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From Syria to Sydney: a family’s refugee journey…


It is exactly one year since Maxeem Georges and his young family arrived in Australia at the end of their long journey from war-torn Syria. Addressing our 2016 World Refugee Day Breakfast, Maxeem reflected on how the Syrian war has changed the course of his life forever.


Read Maxeem’s story



“Rupert is a tremendous guy. I think Rupert [who for several years lived in the Trump building on 59th and Park Avenue in Manhattan] is one of the people I really respect and like. And I think Rupert respects what I’ve done.” But what about Murdoch’s grumpy Trump tweets? “When I got into the world of politics, that was a different realm for me and maybe he felt differently. But I think he respects what I’ve done and he’s a tremendous guy and I think we have a very good relationship.”

Extract from Michael Wolff @ the The Hollywood Reporter (01/06/16)

ps. here @ the interpretOr, we note that the ascendancy of both megalomaniacs was facilitated by the late, and by no means great, Roy Cohn, who arranged Murdoch’s first Oval Office meeting with President Ronald Reagan in 1983…



The Secret History of Superdelegates

712 Democratic officials will decide whether Clinton or Sanders wins the nomination. An In These Timesinvestigation shows that’s just what the party planned all along.
The private meetings that led to the creation of superdelegates have never been published or made public — until now.
The paper seems bent on taking down Bernie.
Finkelstein’s book is a call for Jewish suffering to be seen as part of the larger history of suffering under colonialism.
A member of the 1982 commission explains why they created superdelegates and what they hoped to prevent.


The Verizon Strike Is Not Just About Wages. It Is About Power and Domination Over Workers.

Corporations love the ‘sharing economy’ because it’s built on one thing: greed.


Big Oil Plots to Exclude Public from Public Land Auctions

Keep It In The Ground is a campaign based on the principle that fossil fuels on public lands must be left inthe ground.


May 2016

Brazil, failure to reform; waiting for the Tobin tax; Iran elections, high hopes, little change; US, retreat into isolationism? Calais Jungle, the inside story; Ukraine’s healthcare timebomb; Japan, a women’s place? UK, India caste rules linger on; German American kultur war… and more…

::: click cover to access :::

SPLC The Trump Effect cover

Between March 23 and April 2, 2016, Teaching Tolerance surveyed approximately 2,000 teachers, asking them how the presidential campaign was affecting their student and their teaching. The results indicated that the campaign is having a profoundly negative impact on schoolchildren across the country, producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported. Many educators fear teaching about the election at all.

A synthesis of our survey results make up the content of this report:The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools. A  complete listing of the 5,000 survey comment is available here.


“My students are terrified of Donald Trump,” says one teacher from a middle school with a large population of African-American Muslims. “They think that if he’s elected, all black people will get sent back to Africa.”

“A Portland, Oregon, middle school teacher reported that her principal had imposed a “gag order” on teachers, prohibiting them from talking about the election. But the order didn’t stop one of her students from telling an immigrant classmate, “When Trump wins, you and your family will get sent back.” On the survey she posed the question, “What does a teacher do? I can assure you that if a student says that loudly and brazenly in class, far worse is happening in the hallway.”

::: simply click cover pic above to access report in pdf @ :::

Through treating everything from strokes to car accident traumas, neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch knows the brain’s inability to repair itself all too well. But now, she suggests, she and her colleagues may have found the key to neural repair: Doublecortin-positive cells. Similar to stem cells, they are extremely adaptable and, when extracted from a brain, cultured and then re-injected in a lesioned area of the same brain, they can help repair and rebuild it. “With a little help,” Bloch says, “the brain may be able to help itself.”

Swiss neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch is an expert in deep brain stimulation and neuromodulation for movement disorders. Her recent work focuses on cortical cells, called doublecortin, related to neurogenesis and brain repair. In collaboration with Jean François Brunet and others, she is pioneering the development of adult brain cell transplantation for patients with stroke, using their own stem cells. She aims at gathering all these novel therapeutic strategies under a common umbrella that will optimize treatment options for patients suffering from neurological impairments. She is in charge of the functional neurosurgery unit at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV).


What if Schools Taught Kindness?

By Laura Pinger, Lisa Flook | February 1, 2016 | 7 CommentsLaura Pinger and Lisa Flook share their lessons from creating a “kindness curriculum” for young students


Walking to class one day, one of us (Laura) saw a young student crying and waiting for his mother to arrive—he had split his chin while playing. When Laura got to class, the other students were very upset and afraid for their friend, full of questions about what would happen to him. Laura decided to ask the class how they could help him.

“Caring practice!” exclaimed one of the children—and they all sat in a circle offering support and well wishes. The children immediately calmed and they continued with their lesson.

Young students make “peace wands” as part of the Center for Healthy Minds’ Kindness Curriculum.Image courtesy of the Center for Healthy Minds

This is what’s possible when kids learn to be kind at school.

Various mindfulness programs have been developed for adults, but we and our colleagues at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wanted to develop a curriculum for kids. Every school teaches math and reading, but what about mindfulness and kindness?

We ended up bringing a 12-week curriculum to six schools in the Midwest. Twice a week for 20 minutes, pre-kindergarten kids were introduced to stories and practices for paying attention, regulating their emotions, and cultivating kindness. It’s just the beginning, but the initial results of our research, coauthored with Professor Richard Davidson and graduate research assistant Simon Goldberg, suggest that this program can improve kids’ grades, cognitive abilities, and relationship skills.

::: click here for this piece continues free + in full @ Greater Good Science Center :::



Latest News


Iowans have a long history of breaking from party orthodoxy. Our reporting from the state shows that could be good news for Sanders on February 1.
This is what neoliberal governance looks like.
Paul Mason, ardent critic of neoliberalism, sees a new epoch ahead.
Why the American Hero trope is so dangerous.

New York’s ‘Carwasheros’ Push for Safer, Fairer Workplaces

Car washes are the ‘wild, wild West” of workplace regulation. The Car Wash Accountability Act will improve that–if it is ever implemented.
Author Jeff Halper says the usual explanations of Israel’s behavior didn’t make sense to him.
It’s no coincidence that Trump, the candidate least in need of money or media attention, is the most outspoken against war.
The Lessons of Syriza’s Failed Push Against Austerity

Austerity policies haven’t worked in Greece, but neither have the radical Left’s efforts to push back against them.
The Newspaper That Transformed Black America–And The Course of History

How an ambitious migrant came to Chicago and changed history with the power of journalism.
The grassroots is taking charge of Sanders’ campaign–and they’re not waiting around for the establishment.
What a legacy.
Bernie Sanders and Unions’ Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Many union members say Bernie Sanders should be labor’s choice for president. But convincing unions to endorse him isn’t so simple.
Communities today face not just the behavior of individual corporations, but a system of law that insulates corporate power from democratic control.


What Leaders Must Do to Battle Bigotry Big Ideas, Empathy | January 18, 2016

Prejudice lies deep in the brain, but leaders can set the stage to help us overcome it.


Altruism is SexyMind & Body, Altruism | January 15, 2016In a new study, a kind heart trumps good looks—but the combination of both is the most desirable of all.


When Kindness Helps Teens (and When It Doesn’t)Family & Couples, Altruism | January 14, 2016According to a new study, we can predict whether teens will get into trouble by how nice they are to strangers.


<a href=“”>Free Press, 2015, 307 pages</a>

Don’t Let Your Mind Be Your Worst EnemyMind & Body | January 13, 2016Two new books reveal the inner workings of human psychology–biases, rationalizations, and all.




We are in the business of growth and change. If we are to be helpful to those whom we serve, it’s our imperative to continuously development.

The Frontiers of Psychotherapist Development (FPD) blog is about pushing beyond the edge of your development.  When we grow, our clients benefit.

Practical ideas pulled together from the studies of expertise and expert performance in a variety of professional fields*, teaching & education, cognitive science, aesthetic arts, as well as from psychotherapy research, will be shared on regular basis.

Subscribe to FPD blog for regular updates. You might want to go to Start Here for a sample of the blogposts. Any comments about this is greatly appreciated.

Your email will be treated with confidentiality. No spams, I promise.

Cheers to your on-going development!

Daryl Chow Ph.D

For Information about Daryl Chow Ph.D., click HERE.

::: click here or above to access and subscribe to The Frontiers of Psychotherapist Development (FPD) blog :::




The Tree:

The Coalition government’s war on renewables has slowed clean energy investment, undermining jobs, raising emissions, and making the task to clean up Australia’s energy sector far harder. New data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance has highlighted the damage a government determined to fight the future can do, with the Abbott-led Coalition government overseeing a two-year stall in investments in large scale renewables. While the situation has marginally improved under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, it remains party policy to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. This means confidence in the sector is likely to remain lacking, making the job of reaching the Renewable Energy Target harder, and hurting job development in a sector that the US, for example, has seen surge to employing 77 per cent more workers than coal mining.

Despite Coalition roadblocks, the renewable transition is still hastening in Australia as it is around the world. While large scale renewable investment has taken a hit, solar PV continues to boom in Australia, with bloomberg finding it attracted the fifth largest investment in small-scale PV in 2015 globall. $2.17 billion was spent on solar last year, putting Australia ahead of Germany, and behind the UK and Japan. Considering Australia is expected to become a world leader in the deployment of battery storage, it is hard to imagine anything but further booming growth for renewables ahead.

Cheap oil and gas are not stopping renewable development. While the Australian government has worked to slow renewable development and protect coal, wind and solar have ‘done the unthinkable’ and trumped fossil fuels to boom to record levels of investment in 2015. The reality is the renewable transition is inevitable, unstoppable, and as new Bloomberg data shows – happening faster than many (particularly those in the fossil industry) could have imagined. This transition will only hasten further as the Paris Effect sinks in.



Some Republican presidential candidates are clamoring for increased U.S. military aid to “moderate” rebels battling Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship in Syria.

Fortunately, President Obama is taking a far wiser course with a renewed diplomatic effort to resolve that horrendous civil war. But he is not getting the support he needs from his potential Democratic successors.

The Alberta Clipper pipeline is already transporting huge quantities of oil, but is doing so under the radar.
Why have the power players of the Democratic Party allowed this to continue?
It’s a blow to progressive journalism, the media union movement and smart, necessary reporting.

Remembering Hillary’s Entry into Politics–For Junior High President

The story of Hillary Clinton’s first campaign and her outrage at Nixon’s 1960 defeat. Plus her famous chocolate chip cookie recipe.
They’re obscure, they’re poorly distributed–but you can track them down. It will be worth it.
For the most part, Americans don’t think or care much about the real-world consequences of unleashing American air power.

A New Documentary Explores the Anti-Apartheid Activists in South Africa You Never Learned About

A new film project explores a long-forgotten chapter inthe global struggle against apartheid.

Watching Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight Is Three Hours of Self-Punishment and I Loved It

Tarantino gives us a hangman-based civilization, with specious “law and order” talk doing nothing to obscure the essential cruelty of his characters’ actions.

Rahm Emanuel Is Trying To Pay Wall Street Banks Even More for Chicago’s Bad Financial Deals

While claiming the city is broke, Chicago’s mayor is stepping up payments to Wall Street.

Challenges and problems can derail your creative process … or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.

Economist, journalist and broadcaster
Tim Harford’s writings reveal the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. Full bio


Articles of Note

In awe of his older brother, William, Henry James declared himself inadequate — to his family, as well as to the times. It improved his writing markedly… more »

The first email was sent in 1971. Since then email has gone from obscure to beloved to barely tolerated. Yet it endures. Why?… more »

All roads of American modernism didn’t run through James Laughlin, but many of them intersected there… more »

Arts & Letters Daily is brought to you by
The Chronicle of Higher Education


Current issue: January 2016

France, assault on liberties, FN rise; EU Schengen under threat; special report, Latin America’s right turn; Tunisia five years on; US primaries socialism gets a voice; Korean reunification, a waiting game; Africa, presidents for life, Benin’s black market; US tough-on-crime sheriffs; Cross and Crescent…

::: click here or cover to access…English language :::







With over a billion users, Facebook is changing the social life of our species. Cultural commentators ponder the effects. Is it bringing us together or tearing us apart? Psychologists have responded too – Google Scholar lists more than 27,000 references with Facebook in the title. Common topics for study are links between Facebook use and personality, and whether the network alleviates or fosters loneliness. The torrent of new data is overwhelming and much of it appears contradictory. Here is the psychology of Facebook, digested:

Is Facebook making us lonely and sad?
This is the crunch question that has probably attracted the most newspaper column inches (and books). A 2012 study took an experimental approach. One group were asked to post more updates than usual for one week – this led them to feel less lonely and more connected to their friends. Similarly, a survey of over a thousand FB users found links between use of the network and greater feelings of belonging and confidence in keeping up with friends, especially for people with low self-esteem. Another study from 2010 found that shy students who use FB feel closer to their friends (on FB) and have a greater sense of social support. A similar story is told by a 2013 paper that said feelings of FB connectedness were associated with “with lower depression and anxiety and greater satisfaction with life” and that Facebook “may act as a separate social medium ….  with a range of positive psychological outcomes.” This recent report also suggested the site can help revive old relationships.

Yet there’s also evidence for the negative influence of FB. A 2013 study texted people through the day, to see how they felt before and after using FB…

::: click here for this extensive piece in full + open access @ BPS Research Digest :::


::: recent posts :::


…I have no idea how Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G character sneaked through my gate to ask Noam outrageous things like, “How many words does you know?” and “What is some of them?” I do remember that Noam came to me afterward looking dazed. “No more men in gold suits,” he said, sighing…

::: click on through for piece in full @ The Chronicle of Higher Education :::




DEC 17, 2015    SCIENCE

Can psychological research change your life? Most of the time, no—findings by psychologists don’t usually bear on everyday concerns. My colleagues at Yale, for instance, study topics such as the neuroscience of memory, how babies reason about social groups, and decision-making in psychopaths. Such studies are intended to explore how the mind works, and while their findings might ultimately make the world a better place—at least this is what we say in our grant proposals—that’s not their immediate focus…

::: click on through to the Atlantic for piece in full + open source :::

Paul Bloom is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. He is the author of a forthcoming book about empathy.

The Powers of Ten films are two short American documentary films written and directed by Charles and Ray Eames. Both works depict the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed.


Andrea Germanos, staff writer
One presidential hopeful’s assessment is that the child care system in the U.S. is disastrous. And based on the findings of a new survey, many working parents in the U.S. have reason to agree. The Pew Research Center…
Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Along with a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep government funded…
Nadia Prupis, staff writer
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) on Thursday endorsed Sen. Bernie…


The risk of Syria becoming a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia became real last week when Turkey and Syrian jihadists used U.S.-supplied weaponry to shoot down a Russian warplane and rescue helicopter, killing two Russians…

Belatedly, at a sidebar meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Paris climate summit on Monday, President Barack Obama reportedly expressed regret for last week’s killing of a Russian pilot who was shot down by a Turkish air-to-air missile fired by a U.S.-supplied F-16 and the subsequent death of a Russian marine on a search-and-rescue mission, apparently killed by a U.S.-made TOW missile.

But Obama administration officials continued to take the side of Turkey, a NATO “ally” which claims implausibly that it was simply defending its air space and that the Russian pilot of the SU-24 warplane had ignored repeated warnings. According to accounts based on Turkish data, the SU-24 may have strayed over a slice of Turkish territory for 17 seconds. [See’s “Facts Back Russia on Turkish Attack.”]

Immediately after the incident on Nov. 24, Obama offered a knee-jerk justification of Turkey’s provocative action which appears to have been a deliberate attack on a Russian warplane to deter continued bombing of Syrian jihadists, including the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist, has supported various jihadists as his tip of the spear in his goal to overthrow the secular regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad…

::: click here or above for piece in full + open source @ Common Dreams :::

ray_mcgovernRay McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. During his career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and briefed the President’s Daily Brief and chaired National Intelligence Estimates. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Marina Abramović’s art pushes the boundary between audience and artist in pursuit of heightened consciousness and personal change. In her groundbreaking 2010 work, “The Artist Is Present,” she simply sat in a chair facing her audience, for eight hours a day … with powerfully moving results. Her boldest work may still be yet to come — it’s taking the form of a sprawling art institute devoted to experimentation and simple acts done with mindful attention. “Nothing happens if you always do things the same way,” she says. “My method is to do things I’m afraid of, the things I don’t know, to go to territory that nobody’s ever been.

Interactive transcriptInteractive transcript

Performance artist…
In her performances she’s been cut, burned, and nearly shot — but Marina Abramović’s boldest work yet is a gargantuan institute dedicated to transformation through art.

Indigenous Peoples' Pavillion

The Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion at the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris is located within the civil society ‘Climate Generations Space’, directly adjacent to the COP 21 “Blue Zone” negotiation space.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion is organized and programmed by the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) with support from the Governments of Norway and France, in addition to UNDP.

Indigenous Peoples around the wOrld…

There are over 370 million indigenous people around the world. They have their own distinct languages, cultures, and social and political institutions apart from mainstream society. Though divided amongst all continents, at least 5000 different peoples, and approximately 4000 languages, they are coming together with a common voice to address historic inequities which have resulted in these groups being some of the most marginalized and victimized communities.

Indigenous Peoples, the Environment and Climate Change…

Given their widespread reliance on natural resources and ecosystems, indigenous peoples and local communities are especially vulnerable to, and disproportionately impacted by, climate change. They are being forcibly removed from their lands by deforestation, sea-level rise, major infrastructure projects, and conflict arising from resource scarcity. All the while, they play a critical role in climate change mitigation and adaptation through their historic and effective role as stewards of much of the world’s remaining forests….

source: IIPFCC ::: click logo, or here, to access :::

human cost warming

As climate talks in Paris approach, stakes are high for frontline communities with the most to lose. Yesterday, UNICEF reported that children will suffer the harshest impacts from rising temperatures. Their findings revealed that “over half a billion children live in extremely high flood occurrence zones; nearly 160 million live in high or extremely high drought severity zones.”

The billions of children in these vulnerable areas are also living below the poverty line. Along with death and devastation brought on by climate change impacts, rising temperatures can also contribute to malnutrition, malaria and diarrhea — all of which are deadly to children. With the WMO revealing that this year is the hottest on record, NGOs are turning up the pressure on negotiators to deliver an even stronger deal to “avert these costs for the world’s poorest people.”


Tools and Resources


::: click above to access @ Al Jazeera :::





It is not a radical political vision. It’s an unflinching commitment to democracy.
The response to the Paris attacks should be to bring back class struggle by insisting on global solidarity of the exploited.
A stint in the slammer convinced the conservative author that liberals are crooks.
Our response to such unspeakable tragedies can’t be to create even more tragedies in other countries.
It’s unconscionable that refugees fleeing the horrors of war and poverty are being met with calls for their removal by the counties they are seeking safety in.
Some of Zizek’s ideas about Syrian refugees skirt dangerously closely to the Right’s.
Salaita’s settlement is a victory for him and academic freedom. But will we ever know who was watching him?
A new film traces the history of America’s most famous housing projects.
A fundamental aspect of ISIS’ strategy lies in the necessity of a heavy-handed, reactionary response from the West to further their own narrative, ideology and recruiting.
Zionism began as class-oriented project within the Jewish community. Opposing it requires a class analysis of who benefits from Zionism within that community.
Activists said the reading materials were untested, insensitive and clueless.
The greatest threat to Israel’s security today is neither ISIS nor Iran, but its own occupation of Palestine.
In order to create a more egalitarian society, we must take back the reins of our government from the billionaire class.


Security Guards from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport Join One-Day Nationwide Airport Worker Strike

Security guards at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago walk off the job as part of a wave of labor actions at 11 major American airports this week.


Industrialized countries are the biggest contributors to global warming, but it is farmers and rural communities that are among the first to suffer from climate change.


There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Carl Sagan



We must show Islamophobes that there is no clash of civilizations; just a clash of moral values between decent human beings and mass-murdering lunatics.


It can be hard not to fall for simplistic narratives fed to us by mainstream media during such times. After all, it seems more convenient to believe that the Paris attacks demonstrate that there is a war between the West and Islam as it provides a relatively straightforward answer to a largely complex problem. However, such rhetoric, whether we realise or not, only strengthens the narrative of IS.

“Attacks like the ones tonight in Paris are committed to purposely trigger an Islamophobic backlash,” writes Nader Atassi, an anti-IS blogger. “That backlash is not an unintended consequence of such attacks; it is part of their logic. Isis wants an Islamophobic backlash because it lends credence to their narrative that there is a war between the West and Islam. By strengthening and emboldening the xenophobic right-wing in Europe, they strengthen their own worldview as well. And the most tragic irony is that the backlash may target refugees who themselves had been fleeing Isis’ reign of terror.”

::: just click New Statesman logo above for this and other pieces, free + in full :::

excerpt of piece by Laila Lalami @ The Nation…

What happened in Paris on November 13 has happened before, in a   shopping district of Beirut on November 12, in the skies over Egypt on October 31, at a cultural center in Turkey on July 20, a beach resort in Tunisia on June 26—and nearly every day in Syria for the last four   years.

The scenario is by now familiar to all of us. News of the killings will appear on television and radio. There will be cries of horror and sorrow, a few hashtags on Twitter, perhaps even a change of avatars on Facebook. Our leaders will make staunch promises to bring the terrorists to justice, while also claiming greater power of surveillance over their citizens. And then life will resume exactly as before.

Except for the victims’ families. For them, time will split into a Before and After. We owe these families, of every race, creed, and nationality, more than sorrow, more than anger. We owe them justice.

We must call to account ISIS, a nihilistic cult of death that sees the world in black and white, with no shades of gray in between.We must call to account Bashar al-Assad, whose response to peaceful protesters in the spring of 2011 was to send water cannons and military tanks to meet them.

We must call to account the governments of the United States, France, Britain, Russia, Iran, and many others, who lent support and succor to tyrant after tyrant in the Middle East and North Africa, and whose interventions appear to create 10 terrorists for every one they kill.

We must call to account George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, whose disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent disbanding of the Iraqi army destabilized the entire region.

Wahhabi ideas have spread throughout the region not because they have any merit—but because they are well funded. We must call to account the Saudi kings—Salman, Abdullah, and Fahd—whose funding of Wahhabi doctrine gave rise to the scourge of Islamic extremism…’

::: click on through here for piece in full + free @ The Nation :::

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