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Tuesday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Tuesday April 22, 2014 8:32 pm

 

Tonight’s music video is “The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)” by They Might Be Giants, from the album Apollo 18.

A model of a T. Rex in a park, running and bent over

WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT MY ARMS?!

It’s hard to imagine a more terrifying beast than Tyrannosaurus Rex! Yet then there’s the whole case of those laughable little arms. Except that New Scientist reports, new details have emerged about the T. Rex’s powerful, flexible neck:

Tyrannosaurs, the family of big predatory dinosaurs that includes T. rex, had necks that were similar to those of modern birds. So by studying how birds feed, Eric Snively of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and his colleagues were able to reconstruct how T. rex went about making a kill.

Snively placed electrodes on the skin of a dozen birds from 10 different species, ranging from domestic chickens to bald eagles. That allowed him to identify the precise muscle movements underlying each stage of feeding. Snively found that the birds often raised their heads and fixed their vision on the prey before lowering their heads to attack. T. rex had most of the same muscles, suggesting it could perform the same movements. That would also include raising its head, thrusting it upwards and pulling back with its legs once it has taken a bite.

Many of the birds also shook their necks, and the main muscle involved was found in the necks of tyrannosaurs. ‘The shaking motion is the same as when a dog shakes off water,’ says Snively. ‘We think that the dinosaur would have used this motion to dislodge meat from a carcass.’

Their powerful necks could explain why tyrannosaurs had such small arms, says Snively. ‘Tyrannosaurs didn’t need big arms to hunt, because their powerful bites and hyper-bulldog necks did the job,’ he says. ‘From the shoulders forward, T. rex was like a whole killer whale: just bite, shake and twist.’ Tyrannosaur necks are also similar to crocodile necks. ‘We can think of them as striking like a bird, and shake-feeding like a crocodile,’ says Snively.

Via an article on I Fucking Love Science. Anyway, dinosaurs have gotten all weird since I was a kid.

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Individualism is the Opium of the Masses

By: Deena Stryker Monday April 21, 2014 1:16 pm
A 2014 Lexus sport model on display at a car show

“The latest lipstick or a $40,000 automobile, guaranteed to enhance one’s chances of making it.”

If you’re wondering why, as a progressive commentator wrote recently “the left contents itself with sending pathetic ‘take action!’” emails, think about a specific difference between the U.S. and the rest of the world: Following on the revolutionary European tradition, most polities readily take to the streets when their rulers take kleptocracy too far. In the United States, two traditions inhibit such action. The first is the opprobrium attached to so-called ‘mob rule’ as opposed to the ‘democratic’ way of doing things, ‘through the ballot box’ (never mind if big money is dictating what people think and therefore who they will vote for).

But there is another factor that surely plays just as important a role, and that is the cult of individualism. Ubiquitous advertising promises that certain products will contribute to ‘the full development’ of the consumer’s faculties — or gifts — or abilities. Whether it’s the latest lipstick or a $40,000 automobile, it’s guaranteed to ‘enhance’ one’s chances of ‘making it’ — conquering the most beautiful woman or just simply get a job. You have to demarcate yourself from the next guy by buying a ‘personalized’ variation of the latest model of whatever. This is the modern equivalent of ‘divide and conquer.’

While Marx’s ‘opium’ of the masses, religion, supports community, the opium of individualism does the opposite. How then to hope that Americans will ever ‘rise up’ against anything, or ‘storm’ anything, or ‘take back’ what has been stolen from them? You have to be inclined toward ‘community’ as in ‘common action’ as in ‘united we stand’ to do that.

Not only do Americans, at 5% of the world’s population, consume 70% of its resources, we are leaving it up to the other 95% to save us from the looming planetary disaster caused by CO2, while spending billions to discover another habitable planet for the 1% to escape to. As pointed out by Joel Kovel in Francis Goldin’s Imagine Living in a Socialist USA without eco-socialism there will be no future. And yet, instead of a nationwide progressive party that could steer government in that direction, we have a proliferation of separate groups each fighting for their own constituency, whether oil or prison pipelines, while the monster goes about business as usual. Until such a party exists, we will have only cries in the wilderness.

Todd Miller: The Creation of a Border Security State

By: Tom Engelhardt Saturday June 18, 2011 9:59 am

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

A border patrol SUV by a high tech border monitoring tower

The high tech world of the Border Patrol means less freedom for all.

Sometimes you really do need a map if you want to know where you are.  In 2008, the ACLU issued just such a map of this country and it’s like nothing ever seen before.  Titled “the Constitution-Free Zone of the United States,” it traces our country’s borders.  Maybe you’re already tuning out.  After all, you probably don’t think you live on or near such a border.  Well, think again.  As it happens, in our brave, new, post-9/11 world, as long as we’re talking “homeland security” or “war on terror,” anything can be redefined.  So why not a border?

Our borders have, conveniently enough, long been Constitution-free zones where more or less anything goes, including warrantless searches of various sorts.  In the twenty-first century, however, the border itself, north as well as south, has not only been increasingly up-armored, but redefined as a 100-mile-wide strip around the United States (and Alaska).  In other words — check that map again — our “borders” now cover an expanse in which nearly 200 million Americans, or two-thirds of the U.S. population, live.  Included are nine of the 10 largest metropolitan areas.  If you live in Florida, Maine, or Michigan, for example, no matter how far inland you may be, you are “on the border.”

Imagine that.  And then imagine what it means.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as Todd Miller points out today, is not only the largest law enforcement agency in the country you know next to nothing about, but the largest, flat and simple.  Now, its agents can act as if the Constitution has been put to bed up to 100 miles inland anywhere.  This, in turn, means — as the ACLU has written — that at new checkpoints and elsewhere in areas no American would once have considered borderlands, you can be stopped, interrogated, and searched “on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.”

Under the circumstances, it’s startling that, since the ACLU made its case back in 2008, this new American reality has gotten remarkably little attention.  So it’s lucky that TomDispatch regular Miller’s invaluable and gripping book, Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security, has just been published.  It’s an eye opener, and it’s about time that “border” issues stopped being left to those on the old-fashioned version of the border and immigration mavens.  It’s a subject that, by definition, now concerns at least two-thirds of us in a big way. Tom

They Are Watching You
The National Security State and the U.S.-Mexican Border
By Todd Miller

With the agility of a seasoned Border Patrol veteran, the woman rushed after the students. She caught up with them just before they entered the exhibition hall of the eighth annual Border Security Expo, reaching out and grabbing the nearest of them by the shoulder. Slightly out of breath, she said, “You can’t go in there, give me back your badges.”

The astonished students had barely caught a glimpse of the dazzling pavilion of science-fiction-style products in that exhibition hall at the Phoenix Convention Center. There, just beyond their view, more than 100 companies, including Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Verizon, were trying to sell the latest in futuristic border policing technology to anyone with the money to buy it.

The students from Northeastern Illinois University didn’t happen to fall into that category. An earnest manager at a nearby registration table insisted that, as they were not studying “border security,” they weren’t to be admitted.  I asked him how he knew just what they were studying.  His only answer was to assure me that next year no students would be allowed in at all.

Among the wonders those students would miss was a fake barrel cactus with a hollow interior (for the southern border) and similarly hollow tree stumps (for the northern border), all capable of being outfitted with surveillance cameras. “Anything that grows or exists in nature,” Kurt Lugwisen of TimberSpy told a local Phoenix television station, “we build it.”

Nor would those students get to see the miniature drone — “eyes in the sky” for Border Patrol agents — that fits conveniently into a backpack and can be deployed at will; nor would they be able to check out the “technology that might,” as one local Phoenix reporter warned, “freak you out.” She was talking about facial recognition systems, which in a border scenario would work this way: a person enters a border-crossing gate, where an image of his or her face is instantly checked against a massive facial image database (or the biometric data contained on a passport).”If we need to target on any specific gender or race because we’re trying to find a subject, we can set the parameters and the threshold to find that person,” Kevin Haskins of Cognitec (“the face recognition company”) proudly claimed.

Nor would they be able to observe the strange, two day-long convention hall dance between homeland security, its pockets bursting with their parents’ tax dollars, and private industry intent on creating the most massive apparatus of exclusion and surveillance that has ever existed along U.S. borders.

Gender Equity For Rural Haitian Women: Kettly Alexandre & The Peasant Movement Of Papay

By: Other Worlds Tuesday April 22, 2014 1:36 pm

Interviewed by Beverly Bell, Edited by Jessica Hsu

April 22, 2014

The Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) is one of the largest small-farmer associations in Haiti with 70,000 members, of whom close to half are women. MPP was founded in 1973 to improve the living conditions of small farmers while working for social and economic justice. Here, Kettly Alexandre of the MPP Women’s Committee speaks to advances made over 40 years for women’s rights, equity, and an end to violence.

Three smiling Haitian women

A “Peasant Movement” is making Haiti safer for women.

Even though the road has been long, we are seeing successes. We are leading a huge battle and hoping for victory. Our approach in the Women’s Committee is to meet problems head-on to promote social justice – combating violence against women, advocating for gender equity, providing scholarships for women, promoting reforestation, and working for personal health. Our programs allow women to lift up their heads, and give peasants a viable future.

One of our largest programs is a safe house for women who’ve been victims of violence. We’re the only group in the Central Plateau that offers women a supervised safe house, which also includes medical assistance or referrals, psychological support groups, and legal support. We have organizers in different zones, and if they hear of an instance of violence against a woman, they identify the victim and send them to our centers. All victims are welcome.

One of the most personally satisfying stories involves a woman who was being beaten by her husband. She told him if he didn’t stop, she was going to go tell MPP. He stopped immediately.

Although many people say the violence is on the rise in the Central Plateau, it is not true. What’s changing is that more and more people are standing up and denouncing the violence that has always been present. Not very long ago, it was hard to find people to speak out against this type of violence. Often even the peasant women who are the victims of rape, beatings, etc. feel ashamed [to say anything].

Prior to the earthquake, our legal support helped women in about 50 court cases. Following the earthquake, we’ve been able to help almost 300 cases, with the assistance of a Canadian organization that helped train more women to support victims of violence. Of those 300, there’ve been about 100 rulings handed down; close to 50 men found guilty, with the women being compensated; and many others awaiting judgment behind bars. These are victories for women. It’s encouraging.

We sponsor radio broadcasts concerning violence against women. We also hold workshops with leaders of the community, including houngans [vodou priests], pastors, and priests, to build awareness around the problem so they can in turn make others aware. We invite police officers, judges and lawyers. Their reactions are all over the place. Some say, “Aha! You’re the ones who are making women think they have all this power!” But for every negative reaction, we see more positive reactions. These efforts have made it easier for women to come to our offices, report and act.

But even though we’re working diligently and have taken big strides in making the population aware of violence against women and its consequences, the authorities need to be involved. If we really want to eradicate the problem, it needs to be dealt with on a national level.

We also do a lot of advocacy that involves both men and women, not just in the area of violence against women, but also for gender equity and women’s rights. There’s a lot of respect for women in MPP. We involve a lot of people in discussions around these issues.

One of our biggest successes is that peasant women are no longer ashamed to identify as peasant woman. We’re putting value in our culture and saying proudly that we are farmers and producers.

SCOTUS upholds voter-passed law prohibiting affirmative action in university admissions

By: Masoninblue

Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

Supreme Court from outside

An analysis of the newest Supreme Court affirmative action decision.

The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion today by a vote of 6-2 upholding a voter-passed constitutional provision in Michigan that prohibits colleges and universities from using affirmative action policies in deciding whether to admit applicants to enroll in their academic degree programs.

The decision reverses an en banc decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. An en banc decision is a decision by the entire circuit court, as opposed to a three-judge panel.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. He held that the sixth circuit did not have the authority to overrule Michigan voters. He said,

This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.

Justices Roberts and Alito joined his opinion.

Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Thomas, concurred in the result, but added that parties who claim that a law denies equal protection must show that the law has a discriminatory purpose in order to prevail. He concluded that the constitutional provision was legitimate since it did not have discriminatory purpose.

I rarely agree with Justice Scalia and this is yet another decision with which I disagree. Affirmative action laws were enacted to create opportunities for minorities to acquire the necessary education, skills and experience to overcome discrimination and compete for employment on equal footing with others.

I do not see how he can say with a straight face that the constitutional provision passed by voters prohibiting affirmative action in admissions to state colleges and universities has no discriminatory purpose.

Affirmative action programs were enacted to give meaning to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Racism is real and only a racist or racist enabler would deny it. Racist voters, who would deny minorities the opportunities for improvement accorded by affirmative action laws because of the color of their skin, establish the discriminatory purpose.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She read her decision aloud in court this morning noting that the majority decision is a blow to “historically marginalized groups, which rely on the federal courts to protect their constitutional rights.” She warned that, “Without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups.”

Justice Stephen Breyer, who usually votes with justices Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Kagan, deserted them this time. He did not see a problem with allowing voters to decide whether to adopt race-based admissions policies.

Justice Kagan recused herself from participating in this case.

The name of the case is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, U.S. Supreme Court, 12-682.

Read the 6th circuit’s en banc decision that struck down the voter passed constitutional provision that the SCOTUS shamelessly upheld today.

Hidden History: What Nazi-Tied Roots to U.S. International Media Reveals About Ukraine Crisis

By: Steve Horn Monday April 21, 2014 12:57 pm

Cross-Posted from Occupy.com

Bonfire in Euromaidan, a figure stands nearby in gas mask

Steve Horn traces the media roots of far-right power in Ukraine.

new Cold War has arisen between Russia and the U.S. over the future of Ukraine. With that has come accompanying discussions about the nature of portions of the U.S.-backed Neo-Nazi and anti-semitic opposition in the embattled former Soviet Republic.

Lost in the discussion so far — even as a “media war” burgeons between the superpower states — is a crucial piece of history lending context to the ongoing geopolitical stand-off that centers around anti-Semitism and the original Nazis themselves. Enter the U.S.-funded state-run international media outlets Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

While Russia Today (better known to many as “RT”) has found itself at the center of a firestorm of U.S. media coverage and scrutiny, VOA and RFE/RL have gotten off essentially scot-free so far – even though they received over $206 million and $93 million in taxpayer money, respectively, from the U.S. government in 2012.

Case in point: on April 3, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on “United States International Programming to Ukraine and Neighboring Regions” after it passed quickly and with little debate in both chambers of Congress. The bill mandates an injection of $10 million total in taxpayer-funded cash into the coffers of both VOA and RFE/RL to air their news coverage in the Tatar, Ukrainian and Russian languages 24/7.

Not a single media outlet covered the legislation’s passage. That, even though the bill was passed explicitly to fend off RT’s hegemony in the region and is stated so within the legislation.

“The Russian Government has deliberately blocked the Ukrainian people’s access to uncensored sources of information and has provided alternative news and information that is both inaccurate and inflammatory,” reads the bill. “The opinions and views of the Ukrainian people…are not being accurately represented in Russian dominated mass media…United States international programming has the potential to combat this anti-democratic propaganda.”

Because the U.S. media was silent on the bill becoming law to begin with, it’s only logical that the history and agendas of VOA and RFE/RLweren’t investigated with the same rigor as RT either.

But as novelist Alice Hoffman has stated, “Once you know some things, you can’t unknow them. It’s a burden that can never be given away.”

Bloodstone: Cold War, Cold Truth

The truth is simple, though likely hard — nay, nearly impossible — for most U.S. citizens to fathom living in the self-proclaimed “city upon a Hill.” Birthed during World War II and at the beginning of the Cold War, respectively, VOA and RFE/RL have Nazi-tied historical roots. More specifically, rewind to the State Department’s then-covert Operation Bloodstone, which began in 1948.

“Bloodstone proved to be an open door through which scores of leaders of Nazi collaborators who were now being brought to the United States for use as intelligence and covert operations experts,” explained American University Professor Christopher Simpson in his book Blowback: The First Full Account of America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Disastrous Effect on The Cold War, Our Domestic and Foreign Policy.

Simpson also explains in his book that Frank Wisner — former head of Office of Strategic Services (which became the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA), then head of the Directorate of Plans for the CIA — initially proposed that 250 Nazi collaborators be brought into the U.S. under Bloodstone’s auspices. Wisner’s vision: 100 of them would work for VOA, all of which Simpson discovered via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The CIA created a special sub-unit to oversee the recruitment of ex-Nazi collaborators called the Office of Special Projects, which later changed names and became the Office for Policy Coordination. Legally, the National Security Council authorized the activity through directive NSC 10/2, at the time a covert program (now publicly disclosed) that was known about only by what Simpson described as “a tiny group of men and women at the most senior levels” of the national security establishment.

NSC 10/2 and Bloodstone are also chiefly responsible for the creation and bolstering of what at the time were two separate seemingly independent media outlets: Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation from Bolshevism.

“RFE/RL began in 1948 as a corporation named the National Committee for a Free Europe, a supposedly private charitable organization dedicated to aiding exiles from the Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe,” Simpson explains in his book. “[But] the roots of RFE/RL, in an administrative sense, are the same political warfare programs that gave birth to Bloodstone and NSC 10/2.”

National Committee for a Free Europe’s initial Board of Directors was a “Who’s Who” of US political elites, with Henry Ford IIHenry J. HeinzGeorge C. McGhee and other influentials all in on the game.

U.S. labor’s “New Men of Power” also got involved. James Carey — former secretary-treasurer of the CIO and vice-president of the AFL–CIO — was also on National Committee for a Free Europe’s Board.

Simpson says this “all-star board of directors…served as a cover, in effect, to explain where all the money was coming from.” That is, from the CIA.

What’s In a Name?

Paradise Lost: Fred Hiatt and Bowles-Simpson

By: Dean Baker
Fred Hiatt

“No one in Washington is more Serious than Fred Hiatt.”

As many have noted, the Very Serious People in Washington have a peculiar love affair with the Bowles-Simpson commission, or more accurately the report produced by the two co-chairs of the commission. (The report is often referred to as a report of the commission. This is not true since it did not have the support of the necessary majority of commission members.) There is no one in Washington who is more Serious, than Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Hiatt once again expressed his disappointment that President Obama did not embrace the co-chairs’ report.

At home, the fateful moment came in 2011 when Obama cold-shouldered the bipartisan panel he had appointed to right the nation’s finances for the long term. That, too, was a decision in keeping with the polls.

The Simpson-Bowles commission had called for higher taxes and slower growth in Medicare and Social Security spending.

Hiatt is either unfamiliar with the commission’s by-laws that required that a report have the support of 12 of the 16 commission members or simply decided to mislead readers. The point is that in reality Obama did not “co-shoulder” the commission, since the commission did not produce a report, contrary to what Hiatt asserts.

However the substance is even more fun. Hiatt tells readers:

Instead of chaining themselves to 20th-century arguments and interest groups, Democrats could have begun to shape — and realistically promise to pay for — a 21st-century progressive program focusing on early education and other avenues to opportunity. They could have resources for family policies that really would help address the wage gap.

Okay, never mind that we don’t have family policies that can address the wage gap. (Maybe teach the families of corporate directors to tell them not to take bribes to let CEOs get outlandish pay?) The more striking point is that Hiatt is criticizing President Obama for not cutting Medicare, but in fact Medicare spending is now projected to be less than what it would have been with the Bowles-Simpson cuts.

In 2020, the last year for their budget proposal, Bowles and Simpson projected that we would spend $1,461 billion on Medicare and other health care programs. The latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office show us spending $1,417 billion in 2020 on health care programs.

We can argue over the cause of the slowdown in health care spending, but in any case we have actually achieved greater savings in this area that Bowles and Simpson had hoped to achieve with their cuts. In other words, if the point was to free up money for other programs, we got more than what Bowles-Simpson would have given us. It’s therefore difficult to see what he is complaining about. Of course if the point was to inflict pain on middle income people then Hiatt’s disappointment is more readily understandable.

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economy and Policy Research. He also writes a regular blog, Beat the Press, where this post originally appeared.

Stop Capitulating, Start Converging: The Global Climate Convergence

By: Scott McLarty Monday April 21, 2014 12:25 pm

 

In early April, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim issued a dire warning about the consequences of global climate change and increasing economic inequality. The combination of the two, he said, are likely to result in violent clashes around the world: “Fights over water and food are going to be the most significant direct impacts of climate change in the next five to 10 years. There’s just no question about it.”

Mr. Kim urged scientists and environmental activists to produce a coherent plan and challenged the World Bank and world leaders to take immediate action:

Is there enough basic science research going into renewable energy? Not even close. Are there ways of taking discoveries made in universities and quickly moving them into industry? No. Are there ways of testing those innovations? Are there people thinking about scaling [up] those innovations?… [The climate change community] kept saying, ‘What do you mean a plan?’ I said a plan that’s equal to the challenge. A plan that will convince anyone who asks us that we’re really serious about climate change, and that we have a plan that can actually keep us at less than 2C warming. We still don’t have one.

Around the same time, Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century began to draw public attention. The French economist compares the increasing concentration of wealth and power among the super-rich to the revival of a new Gilded Age comparable to the Gilded Age, also called the Robber Baron Era, of a hundred years ago.

For the U.S., it means that the prosperity that Americans enjoyed between 1945 and 1980, spawning a huge and affluent middle class, was temporary and has been replaced by a massive redistribution of wealth to the top One Percent. Mr. Piketty’s conclusions aren’t new — Occupy Wall Street activists, progressives, and others have been warning of the collapse of democracy and economic fairness for years — but his book, according to reviews, tracks the evolution of capitalism over the past two centuries in unprecedented detail.

A pair by professors from Northwestern and Princeton universities made news a few days ago when they published a study confirming our suspicions that oligarchy has replaced democracy. The profs found that “policies supported by economic elites and business interest groups were far more likely to become law than those they opposed…. [T]he preferences of the middle class made essentially no difference to a bill’s fate.”

Let’s state the obvious: the combination of climate change and neo-Gilded plutocracy is the defining crisis of the 21st century and it is a political crisis that requires political solutions.

The “Global Climate Convergence: Earth Day to May Day 2014,” subtitled “People Planet Peace Over Profit,” is designed to address this dual crisis with a worldwide “education and direct action campaign.” Running from April 22 to May 1, it will be the first in a series of yearly actions to effect an “emergency green economic transformation.”

Many environmentalists and progressives fail to grasp that the crisis can’t be fixed under the status quo. It’s not reasonable to believe that systemic changes will occur without profound changes in the American political landscape.

By status quo, I mean the exclusive control over government and policy by two parties that swim in corporate money and influence. The GOP denies that climate change is a problem and clings shamelessly to the libertarian capitalist ideology that’s at the root of inequality. Dems only accept ideas that accommodate corporate special interests: emissions trading schemes that allow businesses to trade licenses to pollute; health-care legislation that imposes a direct public subsidy to sustain insurance industry profits; a proposed minimum-wage hike that falls short of a livable-wage standard; modest Dodd-Frank reforms that don’t restore the Glass-Steagall Act and impunity for banksters whose criminal greed triggered the 2008 financial meltdown.

Some Democratic ideas and policies are nearly indistinguishable from Republican: a proposal to slash Social Security; privatization of education (through the charter-school movement) and other public resources and services; a “NAFTA on steroids” trade pact (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiated in secret by the Obama Administration) that threatens labor and environmental protections.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party’s candidate for Governor of New York, sums it up: “The Democrats want to repeal the New Deal and the Republicans seem to want to repeal the Enlightenment.”

President Obama wants us to believe he takes global warming seriously, but the legacy of his administration will include fracking, mountaintop detonation mining, pipelines, “clean coal,” no steps to reduce car traffic, and an emphasis on domestic energy independence instead ending fossil-fuel addiction.

The corporate stranglehold over both parties tightened after two Supreme Court rulings, Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and McCutcheon v. FEC (2014), removed important limits on the flow of money into election campaigns. The result is a bipartisan slide, a few miles per hour faster or slower depending on which party controls the White House and Congress, into the abyss.

What’s Left?