The Counter-Revolution of 1776 and the Construction of Whiteness – Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself 3/6


via The Counter-Revolution of 1776 and the Construction of Whiteness – Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself 3/6.

On Reality Asserts Itself Mr. Horne says that the defense of massive profits from the slave trade and fear of slave rebellions was an important impetus for the American Revolution –   August 20, 2014

 

The Black Scare and the Democratic Party – Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself 2/6


via The Black Scare and the Democratic Party – Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself 2/6.

Mr. Horne says the Democrats are heavily dependent upon black votes, but afraid of defending their interests out of fear of alienating cross-class racism deeply entrenched in American history –   August 19, 2014

The Price of NAACP Compromise was Too High – Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself 1/6


via The Price of NAACP Compromise was Too High – Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself 1/6.

Mr. Horne, author of The Counter-Revolution of 1776, says it was a turning point in the history of black America when the NAACP succumbed to the pressures of the Cold War – the affects of which are still felt today –   August 18, 2014

 

– Ferguson Police Busted – Attempt To Defame Shooting Victim Blows Up In Their Face VIDEO


via – Ferguson Police Busted – Attempt To Defame Shooting Victim Blows Up In Their Face VIDEO.

Ferguson Police Busted – Attempt To Defame Shooting Victim Blows Up In Their Face

AUTHOR: NATHANIEL DOWNES AUGUST 18, 2014

Mike_Brown_Paying

When the Ferguson police department released the name of Darren Wilson, they also chose to release video footage which they claimed was of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store for some cigars.

The problem is, the video shows Michael Brown at the register, paying for the cigars.

From observation, it looks as if he had tried to buy more, but then was unable to afford it, hence why he left several packets on the counter. This prompted the store owner to come out from behind the counter and have a discussion with him, which prompted the shove witnessed in the full video.

Whatever words were exchanged between the man in the video and the store owner, they were not considered very serious, as the store owner nor the employees did not report a theft at the store. According to the stores attorney, the owners were bewildered when the police approached them demanding the surveillance tapes.

The store owners are now afraid of themselves becoming a target, due to the Ferguson PD’s attempt to tie their store to the fateful shooting. A gross abuse of police authority, one which now puts someone else at risk.

Even if Michael Brown were a petty thief, this does not excuse the cold-blooded shooting death of the 18-year-old. Of course the right-wing took the robbery claim at face value, and began labeling Michael Brown as a ‘thug‘ who did not deserve due process.

But instead it looked like he was a teenager who was enjoying a few cigars which he purchased at the local store. The store owners did not claim he stole from them. Video evidence shows him paying for the cigars found on him. The police attempt to paint Michael Brown as anything but a victim is a complete and total fraud.

Michael Brown was to start college last Monday, and was preparing to start his own business upon graduation. Officer Wilson cut short a promising young man before he could truly get his start in the world. It is a story so tragic due not to this isolated case, but for how common this is in America.

The United States is racing the results of decades of legitimized racism. Ever since President Reagan made it ok to bash the poor, so long as they were black, the progress in race relations in this country has been undone. Now we are facing the obvious result of this criminalization of African-Americans in the US. Is it not time to say enough is enough, and stop putting the blame on the victims?

 

Now Your Food Has Fake DNA In It | Mother Jones


via Now Your Food Has Fake DNA In It | Mother Jones.

Synthetic biology may one day save the world. In the meantime, it’s making a better-tasting vanilla bean.

—By Tom Philpott | Wed Aug. 20, 2014

Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock

Like many novel technologies in this age of TED Talks and Silicon Valley triumphalism, synthetic biology—synbio for short—floats on a sea of hype. One of its founding scientists, Boston University biomedical engineer James Collins, has called it “genetic engineering on steroids.” Whereas garden-variety genetic engineers busy themselves moving genes from one organism into another—to create tomatoes that don’t bruise easily, for example—synthetic biologists generate new DNA sequences the way programmers write code, creating new life-forms.

It may sound like science fiction, but synbio companies have already performed modest miracles. The California-based firm Amyris, for example, has harnessed the technology to make a malaria drug that now comes from a tropical plant. In order to do this, company scientists leveraged the well-known transformative powers of yeast, which humans have used for millennia to turn, say, the sugar in grape juice into alcohol: They figured out how the wormwood tree generates artemisinic acid—the compound that makes up the globe’s last consistently effective anti-malarial treatment—and programmed a yeast strain to do the same thing.

synbio 001

And there could be more innovations on the horizon. In 2011, Craig Venter, the scientist/entrepreneur who spearheaded the mapping of the human genome, vowed to synthesize an algae that would use sunlight to unlock the energy in carbon dioxide. If successful, this attempt to replicate photosynthesis could transform CO2 from climate-heating scourge into a limitless source of energy. Synthetic biologists also aim to conjure up self-growing buildings, streetlight-replacing glowing trees, and medicines tailored to your body’s needs. No wonder the market for synbio is expected to reach $13.4 billion by 2019.

So how soon can you expect glowing trees to light up your block? Well, no one knows. That’s because thus far it has been much easier to create novel life-forms than to control how they function. Venter, for example, hasn’t yet figured out how to cheaply grow enough of his synbio algae to make it competitive with fossil fuels. And malaria is rapidly developing resistance to artemisin drugs, which could eventually render the synbio replicant as useless as the real deal.

But while synbio likely won’t sort out our climate and health woes anytime soon, it just might transform our…ice cream. By creating yeasts that produce high-end flavorings, a Swiss company called Evolva has created synbio vanillin, the main flavor compound in the vanilla bean—and it insists its product tastes much better than the petroleum-derived synthetic vanillin that now comprises virtually all of the vanilla market. Evolva is also preparing to release a synbio version of resveratrol, a compound with antioxidant properties naturally found in grapes and cocoa beans. Next up: a better-tasting version of stevia, a natural, low-calorie sweetener that the soda industry hopes can replace synthetic chemicals in diet sodas. After that, Evolva hopes to make a dizzying variety of lab-grown analogues, including musk, truffle flavoring, and even breast milk.

What could possibly go wrong with vanilla flavoring brewed by DNA-manipulated yeast? Well, like genetic engineering, synbio falls into a regulatory void that often allows products to go from lab to grocery store with little or no oversight. Evolva’s vanillin and resveratrol will likely sail through the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process—and end up in your food without any special labeling—because they are versions of already-existing compounds and thus have “generally recognized as safe” status. The Environmental Protection Agency—which is supposed to evaluate the environmental implications of new products—requires companies to file a report on novel microbes but doesn’t always mandate testing.

synbio 002

And what happens to farmers when their jobs are taken over by designer yeasts? Jim Thomas, the research program manager for the Canada-based technology watchdog ETC Group, points out that synbio companies are so far targeting stuff grown in the Global South, which could have devastating economic consequences for the poor farmers who produce the natural versions. In addition to vanilla (grown in Madagascar, Indonesia, and Mexico) and stevia (China, Paraguay, and Kenya), Evolva’s projected roster of products includes saffron (Iran), turmeric (India), and ginseng (China).

Evolva CEO Neil Goldsmith says that Thomas raises a “legitimate question” but doesn’t think farmers will ultimately be harmed. He argues that synthetic vanillin has existed for decades without taking business away from natural vanilla producers. But that could be because consumers are willing to pay more for the real version. If Evolva is allowed to market its vanillin as a “natural” flavoring rather than a synthetic one, then it could compete directly with vanilla farmers—and it looks like Evolva is aiming to do just that: A recent press release called the product “natural vanillin for global food and flavor markets.”

Indeed, Goldsmith claims that his process is “as natural as bread.” Yeasts used in commercial bakeries have been carefully selected and cultivated. Now, you may consider creating new DNA to be an entirely different matter, but whether you find it creepy or cool ultimately doesn’t matter: Because synbio foods won’t have to be labeled as such, you’ll likely soon be eating them—without even knowing it.

 

RAW COVERAGE: Ferguson, Missouri | VICE News


via RAW COVERAGE: Ferguson, Missouri | VICE News.

August 19, 2014

VICE News was live from the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where protests over the August 9 police killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown have become a daily occurrence. Early Monday morning, Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order to direct additional law enforcement resources through the Missouri National Guard.

 

 

What we’ve Paid for War and Afghanistan and Iraq on Creators.com


via What we’ve Paid for War and Afghanistan and Iraq on Creators.com.

War is Hell.

Major General Harold Greene could certainly tell you all about that — but, sadly, he’s dead. On Aug. 5, General Green became the highest-ranking American soldier to die in our unfathomable, 13-year war in Afghanistan, joining 2,339 other service members who’ve paid the ultimate price for being sent by warmongering politicians into that fight for … well, for what?

No President or Congressional leader has ever offered a coherent or credible answer, much less a compelling one, for why our troops have been made to sacrifice so much for so little. Indeed, how bitterly ironic that the general was not killed by the Taliban or al Qaeda, whom we’re supposedly fighting, but by one of the Afghan government’s own soldiers, whom we’re supposedly helping.

Another blunt reminder of the hellish absurdity of our political leaders’ quick-draw approach to war can be seen in a recent report by the Congressional Research Service. Military budget analysts in this non-partisan Congressional agency keep track of how much the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are costing us taxpayers. The tally has now topped a trillion dollars — and that amount doesn’t count the cost of the the future health care bill for veterans or the enormous interest payments that’ll be made on that debt, which will multiply the trillion-dollar outlay three-or-fourfold.

And the meter is still running. The Pentagon, White House and Congress intend to keep a contingent of soldiers and trainers in both countries for the foreseeable future, plus provide more billions of our tax dollars to both countries for building their infrastructure and education systems. Meanwhile, a trillion dollars and so many American lives later, Iraq is in chaos and falling apart, and Afghanistan is mired in corruption and facing a Taliban takeover.

And — ready or not — here we go again. Our military has been hurled back into the chaos of Iraq. Apparently, “Mission Accomplished” is “Mission Never-ending.”

We’re told that, for now, America will provide only jet fighters, drones, weaponry, humanitarian airdrops, military advice, training — and, of course, our money — to the cause of making this unworkable country work. At least President Obama has put his foot down and sensibly pledged that there will be no American “boots on the ground.”

However, in the politics of Iraq, don’t count on “sensible” surviving the chaos. The Shia-Sunni-Kurdish divide still rages on there, now exacerbated by the theocratic Islamic State’s sudden sadistic invasion. Plus, Iraq’s former prime minister (a corrupt autocrat who our foreign policy geniuses installed during the disastrous Bush-Cheney reign of errors) was so detested by practically everyone that the parliament dumped him. However, he added slapstick to Iraq’s chaos by desperately trying to cling to power, finally having to be almost physically hauled away.

But the least sensible factor affecting Iraq is our own red-faced, militaristic, warmongering members of Congress, demanding that we must go to war. For example, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham is filled with bloodlust over the ferocious rise of the Islamic State in Iraq, so he says we have no choice but to return there to destroy the fanatics.

Of course, by “we,” congressional warriors like Lindsey don’t mean them, their loved ones or anyone else they actually know.

Since the end of World War II, practically every American president, backed by Congress, has sent our troops to die in wars of lies and political flimflam. From Vietnam to Grenada to Iraq, our soldiers have been in senseless wars nearly non-stop for 70 years. It’s time to tell the perennial political sword-rattlers that they should wield the swords themselves. War is hell … and this one is stupid.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.