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61

      

By John Vibes


Each year in the United States, millions of people participate in a mass ritual in consumerism that has come to be known as Black Friday. Less than 24 hours after people claim to contemplate on what they are thankful for, many of them engage in battle with their neighbors over discounted plastic or electronic goods. As the years go on, the scenes at Black Friday sales have become increasingly chaotic and violent, with deaths and injuries becoming commonplace.


Many people decide to stay home and shop online instead, while others have decided to boycott the sales altogether. The most popular Black Friday boycott is known as “Buy Nothing Day,” and it has been going strong for 24 years now. The boycott was initially organized by Vancouver-based artist Ted Dave, who wanted to promote a “day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.”


         



      

The first official boycott kicked off on the same day as Black Friday in 1997, and has spread all over the world in the decades since.


The website of the UK chapter for Buy Nothing Day states that:


The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from buying stuff – anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending! Instead of shopping, people around the world will take part in a 24-hour moratorium on consuming, either as a personal experiment or public statement. The anarchy that ensues on Black Friday has now become an absurd dystopian phenomenon … Black Friday sucks the life out of small businesses, who cannot compete against this ruthless price cutting. If you really need to shop on Buy Nothing Day, ignore the big retailers … make commitment to support local independent shops and businesses.”


See: 177 Different Ways to Generate Extra Income


Advocates of Buy Nothing Day say that they hope to encourage mindfulness about consumption habits that will last for years to come.


According to the National Retail Federation, more than 174 million Americans shopped from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in 2016. The average amount that each shopper spent that year was around $335. This year, experts predict that 165 million people plan on shopping for Black Friday this year.



John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture, and focuses solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast. Read More stories by John Vibes


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62

      

By Tyler Durden


After two months of anti-corruption and anti-government protests have rocked Iraq, resulting in a death toll into the hundreds as the unrest turns increasingly sectarian and which has included the burning of two Iranian consulates, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi says he will resign.


He announced in an official statement put out by his office that he will submit his resignation to parliament after the country’s top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, suddenly pulled support, telling the nation in a Friday sermon that parliament should “reconsider its options” after putting Mahdi in power in the first place.


The subsequent statement signed by Abdul Mahdi indicated the following:


In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand (to accept) my resignation from the leadership of the current government.


         



      

Local authorities estimate the death toll since protests erupted on Oct. 1 has soared to over 400 people, with thousands wounded, amid reports of ‘live fire’ used by police. This includes security forces reportedly shooting some 40 people dead in Baghdad and in southern provinces in what was possibly the deadliest single day on Thursday.


At least on top provincial police chief was removed over shooting deaths this week, after Iraqi clerics had previously urged government forces to refrain from using deadly force.


Iraq remains a sectarian powder keg waiting to erupt further, given anti-corruption protests have quickly turned to target neighboring Iran’s influence; however Mahdi’s stepping down may relieve some of that pressure, given he had the close backing of Iran.


Meanwhile, Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militias have reportedly been increasingly involved in assisting security forces in putting down the popular unrest which has swept the country – by some accounts even deploying snipers.


Washington, too, has pointed the finger at Tehran and its paramilitaries inside of Iraq of stoking the unrest and destabilizing its neighbor in order to tighten its grip of influence over the country, which still has thousands of American troops present in an advisory capacity.



This article was sourced from ZeroHedge.com


Image credit


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63
Huffington Post General Discussion / Secret Societies Revisited
« Last post by administrator on November 29, 2019, 06:31:27 PM »

      

By Jon Rappoport


As many of my readers know, I wrote a book called The Secret Behind Secret Societies (included as a bonus in Exit From The Matrix and Power Outside The Matrix). This article adds a few pieces to the puzzle.


Bilderberg Group, CFR, Trilateral Commission—I called these and other such groups Architects of Reality. Among their actions, they try to build our perception of the world.


What is that perception? It’s an endless string of crises and half-hearted resolutions—that’s how we’re supposed to see things. We’re not supposed to see what actually works about the world.


Because what works is freedom and everything that flows from that.


         



      

In other words, secret societies are trying to bury the idea of freedom under an ongoing process of manufacturing desperate situations that can only be dealt with by large organizations—governments and so-called public interest groups.


“THE GROUP WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING.”


“THE INDIVIDUAL IS TOO WEAK.”


“FREEDOM OF THE INDIVIDUAL IS PASSE, BECAUSE ONLY LARGE GROUPS CAN INFLUENCE THE COURSE OF EVENTS.”


With an estimated 40-60 million people in the US taking tranquilizers every year, it appears this program is working. One chronic user frankly told me, “I can’t deal with reality anymore. Unless it’s a chemical reality.”


Over the years, I’ve spoken with a number of teachers in the US. They tell me the areas variously known as Civics, Social Studies, and Government no longer place emphasis on the individual or individual freedom. Instead, it’s all about “group rights” and “victims.”


So again, the agenda of burying freedom is working.


In 1776, the Illuminati was announced as an operating society in Europe. The most important political tenet of this group was the abolition of private property—and that principle can be historically traced all the way down to the formation of the USSR. And beyond. These days, private property is under attack, albeit in a “softer” manner. It, too, is a concept no longer given emphasis in our schools—and when you de-link private property from the individual, you are attacking a significant aspect of what freedom translates into, in everyday life.


An American Studies professor at a prominent Northeastern university told me, off the record, because he was afraid he might lose his job if he went public, “Political and economic crises are being manufactured all the time. It’s basically psychological warfare, because one feels these endless crises can’t be solved. People just give up. And when they do, who do they turn to? Government. Government will handle things. That’s a sign that freedom is no longer a priority. It’s going into the dustbin of history.”


He was suggesting that, in wider and wider circles, freedom is no longer considered a solution to any serious problem. And since we seem to be awash in a sea of problems, freedom goes on the shelf.


As I’ve been writing for years, creative power of the individual is the prow of the ship of our society. Great innovators are the people who keep us moving into the future. Well, if the legs are being cut out from under freedom, we will be seeing fewer and fewer of these innovators. As has been pointed out, we will be “naturally selecting” away from those people and toward groups.


This is no accident. This is an agenda. To say the loss of freedom is simply a trend overlooks the keynote of coming global government and management—it is groups, not individuals, who have access to larger and larger structures that run our affairs.






One small example: 90 years ago, the rise of labor unions was achieved through legislation passed by the federal government. In other words, government would protect the right of employees to organize and bargain with management. But now we have public unions—government employees who bargain with “themselves.” It’s an absurdity. The real purpose is to expand the size of government by making its jobs more attractive and intractable.


In our schools, children are being taught to think of themselves in terms of a group identity. To what group do you belong? What are the problems of your group? What are your group’s grievances? How is your group being mistreated? What does your group need?


Is this development an accident? Did it happen by chance?


It’s on the agenda of legislated equality, which replaces the idea of equal opportunity to succeed. Legislated equality supposes that, instead of freedom, we will have group rights and group privileges.


This leads to the development of “positioning”—a hierarchy of groups who have assigned degrees of power—in hopes that the notion of the individual will disappear. The individual will be placed in a context, will be given what he “deserves,” will occupy a place in life that is suitable for the benefit of overall society.


Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Illuminati, stated: “It was the full conviction of this, and what could be done, if every man were placed in the office for which he was fitted by nature and a proper education, which first suggested to me the plan of Illumination.”


Earlier, in 1755, a Frenchman known only as Morelly (possibly a pseudonym), wrote a treatise called Code of Nature. In it, he spells out what “fitting into society” means for those who oppose individual freedom:



I. Nothing in society will belong to anyone, either as a personal possession or as capital goods, except the things for which the person has immediate use, for either his needs, his pleasures, or his daily work.


II. Every citizen will be a public man, sustained by, supported by, and occupied at the public expense.




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III. Every citizen will make his particular contribution to the activities of the community according to his capacity, his talent and his age; it is on this basis that his duties will be determined, in conformity with the distributive laws.



Today, we are moving in this direction. A pseudo “share-and-care” philosophy, that claims to be the ultimate in humane concern, wants to “distribute” individuals within the fabric of society, in order to achieve “a better world for all.”


These days, instead of brusquely elevating society beyond the scope of the individual, the agenda works by tapping into empathic and sympathetic emotions—using others’ suffering as the tool by which people can be turned to “help everyone.” But what slips under the radar of this program is the institutionalizing of aid out along broad political and economic platforms that change the nature of society in its official functions.


Society, in other words, in the person (or non-person) of government, takes in order to give. Takes more to give more. A great leveling, which in essence ranks the free individual at the bottom of the ladder.


Nothing appears to be lost in this effort, if people have already forgotten what the free individual means and is.



(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)


The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.


Subscribe to Activist Post for truth, peace, and freedom news. Become an Activist Post Patron for as little as $1 per month at Patreon. Follow us on SoMee, Flote, Minds, Twitter, and Steemit.


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64
Huffington Post General Discussion / Understand The OPCW Scandal In Seven Minutes
« Last post by administrator on November 29, 2019, 06:10:45 PM »

      

By Caitlin Johnstone


One of the annoying things about continuing to write about the OPCW/Douma scandal in the near-total absence of mainstream media coverage is the fact that it’s difficult for a new reader to just jump in on this developing story without having followed it from the beginning. There are a lot of details to go over to introduce someone to the story, and if I repeat them every time I write an article on the subject I’m twelve paragraphs in before I get to the new developments, and by that time I’ve bored all the readers who didn’t need the introduction. I’m sure other alternative media figures commenting on this story have encountered the same problem.


Fortunately for us, In The Now and journalist Dan Cohen have stepped up to the plate and put together a concise, easy-to-follow video on both Twitter and Facebook explaining the OPCW scandal in a way that enables anyone to familiarize themselves with the story in seven minutes. This article exists solely to draw attention to this excellent resource.


         



      


Cohen has been really great about quickly getting concise, quality videos out to help people make sense of specific developing stories which the haze of western propaganda makes difficult to understand; his recent videos on the Bolivia coup and the Hong Kong protests were very helpful in the same way. He uses robust arguments and independently verifiable facts to clearly show that there’s much more to these stories than the mass media have been letting us know.


I’ll definitely be linking to this video in my articles going forward to enable anyone who hasn’t been following the OPCW scandal closely to quickly familiarize themselves with the story. The more of these lucid, accessible resources we’ve got circulating within the information ecosystem, the better.



Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

 



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65

      

By Tyler Durden


A bombshell follow-up report to a major document leak which confirmed and detailed China’s vast Uyghur Muslim Xinjiang prison network and system for monitoring communications and whereabouts has named names. Names, that is, of US tech giants that are actually aiding and abetting China’s multibillion-dollar surveillance industry being used to impose a total electronic police state on the communist country. And it’s not just Google and IBM, but a growing list of recognizable names.


U.S. companies, including Seagate Technology PLC, Western Digital Corp. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., have nurtured, courted and profited from China’s surveillance industry,” the scathing report begins. “Several have been involved since the industry’s infancy.”


These American companies gained greater scrutiny after the US Treasury recently targeted up to eight Chinese surveillance companies, blocking their ability to export US technology through which they could help the Chinese state in committing human rights and individual privacy violations. This included a federal ban on US agencies purchasing video surveillance equipment manufactured by Dahua, Hikvision, and Hytera Communications.


         



      

American companies over recent years have competed to enter China’s booming $10BN+ surveillance market, and also take advantage of Chinese companies’ rapidly progressing technology.


Stunningly, the WSJ investigation finds that “Of 37 Chinese firms singled out last November by the Beijing-backed China Security and Protection Industry Association for outstanding contributions to the country’s surveillance industry, 17 have publicly disclosed financing, commercial or supply-chain relationships with U.S. technology companies.” And further, “Several had multiple connections.”



Image source: WSJ

Demonstrating the ‘indirect’ relationship between US companies and Chinese state surveillance, via the WSJ: “Hikvision, China’s largest surveillance systems maker, has bought technology from U.S. firms directly and through third parties. Hikvision was placed on the U.S. entity list in October, limiting some of the technology it can buy from the U.S. American companies said they comply with the law and export rules, and declined to comment on whether sales continue.”


For example, the report details Hewlett Packard Enterprise owns 49% of New H3C Technologies Co. Ltd. This Chinese company is well-known as providing internet control systems to Chinese security services. “According to company marketing materials, one end customer for its switches is Aksu, a Xinjiang city that conducts broad surveillance of residents in public spaces. Satellite images suggest the city is home to multiple internment camps,” the report concludes.


Activist Post Recommended Book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism


And in another alarming example, China’s state-owned Hikvision receives a steady supply of programmable chips from San Jose, Calif.-based Xilinx Inc., which prompted a Xilinx response saying it doesn’t control or limit how its customers use its products, but takes human rights allegations “seriously”.



AP Photo: A saleswoman introduces human identification technology from state-owned surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision on a monitor at Security China 2018 in Beijing.

There are additional multiple instances of American companies’ operations and products becoming deeply entwined with that Chinese surveillance companies, such as chips and hard drives developed and produced in California being central to some of US-sanctioned Hikvision’s systems.


But is anyone surprised? Likely such major US companies as Hewlett Packard — its products long spread around the globe — will continue to seek a piece of the lucrative Chinese market while only claiming an ‘indirect’ relationship with Beijing’s growing police surveillance state, claiming further ‘it’s out of our hands’ what they do with American technology.





Brave - The Browser Built for Privacy




This article was sourced from ZeroHedge.com


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66

      

By B.N. Frank


Verizon has installed 5G in 12 NFL stadiums including the home of the New England Patriots.  So is it just a coincidence that there is now a “mystery illness” that is assumed to be “The Flu” causing players to be sent home from practice?


Exposure to sources of all sources of wireless radiation – including cell phones, WiFi and 5G – can cause “Microwave Sickness” which is sometimes mistaken for “The Flu.”  Coincidentally, Tom Brady has written about adopting an “electronics free” bedroom to improve his health.


         



      

From NBC Sports:



Eight players including cornerback Stephon Gilmore and linebacker Dont’a Hightower missed Wednesday’s practice at Gillette Stadium due to illness. Patriots captain Devin McCourty addressed the issue on Wednesday, saying it’s unlike anything he’s seen in his 10-year career.


“It was rough today. We had a lot of guys come in here and got sent home,” McCourty told reporters. “Those are tough situations. You don’t know how you’re going to feel. But, you know, we talked about last week [Marcus] Cannon is a guy who was sick all week and fought through the game. So we’ve got a lot of tough guys, but we’ve got to kind of see how it goes throughout the week.


“For me, in my 10 years here, this is probably the most guys I’ve seen be gone with just being sick. Guys came in, you look in their eyes and you could tell they were just out of it. So hopefully a day at home with meds and rest will help guys out.”



In February telecom executives testified that they have NO scientific evidence that 5G is safe.  Many doctors and scientists say that it’s not. People and their pets have already been getting sick where 5G has been installed (see 1, 2, 3)





Opposition and lawsuits against forced 5G installation continue to increase in the U.S. and worldwide (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).


Activist Post reports regularly about 5G and other unsafe technology.  For more information visit our archives and the following websites:



5GCrisis
5GExposed
5G Information
The 5G Summit
Whatis5G.Info
Zero5G
ElectromagneticHealth
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
Environmental Health Trust
My Street, My Choice
Physicians for Safe Technology
Scientists for Wired Tech
Wireless Information Network

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67

      

By Nwachukwu Egbunike


On November 20, the Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulation of other Related Matters Bill 2019, known as the “social media bill,” sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, sailed through a second reading.


The social media bill aims to curb online falsehoods and mis- and disinformation. However, the real intent is not regulation, but rather, the annihilation of online freedom of expression, criminalization of government criticism and legalization of internet shutdowns in Nigeria.


A similar bill was beaten dead in its track in 2016.


         



      

Any form of government criticism is a crime


This bill aims to “[prevent] the transmission of false statements or declaration of facts in Nigeria,” according to Section 1a. It will ban the dissemination statements likely to be “prejudicial” to Nigeria, including subjects like public health, public safety, “public tranquility or public finances” and Nigeria’s “friendly relations with other countries.”


The bill will also “detect, control and safeguard against coordinated misuse of online accounts and bots,” according to Section 1c. In other words, everything is permissible to monitor and control in the proposed law — under the guise of fighting false information.


The social media bill is omniscient since it will be binding for every Nigerian citizen, regardless of residence or geographic location, as long as the ambiguous “false statement of fact” is transmitted within the country. Section 3a to b(i) of the social media bill states that:


A person must not do any act in or outside Nigeria in order to transmit in Nigeria a statement knowing or having reasons to believe that it is a false statements of fact; and the transmission of the statement in Nigeria is likely to be, prejudicial to the security of Nigeria or any part of Nigeria.


The nebulous “national security” excuse is used to justify the trumping of free expression. But it does not stop there, the Nigerian government is always right and cannot be criticized. According to Section 3b(vi), any statement that diminishes “public confidence in the performance of any duty or function of, in the exercise of any power of the government” is prohibited.


According to Section 3b(v), this applies to any statement that: “incites feelings of enmity, hatred, directed at persons or ill-will between different groups of persons.” This is dangerous because it leaves regulators open to contradictory interpretations that could be abused by political actors.


Who defines and approves what incites feelings of hatred? It means that seeking transparency or even daring to hold a politician accountable could be declared hateful.


The punishment upon conviction for any provisions of the bill is a fine that ranges between 200,000 and 10 million naira [about $556 to $28,000 United States dollars], imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.


Police licensed to shut down the internet


The social media bill also grants the government unlimited power to switch off the internet, through the “Access Blocking Order” as contained in Section 12, number 3:


The Law Enforcement Department may direct the NCC [Nigerian Communications Commission – the regulatory agency for the telecommunication industry] to order the internet access service provider to take reasonable steps to disable access by end-users in Nigeria.


Internet service providers must comply with this blocking order or risk upon conviction a fine within the range of 5 to 10 million naira [$14,000-28,000 USD].


In addition, the bill under consideration indemnifies the internet service providers from any “civil or criminal liability” incurred from a lawsuit brought against them for “complying to any access blocking order,” according to section 12, number 5.


The human rights violations get murkier because the law grants the police a legal license to command an access-blocking order at whim. Section 15a states that only the “initiative” of the police in face of “overwhelming sufficing evidence” is needed to cancel an internet shutdown in the country.


Consequently, “no appeal may be made to the High Court” [Section 13(2)] by any party to revoke such a ban without first applying to the police to revoke an existing blocking order. The implications of this are obvious — no one can resort to the courts for redress in the face of this violation while the blocking order persists.


The lawmakers behind the social media bill


Three lawmakers seem to be the arrowhead of the bill in the Senate, the upper house of Nigeria’s parliament: Mohammed Sani Musa (the sponsor of the bill), Abba Moro and Elisha Abbo.




Mohammed Sani Musa’s company, Activate Technologies Limited, supplied the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) machine used for the 2019 general elections, while he was the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for Niger East Senatorial district, according to the investigative outlet, Premium Times. This is an allegation that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) admitted. Musa’s conflict of interest raised some doubts about the true independence of Nigeria’s election umpire in the last election.




Screenshot of Nigerian member of parliament, Senator Elisha Abbo.



Ishaku Elisha Abbo of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is a senator representing the Adamawa North Senatorial District in Adamawa State, in northeast Nigerian. In July 2019, in the presence of a police officer, Abbo assaulted a female staff member in an adult sex toy store in Abuja. After a video of the assault went viral on social media, Abbo offered a public apology.


Abba Moro, also with the PDP, is the senator representing Benue South district, northcentral Nigeria. On March 15, 2014, Moro, as minister of interior, was responsible for the Nigerian Immigration Recruitment tragedy in which about 6 million Nigerian youths who applied for 4,000 vacant positions in Nigerian Immigration Service were forced to assemble in various recruitment locations in the country.


The resulting stampede due to overcrowding led to about 20 deaths and multiple injuries. Moro was a recipient of part of the application fees paid by the job-seekers amounting to 675 million naira [about $1.8 million USD]. Moro not only enriched himself but also bypassed the extant procurement laws for the Immigration Service.


‘No need for silence, fear or self-pity’ – #SayNoToSocialMediaBill!






Using the hashtag #SayNoToSocialMediaBill, Nigerian netizens took to Twitter to express their collective indignation:




Sikemi Okunrinboye started a petition against the National Assembly, the president of the Senate and the president of Nigeria. The petition has gathered over 32,000 signatories.




Other Nigerians are reaching out to their lawmakers to vote against the bill.






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However, very few lawmakers, like Chimaroke Nnamani, stood against the bill when it was tendered in parliament for the second reading.




In a statement, Amnesty International condemned the use of “laws to justify human rights violations” because it will not only stop Nigerians “from speaking their minds” but will also “send them to jail for doing so.”


The parliament, under the pretext of curbing mis- and disinformation, is considering the enactment of a draconian law. Ironically, the greatest propagators of false information online are political actors.


Both Nigeria’s ruling and main opposition parties turned Twitter into a minefield of ethnic hate speech, disinformation and propaganda during the 2019 presidential elections.


In these troubling times of freedom of expression in Nigeria, the wise charge from American writer Toni Morrison evokes hope:


This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language.


The bill is currently at its second reading in the Senate. To become law, it will need to move to committee stage where legislators will review it. The committee presents its report to Parliament, the bill is debated, a clean copy is re-presented to the Senate for a final vote and then, there’s the presidential assent.


The Parliament must be hard-pressed to throw out the social media bill in its entirety. This is because Africa’s most populous country will slide smoothly into full dictatorship once freedom of expression has been extinguished.


Read more:


Social media propelled ethnocentric disinformation and propaganda during the Nigerian elections


Twitter was a minefield of false information during the 2019 Nigerian elections



Nwachukwu Egbunike — I’m a Nigerian. I write poetry and essays. My research interests are social media, youth political participation, politics and ethnicity.


This article was sourced from GlobalVoices.org


Subscribe to Activist Post for truth, peace, and freedom news. Become an Activist Post Patron for as little as $1 per month at Patreon. Follow us on SoMee, Flote, Minds, Twitter, and Steemit.


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68
Huffington Post General Discussion / How to Put Your Money Where Your Morals Are
« Last post by administrator on November 28, 2019, 07:45:38 PM »

      

By Laura Williams


Several Christmases ago, I stopped buying NCAA-branded gifts for my football fanatic in-laws, because the NCAA’s treatment of student-athletes is abysmal. Recent reports that some college sportswear is being made with the forced labor of Muslim-Chinese ‘Uyghurs’ may convince more shoppers to boycott.


Our beliefs and our behaviors dictate our buying decisions at least as much as our desires. Or they should, if we’re paying attention.


When you spend an extra $2 or $5 on hormone-free, free-range eggs, you’re purchasing some reassurance. You can reward the farmers who agree with your views about how chickens should be treated, or what they should be fed. But in an increasingly complex supply chain, how practical is it to express your values through your buying choices? Millennials (entering their prime earning years) will overtake boomers next year as the generation with the largest purchasing power. They’ll leap-frog the smaller Gen X, with larger numbers more than making up for their lower incomes. That means corporations, especially retailers, are eager to cater to millennial desires.


         



      

Gen Z, which will be the richest generation in human history, is already generating discussion by being choosier about brands that reflect—or reject—its values. By voting every day (at the cash register or online cart) young people are leading the way in supporting companies that prioritize (or at least publicize) making the world better, in addition to making products they love.


Conscious Consumption in a Complicated World

Economics is all about trade-offs, and conscious choice encourages us to navigate an imperfect world as best we can.


Vegans try to avoid all foods of animal origin. Many people feel strongly about supporting “fair trade” coffee and cocoa, even though it’s more expensive and the fairness to small farmers is dubious.


Some Christian conservatives make a point of supporting Chick-Fil-A, because they vocally support traditional values and give all employees Sundays off. Many woke millennials boycott those delicious chicken sammies over Chick-Fil-A’s record on LGBT issues, prompting an apparent change to company policy. Amid the cultural proxy-war, sales doubled.


All those choices are valid. And they’re valid because we honor our own values by putting our own money into the things we care about.


The Political Power of the Purse

This kind of conscious consumption is privilege by definition—it requires financial security to reject the most affordable version of just about everything.


It’s also not clear whether eco-friendly marketing hype corresponds to real change or just attempts to woo customers with greenwashing. Even when we’re deliberate about our buying choices, it’s difficult to know if we are making a meaningful difference or not.


We love our smartphones, even though making them requires mining rare minerals and every upgrade creates toxic e-waste. We increasingly prioritize travel and special events, despite the high carbon emissions from planes.


Young people rewarded Nike with a $6 billion boost in brand value for its support of the race-conscious Colin Kaepernick, forgetting temporarily the dire working conditions of other people of color in the Nike supply chain.






Vegan cosmetics replace animal-derived oils with palm oil, even though palm oil plantations are a leading cause of rainforest destruction. When consumer pressure encouraged brands to go “palm oil free,” replacement oils proved even worse for the environment.


I’ve written before about the invisible consequences of well-intentioned consumer trends:


When we embrace the meatless burger as a victory over factory farming, we don’t consider how much added land must be cleared to raise soybeans. We enthuse about “zero emission” electric cars, but fail to see the coal-burning power plant at the other end of our electricity grid. We agree to eschew plastic straws without calculating whether “strawless” lids actually use more plastic. We protest pipelines without considering how many tanker trucks must be added to move that fuel to heat homes. We decry fossil fuels as dirty or villainous, without appreciating their role in protecting forests which would otherwise be farmed or burned for fuel.


In short, the complexity of the modern market, with its unprecedented connectivity, and shared prosperity, makes it challenging to understand the implications of our actions. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.


The Power of the Purse

Maybe there’s no such thing as a perfectly pristine dollar made or spent. Our global supply chain system is so sprawling that we simply can’t be sure that every worker is treated well, every environmental precaution taken.


When we go wrong is when we try to impose our values on other people, or when we demand to use other people’s money to support what we value.




American Natural Superfood - Free Sample




Our values are so individual that tasking someone else with defending them will always result in disappointment, whether that’s Amazon or a government agency.


Social responsibility doesn’t mean bullying people who have different beliefs or badgering them to make changes you think are necessary. It means using the impact you have on the world to promote change—and your spending habits are a huge source of local, vocal activism.



Dr. Laura Williams  teaches communication strategy to undergraduates and executives. She is a passionate advocate for critical thinking, individual liberties, and the Oxford Comma.


This article was sourced from FEE.org


Photo by bruce mars from Pexels


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69

      

By Caitlin Johnstone


If you’re skeptical of Western power structures and you’ve ever engaged in online political debate for any length of time, the following has definitely happened to you.


You find yourself going back and forth with one of those high-confidence, low-information establishment types promulgating a dubious mainstream narrative, whether that be about politics, war, Julian Assange, or whatever. At some point they make an assertion which you know to be false–publicly available information invalidates the claim they’re making.


“I’ve got them now!” you think to yourself, if you’re new to this sort of thing. Then you share a link to an article or video which makes a well-sourced, independently verifiable case for the point you are trying to make.


Then, the inevitable happens.


         



      

“LMAO! That outlet!” they scoff in response. “That outlet is propaganda/fake news/conspiracy theory trash!”


Or something to that effect. You’ll encounter this tactic over and over and over again if you continually engage in online political discourse with people who don’t agree with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re literally just linking to an interview featuring some public figure saying a thing you’d claimed they said. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to a WikiLeaks publication of a verified authentic document. Unless you’re linking to CNN/Fox News (whichever fits the preferred ideology of the establishment loyalist you’re debating), they’ll bleat “fake news!” or “propaganda!” or “Russia!” as though that in and of itself magically invalidates the point you’re trying to make.


And of course it doesn’t. What they are doing is called attacking the source, also known as an ad hominem, and it’s a very basic logical fallacy.


Most people are familiar with the term “ad hominem”, but they usually think about it in terms of merely hurling verbal insults at people. What it actually means is attacking the source of the argument rather than attacking the argument itself in a way that avoids dealing with the question of whether or not the argument itself is true. It’s a logical fallacy because it’s used deliberately to obfuscate the goal of a logical conclusion to the debate.


“An ad hominem is more than just an insult,” explains David Ferrer for The Quad. “It’s an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion. Verbally attacking people proves nothing about the truth or falsity of their claims.”


This can take the form of saying “Claim X is false because the person making it is an idiot.” But it can also take the form of “Claim X is false because the person making it is a propagandist,” or “Claim X is false because the person making it is a conspiracy theorist.”




Someone being an idiot, a propagandist or a conspiracy theorist is irrelevant to the question of whether or not what they’re saying is true. In my last article debunking a spin job on the OPCW scandal by the narrative management firm Bellingcat, I pointed out that Bellingcat is funded by imperialist regime change operations like the National Endowment for Democracy, which was worth highlighting because it shows the readers where that organization is coming from. But if I’d left my argument there it would still be an ad hominem attack, because it wouldn’t address whether or not what Bellingcat wrote about the OPCW scandal is true. It would be a logical fallacy; proving that they are propagandists doesn’t prove that what they are saying in this particular instance is false.


What I had to do in order to actually refute Bellingcat’s spin job was show that they were making a bad argument using bad logic, which I did by highlighting the way they used pedantic wordplay to make it seem as though the explosive leaks which have been emerging from the OPCW’s investigation of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria were insignificant. I had to show how Bellingcat actually never came anywhere close to addressing the actual concerns about a leaked internal OPCW email, such as extremely low chlorinated organic chemical levels on the scene and patients’ symptoms not matching up with chlorine gas poisoning, as well as the fact that the OPCW investigators plainly don’t feel as though their concerns were met since they’re blowing the whistle on the organisation now.


And, for the record, Bellingcat’s lead trainer/researcher guy responded to my arguments by saying I’m a conspiracy theorist. I personally count that as a win.






The correct response to someone who attacks the outlet or individual you’re citing instead of attacking the actual argument being made is, “You’re attacking the source instead of the argument. That’s a logical fallacy, and it’s only ever employed by people who can’t attack the argument.”


The demand that you only ever use mainstream establishment media when arguing against establishment narratives is itself an inherently contradictory position, because establishment media by their very nature do not report facts against the establishment. It’s saying “You’re only allowed to criticise establishment power using outlets which never criticize establishment power.”




Good luck finding a compilation of Trump’s dangerous escalations against Moscow like the one I wrote the other day anywhere in the mainstream media, for example. Neither mainstream liberals nor mainstream conservatives are interested in promoting that narrative, so it simply doesn’t exist in the mainstream information bubble. Every item I listed in that article is independently verifiable and sourced from separate mainstream media reports, yet if you share that article in a debate with an establishment loyalist and they know who I am, nine times out of ten they’ll say something like “LOL Caitlin Johnstone?? She’s nuts!” With “nuts” of course meaning “Says things my TV doesn’t say”.


It’s possible to just click on all the hyperlinks in my article and share them separately to make your point, but you can also simply point out that they are committing a logical fallacy, and that they are doing so because they can’t actually attack the argument.


This will make them very upset, because for the last few years establishment loyalists have been told that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to attack the source instead of the argument. The mass hysteria about “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” has left consumers of mainstream media with the unquestioned assumption that if they ever so much as glance at an RT article their faces will begin to melt like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. They’ve been trained to believe that it’s perfectly logical and acceptable to simply shriek “propaganda!” at a rational argument or well-sourced article which invalidates their position, or even to proactively go around calling people Russian agents who dissent from mainstream western power-serving narratives.


But it isn’t logical, and it isn’t acceptable. The best way to oppose their favorite logically fallacious tactic is to call it like it is, and let them deal with the cognitive dissonance that that brings up for them.




Of course some nuance is needed here. Remember that alternative media is just like anything else: there’s good and bad, even within the same outlet, so make sure what you’re sharing is solid and not just some schmuck making a baseless claim. You can’t just post a link to some YouTuber making an unsubstantiated assertion and then accuse the person you’re debating of attacking the source when they dismiss it. That which has been presented without evidence may be dismissed without evidence, and if the link you’re citing consists of nothing other than unproven assertions by someone they’ve got no reason to take at their word, they can rightly dismiss it.


If, however, the claims in the link you’re citing are logically coherent arguments or well-documented facts presented in a way that people can independently fact-check, it doesn’t matter if you’re citing CNN or Sputnik. The only advantage to using CNN when possible would be that it allows you to skip the part where they perform the online equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and humming.


Don’t allow those who are still sleeping bully those who are not into silence. Insist on facts, evidence, and intellectually honest arguments, and if they refuse to provide them call it what it is: an admission that they have lost the debate.



Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.


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70

      

By Amanda Froelich


To reduce the prevalence of plastic in the environment, a young man in Cameroon is transforming littered bottles into “EcoBoats.”


Ismaël Essome Ebone was inspired to develop the boats after watching plastic bottles float on passing floodwaters during a storm in 2011. After collecting plastic bottles from around town, he began to develop an “EcoBoat.” When another storm blew in, he tested the concept. To the astonishment of the fisherman washing from the shore, Ebone’s boat worked splendidly.


Ebone was so inspired by the EcoBoat, he invested all of his money into launching the nonprofit Madiba & Nature: a charity dedicated to collecting plastic waste from around the region and repurposing it into boats for ecotourism and fisherman.


         



      

The venture has been quite the success. In recent months, the Cameroonian organization installed the nation’s first-ever EcoBin for collecting, sorting, and recycling waste materials.


“The EcoBin makes it easier to collect plastic bottles in a smart way and avoid polluting rivers and the ocean in Kribi and Douala!” says the nonprofit’s Facebook page. “From plastic waste to EcoBoat and EcoBin, the revolution is on the way.”



What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


h/t GoodNewsNetwork



Amanda Froelich — I’m an RHN, chef, writer, activist, and entrepreneur who lives in Colorado. I share healthy plant-based recipes at Life in Bloom and cannabis-infused recipes at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich


This article was sourced from Truth Theory.


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