Social Articles from 2018
Most ‘Wealth’ Isn’t the Result of Hard Work. It Has Been Accumulated by Being Idle and Unproductive
By Laurie Macfarlane
Posted March 26, 2018
One of the basic claims of capitalism is that people are rewarded in line with their effort and productivity. Another is that the economy is not a zero sum game. The beauty of a capitalist economy, we are told, is that people who work hard can get rich without making others poorer.
Last week The Times reported that during the past three months alone, baby boomers converted £850 million of housing wealth into cash using equity release products – the highest number since records began. A third used the money to buy cars, while more than a quarter used it to fund holidays. Others are choosing to buy more property: the Chartered Institute of Housing has described how the buy-to-let market is being fuelled by older households using their housing wealth to buy more property, renting it out to those who are unable to get a foot on the property ladder. And it is here that we find the dark side of the housing boom. More…
A False Agenda for Humanity
by Julian Rose
Posted March 23, 2018
Humanity has, for millennia, been led down the road of an entirely false agenda. So much so, that every aspect of society is almost the precise reverse of what it should be. Just a glimmer of awareness reveals that the true potential of the majority of mankind remains locked away, unable to exert any influence on the course of events on our planet.
Given the scale of this imprisonment, it becomes apparent that the world has been moving on a trajectory invented and directed by a false intelligence, whose interests are diametrically opposed to the intelligence of natural planetary consciousness.
I use the word ‘intelligence’ because its hard to find the right word to describe that which is very clever, but lacks the ability to feel love or compassion; and is often ruthless without ever showing emotion. Intelligence should have a more human ring to it, but the word has been hijacked by the spying networks: the CIA, FBI, MI5 for example, all call themselves ‘intelligence agencies’. Not exactly warm-blooded institutions! More…
A 14-Year-Old Girl Forced Alone and at Night Into the Gaza Cage
by Jonathan Cook
Posted March 22, 2018
How did a 14-year-old Palestinian girl who has never set foot in the open-air prison of Gaza find herself being dumped there by Israeli officials – alone, at night and without her parents being informed?
The terrifying ordeal – a child realising she had not been taken home but discarded in a place where she knew no one – is hard to contemplate for any parent.
And yet for Israel’s gargantuan bureaucratic structure that has ruled over Palestinians for five decades, this was just another routine error. One mishap among many that day. More…
Video and Photo Evidence Now Even More Easily Faked and Fabricated
by Makia Freeman
Posted March 19, 2018
Photo evidence and video evidence has been relied on in academia, science, courts of law and elsewhere to prove or refute facts and theories – but those days are coming to an end. We live in an historic era. Technological advances in the realm of computers and AI are taking place so rapidly that our world is being changed overnight.
Now, software has been written that allows computers to create new faces that look like normal unique people but which are actually composite amalgams; to literally create and fabricate objects (from a basic sketch) and render them so lifelike that you won’t be able to tell the difference between the fabricated ones and the real ones; and to remove entire objects from video footage in real time, and render in the empty space so well that it is undetectable to the eye. The days of being able to trust photo evidence and video evidence are disappearing – and the implications for human knowledge are far reaching. More…
Happy Aniversary, James Clapper
by Jonathan Turley
Posted March 14, 2018
Today is an important anniversary for former intelligence chief James Clapper. No it is not his marriage anniversary or conventional milestone. Clapper can celebrate the running out of the statute of limitations on his alleged perjury before Congress — five years and Clapper is now beyond the reach of the law.
I recently wrote a column on the approaching anniversary and how it reaffirms the widely held view that powerful people in Washington are immune from laws used against the rest of society.
Clapper appeared before the Senate to discuss surveillance programs in the midst of a controversy over warrantless surveillance of the American public. He was asked directly, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?” There was no ambiguity or confusion and Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.” That was a lie and Clapper knew it when he said it. More…
42 People Own the Same Wealth as the Bottom 3.7 Billion, Says Report
by Amanda Froelich
Posted March 12, 2018
Repeat after me: “I am free.” Now, say it again with conviction. Can you? Probably not. This is because the world we collectively share is anything but fair, and this is largely due to an imbalanced distribution of wealth. If you are doubtful, perhaps a new report by Oxfam will convince you. In their recent report, entitled “Reward Work, Not Wealth“, the non-profit organization reveals that 82 percent of the wealth created in 2017 “went to the richest one percent.”
According to the report, 2017 “saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history.” 42 people now “own the same wealth as the bottom 3.7 billion people,” says the report. The trend is nothing new, but is becoming more noticeable as “the richest one percent continue to own more wealth than the whole of the rest of humanity.” More…
The Opioid Epidemic in America – Killing One Million Workers: The Triumph of Capital
By Prof. James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya
Posted March 9, 2018
Official government studies estimate almost 700,000 deaths since 1999, based on the scattered and incomplete coroner reports and death certificates that characterize the state of vital statistics in the US. There is no uniformity in data collection and no interest in developing a uniform national system on which to formulate social policies. Most likely additional hundreds of thousands of drug deaths have gone un-recorded or attributed to ‘pre-existing’ medical conditions, suicides and accidents – despite clear evidence of over-prescription of narcotics and sedatives in the victims.
The ‘drug epidemic’ in the US is all about the current structure of power and social relations in an increasingly oligarchic state amidst growing class inequalities and immiseration. At its roots, American capitalism in the 21st Century has degraded, impoverished and exploited US workers and employees with increasing intensity over the past two decades. Workers have lost almost all collective influence in the workplace and in politics. Working conditions and safety have deteriorated – while capitalists hire and fire at will. Salaries, pensions, health care and death benefits have been slashed or disappeared. More…
How Uncle Sam Launders Marijuana Money
By Ellen Brown
Posted March 8, 2018
In a blatant example of “do as I say, not as I do,” the US government is profiting handsomely by accepting marijuana cash in the payment of taxes while imposing huge penalties on banks for accepting it as deposits. Onerous reporting requirements are driving small local banks to sell out to Wall Street. Congress needs to harmonize federal with state law.
One small banker complained that banks have been turned into spies secretly reporting to the federal government. If they fail to comply, they can face stiff enforcement actions, whether or not actual money-laundering crimes are alleged. In 2010, one small New Jersey bank pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Bank Secrecy Act and was fined $5 million for failure to file suspicious-activity and cash-transaction reports. Another small New Jersey bank closed its doors after it was hit with $8 million in fines over its inadequate monitoring policies. The cost of compliance and threat of massive fines for not complying have been major factors in the collapse of the community banking sector. The number of community banks has fallen by 40 percent since 1994 and their share of U.S. banking assets has fallen by more than half, from 41 percent to 18 percent. More…
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