Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Republicans and the Deficit Reduction Tragedy

     Since President Reagan's days, Republicans have capitalized on the disasters they've created, and our national debt disaster will be no different. Reagan laid the groundwork for our collective bankruptcy with his "starve the beast" tax cuts, and leveraged-buyout, manufacturing job off-shoring, pro-sweatshop, tariff cutting, import-everything, union-breaking, pseudo-free-trade initiatives. Through these means, Reagan managed to blithely foster the sell off of our proud, thriving industrial base that was built with the blood, sweat, and tears of union labor. These venal initiative enriched bankers a hundred times over, but shattered unions, wage-growth, and future prospects for the middle-class. This was trickle down economics.
     Now, Republicans will trot out the same old, tired war horses: more tax cuts for the capitalized rich, and more off-shoring of the anemic remains of our manufacturing infrastructure (private equity funds, anyone?), while singing the praises of a free-market economy that never existed, and the virtues of free-trade that depends on the silent complicity of overseas, penny-a-day, wage-slaves working amidst environmental degradation that recklessly afflicts the entire planet with deadly toxins.
     As long as Republican campaign contributors can make a quick buck in the sell out of our hard won middle-class avenues of prosperity -- manufacturing jobs and fair home mortgages; and as long as bought and paid for Republican politicians can secure the promise of bonus-padded sinecures when they bail out of politics, it's all good to them. They'll be safe in their gated communities, right?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another letter...

...this time to my good senators:

I urge you to support, even strengthen, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.

If we hope for future prosperity even remotely resembling what most Americans have come to expect, then we need a progressive and aggressive energy policy. Despite prevailing mythology, a policy that embraces renewable energy and rejects fossil fuel need not be expensive or untimely. The technology exists now to transition smoothly -- via the creation of myriad jobs implementing the transition -- from a dirty, archaic, inefficient carbon-based economy to a clean, modern, efficient renewable-based economy. It's easy, effective, and profitable. The only thing that stands in the way are intransigent corporate interests.

Please find the courage to lead this nation into the future. Thanks!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bread & Circus

First thing I see while sipping my home made 20cent cappuccino this morning? This: "Banks Prepare for Bigger Bonuses, and Public’s Wrath." Well, well. Prepared for wrath, are they? Their car service bundles them to and from the office in Hummers, now, so they can run down any protesting riffraff? They've converted unused bedroom number four in their Park Avenue triplex into a food pantry stocked with beluga caviar, triple-creme brie, english biscuits, and Moet et Chandon.

Nobody earns $600,000 dollars a year (average Goldman-Sachs payout), much less $68 million. They steal it. There's no other explanation. It's just a question of not getting caught. Yet. These folks are a state sanctioned mob, a government sponsored Cosa Nostra, and one day the riffraff will wise up just like they did in France back in 1789.

Picture a very talented carpenter who does quite well -- he earns $60,000. How is it conceivable that the average trader at Goldman works ten times as hard -- much less more than 1000 times as hard like Mr. Blankfein does -- without ever creating anything tangible?

“There is nothing I’ve seen that gives me the slightest feeling that these people have learned anything from the crisis,” Mr. Reed said. “They just don’t get it. They are off in a different world.”
And that's from a from Mr. Reed, a founder of Citigroup.

These folks pick our pockets, leaving our country a battered, impoverished wasteland. One day we'll figure out (remember?) that to create real wealth, you have to create something real, or directly facilitate the creation of something real, and then export it (see industrial revolution, China, India, S. Korea, or -- feeling optimistic -- renewable energy technology). For now, it's bread and circus.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leave the fish in the sea...

(source: NY Times)            
I don't know about you, but I think these majestic animals are a lot more majestic when they're swimming around the ocean, even if I can't see 'em. A dead tuna is just an insult -- to the fish, to our self-respect, to all the delusions of dignity we entertain.  Tuna are evolutionary wonders: they are warm-blooded (rare for fish), and that warmth makes them fast -- up to 70kph (43mph). And they get big: a fish was sold on January 04, 2010 that weighed 232 kilos (513 lbs.) for $177,000 (Giant Tuna Fetches $177, 000 at Japanese Auction). What a waste of money and fish. These astonishing creatures are headed for extinction, or at least a severe crash, which will make them curiosities that our descendants will see in pictures. Our sorry offspring will marvel at the ephemeral image on their screen, while they try in vain to visualize these proud fish swiftly roaming the planet. Sorry, kids, we at 'em.

Can we not show a little humility and self-restraint? No one has the "right" to destroy a species, and anyone who fishes them or eats them is culpable. Would it kill us to eat more prolific species that are lower on the food chain (and less riddled with heavy metals)? No. Will we? Probably not. It's a classic "tragedy of the commons," and tragedies never end well, do they?

Happy New Year.