U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

[Justice]
U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel
by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim
Posted October 24, 2017

felony to boycott IsraelThe criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. More…

How Big Corporations Game Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy

[Political]
How Big Corporations Game Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy
By Ralph Nader
Posted October 24, 2017

corporate coup has taken placeRemarkably, the artificial creation called the “corporation” has now achieved almost all of the rights of real people under our “We the People” Constitution that never mentions the words “corporation” or “company.”

Corporations cannot vote, at least not yet; only people can. That was seen as a major lever of democratic power over corporations. So what has happened? Commercial money to politicians started weakening the influence of voters because the politicians became increasingly dependent on the corporate interests that bankrolled their campaigns. The politicians use their ever-increasing corporate cash to saturate voters with deceptive political ads, and intimidate any competitors who have far less money, but may be far better representative of the public good.

To further shatter the principle of voter sovereignty, corporations have rewarded those politicians who construct restrictive political party rules, gerrymander electoral districts and obstruct third party candidate ballot access. By concentrating political power in fewer and fewer hands, corporate influence becomes more deeply entrenched in our democratic society. Politicians quickly learn that political favors will attract more corporate campaign cash and other goodies. More…

The U.S. Justice System Must Focus on Elite Criminality

[Justice]
The U.S. Justice System Must Focus on Elite Criminality
by Michael Krieger
Posted October 23, 2017

wealthy criminals are coddledTwo very important articles published in recent days serve to once again highlight America’s metastasizing elite criminality problem. A problem which our justice system simply refuses to address. This corrupt two-tier justice system is something I’ve been focused on from the very beginning of my writings, and I continue to see it as a civilization-level threat for this country if not aggressively addressed and confronted in the very near future.

Elite criminals are the most dangerous criminals on earth, but our justice system treats them like well-meaning philosopher kings who deserve endless breaks in the face of rampant unethical and often evil behavior. It should be completely obvious to everyone that the only reason elite crooks get treated with kid gloves is because they’re rich and powerful. The end result of this dereliction of justice is those entrusted with protecting the public have willingly created an entrenched, untouchable, distributed, criminal class which spans across and leads all major industries in America. More…

How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation

[Economic]
How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation
by Ellen Brown
Posted October 22, 2017

robots will be replacing humansIn May 2017, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford published the results of a survey of the world’s best artificial intelligence experts, who predicted that there was a 50 percent chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks within 45 years. All human jobs were expected to be automated in 120 years, with Asian respondents expecting these dates much sooner than North Americans. In theory, that means we could all retire and enjoy the promised age of universal leisure. But the immediate concern for most people is that they will be losing their jobs to machines.

That helps explain the recent interest in a universal basic income (UBI) – a sum of money distributed equally to everyone. A UBI has been proposed in Switzerland, trials are beginning in Finland, and there is a successful pilot ongoing in Brazil. The cities of Ontario in Canada, Oakland in California, and Utrecht in the Netherlands are planning trials; two local authorities in Scotland have announced such plans; and politicians across Europe, including UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, have spoken in favor of the concept. Advocates in the US range from Robert Reich to Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Luther King, Thomas Paine, Charles Murray, Elon Musk, Dan Savage, Keith Ellison and Paul Samuelson. More…

Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia’s Plan from Petroyuan to Gold

[Economic]
Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia’s Plan from Petroyuan to Gold
by Federico Pieraccini
Posted October 21, 2017

changing the strategic balanceAs seen in my previous article, US military power is on the decline, and the effects are palpable. In a world full of conflicts brought on by Washington, the economic and financial shifts that are occurring are for many countries a long-awaited and welcome development.

If we were to identify what uniquely fuels American imperialism and its aspirations for global hegemony, the role of the US dollar would figure prominently. An exploration of the depth of the dollar’s effects on the world economy is therefore necessary in order to understand the consequential geopolitical developments that have occurred over the last few decades. More…

KRACK Wi-Fi bug: Here’s how to protect yourself

[Media]
KRACK Wi-Fi bug: Here’s how to protect yourself
by Taylor Martin
Posted October 20, 2017

KRACK has made wi-fi vulnerableIf you thought your protected Wi-Fi was safe, think again. Nearly all devices are affected by the new KRACK exploit. Solid advice for setting up a new wireless router or Wi-Fi network in your home is to password-protect it. Set a secure password using Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) and only share it with those you trust.

Since the WPA2 standard became available in 2004, this was the recommended setup for wireless area networks everywhere — and it was thought to be relatively secure. That said, like the deadbolt on your house, password protection is really only a strong deterrent. Like most things, as secure as WPA2 was believed to be, it was only ever as strong as your password or any vulnerabilities discovered in its security.

Over the weekend, a vulnerability was indeed discovered and turned the Internet on its head. More…

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