Unknown soldiers: America’s secret, privatized army

Civil War, Threats

Unknown soldiers: America’s secret, privatized army

While many American policy makers believe that their country is ‘exceptional’ and thus shouldn’t have to follow long established laws, other governments see the precedents they set and act accordingly.

It’s been years since Newsweek has been a regular news source for large numbers of readers but it still occasionally produces good investigative reporting. In a long feature story titled “Inside the Military’sSecret Undercover Army” published in the magazine last month, William Arkin, author of a number of books on U.S. national security, revealed that the Pentagon and, even more alarmingly, private contractors working with it, have deployed thousands covert operatives at home and abroad. These covert programs are believed to have 60,000 operators, twice as many as the CIA.

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How clean water is linked with environmental and human health

Policies, Water

How clean water is linked with environmental and human health

Recently, California experienced its most significant persistent drought period. The occurrence threatened the agricultural industry and human health. Unfortunately, water scarcity is a rising global issue.

Water conservation is essential to humanity’s and the global ecosystem’s longevity. Environmental scientists and engineers developed methods of extraction and filtration, limiting the exploitation of natural resources. Before evaluating the water scarcity solutions, we must examine the origin of the problem.

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How remote learning failed special education students

Education, Policies

How remote learning failed special education students

Plus, why a fourth of teachers probably won’t quit, when the northern border could open, Africa sees a rise in cases, and more.

7 million students in America attend special education classes that cater to their learning needs. But whether it was speech or physical therapy or modified instruction, teaching shut down for some when classes went virtual during the pandemic.

NPR explores this story, which deserves your attention. NPR reports:

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Know your enemy: How to defeat capitalism

Economy, Policies

Know your enemy: How to defeat capitalism

In a capitalist society, there is always a good explanation for your poverty, your meaningless job (if you have a job), your difficulties and your general unhappiness. You are to blame. It is your failure. After all, look at other people who do succeed. If only you had worked a little harder, studied a little more, made those sacrifices.

We are told that anybody who works hard can become a success. Anyone can save up and become your own boss, a boss with employees. And there is some truth to this. Often, any one person can do these things–but we can’t conclude from this that every person can. It is a basic fallacy to conclude that because one person can do something, therefore everyone can. One person can see better in the theater if he stands, but if everyone stands no one can see better. Anyone can get the last seat on the plane, but everyone can’t. Any country can cut its costs and become more competitive, but every country cannot become more competitive by cutting costs.

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The truth about the US border-industrial complex

Immigration, Policies

The truth about the US border-industrial complex

Congress should expand legal avenues of immigration, along with a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here—a policy with broad public support. The story you’ve heard about immigration, from politicians and the mainstream media alike, isn’t close to the full picture. Here’s the truth about how we got here and what we must do to fix it.

A desperate combination of factors are driving migrants and asylum seekers to our southern border, from Central America in particular: deep economic inequalitycorruption, and high rates of poverty — all worsened by COVID-19.

Many are also fleeing violence and instability, much of it tied to historic U.S. support for brutal authoritarian regimes, right-wing paramilitary groups, and corporate interests in Latin America.

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44% of ocean plastics are linked to takeout food

Ecology, Threats

44% of ocean plastics are linked to takeout food

Researchers are turning their attention to takeout containers and convenience food as the worst offender in plastics polluting the ocean.

In recent years, it’s been a fad to skip the straw to save the turtles, but what you may not know is that straws are not the biggest offenders when it comes to ocean plastic, according to a new study.Instead, researchers are turning their attention to takeout containers and convenience food as the worst offender in plastics polluting the ocean.

Widespread plastic contaminants such as food containers and wrappers, single-use bags, and plastic bottles are the most widespread pollutants of the seas, making up almost half of human-made waste, according to The Guardian.

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Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings: All Roads Lead to America

Other Atrocities, Threats

Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings: All Roads Lead to America

Coming to America to make a better life has long been a dream of many from around the world, even if it means being smuggled into the country to gain entry. This book examines how human smuggling and trafficking activities to the United States are carried out and explores the legal and policy challenges of dealing with these problems. Zhang covers the scope and patterns of global human trafficking and smuggling activities; the strategies and methods employed by various groups to bring individuals into the United States; major smuggling routes and venues; the involvement of organized criminal organizations in transnational human smuggling activities; and the challenges confronting the U.S. government in combating these activities.

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Learning from history: community-run child-care centers during World War II

Policies, Society

Learning from history: community-run child-care centers during World War II

We face many big challenges. And we will need strong, bold policies to meaningfully address them. Solving our child-care crisis is one of those challenges, and a study of World War II government efforts to ensure accessible and affordable high-quality child care points the way to the kind of bold action we need.

The child care crisis

A number of studies have established that high-quality early childhood programs provide significant community and individual benefits.  One found that “per dollar invested, early childhood programs increase present value of state per capita earnings by $5 to $9.” Universal preschool programs have also been shown to offer significant benefits to all children, even producing better outcomes for the most disadvantaged children than means-tested programs. Yet, even before the pandemic, most families struggled with a lack of desirable child-care options.

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China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

China, Policies

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

A 2013 book by Hannas and two other contributors to the present volume focused on the many ways that China gets hold of advanced U.S. technology. Since then, as reported by contributors to this new, deeply researched and sophisticated volume, the Chinese government has vastly increased its technology-acquisition programs, not only in the United States but also in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.

As before, some Chinese methods are illegal, such as hacking and theft, but many are carried out in the open, including investing in foreign companies, conducting joint research projects with foreign universities and companies, using “talent programs” to bring Chinese and non-Chinese scientists to China, and offering returned scholars venture capital to start businesses. Thousands of university centers, technology-transfer parks, and startup incubators convert the imported technology into products that increase China’s competitiveness, upgrade its military, or strengthen the government’s ability to control society.

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