Community Articles from 2018

Kidnappers: The Tyranny of Child Protective Services Across the Nation

[Justice]
Kidnappers: The Tyranny of Child Protective Services Across the Nation
By Joe Jarvis
Posted August 18, 2018

separating children from parentsSovereignman reports about a particularly tyrannical family court Judge, Lyris Younge of Pennsylvania.

First, she removed a baby from her parents in an attempt to force a confession. There was no evidence of abuse. But when neither parent would “cop to it,” as Judge Younge phrased it, she removed the baby from their custody. She refused to place the baby with a willing and fit grandmother, and eventually terminated parental rights altogether.

This went on for two years until last month, a higher court reversed all her decisions. The court issued a scathing rebuke of Judge Younge noting that she violated due process, failed to remain impartial, and had intentionally caused alienation of the family members in an attempt to force a confession.

Still, the Judge escaped punishment for her crimes. The appeals court simply suggested she recuse herself from the case. More…

Money and the Unflappable Economist

[Social]
Money and the Unflappable Economist
By Philip E. Mirowski
Posted August 16, 2018

Koch brothers corrupting educational intgegrityAt the beginning of May 2018, there was a brief furor over donations from Koch family-affiliated philanthropies to fund the Mercatus Institute and the newly-named Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University (GMU).

Although articles concerning the admirable efforts of the GMU student organization UnKoch My Campus appeared in many of the prominent news outlets, the attention span of journalists seemed to barely outpace that of interest in one of Donald Trump’s tweets, with even less consequence. But more to the point, the silence of the economics profession concerning the revelations was pretty deafening.

Briefly, I would like to revisit why this was so and why it matters. More…

How To Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds

[Community]
How To Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds
By Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz
Posted August 14, 2018

of no interest to capitalistsHeirlooms are irresistible, not just because they’re delicious, but because growing them defies capitalism.

Most tomatoes in a supermarket are hybrids, bred for uniform shape, mechanized harvest, and long journeys. A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that between 1903 and 1983, the variety of produce being grown had shrunk by 93 percent—408 varieties of tomatoes down to 79—and many of those heirlooms have been lost entirely. Like sunshine, heirloom seeds are of little interest to capitalism if they can’t be patented or owned.

Hybrid varieties have had the benefit of genetic tinkering that allows for some cool traits. But these seeds must be purchased new each year from the companies that create them. Heirloom varieties have long, stable genetic histories, and these seeds usually have been passed down for generations within communities. Hybrid varieties have had the benefit of genetic tinkering that allows for some cool traits. But these seeds must be purchased new each year from the companies that create them. Heirloom varieties have long, stable genetic histories, and these seeds usually have been passed down for generations within communities. More…

A Mexican Town Overthrew Their Local Government And Things Are Going Great

[Social]
A Mexican Town Overthrew Their Local Government And Things Are Going Great
by Mac Slavo
Posted August 13, 2018

town kicks out anyone claiming the right to rule themThe town of Cherán was once plagued by people claiming the right to rule over them and now they live peaceful lives free of violence. After the town of 20,000 people in Mexico decided to take matters into their own hands by kicking out politicians, cops, and criminals, the now completely voluntary society is running great and the people finally have freedom and peace.

It sure sounds scary to those unable to imagine a life of true freedom, but the town has been liberated since 2011 and no politician is allowed to come in and begin to control the people. According to Vice, armed men and women — not police, but members of an autonomous militia — guard every entrance to the town, looking for strangers with contraband. “Contraband” would be considered political propaganda posters of those who claim the right to rule other human beings. Since the town has been free since 2011, there’s no use for politicians or those who want power over others. More…

Our New, Happy Life? The Ideology of Development

[Spiritual]
Our New, Happy Life? The Ideology of Development
By Charles Eisenstein
Posted August 7, 2018

illusion of happinessIn George Orwell’s 1984, there is a moment when the Party announces an “increase” in the chocolate ration – from thirty grams to twenty. No one except for the protagonist, Winston, seems to notice that the ration has gone down not up.

‘Comrades!’ cried an eager youthful voice. ‘Attention, comrades! We have glorious news for you. We have won the battle for production! Returns now completed of the output of all classes of consumption goods show that the standard of living has risen by no less than 20 percent over the past year. All over Oceania this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous demonstrations when workers marched out of factories and offices and paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitude to Big Brother for the new, happy life which his wise leadership has bestowed upon us.

The newscaster goes on to announce one statistic after another proving that everything is getting better. The phrase in vogue is “our new, happy life.” Of course, as with the chocolate ration, it is obvious that the statistics are phony. More…

Calling all researchers: Bounty offered for Money-In-Politics anomaly discoveries.

[Politics]
Calling all researchers: Bounty offered for Money-In-Politics anomaly discoveries.
by Brendan Quinn
Posted August 3, 2018

help expose corruptionWe track a lot of data here at OpenSecrets. We look at campaign finance, lobbying spending, personal finances and a whole lot more. Sometimes, that data reveals something unusual – an anomaly, if you will. That is why we have a handy tool called the Anomaly Tracker to highlight these unusual findings.

But we can only discover so much on our own. That is where you come in. We are offering a bounty for money-in-politics anomalies found in federal data by anyone who is interested in looking. As a reward, savvy hunters can receive OpenSecrets swag and/or can have their relevant work featured in our weekly money-in-politics newsletter. More…

Nomi Prins: The central banking heist has put the world at risk

[Economic]
Nomi Prins: The central banking heist has put the world at risk
by Liam Halligan
Posted July 28, 2018

Nomi Prins, exposing financial fraud“The 2008 financial crisis was the consequence of a loosely regulated banking system in which power was concentrated in the hands of too limited a cast of speculators,” Nomi Prins tell me. “And after the crisis, the way the US government and the Federal Reserve dealt with this corrupt and criminal banking system was to give them a subsidy.”

Such strong, withering analysis is, perhaps, unexpected from someone who has held senior roles at Wall Street finance houses such as Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs. But Prins is no ordinary former banker.

Prins has chronicled the closed and often confusing world of high finance through the 2008 crisis and beyond. More…

The U.S. and Canada Are Preparing for a New Standing Rock Over the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline

[Political]
The U.S. and Canada Are Preparing for a New Standing Rock Over the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline
by Alleen Brown and Will Parrish
Posted July 26, 2018

fighting tar sands pipelineResistance to the pipeline is already escalating: On July 3, seven pipeline opponents rappelled from Vancouver’s Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in a daylong blockade of tanker traffic associated with the existing Trans Mountain line. Last week, the Tiny House Warriors wheeled the homes into a provincial park that sits on the site of a historic village near Clearwater, British Columbia, in an assertion of their title to the land.

Calling themselves the Tiny House Warriors, a group of Indigenous Secwepemc people from Canada are building tiny houses in the path of the massive Kinder Morgan tar sands oil pipeline’s planned route through their territory. The house is a symbol of the home they are fighting to protect, creating hope and community in the face of destruction.

That’s exactly what law enforcement agencies on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border fear. For more than a year, U.S. and Canadian authorities have been girding for a mobilization comparable to the 2016 resistance in North Dakota, according to law enforcement communications and government reports obtained by The Intercept. In Canada, Trudeau received a Cabinet memo discussing the implications of Standing Rock for Trans Mountain one week after his administration approved the pipeline expansion. More…

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