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Social Articles from 2015

Land Degradation, Desertification Might Create 50 Million Climate Refugees Within A Decade

Land Degradation, Desertification Might Create 50 Million Climate Refugees Within A Decade
By Avaneesh Pandey
Posted Septemeber 25, 2015

climate change desertificationDesertification — climate change-triggered degradation of land ecosystems — might, in a decade, create 50 million refugees, the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD), a global initiative led by 30 different research groups, warned in a new study published Tuesday. The study, backed by the United Nations, also found that $6.3 trillion to $10.6 trillion worth of resources — equivalent to up to 17 percent of the world’s GDP — were lost annually due to land degradation.

“Our lands are no longer able to keep up with the pressures placed on its limited resources. Increasing misuse and demands for its goods are resulting in rapidly intensifying desertification and land degradation globally — an issue of growing importance for all people and at all scales,” the report, titled “The Value of Land,” said. More…

Monsanto’s Tobacco Files: University Scientists Caught Conspiring With Biotech Industry to Manipulate Public Opinion on GMOs

Monsanto’s Tobacco Files: University Scientists Caught Conspiring With Biotech Industry to Manipulate Public Opinion on GMOs
by Dave Murphy
Posted September 21, 2015

congress protects MonsantoWhat happens when a private company with a long history of producing some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet and now produces our food starts facing public pressure from a growing national grassroots movement to label their products to conform with basic principles of democracy and transparency?

Well, if the company in question is Monsanto, then you take a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook and hatch a secret plan to enlist public university scientists to bury the potential harm of your genetically engineered crops by whitewashing negative studies and systematically demonizing your opponents in the media to mislead elected officials and the American public about the safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and their accompanying toxic pesticides. More..

Nine Liberties Lost Since 9/11

Nine Liberties Lost Since 9/11
by Carey Wilder
Posted September 15, 2015

loss of our libertiesWhile the events that transpired on 9/11 should never be forgotten — and should be commemorated — often, the nationalistic grandstanding that comes along with mourning the dead removes any possibility to mourn the freedoms lost — or the very literal lost and tortured lives of individuals around the world subjected to the aggressive foreign policy enabled by 9/11. While the government is categorically to blame for these violations, it is an unfortunate fact that Americans are guilty of creating an environment where crimes against humanity go unchecked and nearly every element of American life is regulated and surveilled. By allowing themselves to be manipulated by constant fear-mongering, Americans have allowed — if not applauded — this confiscation of their freedoms.

Every year, “NEVER FORGET” echoes through the neighborhoods, cities, and Facebook statuses of America. 14 years after 9/11, Americans still bear the cross of a nation victimized and scorned after the brutal attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. While Americans — and politicians who are still intent on capitalizing on the tragedy — vow never to forget the fateful day, far too many citizens forget the liberties they have relinquished as a result. Lest yesterday’s valiantly waving flags, government ceremonies, and TV news specials replaying the plane crashes coax you into forgetting, these nine essential freedoms have been usurped since 9/11: More…

Peak Obedience

Peak Obedience
by Paul Rosenberg
Posted September 8, 2015

peak obedience In our typical “scary cult” stories, we find people who have given up their own functions of choice and who then do crazy things because they are told to by some authority. While inside their cult, however, it all makes sense; it’s all self-reinforcing.

So, inside a cult of obedience, obedience would seem proper; it would seem righteous; and more than anything else, it would seem normal. And I think that very well describes the Western status quo.

Obedience, however, should not seem normal to us. Obedience holds our minds in a “child” state, and that is not fitting for any healthy person past their first few years of life. It also presupposes that the people we obey have complete and final knowledge; and in fact, they do not: politicians, central bankers, and the other lords of the age have been wrong – obviously and publicly wrong – over and over. More…

The Metaphysics of Computer Consciousness

The Metaphysics of Computer Consciousness
by Steven Harp
Posted August 22, 2015

Ex MachinaIt seems unquestioned in the world today that science is on the verge of creating consciousness with computers. In a Promethean rapture inspired by its enormous technological success, science aspires now to seize control of fundamental powers at the very heart of the universe.

How can something with neither mass nor dimension arise from that which has mass and dimension? How can that which has subjectivity and intentionality arise from that which has objectivity and has no intentionality? This is the magisterial conundrum and is recognized as the greatest mystery in science. For materialists the arrival of artificial intelligence and machine consciousness is inevitable and only a matter of time. We have two main schools of thought developing on how to meet the coming technological tsunami – those who fear it and those who embrace it. More…

Meet the Hedge Funders and Billionaires Who Pillage Under the Shield of Philanthropy

Meet the Hedge Funders and Billionaires Who Pillage Under the Shield of Philanthropy
By Lynn Parramore
Posted August 7, 2015

Steven Chen - Vulture capitalist guilty of insider tradingAmerica’s parasitical oligarchs are masters of public relations. One of their favorite tactics is to masquerade as defenders of the common folk while neatly arranging things behind the scenes so that they can continue to plunder unimpeded. Perhaps nowhere is this sleight of hand displayed so artfully as it is at a particular high-profile charity with the nerve to bill itself as itself as “New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization.”

Meet the benevolent patrons of the Robin Hood Foundation. By occupation (the more useless and parasitical the better), it comes as no surprise that 12 of the 19 men in leadership positions at the Robin Hood Foundation happen to be hedge fund managers. A group called Hedge Clippers, supported by a coalition of labor unions and community groups and devoted to exposing how billionaires scheme to inflate their wealth and influence, has pointed out in a scathing report that the Robin Hood Foundation has close ties to an organization called the Managed Funds Association (MFA) that — shocker! —lobbies tirelessly for unjustified tax breaks for hedgies. More…

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