The Copyright Barons Are Coming. Now’s the Time to Stop Them
by Josh Tabish
Posted February 18, 2017
Fresh on the heels of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, one of the largest pro-copyright lobbies in the United States is asking the newly elected president to increase the powers held by copyright holders.
In a recent letter addressed directly to Trump, the Copyright Alliance— speaking on behalf of high profile members such as the MPAA and RIAA—suggests the President create new digital borders on the internet. experts note that copyright law was originally intended to ensure creators could make a living, in the modern era, its purpose has largely shifted to maximizing profits for media conglomerates. And the Copyright Alliance letter makes clear their desire to see that shift continue.
Their claim stronger rules will “reward creativity” is highly dubious in a world where copyright is used to silence critics, prevent sports fans from filming a match, take down a video of a child dancing to Prince, or otherwise censor speech online. More…
Key to Effective Protesting: Put a Name on the Sign
By Bernard Starr
Posted February 17, 2017
One Friday afternoon the Board of Education pay checks for the paraprofessionals, the classroom aids, didn’t arrive. These workers, mostly African-American and Hispanic single mothers from the neighborhood, depended on those checks to feed their families. No wonder they anxiously complained to the principal, whom I will call Mr. Dave to protect his privacy.
Mr. Dave: The checks for the paraprofessionals haven’t arrived. When will they be here?
Board of Ed. agent: We were tied up at meetings and will not be able to get the checks out until next week–Monday or Tuesday.
Mr. Dave: That’s too late. They need the money to live on for the weekend.
Board of Ed. agent: Sorry, but there’s no way we can get the checks out today.
Mr. Dave: These paraprofessionals are upset and angry about this and are saying they will go down to the Board headquarters to protest.
Board of Ed. agent: This is America and they can to do that, but it’s late in the afternoon on Friday. Some people have already left and we can’t do anything about the checks today.
Mr. Dave. They are making up signs right now and intend to protest in front of the Board of Education building.
Board of Ed. agent: Well, again, they are free to do that.
Mr. Dave. One other thing. They are putting your name on the signs.
The checks arrived by courier two hours later. More…
Former CIA Analyst Sues Defense Department to Vindicate NSA Whistleblowers
by Jenna McLaughlin
Posted February 17, 2017
In 2010, Thomas Drake, a former senior employee at the National Security Agency, was charged with espionage for speaking to a reporter from the Baltimore Sun about a bloated, dysfunctional intelligence program he believed would violate Americans’ privacy. The case against him eventually fell apart, and he pled guilty to a single misdemeanor, but his career in the NSA was over.
Though Drake was largely vindicated, the central question he raised about technology and privacy has never been resolved. Almost seven years have passed now, but Pat Eddington, a former CIA analyst, is still trying to prove that Drake was right. More…
Rule by Brute Force: The True Nature of Government
By John W. Whitehead
Posted February 16, 2017
The torch has been passed to a new president.
All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—have been inherited by Donald Trump.
Whatever kind of president Trump chooses to be, he now has the power to completely alter the landscape of this country for good or for ill. More…
Universal Basic Income Accelerates Innovation by Reducing Our Fear of Failure
By Scott Santens
Posted February 16, 2017
Our economy is a complex adaptive system. Much like how nature works, markets work. No one central planner is deciding what natural resources to mine, what to make with them, how much to make, where to ship everything to, who to give it to, etc. These decisions are the result of a massively decentralized widely distributed system called “the market,” and it’s all made possible with a tool we call “money” being exchanged between those who want something (demand) and those who provide that something (supply).
If you’ve ever played Monopoly this should be apparent. The game would not work if all players started the game with nothing. Some wouldn’t even make it once around the board. Additionally, if no one received $200 for then passing Go, the game would end a lot sooner. Ultimately the game always grinds to a halt once everyone but one person is all out of money, which is inevitable. No money, no purchases, no market, no game. Game over. More…
A Public Bank for Oakland: An Idea Whose Time is Coming
by JP Massar
Posted January 15, 2017
Public banks are financial institutions owned by the people through their representative governments at city, county or state levels. Public banks differ from private banks in that they are mandated to serve the public interest. Unlike Wall Street banks that seek short-term profits for private shareholders by investing in stocks, derivatives and other speculative financial instruments, public banks primarily invest in their local economies: making loans to help small businesses, funding infrastructure, and improving the long-term health of their communities.
Mark Armstrong, President of Commonomics, a non-profit advocacy organization for economic justictice, public banking, and in opposition to predatory capitalism, made a related point. With a public bank the community’s values can be translated into the bank’s loan portfolio, which can vary over time with the people’s wishes. This in contrast to a private bank’s loan portfolio, directed at maximizing profit with no thought for the community good.
Tom Sgouros, an expert in the theory of public banking and a former senior advisor to the Treasurer of Rhode Island, made the astute observation that instead of trying (and failing, for the most part) to “regulate away” the big banks’ socially and financially destructive behavior, we should be looking at setting up financial institutions which have socially constructive behavior as part of their raison d’ etre. This, he said, was a major reason he had taken to advocating for public banks. More…
A Brief History of the New World Order
by Richard K. Moore
Posted February 15, 2017
The beginning of anything is always problematic to pin down. For every beginning, there are always antecedents, causes, preparations, broader canvases to consider, etc. For my money, World War I — the war to end all wars — is a sensible choice, as the launch-event into the new world order project.
Of course one must go further back for motivation, the conception of means, and for the vision. Some refer all the way back to The Illuminati, which was (still is?) a real conspiratorial clique aiming for global governance,. Others refer to Cecil Rhodes, who quite effectively used his wealth from diamond mining to promote his vision of global Anglo-Saxon dominance. Regardless of the details of the preceding historical thread, WWI was the epochal event that began an identifiable program toward a new world order, a single global hierarchy, controlling all global affairs, under the control of elite financiers. More…
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