Posts Tagged ‘obama’

RIGHTWING PROPAGANDA, RUBBERBAND BALLS

January 7, 2010

Celebrating Cronkite While Ignoring What He Did

GET A NEWSPAPER?

We are fools to allow corporations like FOX, or subversive rightwing billionaires like Pete Peterson and Rupert Murdoch to determine our national information policy, control our public airways, and own our means of civic communication.  We are fools to allow them to continue to distort our national consciousness, or to interfere with our right to meet and discuss and decide as a unified national community.  We are fools to allow them to keep us ignorant and apart. 

Peterson and Murdoch are propagandistic liars, and consistently anti-American.  The co-opted cowardice of all the so-called “real” (read “infotainment”) news organizations, including the major television networks, convinces me that we need a reformed public ownership of uncensored airwaves, subject to strong democratic citizen oversight.

Here’s the latest outrage, hitting newspapers this time:

Conservative Mogul Buying Up Reporters to Promote His Regressive Agenda By William Greider, The Nation.

Pete Peterson, the Wall Street billionaire who wants to loot Social Security, has created a “news network” hooked up to the Washington Post.

He’s baaack — the Wall Street billionaire who wants to loot Social Security. This time, Pete Peterson has invented his own “news network” to promote his right-wing rants about shrinking the only retirement security system available to millions of working people. Peterson styles himself as a patriot saving the nation from fiscal insolvency and has committed $1 billion to that cause (a chunk of the wealth he accumulated at Blackstone Group, the notorious corporate-takeover firm). His efforts might be dismissed as ludicrous — except money does talk in Washington, and Peterson is now buying Washington reporters to spread his dire warnings.

The retired mogul has created a digital news agency he dubs “The Fiscal Times” and hired eight seasoned reporters to do the work there. “An impressive group of veteran journalists,” Peterson calls them. I hope they have shaken a lot of money out of this rich geezer. Because I predict doing hack work for him will seriously soil their reputations for objectivity and independence.

With his great wealth, Peterson could have also bought a newspaper to publish his dispatches, but he did better than that. He hooked up with the Washington Post, which has agreed to “jointly produce content focusing on the budget and fiscal issues.” (This media scandal was first uncovered by economist Dean Baker.) The newspaper is thus compromising its own integrity. It’s like buying political propaganda from a Washington lobbyist, then printing it in the news columns as if it was just another news story. Shame on the Post, my old newspaper. I predict a big stink like the one that greeted the Post when its publisher decided to hold pay-for-access “salons” for corporate biggies.

The first TFT “dispatch” to appear in the Post — “Support grows for tackling nation’s debt” — made no mention of Peterson’s crusade. But it featured the same devious gimmick the financier has been peddling around Washington. Congress should create a special commission of eighteen senators and representatives empowered to to make the “tough” budget decisions politicians are loathe to face — slashing benefits, raising payroll taxes or both. Other members of Congress would be prohibited from changing any of the particular measures, and would cast only an up-or-down vote on the entire package, no amendments allowed.

Supposedly, this would give them political cover. Look, no hands. We just cut Social Security but it wasn’t our fault.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/media/144961/conservative_mogul_buying_up_reporters_to_promote_his_regressive_agenda

HERE WE GO AGAIN?

A visionary approach committed to the fight against climate chaos would use power to dramatically re-engineer failing industry so that its factories could build the infrastructure of the green economy the world desperately needs, instead of leaving industry unchanged.  Obama took real effort not to nationalize the banks. He could have mandated loans for factories to be retrofitted and new green infrastructure to be built. Instead he declared that the government shouldn’t tell failed banks how to run their businesses.

Imagine if the three huge economic engines — the banks, the auto companies, the stimulus bill — had been harnessed to a common green vision.  By the time Copenhagen rolled around, the U.S. would already have been well on its way to dramatically cutting emissions, poised to inspire, rather than disappoint, the rest of the world.

What will happen as the Democrats face the employment crisis?

Jobs: The One Issue That Can Sink Democrats in November By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog.

If unemployment is 10 percent or more next November, the Dems are in danger of losing the House and will almost certainly be short of the 60 votes they need in the Senate.

Just about everything you’ll hear coming out of Washington starting now is really about November’s mid-term election. The gravitational pull of the midterms was already apparent last year, as Republicans marched in perfect lockstep to vote against whatever the President and Democrats proposed (Republicans always have authoritarian discipline on their side, which is why they’re Republicans), but you haven’t seen anything yet.

The Democrats have enough votes to enact health care — the hurdle Bill Clinton failed to jump, contributing to the Republican takeover in 1994 — but when it’s enacted, expect the spin machines on both sides to be at full throttle. And because health care legislation won’t be implemented for another three or four years (depending whether the House or Senate versions prevail), Americans won’t be able to test the veracity of these wildly divergent claims. So don’t count on health reform to help Dems next November — nor harm them, either.

Foreign policy is just as unlikely to tip the scales. Sad to say, absent a draft most American families will read about American deaths in Afghanistan much the way they’ve absorbed the U.S. body count in Iraq — as news items rather than personal tragedies. Nor will Iran’s nuclear capabilities, North Korea’s missile launches, Pakistan’s tumult, or Yemen’s terrorists have much electoral effect — unless terrorists commit an atrocity in America or on American travelers. Needless to say, China’s decision about whether and how much to revalue its currency, although important, will affect the votes of about three Americans (and I think I know all of them).

Issue Number One — the overriding concern that will determine more than anything how many seats the Democrats lose next fall — is jobs. If unemployment is 10 percent or more next November, the Dems are in danger of losing the House and will almost certainly be short of the 60 votes they need in the Senate.

But why would employment be 10 percent or above next November? Surely, you say, there are enough signs of recovery that we can count on a lower rate. Don’t be so sure. Here are likely scenarios, with my probabilities:  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/144954/jobs%3A_the_one_issue_that_can_sink_democrats_in_november

GOT A JOB?

 

Joel Waul, 28, climbs on top of his rubber band ball on the driveway of his home in Lauderhill, Fla., Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. Waul, a 27-year-old who works nights restocking a Gap clothing store, has spent the last six years carefully wrapping and linking and stretching rubber bands of various sizes into the ball shape. The Guinness Book of World Records declared it the world’s largest rubber band ball in 2008. Photo/Alan Diaz

Which brings up the basic question: Why? 

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PUBLIC ENEMIES 1 and 2

December 9, 2009

BILLIONAIRE BASTARDS:

Meet the Billionaire Brothers Funding the Right-Wing War on Obama, Think Progress. by Faiz Shakir, et al.

They’re the 9th richest people in America and they’re pushing hard to upend President Obama’s progressive agenda.

Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch are the wealthiest, and perhaps most effective, opponents of President Obama’s progressive agenda. They loom in the background of every major domestic policy dispute this year. Ranked as the 9th richest men in America, the Koch brothers sit at the helm of Koch Industries, a massive privately owned conglomerate of manufacturing, oil, gas, and timber interests. David and Charles are also responsible for a vicious attack campaign aimed directly at obstructing and killing progressive reform. Over the years, millions of dollars in Koch money has flowed to various right-wing think tanks, front groups, and publications. At the dawn of the Obama presidency, Koch groups launched television and radio ads deriding the recovery stimulus package as simply “pork” spending. The Cato Institute — founded by Charles — as well as other Koch-funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, produced a blizzard of reports distorting the stimulus and calling for a return to Bush-style tax cuts to combat the recession. David’s Americans for Prosperity (AFP) placed calls and helped organize the very first “tea party” protests. AFP, founded in 1984 by David and managed by astroturf lobbyist Tim Phillips, mobilized “tea party” opposition to health reform, clean energy legislation, and financial regulations.

STOPPING CLEAN ENERGY: David Koch presents himself as a champion of science. Nevertheless, Koch has done more to undermine the public’s understanding of climate change science than any other person in America. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, funded by Koch, wages an underhanded campaign to falsely charge that a set of hacked e-mails unravels the scientific consensus that global warming is real. Despite the brothers’ extravagant wealth, Koch’s Americans for Prosperity has run populist ads mocking environmentalists as spoiled brats. Koch Industries has spent nearly $9 million dollars so far to misinform the public on climate change legislation. Koch-funded operatives attempted to crash the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this week, and may succeed in scuttling any prospect for addressing climate change.

STOPPING HEALTH REFORM: Much of the fierce opposition to health reform can be credited to the Kochs. Their Patients United has blanketed the country with ads distorting provisions of the health reform legislation, particularly the public option. Koch groups foster extremism. A speaker with the Patients United bus tour compared health reform to the Holocaust while an eight-by-five foot banner at AFP health care rallies read, “National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany” superimposed over corpses from a concentration camp. AFP channeled anger into Democratic healthcare town halls in August. It wasn’t the first time Koch groups helped hijack the health reform debate. In 1994, Americans for Prosperity, then known as Citizens for a Sound Economy, worked closely with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich to bring mobs of angry men to health reform rallies [to intimidate] then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.

A LONG HISTORY OF STOPPING PROGRESS: The Koch brothers clearly have a financial stake in blocking reform. Koch Industry oil refineries are major carbon dioxide polluters, and Georgia-Pacific, a Koch Industries timber subsidiary, is one of the largest contributors to the loss of carbon-sink capacity. According to the EPA, Koch Industries is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the U.S. and has leaked three million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters. Their opposition is a long family tradition of trying to shift the country to the far right. Fred Koch, father of Charles and David helped to found the John Burch Society in the late 1950s. The John Burch Society harnessed Cold War fears into hate against progressives, warning that President Kennedy, Civil Rights activists, and organized labor were in league with communists. His sons continue to galvanize hundreds of thousands of middle class people into supporting the Kochs’ narrow agenda of cutting corporate taxes and avoiding consumer regulations [to the ruin of our equality and democracy]. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/144455/meet_the_billionaire_brothers_funding_the_right-wing_war_on_obama

Obama Far Outdoes Bush in Escalating War — The Numbers Will Surprise You By David DeGraw, Amped Status.

Increasing numbers of deployed soldiers, mercenaries and drones all add up to Obama being more of a war president than Bush, in terms of hard numbers. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/world/144449/obama_far_outdoes_bush_in_escalating_war_–_the_numbers_will_surprise_you

Copenhagen Won’t Be Enough — Only a ‘Human Movement’ Can Save Civilization from the Climate Crisis By Fred Branfman, Sacramento News & Review.

A strange cloud envelops human civilization as its leaders fail to take the measures to protect it in Copenhagen that they themselves endorsed just five months ago.

To be or not to be, that is the question.–William Shakespeare, Hamlet. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/144451/copenhagen_won%27t_be_enough_–_only_a_%27human_movement%27_can_save_civilization_from_the_climate_crisis

The Public Option That Isn’t Public At All By James Ridgeway, Mother Jones Online.

As the Senate negotiates its health-care reform bill, liberals appear ready to throw in the towel on a real public option. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/144446/the_public_option_that_isn%27t_public_at_all

OH, AMERICA!

December 2, 2009

Patriot's Dream

ABSTRACT

15 Signs American Society Is Coming Apart at the Seams By David DeGraw, Amped Status,  edited excerpt from the Amped Status report, “The Critical Unraveling of U.S. Society.”  LINKto full report at END of ABSTRACT.

Are we nearing a tipping point as rapacious elites push a heavily armed populace too far?

The economic elite have launched an attack on the U.S. public and society is unraveling at an increased rate. You may have missed it in the mainstream news media, but statistical societal indicators are reading red across the board. Let’s look at the top 15 statistics that prove we are under attack.

1) The inequality of wealth in the United States is soaring to an unprecedented level. The U.S. already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world. Since the crisis, the gap between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of the U.S. population has grown to a record high.

2) As the stock market went over the 10,000 mark and surged to a 13-month high, the three big banks that took taxpayer money and benefited the most from the bailout have just set a new global economic record by issuing $30 billion in annual bonuses this year, “up 60 percent from last year.” Goldman Sachs is on pace for the best year in the firm’s history, and it is also benefiting by only paying 1 percent in taxes.

3) The profits of the economic elite are “now underwritten by taxpayers with $23.7 trillion worth of national wealth.”

As the looting is occurring at the top, the U.S. middle class is just beginning to collapse.

4) Workers between the ages of 55 to 60, who have worked for 20 to 29 years, have lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans went up by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion.

5) Home foreclosure filings “hit a record high in the third quarter (of 2009)… They were the worst three months of all time… some experts estimate that next year will be even worse.”

President Obama has enacted a $75 billion taxpayer funded program that has been a spectacular failure in stemming the foreclosure crisis and another massive waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.

6) 25 million people are unemployed or underemployed.

We have 25 million people who urgently need to increase their income, and they’re quickly running out of options. “The president’s chief economic adviser warned that the nation’s unemployment rate could stay ‘unacceptably high’ for years to come.”

The New York Times reports: “Americans now confront a job market that is bleaker than ever in the current recession, and employment prospects are still getting worse.

Economist Nouriel Roubini, just reported on unemployment stating: “Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening…. So we can expect that job losses will continue until the end of 2010 at the earliest. The jobs just are not coming back.”

7) As the few elite banks thrive, there have been 123 U.S. bank failures this year. The troubles put taxpayers at risk of losing as much as $5.1 billion invested in the banks since TARP was launched in October 2008.”

8) As bankruptcies surge across the board, 10 U.S. states are on the verge of bankruptcy, with several ready to declare a financial state of emergency. California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, raising the likelihood of higher taxes, more government layoffs and deep cuts in services.”

9) This is occurring at a time when the “federal budget deficit for the fiscal year that just ended was $1.4 trillion, nearly a trillion dollars greater than the year before.”  In total, “U.S. public debt topped $12 trillion for the first time in history, meaning Congress would have to raise the debt ceiling to prevent a shutdown of government operations.”

Economist Dean Baker explains the risk “If the debt limit is not passed, then at some point the government will not be able to pay workers and contractors. It won’t be able to send out Social Security checks or make payments for Medicaid and unemployment insurance to state governments. And, it will not be able to make interest payments on government bonds, effectively defaulting on the national debt.”

10) Although the government’s official figure tries to low-ball the number, 47.4 million U.S. citizens live in poverty, and the U.S. poverty rate is the highest in the industrialized world.

Predictably, homelessness is rising at an increased rate as well. “The fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.”

Children have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis:

11) One out of every two children in the United States of America will need to use a food stamp… to EAT!

Washington Post report: “The nation’s economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people — including almost one child in four — struggled last year to get enough to eat… ‘This is unthinkable. It’s like we are living in a Third World country,’ said Vicki Escarra, president of Feeding America.”

These numbers don’t take into account the millions more unemployed throughout 2009.

This a national tragedy. But it gets much worse.

12) In 2008, according to the Census Bureau, the number of U.S. citizens without health care grew to a record 46.3 million.

13) Lack of health insurance has caused 45,000 preventable U.S. citizen deaths in the past year. The American Journal of Medicine recently released a study that stated, “Nearly two out of three bankruptcies stem from medical bills, and even people with health insurance face financial disaster if they experience a serious illness.”

Studies report that: 17,000 children have died due to lack of health care; 2,266 U.S. veterans have died in 2008 due to lack of insurance.

The Senate continues to strip meaningful amendments from a health care bill that wouldn’t even take effect until 2013; the health care bill is going to fall far short of meaningful reform and continue to rig the game in favor of large insurance company profits at the expense of the U.S. population. Change is not on the horizon.

The economic hit men have now hit the United States and millions of American citizens are now effectively sentenced to a slow death.

And the clock is ticking…

14) The gun and ammunition manufacturing industry in the United States has over 200 companies producing billions of dollars in annual revenues. This huge manufacturing base cannot fulfill demand quickly enough.

Americans are arming themselves to the teeth!

15) In the past year, 100 new armed militia groups have been formed, as militia members have doubled in numbers. One federal authority recently said, “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”

So let’s break down these numbers.

You have 50 million people in desperate need of money, have no health insurance and can’t afford to get health care of any kind. They are running out of options fast, and time delayed is time closer to death.

The richest 1 percent have never had it so good.

We are sitting on a powder keg.

Read the rest of the report here.

Denial isn't a river in Africa.

“Hell of a job, Brownie!”

November 20, 2009

"Hell of a job, Brownie!"

Rising CO2 Will Cause Catastrophic Sea Level Rise Finds Antarctic Study by Louise Gray, Environment CorrespondentThe Telegraph/UK

Sea levels could rise by up to six metres if the world fails to get pollution under control, according to the latest study in the Antarctic.

The British Antarctic Survey is the latest research to warn of the consequences of increased greenhouse gases on the Earth’s climate. Carbon dioxide is rising at record rates putting the world on a pathway for a 6C rise in temperature, which will cause a sea level rise of up six metres, threatening coastal cities like London, New York and San Francisco.

The recent studies add pressure on world leaders to agree to an international deal on climate change at a UN summit in Copenhagen this December.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/18-6

How Limousine Liberals, Water Oligarchs and Even Sean Hannity Are Hijacking Our Water Supply By Yasha Levine, AlterNet.

A group of water oligarchs engineered a disastrous privatization scheme to make a fortune out of California’s most precious natural resource.

A group of water oligarchs in California have engineered a disastrous deregulation and privatization scheme. And they’ve pulled in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars without causing much public outrage. The amount of power and control they wield over California’s most precious resource, water, should shock and frighten us — and it would, if more people were aware of it. But here is the scary thing: They are plotting to gain an even larger share of California’s increasingly-scarce, over-tapped water supply, which will surely lead to shortages, higher prices and untold destruction to California’s environment.

California is in year three of a fairly nasty dry spell. And some very powerful forces are not letting this mini-crisis go to waste, fiercely lobbying Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Dianne Feinstein, paying off corporate shills like Fox News’ Sean Hannity and capitalizing on people’s fear of drought to push a massive waterworks project that will pump more water, build more dams and keep sucking the state’s rivers dry. …This drought hysteria is nothing more than political theatrics, a scare tactic backed by big agribusiness to strong-arm California voters into building a multi-billion dollar system of dams and canals that would not really help small farmers — of which there are very few anyway — but would deliver more water to corporations, subsidize their landholdings, fuel real estate development and enable large-scale water privatization. At its core, it is a war waged for water by California’s megarich on everyone else.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/water/144020/how_limousine_liberals%2C_water_oligarchs_and_even_sean_hannity_are_hijacking_our_water_supply

Rachel Maddow Interview with Former Evangelist Frank Schaeffer: Christian Right Is ‘Trolling for Assassins’ AlterNet.

Schaeffer: “There is a crazy fringe [receiving] messages that have been pouring out of FOX News … talking about doing away with Obama, asking God to kill him.”  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/rights/144054/rachel_maddow_interview_with_former_evangelist_frank_schaeffer%3A_christian_right_is_%27trolling_for_assassins%27

Shocking Benefits of Legalizing Pot By Ami Cholia, AlterNet.

There are some pluses to legalization that you probably haven’t heard about.

The war on drugs may be a noble intention, but the illegal growing of marijuana is destroying our environment.

Primarily run by Mexican drug cartels California’s illegal growers aren’t your typical peace-loving hippies of the 70s. These men live illegally on farms all summer, putting tons of waste into the soil and water. Pesticides drain into creeks and enter the food chain, sickening wildlife.  Each plant also uses about 15 gallons of water per day soaking up a large part of the water resources around.

Organized crime groups who cash in on the drug war’s distortion of supply and demand dynamics have little regard for the environment. Even illegal growers of organic marijuana impact the environment by felling trees in national forests to make room for illicit grow sites. The plants are seasonal, but the environmental damage lasts forever.

There is a serious exception to be made. Many medical – legal – marijuana growers are among the most responsible citizens around. They buy soil in bulk, use rat traps instead of poison, water with timers and drip systems. They have very little physical impact on the land.

Outside of the obvious benefits of hemp — bio-diesel, burns cleanly, soil builder, better cheaper paper, etc. — organic and sustainable practices for growing marijuana would bring in tons of revenue for the states, clean up the environment, and save the government $150 billion on policing and courts, since 47.5% of all drug arrests are marijuana-related.

We’re not promoting drug addiction.  The positive benefits to the environment by making marijuana legal definitely seem enough to take action.

Even Glenn Beck seems to think this is worth it.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/144052/world%27s_biggest_polluters_strike_a_deal%3A_u.s._and_china_agree_to_comprehensive_clean_energy_and_climate_plan?page=3

World’s Biggest Polluters Strike a Deal: U.S. and China Agree to Comprehensive Clean Energy and Climate Plan By Joseph Romm, Climate Progress.

The overall plan is much more ambitious in scope and depth than anticipated.

A comprehensive plan for U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy and climate change was announced in Beijing by President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao. The plan contains directives to create various institutions and programs addressing a wide array of cooperation on clean-energy technologies and capacity building, including very important efforts on helping China build a robust, transparent and accurate inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions.

These efforts include cooperation in the following areas:

1.      Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

2.      Joint Clean Energy Research Center. (Factsheet)

3.      Electric Vehicles. (Factsheet)

4.      Energy Efficiency. Building on the Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation, government officials of both countries will “work together (Factsheet)

5.      Renewable Energy. (Factsheet)

6.      21st Century Coal. The two countries will “launch a program of technical cooperation to …develop clean coal and carbon capture and storage technologies.” (Factsheet)

7.      Shale Gas. The U.S. and China will “assess China’s shale gas potential, promote environmentally-sustainable development of shale gas resources, conduct joint technical studies to accelerate development of shale gas resources in China, and promote shale gas investment in China through the U.S.-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, study tours, and workshops.” (Factsheet)

8.      Nuclear. The two countries reaffirmed the goals of the Third Executive Committee Meeting of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership to promote the peaceful use of civilian nuclear energy, and “agreed to consult with one another in order to explore such approaches—including assurance of fuel supply and cradle-to-grave nuclear fuel management so that countries can access peaceful nuclear power while minimizing the risks of proliferation.”

9.      Public-private partnerships on clean energy. A new U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP) will “leverage private sector resources for project development work in China across a broad array of clean energy projects, to the benefit of both nations.”

The two countries hope that the upcoming United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen will follow this example and focus as much on bottom-up technological strategies for achieving real reductions in emissions as it will on top-down targets for carbon caps.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/144052/world%27s_biggest_polluters_strike_a_deal%3A_u.s._and_china_agree_to_comprehensive_clean_energy_and_climate_plan?page=3

Push to Curb Credit-Card Rates Fades as Democrats resist consumer outcry by Michael KranishThe Boston Globe

WASHINGTON – Efforts in Congress to cap credit-card interest rates are faltering because of opposition from Democrats and a lack of specific support from the White House, despite growing consumer outrage over a rush by banks to impose rates as high as 30 percent.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama vowed to back a strict limit on credit-card interest rates. But the White House is not yet behind any plan.

The Senate soundly defeated legislation in May introduced by Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont Independent, to cap most credit-card interest rates at 15 percent. Nearly half of the Democratic senators joined Republicans in defeating the measure, 60 to 33.

Consumer groups say the problem of skyrocketing interest rates has worsened since that vote, as banks scramble to boost rates in advance of a new rule scheduled to take effect in February, requiring banks to give consumers a 45-day advance notice of rate increases.

Sanders said many of the credit cards in the hands of American consumers are issued by four banks that received taxpayer bailout money after last year’s economic meltdown: Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.

“People are disgusted. We bailed these [companies] out and they then had the gumption to raise interest rates on the American people,” Sanders said in an interview. Sanders said he plans to reintroduce his proposal to cap rates at 15 percent; he predicted it will have more support this time.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/18-7

 

DEAD BROKE EMPIRE CROWD

November 3, 2009

Negative Horizon

Our Economy Was a Scam and Now We’re Dead Broke By Joe Bageant, JoeBageant.com.

America is broke. And the easy credit, phantom “growth” economy has been exposed for what it was: a credit scam.

When Barack Obama took office it seemed to some of us that his first job was to get the national silverware out of the pawn shop. Or at least maintain the world’s confidence that it was possible for us to get out of debt. America is dead broke, the easy credit, phantom “growth” economy has been exposed for what it was. A credit scam. Even Hillary Clinton and Obama’s best efforts have not coaxed much more dough out of foreign friends. But at least we again have a few friends abroad.

So now we must jackleg ourselves back into something resembling a productive activity. No matter how you cut it, things will not be as much fun as shopping and speculative “investing” were.

The fiesta is over, the economy as we knew it is dead.

The national money shamans have danced around the carcass of our dead horse economy, chanted the recovery chant and burned fiat currency like Indian sage, enshrouding the carcass in the sacred smoke of burning cash. And indeed, they have managed to prop up the carcass to appear life-like from a distance, if you squint through the smoke just right. But it still stinks here from the inside. Clearly at some point we must find a new horse to ride, and sure as god made little green apples one is broaching the horizon. And it looks exactly like the old horse.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/143521/our_economy_was_a_scam_and_now_we%27re_dead_broke

6 Signs That the American Empire Is Coming to an Early End By Michael T. Klare, Tomdispatch.com.

The day of America’s global pre-eminence is over. We must face the new global realities.Posted October 27, 2009.

Memo to the CIA: You may not be prepared for time-travel, but welcome to 2025 anyway! Your rooms may be a little small, your ability to demand better accommodations may have gone out the window, and the amenities may not be to your taste, but get used to it. It’s going to be your reality from now on.

Okay, now for the serious version of the above: In November 2008, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), an affiliate of the Central Intelligence Agency, issued the latest in a series of futuristic publications intended to guide the incoming Obama administration. Peering into its analytic crystal ball in a report entitled Global Trends 2025, it predicted that America’s global preeminence would gradually disappear over the next 15 years — in conjunction with the rise of new global powerhouses, especially China and India. The report examined many facets of the future strategic environment, but its most startling, and news-making, finding concerned the projected long-term erosion of American dominance and the emergence of new global competitors. “Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor [in 2025],” it stated definitively, the country’s “relative strength — even in the military realm — will decline and U.S. leverage will become more constrained.”

That, of course, was then; this — some 11 months into the future — is now and how things have changed. Futuristic predictions will just have to catch up to the fast-shifting realities of the present moment. Although published after the onset of the global economic meltdown was underway, the report was written before the crisis reached its full proportions and so emphasized that the decline of American power would be gradual, extending over the assessment’s 15-year time horizon. But the economic crisis and attendant events have radically upset that timetable. As a result of the mammoth economic losses suffered by the United States over the past year and China’s stunning economic recovery, the global power shift the report predicted has accelerated. For all practical purposes, 2025 is here already.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/world/143514/6_signs_that_the_american_empire_is_coming_to_an_early_end

Apocalypse Soon: Halloween Interview on Overpopulation with Kierán Suckling

Scared of ghosts, goblins, and jack-o-lanterns? None of those are on the Santa Fe Reporter‘s list of the top five environmental horrors. But human overpopulation is. “Apocalypse Soon: Today’s Environmental Horrors Could Lead to a Scary Sci-Fi Future” interviews Center for Biological Diversity director Kierán Suckling. Click below to read the whole article. Here are few excerpts:

“Virtually everything that is destroying wildlife habitat and the environment is driven by overpopulation,” Kierán Suckling, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, says.

“Whether it’s too many people diverting water out of the Rio Grande or too much wood use leading to the logging of old-growth forests, the bottom line is there are too many people using too many resources to be able to have a healthy environment.”

“It’s great to focus on reducing our carbon footprint, but…unless we start reducing the footprints to begin with, we and other species are not going to survive on this planet.”

“The majority of environmental groups avoid addressing overpopulation like the plague. I think that’s largely because they lack the courage of their convictions. They are fearful that in saying that [we are overpopulated] they will be viewed as being anti-human somehow–as if squalor and overpopulation are somehow pro-human.”  READ MORE:

Read the Santa Fe Reporter interview and learn what the Center’s doing to confront the overpopulation crisis head-on.

Septic Truck

BANKERS and TEABAGGERS

October 28, 2009

Brotherhood

Thousands March in 3-Day Showdown with Banking Industry By Kari Lydersen, AlterNet.

Tired of bailouts and fat paychecks for those that created the economic catastrophe, marchers made clear demands to tame an out-of-control financial system.

Workers gave pink slips to the country’s top bankers Tuesday morning to culminate three days of protests, billed as the Showdown in Chicago, during the American Bankers’ Association’s annual meeting.

Before a jeering and cheering crowd of 5,000 union members and activists, Armando Robles, president of UE Local 1110 and a leader of the Republic Windows factory occupation last year, attached big, fluorescent pink slips to larger-than-life cutouts of retiring Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf and JP Morgan Chase CEO James Dimon.

The three CEOs were probably among the bank officials meeting in the Sheraton behind the stage that featured speeches by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Change to Win Chairwoman Anna Burger, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and workers and community leaders.

After “firing” the bank CEOs, Adam Kader of the workers group Arise Chicago presented a notice that the banks’ $17.8 trillion “loan” in taxpayer-bailout funds is due since, he said, banks have not complied with the conditions placed on the handout by the people.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/143547/thousands_march_in_3-day_showdown_with_banking_industry

Tea Party Movement Returns, This Time with Much More Dangerous and Explicit Rhetoric By Frank Schaeffer, AlterNet.

It’s not too hard to guess where talk of ‘Judgement Day’ can lead to in the context of a right-wing, gun-loving movement.

According to the “Tea Party” website, Tea Party Express II: Countdown To Judgment Day” is underway. Here’s how their website describes it:

All throughout the recent Tea Party Express national bus tour we kept receiving calls from people around the nation who lived far away from the route our buses took across America. We vowed at the time to keep the Tea Party Express effort alive — and that’s exactly what we are doing.Join us from October 25th to November 11th, 2009 as we tell Congress and the White House: “Enough!” Let’s stand up and stop the bailouts, cap and trade, out-of-control spending, government-run health care, and higher taxes! We’re back and determined to take our country back!

What will happen on their predicted “Judgment Day”?

If you buy the biblical spin of the Religious Right folks — that make up the bulk of the Tea Party movement — the implication is clear: Jesus will soon return, send all Democrats, gays, blacks, progressives, liberals, college-educated unbelievers, etc., to Hell, while saving what Sarah Palin calls “us” “Real Americans” — in other words unreconstructed frightened and resentful white lower middle class Americans.

(As a former right wing evangelical anti-abortion leader who built a good career from these folks — until I quit in disgust with myself, the anti-American nature of the movement and the takeover the Republican Party by extremists — I know of what I speak.)

If you put the secular/right’s “tree-of-Liberty-must-be-watered-by-the-blood-of-tyrants-Timothy McVeigh spin on the Judgment Day scenario; then there will soon be a hoped for bloody day of reckoning for the occupant of the White House.

http://www.alternet.org/rights/143554/tea_party_movement_returns%2C_this_time_with_much_more_dangerous_and_explicit_rhetoric

The Case for Marijuana Legalization and Regulation By Paul Armentano, AlterNet.

An exclusive look at the historic testimony prepared for a special hearing on legalizing marijuana to the California Assembly.

The following is the testimony NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano will deliver on Oct. 28 to the California Assembly Public Safety Committee’s special hearing on “the legalization of marijuana: social, fiscal and legal implications for California.” Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, sponsor of AB 390, The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act, is the chairman of the committee.

By any objective standard, marijuana prohibition is an abject failure.

Nationwide, U.S. law enforcement have arrested over 20 million American citizens for marijuana offenses since 1965, yet today marijuana is more prevalent than ever before, adolescents have easier access to marijuana than ever before, the drug is more potent than ever before, and there is more violence associated with the illegal marijuana trade than ever before.

Over 100 million Americans nationally have used marijuana despite prohibition, and 1 in 10 — according to current government survey data — use it regularly.

The criminal prohibition of marijuana has not dissuaded anyone from using marijuana or reduced its availability; however, the strict enforcement of this policy has adversely impacted the lives and careers of millions of people who simply elected to use a substance to relax that is objectively safer than alcohol.

NORML believes that the state of California ought to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation and education.

The case for legalization and regulation

Only through state government regulation will we be able to bring necessary controls to the commercial marijuana market. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/143558/the_case_for_marijuana_legalization_and_regulation

30 Reasons Fox News Is Not Legit By Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America.

Fox News routinely, and blatantly, breaks the code to which ethical journalists are supposed to aspire. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/media/143541/30_reasons_fox_news_is_not_legit

Why Won’t Obama Send Condolence Letters to the Parents of Soldiers Who Have Committed Suicide? By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!.

The bereaved parents of Chancellor Keesling, a US soldier who took his own life in Iraq, wonder why the death of their son is treated differently than other mortalities.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/world/143557/why_won%27t_obama_send_condolence_letters_to_the_parents_of_soldiers_who_have_committed_suicide

Apocalypse Soon: Halloween Interview on Overpopulation with Kierán Suckling

Scared of ghosts, goblins, and jack-o-lanterns? None of those are on the Santa Fe Reporter‘s list of the top five environmental horrors. But human overpopulation is. “Apocalypse Soon: Today’s Environmental Horrors Could Lead to a Scary Sci-Fi Future” interviews Center for Biological Diversity director Kierán Suckling. Click below to read the whole article. Here are few excerpts:

“Virtually everything that is destroying wildlife habitat and the environment is driven by overpopulation,” Kierán Suckling, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, says.

“Whether it’s too many people diverting water out of the Rio Grande or too much wood use leading to the logging of old-growth forests, the bottom line is there are too many people using too many resources to be able to have a healthy environment.”

“It’s great to focus on reducing our carbon footprint, but…unless we start reducing the footprints to begin with, we and other species are not going to survive on this planet.”

“The majority of environmental groups avoid addressing overpopulation like the plague. I think that’s largely because they lack the courage of their convictions. They are fearful that in saying that [we are overpopulated] they will be viewed as being anti-human somehow–as if squalor and overpopulation are somehow pro-human.”

Read the Santa Fe Reporter interview and learn what the Center’s doing to confront the overpopulation crisis head-on.

 Wamm2

SAVE THE WORLD TO DO LIST

October 26, 2009

What?

Michael Moore’s Action Plan: 15 Things Every American Can Do Right Now By Michael Moore, MichaelMoore.com.

5 things to demand Obama and Congress to do immediately, 5 things the politicians must hear from us, 5 things we should do to protect ourselves and family.

Friends,

It’s the #1 question I’m constantly asked after people see my movie: “OK — so now what can I do?!”  You want something to do? Well, you’ve come to the right place! ‘Cause I got 15 things you and I can do right now to fight back and try to fix this very broken system.  Here they are:

FIVE THINGS WE DEMAND THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS DO IMMEDIATELY:

1.      Declare a moratorium on all home evictions.

2.      Congress must join the civilized world and expand Medicare For All Americans. The bill to make this happen is called H.R. 3200 (but only with Rep. Anthony Weiner’s amendment). You must call AND write your members of Congress and demand its passage, no compromises allowed.

3.      Demand publicly-funded elections and a prohibition on elected officials leaving office and becoming lobbyists. Tell your members of Congress they must support campaign finance bill H.R.1826.

4.      Each of the 50 states must create a state-owned public bank like they have in North Dakota.  Reinstate all the strict pre-Reagan regulations on all commercial banks, investment firms, insurance companies (Click here for some info about the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.)

5.      Save this fragile planet and declare that all the energy resources above and beneath the ground are owned collectively by all of us. (For more on this, here’s a proposal I wrote in December.)

FIVE THINGS WE CAN DO TO MAKE CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT LISTEN TO US:

1.      Each of us must get into the daily habit of taking 5 minutes to make four brief calls: One to the President (202-456-1414), one to your Congressperson (202-224-3121) and one to each of your two Senators (202-224-3121). To find out who represents you, click here.  Trust me, they will listen. If you have another five minutes, click here to send them each an email. And if you really want to drop an anvil on them, send them a snail mail letter!

2.      Take over your local Democratic Party.  When you all become the local Democratic Party, send me a photo of the group and I’ll post it on my website.

3.      Recruit someone to run for office who can win in your local elections next year — or, better yet, consider running for office yourself! Check out examples of regular citizens who got elected.  The list goes on and on — and you should be on it!

4.      Show up. Picket the local branch of a big bank that took the bailout money.  Make some noise, have some fun, get on the local news.

5.      Start your own media.  Start a blog! Start a website.  Tweet your friends and use Facebook. The daily papers are dying.  Fill that void.

FIVE THINGS WE SHOULD DO TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND OUR LOVED ONES UNTIL WE GET THROUGH THIS MESS:

1.      Take your money out of your bank if it took bailout money and place it in a locally-owned bank or, preferably, a credit union.

2.      Get rid of all your credit cards but one — the kind where you have to pay up at the end of the month or you lose your card.

3.      Do not invest in the stock market.  Buy very safe government savings bonds or T-bills. Or just buy your mother some flowers.

4.      Unionize your workplace so that you and your coworkers have a say in how your business is run. Here’s how to do it (more info here).  Turn your business into a worker-owned cooperative. You are not a wage slave.

5.      Take care of yourself and your family.  Turn off the TV and the Blackberry and go for a 30-minute walk every day.

I’m sure there are many other ideas you can come up with on how we can build this movement. Get creative.  And when you act, send me your stories, your photos and your video — and be sure to post your ideas in the comments beneath this letter on my site so they can be shared with millions.

C’mon people — we can do this! I expect nothing less of all of you, my true and trusted fellow travelers!

Yours, Michael Moore

MMFlint@aol.com, MichaelMoore.com

READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/action/143444/michael_moore%27s_action_plan%3A_15_things_every_american_can_do_right_now?page=3

Inter Press Service

American Public More Complacent About Climate Change by Jim Lobe.

WASHINGTON – Less than two months before a key international conference on curbing climate change, a major U.S. poll has found a sharp drop in public concern about global warming.

According to the survey by the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press, 65 percent of the public believes that warming constitutes either a “very serious” (35 percent) or “somewhat serious” (30 percent) problem, down from 79 percent in July 2006 and from 73 percent just 18 months ago.

The survey also recorded a sharp drop in the percentage of the public that believes that “there is solid evidence the Earth is warming” – down from 71 percent in April, 2008, to 57 percent – and in the percentage that believes global warming is caused primarily by human activity – from 47 percent to 36 percent over the same period.

The survey of 1,500 adult respondents comes was released just six weeks before the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen where the representatives of 192 nations will gather to hash out the basic principles of a treaty to curb global emissions of greenhouse gases that virtually all climate and atmospheric scientists agree constitute the major cause of global warming.  READ MORE:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/10/23-0

Koi Pond

HOT NEWS

September 24, 2009

extra

BANK LOBBY DEFEATS OBAMA REFORM PLAN

Hill resisting financial plan by Sean Lengell

Congress appears set to ignore President Obama’s proposal that banks be required to offer “plain vanilla” financial products such as 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, giving the banking industry an early victory in its fight with the administration over how to reform the financial-services sector.

Barney Frank Vanilla

Barney Frank Vanilla

Barney Frank (D-MA) chairman of the House Financial Services Committee waits for President Barack Obama to speak about the global financial crisis at Federal Hall in New York, September 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky)

Instead, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank will forge ahead with plans for a watered-down Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) — a blow to the administration’s push for tighter regulations and more control over the banking and financial-service industries.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/23-3

Assassin

WHOOPS: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud by Ryan Grim.

Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately — but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/23-0

Right/Wrong

5 THINGS THE CORPORATE MEDIA DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW About Cannabis By Paul Armentano, AlterNet. Posted September 23, 2009.

Recent scientific reports suggest that pot doesn’t destroy your brain, that it doesn’t cause lung damage like tobacco — but you won’t hear it in the corporate media.

1.     Marijuana Use Is Not Associated With a Rise in Incidences of Schizophrenia

2.     Marijuana Smoke Doesn’t Damage the Lungs Like Tobacco 

3.     Cannabis Use Potentially Protects, Rather Than Harms, the Brain 

4.     Marijuana Is a Terminus, Not a ‘Gateway,’ to Hard Drug Use 

5.     Government’s Anti-Pot Ads Encourage, Rather Than Discourage, Marijuana Use

http://www.alternet.org/media/142815/5_things_the_corporate_media_don%27t_want_you_to_know_about_cannabis

Editor’s note: Come see Paul Armentano and many other top marijuana experts and advocates in discussion at NORML’s 38th national conference taking place this week from September 24-26 in San Francisco. Click here to learn more.

Learn even more at: https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/marijuana-papers/ MARIJUANA PAPERS.

Transformation

WAKE UP CALL:

Dear all,

Wow. Monday’s Wake Up call was unbelievable – 2632 events in 134 countries, tens of thousands of phone calls crashing government lines, unbelievable creativity and diversity of events, directly reaching heads of state and cabinet ministers from Australia to Europe. Words can’t describe it — this video gets close:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/

The Wake Up call was covered by hundreds of major news outlets and made the evening news everywhere from Germany to New Zealand. Europe’s environment chief praised “the mobilisation of so many people by Avaaz.org”, the UK Prime Minister became the first major world leader to agree to our demand to go to Copenhagen and said that with “the pressure that can brought by organizations like yours…what people think is impossible can become possible”. The Spanish environment minister called the action “extraordinary”.

World leaders have heard us. But as Tuesday’s UN summit showed, one day of action won’t be enough to get real progress on climate. We need to come back again and again, louder and louder, until we get a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty.

We’ll keep the pressure high through the TCKTCKTCK campaign until Copenhagen, with another global day of action on October 24th, and start planning right now for the LARGEST CLIMATE MOBILIZATION IN HISTORY ON DECEMBER 12th, in the final days of the Copenhagen negotiations.

Avaaz is now 3.6 million members strong in 14 languages, in every country of the world. On Monday, our movement took a huge step forward — we showed that we can not only send millions of messages to leaders or donate millions to worthy causes, but that in just a few days we can flood the streets and crash phone lines from Mexico City to Mumbai.

If we stick together, anything is possible.

With hope and excitement for the future,

Ricken, Ben, Paul, Milena, Alice, Luis, Brett, Taren, Margaret, Iain, Pascal, Graziela, Paula, Benjamin, Rajeev, Veronique, Raluca, Julius, Yuri, Saravanan, Vladimir, Tihomir, Sam, Emma and the whole Avaaz team

PS – the video above was made from over 10,000 wake up call pictures and 600 videos uploaded to Avaaz in just 24 hours! There were many tears among people making the video as we saw the amazing dedication of everyone, from the Avaaz community to our TCKTCKTCK campaign partners to people joining the first climate action of their lives. Click here to see the video of this amazing movement in action: http://www.avaaz.org/en/

Want to support Avaaz? We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated online team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way — http://www.avaaz.org/en/.

ABOUT AVAAZ Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Click http://www.avaaz.org/en/ to learn more about our largest campaigns.

Wamm2

HEALTH CARE SAUSAGE MACHINE

September 16, 2009

homefornearlydead

Published on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 by Brave New Films

WATCH THE VIDEO:

The Health Insurance Racket

CIGNAs Edward Hanway spends his holidays in a $13 million beach house in New Jersey. Meanwhile, regular Americans are routinely denied coverage for the care they need when they need it most.

Welcome to the American health insurance industry. Instead of helping policyholders attain the health security they need for their families, big insurance companies get rich by denying coverage to patients. Now theyre sending lobbyists to Washington, DC to twist the arms of lawmakers to oppose reform of the status quo. Why? Because the status quo pays.

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2009/09/15-0

 

 

 

PETITION_BANNER_health_care_for_all

The Private Mandate Sausage Machine

While the political process in Washington suffers through its grotesque pantomime on health care, let us prepare our neighborhoods, our communities, our states for the eventual triumph of single payer health care.Please sign the petition for a single payer system.

Download, print and circulate the petition among friends and neighbors.

 

Dear Friends,

It is said one should not ask how sausage or laws are made. Are you concerned about a public option? Let me share with you some insight about health care legislation which may not be good for your health.

A lesson in politics. The Kucinich Prediction: Here’s what’s going to happen …

  1. House will make a big deal about keeping/putting a public option in HR3200 because it competes with insurance companies and will keep insurance rates low.
  2. The White House will refer to the President’s speech last week where he spoke favorably of the public option.
  3. The Senate will kill the competitive public option in favor of non-competitive “co-ops”. Senate leaders like Kent Conrad have said the votes to pass a public option were never there in the Senate.
  4. The bill will come to a House-Senate Conference Committee without the public option.
  5. House Democrats will be told to support the conference report on the legislation to support the President.
  6. The bill will pass, not with a “public option” but with a private mandate requiring 30 million uninsured to buy private health insurance (if one doesn’t already have it). If you are broke, you may get a subsidy. If you are not broke, you will get a fine if you do not purchase insurance.

This legislative sausage will be celebrated as a new breakthrough and will be packaged as health insurance reform. However, the bill may require a Surgeon General’s warning label: Your Money or Your Life!

The bill that Congress passes may pale in comparison to the bill that millions of Americans will get every month/year for having or not having private health insurance.

It will take four years for the new legislation to go into effect. During that time we are going to build a constituency of millions in support of real health care, a constituency which will be recognized and a cause which is right and just: Health Care as a Civil Right.

Join our efforts. Sign the petition. Contribute. http://kucinich.us/hcpetition  Insure a democratic future.

Thank you.
Dennis

demsport

POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE

September 14, 2009

Coming to America -Triptych

[See also POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE reprise for full post]

TOO DAMNED MANY PEOPLE

WAYS TO REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINTS:

ACTION: (Measure: Lifetime carbon dioxide saved in Metric Tons. Data from U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s personal emissions calculator and calculations by OSU statistics professor Paul Murtaugh.  Annual totals based on lifespan of 80 – female expectancy U.S.  Source: Paul Murtaugh).

Recycle newspaper, magazines, glass, plastic, and aluminum cans – 17 tons

Replace old refrigerator with energy-efficient model – 19 tons

Replace 10 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones – 36 tons

Replace single-glazed windows with energy-efficient windows – 21 tons

Reduce miles driven from 231 to 155 per week – 147 tons

Increase car’s fuel economy from 20 miles per gallon to 30 – 148 tons

REDUCE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BY ONE  – 9,441 tons

Under current conditions, each child in the U.S. adds about 9,4441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the parents’ carbon legacy during his lifetime.  That’s 5.7 times more than the average childless person.

A child born in China has a fifth of the impact of a child born in the U.S.

The carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of having a child is almost 20 times more important than other ecologically minded lifestyle choices like driving a fuel-efficient car, recycling or being energy-efficient.

The same conclusions also roughly apply to fresh water consumption. Fresh water has been and will continue to be cause for international conflict. The amount of fresh water on planet earth is finite and we’re running out.

Many children are born to people who are not ready or willing to raise them.

Many parents are less ecologically responsible out of convenience, e.g. using disposable instead of cloth diapers; buying an SUV instead of a compact (“The family is so much safer.”  Not in the long run, Mom; bad choice for the grand children too, if any).

Abstracted: “Not So Carbon Friendly” Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune.  Sound Off – Comment: www.portlandtribune.com

TIME IS SHORT

According to the best science, we’ve got ten years left to take this issue on seriously and save our butts.  It may well be less, no one can accurately predict the rate of decay.  It will take most of us to accomplish any earthly salvation, but if we don’t confront and dispose of our garbage, which includes, but is not limited to: religion; overpopulation; short-term economic self-interest; and our ostrich-like tendency to duck and cover in order to avoid seeing our approaching doom, we’re screwed.

We must stop over consumption, kick capitalism into a servant’s status in our democratic life, and curb the excesses of individual and tribal (read also national) self-interest.  Impossible, you say?  That’s my point: good luck and the spin of prayer is about all we seem willing to invest in our own survival.

Homo sapiens, Man the “wise,” we called ourselves; Homo sapiens sapiens, man the “doubly wise” some scientists call us now.  Yeah, right.  First step: pick up the shovel and find a place to pitch in; there’s a lot of work to do quickly, and it must be done well.  No me-first crap, one for all and all for one.  Meet you in the trenches.

A GOOD Place to Start: Center for Biological Diversity

Slaughtered Dolphins - Japan

Japanese fishermen riding a boat loaded with slaughtered dolphins at a blood-covered water cove in Taiji harbor, Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. US environmentalist Ric O’Barry has filmed dolphin hunting at the town of Taiji as an eco-documentary called “The Cove” which has started screening in the US.(AFP/HO/File)

Published on Friday, September 11, 2009 by Agence France Presse

Japanese Town Starts Dolphin Hunt Under global Spotlight by Kyoko Hasegawa.

TAIJI, Japan – To animal rights activists it’s a cruel and bloody slaughter; for Japanese it’s a long tradition: this week fishermen in a picturesque coastal town embarked on their annual dolphin hunt.  Every year, crews in motorboats here have rounded up about 2,000 of the sea mammals, banged metal poles to herd them into a small, rocky cove and killed them with harpoons, sparing a few dozen for sale to marine aquariums.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/11-4