Political Economy

Strike Two: Obama's Second FCC Chair Fails on Net Neutrality

by Timothy Karr

The lines are now clear, says Karr: "Either you are for Net Neutrality or you're with [FCC chair] Tom Wheeler. You can no longer say you're for both." (Image: Free Press.net / text added)

When President Barack Obama pledged to appoint a Federal Communications Commission chair who was dedicated to protecting Net Neutrality, we had no reason to doubt he'd find the right person for the job.

Marijuana-DUI Case Tossed by Arizona Supreme Court in Metabolite Ruling

by Ray Stern

Arizonans no longer risk getting a DUI for driving with an inactive metabolite of marijuana in their blood following a ruling by the state's high court.

The Arizona Supreme Court announced this morning that it was reaffirming the trial court's decision to dump the case of Hrach Shilgevorkyan, who was prosecuted for driving while impaired after a blood test revealed the presence of marijuana. New Times covered the case and overall issue in detail in our May 2013 article "Riding High."

See also:
-Riding High: Arizona's Zero-Tolerance Stance on Pot and Driving
-Marijuana By Itself Not a Significant Factor in Fatal and Injury Crashes in 2012

U.S. Promotes Network to Foil Digital Spying

by Carlotta Gall and James Glanz

SAYADA, Tunisia — This Mediterranean fishing town, with its low, whitewashed buildings and sleepy port, is an unlikely spot for an experiment in rewiring the global Internet. But residents here have a surprising level of digital savvy and sharp memories of how the Internet can be misused.

A group of academics and computer enthusiasts who took part in the 2011 uprising in Tunisia that overthrew a government deeply invested in digital surveillance have helped their town become a test case for an alternative: a physically separate, local network made up of cleverly programmed antennas scattered about on rooftops.

The Myth of the Pro-Labor Democrat

by Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

As the standard of living of working people continues its four-decades-long steady decline, the number of people who classify themselves as “middle class” has correspondingly dropped, including by almost 10 percent in the past six years alone. Under the circumstances one might assume that leaders of organized labor are furiously rethinking their single-minded, long-held strategy of “defending” working people by simply electing Democrats to office. Surely, the disastrous track record of this strategy has given rise to a pause. Unfortunately, there are few encouraging signs on the horizon that top union officials are engaged in any serious contemplation of a dramatic new strategic departure.

An Indictment of the Invisible Hand

by Jeffrey Madrick

The implications of Piketty's new book go to the heart of the issue that spurred the Occupy movement in 2011. (Photo: Public domain)

Thomas Piketty’s 700-page book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has stunned both the economic profession and most political observers. But the economic mainstream is not truly dealing with its most serious implications even as they widely praise his work.

Obama Administration Rakes In Billions Off Student Debt

'The student loan program isn’t about helping students or borrowers—it’s about making profits for the federal government.'

by Lauren McCauley, CommonDreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/04/15-6

(Photo: Bossi/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)

Pulitzer Vindicates: Snowden Reporters Win Top Journalism Honor

Guardian and Washington Post each honored with Pulitzer for Public Service

by Lauren McCauley, CommonDreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/04/14-6

US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study

by Eric Zuesse

study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, "Who governs? Who really rules?" in this country, is: 

NSA Exploited Heartbleed for Own Use

White House denial highlights 'fundamentally flawed' dual mission of government spy agency

- Lauren McCauley, CommonDreams staff writer

Made public on April 7, Heartbleed is said to have exposed the sensitive information of countless users. (Photo: Filippo/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)

Comcast, Time Warner and Congress: Perfect Together

by Michael Winship

The US Senate on Wednesday held its first hearing on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner deal — a $45 billion transaction that will affect millions of consumers and further pad some already well-lined pockets — so now seems a good time to look at how our elected officials have benefitted from the largesse of the two companies with an urge to merge.

Although the ultimate decision will be made by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a reliable, nonpartisan watchdog, “The number one and number two cable providers in the country are also big-time on the influence circuit, giving upwards of a combined $42.4 million to various politicians and groups since 1989.

The Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer tool also shows that the two companies have spent a combined $143.5 million lobbying Congress since 1989 on issues including telecommunications, technology, taxes and copyright.

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