Monday, September 22, 2014

(Bombing Syria!)  Running Out of Time:  Were You At the People's Climate March Sunday?  (There's Nothing Wrong With Kansas That Throwing Out the Right Wingnutters Won't Improve)   Maligned Chimps

U.S. Bombing Syrian Targets

Hardly a surprise.

When will the entire Middle East (other than Saudi Arabia, Israel and other predator nations) become a target?

Soon is my guess.

And on another extremely important upcoming event . . . .

Were you able to

. . . march yesterday with the 310,000 and more who showed up for the People's Climate March to Change Everything . . . .

From my buddy Yas at the Rectification of Names:

AP photo via Huffington Post.

I hope everything really does start to change from here, as this is the year US carbon emissions started speeding up again (rising 2.9%) after four years of reductions, and that mean atmospheric concentration of CO2 continues to soar beyond the sustainable level of 350 ppm to monthly means of 397 and higher.

And thanks to New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio for welcoming the climate summit not only with zero arrests of marchers (compared to over 2000 in Copenhagen 2009) but also with a solid program for greening the city.

Rebecca Solnit has some ancient (and now everyday) wisdom to share with us.

Hope it's not too late.

From the TomDispatch:

The Wheel Turns, the Boat Rocks, the Sea Rises

Change in a Time of Climate Change

There have undoubtedly been stable periods in human history, but you and your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents never lived through one, and neither will any children or grandchildren you may have or come to have. Everything has been changing continuously, profoundly - from the role of women to the nature of agriculture. For the past couple of hundred years, change has been accelerating in both magnificent and nightmarish ways.

Yet when we argue for change, notably changing our ways in response to climate change, we’re arguing against people who claim we’re disrupting a stable system. They insist that we’re rocking the boat unnecessarily.

I say:  rock that boat. It’s a lifeboat; maybe the people in it will wake up and start rowing. Those who think they’re hanging onto a stable order are actually clinging to the wreckage of the old order, a ship already sinking, that we need to leave behind.

As you probably know, the actual oceans are rising - almost eight inches since 1880, and that’s only going to accelerate. They’re also acidifying, because they’re absorbing significant amounts of the carbon we continue to pump into the atmosphere at record levels.  The ice that covers the polar seas is shrinking, while the ice shields that cover Antarctica and Greenland are melting. The water locked up in all the polar ice, as it’s unlocked by heat, is going to raise sea levels staggeringly, possibly by as much as 200 feet at some point in the future, how distant we do not know.  In the temperate latitudes, warming seas breed fiercer hurricanes.

The oceans are changing fast, and for the worse. Fish stocks are dying off, as are shellfish. In many acidified oceanic regions, their shells are actually dissolving or failing to form, which is one of the scariest, most nightmarish things I’ve ever heard. So don’t tell me that we’re rocking a stable boat on calm seas. The glorious 10,000-year period of stable climate in which humanity flourished and then exploded to overrun the Earth and all its ecosystems is over.

Public servants.

Republican/Tea Party public servants.


I'll bet the Kansans wish they weren't in Kansas anymore.

Let alone poor Dorothy.

You might recall that Sam Brownback was, in his days in Congress and the Senate, one of the most prominent national leaders of the Republican Party’s moral-purity wing; he even briefly ran for president in 2007. Matters of the spirit were quite the thing in conservative rhetoric in those days, and Brownback was always in that movement’s fore, crusading against offensive entertainment, stem cell research, and other abominations.

Put a man like Brownback in charge of an executive branch, however, and a different figure emerges. He wanted to build a “red-state model” in Kansas, he used to say, a community of righteousness that could “show the way back to being America again.” What he has constructed instead is a microcosm of everything that is wrong and disastrous with conservative governance.
It is as though Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay had been transplanted to Topeka and given a free hand to sculpt the state however they chose. You’ve got runaway incompetence in the state administration; heavy-handed partisanship, with conservative Republicans crushing moderate Republicans after the familiar pattern; corporate money — Koch Industries is based in Wichita — sloshing around like a vast underground aquifer.

You’ve got privatization, deregulation, and an enthusiastic race to the bottom. (Gotta be more business-friendly than those people in Missouri!)
You’ve got tax cuts so severe they’ve brought on fiscal catastrophe and thrown the state’s school system into crisis. You’ve got bullying by state legislators against organizations that criticize Brownback’s healthcare plans, and hints of pay-to-play corruption just under the surface. And, of course you’ve got credit downgrades as all this becomes known to the outside world.
The wrecking crew is in full swing in Kansas, and for once the people there seem to be ticked off about it. Once the hero of the state’s sin-hating millions, Sam Brownback is unpopular today. Indeed, his situation is so bad that the only sure way he can be rescued is by a mass disregard for economic reality — by cognitive blinders strapped on simultaneously by millions of individuals.
Either that, or by the culture wars.
Very soon, I expect, the time will come for Brownback to rally Kansans around the fetus. For now, however, it is the mass-cognitive-blinder strategy that leaps out at you when you cast your eyes over his reign. In a 2013 speech about his red-state model, for example, he talked about the “principles” that undergirded his plan, and insisted they were not of the kind detectable by ratiocination:  “it can’t be mental principles, it’s got to be things that connect through the heart.”
And Brownback meant it. During the 2012 debate over whether to swallow his strychnine tax cuts, Brownback’s team brought to Topeka none other than economist Arthur Laffer, he of the repeatedly discredited theory that cutting taxes magically increases government revenues.

Laffer’s formula has been tried again and again at the national level and has famously failed, but the Kansas legislature jumped when presented with its very own chance to defy “mental principles.” Unfortunately, the rules of accounting prevailed and now Sam Brownback’s reelection campaign is begging voters to persuade themselves that everything they’ve read in the newspaper is a falsehood; that things are really and truly OK, despite the evidence of the senses:  “The sun is shining in Kansas and don’t let anybody tell you any different.”
That last is the tagline Brownback delivers in one of his TV commercials that you can watch yourself on YouTube. It is something to behold. I have never been in a cult indoctrination session, but I have started to think that this ad depicts the procedure. Here is this weirdly smirking man, Governor Brownback, telling you something he obviously doesn’t believe — and then he’s telling a different group — and then another.

Each of these audiences is nodding constantly; each of them is made up of clean, neatly-dressed people — some of them in a well-appointed suburban kitchen, some of them sitting on a pleasant veranda, some of them in a corporate boardroom. And the subject the governor is advising them on is how you get out of poverty!You know:  hard work, family structure.

That’s the way out of poverty!,” he exults, with that odd smile of his. To judge by the clothes and the settings, however, these people have never even had cause to doubt the timely arrival of their next meal, let alone fear a lifetime of ill-paid toil. For practical purposes, Brownback might as well be giving them tips on how to land a spaceship on the surface of the moon.
It makes no sense. But the unspoken object of the session is obvious:   Don’t worry about what is happening. All these reports about economic disaster in Kansas — about the “poverty” that conservatism is supposedly inflicting on people — forget about them. It has nothing to do with the way you govern a state.
. . . Of the dozens of accounts of catastrophe-in-Brownbackistan that I have sifted through, however, the one I keep coming back to is the tale of Aaron Jack, a Tea Party Republican whom Governor Brownback appointed to run the Kansas Securities Commission back in 2011. A Tea Party financial regulator — oh, wouldn’t Rick Santelli be proud!
Can you guess how the Tea Partier played it? Yes, you can:  He played it exactly like the hack-n-crony regulators of the Bush Administration that the Tea Party was supposed to be so very different from.

Jack’s main agenda item, according to a withering account of his tenure that ran last year in the Topeka Capital Journal, was to get rid of a majority of the commission’s staff and replace them with political allies and, of course, lobbyists. His grand vision was to cut the regulated some slack, to remake the state as a place where hedge-fund types would no longer need to worry too much about “overzealous” supervisors — “to open Kansas as a destination state for hedge fund managers, private equity operators and venture capitalists.”

With the tools of deregulation they were going to build a Wall Street on the Plains — and along the way Mr. Jack somehow found money in the commission’s budget to air radio spots in which he himself told listeners about all the neat things he was doing. Finally, when things didn’t work out for him in politics, it was through the revolving door to a local brokerage. Or, as the Topeka paper put it, in a near-perfect Midwestern voice:

His interest faded as he gained a sense his rightful place was at a Leawood investment firm.
“ ‘I got my cash-out job to the private sector,’ Jack said.”

Read the whole essay here. And cringe along with other reasonable people at the certainty of the rightwingnutters about what really matters to taxpayers.

Aren't we maligning innocent chimps (so to speak) by comparing their tribal behavior with that of humans?

From the beloved Washington's blog we meet Empire Slayer!

What is “war”?
It’s when a group of chimps gangs up on a smaller group of chimps, kills some of them, and takes their stuff.
study in "Current Biology" finds that the closest primate relative to humans, chimpanzees, engage in “war-like” behavior to gain resources.
Groups of chimps, the study finds, go on the prowl, and when a group encounters another group with which it is fairly evenly matched, “the patrollers will either call loudly as they retreat immediately back toward their home territory, or a brief, indecisive battle will ensue.”
They don’t fully attack because they know there’s a chance they’ll lose. Hence, we are treated to decades of the chimps controlling the US corporate state ceaselessly screeching and screaming at countries that they can’t really fight because they might partially lose to, like Russia, nuclear North Korea, China, Iran, etc.

“If, on the other hand, the patrolling party [of chimps] greatly outnumbers the strangers, its members will generally attack.”
That’s because the big group knows a little, weak group of chimps can’t stop them, and therefore the big group stands to gain significantly by attacking the smaller group and taking its stuff.

Hence, the USA has constantly, throughout its history, attacked much smaller, weaker groups (like Africans, Native Americans, Cubans, Haitians, Filipinos, Nicaraguans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Indonesians, East Timorese, Guatemalans, Bolivians, Nicaraguans, Colombians, Salvadorans, Venezuelans, Panamanians, Haitians, Grenadians, Iranians [1953, 1982], Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Palestinians, and Libyans, to name a few) and gained from conquering land, raw materials, and US-repressed labor, as well as from the terrorizing mental affect the shocking displays of savagery have on other vulnerable groups.
Reconnaissance Prowl
Humans have added to gang-violence profiteering by creating a vast industry of making tools for carrying out gang attacks. Thus, the more gang attacks are perpetrated, the more that industry, particularly its owners, benefit. This is what Dwight Eisenhower, after vastly expanding it, referred to as the “military-industrial-congressional complex”, since Congress members also benefit from helping out the industry by voting “Yes” for more gang attacks, as they just did again last week regarding further US arming/training of terrorists to attack UN member state Syria.
Humans have also perfected the art of having other people do the actual gang fighting and dying for them. They send other people’s kids away to force open foreign markets at gunpoint while they sit back in air conditioned offices and regal estates and rake in the resultant dough.
Also unlike chimps, humans have found a way to direct gang violence profits into the pockets of only a tiny, tiny fraction of the gang’s overall population, while the people who finance the violence, the taxpayers, lose their meager freedoms. (The USA is about the most impoverished industrialized country, by some measures a “third world” country, despite also being the world’s richest country, thanks to the US constitution having been set up by and for the benefit of a tiny wealthy elite.  But even if gang attacks against defenseless groups did benefit the US as a whole, so what?  If child pornography was good for the economy, it doesn’t mean we should pursue it.  Car accidents benefit the economy.  Doesn’t mean we should try to have more car accidents.  Hitler was a shot in the arm for the German economy.  Enough said.)

More than enough tonight.


opit said...

Time was JP ran a bunch of Faux News headers pointing up blatantly misleading text. Whatever happened to that chap when the globalists pitched Green Technology and the Church of Global Warming ?
Surely you remember the days of It's sad when the 'ignorant natives' can see the poisoned bait and the 'cynic' falls for the propaganda. You can find me at or playing with the taxers of fire opit

opit said...

Hm. Wrong post.