Monday, November 30, 2015

Carly Fiorina Should Be Held Responsible For Inciting Robert Dear's Terrorist Act

This is a condensation of an article on the site: www.smirkingchimp.com

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Carly Fiorina and the House Republicans should be held responsible in the court of public opinion for inciting Robert Lewis Dear to commit murder at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, has been arrested and charged with shooting to death with an AK47 three people, including a police officer, and wounding nine others, including five police officers, at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday. An Initial Appearance is scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) at which time a judge will (1) tell him what crimes he has been accused of committing, (2) advise him of his constitutional rights including his rights to remain silent and to be represented by court-appointed counsel, if he is unable to retain counsel and (3) set or deny bail. Since this is likely to be a death-penalty case, you can reasonably expect the judge will appoint counsel at public expense and deny bail.

In addition ABC News is reporting,
Sources told ABC News the Justice Department is building a domestic terrorism case against Dear, though it would only move forward if somehow the state capital case was sidetracked.
/snip/
In a statement released late Saturday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the shooting a "crime against women receiving healthcare services at Planned Parenthood."
While police haven't released a motive or said whether the clinic was the intended target, Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in a statement Dear "eyewitnesses confirm that the man ... was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion."
“We've seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months," Cowart said. "That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet proof glass."
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he was not aware of any threats to the clinic, but said "we can speculate" on the motive. 
"It happened at a Planned Parenthood center," he said. "My suspicions are that has a lot to do with the motive."
In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said "no more baby parts" in reference to Planned Parenthood, two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case told NBC News.
Although the two law enforcement officials added that the comment about 'no more baby parts' was part of a longer rant against government and President Obama, I think we can reasonably conclude from this information and his booking photos that (a) he is mentally ill and (b) he targeted Planned Parenthood in significant part because of Carly Fiorina's intentional lie about Planned Parenthood during a Republican Presidential debate when she made her infamous harvesting-baby-parts comment about Planned Parenthood clinics. She was referring to heavily edited videotaped interviews of Planned Parenthood officials by an anti-abortion organization calling itself the Center for Medical Progress. She said,
'Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’
Fiorina knew her statement was false when she uttered it because she claimed to have witnessed the incident and the conversation while watching the videos. However, the videos do not support her claim. Therefore, Fiorina's indelible word picture was a lie. Even though she was confronted about her false statement by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, she doubled down insisting that she was telling the truth despite zero evidence to support it.

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My Addendum:

Carly Fiorina has shown herself no more possessing  presidential quality than the other GOP clowns in the field. People need to know these things if for some odd reason they back this harpy and now it's pretty clear she's ok with inciting a political wacko to domestic terror. Her recent bellyaching that it is "all typical left wing tactics" puts her even more out in left field.  (As much as those who maintian that murdering 3 "isn't enough to qualify as terror" - failing to grasp it isn't the number killed but the motivation to instill fear in a community!) As the author of the piece, (Mason) observes:

"Carly Fiorina might never be charged or sued for inciting Robert Lewis Dear to go on a shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic killing three people, including a police officer and injuring nine others, including five police officers, but we can and should hold her and the House Republicans responsible in the court of public opinion for the deaths and injuries."

WSJ's "African Baby Boom" = A Recipe for Disaster

calais, migrant, britain, welfare, economic, immigration, population ...
African migrants congregate near Calais, France to try to make a break through the "Chunnel" to get to Great Britain. Teeming billions in the future will no longer be able to pour into Europe

As the Paris Climate Summit opens concern mounts over which solutions will be used to achieve the goal of no more than a 3.6F increase in global mean temperature since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Emission standards and carbon taxes will doubtless be on the table, but another element that must be on participants' radar is the burgeoning global population. This is because population increase directly fuels global warming. See e.g.

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2015/04/earth-day-alert-biggest-problem-remains.html

In another rose-hued Weekend WSJ piece ('African Baby Boom Brings Hope and Fear', p. A1) we are informed that "the biggest human increase in modern history is underway in Africa". Also, noting that "while every other continent shows slowing population growth, and rates are slowing for the first time in centuries.... not here, not yet".

Which is pretty damned horrific to hear because time and resources aren't on the Africans' side, though it seems a patch of economists believe it is.

How bad are these population growth stats? The WSJ again:

"Some 2.5 billion people will be in Africa by 2050, the UN projects. That would be double the current number and 25 percent of the world's total (10 billion). There will be 399 million Nigerians then, more than Americans. When the century closes, if projections hold, 4 of 10 people will be African."

Let's be clear first that those projections won't hold. Most likely those additional billions will never survive or be born. What will occur is a monumental collapse of the continent's population owing to lack of resources (including crops) to support them, as well as sufficient potable water and jobs.

Lack of resources will mean anywhere from 500m to 1 billion will starve. It will make the Biafra famine in the 1960s look like a carnival. No lie! There simply won't be enough food crops to support the burgeoning population and both Europe and the U.S. will be food-strapped to the point they won't be able to help. Multiple droughts and climate disasters will winnow the available crops down to barely sufficient for those existing populations.

Lack of potable water will ensure another half billion will perish from water borne diseases including amoebic dysentery, typhoid and cholera.

Lack of enough jobs to go around (9,000 Africans are being born on average each day and 9 percent employment is the best these nations can do right now) will inflame further economic and tribal divisions leading to more national uprisings, civil wars and terror. Don't take my word, just look around African now to see all the failed states and instability and this is with barely 1.25 b population. Why would anyone believe doubling the numbers will make things better? It  won't!

And don't look for the Europeans to help out with immigration. They are dealing with enough now with an estimated 1.5 to 2 million Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis flooding in. They will be in no mood to take in Africans too. Which, of course, is another reason for African nations to control their numbers.

The WSJ (p. A13) gloats that by mid-century all the advanced nations will also be suffering from advanced age populations. (By 2050 nearly a fourth of the people on Earth will have passed their 60thj birthday) and lo and behold Africa's numbers hold a way out of this "gray flood".

E.g.

"For comparison the average African wil be 28, and e both old and young enough to start a business, educate themselves, builds new homes, embark on careers...."

And other Pollyannish codswallop, e.g.

"Simply put: a baby boom will lift the poorest continent on Earth into the center of  global affairs. Africa will soon be the world's most reliable source of new life".

And death, as the battle for scarce resources consumes all their energy and tribal instincts reign. This stuff isn't rocket science!  Not mentioned is how most of them, jobless, and without resources - will likely kill the other half that are "haves" - merely for survival.

Even the goofy author (Drew Hinshaw)  admits in crannies of the piece how bad things are. '

- Africa is growing faster than governments can lay down the basics of a modern economy: power plants, roads and schools.

- In Nigeria electricity cuts out daily, public schools are packed, textbooks are few

- Banks barely lend. Nigeria has just 20,000 mortgages for a country of 182 million

- There isn't even enough oil to support a population that grows by 13,000 a day

If it's this bad now, what makes this pie eyed fool believe adding more people will make it better? Does he think free money will pour in from the rest of the world, or no interest loans from the World Bank and IMF?

And yet he writes of a "demographic dividend"  (the moment big families become small and people find themselves with more money because of fewer mouths to feed). But he's talking of a process that takes YEARS , decades. They just don't wake up one morning and find money under the sheepskin rug!

The best way for this continent to at least survive isn't mentioned until near the end: birth control.  But the problem is "birth control has been slow to cattch on". Why?

Well, "women often need permission slips from their husbands to take it"

Adding, "all the files from all the women in the largest hospital in the state don't fill a single filing cabinet".

Which  is sad, but it means Africans are for the 'high jump', in Bajan parlance. Again, these migrations  as solutions - to either wars or overpopulation and lack of  resources- can't go on, and the Europeans won't accept millions piling onto their shores in the coming years,  when the originating nations can't or won't control their own numbers.

They can either stop breeding and "begin feeding", or else starve and perish. And no amount of foolish economic snake oil is going to save them, nor any "demographic dividends".

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Colo. Springs Terrorist Identifies His Motive: "No more baby parts!"


Robert Lewis Dear, screamed 'No more baby parts!' after his 5 hour terror spree and arrest in Colorado Springs.

As I said in my previous post on the Colorado Springs right wing terrorist (Robert Lewis Dear) who shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic here, killing 3 and injuring 9: It doesn't take a genius or a crystal ball to figure out why this asshole did what he did. You only need look at: a) the invective of the Right's crazies, e.g. on right wing hate radio and from the Repuke presidential candidates that preceded it, b) the choice of the target - a Planned Parenthood clinic, and c) the weapons brought in to ensure he'd have a long stand off with our police and holding citizens hostage to his cause.

The aim is clearly to change the ideology of our community or to instill it with fear so PP will lose clientele, as specialist Jonathan Gilliam observed on CNN yesterday. He also referred to it as "terrorism" which only a deaf or blind man wouldn't see - or a person similarly imbued with Dear's malformed perceptions, but wishes to protect his right flank.

It is especially galling to think former cops could attribute ambiguity of motive to this slime when four cops were injured in the altercation and one (Garret Swasey) killed. Some of these obfuscationists believe they know all about it because they know how to Google but they don't know diddly or squat - not as much as those of us who live here (tuned in to local news stations almost continually). And it never fails that they trot out the same bogus bullshit every time a right winger goes on such a spree - like Andre Brevik in Norway some years ago. It's always "mental health issues" for the Right but it's always "terrorism" if Lefties or Muslims do it. How so? You cannot have it both ways, sorry!

Here's the skinny: We now know from current reports the first words out of this turd's mouth (despite being 'Mirandized')  on his arrest were:

"No more baby parts!"

See:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/29/suspect-in-planned-parenthood-attack-said-no-more-baby-parts-after-arrest



Why the fuck would this degenerate utter such words, the only ones thus far, if saving all those poor "babies" from PP's "butchers" wasn't the primary motive? (They aren't "babies" of course, since babies are already born, they are fetuses. But clearly, he had bought into the bogus videos circulated by a right wing group months before, purporting to show the parts of fetuses being offered for sale on the organs' market.


But this dingbat like most of the Right's loonytunes can't tell the difference between fetus' tissue and "baby parts" - which is why he became enraged enough to carry out a mass murder. See also:

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2015/08/confusing-issues-again-reeptards-mix-up.html

Another aspect that points to a political motive was an encounter with Dear's neighbor (Zigmond Post) in the guy's mountain town of Hartsel. Mr. Post told of being handed anti-Obama pamphlets within minutes of first meeting Dear, then having to listen to a rant against the President. (Denver Post, today, p. 17A)

The fact is this PP center has been under siege from our local wingnuts for years. On some occasions they even drenched dolls in blood (likely from cow's blood or some other animal's) and tossed them in the path of terrorized patients trying to gain access - even to ordinary services like breast exams.

The PP leadership then decided to install a safe room where at least some of their clients could hide in the case of an all out attack - which is what this terrorist mounted.  Luckily it was in use Friday and saved lives, as The Denver Post reported yesterday (p. 13A).

As more details emerge during grilling, even more of this scurvy bastard's plans will come to light.

In the meantime those who don't live here and don't know dog shit need to button it up, especially with the fulsome horse pockey that "the Left never lets a good tragedy go to waste"

Uh, no, Sparky. We just recognize a right wing terrorist's work when we see it and if you were honest you would too! Time to call 'a spade a spade'  and cease the misdirection especially now we have the scum's own words to go by! But, of course, the Right's sophists will likely declare he burped out those words in a fit of anxiety and they can't be taken seriously.

If we don't take him at his word when he blurts out his motive at his arrest, when will we? Time to stop the obfuscation and recognize Dear's terrorism and hate crime for what it is!

Congrats to Rev. Nori Rost of the local Unitarian Universalist Chuch who conducted a prayer service for the victims yesterday and said: "We are here to pray for the victims of this domestic terrorist" (Denver Post, today, p. 18A)

Realizing full well that even if the guy was slightly deranged that does not mean there was no political motive. One can be "deranged" and still act politically and as a terrorist! Obviously, a lot of planning went into his act so he wasn't that fuckin' deranged!

Update  11/30

Over the weekend more presidential candidates came out against this horrific act. Even Republican Christian candidate Mike Huckabee called it "an act of domestic terror".  And Martin O'Malley referred to an act of "intolerance and violence" perpetrated on victims. But evidently Mistress Carly (Fiorina) couldn't give a fig whether anything happened to the victims as she assumed the demeanor of a deluded nut and said: "This is typical left wing tactics".  She didn't clarify but one presumes she was referencing the acknowledgement by most sober and sane people in the wake of Dear's statement on arrest that he was virulently anti-abortion and a terrorist.

Meanwhile, Dear's wife in an interview with the NY Times admitted he was anti-abortion but wasn't "obsessive about it". But this only proves to us that Dear was nowhere as loopy and deranged as the Right wing fellow travelers and apologists make him out to be. He was able to keep his self-control until the time he chose to act.

As reported on CBS Early Show today "another estranged family member described Dear's political views as 'radical'".

Other news disclosed:

- He did have an AK -47 which he used to kill and injure (some know nothings were babbling it may have just been an ordinary "long rifle" like a .22)

- Law enforcement sources quoted in the same Early Show segment said Dear had positioned  propane tanks next to his vehicle and had every intention of "firing on them to set them off".

The right wing and racist defenders of this loon can squawk all they want but we can call him what he is: a radical right wing terrorist.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

How The GOP Base Voters Have Become Demented By Right Wing Talk Radio


The porcine face of El Rushbo becomes flushed with anger as he pumps out non-stop vitriol for his puppet right winger toadie listeners.

It's somewhat amazing to me that anyone with a grain of common sense or an I.Q. at least in the upper quartile even tunes in to Rush Limbaugh any more. This guy demeans those who call in to his foolish show, and he demeans the whole country with his babble. Worse, his prolonged screeds can infect the weak brains of losers like Robert  Lewis Dear, the terrorist who opened fire on people in a Planned Parenthood Clinic here in Colorado Springs yesterday.

We already know COS is one of the biggest markets for Limbaugh's bloviated snark and assholinity - given it is the most right wing metropolis in the state. We also know Limbaugh has repeatedly attacked PP in his on air huff and puff and it is a sure bet a loser like Dear spent most of his days ingesting El Rushbo's right wing bunkum to the point it incited him to action - no less than ISIS followers have  been incited by their social media brainwashing.

 I still recall on one rare occasion when I tuned in back in 2009 (in the interest of keeping one ear on who hates liberals),  a guy from Ohio called up to say he wanted to know the best way to "get back at an over reaching government."  El Rushbo said: "Yeah! Stand on your own two feet and disavow any government benefits!"

The guy was clearly perplexed so asked: "What do you mean?"

The porky -faced one bellowed: "I mean not taking any benefits! No Social Security, NO VA, No Medicare, nothing! Each thing you take from the government is like crack which makes you dependent on the same government you want to get back at. It makes you like an addict for their free stuff."

He tried to interrupt: "B-but I fought in Vietnam! I earned those VA benefits!"

Limburger unloaded: "You can't earn anything from the government! What you 'earned' is coming back whole! And now you , YOU gotta do something with it! Make yourself independent of any government strings! Because those benefits can be reduced or taken back at any time!"

Could it be true this rash, brash, drug-addled fatso is largely responsible for the level of discourse in this nation hitting new lows? I was curious so had to excavate some further information and whether any other sane person found Rushbo equally objectionable. More to the point, what did it say about Limbaugh's followers?
David Horsey's (NY Times) take on whacked out GOOP voters is insightful and needs attention from the sane segment of the country - to see how batshit nuts these people have become, daily quaffing Rushbo's hateful kool aid.
Horsey notes that traditional conservatives and Republican Party operatives are "gobsmacked by the virulent, anti-establishment mood among Republican voters. They find themselves in a fight for the soul of the Grand Old Party — a fight they seem to be losing."

This is not amazing and the insight has been echoed earlier by WSJ columnists Daniel Henninger, Kimberly Strassel and Peggy Noonan. All have been appalled at how the Reeptard base has really descended into Reeptardation with essential losers (like Ben Carson) and blowhard, bombastic know nothings like the splenetic Trump gaining more favor among base voters than traditional pols like Jeb! and even Kasich (who these new voters find to be Milquetoasts")
Horsey observes that each new poll "ratifies the fact that nearly half of Republican voters favor either Donald Trump or Ben Carson, candidates who have never held public office and who tout their lack of political experience as a major attribute". Add on the numbers for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who has spent his time in Washington as a thorn in the side of the entrenched leadership and Carly Fiorina, another political outsider, and the anti-establishment vote goes well over 50%.
Horsey reminds us that there have been right-wing preachers and polemicists on the radio nearly as long as there have been commercial radio broadcasts. After World War II, Christian anti-communists, such as Billy James Hargis, Dan Smoot and the Rev. Carl McIntire, camped out on the far edges of the AM dial. Their ominous warnings about communist conspiracies and morally bankrupt, treasonous liberalism were dramatic, but so grim that they lacked appeal for a wide audience.

No less then H.L. Hunt went even further with his "Facts Forum" - castigating the Catholic Church and the Kennedys with assorted vitriol.  Oh, and leaving the worst hate for blacks and Jews. His mainly Dallas-based audience ate it up so no surprise Big D became the citadel of hate - where the security state would most easily find the accomplices it needed to eliminate Kennedy in November, 1963
We know that when "The Rush Limbaugh Show" went national in 1988, the game changed and with the Reaganites killing the Fairness doctrine, sane voices were muted - unable to even respond to his invective.. He made paranoia and vein-rupturing anger fun. Dispensing with the dense “documentation” proffered by the old-guard right-wingers, Rush riffed on the news, engaged in satire and sold himself as a personality. In the process, he became the biggest name in radio and turned himself into a major influence in Republican politics.
Limbaugh’s success spawned a legion of emulators. According to the trade publication Talkers, there are as many as 5,000 political talk radio hosts burning up the airwaves across America. The vast majority of them cater to a conservative audience. Most offer little in the way of sophisticated political insight; i,e, they do not want to emulate the  stuffy, nerdy George Will, after all. No, they want to be like Rush — all anger and attitude, "beat the shit out of 'em" bombast - something like .John McAdams dealing with JFK conspiracy researchers.
The Republican Party now has a large base of voters who have marinated their brains in the anger, distrust, paranoia and sneering belligerence of right-wing radio. Unlike the old days when their world view might be tempered by an alternative version of reality offered in the mainstream media, these folks are ideologically cocooned by right-wing websites and Fox News. Their feedback loop is hermetically sealed.

Worse, we don't know how many other reactionary brains like the COS terrorist are being "marinated" daily by this crap - but it's probably a goodly number. We have far more to fear from these degenerates who can purchase lethal weapons at any gun show than 10,000 strenuously vetted Syrian refugees entering the country!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Five Hours Of Terror In Colorado Springs


The Right wing POS terrorist loser who targeted Planned Parenthood

It was just after 1 p.m. local time that I turned on MSNBC as I usually do after eating lunch. There on the screen were the words "Active Shooter in Colorado" and Colorado Springs identified at the top. For the next 4 hours wifey and I sat glued to our seats watching as events unfolded: a terrorist's attack on the Planned Parenthood Clinic at Fillmore St. and Centennial Blvd. in our city,

NO, it was not a Muslim that carried out this terror, but a right winger named Robert Lewis Dear, clearly pissed that women in our mostly Red (as in Republican-Right wing) county were able to get health care and abortions.  And no, it doesn't take a genius or crystal ball to figure that out even though all the facts aren't in yet. As law enforcement specialist Jonathan Gilliam put it, he didn't just wander into that particular spot and start a game of 'shoot em up'. He had a definite agenda and ideology by the very nature of the target chosen. In other words, don't let anyone hand you the malarkey it was a "coincidence" or this loser was just a random gun nut. As Gilliam put it, he clearly wanted to live to make known his agenda to others in our city.

One theory has it that his brain was filled with hate after months of invective spewed by the Repukes over the airwaves (after a bogus, edited video appeared of allegedly maimed fetuses sold for profit by PP)  including more twisted lies from slime like Limbaugh and most of the Reepo presidential field. In that sense, all those assholes bear some responsibility for fomenting the meme that infected this terrorist's brain and led to the slaughter - including three slain (one officer, Garret Swasey) and two civilians as well as nine injured (4 other officers and 5 civilians).

The bastard Reich wing terrorist entered the building with an AK -47 and bags containing what were presumed to be some kind of ordnance to be set off. Witnesses reported volleys of shots being fired, sometimes as many as twenty an hour. In the course of this cowardly rat's hostage- taking he took out three people, but at the end was too cowardly to take out himself. Maybe it happens that garbage can't dispose of garbage - if it's bad enough.

One hostage -crime specialist, Jim Cavanaugh,  reported in an MSNBC interview, that  the perp probably felt  like the still loose terrorist (Salah Abdeslam) in the Paris attacks. It was more important that he live to be able to dispense his agenda to the media, than to honorably off himself for the despicable turd he is.

Planned Parenthood itself, after weeks and months of rhetorical attack from the nutso Right, was wise enough to install a safe room where patients could go in case of emergency or attack. (Their alarms were likely already in place after a failed bombing of NAACP HQ some ten months earlier.) As soon as the first shots were fired most of the civilians-patients were able to gain entry and lock themselves in, while others were taken hostage by Dear.

For hours SWAT teams and Colorado Springs police tried to reason with this terrorist to little or no avail. Finally, a "Bearcat" - one of SWAT's best weapons- was brought in to plow down one side of the clinic and gain immediate access., As team members barked orders to surrender more shots were exchanged until finally the POS surrendered himself, skulking out in a white-t-shirt and dark pants.

As Cavanaugh and other terror specialists observed, this rat will be grilled for hours on his motives, or imagined grievances and then face stern justice - likely ending up spending decades in the same Supermax prison as one of the masterminds of 9/11 as well as one of the OK City bombers.  His act of "focused aggression" will bear a high price and he will pay it.

As we know, the aim of the terrorist - whether a Rightie like Dear, or Muslim like Abaaoud  - is to strike fear into ordinary people to make them less inclined to either use public facilities or gain access to special places that offer services not available elsewhere.  As Jonathan Gilliam put it in the context of this case with this loser, Robert Lewis Dear:

"The reality is terrorism is a tactic which uses fear to change the political ideology of a community or a group of people. And if his motivation is to do that, going in there and being very specific, you can call that terrorism."

Bingo!

While the Paris attack ISIS bunch sought to strike fear into Parisians and disrupt their normal lives, Dear clearly sought to strike fear into the hearts of women in our city - lest they even remotely consider going to the Planned Parenthood Clinic for any health care services, including abortion.

But Planned Parenthood's founder, Cecile Richards,  has declared no one will be intimidated nor will PP's mission be subverted.  This is important because otherwise offal like Dear win, and his terror meme triumphs. This we cannot allow. Women in our city must continue to feel safe enough to use PP's services, irrespective of the justice outcome.

Interestingly, while the Dem presidential candidates have publicly come out to declare they "stand with Planned Parenthood"  we have not heard one Reepo candidate comment up to now.

Which makes me believe the only conclusion is that they stand with this terrorist Dear,  who butchered three innocents and injured nine others in the worst massacre this city has seen in over ten years.



Terrified Americans Prepared To Sacrifice Liberties Again After Paris


Bwaaaaa! Daddy Reepo pwotekt me fwum dem bad guys! Bwaaaahahah!

"Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for the purpose of a temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

"In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover and wickedness insensibly open." - Thomas Jefferson, in 'Notes on Virginia'.


As many Americans take to the skies and roads over the long holiday weekend, you can be sure that despite the assurances of President Obama, millions will still be seized by pathological terror fears.

Just reading the accounts in The Wall Street Journal three days ago, of all the citizens prepared to sacrifice their hard won liberties to "feel safe" was enough to turn a civil libertarian's stomach. Person after person averred of the need to feel safe and how the Paris attacks had again turned them toward their own mortality.  One middle-aged Pennsylvania woman said she'd accept a new surveillance state, anything to "catch the terrorists".

And, of course, it doesn't take too much for crass politicos to exploit those fears (now voiced by 64 % of the country who believe a terror attack is "imminent"  for the U.S.)  and convert them into demagoguery and fear mongering - while vowing  a lot more surveillance - as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie have done. The last guy saying at a Council on Foreign Relations  confab that "Paris changes everything". Uh, no it doesn't.

Add to that hysterical articles like 'Time to Remove the Surveillance Blinders', WSJ, Nov. 24, p. A13) by Michael B. Mukasey and Jamil N. Jaffer, yelping to "restore the metadata programs" and you can understand why so many of our countrymen are in panic mode.

But as yesterday's Denver Post editorial ('Don't Retreat on NSA Surveillance') points out:

"The security hawks are misguided. The Paris attacks are not a cogent argument for their views. "

It goes on to cite knuckledragger Tom Cotton, hell bent on introducing legislation to delay implementation of the USA Freedom Act which passed in June and is set to be fully implemented in December.   (Incidentally, Cotton's cotton-pickin' energy in this, as well as that of other GOOPrs is nothing short of amazing given Republican leaders have recently declared the lower chamber will be closed for a total of 150 weekdays starting next year. That's upward of 30 weeks paid vacation for each!)

But the Post to its credit has noted that while the modest rollback of NSA bulk collection of records threatens national security, the facts do not bear this out. (But what value are facts anymore anyway, when a blowhard nincompoop like Trump can say anything he wants - like he heard and saw people in Jersey City clapping approval after the WTV towers went down - and not one report can support it)

As the Post observes:

"The federal government's own Privacy and Civil Liberties Board was unable in 2014 to identify "a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records collection program made a concrete difference to the outcome of a terrorist investigation."

Adding:

"Moreover, we are aware of no such instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack."

The Post also pointed out that the Justice Department's own inspector general came to a similar conclusion namely that "even federal anti-terrorism officials in favor of the 'metadata' program could not identify any major case developments as a result of it."

Those are significant findings showing the programs, methods were essentially useless despite all the huff and puff now erupting among politicians eager to gain leverage in the polls by playing on Americans' fears. Or least a certain subset I call "the good Germans".

Go back to the end of World War II and the American occupation of Germany in the years after 1945. We assailed the “weak” German people and mocked them for not standing up to the growing metastasis of Hitler’s Reich which they obviously saw but did nothing about. Hell, too many sided with Hitler, praised him and embraced his ideology while turning a blind eye to the wrongs. The last straw was the Enabling Act (1933) which essentially obliterated the last vestiges of the Weimar Republic. Our military also dragged out these “good Germans” and trotted them into the remnant concentration camps to see first hand what their Fuhrer and his minions did. They were marched in and forced to look at the naked, gassed bodies stacked like cordwood until they puked.
Americans have got to realize that if they're so petrified by the Paris attacks that they are led to vote for any of these tinhorn,  wannabe dictators, our nation will be in deep shit - from which it may never be extricated even after the current threat passes.  Worse, many citizens may be mutated into the same "good Germans" who would deny atrocities committed (e.g. by the security state) to protect them from the bad guys.

Am I a civil liberties “extremist”? Damned right if that means a citizen who understands that the Constitution is not just “a piece of paper” (as Bush once called it) and that the rights inherent in the Bill of Rights are real, apply to individuals, and not mere “compromise abstractions” but rather hold the key to American identity – what truly sets us apart. And once those rights are gone, believe me they won’t be coming back! Once they are gone we will cease to be the nation my ancestor,  Conrad Brumbaugh,  envisaged and fought for in the Revolutionary War  - as one of the Pennsylvania Regiment.

What would Conrad think now nearly 240 years after the War of Independence? He’d likely barf nonstop at the spectacle of what too many of the current crop of Americans have devolved to: arrant, whiny, weak, sissy consumers,  who’d rather give in to their fears and vote for an obvious tyrant than stand tall and face their fears.

Which means not letting the ISIA terrorists win, i.e. getting us to do their dirty work for them by rescinding our had won liberties via the imposition of dubious, hollow laws.


Trump's Mocking of Handicapped Reporter Shows He's Unfit To Lead

Image for the news result
Trump imitating NY Times reporter Serge Kovaleski at SC Rally

I am not sure how many in the South Carolina audience at Trump's recent rally were appalled, but if they all had their brains where they need to be anatomically positioned they should have been, It was a disgraceful, crass exhibition of buffoonery and outright vile behavior that ought to disqualify any candidate from public office beyond dog catcher.

Well, let me amend that. That would have been in normal, sane times when the media's spotlight on assorted candidates' peccadillos and lies brought them crashing down before they could reach the big stage. From spotlighting Gary Hart's mistress shenanigans to Pat Buchanan's pro -Nazi, nativist  rhetoric in a 1992 screed, to David Duke's rabid racism years later.

Today though, blinded by Tea Party anti-government hysteria, too many people have had their gray matter hijacked and - according to polls and surveys - will support a splenetic asshole like Trump no matter what he says or does - or who he makes fun of. Clearly, these supporters have lost their moral compasses as well as their common sense and perspective. When a candidate mocks a disabled person, that ought to be going too far in anyone's book.

The recent brouhaha erupted after "the Donna" insisted he had seen Muslims erupting in jubilation in Jersey City, NJ after the twin towers came down. When media tried to point out he was confusing the scene with images of Palestinians in the Middle East the nitwit just doubled down. As if repeating it made it so. But recall here that Hitler once said "if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it". Well, perhaps in some parts of what I call 'Amerikka', the Reich wing, mainly Red State segment blind to anything the Donna does or says - but not in the remaining sane nation that is disgusted by his latest exhibition.

Anyway, Trump tried to use a 2001 article by Mr Kovaleski to back up  his widely disputed, nonsense claim that "thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Kovaleski has denied any such reporting, and given he's a serious journalist as opposed to a buffoon like Trump one must take his word before the Donna's (Not to mention the WaPo and other media outlets backing him up)

As Mr Kovaleski  put it:

"The sad part about it is, it didn't in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record,"

Then at a South Carolina rally on Tuesday night, Trump called Mr. Kovaleski "a nice reporter" as a prelude to mocking his condition. (Mr Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a condition that affects the movement of joints and is noticeable in his right arm and hand.)

Trump  - who had met and seen the reporter a number of times before (in the 1980s) - then went into his harangue. saying:
.
"Now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy..."

before launching into an impression of Mr Kovaleski, waving his arms around with his hands at an odd angle - the same way brutish kids in the early 50s used to make fun of those peers with polio.

"Uhh I don't know what I said. Uhh I don't remember. He's going like 'I don't remember. Maybe that's what I said.'"

In the wake of the disgusting act out, a New York Times spokeswoman told news site Politico: "We think it's outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters,"

Of course it is, but one now wonders how many accomplice buffoons won't be the least bit disturbed by his antics and merely say - as one knothead did on a CBS news segment three nights ago: "To errr is human, so we forgive him!" (This was after being shown his 9/11 claims were unsubstantiated.)

Meanwhile, the arrogant turkey has actually demanded an apology from the New York Times.  Methinks his brain has now farted one too many times: It is Trump who owes the nation, as well as the Times and Mr. Kovaleski  a heart felt apology.

If Trump's numbers don't sink after this episode, it is safe to say that at least one third of the Repuke base needs to be officially declared sociopathic.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How Important Is Gratitude?

As physical scientists living according to the principles of Scientific Materialism, in a nation that overvalues material things, it is often a handicap to appreciate the intangible or emotional aspects of life - including simple gratitude. But that now appears to be changing.

Over the past decade, psychologists and scientists have been collecting empirical data that show people who report feeling gratitude in their daily lives feel more loving, forgiving and enthusiastic. Being appreciative then, of the things one already has (even if one compares them to what many lack) can make one a better person. This is assuming, of course, one refrains from condemning the homeless or those who visit soup kitchens today - or who need food stamps to get by - as n'er do wells, "welfare queens" or slackers. If that one upmanship factors into one's gratitude (i.e. 'Thank ye Lord, for not making me one them losers') then all bets are off.

A good note to sound embodies the words from Ecclesiastes 9:11 (New International edition of the Bible):

"The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all."

In other words, it's a myth to believe all of one's goods arrive by virtue of one's own efforts. The fact is no matter how many sacrifices we've made or how much we believe we've struggled, no one does it on their own. Heck, what we enjoy in the here and now can  often be traced to unearned gifts, plain dumb luck or "blessings" (in the parlance of the religious).

Only a fool or brigand would believe he's amassed all his worldly goods or fame on his own with no assistance from serendipity or the help of others. THAT recognition is the basis of a sincere sense of gratitude.

The other aspect is the realization that the misfortunes of others, what we see in the travails of the homeless or those on food stamps, could happen to any of us at a given time under the right confluence of events. Showing gratitude in this sense also confers benefits.

 Gratitude is linked strongly to well-being and mental and physical health with such benefits as lowered blood pressure and improved immune function. These benefits are foregone by a bombastic person who rails against "takers" or "welfare queens" or "food stamps thieves"  and who fails to perceive he might just as well be in the same position but for one or two twists of fate. (Say having a catastrophic accident or getting a life -threatening cancer that bleeds one's savings to zero.)

Thankfully, neuroscientists are now pioneering a new frontier, for the first time creating maps of brain activity when people are focused on gratitude. This field of investigation, at the brain level, is so new that only a handful of researchers are doing it. But this isn't surprising given that much of neuroscience today also dovetails with physical science - and we Materialists are not so much into admitting or recognizing the benefits of attitudes or other intangibles.

According to Glenn Fox, a neuroscientist at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California:

"If we want to harness the best of gratitude, we need to find out how it works in the brain, which allows us to examine the nature of gratitude itself and hone in on it,"

Fox ought to know. He is the lead author of a study by USC neuroscientists on the neural basis of gratitude, published this fall in Frontiers in Psychology. Study participants were put into MRI scanners and guided to reflect on true-life stories from Holocaust survivors who experienced intense gratitude after other people provided life-saving food or hiding places.

In the investigation, brain activity was enhanced in two key places:   the anterior cingulate cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex,  areas previously linked to things such as interpersonal bonding, rewarding social interactions and the ability to understand the mental states of other people.  Fox has said:

"What we can learn more broadly from this is that even in really dire times, there is still room for gratitude, and to recognize things that others do to benefit us,"
.
More beneficial has been funding provided by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, which created a $5.6 million three-year project to expand the scientific database of gratitude and perform additional forthcoming brain imaging studies

Will Americans be ready for the results? This might be problematic given we inhabit a politically polarized culture which insists on finding winners and losers. Thus, reinforcing the special work or province myth that people only get "what they earn" and if they don't, well it's damned well their own fault for being lazy and not succeeding.

But the critics don't realize that the very expression of such limited, biased views precludes them from expressing real gratitude and the health and other benefits that flow from it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Do You REALLY Want A 'Frankenfish' With Those Fries?


A GMO-designed salmon, aka 'Frankenfish',  next to its smaller, normal cousin.

On the CBS Early Show medical spot, when the topic turned to the latest GMO-designed monstrosity-  a new salmon dubbed 'frankenfish' because its growth hormones don't stop pumping over its life cycle -  Dr. David Agus  didn't mince words. He averred he would not eat this beastie and further, Americans ought to know what the hell kind of food they're ingesting - it's not good enough for the Neoliberal-coopted FDA to just say everything is fine.

Agus explained the process entails first "taking a gene from a different salmon, e.g. Chinook, then taking genes that turn on other genes from an eel (ocean pout eel) which had one growing season so it makes the GMO salmon grow all the time."

He added: "The problem is we don't know much about it", noting "the FDA is standing out there saying this stuff is safe to eat but you do not have the right to know whether it's genetically modified or not".

Why not? Well, because like most federal agencies the FDA is in the maw of the big corporations so must do their bidding. Can't have the poor little rats losing profits because of a few cancers of the bowel, liver or kidneys.

Of course, the process itself - which may also involve other genes, e.g. mouse, rat, squid -  is not known given it's considered "proprietary". (We do know that mouse genes in GMO tomatoes help to preserve their shelf life at grocers who carry them.) Also, as Agus pointed out, there have been no long term studies done on humans. While a breast or bowel cancer may not show up in a year, it might in 16 years if a person keeps consuming GMOs.

Fortunately, a number of supermarkets - including Trader Joe's, Target, Kroger's, Whole Foods, Costco and Safeway - have taken matters into their own hands (according to the CBS graphic displayed) and vowed they will not sell this creature. If they can't label the damned thing, they won't sell it.

It brings to mind again the conversation I had with Barbadian geneticist and biologist John Phillips (below) back in 2012 when I asked what his worst nightmare was in terms of GMO foods.

He didn't hesitate and stated:

"That would be any developing any genetically modified organisms for food, for which abnormal growth is promoted by the use of growth hormones and using a source creature that enables it".

He feared such a food, such a 'creature' would spawn "millions of new cancers" and asserted - like David Agus on the CBS spot yesterday - that the precautionary principle ought to be the guiding one. That is, the designers ought to be the ones to have to prove eating this creature is safe. People, consumers ought not to have to prove it is unsafe.

Apart from the health concerns, environmental activists oppose the salmon because, as Dr. Agus notes, they can escape and mix with wild fish, even out competing naturally occurring varieties. This was the reason The Center for Food Safety has vowed to sue the FDA in order to block final approval.

According to a Wall Street Journal piece on this beast, a bunch named AquaBounty is developing it.  The Journal observes:

"AquaBounty estimate it will take several years before the fish hits the market, because it needs to expand its farm facilities and begin raising the salmon. Still the (FDA) approval is a major victory for the company, which initially sought approval in 1995 and has in the past struggled to maintain funding."

The piece also noted that while AquaBounty has contemplated labeling its salmon, the FDA's Director for Food Safety has maintained that :

"The FDA can only require labeling of GMO foods if regulators find a material difference from conventionally produced versions"

And in the case of the AquaBounty monster salmon:

"The FDA did not find such differences."

To which I call 'bollocks'. The very fact this thing "will grow to a market weight twice as fast as wild or farmed versions" (see photo)  shows it is materially different. It does not have to sport mouse ears to be so classified, for god's sake. The sheer increase in mass shows it is! The growth hormones needed to make it a reality include those extracted from eels, as well as Chinook salmon.

Again, if people choose of their own volition to purchase this monstrosity for a fish fry, fine. But more discriminating buyers ought to be able to see the different brands at stores labeled as Dr. David Agus and John Phillips insist. It's just a matter of honoring a basic right to know what the hell you are eating. The FDA's rubber stamp may be ok for Neoliberals not fussy about how their cancers occur, but the rest of us damned well want to know!

The corporate whore kingdom often cites the FDA or other government agencies to bestow benediction on GMO foods, i.e. that they are "safe" - but of course these federal agencies have already been bought out long ago and become de facto PR- whore extensions for the corporatocracy. This is why they incessantly fight to keep labels off GMO foods.

While anti-GMO folks are lampooned by the Neoliberal governmental -business estate and its lackeys, let's bear in mind 64 countries already require labeling of GMO foods or ban them outright. Why is the U.S. different? Or better, why is the U.S. the exceptional dumb nation here? Could it be the corporate state has our gov't by the balls, lock, stock and barrel? Maybe! As Heather White observed on Oz' s 9/19/14 show, they are only willing to "rubber stamp" what the corporations want and most of our agencies are in their maw. That makes them corporate whores!

The American thing to do is to provide labeling for all foods, not deny citizens (via the 'DARK' Act) to have the right to know what they're eating!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hillary's Middle Class Tax Cut Plan Is A Non-Starter


In Europe, citizens of high benefits nations (Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland)  understand one doesn't get something for nothing and that higher taxes are the price paid for state social support. Thus, citizens need not worry about health care, higher education debt and daycare - like those in the U.S. 

However, in this country, people are baited again and again by "tax cuts"  when they ought to know by now they don't work and will only force cuts to their most desired social benefits later, e.g. Social Security, Medicare and VA health benefits.  That tax cuts, including middle class, don't work has already been proven by a detailed (Sept. 15, 2010) analysis appearing in the Financial Times.

That analysis (p. 24) showed the earlier Bush tax cuts engendered "the weakest decade in U.S. postwar history for real, non-residential capital investment".

The FT analysis also observed that during each decade from the 1950s to the 1990s, growth in real gross non-residential investment averaged between 3.5 percent and 7.4 percent a decade. During the 2000s it averaged a mere 1%”

This is evidence enough that the Democrats have to stop playing politics with these god damned tax cuts!

Yet on reading The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 21-22, 'Clinton Proposes Middle Class Tax Cuts', p. A4) one sees Hillary is ready to pander again, hoping enough Americans are stupid enough to bite in order to give her their votes.

A Clinton campaign aide quoted in the piece insists her plan:

"would inject hundreds of billions of dollars into middle class households enabling them to better cope with expenses."

But this is total snake oil. As we've seen with the Bush tax cuts, later unwisely extended by Obama and Co., a huge push was initiated in 2010  to also cut Social Security under Obama's "Debt Commission". This was no coincidence. Obama's advisors knew something would have to give because the extension of those cuts - especially to the middle class (since on the rich alone they don't pay the freight) would otherwise create $1.2 trillion in deficits over the total time employed. The only way to offset them would be to cut "entitlements" - and the 'Chained CPI" was proposed  before Democratic forces inveighed against it forcing Obama-ites to back down.

Now, Hillary wants to resurrect this baloney, not telling Americans that if they accept these tax cuts they will pay the piper later - likely in future cuts to much more valuable Social Security and Medicare benefits. But Hillary is determined realizing that Bernie Sanders' plan for REAL benefits to the middle class, including free college, expansion of Social Security and single payer health care, can only be paid for by at least a nine percent increase in taxes (though at this level defense cuts will also have to be considered).

So, in order to further separate herself from Sanders, she proposes middle class tax cuts  The outfit behind this scurvy plan is likely the Third Way bunch which we (on the Left) like to call "Republican Lite".    This is because instead of pushing progressive values and populist economics, they call for welfare "reform," talk about how cutting Social Security, and support awful trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP. And if that wasn't bad enough, they also take in millions of dollars in donations from the fat cats on Wall Street, big Pharma and the so-called "defense" industry.

According to the WSJ piece "Third Way, a centrist think tank said Mrs. Clinton is outlining an approach that should lift sagging middle class fortunes".

But they don't say it would only be for a time. Then the hammer of other benefits cuts would fall on these middle class folks to avoid deficits busting the nation.

Anyone who can do math would instantly see, as Clive Cook pointed out some 6 years ago in an article in the Financial Times, that middle class tax cuts are insanity. You simply can't get enough revenue with tax on the wealthiest alone, even the upper one percent. He argued it needs to go as low as the upper 40 percent which includes the upper middle class and the "middle middle class".

Obama didn't heed the repeated warning, not just from the FT but elsewhere, so no surprise barely two years after extending the Bush cuts for the middle class he began proposing Social Security cuts.

Ultimately the backlash and outcry forced Obama to take stock and realize he was batting on a losing wicket, see e.g.

Excerpt:

As for the president and his supporters, it is clear that the chained CPI is well-liked by both the White House's key economic players -- and by many of the commentators who support them. That's unfortunate, because it is inaccurate, unjust, and economically unwise. But like it, they do.

It appears that both the Republicans and the White House like it, but neither wants such a politically unpopular measure hung around their neck -- especially in an election year.”

Hillary, should she get elected next year and try to push her misbegotten tax cuts through,  will also get the same reaction if she subsequently tries to cut "entitlement" programs to offset the cost of  the tax cuts.

Hillary's middle class tax cut plan is bad for another reason. As reported in The Economist (Nov 24), such "expensive" tax cuts "would require a squeeze on public investment. That would sap productivity, especially given the shoddy state of America's infrastructure."

The article adds that the "burden of shoddy roads, airports and energy infrastructure will cost every household $3,100 a year according to the American Society of Civil Engineers".

That, along with later Social Security and Medicare cuts, ought to convince any sensible American not to bite on Hillary's tax cut snake oil. Bernie Sanders' proposed increase in taxes -including on the middle class- is the only one that makes mathematical or policy sense - if salvaging the middle class is a priority.

Bottom line: You can't get something for nothing!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Global Economy Cannot Be Based On Population Growth!


Isaac Asimov makes a crucial point about over population at his Queen's Park Lecture in Barbados, on Feb. 6, 1976. This photo was part of a write-up in The Barbados Advocate newspaper.

There is a good reason why most physical scientists consider the majority of economists to be blockheads and simpletons: they don't use rational or testable models. One of the most irritating aspects of market economics posits that population growth is essential for future economics growth. This simpleton proposition was expressed yet again in today's Wall Street Journal (p. A1, 'Population's Flagging Growth Undermines Global Economy')

The author, Greg Ip, writing:

"Previous generations fretted about the world having too many people. Today's problem is too few. This reflects two long-established trends: lengthening lifespans and declining fertility.

Simply put, companies are running out of workers, customers or both. In either case economic growth suffers"


Which is total, unadulterated balderdash which no serious rational person should buy. It is merely PR and propaganda for a world we simply cannot afford.  See, e.g.
http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2015/04/earth-day-alert-biggest-problem-remains.html

And:

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2015/11/bret-stephens-as-ill-informed-on.html

As noted therein, there's an 80 percent probability that world population - now 7.3 billion - will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion by 2100.  This portends a basically unlivable world featuring assorted life-destroying forms of blowback (new diseases, mass starvation, antibiotic failure, disasters, wars) .

As Isaac Asimov bluntly put it in a magnificent lecture delivered in Barbados in February, 1976:

"We can either control our numbers, or.....let nature increase the human death rate"

A serious marker is the fact we humans are currently consuming the equivalent resources of 1.5 Earths per year, which is clearly unsustainable. In fact, it is now approaching 1.6 Earths because of the added humans - more than eighty million per year (1 million added every 4.5 days according to Alan Weisman).   The excellent BBC documentary last year on the Earth's population (hosted by Richard Attenborough) entitled: 'How Many People Can Earth Hold?' also provided much needed realistic insights on sustainability and the planet's bio-support capacity.

Attenborough didn't pull punches or mince words, noting that every current major societal, environmental problem:  from clogged highways, to overflowing hospital ERs to crowded schools, as well as scarcity of commodities (reflected in their much increased prices) to fouling of our water and atmosphere and the greenhouse effect, can be laid at the feet of too many people on this planet - each needing food, air, water and energy from the time it's born.  The more people generated the more CO2 produced as a result of their gobbling resources and assorted carbon footprints. While the latter are greatest in the West, because our societies are based on consumption,

By the same token, Greg Ip's idiotic complaint that the global economy will suffer from flagging population growth is based upon the market economy's over reliance on consumption - as opposed to services. It is also flat out wrong in its claims!

For example, Ip claims companies are "running out of workers". Absolutely not so!  There are an estimated 93 million unemployed or under-employed workers in toto in all the industrial (G 20)  nations and that may well be an underestimate. There are an estimated 150m - 250m unemployed workers world wide all with marketable skills. Why aren't their talents being put to use?  The answer is that capitalist market economies demand higher unemployment numbers - called the "employment rent" - a barometer used by the Federal Reserve to stave off inflation. (Alan Greenspan once stated that every 1 million unemployed workers lowers inflation by 1 percent).  Then there is the general tenet that too few unemployed workers  will drive up wage pressure. Also a goodly pool of "surplus workers" is supposed to strike fear into the existing workers not to complain too much about their jobs or one of the next 20 in line will take them. In other words, unemployment is based on FEAR in market economies.

This simply cannot hold and this attitude is unsustainable! This also applies to healthy, older workers - of whom there are tens of millions in the U.S. alone, who want work and are willing to work - not just sit in recliners watching reruns on TV all day! Why aren't these older workers being hired instead of being let go? Because of rampant ageism which the AARP has repeatedly exposed!  (This goes back to a Fortune 500 white paper that appeared in 1996 claiming that keeping workers past age 50 threatened companies with "diminishing returns". What utter bullshit!)

Hence, Ip's claim is palpable bullshit!

He also insists that companies are "running out of customers". In fact, the truth of the matter is too few companies are producing the service-based artifacts and devices that most people really need. Matching that, current wage levels don't generate the salaries needed (even for existing workers) to provide the disposable income to buy most of the durables  on offer without going into serious debt. (Subprime car loans are now among the fastest growing - totaling $30b according to the WSJ) . Hence, existing customers go for the low hanging more affordable toys such as HDTVs and Ipads etc, available on Black Fridays or at major sales.

Elderly people, since Ip complains about "lengthening life spans" -also need more and varied medical and other services. A recent AARP Bulletin report ('Caregiving in America 2015', Nov. p. 6) notes:

"An invisible army of 40 millions heroes sacrifice their days and nights to care for loved ones. It's time the nation recognized their work"

Indeed! So where the hell are the additional service workers to take over those stressful jobs or at least help them to make lives easier. THAT IS WHERE THE JOBS ARE NEEDED AND CUSTOMERS!  The piece notes that a total of "37 billion hours of unpaid caregiving worth $470 billion" is administered. Why can't companies do it and for a decent price?

Thus, Ip's whining that there is a "shift toward demand of services such as health care"  and away from durable goods - like cars and TVs - is understandable. Can't these stupid capitalists grasp that most Americans already have enough 'stuff'? What they need are more services of every variety, especially in the caregiving realm. (Not just for the elderly but also disabled younger citizens and those ravaged by serious cancers and/or cancer treatments.) There is plenty of work to go around and millions of "customers". And there will be no end to either going forward!

Ip admits (p. A14) that the population increase is indeed more than ample - up 32 percent by 2050- but the "working age" population (ages 26-64) "will only have increased 26 percent". Well, then "working age" needs to be redefined! He admits this means "working longer" or encouraging people to do so, but has absolutely no prescriptions, none, for getting companies to escape their ageist mold and hiring them.   It is obviously one thing to say people should work longer, another to ensure they can get the chance and not be discriminated against.

Contrary to Ip's obsession with durables production, we certainly don't need more stuff in our homes to end up in the massive trash piles and landfills for which we are already running out of space.  Already the inventories of unpurchased durables are so great that warehouses may not be cleared out in 2 years even if there's no further production. What we need, therefore, is a total re-orientation of jobs -including fixing our mangled infrastructure - as opposed to generating more crap to sell:  more Ipads, more Barbies, more X-boxes etc.

Besides all this, economic growth imperatives are toxic by their very nature.

As Charles Reich poignantly notes in his book, Opposing the System, Crown Books, p. 103:

"When society itself comes to be modeled on economic and organizational principles, all of the forces that bind people together are torn apart in the struggle for survival. Community is destroyed because we are no longer 'in this together' because everyone is a threat to everyone else. "

In such a capitalist-driven, consumerist organizational economic model, wherein the resource “pie” for the non-wealthy elite grows ever smaller, the young are threats to us oldsters, as we are threats to them, as neighbor is to neighbor. It can't be otherwise. This capitalist model has seen fit, in other words, to destroy our areas of commonality and common cause, replacing neutral civic space with demeaning commercial space and commercialist, market values.

Reich then describes the visceral 'dog-eat-dog', endless economic warfare that ensues between people in the never ending quest to 'make it' and not be left behind. A tragic game wherein every one, every man, woman and child has a 'market value' and all abiding principles, social or moral, are reduced to economics. Alas, the cost resides in devastated marriages, families and communities.

The capitalist driven “rupture” can occur as quickly as when your neighbor builds a large recreational pool, or puts in a hot tub, and you can’t afford one. Or when he makes a great home improvement add-on while you are left to humble by with the status quo.

By comparison, the endemic socialist, communitarian structures of Barbados or Norway (for example) promote a healthy growth of the social commonweal and the belief that what is done for the benefit of one, or a few, redounds to the benefit of all. Hence, the imperatives for government subsidized low cost housing, national health insurance for all, free education through college. The result is no one becomes hyper-rich (by virtue of the progressive, leveling tax scales), but no kid is starving when he goes to bed at night either, as shown on one CBS '60 Minutes' piece several months ago.

In the U.S. capitalist system, it is more rank commercialized competition that prevails - and that engenders a perpetual creative destruction that ravages precious resources.

IN a world in which already we are consuming the equivalent of 1.6 Earths a year, we simply can't afford more consuming inhabitants. The aim must be to continue toward a stable population policy and adapt economics to suit. Endless growth can no longer be part of the conversation or on the table. See e.g.

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2013/09/44-trillion-in-deficits-by-2024-minus.html

And here is a more useful template for our economist friends (or economics journalists)  like Greg Ip to go by:

1) The definition of economic assets must be extended to include ecological resources, including virgin forests (what is left!) fresh, potable water, and arable land.

2) The definition of growth must be expanded to include entities/activities that are not resource-intensive. For example, let's look at reading and writing poetry, giving singing classes or physics tutorials.

3) Time must be fully exchangeable for money, thereby allowing workers to have more of it via a reasonable monetary exchange. This is especially geared to the 40 million- odd caretakers in the U.S. who currently receive no remuneration for the 37 billion hours of time they invest caring for loved ones - saving the gov't $470 b a year.

Will History Repeat and Syrian Refugees Meet The Same Fate as German Jews 70+ Years Ago?

German Jewish refugees return to Antwerp, Belgium, aboard the ocean liner St. Louis on June 17, 1939, after they had been denied entrance to Cuba and the
German Jewish refugees land at Antwerp, Belgium in June, 1939. This was after being denied landing rights in Cuba and the United States. Most ended up in Nazi gas chambers.


Hispanic immigrants display posters with Trump as Hitler.

It was the philosopher George Santayana who once said: "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it".

But today in the U.S., amidst a batshit crazy Republican presidential candidate field - paired with few Americans who recall history (at least in the pro-GOP fold -  we find we may be close to repeating it again.  This time, with the fleeing Syrian refugees being forced back to their shredded homeland to meet the same fate as the desperate Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany 76 years ago - except the Syrians will likely end up slaughtered by ISIS.

In a Denver Post story Saturday, the experience of Sol Messinger was described -only 7 when he stood with his father at the rail of the ocean liner St. Louis and stared into distant darkness to see the lights of Miami glittering off the bow. So near to him and more than 900 fellow Jewish refugees aboard, yet beyond their reach. The port of Miami and the U.S. refused to allow them to disembark to find freedom.

Too many Americans, with the exception of those like Messinger, are aware of the disturbing similarities between the rhetoric of today and the attitudes of the U.S. public and officials during World War II - which ended up sending thousands of Jews to their deaths because of our nation's refusal to accept them.

Like the anti-Muslim hysteria today, that somehow ISIS will plant terrorists among the Syrian refugees (despite it being much easier to enter on a fake passport and tourist visa) American attitudes in the late 1930s-40s were fed by fears the Nazis "would plant agents, spies and saboteurs among the Jewish refugees.   In other words, Americans at the time feared the Nazis would pressure the Jews, particularly those whose families were still in Germany, to act as agents on behalf of the Third Reich,"

This, according to Alan Lichtman, professor of history at American University, adding:

"Those arguments are chillingly similar to the arguments being made against the admission of the Syrian refugees."

To reinforce this, on Monday, an Ohio professor, Peter Shulman of Case Western Reserve University, used Twitter to post results from a 1938 public opinion poll showing Americans overwhelmingly rejected admission of German Jews in the years leading up to the outbreak of war.

The reaction according to Shulman,  "was instantaneous and totally overwhelming. It was like nothing I've ever experienced before,". One of his tweets of the decades-old polling data has been relayed 4,600 times, cited by commentators in The Washington Post, Time and other publications.

According to Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois:

"When we sent Jews back to Germany and when we sent Japanese to internment camps, we regretted it and we will regret this as well,"

Yet according to recent polls, most Americans - especially on the Right (and backing Trump) are literally petrified of this coming true: some one Syrian refugee suddenly setting off a mass killing spree a la ISIS compatriots like  in Paris. They ought to be more worried about thugs like Urich Caine who shot a Tulane medical student in the stomach using a straw-purchased Mac-10 in New Orleans' Lower Garden District. three days ago.

It has even been suggested that, living here in Colorado, I ought to be petrified too and hide under my bed because our Governor John Hickenlooper plans to take in at least 230. But know what? I am not the least bit terrorized at the prospect, or petrified nor do I regard myself as "na├»ve" or "dumb". I know, in fact, there's a much greater chance of an outbreak of violence if a concealed carry law is passed and especially the current loophole - allowing those on the terror watch list to purchase weapons - isn't closed. Why the fuck would I fear a poor, besieged Syrian family, forced to flee for their lives, when they're also victims of ISIS? Because some asshole politico says I should?

But see, it proves again Americans have zero conception of probabilities and risk assessment. Most aren't aware that 20 of their countrymen are killed every year by cows, but we don't dispatch all the cows from the country. (We need them for food, burgers, milk, etc. so accept the 20 a year death toll - which is more than all the would-be terrorists have killed.)

Don't these douchebags grasp this barring Syrians refugees is just what ISIS wants? To try to get even more Syrians and others to join their ranks because no one in the West will accept them? How fuckin' dumb is that? (As one Denver Post letter writer put it yesterday, "the best way to create a new terrorist is to send a five year old child back to his war torn land with nothing to live on, and no home of his own. ISIS will soon enough take him under its wing and in 10-15 years or so he will emerge as a new threat")

But see, when millions have their brains fermented in an emotional froth and hysteria-  breeding mass paranoia - there is little capacity for reason and logic to enter. The fear centers in the amygdala take over and the reasoning centers in the neocortex are left high and dry. This is also what a pernicious mind virus does.

By contrast, France has set an example for what a true nation valuing freedom looks like. This happened when President Francois Hollande announced that France will still take in the 30,000 refugees it promised under a new EU accord, even in the wake of the Paris attacks.

At the apex of the American anti-refugee reaction has been Donald Trump, who has actually recommended a "National registry" for Muslims, as well as closing down Mosques.  Trump is notable for almost single-handedly making immigration the centerpiece of his campaign. Moreover, with the Paris attacks he - as well as other GOOPs - have hyped up their anti immigrant rhetoric even more.

The SPLC 'Intelligence Report' (Winter, 2015) notes that:

"after the release of Trump's immigration plan, dozens of threads about the candidate appeared on Stormfront, the world's largest hate forum - founded and still run by a former Alabama Klan leader."

A post followed to the effect of "deporting about 25 percent" and another followed suggesting "shooting the rest".

Already, we see the venom of fascism and fascist support creeping in just as it did in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The character of the German people was altered just as our character is being altered now by the fears sown by the demagogues like Trump.


WHO exactly are these people, these would-be voters, who support Trump so splenetically? William Galston writing in The Wall Street Journal ('Trump Rides A Blue Collar Wave') has broken down the pro-Trump demographic nicely.

Galston writes that "55 percent of his supporters are white, working class" and the most likely to back him are men "aged 50-64 with no more than a high school education"

In other words, the same basic demographic that has been shown to be prematurely dying from drug overdoses, suicide and a lot of other maladies, e.g.

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2015/11/why-increased-deaths-for-middle-aged.html

More interesting yet, this is almost exactly the same demographic that helped hurl Adolf Hitler to the Chancellorship in 1933, according to Robert Payne in his The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, 1973.

Interestingly, according to Galston:

"These voters are least likely to say that government is looking out for the interests of the middle or working class or white men, and the most likely to affirm there is discrimination against these groups."

And yet, incredibly, they'd cast votes for a billionaire blowhard belonging to a pro-billionaire, pro-corporate party which couldn't give a rat's ass about a declining middle or working class because their wealth is based on it!

Barbara Ehrenreich ('This Land is THEIR Land', p. 6-7, ought to be read and re-read by these voters:

"How many 'wake up calls' do we need, people? How many broken levees, drowned cities, depleted food pantries, people dead for lack of ordinary health care? (Waters poisoned by blown deep water oil wells)......Why don't we dare say it? The looting of America has gone on too long, and the average American is too maxed out, overworked, and overspent to have anything left to take. We need a new deal, a new distribution of power and wealth, if we want to restore the beautiful idea that was America".

She goes on to note  "the share of pre-tax income going to the top 1 percent of American households has risen to 16 percent. At the same time, the share of income going to the bottom 80 percent has fallen by 7 percentage points."

But it's worse than that! Those top 1 percent of people and indeed the top 5 %, have made out like bandits since the Bush tax cuts were passed in 2001 (extended through 2011). As a result, there has been an average transference of $7,000 every year from lower and middle income earners to the top. According to a New York Times piece cited by Ehrenreich: "It's as if every household in the bottom 80% is writing a check for $7,000 every year and sending it to the top 1 percent".

Which begs the question of how any normal person with a normal brain, invested in his or her own interests, can possibly be for a pro-wealth party or pro -wealth guy?  Do they suppose they can also amass a Trump level of wealth? If so they are more deluded than these 30- odd Repuke gubernators who don't grasp they can't refuse refugees because they have NO legal authority to do so!  The laws of the federal gov't trump their paranoid histrionics.

The answer lies in the same basis for this demographic offing themselves (see above link) at above normal rates: they have given up on trusting the system to work in their favor and now opt to act like lemmings - just to vent their IDs. (Google "ID")

It is a sad commentary when a nation succumbs to governance by its collective ID as opposed to reason. But history tells us this has happened numerous times before. Each time that nation was left in ruin and had to rebuild. Let's hope it doesn't happen here.

See also:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/p-m-carpenter/64905/right-wing-populism-in-2-minutes-24-seconds

And:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/mason/64885/donald-trump-is-unfit-to-be-president-because-he-is-a-demagogue-and-a-racist-islamophobe