IBI Watch 7/31/11

31 07 2011

Obama’s Fiscal Mess?  In Just 2.5 Years?

Easy answer:  this mess was a long time coming.  That of course does not stop Tea Partiers and their media apologists from trying to grant all, or virtually all, of the credit to the current president.  Here are just two examples of that sort of revisionism.  You will search in vain through these two commentaries for the name ‘Bush.’  That’s right, Charles Krauthammer and David Strom managed to write articles on the current debt debacle with nary a mention of eight years of W.  Someone with a very short memory reading this stuff might forget the lengthy for-profit wars and the costly tax cuts for the wealthy.  And of course there is not a word that much of Obama’s ‘uncontrolled spending’ is related to efforts to revive the moribund economy.  Or that the economy collapsed because of rampant risky practices of the deregulated (a Bush pillar) banking industry.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-great-divide/2011/07/28/gIQAeOtifI_story.html

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/126430648.html

 

I think it only fair to give credit where credit is due.  Check the last story in particular for a realistic view – from a Republican.  David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director, gives us the big picture.  Of course, virtually no one in today’s Congress on either side wants to hear this.

http://www.businessinsider.com/republican-budget-hypocrisy-2011-7

http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/07/20/273795/ten-years-ago-bush-tax-cuts/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-26/republican-leaders-voted-for-drivers-of-u-s-debt-they-now-blame-on-obama.html

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/30/138849221/debt-crisis-was-long-in-coming-ex-reagan-aide-says

 

As of 7/31, there is no end in sight to the debt ceiling crisis.  Here are some ideas on what to do.  I especially like the truths told by Dennis Kucinich in the YouTube video.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/151754/plutocracy%3A_if_corporations_and_the_rich_paid_1960s-level_taxes%2C_the_debt_would_vanish/

http://www.alternet.org/story/151826/lakoff%3A_how_to_rescue_the_american_dream_from_the_gop%27s_nightmare_/?page=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY6t1MnVaXg&feature=share

 

How ‘Right’ We Are

I think an occasional reality check is wise.  Candidates like Michele Bachmann, as well as conservative pundits on Fox News and elsewhere routinely lambaste Obama as a raving socialist who would sap America’s initiative.  How?  I think if there ever was a middle-of-the-road president, it is the current one.  There is even an argument that you might call him conservative.  I think this Samuel Smith commentary makes a lot of sense.

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/641730/if_nixon_were_alive_today%2C_he_would_be_far_too_liberal_to_get_even_the_democratic_nomination/#paragraph7

 

Fanaticism’s Many Shades

If you listened to the NPR story linked above, your heard David Stockman decry ideological purity in the face of a monumentally complex real world problem.  The first linked opinion piece rightly compares modern conservatism to a cult.  Ideological purity is bad enough, but when it crosses over into violent extremism, lives are at stake.  That’s the topic at the second link.  And finally, Bill Maher ignites a lively debate with his assertion that our media are much happier using the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ than they are ‘Christian terrorism.’  Needless to say, both Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik figure in the discussion.

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/639586/why_conservatives_behave_more_like_a_bizarre_religious_cult%2C_than_a_legitimate_political_entity/

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Fundamentalism-Kills-by-Chris-Hedges-110727-312.html

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/642038/bill_maher%3A_why_is_the_ft._hood_shooter_a_%22muslim_terrorist%2C%22_but_the_norwegian_murderer_not_a_%22christian_terrorist%22/

 

Hightower Summer Follies

August is traditionally the doldrums in the news business.  Of course, this year is bound to be different, with our self-inflicted debt crisis.  But I think you will enjoy Jim Hightower’s post, linked here.  He revels in shining a light on stupidity, indiscretion and hypocrisy the nation over.  Ah, summertime.

http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/2711

 

It’s Still a Wonderful, Wild World – For Now Anyway

If you are a regular reader, you know I like to check in with the latest in manmade climate chaos.  But the entire planet is a complex, intertwined system.  What we do to the atmosphere has a profound effect not just on the weather and climate, but also on the oceans.  Here are several stories that highlight the ways we are needlessly damaging the seas – and the price we will pay if we fail to change our ways.  I have also included a link to a book I recommend that is an excellent resource on the interaction between the atmosphere and the oceans.  The last is a picture of just some of what is at stake.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/oceans-on-brink-of-catastrophe-2300272.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43882266/ns/world_news-world_environment/

http://www.amazon.com/Under-Green-Sky-Warming-Extinctions/dp/006113791X

http://english.pravda.ru/science/earth/25-07-2011/118589-100_humpback_whales_come_to_mate-0/

 

Burning up the Tundra

Anyone who follows climate chaos (aka global warming) is well aware of the alarming melting of polar ice.  But a story on NPR this week highlighted a relatively new area of concern – fires on the tundra. The amazing takeaway here is this – a single serious fire – more common in this warmed era – can release more carbon than the entire tundra absorbs in a year. Also – a more general update from, of all places, Al Jazeera.

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=138810844&m=138810827

 

Progress on Emissions, Green Tech, and Beyond

Even President Obama’s critics would have to admit that his actions in 2009 saved the American auto industry.  Without federal support, aka, bailouts, Chrysler certainly would have disappeared, with General Motors not far behind.  This week, the government announced a planned phase-in of ambitious new fuel economy standards.  And amazingly, the usual whining from Detroit was not to be heard.  Could this be payback of a constructive kind?  Time will tell.  Also – an update on green tech.  Sadly, it is not an American update.  And finally – a video clip from activist Van Jones’ Emergency Rally.  Jones has great ideas on building green tech, though the focus is broader here – the Rebuild the Dream movement.

http://news.yahoo.com/president-announces-deal-boost-fuel-economy-160848473.html

http://reepedia.com/archives/2035

http://rebuildthedream.com/blog/2011/07/29/video-emergency-rally-recap/

 

Doonesbury Weighs in on Fundamentalist Science

I don’t envy science teachers these days.  With more parents pushing the ‘as ignorant as we wanna be’ perspective, this cartoon is quite believable.

http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/archive/2011/07/10

 

Budweiser – Still the King of Beers – Slug it on Down

Craft brewers beware.  You can’t beat the old standby in every taste test.  A tale from the natural world.

http://beer.about.com/b/2011/07/29/budweiser-is-the-clear-champion-in-recent-beer-competition.htm

 

 

Let me give you a definition of the word ‘liberal.’…Franklin D. Roosevelt once said…It is a wonderful definition, and I agree with him. ‘A liberal is a man who wants to build bridges over the chasms that separate humanity from a better life.’” – Richard Nixon

 

 

Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson

 

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