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Read this: The recent success of the Paris Climate Conference was largely touted with enthusiastic accolades. So many critical countries coming together and signing this significant agreement, Wow! These leaders agreed “in Paris to address the severe problem of ‘unchecked climate change’.” They have finally got it together and are moving to make significant changes. Oops, not so fast. There is one stumbling block and not a small one. “When the agreement was approved in Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who hosted the talks, announced that it is ‘legally binding.’ That may be the hope, but there are more than a few obstacles that are worthy of careful attention.” The final step, when “negotiators have sought to forge a legally binding treaty that needed ratification by the governments of the participating countries to have force.” The big problem here is “of course” the United States. Without this (and Republican approval), the conference is little more than a large wish list. Read the rest of this entry »
Watch and read: The linked article and video below by Alexandra Rosenmann from the AlterNet is from an interview with Noam Chomsky discussing TPIP. Chomsky says TPIP “has nothing to do with reducing tariffs, (and calls) it ‘pretty extreme’.” Greenpeace, having recently released a portion of the agreement (about 280 pages) says: “Whether you care about environmental issues, animal welfare, labor rights or internet privacy, you should be concerned about what is in these leaked documents. They underline the strong objections civil society and millions of people around the world have voiced: TTIP is about a huge transfer of power from people to big business.”
Chomsky points out that “so-called free-trade agreements are not free-trade agreements. To a larger extent they’re not even trade agreements. These are investor rights agreements.” By all means, let’s protect investors above all else. In the short video you’ll hear exactly what Chomsky says. Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: The American voters, the 90% that is, are tired of politics as usual, tired of being ignored, tired of it all. In what may be dramatic signs of frustration about to boil over they are reaching out in every direction for something that is NOT THE SAME OLD BS. “From feeling the Bern to cheering The Donald, Americans are done with acquiescing to the political establishment.” They seem to be ready to speak out, to resist, to risk their livelihood and their very way of life. OK, maybe they are not quite there yet, but for the first time since the 1960’s they seem to be rapidly moving in that direction. After all, what do they really have to lose?
The article below from The Nation Magazine, by Steve Fraser examines what it takes to move the American people to resistance after being trained for years to acquiesce and go along with the established order in our politics. For too long the accepted mood has been we can’t change things, we must work from within the system, blah, blah, blah. As Fraser says ” To rise up means to silence those intimidating internal voices warning that the overlords have the right to rule by virtue of their wisdom, wealth, and everything that immemorial custom decrees. Fear naturally closes in.” At some point, however, frustration outweighs the fear and America seems to be approaching that threshold. Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: If not now, when would be the right time? Assuming Bernie Sanders does not gain the Democratic nomination, Jill Stein of the Green Party has boldly offered to run as his VP, if Bernie would run as the top of the Green Party ticket. Everyone is quick to say this could never work. The arguments against a 3rd party candidacy are voluminous. At the same time the complaining about our two party system, with all of it’s corruption are never ending. The majority of Americans don’t seem to like the leading candidates from either party. Meanwhile Sanders is the one candidate with a popularity rating well above 50% and yet he may not win the Democratic nomination. For the majority of disillusioned, frustrated Americans, will there every be a better time and a better candidate with which to try a 3rd party option? Einstein famously said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Well, if this election continues, as it looks like it is headed and we don’t decide to take a chance and follow our hearts now, then maybe we should just shut up and stop complaining. We obviously do not have the courage to try, the courage our forefathers so represented.
The article below from Salon.com, by Kevin Zeese and Patrick Walker explains their take on this offer of a powerful Green Party option. “Dr. Jill Stein opened the door to Sanders on April 22 when she wrote him about how they could work together to advance his political revolution … that everything would be on the table, including her running as the vice presidential nominee and Sanders running as the presidential nominee.” Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: I have posted several articles on how capitalism in American does/ doesn’t work with democracy. In the following article from Time Magazine, Rana Foroohar tells us that “The U.S. system of market capitalism itself is broken.” It has become a zero-sum game where little or no new wealth is created and the majority of effort focuses on moving money / wealth from one place to another. This has become the leading catalyst of rapidly spreading inequality. As Bernie Sanders says, most of it (wealth) moves from the poor and middle classes to the 1%. Foroohar concludes that capitalism is truly sick, “What is required now is lifesaving intervention.” Below I borrow a lot from Faroohar’s article and of course add my little touch of sarcasm.
Aren’t we Americans all capitalists? Actually “only 19% of Americans ages 18 to 29 identified themselves as ‘capitalists.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: There is “a major new report on how manmade global warming is making Americans sicker—and it’s only going to get worse”. The report, released by the Obama administration, involved hundreds of experts in various fields, covering several years. The detached consensus is that “as the climate continues to change, the risks to human health will grow, exacerbating existing health threats and creating new public health challenges, and impacting more people in more places” and “every American is vulnerable”. In typical neoliberal fashion, all sense of urgency seems to have been well contained.
The article linked below from salon.com, by Reynard Loki, lists 9 ways that Climate Change will affect human health. Each area is dealt with in expanded detail along with external links. Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: As usual, Norm Chomsky makes us rethink what we often lazily take for granted. He poses the question, “Who Rules the World” and immediately refutes what is probably our most common answer. That quick, assumptive response is often “the states” or “the great powers”, but he says this may be misleading. Regardless of the level of supposed democracy, decisions and politics “are heavily influenced by internal concentrations of power, while the general population is often marginalized”. Chomsky emphasizes that, to understand who rules the world, we cannot ignore the “’masters of mankind,’ as Adam Smith called them: in his day, the merchants and manufacturers of England; in ours, multinational conglomerates, huge financial institutions, retail empires, and the like.” Basically what we know as multinational corporations. He describes “the ‘vile maxim’ to which the “masters of mankind” are dedicated: ‘All for ourselves and nothing for other people’. This doctrine or policy is intricately entwined with ‘class war, often one-sided, much to the detriment of the people of the … the world’.”
In the two articles below found in The Nation magazine, Chomsky makes many points clarifying policies and tools used by “the masters (to) hold enormous power”. Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: We hear often that 97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is real and that it is largely caused by human activity. I quote this “fact” quite often, but I must admit I am counting on the authority of people or articles I have read or heard and don’t check them out further. At the same time I see conservatives who totally disagree (and I think, obviously they don’t know what they’re talking about). With all of this, it appears that in spite of overwhelming scientific agreement, “only about 50% the general public think that scientists have reached a consensus on human-caused climate change”. What’s the answer? Is it true and what does it actually mean when we quote this very one sided Scientific Consensus (97%) on Climate Change?
For authority on this area of science the article linked below from http://www.wunderground.com looks to three scientific organizations as authority: The American Geophysical Union (GSU), The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: Inequality is all around us and as it spreads it’s ugly head pops up in seemingly unintended places, but one has to wonder about that. At the very least it is a product of simply not caring. It is pretty commonly accepted that starving government programs (excepting the military) is a tactic utilized constantly by the right in order to feed public contempt for government. As profitable corporations pay no taxes or receive giant refunds and the flight of potential tax revenue as corporations and the wealthy hide money in off shore tax havens has resulted in most of our government programs becoming grossly and intentionally underfunded. The result is: conservative or liberal, we are all frustrated with our government whenever and wherever we interact with it. This is not really news but a closer look at certain specifics illustrate that loss of basic constitutional rights (for the poor of course) can proliferate as a result.
The article below from The Nation Magazine, by Sara Mayeux focuses on our starved legal system where typical austerity focuses cuts on programs that can least afford them. Read the rest of this entry »