TalkingPointsMemo: Princeton Study - U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy.
“Asking ‘[w]ho really rules?’ researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.” I like to check out the authors: Gilens. Page.
Daily Beast: The Border Towns the Constitution Forgot.
“It’s really hard for people to grasp that, as the CBP interprets it, civil liberties and constitutional protections are suspended 100 miles into the interior of the U.S.” At least ten years ago, while discussing law enforcement issues with an officer, he candidly said, “We pretty much treat anything south of I-40 as potentially ‘below the border.’”
Mail.com: Bosnians see victims excavated from mass grave.
The Economist: Culture wars in Ukraine - History lessons.
“Shortly before Russia annexed Crimea, the Bakhchisaray museum, north of Sevastopol, lent some valuable artefacts to an exhibition in the Netherlands. The question as to which country these (and other objects from Crimean museums) should return is creating a diplomatic conundrum.” Idea, perhaps not very politically correct: The Netherlands should work in concert with Germany to leverage the Schliemann Troy artifacts (“Priam’s Treasure”) out of Russian hands … we’d all surely like to see them again.
Reuters: The lost promise of progressive taxes.
A nice little refresher.
Roundhouse Roundup Blog: Mother Jones Scorches Gov. Susana.
You’ve probably stumbled across the Mother Jones piece already; seems to be the talk of political circles, so I won’t tax your feeds. New Mexicans are unruffled. Perhaps the remainder of the nation’s admirers will prick an ear or three, but I feel that most political cadres operate in this manner. News today, forgotten next week … unless MJ has some powerful follow-up they’ve held back on purpose that brings more centrist media to feed rapaciously in the free-for-all.
Patrice Ayme’s Thoughts: Terminal Greenhouse Crisis.
Guardian.UK: The 1% wants to ban sleeping in cars – because it hurts their ‘quality of life’.
“It is easy to be opposed to inequality in the abstract. So why are Los Angeles and Palo Alto spending virtually none of their budgets on efforts to provide housing for the very poor and homeless? When the most obvious evidence of inequality parks on their street, it appears, even liberals would rather just call the police.”
Dissent: From the War on Poverty to the War on the Poor.
“The United States Census reported in September 2012 that 47.1 million people, or 15.1 percent of the population, now live in poverty—the highest number in fifty-two years, up from 11.7 percent of the population in 2000. Half of these individuals are children and nearly 60 percent of poor adults are women. Almost half of this group has family incomes below 50 percent of the official poverty level, or $22,113 for a family of four. That is only 30 percent of the average family income, while the 1962 poverty line was 50 percent of the average income.”
SciAm: Ohio Links Fracking to Earthquakes, Announces Tougher Rules.
“In the strongest wording yet from the state linking energy drilling and quakes, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said that injecting sand, water and chemicals deep underground to help release oil and gas may have produced tremors in Poland Township last month.”
WaPo: Social Security, Treasury target taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts.
n+1: What Happened to Canada?
“What is happening in Canada is part of a much larger trend: the formidable disciplinary forces of late capitalism are exerting themselves everywhere, including in other western democracies, where governments are scaling back social programs while lavishing tax concessions and subsidies on industry. The European Union and the United States are similarly absorbing market shocks on behalf of business while allowing downturns to undermine the poor and working class.” Been wondering what the blazes is going on North of the border. Via wood s lot.
NY Times: Benghazi - ‘The Administration Has Won’.
Guardian.UK: IPCC report proposes sucking carbon out of the air as climate fix.
“The report refers to the CO2 removal technologies as ‘negative emissions’ instead of geoengineering, a label that certain proponents have been promoting to disassociate the technologies from criticisms of geoengineering.” We end up spending so much effort avoiding ‘trigger words’ … *sigh*.
The Atlantic: Greed Is Good, A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea.
“But for the most part, I don’t think we don’t say very much about greed, not comfortably at least. Perhaps that is the inevitable price of an economic system that relies on the vigor of self-interested pursuits, that it instills a kind of moral quietism in the face of avarice, for whether out of a desire to appear non-judgmental or for reasons of moral expediency, unless some action verges on the criminal, we hesitate to call it greed, much less evidence of someone greedy.” Worth the read. Yet greed today is not what greed was even a couple of decades ago; as disposable consumer items continue to burgeon, so do disposable corporations - run into the ground for sheer profit, the hulk discarded for taxpayers to clean up. Modern greed, to me, is built upon working the system to one’s own benefit, burning bright and short - then burning out - with complete and utter disregard for future generations. The post-9/11 entertainment/culture/psychological dystopias play into this sort of mentality as well; “grab it now, tomorrow’s going to be worse.” It’s a very cynical time in our history, for many.
Atlantic: States With the Fastest-Growing Wages Are Controlled by Republicans - Coincidence?
“But somebody in the energy sector might look at the same list and notice something else: Wages are growing the fastest in states that produce oil. [snip] When you adjust for energy, it’s not clear at all that red states are doing better than blue states.” And that’s the diff. Take away the regulations, drill baby drill, you get fast results. Wait until the back-end cleanup and health costs hit, a decade or so down the road.
CounterPunch: First Blood, Bloggers!
Guardian.UK: Exxon Mobil’s response to climate change is consummate arrogance.
ThinkProgress: Drilling Co. Could Force PA Landowners To Allow Fracking Under Their Land.
“Oil and gas company Hilcorp is trying to use a 1961 Pennsylvania law that would allow the company to bundle properties of people who don’t sign drilling leases with their neighbors who do, meaning that even landowners who don’t sign leases will be forced to allow drilling under their land if enough of their neighbors sign leases.”
Braudel: The Structures of Everyday Life, Civilization and Capitalism (Vol. 1).
For the SCOTUS-concerned: “On the other hand, looking up instead of down from the vast plane of the market economy, one finds that active social hierarchies were constructed on top of it: they could manipulate exchange to their advantage and disturb the established order. In their desire to do so — which was not always consciously expressed — they created anomalies, ‘zones of turbulence’ and conducted their affairs in a very individual way. At this exalted level, a few wealthy merchants in eighteenth-century Amsterdam or sixteenth-century Genoa could throw whole sectors of the European or even world economy into confusion, from a distance.” We continue to be impervious to history.
NPR: Supreme Court Rolls Back Campaign Spending Limits On Corporations.
Hillary vs. Jeb is going to be hell. “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war.”
ProPublica: In Fracking Fight, a Worry About How Best to Measure Health Threats.
Of note. UK, pay attention.
The Art Newspaper: Bulgari ‘adopts’ Rome’s Spanish Steps.
Saved from the fate of Pompeii.
Guardian.UK: James Lovelock - environmentalism has become a religion.
“The government is too frightened to use nuclear, renewables won’t work –because we don’t have enough sun – and we can’t go on burning coal because it produces so much CO2, so that leaves fracking. It produces only a fraction of the amount of CO2 that coal does, and will make Britain secure in energy for quite a few years. We don’t have much choice.” Last time I looked, sir, Britain was plenty windy.
Discover: Damaged Mitochondria May Be to Blame for Gulf War Syndrome.
Finally, a diagnosis?