Social Articles from 2017

How Big Pharma Fuels the Opioid Epidemic

[Community]
How Big Pharma Fuels the Opioid Epidemic
By Lynn Parramore
Posted November 5, 2017

big pharma fueling opioid crisisOver a 40-year career, Philadelphia attorney Daniel Berger has obtained millions in settlements for investors and consumers hurt by a rogues’ gallery of corporate wrongdoers, from Exxon to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. But when it comes to what America’s prescription drug makers have done to drive one of the ghastliest addiction crises in the country’s history, he confesses amazement.

The U.S. prescription drug industry has opened a new frontier in public havoc, manipulating markets and deceptively marketing opioid drugs that are known to addict and even kill. It’s a national emergency that claims 90 lives per day. Berger lays much of the blame at the feet of companies that have played every dirty trick imaginable to convince doctors to over-prescribe medication that can transform fresh-faced teens and mild-mannered adults into zombified junkies. More…

It’s Time to Rewrite the Rules of Our Economy

[Economic]
It’s Time to Rewrite the Rules of Our Economy
By Tim O’Reilly
Posted November 2, 2017

divine right of kingsFuture economic historians may look back wryly at this period when we worshipped the divine right of capital while looking down on our ancestors who believed in the divine right of kings.

Business leaders making decisions to outsource jobs to low-wage countries or to replace workers with machines, or politicians who insist that it is “the market” that makes them unable to require companies to pay a living wage, rely on the defense that they are only following the laws of economics. But the things economists study are not natural phenomena like the laws of motion uncovered by Kepler and Newton.

Right now we’re at an inflection point, where many rules are being profoundly rewritten. Much as happened during the industrial revolution, new technology is rendering obsolete whole classes of employment while making untold new wonders possible. It is making some people very rich, and others much poorer. More…

What the Kennedy Assassination Records Reveal: Uncontrollable Incompetence

[Social]
What the Kennedy Assassination Records Reveal: Uncontrollable Incompetence
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted November 2, 2017

incompetence rules at FBI, CIA, and NSAImagine Harvey Weinstein wielding a “top secret” stamp to block any exposure of the uncomfortable truth and you have the FBI, CIA and NSA.

One way to interpret the intelligence community’s reluctance to let all the Kennedy assassination archives become public is that the archives contain evidence of a “smoking gun”: that is, evidence that the intelligence agencies of the United States of America were complicit in the assassination of the President.

I think the agencies fear something larger: exposure of their gross incompetence, their “cowboy” recklessness and their disavowal of elected-civilian control. Their fear of this exposure is based on one simple fact: nothing’s changed since 1963. They were unaccountable and incompetent then, and they remain unaccountable and incompetent now. The only difference is their funding has greatly increased. More…

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

[Politics]
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
by Cognitive Dissonance
Posted November 1, 2017

the government needs more time to determine what to release on Kennedy assasinationAt best the most recent JFK disclosures are part and parcel of an ongoing, and ever evolving, psychological operation directed at the American people. How do you control a large group of people that far outnumber those who wish to control the group? Divide and conquer is the age old method used consistently and successfully to distract, divert and divide the restless herd.

Color me surprised, shocked even, that at the last minute the ‘government’ has withheld full and final disclosure of the last remaining documents related to the John F. Kennedy assassination, ostensibly because they needed more time to examine about 200 for possible (further) redaction.

I don’t even know where to begin here other than to confess to my cynical sarcasm. I do not believe a single word uttered by any ‘intelligence’ agency or those who carry their water. More…

How Big Corporations Game Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy

[Political]
How Big Corporations Game Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy
By Ralph Nader
Posted October 24, 2017

corporate coup has taken placeRemarkably, the artificial creation called the “corporation” has now achieved almost all of the rights of real people under our “We the People” Constitution that never mentions the words “corporation” or “company.”

Corporations cannot vote, at least not yet; only people can. That was seen as a major lever of democratic power over corporations. So what has happened? Commercial money to politicians started weakening the influence of voters because the politicians became increasingly dependent on the corporate interests that bankrolled their campaigns. The politicians use their ever-increasing corporate cash to saturate voters with deceptive political ads, and intimidate any competitors who have far less money, but may be far better representative of the public good.

To further shatter the principle of voter sovereignty, corporations have rewarded those politicians who construct restrictive political party rules, gerrymander electoral districts and obstruct third party candidate ballot access. By concentrating political power in fewer and fewer hands, corporate influence becomes more deeply entrenched in our democratic society. Politicians quickly learn that political favors will attract more corporate campaign cash and other goodies. More…

How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation

[Economic]
How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation
by Ellen Brown
Posted October 22, 2017

robots will be replacing humansIn May 2017, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford published the results of a survey of the world’s best artificial intelligence experts, who predicted that there was a 50 percent chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks within 45 years. All human jobs were expected to be automated in 120 years, with Asian respondents expecting these dates much sooner than North Americans. In theory, that means we could all retire and enjoy the promised age of universal leisure. But the immediate concern for most people is that they will be losing their jobs to machines.

That helps explain the recent interest in a universal basic income (UBI) – a sum of money distributed equally to everyone. A UBI has been proposed in Switzerland, trials are beginning in Finland, and there is a successful pilot ongoing in Brazil. The cities of Ontario in Canada, Oakland in California, and Utrecht in the Netherlands are planning trials; two local authorities in Scotland have announced such plans; and politicians across Europe, including UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, have spoken in favor of the concept. Advocates in the US range from Robert Reich to Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Luther King, Thomas Paine, Charles Murray, Elon Musk, Dan Savage, Keith Ellison and Paul Samuelson. More…

The End of Empire

[Social]
The End of Empire
by Chris Hedges
Posted October 19, 2017

American empire is endingThe American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts.

The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too. More…

11 Actions Which Indicate You’re Actually Waking Up

[Spiritual]
11 Actions Which Indicate You’re Actually Waking Up
by Phillip J. Watt
Posted October 18, 2017

are you awakening?Residents of earth are becoming more conscious in two primary areas.

The first relates to the way in which our planetary social system has been hijacked into a scam to predominately benefit a select few at the expense of the rest of us, as well as our natural systems. The second concerns our intimate connection to all of reality, regardless if viewed through an ecological, scientific or metaphysical lens.

These shifts in consciousness are not based on new insights. In our so-called ‘civilized’ history there have always been royal families, aristocrats and the upper echelons of social and corporate structures who have aimed to control local, regional and international populations through whatever means possible, leading to many revolutions. More…

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