The Fiber Future is Cooperative: Policy Brief On Rural Cooperative Fiber Deployment

[Community]
The Fiber Future is Cooperative: Policy Brief On Rural Cooperative Fiber Deployment
by Hannah Trostle
Posted July 7, 2018

rural America is forming Internet cooperativesRural communities across the United States are already building the Internet infrastructure of the future. Using a 20th century model, rural America is finding a way to tap into high-speed Internet service: electric and telephone cooperatives are bringing next-generation, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks to their service territories.

Farmers first created utility cooperatives because large private companies did not recognize the importance of connecting rural America to electricity or telephone service. Now, these cooperatives are building fiber infrastructure.

Almost all of the 260 telephone cooperatives and 60 electric cooperatives are involved in fiber network projects. As of June 2016, 87 cooperatives offer residential gigabit service (1,000 Mbps) to their members. More…

How Democracy Ended

[Politics]
How Democracy Ended
by Eric Zuesse
Posted July 6, 2018

tow sides of the same coinThe situation in the US was Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating, by Election Day, was 40.3%, her unfavorable was 55.3%. Donald Trump’s favorable was 39.8%, unfavorable was 53.4%. Bernie Sanders, as of the end of the primaries on 29 June 2016, was 50.8% favorable, 39.6% unfavorable, and it has been getting steadily better afterward. But the suckered Democratic Party voters (the ones who were counted, at any rate) voted slightly more for Hillary than for Bernie. Even despite Sanders’s having had support from few if any billionaires, he almost won the Democratic nomination, and that’s remarkable. He might actually have received more votes during the primaries than Hillary did, but we’ll never know.

It was a close election between two candidates, each of whom had far more of the electorate despising him or her than admiring him or her. Neither of the two candidates in the second round was viewed net-favorably by the public. The key round of elimination of the more-attractive candidates, was in the primaries; and, after that, it became merely a choice between uglies in the general election. Any decent (or even nearly decent) person had already been eliminated, by that time. More…

The Long Death of America’s Middle Class

[Economic]
The Long Death of America’s Middle Class
By Nick Giambruno
Posted July 5, 2018

1950s, the middle class was strongestThe late 1950s was the golden age of America’s middle class. This isn’t nostalgia talking. The US really did have robust Main Streets and thriving small businesses. Around then, a husband could support his family on an average income. He and his wife likely owned their own home, as well as their car. They had multiple children—and didn’t think much of the cost of having more. Plus, they had money to save.

Compare that to the average family today. Both spouses likely have to work—whether they want to or not—just to afford the same basic lifestyle. In 1959, the median annual salary for a US high school teacher was $5,276, according to the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, the median US home value was $9,627, according to the US Census Bureau.

That means a teacher made enough money each year to cover over half of the price of a middle-class home. Or 55%, to be exact. Take a minute and think… How does your annual income compare to the price of your home? I’d bet many people make far less than 55%. Today, the median purchase price of a US home is $241,700. To maintain the 1959 income-to-home price ratio, a high school teacher would need to make $132,935 annually. Of course, the average high school teacher doesn’t make nearly that much. Not even close. He or she makes around $48,290—just enough to cover 36% of the median home price. More…

Inside the Barbaric U.S. Industry of Dog Experimentation

[Social]
Inside the Barbaric U.S. Industry of Dog Experimentation
by Glenn Greenwald and Leighton Akio Woodhouse
Posted July 4, 2018

dogs are tortured for profitDogs bred into life for use or sale as experimentation objects have all the same emotional complexities, sensations of suffering and deprivation, and inbred need for human companionship as household dogs which are loved as pets and members of the family. Yet the legalized cruelty and torture to which man’s best friend is subjected for profit in the U.S. is virtually limitless.

In fact, the majority of dogs bred and sold for experimentation are beagles, which are considered ideal because of their docile, human-trusting personality. In other words, the very traits that have made them such loving and loyal companions to humans are the ones that humans exploit to best manipulate them in labs. More…

An Empire of Nothing at All. The U.S. Military Takes Us Through the Gates of Hell

[Spiritual]
An Empire of Nothing at All. The U.S. Military Takes Us Through the Gates of Hell
By Tom Engelhardt
Posted July 3, 2018

empire of destructionAs I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute published an estimate of the taxpayer dollars that will have gone into America’s war on terror from September 12, 2001, through fiscal year 2018. That figure: a cool $5.6 trillion (including the future costs of caring for our war vets). On average, that’s at least $23,386 per taxpayer.

Keep in mind that such figures, however eye-popping, are only the dollar costs of our wars. They don’t, for instance, include the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably — in these years, almost uniquely — bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called “national security.”

That’s not, of course, what would make most of us more secure, but what would make them — the denizens of the national security state — ever more secure in Washington and elsewhere. We’re talking about the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. nuclear complex, and the rest of that state-within-a-state, including its many intelligence agencies and the warrior corporations that have, by now, been fused into that vast and vastly profitable interlocking structure. More…

Match Made in Hell: Bayer-Monsanto Partnership Signals Death Knell for Humanity

[Social]
Match Made in Hell: Bayer-Monsanto Partnership Signals Death Knell for Humanity
by Robert Bridge
Posted July 3, 2018

poison our food, then sell us expensive drugs to treat cancersOn what plane of reality is it possible that two of the world’s most morally bankrupt corporations, Bayer and Monsanto, can be permitted to join forces in what promises to be the next stage in the takeover of the world’s agricultural and medicinal supplies?

Warning, plot spoiler: There is no Mr. Hyde side in this horror story of epic proportions; it’s all Dr. Jekyll. Like a script from a David Lynch creeper, Bayer AG of poison gas fame has finalized its $66 billion (£50bn) purchase of Monsanto, the agrochemical corporation that should be pleading the Fifth in the dock on Guantanamo Bay instead of enjoying what amounts to corporate asylum and immunity from crimes against humanity. Such are the special privileges that come from being an above-the-law transnational corporation.

Unsurprisingly, the first thing Bayer did after taking on Monsanto, saddled as it is with the extra baggage of ethic improprieties, was to initiate a rebrand campaign. Like a Hollywood villain falling into a crucible of molten steel only to turn up later in some altered state, Monsanto has been subsumed under the Orwellian-sounding ‘Bayer Crop Science’ division, whose motto is: “Science for a better life.” More…

9/11 Trillions: Follow The Money

[Justice]
9/11 Trillions: Follow The Money
by James Corbett
Posted July 2, 2018

9-11, follow the moneyForget for one moment everything you’ve been told about September 11, 2001. 9/11 was a crime. And as with any crime, there is one overriding imperative that detectives must follow to identify the perpetrators: follow the money. This is an investigation of the 9/11 money trail.

In 1998, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to privatize the World Trade Center, the complex of office towers in Lower Manhattan that they had owned and operated since their construction in 1973. In April 2001 an agreement was reached with a consortium of investors led by Silverstein Properties and on July 24th, 2001 Larry Silverstein, who already owned World Trade Center Building 7, signed a 99 year lease for the Twin Towers and Buildings 4 and 5.

The lease was for $3.2 billion, and was financed by a bridge loan from GMAC, the commercial mortgage arm of General Motors, as well as $111 million from Lloyd Goldman and Joseph Cayre, individual real estate investors. Silverstein Properties only put down $14 million of its own money. More…

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

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