Sad news: America's prisoners currently outnumber America's high school teachers. America's prisoners also outnumber America's engineers, physicians, surgeons, lawyers, and social workers. That's what three decades-plus of screw-everyone-but-me economic theory and draconian criminal sentencing laws can do to a land. The good news? States seem to be waking up to the "draconian criminal sentencing" part, and our prison population has actually declined since 2009. Our work fighting screw-everyone-but-me economic theory is ongoing.
Here's an interesting thesis from Michael Lind: the right has a unified economic vision, but the left's vision is fragmented among three impulses -- protecting small producers, protecting unions, and promoting change through direct legislation -- and would be better served by concentrating on the last item, instead of protecting ever-diminishing numbers of small producers and union workers. I'd call protecting small producers a conservative economic vision myself, but the thing is, I don't think these three impulses comprise a fragmented vision -- in fact, I think one word describes them all: "freedom."
Essay from Roosevelt Institute scholar Thomas Ferguson and two others analyzes campaign contributions during the 2012 election. Perhaps the most devastating finding: that those sectors most involved in the "surveillance state," including telecoms and high tech, went big for Mr. Obama, who has not coincidentally expanded the surveillance state well beyond its size under Mr. Bush. A not-so-distant second: banksters were more likely to support teabaggers for Congress than any other sectors of the economy.
Speaking of American police states, David Rosen at Counterpunch reports on the private security state growing alongside the public one. He also discusses private sector surveillance of non-profits. You won't be pleased to learn how well our government integrates with corporations, and you may not be comforted to know how long this has been going on.
Alan Pyke at ThinkProgress tells us that if the minimum wage had increased over the years the way the earnings of the top 1% have increased, the minimum wage would be over $22/hour today. No doubt some right-wing smartypants stands ready to tell us that if minwage workers' earnings increased that much, then their bosses's earnings wouldn't have increased that much ha ha snort. To which I'd respond: we can only hope!
Finally, activists in 17 states across India are creating an organic seed bank called Navdanya. They hope it will help them fight the big corporate GMO takeover of Indian small farms and stem the rash of Indian small farmers committing suicide. You'll read about other "seed libraries," too. I hope I never see the day when our government kills organic seed preservers as "terrorists," but I can imagine it happening all too easily.