|What It All Means This Week:
- In Case of Emergency, Don’t Rely on the Government: Once again, a well-intentioned government bureaucracy fumbled the ball in a crisis. This time it was in Eastern Pennsylvania, where an ice storm and blizzard (see photos at right) confounded emergency authorities and left crisis management up to stranded motorists themselves, ably aided by truckers and nearby neighbours. And once again, self-management worked remarkably well. Thanks to Ben Eloy for the link.
- First of the Second Great Depression Dominoes Falls: The US sub-prime mortgage industry is in free-fall, as a consequence of the first drop in the housing bust. Here’s an interesting analysis of why and a list of the next dominos to fall. Thanks to Rajiv Bhushan for the links. The NYT is also worried. HSBC has fired two executives to placate nervous shareholders. And Salon’s HTWW describes the recklessness of lenders that has made the industry so fragile.
- Factory Farms Create Poultry Flu Risk & Fuel Global Warming: If the pollution, lousy food quality and animal cruelty atrocities of factory farms weren’t bad enough, you can now add poultry flu and global warming to their ‘side-effects’. And JM Coetzee chimes in: “It takes but one glance into a slaughterhouse to turn a child into a lifelong vegetarian.” Unfortunately, factory farms and slaughterhouses are closed to the public, and the mainstream media, as usual, won’t risk advertiser fury by doing their job.
- Tax Deductions are a Sop to the Rich: Most tax write-offs are deductions, which means they’re worth a lot to the rich, and nothing to those with no taxable income. A much fairer scheme is tax credits, which are worth the same to everyone. If you’re an activist for tax shifting, make sure you lobby for credits, not deductions. Thanks to Jeff Klenner for the link.
- It’s Already Too Late to Prevent Major Global Warming Crises: Bill McKibben explains that only immediate, global and drastic reductions in CO2-producing activity can halt even the most severe consequences of global warming: massive coastal flooding, crop losses, droughts, heat waves, severe hurricanes and tropical disease outbreaks. And if you know anything at all about complex systems, you know that immediate, global and drastic reductions will not happen. An meanwhile, irresponsible global corporations are pushing soon-to-be-illegal ozone-destroying air conditioners in North America (they’re already illegal in Europe), as they flood the unregulated Asian markets with these toxic appliances. And just in case you’re still a global warming denier, or know someone who is, here’s a scientist’s exhaustive explanation of how we know it’s a threat to the planet and is caused by human activity.
- Canada Sends a Message to the US and UK on Constitutional Liberties: Canada’s Supreme Court yesterday unanimously ruled that our anti-terrorism law, mild by US and UK standards, is unconstitutional and unnecessary. The judges not only said that indefinite detention, withholding evidence and denial of due course violated Canada’s constitution, they said there were ample means in preexisting laws to deal with threats toour security.