Daily Digest 1/8 - The "I" In Union, How Austerity Is Killing Europe, Oil Price Would Skyrocket If Iran Closed Hormuz Strait
- A Fight for Post Offices and Towns’ Souls
- Charges Against Journalists Dim the Democratic Glow in Turkey
- Appointment Clears the Way for Consumer Agency to Act
- The "I" In Union
- How Austerity Is Killing Europe
- A Shrinking Military Budget May Take Neighbors With It
- The Saving Game: Can Michael VanRooyen Build An Army Of Super-Humanitarians?
- Oil Price Would Skyrocket if Iran Closed the Strait of Hormuz
Along with the residents of other tiny towns across the country, from Challenge, Calif., to Economy, Ind., the people of Fox learned last summer that their post office was being studied for possible closing by the United States Postal Service. It was one of the more than 3,600 deemed by the postal authorities to have too little a workload — less than $27,500 annual revenue is one such measurement — or to be too close to another office to justify keeping open by an agency that is billions of dollars in debt and facing a steeply and steadily declining revenue stream.
At a time when Washington and Europe are praising Turkey as the model of Muslim democracy for the Arab world, Turkish human rights advocates say the crackdown is part of an ominous trend. Most worrying, they say, are fresh signs that the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is repressing freedom of the press through a mixture of intimidation, arrests and financial machinations, including the sale in 2008 of a leading newspaper and a television station to a company linked to the prime minister’s son-in-law.
The bureau had taken responsibility for existing regulations on consumer products at banks and thrifts, it was not able to write new regulations for banking products like mortgages and credit cards until it had a permanent leader.
The "I" In Union (jdargis)
The FU’s efforts to accrue new members have been aggressive. Lodged between advertisements for skincare gurus and community colleges in the New York City subway, its advertisements are ubiquitous. Hip, even Obamanescent, their slogans combine squishy ideals of teamwork, justice, and co-operation—”Organize and Mobilize”; “Working for the Radical Notion of Fairness”—with a Generation Y self-centeredness: “There’s an I in Union.” The target demographic of these ads is the penurious creative class—the educated, diverse, gay-friendly subjects of business guru Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class. The concerns they convey, and the lifestyle they advertise, are tailored for those who do not partake in the suit-wearing, office-working, boss-having side of American life.
How Austerity Is Killing Europe (jdargis)
Proponents of austerity claim that as nations take control of their finances businesses become more convinced that interest rates will not rise and that growth will resume. Their reasoning has been abetted by the financial markets, which drove up rates on Greek debt and soon enough on the debt of nations like Portugal, Spain and Italy. Should these nations not be able to pay their debts, bond buyers wanted a high enough interest rate to compensate for the risk.
And as the Pentagon confronts the prospect of cutting its budget by about 10 percent over the next decade, even some people who do not count themselves among its traditional allies warn that the potential impact on scientific innovation is being overlooked. Spending less on military research, they say, could reduce the economy’s long-term growth.
There may have been a time when providing aid was as simple as lending a hand where it was needed, VanRooyen says, but in this age of the 24-hour news cycle, advanced surveillance technology, and increasingly media-savvy bad guys, modern relief workers need more than good intentions. Every humanitarian endeavor is now fraught with political, financial, and health consequences, yet, he says, there are too many schools pumping out insufficiently trained humanitarian grads. These days, we can quickly mobilize vast numbers of people to crisis areas, but once on the ground, those same people can actually make the disaster worse.
An Iranian blockade by means of mining, airstrikes or sabotage is logistically well within Tehran’s military capabilities. But despite rising tensions with the West, including a tentative ban on European imports of Iranian oil announced Wednesday, Iran is unlikely to take such hostile action, according to most Middle East political experts.
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