Daily Topics - Thursday - April 22 2010

It's Earth Day!

Hour One - How gullible does the oil industry think we are? H. Leighton Steward http://plantsneedco2.com

Hour Two - Obama's speech and have we become - "Can I see your papers...Please?" 

Hour Three - It's a rumble! - Does Earth Day Movement Pushes Painful Policies...American Families Hurt By Higher Costs and TaxesMike Carey www.ACAREnow.org

Plus...Manny Howard Writer/Editor...author of "My Empire of Dirt" From suburbanite to back yard farmer in his big city backyard

Comments

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#1

Happy Earth Day everybody.

N

making progress's picture
making progress 9 years 43 weeks ago
#2

Capitalism Hits The Fan
- by Richard Wolff

http://www.capitalismhitsthefan.com/
http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/139/transcript_139.pdf

I encourage Thom and everyone else to listen to, or read, Marxist Economic Professor Richard Wolff's Lecture about our Economic Crisis. His basic contention is that we need a Cultural Paradigm Shift. Essentially, unless we remove the Boards of Drectors of Corporations and make it so that every company is employee owned, then the problem will remain. Below is an excerpt. PLEASE HAVE HIM ON FOR A DISCUSSION.

"Both Keynesian economists and Free Marketeers may have made a terrible mistake, by not asking about the underlying structure of our economy that renders both of them inadequate to dealing with what actually happens in a capitalism that runs the way ours does, and brings us to this position of a bankrupt business community on the other side of the barricades from an exhausted and anxiety-ridden working class, which is a recipe for social disaster. And if we don’t deal it in a serious way, we’re going to have to live through some of the hardest times that this nation has ever had to go through. And at a time when the rest of the world will need to deal with its own versions of this problem, that we can expect very little help, very little help from anyone else. So, it depends on us, whether we will have the strength – and the daring – to look at these problems in new ways and face the possibility of making radical changes."

http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/139/transcript_139.pdf

MugsysRapSheet's picture
MugsysRapSheet 9 years 43 weeks ago
#3

Thom, questions for Stewart, the Global Warming denier nut:

First, there is such thing as "over-saturation" of CO2 for plants. Plants do not "thrive" in a heavilly CO2 saturated atmosphere.

Second: How do you STOP the warming once it begins? Venus is a Global Warming paradise, with an atmosphere thick with CO2. No life, plant or otherwise.

Third, does Stewart own a greenhouse? Does he keep his patio furniture in his greenhouse? Why not?

ADDENDUM: I wasn't aware "gravity" was still up for debate.

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 9 years 43 weeks ago
#4

It's interesting to hear that we have a moral obligation to produce more CO2 because it's plant food. We wouldn't like to kill plants by denying them food. Also interesting is that we're strip-mining forests and wetlands and replacing them with barren soil and asphalt.

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 9 years 43 weeks ago
#5

How gullible does the oil industry think we are?


At the very least , they think that we are as gullible as the Banksters and the Rethuglican leadership think we are. Perhaps a bit more, but not much.

All of them rely upon Faux News, the rest of the corporate-controlled media and the memory hole to keep those who are allergic to independent thought thinking only what they approve of.

Yes, Dr, Steward , we KNOW that plants need CO2. They also need fertilizer. Horse Manure makes an EXCELLENT fertilizer, sir, and you are certainly full of it

Here's something else you have right - when the levels of atmospheric CO2 rise to the point where humans can no longer breathe, the Earth will become a MUCH greener place.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#6

MugsysRapSheet, great points. I would call Stewart a Climate Change Profiteer instead of a Global Warming denier nut, since he presents data that will ultimately reinforce his wage and "Stock Options". He's as odius as a war profiteer.

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 9 years 43 weeks ago
#7

Free markets are free in the same sense that reality shows are real.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#8

Anarchy Market

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#9

"Raise Our Taxes --- Please"

After seeing this excellent interview with PA Gov. Ed Rendell discussing tax increase proposals, I decided that I would send this URL to every member of the Minnesota legislature (video):

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show#36701345

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#10

I have been trying to get information on the financial reform legislation (which may come up for a vote as early as today.) I listened to an extended interview with Tim Geithner on "Morning Joe" today (URL in my next post.) To hear Geithner, all is well and derivatives will see the light of day. However, that is misleading. A NYTimes editorial this a.m. was MUCH clearer:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/opinion/22thu1.html?ref=opinion

"After Goldman"

After the government sued Goldman Sachs for fraud, a lot of politicians vowed to finally clean up the system. In an important committee vote on Wednesday, 13 senators — including one Republican for a refreshing change — approved a measure that would go a long way toward regulating derivatives, the complex instruments at the heart of the bubble, the bust, the bailouts and the Goldman case.

It is still not tough enough to avoid another catastrophe. While the bill rightly calls for most derivatives deals — currently private contracts — to be traded on regulated exchanges, it has too many loopholes. And it doesn’t ban the sort of excessive speculation that characterized the Goldman deal.

The taxpayers are gaining, but the banks — which make a lot of money on derivatives — are still way ahead.

The bill would allow too many trades to be done off the exchanges. Regulators would be able to police them, but there would be no ongoing investor oversight. There are carve-outs for certain corporate users of derivatives and for contracts tailored to unique purposes. The bill also would allow the Treasury secretary to exempt an entire type of derivative known as foreign exchange swaps.

Corporate pension funds that invest in derivatives would be subjected to less scrutiny than is required of many other investors. The financing arms of major manufacturers would also escape full scrutiny. All of that is going in the wrong direction.

Which brings us back to Goldman. A court will have to decide if the bank committed fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission says that Goldman designed a derivative — a “synthetic collateralized debt obligation,” or C.D.O. — that would have a high chance of falling in value, at the request of a hedge fund client who wanted to bet against it. The S.E.C. charges that Goldman misled investors by not revealing the hedge fund’s role in selecting the investments. Goldman says it was not obligated to do so.

The current reforms being considered by Congress might at least have made Goldman think twice about that obligation. Both the agriculture and banking committees’ bills impose business conduct standards that would require dealers to disclose conflicts of interest.

It is not clear if the current bills would require synthetic C.D.O.’s to be exchange-traded. If they were, that would give investors a fighting chance to figure out the game. In addition to providing information about prices and volumes, exchange trading would subject derivatives to a full range of regulations, including disclosure and reporting requirements and stricter antifraud rules.

The bills also call for regulators to set adequate capital requirements for major dealers and participants so that there would be a cushion when derivative investments go bad.

What all those proposals don’t address is whether the type of derivative Goldman was selling should even be allowed to exist. The Goldman deal was nothing more than a bet on the mortgage market, in which one side was destined to win and the other to lose, without “investing” anything in the real economy. The C.D.O. did not hold actual mortgage-related bonds, but rather allowed the participants to stake a position on whether bonds owned by others would perform well, or tank. And that helped to further inflate the housing bubble.

That is not investing. It is gambling, and it is abusive. It has no place in banks that can bring down the system if they fail.

Yet none of the pending reform bills would ban abusive derivatives. Instead, regulators would be limited to gathering information about potential abuses and reporting their concerns to Congress.

The bill does say that the regulator cannot approve “gaming contracts.” But C.D.O.’s are often so complex that it may be difficult to figure out if they are, in fact, gaming or a threat to the broader economy.

Congress should ban both gaming and abusive derivatives. That would help clarify the difference between pure speculation and true hedging. It would start to restore what has been lost in the crisis: public confidence in the integrity of financial markets.

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#11

Geithner Interview Today (first 2 clips - video):

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/ns/msnbc_tv-morning_joe

RandyWinn's picture
RandyWinn 9 years 43 weeks ago
#12

Bill Gates Sr - yes get him or a spokesperson on about WA's I-1077!

An important point: I-1077 CUTS TAXES for the middle class and small business and pays for it by taxing high income. The economic effects ... even if revenue neutral ...would be GREAT for our economy.

More info:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/I-1077-middle-class-tax-relief-and-high-earners-income-tax/110940342277213?ref=mf

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 9 years 43 weeks ago
#13

RIP Jack Herer -

Thom has recently started to run ads for a company called Hempest.com, which markets prodct made (obviously) from the hemp plant. About 20 years ago I read a book about the potential economic bounty of hemp's legalization and commercial use, and the absurd historical justiufications for this noble plant being illegal, called "The Emperor Has No Clothes" by a guy named Jack Herer. In the book, Herer made several claims about how the legalization and commercialization of hemp could save the US economy and break our dependence on foreign oil, and I recall that Jack had a standing offer of $10,000 to anyone who could debunk any of his claims.

I paid a visit to the Hempest websitte shortly after Thom's ad this morning and saw near the bottom of their homepage that Mr. Herer had passed away just last week. I am saddened by this, and recommend his book to one and all here.

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#14

I love to read Gail Collins' opinion pieces. She is a very entertaining writer. The following is from today's column. I will never think of derivatives the same way again. LOL!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/opinion/22collins.html?ref=opinion

"Dance of the Derivatives"

Excerpt:

Try to think of derivatives as being like the Tribbles in that classic “Star Trek” episode. For all of history, there was no such thing. Then somebody found the first ones, which looked cute and made soothing noises. We liked them fine, until the population grew to be worth about $600 trillion. When they got into the financial engine, all hell broke loose.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#15

Well less food means more starvation, means less people. Obviously that's not the ideal solution, so what can be done to limit population expansion humanely?

I understand that one of the more successful techniques is educating women as well as giving them equality, in developing countries as the literacy and equality rate for women have gone up, birth rates have gone down.

Another issue is the amount of food (plant) supply it takes to feed livestock. Even if the world didn't go vegetarian, but just cut down the amount of meat each person ate (looking at you America), the amount of food available would increase dramatically.

But then I might have to give up Meat Sundaes... I don't know if saving the world is really worth that.

N

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#16

Would a VAT in the U.S. change legislative thinking, to ENCOURAGE and REBUILD manufacturing in this country? Win-Win?

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#17

Nels,

Mmmmmmm! Meat sundaes....! ;-)

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#18

Quark, I hope I can get those Sundae's topped with two types of gravy. :-P

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#19

I wonder if the people have considered what the end result of their law will be? Soon the Indian tribes that run Casinos on their reservations will be able to purchase more and more adjacent land to their reservations and incorporate the lands. The nation will then revert back to being nearly wholly owned by the Confederacy of Native Americans, who will then use such laws pioneered by Arizona to send all fair skinned (retroactively) illegal aliens back to Europe.

It could happen, with Citizens United giving corporations unlimited spending, just think what can happen when the Native Americans start really buying lobbyists in force.

N

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 9 years 43 weeks ago
#20

A thought about "Complex Financial Instruments" -

Although I know that lotsa folks in here have problems (mainly in tone) with Randi Rhodes, I'd like to repeat something that she often says on this topic. In fact, I'm going to dub it "The Rhodes Rule of Complex Finance", and I shall try to state it in the simplest terms possible.

Whether in matters of finance or of law, that which the profession's practitioners refer to as "complexity" simply refers to a bunch of bullcrap that they DO NOT WANT the layman to understand. Thus, the longer it takes to describe or explain the purpose of a given financial instrument, the higher the probability that it's REAL purpose is to STEAL YOUR MONEY, and line the pockets of the guy trying to sell it to you.

Simple, no?

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#21

I think if people are being arrested for being illegal when their not, sounds like a good case for sueing for FALSE ARREST. Lets see that go to the SCROTUS.

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 9 years 43 weeks ago
#22

Gov. Quinn (D-IL) is supported in quest for income tax increase by Gov. Edgar (R-IL), former governor of Illinois. Blago cynically attacked that proposal, claiming he was for the 'little guy.'

If a progressive income tax chases people out of Illinois, then good riddance.

TheVelvetJesus.com's picture
TheVelvetJesus.com 9 years 43 weeks ago
#23

WEAR A SOMBRERO DAY!

I am declaring this Sunday (April 25th) – the day I predict Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona to sign into law a new draconian anti-immigration bill allowing police officers to subjectively harass anyone they suspect as “possibly being in our country illegally” – as National Wear a Sombrero Day!

National Wear a Sombrero Day is a political statement opposing the State of Arizona’s new law. But more importantly, it’s a way to confuse and “throw-off” an arresting officer’s “best judgment” and/or “probable cause for suspicion.”

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 9 years 43 weeks ago
#24

@Nels, re: Returing the USA to The Confederacy of Native Americans -

(Here, I simply have to repeat something that you wrote in reply to one of MY posts yesterday.)

You say that like it's a BAD thing! :-D

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 9 years 43 weeks ago
#25

Prove that I am NOT a citizen! What ever happened to the Bill of Rights? Oh, yeah, it only applies to wealthy freemen who are land holders.

Foodfascist's picture
Foodfascist 9 years 43 weeks ago
#26

Dang- had posted this in the wrong thread:

Is this guest for real? Schill hides behind his credentials.

Carbon resides and travels in what is known as the Carbon Cycle. Carbon cycles at various cycling intervals. Cycles of time accountants typically deal with are for example when paying wages and or salaries and or bonuses. These are usually computed as either hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly intervals of time.

Carbon cycles on a geologic scale

Geologists account for carbon that cycles from between those of thousands to millions to hundreds of millions of years. This carbon variation tends to reflect the movements of the plates as in tectonics, the science of how land masses move together and apart. Volcanoes form and explode as land masses come together and apart. Mid-ocean ridges become active and inactive. Climate patterns follow the shifts in these land masses for which reflect the ice ages and changes in sea-levels.

Geologists rely upon data such as oxygen and carbon isotopes and air bubbles preserved in ice cores from which carbon dioxide can be measured. Geologists also will utilize fossil micro fauna and flora, and pollen to extrapolate atmospheric temperature readings.

Carbon cycles on an environmental scale

Environmentalists account for carbon that cycles on time intervals for which affect human population and the species we share the planet with in generations. These data reflect expansions and contractions of biomes, industrial, agricultural, historic and economic periods and cycles. Environmentalist’s carbon data also reflects seasons, and even diurnal cycles such as how plants release carbon in the evening as dark photosynthesis and breathe in carbon during the day.

Environmentalists examine actual temperature readings from NOAA, EPA and other weather reporting data from the mid 1800s to present. Weather balloon data record carbon dioxide concentrations from famous studies such as those from Roger Revelle at Harvard and data from laboratories such as at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii. Thousands of weather stations around the world track both temperature and carbon dioxide levels. Satellites monitored by NASA and other countries satellites programs also collect and monitor atmospheric gaseous concentrations and mixes.

Carbon sinks and sources simplified:

The Carbon cycle is defined as the global movement of carbon between organisms and the abiotic environment- including the atmosphere, ocean, and sedimentary rock. Below find a basic list of carbon sources and sinks as an introduction to the carbon cycle per Raven and Berg, 2006 Environment p.88 Figure 5.2. Specific guidance for accounting may be more explicit in any governing legislation.

Carbon sources /free carbon in the atmosphere

Carbon makes up about 0.038% of the atmosphere as the gas, carbon dioxide.

  • Carbon in coal, oil, natural gas and wood are cycled to the atmosphere by burning, or combustion. In combustion, organic molecules are rapidly oxidized- combined with oxygen- and converted into CO2 and water, with an accompanying release of heat and light.
  • Sources of such carbon combustibles are emitted by industry and agriculture, high concentration of livestock in factory farming (World Watch Institute, 2009), transportation, and of coal as in the production of electricity.
  • Tectonic Activity would include gas released at plate boundaries which would include volcanic activity. Volcanic gases have been collected by courageous volcanologists. Water vapor is the main constituent of volcanic gas (70-95 percent), followed by carbon dioxide, both global warming gases (Press and Siever, 1998).

Carbon sinks /fixed carbon in the Earth

  • Terrestrial and aquatic plants and trees fix carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis from the atmosphere. Aquatic organisms fix carbon dioxide dissolved in water as carbonate (C0 2-/3) and bicarbonate (HC0-3) for their tests and shells as calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This carbon may be stored for several hundred years or even longer.
  • A lot of carbon is incorporated into shells of marine organisms. When they die, their shells sink to ocean floor and form thick seabed deposits. Burial and compaction from rock (limestone).
  • Sedimentary rocks and fossil fuels hold almost all of Earth’s estimated 10 23 grams of carbon. For example, the soil contains an estimated 1500 x 10 15 grams of carbon. These sources can store carbon for thousands to hundreds of millions to billions of years.

References:

Press, F. and Siever, R. (1998). Understanding Earth. USA. W.H. Freeman and Company. p.119.

Goodland, R. and Anhang, J. (November/ December 2009). Livestock and Climate Change - Worldwatch Institute.

Read more at Suite101: Carbon Sinks and Sources Budget Simplified for Green Accountants http://accounting-designations.suite101.com/article.cfm/carbon-sinks-and-sources-budget-simplified-for-green-accountants#ixzz0lqWAPsgt

MugsysRapSheet's picture
MugsysRapSheet 9 years 43 weeks ago
#27

Why am I reminded of the movie "Born in East LA" with Cheech Marin?

(for those unfamiliar, it's a comedy about a Mexican guy who is deported because he left his wallet at home.)

Foodfascist's picture
Foodfascist 9 years 43 weeks ago
#28

Time to boycott the entire State of Arizona...?!

lorne's picture
lorne 9 years 43 weeks ago
#29

Reconnecting with the earth is a healing act. Like a deep breath of fresh air, a walk into the forest; up a mountain, through an arid desert awakens the senses, not just the sights, sounds, smells, and touch, but the sense of how we belong, the question of how would I survive if I was left here with nothing.

How many people know how to live without the crutch of the car, or the artificial friend- the television.

Our society is built and survives upon a complicated exchange between all of us, yet many of us fail to question just because is seems to be working, could it work better and or different?

Ultimately our earths over population will lead us to a critical point. What state do you want the world to be in if we don't end up leaning over the edge of tragedy?

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#30

@mstaggerlee, I say that as: it would be complete irony to see the heads of the neo-con heads explode when they realize they are ultimately the ones to pay for their piss-poor laws of oppression, that are completely at odds with our founders intentions for this country.

That can be either good or bad... depending on your Point Of View. ;-)

N

Guess I better start studying Galic. Hope Ireland will take me in when I get put on the boat.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#31

Every time a Republican is elected, I think we should slow down and start the election over, each and every time.

TheVelvetJesus.com's picture
TheVelvetJesus.com 9 years 43 weeks ago
#32

WEAR A SOMBRERO DAY!

I am declaring this Sunday (April 25th) – the day I predict Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona to sign into law a new draconian anti-immigration bill allowing police officers to subjectively harass anyone they suspect as “possibly being in our country illegally” – as National Wear a Sombrero Day!

National Wear a Sombrero Day is a political statement opposing the State of Arizona’s new law. But more importantly, it’s a way to confuse and “throw-off” an arresting officer’s “best judgment” and/or “probable cause for suspicion.”

MugsysRapSheet's picture
MugsysRapSheet 9 years 43 weeks ago
#33

A VAT is only practicle as a replacement for the income tax, not "in addition to". Or else then you have the worst of both worlds.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#34

What good is a VAT, if companies can just move operations out of country and pay little to no tariffs? Seems like there is a loop hole in that plan.

N

desert fox's picture
desert fox 9 years 43 weeks ago
#35

I will also wear a Sombrero Sunday. I just sent an email to Governor Brewer stating that I will not carry any proof of citizenship and have requested jail time if arrested. I will then sue the State for violation of my civil rights.

I have started a facebook Group Don't Visit Arizona! that I hope people will visit.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#36

Anarchy Market

N

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#37

Nels,

Re: "What good is a VAT, if companies can just move operations out of country and pay little to no tariffs? Seems like there is a loop hole in that plan."

A VAT might result in legislation to accommodate and encourage manufacturing in the U.S. and monetarily "punish" manufacturing outside the U.S.

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#38

Desert Fox,

Good on you!

Foodfascist's picture
Foodfascist 9 years 43 weeks ago
#39

@Desert FOX-

Wow- Good on you, for sure Tag You're IT!

I have something like a sombrero, maybe you will have support here in N. California as well.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#40

@Quark, I like the idea, I do... but words like "might" make me mighty nervous. I think if a VAT is seriously considered, adjusting and enforcing tariffs must be done also.

So to sum it up, not against the VAT, just want it to really be protected.

N

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#41

Nancy Pelosi has been dropping little references to a VAT for the last year, but no one seems to have noticed. I think this has been part of internal discussions within the administration for some time.

Quark's picture
Quark 9 years 43 weeks ago
#42

Nels,

I totally agree! :-)

WendyBluEyez's picture
WendyBluEyez 9 years 43 weeks ago
#43

It's little wonder G.W. Bush doesn't care for thinkin'. The echo inside his head must be annoyingly distracting!

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#44

Clean Coal? Is that something like Safe Cancer?

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 9 years 43 weeks ago
#45

Again I point out that the best way to sequester carbon is to leave it in the ground.

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 9 years 43 weeks ago
#46

@maxrot - great analysis!

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 43 weeks ago
#47

Thanks Gene, I try.

N

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 43 weeks ago
#48

Joined it . . .

gerald's picture
gerald 9 years 43 weeks ago
#49

Single and Not Gay

We have three sons. They are single and not gay. My wife was a stay at home mother and she was at home until 1977. In 1977 our country became a two income household for married couples. 1977 was the benchmark year for two income households. My wife started work in 1977.Our sons were eleven, nine, and eight.

Prior to 1977 my wife was at home and our sons loved for their mother to be home. When our youngest son started kindergarten, my wife became a volunteer room mother for three years. When our youngest son started the third grade, she went to work.

Our sons have remembered this experience. When we talk to our sons, they keep saying that they do not make enough money to marry. Each one of our sons would want their children to have a stay at home mother through the second or third grade. This wish is impossible for each of our sons and so we do not expect them to marry.

We now understand our sons better and we agree with them and their reason for not marrying.

Should men and women marry so that society can say that they are not gay or lesbian?

Will we profile men and women and say that they that they are gay or lesbian? We truly are a sick people who are certifiably crazy. Yes, the American population has mental disorders and we should be institutionalized for our craziness.

Foodfascist's picture
Foodfascist 9 years 43 weeks ago
#50

Could it be that NAncy Pelosi is listening to Thom Hartmann?

"The Saddest Thing Is This Won't Be Breaking News"

Thom plus logo As the world burns, and more and more fossil fuels are being used every day planet-wide, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels passed 416 ppm this week at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. In the 300,000 years since the emergence of modern humans, carbon dioxide levels have never been this high.

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