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Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Kshama Sawant

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/podcast-141001-kshama-sawant.mp3

 

Last year, Kshama Sawant shocked the continent by winning a seat on Seattle’s City Council. She defeated an incumbent Democrat to become the first openly socialist city councillor in Seattle in a century. Sawant, an immigrant from India with a background as a software engineer and an economics professor, is a militant socialist activist who played a major role in the 2011 Occupy protests. Not your typical politician to say the least.

Sawant’s surprise electoral win in Seattle has sparked discussion across North America. Last week, she made her first speaking appearance in (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Vermont Stops Their War on Drugs, Will Help People Instead

The war on drugs is a backwards, destructive, and anti-human campaign that has destroyed lives. It was launched by Nixon and since then it the ‘war’ has negatively impacted everything it touches from people’s lives to the global economy.

The USA tries to enforce it’s inflexible approach around the world, yet at home many states are realizing that it’s a foolish approach. Vermont has now openly backed out of the ignorant ‘battle’ against drugs and is taking a more educated approach: helping people who are addicted rather than punishing them.

Vermont has passed a battery of reforms that have turned (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: UN Under Attack

I’ve avoided making many blog posts on Middle East politics because they tend to descend into dogmatic shouting matches on the Internet. I also don’t know every historic, geographic, religious, and political detail so don’t count myself among the experts. One doesn’t have to be an expert to comment on the ghastly situation right now. It’s plain as day.

One of the more outrageous points of Israel and Hamas shooting at each other has been Israel’s shelling of UN sites housing thousands of civilians.

#Israel is the only country who is allowed to attack #UN shelters with the support of (Read more…)

Things Are Good: USA to Stop Landmine Procurement and Production

Unfortunately not every country has signed the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personal land mines. Recently the largest producer of armaments, the USA, has opted to stop production of landmines. The army has also committed to not purchasing new landmines.

“Our delegation in Maputo made clear that we are diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention – the treaty banning the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of APL,” Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council spokeswoman, said in the statement.

Now mines are rarely used in conflicts, and even countries (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: USA: Elizabeth Warren takes the fight to Wall Street

The Real USA

The highly intelligent, courageous and scrappy new senator is not stopping in her fight for the middle class. She is pounding the streets, raising money for long-shot Democrat candidates, and focusing on the rigged stock market that favours the wealthy and has a lock on many elected senators and House representatives:

Yet Warren’s 2014 road show is important in its own right. By stumping for long-shot Democrats in red states, raising and spreading around campaign cash, devising innovative legislation for candidates to borrow and, most importantly, sharpening the left’s rhetorical attack on Wall Street, Warren could (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: USA: Elizabeth Warren takes the fight to Wall Street

Dead Wild Roses: Four Minutes, One Hundred and Fifty Four Bullets.

I get email:

From the Sandyhook Promise -

Dear Friend,

“The person who killed my precious son Dylan carried 10, 30-round, large-capacity gun ammunition magazines into Sandy Hook Elementary. 300 rounds. He deliberately left the smaller-capacity magazines at home.

In approximately four minutes, he shot 154 bullets, killing 20 children and 6 educators. Five of those bullets hit my son, and in an instant, Dylan was gone.

But in the time it took the shooter to reload, 11 children were able to escape. If magazines were reduced to one-third the number of rounds available that day, just think how many (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Four Minutes, One Hundred and Fifty Four Bullets.

I get email:

From the Sandyhook Promise -

Dear Friend,

“The person who killed my precious son Dylan carried 10, 30-round, large-capacity gun ammunition magazines into Sandy Hook Elementary. 300 rounds. He deliberately left the smaller-capacity magazines at home.

In approximately four minutes, he shot 154 bullets, killing 20 children and 6 educators. Five of those bullets hit my son, and in an instant, Dylan was gone.

But in the time it took the shooter to reload, 11 children were able to escape. If magazines were reduced to one-third the number of rounds available that day, just think how many (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Obama Takes On Coal Power Plants

Coal is one of the worst sources for energy given that its contribution to destruction of our planet is unmatched. There have been attempts to make coal branded as “clean coal” but even then, the radiation emitted from coal power plants is too high and the pollutants released into the air is still too much.

President Obama has decided to transition America’s power supply system away from coal and to better, cleaner alternatives. This is a good step in stemming the amount of pollution the country dumps into the air. Let’s hope that there is more money into sustainable power (Read more…)

Trashy's World: I. Trashy. Am depleting the atmosphere. Kill me now.

Solar panels are draining the sun. Crap. Double crap. This week, a scientific research facility in Wyoming made a startling discovery that is certain to change the way millions of Americans look at the environmentalism movement, after they found conclusive evidence that solar panels not only convert the sun’s energy into usable energy, but that […]

Things Are Good: High Speed Rail Coming to……Texas?

Texas is an American state best known for its gun-loving, big truck driving, cowboy, remember the Alamo culture. It is the last place I’d expect high speed rail infrastructure to actually get support in the USA. The good news here is that not only are Texans in favour of high speed rail – the private sector is going to fund.

This is a great contrast to other states where governments are even apprehensive to do feasibility studies. The private company will use Japanese technology and pay for building the infrastructure. With luck, this Texas push for rail will spread further (Read more…)

drive-by planet: In-depth interview with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov [video - English]: ‘If we’re attacked, we’ll certainly respond’

Given the American MSM angle on Ukraine that paints more or less the same picture with minor variations, I thought it would be interesting to get the Russian perspective courtesy of foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in this recent interview on RT’s Sophie and Co. 

Lavrov comes across as a no-nonsense straight shooter. He is candid and to-the-point in his assessment of the situation in Ukraine. He speaks of the extensive US influence with Kiev, the limits of American empire building, the Geneva agreement, the ways in which the Kiev regime has failed to deliver.

When asked by the host (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: President Elizabeth Warren in 2016?

President Elizabeth Warren 2016?

Right now, the person I would like to see take over from Obama in the White House in 2016 is freshman senator Elizabeth Warren. Here’s one take on her:

Her takeaway from defeating Republican Sen. Scott Brown in 2012 has a similar tone.

“What is the lesson of that day? When we fight, we can win. And when we get really fired up and fight shoulder to shoulder, we can do some pretty amazing things,” she writes.

“Some say the rich and powerful now control Washington and always will. I say this battle isn’t over (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: What’s the risk? Climate activism aiming at supply and demand

One way to think about climate activism is to see if it focuses on the supply of or demand for fossil fuels – pipelines or cars, hydrocarbons or carbon emissions. This distinction is not a new one, is doubtless very simplistic and has often been used to chastise activists. Here, I hope it will draw out some potentially useful thoughts that centre on the aims of activism and the idea of risk.

In an article published yesterday in The Nation, Chris Hayes makes an interesting analogy between the struggle for climate justice and abolitionism: despite numerous differences, both assume (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Working class disarmed, Canadian redux

Looking at the prevalence of strikes in the US over the past six decades, Doug Henwood writes,

Second Amendment fetishism aside, there’s an old saying that the working class’s ultimate weapon is withholding labor through slowdowns and strikes. By that measure, the U.S. working class has been effectively disarmed since the 1980s.

Doug then produces a graph showing a precipitous decline in the number of strikes in the US involving more than 1000 workers starting about three decades ago. Intrigued, two thoughts quickly crossed my mind. First, as is often the case, I wanted to see whether the same (Read more…)

Too Much Geography: Nate Silver, the Senate, and Hypocrisy

For the last midterm elections, I had the very good fortune of being in Washington DC, for the Rally to Restore Sanity. After looking at the American thoughtscape over the intervening years, I can pretty decisively say that the Rally’s objective has not been realized, and sanity is all too rare a commodity in America. We now approach another midterm election, with the projected results looking rather bleak for Democrats.

In one of his first looks at the Senate races ahead, Nate Silver says that there is a reasonable chance that the Republicans could pick up six seats (plus or (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: In and out of crisis with Sam Gindin

Today’s podcast is a feature interview with fellow political economist Sam Gindin. I interrogate Sam about the political economy of the present: the exit from the 2007 crisis, the role of states, austerity, the place of finance and the possibilities of resistance.

Download: podcast-140314-sam-gindin.mp3

Sam Gindin is a left political economist with a long career. He was the longtime Research Director of the CAW and later held the Packer Visiting Chair in Social Justice at York University. Most recently, Sam authored The Making of Global Capitalism with Leo Panitch, a book that has gone on to win prestigious (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: If the 1% Has Russell Brand Killed…

If the 1% has Russell Brand killed, we will see it in the corporate media as a drug OD relapse, or a freak accident.

Why?

He is dangerous because he fearlessly tells the truth and challenges pretence.

Let’s examine this in some detail here [with video]:

His brain works twice as fast as most brilliant people I’ve encountered in my life. He is the socio-political heir of George Carlin. He speaks truth to power AND the masses. And frankly, WE’VE FORGOTTEN THAT THE MASSES ARE THE POWER. He is sober, so no one can credit his speedy speaking style on (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: A Must Read – Why America Is Not in Decline, Except at Home.

America hasn’t really declined.  America simply went global and, in the process, turned its back on working-class Americans, blue and white collar.  A globalized America is an America of the 1%.  The rest who still believe are suckers.

That’s the premise of a fine essay in Politico by Sean Starrs, a PhD student at York University.

The author argues that Americans see decline when they’re in fact witnessing the impacts engineered into globalism.  America, or at least one segment of it, is actually doing very well indeed.  He contends we’re getting deceived by now obsolete metrics.

(Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: SUPPORT: Auto Unions in the US and Canada are on a Roll

With all the union busting and union bashing going on by the 1% and their compradors in government, it’s nice to see the labour movement getting some traction.

The next few days in Tennessee and Ontario could move workplace democracy and the 99% ahead significantly, with thousands of new unionized jobs to support families and communities. Here’s how.

Two huge organizing drives are going on to unionize autoworkers at two plants. Voting takes place THIS WEEK for Volkswagen workers in Tennessee to join the UAW and a multi-union pro-organizing rally for Toyota workers happens on Sunday in Kitchener to support (Read more…)

Things Are Good: The Day We Fight Back Against Spying

The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance is today!

Thanks to Edward Snowden we have learned about America’s and other countries illegitimate and immoral mass surveillance operations. More revelations about the extent of the surveillance programs are sure to come. Just in the past couple of days it was revealed that the NSA operates a kill list based on SIM cards in cell phones regardless of who actually uses the phone.

The argument that we shouldn’t care about the surveillance because they only look at metadata is bunk. SIM cards are an example of the metadata the NSA (et. (Read more…)

Stop Canadian Complicity in Torture: FINALLY THE DRONES !!! And hopefully A LOT MORE to come about them !

First Look Media // The Intercept – LAUNCHED February 10, 2014 Defying Threats to Journalism, Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Launch New Venture, The Intercept – Feb 10, 2014 http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/10/defying_threats_to_journalism_jeremy_scahill  THE INTERCEPT – https://firstlook.org/theintercept/  

                 FIRST LOOK MEDIA – https://www.firstlook.org/#/home 

Politics, Re-Spun: Because You’re Not As Dumb As They Think You Are!

Today is Friday. Let’s make it “think for ourselves Friday.”

It’ll work: the government/corporations/1% won’t see it coming!

Twitter / occupythemob: http://t.co/doHx1xWO4l.

December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (0) December 20, 2013 Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight (4) January 7, 2012 Day Two of Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0) January 7, 2012 Opening Panel from the Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0)

Things Are Good: 4 Theories Why US Teenagers Are Driving Less

Cars are horrible for the environment and car infrastructure can have very negative impact on local economies so it’s nice to see enthusiasm for driving diminishing in younger generations. American teens are less likely to have a license and less likely to want to own a car than previous generations.

Does this mean the end of car culture in the States? Maybe, but for now all we do know is that their lower driving rates are already having an impact on energy policy in the states.

Growth in “vehicle-miles traveled” (VMT)—that key gauge of America’s love affair with the automobile (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Come On, Let’s Really Increase Taxes on the Rich

Well, here’s something you don’t see [ever] in corporate media: a review of tax measures in the USA since the crash in 2008 that have succeeded in increasing taxes on the rich. And it turns out, tax increases that are regressive [sales taxes, etc.] or include the non-rich, seemed to fail quite a bit.

How did these taxes on the 1% succeed?

One way is mixing “traditional lobbying with the direct action of the Occupy movement.”

And here’s some rationale for why the rich should pay more, with tax revenues going to restore and improve public services:

(Read more…)

Trashy's World: 2014 is the Chinese year of the horse. Does this mean I should blow a bundle at the track?

I don’t often “recycle” posts. Yes, I am lazy, but what’s the point of a blog if you just re-post old stuff? But I thought that I’d dig up last years “Resolutions” post to see how I made out and to add any new stuff. Turns out it was a bit (OK, a lot) of […]