On Dialogue and Consensus

You have to have dialogue before you can think about consensus and then possibly, change. With today’s news cycle, people seem to get swept up in the latest specific travesty against human rights and lose sight of the larger structural issues.

Healthcare, Education, Environment,  Living wage, Regulation of corporations and markets & Removing big money from politics. These are my big issues, what are yours? Let’s share them and have a conversation. We might not always like what each other have to say, but it is the first step to building a consensus around a better imagined future for all of us. If all the news cycle oxygen (I include social media as part of the news cycle) is devoted to a few hot button current issues then the things that really matter seem to get no coverage, and hence no dialogue, and it becomes very difficult for people to have a point a view about them, let alone to come to a consensus.

– KP

Climate Strategists: To Cut Emissions, Focus On Forests

“Hans Brasker, foreign minister of Norway, thinks it’s a great idea, and not just to slow warming. “We very strongly believe that we will have established a genuine global partnership to save the treasures of the remaining tropical forest,” he told the delegates at the South African climate talks. Norway is spending about $3 billion to make REDD happen.”

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Source : NPR

Wall Street’s Repeat Violations, Despite Repeated Promises

Many big Wall Street firms have settled fraud cases brought by the government with a promise to never violate the same law. But an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission documents by The New York Times found that since 1996, there have been at least 51 repeat violations by those firms. Bank of America and Citigroup have each had six repeat violations, while Merrill Lynch and UBS have each had five.

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Source : NYTimes

The Citizens Agenda: A Plan to Make Election Coverage More Useful to People

The alternative to who’s going to win in the game of getting elected? is, we think, a “citizens agenda” approach to campaign coverage. It starts with a question: what do voters want the candidates to be discussing as they compete with each other in 2012? If we can get enough people to answer to that question, we’ll have an alternative to election coverage as usual.

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Source : Pressthink

The Book of Jobs

But it was not until government spending soared in preparation for global war that America started to emerge from the Depression. It is important to grasp this simple truth: it was government spending—a Keynesian stimulus, not any correction of monetary policy or any revival of the banking system—that brought about recovery. The long-run prospects for the economy would, of course, have been even better if more of the money had been spent on investments in education, technology, and infrastructure rather than munitions, but even so, the strong public spending more than offset the weaknesses in private spending.

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Source : Vanity Fair

Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education

“What we have in academia, in other words, is a microcosm of the American economy as a whole: a self-enriching aristocracy, a swelling and increasingly immiserated proletariat, and a shrinking middle class. The same devil’s bargain stabilizes the system: the middle, or at least the upper middle, the tenured professoriate, is allowed to retain its prerogatives—its comfortable compensation packages, its workplace autonomy and its job security—in return for acquiescing to the exploitation of the bottom by the top, and indirectly, the betrayal of the future of the entire enterprise..”

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Source : The Nation