Human Trafficking Victims Implanted With RFID Chips

Human Trafficking victims implanted with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips are showing up in US emergency rooms. Marketplace reports that the metallic objects slightly larger than a grain of rice are being embedded in victims’ bodies. In an interview, Dr. A, whose identity is being concealed to protect the victim, describes it as “a small glass capsule with a little, almost like a circuit board, inside of it.”  He says it is an RFID chip, the same chip that is used to tag cats and dogs. The victim, he says, was tagged “like an animal, like she was somebody’s pet that they owned.”

Dr. Dale Carrison at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas is raising awareness to advocates for these victims in the healthcare system. He says, “There’s so many sci-fi movies where they stick a device in somebody. Well, guess what? It’s real. It happened.” Treating these human trafficking victims has been a big wakeup call for Dr. Carrison, and he is compelled to get the word out to colleagues.

Human trafficking is not relegated to just sex-related crimes. As Katherine Chon, Director of the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Trafficking Persons points out, “Very plainly, human trafficking is when one person takes advantage of another person for some profit.”

Marketplace points out that human trafficking can mean being locked in a room, having an RFID chip injected under your skin, or your employer holding your passport. Trafficking is found in industries like prostitution, manufacturing, and domestic service. Further, according to the Justice Department, “83 percent of confirmed sex trafficking victims are US citizens.”

According to a Fox News article, “Microchip implants like the ones pet owners use to track their dogs and cats could become commonplace in humans in the next decade.” However, it goes on to say that experts are divided as to whether they are “appropriate for people.”  Some experts argue that an implant could be the difference between life and death for soldiers and journalists in war zones, as well as kidnapped children.

The article goes on to say that the benefits of microchips range from fighting crime, monitoring those with health problems like Alzheimer’s, tracking livestock, to taking attendance in schools. However, there have been ongoing ethical concerns since the FDA approved the first implantable microchip in 2004 like identity theft and privacy. Additionally, there are health risks associated with microchipping that, so far, have only been studied on animals.

Distraction Addiction author and visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Peace Innovation Lab Alex Soojung-Kim Pang says, “In the long run, chip implants could make it less intrusive than some emerging ID systems which rely on physical biometrics (like your fingerprints or unique eye pattern).”

Dr. Mercola has an article by veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker who discusses the implications of microchipping on pets. She says that there is potential for the pet’s body to reject the object, citing sarcoma and fibrosarcoma, two types of soft tissue tumors. Other reactions range from localized inflammatory response to tumor formation at the injection site.

She concludes with the fact that “microchips carry the risk of an autoimmune reaction or a degenerative reaction where your pet’s immune system becomes aggravated or chronically inflamed, which can in turn lead to tissue degeneration and abnormal cell growth, or cancer at the site of implantation.”

Chip Me Not of the UK reports, “More evidence is emerging that indicates that implanted microchips can cause cancer in animals,” citing a report that states that chip implants “induced” malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.

Image of implant removed October 2015 from trafficking victim via Marketplace

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Children Spend Less Time Outdoors Than Prison Inmates

A survey of more than 12,000 parents of children aged five to 12 from 10 countries revealed that children spend less time outdoors than the average prison inmate, according to Activist Post. British laundry company Persil commissioned the survey via an independent market research firm. The research revealed that a third of British children spend thirty minutes or less outdoors each day, and one in five does not play outdoors at all on an average day. The survey was conducted in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

Dirt is Good is an ongoing campaign that was birthed out of the findings of the survey. The organization produced a short film of the same name. The film points out that on average, inmates are allotted two hours outdoors each day, however most children only spend an hour or less. According to the United Nations, prison inmates are granted a minimum of one hour daily to spend outdoors.

As a result of this culture shift, children’s mental health is suffering. Peter Gray notes in The Play Deficit on Aoen that there is a direct correlation with the decline in children’s play and an increase in mental disorders. Moreover, it’s not just disorders that were overlooked in the past. In fact, research results “reveal a continuous, essentially linear, increase in anxiety and depression in young people over the decades, such that the rates of what today would be diagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder and major depression are five to eight times what they were in the 1950’s.” He goes on to say, “Over the same period, the suicide rate for young people aged 15-24 has more than doubled, and that for children under 15 has quadrupled.”

Gray points out that the decline in opportunity to play correlates with a decline in empathy and a rise in narcissism. He says that children cannot learn social skills and values in school because “school is an authoritarian, not a democratic setting.” As a result, school encourages competition rather than cooperation. Therefore, “children there are not free to quit when others fail to respect their needs and wishes.”

In his book, Free to Learn, Gray documents these this phenomena and says that the rise in mental disorders in children is “largely the result of the decline in children’s freedom.” He says that for children to thrive, they must be allowed more time and opportunity to play. The author contends that play is learning, and at play is where children learn the most important of life’s lessons—the ones that can’t be taught in schools. He says, “To learn these lessons well, children need lots of play—lots and lots of it, without inference from adults.”

Image via Education to Save the World

NC Schools Investigate Religious Activity

North Carolina’s Moore County Schools (MCS) investigate religious activity among its staff and coaches. According to Lady Liberty 1885, back in March 2015 staff board attorney Neal Ramee sent MCS Superintendent Dr. Bob Grimesey a letter regarding laws governing participation by staff or coaches in religious activities in schools including prayer.

The letter is part of an investigation via a survey called Staff Prayer Questionnaire that asks if employees have “ever participated in or seen any prayers at any MCS athletic games or events” Further, the survey goes on to ask for the time it occurred, location, and duration. It asks for details such as, the content of the prayer and what was said before and after the prayer. Lastly, it asks for names of the participants including employees and students.

Recently Daily Haymaker published Superintendent Grimesey’s response to a formal complaint from an attorney for an advocacy group at a MCS athletic event. Dr. Grimesey had sought guidance from the school system’s attorneys, and as a result, they generated a memorandum that was distributed to the schools.

Dr. Grimesey said that the survey was for school principals and other staff only, and not meant to be seen by the public. He insisted that the intention of the survey was to “gather information so that I could confer with legal counsel to ensure that the social district was adhering to all applicable legal rules.”

In his letter he points out, “The First Amendment (and school board policy) allows students and staff to engage in such activities as private prayer and Bible study to the same extent that they may engage in comparable non-religious activities.” However, the staff are prohibited from “actively praying with students while acting in their official capacities as school employees.”

Dr. Grimesey insists that the school system “takes all of these constitutional rights and limitations very seriously and in no way discriminates against religion,” and that the purpose of the survey was to ensure the school system’s “compliance with constitutional requirements.”

Constitutional requirements are what the The First Amendment Center refers to as the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Teachers are subject to this, and are therefore “required to be neutral concerning religion while carrying out their duties as teachers.” Additionally, “Teachers do not have the right to pray with or in the presence of students during the school day.”

Further, Dr. Grimesey insists that the survey was never to be distributed to coaches but to be used by principals and athletic directors to conduct confidential interviews with coaches. Lastly, he says, “There was never any intention to direct any questions to any students or to any staff members other than principals, athletic directors, and coaches.”

The Haymaker points out, “Several of the questions in the document appear to encourage informing on other school system employees.” It suggests that a Pinecrest High School football coach Chris Metzger was targeted in this investigation. Metzger is “well-known for his involvement in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, participation in Christian events, and encouragement of his players who also wish to do so.”

How will the staff and coaches be affected by this investigation? Further, what kind of culture will develop in the school system as a result?

Image of Mr. Grimesey via WRAL

 

Duke Student: USA’s Obsession With The First Amendment Is Expression Of White Supremacy

Duke University student says America’s “obsession with the First Amendment” is an “expression of white supremacy,” according to the Daily Caller. Graduate student Bennett Carpenter in the university newspaper The Chronicle says that a conversation about racism on the Duke campus and across the country is “urgent and overdue.” However, he says it has been “derailed by a diversionary and duplicitous obsession with the First Amendment.”

The article points out that the graduate student is “apparently unaware of the irony of using a newspaper column to call for restrictions on free speech.” The graduate student says that Americans “give too much deference to the First Amendment and should focus more on censoring violent speech.”

The Daily Caller points out that Carpenter, who appears to be white, devotes much of his column to the subject of white fragility. He says that the conversation has “shifted from white supremacy to white fragility—and how this shift is itself an expression of white supremacy.”

The Duke graduate student in his article says white frailty “refers to a range of defensive behaviors through which white people (or more accurately people who believe they are white) deflect conversation about race and racism in order to protect themselves from race-based stress.”  He says that this is because “white people tend to live in environments where whiteness is both dominant and invisible,” and as a result, “they grow accustomed to racial comfort, as a result of which even a small amount of racial stress becomes intolerable.”

In the United States, according to Carpenter, “free speech seems more important than black lives.” Meanwhile, he says, “Students describe—with utter unintentional irony—how being called-out by anti-racist activists makes them feel upset and hurts their feelings.” For whom, there is no real protection beyond the confines of the campus.  He says, “The very government, quite literally built on white supremacy could somehow save us from its effects.” As a result, the students are left to “construct safe spaces” for themselves “where hate is barred at the door”

“Words hurt as much as actions; indeed, words are actions.” He illustrates this by saying, “Within the context of white supremacy, any distinction between a defaced poster, a racist pamphlet and legal or extralegal murder can only be of degree.” He equates current First Amendment-protected speech on the subject of racism with hate speech.

He uses the example of the prohibition of walking into a crowded theater and shouting “fire!” The student says, “How is this any different from walking into a white supremacist society and shouting racial slurs?” He goes on to say that this is perpetuated because “it has become almost a truism that there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment.”

He quotes the National Center for Human Rights and Education as saying that this has only been allowed by the courts in recent years, that “privileged white racists” are left to express themselves at the “expense and safety of African-Americans and other people of color.”

The Duke graduate student’s sentiments are the latest in a wave of political correctness emanating from college campuses in the United States. The Daily Caller quotes Pew Research Center as saying, “40 percent of Americans aged 18-34 are in favor of government censorship of speech that is offensive to minority groups.”

As this movement to gains momentum, one wonders, what will our society look like a decade from now? Will this continue to bring about a shift in culture to restrict free speech?

George Orwell said, “If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”

Image of Duke University Chapel via Legal Insurrection

NC Schools Restrict Teachers Saying ‘Please’ In Classroom

North Carolina schools restrict teachers’ use of the word please in the classroom as part of an initiative called No-Nonsense Nurturing Program (NNP), according to ABC News. The program was recently implemented at Druid Hills Academy in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School district.

Denise Watts is the Learning Community Superintendent for Project LIFT which oversees nine schools including Druid Hills Academy.  She told ABC news that over 250 schools in the United States use NNP in the classroom. She says that the NNP is used to “create a structured and consistent environment for students where teachers give them clear and specific directions about movement, volume, and participation.”

She goes on to say that when a teacher gives an expectation to students that “the word please is not necessary.”  She gives the analogy of the working world. She says, “No one would say, ‘Would you come to work today, please?’”

Watts says that NNP gives teachers and school administrators the tools to create a culture that consists of conditions that help students thrive by giving very specific directions and holding high expectations of students, resulting in strong relationships with students.

According to Jonnecia Alford, mathematics teacher at Druid Hills Academy, although there was student pushback at the inception, now the students love the program and enjoy the structure. She goes on to say that since using NNP, test scores have increased.

Among parents, however, there have been mixed reactions.

Parent Daren Guilford says, “I don’t agree with it, point blank, period. What about manners?” He adds that parents are asked to teach kids manners at home. But, he says that at school the kids are told, “You will pick the pencil up.” He says, “That’s not what I would call good communication skills with the kid.”

Parent Jamal Gibbs says the program “might be a good thing, considering that some kids need more stricter directions. Some kids don’t listen very well to politeness because of the things they’re going through in their homes, around where they live and where they’re growing-up.”

Overall, ABC says, “Parents of kids at the school have mixed feelings about the new program and its advice to use the word please ‘sparingly.’”

Godsman Elementary School says that part of the NNP is positive narration, which involves narrating behavior of students who are on task and not to respond to students who are off-task. Narration is “precise directions related to verbal behavior, movement, and participation.” For example, “Tim has his book out.” Educators are to narrate immediately after giving directions. In the first six weeks of program implementation they are to narrate “approximately every minute during instruction.”

The school website goes on to say that the objective of the NNP is for the teacher to “demonstrate a different kind of caring,” which involves use of a “strong teacher voice.” The program also teaches educators to identify and addresses “middle-class bias.”

One teacher shared his thoughts on his blog Teacher Roland. He describes the modeled teacher voice as spoken in “a direct, authoritarian manner”—a “militaristic” style of speech that is” short and commanding.”

He went on to say that though this might be effective at the classroom at the elementary level, he didn’t feel it would be necessary for older students, as they typically give the respect the teacher deserves to teach.

He goes on to say that his “assumption that students should give the respect a teacher deserves” is called “the middle-class bias.” He says that teachers like him who come from middle-class backgrounds “have developed a mindset that the middle-class expectations on how to interact with students is the normal and right way to do so for students from low-income backgrounds.”

As a result, this places a “stumbling block on effective teaching such as not being strict or mean. But having a strict and firm teacher voice is exactly what students from low-income backgrounds need in order to succeed.”

Such a program begs the question, what is the outcome? Since NNP is a relatively new program, we won’t know its impact on our children for years to come. By restricting the use of the word please, a culture shift is imminent. Traditionally, good manners is what has differentiated the United States among other countries in the area of customer service. Additionally, good manners, including the frequent use of the word please, is a major part of what defines the South.

This movement is reminiscent of Charlotte Iserbyt’s point from her book Revolution in Education – Soviet Style on News With Views that states that Benjamin Bloom’s purpose of education was to “change the thoughts, actions, and feelings of students,” and defined good teaching, as “challenging the students’ fixed beliefs.”

Image of Druid Hills Academy teacher via ABC News

 

Artificial Light At Night Raises Cancer Risk

Artificial light at night (ALAN) raises the risk for obesity and some cancers according to an Israeli study as reported by Israel21c. University of Haifa PhD student Nataliya Rybnikova says, “Researchers think this is because light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by animals and humans mainly at night.” She goes on to say that because melatonin is responsible for metabolic function, and ALAN influences metabolic function in people, the scientists wanted to know if there was a link between ALAN and body-mass gain.

According to the researchers’ summary, the increased exposure to ALAN may influence body-mass by suppressing melatonin production and, therefore, disrupt daily rhythms. This would result in “physiological or behavioral changes in the human body, and may thus become a driving force behind worldwide overweight and obesity pandemic.”

ALAN raises the risk for cancers like breast and prostate when light suppresses melatonin, the body is robbed of melatonin’s anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties.

The Israeli website says that Rybnikova used satellite images to map levels of ALAN emitted from the ground. She then compared the information of over 80 countries with World Health Organization data specific to each country.

Local studies in Israel that revealed that the higher levels of artificial lighting in a neighborhood correlated with a higher frequency of breast and prostate cancer in that neighborhood. Ms. Rybnikova says that researchers adjusted for variables known to influence obesity like average birthrate, dietary patterns, gross domestic product and percentage of urban population. However, ALAN remained a “significant positive predictor for obesity.”

According to Dr. Mercola, there are multiple benefits of melatonin.  Melatonin combats inflammation, prevents cancers, strengthens the immune system, and may slowdown cellular aging, including that in the brain. It is the body’s “Superhero of the Night,” in which “light is his number one nemesis.”

Dr. Mercola points out that when you are exposed to a light at night, it immediately sends your brain misinformation about the light-dark cycle. The brain interprets the light as daytime. As a result, your biological clock instructs your pineal gland to immediately cease melatonin production. Consequently, whether the light is on for an hour or a second, your melatonin pump doesn’t turn back on when you turn the light back off.

Melatonin provides “particularly strong protection against reproductive cancers,” according to Dr. Mercola by slowing down cell division. This, in turn, combats estrogen’s stimulation of cell growth.

On his website he documents the following:

  • There is an increased cancer risk among women who work predominantly night shifts.
  • Nurses who work nights had 36 percent greater risk of breast cancer.
  • Blind women, whose eyes cannot detect light, have a hardy melatonin production, have breast cancer rates that are below-the-average.
  • Women who work the night shift have breast cancer rates 60 percent above normal.
  • In 2007 the World Health Organization classified shift work as a “probable carcinogen,” placing the night shift in the same health-risk category as exposure to toxic chemicals like trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

He goes on to say that the range of light that inhibits melatonin is 460 to 480 nm. Orange and red wavelengths do not suppress melatonin like blue and white wavelengths do. Dr. Russel Reiter suggests using a salt lamp with a 5-watt bulb in the orange and red color range to provide light during the night.

Reducing ALAN has the potential to prevent many of the health problems that we face. What are some ways to reduce ALAN in your home?

Image via Wonder Woman India Today