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Bundy stands ground in public land conflict

bundy_041414_p.jpg

Bundy stands ground in public land conflict

Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over the agency’s roundup of his cattle will go down in history as a high-profile clash of Old West values with today’s federal regulations on the use of public lands and natural resources.

Bundy quit paying grazing fees in 1993 in a conflict that grew out of range restrictions to protect the threatened desert tortoise.

A key issue in last week’s failed roundup — local control of public lands — has arisen in conflicts before. In Nevada, the Sagebrush Rebellion in the 1970s and 1980s resembled the Bundy situation as ranchers pushed back against federal land regulations.

“The underlying theme of the Sagebrush rebellion was local control of the land,” said Eric Herzik, department chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Part of that sentiment includes opposition to federal government’s oversight role.

“There’s a whole lot of resentment against big government,” Herzik said. “The thought is: ‘We are the true stakeholders here. We live here.’ So there’s a lot of resentment about the federal government telling people what to do.”

 
Little hope for GOP on immigrants, study shows

After President Obama won re-election in 2012 and collected 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, some Republican political consultants and party leaders said they needed to adjust their stance on immigration to win over those voters.

Little hope for GOP on immigrants, study shows; legalization won’t change wave

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

An influx of immigrants has boosted the Democratic Party, and that trend is set to continue. Even in places where Republicans support legalization of illegal immigrants, the party hasn’t been able to stem those changes, according to a study being released Tuesday.

James Gimpel, a professor at the University of Maryland, said in a report being released by the Center for Immigration Studies that many of those in the recent wave of immigrants trail native-born Americans on education and skills and favor a broader scope for government action, which makes them “ideal recruits for the Democratic Party.”

 
Marathon Bombing Suspect Waits in Isolation

Marathon Bombing Suspect Waits in Isolation

He cannot mingle, speak or pray with other prisoners. His only visitors are his legal team, a mental health consultant and his immediate family, who apparently have seen him only rarely.

He may write only one letter — three pages, double-sided — and place one telephone call each week, and only to his family. If he reads newspapers and magazines, they have been stripped of classified ads and letters to the editor, which the government deems potential vehicles for coded messages. He watches no television, listens to no radio. He ventures outside infrequently, and only to a single small open space.

 

It has been nearly a year since police officers found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a suburban Boston backyard, hiding in a boat there, wounded by gunfire. Today he passes time in a secure federal medical facility, awaiting a November trial on charges that he helped plan and execute the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago on Tuesday, which killed three people and wounded at least 260, and a killing and kidnapping spree that forced an entire city into lockdown.

Now it is his turn to be effectively walled off from the outside world, imprisoned under so-called special administrative measures approved by the United States attorney general. The restrictions are reserved for inmates considered to pose the greatest threat to others — even though, privately, federal officials say there is little of substance to suggest that Mr. Tsarnaev, 20, and his brother Tamerlan were anything but isolated, homegrown terrorists. A court order bars his legal advisers and family from disclosing anything he has told or written them.

 
The Sad, Slow Death of America's Retail Workforce

The Sad, Slow Death of America's Retail Workforce

Derek Thompson

There's never been a better time to be a consumer. It's not such a happy story for the people on the shopping floor and behind the counters.

 And then there's the Walmart Effect. As I've reported, one Walmart worker replaces about 1.4 local retail workers, so that a county sees about 150 fewer jobs in the years after a Walmart opens its doors. Combined with the Amazon effect, this has dramatically reduced our need for retail workers to sell things, and so retail's share of the labor force, which peaked in the late 1980s, has been declining ever since.

 
Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid: 'IT'S NOT OVER'

'IT'S NOT OVER'

  • Reid issues ominous warning to Nevada cattle rancher who faced down feds

 Brendan Bordelon

USenate Majority Leader Harry Reid gestures while speaking to the media following a Senate cloture vote on budget bill on Capitol Hill in Washington

The Senate majority leader spoke briefly to Reno-based KRNV about last week’s standoff, which eventually saw Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal law enforcement officers retreat in the face of large public protests and an armed militia presence.

“Well, it’s not over,” he said. “We can’t have, in America, people that violate the law and just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

The BLM accuses the Bundy’s of illegally grazing on federal land and damaging a protected habitat for a desert tortoise. The Bundys claim the land has been in their family for generations and that the federal government has no claim to to the land.

 
5 Hallmarks of Well-Oiled Teams

Just because we've all been on dozens--if not hundreds--of teams in our lives does not mean everything about teamwork comes naturally. Here are some counterintuitive lessons from high-performing teams.

1. No elephants.

Great teams talk about their most difficult topics as a team. If there's an elephant in the room, it doesn't stay there long, because someone will bring it up and the team will constructively deal with the underlying (and often distracting) issue at hand.

 
Pre-draft psych profile said Aldon Smith was high-risk for off-field trouble

Pre-draft psych profile said Aldon Smith was high-risk for off-field trouble

49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith was at a higher risk of getting into off-field trouble in the NFL than other college prospects, according to a pre-draft psychological profile obtained by FOX Sports 1.

Smith, who was arrested Sunday for allegedly making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport, was red-flagged before the 2011 draft by the North Carolina-based scouting service Human Resource Tactics, which works with subscribing NFL teams.

"He has some past experience with getting into trouble and is a higher-than-average risk for this sort of behavior in the future," the report states.

Smith scored poorly in HRT's eight-category SIGMA motivation testing that is used to identify sources of maladjustment and personal strengths. On a 10-point grading system, Smith scored a 1 for interpersonal style, receptivity to coaching and dedication. He scored a 2 for focus, affective commitment and interpersonal style.

 
Forget Something? Ways to Strengthen Your Memory

Forget Something? Ways to Strengthen Your Memory

Misplacing keys and phones are the result of every day memory or cognitive lapses – the result of a failure in our working memory – that are the norm. What are some of the factors that can affect our propensity to lose or misplace things? Sumathi Reddy reports. 

 
America’s Abortion-Free Zone Grows

Montana was the only hope for women living 600 miles in any direction to obtain an abortion. Now there’s two clinics left thanks to vandalism. How long can they stay open?

In just under one year, Montana has gone from a state with four non-medication abortion providers to a state with only two. Dr. Susan Wicklund, a long-time champion of abortion rights and access, retired and closed her Livingston clinic in the fall of 2013.  Meanwhile, its ability to offer medication abortions in a few other clinics is completely dependent on the day of the week and the availability of a provider to administer the medication.

Closing abortion clinics has become a primary goal for anti-abortion activists, who have used bills requiring expensive clinic renovations or medically unnecessary transfer agreements to force clinics that can’t meet to shut their doors. The reasoning is simple: If abortion can’t be outlawed, closing off clinics is the next best thing.

 
The Democrats keep calling the Republicans racist

 Christopher Bedford

Israel behind Democratic leaders. Alex Wong/Getty Images.

'It looks very much like election-year strategy, trying to get your base out'

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Israel called Republican voters racist Sunday. He is the fourth senior Democrat to call the GOP racist in the past week.

 
Obama Administration Preps New Sanctions Against Russia

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Obama Administration Preps New Sanctions Against Russia

Josh Rogin 

The Obama administration had been holding off on new Russia sanctions, but with Russian troops now in Eastern Ukraine, the U.S. government is moving fast to punish Putin.
“The U.S. government is ready to go, we have all kinds of options that have been developed. The European view is that broad economic sanctions should be limited to respond to an outright Russian military invasion of Eastern Ukraine.”
 
Rich Start-Ups Go Back for Another Helping

Rich Start-Ups Go Back for Another Helping

The start-up companies pictured above were all flush with venture capital when investors poured in more money. Clockwise from top left: The founders of Airbnb; Jason Goldberg, chief of Fab.com; some of Quora’s management team; a Lyft ride-sharing car.

Quora, a question-and-answer website, didn’t need to raise money. It had barely touched $60 million in venture capital that it accepted just two years ago.

Yet the California company, which has no revenue and just 70 employees, recently announced that it had raised an additional $80 million.

The eye-popping investment — for no obvious immediate purpose — was the latest example of a dynamic that is reshaping Silicon Valley: Start-ups, already flush with cash, are piling on the investment dollars.

Of the 100 largest venture capital rounds on record, 88 were issued within the past five years, according to CrunchBase, which tracks venture funding. Each delivered more than $50 million to the companies.

“The more capital you have in the bank, the more comfortable and confident you can be,” said Marc Bodnick, a former venture capitalist who now runs Quora’s business operations. “It was really that simple.”

 
Your First Shot at Google Glass

Your First Shot at Google Glass

For the first time ever and for one day only, anyone in the United States can buy a pair of Google Glass. Personal Technology reporter Nathan Olivarez-Giles shows you how.

 
How do you get attention when nobody knows, or cares, who you are?

How do you get attention when nobody knows, or cares, who you are?

SparklyMorons

 
The West Leaves Ukraine to Putin

The West Leaves Ukraine to Putin

By Matthew Kaminski

As Russian special forces invade the country's east, Kiev's leaders feel betrayed by the EU and America.

Two decades ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, the West embraced another generation of Eastern Europeans. Ukraine has gotten a different welcoming committee. An economically feeble European Union gorges on Russian energy and dirty money while lecturing Ukraine on Western values but refusing to defend it. Asking for Washington's help against Russian attack, Kiev finds a man "chosen" in the past two presidential elections to get America out of the world's trouble spots.

Vladimir Putin sees a West made soft by money, led by weak men and women, unwilling to make sacrifices to defend their so-called ideals. In the Ukrainian crisis, the image fits. Russia's president is many things, but most of all he is resolute. He took the EU and America's measure and annexed Crimea last month at minimal cost. Ignoring Western pleas for "de-escalation," Russia this weekend invaded eastern Ukraine. Just don't look for video of T-72 tanks rolling across the borders, not yet at least.

Russian intelligence and special forces on Saturday directed local crime bosses and thugs in coordinated attacks on police stations and other government buildings in towns across eastern Ukraine. These men were dressed and equipped like the elite Russian special forces ("little green men," as Ukrainians called them) who took Crimea. Ukrainian participants got the equivalent of $500 to storm and $40 to occupy buildings, according to journalists who spoke to them. Fighting broke out on Sunday in Slovyansk, a sleepy town in the working-class Donbas region that hadn't seen any "pro-Russia" protests. A Ukrainian security officer was killed.

 
Aldon Smith and the 49ers: Enough is Enough

Enough is Enough

We are now buried under an avalanche of off-the-field incidents that seems like they are snow-balling and it needs to stop. Now.

I fully understand that each situation is different from each other and each player should be dealt with on a case-to-case basis. The effects though upon the image of the team is cumulative and that is how the team needs to deal with it also. Each thing that happens after a previous negative occurrence becomes more grievous in nature, even if it is not necessarily worse. The reason for that is that people have not forgotten yet what happened before and here comes another player, dumping on top of it.

I also understand that these are young men and young men do make mistakes, and most everyone is deserving of second, third or even fourth chances. But what these athletes need to realize is that eventually, they have got to stop acting like idiots. Who they once were and how they chose to express that is no longer acceptable, because they have chosen to be part of an organization and a sport that demands more from them. They need to realize that as public figures, their lives are under a microscope. It is the flip-side of fame.

The first step is for each one to police himself. The second is that the team's veteran players have got to come down on these incidents, and let these younger guys know what kind of behavior is expected of them on and off the field. I'm calling on Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Justin Smith, Frank Gore and even Anquan Boldin to make their presence felt.

 
What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (but Should)

What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (but Should)

By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

PAPER TRAVAIL Marilyn Ferreira and her daughter Kelsey make their way through the financial aid thicket.

PAPER TRAVAIL:  Marilyn Ferreira and her daughter Kelsey make their way through the financial aid thicket.

Students have more tools than ever to decipher and compare financial aid packages. But why is it still so confusing, and why can’t you afford what colleges say you can?

An array of policy analysts from think tanks to the White House say things should change. “It’s a ridiculously complicated system, if you can even call it a system, and a lot of people don’t get it,” said Sandy Baum, a research professor at George Washington University’s graduate education school, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a leading expert on college pricing. “If you put five aid offers from different colleges together, they’re all different, and it’s very, very difficult to compare. That problem could be solved.”

In fact, consumers have more tools than ever to decipher college prices and financial aid. College websites are required by law to have net-price calculators, to help people estimate what they would really pay, rather than relying on inflated sticker prices. The government’s own College Navigator provides a range of information on each institution, including costs. And the Obama administration’s financial aid “shopping sheet” aims to let people make apples-to-apples comparisons among colleges, just by using consistent definitions.

 
Nevada ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid’s reputation

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said little as federal agents seized and then released cattle last week from the Bundy ranch, but there is little doubt that the highly charged episode was threatening to become a political headache for the Nevada Democrat. (Associated Press)

Nevada ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid’s reputation

By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said little as federal agents seized and then released cattle last week from the Bundy ranch, but there is little doubt that the highly charged episode was threatening to become a political headache for the Nevada Democrat.

The Bureau of Land Management is headed by former longtime Reid aide Neil Kornze, who was confirmed by the Senate as BLM director on Tuesday, just as federal authorities descended on the cattle ranch outside Mesquite, Nev.

 
Where are the Obamaites?

Obama Effect Inspiring Few to Seek Office

By JASON HOROWITZ

An earnest, hug-prone 29-year-old candidate for the state senate in Massachusetts is one of the few people moved by the president to enter politics

Although Mr. Lesser spent much of the last six years in the company of President Obama and Washington hotshots, now, as an earnest, hug-prone 29-year-old candidate for the Massachusetts State Senate, he is far more interested in people like Mr. Rovithis. Which is a good thing. Mr. Lesser, a former White House staff member, has returned home on the path Mr. Obama hoped to inspire many of his young supporters to follow when he said, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

But if Mr. Lesser, who is on leave from Harvard Law School to run for office, is the face of the promised Obama political generation, he is also one of its few participants. For all the talk about the movement that elected Mr. Obama, the more notable movement of Obama supporters has been away from politics. It appears that few of the young people who voted for him, and even fewer Obama campaign and administration operatives, have decided to run for office. Far more have joined the high-paid consultant ranks.

Unlike John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, who inspired virtual legislatures of politicians and became generational touchstones, Mr. Obama has so far had little such influence. That is all the more remarkable considering he came to office tapping into spirit of volunteerism and community service that pollsters say is widespread and intense among young people. Mr. Obama has come to represent that spirit, but he has failed, pollsters say, to transform it into meaningful engagement in the political process.

 
Robert Shrum: Send In Bill Clinton to Save the Democratic Midterm Campaign
By Robert Shrum
Months away from Election Day, the Democrats are already cutting and running away from Obamacare. Clinton is the man to help them embrace it, attack obsessed Republicans—and win.

Let Bill do it.

With Democrats facing a daunting midterm season, it’s time to bring in the Big Dawg, not just as a campaigner but as a strategic driving force with the resources to deploy and dominate the message wars from coast to coast. Put him in charge of one of the existing super PACs—which would instantly multiply its fundraising—or form a new one that can operate on a genuinely super scale, with a pervasive reach. Let the Republicans have Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson, the gambling mogul who in 2012 seemed to have all the electoral magic of a muggle. They, and the Koch brothers, would prove no match in messaging for Bill Clinton—and he’s the best chance to come close to matching them financially by attracting money beyond the Obama true believers among the big givers and the grass roots.

 
The Slaughter Bench of History

The Slaughter Bench of History

Ian Morris

How war created civilization over the past 10,000 years—and threatens to destroy it in the next 40.

It was September 26, 1983, around 9:30 in the evening. I was hunched over a manual typewriter in a rented room in Cambridge, England, pounding out the first chapter of my Ph.D. thesis in archaeology. I had just come back from four months of fieldwork in the Greek islands. My work was going well. I was in love. Life was good.

I had no idea that 2,000 miles away, Stanislav Petrov was deciding whether to kill me.

Petrov was the deputy chief for combat algorithms at Serpukhov-15, the nerve center of the Soviet Union’s early-warning system. He was a methodical man, an engineer, a writer of computer code—and not, fortunately for me, a man given to panic. But when the siren went off a little after midnight (Moscow time), even Petrov leaped out of his chair. A red bulb blinked into life on the giant map of the Northern Hemisphere that filled one wall of the control room. It signaled that a missile had been launched from Montana.

Above the map, red letters came to life, spelling out the worst word Petrov knew: “LAUNCH.”

Computers checked and double-checked their data. Again the red lights flashed, this time with more certainty: “LAUNCH—HIGH RELIABILITY.”

The twentieth century forms a sharp contrast. It saw two world wars, a string of genocides, and multiple government-induced famines, killing a staggering total of somewhere between 100 million and 200 million people. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 150,000 people—probably more people than had lived in the entire world in 50,000 B.C. But in 1945, there were about 2.5 billion people on earth, and over the course of the twentieth century roughly 10 billion lives were lived—meaning that the century’s 100–200 million war-related deaths added up to just 1 to 2 percent of our planet’s population. If you were lucky enough to be born in the industrialized twentieth century, you were on average 10 times less likely to die violently (or from violence’s consequences) than if you were born in a Stone Age society.

 
Hate—and Hitler—in the Heartland: The Arrest of Frazier Glenn Miller

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Hate—and Hitler—in the Heartland: The Arrest of Frazier Glenn Miller

The suspect in the Kansas Jewish community center shootings that left three dead Sunday is a former Ku Klux Klan leader once interviewed by Howard Stern and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno.

The 73-year-old was caught by TV cameras yelling “Heil Hitler” from the back seat of a police car after he was apprehended in the parking lot of a local elementary school. Rabbi Herbert Mandl, chaplain for the Overland Park Police Department, said the gunman asked people whether they were Jewish before he opened fire. Two of the victims, named by grieving family members as Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, were not Jewish, however--they were members of the nearby United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said they had confimed Miller’s arrest with his wife, Marge, who said her husband had been drinking at a Missouri casino the night before and had not been heard from since. Marge Miller told the SPLC that authorities came to her door at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday and told her that her husband had been arrested in the shootings.

Miller, who also uses the alias Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., has an extensive résumé of hate. A former Green Beret who served in Vietnam, he embraced white supremacy in the 1970s, first joining the National States’ Rights Party and then the National Socialist Party of America—the Nazis.

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According to his considerable dossier on the SPLC website Miller was forced to retire from the military due to his extremist connections. He bought a farm in Angier, North Carolina, where he formed the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1980. He preferred wearing fatigues to the traditional Klan robe and recruited active-duty soldiers to conduct paramilitary-style training, aggressively seeking publicity and taking inspiration from Hitler, as he described in his autobiography: “I would try to emulate Hitler’s methods of attracting members and supporters…I placed great emphasis on staging marches and rallies. It had been successful with Hitler.” His stated goal was to create an all-white “Carolina Free State.”

 
7 Deadly Mistakes Lonely Men Make

7 Deadly Mistakes Lonely Men Make

By Billi Gordon, Ph.D.

Some men could not get a girlfriend with a rescue boat on a island of shipwrecked women. It is not about your hairline, height, or bank account.

Failure to Understand What she is not

A girlfriend is not: a hostage, a secretary, a mother, a maid, your child, or an escort.  You cannot treat them like any of those things and if you do, you will not have them for long.

 
Mexican drug cartels have infilitrated 3000 U.S. cities

'We're literally outgunned': U.S. sheriffs are worried that Mexican drug cartels now outgun law enforcement in terms of gun power

Mexican drug cartels outgunning law enforcement across the U.S.

Estimated 3,000 cities infiltrated with drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping and money laundering

 'These cartels are so sophisticated. They're getting affluent white teenagers to help them encrypt their software; they do digital money-laundering, can hack into government databases and actively recruit our agents to keep one step ahead.

'The rest of America is just now getting a taste of what we've been dealing with for years.'

 
Fred Ho, Saxophonist, Composer and Radical Activist, Dies at 56

Fred Ho, Saxophonist, Composer and Radical Activist, Dies at 56

Fred Ho, a composer, saxophonist, writer and radical activist who wrote politically charged operas, suites, oratorios and ballets that mixed jazz with popular and traditional elements of what he called Afro-Asian culture, died on Saturday at his home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He was 56.

The cause was complications of colorectal cancer, his student and friend Benjamin Barson said. In books, essays, speeches and interviews, Mr. Ho said he had been at war with the disease, his preferred metaphor, since 2006.

Mr. Ho, who was of Chinese descent, called himself a “popular avant-gardist.” He was inspired by the Black Arts movement of the 1960s and by the ambitious, powerful music of African-American bandleaders, including Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and especially Charles Mingus. But he rejected the word jazz, which he considered a pejorative term imposed by Europeans.

Self-reliance was a priority for Mr. Ho. He rarely played in anyone else’s band. Among the exceptions were stints with the arranger Gil Evans and the saxophonists Archie Shepp and Julius Hemphill. Describing himself as a “revolutionary matriarchal socialist and aspiring Luddite,” he never owned a car and made many of his own clothes from kimono fabric.

Born Fred Wei-han Houn on Aug. 10, 1957, in Palo Alto, Calif. — he changed his surname in 1988 — he moved with his family when he was 6 to Amherst, Mass., where his father taught political science at the University of Massachusetts. He felt a powerful attraction to the art and rhetoric of black culture. As a teenager, he audited college classes taught by Mr. Shepp, the drummer Max Roach and the poet Sonia Sanchez, who were all putting progressive politics in their art. He never formally studied music, but began teaching himself baritone saxophone when he was 14.

In interviews, Mr. Ho recalled that his father physically abused his mother. “One of my first insurrections,” he told Harvard Magazine, “was to defend my mother against his physical beatings and give him two black eyes.”

He served in the Marines and learned hand-to-hand combat before being discharged in 1975 because, he said, he had fought with an officer who had used a racial slur. In his 20s, Mr. Ho briefly joined the Nation of Islam and then the I Wor Kuen, a radical Asian-American group inspired by the Black Panthers. Like his two younger sisters, Florence Houn and Flora Houn Hoffman, he attended Harvard University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1979.

 
Capitalism simply isn't working and here are the reasons why

piketty

Capitalism simply isn't working and here are the reasons why

Will Hutton

Will Hutton

Economist Thomas Piketty's message is bleak: the gap between rich and poor threatens to destroy us

Like Friedman, Piketty is a man for the times. For 1970s anxieties about inflation substitute today's concerns about the emergence of the plutocratic rich and their impact on economy and society. Piketty is in no doubt, as he indicates in an interview in today's Observer New Review, that the current level of rising wealth inequality, set to grow still further, now imperils the very future of capitalism. He has proved it.

It is a startling thesis and one extraordinarily unwelcome to those who think capitalism and inequality need each other. Capitalism requires inequality of wealth, runs this right-of-centre argument, to stimulate risk-taking and effort; governments trying to stem it with taxes on wealth, capital, inheritance and property kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Thus Messrs Cameron and Osborne faithfully champion lower inheritance taxes, refuse to reshape the council tax and boast about the business-friendly low capital gains and corporation tax regime.

Piketty deploys 200 years of data to prove them wrong. Capital, he argues, is blind. Once its returns – investing in anything from buy-to-let property to a new car factory – exceed the real growth of wages and output, as historically they always have done (excepting a few periods such as 1910 to 1950), then inevitably the stock of capital will rise disproportionately faster within the overall pattern of output. Wealth inequality rises exponentially.

The process is made worse by inheritance and, in the US and UK, by the rise of extravagantly paid "super managers". High executive pay has nothing to do with real merit, writes Piketty – it is much lower, for example, in mainland Europe and Japan. Rather, it has become an Anglo-Saxon social norm permitted by the ideology of "meritocratic extremism", in essence, self-serving greed to keep up with the other rich. This is an important element in Piketty's thinking: rising inequality of wealth is not immutable. Societies can indulge it or they can challenge it.

Inequality of wealth in Europe and US is broadly twice the inequality of income – the top 10% have between 60% and 70% of all wealth but merely 25% to 35% of all income. But this concentration of wealth is already at pre-First World War levels, and heading back to those of the late 19th century, when the luck of who might expect to inherit what was the dominant element in economic and social life. There is an iterative interaction between wealth and income: ultimately, great wealth adds unearned rentier income to earned income, further ratcheting up the inequality process.

 
Silicon Valley could force NSA reform, tomorrow. What's taking so long?

mark zuckerberg photos

Silicon Valley could force NSA reform, tomorrow. What's taking so long?

trevor timm

Trevor Timm

Tech CEOs are complaining, but bills are languishing. Time for web companies to pull an OKCupid and call out the NSA

The USA Freedom Act, the only major new bill promising real reform, has been stalled in the Judiciary Committee. The House Intelligence bill may be worse than the status quo. Politico reported on Thursday that companies like Facebook and are now "holding fire" on the hill when it comes to pushing for legislative reform.

The keepers of the everyday internet seem to care more about PR than helping their users. The truth is, if the major tech companies really wanted to force meanginful surveillance reform, they could do so tomorrow. Just follow the example of OKCupid from last week.

Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox browser, was under fire for hiring Brendan Eich as CEO because of his $1,000 donation in support of Prop 8 six years ago, and OKCupid decided to make a political statement of its own by splashing a message criticizing Mozilla before would-be daters could get to OKCupid's front page. The site even encouraged users to switch to another browser. The move made the already smoldering situation explode. Two days later, Mozilla's CEO was out of a job, and OKCupid got partial credit for the reversal.

The leading internet companies could easily force Congress' hand by pulling an OKCupid: at the top of your News Feed all next week, in place of Monday's Google doodle, a mobile push alert, an email newsletter: CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS. Tell them to SUPPORT THE USA FREEDOM ACT and tell the NSA to stop breaking common encryption.

 
‘Modern marvel’: New U.S. Navy destroyer Zumwalt christened in Maine

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard Oct. 28, 2013. The ship that bears his name, the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers, will be christened by Zumwalt's two daughters on Saturday April 12, 2014 at Bath Iron Works. Joining them will be his surviving son, who's a retired Marine, and other relatives.(AP Photo/U.S. Navy)

‘Modern marvel’: New U.S. Navy destroyer Zumwalt christened in Maine

By Alanna Durkin - Associated Press

The U.S. Navy on Saturday christened the first ship of its newest class of destroyers, a more than $3 billion, 610-foot-long warship sporting advanced technology and a stealthy shape designed to minimize its visibility on enemy radar and reduce the size of its crew.

New US Navy destroyer Zumwalt christened in Maine

Among the 15,000-ton warship’s cutting-edge features are a composite deckhouse with hidden radar and sensors and an angular shape that officials say will allow it to be confused for a small fishing boat on radars. It also sports wave-piercing hull designed to reduce the ship’s wake. It’s the first U.S. ship to use electric propulsion and produces enough power to one day support the futuristic electromagnetic rail gun, which will be tested at sea in 2016.

 
What American Healthcare Can Learn From Germany

What American Healthcare Can Learn From Germany

Olga Khazan

Under Obamacare, the U.S. healthcare system is starting to look more like Germany's. Here's what Germans do right—and how Americans could do even better.

The sickness funds are Germany's version of a “public” health insurance system, and it covers nearly everyone. But a small segment (13 percent) of the population, generally the very wealthy, can opt-out and instead go with the private Krankenversicherung, which follows rules more similar the pre-Obamacare U.S. individual insurance market.

But those differences aside, it’s fair to say the U.S. is moving in the direction of systems like Germany’s—multi-payer, compulsory, employer-based, highly regulated, and fee-for-service.

All things considered, it’s good to be a sick German. There are no network limitations, so people can see any doctor they want. There are no deductibles, so Germans have no fear of spending hundreds before their insurance ever kicks in.

There’s also no money that changes hands during a medical appointment. Patients show their insurance card at the doctor’s office, and the doctors' association pays the doctor using money from the sickness funds. "You don’t have to sit at home and sort through invoices or wonder if you overlooked fine print,” Sophia Schlette, a public health expert and a former senior advisor at Berlin’s National Statutory Health Insurance Physicians Association, told me. That insurance card, by the way, is good for hospital visits anywhere in Europe.

 
Agenda 21: The U.N. Conspiracy That Just Won’t Die

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Agenda 21: The U.N. Conspiracy That Just Won’t Die

In a new report, the Southern Poverty Law Center deconstructs the mythology that has surrounded the sustainability planning program since it was adopted at the U.N. Earth Summit more than 20 years ago.

It’s been called “the most dangerous threat to American sovereignty”; “An anti-human document, which takes aim at Western culture, and the Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions,” that will bring “new Dark Ages of pain and misery yet unknown to mankind,” and “abolish golf courses, grazing pastures and paved roads,” in the name of creating a “one-world order.”

It’s been the subject of several forewarning books and DVDs; there are organizations dedicated to stopping it and politicians have been unseated for supporting it. Glenn Beck has spent a good portion of his career making people scared of it.

While the name might sound a bit ominous, Agenda 21 is a voluntary action plan that offers suggestions for sustainable ways local, state and national governments can combat poverty and pollution and conserve natural resources in the 21st century. (That’s where the ’21’ comes from. Get it?) 178 governments—including the U.S. led by then-President George H.W. Bush—voted to adopt the program which is, again, not legally binding in any way, at the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.

 
How Google altered power and politics

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt testifies on the Hill. (Getty)

How Google altered power and politics

Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold

Since opening a one-man lobby shop nine years ago, the search giant has become a corporate power player, spending more than most companies and moving to a White House-sized office.

The company gives money to nearly 140 business trade groups, advocacy organizations and think tanks, according to a Post analysis of voluntary disclosures by the company, which, like many corporations, does not reveal the size of its donations. That’s double the number of groups Google funded four years ago.

This summer, Google will move to a new Capitol Hill office, doubling its Washington space to 55,000 square feet — roughly the size of the White House.

Google’s increasingly muscular Washington presence matches its expanded needs and ambitions as it has fended off a series of executive- and legislative-branch threats to regulate its activities and well-funded challenges by its corporate rivals.

 
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