Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Fracking

I live in Michigan, a state which felt in its infinite Republican legislator wisdom it was important to remove all input from the cities, counties, and townships and leave the industry unfettered with any controlling influence. For those who are worried about capitalism and free enterprise if you own the land, there is such a thing called the 5th Amendment and a “Takings” which covers denial of an owner the legitimate use of their land. Michigan Zoning and Planning Commissions do take note of “Takings”.

Some might call this NIMBY on the part of locals; but, it is important to get their input as they end up with what is left over after the Fracking Companies leave their backyards with the residue, water contamination from spills and leakage, and how the contaminants are handled. Michigan has always moves slowly to correct the issues of big business and does not live up to its motto “Pure Michigan.”

Spoko at Hullabaloo took note of one particular Commission meeting:

As noted in the article, what I have seen at commission meetings as a Planner, and with the actions of the state to deny local input and decision making:

instead of attacking the oil and gas corporations for rigging the game or pressuring the governor to pack the Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission with oil men, he blames government. Yes, the procedural tricks to keep the hearings off the record, and not subject to popular control are ‘government,’ but it takes some smart lobbyists to get those laws passed in the first place.

Pay attention to how this good old boy Fracker makes his point with one of the Commissioners. “Would you drink the water? Oh, you can’t answer questions?” I wish we had some people like this at our meetings.

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Go Krugman… Join the Fight for Labor

I have been upset with Paul Krugman for years since he undermined the living wage movement in the 1990’s. Here is what he wrote back then…

In short, what the living wage is really about is not living standards, or even economics, but morality. Its advocates are basically opposed to the idea that wages are a market price–determined by supply and demand, the same as the price of apples or coal.” (source)

He is saying that the labor market is the same as the market for products and commodities. Now we read today…

“Even more important is the fact that the market for labor isn’t like the markets for soybeans or pork bellies. Workers are people; relations between employers and employees are more complicated than simple supply and demand.” (source)

Paul Krugman is coming of age in his view of labor’s wages…

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After (If) the Iran Deal: What does Israel Do Next?

Nothing could be more predictable than this headline from CNN today: Does Israel have a military option vs. Iran nuclear program?

(CNN)The Iran nuclear negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, reportedly have made substantive progress, inching closer toward a provisional agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. While the talks continued to unfold this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu restated his concern about an agreement with Iran, vowing “to continue to act against any threat.”

If an agreement is reached, the international spotlight will turn to Israel, in anticipation of its possible reaction. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Bogy” Yaalon stated that a deal is “a tragedy for the whole world.” The question is, however, what can Israel really do once a deal is signed? In recent days, notable conservatives in the United States have attacked President Barack Obama’s handling of the negotiations with Iran, arguing that a bad deal will force Israel’s hand, leaving it with no choice but to attack Iranian targets.

But is this a realistic conclusion?

My answer to that question is “I don’t think so.” On what do I base that conclusion? On expert opinion. To which skeptics would ask “What makes YOU an expert?”. To which my reply is: “Man it is not MY expert opinion. It is THESE guys”. Who THEY are and what THEY say will require a visit below the fold.

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