Monday, January 14, 2019

The Flaw in the Green New Deal

The economic model Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is working from (as is Bernie Sanders) is FDR's New Deal: a well-paying job for every worker, tax the rich, redistribute the wealth. All good as far as it goes. The green part is building green infrastructure and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency. Also all good.

What is missing from the Green New Deal movement's analysis is what are workers going to spend their money on? More to the point: people, in the Green New Deal, are still understood to be workers and consumers, not stewards of the land. Mass society is still understood in materialistic terms: everybody's job is to get money and spend it keeping the economy growing. Everybody shares in the financial prosperity, and the environment is still understood as resources that support consumption.

Leaving aside that automation idling tens of millions of workers is grounds to rethink the work-spend basis on which consumerism is predicated, work-spend as the definitional underpinning of public life reduces the function of every human being to making money change hands.

Money is the worst reason to do anything. Chasing it demotivates doing things that should be done because they do not pay money and motivates doing things that should not be done because they do pay money. Finally, the environmental crisis does not begin and end with fossil fuels. Every so-called resource on this planet has been almost entirely destroyed, and consumerism is the root cause.

The Green New Deal is a step in the right direction, but millions of supporters need to understand that it is only a step and more importantly that money as an organizing principle upon which to construct a society is fatally flawed on social, environmental, economic, and spiritual grounds.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Hat in hand.

BLM is a real grass roots organization, a group of people fearing for their lives and those of their neighbors at the hands of the police. These are not people being manipulated by clever framing of half-truths and lies by billionaires whose real agenda is no taxes for rich people, no regulation of corporations -- preservation of a societal organizational structure that farms humans to be used for certain revenue-generating activities: consuming, fighting in wars, supplying raw materials or manufacturing things for as little money as the owners of all the money can possibly pay.

The place to start talking about American society's problems is at how the money works, what government can and is supposed to do -- provide for the general welfare, for example. People have got to start seeing one another as individual human beings, stop thinking we know all about each other in terms of stupid abstractions that demonstrate we don't, and communicating with each other as human beings.

Corporations are not human beings. Human beings need to talk about corporations with each other not to them hat in hand.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest.

The USA spends $700 billion a year on its military, 58% of its discretionary budget, more than the rest of the world combined, and that doesn't include the trillions of off-budget emergency dollars it spends on the wars it is always engaged in, either overtly or covertly, that are always somebody else's fault. The USA also sells more weapons than any other country and of course debates endlessly in its political discourse and TV and Hollywood movies who to bomb, kill, or invade.

To run a war machine on a scale this large, you need a public who think that war and flag and country and the military are the most important things in the whole world. Someone is out to get you. Communists. They want to take your money and give it to the government and take your guns away and tell you what to do. Freedom! Mine!

I'm surprised the Star Spangled Banner isn't playing all the time everywhere. Thankfully it is only at sports events, which if you watch them on TV, you can mute.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Trump and Vietnam.

Donald Trump did not avoid killing Vietnamese people in their own country as a matter of principle. He dodged the draft to save his own skin. As Mr. Khan said at the DNC, Donald Trump sacrificed nothing: no arrests for protesting the war, no police clubs on his head trying to stop it.

Plus, like many of America's most prominent warmongers, he is only too happy to play the role of Mr. Tough Guy, a loudmouth bravely boasting about how he is going to send other people's kids to other people's countries to kill other people's kids.

An expression was going around for a number of years after the Vietnam War: everybody did what they did. It means you did what you thought was right: fighting for your country because you believed the politicians' lies or doing what you thought would help to stop the war because you didn't.

Donald Trump never has and never will do what he thinks is right. He does what is good for Donald Trump, no matter who loses money on his crooked schemes or whose kids die so he doesn't have to.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

McConnel and Ryan.

Mitch McConnell is a disgrace, a cynically opportunistic politician with the moral authority of a sanctimonious gnat.

What annoys me most about McConnell's soulless posturing is that he coopts words -- obstructionist, divisive, uncompromising -- that accurately describe him and the pathological political philosophy that he and the Republican party represent and uses them to accuse people disgusted by his policies and tactics of precisely the attitudes and behaviors of which he is guilty. The man is so emotionally stupid that he seems actually to believe that this two-year-old's behavior is anything but transparent to anyone who is not entirely brain-dead.

Paul Ryan is an ignorant moron who believes he is an "intellectual" with "ideas." His "ideas" are a fact-free ideology grounded entirely in the idiotic ravings of an emotionally disturbed woman, Ayn Rand, who was pathologically devoid of empathy and warmth -- a female predecessor of the sick thief, Trump, running today for president of the USA.

McConnell has had 7 and Ryan has had 2 years to do something constructive for the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, and there is a reason why they haven't: people at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid are prey for the people at the top. McConnell and Ryan believe this is the natural order, and they have no problem with it. McConnell and Ryan and their ilk are precisely what is wrong with the USA: everything of yours for me and nothing for you.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Obama's speech at the DNC.

Mr. Obama is an exemplary human being: smart, inspiring, everything you would want in a parent, neighbor, friend, and statesman.

His message, though, that your burden will be eased in the by and by, is cold comfort to the hundreds of millions of people on this planet suffering the abuses of unbridled predatory capitalism, racism, greed, war, and environmental destruction.

Please don't take this as a rejection of the truly admirable personal qualities of a wonderful man anyone would be honored to know personally. It is the difference between MLK and Malcolm X, Hillary Clinton (domestically; internationally she is a menace) and Bernie Sanders. While you wait for pie in the sky, tears flow, blood flows, and champagne flows.

Job number one for the American people is to keep Trump out of the White House. Job number two will be to keep Hillary Clinton's feet to the fire. Whether anyone can get anything humane and reasonable out of a Republican House and Senate is questionable. And two thirds of U.S. state governments are in Republican hands.