Social Articles from 2018

Lawsuit Exposes How The Government’s “Justice” System Keeps The Poor, Poor

[Social]
Lawsuit Exposes How The Government’s “Justice” System Keeps The Poor, Poor
by Mac Slavo
Posted July 17, 2018

policing for profitIt’s not a secret that government’s want to seize as much from the producers as possible to bloat their power-hungry heads. But a new lawsuit is actually giving the details on just how the government uses the “justice” system to keep the poor in dire states of poverty.

The ACLU of North Carolina, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice have slapped the state of North Carolina with a federal lawsuit over the state’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses over unpaid tickets.

However, this is a national problem not limited to North Carolina and stems from law enforcement looking to extort money for victimless crimes, and having the state in charge of driver’s licenses. In fact, a Washington Post report from earlier this month found that over 7 million people around the country may have had their licenses revoked for traffic debt-related reasons, although that number could be much higher. It’s just another way that both law enforcement and the justice department, as a whole, kneecaps the poor. More…

Do we really need $716 billion for the Pentagon?

[Political]
Do we really need $716 billion for the Pentagon?
By William D. Hartung
Posted July 16, 2018

Do we really need $700 BILLION for militaryAs Congress continues its consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019, there is one question that is not being asked: Do we really need $716 billion to defend the United States?

That’s the figure that came out of the budget deal that was concluded earlier this year. This would cover the Pentagon’s regular budget; the war budget — known formally as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account — and nuclear weapons activities at the Department of Energy.

But just because they signed a deal that allows them to authorize and appropriate $716 billion for defense doesn’t mean Congress has to do it. They most likely will, for reasons good and ill. But there should at least be a debate about the appropriate level and distribution of defense expenditures, for the good of the country and our future security. Too often the availability of ample funds leads to sloppy decision-making and a failure to set priorities. We can’t let that happen. More…

How Systems Collapse

[Social]
How Systems Collapse
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted July 13, 2018

systemic collapseThis is how systems collapse: faith in the visible surface of abundance reigns supreme, and the fragility of the buffers goes unnoticed.

I often discuss systems and systemic collapse. The key concepts here are stability and buffers. Though complex systems are never static, but they can be stable: that is, they ebb and flow within relatively stable boundaries supported by reserves, i.e. buffers.

In ecosystems, this ebb and flow is expressed in feedback loops between the weather, environment and plant/animal species which inhabit the ecosystem. Ideal weather/food conditions may spark a rise in an insect population, for example, which then enables an increase in insect-predator populations (fish, birds, frogs, etc.) which then increases the consumption of the insects and reduces the impact of the higher insect population. More…

Mainstream Media vs. the Age of Information

[Media]
Mainstream Media vs. the Age of Information
by Ethan Indigo Smith
Posted July 12, 2018

access to information being stifiledThe world is on the precipice of change. The information age has the power to challenge the structures of the status quo. It even has the potential to eliminate the influence of money over the election of our leaders, since all candidates can be offered equal communication platforms which enable them all (and their policies) equally, so that those with the best ideas are elected and not the wealthiest corporate-funded noisemaker who can buy support and advertising time on corporate media.

Indeed, there are so many ways that the information age could completely shift the oligarchical collectivism of the power structures of the world in favor of individuals instead of institutions. So, instead of expanding our reach of information – instead of inspiring individuals to dig for truth and research for realness – the institutional powers-that-be are constricting the field of information.

This is particularly obvious with recent challenges to net neutrality — a neutrality that 87% of average Americans support, but which institutions are nonetheless seeking to destroy. More…

Chase Says It’s Fighting Climate Change. So Why Is It Financing the Fossil Fuel Industry?

[Economics]
Chase Says It’s Fighting Climate Change. So Why Is It Financing the Fossil Fuel Industry?
By Kate Aronoff
Posted July 11, 2018

Wall Street banks are financing big oilJPMorgan Chase (“Chase”) talks a big game on climate change. The Wall Street bank has committed to becoming entirely reliant on renewable energy by 2020, and facilitating $200 billion in clean financing—of low-carbon fuel sources—by 2025. “Business must play a leadership role in creating solutions that protect the environment and grow the economy,” CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement announcing the pledge last summer.

As protesters at the company’s Texas shareholder meeting last week pointed out, Chase is leading on an entirely different front: financing fossil fuel infrastructure. There have been ongoing efforts over the last several years for universities and pension funds to drop their investments in fossil fuels. Activists fighting mountaintop removal coal mining successfully targeted banks like PNC to stop financing the practice, and the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline spawned its own push against Bank of America.

This most recent wave of energy in the fossil fuel divestment movement—targeting banks’ financing of fossil fuel infrastructure, in particular—was spurred by the momentum generated in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). More…

Why Public Banking is the End Goal of the Divestment Movement

[Community]
Why Public Banking is the End Goal of the Divestment Movement
by Phoenix Goodman
Posted July 10, 2018

Wall Street banks were funding pipeline projectSomething big is starting to happen in the world of activism. Grassroots campaigns are beginning to coalesce into coherent, focused missions with definable outcomes.

The Divest campaign is a classic example of how the People can have a tangible effect on society by speaking the language of the dominating classes: money.

Divestment is what it sounds like: removing public investments from corporate institutions, and repurposing them into organizations which will benefit the common good. This means leveraging the collective will through mass individual actions to force the perpetrators of corrupt and unscrupulous behavior to directly lose profits; in essence, to divest is to boycott. More…

There Is A Lucrative Espionage Industry For Covering Up The Crimes Of The Rich

[Justice]
There Is A Lucrative Espionage Industry For Covering Up The Crimes Of The Rich
by Caitlin Johnstone
Posted July 9, 2018

Black Cube services for saleWeinstein is not one of the wealthiest men in his country, but even he could afford to hire his own personal army of ex-Mossad intelligence veterans to conduct espionage and psyops to silence his rape victims.

The price tag on this whole operation? The final invoice totaled $600,000. Well within the affordability range of a man like Weinstein, and even considerably less wealthy millionaires if they really needed such services.

I have a hard time imagining anything more evil than a powerful Hollywood elite hiring out ex-Mossad agents to silence his rape victims. It’s the kind of darkness that makes you reconsider your most fundamental beliefs about what humans are and what we’re doing here. As awful as this particular case is, though, what I find far more disturbing is its broader implications. More…

Opposition To GMOs Is Neither Unscientific Nor Immoral

[Spiritual]
Opposition To GMOs Is Neither Unscientific Nor Immoral
by Charles Eisentein
Posted July 8, 2018

GMO for profitsIn a recent opinion piece – Avoiding GMOs Isn’t Just Anti-science, It’s Immoral – Purdue University president Mitch Daniels offers an impassioned plea that we embrace GMOs in agriculture. Daniels’ argument runs as follows: The health and ecological safety of GMOs is unquestionable “settled science.” Therefore, it is immoral to deny developing countries the agricultural technology they need to boost food production and feed their growing populations. It seems an open-and-shut case: the self-indulgent anti-GMO fad among rich consumers threatens the less fortunate with starvation. As Daniels says, it is immoral for them to “inflict their superstitions on the poor and hungry”.

But let’s look at some of the assumptions that this argument takes for granted: (1) That GMOs are indeed safe, and (2) that GMOs and industrial agriculture in general allow higher yields than more traditional forms of agriculture. More…

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