"I don't think that I presented any Utopian ideas. I talked for the necessities of life, food, clothing, shelter and amusement. We can talk of Utopia afterwards ...I have had a dream that I have in the morning and at night and during the day, that is that there will be a new society sometime in which there will be no battle between capitalist and wage earner ... there will be no political government ... but ... experts will come together for the purpose of discussing the welfare of all the people and discussing the means by which the machinery can be made the slave of the people isntead of a part of the people being made the salve of machinery ... -- Big Bill Haywood, in We shall be all, Melvin Dubofsky, 1969, pp. 155-156.
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"... The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We'll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago. -- President Barak Obama, August 28, 2013, speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
You knew that the agency that approves genetically modified organisms ("francenfoods" to people with any wit) and dispenses farm subsidies that aren't called farm subsidies would lie about the number of jobs its Rural Development loan program produces. The incomparable Gretchen Morgenson (Reckless Endangerment: How outsized ambition, greed and corruption led to economic Armageddon) outlines discrepancies between USDA "public information" and the facts.--blj
New York Times
We are aware that public and private universities in America are constantly raising administrative salaries, are constantly raising student tuitions, and are constantly erecting grand new edifices to their own glory. We are also aware, in the constant financial crisis of the nation, that student-loan debt is a serious problem, a predatory lending practice promoted by governments on behalf of private bankers.
Matt Taibbi put these dismal themes of "the higher learning" together in his recent Rolling Stone ariticle below. -- blj
"Breaking news alert! Wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded during the first quarter of this year, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics
"Hourly wages fell 3.8 percent in the first quarter, the biggest drop since the BLS began tracking compensation in 1947. Productivity rose half a percentage point. The result was that what economists call “labor unit costs” fell 4.3 percent.Read More »
This lengthy article by environmental journalist Jeremy Miller about the domination of Kern County land and water by oil companies is a masterpiece of focus on capitalism’s extraction and destruction of the natural resources in the south San Joaquin Valley.
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The Moral Imperative of Activism
By Ray McGovernRead More »
We saw the author of the Techdirt.com article below interviewed Monday on Democracy Now! and were deeply impressed by her gravity, intelligence background and the seriousness of what she had to say about the inadequacy of the administration’s response to Edward Snowden’s challenge. We also wished to introduce readers who may not know about it to Techdirt.com, a well written website addressing very serious communication and surveillance issues in the US and beyond – blj
8-10-13Read More »
Wall Street, assailed by terror that its big balloon will be popped when the Fed quits printing money to keep inflating it, lost some hot air this week. Some of the heated blast was expended on the mighty little city of Richmond CA, which some of the lords of finance, insurance and real estate sued for daring to use eminent domain as a way to save people from foreclosure in homes whose mortgages are underwater. What will the federal district court decide about this genuinely social attempt, led by Green Party Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, to have local land-use authority help protect its citizens against the plunderers rather than rolling out the red carpet for them.Read More »
About 15 years ago in Merced, when our leaders were on fire with lust for the UC campus, the Fish & Wildlife Service had declared a critical habitat designation for the endangered species inhabiting vernal pools. Our leaders were outraged, organized rallies, vilified anyone in the region suspected of harboring an environmental thought. Politicians, at the behest of the finance, insurance and real estate special interests, pressured Service staff. Julie MacDonald, a high level political appointee at the Service, cajoled and threatened staff down to the field biologist level, and produced a bizarre “economic study” purporting to show the billions that would be lost to our regional and national economy by this horrible critical habitat designation.
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The Endangered Species Act Protections briefly took center stage at the Delta Water Summit at California State University, Fresno. Westlands Water District manager Tom Birmingham said the law is being applied without regard to people's lives — especially farmworkers.
"You wind up putting people in a food line to protect a fish no bigger than my little finger," Birmingham said. – Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee, August 5, 2013Read More »
The double standards in property maintenance lead to an “extremely troubling” trend in home sales: these uninviting neglected houses, disproportionately located in communities of color, are most often being snapped up by investors rather than families. Overwhelmingly, the investor of choice is the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms and now the nation’s largest owner of single-family homes. Since April 2012, Blackstone has spent more than $4.5 billion buying at least 30,000 houses concentrated in cities hard-hit by foreclosure, including Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, Chicago, Charlotte, Phoenix, and urban areas across California. According to local real estate brokers, the company often makes its purchases in cash.Read More »
The primary cause of frog and toad population decline seems to be the spread of the chytrid fungus — probably spread by introduction of non-native African clawed frogs.
Introduction of non-native trout to lakes within the habitat range of these threatened species may be the second most important factor. Recreational activities seem to have far less impact on the success of frog and toad populations, yet seem to be under consideration for limitation according to the information in the Federal Register. – Merced Sun-Star, Aug. 1, 2013
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