Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Clean and Green Jobs Solution

North Carolina Sees New Jobs,

Rapid Growth in Renewable Energy 


By Stirling Little 
 Progressive America Rising via The Daily Tar Heel 
Renewable energy has emerged as a growing industry in the state, according to a recent report by the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association.
The report identified more than 1,800 renewable energy projects in the state this year.
About 1,100 firms were involved with renewable energy activities in 2010, according to the association.
Erik Lensch, president of Argand Energy Solutions, a solar energy company based in Charlotte, said his company has been a part of the industry’s recent expansion.
“We have doubled (in size) every year since 2008,” he said. “We just kicked off a $3 million project this week, our largest ever.”


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

GOP Throws Granny Under the Bus

National GOP Leaders Want to

Destroy the US Social Safety Net

They Have Had This Goal for Generations Because People Who Receive the Benefits of the US Social Safety Net Predominantly Are Democrats, or People so Dense ‘Tea Partiers,’ Who Receive These Benefits but Don't Realize They Do

By Brian Conners
Progressive America Rising via Takeaways

Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system and reduce Medicaid by turning them into block grant which won't keep up with the pace of medical costs.

This means that the elderly and ill segments of our population will be encouraged to " die quickly" -- remember Grayson's summary of the GOP's health care plan? This isn't what they signed up for. The GOP is not being true to the bargain we gave our people.

The article "Medicare Saves Money" delineates how the GOP is hurting us all by its Medicare plan." states "Every once in a while a politician comes up with an idea that's so bad, so wrongheaded, that you're almost grateful. For really bad ideas can help illustrate the extent to which policy discourse has gone off the rails.

And so it was with Senator Joseph Lieberman's proposal, released last week, to raise the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67.

Like Republicans who want to end Medicare as we know it and replace it with (grossly inadequate) insurance vouchers, Mr. Lieberman describes his proposal as a way to save Medicare. It wouldn't actually do that. But more to the point, our goal shouldn't be to "save Medicare," whatever that means. It should be to ensure that Americans get the health care they need, at a cost the nation can afford.

And here's what you need to know: Medicare actually saves money -- a lot of money -- compared with relying on private insurance companies. And this in turn means that pushing people out of Medicare, in addition to depriving many Americans of needed care, would almost surely end up increasing total health care costs."


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gambit or End Game? No Matter, Keep Pressing for ‘Out Now!’

How the U.S. Intends to

End War with Taliban

By Ahmed Rashid

Progressive America Rising via Financial Times

After more than two years of internal disputes and rivalries, the Obama administration is for the first time united on stepping up its secret talks with the Taliban. It also wants to start wider talks with regional countries such as Pakistan, which hold the key to a peaceful settlement as the US and Nato prepare to pull out their troops by 2014.

As the situation in Afghanistan worsens with a ferocious Taliban summer offensive having just started with a spate of suicide bombings, the White House, the state department and the Pentagon are preparing for extensive diplomatic initiatives in the next few months to take the fledgling peace process forward and push to broker an end to the war.

After extensive interviews in Washington with many of the key players involved in Afghan policy, it is apparent that several major US initiatives boosted by Nato are under way. The clear aim is to end what all but some of the uniformed generals recognize as an impasse which cannot be resolved by force of arms alone.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Happened to ‘Changing The Mindset’ for Getting into Wars?

Obama's Libya Defense Makes

Bush's Lawyers Look Smart

By David Swanson
Beaver County Peace Links via

June 16, 2011 - The arguments made to "legalize" war, torture, warrantless spying, and other crimes by John Yoo and Jay Bybee and their gang are looking rational, well-reasoned, and impeccably researched in comparison with Obama's latest "legalization" of the Libya War.

Here's the key section from Wednesday's report to Congress:

"Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions, the President had constitutional authority, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to direct such limited military operations abroad. The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of 'hostilities' contemplated by the Resolution's 60 day termination provision. U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo. U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors."

Whatever the president's "foreign affairs powers" may be, they do not, under the U.S. Constitution, include the power to launch "military operations" or "hostilities" or "wars." Nor has the distinction between "military operations" that involve what ordinary humans call warfare (blowing up buildings with missiles) and "hostilities" that qualify for regulation under the War Powers Resolution been previously established. This distinction is as crazy as any that have come out of U.S. government lawyers in the past.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Yet Another Reason to Like the WPA

Mural Depicts Depression Era in Coalfields

By Bill Archer
Progressive America Rising via Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va, June 13, 2011. — A neon light fixture in the lobby of the Bluefield, Va., post office partially obscures a Tazewell County art treasure, but the tempera mural above the postmaster’s office door represents a New Deal initiative that was aimed at restoring morale among citizens who were suffering the lingering effects of surviving the Great Depression.

In the years after the end of World War I, the U.S. economy experienced some robust growth and left evidence of that growth in cities throughout the nation. Most of the imposing structures in the heart of downtown Bluefield including the 13-story tall West Virginian Manor and the Arts and Crafts Center appeared in the mid-1920s, and steel-making coal from southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia was in great demand as builders used steel as the framework for skyscrapers including the Empire State Building completed in 1931.

While “Black Thursday,” Oct. 24, 1029, signaled the start of the decline, the Dust Bowl drought starting in 1930 and lasting almost a decade threw the U.S. into desperate straights and by March 9, 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a “Bank Holiday” and started the process of restoring confidence in the nation’s banks, every American family had been touched in some way by the depression.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Labor and ‘Medicare for All’

Still Paying Through the Nose,

Labor Campaigns for Single Payer

By Andy Coates
Health Care NOW via Labor Notes

June 9, 2011 - A year after President Obama signed his health care reform with strong support from the labor movement, advocates of a single-payer system might be tempted to ask, “How’s that working out for you?”

At last weekend’s conference of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, a Plumbers and Pipe Fitters delegate pointed out that his members are paying $12.31 per hour for their health benefits.

The activists marshaled their forces once again in D.C. last weekend, where campaign coordinator Mark Dudzic reported progress on the group’s mission: “to establish and expand within labor the idea that labor has got to lead this fight” for single payer, or improved and expanded Medicare-for-All.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

2012 Warning: Voters Want an End to the Wars

The Fight for Peace Heats Up

By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via

June 8, 2011 - Sixty-four percent of Americans think the number of troops in Afghanistan should be decreased. (CBS News)The New York Times finally acknowledged this week that a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan is a real possibility being considered by the White House.

In a lead story on June 6, the Times reported that the Obama administration is considering a “steeper” reduction of troops than previously discussed or acknowledged.

The fact is that Democratic constituencies and leaders, responding to overwhelming public sentiment against the war, have been uniting in recent weeks behind a call for “substantial and significant” troops reductions and a transfer of war funds to job creation at home.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Solar: Before It’s Too Late

Michael Lind's Clueless and Fossilized

Thinking on Coal, Oil and Natural Gas

(A Critique of Michael Lind’s Salon Article, ‘Everything

you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong’)

By David Schwartzman

Progressive America Rising

It’s the other way around. Nearly everything we hear from Lind in this Salon piece (May 31, 2011)  is wrong, except for his argument that huge potential reserves of fossil fuel will likely prove peak oil boosters being big exaggerators. The latter news may not be wrong, but it is hardly comforting.

More importantly, Lind’s uninformed dismissal of solar power as a real alternative is typical misinformation that we can expect from the fossil fuel/nuclear lobbies. And his misplaced optimism regarding the unlikelihood of catastrophic climate change (C3) from rising levels of greenhouse gas is still another unsubstantiated claim. We’re used to hearing this from scientifically illiterate global warming deniers. Why Lind chooses to join them is a puzzle.

Whenever peak fossil fuel usage occurs--either from the exhaustion of reserves or replacement by alternatives--the Age of Fossil Fuels will soon be over. Human civilization and existing biodiversity will simply not sustain ever rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane. We have precious little time, if any at all, to radically reduce carbon emissions and replace fossil fuel energy with solar.  This is fundamentally why Lind's born again fossil fuel enthusiasm is so misplaced. If he has the facts and science to claim otherwise, he should produce it. As a scientist involved in this field, I don’t think he can.


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