Category Archives: Species loss

Michael Hoexter: Should the US Federal Government Invest $4-$6 Trillion Per Year on Climate Protection? (Part 1 of 2)

Why the excuses to do nothing or too little on the climate change front don’t hold up to serious scrutiny.


New York City: Aggressive “Broken Windows” Policing but Carte Blanche for Banksters

Yves here. Class-based policing, particularly against blacks, has been a long-standing feature in New York City. Bill Black focuses on the mythology of the low-tolerance “broken windows” tactics under police chief Bill Bratton in the Giuliani era. What appears to have been more effective is his idea of mapping crime patterns and flexible deployment of police, with a focus on getting to know the problematic neighborhoods and focusing on the types of crime prevalent in them. But the monied classes appear to have derived more comfort than was warranted from “quality of life” tactics that made the streets seem cleaner but didn’t do much for crime, such as getting homeless people out of Manhattan. Black argues that current race-based crime strategies such as stop and frisk are not merely of similar dubious value but come with high hidden costs.


Ilargi: Everything Better Is Purchased At The Price Of Something Worse

Yves here. While I suspect the general thesis of this post will appeal to many readers, I’m bothered by the use of “price” and “purchase” to describe the idea that progress is not linear and in many respects may add up to less in terms of satisfaction than we’d like to believe.


A Disturbance in the Force?

Perhaps I’m just having a bad month, but I wonder if other readers sense what I’m detecting. I fancy if someone did a Google frequency search on the right terms, they might pick up tangible indicators of what I’m sensing (as in I’m also a believer that what people attribute to gut feeling is actually pattern recognition).

The feeling I have is that of heightened generalized tension, the social/political equivalent of the sort of disturbance that animals detect in advance of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, of pressure building up along major fault lines.


Michael Klare: The Third Carbon Age – Drop the Fantasy of a Coming Era of Renewable Energy

Yves here. To put none too fine a point on it, the most important steps to reduce carbon emissions would be a Marshall plan level effort to reconfigure living and resourcing arrangements so as to reduce energy demands, and to go particularly aggressively after the worst polluters (for instance, the cars you see spewing fumes, are surprisingly large contributors to total emissions from automobiles). But it’s much easier to go the Easter Island route and keep carrying on more or less as before until you hit insurmountable constraints.


Michael Hoexter: Summer Heat – The Movement Against Ripping the Face off the Earth for a Brief Fossil-Fueled “Party”

Civilization requires agriculture, which is dependent on a few sensitive species to produce a surplus of food for masses of people with comparatively lower levels of labor or mechanical work. If we make the climate inhospitable to these species, as well as to ourselves, via fossil fuel use and degradation of the carbon buffering capacity of the environment, we will make it vanishingly likely that our own success as a species will continue.


Dan Kervick: Why MMT is Not a Free Lunch

By Dan Kervick, who does research in decision theory and analytic metaphysics. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives

A common criticism of Modern Monetary Theory is that it is a naïve doctrine of free lunches.

But this criticism misses the mark. MMT does focus a good deal of attention on the monetary system and the banking system, and on the operational mechanisms of public and private finance. But the whole point of analyzing and clarifying the monetary system is to help people see through the glare of the economy’s glittering monetary surface to the social and economic fundamentals that operate below that surface.


Obama’s Second Term Agenda: Cutting Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid

By Matt Stoller, a political analyst on Brand X with Russell Brand, and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at

This is probably the least important Presidential election since the 1950s. As an experienced political hand told me, the two candidates are speaking not to the voters, but to the big money. They hold the same views, pursue the same policies, and are backed by similar interests. Mitt Romney implemented Obamacare in Massachusetts, or Obama implemented Romneycare nationally. Both are pro-choice or anti-choice as political needs change, both tend to be hawkish on foreign policy, both favor tax cuts for businesses, and both believe deeply in a corrupt technocratic establishment.

So while the election lumbers on like the death rattles of the wounded animal known American democracy, no one on either side is asking what the plan is for the next term.