Big Oil Spoils North Dakota

Big oil companies in North Dakota said their impact on the environment would be minimal. They lied.  The citizens of Tioga witnessed the largest land oil spill in recent American history in September, 2013.  Also in 2013, the locomotive of an oil train derailed and exploded in a collision near Casselton.  This year North Dakotans discovered illegally dumped …

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Identity

 In a world where 2 billion more people have entered the workforce since 1989, the insecurity of those suddenly forced to compete that much harder was always bound to grow. If you’re one of the beneficiaries of this massive upheaval, you’re fine. But for the millions who fear they are losing out, and who see …

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Virunga, Congo

Oil companies are circling Virunga National Park in the Congo, home to several endangered wildlife species such as mountain gorillas.  The oil company thugs stoop to bribery and murder.  The Government is silent saying they must support anything that will lift their people out of poverty.  One could be more impressed if they were putting …

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Japan’s Folly

Japan’s economy has been in the doldrums for years.  So what are they doing? Their central bank is buying government debt just like the US Fed was doing.  Supposedly, these purchases keep interest rates low and stimulate borrowing and growth.  But the evidence is to the contrary in  a country with zero interest rates and …

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Brussels Riots

Riots broke out a few days ago in Brussels as people protested the government’s austerity policies. In Europe when people are fed up, they riot while in the U.S. our low income people accept their fate and believe it is their fault. Austerity policy has not worked anywhere in Europe, but they hold to it …

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Belief and Experience

A post-election message by Harry Cook How lovely it would be to trade belief and believing for experience and reason. That was the great contribution of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who birthed an America that, like the autumnal doe, takes care of its young, its weak and those however disadvantaged through no fault of their own. …

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Obama Popularity

Why has Obama’s popularity plummeted?  He has accomplished a great deal that is not getting talked about.  He is the victim of the press and his opponents (some racist) that keep chanting “Obama Care” is bad.  This seems to stop further thinking about actual consequences.  It reminds of Gov. George Romney whose campaign for the …

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Louisiana Flood Danger

Louisiana is slipping into the Gulf caused by oil company channels, drilling, and pollution that kills vegetation on coastal marshes.  “Each day the state loses nearly the accumulated acreage of every  football stadium in the N.F.L.”  John Barry is a public spirited citizen member of a regional flood protection board.  The Board brought suit against …

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Institutions and relative incomes

Important insight by Robert Reich– The myth is you get paid what you’re worth. Yet for many occupations it’s just the reverse: Pay is inversely related to the real benefits to society. Social work, teaching, nursing, and caring for the elderly or for children are among the lowest-paid of all professions, but the benefits to …

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The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision

Benjamin I. Sachs, a law professor at Harvard University, notes that while federal law lets union members prevent the use of their dues for political purposes, shareholders do not have similar rights. “If we’re going to say that collectives have speech rights, then we should treat unions and corporations the same,” Sachs told me. Employees …

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For Shame America

For Shame America.  More than 57,000 young migrants have been apprehended, coming without parents, mostly from Central America since October.  At great expense, we have thousands of immigration control officers and elaborate fences.  I try to imagine the desperation of parents to send their children north hoping to escape killing and rape by drug gangs.  …

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Merger Fever–the patient is sick

The Federal Reserve has gone to great lengths to keep interest rates low.  So what have American firms been doing?  Borrowing to build new plants and employ more people?  Wrong! They are using retained earnings and borrowing to buy their own stock and other companies. Prof. Richard Roll of the University of California has formulated …

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Why Do Many Embrace Inequality?

Papers and books describe the widening inequality in our society.  They provide little understanding of why the 99% put up with it. The explanation of Prof. Justin Friesen  et. al. suggest that “When we feel a lack of personal control, we compensate by looking for order or predictability in our environment.  So we desire and …

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WW I and other Idiocies

It is the 100th anniversary of WW I, one of the bloodiest and unnecessary wars in human history.  The excuse for the war was the assassination of the Austrian Archduke by a crazy man.  The Austrians demanded compensation (as if there is compensation for murder).  When it was refused, countries began to take sides based …

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Financing Terror

How do terrorist groups finance the purchase of arms?  With drug profits of course.  Will the US wise up and treat addicts rather than build fences and hire guards?  Our refusal to do so is ruining a lot of countries including Afghanistan and Mexico. It’s bloody nonsense. The NY Times reports that along old African …

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Financial Crisis Redux

A new book says the government should have focused more on homeowner debt and less on banks. But, what would you expect of a former banker like former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? Sure, the banks were frozen and their balance sheets needed to be restored so they could loan or the economy would have been …

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