Community Articles from 2018

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…

With “Mountainous” Evidence On Plaintiffs’ Side, Hundreds Of Cancer Cases Against Monsanto Get Green Light

[Justice]
With “Mountainous” Evidence On Plaintiffs’ Side, Hundreds Of Cancer Cases Against Monsanto Get Green Light
By Jessica Corbett
Posted July 24, 2018

Monsanto/Bayer may finally face justice“We’re going to see for the first time evidence that nobody has seen before, evidence that has been in Monsanto’s files that we’ve obtained from lawyers and the people in Monsanto.”

After opening arguments kicked off in California state court on Monday for a Bay Area man’s landmark lawsuit alleging that Monsanto’s popular weedkiller Roundup caused him to develop cancer, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that hundreds of unrelated but similar cases against the agrochemical company can also proceed to trial.

The attorney argued that Monsanto—which recently merged with German pharmaceutical giant Bayer—“has specifically gone out of its way to bully…and to fight independent researchers.” Wisner, the newspaper noted, “presented internal Monsanto emails that he said showed how the agrochemical company rejected critical research and expert warnings over the years while pursuing and helping to write favorable analyses of their products.” More…

Why We Should Be Alarmed That Israeli Forces And U.S. Police Are Training Together

[Community]
Why We Should Be Alarmed That Israeli Forces And U.S. Police Are Training Together
by Domenica Ghanem
Posted July 24, 2018

who is the enemy?The Israeli forces mowing down unarmed Palestinian protesters also train U.S. police forces that brutalize communities of color. U.S. police departments are sent to Israel, or sometimes Israeli forces come to the United States, under the pretense of counter-terrorism training.

Apparently that training includes learning the benefits of “skunk water”—a liquid developed by Israel that’s used to break up anti-occupation protests like the ones occurring right now. After protests in Ferguson, the St. Louis department started stockpiling the stuff.

And that now infamous NYPD Muslim surveillance program? The NYPD Intelligence Division Chief responsible for that one got the idea from a similar program used to spy on Palestinians.

It begs the question of whom the U.S. police consider terrorists. More…

David Hogg Just Got “SWATTED”. Here’s Why That’s So Messed Up.

[Social]
David Hogg Just Got “SWATTED”. Here’s Why That’s So Messed Up.
By Joe Jarvis
Posted July 23, 2018

most SWAT raids are for minor offensesThe number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown accordingly. In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005 (the last year for which Dr. Kraska collected data), there were approximately 50,000 raids.

Now 80% of no-knock SWAT raids are used to execute minor search warrants. Only 7% are used for the original purpose: hostage and barricade situations.

No-knock raids–when the police do not announce themselves, and instead break into a home with battering rams–routinely get both officers and civilians killed. More…

Seven Ways to Help High Schoolers Find Purpose

[Spiritual]
Seven Ways to Help High Schoolers Find Purpose
by Patrick Cook-Deegan
Posted July 20, 2018

rethinking high schoolOver the past decade, I have had the chance to ask thousands of teenagers what they think about school. I’ve found that the vast majority of them generally feel one of two ways: disengaged or incredibly pressured.

One thing nearly all teens agree on is that most of what high school teaches them is irrelevant to their lives outside of school or their future careers. One study found that the most common feelings among high school students are fatigue and boredom. Another study concluded that 65 percent of the jobs that today’s high school graduates will have in their lifetime do not even exist yet. But we are still teaching them in the same way that we trained industrial workers a century ago. More…

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Quotable Sayings

the lies will soothe your conscience

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing tactics, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

Mark Twain

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