Community Articles from 2017
California treasurer wants the state to study a public bank option for pot businesses
By James Rufus Koren
Posted November 28, 2017
Last year, in the wake of the passage of Proposition 64, which legalizes marijuana for recreational use, California Treasurer John Chiang, created a working group of public officials, bankers and cannabis companies with the aim of addressing a vexing problem for the pot industry: Even in states where cannabis is legal, companies that grow or sell the plant are often unable to open bank accounts.
Despite guidelines that suggest banks can accept money from cannabis businesses, marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law and banks answer to federal regulators, making the vast majority of financial institutions unwilling to work with marijuana companies.
Over the last year, Chiang’s group held public meetings around the state, hearing from cannabis companies about how the de facto banking ban affects them, from banks about their concerns and from public officials about the side effects of a bankless industry — notably having to accept tax payments made with duffel bags full of cash. More…
The Bottom-up Solution to Solving Police Corruption
by Gary Z McGee
Posted November 26, 2017
These hard times require the rise of strong men. But now the tables have been turned. The police have now become the weak men creating hard times. The new league of strong men will be those with the courage to police the police themselves.
In a lot of ways policing has always been corrupt. But, in other ways, historically, police had a stronger code of ethics. Now, for the most part, cops blindly uphold outdated laws. It is no longer a matter of protecting and serving, but a matter of blind allegiance to law and order and obediently following the chain of command out of fear of the thin blue line. This weak, offense-minded policing has created hard times through aggressive overreach and oppressive extortion.
There must be a way to get the cart back in front of the horse of moral policing. There is. But it will take a complete overhaul of the policing system as we know it. More…
How Regenerative Food and Farming Can Reverse Rural Poverty and Forced Migration in the Americas
by Ronnie Cummins
Posted November 25, 2017
One of the most politically charged debates today, especially in the U.S. and Europe, is the so-called “immigration crisis.” There are approximately 250 million (3 percent of the world’s 7.6 billion people) migrants in the world today. About 20 percent, or 47 million of those, live in the U.S. Another 35 million live in Europe.
At the recent regional Summit on Migrants and Returnees in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala, October 20-21, a new and promising solution to the global “immigration crisis” emerged: the creation of local, grassroots-powered economic development projects based on regenerative food, farming and land-use practices. More…
The Thin Blue Line Versus the Robust Red Line
by Gary Z McGee
Posted November 17, 2017
You take the blue pill –the story ends, you wake up believing what you’ve been conditioned to believe. You take the red pill –you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how to question what you think you believe using knowledge, freedom, passion, and the painful truth of reality.
First, ask yourself: would you rather choke on the red pill of Truth, or easily swallow the blue pill of Deception? Sure, ignorance is bliss and knowledge is pain, but wouldn’t you rather the pain that comes from knowledge than the bliss that comes from ignorance? Wouldn’t you rather be slapped with the truth than kissed with lies?
Similarly, wouldn’t you rather the dangerous freedom of the liberating Red Line than the comfort, security, and safety of the tyrannical Blue Line? I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery. Which would you prefer? More…
How our banking system destroys the free market
By Chris Kanthan
Posted November 6, 2017
It will be shocking to many Americans that our free market system is deeply and fundamentally flawed. Many people understand that we have crony capitalism that creates loopholes to benefit those at the top. The financial crisis of 2008 and the following bailouts also exposed the rotten financial system and the rigged Wall Street. But there’s something else that’s even more significant and innate in the corruption of our economy: the Federal Reserve Bank. This is an arcane issue that puts most people to sleep, so let’s make it easy and fun by story-telling. It’s about a small town called Murika.
One fateful day, Murika changed forever! That’s when a woman named Janet came to Murika and told the people she had an amazing solution to bring unimaginable prosperity. She talked in really complex jargons that nobody understood, which only convinced them that she was really smart. They agreed to turn over their banks and money to Janet.
Janet’s miracle was a money-printing machine! She told Murikans that nobody will stop them from their dreams. You want to buy a house or a car? Janet will give you the money you want! Want to start a restaurant or even a factory? Come to Janet. Forget the old, cranky bankers. This is the new and improved Murika! More…
How Big Pharma Fuels the Opioid Epidemic
By Lynn Parramore
Posted November 5, 2017
Over a 40-year career, Philadelphia attorney Daniel Berger has obtained millions in settlements for investors and consumers hurt by a rogues’ gallery of corporate wrongdoers, from Exxon to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. But when it comes to what America’s prescription drug makers have done to drive one of the ghastliest addiction crises in the country’s history, he confesses amazement.
The U.S. prescription drug industry has opened a new frontier in public havoc, manipulating markets and deceptively marketing opioid drugs that are known to addict and even kill. It’s a national emergency that claims 90 lives per day. Berger lays much of the blame at the feet of companies that have played every dirty trick imaginable to convince doctors to over-prescribe medication that can transform fresh-faced teens and mild-mannered adults into zombified junkies. More…
By Jason Mark
Posted November 3, 2017
Cathy Miorelli doesn’t think of herself as an environmentalist. When Miorelli decided to run for the city council of Tamaqua Borough – a small town in central Pennsylvania where she has lived her entire life – she didn’t have any sort of eco-agenda. It was 2004, and the hottest controversy in Tamaqua involved a proposal by an outside company to dump sewage sludge and coal fly ash into abandoned mining pits on the edge of town. But the main issue on Miorelli’s mind was creating more transparent governance on the council, which she says had long been dominated by an old boys’ network.
She did change the world, though. Halfway through her one-term stint on the council, Miorelli spearheaded the passage of an anti-sewage sludge ordinance that included a provision recognizing the rights of “natural communities” to flourish – the first law of its kind in the world. The Tamaqua Borough ordinance inspired dozens of other communities in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania – including the city of Pittsburgh – to adopt similar rights of nature laws. Those ordinances then helped influence the people of Ecuador to put legal rights for ecosystems in that country’s new constitution. The idea that nature, just like people, possesses inalienable rights has percolated up to the United Nations, which has considered a proposal to adopt a “Charter on the Rights of Mother Nature.” More…
KRACK Wi-Fi bug: Here’s how to protect yourself
by Taylor Martin
Posted October 20, 2017
If you thought your protected Wi-Fi was safe, think again. Nearly all devices are affected by the new KRACK exploit. Solid advice for setting up a new wireless router or Wi-Fi network in your home is to password-protect it. Set a secure password using Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) and only share it with those you trust.
Since the WPA2 standard became available in 2004, this was the recommended setup for wireless area networks everywhere — and it was thought to be relatively secure. That said, like the deadbolt on your house, password protection is really only a strong deterrent. Like most things, as secure as WPA2 was believed to be, it was only ever as strong as your password or any vulnerabilities discovered in its security.
Over the weekend, a vulnerability was indeed discovered and turned the Internet on its head. More…
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