Political Economy

Top 10 Reasons GOP Benghazi Witch Hunt Is Just a Campaign Fundraising Ploy

by Juan Cole

Since Obamacare is increasingly a wildly popular success, the GOP is flailing around looking for an issue, any issue to help fundraising for the fall congressional campaigns. In a vote that will live in infamy, the House GOP has decided to create a select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi consular attack yet again. They may as well exhume poor Ambassador Chris Stevens’ body and steal the gold from his teeth fillings.

Since they insist on continuing to purvey the same falsehoods about Benghazi (which I visited a few months before the tragic attack), I continue to post much the same refutation. Some of these points are being revised from an earlier posting.)

The Six Principles of the New Populism (and the Establishment’s Nightmare)

by Robert Reich

(Image credit: Salon.com)

More Americans than ever believe the economy is rigged in favor of Wall Street and big business and their enablers in Washington. We’re five years into a so-called recovery that’s been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for the middle class. “The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get it right down to their toes,” says Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Which is fueling a new populism on both the left and the right. While still far apart, neo-populists on both sides are bending toward one another and against the establishment.

Why the Costly, Pointless War on Drugs Must Come to an End

A new report from the London School of Economics lays out the case against the counter-productive decades-long attack on recreational drugs.

by John Collins

A new report includes a call from some of the world’s leading economists, including five Nobel Prize winners, to end the “war on drugs” and experiment with alternative policies. (Credit: Report cover / LSE)Quantifying the enormous harms of the “war on drugs” is a near-impossible task. How to begin calculating the health epidemics, the violence associated with illicit markets and tragedy of mass incarceration internationally?

What Powerful and Greedy Elites Are Hiding When They Scapegoat the Schools

by Diane Ravitch

Poverty and inequality, not teachers, are the drivers of deficits in education. (Public domain)

The New Yorks Times' Unintentional "Epitaph" for Nuclear Power

by Harvery Wasserman

In support of the dying nuclear power industry, the New York Times Editorial Board has penned an inadvertent epitaph. 

Appearing in the May 2 edition, The Right Lessons from Chernobyl twists and stumbles around the paper’s own reporting. Though unintended, it finally delivers a “prudent” message of essential abandonment.

The edit drew 288 entries into its comment section before it was capped. I’ve posted one of them at NukeFree.org. Overall they’re widely varied and worth reading. 

Because the Times is still the journal of record, the edit is a definitive statement on an industry in dangerous decline.

Let’s dissect:

The FCC's Flimsy Defense of Fake Net Neutrality

by Craig Aaron

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants you to calm down.

A firestorm of public outrage flared up after his latest plans to permit a pay-to-play Internet leaked. The Federal Communications Commission lit up with angry phone calls, irate emails, and a lot (I mean a lot) of bad press.

In a speech on Wednesday at the big "Cable Show" in Los Angeles, Wheeler had this to say to his former industry colleagues: "Reports that we are gutting the open Internet rules are incorrect. I am here to say wait a minute. Put away the party hats."

And in a blog post on the FCC website, Wheeler claimed that the many critics of his plan are "misinformed."

Report: U.S. Needs to ‘Significantly Reduce’ Prison Population

by Drug Policy Alliance

U.S. Has Less Than Five percent of World’s Population but Nearly 25 percent of People Behind Bars; Drug War Fueled Prison Explosion

WASHINGTON, DC — A groundbreaking report released this week by the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, documents the unprecedented and costly price of U.S. incarceration rates.

With less than five percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the U.S. continues to rank first among nations in both prison and jail population and per capita rates.

As the report points out, this unprecedented rate of incarceration is a relatively new phenomenon in U.S. history. America’s prison population exploded largely as a result of the failed drug war policies of the last 40 years.

The report, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and the MacArthur Foundation, documents how the drug war has contributed to the skyrocketing U.S prison population and the staggering costs associated with mass incarceration.

A May Day 2014 Lament for American Labor

by Jack Rasmus

(Credit: Don Grinde / Labor Notes)Today, May 1, 2014, is International Labor Day. It is worth summing up how well American workers—and their unions—have fared over the past year; since the so-called economic recovery began in mid-2009; and for the recent decades preceding.

What’s happened to jobs, wages and incomes, health and retirement security, and other indicators of the quality of life for the more than 100 million non-supervisory wage and salary earners—the core of the working class in America—over the past decade and especially since 2009?

What a summary of the facts tell us is as follows:

To Save the Internet We Need to Own the Means of Distribution

by David Morris

Publicly owned telecommunications networks, argues Morris, offer lower prices and higher speeds than Comcast and AT&T and Time Warner. (Image: Common Dreams)With the announcement by the FCC that cable and telephone companies will be allowed to prioritize access to their customers only one option remains that can guarantee an open internet: owning the means of distribution.

Thankfully an agency exists for this. Local government. Owning the means of distribution is a traditional function of local government. We call our roads and bridges and water and sewer pipe networks public infrastructure for a reason.

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