Showing posts from February 14, 2016

Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

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[An interesting piece reviewing a book on how The Establishment structures form and are maintained. Good to read in conjunction with: People Keep Talking About 'The Establishment.' What Is It, Anyway? "In the month before the Iowa caucuses this year, the establishment was mentioned 128 times in the pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, by our count. In 2012, it was 45 times." *RON*]
By Chuck Spinney, Consortium News, 12 February 2016

Americans perceive what has happened to their democratic Republic only dimly, tricked by rightists who call all collective government actions bad and by neoliberals who make “markets” a new-age god. But ex-congressional budget official Mike Lofgren shows how this “Deep State” really works, writes Chuck Spinney.

Just about everyone knows something is dangerously wrong with our nation’s political system. There is a growing awareness that the United States i…

Four billion people face severe water scarcity, new research finds

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[Water shortages affecting two-thirds of world’s population for a month every year and the crisis is far worse than previously thought. *RON*]
Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 12 February 2016
At least two-thirds of the global population, over 4 billion people, live with severe water scarcity for at least one month every year, according to a major new analysis.

The revelation shows water shortages, one of the most dangerous challenges the world faces, is far worse previously than thought.

The new research also reveals that 500m people live in places where water consumption is double the amount replenished by rain for the entire year, leaving them extremely vulnerable as underground aquifers run down.

Study: Air pollution kills 5.5 million people annually

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[A majority of the 5.5 million deaths are happening in the developing world and Asia. "Our study highlights the urgent need for even more aggressive strategies to reduce emissions from coal and from other sectors," said Qiao Ma, a researcher in China. *RON*]

By Brooks Hays, UPI, 12 February 2016
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Every year, dirty air sends some 5.5 million people to an early grave.

That's according to researchers at the University of British Columbia, who on Friday presented new data on air pollution at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"Air pollution is the fourth-highest risk factor for death, globally, and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease," Michael Brauer, a professor at UBC's School of Population and Public Health, said in a press release. "Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population.&…

Disparity in Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor Is Growing

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["In the early 1970s, a 60-year-old man in the top half of the earnings ladder could expect to live 1.2 years longer than a man of the same age in the bottom half... Fast-forward to 2001, and he could expect to live 5.8 years longer than his poorer counterpart. [By 2012] ...
for men born in 1920, there was a six-year difference in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent. For men born in 1950, that difference had more than doubled, to 14 years. Fo
r women, the gap grew to 13 years, from 4.7 years." Smoking, obesity, drug abuse and limited access to healthcare (i.e., poverty) all suspected as contributors. *RON*]

By Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, 12 February 2016

Experts have long known that rich people generally live longer than poor people. But a growing body of data shows a more disturbing pattern: Despite big advances in medicine, technology and education, the longevity gap between high-inco…

Hillary Is a High-Ranking Member of the DC Power Elite — and That's Why She Can't Comprehend Bernie’s Revolution

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[The American Dream is sliding off the cliff and Hillary, the plutocratic 'progressive' is still talking about women’s empowerment — a cry that was fresh 40 years ago. See also the hilariously titled Apparently there’s a special place in hell for Democratic politicians who criticize Barack Obama as insufficiently progressive. And a special place in heaven for politicians who have accepted $133,246 from the private-prisons industry but tell Black and Hispanic voters at a debate shortly before the Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primary that they want to end the private-prison system. And, while we're at it: America’s Corrupt Media – How Reporters Took Direct Orders from Hillary Clinton’s Staff. *RON*]
By Alan SalyAlterNet, 13 February 2016

Let me figure this out. Last year, the Clintons couldn’t believe their good fortune. They were going to face a “democratic socialist” from the marginal state of Vermont and cruise to victory. It…

B.C. Can't Take Another Four Years Of Christy Clark

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[Clark "might finally be coming to the realization that every scandal, misstep or moronic statement can't be fixed with a smiling photo-op in a hard hat." See also the sudden, miraculous interest in social welfare with the election coming: B.C. Affordable Housing Investment Is Single Largest In Provincial History. All of which kicks in after the next election (maybe). *RON*]

Sarah Miller, Huffington Post, 9 February 2016

As people celebrate the victories of the Lower Mainland byelections, it's a good reminder that we aren't too far away from the next provincial elections.

When I say victories, it isn't just because I have been a long-time NDP supporter or because one of the winning candidates happens to be the first female aboriginal person to hold such a position.

Mostly I see this as a victory because it symbolizes a shift away from the B.C. Liberals and their path of destruction that has plagued this province for far …

Easing of austerity would not harm economy, McDonald says

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[The Sinn Féin has come out against the current Irish government's austerity plans and, as it happens, they are also ahead in the polls before the upcoming election: Shock as Sinn Fein surges in new poll as govt parties lose ground. *RON*]

The Irish Times, 13 February 2016
The notion that Ireland would follow the economic difficulties of Portugal and Greece if it backtracked on austerity is “wrong”, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald has said.

Responding to comments from Minister for Finance Michael Noonan about instability in Portugal, Ms McDonald said Ireland could afford a twin approach - relief for families through the elimination of water charges and property tax, and “substantial sustainable investment” in public services such as the HSE.

She said Sinn Féin had taken great care in formulating policy “to ensure the resources were there to pay for them” and had been the only party to get figures on this “fiscal space” correct.

On the subject of …

Why Scalia's Death Is a Huge Blow to the Right-Wing Agenda in Washington

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[The impact of Scalia's death will be felt immediately in a number of pending high-profile cases. See also: In wake of Justice Scalia's death, historic battle approaches over U.S. Supreme Court, "Within moments of news spreading on Saturday that conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia had died in his sleep at age 79, Republicans immediately signalled that they would block anyone nominated by the current president." And, of course: Obama to Nominate Scalia Replacement Over Republicans’ Objections. *RON*]

By Bill BlumTruthdig / AlterNet, 13 February 2016

Justice Antonin Scalia is dead, and his passing is nothing less than a legal and political earthquake. It will have a huge impact, not only on the court's present term but on the course of constitutional law.

Beginning with his appointment to the high court in 1986, Scalia was the intellectual leader of what I and many other legal commentators have termed a conservative "…