Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for August 2011

Libya is not Iraq: Three Victories in Tripoli

As is often noted, we all have a tendency to fight the previous war. Just as the ‘quagmire’ of Vietnam led to reluctance to intervene in Bosnia (at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives), so too the successes of Kosovo led to the peremptory and ill planned interventionism of Iraq.

But Libya is not Iraq. As jubilant crowds fill Green Square, the fall of Tripoli to the rebels is a victory on many counts

Death of America's empire:45 million on food stamps,60 million no sick leave,59 million no medical

As an American expat who lives in the European Union, shortly after my arrival here I started to realize that I’d be freed from the propaganda exercise of the American plutocrat owned media.

So it is that at least for the ephemeral duration of this short diary originally published at the Daily Kos, that I invite you to come along with me and to see exactly what it is that the for profit American corporatists media owned and operated by the plutocracy never want you to see.

For openers what this diary will show you is that America is the only major industrialized nation in the world that as a human right does not provide a universal medical access plan for all residents (59 million Americans are without medical insurance), and that America is the only major industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t provide job protected paid maternity leave by right of law in support of true working class family values. Unlike every country in the European Union, America does not provide paid sick leave to 60 million working class Americans. Let’s put that in perspective, that is a population the size of France. Americans receive fewer annual leave days by half of any country in the European Union, and unlike every country in the European Union, American employers are not required by law to provide any annual leave.

The chart below which the Telegraph is referring to shows America ranking last in terms of unemployment benefits.

Getting this information out of how badly the American working class is exploited by the

plutocracy seems to be mission impossible, in fact this diary and ones like it as an

effort in citizen journalism will top out at less than 2,000 views, that is a drop in the

bucket, when we consider that agitators like Glenn Beck have an audience of an estimated

33 million per day, and this even after the cancellation of his Fox news televised


As an American expat who holds an MBA degree in marketing, even I know that the purpose of the plutocracy’s American corporatist media is not to inform you, it is rather to sell commercial advertising space.

This diary will show you what it is that mainstream news outlets in the European Union

say about the American dream and you will definitely be shocked, should you dare to read on…. You will see a record of sorrow wherein though American workers work more days than their European counterparts, they are in a system of legalized theft prevented by the plutocracy from being able to fully participate in the very wealth that they themselves have created through their own hard labor, and that this is in fact in sharp contrast to their counterparts in every country in the European Union, whose population is larger than that of the US, whose economy is larger than that of the US, and whose currency the Euro rivals the US dollar.

The US Dollar is being engineered to lose value as its no longer backed by gold. It is backed instead by words, referred to as the full faith and credit of the US government. But let’s understand that it’s not just the American people who have started losing faith in their government, it is also the Standard & Poor’s rating agency as well as the Chinese rating agency as described in an exclusive eye opening Spiegel magazine interview quoted on this diary.

There was a recent piece that was published by the New York Times written by Prof. Noam Chomskywhich includes the following quote on the issue of America in Decline.

August 6, 2011 –

America in Decline by Noam Chomsky

Not even discussed is that the deficit would be eliminated if, as economist Dean Baker has shown, the dysfunctional privatized health care system in the U.S. were replaced by one similar to other industrial societies, which have half the per capita costs and health outcomes that are comparable or better.

Indeed we can always be very grateful to Prof Chomsky as a very experienced man for his cogent telling and insightful comments. The plutocracy however, seems to be hellbent on continuing down the path of unbridled avarice no matter what the cost to the American people, as they are quite happy to bankrupt a nation if only it means continuing to enrich themselves. In doing so they have made themselves a pariah class by profiting from the dysfunctional for-profit American medical system.  

A Regional Party Limited to the South: The Democrats in the 1920s, Part 2

This is the second part of three posts analyzing the Democratic Party’s struggles  during the 1920s, when it lost three consecutive presidential elections  by landslide margins. This will focus upon the 1920 and 1924 presidential election, when white ethnic immigrants abandoned the Democratic Party.

The last part can be found here.

The 1920 Presidential Election

Part 2

The Democratic Party of the early twentieth century was composed of  two bases (both of which no longer vote Democratic). These were Southern  whites and immigrant, often Catholic, whites from places such as  Ireland and Italy. Southern whites voted Democratic due to the memory of  the Civil War and could be reliably whipped up with race-baiting  appeals. Immigrant ethnic whites, on the other hand, saw the Democratic  Party as a vehicle of defense against the dominant, Republican-voting  WASP majority in the Northeast and Midwest.

The two groups had precious little in common, save distrust of the  dominant Republican Party. One of the constituencies would often  only lukewarmly support the national Democratic candidate (this was  usually the immigrant  camp, because without Southern whites the  Democratic Party was nothing).

In 1920, ethnic whites walked out of the Democratic Party.

More below.

The End of Gaddafi? An Optimistically Open Thread [Updates]

[Update 5: 0830 GMT Aug 23]

In the quietest hours of the night Saif Gaddafi was surprisingly found touring the streets street of Tripoli between his father’s bunker and the hotel next door in the company of foreign human shields journalists.

“Everything is excellent.”

Perhaps he needs a map of his country:

Open Evolving Thread, editors feel free to update.  

Worldwatch report focuses on China's green future

Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet.

China’s environmental problems remain a cause for global concern as climate change continues to reduce agricultural production and create instability in world food prices, according to The Worldwatch Institute’s report Green Economy and Green Jobs: Current Status and Potentials for 2020. The report was co-authored with a research team at the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies led by Dr. Pan Jiahuathe. It cites alarming facts about the status of China’s environmental stability, including the placement of seven Chinese cities on a list of the top ten most polluted places on earth. “In 2005, water in 59 percent of rivers was undrinkable, along with 70 percent of water reserves and inland lakes, and one quarter of all aquifers polluted with more than half of urban aquifers heavily polluted,” according to the report.

In order to address its dire environmental problems, China is establishing millions of green jobs in the forestry, energy, and transportation sectors. In particular, China is making efforts to use wind and solar power to greatly reduce China’s dependence on coal and create jobs in the manufacturing of wind turbines, solar photovoltaic panels, and solar water heaters. Additionally, the implementation of high-speed rail throughout the country will allow faster access to business centers and connect people from different regions, while creating jobs in manufacturing and service. While such efforts will help move China in a positive direction, the greatest opportunities for green jobs may be in the sustainable agriculture sector. Sustainable agriculture is a key component in reducing air pollution and water contamination, protecting forests and wildlife, all while producing nutritious food.

At a time when China’s population is growing, producing healthy food is of critical importance.  But pollution has taken its toll on agriculture by reducing crop production, including a loss 10 million tons of grain production annually, according to the report. China is also facing its worst drought in 60 years which has caused food prices to go up, Oxfam USA notes that in March of this year food prices in China were nearly 12 percent higher than were the previous March. China has emphasized forestry as an effective way of addressing pollution while creating employment opportunities. The report states that forestation alone accounted for 1.8 million full-time green jobs in 2010, and that “nourishing these forested areas is vital for sustaining the country’s green transition.”

In addition, according to the report, agriculture is one of the largest users of energy in China and that China is also the world’s largest producer of fertilizer. In 2010 China’s fertilizer production totaled 66.20 million tons, the largest output in history.

China could also benefit from urban forests as a way to use agriculture to provide environmental benefits. When trees and other vegetation, like urban farms and gardens are planted they act like sinks for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus contributing to reduction of greenhouse gases and reducing air pollution. Urban forests are being looked at by urban planners around the world, including China, as a way to contribute to the health of urban areas.

Worldwatch’s report is the first to highlight China’s move toward a green economy and the jobs created along the way. At a time when food security is of global concern and population growth continues to stress the environment, the innovations highlighted in the report have the potential to affect the world in a positive way. The report states “One of the greatest lessons to be learned from the early days of China’s green transition is that building a sustainable future requires using approaches and processes that are sustainable in practice as well.” With more China-focused projects in development, including a potential sustainable agriculture strategy for the northwestern regions, China could achieve both an effective and efficient transition towards green economy.

Open Fur Flying Thread

Well, it surely is on.  Presidential quote of the day?:

Obama also mocked the tea party, without mentioning it by name, and Republican candidates who sign anti-tax and other pledges.

“I take an oath,” he said. “I don’t go around signing pledges.”

Jim Kuhnhenn – Obama Holds Town Hall Meetings As Bus Tour Rolls Through Illinois Huffington Post 17 Aug 11

Well said, sir.  And a reminder the search for a commander-in-chief is already well under way and we are sure gettin’ a big vaccination dose of Governor Rick Perry:

The governor angered even some Republicans after he said Monday night it would be “almost… treasonous” for the Fed to expand the money supply to try to improve the economy. He also said things could get “ugly” for Mr. Bernanke back in the Lone Star State.

“Threatening the Fed chairman is probably not a good idea,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.

The Perry campaign suggested Tuesday the governor is getting used to a national campaign after building a public persona in Texas that includes antagonizing Washington with eyebrow-raising remarks. “There are always new things to learn,” Ray Sullivan, the governor’s communications’ director told Washington Wire. Mr. Perry was noticeably more soft-spoken Tuesday during campaign stops in Iowa.

Danny Yadron – Perry: ‘I Got in Trouble Talking About the Fed’ WSJ 17 Aug 11

Though insider opinion was that Perry would rather be talking about that than the initial criticism he immediately received from the Right.  Michele is lighting up the tubes with the fact-checking on recent remarks she would have easily breezed over in the past.  And one of her Ames facilitators turns out to be a spooky sort of Christianist mercenary in a past Ugandan incident.  Santorum defends the honour of the Federal Reserve.  Paul supporters decry their lack of earned media, though everyone seems to get it they are a “mile deep and an inch wide.”  Huntsman turns out to be a “climate change” non-sceptic (so 2016).  Rove tells us, belatedly, that we are not a “Christian nation.”  And Obama, bless his retail heart, is on a bus tour.

All candidates’ staffers cleaning straw and cow-flops off the shoes of their respective charges?  Check.  The campaign has begun.

Cultivating Knowledge and Crops: Women Are Key to Sustainable Agricultural Development

Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet.

Women account for 75 percent of the agricultural producers in sub-Saharan Africa, but the majority of women farmers are living on only $1.25 per day, according to researchers from the Worldwatch Institute.

Despite the challenging circumstances that women in developing countries face, important innovations in communications and organizing are helping women play a key role in the fight against hunger and poverty. “Access to credit, which provides women farmers with productive inputs and improved technologies, can be an effective tool in improving livelihoods in Africa and beyond,” said Worldwatch Institute’s executive director Robert Engelman.

Worldwatch researchers traveled to 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa to meet with more than 350 farmers groups, NGOs, government agencies, and scientists, highlighting innovations, such as better extension and communication services, that are helping farmers improve their livelihoods. The findings are documented in the recently released report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet.

Nourishing the Planet highlights four innovations that can strengthen women’s agricultural capacity: providing microfinance credit, providing access to the global market, providing extension services, and providing organizational support to women’s projects.

  • Providing women with microfinance credit. Globally, women fall well short of receiving the same financial benefits and opportunities as men. Only 10 percent of the credit services available in sub-Saharan Africa, including small “microfinance” loans, are extended to women. The New York-based nonprofit Women’s World Banking is the only microfinance network focused explicitly on women, providing loans of as little as $100 to help women start businesses. Microfinance institutions from 27 countries provide the loans to women who in many cases have no other way to access credit.
  • Providing women access to the global market. In Africa’s Western Sahel, the production of shea butter is boosting women’s entry into global markets. Women-run cooperatives across the region are tapping into the global demand for fair trade and organic beauty products by selling the skin-care cream they produce from the shea nut crop to cosmetics firms such as Origins and L’OrĂ©al. These “responsible” companies in turn pay fair price for the products and invest in the women’s communities.

  • Providing women with extension services. In the United States, outreach programs like Purdue Cooperative Extension Services offer training for women to grow their businesses and increase profitability. And in Uganda, agricultural extension workers have introduced women’s groups to “coolbot” technology-solar energy and an inverter-that can be used in traditional reed, mud, and thatch shops to reduce temperatures and prolong the shelf lives of vegetables. “When extension programs invest in women farmers, the payoff can be huge,” write Dianne Forte, Royce Gloria Androa, and Marie-Ange Binagwaho in State of the World 2011. “Women receive an education, raise yields, increase their incomes, and improve the nutritional status of family members, contributing to the wellbeing of entire communities.”

  • Helping women work together. Around the world, numerous organizations are helping to empower and support women farmers. In the United States, American Agri-Women, a coalition of farm, ranch, and agribusiness women’s organizations, works with more than 50 state and commodity affiliates on legislative and regulatory matters as well as on student and consumer education. And the country’s National Women in Agriculture Association helps socially disadvantaged women in rural areas obtain resources administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the mission to “educate, develop, network and create bonds of sisterhood among all women.”

With a large percentage of women worldwide still lacking necessary services, it is time that policymakers include women, respect what they know, and stand beside them in pursuing the right to equality for all women. The ideas and technologies for the success of women are available, and development programs have the opportunity to thrive if they embrace the knowledge and skills of women farmers.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Procedural Questions

How should Moose respond when someone injects historical misrepresentations and over-simplifications into a discussion and refuses to recognize corrections?

How should Moose respond when someone takes an entire discussion and molds it according to the terms of an eminently falsifiable right-wing script?

How should Moose respond when someone makes a mockery of one’s cultural history and identity?

How does one remain an intellectually honest Moose in the face of persistent intellectual dishonesty?

These are real questions.  There has to be a place between Moose civility and tolerance on one side, and damaging distortion on the other.  “Thanks for sharing your perspective, though I don’t agree–would you care for another delightful crumpet?” just doesn’t cut it in egregious cases.  

A Regional Party Limited to the South: The Democrats in the 1920s, Part 1

This is the first part of three posts analyzing the Democratic Party’s struggles during the 1920s, when it lost three consecutive presidential elections by landslide margins.

The second part can be found here.

A Regional Party Limited to the South

The biggest presidential landslides are two elections you’ve probably never heard of: the 1920  presidential election, and the 1924 presidential election.

More below.