Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wind Power Bad for the Economy?

A gem today from our friends on the right wing:
Officials are also expressing concerns about wind power’s role in the Texas electric grid. Wind accounted for 8.7 percent of the grid’s energy for the first eight months of this year. But some officials recently complained that the turbines bring down wholesale electricity prices because their fuel — wind — is free, and the production tax credit reduces the price further, so sometimes it is even negative. As the theory goes, this cheap energy cuts into the profitability of companies that operate natural gas- or coal-fired power plants, making them disinclined to build new plants, which are needed to keep the lights on.  
So first they try to discredit alternative energy as unviable (remember, Mitt can't operate his car with a wind turbine on top of it).  Then when it is demonstrated that it actually works, and in a big way, the true reason for their opposition - it will hurt the oil and fossil fuel companies that line their pockets.

Who cares about slowing global warming, energy independence or just simple clean energy when the profits of oil baron's might be at stake!

References: 1) KATE GALBRAITH. 13-Sep-2012. An Expiring Tax Credit Threatens the Wind Power Industry. Texas Tribune/New York Times

Friday, July 27, 2012

Too Big To Fail Fail

The failure of "Too Big to Fail" was highlighted recently by Sandy Weill, former CEO of Citigroup.  On CNBC's "Squawk Box" he called for the breakup of the big banks.  Hindsight is 20-20, but its shocking that these intelligent captains of business can't take the time to study history and understand the rationale for why regulations like Glass-Steagall were put in place in the first place. I suppose at the end of the day, the 1% are starting to realize that, after they've squeezed all the money out of the 99%, no matter what the effective tax rate is, they will be the only ones with the money to pay in, so they will be stuck with the bill.
On Wednesday, Mr. Weill called for a wall between a bank’s deposit-taking operations and its risky trading businesses. In other words, he would like to resurrect the regulation that he once fought.
“What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking,” Mr. Weill, the former chief executive of Citigroup, told CNBC. “Have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not going to be too big to fail.”1
References: 1) 25-Jul-2012. De La Merced, Michael J. Weill Calls for Splitting Up Big Banks. New York Times.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rayon McIntosh Goes Down Swinging

The "Daily What" reports:
Fast-Food Fracas of the Day: A McDonald’s cashier with a history of violence was charged with two counts of felony assault after bashing in the head of a customer with a metal rod.

The entire disturbing incident was caught on camera, and posted to YouTube.

31-year-old Rayon McIntosh was arguing with two female customers over the authenticity of a $50 bill they paid with, when one of women slapped him. She then proceeded to walk behind the register while the other customer jumped over the counter.
Obviously all of these people are ultimately responsible for their own actions, nevertheless I have a few observations: 1) why do people have to counterfeit money to buy McDonalds food? Why is a 31 yr old man working at McDonalds? Why is disrespect and aggressive, rude behavior a social norm? It is hard for white, non-destitute individuals to imagine the grinding pain and hopelessness of these people's situation; it's even harder to imagine a way to change society so fundamentally that we stop producing them.

As Che Guevara wrote in "Socialism and The New Man" (p205,258):
to build the new man.… It is not a matter of how many kilograms of meat one has to eat, nor of how many times a year someone can go to the beach, nor how many pretty things from abroad you might be able to buy with present-day wages. It is a matter of making the individual feel more complete…
So the point being: YES! Lock up violent criminals today... But at the same time, build the society of tomorrow which eliminates the production of violent criminals in the first place. That society shall not one based on greed and disparity, but on love, equality and social justice.

Art: Salvador Dali: Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man (1943)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Five Minutes to Dawn

Below is an excerpt from a pamphlet handed out by Kasama members at the Occupy Wall Street march.
It is no longer five minutes to midnight. After Arab Spring leaps to Spain, and Greece, and on to New York’s Wall Street, it suddenly feels like five minutes to dawn.

For so long, all of the things that leave people crying at night: the numbing global poverty itself, the painful loneliness of atomized non-community, the discarding of the old and the young, endless war for dominance, global structures of empire, the ravaging of nature, the manufacture of ignorance, intolerance and bigotry, the rape and casual daily brutality toward women — all of these things have seemed untouchable and permanent.

Now suddenly…a different day is approaching — where we can increasingly see and act in in startling ways, with rippling new impact. Ears perk up. Sights are raised. The pulse quickens. Suddenly we recognize the faces of others — once unknown to us — animated and awake with a common spirit. The powerful look discredited and vulnerable.

Morning is coming…. Go and wake the sleeping ones.
Full PDF of pamphlet: Five Minutes to Dawn

Friday, September 09, 2011

Bourgeois pundits ponder Marx

Repost from Louis Proyect:
Over the past few months there has been a bumper crop of articles in elite publications such as the Financial Times making the case that Karl Marx was right—or mostly right. This is understandable given the perilous times we are living through. The kind of Panglossian message found in Fukuyama’s End of History is ill-suited to a world edged on the precipice of economic ruin, largely beyond the capability of the world bourgeoisie to resolve.

Full post

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London Riots

From Indymedia London:
Parts of London are still burning after an enormous third night of riots, during which the flames have spread to Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol and Liverpool. There is huge controversy over the conflagration, and the media establishment is doing its best to condemn, rather than try to understand. As a communist, this is not enough for me. These riots are the sudden bursting to the surface of social tensions that have been building up for many years - tensions that are rooted in the crisis of capitalism.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

I'm a Cadre

From "The Real Split in the International" Thesis 36, by Debord and Sanguinetti:
"Today, the cadres are the metamorphosis of the urban petty bourgeoisie of independent producers that has become salaried. These cadres are themselves very diversified as well, but the real stratum of upper cadres, which constitutes the model and the illusory goal for the others, is in fact held to the bourgeoisie by a thousand links, and integrates itself into that class more often than not. The vast majority of cadres are made up of middle and small cadres, whose real interests are even less separate from those of the proletariat than were the real interests of the petit bourgeoisie - for the cadre never possesses his [sic] instrument of work. But their social conceptions and promotional reveries are firmly attached to the values and perspectives of the modern bourgeoisie. Their economic function is essentially bound up with the tertiary sector, with the service sector, and particularly with the properly spectacular branch of sales, the maintenance and praise of commodities, counting among these commodity labor itself. The image of the lifestyle and the tastes that society expressly fabricates for them, its model sons, greatly influences the sectors of poor white-collar workers or petit bourgeois who aspire toward their reconversion as cadres, and is not without effect on a part of the current middle bourgeoisie... The cadre, always uncertain and always deceived, is at the center of modern false consciousness and social alienation. Contrary to the bourgeois, the worker, the serf and the feudal lord, the cadre always feels out of place. He always aspires to more than he is and can be. He pretends and, at the same time, he doubts. He is the man of malaise, never sure of himself, but hiding it. He is the absolutely dependent man, who believes that he must demand freedom itself, idealized in its semi-abundant consumption. He is ambitious and constantly turned towards his future - a miserable future, in any case - while he even doubts that he is occupying his current position as well...."

A last, a valid description of my job and role in capitalist society! Now to figure out what to do about it!