IBI Watch 10/2/11

2 10 2011

The Real Republican Plan

If your prime directive, your goal above all other possible goals, were this one – more money and power in the hands of the wealthy elite, the top 1 percent, what would your program look like?  I think it would look something like this:

  • Cut taxes on top earners down to nothing, or as low as you can get away with
  • Eliminate all regulation, regardless of the cost/benefit analysis, because regulation costs money in the short term
  • Cripple public education, because there’s money to be made in private education
  • Make college education less affordable, because fewer educated, thoughtful people is a good thing
  • Hoodwink as large a share of the population as necessary into supporting your program for their own reasons – gay marriage, abortion, etc.

Sound familiar?  Of course it does.  And maybe, just maybe, the protests currently going on in New York’s financial district and elsewhere indicate more Americans are waking up to the culture of greed we have nourished since 1980.

Here are some interesting links on this topic.  First – Paul Krugman debunks several Republican tall tales.  I like how he points out that failed policies from the Bush era put us on today’s troubled path, and Republican presidential candidates, almost to a person, want to double down on those policies if they take office.  Second – a concise opinion piece from the Orlando Liberal Examiner that offers five bullet points on just how bad Republicans and their policies have been for the country since 1980.  Next – a list of things we count on that depend on tax dollars (which modern Republicans are determined to shrink).  Fourth link – a Harold Meyerson piece on the real Republican strategy, i.e. to fix the 2012 election.  And finally, if you can handle a healthy dose of potty mouth, the unforgettable  George Carlin on how things REALLY work. Favorite quotes – “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”  And of course “They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/opinion/krugman-phony-fear-factor.html?src=me&ref=general

http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-orlando/5-republican-facts-that-every-american-should-be-pissed-about

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/05/18/102-things-not-to-do/

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/130314793.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF1Ixo_faas&feature=player_embedded

 

Retirement?  Hah!

The oldest baby boomers are now into retirement age – 65.  And we all know what has happened to so many prospects since the economic collapse.  But was all this just an accident?  Just some unpredictable result of ‘market forces?’  If you don’t think so, you are not alone.  In one installment of a weeklong series on retirement that ran on Morning Edition, Ellen Schultz talked about her new book, Retirement Heist.  According to Schultz, the pension crisis has come about mainly because many corporations simply had other priorities than protecting worker pensions.  And yes, obscene executive compensation is a chief culprit.  I am linking to several of the NPR stories – they are very good.  The final link is about a movie you have to see – An Inside Job.

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=140854971&m=140854958

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=140854971&m=140854958

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=140680583&m=140834474

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_Job_%28film%29

 

Flood Here, Drought there; Random?  No!

The New York Times this week ran one of the best pieces I have seen on climate change in a very long time.  It is comprehensive, in-depth, and balanced.  It even examines some ‘contrarian’ points of view, most notably the idea that rising carbon levels will somehow benefit forests and farm fields.  As you will see, any benefits will soon be swamped by sweeping changes.  This story also takes advantage of the Web – you will find many graphics, imbedded videos and slide shows.  This looks at the big picture as few articles do.  The second link looks at the willful denial of reality on the part of GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry.  The third is a brilliant Doonesbury cartoon about a rare bird – a right-wing truth-teller.  And . . . he cuts through Republican propaganda on this issue. Fourth link is to an organization working to influence policy on climate change – worthy of support.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/science/earth/01forest.html?_r=1&hpw

http://www.alternet.org/story/152590/rick_perry%27s_hellfire:_the_gop_candidate_continues_to_deny_the_climate_change_linked_to_the_fires_consuming_his_state

http://www.arcamax.com/thefunnies/doonesbury/s-951067

http://www.ucsusa.org/

 

Sustainability Comes Full Circle, with a Soundtrack

The lead-in to this NPR story on a mystery fruit acknowledges that many have not heard of it.  Count me in that club.  And yet, the pawpaw is an American fruit, the only temperate-zone member of a tropical family – and is seen as potentially a sustainable crop in America.  The linked NPR story includes a video.  It also got me thinking – where had I heard the word before?  It came to me – in a song that you might say is loosely about sustainable resources.  And who wrote that song – linked – but Terry Gilkyson, some of whose songs, covered by the Brothers Four, were my introduction to folk music back in the early 60s.  Gilkyson’s daughter, Eliza, writes some of the deepest, politically astute songs you will find anywhere.  Check this one out – Unsustainable.  The video starts with some comments from journalism professor Rob Jensen, but the music starts at 5:30 if you want to skip ahead

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/09/29/140894570/the-pawpaw-foraging-for-americas-forgotten-fruit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcglnY_xGfc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5ZkHHGBH-k

 

Big Man, Big Tease, Big Trouble

Rick Perry is turning out to be less than Big Tex, the Lone Star supercandidate.  I predicted back in June that he, Governor Christie or W’s brother would emerge.  See here:

 

Waiting in the Wings  (6/19/11)

With Romney’s prospects shaky, and the rest of the crowd unlikely to rise up in the long run, the party will probably look to a savior – someone who jumps in later.  Smart money is on one of these guys – Texas Governor Rick Perry, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or even former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  God help us.  Here is some background and opinion on what we could be in for.  As Slim Pickens called out on his ride in Doctor Strangelove, Yee-hah!!!  (Check the first link for the connection)  Second link is a very funny Bill Maher piece, mainly on Perry, who BTW is W’s successor as Texas gov.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/10/national/main20061383.shtml

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/?akid=7134.118266.OAy6RH&id=618217&rd=1&t=3

http://www.alternet.org/news/151325/texas_is_a_shining_example_of_right-wing_governance_in_action_and_that%27s_why_it%27s_a_complete_basket-case/

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/06/christie_refuses_to_reimburse.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/09/chris-christie-2012_n_859302.html

http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/05/right-should-hope-jeb-bush-rethinks-2012-race-0

 

But now there is much news on the pugnacious NJ executive.  He is not ruling out running, and I say – look out.  This guy sells popular snake oil, and he is Tea Party-friendly.  Find out some more about him right here.  Though I am no Christie fan, the last linked story here is a sad commentary on what we have allowed American politics to become.  Here it is, 13 months before the election, and pundits are saying it is too late to enter the race.  The power of corporate money, friends, and the triumph of spectacle over substance.

http://www.alternet.org/news/152553/why_the_kochs_want_to_make_chris_christie_president

http://www.alternet.org/news/152348/nj_governor_christie%27s_secret_meeting_with_koch_brothers_causes_political_firestorm

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/603317/%22fiscally_austere%22_chris_christie_uses_state_helicopter_to_attend_son%27s_baseball_game/

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/130746508.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/comic-riffs/post/chris-christie-the-7-most-eye-catching-cartoons/2011/09/28/gIQA5mGw9K_blog.html

http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/27/opinion/fleischer-chris-christie/index.html?hpt=hp_bn9

 

Tax Fairness, Class Warfare and a Clarion Call

Parting shots – a Move On graphic showing tax rates on various income levels in America, a commentary on our social stratification, and a Chris Hedges call to join the growing protests against the banksters.

http://cdn.front.moveon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/wrong-large.jpg

http://www.alternet.org/economy/152512/6_ways_the_rich_are_waging_a_class_war_against_the_american_people/

http://www.alternet.org/world/152592/no_excuses_–_join_the_occupy_wall_st._movement_or_stand_on_the_wrong_side_of_history

 

 

“A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” 

– Henry A. Wallace

 

 

Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Allyson Harper

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