Archive for February, 2015

Tax the rich, raise the minimum wage and surprise, it seems to work!

 Liberal policies
Read this: Though the pundits of austerity continued to scream tax relief Minnesota’s governor Mark Dayton did just the opposite.  When he “took office in 2011, Minnesota had more than a $6 billion dollar deficit and an unemployment rate of 7%. Today, Minnesota’s unemployment rate is now below 4% and they have a budget surplus of over $1.2 billion dollars.”  But he didn’t follow the Grover Norquist plan.  How was that possible and who is this liberal genius anyway?  Actually, “he isn’t a class warrior driven by a desire to get back at the 1 percent — Dayton is a billionaire heir to the Target fortune. It wasn’t just a majority in the legislature that forced him to do it”.  But the bottom line is, it seems to be working and so far the sky has not fallen.  Sometimes liberal polices get a chance to show they can work.
 

 

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FCC comes through – bans Internet providers from blocking or slowing web traffic

 Internet Open
Read this and smile: Well we have taken one step in the right direction today.  But don’t do the typical thing and relax and stop paying attention.  I am sure the battle is not over.  The broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T lost this battle, but they will regroup and find a different angle seeking to accomplish their end goal.  But heck, let’s smile and feel good for a few.  As the article says: “The 3-2 vote ushered in a new era of government oversight for an industry that has seen relatively little. It represents the biggest regulatory shake-up to telecommunications providers in almost two decades.”
 

 

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Is now the time for a Podemos party in the US?

 political Change - Podemos
Read this: In the US we have a two party system that represent the top 10% and the top 1% but very little that represent anything significant for the rest.  This article, by Becuer and Sebastian Faber, in the Nation magazine discusses the Podemos party, in Spain, that started a little over a year ago.  The article quotes 36 year old up an coming political scientist Pablo Iglesias saying “Left and right, are metaphores that are no longer ‘useful in political terms’: ‘the fundamental devide now [is] between oligarchy and democracy, between a social majority and a privileged minority.’  Or as Podemos likes to put it, between la gente and la casta, the people and the caste.”  In order for any real change to take place in the US a similar dialog needs to become consistent and loud.
 

 

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Make secret trade agreements public?  That’s not already required?

 TPP - Corporate welfare
Sign the petition: We continue to pay for the big trade agreements (NAFTA, WTO, etc.) that were quickly rammed through previous congresses with little public knowledge or scrutiny.  TPP is the latest such agreement trying to slip by.  Thankfully we the people are paying a little more attention.  “Fortunately, Senator Bernie Sanders is fired up. He is championing the public interest by demanding the Obama Administration make public the content of all trade agreements such as the TPP.1 And, this is a key moment for us to stand with him.”  Please support this.
 

 

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The primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes confirmed – Yes it’s Fracking

 Stop Fracking
Read this: This article in the Daily KOS, by Scout Finch, references a report in the U.S. Geological Survey backing-up “what scientists have been suggesting for years–that deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes”.  One amazing statistic that it references is “In the last five years alone, Oklahoma has detected a staggering 2500 earthquakes.”  Eat your heart out California.  You now have competition.
 

 

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The correlation between state secrecy and the rule of law—as one grows, the other surely shrinks.

 American Exceptionalism
Read this: The idea that secret clandestine intelligence organizations are absolutely necessary is subtly drilled into us so thoroughly most of us give it no thought.  Reading this Nation article by Alfred W. McCoy will hopefully cause you to ask why.  How much are we willing to give up and what does this all cost us both directly and indirectly.  As the articles title so aptly states: “You Must Follow International Law (Unless You’re America) How Washington gave itself a global get-out-of-jail-free card.”  I, for one would like to see the US follow the rules we impose on other nations and become a true leader by example.  Rather, as this article states, it seems “that, in the decades to come, Washington will continue to violate national sovereignty through old-style covert as well as open interventions, even as it insists on rejecting any international conventions that restrain its use of aerospace or cyberspace for unchecked force projection, anywhere, anytime? Extant laws or conventions that in any way check this power will be violated when the sovereign so decides. These are now the unwritten rules of the road for our planet. They represent the real American exceptionalism.”
 

 

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Divesting from Fossil Fuels Still a Potent Tactic – finally in the south as well

 Divestment - Fossil Free
Read this: This Sierra Club article details an effective effort by the first college in the southeast to move their university to divest from investments in fossil fuels.  Recently “North Carolina’s Brevard College announced that it will divest from fossil fuels by 2018, making it the first university in North Carolina — in fact, in the entire Southeast — to do so. Two student organizations, Divest Brevard and the Brevard College Greens, have been rallying, speaking, and working toward this goal for the last two years.”
 

 

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Good News on Coal: In the United Kingdom coal is on the way out

 Coal - CO2
Read this: There is actually progress being made on the use of dirty energies.  American media just goes out of its way to not report it.  lthough changes in the use of coal in the US move at a snails pace, other places around the world are starting to wake up.  For instance: “On February 14, the leaders of all three of the United Kingdom’s major political parties announced a joint commitment to phase out the use of coal and fight climate change. The news got relatively little coverage in the U.S., but according to Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, it’s actually a big deal.”
 

 

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Eric Snoden says: Without whistle-blowers we are changed from citizens to subjects.

  Whistleblower
Watch this: Here is a new documentary from Brave New Films.  This is an updated version of “War on whistle-blowers” that includes an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden.  The Academy award (Best Documentary Feature) “Citizenfour, a documentary about whistleblower Edward Snowden by filmmaker Laura Poitras” helped to make this possible.  I don’t know about you but I want us all to be able to actively watch what government and corporations do and if there are prosecutions, they better start with those who actually break the laws or commit fraud.
 

 

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How about a little cancer with your milk?

 Monsanto
Sign the petition: Good old Monsanto, always making things better.  The only problem is that their focus is on profits first and foremost.  The use of “artificial growth hormone rBST in dairy cows” is great for increasing the volume of milk produced but it seems to have this little problem that is seldom talked about on our “unbiased” media.  You see the seldom mentioned problem is that: “Monsanto’s widely used artificial growth hormone recombinant bovine somatotropin, better known as rBST or rBGH, … is linked to prostate, colon and breast cancer.”  Some companies, like Breyer’s are starting to refuse to use this type of milk.
 

 

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