Watching Republicans participate in a Climate change hearing is like watching scientists attempt to explain thermodynamics to a troop of bonobo monkeys – who also happen to be religious fanatics on the Koch Brother’s payroll.
It’s a national embarrassment that would be funny except when you remember that we spent more money on extreme weather cleanup last year than on schools or roads.
Even with the consequences of climate change staring us in the face, the typical Republican response is denial and call for more drilling, especially including the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. They’re like the Rapa Nui Priests of Easter Island calling for more Moai statues to be built to undo the ecological collapse caused by the building of the Moai statues.
In case you are not familiar with that tale, here’s the brief synopsis paraphrased from the Independent UK:
…Easter Island was once a lush, sub-tropical paradise covered in thick forest filled with a rich assortment of wildlife. But the trees and forest animals were long gone by the time Jacob Roggeveen, the Dutch seaman who gave the island its name when he spotted it on Easter Day in 1722, had arrived. The question is why?
In his 2005 book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, author Jared Diamond explains why it was the islanders’ fault. Diamond says they started to build bigger and bigger ceremonial statues (Moai) in an atmosphere of competitive rivalry between the island’s many different clans. To move the statues from the island’s quarry, Rano Raraku, in the south-east, the islanders needed to cut large logs for the construction of long “canoe ladders” to carry the massive carvings to the island’s coast. They also needed heavy ropes made from the fibrous bark of the bigger palms.
“The overall picture for Easter Island is the most extreme example of forest destruction in the Pacific, and among the most extreme in the world: the whole forest gone, and all of its tree species extinct,” says Diamond.
As a result of the deforestation, food production fell dramatically as crops became exposed to the harsh winds and semi-arid conditions of the region. Consequently the population collapsed from perhaps as many as 15,000 at its peak to the few thousand that were eking out a living by the time Roggeveen arrived.
Smallpox and slavery killed off most of the people that remained, but the islanders were on the way to total collapse even without any contact with Europeans, says Diamond.
Read the whole article here.
Like Easter Island, Earth has limited resources and her population has nowhere to go. What are the lessons for today? To normal people the lessons are, “Hey! Can we not ‘drill baby drill’ like the Rapa Nui priests ‘built baby built?’”
But Republicans like John Shimkus of the Energy and Commerce Committee assure us, “the Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over.”
Which is probably what the Rapa Nui priests were saying as they were cutting down that last tree.
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The end is near! I mean, you can start signing up on the Obamacare exchanges October 1st. But that isn’t stopping Republicans from continuing to try to defund it. In fact, they just held their 41st sham vote to block it. I mean… what else do they have to do? It’s not like they’re fix the Reaganomics hole they put us in. They’re not going to start governing now when this whole “obstruct and drag us back to the gilded age” plan is coming along so nicely.
Conservatives: Addicted to “profitable” Failure
ONLY a conservative would dig their heels in to protect the WORST health system in the developed world. That’s right – the worst. Sure, it’s great if you’re rich! But try getting sick – really sick – and checking back with us. The fact is, the American for-profit health insurance system costs twice more than the nearest most expensive system, bankrupts millions, kills thousands, gobbles up 16% of the GDP and growing, leaves millions out and consistently ranks DEAD (no pun intended) LAST or next to last in all positive measures (quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives) – but it makes a FEW people VERY RICH to deny people access to affordable care. So that’s just fine with conservatives. After all, we MUST think of the PLUTOCRATS! As for the rest of us… I guess we should enjoy living in a country where someone can be inflicted with the type of elephantiasis only seen in so-called Third World Countries because he can’t afford to see a doctor. Hey! At least we get a TLC reality show out of it – ”The Man With the 132lb Scrotum.” That’s the “free market” at work, baby! It’s a “win/win!” The health insurance racketeers get windfall profits – and you a disgusting reality show to distract you from that strange lump on YOUR groin that you’re afraid to find out about because you can’t take a day off of work because you don’t get sick days and you can’t afford insurance.
When FDR took office, he asked Congress to give him powers to approach the economic crisis Republicans had put the country in with the same power and sense of urgency with which a president would approach a crisis of war.
Yes… we still keep hearing how Bush left us with the worst economy since the FIRST Republican Great Depression… but now, the only sense of urgency our representatives muster is when it comes to mobilizing our bloated military world police force.
John Boehner and Republicans like to tell us “let’s be honest, we’re broke” when they’re cutting health care, education, infrastructure, workers working, research and development, cancer clinics, public parks, veterans benefits or investing in the dignity of our seniors not to eat cat food – but if we were TRULY broke, the US taxpayers wouldn’t be paying over 2 trillion dollars of their tax money for nothing more the Pentagon to occupy the planet.
So… the British parliament listened to their war weary people and ixnayed their rush to war in Syria – but here in the great American Plutocracy – where legal bribery is built right into the system, we get lectured about how history will judge us if we don’t give Lockheed Martin and Raytheon more fat contracts to hang us on a cross of iron.
Happy Labor Day! (Reposted from an earlier edition)
This Labor Day, as those fortunate enough to have a job are celebrating a well-deserved day off, and millions others are travailing the uncertainty of life during 30 years of the Reaganomics War against the middle class, let’s not forget the workers who fought, bled and died to create a better quality of life for themselves, their families and those yet to be born.
Regardless of the Faux News propaganda that has some convinced we live and die under the graciousness of our benevolent “betters,” everything good about the working class quality of life came as a result of the organized labor movement.
Despite Abraham Lincoln’s assertion, “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration”… The modern Republican agenda can be boiled down to 2 words: CHEAP LABOR.
If Capitalists can no longer exploit slaves, they will seek to pay workers the least amount they can get away with for the sake of profit. The history of Capitalism is merciless. It enslaved nations, split up families and left generations in poverty suffering with broken backs and broken minds.
Yet, many see Capitalism as mankind’s salvation, allowing us to conquer nature, raise our standard of living and ensure long-term prosperity. To perpetuate that meme, however, those pure Capitalists develop a plethora of excuses to explain the disparity in economic standards between the “haves and the have-nots.” Not doing well in this capitalistic system? Well, it must be because you’re lazy, stupid or bad. Have you fallen between the cracks? You only have yourself to blame. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and marry a beer heiress. Work harder! Maybe your father can give you another oil business to run into the ground or give you a baseball team. Trampled under the merciless Capitalist system? We Capitalists are too busy making money off the backs of laborers to care.
Inherent in Capitalism, is a lack of compassion and mechanisms to crush humanistic programs – like basic universal health care. In this system, nothing is worth doing unless some rich bankster can make a buck.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tens of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall this past Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington and what is one of the most important speeches in American history. But, as usual here in the *ahem* “Land of the Free,” there’s lots of whitewashing going on with the corporate media and ruling establishment reframing MLK’s “dream” solely – and safely – in the realm of racial equality rather than in the more “radical” realm of economic disparity - which is sadly worse today than it was 50 years ago.
As I wrote in a post over a year ago, “…income inequality is higher now than when Dr. King died in 1968 and the working class is worse off now than when King organized his first “Poor People’s Campaign,” in which he confronted issues of jobs, income and housing.
Dedrick Muhammad, Senior Director of the NAACP Economic Department and Nicole Kenney, NAACP Economic Program Specialist posted at the NAACP website,
“Dr. King states,’There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it.’ We are currently funding three unpopular wars that, like the Vietnam War, are diverting a significant amount of dollars that could be used to aggressively combat poverty and provide opportunities to reclaim the American Dream. It is simply a matter of priorities. Therefore, in the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, let us reevaluate our country’s commitment to the groups Dr. King sacrificed his life to protect- the economically vulnerable and recognize that advancing a strong middle class economy must have progressive policy as the center of the struggle (e.g., social safety net, government investment in opportunity and equity, and progressive taxation on the wealthiest of Americans). Let’s not commemorate Dr. King’s memorial without recommitting ourselves to fulfilling the vision he and so many brave men and women fought for – economic justice for all.”
King said, “We believe the highest patriotism demands the ending of the war and the opening of a bloodless war to final victory over racism and poverty.” Then, as it is now, ensuring that society works for ALL is the highest form of patriotism.
This MLK day, as in years prior, people all over the country learned that Martin Luther King, Jr. “had a dream” that black children and white children would one day play and go to school together without having to call National Guard to protect them from the red-blooded CONservatives who can’t deal with, among many things, non-white people and/or progress. With the election of our first black President, we were told King’s dream is surely now a reality… so much so, that we can can now congratulate ourselves on our evolution by adding a made-in-China MLK statue to the National Mall. Tragically, among the many myths we’re told in America, it’s no surprise that MLK has undergone the standard whitewash from which he’s been transformed from an anti-militarism revolutionary for social & economic justice into an orator who pondered, Rodney King-style platitudes about “why can’t we all just get along?”
On King’s national holiday, our so-called “leaders” from sea to shining sea gave their standard speeches meant to, not rally us to change the structures that create poverty for the many and affluence for the few, but convince us all of the importance of the maintaining of the status quo while conservative governance drags us back to the bad-old-days of voter suppression we thought we left behind.
Yes, King said, “the arch of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” But he ALSO said, “The dispossessed of this nation – the poor, both white and Negro – live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty.”
Far from criticizing our broken system, the establishment seeks to convince us that King’s dream was that “men,” ”not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” – A palatable phrase our corporate-sponsored government can regularly regurgitate for the masses to swallow, while easily neglecting the message King concentrated on in the last years of his life – economic justice – a dream of which we’ve not even come close to bringing to fruition.
(Portions of this text were taken from an earlier post)
How do you think Teabaggers would react if they found out George Soros was holding secret meetings with leading Democrats and grooming candidates for national office?
How do you think they’ll react to the secret meetings the Koch Brothers actually have with Rep. Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez… meetings in journalists are barred from attending?
The billionaire conservative philanthropists and mega-donors held one of their two annual conferences just outside of Albuquerque, where they booked every room at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya. This fact puzzled Albuquerque media, apparently unaware of the event’s implications. Reported a local TV station:
“Something is going on at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya that no one wants to talk about. Everyone is hush-hush. KOB Eyewitness News 4 has been told the entire place has been sold out the last three nights. When KOB sent one of our photographers out tonight, he was stopped at a roadblock about a mile from the high-end resort on Santa Ana Pueblo.”
What did Ryan do or say at the conference? His office won’t tell. Absolute silence appears to be one of the first rules of dealing with the Kochs.
“I can confirm he was there,” responded Ryan aide William Allison by email. “But not confirming/commenting on anything beyond that.”
The Skull and Bones-style secrecy of the events reinforces the notion that the Kochs hold great influence over Republican politicians and their agendas. However, the Kochs — particularly David — have been quite public about their attempts to influence the political process by spending large amounts of money. Read the rest of Craver’s article, here.
So… whaddya think the average Joe Republican will say about billionaires holding secret meetings with Republicans? Here’s a guess. Teabaggers and the average Joe republican will continue to say and do nothing about Right Wing billionaires colluding with their politician pets. Because Fox News only tells them to be outraged about George Soros.
SCOTUS Destruction of Voting Rights Act – a Slap in the Face to Freedom, Democracy and Civil Rights Martyrs
Conservatives have ALWAYS tried to stop non-rich/non-white people from voting
Since the founding of America, Conservatives have attempted to restrict access to anyone other than rich, white, men to the very lynchpin of a free society – the right to vote.
After the American Revolution, brought to you by – like all advances in freedom – enlightened liberals – the conservatives who didn’t flee back into the bosom of their “natural lord,” the king – were stuck pondering how they would hold on to their power and privilege – in the face of the chaos of democracy.
Wealthy Southern slave owners especially didn’t want any of the rabble telling them they couldn’t own other human beings… so they set out to ensure that only other wealthy white males could participate in this “radical” experiment in self-governance liberals had thrust upon them… and disenfranchise anyone other than rich white people.
Everything from senators once being elected by state legislatures (an un-democratic policy Conservatives are STILL trying to bring back), to the Electoral College… to Jim Crow laws to Voter ID laws to ongoing voter caging tactics that Republicans engage in despite being under a standing court order not to do so, are all attempts to block people from voting.
One might think that in a democratic society, the goal would be to bring more people into the voting process… but conservatives beg to differ. Conservatives want to return us to the very system of government our founders fought a revolution to escape – namely, one where the rich run and own everything, and everyone else knows their “place.” This is where the merger of big money, Conservative ideology and a bought and paid-for Regressive government betray the very foundations of the dignity of self-governance – the right to freely participate in choosing one’s representatives… and conspire to maintain authority over certain constituencies by denying them the right to vote. Read the rest of this entry »
We all know that President Obama gives a good speech. Manifesting those words into policy leaves something to be desired. Nevertheless, on the cusp of Memorial Day -when we honor those who have died supposedly to “make the world safe for democracy,” but most often to make it “safe” for corporate exploitation – the President spoke at the National Defense University and rejected the trend towards “perpetual war,” calling for the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to be rolled back.
President Obama said,
“America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us, mindful of James Madison’s warning that ‘No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’ Neither I, nor any President, can promise the total defeat of terror. We will never erase the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings, nor stamp out every danger to our open society. What we can do — what we must do — is dismantle networks that pose a direct danger, and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold, all while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend. To define that strategy, we must make decisions based not on fear, but hard-earned wisdom. And that begins with understanding the threat we face.” Entire transcript here.
Of course, Republicans, like Senator Saxby Chamblis, went into full chicken hawk mode, telling their fear-based followers that the President’s call to shift the so-called “War on Terror” to reflect current threat levels, was a “victory” for terrorists.
After all, Republicans went to great lengths to manufacture the oil-war they longed for since before the Supreme Court installed Bush into the Presidency and Dick Cheney’s energy task force began secret meetings with oil company executives. Convincing the American people to follow them into a quagmire with at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, was no easy task. If this Democratic President rolls back the President’s authority for endless war, then how are they going control people and bleed the treasury (and win campaign contributions/bribes) with unnecessary military contracts.
The Best Anti-Terrorist Tactic is to Pursue Renewable Energy Independence
The price tag for the war in Iraq could eventually top $6 trillion. The truth is, Republicans don’t want an end to war and are not evolved enough to understand that the best anti-terrorist tactic would be for America to concentrate on renewable energy sources at home, and leave oil-rich countries in whatever century they prefer to be. For the price of the Iraq War, the U.S. could have gotten halfway to a renewable power system by now.
The American people are war weary, but not as weary as the soldiers themselves, suffering the mental and physical injuries of numerous deployments. As Bill Briggs wrote for NBC, ”More soldiers took their own lives than died in combat during 2012, new Department of Defense figures show. The Army’s suicide rate has climbed by 9 percent since the military branch launched its suicide-prevention campaign in 2009.” It’s about our priorities. As long as the corrosive influence of money infests our political system, Big Oil will run our energy policies and more Americans will have the “honor” of leaving their lives, limbs or sanity in some foreign desert.
We’ve been propelled down memory lane this week as George W. Bush opened library/lie-bury, which is nothing but a Neo Con Disney Land of propaganda built to rewrite the atrocious history of (literally) the stupidest and most destructive non-winning president America has even been forced to endure by her own inability to rise up and demand true representative government… and a war criminal’s attempt to wash himself clean of his crimes.
George W. Bush was not legally-elected – either time – and we have no one but ourselves to blame for the fact that we allowed the front man for Plutocracy, and his criminal handlers, to plunge us into illegal wars, raid our treasury, murder, wound and maim millions and leave us still suffering under the weight of failed polices.
Read the rest of this entry »
If Barack Obama is the leader of the The Democratic Party, then the Democratic Party of the New Deal is dead.
Just a Bill Clinton’s “free trade” deals sent the American manufacturing base – and American jobs – to wage slave nations, and his media deregulation gave us the consolidated Corporate Media now making a mockery of its Constitutionally-protected role to inform the electorate, Barack Obama’s latest budget betrays traditional Democratic principles and proves his eagerness to AGAIN offer Republicans their Holy Grail – CUTS to Social Security and Medicare – programs Republicans have opposed since their inception.
One truly has to wonder if Republicans would have been able to do as much damage to these vital programs as Barack Obama stands ready to do? Not since Lyin’ Paul Ryan joined George W. Bush in his effort to privatize Social Security, has a politician been so bent on ensuring our most vulnerable citizens take in on the chin as some “bargaining chip” so the rich can continue paying their 15 percent rate on capital gains investment income – the lowest since the Great Depression.
After facing immediate backlash from normal people (non-Republicans/those tired of living in a Plutocracy), the Obama Administration released a statement, which read in part,
“The president has made clear that he is willing to compromise and do tough things to reduce the deficit, but only in the context of a package like this one that has balance and includes revenues from the wealthiest Americans and that is designed to promote economic growth.”
The statement betrays a staggering lack of understanding that even John Boehner and Paul Ryan recently publicly admitted – our real crisis is one of employment, not of the deficit. Numerous economists not under contract with the Heritage Foundation have tried to pound this truth into Obama’s head, yet he continuously plays right into the Republican faux-crisis about the deficit (a strategy known as “Two Santa Clause“) – and insist he’s doing the “tough things” by stripping the politically unconnected of vital programs. In truth, the “tough things” would be promoting policies that would actually bring our jobs home and end the employment crisis.
Calling it a “bitter disappointment,” Senator Bernie Sanders vowed to fight the President, saying, “What the president is proposing is going to hurt a lot of people.”
“During his first run for the White House, in 2008, Mr. Obama said he would not cut Social Security. I hope he remembers that promise and keeps it.
also hope he follows up on another suggestion that he made during that campaign and gets behind my legislation to raise the cap on income subject to the payroll tax, extending the life of Social Security for generations to come without the need to cut benefits or raise taxes on the middle class.”
You can sign Bernie’s petition here… but we need more than petitions to stop Washington’s destruction of the working class. We’re going to need to wake up our neighbors to the fact that they’re being played.