Local Stories, Events
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Books, Films, Arts & Education
07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]
07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]
07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]
07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]
Lessons from America's Lost Decade
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com earlier today, 15 January 2010
As the United States takes the measure of Barack Obama’s first year in the White House and looks beyond to what could be a difficult new decade, it might be useful to first stop and extract some lessons from the 2000s, which proved to be a lost economic decade for many Americans.
For the first time since the Great Depression, the United States experienced zero job growth in a decade. Zero. And zero is actually worse than it sounds since none of the preceding six decades registered job growth of less than 20 percent.
By comparison, the 1970s, which are often bemoaned as a time of economic stagflation and political malaise, registered a 27 percent increase in jobs. Yet, in part because of that relatively slow rise in jobs – down from 31 percent in the 1960s – American voters turned to Ronald Reagan and his radical economic theories of tax cuts, global “free markets” and deregulation.
Reagan sold Americans on his core vision: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Through his personal magnetism, Reagan turned taxes into a third rail of American politics. He convinced many voters that the government’s only important role was funding the military.
Yet, instead of guiding the country to a bright new day of economic vitality, Reagan’s approach accelerated a de-industrialization of the United States and a slump in the growth of American jobs, down to 20 percent during the 1980s.
The percentage job increase for the 1990s stayed at 20 percent, although job growth did pick up later in the decade under Democrat Bill Clinton, who raised taxes and moderated some of Reagan's approaches while still pushing "free trade" agreements and deregulation.
Hard-line Reaganomics returned with a vengeance under George W. Bush – more tax cuts, more faith in “free trade,” more deregulation – and the Great American Job Engine finally started grinding to a halt. Zero percent increase.
Despite the painful statistics of the past three decades, Reaganomics remains a powerful force in American political life. Anyone tuning in CNBC or picking up the Wall Street Journal would think that these economic policies had enjoyed unqualified success.
Though the downward economic spiral can be traced over the past three decades, the facts are especially stark for the 2000s, the so-called “Aughts” or perhaps more accurately the “Naughts.”
“For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households,” wrote Neil Irwin in a Jan. 2, 2010, review of comparative economic data for the Washington Post. “But since 2000, the story is starkly different.”
As the Post article and its accompanying graphics show, the last decade’s sad story wasn’t just limited to the abysmal job numbers.
U.S. economic output slowed to its worst pace since the 1930s, rising only 17.8 percent in the 2000s, less than half the 38.1 percent increase in the despised 1970s. Household net worth declined 4 percent in the last decade, compared to a 28 percent rise in the 1970s. (All figures were adjusted for inflation.)
As grim as those numbers were, the overall economic legacies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may be even worse.
Not only did the Great American Job Engine grind to a halt in the past decade, but the dire economic numbers were accompanied by massive increases in federal debt, part of a risky right-wing strategy to hamstring the government’s ability to ever address domestic problems in the future.
When Reagan took office, the total federal debt was still under $1 trillion ($909 billion). By the end of the 12-year Republican reign of Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the total debt had quadrupled.
The rise in the red ink leveled off under Democrat Bill Clinton. Amazingly, he left office with the federal budget in the black by $236 billion and with a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion.
The budgetary trend lines were such that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan began to fret about the challenges the Fed might face in influencing interest rates if the entire U.S. government debt were paid off, thus leaving no debt obligations to sell.
But Greenspan’s nervousness was soon quieted. In 2001, George W. Bush seized the White House after blocking a full counting of legally cast votes in Florida, with the help of five Republican partisans on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then, though lacking a popular mandate – Bush also had lost the national popular vote to Al Gore – Bush governed as if he had won by a landslide. He pushed through a new round of tax cuts weighted in favor of the wealthy and, after the 9/11 attacks, launched two open-ended wars on borrowed money.
By the time Bush left office in 2009, the annual deficit had gone to $1.3 trillion (from a $236 billion surplus). Total federal debt had risen almost $5 trillion to $10.7 trillion. And the projected 10-year budget outlook called for $8 trillion more in red ink.
Despite this record of economic failure – trillions more in debt but no net increase in jobs – many Americans appear to have learned no lessons from either the Bush-II presidency or the legacy of Reaganomics. Any thought of raising taxes, addressing long-term problems like health costs, or investing in a stronger domestic infrastructure remains anathema to large segments of the population.
Indeed, across the news media, it is hard to find any serious – or sustained – criticism of the Reagan/Bush economic theories. Far more blame is heaped on Obama for not having fully turned around the financial and economic crisis that he inherited.
Less than a year into Obama’s presidency, voters in Massachusetts may be on the verge of electing a conservative Republican in a special Senate election, according to some polls. That result would enable the GOP to filibuster every significant Obama initiative, from health care to job programs. Many pundits anticipate Republican victories in congressional elections next November.
Who’s to Blame?
Some of the fault for these Democratic political troubles can fairly be laid at Obama’s door, though surely not all.
Fearing a new Great Depression, Obama did continue Bush’s policies for bailing out large banks whose greed and recklessness contributed to the 2008 financial meltdown. Obama also alienated his “base” by rejecting calls for investigating Bush-era national security crimes, expanding the Afghan War, and accepting compromises on health-care reform.
Tactically, Obama was played for a sucker when he let health-care negotiations with “moderate” Republicans like Olympia Snowe of Maine drag on past his initial deadline of August. By slow-rolling the process, the Republicans bought time to organize right-wing populist opposition to the reform package and then marched the GOP (Snowe included) in lockstep behind a Senate filibuster of the legislation.
The unified Republican filibuster forced Obama and the Democratic leadership to make deals with conservative Democrats and Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent who seemed to enjoy bedeviling the legislative process. To get Lieberman’s support, the public option and other popular elements were jettisoned, causing many on the Left to denounce Obama as a sell-out.
Because of all the legislative delays, the health-care bill now hangs on the outcome of the Massachusetts election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat on Jan. 19.
More generally, few Americans appear to be paying any heed to the lessons of the past three decades. Instead, many are simply reprising the same mistakes.
Republicans and the Right are determined to protect the Reagan-Bush legacies by blocking Democratic domestic legislation that might take the country in a different direction. To stop that possibility, they continue to whip up anti-tax, anti-government furies.
Meanwhile, the Democrats still come across as flaccid protectors of an Establishment that many Americans understandably hate. And the American Left mostly sits in the bleachers booing all the players, rather than getting into the game.
As this new decade dawns, the U.S. political process seems resistant to the one of most obvious lessons of the past three decades: Simply put, Reaganomics didn’t work. As George H.W. Bush once commented – when he was running against Reagan in the 1980 primaries – it is “voodoo economics.”
Yet, the fact that the United States has embraced “voodoo economics” for 30 years and refuses to recognize the statistical evidence of Reaganomics’ abject failure suggests that the larger lesson of this era – and especially this past lost decade – is that the U.S. political process is dysfunctional.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on January 15, 2010.