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Saturday, June 11, 2005

You Mean All My Problems Won't Be Solved By a Bikini?

I really think that most people sail around in a blithe balloon of denial, assuming that the impact of global warming will simply be a surge in demand for iced tea and freon. The Disgruntled Chemist has another really good post on potential environmental consequences:
[A] warmer atmosphere means a wetter atmosphere. When the air is warmer, it can hold more water before it has to get rid of it in the form of rain or snow. This does not mean that there will necessarily be less rain, just that when it does fall, it's gonna fall hard. Extreme weather events will come more often, and they'll be more extreme. Get used to storms, especially if you live in higher latitudes.

When it snows in higher latitudes now, the snow adds to the existing snowpack. This mediates the effect of all that water falling, and the runoff is spread over months instead of days, providing a steady water flow through the spring and a mediated water flow during storms. But when the snowpack gets smaller due to warming, this mediation won't happen. That means flooding, and in areas with poor sewage infrastructure, it means shit getting washed into the water supply.

Flooding = less clean drinking water = more disease.


In countries where agriculture is a big part of their economy, less irrigation water will mean major economic problems, which will in turn result in a decreased investment in water infrastructure (pipes, etc.). Governments only try to improve their citizens' access to clean water when economic times are good (Gadgil, Annu. Rev. Energy Environ., 1998 - not online, sorry).

Another scary possible consequence of reduced streamflows is war. Seriously. In 1998, Turkey and Syria almost went to war over ethnic problems with the Kurds, exacerbated to a great extent by a dispute over the Euphrates. Turkey has been building huge dams on the river for power and irrigation, but this means fertilizer runoff and less water gets into Syria. Syria gets more than 80% of its water from the Euphrates. If the flow lessens and Turkey doesn't adjust its usage accordingly, things could get tense there again.

So why am I writing this? Well, it seems like there are a lot of misconceptions out there about the impacts of this "global warming" thing. People either believe the government that it's not going to happen, or they think that things are just going to get really hot, and we'll crank our air conditioners and be fine. Well, I'm here to tell you that it won't be that way....It is not going to be pretty if we keep going like we're going.
Pick your poison: the ominous predictions of scientific experts who stand to reap no financial reward, or a bunch of Rolex-clad, BMW-driving lobbyists getting rich off protecting the rights of industry to pollute with impunity. Me I'm listening to the guys with the Bunsen burners.

(photo courtesy stock.xchng)


Thanks, I'll Just Stand Over Here

Harry Hutton convinced the Columbian anti-narcotics police to let him go on one of their drug raids. The picture above, which commemorates 920 kilos of cocaine going up in an offering to the god of deviated septums and Def Leppard, would've reduce lesser men to tears.


Hell Yeah, Howard Dean Speaks For Me

In a surfeit of post-pie congeniality, the Kos crowd have brewed up a petition saying "Howard Dean speaks for me, so STFU and go rub in a little more Rogaine, Joe." Or something like that. Probably a bit more diplomatic. Which is why they don't let me write these things. I think I was number 408 or something -- if you sign it let us know in the comments what the total number of signatures is up to.

And while you're in activist mode, the bunch at Pandagon are having a blog-a-thon starting at 8 am today to raise money for Amnesty International. Dick Cheney hates 'en, and the backhanded imprimatur of the Sith Lord is the biggest testament I can think of to the fine work that Amnesty International continues to do around the world, so stop by and throw 'en a few bucks. And cheers to Amanda and Jesse for the fine effort.

(Hat tip to The Green Knight and Rox Populi)


Friday, June 10, 2005


Greenspan before the joint Economic Committee:
"There is a not-insignificant probability that we have already committed under existing law and presumed demographics far more in real resources than we can actually deliver without significantly undermining the very base of the economic system."
This from the man who once used the term "irrational exuberance" to describe the conditions leading up to the greatest evaporation of wealth ever from the face of the planet. As Dana Milbank said in the WaPo, "That's the Greenspan equivalent of a primal scream."

One commenter over at MaxSpeak calls it like this:
The problem for Greenspan is that Bush is not Bill Clinton and Snow is no Rubin. Greenspan is getting negative fiscal help from Bush compared to the postive help AG got from Clinton and Rubin that made Greenspan look good. If Greenspan had responsible fiscal policy to back up his monetary policy, the economy would be better. Instead, the weight of reckless and irresponsible Bush fiscal policy and Bush corruption is dragging Greenspan and his monetary policy down.
(my emphasis)
Greenspan looks like a tortoise lurching for the curb, hopeful he can make those final few inches to retirement without becoming just another piece of mangled Bushian road-kill. Oh well, if he totally bolloxes the whole thing, there's always the Medal of Freedom.

(photo thanks to Culture Ghost)


This Week in Dog: Free Katie

No, Katie has not been kidnapped by Scientologists and press-ganged into asserting the existence of a dubious sex life on Letterman. But she has taken to sleeping in the living room, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our neighbor Marian who often stops by to whisk her away for a solo beach walk early in the morning (Katie being the least likely to need extraction from an altercation with a Doberman or roll in dead animal guts).

I never put up the Friday random iPod blog because I've got so much stuff in iTunes that even I don't know what 70% of it is. But I did get a wonderful Aimee Mann CD from the lovely and talented TBogg this week which Kobe has taken quite a shine to while being chauffered into town for his morning cappuccino and muffin. Once again he proves himself a man of fine tastes.

And Lucy got her stiches out. Being the baby she sometimes gets the short end of the stick.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Still Waiting for the "Some Won't" Part

Lindsey Graham on Chris Matthews, May 23:
The deal is that five nominees who have been filibustered will get an up-or-down vote and some will be confirmed and some won't.  The dirty little secret is that there have been some of these nominees that will not get Republican votes.  But we got so wrapped around the axle, we could never get to that bottom line.
All five -- Owen, Brown, Pryor, McKeague and Griffin -- have now been confirmed. Not that I ever really expected anything different, but Lindsey Graham proves once again that despite bewildering moments of clarity, his default is to partisan hackery and mixed metaphor.

The Senate now moves to a so-called "energy bill" (I'm sure we'll all have a good laugh over that one) so any future judicial filibuster is probably a few weeks away. But Harry Reid today basically told George Bush to kiss his ass in Macy's window if he doesn't cough up the info the information requested on Disco Bolton:
You can't ignore the Senate. We've told them what we've wanted. The ball is in his court. If they want John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, give us this information. If they don't, there will be no Bolton.
So much for the predictions Dick Cheney made on Tales From the Crypt Larry King Live on May 30, when he said "We've got the votes to confirm him. I'm convinced we will get him confirmed. We just need three more and I think we'll get those when they come back."



Somebody's Smoking the Good Shit

From the NY Daily News (via Skippy): DISSING DEAN: I hear that Hip Hop Summit honcho Russell Simmons, a loyal Democrat, met in Washington yesterday with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, but not with Democratic Party chief Howard Dean. "When it comes to reaching out to poor people and minorities, I think there's no enthusiasm on Howard's part, while Ken shows a real willingness to listen," Simmons told me.

From CapitolBuzz (via Daou Report): Henrietta Holsman Fore, the Bush White House’s nominee to be Under-Secretary of State for Management, was forced to resign from the Wellesley College Board of Trustees for saying that blacks preferred pushing drugs to working in a factory. Even when she tried apologizing for the comments in a letter to the college newspaper, Holsman reiterated her statement that she had trouble keeping black assembly-line workers from going ''back to the street to earn more money'' selling drugs. [NYT, 2/12/87]

Holsman appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today for her confirmation hearing. I'm sure Mehlman is busy penning his Goodbye Cruel World letter to the GOP over the injustice of it all.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Since It's Not Cameron Diaz Saying it Now, Can We Call it a Good Idea?

Proving himself to be a master of understatement, Reagan Defense Department official Frank Gaffney says "I don't often find myself in agreement with those at the Natural Resources Defense Council." No shit. But Gaffney and other Reagan-era relics like CIA director James Woolsey and national security advisor Robert McFarlane have written a letter to Bunnypants telling him it's high time to invest in hybrid technology as part of an overall program to reduce US oil consumption.

Says Woolsey, "[It's] no longer a nice thing to do. It's imperative."

You think?

The hawks cite terrorism as their main concern, fearful that the petroleum infrastructure is vulnerable to terrorist attack. They also worry that US petrol dollars are going to finance terrorist-supporting regimes. And in a surprising act of forward-thinking, Gaffney notes that if the US doesn't do something, the current situation could escalate into conflict with China for access to global oil resources.

They carefully skirt around the issue that oil represents a huge part of the trade deficit we are currently running -- in February total imports were at $161.5 billion and exports were at $100.5 billion, leaving the US with a deficit of $61 billion. Total oil imports were $18.2 billion, equivalent to roughly 30% of the trade deficit. That there is no high-priority federal program to scale back dependence on oil for that reason alone makes absolutely no sense at all.

That is, unless your energy policy is being dictated by ExxonMobil.


What Can You Say?

Well we knew it was only a matter of time before the Democratic honchos, irked at having to answer to the party peons rather than dictating to them, circled the wagons and launched an attack on Howard Dean. This time for having the unbridled nerve to say that Republicans are "pretty much a white, Christian party" and Tom DeLay belongs in jail:

Joe Biden (D-MBNA): He doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats.

Nancy Pelosi: I don't think (it) was a helpful statement

John Edwards: The chairman of the DNC is not the spokesman for the Democratic Party…He’s only a voice. I don’t agree with it.

Bill Richardson called Dean's comments "ill-advised."

And according to Democratic strategist and Clinton pollster Doug Schoen, "that to me is a pretty clear message that the party leadership would like a change in focus from the party chairman."

And how are the peons responding?

Anyone who would like to be heard on the matter (because, you know, maybe you think that Howard should be more respectful of the dignified statesmen of the Republican party) can have their say here. And here.

I sent Howard some money just for having a set.

The dogs left something in the yard for the rest of them.

The Rude One sayeth it Much Better: Let that son of a bitch loose in the dainty Democratic china shop and let's break some fuckin' dishes. Howard Dean knows the score, man; he knows that the faithful, those who actually believe that the fight is not the path to surrender, want a spokesperson who's willing to pick up the unpinned grenade that just landed near him and shove it up the ass of the enemy who tossed it.


Happy Birthday to Us

Well it's our 6th month blogging anniversary. We recently cracked the top 500 blogs for site traffic, and want to express our thanks to all who have visited us here, and especially to those who regularly share their comments and link to us. You make it a joy to participate in the blogosphere.

Please enjoy this poem by our friend Loie. And maybe a celebratory bone.


I lean out the barn window
on a day when the rain
is indescribably bright
and notice how the hemlock
bed down in mist
The rain floats

      small feathers of blessing.
This clearing, a feeding child
taken out of kindness.
The sky opens white.
The spoon-shaped mist
comes down like milk.

-- Lois Bunse


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

USA Number One

An exhaustive $20 million study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health and based on a sampling of 9,000 randomly selected people has concluded what should have been apparent to anyone after the last Presidential election -- half of all Americans are mentally ill.

Cheap joke. But still:
The survey focused on four major categories of mental illness: anxiety disorders (such as panic and post-traumatic stress disorders); mood disorders (such as major depression and bipolar disease); impulse control disorders (such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder); and substance abuse.

Almost half of Americans meet the criteria for such an illness at some point in their lives, the survey found. Most cases are mild and probably do not require treatment. But every year about 6 percent of adults are so seriously affected that they cannot perform even routine activities for periods averaging three months. Because schizophrenia, autism, and some other severe and relatively common disorders were not included, actual prevalence rates are somewhat higher.
Parallel studies in 27 other countries are not yet complete, but researchers believe the US is going to be hard to beat out for the #1 for mental illness spot.

I really have no idea why rates in the US are so high, but it does seem to be so. Once you become sensitive to the appearance of addictive symptoms (which are almost always themselves symptoms of untreated mental illness such as depression), you see them everywhere. (MandT over at Adgita Diaries has a great post on Christian fundamentalism as an addiction.) Is it stress? Alienation? Mickey Ds?

The researchers don't have any conclusions, but they do note that immigrants are at higher risk for mental health problems, especially if they don't live in native ethnic communities. On the other hand, minorities generally display lower levels of mental health disorders, despite lower economic status. They speculate that these results may be due to social support (or lack thereof).

I have a slightly different theory (*cough*). Michael Ventura wrote this article several years ago, and I'm sorry I don't think it's online so I will have to paraphrase from an admittedly faulty memory, but he commented on the fact that at the turn of the 20th century the average person just didn't have to make the rapid, complex mental calculations that it took to change lanes on a freeway (assessing the speed of the cars in the next lane, accelerating at a rate that will allow you to merge, checking a variety of mirrors and compensating for blind spots, etc.) as a matter of course. And if I still did drugs I'd try to explain Alan Moore's theory about the ever-accelerating rate at which information is doubling, but that is nothing I would ever attempt sober.

Anyway, the point is that I suspect the rate of change that people now have to deal with is putting increasing numbers into overload, especially in the US where technological change gets integrated into our daily lives so quickly, and we simply haven't developed the cultural tools to help us adapt. (And the guilt/anxiety over being global colonial robber barons probably isn't helping anything.) The people who would experience the most change would be those uprooted from one culture into another, and those who experience the least would be from more traditional communities that are slower to adopt change into their lifestyle.

The study also found that less than half of those who need mental health help ever get it, and even then the treatment they receive is usually inadequate. I've got say, I'm a bit freaked out by the fact that an exorbitantly high percentage of the people in this country are running around with untreated mental illness. I've taken off my tin foil hat for the evening so I am not even going to suggest that Pfizer will use this as an excuse to start putting Zoloft into the water. But feel free to raise the possibility yourself in the comments.

(And I can't write about depression without putting in a plug for Joel's excellent blog, Pax Nortana, where he quite eloquently and with great sensitivity deals with the topic on a regular basis.)

(Photo courtesy stock.xchng)

Update: Okay the Columbia Journalism Review is asking the Pfizer question, and notes that much of the tab for the study was picked up by the pharmaceutical industry.


Armageddon It

I know I'm probably boring the crap out of everyone with my Chicken Little Economy Series, but there actually is method to my madness. Just bear with me.

I always keep one eye on the business news, because despite the fact that the gang at CNBC are a pack of inveterate liars who slavishly shill for their corporate masters, money has a preference for following craven truth no matter how base or amoral. So every once in a while somebody will pop up with a clear-eyed estimation of things with a greater frequency than you are likely to find, say, on the NBC evening news.

And the other day in between fluffing CEOs, human ashtray Ron Insana (who will always go down in my memory as he appeared on the Today Show set on 9/11, with a big pile of soot on his head...who thought that was a good idea...) interviewed a famous fund manager named Julian Robertson, who has worked on Wall Street for 53 years and manages the Robertson group of funds. As Al Martin recounts it:
They used to call him, still do call him 'Never Been Wrong' Robertson. He has predicted every economic cycle, every debacle, every bull market, and every bear market.

Of course, he's a very old man now. But his reputation on the Street is like nothing you could imagine. When the segment of his interview was through, his comments alone took the Dow Jones down 50 points. Just on his comments alone. That's how powerful this man's reputation is.

Robertson was actually a teary-eyed, an old man. When Ron Insana asked him about his predictions, he said that he's worried about the speculative bubble in housing and the fact that more than 1/4 of all consumer spending is now sustained by that bubble, plus the fact that 20 million citizens could lose their homes in a collapse of the speculative bubble in housing, and that the Fed and, indeed, central banks worldwide would act in concert out of desperation to reinflate the global economy in the process, creating an inflationary spiral unheralded in the economic history of the planet.

Insana then asks, "Where does it end?" And he said, "Utter global collapse." Not simply economic collapse; complete disintegration of all infrastructure and of all public structures of governments. Utter, utter collapse. That the end is collapse of simply epic proportion.

In 10 years time, he said, whoever is still alive on the planet will be effectively starting again.

(my emphasis)
Why do I bother recounting these stories? Because I applaud all the bloggers who are working to publicize the Downing Street memo, I really do. I'm one of them, and people need to know. But ultimately it will have more of an effect on history than elections, because people in this country do not care. I just got finished watching The Trials of Henry Kissinger,which if you can get past the omnipresence of Christopher Hitchens and just focus on the Seymour Hersh part is a pretty interesting documentary. People did not care that Nixon was a crook, they knew it and they re-elected him anyway, they just wanted him to be a crook for them. As long as it insures American hegemony, they just don't care what kind of evil mutant father-raping shithole has his finger on the bomb.

The only thing that is going to bring about regime change is if people fear that America No More Number One, and that the bunch in charge is leading them down the path of economic calamity. It bounced both Carter and Bush I out of office. When people begin to believe that their prosperity is in jeopardy, then and only then are they going to vote to change the course of the country. In the mean time, bless John Conyers for making the Sith lords take even a moment away from charting our destruction to deal with him, 'cos it's a pure labor of love.

Their vision for the economy was Iraq. Well that didn't fucking work, did it. Greenspan is trying to keep the housing bubble alive until the next bubble comes along -- and that was supposed to be a Wall Street boon from raping Social Security. Doesn't look like that's going to work, either. They have no next best plan. Their next best plan was the bankruptcy bill, which insures that when the shit does hit the fan that working class people will have no escape, and Corporate America can still get theirs.

When and if that message finally gets across in the public consciousness, nobody is going to give a rat's ass about activist judges or Girls Gone Wild or Gay Pride floats in the middle of the Easter Parade. Let's just hope it gets out there before the collapse of epic proportions arrives and there's no turning back.


Monday, June 06, 2005

It Was Looking Dicey There For a Minute

....but I knew they could pull it out.

Still, I feel bad for Eddie Jones. I love Eddie Jones.


Well We Would've Gone With Ann Compton, But Okay

(via Wonkette)

And in what can only be considered good news for the human race, O'Leilly's ratings continue to circle the drain, part of a general Faux News ratings meltdown.

I guess the hotline to Baby Jesus must be fubar.


Doobie Doobie Doo

It's weed day over at Alternate Brain. Gord pops over to Alternet to let us know about this week's call by 500 count 'em 500 leading economists, led by yet another Reagan era relic Milton Friedman, for a national debate on pot:
The occasion was a new report by Harvard University economist Dr. Jeffrey Miron estimating - - probably conservatively -- that replacing prohibition with a system of common-sense regulation could mean $10 billion to $14 billion per year in reduced government spending and new revenues.

"We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods," Friedman and colleagues wrote. "At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition."
He then checks in with Digby, who weighs in on the Supremes' decision to override states' rights and give the Feds the trump card on medical marijuana:
The good news is that, as Stevens says in the opinion, it preserves the right of federal legislators to change the laws, so that's nice. When we finally get over our reefer madness in this country, which I expect to be in a couple of hundred years or so, maybe the Armageddon Party can join with the Theocrats and make it legal. But of course, it won't be necessary because Pfizer will have found a way to perfectly re-create the effect of marijuana in a pill form and will have made millions selling it by prescription to those who can afford it --- which is, after all, the whole point.
I still don't understand the insanity of making something illegal that you can grow in your back yard, which is arguably less damaging than either alcohol or prescription drugs. And I say that as someone who has always full-on hated pot (although I never turned it down -- which is but one of the many reasons why We Don't Let Jane Do That Anymore). I think Digby's right -- once again Pfizer and the fundies have had a nice convergence of interests. The fundies can decry pot as a corrupting social influence, and Pfizer et. al. can keep their corner on the getting wasted legally market (see: OxyLimbaugh).

Update:: TBogg once again has the final word:
Let's arrest people suffering from cancer and take away something that allows them to live out their last few days in relative comfort because life is all about pain and suffering and why should they get to turn on and drop out? Just explain the commerce clause to them while they puke up their guts over the toilet. They'll understand.
On a personal note, a few years ago a friend's mom called me up to tell me she was dying and say she knew that my friend would be okay because I would always look out for him, a trust I've always taken very seriously. We then got to sit by and watch her die a slow and painful death as cancer ate away at her gastro-intestinal system. The one thing that helped her keep some food down and alleviate her extreme nausea was smoking medical marijuana.

Sandra Day O'Connor and Rehnquist, both of whom are cancer survivors, joined Clarence Thomas in dissent. (Can we have a weak one-time only chorus of "yeah Clarence?") The uncharitable amongst us would note with irony the possibililty that one day Justices Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer and Scalia might spend their final hours hugging the porcelain and puking for their principles.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

It's Still the Economy, Stupid

It should be clear to all by now that the crazy, clueless bastards at the helm of this country scare the crap out of me. But the depth and breadth of that cluelessness, and the implications for us all, are becoming ever more apparent. Oldman has a must-read post over at BOP news on the netless high-wire act now being performed to keep us from plunging into utter economic catastrophy:
If the liberal plan for decades has been to solve the issue of exporting jobs by creating a new technological boom, at the very least the Clinton years failed to invest in a new technological wave to come online after 2000. This is not to take away the blame from the Republicans but to emphasize that their witch hunts over Lewinsky and other faux scandals hurt us all more than we could imagine at the time. Clinton was able to keep the government running so people weren't alarmed, but quietly in the background what was happening was that the future was being sacrificed. That meant that after the crash in the NASDAQ there was no "Plan B"....

It's clear that 5 years into this Administration that Bush has no vision of where to take the country. Iraq was the vision. Iraq was their idea of how to solve the problems of America in the 21st century. Invade a country, prop up a client state, and extract neocolonial "free market" advantages from raping the country of its oil. This is what happens when you hand the keys to the most powerful nation on the earth to a bunch of rednecks and business school graduates. There's not as much difference between the two as you might think.

That is the essential point to grasp, that the guys in three-piece suits and the guys in wife-beaters neither of them have any fucking clue what is really going on much less where to take this country. They are literally making up shit and hoping that the world doesn't catch on that they don't have any idea what is going on. And everything comes from that original mendacity. The legal torture memos of Gonzales and the pissing on Korans in Gitmo all stem from the same root. THESE GUYS DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING.
Two words: Shanghai condo.


Mexican Meth: Coming Soon to a City Near You

Steve Suo continues his Pulitzer-Prize nominated series on meth in the Oregonian. It's no longer simply a west coast problem:
Sherri Strange, special agent in charge of the DEA in Atlanta, said Mexico's Gulf and Armando Valencia cartels are battling for turf in Atlanta. The city has become a command center for distributing the drug from Miami to New York, according to federal law enforcement officials.

"I'm more concerned about this drug than any drug issue in the district or the state," said Nahmias, the federal prosecutor in Atlanta. "We've had this rising tide. Now it's like a tidal wave, and it's about to crash down on us because of the huge amounts we're seeing."

Users are flocking to the Mexican product, frequently referred to as "ice." Georgia's treatment admissions for meth, a leading indicator of the number of users, quadrupled between 2000 and 2003.
The otherwise thoroughly worthless Darlene Hooley (Congresswoman from MBNA) has actually done something useful, proposing a bill that would require the handful of pseudoephedrine manufacturers that exist to disclose where their shipments are going or face a ban on exports to the US. It's something the DEA has been pushing for since the 80s when similar legislation was effectively killed by the Senator from Pfizer, Orrin Hatch.

And the article goes on to note that with characteristic "let the poor kill themselves" aplomb, Attorney General Alberto "the Electrode" Gonzelez could care less.

Instead, US drug enforcement has largely been targeting small-time, low-level weed smokers. Will someone please tell Preznit Blow Binge that some dude sitting around in his boxers snapping bong loads while watching reruns of Jackass and loading up on Fiddle-Faddles just doesn't present the corrosive social influence of the giant international meth cartels?



I was watching MSNBC this week and saw Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao lying her face off about the new jobs report. She's saying that the numbers "show the economy is continuing its two-year solid streak of job creation." Riiight. When most people see a streak like that they decide it's time to do the laundry.

Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, has a more honest assessment over at Counterpunch:
In May the Bush economy eked out a paltry 73,000 private sector jobs: 20,000 jobs in construction (primarily for Mexican immigrants), 21,000 jobs in wholesale and retail trade, and 32,500 jobs in health care and social assistance. Local government added 5,000 for a grand total of 78,000.

Not a single one of these jobs produces an exportable good or service. With Americans increasingly divorced from the production of the goods and services that they consume, Americans have no way to pay for their consumption except by handing over to foreigners more of their accumulated stock of wealth. The country continues to eat its seed corn....

Economists and policymakers are in denial while the US economy implodes in front of their noses. The US-China Commission is making a great effort to bring reality to policymakers by holding a series of hearings to explore the depths of American decline.

The commissioners got an earful at the May 19 hearings in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ralph Gomory explained that America's naïve belief that offshore outsourcing and globalism are working for America is based on a 200 year old trade theory, the premises of which do not reflect the modern world.

Clyde Prestowitz, author of the just published Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East, explained that America's prosperity is an illusion. Americans feel prosperous because they are consuming $700 billion annually more than they are producing. Foreigners, principally Asians, are financing US over-consumption, because we are paying them by handing over our markets, our jobs, and our wealth.

Offshore outsourcing is dismantling the ladders of America's fabled upward mobility. The US labor force already has one foot in the third world. By 2024 the US will be a has-been country.

(emphasis mine)
It's an absolutely lacerating critique of shortsighted Bushenomics. The evidence keeps piling up that war was not the answer to this country's precarious economic position (totally aside from the amoral imperialism thing). If you want to have the unholy crap scared out of you, read the rest here.

P.S. Favorite quote from Prestowitz book: "They'll sell us semi-conductors and we'll sell them poetry."

(via Daou Report)

Update: I dropped Mr. Roberts an email asking him about his recommendations for the future, and he wrote me back: "Haven't reached the solution stage. First, the problem has to be acknowledged. And denial reigns."

Ain't that the truth.

photo courtesy stock.xchng