IBI Watch 11/11/12

11 11 2012

Real Climate Action Soon?  //

Many progressives criticized President Obama for inaction on the climate crisis in his first term.  And despite some progress – most notably, dramatically higher fuel economy standards phasing in – I think the criticism is somewhat justified.  But the election offers an opportunity, and some hints of impending progress.

First, a short video that connects the dots very effectively between the melting Arctic and increasingly chaotic world weather.  Second, a Guardian piece that goes into the risks that ‘business-as-usual’ entails for business.  And next, Dean Baker tells it like it is – if we really care about our grandchildren and beyond, the climate is hugely more important than the debt ceiling.  And here it is – hope against hope – hints of an actual, serious discussion of what McKibben and most climate activists are fighting for – a carbon tax that speeds the switch to clean energy before it is too late.  If that revenue were seen as helping with the deficit, maybe, just maybe money may finally start talking sense.

And while we are at it, how about a big switch to greener policy?  This article dares to suggest that the Republicans might even see it in their interest to stop opposing all protection of the environment.


Fighting to Save the Climate

Two upcoming events are stirring up interest in acting for rational climate policy.  First, Bill McKibben has the fossil fuel industry in his sights as he runs a national speaking tour right now.  Here is a piece he wrote for the LA Times recently.

I am sorry to say that I did not act quickly enough to get a ticket for the Minneapolis leg of his tour. But of course my missing out is actually a good thing – it means that interest is high, as it needs to be.

Here is another event that we will not need to leave home to participate in.  It’s the Dirty Weather Report from the Climate Reality Project, coming up on November 14.  The connection is right on – dirty fossil fuel leads to dirty weather.


A Doubter Fesses Up

That doubter would be yours truly. Once in a while, I enjoy being wrong. Tuesday November 7 was one of those times. Based on the infuriating debacles of 2000 and 2004, I had convinced myself that the presidential election would be close enough for the dirty tricks machine to kick in.  I debated this point with a friend and colleague, who was convinced, even after President Obama’s stumble in the first debate, and the poll reports of a tightening race, even with  Gallup, that supreme pollmeister, suggesting a lead for Romney, that there was little for progressives to worry about.  The man of the hour – the new go-to guy – is not actually a pollster himself, but a master amalgamator and analyst. Even with some prominent polls and media suggesting a photo finish in the horse race, he kept projecting an Obama victory, with probability ranging from 60 to 80 percent. Nate Silver is now officially golden in my book.

I am guilty of excessive doubt with an explanation (and lots of company). This piece by Ilyse Hogue on the CNN site provides a survey of the strategies in place before the election, and ready for deployment.  AlterNet’s Joshua Holland also awaited skullduggery. Doonesbury also showed us Garry Trudeau’s take – the Jimmy Crow Show.  Do you think the face-plant by the modern dirty trickmaster – Karl Rove – means we have seen the last of stolen elections?  Don’t count on it.


Schadenfreude Central

Sorry, but I can’t resist. The image that best describes Karl Rove’s tumble is this – it’s as if his mud and smear machine – which he has used to splatter his opponents for the better part of two decades – has backed up, and exploded all over his doughy mug. Here are three glorious takes.  First – Craig Unger – author of a book on the Bush dynasty that I can recommend – documents some severe losses for Bush’s Brain.  Lauren Kelley regales us with five very bad things happening to our very bad guy. But no one tells the story quite like Jon Stewart. The avalanche still echoes.


My State – A No BS Zone

I have not felt for a long time quite the exhilaration that I felt in voting NO on both constitutional amendments. We Minnesotans – natives and transplants like me – just did not buy the baloney dished out by Mary Kiffmeyer and her cabal, and the spendy billboards telling us to ‘Protect my vote.’  I am one proud Minnesotan.


Magic Undead

Yes, the election is done for now, until the 2016 campaign starts (in just a few days).  And lines are being drawn of course.  The Republicans seem ready to drive the bus over the cliff, ostensibly to protect against ‘job-killing tax increases on small business.’ Just consider what Speaker Boehner is saying.  Just read his lips.  Sound familiar?  The magic of course is the hocus-pocus that suggests ‘more revenue’ can come from reform and lowering tax rates.

One thing that has bugged me about this whole discussion is terms.  Why not ‘tax restoration?’ What is at issue right now is expiration of Bush-era tax CUTS.  As this article points out, the economy did just fine a couple of decades ago, when marginal tax rates were higher.  On the other hand, how much have the vaunted ‘job creators’ done in this period of lower rates? All the Republican leaders –both Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – are doing is ‘dancing with them what brung them,’ i.e. looking after the greed-based interests of the most moneyed class.

Paul Krugman advises the re-elected President Obama to stand firm.  And here is a video showing how many Republican candidates paid a dear price for signing onto Grover Norquist’s government- drowning campaign.  Positively inspiring.

Professor Krugman once again closes this segment with a final comment on the magical thinking at the heart of the modern Republican Party’s agenda.  Do you believe in magic?  Me neither.


Brain Wars

On this Veterans Day, here is some recognition of the tremendous work Daniel Zwerdling has done to make sure veterans with brain injuries of all types receive the health care they need and deserve.


Who Runs the Show?  Really?

You don’t have to be a conspiracy monger to believe – as I do – that the US government has become so corporatist that its main purpose today is to clear the way for major international corporations to do what they do best.  That would be to produce massive profits for shareholders and executives, other interests be damned.  But this piece – suggested by a friend – details just how powerful those big dogs really are.


Binders Not Required

One of the biggest stories of the election is the large numbers of women elected.  And it is about damned time.  It made me think of a recent article by David Morris that focuses on three institutions that have something in common.  Those three institutions are the Boy Scouts, the Vatican and Wall Street

But back to the election.  Consider New Hampshire. And look at the big pictureCommentator Maureen Dowd sees the re-election of President Obama as an end to patriarchy.

Can you imagine how diverse Congress would be if the districting system were anything like fair?


Change for the Better

While looking for something else, I happened upon an impressive collection of organizations working to create an election system that better represents the public interest.  Some of my favorites are listed here.  Maybe they can be yours, too.


“Allow all the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only is self-government.”

– Abraham Lincoln


Blogger – Michael Murphy, St. Paul MN


Contributed links to this posting – Allyson Harper, Tammie Stadt




One response

12 11 2012
Barbara Vaile

The food corporatists won nothing but distrust, just like the pharmaceuticals. When the industries poison us with exogenous chemicals do they really think we will be kept from knowing what’s in our food? We co-evolved with our food, not chemicals and genes displaced. Those guys are trying to grow pharmaceuticals in corn which wind pollinates up to 20 miles. Wes Jackson comments they would like us to think gene manipulation is brain surgery when in fact their blast-and-see-what-we-get technique is more akin to tearing up a cement pad with a pneumatic drill.
We need a peace plan for the ad, ag, tax perps[sic], nuclear and munitions industries.

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