Showing posts from September 6, 2016

Robert Reich on the Reality of Free Trade Deals

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[Economists still think free trade benefits most Americans, but most Americans disagree. These short clips that Reich has been making and posting on YouTube are good! *RON*]

By Robert / AlterNet, 4 September 2016

Free trade is figuring prominently in the upcoming presidential election. Donald Trump is against it. Hillary Clinton has expressed qualms.

Economists still think free trade benefits most Americans, but according to polls, only 35% of voters agree.

Why this discrepancy?

Because economists support any policy that improves efficiency and they typically define a policy as efficient if the people who benefit from it could compensate those who lose from it and still come out ahead.

Oklahoma rocked by one of its biggest earthquakes in history

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[This shook six neighboring states. Of course the fracking companies are still spouting the correlation is not causation line that was used so lovingly by cigarette companies sixty years or more ago. See also: Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma Amid Warnings of 'Inherent' Fracking Risks. *RON*]

By Kamala Kelkar, PBS Newhour, 3 September 2016

@tornadopayne damage in Pawnee after the — J Berry Harrison III (@boberryIII) September 3, 2016 What is believed to be one of the biggest earthquakes in Oklahoma’s history struck the state on Saturday morning, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6. No major injuries have been reported.

The quake hit just after 7 a.m. local time and was felt across several states, including Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was about 8 miles northwest of Pawnee, a city of fewer than 3,000 people.

“The eastern U.S…

How Consumer Culture Is Killing Citizenship

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[The competitive individualism of capitalism is destroying our sense of the common good, which is the basis of democracy. "We live in a society where market values spread without limit, in which we are branding and selling ourselves along with everything else, including public office. How do we stop it?" *RON*]
By Harry / AlterNet, 2 September 2016

Donald Trump’s candidacy gives rise to many descriptors — authoritarian, bigoted, divisive. It is also the culmination of long-developing dysfunctions of a culture where market values have spread beyond appropriate limits and radically eroded citizenship.

Though many feel hopeless about changing this culture, resources are appearing for revitalizing citizenship and for building a movement for a deeper democracy, across party lines, after this sour and dispiriting election.

Inuit Are Embedding Sensors in the Ice Because It's Getting Dangerously Thin

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[The ice that keeps them alive, the basis of their culture, is turning to slush: "one-in-twelve said they’d fallen through the ice. Two-thirds of Inuit reported feeling frightened when travelling over it." *RON*]

Kate Lunau Motherboard Vice, 2 September 2016

Inuit communities in Canada's North have lived on the ice for centuries, and rely on it for hunting, transportation, and a way of life. Now, because of climate change, the ice is turning to slush. In many places, it's becoming unsafe. So two Arctic communities are installing high-tech sea ice monitors that can track changes in the ice.

“We’re not trying to replace traditional knowledge,” said Trevor Bell of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, a collaborator on SmartICE, which is being piloted around Nain, Labrador, and Pond Inlet, Nunavut. “We’re trying to augment traditional knowledge, with new technology.”

Nunatsiavut, the self-governing Inuit region of Labrador that inc…

How Much Will the War On Unions Cost You This Labor Day?

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[Class wars. "Forget the 'sharing economy'—get a union instead... If union enrollment had remained as high as it was in 1979, nonunion working men in the private sector would now have earned an average of $2,704 more per year... The decline in union membership is costing nonunion workers a total of $133 billion per year." *RON*]
by Richard EskowCampaign for America's Future Blog / Common Dreams, 2 September 2016

The decline of unions has probably cost you, or someone close to you, thousands of dollars since last Labor Day.

A new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that income for nonunion workers fell substantially as union membership declined. And it hasn’t fallen because of some immutable economic law. It’s a casualty of war – cultural and political war.

If union enrollment had remained as high as it was in 1979, nonunion working men in the private sector would have earned an average of $2,704 more per year…

B.C.'s Climate Plan Subsidizes Fossil Fuels (Yes, You Read That Correctly)

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[No money for anything except her corporate pals who will fund her retirement. Election 2017. See also: B.C. Election 2017: Housing Affordability Expected To Be 'Delicate' Election Issue For Clark. *RON*]
James Wilt, DeSmog Canada / Huffington Post, 1 September 2016

The B.C. government has quietly slipped subsidies for the natural gas sector into its climate plan, which has been panned as "cynical" by leading experts.

B.C.’s so-called Climate Leadership Plan, quietly released on August 19, includes a vague pledge to subsidize the electrification of upstream natural gas facilities in the northeast of the province, using “renewable” power from BC Hydro projects.

“I just could not believe the audacity of it when I was reading the plan,” Alex Doukas, senior campaigner at Oil Change International, told DeSmog Canada.“We’re using public dollars to help them reduce their emissions, when that should be the responsibility of the natural…