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Feeding a New Economy: Local Food Systems in the South

Feeding a New Economy: Local Food Systems in the South
By Susanna Hegner
Posted October 12, 2015

The local foods movement has become much more than a short-lived dietary or environmental trend. Can it actually fuel the new Southern economy?

The term “locavore” has become ubiquitous since appearing in the American vernacular about ten years ago. It represents a rapidly growing movement of people choosing locally produced food rather than packaged goods that traveled hundreds of miles to market. Last year, the local-food economy was valued at nearly $12 billion. According to the Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers markets rose 76 percent from 2008 to 2014. Direct-to-consumer food sales increased threefold between 1992 and 2007, twice as fast as overall agricultural sales. More…

War is the Health of the State

War is the Health of the State
by Claudio Grass
Posted September 19, 2015

it is the state that exerts powerIn an essay titled “The State”, Randolph Bourne, an American writer, made a distinction between a country and a state that I find crucial. He described one’s country as “an inescapable group into which we are born”. In his view, a country is “a concept of peace, tolerance, of living and letting live. But the State is essentially a concept of power, of competition; it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects. And we have the misfortune of being born not only into a country but into a State, and as we grow up we learn to mingle the two feelings into a hopeless confusion”.

Most people don’t question what their government does, especially when it comes to foreign policy. This gives power-hungry politicians the opportunity to lie to the public, so that people willingly accept a war in a foreign country. A recent example is the Iraq war, where the public was led to believe that Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction and was an imminent threat to the United States. After the invasion, however, it turned out that Iraq had no WMDs and the threat was exaggerated to gain public support for the war. More…

Self-Governing Association in El Salvador Offers Local Solutions to Global Problems

Self-Governing Association in El Salvador Offers Local Solutions to Global Problems
By Jeff Haas
Posted September 14, 2015

model for solutionsWhile many fret over escalating violence, and others in Washington pay lip service to Central America’s dire social situation, local communities are doing something to address the root causes of poverty and violence, from the lack of educational and economic opportunities to environmental degradation. Indeed, local actors are taking the reins and are tackling climate change as they live it. There is a growing grassroots movement that is working toward finding solutions to the problem of rural development and environmental conservation and promoting democracy and youth leadership.

Communities in the global South have already organized movements and implemented practices to save their environment and confront the impact of climate change. One such movement, headed by a network of communities in coastal El Salvador, shows what can be done. More…

The High Cost of Private Prisons

The High Cost of Private Prisons
by Beryl Lipton
Posted September 11, 2015

for profit prisonsWe do know that millions of dollars have been poured into elections and lobbying to in order to make private operators an integral part of many state Departments of Correction and the immigrant detention machine. It’s difficult to quantify the effect that private interest can have on the systems for the public good, like criminal justice. But, in Louisiana, for example, where Winn shares the honor of being one of just two major state private prisons, dozens of locally-incentivized lock-ups have created so many mini-economies and a monstrous prison population – the highest per capita of any state in the country with the highest per capita in the world.

Which is why an eyebrow might be raised at the fact that a place like Correction Corp’s Winn Correctional averages about one grievance per prisoner a year. The majority of those, about 60 percent, are regarding issues of time computation, according to an LA DOC representative — implying it would be worse if they involved assaults or medical care. But concerns about time computation become more curious when there’s an incentive to keeping low maintenance prisoners for as long as possible. More…

Escape from New Orleans: As waters rose, a white suburb across the Mississippi closed a key bridge to fleeing residents

Escape from New Orleans: As waters rose, a white suburb across the Mississippi closed a key bridge to fleeing residents
By Gary Rivlin
Posted September 1, 2015

racism in AmericaHurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana at 6:10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, 2005. Within hours, the catastrophic collapse of levees would cause water to pour into New Orleans. Within days, New Orleans would be 80 percent covered in water.

A group of around 300 were trapped by the rising water in the headquarters of the city’s Regional Transit Authority. Their numbers included around 100 RTA workers who had volunteered to remain in New Orleans — the bus drivers needed to transport people to the Superdome on the Sunday before Katrina struck the New Orleans area, and the staff they would need to resume transit service once the winds died. The remainder were family members and friends who had hunkered down in the “Canal Street barn,” a seemingly secure brick edifice in a part of town that never flooded. More…

What We Know About the NSA and AT&T’s Spying Pact

What We Know About the NSA and AT&T’s Spying Pact
by Kim Zetter
Posted August 18, 2015

AT&T spying on customers for NSANEW EDWARD SNOWDEN documents revealed on Saturday in the New York Times detail a decade-long secret partnership between the NSA and AT&T, which provided the spy agency with metadata on billions of emails. Although the Times story has garnered a lot of attention, it offers few details about how the telecom conducted the siphoning and spying for the NSA.

AT&T isn’t identified by name in the Snowden documents, but the Times notes that “a constellation of evidence” points to AT&T as the primary company mentioned in them, which several intelligence officials have confirmed to the paper. According to the Times piece, the siphoning of internet data from AT&T began in 2003 and continued for a decade in a relationship that the NSA called “highly collaborative.” The telecom giant, according to one Snowden document, was extremely willing to help out the spy agency, and its engineers “were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.” More…

Acoustic Cannon Sales to Police Surge After Black Lives Matter Protests

Acoustic Cannon Sales to Police Surge After Black Lives Matter Protests
by Lee Fang
Posted August 16, 2015

acoustic cannon policeDuring a company conference call with financial analysts last week, Tom Brown, the chief executive of LRAD, a military contractor, informed investors that sales were rolling in, not just from Chinese government agencies and the U.S. Navy, but also from American law enforcement. LRAD manufactures an acoustic cannon that can be used either as a mounted loudspeaker or as a weapon to fire deafening noises at crowds of people.

Over the last year, following a wave of protests over officer-involved killings of black Americans, LRAD has seen an uptick in inquiries from police departments around the country. The LRAD device can reach 152 decibels, a level that can cause permanent hearing damage. In December, Vice reported on the potential dangers of the LRAD cannon, noting, “Permanent hearing loss begins with a sustained sound that’s louder than 90 dB SPL — for example, a subway train 200 feet away — but you won’t start to feel immediate pain until 120 decibels, about the loudness of a shotgun blast. At 160 dB — a little less loud than a rocket launch — your eardrum will burst.” More…

Schools as Punishing Factories: The Handcuffing of Public Education

Schools as Punishing Factories: The Handcuffing of Public Education
By Henry A. Giroux
Posted August 8, 2015

school to prison pipelineIf one important measure of a democracy is how a society treats its children – especially children of color, poor and working-class youth, and those with disabilities – there can be little doubt that the United States is failing. Half of all public school children live in near poverty, 16 million children receive food stamps and 90 percent of Black children will be on food stamps at some point during childhood. Moreover, too many children are either incarcerated or homeless.

As we move into the second Gilded Age, young people are viewed more as a threat than as a social investment. Instead of being viewed as at-risk in a society that has defaulted on its obligations to young people, youth today are viewed as the risk itself. One consequence is that their behaviors are increasingly criminalized in the streets, malls, schools and many other places once considered safe spaces for them. As compassion and social responsibility give way to punishment and fear as the most important modalities mediating the relationship of youth to the larger social order, schools resort more and more to zero-tolerance policies and other punitive practices. Such practices often result in the handing over of disciplinary problems to the police rather than to educational personnel. More…

A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland

A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
by Kollibri Terre Sonnenblume
Posted August 3, 2015

fighting for mother earthAs has been well-documented, Royal Dutch Shell has plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, despite their knowledge that such extraction will exacerbate Climate Change (see here, here or here). President Obama has given these plans his blessing, as could be expected of a politician beholden to the extraction industries. In order to commit such an ecocidal act, Shell has to transport many different resources to the area by ship, and activists have attempted to slow the process by blocking, if only temporarily, a couple of these key transports. In Seattle, kayakers delayed the departure of a Shell oil rig in June.

In Portland, the Fennica, a Shell ship carrying a key piece of equipment that is needed on site before drilling can legally begin, docked for repairs about ten days ago, giving local activists some time to put together a response. Another kayak blockade was quickly planned, and to the surprise of most locals, Greenpeace pulled a surprise action a little after 3:00 a.m., early on the morning of July 29th. Thirteen people with climbing equipment lowered themselves off the St. John’s Bridge, downriver from the Fennica, and positioned themselves in harnesses about a third of the way down, with ropes strung between themselves. This simple, even elegant, set-up made passage of the Fennica impossible without injuring the climbers. They were provisioned with enough food and water to stay there for days. More…

Creating New Systems to Replace Dysfunctional Systems

Creating New Systems to Replace Dysfunctional Systems
By Michael Richards
Posted July 22, 2015

replacing dysfunctional systemsAt our present time in human history we are rapidly coming to the endgame of the social, economic and political structures that grew out of the industrial revolution. These systems have defined human life on our planet for the last 400 years. We are now in the process of unprecedented systems breakdown of the core components that make up industrial/consumer society.

All core components of the collapsing industrial/consumer society are in a state of diminishing effectiveness and they are in fact decaying rapidly. These systems are thus sick. A medical doctor that provides a clear diagnosis of a dying human body is not being negative, they are simply stating the facts. As a lifelong researcher of the human condition, I study and write about the breakdown and dysfunction of the core components” the organs of our present body politic. More…

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Quotable Sayings

nothing can stop a determined soulThere is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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billionaires don't EARN money, they MAKE money

You do not become a billionaire through labor. You become a billionaire through inheritance, corruption or economic rents – or, in most cases, some mixture of all three.

Grace Blakeley

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same puppet master pulling strings on both sides

Mainstream American liberals think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by Fox and Donald Trump, and mainstream American conservatives think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by MSNBC and the Democrats, but the propaganda strings on both trace back to the same puppet master. And seeing that is just the beginning.

Caitlin Johnstone

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discover your infinite worth

You alone are the judge of your worth and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Deepak Chopra

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main stream media propaganda

It is obvious that the US government is destroying Assange to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is therefore also obvious that any journalist who fails to use whatever platform they have to speak out against Assange’s persecution has no intention of ever publishing anything that the US government doesn’t want published. Their silence on or support for what is being done to this man can and should be taken as an admission that they are nothing other than state propagandists.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Britian's Orwellian tactics against Julian Assange

It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell.

Pepe Escobar

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