Typhoid’s website. 

          The Coalition against Typhoid Secretariat Convenes the 9th International Conference on Typhoid and Invasive NTS Disease        

From April 30 to May 3, the Coalition against Typhoid (CaT) Secretariat, with coordination and support from PT Bio Farma, convened nearly 250 participants from 36 countries for the 9th International Conference on Typhoid and Invasive Non-Typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) Disease. This four-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, was the largest conference in CaT’s history.

Throughout the conference, prominent clinicians, scientists, policy makers and public health practitioners shared new research and pathways forward for typhoid and iNTS control. The conference’s lively panel discussions and presentations shed light on the global progress towards alleviating the needless suffering caused by these diseases.

Typhoid, a severely under-prioritized public health problem, impacts an estimated 21 million people every year, causing more than 216,000 deaths annually — predominantly among children younger than 15 years of age. However, recent progress in vaccine development, technology transfer and disease surveillance is bringing the world several steps closer to typhoid control.

The conference began with a welcome reception, featuring opening remarks from Brian Davis, Chief Operating Officer of the Sabin Vaccine Institute;  Dr. Anita Zaidi, Director of the Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Dr. Pretty Mulihartina, Director of the Center for Biomedical Technology of Health, NIHRD in Indonesia. Each speaker highlighted the tremendous burden that typhoid and iNTS disease place on communities and families, while providing insight into the promising new research and development being carried forward by many of the conference’s participants.

The welcome reception was followed by three days of discussions and presentations focused on topics such as global disease burden; risk factors for typhoid, paratyphoid, and iNTS disease; disease modelling; water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH) interventions; antimicrobial resistance; genomics; vaccine implementation strategies; and vaccine development.

Since the Coalition against Typhoid’s last international conference, key milestones have been achieved towards developing typhoid conjugate vaccines. While Vi polysaccharide vaccines exist for typhoid, these vaccines are not effective in young children. However, new conjugate vaccines can be used in infants starting at six months of age – and they also offer a longer duration of protection. Throughout the conference, presenters from various vaccine manufacturing companies, Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO) and more provided new information on progress towards developing conjugate vaccines, and highlighted what is required to eventually introduce these vaccines into a country’s national immunization schedule.

Key milestones have also been achieved towards understanding the typhoid and iNTS disease burden. A number of panelists and presenters shared data and research collected from novel surveillance projects in Southeast Asia and Africa.  This data is helping the typhoid community better understand who is most affected by typhoid, and where.

The conference also brought to light the emerging incidence of iNTS disease in Africa. For the first time in the conference’s history, a number of presentations were devoted to better understanding the burden of iNTS disease, and what needs to be done to address it. Panel members discussed the need for improved understanding of the epidemiology of iNTS disease in Africa, as there is little knowledge of disease transmission. Until modes of transmission are clearly understood, it will be challenging to design non-vaccine intervention strategies.

The conference closed with a call to action from Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta from the Hospital for Sick Children. He noted that the Coalition against Typhoid has “come of age” and shown that there is power in collaboration across various areas of typhoid research.

Echoing the views of several other speakers, Dr. Bhutta emphasized the need for increased typhoid and iNTS advocacy activity by Coalition members. He also stressed the need for “champions” in endemic countries that can rally support for prevention and control measures. Additionally, it will be crucial to involve policymakers in future Coalition meetings and activities.

To view the conference program and presentations, click here.

To view new journal articles highlighting strategies on typhoid vaccine use, new diagnostic tools, invasive non-typhoidal salmonella, and more in the recently release Vaccine journal supplement coordinated by the CaT Secretariat, click here. 

          Super Wisdom Foundation to Eclipse Gates Foundation        
If who you are matters more to you than what you earn you should be supporting and promoting the Super Wisdom Foundation and Super Wisdom Dot Com One Wherever you are on your journey of self discovery and spiritual growth Super Wisdom can only benefit your journey Two .

Link to the original site

          3 Travel Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016        
Earlier this year I made the jump from agency world to take an in-house position with Clipper Vacations to hone in on pursuing travel marketing full-time. In the past, I had the pleasure of working with clients such as the Illinois Office of Tourism, Washington State Parks and the Gates Foundation Visitor Center. I loved the […]
          Starfish Congratulates Seven Community Members for Their Progress in the Research-Based Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) Initiative        

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-Funded Program Focuses on Studying and Promoting Best Practices to Help More Students Achieve Success

(PRWeb May 20, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11866997.htm

          Dr. Ignacio Mas on Mobile Banking for the Poor        

from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website

by Evan Forward, guest blogger

On June 8, Dr. Ignacio Mas—deputy director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Financial Services for the Poor Program—delivered a special evening presentation at the Frye Art Museum on the topic of mobile banking for the poor.  The focus of Dr. Mas’ talk was M-PESA, a new SMS powered savings deposit and withdrawal platform that the Gates Foundation has been funding through its pilot stages in Africa over the past several years. [Read more]

The post Dr. Ignacio Mas on Mobile Banking for the Poor appeared first on Global Washington.

          Kisah Sukses Bill Gates        

Jika mendengar nama ini, orang akan langsung ingat dua hal, yakni Microsoft dan kekayaan. Yah, memang tak bisa dimungkiri, orang mengenal Bill Gates sebagai pendiri perusahaan piranti lunak terbesar di dunia. Selain itu, kekayaan yang diperolehnya dari perusahaan itu telah membuatnya jadi orang terkaya di dunia beberapa tahun berturut-turut, tanpa pernah tergeser ke posisi kedua sekalipun. Konon, kekayaannya mencapai 71% nilai anggaran belanja negara kita, yakni lebih dari Rp500 triliun. Sungguh fantastis!

Tapi, semua itu tentu melalui proses panjang. Semua berawal dari impian Bill Gates saat masih muda. Ketika itu, sekitar tahun 70-an, ia yang hobi mengutak-atik program komputer memimpikan bisa menghadirkan komputer ke rumah-rumah. Sesuatu yang dianggap sulit diwujudkan pada masa itu. Sebab, pada tahun itu komputer masih berukuran sangat besar dan hanya dimanfaatkan untuk hal-hal tertentu saja.

Kelahiran Seattle dari pasangan seorang pengacara dan pegawai bank ini memang terkenal cukup ambisius. Pada saat masih sekolah dasar, semangatnya yang cenderung menyulitkannya dalam pergaulan membuat orang tuanya memindahkan sekolahnya ke sekolah unggulan khusus laki-laki di Lakeside School. Di sekolah itulah ia pertama kali berkenalan dengan dunia yang mengantarkan pada bakatnya di bidang pemrograman. Saat itu ia mengenal mesin teletype, semacam mesin ketik yang bisa diberi program sederhana. Dari mesin itu, kemudian dia mulai menguasai dengan baik bahasa pemrograman BASIC. Ia pun lantas bertemu dengan komunitas penggemar program dan sering menghabiskan waktunya berjam-jam untuk menekuni hobi tersebut.

Ayah tiga anak ini kemudian mengembangkan bakatnya saat kuliah di Universitas Harvard. Namun, saat kuliah di universitas elit di Amerika itu, lagi-lagi ambisi Bill Gates membuatnya lebih memilih untuk mewujudkan impiannya, dibandingkan harus menyelesaikan studi. Ia memilih drop out dan berkomitmen kuat untuk mewujudkan ambisinya.

Komitmen itu diwujudkan dengan ketekunan, ketelatenan, dan keuletan, sehingga pelan tapi pasti hobinya membuat program telah menjadi bisnis yang kian menguntungkan. Ia kemudian juga bertemu dengan Paul Allen, rekan yang kemudian turut membantunya mewujudkan impian menghadirkan komputer ke rumah-rumah. Duet mereka banyak menghasilnya program-program unggulan, salah satunya MS-DOS yang kemudian banyak dipakai sebagai software di berbagai komputer.

Berbagai inovasi tak henti dilakukannya. Hasilnya? Seperti yang dilihat banyak orang saat ini. Impian Bill Gates telah menjadi nyata. Hampir setiap rumah, kini mempunyai komputer. Dan, hebatnya, sistem operasinya kebanyakan menggunakan produk Microsoft. Inilah yang membuat pundi-pundinya terus mengembang.

Kini, dengan kekayaannya tersebut, Bill Gates dan istrinya, Melinda, kemudian mendirikan Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Yayasan bentukan Gates ini digunakan untuk berbagai kegiatan sosial. Mulai dari menyalurkan beasiswa kepada kaum minoritas, berperang melawan penyakit seperti AIDS dan berbagai penyakit lainnya, hingga memerangi kelaparan dan kemiskinan. Tak tanggung-tanggung, pasangan suami istri ini menyumbangkan lebih dari US$ 5 miliar untuk kepentingan yayasan ini. Sebuah sumbangan terbesar di dunia yang pernah diberikan pada sebuah yayasan sosial.

Sebuah impian, jika disertai dengan keyakinan kuat dan kerja keras, serta dilandasi komitmen perjuangan tanpa henti, akan memberi hasil yang gemilang. Bill Gates adalah bukti nyata bahwa impiannya yang pernah dianggap mustahil, kini mampu diwujudkannya. Nilai keyakinan dan perjuangan inilah yang bisa kita contoh dalam kehidupan kita. Selain itu, kepedulian Bill Gates untuk berbagi juga bisa dijadikan teladan bahwa sukses akan lebih berarti jika kita bisa saling berbagi.

Sumber :http://kisah2sukses.blogspot.com/2008/05/bill-gates-pendiri-microsoft.html

          WHO, part III: the world changes        
[This is the third of several posts (part I, part II) giving some background to the place of WHO in the international system. I am trying to explain some things about WHO behavior and positions I think might be useful to interpreting their actions and statements. It is not meant as a defense of either.]

The idea that states were the only legitimate actors was the essence of the system WHO was born into, guiding and constraining its activities for the first 50 years or so. It derived from the Peace of Westphalia, 1648 (seep part I):
The Westphalian moment in the seventeenth century represented the effective abandonment of the legitimacy of transnational, non-state actors, such as the Catholic Church, that had played governance roles in earlier times. The Peace of Westphalia stripped governance of international relaitons bare of such actors and grounded governance in the interactions of sovereign states. (David Fidler, SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease, p. 50)
In part II we saw how this was reflected in the International Health Regulations that governed WHO's activities in infectious disease, establishing the state as the only legitimate source of epidemiological information and the only actor that could authorize its dissemination. The idea of the IHR was to reduce the possibility that one state would needlessly harm another by the unilateral application of quarantine or product boycott for reasons of infectious disease. The IHR were international health treaty counterparts to the kind of standardization that was done in many places in the twentieth century to standardize regulations, screw sizes and many other things to lubricate the wheels of commerce, travel and trade.

Despite the state-centered basis, non-state actors like multinational corporations (MNCs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were not absent from the WHO world. WHO had both formal and informal systems of relationships with them to allow cooperation and consultation in matters of health. The difference was that the MNCs and NGOs were not part of the WHO governance scheme. Only states were.

But NGOs and MNCs were neither inert nor passive and their power and influence grew in the last third of the twentieth century. An international campaign against infant formula in the developing world had significant success in altering marketing practices of MNCs and national maternal and child health agencies. The field of actors was being enlarged beyond the states, affecting intergovernmental agencies like WHO indirectly through effects on MNCs and governments. MNCs in turn also were players with national governments and sometimes NGOs. The stage was becoming more crowded.

At the same time a new kind of actor was coming into being, the "public-private partnership." A recent example is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, directed at working with WHO and other intergovernmental agencies like the World Bank, governments, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies to provide vaccines for the world's children. This is about as un-Westphalian an endeavor as one can imagine. These partnerships are not treaty agreements between sovereign states but agreements between a wide range of actors that include WHO, sovereign states, NGOs, MNCs and others. Nor is it the only such example. There are many others, including the ambitious voluntary bird flu fund established in January.

Thus while the IHR remained stuck in a Westphalian world, the international system had changed radically. On paper, international health might be populated solely by state actors, in reality that world was gone. Whether it was NGOs, corporations, public-private partnerships or the new sub-cultures growing up through the internet, the prohibitions and constraints that kept WHO confined to horizontal relationships between state actors had broken down and numerous new actors were busily engaged in influencing, intervening, opposing or supporting what was going on inside state borders.

There is more to it. A fundamental change was occurring in how we looked at the world, perhaps best symbolized by the iconic blue marble view of the earth from space. The right to participate in international health governance was no longer seen as the sole right of nation states, whose existence is not visible in this view. Nor is it presumed that the Great Powers should be either the sole producers or sole consumers of products meant to enhance the health of the globe. The Westphalian standard of "the national interest" was no longer the obvious touchstone of all global health decisions.

Fidler discusses how the new view influenced such establishment sources as the 2001 action agenda of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health on a matter which concerns us here, so I'll end this post with it:
The Commission's action agenda included the recommendation that the supply of global public goods, such as international disease surveillance, be bolstered through additional financing of relevant international organizations, including WHO. The Commission captured why [the idea of global public health good] differs from the policy objectives targeted in Westphalian governance when it observed that global public goods "are public goods that are underprovided by local and national governments, since the benefits accrue beyond a country's borders." (Fidler, p. 60).
In part IV, we'll discuss how WHO responded -- and failed to respond -- to the new reality and the growing threat of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

          PMBA Students Travel to Beijing, China        
Dr. James Johnson and 12 PMBA students recently returned from Beijing, China, after spending a week there with PMBA students as part of the INTL 606 -- Business in Emerging Markets course. The week in China helped the students understand the complexities, the opportunities, and the frustrations of doing business in emerging markets.

The students visited the offices of Ogilvy & Mather (advertising), Google, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Quality Brands Protection Committee (a consortium of multinationals seeking to increase intellectual property protection rights), and had briefings from the Economic and Political sections of the US Embassy and from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, the students visited major cultural sites in Beijing, such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall. The students also gathered data for their team research papers on different aspects of doing business in China.

The arrangements in Beijing were organized by Educasian, which has worked with Rollins previously in Shanghai. The hotel was well situated in the center of the city, with well-appointed double rooms for the students, and all visits were made easier by the provision of a minibus and driver. The group had its own dedicated guide for the week: Peter Jacobsen, a Danish national who has lived and worked in China for 14 years. Peter’s caustic humor, fluent Chinese, and knowledge of the culture made the trip unforgettable experience for Dr. Johnson and the students.

Dr. Johnson stated that this was one of the best travel courses he has led in 8 years at Crummer, and much of this was due to the attitude of the students themselves: Andrea Batres, Melissa Collins, Melissa Dubois, Alessandro Garabaghi, Taylor Kennedy, Oscar Leon, CJ Maier, Carlos Mendez, Kathy Savon, Rachel Sutherland, Ina Toderita, and Alexandra Tuttle.
          Bursting Bloomberg's Bubble        
In yesterday' NY Post, Fred Siegel and Sol Stern get to display their Bloomberg deconstruction project that appears in a fuller form in this month's Commentary-and the authors don't disappoint. First, the mythology: "In the narrative crafted by Michael Bloomberg’s public-relations team throughout the first nine years of his mayoralty, he was the fabulously successful businessman who saved New York’s economy after the 9/11 attacks and then went on to master urban governance without breaking a sweat. Along the way, we have been told relentlessly, Bloomberg became the nation’s leading education reformer, responsible for reducing by half the black-white achievement gap, while also launching lifesaving public-health and environmental initiatives."

For those of you who are frequent readers of this blog, the Siegal/Stern takedown is not anything new-we have been inveighing against the Myth of Mike for the past six years. But it's good to see some of what we have been pointing out get a wider dissemination-and we all agree that the snowfu of last Christmas was the turning point: "But all that was before the Christmas 2010 snowstorm, when this protean genius of 21st-century politics somehow forgot the first rule of New York City governance: The mayor must make sure the streets are cleared before he sets upon saving the world. As a powerful blizzard bore down on the city, Bloomberg, as was his weekend custom, was relaxing at his sunny Bermuda hideaway."

The emperor was finally be de-frocked: "The outrage surging up in the city’s neighborhoods was so palpable that even Bloomberg’s most reliable boosters began making fun of the great manager’s performance. The mayor’s approval rating plummeted to 34%, according to a Marist poll. The rumors planted in the media about his running for president finally, and mercifully, ceased."

In the authors' most trenchant analysis, they point out that this Fall from Grace was no Greek tragedy-precisely because, despite all of the myth making, there was no heroic prelude: "It is tempting to depict Michael Bloomberg’s reversal of fortune in his third term in office — a term he secured by muscling through a change in the city’s term-limits law before spending $150 million to win only 50.7% of the vote — with hubris metaphors drawn from classical tragedy. But this assumes there was glory before the fall. In reality, there never was greatness. There have been no lasting fiscal or education reforms. The story of Bloomberg’s mayoralty is this: There is no there there."

The article goes on to point out how Bloomberg initially went back on his no tax pledge to raise the commercial real estate levy in 2002-a point that we have emphasized because it placed a real hardship, an across the board rent increase, on all of the city's neighborhood retailers. Bloomberg, forgetting his faux fiscal integrity campaign promise, added insult to injury with his haughty response to the criticism of his about face: "This was fitting, he believed, for a metropolis that, he said in 2003, “isn’t Wal-Mart. It isn’t trying to be the lowest-priced product in the market. It’s a high-end product, maybe even a luxury product.” You want to live in and around a luxury product? You have to pay more."

Siegel and Stern also underscore Bloomberg's lost opportunity after 9/11 to rein in the cost of government-one of the reasons we have called the mayor, John Vliet Bloomberg: "The aftermath of 9/11 was an extraordinary lost opportunity for the city. It could have been a moment when, in the name of shared responsibility for bringing the city back to life, spiraling labor costs could have been addressed. Public-sector employees working for the city labored but 35 hours a week and contributed nothing to their own health-insurance premiums. Rather than take up the matter, Bloomberg simply retained the status quo when it came to negotiating with the city’s most important voting bloc. A routine was established: Bloomberg would start out by talking tough about how new contracts could be paid for only with increased productivity, and in response unions would reply in a patented and choreographed “anger” mode. This false confrontation would be followed by a renewal of the old contracts and their counterproductive work rules with a few cosmetic improvements. Thus the need for new borrowing."

Of course, where would a Bloomberg deconstruction project be without a discussion of the educational reforms that were built on a solid sand foundation. This is an area that Stern has been most incisive about in his essays in the City Journal-and the focus here on the Bloomberg educational spend-a-thon is most instructive. First, the false rhetoric: "Bloomberg said that the $12 billion the city was then spending on the schools should be enough to provide a decent education for all children because he and Klein were now going to “make sure we get the most value for the school system’s dollar.” Bloomberg also seemed to be rejecting the progressive-education approach to curricular issues and classroom pedagogy and casting his lot with education traditionalists."
Then, the reality: "But soon it became clear that, in this area as in others, it was necessary to pay attention to what this mayor did rather than what he said. Bloomberg began dipping deeper into the city treasury for more and more tax dollars for the schools. From fiscal 2003 to 2011, the education budget grew from $12.7 billion to $23 billion annually — almost a 70% increase in inflation-adjusted dollars. Most of the money was paid out in 43% across-the-board teacher-salary increases in just the first six years of Bloomberg’s tenure."
Gee, and now Mike wants to let go teachers because the city is tapped out? At the time, it was politically expedient to buy off the UFT-much as he had Al Sharpton: "Indeed, the purpose of the extra spending could not have been to improve student performance, since he said very plainly that he didn’t believe there was any connection between the two. Rather it was to shore up his political prospects and help make his reputation as the nation’s “education mayor.” Instead of insisting on changes in teacher-compensation packages that might have reduced the city’s long-term pension and health-care costs, Bloomberg cashed in his chips in the coin of either direct political support from the UFT or its calculated neutrality."

And the UFT delivered for Bloomberg when it didn't stand in the way of the renewal of mayoral control in 2009-but then came the real earthquake level tremors in the form of school test fraud revelations: "And then, in early 2010, the Bloomberg education bubble burst. State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Education Commissioner David Steiner acknowledged that over the past several years, the test scores had been grossly inflated...Bloomberg’s administration tried to put the best face on the news. It was true, Klein conceded, that the extent of student gains in recent years had been much exaggerated, but it was still true that New York had done better than the state’s other big-city districts. After boosting the city’s annual education budget by $11 billion, the Bloomberg administration was effectively saying, “We’re better than Buffalo.” That isn’t much of a legacy for a once-upon-a-time would-be presidential candidate who had put his education accomplishments at the top of his political résumé."

No it isn't, and even the mayor's own payola system-using his billions to buy off opposition and nurture support-couldn't save him when snow started to fall heavily last December. Not when the folks started to realize that the entire Bloomberg achievement edifice was little more than a Potemkin Village of expensive hype: "Bloomberg’s ability to buy off potential critics partially explains why the illusion of his managerial competence and reputation as the “education mayor” lasted for so long. All the mayor’s billions, however, couldn’t protect him from the consequences of last year’s crash of the city’s test scores or his malfeasance during the Christmas weekend snowstorm. Thus the question of the mayor’s legacy is now finally open for serious debate."

In sum, Siegal and Stern give the Post readers a lot to chew on-and our only criticism would be that they did leave out the mayor's disastrous economic development legacy, one that has made him, in our view, the worst mayor for small business in our memory. But, to be fair, there is so much there to critique that one could never do complete justice to the subject in just one article.

We'll give these two mavens the last word-although we're certain that there will be more revisionism to come from a wide range of previously star struck quarters: "When Michael Bloomberg leaves office in 2014 — assuming he leaves office in 2014 — the city will be saddled long into the future with the massive borrowing and school spending he required to maintain his political reputation. Citizen Bloomberg will have a significant role in how Mayor Bloomberg is judged. Already the master of an expanding media empire, he is now setting up his personal charitable foundation, which may rival the Gates Foundation in financial assets. That foundation will no doubt have the resources to place the Bloomberg legacy of debt, boondoggles and bicycle lanes in the best possible light."

          Jamaica Library Service receives computer software from Microsoft        
Author: Douglas Mcintosh
Title: JLS Receives Computer Software Valued at $131.85 Million
Date published: June 20, 2015
Source: Jamaica Information Service
URL: http://jis.gov.jm/jls-receives-computer-software-valued-131-85-million/

This article reports on the funding and donations received by the  Jamaica Library Service’s (JLS) for its information and communications technology (ICT) project. How the funding and donations will be used is announced as well the purposes to which the newly acquired ICT resources will be applied.

The JLS Director General, Karen Barton, is reported expressing gratitude for the donations and funding. Microsoft Jamaica Country Manager, George Cobin, is also reported as praising the JLS for its ICT initiatives. Microsoft Jamaica’s Sector Manager for Education, Queenie Ko, is also cited as expressing happiness that  Microsoft could support JLS in using technology for empower individuals and community development in Jamaica.

Further information is provided on both JLS and the  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Jamaica Library Service’s (JLS) information and communications technology (ICT) project, currently being developed, has been boosted with the provision of computer software, valued approximately $131.85 million (US$1.13 million), by Microsoft Jamaica.

The donation, which is the largest to date made by the technology solutions firm in the English-speaking Caribbean, entails Office 2013 Pro Plus applications, comprising: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, which are utilized by global enterprises and companies. These will be uploaded on the approximately 800 state-of-the-art computers slated to be installed within the next three months at all of the JLS’ 127 public libraries islandwide and some mobile facilities, under the project, titled: ‘JLS: Using Technology to Empower Individuals and Communities for Development’.

          Jamaican $123 Million for ICT in public library project        
Author: By Athaliah Baker
Title: Project to Increase Access to ICT Services Receives $123 Million
Date published: March 3, 2015
URL: http://jis.gov.jm/project-increase-access-ict-services-receives-123-million/

The article reports on the allotment of $123 million in the 2015/16 Estimates of Expenditure by Jamaican Parliament to a project to increase access to information and communications technology (ICT) services. Part of this project involves increasing Jamaica's public library usage and installing computer and other technologies within public libraries. Other details of the project are mentioned including activities to be undertaken such as the completion of a needs assessment survey and baseline study, as well as the training of 45 staff members. Also mentioned is that the project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by the Ministry of Education.

The Technology to Empower Individuals and Communities for Development Project also aims to provide ICT and other training programmes to promote personal, organisational and national development; and provide new and enhanced programmes and services responsive to the needs of users, non-users and stakeholders.
It also seeks to promote programmes and services to existing and potential users to increase library usage; and create greater awareness of the value of public libraries in communities to build local and national support. 
For the new fiscal year, it is anticipated that computers and other technologies will be installed in all 128 libraries islandwide; training programmes for staff and users will be implemented; and marketing campaigns will be conducted.

          Jamaican public libraries to benefit from grant for ICT services        
Author: Balford Henry, Observer Senior Staff Reporter
Title: Bill and Melinda Gates give J$226m to Jamaica’s ICT development
Date published: November 26, 2014
URL: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Bill-and-Melinda-Gates-give-J-226m-to-Jamaica-s-ICT-development


The article reports on the Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, announcing to the House of Representatives in Parliament the details of a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to the article, the donation is earmarked at providing US$2 million (approximately J$226 million) to finance increased access to ICT services for Jamaicans via the islandwide public library service. The reporter details the amount of the grant and the projected cost of the project as well as the expected beneficiaries. It is also mentioned that part of the grant will be spent on marketing public library services and promoting advocacy for the importance and value of the public library to Jamaica's national development.


The project costs US$3.1 million (approximately J$350 million). The Jamaican government will donate the other US$1.1 million (approximately $123 million)
Thwaites said that beneficiaries will include users of public libraries islandwide, including marginalized groups, senior citizens, persons from rural and inner-city communities, the unemployed and persons with disabilities, including the visually impaired, and ordinary citizens seeking information about self-improvement.
“The marketing plan, which envisages a major campaign to make Jamaicans aware of the project and its deliverables, and will increase the number of library users, is being finalized for implementation commencing in November,” he said.

          Jamaica Library Service Launches ICT-driven Initiatives        
Author: Kadian Brown
Title: JLS Urged to Expand Provision of Information
Date: November 7, 2014
URL: http://jis.gov.jm/jls-urged-expand-provision-information/

This article reports excerpts from a speech from the Jamaican Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, speaking at the official launch of the Jamaican Library Service's Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-driven project. The project dubbed: ‘Using Technology to Empower Individuals and Communities for Development’, was launched on November 6 at the Kingston & St. Andrew Parish Library.

Background information is provided about the project including 
  • the major sponsors and the amount they contributed (a US$2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Initiative and from the Government, the amount of US$1.1 million), 
  • how it will be implemented (the provision of additional ICT resources across 127 public libraries in Jamaica)
  • additional project partners, namely: Microsoft, RJR Communication Group, Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Universal Service Fund, Management Institute for National Development (MIND), the Gleaner Company and Jamaica Public Service Limited (JPS).
Several major objectives of the project are outlined:
  • to provide Jamaicans with increased access to ICTs
  • to enhance library programmes and services and training in ICT skills and other related areas for JLS staff and library users.

The Minister also outlines his vision for seeing the JLS:
  • conceptualize activities, programmes and partnerships to get more persons to utilize library services
  • facilitate after-school and weekend activities for young people 
  • systemize homework centres in all the libraries
  • consider initiatives to facilitate adult learning.
  • enter into partnership with the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning in the roll-out of the alternate high school diploma for adults
  • be stocked with all of the texts that are used in schools as well as the supplemental material that students who cannot afford to purchase these can gain access to them at the library.
Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has challenged the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) to be a facilitator of information to various sectors of society, in order to enhance knowledge, technology and development.

“The library, through technology, must be an adjunct and a help to what goes on in the school system.  The library has to become the centre where young people or people of any age can come and get information as to how they can improve their business skills or confirm themselves in the task of earning an honest income,” the Minister said.

Rev. Thwaites was speaking at the official launch of the JLS’ ICT-driven project dubbed: ‘Using Technology to Empower Individuals and Communities for Development’, on November 6 at the Kingston & St. Andrew Parish Library.

          Bridge International, for-profit chain of schools in Africa may violate student privacy rights among other abuses        
A little less than a year ago, I blogged about how the journalist Tina Rosenberg, who regularly writes for the NY Times Fixes column, had repeatedly praised the for-profit education company, Bridge International Academy, while glossing over or omitted negative information, including the arrest of a doctoral student falsely arrested for investigating conditions at the school. Bridge International, or BIA as it is commonly called, currently runs over 500 private schools in India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, with the professed goal of reaching 10 million students by 2025. The company hires high school graduates and provide them with just a few weeks of training, and then send them off to teach to read scripts off computer tablets.

Rosenberg wrote glowingly about  this company in her column while failing to disclose how she and the organization she co-founded, Solutions Journalism, have a conflict of interest:  Bill Gates has invested in BIA, along with Pearson, Mark Zuckerberg and others, while the Gates Foundation has granted Solutions Journalism more than $2.5 million in funds since 2014.

Last year, Liberian government outsourced fifty primary schools to be operated by Bridge, and  recently decided to allow them to expand the number even more, without waiting for the results of a randomized trial as originally promised.  The decision of the Liberian government to expand the company's operations without actual evidence of their schools' quality led to a public statement of protest from the academic community.  Bridge's operations in Liberia has also been criticized by Kishore Singh, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, who sent a letter to the Liberian president, stating that by outsourcing its educational system to a for-profit company, the country was committing a “gross violation” of its education obligations under the Sustainable Development Goal number four, which states that by 2030, the nation would “ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.”

On July 27,  the NY Times magazine ran a comprehensive on-the-ground description by Peg Tyre of these schools in Kenya, along with some of their problems.  Tyre described how many families can't afford the tuition, students were sent home immediately if their parents fell behind on payments, teachers deliver rigid scripted lessons with no time to answer questions, and in buildings that often feature inadequate unsanitary conditions.

A couple of weeks later, Tyre's account was challenged by a breezy NY Times column by Nick Kristof whose argument could be summarized this way: the Liberian education system is a disaster, so Bridge's schools must serve as an improvement.  (The same argument, by the way, is often used by charter school supporters to privatize public schools, rather than invest in improving their conditions.) This column sparked a Twitter debate between Prof. Daniel Katz and Kristof, into which I occasionally interjected.

Among the other troubling concerns with Bridge is the company's plans to achieve profits by using the personal student data of students for marketing purposes, as described here by the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
This concept is troubling, to say the least, and it can be easily imagined how Bridge International Academy might share data on families that lapsed on tuition payments with banks and used to deny them credit and/or loans.

More recently Liberia's teachers have come out publicly against the expansion of Bridge, and yesterday 174 organizations from 50 nations, including Network for Public Education, on whose board I sit, came out with a letter urging investors to cease their support and divest in Bridge given the company's lack of transparency, inadequate research evidence, poor conditions, and violation of student and teacher rights.  As well as divestment, the letter from the organizations , whose logos are below,  goes on to make the following demands of investors:

● Immediately and independently verify BIA’s compliance with national laws and standards,
including human rights, educational, disability, and labor standards;
● Ensure that issues of equity, systemic discrimination, and exclusion are addressed;
● Demand that BIA immediately uphold standards of transparency and publicly disclose information about its operations, including accurate information on actual levels of fees and real costs for parents, teacher salaries and qualifications, enrollment data of children with disabilities, student attrition and completion rates, legal status and policy compliance in different countries, etc.
● Demand that BIA immediately stop intimidating civil society organizations and researchers, including teachers’ unions, and collaborate with any interested researcher in order to provide reasonable access to its schools and all information required to make independent assessments of its claims;
● Engage in dialogue with civil society organizations to review the concerns about BIA and to explore alternative ways to make a valuable contribution to education;
● Demand immediate action to remedy the above violations, within a reasonable timeframe and with adequate monitoring, or alternatively withdraw existing investments;
● Transparently share information about existing or future evaluations of BIA, and engage in dialogue about these evaluations with all stakeholders, including civil society organizations;
● Cease future investments of public or private resources in BIA and other fee-charging, commercial private schools that are failing to reach the most disadvantaged and contributing to socio-economic segregation, undermining the public education system, or undermining the rule of law;
● Invest in programs that fight poverty and inequality by promoting high-quality, equitable, free public education, including programs that help local and national governments improve public schools and expand to under-served areas;
● Constructively engage with civil society organizations to promote the realization of the right to education.

Surely, that would be a good start!

          The Tatiana Show - Tiana Laurence, Jun Dam of 100xinvestors.com & Terry Brock        

Tatiana interviews Tiana Laurence of Blockchain For Dummies, Jun Dam of 100x Blockchain Investors & Terry Brock.

Topics Include:

--"What is Factom?"

--"Blockchain for Dummies"

--"100x Investors Blockchain Summit"

--"Tips & Strategy for Online Presence"

About the Guests:

-Terry Brock is a communicator and a lover of liberty and freedom. He works with individuals and organizations on how they can generate more sales by leveraging technology to build strong relationships in business. He worked with Tatiana as the Master of Ceremonies for the Free Ross-A-Thon where we had over 14,000 people join us for the 8 hour Google Hangout and we raised over $50,000 of which 100% went to the Free Ross Defense Fund. Terry is in the professional speaker Hall of Fame, is a past Chief Enterprise Blogger for Skype, a syndicated columnist with Business Journals (over 11 million page views/month and in 43 papers coast-to-coast). Today Terry is here to help us learn about how we can live free in an unfree world (with gratitude to Harry Browne) using cryptocurrencies, leveraging technology, and building strong relationships.

-Jun Dam is the organizer and head of the 100x Blockchain Investors Conference.

-Tiana Laurence, She is also the author of Blockchain For Dummies. is the CMO and co-founder of Factom Inc, a blockchain-as-a-service company based in Austin, Texas. Under her leadership, the company secured a grant from The Gates Foundation and a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security to work on blockchain projects using Factom's technology. Tiana has a column on TechTarget where she writes about blockchain and IoT. She is also the author of Blockchain For Dummies.

More Info:




Blockchain For Dummies Book:http://amzn.to/2eNsQoA



Friends and Sponsors of the Show:












https://www.100xinvestors.com USE COUPON CODE "TM20" for 20% off the ticket price!

          Global Health and the Future Role of the United States, Aug 31        
The United States is the world’s largest investor in health at a global scale—funding and implementing programs to address challenges, including global health security, HIV and other infectious diseases, women and child health, non-communicable diseases, vaccine and drug development, digital health, and global health governance. Although Congress appropriates funding, these efforts are largely carried out by departments and agencies in the executive branch, and the new Administration has already signaled a dramatic reduction in foreign aid.

Join Dr. Mike Merson, Amie Batson, Professor Lia Fernald, and Dean Stefano M. Bertozzi for a discussion of the future of the country’s commitment to improving human health worldwide. How can we maintain effective investments in global health initiatives in a rapidly changing environment?

Michael H. Merson MD joined the Duke University faculty in 2006 and is the founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute. In 2011, he was named the vice president and vice provost for global affairs at Duke University. Dr. Merson served as the director of the World Health Organization’s Diarrheal Diseases Control Program for almost a decade. In 1990, he was appointed as director of the WHO Global Program on AIDS, coordinating the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. He has served in advisory capacities for UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, World Bank, Doris Duke Foundation, World Economic Forum, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Amie Batson MBA is responsible for guiding the strategy of PATH, an international nonprofit organization that accelerates global health innovation through cross-sector partnerships to improve the health of women and children around the world. Her 20-year career in global health includes positions with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, and most recently, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), where she served as senior deputy assistant administrator for global health. During her three-year appointment with USAID, she led the agency’s engagement in the President’s Global Health Initiative, represented the U.S. government on the board of the GAVI Alliance, and led the US government team in co-convening the Child Survival Call to Action, which launched the global vision to end preventable child deaths.
          Guardian Media Group to Shun Shares Linked with Fossil Fuels        
The publisher of the Guardian newspaper said it will sell all its investments which are linked with fossils fuels due to environmental concerns. The media group has become one of the biggest funds to sell shares related with gas and oil companies. The Guardian Media Group which has investments more than £800m said the decision was good. The media group said the decision made good sense for business, as the balance sheet of gas and oil companies are overvalued. The Guardian Media Group’s investments in fossil companies such as BP and Shell represents only for single digit percentage of its total fund. The media group’s chairman said, direct holdings of bonds and stocks would be sold in a period of two years. The chairman of the Guardian Media Group said the objective of this is to make some noise and influence fund managers. The decision of the Guardian Media Group follows to keep with a campaign, and to apply pressure on two of the world’s largest charitable organizations Wellcome Trust and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Guardian Media Group which is owned by Scott’s Group aims to preserve its independence in the long run. It is all up to the Guardian to influence the society if it wishes so. The Guardian Media Group’s chairman added the board makes financially responsible and socially responsible investments. However, major part of GMG’S investments has come from selling a car magazine Auto Trader

Original Post Guardian Media Group to Shun Shares Linked with Fossil Fuels source Twease
          The NY Times        
I made a promise involving Scott Pilgrim last night, and I do intend to keep said promise. That said, today I saw something that deserves a link: this article in the New York Times. It's a nice and lengthy write-up on using video games in the classroom, and on the innovative "Quest to Learn" program, which is funded by both the MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Good signs for the future!
          Mobile Lab Equipment worth US$34 Gives 90% Accurate Results for HIV and Syphilis        
A pilot study held in Africa has revealed that a simple US$34 worth device that plugs into the audio jack of smartphones could nearly as effectively diagnose antibodies for HIV and syphilis as the far more costly blood diagnostic machines could. U.S. researchers said about the device on Wednesday that the mobile lab equipment, commonly called a dongle, shows effective results.  The device, costing only US$34 to make, when compared with the highly sophisticated blood diagnosis devices costing more than US$18,000, could prove to be highly effective in the many under-developed regions of Africa. In the pilot study, the device performed all the electronic, optical and mechanical functions of a typical lab-based blood test in duration of only 15 minutes. The device used power for operating form the smartphone only to which it was plugged. The device was formulated by a team of scientists from the Columbia University of New York, led by associate professor Samuel Sia of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. For testing the device’s effectiveness in practical cases, health care workers from Rwanda used it for undertaking finger-prick blood tests on some 96 patients, including some women who were at risks of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases to their unborn children. The team then compared the results with ELISA, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testing and found that the results were nearly as perfect. It was found that the test had a sensitivity of nearly 92 to 100%, a measure of how often the test discovered the target antibodies, and a specificity of 79 to 1005, a measure of how often the test identified the people who were not infected by the virus. Sia stated in a statement that the work shows that smart devices, like the one invented by his team, can also be capable of running a full immunoassay of the quality of a physical lab with sophisticated machines. The study was backed by the Gates Foundation and several other grants. It was published on the Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday.

Original Post Mobile Lab Equipment worth US$34 Gives 90% Accurate Results for HIV and Syphilis source Twease
          RE[2]: Comment by kragil        
1. Yandex and Baidu have done that. Both are massively popular in their respective countries, where that patent is not enforceable. You don't see Google whining about it. 2. Pagerank is not software. Learn what OSS stands for. 3. Google is no saint on copyrights in general, but they are one of the few that want a positive change. And Google is not against copyright holders and frequently act in their favour(DMCA takedowns) 5. Yes... and having a standardised DRM is worse than Silverlight here and Flash there? 7. They happily answer. Go read their replies to EU competition authorities... 8. And when did I lose my privacy? 9. Are you saying that anyone not donating as much as M&B Gates foundation is not worth mentioning? 10. Google doesn't make Android phones. NexusQ is made in US, by the by... 11. They didn't bow to pressure to sensor the search results and left the market.
          RE[2]: Comment by kragil        
As someone else pointed out you are very ill-informed. Also: The gates foundation does besides the good work on deseases a lot of fairly evil stuff:
          Stress Doesn't Cause Ulcers! Or, How To Win a Nobel Prize in One Easy Lesson: Barry Marshall on Being ... Right        

Not that long ago, Barry Marshall was an obscure physician studying the etiology of ulcers at a hospital in Perth, Australia — several thousand literal and figurative miles from the center of the medical universe. His work was unconventional, not to say heretical, and in 1986, he was invited to discuss it at a gastroenterology conference in the United States. His wife came along and, while doing some sightseeing, overheard a conversation among some other gastroenterologists' wives who happened to be sitting in front of her on a bus. "They were talking about this terrible person that they imported from Australia to speak," Marshall told me. "You know: 'How could they put such rubbish in the conference?' "

In 2005, that "terrible person" won the Nobel Prize in medicine . Marshall, along with his colleague and fellow Nobel winner Robin Warren, proved that up to 90 percent of peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori — not by stress, as medical wisdom had long held. In most of the interviews in this series, I've talked to people about being wrong: about what they've learned from their own mistakes, and about how their work — whether as an astronaut or speculator or lawyer or marriage counselor — affects how they think about error. But in this interview, Marshall and I talk about being right. In particular, we discuss how it feels when everyone thinks you're wrong, what it takes to get the scientific establishment to change its mind, and what it's like to finally be proven right. All that, plus a guest appearance by Adrienne Marshall, Barry's wife, who describes how she felt when Barry decided to test his ulcer theory by drinking a batch of bacteria.


Can you describe the received medical wisdom about ulcers before your research?

Peptic ulcers became more common in the 20th century, at the same time that these theories of Freud and other psychoanalysts became popular. And somehow those meshed, and this tradition emerged that ulcers were caused by stress or turmoil in one's life. I don't know where the data came from, but there was this idea that stress caused high acid levels; maybe there was a small amount of evidence for that, although I haven't been able to find it when I've looked. Anyway, all those things added up to convince people that ulcers were caused by stress. There was no proper data of any kind. It was smoke and mirrors as much as anything else, but terribly convincing for everybody.

Are you saying that there was no basically no empirical evidence to support the stress-and-acid hypothesis?

You can always find stress in someone's life if you want to. You ask a few questions and eventually it's, "Yes, I admit, I was worried about something recently." So they tried to find evidence for stress causing ulcers, and whenever they had an experiment which worked, it would just be blown out of all proportion, and everyone would get so much publicity out of it that you would think, "Ah, at last, it's proven." But the data was very bad. And in fact there was plenty of evidence showing that stress didn't make much difference.

What kind of medical advice was dispensed to all these patients with ostensible stress-induced ulcers? "Relax"?

Basically, yes. The medical advice was take antacids and modify your life style. The first drug that came out in the '70s was Tagamet, an acid blocker. By the time Robin Warren and I came along with this idea about bacteria, that was selling $3 billion of medication per year; it was the world's number one drug. And then that type of medication was the number one drug for about 10 years after that, with global sales of $8 billion or something. But it didn't work very well. It was quite sad, really; people were so disappointed, because as soon as they stopped taking their drugs, the ulcers came back.  

What was it about you that made you more immune to all this received wisdom about ulcers?

I guess all my life I've made my own decisions. My mother was a nurse, and in her era, most diseases weren't understood; people put mustard plasters on knees and rubbed camphor on your chest if you had a cough and did funny things to you if you had tuberculosis — all these things that really made very little difference once proper treatments were brought in. She used to be annoyed with me because I would challenge everything she said and not believe anything unless someone could show me the facts. For some reason, that's just the way I was.

Is that what got you interested in ulcers — the apparent lack of facts?

Something like that. The thing that initially excited me was: "Ah-ha! A falsehood!" Robin and I had been looking into these bacteria, and we found that they can survive in stomach acid. You probably don't think that's particularly weird, because you know that there are bacteria that live in Old Faithful and hot springs and so forth. But it really wasn't well-known in the early '80s that there were bacteria that could survive in all these harsh environments. So it started out as: Let's just prove that these bacteria live in the stomach and try to find out how they do that.

That led to ulcers via the side door, if you like, because we were trying to find out who had the bacteria — and lo and behold, we noticed that everybody with ulcers had them. So we said, "Hang on a minute, scientists have been trying to find the cause of ulcers for 50 years. Have they checked out the possibility that it could be an infection?" The answer was, "No, because it's impossible for bacteria to live in the stomach. We wouldn't even consider that."

At what point did you start to suspect that your own theory was right?

We pretty well knew that we had discovered the cause of ulcers within two years of starting the work. One reason was that I was starting to treat a few people with antibiotics, and nine out of 11 seemed to be cured. At the time, the cure rate for ulcers with any other treatment would have been one out of 11. So even though that work was anecdotal and not blinded and not publishable, it was very convincing.

I assume another reason you were so certain is that — rather famously — you swallowed a bunch of Helicobacter bacteria to prove that it caused stomach problems. Not to be blunt, but: What were you thinking? Was that just a way of bypassing the human studies review board process? Were you so convinced that you were right and just impatient to prove it?

It was a decision point. I had to find out if the bacteria could really affect a healthy person and cause gastritis. I'd been working very hard in the previous 12 months on piglets, but I have to tell you that piglets aren't piglets for very long. They just about grow before your eyes, so after six months I had nearly full-sized pigs in our offices and I was wrestling with them and it was chaos. And you can't infect pigs very easily, it turns out, so that failed rather miserably. And the skeptics were so determinedly skeptical that I felt like: I'm never going to prove to these guys that the bacteria are harmful. By then everybody knew that 40 percent of the population had the bacteria and did not have ulcers, so that was making life difficult for me. So I took some bacteria off a patient and cooked it up.

If nothing had happened, it really would have been a spanner in the works for the whole theory. I thought, "If it doesn't work, I'll quiet down about the whole thing; maybe I'll just run away and do some other career for a while because I'm wrong." But then of course it worked.

What did your colleagues think?

I didn't quite explain to my boss what I was doing. He was passing the endoscope on me and I was lying there gagging away, he says, "Barry, I'm not sure why you asked me to do this test on you, and I don't want you to tell me." It was don't ask, don't tell. I wrote the experiment up in the third person, because it was very disreputable to be doing a self-experiment of one and then writing it up, and the editor of the medical journal of Australia stuck his neck out and published it. Afterward a couple of people figured out that it was really a self-experiment on me, but I didn't own up to it straight away.

You didn't realize it was going to be a great PR stunt?

No, I didn't. I was always very embarrassed talking about it. Then the word leaked out, and it's kind of a funny story, actually. After our Lancet paper was published in 1984, Robin and I went out to dinner with our wives, and we were having a few drinks and I let slip that I'd done the experiment. So then he goes home and in the middle of the night, he gets a phone call from a journalist in the United States who'd gotten the time difference wrong. The journalists said, "I'm from Star ," and Robin thought it was like Time magazine or something, and he gave this very in-depth interview about these bacteria that might cause ulcers. At the end the journalist said, "How can you be so sure these bacteria are really harmful?" and Robin says, "Well, Dr. Marshall drank them, and he got so sick he half killed himself!" That was the alcohol talking.

So they write this article in Star that's like "Australian Researcher Experiments on Guinea Pig Lab Assistant!"

I have to ask: How did your wife feel about this little stunt?

[Hollering into the distance] Adrienne, come up here! [To me] I'm not allowed to tell other people what she thinks.

That seems like a good policy.

Adrian [laughing]: I was a bit worried about him. He was very sick, and he didn't talk to me about it ahead of time or I would have probably suggested strongly that he not go ahead with it. But I was more surprised by the reaction of his colleagues when it came out that it was actually a self-experiment. He already had a reputation for being a bit rash and a bit of a hothead, and I fully expected his colleagues to write him off as a complete lunatic. But it was the exact opposite. They all thought it was a wonderful thing to do, which surprised us both, I think. He got a lot of credibility for it, which I wouldn't have expected.

By the time of that self-experiment, Barry, you were reasonably sure that you were right, and you'd been saying so in public for quite some time. Can you describe the general response you received when you first began to publicize your work?

When you start off with a new idea like this, all your scientific pals set out to prove you wrong. That's the scientific process. In my case, people were especially interested in showing that I was wrong, because at the time I was not at the pinnacle of gastroenterology, or even in the mainstream. I didn't know all of its secret teachings, if you like. I would just charge in with this stuff about bacteria, and nobody wanted to be told that they had spent their life doing research on something that somebody in western Australia figured out in 12 months. You can imagine that would be a bit difficult to stomach.

That makes it sound like the driving force was ego and insider/outsider status as much as it was the scientific process.

Well, and money. I think there was a strategy in the pharmaceutical industry to keep the new bacteria theory of ulcers under wraps. At the time we made the discovery, a new antacid was coming out every year or two that was stronger or better in some way, and as each drug was rolled out, the pharmaceutical companies funded scientists to do clinical studies on people with ulcers.  

If these had been truly scientific people who were genuinely interested in discovery, as soon as they heard about the new bacteria [theory], they would've said to the investigator, "We're testing 300 patients with ulcers; can you just take an extra biopsy and check for bacteria? We want to know what's going on here." But they didn't do that, because the only purpose of these trials was to get a new indication and extended registration for the FDA. If you look at it from a business point of view, it could only do your market harm and lower your share price to find out that you could actually cure people with antibiotics. And that was their point of view.

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment. It's easy to characterize your story as the triumph of an evidence-driven outsider over a bunch of insiders and their vested interests, but isn't what happened actually a pretty good example of how science is supposed to work? As you said a moment ago, the scientific process involves trying to prove other people wrong, and in that sense, the fact that you were subjected to a lot of intense questioning and skepticism and so forth seems appropriate.

Right, sure, that's part of it. In retrospect, I was partly to blame, because I would get data that was rather preliminary and try to publish it because it was exciting and novel and original, even though we didn't yet have any kind of double-blind studies.

But also, we felt it was important to act. Maybe it would have been different if we'd been talking about [a cure for] a skin rash or something; maybe you can afford to wait five years until that's proved. But people died from ulcers all over the place and were having their stomachs or half their stomachs removed; there were permanent, mutilating operations and deaths going on around us. And yet to test our idea, you just needed to take some antibiotics. So we weren't very ashamed about trying to get our message out, even though it was rather preliminary.

Thomas Kuhn distinguishes between what he calls normal and extraordinary science, the latter being the type that brings about a complete change — the famed "paradigm shift" — in a field. Which one do you think describes your work? One can arrive at new ideas and theories and solutions without ushering in a whole new paradigm, after all.

It was definitely a paradigm shift, because it got this stress thing debunked. And the implications of that are much bigger: What else is supposedly caused by stress that we can debunk? A lot of these things that are supposedly caused by stress, you try to track down the reason for that link, and there isn't one, except the fact that we don't have any better cause. Everything that's supposedly caused by stress, I tell people there's a Nobel Prize there if you find out the real cause.

So that's one thing that happened. The second thing is that by 1980, everyone was feeling pretty confident that infectious diseases were going to be wiped out and there wasn't going to be any more problem with them. H1N1 is enough to wake us up to the fact that we don't know everything about infectious disease, but it really happened with Helicobacter first. People had been seriously studying ulcers for 50 years, billions of dollars were spent, and then — what do you know, it's a bacteria. So you have to ask, what other infectious diseases are we missing? I reckon a lot of these mysterious chronic diseases are related to some infectious agent that's been a trigger. It might have happened when you were a child and now it [the infectious agent] is long gone, but it sets you up for a problem later in life. We'll see if I'm right.

Speaking of which, did you find it frustrating that so many people felt you were wrong?

It didn't really faze me too much that everybody thought I was wrong, but it annoyed me that I was having trouble getting research grants and so forth. And at times I'd get internally angry, especially when I was junior and people in senior roles and positions of power could block my plans and go ahead and order for someone to have surgery or continue on with some treatment which was useless.

But it must have been annoying for them, too, because you couldn't tell me anything. I just knew so much. After a couple of years, Robin Warren and I knew more about every aspect of ulcers than practically everyone in the world, because we read nothing else for two years.

When and how did you start to convince people?

Part of it had to do with David Graham, who was chief of medicine at Baylor, in Texas, and a thought leader in gastroenterology. Graham started off as a real skeptic but quickly turned around. To his credit, Graham never said that I was wrong. He said, "I don't know, and I'm going to find out." And a couple of years later, he said, "I've checked it out and it looks pretty good, it looks like it could be true."

And then in 1993 or '94, the NIH had a consensus conference, and Tachi Yamada summed it up. Yamada is currently the head of [the Global Health Program of] the Gates Foundation; he's a very, very smart guy, and he said, "Looks like it's proven: Bacteria cause ulcers, and everybody needs to start treating ulcers with antibiotics."

It was just like night and day after that. The whole thing just went ballistic.

How did it feel to finally be acknowledged as right in such a public and universal way?

It was very satisfying to prove [my critics] wrong. People used to say to me afterward, "Barry, do you feel vindicated?" And I'd say, "I felt vindicated 10 years ago, because I knew what the result was going to be." There's a saying, "Science is not a democracy." It doesn't matter how many millions of people there are on the other side. There's one right, and it's perfectly possible for all the rest to be wrong. And ultimately all those guys were proved wrong, and they either retired or they came over the side of Helicobacter .

I love that it took retirement. It's like that quip by the physicist Max Planck, who said that science proceeds by funerals.

It wasn't quite death, but close. David Graham said, "The great thing about Marshall's theory is that if he's wrong, it's going to be so easy to disprove." The point he was making was that if it's a good hypothesis, you can test it. And ours was very testable; you just had to give people antibiotics and see if they got better. And they did. So everybody who was trying to prove us wrong, if they were good scientists, they just changed sides.

If they weren't good scientists, they kind of clammed up and kept doing what they were doing. If they were running a stress-based business — and there were certainly people, particularly in New York, who did psychoanalysis for ulcer patients and ran stress institutes and things like that — a lot of these guys, it had been their whole life. I do feel sorry for them, but I'm glad it wasn't me, that's all I can say. I'd probably be having a lot of trouble with my ego if I'd found out that all my life's work was for naught.

These days, do you find that everyone believes your theory?

Well, not patients, necessarily. Even now I see people who've got ulcers, and they think they're caused by stress. And I say, "Where have you been for the last 20 years? Have you been under a rock?" It just amazes me that there are still doctors out there that don't know this.

Who's to blame for that? Are health care providers and public health workers failing to spread the word, or is the idea just so entrenched in the culture that it's difficult to eradicate?

It's like a religion or something. It's like there's a certain part of your life when you learn things, and then you just stop. I'll say to patients, "Don't you know that ulcers are caused by bacteria? You need some antibiotics." And they'll say to me, "No, no, no. My doctor told me that in my case, it's definitely stress."

Let me turn the tables for a moment. What have you yourself been most wrong about?

It was very difficult to convince me that Helicobacter doesn't always make people unwell. Because I was interested in ulcers, I was seeing people who were very sick from it, but my colleagues would say, "You know, Barry, 40 percent of the Australian population have Helicobacter , and most of those people don't really have any symptoms." And I'd say, "Well, you didn't really ask them the right questions, you've got to ask them this and that." I spent several years trying to separate out people with Helicobacter from people who don't have it on the basis of things like, do they feel nauseated, are they burping, do they have bad breath or headaches — all those kind of vague systems.

I've had to pull back on this. Now I say, "Probably 75 percent of people with Helicobacter have nothing wrong with them." They go through life with minimal syndromes. It's like having dandruff in your stomach. If you had that, you wouldn't ever know about it. Your stomach would look a bit weird if you looked inside, but you wouldn't feel anything at all.

That being said, I'm still trying to hold my ground on this. There's a history of ulcers in my mom's family, and although she swears she has no stomach symptoms at all, I said, "I better just treat you the same way as everybody else." So I gave her antibiotics. Three weeks later she said to me, "You know, since I took those antibiotics, I've just been feeling great. I have more energy, I feel more positive." I've heard that from a lot of people over the years. So I think there may be a subtle syndrome where you're not at your top performance if you have Helicobacter in your stomach. If you've had something mild all your life, then you don't really know what normal is until you take the problem away.

Who else would you want to hear interviewed about being wrong?

What about George Bush? I tend to be pretty right-wing, and I have to say most people that I associate with at the university are a bunch of lefties, including my wife. But it's going to be interesting over the next 20 or 30 years to see how history judges George Bush, and how the Middle East will turn out. It probably takes generations for those things to change. But you provide a bit of stability, a bit of education for women, Internet, cell phones, travel — it's very difficult to keep a country all locked up after that.


This blog features Q&As in which notable people discuss their relationship to being wrong. You can read past interviews with Innocence Project Co-Founder Peter Neufeld , marriage counselor Harville Hendrix , Google research director  Peter Norvig , Wikipedia co-founder  Larry Sanger , NASA astronaut-turned-medical-error-guru  James Bagian , hedge-fund manager  Victor Niederhoffer , mountaineer  Ed Viesturs This American Life  host  Ira Glass , celebrity chef  Anthony Bourdain Sports Illustrated  senior writer  Joe Posnanski , education scholar and activist  Diane Ravitch , and criminal defense lawyer and pundit  Alan Dershowitz .

          History of Vaccines Launches Sites in Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu        
History of Vaccines Launches Sites in Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu Karie Youngdahl Tue, 2017-05-16 16:15

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia is pleased to announce that the award-winning HistoryofVaccines.org is now available in Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu. This project, generously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, makes available to hundreds of millions of more global visitors reliable, accurate information on immunization’s history and its continuing contributions to human health. The three-language site—a companion to the existing sites in English and Spanish—offers more than 40 articles, four activities, and a timeline of vaccine history, all adapted to World Health Organization immunization guidelines and presented in a contemporary, graphically dynamic format. These resources will give parents, students, and healthcare workers useful information that until now has not been widely accessible to readers of Hindi, Urdu, and Arabic.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, known also as home of the Mütter Museum, launched HistoryofVaccines.org in 2010, and added a Spanish version of the site in 2012. The online resource items from the College’s museum and library collections to explore the history of vaccination and vaccine development. Almost 2 million unique visitors from across the world used the site in 2016.

History of Vaccines in Hindi Screenshot
History of Vaccines in Hindi

          Gates Foundation to help fight malnutrition in India        

The union cabinet  approved the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the women and child development ministry and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for cooperation in IT-enabled real time monitoring of Integrated Child Development Services and other technical matters. The ministry is implementing International Development Association (IDA) assisted Systems Strengthening and Nutrition […]

The post Gates Foundation to help fight malnutrition in India appeared first on Medical Dialogues.

          USD 13.4 million Gates grant to help combat India malnutrition        

Washington: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a grant of USD 13.4 million to the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (TCi) to help combat malnutrition in India. The funding would allow the Cornell University project to scale up its work promoting a more nutrition-sensitive food system aimed at bolstering the diet of the […]

The post USD 13.4 million Gates grant to help combat India malnutrition appeared first on Medical Dialogues.

          Episode 56: Chris Young        
This week on Cooking Issues Dave Arnold is joined by Chris Young, one of the authors of Modernist Cuisine. But first he takes on your questions on blue fish and ike jime, enzymatic peeling, and how to avoid Botulism when you are doing your own canning. Later Chris and Dave get nerdy on evaporative reduction and the Gastrovac. Also dont miss Chris talking about his ventures with Nathan Myrhvold and the Gates Foundations in sub-Saharan Africa in trying to create a reliable fresh milk supply chain that they call East African Dairy Development. This episode is sponsored by The Modernist Pantry that is giving away a free sample of Pectinex when you listen for the code in this episode!
          I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy        
That Beatles song keeps playing in my head as I read news about education, debt, public policy and the general modern-day miseducation of America.

In Seattle, 100 or so K-12 teachers known as the Badass Teachers Association - aka (crazy as) BATS - marched on the Gates Foundation last month. They decided Bill Gates is personally responsible for holding them responsible for student performance on tests. They're mad as BATS, free for the summer, and want  Bill (who has little say in proposals funded, but a public name and lots of money) to butt out in funding innovation proposals. (We don't need no stinkin' innovation.) They pooled money from somewhere to bring in keynote rabble-rouser Anthony Cody ("we hate STEM") from California as there doesn't seem to be enough rabble in the PNW. Bless their hearts for effort.

At the same time, in Tacoma, my colleague - the brilliant and thoughtful Ingrid Walker - led a discussion at the Grand Cinema after the viewing of The Ivory Tower. The documentary, and discussion, brought out a calmer, more diverse and less rabbly crowd. While focusing on hard topics explored in the film (cost, value, disruption, the new loss of trust by society in HE), the audience seemed aware that answers will only come out of very good, hard questions. But also that change is already in the wind, and it's bringing on a storm.

Part of the storm, I believe, comes from people who don't want to think deeply and simply to blame. They ask questions that have the power of a slammed door: Who stole my lovely past? Who moved my cheese? Who let these low-brow, underachieving, non-elite, in-debt learners into college? Why can't we go back to the way it was before technology? What the hell is a MOOC really? Oh, and why doesn't Sal Khan just shut up about the value of personalized learning?

Interesting questions, all. Won't get us anywhere. The reality is that we have left behind a golden past in the industrial age. A past where lock-step schooling was good enough to prepare poor kids for good, dull factory jobs. It paid the bills, bought small homes, and even sent (some, maybe) of their children to college. That doesn't work anymore and everyone from BATS to Bill Gates knows that. Despite/pace Diane Ravitch's empire and its claim all is hunky-dory, we have to do better. We have to change, to prepare for a knowledge age, to create affordable and achievable education for all, and educators have to stop whining about how it will inconvenience us to do it.

Just do it. Just "do the work" as my friend, sociologist Debra Friedman repeatedly said. I hear her voice in my head all the time. Especially when reading the news today, Oh Boy. Do the work.

          Î— Φιλανθρωπία η Φοροδιαφυγή και η Δημοκρατία        
Με ενδιαφέρον διάβασα πρόσφατα (6/1) άρθρο στον Guardian για τον Bill Gates, τις φιλανθρωπικές δωρεές του και την φοροδιαφυγή του. Το ερώτημα στον τίτλο είναι αν η φιλανθρωπία είναι υποκριτική.

Το άρθρο κάνει αναφορά στο γεγονός ότι ο Gates είναι ο πλουσιότερος άνθρωπος του κόσμου και μάλιστα ότι αύξησε τον πλούτο του το 2013 κατά 9,6 δισ. λίρες (περίπου 11,626 δισ. Ευρώ), με συνολική περιουσία 48 δισ. λίρες (περίπου 58,13 δισ. Ευρώ).

Ταυτόχρονα κάνει αναφορά στην μεγάλη φοροδιαφυγή της Microsoft (όπως και των άλλων μεγάλων εταιρειών, π.χ. Google, Facebook, Amazon) με την αξιοποίηση των παραθύρων που δίνουν οι νομοθεσίες για την φορολογία.

Στο άρθρο καταγράφονται μια σειρά από ενδιαφέροντα στοιχεία:

- η Microsoft κάνει φοροδιαφυγή που είναι ισοδύναμη με το 3% του παγκόσμιου προϋπολογισμού οικονομικής βοήθειας (global aid budget).

-τα τελευταία 60 χρόνια οι φόροι που συγκεντρώνονται στην Αμερική από εταιρικό φόρο εισοδήματος (corporate income tax) έχει πέσει από 32,1% στο 8,9% του συνόλου των φόρων, με αποτέλεσμα οι υπόλοιποι φορολογούμενοι να πληρώνουν περισσότερο.

-στον αναπτυσσόμενο κόσμο, η φυγή κεφαλαίων είναι δέκα φορές μεγαλύτερη από την ενίσχυση που λαμβάνουν οι φτωχές χώρες.

Πιο πρόσφατη περίπτωση φοροδιαφυγής απο φιλάνθρωπο και των (μη) συνεπειών της είναι αυτή του Ty Warner, ο οποίος καταδικάστηκε σε δύο χρόνια φυλάκισης με αναστολή αφού κρίθηκε ένοχος για φοροδιαφυγή με την απόκρυψη περιουσίας σε ελβετική τράπεζα. Θα υποχρεωθεί επίσης να καταβάλει  Ï€ÏÏŒÏƒÏ„Î¹Î¼Î¿ $53 εκ. (ποσόν σχετικά μικρό σε σχέση με την περιουσία του που υπολογίζεται σε $1,7δις) και να πληρώσει $27εκ. για φόρους και τόκους. Ο Warner - σε αντίθεση με άλλους Αμερικανούς που διώχθηκαν για φοροδιαφυγή - απέφυγε την φυλάκιση, γιατί ο δικαστής στο  Î£Î¹ÎºÎ¬Î³Î¿ έλαβε υπόψη του τις μεγάλες δωρεές που είχε κάνει σε σχολεία, πάρκα, ασθενείς και  Ï…Ï€Î±Î»Î»Î®Î»Î¿Ï…Ï‚ του. Πολλοί από αυτούς που είχαν ευεργετηθεί από τον Warner ζήτησαν επιείκεια από το δικαστήριο για τους λόγους αυτούς. Όπως παρατήρησε ο συνήγορος της πολιτικής αγωγής, η άρνηση του δικαστή να στείλει τον Warner στην φυλακή κατέστησε την φοροδιαφυγή κάτι λίγο παραπάνω από μια κακή επένδυση.

Οι παραπάνω είναι δύο ενδεικτικές μόνο από πολλές παρόμοιες περιπτώσεις.

Τα ερωτήματα που προκαλούν τα άρθρα αυτά είναι πολλά και ποικίλα. Εύκολα θα μπορούσε κανείς να οδηγηθεί στην άποψη ότι κάτι πρέπει να κάνουν οι χώρες για να περιορίσουν την φοροδιαφυγή, να περιορίσουν τα κέρδη του Bill Gates, του Warner και όσων άλλων έχουν υπερβολικά κέρδη, μερικά εκ των οποίων διοχετεύουν σε φιλανθρωπίες. Νομίζω όμως ότι οι προσεγγίσεις αυτές είναι απλουστευτικές, ενώ το βασικό πρόβλημα είναι πολύ πιο σύνθετο και χρειάζεται να το δει κανείς από την αρχή. Κατ’ αρχήν μερικές διαπιστώσεις:

α)   Με την φοροδιαφυγή συμβαίνει ό,τι και σε πολλές άλλες περιπτώσεις, όπου η νομοθεσία προσπαθεί να προστατεύσει το κοινωνικό σύνολο (ηλεκτρονικό έγκλημα κ.λ.π.). Και εδώ, αυτοί που βρίσκουν τρόπους να αποφεύγουν την γενική εφαρμογή του νόμου είναι ένα βήμα μπροστά από τον νόμο. Σε μεγάλο βαθμό, φαίνεται ότι η φοροδιαφυγή του Bill Gates και άλλων είναι νόμιμη, με χρήση των κατάλληλων νομικών παραθύρων. Το ερώτημα είναι αν είναι και ηθική η αξιοποίηση μέρους των κερδών που αποκομίζουν μέσω αυτής σε φιλανθρωπίες και αν αυτό χρειάζεται να αντιμετωπισθεί.

β)   Ο Bill Gates και άλλοι φιλάνθρωποι ισχυρίζονται ότι με τα χρήματα που διαθέτουν κάνουν πολύ μεγαλύτερο καλό στο κοινωνικό σύνολο (π.χ. στην εκπαίδευση, την υγεία κτλ) από ό,τι αν το κράτος θα είχε τα χρήματα αυτά και τα αξιοποιούσε αυτό το ίδιο. Αυτό συμβαίνει, κατά τον ισχυρισμό τους, γιατί οι ίδιοι και οι δομές που διαμορφώνουν (π.χ. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) είναι πολύ πιο αποτελεσματικές από ό,τι οι κρατικές δομές.

γ)    ÎŒÏƒÎ¿Î¹ διαφωνούν με τις πρακτικές αυτές ισχυρίζονται ότι το κράτος με τις δομές του είναι πολύ καταλληλότερο για να αξιολογήσει τις ανάγκες των πολιτών και να διαθέσει τα χρήματα που συγκεντρώνει από τους φόρους με τον καλύτερο δυνατό τρόπο.

δ) Υπάρχει και το ευρύτερο ζήτημα αμφισβήτησης της εξουσίας του κράτους και της ίδιας της Δημοκρατίας. Γιατί αν κάποιος θεωρεί ότι ο ίδιος πρέπει να διαχειρίζεται μέσω φιλανθρωπιών, το πού θα πηγαίνουν τα χρήματα που συγκέντρωσε από φοροδιαφυγή–και μάλιστα με φοροαπαλλαγή- που αλλιώς θα πήγαιναν σε φόρους, όχι μόνο αμφισβητεί ευθέως τον ρόλο του κράτους στην παροχή υπηρεσιών πρός τους πολίτες, αλλά και παρακάμπτει την δημοκρατική διαδικασία: η απόφαση του πώς διατίθενται οι φόροι λαμβάνεται από σώματα που αντλούν την νομιμοποίησή τους εκλογικά (εμμέσως δηλαδή είναι οι ίδιοι οι πολίτες που με την ψήφο τους εγκρίνουν τις προτεραιότητες για την αξιοποίηση των φόρων).

ε)    ÎŸÎ¹ φιλάνθρωποι αυτοί με τις τεράστιες περιουσίες είναι τόσο ισχυροί που μπορούν να συνδυάζουν τις οικονομικές τους δραστηριότητες με τις όποιες αποκλίσεις έχουν, με την καλή συνεργασία με τις κυβερνήσεις διαφόρων χωρών, ώστε να εξακολουθούν να κάνουν αυτό το οποίο κάνουν, τόσο στις επιχειρήσεις, όσο και στην φιλανθρωπία.

Το ερώτημα που τίθεται είναι ποιός είναι ο καλύτερος τρόπος να αντιμετωπισθεί το υπαρκτό αυτό πρόβλημα.

-Έχουν τα κράτη την δυνατότητα να συγκεντρώσουν τους πραγματικούς φόρους που οι ισχυροί αυτοί οικονομικοί παράγοντες θα έπρεπε να πληρώνουν;

-Μπορεί το κράτος να επιλέξει καλύτερα στόχους στους οποίους θα μπορούσαν να επενδύουν οι φιλάνθρωποι αυτοί; Μπορεί έστω το κράτος να διαμορφώσει τις προτεραιότητες και τους μετρήσιμους στόχους, και να επιτρέψει στους μεγιστάνες το micromanagement αφού αυτοί ισχυρίζονται ότι το κράτος αποτυγχάνει να διαχειρισθεί σωστά τα κονδύλια που τους προσφέρει;

-Αν επεκτείνουμε στο έπακρον την προηγούμενη σκέψη, πού οδηγούμεθα; Μήπως σε μία κατάσταση όπου το κράτος μόνο θέτει στόχους και προτεραιότητες, και κάνει subcontracting την διοίκηση και διαχείριση σε ιδιώτες; Μία ενδιαφέρουσα ιδέα ή ένας ολισθηρός δρόμος;

Όλα τα παραπάνω σχετίζονται με έναν ουσιαστικό προβληματισμό: την λειτουργία της δημοκρατίας στην σημερινή εποχή και πόσο αποτελεσματική είναι αυτή. Όταν η εξουσία διαπλέκεται με το χρήμα (όπως η παραπάνω συζήτηση δείχνει), και το 1% των πολιτών έχει το 95% του πλούτου, πρέπει να είμαστε ρεαλιστές και να καταλάβουμε ότι η δημοκρατία –όπως ορίσθηκε πριν 2,5 χιλ. χρόνια- καταρρέει. Και αυτό χρειάζεται μια ρεαλιστική αντιμετώπιση.
          Malaria Vaccine for Children's Lives        
Millions of children's lives could be saved by a new vaccine shown to halve the risk of malaria in the first large-scale trials across seven African countries.The long-awaited results of the largest-ever malaria vaccine study, involving 15,460 babies and small children, show that it could massively reduce the impact of the much-feared killer disease. Malaria takes nearly 800,000 lives a year - mostly children under five. It damages many more.The vaccine has been in development for two decades - the brainchild of scientists at the UK drug company GlaxoSmithKline, which has promised to sell it at no more than a fraction over cost-price, with the excess being ploughed back into further tropical disease research.
Keywords: immunization, vaccination
"This data brings us to the cusp of having the world's first malaria vaccine, which has the potential to significantly improve the outlook for children living in malaria endemic regions across Africa," said GSK's chief executive, Andrew Witty.
"The addition of a malaria vaccine to existing control interventions, such as bed nets and insecticide spraying, could potentially help prevent millions of cases of this debilitating disease. It could also reduce the burden on hospital services, freeing up much-needed beds to treat other patients who often live in remote villages, with little or no access to healthcare."
Mitchell said a vaccine "offers real hope for the future", adding: "An effective, long-lasting and cost-effective vaccine would make a major contribution to malaria control … but we must not lose sight of the fact that over 2,000 people die from malaria every day and they need help now. Britain's focus remains on driving down this terrible loss of life by preventing and treating malaria with the tools we have now and tackling resistance."
Small-scale studies, in a few hundred children, have shown promising results in the past, but a trial of this size is needed to prove the vaccine's usefulness across populations. It is being carried out in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
The early data from five- to 17-month-old children is the first of three important results; the outcome from the vaccination of newborn babies will be published next year. These figures are crucial, because the malaria vaccine needs to be incorporated into the infant immunisation schedule, alongside the usual diphtheria and measles jabs. Earlier small-scale trials suggest the results in six- to 12-week-old babies will also show around 50% protection.
The third important outcome, on how well the protection lasts, will not be known until 2014. The data so far, over 22 months, suggests there may be a drop in the numbers protected from severe malaria.
The WHO has said that if the results are satisfactory, it will recommend its use and the vaccine may begin to be rolled out as early as 2015, but it will need to be used in conjunction with all the other existing tools of malaria prevention, such as bed nets and insecticide spraying on the inside of homes.
Questions remain over the price of the vaccine and whether donors will be willing to pay. Dr Regina Rabinovitch, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, declined to say if they would fund it, saying they would want to look at the final data on efficacy, duration and safety. "Would I prefer to see a 100% effective vaccine? Certainly," she told a press conference.
Witty says he is exhorting everybody involved in the vaccine's production to pare their costs to the bone. "We are absolutely dedicated to making it as low as possible," he said.
Bill Gates said a vaccine is the simplest, most cost-effective way to save lives. "These results demonstrate the power of working with partners to create a malaria vaccine that has the potential to protect millions of children from this devastating disease," he said.

Severe malaria affects the brain, kidneys and blood and can kill. Most children still suffered malaria, but fewer and less serious bouts. For every 1,000 children who received the vaccine there were 750 cases of malaria over a year, compared with 1,500 per 1,000 children who were given a dummy jab. Side-effects were roughly the same in both the vaccine and placebo groups and relatively high, at around 20%, but investigators say this has to do with other health problems among rural African children.

by Omicsjournals
          Akonni Biosystems Awarded Grant to Validate TruTip® Sample Preparation Technology for Use in Low Resource Settings        

Grand Challenges grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks a novel sample preparation technology to become a “universal method” for Low and Middle Income Countries

(PRWeb June 06, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14374509.htm

          Comment on The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation By Anthony Cody by 5 Reasons I Oppose Vouchers by Author Peter Greene - Garn Press        
[…] The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation […]
          Comment on The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation By Anthony Cody by The Educator And The Oligarch - Featured Book Talk by Anthony Cody at the 2017 Badass Teachers Association Education Conference - Garn Press        
[…] meaningful reform, and supports candidates willing to stand up for public schools. His book The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation won the 2015 George Orwell Award, given by the NCTE Public Language Awards Committee of […]
          Comment on Anthony Cody by The Educator And The Oligarch - Featured Book Talk by Anthony Cody at the 2017 Badass Teachers Association Education Conference - Garn Press        
[…] Author Anthony Cody was among the core organizers of the Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC, which brought more than 5000 protesters to the nation’s capital. In 2013, he joined with Diane Ravitch to found the Network for Public Education, a national advocacy group that advocates for meaningful reform, and supports candidates willing to stand up for public schools. His book The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation won the 2015 George Orwell Award, given by the NCTE Public Language Awards Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English. […]
          Comment on The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation By Anthony Cody by BOOK EXCERPT: Teachers as Reflective Practitioners: Achieving Social Justice and Equity by Bess Altwerger - Garn Press        
[…] The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation […]
          Gates Foundation Assets Plummet 20%        
No surprise that Bill Gates, along with everyone else, is getting hammered by the recession. But Dealbook breaks down the numbers: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is down 19%, and Bill's Cascade Investment is down another 18%.
          Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Grants $1.5M To Turn Human Waste Into Biofuel        
Two of many challenges developing countries face are unsafe water and a lack of affordable energy. With the help of a new $1.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ghana may be able to combine these lacks in to an asset in the form of biodiesel. Read More
          See How Global Health Has Changed Since You Were Born        
If I could pick when and where I was born, I'd choose 2016 and Hong Kong, instead of 1986 and the U.S.That way, I'd have an extra seven years of life — the increase in life expectancy from then until now. As A Hong Konger, I'd have a good chance of living to 84 years old — that society has the highest life expectancy on record. And vaccines for deadly diseases like rotavirus and HPV would have already been invented.That's what I learned from Global Health Check, a new interactive tool created by Beyond Words Studio for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Mosaic, a U.K. health magazine funded by the Wellcome Trust. [As our readers may know, Gates is a funder of NPR and this blog.]Enter the year you were born, and you'll get a tailored rundown of how global health has changed in your lifetime."We wanted to put people in the center of the metrics," says Duncan Swain, one of the tool's creators and co-founder of Beyond Words Studio. "It's a good way to personalize the data and make
          Homeless protesters to stop sleeping at Gates Foundation        
The dozens of homeless people who have been camping overnight in front of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for almost two weeks are leaving. The homeless advocacy group Share/Wheel said in a statement that the group “will be going back to sleep inside their shelters tonight.” SHARE had organized the Gates Foundation protests earlier
          Gates and Rotary announce $450 million commitment to end polio        

Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announce $450 million commitment to end polioATLANTA, Ga. (June 12, 2017) – Today in Atlanta Rotary President John Germ and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda

          Mobile Money, Digital Learning, and the Virtual State        

This year I finished up another round of guest blogging for the Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion, which has received a four million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support research on how new forms of e-commerce and e-finance are transforming (or sometimes not transforming) the developing world. You can check out the IMFTI Blog to see stories from IMFTI researchers about mobile money in Palestine, Kenya, Uruguay, Ghana, India, Tanzania, The Philippines, and many other countries. Given my work on digital expressions of the virtual state and the importance of informal learning practices in connection with distributed networks and computational media, I feel this annual experience always improves my scholarship by orienting my own work more to other reference points in the world.
          Gates Foundation Lends Support To Clean India Campaign        
Business Insider: Bill Gates is helping India win its war on human waste “…Right now, 600,000 of the world’s 1.7 million who die annually from unsafe water and sanitation (due primarily to open, unclean toilets) live in India. As billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently wrote on his blog, those kinds of conditions make a planMore

          From Evidence to Action: Typhoid Experts Exchange Data, Strategies During Biennial Conference        

More than 300 researchers from 45 countries gathered in Kampala, Uganda in early April for the 10th International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses. Hosted by the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Coalition against Typhoid, the three-day conference – the world’s only such meeting devoted to the diseases – centered on the theme “From Evidence to Action” as attendees reviewed crucial developments to reduce the global burden of these diseases.  

Typhoid fever, a bacterial illness transmitted through contaminated food or water, remains a significant public health threat in many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa and Asia. Approximately 21 million cases occur annually worldwide, killing an estimated 220,000 people, most of them children. Although typhoid vaccines have existed for decades, currently available vaccines are underutilized and have significant limitations. With antimicrobial resistance on the rise, there is an increasing need for new vaccines and improved treatments. This year’s conference provided an opportunity for researchers, policy makers and advocates to gather and discuss recent progress and ongoing challenges, and identify ways to address these factors and reduce the global burden of typhoid.

The global health community is well-positioned to achieve typhoid control worldwide. Anita Zaidi of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation opened the conference’s first session by encouraging attendees to recognize their ability to change the status quo. Zaidi highlighted that many countries have eliminated typhoid as a public health concern, and estimates of the global burden of typhoid have remained relatively steady in recent years. This progress has helped identify key areas of work and a pathway forward to achieve sustained reduction in typhoid by 2035.

Uganda, the host country of the 2017 conference, is one example of where progress has been made in the effort to control and prevent typhoid. Uganda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, spoke of recent advancements during Sabin’s reception on the first night, where she was the featured speaker. Following typhoid and nontyphoidal salmonella outbreaks in Uganda in recent years, Dr. Aceng praised a “robust disease surveillance and response system” that the Ministry of Health developed to stay ahead of future outbreaks.

Denise Garrett, vice president of typhoid projects at Sabin and director of the Coalition against Typhoid, heralded partnerships as one of the most effective ways to reduce the burden of typhoid. “It is not just one researcher or just one group that will make a change,” said Dr. Garrett, emphasizing that it takes a village to reduce the burden of these diseases. During the conference, Dr. Garrett welcomed the Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium, also known as TyVAC, to that village. TyVAC is a partnership between the University of Maryland, the Oxford Vaccine Group, and PATH, funded by a $36.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The group will collaborate with governments and policy makers to advance typhoid vaccine introduction around the world.

Although progress was celebrated throughout the conference, many of the sessions focused on tackling some of the greatest challenges facing the typhoid community. As Sabin’s President of Global Immunization, Bruce Gellin, stated in his welcoming remarks that in some ways a “perfect storm is brewing.” Challenges detecting, controlling and preventing typhoid are converging, creating added urgency for improved practices and technologies. Several researchers have spent the recent years evaluating the global burden of typhoid and spoke to the persisting social and data inequities between low- and high-income countries. The findings revealed that whereas high-income countries have seen a decline in typhoid cases following increased access to safe water and robust data, many low-income countries are still working to improve sanitation and improve surveillance, among other factors.

Researchers are currently trying to close the surveillance gaps all over the world, especially in the two regions most significantly burdened by typhoid and nontyphoidal salmonella: Asia and Africa. Sabin is working to improve surveillance fill knowledge gaps in Asia through the Surveillance of Enteric Fever in Asia Project (SEAP). Preliminary results from SEAP’s multi-country, multi-site, population-based surveillance were shared during the conference, shedding light on the impact of enteric fever in the region. Similarly, the International Vaccine Institute is leading typhoid surveillance efforts in Africa through their Severe Typhoid in Africa Program (SETA). SETA’s latest findings will help inform the introduction of typhoid vaccines in Africa.

Many presenters also addressed the threat of increasing rates of antimicrobial resistant typhoid and nontyphoidal Salmonella, which complicates treatment and control efforts. As typhoid strains develop resistance to first-line treatments such as the antibiotics ciprofloxacin, azithromycin and ceftiraxone, health providers are forced to rely on more expensive and less readily available antibiotics to treat the illness. These challenges are exacerbated when there are outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant typhoid, which is currently playing out in an ongoing outbreak of ceftriaxone-resistant typhoid in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Led by Farah Qamar of Aga Khan University, who is also a Principal Investigator for Sabin’s Surveillance of Enteric Fever in Asia Project, a team was formed to investigate the Hyderabad outbreak after it was detected in late 2016. As part of its investigations, the team has acquired special permission for a shipment of typhoid conjugate vaccines from Bharat Biotech International Ltd., an Indian biotechnology company, as an outbreak control measure. The team would use these vaccines to assess the impact of typhoid conjugate vaccine immunization on the control of an antibiotic-resistant typhoid outbreak.

Typhoid conjugate vaccines, like those under consideration for outbreak control in Pakistan, were a promising point of discussion throughout the conference. The typhoid conjugate vaccines in the pipeline have the potential to reshape global strategy for typhoid fever, with longer duration of protection, the ability to protect young children and the potential for delivery with other vaccines in routine immunization of infants. Additionally, several researchers shared findings that these vaccines would be cost-effective in certain Asian and African countries when implemented strategically. If these vaccines are prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO), they have the potential to dramatically reduce the burden of typhoid around the world and, consequently, help to prevent the occurrence of antibiotic resistance.

From new typhoid conjugate vaccines to antimicrobial resistance and everywhere in between, the 10th International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses enabled researchers from around the world to not only share the latest data but also discuss how to turn this evidence into action. As Adwoa Bentsi-Enchill of the WHO stated in the conference’s final session, data have long been major drivers of vaccine introduction demand and acceptability in countries. Data shared at the conference are already driving change: findings presented at the conference will inform discussions at the WHO later this spring, when experts gather to review recommendations on the use of typhoid vaccines. Changes to these recommendations could reshape global strategy on typhoid fever and come as early as next year.

The next International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses is anticipated for 2019. Sign up for the Coalition against Typhoid’s newsletter to stay tuned for more information about upcoming typhoid conferences. For photos, presentations and other resources from the conference, please visit the Coalition against Typhoid’s website. 

          New Findings for Typhoid Fever in Africa        

Originally posted by the Coalition against Typhoid

For years, little was known of the typhoid burden in Africa, even though outbreaks of multi-drug resistant typhoid is becoming increasingly common. This lack of information spurred the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund the Typhoid Fever Surveillance in Africa Program (TSAP) through the International Vaccine Institute, a first-of-its-kind study established to shed light on true extent of the typhoid burden and multi-drug resistance distribution on the continent. The results from the TSAP, recently published in the Lancet Global Health, represent the most comprehensive and rigorous analysis of typhoid in Africa and could change our understanding of the disease burden across the continent.

The study took place at thirteen sites in ten countries – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania – representing a wide variety of regions within Africa. 

The findings varied just as widely, with an adjusted incidence rate of S. Typhi per 100,000 person-years ranging from 0 in Sudan to 383 at one site in Burkina Faso. An incidence greater than 100 per 100,000 is considered high. For the most part, however, the overall incidence is an estimated two to three times higher than the previous estimate of 10 to 100 cases per 100,000 people. In some settings, the incidence is similar to that found in Asia, where the burden of endemic typhoid is very high.

The TSAP study also looked at the incidence of invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS), which ranged from 0 in Sudan, Ethiopia, Madagascar and South Africa to a high of 237 per 100,000 people in one site in Burkina Faso. The analysis of the antimicrobial susceptibility profile also showed variations between sites with an overall 47 percent to 48 percent multi-drug resistance for S. Typhi and iNTS isolates, respectively. 

Overall, the study found that typhoid fever and iNTS disease are major contributors to disease burden in Africa, particularly in children. These findings should encourage the implementation of prevention and control measures, like typhoid conjugate vaccines, in high-incidence settings in Africa.

The importance of the TSAP findings in Africa reveals the relevance of enteric fever surveillance projects in shedding light on threats to global health. These important findings will be augmented by the Surveillance of Enteric Fever in Asia Project (SEAP), a project of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, along with a continuing surveillance project of severity of typhoid fever in Africa – Severe Typhoid Fever Surveillance in Africa (SETA) Program – allowing us to understand the threat that typhoid poses on these two continents.

          â€˜CLIMATE OF HOPE’ by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope        


Reviews for this book:

“In their new book, Climate of Hope, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope provide readers with a wonderful, in-depth analysis of how municipalities, businesses and private citizens are proving to be a bold force in solving the greatest challenge of our time?the climate crisis. This book gives readers the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of two highly successful individuals who have taken distinct paths to ensuring that their own communities and organizations have a tangible impact in securing our sustainable future. Climate of Hope is an inspiring must-read for anyone who wants to know how their local actions can have positive and significant impacts on the world.” ?Former Vice President Al Gore, Chairman of The Climate Reality Project

“If Trump is looking for a blueprint, he could not do better than to read a smart new book, Climate of Hope.” ?Thomas Friedman in The New York Times

“Meeting our world’s growing energy demands will require contributions from science, business and government. As Climate of Hope shows, Michael Bloomberg has a unique understanding of the importance of this collaborative approach. Michael’s leadership and optimism remind us that by working together, we can develop breakthrough innovations to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of clean energy technology.” ?Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Climate change threatens to reshape the future of our world’s population centers. Bloomberg and Pope have been leaders on fortifying our cities against this threat, and their book proves that victory is possible?and imperative.” ?Leonardo DiCaprio

“Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, in their new book, Climate of Hope, make a powerful argument that we need a new conversation to ensure we save the planet from global warming. It is a necessary look at the threat and an urgent call for all of us to act immediately at the local level. They bring knowledge, experience and passion to a subject that demands our attention.” ?Charlie Rose, anchor and executive editor of Charlie Rose, co-anchor of CBS This Morning, and correspondent on 60 Minutes

“A book that glows with the optimism of levelheaded reason. Keenly attuned to political realities, Climate of Hope bypasses the fraught debates over long-term climate change, focusing instead on the immediate consequences of pollution.” ?New York Magazine

“A hopeful book of strategies for delivering the planet from our worst environmental depredations. …a thoughtful, eminently reasonable set of proposals.” ?Kirkus

“Upbeat, pragmatic, eloquent, and supremely well-informed, Bloomberg and Pope present striking statistics, cogently describe diverse examples of energy reforms and innovations across the U.S. and around the world, and make clear on both personal and social levels why a low-carbon future is possible, necessary, and of great benefit to everyone.” ?Booklist (starred)

          Grant from APLU/USU Assists Cleveland State in Driving Student Success        

Will fund expansion of University’s efforts to help individuals complete their degrees

Stop Out

Cleveland State University will partner with College Now Greater Cleveland to expand its award-winning student success initiatives, thanks to a $50,000 grant awarded by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU). The program, called (Re)Connecting to College, will work to identify individuals who have “stopped out” of college and help them address their financial and academic needs so they can return to school and complete their degrees. The grant is one of 12 awarded to public institutions across the country to advance university-community partnerships as a means to boost student success. The awards, known as Collaborative Opportunity Grants, support innovative approaches that link student success with an institution’s community engagement.

“People stop-out for many reasons and in many cases academic guidance and financial counseling can help them address their issue so they can return to school,” notes Peter Meiksins, vice provost for academic programs at CSU. “However, most universities do not have the time or resources to engage these individuals and provide the assistance they need. This grant will allow us to partner with College Now, a local non-profit focused on post-secondary attainment, to properly identify students who have stopped out, provide needed advice and support and get them back on the path to graduation.”

As part of the initiative, College Now advisors will reach out to students who have stopped out, identify the issues that led to them leaving school and then work to assist them in addressing those challenges. Students will then be referred to the CSU Transfer Center where they will receive help in addressing academic issues and mapping out a path to a degree. CSU is also seeking additional funding to further develop the initative and expand its reach.

The effort builds on CSU’s award-winning student success programs which have helped reduce the cost of earning an undergraduate degree by more than $3,000 annually and assisted in increasing graduation rates by 60 percent over the last five years. In honor of these accomplishments, CSU was awarded a 2015 Excellence and Innovation Award by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

“The public universities receiving these grants have undertaken efforts that represent a sea change in the way we think about student success,” said Shari Garmise, vice president of APLU’s Office of Urban Initiatives and Executive Director of USU. “For decades, institutions have applied a nearly singular focus on addressing academic hurdles students face once they’re enrolled. These institutions are saying that isn’t enough. We have to work with community partners to ensure students have the required resources to apply, the necessary instruction to be prepared for the rigor of college coursework, and the tools they need to thrive in the workforce and drive positive change in their communities.”

In July, representatives from Cleveland State and the 11 other universities awarded grants will convene in Washington, D.C. to strategize and collaborate on their initiatives. USU and APLU will disseminate key findings from the institutions’ work after the Collaborative Opportunity Grant program has concluded to help promote best practices that other public universities can adapt.

The 11 other institutions receiving grants include: California State University, Fresno; California State University, Northridge; California State University, Los Angeles; Fort Valley State University; Georgia State University; the University of California, Riverside; San Jose State University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Memphis; University of South Alabama; and University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The Collaborative Opportunity Grant program is supported with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

          Country Hour for Monday 7 August, 2017        
Today on the Country Hour: Biosecurity Qld confirms ten fire ant nests found in Lowood; new report describes North Australia Infrastructure Fund model as out-dated and like funding a 'white-elephant'; CWA turns 95 and celebrates with a perfume, 1922; North American company Amrys, known for synthesizing an anti-malarial drug for the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation plans to establish a biorefinery in Qld to use sugar in the production of perfumes; horse therapy helps rebuild confidence; lifting the grass ceiling in the beef industry.
          Bill Gates and Hans Rosling addressing the 2012 Global Poverty Ambassadors and students at the LSE [Video]        
Speaker(s): Bill Gates, Professor Hans Rosling | Editor's note: Copyright © 2012 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. The Global Poverty Project has partnered with The Co–operative during the UN Year of Co-operatives to launch a new initiative that will raise awareness and inspire communities to take action for the 1.4 billion people still living in extreme poverty. Bill Gates will speak to the inaugural Global Poverty Ambassadors as part of the London launch of his Annual Letter. In the letter, he will outline the key innovations and commitment needed to continue making progress against global challenges like disease and poverty in 2012. Bill is inviting students from around the world to write their own letters on the most urgent issues we face today. (If you have a big idea you would like to share, please write 300-500 words and email it to annualletter@gatesfoundation.org). Professor Hans Rosling will also address the Ambassadors and students using his extraordinary, interactive graphics, which reveal global trends and the great benefits of development aid. Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hans Rosling is Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation.
          Founding Gates Foundation CEO to keynote Indianapolis Women's Philanthropy Conference        
Civic engagement with a special focus on service learning is the theme of the second biennial Indianapolis Women's Philanthropy Conference on Friday, Nov. 8 in Indianapolis. Open to the public, the event offers a day of philanthropic exploration, education, and networking among leading nonprofit professionals and volunteers. The conference will take place at the Campus Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
          Healthcare, Medical Coding & Medical Device Programs for placement & career enhancement        


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Placement details and Participation from Pharma, Food & healthcare giants around the globe:
In the last batch, the Institute has witnessed participation of more than 1500 students and professionals now working with Fortune 500 and global healthcare & Pharmaceutical giants like Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Aurobindo Pharma, Glenmark Generics, Cipla, Wockhardt, Pfizer, Abbott, Dabur, DS Group, Fortune, Mother Dairy, Reliance Fresh, SGS,Marico, Pepsi, Elite,Parle, Nestle, Capricorn, Medtronic, Foster Corporation, Ipca Laboratories, Calyx, Mother Dairy, Bliss GVS Pharma, Al Rawabi, Almarai, Green Pastures, SeQuent, PepsiCo India, Mankind, Beryl Drugs, Allergy Therapeutics, CFTRI, Ciron, Sun Pharmaceutical, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Biocon etc.

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Get in touch with our experts for technical counselling or for prospectus on +91 8130924488, 8587838177 / info@igmpiindia.org mentioning the name of the Course and your phone number

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Health information managers work in settings such as public health agencies, federal government agencies, hospitals, non-profit medical and health associations, pharmaceutical companies, physician group practices or insurance companies. Following career options are available after successful completion of a course in healthcare Informatics -Clinical Analyst, Clinical Informatics Manager, Clinical data analyst, health information resource manager, HI director, Chief information officer and IT consultant and Informatics Nurse.


          Clear Air Turbulence        
Last week, I was a plenary speaker at a conference focused on whether South Australia is poised to become an "economic powerhouse". The title of my talk was Clear Air Turbulence: The Promise and Peril of Emerging Economic Powerhouses.


I’ll admit that I have a love-hate relationship with flying. But throughout my professional life, and certainly in my current job as the Executive Director of Carnegie-Mellon’s Asia-Pacific campus here in Adelaide, it kind of goes with the territory. Last year I went from getting my Qantas frequent flier card to achieving, I think, something like plutonium level status, which allows me to fly the plane if I want.

It’s not that I don’t love visiting far-flung places. I do. But, after all of these years, I still can’t get comfortable with the idea of climbing into an enormously heavy metal tube that depends only on the laws of physics and lots of variables—pilot skill, weather, mechanicals—to stay aloft. Sure, I say to myself, the chances of a crash are pretty remote. But so is surviving one.

What really bothers me are those times when it’s a perfect day to fly, blue sky as far as the eye can see, and the plane unexpectedly starts to pitch and wobble and jump—what aeronautical engineers would call “clear-air turbulence”. Clear-air turbulence is caused when bodies of air moving at widely different speeds meet, and it’s impossible to detect either with the naked eye or conventional radar, meaning that it’s difficult to avoid.

As is turns out, if we hadn’t figured out at least some of the properties of clear-air turbulence modern air travel, as we know it today, probably wouldn’t exist.

As test pilot Chuck Yeager got closer and closer to flying at Mach 1, the sound barrier, the aerodynamic drag of his plane, coupled with the uncertainty of clear-air turbulence, became so extreme that engineers thought that there might be some sort of physical barrier to travel at or beyond the speed of sound. Through new innovations, experimentation, and the sheer courage and will of Yeager the sound barrier was broken in October 1947, the effects of clear-air turbulence at Mach 1 were conquered and the world has never been the same.


Much of what we’ve heard at this conference has reinforced what’s been portrayed by industry, government, and the media about South Australia’s future—sure, there are some challenges to overcome but it looks like there is a lot of clear blue sky out there. More money, more people, certainly more influence in the Australian, if not the global, economy.

Now, I think it’s dangerous to make predictions, especially about the future. But I think that there are at least three big shifts happening in the world, perhaps the clear-air turbulence in an otherwise blue sky, that will require businesses, governments, and nonprofits like philanthropies, social service agencies, and universities like mine to have the courage and will to innovate and experiment if they hope to be around to see the last shovel of rock get mined from Olympic Dam. I’d like to spend the rest of my time with you today briefly describing these three shifts and some thoughts about the promise and peril that South Australia could face if the dream of an “economic powerhouse” comes true.


Shift #1: The best customers in the world will have no money.

O.K., I exaggerated a little bit. Some of the best customers in the world or the customers of your best customers will have almost no money.

Many of us probably have a sense for how wide the difference in income levels are around the world. In fact, 80% of the world’s wealth is controlled by 15% of the world’s population, and the poorest 50% have only 1% of the world’s wealth. An estimated four billion people around the world live on less than $5 a day.

But, of the next 2 billion people to inhabit the planet, only 50 million of them will live in the developed world. With a global economy growing at more than 5% and a world population growing at a little over 1%, the average world per capita income is growing at a rate such that poverty could be cut by more than half by 2015.

This means that almost a billion new consumers will enter the global marketplace in the next decade, getting beyond the level of annual household income, about $5,000, when people generally begin to spend on discretionary goods. When you put all these numbers together, it results in consumer spending power in emerging economies increasing from $4 trillion to more than $9 trillion—nearly the current spending power of Western Europe.

Of course, these consumers will be harder to reach through traditional means, even with mass migrations around the world from rural to urban areas. Tapping into this big emerging market, even for companies that don’t provide goods directly to consumers, will require very, very new ways of thinking.

For example, this is Muhammad Yunus, the winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and the founder of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. You may already know the story of this social entrepreneur who, over 30 years ago, gave loans totaling $42 to 24 Bangladeshi women to launch micro-businesses and ultimately legitimized microfinance as not only a poverty alleviation strategy but a viable business model. As of January 2008, Grameen had nearly 7.5 million borrowers, 97 percent women, with branches covering more than 96 percent of all villages in the country. With over $7 billion in loans distributed since its inception in 1976, Grameen Bank, 90% of which is owned by its customers with the remaining 10% owned by the government, has had only three unprofitable years and a less than 3% default rate.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, established companies have started to get in the game. Late last year, JPMorgan launched its new Social Sector Finance unit intended to “achieve a double bottom line of social benefit and financial returns.” You might think that JPMorgan was particularly forward thinking here but they were merely responding to similar initiatives by other financial services companies including Morgan Stanley, HSBC, and Deutsche Bank.

And it’s a trend not just limited to the banking sector. Groupe Danone of France launched in 2006 with the Grameen Bank Grameen Danone Foods to manufacture nutrient-rich, fortified yogurt in small local plants. That approach minimizes the need for expensive refrigeration and reduces the price so that more rural children in Bangladesh can improve their diets. But Danone isn’t just launching this venture to eradicate malnutrition. Both partners expect to make money on the deal and establish a new business model that can be profitably scaled to other parts of the developing world.

Shift #2: Competitors will come from places that make almost no sense at all.

I don’t need to tell many of you in the room that competition seems to get fiercer every year. And, if South Australia becomes even more of a global player in the world economy expect that trend to continue, and then some.

The average life expectancy of a multinational corporation is between 40 and 50 years and rapidly decreasing. For example, more than 1 in 3 Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. from 1995-2004 experienced bankruptcy or takeover and a similar effect is taking place in most developed economies across Europe and Asia.

In addition, the average holding period for a share of common stock is about ten times shorter than it used to be—from 8 years to 8 months—and product life cycles have reduced by a factor of 3.

One reason for these, perhaps frightening conditions is that new products and business models are emerging from some pretty unlikely places.

For example…

  • The PC industry has been rocked by an initiative called One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit launched by the founder of MIT’s Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte. The so-called “$100 laptop” [hold it up] is using open source software, an innovative design, and direct sales to governments around the world to disrupt the status quo. Not surprisingly, both Microsoft and Intel recently announced new initiatives in direct response to a nonprofit that didn’t even exist a few years ago.

  • The Tata Nano is being called the “People’s Car”, proposed as a $2,500 replacement for the normal mode of transportation for families across India and around the world [upper left picture]. It has been hailed as the “next Model T Ford or Volkswagen Beetle”, claiming to meet European emissions standards with a fuel economy matching the best hybrids and unique financing arrangements to put it within reach of millions of new consumers. Oh, and Tata is rumored to be in the market to buy Jaguar from Ford.

  • And these competitors aren’t just limited to product companies. The Aravind Eye Hospital was founded over 25 years ago and runs the biggest community eye program in the world, treating over a million patients each year. It profitably does cataract operations, provides glasses, and any other treatment free of charge to the poor by using a tiered pricing system for those who can pay. Aravind also continues to fuel its innovation engine by utilizing the latest advances in telemedicine to watch eye operations in Boston or London. And Aurolab, Aravind’s manufacturing division, has developed sophisticated designs and production processes to keep the cost of ophthalmic consumables down. Comparable spectacle lenses costing $150 in the West goes for $4, hearing aids costing $1500 cost $60. It’s not likely that anyone 25 years ago would have thought that Aravind could potentially redefine how eye care is provided around the world but then the Internet was around for 30 years before it became an “overnight sensation”.

Shift #3: The definition of “success” will change.

I tend to agree with the famed economist Milton Friedman that the sole purpose of a business is to make money. But there are forces at work that are beginning to change what “business success” means.

Governments, which should do at least two things well—#1: establish rules and #2: create incentives—are increasingly introducing double or even triple bottom line rules and incentives to drive industrial and economic policies. Do well financially, do well by the community, and do well by the environment—an infinitely more complicated operating environment with different governments around the world reacting differently to the emerging needs of society in the 21st century.

In addition, investors are devising more sophisticated ways to assess a company’s “intrinsic value”. When Al Gore left the White House in 2000, he listed his net worth at around $2 million. Eight years later, he’s worth between $50-$100 million. Can you get that much cash that fast through speaking engagements? Not likely. Winning the Nobel Prize. Hardly. Getting options on Google and Apple stock by sitting on their boards? Perhaps.

No, it seems likely that Gore’s newfound wealth could largely be attributed to the founding of his investment company, Generation Investment Management, founded with a former Goldman Sachs partner, David Blood (fortunately, they resisted the urge to call the new firm Blood and Gore). Generation has developed new, highly sophisticated modeling and analytical techniques, taking into account environmental and community impact indicators as well as prospects for future profitability, to estimate future stock prices and make investment decisions. Returns of the firm’s investment portfolio haven’t been made public but Gore is reportedly “very pleased” with the results.

It’s likely that Generation Management is using methodologies similar to those used in Fortune Magazine’s annual Accountability Rating of the world’s 100 largest companies. Last year’s evaluation reflected a further evolution of the approach used when it was first calculated in 2005, becoming increasingly more invasive.

How much longer will it be until it gets applied to even more companies, and media competitors apply their own scrutiny to the financial, social, and environmental practices of global corporations?

And if you can’t get investment capital from banks, private equity firms, or the growing sovereign accounts of countries, how about Google? Last year, the company’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, established investment initiatives in five major areas including Developing Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal called RE

Or how about the Gates Foundation which, given the recent commitment by Warren Buffet to contribute his vast wealth to the foundation, is redoubling its efforts to reshape health care and medical research around the world, often using unconventional methods and operating models borrowed from the private sector?

Or, if you’re a more competitive sort, how about vying for an X-Prize. Like the $25,000 that got Charles Lindberg to fly cross the Atlantic, a $10 million prize was enough to motivate some of the best engineers in the world to try to send a man into space, bring him home safely, and do it all over again in four days—a truly reusable space ship. It was pulled off by legendary airplane designer Burt Ruttan in 2004 and has ushered in the era of personal space travel, with entrepreneurs like Richard Branson rushing to enter the market. Now there are X-Prizes for things like the 100-mile per gallon (44km/liter) vehicle, greenhouse gas scrubbers, and wearable power.


So let’s assume that South Australia’s companies, government, and nonprofit sector successfully navigates through this turbulence and emerges an “economic powerhouse”. What are the decisions and responsibilities that come with that kind of success?

That’s a pretty big question for the time that I have left so let me just leave you with some things to think about.

Last year, a university professor in the UK, Adrian White, completed an analysis called “A Global Projection of Subjective Well-Being”. The shorthand for his work, ranking every country in the world, has been called the “Happiness Index” because it attempted to apply a systematic approach to assessing relative contentment among global populations.

Now this may sound like a pretty difficult, perhaps even foolhardy task, but it’s an important one, especially for governments. In fact, the UK moral philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the late 1700’s argued that the purpose of politics should be to bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. A 2006 survey in the UK found that 81% thought that the government should focus on happiness, not wealth creation.

Just for fun, I decided to see if there was any correlation between a country’s wealth, measured in per capita Gross National Product and its Happiness Index score.

It’s no surprise that people in high GNP per capita countries are generally pretty happy but what’s interesting is that there were lots of low GNP per capita countries where citizens were about as content.

So, I thought, maybe it’s because the cost of living is different in different countries. So I did the same analysis using data that equalizes GNP per capita based on a country’s relative cost of living.

You can see that the previous conclusion is even more obvious here—money alone doesn’t seem to guarantee happiness or, more importantly for governments, the contentment of its citizens.

Similarly, the United Nations publishes a “Human Development Index” that includes literacy rates, life expectancy, and other indicators of a “well developed” society.

Still, when compared to per capita GNP, even some of the world’s richest countries don’t stack up. Of course, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions but it would appear that the effective provision of important human needs such as healthcare, education, and housing—effectively and economically delivered increasingly with the cooperation of governments, industry, and the nonprofit sector—is an important determinant of societal development.


I was in the United Arab Emirates a couple of weeks ago and places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai are interesting case studies of economic powerhouses on the move. It made me think about the choices and opportunities that South Australia might have in the future.

While I was there, a futuristic 100,000-resident city named Masdar meaning “the source” in Arabic, was announced, intending to rise up from land across from the royal family’s private terminal at the Abu Dhabi airport. The goal: to create the world's first metropolis that emits not a single extra molecule of carbon dioxide, the cause of global warming.

It's a delicious irony that Abu Dhabi, awash in oil and dollars with nearly 100 billion barrels in reserves may be the place that builds the first city for a post-oil world. No cars will be allowed within the walled city’s limits. Billions will be poured into renewable and sustainable energy technologies.

$250 million has already invested in clean-tech companies, including Segway, the maker of personal transporters, solar manufacturers, and wastewater-treatment companies. A new multi-billion dollar fund is working to allow Abu Dhabi's reach in renewables to extend all the way from research to large-scale manufacturing. By the time Masdar is complete in 2016, it will house 1,500 businesses, save the equivalent of $2 billion in oil over 25 years, create 70,000 jobs, and add more than 2 percent to Abu Dhabi’s GDP.

Of course, there are huge challenges ahead. The big question is whether enough talented scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs can be persuaded to come to Abu Dhabi. The emirate's tiny population can’t furnish enough brains to develop an industry dependent on technological advances. Sound familiar, South Australia?

But the payoffs from success are almost immeasurable, especially when you consider the fact that China is building the equivalent of four new Manhattans every single year.

It’s obviously premature, but what would South Australia’s Masdar be if the promise of economic growth and prosperity became a reality? Like it or not, great opportunities and sometimes awesome responsibilities go along with being a “big dog” on the world’s economic stage.

Thank you.


          Digest – News: Gates Foundation exec picked for USDA research post, Roundup Ready losing potency        
Get Shah-ty: The Obama administration has nominated Raj [...]
          Management Partner        
Maximize your potential. Tackle the world’s toughest problems. Build expertise in areas that matter to you. Become a global development leader.   What You Will Do and How You Will Grow You are committed to transformational impact in the global health sector and ideally have private sector management experience. You are a problem-solver and excel at strategic thinking, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and putting these skills to work to transform organizations, advise stakeholders, and shape initiatives that deliver results.    Context:  Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is an international organization supporting lower-income countries to protect the health of children through increasing equitable access and use of vaccines. The Alliance is composed of a number of partners, including UNICEF, WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To achieve improvements in immunization coverage, equity, and sustainability, Gavi  recognises  the critical role that immunization teams in Ministries of Health must play in ensuring successful vaccination  programmes ; and the significant challenges many countries face in ensuring that those teams develop and maintain adequate leadership and management capacities. Therefore, Gavi and  Dalberg  are partnering on the  management  partner  programme  which offers the services of a high-calibre ‘Management Partner’ to provide  immunisation  teams with long-term and in-person managerial support and coaching. Dalberg , a strategy and policy advisory firm focused on global development, is supporting Gavi with strong global management expertise and will recruit, advise and support the Management Partner who will be embedded in the  immunisation  team in the Ministry of Health in Port Moresby. During their two years  fulltime  with the Ministry of Health, they will continue to be considered Dalberg staff and have access to Dalberg’s IP and global team of advisors.   The  immunisation   programme  in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is designed to be under the leadership of an  immunisation  manager in the Ministry of Health.  PNG has already entered its final phase of Gavi support, with Gavi funding and vaccine provision scheduled to cease by the end of 2020. To ensure sustainable success through this transition, the  immunisation   programme  needs to bolster its strategic management capabilities while simultaneously addressing issues of coverage, equity, and sustainability    Management Partner role During their two years within the immunization team in the Ministry of Health, the Management Partner will serve as a problem-solving partner to national leaders including the immunisation manager and his team on high priority initiatives related to strengthening the country’s immunisation programme. He will report to a senior official in the MoH as well as to the Dalberg team. While a new long-term immunization leadership is being identified initially the Management Partner will take on the role of an “interim” COO. Alongside ensuring the achievement of key milestones the Management Partner will then focus on sustainable transfer of critical leadership and management skills to the immunisation team. Specific areas of work will be determined in collaboration with the Ministry of Health but could include optimisation of the management of the multi-million dollar Gavi HSS grant, enhancing vaccine management, supporting budgeting and financial management practices, and refining approaches to immunisation governance and technical assistance. The ultimate objective is to increase equitable coverage of immunisation for all children in PNG, and to position the immunisation team for self-sufficiency and success once the Gavi support ends. Management Partner qualifications: Dalberg is seeking a strategic manager with the following attributes: Private sector managerial experience, combined with global health experience (ideally vaccines or immunisation programmes) Experience with management consulting with top firm a strong plus Strong relationship building and problem-solving skills paired with resilience Strong knowledge of programme management, operational planning, budgeting, financial and performance management cycles and processes Familiarity with the region and experience living and working in low-resource settings Relevant advanced degree (e.g., MBA, MPH) a plus Commitment to spending two years in PNG Benefits: The Management Partner role offers a direct, meaningful, and high visibility path to public or private sector healthcare leadership, along with structured support from Dalberg and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. This is an outstanding opportunity to drive meaningful health system improvements and strengthen leadership and management capacity within Ministries of Health. A competitive salary will be offered. Join Our Team! Our current opportunities are in  Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea         Please submit your application at  www.dalberg.com/careers . Your application should include a resume and a cover letter.            
          Latin America Intern        
Maximize your potential. Tackle the world’s toughest problems. Build expertise in areas that matter to you. Become a global development leader. About You You aspire to become a leader in global development by tackling global issues, from malnutrition to climate change to economic growth, ensuring no population is left behind. You enjoy collaborating with teams while traveling and working across continents and cultures. You excel in solving problems using clear strategic thinking and quantitative and qualitative analysis, and you want to put your skills to work—transforming organizations, advising investors, and shaping new initiatives. You are a committed self-starter with an excellent academic record, leadership roles on campus, a passion for development and an entrepreneurial spirit.   Dalberg has a global footprint with consultants that live and work around the world, creating a network of experience anchored by our offices in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Dalberg combines ground-level insight with experience from top-tier professional services firms and leading academic institutions to create actionable solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.    Qualifications : 1-2 years’ work experience in Latin America Native Spanish speaker ; fluency in spoken and written English Must be based in Bogota or Mexico City A degree in Economics, Business, International Relations, Science, Math, Engineering or a related field Excellent academic record Strong analytical abilities, both quantitative and qualitative Ability to present information in an insightful and structured manner, both written and oral Understanding of the political and cultural realities of international organizations or environments If you have any of the following qualities, let us know in your cover letter: Fluency in spoken and written languages other than Spanish and English Experience with financial analysis, excel, STATA In-depth knowledge on specific topics related to Dalberg’s work Demonstrated ability to innovate and lead new programs, processes, ideas or initiatives What You Will Do and How You Will Grow The Latin America internship with Dalberg is a three month engagement, with possibility of extension.  Interns must be currently based in either Bogota or Mexico City.  Interns will join project teams supporting our LatAm clients to drive the creation of innovative and results-oriented solutions. Interns will work closely with members of a project team and take ownership of key aspects of project work, including leading research and analyses. Interns will also support aspects of Dalberg’s business development and client outreach in Latin America.  Interns will be paired with junior staff members who will serve as the interns’ mentors during the internship.   Examples of recent projects that Dalberg consultants have worked on include exploring impact investing opportunities in South Asia, designing innovative financing mechanisms for smallholder farmers in West Africa, creating strategies for more environmentally-friendly cities in Latin America and engaging major corporations on regional development issues.    Dalberg is a platform for change. Our staff is empowered to start new programs, institute best practices, and develop traditions that will define the Dalberg experience for years to come. Innovation and entrepreneurship are not only valued at Dalberg; they are essential to our firm’s success. In addition to providing training, management-level advising, and mentoring, we empower our interns to learn by doing, engaging them as full members of project teams from day one.   About Our Clients Our clients come to us with some of the most difficult global problems, seeking solutions where the obvious ones have failed. We supply new ideas, drawing from a deep base of knowledge that cuts across sectors and geographies and is growing every day. We create value for clients focused on social impact by using on-the-ground research and rigorous business analysis to help governments, foundations, international agencies, NGOs, and corporations develop strategies and assess programs in areas such as access to finance, inclusive growth, global health, and energy and the environment. Some of our recent clients include foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, corporations such as Google and Vodafone, multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, UN agencies, and government actors like DFID, USAID, and the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture. Join Our Team! The Latin America Internship is a 3 month role with the possibility of extension, to start immediately.  This internship opportunity is for candidates currently based in Bogota or Mexico City and who will work remotely.   Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and candidates invited to interview can expect a case study interview over Skype.  The intern will have the opportunity to better understand what employment with Dalberg and in social impact consulting is like.  Candidates who have both US and non-US work authorization may apply.    Your application should include a resume and cover letter .  The cover letter must be written in Spanish and should discuss your aptitude for and interest in the role, your current location, and development issues most pressing to you .   
          From Mandates to Platforms: Have Funders Lost Patience With Publishers?        

Publishing platforms from The Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the European Commission alter Open Access.

          Vaccinazioni forzate: le Motivazioni Occulte        

Vaccinazioni forzate: le Motivazioni Occulte

80-IT Prisca, Vaccini_2: dal 2012 un'ondata energetica in nostro aiuto-Ipnosi Lucio Carsi Grifasi (VIDEO)

Perché numerosi governi mondiali si prodigano in modo ottuso e violento affinché la popolazione umana a loro sottoposta assuma più vaccinazioni possibile, con tutti i mezzi?

Non per denaro! Quelli la, i proprietari delle corporation che possiedono il pianeta, i soldi se li stampano da soli. Se hanno bisogno di qualche miliardo, gli basta fare un click sulla tastiera di un computer. Non si imbarcherebbero mai in una lungaggine pericolosa tra la politica, leggi e leggine, diktat e finte emergenze sanitarie solo per soldi.

Non per la profilassi! In primo luogo perché ai potenti dello stato di salute dei propri sudditi non è fregato mai un tubo, in secondo luogo perché le moderne vaccinazioni sono solo veicoli di veleni neurotossici e non hanno nessuna (o quasi) capacità profilattica verso le malattie (ma sono poi malattie?) che in teoria vorrebbero debellare.

Ed allora perché spendersi tanto per inoculare veleni nella popolazione? Da alcune ipnosi conoscitive e dal ragionamento aperto, potremmo giungere ad una triste conclusione.

79-IT Ilenia, Vaccini_1: Africa, U.S.A., Canada e Rudolf Steiner-Ipnosi Lucio Carsi Team Grifasi (VIDEO)

Un complotto dei governi diretto da una cupola statunitense/arcontica, ha deciso che a partire dal 1984venisse posto in essere, un piano vaccinale mondiale a cui non solo i governi dovevano partecipare. (La Bill and Melinda Gates foundation per esempio - un ben noto strumento arcontico - inocula vaccini a tutto spiano ai poveri bimbi africani.)

Se riflettiamo, sono gli stessi anni in cui si decide di irrorare la biosfera planetaria con sostanze neurotossiche tramite le scie chimiche. Sono gli stessi anni infine in cui la Monsanto ed altre megacorporation dai nomi inquietanti si adoperano per distruggere l’alimentazione umana con gli ogm ed i prodotti chimici venefici correlati. Potremmo aggiungere all’elenco le ‘fughe’ radioattive, oppure l’emissione di campi elettromagnetici ovunque ed altre nequizie di cui magari neppure siamo a conoscenza ... ma fermiamoci qui.

Non sappiamo se il contenuto di queste ipnosi sia o meno reale e veritiero, non importa. E’ concettualmentevero, lo sappiamo. Stiamo assistendo ad un sovvertimento della matrice naturale essenziale sulla quale è fondata la vita del pianeta Terra. Una manipolazione genetica a scala planetaria. Una congiura del potere contro le capacità evolutive dell'umanità. Una abduction di massa. Un tentativo di manomissione energetica dell'essere umano. Questo è sotto gli occhi di tutti meno dei nostri simili poco evoluti, dei delinquenti in malafede o degli ignavi che non possono o non desiderano rendersene conto. 

Ascoltiamo quindi con animo sereno queste ipnosi (soprattutto quella con Ilenia, la seconda del post, in cui viene contattato addirittura Rudolf Steiner, mi raccomando!), tanto la verità possiede una forza sua propria che sa imporsi quando è necessario. Se non riusciremo a comprendere quanto la nostra anima faccia gola agli esseri oscuri, non potremmo mai evolverci davvero.

          "Is Biology Technology?" - Robert Carlson at Reiter's        

Rob Carlson came to Reiter's Books on Wednesday evening, May 19, to talk about his new book, 'Biology is Technology,' published this year by Harvard University Press. Rob deftly pulled together a narrative of an industry that builds on biological processes to create and deploy drugs, fuels, feedstock, and more, much more. In fact, the core of synthetic biology is its openness to inventing an unlimited stream of products and processes. Rod used vivid examples to untangle the obstacles and potential of biotechnology - describing innovations already in the market and ones to expect. In doing so Rob describes how biotechnology fits into the intellectual property, economic, and public policy spheres.

Vital cases tell the story. Even though drugs are on the market to treat and cure malaria, these drugs are expensive and out of reach of many of most sufferers. Production of the drugs using microbes in a process smaller to brewing beer dramatically reduces costs. In the absence of drug company initiative or public health commitment, the Gates Foundation stepped in as financier. But the Gates Foundation, with its billions, cannot step in to fund research on all drugs worthy of investment. Who decides? Is the decision too important for a market decision? And who funds and organizes drug delivery - year after year?

'Biology is Technology' is something of a misnomer as a title. The book and Rob Carlson's talk say this is not so. The subtitle hints at the complexity - The Promise, Peril, and Business of Engineered Live. Biology is as much a social project, raising issues of ethics, and public purpose. Rob Carlson is an industry insider who has an exquisite sense of how to step outside and see the big picture.

Jim Wood

          #NewWorldNextWeek: India Kicks Out Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Audio)        
This week on the New World Next Week: Media provides more grist for the phoney left/right divide and conquer mill; the firm that the US gov used to hack iPhone gets hacked; and India's immunisation program slams Gates.
          #NewWorldNextWeek: India Kicks Out Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Video)        
This week on the New World Next Week: Media provides more grist for the phoney left/right divide and conquer mill; the firm that the US gov used to hack iPhone gets hacked; and India's immunisation program slams Gates.
          Gates Foundation – G20 Summit        


Het bericht Gates Foundation – G20 Summit verscheen eerst op Motion Graphics.

          Investigate new materials to improve condoms        

That's the idea that bubbles after different projects right now , the goal is reinventing the condom so as to improve or at least maintain , the pleasure in intimate relationships , rather than decrease , as we all appreciate what happens now .

A project conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee , try thinner condoms manufactured with a material known as superelastomero , which can stretch more than rubber.

Another project , conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester, try to reinvent the prophylactic with a material called graphene with latex. The resulting material will be thinner , stronger, more elastic and perhaps more enjoyable.

Both projects have received $ 100,000 in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation , under the challenge : " New Generation Condoms " . Defy The organization says that condoms have been around for about 400 years , but have been very little improvement in the past 50 years. The hope is that by getting more comfortable to use condoms , men are more willing to use them, which would reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.


By Erik Stattin (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

          Philanthropy as new business model        
Forbes’ 2015 Philanthropy issue follows on the June Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy.  The Summit focused on disruptive business models in philanthropy and included the top 200 billionaires and a few social entrepreneurs in the discussion.  This video clip summarizes the findings from this summit. Leaders include Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Steve and Jean Case of the Case Foundation, Joe Gebbia of Airbnb, Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Sara Blakely of Spanx. Adapted from http://onforb.es/1Sk0U44;  http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbespr/2015/11/24/forbes-2015-special-philanthropy-issue/
          Gates Foundation Awards $1.2 Million to Change the Odds for Youth        

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $1.2 million to the Forum over the next 3 years to identify and cultivate opportunities to affirm the importance of postsecondary credentials for low-income and disconnected youth within its network of partners, people and places. The Forum will use these funds to work with the members of the Ready by 21 Partnership, the State Children's Cabinet Network and the Next Generation Youth Work Coalition who are interested in increasing their capacity to ensure college success for all.

This grant is one of the $69 million in initial grants to give more young people access to and the ability to complete a postsecondary degree. This new intiative aims to double the number of low-income students in the US who earn a postsecondary degree by 26. Read the press release below to learn more about the grants awarded. Learn more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation work on postsecondary education.

Publishing Date: 
December 9, 2008

          Robert Scoble Giving Away His Kindle        
This made me think up a pretty cool new idea. Robert Scoble asks for a great idea, and he will award the greatest idea his Kindle, which he is giving away.

My great idea is to pass it on down. I would take the Kindle, buy a book for it, give it to someone else, and he would buy a new book for it and so on, down the line. When the Kindle is filled with new books, we would gift the Kindle to a third world school or a school in the US in need of books.

We could do this with tons of Kindles. It would be the new kind of donation scheme. Set up Kindles all over the country and just donate books for it. Who would buy all the Kindles? Can't we get the good folks at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to do it?

I'm looking into it, and I will get back to you.
          Birth Control Control        
The Bill Gates Foundation has funded research on an implantable remote-controlled contraceptive microchip that can last up to 16 years. Anthony and Jeff try to wrap their minds around the ramifications of a long-lasting birth control device that can be controlled by an app, and do their best to avoid putting their feet in their mouths about woman's issues.
          List of world’s most powerful women includes one Seattleite        
Women are moving up in the world, and so is Seattle. OK, so Melinda Gates technically lives in Medina. But with the new Gates Foundation headquarters near the Space Needle, she sure spends a lot of time in this city.
          From ‘Big Data’ to ‘Big Parent’: Student privacy developments        
By Anne Collier Have you been watching the Big Parent response to Big Data? Great lede from Politico.com’s Stephanie Simon: “You’ve heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. Now get ready for Big Parent.” She’s talking about an unpredicted mobilization in recent months that has “catapulted student privacy … to prominence in statehouses from New York to Florida to Wyoming” and “attracted powerful allies” from left (ACLU[.org]) to right (ALEC[.org]). As of a month ago, “14 states have enacted stricter student privacy protections, often with overwhelming bipartisan support, and more are likely on the way” and “at least 105 student privacy bills were introduced this year in 35 states,” Simon reports, citing the National Conference of State Legislatures. You may’ve heard of the first accomplishment of this new movement: the folding last month of the $100 million InBloom database that was funded by the Gates Foundation “to make it easier for schools to share confidential student records with private companies.” State databases are next Next, children’s privacy advocates are tackling “huge state databases being built to track children … from as early as infancy through the start of their careers,” Simon reports. “They are intended to store intimate details on [...]
          Bloomberg School program tied to increased use of contraceptives in Nigeria        

Nigeria has some of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world. Increasing the use of modern contraception there could help save countless lives.

New research suggests that over a four-year period, a program led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs was associated with a 10 percent increase in the use of modern contraceptive methods in six large Nigerian cities, and a similar increase in the desire of women to have fewer children.

A woman holds a baby who is holding a card labeled

Image caption: A woman holds her child, who holds a Talk card issued as part of the Center for Communication Programs' Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative

Image credit: Center for Communication Programs

The program, called the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, launched a print and video campaign in clinics, on television programs, and in brochures, spreading the word to "Know, Talk, Go: Know the facts. Talk to your partner. Go for services." NURHI is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and ran from 2010 until 2014.

"An integrated family planning program focusing on both supply and demand works, at least in Nigeria," says Lisa Cobb, who leads the NURHI team at CCP, which is based in Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Many places have an 'if you build it, they will come' mentality about family planning clinics. But [the success of this program] showed that demand generation is a real driver of increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate and not a sidecar."

To gauge the effectiveness of the NURHI campaign, researchers from the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted surveys of women in the Nigerian cities of Abuja, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Benin City, and Zaria. In 2010-2011, the UNC researchers conducted a baseline survey of more than 16,000 women, finding that the use of modern contraceptive methods such as condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and intrauterine devices among women of childbearing age ranged from about 5 percent in Zaria to 30 percent in Abuja.

They surveyed more than 10,000 of the same women in 2014 and found an average increase in the use of modern contraceptive methods of 10 percent. A similar increase was observed among the poorest women as was seen in the whole of the population.

A woman holds two cards, one labeled

Image caption: Grace Olayiwola displays her go card after she was referred by a family planning mobilizer during a visibility parade near Orolodo primary health centre in Omuaran township in Nigeria’s central state of Kwara

Image credit: Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative

Data were also collected from both private and public-sector health facilities in the six cities at the start and finish of the program. They found that women who lived within a kilometer of a health clinic that received support from the NURHI program were significantly more likely to use modern contraceptive methods after the program was completed. Their findings were published online last month in the journal Studies in Family Planning.

NURHI's success, its leaders say, is a result of a combination of improving contraceptive access at health clinics and creating a coordinated campaign to increase the demand for those services. Before implementing the program, the NURHI team spent a year interviewing families, religious leaders, and health providers about barriers to contraceptive use in order to customize the campaign and counter the fears and misconceptions around family planning. NURHI also targeted health providers, conducting "mini-makeovers" of government health clinics, cleaning up neglected facilities, fixing what was broken, and creating a mobile app that helps clinics order new contraception supplies before they run out—a chronic problem in Nigeria.

"This study demonstrates that even in a context like urban Nigeria, with high maternal mortality and low contraceptive use, targeted programs can lead to important changes in modern [contraceptive] method use and fertility desires in a short period of time," wrote the UNC researchers in their study.

          College Awarded 3-Year EDUCAUSE iPASS Grant        
Guttman Community College has recently been awarded a $214,172 EDUCAUSE iPASS (Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success) grant in higher education. A total of 24 institutions from across the country were awarded grants. Created with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the […]

 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akisalimiana na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. Bill Gates aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017. 
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akizungumza na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. ill Gates aliyemtembelea  Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiagana na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. Bill Gates aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017. Pamoja nao ni Waziri wa Afya, Maendeleo ya Jamii, Jinsia Wazee na Watoto, Mhe. Ummy Mwalimu (kulia), Waziri wa Kilimo, Mifugo na Uvuvi, Mhe. Dk Charles Tizeba (wa tatu Kushoto), Msaidizi wa rais Masuala ya diplomasia Bi. Zuhura Bundala (kushoto)  pamoja na maafisa alioongozana nao Bw. Bill Gates
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akisalimiana na  Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017.
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiwa katika mazungumzo na   Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea  Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017.
Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiagana na  Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017.PICHA NA IKULU

Waziri wa Afya,Maendeleo ya Jamii,Jinsia ,Wazee na Watoto Ummy Mwalimu wa kwanza kushoto akikata utepe kuashiria uzinduzi wa mpango wa mfumo wa matumizi ya kielektroniki katika sekta ya afya uliofanyika jijini Dar es salaam katikati ni Mwenyekiti mwenza wa Bill & Melinda gates foundation,bilionea Bill Gates na kulia ni Waziri wa TAMISEMI Simbachawene.
Waziri wa Afya,Maendeleo ya Jamii,Jinsia ,Wazee na Watoto Ummy Mwalimu wa kwanza kushoto akimkabidhi zawadi Mwenyekiti mwenza wa Bill & Melinda gates foundation,bilionea Bill Gates wakati wa uzinduzi wa mpango wa mfumo wa matumizi ya kielektroniki katika sekta ya afya uliofanyika jijini Dar es salaam.
Waziri wa Afya,Maendeleo ya Jamii,Jinsia ,Wazee na Watoto Ummy Mwalimu wa kwanza kushoto akionyesha kitabu cha mpango wa mfumo wa matumizi ya kielektroniki katika sekta ya afya uliofanyika jijini Dar es salaam pamoja na Mwenyekiti mwenza wa Bill & Melinda gates foundation,bilionea Bill Gates katikati na kulia ni Waziri wa TAMISEMI Simba Chawene.
Mwenyekiti mwenza wa Bill & Melinda gates foundation,bilionea Bill Gates wa kwanza kushoto akisaini kitabu cha wageni wakati alipokutana na Waziri wa Afya,Maendeleo ya Jamii,Jinsia ,Wazee na Watoto Ummy Mwalimu wa pili kushoto katika ofisi ndogo ya wizara hiyo jijini Dar es salaam ili kuzindua mpango wa mfumo wa matumizi ya kielektroniki katika sekta ya afya.

          Chris Maurer: Exposing misinformation and lies by omission        

Chris Mauerer is a lawyer and child rights activist living in Houston, Texas. He is optimistic that the message of the Intactivist Movement will ultimately prevail, because it is based on not only the moral high ground, but also on rational arguments, a sound medical basis, and a desire to expose misinformation.

(slightly modified)

My name is Chris Mauerer. I live in Houston, Texas. I'm a Republican; I'm a conservative. In fact, I consider Ronald Reagan to be the greatest president in my lifetime if not our greatest president ever! Even people who disagreed with his policies I think respected the fact that he made it clear what he wanted to do and endeavored to do it, and he had a certain amount of respect; I think he was singularly responsible for the fall of the Soviet Union, and I think he did a wonderful job reviving the American economy as well as America's pride and stature in the world.

Like a lot of the sophomores, I must have been 19 or 20 at the University of Wisconsin. I just came across an article (or something in a textbook) on circum­cision, and all of a sudden it just dawned on me what had happened that day back when I was 3 or 4 years old: I had gone to the public health department for an immunization, and heard screaming coming on and on and on. Well, I just remember thinking at the time:

“Boy that must be really a big kid in there! It must be somebody 10 years old, maybe.”

because it was just so loud, and it went on and on and on, and it was a large waiting room, and of course the door is shut from where the waiting room adjoins the doctor's offices, and then down the hall there was another closed door. So, the [child] was in the examining room, [whose] door was closed, and then [secluded more by] a little hallway, and then [by] that [second] door [that] was closed, and we were out in the waiting room, and [yet] it was just horrific having to listen to that.

Finally, the door opened and a woman walked out carrying a baby in a white blanket, and there were tears running down the mother's eyes as she briskly walked out of the public health department, and [now] it was my turn to go in for my immunization. Needless to say, I was a little bit reluctant to walk through the door that the baby had just come out of!

I just was convinced that it was never going to happen to any baby boy that I had, and it wasn't.

In 2009, I saw Georgeanne Chapin on MSNBC at I guess it was the AIDS conference in Atlanta. Nancy Snyderman, the medical host from MSNBC was the moderator, and there was a pediatrician, and Georgeanne was debating the pediatrician, and I thought: “Well, that's what I have always thought! That's what I have always said in private conversations!”, and so I started donating a little bit of money to Intact America and to NOCIRC, and talked to Marilyn Milos.

I got a call from a friend of mine, asking me if I would appear on Fox News. I said:

“Well, sure!”—and I'm thinking it must be a week or 2 from now—“When?”


That was very odd, in retrospect. The host sat me down at this desk, and pointed at this bank of monitors and said: “Look right here; we're going to be starting shortly,” and then she walked off with the doctor into another room, in another area, with the door shut. So, I'm sitting there all by myself in this cavernous room, just cooling my heels—sitting there by myself, nervous—and then the monitors all go on[.] I'm looking at myself in one monitor, and there [are] other things that are going on, and I'm not quite sure where to look—

“10, 9, 8, 7…”

and we're on the air as far as I know!

Melinda Spaulding

Circumcision is medically unnecessary, painful, and risky. But, some experts say there is a medical benefit. In tonight's Fox In Focus: Is there really a need for boys to be circumcised? We're joined by:

  • Dr. Steven Canfield, program director of urology at UTHealth medical school, and chief of urology at LBJ General Hospital,

  • and also lawyer and child rights activist Chris Maurer. He's from the group National Organization of Circumcision

Well, we talked in the parking lot for a while. [Dr. Canfield] was actually not really pro-circumcision; he was more or less just circling the wagons and spouting the party line, and he basically made a comment on the air about how circumcision decreases the risk of HIV by 50%:

Melinda Spaulding

Doctor, I'll give you the last word on this.

Steven Canfield

Sure. In addition to penile cancer, there's the prevention of the spread of HIV. In fact, 3 large randomized trials have been done in Africa, which clearly showed when the data was combined that the circumcision in heterosexual men reduced the risk of HIV development by 50%! That's huge!

Out in the parking lot he said those studies in Africa have no applicability to the United States, and [that] those people in Africa, they've got a tremendous epidemic of AIDS, and they're just grasping at straws. Then he went on to say that obstetricians have no business doing circumcisions and that performing circumcisions on infants without anesthesia is barbaric.

He probably didn't want to offend any of his colleagues there at his hospital—of course, [in his defense], he answered the questions he was asked; he wasn't asked those questions on the air, but he certainly didn't volunteer that information, either.

I sent out that video to a lot of clients and associates and family members. I haven't received any negative feedback from anyone; I was little surprised by that, actually. Some of the women in my office [said things like]:

“I had my child when I was 20, and I just didn't know any better; I was young, and I didn't know anything.”

They were apologetic about what they had done. So, I think [culture] is changing.

We teach our kids about peer pressure: “If everyone is jumping in the lake, would you?” Yet, a lot of parents don't apply those principles to themselves, at least when it comes to the issue of circumcision—they do it because everybody else is doing it!

If an 18 year old wants to be circumcised, I don't care! That's his business. But, the circumcision of minors—to me—is just unacceptable.

If there really are these health benefits, then make that presentation to a person when he's 18! If these benefits really exist, you'll have men standing in line to be circumcised; quite frankly, I think the reason they do it to babies is because they know they'd never be able to pursuade an adult to consent.

Circumcision to prevent AIDS?

From what I understand, there's a misrepresentation [being made to men] that [by being circumcised] they're receiving a "surgical vaccine", so these [African] men are consenting, but it's based on intentional misrepresentation by these health care providers that are receiving massive amounts of funding from the United States government as well as from the Gates Foundation and other private organizations [to do as many circumcisions as possible].

I would like to think that people are well intentioned and [that] they mean well—that nobody is intentionally pulling the wool over men's eyes—but I don't really know. I think people sometimes get deluded into believing that what they're doing is right, without really examining it. So, I can't really speak to the motivation of the pro-circers in Africa; I mean, there is a problem with HIV, obviously, but [the solution is] through abstinence or use of condoms or monogomy. I mean, that's the solution to it, not—as the pro-circers “jokingly” talk about: Whacking foreskins—I mean, that's just un­acceptable.

We [intactivists] have the moral high ground. We have the rational arguments. We have the medical basis. So, the pro-circers really have little—if anything—to rely on other than misinformation, and that needs to be exposed. So, to the extent I can help with that, I look forward to doing that.

I usually keep some circumcision literature in my bag with me, and when I see a pregnant woman, I just hand her a brochure, and normally I get one of 2 responses:

  • “Well, I'm having a girl”, in which case I say: “Well, give this to one of your friends whose having a boy.”

  • “Thank you!”

So, any little difference you can make, some baby some day will give you a silent “Thank you.”

          [41] Cutting Culture: Tuskegee Redux? Legal and Ethical Problems of the Ramp Up to Male Circumcision in Africa        

Travis Wisdom, a student of Women's Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, organized a daylong conference on male circumcision and the issues surrounding identity and body ownership. The second speaker of the day was John Geisheker of Doctors Opposing Circumcision, who discussed the dubious nature of the 3 African studies that are now being used to promote circumcision in the name of HIV prevention. Here is a recording of the presentation, and a transcript follows.

(slightly modified)

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

From the White Letter Productions studios in Los Angeles, California, I'm [Eliyahu] Ungar-Sargon, and this is The Cut Podcast.

Christina Hernandez[?]

Our next presenter, John [D.] Geisheker, is the Executive Director and General Council of Doctors Opposing Circumcision. [He] is a powerful ally in the medical field, promoting awareness of and mobilization against [non-therapeutic neonatal] circumcision. Please join me in welcoming him.

John Geisheker

Thanks very much.

Many of you will have read—because it's become a commonplace meme in the American journals of all kinds—that HIV can be solved in Africa by circumcision. The [risk reduction] number that's commonly [claimed] is 60% [to] 63%. [However], you probably don't know the backstory [behind those figures], and I'm going to give it to you now.

Now, you'll have to be a little tolerant of this; it's a little “word heavy”, it's a little abstract, and it's a little statistical—and I'm not a stats expert, but I kind of know bad statistics when I see them by instinct. So, what I've done here is distill the work of Dr. Robert Van Howe, the pediatrician in Marquette, Michigan, who has done extensive [analyses] on the 3 African RCTs, as they're called: The Random[ized] Controlled Trials in Africa, [which have been used to promote circumcision].

First, the nature of the crisis, so you understand it: HIV is indeed a scourge in Africa—there's no doubt about it.

  • 15 million Africans have died since the beginning of HIV, which by the way, extends all the way to the 1930s when the virus first crossed from the monkey community into the human community. So, we have lost 15 million, and probably many more actually, because no one knew what the disease was in the 1940s and 1950s.

  • 1.3 million Africans die each year [due to HIV].

  • 22.5 million of them are living with AIDS currently.

  • That leaves 14.8 million children who are orphans or who have lost at least one parent.

Currently, only 25% of [infected] Africans get what's called the antiretroviral therapy [(ART)]. The highest number is [in] South Africa, which has switched from being a country where they were very slow to get started on this, to being the country that's the most aggressive about fighting HIV in Africa (and you'll see why in a second); so, 37% of infected South Africans get the antiretroviral therapy—which, by the way, [is a therapy that] not only saves your life, [but also] makes [it] virtually impossible [for you] to transmit the virus to a partner, which is a very useful feature of the ARTs.

Look at the graph of what's happened since 1988 in Africa; you can see that [the HIV prevalence starts around] 1%-to-5%, [and then later], it goes up to 5%-to-10%, and here in 1998, you can see especially in South Africa and [various] areas [that] it's beginning to [rise to] 20%-to-30%. There are regions of Africa where the [prevalence] is 40%! [It's] unbelievable if you think about it. Here's a graph showing the [prevalence]. Notice it's flattening out a little bit; it actually has slowed down in its virulence in Africa.

Here's the U.S. situation by contrast. Now, these numbers are high, but they are a tiny percent of what's happening in Africa.

  • We have 0.5 million people who have died since the early 1980s when it was first discovered in the U.S.

  • About 1 million people are infected, and 20% of those are unaware that they are infected.

  • 54 thousand people acquire the infection each year, but we have a country of 350 million people, so that's not exactly a huge epidemic at this point.

  • The [prevalence] is 0.6%, which means 6 people in a thousand in the population [have] HIV, and we have a high ART [usage]—a [large number] of people [are] covered by antiretroviral therapies.

    There are hotspots like Washington, D.C., which for cultural reasons [has an incidence of] 3% and even towards 6% in the poorer regions of Washington, D.C.

  • It's disproportionately, alas, a disease of men having unprotected sex with other men, and of people who inject illegal [intravenous] drugs.

Now, since 2005 ([with] the beginnings of the studies in Africa), the notion that HIV can be stopped by circumcision has sort of risen on our cultural radar. It's in the form of a meme. How many of you know the term “meme” or use it casually? A meme is a unit of culture—I think the term was invented by Richard Dawkins in his various books on [evolution]. [A] meme is a unit of culture that gets transmitted from person to person [in a folkloric way] without the backup analysis of why that might be the case. It is, in a sense, a free-floating idea or belief.

Here are the RCTs and the individuals responsible for them:

  • In Rakai (Uganda) in 2005, Ronald Gray began a study of some individuals (we'll see in a second how many).

  • In Kisumu (Kenya), Robert Bailey ran a study

Those are both [mid-east African] countries. [Lastly]:

  • In Orange Farm ([South] Africa), Bertrand Auvert, who is a French epidemiologist, ran another study.

The Ugandan study had almost 5000 participants, [the one in] Kenya [had] almost 3000, and [the one in] South Africa [had] a little over 3000.

I want to thank here Dr. Van Howe [for his] statistical [analysis], and also Hugh Young, a fellow New Zealander (I'm from New Zealand)—an aside by the way: New Zealend abandoned circumcision; New Zealand's rate of circumcision in [the] 1950s went to 99.9% (nobody escaped; very few escaped. Maoris did by the way; the indigenous polynesian people escaped completely, because they have very strong beliefs about having to need [the] entire body [throughout] life, [which] is very sensible in my opinion). [Nevertheless], they dropped circumcision in the 1960s like a hot potato! There have been no infant circumcisions in New Zealand since [the] mid-1960s; it's amazing, and yet, a whole generation of grandfathers [were] completely circumcised. The fathers are sort of hit and miss, and the sons wonder: What happened to their poor fathers and grandfathers?

OK. Here's the method they used in Africa to do this study: They took groups of HIV-negative men and divided them randomly into 2 groups:

  • A control [group].
  • An experimental group.

The control group was offered an immediate circumcision (and we'll talk later about the problems [with] that), and the experimental group was promised a free circumcision later on, perhaps 2 years later (but it never quite got there, actually). Then the [numbers of] seroconversion[s] [within the groups]—that is, the number of [people who became] infected [with HIV]—were compared[.] Now, here's a little warning for you about statistics (I love this quote):

The American mind seems extremely vulnerable to the belief that any alleged knowledge which can be expressed in figures is in fact as final and exact as the figures in which it is expressed.

Richard Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Also, there's a common statistical thing you will all notice, and that's the deep decimals: [If] somebody says something happens 10.003% of the time, you're inclined to think that just because there's a thousandth of a percent in there [(".003%")], somehow that suggests the accuracy of the statistic, but statistics can lie gloriously, as we know.

So, here [are] the results:

  • The number of men who were circumcised [as part of the control group], [and] who got infected [with HIV] after 12 months was 1.5% of the [group]—I've combined the stats to make [conveying the information] easy, but the studies were very similar.

  • The intact [group]—that is, the men who were not circumcised—their infection rate was higher: 3.38% of their group.

So, the absolute risk reduction you could argue [that circumcision provides] is 1.8%. This is the stat you should be reading in your newspaper, not this 53%, because that's the relative risk reduction—comparing the 2 little groups. So, one of the commonest [tricks] in statistics is for people to jack up their results by talking about relative changes and not talking about absolute changes.

I sometimes joke that I could protect you by 1000% from being hit by a meteorite by insisting you live in a coal mine, and you'd say:

“But geeze, I don't really have a very high risk of getting hit by a meteorite—”

“But listen to me! I'm talking about protecting your life! 1000%! Are you not interested in that?”

and, of course, you really shouldn't be [interested in that].

All right, here's what the graph looks like if you do an honest graph of the difference between the absolute benefits between circumcision and not-circumcision. It's pretty unimpressive, isn't it?

Here's another way of looking at it (the green are the HIV-negative people): A good number were lost from the study, and the HIV-positive is the small red group at the bottom; once you look at the overall picture of the number of people, and the number of people who actually seroconverted, it doesn't look very impressive—it certainly has nothing to do with 60%.

Here's my favorite cartoon on the subject (this is courtesy of Hugh Young, a fellow countryman):

“Thanks to circumcision, HIV has decreased 60%!”

and I love the comment:

"Question. Are you asking a room full of engineers to be excited about a big percentage decrease over a trivial base!?"

It's a good question! Then the final panel:

“[Answer]. You leave me no choice but to call you an anti-circ zealot; nobody listens to them.”

So, that's great.

All right. Now let's go through the flaws. This gets a little statistical—hang in there; it'll get interesting. It is interesting.

  • Flaw number one: Over half the infections were non-sexual. One of the biggest secrets of the RCTs in Africa is that an awful lot of African HIV infections are caused by physicians!

    • Reusing one-use medical supplies.

    • Not autoclaving the equipment.

    • Attending people who have HIV, but not worrying about the next person who might get HIV from the tools they just used on the first person.

    So, iatrogenic transmission of HIV is itself a huge and scandalous event in Africa. If you remove all the non-sexual infections—that is, those that came from blood transfusions and medical care—all the Africa RCTs disappear, because [then] their results are not statistically significant.

    Here's my favorite quote on this; it comes from Dr. Jennifer Vines up in Oregon:

    In the article by Auvert et al regarding incidence rates of HIV infection in circumcised versus uncircumcised men, the finding of 60% fewer infections among the former group is compelling [1]. I must echo the comments submitted by others and question these findings in light of the fact that the authors did not control for other sources of HIV transimission such as blood transfusions or exposure through infected needles.

    While the literature supports sexual (primarily heterosexual) activity as the main route of HIV transmission in South Africa, the behavioral factor of “Attending a clinic for a health problem related to the genitals,” initially reported by approximately 10% of both the intervention and control groups, corresponds to a significantly elevated HIV incidence rate. It is plausible that these men presented with urogenital complaints that resulted in antibiotic or other therapeutic treatments administered with unsterile needles. This could represent a significant confounder in that the uncircumcised men, if indeed more prone to sexually transmitted infections (STI), were more likely to present for STI care and become infected through the health care setting rather than through unprotected sexual intercourse.

    Controlling for this route of infection could result in a smaller difference between HIV infection rates in the circumcised versus uncircumcised groups, indicating that circumcision may not be as effective at decreasing HIV transmission as the article suggests.

    "Reader Response" to Auvert B, Taljaard D, Lagarde E, Sobngwi-Tambekou J, Sitta R, et al. (2005) Randomized, controlled intervention trial of male circumcision for reduction of HIV infection risk: The ANRS 1265 Trial. PLoS Med 2(11): e298.

    I would say “Indeed.”

  • Flaw number two: Researcher expectation bias.

    Remember, these can't be double-blind studies; I mean, you know if you've been circumcised, and the doctor knows if you've been circumcised. There's no sense [in] pretending. You can't [explore] a placebo effect in this kind of a study.

    [The researchers are] known [to have been] proponents of male circumcision prior to [their interest in] HIV. In a sense, I have [just] said—it's a bit cynical—that the HIV crisis in Africa was a gift to male-circumcision proponents; their claim is that there is sufficient evidence to recommend universal circumcision, which is frankly what they're really looking for.

  • Flaw number three: Participant expectation bias.

    What did the participants in the trial[s] expect? Well, they were told that circumcision [is] protective, which [is information] that would affect their behavior. There was a lack of blinding, [as just described], and there was a desire for circumcision.

    Why an African man would submit to circumcision without being campaigned on this subject (if he's an adult) is an interesting question. Remember a lot of African cultures have already existing traditions of bush circumcision, which are both dangerous and painful, and I can see a 16 year old African man saying [to himself]:

    “Geez, do I want to have a circumcision that at least provides anesthesia and has a semblance of Western medicine to it, or do I want to go to the bush and have one of those initiation rites that my friends tell me are horribly painful?!

    Well, I know the choice that I [(and most of you)] would make.

    The RCT authors created a demand for male circumcision among unemployed young men by bribing them, frankly. Participants were interested in the promise of a free male circumcision and other benefits—and we'll get to that in a second.

  • [Flaw number four: Statistical overpowering.]

    [This] is a bit tough to understand. The study, claims Van Howe, was overpowered; that is to say, it was big enough (at more than 10 thousand individuals) that you could find some correlation between something.

    If you gave me 10 thousand people, I bet I could prove that people [who] own brown hats have small dogs, because there would be enough people [in the group] that [I could find a sizeable number of them for whom that correlation is true].

    So, the more individuals you have, the more you can data mine for your particular conclusion (if you work at it). [Dr. Robert Van Howe] says this is large enough to find identifiable differences that are clinically unimportant; in other words, you could do a gigantic drug study and still find correlations that don't mean anything medically.

    [This can be seen in the frequent flip-flopping with which we are all familiar]. You know: Butter is bad [for your health], butter is good, butter is bad, butter is good. You have to read a newspaper to see what [the “consensus”] is today.

  • Flaw [number] five: Selection bias.

    Only men interested in male circumcision were included [in the study], so that automatically excludes others who might have been at lower risk [of HIV infection] because of behavior or genetics—we don't know. So, that's a flaw of this study itself.

  • [Flaw] number six: [The participants] were well paid.

    [Most] were unemployed [and living in the Orange Farm]—Orange Farm, South Africa, is a horrible horrible slum with an employment rate of like 50% and worse, and frankly, the young men were desperate, and [joining the study there was a way that]:
    • They would get cash.

    • They would get a free circumcision.

    • They would get free healthcare for a year or 2, which in the U.S., would be like giving you 12 thousand dollars.

    So, just the very structure of these studies makes them unethical in the U.S., but you can get away with it if you can work it in black Africa.

  • [Flaw number seven]: Now, here's the geographical bias.

    This is intriguing to me. No studies were done in:

    • Ghana
    • Cameroon
    • Tanzania
    • Lesotho
    • Malawi
    • Rawanda
    • Swaziland

    [These are] places where circumcised men are more likely to be [HIV infected]. Just look at Ghana and Cameroon to make it easy:

    • The HIV prevalence in Ghana among circumcised men is 1.6%; [among] intact men, it's actually lower.

    • Now, Cameroon is interesting, because the HIV prevalence [among] circumcised men is like more than 3 times the [prevalence among] intact men!—exactly the opposite of the claims of the RCTs.

    and so on. Each of those countries has the same problem, which is: How do you explain that [in these places], circumcised men actually have more HIV?

  • Flaw number eight: Ethical problems.

    We've already hinted at these. South African men were not told their HIV status. The claim of the people who did the studies was that the men are from cultures where being HIV positive would stigmatize [them], and so [the researchers] didn't want to tell the men that they [have] HIV, because that would be embarassing [and problematic] for them.

    [So], as a “practical” matter, they sent men home to infect their partners, and that's exactly the problem that we had with Tuskegee. Some of you may know the history of Tuskegee; I know that my colleagues here do. In [the] 1930s, the CDC in conjunction with [the U.S. Public Health Service] designed a study of syphilis among black males, and [the researchers] didn't tell them [when] they had syphilis, because they wanted to see what would happen long-term.

    So, hundreds and hundreds of people got tertiary syphilis—which, by the way, is not just the genital disease; it eventually affects your brain, and is a horrible way to go at the end. [This incident] is the gold standard for unethical behavior in medicine and bioethics, and precisely that same condition happened in the RCTs in Africa, and they haven't been called to account for it!

    There was no full disclosure with informed consent. Basically, it was a scanty consent, as you can imagine; the men were circumcised that same day. Certainly, they were never ever told the sexual effects of the kind that Marilyn so articulately described for this surgery.

    So, in other words, if you were doing a lawyerly analysis of the accounts here, it would be that the participants were placed at risk in a study with built-in biases, which guaranteed the investigators the results they wanted, and the benefits were coerceive and unethical.

  • [Flaw number nine]: Lead-time bias.

    This is an interesting one; it requires a little thinking for a second. The [group circumcised in the beginning] were told to avoid sex for 4 to 6 weeks, so what happened was if you compare the results over 1 year, somebody got a 2 month head start; the men who were circumcised early [on] got a 2 month head start where they didn't have sex, so they weren't put at risk [for sexually transmitted HIV during that time], and that affects the result entirely. The [bias-based] overestimate according to [Dr. Robert Van Howe] is on the order of 10%, which wipes the whole studies out.

    Yes mam?


It was suggested in a—

John Geisheker

In the 3rd study they adjusted it somewhat.


Yeah, it was suggested the men themselves might have gotten longer because of the effects of the circumcision, too.

John Geisheker

I hadn't heard that, but I'm not terribly surprised. Mind you, it could also be counter balanced by men who were desperate enough to have sex when they still had something of an open wound, and you know, that would kind of counterbalance the notion, but in any case, it's not a very good study if you're looking for purity of results.

  • [Flaw number ten: Cultural differences].

    In [the] South Africa study, the 2 groups differed by age, religion, and tribe (and that tribe makes a big difference in Africa). There was no attempt to reconcile that.

  • [Flaw number eleven: Loss from study].

    For every participant infected, a huge number were lost [from the study]. At the highest, 7.4 for every individual that was [infected] was lost. You have to wonder what would have happened had those people stayed in the study. For every sexually transmitted infection of HIV, up to 17.6 participants were lost. Small differentials in the loss group could negate these [RCT] findings, too.

    All of these flaws are cumulative! The more flaws you have in the study, the more the results of the study (especially when they're small) are called into question.

    Now, here's my favorite quote about ignoring dropouts, and it comes from Bad Science by Goldacre (drug studies are an example):

    People who drop out of trials are statistically much more likely to have done badly, and much more likely to have had side-effects. They will only make your drug look bad. So ignore them, make no attempt to chase them up, do not include them in your analysis.

    Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, Fourth Estate, London (2008), p. 209

    That's a great quote. That's a great way to run a drug study—and by the way, there's a scandal that just came out this week about how Africa is being used by Big Pharma and big American institutions like Johns Hopkins University of Illinois, etc., to do studies that they couldn't run ethically in the United States. They're [basically using] Africa as a guinea pig for whatever drugs and whatever procedures they can come up with. I think [this] is a huge scandal; it's definitely going to hit the wall.


They can't run [such studies] ethically there either; they just do it anyway!—

John Geisheker

Well, they do it, because they can get away with it. Frankly, there is so much money free-floating [in Africa] (provided by the Gates Foundation and others) that local African officials who are poor—and even if they're the honest chief medical officer of a small African colony, country, or tribe, they can't turn down scads of American money, which they could use for other kinds of things. So, of course, they're going to say “Yeah! Let's start a circumcision campaign!”, so they can get the money into their system, so they can use it for useful things (we're hoping they'll use it for more useful things), but you can't blame poor countries for being attracted by American cash. You simply cannot.

  • [Flaw number twelve: Unequal crossovers].

    This is a bit abstract, too, but let's hit it:

    • The number of men [randomly] assigned to be circumcised who were not, and

    • The number of men [randomly assigned] to wait [to be circumcised], but got circumcised early for whatever reason (maybe they elected to)

    [were] not equal[.] [That suggests that] the men who did not receive the immediate, free [circumcision] they wanted dropped out. So, that affects the accuracy of the study as well.

  • Flaw [number] thirteen: [Unequal Treatment].

    (Are you getting saturated on the flaws here? Have I convinced you!?)

    Men [who] were [randomly assigned] to early circumcision had follow up visits. Now, I actually think this is very criticial; if I were [Dr. Robert Van Howe], I would put this on the front end, because I think it's the biggie (along with the relative/absolute [percentages] problem).

    Men [randomly assigned to] early circumcision had follow up visits, [and] this allowed the staff to influence them—to urge them, to provide safe sex advice, etc., etc. So, they were continually being educated, which [surely affected] their behavior.

  • [Flaw number fourteen]: Early termination.

    The proponents quit the study after one year, saying it would be unethical to continue it because the results were so overwhelmingly positive in favor of circumcision that even waiting would be unethical.

    Well, isn't that convenient?

    If the study had been big and long, maybe the benefits they saw would have roughened out, and [maybe] the stats [would have] come to nothing at the very end, but that's not exactly the result they wanted.

    [Ending the study early] also amplifies the lead-time bias. If you have a short study, that 8-week lead time [which] the men who were circumcised got [is] a bigger percentage of the [study time]; if you run [the study] out 2 years, [a 2-month lead time] is only one twelfth [of the study time]. If you run the study for only a year, that lead time is a full one sixth [of the study time]—quite a difference.

So, here [are] some anomalies for you:

  • Why did participating increase risk?

    • Medical exposure? (asks [Dr. Robert Van Howe]).

    • Or [was it a] self-selected population at a higher risk to begin with? That's certainly possible, too.

  • In South Africa, the intervention was not consistent between tribes, for probably cultural reasons.

  • In Kenya, the intervention was effective for one group of young men, but not [for] the 18 year olds. Why is that? We don't know.

Facts that don't make sense:

  • Why is HIV [prevalence] higher [among circumcised] men than [among] intact men in South Africa?

  • Why is the [prevalence] of heterosexually transmitted HIV so much higher in the U.S. than it is in Europe? The answer could be that Americans don't like condoms because they're circumcised. There are lots of different things you could ask about that.

  • If the increase in protection [provided] by a 90% circumcision rate (which they'll never get to in our lifetime) can be undone by a 5% decrease in condom usage, then what's the point [of the circumcision]?

  • If antiretroviral therapy—which, remember, prevents seroconversion even between what's called discordant partners ([one of them is infected, while the other is not])—and treating STDs [are together a] more effective, less costly, and less invasive [way to prevent HIV than circumcision], then why bother with circumcision?

Here are [some contradictory] studies—including 3 by the authors of the African RCTs! [These are] studies, in other words, that show that the effect [of circumcision] is not as good as [they] would hope [for reducing the transmission of HIV to men], or (and we'll talk about it in a minute) [circumcision] endangers women! There's a remarkable number of them; we won't go through [all of] them, but they're available to you if you want to look; [they are] fully explained in a wonderful website you should know about called Circumstitions (once again by Hugh Young, the guy [who] did the Dilbert cartoon).

[Dr. Michel Garenne] authored:

Long-term population effect of male circumcision in generalised HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa.

Michel Garenne, who is at the Institute Pasteur in Paris, says:

In most countries with a complex ethnic fabric, the relationship between men's circumcision status and HIV seroprevalence was not straightforward, with the exception of the Luo in Kenya and a few groups in Uganda. These observations put into question the potential long-term effect of voluntary circumcision programmes in countries with generalised HIV epidemics.

Well, it's worse than that, Dr. Michel, because it's not going to be “voluntary” circumcisions. That's what they talked about in 2005 and 2006, but I have watched very carefully (so has Marilyn, so has Gillian, [etc.]) as they've gone from “voluntary” circumcision for men, to semi-voluntary circumcision for young men, to involuntary circumcision for infants, which is plan C, and was, I think, the plan all along.

Here's my comment on this. This is epidemiology and anthropology 101. First of all, the biggies:

  • The risk avoidance by confident, [circumcised] men.

    A lot of health officers in Africa are themselves concerned that young men are cheerfully lining up for circumcision so they can avoid using condoms, and so they can tell women that they're HIV-negative and will stay so because they [were] circumcised. In other words, they're going to use their circumcision status to give up on the only thing[s] that [prevent] HIV:

    • Abstinence
    • Condoms
  • So they are putting themselves and their partners at risk, and the risk to women is substantial, because here what I haven't mentioned and could have mentioned upfront: All the RCTs only say that the male is protected from an infected woman; she is not, however, [necessarily] protected if he's HIV [positive]. In fact, she's even more at risk, according to the Wawer study.

    Does that make sense?

    So this is the most sexist plan for almost a billion African people that you can imagine. This is just a recipe for a gigantic epidemic disaster.

  • The other thing is [that the] 60% protection [for men], even if it's true, is not 95% (the gold standard for all immunizations). It is what I call viralette—viral roulette; you're basically just playing with time, and infection will occur eventually. It just may take longer.

  • We should mention is that the effort against HIV in Africa is a zero-sum game. Male circumcision, which is expensive (95 times more expensive than condoms would be), is draining the dollars away from more effective programs.

  • Bush circumcisions (in other words, circumcisions [outside of a sterile, medical environment]) of men are not going to be [performed] by doctors, because there aren't enough doctors to [circumcise] 900 million black Africans; they're going to be done by traditional “healers”.

    I was in Mexico in 2008, and I talked to people who were proposing this program, and they freely admit [that] there aren't enough doctors, [and] that they're going to have to train locals to do one procedure only [(namely, circumcision)], and there's going to be no follow up! The van pulls [into] town, they [circumcise] the whole village, and [then] drive away! There's no follow up, and there [are] plenty of opportunies for iatrogenic HIV infection.

  • Condoms have other uses, too!

    • Preventing pregnancy.

    • Preventing HPV (which we've already mentioned is one of the vectors for cervical cancer), and other sexually transmitted infections.

  • Now, something you may not know is that this idea (a white-people's invented idea) that circumcision solves the HIV problem in Africa has been pitting tribes against tribes; in Kenya, for instance, the Luo (which is the tribe of Barack Obama and his father), do not circumcise, and haven't historically.

    [However], the Kikuyu—anybody see the movie Out of Africa? That's the tribe that's featured in there, the Kikuyu. They do have a long standing tradition of circumcision.

    [The Kikuyu] have been accusing the Luo of being the problem, because they've been told that uncircumcised—intact—men transmit HIV, so they've been capturing—waylaying—Luo men who are found alone, and [then] circumcising them traumatically right in the street, as kind of a tribe against tribe [act of domination].

    By the way, there's probably pretty good odds that—this is an aside, of course—there's probably pretty good odds that Barack Obama is himself intact.

    • His mother was a hippie atheist.
    • His father was an upperclass Luo.

    So, it's very likely that [his mother] either honored his request (or he insisted) that the boy be left intact, but we're not going to know until he's retired.

  • Cutting as a first line disease control defense always strikes me as dodgy. The human body has evolved for many hundreds of thousands of years, and if we take the notion that the way to solve disease is to start lopping parts off, there [is] no [end] to [the number of] surgies you could invent that solve problems [in that way].

    I mean, I don't have any tonsils, because some doctor made a car payment in 1958 off of them. I mean, it was fantastic fraud in the 1950s; play this game sometime at a party: Ask all the people who have had tonsillectomies to put up their [hands], and you will find that everybody [who raises his or her hand] is [in his or her] 50s and 60s. Almost nobody in [his or her] 20s and 30s is without [tonsils]. It's interesting. It was just the “fashion” of the day!

  • Male genital-cutting and female genital-cutting traditions are self-sustaining; the cut become cutters. This is an anthropology rule—a fixed rule. Once someone has had a genital mutilation, [he or she seems] to have some embedded, psychosexual need to have the next generation [undergo] that same initiation right (or that same limitation). There are thousands of explanations for this; I'm fantastically beyond my pay scale by even speculating on any of them, but I leave you with that thought, in any event.

  • This is [Dr. Robert] Van Howe talking about how circumcisions [are] a wasteful distraction. This is Hugh Young's illustration; if the African studies are correct—if everything I've said about their flaws is inconsequential, and [these studies] are correct—it's still going to take 56 circumcisions to prevent one HIV case per year, and it will [still] fail to prevent one—not much of a gain, and that's true in Uganda, [where there is] a 4% HIV [prevalence]; we have a 0.6% HIV [prevalence] in the U.S.—6 in 1000. Statistically, it would take 380 circumcisions to stop one HIV case—so, at huge expense.

To give you a flavor of the professionalism that surrounds the RCTs in Africa, [consider] these quotes:

  • “We're hacking away. Those foreskins are flying!” That's Robert Bailey [of the] University of Illinois, quoted in the New York Times barely a month ago. It's amazing to me; I can't see how a man could possibly have that casual an attitude toward a surgery that serious on so many people and be able to keep this in his head. It just appalls me to my core.

  • The other [quote] that struck me was one from Dr. Renee Stein [of] St. John's Emergency Medical Center in St. Louis talking about their circumcision rate there: “We whack 'em all!” she said. Wow. What a treat. You can imagine how cold I was when I saw that in the Times.

  • Here, one of my colleagues, David Llewellyn of Atlanta, Georgia, went to a meeting at the CDC in Atlanta. [One of] the presenters to the CDC on how circumcision should be proposed for Africa made fun of intact men (David is intact and proud of it) by using this slide, showing the man as an elephant. So, question of taste? Do you think there's any taste problem there?

  • Here's Israeli Inon Shenker (whom I met in Mexico in 2008) with the Zulu chief, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. I talked to Inon Shenker for quite a long time in Mexico, and frankly, I said to him:

    You're Israeli, and you're calling your [plan to circumcise Africans] “Operation Abraham?” Why didn't you call it “Operation Sterile Procedure” or “Operation HIV Prevention”? Why did it get called “Operation Abraham”? It has a slighly religious connotation for some of us.

    and [his response was that] he was offended by that, [and] it wasn't his choice, [and so on]. He generally thinks that this is an opportunity for the Israelis[;] his claim is that Israelis have a unique expertise in adult male circumcision, because they did them wholesale to Russian immigrants to Israel in the 1970s when there was a huge outpouring of Russian Jews into Israel. So, he's on a quest for the business, as it were.

  • Now, here's a picture I found:

    “The operation is a good chance for safe sex education”

    One of the things that Shenker and colleagues talked about in Mexico in 2008 when I met them was that the circumcision procedure itself [is] a marvelous opportunity for the man to have “a quiet reading moment”, where he could read about safe sex [in] brochures they were going to have him read.

    Well, I don't know what your attention span is like during surgery—even surgery with a decent local anesthetic—but I don't think I'd be reading much. At the time, it struck me as a very thin reason to perform a procedure—you could also put him up on a table, all stand around, not cut him, hand him the brochure, then have [a test afterward] to see if he read the material, and you [would] get the [same] benefit.

  • Here's a billboard on the Ethiopian–Sudan boarder, showing that you should get circumcised, and there's a ton of these in Africa—tons and tons of them, put up by the local health authorities and by individuals who have much to gain.

  • Here's Orange Farm in South Africa:

    The young men have flocked by the thousands to this clinic for circumcisions.


    “I've done 53 in a seven-hour day, me, myself, personally,” said Dr. Dino Rech, who helped design the highly efficient surgical assembly line… for cutting off foreskins.


    Well, I submit to you that if you do 53 procedures in a day, your first one might be decent, but I wonder about your 53rd. I think I'd want to be the mid-morning appointment—somewhere where you're back in the swing of it, but [aren't] yet exhausted, do you know what I mean? I mean, it's just insane to think you can do 900 million circumcisions in Africa without a single problem. We have hard enough problems doing circumcisions to a decent standard in U.S. hospitals that are first rate, let alone in bush clinics and vans all over sub-Saharan Africa.

So, thanks very much.

I actually have 2 more slides. This is me sailing rather than talking about penises [laughter], and this is my houseboat out in Seattle, which I built.

Thank you. Any questions?


Can you explain how you calculate the absolute reduction in risk vs. the relative reduction?

John Geisheker

Well, they're not my numbers for a start (they're [Dr. Robert] Van Howe's), and I will happily give you his handout, which he would be delighted if we shared. In fact, I thought I had given it to Travis to reproduce. Is it here? Ah! That's excellent. Why don't you check those numbers in there.

Marilyn Milos

[NOTE: Marilyn Milos previously threatened legal action for transcribing her words. Therefore, they have not been reproduced here.]

John Geisheker

Oh, relative and absolute?—


Well, just how are they calculated in general? How does one calculate an absolute risk versus a relative risk?

John Geisheker

Well, let me give you an example [which] is a bit closer to home.

One of the claims of people who propose circumcision is that it solves urinary tract infections for boys under 1 year [of age]. But, the actual rate—and even this I think is questionable for reasons I may mention in a minute—the absolute rate, if you believe it, of UTIs in [male] infants is 1% (1 boy in 100). Now, the proponents [of circumcision] claim that if you circumcise boys, only 1 in 1000 will get a urinary tract infection. So, rather than saying to a parent:

You know, he has only a [1 in 100] chance of having a UTI, [but] we could marginally improve on that by circumcising him, so then it will go down to 1 in 1000.

Instead, what they do is they say:

Circumcision confers a 10 times protective effect!

So, they use the relative difference between 1/100th and 1/1000th, and [they sell circumcision using] that [relative] scale, rather than using the absolute, which is the 1 in 100 that you should be talking about as the “high” risk side.

Does that make sense to you?


Yeah, but—

John Geisheker

The same thing is happing in the RCTs.


Right. It just [seems] like the absolute reduction was really low then. It was like 1.8%, and so in a population when HIV is so much more prominent, it just seems like it [is] a strange number. So, I was just curious how they kind of got that.

John Geisheker

This is the slide you're talking about, right?



John Geisheker

Yeah, well, see, [among] those who got a circumcision [early on], out of every 100, a little over 1.5 of them got HIV, whereas [among those not circumcised until later, out of every 100, a little over] 3.3 [of them got] HIV, and it's the [proportionality] between those 2 that gives you your big number if you're dishonest about it.

Yeah, I'll stick with [the word] “dishonest”, because I frankly think these studies are rankly dishonest, and they have been marketed at their highest point of possible [benefit], and none of the shades—none of the nuances—have been [discussed]. [Unfortunately], [their results] are so deeply embedded now, you could walk out on Marilyn's street here, stop a cab, and [the driver] will tell you [that circumcision confers a] “60% protective effect”. You know, it's deep; it's in place.

Marilyn Milos

[NOTE: Marilyn Milos previously threatened legal action for transcribing her words. Therefore, they have not been reproduced here.]

[NOTE: The audio ends abruptly here.]

          [36] The Cut Podcast: Circumcision and HIV: A Conversation with David Wilton        

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon interviews David Wilton about the nature of the push to circumcise Africa, how this has affected the controversy over circumcising completely healthy infants, and in what ways the Intactivist Movement needs to evolve its organization. Here is the recording, and a transcript follows.

(slightly modified)

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

From the White Letter Productions studios in Los Angeles, California, I'm [Eliyahu] Ungar-Sargon, and this is The Cut Podcast.

Welcome back to another special edition of The Cut Podcast. I'm very happy to be sitting here with David Wilton. David, why don't you introduce yourself and explain to our audience a little bit about how you come to this subject.

David Wilton

Well, I came to this subject probably as a teenager when I first realized what circumcision [is] and [then] began to understand and realize the differences between intact and circumcised [penises].

At that time, there wasn't a lot of [Intactivist] activity going on; most of it was on the West Coast, and I was in Texas, so I wasn't really able to participate—and [I] was really not mature enough at that time to partipate, [anyway]. It wasn't really until 2006—probably 10 or 15 years later—that I began to really get involved [in the Intactivist Movement].

That's when I started living in San Francisco and participat[ing] in the activities of the Bay Area Intactivists, which are in the East Bay for the most part, and it was sometime [around then] that I [first] attended [in Seattle one of the International Symposia on Genital Integrity], the ones that are put on by Marilyn Milos and sponsored by NOCIRC (and are now beginning to be sponsored by Intact America).

That incidentally was the same year that HIV and circumcision began to be associated with each other when the 3 African RCTs ([Randomized] Controlled Trials) were published, allegedly showing [that circumcision has] a protective effect against infection with HIV. [Consequently], it was that year that I began the blog Male Circumcision and HIV, a blog that is named exactly as what I intended to write about when I first started it, [but it] has now evolved into [what] I would say [is] more of an Intactivist site than just a site that's focused on HIV and how it's impacted by circumcision.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Yeah, absolutely. One of the main reasons that I wanted to have this conversation with you is because—as I touch on in [my] film, [Cut], and [as] anyone who is familiar with the history of circumcision in the United States knows—every generation has a new medical rationale for continuing the practice of male circumcision, and without a doubt, the rationale—the medical rationale—of our age is prevention of HIV.

As you mentioned: In 2006, we started to see some studies being done in Africa around this [rationale]. I want to get into a little bit more detail about these studies, and [it would be great] if you could share with our audience how that started, who the main players are, etc.

We should also mention that you are a lawyer by training.

David Wilton

I'm a lawyer; I began practicing law in 2000.

My area of focus has not been in the area of circumcision or anything like that. I know there are some lawyers who have done a lot of lawsuits on circumcisions around the issue of consent and botched circumcisions and that kind of thing [(see the interviews with Peter Adler, Zenas Baer, David Llewellyn, and Paul Mason)], [but] my focus has been criminal defense for the most part.

[However], I've consulted a little bit on these issues [of circumcision] with The Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, [of] which I was just recently invited to be a member of the board; so, I've joined their board at this point. I've also consulted a little bit with some of the issues related to the [MGMBill] ballot measure that ocurred this summer here in San Francisco.

[So], yes, I'm a lawyer, but [in that capacity I] have not focused that much on the issue of circumcision until more recently.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

We'll come back to some of the events of the summer, because I think you have a unique perspective that will be [really] interesting; you can give us a blow by blow [account] on what happened around the legal battles surrounding the ballot initiative.

[However], let's start with the recent push around circumcision and HIV. How did this start? Who were the players involved? Tell our audience a little about the randomized [controlled] trials, where they ocurred, what they said, etc. We'll go into some analysis of them in a little bit, but [it would be great] if you could just [provide some background] for someone who is unfamiliar with the recent history of this: How did things happen?

David Wilton

Well, for many years, circumcision has been touted as a kind of procedure that could at least slow down the infection rates of HIV. That, I believe, has been in the literature since the 1980s, but all of those studies and papers and discussion of that has been primarily through observational data.

It wasn't until some time in the early 2000s that there were a number of people who got some grants to do some studies in Africa; those were:

  • Bertrand Auvert, who is a French [epidimiological] researcher.

  • A guy named Robert Bailey, who is an American up in Illinois.

  • Another gentleman by the name of Daniel Halperin, who I believe at the time was working at the Department of Public Health here in San Francisco and [then] at Harvard's School of Public Health; [he] eventually consulted somewhat with UNAIDS, as well.

So, these 3 individuals (along with their coauthors) began to work towards getting grants to do [randomized] controlled trials in Africa. By roughly 2003, they had gotten the grants, they had designed the studies, and they had gotten all of the various parts in place to begin [in] 2003 [to follow men in]:

  • South Africa
  • Kenya
  • Uganda

By 2006, they had reached the point where they felt like they had enough data—incidentally, without completing the studies [as designed]—to go ahead and publish [their results].

So, that's really kind of the background of how these studies got from the idea popping up in the 1980s with the observational studies showing some countries with lower rates of HIV among the circumcised and higher rates among the intact, [all the way] to the point of actually doing the [RCTs that were published] in 2006.

All of these people that have been involved, they've been involved from the beginning: Daniel Halperin has been quoted in media basically discussing this issue back when he didn't have the grants in place, talking about how it was a travesty that the HIV/AIDS community was not jumping on [circumcision]; even at that time, before the [RCTs] were done, he believed that circumcision would have this huge impact on the rates of HIV, particularly in Africa.

So, that's kind of a very short background on where this came from.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

What did their studies show? Also, you mentioned they didn't actually finish them, so why didn't they finish them?

David Wilton

The way they set it up is like any [randomized] controlled trial: They had one group of men [on whom they performed circumcision at the beginning], [and] another group of men [on whom they delayed performing circumcision]. Supposedly and allegedly, they gave [both groups] equal amounts of instruction on safe sex practices and avoidance of HIV, [and] provided them with unlimited numbers of condoms. [Then, they] circumcised one group, left the other group intact, and sent them out to the world with periodic followups (I believe it was every month they would come in); [the researchers] would keep track of those who seroconverted and those who didn't.

Again, it's been a couple years since I've read and re-read these studies, so I may have the numbers off a little bit, but I think there was one [study] where there [were] 3000 [men] in one [group] and 3000 [men] in the other [group], and then there was another [study] where they had 1500 [men total] and [they were] divided up [such that] roughly 800 [men were] circumcised [at first] and the other 700 were not.

The studies [had] different [numbers of] people involved who were subjects of the studies, but they were operated as any standard [randomized] controlled trial is. [However], [the studies] weren't double-blind [in nature], because they couldn't be; if you're circumcised, you're going to know it, [and] if you're [left] intact, you're going to know it. [Nevertheless], they were [randomized] and they were controlled (they had a control group, and they had an experimental group, the experimental group being those who were circumcised).

Typically, across all 3 studies, the reduction [in HIV acquisition supposedly due to circumcision] was somewhere between 50% and 60%, which translated into—again, I don't have my numbers [exact]—something like 20 and 25 seroconversions more in [the intact] group than [in the circumcised group]. So, you might have had, let's say, 3000 people in [each] group, [and] 70 of them seroconverted in the intact group, and 50 of them seroconverted [in the circumcised group]; you had a difference of roughly 20 actual seroconversions in this group of 6000 men.

So, when you look at it like that, the actual reduction [in HIV due to circumcision] was somewhere in the single percentile; I mean, [circumcision provided maybe] a 1% or 2% actual reduction [in HIV infection], as opposed to this 50% to 60% [relative] number that they were throwing around, which had to do with relative changes. So, that's kind of how the studies were done and conducted. [See this analysis and this analysisi and this discussion.]

Now, the reason they stopped [the studies early] instead of going the full 22 months (in the case of one of the studies, they stopped it at 18 [months]) was because they said [to themselves]:

Well, our results have been so great and so wonderful and this prevention “technology” has been so successful that it would be unethical to go to the 22 month period, because at that point, all these other [“uncircumcised”] men are going to seroconvert, and if we can circumcise them now, [then] they won't seroconvert. Therefore, we [must] stop the study now and circumcise everyone who wants to be circumcised.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

I'm sorry, it just sounds so ridiculous, especially [the notion that these researchers] grow a conscience at that point, as if the people who had seroconverted before for their experiment—like, who cares about them! It's just so twisted.

David Wilton

Right. Right.

Yeah, I mean it's crazy, and the funny thing about all of this is that the re-interpretation and the churning of the data that's ocurred after the studies were stopped in 2006 [have] done nothing but [make] the numbers [suspiciously] better and better and better and better [in favor of circumcision].

[There has been] no accounting for such things as non-sexual transmission [of HIV], loss to follow up—there were several hundred participants who were lost to follow up [from both groups]; [we] don't know what happened to them! [According to this analysis, it would require only less than 25 seroconversions among the circumcised men lost to study in order to render the results insignificant.]

With such small numbers—a number of 20 actual men [in] difference (that's not a huge number), and if you've lost 300 people to follow up, you don't know what happened to those people—you really can't say with any certainty what's happened.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

What's their hypothesis as to a mechanism of action? Why is it that cutting off the foreskin in their view [could even reduce] the transmission of HIV?

David Wilton

Well, in the studies themselves, they are very careful to say that they didn't know why the circumcised group had lower rates of seroconversion versus the intact group, but in follow up commentaries, [the authors] have often resorted to speculation, [such as]:

  • The keratinization of the [tissue remaining after circumcision] makes it tougher for HIV to penetrate the skin

  • The [destruction] of Langerhans cells (cells that they say are particularly vulnerable to HIV) [creates] less of an entry point [for HIV].

They speculate.

What's interesting about the Langerhans cells [hypothesis] is that roughly at the same time that the RCTs were published, there was a Dutch group that published a paper on Langerhans cells, saying that [these cells] are very effective at destroying HIV. The thing about it is [the Dutch researchers] postulated that the reason that men—and women, who also have Langerhans cells in their genital mucosal tissue—are still vulnerable is because [these] cells are [overwhelmed] by the sheer number of HIV viruses [to which] they are exposed [during sexual transmission]. It has nothing to do with them being [inherently] vulnerable; it has to do with [the fact that these cells by themselves] are just not up to the task of creating the barrier [to HIV] that would be needed. [Condoms, on the other hand, are extremely effective as barriers against sexually transmitted HIV.]

So, there's contradictory research out there, and of course the circumcision advocates are not particularly interested in addressing that [fact], and to my knowledge, [they] really haven't addressed that very well, although I will say that they have actually often times conformed their message to the objections that they've heard in the research community—and also just among layman (on the various Intactivist [web] sites). A good example of that is [the worrisome reality of] risk disinhibition; [pro-circumcision researchers] have done several studies in Africa [supposedly] showing that men who are circumcised do not become [more likely to forgo] condoms and other [safe sex methods].

So, they've been very careful to go out and look for studies and to design studies (mostly questionnaire studies), where they give a little bit of [a] speech on what's [safe] sex, and then go out and question people at various intervals about [whether they are in fact] practicing safe sex. They've actually published some studies saying there is no risk disinhibition [due to circumcision], but [that belief stems from] questionable [data] in my opinion, because they obviously already have quite a bias towards trying to get new data that supports them and supports what they're doing, which has become a very lucrative area of research and HIV prevention programming and whatnot.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

It's true also—if I'm not mistaken—that in the studies, they speak of circumcision in their conclusions as a form of “surgical vaccine”. Is that right?

David Wilton

We have heard that quite frequently; they talk about [circumcision] as a vaccine with a 50% to 60% efficacy, and they like to think of it that way, but of course it's not, because vaccines typically don't become less effective the more you're exposed [to some pathogen], and circumcision definitely does not help if you're practicing unsafe sex [regularly]; the more times that you engage in unsafe sexual practices, the more likely you are to be infected with HIV, and that doesn't matter whether you're intact or circumcised (they are [actually] very careful to point that out in the original studies).

So, [circumcision] doesn't really fit that [analogy of a vaccine]. I think they often times hedge their language; they use very precatory language, where they say “This is like a vacine”—they don't say “This is a vaccine”, but they say “This is like a vaccine”, [implying that] it behaves like one [and that] it has the kind of result that is sort of like a vaccine, but I think often times they are careful not to say that it is in fact a “surgical vaccine”. But, you know, once you put that vision out there—that idea—it takes on a life of its own; the media, of course, [runs] with it, and a lot of journalists who aren't experts in this area take that [kind of statement] and [misinterpret] it [when] they write their stories.

I think that's calculated, too; I think that [misinterpretation is] something that the people who are involved in these studies would like to be out there.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Now, what's their motivation? It would seem from all the things we're talking about, they went out and did something that I think is ethically questionable to begin with—this sort of randomized controlled trial on a group of unsuspecting native Africans; in my estimation, I don't know [whether] that sort of study would ever pass an ethics board in [the United States]—

David Wilton


Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

So, there's something ethically questionable going on there. According to what you're saying, [the researchers] had a sort of predisposing bias to suggesting that circumcision [is] important, and it seemed almost like they were going out to prove an idea that they had, and not really approaching this as objectively as they might have.

But, I mean, it's not just these researchers we're talking about; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation now has glommed onto this notion that circumcision is an important tool [for defeating HIV]—they're more careful with the way they talk about it: They say it's an important tool, [and that] of course, you also need to teach safe sex practices and use condoms and all that, but [they are still throwing their name behind the notion that circumcision] is an important sort of adjunct tool.

So, what would the motivation for doing this be? Why are they doing it?

David Wilton

Well, I think it's important to be very careful about divining the motivations behind why someone has an interest in a particular area of research; it's hard to know unless the people involved actually tell you, and I don't think we have any definitive statements from the pro-circumcision side.

[However], I think we can speculate a little bit: I think it depends on who we're talking about; the fact that most of these researchers are Americans and the United States is a majority-circumcising society (it is a country where circumcision has become part of the culture) has something to do with it.

  • I think when you look at a guy like Robert Bailey, well, [he] is an American researcher (I don't think he's Jewish); I think he's a guy who has gone on record saying that he circumcised his own son; I'm aware of one conversation where he mentioned to an Intactivist who had approached him and spoke to him at one point, and I think he said there were at least a dozen or more reasons why he circumcised his own son. I mean, clearly if you're emotionally invested in a procedure, and you are for whatever reason in a position to [promote] that procedure, you're going to do it! In a way, I think it's just a cultural thing.

  • When it comes to Bertrand Auvert (another one who was behind one of these RCTs), he approached [our Intact America booth] when we were at the International AIDS Conference in Rome this last summer, and he asked us if we were circumcised—there were 3 of us there at the table—and I was so taken aback [by that question] because it didn't seem relevant to our discussion, so I asked him “Are you circumcised?” and Bertrand Auvert said no he wasn't; so what is his motivation? I have no idea what it could be, but I suspect it has something to do with careerism; it might have something to do with his view that circumcision is an acceptable practice in a place like Africa—he's from the “First World”, and he's swooping into the “third world” (or into an underdeveloped world) where he can sort of be someone's savior. I don't know what his motivations are; we just don't know. But, clearly, there's something going on there, and it would be nice to have some answers as far as that goes.

  • [As for] Daniel Halperin, the only thing I can really say about him is that he has actually stated—on the record in a media report around the year 2000—that he feels that it is his lot in life to go out and spread the practice of circumcision, something that [he believes his] forebearers as Jewish men introduced to the world! (At some point, all of that's not true; I think circumcision has popped up in a lot of different cultures, but that is what he said!) He said his grandfather was a mohel and this has kind of become a motivating factor for him.

So, we've got sort of an answer from Daniel Halperin, but [as for] the other 2, we really don't know other than what we can speculate.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

These people are using the data that they collected from the randomized controlled trials to promote routine infant circumcision? Is that correct?

David Wilton

Well, that has been the next step. When UNAIDS and the WHO came out and said:

We are now recommending circumcision

  • for adults
  • under sterile conditions
  • with “informed” consent

and all of that, they were very careful to say that [circumcision] is something that should be applied to adult males—men who are sexually active. They said nothing about infant circumcision.

Well, most of us in the Intactivist community—being skeptical as we have been sort of trained to be with this issue—knew that this was going to start moving in [the] direction [of infant circumcision, anyway]; it wasn't [even] a couple of years [later] that they started talking about how we should do this to infants:

We should incorporate [routine circumcision] into prenatal care and postnatal followup; we should make [circumcision] something that is like vaccination, where we go [into a community] and vaccinate and circumcise, and where men don't have to be convinced (which is code for saying “[where] we don't have to worry about informed consent”).

[The rationale is that pushing circumcision] becomes so much easier [when infants are the ones being put under the knife].

  • They often say that [circumcision is] “safer” for infants—which is news to the roughly 100 [or more] infants [who] die every year in the United States from circumcision! But, still, they say [infant circumcision] is safer.

  • They say it's programmatically easier [to implement than adult circumcision].

They have all of these things that they say. So, this last summer, when we were in Rome with Intact America, there was a guy there who had just been hired by Johns Hopkins in their programming arm—it's part of the university, but it's essentially their programming arm that goes into Africa and rolls out these various HIV programs, including [a] circumcision program. He's from Eritrea (and he [has] a name that I couldn't pronounce much less remember precisely, so I won't offer it, but I can find it for you if you need it), and he said that he had been hired specifically to begin to roll out infant circumcision—to get the programs in place, to begin to incorporate them into the prenatal and postnatal programming of the various countries in East Africa (where circumcision is fairly uncommon except in parts of Kenya).

So, yeah, I mean this infant circumcision thing is really starting to be pushed [as policy], and they're starting to create the programs that are going to be at the forefront of this effort. I think what's really happened is that they've found that it's very difficult to circumcise adult men; it's going to be very hard to convince the majority of adult men to be circumcised. Yeah, they may be doing hundreds of thousands of [adult circumcisions per] year [in Africa], but we're talking about tens of millions of men [whom they want to target], so [with] a hundred thousand every year, you're just not going to get [where you want if you're in the pro-circumcision lobby]; you're going to have to be doing a lot more than that, and so I think what they've decided—and [what they use as] one of their selling points—is that infant circumcision is the way to go if you're really going to cover vast numbers of people.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

I think one of the most remarkable and disturbing things to me about this—I mean, we'll get into some of the flaws with the randomized controlled trials in a little bit here, but just [for] this move from the RCTs to infant circumcision, there is no evidence [of which] I'm aware—direct evidence—that circumcising infants reduces HIV anywhere.

In fact, we have quite a bit of evidence to the contrary if you look on a population basis; if I'm not mistaken, the UNAIDS report from 2009 looked at 18 countries, and [in] a majority of those countries, the inverse was true! The cultures in which infant circumcision [is] a norm (or a more normative practice) tended to have higher rates of HIV, which would tend to suggest that as a public health measure, [circumcision is] a complete failure.

So, not only do we not have any direct evidence that infant circumcision prevents the acquisition of HIV later in life, [but also] we have quite a bit of evidence to the contrary!

I mean, it's just—

David Wilton

Right. Right. Yeah.

If you start from their [pro-circumcision] perspective, what they are saying is that if we circumcise these infants, [then] by the time they get to the point of sexual debut, they will already be prepared without any other interventions; [men who were circumcised as babies will] already have that protective… whatever it is… in place.

[However], the fact of the matter is [that] between the time a child is born and the time a child enters the age of sexual debut [is] a lot of time to acculturate and teach and educate and kind of prepare [boys] (and girls as well) to avoid HIV. I mean, it's not like circumcision at that age will sort of obviate the need to do the education part of it.

But, [I think the pro-circumcision lobby has] this idea that with very high rates of HIV—let's say anything over 6% is considered epidemic levels—that [genital surgery is going to be more effective than education]. At the same time, if you're talking about trying to bring down those levels to “First World” levels, then you're right: Circumcising a person as an infant doesn't have any kind of—there's no evidence to prove or to show or to support doing it at that age.

I think a more sort of apples-to-apples comparison would be the United States [compared] to Europe: [In Europe], the rate of circumcision is quite low and so is the rate of HIV. [In comparison], [in] the United States, we have the highest rate of circumcision and (comparatively) we have higher rates of HIV.

[Looking] at Africa, take a country like Malawi or Zimbabwe versus some other country that has higher rates of circumcision like South Africa, and I think you'll find that in those countries you've got lower rates of HIV among the intact than you do [among] the circumcised.

[However], I don't want to sort of overstate the case [or] sort of confuse the issue, because this is a very complicated area. I'm not entirely clear in my own mind exactly where the evidence is and exactly what the justifications of circumcising infants versus adults are (except for just the shear ability [to force it on infants] versus not being able to do it as [widely] among adults). There [are] a lot of issues that [do] need to be explored and studied and [considered].

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Yeah. To my eyes, and to anybody who is sensitive to the history of circumcision in the United States, this just seems like another sort of rationalization for continuing what really is a cultural practice more than anything else.

David Wilton

I totally agree, [but] I think we can't discount the role of money.

I mean, this is all about programming! This is all about going into a community and trying to provide them something they allegedly don't have—a level of healthcare, a level of attention to a particular disease. There's lots of grant money available for [such “services”], and if you're trying to work on microbicides [to thwart HIV, you're just not going to get the money as easily].

For example, in a study, they were giving girls money to delay sexual activity, and testing that approach to see whether or not it [could reduce] the rates of HIV. [Well], that actually worked! They had a study [where] they actually gave girls money [to turn down] sex until a certain age, and they showed that [it] reduced the rates of HIV.

Is that something that's really going to get a lot of grant money to implement? I mean, it seems like kind of a welfare approach to HIV reduction, and it's something that doesn't seem to me would appeal much to the powers that grant these kinds of large chunks of money [to implement prevention]; it's not as sexy [as surgery]; there's just something about it that's not quite as exciting as giving money to mobile circumcision units that are going to roll into a community and throw parties and encourage boys to come in to be circumcised.

So, I think we can't discount also the role of money.

[Also], to say we're going to implement an infant circumcision program, and we're going to cover 90% of all baby boys born [is a notion that leads to dubious metrics for success]: You can't measure [such a program's impact on] HIV until 15 [or] 20 years later when [the boys] become sexually active, so the measurement or metric becomes:

[The number of] circumcisions performed

[rather than the actual intended outcome]:

The [number of] cases [of HIV] prevented.

So, there's a lot of stuff going on [here]; this is a very complex [subject].

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

What are some of the problems that people have pointed out with the way that this data was collected? I've heard many people (Ryan McAllister, among others) look at the methodology of the randomized controlled trials and they've offered a number of criticisms. What are some of the central criticisms of these studies and their conclusions?

David Wilton

Well, some we've mentioned.

  • One was loss to follow up: I don't think they took adequate account of the loss to follow up to be able to determine whether their numbers are solid or not.

  • Another is selection bias: All of these men who participated in these trials were of a mind that they wanted to be circumcised at some [point], and they all went into it with the promise that at the end of the trial that they could be circumcised if they wanted to be.

  • There was 6 weeks [worth] of [unaccounted] healing time: [This] gave the intact group a head start in terms of the actual amount of time that they could be exposed to HIV.

  • There was researcher bias that was often talked about: Researchers have interpreted the data in such a way as to support their hypothesis.

These are some of the big ones. [Again, see this analysis and this analysis and this discussion.]

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

There was also some follow up, and if I'm not mistaken, one of the things they found was that the partners of the men who had participated in these studies had higher rates of HIV after the circumcision. I think that some of the researchers chalked this up to “Oh, well, they had sex before their wounds had healed” or something like this, but that's also a very troubling trend.

David Wilton

Right, and that's the other thing I was thinking that kind of went out of my mind. I think that was unaccounted for and it was kind of glossed over as being not that important, but I think what a lot of critics [pointed out] was an indication that some of these infections were not [sexually transmitted]; they weren't related to sexual activity. In fact, they were [possibly] related to surgical and other types of medical intervention like getting shots and whatnot—iatrogenic infections that [were the unintended result of some] medical treatment.

So, as I understand it (again, [we're] dealing with so many numbers in these studies and in subsequent studies, it's hard to keep them all straight), there were a number of individuals who seroconverted in both groups [but] reported no sexual activity, [and yet] they were included [in the results]. So, it's kind of like that implicates one of 2 things: One, it implicates that [circumcision] does not account for all of [the] infections, or what [the participants] were reporting is not reliable. So, [there are] a lot of questions there, [and] I think that probably accounts for what you're talking about, where the partners were infected more frequently after the circumcisions or there were more infections after the circumcisions among partners than there were prior.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

It seems clear to me that you're taking this practice [of circumcision] into a culture, you're not fully educating them—I know that the people who were involved in these trials supposedly got safe sex education, but the folk wisdom around [circumcision] now is that if you're circumcised, you don't need to wear a condom when you're having sex, [which] is extremely dangerous and very much counterproductive [with respect to] the other efforts to educate [people] about safe sex and that sort of thing.

David Wilton

Absolutely. I agree.

I think it's kind of like you've got a message with nuance: Circumcision is protective, BUT it is not 100% protective, and you still have to take measures to protect yourself. That's a message with a very fine nuance to it; I mean, how do you tell people who are not that well educated—who do not have access to the kinds of information flows that we have here in the West—that [they] are to undergo this surgery that is going to change [their] sexual experience, that is going to be painful in its own right, and yet [they] still [must] where condoms! You're not fully protected! I mean, anyone who submits to circumcision who is convinced to do it as an adult is going to have to really believe in [the vast protective properties] of this procedure, and [he is] going to really have to have some kind of emotional investment in going under the knife.

That, to me, seems to be something that would just obliterate all nuance in the message that [circumcision] is not a 100% preventative measure. I think we've got a lot of anecdotal evidence now coming out of Africa—we've seen a number of reports where men have said:

Well, I'm circumcised. I don't have to wear a condom!

You know, even if they say “I'm circumcised, and I don't have to wear a condom as often”, we've still got an issue! You're right, it very much could counteract any of the other messages put out there that [say]:

  • You [must] wear a condom every time.
  • You've got to be faithful to [your partner].
  • Know the status of [your partner].

and all of these other messages that [people have been] putting out there. Circumcision really complicates [those messages].

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

It occurs to me also that a big part of what's going on now with this push to circumcise African men—and babies now—is a symptom of a kind of desperation around the AIDS epidemic; we thought we'd have a vaccine by now; we thought we'd have the magic bullet by now, and we just don't, and maybe I'm optimistic, but I think that in my lifetime we will have something like that, and I wonder how we'll be looking back at this push [for widespread destructive genital surgery] in light of an actual vaccine. What do you think about that?

David Wilton

Well, a couple of things: One, in 2003 (when these studies were getting rolling), I think that there was a lot of frustration in the research community about vaccines and prevention, and the programming that they already had going didn't seem to be working as effectively as they thought it would; there [developed] this idea that any prevention technology that could come along in combination with other prevention technologies would achieve this goal of getting [HIV] into kind of an endemic stage—that is to say, where it's stable, [and] not growing.

As time has gone on since 2006 (we're 5 years later), the whole scene has become much more optimistic; we've actually [cured somebody]—we've had a guy in Germany who was cured through a bone marrow transplant. Now, that's not something that can be rolled out to everybody, but it is a kind of an idea that possibily could lead to other therapies. We've had this real push to find antibodies that are very effective against HIV that's had a lot of promising developments in the last 2-to-3 years.

I mean, we've had a lot of stuff happen in those 5 years, and I think now what we have is a situation coming up where circumcision in fact could be something that maybe is not as attractive to the [funding] donors. [Unfortunately], the result from that has been these same researchers coming up with papers based on the same data that say that HPV is reduced among the circumcised—you have lower rates of other types of STDs, and all these other things. I think that as you look at the data out there, as you look at the literature, you're seeing that these [pro-circumcision] researchers are starting to compensate for these positive developments in the HIV research community, [in order] to try to bolster circumcision as being still relevant.

We saw a lot of that in Rome; we saw a lot of studies showing that men [are] less vulnerable to certain STDs—and on top of that, [these men who were circumcised are portrayed as being] more satisfied with their sex [lives], and [their] women liked it more, and we had all these things that [don't] seem to be really related to HIV, but were being presented [nonetheless].

[So], what you're talking about in terms of a desperation, I think that was very much the case 5 years ago, [but] I think that's less the case today, and it's kind of what we were all sort of saying when these studies came out: You may think this is a good idea now, but in a few years—call it a decade—we may have a vaccine, and then what? All of these men have been circumcised, and now it has become part of the culture, and now it's a sponge for resources because men think of it as essential (if you believe the studies) even when at that point it may not be essential any longer.

Yeah, I agree in some respect, but I think the landscape is changing—I think it's changing fairly rapidly.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Just a final point on this: It's so interesting to me that there isn't a single one of these researchers who would ever talk about the loss of sexual function as a side effect—it's just not even on their radar, and that to me is also ethically problematic; I mean, you get into issues of informed consent here, because you're pushing this on [an] adult population and there's just no mention whatsoever of the sexual function effects of circumcision.

David Wilton

Right, and well, I wouldn't quite agree to say it's not on their radar; I think they've in some sense gone out of their way to show or to argue that [circumcision] has no sexual effect; [I recall] there have been a number of papers published by these same researchers, saying that sexual function is not affected and that satisfaction levels [after circumcision] have [actually] gone up!

[However], these papers typically do not talk in any way, shape, or form about the function of the foreskin; they just talk about [subjective satisfaction] before and after [circumcision], and so they don't say “The gliding mechanism of the foreskin during intercourse is somehow compensated for by the provision of lubricants”, or something like that. [Also, nobody mentions that because circumcision alters a man's sensory input, it also alters the way he performs the sex act, such that he naturally makes less contact with a woman's clitoris and tends to dry out her vagina, thereby reducing her pleasure.]

Actually, we talked to some people in Rome [who said they are telling men that] “If you come in to be circumcised, we'll provide you with unlimited amounts of lubricants”. There was a woman [in Rome] who was in charge of a program [where] that was actually one of their selling points: We will provide you with unlimited amounts of lubricants. [I mean], this is unbelievable!

I think you're right that the function of the foreskin is not even on their radar; they don't understand it—they're not really even interested in it. [However], I do think they are sensitive to the argument that [circumcision] does change the way that [a person] experiences sex, and they've gone out of their way in taking great pains to [state] that “No. [Sex] is even better after you've been circumcised!”

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Right. The satisfaction number that they publish: 87%—I mean, some crazy, completely implausible numbers about sexual satisfaction. I mean, there are 2 problems I see here:

  1. All of this sort of sexual satisfaction data that I've read is very fuzzy; what is sexual satisfaction? How does a person know [whether he is more] sexually satisfied before or after [circumcision]? The person is actually going to go through [with having] surgery; how reliable is [his] testimony on [his] sexual satisfaction or the function?

    I recently had a conversation with Glenn Callender in Vancouver, [Canada], and he was telling me that [even] as an intact guy, it wasn't until he became really aware of his foreskin that he could even appreciate what it was contributing to his sex life and to his sexual satisfaction. So, all of these [things] combine into a sort of very unreliable soup of supposed data.

  2. I take your point that [these researchers] see it as part of their rhetorical function to demonstrate in some way “scientifically” that there's no detriment to sexual experience, but in a very loose and non-scientific way—to my eyes, in any event.

David Wilton

I agree.

I can't really think of a more subjective area of human experience than the perception of one's sexual satisfaction. The shear variety of sexual tastes and acts ([about which you may] readily [read] if you were to google any of it) is an indication that [sexuality and sexual satisfaction and sexual tastes are] such a difficult things to measure. Because of that [fact], I [only] feel comfortable saying that an adult [should choose for himself whether or not to undergo destructive genital surgery].

I mean, you know, it's not the case that Intactivists or that I personally believe that circumcision has got this inherent evil to it; you know, it's not that! [Rather], it's that [something like circumcision should be] an individual's choice, an individual's decision. To complicate [that choice] with these claims that [circumcision] is going to protect you from HIV is just wrong! It's being dishonest!

You know, the satisfaction studies that they've done—and of course, the Intactivists can point to other studies that have been done that support our side as well—I mean, frankly, both sets of studies are what they are, and that is the measurement of a given group of people who participated in that study, and it's like a lot of the studies having to do with circumcision and disease and whatnot: There are studies that support both sides, and it's because the researchers are individuals, and they bring researcher bias into this very difficult, complex, highly nuanced area of human experience.

So, I just don't think that it's a good thing to make absolute claims about a person's satisfaction [after or even before] circumcision; I think that's just hard to make that into a science [or] to give it any kind of solid metric.

I think the real issue here for me is that to circumcise infants is essentially to rob them of their basic human right to make this decision for themselves.

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

So, switching gears a bit: Can you share with our audience a little bit of a blow by blow [account] of what happened this summer in San Francisco? This was a very eventful summer here for this city and for Intactivism in general.

David Wilton

Yeah. Well, this summer, we had a ballot measure added to the city ballot, [which] was applicable only to the city of San Francisco. It was a proposition to make circumcision of infants a misdemeanor, and I believe I got the numbers right: [Performing circumcision on a completely healthy minor would be] punishable by a $1000 fine and six months in county jail, and it had one exception: Medical need. It had no exception for religion.

Several different individuals here in town, namely Rick Carillo, Lloyd Schofield (who was the [principal] proponent), and a few others were involved in getting this thing organized, collecting and submitting [the required] signatures [of the citizenry], and complying with all of the different rules and regulations that apply to putting something on the ballot. They collected signatures all through the spring, submitted the ballot measure in (I believe) May or June, and it was accepted a week or so later; they had 12 500-odd signatures, of which [the government] verified 7500 [and of which the government only required] 7100 (something like that).

So, the [proposition] was put on the ballot, and then very shortly [thereafter], we had all kinds of backlash in the media and elsewhere. A coalition of Jewish groups and medical groups here in the city got together and eventually filed suit to remove it from the ballot based on business and professions [legal] code, section 460, subsection B, which is a statute that essentially preempts any regulation of the so-called “healing arts”, which includes the practice of medicine, of which [circumcision] was considered a part. Ultimately, that lawsuit ended up being decided in late July against the proponents, so that the ballot measure was removed from the ballot, and [that decision] was based solely on 460B of the business and professions code. It wasn't based on any of the religious objections, which were all part of the petition. That's kind of how it went down.

There's a whole bunch of [nuanced] detail that [I would be] happy to go into—

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Yeah. Let's do it—

David Wilton

Of course, I have my opinion of whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.

When I first heard about this [ballot initiative], I was initially approached to be the proponent, and I felt like I couldn't do it; it had to be someone living within the city and county of San Francisco; I felt like I couldn't be the proponent at the time—not because I had any objection to going this legislative route, but because I felt like for me to be the proponent would put me at odds with a lot of people [with whom] I work—and not just Jewish colleagues, but others as well. My fear was that this could have a real detrimental effect in undermining my business, a very selfish reason why I decided I didn't want to be the proponent, but one I felt like I had to [accept] to protect my income—my livelihood.

So, they got Lloyd Schofield to be involved, and he lives here [in San Francisco]; he's retired, so [he] doesn't have that issue—the issue that I had. He stepped up right away: “Fine! I'll do it!” So, he and Rick got together (and Jonathon Conte, I believe, was also involved) in collecting some of these signatures; they consulted somewhat with Matthew Hess of mgmbill.org (down in San Diego), although I don't think Matthew was that involved in terms of the day-to-day collecting of signatures and whatnot.

At that time, you know, I guess I didn't think about it very deeply, because at the time I thought “Well, OK, let's see what happens.” So, they get this thing on the ballot, we had this backlash, and [then] I began to have some doubts; I began to think this could have a lot of [negative] impact on the work that we [Intactivists] have been doing for years, in that it could bring a lot of kind of negative feeling down on us, and it was right about the time when I was sort of mulling this over—not in a [really] serious way, but just thinking about it—that [the second edition of Matthew Hess's comic], Foreskin Man, happend upon the scene.

[At the time, this] latest issue of Foreskin Man was about Monster Mohel and all of that, and we started getting all of this press about how this was a very anti-Semitic move and [thus all] the people involved [must be] anti-Semitic, and all these things. There was even a rabbi—I think he's from back east somewhere—who somehow decided that I was deeply involved in this and was linking to my website and saying “See, here he is! He's part of this as well!” and I tried to engage him a little bit online, [but] he wouldn't really engage with me; I was shocked, because I really wasn't part of this—no more than just being in town and encouraging [the ballot initiative] and everything else, but my name [had] never really [come] up, [and yet] all of a sudden, I was sort of a minor target in all of this. I was just thinking: Wow, this is something that could really do a lot of damage to us.

[However], somewhere in Rome (when I was there at the International AIDS Conference), I was talking to some of the people [with whom] I was [working], [and] I began to think:

You know, we've been stuck at [a] 60% circumcision rate in [the United States] since the 1990s; maybe [even negative publicity] isn't such a bad thing:

  • It's getting a lot of press.
  • We're on the nightly news.
  • It's getting into major newspapers.

I mean, people are [finally] talking about this [issue]. This is really an important development; it has become a national issue, whereas before, it was a very kind of “local” or “personal” issue, and it was an issue that wasn't getting so much attention in the national press.

Then, when the lawsuit happened; our side was completely unprepared, and the result was that—

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Did you just not see it coming?

David Wilton

You know, this is very touchy, because there are a lot of feelings involved with some of the participants, and I want to say that this is my belief—this is my thought: The people who were really behind this [ballot initiative] (who were really doing the footwork and the legwork, who deserve lots of credit for the courage and the financial investment and the time investment) did not think this through; they didn't consult anybody other than themselves, which is not uncommon in the Intactivist Movement.

I think a lot of [Intactivists] do their own thing—and that's laudatory; I think it's the only way that a lot of this work would have ever gotten done (people were just [individually] willing to do it). That's how they approached this ballot measure: What they [and I] didn't foresee is that when you start trying to make illegal something as touchy as [circumcision], there is going to be an inevitable backlash, and that backlash often translates into litigation, and we didn't have anybody lined up [for our legal defense]; we had no attorneys on board—it was one guy consulting up in the North Bay, who is an attorney who [already] had a full-time job working for the state (a super smart guy, very intelligent, very engaged, lots of good advice), but [he] couldn't put his name on anything.

We had a situation where there was no time to respond. [In comparison], the law firm [of our opponents] was Morrison Foerster, an international law firm that was doing this pro-bono and had a partner involved in writing up the petition and filing it. They had a full-time associate working on it.

What did we have? We had a bunch of part-timers who weren't even really involved, and no one wanted to put [his or her] name on anything because [we] were all afraid—including myself! Ultimately, I did put my name on an amicus bief that I signed and filed for DOC (Doctors Opposing Circumcision), but the fact of the matter is that we just were not prepared for the backlash, ultimately.

You know, whenever we bring this [up]—whenever I have brought it up—with people [who have] a vested interest in it, it's a very difficult, touchy issue, because when you put your ass on the line and you expose yourself to not just abuse, but real threats—I mean, Lloyd had people coming to his house, knocking on his door—it's hard to take [the] criticism [that] “Well, we [should] have done this differently.”

The real question that I was asking was what are the lessons? This happened. Fine. What are the lessons for the next time we try to go this route or we try to do something else? An idea that I thought was interesting: How about just a referendum on the issue?

Do you believe [cutting children's genitalia] is a good or a bad thing?

In California, we can put these things on the ballot; they often do for things like the [wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]. “We as a city don't support this or do support this.” Berkeley has had this [sort of thing] on their ballot; why couldn't we do this for circumcision? [With such an approach], no one's ox is gored, so to speak; no one's [supposed] rights are infringed; no one is told what [he or she] can or cannot do. It's just a way of getting media attention, which is really initially what we were all thinking: “[The ballot measure] is not going to pass, but we're going to get people talking about this issue.”

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

You know, a lot of this centered around Foreskin Man

David Wilton


Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

What's your take from that whole thing?

David Wilton

Well, on the one hand, [one obviously thinks] “What horrible timing!”, and on the other hand, I mean, how sort of tone deaf can you be [to publish something like that?] In my heart, I don't believe Matthew is any kind of anti-Semite; I think he is genuinely an arch enemy of any advocate of circumcision—it doesn't matter whether it's from a Jewish perspective or just a plain old redneck American perspective (which is kind of my background).

The fact of the matter is he should have known better; I mean, what can you say about it? The first [installment of Foreskin Man] is about the medical profession [involving "Doctor Mutilator"], the second one is about mohels, [and] the third one is about [African] tribal circumcision [(including female circumcision)]. I mean, yeah, OK, but there are levels and layers of sensitivity about this practice in different contexts, and you just have to be sensitive to it.

You know, all of [us have the] objective to reduce the level of circumcision in society—to try to reduce this act on unconsenting babies. If that is our objective, then we ought to be very careful about how we approach it, and we shouldn't have any kind of sort of rigid agenda [to go] after all people equally.

You know, there was a big, almost angry kind of discussion about whether there should have been a religious exemption in the ballot measure. My view is why not? There were a number of people who said:

Religious exemption is out of the question, because it wouldn't work; everyone [must] be protected, or no one is protected.

If the equal protection argument is going to work, then it's got to be applied to everyone; you can't say you've got to have equal protec

          ÄGH không thể thay đổi giáo huấn của Giáo Hội về vấn đề ngừa thai.        

ĐGH không thể thay đổi giáo huấn của Giáo Hội về vấn đề ngừa thai.

(EWTN News/CNA) Trong cuộc phỏng vấn dành cho đài BBC vừa qua, bà Gates nói rằng bà rất “lạc quan” là Giáo Hội Công Giáo sẽ thay đổi giáo huấn về việc ngừa thai để có thể giúp đỡ các phụ nữ tại các nước đang phát triển.

Gates đã nói rằng “Chúng tôi làm việc rất sát với Giáo Hội Công Giáo và chúng tôi đã có nhiều cuộc bàn thảo bởi vì chúng tôi cùng có chung một lý tưởng về công bình xã hội và chống nghèo đói. “

“Và tôi nghĩ rằng Đức Giáo Hoàng này cũng muốn giúp người ta thoát khỏi cảnh nghèo đói, giúp những việc có thể làm được cho phụ nữ” ngay cả “chúng tôi đã đồng ý với nhau là vào thời điểm này vẫn có những bất đồng“ về vấn đề ngừa thai.

Sở dĩ bà Gates đã phát biểu như trên vì hội từ thiện của bà là Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation đang tổ chức một cuộc họp quốc tế cao cấp ở London về vấn đề ngừa thai tại các nước đang phát triển. Bà hy vọng là Giáo Hội sẽ xem xét lại và có thể thay đổi giáo huấn về vấn đề ngừa thai theo thời gian.

Nhưng John Grabowski, một Giáo Sư thần học luân lý và đạo đức của Đại Học Công Giáo, Catholic University of American, nói rằng không thể có sự thay đổi được.

Ông nói với CNA rằng “Giáo huấn chống lại việc ngừa thai không phải là giáo huấn mới đây, không phải là điều được đặt ra bởi ĐGH Phaolô VI vào năm 1968”

Vào năm 1968, ĐGH Phaolô VI đã viết tông huấn Humanae Vitae (Sự Sống Con Người), nhắc bảo “quy định về sinh sản” theo giáo huấn của Giáo Hội áp dụng cho thế giới hiện đại về kế hoạch hóa gia đình và ngừa thai

Giáo huấn này cũng được khẳng định trong sách Giáo Lý của Giáo Hội Công Giáo ở điều 2370 rằng sự ngừa thai ám chỉ “không dâng hiến trọn vẹn cho nhau. Điều này dẫn đến không những có sự từ chối quyết liệt đón nhận sự sống mà còn có sự giả tạo tính chất của tình yêu vợ chồng đích thực, một tình yêu đòi hỏi sự hiến thân trọn vẹn cho nhau…Sự khác biệt nhân học và luân lý giữa việc chống thụ thai, và việc vào dựa vào những chu kỳ không thụ thai..nói lên hai quan niệm về con người và về tính dục con người hoàn toàn khác nhau.”

Giáo sư Grabowski nói rằng “Thập niên 1960 không phải là thời kỳ đầu tiên cũng chẳng phải là thời kỳ duy nhất Giáo Hội xác định rằng hành động tính dục trong hôn nhân mang một ý nghĩa sinh sản và kết hợp không thể tách rời.

“Giáo huấn này đã có ngay từ thuở ban đầu của Giáo Hội, vì thế Giáo Hội (kể cả ĐGH Phanxicô) không thể thay đổi giáo huấn mang tính liên tục,phổ quát, và thẩm quyền này được.” 

Hơn nữa “Không thấy có một dấu hiệu nào nơi ĐGH Phanxicô là ngài muốn thay đổi. Trong khi đó ĐGH đã hoàn toàn khẳng định giáo huấn của Giáo Hội trong lãnh vực này.”

Trong tông huấn Amoris Laetitia (Niềm Vui Tình Yêu) ĐGH Phanxicô đã nói rất rõ ràng về quan điểm của ngài “Ngay từ đầu, tình yêu không chấp nhận bất cứ động lá»±c nào làm nó khép kín. Tình yêu mở rộng đón nhận hoa trái có sức làm cho tình yêu thêm phong phú. Vì thế không một hành vi giao hợp vợ chồng nào có thể khước từ ý nghÄ©a này, cho dù, vì nhiều ly do khác nhau, có thể không luôn luôn thá»±c sá»± sinh ra một sá»± sống mới.” 

Một trong các vị tiền nhiệm là ĐGH Gioan Phaolô II cũng dậy rằng ngừa thai không chỉ là vi phạm luật tự nhiên, nhưng khước từ giáo huấn về tình dục và hôn nhân đã được mạc khải cho con người qua Kinh Thánh. Đây là một sự thật đã được ủy thác cho Giáo Hội vì thế Giáo Hội không có quyền để thay đổi.

Hơn thế nữa các dữ kiện khoa học không có sực thuyết phục rằng ngừa thai là điều đúng với phụ nữ như bà Gates đã tuyên bố. Thật ra ngừa thai có hại cho sức khỏe của phụ nữ, ngay cả chỉ cần số lượng nhỏ thuốc uống như Class 1 carcinogen chẳng hạn, có nguy cơ gây trụy tim, đột quỵ, khó thở… thế thì bảo ngừa thai tốt cho phụ nữ ở chỗ nào?

Chúng ta đang sống trong một nền văn hóa cổ vũ cho việc ngừa thai. Nhưng thay vì ngừa thai, Giáo Hội đưa ra nhiều phương pháp như biết rõ chu kỳ thụ thai, kế hoạch hóa gia đình theo cách tự nhiên. Những phương pháp này được áp dụng rộng rãi tại các nước đang phát triển và dĩ nhiên Giáo Hội luôn giúp đỡ những ai muốn tuân theo giáo huấn của Giáo Hội.

Giuse Thẩm Nguyễn(VCN)

          Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Continues Its Advocacies to Save the World        

Everyone knows how ideal the advocacies and visions of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It primarily aims to harness advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries. And with all its campaigns and programs to promote health and combat poverty, it continues to soar high. Thanks to its initiatives and interventions [...]

The post Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Continues Its Advocacies to Save the World appeared first on Rehab Center Near Me.

          â€˜CLIMATE OF HOPE’ by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope        


Reviews for this book:

“In their new book, Climate of Hope, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope provide readers with a wonderful, in-depth analysis of how municipalities, businesses and private citizens are proving to be a bold force in solving the greatest challenge of our time?the climate crisis. This book gives readers the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of two highly successful individuals who have taken distinct paths to ensuring that their own communities and organizations have a tangible impact in securing our sustainable future. Climate of Hope is an inspiring must-read for anyone who wants to know how their local actions can have positive and significant impacts on the world.” ?Former Vice President Al Gore, Chairman of The Climate Reality Project

“If Trump is looking for a blueprint, he could not do better than to read a smart new book, Climate of Hope.” ?Thomas Friedman in The New York Times

“Meeting our world’s growing energy demands will require contributions from science, business and government. As Climate of Hope shows, Michael Bloomberg has a unique understanding of the importance of this collaborative approach. Michael’s leadership and optimism remind us that by working together, we can develop breakthrough innovations to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of clean energy technology.” ?Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Climate change threatens to reshape the future of our world’s population centers. Bloomberg and Pope have been leaders on fortifying our cities against this threat, and their book proves that victory is possible?and imperative.” ?Leonardo DiCaprio

“Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, in their new book, Climate of Hope, make a powerful argument that we need a new conversation to ensure we save the planet from global warming. It is a necessary look at the threat and an urgent call for all of us to act immediately at the local level. They bring knowledge, experience and passion to a subject that demands our attention.” ?Charlie Rose, anchor and executive editor of Charlie Rose, co-anchor of CBS This Morning, and correspondent on 60 Minutes

“A book that glows with the optimism of levelheaded reason. Keenly attuned to political realities, Climate of Hope bypasses the fraught debates over long-term climate change, focusing instead on the immediate consequences of pollution.” ?New York Magazine

“A hopeful book of strategies for delivering the planet from our worst environmental depredations. …a thoughtful, eminently reasonable set of proposals.” ?Kirkus

“Upbeat, pragmatic, eloquent, and supremely well-informed, Bloomberg and Pope present striking statistics, cogently describe diverse examples of energy reforms and innovations across the U.S. and around the world, and make clear on both personal and social levels why a low-carbon future is possible, necessary, and of great benefit to everyone.” ?Booklist (starred)

          CDC Promotes Mass Sterilization of Blacks via Anti-Fertility HPV Vaccines        
In late 2014, I noticed that there were a tremendous amount of ads on public transit in Atlanta encouraging people to vaccinate their kids with HPV vaccines. I ride public transit and the public transit system in Atlanta has a 70 to 80 percent Black ridership so obviously these ads were designed to target Blacks in the city.  Here is a picture of this CDC-funded advertising campaign.

What the CDC did not disclose in these ads is that HPV vaccines are very dangerous, genetically engineered, anti-fertility vaccines being given to Black and Brown people all throughout the world to sterilize and kill them off for eugenics/population control purposes. Here is why I state the purposes of these vaccines is eugenics and not public health.
1. HPV vaccines do not prevent cervical cancer but actually cause the disease.
2. Cervical/anal cancer is extremely rare and usually doesn't result in fatality from the disease. If people do die, it is from chemo/radiation not the cancer itself
3. Cervical cancer usually occurs in women in the 60s so why is the CDC promoting a vaccine to young girls for a disease that they get when they are 60?
4. As documented in my previous article, HPV vaccines sterilize boys and suppress their ability to produce testosterone which means no testesterone, no sperm!
4. HPV vaccines contain additives which cause infertility and spontaneous abortions.
5. Girls, unlike older women, have the ability to be fertile so if you wanted to sterilize women particularly Black women, it is best to do it when they are young.

6. HPV vaccines have killed close to 47 girls already. Al Jazeera in 2011 documented how a clinical trial was done on young girls in India and how several of them died after receiving the vaccine. The vaccine trial was sponsored by the Bill Gates Foundation. The Indian government has condemned the foundation for their involvement in this barbaric, obvious population control effort.
7. Bill Gates is a population control eugenicist who openly stated that he wanted to use vaccines to kill off the world's population. His foundation is currently spending billions on providing HPV vaccines to Black and Brown people all throughout the world for eugenics purposes.
8. There have been numerous anti-fertility vaccines which have been intentionally released in places like Kenya where 2 million people were sterilized. Anti-fertility vaccines have existed and been used since the 1970s.
9. I have documented in an hour long radio show that HPV vaccines are in fact, eugenics vaccines used for population control.
10. HPV vaccines have recently been banned by the Japanese government for concerns that it causes infertility.

Based on the evidence above, the CDC's promotion of HPV vaccines has nothing to do with public health but with promoting eugenics or scientific racism which is still alive and well in America today. The eugenics movement started in America and later spread to Nazi Germany. Here in America, thousands of Blacks were forcibly sterilized or were intentionally killed through inhumane medical experimentation like the Tuskegee experiment which the CDC was involved with! In the late 90s, the CDC was involved in an experiment where Blacks babies in South Central were used as guinea pigs and then killed to test a deadly vaccine. Recently, in 2014, a CDC whistleblower documented how the agency deliberately withheld data which showed a 240 percent in autism in Black boys from the the MMR vaccine. As a result of this information being suppressed, 100,000 to 250,000 Black boys have autism who otherwise would not. The agency also promoted a tetanus shot which was given to Blacks in Kenya in 2014 and ended up sterilizing close to 2 million people! Now, the agency is promoting genetically modified, anti-fertility vaccines to Blacks? This is genocide, eugenics, and scientific racism at the high levels.

The fact that HPV vaccines are population control/eugenic vaccines make it even more scarier now that state governments are already started mandating them. Plus, the CDC wants to dramatically increase the vaccination compliance rate for these worthless, extremely toxic vaccines to 80 percent adherence by 2020. How will this be done? This will be done through HPV vaccine mandates throughout America which amounts to forcible sterilization!

Recently, I helped organize a rally in front of the CDC to protest the corruption within the agency and how they are working for Big Pharma to kill and maim our babies. Hundreds of people showed up at this rally. Later, we had a rally at Grant Park to bring attention to the dangers of vaccines, medical fascism, the allegations of the CDC whistleblower, and the corruption within the agency. The rally featured Barbara Lou Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center, Eric Gladen, Dr. Toni Bark, Ron Cummings of the Organic Consumers Association, Lynn Redwood, Marcella Piper Terry of www.vaxtruth.org, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, and Minister Tony Muhammed. It was an awesome rally and this rally is the start of a broad and multi-ethnic vaccine movement. You can learn more by visiting www.cdctruth.org. You can also donate to this movement by clicking here to further advance it.

          From God to Gay: DepEd Worships at the Altar of Gender Sensitivity        
In 2011, Pres. Aquino appointed twenty-eight individuals to the Department of Foreign Affairs, to represent NGOs at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

We are not here to discuss whether these individuals are accomplished in their particular field of expertise -- OF COURSE they are.  There is also a distinct pattern indicating why they were handpicked for these positions.

From the beginning, Aquino's administration has enacted policies that go directly against Christian/Catholic beliefs.  Aquino himself, however, cannot openly defy the Catholic Church, not when the main reason he was elected into power was because of the millions who loved his devout Catholic mom (subject to debate, but we'll go with that for now). The only way PNoy and his cohorts can continue to push for manufactured rights, without encountering opposition, is to remove God completely from the picture.

Let's take a few of those names and do a little background check, shall we?

John Silva was one of Aquino's appointees as UNESCO Commissioner for Education.  In 1992, John was Executive Director of the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Community HIV Project in San Francisco, and traveled worldwide to spread the condom gospel.  He has fond memories of US President Barack Obama's LGBT 2013 love speech, is an avowed atheist, and a collector of LGBT art. He is also a foodie and could have passed for a Pinoy Harry Potter when he was younger.  He is currently Executive Director of the Ortigas Foundation Library.  Silva is also a trustee at Synergeia Foundation, which self-describes as "a coalition of individuals, institutions, and organizations working to improve the quality of basic education".  In this capacity he works with DepEd directly.  He also trains people to write seeking grant funds from entities like the Gates Foundation.  Needless to say, his idea of excellent education reform necessarily entails "inclusion of the profundity of sex".

Dr. Milwida "Nene" M. Guevara, another PNoy appointee, was a Ford Foundation scholar, and the CEO of Synergeia Foundation. As a private sector organization whose main thrust is education reform, Synergeia receives funding not only from the MCC, but from other anti-life entities, including the UNFPA, the Ford Foundation, and the Zuellig Foundation.  There is no denying that Synergeia does good work in terms of education. The problem with this however, is that foreign funding usually means they also jump through hoops according to foreign funders' dictates.

Nene Guevara herself interviews future employees, as this blog post from an LGBT activist relates. Gotta make sure those ducks are all lined up!
But the written exam that followed it?! I was made to write an essay on Obama and a project proposal for a reading program in Tondo. First, I know nothing about Obama other than him being pro-LGBT and same sex marriage.

Last but not least, in April 2013, Aquino appointed Dina Joana Saltiva Ocampo-Cristobal as Acting Undersecretary of the Department of Education.  She also became Undersecretary of Programs and Projects.

Cristobal is a true blue academician who has spent her whole career working to improve Filipino children's access to good education.  However, she is also a true blue secularist, and a member of Filipinos for Secular Government (an offshoot of the Filipino Freethinkers, established 2009).  She is also a signatory of the University Faculty's Petition to Pass RH Bill, which means she is also pro-Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for young children, but no surprise there.  She is a product of UP after all, and a good friend of pro-abort Sylvia Claudio. Dina was also the lead person in creating the Enhanced Basic Education or K-12 Curriculum.  She believes in the educator's role as social agent.  Brother Armin Luistro, La Salle background and all, was dragging his feet, so Cristobal had to take the reins.
"We have international commitments and for me, importante 'yun." 
Wait a sec, didn't they tell us, once upon a time, that DepEd's curriculum is Filipino-designed and free from foreign influence?

Note the emphasis on inclusion and diversity.  Also note that RA 10533 was passed in January 2013. The "sales script" looks benign, as does this excerpt, so as not to raise alarm:
The DepED shall adhere to the following standards and principles in developing the enhanced basic education curriculum:

(a) The curriculum shall be learner-centered, inclusive and developmentally appropriate;
(b) The curriculum shall be relevant, responsive and research-based;(c) The curriculum shall be culture-sensitive;(d) The curriculum shall be contextualized and global;  
But contrast the September 2013 IRR which suddenly included GENDER:

The DepEd shall adhere to the following standards and principles, when appropriate, in developing the enhanced basic education curriculum:

(a) The curriculum shall be learner-centered, inclusive and developmentally appropriate;
(b) The curriculum shall be relevant, responsive and research-based;(c) The curriculum shall be gender- and culture-sensitive;(d) The curriculum shall be contextualized and global;
Not only that, with the RH Law declared constitutional in April 2014, CSE could go forward undeterred, since RA 10533 was passed the year before.  K-12 proponents, ignoring existing problems within the educational system, proceeded with plans made in conjunction with foreign funders, to implement all-out support for gender mainstreaming and so-called sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR). Changing the Department of Education's vision/mission statement was just the next logical step to continue with the secularization agenda.

Here's what's really pernicious.  As of this writing, the Department of Education has already begun implementation of K-12 even without the revised IRR ordered by the Supreme Court.  Stealth and deception being the name of the game, it is to DepEd's benefit that parents remain largely unaware of what is going on right under their noses.

The April 8 Supreme Court decision stated:

SEC. 14. Age- and Development-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education. – The State shall provide age- and development-appropriate reproductive health education to adolescents which shall be taught by adequately trained teachers informal and nonformal educational system and integrated in relevant subjects such as, but not limited to, values formation; knowledge and skills in self-protection against discrimination; sexual abuse and violence against women and children and other forms of gender based violence and teen pregnancy; physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents; women’s rights and children’s rights; responsible teenage behavior; gender and development; and responsible parenthood: Provided, That flexibility in the formulation and adoption of appropriate course content, scope and methodology in each educational level or group shall be allowed only after consultations with parents-teachers-community associations, school officials and other interest groups. The Department of Education (DepED) shall formulate a curriculum which shall be used by public schools and may be adopted by private schools. (emphasis mine)
And yet, to date and as far as we know, none of these consultations have occurred.

Moreover, Judge Mendoza's decision on the pro-lifers' petition seems to be moot as well:
At this point, suffice it to state that any attack on the validity of Section 14 of the RH Law is premature because the Department of Education, Culture and Sports has yet to formulate a curriculum on age-appropriate reproductive health education. One can only speculate on the content, manner and medium of instruction that will be used to educate the adolescents and whether they will contradict the religious beliefs of the petitioners and validate their apprehensions. Thus, considering the premature nature of this particular issue, the Court declines to rule on its constitutionality or validity.
The curriculum has been in place since December 2013 and DepEd has been rolling it out with impunity.  With the change in DepEd's vision/mission statement, the last domino has fallen.

See the following sample from the Araling Panlipunan component of the K-12 Curriculum, updated 2014 March 25.  Note that it now includes gender and sexuality, same sex marriage, reproductive health law, prostitution and abuse!  Does that sound like something a fifth-grader should learn about?
(click to enlarge)

The Health Curriculum is even worse.  Fluid concept of "gender" introduced IN FIFTH GRADE.

(click to enlarge)

Source: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8xBbYUc2V91c3YyYmdCakM4bUVZRjMtaFotVlBTUmo0WmJ3/edit


"Tapos we have to adhere to TESDA (Technical Education Skills and Development Authority) training regulation when it comes to content."

       The finalization and printing of the materials, on the other hand, got the support from the United Nations
       Population Fund (UNFPA) as part of the Youth Employment and Migration Program.

Source: http://www.tesda.gov.ph/News/Details/236

Where does that leave you, dear parents?

Understand this.  The reason that EDUCATION is one of the most important parts of the puzzle, if not THE most important part, is because children = INSURANCE.  They are the next generation who will continue the work that these social reformers have begun.

Until YOU take charge of your children's faith formation AND sex education, according to YOUR morals and YOUR personal beliefs, their ideas on sexuality, gender, morality and everything else will be shaped via the classes they attend.  What will your children be?  Insurance for the Culture of Death, or the Culture of Life?

          TBR Chancellor John Morgan Retiring        

Press release from the Tennessee Board of Regents, Jan. 7, 2016: John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, today announced his plan to retire at the end of the month. Morgan, who has served as chancellor of the state’s university and community college system since October 2010 and led the system’s transformation to become more comprehensive and student-focused, called the announcement bittersweet and said it was timed to acknowledge the accomplishments achieved by the system’s institutions over the past five years. “I have been honored to serve the state for many years, but my role with the Tennessee Board of Regents and this opportunity to work with the people who shape the next generation of our citizens and leaders has been the most rewarding of my life,” Morgan said. “Never before has higher education been more important to our state and our economy. The TBR institutions and the faculty and staff who serve them have embraced our efforts to focus everything we do through the lens of its impact on student success, and their work is recognized around the country. “We have scaled many innovations and practices to move the needle on success and completion across the system to efficiently and effectively meet the challenges of Drive to 55, and I am proud and honored to have led the army of individuals who have eagerly initiated and enacted those efforts.” His departure, he said, will allow Governor Haslam to actively engage in the selection of a new chancellor and to spend meaningful time with the new system leader while focused on new initiatives during his final term in office. Morgan has successfully guided the TBR system’s plans to address the demands of the Complete College Tennessee Act enacted by the General Assembly in early 2010. The law became the boldest attempt by any state in the country to focus the energies and resources of its public higher education enterprise on meeting the state’s economic development needs. One of the architects of the law, Morgan played a key role in crafting a clear vision of higher education improvement during his term as deputy to then-Governor Phil Bredesen, his role before being selected to lead the TBR. Over the past five years, Morgan’s primary focus has been on increasing post-secondary degree and certificate production and ultimately producing a better, more highly educated workforce. He created the system’s Completion Delivery Unit to help the system and its institutions focus their attention on those efforts. Since Morgan has been chancellor, the number of degrees awarded from the TBR’s six universities has risen about 3.6 percent, and the number of associate degrees and certificates awarded by community colleges has increased more than 40 percent. Together, credentials awarded rose almost 18 percent, placing TBR institutions well above the targeted goals for the state’s Drive to 55 campaign to increase the number of Tennesseans with a post-secondary credential. The TBR has also become nationally recognized for its ability to achieve collaboration to focus institution goals on meeting the state’s needs. Most recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the system a $2 million grant to support implementing system-wide efforts among all institutions to increase graduation rates. The TBR has also received more than $1 million from the Lumina Foundation to boost college degree completions. “With the Complete College Act and the Drive to 55 initiative, the state has been asking more of its higher education system than ever before, and John has guided the Tennessee Board of Regents system admirably since becoming chancellor in 2010,” said Governor Bill Haslam. “He’s served the state in a number of roles since 1976, including serving as deputy governor to Gov. Bredesen and 10 years as the state’s comptroller, and I am grateful to John for his service to Tennessee and wish him all the best.” Morgan was invited to participate in both of President Obama’s White House Summits on expanding college opportunity and has been asked to serve in leadership roles with a number of national higher education organizations. Morgan serves as vice chairman of the National Association of [Higher Education] System Heads, as an officer on the board of directors for Complete College America, and holds strategic roles with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, including membership on the President’s Council. He helped launch the national initiative Higher Education for Higher Standards, a multi-state coalition of higher education leaders in support of the common core state standards in K-12 education. He also serves on the boards of directors for the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and holds membership in the American Society of Public Administration. During his tenure, Morgan has led the successful searches for new presidents at five of the TBR universities and seven community colleges across the state. He has also recommended new leaders for 14 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. At 64, Morgan has spent nearly 40 years of service with the state in various roles. He was deputy to the Governor from January 2009 until he joined the TBR. Prior to that, he had served as Comptroller of the Treasury for the State of Tennessee. His public service career dates back to 1976 except for a brief stint in the late 1980s with Third National Bank. “We are deeply grateful for Chancellor Morgan’s leadership and distinguished service,” said TBR Vice Chair Emily Reynolds. “We will continue to encourage and make progress toward the system’s completion goals in support of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55. The Board will meet to consider an interim chancellor appointment very soon.” The Tennessee Board of Regents is among the nation’s largest higher education systems, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs across the state to nearly 200,000 students.

The post TBR Chancellor John Morgan Retiring appeared first on TNReport.

          Does Innovation amount to Impatient Optimism?        
The Gates Foundation is slowly growing into a powerful global force driving innovation around the world. Its health and developmental agendas have gradually be revised and realigned into a framework that increasingly blends improving the world with doing new things in order to be able to improve the world. Their motto, impatient optimism, seems to […]
          Effective Technology in Education Innovation        
Khan Academy, which began in 2004 as a small collection of youtube tutorials by Salman Khan, a graduate of MIT and Harvard, has become a library of free educational videos that has has earned the recognition and support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google. With over 3,000 mini lectures in 15 subjects, […]
          Former Amherst College Student Noah Isserman ’07 Receives Prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship        

March 6, 2008
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations


AMHERST, Mass.—Noah Isserman of Urbana, Ill., Amherst College Class of 2007, has been named a 2008 Gates Cambridge Scholar. Isserman numbers among just 45 students in the country and 100 students worldwide to receive the prestigious award, which will subsidize all of his expenses for a year of study toward a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Cambridge in England.

At Amherst, Isserman designed his own interdisciplinary course of study in cognitive neuroscience. He described his study of cognitive neuroscience as “focused on the neural and hormonal correlates of human decision-making when emotion or fairness are in conflict with economic optimality.” He will present the findings from his undergraduate thesis at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in San Francisco this April.

At Cambridge, Isserman plans to focus on geographical research, which will allow him “to study the massive and ongoing influx of money into socially or environmentally responsible investment vehicles.” Connecting his thesis work to his current interests, Isserman said: “While research into socially and environmentally responsible investment is in some ways an extension of that theme, the closest parallel is probably on a field level—both cognitive neuroscience and economic geography are extremely interdisciplinary in nature, and I find myself most excited in such necessarily collaborative and dynamic environments.” He will study at Gonville and Caius College with university lecturer Mia Gray. He also hopes to take a seminar with Lucasian Chair of Mathematics Stephen Hawking, who is a fellow at Caius.

“Noah is notable for his quick wit, his entrepreneurial spirit and the depth of his engagement with questions of social justice,” said Barry O’Connell, James E. Ostendarp Professor of English. “He can be wonderfully irreverent as well as insistent that at least this teacher engage his toughest questions. He will accomplish great things.” Isserman worked as a course co-leader for O’Connell’s seminar “Democracy and Education.”

While at Amherst, Isserman served as chairman and CEO of MAStorage, a student-run storage solution firm, which is unique among summer storage businesses in that it offers financial aid to college students for whom the cost of storage would otherwise be a significant burden. Isserman was also a co-founder and lead consultant of Occam Partners, a consulting firm for small businesses.

A graduate of the University Laboratory High School in Urbana, Ill., Isserman is the son of Andrew Isserman, Amherst Class of 1968, and Ellen Jacobsen-Isserman. At Amherst, he served as student body vice president as well as a class senator. In addition to playing on the varsity men’s soccer team, Isserman was elected to represent all Amherst’s varsity athletes to the NESCAC Student-Athlete Committee and was subsequently elected chair of the 11 college conference (e.g. Middlebury, Bowdoin, Williams). As chair, Isserman spearheaded an effort encourage student-athletes to support and take part in Habitat for Humanity builds.

 Isserman has been honored with several Amherst awards that have funded his efforts in social entrepreneurship, including a Roger E. Alcaly Public Service Fellowship to support an eight-student group that aided in Sri Lankan tsunami relief, a Tom Gerety Fellowship for Action and various research awards from the Dean of the Faculty to support research in cognitive neuroscience. He is the first Amherst College student to receive a Gates Scholarship.   

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship Program was created in 2000 when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a donation of $210 million to the University of Cambridge to establish the Gates Cambridge trust. In the first seven years of the program, 726 students from more than 75 countries have taken up their scholarships at Cambridge, including more than 300 graduates of more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities. The 256 Gates Scholars at Cambridge for 2007-08 come from 60 different countries.

Founded in 1821, Amherst is a highly selective, coeducational liberal arts college with approximately 1,600 students from most of the 50 states and more than 30 other countries. Considered one of the nation’s best educational institutions, Amherst awards the B. A. degree in 34 fields of study.


          Reducing global inequality: how can we achieve a fairer world?        

This event is part of the British Academy Debates on Inequalities

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 objectives which aim to transform the world for the better by 2030. Closely interlinked, these goals pledge to tackle a range of issues-from reducing inequality within and among countries to achieving gender equality. How do nations realise this vision of a shared future with equality and opportunities for all? We ask an expert panel to discuss their priorities and hopes for the years ahead.

Chaired by:
Eliza Anyangwe FRSA Freelance writer and moderator, founder of The Nzinga Effect

Professor Sonia Bhalotra Professor of Economics, University of Essex
Joe Cerrell Managing Director of Global Policy and Advocacy, Gates Foundation
Mark Goldring CEO, Oxfam Great Britain
Naana Otoo-Oyortey MBE Executive Director, Forward UK 
Dr Jan Vandemoortele Co-architect, UN Millennium Development Goals

Media partner:

How do nations realise this vision of a shared future with equality and opportunities for all? We ask an expert panel to discuss their priorities and hopes for the years ahead.How do nations realise this vision of a shared future with equality and opportunities for all? We ask an expert panel to discuss their priorities and hopes for the years ahead.Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 18:30 to 20:00The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AHBritish Academy DebatesInequalityDebateReducing global inequality: how can we achieve a fairer world?EconomicsSociology
          Water for Food conference features international experts        
Leading experts from around the world will explore the challenge of growing more food for a rapidly increasing population with limited water supplies at the second international Water for Food conference May 2-5. UNL faculty, staff and students are encouraged to register by April 1 to take advantage of the early registration discount.

The University of Nebraska and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are hosting the 2010 conference – Water for Food: Growing More with Less – at Lincoln's Cornhusker Marriott Hotel. more ...
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akisalimiana na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. Bill Gates aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo.
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akizungumza na Mwenyekiti wa  tasisi ya Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bw. ill Gates aliyemtembelea  Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akisalimiana na  Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo 
Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiwa katika mazungumzo na   Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea  Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017
 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe magufuli akiagana na  Kaimu Balozi wa  Marekani nchini Bi. Immi Patterson aliyemtembelea na kufanya mazungumzo naye Ikulu jijini Dar es salaam leo Agosti 10, 2017. PICHA NA IKULU

          The New York Times, December 1, 2015: Broad Effort Aims to Expand Financial Services to Low-Income Consumers        
"The Obama administration, teaming with private partners including the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase, announced initiatives on Tuesday to expand banking services to millions of Americans and others worldwide who lack essentials like checking or savings accounts and access to credit."
          rjsigmund: environmental and climate science news, week of June 19, 2017        
from rjsigmund, June 25, 2017

Elon Musk wants to link computers to our brains to prevent an existential threat to humanity -- Given Musk's ambitiousness, it's not totally surprising that he is also launching a company that will look into ways to link human brains to computers. Musk reportedly plans to spend 3-5% of his work time on Neuralink, which will develop technology to integrate brains and computers as a way to fix medical problems and eventually supercharge human cognition.  Existing brain-computer interfaces, which are relatively simple compared to Musk's goals, can connect to a few hundred brain cells at a time. Those are already helping the deaf hear, the blind see, and the paralyzed move robotic arms. Once researchers are able to understanding and connect interfaces to the 100 billion neurons in the brain, these linkages could essentially give people superpowers. That potential has clearly captured Musk's interest, but this new project also seems to stem from his concerns about super-intelligent artificial intelligence (AI).

Neurologists Discover Fully Intact 15th Century Brain in Ohio Congressman â€” Marveling at how well preserved the archaic opinions were, a team of archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution and neurologists from Johns Hopkins announced Thursday the discovery of a fully intact 15th-century belief system in Ohio congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH). “It’s just extraordinary to come across a perspective that dates back to the early to mid-1500s and shows absolutely no signs of decay,” said Dr. Claire Goedde, explaining that while it’s not uncommon to encounter partial remains of convictions from that era, it’s exceedingly rare to recover a specimen this pristine. “All the 600-year-old viewpoints remain almost completely untouched, from religion’s place in society to the rights of women to some basic scientific concepts, particularly concerning the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics. Things the rest of the species have known for centuries.” The researcher noted -“I can only imagine the insights this single sample will provide as to how people who lived centuries ago saw the world around them.” Goedde added, however, that the congressman’s belief system was fragile even in near-perfect condition and could deteriorate rapidly if examined too much.

‘There Was No Escaping It’: Iraq Vets Are Becoming Terminally Ill and Burn Pits May Be To Blame - The Iraq War killed former Minnesota Air National Guard Tech Sgt. Amie Muller. It just took a decade to do it. That, at least, is how Muller’s family and friends see it. The 36-year-old’s pancreatic cancer, they believe, was caused by exposure to the massive burn pit used to dispose of waste at Joint Base Balad, 40 miles north of Baghdad. Her doctors said there was a strong possibility the burn pit was to blame, but no way to definitively prove a link with the available evidence. Regardless, a young mother of three died in February from a disease that typically is diagnosed at age 71. “It makes me really mad,” Muller told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in June 2016, a month after learning she had Stage III pancreatic cancer. “I inhaled that stuff all day, all night. Everything that they burned there is illegal to burn in America. That tells you something.”  Even as her life came to an end, Muller sought to prevent others from suffering a similar fate. Despite being in physical pain from the cancer, and agonizing over the thought of leaving her children without a mom, she became a voice for veterans who believe that the modern battlefield, with its burn pits, fine dust, and metal-laden soil, is an environmental killer. “Amie Muller served this country with distinction, and we owe her our gratitude,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, said in a statement following Muller’s death on Feb. 18.  Klobuchar had gotten to know Muller during her illness, and just 10 days before Muller died, the senator teamed up with Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina to sponsor legislation that would require the VA to establish a center of excellence to study and improve the diagnosis and treatment of burn pit-related illnesses. To date, 34 members of the House and Senate have added their names to the Senate bill, S. 319, Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits, and its companion House bill, H.R. 1279, in support. Veterans have long reported health issues thought to be related to combat deployments, and Congress has discussed the associated health risks at 30 hearings since 2009. In 2013, the legislators even ordered the VA to establish a registry to track veterans who believe they are sick as a result of exposure to burn pits or other environmental factors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Teflon Toxin Found in North Carolina Drinking Water - A persistent and toxic industrial chemical known as GenX has been detected in the drinking water in Wilmington, North Carolina, and in surface waters in Ohio and West Virginia. DuPont introduced GenX in 2009 to replace PFOA, a compound it used to manufacture Teflon and coatings for stain-resistant carpeting, waterproof clothing, and many other consumer products. PFOA, also known as C8, was phased out after DuPont was hit with a class-action suit over health and environmental concerns. Yet as The Intercept reported last year, GenX is associated with some of the same health problems as PFOA, including cancer and reproductive issues. Levels of GenX in the drinking water of one North Carolina water utility, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, averaged 631 ppt (parts per trillion), according to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters in 2016. Although researchers didn’t test the water of two other drinking water providers that also draw water from that area of the Cape Fear River, the entire watershed downstream of the Chemours discharge, which is a source of drinking water for some 250,000 people, is likely to be contaminated, according to Detlef Knappe, one of the authors of the study. Research presented at a conference this week at Northeastern University detailed the presence of GenX in water in North Carolina and Ohio. In both cases, the chemical was found in water near plants that were owned by DuPont and since 2015 have been operated by DuPont’s spinoff company, Chemours. Both GenX and PFOA belong to a larger group of chemicals known as PFAS, which are structurally similar and believed to persist indefinitely in nature.

New Claims Against Monsanto in Consumer Lawsuit Over Roundup Herbicide - Another day, another lawsuit against global seed and chemical giant Monsanto Co. In a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Wisconsin, six consumers alleged that the company's top-selling Roundup herbicide has been falsely promoted as uniquely safe when it actually can have profound harmful impacts on human gut bacteria critical to good health. The lawsuit, which also names Roundup distributor Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. as a defendant, specifically alleges that consumers are being deceived by inaccurate and misleading statements made by Monsanto regarding glyphosate, the active weed-killing ingredient in Roundup. Plaintiffs include residents of Wisconsin, Illinois, California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. Glyphosate, which Monsanto introduced as an herbicide in 1974 and is widely used in growing food crops, has been promoted for years as a chemical that kills plants by targeting an enzyme that is not found in people or pets. The lawsuit claims that assertion is false, however, and argues that research shows glyphosate can target an enzyme found in gut bacteria in people and animals, disrupting the immune system, digestion and "even brain function."  "Defendants repeat these false and misleading representations throughout their marketing, including in video advertisements produced for their websites and YouTube Channel," states the lawsuit, which is filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.  Monsanto is currently defending itself against nationwide claims that Roundup has caused hundreds of people to suffer from a type of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. More than 1,100 plaintiffs have lawsuits pending in state and federal courts with many of the lawsuits combined in multi-district litigation in federal court in San Francisco.

California Scientists: Safe Level of Roundup Is 100x Lower Than EPA Allowance -- In a landmark rule with global repercussions, California state scientists are preparing to issue the world's first health guideline for Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide based on its cancer risk. The state's proposed safe level is more than 100 times lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ( EPA ) legal allowance for the average-sized American.  Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Roundup , the most heavily applied weed killer in the history of chemical agriculture. Use of glyphosate has exploded in the last 15 years, as Monsanto has promoted genetically modified Roundup Ready seeds to grow crops that aren't harmed by the herbicide. In the U.S. alone, more than 200 million pounds of Roundup are sprayed each year, mostly on soybeans and corn.  In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer—part of the World Health Organization, with no regulatory authority— reviewed human cancer studies and determined that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic" to people. Based on that finding, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced its intention to add glyphosate to the state's Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer. By itself, that listing would be a big blow to Monsanto, because it would require cancer warning labels on containers of Roundup and on foods that have high residues of glyphosate. Monsanto is appealing the decision in state court, but in the meantime the OEHHA has moved forward in setting a so-called No Significant Risk Level of the amount of glyphosate people could safely consume each day.

The WHO's cancer agency left in the dark over glyphosate evidence: A large study of pesticides in the United States produced new information about glyphosate, a common weedkiller. But the data was not considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 when it assessed whether glyphosate causes cancer. Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that Blair knew the unpublished research found no evidence of a link between glyphosate and cancer. In a sworn deposition given in March this year in connection with the case, Blair also said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis. He said it would have made it less likely that glyphosate would meet the agency’s criteria for being classed as “probably carcinogenic.” But IARC, a semi-autonomous part of the World Health Organization, never got to consider the data. The agency’s rules on assessing substances for carcinogenicity say it can consider only published research – and this new data, which came from a large American study on which Blair was a senior researcher, had not been published. The lack of publication has sparked debate and contention. A leading U.S. epidemiologist and a leading UK statistician – both independent of Monsanto – told Reuters the data was strong and relevant and they could see no reason why it had not surfaced. Monsanto told Reuters that the fresh data on glyphosate could and should have been published in time to be considered by IARC, and that the failure to publish it undermined IARC’s classification of glyphosate. The legal case against Monsanto, taking place in California, involves 184 individual plaintiffs who cite the IARC assessment and claim exposure to RoundUp gave them cancer. They allege Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the risks. Monsanto denies the allegations. The absence of the data from IARC’s assessment was important. IARC ended its meeting in 2015 by concluding that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” It based its finding on “limited evidence” of carcinogenicity in humans and “sufficient evidence” in experimental animals. It said, among other things, that there was a “positive association” between glyphosate and blood cancers called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. IARC told Reuters that, despite the existence of fresh data about glyphosate, it was sticking with its findings. 

Monsanto's Dicamba Problems Are Far From Over. Farmers File Another Lawsuit Over Drift Damage - Arkansas farmers filed a class-action lawsuit last week against Monsanto and German chemical company BASF , alleging that the companies' dicamba -based herbicides caused damage to their properties. The plaintiffs claim that Monsanto and BASF implemented and controlled the dicamba crop system, releasing seed technology without a corresponding, safe and approved herbicide. According to Hoosier Ag : "The farmers allege that Monsanto and BASF sold the dicamba crop system while knowing it could wipe out crops, fruits, and trees that are not dicamba tolerant. The farmers claim that those who do not plant dicamba tolerant crops are left with no protection from the herbicide." To date , Arkansas' agriculture department has received 135 dicamba misuse complaints across 17 counties. The lawsuit comes as the Arkansas State Plant Board considers an in-crop dicamba ban that was proposed by the state's pesticide committee. The controversy behind the pesticide started last year when Monsanto decided to sell its new dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean seeds several growing seasons before getting federal approval for the corresponding herbicide. Without having the proper herbicide, cotton and soybean growers were suspected of illegally spraying older versions of the highly toxic and drift-prone chemical onto the seeds and inadvertently damaged nearby non-target crops due to drift.  The spraying triggered widespread reports of crop damage across thousands of acres in 10 states and several lawsuits against pesticide makers. In October, a drift dispute between Arkansas farmers resulted in one farmer being shot to death.

African Farmers Facing Heavy Prison Sentences if They Continue Their Traditional Seed Exchange | Earth First! Newswire: In order to get developmental assistance, Tanzania amended its legislation, which should give commercial investors faster and better access to agricultural land as well as a very strong protection of intellectual property rights. ‘If you buy seeds from Syngenta or Monsanto under the new legislation, they will retain the intellectual property rights. If you save seeds from your first harvest, you can use them only on your own piece of land for non-commercial purposes. You’re not allowed to share them with your neighbors or with your sister-in-law in a different village, and you cannot sell them for sure. But that’s the entire foundation of the seed system in Africa,’ says Michael Farrelly. Under the new law, Tanzanian farmers risk a prison sentence of at least 12 years or a fine of over €205,300, or both, if they sell seeds that are not certified. ‘That’s an amount that a Tanzanian farmer cannot even start to imagine. The average wage is still less than 2 US dollars a day’, says Janet Maro, head of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT). Tanzania applied the legislation concerning intellectual property rights on seeds as a condition for receiving development assistance through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). The NAFSN was launched in 2012 by the G8 with the goal to help 50 million people out of poverty and hunger in the ten African partner countries through a public-private partnership. The initiative receives the support of the EU, the US, the UK, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Southeast Is Ground Zero for Genetically Engineered Trees (see infographics) ArborGen Corporation , a multinational conglomerate and leading supplier of seedlings for commercial forestry applications, has submitted an approval request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to deregulate and widely distribute a eucalyptus tree genetically engineered (GE) to be freeze tolerant. This modification will allow this GE variety to be grown in the U.S. Southeast. The reason this non-native and highly invasive tree has been artificially created to grow outside of its tropical environment is to greatly expand production capacity for the highly controversial woody biomass industry. For almost two decades, and under the radar from widespread awareness and public scrutiny, government, academia, biotech and the commercial forestry industries have invested millions of dollars into research and development (R&D) of GE trees. The few reports published about the R&D cite a major goal of many of these projects as providing a sustainable alternative for fossil fuels in the manufacture of consumer products and energy production.   Eucalyptus trees grow faster, are highly combustible, and require more water than other species. Although some assurances have been given that this GE variety won't spread unintentionally, there are no guarantees this won't happen. Some of the non-GE eucalyptus trees, planted in California years ago have proven a huge problem for native species. Efforts to eradicate them have been largely ineffective and are recently the leading cause of wildfires burning hotter and causing more damage in areas where they have grown unchecked.  If the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) is accepted and this GE tree is deregulated , it will make it possible for these trees to be grown in industrial-sized "tree farms" from South Carolina to Texas.  More than 1 million acres of pine plantations, grasslands, pastures and once forested land could be forever altered by row after row of GE eucalyptus trees. Few other living things can survive on these plantations because all vegetation has been stripped from the land, soaked with herbicides and chemical fertilizers, and planted with row after row with thousands of unnaturally altered seedlings. Every five to seven years the trees are cut like hay and loaded on to giant tractor trailers headed to energy or feedstock processing facilities and the process from start to finish is repeated.

Norway warns Brazil that funds to safeguard rainforests at risk | Reuters: Norway has warned Brazil that funds to help protect the Amazon rainforest under a billion-dollar program are in jeopardy because more forests are being destroyed, a Norwegian government letter showed on Wednesday. Brazil's President Michel Temer will meet Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Oslo on Friday to discuss cooperation including Norway's program to help Brazil's efforts to restrict logging and the clearance of forests by farmers. Wealthy from producing oil and gas, Norway is the biggest foreign donor to protect tropical forests from Brazil to Indonesia, partly because they are big natural stores of greenhouse gases and help to slow climate change. The Amazon is suffering a "worrying upward trend" in deforestation since 2015 after "impressive achievements" over the previous decade, Norway's Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen wrote to his Brazilian counterpart Jose Sarney Filho this month. Norway's annual contributions to an Amazon Fund, to which it has paid $1.1 billion since 2008 based on Brazil's progress in slowing deforestation, were now set to fall, he wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.

British forest pumped full of CO2 to test tree absorption | Reuters: Researchers at a British University have embarked on a decade-long experiment that will pump a forest full of carbon dioxide to measure how it copes with rising levels of the gas - a key driver of climate change. The Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) will expose a fenced-off section of mature woodland - in Norbury Park in Staffordshire, West Midlands - to levels of CO2 that experts predict will be prevalent in 2050. Scientists aim to measure the forest's capacity to capture carbon released by fossil fuel burning, and answer questions about their capacity to absorb carbon pollution long-term. "(Forests) happily take a bit more CO2 because that's their main nutrient. But we don't know how much more and whether they can do that indefinitely", BIFoR co-director Michael Tausz told Reuters. The apparatus for the experiment consists a series of masts built into six 30-metre wide sections of woodland, reaching up about 25 meters into the forest canopy. Concentrated CO2 is fed through pipes to the top of the masts where it is pumped into the foliage. Last year the U.N World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the global average of carbon dioxide, the main man-made greenhouse gas, reached 400 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere for the first time on record. "The forest here sees nearly 40 percent more CO2 than it sees normally, because that's what it will be globally in about 2050; a value of 550 parts per million, compared to 400 parts per million now," Tausz said.

The botanists’ last stand: The daring work of saving the last samples of dying species -- Steve Perlman doesn’t take Prozac, like some of the other rare-plant botanists he knows. Instead, he writes poetry. Either way, you have to do something when a plant you’ve long known goes extinct. Let’s say for 20 years you’ve been observing a tree on a fern-covered crag thousands of feet above sea level on an island in the Pacific. Then one day you hike up to check on the plant and find it dying. You know it’s the last one of its species, and that you’re the only witness to the end of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, the snuffing out of a line of completely unique genetic material. You might have to sit down and write a poem. Or at least bring a bit of the dead plant to a bar and raise a beer to its life. (Perlman has done both.) You might even need an antidepressant.  “I’ve already witnessed about 20 species go extinct in the wild,” Perlman says. “It can be like you’re dealing with your friends or your family, and then they die.”  Perlman gestures towards a Wilkesia gymnoxiphium in bloom. Better known as iliau, it’s a rare species of flowering plant in the sunflower family found only on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Perlman tells me this as we drive up a winding road on the northwestern edge of Kauai, the geologically oldest Hawaiian island.  The stakes are always high: As the top botanist at Hawaii’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), Perlman deals exclusively in plants with 50 or fewer individuals left—in many cases, much fewer, maybe two or three. Of the 238 species currently on that list, 82 are on Kauai; Perlman literally hangs off cliffs and jumps from helicopters to reach them. Without him, rare Hawaiian plants die out forever. With him, they at least have a shot. Though now, due to forces beyond Perlman’s control, even that slim hope of survival is in jeopardy. Looming budget cuts threaten to make this the final chapter not only in the history of many native Hawaiian species, but in the program designed to keep them alive.

Invasive Asian carp (the kind that jump) found beyond barrier to Great Lakes -- Cleveland.com -- The discovery of an invasive silver carp beyond a waterway barrier in Chicago that is designed to keep the fish from entering Lake Michigan is causing alarm among advocates for the Great Lakes. The carp was caught nine miles from Lake Michigan by a fisherman below the T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam, according to an Associated Press article in the Chicago Tribune. The silver carp is perhaps the most notorious of four Asian carp that officials are trying to keep from entering the Great Lakes. It's the one that jumps out of the water and has been frequently photographed above the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, said Jeff Reutter, former director of Ohio State University's Sea Grant office at Stone Lab on Put-in-Bay in Lake Erie. "Anytime you find one beyond the barrier it's not a good sign," Reutter said, but one fish does not mean there's a spawning population. A bighead carp was found beyond the barrier in Lake Calumet in 2010, according to the Associated Press. The good thing that came from the silver carp's discovery is that it automatically calls for an intense two-week sampling of the waterway to see if more of this fish can be found, Reutter said. The discovery of the silver carp has increased the concerns of several members of Congress from the Great Lakes region. "The fishing industry in the Great Lakes is a $7-billion-a-year economic engine and it would be severely threatened if Asian Carp are allowed into the Great Lakes," stated Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio in a written release. "The Administration should release its proposed plan they have drafted so there is no delay in protecting the Great Lakes from Asian Carp."

Oh, Lovely: The Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies Is Spreading -- First comes the unscratchable itching, and the angry blossoming of hives. Then stomach cramping, and—for the unluckiest few—difficulty breathing, passing out, and even death. In the last decade and a half, thousands of previously protein-loving Americans have developed a dangerous allergy to meat. And they all have one thing in common: the lone star tick.  Red meat, you might be surprised to know, isn’t totally sugar-free. It contains a few protein-linked saccharides, including one called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal, for short. More and more people are learning this the hard way, when they suddenly develop a life-threatening allergy to that pesky sugar molecule after a tick bite. Yep, one bite from the lone star tick—which gets its name from the Texas-shaped splash of white on its back—is enough to reprogram your immune system to forever reject even the smallest nibble of perfectly crisped bacon. For years, physicians and researchers only reported the allergy in places the lone star tick calls home, namely the southeastern United States. But recently it’s started to spread. The newest hot spots? Duluth, Minnesota; Hanover, New Hampshire; and the eastern tip of Long Island, where at least 100 cases have been reported in the last year. Scientists are racing to trace its spread, to understand if the lone star tick is expanding into new territories, or if other species of ticks are now causing the allergy.

American Chipmakers Had a Toxic Problem. Then They Outsourced It --Making computer chips involved hundreds of chemicals. The women on the production line worked in so-called cleanrooms and wore protective suits, but that was for the chips’ protection, not theirs. The women were exposed to, and in some cases directly touched, chemicals that included reproductive toxins, mutagens, and carcinogens. Reproductive dangers are among the most serious concerns in occupational health, because workers’ unborn children can suffer birth defects or childhood diseases, and also because reproductive issues can be sentinels for disorders, especially cancer, that don’t show up in the workers themselves until long after exposure.  Digital Equipment agreed to pay for a study, and Pastides, an expert in disease clusters, designed and conducted it. Data collection was finished in late 1986, and the results were shocking: Women at the plant had miscarriages at twice the expected rate. In November, the company disclosed the findings to employees and the Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group, and then went public. Pastides and his colleagues were heralded as heroes by some and vilified by others, especially in the industry.  By December 1992, three follow-up studies—all paid for by the industry—showed similar results: roughly a doubling of the rate of miscarriages for thousands of potentially exposed women. This time the industry reacted quickly. SIA pointed to a family of toxic chemicals widely used in chipmaking as the likely cause and declared that its companies would accelerate efforts to phase them out. IBM went further: It pledged to rid its global chip production of them by 1995.  Two decades later, the ending to the story looks like a different kind of tale. As semiconductor production shifted to less expensive countries, the industry’s promised fixes do not appear to have made the same journey, at least not in full. Confidential data reviewed by Bloomberg show that thousands of women and their unborn children continued to face potential exposure to the same toxins until at least 2015. The risks are exacerbated by secrecy—the industry may be using toxins that still haven’t been disclosed. This is the price paid by generations of women making the devices at the heart of the global economy.

WATCH: Uncontacted Tribes Face Disaster Unless Land is Protected (video) - Tribal peoples are the best guardians of the natural world, and evidence proves that tribal territories are the best barrier to deforestation. This photograph shows the land of an uncontacted tribe as an island of green forest in a sea of deforestation (the orange line is the territory’s border). It is home to the “Last of his Tribe”, a lone man and the last survivor of his people, who were probably massacred by cattle ranchers occupying their land. The best way to prevent the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is to campaign for the land rights of uncontacted tribes.

Trump removes protections for Yellowstone grizzly bear | TheHill: The Trump administration is removing protections for the Yellowstone grizzly bear under the Endangered Species Act after more than four decades on the threatened list. The Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service announced the delisting decision Thursday, which immediately drew rebukes from conservationists and Democrats. Officials said the conservation efforts for the bear that lives in and around Yellowstone National Park in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho show the delisting is warranted, along with the more than fourfold increase in its population and state policies designed to protect it in the future. “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who represented Montana in Congress until earlier this year, said in a statement. “As a Montanan, I am proud of what we’ve achieved together.” Other segments of the grizzly bear population are not affected by Thursday’s regulation, and will continue to be protected as before. The bear’s population is now around 700, compared with 150 when it was listed. Its range is 22,500 square miles, more than double the range of the mid-1970s. Republicans applauded the Trump administration’s decision, saying the bear has long warranted an end to protections. 

Yellowstone Supervolcano Hit by a Swarm of Earthquakes: Yellowstone supervolcano has been hit by a series of earthquakes, with more 30 recorded since June 12. The latest was recorded on Monday, June 19, with a magnitude 3 earthquake striking 8.6 miles north north-east of West Yellowstone, Montana. The swarm began last week, and on June 15 saw a magnitude 4.5 earthquake take place in Yellowstone National Park. “The epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone National Park, eight miles north-northeast of the town of West Yellowstone, Montana,” scientists from the University of Utah, which monitors Yellowstone Volcano, said in a statement. “The earthquake was [reportedly] felt in the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, in Yellowstone National Park, and elsewhere in the surrounding region.” This earthquake was the largest to have hit Yellowstone since March 30, 2014, when a magnitude 4.8 earthquake was recorded 18 miles to the east, near the Norris Geyser Basin. “[The 4.5] earthquake is part of an energetic sequence of earthquakes in the same area that began on June 12,” the statement continued. “This sequence has included approximately thirty earthquakes of magnitude 2 and larger and four earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger, including today's magnitude 4.5 event.” As of June 16, 235 events had been recorded. Most of these ranged in the magnitude of 0 to 1, with five less than zero. The University of Utah is part of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO), which monitors volcanic and earthquake activity in Yellowstone National Park. Seismic activity at volcanoes can signal an eruption is due to take place, although predicting exactly when a volcano will erupt is, at present, impossible.

Robot Journalist Accidentally Reports on Earthquake from 1925 - Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported on a 6.8 earthquake that struck Santa Barbara at 4:51 p.m. Which might be surprising to the people of Santa Barbara who didn’t feel anything. The big problem with the story? The earthquake happened in 1925.How could reporters get something so wrong? Well, the “reporter” who wrote yesterday’s news article about the 6.8 quake was actually a robot. The L.A. Times deleted its automated tweet as well as the automatically published article and explained what happened in a subsequent tweet. The newspaper’s algorithm, called Quakebot, scrapes data from the US Geological Survey’s website. A USGS staffer at Caltech mistakenly sent out the alert when updating historical earthquake data to make it more precise.  Seismologists have reportedly complained about some of the historical data being off by as much as 6 miles, and this staffer was simply updating the location of the old quake from 1925. But it shows how quickly misinformation can spread with just a few clicks. An earthquake registering 6.8 is a big deal, so people were pretty relieved to see that it was a false alarm. The 1925 earthquake killed 13 people and caused over $8 million in damage. With so many more people living in the area today it would no doubt be much more deadly.  The Los Angeles Timeshas employed Quakebot since 2014 and has reported on hundreds of earthquakes, big and small, over the years. But this is the first known major screw up since it was first put online. And it certainly won’t be the last as journalism on everything from homicides to baseball scores becomes more automated.

Starbucks cups are not recyclable, which means 4 billion go to landfill each year --Even the best paper mills in the world cannot recycle coffee cups because the plastic lining clogs machinery. Starbucks should stop ignoring this problem. Starbucks has a very big problem with disposable cups. Every year, the coffee giant distributes more than 4 billion single-use cups to customers needing a caffeine fix, which means that 1 million trees are cut down to provide the paper. Most people think that these cups are recyclable – they’re paper, after all – but that’s not true. According to Stand.earth, whose latest report examines Starbucks’ empty commitments to developing a better cup, the vast majority of coffee cups ends up in landfills. Why is this? “In order to be able to hold liquids safely, Starbucks paper cups are lined with a thin layer of 100% oil-based polyethylene plastic made by companies like Dow and Chevron. This plastic lining makes the cups impossible to recycle because it clogs most recycled paper mills’ machinery…Because of the polyethylene plastic coating, much of this material ends up as a byproduct of the paper-making process and is ultimately sent to the landfill anyway. This is particularly wasteful since paper cups are made from a very high quality paper and, if recycled, could be reused multiple times.” The report outlines how rare it is to find cup recycling facilities. Only 18 of the largest 100 cities in the United States provide residential pickup of coffee cups for recycling, and only three paper recycling mills in the U.S. (out of 450 in total) can process plastic-coated paper such as cartons and coffee cups. In the United Kingdom, there are only two facilities that can do it, which again means everything else goes to landfill. Even where facilities exist, the process is still fraught. The Seattle Times explains that many of Starbucks’ old cups are shipped to China for recycling as “mixed paper,” only to end up as residue from the recycling process and head to a Chinese landfill instead.

Plastic Pollution in Antarctica 5 Times Worse Than Expected - Not only have microplastic particles infiltrated the pristine Antarctic , the problem is much worse than anyone thought. Scientists from the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey have determined that the levels of microplastics are five times higher than previous estimates. The results were published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. These tiny beads of plastic come from cosmetics or shred off of larger plastic items such as clothing or bottles. Research shows that microplastics can turn up in ice cores , across the seafloor, throughout the ocean and on every beach worldwide. According to UN News , "as many as 51 trillion microplastic particles—500 times more than stars in our galaxy—litter our seas, seriously threatening marine wildlife." Microplastics enter the oceans via wastewater. However, as the researchers report, more than half of the research stations in the Antarctic have no wastewater treatment systems. The scientists suggest that the plastic may be getting across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which was thought to be nearly impenetrable. "Antarctica is thought to be a highly isolated, pristine wilderness. The ecosystem is very fragile with whales, seals and penguins consuming krill and other zooplankton as a major component of their diet," said the study's lead author, Dr. Catherine Waller, an expert in ecology and marine biology at University of Hull. "Our research highlights the urgent need for a co-ordinated effort to monitor and assess the levels of microplastics around the Antarctic continent and Southern Ocean." A press release notes that the Southern Ocean, which covers approximately 8.5 million square miles and represents 5.4 percent of the world's oceans, is under increasing threat from fishing, pollution and the introduction of non-native species. Climate change which leads to rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification, is also a threat.  The effects of microplastics on marine life in this region are currently unclear.

Peatlands, already dwindling, could face further losses - MIT News -- Tropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained. The net result is that these former carbon sinks, which have taken greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, are now net carbon sources, instead accelerating the planet’s warming. The findings are described this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in a paper by MIT Professor Charles Harvey, research scientist Alexander Cobb, and seven others at MIT and other institutions. “There is a tremendous amount of peatland in Southeast Asia, but almost all of it has been deforested,” says Harvey, who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and has been doing research on that region for several years. Once deforested and drained, the peatland dries out, and the organic (carbon-containing) soil oxidizes and returns to the atmosphere. Sometimes the exposed peat can actually catch fire and burn for extended periods, causing massive clouds of air pollution. Tropical peatlands may contain as much carbon as the amount consumed in nearly a decade of global fossil fuel use, and raging peat fires in Indonesia alone have been estimated in some years to contribute 10 to 40 percent as much greenhouse gas to the atmosphere as all the world’s fossil fuel burning. Tropical peatlands, unlike those in temperate zones that are dominated by sphagnum moss, are forested with trees that can tower to 150 feet, and peat fires can sometimes ignite forest fires that consume these as well. (Peat that gets buried and compressed underground is the material that ultimately turns to coal.)

Wildfires used to be rare in the Great Plains. They’ve more than tripled in 30 years  -The grasslands of U.S. Great Plains have seen one of the sharpest increases in large and dangerous wildfires in the past three decades, with their numbers more than tripling between 1985 and 2014, according to new research. The new study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that the average number of large Great Plains wildfires each year grew from about 33 to 117 over that time period, even as the area of land burned in these wildfires increased by 400 percent. “This is undocumented and unexpected for this region,” said Victoria Donovan, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. “Most studies do document these shifts in large wildfires in forested are
          Scaffold Device Concept By Sarah Haigh Turns Toilet Waste into Drinkable Water        

In the future there will be a cool machine that could turns a toilet waste into a drinkable water. This cool concept called Scaffold Device was funded US$ 100.000 by Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a technology that could change the water from the toilet into the drinkable water.

Manchester University’s Sarah Haigh is an expert in nanotechnology - the science of manipulating atoms in matter - and says, it could make waste water from toilets safe to drink. With the help of nanomaterials and bacteria, Sarah believes that this technology simply can not decipher the dirty water into the water ready for drinking but also can be made ​​of human waste is converted into drinking water. : D

Sarah believes that a scaffold device holding a mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano-particles will react with the water to extract useful hydrogen, with the remainder filtered again to produce clean water.

Their idea for an inexpensive fuel-producing, water-cleaning device for the developing world, beat more than 2,000 other proposals.

And the group stand to receive a further $1m from the Gates next year if they can demonstrate the chemical reactions they propose can actually work

As we said, it is kind of disgusting but if there is no choice as happens in some countries it is difficult to get clean water when this technology can be successful, you can imagine how many millions of lives can be saved.

This technology is also not necessarily be able to make the water dirty mineral water quality but guaranteed that the water is safe and ready to be used as drinking water.

Via : Dailymail

          Comment on The Glass-Steagall Miracle by jsck13        
THE BEASTLY BARONS THAT CONTROL GOLDMAN SACHS, CITIGROUP, JP MORGAN, UBS, DEUTSCHE BANK, ETC. THE GENOCIDAL POLICIES IMPLEMENTED IN MANY STATES OF THE WORLD ARE THE RESULT OF THE BAILOUTS OF THE BANKS DETERMINED BY THE ABOLITION OF THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT IN ALMOST ALL THE WORLD. " ......... in the late 1990s, the top US Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3% unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears. http://countryeconomy.com/unemployment/spain http://www.gregpalast.com//vulturespicnic/pages/filecabinet/chapter12/Geithner_Summers%20Memo.pdf The Treasury official playing the bankers’ secret End Game was Larry Summers. Today, Summers is Barack Obama’s leading choice for Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, the world’s central bank. If the confidential memo is authentic, then Summers shouldn’t be serving on the Fed, he should be serving hard time in some dungeon reserved for the criminally insane of the finance world..................................................................................... The year was 1997. US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was pushing hard to de-regulate banks. That required, first, repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act to dismantle the barrier between commercial banks and investment banks. It was like replacing bank vaults with roulette wheels. Second, the banks wanted the right to play a new high-risk game: “derivatives trading.” JP Morgan alone would soon carry $88 trillion of these pseudo-securities on its books as “assets.” http://www.gregpalast.com/wp-content/uploads/10-K-report-2008-JP-Morgan-88Trillion.pdf Deputy Treasury Secretary Summers (soon to replace Rubin as Secretary) body-blocked any attempt to control derivatives. But what was the use of turning US banks into derivatives casinos if money would flee to nations with safer banking laws? The answer conceived by the Big Bank Five: eliminate controls on banks in every nation on the planet – in one single move. It was as brilliant as it was insanely dangerous. How could they pull off this mad caper? The bankers’ and Summers’ game was to use the Financial Services Agreement, an abstruse and benign addendum to the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organization. Until the bankers began their play, the WTO agreements dealt simply with trade in goods–that is, my cars for your bananas. The new rules ginned-up by Summers and the banks would force all nations to accept trade in “bads” – toxic assets like financial derivatives. Until the bankers’ re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders. The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to Citibank, JP Morgan and their derivatives “products.” And all 156 nations in the WTO would have to smash down their own Glass-Steagall divisions between commercial savings banks and the investment banks that gamble with derivatives. The job of turning the FSA into the bankers’ battering ram was given to Geithner, who was named Ambassador to the World Trade Organization. Bankers Go Bananas Why in the world would any nation agree to let its banking system be boarded and seized by financial pirates like JP Morgan? The answer, in the case of Ecuador, was bananas. Ecuador was truly a banana republic. The yellow fruit was that nation’s life-and-death source of hard currency. If it refused to sign the new FSA, Ecuador could feed its bananas to the monkeys and go back into bankruptcy. Ecuador signed. And so on–with every single nation bullied into signing. Every nation but one, I should say. Brazil’s new President, Inacio Lula da Silva, refused. In retaliation, Brazil was threatened with a virtual embargo of its products by the European Union’s Trade Commissioner, one Peter Mandelson, according to another confidential memo I got my hands on. http://www.gregpalast.com//vulturespicnic/pages/filecabinet/chapter12/5_protocol.pdf But Lula’s refusenik stance paid off for Brazil which, alone among Western nations, survived and thrived during the 2007-9 bank crisis. China signed–but got its pound of flesh in return. It opened its banking sector a crack in return for access and control of the US auto parts and other markets. (Swiftly, two million US jobs shifted to China.) The new FSA pulled the lid off the Pandora's box of worldwide derivatives trade. Among the notorious transactions legalized: Goldman Sachs (where Treasury Secretary Rubin had been Co-Chairman) worked a secret euro-derivatives swap with Greece which, ultimately, destroyed that nation. Ecuador, its own banking sector de-regulated and demolished, exploded into riots. Argentina had to sell off its oil companies (to the Spanish) and water systems (to Enron) while its teachers hunted for food in garbage cans. Then, Bankers Gone Wild in the Eurozone dove head-first into derivatives pools without knowing how to swim–and the continent is now being sold off in tiny, cheap pieces to Germany. Of course, it was not just threats that sold the FSA, but temptation as well. After all, every evil starts with one bite of an apple offered by a snake. The apple: The gleaming piles of lucre hidden in the FSA for local elites. The snake was named Larry. Does all this evil and pain flow from a single memo? Of course not: the evil was The Game itself, as played by the banker clique. The memo only revealed their game-plan for checkmate. And the memo reveals a lot about Summers and Obama. While billions of sorry souls are still hurting from worldwide banker-made disaster, Rubin and Summers didn't do too badly. Rubin's deregulation of banks had permitted the creation of a financial monstrosity called "Citigroup." Within weeks of leaving office, Rubin was named director, then Chairman of Citigroup—which went bankrupt while managing to pay Rubin a total of $126 million. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/10/business/10rubin.html Then Rubin took on another post: as key campaign benefactor to a young State Senator, Barack Obama. Only days after his election as President, Obama, at Rubin's insistence, gave Summers the odd post of US "Economics Tsar" and made Geithner his Tsarina (that is, Secretary of Treasury). In 2010, Summers gave up his royalist robes to return to "consulting" for Citibank and other creatures of bank deregulation whose payments have raised Summers' net worth by $31 million since the "end-game" memo. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/business/economy/the-fed-lawrence-summers-and-money.html That Obama would, at Robert Rubin's demand, now choose Summers to run the Federal Reserve Board means that, unfortunately, we are far from the end of the game. .................. http://www.gregpalast.com/larry-summers-and-the-secret-end-game-memo/ WHO CONTROL GOLDMAN SACHS, JP MORGAN AND CITIGROUP INVOLVED IN THE ABOLITION OF THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT ? A) GOLDMAN SACHS IS CONNECTED WITH WARREN BUFFET A FRIEND OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. JACOB ROTHSCHILD "Hosted the European Economic Round Table conference in 2002 at Waddesdon Manor, attended by such figures as James Wolfensohn, Nicky Oppenheimer, Warren Buffet, and Arnold Schwarzenegger " https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/introduction/PEHI_Jacob_de_Rothschild_bio.htm https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/introduction/PEHI_Evelyn_de_Rothschild_bio.htm The same Warren Buffet, that is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, " agreed to purchase $5 billion in Goldman's preferred stock ". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldman_Sachs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway GOLDMAN SACHS IS CONNECTED ALSO WITH THE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD. http://uk.linkedin.com/in/ruperttipler http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Christoph-Ladanyi/23971288 THE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD IS OWNED BY BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_de_Rothschild ) AND BY HIS WIFE ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_de_Rothschild ) http://www.lejdd.fr/Economie/Images/Les-plus-grosses-fortunes-de-France/Benjamin-de-Rothschild-206941 http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2013/07/10/global-power-project-part-5-banking-on-influence-with-goldman-sachs/ B) JP MORGAN IS LINKED WITH TONY BLAIR THE FRIEND OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/6672904/Roman-Polanski-will-be-too-late-to-complete-his-film.html "Tony Blair. Illegitimate Son Of Jacob Rothschild....Evidence" http://the-tap.blogspot.com/2012/06/can-you-spot-it.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Rothschild,_4th_Baron_Rothschild http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1138789/Now-Tony-Blairs-finally-got-private-jet-hes-wanted-rented.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Robert_de_Rothschild NOW WE MUST NOTICE A STRANGE COINCIDENCE:" TONY BLAIR A GREAT FRIEND OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD AND ALSO GREAT FRIEND OF EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD AND "CASUALLY" HE FOUND A GOOD PLACE IN THE BANK JP MORGAN". http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/28/heckler-brands-tony-blair-a-war-criminal-over-jpmorgan-payments/ http://landdestroyer.blogspot.de/2012/05/protester-calls-tony-blair-war-criminal.html http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/celebritymoney/article-2167655/Former-PM-Tony-Blair-alleged-earned-80million-2007.html TONY BLAIR IS A PROMOTER OF THE GENOCIDAL "REFORMS" OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN BRITAIN. http://larouchepac.com/node/28620 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2238916/Ministers-order-inquiry-care-pathway-payments-saw-hospitals-receive-millions-implement-controversial-system.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2240075/Now-sick-babies-death-pathway-Doctors-haunting-testimony-reveals-children-end-life-plan.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9716418/Half-of-those-on-Liverpool-Care-Pathway-never-told.html JP MORGAN IS ALSO CONNECTED WITH THE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD CONTROLLED BY BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_de_Rothschild) AND BY HIS WIFE ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_de_Rothschild ). http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/juan-bergas-sastre/22/39/898/en http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Richard-Madeley/89504503 " J.P. MORGAN SAYS POST-WWII ANTI-FASCIST CONSTITUTIONS ARE OBSTACLE TO REIMPOSING FASCISM " http://larouchepac.com/node/26996 http://waronyou.com/forums/index.php?topic=25529.0 http://larouchepac.com/node/28338 http://larouchepac.com/node/27485 http://www.occupy.com/article/global-power-project-part-4-banking-influence-jpmorgan-chase http://larouchepac.com/node/28700 J.P. MORGAN: FASCIST THEN, FASCIST NOW http://larouchepac.com/node/27110 http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/money-laundering-jp-morgan-in-the-frame-for-venezuelan-drugs-link/ C) CITIGROUP IS ALSO LINKED WITH WARREN BUFFET, THE FRIEND OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. Warren Buffet " has been a Director of Citigroup Global Markets Holdings Inc., (formerly, Salomon Inc.) since 1987. " http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Warren_Buffett CITIGROUP HAS ALSO LINKS WITH THE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD OF BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD AND OF HIS WIFE ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD. " Stefano Rossi that in a famous interview speaks of virtuous countries and of the impending crisis of Greece and of Spain, is CEO of Edmond De Rothschild and began his career in London in 1988. In 1989 he returned to Italy to join Citibank." http://theyellowbrickroadfreeblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/the-rothschild-clan-in-italy-sleuth-bankers/ http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2013/07/24/global-power-project-part-7-banking-on-influence-with-citigroup/ D) THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION IS CONTROLLED BY GOLDMAN SACHS. " Peter Sutherland is chairman of Goldman Sachs International in London.... Prior to joining the World Trade Organization (GATT) in 1993, he was with the firm for three years as an international advisor." http://berggruen.org/people/peter-sutherland E) PETER MANDELSON THAT THREATENED BRAZIL IS CLOSELY RELATED WITH THE FAMILY OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD, BUT HAS ALSO LINKS WITH EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. Peter Mandelson is a great friend of Nat Rothschild, the son of Jacob Rothschild. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1080660/Use-Ferrari-Mandy-told-Rothschild-Klosters-holiday.html Mandelson is in good relations with Hannah Rothschild, the daughter of Jacob Rothschild. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321095/Mandy-The-Movie-Prince-Darknesss-ultimate-vanity-project-shot-just-Labour-lost-election.html And also with the same Jacob Rothschild. http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Blog/?p=2787 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1205448/The-rich-love-power-He-adores-wealth.html " In 2000, Sir Evelyn clandestinely provided the newly established British "super think tank," Policy Network, with 250,000 pounds sterling to get it started. Policy Network is the coordinating organization between the DLC and Labour’s inner circle. Peter Mandelson, Privy Councilor since 1998 and a Ditchley governor, was the initial chairman of the Policy Network. " https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/introduction/PEHI_Evelyn_de_Rothschild_bio.htm WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SOME COUNTRIES AFTER THE ABOLITION OF THE SEPARATION BETWEEN COMMERCIAL BANKS AND INVESTMENTS BANKS ? 1)" WHILE OBAMACARE KILLS, IT WILDLY ENRICHES THE INSURANCE CONGLOMERATES — AS INTENDED October 4, 2013 • 11:48AM Two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers in the United States, and more half of the low-wage workers without health insurance, will be DENIED any support for their health care under Obama's "Affordable Care Act," even while the cost of the coverage available to them increases drastically. A New York Times analysis of census data shows that the 26 states which chose not to expand Medicaid (a choice left to the states under Obamacare), comprise half the nation's population but 68% of the poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers, who will not be eligible for coverage under the killer scheme. The study estimates that eight million Americans are "impoverished, uninsured, and ineligible for help." The study did not even count the huge undocumented immigrant population. It is no surprise that the winners in the Obamacare game are from Wall Street's big insurers. This is inherent in the fascist (corporatist) nature of the plan, which unites the health insurance cartels with the government, in a drive to cut back health care for the "useless eaters" in the population. Robert Lenzner of Forbes reported Oct. 1 that the "value of the S&P health insurance index gained 43%" this year alone. CIGNA is up 63%; Wellpoint 47%; and United Healthcare 28%. Since the passage of Obamacare in 2010, the stock values of these big firms have risen 200-300%! United Healthcare, the largest insurer, with about 70 million insured, reported last summer that they had a particularly strong past year, with net income of $5.1 billion, up by 11% from the previous year; similarly for the others — even before the bonanza to result from the corporatist plan to force every American to buy their inflated products, beginning on October 1. United Healthcare, it should be recalled, has as a top executive Simon Stevens, who was Tony Blair's health policy advisor and the architect of NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) in 1999, the "reform" of the British National Health Service which imposed triage and genocide on the British people through selective denial of cancer drugs, surgeries, kidney dialysis, and other treatments. This was the model for the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board), which is now the law of the land under Obamacare. Genocide can be profitable. http://larouchepac.com/node/28409 ( Health Insurers Scream, 'Too late, we'll have to raise rates,' as Obama Again Hosts Them at White House http://larouchepac.com/node/28901) ( ObamaCare is Doing its job: Cutting, Shutting capacity to Give medical care http://larouchepac.com/node/28775 ) ( Healthcare Cuts Are Killing Americans Now http://larouchepac.com/node/28733 ) ( Never-Ending Reports of Obamacare Disasters http://larouchepac.com/node/28750 ) ( Obama Cutting Food for 47 Million Americans http://larouchepac.com/node/28721 ) ( LEAKED MEMO SHOWS OBAMA WAS WARNED IN MAY 2010 THAT OBAMACARE IMPLEMENTATION WOULD FAIL http://larouchepac.com/node/28765 ) ( Obama in Office Is Biggest Threat to Lives; U.S. Public Hospital System Being Destroyed http://larouchepac.com/node/28861 ) ( Obama's whole economic Policy Kills, Not just ObamaCare http://larouchepac.com/node/28948 ) VANGUARD GROUP IS THE BIGGEST SHAREHOLDER OF THE INSURANCE COMPANY CIGNA, BUT IS ALSO A BIG SHAREHOLDER OF WELLPOINT AND UNITEDHEALTH GROUP. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=CI http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=WLP http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=UNH VANGUARD GROUP IS LINKED WITH DICK CHENEY. " US Vice President Dick Cheney was indicted today for a prison profiteering scheme and charged with abuse of prisoners. Cheney invested millions in the Vanguard Group, an investment management company with interests in the prison companies in charge of detention centers. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was also indicted in the prison profiteering scheme, resulting in ongoing prisoner assaults and at least one murder.............. " http://november.org/stayinfo/breaking08/Cheney_Gonzales_Indicted.html DICK CHENEY IS CONNECTED WITH JACOB ROTHSCHILD. " Israel has granted a U.S. company the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights, John Reed of the Financial Times reports. A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy — which is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch — will now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights." http://www.globalresearch.ca/srael-grants-first-golan-heights-oil-drilling-license-to-dick-cheney-linked-company/5347779 CHENEY IS LINKED WITH THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY AND WITH THE BUSH FAMILY/CARLYLE BOTH FRONT OF THE ROTHSCHILDS. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Cheney http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/bin-laden-the-911-illusion-part-ii-deutsche-bank-blackstone/ " Queen Elizabeth II strolled Friday through a replica of the fortress British adventurers built 400 years ago in Jamestown, America's first permanent English settlement. Under gray skies and flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the monarch walked along a tourist village of primitive, thatch-roofed buildings." " The queen, Cheney and Kaine will attend a lunch in Williamsburg, then visit the College of William and Mary before the royal couple departs for Louisville, Ky., and Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Next week she visits President Bush in Washington. " http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-207_162-2757017.html ALSO obama IS A PUPPET OF THE QUEEN. http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13489879 THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY HAS LINKS WITH JACOB ROTHSCHILD, BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD, ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/rothschilds-hidden-behind-obama-and-the-genocidal-obamacare/ obama IS THE PROSTITUTE OF GOLDMAN SACHS AND JP MORGAN BOTH RELATED WITH THE ROTHSCHILDS. http://prof77.wordpress.com/politics/an-updated-list-of-goldman-sachs-ties-to-the-obama-government-including-elena-kagan/ http://yourdaddy.net/2010/04/29/scandal-obama-gore-goldman-joyce-foundation-ccx-partners-to-fleece-usa/ " .......In anticipation of a deal with the Justice Department over JPMorgan's fraudulent mortgage securities operations, the Washington Post business section today ran an exhaustive profile of CEO Jamie Dimon, noting that he has visited the White House 22 times since Obama entered the presidency. ........." http://larouchepac.com/node/28762 THEREFORE ARE THE ROTHSCHILDS HIDDEN BEHIND obama THAT ARE SUPPORTING AL QAEDA IN SYRIA. ( FIGHTING AL QAEDA BY SUPPORTING AL QAEDA IN SYRIA: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS A ‘STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM’ ) http://jimcraven10.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/4928/ http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/polio-has-broken-out-in-syria-and-20-million-children-are-to-be-vaccinated-8931389.html 2) Moody's and S&P Have Downgraded the Big Banks over the Bail-in http://larouchepac.com/node/28898 WHO ARE THE THIEVES THAT ARE ASKING THIS ROBBERY ? WHO CONTROLS THE RATING AGENCIES ? "As for the rating agencies, how reliable are they? They have a pretty questionable credibility, as they were the ones who gave a triple-A rating to the subprime securities issued by Lehman Brothers, just 3 days before its bankruptcy. These same “clairvoyant” agencies are extremely powerful and do as they please on financial markets, including on those unregulated known as OTC (Over The Counter Derivatives) or the toxic markets in which agents buy insurance against the risk of default, CDS (Credit Default Swaps). They are closely related to Anglo-Saxon banks (including Goldman Sachs and Citibank). " http://greekleftreview.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/the-meaning-of-the-greek-crisis/ THE QUESTION OF THE BAIL-IN IS RELATED WITH SOME ROBBER BARONS THAT CONTROL DEUTSCHE BANK . " At an event of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Wiesbaden on Wednesday night, the theme of which could be described as "Ask what you can do for your bank," the two speakers, Hesse State Finance Minister Thomas Schäfer (CDU) and Deutsche Bank chief economist Thomas Mayer, made heavy propaganda pitches for the bail-in approach, presenting it along with the euro as ostensibly lacking any alternative. Mayer even went so far as to speak of the "unenlightened welfare state citizen" who always wants the state to give and never gives himself, as opposed to the "enlightened welfare state citizen" who voluntarily pays more taxes." http://larouchepac.com/node/27223 http://larouchepac.com/node/28525 WE HAVE ALREADY NOTED THAT DEUTSCHE BANK IS CONNECTED WITH BLACKSTONE. http://transmissionsmedia.com/the-911-illusion-part-ii-deutsche-bank-blackstone/ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-29/728-trillion-presenting-bank-biggest-derivative-exposure-world-hint-not-jpmorgan THE QUESTION OF THE BAIL-IN IS RELATED ALSO WITH CYPRUS AND GOLDMAN SACHS. THE ROB-IN WAS IMPOSED TO CYPRUS BEHIND BLACKMAIL OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK. "ECB Threatens Cyprus with Liquidity Cutoff " http://larouchepac.com/node/25929 BUT THE ECB IS CONTROLLED BY GOLDMAN SACHS BECAUSE MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT OF THE ECB, WAS " vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of the firm-wide management committee (2002–2005)." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Draghi PERHAPS ARE JACOB ROTHSCHILD, BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD, ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD THAT WANT TO STEAL THE DEPOSITS OF THE SAVERS ? 3) CUTS IN HEALTH INSURANCE FOR DETROIT CITY WORKFORCE http://larouchepac.com/node/28731 THE PROBLEMS OF DETROIT ARE LINKED WITH THE BANKS UBS AND BANK OF AMERICA " .......Some experts are now estimating that the payments to the megabanks UBS and Bank of America, which Detroit faces on the "interest-rate swaps" derivatives it was conned into buying, may even be considerably larger than the $225 million reported in EIR's "Detroit Facts". According to both the Financial Times and columnist Yves Smith's Naked Capitalism blog, the city may face immediate looting of $700 million, on top of more than $100 million a year lost to the city for the past eight years on these derivatives bets. The appointment of Kevyn Orr as emergency manager by Gov. Rick Snyder on March 14, was itself a "credit event" potentially triggering a $400 million derivatives payment by the city, one which Orr and the banks may be "not bringing up" until bankruptcy court hearings start......." http://larouchepac.com/node/27564 BANK OF AMERICA is also connected with the person of Warren Buffet a friend of JACOB ROTHSCHILD and EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/warren-buffett-ibm_n_1092165.html Bank Of America and Merrill Lynch ( subsidiary of Bank of America ) are also related with the Edmond De Rothschild, owned by BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD AND ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD, through the persons of Gerald Levy, Matthieu Walterspiler, Barbara Colombo, Beate Bakker, etc... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_de_Rothschild https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_de_Rothschild http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gerald-levy/60/b49/b87 http://uk.linkedin.com/in/walterspiler http://www.linkedin.com/pub/barbara-colombo/26/b21/766 http://ch.linkedin.com/pub/beate-bakker/16/a55/491 UBS IS LINKED WITH BUNDESBANK AND DEUTSCHE BANK. " Axel Alfred Weber ..... is a board member and chairman of the board of UBS.[1] He was president of the Deutsche Bundesbank " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axel_A._Weber BUT BUNDESBANK IS RELATED WITH CARLYLE AND THEREFORE WITH BLACKSTONE, DEUTSCHE BANK AND THE ROTHSCHILDS. http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/bin-laden-the-911-illusion-part-ii-deutsche-bank-blackstone/ http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/rothschilds-hidden-behind-obama-and-the-genocidal-obamacare/ " Karl Otto Pöhl (born 1 December 1929) is a German economist and a President of the Bundesbank and Chairman of its Central Bank Council from 1980 to 1991........... Karl Otto Pöhl is currently a partner in Sal. Oppenheim Jr. & Cie., a German private investment bank and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Carlyle Group. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Otto_P%C3%B6hl THE SAME AXEL WEBER WAS A POTENTIAL SUCCESSOR OF JOSEF ACKERMANN AS CEO OF DEUTSCHE BANK. http://sandiegoshotels.blogspot.com/2011/04/ackermann-succession-can-axel-weber.html https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/introduction/PEHI_Jacob_de_Rothschild_bio.htm ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_de_Rothschild ) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_de_Rothschild ) https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/introduction/PEHI_Evelyn_de_Rothschild_bio.htm " The fight for a Glass-Steagall type banking sepearation in Switzerland is now reaching the boiling point, with the Swiss Banking Association being forced to come out in the open and attack proposed legislation in Switzerland for Bank Separation, while a grouping of political forces are now consolidating their fight to force the legislation. ............................... UBS chief Sergio Ermotti, on the contrary, chose to declare war in an interview with the economic magazine L'Agefi. While the apparent subject of the interview was the UBS gains from its investments in Vodafone, his remarks came down to an attack on the bank separation initiative, and, in particular, on SPP leader Christoph Blocher. In view of those financial gains, Ermotti said, it is understandable why people who want to strengthen the Swiss financial center and its banks, keep pushing bank separation. "It is also fundamentally difficult to carry out a professional discussion on the issue," he protested..... " http://larouchepac.com/node/28272 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8875360/Taxman-accused-of-letting-Vodafone-off-8-billion.html ( More Evidence of How the British Looted Detroit to Death http://larouchepac.com/node/27516 ) ( Detroit: Pensions or Derivatives? Glass-Steagall Would Have Made the Choice http://larouchepac.com/node/27528 ) http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gangster-bankers-too-big-to-jail-20130214 ( UBS, Scared by Glass-Steagall, Announces Fake Pre-Emptive 'Separation' http://larouchepac.com/node/28739 ) 4) GLASS-STEAGALL MOTION INTRODUCED IN ITALY'S VENETO REGION November 15, 2013 • 5:23PM A Lega Nord faction in the Veneto Regional Council introduced a Glass-Steagall Motion on Nov. 14, composed by the text voted by the Lombardy Regional Council and a section dedicated to the regional economy...............The signers include the entire Lega Nord faction plus three councilmen from three other parties. The section dedicated to the regional economy says that the Veneto banking system represents 10.7% of the national system, and that 43.8% of it is composed by cooperative banks....................................... Since 2008, "the Veneto economy has been thrown back of seven years"; unemployment has risen to 7.5% and family consumption fell of 2.3%. After a description of the historical Glass-Steagall Act and the Italian 1936 Banking Act, the Motion calls on the Italian government to draft a bill for "separating commercial banks and investment banks after the principles and the model of the Glass-Steagall Act," and promoting banks linked to local communities. It also calls on the European Parliament, the ECB, and the Ecofin of EU finance, economic, and treasury ministers, to review the bail-in mechanism in order to exclude all depositors and corporate accounts, "even those not protected. Signed: Caner, Bassi, Cappon, Ciambetti, Conte, Manzato, Finozzi, Lazzarini, Tosato, Toscani, Possamai, Finco, Cenci, Sandri, Valdegamberi, Franchetto, Furlanetto, Corazzari, Stival, Foggiato. " http://larouchepac.com/node/28888 ( Glass-Steagall Campaign in Italy http://larouchepac.com/node/28706 ) " "The Glass-Steagall Act, was repealed in 1999 by Clinton, whereas in Italy the 1936 Banking Act was superseded by the Single Act of 1993, which opened the doors to 'universal banking,' combining traditional activities with financial ones, including speculation." http://larouchepac.com/node/28732 THE 1936 BANKING ACT WAS ABOLISHED DURING THE GOVERNMENT OF GIULIANO AMATO. giuliano amato IS A PUPPET OF THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY. " On being offered fine Italian wines by Giuliano Amato, the former Prime Minister, at a dinner in Rome, he [Prince Philip] is said to have uttered: "Get me a beer. I don't care what kind it is, just get me a beer!" http://ourlifeinacaravan.blogspot.ru/2012/04/q-is-for-queen.html amato WAS ALSO A SENIOR ADVISOR OF DEUTSCHE BANK. https://www.db.com/medien/en/content/press_releases_2010_4871.htm FOR COINCIDENCE giuliano amato IS A MASON. " giuliano amato ENJOYS GOOD RELATIONSHIPS AND FRIENDSHIPS IN THE ANGLO-SAXON MASONIC WORLD AND IN CERTAIN SUPRANATIONAL MASONIC ENVIRONMENTS RELATED TO THE FINANCE AND TO THE GERMAN BANKING WORLD". http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2013/02/06/caso-mps-gioele-magaldi-mussari-e-nella-massoneria-da-molto-tempo/491604/ BUT AS WE HAVE ALREADY NOTICED THE GERMAN BANKING WORLD IS CONTROLLED BY LONDON " Rather P-1, P-2 and Freemason lodges worldwide – which house the real mafia – are chartered by the delicate tea-sipping white glove hands of the Duke of Kent in London – who answers directly to his cousin Queen Elizabeth II, the Bush family relative who presides over the British House of Windsor. ........ Dope Inc.: The Book that Drove Kissinger Crazy. The Editors of Executive Intelligence Review. Washington, DC. 1992. p.367. " http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/bnl-p-2-the-gnomes-of-zurich/ napolitano HAS APPOINTED giuliano amato AS JUDGE OF THE ITALIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuliano_Amato napolitano APPOINTED DEUTSCHE BANK AS JUDGE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ? giorgio napolitano, THE PRESIDENT OF ITALY, IS A MASON AND A PUPPET OF THE ROTHSCHILDS. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgio_Napolitano IN THIS LINK http://www.altrestorie.org/print.php?news.1659 THERE IS A LETTER SENT BY napolitano TO GUSTAVO RAFFI, GRAND MASTER OF THE GRAND ORIENTE LODGE, WHERE EXPRESSES HIS APPRECIATION FOR THIS MASONIC LODGE. 5) NATO THAT IS CONTROLLED BY THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL HAS STRONG RELATIONS WITH THE ROTHSCHILDS. " Bankers love NATO, because NATO loves the bankers. If you want to get an idea just go on the site of the North Atlantic Council, to discover that among the sponsors of the Council are all the major multinational companies, and not just only of the finance. There are even Coca-Cola and Google. The seats of honor are for Deutsche Bank, the usual Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan." http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Finformazioneconsapevole.blogspot.com%2F2011%2F10%2Fagli-indignati-non-far-sapere-quanto-la.html A) BLOODY BARONS THAT CONTROL THE NATO ARE INSTALLING THE POWERFUL AND DANGEROUS RADAR MUOS IN THE CITY OF NISCEMI (ITALY) WITH THE AID OF THEIR LOCAL MAFIA http://www.nomuos.info/en/muos-e-droni-la-sicilia-piattaforma-delle-guerre-del-xxi-secolo/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_User_Objective_System " There are only three other ground stations like the Muos in the world, producing very high electromagnetic fields. And they’re all built in some desert areas of Virginia, Hawaii and Australia. In Sicily, for some mysterious reasons, it looked OK to place the Muos five kilometres from the town of Niscemi, in a unique nature reserve and way too close to the civil population. .......with serious risk of causing, in the short and long term, severe degenerative disease in the population, such as cancer and leukemia." http://www.nowitaly.com/now-italy/15488/muos-an-ecological-bomb-in-the-mediterranean B) OBAMA, MERKEL, EUROPEAN UNION AND NATO ARE PUSHING FOR NEW WORLD ORDER. http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/us-ambassador-to-germany-trans-atlantic-cooperation-is-indispensable http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/__pr/P__Wash/2013/06/19-TTIP-Berlin.html MONSANTO IS PUSHING SECRETELY FOR AN ECONOMIC UNION BETWEEN UNITED STATES AND THE EUROPEAN UNION ( Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP) BUT ALSO FOR Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) AND Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). " Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are grabbing headlines around the world. Meanwhile, Asia’s own mega-regional trade deal — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — is quietly being negotiated. But it deserves more press: the RCEP could create the world’s largest trading bloc and have significant implications for the world economy. So what would the RCEP cover and who will it benefit? " http://ronmamita.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/tpp-ttip-and-rcep/ " The TPP is a proposed free trade agreement under negotiation by (as of August 2013) Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan,[9] Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Strategic_Economic_Partnership http://ronmamita.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/the-tpp-is-by-far-the-largest-and-most-oppressive-economic-treaty-devised-thus-far/ " Both the TTP and the TTIP remove control of the participating country's economy, placing it in the governing international trade body, similar to how the Brussels-based European Union usurped sovereignty of the captive European nations. Both treaties are treated as secret, but it is known that provisions of the governing body will override individual nations' laws on critical matters such as health care, trade flows, and government run or assisted industries. " http://larouchepac.com/node/28447 " In addition to being a trade deal, the TTIP, places heavy regulations on climate and food industries, proving this agreement has more to it than meets the eye. The language that was written for the TTIP could open doors for companies like Monsanto, allowing them to push their genetically engineered food production overseas as well as in the United States. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has been a very outspoken critic of the TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP, had this to say about the Transatlantic deal: “US seed companies that for a decade have been struggling to break the deadlock over the authorization for the cultivation of their [GM] seeds now will be presented with the ultimate opportunity to change the entire process to suit their needs.” " http://21stcenturywire.com/2013/07/09/transatlantic-trade-deal-being-pushed-in-secret-amidst-the-nsa-scandal/ http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/4329021-companies-can-lay-down-law MONSANTO AND BLACKWATER ARE LINKED WITH BILL GATES. " Almost simultaneously with the publication of this article in The Nation, the Via Campesina reported the purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which with this action completed the outing of the mask of "philanthropy." " http://english.pravda.ru/business/companies/14-10-2010/115363-machines_of_war_blackwater_monsanto_billgates-0/ http://larouchepac.com/node/27742 http://whale.to/a/monsanto_h.html http://whale.to/c/cartels.html http://larouchepac.com/node/27469 http://ronmamita.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/companies-that-use-monsanto-products-boycott-all/ BILL GATES IS LINKED WITH THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY AND WITH GOLDMAN SACHS BOTH FRONTS OF THE ROTHSCHILDS. http://www.nwrage.org/content/bill-gatess-so-called-philanthropic-foundation-buys-monsanto-and-goldman-sacks-stocks " Gates was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/rothschilds-hidden-behind-obama-and-the-genocidal-obamacare/ THESE DANGEROUS ECONOMIC UNIONS ( TTIP TPP RCEP ) HAVE ECONOMIC NATURE BUT, VERY PROBABLY, IN THE FUTURE WILL BECOME ALSO MONETARY UNIONS AND AT THE END WE WILL HAVE A GLOBAL CURRENCY. ALSO THE EUROPEAN UNION STARTED LIKE ECONOMIC UNION BUT THEN BECAME A TOTALITARIAN MONETARY UNION. http://www.singleglobalcurrency.org/documents/ArticleEconomist1988GetReadyforthePhoenix_001.doc BUT OBAMA, MERKEL, EU AND NATO ARE LINKED WITH THE BARONS THAT CONTROL GOLDMAN SACHS AND DEUTSCHE BANK AND THUS ARE THESE BARONS THAT PUSH FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER. http://wikimapia.org/6825620/fr/Chateau-de-Pregny http://www.panoramio.com/photo/77169200 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waddesdon http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/ http://www.thefullwiki.org/Waddesdon_Manor http://www.thefullwiki.org/Ascott_House http://www.breathingenglishair.blogspot.fr/2012/04/ascott-house-buckinghamshire.html "The German government’s policy on debt restructuring for Greece is lifted directly from policy papers prepared by the Deutsche Bank, it has emerged............... The revelation that the Finance Ministry in Berlin just takes over the contents of policy papers of Deutsche Bank offers yet more proof that Chancellor Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schäuble are puppets of the commercial banks. Merkel and Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann attended this year’s Bilderberg conference in Switzerland and would have had ample opportunity to discuss ways and means to expropriate yet more money from the tax payers under one pretext or another. " http://water pressure.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/jane-burgermeister-report-deutsche-bank-writes-german-finance-ministry%e2%80%99s-greek-debt-policy-ard-documentary-reveals/ 6) CORRUPT AND CRIMINAL EUROPEAN UNION HAS PREPARED BIG FUND (EUROPEAN STABILITY MECHANISM) WITH THE MONEY OF THE EUROPEAN CITIZENS TO SAVE SOME BANKRUPT BANKS. http://larouchepac.com/node/23172 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-29/728-trillion-presenting-bank-biggest-derivative-exposure-world-hint-not-jpmorgan ITALY AND THE EUROPEAN UNION ARE WELL CONTROLLED BY GOLDMAN SACHS. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/what-price-the-new-democracy-goldman-sachs-conquers-europe-6264091.html ( FIVE YEARS LATER: RED CROSS, CARITAS WARN OF EUROPE'S DESCENT INTO HELL http://larouchepac.com/node/28529 ) 1) ITALY IS INCREASING ITS DEBT IN ORDER TO POUR, IN SEVERAL INSTALLMENTS, OVER 125 BILLIONS TO THE ESM: 2) ITALY WILL INCREASE FOR A SECOND TIME ITS DEBT WHEN WILL ASK AS LOAN A PART OF THAT SAME MONEY WITH USURIOUS INTERESTS BY THE ESM IN ORDER TO GIVE THEM TO THE BANKS. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.comedonchisciotte.org%2Fsite%2Fmodules.php%3Fname%3DNews%26file%3Darticle%26sid%3D12431%26mode%3Dthread%26order%3D0%26thold%3D0 ITALY ARE ABANDONING ITS DISABLED PEOPLE WITHOUT BENEFITS AND WELFARE IN ORDER TO SAVE THE BANKS. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nuovaresistenza.org%2F2013%2F10%2F26%2Flitalia-abbandona-piu-deboli%2F ( Poverty Has Doubled in Five Years in Italy http://larouchepac.com/node/28725 ) 7) " VIOLENT REVOLTS IN BRITTANY, A TASTE OF GREECE IN FRANCE October 31, 2013 • 10:56AM The French region of Brittany, once the model of the post-war industrial reconstruction and modernization policies, has in recent weeks and days entered into profound crisis. Last weekend a demonstration of some 1,000 farmers and entrepreneurs became a violent confrontation with the police. One of the demonstrators lost his hand when a grenade he was launching exploded, another one was gravely wounded. Apparently, what led to a mass revolt in the region is an ecology tax on heavy transporters adopted by Sarkozy, but which the Socialists with their Greenie allies are now imposing throughout France. Brittany is a very extended region with a highly developed and integrated agro-food sector, which would be taxed much more than other regions.........." http://larouchepac.com/node/28726 " But behind this ecological tax there is another issue, which has never been submitted to public debate: this is the first time that the collection of the tax is entrusted to private companies. A consortium led by Benetton, Goldman Sachs, Thales and SFR receives 20% of the tax revenues to ensure its collection. Something similar has never seen before!............. "The eco-tax is without doubt expensive," admits Marie-Hélène Des Esgaulx. For a total of 1.2 billion euros collected, approximately EUR 280 million are devoted to the remuneration of the private company that ensures the collection. 23% [1]! It is the most expensive fee ever implemented!........ http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bastamag.net%2Farticle3465.html IN CONCRETE THE BENETTON FAMILY IS A COVER OF THE ROTHSCHILDS. ALESSANDRO BENETTON WORKED FOR GOLDMAN SACHS INTERNATIONAL. https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alessandro_Benetton http://larouchepac.com/node/28958 8) THE ROBBER BARONS AND THEIR ORGY OF PRIVATISATIONS IN ITALY enrico letta, THE PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY IS PROCEEDING TO THE SELLING OUT OF ITALY. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Letta enrico letta IS A PUPPET OF GOLDMAN SACHS BECAUSE HIS UNCLE gianni letta IS "A MEMBER OF THE ADVISORY BOARD OF GOLDMAN SACHS INTERNATIONAL". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianni_Letta enrico letta WAS APPOINTED AS PRIME MINISTER BY THE MASON PRESIDENT OF ITALY napolitano. letta IS SUPPORTED BY THE "DEMOCRATIC" PARTY. CARDHOLDER No 1 OF THIS PARTY IS THE FINANCER carlo de benedetti " CURRENTLY ON THE SUPERVISORY BOARD OF THE COMPAGNIE FINANCIERE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD BANQUE (PARIS) " OWNED BY BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD AND ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD. http://2012.festivaleconomia.eu/en/people/carlo-de-benedetti THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WAS FOUNDED ALSO WITH THE CONTRIBUTION OF TONY BLAIR THE FRIEND OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2007/2007_20-29/2007_20-29/2007-22/pdf/22-23_722.pdf THE ITALIAN PRESS STATES THAT silvio berlusconi WILL NOT SUPPORT ANYMORE THE letta GOVERNMENT. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvio_Berlusconi berlusconi IS COMPLETELY UNRELIABLE FOR VARIOUS REASONS. berlusconi IS ALSO LINKED WITH GOLDMAN SACHS THROUGH THE PERSON OF TONY BLAIR, THE FRIEND OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. " Prime Ministers Blair and Berlusconi today confirmed the 'excellent relationship' that exists between the UK and Italy in a summit in London. Mr Blair said the talks today were "amicable, productive and constructive". "I really do not think the relationship between Britain and Italy has ever been stronger," he said at a press conference following the meeting." http://www.declarepeace.org.uk/captain/murder_inc/site/copeland.html berlusconi IS ALSO THE HOLDER OF THE CARD No 1816 OF THE MASONIC LODGE P2. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.societacivile.it%2Ffocus%2Farticoli_focus%2Fmassoni%2Fp2.html http://www.societacivile.it/focus/articoli_focus/massoni/p2.html http://larouchepac.com/node/15745 ( SILVIO [BERLUSCONI] E GIORGIO [NAPOLITANO], AFFINITY AND "BROTHERHOOD” ? http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.affaritaliani.it%2Fcronache%2Fsilvio-e-giorgio-affinit-e-fratellanza151113.html ) A) letta IS SELLING THE COMPANIES ENI, STM, ENAV, SACE, FINCANTIERI, CDP RETI, TAG AND GRANDI STAZIONI. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ilpost.it%2F2013%2F11%2F22%2Fprivatizzazioni-governo-letta-eni-cassa-depositi-e-prestiti%2F ( United Against the privatizations ! Alongside with the Fincantieri workers! http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marx21.it%2Fitalia%2Fsindacato-e-lavoro%2F23129-contro-la-privatizzazione-uniti-a-fianco-dei-lavoratori-della-fincantieri.html ) B) " In the television performance of PILLAGER [finance minister] Saccomanni, aroused particular wonder the hypothesis to privatize, in addition to ENI, also the RAI........ The interesting aspect of the RAI in the eyes of privatisation lobby, concerns something else, precisely its not negligible real estate. The "public" broadcasting entity owns many buildings and land, located in almost every region of Italy. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAI RAI OWNS ABOUT 660,000 SQUARE METERS OF REAL ESTATE !!!. http://www.immobili.rai.it/ http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.immobili.rai.it%2F https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabrizio_Saccomanni " The privatisation of real estate does not give nothing to the State, but It costs, and even very much.....Saccomanni has decided to find the necessary money, almost two billion euro within the next four years, in an institute like the INAIL, the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work. " SACCOMANNI IS PAYNG THE ROBBER BARONS TO STEAL OUR HOME ? "In the INAIL there is still a lot to plunder, because is not only a financial safe, but also owns a huge real estate. Although the sales of the past few years, INAIL still owns a real estate rather rich and varied, ranging from historic buildings of architectural and artistic value, until the offices and the apartments. " http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.a-realestate.it%2Fnews%2Fspeciali%2F111006_inail.html%3Fpg%3D2 ( ITALY WILL SELL OFF HISTORIC CASTLES TO RESTORE THE BUDGETARY HOLES http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.comedonchisciotte.org%2Fsite%2Fmodules.php%3Fname%3DNews%26file%3Darticle%26sid%3D12458 ) " The Wall Street Journal recently reported the renewed interest for U.S. and German multinationals for the Italian real estate; " http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304330904579137381040342114 http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fterracinasocialforum.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F10%2F31%2Fcolto-con-le-mani-nel-sacco-manni%2F THESE MULTINATIONALS ARE REALY AMERICAN AND GERMAN ? C) REVOLT OF THE TRAM DRIVERS IN GENOA AGAINST THE PRIVATISATION OF THE LOCAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.comedonchisciotte.org%2Fsite%2Fmodules.php%3Fname%3DForums%26file%3Dviewtopic%26t%3D65284 D) THE NEWSPAPER "L'ESPRESSO" RAISES SCANDALS ABOUT THE WATER OF THE CITY OF NAPLES STATING THAT IS POISONED. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.comedonchisciotte.org%2Fsite%2Fmodules.php%3Fname%3DNews%26file%3Darticle%26sid%3D12596 SOMEONE SUSPECTS THAT BEHIND THESE SCANDALS IS HIDDEN THE INTENTION TO PRIVATIZE THE WATER OF THE CITY OF NAPLES. THE NEWSPAPER L'ESPRESSO IS CONTROLLED BY CARLO DE BENEDETTI, A MAN OF THE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD, AND BY THE FAMILY CARACCIOLO. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruppo_Editoriale_L%27Espresso THE FAMILY CARACCIOLO IS RELATED WITH THE FAMILY AGNELLI AND WITH THE COMPANY FIAT. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Caracciolo FIAT IS CONNECTED WITH LAZARD. " Lazard’s role in destructuring the U.S. automobile industry is nothing new. The bank has long represented Italy’s Fiat, holding a seat on its board and assisting in its international operations. " "Lazard, through its investments in the business enterprises of the Bush family, has played a key role in inflicting two Bush Presidents upon the world, and it was Rothschild’s George Soros who bailed George W. Bush out of his failed oil venture. " http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2006/2006_20-29/2006_20-29/2006-26/pdf/14_626_feat.pdf THE FAMILY BUSH AND SOROS ARE LINKED WITH CARLYLE/BLACKSTONE FRONT OF THE ROTHSCHILDS. http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/bin-laden-the-911-illusion-part-ii-deutsche-bank-blackstone/ http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/rothschilds-hidden-behind-obama-and-the-genocidal-obamacare/ ARE JACOB ROTHSCHILD, BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD, ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD THE TRUE OWNERS OF SOME COMPANIES THAT WANT TO ROB THE WATER OF NAPLES ? http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ilmanifesto.it%2Fattualita%2Fnotizie%2FmricN%2F10048%2F IN CONCRETE BEHIND THESE PRIVATISATIONS ARE HIDDEN MONETARY INTERESTS OF DEUTSCHE BANK. There is a document entitled " Revenue, competition, grouth " (Potential for privatisation in the euro area ) signed by Dieter Bräuninger, Senior Economist of the department of Deutsche Bank Research. " An important text because it helps to understand better who are the "financial markets", that every day reject or promote certain policies of individual governments. The request that is addressed directly to the so-called Troika, European Commission, ECB and IMF is the massive and deep privatization of the system of social welfare and public services for a worth of hundreds of billions of euros for the following countries: France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland.............. " http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffiom-insiel.blogspot.com%2F2012%2F06%2Fla-deutsche-bank-e-il-piano-di.html http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000281545.pdf " Professor Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, and former Chairman of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, goes public over the World Bank's, "Four Step Strategy," which is designed to enslave nations to the bankers. I summarize this below, Step One: Privatization. This is actually where national leaders are offered 10% commissions to their secret Swiss bank accounts in exchange for them trimming a few billion dollars off the sale price of national assets. Bribery and corruption, pure and simple. " http://www.iamthewitness.com/books/Andrew.Carrington.Hitchcock/Synagogue.of.Satan/1998-2002.htm letta,saccomanni AND company ARE PREPARING TO TAKE THE HUGE TANGENT OF 10% BY DEUTSCHE BANK ? 9) THE CRUEL BARONS OF BRITAIN GOLDMAN SACHS CONTROLS ALSO BRITAIN BECAUSE THE GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND IS A MAN OF GOLDMAN SACHS. ( Bank of England Head Carney Hangs Out His Shingle: Financial Cancer Welcome Here http://larouchepac.com/node/28692 ) ( Rebuilding the Brutish Empire Step by Step http://larouchepac.com/node/28709 ) carney, osborne and cameron WHILE ARE MAKING PLANS FOR THE BANKS, IN THE SAME TIME ARE ABANDONING THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE OF THE SOCIETY IN THE MISERY !!! http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/apr/20/david-cameron-jersey-panama-geneva http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1080666/Multi-millionaire-Nat-Rothschild-Osbornes-200-000-gift.html http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/163850bn-official-cost-of-the-bank-bailout-1833830.html "UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT DENOUNCED FOR CRIMES AGAINST DISABLED PEOPLE TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT IN THE HAGUE" http://www.mssociety.org.uk/forum/everyday-living/united-kingdom-government-denounced-crimes-against-disabled-people-internation http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/sep/12/private-firms-disability-assessment-regime http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/charity-sector-lobbied-jeremy-hunt-to.html http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/over-60-mps-connected-to-companies.html http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/nhs-privatisation-compilation-of.html "EXCLUSIVE: RED CROSS LAUNCHES EMERGENCY FOOD AID PLAN FOR UK’S HUNGRY" http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-red-cross-launches-emergency-food-aid-plan-for-uks-hungry-8872496.html "10,600 SICK & DISABLED PEOPLE DIED LAST YEAR WITHIN SIX WEEKS OF THEIR CLAIM ENDING " http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/10/04/10600-sick-disabled-people-died-last-year-within-six-weeks-of-their-claim-ending/ " BEDROOM TAX BLAMED FOR GRAN'S DEATH " http://www.standard.co.uk/panewsfeeds/bedroom-tax-blamed-for-grans-death-8612630.html " BRITISH CHILDREN ILL-TREATED IN PRIVATE JAILS http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/british-children-ill-treated-in-private-jails/ THE BIGGEST SHAREHOLDER OF G4S, THAT MANAGES DETENTION CENTRES IN BRITAIN, IS TWEEDY, BROWNE. http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=GFSZF " In 1997 Tweedy, Browne was purchased by the holding company Affiliated Managers Group for $300 million. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweedy,_Browne " Sean M. Healey was appointed chairman [of Affiliated Managers Group] in October 2010, served as president and CEO since May 2001 and in other senior management positions since 1995........... Prior to joining AMG Healey was a vice president in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department at Goldman, Sachs & Co. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affiliated_Managers_Group THEREFORE THE ATROCITIES OF G4S ARE LINKED WITH GOLDMAN SACHS AND WITH THE PERSONS OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD, BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD, ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD AND EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD. 10) THE GREEK POLICY IS COMPLETELY CONTROLLED BY DEUTSCHE BANK THROUGH ITS CORRUPT PUPPETS samaras, venizelos AND THE mitsotakis family https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonis_Samaras https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelos_Venizelos https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyriakos_Mitsotakis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dora_Bakoyannis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_Mitsotakis http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15740 http://giorgos-vamvakousis.blogspot.ch/2010/03/redaktion-f-ocus-magazine-steinhauser.html " One former Pasok official, Theodoros Tsoukatos, has admitted that he accepted €400,000 from the local Siemens boss as an election contribution in 1999, when he was a prime ministerial aide responsible for collecting political donations. Amid the furore, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a New Democracy deputy who is the son of a former prime minister, recently paid an overlooked bill for a switchboard that was supplied to his private office by Siemens, after a copy of the invoice was printed in a Greek newspaper." http://teacherdudebbq.blogspot.com/2009_05_31_archive.html http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/11/14/athens-fired-school-guard-attacks-minister/ The “Proposal for Greek liability management exercise – burden sharing without haircuts” with voluntary participation of banks in the rescue, presented by Germany earlier this month and that is now at the center of heated debate across Europe on the euro crisis, were the work of Deutsche Bank. The outline of the letter sent on June 6 at the European Central Bank and the Ecofin by German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, were made by the leading German bank, under the leadership of its chief, Josef Ackermann." http://lacomunidad.elpais.com/la-abadia-de-theleme/2011/6/19/grecia-es-del-deutsche-bank A) DEUTSCHE BANK DEPRIVES THE GREEK PEOPLE OF THE MEDICAL INSURANCE " Recently Greece took the «honor» of first place in Europe for reducing budget expenditures on health services. In particular, expenditures on medications were reduced from 5.6 billion euros (2010) to 3.8 billion euros in 2011 and to 2.88 billion euros in 2012. As a direct result of this, over 50 world pharmaceutical companies have discontinued shipments of medications to Greece. It has become common for relatives of hospital patients to have to run exhausting marathons from pharmacy to pharmacy in search of needed medications. There is an acute shortage of medical equipment. State hospitals are short around 6,500 doctors and 20,000 nurses and orderlies; massive numbers of medical professionals are leaving the country. Even those who are employed have difficulty paying for medical services, whose prices have abruptly shot up. More and more often people don't have the money to obtain quality medical assistance, especially in rural regions and on the islands. In a UN expert report published in May 2013, it was noted that over 10% of the total population of the country live in conditions of extreme poverty. Greece remains the only country in the Eurozone with no complex social assistance scheme, healthcare services are almost inaccessible to poor and low-income citizens, and almost a third of the population does not have state medical insurance. " http://theglobalrealm.com/2013/08/30/greece-a-social-explosion-is-inevitable/ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/07/30/athens-sos-urgent-appeal-for-cancer-patient-without-insurance http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/07/31/austrian-ngo-supplies-greek-hospital-with-drugs-paramedic-material-for-uninsured-patients/ http://larouchepac.com/node/28429 http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/10/24/greek-police-raids-volunteers-health-clinic-providing-uninsured-citizens-with-medical-assistance/ B) GREECE IS ONE OF THE FEW STATES OF THE WORLD THAT KEEPS THE PRISON FOR STATE DEBTORS AND THE UNIQUE IN EUROPE. " Debts and Prison Penalties A debtor owing 5,000 euro may go to prison to 12 months 10,000+ euro – at least 6 months 50,000+ euro – at least one year 150,000+ euro – at least three years " ( Greece: LAGER as prison for state debtors ) http://leconomistamascherato.blogspot.com/2013/04/greece-lager-as-prison-for-state-debtors.html C) DEUTSCHE BANK BLACKMAILS AND CUTS THE ELECTRICITY IF GREEKS DO NOT PAY EXORBITANT TAXES ON THE PROPERTY. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/sep/27/greece-property-tax-vote-venizelos http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/11/15/every-months-greek-ppc-cuts-electricity-to-30000-customers/ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/11/28/greek-christmas-five-extra-taxes-to-be-paid-in-december/ http://histologion.blogspot.gr/2013/02/the-greek-debacle-2013-of-paupers-and.html http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/10/04/how-the-greek-tax-office-will-seize-your-home-if-you-have-debts/ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/10/17/the-long-arm-of-greek-tax-office-confiscates-unemployment-allowance-as-well/ ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE 46, SUBPARAGRAPH B OF THE LAW 4172 OF 2013, THE ROTHSCHILD BANK OF GREECE IS EXEMPTED FROM THE PAYMENT OF ANY FEE. D) GREECE IN CRISIS-DRAMATIC INCREASE OF SUICIDES: 3,124 PEOPLE IN 2009-2012 http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/11/22/greece-in-crisis-dramatic-increase-of-suicides-3124-people-in-2009-2012/ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/04/15/athens-a-jobless-an-unpaid-worker-two-men-commit-suicide-on-a-single-day/ E) ATHENS: DEAF-MUTE WOMAN THREATENING TO COMMIT SUICIDE RESCUED " The president of Deaf Federation told reporters that the woman is not the only one in desperate situation because her social welfare allowances have been cut. “All deaf people in this country are in the same situation because they have not received their welfare allowances for the last 6-8 months.” Greece saw a sharp increase of suicides due to economic problems after the country sought the aid of the International Monetary Fund. According to Greek Police from May 2010 until now, 837 suicides have taken place..... " http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/12/18/athens-deaf-mute-woman-threatening-to-commit-suicide-rescued/ F) VILE AND FASCIST barons, HIDDEN IN THE DARKNESS, GAVE THE ORDER TO THE GREEK GOVERNMENT TO CLOSE THE HELLENIC BROADCASTING CORPORATION. " Development Minister: We shutdown ERT to please the Troika " http://beforeitsnews.com/international/2013/07/greek-development-minister-we-shutdown-ert-to-please-the-troika-2461794.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenic_Broadcasting_Corporation " The term troika has been widely used in Greece (Greek: τρόικα),[1] Ireland,[2] Portugal [3] and Spain [4] to refer to the presence of the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund in these countries since 2010 and the financial measures that these governments have taken. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troika_%28triumvirate%29 " Greek police arrests personnel of shutdown ERT " http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/07/30/26652/ http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18335-the-shutdown-of-ert-and-greeces-media-landscape-a-modern-day-wild-wild-west "UPDATES Athens: riot police raid ERT broadcaster at 4 am More than 15 riot police squads raided the building of former public broadcaster ERT at 4 a.m. Thursday morning. The raid took place five months after the overnight shut down of ERT on June 11th 2013. ERT personnel was sacked. Journalists and technicians had been occupying ERT since then and broadcasting live program on 24/7 basis.Riot police squads enter the building form a side entrance and fired tear gas in the yard to disperse a crowd of occupiers’ supporters. " http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/11/07/athens-riot-police-raid-ert-broadaster-at-4-am-journos-detained/ THE "GREEK" MINISTER OF THE PUBLIC ORDER nikos dendias, THAT GAVE THE O
          Getting Personal with Michael Horn in Indy         

 By Doug Martin

 â€œIn 15 years from now, half of US universities may be in bankruptcy. In the end I’m excited to see that happen. So pray for Harvard Business School if you wouldn’t mind.”  Clayton Christensen (2013)

“Thank God for Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn.” Jeb Bush

(NOTE: Michael Horn also is helping Mitch Daniels, but that topic goes beyond the scope of this blogpost)

When Michael Horn keynotesthe Metropolitan School District of Warren Township’s Blended Learning Forum in Indianapolis at Creston Intermediate/ Middle School on July 20, 2017, the Harvard Business School graduate will be welcomed by the school reform crowd, since it won’t be the first time his Christensen Institute has mingled in Indiana. 

Horn and his mentor Clayton Christensen* specialize in convincing educators and politicians that personalized learning, through technology, can save a so-called failing and outdated school system.  The two co-founded the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation (formerly known as the Innosight Institute*), now a San Francisco Bay area think tank.  Although he has shuffled into a new job with Entangled Solutions, Horn is still listed as a distinguished fellow at the Christensen Institute. 

Clayton Christensen, a Harvard business professor, is glorified in the business community for his theories supposedly explaining how disruption “takes rootinitially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.” In the case of education, the “established competitors” to be displaced by “personalized” computer-based learning are public school teachers, since blended learning and online educational environments allow for a reduced labor force and will eventually lead to the elimination of brick-and-mortar schools altogether, edtech leaders hope.  

Besides pocketing over $3.4 million in Gates Foundation money over the years, the Christensen Institute has received high esteem from those determined to privatize public education from pre-school to university.  For the Christensen Institute and the billionaires, the end-game plan means first gaining access to the schoolhouse itself then using administrators and educators (like those at the MSD of Warren Township conference) to spread the technology and so-called personalized learning from school district to school district.


Michael Horn and the Christensen Institute have connections at the Indianapolis-based Mind Trust.  Horn was a member of the Mind Trust/Public Impact advisory panel for the October 2015 report, “Raising the Bar: Why Public Charter Schools Must Become Even More Innovative.”

The Christensen Institute’s  senior research fellow, Thomas Arnett, an earlier Teach for America member and author of “Teaching in the Machine Age: How Innovation Can Make Bad Teachers Good and Good Teachers Better," was at the Mind Trust-hosted Marian University conference in Indianapolis on January 6, 2017, where “top national and local education thought leaders and pioneers, converged upon” campus “for a ‘Teacher Innovation Pipeline Convening’ event to discuss The Educators College teacher preparation program changes.”

With a few national players, the Mind Trust Marian event was attended by a who’s who of Indiana school privatization forces:

--former state school chief Tony Bennett*, listed as a consultant for MGT

--Mind Trust’s David Harris

--former Indianapolis mayor’s charter school director Beth Bray, now the Walton Family Foundation’s program officer

--Public Impact’s Bryan Hassel

--Marian president and prior Indiana state board of education member Daniel J. Elsener

--Republican lawmaker Robert Behning, who is Marian’s directorof external affairs

--Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School’s Scott Bess

--longtime school reform ally Claire Fiddian-Green

--Indianapolis Public Schools’ human resource officer, Mindy Schlegel
--Brent Maddin, the founding provost at the Relay Graduate School of Education

--Teach to One Math’s Christopher Rush

--Maggie Runyan Shefa, the co-CEO of New Schools for New Orleans

--Derek Redelman, now vice president of research and policy at USA Funds

--Bellwether Education Partners’ Andy Rotherham

--Scott Jenkins, the Lumina Foundation’s strategy director and a former policy director for past Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Previous Mind Trust operative Ken Bubp, now commanding the Arnold Foundation’s education unit, also attended the Mind Trust Marian event. 

The Arnold Foundation, a Mind Trust funder, handed Christensen and Horn’s Innosight Institute $274,075from 2011-2012.  In October 2011 at a Philanthropy Roundtable event* in San Francisco, the Innosight Institute, the Arnold Foundation, Education Elements, and the NewSchools Venture Fund unveiled their  K-12 education technology market map, “designed to help investors, donors, and entrepreneurs better evaluate today’s landscape of education technology ventures.” Michael Horn, at the event, shared the stage with NewSchools Venture Fund’s then-CEO, Ted Mitchell, who later became Obama’s undersecretary of the Department of Education, and Education Elements’ Anthony Kim, introducing the map to, as Horn himself has written, “an audience of foundations and venture capitalists.” 

Michael Horn and the Christensen Institute also have friends at the Mind Trust-spinoff CEE-Trust.  In September 2012, when the Christensen Institute was still calling itself the Innosight Institute, Horn was on the “Launching an Inner-City Blended Learning School” panel at the Philanthropy Roundtable conferencein New York City, an event where Ethan Gray, head of CEE-Trust, also presented.  In 2013, Michael Horn did a CEE-Trust webinaron disruptive innovation with host Carrie Douglass, a past Broad Foundation resident and chief strategy officer forCEE-Trust.  With the Gates, Broad, and Dell foundations, the Charter School Growth Fund, Silicon Schools, and a few others, CEE-Trust and the Christensen Institute developed“A Working Definition of Personalized Learning,” now accepted as industry gospel.  

Horn has also praised Carpe Diem’s blended-learning enterprise, which now operates in Indianapolis, writing in 2011 that the charter school chain “is oneof the best-executed in terms of everything, to have rethought curriculum, instructional delivery, teacher role, and student supports.”  To create “smarterdemand” in edtech, Horn notes, foundations must “Create more examples of exemplar blended-learning school models, such as Carpe Diem’s schools and Rocketship Education,” educate “the general public, media, and parents around the potential of digital learning,” and “Help educate school leaders, states, and districts, for example, to know what questions to ask as they implement online and blended learning,” since disrupting the K-12 market means going “beyond input-focused metrics–around such things as seat time and student-teacher ratios.”


Along with the Jeb Bush and Tony Bennett-founded Chiefs for Change and ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), Michael Hornand the Christensen Institute are big advertisers for Course Access, available in Indiana after the 2017 passing of House Bill 1007, which “createsa course-by-course voucher program to enable students to enroll and pay for online courses funded by the student's public school.”

At the Texas statehouse on March12, 2015, Christensen’s senior research fellow Thomas Arnett testified before the Texas Senate Education Committee in favor of SB 894, a Course Access bill allowing students to grab classes through the Texas Virtual School Network, as did a representative from iNACOL, and favorable testimony from Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education followed the nextday.  

Course Access is meant to disrupt traditional public schools, siphon school funding to private online companies, allow cash-strapped districts not to hire or replace teachers, and help consulting firms land money by training schools on how to manage their outsourced courses. 

Michael Horn haspraised the tactic, stating “it takes school choice and ‘putsit on steroids.’” In an interview with Ron Matus at redefined, Horn says the MOOCs (the massive open online courses used at universities) and Course Access (also referred to as “Course Choice”) programs “blow up the geographic … scheme we’ve had for where someone goes to school.” He adds that students may still need a school of record to help students and parents manage their options. 

Patricia Burch, an associate professor of education and policy at the University of Southern California, worries that the Course Access maneuver, which has already been adopted by ten other states, can have a major impact on school districts’ budgets, since money for online courses will be sent not only across districts but also state lines, she told the Atlantic. 

Course Access, no doubt, could be a boon for K-12, Inc. and other online companies and platforms.  In fact, thanks to the lobbyingefforts of Chiefs for Change, where IPS’ Lewis Ferebee is now a member, the new ESSA federal law permitsstates to use 3 percent of their Title I funding—which amounts to $425 million—for programs which include online courses, personalized learning, and Course Access programs. 

In the introduction to a 2014 Course Access brief, Jeb Bush writes that “Havinga high-quality education must no longer depend on location. 
          Most of the news that’s fit to print        
Last week, Jason wrote a post questioning the effectiveness of Avahan, a Gates Foundation-funded program in India. What’s interesting is the disparate ways the media has portrayed the project’s results: The New York Times headline on October 10th, reads “India: … Continue reading
          45 Scholars Defend Propaganda Claim        
Well, not really.  In fact, they basically told me to pound sand through one of the professors serving as a spokesperson. 

I emailed an invitation to discuss the claim that the movie Food Evolution fit the criteria of propaganda, a claim that they made in a signed, public letter that has garnered much attention. Coverage of the letter describes the 45 signatories as "experts" and "prominent scientists, academics, and writers—many from UC Berkeley".  

I personally have a problem with referring to science as propaganda, and in today's contentious climate around climate, vaccines, and genetically engineered crops (the GMO story), dropping the word "propaganda" does three things.

1.  It invalidates the content as authentic representation of science. 

2.  It impugns the integrity of the scientists that participated.

3.  It harms application of technologies that could be helpful to people and environment. 

The Film

The film Food Evolution was not made by scientists. It was done by filmmakers that followed events as they were unfolding in Hawaii, Uganda, and New York, with minor visits to March Against Monsanto in Chicago and the Heirloom Expo in Modesto, CA.  They chronicled the story as it unfolded, offering time to all involved in the discussion. 

As it stands the film is a factually correct documentation of the stories unfolding in these locations, interspersed with interviews of folks for, and opposed to, crop biotechnology. 


The letter says, in no uncertain terms, the film "deserves to be called out for what it is: a piece of propaganda." 

The communications vehicle of "propaganda" has some specific criteria, although they are disputed even among scholars.  However, there is agreement that propaganda is a class of persuasion, and is typified by emotional appeals, faulty reasoning, use of fear, and is intended to manipulate the opinion of the targeted audience. 

So it is easy to see how the Berkeley 45 find comfort in calling this science propaganda.  The film shows that technology they loathe can help solve problems, and that some of their heroes don't look good opposing it.  To them, that satisfies the faulty reasoning tenet of propaganda.

But prominent scholars should consider critical evaluation of the subject and the ramifications of referring to a story of sound science as propaganda. Just because you don't like it, is it false, misleading or deceptive? 

Why this is Damaging

Their criticism letter offers no discussion of factual inaccuracies. Instead, the signatories attack the funding source, revel in what is not covered, and trash the credibility of participants - sometimes due to ancient associations. 

The film was funded by IFT, the Institute of Food Technologists. They commissioned the film as part of their 75th Anniversary.  This is a scientific society, made up by many professionals, scholars and other experts in food. 

But the Berkeley 45 need a boogeyman in order to harm the credibility of the film. They suggest a tie of funding to the biotech industry with no evidence. They also shun results of AAAS polls and the National Academies of Science, stating that there is no scientific consensus on GE crop safety, citing this dud of a paper that is signed by the usual subjects.  That's some smoking gun.  I guess everything in the movie is false. 

They also infer that Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, a centerpiece in the film, should not be trusted because she "has worked in the past for Monsanto."  Actually she worked for Calgene, which Monsanto bought, so she ended up there briefly until she was hired as faculty in Cooperative Extension at UC-Davis. 

The sad part is, that nobody in the Berkeley 45 refute what she says.  They imply that her employer for a short time, two decades ago, makes her unfit to be trusted. Prominent scholars. 

They also impeach former GMO crop wrecker Mark Lynas and his credibility because he was hired to help advance the discussion of biotech crops as part of a Gates Foundation grant to Cornell University.  Anyone that met Mark knows he's no Big Ag friend, and simply found the error of his ways by fighting science that can help the causes he cares for. But they disqualify him from the discussion in their letter. Prominent scholars. 

I'll go through the whole letter another time. It basically just says the film is junk because of the things it does not cover, and certainly in 90 minutes you can only do so much. And since it is a documentary, the filmmakers were constrained by events unfolding before them, which was the GMO News of the Day. 

Anyone paying any attention to food system issues knows that there is more to it than the movie covered.  

That does not make the stories within false or misleading, tantamount to their claim of propaganda.

My Invitation

I started to invite the people on the list to discuss the propaganda allegation, to be part of an episode of the Talking Biotech podcast. Anyone that listens knows that I cover sustainable farming and biotech foibles too, as I strive to be even handed. I was approaching the invitation honestly, stating that I disagreed, but was willing to be convinced. 

Read my unreasonable request and prepare to be outraged! This is a sample of the letter I sent to most of the people on the list. Some were different, personalized, etc. 

I only sent a few here and there, mostly because I'm busy and I didn't have time to do the whole set at once.  Plus, I didn't want to reach out to everyone.  The reason for this is apparent at the end of this article.

The exercise was important because I preach that scientists need to get out of their tribes, make sure that we are not just talking to each other in an echo chamber.  This was my attempt to reach out to others that clearly disagreed with me on a point, and try to understand their point of view.

I received a note from Dr. Marion Nestle. She will not defend her use of the term propaganda, and is not interested in talking to me until they remove her words from the film. So seeing as though I have nothing to do with the film, I guess she won't be talking to me.   
Michael Pollan kindly wrote back, but he's too busy with the next book to share his rationale for calling science, propaganda. 

Eventually I did hear back from one of the others on the list.  I won't name him/her (let's go with the gender-neutral Prof. X, sounds cool) but my feeling is that others have connected through Prof. X and suggested that Prof. X serve as a spokesperson. 

And so did Prof X engage me in scholarly inquiry and an opportunity to share thoughts in an evidence based discussion in an attempt to reach mutual understanding? 

Not really.  Instead he produces a link to Eric Lipton's New York Times hit piece that cherry picked quotes from my FOIA'd emails to tell an untrue story.  Prominent scholars. 

The gentle note from Prof X suggests that I'm just a paid stooge, "influenced by industry money." Other exchanges were pretty boring, mostly Prof X deflecting the opportunity to defend the propaganda claim, at one point saying, "GMO papaya cannot feed the world."  No shit Sherlock.

I'm really getting disappointed by prominent scholars.  They write a letter calling science propaganda, they shill-ize good scientists, and then refuse to have a dialog, citing an article in the New York Times that was loaded with distortion and a contrived narrative.  You'd think that prominent scholars might gauge my credibility from PubMed or Google Scholar.  However, that won't confirm their conclusions. 

Bad Optics for the Berkeley 45

I did my job in reaching out, but they obviously don't want to talk about science and evidence.  It is about conjecture about other scientists' shilly motivations and film funding, not about actual information.  But we come to expect that these days, just not from academics, especially expert prominent scholars.

One of the best parts of my job is mentoring grad students and early career faculty.  When I started to search for email addresses for the prominent scholars of the Berkeley 45, I realized that a large number of them are grad students and early career professors. 

As a university administrator,  I really have to question the judgment of these folks. Would you sign your name to a public document that says climate change is a hoax?  Would you sign your name to a public document that says vaccines cause autism?  Here they are trashing a technology that the National Academies clearly states has more benefit than risk by far, is not harmful to health and has important, manageable environmental impacts we need to address.  Why fight the NAS?  Oh, they are all shills too

The science of GE papayas, Xanhomonas-resistant bananas, and other technologies shown in the film is solid.  The film's demonstration that these technologies work and that there are people working hard to oppose their use is very accurate. 

So why people just starting out into the brutal science world would sign on to a permanent artifact that unfairly implies motivations of scientists and filmmakers that tell a true story, then denounce good technology as "propaganda" is beyond me. 

A better letter might read, "Food Evolution tells one part of the story, but here are some other things to think about as you view the film .."

That kind of high-road discussion does not tear down others, disparage technology, or claim that someone's employer 20 years ago pulls their strings.  

And everyone knows that it is true.  There's not a scientist worth a damn that says biotech will feed the world.  That's insane.  It is one strategy to solve specific problems. We all agree that the food system can use some fixing. We all agree that many things bigger than the food system need fixing. 

But we can't get to those discussions because of people parading around photos of lumpy rats and claiming a low-toxicity herbicide causes cancer.  We're so bogged down in dealing with the actual propaganda, that we can't begin to have real discussions that matter. 

To conclude 

I purposely didn't email everyone, and didn't name names here.  I'd like to see some reconsideration. I'd like to see some of the Berkeley 45 recant the chilling allegations and resort to what this discussion needs--- nuanced discussion about food and farming.  

And they have an out. They can always say I didn't contact them, as I didn't contact everyone on the list. They are like the person on the firing squad that has the blank so they know they might not have done the deed. 

People deserve second chances, and when they realize that it is unwise to trash people and technology to make their ideals seem more reasonable, their past indiscretions should not come back to haunt them. 

But in 2017 if someone says something you don't like he's a shill, and if there's information inconsistent with your worldview it may be written off as propaganda. 

A time will come soon when we can have that nuanced discussion about food and farming. Leaders and thinkers will enjoy honest discussion with a common goal.  Don't count on the entrenched prominent scholars of the Berkeley 45 to join us at that table. 

          Deeper dive on next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE) interoperability: part a: interoperable app inputs        

#4 of a series in preparation for May 2016 Learning Impact Leadership Institute

In the previous post of the series I laid out a perspective on interoperability for next generation digital learning environments from the perspective of an application being able to fit into a configurable constellation of educational apps.  I would now like to elucidate the key features that make said app and environment “next generation.” I will once again refer to the “Anatomy of an Interoperable Learning App” figure introduced in the previous post.

What might next gen learning apps know about the learner? What should they be allowed to know? What can be personalized in the user experience from that knowledge?

For next gen learning apps the objective is to enable better information inputs to allow the app to personalize the learning experience.  What is the information and what does the app do with it? Shown in the figure are some categories of potential inputs (on the left hand side) that are discussed further here:

Institutional context: This is the type of information that is typically found in a student information system (students, student grade level, courses, sections or other groupings). There are potential common languages for this from interoperability standards like OneRoster and Learning Information Services, as well as the Rostering (aka Membership) Services of Learning Tools Interoperability. While exchange of this sort of information is not especially “next gen,” enabling this exchange without the need for custom integrations and code writing is. The information is typically used to authorize use of the app as well as group users together (such as in a collaborative app). Information about who the user is can also be used to bring the student back to the place where they left off, store results in progress specific to the user, etc.

User context: This is information about the learning activities that the student is currently engaged in (reading, assessment, discussion, assignment, media, etc) when the app is launched.  User context is also information that the app can generate and output in the form of an activity description.  User context is an area that requires more work to develop a common language.  Standards work applicable to this is Caliper Analytics and Learning Design.  User context information could be used by the app to personalize how the app behaves. For instance, an assessment app might act differently if it is launched in conjunction with a reading activity, versus if it is launched as a separate assessment.  Again, this is a more advanced topic.  It is very “next gen” in that it enables an app to respond to the circumstances (activity sequence) in which it is launched.

User Preferences:  We all know that apps typically have some ability to allow the user to specify preferences.  For “next gen” digital learning environments to be personalized in a scalable way, there needs to be a way for the user to specify preferences one time and have that information propagated to all relevant apps.  These are not “app specific” preferences, but rather preferences that could be pertinent to most apps.  For instance, when a user interacts with apps on their smart phone they may have certain preferences for size of fonts, use of media, etc.  There is a rich body of interoperability work called Access for All that has developed a rich framework for describing personal needs and preferences (PNP).  Access for All is applicable to all users, but also has a rich foundation in accessibility (and has even been published as an ISO/IEC standard). PNP has been applied to high stakes assessment accessibility via the Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) standard.  One of the most important preference areas in education is privacy.  While the “setting privacy preferences in every app” model of consumer app stores may make sense for that world, it does not make sense for education. Students or parents need to be able to set privacy preferences once in the context of their institutional experience and then have those privacy options set as defaults for every app.  Therefore, for “next gen” learning environments, our expectation is that the privacy preferences will be selected from an interoperable privacy framework that is provided as an input to each app for each user.

Learner Profiles:  One of the potentially most valuable interoperable inputs for next gen learning apps is a learner profile. This is information that lets the app know where the student is in their learning experience and progression. It can be used to provide a personalized experience for the student. In some ways, the learner profile is the “holy grail” of next gen learning in that the better a learner’s “state” can be described the more personalized the learning experience could be. The problem of course is that no one knows exactly how to describe what a person knows or doesn’t know.  A learner “state” must be generated and kept for every adaptive learning or assessment app.  Is that state record standardized or interoperable? No, not at this point. In fact, such a description is probably considered to be the “secret sauce” of such products.  If the products are tracking progress toward agreed upon competencies or learning standards (like the U.S. K-12 Common Core) then it makes the possibilities of exchanging learning profiles greater.  But there are still a lot of nuances.  More light will potentially emerge at the end of that tunnel as adaptive summative testing becomes more mature.  Such testing will require well-defined “levels” of mastery to agreed upon learning standards.  However, even in the short-term there are some interesting possibilities.  For instance, in IMS right now we see tow more tractable paths to building and exchanging learner profiles.  In higher education the IMS community is developing ways to exchange competency frameworks among cooperating products in the educational enterprise.  In K-12 the IMS community is looking at taking small, but potentially powerful steps looking at profile items like reading level.  IMS does have some past work on learner profiles and competencies as well that may become applicable: Learner Information Package, ePortfolio and Reusable Definition of Competency or Educational Objective.

Ramifications on Next Gen Architectures

Getting the architecture “right” for next generation digital learning presents numerous opportunities and challenges.  Here are some questions that the education community needs to think through:

  1. Is there a software application that is best suited to be the keeper and provider (in terms of interoperability) of learner profiles? Should the learning management system or student information system do this?  Or, perhaps a competency management product? What about the new category that the Gates Foundation has been encouraging, Integrated Planning and Advising Systems (IPAS). Yet another possibility is a competency-oriented assessment product.
  2. Same question for entering, storing and sharing personal needs and preferences, including the all important privacy preferences?
  3. What pragmatic steps do we take in moving our institutional or product architecture forward as we build toward this future?

Next up in the series:  Deeper dive on next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE) interoperability: part b: interoperable app outputs


          Business and Education Leaders Preparing for New Test Scores        

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the State Department of Education, is promoting dialogue about the future of education in the Commonwealth. The business organization says the goal of creating a more highly-skilled workforce will depend upon the success of new education initiatives in the state.

Dr. Terry Holiday, the Commissioner of Education in Kentucky, says students and schools are now being evaluated with tougher standards, and test results that will be released in October will reflect that fact.

Chamber of Commerce President David Adkisson says there are currently jobs available for people with the right skill sets. He hopes to see Kentucky students better able to qualify for such jobs in the future.

          What’s a Potential Epidemic That No One Is Talking About?        

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Kamala Tirumalai, immunologist, Ph.D. mycobacteriology, on Quora:

When we hear the word epidemic, we typically think of diseases—often communicable diseases—but maybe we shouldn't. An epidemic that isn't so much potential, but real, has been with us for at least a century and is only increasing in importance: road injuries. Also important to remember that one doesn't need to be a driver to fall victim to road injuries. Victims include cyclists, motorcyclists, passengers, and pedestrians.

Rubbernecking was one of the first phrases I added to my vocabulary when I came to the U.S. Needless to say, I learned it in the context in which it is perhaps most often used: drivers slowing down to see what happened in a road accident. A 2014 report reckoned it involved 1.2 billion vehicles. That was expected to increase to 2 billion by 2035.

The thing about hidden epidemics is that we somehow learn to internalize certain costs, get habituated to them, and keep on moving. Dangers inherent to an automobile in motion are precisely the type of costs our brains seem wired to discount. I read an all too familiar regurgitation, that every time there's a plane crash, a statistical accounting of how much safer, despite that particular crash, plane travel is compared with automobiles. Numbers aren't apparently enough to leave an impression though. As prosperity increases around the world, increasing numbers of the newly affluent are taking to the roads in their new cars the world over, and inevitably, increasing numbers are dying or injured. After all, the driving habit is taking off in those places just as electronic distractions proliferate as well.

In my time behind the wheel, I've seen it all. From a seemingly endless stream of drivers with their eyes glued to their phones, to someone looking in her vanity mirror carefully applying mascara, another wielding an eyelash curler, someone else mouthing a spoonful, the other hand holding a bowl, drivers all. Wait a minute—that last one, did I really see that? I had to make sure I really did see it. Yes, no doubt about it, a driver behind the wheel eating his breakfast using a bowl and spoon, hands-free driving as far as I could tell. Rubbernecking. Did any of them, or me for that matter, seriously consider we would rubberneck or be the object of someone else's rubbernecking that day as we got in our cars and started driving? Of course not. If we'd done that, how could we overcome our fear-induced paralysis to start driving? Sheer habituation and following inevitably in its wake, a hidden in plain sight epidemic of road injuries and deaths. The fact remains that in the U.S., the lifetime chances of dying in a car accident are apparently 1 in 606 compared with 1 in 174,426 by lightning.

So let's look at some more numbers to better understand the contours of this particular epidemic. In 2015, the Lancet helpfully published a massive report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation–funded Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on global causes of mortality. First off, it included road injuries as one of the top 10 causes of global death in a list that includes the likes of heart disease, respiratory infection and stroke. Its analysis further concludes road injuries jumped up the list from No. 10 in 1990 to No. 5 in 2013.

While adding more granularity to road injury data, the World Health Organization’s 2015 global status report on road safety is the typical Curate's egg, some good bits. but mostly bad. According to the report, though road traffic fatalities plateaued between 2007 and 2013, they're increasing in middle- and low-income countries. Unfortunately, middle-income countries are where most of the world lives.

So what can be done? Can anything be done? The WHO data suggests it's going to be something we've seen before: a long, hard slog to enact and enforce safe driving practices. This includes traffic partitioning to protect those most vulnerable; tough drunk-driving and helmet laws; strictly enforced speed limits; and vehicles that meet not just basic safety standards, which shockingly most of them don't right now, but those that meet preferably the most stringent safety standards .

What are some potential epidemics that nobody is talking about, as of 2016? originally appeared on Quora. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. More questions:

          TOP 5 RICHEST MEN OF THE WORLD YEAR 2011        
Net Worth : US$ 74.0 billion

Age : 71 years old
Citizenship : Mexico
Sources of Wealth : Telmex, América Móvil, Grupo Carso

Carlos Slim Helu is again Forbes richest man of the world surpassing Microsoft's Bill Gates for the second time. He had a pretty comfortable life growing up as he has a wealthy real estate salesman father. Slim graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico with an engineering degree then later began investing in different business throughout the Mexican market. Not long afterwards, these businesses became the base of his conglomerate Grupo Carso.

Net Worth : US$ 56.0 billion

Age : 55 years old
Citizenship : United States of America
Sources of Wealth : Microsoft

Bill Gates is the chairman of Microsoft Corporation. Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Their late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International.
Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13.
In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft's chief executive officer. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair.
In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates' foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry
Nowadays, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have been very active in reaching out to the lesser privileged people through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established on June 2008. He has recent collaboration with another tycoon Warren Buffet to meet with their rich Indian peers and encourage them to give back part of their money to charities.
via Microsoft and AFP
Net Worth : US$ 50.0 billion

Age : 80 years old
Citizenship : United States of America
Sources of Wealth : Berkshire Hathaway

Named as the "Oracle of Ohama" or the "Sages of Omaha", Warren Buffet is widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world. Ranked as 2008 world's wealthiest person, he is now ranked as Forbes 3rd wealthiest man in the world. Same with his colleague Bill Gates, he is also a philanthropist who pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes via the Gates Foundation.   

Warren Buffet was born as second of the three children of businessman and politician, Howard Buffet and his wife Leila in Omaha, Nebraska. He studied college at Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. He later transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After this, he enrolled at Columbia Business School and later received a M.S. in Economics in 1951. He also attended the New York Institute of Finance.

via Wikipedia  
Net Worth : US$ 41.0 billion

Age : 62 years old
Citizenship : France
Sources of Wealth : LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A.

Arnault was born on March 5, 1949 in Roubaix. He is a French businessman who founded the company LVMH, a large luxury goods of conglomerate consisting of over fifty luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fendi. He is Europe's richest man and world's 4th wealthiest man in the world. Recently, Arnault persists in his pursuit of another luxurious fashion brand and family-owned company, Hermes.

Net Worth : US$ 39.5 billion

Lawrence Ellison

Age : 66 years old
Citizenship : United States of America
Sources of Wealth : Oracle Corporation

Larry Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is an American business magnate, co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation, a major enterprise software company. As of 2011 he is the fifth richest person in the world, with a personal wealth of $39.5 billion.

Larry Ellison was born in New York City to Florence Spellman, an unwed 19-year-old. Ellison's biological father was an Italian-American U. S. Air Force pilot, who was stationed abroad before Spellman realized that she had become pregnant by him. After Larry Ellison contracted pneumonia at the age of nine months, his mother determined that she was unable to care for him adequately, and arranged for him to be adopted by her aunt and uncle in Chicago. Lillian Spellman Ellison and Louis Ellison adopted him when he was nine months old. Lillian was the second wife of Louis Ellison, a Russian Jew who had arrived in the United States in 1905. Ellison did not meet his biological mother until he was 48.
Ellison graduated from Eugene Field Elementary School on Chicago's north side in January, 1958 and attended Sullivan High School at least through the fall of 1959 before moving to South Shore.
Ellison grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in Chicago's South Shore middle-class Jewish neighborhood. Ellison remembers his adoptive mother as warm and loving, in contrast to his austere, unsupportive, and often distant adoptive father, a Russian Jew from the Crimea who adopted the name Ellison to honor his point of entry into the USA, Ellis Island. Louis, his adoptive father, was a modest government employee who had made a small fortune in Chicago real estate, only to lose it during the Great Depression.
Ellison was a bright but inattentive student. He left the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at the end of his second year, after not taking his final exams because his adoptive mother had just died. After spending a summer in Northern California, where he lived with his friend Chuck Weiss, he attended the University of Chicago for one term, where he first encountered computer
designing. In 1964, at 20 years of age, he moved to northern California permanently.
via Wikipedia


          OraSure Technologies (OSUR) Catches Eye: Stock Jumps 10.1%        
OraSure Technologies Inc OSUR was a big mover last session as the company saw its shares jump a little above 10 on the day The move came after the announcement of a latest agreement with Bill amp Melinda Gates Foundation to support the reasonably priced sales of its OraQuick HIV Self

Leftist hate out in the open

Nearly a half-million people turned out at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2017 to “send a bold message” to the incoming presidential administration. It probably never occurred to them that they might be marching for something worse than that which they were marching against.

New York Times editor Bari Weiss, in a column Tuesday bearing the headline “When Progressives Embrace Hate,” took a close look at the women who organized the effort. And what’s behind the curtain is not pretty.

If anyone doubts that “hate” is an accurate term, take a look at what Weiss writes about the four women— Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour—behind the march.

Actually, check that. Let the women tell you themselves, which is precisely what Weiss does. She starts with Sarsour:

“Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” she wrote in 2012. And, oddly, given her status as a major feminist organizer, there are more than a few that seem to make common cause with anti-feminists, like this from 2015: “You’ll know when you’re living under Shariah law if suddenly all your loans and credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.
This seems insensitive and, well, stupid. But is it “hateful”? Hold on; we’re just getting started.

More recently, Weiss points out, the official Twitter account of the Women’s March tweeted out support for Assata Shakur. When Jake Tapper pointed out on Twitter that Shakur is a fugitive cop killer, Sarsour accused the CNN correspondent of joining “the ranks of the alt-right to target me online.”

“Since when did criticizing a domestic terrorist become a signal issue of the far right?” Weiss asks. “Last I checked, that position was a matter of basic decency and patriotism.”

Sadly, it only gets weirder from here. Weiss turns her attention to Perez and Mallory.

“Ms. Mallory, in addition to applauding Assata Shakur as a feminist emblem, also admires Fidel Castro, who sheltered Ms. Shakur in Cuba. She put up a flurry of posts when Mr. Castro died last year. ‘R.I.P. Comandante! Your legacy lives on!’ she wrote in one. She does not have similar respect for American police officers. ‘When you throw a brick in a pile of hogs, the one that hollers is the one you hit,’ she posted on Nov. 20.
Ms. Perez also expressed her admiration for a Black Panther convicted of trying to kill six police officers: ‘Love learning from and sharing space with Baba Sekou Odinga.’”
If praising cop killers and dictators is not enough for you, alas, we’re still not done.

Weiss shows that Mallory and Perez also gush over Louis Farrakhan, the man who praised Hitler on national television as “a very great man” and called Judaism a “gutter religion.” Oh, he is also an unapologetic racist who said that “white people deserve to die.”

Regardless of your political or ideological persuasion, I recommend reading Weiss’ article in its entirety.

What’s striking is that the vitriol is so transparent. These women were not surreptitiously recorded or accused of saying vile things; they were publicly praising cop killers, mass murders, and unapologetic racists.

This is not to suggest that hate is confined to the left; we know it’s not. Nor is the goal to impugn the many fine people who marched in the Women’s March earlier this year. I, like most people, know people who were there. They were without exception good people who believed they were marching for unity.

But the true character—and the true motivations—of those who organized the Women’s March needs to be exposed. The New York Times did just that, and they deserve credit.

Read the article. Read what Mallory, Perez, and Sarsour stated publicly. Then ask yourself if you believe it’s truly unity and peace they seek.



Trump vs. MS-13

Leave the poor misunderstood gangsters alone, cries the Left

President Trump’s intensifying crackdown on transnational crime gang MS-13 is being met with fierce resistance by the Left.

Understanding the leftist mind is an inexact science but the complaints seem to center around the idea that in the Trump era trying to eliminate an ethno-culturally non-diverse criminal organization is somehow racist, no matter how horrifying and brutal the group’s crimes against innocent Americans may be. The Left habitually sides with antisocial causes, putting partisanship over the interests of the American people. Left-wingers promote so-called sanctuary cities which are magnets for illegal aliens and the crime that accompanies them. They don’t care about the damage such policies do to American society.

Although it may sound like hyperbole to some, leftists hate Donald Trump and everything he stands for, so if Trump comes out against rapists and serial killers, for example, the Left will defiantly take a stand in favor of rapists and serial killers.

Racist left-wing journalist Jamelle Bouie of Slate argues that MS-13 is nothing to be afraid of. It’s all hype. He writes that the president’s speeches on MS-13 and illegal aliens employ words to "make white people afraid."

"Trump wasn’t just connecting immigrants with violent crime,” according to the in-your-face Black Lives Matter supporter. “He was using an outright racist trope: that of the violent, sadistic black or brown criminal, preying on innocent (usually white) women."

The massive pile of corpses generated by MS-13 suggests otherwise.

Trump’s clampdown on MS-13 is "emboldening them, because this gives them the opportunity to tell immigrants, 'What are you gonna do? Are you going to report us? They're deporting other innocent people ... [so] they're going to associate you with us by you coming forward,'" says Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator for the far-left Make the Road, which CNN describes as an immigrant advocacy group.

"'So what are you going to do? Who's going to protect you?' And that's what really strikes many of us."

Make the Road is heavily funded by George Soros's philanthropies, National Council of La Raza, as well as by other left-wing funders, including the Tides Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

What on earth could generate such apoplexy among left-wingers?

President Trump told law enforcement officials on Friday at the Van Nostrand Theatre in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., that his administration will bring MS-13 to heel.

    "Together, we're going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities, and we're going to destroy the vile criminal cartel, MS-13, and many other gangs. But MS-13 is particularly violent. They don’t like shooting people because it's too quick, it's too fast … they like to knife them and cut them, and let them die slowly because that way it's more painful, and they enjoy watching that much more. These are animals."

Since January 2016, “MS-13 gang members have brutally murdered 17 beautiful, young lives in this area on Long Island alone.” Gang members “kidnap, they extort, they rape and they rob,” the president said.

    "They prey on children. They shouldn’t be here. They stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs. They slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives. They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields. They're animals."

Trump declared that it is “the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13,” and praised law enforcement for “liberating our American towns.”

To finish the job, Trump called for more than doubling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff focused on enforcement and deportations.

    "Right now, we have less than 6,000 Enforcement and Removal Officers in ICE. This is not enough to protect a nation of more than 320 million people. It's essential that Congress fund another 10,000 ICE officers -- and we're asking for that -- so that we can eliminate MS-13 and root out the criminal cartels from our country."

And Trump laid the blame for the rise of MS-13 where much of it belongs: on former President Obama. The Obama administration “enacted an open-door policy to illegal migrants from Central America. ‘Welcome in. Come in, please, please.’"

Under Obama’s policies, “MS-13 surged into the country,” Trump said. “In the three years before I took office,” the president added, “more than 150,000 unaccompanied alien minors arrived at the border and were released all throughout our country into United States’ communities -- at a tremendous monetary cost to local taxpayers and also a great cost to life and safety.”

Mara Salvatrucha, commonly called MS-13, reportedly operates in 42 states and in the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Its motto is “kill, rape, control.”

Although often described as a Salvadoran criminal organization, that doesn’t tell the whole story. MS-13 was founded by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s who came to the U.S. after the various Central American civil wars of the period.

According to investigative reporter Ines Rivera, MS-13 grew out of the Salvadoran Civil War (1979 – 1992) in which tens of thousands perished. During that conflict,

    Many died or saw their loved ones killed in death squads, civilian massacres, beheadings, and in the crossfire. A reality often not talked about is the fact that many of the soldiers in the war were children. Using firearms, blunt objects or machetes, Ms-13 members have been known to leave their victims with their limbs severed, at times decapitating them as well; this kind of violence is a characteristic that distinguishes them from other gangs.

No matter how despicable and loathsome MS-13 may be, there are plenty of activists on the Left who side with the group over America’s 45th president.

Vox’s Dara Lind idiotically proclaimed Trump’s address to police as “the most chilling speech of his presidency,” and accused him of “explicitly encouraging police violence.”

Lind sided with MS-13, implying Trump was spewing racism by “[r]eturning to the theme of scary immigrant criminals” so he could provide “tough talk before an adoring crowd.” She gave MS-13 a pass, mocking Trump for addressing in “gory” detail “the methods by which MS-13 members supposedly torture and kill Americans.”

Then there was the disgraceful recent performance by so-called Republican pundit Margaret Hoover on CNN.

The crackdown on MS-13 was part of a racially coded law enforcement sweep, she maintains.

“Trump was there to highlight the existence of criminal gangs,” and what Trump “was actually doing is he was highlighting the existence of a criminal gang that is South American, El Salvadorian,” said Hoover, whom Breitbart News describes as “one of many Republican useful idiots CNN trots out to bash Trump and his supporters in exchange for pats on the head and cheers of affirmation from Democrats and liberal media elites.”

Ignoring the specific threat posed by MS-13, Hoover said that Trump was focusing attention on the group because there “are individuals from other countries, sometimes there are citizens of the country, sometimes they’re not, of course Americans citizens get caught up and every violent criminal who is here should be deported, and they are on borrowed time.”

Trump’s attacks on the gang are a sop to "white supremacists," Hoover said.

In other words, Trump is a bigot so of course he is trying to hurt minorities, in this case, members of MS-13.

Sane Americans sympathize with the president’s goal of taking a strong stand against the vile butchers of MS-13, regardless of whether they approved of President Trump.

That’s what patriots do. But on the Left there aren’t many of those remaining.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


          Socket Wrench        
BREAKING NEWS:  Beldan & I retrofitted our unsuccessful Gates proposal (and design) for Visual AIDS: Postcard from the Edge Benefit!  Here’s more about the event!! For my 40th birthday, I designed a condom!  I had read about a challenge by the Gates Foundation to Develop the Next Generation of Condom, and figured, why not? I put […]
          World Breastfeeding Week: The value of nutrition        

The Lancet Breastfeeding Series was released on January 29 with little fanfare outside of the nutrition community. I attended the launch of the series in Washington, DC and was more than impressed with the main findings:

  • Scaling up breastfeeding to be nearly universal could prevent 823,000 annual deaths of children younger than five years old, and 20,000 annual deaths of mothers. (Read article here.)
  • The benefits of breastfeeding for children include fewer infections, increased intelligence, and probable protection against overweight and diabetes, in addition to cancer prevention for mothers. (Read article here.)
  • Not breastfeeding is associated with lower intelligence and economic losses of about $302 billion annually or 0.49% of world gross national income. (Read article here.)

These results are significant, especially if you are an economist, medical professional, humanitarian aid worker, or parent. As a mother, I never stop worrying about my daughter staying healthy and learning well. As a World Vision U.S. nutrition advisor, I also worry about the thousands of families around the world to whom I provide nutrition and breastfeeding support through our programs. 

We are now in the midst of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, which takes place August 1-7 every year to engage people to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding. I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing all I possibly can to get the message out that breastfeeding really is the best start a newborn can have.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of supporting a World Vision project in Ethiopia that specifically sought to improve breastfeeding practices. The two-year operations research project was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by a consortium led by FHI 360. We implemented a World Vision approach known as Timed and Targeted Counseling (ttC) so mothers received health messages at the appropriate time during their pregnancy and the child’s life.

In Ethiopia, peer mother volunteers made regular visits to the homes of pregnant and lactating mothers from their third trimester until the child was 10 months old. They conversed with mothers about breastfeeding, helped mothers overcome common breastfeeding problems, and encouraged family members to support mothers in breastfeeding. 

World Breastfeeding Week: The value of nutrition | World Vision Blog
A volunteer peer mother counsels a mother and her child in Ethiopia. (Photo: World Vision)


On one of my project visits, a peer mother told me she had seen a woman giving birth on the side of the road while trying to get to the health clinic. A midwife arrived quickly to assist with the delivery and the peer mother immediately helped, getting the newborn to the breast and suckling. The benefits of early initiation of breastfeeding were not well known in this community, and it was actually common practice to delay breastfeeding until the placenta had been expelled. The peer mother explained to the mother that the suckling would actually help with uterine contractions and naturally assist her. 

Everyone by the roadside that day was grateful to the peer mother.

Over the two years this project was implemented, I saw exclusive breastfeeding (when the infant receives only breastmilk for the first six months of life) rates increase from 57.9% to 82.8%. This is a pretty significant increase over such a short time, and means that mothers and children in those communities in Ethiopia are healthier. 

However, what I think about most when I think of this project in Ethiopia—and the other projects I support—is how grateful I am to the breastfeeding protectors, promoters, and supporters who work with World Vision. Our organization couldn’t do our work without them, and I certainly could not do my work without them. 

This World Breastfeeding Week, I’m hopeful that our efforts toward scaling up universal breastfeeding are being realized to prevent deaths, health complications, and economic losses—in short, to increase the well-being of children.

Kathryn Reider is the Senior Technical Advisor for nutrition for World Vision USA.

The first weeks of a newborn's life are the most critical. You can help save young lives by giving a new mother essentials like a bassinet, cloth diapers, blankets, and infant care training. Donate a New Mother and Baby Kit today!

World Breastfeeding Week: The value of nutrition | World Vision Blog

Mazengia breastfeeds her 1-year-old son, Dawit. "I love my family more than anything in this world, and there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing everyone healthy." She attended a program in Ethiopia for mothers that included nutrition training. (Photo: 2015 Kelley Lynch/World Vision)

This week (August 1-7) is World Breastfeeding Week!

Our nutrition expert writes about how exclusive "breastfeeding really is the best start a newborn can have."

Read about the impact that breastfeeding and good nutrition training is making in Ethiopia.


          Angela Duckworth's Eugenics - the University of Pennsylvania and the MacArthur Foundation        
"The direct result of this inquiry is to make manifest the great and measurable differences between the mental and bodily faculties of individuals, and to prove that the laws of heredity are as applicable to the former as to the latter. Its indirect result is to show that a vast but unused power is vested in each generation over the very natures of their successors—that is, over their inborn faculties and dispositions. The brute power of doing this by means of appropriate marriages or abstention from marriage undoubted." (Francis Galton, 1869, page xix http://www.mugu.com/galton/books/hereditary-genius/text/pdf/galton-1869-genius-v3.pdf )
This is where the work of Grit Genius Angela Duckworth begins, with Francis Galton's 1869 book which pioneered the reprehensible science of eugenics. "Unlike many decisions (e.g., what to have for lunch), choosing to endure rather than desist is a choice that must be effortfully sustained over time. This is an important difference and means grit requires not just motivation but also volition--not just resolving to achieve something important but also protecting that resolution when tempted to reverse the decision; not just committing to our goals but, more difficult than that, translating intentions into actions; not just starting things but finishing what we begin; not just zeal, as Francis Galton concluded in his 1869 treatise on eminent achievement, but also the capacity for hard work; not just want but also will," Duckworth posted last August in one of her many fame chasing broadsides.

I have been struggling against the Grit Narrative for a few months, and I'm not at all alone. What has shocked me is the ease with which supposedly enlightened organizations - leading organizations within our society such as the Macarthur Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania, The New York Times, have unquestionably accepted the work of a professor who has based her research in the work of a writer whose work brutalized and killed millions during the 19th and 20th Centuries, including the Nazi Holocaust, the Japanese assault on China during World War II, and the ethnic cleansing in Europe's Balkans at the end of last century. There are also stories symbolized by the tale of Carrie Buck, where there's an unquestionable direct line from Angela Duckworth's favorite thinker to a deep well of human misery.

The brutality of Galton's work - celebrated continuously by Angela Duckworth

The deep problem I have with "the grit narrative" lies in its flawed assumptions that if poor kids just work harder, with more focus, everything will be fine. Now everyone who has ever worked with "at risk" kids, children in poverty, knows that isn't true. What did my friend Chad say when a high school wrestler he coached got shot walking out of his house? "He needed to work harder"? What could I say to homeless kids I worked with in Grand Rapids when they struggled to stay awake in school? "You just need to be more organized"? What might I have said to the kids I knew in The Bronx who lived in a nightmare of poverty and violence? "I wish you'd pay more attention to your teacher"? The "grit narrative" leaves out the entire socio-economic world which works against so many of our kids, and blames those kids for our failings. I'll also note that it's largely based in research with little basis in reality. Who succeeds in West Point's "Beast Barracks" is not a real question because it cannot be connected to success in anything other than West Point's "Beast Barracks." (The United States Military Academy has never attempted a "control group" class with no Beast Barracks, so we have no idea if success there has anything to do with success in the Army or even in the Academy). Likewise Duckworth's deep concern for Spelling Bee champions. Being able to spell unusual words really well is directly linked to, ummm, nothing except being able to spell unusual words very well. So we have untrue conclusions based in fairly nonsensical research.

The deep problem I have with Duckworth is not just the reliance on the despicable Galton, but the willingness to rehabilitate this man and his theories. "[T]he theory that grit actually overrides other seemingly essential attributes is not new," says a business online blog. "It goes back more than 120 years. In the 1890s, Sir Francis Galton studied success and concluded “ability alone did not bring about success in any field.” He found rather that success stemmed from “ability combined with zeal and with capacity for hard labour.” Today, University of Pennsylvania professor, Angela L. Duckworth is following up on Galton’s work. She made grit the centerpiece of her research into high achievement. “Our hypothesis that grit is essential to high achievement evolved during interviews with professionals in investment banking, painting, journalism, academia, medicine and law,” said Duckworth."And thus Duckworth has made Galton and Eugenics fully acceptable again.

Listen. We all quote the despicable on occasion. I've quoted Martin Heidegger often on technology, but my quotes look like this: '"Technology," to quote (nervously, because he was pretty much a Nazi) Heidegger, is the "art of manipulating the world."' or this, "Just as I may quote Heidegger, but only after very deep investigation, because I have to see, after a lot of reading, if I can separate truth from the other insanities of a pro-Nazi philosopher." I'm still troubled by using his ideas, but at least I express that. Something Duckworth never, ever, does." Here's her online research statement, "As Galton (1892) speculated in his pioneering treatise on the determinants of eminent achievement, the distinction has chiefly to do with timescale: Grit equips individuals to pursue especially challenging aims over years and even decades. Self-control, in contrast, operates at a more molecular timescale, in the battle against what Galton called the hourly temptations – among whose modern incarnations I would nominate Facebook, Angry Birds, Krispy Kreme donuts, and other pursuits which bring pleasure in the moment but are immediately regretted. Both self-control and grit are facets of Big Five conscientiousness, a taxonomy that organizes personality traits in both childhood and adulthood..." When she writes, "his pioneering treatise," she's hardly expressing doubts about Galton's work. And in her quoting of Galton through dozens of writings I have searched, she expresses doubts about his work not once.

This is no ordinary villain. This isn't President William McKinley or even former Alabama Governor George Wallace, this is the writer whose theories stoked the atrocities in Hitler's death camps. "Hitler did not justify his social policies on the basis of Darwinism or eugenics. No reference to such subjects can be found in his books, Mein Kampf' or his Table-Talk. His social ideas appeared to derive more from the 19th century German philosophers Schopenhauer, Hegel and particularly Nietzsche who is quoted several times in Hitler's Table-Talk. The case is different with regard to the German biologists, anthropologists and geneticists of the period between 1933 and 1945. They actively invoked eugenic principles to justify the social policies of the Nazis. The consequences of these policies have been extensively documented elsewhere; suffice it to record that approximately 200,000 women were compulsorily sterilized and more than six million people belonging to "inferior races" suffered mass extermination." (Francis Galton and eugenics today, Journal of Medical Ethics, 1999 -pdf)

This is a monster, who deserves no rehabilitation, especially at the hands of the University of Pennsylvania and the MacArthur Foundation.
"This is precisely the aim of Eugenics. Its first object is to check the birth-rate of the Unfit, instead of allowing them to come into being, though doomed in large numbers to perish prematurely. The second object is the improvement of the race by furthering the productivity of the Fit by early marriages and healthful rearing of their children. Natural Selection rests upon excessive production and wholesale destruction; Eugenics on bringing no more individuals into the world than can be properly cared for, and those only of the best stock." - Galton, Memories of My Life (1908), Chapter XXI
Why is Duckworth's attitude any different from this?
"One in ten young Austrians think Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler did some 'good things', a shocking poll has found.
"The Youth Culture Research Institute poll found 11.2 percent of respondents said Hitler 'did many good things for the people', The Daily Mail reports.
"The finding was described as ‘frightening’ by the local newspaper as it is coupled with the general mistrust and dislike of non-Austrians."
Why are we offended by people stating the idea that Hitler did "good things" but not that Galton is worth basing research on?

The problem is two-fold. Not only does Duckworth celebrate Galton and his work - a dramatic challenge to contemporary ethics ("Following the events of the second world war, overt eugenic ideas became unacceptable") - but she uses Galton's theories virtually whole. As Lauren Anderson noted on the EdWeek site:
"Watching the video that accompanied [Duckworth's MacArthur Genius biographical sketch}, resignation turned to vexation. Here was another familiar-sounding narrative deployed to rationalize a turn toward individualistic, "objective measures." [2] In it, Duckworth recounts her own frustration, felt during her short stints as a teacher, about, "how little I was able to change the number of hours that they [italics added] were willing to put in for me, as students."[3] Presumably these encounters informed the "distinctly different view of school reform" that Duckworth would later write about in her application to doctoral study:

"The problem," Duckworth writes, "I think, is not only the schools but also the students themselves..."[4] Of course, in other directions lie other possible interpretations and corollary questions--about the effectiveness of one's own teaching practice (especially as a new teacher),[5] the relational ties between teachers and students (which develop over time), the broader set of forces at work in young people's lives (including, for example, institutional racism, conditions of poverty, and inequitable access to resources that we know impact development), and so on. That Duckworth, like many, has chosen to seek cause and cure for achievement, or lack thereof, primarily in the individual is, again, not particularly surprising; nor is the fact that doing so has brought her acclaim."
Dickens 1843... "this boy is ignorance,
this girl is want."
the failure is society's
This is not an issue of people "in their times." You see - apologies to those around me in Charlottesville, Virginia, but - Thomas Jefferson and James Madison knew that slavery was wrong - even back "in their times." And Galton was writing 30 to 60 years after Charles Dickens, after Karl Marx, after many had made it clear that the Industrial Revolution and unchecked capitalism were the cause of the extremes of poverty. And Duckworth is writing in a time when people know the structures of our society are brutally unfair to many. The kid in inner Cleveland needs "grit," the kid in Shaker Heights really doesn't.

"Galton was a very insecure man who, in an effort to emulate his cousin's adventures, took an expedition to Africa, where he become convinced of the inherent inferiority of any races that were not of European descent. His insecurities led him to take a particular interest in those who were born into the "right families," or possessed certain forms of genius." And like Galton, Dr. Duckworth has a "particular interest in those who were born into the "right families."

"It reminds me of a study done of taxi drivers in 1997," Duckworth told ASCD in a very revealing interview. "When it's raining, everybody wants a taxi, and taxi drivers pick up a lot of fares. So if you're a taxi driver, the rational thing to do is to work more hours on a rainy day than on a sunny day because you're always busy so you're making more money per hour. But it turns out that on rainy days, taxi drivers work the fewest hours. They seem to have some figure in their head—"OK, every day I need to make $1,000"—and after they reach that goal, they go home. And on a rainy day, they get to that figure really quickly.

In other words, Duckworth is criticizing anyone born into, or raised in, a culture less financially aspirational then her own high-wealth background. Notice, the cab drivers she is criticizing are not failing to work, they are failing to accumulate excess wealth, and to Duckworth this decision to, say, return home to their families sooner, is a sign of unforgivable personal failure. Duckworth's "rational" is only "rational" to her and her kind. It isn't rational to me. It isn't - and this is a long time slander against everyone from the Irish to Africans - natural to many non-Protestants.

Whatever she claims, if you read her statement, you cannot conceivably believe she is doing anything but blaming the individuals. And, if you read her statement - this section ends with, "Your goal is, "How can I get the most out of my day?" Then you're like the taxi driver who drives all day whether it's rainy or not." - you cannot find a way to believe anything but that her work ranks cultures and is based in that classic of white protestant culture, "The Protestant Work Ethic."
"[O]ne’s duty in a calling, is what is most characteristic of the social ethic of capitalistic culture," Max Weber wrote in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, "and is in a sense the fundamental basis of it. It is an obligation which the individual is supposed to feel and does feel towards the content of his professional activity, no matter in what it consists, in particular no matter whether it appears on the surface as a utilization of his personal powers. Or only of his material possessions (as capital)."
That work ethic and the "White" Supremacy it suggests - "white" in the 1900 sense of white excluding the Irish, Italians, and others - is not rational, not universal, and perhaps, not even healthy, as researchers have found a deep psychological hurt which it can engender.

Duckworth is hardly the only person in the business of blaming poor children, African-American children, and Latino children for their position in society, but she is the one making most clear the ugly foundation for this blame.

As we note that relatively few New York City taxi drivers were white, middle class, American-born in 1997 (or today) we see Duckworth's eugenics at work. OK, she wants us to "fix" the undesirables through "re-education," but that's just a small step away from Galton's ultimate solution if that "fix" doesn't take.

So as I read Duckworth's view of New York City's multi-ethnic cabbies, I thought back to a flight from Dublin to Chicago years ago. I was sitting next to a physician, born in Nigeria, educated in London, working in Dublin. He told me that he really hated American conferences, such as the one he was on his way to, "they always harass me because I make less than they do," he said. Then he told me that he worked 37 hours a week, never worried about billing, never asked a patient about insurance, and had days to play soccer with his kids. "I earn €90,000 a year," he added. "I live in a great house. We have two nice cars. Why would I need anything more?" Yes, this was a classic - an African-Irish from lazy, non-grit cultures. A failure by every Duckworth measure just as much as he would have been a 'drag on civilisation' to Galton.

To Duckworth, as to Galton, the problem with the poor is the poor. In a presentation typical of her pitch
Duckworth PowerPoint
no mention of how wealthy daddy is
or of race or economics
, she never once mentions society, or cultural issues, or economic issues. The problem, if kids fail, is that her "talent multiplied by effort" equation indicates that the child is either stupid or lazy or both. She doesn't use the words, but her "grit tests" make it clear that those failing to succeed in our schools and our society are "lazy and shiftless," and fail to meet the decorum standards of the Leave it to Beaver all white, all middle class, all compliant, fantasy school. "I
interrupted other students while they were talking," is one negative on Duckworth's "Grit Test" for students. "My mind wandered when I should have been listening," is another. "I talked back to my teacher or parent when I was upset," a third.

The 'blame the poor' narrative runs deep in America, in Protestant nations informed by the New England belief that wealth equaled moral right. Of course poverty can also be linked, very powerfully, to those groups Galton found unable to measure up to his expectations. It's the issue Ta-Nehisi Coates addressed in the March 21, 2014 Atlantic. Coates begins by quoting Jonathan Chait over the question of Coates conflating Paul Ryan's social policies towards African-Americans with Barack Obama's:
"The argument is that structural conditions shape culture, and culture, in turn, can take on a life of its own independent of the forces that created it. It would be bizarre to imagine that centuries of slavery, followed by systematic terrorism, segregation, discrimination, a legacy wealth gap, and so on did not leave a cultural residue that itself became an impediment to success."
Coates then responds:
If only he had grit.
The Jim Crow Museum
at Ferris State University
"The "structural conditions" Chait outlines above can be summed up under the phrase "white supremacy." I have spent the past two days searching for an era when black culture could be said to be "independent" of white supremacy. I have not found one. Certainly the antebellum period, when one third of all enslaved black people found themselves on the auction block, is not such an era. And surely we would not consider postbellum America, when freedpeople were regularly subjected to terrorism, to be such an era. 

"We certainly do not find such a period during the Roosevelt-Truman era, when this country erected a racist social safety, leaving the NAACP to quip that the New Deal was "like a sieve with holes just big enough for the majority of Negroes to fall through." Nor do we find it during the 1940s, '50s and '60s, when African-Americans—as a matter of federal policy—were largely excluded from the legitimate housing market. Nor during the 1980s when we began the erection of a prison-industrial complex so vast that black males now comprise 8 percent of the world's entire incarcerated population.

"And we do not find an era free of white supremacy in our times either, when the rising number of arrests for marijuana are mostly borne by African-Americans; when segregation drives a foreclosure crisis that helped expand the wealth gap; when big banks busy themselves baiting black people with "wealth-building seminars" and instead offering "ghetto loans" for "mud people"; when studies find that black low-wage applicants with no criminal record "fared no better than a white applicant just released from prison"; when, even after controlling for neighborhoods and crime rates, my son finds himself more likely to be stopped and frisked. Chait's theory of independent black cultural pathologies sounds reasonable. But it can't actually be demonstrated in the American record, and thus has no applicability."
Coates describes the cultural structure that locks people into poverty, a trap set by those in power, people like Angela Duckworth. Duckworth has now provided a new round of racist ammunition, whether she is assaulting the heavily Caribbean and African taxi workforce in New York, or children of color. "They lack grit," people will now say, "they can't succeed because of their own weakness."

This is vicious. I repeat, vicious. Not just vicious, but quite clearly untrue. And the blame, the need for an explanation, lies with two key American institutions. The University of Pennsylvania which gave Duckworth her PhD., hired her as a professor, and promoted her, and The MacArthur Foundation, which called her a "genius."

Which brings me to the deep problem I have with the University of Pennsylvania, the MacArthur Foundation, the Gates Foundation-supported TED Talks, and all the other organizations from The New York Times to ASCD who have treated Dr. Duckworth like a superstar savior of children. 

There is a fundamental irresponsibility here. Either the university and the foundation never looked up Francis Galton - a massive failure of academic capability and competence - or they didn't mind his rehabilitation - a massive failure of ethics. Either the university and the foundation and others support this kind of use of eugenics research, or they haven't actually read any of Duckworth's work - and either would lead us to doubt any right they have to lead in our society. I have emailed Dr. Duckworth, her dean, and the University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutman, seeking any kind of justification or explanation, but all have been silent. I haven't emailed MacArthur. I'm pretty sure I've already blown any chance I'd ever get to be a "MacArthur Fellow," but I'm not sure I want to eliminate every possibility...

But the fundamental irresponsibility is to children. Children I deeply care about. I absolutely believe that "the grit narrative" damages our children because it lets society and the powerful off the hook. "Why change anything?" they'll ask, "the kids just need grit." "Grit" is one more excuse, its one more hammer to beat children with.

"I’d never give that little boy Duckworth’s survey. It would only reinforce all the negatives in his life." Pam Moran writes in a beautiful blog post about this subject, one I desperately want you to read, "And, I don’t think he lacked self-control at all. Every seemingly impulsive action he took -  from his anger to his distractedness -  was motivated to give him space to breathe and control over a world gone awry."

For our children who have nothing need "slack" from us. They need "abundance." They need the outstretched hand that raises them up and comforts them. The last thing they need is to be told to "get themselves up." They know all about that. They do it every day and the scarcity of support is what threatens to defeat them.

So please University of Pennsylvania, please MacArthur Foundation. please TED, The New York Times, NPR, et al... please stop. Duckworth's Grit is bad research based in horrific research. You cannot condone this return to eugenics. You just cannot.
"For hundreds of years our society allowed skin color and economic success to serve as facile proxies for the content of a person's character, and for a long time I was pleased to think that in my lifetime we might be getting beyond that," Peter Gow wrote in EdWeek earlier this month. He continued, "How wrong I seem to have been; the Grit Narrative, its shadow spreading back over the land under the guise of "research," threatens to take us straight back to an era where poverty is about laziness and where failure, unless it's the "failing up" of a revered entrepreneur, carries the stain of moral bankruptcy."
- Ira Socol
          Please Mayor DeBlasio... Please Governor Malloy... Please Governor McAuliffe... Please...        
It is time to stop the abuse of children for profit. I cannot say it any more clearly than that.

It is time to stop the abuse of children for profit.

Perhaps, if you are an American political leader, say a President or something, you personally have not walked through enough schools and watched enough children...

Ninth Grade English learning plot development

Then we need to Universally Design our schools, so we are assessing - and yes, we are smart enough to assess without bad tests - abilities and capabilities, not disabilities and human differences.

Through contemporary technologies and loads of free software choices (consider just the Freedom Stick Suite, it's free), with One-To-One computer initiatives based in student choice, with contemporary learning space design, and with teacher professional learning aimed at the creation of creative, informed, empathetic professionals. we can - we have proven that we can - develop schools which maximize the potential of every child, and that we can do that without breaking any banks (the savings on Pearson et al will get us half way there, the stopping of worksheet printing will generate the other half of the money we need).

Third Grade Writers

So this is a desperate plea to our leaders. New leaders and continuing leaders. Let's put a stop to more than a century of Industrial Education. Let's stop treating our children as the raw materials ready for the "value added" assembly line which will turn them into identical widgets for jobs which no longer exist. Let's stop assaulting our children with tests which do not help them learn and which do not help us help them learn.

Let us remake education as something humane and holistic. As something inspiring and committed to real human development.

You are leaders, please, lead. Starting right now.

Sixth Grade Writers
"Schools should be factories in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products. . . manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry." - Elwood Cubberley's dissertation 1905, Teachers College, Columbia University

"We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." - Woodrow Wilson at the University of Virginia, 1905, and in various other addresses

"Richard Allington, a professor of education at the University of Tennessee and one of the country's most recognized experts on early literacy, calls the accommodation [use of Text-To-Speech technology for dyslexic students] "cheating." - EducationWeek
 - Ira Socol
          "To whom much is given, much is required." The ethical argument against philanthropy — Quartz        
Philanthropists don’t deserve our gratitude, says a Stanford ethicist — Quartz:

The ethical argument against philanthropy

Image result for To whom much is given, much is required jfk

Exceptionally wealthy people aren’t a likeable demographic, but they have an easy way to boost personal appeal: Become an exceptionally wealthy philanthropist. When the rich use their money to support a good cause, we’re compelled to compliment their generosity and praise their selfless work.
This is entirely the wrong response, according to Rob Reich, director of the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University.
Big philanthropy is, he says, “the odd encouragement of a plutocratic voice in a democratic society.” By offering philanthropists nothing but gratitude, we allow a huge amount of power to go unchecked. “Philanthropy, if you define it as the deployment of private wealth for some public influence, is an exercise of power. In a democratic society, power deserves scrutiny,” he adds.
A philanthropic foundation is a form of unaccountable power quite unlike any other organization in society. Government is at least somewhat beholden to voters, and private companies must contend with marketplace competition and the demands of shareholders.
But until the day that government services alleviate all human need, perhaps we should be willing to overlook the power dynamics of philanthropy—after all, surely charity in unchecked form is better than nothing?
In extreme situations, such as a major disaster, Reich is supportive of donations from philanthropic organizations. But he’s strongly against private donors providing public goods on a longer-term basis, which he says contributes to a cycle whereby the state expects to provide less and philanthropists are relied on to pay for more and more. And a democratically elected government should be a far better provider of long-term services than wealthy individuals.
“Even the savviest philanthropist, and even with the resources of the Gates Foundation, would say they can’t possibly provide all of public education, for example, on its own,” he says. Even the wealthiest philanthropists will run out of funds incredibly quickly if they attempt to provide a substantive public good in the long term.
There are, Reich says, ways for philanthropy and public services to collaborate effectively. He points to the Carnegie libraries as an example: In the 20th century, Andrew Carnegie donated huge amounts to build more than 2,500 libraries around the US, but insisted that local governments use public funds rather than private donations to continue to run the libraries.
An ideal form of philanthropy, according to Reich, would see philanthropists using their lack of accountability to an advantage, by testing creative long-term solutions. “Philanthropists,” he says, “can pilot test social experiments or novel public policies, subject them to all kinds of scientific testing, and then present the successful innovations for a stamp of democratic approval—ordinarily to a legislator—for scaling it at large.”
Government officials, after all, are beholden to the public and to producing short-term results. Philanthropists have the freedom to investigate idealistic, potentially wrongheaded solutions to public need. So, for example, they could fund research into an environmentally friendly alternative to cement and, if successful, present their findings to a government official to create the legislator to turn their inventions into a public resource.
Unfortunately, this is not a widespread form of philanthropy today.
Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon, recently said he wanted to use his wealth to help people in the short term. Given Bezos’ tremendous resources, Reich says such short-term solutions are precisely the opposite of what he should be doing.
Meanwhile, there’s a growing trend to create limited liability companies (LLCs) —such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative—rather than charitable foundations (a legal category of nonprofit in the US) as a base for charitable donations. LLCs don’t share the same tax benefits as foundations (namely tax deductions when funds are invested), but they do offer a distinct (and potentially worrying) advantage to philanthropists: greater control.
But LLCs are even less transparent than charitable foundations, because there’s no obligation to provide information about their charitable work or its effectiveness. LLCs do not have to disclose the tax documents that foundations are obliged to share, and are also free to invest their funds however they wish, including towards political causes.
Reich believes any philanthropic pursuit that does not then present its findings for democratic approval should be met with skepticism. “There ought to be ways of socially sanctioning them or shaming them, which is to say subject them to scrutiny,” he says. “Or we should reserve civic gratitude for the forms of philanthropy that serve democratic aspirations.”
Undemocratic philanthropy is a misuse of power, even if it is power attempting to do good. “At the very least, we should not provide tax benefits to further augment the private pursuit through philanthropic mechanisms of private means,” adds Reich.
After all, those very tax breaks afforded to philanthropists are depriving the public sector of further funds that should be used to provide public services.
For now, Reich says it’s fine to continue donating to charitable causes, particularly if they carefully evaluate how their wealth is spent. But charity cannot achieve as much as widespread, publicly backed, government support. And, for that, political advocacy is necessary. “Charity is good but it’s, at best, a second best thing to do,” he says.
Until there are widespread political solutions to social ills, we should stop praising hugely wealthy philanthropists.
A charitable foundation is a “donor-directed, perpetual, tax-subsidized exercise of the liberty to give public wealth away,” says Reich. “What was the democratically good part about that again?”Philanthropists don’t deserve our gratitude, says a Stanford ethicist — Quartz:

          Wonder Women and Generosity!        

Wonder Woman is the top grossing movie this past weekend.   Everyone who has seen it has left saying they want to see it again.  Why?  Maybe because the movie shows a strong female superhero who is able to take on a whole lot of evil.  She can do it all!  
It is a perfect time in our history for a movie with a strong heroine to be in theaters - women are fierce and we are fired up.   We came together and marched.  We are signing up for leadership roles.  We are running for office in record numbers.  Women have a lot to say and we want to be heard. 
This was made very clear when I attended the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) Symposium hosted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University this spring.  I attended the symposium to learn more about gender differences so that UC Davis could create a Women in Philanthropy program.  We want to get more women involved in our future – both as donors and, more importantly, as leaders.

The WPI helps to better understand the role of women as leaders today and how to leverage their strength.  The WPI has been studying gender differences since the early 90’s with grants from many donors including the most recent study funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2016). https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/doc/institutes/womengive16-infographic2.pdf

Consistently this research has shown that women and men give differently. 
·       Women baby-boomers and older gave 89% more to charity than men their age.
·       Women in the top 25% of permanent income give 156% more than men in that same category.
·       Women give more than their male peers at virtually all income levels, even though women in general earn less and have less money in retirement than men, and have a greater life expectancy.
·       Women tend to be more altruistic and empathetic than men, partly because of the way men and women are socialized.
·       For men, money may represent power, achievement, or prestige, while women tend to view money in terms of personal security, freedom, and a way to achieve goals.

What’s more, a 2013 U.S. Trust survey on women and wealth found that “women are nearly twice as likely as men to say that giving to charity is the most satisfying aspect of having wealth.”

We harnessed all of this amazing research and hosted two visioning sessions with UC Davis women philanthropists to begin a dialogue about gender differences in giving.  We shared data with them and they were not surprised.  They shared stories about when they made their first gift and  how they make philanthropic decisions.  They told us about how they teach their own children to give back.  They told us that big goals mean nothing to them, but knowing that their gift made a difference  was their motivation for giving.  They were excited that UC Davis was interested in their feedback and want them involved in our future.

Today 65% of all college graduates are women.   We cannot continue to fundraise and steward all donors the same way.  If we are to be successful then we need to think differently.  We need to understand what motivates our donors to give, to embrace their differences, and we need women in leadership roles.  We need more Wonder Women involved in our organizations!

Thank you to Angie Joens for this great blog post- she is indeed a Wonder Woman!

          Literary Festival 2015: "My Purse, My Person": money and identity [Audio]        
Speaker(s): David Birch, Professor Nigel Dodd, Tom Hockenhull, Professor Nicky Marsh | As our money increasingly takes the form of plastic cards and mobile phones, rather than cash, new questions are being posed about the connections between money, self and identity. Is money becoming de-anonymised, and if so, should we care? Is the decline of cash a moment of renewal in our relationship with money, or a threat to the freedom that has been central to its use? This panel will discuss changing attitudes towards money and the affect it can have, in its many different guises, on our identity. David Birch (@dgwbirch) is an internationally-recognised thought leader in digital money and digital identity. He is a Director of Consult Hyperion, the technical and strategic consultancy that specialises in electronic transactions. Here he provides consultancy support to clients around the world, including all of the leading payment brands, major telecommunications providers, governments bodies and international organisations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Nigel Dodd (@nigelbdodd) is Professor in the Sociology Department at the LSE. Nigel’s main interests are in the sociology of money, economic sociology and classical and contemporary social thought. He is author of The Sociology of Money and Social Theory and Modernity (both published by Polity Press). His new book, The Social Life of Money, was published by Princeton University Press in September 2014. Tom Hockenhull is a curator at the British Museum, responsible for the modern money collection and editor of Symbols of Power: Ten Coins that Changed the World. Nicky Marsh works in the English Department at the University of Southampton. She works on late 20th and 21st century British and American literatures, theories of gender, postmodernism, poetics and economics. Her published works include Money, Finance and Speculation in Contemporary British Fiction, Democracy in US Women’s Poetry and the edited collection Literature and Globalization. She is also the co-curator of the exhibition Show Me the Money: the Image of Finance, 1700 to the Present, which is touring through 2014-15. Izabella Kaminska (@izakaminska) is a reporter for FT Alphaville. The Department of Sociology at LSE (@LSEsociology) was established in 1904 and remains committed to top quality teaching and leading research and scholarship today. This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2015, taking place from Monday 23 - Saturday 28 February 2015, with the theme 'Foundations'.
          AVAAZ - global-mediale Kampagnen als politische Lösung?        
avaaz.jpg Während das Vertrauen in die Fähigkeit herkömmlicher Parteien und Regierungen, globale ökologische oder soziale Probleme lösen zu können, weiter sinkt, mobilisiert eine politische Kampagnen-Organisation immer größere Menschenmassen.
Eigentlich veröffentlicht am 18.05.2011

Das hier wird ein Artikel mit vielen Zitaten. Nicht aus Faulheit, sondern weil es der NGO, um die es hier geht, unter anderem gelungen ist, typische Fragen im Vorne-Verteidigungsstil perfekter PR gleich selber zu beantworten. Allerdings sollen auch Gegenstimmen zu Wort kommen. Los geht es mit einem Zitat aus einer E-Mail von AVAAZ-Gründer Ricken Patel, einem heute Mittdreißiger aus Kanada, der die Geschäfte von Avaaz leitet:

Bild von Ricken Patel„Es gibt jetzt mehr als 8.2 Millionen von uns, und pro Woche kommen etwa 100,000 Menschen - righ dazu! In der vergangenen Woche haben sich 650,000 Inder an unserer Kampagne für einen neuen, von der Zivilgesellschaft aufgesetzten Gesetzesentwurf gegen Korruption beteiligt – und wir hatten Erfolg!! Jeden Monat haben wir wichtige Erfolge zu verzeichnen – wir kämpfen gegen politische Korruption in Italien, Medienkorruption in Großbritannien und Kanada, gegen die Zerstörung der Umwelt in Brasilien und vieles mehr. Und in Nahost erhalten mutige Aktivisten, die furchterregenden Sicherheitskräften gegenüberstehen, unschätzbares Equipment und Kommunikationshilfen, bezahlt durch Spenden von beinahe 30,000 von uns. Von den Volksrevolutionen in Nahost bis hin zu nationalen Anti-Korruptions-Bewegungen kann man es heute an so vielen Ereignissen spüren und sehen – die Demokratie ist auf dem Vormarsch und wir schlagen gemeinsam die Trommel. Die Presse ist seit Monaten voll mit Hunderten Meldungen über Avaaz, unter anderem gab es einen 2000 Wörter langen Bericht in der London Times, der unsere Gemeinschaft an die Spitze einer »neuen globalen Supermacht der öffentlichen Meinung« stellt.“""

Aus dem Zitat aus dem AVAAZ-Newsletter-Abonnent vom April 2011, das auch im deutschsprachigen Wikipedia-Artikel zu AVAAZ zu finden ist, spricht eine unbändige politisch aktivistische Lust und das Selbstbewusstsein einer jungen, global agierenden Macht. Etwas, das man zwischen all den Grauherr-Parlamenten dieser Welt und den herumhuschenden Schatten der zuflüsternden Lobbyisten kaum mehr zu vermuten wagt: volle Power gegen all das, was die große Mehrheit von uns spontan hasst: Korruption, Unterdrückung, Gewalt. AVAAZ ist dabei durch und durch populistisch. Ein außerparlamentarischer Wirbelwind, der voll auf die medialen Möglichkeiten des Internets setzt.

Website von Avaaz
Die Website Avaaz.org

„Avaaz - bedeutet »Stimme« in vielen Sprachen Osteuropas, des Mittleren Ostens sowie Asiens - ging 2007 mit einer einfachen demokratischen Mission aufs Netz: Bürgerinnen und Bürger auf der ganzen Welt zu mobilisieren, um gemeinsam die Lücke zwischen der Welt, die wir haben und der Welt, die wir uns wünschen zu schließen.“ (AVAAZ über sich selbst)

Die Organisation wirbt mit ihren stark steigenden Mitgliederzahlen. Derzeit kommen monatlich etwa 100.000 dazu (zum Vergleich: die CDU Deutschland hat derzeit insgesamt ca. 500.000 Mitglieder). Allerdings wird man bei AVAAZ bereits zum Mitglied erklärt, wenn man mal irgendeine Kampagne mit unterzeichnet oder eine ihrer Mails verbreitet. Nicht alle so Beglückten wissen das zu schätzen. Die Website Projektwerkstatt.de etwa weiß auf unter dem Titel Seilschaften auf grüner Seite zu berichten:

„Im Winter 2009/2010 startete AVAAZ eine große Unterschriftensammlung - angeblich, weil mit einer Millionen Unterschriften eine Eingabe an das Europäische Parlament möglich sei […] Mit den Unterschriften könne es gelingen, »die Einführung von genmanipulierten Pflanzen und Produkten auf den Europäischen Markt zu stoppen«. Klingt gut. Haben Sie auch unterschrieben? Bitte ärgern Sie sich dann jetzt nicht über den Überbringer schlecher Nachrichten. Denn: Die von AVAAZ behauptete Möglichkeit einer schriftlichen Eingabe gab es gar nicht. Sie war aber ein guter Trick, um an die Adressen der Menschen zu kommen. Denn die sind im Zeitalter der harten Konkurrenz der fast immer hauptamtlich geführten Verbände und Bewegungsagenturen die wichtigste Basis, um Spenden und Mitglieder zu werben. Kurz vor Erreichen der angekündigten Million verschwanden einige 100.000 Adressen. Viele redeten von Schlamperei. Vielleicht war es aber auch nur ein weiterer Trick, um die Million nicht zu erreichen oder zumindest noch einige Zeit weiter sammeln zu können. Denn ab einer Million würden ja alle, die hingucken (wovon es leider nur Wenige gibt), mitbekommen, dass alles nur Propaganda war. So sammelte AVAAZ weiter und ließ die Aktion leise sterben. Die Aktion ging, die Adressen blieben.“

Während der Ansatz von AVAAZ (Masse macht Eindruck) in vielen Massenmedien durchaus auf positive Resonanz trifft, etwa in dem Artikel Teil 6 von Mächtige online: „Avaaz.org – the world in action“ des SZ-Magazins Jetzt.de, ist die Organisation anderen, kleineren Gruppierungen politischer Aktivisten oft ein Dorn im Auge. Deren Argumentation ist durchaus nachvollziehbar. So schreibt Joachim Guilliard in einem Blog-Artikel mit dem langen und sprechenden Titel Warnung vor Avaaz: Suspekte Gruppe sammelt über Millionen-Verteiler Unterstützer für eine No-Fly Zone in Libyen - d.h. für Krieg:

„AVAAZ nennt sich zwar »Kampagnennetzwerk«, ein Netzwerk ist aber gerade nicht, sondern es wird zentral von Leuten organisiert, die professionell arbeiten und genau wissen, wie man so was aufzieht. Die Gruppe die das ganze betreibt ist recht überschaubar. Viele haben ihre Erfahrungen in Wahlkämpfen in den USA oder anderen Ländern gesammelt oder durch ihre Arbeit in großen Stiftungen, wie der Rockefeller Foundation und der Gates Foundation.“

Der Info-Agent hat in seinem Blog-Artikel Wer steckt hinter AVAAZ? die Macher der Organisation aufgelistet. Die Gruppe um Ricken Patel besteht in der Tat aus mehr als einem PR-Profi, aus Wahlkampfstrategen, Meinungsforschern und anderen, die wissen, wie man Massen bewegt, verführt und, ja was?

AVAAZ wäre aber nicht es selbst, wenn es auf diese Vorwürfe nicht antworten würde. Auf ihrer Über-uns-selbst-Seite schreiben die Aktivisten:

„Wo andere globale Gruppen der Zivilgesellschaft aus themenspezifischen Netzwerken und nationalen Verbänden bestehen - jede mit eigenem Personal, Budget und Entscheidungsstruktur, kann Avaaz mit einem einzelnen, global agierenden Team mit einem allgemeinen Mandat zu jedem Problem arbeiten, das öffentliche Belange betrifft. Dies ermöglicht gezielte Kampagnen mit außergewöhnlicher Gewandtheit, Flexibilität, Fokus und in einem noch nie dagewesenen Umfang.“

Sie haben also alle ihre guten Gründe. Die AVAAZ-kritischen Aktivisten, die der Organisation vorwerfen, nicht wirklich den Dialog mit den Menschen zu suchen, sondern stattdessen naive Spontanunterstützer als vereinnahmte Mitglieder zu missbrauchen und sich letztlich der gleichen manipulativen Mittel zu bedienen wie mächtige Staaten und Unternehmen. Demgegenüber die AVAAZ selber, die argumentiert, dass man ohne selbst Macht und Einfluss zu haben nicht in das Gefüge der Mächtigen und Einflussreichen einbrechen könne. Letztlich läuft dieser Konflikt auf den alten Streit um die Frage hinaus, ob der Zweck die Mittel heiligt, oder ob Ohnmacht der typische Zustand moralischer Integrität in einer korrupten, von Machtbesessenen geprägten Welt ist.

Was man AVAAZ auf jeden Fall nicht vorwerfen kann, ist, dass sie ihre Kampagnen sklavisch am Tagesgeschehen ausrichten. Ein aktuelles Beispiel ist etwa die Kampagne gegen ein Gesetzesvorhaben in Uganda, mit dessen Hilfe Homosexuelle zum Tode verurteilt werden können (zum Hintergrund sei der Wikipedia-Artikel Homosexualität in Uganda empfohlen). In den Nachrichten kommt davon so gut wie nichts vor. AVAAZ zerrt das Thema jedoch ans Licht und mobilisiert seine „Mitglieder“-Massen. Die Kampagnen-Seite zum Thema zeigt einmal mehr, wie werbetechnisch professionell man die neuen, grünen Mittelschichten anspricht. Kritische Geister scheiden sich ein weiteres mal an der Frage, was der Hauptzweck der Seite ist: ein schreckliches Gesetz in Uganda zu verhindern oder Millionen neuer Adressen zu sammeln.

AVAAZ nutzt die Power der Vielen im Netz, aber es nutzt sie anders als die Twitter-Vernetzten es kennen. Es nutzt sie eher so, wie es sich so mancher Anbieter im Web1.0 erhofft hatte: durch viel Traffic und Adressensammeln über harmlose Bekundungen so viel Wirbel zu erzeugen, dass es selbst die Mächtigen beeindruckt. Die Frage ist allerdings, wie viel eine Million Mausklick-Stimmen mitsamt Adressen künftig noch wert sein werden. Selbst ugandische Machthaber sind lernfähig, wenn es um solche Dinge geht. Die Pro-Guttenberg-Seiten auf Facebook haben mit ihren hunderttausenden von Like-Unterstützern gezeigt, wie wenig reine Zahlen sagen, wenn es um triviale Sympathiebekundungen geht. Wenn unter einer Million Petitionsunterzeichnern keine zehn Aktivisten sind, die so schnell keine Ruhe geben, dann ist die Millionenzahl Makulatur. Die Power des Netzes ergibt sich aus der hohen Quote an authentischen, ernstgemeinten und mit realem Nachdruck vorgetragenen Bekundungen. Reine Klickvieh-Zahlen werden auf die Dauer so schnell verdampfen wie die sogenannten Hits, mit denen man in den Anfangsjahren des Web die Gutgläubigen über die tatsächlichen Zugriffszahlen auf ihre Webseiten täuschte.

Letztlich geht es darum, wie nachhaltig Kampagnen, die durch neue Medien von Profis wie denen von AVAAZ durchaus generierbar sind, tatsächlich sein können. Der AVAAZ-Artikel von SPIEGEL Online (Per Mausklick zur besseren Welt) wirft die Frage auf:

„Aber geht dauerhaftes Online-Engagement? »Avaaz ist für deutsche Verhältnisse hochprofessionell, doch in erster Linie 'campaigning', daher bleibt die Bindung sprunghaft und lose«, sagt Leonard Novy, Fellow bei der Berliner Stiftung Neue Verantwortung und Herausgeber eines Buches über Lehren aus dem US-Wahlkampf.“

Der Artikel folgert weiter: eine Organisation wie AVAAZ benötigt ständig Aufregerthemen, um im Gespräch zu bleiben und das Kribbeln von Millionen zu befeuern. Eine solche Organisation kann folglich nicht wirklich an einem Thema interessiert sein und für es eintreten, sondern muss aus reinem Selbsterhaltungstrieb heraus immer wieder rechtzeitig das Thema wechseln. Politischer Aktivismus durch große Kampagnen mit möglichst lautem Geklapper - das ist Politik, wie sie für das Vorfeld US-amerikanischer Präsidentschaftswahlen typisch ist. Und tatsächlich lassen sich Verbindungen zwischen AVAAZ und den Demokraten um Al Gore und Barack Obama finden, wie Sepp Aigner im Artikel Was ist drin, wenn AVAAZ draufsteht? vermutet.

AVAAZ steht also für global präsenten Kampagnen-Aktivismus mit beeindruckenden, durch das Internet erst möglich gewordenen Petitionszeichnerzahlen, hohe Agilität dank schlanker interner Struktur und linksökologischen Populismus jenseits historischer Nationalstaaten. Im Zeitalter schwächelnder parlamentarischer Demokratien und erstickendem EU-Normenbürokratismus zweifellos eine verlockende Alternative für politisches Engagement. Doch eben auch eine Organisation, die ihre Legitimation allein aus der reinen Mobilisierungsfähigkeit von Massen bezieht - eine potentiell gefährliche und problematische Legitimation, wie das 20. Jahrhundert lehrt.

by StefanMStefanM

          Stove research and development        

Stove research and development

The search for safer, cleaner stoves remains to many an important if low-profile area of modern technology.[10] Stoves in common use around the world, particularly in Third World countries, are considered fire hazards and worse: according to the World Health Organization, a million and a half people die each year from indoor smoke inhalation caused by faulty stoves.[5] An engineer's "Stove Camp" has been hosted annually since 1999 by Aprovecho Research Center[10] (Oregon, US) with the intent of designing a cheap, efficient, and healthy stove for use around the world.[11] Other engineering societies (see Envirofit, Colorado, US) and philanthropic groups (see the Gates Foundation, California, US) continue to research and promote improved stove designs.[10]
          Family Planning: Why Do We Need a London Summit? [Audio]        
Speaker(s): Dr Ernestina Coast, Gary Darmstadt, Karl Hofmann, Ashley Judd, Nina Muita | On July 11, the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will launch the London Summit on Family Planning. The unprecedented event will bring world leaders together to catalyze political and financial commitments to reach the needs of an additional 120 million women who lack access to modern, voluntary family planning methods. One day prior on July 10, LSE Health and PSI (Population Services International) will co-host a public discussion about the summit's relevance to health, economic, and environmental challenges facing every country - and why everyone, in every sector, has a critical role to play.
          @kausfiles--Guaranteed 51% Good News!        

Items I twittered , or wished I had:   

Best News of the Week: According to RiShawn Biddle, Obama and his Education Secretary Arne Duncan really are using the leverage provided by federal stimulus money to force states to allow more charter schools . The teachers' unions "feel betrayed." Hope that's not just for show. ... P.S.: This unashamedly  pro-Obama article runs in ... The American Spectator . ... P.P.S.: Biddle also says the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped create a "counterweight" to the NEA and AFT. Won't make up for Vista! But it's a start. ... P.P.P.S.: If there are well over a million students in charter schools now, and the federal government is pushing them to grow like Topsy, at what point does a vicious circle set in, with public schools losing their even moderately motivated students, causing them to decline even further, causing even more students to leave, etc.? Not that this public school death spiral would be such a bad thing. We should just be prepared for it. The way we should have been prepared for GM. ... 11:27 P.M.


Neiman Marcus is stealing The Atlantic 's business model   ... OK, to really emulate The Atlantic you'd have to throw in David Axelrod, and maybe sub Marc Ambinder for Nora Ephron. ...  And then sell the thing to ExxonMobil. ... 11:26 P.M.


51 is the Wussiest Number: Ryan Lizza reports that, in the White House debate over whether to bail out Chrysler, Obama asked his advisers, "What do you think the percentage likelihood is that , if we give this deal a chance, it will succeed?" Then-auto czarito Steven Rattner answered, "Fifty-one percent." ... What do you think the percentage likelihood is that Rattner's answer was sincere? I hope, for his sake, it's close to zero. There was substantially less than a 51% chance the Chrysler bailout would succeed (if "success" means a viable company). There still is. ... Not being a sophisticated investment banker, I would translate Rattner's answer as : "I know you'd like to approve this deal, and I'm not one to buck the tide, so I'll give you the minimum necessary reassurance, while covering my ass as much as possible (in the 80% likelihood that it fails)." ... P.S.: Lizza's piece is generally encouraging--the country could be in worse hands. But it's vaguely discouraging if for Obama and his brain trust  the issue actually turned on whether or not the deal would succeed , which seems a less sophisticated question than whether or not it was worth trying to soften the blow to the Midwest by postponing Chrysler's inevitable failure. Could the whole debate have been Kabuki?  ... 11:25 P.M.


Where's Crossfire When You Need It? Jon Klein's Triumph! CNN now in 4th place , losing to FOX, MSNBC, and itself (HLN)!  Somewhere Tucker Carlson is smiling. ... 11:24 P.M.


          Comment on Crimes of US Imperialism and the Fall of Mosul to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant by alberysd        
INFERNAL BARONS THAT CONTROL BIG CORPORATIONS PUSH FOR A NEW WORLD ORDER MADE OF SLAVERY AND GENOCIDES ROTHSCHILDS ARE PUSHING FOR NEW TRADE LIBERALISATION AGREEMENTS ( TTIP AND TPP ) TO GAIN SPEED IN 2014 AND 2015. " The threat of the US-EU trade deal http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-6dea-The-threat-of-the-US-EU-trade-deal Friday 28th Februay 2014 The TTIP will allow companies to control governments, writes JEREMY CORBYN An ominous veil of secrecy surrounds negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – a sweeping trade deal between the European Union and United States. Members of national and European parliaments, like their counterparts in the US Congress, have been kept in the dark about the details. What we do know is that its backers claim that the eventual agreement will boost economic jobs and create vast numbers of new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. It is claimed that economic growth will be increased by 0.5 per cent a year by 2027 as a result of this deal. There is no hard evidence to back up such figures, but we know for certain that there are going to be big prices to pay along the way. In the Commons this week there was a rare discussion by parliamentarians on the potential impact of the TTIP. Front benchers were keen to press the idea that fewer barriers between the US and Europe would be an overwhelmingly good thing. But there were also serious concerns voiced on the power of corporate lobbyists to undermine parliamentary democracy because the deal will allow them to demand and exercise commercial “rights” that over-ride national sovereignty when it comes to public services and other areas of policy. Paisley & Renfrewshire North MP Jim Sheridan expressed concern that “the TTIP will allow companies to wield control over national governments and in the long run may not help those we’re told it will. “We should have an agreement that helps ordinary people and not big corporations,” he said. The disastrous experience of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) between Canada, Mexico and the US provides cause for deep concern about the TTIP. Then, as now, it was promoted as having the potential to create millions of jobs. In fact Nafta has resulted in job losses and a race to the bottom as US farm exports flood into Mexico and US companies transfer operations to their poorer neighbour to exploit lower wage rates. Today there is huge opposition in all three countries to Nafta. War on Want, in an excellent briefing on the TTIP, characterised the deal not as a negotiation between two competing trading partners, but as “an assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations seeking to remove regulatory barriers to their activities on both sides of the Atlantic.” This is not a traditional trade agreement but it is all about deregulating society, removing social standards and environmental regulations and ensuring that public services are opened up to private enterprise. The secrecy surrounding its contents is so great that not even government officials from EU member states have been allowed to see the documents up front. Eventually a final agreement will be released and will be imposed on citizens of EU member states and the US. The omens are not good. The negotiators see collective labour agreements as a challenge and restriction on business. The US has refused to sign most International Labour Organisation conventions on core standards including freedom of association and the right to organise, so it’s hard to see where the TTIP is leading to other than a transatlantic attack on trade unions. Rights at work, the working time directive, health and safety legislation, redundancy payments and employment protection were all hard-fought-for gains by trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic. Now all this may be put at risk in a levelling down of protections. Food standards are also threatened, with enormous pressure from US-based global brands to water down European legislation on GM crops, food safety and animal welfare. But the biggest prize of all for those who stand to gain from TTIP are our public services. Currently the NHS is required to provide health care free at the point of use for everyone. So far Britain’s Tories have retained that principle, but they have built on a lot of what new Labour was trying to do in “opening up” the NHS to private-sector companies. Already US health companies are lining up in the hunt for big profits by running sections of the NHS with fewer staff earning lower wages and on worse conditions. The threat posed to health services is similar in other European countries, yet tellingly the EU has not sought to exclude health from the TTIP negotiations. Public debate on the deal remains strangely absent, but it remains possible that strong trade union opposition to assaults on working conditions could significantly alter the process of negotiations. It’s also quite possible that the more isolationist elements in the US Congress will seek to block its passage. What’s certain, though, is that the stakes are extremely high. The EU is continuing to pursue its central goal of being a place where big business has free rein to operate. At the same time US corporations are eyeing up a greater global role. And from what little has penetrated the veil of secrecy surrounding negotiations, it appears increasingly that any potential positives for workers, and on environmental issues and public services are being sidelined in favour of greedy bankers and multinationals which see vast profits to be made. Jeremy Corbyn is Labour MP for Islington North. " " There is a particular focus working against generic medicines, on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies that rank amongst the most profitable US and UK firms – for example patents could be extended ensuring more expensive drug therapies. A version of SOPA could be introduced by the backdoor, limiting internet freedom and internet privacy rights. It would also shield foreign capital from domestic laws, essentially deregulating finance even further, at a point when there are calls for greater not less regulation. But overarching all of this, is the transfer of sovereignty from nations to private corporate tribunals who will be empowered to compel governments to change their laws or pay unlimited fines. Foreign companies will essentially not be bound by domestic laws... Human rights, environmental protection and employment rights could all be contested and overturned by private corporate tribunals. The post-democratic age will have been enshrined in binding legislation… and all of it will be done in secret! " http://think-left.org/2013/02/20/are-we-already-in-the-post-democratic-era/ http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-d49b-The-TTIPing-point " The language that was written for the TTIP could open doors for companies like Monsanto, allowing them to push their genetically engineered food production overseas as well as in the United States. " http://21stcenturywire.com/ 1) THE BIGGEST SHAREHOLDER OF MONSANTO IS VANGUARD THAT IS RELATED WITH DICK CHENEY AND WITH THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND FRONT OF THE ROTHSCHILDS. https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/money-web-cia-cheney-whole-foods-everybody/ http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/facebook-and-monsanto-top-shareholders-are-identical/ http://www.cbsnews.com/news/queen-visits-jamestown-with-cheney/ http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/brenda-norrell/2009/11/profiteering-misery-private-prison-scams-target-american-indians http://whale.to/a/monsanto_h.html http://whale.to/c/cartels.html http://naturalsociety.com/monsantos-gmo-seeds-farmer-suicides-every-30-minutes/ http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/gmo-plants-gmo-people-and-cancer/ http://www.naturalnews.com/044446_Monsanto_GMO_seeds_poison.html CHENEY IS ALSO A FRIEND OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD. " Israel has granted a U.S. company the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights, John Reed of the Financial Times reports. A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy — which is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert MURDOCH — will now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights." http://www.globalresearch.ca/srael-grants-first-golan-heights-oil-drilling-license-to-dick-cheney-linked-company/5347779 http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/madeleine-mccann-cover-up-lelievre.html THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY IS LINKED WITH JACOB ROTHSCHILD, BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD, ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD, EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD, ERIC DE ROTHSCHILD AND DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/03/queen-state-territories JACOB ROTHSCHILD "is also a Member of the Council for the Duchy of Cornwall for HRH The Prince of Wales...", a "Trustee of the Prince of Wales’ Prince’s Charities Foundation. " and in " 2002 awarded the Order of Merit by Her Majesty the Queen. Members of the Order are limited in number to 24 and the order is given to those who have rendered exceptionally meritorious service in the field of the arts, learning, literature and science " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Rothschild,_4th_Baron_Rothschild " Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, President, Arts and Business awards The Prince of Wales Medal for Philanthropy 2013 to Lord Jacob Rothschild, one of the five recipients, during a ceremony on December 11, 2013 in London, England. " http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Prince+Charles/Jacob+Rothschild/Reception+Held+Prince+Charles+London/08Isgaq04Qa The Royal Bank of Scotland, controlled by the British Royal Family, is also connected with the bank Edmond De Rothschild owned by BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD and by his wife ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD FOR EXAMPLE THROUGH THE PERSON OF MARK PHILLIPS. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/prince-charles-dumps-rbs-boss-372885 http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/banks-100-billion-black-hole.html Mark Phillips, Current Vice President at Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild, was Vice President at RBS Coutts Bank Ltd, Geneva from March 2003 to September 2011. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-phillips/4/5b9/772 http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/baron-benjamin-de-rothschild-his-wife-baroness-ariane-de-news-photo/170740077 http://islamic-intelligence.blogspot.com/2010/05/judge-hellersteins-connection-to.html " Prince Charles already played polo with EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD in his student years and later set up the Interfaith consultations with him. " http://www.gnosticliberationfront.com/people_with_the_endless_bios.htm Evelyn de Rothschild " In 1989, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, for whom he serves as a financial adviser. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Robert_de_Rothschild http://www.breathingenglishair.blogspot.fr/2012/04/ascott-house-buckinghamshire.html EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD IS ALSO A FRIEND OF PRINCE ANDREW. https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/introduction/PEHI_Evelyn_de_Rothschild_bio.htm ERIC DE ROTHSCHILD IS ANOTHER BIG FRIEND OF THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY AND A BIG OWNER OF ROTHSCHILD & CIE TOGETHER WITH DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD. " Red wine and champagne generously donated by Baron Eric de Rothschild " http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/kate-middleton-speaks-of-blissful-marriage-181174 http://www.rothschild.com/David_de_Rothschild/ http://www.gettyimages.nl/detail/nieuwsfoto's/queen-elizabeth-ii-meets-sir-evelyn-de-rothschild-lady-nieuwsfotos/72668835 VANGUARD IS ALSO A BIG SHAREHOLDER OF COCA COLA, PEPSI, NESTLE AND KRAFT. http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=KO http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=PEP http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=NSRGF http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=KRFT http://fracturedparadigm.com/2013/04/02/boycott-monsanto-a-simple-list-of-companies-to-avoid/ " Pepsi, Nestle scandal – flavour ‘enhanced’ by aborted foetal cells " http://www.investigatemagazine.co.nz/Investigate/2437/pepsi-nestle-scandal-flavour-enhanced-by-aborted-foetal-cells/ http://truthseeker1313.com/2013/12/04/coke-supports-gmos-sign-the-petition/ 2) NATO, THAT PUSH FOR TRANSATLANTIC DICTATORSHIP, IS CONTROLLED BY THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL THAT HAS STRONG RELATIONS WITH ROTHSCHILDS CORPORATIONS. http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/us-ambassador-to-germany-trans-atlantic-cooperation-is-indispensable http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/about/international-advisory-board CAIO KOCH-WESER, VICE CHAIRMAN OF DEUTSCHE BANK IS ALSO CO-CHAIRMAN OF THE BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS ADVISORY GROUP (BEAG) OF THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL. http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/upload/beag_roster.pdf " On April 28 the Atlantic Council held its annual awards dinner at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. where the U.S. State Department is also situated. The honorees were headed by former President Bill Clinton, who was given the Distinguished International Leadership Award for his intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and launching the North American Free Trade Agreement. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG, was presented with the Distinguished Business Leadership Award.... " http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/74126 ALSO MERKEL HAS STRONG RELATION WITH DEUTSCHE BANK http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/__pr/P__Wash/2013/06/19-TTIP-Berlin.html "The German government’s policy on debt restructuring for Greece is lifted directly from policy papers prepared by the Deutsche Bank, it has emerged...... The revelation that the Finance Ministry in Berlin just takes over the contents of policy papers of Deutsche Bank offers yet more proof that Chancellor Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schäuble are puppets of the commercial banks. Merkel and Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann attended this year’s Bilderberg conference in Switzerland and would have had ample opportunity to discuss ways and means to expropriate yet more money from the tax payers under one pretext or another. " http://waterpressure.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/jane-burgermeister-report-deutsche-bank-writes-german-finance-ministry%e2%80%99s-greek-debt-policy-ard-documentary-reveals/ THE CRIMES OF THE NAZI BARONS THAT CONTROL DEUTSCHE BANK IN GREECE: a) REFUSED HOSPITALIZATIONS TO UNINSURED DISABLED A woman, 35 years old, with psychological problems attempted suicide by falling from the roof of a house located in Nea Ionia. 23 days have passed and still she has not had surgery because is uninsured. http://news.disabled.gr/?p=46899 http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/09/20/more-than-3-million-greeks-have-no-access-to-public-health-care-system/ b) Greek Christmas present: state cuts poverty allowance to 20,000 people with disabilities http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/12/20/greek-christmas-present-state-cuts-poverty-allowance-to-20000-people-with-disabilities/ c) Greek Health Minister: “Cancer is not urgent unless in final stages” http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2014/02/27/greek-health-minister-cancer-is-not-urgent-unless-in-final-stages/ ( Devastation of health care in Greece http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/02/28/gree-f28-f28.html ) d) GREECE IN CRISIS-DRAMATIC INCREASE OF SUICIDES: 3,124 PEOPLE IN 2009-2012 http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/11/22/greece-in-crisis-dramatic-increase-of-suicides-3124-people-in-2009-2012/ e) GREECE IS ONE OF THE FEW STATES OF THE WORLD THAT KEEPS THE PRISON FOR STATE DEBTORS AND THE UNIQUE IN EUROPE http://beforeitsnews.com/international/2013/04/greek-govt-seeks-military-camp-to-serve-as-prison-for-state-debtors-2455920.html http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2014/03/02/athens-police-arrests-alzheimers-patient-90-for-e5000-debt-to-the-tax-office/ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2014/03/05/greeces-new-hobby-chasing-arresting-grannies-for-debts-to-the-state/ WHO CONTROLS DEUTSCHE BANK ? DAVID HAYSEY HEAD OF PUBLIC EQUITIES AT RIT CAPITAL PARTNERS AND IN THE PAST DIRECTOR AT J ROTHSCHILD CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, BOTH OWNED BY JACOB ROTHSCHILD, HAS BEEN MANAGING DIRECTOR AT DEUTSCHE BANK. http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-haysey/1b/470/bb3 https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/introduction/PEHI_Jacob_de_Rothschild_bio.htm LYNN FORESTER DE ROTHSCHILD, WIFE OF EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD, IS A DIRECTOR OF DEUTSCHE BANK. " In addition, she serves as a Trustee of ... the Alfred Herrhausen Society of International Dialogue of Deutsche Bank and the Global Commercial Microfinance Consortium Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Forester_de_Rothschild https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Robert_de_Rothschild DEUTSCHE BANK HAS LINKS ALSO WITH THE BANK EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD OWNED BY BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD AND BY HIS WIFE ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_de_Rothschild https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_de_Rothschild NICOLAS HINDI, THAT WORKED AT THE BANQUE PRIVEE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD, IS M&A ANALYST AT DEUTSCHE BANK. http://in.linkedin.com/pub/nicolas-hindi/31/912/265 ROTHSCHILD & CIE, CONTROLLED BY DAVID AND ERIC DE ROTHSCHILD, HAS RELATIONS WITH DEUTSCHE BANK, FOR EXAMPLE THROUGH ROMAIN PREVOST. http://fr.linkedin.com/pub/romain-pr%C3%A9vost/12/b2/2b3 CORRUPT AND CRIMINAL EUROPEAN UNION HAS PREPARED BIG FUND (EUROPEAN STABILITY MECHANISM) WITH THE MONEY OF THE EUROPEAN CITIZENS TO SAVE SOME BANKRUPT BANKS. http://larouchepac.com/node/23172 ITALY IS INCREASING ITS DEBT IN ORDER TO POUR, IN SEVERAL INSTALLMENTS, OVER 125 BILLIONS TO THE ESM. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-29/728-trillion-presenting-bank-biggest-derivative-exposure-world-hint-not-jpmorgan " Currently it is even difficult to find corruption affairs in which Deutsche Bank does not result in any way involved. Even in the health care system scandal in Abruzzo, which has engulfed the governor Ottaviano Del Turco, Deutsche Bank could not miss. Indeed, we can understand from a flight in London of Ottaviano Del Turco in 2006, to meet with the heads of Deutsche Bank, the possibility to know that the top decision heads of Deutsche Bank do not operate even more in Germany, but precisely in London." http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.comedonchisciotte.org%2Fsite%2Fmodules.php%3Fname%3DNews%26file%3Dprint%26sid%3D8812 . http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-17/deutsche-bank-derivative-helped-monte-paschi-mask-losses.html 3) "The governments of Europe and the United States are planning the" Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership "(TTIP). BMW and Monsanto rejoice with Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase, BASF and Google, Bertelsmann and ExxonMobil." http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dieuniversitaet.net%2F2013%2F06%2F18%2Fttip-bmw-und-monsanto-freuen-sich%2F&edit-text= ALSO CHEVRON HAS INTERESTS IN THE TTIP. http://justinvestment.org/2013/05/chevron-fracks-europe-transatlantic-trade-investment-agreement-favors-big-energy-companies-and-threatens-the-environment/ http://www.thenewage.co.za/123292-1021-53-Oil_drilling_possible_trigger_for_deadly_Italy_quakes A) " German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under fire for accepting a nearly 700,000-euro donation to her conservative party by owners of popular car maker BMW, so much so that the country’s president is being forced to clamp down on massive political gifts..... The Quandt dynasty, which owns 46.7 percent of the BMW auto concern, was reported on the German parliament’s website to have made the transaction to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party in the first days of October. ... The catalyst seemed to be that, just days before the transfer, Europe’s environment ministers caved in to Berlin’s demands to cancel an agreement that would limit the country’s car emissions. " http://rt.com/news/merkel-criticism-bmw-carbon-305/ THE QUANDT FAMILY IS CONNECTED WITH THE DRESDNER BANK AND COMMERZBANK. Susanne Hanna Ursula Quandt and Stefan Quandt worked for Dresdner Bank. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanne_Klatten http://www.whoislog.info/profile/stefan-quandt.html " On August 31, 2008, Commerzbank announced that it would acquire Dresdner Bank for EUR 9.8 billion. Dresdner Bank was legally merged with Commerzbank on 11 May 2009 and ceased to be an independent entity. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresdner_Bank COMMERZBANK IS CONNECTED WITH DEUTSCHE BANK AND THE ROTHSCHILDS. " Martin Blessing is Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Commerzbank AG... His father was a member of the Board of Deutsche Bank." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Blessing " Edmond de Rothschild Buys BMW After ‘Nightmare’ Year " http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ateEqIsD4EfE B) THE BIGGEST SHAREHOLDER OF EXXONMOBIL AND CHEVRON IS ALSO VANGUARD. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=XOM http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=CVX https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez VANGUARD IS THE BIGGEST SHAREHOLDERS OF PFIZER. http://www.4-traders.com/PFIZER-INC-4821/company/ " The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has given his blessing to the idea of the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer's taking over the UK firm AstraZeneca The American oil company Exxon Mobil may take over the UK oil firm BG... Pfizer is a company known for buying rivals, cutting costs, absorbing the best parts of the business and then selling off the remainder....." http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/traitors-exposed.html http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/apr/20/david-cameron-jersey-panama-geneva http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/feb/23/government-reform-disability-benefits https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/most-bloody-jihadists-are-uk-extremists/ http://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/presstv-uks-hague-car-bombers-are-us-by-finian-cunningham/ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2624385/Milliband-accused-major-error-refusing-meeting-Viagra-firm-Pfizer-60billion-takeover-deal.html Benjamin de Rothschild says:" These days it's good to hold shares of international corporations, companies that sell globally and especially in the East. There are quite a few Swiss firms like that, such as NESTLE, but also American firms such as Johnson & Johnson and PFIZER. " http://intellibriefs.blogspot.com/2011/01/interview-baron-de-rothschild.html http://www.lejdd.fr/Economie/Images/Les-plus-grosses-fortunes-de-France/Benjamin-de-Rothschild-206941 " Benjamin de Rothschild, only son of the late Edmond de Rothschild, was a classic case of great expectations gone astray. Despite being groomed for greatness from a young age, as a teenager he skipped university and instead headed for Los Angeles with dreams of being a film producer. In LA he started taking drugs, and ended up on heroin. Meanwhile, he failed to make it into Hollywood's charmed circle and bombed as a film-maker. " http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/poor-little-rich-boys-1097744.html C) WE FIND VANGUARD ALSO IN GOOGLE. http://www.brighthub.com/internet/google/articles/69966.aspx " .....Many of Google Federal’s top managers come from the biggest and baddest military and intel outfits: US Army, Air Force Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Director of National Intelligence, USAID, SAIC, Lockheed… the list keeps going on and on. Take Michele R. Weslander Quaid, Google’s Chief Technology Officer of Public Sector and “Innovation Evangelist.” ...Weslander Quaid took the top spot in Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of the seven most powerful women to watch in 2014. The reason? She helped bring the Google mindset to federal intelligence agencies..." http://pando.com/2014/04/23/the-revolving-door-between-google-and-the-department-of-defense/ " Google appears to be part of the NAZI-ZIONIST-MAFIA-ROBBER-baron elite. They invade people's privacy, make money from people's intellectual property and work with the spooks. ...." http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/google-and-mind-control.html " Google uses various tax avoidance strategies. Out of the five largest American technology companies it pays the lowest taxes to the countries of origin of its revenues. The company accomplishes this partly by licensing technology through subsidiaries in Ireland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Netherlands.This has reportedly sparked a French investigation into Google's transfer pricing practices..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google 4) JP MORGAN PRESSES ITS PUPPET, THE PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY matteo renzi, FOR THE CONCLUSION OF THE TTIP THROUGH THE NEWSPAPER " IL SOLE 24 ORE". http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ilsole24ore.com%2Fart%2Fnotizie%2F2014-04-09%2Fun-accordo-utile-anche-italia-063845.shtml&edit-text= https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteo_Renzi matteo renzi IS WELL CONTROLLED BY TONY BLAIR. " Former English Prime Minister Tony Blair was recently spotted in Florence having dinner with several important figures, among them being Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi. Italian Minister of Economic Development Corrado Passera and Italian Vice Minister of Economy Vittorio Grilli, as well as several other important international personalities were also at the gathering. The dinner was organized by JP Morgan and took place on the terrace of Palazzo Corsini...." http://theflorencenewspaper.com/new/tony-blair-sighted-in-florence/ THE ROTHSCHILDS CONTROL JP MORGAN THROUGH THEIR AGENT TONY BLAIR. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/28/heckler-brands-tony-blair-a-war-criminal-over-jpmorgan-payments/ http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/money-laundering-jp-morgan-in-the-frame-for-venezuelan-drugs-link/ ( Tony Blair. Illegitimate Son Of JACOB ROTHSCHILD....Evidence http://the-tap.blogspot.com/2012/06/can-you-spot-it.html ) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359330/Gaddafi-heir-Saif-inevitably-friend-Andy-Mandy.html " Since leaving office Mr BLAIR has used a number of Gulfstream planes, including a South African-registered Gulfstream V jet based at Luton Airport. In November last year he is believed to have hired a Gulfstream IV owned by British-based banker Sir EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD for a three-day return trip to Rwanda at an estimated cost of £83,000, including fuel. Sir Evelyn, 77, who was one of a number of billionaires to dine at Downing Street in Mr Blair’s final days in power, has owned the plane since 2002 through a company called Metropix. " http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1138789/Now-Tony-Blairs-finally-got-private-jet-hes-wanted-rented.html " Tony Blair Visits Caesarea, an Israeli Rothschild Estate Caesarea is a curious place for war criminal, and the Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair to wander off to, but so it is according to the Israeli ynet news. But that is where the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is – useful for slipping out of the limelight of citizen arrest, supporting the recent bloody Egyptian coup, and the ongoing bloodletting of millions Iraqis. ... ....Today, the Chairman of the Caesarea Foundation and the CDC is Baron BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD " http://hwaairfan.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/tony-blair-visits-caesarea-an-israeli-rothschild-estate/ http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/cover-up-of-blair-minister-child-abuse.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/battle-scarred-italian-town-now-defeated-by-debt/2012/01/02/gIQA421dhP_story.html " It is worth noting that in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq, during Tony Blair’s mandate as Prime Minister JP Morgan Chase was designated to run the Trade Bank of Iraq. " http://www.globalresearch.ca/suicides-of-bank-executives-fraud-financial-manipulation-jpmorgan-chases-advisor-tony-blair-is-not-involved/5368627 http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-children-of-fallujah--the-hospital-of-horrors-7679168.html ( Blair in Jerusalem: War on Iran, War on Syria, Save the Banks Above All http://larouchepac.com/node/27043 ) ( A REAL HORRORS GALLERY OF THE FRIENDS OF BLAIR IN SYRIA https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/london-meeting-of-those-who-call-themselves-friends-of-syria-contribute-to-more-killing/ http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-nato-water-war-against-syria-turkey-suspends-pumping-euphrates-water/5386059 http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/2sG70uzyZa8/Queen+Duke+Edinburgh+During+Their+State+Visit/qdxFjAPANkj/Recep+Tayyip+Erdogan ) THE BIGGEST SHAREHOLDER OF JP MORGAN IS VANGUARD RELATED ALSO WITH DAVID AND ERIC DE ROTHSCHILD. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=JPM+Major+Holders matteo renzi "WINS" THE ELECTIONS BECAUSE IS THE LOVED PUPPY OF THE BRITISH AND FRENCH BRANCH OF THE ROTHSCHILDS ? https://www.ansa.it/english/news/2014/06/02/grillo-suspects-vote-rigging-in-european-election-loss_0c72cfb7-d96e-448e-8724-2810303f771a.html The article 13 paragraph 2 of the law 124/2007 provides the possibility of access of the SECRET SERVICES to all the informatic systems of public administrations... With this law is possibile move IN FULL IMPUNITY MILLION OF VOTES in the final calculation. THE TEXT OF THE LAW 124/2007 WAS DRAFTED BY THE FORMER MINISTER OF INTERIOR giuliano amato, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR OF DEUTSCHE BANK AND KNIGHT OF THE QUEEN. https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.informarexresistere.fr%2F2014%2F05%2F30%2Fe-se-il-vero-segreto-di-stato-fosse-proprio-renzi%2F&edit-text= http://www.potiori.com/Order_of_St_Michael_and_St_George.html THE SHAMEFULL renzi'S GOVERNMENT IS REDUCING IN POVERTY THE ITALIAN PEOPLE IN ORDER TO SAVE SOME BANKRUPT BANKS AND TO BUY THE AIRPLANES F-35 OF LOCKHEED MARTIN. " With a perfect synchronism (with Obama's visit) the minister of defence Pinotti and the head of the Democratic Party Speranza have yesterday supported the purchase of the F-35 ... About the military spending, both spoke of "economic compatibilities" and of the necessity to reduce the wastes. Among the wastes evidently there are not the 14 billion euro to be spent in the next years for 90 fighter-bombers able to make the war and to carry nuclear weapons and that are from the point of view economic and technological real frauds....." http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.unita.it%2Fpolitica%2Fpinotti-ai-militari-state-sereni-br-su-f35-nessun-passo-indietro-1.560093&edit-text= https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberta_Pinotti " Lynne Cheney [the wife of Dick Cheney ] served on Lockheed Corporation's board of directors from 1994 to 2001." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynne_Cheney " Perry [son-in-law of Dick Cheney] returned to Latham & Watkins as a partner..... serving as counsel on behalf of Fortune 500 clients such as Monsanto, defense contractor Lockheed Martin and others. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Perry http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/prince-william-sir-david-manning-and.html A) INPS (NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY) CUTS THE PENSION TO ELDERLY OF THE CITY OF GELA (ITALY) THAT COMMITS SUICIDE. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fricerca.gelocal.it%2Faltoadige%2Farchivio%2Faltoadige%2F2012%2F04%2F04%2FAB8PO_RA501.html&edit-text= B) 89 YEARS OLD THAT WAS IMMOBILIZED IN A BED AND LIVED ALONE, CARED BY NEIGHBORS, HAD ASKED FOR EIGHT TIMES THE DISABILITY BENEFIT THEN DIED WITHOUT RESPONSE. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.superabile.it%2Fweb%2Fit%2FREGIONI%2FAbruzzo%2FSulla_stampa%2Finfo-443100957.html C) STORM OF SUICIDES RELATED TO LOSS OF JOBS AND DEBTS http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.stopcensura.com%2F2012%2F03%2Fraffica-di-suicidi-legati-alla-perdita.html&edit-text= D) ON 27 APRIL 2014 THE TRAITOR PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY matteo renzi HAS MET LARRY FINK, CEO OF BLACKROCK, IN ORDER TO AGREE THE SELLING OUT OF THE ITALIAN PUBLIC COMPANIES. https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lanotiziagiornale.it%2Fcomprare-tutto-e-rock-anzi-blackrockil-fondo-usa-al-5-della-popolare-di-milanouna-passione-per-le-banche-che-sa-tanto-di-mordi-e-fuggi%2F&edit-text= BLACKROCK IS CONTROLLED BY THE QUEEN AND THE ROTHSCHILDS. DERYCK C. MAUGHAN, A KNIGHT OF THE QUEEN, IS A DIRECTOR OF BLACKROCK. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deryck_Maughan " Professor Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, ..goes public over the World Bank's, "Four Step Strategy," which is designed to enslave nations to the bankers... Step One: Privatization. This is actually where national leaders are offered 10% commissions to their secret Swiss bank accounts in exchange for them trimming a few billion dollars off the sale price of national assets. Bribery and corruption, pure and simple. " http://www.iamthewitness.com/books/Andrew.Carrington.Hitchcock/Synagogue.of.Satan/1998-2002.htm renzi, padoan AND company ARE PREPARING TO PUT IN THEIR POCKETS THE HUGE TANGENT OF 10%+++ ? https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pier_Carlo_Padoan 5) obama THAT WILL COCLUDE THE FREE TRADE DEAL TTIP ACTS LIKE A PROSTITUTE OF THE QUEEN. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13489879 EUROPEAN UNION, THAT ALSO WILL CONCLUDE THE TTIP, IS WELL CONTROLLED BY GOLDMAN SACHS BECAUSE MARIO DRAGHI, THE CHIEF OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, IS A MAN OF GOLDMAN SACHS. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/what-price-the-new-democracy-goldman-sachs-conquers-europe-6264091.html http://www.globalresearch.ca/bilderberg-2014-war-criminals-big-oil-and-too-big-to-jail-banksters-meet-in-secrecy/5384502 VANGUARD IS A BIG SHAREHOLDER OF GOLDMAN SACHS. http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=GS 6) " The TPP is a massive, controversial "free trade" agreement currently being pushed by big corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. ............. Although it is called a "free trade" agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade... We only know about the TPP's threats thanks to leaks – the public is not allowed to see the draft TPP text. Even members of Congress, after being denied the text for years, are now only provided limited access. Meanwhile, more than 600 official corporate "trade advisors" have special access. The TPP has been under negotiation for five years, and the Obama administration wants to sign the deal by early 2014. Opposition to the TPP is growing at home and in many of the other countries involved." http://www.citizen.org/tpp THESE DANGEROUS FREE TRADE DEALS ( TTIP TPP ) HAVE ECONOMIC NATURE BUT, VERY PROBABLY, IN THE FUTURE CAN LEAD TO MONETARY UNIONS AND AT THE END WE WILL HAVE A GLOBAL CURRENCY. ALSO THE EUROPEAN UNION STARTED LIKE ECONOMIC UNION BUT THEN BECAME A NAZI TOTALITARIAN MONETARY UNION. http://www.singleglobalcurrency.org/documents/ArticleEconomist1988GetReadyforthePhoenix_001.doc http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/05/14/referenda-expose-illegal-western-regime-change-ukraine.html http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-wests-weaponization-of-democracy-elections-pushed-ahead-in-ukraine-obstructed-in-syria-so-mass-murder-can-continue/5384629 http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2014/06/02/eu-approves-genetically-modified-gm-food-crops-for-our-table/ 7)THE CRIMES OF THE ROTHSCHILDS IN MONTENEGRO, KOSOVO AND ITALY A) " Montenegro: Mafia as Guarantor of Euro-Atlantic Integration ....... Milo Djukanovic, the Montenegrin dictator, said that joining NATO is a political priority for his country. http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/04/10/montenegro-nato-doorstep-engagement-costs-steadily-rising.html It is emphasized that 2014 is a decisive year because Montenegro must be ready for the NATO’s September summit to be held in the United Kingdom. The expansion of the Alliance to the East will be an issue on the agenda...........According to documents in the possession of Italy’s prosecutor’s office and inquiries of independent journalists, Milo Djukanovic has had close ties with Italian and American mafia since a long time. A 409 - page report is added to the indictment brought by Italian prosecution. Prosecutor Giuseppe Scelsi has formally stated that Milo Djukanovic is the top boss of Montenegrin mafia. In the 1980s well-known mafiosi Della Torre organized large heroin supplies from Italy to the US East Coast. There was solid evidence that Della Torre was involved in money laundering. He got profit from heroin trade through Swiss banks, but Americans never brought charges against him with a string attached – he had to cooperate with the US special services. In 1996 the Italian mafiosi started to run his own chain involved in counterfeit cigarettes business. As sources confirm, he worked with Milo Djukanovic. The counterfeit cigarettes trade brought millions of dollars into the pockets of US intelligence. Many of truth pursuers, who stood in the way of the CIA and mafia alliance, paid with their lives, including two journalists: Dusko Jovanovic, the Editor of Montenegrin newspaper Dan, and Ivo Pukanic, Editor-in-Chief of Croatian weekly magazine National. Pukanic has published facts providing ample evidence of the Djukanovic and Subotić involvement in illegal cigarette trade. In March 2011 US Senator Richard Lugar formally proposed to make Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro full-fledged NATO members. According to him, the expansion is of crucial importance for security and democracy in the Balkans. At the beginning of October 2013 Lugar met Djukanovic and said that «Montenegro is the number one candidate for membership in NATO». At the very same time Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Scelsi, who possessed irrefutable evidence of the fact that Djukanovic was involved in criminal activities, was charged in October 2013 with abuse of office. Today Washington lets Djukanovic know that if he makes Montenegro a NATO member, then all the accusations related to criminal activities will be lifted… In 1999 NATO started its expansion to the Balkans by committing a grave crime – an aggression against Yugoslavia. Nowadays the creation of criminal regimes on the territory of former Yugoslavia is a logical continuation of its policy. " http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/24/montenegro-mafia-as-guarantor-of-euro-atlantic-integration.html " Celebrating: Nat Rothschild [SON OF JACOB ROTHSCHILD], left, Peter Munk and Milo Djukanovic, right, enjoy the celebrations..." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2012882/Peter-Mandelson-parties-super-rich-Nat-Rothschild-Montenegro.html ( Montenegro Bought by Rothschild Family http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/19712/46 ) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1080664/Nat-Rothschild-naughty-boy-says-mother-law.html B) " Officially, the Americans are working hard to stamp out heroin production in Afghanistan, but in reality they, namely the CIA, are using the proceeds from the drug trade, including the illegal drug traffic to Kosovo from Afghanistan which is facilitated mainly via the Bondsteel Base, to replenish their secret coffers, at least that’s what American newspapers have recently been writing about. Milovan Drecun reports. Other reports mention a U.S. connection with a member of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army and a close friend of Kosovo Premier Hashim Taci who are believed to have been smuggling up to 150 kilos of heroin and cocaine at a time. These criminals were chummy with a cafй owner close to the Bondsteel Base and were doing business with the American officers there, Milovan Drecun adds. " http://natomission.ru/en/security/article/security/artnews/69/ "The withdrawal of the Serbian police from Kosovo enabled Thaci's gangsters to kidnap people in the province with no risk of meeting with resistance. Some sources are convinced that the kidnapped were placed and subjected to illicit extractions in the NATO bases. Indeed, 6 – 14 aircrafts took off at Camp Bondsteel NATO base in Kosovo daily, and suspicions multiply that the flights could be used to deliver human organs to recipients in West Europe, mostly in Great Britain. On January 7, 2011, 50 British surgeons voiced a call for the legalization of human organs trade, citing the steady increase in demand and the freedom of choice for those eager to be donors due to financial regards. No doubt, human organs trafficking has a potential to become a source of criminal enrichment on pars with the drug business. Der Spiegel argues that, in the global distribution of roles in the market of illicit transplantations, most of the buyers are found in the US, Canada, Israel, and Saudi Arabia while most of the donors – in China, India, the Philippines, Egypt, and Moldova. The independent Kosovo, a territory with a reputation of horror land, acts as a major trafficking hub in the framework" http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/08/31/independent-kosovo-gangland-spills-savagery-worldwide-ii.html " As side result U.S. created Bondsteel, one of the biggest U.S. military base in center of Europe – completely outside European/international jurisdiction – to serve also as secret torture/detention/investigation center of CIA." https://arirusila.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/captured-pseudo-state-kosovo/ " The plans to build Camp BONDSTEEL under a lucrative multibillion dollar DoD contract with HALLIBURTON's Texas based subsidiary KBR were formulated while DICK CHENEY was HALLIBURTON's CEO." http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/02/390745.html " It comes as no surprise that the VANGUARD Group is also currently a major shareholder in HALLIBURTON, the longtime war profiteer in Iraq. CHENEY's investments in the VANGUARD Group are estimated at between $25 and $86 million, since exact numbers have not been released." http://november.org/stayinfo/breaking08/Cheney_Gonzales_Indicted.html http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/04/national/04halliburton.html C)BLOODY BARONS THAT CONTROL DEUTSCHE BANK AND NATO ARE INSTALLING THE POWERFUL AND DANGEROUS RADAR MUOS IN THE CITY OF NISCEMI (ITALY) WITH THE AID OF THEIR LOCAL MAFIA " There are only three other ground stations like the Muos in the world, producing very high electromagnetic fields. And they’re all built in some desert areas of Virginia, Hawaii and Australia. In Sicily, for some mysterious reasons, it looked OK to place the Muos five kilometres from the town of Niscemi, in a unique nature reserve and way too close to the civil population..