Melinda Gates on Her Foundation’s Partnership with World Vision

leader_Melinda_GatesI met Melinda Gates when we served together on a panel in 2004. The Gates Foundation had given the WV Library Commission a large grant, and I was selected to represent the face of public libraries. Melinda Gates was warm, personable, and had a humble yet confident “next-door neighbor” friendliness.
Melinda describes living with impoverished Africans and how her faith background inspired her to help others.

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Hillary Clinton Promoted Fracking In Secret Paid Speeches

hillary_frackingHillary Clinton will not be President. While hand-wringing over President-elect Donald Trump’s environmental policy prospect is certainly understandable (an understatement!), Hillary Clinton was certainly not Trump’s polar opposite on climate-related energy issues.
Clinton gave highly-paid speeches in secret meetings that pointed to her continued interest in fracking natural gas. That is, continue Obama’s program. Notwithstanding that fracking, gas transmission, and combustion combined are on par with coal for bad greenhouse gas effect. And Clinton promoted fracking technology while Secretary of State. Would Clinton have changed course if she had been elected?
See this article by Lee Fang for more details.

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Paris Climate Deal Is Not Enough. Fossil Fuel Extraction Must Stop Now!!!

stopdiggingOne year ago, December 2015, an international accord was reached in Paris to limit greenhouse gasses toward stabilizing global warming. In one sense, this was a positive step in that finally after metaphorically “fiddling while Rome was burning down” (this time, Planet Earth burning), the international community acted.
One downside is that the deal is not binding. But a far worse downside is that the climate deal even if faithfully adhered to will not be enough to avert serious and likely catastrophic climate change effects.
Oil Change International does extensive studies on coal, gas, and coal inventories and current operations, and concludes that if these assets are developed that global temperatures will rise over 2 degrees C. This is above the Paris top limit. So these assets must stay buried. A new energy paradigm must be enacted ASAP!
George Monbiot explains some of this in his article, “No Fracking, Drilling, or Digging: It’s The Only Way To Save Life On Earth.

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Former House Speaker Boehner Is Now A Tobacco Lobbyist

John Boehner Ah, the revolving door.  Spend time in government, make connections, work up a tidy pension, get out of government, then land a high salaried job as a corporate lobbyist.
John Boehner has always been a friend of Big Tobacco. Now, as a Reynolds Tobacco Co. lobbyist, he will get over $400,000 per year.  Boehner is also joining Squire Patton Boggs,  of Washington’s K Street lobbying nexus, with $25 million in federal lobbying revenue last year. But not as a lobbyist, but as a strategic advisor. Which is an end run around lobbying rules, wink and nod.When Pope Francis visited the Capitol, Boehner was on hand to warmly greet and welcome the pope.  Perhaps they should meet up again and discuss Christian virtues.
This article, the Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears, from Moyers & Company, exposes once more that the United States is a bought-and-sold sham of a democracy. Shame!

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Tax-Avoiding Apple Being Assessed 13 Billion Euros Payment to Ireland

AppleIn 2014, Apple paid just $50 in tax for every million it made selling iPhones and iPads to most of the world outside America. That’s a tax rate of just 0.005%.

On a proportionate scale, if your workplace paid you $50,000 per year.. You would pay  $2.50 for your total annual tax bill. Two dollars 50cents!

he European Commission is putting multinationals on notice with its order to tech giant Apple to pay €13 billion in tax to Ireland. It’s signalling that it won’t bow to pressure from the US. Now other countries may follow with similar action. The Commission concluded Ireland granted Apple undue tax benefits. It found that selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003, down to 0.005% in 2014. This was significantly less than Ireland’s tax rate of 12.5%.
Here for the article.

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Genetic Studies That Show Two Subspecies of Lions May Help Stave Extinction

LionRecent studies point to two subspecies of African Lions. One group in in East Africa, the other in Central and West Africa and Asiatic lions. Understanding species at this level is vitally important in the fight against extinction. Genetic diversity includes the evolutionary potential, referring to the genetic blue print that allows a species to adjust to a changing environment. Link here for the full article.

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Yes, Clinton Foundation Gives Favors. So Do Almost All Politicians. Fix All of This!

Clinton-FoundationRichard Painter, a Republican ethics advisor in the Bush administration, argues (here for essay) that policymakers in both parties accept contributions from high roller donors who expect and typically gain favors. Rather than singling out the Clinton Foundation, even though it likely gives donors special privileges, fix the problem across the board. He explains how.

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Jimmy Carter Chastises Churches for Hypocrisy in the Face of Global Violence

JimmyCarterPresident Jimmy Carter recently blamed much of the world’s violence on religious hypocrisy. On June 21, he told the annual Human Rights Defenders Forum at The Carter Center that “we are at a turning point in history,” choosing between “peace and human suffering.” President Carter spoke about global violence, and more specifically, violence against girls and women.
Excuse the cruddy ads, but this website link has a synopsis. The Carter Center has the full speech transcript here.

 
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All Songbirds Originated from Australia and then Populated the Earth

songbirdThe songbirds that are common in gardens all across the world have a surprisingly distant origin. They all evolved from a common ancestor that emerged from what is now Australia around 24m years ago. How they managed to leave this isolated part of the world and spread all over the planet has long been a mystery to scientists.  See link for theory.

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Ralph Nader & Omar Barghouti Get Enduring Peace Awards

nader-and-barghoutiPromoting Enduring Peace has announced that it is presenting its 2016 Gandhi Peace Award jointly to Ralph Nader and Omar Barghouti.  The Gandhi Peace Award has been presented since 1960 to people who make outstanding contributions to world peace,  a sustainable ecology, and  social justice.
Nader has been responsible for: at least eight major federal consumer protection laws, and has spoken for human rights. Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights defender and leader of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions BDS movement to bring economic pressure on Israel to end its oppressive policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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