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August 2013

San Francisco To Chain Stores: “Get Out!”

That is changing. Dozens of American municipalities, mostly small towns with tourism in mind, have passed laws restricting the entry of chain stores. The biggest city to do so is San Francisco: in incremental steps punctuated by a ballot initiative in 2006, the California city famous for liberal activism has enacted the most influential anti-chain legislation in the United States. You might not realize, walking the streets of Nob Hill, that you are experiencing an urban economy governed by the tightest big-city regulations on “formula retail” in the country. That’s because the San Francisco’s anti-chain net, while unique among large cities, is fairly permeable: three out of four chains that apply for permission to operate in one of the city’s protected zones are approved. Sure, San Francisco is quirky and diverse, true to its reputation, and bursting with independent bookstores, cafes, restaurants and boutiques.

Fracking Flares In North Dakota Bakken Shale Equal 1 Million Cars

For the past year, our satellite monitoring of infrared data from around the world has detected immense amounts of light and heat coming from natural gas flares in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. A recentstudy concluded that 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is being wasted by a process called flaring, and the carbon dioxide emissions alone are equivalent to the annual emissions of 1 million automobiles. This does not even touch the unknown air quality impacts from burning fracked gas in large, open flames at ground-level. To study this issue further, we are teaming up with a non-profit called Space For All to send cameras and instruments on a weather-balloon to the edge of space—well, the upper tropopause—to examine air quality and infrared emissions from oil shale fracking and flaring.

Canadian Organizations In Solidarity With Colombian Strikers

This past weekend an estimated 200,000 people blocked roads and marched peacefully across Colombia to protest the negative impacts on their communities of the U.S.-Colombia and Europe- Colombia Free Trade Agreements. There is a growing discontent with Free Trade Agreements that benefit only large multinational corporations and impose privatization, deregulation and anti-union policies. President Juan Manuel Santos government’s economic policy known as “locomotora minero-energetica” is promoting the development of large scale mining and resource extraction in the hands of multinational corporations many of which will benefit Canadian companies like Pacific Rubiales Energy and Gran Colombia Gold at the expense of small scale local miners and workers.

Dail Lockout: Irish Say “No” To Austerity On September 18

In response to the complete lack of lack of respect for the Irish people, all the broken political promises, and the utter failure to represent the interests of the Irish people, the people have begun to take matters into their own hands to demand members of the Oiréachtas honour the wishes of those who employ them.. Hence, there will be a peaceful LOCK OUT on SEPTEMBER 18TH outside DAIL EIREANN (both gates). The goal is to remind all TDs and Senators that they are there to do as WE THE PEOPLE of Ireland demand, and not bow down to vested corporate, banking and European interests. The LOCK OUT has been proceeded by letters of warning, telling TDs that they are not required to work on that one day, because we the people are aware that they are not working for US. This is an opportunity for TDs and Senators to show who they stand with and on which side of history they wish to fall.

VIDEO: Vermonters Say “Stay Out Of Syria!”

On Aug. 30, 2013, as Obama and Kerry gear up for another immoral and illegal war, Vermonters gather to express opposition, as it is being express around the world.

Breaking: Obama Will Seek Authorization, Convince Congress War On Syria Necessary

President Barack Obama has decided to use force against Syria, but he will first seek congressional approval, he said in a Rose Garden speech Saturday afternoon. “I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said. Obama said he has decided using force against Syria is necessary and does not require cooperation from other nations. “After careful deliberation I have decided the United States should take military action against Syrian targets,” Obama said. “I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons.” For two years the White House has called for regime change in Syria, but the Obama administration has insisted any military action now would be in response to a chemical weapons attack near Damascus Aug. 21. Since that attack the White House has not made any public demands from Assad’s regime.

To Stop War, Stop The Banks: Move Your Money

We believe that an attack on Syria would not proceed without the approval of the heads of the major banks and that de-funding of these banks to stop US military action in Syria is an appropriate response that addresses basic power relationships related to war. In the face of this, we urge that on Sept. 1, 2013 you begin to remove your money from these largest banks and deposit it in a local credit union, or if this is not possible, a smaller bank or in "Banco de Mattress". Below is an example of how banks are tied into US military adventures and why our best strategy appears be to go directly where the money is. The board of directors of Lockheed Martin has two members, ex-military men, who are officials in The Cohen Group, formed by ex-Defense Secretary William Cohen to "provide global business consulting services and advice on tactical and strategic opportunities in virtually every market".

US Coup In Syria: 1949

We recently published an article on the need for transparency in foreign policy that focused on the Chelsea Manning case and detailed the CIA coup of the democratic government of Iran in 1953. See, . Below is another important history, a CIA coup in Syria in 1949. This coup was followed by a series of coup's that led Syria away from democracy and into dictatorship. What would have happened if the US government had stayed out of Syria, not supported the coup plotters and encouraged their democracy continue to develop? Would the US be planning a military attack today if not for the past misdeeds of US foreign policy?

VIDEO: Military Cancer

Class War Films tells the history of militarism in the US and how it will devour us as a cancer devours the body if it is not stopped: "You understand what a cancer is: a voracious wildly self-replicating rogue cell mass that feeds on and devours its host....The US military with its vast complex web of branches, agencies and bureaucracies is in socio-political terms a metastasized cancer run rampant in the American body politic and we Americans are dying of it. Not surprising. The core purpose of armies is to kill people. Every country that has ever had one claimed it was for self-defense, but all history has proved their function has never varied to kill people and appropriate their wealth."

Putin Calls US Claims On Syrian Chemical Weapons “Utter Nonsense”

Vladimir Putin has rejected US intelligence claims that Bashar al-Assad's regime used chemical weapons in Syria, saying it would be "utter nonsense" for government troops to use such tactics in a war it was already winning. "That is why I am convinced that [the chemical attack] is nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict, and who want to win the support of powerful members of the international arena, especially the United States," Putin told journalists in Vladivostok. The Russian president also challenged the US to present its case for military intervention to the UN security council, after suggesting that if Barack Obama was worthy of his Nobel peace prize, he should think about the possible victims of any intervention by foreign forces.

Syria Shows Evidence: Terrorists Have Used Chemical Weapons

The so far presented evidence by the Syrian government in Damascus is especially about the recent events near the capital (e.g. in the suburb of Jobar) and refutes the Western allegations that the units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) have used chemical agents / weapons in the battles against the foreign-supported terrorist groups near the capital, Damascus. The presentation of further evidence showing that the armed terrorist groups on Syrian soil have used chemical weapons is continued by the Syrian government in Damascus and it seems to clearly refute the propaganda by Western mass media and governments that the Syrian forces have used chemical weapons against the religious fanatics and terrorists near the capital of the still secular Arab nation.

Welfare Reform Insanity: Banning Convicted Drug Offenders From Food Stamps

Well before the current, direct attack on federal funding of food stamps—also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—there have been systemic, state-imposed barriers to accessing food stamps that have been in place for nearly two decades. Several states require fingerprinting of recipients and reams of paperwork, or are stalled by outdated technology. The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the onerous barriers food stamp recipients face in California. But the ban barring drug convicts from accessing food stamps is one of the most problematic state-imposed barriers faced by poor people like Sutherland. Twelve states still ban convicted drug offenders from accessing SNAP benefits. A relic of welfare reform, the food stamp ban is an example of the political interplay between the drug war and the movement to reform welfare which in reality became a double indictment of the poor: People of financial means who made mistakes with drugs would not be rendered vulnerable to hunger for the rest of their lives.

Kerry’s Flimsy Case For War

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took to national television on Friday in order to present the Obama administration's case for war against Syria. Though Kerry vowed the "mistake of Iraq" was not again taking place, his rhetorical case for war did little to inspire confidence in administration's framework for war though much to remind potential viewers of when Colin Powell presented the case for war at the U.N. on behalf of the Bush administration a decade ago. However, as the AP reported on Thursday, Kerry's case seemed to confirm that though circumstantial evidence exists, nothing in the unclassified report released today by the administration would be considered a "slam dunk". In subsequent comments from the president himself at the White House, Obama indicated that though "no final decision" had been made, he said "my military" is looking at a variety of options.

The Time Has Come To Occupy Economics

As if to make sure that the reader is not confused, this issue of JEP starts with another paper titled “The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective.” This paper makes it clear that the economics profession has a unified world-wide view on the economics of inequality. Let us make this issue of JEP, not a finger in the eye of the Occupy Movement, but a foot in the grave for mainstream economics. The Error of the Profession Where does the profession go wrong? Oh, let me count the ways. But let me be on point. The economics profession, aided and abetted by the entire “Social Justice” movement, looks at the issue of inequality a moment too late, when the play is over and the curtain is drawn down. The kibitzers fill the halls of nearby restaurants (academic cafeterias, perhaps?) and their words spill over into print today and videos the day after—eventually to become economics papers and textbooks.

Syria Intervention Plan Fueled by Oil, Not Chemical Weapons Concerns

Few recall that US agitation against Syria began long before recent atrocities, in the context of wider operations targeting Iranian influence across the Middle East. In May 2007, a presidential finding revealed that Bush had authorised CIA operations against Iran. Anti-Syria operations were also in full swing around this time as part of this covert programme, according to Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. A range of US government and intelligence sources told him that the Bush administration had "cooperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations" intended to weaken the Shi'ite Hezbollah in Lebanon.
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