Senate passes TPP fast track The Senate is expected to vote today to give President Obama "fast-track" authority to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal through Congress. The secretive deal involves 12 countries and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. It has come under heavy criticism from labor activists claiming it as one of the harmful bills against labor, environmental, and intellectual property rights.
I want my
two four dollars!, or what happens when a professor (and lawyer) gets charged more than the prices quoted on a website.
"On August 25, 1921, the largest labor insurgency in American history and the largest civil uprising since the Civil War began in Logan County, West Virginia when 10,000 miners and their supporters went to war with 3000 coal mine executives and their hired thugs. The Battle of Blair Mountain is one of the least known major events in American history." -- America's long labour history, even such spectacular events like the Battle of Blair Mountain, is largely unknown, but historian Erik Loomis is trying to change that with his This Day in Labor History series for Lawyers, Guns and Money.
As internal leaks from the Romney camp suggest a campaign in serious disarray, and poll-of-polls meta-analyses show him with little time to recover his position before November, Mother Jones has acquired video from a private Romney fundraiser at which the candidate said of Obama supporters: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. Ezra Klein puts aside the political ramifications and crunches the numbers about who does and doesn't pay income tax in America. The Romney camp responds to the leak.
I fantasize about academic sharecroppers organizing with contingent workers across industries, a category (taxi drivers, seasonal workers in agriculture and tourism, truckers, office temps, construction temps...) that has exploded over the last twenty years. Together their power would overturn cities. But for that to happen, academic sharecroppers will have to tear their allegiance from the people who love what they love, that is, they will need to understand that my job is funded by their oppression, that there are more of them than there are of me, that they are the shaky foundation on which people like me totteringly stand. There are more and more of them and fewer and fewer of me. Adjuncts as sharecroppers. There's a reason it's #14. [more inside]
An analysis of nearly 1,700 public and private nonprofit colleges being unveiled this week by Bain & Company finds that one-third of the institutions have been on an “unsustainable financial path” in recent years, and an additional 28 percent are “at risk of slipping into an unsustainable condition.” Presenting thesustainableuniversity.com.
Pennsylvania has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients. This American Life on fracking in Pennsylvania. Fracking: Anatomy of a Free Market Failure. Previously in Pennsylvania. [more inside]
If you want to take a relation of violent extortion, sheer power, and turn it into something moral, and most of all, make it seem like the victims are to blame, you turn it into a relation of debt. Naked Capitalism talks to David Graeber about his book Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Previously. And more generally. Bonus Graeber classic: "Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You!" [more inside]
or would people start to ask why the wealth of knowledge and culture was being enclosed within restrictive laws, when “another world is possible” beyond the regime of artificial scarcity?
Given the material abundance made possible by the replicator, how would it be possible to maintain a system based on money, profit, and class power? Towards an Anti-Star Trek. [more inside]
We have explained that the matching funds provision substantially burdens the speech of privately financed candidates and independent groups. ... We have explained that those burdens cannot be justified by a desire to “level the playing field.” In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down an Arizona law that provided public funds to candidates who have been outspent by either private funding or independent spending. Link to PDF of full decision. [more inside]
The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a class-action gender-discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart cannot go forward as the class of plaintiffs affected is "too large." All Things Considered summarized the facts of the case last March; Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog reported on the key issue of "class commonality" during oral arguments. The full opinion, authored by Antonin Scalia, is here. Previously.
What we have in academia, in other words, is a microcosm of the American economy as a whole: a self-enriching aristocracy, a swelling and increasingly immiserated proletariat, and a shrinking middle class. The same devil’s bargain stabilizes the system: the middle, or at least the upper middle, the tenured professoriate, is allowed to retain its prerogatives—its comfortable compensation packages, its workplace autonomy and its job security—in return for acquiescing to the exploitation of the bottom by the top, and indirectly, the betrayal of the future of the entire enterprise. Graduate school as suicide mission, in the Nation.
‘Capitalists are a superstitious cowardly lot,’ Louise says. ‘This f*cker put our town out with the trash, threw us on the scrap heap. Well, the scrap heap’s got up, and it’s coming for him.’ China Miéville’s rejected pitch for a superhero for our times.