Community Articles from 2018
Reimagine, Don’t Seize, the Means of Production
By Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel
Posted February 6, 2018
One of the most difficult systems to reimagine is global manufacturing. If we are producing offshore and at scale, ravaging the planet for short-term profits, what are the available alternatives? A movement combining digital and physical production points toward a new possibility: Produce within our communities, democratically and with respect for nature and its carrying capacity.
You may not know it by its admittedly awkward name, but a process known as commons-based peer production (CBPP) supports much of our online life. CBPP describes internet-enabled, peer-to-peer infrastructures that allow people to communicate, self-organize and produce together. The value of what is produced is not extracted for private profit, but fed back into a knowledge, design and software commons — resources which are managed by a community, according to the terms set by that community. Wikipedia, WordPress, the Firefox browser and the Apache HTTP web server are some of the best-known examples. More…
The Search for Meaning in Modern Life
by Kingsley L. Dennis
Posted February 3, 2018
We are manipulated by our mainstream medias at unprecedented levels, and constantly fed with a controlled flow of information. This process is the old mind of humanity, still operating through control, censorship, and consumerism. In this way our contemporary societies are increasingly centered around emotion to a degree that allows people to be entertained as well as manipulated like never before.
What we may be less aware of is that the human being is driven by an evolutionary energy that manifests through mental, emotional, and physical/sexual processes. This energy can be used to develop and drive us forward, or it can be hampered, blocked, and manipulated into slowing down our development. Mental, emotional, and physical/sexual energies are all necessary components of the social human being. If we take just a casual look at our mainstream media, entertainment, and social attractions/distractions we will readily see that these are the very areas which are targeted by the ‘culture of spectacle’ that is modern society. More…
Can We Shut Down the Two-Party System?
by Jon Lott
Posted February 3, 2018
The recent government shutdown is only the latest manifestation of the partisan logjam gripping America, and sure not to be the last. All the political rhetoric over the past few years — ever since the rise of the Tea Party and the subsequent focus on emotions over results — has been driving us to this point, and it was obvious.
Sadly, it may have also been unavoidable.
The Republicans blame the Democrats for the government shutdown, and the Democrats blame the Republicans. After all, it’s become instinctual to shirk personal responsibility and project blame on someone else, to look anywhere but inward.
As usual, the Republicans and the Democrats are half-right. The Republicans and the Democrats bear some responsibility for the shutdown. More…
The Growing Movement To Create City-Run Public Banks
By Adele Peters
Posted January 24, 2018
As activists pressure governments to remove their deposits from banks that back bad policies, cities are considering a new option: become their own financial institution that serves the needs of the citizens, not investors.
When the movement to push the city of Los Angeles from keeping its money at Wells Fargo grew in 2017–as in other cities that decided to pull money from the bank because of its fake accounts scandal and funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline–organizers of the campaign realized that they faced a challenge: Where to put the money next.
The largest city accounts are too big for small community banks to handle, so divestment from one major bank typically means moving money to another major bank that likely has social responsibility issues of its own. In addition, even ethical smaller banks aren’t directly accountable to the public. L.A., along with other U.S. cities, is now considering another option: a public, city-owned bank that would keep money inside the community, and follow a socially and environmentally responsible charter. More…
Busting Open the Chemtrail Denial Subterfuge
By Julian Rose
Posted January 23, 2018
As we swing into the New Year, many are going to be feeling more than a little impatient that the perpetrators of the toxic air-born emissions which create engineered clouds over vast areas of our skies, still remain largely anonymous.
Anonymous by name, but no doubt to be found within the ranks of military industrial proponents and psychopathic secret society hegemons: those who hide behind the 1991 Hughes Aircraft atmospheric aerosol patent. The patent that formalized an engineering technique which alters the climate and sickens the planetary population with its debilitating fall-out.
There is a red line test that almost instantly reveals people’s awareness about these, and related, military activities. Just put the question “What do you think about 9/11? And how do you feel about chemtrails?” You might be surprised to find that those who you consider reasonably intelligent and quite thoughtful individuals, appear to be neither when asked to think about these two actualities. More…
Scientists Use Primitive Wheat Varieties to Feed the Hungry in Senegal
by Dr. Fillip Bassi
Posted January 22, 2018
For the past four years, I have led an international research team that has made it possible to grow durum wheat in conditions of extreme heat along the Senegal River basin, a region highly affected by poverty. Our scientific breakthrough, essential in the fight against hunger in the region, has won the 2017 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security. To find this food solution, we didn’t use GM-breeding. Instead, we relied on advanced breeding techniques applied to strains of primitive and modern wheat to develop a set of durum wheat varieties that can not only withstand constant 35 to 40 degree Celsius (95 to 104 degree Fahrenheit) heat, but also grow remarkably fast, in only 92 days.
This discovery was only possible because, as scientists, we believed in the importance of the past and knew the treasures hidden in these ancient strains. We are certain that more solutions to adapt to the changing climates exist in this ancient gene pool, but these can only be reached if investments continue to flow to support the tedious and never-ending battle of breeding. More…
Despite Years of Recommendations, Government Still Rewards Bad Policies for Body Cameras
By Jake Laperruque
Posted January 21, 2018
In the last several years, we have seen a boom in the use of police body cameras. Departments across the country have adopted the cameras, and most of the nation’s largest cities have either begun pilot programs or full rollouts of body cameras for officers.
This has largely driven by calls for police reform and enhanced accountability, but it’s also been driven by financial assistance and other incentives provided by the federal government and body camera vendors. Unfortunately, as the use of these cameras has proliferated, serious problems have emerged from their use in a number of jurisdictions. Despite these problems, the federal government continues to reward departments and cities that operate bad body camera polices with additional grant funding.
If body cameras are to live up to their potential as an oversight mechanism meant to check abuse, rules need to be in place providing public access to body camera footage in a way that ensures accountability. More…
Finding a Fix
by Julia Lurie
Posted January 18, 2018
Both the Obama and Trump administrations have repeatedly acknowledged the need for treatment for drug users. “We’re going to take all of these kids—and people, not just kids—that are totally addicted and they can’t break it,” Donald Trump promised at a Columbus, Ohio, town hall meeting just before the election. “We’re going to work with them, we’re going to spend the money, we’re gonna get that habit broken.” He also promised to declare a national emergency, which would free up federal money to support afflicted communities. Nothing of the sort has happened.
Instead, in October Trump declared a public health state of emergency, which opened up a fund containing a grand total of $57,000—or about $1 per fatal overdose victim. As of this writing, neither the Department of Health and Human Services nor the Office of National Drug Control Policy have permanent leaders. Repealing Obamacare or enacting the proposed GOP tax bill would cause millions of Americans with substance abuse and mental health disorders to lose coverage. Meanwhile, the White House Council of Economic Advisers recently estimated that the epidemic cost the nation $504 billion in 2015. More…
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