There’s a big campaign going on about how you clean coal and we want to examine that as critically and fairly as we can, but here’s the problem: I’ve been to West Virginia, and that’s about all they’ve got there.
We’ve got to work out a situation in one state of the union, there may be others, in which we come up with alternative ways of creating full employment without just putting everybody out of work.
Sounds perfectly sane, right? Go read about the resulting shitstorm.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.
Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, is told exactly what’s going on.
The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as “rakers,” into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They’ve monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even when there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.
One of the US’ founding laws is a prohibition on creating a titled aristocracy. A couple centuries on, this seems quaint. But considering that our nation is violating the crap out of it in spirit, which I will illustrate below, it’s worth revisiting.
Setting aside a long list of unjust aristocratic perks and abuses, the worst thing about feudal systems was their everyday suckitude. Most people lived in hopeless misery, were held to harsh standards by authorities and had no protection from injury by their superiors in wealth or power. Following the invention of epidemiological studies, it was discovered that chronic poverty and mistreatment causes illness and shortened lifespans, to no one’s very great surprise.
While we can’t ask them, I’m pretty sure that most of the misery in feudal societies wasn’t caused by philosophical disagreements with Divine Right of Kings theory. Continue Reading »