Volume XXV – Number 47

RIP Edward Herman, Who Co-Wrote a Book That’s Now More Important Than Ever
Rolling Stone – November 14, 2017 – Matt Taibbi

Edward Herman, the co-author (with Noam Chomsky) of Manufacturing Consent, has died. He was 92. His work has never been more relevant. Manufacturing Consent was a kind of bible of media criticism for a generation of dissident thinkers. The book described with great clarity how the system of private commercial media in America cooperates with state power to generate propaganda. Herman’s work was difficult for many to understand because the nature of the American media, then and now, seemed at best to be at an arm’s length from, say, the CIA or the State Department. Here is how the book put it: “It is much more difficult to see a propaganda system at work where the media are private and formal censorship is absent.”

Thank You, Ed Herman
Counterpunch – November 15, 2017 – Diana Johnstone

Ed Herman could be considered the godfather of antiwar media critique, both because of his own contributions and because of the many writers he encouraged to pursue that work. Thanks to his logical mind and sense of justice, he sharply grasped the crucial role and diverse techniques of media propaganda in promoting war. He immediately saw through lies, including those so insidious that few dare challenge them, such as the arrogant presumption by the U.S. War Party of the “right to protect” and the “need to prevent genocide”, to justify the oxymoronic “humanitarian war”.

Trump Is Rapidly Reshaping the Judiciary. Here’s How.
The New York Times – November 11, 2017 – Charlie Savage

While the two parties have been engaged in a tit-for-tat escalation of hardball politics over judicial nominations since the Reagan years, the Trump administration is completing a fundamental transformation of the enterprise. And the consequences may go beyond his chance to leave an outsize stamp on the judiciary.

On ‘No Choice’
Moyers and Company – November 13, 2017 – Bill Moyers

With Donald Trump’s election a year ago, his appointment of right-wing judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and his embrace of the conservative strategy to fill lower courts with young, deeply conservative judges who pass the litmus test of vehemently opposing abortion, we are closer than ever to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that a majority of American adults say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

We Must End Global Oligarchy
CNN – November 13, 2017 – Bernie Sanders

Here in the United States, the top one-tenth of 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. Incredibly, according to a recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies, three of the richest people in America — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett — now own more wealth than bottom 160 million people in our country. But this is clearly not just an American issue. It is a global issue. While millions of people throughout the world live in dire poverty, without clean drinking water, adequate health care, decent housing, or education for their kids, the six wealthiest people in the world as ranked by Forbes Magazine own more wealth, according to Oxfam, than the bottom half of the world’s population, 3.6 billion people.

Massive Overkill: Brought to You by the Nuclear-Industrial Complex
Tom Dispatch – November 14, 2017 – William Hartung

Whether in the 1980s or today, a tough-guy attitude on nuclear weapons, when combined with an apparent ignorance about their world-ending potential, adds up to a toxic brew… In other words, in every sense of the term, the U.S. nuclear arsenal already represents overkill on an almost unimaginable scale. Independent experts from U.S. war colleges suggest that about 300 warheads would be more than enough to deter any country from launching a nuclear attack on the United States.

Despite Trump Pledge: Keystone Pipeline Spills 210,000 Gallons of Oil in Dakota
Informed Comment – November 18, 2017 – Juan Cole and others

Environmental activist group Greenpeace said the leak demonstrated that approval should not be given for another section of the 2,600-mile pipeline planned for Nebraska.

Who wins and loses in Trump’s tax plan?
The Guardian – November 18, 2017 – Dominic Rushe

The clear winners? Rich people and corporations. The clear losers? Poor people, the vulnerable. And America.

The Pig That Burst the Keystone Pipeline
Greg Palast’s Website – November 17, 2017

Here’s the reason the pipeline burst: the PIG didn’t squeal. The PIG, the Pipeline Inspection Gauge, is sent through the Keystone to check for evidence of any leak, failure, or corrosion that will cause it to burst. But the PIG didn’t squeal a warning. Why not? Because, as disclosed in my investigation for Britain’s investigative TV series Dispatches in 2010, the PIG has been silenced, its software jacked and hacked by a company that provides PIGS. The software is deliberately set to reduce the warning signals and thereby cut costs of replacement and repair by billions of dollars on the Keystone and other pipes.

Renewable Energy Is Now Unstoppable
The Motley Fool – November 19, 2017 – Travis Hoium

Wind and solar energy are the lowest cost options in most of the U.S., and that’ll make it very hard to stop the renewable energy freight train from running over fossil fuels… I’ll also point out that there’s no fuel cost risk for renewable energy. The wind and sun are zero-cost fuel sources, unlike extracted fuels, which could conceivably spike from current levels.

A Plan to Win
Portside – November 9, 2017 – Peter Gowan

If our aim is to weaken the power of business before breaking with capitalism entirely, we have to be deliberate about our strategy, learn from the opposition, and avoid historical missteps. Capital may have inordinate power. But labor can still win the day… We have to restore confidence in the public sector — as an owner, an investor, and a provider of services… The only long-term alternative is to take control of our economy — and the moral imperative is to do so as soon as possible. The future can be ours.

When Unions Lead Education Reform
Portside – November 9, 2017 – Rachel M. Cohen

Like Bargaining for the Common Good, TURN [Teacher Union Reform Network] members also believe teachers need to approach bargaining more creatively and boldly. Specifically, TURN wants to see unions negotiate over policies that “advance student learning,” such as reducing the number of standardized tests students must take while also pushing for new kinds of assessments that measure skills like creativity.

Capitalism Is Not the Only Choice
Yes! Magazine – November 14, 2017 – Penn Loh

When everything that we label “economic” is assumed to be capitalist—transactional and market-driven—then it is no wonder that we run short on imagination… What if, instead, economy is all the ways that we meet our material needs and care for each other? And what if it’s not a singular thing? Then we would see that beneath the official capitalist economy are all sorts of thriving non-capitalist economies, where there may not be a profit motive or market exchange. They include tasks that we do every day… If we want to transform and go beyond capitalism, then we must confront it in all three of these dimensions: consciousness, power, and economy.


Volume XXV – Number 46

The GOP Tax Bill Is an Attempt to Destroy Government
The Nation – November 3, 2017 – Robert L. Borosage

Republicans hope that the fog of competing claims will cover their tracks. In the midst of the frenzy, remember one thing: this entire project is utterly wrong-headed. Few politicians dare say it, but the reality is Americans are not overtaxed. They are underserved by their government… In using public money to create jobs, the most authoritative assessment—made by Moody’s Mark Zandi, a former adviser to John McCain—is that investing in infrastructure would produce far more “bang for the buck” in jobs and growth than tax cuts would create… the specific outrages are neither as destructive nor as appalling as the entire project itself. By making it harder to address America’s crippling public-investment deficits, large tax cuts, if passed, will accelerate this country’s decline.

President Trump and His Times
Process: a blog for american history – November 6, 2017 – Julian E. Zelizer

The existence of sophisticated conservative media organizations is central to the present moment. Unlike President Nixon, Trump can currently count on media outlets, ranging from cable television to the Internet, to cover the scandal through a partisan lens that is favorable to the administration. When we talk about the conservative media today, we are not looking at small radio shows or local newspapers but, rather, massive, international television networks and extremely sophisticated websites that have a huge reach.

Teach Critical Thinking: An Idea for Repairing Our Badly Broken Civic Life
Reader Supported News, The Washington Post – November 5, 2017 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

America’s No. 1 problem is zombies. And, yes, they really do want to eat your brains. They will not stop until everyone is a mindless, staggering, empty-headed shell of humanity just like them. Fortunately, there is a cure… The solution is to teach mandatory critical thinking in every year of public school from first through 12th grade. Students must become familiar with all the logical fallacies…

Fix this democracy — now
The Washington Post – October 26, 2017 – Richard Just

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the election, we asked dozens of writers and artists to look beyond the day-to-day upheavals of the news cycle and propose one idea that could help fix the long-term problems bedeviling American democracy. The result: 38 conservative, liberal, practical, creative, broad, specific, technocratic, provocative solutions for an unsettled country.

Inside story: How Russians hacked the Democrats’ emails
Associated Press – November 4, 2017 – Raphael Satter, Jeff Donn and Chad Day

An Associated Press investigation into the digital break-ins that disrupted the U.S. presidential contest has sketched out an anatomy of the hack that led to months of damaging disclosures about the Democratic Party’s nominee. It wasn’t just a few aides that the hackers went after; it was an all-out blitz across the Democratic Party. They tried to compromise Clinton’s inner circle and more than 130 party employees, supporters and contractors.

The Military Myth
The Shipler Report – November 4, 2017 – David K. Shipler

The grainy work of eliminating rebellious militias and constructing peaceful civil societies is beyond our military capabilities. So we stop short, and the chaos continues. Then, these days, we hail our returning and fallen troops for their heroism in defending American freedoms. I’m sure they would have liked nothing better than to be defending American freedoms, if that were really so… If honoring the military is supposed to be so sacred to political conservatives, the duty seems about as sacred as the Christian creed is to evangelicals who adore Trump as he lies, corrupts, and brags about being a sexual predator.

Top 4 Things Paradise Papers tell us about Super-Rich
Informed Comment – November 7, 2017 – Juan Cole

Practically, the entire wealth investment industry – the industry that invests for the rich and the wealthy of our world – operates through the offshore world. And the reason why is simple. Each fund or transaction, or aeroplane or yacht, or whatever that one cares to register in the Caymans or Bermuda, is not subject to tax. And it’s hidden from public view.

Paradise Papers: a special investigation
The Guardian – November 10, 2017

The Paradise Papers is a special investigation by the Guardian and 95 media partners worldwide into a leak of 13.4m files from two offshore service providers and 19 tax havens’ company registries Revitalizing the Democratic Party

Revitalizing the Democratic Party
Reader Supported News – November 8, 2017 – Bernie Sanders

Politics is not a baseball game, and it is not a soap opera. People are hurting in this country, and our job is not to be distracted by political gossip and Donald Trump’s tweets. Our job is to revitalize American democracy and bring millions of people into the political process who today do not vote and who do not believe that government is relevant to their lives.


Trump Is Using the CIA to Investigate Conspiracy Theories
Reader Supported News, Robert Reich’s Facebook Page – November 9, 2017

Trump doesn’t understand that a president must respect the independence and integrity of the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Otherwise, we have a banana republic.

Reader Supported News – November 9, 2017 – Ellen Cantarow

Describing [the anti-fracking community], one upstate activist told me, “There are so many people working quietly behind the scenes. They’re not in the news, they’re not doing it to get their names in the paper. It’s just the right thing to do.” Her [Sandra Steingraber, a biologist and scholar-in-residence at Ithaca College] efforts and those of others around the state produced a wave of town zoning ordinances that banned fracking. It was an ingenious strategy, one that took advantage of a state law making town ordinances decisive over state rulings, and it propelled New York State into world acclaim as the cutting edge that successfully opposed the largest industry the world had ever known.

Time Is Running Out for the Planet
Moyers and Company – November 9, 2017 – Bill Moyers and Bill McKibben

I’ve been a part of it with the organization 350.org, fighting global warming, and now in the resistance that’s sprung up in the last year since Donald Trump took over. That’s been the one heartening thing about this year: the antibodies have assembled themselves to try and fight off the fever that America’s now in. I’m no Pollyanna, so I don’t know if it’s going to work or not. Sometimes the antibodies don’t get there in sufficient quantity or in sufficient time, and you end up amputating… if you can get 3.5 percent of the population actively engaged in some fight, then you usually win. That makes intuitive sense to me. What it means is that apathy cuts both ways. If you have a largely unengaged population, then some people getting engaged can move it in big ways. We saw that with the tea party quite effectively.

We’re Not Even Close to Being Prepared for the Rising Waters
The Washington Post – November 11, 2017 – Bill McKibben

For the 10,000 years of human civilization, we’ve been blessed with a relatively stable climate, and hence flooding has been an exceptional terror. As that blessing comes to an end with our reckless heating of the planet, the exceptional is becoming all too normal, as residents of Houston and South Florida and Puerto Rico found out already this fall.

What Corporate Media Failed to Learn About Canadian Single-Payer
FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) – November 10, 2017 – Michael Corcoran

Media responded to Bernie Sanders’ hospital tour of Canada with predictable dismissiveness… for many familiar with years of media either ignoring or rejecting the merits of a universal public healthcare system—Canada’s in particular—it was hard not to expect dismissiveness and/or mockery from outlets such as the New York Times and Vox, who sent reporters on the tour… The results were unsurprising. Vox (10/31/17) used the occasion to explain why single-payer is likely a pipe dream that doesn’t fit with American values. Much of the Times article (11/2/17) read like satire aimed at mocking Canada and Sanders.

These Wealthy Institutions Are Quietly Financing White Nationalism
Portside, ThinkProgress – October 19, 2017 – Judd Legum

Neither Mercer’s involvement in Breitbart, nor his support for Yiannopoulos, nor charges of discrimination, have appeared to negatively impact his business. Renaissance Technologies now manages $45 billion in assets, up from $27 billion at the start 2016, according to Forbes. Outside investors pay a hefty fee for the privilege of accessing a Renaissance fund and a good deal of that money ultimately ends up in Mercer’s pocket.

‘Some Kids Are Not Orphans Because Of This’: How Unions Are Keeping Workers Safe
Portside, The Guardian – November 8, 2017 – Steven Greenhouse

They are pinning their hopes on a new effort that aims to have workers play a central role in developing workplace codes of conduct and in overseeing enforcement of these codes. Their new effort is called the Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Network… have workers play a central role in developing codes of conduct and make those codes contractually enforceable; have workers help select and oversee the workplace monitors and; impose real market consequences when companies violate those codes of conduct.

Americans Are Stressed About the Future. Here’s Why That’s Promising
Yes! Magazine – November 10, 2017 – Sarah van Gelder

The era of empire, white supremacy, dirty energy, and global capitalism has shown itself to be terribly destructive, and the number of people who benefit continues to shrink. The legitimacy of this system is eroding, just as apartheid did in South Africa and the empire of the USSR did. In both cases, enormously powerful systems collapsed quickly, but only after years of work.

Trumpism Didn’t Just Lose—Progressives Won
Yes! Magazine – November 8, 2017 – Chris Winters

If we take away anything from Tuesday’s victories, it’s that progressives shouldn’t be afraid to show off their superhero capes. Candidates need to realize that there are larger things at stake, and when the alternative to a boring centrist is a bigot, we might have to settle for a draw in one battle in order to win the bigger war. The midterm elections are a year away, but the campaign’s already started.

Why Science Says You Should Be Reading Small Independent Media
Yes! Magazine – November 10, 2017 – Jo Ellen Green Kaiser

The five-year-long study published this week in Science, directed by Harvard professor Gary King and supported in part by Voqal, shows that even small independent news outlets can have a dramatic effect on the content of national conversation. … What this Science study proves is that when independent news outlets work together to co-publish stories on the same topic in the same week, they can have a mighty effect.

Volume XXV – Number 45

Carter’s Bold Bid to Make Peace Between Trump and North Korea
Campaign for America’s Future – November 2, 2017 – Miles Mogulescu

t’s in our interest to negotiate, to ratchet down tensions that could lead to an accidental nuclear or conventional war.

Here’s the Difference Between Republicans and Democrats
Reader Supported News, Robert Reich’s Facebook – October 29, 2017

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 51 to 50 to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule banning mandatory arbitration clauses in financial contracts. It’s a big win for Wall Street and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (actually they’re the same thing). And a big loss for consumers.

Neuroscientist: People Are Dying in Opioid Crisis Because of Politicians’ Ignorance
Democracy Now – October 30, 2017 – Amy Goodman

Another major problem people are dying is because they think that they may have something like heroin, when in fact they have something like fentanyl. Much of the heroin on the street today is now being tainted with this drug called fentanyl. Fentanyl is about 50 to a hundred times more potent than heroin, just simply means that less of the drug is needed to produce the required effect. But unsuspecting users may take the amount that they usually take with heroin, thinking that it’s heroin, when in fact it’s fentanyl… “How do we fix this?” This is really simple. What we can do, we can simply set up free drug purity testing sites.

Seawater Desalination Will Quench the Thirst of a Parched Planet
Reader Supported News, Yahoo News – October 30, 2017 – Andrew Tarantola

Just look at what Israel has managed to do. In 2004, the country pulled all of its potable water from the ground or collected it from rain. Today, five desalination plants provide two-thirds of the nation’s drinking water, nearly 582 million cubic meters of water annually. The Sobek plant, the country’s latest and largest, churns out 627,000 cubic meters of water per day alone. However, even in places like Israel and the UAE, where the governments have made concerted efforts to adopt the technology, there are still some fundamental technical limitations that must be addressed. And addressed they will be, because, on our rapidly warming planet, we no longer have the choice not to.

A basic income for everyone? Yes, Finland shows it really can work
The Guardian – October 31, 2017 – Aditya Chakrabortty

Ask Järvinen what difference money for nothing has made to his life, and you are marched over to his workshop. Inside is film-making equipment, a blackboard on which is scrawled plans for an artists’ version of Airbnb, and an entire little room where he makes shaman drums that sell for up to €900. All this while helping to bring up six children. All those free euros have driven him to work harder than ever… Treating the poor as criminals in the making places welfare as an adjunct to the criminal justice system.

“Faith Over Fear” Conference in Everett Challenges Islamophobia Industry
Ron Young Blog – October 30, 2017

Many of us may know people who fear Muslims, and we may have heard how hate crimes against American Muslims have increased dramatically in the last two years. But only a few of us may be aware that there is a well-funded industry using mis-information and lies to generate the fears and hatred. That was the focus of a conference at Trinity Lutheran Church in Everett, Washington this week attended by local faith and civic leaders, including city and state officials and two Police Officers.

Osama Bin Laden’s America, Niger, 9/11, and Apocalyptic Humiliation
Tom Dispatch – October 31, 2017 – Tom Engelhardt

Honestly, if there’s an afterlife, then the soul of Osama bin Laden, whose body was consigned to the waves by the U.S. Navy back in 2011, must be swimming happily with the dolphins and sharks… With such limited resources, what kind of self-destructive behavior could he goad a triumphalist Washington into? The key would be what might be called apocalyptic humiliation… Grim as the 9/11 attacks were, with nearly 3,000 dead civilians, they would be but the start of bin Laden’s “success,” which has, in truth, never ended. The phrase of that moment — that 9/11 had “changed everything” — proved far more devastatingly accurate than we Americans imagined at the time. Among other things, it transformed the country in essential ways.

Why Are You a Democrat?
George Lakoff’s Website – November 1, 2017

The major rift is between bold progressives who want a new direction and the fellow Democrats they see as the Old Guard establishment wing of the party. The two sides mostly agree on about 98% of issues, but have serious differences on key points. One of the main sticking points is the role of corporations in our political system… I regularly hear from all corners of our country about new and important reasons — Democrats working for real human needs and against real human disasters due to Republicans.

The Fatal Flaw of America’s ‘Forever’ War on Terror
Esquire Magazine – November 1, 2017 – Charles P. Pierce

The Forever War has become a medieval morality play for the 21st century, something akin to the Paternoster Cycle from York, with the United States in the role of the petitions from the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a kind of national Halloween parade in which the country puts on a costume in an attempt to fool its enemies… The absurdity is forever because The Forever War is forever. I wish there was as much simple courage in it as you could find in a Halloween Parade in Manhattan on a chilly autumn night.

Benefits of GOP-Trump Framework Tilted Toward the Richest Taxpayers in Each State
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy – October 4, 2017

Nationally, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of the tax cuts contained in the framework would go to the richest one percent of Americans in 2018. These taxpayers are projected to have incomes of at least $615,800 next year. They would receive an average tax cut of $90,610 in 2018 alone, which would increase their incomes by an average of 4.3 percent… [It} is less about boosting tax benefits for the middle-class than it is about repackaging them in ways that benefit some taxpayers while raising taxes on others.

Report Grades Bail Systems Across The U.S., And Only One State Gets An A
Huffpost – November 1, 2017 – Nick Wing

The nonprofit Pretrial Justice Institute released its first state scorecard on Wednesday, grading all 50 states on their pretrial justice practices…. Despite recent progress on pretrial justice reform, the nation as a whole gets a D grade, and only New Jersey gets an A… Under the new system, money bail is used only as a last resort.

The Health Care Crisis No One Is Talking About
The Boston Globe – October 31, 2017 – Bernie Sanders

Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their access to health care because Congress did not renew funding for the community health center program at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. Unless we renew funding immediately, 70 percent of funding will be cut, the doors of 2,800 community health centers will close, and 9 million patients will lose access to quality health care. That is unacceptable.

To Regain What the Democrats Have Lost, We Must Embrace True Progressivism
Reader Supported News – November 2, 2017 – Keith Ellison

For the Democratic Party to regain what we’ve lost, we must embrace the true progressivism our party boasted at its heights… As Maya Angelou famously put it: “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”… We need to be plugged in to people’s lives, hearing their concerns and struggles, and take their ideas for how to move our nation forward seriously… I suspect that if we listened, we would hear people say they want to live healthy, productive lives with their families… as a party, we should be clear: we believe deeply that every single person in our nation has a right to health care. People want to be paid fairly for their work… let’s stand for a nationwide minimum wage of $15 an hour, because workers are the backbone of our entire society…

Anita Hill on Weinstein, Trump, and a Watershed Moment for Sexual-Harassment Accusations
The New Yorker – November 1, 2017 – Jane Mayer

Sexual harassment is about power, not sex, and it has taken women of extraordinary power to overcome the disadvantage that most accusers face. As Susan Faludi, the author of “Backlash: the Undeclared War Against Women,” put it in an e-mail to me, “Power belongs only to the celebrities these days. If only Trump had harassed Angelina Jolie . . .”… People need to take this moment to make clear that this is not just about Hollywood.

‘Please… No More Wars’: Pope Francis Issues Impassioned Call to End ‘Useless Massacres’
Common Dreams – November 3, 2017 – Julia Conley, staff writer

In emotional speech at World War II cemetery, Pope decries leaders’ inability to learn the lessons of war… He added that “humanity must not forget” the suffering of those who have lost loved ones to war. “Humanity has not learned the lesson and seems that it does not want to learn it,” he said.

The fabric of a community frays under Trump
The Boston Globe – November 4, 2017 – Matt Viser

Trump’s election a year ago profoundly altered the United States in ways that continue to reverberate, but perhaps most visibly and disturbingly in how we talk to one another, especially about the hardest things, like the nation’s racial divide. The volume is up; the edge is sharp. Old grievances feel new, and civility is being sorely tested.

Trump’s War on the Press
Daniel Ellsberg’s Website – November 5, 2017

ACLU lawyers believe that Trump is likely to prosecute journalists and editors for publishing leaks of classified information, for the first time, using the Espionage Act. So far, the Espionage Act has been used for leaks to the American public only against government officials or former ones, of which I was the first, for the Pentagon Papers in 1971…. Even if the Court eventually ruled against the use of the Espionage Act in this application (as I believe they clearly should, on First Amendment grounds), the costly and stressful legal proceedings, perhaps taking years, would have a frigidly “cooling” effect on the journalistic process.

Unsealed Documents Show That Kris Kobach Is Dead Set on Suppressing the Right to Vote
Portside, American Civil Liberties Union – October 26, 2017 – Orion Danjuma

The unsealed materials confirm what many have suspected: Kobach has a ready-made plan to gut core voting rights protections enshrined in federal law.

Giving Kentucky’s Young People a Reason to Stay
Yes! Magazine – November 3, 2017 – Emma Eisenberg

“Too often young people are left out of the conversation or not taken seriously because the perceived idea that we lack experience,” Cooper says. “Young people know what we need for our future, and KSEC allows me to be a part of connecting people who are feeling powerless and showing them that through working together and grassroots organizing that we are actually incredibly powerful.”

At UN Climate Talks, End Coal and Commit to People-centred Energy System
Global Research, Friends of the Earth International – November 3, 2017 – Hubert Weiger

This year’s climate talks are taking place on the doorstep of one of the largest, most polluting coal mining regions in Europe. Worldwide, some 1,600 new coal plants are currently planned in 850 locations, undermining efforts to keep global temperature rise below the Paris Agreement’s stated goal of 1.5 degrees, or even 2 degrees.

Volume XXV – Number 44

This Is What Happens When You Lose Credibility
Reader Supported News, Dan Rather’s, Facebook Page – October 22, 2017

This is what happens when your words have no meaning. You lose the benefit of the doubt… Yes elections have consequences. But so do words and deeds.

Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots
The New York Times – October 21, 2017 – Eric Lipton

The E.P.A.’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the Trump administration to change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks associated with hazardous chemicals, making it more aligned with the industry’s wishes.

Trauma, not rehabilitation, in juvenile detention centers
Southern Poverty Law Center – October 21, 2017 – editors

In a gut-wrenching series called “Fight Club,” The Miami Herald investigated more than a decade’s worth of records from the state’s juvenile justice system and found a culture of inconceivable violence that has resulted in at least 12 deaths of detained youths since 2000.

Taking 9 Million Lives Per Year, Pollution Bigger Killer Than War, Tobacco, and Various Diseases Combined
Common Dreams – October 20, 2017 – Andrea Germanos, staff writer

New Lancet Commission spotlights “profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and wellbeing.”… “Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge—it is a profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and wellbeing. It deserves the full attention of international leaders, civil society, health professionals, and people around the world,” says Professor Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and co-leader of the two-year, international Lancet Commission.

The Myth of the Spitting Antiwar Protester
The New York Times – October 13, 2017 – Jerry Lembcke

Is the abiding American discomfort with the war it lost in Vietnam and the enduring allure of the spat-upon veteran stories indicative of betrayal preoccupations at work in our own culture? Is it the post-Vietnam lost-war narrative that feeds the back-to-the-future sentiments in campaign promises to restore and rebuild America? And are the recent public and political spectacles of nativism and gun-toting masculinity symptoms of a wounded people more than deviant personalities?

Trump and His Billionaire Cabinet Members Stand to Make a Fortune on GOP Tax Plan
Reader Supported News, Robert Reich’s Facebook Page – October 23, 2017

Trump and his cabinet are trying to sell massive tax cuts for themselves as good for the middle class. Rubbish. Trickle-down economics is a cruel hoax.

Ready for Trump TV? Inside Sinclair Broadcasting’s Plot to Take Over Your Local News
Mother Jones – November/December 2017 issue – Andy Kroll

Its mix of terrorism alerts, right-wing commentary, and “classic propaganda” could soon reach three-quarters of US households.

Post-hurricane cleanup could kill more workers than storms themselves
The Guardian – October 23, 2017 – Mike Elk

According to Jessica Martinez, executive director of National Council of Occupational Safety and Health (Cosh), a nationwide network of workplace health and safety groups, a greater number of people will die cleaning up in their wake “if more resources aren’t put into health and safety training from post-cleanup”. And local work safety groups said federal officials have been conspicuously absent from meetings about worker safety.

The New Co-op Helping Formerly Incarcerated People Find Work — and Heal
Truth Out, Yes! Magazine – October 20, 2017 – J. Gabriel Ware

Within the United States, the highest incarceration rate belongs to Washington, DC. There, a new worker-owned business cooperative hopes to reverse those numbers, offering former prisoners opportunities for employment and healing. Though co-ops that employ formerly incarcerated people already exist, Tightshift Laboring Cooperative is the first Washington, DC, co-op formed and operated by ex-prisoners… “There’s a lot of trauma we have to deal with when you go through the prison system,” Reid says. “Our new apprentices will live in the healing center, so they can just work and heal.”

The Washington Post – October 24, 2017 – Jeff Flake, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Arizona

Nine months of this administration is enough for us to stop pretending that this is somehow normal, and that we are on the verge of some sort of pivot to governing, to stability. Nine months is more than enough for us to say, loudly and clearly: Enough. The outcome of this is in our hands. We can no longer remain silent, merely observing this train wreck, passively, as if waiting for someone else to do something. The longer we wait, the greater the damage, the harsher the judgment of history… As our political culture seems every day to plumb new depths of indecency, we must stand up and speak out. Especially those of us who hold elective office.

Game over for Coal: Solar Power costs to plummet by 60% in coming Years
Informed Comment – October 25, 2017 – various contributors

“It’s not always the best strategy to try to protect your industry and have high prices in the long term” claims expert. Harnessing solar power will become cheaper by at least 60 percent over the next decade, Adnan Amin, the head of the Abu-Dhabi based International Renewable Energy Agency, Irena, said.

Child Tax Credit Increases in GOP Tax Plan Exclude Millions of Children in Low-Income Working Families
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – October 25, 2017 – Robert Greenstein, Chye-Ching Huang, Chuck Marr, Emily Horton and Roderick Taylor

Most of the major provisions in the tax plan that the Trump Administration and congressional Republicans announced in September would primarily benefit high-income people and corporations. The plan’s proponents have pointed to the plan’s Child Tax Credit (CTC) increase as providing major benefits to low- and middle-income families with children. But the plan’s CTC proposal would exclude at least 16 million children in low-income working families. That’s because Republican leaders have proposed to make their CTC increase non-refundable, meaning that working families with incomes too low to have federal income tax liability would not benefit.

Jeff Sessions Is All Wrong on Halfway Houses
Reader Supported News – October 25, 2017 – John Kiriakou

This isn’t a very complicated issue. There’s a clear-cut right way and a clear-cut wrong way to reform the system. Unfortunately, Jeff Sessions is wrong. He’s clearly and obviously wrong. His wrongness is more than just stubbornness or ideology. His wrongness is breaking up families and contributing mightily to criminal recidivism. If somebody is getting out of prison, which nearly every federal prisoner eventually will, and he has no education, no job training, and no life skills, he’s going to do the only thing he knows how to do. He’s going to commit crimes again.

What Jeff Flake Couldn’t Bring Himself to Say About Donald Trump
New York Magazine – October 25, 2017 – Frank Rich

We have a president who doesn’t know how a bill becomes a law and doesn’t give a damn. With Bannon as his wingman, his aim is to blow up the Republican Party, purge it of a feckless and tired Establishment, and remake it with his own shock troops into a nativist and nationalist regime.

GOP Tax Plan Delivers Very Large Tax Cut to the Wealthiest
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – October 26, 2017 – Robert Greenstein

In reality, there is no credible evidence that large, deficit-increasing tax cuts pay for themselves. The 1981 and 2001 tax cuts did not do so. Nor, for that matter, did Kansas’s 2012 tax cuts, which the state’s Republican legislature this year largely reversed after the tax cuts led to massive budget problems while failing to boost the state economy.

Scott Pruitt Is ‘Hell-Bent’ on Dismantling EPA Rules
Time Magazine – October 24, 2017 – Robert Redford

Current E.P.A. head Scott Pruitt is moving mountains of policy in the directions he favors. And those directions don’t benefit you, or me, or our families. They only benefit the companies and industries that pollute and profit. And they will do whatever it takes to advance their agenda.

Devastated Families: Life Without Incarcerated Parents
Utne Reader – February 2015 – Maya Schenwar

How the family of an incarcerated parent had to endure stigma from friends and the community and plunged deeper into financial despair… Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to go to prison than to graduate from high school, and between 30 and 50 percent of children placed in juvenile detention centers have at least one parent who’s been to prison.

How Much Money Could White House Officials Save Taxpayers by Flying Commercial? A Lot
The New York Times – October 26, 2017 – Katie Rogers

With its “Drain the Swamp” battle cry, the Trump administration has pledged to cut government waste and lessen the burden on taxpayers. But American citizens have been footing the bill for members of President Trump’s cabinet to crisscross the world on government planes.

Housing Segregation Remains the Key to Racial Injustice
Mother Jones – October 27, 2017 – Kevin Drum

While I continue to believe that class-based affirmative action is, on balance, good policy, it’s not perfect policy. Nothing ever is. Even if we go down that road, we still have to deal with all the bigotry and racism that it doesn’t directly address. It’s never easy.

This City Found a Way to Get Everyone Involved in Urban Planning
Truth Out, Yes! Magazine – October 27, 2017 – Ellen Shepard

Community Heart & Soul is based on the idea that if people discover together what they are most passionate about preserving and building, they will rally around that shared vision and proactively build their community’s future… “The notion of apathy doesn’t exist,” says Alece Montez, the director of programs for the foundation. “If you don’t have people responding, you didn’t reach them in a way that resonates with them.” If you don’t know how to engage people, you go ask them, she says.

Imagine a Puerto Rico Recovery Designed by Puerto Ricans
The Intercept – October 20, 2017 – Elizabeth Yeampierre and Naomi Klein

The real work is not reconstructing the island as it was, but reimagining and remaking an economic system that was in direct conflict with both the island’s people and its ecology… A just transition would replace [an] extractive model with a system based on micro-grids of renewable energy generation, a decentralized network that would be more resilient in the face of inevitable weather shocks, while reducing the pollution making our climate go haywire in the first place… Farmers’ groups are now calling for the proliferation of community-controlled agricultural cooperatives that would grow food for local consumption. Like the renewable energy micro-grids, it’s a model that is far less vulnerable to supply-chain shocks like hurricanes — and it has the additional benefit of generating local wealth and increasing self-sufficiency.

The Woman Aiming to Get 50 Million Americans Into the Worker-Owner Economy
Yes! Magazine – October 27, 2017 – Fran Korten

Fifty By Fifty is based at the nonprofit Democracy Collaborative, where Kelly is executive vice president. It aims to increase the number of employee-owners in the United States from 10 million today to 50 million by 2050. It’s a shift they believe will transform our economy and our democracy… Research shows that when employees own the company, they make higher wages, have about double the retirement savings, and are one-fourth as likely to be laid off. Their companies are more likely to be environmental stewards, and they don’t export their jobs overseas… you no longer have absentee shareholders looking only at their returns. It’s a radically different vision of a company.

Raj Patel on How to Break Away from Capitalism
Yes! Magazine – October 23, 2017 – Chris Winters

Reform won’t happen unless we understand capitalism’s appeal and historical rise, says Patel, a food justice activist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin. It’s remarkably resilient and can be traced to a process he calls “cheapness.”… Capitalism values cheapness above all else. And through this lens, Patel and Moore explore the evolution of capitalism from its roots in the late medieval period with the collapse of feudalism in Western Europe caused by climate change and the Black Death to—now… I don’t think that you need money in order to be able to make social change happen. I mean, it helps, but it shouldn’t substitute for the hard grassroots organizing. … The movements that I’ve seen around the world that have been able to organize successfully, they’ve done it on a shoestring.

Volume XXV – Number 43

The Demolition Expert
The Shipler Report – October 15, 2017 – David K. Shipler

Trump has shown the United States government to be unreliable in its promises abroad and to its own people. It has been erratic and unpredictable in a manner that erodes the rule of law, which requires legal stability and consistency… The Framers, wary of an overpowered executive, understood clearly the necessity of checks and balances among the three branches. While it’s hard to think that they ever imagined a figure like Trump as president, they had experienced King George III. That was more than enough.

Black Neighbors Band Together to Bring in Healthy Food, Co-op-Style
Truth Out – October 15, 2017 – J. Gabriel Ware, Yes! Magazine

Malik Yakini is executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, a coalition of people and groups that promotes urban agriculture, co-operative buying, and healthy eating. His organization is helping Black people in the city take matters into their own hands by creating their own grocery store, The Detroit People’s Co-op… In Detroit, the solution is coming from the neighborhoods themselves. Owners of the grocery cooperative will be the people who use it — neighborhood residents.

Injustice Shaped America’s Birth. Unity Must Shape Its Future
Reader Supported News, NBC – October 15, 2017 – Dan Rather

In these uncertain days, as we work to confront the divisions within our diverse citizenry, it’s worth reflecting anew on the cohesiveness of our national identity. Because I believe that while we should celebrate our variety, a national conversation about what unites us can provide the foundation for a stronger and more just United States… We need to value service, on foreign battlefields but also in diplomacy and our own needy communities. We need to champion science and reason in the face of ignorance and superstition. We need to protect a free press, which is under political pressure and suffering from a crumbling business model. These are core values that allow for the free expression of our many differences while maintaining a just and lasting national consensus.

Another Historic Storm: Surreal Ophelia Strikes Ireland with Hurricane Force
System Change – October 16, 2017 – Robert Scribbler

Warmer than normal ocean temperatures due to human-forced climate change are now enabling hurricanes to threaten Northern Europe. A region that was traditionally considered out of the range of past Atlantic Ocean hurricanes under 20th Century climatology. One that, in a warmer world, is now under the gun… The present Atlantic hurricane season can now only be described as a surreal caricature of what we feared climate change could produce.

The Danger of President Pence
The New Yorker – October 23, 2017 issue – Jane Mayer

Trump’s critics yearn for his exit. But Mike Pence, the corporate right’s inside man, poses his own risks. An excellent long-form article about Pence.

Hurricane Irma’s Overlooked Victims: Migrant Farm Workers Living at the Edge
Inside Climate News – October 17, 2017 – Georgina Gustin

The damage will cost the state’s agricultural industry billions, but for the migrant workers who pick these crops and work in the fields, the storm means real hardship that will test lives already on the edge.

Why evangelicals love Trump
Politico – October 13, 2017 – Josh Dawsey

The president doesn’t come off as particularly religious, but he has skillfully courted evangelical leaders.

The Republican Budget Is a Gift to Billionaires: It’s Robin Hood in Reverse
The Guardian – October 16, 2017 – Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump and Republican leaders claim their plan would provide a ‘big league’ tax cut for the middle class. Nothing could be further from the truth… Meanwhile, while the Republicans want to give a $1.9tn tax break to the top 1%, they are proposing massive cuts in programs that working-class Americans desperately need… At a time when the middle class is shrinking and over 40 million Americans are living in poverty, this budget must be defeated and replaced with a plan that reflects the needs of the working families of our country, not just the wealthy, the powerful and large campaign contributors.

GOP Tax Framework Looks Much Like Kansas’ Failed Tax Cut Experiment
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – October 19, 2017 – Chye-Ching Huang

In 2012, Kansas adopted an array of tax cuts that were large, costly, and heavily titled to those high on the income scale. Although proponents claimed these tax cuts would supercharge the state’s economy, Kansas’ job and economic growth lagged behind those of most neighboring states and the nation after the tax cuts took effect, and the deep revenue losses led to round after round of budget cuts in key programs. This year, state lawmakers considered the damage, and they reversed course and repealed most of the tax cuts. Yet many policymakers in Washington are now proposing costly, regressive federal tax cuts that have a great deal in common with the tax cuts that performed so poorly in Kansas.

How the US Paved the Way for ‘Generational’ War
Moyers and Company – October 17, 2017 – Tom Engelhardt

By removing most Americans from the combat arena, we gained the ability to wage war forever, and damn the consequences… It’s a situation that can’t be seriously discussed or debated in this country, because if it were, opposition to those wars might rise and alternatives to them and the by-now brain-dead decisions of those generals, including newly heightened air wars and the latest mini-surge in Afghanistan, might become part of an actual national debate.

Half-baked, spurious nationalism is unpatriotic
The Guardian – October 17, 2017 – John McCain

What a privilege it is to serve this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, magnificent country. With all our flaws, all our mistakes, with all the frailties of human nature as much on display as our virtues, with all the rancor and anger of our politics, we are blessed.

Over It Redux
Reader Supported News – October 18, 2017 – Eve Ensler

I am over rape. I’m over women (cisgender, transgender and gender non-conforming) having to tell our stories over and over, traumatizing and re-traumatizing ourselves over and over when the stories and names and identities of perpetrators remain protected and anonymous. I am over rape culture, where privileged men with political and physical and economic power take what and who they want, when they want it, as much as they want, any time they want it… Can we rise together? Can we change the paradigm? Can we rebirth the culture because we know that when women are free, safe, equal and allowed to be alive in all their intensity the whole story will finally change?

In the Age of Trump, a Chilling Atmosphere
Moyers and Company – October 18, 2017 – Bill Moyers and Joan Scott

Attacks on the Academy at large occur frequently in America, and never more intensely than now. Just consider these items from the news… The pattern is an attack on the university as a place where critical thinking occurs, where free thought is encouraged… The Trump election brought it the fore and made it possible for a number of different groups whose aim is to stop the teaching of critical thinking to to launch direct attacks… I think there is a disrespect for the mind that Trump, for example, exemplifies. His is a kind of strategic thinking that’s more about shrewdness than about intellect… I also think there’s a concerted effort on the part of groups of the Bradley Foundation and the Koch brothers, of people like Betsy DeVos, to call into question the very function of public education in general and of the university in particular.

‘I Can’t Breathe’: An Excerpt From Matt Taibbi’s New Book on the Eric Garner Killing
Rolling Stone – October 20, 2017 – Matt Taibbi

Taibbi’s book explores the roots and repercussions of Garner’s killing by the New York City police.

The Essential Ingredient of Democracy
Yes! Magazine – October 20, 2017 – Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen

On what human strengths does democracy depend?… In our current moment of extreme breakdown in common decency—brought on by a money-dominated political system and a brutal form of capitalism generating widespread distrust and fear—another essential virtue is calling out for attention: courage… We need to seek every opportunity to turn public attention to the very real common interests among most Americans… Democracy depends on actively cultivating courage, confident that it is highly contagious… Democracy dies without citizen defenders. Thus, in this time of extreme peril for democracy, the opposite of evil is no longer goodness. The opposite of evil is courage. Goodness without courageous action is not good enough.

A People’s Recovery: Radical Organizing in Post-Maria Puerto Rico
Portside, The Indypendent – October 18, 2017 – Juan Carlos Dávila

The Common Pot operates under an egalitarian system, which organizers call Sistema de Aportación (Contribution System). And while all comers are welcome to have breakfast, the objective is that everyone becomes involved with the project by volunteering for work, donating food items or contributing money. “If we all are doing this, Puerto Rico would be advancing,” said one man as he waited in line for breakfast.

The Menace of Present and Future Drone Warfare
Global Research – October 20, 2017 – Richard Falk

For most purposes, global governance depends on cooperation among sovereign states, but in matters of war and peace the world order system remains resolutely vertical and under the control of geopolitical actors, perhaps as few as one, who are unwilling to restrict their military activities to the confines of territorial boundaries, but insist on their prerogative to manage coercively the planet as a whole. When it comes to drones the fate of humanity is squeezed between the impotence of state-centric logic and the grandiose schemes of the geopolitical mentality.