Community Articles from 2018

The Public Banking Revolution

[Community]
The Public Banking Revolution
by Ben Hauck
Posted November 3, 2018

Who should get the benefits of local resources?Public banking is not a new concept. Countries across the world have used public banking to finance and power their economies for years. Economic powerhouses like Germany continue to feature public banking as a cornerstone of their society. Public banking even exists here in the United States with the nearly 100 year-old Bank of North Dakota, a bank more profitable than Goldman Sachs and with a better credit rating than JPMorgan Chase.

Historically, the public banking movement has expanded significantly during times of financial crisis, including a massive surge in popularity after the economic destruction from the Great Recession. However the idea of public banking is still relatively unknown by the general populace, especially outside of financial and political circles. That is changing. More…

New FCC Ruling Gives Federal Government Control of 5G Rollout

[Media]
New FCC Ruling Gives Federal Government Control of 5G Rollout
by Derrick Broze
Posted October 29, 2018

federal government overrides local governmentsAs the push towards 5G-powered “Smart” surveillance cities begins across the United States the Federal Communications Commission has approved a new rule limiting the power of local authorities.

The coming Smart Grid also threatens to wipe away the last vestiges of privacy – all in the name of convenience, novelty, and (allegedly) safety. However, the dangers are largely being ignored in favor of touting the perceived benefits. The ACLU described the surveillance dangers of 5G technology:

“Many of these technologies involve cameras that can be tasked with jobs that range from keeping track of traffic to monitoring when the corner trash can gets full. The problems start when they’re also used for tracking people and their movements. In a city blanketed with cameras — including in LED light bulbs found in streetlights — it would be very easy for the government to track which political meetings, religious institutions, doctors offices, and other sensitive locations people go to and to focus its attention even more on traditionally over-policed communities. This is why these “Smart Cities” are also referred to as “Surveillance Cities.” More…

City Kicked Out Their Cops and Politicians 7 Years Ago and Now They Have the Lowest Crime Rates in Mexico

[Community]
City Kicked Out Their Cops and Politicians 7 Years Ago and Now They Have the Lowest Crime Rates in Mexico
by Derrick Broze
Posted October 15, 2018

corrupt police and politicians kicked outA town in Mexico recently celebrated seven years since kicking out the corrupt narco government and reverting back to an indigenous form of self-governance.

In the town of Cherán, in Michoacán, Mexico, a system of traditional indigenous law-enforcement and accountability continues to guide the people. In early 2011, residents of Cherán created armed militias to fight off illegal logging and drug cartels in their community. The community kicked out politicians and police accused of ties to the drug cartels and began a new system of governance based on Purhépecha traditions.

Seven years later and Cherán has one of the lowest levels of violence in all of Mexico. Quite an accomplishment while living in the violent state of Michoacán. Cherán’s main achievement has been peace. It has the lowest homicide rate in all of Michoacán – and maybe all of Mexico outside of Yucatán. More…

Why Public Banks Are Suddenly Popular

[Community]
Why Public Banks Are Suddenly Popular
By Sarah Jones
Posted October 11, 2018

alternatives to too big to failLater this year, on the midterm ballot, voters in Los Angeles, California, will be asked an uncommon question: Should the city be to allowed to create a public bank?

L.A.’s referendum, which would not itself create a public bank, has attracted the support of left-wing figures like New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and filmmaker Michael Moore, in addition to advocates for legalized cannabis. And the idea is gaining traction to other blue cities and states. New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, campaigned on the creation of a public bank. City officials in Washington, D.C., held a public meeting last month to discuss the possibility. The movement has also spread to New York City and Oakland.

The appeal of public banks extends beyond consumer protection to sound fiscal policy. The argument, as articulated by Demos in a 2011 report, says banks can offer lower debt costs to city and state governments, fund public infrastructure projects, and encourage entrepreneurship by providing loans to small businesses at lower interest rates and with lower fees. More…

Idemia: The Corporation Building Spy Grid in China, National ID in India Also Creates Drivers Licenses in the U.S.

[Community]
Idemia: The Corporation Building Spy Grid in China, National ID in India Also Creates Drivers Licenses in the U.S.
By Daniel Taylor
Posted September 29, 2018

corporations building surveillance infrastructureCompany that helps manufacture U.S. citizens drivers licenses brags of “building and managing databases of entire populations” across the globe.

Big Tech has gathered unprecedented amounts of personal data from millions of people. At the same time, a system of total surveillance has been constructed: Facial recognition, biometric scanning, cell phone surveillance and more have amassed a huge amount of information.

We see the stories about the growing surveillance state, but we don’t hear about the gigantic multinational corporation that is helping to build the physical infrastructure supporting it. More…

Bad Chicago Cops Spread Their Misconduct Like a Disease

[Justice]
Bad Chicago Cops Spread Their Misconduct Like a Disease
by Rob Arthur
Posted September 25, 2018

Chicago policeBecause Chicago’s police complaints can list multiple officers at once, it’s possible to build a giant social network of police interactions.

From 1972 to 1991, a Chicago detective named Jon Burge led a group of police officers in torturing confessions out of suspects. They called themselves the “Midnight Crew,” and their behavior eventually resulted in the jailing of Burge and the creation of a reparations council to pay the victims. More recently, the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force was found to have planted evidence, assaulted innocent citizens, and committed overtime fraud.

Many of the most egregious examples of police misconduct arise from tightly knit groups of officers like these. That’s no accident. Recently released data from the Chicago police department shows that misconduct spreads from officer to officer like an infectious disease. And the same behavior that leads cops to violate the rules often predicts whether they will participate in a shooting. More…

A New Broadband Network Is Pitching Surveillance Enhancements to Cops Across the Country

[Justice]
A New Broadband Network Is Pitching Surveillance Enhancements to Cops Across the Country
by Simon Davis-Cohen
Posted September 19, 2018

more surviellance for policeThe latest technologies promise cops the ability to whip out a smartphone, take a snapshot of a passerby, and instantly learn if that person is in an immigration or gang database.

A federal broadband program, designed after 9/11 to improve first responder communication during emergencies, will enhance this sort of capability and integrate it into an internet “super highway” built specifically for police and public safety. The program, called FirstNet, is already expanding the surveillance options available to law enforcement agencies across the country.

According to publicly available documents, as well as interviews with program participants, stakeholders, and government researchers, FirstNet will help agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection communicate with local police, deliver more information to officers’ hands, accelerate the nascent law enforcement app industry, and provide public safety agencies with new privileges and powers over AT&T’s commercial broadband network. More…

American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 Myths

[Social]
American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 Myths
by Lee Camp
Posted September 13, 2018

societal collapseOur society should’ve collapsed by now. You know that, right?

No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a “Star Wars” movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.

Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years. (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation. More…

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