Community Articles from 2018
Overcoming the Myth of Authority
by Gary Z McGee
Posted May 22, 2018
The problem with belief in authority is that it leads to the idea that we need to give a group of people permission to control us. And, as Lord Byron taught us, power given to an authority tends to become corrupt.
The problem with power is not the intent behind it. The problem with power is that it tends to corrupt the one wielding it regardless of their intent. So, since we all know that power tends to corrupt whether one has good or bad intentions, and since we know that we will all seek power anyway, it behooves us to be mercilessly circumspect both with our own power and against the power of others.
It stands to reason that we should not ignorantly give power to an authority by blindly believing it. We should instead challenge authority first, and trust it second, if at all. The best way to use our power is to use it against authority by ruthlessly questioning it. It’s a social leveling mechanism par excellence. As a wise, young sixth grader once said, “Question authority, including the authority that told you to question authority.” More…
Appalachian Forest Blockades Disrupt Mountain Valley Pipeline
by Chris Schiano and Sammy DiDonato
Posted May 20, 2018
On the border between Virginia and West Virginia, a fight has begun regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a joint venture of several companies led by EQT Midstream Partners. While the pipeline is advertised as on track to be completed in 2018, it faces several dramatic delays; as of this writing, at least eight different tree-sits or other blockades currently obstruct the pipeline’s route on both public and private land.
Landowners along the route have repeatedly told off surveyors and land agents appearing on their property without their consent, only to have them show up again. A Virginia law allows natural gas companies unrestricted access to private property, granting pipeline contractors virtual immunity to steamroll over objections from residents along the route. MVP has forced over 300 landowners into court proceedings so that it can seize portions of their land under eminent domain.
County officials along the route have also expressed dismay at MVP’s tactic of using federal condemnation orders to gain rights to access property, and then beginning work without seeking permission from affected residents, or even notifying them. More…
It’s Now or Never – The Fight for Freedom
By Tim Bryant
Posted May 16, 2018
There is a massive global awakening happening before our very eyes. This isn’t a centralized movement or centralized event, but instead is a global consciousness shift of individuals in all parts of the world. Thanks in large part to the creation of the Internet, the lid has popped off and previously unknown information is flooding out everywhere. A whole new alternative network of information and news has emerged to facilitate its growth. The age of information is real.
People are beginning to put the pieces together and realize that most of the education taught in schools, most of the media consumed on the television, and most of the food consumed into our bodies, is one big distortion of reality. History is far from what we have been lead to believe. The powers that be are preventing the flow of information somewhat, but at this point the cat may be out of the bag. More…
by Electronic Frontier Foundation
Posted May 15, 2018
If you’ve ever worried about protecting the privacy of your digital data or your conversations with others, we’re here to help.
Surveillance Self-Defense is a digital security guide that teaches you how to assess your personal risk from online spying. It can help protect you from surveillance by those who might want to find out your secrets, from petty criminals to nation states. We offer guides to the best privacy-enhancing tools and explain how to incorporate protecting yourself against surveillance into your daily routine.
If you’re ready to take the first steps, our series of basic guides (below) will help you to understand what digital surveillance is and how you can fight it. We suggest starting with the Assessing your risks guide. More…
The Dangers of Big City Subsidies
by Susan Crawford
Posted May 14, 2018
America, alone among developed nations, never thought of basic telecommunications services as a public service, to be built and controlled by the government. Instead, we have traditionally relied on private companies to serve all Americans at a reasonable cost. In the past, in order to keep the price of local telephone services low and to ensure that everyone in rural areas had communications service, the federal government imposed fees on long-distance telephone service, to subsidize service for low-income and rural customers. Now, following an astounding wave of consolidation and deregulation, we have the worst of both worlds: mostly unregulated private monopolists, selling expensive, mostly second-class data services to the rich and looking to the state to pay them to provide internet access services to everyone else.
Chairman Pai seems to have one theme when it comes to subsidies: Treat giant companies well, and hope that they’ll do Americans a favor by selling them some form of service. From the perspective of the shareholders of AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Comcast, and Spectrum—the Big Five telecommunications companies that dominate internet access in America—this makes perfect sense. Costly infrastructure investment that drives up the companies’ debt levels is irrational. More…
The next huge GMO crime is here: It’s “genome-editing” of food crops.
by Jon Rappoport
Posted May 13, 2018
We’re on the cusp of a new level of GMO crime-business, and the man in charge of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sonny Perdue, is cheerleading from the sidelines.
Perdue says the newest gene-edited plants won’t be any different from those developed by traditional non-GMO breeding methods.
Which is like saying a missile fired from a tank is identical to an arrow shot from a bow.
Here is the brand new policy from the USDA:
“Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques… This includes a set of new [gene-editing] techniques that are increasingly being used by plant breeders to produce new plant varieties that are indistinguishable from those developed through traditional breeding methods.”
Yes, indistinguishable, if you’re wearing a blindfold and wandering around in a pitch-black lab. More…
The road to Alzheimer’s disease is lined with processed foods
by Dr. Lisa Mosconi
Posted May 12, 2018
Collectively,the ways we address a disease has always been shaped by what we understand it to be. So it’s important to realize that Alzheimer’s doesn’t simply “turn on” when we’re old; it begins decades earlier with changes to the brain. In other words, the Alzheimer’s population of 2050 will either start to develop, or not, right around now. As a nation, if a meteor was going to hit 15 million people in 32 years, we’d set aside our resources and brainpower to stop it. We must therefore bring the national attention not only to the treatments and vaccines that may someday arrive (or not) but to the urgent interest in upgrading the American diet.
We have acted on behalf of collective nutrition-related outcomes before, by demanding mandatory labeling for trans-fat in 2003. We must take similar action at scale, and immediately. At the same time, each and every one of us would do well to act in our own interests (which are, after all, aligned) and take steps to modify our diet for a youthful, healthy, resilient brain. More…
The Science of a Vanishing Planet
by Raúl Ilargi Meijer
Posted May 8, 2018
In one of many definitions, the 1998 Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle says: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”
Needless to say, that doesn’t easily fly in our age of science and money. Cigarette makers, car manufacturers and oil companies, just to name a few among a huge number of industries, are all literally making a killing while the Precautionary Principle is being ignored. Even as it is being cited in many international treaties. Lip service “R” us. Are these industries to blame when they sell us our products, or are we for buying them? That’s where governments must come in to educate us about risks. Which they obviously do not.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb -of Black Swan and Antifragile fame- has made the case, in his usual strong fashion, for applying the Precautionary Principle when it comes to GMOs. His argument is that allowing genetically modified organisms in our eco- and foodsystems carries unknown risks that we have no way of overseeing, and that these risks may cause irreversible damage to the very systems mankind relies on for survival. More…
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