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Showing posts from March 5, 2016

How the FBI Polices Dissent and Why It Matters in the Encryption Debate

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[Policing dissent makes police forces, the FBI, intelligence services and the military the protection and enforcement arm of the 1 per cent. Accessible, honest histories of the FBI and intelligence services are needed to counter the public view that they are bravely acting in the general public's best interest. *RON*]

By Chip Gibbons, Truthout, 5 March 2016

With the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attempting to gain access to the San Bernardino shooter's phone, and in the process create a backdoor into encrypted devices across the world - many in the media have framed the issue as being one of privacy versus security. While there is undoubtedly a compelling privacy issue at stake, many advocates have also pointed to another fundamental right at stake - the right of free expression. The Supreme Court has long noted that privacy is fundamental to free expression. More recently, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expr…

How Mainstream Economics Helps Businesses Manipulate our Minds

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[Do we really decide what we want? One can (well, I can) agree with the analysis while disagreeing with the proposed solution. I agree wholeheartedly that we are being fed a false philosophy of living by some of the best-funded and most expert persuaders in the world. But limiting freedom of expression is not the answer. Beefing up alternative views through improved parenting, and a better-funded and better-guided education system and public broadcasting is a better way to go. A more complete package should include un-privatising education. *RON*]
By John Komlos, Evonomics, 3 March 2016
A major oversight of standard economics is that it begins the analysis with adults. This is convenient, because this strategy enables the discipline to ignore the crucial and pernicious influence of powerful mega-corporations on the formation of the mindset of children and youth during their formative years. By disregarding the crucial first 18 or so years of lif…

The Swedish Alternative to Austerity

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["...there is an alternative to austerity, and all the neo-liberal values and policies tied up with it; and there is at least one place in the world where it seems to work. Maybe the Swedish model isn’t applicable to Britain, or it would require too painful a revolution to take us there... But if so, we need to be told why." *RON*]
Bernard Porter, London Review of Books, 4 March 2016

Back in Sweden again. (I travel back and forth.) What strikes me this time is the great contrast between the political and economic mood here and in the UK. Britain is gripped by ‘austerity’, and full of gloom and doom (except for the very rich). More cuts in social provision are promised, hitting the poorest and most disadvantaged, and the NHS is collapsing for want of funds. The government is using the ‘crisis’ to extend privatisation and diminish the state, on what appear to be purely ideological grounds.

In my part of England (Hull), shops are boarded up …

Oregon becomes first state to pass law to completely eliminate coal-fired power

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[Coal currently provides a third of the state’s electricity supply. The state also aims to double the amount of renewable energy produced by 2050. This, as opposed to business as usual in Canada: Penn West Petroleum spills over 350,000 Litres of Toxic Water, and Harper 2.0? Trudeau Says Canada Needs More Tar Sands Pipelines. *RON*]
Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 3 March 2016

Oregon has become the first US state to pass laws to rid itself of coal, committing to eliminate the use of coal-fired power by 2035 and to double the amount of renewable energy in the state by 2040.

Legislation passed by the state’s assembly, which will need to be signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, will transition Oregon away from coal, which currently provides around a third of the state’s electricity supply.

At the same time, the state will also require its two largest utilities to increase their share of clean energy, such as solar and wind, to 50% by 2040. Combined with …

How the Media Enabled Donald Trump by Destroying Politics First

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[CBS head Les Moonves: "It may not be good for America, but it is damn good for CBS. The money’s rolling in and this is fun. I've never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going." *RON*]

By Neal Gabler, Moyers & Company, 4 March 2016

It is more than a little ironic that the Republican Establishment and the mainstream media are both now in full panic mode over the possibility of Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination. You would think that the Republican Party, which has been, let’s face it, hate-spewing, poor-bashing, government-stopping and corporation-loving for decades, ought to be the leading culprit for having paved the way for Trump’s success. As for the media, Marco Rubio, who claims to be exactly where he wants to be after losing 14 primaries and caucuses and winning only one, holds them responsible, which, from a ca…

Hypocrisy surrounds the murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras

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["She is the latest in a long line of victims in Honduras since a coup, sponsored by the US and supported by the then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, overthrew the reformist President Mel Zelaya in 2009." She of the strong 'foreign policy chops' which will make her such a great President. *RON*]
Bert Schouwenburg, The Guardian, 4 March 2016
In a grim prelude to International Women’s Day on Saturday 5 March, the celebrated Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner Berta Cáceres has been murdered in Honduras, barely a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project (International outrage at murder of activist, 4 March).

She is the latest in a long line of victims in Honduras since a coup, sponsored by the US and supported by the then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, overthrew the reformist President Mel Zelaya in 2009. Human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, trade unionists, gay right…