Why Your Town Could Be The Next Detroit


The Article: There will be more Detroits: Your town could be next by Robert Hennelly in Salon.

The Text: President Obama comes to Galesburg, Illinois (population: 32,000) today, where he is expected to once again hit the reset button on his domestic economic agenda for the rest of his second term. His advance folks know the appealing Norman Rockwell-like backdrop of this rural farming community. It is also the birthplace of Carl Sandburg, who as America’s poet, understood the power of pride in a particular place.

But these days, in a global economy where U.S. multi-nationals can stash hundreds of billions of dollars in profits in off-shore tax havens, the smart play to win all the marbles is to really be from no place in particular. There’s nothing to protect other than your data.

Take the sad case of the City of Detroit, whose name is now synonymous with a global brand “Detroit,” as in the auto industry. Detroit, the municipality, filed for bankruptcy. America’s 18th largest city, overwhelmingly African-American, just 400 miles northeast of Galesburg, was once a thriving industrial powerhouse of almost two million people. Now it has dwindled down to 700,000 residents who live in one of the nation’s most violent cities where it can take an hour for a 911 response.

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Nutritionism In America Is A Crock Of Bull

Nutrition Scam

The Article: Curse of American Nutritionism: Industry Ignores Realities of Healthful Eating by E. Douglas Kihn in Truth Out.

The Text: It all started in the US in the late 1960s as a result of the countercultural revolt. Disaffected youths rebelled against conventional norms, including the proliferation of processed food and the chemicals used to grow, process and preserve food. Gradually during the past four decades, however, this legitimate concern has given rise to a monstrous industry that contributes heavily to neurotic disorders, physical disease and capitalist profits.

The nutritionist industry inadvertently serves a political purpose as well, keeping the American working class confused, self-hating, tranquilized and demoralized. Nutritionismis an original American belief that a person’s health hinges onwhatone puts into one’s mouth. “You are what you eat,” has become the national slogan; “Eat right!” has become the prime medical imperative.

Nutritionism and American advertising

Only in industrially advanced, English-speaking countries, especially the United States, do we find nearly all packaged grocery store items with health claims plastered all over their exteriors.
“Our healthy/natural/organic/calorie-reduced food . . . which is fat-free/sugar-free/low in carbs/protein-rich/vitamin-enriched. . . and is fortified with anti-oxidants/omega 3 fatty acids/extra fiber/phytonutrients/folic acid/vitamin Z . . . will boost your energy/cleanse your body/burn fat/strengthen bones/make you smarter/reverse aging/get you laid.”

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Edward Snowden’s Fear Of Flying Is Justified

Edward Snowden Fear Flying

The Article: Edward Snowden’s fear of flying is justified by Geoffrey Robertson in The Guardian.

The Text: As Edward Snowden sits in an airside hotel, awaiting confirmation of Russia’s offer of asylum, it is clear that he has already revealed enough to prove that European privacy protections are a delusion: under Prism and other programmes, the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ can, without much legal hindrance, scoop up any electronic communication whenever one of 70,000 “keywords” or “search terms” are mentioned. These revelations are of obvious public interest: even President Obama has conceded that they invite a necessary debate. But the US treats Snowden as a spy and has charged him under the Espionage Act, which has no public interest defence.

That is despite the fact that Snowden has exposed secret rulings from a secret US court, where pliant judges have turned down only 10 surveillance warrant requests between 2001 and 2012 (while granting 20,909) and have issued clandestine rulings which erode first amendment protection of freedom of speech and fourth amendment protection of privacy. Revelations about interception of European communications (many leaked through servers in the US) and the bugging of EU offices in Washington have infuriated officials in Brussels. In Germany, with its memories of the Gestapo and the Stasi, the protests are loudest, and opposition parties, gearing up for an election in September, want him to tell more.

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Jimmy Carter On America’s Lack Of Functioning Democracy

Jimmy Carter

The Article: Jimmy Carter May Actually Be Right This Time in Forbes.

The Text: Former President Jimmy Carter, who in certain circles is often accused of being downright anti-American – not to mention anti-Israel – told a gathering of the Atlantic Bridge in Atlanta this week that the United States no longer has a functioning democracy. I’m sure Republicans hearing the news were aghast at the remark and his additional comments defending NSA leaker and traitor Edward Snowden stating he is providing everyone with “beneficial” information and not in the least the criminal some would suggest.

Carter routinely demonstrates through his public comments why his was a failed Presidency. To this very day, he shows how outside of the mainstream he is on a range of issues. Sounds like another Nobel Prize winner I hear opining out there, but I digress.

I could very easily criticize Carter for his comments as I have little use for activist former Presidents who make a living criticizing the nation they once were given the honor to serve. But in this instance, I think Carter is making a point that is important for all of us. Our democratic process is buckling. Our Republic is weakening. Contrary to Carter’s point, though it’s not the NSA’s fault or that of the U.S. intelligence community. It’s also not the fault of a government desperately trying to balance fighting enemies both foreign and domestic who are employing rapidly-changing technology to perfect their craft. For the conservatives out there, it’s not the fault of Obamacare or immigration proposals or the buttressing by Progressives of the entitlement state.

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2013: A Year Of Political And Weather-Related Extremes

2013 Weather

The Article: More Heat, Drought and Floods in 2013 by Christa Marshall in The Scientific American.

The Text: Global average temperatures in June were the fifth highest on record, as above-average heat conditions continued a multidecade streak, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported yesterday.

June marked the 340th consecutive month — a span of time more than 28 years — that global temperatures surged above the 20th century average, according to the agency.

“The last below-average June temperature was June 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985,” NOAA said in a release.

At the same time, it is too early to determine whether the stifling heat wave bringing misery to much of the eastern United States for the past week is unusual.

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