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Night Owl
J.D. Alt is an architect and author. He became interested in understanding—and explaining—Modern Monetary Theory in 2011 while researching a strategy for implementing affordable housing on a national scale. His novel, The Architect Who Couldn’t Sing, won the 2012 eLit Gold Award for architecture. He often writes at New Economic Perspectives where this essay—Forget the 1%—was first published:

All this talk about the 99% versus the 1%? I say the easiest—and likely the most useful—thing to do is just forget the 1%. Write them off. Let them have their gated communities, their mega-yachts, their island retreats and off-shore bank accounts. What do we need them for?

For one thing, we DON’T need their money. Even if we could get it—which we can’t because they steadfastly refuse to use it for anything other than casino gambling in their private and secretive financial networks. We wonder why we have a “jobless recovery”? Does it have anything to do with the fact that such a large percentage of our “capital” has, for all practical purposes, been removed from the economy?

Even when the 1% decides to invest some of their Dollars to manufacture or build something, they rarely decide to manufacture or build anything we really need—only things we really don’t need. Like strip-mines in the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, or pipe-lines across Nebraska’s freshwater aquifers, or rocket-planes for space-tourism. Thanks, but we really don’t need—or want—any of it. We’d much rather have fresh wild salmon (rather than the artificially colored hatchery-stuff) than more copper and gold, fresh water instead of tar-sands oil, and the good-old week-at-the-beach is just fine for a vacation.

President Obama adds to our confusion by claiming we need to tax a bunch of the 1%’s Dollars in order to pay for a minimal laundry list of hodge-podge programs to train unemployed people to do jobs that don’t exist—and which the 1%, whether you tax them or not, have no intention of creating—ever. Why doesn’t the President just forget the 1% and start investing Sovereign Dollars (not tax Dollars, mind you) in the lower and middle economic strata he claims to care so much about? The 99% can have its own life—and a very good one to boot—if we’d just ignore the 1% and get on with the job of paying ourselves to build the things we really need.

J.D. Alt
J.D. Alt
Here’s an example: It turns out the United States—which has the largest and most complex electric power network in the world, and which is completely and utterly dependent upon electricity for its daily survival—does not have the capability of manufacturing the single most crucial component of its electrical grid: the TRANSFORMER. To be exact, we can make little transformers, but the really big ones that are necessary to push electric current across long distances (which our electric grid is totally dependent on) are somehow beyond our ken. Or, to be more accurate, the 1% have no interest in building the plants and hiring and training the workers to manufacture the very large-size transformers.

They (the 1%) apparently reason that they don’t need to go to that trouble because in our globalized economy there’s somebody else who can build the really big transformers. It turns out that somebody is South Korea. So when, recently, Pennsylvania badly needed a new very-large transformer they placed an order with the Koreans, who promptly began building it. Two years later, the 400,000 pound item was put on a ship and transported for 26 days at sea to the port of Newark, New Jersey, where it was loaded by crane onto a railcar bound for Pennsylvania.

This little tale is made even more interesting by the fact that these very-large transformers—usually situated inside a compound protected by chain-link fencing—are easily destroyed with a few rounds of fire from a semi-automatic assault rifle.

Thankfully, semi-automatic assault rifles are difficult to come by in the U.S., otherwise there might be cause for concern. The seventeen transformers recently shot to death in California (we can’t explain how this actually happened, since the NRA is only marginally active on the West Coast) are a cautionary tale: If this were repeated on just a little bit larger scale, the Department of Homeland Security has determined, our entire electric grid could be down for months—or even longer. (Come on South Korea, hurry it up…. We’re waiting!)

So my example is this: Why doesn’t President Obama propose that since the 1% have no interest in doing it, the U.S. sovereign government build a plant to manufacture very-large transformers, hire engineers to train unemployed people to do the labor, pay those unemployed trainees for making the effort to learn how to make a giant-sized transformer, then hire those newly trained workers to run the manufacturing process? We could build a backup supply of these critical electric grid components so that in the (increasingly likely) event some crazy, anti-government sociopath seizes the opportunity to turn out America’s lights, we could turn them back on in fairly short order.

That seems sensible. And it’s total nonsense to imagine that we have to depend on using ANY of the 1%’s gargantuan stash of Dollars to do it. Like I said, just totally forget them. Let them play their Monopoly game while we get on with the task of building the world we want to live in.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Bush stirs up mob hate against Mexicans:

Does anyone really think France is sweating the Freeper "bash France" campaign? And looking at the latest car sales data, it's the American companies that are getting pounded, not the Germans.

But it looks like Bush is encouraged by the Freeper brigades, interpreting it as grassroots support for his war mongering. And he's now trying to focus the guns on Mexico, threatening mob retaliation if our southern neighbor doesn't support our war resolution in the UN Security Council. As Krugman writes:

Then came President Bush's Monday interview with Copley News Service. He alluded to the possibility of reprisals if Mexico didn't vote America's way, saying, "I don't expect there to be significant retribution from the government" — emphasizing the word "government." He then went on to suggest that there might, however, be a reaction from other quarters, citing "an interesting phenomena taking place here in America about the French ... a backlash against the French, not stirred up by anybody except the people."

And Mr. Bush then said that if Mexico or other countries oppose the United States, "there will be a certain sense of discipline."

I'd like to say that Bush is "out of control". I'd like to wonder whatever happened to Bush's "humble foreign policy" promises in the campaign. But heck, I've already hit those themes about a million times. Yet while the US media ignores Bush's threats, the foreign media has actually been doing its job:
These remarks went virtually unreported by the ever-protective U.S. media, but they created a political firestorm in Mexico. The White House has been frantically backpedaling, claiming that when Mr. Bush talked of "discipline" he wasn't making a threat. But in the context of the rest of the interview, it's clear that he was.
I don't buy the rationale for war, but it's clear that any other semi-competent president would've rallied world support by now, without trying to destroy the very international institutions that help keep the peace and souring relations with our closest allies.

Tweet of the Day:  

Love means never having to clear your browser history.
@UrbanDouchebag



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, developments in the Oscar Pistorius trial are interesting, in what the reveal about "gun culture" without borders. FAT (Frequently Asserted Trolling) on GunFAIL, including the accidents versus negligence controversy, and what to say to the swimming pool trope. Other topics: Issa vs. Cummings; "Disarmed: How Cities Are Losing the Power to Regulate Guns"; Paul Ryan, brown bag lunches, and poverty tautologies; wacko Alaskan Republican tut-tuts sex havers; McConnell strains under the weight of a rifle; that Oscar "selfie"; and is all this Bitcoin theft a sign that the time is right for Operation Privateers of the Caribbean?


High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please Keep Bill McKibben's Diary on Rec List (31+ / 0-)

    ... Bill McKibben: The Public Has Done Its Job Beautifully on KXL.  If you haven't already done so, please send one (or more) comment(s) to the State Department before 11:59 PM EST TONIGHT to express your opposition to the KXL pipeline.  

    Here's the complete list of diaries posted today.

    Friday, March 7 (all times Pacific):

    6:30 am: Keystone Isn't Any Normal Pipeline by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
    8:00 am:  #KeystoneXL: Three comments to @StateDept as to "Why #NoKXL?" by A Siegel.
    11:00 am: A Pipeline "Ed"ucation with the Cowboy and Indian Alliance by Jane Fleming Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska.
    1:00 pm: 10 Reasons Why President Obama Is Going to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline by Jamie Henn, Strategy/Communications Director and Co-Founder of 350.org.
    3:00 pm: #KeystoneXL Just how dirty are Tar Sands? by Horace Boothroyd III.
    5:00 pm: Bill McKibben: The Public Has Done Its Job Beautifully on KXL by Bill McKibben, President and Co-Founder of 350.org.


    XL Pipeline "Public Comments" Blogathon: March 3-7, 2014




    Let your voice be heard by opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline.  
    The deadline for submission of comments is March 7, 2014.

    Writing public comments in opposition to the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline is as easy as posting comments at Daily Kos. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard directly to the White House without interference by the media, lobbyists or the GOP.  We have until March 7 to express our views on whether or not building the big tar sands pipeline is in the vital national interest of the United States.

    In the past, public comments have absolutely made a difference.  Please don't delay as it is the last opportunity to affect this public debate.  Submit your comments today.


    For more helpful tips, please consult "Tips for Submitting Effective Comments" at regulations.gov, the website where you will be posting your comments.  Additional details about some of the guest diarists are in this diary by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse.  

    Remember: while these organizations are also offering comment templates and collecting comments themselves, they may be closing their comment windows earlier than midnight.


    350.org
    Bold Nebraska
    Center for Biological Diversity
    CREDO
    Energy Action Coalition
    Environmental Action
    Friends of the Earth
    League of Conservation Voters
    Moms Clean Air Force
    Montana Environmental Information Center
    National Wildlife Federation
    Natural Resources Defense Council
    Northern Plains Resource
    Oil Change International
    Rainforest Action Network
    Sierra Club

    THANK YOU for all your activism and support.  So, hurry up and get those comments in, please.  #xldissent! #NOKXL!

  •  a good idea (20+ / 0-)
    So my example is this: Why doesn’t President Obama propose that since the 1% have no interest in doing it, the U.S. sovereign government build a plant to manufacture very-large transformers, hire engineers to train unemployed people to do the labor, pay those unemployed trainees for making the effort to learn how to make a giant-sized transformer, then hire those newly trained workers to run the manufacturing process? We could build a backup supply of these critical electric grid components so that in the (increasingly likely) event some crazy, anti-government sociopath seizes the opportunity to turn out America’s lights, we could turn them back on in fairly short order.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:35:33 PM PST

    •  Wouldn't that be grand? I just wish we had the (12+ / 0-)

      politicians with the backbone to do it.

      It is a nice dream, though.

    •  Makes no sense (0+ / 0-)

      Why would we bother investing large amounts of money duplicating a capability that already exists elsewhere? For what?

      If you trade transformer lead times off against the probability of transformer loss, I'm sure it comes out that it's still more economical to build these things by foreign specialists than developing an entire duplicate capability. It makes no sense, whether it's the 1% or the 99% that does it. "We're going to take money from your paycheck to duplicate an existing capability that we don't really need". Sounds like a winner to me.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:51:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed it is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChemBob

      Which is why it will never happen.

      Living is easy with eyes closed...

      by skybluewater on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 11:07:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One response to the JD Alt article by Dan Kervick (4+ / 0-)

        gets to the kernal of it all...
        Dan Kervick | March 6, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Reply

        In other words, the rich don’t just use their wealth to have bacchanals behind their gated communities; they use it to purchase influence and to consolidate their economic control over the rest of us. A decent life of true freedom, democratic and shared prosperity is impossible outside of a broadly egalitarian framework for the sharing of social political and economic power.

        J.D. ALT | March 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Reply

        Dan, I agree “wealth” is power—but only one kind of power. Another kind of power was exerted by Gandhi and King and, most recently, the Ukrainian Maiden. The difficulty the “other” kind of power has always had is that when it momentarily gains control, it doesn’t know what next to do next—it fails to seize the moment and institute a new agenda. MMT (from my perspective) explains the reason for this failure—but more importantly, it also explains an aggressive strategy for positive change: If you change the way we understand “money” you change the fundamental definition of “power”.

            Dan Kervick | March 7, 2014 at 9:42 am | Reply

            JD, I don’t believe that a deeper understanding of the monetary system contributes all that much of importance to the fundamental problems of concentrated capital, plutocratic political power, social domination and control, endemic corruption and gross social injustice. MMT hasn’t discovered a magic money fountain that can heal our sick society without the need for socially fraught and painful institutional changes and class conflicts. MMT is a branch of macroeconomics; not a comprehensive analysis of society and its power structures.

        'How like fish we are: ready, nay, eager, to seize upon whatever new thing.......And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook". ALDO LEOPOLD - A Sand County Almanac

        by flowerfarmer on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:26:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great idea but.... (2+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      flowerfarmer, jestbill
      Hidden by:
      Mage11an

      ....why are you talking about Obama here?

      I doubt if he could build a transformer factory from his own funds. And as for the funds the US government spends -- the House has control of them.

      For the ten thousandth time: Obama is President, not Prime Minister. He has minimal control over his own party in the legislative process, and none at all over the other party. If the House of Representatives doesn't go along, his proposals go nowhere.

      Will the House of Representatives go along?

      So it turns out the "great idea," in context, is a cretinous pile of gibbering. You might as well ask Obama to use a magic wand to create the factory.

      People who give advice that is impossible to follow deserve nothing but contempt.

      "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

      by sagesource on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 01:49:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You heard it here first. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, cville townie
        Will the House of Representatives go along?
        That's right! If the House isn't going to pass things like infrastructure improvements or job programs, there is no point in Obama expending any time, energy or rhetoric on shaping the discourse towards that end. I mean obviously he wants to. It's just hopeless, which is why he doesn't. And that's okay, because the Republicans are really mean.
        So it turns out the "great idea," in context, is a cretinous pile of gibbering. You might as well ask Obama to use a magic wand to create the factory.
        Yeah jerk. If the House won't play ball the POTUS is powerless to influence the nation in any way. Period! End of story. Everyone knows that, it's called "pragmatism". Take your pony-wanting somewhere else.
        People who give advice that is impossible to follow deserve nothing but contempt.
        I got some contempt for you right here.
        •  Comtempt yes, and boredom from that tired fail (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cville townie

          meme.

          In  other news, I had not heard about the shooting of the transformers mentioned in the post, so went to see what the latest was.  Found this:
          Shoot-up of PG&E station a terrorist act? FBI says no
          Posted on Thursday, February 6 at 4:23pm | By SFGate

          snip

          The incident, which occurred early April 16, involved someone with apparent inside knowledge of the unmanned Metcalf substation. Authorities said the attacker or attackers cut cables that carry 911 and cell phone service about a half hour before firing off more than 100 high-powered rifle rounds to disable transformers at the substation.

           Mark Johnson, a former PG&E official, told the Wall Street Journal that the attack was not the work of an amateur. “My personal view is that this was a dress rehearsal’’ for a terror strike, he told the newspaper.

           The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, Jon Wellinghoff, went further, calling it “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred’’ in the country.

          No one has been arrested and no one took responsibility for the attack, which local authorities initially classified as vandalism. They turned over the investigation late last year to the FBI, which said Thursday that whoever shot up the substation apparently was not a terrorist.

          “We do not believe it is related to terrorism,” said Peter Lee, spokesman for the San Francisco office of the FBI.

          snip

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:13:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is either snark -- or self-caricature? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

        by lotlizard on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:00:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (0+ / 0-)

          Just pointing out that while a Prime Minister commands economic policy, a President doesn't. Something you should have learned in elementary civics, but obviously didn't.

          Asking Obama for a major capital investment is like tantruming to your mommy for a unicorn.

          And yes, I do have contempt for people who presume to give economic advice but don't understand something as elementary as separation of powers.

          "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

          by sagesource on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:21:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yup. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sagesource

            Ditto for people who don't understand that we have two (and only two effective) political parties.

            "Our problem is not that the glass is half empty or half full, but that the 1% claims that it is their glass." ---Stolen from a post on Daily Kos

            by jestbill on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:53:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  25 minutes to get your Keystone Comment in! (17+ / 0-)

    Yes. You. Can.

    Here.

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:35:42 PM PST

  •  1% Who?™ (7+ / 0-)

    Punxsutawney Phil has been unfriended.

    by jwinIL14 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:35:53 PM PST

    •  If some of them weren't trying to screw up... (15+ / 0-)

      ...our system of government, I'd love to ignore them!

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:48:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If we took control of our currency (6+ / 0-)

        they might have a lot more trouble screwing up our government.

        It's pretty clear by now that they don't want to live in a democracy, or a republic either.

        Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:31:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why we can't leave the 1% alone... (14+ / 0-)

        There's one reason why we can't ignore the 1%. Because they are very, very interested in us. Just one example, the Koch brothers spend hundreds of millions of dollars telling us what we ought to think and how we should vote. This is true not just for the Koch brothers, but across the spectrum of the ultra rich. They want to mess about in our daily lives. They want to tell us what to eat, what to drink, what to do with our bodies. They want to meddle in women's health care. They meddle with the prices we pay for food. They meddle with our children's education. They meddle with our ability to talk to our friends. They tell us what we should watch on TV. They want to escape from the laws that we have to obey.

        If they left us alone, we could ignore them...BUT THEY NEVER LEAVE US ALONE!!!

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:01:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's ludicrous. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, rbird, jbsoul, flowerfarmer

          The 1% are not separate nor separable.  Look to the gilded age and see if they were separate.  Their wealth inevitably means our poverty.  And, of course, their greed has no bounds and simply won't be bound by leaving them alone.

          "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

          by Publius2008 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:18:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why don't we just change our currency. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rbird, flowerfarmer

          Old dollars become Koch Koins, and we can start fresh with new, new deal dollars. With a visage of our grand leader front and center. And real hope and real change in our pockets.

          Everyone knows re-re-republicans hate FDR and his old new deal. Let's have a new, new deal.

          Everyone with less than $1,000,000 in cash gets new, new deal dollars, one for one exchange, those with anything over that limit get Koch Koins, like bit coins, only less valuable. The exchange rate for Koch koins is the same as the ratio of CEO pay to median wage workers. And you can only trade in Koch Koins for new, new deal dollars, not the other way. You cannot buy any Koch Koin dollars with new, new deal dollars. No arbitrage here.

          It might promote a change in the ratio of CEO pay to workers in order for the elite to get a better value for their Koch Koins. It would be fun to watch them stick a shiv in each others back the way they have been doing the rest of us for the last 30 years.

          The .001% would still have their monopoly Koch Koins, and the rest of us could go about our lives and prosper and never worry about them (the K-Koin peeps) ever again.

          And they lived happily after.

        •  Very true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW

          I was sitting here thinking, "Hmm, suppose the Democrats added a plank to their platform eliminating income taxes over $100 million (or whatever), would that get Koch and all the others to support a liberal agenda?"  I doubt it.  The problem isn't that rich people are rich, it's that some of them want to get richer, and want to change society to make that happen.  (Not to mention the ones who feel like they've been called on a holy mission to advocate for their social positions.)

  •  When we go to Detroit... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, palantir, Jeff Y, rbird, LinSea, ChemBob

    Listen to The After Show & The Justice Department on Netroots Radio. Join us on The Porch Tue & Fri at Black Kos, all are welcome!

    by justiceputnam on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:42:27 PM PST

  •  Have a great weekend everyone! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, palantir, rbird, Eric Nelson

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:43:12 PM PST

  •  How Vlad waltzed into Crimea, or (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, Aunt Pat

    Boot Putin Boogie.

    After 65 years, the ONLY thing I know absolutely and positively about life is that the check is SUPPOSED to be in the mail. That's it. Nothing else. PERIOD.

    by franklyn on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:49:36 PM PST

  •  Ever notice how the Baggers like to throw (14+ / 0-)

    the word 'constitution' into their word salad every time they speak? It's like someone told them that repeatedly saying the word 'constitution' would make them sound smart or something.

    Pizza Patriots: Day Two at CPAC:

    I asked a few people walking around why they thought the conference didn't attract a more diverse audience.

    A college student named Sarah laughed nervously and told me, "I don't know how to answer that, to be honest. If I give my honest opinion, I don't know if it's going to be politically correct."

    Her friend wasn't as hesitant, saying, "Other diversities come in here and they want opportunity, they want change, and like, we aren't really about change, we're more of like, these are our viewpoints and our standpoints and we want to stick to them because they've been working for the last 200 years."

    What were those viewpoints?

    "I feel like the different views and the different standpoints and going back to the Constitution and how we're founded, and small government and there's so much to it, and having a Christian belief makes me want to stand for what the Constitution stood for."

    http://gawker.com/...

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:54:37 PM PST

  •  Friday night...all is well. Last Friday I got (6+ / 0-)

    into a lot of trouble. This Friday is calm. Thank God. My condolences to everyone out there not reading this and instead getting into trouble tonight. Heh.

    It will never happen for the first time until it does.

    by catilinus on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:55:47 PM PST

  •  Whatever happened to, (5+ / 0-)

    "If you love Russia so much, why don't you move there, ya' fucking hippies?"

    After 65 years, the ONLY thing I know absolutely and positively about life is that the check is SUPPOSED to be in the mail. That's it. Nothing else. PERIOD.

    by franklyn on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:57:57 PM PST

  •  Transformers: (11+ / 0-)

    The US government doesn't build them because the people who own the large transformer building business hire law firms, ALEC, and the CoC to lobby against it.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:58:29 PM PST

  •  Does shooting a high-voltage transformer (7+ / 0-)

    merely render it inoperable until it's fixed, or actually destroy it past the point of repair, and if it's the latter, is it because of their design, or because shooting them makes them self-destruct from fire or a massive surge.

    Probably known in electrical circles as "crossing the streams".

    And why can't we build them here? Transformers are fairly simple devices, in principle, no? Lot of wire wound tightly around separate iron cores, with some cooling and those ceramic thingees, no?

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:58:34 PM PST

    •  Holy crap, I hope someone doesn't feel the need (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, rbird, BusyinCA

      to cut the power. We are definitely greasing the skids on that method.

      Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

      by 88kathy on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:32:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We could build them here. (5+ / 0-)

      But NAFTA! ALEC likes NAFTA. Chamber likes NAFTA. Kochs like NAFTA. NAFTA good! Good NAFTA! BAD government. Government give Chamber NAFTA or Chamber get very very angry. Good Clinton! Good NAFTA! Chamber like. Kochs like. MMMMMMMM

      Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:34:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most are oil-cooled as I recall, so there's that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      But damn - think about all the little transformer farms and substations scattered around out there.

      CPAC: The Real March Madness

      by here4tehbeer on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:22:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I once interviewed for a job at a plant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      that actually made some of those big transformers.

      They were all proud of the gigantic lighting simulator chamber used for testing. But no one back then thought about damage from bullets. Who would want to shoot out her/his lights?

      Shooting one would render it inoperable, and a field fix for something of that size would be difficult at best. Try to stop breathing for 30 minutes and see if that has an ill effect on your infrastructure.

  •  Once upon a time we did build power transformers.. (14+ / 0-)

    I grew up in Pittsfield MA, which had a GE plant that made some of the biggest. My dad worked in the distribution transformer (those little things on the poles), and I remember that for a long time word around the plant was that the power transformer division was having financial problems. Even so, toward the end they had an enormous assembly building and special railcars to carry the biggest transformers. Absolutely agree that depending on any foreign country is foolish, not to mention ecologically stupid: imagine the extra fossil fuel necesary to float these babies halfway around the world.

    •  We're always depending on them... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA

      ...for something or other.

      We import half of our crude oil. We lose that and we're in a world of hurt. There are tons of things like that. In a mass industrial civilization you can't maintain every capability yourself.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:55:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It Is Only Necessary to Ignore Political Campaigns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    and have sensible people instead of the stupid people take office, ignoring the 1% and their Constitutional ownership and operation of our public square, and their funding of elections, and then they can implement the MMT ideas. Which for some reason are always put forth in the folksy rambling style of a used car salesman.

    Every solution being put forth, including MMT, one way or another, always starts from the point at which we've already solved the problem of how to run a sane, responsible representative country.

    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 Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:06:19 PM PST

    •  Not necessarily. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, rbird

      But the alternative is to think quite radically.

      Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:35:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The main point of J.D.'s post was that we don't (0+ / 0-)

      need to be groveling progressives and couch every single spending proposals in gold bug language. We don't need to attach a poison pill tax increase to "pay for" (whatever that means) increased investment in OUR nation. As to the rest of your MMT negativity, thats not even worthy or a response.

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

      by Auburn Parks on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:26:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My argument with JD Alt: (7+ / 0-)

    Mega yachts, island retreats, and offshore bank accounts don't describe the 1%. 1%ers dine at Olive Garden. Alt's describing at best, America's 50,000 wealthiest households, and perhaps worldwide, another 250,000.

    Then, you have to subtract people who don't own industrial or financial resources. I assume that Carlie Sheen doesn't own copper mines in Angola, or that Bruce Springsteen doesn't own a shipping conglomerate.

    We're talking about a very small number of people who own and control a plurality of resources, and their influence is outsize.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:07:19 PM PST

  •  I love this music, along with this video. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    noweasels, Aunt Pat

    It gives me hope for the planet. You have to have hope. It's such a beautiful place.


    I travel back in time to get a running start on the future.

    by glb3 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:08:07 PM PST

  •  Thank you. That was a magnificent article, once (10+ / 0-)

    my head stopped spinning about the premise. Steel for bridge construction is another strong possibility - build the plant environmentally neutral from the get-go, and we should be able to have steel operations that don't ruin the neighborhood and produce some of the materiel we are going to need to upgrade our infrastructure.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:19:08 PM PST

  •  Well, that's what a number of us in the 99% (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rbird, revsue, ChemBob, flowerfarmer, lotlizard

    have been saying, but somebody generally sneers and calls us Chartalists. Or when we ask President Obama to mint a trillion-dollar coin, he just says "No" and then Jon Stewart makes jokes about it.

    In Ellen Brown's book Web of Debt, she lays out a history of money that tears the veils of illusion off a lot of what the financiers are doing behind their curtain while they yell I AM OZ THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE  at the rest of us. It's pretty illuminating. As renowned an economist as James Galbraith admits that the bankers really do invent money out of thin air. After they've invented it out of thin air, they then loan it to the United States government at interest, meaning that the U.S., a sovereign nation, essentially does not control its money supply, and in fact has to pay these shysters money in order to have a sovereign currency. Which is just damned ridiculous.

    Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:30:13 PM PST

    •  presidents who have tried (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChemBob, SouthernLiberalinMD

      to bring in new currencies -Lincoln and Kennedy come to mind- have had their problems.

      •  I didn't know Kennedy was trying that. (0+ / 0-)

        And I always thought it was because he wanted to abolish the CIA.

        Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 04:40:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hey brother, we don't borrow our money from (0+ / 0-)

      anybody, thats a total myth. We are always and everywhere sovereign over Our currency. Whether we CHOOSE to pay interest on our liabilities or not is purely a political choice.

      BTW, the 1% don't own that many T-bonds compared to foreign nations, pensions, and trust funds.

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

      by Auburn Parks on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:29:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  J. D. Alt (7+ / 0-)

    There's an old story about some hick from the sticks who picks up an intellectually weighty tome along the lines of Sartre's Being And Nothingness, reads through it, and upon putting it down, warbles, "Gawrshk, that guy thinks just like me."

    I don't claim to have the intellectual heft of a J. D. Alt. I'm just this guy who writes computer code. But I've often mused over the idea he presents in the snippet above. Usually it's on a somewhat smaller scale, and comes down to questions like: If we don't like the banks, why don't the members of our community form their own bank/credit union? If we don't like the idea of GMOs, why don't we start local cooperatives that grow organic/non-GMO/non-hormonified/non-antibioticked food suitable to the region we live in? If we don't like our money going out of our hands into the hands of the 1%, why can't we develop our own alternatives for the goods and services that keep that money in our community?

    I realize that there are situations where that can't happen. My little suburb doesn't have the infrastructure to be able to create a large-scale power transformer. But there are places we could start.

    But maybe there's some deep macroeconomic reason this can't happen that involves a simple computer guy like me.

    So this West Virginian walks into a bar and says, "Fix me a Green River."

    by Omir the Storyteller on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:30:14 PM PST

    •  But that isn't ignoring the 1% (10+ / 0-)

      That's putting a thumb in the eye of the 1%. When local communities started to create their own municipal ISPs because the internet service was so sucky, the 1% had a royal fit. I think ALEC came out with boilerplate legislation banning cities and counties from creating their own ISPs. It was in the news recently because the Republicans in the Kansas legislature tried to get a version of this boilerplate passed.

      Just try starting a community bank, or getting the postal service to open up its own bank, you'll see opposition pop up everywhere, funded by the 1%. They'll try to stop any sort of postal service bank, they'll put regulatory hurdles up for small community banks.

      Try it with non-GMO foods. Anything. Freaking toys for little kids, anything. If it involves municipal or community action and it's a success, there will be 1% money behind efforts to stop it.

      We can't ignore them because they won't leave us alone.

      Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

      by rbird on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:30:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, sometimes we can (7+ / 0-)

        and I agree with you that if the 1% thinks there's money to be made, they'll try to come take a piece of the action. The trick is going to be to operate under their radar, out of their sight, in the wainscoatting of society. So there's a law against a municipality operating an ISP? So what? I go rent a gigabit pipe and then sublet slices of it to my neighbors. I'm not a municipality. Unless someone is doing pretty deep packet analysis, for all they know I'm an eccentric guy who's trying to download the Internet or watching every single pr0n video I can find all at once.

        Stuff like this gets done all the time on a small scale in the off-the-books economy. People bartering guitar lessons for lawn work, or getting together to buy shares in a cow or pig. But if it's ever going to happen it will require people to come up with creative solutions, not "we can't beat the 1%" defeatism.

        So this West Virginian walks into a bar and says, "Fix me a Green River."

        by Omir the Storyteller on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:50:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like how you think... (4+ / 0-)

          ...I'm an ally in this venture, but man, they try to close off every little loophole. They are all about control.

          No, I'm not a defeatist. I'm talking karate, you're talking aikido is all. I'm of the opinion that trying to squirm out of the hands of the 1% will have only limited success. I want to kick them in the head...metaphorically speaking, of course.

          Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

          by rbird on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 03:44:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Otto's Community Spotlight Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson, jbsoul

    is a must read.

    It should be on the Rec List.

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:42:15 PM PST

  •  "Assault Rifles" Not 1st Choice For Transformers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    An "assault rifle" is an intermediate cartridge, larger than a submachine gun (SMG) but smaller than a main battle rifle (MBR) which can be a bolt action rifle.  

    To attack infrastructure, one uses a MBR or an anti-materiel (AM) rifle, which in WWI would have been called an antitank rifle.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:43:43 PM PST

    •  The problem with being a fanboy, is that one tends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      to talk in terms of fanboy fantasies, even when the conversation involves a real situation that directly contradicts the fantasy:

      "More than 100 shell casings of the sort ejected by AK-47s were later found at the site."

      I can't find any solid confirmation, partly, I think, because the authorities are not eager to share the details. Some stories observe simply that a "high-powered rifle" was used.

      In any event, the point is this: Somebody who wants to take out a power station is not constrained by your idle ruminations on the "right" weapon to use. Instead, said somebody can evidently use a type of weapon that is common as frickin' dirt, no matter how preciously you will sneer at their declasse newbieness. Why, heavens, I'll just bet they'd call a "magazine" a "clip", too.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 11:01:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In This Case It's Not Just Being Pedantic (0+ / 0-)

        It's not that someone used the wrong word, it's that using an assault weapon has no particular advantage in this situation, and it's not even the best tool for the job.  If there were no assault rifles, it would not make any difference to someone attacking a transformer.

        I wouldn't make the point except that the article takes pains to say that it's specifically assault rifles that are the problem.

        So the writer isn't making a mistake in terminology, he's actually flubbing his main point.

        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

        by bernardpliers on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 03:16:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The advantage it has is that such weapons (0+ / 0-)

          are trivially available. Thus, the ironic observation, "Thankfully, semi-automatic assault rifles are difficult to come by in the U.S., otherwise there might be cause for concern." The reason the writer wrote that is presumably because those are the weapons that were apparently used. If they had taken out the transformers with 9mm handguns, he would presumably have said "9mm handguns", and if they had taken them out with 30.06 ammo, he would presumably have said "deer rifles" (depending on how it was reported), and if they had taken them out with BB guns, he would presumably have said "BB guns".

          I'm sorry if you don't get that. You're just pissed off because your fanboy "some n00b's putting a slam on assault rifles" radar went off. Your objection is pure fuck-aroundery. The transformers were (apparently, as reported) taken out with a weapon that fires standard AR-15 ammo. Every objection you have to the writer reporting this simple fact -- and in particular, your bizarre objection that the writer has reported what the terrorists used, rather than what you, as an apparently arbitrarily-well-equipped and so-very-clued-in planner of social mayhem, would have used is pure fuck-aroundery. You're creating an argument where there is simply none to be found, and whatever peculiar motivation you might have to be doing so, it isn't a very honorable one.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:09:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The load you shoot is more important (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers

      than the gun you shoot it with.

  •  Walked a nearby wild beach this evening (20+ / 0-)


                                      Yes that's a crack in the clay cliff


                                          Some of the wildlife. A beaver.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 09:50:39 PM PST

  •  How the heck are we supposed to (7+ / 0-)

    forget the 1% when the 1% have actively declared war on the rest of us?

    They aren't passively cancerous in an isolatable part of the nation's body we can work around. Or ignore.  

    They are actively malignant and spreading tumors everywhere they can get cells into healthy flesh.

    Because we want to extend unemployment. Or keep foodstamps funded at existing but grossly sub-standard levels during a national crisis of poverty and hunger.

    They are actively fucking with our lives because anything meant to make our lives better or easier is like.... whatever way they can bring Hitler or Stalin up they can think of that the Wall Street Journal Op/Ed page is cool with and will amp up a litte for fun.

    If we could ignore Citizen's United and the Republican Party and govern and oversee huge policy initiatives by magic fiat that would be awesome.

    We can't.

    It's bigger than we can't have access to their fortunes for wealth re-distribution, so, forget them.

    You can't get that plan passed through the GOP House Republican caucus. If Obama came out against the Estate Tax, some part of the GOP would be against it because if BaMao McStalinMcHitler OBummer is for it, they are against it.

    The Koch Brothers will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fuck with the ability to govern, but also because their fee-fees get ouchied. Or because some hipster cut off Sheldon Adelson's limo on a Vespa with a climate change bumpersticker on it he might donate 25 million dollars to a pro-increase global warming group.

    President Obama can only do so much by fiat.

    I wish we could magically skip over the part where we solve the Koch Brothers GOP problem and go directly to good governance.

    You can't ignore the 1% because the 1% have their massive fortunes in play. Just because it isn't available for taxes doesn't mean somebody isn't getting it in their kitty for policy and lawmaking. They an entire political party in their back pocket, and the other party sometimes has chunks of it who are a little Koch curious.

    I mean, it's not as if this 1% and the 99% business came up because the bottom is driving the culture wars in America. It's because the 1% have gotten to the point where anything that doesn't serve their interests and their needs is an attack on them.

    We have rich people calling desperate people at the end of their rope asking for very little in the grand scheme of things Kristallnacht.

    You try to govern around billionaires who own media companies and politicians alike screaming that everything is potentially Kristallnacht at your peril.

    I wish we lived in that world where we had an 'ignore' button for good governance.

     

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:03:24 PM PST

    •  all of my life (6+ / 0-)

      I have been told that there are people who are a lot smarter than me on the job. I guess it comes down to book smart or street smart and we live in an era where we need a shitload of street smart to start beating back the Movement Conservative Right.

      I read that essay just imagining the Koch Brothers cackling and rubbing their hands together at the thought of an 'ignore them' strategy becoming institutional and widespread in low-information voter America.

      You can't work around the 1% in 2014.

      The 1% haven't been this hands-on since the Gilded Age.

      The 1% are getting involved with local town selectmen races. Mayoral campaigns. School board fights. Every state has a Koch brothers funded state version of a national rightwing thinktank. They give 'em cutesy names. Nevada Public Policy Institute. California Tax Payers Rights Foundation. Arizona Public Policy Initiative. Colorado Public Policy & Taxpayer's Defense Fund.  

      The Movement Conservative Right is a confederacy of thugs and stooges with a history of constant and steady stream of failures, fuck-ups, disasters, and frauds that rivals the CIA's record, all funded by narcissistic to sociopathic billionaires and multi-millionaires.

      Ignore the 1%? In any part of my mindset?

      I'm reminded of a saying "Socialize risk, Privatize profit".

      They bought and bullshit their way out of paying a socially and fiscally and institutionally transformative price for a near second Great Depression that their being able to dominate what is possible in US governance directly caused.

      How could I ever imagine I could ignore the 1% as a class as if that would magically transform what is possible in American policy and governance?

      Not a passive threat, but an active existential one.

      So my example is this: Why doesn’t President Obama propose that since the 1% have no interest in doing it, the U.S. sovereign government build a plant to manufacture very-large transformers, hire engineers to train unemployed people to do the labor, pay those unemployed trainees for making the effort to learn how to make a giant-sized transformer, then hire those newly trained workers to run the manufacturing process? We could build a backup supply of these critical electric grid components so that in the (increasingly likely) event some crazy, anti-government sociopath seizes the opportunity to turn out America’s lights, we could turn them back on in fairly short order.
      Because the 1% have an interest in preventing it.

      'Government can work' is a direct threat to them in so many of their minds.

      If people start thinking that government is a great thing, the worldview they sell to people who vote against their own best interests out of fear are diminished directly.

      They would spend a hundred million dollars saying that it was a commie BaMao O'Bummer plot. They have big bucks in the South Korean outfit and the overseas arrangements that put the South Korean plants in play in the first place. They don't want a union in any plant in California or Michigan where the transformers would be built. Heck, they don't want unions anywhere to have this kind of opportunity on so many levels. They don't want tens of thousands of people clamoring for more living wage policies if the "compromise" is put the plant in a Right-To-Work state or don't build it at all. And the GOP would be all-in. And the Village would 'ask the hard questions', to the rest of us not the 1%, on the GOP/Koch Brothers terms.

      But, we can ignore all that. Thanks to Obama's magic pass the New New Deal by force of will and by Fiat plan.  

      Building Mega-Transformers in America would be discussed on Donald Trump's terms before it would be debated in public on the terms of the people who knew what the heck they were talking about.

      We live in a country where the federal government tracking rightwing anti-government crazies like Tim McVie and issuing reports on the phenomena was pretty successfully framed as an attack on the Tea Party and the GOP, by the Tea Party and the GOP. With an assist by the Village.

      The anti-Government sociopath label, being placed on real anti-Government sociopaths out in the woods, is assumed to be a slur on Tea Party and GOP base voters. Imagine a public policy debate, that should be about national security and what is in the best interest of the nation, suddenly being debated as an attack on the Tea Party and GOP base so Obama could enrich the evil evil evil Big Union Bosses.

      That is the debate we would have actively engaged in seeing the 1% as a problem we would have to deal with, God help us if we tried to put forward that policy idea thinking we could just ignore the 1% once we said that we would leave them alone and find some other way to fund it.

      The idea of good governance itself being seen as crazy talk is as important as their taxes staying low.

      “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

      by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:54:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't buy this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ishmaelbychoice, JeffW

    I'm not sure how seriously the J. D. Alt article is meant to be, but in any case, I disagree with at least one part of  the argument; I'm quite in favor of taxing the 1% to create jobs, and I'm sure most people on this site would agree with me on that.  (Not even all of the 1% disagree--Warren Buffett certainly doesn't.)  

    "Optimism is better than despair." --Jack Layton, the late Canadian MP, liberal, and Christian.

    by lungfish on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:03:42 PM PST

  •  "Kids React" video: Digital kids meet analog phone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:04:07 PM PST

  •  Got stocks in a private profiteering prison? Where (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Eric Nelson, skybluewater, ChemBob

    every cell occupied  is a few cents more?

     How absolutely disgusting and beyond the pale of humanity. Those stockholders should be identified and shown for the cockroaches for what they truly are.

    As you might guess I am totally and vehemently against privatized prisons. In my mind it is tantamount to slavery all in the name of profit.

    •  I really wish someone would write a diary about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      privatized prisons for profit. I don't have the wherewithal.

      But these people are close to slave owners and there should be a long persistent light on the stockholders.

  •  I'm in the beginning of trying to buy a house. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, skybluewater, ChemBob

    It's like war. Swear to God, I'll end up with PTSD. I'll probably get one, but I'll wind up in the middle of the floor, sucking my thumb when it's all over.
    All of this just to stand over a nicer urinal to take a leak.

    After 65 years, the ONLY thing I know absolutely and positively about life is that the check is SUPPOSED to be in the mail. That's it. Nothing else. PERIOD.

    by franklyn on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:25:04 PM PST

  •  I was trying to figure sovereign money from.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, lotlizard

    .. J.D. Alt's -  Forget the 1% article -  so I googled (binged) sovereign money to get here:
    What is a sovereign currency by Randall Wray who it turns out also writes for New Economic Perspectives

    ..which led me to this video by Randal Wray discussing Modern Money: the way a sovereign currency "works" Published on Sep 23, 2012:

    I don't understand much, but: "the government can never run out of money.." and a whole lot more that is in direct contradiction to what the "conservative" narratives have always claimed.

    - all of the many pseudo conservative claims -  like Grover Norquist; with this zero sum falsity @ its core - his take a bucket of water from one end of the lake and pour it into the other side of the lake analogy/accusation of Dems

    So forget about the 1%er "fiat" money.

    Is our own labor the sovereign money?

    Iow's if the government just began a re-vamped WPA and started building those humongous transformers, and started rebuilding our power grid, repairing bridges, planting trees, developing and manufacturing photoelectric panels designed for every home and the various parts for all different kinds of renewable energy sources and hire scientists to develop highly compact portable storage for that energy;

     is this what is being proposed? Just do it. Begin building?

    I love the idea. have no idea what I'm talking about, but if this do a complete runaround the 1%ers digital currency/domestic currency (US dollar in a database/wallstreet) altogether and have our labor represented as the "fiat" or value determination (I'm goofing up all these terms I know) then yes & yes.

    Bypass the 1%ers

    Why doesn’t the President just forget the 1% and start investing Sovereign Dollars (not tax Dollars, mind you) in the lower and middle economic strata he claims to care so much about? The 99% can have its own life—and a very good one to boot—if we’d just ignore the 1% and get on with the job of paying ourselves to build the things we really need.
    And yes. Lets's find out which has true value; the 1%ers currency in the digital world or labor on the ground building stuff.

    Thx MB

    P.S. I still want what they've stolen from so many people who have more than earned a batter life though

  •  A Malaysia Airlines 777 flying to China is missing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:39:16 PM PST

  •  This alt guy -- if that's his real name -- sounds (0+ / 0-)

    like some kinda commie.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:40:24 PM PST

  •  It's hard rightist rhetoric (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bygorry

    that opposition to American Exceptionalism is "anti-Americanism".  American Exceptionalism is the ieological expression of the uniquely American brand of imperialism.  Opposition to it is anti-imperialism.  For alleged progressives to say it constitutes "anti-Americanism" certainly reinforces the idea that there truly is no difference between what pass for right and left in mainstream American politics.  A "liberal" mouth opens to emit a Cheneyan diatribe.  

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 11:34:40 PM PST

  •  Saudi Arabia designates Muslim Brotherhood (0+ / 0-)

    a terrorist organization.
    http://www.kansascity.com/...

    Saudi Arabia declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
    That's going to make keeping all our friends happy damned near impossible.

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 11:51:36 PM PST

    •  The Saudis just favor Salafists over Ikhwan. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob, JeffW

      The Saudis aren't against radical Muslim fundamentalism; they just insist on it being their flavor, controlled by them.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

      by lotlizard on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:45:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. Someone is ignoring the obvious. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard

        http://www.ikhwanweb.com/...

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

        The Muslim Brotherhood has established its own militia inside Syria as the country's rebels fracture between radical Islamists and their rivals, commanders and gun-runners have told The Daily Telegraph.
        [...]
        But the FSA, dominated by defectors from the regime's army, has fallen out with the SNC, whose leaders are in exile. It now has its own political front, the Syrian Support Group (SSG). This split has divided the revolution's main international backers, with Saudi Arabia supporting the FSA and Qatar moving closer to the SNC and the Islamist militias.
        http://www.seattlepi.com/...
        Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday in an unusually public dispute among the clubby Western-allied Gulf Arab states, a move analysts say centers on their neighbor's support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its perceived aggressive meddling in regional conflicts.

        I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

        by Just Bob on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:43:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "NRA is only marginally active on the West Coast" (0+ / 0-)

    Where'd he get that ?????

    Maybe within 5 miles of the coast. Maybe the Bay Area.

  •  From the point of view of Crimea..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bygorry

    isn't getting annexed by Russia a good thing ???

    The Bridge To Somewhere gets built.

    Consider what's going to happen. Putin will make "Russia's Florida" into another high-investment modernized show piece.

    Sochi II.

    Putin and his trillionaire supporters will spend at least $10-billion, maybe $25-billion. And there's the great bridge to be built !!

    It's a 5.5km gap between the Kerch Peninsula on the Ukrainian side and the Chushka Spit. Easy enough to do connection with a high bridge or a tunnel in the middle. Tunnels are cheaper, long term.

    Look to the Delmarva Peninsula and Virginia in the U.S. for a similar project. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel solved that problem almost 50 years ago.

    Do rail. Do trucks and cars. Make a huge economic change to the region.

    Everybody wins.

    •  Oh....... it's already started !! (0+ / 0-)

      "Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev awarded a reported $345 million contract for [construction of this bridge and the approach roads] to federal road agency Rosavtodor."

      That's what kicked off the Crimea parliament to go Russky!!

  •  Until and unless we democratize the economy, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mage11an

    U.S. democracy will be the organizing committee for the 1% and their mercenaries. We cannot forget about the 1% and build a just and sustainable global society. It is fine and good to build all the mutual aid societies we can build, but short of Neibuhrian coercion of the 1%, the great mass of humanity will remain desperate and the reserve army of the unemployed will be led around by the nose. Currently the top 85 wealthy people own more than the bottom half. The top 85 must receive Neiburhian coercion to have justice and sustainability for most of the rest of humanity. The class struggle happens every day and must be won. It is unavoidable.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 04:41:50 AM PST

    •  Not knowing what you mean by "Niebuhrian coercion" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Galtisalie

      In your view, would reading the article linked below help understand that term?

      http://gardenvarietydemocraticsocialist.com/...

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

      by lotlizard on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:59:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes hopefully! I wrote that piece to try to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard

        emphasize in part Reinhold Niebuhr's view that complacency that democracy would solve our social ills was unwise and unfair to the oppressed. Direct action is necessary to supplement  political democracy, but we hope it can be peaceful as much as possible. Occupy is a good example of a recent effort of this kind, although it did not self-identify with Niebuhr. Pope Francis's potential moral influence also counts. But also too it in some cases could include physical or even armed struggle. When African Americans suffered under slavery and then Jim Crow, or still today with racial profiling, they cannot be expected to tolerate the injustice. By any calibrated just means necessary, but hopefully democracy can be made to improve itself and become more responsive.

        Regards and thanks for the interest in this issue.

        Galtisalie aka Francisco Nejdanov Solomin

        P.S. Funny but I have placed that link into some past comments, but I've decided to let nature take its course and just use the term. Not sure if I coined it or saw it written, but it is clearly part of his writing that coercion is necessary since the powerful typically have such control over democracy.

        garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

        by Galtisalie on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:32:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Export the 1%ers to... (0+ / 0-)

    * Expensive coastlines vulnerable to tsunamis....
    * Tropical Low-lying islands....
    * Lovely valleys below crumbling dams....
    * Volcanic gardens near awakening cones....

    Yeah, and let them put gates and fences so that no one can get in.

    And, in a pinch, no one can get out when gettin' out is important.

    Or maybe, they can follow the path to the lovely subterranean gardens at the center of the Earth.

    Meh. No, we don't need 1%ers.... or their money.

    Time to shed this skin...

    Ugh. --UB.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by unclebucky on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:18:42 AM PST

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