Junk science: who needs GDP anyway?

Steven Milloy is douchebag of the week, spreading the all-corporate, pseudo-free-market, pro-capitalist propaganda that doing something to fix global warming is not worth the reduction in GDP these measures would cause.

Well, Milloy, have I got news for you, because, you seem to be missing the point. Not only is all the stuff we make (this would include the cows for McDonalds, right) the cause of man-made global warming. Anyone with half a brain can see that we're making and consuming all the wrong things, and way too much of it too! Therefor, my question is: who needs the GDP we might lose to tackle global warming? I certainly will not miss any of the useless crap this so-called 'economy' is producing, it's quite frankly a disgrace. Can we think of no better stuff to make? Do we really have to waste our every natural resource on crap?

Here 's a list of things we could do without as of tomorrow, for all those too caught up in making money off them:

-Soda's & beers
-Burgers & steaks
-Diamonds & gold

Start with those and you probably already have a bigger reduction in GDP then what baby Milloy was crying for. Deal with it, you dope.


World water day: rise of the water wars

If there's two issues we need to address asap, water is one of them. The bees are probably second. Respect and a Colbert bump to Dean Kamen.


The Enron crash was nothing

Keith Olbermann's 'Bushed'. Possible criminal behaviour causing the Bear Stearns collapse. This all sounds very promising.


Help the rich, screw the poor...

Bush is in his element again, playing the backward Robin Hood that refuses to rescue the people (for it's own good!) but is all too willing to rescue Wall Street and other rich guys. Mind you that, in the meantime, he still tries to keep up the free-market-mascarade and the no-governmental-intervention and fiscal responsibility bullcrap. Somebody have this man institutionalised!


Losing your house? Here's $600.

Jon Stewart takes a look at the tanking "economy", the collapse of Bear Stearns, Bush's neverending optimism and crazy Jim Cramer from Mad Money. These people should be tasered, just to get them on track....


Those of the eighties

An Olaerts in Vacature:

Those of the eighties can text with two thumbs simultaneously. And that says it all. Those of the eighties have never sprained an ankle on a loloball. They've never freed princesses from the arms of Donkey Kong. They confuse Chevignon with warm cheese. Sue Ellen sounds like a brand of tampons to them. They couldn't go to sports camp because the sports forest was full of sexual predators. Instead they went to ski camp because there are no rushing bushes in the mountains. They've never heard of the loco-box. They collected pictures of the Power Rangers, even though now they act as if Kurt Cobain is the flag that covers their load. Let 'm do, those of the eighties. They're certainly not an asset to the labour market.

Those of the eighties pasted their thesis together or are doing so. They have internet. While surfing, they are so isolated they believe they're the only ones that use Google. They copy/paste without shame and don't need money to save for a CD. Those of the eighties take it all from the net. Copied copies of copies of exam questions are gone. The questions and answers can now be found on the forum of the student organization. They even all have a cell by the way. They MSN before going out.

Big fucking deal, those of the eighties say. They don't care they're rotten spoiled. And bosses can keep complaining that they can't find anyone. That all they get are resumes with typos and lies. That those of the eighties sometimes even forget to copy/paste the name of the company in their letters. Sometimes they don't even send anything and simply mail their cellphone number to the HR-manager. And when they come for an interview, those of the eighties, they want it all on the spot: a company car, a MacBook and 2000 euros net. Furthermore they'll negotiate group insurances, sliding working hours that can slide no further than six o'clock and they'll insist on four weeks of vacation in june, so they can go to Laos outside of the season. Next to that their job has to be variating. Those of the eighties want space for creativity and independence, but without the stress or insecurity. Otherwise they'll text their friends during the interview: "Yuck, this job is nothing for me. That bitch from HR has a greasy head anyway. Up your ass. I'm out of here." And than those of the seventies are shocked!


Giving money to those that don't need it

Paul Krugman's latest column is a peach! Thanks again to both democrats and republicans another nonsensical pseudo-economic plan sees the light of day. Anyone can follow Paul's logic but for those of us with degrees in economics it's all the more shocking to see politicians making up these crappy policies. Where do they teach this bs, anyone?

"Aside from business tax breaks — which are an unhappy story for another column — the plan gives each worker making less than $75,000 a $300 check, plus additional amounts to people who make enough to pay substantial sums in income tax. This ensures that the bulk of the money would go to people who are doing O.K. financially — which misses the whole point."

"The Bush administration has apparently succeeded in killing all of these ideas, in favor of a plan that mainly gives money to those least likely to spend it."


Economy down the tubes, republicans in denial

Next time you hear Bush, Perino, McCain, Cheney or anyone else brag how strong the American economy is, remember the words of the people above. Luckily it's not all bad news, but if you consider where 'economic' behaviour has brought us so far, I'm surprised the human race is still around.


The mysteries behind our economy

The long Johns tear apart neo-classical economics and the mysterious workings of the market. Hilarious.


Gifts and wishes for a better new year

This one is dedicated to the self-acclaimed peoplepleasers that are politicians and corporations. How about giving the people what they really need in 2008? How about giving water to Africa instead of selling Coca-Cola in the West? How about helping the people make a real change in the new year? How about spending trillions on renewable energy and removing all the weapons of the world? How about we stop buying the life we don't need and start giving what life needs from us? It's so hard to find our way....


Fast loot nation: the rich getting richer much faster

I call your $383.4 billion and raise you $141.4 billion, said the richest (one) percent of Americans to the poorest twenty percent, using only their pay raises from '03 to '05.

The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows. (In other words: the richest percent got a pay raise bigger than the pay check of the poorest 20 percent)

The poorest fifth of households had total income of $383.4 billion in 2005, while just the increase in income for the top 1 percent came to $524.8 billion, a figure 37 percent higher.

No need to panic folks. We know we can rest assured that the wealthy will invest it all into multiplying our outsourced jobs in Asia and buying even more raw materials from undemocratic countries in Africa and elsewhere. Meanwhile the American deficit is $9 trillion. And then they dare say Bush's tax cuts for the superrich are unjustified! Oh, the humanity.


The real assault on Christmas: materialism

The real assault on Christmas, however, is an excessive consumer culture that has turned a holy season into a celebration of commercialism and materialism. By focusing our attention on shopping malls and the consumerism that accompanies Christmas, this misguided campaign further distracts us from the real message of the holiday.

Ow, irony. Jesus died on a cross for our sins, only so we could 'honor' him by committing some more sins on his 'holiday'. Aren't we the worst?


Will Durst blasts the idiots-in-politics

This is from November, 21th:
"With the respect he's demonstrated for rule of law and his country's Constitution, you have to wonder if Pakistani President Musharraf is being advised by Karl Rove."
Mitt Romney has flip-flopped so much, I'm surprised his campaign ads don't close with "I'm Mitt Romney, and I both approve and disapprove of this message."
President Bush continues to attack the Democrats for their "tax and spend" policy. Which is totally antithetical to his, "don't tax, spend anyhow" policy.
Mayor Giuliani says Hillary Clinton, "cannot take a position and stick with it." As opposed to Rudy who is perfectly capable of sticking with a position, as long as the words "I do" aren't involved.

But, he's even better in his newest post:
"The dollar is headed downhill faster than Bode Miller on a set of rocket skis. Think nose dive. Plummetville. Plunge City. Belly Floppo Rama. Recession is such an ugly word..... Spending 2 trillion on an unnecessary war. Silly boy. Lowering taxes during that same unnecessary war. Sillier boy.....And thank god we, the general public, never fell for that whole "you got to save your money" BS and are still proud holders of the "Least Personal Savings of any Country in the Industrialized World" award. Because you know what those dollars are worth now? Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing!"


MIT and others try to change our cars, because BMW will not

The City Car
The City Car is a stackable electric two-passenger city vehicle. The one-way sharable user model is designed to be used in dense urban areas. Vehicle Stacks will be placed throughout the city to create an urban transportation network that takes advantage of existing infrastructure such as subway and bus lines. By placing stacks in urban spaces and key points of convergence, the vehicle allows the citizens the flexibility to combine mass transit effectively with individualized mobility. The stack receives incoming vehicles and electrically charges them. Similar to luggage carts at the airport, users simply take the first fully charged vehicle at the front of the stack. The City car is NOT a replacement for personal vehicles, taxis, buses, or trucks; it is a NEW vehicle type that promotes a socially responsible and more effective means of urban mobility.

Team MIT has made it to the finals of the DARPA Urban challenge, a competition for cars and trucks that run without human help. The qualification was announced Thursday, Nov. 1, by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, who is sponsoring the competition with the goal of developing vehicles that can operate on their own in battle and keep humans out of harm's way.

The oil-crisis: gas price gouging - call it like it is

Gasoline prices are poised to explode again. Oil companies are setting up the framework for higher prices because of fears of a Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq and administration saber rattling about Iran. Crude oil, at $29.59 a barrel when President Bush took office in January 2001, is now pushing toward $100. Washington State's current gasoline cost of $3.09 per gallon, double Seattle's 2001 price of $1.52, is now second only to California in the 48 contiguous states.

Jay Leno joked on the "Tonight Show" October 17, "The Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to three people - the CEOs of Exxon, Texaco, and Shell for figuring out how to quadruple the price of oil over a seven year period without an actual shortage."

He's right, there is no actual shortage. Even if something happened, Kurdish oil production is less than 1/4 of 1% of the world's oil, and all of Iraq generates under 3%. Iran's share of world production is falling, 5% last year compared to 8% in 1974. The oil industry uses the unrealized potential of small disruptions to implement huge price fluctuations. They are using the fear factor and war profiteering to repeat and increase what they had last year, the highest profits for any industry in American history.

Furthermore, home heating oil bills are up a third from a year ago, and double six years ago-a $1700 annual household increase, seven times inflation. Home heating bills are the silent economic killer to families - the spotlight has been on car gas prices.

As former House Energy Committee Chair Joe Barton (R-TX) said, "No federal statute prohibits price gouging." Leading Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is demanding a new Federal Trade Commission oil price investigation. Oil companies raised gas prices 24 cents a gallon in the 24 hours after Katrina. The FTC reported increases "not substantially attributable to increased costs." It was pure fear-mongering.

Congress is enacting new laws specifically aimed at price gouging, sort of. In May, the House passed groundbreaking legislation making gouging by oil and gas companies a federal crime. The bill calls for jail time and fines of up to $150 million a day for charging "unconscionably excessive prices" and taking "unfair advantage" of consumers during a presidentially declared emergency. The President has indefinitely continued drug trafficking and national security emergencies and could do the same on oil prices strangling consumers.

However, there is no "violation" if the price charged is "substantially attributable to local, regional, national, or international market conditions." The House is saying it is not gouging if the public will bear it. The oil companies could still charge whatever they want-a loophole big enough for a gas-guzzling Mack truck.

In the Senate, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has introduced legislation which defines gouging as "charging an unconscionably excessive price" and adds a critical "prohibition on market manipulation", regardless of "emergency" timing. Cantwell has been pushing for its enactment for over two years and missed the 60 vote debate "cloture" by just three votes in 2005. With the new Democratic majority, Cantwell succeeded in including this provision in the Senate energy bill now before a House-Senate conference. Cantwell's ban on market manipulation regardless of "emergencies" could have enormous impact on stopping price spikes.

(An unintended consequence of the Bush saber rattling is even higher prices and more money to Iran, which defeats the purpose of sanctions to stop nuclear weapons.)

Congress needs to rise above special interest relationships, protect Americans from oil company gouging, and define the term so it means what it really is.

By Robert Weiner and John Larmett
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Tuesday 30 October 2007