Showing posts from July 7, 2015

Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel

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[Five leading economists warn the German chancellor, “History will remember you for your actions this week.” *RON*]

By Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and Simon Wren-Lewis, The Nation, 7 July 2015
The never-ending austerity that Europe is force-feeding the Greek people is simply not working. Now Greece has loudly said no more.

Global campaign group Avaaz organized this open letter to Angela Merkel on the back of a petition, signed by over half a million Europeans, demanding an end to the failed austerity program in Greece.

As most of the world knew it would, the financial demands made by Europe have crushed the Greek economy, led to mass unemployment, a collapse of the banking system, made the external debt crisis far worse, with the debt problem escalating to an unpayable 175 percent of GDP. The economy now lies broken with tax receipts nose-diving, output and employment depressed, and businesses starved of capital.


Koch-backed Group Calls for End of National Parks

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[The sweeping scope and the relentless never-endingness of it all seems to be a key strategy in the right wing political agenda - today it expands to include calling for an end to national parks. Because oil and gas. *RON*]
By Joan McCarterDaily Kos / AlterNet, 7 July 2015

The National Park system is broke, argues Reed Watson, the executive director at the Koch-backed Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in an op-ed, so the only thing to do about it is stop creating national parks. Because, of course, actually funding them is out of the question.
"True conservation is taking care of the land and water you already have, not insatiably acquiring more and hoping it manages itself," the op-ed reads. "Let's maintain what we've already got, so we can protect it properly," it concludes.Of course "hoping it manages itself" was never the aim of Congress in creating national parks, which is why they also cr…

This Is What Happens To Court Clerks Who Refuse To Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses

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[Jesus' message of universal love doesn't seem to be filtering through to Texas. So is it shocking or utterly predictable that these are the same people who think all Muslims are terrorists who should be smote by the hand of God? *RON*]

By Zack Ford, Think Progress, 7 July 2015
In Texas, Hood County Clerk Katie Lang had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for well over a week after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The conservative group Texas Values rallied in her defense and even the Family Research Council propped up her discriminatory cause. On Monday, however, Lang folded, and she may now have to pay the price for waiting.

Since June 29, the Monday after the ruling, Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton, who have been together for 27 years, have been trying to obtain the marriage license they’ve waited so long for. When rejecting them, Lang claimed that her staffers would issue the license instead, but Cato a…

Code Specialists Oppose U.S. and British Government Access to Encrypted Communication

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[As one commenter put it, "Sorry Governments, if you want to hack in a read and steal private data you are going to have to find a way in the hard way like everyone..." RS 8 minutes ago *RON*]

By Nicole Perlroth, New York Times, 7 July 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — An elite group of code makers and code breakers is taking American and British intelligence and law enforcement agencies to task in a new paper that evaluates government proposals to maintain special access to encrypted digital communications.

On Tuesday, the group — 13 of the world’s pre-eminent cryptographers, computer scientists and security specialists — will release the paper, which concludes there is no viable technical solution that would allow the American and British governments to gain “exceptional access” to encrypted communications without putting the world’s most confidential data and critical infrastructure, in danger.

The report is being released a day before James B. Come…

$82 Billion In Canadian LNG Ambitions May Not Be Needed: Report

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["As far as we can see, from our demand scenario the LNG market is pretty fully built out in terms of supply for the next seven years at least. It wouldn't be a great bet in our view ... to expand further at this time." *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 6 July 2015

CALGARY - A new report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative is throwing some cold water on Canada's liquefied natural gas ambitions.

It identifies $283 billion in possible projects worldwide that may not be needed, including $82 billion in Canada over the next decade in a low-demand scenario.

The Carbon Tracking Initiative is a London-based, not-for-profit think tank that's funded by more than a dozen organizations, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The report factors in a so-called carbon budget that would keep global warming within the two-degree Celsius United Nations target.

How Harper will win the election

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[If the oppositions do not get their acts together and cooperate they will be in trouble once again. "This government will be flagrantly indifferent to those who will not vote for them. They will punish those voters, they will redistribute budgets, they don’t care, they don’t care and they’re willing to take the criticism. Most politicians love the love. Stephen Harper is a weird guy; he’s not addicted to affection from voters. He’s therefore willing to be more utilitarian than most politicians because most politicians are far more sensitive to criticism." *RON*]

By Bruce Livesey, National Observer, 7 July 2015

Just one day after Justin Trudeau was anointed leader of the Liberal Party in April of 2013, the Conservative Party unleashed a barrage of attack ads saying he was in “way over his head.”

One of the ads mocked Trudeau for having been a camp counselor, rafting instructor, drama teacher and boasting one of the worst attendance recor…

Why White Americans Don’t Think The Charleston Massacre Counts As Terrorism

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[Americans agree it's a hate crime but not that it is an act of terrorism. Do you need to be White to be terrorized, or do you need to be Islamic to be a terrorist? *RON*]

By Justin Salhani, Think Progress, 6 July 2015

Only 41 percent of American adults believe the shooter at Emanuel A.M.E Church in Charleston, S.C. should be charged with terrorism, according to a CNN and ORC International poll.

The shooter, Dylann Roof, killed nine African-American church goers last month in an attack that targeted a community based on their race. Roof’s wrote in his manifesto before committing the crime:
I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me. Despite his motivations, the majori…

Despite the Settlement Talks, Don’t Expect the NYPD to Stop Spying on Muslims

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[Meanwhile, being Muslim in New York City continues to be a suspicious act warranting spying by the NYPD. Mayor de Blasio’s break with Bloomberg on surveillance is far from clean. *RON*]

By Matt Sledge, The Nation, 6 July 2015

Asad Dandia could hardly contain his surprise when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visited his mosque in Brighton Beach last month.

“Most random appearance ever,” Dandia, a plaintiff in one of three lawsuits against the NYPD over the political surveillance of Muslims, wrote on Facebook. “Wonder if he knows that his police department sent in multiple informants here.”

De Blasio’s visit to the Brighton Beach Islamic Center on June 12 came days before the start of the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, and the mayor made sure to wish congregants a blessed Ramadan. One week later the mayor’s lawyers extended another Ramadan olive branch to New York’s roughly 600,000 Muslims. In a joint letter with Dandia’s attorneys, th…

Thomas Piketty accuses Germany of forgetting history as it lectures Greece

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["When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: What a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations." See also Greece will not be getting any more cash from the ECB. This, if anything, pushes them ever more strongly toward re-creating the drachma. *RON*]

By Chico Harlan, Washington Post, 6 July 2015

With a flurry of exclamation points and curt rebuttals, Thomas Piketty, who rocketed to stardom last year with his treatise on inequality, told a German newspaper that the Germans are being hypocritical in the way they're treating Greece.

A number of prominent economists have raised concerns about Germany's approach to the Greek debt crisis, which Germans say reflects a need to force changes in Greece's economy so that it never again has such a crisis.

But in the intervie…