Isis sending children to die at unprecedented rate, report warns

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/19/isis-sending-children-die-unprecedented-rate-report-child-soldiers

Analysis of 89 deaths of minors finds 39% drove vehicles laden with explosives, while a third died as foot soldiers


Friday 19 February 2016

Islamic State has been dispatching children and teenagers into battle and sending them as suicide bombers at an unprecedented rate, analysis by US researchers has found.

Examining Isis death notices of 89 children and youths on Twitter and the encrypted communications app Telegram, a study by Georgia State University found that the minors came from at least 14 nationalities, with just under two-thirds aged between 12 and 16.

According to the analysis, which ran from the start of 2015 until the end of January this year, the death rate has doubled for those aged 18 and under being used by Isis. Overall, 39% of them were used to drive cars or trucks laden with explosives at the enemy. A further 33% died as foot soldiers.

There were three times as many suicide operations involving children and youth in January 2016 as the previous January, the researchers found.

“The Islamic State has so heavily championed the mobilisation of children – on a scale rarely associated even with violent extremist organisations – that it suggests organisational concerns that far outweigh short-term propaganda benefits,” the report said.

The report’s co-author Charlie Winter said what surprised him was that Isis was not using children in a way that substantially differed from adult soldiers. “The way children are being used is perhaps counterintuitive in the context of child soldier precedence. They aren’t just being used to buoy the ranks of Isis nor are they being used in roles that adults can’t engage in,” he said.

“Children and youth don’t really receive any special treatment from Isis propagandists. They’re celebrated in exactly the same way adults are. And they’re celebrated alongside adults rather than being given any recognition for their age … It’s almost an incidental fact.”

Although explicit information on age from Isis sources was scant, Winter said the researchers were cautiously using child development theory guidelines to classify subjects and that all those in the sample used were believed to be 18 or under.

Examining the location of where children died against their given nationalities, Winter said many appeared to have been imported into conflict in Iraq from bordering Syria.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/19/isis-sending-children-die-unprecedented-rate-report-child-soldiers

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A Shocking Number Of Kids Are Fighting And Dying For ISIS

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/isis-child-soldiers_us_56c779b9e4b0ec6725e28d90

The use of child fighters creates a horrifying dilemma for forces battling the militant group.

02/19/2016

The so-called Islamic State group is recruiting children and sending them to die on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq at an “increasing and unprecedented rate,” according to a new study of the group’s propaganda.

The survey from Georgia State University academics analyzed 89 images of children and youth who the extremist group said had been killed while carrying out militant operations between Jan. 1, 2015 and Jan. 31, 2016.

These children were among some 1,500 young people that the militants have enlisted to fight, said Mia Bloom, one of the study authors. She estimated that there are likely thousands more children who are being indoctrinated by the militants and could serve as potential recruits.

“This study is hinting at the fact that the problems are much greater than we ever imagined,” Bloom said of the report, published Friday by CTC Sentinel, the journal of the military academy West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center.

The study finds 21 children died in suicide attacks using explosive-packed vehicles in the first seven months of 2015 — two and a half times the previous estimate. In fact, the rate of child casualties seems to be accelerating. Last January, six children died in suicide operations for the militant group. This January, the toll rose to 11 children, and the number of suicide bombings involving children tripled from a year ago.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/isis-child-soldiers_us_56c779b9e4b0ec6725e28d90

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Professor Frances Fox Piven describes Sanders: You could call him a New Deal Democrat

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/professor-frances-fox-piven-describes-sanders-you-could-call-him-a-new-deal-democrat/


18 Feb 2016

Activist and honorary Democratic Socialists of America chair Frances Fox Piven suggested on Wednesday that the term “Democratic Socialist” might be too big to describe Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

“People mean a lot of different things by it,” she told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. “You could also call Bernie Sanders a New Deal Democrat and you wouldn’t be wrong. And maybe he’s not even a very left-wing New Deal Democrat.”

Piven, a professor of sociology and political science for the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, observed that people are “eating up” Sanders’ policy ideas, which she described as unique to the American left-wing.

“The younger voters, when you poll them on this word ‘Socialism,’ it is not a bad word,” O’Donnell said. “Polls always used to return Socialism as just about the worst word that you could associate with them.”

That negative connotation, Piven said, was the outcome of propaganda and jingoism in popular culture. But at its root, she added, “Democratic Socialism” means that there should be democratic control of the economy’s main functions.

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/professor-frances-fox-piven-describes-sanders-you-could-call-him-a-new-deal-democrat/

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The evidence shows that chiropractors do more harm than good

From The Spectator UK:  https://health.spectator.co.uk/the-evidence-shows-that-chiropractors-do-more-harm-than-good/

In several hundred cases patients have been seriously and often permanently damaged

by
18th February 2016

One of my teachers in medical school kept saying: ‘A treatment that has no side-effects is already a good one.’ These seemed to be wise words worth remembering. But today I think he may have been not entirely correct: there is no therapy that does not have potential to cause adverse effects. What really counts, in life as in medicine, is a reasonable balance between risk and benefit.

Chiropractic treatment is an excellent example of the importance of this balance. Chiropractors rely heavily on manipulating their patients’ spines, and the benefits are not at all clear. Practitioners usually insist that their manipulations are effective for a bafflingly wide range of conditions. On the internet, for instance, it is hard to find an illness that chiropractors do not claim to cure. However, the published evidence generally reveals these claims to be little more than wishful thinking. Therefore, even relatively minor side-effects might tilt the risk/benefit balance into the negative.

There is now a lot of evidence showing that more than half of all patients suffer mild to moderate adverse effects after seeing a chiropractor. These are mostly local and referred pains that usually last for two to three days. Chiropractors often claim that these are necessary steps on the road to getting better. On a good day, we might even believe them.

But unfortunately there is more, much more. Several hundred cases have been documented in which patients were seriously and often permanently damaged after chiropractic manipulations. The latest to hit the headlines was that of a 32-year-old woman from Jakarta who died after being treated by an American chiropractor. What usually happens in these tragic instances is that, upon manipulation of the upper spine, an artery supplying the brain is over-stretched and simply breaks up, leading to a stroke which can prove fatal.

Chiropractors do not like to hear any of this, and either claim that these are extremely rare events, or deny any connection with their manipulations. Regrettably, the hard evidence is not as solid as one would wish. In conventional medicine we have effective systems to monitor adverse effects of all interventions — not so in alternative medicine. Therefore, the true frequency of such tragedies is anyone’s guess. About 30 deaths after chiropractic have been documented in medical literature, but they are probably just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. We have shown, for instance, that in the UK the under-reporting of such instances is very close to 100 per cent.

Continue reading at:  https://health.spectator.co.uk/the-evidence-shows-that-chiropractors-do-more-harm-than-good/

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Atheism has ancient roots and is not ‘modern invention’, claims new text

From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/17/atheism-has-ancient-roots-claims-new-study

Cambridge academic’s new book disputes that atheism is a ‘modern invention’ and sets out evidence that ‘disbelief in the supernatural is as old as the hills’

Atheism is not a modern invention from the western Enlightenment, but actually dates back to the ancient world, according to a new book by a Cambridge academic – which challenges the assumption that humanity is naturally predisposed to believe in gods.

In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh, professor of Greek culture at Cambridge University, lays out a series of examples showing that atheism existed in polytheistic ancient Greece. It is, according to its author, partly “an attempt to excavate ancient atheism from underneath the rubble heaped on it by millennia of Christian opprobrium”.

Whitmarsh, a fellow of St John’s College, believes that the growing trend towards seeing religion as “hardwired” into humans is deeply worrying. “I am trying to destabilise this notion, which seems to be gaining hold all the time, that there is something fundamental to humanity about [religious] belief,” he told the Guardian.

His book disputes that atheism is “a modern invention, a product of the European Enlightenment” and a mode of thought that “would be inconceivable without the twin ideas of a secular state and of science as a rival to religious truth”.

It is a myth, he writes, which is “nurtured by both sides of the ‘new atheism’ debate. Adherents wish to present scepticism toward the supernatural as the result of science’s progressive eclipse of religion, and the religious wish to see it as a pathological symptom of a decadent western world consumed by capitalism.

“Both are guilty of modernist vanity. Disbelief in the supernatural is as old as the hills. It is only through profound ignorance of the classical tradition that anyone ever believed that 18th-century Europeans were the first to battle the gods.”

“We tend to see atheism as an idea that has only recently emerged in secular western societies. The rhetoric used to describe it is hyper-modern. In fact, early societies were far more capable than many since of containing atheism within the spectrum of what they considered normal,” said Whitmarsh.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/17/atheism-has-ancient-roots-claims-new-study

 

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The Death of the Republican Party

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/139385548525

Robert Reich
Monday, February 15, 2016

I’m writing to you today to announce the death of the Republican Party. It is no longer a living, vital, animate organization.

It died in 2016. RIP.

It has been replaced by warring tribes:

Evangelicals opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and science.

Libertarians opposed to any government constraint on private behavior.

Market fundamentalists convinced the “free market” can do no wrong.

Corporate and Wall Street titans seeking bailouts, subsidies, special tax loopholes, and other forms of crony capitalism.

Billionaires craving even more of the nation’s wealth than they already own.

And white working-class Trumpoids who love Donald. and are becoming convinced the greatest threats to their well being are Muslims, blacks, and Mexicans.

Each of these tribes has its own separate political organization, its own distinct sources of campaign funding, its own unique ideology – and its own candidate.

What’s left is a lifeless shell called the Republican Party. But the Grand Old Party inside the shell is no more.

Continue reading at: http://robertreich.org/post/139385548525

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Brooklyn College students demand ‘Zionists off campus’

From The Times of Israel:  httP://www.timesofisrael.com/brooklyn-college-students-demand-zionists-off-campus/

Group of activists barges in on faculty meeting, calls Jewish professor ‘Zionist pig,’ demands end to ‘racist’ classes

By JTA
February 18, 2016

Approximately 10 Brooklyn College students who interrupted a faculty meeting called for “Zionists off campus” among its list of demands.

A faculty member at the Tuesday afternoon meeting told JTA that along with the demand on Zionists, the students called one faculty member a “Zionist pig.” The educator who spoke to JTA wished to remain anonymous.

Other demands ranged from calls for better pay for adjunct teachers to ending “racist” class offerings.

Some of the faculty members at the meeting applauded during the students’ vocal protests, but it was not clear as to which demands the teachers were reacting to.

The faculty member also told JTA that when computer science professor and faculty council head Yedidyah Langsam told the students they were “out of order,” they called him a “Zionist pig.”

In a news release issued Tuesday, Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind said he received complaints after the meeting from “dozens” of faculty members.

“It’s just an absolute disgrace that something like this would happen in our own community,” Hikind said.

Hikind also called on CUNY Chancellor James Milliken to “implement a plan of action to prevent this kind of intimidation and disruption from reoccurring anywhere within CUNY.”

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