State Policy Network: The Stealth Network Dramatically Influencing State Law -
The State Policy Network (SPN), a web of pressure groups in all 50 states that call themselves “think tanks” while dramatically influencing state law, is a powerful and stealthy ally of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) detailed in the recent report, “EXPOSED: The State Policy Network: The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government.” That report is part of a new initiative with Progress Now called “StinkTanks.org,” which includes additional research and reports on these groups in each state.
This is ALEC’s evil twin.
diegueno asked: Saw the pic that is supposed to have something to do with fracking. Could you provide some context and a source of the image?
Saw your message that is supposed to have something to do with intimidating me. Could you provide the source and context of your fucking attitude problem?
And while you’re at it, blow me.
It’s very hard for me to adequately describe how dangerous and pernicious companies that that extract hydrocarbon fuels and the acts of the extraction have become. I worry about stating it in a way that seems like I’m Chicken Little chirping about the sky falling - but the combination of fracking and climate change will have consequences for us all - the only question is how bad they will be. One cannot listen to a radio programs covering environmentalism without becoming alarmed. There are some podcasts that I won’t listen to at night because the news is that bad.
That may explain why I have such a sense of urgency about fracking among(st) so many other issues that need to be fixed in our world. To stir people with something creating cognitive dissonance (Meg and other types), while not educating a reader as to what the problem is, let alone failing to direct them to some kind of action, is, at best, a half-action.
I don’t know you; I do know that fracking, our jacked up immigration system, the lack of privacy we have on line and the way that corporations game our government(s) in just about every jurisdiction for their benefit and coincidentally for the governed worries me. I want to see it changed. I have seen what doesn’t work and convictions in what is effective. Let’s say my problem is that I’m enmeshed with the world’s problems and other people not adequately acting to fix them is more aggravating to me than others. That’s a long ways in explaining in that I wasn’t trying to intimidate you. Your perception of intimidation, be it over the internet in the form of a two part question, is your own creation. I have no intent to threaten or harm you in any way and I never did…that’s the job of the petrochemical industrial complex, right?
There are people who do react to my questions and critiques on their attempts the way that you did. Some find me abrasive, condescending and pedantic. Sorry, that’s the best I got. If I have to choose between being liked versus clean drinking water, breathable air or a neighbor or friend being hauled off because their thoughts or presence, I’ll give up the warm fuzzies and the friendship. I’ve figured out that you can’t always get others to hold the same principles you do or to get others to act on those principles.
Like so much else we’ve been hearing from Government officials over the past many months we find we’ve been misled, at best, and lied to, at worst. No one believes a single thing the NSA says these days, yet the deceptions continue. Why? They ain’t fooling anyone, except maybe themselves.
The lack of trust is palpable and is leading to a deepening cynicism toward government. This is going to be one of the saddest legacies of Obama’s administration. — A comment to Exactly What the State Says to Deceive You About Surveillance
(Source: The Atlantic)
It’s (arguably) the cheapest and most effective form of economic stimulus. Think about it: people who recently lost their jobs use unemployment funds to pay for their rent and food. They spend the money they get from the government right away. The Congressional Budget Office cited unemployment benefits as one of the most effective policies of the 2009 Recovery Act. Compare that to what happens when, say, there’s an income tax cut. Not everyone spends that tax cut. Some save it, so the money isn’t going out as quickly into the economy.
Speaking of the economy, there lots of uncertainty heading into 2014. The last thing the US economy – and by extension the world economy – needs in January is for over a million people to lose their federal funds overnight. Close to a million more are expected to be laid off in early 2014 and won’t have access to federal aid, either, a further drag on the “green shoots of recovery” economists keep talking about.
This is especially true as the Federal Reserve attempts to figure out how to stop all the aid it’s been pumping into the economy (aka the quantitative easing program). Markets are already jittery about when that is coming and whether it will be in early in the new year. We don’t need to add another shock.
No one wants to keep these programs running forever. Each state offers some funds to the unemployed, but the federal government steps in during and after bad recessions in order to help the long-term unemployed. The question is when should that extra federal money end?
Anyone paying attention to the economic indicators can see that things are still too rocky to withdrawal federal aid completely. The chart below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes the best case for why Congress should pass an extension by Christmas. The graph shows when the federal government halted unemployment insurance during prior recessions. In the downturn after 9/11, the federal government stopped providing extra jobless relief when the long-term unemployment rate was 1.3%. It was similar in the 1990-91 and 1981-82 recessions – the federal government said “that’s enough” aid for the jobless when the long-term unemployment rate was at 1.2 or 1.3%. At the moment, US long-term unemployment is still at 2.6%. That’s a heck of a lot higher than in the past.
While there is a fear that people receiving unemployment insurance will be less motiatived to look for jobs, the reality is the economy is in much worse shape this time around. There aren’t many jobs to be had, especially in January after the big holiday retail boom is over. Extending federal jobless aid for all of 2014 would cost about $25bn. That’s a lot of money to you and me, but it’s a bargin in federal government terms.
As Congress debates a budget deal, extending unemployment insurance is a natural link with that. It will help working families, stimulate the economy and signal that Congress “gets it” and wants 2014 to start as smoothly as possible.
(via Congress should stop the Scrooge routine and extend jobless benefits | Heather Long | Comment is free | theguardian.com)
The latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have failed to lead to a resolution, with ministers confirming that debate is likely to continue into next year.
The announcement comes as Wikileaks releases an internal memo and spreadsheet, revealing that the US is putting heavy pressure on other nations to conform with its demands.
Following four days of talks in Singapore, the heads of the various delegations have today released a statement saying that while they’ve identified what they call “potential landing zones” for the areas that remain contentious, they have failed to reach a resolution as hoped.
“Therefore, we have decided to continue our intensive work in the coming weeks toward such an agreement,” they say. “We will also further our consultations with stakeholders and engage in our respective political processes. Following additional work by negotiators, we intend to meet again next month.”
The statement coincides with the release of two more documents from Wikileaks which reveal just how far apart the US is from the other nations involved in the treaty, with 19 points of disagreement in the area of intellectual property alone. One of the documents speaks of “great pressure” being applied by the US.
Australia in particular is standing firm, objecting to the US’ proposals for copyright protection, parallel importation proposals and criminalization of copyright infringement. It’s also opposed to a measure supported by all the other nations involved to limit the liability of ISPs for copyright infringement by their users. Japan, too – which only joined the talks in March – has vowed to protect its agricultural markets, which the US wishes to see opened up.
But the TPP is causing increasing disquiet in the US, as well as around the world. Over the weekend, campaign group Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) revealed that Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of the Columbia University School of Business has written to the negotiators, calling on them to resist a tranche of measures that he says would weaken the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.
These include extending patent terms and lowering the threshold for patentability of medicines, making surgical procedures patentable and mandating monopolies of 12 years on test data for biologic drugs. He also objects to the granting of compulsory licenses on patents, increasing damages for patent and copyright infringement, placing lower limits on injunctions, narrowing copyright exceptions and extending copyright protection to life plus 70 years.
“The TPP proposes to freeze into a binding trade agreement many of the worst features of the worst laws in the TPP countries, making needed reforms extremely difficult if not impossible,” he writes.
His sentiments are echoed by 29 organizations and more than 70 other individuals in a separate letter.
“The primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound recordings and other works that are ‘owned’ but largely not commercialized, forgotten, and lost,” they say. “The extended terms are also costly to consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.”
The failure of the talks to reach agreement is a major blow for the US, which hoped to see the deal largely wrapped up by now. The ministers say they’ll meet again next month, but haven’t set any new timeline for completion. And with many of the outstanding issues having been aired for months, it’s hard to see how full agreement will be reached any time soon.
US Fails To Close TPP Deal As Wikileaks Exposes Discord - Forbes
Mmm, kids? Trade agreements are bad things, m’kay?
As Keystone ruling nears, Canada short on time for climate plan -
Keystone supporters say that is why Canada would be wise to offer a carbon-trimming plan before the White House decides the pipeline’s fate.
"If Canada were to volunteer new greenhouse gas restrictions, that would certainly help," David Goldwyn, a former State Department official and energy consultant, told an industry conference in late October.
But the clock is running out. The U.S. State Department is finishing work on a report that will weigh the climate impacts of the pipeline in what could be one of last words before a decision. The White House is expected to rule on Keystone by next spring.
Guys, didja notices that Reuters is talking like this is going to happen? What do they know that we don’t know?
Dozens of Palestinians were injured and one detained as Israeli forces opened fire to disperse protests against the Israeli occupation and commemorating Nelson Mandela’s death across the West Bank on Friday afternoon. Protests against the Israeli occupation and separation wall took place in villages across the West Bank, including in Bil‘in, al-Ma‘sara, Kafr Qaddum, and Nabi Saleh. Demonstrators raised slogans and posters of South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in many villages, commemorating the legacy of the “freedom fighter” who passed away on Thursday … In Nabi Saleh, Israeli forces dispersed demonstrators who marched throughout the village raising Palestinian flags as well as photographs of Mustafa Tamimi, who was shot dead by Israeli forces at a similar rally in 2011. Israeli forces opened fire on the demonstrations throughout the day with tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets.
(via Israeli military attacks Palestinian commemorations of Nelson Mandela | Mondoweiss)