Quote of the Day

Today’s quote is dedicated to Lonesome George:

“We are the children and inheritors of a culture that has banished God to heaven.  Early Christianity persecuted and ultimately largely extinguished any earth-based spirituality, and the physical world became a place of darkness and sin.  Then after the age of Enlightenment, the prevailing world view that grew out of Newtonian physics framed the world as an inanimate mechanism we could easily master, indeed were meant to master; we simply needed to discover its laws to tame it to our own ends.  As a legacy of that view we have developed a materialistic culture that treats the earth as a commodity that exists to serve our own selfish purpose.  Our greed now walks with heavy boots across the world, with complete disregard for the sacred nature of creation.”

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Prayer of the Heart in Christian & Sufi Mysticism

Finally, a Criminal Charge in the BP Oil Spill

But it’s just an engineer, Kurt Mix, charged with obstruction of justice for deleting text messages about what was really going on.  While BP was publicly estimating the flow rate as 5,000 BOPD (barrels of oil per day), Mix was saying it exceeded 15,000.

But until top executives actually go to prison, nothing will change.  Fines, shmines.

Mitt Is a Policy Eunuch

“I’ve always taken it as a given that the ‘real’ Mitt Romney isn’t so much a political moderate as not particularly engaged on issues besides management and right-leaning economics.  In other words, he’s a center-right technocrat. So the moves to the center we’re about to see are comparatively easy for him since these just aren’t issues which are core to who he is one way or another.”  Emphasis added.   Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

This is my view of Mitt — not so much that he’s a flip-flopper as that he’s apathetic on stuff like abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, climate change, immigration, etc.

I think that’s why the base is so suspicious of him.  Issues that they are passionate about, that they devote their time and money to, that they believe are central and crucial to the future of this country, really don’t matter to him, just six of one, half dozen of another.

The GOP is nominating someone who is basically a policy eunuch.  You can’t really get him aroused.

Not-So-Smart ALEC

Paul Krugman places Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in the broader context of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and its adverse effect on our society*:

“And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

“What is ALEC?  Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects:  the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on.  Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators.

“Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals:  union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.   ALEC seems, however to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations.

“ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading.  To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.”  Emphasis added.

*  “Lobbyists, Guns and Money,” NYT

A Reminder of What The Election Should Be About

From “Capitalism Version 2012,” Thomas L. Friedman, NYT:

“America’s success for over 200 years was largely due to its healthy, balanced publicprivate partnership — where government provided the institutions, rules, safety nets, education, research and infrastructure to empower the private sector to innovate, invest and take the risks that promote growth and jobs.

“When the private sector overwhelms the public, you get the 2008 subprime crisis.  When the public overwhelms the private, you get choking regulations.

“[T]he ideal 2012 election would be one that offered the public competing conservative and liberal versions of the key grand bargains, the key balances, that America needs to forge to adapt its capitalism to this century.

“The first is a grand bargain to fix our long-term structural deficit by phasing in $1 in tax increases, via tax reform, for every $3 to $4 in cuts to entitlements and defense over the next decade.  If the Republican Party continues to take the view that there must be no tax increases, we’re stuck.

“As part of this, we will need an intergenerational grand bargain…. We need a proper balance between government spending on nursing homes and nursery schools….

“Another grand bargain we need is between the environmental community and the oil and gas industry….

“Another grand bargain we need is on infrastructure.  We have more than a $2 trillion deficit in bridges, roads, airports, ports and bandwidth….

“Within both education and health care, we need grand bargains that better allocate resources between remediation and prevention. … We waste too much money treating people for preventable diseases and reteaching students in college what they should have learned in high school.

“Capitalism and political systems — like companies — must constantly evolve to stay vital.”

The problem is too much willfulness and not enough will.   We limp along on last-minute, short-term, lowest-common-denominator bargains, but can’t manage the “grand bargains” that will get this country soaring again.