by: Russel Davis
Wednesday, January 02, 2019
Daily consumption of tea may help keep dementia at bay, new research says. Researcher at the National University of Singapore examined the tea intake of 957 adults older than 55 years old for more than 12 years. Study data show that regular tea consumption is associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of developing dementia. Data also reveals that people carrying the dementia gene may decrease the risk of beta-amyloid plaque formation by 86 percent. Beta-amyloid plaques is shown to trigger the onset of cognitive disorders in patients. Researchers note similar effects regardless of whether the tea was green or black.
“The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life. Our findings have important implications for dementia prevention. Despite high quality drug trials, effective pharmacological therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as dementia remains elusive and current prevention strategies are far from satisfactory,” said researcher Dr Feng Lei of the National University of Singapore.
The results were published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.
The recent study is only one of many that demonstrates the benefits of regular tea intake. A 2014 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology showed that regular green tea intake results in improved cognitive function, which may prove beneficial for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. MRI data show that patients who were given a drink with green tea extracts exhibit increased brain activity in areas associated with memory function.
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An analysis of 2,500 participants also reveals that those who drank two to three cups of tea a day had a 55 percent reduced risk of dementia, while those who consumed six to 10 cups daily had a 63 percent decreased likelihood of developing dementia. In contrast, people who drank coffee do not demonstrate the same effect, but show an increased risk of dementia. “Because tea is cheap, non-toxic and widely consumed, it has huge potential in promoting cognitive health and perhaps delaying the onset of dementia,” the researchers note.
Another study shows that regular green tea intake helps stave off dementia in people aged 60 years and older. Researchers examined more than 700 participants and found that those who did not drink green tea fared worse on a cognitive test called the Mini-Mental State Examination. The findings demonstrate that green tea consumption may help protect the brain from the debilitating effects of dementia.
Additional research also reveal that taking digested polyphenol compounds from green tea is even more effective in preventing the onset of dementia in patients compared with freshly-brewed tea.
Tea leaves are packed with a number of antioxidants that keep cognitive disorders at bay. Green tea contains a flavonoid called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that can bind with beta-amyloid proteins, which in turn prevents the formation of dangerous plaques associated with cognitive decline. Polyphenols found in tea leaves are also shown to inhibit the oxidation of brain cells and prevent the build-up of plaque. Compounds such as catechins and theaflavins found in tea leaves have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help protect the brain from from neurodegeneration and vascular damage, a researcher said. In addition, various research show that compounds found in tea leaves can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood clots, and reduce the risk cancer onset.
Composite by Peter Slattery. Images via Wikimedia Commons (Jeff Bezos), Pixabay (flag) and PNGIMG (money).
It wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of someone like you going on strike was enough to scare the hell out of rich people and politicians across America. Richard Nixon deployed the National Guard in hopes of quelling a “wildcat” (or possibly illegal) strike by postal workers in 1970; the federal employees eventually got their raises. But of all the sometimes bloody spats between regular people and bosses over the years, the 1894 Pullman Strike still stands out, in part thanks to its colorful characters, and the ugly role played by the feds. The episode saw labor organizer and future Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs lead the charge against what you might call the Jeff Bezos of his era, luxury railroad car baron George Pullman, who lowered wages for employees in his Chicago-area company town without cutting rent or other fees, sending many to the brink of (or actual) starvation. Workers who raised beefs with management were ordered fired, and a violent strike soon erupted and spread, with Debs and his American Railway Union swooping in to lead the fight.
Instead of sitting the saga out or doing anything to help workers toiling in hellish conditions, the US government—spooked by vaguely anarchist vibes—backed Pullman and deployed troops to put down the strike by force. The conflict may have helped accelerate the onset of the Progressive Era: President Grover Cleveland instituted Labor Day to appease enraged workers that year, and various labor protections emerged in the following decades, culminating in the New Deal. But ultimately, when it came time for choosing, the feds sided with the rich.
If that sounds familiar, it should.
It sometimes feels as if unions are veering toward banishment in modern America. The Supreme Court has been extremely hostile to organized labor and workers generally in recent years, making it way harder for many unions to collect dues and advocate for their members. Meanwhile, income inequality has not exactly been solved by a couple of years of positive GDP growth, and crushing debt looms over generations of Americans. The idea of a violent insurrection in response to all of this is still rather far-fetched, but the proliferation of antifascist activism in the Trump era has shown that rage and radical politics are not exactly extinct, either.
In his forthcoming book The Edge of Anarchy: The Railroad Barons, the Gilded Age, and the Greatest Labor Uprising in America, Jack Kelly looks back at the clash of ideals in the Pullman era and compares it to what’s going on today. VICE talked to Kelly to find out why the scenes from his book are so resonant in our current moment, why big business is always trying to screw over workers, and how much progress America has made on inequality since the Gilded Age.
VICE: Even though your story takes place well over a century ago, many of the scenes from the book could be taken from today’s headlines. How do you explain that?
Jack Kelly: One of the parallels to the Gilded Age and today would be technology. We’re in the age of hi-tech technology and between the railroads, telephones, just general industrialization, and the changing nature of labor, technology was really a more disruptive [force] back in the 1880s and 1890s. Everything was in transition and they were trying to figure out how to adjust to it. Somewhat like we’re trying today to figure out. They had the rise of corporate capitalism in the 1880s, which led to the same type of inequality.
The term “the 1 percent” was actually invented in the 1890s to talk about the ultra rich. Working people [were] trying to adjust to a really new situation where a lot of them were put on piece work. They didn’t have the dignity and were looking for their fair share of the great boom that came in the post-Civil War era.
Was the way bosses tried to maximize profits actually different back then? Would it be fair to say the railroad bosses represented the worst of capitalism, or just another flavor?
They represented capitalism in all its aspects, both the good and the bad. The railroads were immensely influential and had introduced huge improvements in the country. But they were people [like] George Pullman, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller—they understood how to work this abstract game of capital, of finance. And you see it today in venture capitalists, or hedge fund managers, or private-equity firms. It eased up a little bit in the middle of the 20th century, [but] it’s come back in a very toxic way I think, this hyper capitalism, where everything is to maximize profit. Its roots [stretch] back [to] then, but today is a new version of it.
When Sears was riding high they were very generous with their employees. They had profit-sharing and if you were working in a Sears store you could do quite well if you worked hard. Today you have Amazon and there’s none of that. There’s no sharing the wealth. At Amazon all of the money goes to the top, particularly to the top executives. That’s the idea of hyper capitalism.
You can’t rise to the top of a corporation unless you go along with the system to maximize profit. It doesn’t matter how you do it. [There’s lots of] drug companies that raise the price of drugs or it’s the oil companies [who’re] willing to bring on climate change as long as they can make their profits. There’s no human factor in it. It’s interesting that it goes back to the 1890s with George Pullman—a corporation as a system [that] just disregards the human.
Why did the federal authorities work with Pullman against the strikers and why does the government continue to side with corporations? Has that relationship changed?
For the same reason as today, which is they were in the bag. You know, they were paid off. The Attorney General was a railroad director and a railroad lawyer at the very same time that he was serving as Attorney General. He knew where his loyalties lie. And President Grover Cleveland happened to be a very pro-business president. But it was money. Money and politics back then and the same thing now. So they danced to the corporate tune.
How would you compare the monopoly that some of these guys operated to Bezos and Amazon?
Monopoly was really at the heart of the capitalism of the Gilded Age. Rockefeller created a monopoly of standard oil and Pullman wanted a monopoly of making these specialty rail cars. That’s the tendency of business and you see it today in not only Amazon, but Microsoft and Facebook. Capitalists are always trying to get a monopoly because then you can make the most money. The old Gilded Age is being repeated today.
Is it reasonable to compare someone like Eugene Debs and what he represented to modern movements that use Antifa-style tactics?
After Debs became a socialist one of the things he did was to join up with the Western Miners Union and create the International Workers of the World, which was known as the Wobblies. He didn’t stay with the Wobblies. They believed in violence and Debs never thought that violence would accomplish anything for the working class. To that extent I [don’t] think that he would really approve of the tactics, even though he might approve of the principles.
How does the modern labor movement compare to the movement that Debs organized?
The heyday of the labor movement was from the 30s up until the 70s. It’s hard to even talk about a labor movement now. I think that in a way there’s a parallel with what Debs was doing because he was trying to find a way for labor to accommodate these new conditions. Today the labor movement is also looking for a new model. There’s a lot of interesting things going on, but labor is on the ropes and they have to find a new way of bringing the struggle to their opponents. Because labor has so little power now it’s sad.
One thing that really struck me about your book was all the archival images—every photo depicts an African American as a servant. How much progress do you think America has actually made on class and race in particular in the context of labor organizing?
We’ve made some progress, but I think that it’s sort of another parallel between today and back then. George Pullman was the largest employer of African Americans in the country. They all worked as servants, essentially, on the trains. They were porters [that] made up the beds and brought the drinks and so forth. They had no opportunity to rise and were very poorly paid. Eugene Debs proposed bringing those men into the union because if they were in the union the union would have more clout because [the African Americans] were essential to running these Pullman cars. [But] the union rejected that. They said, “We don’t want black people in our union.”
That [was] a short sighted self-destructive attitude that unfortunately went on for years in the labor movement. They didn’t want to reach across the race lines. Black people couldn’t get jobs on the railroad, except for these demeaning jobs as Pullman Porters. It was only in the 60s [that] they finally opened up the railroad unions to black people, [but] by that time the railroads were on the decline and there were no jobs. It’s a sad commentary. It’s one of the things that Eugene Debs preached. Solidarity meant everybody. It didn’t mean just white people, [but] a lot of people in the labor movement couldn’t grasp that and just weren’t willing to do it.
Learn more about Kelly’s book here.
Jan 3, 2019
Don’t miss this video, if only for this reason: you will learn that the problem of rape and sexual assault is horrendous and widely recognized by most Swedes, but that there is a hard core of zombie feminists who take a different view of the situation: there is NO RAPE EPIDEMIC in Sweden at all, they claim! And even if there is, the Muslim immigrants are not to blame. It’s men in general who are to blame!
It never occurred to Louis, just as it never occurred to Macron that supporting revolutionary wars thousands of miles away could ever come back to haunt them at home.
It is easy to imagine ridiculous young President Emmanuel Macron of France as his fellow-free trading liberal King Louis XVI. Macron’s extraordinary pretensions to “dignity” and being a “king” far from elevating him have stripped him of all the bogus credibility that the corrupt, servile and stupid mainstream media of Europe and the United States tried to give him.
Far from raising the embattled Fifth Republic to new heights of achievement and success, it is already clear that Le Jeune Macron is destroying it. The contrast with the founder of the Republic, the great and truly regal Charles de Gaulle could not be greater.
The 1.96 meters tall De Gaulle towered over his nation in many ways. Twice he was his country’s literal savior: First as the leader of the Free French Resistance against the Nazis and as President of France from 1944 to 1946. And then returning to power in 1958, De Gaulle saved his nation from disintegration and civil war.
He ended the long ferocious conflict in Algeria, survived at least six assassination plots on his life and rebuilt his nation into the most powerful and prosperous state in Western Europe. He also defied the United States repeatedly, courageously criticized US conduct of the Vietnam War and built a lasting relationship of friendship and understanding with the Soviet Union.
Macron is physically not a small man, standing at 1.78 meters: He only acts and looks that way. Only a year into office, it is now irreversibly clear that young Macron is fated to make a mockery of every great achievement of De Gaulle, Le Vieux, including the Fifth Republic itself.
Ridiculous young Macron has inflicted ruinous new hardships on the long-suffering French people in the name of his global financial masters. He has loyally proved to be Washington’s poodle in petty-minded and destructive attempts to impose yet more economic sanctions on Russia.
Far from withdrawing France from needless ruinous wars in the Arab and Muslim worlds as Le Grand Charles did in Algeria, Macron continues to eagerly support and promote the disastrous Western interventions in Syria and Libya.
The true parallel to Macron is not De Gaulle, who restored the wealth, stability, dignity and pride of his nation but of the hapless, witless, very internationalist and liberal King Louis XVI, last monarch of L’Ancien Regime.
Like Macron Louis was an eager, arrogant and idiotic young technocrat. Like Macron, he was an internationalist revolutionary and a free trader. He supported the American colonies in their successful revolution against the British Empire.
It never occurred to Louis, just as it never occurred to Macron, or his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande that supporting revolutionary wars thousands of miles away could ever come back to haunt them at home. But that is exactly what happened. The collapse of ordered societies in Syria and Libya unleashed of millions of immigrants into France and other European nations with dire social consequences.
Louis suffered “blowback” too. American revolutionary Benjamin Franklin set up underground societies in France that within a decade toppled the most powerful kingdom in Europe.
Far from being the reactionary he has been caricatured as for more than 200 years, King Louis was one of the leading fashionable liberals and technocrats of his time. He especially revered English free-market economist Adam Smith, whose book “The Wealth of Nations” was published in 1776 (the same year as the American Revolution). So only a decade later, Louis fatefully signed his own 1786 Eden Free Trade Treaty with neighboring Britain.
As I noted in my own 2012 economic history “That Should Still Be Us”, the treaty proved to be a catastrophe: Cheap industrialized goods from the more advanced British economy flooded into France while the British cannily retained barriers of their own against French agricultural and other exports.
The French economy collapsed. Millions of people were thrown out of work. They and their families starved. Within three years the Great Revolution had exploded and the monarchy was toppled.
Louis, like Macron today, was convinced his advanced economic theories were more important than petty human suffering. It took the French Revolution and the loss, first of his crown and then of his own head to teach him otherwise.
Like Louis, Macron has shown no understanding or sympathy for the sufferings of ordinary people crushed beneath his absurd, unnecessary policies. Like Louis, his mask of liberalism and civilized compassion vanished as soon as his own people dared to disagree with him. Like Louis his only answer now is repression. Like Louis, he does not have a clue.
The Yellow Vest protestors are not going away. The French people are heartedly sick and tired of the 50- percent real unemployment, wide open immigration borders, slashed welfare programs and breakdown of law and order that Macron and the European Union elite has foisted on them., The Latest French Revolution is not over: it is only beginning.
Macron has ignored the ominous lessons of history. Now he is doomed to repeat them.
Donald Trump’s lawyer said on Monday that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange should not be prosecuted and he compared WikiLeaks publications to the Pentagon Papers.
Giuliani said, “We may not like what [Assange] communicates, but he was a media facility. He was putting that information out,” he said. “Every newspaper and station grabbed it, and published it.”
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, said Monday that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had not done “anything wrong” and should not go to jail for disseminating stolen information just as major media does.
“Let’s take the Pentagon Papers,” Giuliani told Fox News. “The Pentagon Papers were stolen property, weren’t they? It was in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Nobody went to jail at The New York Times and The Washington Post.”
Giuliani said there were “revelations during the Bush administration” such as Abu Ghraib. “All of that is stolen property taken from the government, it’s against the law. But once it gets to a media publication, they can publish it,” Giuliani said, “for the purpose of informing people.”
“You can’t put Assange in a different position,” he said. “He was a guy who communicated.”
Giuliani said, “We may not like what [Assange] communicates, but he was a media facility. He was putting that information out,” he said. “Every newspaper and station grabbed it, and published it.”
The U.S. government has admitted that it has indicted Assange for publishing classified information, but it is battling in court to keep the details of the indictment secret. As a lawyer and close advisor to Trump, Giuliani could have influence on the president’s and the Justice Department’s thinking on Assange.
Giuliani also said there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. “I was with Donald Trump day in and day out during the last four months of the campaign,” he said. “He was as surprised as I was about the WikiLeaks disclosures. Sometimes surprised to the extent of ‘Oh my god, did they really say that?’ We were wondering if it was true. They [the Clinton campaign] never denied it.”
Giuliani said: “The thing that really got Hillary is not so much that it was revealed, but they were true. They actually had people as bad as that and she really was cheating on the debates. She really was getting from Donna Brazile the questions before hand. She really did completely screw Bernie Sanders.”
“Every bit of that was true,” he went on. “Just like the Pentagon Papers put a different view on Vietnam, this put a different view on Hillary Clinton.”
Giuliani said, “It was not right to hack. People who did it should go to jail, but no press person or person disseminating that for the purpose of informing did anything wrong.”
Assange has been holed up as a refugee in the Ecuador embassy in London for the past six years fearing that if he were to leave British authorities would arrest him and extradite him to the U.S. for prosecution.
You can watch the entire Fox News interview with Giuliani here:
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @unjoe .
Israel is approaching a position once the preserve of South Africa. It is vulnerable to grassroots Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Source | Off-Guardian
The map below shows the spread across the USA of laws against support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. It was compiled by Palestine Legal, an organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Americans who speak out for Palestinian freedom.
One state with anti-BDS legislation on its books is Texas. Says The Intercept:
The bill’s language is so sweeping that some victims of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Southwest Texas in late 2017, were told they could only receive state disaster relief if they first signed a pledge never to boycott Israel. That demand was deeply confusing to those hurricane victims in desperate need of help but who could not understand what their views of Israel and Palestine had to do with their ability to receive assistance from their state government.
The evangelical author of the Israel bill, Republican Texas state Rep. Phil King, said at the time that its application to hurricane relief was a “misunderstanding,” but nonetheless emphasized that the bill’s purpose was indeed to ensure that no public funds ever go to anyone who supports a boycott of Israel.
Here’s what Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, had to say as he signed King’s bill into law on May 2, 2017:
Now meet Bahia Amawi, a speech therapist in the lone star state. Having lost her job for refusing to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel, she’s suing the state of Texas in a bid to repeal the law which compelled an Austin school district to fire her for so refusing.
Says the Times of Israel:
Amawi worked with the local Arabic-speaking community at the Pflugerville Independent School District since 2009, on a contract basis. She told the news site that the district renewed her contract each year without incident, but when she received the documents for the 2018-19 school year in August, Amawi said it included a new clause requiring that she “not boycott Israel during the term of the contract,” and refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel, or in an Israel-controlled territory.”
Washington Post has Pflugerville District, which alongside State Attorney General Ken Paxton is in the firing line of Amawi’s lawsuit, saying:
This language is required by the State of Texas for all school districts in Texas, along with other governmental entities. Unfortunately … all Texas school districts are at the mercy of the state and the regulations printed into law, and in situations such as this, we are forced to spend time on state political issues and not on our core mission — educating students.”
Nor is Bahia Amawi the only one suffering here. The Intercept tells us that:
Because Amawi, to her knowledge, is the only certified Arabic-speaking child’s speech pathologist in the district, it is quite possible that the refusal to renew her contract will leave dozens of young children with speech pathologies without any competent expert to evaluate their conditions and treatment needs.
The Intercept goes on to quote Amawi directly:
If I [signed the pledge] I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust and thus become complicit in their repression, but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully.
… the point of boycotting any products that support Israel is to put pressure on Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people”
Three comments. One is that though the hard left was in the main always opposed to the Israeli State, or at any rate its policies on the Palestinians, the liberal left tended, mindful of recent European history, not only to support it but give it a blank cheque on whatever it deemed had to be done. That began to change after the Shatila and Sabra camp massacres in Lebanon, 1982. Since then its acts have seen the weight of liberal and center-left opinion steadily tilting away from Israel, to the point where the Jewish State is approaching a position once the preserve of South Africa. Israel is vulnerable, despite the support of Western ruling elites, to grassroots boycott. Recognition that, for all its hasbara, Israel is losing the propaganda war is the context in which anti-BDS legislation within its ally and primary underwriter should be seen.
Another is that this shift is analogous to that much wider change which has seen mainstream Western media slowly losing their grip on our hearts and minds. Thanks to the rise of the internet – with its triple whammy of vastly extended choice of news sources, many-to-many social media and, related but distinct, a threat to revenues for corporate media’s two-hundred-year-old business model – a ruling class monopoly on opinion formation and manufactured consent is weakened. This poses problems for a status quo loaded massively in favor of the few against the many. (All the more so when, as now, war drums are beating.) Like those anti-BDS laws, the war on fake news is best understood as early skirmish within conflicts greater, more fraught and ultimately more far-reaching in significance.
But one of capitalism’s many dialectics is that for all its terrifying instability, it is extraordinarily adaptive in its Borg-like ability to accommodate all – or at any rate most – opposition. Not to mention its own crimes. Which brings me back to the issue at hand. Given more confidence in the survival of our species – and liberal democracy – I’d offer generous odds on Bahia Amawi being granted, half a century from now, Rosa Parks status.
Philip Roddis has been a scribbler for some sixty years, and for fifteen a photographer too. Roddis began blogging in the early nineties by inflicting film reviews on an unsuspecting public. Soon he was doing the same with illustrated writings on wanderings in Asia and Africa. He writes “to help me think, and because I like to be read”, and finds photography’s problem-solving aspects “a break from those of writing, as well as an aid to writing and to reflective travel.” He blogs at Steel City Scribblings.