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Showing posts from August 7, 2016

The Historical Context of Mercantilism, Republicanism, Liberalism and Neoliberalism

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[This is a dense piece and, to be honest, a bit meandering! But it provides valuable perspective from someone who has read widely and deeply where few others have. From an historic analysis, he argues that "the left is making a huge, tragic mistake by focusing on the founders' fear of democracy, and condemning the founders as mere elitists. I would point to Trump and the Republican Convention as an example of exactly why the Founders sought to curb the power of both a tyrant, and the people." And that these checks and balances are exactly what will be needed to stop the Trumps of the world from winning in reaction to the crypto-neoliberal policies of both of the Clintons. *RON*]

Tony Wikrent, Real Economics, 24 July 2016

After the financial crash of 2007-2008 caused an economic collapse, and after it became clear that the Bush and Obama administrations were unwilling to actually investigate,prosecute and incarcerate financial and ban…

Slavery Reparations Could Cost up to $14 Trillion, According to New Calculation

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[The estimates have varied widely. Yet this is probably what the next bankster bail-out will cost, and it is a far better (bubble-up rather than trickle-down) investment in my opinion. *RON*]

By Douglas Main, Newsweek,  7 August 2016
In 1865, toward the end of the Civil War, Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman promised slaves that they’d receive 40 acres and a mule. Land was even set aside, but the promise was recanted by President Andrew Johnson. Ever since, the issue of reparations has come up many times, often fiercely debated. Although most Americans generally don’t support reparations, according to University of Connecticut researcher Thomas Craemer, it matters greatly how the question is worded, who would get reparations and in what form. For example, the idea of reparations paid in educational benefits are more popular than others, Craemer says.

On the other hand, one of the cases often made against reparations is that it'd be…

Noam Chomsky's 8-Point Rationale for Voting for the Lesser Evil Presidential Candidate

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[A forceful statement supporting the 'lesser evil' voting position by Noam Chomsky. "Critics of lesser evil voting should consider that their footing on the high ground may not be as secure as they often take for granted." *RON*]
By John Halle, Noam ChomskyNoam Chomsky's Official Site / AlterNet, 6 August 2016

Among the elements of the weak form of democracy enshrined in the constitution, presidential elections continue to pose a dilemma for the left in that any form of participation or non participation appears to impose a significant cost on our capacity to develop a serious opposition to the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians. The position outlined below is that which many regard as the most effective response to this quadrennial Hobson’s choice, namely the so-called “lesser evil” voting strategy or LEV. Simply put, LEV involves, where you can, i.e. in safe states, voting for the losing third party can…

A Definitive Guide to the Brexit Negotiations

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[An excellent primer on Brexit from Harvard Business Review. *RON*]

Deepak Malhotra, Harvard Business Review, 5 August 2016


After a heated political campaign, voters in the United Kingdom decided by a slim margin, on June 23, to exit the European Union, leading to a change in government. Now that a new prime minister has taken over, the next big question looms: How will the UK and EU negotiate their split?

I have spent almost 20 years researching, teaching, writing about, and advising companies and governments on how to negotiate when things seem impossible. In this article I offer an analysis of the negotiation landscape facing UK and EU negotiators, along with advice on how they might navigate the process more effectively. For the record, I have not (at the time of this writing) been asked by either side to advise on the negotiations.

I structure the analysis in much the same way as I would approach any complex deal where I was asked to lead (o…

Book review: A war worth losing

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[I downloaded and read a sample chapter of Shawn Otto's new book "The War on Science." It's excellent (it actually contains a lot on Stephen Harper) and it's been added to the bottom of my three-lifetimes-long To-Read list! ;-) *RON*]

Peter Dykstra, Environmental Health News, August 6, 2016

America is a war-weary nation. I’m not talking about Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria or ISIS. We’ve fought wars on cancer, drugs, crime, Christmas, Christians, marriage, family values, coal, poverty, prosperity, and gun owners.

Shawn Otto’s new book presents another war, one where the aggressors wage a battle well worth losing. The War On Science is not only a compelling assessment of the battlefield, but a very useful run through the military history that got us to the current conflagration.

Why facts don’t matter to Trump’s supporters

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[I'm pretty sure it's no different for Hillary supporters. But in any case, modern politics being what it is, there has been a growing body of research on what is called "motivated reasoning." See also: The Decay of American Politics: An Ode to Ike and Adlai. *RON*]

By David Ignatius, Washington Post, 4 August 2016

How did Donald Trump win the Republican nomination, despite clear evidence that he had misrepresented or falsified key issues throughout the campaign? Social scientists have some intriguing explanations for why people persist in misjudgments despite strong contrary evidence.

Trump is a vivid and, to his critics, a frightening present-day illustration of this perception problem. But it has been studied carefully by researchers for more than 30 years. Basically, the studies show that attempts to refute false information often backfire and lead people to hold on to their misperceptions even more strongly.