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Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 09:41 AM
Number of posts: 6,405

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Looking back on the economic collapse

The recession officially began seven years ago this month, which makes it a good time to look back and assess the damage. The carnage is impressive.

To start with the top-line numbers, we have already lost almost $10.5 trillion in output because of the downturn. This is the value of the goods and services that could have been produced over the last seven years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), but were not because of all the people thrown out of work by the recession.

To put this figure in context, it comes to more than $33,000 per person in the United States, or $132,000 for a family of four. There are a lot of people in Washington who have been yelling about the cost of the food stamp program. But the amount of money we lost because of the recession is almost 140 times the current annual budget for that program.

For another comparison, the government looks to lose about $500 million on the loan guarantees it made to Solyndra, a start-up solar-energy company that received stimulus money and later went bankrupt, to the guffaws of conservatives. The money lost because of the recession is 21,000 times what taxpayers lost on Solyndra. If we spent an hour yelling about Solyndra and we wanted our yelling time to be proportional to the amount of money lost, if we started on Jan. 1, 2015, we would have to be yelling about the recession around the clock until May 24, 2017. And this doesn’t even count the roughly $2 trillion in annual losses from the downturn for the rest of the decade that are implied by current CBO projections.

For more of this article, look here.

(Some months ago, before I was wrongfully terminated, I did research on the annual cost of welfare and compared it to what the criminal financial people cost taxpayers in 2008. This research was motivated by my old boss's frequent complaints about how much the "lazy welfare bums" are costing taxpayers. I observed that if he is so angry with those who receive welfare, he must be beyond furious with the criminal bankers, since their hubris cost taxpayers significantly more. I shared the numbers with him, and informed him that it would take over 550 years for welfare fraud to cost us what the criminal bankers cost us--and I didn't even break out the corporate welfare fraud that comprises a significant percentage of all welfare fraud. He had no response to this, and just walked away. Matters economic seem to be beyond the ken of those whose politics trend far right...)

Harrison, Arkansas: Racism Defended

The spouse of the national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Muriel Robb, wrote a letter to the editor of the Harrison Daily Times, excoriating members of the Harrison Task Force on Race Relations for rejecting a KKK "community award," given (allegedly) in response to the task force's Love Your Neighbor initiative.

Excerpts of her letter:

I have read the Dec. 28&29 weekend edition of the Harrison Daily Times and I was appalled by the arrogance of the Harrison Task Force on Race Relations and their so-called rejection of the community award given to Harrison for being a Love Your Neighbor Community.

Do not these hateful and bitter people know that the award was given to the people of Harrison and not to the “Task Force?”


It is amazing how they spin their voodoo logic. At one moment the “task force,” Harrison Chamber of Commerce, and city hall are boasting that Harrison is one of the best small towns in Arkansas, if not the country, then they flip, claiming that Harrison has a horrible racist image that is stifling its growth, claiming that folks are terrified moving here or of even driving through town.


These narcissistic elitists think they have been given a mission to “save” Harrison.


Well, if they didn’t like it then why did they move here? And if they really want to help minorities, then they should move to Pine Bluff, Camden or El Dorado where they can help the poor, the unemployed or the elderly. (snip...) If they REALLY want to help minorities as they claim, then they should move where the minorities are and begin helping them. But they won’t do that because they feel safer in this nice white community.

As my husband stated in the recent press release, Harrison truly is a Love Your Neighbor Community. There are no drive-bys, knockout games (also known as Polar Bear Hunting), flash mobs, wrong exits off the highway or bad neighborhoods. All those things are in Little Rock, El Dorado, Pine Bluff and other “enlightened” cities that have become multi-racial and diversified. In case you haven’t heard, “Diversity is a code word for white genocide.” Love your people — is that really too much to ask?
(Muriel) Mrs. Thomas Robb

For those who don't know, the event which has prompted this brouhaha was the anonymously funded billboard which read “Anti-Racist is a Code Word for Anti-White.” The subsequent defacement of said billboard by an anti-racist individual ratcheted up the vitriol. This individual painted the word "love" over "Anti-White" and is currently facing a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge. He was released on a $2,500 bond.

Transgender Woman Dies After Beating in Front of NYPD Precinct

Source: Takepart.com via Yahoo.News

Islan Nettles was out in New York City with friends when a group of young men approached her, learned she was a transgender woman and began taunting and maliciously beating her—right in front of a police precinct in Harlem.

The fashion design student with delicate features was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and beaten until she lost consciousness on the night of August 16.

“They were called f****, they were called he-she’s, she males, things of that nature,” Nettles’ mother told a local newscast.

Islan Nettles, born Vaughn Nettles, fell into a coma she would never awake from. She died Thursday after being taken off of life support. She was only 21.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/transgender-woman-dies-beating-front-nypd-precinct-201642369.html

No words...simply no words.

Fukushima "Emergency"

Does anyone else find it distressing that Reuters is posting news about contaminated water escaping into the ocean at Fukushima?

Why did you become a teacher?

Are you currently unemployed? If so, how long have you been looking for a job?

Here's a good article about why we teach:



In this dire economy, in which so many are challenged to keep the wolf from the door, I have received some donations through Wishadoo! My spirit is lifted, and I am ever more hopeful that I'll get to stay in my house!

A great big and to the generous activists who are making such a difference in my life (and that includes the sweet DUers who gave me hearts last month!)!!!

Can you spot global climate change close to your home?

I have relocated to the awesome Ozarks in Northwest Arkansas. Ever since the remnants of Isaac blew through last week, I have noted that the grasses and wildings along our roadways are finally lush, tall, and waving in unison as cars hurtle by. This put me in mind of recording evidence of global climate change that I have personally witnessed here in these beautiful mountains:

~ This spring, I saw forsythia, daffodils, grape hyacinth and other early flowers in full bloom at least a month earlier than normal. Queen Anne's Lace, wisteria, and countless other flowers made their appearance a month or more earlier this year.

~ Throughout the first half of this year, I've seen most flowers and species of wild roadside weeds come to maturity far earlier than is the norm. Because of the extreme to exceptional drought conditions, most of the roadside flowers and weeds have been stunted and sparse.

~ The drought has killed so many trees, particularly hardwoods, that the hills look like they have freckles--or a bad case of measles.

~ Crops are dry and appear to have very little 'produce' available that's fit for human consumption.

~ Animals are having a difficult time foraging for food. A black bear has raided the pear tree in my roommate's yard, not 200 feet from her back door. He seems unaffected by the humans who furtively took pictures of him with a half-eaten pear in his mouth.

~ Waterways are almost bone dry. Our public water supply is so low, we've been on 'extreme conservation measures' for most of the summer.

I could go on, but I am too sleepy. Instead, I implore you: record herein below your personal observances of global climate change. Please be sure to note your approximate location (general area in your state). I look forward to hearing from you all.

Sexists thrive on DU

(Before we get started, go here and also here to see examples of the sexism in question.)

More than likely, we've all seen it, the unflattering picture of Ann Coulter beside an equally unflattering picture of an Afghan Hound, running full tilt toward the photographer, mouth gaping, teeth showing, tongue lolling...

Well, this last time, I took action, as we can here on DU:


This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)


Must we repeatedly view this sexist post about Ann Coulter's looks? Is this germane? Or, does this fit in the 'boys will be boys' category of "can't you take a joke"? Sexism is bigoted hate speech and should be unacceptable in DU.

Here are the results:


A randomly-selected Jury of DU members completed their review of this alert at Thu Aug 9, 2012, 10:27 AM, and voted 1-5 to LEAVE IT ALONE.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I don't know what the alerter is thinking, but THIS IS NOT SEXIST!
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #3 voted to HIDE IT and said: over the top.
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Can't stand the heat? Get out of the kitchen.
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: alerter should find a better hobby
Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given

Thank you.

I wonder if this warrants a new acronym: "SIOKIYAD" (Sexism Is OK If You're A Democrat)?

The Kevorkian Option

Well, I have this huge thread started about Noam Chomsky's latest decimation of the Corporate Megalomaniacs, but this topic has superseded...

How many people do YOU know who are in such dire straits that they have mentioned suicide, or 'the Kevorkian Option'?

How likely do YOU think is the concept of the uber wealthy thinning the ranks of the Hoi Polloi by sustaining this global economic distress?

How likely are YOU to explore a Kevorkian Option, and what are your specific reasons for so choosing?

Please respond honestly to these questions. I am one of a growing number of unemployed elderly people who cannot see any other alternative, and I STILL will not go quietly into my coming night.

Thoughts on the Evolution of Our Species.

Following is my response to GliderGuider's "What If A Collapse Happened And Nobody Noticed?" (http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002639524); posted herewith per requests:

I am 56 years old. I read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring when I was 12 years old. When I finished her iconic treatise, I made two fundamental decisions: 1) I would not bear children, and 2) I would be an activist for the rest of my life. I am so glad that I achieved both those goals, especially considering where humanity finds itself at present...

During my brief tenure on this planet, I've witnessed:

--the heavy metal pollution of this planet's groundwater

--the nationwide existence of 'Superfund Sites' that are so toxic, massive amounts of our tax dollars have been allocated to 'clean up' these abandoned, hazardous areas (visit Superfund websites and you'll find "Superfund for Kids!")

--an exponential increase in diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases directly linked to the consumption of refined sugars and animal products (let's not even BEGIN to discuss hydrogenated oils...)

--the 'War on Drugs' (an ironic ploy that benefits the uber wealthy in two primary ways: more money, more money, more money; and keeping the hoi polloi distracted and addicted)

--a pile of floating garbage--in surface area, the size of the state of Texas--in the doldrums of the Pacific Ocean AND in the Atlantic

--a measurable decline in the amount of food fish we pull out of our oceans and lakes

--the steady decline of the honeybee population worldwide (called "Colony Collapse Disorder" by the scientists who are 'struggling' to identify the causes)

--nutritional deficiencies in almost every fruit or vegetable harvested since the 70s

--vast swaths of soil erosion and silt runoff

--measurable declines in the quality and flavor of most produce

--GLOBAL monopolies on seed stocks

--Genetically modified foods (should I mention Pink Slime?)

--cross contamination of vegetable foodstuffs from cattle and dairy operations

--inhumane treatment of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, calves, chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks


--Three Mile Island

--the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico



--Monsanto (need I say more?)

--Global Climate Change

--a growing percentage of adults (as of the 90s, this figure was forty percent) who are functionally illiterate (thus, easily manipulated)

--a now ubiquitous 'message delivery system' (television) that has turned a significant number of humans into distracted, misinformed zombies

--a toxic, dangerous economic system that has concentrated the wealth of this planet into the hands of a minuscule fraction of our planet's global population (writing the representative percentage requires scientific notation with a large negative exponent).

--destructive, endless 'wars' based on lies and profitability (and, don't even get me started about Depleted Uranium)

--a radical shift to exponential growth (read 'change') that few recognize and even fewer discuss.


I don't have time to list all of the other issues I've been witnessing. This would take weeks, if not months.

I'm watching as more and more of us resort to 'react' mode, letting our inchoate fears and frustrations manifest as road rage, name-calling, sarcasm, and other forms of mental, emotional and physical violence. Do I think we humans are experiencing a critical tipping point in our evolution as a species? You bet. Do I think we can do anything about it? I'm skeptical, although #Occupy gives me a modest measure of hope.

We’ve reached a stage in our evolution where the tiniest stressors create the most enormous fissures. I find it disheartening that some among us dismiss concerns about these events as “end time fear.” The grim fact remains: we have no frame of reference for what IS happening.

(BTW, I don’t think we’re witnessing ‘end times,’ because this incredible planet WILL survive our species’ vile, narcissistic hedonism.)
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