You are browsing the archive for 2013 April 05.

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Oil Devastation in Arkansas — Government Relents and Releases Photos to the Public [Slideshow]

April 5, 2013 in Blogs

By Tara Lohan, AlterNet



After outrcies of media blackouts and Exxon running the cleanup show, today the EPA released photos of the tar sands spill that shocked the Mayflower, Arkansas neighborhood last week. Check out more of our coverage of the spill here and Exxon's response.

 

EPA Releases Tar Sands Spill Photos


April 5, 2013 | 

Environment

A week after Exxon's Pegasus pipeline spilled in Arkansas, the EPA has released photos.

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David Stockman: the Next Ron Paul

April 5, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

Apparently the media does not like the new book by David Stockman. Here Bloomberg columnist Clive Crook condemns Stockman for his analysis of government policy over the last 70 years, even though he admits the Austrian Business Cycle theory is probably the best explanation for the current crisis. Apparently Stockman is too much like Ron Paul–right!

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Guantanamo Effect: A Constant Reminder of America's Role in Perpetrating a Global War

April 5, 2013 in Blogs

By Mariam Ghani, Chitra Ganesh, Creative Time Reports



The U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay has, over the last 11 years, become much more than a place. In the sphere of U.S. domestic politics, it is an irresolvable problem over which pitched partisan battles have been fought. Its continued existence is a snarl in the larger geopolitical fabric, an irritant that constantly recalls the role of the United States in theorizing and proliferating a state of global war.

At the same time, the camp at Guantanamo and the people imprisoned within it have become bargaining chips used by the United States in structuring its informal state-to-state relationships. For example, in 2005, the United States paid for the construction of a new block of Afghanistan’s Pul-e-Charkhi prison in return for the Afghan government’s agreement to imprison and try detainees transferred from Guantanamo to Afghanistan. Most important, Guantanamo, which originally served the Department of Defense and other government agencies as a “battle lab” where new strategies for the “global war on terror” could be tested, has developed into a set of principles that are now enshrined in U.S. law. This doctrine visibly surfaces in a now-declassified appendix of the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogation (rewritten in 2006 to reflect experiments with new methods at Guantanamo), but remains hidden in the classified JTF-GTMO Standard Operating Procedures that have nonetheless influenced detention operations everywhere from Bagram to Abu Ghraib to the Indiana Supermax prison known half-jokingly as “Guantanamo North.” This emergent code of conduct deploys covert and extralegal surveillance, imprisonment, torture and killing to persistently separate and mark out a particular group of people from the rest of humanity. The Guantanamo code has proliferated like a self-replicating virus in various permutations across the globe, ultimately circling back to spread within our own borders through the tandem expansion of drone strikes and surveillance based on “imminent threat” rationales, and extreme isolation programs in domestic prisons.

While specific debates over the territory of Guantanamo and the fates of the people still imprisoned there remain urgent, larger discussions of Guantanamo qua policy or politics must admit the broader reach and influence of Guantanamo the idea.

In this commissioned web project for Creative …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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North Korea 101: Are We Really Primed for War?

April 5, 2013 in Blogs

By Tim Shorrock, Salon



We all know it’s a crisis. Every night this week, NBC, CBS and every other media outlet in the country have led their evening newscasts with increasingly grim news out of Korea.

It’s gone like this. A state of war has been declared between North Korea and the United States by Kim Jong-un, the North’s 27-year-old hereditary dictator. North Korea has battle plans to attack Washington and other U.S. cities, including, of all places, Austin, Texas, with atomic weapons. The Kaesong Industrial Zone, the last demonstration of North and South Korean cooperation just above the DMZ, has been temporarily shut down after the North refused entry to South Koreans who work there. Pyongyang has threatened to restart its Yongbyon nuclear power plant, mothballed since 2007 under a nuclear proliferation agreement with Washington and other regional powers, and begin producing bomb-ready plutonium again. And on Thursday, North Korea was allegedly moving missiles to its east coast facing Japan.

The sense of hysteria and impending doom has been magnified by the Obama administration and the Pentagon. In a show of force not seen in East Asia for decades, the United States, as part of a series of war games with South Korea, dispatched B-52 and stealth B-2 bombers capable of devastating nuclear and tactical strikes screaming across Korean skies. F-22 warplanes, perhaps the most advanced in the U.S. arsenal, are there too, along with two guided-missile destroyers. A new THAAD portable missile defense system is being deployed to nearby Guam as a “precautionary” measure against possible North Korean missile strikes, and plans are underway for a massive expansion in U.S. missile defense systems in Alaska and the West Coast. Meanwhile, U.S. and South Korean troops practice simulated nuclear attacks and even regime change in their massive military drills, which both governments described as “defensive.”

The rhetoric has ratcheted up too – to alarming levels. “We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed” by “cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means of the DPRK,” a spokesman for the Korean Peoples’ Army (KPA) declared this …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Voices from Cyprus

April 5, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

Here is a short video of interviews of regular people inside Cyprus. It would make for good material to show in economics classes so that students could get a better feel for what is going on.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Stockman replies to Krugman

April 5, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

Interview of David Stockman who replies to Krugman and other critics, defends gold standard, etc. Might make for good material to assign to your classes.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Maryland Moves to Ban 'Cyberbullying'

April 5, 2013 in Economics

By Walter Olson

Walter Olson

While the enactment of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s sweeping gun control package has gotten more coverage, the Maryland House and Senate have also just passed a bill directed at banning “cyberbullying.” [Capital GazetteWJZ] The bill would, among other things, prohibit the use of electronic means (including cellphones, Facebook, and online forums) to intentionally “harass, or inflict serious emotional distress” on a minor. Violations could be punished by up to a year’s imprisonment.

The new law is a serious affront to First Amendment liberties.”

In effect, the new law attempts to criminalize a good portion of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, at least when undertaken in part or whole through newer technology.

Unfortunately, the new law is a serious affront to First Amendment liberties. It criminalizes a substantial swath of speech without clearly laying out notice of which speech it prohibits. It also prohibits much speech that, while in many cases reprehensible and harmful, is not well remedied by the harshness of criminal sanction.

It’s true that the law as passed drops some of the worst features of an earlier version, such as a ban on posting “private information” about minors. It also shifts the focus to a “course of conduct,” so that an individual cruel comment standing alone might not support prosecution. But the wider dangers remain. While electronic annoyance of an adult becomes criminal only if it continues after a request to stop, no such triggering provision is included for behavior that may annoy a minor. (And as I read it, there is no requirement that the defendant know that the person being subjected to intentional emotional distress is a minor — engaging in a vigorous “flame war” with a Maryland resident might turn out to be criminal if the username “ParentInLinthicum” turns out to conceal a teenage user.) Exceptions are made for speech that is intended to express political views or convey information, a curious pair of exemptions in that it has long been assumed that our First Amendment protects many types of seriously annoying speech other than those two.

We are supposed to support this law — and some lawmakers I admire did support it — to show that we care about children. Once on the books, however, this law will assuredly ruin the lives and futures of other kids who will be the subject of investigations and prosecutions, and not all those kids are …read more
Source: OP-EDS