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Showing posts from February 11, 2017

Behind the Internet's Anti-Democracy Movement

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[How much of this is truly influential? Hard to say. It's scary stuff though. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is reportedly a reader of neoreactionary political theory. A tour through the pro-authoritarian philosophy gaining visibility on the right. *RON*]
Rosie Gray, The Atlantic, 10 Fenruary 2017
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been in contact via intermediaries with Curtis Yarvin, Politico Magazine reported this week. Yarvin, a software engineer and blogger, writes under the name Mencius Moldbug. His anti-egalitarian arguments have formed the basis for a movement called “neoreaction.”

Don't Like the Ballot Measure Voters Approved? Just Ignore It, Some Lawmakers Say.

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[Democracy in the Trump era. In state capitals around the country, lawmakers are trying to block voter-approved policies. Critics say it's "lawlessness" that represents the new political climate. Will totalitarian-style politicians like this get voted out? *RON*]
Alan Greenblatt, Governing The States and Localities, 31 January 2017
State lawmakers have always been skeptical about letting voters decide public policy. Lately, some have been downright hostile.

South Dakota GOP legislators are poised to repeal a ballot measure that passed just this past November. It calls for a range of ethics changes, including public financing of campaigns, limits on campaign donations, the creation of an independent ethics commission and a ban on gifts from lobbyists.

State lawmaker’s solution for pregnant workers: ‘You can quit’

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[Society's backward march continues apace. Eight male lawmakers shot down a bill that would have helped pregnant employees safely stay on the job. See also: Employee alleges major grocery chain refused to help her during a painful pregnancy.  *RON*]

Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress, 10 February 2017

On Monday, eight male lawmakers in South Dakota voted down a bill that would have required reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers so they can safely stay on the job.

Instead of offering protections against discrimination, unsafe conditions, and getting fired, one of the men had a different solution for pregnant employees. “It’s not prison. You can quit,” Republican state Rep. Wayne H. Steinhauer, who voted against the bill, said during a hearing, according to Rewire.

“You’ve got a choice every day. You make a choice whether you come to work,” he went on. “And I’m here to tell you, if a person’s not allowing you to breastfeed at work or making app…

Income share for the bottom 50% of Americans is ‘collapsing,’ new Piketty research finds

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[US a world leader in inequality. Adjusted for inflation, incomes for Americans haven’t grown. *RON*]

Steve Goldstein, Market Watch, 7 February 2017

A new research paper from economists including Thomas Piketty finds that the bottom 50%’s share of income in the United States is “collapsing.”

The paper, written by Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, studies global inequality dynamics. And while there are rising top income and wealth shares in nearly all countries, the magnitude varies substantially.

How the Democrats paved the way for Betsy DeVos

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["Efforts by Ronald Reagan to introduce vouchers in the early 1980s failed due to popular support for the democratic and egalitarian principles embodied in public education. It took the Democrats, under President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s, to rebrand this right-wing attack on public education as 'school choice' for poor families. It was under President Obama that the most sweeping attacks on public education occurred. More than 300,000 teachers and other school jobs were permanently eliminated during Obama’s eight years. The struggle to defend and vastly improve public education therefore requires the building of a movement independent of both big-business parties." *RON*]
Jerry White, World Socialist Web Site, 10 February 2017

The Senate’s confirmation Tuesday of Betsy DeVos has placed a sworn enemy of public education and a proponent of for-profit charter schools and religious schooling at the helm of the US Department of …

Price of Muscular Dystrophy drug may put it out of reach

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[They call utterly heartless venality a business model. Marathon Pharmaceuticals plans to sell a the drug deflazacort, used to treat a form of muscular dystrophy for $89,000 annually in the U.S., roughly 70 times the cost of the drug overseas. *RON*]

Bob CollinsMPR News10 February 2017

If you’re a boy in the United State with Muscular Dystrophy, there’s a chance you’ve tried deflazacort, which isn’t sold in the United States but is available from an online store in the UK.

It’s not a cure for the disease, of course, but tests have shown it can improve muscle strength.

It’s not cheap — about $1,600 a year.

But now the victims of the disease have been told the online pharmacy will no longer sell the drug to people in the United States because Marathon Pharmaceutical got FDA approval yesterday to sell its version of the drug, called Emflaza.

Today, the Wall St. Journal reports the company has set the price.

$89,000 a year.

The company does not yet have…