Archive for September 29th, 2010

There’s no need for the government to invest in the future.

Sep 29, 2010 in Politics

It would seem to be an essential function of any government- looking forward and realizing that the government can make certain investments in the future that pay dividends later:

A generation after Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping made mastering neodymium and 16 other elements known as rare earths a priority, China dominates the market, with far-reaching effects ranging from global trade friction to U.S. job losses and threats to national security.

The U.S. handed its main economic rival power to dictate access to these building blocks of modern weapons by ceding control of prices and supply, according to dozens of interviews with industry executives, congressional leaders and policy experts. China in July reduced rare-earth export quotas for the rest of the year by 72 percent, sending prices up more than sixfold for some elements.

While China is loaning us money, it’s building a country of the future and kicking our ass, using big government to smack us over the head with big capitalism. Somehow, I don’t think the Tea Party is really speaking to me about specific kinds of problems like these. After all, Republicans are busy making sure offshore jobs continue to replace American ones.

Just how far U.S. manufacturing has waned is apparent at a factory in Valparaiso, Indiana, where dogs skitter across a bare concrete shop floor, their nails clicking. This brick plant on Elm Street once made 80 percent of the rare-earth magnets in laser-guided U.S. smart bombs, according to U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana. In 2003, the plant’s owner shifted work to China, costing 230 jobs.

Outsourcing national security for a quick buck. Victory for the Invisible Hand of the Market!

-hw

No, Walter, you’re not wrong.

Sep 29, 2010 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems, Politics

I pretty much agree with everything in this piece from Peter Daou.

Virtually all the liberal bloggers who have taken a critical stance toward the administration have one thing in common: they place principle above party. Their complaints are exactly the same complaints they lodged against the Bush administration. Contrary to the straw man posed by Obama supporters, they aren’t complaining about pie in the sky wishes but about tangible acts and omissions, from Gitmo to Afghanistan to the environment to gay rights to secrecy and executive power.

The Greenwalds of the world are right, and I personally admire their principled stands a great deal. And the truth is, Obama never truly addresses their concerns; his rebuttals often focus on domestic issues, where Obama’s ground is much, much stronger (although when he says, “We could have fought for a public option and not had a bill,” this is clearly a false choice…we kind of fought for the public option, he didn’t, it didn’t get the votes and we got the bill anyway). And, rightfully, anybody who thinks of themselves as being liberal can brag about a great number of real achievements on the home front.

But if there’s a reason to be a bit depressed about being a liberal, well, Daou delivers a couple dozen. One or more may ring true for you:

# Sarah Palin can move the public discourse with a single tweet, promoting a worldview consisting of unreflective, nationalistic soundbites.
# Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox are dominating the national conversation, feeding a steady stream of propaganda packaged as moral platitudes to tens of millions of true believers.
# In the face of overwhelming evidence, climate deniers are choking the life out of the environmental movement and willfully condemning humanity to a calamitous future.
# From ACORN to Van Jones, liberal scalps are being taken with impunity.
# Feminism is being redefined and repossessed by anti-feminists.
# Women are facing an all-out assault on choice.
# Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is being co-opted by a radio jock.
# Schoolbooks are being rewritten to reflect the radical right’s anti-science views.
# The rich-poor divide grows by the minute and teachers and nurses struggle to get by while bankers get massive bonuses.
# We mark the end of a war based on lies with congratulations to all, and we escalate another war with scarce resources that could save countless lives.
# An oil spill that should have been a historic inflection point gets excised from public awareness by our own government and disappears down the memory hole (until the next disaster).
# Guns abound and the far right’s interpretation of the second amendment (the only one that seems to matter) is now inviolate.
# Bigotry and discrimination against immigrants, against Muslims, against gays and lesbians is mainstream and rampant.
# The frightening unconstitutional excesses of the Bush administration have been enshrined and reinforced by a Democratic White House, ensuring that they will become precedent and practice.

Damn.

There’s quite a bit there to ponder when considering one’s vote this November. I’m down with all the principled muthas out there who are swinging it strong and clean, but make no mistake: November is when you dust off your pants and get out there and vote to save the country from the absurdly blind fools determined to crash in and fuck up as many things as possible. Liberalism can flourish as long as liberals don’t forget who the hell to vote for. Sorry, but you want to plant flowers in D.C. you’ve got to dig in that dirt of messy humanity. Sustainability is green.

-hw