Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!! It sure was a long weekend! I’m kind of glad it’s over, although it was relaxing. I guess I haven’t gotten used to being unemployed yet, because I almost got bored.

Let’s see if there is any news out there this morning. Practically the only thing on Memeorandum this weekend was the silly story about Anthony Weiner and Twitter. You probably heard that Breitbart is trying to pull another one of his fake outrage tricks. I don’t feel like writing about it, but you can read about it at Cannonfire

.Paul Rosenberg has a stimulating piece up at Alternet: Vision: How to Make Media Reflect the Popular Views of Americans, Not Those of Elites. It’s long but well worth reading. Rosenberg writes about efforts to force the media to reflect the views of real Americans. Here’s just a bit of it:

“Liar! Liar!” “He’s lying!” That’s how Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s constituents responded at a town hall meeting in Kenosha a week after House Republicans passed Ryan’s draconian budget plan to privatize Medicare and slash taxes for the wealthy.

Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, totally unprepared for the grassroots outrage and for good reason: the gap between Washington elites and the American people seems to have reached an all-time high. While Ryan’s plan was lauded as “brave” and “visionary” inside the Beltway, poll after poll showed that the American people wanted none of it.

62 percent believe the government should focus on creating jobs, even if it means increasing the deficit in the short-term, according to a Lake Research Partners poll in March 2011.

76 percent believe cutting Medicare to help reduce the budget deficit is mostly or totally unacceptable, and 67 percent believe the same about Medicaid, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in February, 2011.

68 percent believe that phasing out the Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 per year is mostly or totally acceptable to help reduce the budget deficit, according to the same poll.

65 percent oppose changes to Social Security as a way to reduce the budget deficit, according to a Pew Research poll in March, 2011.

Yet, despite similar results in dozens of polls over the past few months, none of it seemed to penetrate the Beltway bubble.

He goes on to tout the The American Majority Project, led by Roger Hickey. There have been many attempts by liberals to influence the media as the Republicans have been able to do for the past 30 years. I don’t know if this one will be successful, but I sure do support the goal and the effort.

According to The New York Times, the latest housing index will show that home prices have hit a new low.

Even as the economy began to fitfully recover in the last year, the percentage of homeowners dropped sharply, to 66.4 percent, from a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004. The ownership rate is now back to the level of 1998, and some housing experts say it could decline to the level of the 1980s or even earlier.

Disenchantment with real estate is bound to swell further on Tuesday when the most widely watched housing index is all but guaranteed to show that prices of existing homes sank in March below the lows reached two years ago — until now the bottom of the housing crash. In February, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of 20 large cities slumped for the seventh month in a row.

Housing is locked in a downward spiral, industry analysts say, not only because so many people are blocked from the market — being unemployed, in foreclosure or trapped in homes that are worth less than the mortgage — but because even those who are solvent are opting out.

Of course no one is doing anything about this, any more than they are doing anything about unemployment. At Common Dreams, Dave Lindorff asks: If Joblessness and Hopelessness Undermine Democracy in the Middle East, What About Here at Home?

In his latest speeches on the Middle East, President Obama, both at the State Department and at the G8 meeting in France, has pledged billions of dollars in economic aid to Middle Eastern countries, drawing a direct connection between the unrest and demonstrations that brought down the dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and the joblessness and hopelessness felt by the young people in those two countries.

His adviser on international economics, David Lipton, has been more specific, saying that, “We believe that these two pillars go hand in hand. Without economic modernization, it will be hard for governments trying to democratize to show people that democracy delivers.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

If the official rate of unemployment for all Americans of 9% is actually less than half of the actual rate of 20%, then even if we took a conservative estimate, simply eliminating the adjustment of those working part-time who want full-time work from the youth unemployment figure, and just keeping the adjustment for those who have dropped out of the labor force (stopped looking for work) because it is fruitless, we would still see actual unemployment figures for young people in the US at staggering Egypt-like levels: 30% for all young people, 45% for young Latinos, and as high as 66% for black youth!

So why is the president so concerned about providing economic support to boost jobs in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, in order to “support democracy,” while in here in the US, he has basically thrown in the towel on job creation efforts, and is just talking about cutting the deficit–a Republican theme?

Very good questions. If only we could get some answers from the President.

At Truthdig, Chris Hedges has a post on global warming: The Sky is Really Falling.

The rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, has been confronted by the power elite with two kinds of self-delusion. There are those, many of whom hold elected office, who dismiss the science and empirical evidence as false. There are others who accept the science surrounding global warming but insist that the human species can adapt. Our only salvation—the rapid dismantling of the fossil fuel industry—is ignored by both groups. And we will be led, unless we build popular resistance movements and carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience, toward collective self-annihilation by dimwitted pied pipers and fools.

Those who concede that the planet is warming but insist we can learn to live with it are perhaps more dangerous than the buffoons who decide to shut their eyes. It is horrifying enough that the House of Representatives voted 240-184 this spring to defeat a resolution that said that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.” But it is not much of an alternative to trust those who insist we can cope with the effects while continuing to burn fossil fuels.

Along similar lines, this piece by a Canadian journalist on our dependence on oil is real eye-opener: Why Our 21st Century Slave Society Can’t Last

In 2009 a British family living in a four-bedroom house became the subject of a subversive energy experiment about modern slavery.

While the foursome flicked on gadgets one Sunday with the abandon of Roman patricians, an army of volunteers (The Human Power Station) furiously pedalled 100 bicycles next door to generate the needed energy.

The unsuspecting family, of course, had no idea they had been unplugged from a power grid fueled largely by fossil fuels.

At the end of the day the slave masters literally dropped their jaws when a BBC television crew introduced them to the exhausted slaves that boiled their tea. (Get this: it took 24 peddlers to heat the oven and 11 cyclists to make two slices of toast.)

At the end of the experiment many of the cyclists collapsed. Several couldn’t walk for days. The peddlers actually consumed more energy in food than they generated by peddling.

Go read the whole thing. It’s a fascinating argument.

That’s all I’ve got. What are you reading and blogging about today?


36 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    According to Greg Sargent, Repubs have won the war over the debt ceiling. Unbelieveable!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line

    • paper doll says:

      Let’s face it….Repugs currently have 2 of the 3 branchs of the federal goverment.

      • madamab says:

        From where I sit they have all three…Executive (Obama), Legislative (Congress) and Judiciary (the Supreme Court). I’m not seeing any pushback on behalf of the people. It’s all 100% corporatist/theocratic, all the time.

        Bill Clinton tried to push back on the narrative that the debt ceiling is an excuse to give the Repubs whatever they want. He was immediately slapped down hard by the Obama machine. It’s utterly disgusting how not one single dissenting voice from the left of the Obama/Repub coalition is allowed to be heard.

        I remember when we had a President who fought the Repubs tooth and nail, who let Gingrich shut down the federal government rather than slash Medicare. F*ck you, DNC for destroying any chance we had of getting out of this economic and military and sexist nightmare.

  2. boogieman7167 says:

    5-31-2008 the day democracy died

    • paper doll says:

      yup

    • The Rock says:

      HONK!! HONK!!

    • Woman Voter says:

      DefiantKembro The Defiant One
      by StrayYellarDawg
      Oprah decline began with backstabbing Hillary Clinton http://shar.es/Hhc6O

      This Tweet by StrayYellarDawg made my day, as Oprah also supported Arnold Schwarzenegger over the 16 women that went public (one I believe was latter sued, many felt they were black listed too) while claiming to support women.

      And yes, having been present in DC on May 31, 2008, I still get upset to think that after traveling from 31 States many of us had to stand in the rain for hours on end (Seats were all given to locals to keep us out! After we complained that the PUBLIC MEETING was not posted, so how could we attend without the address!), with a tornado warning just to have our VOTES counted by the Democratic Party.

      • Fannie says:

        Well, I’d be thinking that instead of Oprah mothering millions of girls/women, she SMOTHERED millions of them. What was she thinking that mothers wanted us to be?

        The ideal that she says she was never political before Obama, is purely fantasy.
        She’s not ignorant of who she is, and where she came from. She knows the struggle well,
        and who she wanted in the white house. So she robbed her sisters, and fugged up her reputation.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Oh, and well after getting all wet, they didn’t count the VOTES and counted some as HALF! 😥

    • dakinikat says:

      I actually would argue it died on the day the Supreme Court named President Bush, President. It’s just being completely throttled now.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Gosh, I stayed up night after night for that and watched the Election Committee review vote against the Voting Rights Act and the Voters.

        I am still wondering about Mc Cain and the promise about shoring up the Voting Rights Act. Or am I dizzy here.

      • paper doll says:

        I was thinking that too….Hillary’s run was the last gasp. Every day she kept running ( though told to GET OUT 24/7) we here would say “one more day for democracy”

    • foxyladi14 says:

      for sure and I,m still mad… 😡

  3. paper doll says:

    We are in banana republic free-fall it seems….the answer as to why Obama wants money for democracy and job creation over seas and not here is it’s not for those things there over there either. It will be pocketed by a few, like such money is here. It’s just something to yammer as he hands over the borrowed cash we are on the hook for ….but as the article points out,here we don’t even get the comforting lies!

  4. dakinikat says:

    Great links and reads BB! Terribly depressing but we all need to read them and see what’s going on! Money has completely taking over our political process and the media now. The concentration of wealth and power in so few is dangerous.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Egyptian general admits ‘virginity checks’ conducted on protesters

    But now a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice.

    “The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” the general said. “These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs).”

    The general said the virginity checks were done so that the women wouldn’t later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities.

    “We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general said. “None of them were (virgins).

    • dakinikat says:

      Meanwhile in Bangledesh, a woman takes things into her own hands!

      A 40-year-old Bangladeshi woman cut off a man’s penis during an alleged attempted rape and took it to a police station as evidence, police in a remote part of the country said Monday.

      The woman, a married mother of three, was attacked Saturday night while she was sleeping in her shanty in Jhalakathi district, some 120 miles south of Dhaka, officers said.

      “As he tried to rape her, the lady cut his penis off with a knife. She then wrapped up the penis in a piece of polythene and brought it to the Jhalakathi police station as evidence of the crime,” police chief Abul Khaer said.

      • okasha says:

        Well, there shouldn’t be any case of mistaken identity here, either.

      • Woman Voter says:

        The police didn’t take it to the hospital, they kept it (P) as evidence and are awaiting his recovery before proceeding.

      • okasha says:

        There’s a dark, dark comedy to be written about this.

        Prosecutor: Mr. Smith, do you recognize this penis, Exhibit A?

        Mr. Smith: No, I do not.

        Prosecutor: Mr. Smith, I remind you of the penalties for perjury. Is this your–uh–manly organ?

        Mr. Smith: I never saw it before. I lost mine in a farming accident. A goat ate it.

        Prosecutor: Ah, yes. We’ll hear from Ms. Capra later regarding your behavior toward her.

    • madamab says:

      Ah yes…as everyone knows, a woman who has had sex can never be raped afterwards.

      (headdesk)

    • Branjor says:

      What do these “virginity tests” consist of? Cherry checks? That proves nothing, you can break it riding your bike.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Maybe they tie the women in water and dunk them in water like the old tests for witches? If you’re a virgin, you won’t drown?

  6. boogieman7167 says:

    i remember the good old days when this country used to be a democacy

  7. Woman Voter says:

    StateDept StateDept
    by dredeyedick
    #SecClinton to receive 2011 George C. Marshall Foundation Award on June 2:
    http://go.usa.gov/DZs

    Go Hill GO!

  8. foxyladi14 says:

    happy she is getting another award.she deserves them 🙂

    • djmm says:

      Yes, Hillary Clinton is the best President we never had.

      Great posts today, Bostonboomer! Regarding the “21st Century Slave Society” article, a commenter posted this interesting graph regarding oil production and world population:

      Regarding

  9. djmm says:

    I accidentally posted too soon. I meant to add that we will not have bicyclists as slaves when oil runs out because the energy required to feed them is far more than than the energy they produce. (Did they consider the energy required to provide food and clean water to people I wonder?)

    djmm

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think the bicycle experiment was used as an extended metaphor. I took the article to be saying that we, the “little people” will eventually be enslaved in order to provide luxury and comfort for the elites. that is already happening.

      • djmm says:

        Too true. Look at the debt many college graduates have when they finally graduate — into an economy where many of them cannot find promising jobs.

        djmm