Friday, November 30, 2012

ANS -- 6 Reasons the Fiscal Cliff is a Scam

This article made me feel better about the fiscal dropoff.  It isn't really a cliff, but it has some potential bad consequences.  Can these consequences be neutralized?  Will the Republicans let us?  How much good faith and good will can they muster?
Find it here:  

AlterNet / By James K. Galbraith
comments_image   145 COMMENTS

6 Reasons the Fiscal Cliff is a Scam

The so-called "fiscal cliff" is a mechanism for rolling back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
November 22, 2012  |  

Photo Credit:

Stripped to essentials, the fiscal cliff is a device constructed to force a rollback of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as the price of avoiding tax increases and disruptive cuts in federal civilian programs and in the military.  It was policy-making by hostage-taking, timed for the lame duck session, a contrived crisis, the plain idea now unfolding was to force a stampede.

In the nature of stampedes arguments become confused; panic flows from fear, when multiple forces – economic and political in this instance – all appear to push the same way.  It is therefore useful to sort through those forces, breaking them down into separate questions, and to ask whether any of them justify the voices of doom.

First, is there a looming crisis of debt or deficits, such that sacrifices in general are necessary?  No, there is not.  Not in the short run – as almost everyone agrees.  But also: not in the long run.  What we have are computer projections, based on arbitrary – and in fact capricious – assumptions.  But even the computer projections no longer show much of a crisis. CBO has adjusted its interest rate forecast, and even under its "alternative fiscal scenario" the debt/GDP ratio now stabilizes after a few years.

Second, is there a looming crisis of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, such that these programs must be reformed?  No, there is not.  Social insurance programs are not businesses. They are not required to make a profit; they need not be funded from any particular stream of tax revenues over any particular time horizon.  Reasonable control of health care costs – public and private – is necessary and also sufficient to keep the costs of Medicare and Medicaid within bounds.

Third,  would the military sequestration programmed to start in January be a disaster?  No, it would not be.  Military spending is set in any event to decline – and it should decline as we adjust our military programs to our national security needs.  The sequester is at worst harmless; at best it's an invitation to speed the process of moving away from a Cold War force structure to one suited to the modern world.

Fourth, would the upper-end tax increases programmed to take effect in January be a disaster?  No, they would not be.  There is no evidence that the low tax rates on the wealthy encourage them to spend or invest, no evidence that higher tax rates would deter the spending and investment that they might otherwise do.

Fifth, would the middle-class tax increases, end of unemployment insurance and the abrupt end of the payroll tax holiday programmed for the end of January risk cutting into the main lines of consumer spending, business profits and economic growth?  Yes, over time it would.  But the effects in the first few weeks will be minimal, and Congress could act on these matters separately, with a clean bill either before the end of the year or early in the new one.

Sixth, what about all the other cuts in discretionary federal spending?  Yes, some of these would be very damaging if allowed.  Simple solution: don't allow them.

In short, Members of Congress: if you can, just pass the President's bill on middle-class taxes, and, if you can, eliminate the domestic sequester. Then, please go home.  Enjoy the holidays. Come back in January prepared to extend unemployment insurance, to phase out the payroll tax holiday gradually, to restore stable funding to necessary programs and to start dealing with our real problems:  jobs, foreclosures, infrastructure and climate change.

James K. Galbraith is the author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, and of a new preface to The Great Crash, 1929, by John Kenneth Galbraith. He teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.

ANS -- Biblical Economics

Here is an economic outline by someone who takes the Bible seriously.  This is what he says is the Bible's view of how resources should be allotted.  It's pretty interesting, and very different from what the right-wing bible-literalists think it is.  It's fairly short.
It also omits the part where the bible says that governments should spend money during hard times and save money during good times. (That's in Genesis 41, if I remember correctly.)
Find it here:   

Biblical Economics

November 27, 2012
By the Rev. Howard Bess
An irony of modern politics is that many conservative Americans view themselves as devout believers in the Bible yet they ascribe to right-wing, dog-eat-dog economic theories that Jesus and other Biblical figures would condemn. The contradiction has pushed Biblical economics out of mainstream debate.

The Bible has an identifiable view of economics. Whether or not we take the point of view seriously is a matter of choice, but for those who give some sort of special authority to the Biblical writings, the viewpoint cannot be ignored. One cannot not say "I believe the Bible" and lightly dismiss the perspective developed by Israelites in an ancient setting.

The Israelite understanding of economics was developed over a period of nearly 1,000 years, from the Israelite escape from Egyptian slavery to the cruel years of slavery in Babylonia.  Putting together the story of their development of economic theory is like following the plot as a well-written novel. In its final form it was laid out by a group of Israelite priests in the Sixth Century BCE.

Priests in ancient Israel were taken seriously. They were not hampered by theories of separation of church and state or keeping religion out of economics and politics. When priests spoke about wealth, property and God, no one would dare tell them to keep their noses out of the public square. They WERE the public square.

The summary of their economic theories is imbedded in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. The essence of Biblical ethics is at times captured in short phrases. Memorize these short phrases and a person has enough guidance for a Godly life.

Examples are "am I my brother's keeper?," love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with God," and "love your neighbor as yourself." A controlling and precise statement about economics is found in Leviticus 25:23 – "Land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants."

When we look at the development of the Israelite nation, it is very clear that they were not a capitalist, consumer-oriented society, whose first order of business was to spend and use material wealth on themselves and to pursue the getting of more so they could spend more lavishly on themselves.

Jesus pegged the Israelite tradition correctly when he said the greatest of all commandments was to love God with heart, mind and soul. All ethical behavior and the handling of all wealth were subservient to the command to love God.

The priests developed not-so-simple rules about how the control of land was to be handed down from generation to generation. The Year of Jubilee was meant to be a once-every-50-years complete redistribution of land among the Israelites. But the redistribution as written in Levitical law was never enacted. I suspect that those who controlled land were a bit reluctant to turn it over to "lazy" folk who had not taken good care of the family farm.

Yet, whether or not the system was ever implemented is not the point. A principle was set. All people were to have access to and use of the resources of the earth. This basic right was to take priority over any person or group to claim private ownership and use of those resources.

One can argue that these standards are from an ancient agrarian economic system that cannot be reasonably applied to modern economics. Essentially, that is the view of leading American politicians, whether President Barack Obama or his Republican rival Mitt Romney. They were both more in line with Ayn Rand than the Bible.

However, as a Christian who takes the Bible seriously, I am suggesting that there are principles from Leviticus 25:23 and other economic references in the Bible that can be applied to modern economic practices.

The first principle has already been mentioned but needs to be restated and is foundational to everything else. The resources for the support of life must be available to and enjoyed by all. To cut off people from basic life needs is immoral. It is an affront to the God who claims ownership of all things.

All possessions are gifts from God, and those gifts are not reserved for a select few. A living wage, clean air to breath, quality health care, and potable water all become demands from the Almighty.

The second principle is related. I make no suggestion that everyone have exactly the same resources at his/her disposal. However, just as the less fortunate in life must have basic needs met, limitations on accumulation must be put in place.

The second principle is that Biblical economics limit the permanent control and ownership of wealth by the few. In a modern economic system, Biblical economics demand that such accumulation and control of wealth be brought to an end through taxation, anti-trust laws or other legislative remedies.

Jesus was quite blunt. You cannot serve God and money. The arrogance of today's super-rich makes the point. Super-rich people are in big trouble with God.

The third principle raises the question "who is to benefit?" In the Biblical economic system and ethic, the highest concern is focused on right where people live. Economics must serve the smaller of our social units.  A social unit may be understood as a family, a clan, a neighborhood or a community. The point of Biblical economics is that the concerns of God will never be found on Wall Street or in the corporate suites of Bank of America.

The Bible does indeed present an economic system with underlying principles. They are pounding at our door.

The Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.  His email address is

Reprinted by permission of the author.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

ANS -- State of War

Here's the scuttlebutt on the next secretary of state.  It's an opinion piece, but it gives you an idea what's going on with the brou-ha-ha over Susan Rice. 
Find it here:  

State of War

The Republicans have thrown down the gauntlet over the possibility that Susan Rice will replace Hillary Clinton. But the winner is already clear.

Illustration by Thomas Fuchs 

It was Tuesday morning in Phnom Penh when Barack Obama decided to dispatch Hillary Clinton to the Middle East to try to help defuse the mounting conflict in Gaza. Clinton had been traveling at Obama's side on his swing through Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia­but now duty called, and she was off to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo. So peripatetic has Clinton been as secretary of State that it seemed perversely fitting that what was billed as her final foreign trip with her boss would be cut short this way. And while news of cease-fire talks in Gaza came hours before she touched down in the region, the sequence of events was a vivid reminder of the stature that Clinton has gained in the job: For the past four years, she has been Obama's go-to gal in any global crisis.

Clinton's impending departure, in other words, presents the president with a massive pair of pumps to fill­and a domestic political skirmish far less bloody than, but nearly as bloody-minded as, the one in the Mideast. At the center of this conflagration is U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, one of the prime candidates to replace Clinton, and a series of Sunday-show appearances she made after the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, in which she declined to call it a terrorist incident but instead deemed it a "spontaneous" protest that had been "hijacked" by "clusters of extremists." For this, Rice is being flayed by John McCain, who has called her "not … very bright" and "not qualified" to be secretary of State, and pledged to do "everything in my power" to block her from the post, as well as being denounced by 97 House Republicans, who in a letter to Obama declared that Rice's "misleading statements" about Benghazi "caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world."

Beyond the spectacle of gratuitous spleen-venting, does any of this Republican fulmination matter in the least­or, as the headline of a recent Maureen Dowd column in the Times put it, "Is Rice Cooked?" As a rule, your columnist avoids predictions, but in the spirit of holiday indulgence, I will make an exception here: Not only will Obama appoint Rice to succeed Clinton but she will be confirmed. And though I offer this forecast without the aid of polling averages to lend a patina of statistical certainty to the endeavor, I do believe there are at least five sound reasons to think it will come true:

1. Because every piece of available evidence suggests Obama wants her in the job. Among all his senior foreign-policy hands, Rice has always been the one with whom the president has shared both a strong personal and policy-related bond. "There's a real similarity to the relationship between George W. Bush and the other foreign-policy Rice, in that they're close and they share a common view of the world and America's role in it," says Jonathan Prince, who served as a senior adviser to Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell and who argues that Obama's fiery defense of Rice in his postelection press conference made clear his inclination to give her State. "I don't know how you could see the way he reacted and not think that."

Rice has a number of other factors weighing on her side. Unlike John Kerry, the likeliest alternative, she has vocal champions inside the White House­in particular Valerie Jarrett. At the same time, few believe that Obama would want to have a less diverse Cabinet in his second term than he did in his first one, which means at least one of the Big Four departments being presided over by a woman. With Eric Holder now indicating that he will stay on as attorney general and current chief of staff Jack Lew likely taking over for Tim Geithner at Treasury, that leaves only State and Defense to fill­and a paucity of obviously qualified females to run the latter. Hence Rice at State with either Kerry, Rhode Island senator Jack Reed, or former senator Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon would seem a logical outcome.

2. Because Rice is manifestly qualified for the job.
Though the résumé she would bring to the job is not nearly as accomplished as Clinton's, the comparison is more than a bit unfair to a woman seventeen years younger. Over the course of the past two decades, she has been a rising celestial body in the Democratic foreign-policy firmament, serving on the staff of Hillary's husband's national-security council and as his assistant secretary of State for African affairs. As U.N. ambassador, she has sometimes ruffled feathers with her bluntness, but at the same time earned high marks for her tangible achievements: helping to secure unprecedented U.N. sanctions resolutions against Iran and North Korea and playing a pivotal role in persuading a wary Obama to intervene militarily in Libya.

3. Because nothing she did with respect to Benghazi disqualifies her from the job. There remain many valid, pertinent, pressing questions about the Obama administration's conduct in the weeks leading up to and the days following the September 11 attack that cost the lives of four Americans, including that of Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Given Stevens's early warnings about how the consulate was unprepared for such an assault, why wasn't more done to secure it? Why was help so slow to arrive when the diplomats who were pinned down there called for it during the siege? And why did intelligence officials, who now acknowledge that they believed the attack was a terrorist incident from day one, water down the talking points Rice was given before her appearances on the Sunday shows­changing a reference to Al Qaeda to the vaguer "extremists," for instance?

But none of this has anything to do with Rice, who on the shows was doing nothing more and nothing less than conveying the information that had been declassified and that she was authorized to impart. Had Rice decided on her own accord to go off-script and reveal what she had learned from the still-classified portions of her intelligence briefings at the time, is there any doubt that many of the same Republican lawmakers pummeling her now as unfit to be secretary of State would be using that transgression to reach the same conclusion?

4. Because McCain is being a jackass­and Obama is sick of it. Arguably more than any other national figure, the senior senator from Arizona is driven in every aspect of his public behavior by personal pique. In the wake of the 2000 Republican nomination fight, when he believed Bush and his campaign had defeated him by nefarious means, McCain lunged to the center and became one of the sharpest thorns in the side of the new president from his own party. In the wake of the 2008 election, when he was soundly thumped by a Democratic challenger whom he regarded as a neophyte and a pretender whose experience and valor were no match for his own, McCain immediately shed all traces of mavericky independence and became one of Obama's fiercest critics from the right.

Now into McCain's crosshairs has come Rice, who routinely stripped the bark off him four years ago as one of Obama's most quotable surrogates. ("His tendency is to shoot first and ask questions later; it is dangerous, and we can't afford four more years of this reckless foreign policy" is just one vintage example of the form.) No one who knows McCain believes he has forgotten these brickbats or that they are not a substantial part of what is motivating him now. Nor does anyone close to Obama not suspect that, after four years of McCain's truculence, he's had quite enough of it, thanks, and is indeed sorta spoiling for a fight.

5. Because if McCain insists on pressing that fight, Obama will win. With 55 Democratic votes in the Senate now, the administration is all but assured of having a majority to confirm Rice if Obama puts her name forward. The only way to halt her nomination would be by waging a filibuster, and even that effort might not prove fruitful­since if Democrats were to remain united, only five GOP defectors would be necessary to shut it down, and in the current environment of Republican soul-searching, finding those five votes might not be all that hard.

For the sake of argument, however, imagine the contrary scenario. Imagine that ­McCain does decide to filibuster and that enough of his party rallies around his cause. Imagine the White House and Senate Democrats standing firm, demanding an actual filibuster instead of simply folding at the threat of one, as has become common practice. Imagine McCain and his colleagues compelled to take to the well of the Senate to read the phone book all night long­a bunch of old white guys standing in the way of the ascension of a young, talented, guilty-of-nothing ­African-American woman in order to score cheap political points in a fight that, eventually, they would be all but certain to lose. Imagine how that will help resuscitate the Republican brand. Imagine.

It'll never happen, I hear you say­and you're right, and that's the point. Which is why I estimate there is a 79.4357 percent probability that Susan Rice will be confirmed early next year as secretary of State, and the vote won't even be close. Just remember: You read it here first­and Nate Silver ain't got nothing on me.

ANS -- The Blueprint (to solve homelessness)

this is a really good idea, and they now have data to back up what it costs, and what it saves.  Some good ideas are starting to show up.  Watch for them.
Find it here:  

The Blueprint

Post-Sandy, New York's homeless problem is even more daunting. One building in Brooklyn shows how it might be solved.

(Photo: Rendering courtesy of © Cook + Fox Architects)

A few weeks ago, I watched a man who had spent much of his life living in doorways and cardboard boxes shamble into the sun-washed lobby of a new building on Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville, dig an I.D. card out of baggy jeans, swipe through the turnstile, and take the elevator up to a modest but clean room equipped with a bed, an ample window, a closet, and a kitchenette. He was home.

Sandy has aggravated an already brutal housing crisis in New York. With 3,000 adults living on the streets, and another 47,000 people forced into homelessness by the economy, shelters are overflowing, and the city pays exorbitant rents for emergency lodgings. The danger is that temporary fixes and short-term squalor could become the new status quo. But housing the homeless, not in shelters but with dignity, is a less intractable challenge than it seems. Buildings like the Hegeman point the way. They are the product of an extensive network of nonprofit organizations and private developers that has accumulated enough experience, enlisted enough first-class architects, and slowly changed enough attitudes to put a solution within reach.

Built by the nonprofit organization Common Ground and designed by Cook + Fox (which also did the Bank of America tower), the Hegeman demonstrates how much quality architecture a scant budget will buy. Constructed for a modest $43 million, it is the best building for blocks, a handsome brick arrangement of 161 energy-efficient studios, a gym, support-staff offices, and a computer lab, all wrapped around a landscaped garden. There's no mystery to making low-cost housing this well designed: Hire better architects. "You can always take the same ingredients and make a better cake," says Alexander Gorlin, who designed another elegantly frugal Common Ground project, the Brook in the South Bronx. Prodded by a combination of recession-induced need and the profession's resurgent current of idealism, many top architects now chase such public-spirited jobs.

These architects and developers have the tools to tackle homelessness on a vast scale, but every project must slog through a bureaucratic quagmire. Fortunately, housing activists now have a powerful weapon with which to prod government officials into smoothing the way: data. Research by NYU's Furman Center shows that, far from blighting a neighborhood, high-quality supportive housing can actually increase property values. Multiple studies have shown that placing disabled, addicted, chronically sick, and mentally ill homeless people in facilities like the Hegeman saves millions in Medicaid payments. The numbers are proving persuasive. New York State has started channeling $75 million a year in Medicaid money toward supportive housing, and it's trying to persuade the federal government to add more.

In a city as dense as New York, land can be even harder to come by than money. (That's why the Bloomberg administration's affordable- housing program depends heavily on coaxing private developers to sprinkle market-rate high-rises with low-cost apartments.) But while New York has few expanses of land left for massive housing developments, plenty of smaller lots are scattered around the city. To free them up, NYU urbanism professor Mitchell Moss proposes taxing fallow land at a high enough rate to prod owners to build now or sell to those who will.

The idea that it might be possible to conquer homelessness is so foreign to the city's bureaucratic apparatus that officials from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development wouldn't hazard a guess as to the resources it would take. Common Ground offered some back-of-the-envelope calculations, though, and they're hardly terrifying. Putting up 100 new Hegeman-quality buildings with units of varying capacities would cost roughly $100,000 per apartment in public funds, with the rest coming from private lenders. The city's homeless problem, in other words, could be largely wiped out at a cost to taxpayers of roughly $1 billion­which also happens to have been the total bill for Barclays Center.

Friday, November 23, 2012

ANS -- A Failed Experiment

Here's a fairly short article about some of the effects of the widening gap between the rich and poor. 
Find it here:  

Advertise on

Op-Ed Columnist

A Failed Experiment


Published: November 21, 2012 607 Comments

In upper-middle-class suburbs on the East Coast, the newest must-have isn't a $7,500 Sub-Zero refrigerator. It's a standby generator that automatically flips on backup power to an entire house when the electrical grid goes out.

Damon Winter/The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof

In part, that's a legacy of Hurricane Sandy. Such a system can cost well over $10,000, but many families are fed up with losing power again and again.

(A month ago, I would have written more snarkily about residential generators. But then we lost power for 12 days after Sandy ­ and that was our third extended power outage in four years. Now I'm feeling less snarky than jealous!)

More broadly, the lust for generators is a reflection of our antiquated electrical grid and failure to address climate change. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our grid, prone to bottlenecks and blackouts, a grade of D+ in 2009.

So Generac, a Wisconsin company that dominates the generator market, says it is running three shifts to meet surging demand. About 3 percent of stand-alone homes worth more than $100,000 in the country now have standby generators installed.

"Demand for generators has been overwhelming, and we are increasing our production levels," Art Aiello, a spokesman for Generac, told me.

That's how things often work in America. Half-a-century of tax cuts focused on the wealthiest Americans leave us with third-rate public services, leading the wealthy to develop inefficient private workarounds.

It's manifestly silly (and highly polluting) for every fine home to have a generator. It would make more sense to invest those resources in the electrical grid so that it wouldn't fail in the first place.

But our political system is dysfunctional: in addressing income inequality, in confronting climate change and in maintaining national infrastructure.

The National Climatic Data Center has just reported that October was the 332nd month in a row of above-average global temperatures. As the environmental Web site Grist reported, that means that nobody younger than 27 has lived for a single month with colder-than-average global temperatures, yet climate change wasn't even much of an issue in the 2012 campaign. Likewise, the World Economic Forum ranks American infrastructure 25th in the world, down from 8th in 2003-4, yet infrastructure is barely mentioned by politicians.

So time and again, we see the decline of public services accompanied by the rise of private workarounds for the wealthy.

Is crime a problem? Well, rather than pay for better policing, move to a gated community with private security guards!

Are public schools failing? Well, superb private schools have spaces for a mere $40,000 per child per year.

Public libraries closing branches and cutting hours? Well, buy your own books and magazines!

Are public parks ­ even our awesome national parks, dubbed "America's best idea" and the quintessential "public good" ­ suffering from budget cuts? Don't whine. Just buy a weekend home in the country!

Public playgrounds and tennis courts decrepit? Never mind ­ just join a private tennis club!

I'm used to seeing this mind-set in developing countries like Chad or Pakistan, where the feudal rich make do behind high walls topped with shards of glass; increasingly, I see it in our country. The disregard for public goods was epitomized by Mitt Romney's call to end financing of public broadcasting.

A wealthy friend of mine notes that we all pay for poverty in the end. The upfront way is to finance early childhood education for at-risk kids. The back-end way is to pay for prisons and private security guards. In cities with high economic inequality, such as New York and Los Angeles, more than 1 percent of all employees work as private security guards, according to census data.

This question of public goods hovers in the backdrop as we confront the "fiscal cliff" and seek to reach a deal based on a mix of higher revenues and reduced benefits. It's true that we have a problem with rising entitlement spending, especially in health care. But I also wonder if we've reached the end of a failed half-century experiment in ever-lower tax rates for the wealthy.

Since the 1950s, the top federal income tax rate has fallen from 90 percent or more to 35 percent. Capital gains tax rates have been cut by more than half since the late 1970s. Financial tycoons now often pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries.

All this has coincided with the decline of some public services and the emergence of staggering levels of inequality (granted, other factors are also at work) such that the top 1 percent of Americans now have greater collective net worth than the entire bottom 90 percent.

Not even the hum of the most powerful private generator can disguise the failure of that long experiment.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on November 22, 2012, on page A35 of the New York edition with the headline: A Failed Experiment.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ANS -- My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice

Here is a really good summary of the right wing Christian position on abortion, and its history.  It will surprise many of you. 
Find it here:   
My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice
The author notes that evangelical Christians were once largely pro-abortion rights.
October 30th, 2012
05:54 PM ET

My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice

[] Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of " Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics."

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Over the course of the 2012 election season, evangelical politicians have put their community's hard-line opposition to abortion on dramatic display.

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin claimed "legitimate rape" doesn't result in pregnancy. Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock insisted that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

While these statements have understandably provoked outrage, they've also reinforced a false assumption, shared by liberals and conservatives alike: that uncompromising opposition to abortion is a timeless feature of evangelical Christianity.

The reality is that what conservative Christians now say is the Bible's clear teaching on the matter was not a widespread interpretation until the late 20th century.

Opinion: Let's get real about abortions

In 1968, Christianity Today published a special issue on contraception and abortion, encapsulating the consensus among evangelical thinkers at the time. In the leading article, professor Bruce Waltke, of the famously conservative Dallas Theological Seminary, explained the Bible plainly teaches that life begins at birth:

"God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: 'If a man kills any human life he will be put to death' (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22–24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense… Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul."

The magazine Christian Life agreed, insisting, "The Bible definitely pinpoints a difference in the value of a fetus and an adult." And the Southern Baptist Convention passed a 1971 resolution affirming abortion should be legal not only to protect the life of the mother, but to protect her emotional health as well.

Opinion: Why the abortion issue won't go away

These stalwart evangelical institutions and leaders would be heretics by today's standards. Yet their positions were mainstream at the time, widely believed by born-again Christians to flow from the unambiguous teaching of Scripture.

Televangelist Jerry Falwell spearheaded the reversal of opinion on abortion in the late 1970s, leading his Moral Majority activist group into close political alliance with Catholic organizations against the sexual revolution.

In contrast to evangelicals, Catholics had mobilized against abortion immediately after Roe v. Wade. Drawing on mid-19th century Church doctrines, organizations like the National Right to Life Committee insisted a right to life exists from the moment of conception.

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As evangelical leaders formed common cause with Catholics on topics like feminism and homosexuality, they began re-interpreting the Bible as teaching the Roman Catholic position on abortion.

Falwell's first major treatment of the issue, in a 1980 book chapter called, significantly, "The Right to Life," declared, "The Bible clearly states that life begins at conception… (Abortion) is murder according to the Word of God."

With the megawatt power of his TV presence and mailing list, Falwell and his allies disseminated these interpretations to evangelicals across America.

CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

By 1984, it became clear these efforts had worked. That year, InterVarsity Press published the book Brave New People, which re-stated the 1970 evangelical consensus: abortion was a tough issue and warranted in many circumstances.

An avalanche of protests met the publication, forcing InterVarsity Press to withdraw a book for the first time in its history.

"The heresy of which I appear to be guilty," the author lamented, "is that I cannot state categorically that human/personal life commences at day one of gestation.... In order to be labeled an evangelical, it is now essential to hold a particular view of the status of the embryo and fetus."

What the author quickly realized was that the "biblical view on abortion" had dramatically shifted over the course of a mere 15 years, from clearly stating life begins at birth to just as clearly teaching it begins at conception.

During the 2008 presidential election, Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren demonstrated the depth of this shift when he proclaimed: "The reason I believe life begins at conception is 'cause the Bible says it."

It is hard to underestimate the political significance of this reversal. It has required the GOP presidential nominee to switch his views from pro-choice to pro-life to be a viable candidate. It has led conservative Christians to vote for politicians like Akin and Mourdock for an entire generation.

And on November 6, it will lead millions of evangelicals to support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama out of the conviction that the Bible unequivocally forbids abortion.

But before casting their ballots, such evangelicals would benefit from pausing to look back at their own history. In doing so, they might consider the possibility that they aren't submitting to the dictates of a timeless biblical truth, but instead, to the goals of a well-organized political initiative only a little more than 30 years old.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.
The Editors - CNN Belief Blog

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ANS -- Gaza

I got a request from a reader for something on the Israel/Palestine issue.  I got the link to this article from Doug Muder's blog. 
Find it here:  

Monday, November 19, 2012


by David Atkins

There has been some annoyance in some quarters at the lack of comprehensive coverage of the events in Gaza by the much of the most widely read parts of the progressive blogosphere. I agree that the coverage has been limited. But there are three good reasons for that:

1) Incoherent, hateful backlash. The fact is that it's impossible to say anything substantive about the Israel-Palestine conflict without being called a hateful anti-Semite, or a hateful bloodthirsty imperialist. Most hilarious is the notion that silence on the issue is caused by defense of the Administration, as if most of the progressive blogosphere had been somehow aggressive against the Bush Administration for failure to be concerned about the Palestinian people. If one examines the archives, one will see that most of the big sites from Atrios to DailyKos to TPM to Hullabaloo and the rest have largely refrained from commenting too much on the issue for years, long before Obama took office. That's in large part because nothing can be said about it without eliciting a horrifying deluge of asinine commentary that no other issue seems to generate. Especially for unpaid bloggers more concerned with climate change, the predations of the financial sector, the ongoing assault against the middle class and women's rights, etc., it's often not worth the headache of being called a vicious anti-semitic terrorist enabler and/or imperialist apartheid murderer--often for the exact same post.

2) There are no good guys here. Bibi Netanyahu is a horrible person, and Likud is filled with horrible people. They're basically the Israeli version of Dick Cheney and John Bolton, but with a religious belief in their right to steal land that belongs to others.

Hamas, meanwhile, is a murderous organization of cutthroats who refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist and want to drive every Jew out of the land they believe their God owes them.

Israeli policy pretends to want to keep control of illegal settlements that continue to incur into Palestinian lands while secretly encouraging it. Whatever goes for Palestinian authority pretends to want peace and self-determination while doing next to nothing to prevent rockets from being fired at Israeli civilians. Hamas knows that there can be no peace without recognizing Israel's fundamental right to exist, but they can't even bring themselves to put those words down on a negotiating contract. Israel knows that there can be no pressure on Hamas to negotiate fairly as long as Palestine remains an Apartheid-style lockdown zone with continued encroachment from settlement.

So we get the usual cycle of violence with no end in sight.

3) There's nothing we can do about it. It makes sense to blog about things that we can theoretically do something about. The Gaza situation is frankly hopeless at the moment. America is not going to abandon its commitment to protect the only functioning democracy in the region and the only dependable national refuge for the Jewish people. The American people can and should eschew support for Netanyahu and Likud, but it's not as if relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu aren't already frosty. Netanyahu quite obviously wanted Romney to win, and there can be little doubt that Obama would prefer to deal with someone from Labour/Kadima. Defunding Israel isn't an option, particularly given the hostility of other Middle Eastern powers to Israel's very existence.

So that leaves bloggers advocating for cooler heads and changes in leadership on both sides of a dispute over which American activists have very little control, and in which there are no clear-cut good guys. Syria is less complicated, frankly, with much greater suffering and bloodshed--and it's not exactly been a huge topic of debate in the progressive blogosphere, either.

So don't expect a lot of coverage of the issue. Most of us don't want to take a lot of stupid abuse from nutty people for speaking powerlessly over an issue in which both sides deserve plenty of scorn.



Here is a short article about free speech and the responsibility a radio station has to not just tell one side of the story.  A moral and patriotic responsibility, unfortunately no longer a legal responsibility....
Find it here:;  

November 18, 2012


Liberals take false heart in our success in the Arts, Film and Music. Because, while Liberals mock AM Talk radio as primitive nonsense we ignore that AM Radio is the most pervasive and permeating of all media in the USA.

As Rush Limbaugh says 'there is not an ear in the entire country and our overseas Armed Forces Networks' that can't pick him up, three hours a day five days a week and at no more cost than a five dollar radio and a $1 battery per year.

Conservatives are controlling Media through their monopoly of AM Broadcast Licenses.

Whoever owns the media owns the minds. All of the Nations Airwaves are Public Airwaves. They are like our national parks. A treasure meant to serve the people primarily and reflect their views and interests locally.

These public airwaves are not meant to be leased to monolithic corporate interests in perpetuity.

Whether you believe in classical evolution or not I know we all believe in 'intellectual evolution'. Freedom of speech does lead to the betterment of all.

So, we do need laws to require countering views on our public airwaves if we are to progress as a society.

Posted by The Dixie Dove at 5:10 PM 0 comments [] Links to this post

November 14, 2012


Below here is a post on Facebook from Carl Wolfson. Carl was a very successful Liberal radio talk-show host on KPOJ in Portland Oregon, until two days after the election, when Clear Channel gave him the boot. Whut....? But that's not all...CC [Clear Channel] is managing to buy up most of the public airwaves in the USA, but without reflecting 'community' in their broadcasting. The FCC needs to look at this. I live in hyper-Blue Athens GA and I can hear ZERO that is not FAR-RIGHT political non-sense. This is MONOPOLY, this goes against the American principle of Free Speech! We must stand up to this as freedom loving individuals to protect the public square/the public airwaves for truly free speech!
We as a nation MUST start considering this MONOPOLY OF THOUGHT that has been purchased by Clear Channel and Cox Broadcasting and WABC NY. They are truly subjecting America to PROPAGANDA and leaving no room for countering thought. This, even as their views are less popular. IT IS NOT RIGHT.
Message from Carl-
"Thanks to all of you for your kind comments and passion for progressive radio in Portland. And special thanks to Tom Dwyer, Bill Dickey, Tom Barreto and all of our loyal advertisers. KPOJ made money for Clear Channel for many years, and I will put our lineup up against the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Berry any day. More soon."


And if you want to read more about this here is an article published in Blue Oregon. I disagree with it a little, in that I'm sure that Clear Channel was playing political bully, but it has good info...DD

The real reason that Clear Channel dumped KPOJ
By Adam Klugman of Portland, Oregon. Adam is a media strategist, activist and former host of KPOJ's Mad as Hell in America.
The announcement this week that Clear Channel Radio was taking Carl Wolfson off the air landed like news of an illness. And in many ways, it is an illness. Because after hosting my own weekly progressive talk show on KPOJ for over a year, it became obvious to me that Clear Channel Radio has a kind of illness – ill with small-mindedness, ill with corporate groupthink, and ill with a reflexive pandering that not only has become the hallmark of conservative radio, but also of the conservative movement. The only good news, as this most recent presidential election has clearly demonstrated, is that Corporate America's unconscious contempt for the people of this country will, in the end, be its undoing.
I wish I could say that firing Carl and switching to Fox Sports was politically motivated because at least then I could reason there was some kind of ethical foundation for the decision. But Clear Channel Radio has no ethical foundation for any of their decisions.  And it really isn't about the almighty dollar either, no matter how much they doth protest, because the truth is that KPOJ turned a profit. I was told this personally by two of the executives over there on multiple occasions and I have every reason to believe them.
No, the real reason Clear Channel fired Carl Wolfson and dumped KPOJ without so much as a backwards glance is really much more dire than political agendas or money. This recent action is about a dangerous brand of hubris that has been on this rise is this country for over thirty years. I've spent a lot of time at Clear Channel Radio and I've seen firsthand the profound arrogance that only masquerades as a concern over profit, but really has its roots in something much more toxic - the conceit that they are somehow better than the community they serve and therefore have no obligation to them.
They've conveniently forgotten that the airwaves they use to distribute their mostly conservative smut belongs to us - -the people. They have completely abandoned the idea that radio is a critical instrument of a free press and thereby an extension of our First Amendment. And like their bile- mongering champions Michael Berry and Rush Limbaugh who exalt "real American values" while simultaneously ripping them to shreds, their total disregard for the importance of diverse, democratic dialogue is trumped only by their blind commitment to towing the corporate line.
This action must not go unanswered. Clear Channel has abused the public airwaves for far too long with its one-sided propaganda party and it is time they answer for it. So I call on all of Oregon to boycott the new KPOJ channel. Make a big, embarassing noise whever you can. Write to the sponsors explaining why you will not be buying any of their products and make it clear that you will encourage your friends to do the same. And sign Kari's petition today!
I also call on our progressive political leaders like Jeff Merkley, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter Defazio, Ron Wyden and the Governor himself to demand Clear Channel Radio make a public justification for using their national media monopoly to shut down the only progressive voice on our local, public airwaves. This is not about the empty jargon of "free enterprise," this is about free speech. It is not about "good business," it is about best practices. And maybe most importantly, it is about holding the arrogance of America's mega-corporations accountable to the communities they are privileged to serve.
So I say let's make Clear Channel Radio's recent decision an example to the nation. When they shut down our progressive outlet with their bloated conceit, we will burst it by shutting down the "new" KPOJ down with our discontent. Then, and only then, will we be able to send a clear message…that we are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
Posted by The Dixie Dove at 7:07 PM 0 comments [] Links to this post

ANS -- Talking Turkey About Climate

Here's how to talk with your various relatives about climate change at Thanksgiving dinner. 
Find it here:   

Talking Turkey About Climate

Without starting a food fight


Climate change has become one of those divisive, polarizing issues that confound our political system. It's often hard to even have a civil conversation with folks who disagree, even with close relatives or friends.

But in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and after the last year of devastating extreme weather, it is clear that the climate crisis has arrived. And the key to solving it is educating those around us.

Chances are your friends & family fall into one of the following six categories:
  • Alarmed Aunt Anna
  • Concerned Grandpa Christopher
  • Cautious Cousin Charlie
  • Disengaged Grandma Denise
  • Doubtful Brother David
  • Dismissive Aunt Debbie

The way people in each category respond to the climate issue varies. If you want to have an effective conversation, the way you talk about climate with different types of people should adjust accordingly.


Alarmed Aunt Anna & Concerned Grandpa Christopher

They believe the science is real, but may doubt our ability to solve the climate crisis.

Here are a few points that may inspire them to keep up the fight:
  • California the 8th largest economy in the world just implemented the world's most ambitious climate action plan.
  • At the national level, the EPA is starting to regulate climate pollution using its existing authority under the Clean Air Act.
  • The renewable energy industry is growing exponentially -- in fact, the clean energy economy is growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy, and we have enough potential wind and solar energy in the U.S. to power our economy 100 times over.

Trump Card

    Yes, this is challenging. Yes, it will take time to rebuild support for national climate action. But what choice do we have? This year's extreme weather proves that there is no time to waste, and we need to act now.


Cautious Cousin Charlie, Disengaged Grandma Denise, & Doubtful Brother David

These folks probably (and wrongly) believe that there isn't a true consensus on the science of climate change. We know that's not true, but don't go on the attack! They tend to be more open to changing their minds if they are engaged in effective conversation.

Here are some basic facts that they'll find engaging:
  • Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas, and that's generally a very good thing. Without greenhouse gases, every night when the sun sets, temperatures would immediately plunge to frigid levels.
  • But, we are now emitting 9 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, and CO2 levels have increased by about a third since the industrial revolution. If we don't reduce emissions, we could more than double the level of CO2 in the atmosphere over this century.
  • Already, food growing patterns are changing, seasons are coming earlier, water resources are strained and the number of natural disasters in the U.S. has more than quadrupled in the last 50 years.

Trump Card

    You don't have to accept all the science. But, if you had a health condition and 98 out of 100 doctors agreed on the diagnosis, would you base your treatment on the views of the other two?
$25 $35 $50

Kim, please help us achieve our 2013 goals!

Thanks to the support of dedicated people like you who care about the environment, together we claimed many important victories in 2012. Please help us make 2013 equally successful by making a donation to EDF today!

Dismissive Aunt Debbie

The truth is, there is almost no chance of changing her mind, and it's probably not worth trying unless you like banging your head against a wall. Ironically, research shows that the more facts you try to present, the less likely she will be to agree. However, even Dismissive Aunt Debbie will be open to arguments about stimulating the economy and protecting national security.

Try steering the conversation towards those issues:
  • America needs to rebuild. Did you know the clean energy sector creates 3 times as many jobs as the fossil fuel sector? We can't afford to pass up those jobs.
  • Other countries are taking advantage of the economic stimulation that comes with climate action. China is testing carbon cap-and-trade markets in an area encompassing 250 million people. The U.S. needs to stay competitive.
  • America's billion-dollar-a-day dependence on oil from hostile nations directly funds our most dangerous enemies, putting guns and bullets into their hands and putting our soldiers in danger. It is time for America to stand strong on its own independent and in control of our energy future.

Trump Card

    Whether climate change is real or not, the benefits of a clean energy economy are undeniable. Not only will we rid ourselves of dangerous pollution that can make us sick and even cause deaths we can finally be energy independent. What's the downsid

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ANS -- Capitalism and Climate Change

Here is an intro, and then the transcript of a video.  It's Bill Moyers interviewing Naomi Klein on climate change.  You can read the transcript, or go to the site and see the interview. 
Find it here: -  

Hurricane Sandy destroyed 111 homes in the Queens neighborhood  
Hurricane Sandy destroyed 111 homes in the Queens neighborhood of Rockaway Beach. (photo: USAF/Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen)

go to original article

Capitalism and Climate Change

By Bill Moyers, Naomi Klein, Moyers & Company

18 November 12




[] aomi Klein, author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, says the tragic destruction of Hurricane Sandy can also be the catalyst for the transformation of politics and our economy. She's been in New York visiting the devastated areas - including those where "Occupy Sandy" volunteers are unfolding new models of relief - as part of her reporting for a new book and film on climate change and the future, and joins Bill to discuss hurricanes, climate change, and democracy.

"Let's rebuild by actually getting at the root causes. Let's respond by aiming for an economy that responds to the crisis both [through] inequality and climate change," Klein tells Bill. "You know, dream big."

Full Transcript

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. The Sherlock Holmes of money in politics -- Trevor Potter -- is here with some clues to what the billionaires and super PACs got for their lavish spending in the most expensive election in our history. In a nutshell: "You ain't seen nothing yet."

But first, if you've been curious about why New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama for re-election, just take another look at the widespread havoc caused by the Frankenstorm benignly named Sandy. Having surveyed all this damage Bloomberg Business Week concluded: "It's Global Warming, Stupid: If Hurricane Sandy doesn't persuade Americans to get serious about climate change, nothing will."

Well it was enough to prompt President Obama, at his press conference this week, to say more about global warming than he did all year.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we've got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.

BILL MOYERS: But he made it clear that actually doing something about it will take a back seat to the economy for now. He did return to New York on Thursday to review the recovery effort on Staten Island. Climate change and Hurricane Sandy brought Naomi Klein to town, too. You may know her as the author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." Readers of two influential magazines to put Naomi Klein high on the list of the 100 leading public thinkers in the world. She is now reporting for a new book and documentary on how climate change can spur political and economic transformation. She also has joined with the environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben in a campaign launched this week called "Do the Math." More on that shortly.

Naomi Klein, Welcome.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: First, congratulations on the baby.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: How old now?

NAOMI KLEIN: He is five months today.

BILL MOYERS: First child?

NAOMI KLEIN: My first child, yeah.

BILL MOYERS: How does a child change the way you see the world?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well it lengthens your timeline definitely. I'm really immersed in climate science right now because of the project I'm working on is related to that. So you know there are always these projections into the future, you know, what's going to happen in 2050? What's going to happen in 2080? And I think when you're solo, you think, "Okay, well, how old will I be then?" Well, you know, and now I'm thinking how old will he be then, right? And so, it's not that-- but I don't like the idea that, "Okay, now I care about the future now that I have a child." I think that everybody cares about the future. And I cared about it when I didn't have a child, too.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I understand that but we're so complacent about climate change. A new study shows that while the number of people who believe it's happening has increased by, say, three percentage points over the last year, the number of people who don't think it is human caused has dropped.

NAOMI KLEIN: It has dropped dramatically. I mean, the statistics on this are quite incredible. 2007, according to a Harris poll, 71 percent of Americans believed that climate change was real, that it was human caused. And by last year, that number went down to 44 percent. 71 percent to 44 percent, that is an unbelievable drop in belief. But then you look at the coverage that the issue's received in the media. And it's also dropped dramatically from that high point. 2007, you know, this was this moment where, you know, Hollywood was on board. "Vanity Fair" launched their annual green issue.

And by the way, there hasn't been an annual green issue since 2008. Stars were showing up to the Academy Awards in hybrid cars. And there was a sense, you know, we all have to play our part, including the elites. And that has really been lost. And that's why it's got to come from the bottom up this time.

BILL MOYERS: But what do you think happened to diminish the enthusiasm for doing something about it, the attention from the press, the interest of the elite? What is it?

NAOMI KLEIN: I think we're up against a very powerful lobby. And you know, this is the fossil fuel lobby. And they have every reason in the world to prevent this from being the most urgent issue on our agenda. And I think, you know, if we look at the history of the environmental movement, going back 25 years to when this issue really broke through, you know, when James Hansen testified before Congress, that--

BILL MOYERS: The NASA scientist, yeah.

NAOMI KLEIN: Exactly, our foremost climate scientist, and said, "I believe it is happening. And I believe it is human caused." That was the moment where we could no longer deny that we knew, right? I mean, scientists actually knew what well beforehand. But that was the breakthrough moment. And that was 1988. And if we think about what else was happening in the late '80s? Well, the Berlin Wall fell the next year. And the end of history was declared. And, you know, climate change in a sense, it hit us at the worst possible historical moment. Because it does require collective action, right? It does require that we, you, regulate corporations. That you get, you know, that you plan collectively as a society. And at the moment that it hit the mainstream, all of those ideas fell into disrepute, right? It was all supposed to be free market solutions. Governments were supposed to get out of the way of corporations. Planning was a dirty word, that was what communists did, right? Anything collective was a dirty word. Margaret Thatcher said, "There's no such thing as society."

Now if you believe that, you can't do anything about climate change, because it is the essence of a collective problem. This is our collective atmosphere. We can only respond to this collectively. So the environmental movement responded to that by really personalizing the problem and saying, "Okay, you recycle. And you buy a hybrid car." And treating this like this could or we'll have business-friendly solutions like cap and trade and carbon offsetting. That doesn't work. So that's part of the problem. So you have this movement that every once in a while would rear up and people would get all excited and we're really going to do something about this. And whether it was the Rio Summit or the Copenhagen Summit or that moment when Al Gore came out with Inconvenient Truth, but then it would just recede, because it didn't have that collective social support that it needed.

And on top of that, you have, we've had this concerted campaign by the fossil fuel lobby to both buy off the environmental movement, to defame the environmental movement, to infiltrate the environmental movement, and to spread lies in the culture. And that's what the climate denial movement has been doing so effectively.

BILL MOYERS: I read a piece just this week by the environmental writer Glenn Scherer. He took a look and finds that over the last two years, the lion's share of the damage from extreme weather, floods, tornadoes, droughts, thunder storms, wind storms, heat waves, wildfires, has occurred in Republican-leaning red states. But those states have sent a whole new crop of climate change deniers to Congress.

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, someone's going to have to explain Oklahoma to me, you know?

BILL MOYERS: My native state.

NAOMI KLEIN: My sister lives in Oklahoma. And, you know, it is so shocking that James Inhofe, the foremost climate denying senator is from the state that is so deeply climate effected. There was something, actually, I was-- last year I covered the Heartland Conference, which is the annual confab for all the climate deniers. And James Inhofe was supposed to be the keynote speaker. And the first morning of the conference, there was lots of buzz. He's the rock star among the climate deniers. Inhofe is coming, he's opening up this conference, right? And the first morning the main conference organizer stands up at breakfast and lets loose the bad news that James Inhofe has called in sick and he can't make it.

And it turns out that he had gone swimming in a lake filled with blue-green algae, which is actually a climate-related issue. When lakes get too warm, this blue-green algae spreads. And he had gone swimming. And he had gotten sick from the blue-green algae. So he actually arguably had a climate-related illness and couldn't come to the climate change conference. But even though he was sick, he wrote a letter from his sickbed just telling them what a great job he was doing. So the powers of denial are amazingly strong, Bill. If you are deeply invested in this free-market ideology, you know, if you really believe with your heart and soul that everything public and anything the government does is evil and that, you know, our liberation will come from liberating corporations, then climate change fundamentally challenges your worldview, precisely because we have to regulate.

We have to plan. We can't leave everything to the free market. In fact, climate change is, I would argue, the greatest single free-market failure. This is what happens when you don't regulate corporations and you allow them to treat the atmosphere as an open sewer. So it isn't just, "Okay, the fossil fuel companies want to protect their profits." It's that it's that this science threatens a worldview. And when you dig deeper, when you drill deeper into those statistics about the drop in belief in climate change, what you see is that Democrats still believe in in climate change, in the 70th percentile. That whole drop of belief, drop off in belief has happened on the right side of the political spectrum. So the most reliable predictor of whether or not somebody believes that climate change is real is what their views are on a range of other political subjects. You know, what do you think about abortion? What is your view of taxes? And what you find is that people who have very strong conservative political beliefs cannot deal with this science, because it threatens everything else they believe.

BILL MOYERS: Do you really believe, are you convinced that there are no free-market solutions? There's no way to let the market help us solve this crisis?

NAOMI KLEIN: No, absolutely the market can play a role. There are things that government can do to incentivize the free market to do a better job, yes. But is that a replacement for getting in the way, actively, of the fossil fuel industry and preventing them from destroying our chances of a future on a livable planet? It's not a replacement.

We have to do both. Yes, we need these market incentives on the one hand to encourage renewable energy. But we also need a government that's willing to say no. No, you can't mine the Alberta tar sands and burn enough carbon that you will have game over for the climate as James Hansen has said.

ILL MOYERS: But I'm one of those who is the other end of the corporation. I mean, we had a crisis in New York the last two weeks. We couldn't get gasoline for the indispensable vehicles that get us to work, get us to the supermarket, get us to our sick friends or neighbors. I mean, the point I'm trying to make is we are all the fossil fuel industry, are we not?

NAOMI KLEIN: You know, we often hear that. We often hear that we're all equally responsible for climate change. And that it's just the rules of supply and demand.

BILL MOYERS: I have two cars. I keep them filled with gasoline.

NAOMI KLEIN: But I think the question is, you know, if there was a fantastic public transit system that really made it easy for you to get where you wanted to go, would you drive less? So I don't know about you, but I, you know, I certainly would.

BILL MOYERS: I mean, I use the subways all the time here.

NAOMI KLEIN: And if it was possible to recharge an electric vehicle, if it was as easy to do that as it is to fill up your car with gasoline, you know, if that electricity came from solar and wind, would you insist, "No, I want to fill my car with, you know, with dirty energy"? No, I don't think you would. Because this is what I think we have expressed over and over again. We are willing to make changes. You know we recycle and we compost. We ride bicycles. I mean, there there's actually been a tremendous amount of willingness and goodwill for people to change their behavior. But I think where people get demoralized is when they see, "Okay, I'm making these changes, but emissions are still going up, because the corporations aren't changing how they do business." So no, I don't think we're all equally guilty.

BILL MOYERS: President Obama managed to avoid the subject all through the campaign and he hasn't exactly been leading the way.

NAOMI KLEIN: He has not been leading the way. And in fact, you know, he spent a lot of time on the campaign bragging about how much pipeline he's laid down and this ridiculous notion of an all of the above energy strategy, as if you can, you know, develop solar and wind alongside more coal, you know, more oil, more natural gas, and it's all going to work out in the end.

No, it doesn't add up. And, you know, I think personally, I think the environmental movement has been a little too close to Obama. And, you know, we learned, for instance, recently, about a meeting that took place shortly after Obama was elected where the message that all these big green groups got was, "We don't want to talk about climate change. We want to talk about green jobs and energy security." And a lot of these big green groups played along. So I feel--

BILL MOYERS: You mean the big environmental groups?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, big environmental groups went along with this messaging, talking about energy security, instead of talking about climate change, 'cause they were told that that wasn't a winnable message. I just think it's wrong. I think it's bad strategy.

BILL MOYERS: He got reelected.

NAOMI KLEIN: He got, well, he got reelected, but you know what? I think he, I think Hurricane Sandy helped Obama get reelected.


NAOMI KLEIN: Well, look at the Bloomberg endorsement that came at the last minute. I mean, Bloomberg endorsed Obama because of climate change. Because he believed that this was an issue that voters cared enough about that they would, that Independents would swing to Obama over climate change, and some of the polling absolutely supports this, that this was one of the reasons why people voted for Obama over Romney was that they were concerned about climate change and they felt that he was a better candidate on climate change.

The truth was, we didn't have a good candidate. We had a terrible, terrible candidate on climate change, and we had a candidate on climate change who needs a lot of pressure. So I feel more optimistic than I did in 2008, because I think in 2008 the attitude of the environmental movement was, "Our guy just got in and we need to support him. And he's going to give us the legislation that we, that we want. And we're going to take his advice. And we're going to be good little soldiers."

And now maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I think that people learned the lesson of the past four years. And people now understand that what Obama needs or what we need, forget what Obama needs, is a real independent movement with climate change at its center and that's going to put pressure on the entire political class and directly on the fossil fuel companies on this issue. And there's no waiting around for Obama to do it for you.

BILL MOYERS: Why would you think that the next four years of a lame duck president would be more successful from your standpoint than the first four years, when he's looking to reelection?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I think on the one hand, we're going to see more direct action. But the other strategy is to go where the problem is. And the problem is the companies themselves. And we're launching the "Do the Math" tour which is actually trying to kick off a divestment movement. I mean, we're going after these companies where it hurts, which is their portfolios, which is their stock price.

BILL MOYERS: You're asking people to disinvest, to take their money out of, universities in particular, right? This is what happened during the fight against apartheid in South Africa and ultimately proved successful.

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, and this is, we are modeling it on the anti-apartheid divestment movement. And the reason it's called "Do the Math" is because of this new body of research that came out last year. A group in Britain called "The Carbon Tracker Initiative." And this is, you know, a fairly conservative group that addresses itself to the financial community. This is not, you know, sort of activist research. This is a group that identified a market bubble and were concerned about this meant to investors. So it's a pretty conservative take on it. And what the numbers that they crunched found is that if we are going to ward off truly catastrophic climate change, we need to keep the increase, the temperature increase, below 2 degrees centigrade.

NAOMI KLEIN: The problem with that is that they also measured how much the fossil fuel companies and countries who own their own national oil reserves have now currently in their reserves, which means they have already laid claim to this. They already own it. It's already inflating their stock price, okay? So how much is that? It's five times more. So that means that the whole business model for the fossil fuel industry is based on burning five times more carbon than is compatible with a livable planet. So what we're saying is, "Your business model is at war with life on this planet. It's at war with us. And we need to fight back."

So we're saying, "These are rogue companies. And we think in particular young people whose whole future lies ahead of them have to send a message to their universities, who, and, you know, almost every university has a huge endowment. And there isn't an endowment out there that doesn't have holdings in these fossil fuel companies. And so young people are saying to the people who charged with their education, charged with preparing them for the outside world, for their future jobs, "Explain to me how you can prepare me for a future that with your actions you're demonstrating you don't believe in. How can you prepare me for a future at the same time as you bet against my future with these fossil fuel holdings? You do the math and you tell me." And I think there's a tremendous moral clarity that comes from having that kind of a youth-led movement. So we're really excited about it.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean rogue corporations? You're talking about Chevron and Exxon-Mobil and BP and all of these huge capitalist or institutions.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, rogue corporations, because their business model involves externalizing the price of their waste onto the rest of us. So their business model is based on not having to pay for what they think of as an externality, which is the carbon that's spewed into the atmosphere that is warming the planet. And that price is enormous. We absolutely know that the future is going to be filled with many more such super storms and many more such costly, multibillion-dollar disasters. It's already happening. Last year was-- there were more billion-dollar disasters than any year previously. So climate change is costing us. And yet you see this squabbling at, you know, the state level, at the municipal level, over who is going to pay for this

NAOMI KLEIN: The public sector doesn't have the money to pay for what these rogue corporations have left us with, the price tag of climate change. So we have to do two things. We have to make sure that it doesn't get worse, that the price tag doesn't get higher. And we need to get some of that money back, which means, you know, looking at issues like fossil fuel subsidies and, you know, to me, it's so crazy. I mean, here we are post-Hurricane Sandy. Everyone is saying, "Well, maybe this is going to be our wakeup call." And right now in New York City, the debate is over how much to increase fares in public transit. And they want to, the Metro Transit Authority wants to increase the price of riding the subway, you know, the price of riding the trains, quite a bit. And so how does this make sense? We're supposedly having a wakeup call about climate change. And we're making it harder for people to use public transit. And that's because we don't have the resources that we need.

BILL MOYERS: You've been out among the areas of devastation. Why?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, for this book I'm currently writing about climate change and a documentary to go with it, so we were filming in the Rockaways, which is one of the hardest-hit areas and Staten Island and in Red Hook. And also in the relief hubs, where you see just a tremendous number of volunteers organized by, actually, organized by Occupy Wall Street. They call it Occupy Sandy.


NAOMI KLEIN: Yes. And what I found is that people are­the generosity is tremendous, the humanity is tremendous. I saw a friend last night, and I asked her whether she'd been involved in the hurricane relief. And she said, "Yeah, I gave them my car. I hope I get it back. If you see it, tell me." So people are tremendous.

BILL MOYERS: This means--

NAOMI KLEIN: So one of the things that you find out in a disaster is you really do need a public sector. It really important. And coming back to what we were talking about earlier, why is climate change so threatening to people on the conservative end of the political spectrum? One of the things it makes an argument for is the public sphere. You need public transit to prevent climate change. But you also need a public health care system to respond to it. It can't just be ad hoc. It can't just be charity and goodwill.

BILL MOYERS: When you use terms like "collective action," "central planning," you scare corporate executive and the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation because they say you want to do away with capitalism.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, first of all, I don't use a phrase like "central planning." I talk about planning, but I don't think it should be central. And one of the things that one must admit when looking at climate change is that the only thing just as bad or maybe even worse for the climate than capitalism was communism. And when we look at the carbon emissions for the eastern bloc countries, they were actually, in some cases, worse than countries like Australia or Canada. So, let's just call it a tie. So we need to look for other models. And I think there needs to be much more decentralization and a much deeper definition of democracy than we have right now.

BILL MOYERS: Decentralization of what, Naomi?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, for instance, you know, if we think about renewable energy, well, one of the things that's happened is that when you try to get wind farms set up, really big wind farms, there's usually a lot of community resistance that's happened in the United States. It's happened in Britain. Where it hasn't happened is Germany and Denmark. And the reason for that is that in those places you have movements that have demanded that the renewable energy be community controlled, not centrally planned, but community controlled. So that there's a sense of ownership, not by some big, faceless state, but by the people who actually live in the community that is impacted.

BILL MOYERS: You've written that climate change has little to do with the state of the environment, but much to do with the state of capitalism and transforming the American economic system. And you see an opening with Sandy, right?

NAOMI KLEIN: I do see an opening, because, you know, whenever you have this kind of destruction, there has to be a reconstruction. And what I documented in "The Shock Doctrine" is that these right-wing think tanks, like the ones you named, like the American Enterprise Institute or the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, they historically have gotten very, very good at seizing these moments of opportunity to push through their wish list of policies.

And often their wish list of policies actually dig us deeper into crisis. If I can just-- if you'll bear with me, I'll just give you one example. After Hurricane Katrina, there was a meeting at the Heritage Foundation, just two weeks after the storm hit. Parts of the city were still underwater. And there was a meeting, the "Wall Street Journal" reported on it. And I got the minutes from the meeting.

The heading was 31 free market solutions for Hurricane Katrina. And you go down the list and it was: and don't reopen the public schools, replace the public schools with vouchers. And drill for oil in ANWAR, in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, more oil refineries. So what kind of free market solutions are these, right?

Here you have a crisis that was created by a collision between heavy weather (which may or may not have been linked to climate change, but certainly it's what climate change looks like) colliding with weak infrastructure, because of years and years of neglect. And the free market solutions to this crisis are, "Let's just get rid of the public infrastructure altogether and drill for more oil, which is the root cause of climate change." So that's their shock doctrine. And I think it's time for a people's shock.

BILL MOYERS: People's shock?

NAOMI KLEIN: A people's shock, which actually we've had before, as you know, where, you know, if you think about 1929 and the market shock, and the way in which the public responded. They wanted to get at the root of the problem. And they wanted to get away from speculative finance and that's how we got some very good legislation passed in this country like Glass-Steagall, and much of the social safety net was born in that moment. Not by exploiting crisis to horde power for the few and to ram through policies that people don't want, but to build popular movements and to really deepen democracy.

BILL MOYERS: Well, the main thesis of "Shock Doctrine," which came out five years ago before the great crash was that disaster capitalism exploits crises in order to move greater wealth to the hands of the fewer and fewer people. You don't expect those people to change their appetites do you or their ways do you, because we face a climate crisis?

NAOMI KLEIN: I don't expect them to. I wrote "The Shock Doctrine" because I believe that we, I believed at the time that we didn't understand this tactic. We didn't understand that during times of crisis certain sectors of the business world and the political class take advantage of our disorientation in order to ram through these policies. And I believed, at the time, that if we understood it, you know, if we had a name for it, if we had a word, a language for it, then the next time they tried it, we would fight back. Because the whole tactic is about taking advantage of our disorientation in those moments of crisis. And the fact that we often can become childlike and look towards, you know, a supposed expert class and leaders to take care of us. And we become too trusting, frankly, during disasters.

BILL MOYERS: It used to be said that weather, now global warming, climate change, was the great equalizer. It affected rich and poor alike. You don't think it does, do you?

NAOMI KLEIN: What I'm seeing. And I've seen this, you know--I've been tracking this now for about six years, more and more, there's a privatization of response to disaster, where I think that wealthy people understand that, yes, we are going to see more and more storms. We live in a turbulent world. It's going to get even more turbulent. And they're planning. So you have, for instance private insurance companies now increasingly offer what they call a concierge service. The first company that was doing this was A.I.G. And in the midst of the California wildfires about six years ago, for the first time, you saw private firefighters showing up at people's homes, spraying them in fire retardant, so that when the flames came, this house would stay. This mansion, usually, would be standing and the one next door might burn to the ground. So this is extraordinary. Because we would tend to think of, you know, firefighting. This is definitely, you know, a public good. This is definitely something that people get equally. But now we're finding that even that there's even a sort of two-tiering of protection from wildfires.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, there was even a short-lived airline in Florida I read about that offered five-star evacuation service in events of hurricanes.

NAOMI KLEIN: After Hurricane Katrina a company in Florida saw a market opportunity. And they decided to offer a charter airline that would turn your hurricane into a luxury vacation. That was actually the slogan. They would let you know when a hurricane was headed for your area. They would pick you up in a limousine, drive you to the airport, and whisk you up. And they would make you five star hotel reservations at the destination of your choice. So, you know, why does a hurricane have to be bad news after all?

BILL MOYERS: And this kind of privatization is what you wrote about in "Shock Doctrine," that privatization of resources, monopolization of resources by the rich, in times of crisis, further divide us as a society

NAOMI KLEIN: Absolutely. And, you know, one of the things about deregulated capitalism is that it is a crisis creation machine, you know? You take away all the rules and you are going to have serial crises. They may be economic crises, booms and busts. Or there will be ecological crises. You're going to have both. You're just going to have shock after shock after shock. And the more, the longer this goes on, the more shocks you're going to have.

And the way we're currently responding to it is that with each shock, we become more divided. And the more we understand that this is what the future looks like, the more those who can afford it protect themselves and buy their way out of having to depend on the public sector and therefore are less invested in these collective responses. And that's why there has to be a whole other way of responding to this crisis.

BILL MOYERS: You wrote recently that climate change can be a historic moment to usher in the next great wave of progressive change.

NAOMI KLEIN: It can be and it must be. I mean, it's our only chance. I believe it's the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. And we've been kidding ourselves about what it's going to take to get our emissions down to the extent that they need to go down. I mean, you talk about 80 percent lowering emissions. I mean, that is such a huge shift.

And I think that's part of the way in which, and I don't mean to beat up on the big environmental groups, because they do fantastic work. But I think that part of the reason why public opinion on this issue has been so shaky is that it doesn't really add up to say to the public, you know, "This is a huge problem. It's Armageddon." You know, you have "Inconvenient Truth." You scare the hell out of people. But then you say, "Well, the solution can be very minor. You can change your light bulb. And we'll have this complicated piece of legislation called cap and trade that you don't really understand, but that basically means that companies here can keep on polluting, but they're going to trade their carbon emissions. And, you know, somebody else is going to plant trees on the other side of the planet and they'll get credits."

And people look at that going, "Okay, if this was a crisis, wouldn't be we be responding more aggressively? So wouldn't we be responding in a way that you have, we've responded in the past during war times, where there's been, you know, that kind of a collective sense of shared responsibility?" Because I think when we really do feel that sense of urgency about an issue, and I believe we should feel it about climate change, we are willing to sacrifice. We have shown that in the past. But when you hold up a supposed emergency and actually don't ask anything of people, anything major, they actually think you might be lying, that it might not really be an emergency after all. So if this is an emergency, we have to act like it. And yeah, it is a fundamental challenge. But the good news is, you know, we get to have a future for our kids.

BILL MOYERS: Naomi Klein, thank you for joining me.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure.


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+3 # fredboy 2012-11-18 15:16
The increasing number of environment ass whippings are and will continue to put an enormous strain on our economy. Anyone factored this into the equation?
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+1 # brianf 2012-11-18 17:46
The biggest strain on our economy is the climate disaster caused by global warming. And very few have factored this into the equation, especially when talking about the future.
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+2 # Barbara K 2012-11-18 15:32
All one has to do is to look around to see that the climate is changing, no matter how many lies the fossil fuel industry, and others, try to deny it. We need to ignore them and take actions to protect ourselves and correct what is happening to our environment to cause it. The Climate Deniers have no credibility, just lies. We need action and we need it now, it is nearly too late already. They are getting rich off what they are doing to us. One day, they will realize that they've gone too far, and that they can't take their money with them.
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+2 # Depressionborn 2012-11-18 16:01
Klein and Moyers might google "sunspot activity". It doesn't look too good.
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0 # brianf 2012-11-18 17:49
Sunspot activity goes in cycles. It has been low the past few years, which helped to mask the continuing global warming. Now that sunspot activity has increased, the effects of greenhouse gases are again manifesting. If you take into account all the factors, global warming is much more obvious and much more scary.
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+3 # PrinceDarrell 2012-11-18 16:16
The economy and green energy conversion are one and the same. To convert over will cost trillions... but those trillions can be accounted for by energy conservation over ten years, end of foriegn oil expenditures (6 trillion over 10 years) and less in wars (3 trillion) We will need near 0 unemployment, and a BOOMING economy, to get done what needs to be done, quickly enough.
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-1 # Dumbledorf 2012-11-18 16:25
Time to jump on board the "climate change" wagon (again) and have a party! You know, it is a really sad state of affairs when so many of our political commentators and pundits have fallen prey for the same old, pre-packaged and manufactured lies, based on secret agendas, whose purpose is not to benefit humanity or the people most in need, but to sell books and make money for international bankers and elites. Who do you think is going to profit most from a "carbon tax?" How about Al Gore, for one! Yes, he's heavily invested in this money-making scam as are many other promoters of climate change.

In 1966, the U.S. military started a secret program to increase the warming of the earth. It was heralded as a great advancement in civilization! Better look at this before voting me down....http:// ernment-documen ts-link-global- warming-advance d-military-clim ate-modificatio n-technology/33 5921/
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0 # Malcolm 2012-11-18 17:27
Quoting Dumbledorf:
Time to jump on board the "climate change" wagon (again) and have a party! You know, it is a really sad state of affairs when so many of our political commentators and pundits have fallen prey for the same old, pre-packaged and manufactured lies, based on secret agendas, whose purpose is not to benefit humanity or the people most in need, but to sell books and make money for international bankers and elites. Who do you think is going to profit most from a "carbon tax?" How about Al Gore, for one! Yes, he's heavily invested in this money-making scam as are many other promoters of climate change.

In 1966, the U.S. military started a secret program to increase the warming of the earth. It was heralded as a great advancement in civilization! Better look at this before voting me down....

Sorry, chum; though i doubt that AGW exists, I doubt anyone can say for certain. Furthermore, your website appears to promote "chemtrails", and thus loses all credibility. In fact, chemtrail fanatics' arguments tend to hurt doubters' efforts to find truth in the whole AGW argument.
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+1 # brianf 2012-11-18 16:50
I think Naomi really nailed it when she said treating this as a personal problem can't solve it and letting the free market control things will only make it worse.

A grass roots solution won't work either, any more than a grass roots solution could have won World War II. But a grass roots movement can force the government to do it's job to protect its people, and government working with society can force corporations to stop killing our future. Call it socialism if you want, but it's the only thing that will save us.

The question is whether enough people wake up in time and then take real action.
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+1 # jwb110 2012-11-18 16:56
When the rich industrialist's homes flood and it costs them, then something will be done and not before.
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0 # brianf 2012-11-18 17:50
They will just move to the hills and continue to deny so they can reap more profits. Never underestimate the power of denial.
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+2 # Vardoz 2012-11-18 17:01
It's here. It's happening and the energy companies don't care how bad it gets and that is a big problem for mankind. Billions will suffer and die so that a few can stay rich. This is much worse then any war- this is global destruction. HELLO TIME TO SAVE THE PLANET!
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+1 # Rathbone 2012-11-18 17:01
The smart rich have already sold their coastal homes. Romney is on a lake.
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+1 # Malcolm 2012-11-18 17:16
I've been a registered Democrat since 1966. I'm not beholden to any fossil fuel industry a-holes.

I have a science background, including climatology, geology, oceanography, physics %. I'm a retired green building contractor, designer/builde r of passive solar homes, and inventor of renewable energy devices.

Since 1972-3, when I learned about rising CO2 levels, I followed the party line on global warming. But then I saw "Inconvenient Truth", and due to the clear misinformation in that film, began doing my own research. I am totally convinced that anthropomorphic global warming is far from a settled issue. I won't explain that; you've all heard the arguments ad nauseum.

I have a question for Naomi Kline. You said, "And on top of that, you have, we've had this concerted campaign by the fossil fuel lobby to both buy off the environmental movement, to defame the environmental movement, to infiltrate the environmental movement, and to spread lies in the culture. And that's what the climate denial movement has been doing so effectively."

Do you seriously believer that all of us who disagree with your conclusions (you, with no known science education) have been "bought off"? I find that insulting.

I also wonder what you will say, in the waya of apology, in the event that AGW is eventually disproven. Thanks. Other than AGW, I greatly admire your works.
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+1 # brianf 2012-11-18 17:57
All I can say is that you could not have been going to peer reviewed studies when you did your research, and my question to you is: why not? You need to understand that all kinds of interests can and will publish anything they want and call it science, but it can be hogwash.

I have also done my own research since seeing An Inconvenient Truth, actually since before then. I have read over 30 books by climate scientists and summaries of thousands of peer reviewed papers. And I can say with certainty that if Al Gore got anything wrong, he underestimated the severity of the problem. It's not his fault - he relied on the scientists, who also underestimated it.

If you really care about the truth, I suggest you redo your research, and this time only read peer reviewed papers. AGW has more proof than most accepted theories. The only questions are how bad will it get and by when, and only we can answer, by our actions.
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0 # Banichi 2012-11-18 17:40
Naomi Klein is such a terrific, incisive speaker and researcher, and so committed to the work of waking up people! I am in complete agreement with what she has to say.

I have also been saying, before the election that gave Obama another term, that 'We the People' can not depend on Obama to lead the way out of the mess we are in with climate change and a host of other related issues, including specifically financial reform like the Glass-Steagal act being made into law again.

What we as a people must do is as Naomi Klein said, to take the lead to create the solutions, including putting a lot of pressure on Obama so he can say to the GOP in the House - who we must also put unrelenting pressure on - that this issue is the first priority and they need to pay attention. No more gutting government, no more tax deals for the wealthy.

It is what we must do to survive and bring about change, if we want to have a planet that will support us in a few years.
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-1 # Malcolm 2012-11-18 17:45
Naomi says, "And it turns out that he had gone swimming in a lake filled with blue-green algae, which is actually a climate-related issue. When lakes get too warm, this blue-green algae spreads."

I'd be greatly appreciative if you-or someone-would back up this statement with some data. Because, in my world, blue green algae is ubuquitous, occurring almost worldwide, in freshwater, ocean water, and even in boiling water. In addition, it's an important player in our ocean's nutrient cycles.

I've also wondered why it's gotten to be a medical issue (ever heard of "Super Blue Green Algae", marketed to the health food crowd?

I have been unable to answer that question, however, and personally can only speculate that "bad" blue green algae may be the result of genetic manipulation, as was the formerly benign E. coli. But "don't quote me" :) as the word's still out!
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+1 # noitall 2012-11-18 17:55
Great interview and Naomi, as usual, gets to the core. Its the young people that must lead this charge, educate and recruit among their friends and through social networking. They are the ones that will face the brunt of what these rogues are profitting from. Us old guys are there to help them do it their way. What will THEIR next 40 years be like?
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-1 # Malcolm 2012-11-18 17:58
C'mon, Naomi! When you say, "And what you find is that people who have very strong conservative political beliefs cannot deal with this science, because it threatens everything else they believe.", you overlook the other half of of your equation. Those who lean strongly to the left-as most of my friends and I do-hear that AGW is actually-just maybe-a sham, THEY feel threatened, just as the right wing nuts do.

And this is the core of the whole fight we're experiencing with AGW: a huge percentage of people form their opinions on AGW (And OPINIONS is the key word!) by parroting what they hear from friends, and, on a good day, from the press. That includes both you and Bill McKibben. Have either of you done original research, or are you-like the majority of folks- simply parroting the work of others?
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