Special coverage in the Trump Era

Dark Money author Jane Mayer on The Dangers of President Pence, New Yorker, Oct. 23 issue on-line

"Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America" see: our site, and George Monbiot's essay on this key book by historian Nancy MacLean.

Full interview with The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer March 29, 2017, Democracy Now! about her article, "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer Exploited America’s Populist Insurgency."

Democracy Now! Special Broadcast from the Women's March on Washington

The Economics of Happiness -- new version

Local Futures offers a free, shortened version of its award-winning documentary film The Economics of Happiness. This 19-minute abridged version "brings us voices of hope of in a time of crisis." www.localfutures.org.

What's New?

October 24, 2017

Imagine a Puerto Rico Recovery Designed by Puerto Ricans

Elizabeth Yeampierre and Naomi Klein: "Disaster capitalists may be circling Puerto Rico, but this time they may not get their prey. Why? Because Puerto Ricans — both on the island and the mainland — are fighting back in real time."

Imagine a Puerto Rico Recovery Designed by Puerto Ricans

Elizabeth Yeampierre, Naomi Klein

October 20, 2017  The Intercept

"It’s tough to shock Puerto Ricans. Not after the presidential paper-towel toss. Not after Donald Trump repeatedly attacked San Juan’s mayor for daring to fight for her people’s lives. Not after he threatened to skip out on the island in its hour of need at the earliest excuse.

Still, the fact that the House-approved relief package contains $5 billion in loans for the island, rather than grants, is a special kind of cruelty. Because on an island already suffering under an un-payable $74 billion debt (and another $49 billion in unfunded pension obligations), Puerto Ricans understand all too well that debt is not relief. On the contrary, it is a potent tool of perpetual impoverishment and control from which relief is urgently needed.

The very fact that the House of Representatives bundled that loan into its sweeping multi-disaster bill (up for a vote in the Senate any day now) is symbolic of a deep fear that has lurked in the background for many Puerto Ricans ever since hurricanes Irma and Maria struck. The fear is that however much islanders are suffering in the midst of their ongoing humanitarian emergency, it’s the phase after the emergency passes that could be even more perilous. That’s when policies marketed as reconstruction could well morph into their own kind of punishment, leaving the island more unequal, indebted, dependent, and polluted than it was before the hurricanes hit.

This is a phenomenon we call “the shock doctrine,” and we have seen it play out many times before. A disaster strikes, public sympathy is awakened, and there are grand pledges to “build back better,” bringing justice to those who have just lost everything. And yet almost immediately the emergency atmosphere becomes the pretext to push through a wish list for big polluters, real estate developers, and financiers at the expense of those who have already lost so much. Think of the public schools and public housing closed and torn down in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Think, too, of the way the 2010 earthquake in Haiti became a pretext to push for sweatshops and luxury resorts, while basic housing was neglected and the minimum wage was suppressed.

If there is some good news, it’s this: Puerto Ricans are wise to shock doctrine tactics. They know all too well that their island’s debt crisis, fueled by Wall Street’s hunger for tax-exempt bonds, was systematically exploited to extract brutal “reforms” from workers and students who played no part in driving up the debt. They know that the debt crisis was used to strip Puerto Ricans of their most basic democratic rights, putting the island’s finances in the hands of an unelected Financial Oversight and Management Board — referred to locally as “La Junta.”

Which is why, as soon as hurricanes Irma and Maria struck, many Puerto Ricans were on the lookout for how these shocks would be exploited for private gain. The destroyed electricity grid would be seized upon to argue that the whole system should be privatized, while the destroyed homes would be the opening to auction off more land for golf courses and vacation homes."...
Read full posting

 


Back