Community Articles from 2018
Turn Prisons Into Colleges
By Elizabeth Hinton
Posted April 16, 2018
Imagine if prisons looked like the grounds of universities. Instead of languishing in cells, incarcerated people sat in classrooms and learned about climate science or poetry — just like college students. Or even with them.
This would be a boon to prisoners across the country, a vast majority of whom do not have a high school diploma. And it could help shrink our prison population. While racial disparities in arrests and convictions are alarming, education level is a far stronger predictor of future incarceration than race. More…
How a small town reclaimed its grid and sparked a community revolution
by Aditya Chakrabortty
Posted April 14, 2018
In the east German city of Potsdam, the privatisation of water pushed charges up by a third within two years – so it was cancelled. City after city has taken back bin collection in-house. And then there’s energy. In 2005, Wolfhagen was into the final straight of taking its grid into public hands. Since then 284 municipalities, including the second-biggest city of Hamburg, have followed suit.
Such cases don’t get much of a showing in the British press. The pundits and policy wonks who equate public ownership with Red Robbo, Bakelite phones and stale British Rail sandwiches never mention that across Europe there have been 567 instances of public services being taken into public ownership since the year 2000. Everything from care homes for the elderly to bus companies is now run by continental towns and cities. More…
What if People Owned the Banks, Instead of Wall Street?
by Jimmy Tobias
Posted April 11, 2018
When Craig Brandt marched into the City Council chambers in Oakland, California, in the summer of 2015, he was furious about fraud.
The long-time local attorney and father of two had been following the fallout from the Libor scandal, a brazen financial scam that saw some of the biggest banks on Wall Street illegally manipulate international interest rates in order to boost their profits. By some estimates, the scheme cost cities and states around the country well over $6 billion. In June of 2015, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Barclays, among other Libor-rigging giants, pleaded guilty to felony charges related to the conspiracy and agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines to US regulators. But, for Brandt, that wasn’t enough. He wanted the banks banished, blocked from doing business in his city. More…
The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet
by Ellen Brown
Posted April 9, 2018
Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity and establishing proprietary control with GMO seeds distributed by only a few transnational corporations, led by Monsanto; and by a massive, taxpayer-subsidized propaganda campaign in support of GMO seeds and neurotoxic pesticides. A de facto cartel of giant chemical, drug, oil, banking and insurance companies connected by interlocking directorates reaps the profits at both ends, by waging a very lucrative pharmaceutical assault on the diseases created by their toxic agricultural chemicals.
In the U.S., only about 0.6 percent of the total agricultural area is devoted to organic farming. Most farmland is soaked in pesticides and herbicides. But the need for these toxic chemicals is a myth. In an October 2017 article in The Guardian, columnist George Monbiot cited studies showing that reducing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides actually increases production, because the pesticides harm or kill the pollinators on which crops depend. Rather than an international trade agreement that would enable giant transnational corporations to dictate to governments, he argues that we need a global treaty to regulate pesticides and require environmental impact assessments for farming. More…
Transforming the way municipalities collect and spend their money
by Oscar Perry Abello
Posted April 5, 2018
It’s no surprise that Malia Cohen worries about what local public dollars are doing. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the municipal legislative body, it’s her job to know how, where and why the city’s money is coming in and going out. But recently, Cohen has joined a growing number of public officials around the country who are wondering what happens in between — what happens when the money in the city coffers goes to sleep at night.
In fiscal year 2017, the city of San Francisco took in an average of $508 million a month in revenues and put out $467 million a month in expenses. But in between, the banks that handle all that cash sometimes used public dollars in ways that, in the opinions of Cohen and others, contradict the reasons why that money is coming and going in the first place. More…
Money Creation — What The World Thinks
by Stan Jourdan
Posted April 4, 2018
A recent survey covering 20 countries concludes that only 20% of the population is aware that money creation is being largely managed by the private banking sector and 13% agrees this should be so. In contrast, nearly 59% would prefer that such a privilege be granted to public institution.
How many people are aware that private banks create money ; and is this system the favorite option of citizens? These questions were part of the Glocalities survey carried out by Motivaction International and the Sustainable Finance Lab that was held in December 2013 and January 2014. More than 23,000 people in 20 countries participated to the poll. The results (pdf) from this unique survey provide greater legitimacy to our money reform proposal which aims at making money creation managed by and for the public. More…
Freeholders File Lawsuit to Battle Opioid Epidemic Naming Manufacturers of Highly-Addictive Drugs
by Camden County Freeholders
Posted March 28, 2018
In order to take Camden County’s ongoing fight against opioid addiction to the next level, the Freehold Board will file a ground-breaking lawsuit against the drug companies, owners, manufacturers, distributors and retailers that ignited the epidemic. The lawsuit is being uniquely filed under civil racketeering statutes that deem these individuals owned and operated a criminal enterprise that marketed and shipped millions of highly addictive narcotics throughout the nation including, Camden County.
“The record profits achieved by Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family and those that worked in concert with them, were earned at the expense of the millions of individuals who became predictably addicted to the tsunami of opioids unleashed upon the marketplace,” Cappelli said. “The meteoric rise in opioid prescriptions, and the attendant rise in addiction to and abuse of these drugs, is not due to a medical breakthrough, but rather the defendants’ quest for greater profits at the expense of American lives.” More…
Since the federal and state governments are owned by big pharma and have done nothing to stop the purveyors of the opioid epidemic, it took a brave move by a small county to finally bring legal action against the true drug dealers at the top of the pyramid.
Benefits of a Public Bank for Cities and Municipalities
by Mike Krauss, Steve Snyder and Nancy Goldner
Posted March 25, 2018
The American people in cities and communities throughout our nation need a strong local banking industry, free of the destructive practices of Wall Street.
Local banks distribute the sustainable and affordable credit our local economies need. Local banks working in partnership with public banks are able to lend additional funds and, in contrast to Wall Street, their profits do not depend on reckless risk taking.
The result: a more democratic and prosperous local economy in which the benefits are shared by all. And it is within reach. Across the nation, in more than twenty states and a growing list of municipalities, support is growing for the creation of public, “partnership” banks, based, in part, on the model of the hugely effective Bank of North Dakota. More…
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