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Where Citizens Can Run for Office Without Big Money—and Win

[Political] 
Where Citizens Can Run for Office Without Big Money—and Win
by James Trimarco
Posted December 19, 2016

no money in politics State representative Joyce McCreight never thought she would run for office. She’d always been an advocate for her neighbors in her coastal Maine town of Harpswell, but she did that as a social worker in public middle schools. She remembers a pregnant seventh-grader who once came to see her, and parents who worked multiple jobs but struggled to support their families.

She was convinced that the state government could do more to help those people, and she had ideas about how to do it. But she didn’t want to raise money from donors to pay for her campaign. It went against her sense of ethics. In most states, that would have been the end of the story. More…

NSA Watchdog Removed for Whistleblower Retaliation

[Justice] 
NSA Watchdog Removed for Whistleblower Retaliation
by Adam Zagorin
Posted December 18, 2016

huge NSA facility in UtahUntil just a few months ago, George Ellard occupied a position of trust as top watchdog of the National Security Agency, America’s principal collector of signals intelligence. Ellard was not only NSA’s Inspector General, but an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, the former contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified emails to publicly expose the agency’s domestic surveillance program.

Snowden claimed, among other things, that his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping were ignored by the agency, and that he feared retaliation. Ellard publicly argued in 2014 that Snowden could have safely reported the allegations of NSA’s domestic surveillance directly to him.

Snowden himself has explicitly contended that he feared retaliation and that he had no other option but to go public if he wished to expose NSA domestic eavesdropping. Among the cases of retaliation that Snowden has pointed to is that of former senior NSA employee Thomas Drake, who after reporting alleged wrongdoing through authorized channels, was arrested at dawn by the FBI, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes under the Espionage Act, all of which were later dropped, leaving him to find work in an Apple store. More…

Here’s Where the Next Bank Deposit “Bail-In” Will Strike

[Economic] 
Here’s Where the Next Bank Deposit “Bail-In” Will Strike…
by Nick Giambruno
Posted December 17, 2016

banks can confiscate your moneyMost people think of the money they deposit into the bank as a personal asset they own. But that’s not true.

Once a deposit is made at the bank, it’s no longer your property. It’s the bank’s. What you own is a promise from the bank to repay. It’s an unsecured liability. That’s a very different thing from owning physical cash stuffed under your mattress. Money deposited into the bank technically makes you a creditor of the bank. You’re liable to get burned from a bail-in should the bank get into trouble.

People in Cyprus had to find this out the hard way in early 2013. People awoke on an otherwise normal Saturday morning to the shock that the money in their bank accounts had been taken by a bail-in to recapitalize the banks. More…

Cash Is No Longer King: The Phasing Out of Physical Money Has Begun

[Economic] 
Cash Is No Longer King: The Phasing Out of Physical Money Has Begun
by Shaun Bradley
Posted December 16, 2016

Cash is the last anonymous thing leftThe unprecedented collusion between governments and central banks that occurred in 2008 led to bailouts, zero percent interest rates and quantitative easing on a scale never before seen in history. Those decisions, which were made under duress and in closed-door meetings, set the stage for this inevitable demise of paper money.

Control and confidence are two of the most important things in the system we live in. Once these digital spider webs have been put into place, the ability for an individual to maintain privacy or anonymity will all but disappear. Only through understanding the subversive actions being taken can people protect themselves from having to put their future in someone else’s hands. The cash that allows free transactions without tax burdens or state scrutiny won’t be around much longer. There will be many rationalizations for a cashless society in the years to come, but without fixing this broken financial system first, this will only ensure that despotism gains an even sturdier foothold. More…

 

 

House Passes Bill Allowing Government To Microchip Citizens With “Mental Disabilities”

[Social] 
House Passes Bill Allowing Government To Microchip Citizens With “Mental Disabilities”
by Whitney Webb
Posted December 15, 2016

human microchipping bill passedLast Thursday, the House passed HR 4919, also known as Kevin and Avonte’s Law, which would allow the US attorney general to award grants to law enforcement for the creation and operation of “locative tracking technology programs.” Though the program’s mission is to find “individuals with forms of dementia or children with developmental disabilities who have wandered from safe environments,” it provides no restriction on the tracking program’s inclusion of other individuals. The bill would also require the attorney general to work with the secretary of health and human services and unnamed health organizations to establish the “best practices” for the use of tracking devices.

Those in support of the legislation maintain that such programs could prevent tragedies where those with mental or cognitive disabilities wandered into dangerous circumstances. Yet, others have called these good intentions a “Trojan horse” for the expansion of a North American police state as the bill’s language could be very broadly interpreted. More…

What the robots are doing to the middle class

[Social] 
What the robots are doing to the middle class
By Paul Buchheit
Posted December 12, 2016

robot workersWe will need a guaranteed income, ideally through guaranteed jobs, with the implementation of a financial transaction tax, and with a commitment to alternative energy infrastructure development.

The simplistic response to the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment is that we’ve experienced this before, during the Industrial Revolution and beyond, and that the “market” will eventually provide plenty of jobs. The reality is that tens of millions of Americans will have to accept food service and retail and personal care jobs that don’t pay a living wage. More…

Our “Gaslight” Economy

[Social] 
Our “Gaslight” Economy
By Charles Hugh Smith
Posted December 12, 2016

job fairIf you don’t like what these charts are saying, please notify The Washington Post to add the St. Louis Federal Reserve to its list of Russian propaganda sites.

Yesterday I described our gaslight financial system. Today we’ll look at our gaslight economy. Correspondent Jason H. alerted me to the work of author Thomas Sheridan ( Puzzling People: The Labyrinth of the Psychopath), who claims to have coined the term gaslighting. As noted yesterday, gaslighting has often been used in the context of personal relationships to describe a manipulative person’s attempts to undermine and control their romantic partner.

In a larger context, these manipulative techniques can also be applied to our perception of the entire economy. It seems obvious to me that we are being gaslighted to forget the widely distributed prosperity of the past and accept that the stagnation of the past 16 years is equivalently prosperous–in direct contradiction to the lived experience and memories of the bottom 80%. More…

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Great story on why we need to remove ALL of our elected government representatives

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