Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

June 29 – July 5

Posted by Trey Smith on June 29, 2009

Greener Times for the Week of June 29 – July 5
Volume 4 No. 11
an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere

Greener Times Collective: Maryrose Asher, Duff Badgley, Tom Herring and Trey Smith (Editor)

In This Week’s Issue
* Why Some Environmentalists Oppose the House Climate Bill
* Corporate Campaign Contributions Make Us All Sick – Literally!
* Thoughts By the Way: A Norwegian Funeral
* Our Climate Crisis: Washington Must Rescind Biofuels Mandates
* Un-Spinning the Spin: (On Vacation)
* This Week in History
* Letters to the Editor
* Pencil Shavings: Lines in the Sand
* News You May Have Missed

Why Some Environmentalists Oppose the House Climate Bill
by Dan Shapley for The Daily Green

With a vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act — which includes the first nationwide U.S. cap-and-trade regulation for greenhouse gases — coming as early as today [Friday], most environmental groups are marshaling their resources in support of the bill. Well-known and influential groups like the Natural Resource Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club, as well as the younger but substantial movement spawned by Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, are all urging the House of Representatives to pass the bill, as President Obama has urged.

It’s not surprising, given the rhetoric, (much of it, when it comes to the cost of the bill, deliberately misleading) that many Republicans are lining up against the bill. What isn’t head-in-the-sand obstructionism has a lot of that is the politics of a party out of power trying to damage a popular president. But that’s not the case when it comes to two prominent, if less mainstream, environmental groups, which both vociferously oppose the House climate bill.

Greenpeace opposes the bill because it has been too weakened by industry lobbyists, who Greenpeace says has helped stave off Environmental Protection Agency regulation of the corn ethanol industry, watered down overall targets for carbon emissions reduction and set up a system for trading carbon offsets that the group believes will undermine any significant progress.

“As it comes to the floor, the Waxman-Markey bill sets emission reduction targets far lower than science demands, then undermines even those targets with massive offsets,” said USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett. “The giveaways and preferences in the bill will actually spur a new generation of nuclear and coal-fired power plants to the detriment of real energy solutions. To support such a bill is to abandon the real leadership that is called for at this pivotal moment in history. We simply no longer have the time for legislation this weak.”

Friends of Earth went so far as to launch an ad campaign against the bill (Republican-backed groups have their own anti-climate legislation ad campaign).

“Corporate polluters including Shell and Duke Energy helped write this bill, and the result is that we’re left with legislation that fails to come anywhere close to solving the climate crisis,” said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. “Worse, the bill eliminates preexisting EPA authority to address global warming — that means it’s actually a step backward.”

Beyond Pesticides also warned that allowing the Department of Agriculture, rather than the EPA, to oversee farm-related aspects of carbon regulation, while supporting corn ethanol, could result in increases in the use of herbicide, or at least financial incentives for conventional, rather than organic farming.

Friends of the Earth isn’t the only environmental group using advertising to make their case. The Alliance for Climate Protection’s Repower America campaign released a videot, in an effort to get citizens to engage their elected leaders, and urge them to vote in favor of the climate legislation — not only because it represents a huge step forward for U.S. climate policy, but because it will be essential for pushing ahead with United Nations negotiations on a new worldwide climate treaty in Copenhagen in December.

Corporate Campaign Contributions Make Us All Sick – Literally!
by Joe Conason for TruthDig

If Congress fails to enact health care reform this year—or if it enacts a sham reform designed to bail out corporate medicine while excluding the “public option”—then the public will rightly blame Democrats, who have no excuse for failure except their own cowardice and corruption. The punishment inflicted by angry voters is likely to be reduced majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives—or even the restoration of Republican rule on Capitol Hill.

Many of those now talking down President Obama’s health care initiative were in Washington back in 1994 when Bill Clinton’s proposals to achieve universal coverage were killed by members of the president’s own party. The Democrats lost control of Congress that November in a historic repudiation, largely because of public disillusionment with their policy failures.

Nearly every poll now shows the American people demanding change in the health care system, with majorities favoring universal coverage and, in many surveys, a government plan that competes with private insurance. But powerful Democratic politicians, especially in the Senate, are pretending not to hear. They adopt all sorts of positions, from bluntly opposing any substantive change this year to promoting bogus alternatives. They claim to be trying to help Obama gather the votes he will need, or to assist him in attracting Republican votes. They insist that the country can’t afford universal care, or that the public option won’t pass (before debate has even begun).

Indeed, many of the most intransigent Democrats don’t bother to make actual arguments to support their position. Nor do they seem to worry that Democratic voters and the party’s main constituencies overwhelmingly support the public option and universal coverage.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has simply stated, through her flack, that she refuses to support a public option. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who has tried to fashion a plan that will entice Republicans, warns that the public option is a step toward single-payer health care—not much of an objection to a model that serves people in every other industrialized country with lower costs and superior outcomes. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., feebly protests that her state’s mismanagement by a Republican governor must stall the progress of the rest of the country. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., says he has a better plan involving regional cooperatives, which would be unable to effectively compete with the insurance behemoths or bargain with pharmaceutical giants.

The excuses sound different, but all of these lawmakers have something in common—namely, their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform. Consider Landrieu, a senator from a very poor state whose working-class constituents badly need universal coverage (and many of whom now depend on Medicare, a popular government program). According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog outfit, she has received nearly $1.7 million from corporate medical interests, including hospitals, insurance companies, nursing homes and drug firms, during her political career.

The same kind of depressing figures can be found in the campaign filings of many of the Democrats now posing as obstacles to reform, notably including Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who has distinguished himself in the most appalling way. The Montana Standard, a news outlet in his home state, found that Baucus has received more campaign money from health and insurance industry donors than any other member of Congress. “In the past six years,” the Standard found, “nearly one-fourth of every dime raised by the Montana senator and his political-action committee has come from groups and individuals associated with drug companies, insurers, hospitals, medical-supply firms, health-service companies and other health professionals.”

Whenever Democratic politicians are confronted with this conflict between the public interest and their private fund-raising, they take offense at the implied insult. They protest, as a spokesman for Sen. Landrieu did, that they make policy decisions based on what is best for the people of their states, “not campaign contributions.” But when health reform fails, or turns into a trough for their contributors, who will believe them? And who will vote for them?

Thoughts By the Way: A Norwegian Funeral
Tom Herring is a Community Council member on Vashon Island. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

During the long cold period The River was a lake having the shape of a broad boomerang. Its orientation to the sun favored the West bank of the upcurrent arm and the North bank of the downcurrent arm, and so here were hunting camps and ruins of camps. Fish and jerky dried well in the cold dry air and hot sun. Eventually, the top of the ice dam began to soften which was watched carefully by the lake. Slowly at first then with a final flood the lake’s secrets were revealed, and the greatest of these was a gently sloping plain of rich soil on the East bank of the upcurrent arm Well mixed with the soil were rocks that broke the wooden plows of the first farmers. But rocks in the soil yielded to iron in the bodies and so the region to be called Five Farms emerged. Not long after the rocks had thinned out traders from the South brought strange ruminants, the production of milk from just one of which equaled that of ten reindeer. Summer pasture soon competed with grain.

Hunting parties and log cutters had long been aware of the Hoa. And so a trail was cut, logs hauled, and a barn with stoggo was constructed. Up the trail went the first dairy herd to pasture on the high windswept tundra. The climate there was even drier than in the valley, so permitting the churn and separation essential to preserving the gift of milk. The milkers were girls.

The trail became a road. Each spring for the next three hundred years the dairy herd was released from its winter stalls to begin the Hoa migration, and so willing they that migration verged on stampede. A visitor in 1960 remarked on the seter: “The barn had a central aisle where in the middle on the downhill side there was a chute for the manure. Next to that was the toilet. Some twenty cows were milked each evening by two girls. Intimacy with the cows included name and temperament, and girl authority was administered to the herd by the bell cow. The girls had earned this authority during the winter at the home barn where they became adept at aiming the stream from a teat into the open mouth of a cat. Churning and the rest was carried out in the stoggo with the aid of water carried from a spring a hundred feet away. That some graduates of the seter later took up nursing may have been due to the seter’s daily challenge to sanitation. Some girls grew plump on the buttermilk. Driving back down, the visitor had met a herd coming up at which herd and car stopped while a bottle of brandy was found, and some glasses.

In 1972 Five Farms abandoned the seter. The chief cause appears to have been a change to a higher producing breed of cow. The new cows liked the seter even more than had the originals, so much more that they took to staying out at night. This was the beginning of the end of small dairies at Five Farms, and for the valley of The River as well. Today a few farms run beef cattle, and most run sheep. Take that summary with a block of salt because dairy economics in Norway with the Continent on the Euro are not simple. Nonetheless, the seter remains in spirit if not in reality for one can still buy sour cream labeled “Seter” which is yellow almost as a buttercup; milk from the summer pasture had been better than winter stall milk.

In June of 2009 there was a death in the Five Farms family which had been founded in 1917 by The Two. There were eight children. First Born inherited the farm. He was a gifted speaker and understood trolls. First Daughter died at age thirteen of pneumonia. Matriarch came to be raised on a high lakeshore farm across The River. Nurse was gifted with a good voice, a perfect ear, and an artist’s eye. She entered a long and successful careeer in surgical nursing. Musician was burdened in later life by arthritis which in her case was cruel for her life was music. An adored teacher, she never gave up. Athlete was graced with a strong physique and endless charm which somehow produced four extrordinary children. Collector spent her early and late years alone which was hard on her but one result was a wonderful creation for a legion of cheese lovers: She had a talent for studying living things too small to see, and so was instrumental in developing a Norwegian semisoft that has climbed many a chart ahead of Swiss. Her middle years were brightened in marriage to another researcher. They collected the work of artists from the valley of The River. Poet counted her opportunities and left town. She would have liked to have the farm and would have been a terrific farmer.

The church is constructed of logs in the planform of a cross. In order to gain height with big windows the logs are held in alignment by column-like clamps one on each side of each window. Guests enter at the base while Family enters at the near end of the cross. The Americans were picked up at the farm by some of Athlete’s family and brought through town, The Bend, around to the high lake road along The River’s steep north bank.. As the car pulled up, the casket was being unloaded at the gate closest to the cross. Five of the six pall bearers were immediate family. By the time the Americans were seated in the left cross the casket had been placed at the crossing. They could look across the casket at the other half of family and sort out the generations. The casket belonged to Collector. She is survived by Nurse, Athlete, and Poet. Several of the guests were her friends and associates from the Agricultural Research Station at Aas.

A long and peaceful wait for the guests to straggle in gave ample time for reflection. A number of relaxed conversations formed between those as yet not seated. A well built youngish man seemed to be in authority. He was here and there, sometimes adjusting a floral do up. A report from the pastor’s meeting the day before held that he was youngish, empathetic, and that he wanted participation. Probably then, this was the pastor. But when at last the organ spoke the actual pastor entered. He was youngish, but had a beard.

The pastor spoke briefly followed by a hymn. He spoke some more, followed by another hymn. He spoke some more and sat down. The organ spelled out an introduction and then softened as a male voice opened up from the balcony. It was Matriarch’s elder son, and the effect was electric, the combined result perhaps of a rich timbre and an exotic melody with less than obvious time.

The pastor spoke at length. When he was through, his clean-shaven disciple held up several of the floral do’s and read off the donor’s message. The ceremonial nature of the proceedings was enhanced by everyone who passed the casket pausing, facing, and bowing their head. Finally coming to the floral do at the foot of the casket, the csd picked it up and was joined by First Born’s elder son who has inherited the farm. The message was read. Back down went the floral do, and the pair returned to the lectern where Elder Son spoke at medium length. The organ then once more introduced Matriarch’s elder who sang two short pieces. One was a kind of vocal equivalent of a hardingsfele composition, no evident time, hauntingly beautiful. The pastor spoke briefly then stepped forward next to the casket and spoke more purposefully. He reached down to a bucket, scooped up a tiny shovelful of earth and poured it directly on the flowers on top of the casket. Still speaking, he added two more scoops. He said something more, then stood in silence as the pall bearers appeared at the casket. They lifted, and started off down the aisle. The casket was followed by her siblings and then the rest of the family.

As family watched, the casket was put into the hearse by way of the rear lift gate. The bearers then stepped back and the pastor appeared. He spoke briefly. Then the csd appeared and pulled gently on the lift gate at which it started down and closed with a soft click. He then went around to the driver’s side and got in. At this the hearse slowly moved off with nothing coming out of the tail pipe. Doubtless everyone present could testify that an invisible hand was helping Collector on her way. After a somewhat startled glance at the seemingly immaculate motion the pastor began working the crowd, greeting each family member with a handshake and a few words. The American said, “good job”. The Pastor smiled beatifically.

The reception was held at a conference hall belonging to an NGO church, that is, not the Church of Norway. The funeral party was all there, and then some it seemed. Seventy, a hundred maybe. No place names, a freeforall, a random sorting of confused standees. Each of four long tables was handed two bowls of dish one, and these handed around. When these disappeared to be followed in like manner by dishes two and three it was apprehended that one go at each was all that a person was going to get. The brief encounters with those full bowls were delicious.

There was more. Above the dining room there was a hall stretching the entire length of the building. It was set with conversation groupings and a supply table groaning under a dozen kinds of cake plus ice cream. The seventy or so guests were accommodated elbows out with room to spare. An hour later the extended relatives and friends had left leaving the family coalesced elbow to elbow around their coffee cups. The manageress had left her station at the urn but was maintaining a benevolent overlook. The end was brought not by runout of conversation, rather by a need for some to hit the road for parts distant. Collector at last had been laid to rest.

First Born had died a week earlier. Both had been residents of the local Helsencentre. So as you see, in spite of the strain on immediate family posed by the coincidence I was not saddened by Collector’s funeral. Do I sound cold? My wife surely would put her feelings differently. For me the funeral was a visit to reality that by the time we were returning over newly brown Greenland had become a fright.

In two weeks I’ll be eighty-eight, and within a few years my world will collapse. Our two granddaughters will face economic hardship and loss of security caused by US decay into a police state. That’s because the US financial, military, corporate complex will not release its hold on the occupied territories of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that’s because the arrival of peak oil will put the US in competition with China. The nuclear tension between Pakistan and India will be the sword of Damacles hanging over the US. The US could stop this looming certainty with a simple statement by Obama that the US will pull out of occupied territories and will cut off aid to Israel. Don’t like that wording? Then go for the heart: Obama is to state that the United States has decided to put the future of the Earth on higher priority than US hegemony.

Obama is not going to do that, just as he is not going to fix health care and just as he has trashed labor to save the thing called General Motors. And he is going to get away with it, for now, because we will let him. Take me. I don’t have what it takes to break ranks and start doorbelling to get my town to tell the county to tell the state, to tell Obama to ask Pastor Wright for forgiveness, now do I? No I don’t, and I have a great alibi: my family, my neighbors, and my Council Board all think consensus on that is impossible, and that attempts to the contrary will rock the boat. No, the government will continue to dance to the demon of world dominance until the sword falls. And then we will rush to our lifeboats and row like hell.

Our Climate Crisis: Washington Must Rescind Biofuels Mandates
Duff Badgley is the leader of the One Earth Climate Action Group and was a candidate for Governor as a Green in 2008. He can be reached at 206-283-0621.

The City of Seattle and King County have abandoned their crop-based biofuels programs. So must Washington State.

The state must rescind its myriad laws requiring public and private use of biofuels. These laws force use of crop-based biofuels-—the only biofuels available for mass consumption. Hoping and waiting for so-called “2nd generation” biofuels is denying the global devastation biofuels are wreaking now.

Overwhelming peer-reviewed, published science shows crop-based biofuels do two things:

(1) Cause hunger and starvation affecting hundreds of millions of humans. This why the U.N has called these biofuels a “Crime Against Humanity”.

(2) Cause rainforest destruction releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide and greatly worsening our Climate Crisis.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has accepted these studies. King County has accepted these studies. And, now, the City of Seattle has accepted these studies.

It doesn’t matter if the crop used for biofuel feedstock is grown in Washington or Canada or Malaysia. The devastation caused is equivalent. The idea of creating a homegrown Washington State biofuels industry is fatally flawed.

“If you use farmland in North America to grow biofuels, you’re forcing a farmer somewhere else to clear-cut forest to grow food crops. You’ve effectively cut down a rain forest.”

“We looked at all of the current biofuels that are being made around the world and asked if they were causing native ecosystems to be turned into land that would be used to grow the crop. Essentially, all of them are doing that.”

— David Tilman, lead author of the “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt” study published in SCIENCE, February, 2008.

From this study:

“Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food crop–based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a ‘biofuel carbon debt’ by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions that these biofuels would provide by displacing fossil fuels.”

Tilman’s study, and many others, establish land use change as the mechanism by which crop-based biofuels greatly worsen climate change. The E.P.A, King County, the City of Seattle and climate scientists worldwide have accepted crop-based biofuels force land use change.

Fleet vehicles at the University of Washington show how current WA biofuels laws are so harmful and must be rescinded.

RCW 43.19.642 maintains “effective June 1, 2009, state agencies as a whole are required to use a minimum of 20% biodiesel to operate diesel-powered vessels, vehicles, and construction equipment.”

This is the state law that is being widely ignored and minimally complied with. Washington State ferries have received a two-year exemption from it. Complying would have cost the WSF $8million extra.

But UW is already fully complying. It has been forced to burn crop-based biodiesel because that is the only biofuel available. Its diesel fleet vehicles are currently burning B-20, a 20% blend of American soy biodiesel made by Cargill. Cargill is the world’s largest private corporation with vast holdings in the rainforests of SE Asia and Brazil. It is also protested around the world for its environmental practices.

Last year, One Earth Climate Action group protested UW’s use of canola biodiesel made by Imperium. UW was then burning B-2 and planning to go to B-5. Our protest started direct communications with UW President Mark Emmert. Emmert introduced us to Josh Kavanaugh, UW Director of Fleet Services.

Kavanaugh agreed to delay the increase from B-2 to B-5 because of his concern that biofuels worsened climate change. But this year, RCW 43.19.642 forced Kavanaugh to increase the amount of crop-based biodiesel his fleet burns by ten-fold, to B-20. State law increased the climate damage caused by UW fleet vehicles by a factor of ten.

The governments of the Northwest’s biggest city and its most populous county have quit crop-based biofuels. The State of Washington needs to do the same. It needs to scrap its biofuels mandates now.

This Week in History
This Week in History, published by Carl Bunin and edited by Al Frank, is a collection designed to help us appreciate the fact that we are part of a rich history advocating peace and social justice. While the entries often focus on large and dramatic events there are so many smaller things done everyday to promote peace and justice. Find more info at http://www.peacebuttons.info/E-News/thisweek.htm.

June 30, 2005: Spain legalized same-sex marriage by a vote of 187-147 in parliament. Such couples were also granted the right to adopt and receive inheritances. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spoke in support of the bill, “We are expanding the opportunities for happiness of our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends and our relatives. At the same time, we are building a more decent society.

July 2, 1964: Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, thus barring discrimination in public accommodations (restaurants, stores, theatres, etc.), employment, and voting. The law had survived an 83-day filibuster in the U.S. Senate by 21 members from southern states.

July 4, 1966: The Freedom of Information Act, P.L. 89-487, became law. It established the right of Americans to know what their government is doing by outlining procedures for getting access to internal documents.

Letters to the Editor
Got something you want to get off your chest? Did an article in a previous edition of Greener Times make you madder than a hornet or cause you to stand up to say, “Right on!”? Well, this space is reserved each week for your comments and opinions.

I have had my own share of struggles with Greens who are annoyed by my focus on everything from racism to Leonard Peltier to US/Mexico border human rights/cartel issues. So i bow out of trying on my local discussion list as well as the meetings. I feel that exclusionary focus will not win the day.

So i urge all to listen to the NPR Fresh Air interview with Chip Berlet, one of the foremost researchers on the racist right, conspiracists, militia types in the country. He does a fine job of teasing out the different facets of scapegoatism and bigotry within the 9/11 truth movement.

In 1991, i had the honor of attending an investigative journalism class at MIT given by Berlet. He has been very helpful in my personal research and writings around the racist right in Washington, California and Arizona.

Tho he seems to attribute less influence of the violent racists upon the 9/11 movement than i do, he has a very clear and articulate way of pointing out the spectrum of dangers presented by those who do advocate hate towards gays, abortion provider, immigrants, etc.

It is precisely because i did attend many local meetings of paranoid racists in Stevens and Ferry Counties in eastern Washington that i have developed my own first hand right wing crap detector. It is really tragic that so many racists in the west have been directly involved, if not out right pivotal, in the 9/11 movement. I found so many websites on the first printings of the 9/11 so called “deception dollars” that were anti immigrant, anti semitic, anti choice, pro gun and pro white well armed male that i could not ever see the 9/11 movement as a true force for peace and justice. Some sites were less hateful than others, but way too many included longtime white supremacists, Christian Patriot, Minute Men and others who i do not feel are allies.

I am not willing to trade one jack boot for another, tho i will and have talked to Christian Identity adherents, militia members and others who are very racist. I just wonder if mild mannered racism isn’t what makes the more virulent type possible. How many more innocents will they murder? The abortion providers are people whose privilege and skill make them very visible martyrs, whereas the Mexican man in Pennsylvania beaten to death recently by racist teens who got 6 to 7 months jail gets little to no press. Too many go down without a whimper due to the invisibility of their marginalized voicelessness. All too often, the american death squads are the killers.

I feel all of us who care truly for authentic peace and justice need to deeply and carefully educate ourselves about what we all face. Too many activists never have lifted a finger to dismantle their own bigotry. Consequently, little is done when racism appears. I take it on wherever i encounter it. Isolating to say the least.

I will again say that “respect for diversity” is way weak. We need to truly stand for an end to all genocide and dismantling of all bigotry. I suggest people check out the School of the Americas Watch website for some of the best anti oppression materials i have ever seen.

I also struggle with the Backbone Campaign as i feel the money thing drives the machine rather than simply doing the right thing. I have been gently excluded due to my deep radicalism.

I risked arrest 3 times last winter with mostly young people. Twice a few of us were confronted by the Coast Guard. The second time they gave me a letter warning me if i was out in a kayak in the Glacier/Cal/Portland mining pier territory, i would face felony charges and up to 6 years in jail. I believe the felony charges need to be challenged and if we are serious about stopping Glacier, we need to be ready to make serious sacrifices. Backbone controls most energy around this issue now and their approach is much more fun based, which is ok, but fun and facing felonies might be a bit more effective.

When one puts out calls for Gandhian and MLK type action, it means major sacrifice and not symbolic easy actions. I worry about the easy way out approach.

I also feel nonprofit organizations tend to be white male dominated and exclusionary. I wonder just how committed to equality the Green Party is as i have addressed this all over Washington as well as in Santa Barbara, California. Cindy Sheehan said the Green Party should be called the White Party. We need to seriously act on this.

Best to all and may we find a way to unify. Isolation is very painful.

In peaceful struggle,
swaneagle

Pencil Shavings: Lines in the Sand
Pencil Shavings appears in this space most weeks and solely represents the opinions of the publisher. If you’d like to read more of Trey’s ruminations, visit The Rambling Taoist.

As we’ve watched the debate unfold re the Obama adminstration’s climate action bill, we’ve seen some enviro groups endorse it soundly and others pan it just as strenuously. This is but one example of the difficulty in deciding where each person and group will draw their line in the sand. Regardless of the specific issue, one argument that almost always is made is that, while the current legislation isn’t up to snuff, it’s better than no legislation at all. The other side then argues that a flawed bill or statute may actually harm the intent behind the effort by providing so many loopholes and so much vagueness that it’s nothing more than a facade of needed change or action.

Consequently, deciding where to draw the proverbial line is never cast in stone. Interested parties must weigh many factors and, often, come to some painful decisions. As we’ve witnessed re the topic of climate change, these decisions often pit friend against friend and ally against ally.

Personally, I’ve never favored the “it’s better than nothing” argument. This is how the Democrats get elected again and again. They know that they have far too many progressives in their hip pocket and so they cater their political message to baser interests — they know all along that their progressive base will hold their noses and vote Dem because it’s better than nothing (Republicans).

For me, if a person or group believes an issue is worth fighting for, then they/we should fight for what they/we want, not simply back a proposal that merits one speck above zero. If a person is so willing to cave in on too many of their fundamental beliefs, it really makes me wonder how important those beliefs were in the first place.

In the end, I stand with the great socialist candidate and orator Eugene V. Debs. I’d rather stand strong for what I believe in and lose than standby mealy-mouthed for something I don’t think betters the cause and achieve a modicum of success. Really? What’s the point in that?

News You May Have Missed

Democrats Have Moved To The Right And The Right Has Moved Into A Mental Hospital
Bill Maher followed up last week’s criticism of President Obama on Friday by taking on the entire political spectrum, accusing Democrats of selling out and Republicans of being “religious lunatics and Civil War reenactors.” He began the segment (“White Men Can’t Harumph”) by addressing the response to his critique of Obama: “It made some liberals very angry, my phone rang off the hook, my email filled up and Nancy Pelosi got so mad her face moved. Look, folks, I like Obama too, I’m just saying let’s not make it a religion…”

Lobbying is a Lucrative Investment
Your investments might have suffered as a result of the financial crisis, but Big Business has found one successful investment that may be recession-proof: lobbying. Using CRP data on lobbying expenditures by S&P 500 firms, three finance professors recently published a report stating that for every dollar a company spends on lobbying, its value increases by $200. The study, entitled “Determinants and Effects of Corporate Lobbying,” was released on June 15…

Obama’s Stonewall
In 1996, when Barack Obama was running for the Illinois Senate, he was asked in a survey by Outlines, a gay community newspaper in Chicago, if he supported same-sex marriage. Unlike most candidates, who merely indicated yes or no, Obama took the unusual step of typing in his response, to which he affixed his signature. Back then not a single state permitted same-sex marriage, and sodomy was a crime. Nonetheless, Obama took a position on the progressive edge of the Democratic Party, and he did so with unmistakable clarity: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” Since then, as Obama traced his dazzling arc to the presidency, his stance on gay rights has become murkier, wordier, less courageous, more Clintonian…

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