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Showing posts from July 12, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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What happened when Walmart left

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[Describes an America not very different from the Great Depression, at the mercy of a heartless corporatocracy. If you think it’s bad when Walmart comes into town, consider what it’s like when Walmart pulls out, leaving local commerce gutted. *RON*]
Ed PilkingtonThe Guardian, 10 July 2017
When Walmart left town, it didn’t linger over the goodbyes. It slashed the prices on all its products, stripped the shelves bare, and vanished, leaving behind only the ghostly shadow of its famous brand name and gold star logo on the front wall of a deserted shell.

The departure was so quick that telltale signs remain of the getaway, like smoldering ashes in the fireplaces of an evacuated town. Notices still taped to the glass entranceway record with tombstone-like precision the exact moment that the supercenter was shuttered: “Store closed at 7pm, Thursday 28 January 2016.”

Ten years. That’s all the time it took for the store to rise up in a clearing of the lu…

The Sovereign Myth

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[I'll have to think more about this one, but it's an interesting article claiming that the people never did have control over democracy. "Growth, stability, and expansion of powerful states governed by representative democracy was in part a creation of the credit market, bondholders, and international finance. That’s not a world in which demo­cratic decision makers ever had unconstrained sovereign decision-making authority over public finance, even in the powerful core states of the international system. It also means that the representative state emerged out of a kind of market competition for creditworthy providers of government" *RON*]

Jacob T. Levy, Niskanen Center, 15 June 2017



I recently had the privilege of sitting on a roundtable on the contemporary crisis with three very incisive and insightful political scientists: Sheri Berman, Mark Blyth, and Christopher Parker. (It was a plenary session of the Canadian Political Scie…

While Reviewing Enbridge’s Line 5 for Michigan, Contractor Worked for Same Pipeline Company in Minnesota

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["...while Dynamic Risk’s Mihell and Stantec were reviewing Enbridge's Line 5 on behalf of the state of Michigan, they were also working directly for Enbridge assessing its Line 3 — with an overlap of at least six months, from July 2016 to January 2017." Enbridge hired and paid for the contractors, whom Michigan referred to as 'independent contractors' and the state stressed that "these experts, who will work solely for the people of Michigan, will come at no cost to the state." *RON*]

Itai Vardi, DeSmog Blog, 11 July 2017
A private contractor hired by the state of Michigan to assess an Enbridge oil pipeline running under the Great Lakes was working simultaneously for the company on a related pipeline, a DeSmog investigation has found.

The contractor, Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Inc., is leading one of two studies commissioned last year by Michigan to provide a risk assessment for Enbridge’s 64-year old Line 5 p…

New Harvard Analysis Highlights How Media Failed the People of Flint

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["There is not much hope for the environmental security of all Americans if the media does not respond to emergencies in a nondiscriminatory way." *RON*]

Yessenia Funes, Color Lines, 11 July 2017
More than two years have passed since the water crisis in Flint, Michigan hit the national headlines. But the water crisis itself unfolded over three years ago in 2014—not 2015 when the rest of the country found out about it. Residents began complaining in April 2014; they knew something was wrong with their water, though it took some time until they knew it was lead.

National media began covering the issue quite late, argues a paper published today (July 11) by the Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Local media such as M-Live/The Flint Journal covered it consistently from the beginning, but the same isn’t true for nationally lauded publications. The paper goes as far as to criticize The New York Times’…

Earth's sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn

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[Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades. See also: Opinion: You don’t need a scientist to know what’s causing the sixth mass extinction. *RON*]
Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 11 July 2017

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research.

Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost. They blame human overpopulation and overconsumption for the crisis and warn that it threatens the survival of human civilisation, with just a short window of time in which to act.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, eschews the normally sober tone of scientific papers and calls the massive loss of wildlife a “bio…