Taggart Murphy, NY Times:”TOKYO — THE Japanese have a term for hopelessness — shikata ga nai, “it can’t be helped.”

Taggart Murphy, NY Times:”TOKYO — THE Japanese have a term for hopelessness — shikata ga nai, “it can’t be helped.” Acceptance of things as they are is deeply embedded in the culture. It also explains why voters are so listless, and even despairing, in the run-up to the national election on Sunday.”
“Mr. Abe’s real objectives go beyond reviving the economy. He has moved to stack the leadership of NHK, the state broadcaster, with nationalist supporters. In flagrant violation of the pacifist Constitution, his cabinet decreed that Japan’s military would participate in “collective defense measures” overseas. His government is intent on rewriting the nation’s history of wartime atrocities.”

Sadly for the country, the Liberal Democrats are expected to hold on in Sunday’s national election.
nytimes.com|By R. Taggart Murphy


Modern micro-economics and behavioral economics are the new power tools of conservative progressives.

David Brooks writes: “The World Bank has just issued an amazingly good report called “Mind, Society and Behavior” on how the insights of behavioral economics can be applied to global development and global health.”

Only vaguely related, yesterday, in the New Haven Register, Martin Peretz, former owner of The New Republic wrote:”Liberal hopes need to be matched by conservative caution.”

Modern micro-economics, behavioral economics and microfinance are the new power tools of conservative progressives. I recommend the work of Innovations For Poverty Action in New Haven, and the Abdul Lateef Jameel Poverty Action Lab, or J-PAL, at MIT.

Behavioral economics has given us amazing new policy options to solve local and international problems.
nytimes.com|By David Brooks


New Political Climate Event

Coral Davenport for the NY Times reports:”At the global climate change negotiations now wrapping up in Peru, American negotiators are being met with something wildly unfamiliar: cheers, applause, thanks and praise.”

While President Obama’s policy on global warming has infuriated many at home, the United States’ image abroad is soaring, as evident during climate negotiations in Peru.
nytimes.com|By Coral Davenport


video by Andrew Berends is magical, war in South Sudan

I don’t follow the Sudan, for no good reason. The simplicity of this video by Andrew Berends is magical. I wonder if the civil war in Sudan has climate change as a cause?

In a South Sudanese refugee camp, children make a dollhouse to tell their story of war.
nytimes.com|By Andrew Berends


Romero writes in NYT, Pardon Bush and Those Who Tortured. Unfortunately, it works.

I think this piece by Anthony Romero is brilliant. Prosecuting these possible criminals, George W Bush and his inner circle, would be a huge distraction from other more important issues such as climate change, population control, the drug wars, and economic malaise.
The pardon hits two big birds with one stone. It makes official the condemnation of these cruel acts as unAmerican. It also makes them clearly illegal, going forward.
The few episodes of 24 that I watched, made clear that it appears that torture can make sense in a time sensitve drama where hundreds or thousands of lives are at stake. One has to balance this narrative with the fact that researchers report that torture hardly ever works, most people will spill the truth more readily without torture than with it.

It’s the last hope of accountability for abuses in the war on terror.
nytimes.com|By Anthony D. Romero


The Philippines makes history in fighting climate change.

Extra, Extra, The Philippines makes history in fighting climate change.

The Philippines, taking the brunt of disastrous typhoons, is now challenging every nation to embrace emissions reductions.
nytimes.com|By Coral Davenport


Tom Friedman talks to David Rothkopf, on over-reactions to 9/11, from a recent Friedman column in the NY Times

Friedman talks to David Rothkopf: “To put it another way, he said — and I agree with this — the focus on terrorism, combined with our gotcha politics, has “killed creative thinking” in Washington, let alone anything “aspirational” in our foreign policy. Look at the time and money Republicans forced us to spend debating whether the Benghazi, Libya, consulate attack was a terrorist plot or a spontaneous event — while focusing not a whit on the real issue: what a bipartisan failure our whole removal of Libya’s dictator turned out to be, what we should learn from that and how, maybe, to fix it”.

How the foreign policy of fear took hold after Sept. 11.
nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman


Republican attorneys general have formed an unprecedented, secretive alliance with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama… nytimes.com

Here is evidence presented by By ERIC LIPTON that Businessweek was right, when it referred to the US as a petro state. It is a fact that the oil and gas industries have very deep pockets.

Republican attorneys general have formed an unprecedented, secretive alliance with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama…
nytimes.com|By ERIC LIPTON


Paul Krugman, the Oracle from Oh-ma-god, he’s from Princeton.

What I love about Paul Krugman is that he makes me smarter.

In this piece “Democrats Against Reform” in the NYTimes, Krugman writes:

The Schumer critique — he certainly isn’t the first to say these things, but he is the most prominent Democrat to say them — calls health reform a mistake because it only benefits a minority of Americans, and that’s not enough to win elections. What President Obama should have done, claims Mr. Schumer, was focus on improving the economy as a whole.

This is deeply wrongheaded in at least three ways.”

I have thought the same thing as Chuck Schumer, so read why Chuck and I are mistaken.