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View Diary: White House Meeting on Arctic Media Blackout (143 comments)

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  •  You do realize that you're making a RW (29+ / 0-)

    argument against government, that it's not up to the task of dealing with real-world problems, don't you, suggesting that only individuals or private companies can do it (or, perhaps, NGOs)?

    I disagree. No one BUT government can properly deal with problems this huge and urgent, on the scale of a WWII, smallpox or Jim Crow. The problem isn't government's inability to deal with this properly, but rather the lack of political will and pressure to do so. That's where we come in.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:37:58 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I think it is true that only government can (32+ / 0-)

      properly address such enormous problems, but the question raised (perhaps, if I read correctly) is that democracy only responds to short term issues and crisis events, so how do we address long term, multi-decade issues like climate change with a government which varies like the wind?

      Carter, for example, tried to set an example with solar power on the roof of the White House.  Reagan had it all ripped off.  Every two years or every four years, our government may completely change policy, based on science and reason or the latest emotional fright of the day.

      Frankly, I'm convinced that if people believed there were terrorists in the forests, we'd just burn everything down, like we did with Agent Orange in Vietnam - defoliate everything in sight.  Cuz, you know, "terrorists!!!"

      Let's say Obama calls together the pre-eminent scientists from across the globe and rams the best possible solutions through Congress (which won't happen in a million years).  

      Then, in 2016, whoever wins the election "doesn't believe Obama got it right" and "tinkers" with the solution to "strengthen it" thus cratering all chances of anything really working?

      That is a structural fault of our type of government when addressing something that requires consecutive decades - centuries - of concerted action.  It requires global leadership for decade after decade for many more decades, until our grandchildren are old and running government and their grandchildren are going to carry on the same policies.

      Our government simply isn't built to handle these types of problems.  Even in the face of massive unemployment, our government is making the problem worse, not better.  And that directly affects the voters.  

      When has our country ever evidenced centuries long dedication to solving a huge global problem?  No one has any experience doing such a thing in any nation, which may be one reason civilizations in the past simple collapsed and disappeared.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:15:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure I agree (13+ / 0-)

        The financial and economic programs of the 1790's, road and canal projects of the early 19th century, transcontinental railroads and Homestead and Morrill Acts of the 1860's, etc., were all the results of long-term thinking and planning, and very successful ones at that. Of course, that was when we were still an emerging power that embraced big things, not an ossified one that resists them. We've become much more conservative and narrow-minded since then. But crises have a way of waking us up to action. This is that.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:31:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that those programs carried on for a long (16+ / 0-)

          period.  But I wonder if a development scenario -- "We need roads, canals, land platting record, etc" -- will relate to programs where we have to get people to do what they don't naturally want to do.

          Addressing climate change requires changing people's actions against their will (at least in some cases, roughly 1/2 the nation would be a guess).  Development -- roads, canals, plats, etc -- were things everyone wanted. Desired improvements.

          Social Security would be one long term example, but everyone pays in and everyone collects out.  It was built with a guaranteed constituency.

          What I fear is that our representative (haha) government will be delayed until the crisis is too apparent, too far along.  Oil and 1% groups are pushing hard against doing anything. By the time the consensus comes about, will there be time to address the problem without facing Malthusian catastrophes?

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:19:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe the pre-Citizens United government was (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YucatanMan

            capable of responding to a crisis whose only solution threatens the established economic order.

            Post-Citizens United? Not so much. The problem with our government is not that it is structurally impotent, it's that we have rendered it impotent by the ascendence of political interest and greed so potent that it has now claimed the last bastion of protection of our democracy: the Supreme Court.

            Could a true reformer ever be elected President? Only if that true reformer masqueraded as a Wall Street shill to get there. Sort of a reverse Obama. But even such a president would still be faced with a thoroughly corrupt and purchased Congress.

            It does seem hopeless. But we have to continue to do our best to organize, to educate, to be as active as we possibly can be. Otherwise, there truly is no hope.

        •  you are stuck on thinking in terms (12+ / 0-)

          of government and the idea that a centralized government is the best way to go about facilitating this sort of change.

          just because rethugs argue against the federal government out of a long history of resistance to progressive ideals like social justice and economic equality, does not mean that another sort of change is not appropriate.

          at this point, i am at least partially convinced that communities moving towards self sufficiency with the idea that they can move faster towards the change we need is a good idea and maybe the only way we can start to change things.

          in any case, i see absolutely no evidence that dc is going to do the sort of things we need it to do.

          time has run out.  we need to start doing things differently on the ground where we are.

          its almost impossible no matter what we try, but groups of people getting together to create real change in their immediate surroundings may be the only alternative.  this has the advantage of pointing to these communities when they start functioning at a higher level than others who not have made these changes.

          but all this depends on time and we don't have time.

          without a miracle, we are toast, literally and figuratively.  

          crispy critters.

          all that moderation has us in a bigger mess than anyone can solve.  

          •  I don't know of any examples where this works (0+ / 0-)

            in a country as large, advanced and complex as ours. And climate change is obvious a global, not merely national problem. I literally can't see how this can be dealt with properly without the role of major world governments, including our own. This cannot be fixed on a grass roots level. What block association is likely to invent a better battery or wind turbine?

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:33:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Railroads, Homestead Act, Morrill Act (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie

          The Transcontinental Railroad, the Homestead Act and the Morrill Act had to wait for the Confederacy to withdraw from the national legislature for a time.  This may be why calls from Southern states to secede get a fairly sympathetic hearing from some on the Left.  

          "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

          by Yamaneko2 on Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:42:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Which is why I'm on the fence (0+ / 0-)

            as to whether the Civil War was worth it. The slaves were freed but only to face a new kind of slavery that their descendants face to this day. We're still divided over race and culture. The south continues to be a net drain on the economy. And over 600,000 died. Perhaps it would have been best to let the south go, let it have its own civil war (which it would have had eventually), clean up its shit on its own timetable and terms, and then beg to rejoin the union 50 years later, after WWI, less angry and resentful that it was.

            And think of all the great things we could have done without its resistance!

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:36:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure the North would escape fissures. (0+ / 0-)

              For some reason, societies always seem to latch onto sizeable minorities within to bully and blame.  Great Britain's bigots take breaks from hating on Muslims by hating on Poles.  Russians dislike Tatars, Georgians, Armenians and Chechens.  Sunni and Shia tear at each other over the Fourth Caliph, barely waiting for Mohammed's flesh to go back to the clay.

              The mother of all refugee crises on the Ohio shore would not be particularly conducive to development, especially if Europe's colonial powers decided to take sides.  

              "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

              by Yamaneko2 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:48:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Another thought. (0+ / 0-)

              The nadir in race relations (Jim Crow to WWII) was horrible, terrible and rotten.  In the midst of that nadir, African-Americans individually and in groups made sizeable advances.  W. E. B. DuBois, in "The Souls of Black Folk", briefly inventoried the millions of dollars of property accumulated by former slaves in aggregate.  The rise in black literacy from 1865 to 1900 has few parallels in history, even amidst some terrible discouragement from the neighbors.  

              Postponing the start of that boom from 1865 to 1890 would have been terrible for the South and for the rest of the country.  

              "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

              by Yamaneko2 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 04:02:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Also (8+ / 0-)

        I answered this above:

        When has our country ever evidenced centuries long dedication to solving a huge global problem?
        Smallpox. A bunch of other diseases too, like malaria and typhoid. Not centuries-long, thankfully, but decades-long.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:32:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fighting diseases, again, is an example of a (19+ / 0-)

          solution everyone wants. And they were pre-existing conditions, not a new disaster unfolding (although the Spanish flu would be an example of a disease disaster).

          Large constituencies like big oil, big banks, etc, were not opposed to fighting diseases.  There wasn't a 50% or so portion of society dedicated to saying "disease vaccination is a hoax" (although there are too many of those today).

          I've been trying to think of a disaster of huge proportions which we as a nation fought for decades. Not a preexisting condition, but a new threat.  I'm coming up dry although I do have one proxy:

          The Dust Bowl.  It had man-made components.  Millions of acres were stripped of cover in the mad race to plant as much wheat as possible, even with declining demand. The drought was a trigger, but the situation wouldn't have been so dire if several million acres still had some trees or prairie grass.

          The Dust Bowl was a 10 year long disaster.  Respected advisors openly pushed for abandoning the western plains of Kansas, Oklahoma, panhandle Texas, etc.  "We'll never recover the area. It is a new desert and uninhabitable."

          But Roosevelt dedicated himself to massive government intervention. Money to support families and agricultural prices.  County Extension offices to teach proper plowing and planting techniques.  The planting of thousands of miles of hedgerows for windbreaks. Planting clover and other ground cover on fallow fields. Support to cities.  Work camps for dislocated farmers.

          So, in that case the nation followed through.  But Roosevelt stayed in office throughout that period, something that won't happen today.  Presidents are term limited.

          Many prominent people thought Roosevelt was wasting money, particularly the 1%ers of the day: DuPonts, Bush, etc.  What if one of them had become president?  Would the programs have been continued?

          Other than the Dust Bowl, I haven't been able to think of a new and growing threat the nation faced that we had to dedicate many decades to fighting. We need a century of action at least, most likely.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:31:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Also an example of a single-point solution (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JosephK74, erush1345

          Amenable to Jenner's vaccine and to subsequent modifications, smallpox could be controlled through a single variable.

          Smallpox also differs substantially from the climate crisis now underway in that responding to it didn't undercut the fundamental structures of economic activity; i.e. burning carbon-rich energy to get things done.

          Finally, addressing smallpox (or malaria, or typhoid) requires a vanishingly small investment of capital and expertise.  Addressing climate requires large-scale lost investment and radical reinvestment at a level orders of magnitude beyond the costs of public health and vaccinations.

          •  The fact that this calls for a multipoint solution (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            orlbucfan, Chi

            works in its favor, actually, since we don't need to succeed on every point to solve the overall problem. Just as there are many causes of man-made global warming and climate change, there are many ways to address it, technically, politically, legally, economically and financially. But ONLY government has the power and resources to do most of it.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:13:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  YucatanMan: (16+ / 0-)
        When has our country ever evidenced centuries long dedication to solving a huge global problem?  No one has any experience doing such a thing in any nation, which may be one reason civilizations in the past simple collapsed and disappeared.
        Trouble is, we've been relying on "history", except that's the portion that's been recorded in some sense or other, and that's not very long, as time goes. And even then, so-called modern cultures started by refusing the lesson of what it means to denude Mother Earth of her protective trees...

        Native American cultures had precepts that worked before the age of science, based on many many years of observation and story-telling to remind the listeners over centuries to honor Mother Earth and preserve the environment "to the seventh generation." Which is to say, remember to try to figure out the correct action today that will ensure life and livelihood to the descendants seven generations down.

        Applied science, in many respects, and "religion" have made us blind to a long-term view of the cesspool we've been creating for humankind (and for all critters and plants). Monsanto, anyone? Terminator seeds? Round-up?! (what would we do without it?!)

        •  Definitely agree with that. (16+ / 0-)

          We have examples from history of man-made climate change on a local scale.  The deforestation of the Yucatan peninsula and the Mayan highlands in Guatemala, etc.  Deforestation of Europe.

          The little ice age in Europe is thought by some scientists to have been caused by the massive die-off of Native Americans, thus allowing reforestation of the territory known as the USA over a relatively short period, thus removing a large amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

          (It is thought that first contact in the Caribbean and Florida touched off a wildfire of disease that spread across the continent, decimating Native American populations before Europeans ever explored the interior or even much of the coasts.  The forests and prairies which had been carefully managed for strong wildlife production and sustainability then burst into growth.  The huge flocks of birds and other wildlife reported by later European explorers were not natural either, but over-population caused by the sudden disappearance of their former main predators: man.)

          As far as we know, there has never been anything like this caused by humans on a global scale. I'm pessimistic as to whether bickering humans can ever be brought together around the world in positive action in time to address the issue.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:37:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  do you have citations for this? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GreyHawk, WarrenS, Brooklyn Jim

            of course, i knew about the population collapse in the New World, but I had no idea about the climate change consequences.  

            •  Links (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Chi, serendipityisabitch

              http://www.sciencenews.org/...

              Original research on this came out of a team at Stanford:

              http://news.stanford.edu/...

              Note that the researchers don't claim it was the sole factor, but this was likely one key contributing factor.  

              Similar to the story of the mammoths: the question being What killed them?  More often than not, the general populace and edutainment try to offer up singular answers to a question like this.  Was it over hunting by early man?  Was it disease?  Was it climate change?  In reality, all evidence points to a combination of all three.

              Same goes for the little ice age.

              And the same will go for the loss of the Arctic ice cap.  Was it thermal forcing due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas?  Was it due to decreased albedo?  Was it due to shifting weather patterns due to more open water over the Arctic ocean?  etc.

              At the end of the day, the accurate answer will be all of the above in a complex and shifting order of significance.  Ultimately, we with our industrial era based lit the fuse, but precisely what causally permitted the ice cap to disappear entirely during the summer months is much more complex.

              Politically, I identify with the desire to assign blame and a singular cause.  In the case of climate change: man did it.  And in a very real sense, yes we did.  But to throw out all the nuanced understanding undercuts the establishment of a culture that actually appropriately weighs knowledge of long term realities in complex systems.  If only we as a people had the ability to collectively and in majority accept what the scientists were saying about global warming in 1970.  But we already were on a modern trajectory of valuing sound bites over true debate and silver bullets over dedicated long term maintenance.

          •  Since the LIA started in 1300s... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GreyHawk, WarrenS

            ...I'm gonna say no.

            Though of course, the death of perhaps 98,0000,000 people did not improve things.

            Then again, without the LIA which may have been ended only by man-made output of greenhouse gasses, we may have faced climate change problems a century ago instead of in the last 30 years.

          •  Yup. Incan emperor killed by European disease (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GreyHawk, WarrenS, Chi

            before a European ever set foot in his empire.

            America's greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

            by catilinus on Wed May 01, 2013 at 02:46:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Rubbish. Science is NOT the enemy here. (4+ / 0-)

          I agree with your sentiment, though it waxes nostalgic.  But this particular item?

          Applied science, in many respects,... ...[has] made us blind to a long-term view of the cesspool we've been creating for humankind (and for all critters and plants).
          C'mon.  Science is NOT the enemy here.  Nor are scientists.  Nor is even applied science or engineering.  It is greed.  Policy based on greed.

          Science has helped confirm the age of the universe, the age of the sun and the age of the planet.  Without science that is less than a century old, we wouldn't know that bodies from outer space can impact the moon or the planet.  We wouldn't have good ideas about what killed the dinosaurs or perhaps if there ever were dinosaurs.

          Those Native American mythos you romanticize?  The precepts did NOT come from the stories.  The oral traditions were the vector of cultural knowledge.  That cultural knowledge was based upon accumulated trial and error, mistakes and success.  That is a form of science.  Perhaps not the modern scientific method but as scientific as any baby learning about gravity through picking up and dropping toys.

          In the modern era, knowledge of the atom has been wielded arguably with great irresponsibility.  Likewise, in retrospect our progeny may determine that knowledge of genetics has also been wielded equally irresponsibly.  (See your Monsanto comment, with which I fully agree.)

          But in the here and now, scientific knowledge of the biosphere and whole Earth climactic system is routinely ignored by industry leaders and policy makers simply because it disrupts their revenue streams.  Greed.

          Again, science is not the enemy here.  Science is more than capable of accounting for longer time scales.  But it is those motivated by pathological greed that hinder such understandings from playing serious roles in our policy making.

          •  Applied science has been sold as a cure for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brooklyn Jim

            whatever ails modern living, that somehow, science would come up with a solution. But more often than not, applied science has simply taken the route of "good immediate usefulness" rather than a longer view of impacts. And science, as applied, has always been seen by nonscientists as a "cure" rather than a palliative of limited effect and questionable impact.

            I have no dispute with science as a great universe of understanding. But, for instance, everyone getting in a car and driving nowhere fast while polluting the atmosphere and melting the icecaps (just an example) and enabling overpopulation, to boot, is one of the ugliest examples of applied science undermining the long-term wellbeing of the planet.

      •  It's not that government can't do this right, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orlbucfan

        it's that because democracy is not being allowed to function and oligarchic kleptocracy is in command, government is not being allowed to do the job. When you have multinational corporations and "nice folks" like the Koch brothers pulling all of the strings, government can't do a good job. If we had a democracy our government wouldn't be doing the will of the corporations.

        Our government was able to "ram through" the Manhattan project, to build the atom bomb. It is not incapable of doing the right thing but the power has to be wrested away from the billionaires first.

    •  actually i thought it was a autocracy argument~lol (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS

      i.e "a free democratically elected government cannot possibly move fast enough on an issue this dire!"

      The Generalissimo would impose crippling carbon taxes on the coal industry, outlaw non-electric cars, and declare all high-profile climate deniers "Enemy Combatants". All Hail The Generalissimo!

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:25:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I didn't read it that way. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk, WarrenS, stevej, orlbucfan

      First of all, the RW is not against government; it very much wants a strong government that serves the economic elite.  Increasingly the Dems also are embracing that end goal, and with what we are facing, it is likely to become genuinely an end goal.

      I took Gooserock's comment

      If this country is to address this issue successfully it must be done by some other means than its governing system.
      to mean some other means than the governing system we see currently operative.

      I'll be happy if this governing system surprises me, but I have little confidence yet that it will take the lead.  Even this meeting is hardly the lead; more like catch-up, maybe.

      •  The scale and scope of this problem is such (5+ / 0-)

        that only governments can hope to solve it. Well-meaning people acting on their own or in concert outside of government can't possibly hope to do this. It's simply too big, technologically, economically and legally. And the economic incentives are insufficient to prompt the private sector to do it on its own, in this era of hyper-financialization and the focus on short-term profits.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 05:09:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It will take an emergency global consortium (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WarrenS, dance you monster

          of governments.

          It would be nice to think that this could happen.

          'A scarlet tanager broke the silence with his song. She thought of the bird hidden in the leaves somewhere, unseen but nevertheless brilliant red. Nevertheless beautiful.' Barbara Kingsolver/ Prodigal Summer

          by flowerfarmer on Wed May 01, 2013 at 05:43:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Problem is... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          New Minas, stevej, orlbucfan

          ...this government is owned, lock, stock, and barrel, by the elements of that private sector that created and are encompassed by

          this era of hyper-financialization and the focus on short-term profits.
          Until that changes,....
          •  When climate change begins to hurt their profits (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            orlbucfan

            is when we'll start to see significant efforts towards fixing this issue. Thing is, with our economy being so hyper-financialized these days, it's inevitable that long-term financial forecasts begin to factor in the negative effects of climate change on their profit models, leading to major swings in the financial markets, which could prompt companies to take action on this front out of fear of being financially destroyed. I can't quantify this but I suspect that this will happen, the only question being whether it'll be too late by then.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:19:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  or (0+ / 0-)

              will they work to find a way to continue to make profits within the changing environment?  Until the clearly destructive nature forces them to take notice.  Unfortunately, by that time it will be too late.

              •  There's only so much wealth one can extract (0+ / 0-)

                via exploitation and speculation, especially in a world of diminishing net value with all the destruction we're seeing and face. Sooner or later, the system will self-correct, albeit after much unnecessary physical and human damage occurs. The purpose of government is to correct things before that happens.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:10:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  It's already threatening some profits (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brooklyn Jim

              You know the insurance companies are intently interested in this, as well as many businesses that know they will face property losses.

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:54:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There are industries that simply cannot exist (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Catte Nappe

                at least in a form we could recognize without insurance, such as transportation and real estate, and if insurers decide that they're too risky because of climate change, then those industries cease to exist. Of course this doesn't happen overnight, giving both insurers and industries time to adapt. But if they don't, they die. Not everyone in the business and financial worlds is focused only on short-term wealth extraction, and we look to them for leadership.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:08:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Democracy can but not the plutocracy we have now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orlbucfan

      It requires an enlightened business comment who understand that the chief good is the survival if the whole system, not the short-term profit of ones own business.  That is the difference between the Erie Canal and Railroad days, even the 1950s, and today.  Now too many business leaders have lost any sense of or caring for the whole, just want more money and power.  And politicians, especially on the right, are the same.  Rampant individualism and the rise of predators in business and politics is killing us, nit democracy as such.

      Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

      by Mimikatz on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:22:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have always been a plutocracy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooklyn Jim

        Democracy has always been more aspiration than reality. The US was largely controlled by southern planters and northern industrialists, merchants and bankers in the early republic, who believed (correctly) that it was in their best interests to build roads and canals and such.

        It wasn't until Jackson that regular people had any say in national affairs--and he was against these sorts of government-supported improvements. Not until Lincoln did populism and economic progressivism coincide, and that only lasted till the end of Reconstruction, when government resumed closely working with business to further the interests of business.

        The only other time in US history when government has played a major role in dealing with major issues that affected the entire populace was the New Deal. Otherwise, it's either taken a hands-off approach, or worked with business to further its interests. So either we push and hope for a "New New Deal", or hope that business will realize that its interests are threatened by climate change and start working with government to deal with it.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:29:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Non-fantasy Cassandra Here (0+ / 0-)
      [G]overnment...it's not up to the task of dealing with real-world problems...suggesting that only individuals or private companies can do it (or, perhaps, NGOs)?
      The problem isn't government's inability to deal with this properly, but rather the lack of political will and pressure to do so.
      The not-too-far-in-the-future dire consequences of anthropogenic Global Warming are such that it's going to take a lot more than any citizen "pressure" that I have witnessed in the last 20 years to achieve any significant results before a tremendous amount of human suffering and displacement takes place.
      That's where we come in.
      Yes, if a lot more people than those who frequent progressive blogs act. I seriously doubt, based on 71+ years of living in and watching this self-obsessed and distracted-by-greed US culture that much will happen until it's to the point where our great-grandchildren and their children will suffer quite a bit.  

      This matter is, IMO, beyond "government" as we know it today. This issue will eventually need a World War II-like effort to succeed.

      China, with its authoritarian government structure, may be the world's only hope; the US just seems so hopelessly adolescent, culturally, at this point in time.

      "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

      by paz3 on Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:57:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why do most Americans implictly assume (0+ / 0-)

        that it's always and only up to US citizens to get anything done? We're a lousy 300 million out of what, 6 or 7 billion? "We" refers to every person alive. We need to get over our US-centric narcissism, especially given that directly and indirectly we're responsible for much of climate change.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:19:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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