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Prozac killing ocean fish – but at least they’re not depression any longer.

Watts Up With That?

Earlier this week, The New York Times had a story about fish and depression. Apparently, it’s a thing because… Science!

“The neurochemistry is so similar that it’s scary,” said Julian Pittman, a professor at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Troy University in Alabama, where he is working to develop new medications to treat depression, with the help of tiny zebrafish. We tend to think of them as simple organisms, “but there is a lot we don’t give fish credit for.”

Gosh.

Well there’s good news, apparently thanks to the depression treatments of higher animals, including homo sapiens and their pets, the ocean is being flooded with Prozac. Oh, wait, that’s bad for crabs according to Portand State University:

Prozac in ocean water a possible threat to sea life, PSU study finds

(Portland, Ore.) October 17, 2017 – Oregon shore crabs exhibit risky behavior when they’re…

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Trump approves tar sands pipeline.

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR: It’s really hard to find a fresh or useful comment on something like this. Just sad.

Enbridge’s Line 67 carries tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin. The Trump administration just approved a permit to nearly double its flow at the border. Credit: John W. Murray/CC-BY-NC-2.0

“You’ve probably heard of the Keystone XL pipeline. But what about Line 67, also known as the Alberta Clipper?

“Nine years ago, both were controversial proposals to ship oil from Canada’s tar sands into the United States. But while Keystone XL is still awaiting approval and continues to draw protests, Line 67 quietly secured a federal permit last week to ship even more crude than Keystone would.

“On Oct. 13, the State Department approved a long-awaited permit that allows Enbridge, which owns the pipeline, to pump up to 890,000 barrels per day across the border between Canada and North Dakota…

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The US is the only remaining country with a huge stockpile of chemical weapons.

Futurist Trendcast

Last week Russia unilaterally and voluntarily destroyed its LAST REMAINING chemical weapon, thus becoming chemical weapons FREE. The Soviet arsenal of chemical weapons, if ever used, could have destroyed the whole planet several times over.

This big and welcome news went absolutely unnoticed in the West, silenced completely by MSM and Western governments.

USA remains the BIGGEST and ONLY country with a huge stockpile of chemical weapons on the planet. USA’s chemical weapons today could destroy our planet and all life on it several times over. Yet, US is refusing to destroy them, despite previous agreements. The date of the destruction of said weapons has been postponed from 2007 till 2023.

Putin at Valdai 2017: US Refusing To Destroy Its Chemical Weapons. Yet Russia Did It!

Moreover, in the 1990s’ Yeltsin agreed to give US the stockpiles of the Soviet Uranium. We are not going to discuss how shortsighted that was…

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Experts have warned that the imminent release of never-before-seen government documents about the JFK assassination could cause civil unrest across America.

Nwo Report

Experts have warned that the imminent release of never-before-seen government documents about the JFK assassination could cause civil unrest across America. 

The National Archives have said they will release top secret documents relating to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination within the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the CIA have urged the White House to block the release on the grounds of ‘national security.’

Newsmax.com reports: More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department are set to be released, along with 30,000 that have only been partially released in the past. The document dump “will simply fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories,” write Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato.

Sabato is the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of “The Kennedy Half-Century” and Shenon is a former reporter for the New York Times and author of, “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History…

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Data shows charter school graduates have big gaps in reading and math achievement and are less likely to graduate from college.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ohio has done its very best to promote charters and vouchers. But it did a great disservice to charters by putting them in the state base. The data are there for all to see: with only a few exceptions, charter schools perform worse than public schools.

The latest release of data shows not only that graduates of public schools were more likely to graduate from college than graduates of charter schools, it also shows that achievement gaps grow wider in charter schools, in contrast to public schools.

Stephen Dyer of Innovation Ohio writes:

“Charter schools saw far greater performance gaps in reading and math than school districts. And, more troubling, a far greater percentage of gap growth compared with the previous school year.

“So achievement gaps are growing wider and quicker in Ohio charter schools than Ohio school districts…

“For example, more than 21 percent of charter school achievement gaps…

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Medieval Lives

Terry Jones (2004)

Film Review

In this BBC series from 2004, Monty Python comic and amateur historian Terry Jones gives us a brief overview of what medieval life was really like. He also explores the political purpose of teaching fictitious medieval history in our schools.

The series, divided into seven segments of 29 minutes each, covers peasant life (The Peasant), the power of the Catholic Church (The Monk), the status of women (The Damsel), the origin of modern music, poetry and satire (The Minstrel), medieval science, alchemy and medicine (The Philosopher), the medieval legal system (The Outlaw), and 13th and 14th century monarchs (The King).

The Peasant – Jones uses the 1381 Peasant Revolt (in which tens of thousands of peasants beheaded the Royal Treasurer and the Archbishop of Canterbury), as his point of departure. Because the barons who oversaw the serfs spent most of their time fighting foreign wars for the king, serfs, who were largely self-governing, developed a highly sophisticated form of direct democracy. They retained more of the product of their labor than modern workers and enjoyed more holidays (80, as opposed to the 8 modern workers enjoy.

The Monk – Jones explores how the Catholic Church became enormously rich by commoditizing prayer, ie praying for the salvation of returning barons who risked eternal damnation for all the souls they slaughtered in military conflict. During the Middle Ages, the Pope presided over the greatest accumulation of land in the western world.

The Damsel – Jones explores how a 50% reduction in the 14th century workforce (due to plague) elevated the status of women when they were forced to assume men’s roles. As the population began to recover, the witch burning campaign launched by the Catholic Church systematically demonized women and forced them out of these roles (see Witch Burning and Women’s Opression ).

The Minstrel – here Jones explores the mysterious disappearances of the renowned medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer, possibly relating to his biting satire about the commercialization of the Church.

The Philosopher – here Jones explores the work of 13th century monk Roger Bacon, who discovered light refraction, lenses, the mathematical basis of science and the spherical nature of the Earth 400 years before Isaac Newton. Jones also exposes the total fiction invented by Washington Irving in his biography of Columbus, which falsely portrays the Catholic Church as promoting flat Earth dogma.

The Outlaw – explores the myth of Robin Hood and the early struggle between the local direct democracy practiced by Anglo Saxons and their Norman conquerors. The Anglo Saxons ultimately won out when Henry II instutionalized trial by jury in the 12th century. Contrary to the Robin Hood myth, most outlaws were landless gentry who engaged in robbery, kidnapping and looting for their own enrichment. Most received royal pardons in return for military service.

The King – here Jones rehabilitates Richard II and Richard III (whose portrayal in Shakespeare’s Richard III is a total fiction). Both were systematically demonized by successors who illegally usurped them. Jones also discusses the 12 month British reign (in 1217) of the French king Louis I, who isn’t even acknowledged in English textbooks.

 

rifle-wall-benefits-of-a-wall-mount-gun-rack-520x346

By Jim Kavanagh

“That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”
–George Orwell

As can be expected, in the aftermath of the horrific mass murder committed in Las Vegas by Stephen Paddock, the issue of “gun control” and “gun violence” comes to the fore again. Reprising some of the points I made in an essay on the subject after the Sandy Hook shooting, I want to argue against the impulse to use this event to eliminate what the Marxist and socialist left has historically recognized as an important right.

Let’s start with the basic difference in principle: Some people consider the citizen’s right to possess firearms a fundamental political right.

The political principle at stake is simple: to deny the state the monopoly of armed force, and, obversely, to empower the citizenry, to distribute the power of armed force among the people. The “sub-political” concerns—weapons collecting, target practice, individual self-defense—are valid in themselves, but they are not as important to the gun rights question as the political concern about the distribution of power in a polity.

This is not a right-wing position. Only in the ridiculous political discourse of the United States, where Barack Obama is a Marxist, can citizens’ right to gun ownership be considered a purely right-wing demand. The notion that an armed populace should have a measure of power of resistance to the heavily armed power of the state is, if anything, a populist principle, and has always been part of the revolutionary democratic traditions of the left.

Per George [Orwell], above, and Karl [Marx], here: “The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition… Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”

That’s because left socialists who hold a Marxist analysis of capitalist political economy have a particular understanding of the state—including our American capitalist state; for them, it’s an apparatus whose main purpose is to protect class rule and its accompanying injustices, and to project compliance-inducing aggression on behalf of the American elite and its favored allies — locally, nationally, and internationally. They understand that any mitigations of these injustices and aggressions are not the products of the liberal state’s inherent neutrality and altruism. They are the hard-won, always-precarious, fruits of social movements that scare the liberal capitalist state into forgoing particular wars, advancing particular minority and civil rights, establishing remunerative social welfare policies, etc.

From a left-socialist perspective, then, the concentration of wealth and the concentration of armed power in the hands of a few, are both bad ideas—and the one has everything to do with the other. Thus, though far from revolutionary, insofar as it supports this principle—explicitly denying the state the monopoly of armed force—the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is one of the most radical legal statutes in the world.

If you hold this position, you will consider whatever regulations on gun ownership are necessary (because some will be) with circumspection, because those “regulations” are limitations on a right, and rights, though never absolute, are to be valued. You won’t seek, overtly or surreptitiously, to eliminate that right entirely, and your discourse will reflect all of that. If you understand gun ownership as a political right, then, for you, if there weren’t a Second Amendment or something like it, there should be.

Some people, on the other hand, including most self-identified liberals, and, in the United States today, most self-identified socialists, do not consider the right to possess firearms a fundamental political right. In fact, they consider it some kind of peculiarity, and, as represented by the Second Amendment, an embarrassing anachronism.

That’s because these liberals and leftists are working with a different understanding of the state. For liberals, of course, the state—our American capitalist state—is a neutral force that mediates social conflicts fairly, and actually does, or at least sincerely tries to, look out for everyone’s lives and well-being equally.

And, on this issue alone, many left-socialists simply forget the core understanding of the state as an instrument of class rule enunciated above, and fall back on the traditional liberal view. Though they righteously protest rampant police brutality against minorities and the poor, the mass-incarceration state, the increasing restriction of rights in the name of surveillance and security, and the thoroughgoing purchase of the American political system by a corrupt oligarchy that oversees it all, when it comes to this issue—well, it’s fine for that state to have a monopoly of armed force. . .

Source: The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights (Reprise)