Insiders, outsiders, and power – Larry Summers

https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2017/06/19/looking-back-in-anger-review-of-adults-in-the-room-the-hindu-times/ It doesn’t take long for Varoufakis to realise that Greece’s creditors are not interested in serious negotiations. They want nothing short of capitulation to the terms laid out by them. When Varoufakis doesn’t surrender, they threaten Greece with a liquidity crisis. Varoufakis’ moment of reckoning arrives one spring night in April 2015, in a hotel bar in Washington DC. …

Free fares are bringing riders back quicker

Feb 2022 https://gothamist.com/news/free-fares-could-bring-riders-back-mta-quicker-what-cost NY’s MTA is still suffering from low ridership during the weekdays due to the pandemic changing commuting patterns. It is relying on $16 billion in federal funding to balance its budget in the coming years, due to fare revenue shortfalls. But as the agency tries to bring ridership back to pre-pandemic levels, one idea we wanted to explore is what it …

Community building and direct democracy

Excerpted and adapted from: https://www.cgdev.org/blog/8-principles-direct-democracy Basically, two main types of direct democratic tools prevail: the popular initiative and the referendum (we do not discuss the recall election here, which leads to the removal of an elected official). Both come in different designs and may be applied to revisions of the constitution or simple acts. They are generally legally binding, but can be of political …

Intentionally igniting racial anxiety to get or maintain political dominance

Excerpt from Charles M. Blow, NYTimes: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/03/opinion/youngkin-virginia-race.htmlf …the frenzy around critical race theory is just the latest in a long line of manufactured outrages meant to tap into this same fear, and the strategy has proved depressingly effective. There was the fear of “race-mixing” among children — including the notion that Black boys might begin dating white girls following the …

Toward participatory democracy, starting with 6 broad transitions to pursue locally

6 broad transitions in local policy and practice that can help local authorities advance and embed local participatory democracy: Equalising participation opportunities for residents. Building sustained participation journeys for residents. Delegating decision-making authority to residents. Embedding participation as standard practice. Engaging residents in partnership with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Securing broad support for participation, within and beyond public …

Rural students are far less likely to go to college than their urban and suburban counterparts, and they’re less likely to finish once they start

“Rural students are far less likely to go to college than their urban and suburban counterparts, and they’re less likely to finish once they start.” NYT Mag (gift article for ND readers): The Tragedy of America’s Rural Schools. (If rural Americans and inner city Americans ever realized they were victims of the exact same systemic unfairness and got together to …

Democratic Vistas, the union of the ideal and the actual: Rorty proposes that “we build our philosophical reflections around our political hopes: around the project of fashioning institutions and customs which will make human life, finite and mortal life, more beautiful.”

Chris Lehmann August 18, 2021 The New Republic, https://newrepublic.com/article/163297/richard-rortys-warning-authoritarianism-pragmatism-book-review Richard Rorty’s Warning Against Authoritarianism: After Trump’s election, Rorty’s prophecy of social collapse went viral. His final book is perhaps the clearest account of his political thinking. “Dewey’s God, his symbol of what he called ‘the union of the ideal and the actual,’” Rorty writes, “was the United States of America …

Human actions have driven at least 680 vertebrate species to extinction since 1500, with global vertebrate species populations dropping by 68% in around the last 50 years

One million of the estimated eight million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Human actions have driven at least 680 vertebrate species to extinction since 1500, with global vertebrate species populations dropping by 68% in around the last 50 years. The abundance of wild insects has fallen by 50%. We Hug the Trees Because the Trees Have …

Economic Exploitation – Rich Countries Keep The Poor In Poverty. Over half the world’s population are below a true poverty line, and therefore unable to meet their basic needs.

By Rod Driver, Global Research, May 31, 2021 | EDUCATE! “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings” (former South African President, Nelson Mandela)  The world’s population was about 7.8 billion people in 2020. About 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and over 4 …

Republicans destroy citizens’ ability to run ballot initiatives

By Reid J. Epstein and Nick Corasaniti May 22, 2021, New York Times In 2008, deep-blue California banned same-sex marriage. In 2018, steadfastly conservative Arkansas and Missouri increased their minimum wage. And last year, Republican-controlled Arizona and Montana legalized recreational marijuana. These moves were all the product of ballot initiatives, a century-old fixture of American democracy that allows voters to bypass their legislatures …