Archive for buzzflash

DC ignores the real threats to national security including guns, climate change, Wall St.


national security insecurityThis post about the actual threats to our national security, by my pal Mark Karlin via BuzzFlash at Truthout, is a must-read:

The most significant peril to our ability to live peaceful and comfortable lives comes from menaces that the DC politicians do little or nothing about.

You can start with allowing the NRA to impose an Ayn Rand vision of guns unlimited on the nation and its resulting toll in about 30,000 deaths a year (homicides, suicides and accidents) and the rippling psychological impact of insecurity on the nation. If al-Qaeda wanted to create the death toll of 10 9/11s each year, they might have gotten better bang for their buck by just financing the gun lobby.

Add to that the scientific validation that we may have passed the threshold on reversing impending catastrophic climate change, as DC elected officials throw campaign fundraising events while the world's environment is deteriorating rapidly. What could be a graver risk to the nation than a sixth mass extinction on this planet? Yes, we have a military-surveillance- intelligence -industrial complex that is a beast that feasts on our tax dollars - but killing civilians in a faraway land with drones is not only a hideous act of murder, it represents the triumph of the self-interest of the so-called defense establishment over what the pressing priorities of ensuring national security really are.

Shouldn't hundreds of billions of dollars be expeditiously transferred to a much-needed cabinet Department to Stabilize the Earth's Climate? [...]

Moreover, Thomas Piketty, in his groundbreaking book Capital, uses data from 20 countries dating back to the 1800s to prove that the increasing concentration of money and assets in the hands of a few threatens democracy. What is a greater hazard to our constitutional form of government, al-Qaeda or the oligarchy pulling the strings in Washington and playing fast and loose with the economy with impunity?

Please read the entire post here.


Koch "Carbon Bomb" Brothers Could Cash in Billions on Alberta Tar Sands Holdings


tar sands dirtiest oil on earth

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

A recent study by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), provides evidence that the Koch Brothers could earn at least $1 billion from Alberta tar sand land holdings (with additional profit from their processing plants and related products and services).  This is despite the unconvincing Koch Brothers claim that they have no personal interest in the pipeline.

That disconnect reflects a larger problem that befuddles the northern section of the Keystone XL Pipeline decision. Tar sands oil is already flowing into the US and the Koch Brothers are already profiting from it through its conversion into petroleum coke. [...]

Major tar sands oil pipeline spills have already occurred in Michigan and Arkansas.  And the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline -- the one Obama approved -- has already needed 125 repairs from faulty pipes, and it hasn't even started flowing yet. [...]

The carbon bomb come at either end of the process: primarily in the extraction of tar sands oil in Alberta and in the refining or conversion to petroleum coke at the other end of the pipeline. [...]

The carbon bomb comes from the increased processing that will result from a northern pipeline with more capacity; in short the size of the carbon bomb will be increased because more tar sands oil will be able to be extracted and carried efficiently (otherwise more train tankers and land transport options will need to be used, which will slow the processing and profit down). [...]

"The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy, a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.”

The report also asserts that the more money the Kochs and their ilk make from accelerating climate change beyond the tipping point, the more funds they will have to continue lobbying to increase the impact of their destruction of planet earth.

Please read the entire post here.


Challenge: Let Young, Middle-Aged Tea Partiers Pay Their Own Cash for Parents' Medical Care and Retirement


challenge battle of wits unarmed

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at TruthOut, via my pal Mark Karlin:

[T]he Affordable Care Act (ACA) limits insurance company to spending 15% for administrative overhead. The ACA is going to also attempt to limit insurance company profit. ... Although the jury is still out, many studies thus far are already predicting -- due to its cost control measures -- that the Affordale Care Act should actually lessen the cost of medical care in the United States.

But here's the BuzzFlash at Truthout challenge, which we have mentioned before: if you are young or on the younger side of middle age, you can be responsible, in cash (without relying on any government assistance whatsoever), when your parents become ill. [...]

So let their children who might balk at the Affordable Care Act pay for their mom and dad's healthcare if there is no ACA. Also, let that young person who doesn't currently have insurance, but can afford it, sign a legal document that they will not use any government funds if they become ill or have a serious accident.

Let's go a step further and challenge those Tea Partiers and Republicans and some Democrats who want to cut back on Social Security and Medicare. (After all, "the grand bargain" proponents use the same strategy of telling young workers that they will be paying into Social Security at a higher rate in order to cover the aging population.)  You and those who agree with you must first sign a similar legal document that declares that you will support your parents and supplement their meager Social Security incomes as the government cuts back the checks that they earned as they worked toward retirement. [...]

And when these young or under-50 haters of the federal government complain that they are bankrupt from paying for medical care and their parents' stay in the nursing home, just tell them to -- in the colloquial -- shove it.

Please read the entire post here.


Must-Read: Personal debt that enriches Wall St. -- NOT national debt -- is greatest threat to retirees


must read

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Whenever the elected political tools of the oligarchs trash Social Security, they tout 401(k)-type accounts and voluntary retirement savings programs. [...]

...WP article is entitled, "Most Americans accumulating debt faster than they’re saving for retirement":

A majority of Americans with 401(k)-type savings accounts are accumulating debt faster than they are setting aside money for retirement, further undermining the nation’s troubled system for old-age saving, a new report has found....


So the problem facing even non-Social Security dependent retirees (who have earned their checks by paying into the fund) is due to personal debt not national debt. What people owe money on are non-government expenses such as college, housing, cars, credit cards, etc.  This is private indebtedness that is contributing to a looming personal retirement shortfall of funds.

Ironically, Social Security is one of the few programs that is keeping most seniors from economic impoverishment, as meager as the average monthly check is.  [...]

Since the Reagan era, wages have been relatively stagnant in the United States as debt has risen.  It is indeed this growing personal (again not national) debt that has been a primary source of profit for the banks too big to fail.  Persons who owe large amounts of money are paying off interest at often exorbitant sums (think credit cards) while in many cases barely scratching away at principal.  This is all easy money for banks that are paying out literally .01 % on savings accounts. [...]

So, let this WP article be a mini-lesson on what the oligarchy and their minions on the Hill, such as Paul Ryan, have been up to. Since the Reagan era, they have been promoting policies that increase personal debt while stagnating wages (except for themselves, of course).  In turn, a likely majority of the 99% has to go into debt and borrow money at high interest rates, while those who save receive virtually no interest on their savings.  This, in turn (except for Social Security) limits what they can save for retirement.

Then the financial titans sponsor think tanks and give campaign contributions to blame "entitlements" for all the personal indebtedness which has fueled their profitsSo, if a "grand bargain" of Social Security and Medicare cuts are enacted, the elderly become indebted and poorer, while the Wall Street barons make even a greater profit from increased borrowing as the national debt is lowered in the name of "austerity" (without revenue increases in the form of higher progressive taxes on the rich).

Please read the entire post here.