“Sweatshop” – Norwegian fashion bloggers visit Cambodia and discover the inhuman conditions of the fashion industry

Image+for+xstream+video+21031Frida, Ludvig and Annike, are Norwegian fashion bloggers. Their blogs explore the latest trends in the fashion world and became very popular across Scandinavia. They are very fashion conscious teenagers and early 20’s who have always looked at the pure aesthetic side of things, and lived in the ‘bubble’ of a Western European life in highly civilised Norway.

Then the Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newpaper, sent them for a trip to Cambodia – but nothing like a holiday resort. The challenge was to work and live like a local sweatshop worker, with the same amount of money ($3 per day).

The experience changed them forever….

You can watch the five episodes at the links below – each episode is 10-12 minutes and they are all really worth it:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

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“We are going to destroy the Greek oligarchy system”

Yanis Varoufakis, Syriza’s new finance minister, tells what they would do if they get into government in Greece.

I haven’t heard politicians taking such audacious stands anywhere else in Europe. Kudos to these guys and hope more counties follow their example.

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Top five regrets of the dying

Bronnie Ware was a palliative nurse who counselled the dying during their last days of life. Out of this experience, she created a list of the regrets that people have looking back over their shoulder. And it wasn’t about sex, drugs nor rock ‘n’ roll…

The top five are:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

So why wait till the last minute? Let’s start right here, right now!

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Ja Suis Donetsk

Eastern Ukraine seems to have sunk again into war. Despicable events are taking place in the Eastern city of Donetsk where civilians have been shelled several times including public transports and children paying football in a school playground. Next is the city of Mariupol where the same script is unfolding with the bombing of residential areas.

This is the crude reality of life in Ukraine today (WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC):

In all instances there is ongoing debate as to who has actually unleashed the deaths. Pro-Russian forces accuse the Ukrainian military, and vice versa. In Donetsk, a stronghold of the anti-Government forces, the Ukrainian military have accused the rebels of carrying out a false flag attack to discredit the Ukrainian army.

Whatever the answer, the real tragedy is the failure of our own western Governments to act as peacekeepers. I cannot vouch for the actions of Russia, but feel responsible for the actions of our own Governments in the face of the crisis. NATO and the US have been particularly relevant to the deterioration of the situation.

The expansion on NATO across Eastern Europe has helped to dramatically increase the tension, and there have been ‘partnerships‘ with the Ukrainian Government for a long while. Is this really surprising given we are talking about an organisation that is known to have organised clandestine operations through its ‘stay-behind’ armies, the best example of which is the infamous ‘Opeartion Gladio‘? Its existence has been confirmed through judiciary and parliamentary investigations. Its existence has also been confirmed by then prime minster of Italy Giulio Andreotti back in 1990. Is it really surprising or is it us that suffer from historical amnesia?

The BBC has produced a complete documentary on NATO’s stay-behind armies:

The USA have been financing Ukraine’s effort to “build democratic institutions” to the tune of $5bn, as confirmed by Victoria Nuland, the US Government Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs:

Svoboda, the far-right social-national party of Ukraine, is an integral part of the Ukrainian Government. That’a a great return on investment on $5bn! Neo Nazis walk the streets of Ukrain in plain daylight without any restraint:

Here is Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda, portrayed in a gesture that would be familiar to our grandparents:

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Here he is in the company of Senator John McCain:

John_McCain_Oleh_Tyahnybok_Svoboda_1

And why not Victoria Nuland?

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That we are “fanning the flames of hostility” with Russia is not outlandish. It is part of the ongoing debate also within the US Congress:

How do these people get elected? How did we turn from fighting the Nazi in WWII, to supporting a Nazi party in 2014? How did it happen? Are we asleep at the wheel?

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The Reality of Factory Farming (Lagoons of Filth)

Note: I discovered this information through the highly recommended PEERS Email List that collects underreported news from reliable mainstream media outlets.

Marketeers like to sell us an image of happy animals pasturing on green, lush meadows. But this is true only for small, organic farms and these are increasingly a minority. According to data published by the European Union, a very small number (2.7%) of large farm holdings cultivates 50% of the available farmland. And the concentration is even higher in Western Europe, where most of the large farms are concentrated.

The reality of factory farming are largely kept away from public eye because its statistics are simply appalling. Inhuman treatment of animals is standard practice. Animals are caged for all their life and most never see the light of the sun. Pregnant swines are not even offered enough room to roll over from side to side. Incredibly, poultry litter (chicken shit in plain language) is used as feed for cows in the United States.

Cramming so many animals into one single space means that disease spreads more rapidly (remember mad cow disease?) and hence they need to be regularly treated with antibiotics. 50% of antibiotics are indeed used on livestock around the world and up to 70-80% in the United States. This is creating massive issues of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains. Clearly, you ingest both the antibiotics and the antibiotic-resistant bacteria when you eat the meat, milk or eggs from the animals!

Less known are the consequences to the environment. Thousands of animals caged together means widespread pollution of the environment. Lakes (literally) of toxic excrement accumulate around factory farming, contaminating nearby lands and bodies of water, as well as making life horrible for nearby residents.

And don’t be fooled by the additional marketing scams on the packages such as ‘cage free’ or ‘free range’ – they usually don’t mean that the animals are free to roam.

My choice: pastured only! And yours?

jersey_cow_young

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US Court finds US Government guilty of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Note: I discovered this information through highly recommended PEERS Email List that collects underreported news from reliable mainstream media outlets.

“The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr., a indexpastor, activist and leader for the African-American civil rights movement, was assassinated on 4 April 1968 in Memphis. The official story holds James Earl Ray accountable for the murder on the basis of a guilty plea (later recanted) but he was never put on trial. The only trial ever held concerning the death of MLK took place in 1999 (31 years later!) and not only confirmed that Earl James Ray did not pull the trigger, but found US Government agencies (among others) guilty of the assassination. From the Court verdict (page 2729):

“THE COURT: Okay. All right, ladies and gentlemen. Let me ask you, do all of you agree with this verdict?

THE JURY: Yes (In unison).

THE COURT: In answer to the question did Loyd Jowers participate in a conspiracy to do harm to Dr. Martin Luther King, your answer is yes. Do you also find that others, including governmental agencies, were parties to this conspiracy as alleged by the defendant? Your answer to that one is also yes. And the total amount of damages you find for the plaintiffs entitled to is one hundred dollars. Is that your verdict?

THE JURY: Yes (In unison).

Here is some of the evidence that was corroborated through 70 witnesses that testified for a period of over a month:

  • Usual special body guards provided by the Memphis police were advised they “weren’t needed” on the day of the assassination.
  • Regular and constant police protection was removed from Dr. King an hour before the assassination.
  • Dr. King’s room was changed from a secure 1st-floor room to an exposed balcony room.
  • US 111th Military Intelligence Group were at Dr. King’s location during the assassination.
  • The 20th Special Forces Group had an eight-man sniper team at the assassination location on that day.
  • Memphis police ordered the bushes multiple witnesses reported as the source of shooting cut down shortly after the assassination.
  • Along with sanitizing a crime scene, police abandoned the standard investigative procedure of interviewing witnesses who lived by the scene of the shooting.
  • The rifle James Earl Ray delivered was not matched to the bullet that killed Dr. King, and was not sighted to accurately shoot.

Given the implications of the verdict, it is not surprising if we are more likely to hear about Kim Kardashian’s buttocks or Justin Bieber’s selfies, while this trial has remained severely underreported and mostly unknown. Journalist James Douglass commented:

“Apart from the courtroom participants, only Memphis TV reporter Wendell Stacy and I attended from beginning to end this historic three-and-one-half week trial. Because of journalistic neglect, scarcely anyone else in this land of ours even knows what went on. After critical testimony was given in the trial’s second week before an almost empty gallery, Barbara Reis, U.S. correspondent for the Lisbon daily Publico who was there several days, turned to me and said, “Everything in the U.S. is the trial of the century. O.J. Simpson’s trial was the trial of the century. Clinton’s trial was the trial of the century. But this is the trial of the century, and who’s here?””

Most lives are a ripple on the ocean of time, but MLK’s was a tidal wave and his message is still valid today as it was back then.

MLK is the inspiration behind U2’s masterpiece “Pride”:

“Early morning April 4h, a shot rings out in the Memphis sky. Free at last, they took your life but they could not take your pride”

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Je suis Charlie (moi aussi)

Je-suis-Charlie

The world has risen in indignation at the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, the past 7 January.  Tweets mentioning #JeSuisCharlie have ‘literally’ sent the internet on fire.

A black page on the magazine’s website remembers the 12 dead and the slap in the face to freedom of expression. Shaken but not broken they rise their voices:

“Because the pen will always be above barbarism…
Because freedom is a universal right…
Because you support us…”

And if what terrorists wants us to do is to be afraid for expressing things that they don’t agree with, then it’s a good moment to plaster this blog page with exactly that material (see below). Their satire did not just target Islam, but rather was iconoclastic to all forms of religion and power.

We need to track down these criminals and whoever paid, trained and armed them. Despite the rage though, we need to remind ourselves how past terrorists attacks from 9/11 onward have pushed the West to limit personal freedoms – see the Patriot Act for a blatant example – and engage in (often illegal) wars of retaliation. No matter who is behind the attacks, what ideology or religion drive them, the way the West has reacted is in itself self-defeating and that plays right into the hands of fear and irrationality – the same that drove these criminal minds. I agree with Simon Jenkins of the Guardian when he says:

“the most effective response is to meet terrorism on its own terms. It is to refuse to be terrified. It is not to show fear, not to overreact, not to over-publicise the aftermath. It is to treat each event as a passing accident of horror, and leave the perpetrator devoid of further satisfaction. That is the only way to defeat terrorism.”

Let us also draw a line between Islam and terrorism, as the two are in no way synonymous. Ahmed, the very policeman that tried to stop the terrorists was a Muslim and Muslim leaders worldwide have condemned the attack.

ahmed_photo_crime

It would be a dire mistake to use the aftermath and further divide a society increasingly under frictions because of internal factions, especially racial ones. Let us remember that Europe probably still be in the dark ages was it not for the role that the Islamic world played in contributing to and preserving science and culture while we were busy hunting witches.

Let not remember that also governments, not just dictatorial ones but also ‘democratic’ Western governments, have also been guilty of targeting and even killing journalists, whistleblowers, cartoonists. Why doesn’t the world raise in indignation when that happens?

Charlie 7 Charlie 8 Charlie 9 Charlie 1 Charlie 2 Charlie 3 Charlie 4 Charlie 5 Charlie 6

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