Cash No Longer King: Europe Moves to Begin Elimination of Paper Money

[Economic]
Cash No Longer King: Europe Moves to Begin Elimination of Paper Money
by Shaun Bradley
Posted February 10, 2017

war on cash threatens freedomIn the shadow of Donald Trump’s spree of controversial actions, the European commission has quietly launched the next offensive in the war on cash. These unelected bureaucrats have boldly asserted their intention to crack down on paper transactions across the E.U. and solidify a trend that has been gaining momentum for years.

The financial uncertainty amplified by Brexit has incentivized governments throughout Europe to seize further control over their banking systems. France and Spain have already criminalized cash transactions above a certain limit, but now the commission has unilaterally established new regulations that will affect the entire union. The fear of physical money flowing out of the trade bloc has manifested a draconian response from the State.

Since the public’s attention has been drawn to emotional manipulations and political stunts, the threat the war on cash represents has gone unrecognized. Instead of feeding energy into systems meant to divide and conquer, individuals must educate themselves to secure their own financial futures. By submitting to the hive mind and following the media down whichever rabbit hole they choose, the most important issues of today will go unnoticed. The value of advocating for decentralized and physical alternatives to the banking system may not be easily grasped by the activists of today, but few other things have the potential to erode freedom on such a massive scale. More…

Maine Legislators Revolt Against Will of the People

[Political] 
Maine Legislators Revolt Against Will of the People
by Juan Hernandez
Posted February 10, 2017

Maine legislators work against peoples' willIn 2016, the people of Maine voted for a historic election reform measure at the state level: ranked choice voting. RCV, also known as instant runoff voting, allows voters to rank candidates by preference instead of choosing only one. The proponents of the measure argued ardently that this type of election system lets people have more choice when it comes to voting for their preferred candidate, because it eliminates the issue of tactical voting. “I like candidate 1, but they have no chance, so I will just vote for candidate 2 so that candidate 3 doesn’t win.”

Sound familiar? Odds are, this is how you vote. But what does RCV mean for the two-party system, and established politicians? It means that independent, third party candidates, and outsiders have a better chance, because the argument that “I’m the Democrat. I’m the safe choice to keep the Republican out,” and vice versa, all of a sudden doesn’t hold as much weight. More…

Exposing the Myths of Neoliberal Capitalism

[Economic]
Exposing the Myths of Neoliberal Capitalism
By C.J. Polychroniou
Posted February 9, 2017

neo-liberalism is killing the middle classGore Vidal, the American writer, once famously said that the American economic system is “free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich.” I think this statement very well sums up what has passed for ‘free-market capitalism’ in the last few decades, especially but not only in the US. In the last few decades, the rich have been increasingly protected from the market forces, while the poor have been more and more exposed to them.

For the rich, the last few decades have been “heads I win, tails you lose.” Top managers, especially in the US, sign on pay packages that give them hundreds of millions of dollars for failing — and many times more for doing a decent job. Corporations are subsidised on a massive scale with few conditions — sometimes directly but often indirectly through government procurement programs (especially in defense) with inflated price tags and free technologies produced by government-funded research programs.

After every financial crisis, ranging from the 1982 Chilean banking crisis through the Asian financial crisis of 1997 to the 2008 global financial crisis, banks have been bailed out with hundreds of trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money and few top bankers have gone to prison. In the last decade, the asset-owning classes in the rich countries have also been kept afloat by historically low rates of interests. More…

Don’t Ask, Just Plant — Taking Back Our Food Sovereignty with Guerrilla Gardening

[Community]
Don’t Ask, Just Plant — Taking Back Our Food Sovereignty with Guerrilla Gardening
By Carolanne Wright
Posted February 9, 2017

grow your own foodDuring both world wars, Victory Gardens were a staple throughout the United States, found everywhere from private residences to public lands and even the front lawns of city hall. Their purpose was simple: to reduce pressure from the public food supply during times of war. Victory Gardens also carried an unexpected perk, they helped boost morale during uncertain times by empowering gardeners through their contribution of labor and production of sorely needed fresh fruits and vegetables. Incredibly, these seemingly humble vegetable patches produced a staggering 41% of all fruits and vegetables consumed by the nation.

Jump to the present day and our system of food production would be all but unrecognizable to Victory Garden veterans. Instead of food self-sufficiency, we have homeowners persecuted for growing produce on their own property and children who think food comes packaged from the supermarket. Small farms are going bankrupt and being assimilated into industrial corporate farming operations. And when individuals push back against the hijacking of our food supply, they are met with fierce opposition, often stemming from local government. More…

Fear Materialized: Border Agents Demand Social Media Data from Americans

[Justice]
Fear Materialized: Border Agents Demand Social Media Data from Americans
by Sophia Cope
Posted February 8, 2017

asking for social media passwordsThe U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently began asking foreign visitors to the U.S. from Visa Waiver Countries for their social media identifiers. Last fall we filed our own comments opposing the policy, and joined two sets of coalition comments, one by the Center for Democracy & Technology and the other by the Brennan Center for Justice. Notably, CBP explained that it was only seeking publicly available social media data, “consistent with the privacy settings the applicant has set on the platforms.”

According to CAIR, CBP accessed public posts by demanding social media handles, and potentially accessed private posts by demanding cell phone passcodes and perusing social media apps. And border agents allegedly physically abused one man who refused to hand over his unlocked phone. More…

What are we greedy for?

[Spiritual]
What are we greedy for?
by Charles Eisenstein
Posted February 7, 2017

why are we greedyWhen we are cut off from the fulfillment of our basic needs we seek out substitutes to temporarily ease the longing. Bereft of connection to nature, connection to community, intimacy, meaningful self-expression, ensouled dwellings and built environment, spiritual connection, and the feeling of belonging, lots of us over-consume, overeat, over-shop, and over-accumulate. How much do you need to eat, to compensate for a feeling of not belonging? How much pornography to compensate for a deficit of intimacy? How much money to compensate for a deep sense of insecurity? No amount is enough.

Various aspects of our economic system reflect this programming. For example, consider usury, which I described in Sacred Economics as the lynchpin of our system. The lender is fundamentally someone who has more money than he needs right now (that’s why he has the funds to lend), but instead of saying, “I don’t need it right now, you use it,” he says, “I’ll only let you use it if I end up with even more.” It fits right in with the mentality of scarcity and control. It fits in with a life experience that has taught, “There isn’t fundamentally enough. You have to grasp for it, ensure it, control those outside of you so that they will continue to meet your needs. Because if you don’t, your needs will not be met.” Because, most of us have not had enough of the experience of our needs being effortlessly met. More…

The Relief Valve

[Social]
The Relief Valve
By Eric Peters
Posted February 7, 2017

America loves its gladiator gamesStrong passions can erupt in unpredictable ways. The government understands this – and desires that strong passions be diverted in a harmless – to the government – way.

Enter the cultivated, culturally and socially enforced obsession with organized, mass spectacle sports.

Fuuhhhhhtttttball especially but also the others.

These games – a new one to keep people busy almost every day, year-round – are not so much “bread and circuses,” as they are often called. They are the vivification of the fictional Two Minutes’ Hate in Orwell’s 1984. A means by which the passions – the frustrations and anger of men in particular – are diverted and dissipated. More…

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