Daily Archive: 09/22/2014

Sep 22 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Those Lazy Jobless

Last week John Boehner, the speaker of the House, explained to an audience at the American Enterprise Institute what’s holding back employment in America: laziness. People, he said, have “this idea” that “I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.” Holy 47 percent, Batman!

It’s hardly the first time a prominent conservative has said something along these lines. Ever since a financial crisis plunged us into recession it has been a nonstop refrain on the right that the unemployed aren’t trying hard enough, that they are taking it easy thanks to generous unemployment benefits, which are constantly characterized as “paying people not to work.” And the urge to blame the victims of a depressed economy has proved impervious to logic and evidence.

But it’s still amazing – and revealing – to hear this line being repeated now. For the blame-the-victim crowd has gotten everything it wanted: Benefits, especially for the long-term unemployed, have been slashed or eliminated. So now we have rants against the bums on welfare when they aren’t bums – they never were – and there’s no welfare. Why?

Jesse Jackson: Silicon Valley has a proud record on innovation, a shameful one on equality

Hi-tech giants have a moral and economic duty to promote inclusivity in their workforces

A new climate of change, hope and progress is now gripping Silicon Valley and the hi-tech industry. Inclusion and equal opportunity in the technology industry are the 21st-century civil rights imperatives. They are today’s dynamic, disruptive change agents reshaping the culture and character of the hi-tech industry.

Technology is supposed to be about innovation, opportunity and inclusion, but, sadly, patterns of exclusion remain the order of the day. In fact, the tech industry is perhaps America’s worst industry when it comes to inclusion and diversity.

Rainbow Push, the social justice organisation I founded, has brought this message to the industry through direct participation and speaking at the shareholder meetings of HP, eBay, Facebook and Google. What we’ve been saying is that Silicon Valley is America’s valley: built through American R&D, American education, American tax credits and tax havens. It should reflect America’s best values and principles.

Desmond Tutu: We fought apartheid. Now climate change is our global enemy

On the eve of the UN Climate Summit, Desmond Tutu argues that tactics used against firms who did business with South Africa must now be applied to fossil fuels to prevent human suffering

Never before in history have human beings been called on to act collectively in defence of the Earth. As a species, we have endured world wars, epidemics, famine, slavery, apartheid and many other hideous consequences of religious, class, race, gender and ideological intolerance. People are extraordinarily resilient. The Earth has proven pretty resilient, too. It’s managed to absorb most of what’s been thrown at it since the industrial revolution and the invention of the internal combustion engine.

Until now, that is. Because the science is clear: the sponge that cushions and sustains us, our environment, is already saturated with carbon. If we don’t limit global warming to two degrees or less we are doomed to a period of unprecedented instability, insecurity and loss of species. Fossil fuels have powered human endeavour since our ancestors developed the skills to make and manage fire. Coal, gas and oil warm our homes, fuel our industries and enable our movements. We have allowed ourselves to become totally dependent, and are guilty of ignoring the warning signs of pending disaster. It is time to act.

Paul Rosenberg: desmond-tutu-climate-change-is-the-global-enemy  This is how ISIS wins: Repeating the Bush/Cheney/Rove approach just won’t work

The way to battle ISIS long-term is to understand its appeal and retain our humanity. Take Sun Tzu’s word for it!

For all his vaunted love of nuance, President Obama’s recent speech announcing our new war against ISIS (or ISIL, to the White House) denounced them in terms strikingly similar to George W. Bush’s language waging war on “evil doers,” and that’s a development that should trouble us all. Yes, Obama avoided the word ‘war,’ but the rest of his team soon embraced it, and the logic of his address made that move virtually inevitable, whatever he may personally and privately have wished. [..]

No one can doubt that ISIS is murderous – just like Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, last year’s No. 1 candidate for America’s wrath. But it’s simply untrue that ISIS has “no other vision” than slaughter. Their vision of an Islamic state – a new Caliphate – may be many things: delusional, presumptuous, contrary to true Islamic values and obviously cruel. But it certainly is a vision of sorts, and it has some appeal, if only to a tiny, disaffected fragment of the world’s Islamic community.

If we don’t understand that vision – and what people find attractive in it – then we really have very little chance of effectively fighting against it, even though ISIS now commands only a few thousand fighters. We may win lots of battles, but not the war. Even if we defeat ISIS itself, but don’t understand its appeal, it will only a reappear in another, potentially even more deadly form, just as ISIS now appears more malignant than al-Qaida.  This is particularly true if we ignore the multilayered network of historical grievances which ISIS seeks to exploit.

Robert Kuttner: The United Kingdom Nearly Died for Maggie’s Sins

Why on earth did the Scots, largely quiescent as part of Great Britain for three centuries, suddenly become the mouse that roared?

It wasn’t because they became besotted watching re-runs of Braveheart or Rob Roy, or even because they coveted more of a share of North Sea oil revenues. No, the Scots got sick and tired of Thatcherite policies imposed from London.

Thanks to the partial form of federalism known as “devolution” provided by the Labour government of Tony Blair in 1997, Scotland got to keep such progressive policies as free higher education and an intact national health service, while the rest of the U.K. partly privatized the health service and began compelling young people to go into debt to finance college like their American cousins.

 

Sep 22 2014

TBC: Morning Musing 9.22.14

So, in honor of the worldwide marches yesterday, I give you a few of my weekend reading on Climate Change.

First, a WaPo editorial urging action:

A climate for change: America should not wait while the world warms

FOR MORE than a century, scientists have understood the basic physics of the greenhouse effect. For decades, they’ve realized humans can affect the climate by burning coal, oil and gas. But the country’s leaders remain divided on the need to curb greenhouse emissions, let alone how to do it.

Among mainstream scientists, this paralysis is mind-boggling.

Jump!

Sep 22 2014

On This Day In History September 22

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 22 is the 265th day of the year (266th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 100 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million black slaves in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration as America’s 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide support from the public for such a measure.

In July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called border states, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union. His cabinet persuaded him not to make the announcement until after a Union victory. Lincoln’s opportunity came following the Union win at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. On September 22, the president announced that slaves in areas still in rebellion within 100 days would be free.

The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America  that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named ten specific states where it would apply. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy” under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.

The proclamation did not name the slave-holding border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, which had never declared a secession, and so it did not free any slaves there. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it also was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties that were in the process of forming West Virginia, as well as seven other named counties and two cities. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and thirteen named parishes of Louisiana, all of which were also already mostly under Federal control at the time of the Proclamation.

The Emancipation Proclamation was criticized at the time for freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. Although most slaves were not freed immediately, the Proclamation did free thousands of slaves the day it went into effect in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception). In every Confederate state (except Tennessee and Texas), the Proclamation went into immediate effect in Union-occupied areas and at least 20,000 slaves[2][3] were freed at once on January 1, 1863.

Additionally, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced, and committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision even in the North. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies advanced through the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 4 million, according to the 1860 census) were freed by July 1865.

Near the end of the war, abolitionists were concerned that while the Proclamation had freed most slaves as a war measure, it had not made slavery illegal. Several former slave states had already passed legislation prohibiting slavery; however, in a few states, slavery continued to be legal, and to exist, until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was enacted.

Sep 22 2014

Climate Change Protest a Success!, Peace and Antiwar Not So Much

Here we have Obama restarting the war in Iraq, escalating his proxy war in Syria, while threatening WWIII with Russia, and we’re having a climate change protest march. A protest march led by corporate interests. Sure, the people mean well, but the thing is led by the damn establishment man.

These paid activists on the left are starting to annoy me. They think that in order to fight the system they need to use the system, and they end up being dependent on the system. Here’s my PayPal account, thank you very much. That simply won’t work. We knew that back in the sixties, those of us that took it seriously. The counterculture, the radicals, the real hippies, the ones who had it right. We railed against the “establishment” back then. You rarely hear that anymore. Now they want to work within the establishment.  You want to really change what we’re doing on this planet, you are just going to have to be radical, anti-establishment. Anything less is nothing, it’s just perpetuation.

I saw how this played out. It was billed as a “Peace and Climate Movement”.

http://peoplesclimate.org/peac…

“But the developing climate emergency does not exist in isolation. And we must understand and confront the social and economic context that produced and accompanies it: war and unlimited military expenditures, corporate globalization, vast social inequality and racism.”

Most everything I’ve read since then reporting on this “event” has nary a word about Peace. It’s all climate change. There’s no big clamoring to stop Obama from bombing in Iraq and Syria, it’s all about the CO2 levels that purportedly are going to kill all of us before those darn nuclear weapons kill us. Don’t worry about the wars, imperialism, militarism, nuclear weapons, millions being killed, displaced, subjugated and hegemonized right now.  The very actions that are driving the use of more oil, more diamonds, more zirconium and natural gas.  There will be billions killed very soon if we don’t stop driving cars and shopping at Walmart! We must warn the people, they have to change! Let’s have another Earth Day!

There have been many before us that have warned us about war and imperialism. War and imperialism have always been the most insidious evil humans perpetrate on each other. After WWI, an especially ugly and brutal war, the world was so aghast that it tried to abolish war and imperialism. That effort culminated in the Kellogg-Briand Pact, eventually signed by 62 countries including the United States. It’s actually still in effect, but like treaties and laws regarding war, it means nothing to the western ruling class.

Evidently the “establishment” took hold of this event and steered it in the moderate, sanitized direction the ruling class prefers. The radicals were dispensed with, the moderates were paid off and the event proceeded with the usual “smell of cooptation in the morning”. Everybody goes home, a certain segment pledge to carry on, then the next climate change conference is arranged so everybody can get paid and books can get signed.

I saw where many were proclaiming this event a success because it is “creating awareness” about climate change. Again nothing about War and imperialism. The wars will go on, Obama will go bombs away in the MIddle East/North Africa region, but more people will have their eyes on that new Prius in the window. Hey it’s powered by electric batteries, that’s better isn’t it?

Many have lamented the antiwar movement since Obama took office. They say Obama killed it. The allegience of the mainstream left, which was instrumental during protests against the Bush wars and imperialism, was too tied into the lesser evil democratic party and it’s new savior Obama, the newest Presidential war criminal. They’re so freaked out by the republican party that they will allow their own to do things even worse. Quite the human social phenomena.

Everybody has an opinion, you know what they say about that. In my opinion we need to stop the ruling class from conducting wars and imperialism NOW. We need a national and international citizens revolution against the imperialism and militarism that is rotting this earth. We need to stop the western ruling elite from seeking their insane New World Order, their utterly delusional human belief that they can rule the world.  We can combine that with the demand for a new way of living that can address climate change. I believe if we can do that, we CAN address climate change in the way it should be addressed. I believe if we don’t, we can’t.