Mar 9 2009

Born Again America - I am my country’s keeper

Kal @ 12:48

By Keith Carradine       

Just a workin’ man without a job
It got shipped off to China via Washington, D.C.
And I know I’m nothin’ special, there are plenty more like me
Just the same
I thought I knew the rules of the game

I stood up for this country that I love
I came back from the desert to a wife and kids to feed
I’m not sayin’ Uncle Sam should give me what I need
My offer stands
I’ll pull my weight you give me half a chance

I went up to a congressman and said to him “you know
Our government is letting people down”
He said he’d need a lot of help to buck the status-quo
I said there was a bunch of us around

I’m a Born Again American, conceived in Liberty
My Bible and the Bill of Rights, my creed’s equality
I’m a Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

My brother’s welding chassis at the plant
He’s earning what our granddad did in 1948
While CEOs count bonuses behind the castle gates
How can they see
When all they care about’s the do re mi

It’s getting where there’s nowhere left to turn
Not since the crash of twenty-nine have things been so unfair
So many of our citizens are living in despair
The time has come
To reaffirm that hope’s not just for some

The promise of America’s surrendering to greed
The rule is just look out for number one
But brace yourself ‘cause some of us have sown a different seed
A harvest of the spirit has begun

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and The Bill Of Rights
My creed’s equality
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

It’s clear my country’s soul is on the line
She’s hungering for something that she lost along the way
The principle the framers called upon us to obey
That in this land
The people’s will must have the upper hand

I felt the calling once before and took a sacred vow
And faithful to that vow I have remained
I hear the calling once again, my country needs me now
And to her cause I have been re-ordained

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and the Bill Of Rights, all people living free
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea

These are the words that you will hear if you go to the Born Again America web site. I like the song and also the call to action.

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Category: Morals | Politics

Mar 1 2009

World Population - How Many Is Too Many

Kal @ 11:13

An old slogan came to my attention recently: "whatever your cause, it's a lost cause without population control". The origins were not clear from the context so I looked it up using Google. There were a whole lot of hits, so perhaps I am the last to hear this.

One hit was in a preview of a book named Population Control that, from the little time I spent with the preview, appears to be a polemic against the idea that there can be too many people. This preview said that "whatever your cause, it's a lost cause without population control" appeared in a series of ads calling attention to the problem.

A more thoughtful piece titled Population: The elephant in the room  that was written by John Feeney appeared in BBC News on 2 February 2009. "Uncontrolled population growth threatens to undermine efforts to save the planet."

Fundamentally, we need to ask what is the greater threat to human welfare: the possibility that humane efforts to address population growth might be abused, or our ongoing failure to act to prevent hundreds of millions, even billions, dying as a result of global ecological collapse?

It's no far fetched possibility. Increasingly, environmental scientists insist we have overshot the Earth's carrying capacity.


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Category: Climate Change | Morals | Politics | Population | Resource Depletion | Sustainability

Feb 14 2009

Full Employment Revisited - Is your job poisoning the world economy?

Kal @ 16:18

Cost benefit analysis for your job

Its all about natural resources, land, water, oil, coal, steel, etc., the list is a long one. Economic activity, our businesses and our jobs, produce benefits for us, and also consume resources. Economic activity ranges in societal value from extremely valuable all the way down to zero value, and some activities even have negative value. The societal value of your job is directly dependent on the value of the economic activity that is paying your salary, and on the resources consumed in the course of your doing the job. I am proposing a simple cost-benefit analysis.

I want to be very clear, that while I think many of our jobs are counterproductive, I do not think the people that hold those jobs are less valuable. I think you are worthy of our full support,

Historical perspective

From the earliest days in America work has been how we defined ourselves. From Wikipedia:

John Smith was eventually elected president of the Jamestown council in September 1608 and instituted a policy of discipline, encouraging farming with a famous admonishment: "He who does not work, will not eat."

That principle has continued, not only unabated, but considerably reinforced over the years, until now it takes two wage earners to support most families. If one or both of these wage streams is interrupted for any reason, the typical family faces disaster. Many of us have a very small margin between paycheck and homelessness.

From our perspective as workers, a job is what it takes to survive and thrive in the modern world. From the perspective of most employers, the job is a necessary expense to make money. From the perspective of capitalistic theory, anything that makes money is equally as valuable as any other thing that makes the same amount of money. So by definition, your job is valuable and by extension, you are a valuable person. If you happen to be unemployed at the moment, it is not so clear what your value may be.


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Category: Climate Change | Employment | Guaranteed Wage | Morals | Politics | Resource Depletion

Feb 13 2009

The times require radical solutions

Kal @ 10:31

Title from Robert Kuttner this morning on Democracy Now. His point is that bailing out the banks and bondholders is not likely to return the economy to business as usual. So long as people owe more than we can afford to pay; there will be no funds left over to consume as before. I am sure he is correct about that, and that at some point the conventional solution would be to write down the debt to levels that people could afford to pay, and then this society can get back to what got us here.

Robbert Kuttner and Paul Krugman and Nouriel Roubini and many other relatively liberal economists all seem to agree that Obama's team is not really up to the task of returning the economy to "normal". But none of them question, at least not that I have seen, whether or not this is he right thing to do?

What is the right thing to do to get the earth back to equilibrium without destroying civilization in the process? Plenty of people have predicted collapse. And if we return the economy to "normal", that seems very likely. So why are no respected people addressing this question? 


Category: Morals | Politics | Resource Depletion

Feb 12 2009

Stimulus Bill Passes - Main issues not addressed

Kal @ 18:07

Lawmakers say all issues settled in stimulus bill

AP – 55 minutes ago


On balance it seems better to have this bill than not. Krugman and other top economists say it is too little to "get the economy moving again."  But why is that the objective?

The scientific consensus seems to be that The World is headed toward disaster. I am reminded of the scene from The Titanic where the orchestra just keeps playing. I guess they could not think of anything better to do. Perhaps they were right.

We have global warming, dying oceans, and peak energy staring us in the face and the best we can do is trying to get back to business as usual?

My design of a stimulus bill would be quite different:

1) All industrial effort would be directed toward replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.  The only exceptions would be for the production of food, medical supplies, and other essentials of day to day life. (For this purpose, essential includes education.)  There is a discussion of the magnitude of the required effort here.

2) Since number one would throw massive numbers of people out of work, at least temporarily, we would need to devise a way to keep us all healthy, in our homes, and well fed. I see no societal reason why being unemployed should result in life disruption as it now does.

In other words, focus all resources on the objective. The objective is repairing the earth while we still have time. If we still have time.

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Category: Morals | Politics | Resource Depletion | Solar