Showing posts from April 22, 2015

We Cant' Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership

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[Private property and the corporatocracy. Argues, convincingly, that the greatest threat to private property is the trend toward licensing everything so that you never actually own anything. "If you bought it, you should own it—simple as that. It’s time corporate lawyers left the bullshit to the farmers, who actually need it." *RON*]
Kyle Wiens, Wired, 21 April 2015
IT’S OFFICIAL: JOHN Deere and General Motors want to eviscerate the notion of ownership. Sure, we pay for their vehicles. But we don’t own them. Not according to their corporate lawyers, anyway.

In a particularly spectacular display of corporate delusion, John Deere—the world’s largest agricultural machinery maker —told the Copyright Office that farmers don’t own their tractors. Because computer code snakes through the DNA of modern tractors, farmers receive “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”

It’s John Deere’s tractor, folks. You’re just d…

Solar Power Makes Electricity More Accessible On Navajo Reservation

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[Perhaps remote/rural areas are a good way to gain a foothold? It says here that a solar power installation, which the home owner pays the power company $75 a month to maintain, cost less than half what it would have to extend a power line one mile to his home. *RON*] 

Ibby Caputo, National Public Radio, 21 April 2015

Most people can't imagine living without smartphones or the Internet, let alone without electricity. But even today — even in the United States — there are still people who live without lights and refrigeration. Many are Native Americans living on tribal reservations.

For many, electricity is a luxury; it can even be magical. Derrick Terry remembers the first winter when there were lights on at his grandmother's house.

"You see the Christmas lights in the distance, it's like seeing that unicorn," he says. "It's an indescribable feeling, I guess, when you first get electricity."

Terry grew up on th…

Why American Workers Without Much Education Are Being Hammered

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[Read this story in conjunction with this one on How To Get Into Harvard. Hint: $$$$$. *RON*]

Neil Irwin, New York Times, 21 April 2015

The last couple of decades have been terrible for American workers without much education. New research calculates just how bad, and offers some evidence as to why that is.

In short, they face a double whammy. Less-educated Americans, especially men, are shifting away from manufacturing and other jobs that once offered higher pay, and a higher share are now working in lower-paying food service, cleaning and groundskeeping jobs. Simultaneously, pay levels are declining in almost all of the fields that employ less-educated workers, so even those who have held onto jobs as manufacturers, operators and laborers are making less than they would have a generation ago.

Perhaps the single most shocking number in a new review of employment and earnings data by researchers at the Hamilton Project, a research group within th…

US judge allows 'Muslims killing Jews' ads on buses

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[New York judge says ads are protected speech and similar campaigns have run in other cities without inciting violence. Oh sure. A photo of Hitler chatting with an Imam beside the statement ISLAMIC JEW-HATRED in all capitals has nothing incendiary about it at all. 'It's our free speech, you know. That's why those people hate us so much.' *RON*]

Source: Agencies / Al Jazeera, 22 Apr 2015

A United States federal judge has ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, rejecting the argument that the ad could incite "terrorism" or imminent violence.

In his ruling, published on Tuesday, US District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan said the ad from the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which had previously run in Chicago and San Francisco, was protected speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Similar AFDI…

Eat the rich (or at least their tax breaks)

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[Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau come upon the same complaint: the budget, they say, is a tax break for the rich. Since they're in such agreement about what they don't like about the Harper budget, it's a shame that their egos prevent them from forming a coalition that could surely topple the Conservative government. See also The five biggest outrages from the Conservative budget. *RON*]

Aaron Wherry, Macleans, 21 April 2015

While Joe Oliver was preaching the good news to the Commons, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau slipped out. They presumably knew what he had to say anyway and for the sake of having their say there was a microphone awaiting them in the foyer and networks eager to broadcast their concerns.

First to the microphone, per his standing as leader of the official Opposition, was Mulcair. (Actually, for the record, he had been preceded to the microphone by the apparently eager Bloc Leader Mario Beaulieu, but at least Trudea…

This chart explains everything you need to know about inequality

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[You can see the big effect on normal peoples' incomes of The New Deal and the time up to the mid-Sixties, then how the incomes of the 1% took off like a rocket from the mid-Eighties onward, while everyone else's income stagnated. *RON*]

By Matt O'Brien, Washington Post WonkBlog, 20 April 2015.
Everybody knows the story of the rise and fall and rise again of the top 1 percent. Income inequality was at Downton Abbey levels in the 1920s, fell between the 1940s and 1960, paused during the 1970s, and then exploded since the 1980s. It's gone so far that the top 1 percent now get as big a slice of the income pie—about 22 percent of it—as they ever have.

But now NPR's Quoctrung Bui has put this story in incredible chart form. It compares how much, in inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars, average households in the bottom 90 and top 1 percent have made each year. Now, it's hard to tell because everyone was making less back then, but in…

Why We Need to Ditch Austerity and Take on the Global 1%

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[Government austerity continues to be prominent in the news. See also The economic consequences of George Osborne: covering up the austerity mistakeGreece’s Yanis Varoufakis: The Medicine of Austerity Is Not Working, We Need a New TreatmentAusterity and the arts: the hidden cuts that are bad for our cultural healthWhen austerity in the UK makes the poorest even poorer. *RON*]
Ben Dangl, TeleSur, 21 April 2015 
Inequality is not a symptom of the ills of global capitalism, it is its fuel.
By next year, the richest 1% of the world will own more wealth than the rest of the entire population of the planet, according to Oxfam. This is a staggering figure, almost impossible to comprehend. And yet, this fact alone puts into focus a harsh truth: that we live in a fierce, inhuman, capitalist world where a handful of the richest people get richer and more powerful, even as governments across the globe enact austerity measures against the working clas…