Local council ends the year discussing a hot issue

“The ANC (Area Neighborhood Committee) got to flex its muscles over sprouting ginkgo trees on the East Side, an issue that brought a lively reaction from the crowd. Commissioner Rick Murphy commented: “All politics are local but this one is hyper-local. ”The commissioners went on to approve a motion that the stinky, squishy, hazardous berry-dropping …

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Why do only white youngsters deserve mercy?

“In the US, juvenile drug offenders are routinely tried as adults,” says Eric Levitz. Thirteen-year-old murderers have been sentenced to life without parole; teenagers who text naked pictures of themselves are regularly arrested for child pornography. The American Right has worked hard to bring this situation about, and wants the law made still harsher. Trump …

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A politician with principles

Mexico’s leftist president-elect has announced that he is looking for a buyer for the presidential plane – a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner – that his predecessor acquired two years ago for £302m. “It’s not just an efficient, modern plane – it’s a comfy plane, with a bedroom, a restaurant, with lots of space,” said Andrés Manuel …

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Macron and the dangers of liberal elitism

Every serious person knows that climate change is the greatest threat facing the world right now. Everyone also ought to know that air pollution is a big cause of premature death in our cities. Both climate change and pollution need to be addressed with bold policies if we are to have any hope of averting …

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Extreme economic concentration creates the conditions ripe for dictatorship.

In fascist regimes the leader seeks alliances with giant corporations, as long as they obey him, and in return they avoid democratic accountability and can continue growing. Maybe you can guess where I might be going with this? In the last few years the US has virtually ignored the anti-trust laws that helped the country …

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A subsidised CEO takes aim at an impertinent media

Those reporters have such nerve! Last month, a BBC reporter in London asked Jeff Fairburn, the CEO of Britain’s largest homebuilder and the nation’s highest-paid corporate chief exec, about the $98-million “performance” bonus the 52-year-old had pocketed earlier this year. A peeved Fairburn called the reporter’s question “really unfortunate” and abruptly walked out of the …

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Let’s get back to teaching some practical skills!

75% of English and Welsh children aged 11-16 say it is important to go to university, down from 86% in 2013. The proportion who are “very likely to” actually go to university has fallen from 38% to 32%. (Ipsos Mori/The Guardian) Why should anyone be surprised? University is too expensive, and whitecollar job prospects poor. …

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The slow death of public broadcasting

More than half the jobs in newspaper publishing disappeared between 2001 and 2016, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s much the same story across the developed world, of course. Yet in other countries the loss of local print outlets has been partially mitigated by public broadcasting, which has helped fill the void …

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Buying elections, and all the rest

A small group of 11 hedge-fund billionaires, entrepreneurs, media bosses – and a casino mogul – have put $1 billion into PACs, or one fifth of the $4.5 billion collected for political purposes, since the Supreme Court ruled on the Citizens United case in 2010. Candidates and parties rely increasingly on these donors, who themselves …

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“The new Republican tax code rigs the economy.”. A millionaire investor

“The new Republican tax code deliberately rigs the economy in favor of the political donor class – the CEOs, corporations, and millionaires who fund campaign – and virtually guarantees that a tiny number of the richest people in the country will get significantly richer while working families and the middle class get screwed. “Among other …

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How the Democrats can win the midterms

In the aftermath of Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, Democrats are feeling dejected. It seems the country is institutionally biased in favour of wealthy, well-connected men. The pleas of a woman who is “100% certain” she was assaulted carry little weight. It is tempting to give up the fight and go home. But …

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Why are students and millennials increasingly left-wing?

The popular conception of millennials in the conservative imagination is that they are a bunch of over-sensitive, politically correct crybabies. Young people are often referred to as ‘snowflakes’, that is, people who think they’re so special and unique, rather than simply being just like everyone else. Universities are seen as places where freedom of expression …

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Taking away the rights of British citizens

“I’m one of the 1.8 million British citizens living in mainland Europe; no deal will have a devastating impact on us. And it is our government, not our EU hosts, that will be stripping us of our right to continue living and working here. “Much as we’d love to hide on 30 March 2019, hoping …

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Are American men in crisis?

According to some commentators, American men are in crisis. For Democrats declining workforce participation rates, rising suicide rates and increasing drug use are symptomatic of an economy that is too weak and rigid to offer men the opportunity they need to thrive. Republicans prefer to focus on social causes of men’s woes: the rise of …

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“Taking back control” in Britain

The endless battles over Brexit mean that few politicians are “seriously engaged” in thinking about “how the world might look after our departure”. It’s time they started. “Simmering resentment with the power of Whitehall” could well ensure that it becomes the next target of “a growing urge to take back control”. In terms of taxes, …

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A calamity in the making, part 2

Hyman Minski, an economist, created the “financial instability hypothesis”. Financial systems – and the free market economies that rest on them – are by nature unstable, tending towards what he called “Ponzi finance”. In good times companies take on too much debt, and that gets them into trouble when profits fall. They then sell assets …

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What Britain’s pro-Europeans are getting wrong

Brexit seems to be going from bad to worse. The governing Conservative Party can’t agree on a plan for leaving the European Union- the Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed plan is opposed by a significant chunk of Conservative MPs and the vast majority of Conservative members. Negotiations have been slow and fraught, with each side …

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