Weather News from Blue State Minnesota

I don’t know why a farmer/voter in Minnesota should understand global warming and extreme weather better than a farmer/voter in in South Dakota, but both states are experiencing the same global warming impact of extreme weather and South Dakota continues to elect public officials who will oppose any meaning act to reduce global warming and Minnesota goes the other way.

When South Dakota gets it, things will change. Conservative does not have to mean slow to change and stubbornly dim-witted, it could mean interested in the conservation of the natural environment that is the foundation of our way of life.

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An Almanac of Extreme Weather

THE news from this Midwestern farm is not good. The past four years of heavy rains and flash flooding here in southern Minnesota have left me worried about the future of agriculture in America’s grain belt. For some time computer models of climate change have been predicting just these kinds of weather patterns, but seeing them unfold on our farm has been harrowing nonetheless.

Climate change, I believe, may eventually pose an existential threat to my way of life. A family farm like ours may simply not be able to adjust quickly enough to such unendingly volatile weather. We can’t charge enough for our crops in good years to cover losses in the ever-more-frequent bad ones. We can’t continue to move to better, drier ground. No new field drainage scheme will help us as atmospheric carbon concentrations edge up to 400 parts per million; hardware and technology alone can’t solve problems of this magnitude.

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52 minutes of Chalmers Johnson

If you want to remember Chalmers Johnson, spend 52 minutes listening to Chalmers and figure out how you can carry on this important work.

Speaking Freely – Chalmers Johnson on American Hegemony from Ice Goldberg on Vimeo.

“Chalmers Johnson had passed away. Steve Clemons has written a long tribute to him at The Washington Note. Though he had a long career before he became a leading critic of American empire, it is for this criticism that he is best known to those of us in my generation. He and his arguments will be missed.” Daniel Larison

“The United States today is like a cruise ship on the Niagara River upstream of the most spectacular falls in North America,” Johnson warned. “A few people on board have begun to pick up a slight hiss in the background, to observe a faint haze of mist in the air on their glasses, to note that the river current seems to be running slightly faster. But no one yet seems to have realized that it is almost too late to head for shore. Like the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, imperial German, Nazi, imperial Japanese, British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Soviet empires in the last century, we are approaching the edge of a huge waterfall and are about to plunge over it.”


Author of Blowback, The Sorrows Of Empire and Nemesis: The Last Days Of The American Empire, Chalmers Johnson has literally written the book on the concept of American Hegemony. A former naval officer and consultant of the C.I.A.
In this exclusive interview, you will find out why the practice of empire building is, by no means, a thing of the past. As the United States continues to expand its military forces around the globe, the consequences are being suffered by each and every one of us.

The NY Times Challenges You to Fix the Budget

Give it a try.  I didn’t have much trouble fixing the budget, but military spending definitely took a hit with my planning.

I think it is clear that their are important options that are not included in the NYT list. For example: on fixing Social Security, why is there only a limited option to remove the cap on earnings subject to the social security tax?  The most aggressive option there subjects 90% of income to the tax over time.  Take off the cap entirely and watch what happens to the budget accounting makes the top 1% pay the same kind of taxes that most of us pay.  Give me that option please. That is actually my first choice to “fix” social security.

Happy Monday. Weather has gotten cold in the northwest, I am out shopping for new battery for the daughter’s car this morning.

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Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget

Today, you’re in charge of the nation’s finances. Some of your options have more short-term savings and some have more long-term savings. When you have closed the budget gaps for both 2015 and 2030, you are done. Make your own plan, then share it online.
Related Article | Behind The Times’s Deficit Project | Printable PDF Version | Room for Debate: 16 Ways to Cut the Deficit

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More headlines saying Global Warming happening faster than expected

I have said for years that the climate scientists are naturally conservative in their projections about the impact of global warming. This is not to say that these scientists are politically conservative, but that science itself is conservative in terms of making the kind of projections that public policy “deciders” need to consider.

Read below from the Times and take note of the guy saying we can’t protect everything from a rising tide, we will have to abandon some territory to the ocean.

Anybody want to buy a vacation place out at the coast?

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As Glaciers Melt, Scientists Seek New Data on Rising Seas

Hanging out the sides of the craft, two scientists sent a measuring device plunging into the water, between ice floes. Near the bottom, it reported a temperature of 40 degrees. It was the latest in a string of troubling measurements showing that the water was warm enough to melt glaciers rapidly from below.

“That’s the highest we’ve seen this far up the fjord,” said one of the scientists, Fiammetta Straneo.

“I think we need immediately to begin thinking about our coastal cities — how are we going to protect them?” said John A. Church, an Australian scientist who is a leading expert on sea level. “We can’t afford to protect everything. We will have to abandon some areas.”

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Don’t Mourn, Organize

Hard not to be discouraged. The Work continues.

Here’s something I came across this morning. It’s a little long, but what else do we have to do, but read, think and plan for the change that has to come.

The drone wars and drone warriors have to be undone.

Rule 6: Keep It Human, Put People First

Maybe that ought to be Rule 1?

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Politics & Social Justice

Jamie Court: 10 Rules of Populist Power

ing Opponents to Make Mistakes Is the Goal of Effective Advocacy for Change; Promotin
Rule 1: Forcg Issues Is Not Enough
Every campaign for real change must (1) define an opponent; (2) be waged to trip up the opponent; and (3) be ready to create change from the opponent’s mistakes.
Rule 2: To Make Big Changes, Target the Little Things and a Few People
Think Paul Revere. In his bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell shows how Revere had the right connections to knock on the right revolutionary leaders’ doors, those who knew him, with his “sticky” message: “The British are coming!” Stickiness means that a message has an impact and is memorable.
Rule 3: Simple Moral Sentiments Can Change the World When Public Opinion Propels Them
Rule 4: Forget Sun Tzu: The Bigger the Fight, the Better the Odds; Fight Even If You Cannot Win Today, and Someday You’ll Win without a Fight

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The Hard Times Coming Can Be Profitable

Mary’s post on the failure of “conservatives” to be cautious with regard to global warming got me thinking about the profit motive behind the modern day Republican Party. There is no need to engage in reasonable public policy if conflict and disaster can be spun for electoral fear and corporate profit. The key to the success of disastrous public policies and the folks who push these policies is to have a scapegoat ready. It’s hard to advance the notion that we are all in this together with regard to global warming, and that we need to commit to the kind of change that would be necessary to address the problem, when there is so much money to be made in the disaster industry and it’s going to be so easy to identify the dangerous other who can serve as a scapegoat.

The mainstream press seems very interested in covering the drug ring wars near our southern border.

Connect the dots, kemo sabe.

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The Shock Doctrine

In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world– through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

Jacket Cover

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Where is the Note?

Thanks to Empty Wheel and SEIU for putting this together.

from Empty Wheel and Firedoglake:

In the face of mounting evidence that the banks foreclosing on homes did not comply with legal requirements during securitization of mortgages and therefore don’t have legal standing to foreclose, the SEIU and some community organizations teamed together last month to create an online tool that anyone can use to ask their mortgage servicer where their note is. By helping homeowners proactively check whether their bank has the right paperwork, it gives them more power in the event of a foreclosure.

The site launched just over three weeks ago. 200,000 people have visited the website; around 15,000 have used the tool to ask their bank for their note (I’ll have a more exact number shortly).

It’s pretty easy for any person with a mortgage to put their mortgage holder on notice that someone is paying attention to the possibility that the mortgage note has been lost, sliced, diced and that the chain of ownership for the entity collecting mortgage payments may be flawed.

Do you have a mortgage?  Ask your mortgagor to show that they have retained an adequate record and are performing their fiduciary responsibilities.

Click here.  

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By: emptywheel Wednesday November 3, 2010 9:40 am
Remember WhereIsTheNote?
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Election Eve. Here we go. Our first Citizens United election

I think this is going to be ugly.  And if you pull the string of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the whole fabric is revealed.  It was clear from the time that SCOTUS asked the parties to argue bigger issues in a case that could have been decided on narrow grounds that corporate shills in black robes intended to serve their corporate masters.  Obama and the Dems had months before this matter came back for argument to enact legislation to prevent the corporate funded takeover of public elections and they sat on their hands.

I think if the dems get hammered, but retain some legislative power, particularly if the corporate and blue dog dems are weakened by this election cycle, then something good has come from this election.  It’s going to be more difficult to unwind the electoral damage of Citizens United in the future, but it must be done if elections are to mean anything.  The best time to take care of this problem has come and gone.  That is the Obama problem in a nutshell.  Missed opportunities. Failure to rise to an important occasion.  A lot of talk.   Here we go.

I still think Patty Murray by a point or two in WA.  I hope my rep will be Denny Heck and not the crazy Jaime Herrera, though she is much prettier.  My choice for Rep – Cheryl Crist – did not make it to general election out of our top two primary race scheme here in Washington.

Biggest interest for me in the WA election is the millionaire tax initiative. I-1098.  I voted yes, but a lot of money has been spent to keep taxes off the millionaires and WA has always turned down state income tax in favor of more regressive sales tax scheme.

The Head Stomp is the Enduring Symbol of the Far Right

in this election. At least for me.

I disagree with Mary Shaw at OpEdNews that Ms. Valle was a defenseless female. I am not going to buy into the sexism of aggression and defense. Also, I looked at the video at and it’s clear on that video (if it is authentic and I think it is) that Ms. Valle shoved her sign in the window at Rand Paul as his vehicle arrived. I applaud Red State for being unequivocal about the head stomp being wrong, but the fact remains that the right wing crazies have been willing, if not anxious to escalate from 1st amendments rights to gather and engage in free speech to physical confrontations with the left. An unwanted touch is an assault/battery under the law. It’s one thing to be jostled in a large, tight crowd, it is another thing to be tackled, held to the ground and be struck or stomped in the maneuver.

I hope we will see local police and prosecutors bring the full force of the law to bear on thugs who engage in assault and battery under the adrenalin rush of their political fears and excitement.

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The Party of Thugs

On October 25, a defenseless female volunteer was assaulted outside the site of a Kentucky Senatorial debate. While engaged in street theater trying to get Rand Paul’s attention, Lauren Valle was pushed to the ground by some of Paul’s supporters, and then one of them stomped on her head. She ended up with a concussion.
A month earlier, on September 23, a male Sharron Angle supporter pushed a female Harry Reid supporter and then punched her female friend in the face at a Nevada Senatorial debate.
I do not see these as two isolated incidents. I see them as two very disturbing symptoms of a new culture of hatred and violence on the far right.
We saw it brewing last March, when Tea Partiers greeted members of the Congressional Black Caucus by hurling the N-word at them. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was spat on in the incident. Then they shouted “faggot” at openly gay Rep. Barney Frank.

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