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Gender: Male
Hometown: North Carolina
Member since: Wed Aug 11, 2004, 06:57 PM
Number of posts: 2,244

Journal Archives

The Montreal Protocol was one of several major environmental victories

The Montreal Protocol was one of several major environmental victories of the past few decades resulting from a straightforward ban. Scientists determined that certain compounds were causing undue harm, and activists kept up the pressure until concerted action was taken at the international or national levels.

When I was in graduate school for environmental science during the 1990's, it was much more fashionable for the chic and powerful to advocate 'market based solutions' (the environmental side agreement to NAFTA, cap and trade on CO2, etc.) and regard bans and other drastic actions as old-fashioned and unnecessarily anti-business. I never drank the kool aid.

The other bans I consider as important as the ban on CFC's include the ban on lead in gasoline & paints, the ban on DDT, and the ban on PCB's.

I'd like to see bans on neonicotinoid pesticides, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, persistent antibacterial compounds (especially the chlorinated ones - like Triclosan) in home products, and all packaging that is not easily recyclable or compostable. Tackling these problems with straightforward bans could save the bees, improve public health drastically, and eliminate the oceanic garbage gyres in short order.

What would you ban, if you could?

Here's celebrating an environmental victory!



In some ways, I am just the opposite.

I recall the common graffiti seen around the Lower East Side of NYC during the late 1980's of an inverted martini glass and the text "The Party's Over." To my young activist eyes of the time, this looked prophetic. Surely the excesses of Wall St. in the 1980's and the inequality and environmental destruction wrought by capitalism and militarism then had reached a logical endpoint, and society would either correct course or fall-apart. Boy, was I wrong. The Gordon Gecko days and the S&L Bailout were just dress rehearsals for Jamie Dimon and TARP.

Now, don't get me wrong; things have surely gotten worse, and at some point the chickens will come home to roost. Infinite growth and consumption CANNOT keep going on this oh so finite planet of more than 7 billion people. But 'the system' (however you define it) is enormously creative in how it keeps going. Powerful people have a strong interest in continuing patterns of exploitation, and they have been largely creative and successful in sustaining their own wealth and power, at the expense of the planet's ecosystems and common good.

Are things going to hell in a hand basket? Almost certainly, by nearly any measure. And yet the endpoint of 'collapse' has not arrived.

I will not tempt fate or show my own ignorance by predicting a set time for 'collapse.' But I will express my true amazement that it has not arrived at some point during the past three decades.


Few people in America are buying 'select fire' weapons.

It pains me to say this, but bow tie-boy (on-edit - I see that he has graduated to the leash-style ties now....) is technically correct here. 'Assault rifles' are accurately defined in your Wiki link. However, what the NY gun store was busted for selling were semi-automatic versions of an AR, further modified in an unsuccessful attempt to comply with NY's byzantine and unconstitutional SAFE act. The pictures you show of an AR-pattern rifle and an AK-pattern rifle look similar to actual military rifles, but unless they can fire continually while the trigger is held-down and/or be able to fire 3-round bursts, they are not assault rifles. Calling those things 'assault weapons' is a strategy used by the gun control movement in an attempt to unduly regulate or even ban popular semi-automatic rifles. Assault rifles /= assault weapons.

Actual select fire assault rifles are classified as machine guns by the National Firearms Act. To legally buy one as a regular civilian would require (at minimum) an NFA tax stamp ($200), and a bunch of associated paperwork. Also, the registry for the guns themselves has been closed since 1986 (under Ronald Reagan!). Law Enforcement agencies and certain FFL's seem to be able to get 'post samples' and other select-fire weapons in other ways too, but I don't know the details, as I am not a member of either of those communities.


Nonsense article. NONSENSE authoritarian 'solution.'

joshcryer, have you really thought-through your suggestion to impose draconian authoritarianism over the entire internet in order to protect a few celeb pics? How is this the least bit progressive?

Let me help you with the answer:SOPA is NOT progressive, at all. And implementing it because images of a few extra square inches of a few very wealthy celebrities are now visible online would be utterly nonsensical.


Upset? No. Very surprised? Yes?

Look, I am sure that HRC will be at least slightly less odious than her Republican opponent. And that's been the Turd Way campaign for the past twenty years, hasn't it? Vote for us, cuz otherwise an even shittier Republican will get in. How inspiring!

I'll say it now, and bookmark it for later. HRC will not be president of these United States. She is far too corporatist and hawkish for the Democratic base (myself included). I sincerely hope that she crashes and burns in the Primary, as she already seems inclined to do. But she certainly is campaigning, though I'm not sure what she hopes to gain by tilting rightward. The right wing views her as the shrill, scolding, nanny-stater, ultra-liberal-bogeywoman of nightmares, and they will all be voting Repub if Hilary is the Dem.

Hillary Clinton genuinely seems to be triangulating herself to a place where she is hated by virtually everybody.

As for the Second Amendment, it has been a core part of our Bill of Rights for more than 230 years, and I will stand by it (and the rest of the BoR) as long as I live.


IIRC, we had a Democratic President in 1997.

IIRC, we had a Democratic President in 1997.

We have a Democratic President now.

The FDA functions under the Executive Branch of government (though in fairness, it depends on Congress for funding, as does everyone else).

It's about 17 years too late in this case, but removing that 'expedited' approval process sounds like a good move for our Democratic President Obama and his appointee Michael Taylor in order to undo the 'business-friendly' mistake made by former Democratic President Clinton...

...or y'know, we could just blame Republicans and then rally unquestioningly around the next President Clinton, and then wonder why so little changes for the better, ever.


I agree that corporate power is the gigantic blindspot of most libertarians.

I agree that corporate power is the gigantic blindspot of most libertarians.

I (a libertarian Democrat of sorts) resist government power when it is used on behalf of the elites, and corporate power at every chance I get. Whether the oppression is public or private, I believe in resistance.

But your point is well-taken. Too many readers of 'Reason' see no problem in corporate dictatorship even though they are up in arms about Obama or 'socialism' in general.


USDA Illegally stacking the Deck at Organic Standards Board?


On-edit: I just realized that the excerpted quote does not explain the acronym. NOSB = National Organic Standards Board - a volunteer panel created by the Organic Foods Production Act to create Organic policy in conjunction with the USDA and its paid staff. The Cornucopia Institute is doing a good job of watch-dogging both the NOSB and the USDA itself.

“In recent years, just as with the polarized U.S. Supreme Court, many critical issues were decided by one-vote margins,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at Cornucopia. “Almost universally, the NOSB is split along ideological lines (corporate agribusiness versus farmers and consumers) on whether to allow controversial synthetic and non-organic additives in organic food or weak animal husbandry standards utilizing the ‘factory farm’ production model of organic meat, eggs and dairy products.”

Cornucopia’s analysis comes two years after the policy group released a white paper entitled The Organic Watergate. That report documented how a number of risky and/or gimmicky synthetic or non-organic materials were approved for use in organics. It highlighted a couple of board members, appointed as “farmers,” who did not meet the intent and legal qualifications that Congress had set out for composition of the board.

“We have two members of the current board, both sitting in seats that Congress had designated for someone who must ‘own or operate an organic farming operation’ but who were actually agribusiness employees when appointed to the five-year term on the NOSB,” said Kastel.

Of the four seats reserved for farmers on the current board, one is held by an employee of the giant California berry marketing firm, Driscoll’s (which does not grow organic strawberries but rather relies on contract farmers), and one by an individual who, when appointed, worked for the country’s largest organic marketing cooperative, CROPP ($928 million in annual revenue). The voting records of these two agribusiness employees are significantly lower than those of the actual farmer members of the NOSB.

Much more at the link. Certified-organic agriculture needs to maintain its threshold of integrity in order to retain any legitimacy. There will always be more innovative, sustainable, and/or 'fringe-ier' systems of farming out there (Permaculture, biodynamics, etc.) but Organic is both big enough to be recognizable by the average American, yet holistic and sustainable enough to really make a difference with respect to the land, farmworker health, and the quality of the food itself. Our Democratic Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, needs to quit eroding Organic's integrity. Congress set up a good system with the NOSB, and the USDA needs to respect it.


Rise of the 'Unholy Alliance' of Libertarians and Leftists

Rise of the 'Unholy Alliance' of Libertarians and Leftists

(starting quote at the fifth paragraph of the article)

Eight months after Nader’s "Freedom Watch" pronouncement, Ron Paul supporters along with socialists, anti-market anarchists, and other lefties of various stripes were the first to set up camp in Zuccotti Park and launch the Occupy Wall Street movement. There were arguments over whether advocates of free markets belonged in the movement, whether the economic crisis was caused by deregulation or by government encouragement of high-risk financial speculation, and whether the solution to the crisis was greater or less government control of business, but the libertarians stayed. As Occupy spread to other cities, libertarians were almost always a visible—though minority—presence at the encampments. "One would more reliably come across vocal Ron Paul supporters at Occupy events than vocal Obama supporters," reported Michael Tracey in the American Conservative. "It was not lost on the Zuccotti Park crowd, for instance, that Ron Paul personally expressed a measure of support for the movement earlier than most any other national U.S. politician–aside from Sen. Bernie Sanders or Rep. Dennis Kucinich."


In the summer of 2013 the "unholy alliance" wreaked havoc on the national-security and foreign-policy establishments. Edward Snowden, a Ron Paul supporter, received passionate support from both libertarians and a broad array of leftists for revealing, at the risk of imprisonment, the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of American citizens. Snowden’s disclosures were publicized by the journalist Glenn Greenwald, who is a regular speaker at the International Socialist Organization’s annual Socialism Conference, a recipient of the Nation Institute’s I.F. Stone Award, and according to Rachel Maddow "the American left’s most fearless political commentator." But Greenwald is also, like Scahill, an eager collaborator with libertarians. He authored a study for the Cato Institute on Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs and frequently praised Ron Paul for being "far and away the most anti-war, anti-Surveillance-State, anti-crony-capitalism, and anti-drug-war presidential candidate in either party."


One might think all this would be cause for celebration among those who share Nader's objectives, but many find it more a cause for grave concern. Since last summer, liberal media outlets have streamed out warnings to their readers to "Beware of Libertarians Bearing Gifts," as the Center for American Progress put it. Any alliance with libertarians, even for a cause as worthy as reining in the NSA, "could kill the New Deal." Salon has frequently trafficked in hysteria over the libertarian "threat" to progressivism. "Don’t Ally With Libertarians," admonished one of many headlines about the "fatally compromised" coalition that produced "The Day We Fight Back." At The New Republic, Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz explained to the "liberal establishment" that had fallen in with Snowden, Greenwald, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that these purveyors of "paranoid libertarianism" were outside the bounds of respectable politics. They occupy "a peculiar corner of the political forest, where the far left meets the far right, often but not always under the rubric of libertarianism." Where unwitting liberals have "portrayed the leakers as truth-telling comrades intent on protecting the state and the Constitution from authoritarian malefactors, that’s hardly their goal," Wilentz warned. "In fact, the leakers despise the modern liberal state, and they want to wound it."

Some left-wing observers have offered more constructive evaluations of the alliance. Ralph Nader continues to lead the way, with a new book on the "Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State" and a lengthy interview promoting it on Reason TV. Perhaps the most notable among the left-wing sympathizers to Nader’s cause is Peter Frase, an editor at the socialist Jacobin, who questioned "this obsession with people like Greenwald and Snowden as vectors for noxious libertarianism rather than people who are doing courageous and useful work even if their politics aren’t socialist." Frase identified "an instinct among some on the Left to suppose that defending the possibility of government requires rejecting any alliance with libertarians who might criticize particularly noxious aspects of the existing state." For those on the left who share Nader’s optimism about libertarians, Frase’s conclusion should serve as a manifesto:

One should not have any illusions that critics of the national security state all share socialist politics. But we should judge these critics by what they say and do and what their political impact is. An endless inquisition into hidden beliefs and motives, and the attempt to unmask a devious libertarian hidden agenda, makes for a satisfying purity politics for those who want to justify their own inaction. But it does nothing to contest the predatory fusion of state and capital that confronts us today, which must be confronted in the government, the workplace, and many other places besides.

Hear, hear. So let us say to leftists and libertarians: Unite! You have nothing to lose but your ideological chains.

Source: http://reason.com/archives/2014/08/16/rise-of-the-unholy-alliance

Ron Paul, Edward Snowden, & Ralph Nader together?!? This should be fun at DU...

The author, Thaddeus Russell, also covers the Snowden leaks, the aversion of US military action in Syria, Greenwald's reporting on such issues, etc. The whole article is worth a read, though I feel like I posted the four best paragraphs above.

I think that Russell enjoys being a gadfly to both establishment Republicans and Democrats. In so doing, he certainly glosses-over the very real threats to New Deal Programs (especially Social Security and SNAP) and other important government regulations (environmental laws, etc.) posed by Koch-funded wolves in libertarian clothing. Nonetheless, until mainstream Democrats return to the democratic progressivism that made the Party great in the past, there is a very real vacuum that libertarians can and will fill. I would prefer that Democrats stand-up for core principles of freedom and justice, but will still cheer the principles whether the actions are led by people wearing the "L" jersey or the "D" (or "S," etc.).


A good campaign would have beaten B*sh by hundreds of thousands.

A good campaign would have beaten B*sh by hundreds of thousands. We're talking Shrubya, the dimwit son of a truly criminal one-term president. Had Gore run anything resembling a populist, progressive, decent campaign, Nader would not have had a leg to stand-on. Even if Nader had still gotten 34,000 votes in FL, that should have been a drop in the bucket compared to Gore's margin.

Plus, Gore lost his home state of TN. Can't blame Nader there. But had Gore's campaign been popular enough to even win his OWN (*&^$$%##** STATE, Florida would not have mattered.

I refuse to believe that the Gore/Loserman campaign of 2000 was the best the Democrats could do. It was DLC-driven, tepid, corporatist crap. If the Dems decide to learn no lessons from 2000 and again run a tepid, widely-disliked, polarizing candidate with a wooden campaign that tilts toward a right wing that will NEVER vote for the candidate in question, then they deserve to lose.

I myself would prefer to learn the lessons of the past, embrace the populism and progressivism that the nation craves today, and elect a viable, liberal, truly Democratic president in 2016. The Democrats can and should do better than Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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