Archive for July, 2010

IS IT SAFE TO COME OUT, YET?

July 30, 2010

OUR SHAME

Oil Leases Cancelled in Gulf, Atlantic
The Center for Biological Diversity applauded this Wednesday when the Obama administration cancelled two offshore oil and gas lease sales: one in the Atlantic, off Virginia, and one in the western Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic lease sale was in a controversial area approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for expanded offshore oil development after the Bush administration lifted the Atlantic drilling moratorium. The lease sale in the Gulf was scheduled to take place next month. In cancelling the sales, the government admitted it needs more time to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas development and provide greater environmental protection to  substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic events like another massive oil spill.
“President Obama’s decision to cancel these lease sales recognizes that risky offshore drilling needs reform,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “In light of the BP oil spill, the president should pull back from the entire plan to expand offshore drilling and instead pursue clean energy.”

Check out our press release and learn the latest on the Gulf disaster. Then take action to tell the administration to end all dangerous offshore drilling.

LIFE INSURANCE FOR THE PLANET:

There is no life insurance policy for planet earth.  The fate of our planet is painful to think about.  It is decades since we first became concerned about pollution, water scarcity, wastes, pesticides, overpopulation and erosion.  Under Ronald Reagan the country turned away from such problems, but today they are the problems we fear most.  They are global and potentially irreversible.  They include the build-up of greenhouse gases, the thinning of the ozone layer, destruction of rain forests and accelerating extinctions of other species.  Some would say they are impossible to stop.  The world’s economy is built into them.

Yet, as Jonathan Weiner writes in The Next One Hundred Years, the changes trouble even those who try to ignore them and worry only about whether the old garage is sagging or the mortgage is due.  A question mark curls above our roofs and makes a mockery of our hopes.  If the earth is falling apart, there go the plans for summer vacation.

As we locally chop down trees and cover arable earth with concrete, we should bear in mind the ecological limits of what we do.  The same is true of the industry we attract and of the population we propose to support in our regional environment.  In Multnomah County, Oregon, they plan to add more hundreds of thousands of people by deliberate design, less an act of planning than of whistling while walking through the graveyard.

There are public policy questions that have not been adequately presented and debatedLocal media, elected officials, governmental staff and economic development and business communities have consistently pursued the “cutting edge” of the latest “growth opportunities” without equally weighing the adverse impacts potential in each of these proposed, but too often unrelated developments.  Never has the time for comprehensive and thoroughly cooperative deliberation and action been more urgent.

Common needs for clean air, clean water and a livable future have been subordinated in the rush to insure our immediate economic well being.  While motives may be benign, it is patently obvious to all but the most self deceiving or self serving that we are in the midst of a global crisis which calls for a philosophy which protects, defends and advances the common interest. In the context of a rapidly diminishing resource pool, in the face of rising and conceivably irreversible environmental damage, it is beyond foolishness to persist in an economic expansionism that degrades and erodes the livability of our common home.

All local elected officials should plan from a basis which explores the possibility of sustainability, including revenue sharing to decrease conflict over development opportunities and inappropriate public incentives which pit one community against another.  No jurisdiction should function without regard for its neighbors and friends and our shared earth.

Never in world history has humankind been so powerful in its geophysical impact on the planet.  As hard as the weaning may be, business as usual no longer makes sense.  If we are, as some scientists term us, homo sapiens sapiens, man the doubly wise, let’s prove it before we lose it.

Choices.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR BIOMASS!

“To the massmoss with this wingéd fruitcake!” – The Tyrant, Barbarella.

Hemp biomass for fuel would be cleaner and more economical than any other source.  Corn is the least efficient and most costly.  Hemp is easily grown almost everywhere, and completely renewable.  It is a carbon sink, cleaning the air.  10,000 acres of hemp yields as much paper as 40,000 acres of wood pulp.  It gives a far greater yield per acre, and is better for the overall health of the land.

Sources below will tell you what there is to know in great well-documented detail.  Plus, you get to “meet” Jack Herer – a man the mystics call a “great soul.”

Emperor of Hemp – narrated by Peter Coyote, VHS, DVD, 59 min.  Bill Maher calls it “A triumph for the open-minded.”  The story of Jack Herer, author of:The Emperor Wears No Clothes, best selling book that blows the lid off the anti-hemp conspiracy and explains all there is to know about one miraculous plant.  Available at the web site: www.emperorofhemp.com; Jack Herer’ web site home is athttp://www.jackherer.com/Both are also available through www.Amazon.com

VIDEO: Obama Preserves Inherited Bush Abuses Friday, July 30, 2010 by The Rachel Maddow Show. http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/30-0

Advertisements

PEASANTS and MASTERS

July 21, 2010

Image and Ambition

ORGANIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY

We need to chase the money lenders and other riff-raff from the temple again.  The corruption in Washington resonates through our whole society.  Political corruption is one aspect of a more general immorality. If we want to tackle it, we have to understand how it works.

Sober, personal virtues of honesty, willpower, honor, and high-mindedness have given way to “the most important single factor, the effective personality,” which “commands attention by charm,” and “radiates self-confidence.” George W. Bush is a prime example of the phenomenon; Sarah Palin is another. Personal relations – image, in short – have become part of public relations, a sacrifice of selfhood on a personality market, to the sole end of individual success in the corporate way of life.

In the corporate era, economic relations are impersonal – and executives feel little personal responsibility (witness NAFTA, GATT and the WTO). Within the corporate worlds of business, war making and politics, the private conscience is attenuated and immorality is institutionalized. Many of the problems of white-collar crime and of relaxed public morality, of high-priced vice and fading personal integrity, are problems of this structural immorality. Its acceptance is an essential feature of our mass society.

In economic and political institutions the corporate rich now wield enormous power, but they have never had to win the moral consent of those over whom they hold this power. The general immorality, the general weakening of older values, and the organization of irresponsibility have not involved public crisis; they result from creeping indifference and a silent hollowing out.

The images of the powerful that prevail are of the elite as celebrities. They share it with the frivolous or sultry creatures of the world of celebrity, which is a dazzling blind of their true power.

Two things are needed in a democracy: articulate and knowledgeable publics, and political leaders who, if not men of reason, are at least reasonably responsible to such knowledgeable publics as exist. Such a public and such leaders – either of power or of knowledge – do not now prevail, and knowledge does not now have democratic relevance in America.

The lack of knowledge as an experience among the elite ties in with the malign tendency of the expert, not only as fact but also as legitimization. Our national debate has become timid. The tyranny of experts disguises our true best interest. The trend has been abdication of debate and the collapse of opposition under the easy slogan of bipartisanship. Public relations displace reasoned argument; manipulation and undebated decisions of power replace democratic authority.

Status, no longer rooted in local communities, follows the big hierarchies. Status follows big money, even if it has a touch of the gangster. Status follows power, even if it be without background. Below, in the mass society, old moral and traditional barriers to status break down and Americans look to standards of excellence above them, to model themselves and judge self-esteem.

Those in the higher circles are not truly representative; their high position is not a result of moral virtue. They sit in the seats of the high and the mighty selected and formed by the means of power, the sources of wealth, and the mechanics of celebrity. They are not shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues this nation now so unintelligently confronts. They are not held in check by a plurality of voluntary associations, which connect debating publics with the pinnacles of decision. Commanders of power unequalled in history, they have succeeded within the American system of organized irresponsibility.

PEASANTS and MASTERS

 University of Wisconsin law professor Joel Rogers says, “Public opinion in the United States is conventionally mapped on a liberal-conservative axis understood to run from government do-gooders without values on one end to free marketeering rich people without hearts at the other end. Most people in America place themselves in the middle. They don’t find either end particularly attractive. Today, the fight isn’t really between liberals and conservatives but between the workers/consumers/citizens who actually want the economy to reflect our values and those who want to keep things the way they are with a few irresponsible corporations running the country for their own benefit. In that fight we can win. It’s our country. Let’s run it for the people.”

We cannot make minor process changes, but must deal with the value system, which powers our economic engine to the divorce of all other concerns. Social Darwinism supposedly died after striking U.S. Steel workers were murdered by union-busting toughs while Andrew Carnegie played golf in Scotland. Carnegie turned a blind eye to what his managers were doing at the Homestead Mines. It seemed good business to lower labor costs. It got out of hand. Carnegie learned that individual action, even when the most rational and best for the individual or stockholders, may be a terrible disaster for other individuals.

The only way to resolve the problem is to:

GO STRAIGHT AT THEM

I reluctantly support the President.  If we want positive change in America, he’s the man we should back.  He comes nearest to my own philosophy and that of people I respect and care about most.  However, I feel he is being “reasonable” with his opposition to the point of timidity, if not self-deception.  What should he do?

  • Go straight at them.
  • Eschew any advice from Wall Street chameleon Robert Rubin and his clones who brought us NAFTA, GATT and WTO, and mentored Clinton, Bush, and now Obama with the same advice that created the present fiscal disaster.  Prosecute Goldman Sachs for their very real thefts and confidence rackets.
  • Speak Keynesian economics again. Emphasize we the people, public issues, community, human rights, common sense, and the common good; not the bottomline for a gaggle of avaricious stockholders.  Practice economics as if PEOPLE mattered.
  • Seek new, innovative solutions – not stock reprises of old routines; that’s the pattern of alcoholics and addicts.
  • Make Corporations pay their fair share to support the system that enabled their success; stop treating them as “individuals” in the legal system; hold executives and stock holders personally accountable for their corporate actions.
  • Protect the planet.  JOB ONE.  Everything else is subordinate in priority. 
  • Educate the children – dump top-heavy, discriminatory Trojan Horse Standards obstacles; eliminate public subsidies (vouchers) for boondoggle separatist, religionist, preferential, and elitist “home” schooling; insist upon a democratic public education, scholarship, and scientific rationalism.
  • Call the generation to service: “Let’s get our hands on these problems and solve them.  We can do it, if we stop procrastinating and move on.”
  • Tell Republicans they can worry about haircuts, dirty words, and hurting people by making money from wage slavery, exploitation, lies and violence.  The rest of us will go to work to end two disastrous wars and fix the nation’s now critical issues: environment, health care, and the economy (thanks to years of flagrant and cynical Republican corporatist neoconservative neglect, abuse, misuse, cynicism, and outright unabashed destruction).

We can’t let the Republican monarchists kill the real American dream: freedom and a better life for all our people, children, posterity, and not just ourselves.

We’re not in this life for the next quarterly report, we’re here to build a lasting rule of law that we can be proud of again; and that means saving it from the Republican cabal that brought us this fiasco, before it collapses us in an economy of chaos and death, as they smugly profit off our bones.

How’d that be?  I’d like it fine.  And, we need to dump the Bluedog Democrats and give President Barak Obama an overwhelming progressive majority in both houses of congress, too, or we will spend generations suffering from the harm of the Bushies and their corporate neocon masters.

If it will be done, it must be done soon, or I fear it will not be done at all (although the planet will outlive us, barren as the moon, perhaps). 

PRESIDENT PHARAOH

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe). He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined. He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place; thus, half the monuments in the Nile Valley are his. He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight. Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt. He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt. And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe. G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”

 

Site of the First Chrysler Factory

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

FOOD WINS

WANTED: CORPORATE CONSCIENCE

ATTACK WALL STREET

GOING REALLY ROGUE

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

July 17, 2010

"Play it again, Sam!"

The New Finance Bill: A Mountain of Legislative Paper, a Molehill of Reform by Robert Reich Friday, July 16, 2010 by RobertReich.org

Thursday the President pronounced that “because of this [financial reform] bill the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.”

As if to prove him wrong, Goldman Sachs simultaneously announced it had struck a deal with federal prosecutors to pay $550 million to settle federal claims it misled investors – a sum representing a mere 15 days profit for the firm based on its 2009 earnings. Goldman’s share price immediately jumped 4.3 percent, and the Street proclaimed its chair and CEO, Lloyd (“Goldman is doing God’s work”) Blankfein, a winner. Financial analysts rushed to affirm a glowing outlook for Goldman stock.

The American people will continue to have to foot the bill for the mistakes of Wall Street’s biggest banks because the legislation does nothing to diminish the economic and political power of these giants. It does not cap their size. It does not resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act that once separated commercial (normal) banking from investment (casino) banking. It does not even link the pay of their traders and top executives to long-term performance. In other words, it does nothing to change their basic structure. And for this reason, it gives them an implicit federal insurance policy against failure unavailable to smaller banks – thereby adding to their economic and political power in the future.

Make no mistake: As long as there’s no fundamental change in the structure of Wall Street – as long as the big banks stay as big and are allowed to grow bigger, and have every incentive to invent new financial gimmicks with which to bet other peoples’ money – they will remain too big to fail, and too politically powerful to control.

Congress labored mightily to produce a mountain of legislation, but produced a molehill of reform to prevent the wreckage Wall Street wreaked upon the nation.READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/16-3

Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His “Marketplace” commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.  Inequality Is the Real Debt Burden by Terry Link Friday, July 16, 2010 by Lansing State Journal (Michigan)

Just say, "Yes!"

Inequality Is the Real Debt Burden by Terry Link Friday, July 16, 2010 by Lansing State Journal (Michigan)

Recent polls indicate that many Americans are as concerned about growing government debt as they are about terrorism. It’s interesting that concern about debt occurs almost rhythmically when conservatives are out of power.

Conservatives supported a $3 trillion war in the Middle East without concern for “growing debt”. Their present claim that debt that supports the unemployed, sick, and education is bad while debt that truly imperils current and future generations is acceptable is dangerous and misguided.

Policies prescribed by Milton Friedman and his followers leave a wake of growing inequality both globally and within nations that is the seed of our current and continuing malaise.  We have unwittingly spent up the interest that nature provided and have been spending the capital for more than a generation. The proof is clear to the scientific world. Those convinced by the sales job of the Milton Friedmans of the world that free markets are some holy grail, ignore the environmental and social costs of doing business.

A recent study, “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger“, two British epidemiologists demonstrate overwhelmingly that the real culprit for our predicament is growing inequality. It’s way past time to start talking about our real debt – the costs of inequality we bear and pass on to our children and theirs.

Terry Link lives in Laingsburg, Michigan.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/16-4

Conservatism’s Death Gusher by George Lakoff Friday, July 16, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

The issue is death – death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf.

Many, perhaps a majority, of the Gulf residents affected are conservatives, strong right-wing Republicans, following extremist Governors Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour. What those conservatives are not saying, and may be incapable of seeing, is that conservatism itself is largely responsible for what happened, and conservatism is a continuing disaster for conservatives who live along the Gulf.

Conservatism is an ideology of death. It was conservative laissez-faire free market ideology – that maximizing profit comes first – that led to:

  • the corrupt relationship between the oil companies and the Interior Department staff that was supposedly regulating them
  • minimizing cost by not drilling relief wells;
  • the principle that oil companies could be responsible for their own risk assessments on drilling;
  • maximizing profit by outsourcing risk assessment that told them what they wanted to hear: zero risk!;
  • maximizing profit by minimizing cost of materials;
  • maximizing profit by failing to pay cleanup crews and businesses for their losses;
  • focusing only on profit by failing to test the cleanup methods to be used if something went wrong;
  • minimizing cost by sacrificing the health of cleanup crews, refusing to allow them to use respirator masks to protect against toxic fumes.

It is conservative profit-above-all market fundamentalism that has led other oil companies to mount a massive PR campaign to isolate BP as an anomalous “bad actor” and to argue that offshore drilling should be continued by the self-proclaimed “good actors.” Their PR fails to mention that in Congressional hearings it came out that they all outsource risk assessment to the same company that declared that BP had “zero risk.” The PR fails to mention that they all use cost-benefit analysis to maximize profits just as BP did. Cost-benefit analysis only looks at monetary costs versus benefits, case by case, not at the risk of massive death of the kind gushing out of the Gulf at present. Death, in itself, even at that scale, is not a “cost.” Only an outflow of money is a “cost.” This is what follows from conservative laissez-faire market ideology, an ideology that continues to sanction death on a Gulf scale.

Finally, there is what progressive Democrats see as a contradiction: conservative advocates of smaller and weaker government and critics of governmental power trying to pin the Death Gusher Disaster on Obama for not having and using enough government power to prevent or lessen the disaster – even though the government has no capacity to plug oil wells. Those who are not held captive by the conservative worldview recognize the causal role of conservatism in the Death Gusher in the Gulf. Many progressive do, but keep it to themselves.

Progressives have been much too kind to conservatives on this matter. They have largely accepted the Bad Actor Frame, criticizing BP but not the whole industry and its practices. No one should be drilling miles under the sea, where oil comes out at 10,000 pounds per square inch. No matter how much profit is involved.

Conservatism gushes death – and not only in the Gulf of Mexico.

George Lakoff is the author of Moral Politics, Don’t Think of an Elephant!, Whose Freedom?, and Thinking Points (with the Rockridge Institute staff). He is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, and a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute. READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/16-5

 
 

War Criminal Waves to Suckers.

Tim Geithner Opposes Nominating Elizabeth Warren to Lead New Consumer Agency by Shahien Nasiripour Friday, July 16, 2010 by The Huffington Post 

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner opposes the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner’s views.

The financial reform bill passed by the Senate on Thursday mandates the creation of a new federal entity charged with protecting consumers from predatory lenders.

But if Geithner has his way, the most prominent advocate for creating the agency may not be picked to lead it: Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School, one of the leading reform advocates fighting on behalf of American taxpayers.

Yet while her work on behalf of a federal unit designed solely to protect borrowers from abusive lenders has been embraced by the administration, Warren’s role as a bailout watchdog led to strained relations with the agency her panel has taken to task with brutal reports every month since Obama took office: Geithner’s Treasury Department.

Geithner’s opposition could have political implications for a White House determined to prove it’s gotten tough on Wall Street. Since March, Obama has devoted four of his weekly Saturday addresses to highlight and promote the consumer agency.

In March 2009, in response to a question during a town hall event in Southern California about the bailout for Wall Street firms and whether Obama supported tougher consumer protections on credit cards, Obama promoted Warren’s academic work.

Three months later, the administration released its blueprint for how it wanted to fix the nation’s broken financial system. Warren’s idea for a consumer agency was a heavily-promoted part of it.  Warren, a Treasury Department spokesman and a White House spokesperson all declined to comment for this article.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/16-3

My Two-bits On Elizabeth Warren:

A really dumb student wrote, “He was as lame as a duck.  Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame.  Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.”

Obama’s pretty much off on the wrong course.  He appears to sprinkle “public goodies” up to and including the health care insurance and financial reform acts, which achieve limited but not system change, while shoving our government ever more firmly into corporatist pockets.  He listens to Robert Rubin, Ben Bernowski, and Timothy Geithner, the corporate tools who crafted and executed the big rip-off that plunged our country into near-receivership for Bush Jr.  Obama is using the same old tools to craft and execute a brand new disaster.

Geithner needs to go, he’s the lame duck who stepped on a land mine.  Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is trying to block President Obama from appointing one of the best consumer watchdogs in the nation to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by Congress to rein in Wall Street.  Elizabeth Warren challenges him because she doesn’t accept his b.s. and neither should Obama.

 

Bull Run Watershed

Water as Human Right Threatens to Split World Body by Thalif Deen Friday, July 16, 2010 by Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS – A long outstanding proposal to recognise the right to water as a basic universal human right is threatening to split the world’s rich and poor nations.

Opposition to the proposal is coming mostly from Western nations, says Maude Barlow, a global water advocate and a founder of the Canada-based Blue Planet Project.

“Canada is the worst. But Australia, the United States and Great Britain are also holding up the process,” she said.

If the draft resolution is eventually adopted by the 192- member U.N. General Assembly, “it would be one of the most important things the United Nations has done since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” she said.

“International and local community groups fighting for water justice have long been calling for leadership from the U.N. in clearly recognizing that water and sanitation are human rights,” said one source. Whether the provision of water and sanitation is carried out by public or private actors is not relevant to the status of water and sanitation as a human right.

Meanwhile, a coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including the Council of Canadians, Food and Water Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory and the Blue Planet Project, has appealed to members of the European Parliament seeking their political support, “in light of the European Union’s recognition of water as a human right, the EU can play a key role in promoting this key resolution at the United Nations.”  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/16-7

RELATED ARTICLES on issues above:

 

 

PUBLIC ENEMIES 1 and 2

LAST WORDS:

If someone takes the time to etch a poem on a plaque, you’d better take it seriously, particularly if it rhymes.”  Muriel, Courage the Dog.

THE END:

No! No! No!

PROGRESSIVE DISILLUSIONMENT

July 10, 2010

True Progressives

VIDEO: Progressives and Obama: From Wall Street to the war, this isn’t what Progressive Democrats voted for, Norman Solomon, July 10, 2010 by The Real News Network

STATE-OF-THE-ART

LINK: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/10

2nd Great Republican Depression: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression.  Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than ’82-’83 recession. Published on Friday, July 2, 2010 by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Washington, D.C. – As the nation contends with a long and sustained labor market recession, a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that the current unemployment rate is higher than the conventional measure shows.

“An unemployment rate that has hovered above 9 percent for several months is striking, but the jobs picture is even worse than it looks,” said report author and CEPR Economist David Rosnick.

The study, “The Adult Recession: Age-Adjusted Unemployment at Post-War Highs,” adjusts the current unemployment rate to account for demographic differences and finds that the unemployment rate has not fallen below 10.8 percent in the last 12 months. During the worst episode of the recession of the 1980s — the second half of 1982 and the first half of 1983 — unemployment passed 10 percent for 7 months.

The analysis notes that the population is older today than it was in the 1980s, which has the effect of lowering today’s unemployment rate relative to the past. Since they change jobs more frequently and are more likely to move in and out of the labor market, Young people have a higher unemployment rate than older workers. Adjusting for this older workforce shows that the United States is experiencing the weakest labor market since the Great Depression.

The severity of the current unemployment situation suggests that policy makers should consider measures that would slow or reverse this trend. Additional stimulus such as work sharing or the extension of unemployment benefits by Congress would go far in addressing the plight of the millions of unemployed Americans suffering as a result of this downturn.

FULL ANALYSIS can be found here.

READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/02-5

Wealthy Reap Rewards While Those Who Work Lose

TOTAL RECALL.  Abstract:   15 Awful Things Republicans Would Do If They Had the Chance By Dennis Rahkonen, The Smirking Chimp.

The political instrument of moneyed elites, and a retrograde societal force, the GOP today is more negative than ever. Its agenda, if fully implemented, would prove catastrophic. Here’s what an unfettered Republican Party would do “for” America:

1)  Greatly reduce or entirely eliminate taxes on the rich, forcing working families to make up revenue shortfalls.

2)  Bust labor unions, and prevent collective bargaining for wages and benefits.

3)  Stubbornly deny the climate change while pumping more pollutants into the environment from dirty industries and practices.

4)  Remove regulations on investment banks and credit card companies eroding consumer protections.

5)  Continue to criticize and under fund public education, advocating private schooling instead, to dumb workers down.

6)  Outlaw abortion, under a moral guise, impelling thousands of functioning females to perish because of sexist denials of their basic rights.

7)  Continue to recite a Pledge of Allegiance whose last six words are “with liberty and justice for all,” while harrassing homosexual citizens.

8)  Speak often and loftily of freedom, but engage in neo-McCarthyite witch hunts, Red-baiting name calling, and a host of Patriot Act sins against the U. S. Constitution in the name of “national security.”

9)  Bully the world with US aggressions on foreign soil, kill countless thousands of innocents, waste billions of badly-needed dollars, and make us hated around the planet.

10)  Generally drive down the income levels of America’s working-class majority, as a cost-saving corporate measure, dooming society to economic ruin!

11)  Lie about affordable health care for all, creating a national security threat by fooling some Americans into thinking that public health care is a godless socialist attack on basic American freedoms.

12)  Unleash de facto ethnic cleansing against 12 million immigrant men, women, and children, blaming them for hardships experienced due to capitalist excess.

13)  Shamefully try to lend credence to their avarice and social irresponsibility by revising the Bible to obscure passages that place human need before abject greed as one conservative group is really trying to do!

14)  Support intensely bigoted hatred that has crazed extremists dreaming of literally tearing Barack Obama to pieces and gassing all liberals.

15)  Place the livelihoods and lives of over 300 million Americans in the hands of incompetent ideological “purists” such as Sarah Palin.

While there are certainly Democrats who’ve yet to show spine in furtherance of vital change, let’s be absolutely clear about the unmitigated disaster that would follow if Republicans, in their present ultra-rightist incarnation, ruled our country exactly as they wickedly wished.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/story/143917/15_awful_things_republicans_would_do_if_they_had_the_chance

Leave ‘Em Laughing.  Open ltr to CNN:

FOX regularly pushes distorted stories, and uses them to whip up racial fear.  It is unacceptable for CNN, which positions itself as a credible source of news and analysis, to uncritically echo FOX’s dishonest race-baiting.

What the hell’s the matter with you?  Do you want this country to disintegrate?  Report the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or quit pretending to be journalists.  Call yourselves racist corporatist shills instead.

Sincerely, with rapidly diminishing respect,  j 

READ MORE: