The passing scene – links & comments 10/21/2015

The Secret to Winning the Nobel Peace Prize: Keep the U.S. military out by Rebecca Gordon for TomDispatch.

Tunisia was the one country where the Arab Spring movement succeeded.  Four Tunisian organizations devoted to human rights deservedly won the latest Nobel Peace Prize.

Tunisia was the one country in which the U.S. government did not interfere, either militarily or politically, and it is the one country where the Arab Spring movement resulted in a stable, democratic government.

Rebecca Gordon, after reviewing U.S. policy in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria, concludes that this is not a coincidence.  There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Obama Just Signed a Blank Check for Endless War in Afghanistan by John Nichols for The Nation.

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, says it’s time to repeal the open-ended 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force and have Congress decide whether to continue military intervention in Afghanistan and other countries.

How Credit Scores Treat People Like Numbers by Frank Pasquale for The Atlantic.

I commented on how Chinese credit card companies and maybe the Chinese government are linking all kinds of human behaviors to credit scores, and how this can be a subtle means of suppressing nonconformity.  Well, it seems the same thing is going on in the United States—maybe not with that conscious intent, but with the same result.

All that Gas by Dory Hippauf for frackorporation.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

fracking-californiaA glut of natural gas is driving gas prices down and making hydraulic fracturing for nature gas unprofitable.  But this is only temporary.  American natural gas utilities are building pipelines that will enable them to get the gas to foreign countries.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved passing that cost along to customers, even though customers will get no benefit from it.

Monopolies Don’t Give Us Nice Things by Barry Ritholtz for Bloomberg.  (via Mike the Mad Biologist)

costofelectronicstrend-1x-1The price of all electronic goods and services have fallen during the past 15 or 20 years except for one—cable and satellite television service.   The reason is the lack of competition in the cable and satellite TV industry and the difficulty in changing providers.  The reason behind the reason is the lack of a public alternative, such as a municipal cable TV service.

Racists in Ferguson Burn Down 5 Black Churches in 9 Days by Ben Forstenzer for US Uncut.  (via naked capitalism)

Fox News gets suckered: 11 outrageous lies by their “terror analyst” who actually was a con man by Ben Norton for Salon.  (Hat tip to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack).

How Much Money Does the 1% Have Hidden in Tax Havens? an excerpt from The Hidden Wealth of Nations by Gabriel Zucman.

Railroad Work Is Getting More and More Dangerous.  These Workers Want to Change That by Kari Lydersen for In These Times.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

Return Gitmo, pay reparations? by Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Political  Priorities.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

Puerto Rico: The Crisis Is Colonialism, Not Debt by Linda Backiel for Monthly Review.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

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