Showing posts from June 29, 2014

The Myth of America’s Golden Age: What growing up in Gary, Indiana, taught me about inequality.

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[Another "keeper" piece. Stiglitz is at his concise and stinging best in this piece, and he manages to cut a broad swath through the logic and humanity of Obama's economic policies while doing so. *RON*]

By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Politico, July/August 2014

I hadn’t realized when I was growing up in Gary, Indiana, an industrial town on the southern shore of Lake Michigan plagued by discrimination, poverty and bouts of high unemployment, that I was living in the golden era of capitalism. It was a company town, named after the chairman of the board of U.S. Steel. It had the world’s largest integrated steel mill and a progressive school system designed to turn Gary into a melting pot fed by migrants from all over Europe. But by the time I was born in 1943, cracks in the pot were already appearing. To break strikes—to ensure that workers did not fully share in the productivity gains being driven by modern technology—the big steel companies b…

Entire Unitarian Church Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels

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[Momentum continues to build for the divestment movement. This is a good tactic, since it gets the fossil fuel industry in the only place that matters to them, and it is ultimately the correct approach. The Unitarian Church plans to maintain a few shares to engage in shareholder activism for climate movement. *RON*]

By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, 29 June 2014.
Marking a major victory for the climate movement, the assembly of the Unitarian Universalists, representing over 1,000 congregations, voted on Saturday to divest their $175 million endowment from fossil fuel companies.
According to a church spokesperson, the 2,000 delegates in attendance at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) meeting in Providence, RI, voted "overwhelmingly" to support a Fossil Fuel Divestment Business Resolution.

“We, private citizens and the private and nonprofit sectors, need to take matters into our own hands, and use every …

Isis announces caliphate in 'declaration of war'

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[A British academic says that this new statement suggests Isis is now challenging al-Qaida for global leadership of the jihad movement. Historically, though, the word has a far stronger connotation - since the Caliph is traditionally meant to be the head of the entire Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah (which is to say, all Muslims everywhere), although formally it was abolished when the Ottoman empire collapsed in 1924. See also ISIL declares new 'Islamic caliphate.'*RON*]

Press Association,, 29 June 2014

The announcement of a formal Islamic state by insurgents in Syria and Iraq is a "declaration of war against the West and al Qaida", an expert has warned. The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (Isis) group has sought to solidify its leadership of worldwide jihad today by declaring that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is the new caliph, or head of state.

Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, a spokesman for t…

Burials, food stores and tent sites from Inuit ancestors found on Hudson Bay

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[Very cool. But because of the new Supreme Court ruling about Aboriginal title, it occurred to me: How much longer do you think it will be before Harper starts cutting funding for archaeological research that will prove that Aboriginals used specific territories during the pre-contact era? *RON*]

By Chinta Puxley, CP / Huffington Post, 06/29/2014

WINNIPEG - On the western coast of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba there's a gravelly cliff, covered in grass and large rocks, with a 360-degree view of the stark and wild area around it.

It doesn't look like much to the untrained eye, but some 400 years before Europeans set foot in North America, the cliff was a thriving hunting camp for the ancestors of today's Inuit.

Today, there are remnants of 22 large tent rings, as well as food caches, burial grounds and kayak rests — all estimated to be about 1,000 years old.

Researchers are heading to the site, just south of the Manitoba-Nunavut bor…

KPT’s coal handling wreaks havoc on public health, environment

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[This is the industry and the product that the Harper and Clark governments want to encourage in our Vancouver ports“Fine particles penetrate deeply into the lungs and are difficult for the body to expel. Over time these particles accumulate and do more damage. Epidemiological research suggests that there is no threshold at which health effects do not occur.” *RON*]
By Faiza Ilyas,, 29 June 2014
KARACHI: The Karachi Port Trust’s Keamari coal terminal operating in violation of environmental laws poses serious threat to public health, a visit to the site showed on Saturday.

Enveloped in dark dust, the entire place with blackened streets, shops, mosques, historical buildings and other infrastructure was an evidence how the pollutant had ruined the port area once thriving with business and tourist activities.

“Look at our faces and clothes. Can you believe that I had worn a clean dress in the morning?” said a fruit vendor, pointing to his cl…

No Limits to Shale Gas Chemicals in Mexico

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[Corporatocracy has succeeded once economics and politics become indistinguishable. Mexico is explicitly removing all restrictions on the chemical composition of fracking fluids - which are known to include poisonous and cancer-causing agents. They are simultaneously altering their constitution to dismantle state control of the oil and gas industry and to allow foreign oil and gas companies into their nation to explore and drill. *RON*]
By Emilio Godoy, Inter Press Service News Agency, 29 June 2014

MEXICO CITY, Jun 28 2014 (IPS) - The new legal framework for Mexico’s oil industry has not placed controls on the use of harmful chemicals in the extraction of unconventional fossil fuels, and environmentalists and experts fear their consumption will increase in an industry that is opening up to private capital.

The energy reform “will exacerbate the use of chemicals. The new laws do not address this problem. We need to know what is used, because othe…

Freedom Industries reaches $3M deal with insurance company

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[Freedom Industries, ultimately owned by the Koch Brothers, leaked pollutants into the water supply in North Carolina, then immediately declared bankruptcy in order to avoid financial responsibility for the cleanup. This is, in fact, what the Koch Brothers mean by "freedom" -- the freedom to create havoc while raking in profit. The general public is now footing the bill for the cleanup. There was also a rush of people to the emergency wards with symptoms of acute poisoning. As this article shows, Freedom Industries had been fighting with AIG about who will pay a $3 million settlement - pennies for these two groups - which, as one of the commenters notes, amounts to $10 per person affected, not including business expenses. *RON*]
by Ken Ward Jr., The Charleston Gazette, 27 June 2014

Freedom Industries says it has reached a nearly $3 million settlement with its insurance company over coverage related to the Jan. 9 Elk River chemical leak, …