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Monday, June 29, 2015

To SCOTUS the health of 10's of thousands of people is not a Cost.

The Supreme Court, as usual, is issuing a mix of decisions by Imperial Decree, that decide what is "constitutional" or "unconstitutional". Often exceeding their authority in the process. When they exceed it in a manner the RW likes they applaud. When they decide, as they did today on Gay Marriage, against the Right Wing, they want to impeach the lot. Essentially they are trying to divine whether or not regulations are within the authority of the laws authorizing them, and whether laws are within the authority of the articles and sentences of the constitution.

What concerns me most are their corrupt decisions. Reasonable people are going to disagree about the constitution's meaning. In a sane government we'd be more concerned about whether laws work as we want them to and policies accomplish their purpose. Our problem is not whether or not laws are constitutional or unconstitutional but whether we've constituted well-constituted policies and laws or have created badly constituted law. Fixing the constitution is outside the role of the Supreme Court so the best they can do is to interpret the constitution well. Sadly our Supreme Court is Corrupt, so it interpret's the constitution corruptly. They do the same thing with laws. Their decision in Michigan versus EPA is a good example of corrupt interpretation. I'm sure that the five who decided in favor of Polluting power generation companies will do well financially. But their decision was predicated on gross dishonesty from the opening paragraph. The denial is predicated on a lie about the EPA's willingness to consider "cost". The Gang of 5 Are a corrupt group of corrupt judges who will be amply rewarded for this decision. It's cheaper to buy Congress and Judges than to provide clean air to the rest of us. The Majority claims:

"The Agency refused to consider cost when making its decision. It estimated, however, that the cost of its regulations to power plants would be $9.6 billion a year, but the quantifiable benefits from the resulting reduction in hazardous-air-pollutant emissions would be $4 to $6 million a year." [10-46_10n2.pdf]

Now note the word "quantifiable" cost -- which is a dodge to avoid admitting that the Gang of 5 was excluding "external costs", "downwind costs" or the thousands (tens of thousands) of people who will get sick and die due to this decision. And sure enough Justice Kagan notes in her dissent:

"The Environmental Protection Agency placed emissions limits on coal and oil power plants following a lengthy regulatory process during which the Agency carefully considered costs. At the outset, EPA determined that regulating plants’ emissions of hazardous air pollutants is “appropriate and necessary” given the harm they cause, and explained that it would take costs into account in developing suitable emissions standards" [10-46_10n2.pdf]

Elena Kagan notes in her dissent that:

"EPA conducted a formal cost-benefit study which found that the quantifiable benefits of its regulation would exceed the costs up to nine times over—by as much as $80 billion each year. Those benefits include as many as 11,000 fewer premature deaths annually, along with a far greater number of avoided illnesses" [10-46_10n2.pdf]

And these are conservative calculations. SCOTUS Perjured themselves in this decision.

Considering "External Costs"

In a normal society, if you dump poison on my property and my children drink it, I can sue you for the costs. This decision is the equivalent of giving people a license to poison other people, since it is incredibly difficult for people to sue utility companies for poisoning them. The Right Wing seems to have no regard for what happens to 90% of us with these kinds of decision making. Essentially they see us as slaves (or worse) and are creating a plantation world where the powerful rule with impunity.

My father did a study on the costs and benefits of a Incinerator in Indiana. He considered the downwind impacts on the health and morbidity of people who would have to breathe air from the plant and the costs of making such products healthy. Based on those calculations the report recommended against building the incinerator. A few years later a new study was commissioned where external calculations were forbidden. That one recommended an incinerator. The only way the SCOTUS Gang of 5 could conclude that the EPA was refusing to consider costs was by ignoring external costs.

They are corrupt.

Post Script: Chris Hayes on Context

Chris notes: Scalia criticized the use of context in his dissent on the ACA, but invented context (as well as lying about whether EPA considered Costs) in this decision.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Money cannot be free speech by definiton

Just a quick note. Money can't be free speech because it is never free. The government rarely gives it away, and banks almost never give it away. Maybe rich folks with guilty consciences or the need for a tax exemption do, but that doesn't make the money "free." Someone worked for it. If a person gives his hard earned money to someone that is a gift he paid for.

Worse, Usually folks don't give money without some expectation of something in return. Even Charities have a reason for being and giving money to the charities of important figures is a time honored way to get in good graces with them. But it's not free money, especially to the person giving. Yes, money is speech, but it is never free.

The reason why money can't be treated as free speech in a system with any kind of integrity (cross our system off that list, is this implicit quid pro quo is a feature of giving. In fact before there was formal trade kings would give "gifts" or "tribute" to other kings, expecting equal value gifts or tribute in return. If they don't do that to satisfaction the Kings would attack each other until one or both had made the other pay. It's never free. The Citizens United Decision and the decisions based on it are flagrantly corrupt decisions. We don't need a constitutional amendment. We need honest judges.

Now those with money have the right to monied speech. The rest of us have our right to free speech infringed.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Virtue and Vice: An Ethical system based on Justice

A Moral Vision of a Better America

In 1897 Henry George, soon before his death, Henry George wrote an article called "A Menace and a Promise" which opened:

“Though we may not speak it openly, the general faith in democratic institutions, where they have reached their fullest development, is narrowing and weakening; it is no longer the confident belief in democracy as the source of national blessings that it once was.” [Menace&Promise par 1]

Writing in 1897, when workers were losing their battle with Owners. Henry George lived in a time very much like us. A corrupt GOP setup a system of giant monopolies and monopolistic corporations whose power and influence gave them private separate advantage (Locke's definition of tyranny) over most of the people of the country. The result was a tiny 1% living in immense wealth and ostentation and overlording over many of the rest of our people. Efforts to combat the inequality and corruption involved had been frustrating. Populists had elected Grover Cleveland, only to see him betray his promises to them and go along with laws that made the lives of the overlords even more oppressive. Later Progressives would face many of the same problems and this would continue until FDR, in the 30's managed to merge the two movements.

Henry George, however, understood that the biggest danger was not from the corrupt and powerful overlords but from people accepting the inevitability of corruption!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Thunder is Rolling In

The Thunder is rolling in.
The storm is coming near.
It's been steamy quiet all day.
steam rising into the stratosphere.
Soon the trees will be tormented
and a storm will be here.
 
It's summer,
I should let the cat in.
 
II
 
Crack, Crackle, and then boom.
The rain has begun to fall.
A swarm of tiny drops
So gentle and small
I can barely see them through my window.
 
III
 
Now they are hitting the roof finally,
with energy!!
Drilling a steady sound.
But it is still mostly a quiet puttering sound.
The worst of the storm isn't yet on the ground.
 
IV
 
Will the lightning strike near?
Or simply pass us by?
Will terror touch down?
Or this be just another summer storm?
I don't know.
 
I could look at the radar maps.
And see the in swooping enemy.
Like Bombers in an old movie.
The Lightning is near and like daylight.
The Boom is like artillery.
But today I'd rather let it surprise me.
I'm already hunkered down.
There is no place outside my house that draws me.
And I'm up high, I won't drown.
 
I can watch the rain swoop over the mountains.
Watch the clouds drown the mountains in fog.
Or I can sit in my comfortable chair,
and marvel at nature.
 
V
 
What is nature?
Where is my Garden without the rain?
Would I love the desert?
Where the dust swirls
and the heat is never interrupted?
 
VI
The Storm passed.
Now it's quiet again.

 

Thank God when it's just a storm

 

Christopher Hartly Holte

Review of "A Tale of Two Cities"

The New York Times has the following article:

A Tale of Two Cities, in 1886, and Events That Shaped a State [http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/nyregion/a-tale-of-two-cities-in-1886-and-events-that-shaped-a-state.html?_r=0]

I've been writing about Henry George because I'm in love with the man's thinking. Not necessarily his economics so much as his ethical thinking. That being said I'm not the only one learning from him.

The Author is reviewing a Book by Professor O’Donnell and writes:

“Professor O’Donnell, who teaches history at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., writes that by transplanting himself from California to New York, George gained a national forum for his “single tax” on property, which was fundamental to his platform.” [Events That Shaped a State]

The author is mostly interested in the navel gazing history of New York City, but sure enough Henry George had the chutzpah to take on both the Tammany Hall machine, the unstoppable Teddy Roosevelt, and the City of New York. The result was a loss for George. Now if George had thrown in with a coalition with Teddy Roosevelt Roosevelt would have won. Which brings us to the present when we have Bernie Sanders running as a Democrat. We've learned that democracy in the United States starts with people fighting to build coalitions:

“Representative Abram Hewitt, a Democrat and pro-labor industrialist, won with 90,552 votes over George, who took 68,110 as the candidate for the United Labor Party. In third place with 60,435 votes was a 28-year-old Republican, former Assemblyman Theodore Roosevelt. George’s supporters claimed that the election was stolen by Tammany bosses (who would have had to appropriate only 14 votes at each of 812 polling sites).” [Events That Shaped a State]

Tammany Hall was eventually destroyed by an insurgency within the Democratic party culminating with Robert Kennedy defeating Tammany Hall in 1966. (see Archived Article)

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1966/06/29/page/1/article/kennedy-beats-tammany-hall
“Tammany had earlier tried to buy George with a seat in Congress. Why would they, he asked, if the Democrats figured he couldn’t win anyway?” [Events That Shaped a State]

It takes Moxy to beat a Machine. And both Bobby Kennedy and Henry George Had it:

“You cannot be elected,” William M. Ivins, the city chamberlain supposedly said, “but your running will raise hell!” [Events That Shaped a State]

But nobody can do it alone. If George had had followers and fellow travelers with the same dedication and moxy he had, he might have gotten even further. Even so he fought Tammany Hall and set the stage for others to do so successfully later.

“To which George replied, “I do not want the responsibility and work of the office of the Mayor of New York, but I do want to raise hell!” And he did.” [Events That Shaped a State]

The article also talks about Gouverneur Morris and his attitude towards common folks:

“That diversity was reflected in Gouverneur Morris, who “expressed disrespect or even contempt for New York’s common people at the same time he was risking his life and welfare to write a constitution that would keep them safe and free,”

Democracy and Good government in the United States has always been a bottom up struggle. I make the case that they are one and the same. The Morrises, their allies and frenemies, tried to transplant the Sea Dog Aristocracy of Britain to the Colonies along with it's con artist secret corruption and private, separate advantage. Not so much consciously, but simply because of their selfishness. On the other hand people like Henry George...

“and James Fenimore Cooper, who chronicled the unfettered life and other noble causes while criticizing abolitionists, and Thomas E. Dewey, a Republican who championed civil rights, environmental protection and great public works like the New York Thruway.”

stood up for and uplifted common folks, and at the same time fought corruption in all it's immoral forms.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Cup Glowing in the Dark

The cup is glowing in the dark.
What an amazing thing.
I don't know if I'm hallucinating.
Or the cup is made with radium.
 
All I know is that I've been poisoned.
And the whole world is poisoned too.
And I am standing here making a libation
when I really don't know what to do.
I don't have any other tools.
 
We protest and march, Kayak and bark.
And the Powers ignore us on a good day.
Meanwhile the cup is glowing right in front of me.
and that glow isn't in a good way.
 
Will my skeleton glow when they lay me to my rest?
Will any pure places remain, where life can take refuge?
Do they really mean to contaminate everyone and everything?
are they really such fools?

Christopher H. Holte, 6/16/2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Scaling up "the Jungle" -- Trashing Food Safety Laws

Ultimately food safety enforcement requires Point of Origin Laws. But at the moment we can't even enforce Country of Origin laws because of the power of the corrupt World Trade Organization Courts (WTC) and existing international regimes. If we continue to pass bad trade bills this will only get worse. The International of Giant Multinationals seem to be aiming at a regime of weak overall world government, strong but corrupt courts, and chaos at the State (national) level to maximize their own power and Influence. This should look familiar.

In the 19th Century Giant US companies used the same strategy on a national Scale. Powerful companies using States against one another, packing the courts, the Senate before we changed how it was elected and buying or owning officials of a weak United States Government so they could run their own baronies, oppress labor and ship cheap dangerous products around the country. This is the world of Upton Sinclair scaled up to International scale. If we pass the latest round of Trade Agreements we'll be agreeing to an International Jungle of Corrupt Conglomerate rule that would make muckrackers like Upton Sinclair scream from their graves. To read more about Upton Sinclair read:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Smoke

For my Brother it was his esophagus,
for my cousin it was his lungs.
For my sister in law it was her pancreas,
for my uncle it was his tongue.
They all went up in smoke.
 
For some of my relatives it wasn't smoking,
but going into black coal dark caves.
But others of my relatives grew the weed on their farms
And built fortunes on it's addictive charms.
We paid a price for those extractive fortunes.
For my Grandma it was heart lung failure,
She was a Lucky Strike babe.
And she came "a long way Baby" before the smoke killed her.
 
I watch my son, cough his lungs out every night.
And because he smokes, I know something isn't right.
If he'd gone to war I could rationalize "how brave."
But when he smokes out on my porch,
it's I who have to sweep up the cigarette butts.
After I remind him he's nuts.
I'm deathly afraid he'll go up in smoke,
Before I've taken my final toke.
 
Christopher H. Holte
Dedicated to that big leafed weed that has no good use other than poisoning things.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Say's Law is a Myth!

In the Book Adam's fallacy, the author, Duncan K. Foley mentions Say's law, defined within as

"that in the aggregate there cannot be chronic excess supply of labor" (boy is that "law" a laugh)

He then makes the even more true observation that the immediate effects of increases in labor productivity is to impose increased costs on labor!

Basically the book "Adam's Fallacy" refutes Say's law and a number of other mythic elements to classical economics!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Go Home To Die

Go home to die,
 
there is no place to find refuge.
So you might as well die at home.
Cancer awaits some of you.
A slow death from poisoned blood, the rest.
The radiation is in your blood and your chest.
There is no place to run.
 
Some of you will sicken and fail.
Some of your children will be monsters.
There is no point that you should cry and wail.
The radiation is in your tears and breast.
Life was always short
and the dance must go on.
 
We dance in our halls near the centers of power.
We dress in finery and put filters on our walls.
We light our homes with your misery
and heat our rooms with the fire of your suffering.
And we count the numbers from billing you
for lighting your homes with your own blood.
 
Christopher H. Holte 6/7/2015

Reference Youtube report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr6HpC3DIrE

Friday, June 5, 2015

Mitigating and Reversing Climate Change

Bernie writes:

“The scientific community has been extremely clear. Climate change is real. Climate change is man-made. And climate change is already causing severe damage in terms of drought, floods, forest fires, rising sea levels and extreme weather disturbances.” [http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sanders-statement-on-climate-change-all-nighter]

And if we want to reverse it, we have to do a variety of things that are based on science. We can't do like the Republicans are doing.

“....virtually all of my Republican colleagues continue to ignore the scientific evidence and refuse to support legislation which will address this planetary crisis.” [climate-change-all-nighter]

Theodore Roosevelt would be spinning in his grave, except he was used to fighting corrupt members of his own party. Even so the GOP has spat on their own history both with their repudiation of respect for the environment, science and their repudiation of the concepts of Abraham Lincoln for becoming a vessel of the heirs of Jefferson Davis. But this is nothing new. TR faced the same quandary 100 years ago.

"Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." TR Quote

TR's battle is our battle, and reversing climate change is also conserving our environment and mitigating the effects of what is happening do to our poor stewardship of the environment. Reversing climate change doesn't have to be excessively expensive or a great torture. Because the other side of reversing climate change is to move into a sustainable economy that can:

“mov[e] us away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Doing that will not only help reverse climate change, but can, over a period of years, create millions of good-paying jobs.” [Statement]

It means investing in green energy; solar energy, wind and geothermal energy. It means mitigating the effects of climate change by installing water drainage, storage, conservation and recycling systems into our water use and supply systems. There is money to be made by kickbacks from the fossil fuel extraction.

This post furthers the agenda laid out in the post:
The Common Plank: [http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-common-plank.html]
Further Reading on subject from Bernie:
http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sanders-statement-on-climate-change-all-nighter
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120760/senate-will-vote-sanders-climate-amendment-keystone
Theodore Roosevelt
http://todayinsci.com/R/Roosevelt_Theodore/RooseveltTheodore-ConservationFundamental.htm
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/08/roosevelt-to-dissolve-the-unholy-alliance-between-corrupt-business-and-corrupt-politics-is-the-first-task-of-the-statesmanship-of-the-day.html

The Common plank

I like Hillary. I like Bernie Sanders. I like Elizabeth Warren. I really don't give a hoot who is at the top of the ticket as long as there is an army of supporters, a movement, behind them. We have a list of priorities we need to fight for. The GOP have declared war on us. Their war to make Obama seem ineffectual is being effective because we've let ourselves delude ourselves that this is a war against Obama, against Black people, against some of us, and not a war against all of us. The GOP is warring on working people in this country and for the sake of domination by a narrow class of oligarchs. Yes we can delude ourselves that the issues are abortion, or gays getting married, or any of the other fake issues that have many Salt of the Earth folks worked up. But the Right Wing is after them too. But what I like the most are that we have a list of proposals! I especially like this version of the list because it is a list of concrete steps:

This is a follow on to the post Fielding Candidates: [http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/04/fielding-candidates.html] and A Unified Plank: http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-unified-plank.html