Showing posts from November 20, 2015

The Expansionary Austerity Zombie

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[Swirling down the crapper with the Austerians. *RON*]

Paul Krugman, New York Times, 20 November 2015

The doctrine of expansionary austerity — the proposition that cuts in government spending would actually cause higher growth despite their direct negative impact on demand, thanks to the confidence fairy — was all the rage in policy circles five years ago. But it brutally failed the reality test; instead, the evidence pointed overwhelmingly to the continued existence of something very like the old-fashioned Keynesian multiplier.

But expansionary austerity was and is such a convenient doctrine politically that, like insistence on the magical effects of tax cuts, it has proved unkillable. Every economic uptick in an economy that practiced austerity in the past is trumpeted as proof that Keynesians were wrong and the austerians were right; never mind distinctions between levels and rates of change, or the fact that even the most Keynesian economists n…

Bamako Hostage Crisis: How U.S.-Backed Intervention in Libya Spread Chaos to Nearby Mali

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[The latest is that there are 18 dead but the remaining hostages have been released. "Turse focuses on the expanding American battlefield in Africa, where he says the U.S. military is now involved in more than 90 percent of Africa’s 54 nations." *RON*]
Amy Goodman and Nick Turse, Democracy Now!, 20 November 2015

"Tomorrow's Battlefield U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa" by Nick Turse
WATCH Part 1: "Tomorrow's Battlefield": As U.S. Special Ops Enter Syria, Growing Presence in Africa Goes Unnoticed
WATCH Part 2: Nick Turse Tracks U.S. Special Operations Forces from Africa to Syria
WATCH Part 3: Nick Turse on How Secret U.S. Drone Outposts Create Ill Will in Countries Across Africa

A hostage crisis is underway in Mali, where suspected Islamist militants have stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako and taken over 180 people hostage. Malian special forces have launched a rescue operation and exchange…

Clinton Sheds Progressive Façade with Rightward Lurch

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[Shedding the progressive facade. From her call for a major air and ground war against ISIS to her attack on single-payer, and her going to bat for Wall Street rather than workers, Clinton is sprinting full-speed to the right. *RON*]

by Sarah LazareCommon Dreams, 19 November 2015

From her call for a major air and ground war against ISIS to her attack on single-payer, observers note that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is rapidly shedding her "progressive" façade as she grows increasingly confident she has the Democratic nomination locked down (an assumption which, evidence shows, is debatable).

This trend comes despite her declaration during the first Democratic debate in October, after being pressed by the CNN moderator: "I don't take a backseat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment."

More Mexican Immigrants Leaving U.S. Than Entering, Report Finds

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[This is the first time since 1970 that this has been so. Interesting reader comments. This seems to be due to tighter laws and enforcement increasing the costs for both migrants and US employers, shrinking work opportunities in the US, growing work opportunities in Mexico, as well as the pull of one's own culture and being made to feel unwelcome in the US. None of this bodes well for incoming Syrian refugees. *RON*]

By Julia Preson, New York Times, 19 November 2015

More immigrants from Mexico are leaving the United States than coming into the country, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Research Center, a finding that indicates the end of the largest wave of immigration from a single country in American history.

The shift is the first time since immigration from Mexico began to rise in the 1970s that fewer Mexicans came into America than returned home, the Pew report found. The reversal is primarily the result of a steep dro…

Far-right activist charged with illegally possessing weapons and bomb-making manual

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[White guys with bombs are 'activists.' Police arrest Phillip Galea, active in the United Patriots Front, as tensions rise over weekend anti-mosque protest in Melton, Victoria. "Pretty much most people my age would have a copy of the Anarchist Handbook." *RON*]
Australian Associated Press, The Guardian, 19 November 2015
A Melbourne man active in the far-right United Patriots Front has been charged with illegally possessing weapons and a bomb-making manual days before an anti-mosque rally in Victoria.

Phillip Galea, 31, of Braybrook, was due to appear before Melbourne magistrates court on Friday charged with possession of a prohibited weapon and one count of possessing a prescribed chemical.

Galea was arrested on Thursday morning as police searched his home and allegedly found five tasers, a jar containing a small amount of mercury, and a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook.

He was taken into custody after police received information tha…

Glenn Greenwald: "Shameless" U.S. Officials Exploit Paris Attacks to Defend Spying & Attack Snowden

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[The mainstream media continue to be cheerleaders for war, domestic and global surveillance, and the spread of religious hatred. *RON*]
Amy Goodman & Glenn Greenwald, Democracy Now!, 19 November 2015

LINKS. The Intercept: "Signs Point to Unencrypted Communications Between Terror Suspects”
Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter

As France and Belgium move to expand state power in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, top U.S. officials have renewed a push to defend mass surveillance and dismiss those who challenge it. On Wednesday, FBIDirector James Comey said intelligence and law enforcement officials need to have access to encrypted information on smartphones, despite no evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. Meanwhile, others have used the Paris attacks to criticize NSAwhistleblower Edward Snowden. In recent days, CIADirector John Brennan has suggested revelations about mass spying have made it harder to find terrorists, while forme…

How to stop antibiotic resistance? Here's a World Health Organisation prescription

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[What will it be - bigger profits or global pestilence? All the solutions are commonsense and all involve lower profits and more expense for Big Pharma. *RON*]

Marc Sprenger, The Guardian, 20 November 2015
Today, if you get a bacterial infection – even a serious one that lands you in a hospital bed – you probably feel confident an antibiotic will cure you.

My parents lived in a different world. When I was three years old, I became seriously ill with tuberculosis. I can only imagine their anguish. I had to be hospitalised for a full year, and I would probably have died were it not for the availability of a new form of treatment that combined three antibiotics. I was one of the first people in Europe to receive it.

The advent of antibiotics introduced a new era in medicine. But now, I fear we are moving backwards – to the world in which my parents lived, when bacterial infections were often lethal because there were no specific treatments available.


The US Government Is Retiring All Research Chimpanzees

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[Your good thing for the day. *RON*]

By Robin Andrews, IJFLS!, 19 November 2015
Two years ago, most of the chimpanzees used for medical research in the United States were “retired” and sent to sanctuaries to live out the rest of their lives. Now, the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced that it is shutting down its chimpanzee medical research program once and for all.

As before, the 50 currently owned primates will be sent to sanctuaries. Another scheme, wherein 82 other chimpanzees are supported by the NIH but owned by other medical research facilities, will also be phased out over time. The director of the NIH, Francis Collins, spoke to Nature about the decision: “I think this is the natural next step of what has been a very thoughtful five-year process of trying to come to terms with the benefits and risks of trying to perform research with these very special animals. We reached a point where in that five years the ne…