by George Musser
Posted January 2, 2017
Crowds aren’t as smart as we thought, since some people know more than others. A simple trick can find the ones you want. Metaknowledge functions as a powerful bullshit detector. It can separate crowd members who actually know something from those who are guessing wildly or just parroting what everyone else says.
The crowd is wise, but not in the way the error-correcting intuition assumed. There’s more information there. The bullshit detector isn’t perfect, but it’s the best you can do whenever you don’t know the answer yourself and have to rely on other people’s opinion. Which eyewitness do you believe? Which talking head on TV? Which scientist commenting on some controversial topic? If they demonstrate superior metaknowledge, you can take that as a sign of their superior knowledge. More…
Vote with your wallet: be part of the solution, not the problem
By Dimitrios Tsivrikos
Posted January 1, 2017
Making consumers align their beliefs with their purchasing decisions is essential if we are to preserve the health of our planet and protect workers’ rights. Consumers are not only purchasing an end product but they are also supporting the processes involved with it.
While at first buying a daily Starbucks coffee may seem harmful to little other than your wallet, every disposable paper cup is in fact contributing to the destruction of trees and therefore having a negative impact on the environment. However, deforestation and the resulting loss of habitat for many animals and climate change are unlikely to be on the top of the consumer’s mind when deciding whether to opt for a Frappuccino or a Latte. More…
How Did a Nation Crippled by Wall Street Billionaires End Up With Them Running the Country?
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted December 31, 2016
Just yesterday the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study showing that there is a growing number of older Americans whose Social Security benefits are being reduced by the government to repay delinquent student loans. The government uses the benign sounding word “offset” to explain these reductions. According to the report, in 2015 there were 114,000 Americans impacted by these offsets, resulting in many living below the poverty level.
When serially charged banks like Citigroup couldn’t pay its bills during the 2008 crash, here’s what the U.S. government did to lend a helping hand: it injected $45 billion in equity into Citigroup; provided asset guarantees of over $300 billion; while the Federal Reserve secretly sluiced over $2.5 trillion in revolving loans to Citigroup for more than three years – much of which was at a loan interest rate of less than 1 percent as the bank charged its struggling credit card customers double-digit interest rates. More…
The Great “Fake News” Scare of 1530
by Rick Falkvinge
Posted December 30, 2016
Fake news has always been around for humor purposes, but the real “fake news” scares happen when the establishment is so used to getting away with lying, that any alternate narrative is demonized as factually false, irresponsible, and dangerous.
To see the pattern here, it helps to know a little history – let’s look at the great “Fake News” scare of 1530. It has a lot of elements similar to ours today. After the Black Death hit Europe hard around 1350, the monasteries were chronically short on manpower. The families that had used to send a child or two to become monks or nuns simply needed all their kids to work in the fields, to ensure food production, before such luxuries as manning the monasteries could even be considered. Therefore, any work that required involving monasteries became increasingly steep or scarce for the coming century.
This is relevant as those monasteries were the only places that produced books, all of which were in Latin, and all of which were in complete synchronization with the messages of the Catholic Church, the owner of the monasteries and therefore the owner of all mass media at the time. To compound the situation, the same owner also employed all the news anchors – the village preachers, who were the ones who read the books (in Latin) and translated them to the common tongue in villages. More…
Attempting to Curtail Dissent of Seniors by Stopping Social Security Checks
By Ann Wright
Posted December 29, 2016
Governments go to pretty low tricks to silent dissent — curtailing ones that travel to neighboring countries and now stopping social security checks. Now under the Obama administration, the latest effort to silence dissent, for those of you 62 or older, is someone in the government falsifying jail records to show that you were in jail/confinement for more than 30 days and sending the records to the Social Security Administration. SSA will then stop your monthly Social Security check and will send you a letter stating that you must repay back months of payments for the time you were allegedly in jail — in my case $4,273.60.
Someone submitted my name and social security number to SSA as a person who has been confined in a jail since September 2016. Without any notification to me of this allegation that would disrupt for months my Social Security benefits, SSA ordered that for my “criminal conviction and confinement in a correctional institution for more than 30 days, we cannot pay your monthly Social Security payment.” More…
The Democratic and Republican Paths to Fascism
By Glen Ford
Posted December 28, 2016
Fascism moves on two tracks in the U.S.A. The corporate Democratic track moves on war. The Republican (White Man’s Party) track moves on racially coded law and order. Both tracks overlap, and both parties are switch hitters. Sometimes they conflict but, for Black and brown folks and white progressives, there can be no alliance with either faction. There is no gaming these gangsters, no fooling around with the CIA, which has assumed the political point position in the anti-Russian/Trump crusade.
The bill to fund intelligence agencies that passed the House on November 30 established “an executive branch interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments…through front groups, covert broadcasting, media manipulation, disinformation or forgeries, funding agents of influence, incitement, offensive counterintelligence, assassinations, or terrorist acts.” Every category listed, except assassinations and terror, is actually a code word for political speech that can, and will, be used to target those engaged in “undermining faith in American democracy” — such as Black Agenda Report and other left publications defamed as “fake news” outlets by the Washington Post. More…
The Italian Banking Crisis: No Free Lunch — or Is There?
By Ellen Brown
Posted December 27, 2016
On December 4, 2016, Italian voters rejected a referendum to amend their constitution to give the government more power, and the Italian prime minister resigned. The resulting chaos has pushed Italy’s already-troubled banks into bankruptcy. First on the chopping block is the 500 year old Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BMP), the oldest surviving bank in the world and the third largest bank in Italy. The concern is that its loss could trigger the collapse of other banks and even of the eurozone itself.
There seems little doubt that BMP and other insolvent banks will be rescued. The biggest banks are always rescued, no matter how negligent or corrupt, because in our existing system, banks create the money we use in trade. Virtually the entire money supply is now created by banks when they make loans, as the Bank of England has acknowledged. When the banks collapse, economies collapse, because bank-created money is the grease that oils the wheels of production. More…
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This site is designed for people who wish to follow important events, but do not have time to do a lot of reading. If you follow this site for a period of time, the daily fresh stories in different categories will over time provide you with an understanding of the “big picture” by showing you both the problems and the solutions. Hopefully this will inspire you to listen to your inner wisdom and become part of the solution.