Curated Links

Pentagon Research: Scarcity and Unrest

Posted in Curated Links on February 19th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Nafeez Ahmed writes on Motherboard about the current research priorities of the U.S. Department of Defense.

A major factor for study is how “resource scarcity or imbalance, including food and water insecurity” can lead to state instability. This could cover availability of resources, who owns them, and who can access them; the way in which energy consumption is rising worldwide and how it relates to health and wealth in different countries.

The Pentagon also wants to see modeling of the interplay between demographic trends and population growth, as well as wider economic issues like “wealth distribution.” This raises questions about whether the US military anticipates a risk of civil unrest at home or in other Western countries allied to the US, where some economists are predicting another economic crash.

Read more: The Bleak Science Bankrolled by the Pentagon | Motherboard.

Peak Everything

Posted in Curated Links on February 17th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

As if peak oil theory isn’t scary enough, Gwynne Dyer posts the following.

During the latter part of the 20th century, food production grew at around 3.5 percent per year, comfortably ahead of population growth, but the dramatic rise in crop yields was due to new inputs of fertilisers and pesticides, much more irrigation, and new “green revolution” crop varieties. Now those one-time improvements have largely run their course, and global food production is rising at only 1.5 percent a year.

Population growth has slowed too, so we’re still more or less keeping up with demand, but there are signs that food production in many areas is running up against what researchers at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in a report last year called “a biophysical yield ceiling for the crop in question.” Production of the food in question stops rising, then may even fall – and extra investment often doesn’t help.

The “peak” in this context is an early warning that there will eventually be a complete cessation of growth, possibly followed by an absolute decline. Peak maize happened in 1985, peak rice and wild fish in 1988, peak dairy in 1989, peak eggs in 1993, and peak meat in 1996.

Read More: Peak Everything | Gwynne Dyer.

Christianity and America

Posted in Curated Links on February 17th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Benjamin L. Corey writes about the early Christians, and how they might be viewed by American Fundies today.

“If those entrenched in American Christianity could transport back in time to experience Christianity as it originally was, they’d be uncomfortable at best, and at worst, would probably have declined the invitation to join Christianity at all.”

Read the full essay: 5 Reasons Why Many American Christians Wouldn’t Like The First Ones.

Constitutional Scholar Tramples Press Freedom

Posted in Curated Links on February 13th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Glenn Greenwald reports: “Each year, Reporters Without Borders issues a worldwide ranking of nations based on the extent to which they protect or abridge press freedom. The group’s 2015 ranking was released this morning, and the United States is ranked 49th. That is the lowest ranking ever during the Obama presidency, and the second-lowest ranking for the U.S. since the rankings began in 2002 (in 2006, under Bush, the U.S. was ranked 53rd). The countries immediately ahead of the U.S. are Malta, Niger, Burkino Faso, El Salvador, Tonga, Chile and Botswana.”

Greenwald quotes former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, Jr.

“The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate. The 30 experienced Washington journalists at a variety of news organizations whom I interviewed for this report could not remember any precedent.”

Read More: U.S. Drops to 49th in World Press Freedom Rankings, Worst Since Obama Became President – The Intercept.

We Have A Nice Cell Waiting For You

Posted in Curated Links on February 13th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

If you are poor, ill or addicted, don’t worry. We can warehouse you almost indefinitely and you’ll never have to worry.

From a new report by the Vera Institute of Justice:

“Local jails, which exist in nearly every town and city in America, are built to hold people deemed too dangerous to release pending trial or at high risk of flight. This, however, is no longer primarily what jails do or whom they hold, as people too poor to post bail languish there and racial disparities disproportionately impact communities of color. This report reviews existing research and data to take a deeper look at our nation’s misuse of local jails and to determine how we arrived at this point.”

Read More: Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America | Vera Institute of Justice.

American Reds

Posted in Curated Links on February 12th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

The folks at Red Wedge magazine have created a wonderful new series of posters called Inside Agitators.

The series “aims to reintroduce the notion that communism is an American tradition and a powerful, intersectional tradition at that. American communists have been women and men, black and white and red and brown, queer and straight, disabled and able-bodied. That the posters resemble wanted posters is no accident: communism has been and is a crime, for which our brave forebears were hunted, banished, jailed, and killed.”

Some of my personal heroes, including Helen Keller, Eugene Debs and Big Bill Haywood are among those depicted.

See the posters: Inside Agitators — Red Wedge.

Hedges on Malcolm’s Prophetic Voice

Posted in Curated Links on February 4th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

“Sometimes, I have dared to dream … that one day, history may even say that my voice—which disturbed the white man’s smugness, and his arrogance, and his complacency—that my voice helped to save America from a grave, possibly even fatal catastrophe,” Malcolm wrote.

Read the entire essay: Chris Hedges: Malcolm X Was Right About America – Chris Hedges – Truthdig.

The Dalai Lama, Marxist

Posted in Curated Links, Quotes on February 2nd, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

“We must have a human approach. As far as socioeconomic theory, I am Marxist.”

Read the Article: “I Am Marxist” Says Dalai Lama | Newsweek.

SYRIZA’s Historic Win

Posted in Curated Links on January 26th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

European politics has been plunged into a volatile new era following a historic victory in Greece’s general election by far-left radicals committed to ending years of austerity.

More than five years into the euro crisis that started in Greece in October 2009 and raised questions about the single currency’s survival, Greek voters roundly rejected the savage spending cuts and tax rises imposed by Europe which reduced the country to penury.

The Guardian reports: Syriza’s historic win puts Greece on collision course with Europe | World news | The Guardian.

Not Lovin’ Racism at McDonald’s

Posted in Curated Links on January 26th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

McDonald’s workers who were fired last year after being told, “There are too many black people [working] in the store,” filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the company Thursday alleging a widespread pattern of racial and sexual discrimination and harassment at three stores in Virginia.

Read More: McDonald’s workers sue fast food giant over racial and sexual discrimination » peoplesworld.