IBI Watch 11/13/11

13 11 2011


A Late Wake-up Call    //

This week – indications that more people in America are waking up and smelling the plutocracy.  That means signs of progress on at least one of the two areas I care most about – economic justice.  As for environmental preservation, well, except for one major ‘delay of game,’ it seems like more diversion and pignorance. . . but maybe not for long.


More Catching On

It is almost impossible to ignore the 30+-year trend in America, the ‘land of opportunity.’  A small, elite club at the top of the economic ladder has been taking in an ever-greater share of the income, and controlling an ever-greater share of the wealth.  Most recent numbers I saw are these – the top one percent take in 25% of personal income, and control 40% of national wealth.  Meanwhile, unemployment remains high, and more people slip into poverty.  If you want a banana republic, we are surely on that road.  If you want something a bit more equitable, we need genuine change toward economic justice.

Check these links.  First two – election results indicate that the right-wing push to beat down units and restrict bargaining may have overreached. Third – a new poll suggests that more Americans see the economic game as rigged.  Just don’t ask them about taxes to fill the gaps.  Then, check this story on the wealth gap between generations.  And finally, an AlterNet piece looking at how power brokers rig the system to benefit the top one percent, and to a lesser extent, the top ten percent.







‘Shortage’ in a Land of Plenty

It’s a common refrain.  You hear austerity and infrastructure cuts explained away with dismissals like, “We just can’t afford that,”  “It’s hard times,”  or my favorite, “We’re broke.”  Don’t believe it – except maybe the hard times, which of course are largely of our own making.

Annie Leonard is at it again with another concise, insightful animated video on this topic. She has gone from the ‘Story of Stuff’ to the current ‘Story of Broke.’  Next time you hear some politician use the ‘broke’ line, you can think of this video.  And Leonard doesn’t want us to stop at griping.  Her goal is the same as mine – get the private money out of politics.  You can take a helpful step in that direction by signing the petition at the second link.  It targets the infamous Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, giving corporations immense power to influence elections




In Congress We Trust?

While the clock ticks down on the supercommittee’s grand task – figure out some compromise that gets the national budget back in line, long-term – you won’t believe what our legislators are legislating.  Stewart skewers stooges.  Worth viewing just for the Charlie Rangel impersonation.



Tar Sands Oil – Destruction Delayed

Those of us who really care about the climate breathed a sigh of relief this week when the Obama Administration put off a decision on building the Keystone XL pipeline.  That conduit, if approved, will ship tar sands oil from Alberta all the way to refineries in Texas.  Nebraska, of all places, has been a chief battleground.  The planned route goes right over the vital Ogalalla aquifer, source of drinking water for millions.  And while protection of that water resource is a powerful motivation, it is not even the biggest issue at stake.  That would be preservation of a livable planet.  I am afraid the pipeline – and its environmentally destructive tar sands oil – will be approved in 2013, after the election.  Whether Obama wins a second term or not.  Unless we can effect change.

First link – Naomi Klein appeared on Democracy Now, soon after the delay was announced. She does a nice job explaining the environmental issues at stake, and clearly links the two ‘eco’ crises – ecological and economic.  At the next link, a brief slide show of the source of this ‘magic juice.’  Think of it as destroying the landscape for tarry oil, then using large quantities of water to extract the stuff, then burning lots of fossil fuel in order to refine it.  Oh, and it takes 8000 pounds of bitumen-laced soil to produce a single barrel of oil.  And then there are the gigantic toxic lagoons of waste.  But other than all that, it’s a great, friendly product!  Third link connects sustainability with the Occupy Wall Street protests – Nature is indeed part of the 99 percent!





Changes a Plenty – to the Careful Observer

Let’s see.  It’s November 13.  It’s Minnesota, supposed land of snow.  Many plants are still blooming, even flowering.  Butterflies are making their rounds.  No real killer frost in sight.  Time for that ‘fall fluke’ again – you know, the annual fluke warm weather.  Of all the vastly changed seasons, I think the extended fall – which we have just about every year –  is the creepiest of all.  And don’t think what I call SBD (Seasonal Border Disintegration) is in any way a benign phenomenon.  All over the world, we see more and more extreme weather.  And look out – here come the massive ice melts.  But remember boys and girls, none of this, none of this, has anything to do with our ever-growing greenhouse gas emissions.  Rush told me so .  Third to the last link is what you might call pignorance analysis, from the Guardian.  Last link is a satirical song that tells the story very well.











Building a Better Energy World

Remember the movie ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’  Of course, stories of its demise were greatly exaggerated.  A sequel hit theaters recently – sweet revenge.  And even if you can’t go the electric car route, you might be able to buy renewable energy from your supplier.  We take part in Xcel Energy’s Windsource program.  For what amounts to a few dollars a month, we are supporting a shift to sustainable energy – by getting all our power from wind.  And as Paul Krugman points out, here comes the sun.  .  . if we only let it.





Of Religion and Accountability

There is nothing funny about the awful Penn State scandal.  But leave it to Jon Stewart to see a connection that few others have pointed out.  Yea, verily.





“A very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.”
E. O. Wilson



Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Tess Galati, Allyson Harper, Brendan Murphy




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