Thursday, March 31, 2011

SAR #11090

Is the American voter dumb, or simply self-destructive?

Here's the plan. Drill baby drill, carefully. Clean coal, whatever that might be. More nukes, very carefully. Give away taxpayer's money to ethanol farmers to convert food to fuel and to various other unprofitable biofuel adventures, recklessly. Cut demand through efficiencies, insulation and magic cars, brownouts and longer and deeper recessions. And kitchen sinks. He forgot the kitchen sinks.

Surplus: Republicans are afraid that American Muslims are going to use up all our civil rights and not leave any for the bigots on the right.

Keeping Score: According to the TARP special inspector general, the trillion or so bucks thrown at the Wall Street meltdown achieved two things: (1) it rescued a handful of too big to fail banks from the brink of collapse and allowed them to achieve record profits, stupendous bonuses and a government-backed advantage over the little guys, and (2) destroyed the government's credibility to the point that it will be unable prevent a total meltdown the next time around. What it didn't do was (1) prevent or moderate the damage done to the housing sector and (3) save or create any jobs outside Wall Street boardrooms. Success!

For the Profits, Of the Profits: Time Warner and Comcast have gotten their Republican sock-puppets in North Carolina to pass a bill prohibiting cities from providing better internet service at lower cost than the monopolists do. The GOP, it's for the free market. In politicians. Buy one today.

Going Down: The 1Q 2011 GDP figure isn't out yet and has already dropped from 4% to 2.8% while the projected GDP for all of 2011 has already fallen from 3.0 to 2.8%

Behind the Curtain: As oil prices continue to creep ever higher, people are looking for explanations. One camp blames the conflict in Libya. Some blame OPEC for being unable to make up for the production lost in Libyan flames. Some suspect that the civil problems in the area are masking peak oil related problems and that the beginning of the end is upon us. But mostly, people are afraid that oil at over $100 a barrel will thrust the world back into recession and don't really care what the cause is, they just want it to go away.

Can You Hear Me Now? A NASA-funded study has confirmed that the second '100-year' drought in 5 years has left an area of the Amazon three times the size of Texas with dramatic decreases in greenness levels. What do you call a rain forest where it doesn't rain?

Greenspawn: The Chairman says we shouldn't try to limit Wall Street's ingenuity, for fear they will take their clever innovations overseas. We've seen what “the financial best and brightest” can do - if they want to flee the US to avoid regulation, let's help them pack.

About Renewables: Give an ethanol farmer enough fossil fuel to grow his corn for one year. After that, see how much corn he can grow using the ethanol made from his corn and the profits he made selling his corn as food. See how long it takes for “zero” to be the end product. Ditto for the natural gas used to make his fertilizer. Try it with the windmill people – build them one wind turbine and have them build the rest from the profits and the energy produced by the windmill – no fossil fuel inputs. Now tell me again how magic is going to save the world.

Sic Transit The American Dream: Houses as investments have lost their glitter and won't get it back soon, if ever. If a real down payment is required, house sales will not go galloping again soon if ever. Without massive improvement in the job market and similar increases in real income, debt-laden college graduates are not going to be eligible for mortgages either. The Snidely Whiplashes of the world will buy up many of the foreclosed properties and rent them back to their one-time owners – who are unlikely to ever be viable buyers again.

Democratic Definition: Compromise, to Washington Democrats, appears to mean 'giving up', as in the Democrats have given up and will allow the Republicans to sell off most of the EPA in return for two bushels of corn and a pair of boots.


Anonymous said...

Is the American voter dumb, or simply self-destructive?

My first impulse is to simply answer yes. But I think part of the problem also is that our politics is simply corrupt and broken.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter which party governs, because when they finish distracting the electorate with their preferred shiny object or cultural cliche they go ahead and do the same thing the leaders of the other party does when they have power - sell us like used up hookers to the highest corporate bidder. Rinse and repeat...

Here's a question for you CK:

Do you think this:

...has anything to do with this?

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Anony 1.24. No, I do not think that the effort to get us to accept a higher radiation dosage as 'acceptable' has anything to do with some hypothetical prediction for radioactive cloud dispersal. Sometimes things just happen, without any great conspiracy behind them.

On the other hand, a good disaster is a terrible thing to waste...


Anonymous said...

RE: About renewables:

One thousand years from now when the archeologists look back their going to scratch their heads and wonder what we where thinking. What society burns its food?

They'll look at us like we look at Easter Island.


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

RBM - Shouldn't that be Eater Island? Or the Ouroboros culture... And yes, Easter Island came to mind while I wrote that item.


OkieLawyer said...

Re: Sic Transit The American Dream

Another aspect of not buying houses is the insecurity of not knowing where job opportunities -- or jobs period -- will be in upcoming years. Many workers have temporary positions that are subject to layoffs or elimination altogether.

That is not conducive to setting down roots in a community.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Being slow on the uptake, it just dawned on me how self-defeating the anti-union / anti-teacher drive is. In many communities the single largest employer is the public school system. If we curtail the unions' ability to fight for wages, plus keep firing experienced teachers for failing to educate the children sent to them by inadequate parents, in the end we will whittle down the ability of a large number of our citizens - former middle class teachers - to ever be home buyers.

That's going to help the economy.


OSR said...

Behind the Curtain: It looks like the the world powers are divvying up what's left of the world's proven reserves. France and the UK get Libya, we have Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil and Israel gets Egypt. Unfortunately, the fly in the ointment will likely come from the superpowers not listed above.