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We can't afford as a nation to be stupid about paying for health care anymore. alizard, 6 May 2007

Thus, was the concluding sentence of a post advocating the need to solve -- or at least ameliorate -- health care costs to create space for tackling energy problems.  ALizard was responding to my comments about commonalities between energy and health care posted to yet another excellent NYCEve discussion of health care issues.

And, well, truth be told: at one point in time, when riding truly on top of the world, the United States could afford to be stupid about many things ... the days where stupidity is a tolerable policy path have passed ... it is time for thought and intelligence to reign.

At some point, being caught between being a pessimistic optimist (or optimistic pessimist), it simply is beyond my comprehension.  There are things that simply make common sense, that are the right path forward.

Re energy, moving toward energy efficiency & renewable energy is just "smart" for so many reasons including:

  • Reduce foreign trade deficit
  • Create jobs
  • Foster security (through more resilient and diversified power system)
  • Increase economic competitiveness (both through reduced oil imports & through fostering new export technologies/industries)
  • Improved health through reduced pollution
  • And, oh yeah, have a positive impact on that minor little issue of Global Warming

To me, even a 'minimum' level national health care coverage (everyone with HMO-like) is such a no-brainer for America for so many reasons:

  • Economic competitiveness (the 'retiree health care burden' argument as well as taking businesses out of the secondary business of providing employees (bad) health insurance with all the admin related burdens)
  • Foster innovation: how many people are health-insurance slaves at a job and don't try a start-up business due to this (the small business discussion of this diary)?
  • Improve general health: reduce risk of epidemics as everyone has decent basic health care coverage
  • Reduced costs -- through cutting administrative processing, etc (note: US health care costs, with a large percentage of Americans either un- or under-insured, are roughly double those of countries providing universal care, and US health care results are worse as well)
  • Improved health care of all Americans (okay, for 99% -- but really, that last 1% will be better protected when everyone around them has decent (okay, basic) health care)
  • Basic ethical / moral decency -- it is, simply, right. There is no (NO) excuse in the United States of America for a child to die due to lack of dental care and, well, see NYCEve (Nice Eve) for insights on the pornography called health coverage.
  • Improved security -- with lower risk to natural (avian flu) or man-induced (terrorists releasing a weapon) biological emergency due to full access

Yesterday, Joe Romm ((author of the excellent Hell and High Water: --the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do who blogs at
Climate Progress) stated at a meeting of The Climate Project presenters:

Efficiency is not easy, but it is straightforward.

"... not easy, but ... straightforward ..."

  • Smart energy policy: not easy, but straightforward.
  • Acting responsibly to the enviornment: not easy, but straightforward.
  • Moving toward universal health care coverage: not easy, but straightforward.
  • Treating the future as if it matters: not easy, but straightforward.

When it comes to being an optimistic pessimist or pessimistic optimist ...

Optimism of the will, pessimism of the mind. These are not contradictory things.

It is never too late to get the best possible result based on the current situation.
DBunn, 28 April 2007

I chose to have optimism of the will when it comes to considering future paths on energy and health care (and other) policy futures.

Honest consideration, to me, makes clear the no-brain sense of changing our paths forward.

And, for both sensible energy policy and universal health care, so many other reasons ... the opposition seems to be coming, for me, from those who are choosing (for whichever philosophical or mistaken economic reasons) to have no brains ...

Both of these just seem to me so 'no-brainer' on all accounts ... it seems to me ... so 'no-brainer' except for those with no brains ...

UPDATE
Stupid might be the framing for the day.  See NYCEve's distressing discussion
We are very stupid: Introducing BC/BS of Thailand ...

Stupid ... This potentially is a framing path ... maybe. Everyone believes it of George W, do they think it of the Republican Party as a whole? Could part of the 2008 campaign focus on this? "Okay, we just can't afford to be stupid anymore!"

We can't afford as a nation to be stupid anymore.

Energy Smart

Ask yourself:  Are you doing your part?

NOTES

  • This discussion could apply to many other issues from budget management to foreign aid to better education policies ... be interested in how you might take this framing ...
  • Consider joining the new, improved Daily Kos Environmentalists community / listserve.
  • And ... of course, ENERGIZE AMERICA

Originally posted to A Siegel on Sun May 13, 2007 at 08:15 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sensibility (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winnie, A Siegel, RudiB

    Nice post, but sensibility -- i.e. a simple straightforward solution to a problem is not the forte of governments.

    Wish it was so

  •  We can't afford as a nation to be stupid anymore (13+ / 0-)

    ...which is why we have to reclaim control of our education system as well.

    Teacher's Lounge opens every Saturday between 11 am and noon. It's not just for teachers.

    by rserven on Sun May 13, 2007 at 08:21:53 PM PDT

    •  Education ... (6+ / 0-)

      is to me, along with so many 'infrastructure for a better tomorrow', arenas one which clearly fits this 'it is a no-brainer'.

      On the other hand, I think that I have "answers" that would get the nation a good part of the distance to where we need to get in arenas like energy, health care, budget management, ...

      Education -- a morass that I, in my arrogance, do not see that 'clear path forward' that I can envision (and even describe) in other arenas (such as, of course, energy in terms of our need to Energize America toward a sustainable and prosperous future).

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Sun May 13, 2007 at 08:25:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's fix education (6+ / 0-)

      But I don't see how that will happen without we fix a couple of other things too.

      Minimum wage, reasonable vacation, child care, health care, maternity/paternity leave, higher education, retirement security come to mind.

      How can people help their kids with homework if they're working 2 or 3 jobs? If they're working 70 hour weeks, 51 weeks a year? If they are crushed by expenses for child care and health care? How can kids get a good start if mom and/or dad can't be home during the first months of their life? What does it matter how well a kid does in 7th grade if college is out of the picture? How should parents focus on their kids' futures when their own senior years are extremely problematic?

      Lotta people pick on schools because that's where we can see and measure big problems in our society. But really, it's more like schools are the ONLY thing that still work (pretty much), while surrounding social structures have decayed.

      •  All still boils down to leadership. (2+ / 0-)

        Which is why I want Wes Clark to be the next president. He's already articulated everything you have been including some very powerful insight about teachers and bueauracracy and standards and accountability. I don't doubt that every Democratic candidate who reads this diary would say, "That's exactly what's gonna happen when I become president." Because it is indeed a no-brainer.

      •  Education is a battleground (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        I truly believe in the public school system.  I truly believe that in order to have the society we want/dream of, we need to have a well-educated population.  I believe we need to emphasize to our children how valuable education is, and why they are so priveledged to have access to decent schools.  I know, in many places the schools are dangerous and not so good - and part of the problem?  Citizens that do not support the schools and do not value education!  There are so many challenges and obstacles to the ideal of good schools for all citizens.  But I do belive we need to keep up the fight for the schools, and our government has an obligation to its citizens to support that system.

    •  Oh ... (6+ / 0-)

      some stupidity is acceptable ... as a release from seriousness and working to solve problems ... perhaps ...

      Stupidity at the margins, sensibility and real action at the core?

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Sun May 13, 2007 at 08:31:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm relieved to hear you say that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        I would hate to think my future shrunk because of strident anti-stupidity policies.

        hink

      •  Nope, still can't afford stupidity (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, netguyct

        Goofiness, silliness, humour -- those are what we can afford. They release tension and anger, and help some folks cope better.

        Stupidity, however, is a luxury we can't afford, as the last six years have shown.

        •  Perhaps right ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joffan

          in terms of that framing ... by the way, there is a (short) update at the end of the diary that you might like (written before seeing your note) if you hadn't seen it.

          Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

          by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 05:36:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good, though problematic, meme (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, netguyct

            The meme is a good one, provided you're dealing with those who are open enough to accept that we have been following a very stupid path these last few decades  -- arrogantly stupid over the last six years, blindly stupid over the past twenty.

            The problem rests with that thirty percent, who are unable to grasp the concept of their stupidity, and probably with fifteen to twenty percent of their opposites, who will immediately go on the defensive when the word "stupid" is applied to them.

            Whether one believed in alternative energy sources prior to 9-11 is moot. However, it should have been a no-brainer on 9-12 that we should have been looking for homegrown energy resources. We should have been singing "Na-na-na-na hey-hey good-bye" to the ME, leaving them to their own devices.

            Universal healthcare is another no-brainer issue. As middle-class income dries up due to the cost of medical service, and that people are opting out of getting insurance in order to pay the rent, something's got to give. I like the idea of mandating that whatever our employees (Congress) receive, we (as their employers) should be getting the same.

            Over the last few months, I've seriously wondered if the reason for the increase in radicalized, messianic religious fervour has more to do with people feeling utterly helpless, hopeless and powerless. The problems are too big, too beyond their ability to solve, too great for them even to consider pooling personal resources. They no longer see the world as a glass half-empty, but a glass that's laying on its side completely empty.

            •  Good thoughts / post ... (0+ / 0-)

              I think that your last paragraph is on target for at least some portion of the populace.

              And, well, pessimism -- how many Americans reject evolution? How many voters believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible & 7 days?  How many believe Armaggedon is around the corner -- and desired?  

              Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

              by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 07:54:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  There Hasn't Been a Lot of Enthusiasm (7+ / 0-)

    in the business world for bothering with this "America" you speak of except for its resources and facilities. The party that represents the economy sure isn't much interested in the country either.

    Common sense depends a lot on the problems you're trying to solve. The problems the Republicans are working on appear to be complicated by all these nation and citizen issues.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 13, 2007 at 09:14:08 PM PDT

    •  Business Needs to Learn (7+ / 0-)

      They are being stupid if they don't take advantage of the opportunities for change that we are facing. GM hired lawyers to fight higher CAFE standards and Toyota hire engineers. How is THAT working?

      We should be leading the world in finding more efficient ways to use energy and deliver services.

      Shhhhh, don't tell anyone Al Gore is running for President. It's a secret!

      by Tuba Les on Sun May 13, 2007 at 09:43:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Half US Biz Profits from Offshore (6+ / 0-)

        This year, I heard, 49% of the profits of the largest biggest businesses come from abroad.  Why should they care about the US?

        Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2006/03/solar-video.html

        by gmoke on Sun May 13, 2007 at 09:49:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  because 51% of those profits are (5+ / 0-)

          from the US? And if companies keep putting the US middle class out of jobs, the impact on disposable income is going to be rather disproportionate.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Sun May 13, 2007 at 10:39:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because it is stupid to think the world will all (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tuba Les, A Siegel

            choose Coke when given a choice.  Especially, when they have learned to distain what this country stands for.

            The reality is that will make and sell their own native beverage and buy it as soon as possible.  To think Coke can sustain itself internationally is penny wise and pound foolish.  Coke is just one example.  

          •  I read an OpEd by Alan Blinder last weekend (0+ / 0-)

            said pretty much that the plans are for American business to outsource some 20 million jobs over the next ten years, mostly white collar.  And there will be no replacements.  And the elite is just fine with that, because it is free trade.

            So they can afford to be what we might call stupid, they're going to make a ton of money doing it.  Long term negative effects?

            a. They believe there aren't any.

            b. They particularly don't care if there are.  The results aren't going to come out of their hide, after all.

            People do not change.  If the economy collapses, the people currently in charge will do exactly what they're doing now, only harder.  You want change, change the people at the top (probably not possible).

      •  sometimes the only way to persuade (4+ / 0-)

        a business sector to make the changes needed to stay in business or to become more prosperous is at gunpoint, i.e. using the power of the state to override their wishes.

        Jack Valenti of the MPAA said the videocassette recorder would destroy Hollywood. What actually happened, of course, was that the movie business became much more profitable than ever due to movie videocassette sales.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Sun May 13, 2007 at 10:52:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Framing matters ... (0+ / 0-)

      Which party "represents the economy"?  

      • Stock market does better with a D President
      • Budget deficit does better with a D President
      • Job creation does better with a D President
      • ...

      Hmmm...

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:32:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When Stupid is Painful there is Less of it (6+ / 0-)

    Not enough of us are hurting enough to change things yet. Human nature is apathetic unless it is their own pain they want diminished. The elites in Washington won't hurt like the rest of us because they have money and healthcare and average people are just not catching on that they don't care about us up there. The haves are running things and they don't want you to have also. Somewhere along the way the truth that there is enough for everyone got lost in the mine all mine of greedy corporate rule.

    •  What is so troublesome ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, yoduuuh do or do not

      if we are really striving for "sensible" is that even for most of these "haves", following sensible policies is sensible for them too -- although they refuse to see it.

      But, sadly, I think this is sadly too true ...

      When Stupid is Painful there is Less of it

      And, well, between Global Warming and Peak Oil, re energy, the Pain is coming ... sadly ... as I am neither a sadist (wishing it on others) or masochist (wishing this on me and mine).

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Sun May 13, 2007 at 09:43:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recent Grads for Health Care! (4+ / 0-)

    As a soon to be college grad, you're preaching to the choir about health care. I may get a job just for the benefits, regardless of what it does for my career.

    "Its' got to be done and done quickly, so let's get it done." - General Henry 'Hap' Arnold

    by afguy08 on Sun May 13, 2007 at 10:00:57 PM PDT

  •  I wished I shared your optimism (8+ / 0-)

    There has been growing evidence that global climate change and our healthcare crisis are serious for nearly two decades.  The progress in addressing those issues has been neglible.  The more conservative in our country have actually hardened their opposition to addressing those issues, particularly in addressing the environment because of the diffusion of responsibility beyond our shores.  The rhetoric has been less vituperative on healthcare, yet every conservative that I know of utters their opposition to "socialized medicine" in any discussion of the issues within minutes.  

    To address these issues, we as a people must believe in the common good.  Conservatives, including the ones that participate on dKos, are quick to point out that they do not believe in the common good.  It undermines my optimism of mind, although does not diminish my will to work toward solutions.  

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Sun May 13, 2007 at 10:44:41 PM PDT

    •  These folks (7+ / 0-)

      Conservatives, including the ones that participate on dKos, are quick to point out that they do not believe in the common good.

      These folks believe in a go it alone strategy, or (unadmitted) that they belong to a special group that will presrve their personal butts while everything around them goes to hell.

      Unfortunately, peak oil, global warming, and the rest of the sustainability crisis are not suited to a go it alone strategy. Depending on membership in a "special group" is equivalent to signing up for resource wars and other forms of needless destruction, at a time when we can afford such waste less than ever before.

      The human tendency to fall into such foolish strategies is cause for pessimism. On the other hand, WE DO NOT HAVE TO DO THAT. We CAN choose otherwise, and that is the reason for optimism.

      •  Dumb and dumber (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, mudslide

        I saw a report on a Pew Research study done in February that is very depressing.  It suggests Americans are even more dumbed-down today than they were 20 years ago.  It also indicates that while more people are getting information from the internet, all-in-all the number is still very low compared to the MSM.

        It says only 2/3 of the people surveyed knew who their governor was.  A full 31% don't know who Dick Cheney is.

        It doesn't bode well for the future.  It tends to confirm my suspicions that about a third of Americans are dumber than rocks.  These people - the study implies not a lot of them are registered to vote - are not swayed by fact or opinion.  Fear, half-truths and outright lies are probably effective with these people.  Our education system has a lot to answer for over the last 20 years.

      •  Capitalism, at this energy level, is unrealistic (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, DBunn

        because we now have so much extra-biological power as a species, the idea that individual accumulation and choice manages it most effectively does not make sense any more.

        Our impact as individuals at this level of power goes so far beyond the sphere of our biological existence that we can't afford to manage it as if our activity were still individual in nature. Our individual activity has been accelerated into collective activity on a massive scale without our being really aware of it. When I drive my car to work it is really a collective act. Much natural abundance has been transformed in order for me to drive and the effects of my driving are felt by biological systems far from my immediate circumstance in ways I don't directly see. Evolution gave us the capabilities to create this power. Now we are going to find out if we have the capabilities to manage this power. It isn't natural and our evolution has not prepared us for managing it. I think we have the capacity to do that but it is a race we are loosing now.

        Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

        by Bob Guyer on Mon May 14, 2007 at 06:24:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why do you hate America? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, Bob Guyer

          Just kidding. But somewhere along the line, "capitalism" became a sacred word, like freedom or democracy.

          Capitalism defeated Communism, the US defeated the USSR, and therefore capitalism is the same thing as the US. To have defeated such an evil monster as Communism, capitalism must be heroically virtuous and perfect in all ways. Since Communism was godless, capitalism must be holy. Or so the thinking apparently goes.

          But what really happened was that in a struggle between two unsustainable systems, Communism simply failed first. It could even be argued that what made Soviet Communism fail was its effort to compete with capitalism, the ultimate unsustainable system.

          •  Not sure that I agree with both of you ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DBunn, Bob Guyer

            Unbridled capitalism is, I think, an unsustainable system.  A well-regulated, well managed (not stupidly mismanaged) market seems to be the least worst path for economics ...

            Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

            by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 07:57:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I keep an open mind (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel, Bob Guyer

              As you say, clearly there are problems with unbridled capitalism. However, capitalism is obviously superb at motivating productive effort, and at developing ingenious solutions to many (but not all) types of problems.

              In a best-case scenario, if we can align financial incentives with essential sustainability goals, capitalism can be a terrific engine for accomplishing a lot of what we need to do. That would be the well managed market to which you refer, I guess.

              The mindset of the unbridled capitalists is what I was referring to in my comment above. Their brain-dead logic of dualism leads them to conclude that if some capitalism is good, more capitalism must be better, and that if too much government control is bad then no controls whatsoever must be best.

              My feeling is that capitalism will out-compete any other system under conditions where man is small and nature is big-- more or less the conditions that have prevailed during its entire history, until recently. When man becomes big relative to the rest of nature, we have to become cautious about two innate qualities of capitalism: its imperative for constant growth, and its drive to convert anything within reach into money.

              •  We are at a new place in history (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel, DBunn

                where man is big, nature smaller and relatively more vulnerable. Well regulated capitalism is a system that could work but it would be much different than the American system.

                Incentives, taxes making price reflect the environmental externalities it excludes, and public private projects are the most practical way to go for now because of the system we do have and I don't oppose those measures. It is just that in thinking it through I see a mismatch between the underlying assumptions of capitalism and living productively within the scope of nature at our present energy level. When I also feel that time is very much against us in responding effectively, part reading part intuition, I think we need a bigger change in systems so that we can move faster.

                I think the goal of capitalism, growth  in private capital accumulation for its own sake is not a good foundation for a sustainable system that lives in the context of biological life being the basis of all value that can be generated. A system that acknowledges its root dependence on nature and a generative purpose within that constraint would be preferable and more realistic IMO.

                Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

                by Bob Guyer on Mon May 14, 2007 at 02:25:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  the majority in terms of numbers (5+ / 0-)

      hard core among those you mention are marginalizing themselves out of the political discussion by virtue of being part of the Bush 2x%.

      The opposition to the idea that global warming is something we need to doing anything about has already been reduced to handwaving.

      It's hard to quantify, but there seems to be an awareness among a whole lot of people regardless of ideology that Bad Things are going on with respect to weather and climate.

      The polls already indicate that people are coming around on health care. As I've said, the middle class, especially the increasingly large uninsured portion, are demanding economic relief from the Democratic Party. Health care is a major part of that group's economic problems.

      The significant opposition on health care are the wealthy and powerful and those GOP and Democratic politicians who are more interested in keeping campaign contributions coming from the health care insurance industry than in the health of their constituents or the interests of America as a whole.

      The difference between now and the past is that there is a swing group with real and growing political power within our access. I mean, of course, Democratic politicians who had been shut out of the action right up to November 2006.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Mon May 14, 2007 at 12:39:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Handwaving is all it takes for some (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mudslide

        There are a lot of folks out there who, in their lives, were always intimidated by math and science.  They have been delighted with certain segments on the right who tell them science is bad, and science has "an agenda".  Their ignorance is catered to.  As a result, they're not just ignorant.  They're proud of it.  The sit back and wait for people "on their side" to tell them what stance to take on the issues.

      •  Look how hard it is on Global Warming ... (0+ / 0-)

        What about renewable energy/wind power?
        Health care?
        Improved public education?
        There are, to be honest, so many 'framing' battles out there where the simplistic Luntz slogans have serious sway.

        Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

        by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:38:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is a simple fact ... (0+ / 0-)

      staring in the eyes of youth (children ... one's own and others) drives a requirement for at least some optimism ... optimism of the will to make things better, to strive to work toward a better place.

      Now, for example, you would have thought that the tax exemption for the 6000 lb vehicles would have been killed in the first 10 days of a D Congress and sent to the White House.  Where are we on this? I believe it still stands.

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:37:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Optimism vs. Hopefulness (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, DBunn, yoduuuh do or do not

    Optimism of the will, pessimism of the mind.

    Another way I have thought about this is to say, "I am hopeful about the future, but I refuse to be (blindly) optimistic."

    At every turn, the growth pushers make future's bottleneck worse.

    --
    Are Humans Smarter Than Yeast? (video clip: 8.5min)

  •  Your framing can and should cover (5+ / 0-)

    so much more; enough of the American Idolization
    of practically everything in the culture, including the US presidential races; energy is just the tip of the iceberg. Massive education overhaul is needed not just in the basics, but in technology, and tons more.

    Don't fear the Tux. Use Ubuntu

    by fareast on Sun May 13, 2007 at 10:59:40 PM PDT

  •  or as William James said in his essay (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LNK, A Siegel, yoduuuh do or do not

    "The Will to Believe," which states that "If we believe in the possibility of some future event taking place, then this belief increases our power to help make the event happen when the time comes for action."

    That's why I wrote in my manuscript the guidelines to The Initiative Movement. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that jazz begins at home. (Which is what most Wes Clark supporters will tell you, incidentally.)

    But your diary only underscores voices such as Al Gore's that we have to do something NOW and the options for changing are immense--and Profitable. The thing that drives me nuts, though, about the movie and Gore's subsequent capacity for capturing the power of the podium is HOW COME HE DOESN'T TOUT THE HELL OUT OF PAUL HAWKENS' The Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism. There's even a quote from Bill Clinton on the back cover of the latter saying, in effect, that everyone in government and business needs to read this book.

    And for the life of me, I don't understand why uber-rich people like Oprah don't see the ENORMOUS profit to be made by just giving out $10,000 long-term loans for people to energize their homes. I know that more and more businesses are capitalizing on all of the potential, but the % of the potential is laughable, especially when you consider that in Germany it's already a law for banks to have go give such loans and it's a WIN-WIN FOR EVERONE IN THE LOOP.

    SO WHAT THE HELL ARE THE LEADERS WAITING FOR? LEADERSHIP FROM THE GOVERNMENT??????

    "You say you've got a real solution? ...We'd all love to see the plan."

    •  Fact about Humans (3+ / 0-)
      1. Psychological research showed that people have a bias against unfavorable futures--People will believe they might win the lottery but, even if the odds are mathematically equal, the will NOT believe they'll be struck by lightning.
      1. Leaders in a Democracy cannot 'lead' so much as they need to manage consensus. Otherwise, it would be tyranny if they just "led" us.
      1. Money talks. It will only be when somebody can take advantage of us and get $ from the US Treasury (or State or Local) that better things might happen. Unfortunately, the military-industrial complex has a strangehold on approx. 50-67% of our $ for war profiteering, or should I say "defense needs."
    •  Your book sounds of interest ... (0+ / 0-)

      Where are you in process ...?

      And, good post ... things to think about ...

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:40:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've had it ready to be published for almost (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        ten years. I've given up on trying to get publishers or agents to look at it because nobody wants to deal with it due to how grandiose it is. It's odd to have a literary agent say something is "a very unique and creative philosophical awakening" and then not want to accept it. Until 2 years ago there was a 3 page story about in which a teacher discusses with his students how "progress" is a misnomer. But when I was tweaking it 2 years ago it occurred to me to have one of the students ask the teacher what he thinks of Bush and now it's 40 pages and rife with hyperlinks. Every day since I wrote the first draft Bush has been making it more and more relevant. If you'd like to read it: http://www.clarkvsbush.com ....but I'm pretty sure I already sent it to you.
        I'll go email you the intro and Part I of Reality Check since you asked.

    •  Ahh ... (0+ / 0-)

      Natural Capitalism  ... great book ... wonderful resource ... magnificent thoughts ... highly recommended ... thanks for bringing it up ...

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 07:58:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Man and Nature (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, A Siegel, blue armadillo

    The Laws of Nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Nature-were Man as unerring in his judgments as Nature.
    --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82), U.S. poet. Drift-Wood, "Table-Talk" (ed. 1857; repr. in Complete Works, vol. 1, 1886).

    The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993, 1995 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

  •  Great diary, hidden gem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    In an overall great diary, there is one especially significant quote that every, single Democratic candidate for any office should be using:

    Improved security -- with lower risk to natural (avian flu) or man-induced (terrorists releasing a weapon) biological emergency due to full access

    Brilliant!  This is the argument for universal healthcare that plays into the "domestic readiness" theme (which some call "homeland security").  Say there is smallpox released in a major American city.  What percentage of the population is uninsured?  What percentage of the population is UNDERinsured, with high copays for ER visits?  When I had health insurance, my copay for an ER visit was $275.  So once, I had a fever of 104 and didn't go... until I started vomiting blood.  Then I went and I was a much more difficult case to solve.  Now imagine that with smallpox.  Spreading.  And more and more people getting sick and not going to the hospital because they can't afford it, meanwhile coming into contact with more and more people, an unknown number of whom are also underinsured or uninsured.  And by the time the realization is finally made and the government puts the word out - how many people will have needlessly contracted a disease that will kill 1/3 of them?  At that time, the smallpox won't discriminate between those with great insurance and those with none at all.

  •  I'll just (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    missreporter, A Siegel

    let my sig line say it all.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:10:38 AM PDT

  •  But being stupid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    FEELS good!!!

  •  But (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    Being stupid and delaying action on critical problems is a time-honored American tradition. You don't want us to become an nation of critical thinking problem solvers now do you? That would be downright unpatriotic. "Go shopping!" as Mistah Bush told us to do following 9/11, and everything will be OK.

    <partial snark>

    It's still TESTER TIME!

    by Ed in Montana on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:27:16 AM PDT

  •  That we believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    there are problems with solutions is good. However, without convincing more of them we are still tilting at windmills. Am seeing more and more people come to the light about Global Warming. Health Care for all is still not getting the attention it needs.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Mon May 14, 2007 at 05:06:11 AM PDT

  •  While the optimist/pessimist stuff is fun ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    ... I think its probably more accurate to describe this as being an skeptical optimistic.

    Which is as opposed to those who are naive pessimists.

    SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

    by BruceMcF on Mon May 14, 2007 at 05:06:43 AM PDT

  •  Health insurance slave (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, blue armadillo, fayeforcure

    Excellent way to put it, because that is what I am.  In 2005 I had a home based business that earned me enough money to work it full time, but I need the damn health insurance.

    I have some medical problems, so private insurance will not touch me and I have to take a medication which has an astronomical cost associated with it.

    So, I'm a slave.

    Even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. -Jefferson

    by CTLiberal on Mon May 14, 2007 at 05:24:15 AM PDT

  •  To paraphrase the rajin' Cajun (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, DBunn

    it's the community, stupid.

    I think there is a problem--and missed opportunity--in framing progressive action according to the following:  (a) politicians set policy, then (b) individuals (or corporations, or both) act accordingly and responsibly.

    That is a wide gulf where nothing exists between "inside the beltway" and Joe Blow American.  It ignores the way things really work--on the basis of the myriad communities to which people belong.  The value of communities--physical, virtual, issue-oriented, or shared economic interest-oriented--should not be overlooked.  In fact, it seems that the implied purpose of corporatism is to eradicate community-oriented behavior.  Look at what Wal Mart has done, for example, to buying habits.

    But a focus on communities can drive behavior at both individual and local/state/national political levels.  Communities drive individual behavior because they are self-policing (this site is Exhibit A).  One can only "free ride" for so long before he or she is called out.  Ignorance and stupidity are tolerated, but not for long.

    As to influencing political behavior, let me give you an example.  Chicago recently announced an initiative for individual environmental action called "Take 5."  It's five easy things any individual can do to help the environment:

    1.  Replace at least two lights bulbs with CFLs.
    1.  Turn off the water when brushing your teeth
    1.  Plant and care for a tree
    1.  Use durable cloth bags when buying groceries
    1.  Substitute walking, biking or public transporation for one driving trip each month.

    Simple, right?  But expecting people to act as individuals to take these actions will not result in the hoped-for adoption rates.

    So here's what I did.  I live in an urban townhouse community.  We are connected via a Yahoo! board for the homeowners group.  I put to my neighbors--and went door to door for those not on the e-mail list--that we, as a community, should sign on to "Take 5."  The response was overwhelmingly positive.

    With that in mind, I talked to my alderman.  I told him/her "Hey--our community--which, by the way, backed you overwhelmingly in the election--has signed on for Take 5.  Here's our community pledge, with individual signatures. How about if you challenge the other communities in your ward to do the same.  And, while you're at it, challenge the other aldermen to do the same in their wards."

    It's still early in the process--Take 5 has only been out for a few weeks--but the wheels are in motion.  My point is to illustrate that a community's adoption of something--e.g., community-based energy, or environmental action--is a far more effective means of effecting change than relying on individual action.

    America is not one monolithic country.  Nor does it comprise 300 million unique, diverse voices.  Amercia is an amalgamation of communities, and to make the types of change happen that we so desperately need, the communities are where we need to focus.

  •  stupid? (0+ / 0-)

    It has never been about stupid.  It has always been about greed.

    It's not like we didn't know what was coming; the handwriting on the wall has been clear to see for anyone who cared to read, for at least the past thirty years.

    Certain interests in this country and around the world interpreted that handwriting to mean that they should loot and pillage everything they could, and to work directly and consciously against solutions which, had they been begun to be implemented back then, would have alleviated many of the problems which seem insurmountable now.  They did this to make a buck, at the expense of our children's future.

    I do not forgive this trespass; indeed, I think there is a lot of payback due.

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Mon May 14, 2007 at 07:35:04 AM PDT

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