From Our Prison to Your Dinner Table

Via Graeme Wood at Pacific Standard:

One of my daughter’s favorite stuffed animals is a chocolate-colored, beady-eyed buffalo that was stitched—lovingly, I like to think—by the hands of a convicted felon. The buffalo was born in Cañon City, Colorado, on the grounds of a large rural complex of six state prisons with a total of 4,000 inmates. Some of those inmates manufacture cute toys. Others tend real buffalo on feedlots and dairies outside in the mountain air. The goal, said Steve Smith, the prison-labor program’s mustachioed director until his retirement in December, is to convert the prisoners through labor into productive citizens. “This is a therapeutic community,” he said. “We’re trying to make them into taxpayers instead of tax burdens.” He channeled the Book of Isaiah, or possibly Ozzy Osbourne: “No rest for the wicked.”

The most familiar prison work programs involve stamping license plates or breaking rocks as part of a chain gang.

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Noam Chomsky: Edward Snowden a True Patriot Who Should be Honored

Noam Chomsky speaking in February 2014.  (Photo: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation/flickr/cc)

Noam Chomsky speaking in February 2014. (Photo: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation/flickr/cc)

Andrea Germanos via Common Dreams:

Noam Chomsky said that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a true patriot who revealed vast surveillance programs that have nothing to do with combating terrorism.

The noted intellectual made the comment in an extended interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman which aired Tuesday.

Chomsky said Snowden should be welcomed back to the country from Russia, where he has received asylum, with honors because he “carried out the obligations of a citizen.”

Snowden “informed American citizens of what their government is doing to them. That’s exactly what a person who has real patriotism, not the flag-waving type, but real patriotism, would do. So he should be honored, not just allowed back,” Chomsky said.

“It’s the people in the government who should be on trial, not him,” he continued.

Chomsky added that neither the surveillance system Snowden exposed nor the drone program—despite claims by officials—have combating terrorism as their goals.

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Are processed foods finally on their way out?

kraft_sales_735_350_decline

Christina Sarich via Natural Society:

The public doesn’t trust manufacturers like Kellogg’s and Kraft anymore. Earnings are falling, and dozens of Big Food companies’ stocks are down. One of the biggest food companies in the world, ConAgra, is even slashing its 2015 earnings projections. Is Big Food really over?

ConAgra is changing management – is it because their 2015 earnings projections are way are down and stocks took a plunge recently? The food giant owns brands like Hunts, Swiss Miss, as well as Chef Boyardee, among others. Do people really want to eat cancer-causing chemicals in a can anymore?

Kraft, the maker of Oscar Mayer deli meats, Jell-O, Maxwell House coffee, and Velveeta cheese also recently shook up top management and reported sluggish sales.  Big Food company, Kellogg’s, has seen its sales plunge 5.4 percent over the past year.

Campbell’s Soup CEO has said:

“There’s a mounting distrust of so-called Big Food, the large food companies and legacy brands on which millions of consumers have relied on for so long.”

Do Americans finally realize what Yale medical researchers David Katz and Samuel Meller declared in a paper in 2013, that a “diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

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Scientists Reveal Average Penis Size

Sunday Surprise - Male Model GabeIf you think that the scientists who seriously studied average penis size were wasting their time on a frivolous pursuit, consider that our World Penis Size Map is one of the all time most popular posts on disinformation. Yahoo News/AFP reports on the size of the average man’s member (although global variations seem not to have been studied):

What is an “average” size for a penis?

The enduring question now has a scientific answer: 13.12 centimetres (5.16 inches) in length when erect, and 11.66 cm around, according to an analysis of more than 15,000 appendages around the world.

In a flaccid state, it found, the penis of the average Joe is all of 9.16 cm in length and has a girth of 9.31 cm.

The numbers should help “reassure the large majority of men that the size of their penis is in the normal range,” said British researchers who had assembled data from studies where participants had their member measured by a professional.

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Willful Bane: The Joy of Hex with Byron Ballard

Down at the Crossroads – Podcast Episode #053

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053_byron_ballard_witch_marshmallowHello and thank you once again for joining me down at the crossroads for some music, magick, and Paganism. Where witches gather for the sabbath, offerings are made, pacts are signed for musical fame and we cross paths with today’s most influential Pagans, occultists, and deep thinkers. I am your bewitching bald headed host Chris Orapello and tonight, we meet with past guest Byron Ballard to elaborate on some of the things she brought up during our last discussion with her back in episode #50, specifically her workshop Willful Bane: The Joy of Hex. Byron and I are joined for the first time by my girlfriend Tara as we explore the issues surrounding the magickal and ethical practice of hexing as well as learn about the usefulness of marshmallows. This conversation is definitely a good time with some thought provoking content and a few laughs along the way.Read the rest

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Flash Wisdom on Authority

[From the new disinformation® book by Russ Kick, Flash Wisdom: A Curated Collection of Mind-Blowing, Perspective-Changing Quotes]

Government, the legal system, school, organized religions, the media, corporations, various economic concerns . . . there are a number of powerful, pervasive institutions that want to control you. It’s either their overt purpose or a by-product of their very existence. In order to not disintegrate, they must have at least a piece of you, if not all of you, for at least part of your life, if not all of it. They might not have been created for nefarious purposes, but this is nonetheless the effect they often have. They flatten and deaden. They exploit and punish. They’re never happy with the amount of power they have; they always seek to expand the breadth of their reach and the strength of their grip. This has not gone unnoticed by many of the finest and bravest minds throughout history.… Read the rest

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“Raping the Gods” Examines the Question: Is Sex Addiction Real?

71dlVRUUuSL._SL1315_Although author Brian Whitney is, without a doubt, a sex addict, he doesn’t like the term.

“I hate it when people call me an addict. Some people think sex addiction doesn’t exist, that it is just a made-up term to excuse bad behavior. Another group thinks that a sex addict is a crazy, out-of-control freak who thinks of nothing but getting laid every second of every day. Then there is a third group that thinks it sounds fun: ‘What are you complaining about, man? You get laid all the time and you think it’s a problem?’”

“I could tell a lot of stories about what I was doing, but I’d rather just say I was really fucked up. My major issue was infidelity. I was often involved in three or four different relationships at once. I got an enormous rush from having multiple sexual partners and lying to all of them.… Read the rest

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Four Reasons Young Americans Should Burn Their Student Loan Papers

'Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it's a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.' (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

‘Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it’s a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.’ (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Paul Buchheit writes at Common Dreams:

‘Hell No, We Won’t Go’ — 1967
‘No Way, We Won’t Pay’ — 2015

Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it’s a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.

There are at least four good reasons why America’s young adults— and their parents—should take up the fight against financial firms who are holding high-interest student loans that total more than the nation’s credit card debt, and more than the total income of the poorer half of America.

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David Petraeus Gets Hand-Slap for Leaking, Two Point Enhancement for Obstruction of Justice

384px-David_H._PetraeusAs a supine Congress sitting inside a scaffolded dome applauded Benjamin Netanyahu calling to reject a peace deal with Iran, DOJ quietly announced it had reached a plea deal with former CIA Director David Petraeus for leaking Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information materials to his mistress, Paula Broadwell.

Among the materials in the eight “Black Books” Petraeus shared with Broadwell were:

…classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS’s discussions with the President of the United States of America.

The Black Books contained national defense information, including Top Secret/SCI and code word information.

Petraeus kept those Black Books full of code word information including covert identities and conversations with the President “in a rucksack up there somewhere.”

Petreaus retained those Black Books after he signed his debriefing agreement upon leaving DOD, in which he attested “I give my assurance that there is no classified material in my possession, custody, or control at this time.” He kept those Black Books in an unlocked desk drawer.… Read the rest

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American democracy is doomed

Via Vox

Via Vox.

Via Matthew Yglesias at Vox:

America’s constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies — there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we’re lucky, it won’t be violent. If we’re very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we’re less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen.

Very few people agree with me about this, of course. When I say it, people generally think that I’m kidding. America is the richest, most successful country on earth. The basic structure of its government has survived contested elections and Great Depressions and civil rights movements and world wars and terrorist attacks and global pandemics.

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