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Showing posts from January 16, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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EPA Acknowledges Neonics' Harm to Bees, Then 'Bows to Pesticide Industry'

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['This is like a doctor diagnosing your illness but then deciding to withhold the medicine you need to cure it' *RON*]
Andrea Germanos,Common Dreams, 13 January 2017
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday published two bee-related announcements, but with both, say environmental groups, the agency has failed the pollinators.

One was its "Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products." It states that the "policy is not a regulation or an order and, therefore, does not legally compel changes to pesticide product registrations."

Economic Realities in America: By The Numbers

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[Click here if you'd like to view the accompanying video; it was too big to upload here. *RON*]

By Lauren Pearle, ABC News, 13 January 2017

In the Diane Sawyer report, "My Reality: A Hidden America," for a special edition of ABC News “20/20,” ABC News chronicles a reality of millions of Americans working harder than ever but struggling to stay in the middle class, or striving to get in. For so many, the American Dream’s opportunities seem to have dwindled. The numbers that follow are part of a larger conversation about today’s middle class and hard-working poor.

68 – The percentage of the country’s income growth since 1980 that went to the top 10% of earners. (National Bureau of Economic Research)

0 – The percentage of the country’s income growth since 1980 that went to the entire bottom half of earners. (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries

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[A neo-colonial eye-opener; well worth the read! New research shows that developing countries send trillions of dollars more to the west than the other way around. Why? *RON*]
Jason Hickel, The Guardian, 14 January 2017

We have long been told a compelling story about the relationship between rich countries and poor countries. The story holds that the rich nations of the OECD give generously of their wealth to the poorer nations of the global south, to help them eradicate poverty and push them up the development ladder. Yes, during colonialism western powers may have enriched themselves by extracting resources and slave labour from their colonies – but that’s all in the past. These days, they give more than $125bn (£102bn) in aid each year – solid evidence of their benevolent goodwill.

This story is so widely propagated by the aid industry and the governments of the rich world that we have come to take it for granted. But it may not be as simple a…

That Time I Turned a Routine Traffic Ticket into the Constitutional Trial of the Century

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[Gave a ticket to the wrong guy. Gives good insight into the Kafkaesque mess the American justice system has become. *RON*]
Adam J. MacLeod, The Public Discourse, 13 January 2017

Laws that give municipal officials and their private contractors power to issue tickets via traffic cameras confer powers of both criminal and civil law while excusing them from the due process duties of both criminal and civil law.

The traffic-camera ticket: like a parking ticket, it looks lawful enough. When they receive one, most people simply write the check. It seems like the sensible and law-abiding thing to do.

But this is not a parking ticket. In legal terms, it is not a proceeding in rem—against your car. It is a legal action against you personally. And before you pay the fine, you might want to hear my story.

My story is not legal advice. I offer it only to show how our ruling elites have corrupted the rule of law and to suggest why this matters for the American e…

Solving the Crisis of Extractive Capitalism

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[A new post-capitalist ecosystem of value creation. I'm not sure how much of this kind of activity is going on, but it's nice to know people are exploring alternative economic models. *RON*]

Michel Bauwens & Vasilis Kostakis, Open Democracy / Evonomics, 14 January 2017

Our world is once again hurled into a deep socio-economic crisis, in which the current extractive model of value creation is facing a series of structural crises. But as the old world is dislocating, the seeds of a new one are being sown.

The peer-to-peer capacity to relate to each other over the Internet entails the emergence of what Yochai Benkler in the The Wealth of Networks called ‘commons-based peer production’ (CBPP). CBPP is a new pathway of value creation and distribution, where peer-to-peer infrastructures allow individuals to communicate, self-organize and, ultimately, co-create non-rivalrous use value, in the form of digital commons of knowledge, software and…