FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announces proposal to dismantle U.S. Net Neutrality protections

[Media]
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announces proposal to dismantle U.S. Net Neutrality protections
by Laura Tribe
Posted November 29, 2019

Ajit Pai, working hard for the telecomsIf Ajit Pai succeeds in killing Net Neutrality rules, it will completely change the Internet as we know it, giving already powerful telecom companies even more power to overcharge citizens while controlling what we see and do online. This could include blocking and throttling websites at will, for the sake of maximizing profits at the expense of Internet openness and accessibility.

Pai’s plan to kill Net Neutrality is a blatant attack on foundational principles of the Internet for everyone, not just Americans. Pai has long been eager to undo his predecessor’s Open Internet Order, but it has been a highly controversial campaign with overwhelming opposition from civil society, businesses, and the public – who have been incredibly vocal in their opposition to this plan. More…

The loss of Net Neutrality would be a game changer similar to the Citizens United ruling. With Citizens United we lost “our” government to the corporations. With the loss of Net Neutrality, the people would lose the Internet to corporate interests.

If there ever was a time to call to call your legislators, the time is now. If you do not, you will have no one to blame but yourself for the results. In the US, you can call (202) 224-3121 and you will be connected based on your zip code. You can also write using this URL: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative. Now is not the time to sit back.

 

California treasurer wants the state to study a public bank option for pot businesses

[Economic]
California treasurer wants the state to study a public bank option for pot businesses
By James Rufus Koren
Posted November 28, 2017

California Treasurer is interested in a public bankLast year, in the wake of the passage of Proposition 64, which legalizes marijuana for recreational use, California Treasurer John Chiang, created a working group of public officials, bankers and cannabis companies with the aim of addressing a vexing problem for the pot industry: Even in states where cannabis is legal, companies that grow or sell the plant are often unable to open bank accounts.

Despite guidelines that suggest banks can accept money from cannabis businesses, marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law and banks answer to federal regulators, making the vast majority of financial institutions unwilling to work with marijuana companies.

Over the last year, Chiang’s group held public meetings around the state, hearing from cannabis companies about how the de facto banking ban affects them, from banks about their concerns and from public officials about the side effects of a bankless industry — notably having to accept tax payments made with duffel bags full of cash. More…

Washington’s Wars

[Politics]
Washington’s Wars
by Brian Cloughley
Posted November 27, 2017

US troops in 172 countries and territoriesThe New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”

It is not surprising that Washington’s war-spreaders do not supply information to the American public concerning the location of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen involved in clandestine operations around the globe, because this might bring to light the lack of justification for such deployments. Concurrent with denial of information, however, is an energetic campaign aimed at convincing Americans that everything to do with military strength is laudable and that those who voice the slightest criticism of the armed forces are unpatriotic or even traitorous. More…

The Global Reversal of the Social Evolution of Humanity

[Social]
The Global Reversal of the Social Evolution of Humanity
By Prof. John McMurtry and Biljana Đorović
Posted November 27, 2017

oligarchsThe depth of the abyss into which the world is falling is ever clearer to people, but not the cause or the way out. Could you give us some kind of structure to explain what is at the heart of this empire of chaos that is reigning across the world?

In a nutshell, social evolution itself has been reversed by a US-led war on social and ecological life organization driven by one corrupt master value – to free transnational corporations and their shareholders from social responsibility to multiply private fortunes without limit. It is a counter-revolution against the long development of democratic government and the welfare state that once crossed across the divisions of the Cold War.

The ultimate driver of the disorder can be explained in one underlying principle. The sole and absolute organizing principle of the world’s reproduction and growth is turning private money into maximally more money for private money controllers. The ‘empire of chaos’ is the result. More…

The Bottom-up Solution to Solving Police Corruption

[Justice]
The Bottom-up Solution to Solving Police Corruption
by Gary Z McGee
Posted November 26, 2017

a new breed of police is neededThese hard times require the rise of strong men. But now the tables have been turned. The police have now become the weak men creating hard times. The new league of strong men will be those with the courage to police the police themselves.

In a lot of ways policing has always been corrupt. But, in other ways, historically, police had a stronger code of ethics. Now, for the most part, cops blindly uphold outdated laws. It is no longer a matter of protecting and serving, but a matter of blind allegiance to law and order and obediently following the chain of command out of fear of the thin blue line. This weak, offense-minded policing has created hard times through aggressive overreach and oppressive extortion.

There must be a way to get the cart back in front of the horse of moral policing. There is. But it will take a complete overhaul of the policing system as we know it. More…

How Regenerative Food and Farming Can Reverse Rural Poverty and Forced Migration in the Americas

[Social]
How Regenerative Food and Farming Can Reverse Rural Poverty and Forced Migration in the Americas
by Ronnie Cummins
Posted November 25, 2017

regenrative farming can reverse migrationOne of the most politically charged debates today, especially in the U.S. and Europe, is the so-called “immigration crisis.” There are approximately 250 million (3 percent of the world’s 7.6 billion people) migrants in the world today. About 20 percent, or 47 million of those, live in the U.S. Another 35 million live in Europe.

At the recent regional Summit on Migrants and Returnees in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala, October 20-21, a new and promising solution to the global “immigration crisis” emerged: the creation of local, grassroots-powered economic development projects based on regenerative food, farming and land-use practices. More…

YouTube and Facebook Are Removing Evidence of Atrocities, Jeopardizing Cases Against War Criminals

[Media]
YouTube and Facebook Are Removing Evidence of Atrocities, Jeopardizing Cases Against War Criminals
by Avi Asher-Schapiro
Posted November 24, 2017

this video is not availableSocial media evidence is increasingly used to build cases against perpetrators of abuses by human rights organizations, by European courts that have “universal jurisdiction” and can bring war crimes charges, and by United Nations investigators.

Over the summer, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for a Libyan commander accused of extrajudicial killings on the battlefield, basing the warrant, in part, on videos posted to Facebook. (One of the prosecutors on that case is Nicholls, the ICC lawyer who frets about atrocity evidence disappearing on social media.) Last year in Germany, an ISIS fighter was found guilty of posing with decapitated prisoners based in part on evidence found on Facebook.

This year, in Sweden, Syrian regime and rebel fighters were successfully prosecuted for war crimes using evidence from both Facebook and YouTube. In total, there are 30 ongoing war crimes investigations in Swedish and German courts connected to crimes committed in Syria and Iraq. On the other side of the world, the government of Myanmar has barred NGOs and aid agencies from entering northern parts of the country, where human rights groups say a genocide is taking place against the Rohingya population. Human rights workers are often reliant on social media evidence to document the atrocities. More…

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