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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 15, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy The Economy of Evil [Historicly, via Naked Capitalism 12-11-19] Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister in October 1922. Nazis rose to power in 1933 in Germany. Mussolini convened a meetin […]
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Immigration Reform: An Environmental Perspective

Glbal Biosphere on June 6 2009Immigration, as a policy issue, is politically explosive. It is politically explosive because it necessarily involves making choices between bad options, each of which has supporters and detractors with political power.

In advocating for their option, it is not uncommon for some supporters to engage in inaccurate and unjust accusations against their opponents, such as claiming the other is guilty of racism or traitorhood. The situation is further complicated by the small numbers of supporters on either side who are racist or traitorous.

It is unsurprising that the engagements between opponents are volatile. How could decisions about who belongs, and who does not, be otherwise? What is the best way to disentangle a complex web of family relations, personal convictions, and obligations that must be shared between citizens if they are to be a nation, all in the context of the question of how the franchise is to be extended to non-citizens, if at all? It is no wonder that the issue is avoided like the plague.

Plague-avoidance strategies that do not address the causes of the plague, or bolster the immune system against its effects, are doomed to failure, however, and the cost of failure in avoiding the plague is serious illness and death. In this sense, the lack of a workable resolution of the immigration issue endangers the health of the body politic.

At present, the lack of meaningful policy action is, in effect, backdoor advocacy for the situation as it currently stands, in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” sense. This abrogation of responsibility is dangerous beyond its obvious bad effects. It cultivates a sense of powerlessness among the citizenry, who perceive their elected governments as incapable of effecting meaningful change. History has enough examples of what happens when democratic and republican assemblies appear incapable of providing effective leadership in difficult times. This underscores why difficult challenges must be addressed to maintain the health of the body politic. If our leaders will not lead for us, they must be lead by us, if we are to avoid being lead by powered interests. This short, oversimplified post is intended to be a step in the direction of citizen leadership.

The framework that follows views immigration from an environmental perspective that takes into account citizenship within a nationalist framework. I think it practical because we are citizens in nationalist frameworks and because immigration is a normal environmental phenomenon. My intent is to propose a framework for immigration based upon the environmental concept of sustainability, which is also practical, because it is social suicide to adopt models that are not sustainable.

In this post, I shall not address anti-nationalist perspectives, despite their value, because the scope of the issues is already too daunting for a short post. Furthermore, I shall not address economic or ethical perspectives that disregard the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I consider it to be inarguable that the Earth has a more or less finite amount of non-renewable and renewable resources, in human terms, and that their availability is governed by the Law of Diminishing Returns and the Principle of Net Yield. For example, the only reason immigration is an issue is because there is competition for scarce resources. If there were plenty of everything that everyone needed and wanted, then there would be no grounds for disputes and no reason to have systems of justice, except to deal with the actions of the pathological.

The ideas that follow are predicated on the notion that there are limits to growth. The only dispute is about the extent of these limits. Living beyond these limits is not sustainable.

Continue reading

Unforgivable

1802674332_04ff4dff3dI first found out about this a little bit ago, and the resulting temper tantrum was of such epic proportions,  I had to wait a couple of days to do a post on it, because my hands were literally shaking with so much anger, I could barely type.

Liberal Rapture puts it best in this post, by John.

Obama’s Iraq reversal caused a big fat Told ya so from me.

His flibbertigibbet torture stances hardly surprised.

Ignoring the gay community that he courted and hypnotized is, of course, par for the course.

I must say that Obama’s approval of blowing the tops off 42 mountains is nothing short of heartbreaking. Not because BHO disappoints yet again. Ha! I knew he’d be a nightmare of flip flops and lies. It is depressing because the entire concept of “mountain top removal” is a horror.

The article he links to is by Democracy Now. In an interview with Amy Goodman, Jeff Biggers explains why blowing mountaintops to smithereens is not just an environmental issue, but a human rights issue.

AMY GOODMAN: What about media coverage, Jeff Biggers, of Appalachia?

JEFF BIGGERS: Media coverage. You know, this is something that I’m just not quite sure what’s going on. You know, here you have one of the most egregious environmental and human rights violations right before our very eyes. You have little communities in West Virginia, a little town outside called Prenter, where 97 percent of the people have some sort of gallbladder disease. You have Americans who cannot drink their water. You have people who are living under daily explosions and silica dust coming into their gardens and their farms. People are having to be relocated and removed. And yet the mainstream media is not handling it. They’re just sort of acting as if this is something that can wait, that something—that it’s not really an urgent issue.

That’s right. Not an urgent issue. Gallbladder disease? Contaminated water? Who cares? They’re all just bitter, gun-toting Appalachian racists, anyway. Wanna know what really matters? Michelle Obama has arms! And pretty shoes!

Besides, it’s not the Coal Mining industry’s fault! Even though they are in bed with the President and almost every other member of Congress- those mountaintops are in the way! We’ve got to blow the m*ther f*ckers off the face of the Earth, because there be coal in there, and we couldn’t POSSIBLY hire mineworkers and give people jobs in a time of Economic Recession in which countless people are looking for work! For one thing, that would make sense, and for another, it would cost money!

AMY GOODMAN: Who’s pushing for it? Why does it continue?

JEFF BIGGERS: It continues because we have an incredible coal industry and their lobby in Washington. And this is something that transcends politics. You know, I’m based in the Midwest now, in Illinois.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And also, just to clarify, for the industry, it’s much cheaper to blow up a mountaintop than to actually send people, workers, underground to get the coal out.

JEFF BIGGERS: Exactly. When we say coal is cheap, of course, you know, that’s an absolute outrage. It’s not cheap. It’s just cheaper for them. You know, instead of having three underground mining jobs, they only need one job of someone blowing up the mountain with massive explosives and then using heavy equipment to get at this tiny little seam. So, yes, for them, it’s a cheaper and effective way.

But the problem is, the coal really transcends party politics, that you have liberal Democrats in the Midwest, like Senator Dick Durbin from my Illinois or even President Obama, who have always been working with the coal industry. It’s something that, if you come from a coal state, it’s been very hard to shake from the stranglehold of the coal industry on our politics.

Well, the media doesn’t care, because they are in bed with the coal and nuclear lobby, also. Coal sure gets around! But don’t fret! There is still time for the POTUS to have a change of heart!

JUAN GONZALEZ: And are there any political leaders in the region who have been courageous enough to stand up to the coal industry?

JEFF BIGGERS: Yes, there’s one man who’s a great American hero: ninety-four-year-old Ken Hechler. He was the great congressman. The only congressman who marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama, was this hillbilly from West Virginia, great Ken Hechler. And here he is, ninety-four years old, in West Virginia last week, and the state troopers refused to arrest him, you know. And Ken Hechler came to me, and he said, “President Obama needs to have a Harry S. Truman movement—moment,” that he must, like in 1948, when Harry S. Truman, against the Democratic Party, said we must integrate the military, and he did that on executive order. And Representative Hechler is saying, “We’ve reached that moment now, that President Obama must rise above this idea that we have to have a consensus, that we have to have some kind of compromise with the coal industry, that you can’t compromise with evil.” And Representative Hechler was willing to be arrested for this.

Don’t count on it, old man. That whole Harry S. Truman moment? Don’t make me laugh. Funny how, in the age of Hope! and Change!, I don’t even feel the need to remind people why they shouldn’t get their hopes up for change. Particularly regarding things as important as say, oh, I don’t know, F*CKING BLOWN UP MOUNTAINS!

And do I even need to say that Environmentalists who supported Obama only have themselves to blame? I think not.

I don’t know about any of the commenters and posters here, but this is just unbearable for me. As you all know, my spirituality and beliefs are nature-based. Nature and the Environment, to me, is sacred. To see forty two mountains wiped off the face of the Earth is enough to break my heart into a million little pieces. I actually began to cry, to blub, when I read about this. And snuggling my kitty didn’t help.

I have roots in Applachia. I grew up here in Cleveland, but half of my family is from Pennsylvania and Southern Ohio. (The other half being from Washington DC and Atlantic City, but I digress.) I have felt a connection to the mountains of Appalachia for my entire life. I have yet to climb a mountain, but have wanted to do so since my girlhood. And I say this because I am sure there are other people here who share that sentiment. (I know you ALL aren’t from the East Coast :p).

This is unforgivable, inexcusable, and shameful.

%$#^&! @#$!

*throws things*

What Should Superdelegate Al Gore Do?

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