Updates on Swedish plan for peaceful transition beyond capitalism, ripoffs in car insurance, Ferguson, MO credit downgrade. Response to listeners on the CA drought and on best solution for corporate abuses like VW's. Major discussions of (1) what class means and what is at stake in different meanings, and (2) guaranteed income vs guaranteed jobs.
“Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.” — Anonymous In 2010 the pro-corporate Roberts’ 5/4 Supreme Court decided, in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling that favored right-wing multimillionaire businessmen and amoral multinational corporations by making it easier for them to steal US elections by allowing unlimited, anonymous monetary contributions to political campaigns, political action groups and politicians. Read
STANFORD – There is no doubt that Earth is undergoing the sixth mass extinction in its history – the first since the cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. According to one recent study, species are going extinct between ten and several thousand times faster than they did during stable periods in the planet’s history, and populations within species are vanishing hundreds or thousands of times faster than that. By one estimate, Earth has lost half of its wildlife during the past 40 years. There is also no doubt about the cause: We are it. We are in the process of killing off our only known companions in the universe, many of them beautiful and all of them intricate and interesting. This is a tragedy, even for those who may not care about the loss of wildlife. The species that are so rapidly disappearing provide human beings with indispensable ecosystem services: regulating the climate, maintaining soil fertility, pollinating crops and defending them from pests, filtering fresh water, and supplying food. Read
The military whistleblower’s 2010 Wikileaks dump included information that could have saved the 11 BP workers who died that spring in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster. Five years ago Monday, 11 men died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig — despite Chelsea Manning’s effort to save their lives. Let me explain. The BP drilling rig blew itself to Kingdom Come after the “mud” — the cement used to cap the well — blew out. The oil company, the federal government and the industry were shocked — shocked! — at this supposedly unexpected explosion in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But BP knew, and Exxon and Chevron knew, and the U.S. State Department knew, that just 17 months earlier another BP offshore rig had suffered an identical, disastrous blow-out halfway across the planet in the Caspian Sea. In both the Gulf and Caspian blow-outs, the immediate culprit was the failure of the cement, in both cases caused by the use — misuse — of nitrogen in the cement mix, a money-saving but ultimately deadly measure intended to speed the cement’s drying. Read
The U.S. is set to announce new regulations on offshore oil and gas drilling as an increased safeguard against disasters like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to reports from Obama administration officials who spoke to the New York Times on Friday. The announcement, which could come as soon as Monday, is set to be timed with the five-year anniversary of the spill, which killed 11 people and poured millions of barrels of oil into the ocean. However, environmental organizations remained unconvinced, particularly as the new rules follow President Barack Obama’s stated support of expanded drilling operations in the Arctic and Atlantic. Bob Deans, a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), told the Times, “Industry and government have taken measures over the past five years to reduce some of the risk in what is an inherently dangerous operation at sea. That’s a far cry from saying it’s safe. And the last thing we need is to expose Atlantic or Arctic waters to a BP-style blowout.” The regulations are reportedly the biggest to be put forward by the Obama administration in response to the spill and include stricter safety requirements on blowout preventers—the “last line of protection to stop