Saturday, January 31, 2015

In memory of Molly Ivins

Today is the 8th anniversary of Molly's death. I suspect she'd see things a little like the following but would have been much more humorous in her response.

Do you suppose there's a Minnesota Spring, or a United States Spring in our future? I'm not referring to the seasonal change that's several months or so away and that comes every year. I'm wondering if Minnesota and the rest of the country may some year soon experience uprisings similar to those of the Arab Spring of 2012 or the original and real Boston Tea Party. The reason I raise that question is I'm seeing what looks to me like an increasing disconnect between what our leaders do and what the rest of us need. Here's a for instance:

President Obama noted the significance of climate change during his recent State of the Union message.
“No challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” Obama said in his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night. “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does:  14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.”
The future generations he refers to are the same ones who have already seen wealth concentrated distressingly among the top 1% and debt, including school debt that can't be discharged in bankruptcy, concentrated among the 99% of us who make up the majority in this country. Two years of free community college does nothing for those who are already faced with very limited prospects for ever achieving the American Dream, if part of the dream includes home ownership. Unless, of course, the federal government and banks change the debt to income ratios needed to qualify for a mortgage which would probably mean much higher (subprime) interest rates, increased profits for banks, and mortgage insurance financed by the rest of us.

To get back on track, shortly after noting the significance of climate change to the future of the country, the President opened areas of the southeast Atlantic to drilling for oil. Is that likely to require more pipelines crossing environmentally sensitive parts of the country? Will the product be shipped by rail in explosion-prone tank cars because regulators don't insist the private sector move quickly enough because it might diminish the further aggregation of excess profits by the 1%? But, of course, we know that BP has completely cleaned up the Gulf spill and the oil industry has improved its practices so a "Deepwater Horizon" blowout could never occur again. Right? Right?

It seems to me, more and more every day, that class warfare has been surreptitiously declared a long time ago; that it was initiated by the 1% and the politicians they underwrite, and that the rest of us have been losing that war for several generations. I am increasingly incredulous at how many of us continue to vote against our best interests, when we bother to vote at all. Maybe Minnesota, and the U.S., need a new constitutional convention, so we can write a constitution that explicitly states that corporations, if they are considered persons, cannot be limited liability persons. They must also face full liability, including a death penalty, or they cannot be considered persons at all. What do you think?

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