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March 14, 2013

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After watching the Jeremy Grantham interview with Charley Rose,I was already depressed.What is it going to take Jon,for the public to just consider that we "might be" on the road to even more pain and panic.

Iam awake Jon. What a great commentary!!!

Here's a way to tell it is at least as bad as Talton supposes:

Huge amounts of left-wing pundit energy is being expended now (Chait, Klein, Marshall) to prove to Republicans (and the Media) that they have got it wrong: Democrats really do want to cut entitlements. And that President Obama has Social Security cuts and Medicare cuts sitting pretty on the bargaining table right now. They might even be tied up with a pretty red ribbons...

How funny is that?

Huge energy is being spent to present to Republicans the one exterior data stream their minds might be willing to accept: Entitlement cuts.

Just think:

If all of us Democrats work together, and shout real loud, we might be able to convince the Republicans that Global warming is real we want to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits too!

One more point...

This dumb nation of ours has this farfetched idea that once you get to 65 and get on Medicare your worries are over. It's a free ride on the government's dime from there on out.

That framing is sinfully wrong.

Fidelity Investments, which tracks retiree health care costs, estimates that the average 65-yr old couple retiring today will still need $240,000 to pay for Medicare's premiums and deductibles.

Funny how you never hear how Paul Ryan's budget or President Obama's Medicare cuts will affect those numbers. Strange how the framing is never in terms of the cost to Grandma Schnook and Grandpa Schmo but only in terms of some 10-yr mythical budget numbers that mean absolutely nothing to the common schmuck in the street...

Funny too how half the 535 members of Congressman are millionaires, yet the American public treats them and their families to the best healthcare money can buy...

It is all so funny, I am starting to think the N-word needs to be repurposed, and applied to the American public as a whole: "Yes Sir Mr. Billionaire. Whatever you needs Mr. Billionaire. You is my master!"

http://www.fidelity.com/inside-fidelity/individual-investing/retiree-health-care-costs-2012

Most Americans don't understand what is meant by 'Entitlements'. To them it conjures up images of a Richie Rich type character expecting to get what he feels that he is 'entitled' to get without having to work for it.

Yeah!!! Let's cut those entitlements!!

If you were young enough (but smart enough) to be able to understand where America was headed, economically, in the late seventies, eighties and early nineties, this economic train wreck we are experiencing now was a slow train comin' that was easily avoided.

Get a little arable land with it's own water supply and invest in making yourself energy independent. Hang on to that land and pass it down to the next generation.

Well said, and sadly, I believe too little too late. As a scientist who has seen climate change and climate science go from well-established, data-supported fact, to what most Americans think of as a political boogy-man, thanks to the right-wing media machine, I think we're moving backwards far faster than we'll be able to recover from if and when this country does wake up.

Rome is back with a vengance.

Without making comment about Mencken's racism - charming as it may be in this context - I bring you his observations on the "Anglo-Saxon type of man," by way of cal Lash by way of Charles Bowden (per request).

Apparently provoked by this:

Jack Schaap, Indiana Pastor, Claimed Jesus Wanted Him To Have Sex With Teenage Girl

cal & Mr. Bowden engage in some understandable angst over the state of the church, its membership, zombies (!), and then apparently devolving to the state of (white) man in general...

Bowden:

a little mencken helps at these moments:

What are the characters that I discern most clearly in the so-called Anglo-Saxon type of man?… One is his curious and apparently incurable incompetence… The other is… his hereditary cowardice… Consider, for example, the events attending the extension of the two great empires, English and American. Did either movement evoke any genuine courage and resolution? The answer is plainly no. Both empires were built up primarily by swindling and butchering unarmed savages, and after that by robbing weak and friendless nations. (Chrestomathy, pp. 173-174.)

This Anglo-Saxon of the great herd is, in many important respects, the least civilized of the white men and the least capable of true civilization. His political ideas are crude and shallow. . . . His blood, I believe, is running thin; perhaps it was not much to boast of at the start. . . (Chrestomathy, page 177.)

he can be a tonic. he wrote a polemic for the baltimore sun when the 1924 immigration act passed (that effectively closed immigration) saying it would be a disaster since anglo saxons were the biggest losers in the country and pointed to the south where he claimed the only working people were black.

I see I did not properly close the italics tag in that last post...

Thanks Petro

The post is right in there with Morris berman who's written several books on the topic and has a blog that's worth checking out.

Much of the denial of global warming arises from the fear of change necessary to address the problem. For a resident of a city such as Seattle, the changes needed can be readily absorbed into the lifestyle in an environment already pedestrian friendly.

How will the needed changes effect the lifestyle in say Kansas? Like most of the US heartland, there is no alternative to the automobile. Even in heartland cities such as Phoenix, Dallas, or Minneapolis a car is still necessary to fully engage in the urban environment. For the small town dwellers throughout the country, life as they know it will end from the mandates necessary to combat the effects of climate change.

Let's not forget that in Kansas, the Middle West on steroids, order is the most cherished of values. Mindless rules and conventions disregarded in the US coastal cities are scrupulously followed without question. Change is a threat to order and thus a threat to their perceived survival.

Most of us have grown up with a kind of privilege -- not wealth per se, but a developed infrastructure, opportunities, and the biggest benefit of all: cheap energy. Fossil fuels have enabled our civilization to do wonders, but like so many other things, we have taken them for granted. Now that all our systems are geared toward unlimited growth, energy extraction and consumption, and extreme waste, the present and future welfare of human beings and all life on earth has become a far lesser concern. Power and wealth have been seized by a tiny number of oligarchs whose overriding goal is to perpetuate their monopolies, because they can never get enough.

I think many people are awake, but there is very little the public can do now. The political system has been corrupted and co-opted. The Occupy movement demonstrated the futility of protest. The only possible catalyst for change will be massive destruction and disorder through any number of catastrophic events that have been predicted, including another financial crash and more killer storms.

This proves that we humans lack the intelligence to think and act beyond our immediate self interest, even when we know the risks to our long term survival. Most of us are guilty of this in some measure, so we continue on our merry way. Many fall back on their faith in an omnipotent supernatural power to save us. Some expect science to provide a panacea. The rest of us just can't deal with it because we live from day to day on a treadmill and it's tough enough already.

I learned a lot from watching "The Lorax". So did my grandchildren!

"This proves that we humans lack the intelligence to think and act beyond our immediate self interest"

I have always under-estimated humans and I have never been disappointed.

Food, check
water, check
Temperature, check
Sex, check

That's it. That's all there is. That's the whole enchilada.

The human experience. Why do you think we're 98% chimp DNA ??

And all this time you thought God didn't have a sense of humor.

Oh, and by the way, in honor of Cal, I will now divest my AzRebel tag and go by my homo erectus tag.

Here's to you Cal.

Stand tall homo erectus

AzRebel has uncloaked!

Too much information AzRebel!

You said homo....

Am I the only one being driven batshit by these runaway italics?

Petro, maybe u r ab italic

There's the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has about 70 members in the House and... just one Senator (Bernie Sanders).

They introduce tons of "left" legislation including a budget proposal described by Paul Krugman thus:

So we could definitely do worse than the Senate Democratic plan, and we probably will. It is, however, an extremely cautious proposal, one that doesn’t follow through on its own analysis. After all, if sharp spending cuts are a bad thing in a depressed economy — which they are — then the plan really should be calling for substantial though temporary spending increases. It doesn’t.

But there’s a plan that does: the proposal from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, titled "Back to Work," which calls for substantial new spending now, temporarily widening the deficit, offset by major deficit reduction later in the next decade, largely though not entirely through higher taxes on the wealthy, corporations and pollution.

http://www.pdamerica.org/news/item/1455-after-the-flimflam

It isn't that progressive legislation doesn't exist: a single-payer healthcare bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers obtained 87 co-sponsors in the House during the last session.

The problem is that you hear virtually nothing about the progressive wing of the Democratic Party unless you are really searching for it. The major media organizations basically cover only what party leadership supports, except during presidential races when the positions of major candidates are also covered.

Here's the Congressional Progressive Caucus website if anyone is curious about the nature of legislation sponsored by it. Click on "Issues" to get an overview of general categories.

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/

But here's the kicker: a search of the CPC website for "climate change" did not match any documents. Neither did a word search for "carbon" or "pollution".

The Progressive Democrats of America website fared better. There is even a listing among its "Issues" for "Stop Global Warming/Environmental Issues Mission":

"PDA has focused on Stopping Global Warming since our founding in 2004. No issue reveals more clearly the flaws of the U.S. political-economic system than global warming. Greed and corporate power dominate the public good, and impose nearsighted focus on short term profits instead of serving our long-term needs and the welfare of future generations."

Here's something from the PDA website, an op-ed they placed in the San Francisco Chronicle, proposing a hefty carbon tax that would also raise $1.2 trillion during its first decade (an attempt is made to use deficit fears to make the carbon tax fiscally appealing):

http://www.pdacommunity.org/issues/stop-global-warming/2808-our-childrens-burden

Cal Lash caused the Italic problem by using an open italics command without using the closing command. This happened once before with Bold. The way it was fixed before was for somebody, anybody, to post a comment with the close-Italic command. I tried, but it no longer seems to consist of "[/i]". Mr. Talton?

P.S. My apologies, it was Petro, not Cal Lash. Posting the close-Italic in any comment will fix the problem for all subsequent comments in the thread.


Yes, I added a close-tag in my "I see I did not properly close the italics..." comment, but it didn't take. Well, it all seems to be fixed now.

Haha - Jon got called out on Facebook by a surprisingly defensive local wine-lover who took issue with his brief pose as a sommelier.

Talton:

Almost every state makes wine, even Arizona (I wouldn’t recommend it)....

Ms. Peggy F.:

You need to try some recent vintages of AZ wine if you are going to make a crack like that...

I wonder if she was doing that cobra-thing with her head while she was pounding that line out.

(Actually, I don't believe I've tried an AZ wine. This is unforgivable, and should be rectified at first opportunity.)

P.S. Note the boldness, the very fearlessness, which I display by continuing to risk the italics tag.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"Last Sunday, I wrote a column on income inequality that became the most read and most commented article on the entire newspaper Web site..."

I'll say: 512 comments before the thread was closed! Wow! And a fine, well-documented article it was.

"...Yes, many of the comments were from right-wingers typing talking points, but many others were from people who are actually paying attention."

The right-wingers seemed to make a concerted effort to set the tone early on (though I have no idea how many of those aliased comments came from distinct individuals or how many were multiple aliases).

However, despite the acidic invective on the first page of comments, if you look at the comment ratings, you'll see that the forces of reaction received thumbs-downs at least twice as often, on average, as thumbs up. Whereas, the positive feedback generally received more thumbs-ups than thumbs down. So maybe there is hope after all. Be sure to bring this fact to the attention of your bosses, if they ask.

Regarding Mr. Talton's income inequality column at the Seattle Times, here's a neat response to the right-wing idiots who claim that government's share of national spending is soaking up the productivity gains, not greedy capitalists:

"It was only 20 years ago, for example, that wage and salary earners reliably captured about 75 percent of the national income, with the rest going to the providers of capital. But in recent years, labor’s share has fallen closer to 67 percent.

"A similar shift in the distribution of rewards has occurred within firms and within industries, with much more of the income captured by superstar performers or those at the top. Fifty years ago, the typical corporate chief executive earned less than 50 times the pay of the average front-line worker. Today, the ratio is closer to 350 to 1.

"These shifts suggest that the way markets distribute rewards is neither divinely determined nor purely the result of the “invisible hand.” It is determined by laws, regulations, technology, norms of behavior, power relationships, and the ways that labor and financial markets operate and interact. These arrangements change over time and can dramatically affect market outcomes and incomes.

"This poses a dilemma for those making a moral case for free markets. If providers of capital could lay a moral claim to 25 percent of the nation’s income as recently as the early 1990s, why do they have a moral claim to 35 percent today? If the top five executives in a big public corporation could once lay claim to 2 or 3 percent of its profits, what gives them the moral right to 10 percent today? And what possible moral justification could there be for a system in which, for every dollar of increased output resulting from higher worker productivity, a mere 13 cents now goes to the typical worker in higher pay and benefits?"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-capitalism-moral/2013/03/15/a9ed66d4-868b-11e2-999e-5f8e0410cb9d_story.html

Thanks for the mention of Morris Berman. His blog is at:

http://morrisberman.blogspot.com/

Discovered him while reading Joe Bageant,

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