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Why Capitalism is Addicted to Oil and Coal

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  • "Fossil Capital" The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming ~ Andreas Malm, Verso Books, 2016
  • Book Review: Fossil Capital is a brilliant Marxist critique of capitalism and the origins of the fossil fuel economy

Reviewed by Martin Empson, Climate & Capitalism

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http://climateandcapitalism.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/12/Fossil-Capital.jpg December 17, 2015 | I read Andreas Malm’s Fossil Capital while travelling to and from Paris to participate in counter-conferences and protests at the time of the UN COP21 climate talks. It proved to be a prescient choice of reading material for a conference that produced lots of promises but was short on agreement of what to actually do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Malm’s book could almost be a manual on why it is that capitalism, the fossil fuel economy whose evolution he describes, is so unable to reduce its addiction to coal, oil and gas. It is a brilliant Marxist critique of capitalism and the origins of the fossil fuel economy and should be read by every activist.

Malm begins by asking precisely this question. How is it that we  have ended up in a situation where “vested interests” can prevent action on global warming? He argues that we must re-examine the Industrial Revolution in order to understand precisely how it ended up “welding growth to fossil fuels”. Much of the book then is a detailed study of the way that the Industrial Revolution took place and why the switch to fossil fuels took place. Malm argues that this means understanding power in both its senses, the power that was required to make engines work, and the power that was needed to make the workers operate those engines, or use the energy they produced.

Martin Empson is the author of Land and Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human History. He wrote this review for his blog, Resolute Reader.

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Martin Shkreli- Of Rotten Apples and Rotten Systems

"Martin Shkreli, the former hedge-fund manager turned pharmaceutical CEO who was arrested last week, has been described as a sociopath and worse. In reality, he's a brasher and larger version of what others in finance and corporate suites do all the time."

Robert Reich,  Robert Reich's Blog

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http://media.cagle.com/20/2015/12/20/173208_600.jpg John Cole 

23 December 15 | Martin Shkreli, the former hedge-fund manager turned pharmaceutical CEO who was arrested last week, has been described as a sociopath and worse.

In reality, he’s a brasher and larger version of what others in finance and corporate suites do all the time.

Federal prosecutors are charging him with conning wealthy investors.

Lying to investors is illegal, of course, but it’s perfectly normal to use hype to lure rich investors into hedge funds. And the line between the two isn’t always distinct.

Hedge funds are lightly regulated on the assumption that investors are sophisticated and can take care of themselves.

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

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Obama says "We are writing the rules." Who's "we"?

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  • Gosh, Americans don't need enemies like China when we've got "protectors" like Obama.
  • It's a disgrace that Obama is fronting and even lying for these self-serving kleptocratic corporate powers.
  • Obama's entire TPP charade
  • The high price we'll pay for their "free" trade

Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown

http://peoplesworld.org/assets/Uploads/stopp-tppa.jpg Monday, October 12, 2015 |  Gosh, Americans don't need enemies like China when we've got "protectors" like Obama.

In his pitch to get us to swallow that glob of global corporate greed known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Obama has resorted to a tacky bit of China bashing. He recently crowed that, "Under this agreement we, rather than countries like China, are writing the rules for the global economy." This backhanded slap at a major trading partner is meant to tell us that Big Bad China would've written global trade rules to hurt the American people.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of Thieves In High Places: They've Stolen Our Country And It's Time to Take It Back, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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Related:

The high price we'll pay for their "free" trade, Nolan Rampy, SocialistWorker.org 

Nolan Rampy looks at the newly published--and frightening--details of the Obama administration's cherished Pacific trade deal as it heads toward a congressional battle.

 

The high price we'll pay for their "free" trade

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Nolan Rampy looks at the newly published--and frightening--details of the Obama administration's cherished Pacific trade deal as it heads toward a congressional battle.

Nolan Rampy, SocialistWorker.org

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenburg

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http://peoplesworld.org/assets/Uploads/stopp-tppa.jpg November 17, 2015 | On November 5, the White House finally published the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Administration officials say that after the 90-day period of Congressional review, President Obama will sign the agreement and send it to Capitol Hill for what will likely be a contentious battle to push the deal through Congress.

But the battle in Washington will barely focus on the broader reasons why this agreement is a bad deal for working people, both in the U.S. and other countries that are party to it.

Nolan Rampy is a PhD candidate in social psychology at the University of Vermont and a member of the International Socialist Organization.

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Retailers That Forced Employees To Work Thanksgiving Experienced Disappointing Sales

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The data confirms that brands don’t need to have employees show up to stores to generate holiday sales on Thanksgiving Day — they can simply offer discounts online. Stores can also generate good will by staying closed on the holiday, preserving their employees’ ability to spend it with family and friends.

Bryce Covert, Think Progress

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http://cdn.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/30100749/AP_544443124445-1024x683.jpg Customers lined up outside a Chicago Kmart on Thanksgiving

Nov 30, 2015 | Eleven brands opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year, requiring millions of employees to report to work on the national holiday. Many businesses believe that opening on Thanksgiving will boost overall holiday sales by getting shoppers in ahead of the official start to Black Friday.

 

But this year’s sales data show it was mostly a dud. The number of customers in stores on Thanksgiving stayed flat as compared to last year, when shoppers who went to stores on the holiday didn’t show up on Black Friday. Meanwhile, sales data from ShopperTrak showed that Thanksgiving itself only generated $1.8 billion, compared to $10.4 billion on Black Friday. Even more disappointing was that the total for both days was depressed compared to last year: RetailNext data showed overall sales for the two days fell 1.5 percent and average spending per shopper also declined 1.4 percent.

Bryce Covert is the Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress. She was previously editor of the Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal blog and a senior communications officer. She is also a contributor for the Nation.

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Section(s): 

Read the CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual: A Timeless, Kafkaesque Guide to Subverting Any Organization with “Purposeful Stupidity” (1944)

You can read and download the full document here. To get a sense of just how “timeless”—according to the CIA itselfsuch instructions remain, see the abridged list below, courtesy of Business Insider. You will laugh ruefully, then maybe shudder a little as you recognize how much your own workplace, and many others, resemble the kind of dysfunctional mess the OSS meticulously planned during World War II.

Josh Jones, Open Culture

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor James Fuller.

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http://cdn8.openculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/01000328/Simple-Sabotage-Manual.pngDecember 1st, 2015 | I’ve always admired people who can successfully navigate what I refer to as “Kafka’s Castle,” a term of dread for the many government and corporate agencies that have an inordinate amount of power over our permanent records, and that seem as inscrutable and chillingly absurd as the labyrinth the character K navigates in Kafka’s last allegorical novel. Even if you haven’t read The Castle, if you work for such an entity—or like all of us have regular dealings with the IRS, the healthcare and banking system, etc.—you’re well aware of the devilish incompetence that masquerades as due diligence and ties us all in knots. Why do multi-million and billion dollar agencies seem unable, or unwilling, to accomplish the simplest of tasks? Why do so many of us spend our lives in the real-life bureaucratic nightmares satirized in the The Office and Office Space?

 

One answer comes via Laurence J. Peter’s 1969 satire The Peter Principle—which offers the theory that managers and executives get promoted to the level of their incompetence—then, David Brent-like, go on to ruin their respective departments. The Harvard Business Review summed up disturbing recent research confirming and supplementing Peter’s insights into the narcissism, overconfidence, or actual sociopathy of many a government and business leader. But in addition to human failings, there’s another possible reason for bureaucratic disorder; the conspiracy-minded among us may be forgiven for assuming that in many cases, institutional incompetence is the result of deliberate sabotage from both above and below. The ridiculous inner workings of most organizations certainly make a lot more sense when viewed in the light of one set of instructions for “purposeful stupidity,” namely the once top-secret Simple Sabotage Field Manual, written in 1944 by the CIA’s precursor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC.

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WTF America? 2015 Black Friday Videos Show How the US Has Lost Its Humanity

  • Just as we started regaining faith in humanity, after last year's Black Friday idiocy, here it comes again.
  • If we take a step back to observe this downright insanity, it is getting difficult to differentiate between Frank Darabont’s Walking Dead and Black Friday shoppers.
  • The Rise Of The Inhumanes

Matt Agorist, Free Thought Project

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Black%20Friday%20Shopping%20Mob.jpgBlack Friday: police shut down Tesco after shopper scuffles - video

November 27, 2015 | Before their Thanksgiving dinners could settle, many Americans left their family atmospheres and descended upon department stores and big box retailers across the country to partake in rampant and apparently violent consumerism.

Mindless shoppers aren’t even getting the great discounts they cherish since retailers artificially inflate prices of goods in the months before the sales in order to make the subsequent discounts look good in comparison. Also, even if shoppers do manage to grab some genuine discounts, they will invariably buy another product that has a 98 percent markup value.

Matt Agorist is a contributor to Free Thought Project

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Related:

 

The Rise Of The Inhumanes, Paul Craig Roberts, paulcraigroberts.org 

  • Welcome to America today. It is a land in which facts have been redefined as enemy propaganda, a land in which legally protected whistleblowers are redefined as “fifth columns” or foreign agents subject to extermination, a land in which America is immune from criticism and all crimes are blamed on those whom Washington intends to rule.
  • Barron, Bybee, Yoo, and Bradford are members of a new species—the Inhumanes—that has risen from the poisonous American environment of arrogance, hubris, and paranoia.

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