UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 30, 2009

READER COMMENTS

TOP SCIENTIST: CLIMATE CHANGE IRREVERSIBLE

Mother Earth has her own ways of healing from global warming. A few volcanoes blowing off some ash and steam, for example, would trigger a period of global cooling and more precipitation around equatorial zones, restoring glaciers to places such as Mount Kenya. - mark eloheim

OBAMA'S DRAFT

I'm 23. I'm serving in the military and I think this is a horrible idea. The backbone America was formed from was freedom of choice and this takes that away. And by requiring these young people to "citizen serve" they are calling for a youth rebellion. Now there are plenty of spoiled brats out there that just don't want to work but there are others that just wish to pursue other avenues that don't require working for the government. My elder brother is one of those. He's in pre-med and works harder than I ever have to make it through college. To me putting in policy like this one in place is just asking for trouble.

How can anyone
see this as a waste of time? I am 28, and I consider what I did between the ages of 18 and 25 to be a complete and utter waste of time: college. Imagine, a nation of firefighters, EMTs, rescue workers; - a nation of people who know how to load, care for, store, and operate a gun safely and responsibly. A nation divided cannot stand, and divided we are. A democracy that doesn't fear its citizens is no democracy at all, and at present we as a people are no more a formidable foe than a flock of sheep with a mission statement.

THE POOREST PLACES IN AMERICA

I wonder if a few of these numbers are skewed by the presence of a large population of college students (Carbondale, Ill., State College, Pa.). Carbondale definitely has more than its share of poverty. But it also has a student population equal to that of the permanent one.

PBS PROGRAM CHARGES NSA MIGHT HAVE STOPPED 9/11

'At any time, had the FBI been notified, they could have found Hazmi in a matter of seconds.'

Because the two men were living in San Diego with an FBI informant. It's important to note that all the investigative tools needed to shut down the 911 plot were in existence prior to September 2001. The failure to do so has never been adequately explained.

LEMON SOCIALISM AT ITS WORST

The whole,
entire, complete motivation for capitalism is that a few people, or perhaps only one person, own everything. Capitalism is not motivated by any desire to meet the needs of the population the capitalists exploit. If they could own everything without meeting a single need of anyone but themselves, they would. And in fact, that's exactly what they try to do all the time, by every possible means. They don't hesitate to impoverish the country to get another penny in the dollar. We need a different basis for our economic life - one that doesn't put all effective power into the hands of a greedy few. - Mairead



Posted by Mairead to UNDERNEWS at January 29, 2009 10:55 AM

POST PARTISAN DEPRESSION

It turns out, to the amazement of the Obama administration . . . that a lot of people besides the president have ideas as to how to handle the fiscal crisis.

Actually, when Obama announced it, he made it clear that it was a starting point. He's used the phrase "no pride of authorship" a number of times. Oh, and the Senate Appropriations version of the bill has the words "small business" seven times.

As I see this economic crisis, credit is based on the expectation of future wealth creation. Where does wealth come from? In the physical sense, the one that ultimately matters, wealth comes from the earth's resources. Oil, the critical resource to economic growth, has peaked and will enter into decline.

Obama has been briefed on this, but I'm sure it did not sink in. No president wants to announce the end of credit and economic growth as we've known them.

Instead he's "giving a man a fish, so that he eats for a day" in the hope that the economic system can be restarted. Saving that system is not as much wrong as futile. FDR came into office when the oil age was dawning, Obama enters as it twilights.

ENOUGH OF LINCOLN, ALREADY

Lincoln had to deal with a situation that no other person in that office, before or since, has had to deal with. That's a key fact, I think.

For all his shortcomings, for all the questions about how well he solved the problem - and even whether he should have - he didn't appoint many people to office who then stole the silver, he arguably didn't start the Civil War and certainly didn't do what he did out of personal greed, or to make cronies rich by handing over the Confederate lands to them. I think it's fair to say that he was a great improvement over most of his successors

CRASH TALK

5/6 of the world is in dire poverty and there's nobody left to sell to? - wellbasically

THINKING ABOUT OBAMA

This is one of your finest essays, and I loved it. I do, however, wish to make one small point. Logic does have one very important role to play. It doesn't tell us what exists, but it definitely can tell us what does not exist. I know with certainty there are no square circles anywhere in the universe, and I know this from a simple logical parsing of any and all statements that suggest the existence or possible existence of such entities. This comes up more frequently than one might think. The phrase 'Anything is possible' is one of those annoying idiocies that can be instantly shredded with pure logic. Of course, there are endless religious claims that can be destroyed with simple logic. A surprising number of political claims can also be disposed of with pure logic. And so on. - Richard L. Franklin

BAILOUT QUESTION

"Bailout question: Why not give money to homeowners to pay off their mortgages, instead of giving money to the banks? The banks get the money anyways, two birds with one stone, everybody wins. Please educate me as to why this is a bad idea."

It's a good idea for us, but not for the financial rulers. The whole point of the current "crash" is the same as the last one (the Great Depression) - to create a huge financial crisis, keep the "best" predatory banks and financial institutions on top via a kind of economic survival of the fittest, and transfer as much real estate and stock at the least cost from the bottom to the top (all the foreclosed properties will end up "owned" by the surviving financial institutions. Also have to do this without changing the underlying ability of the surviving predatory financial institutions to create massive fake wealth for their own benefit by the keeping alive of their mostly unlimited capacity to issue/print money.

There is one difference, however. This iteration of the game is designed to bring an end to as many nation states as possible, by collapsing governments and currencies during the chaos. - Joel A. Wendt

UN CRIME WATCHDOG SAYS DRUG MONEY HELPED IN FISCAL CRISIS

I'd say that is a huge argument for the decriminalization of Cannabis. It's the only illegal drug that will not cause huge social problems if allowed to help restart the economy. A great deal of cannabis is grown domestically by smaller producers, so the money doesn't go to offshore banks, or propping up careless major banks and their toxic assets, but into local stores, and other local tax paying businesses. Decriminalizing cannabis would support rebuilding the economy from the ground up.

The hard drugs that need to be shipped from South America or SE Asia are the ones that these banks call the "liquid investment capital" they have been depending on. The drugs that cause real harm, and these banks or better yet the executives that made the decisions should be held culpable for the problems of their "liquid capital" source.

THE SENATOR WHO WANTS TO KILL GOOD HEALTHCARE POLICY

I'm beginning to think that to become a member of the House or Senate, or the president, one should be required to live for 6 months working a minimum wage dead end job, with no additional money, support, or job benefits, as part of the election process. Just so they understand what it is like to live under the sort of policies they enact, and they must blog about it. I'd love to read the blogs of some of these spoiled rich fat cats stuck living like the rest of us do.

Seems to me the entire Senate has done a mighty good job of killing single payer for a long time.

THE END OF SOLITUDE

I (far past teens and twenties) would be driven stark raving mad if deprived of adequate hours of solitude for contemplation. Solitude is like an essential food group that sustains me. It's where you recalibrate, where you return to yourself, where you realize how much we just throw ourselves into whatever society is doing and let it carry us along, never taking time to consult our own inner guide, our own thoughtful sense of things going on in our culture. The irrationality we're awash in, exposes itself through sitting still and quieting the noise all around.

But I have to take issue with this sentence from the article: "Still, one is powerless to reverse the drift of the culture."

I don't believe that. Leadership and culture changes when people's ideas change (and not until), and I still think it's possible that working for equality of humankind despite inequality of gifts won in the birth lottery can effect the change of ideas we must have to restore our chance to have a future.

Solitude restores my strength and conviction to keep up the grassroots campaign for equal pay for equal sacrifice.

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