Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Can Americans be SO DUMB?

The election results for 2014 are (mostly) in, and we can all respond with a resounding (facepalm).

Long story short, the Rethuglicans won most races.  They now control both the House and Senate, and they have won several governor's races as well.  Neither Wisconsin nor Florida will be "Scott-Free" anytime soon, and genuine progressives (especially progressive women) have lost almost every race this year.  But although Wendy Davis was defeated in Texas, at least Rick "The Executioner" Perry will be gone, and Andrew Cuomo did manage to defeat the notorious teabagger Rob ASStorino in New York.  Otherwise, things look VERY bleak for progressives indeed, at least until 2016 when we must redouble our efforts.   So how can Americans be so dumb and bamboozled to vote against their own interests?  Must be our educational system, which the Rethuglicans have systematically scuttled over the past few decades.  And it's apparently working just as they planned.

On the plus side, it looks like Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC will join Colorado and Washington in legalizing cannabis for recreational use.  Some of these initiatives will take effect as early as next year.  But alas, "California Dreaming" won't become a reality until at least 2016, unless the California legislature and Governor Jerry Brown wise up in the meantime and pass a legalization bill themselves. (crickets chirping)  And San Francisco joined Seattle in raising their minimum wage to a whopping $15/hour--it's about time!

So it looks like the next two years will be rather rough for us progressives, but we must never give up.  Because if we do, we will literally have no one to blame but ourselves.  Fight the good fight!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An Open Letter to Women in Politics

To any women who are running for office, in office, or considering running for office in the near future:

You have probably noticed that the world is on fire, and has been for quite some time now.   We stand on the verge of World War III as we speak, and our overburdened planet is in grave danger.  We continue to flirt with the prospect of mass extinction (including humans, by the way) in the not-too-distant future, as we continue to cook the planet with reckless abandon.  We know what is causing all of these problems, and we already have the technology and wherewithal to solve them if we really wanted to, yet our current Big Wetiko "leaders" refuse to solve such problems because they are sycophantic lackeys to the parasitic elites, if not the very same elites themselves.  And these plutocrats are hopelelesly addicted to "business as usual".

So how did we get here in the first place, exactly?  The answer lies in ancient history, about 7000 years ago or so, when men apparently got the bright idea to take over the (known) world piece by piece, by deposing you from power.  That's right, it was originally women who were in charge for most of humanity's existence, and us fellas apparently thought we could do a better job as leaders than you ladies did.  Well, history shows us that we were wrong--dead wrong in fact.  Indeed, the best advice that us men can give to women is "don't be like us", because we f**ked the world up royally. We paved paradise and put up a parking lot, we created a desert and called it "peace".  We have devoured and suffocated our own empire, and now we are all paying a heavy price for it.  That's right--WE did it.  And we're sorry about that--though we can clearly stuff our "sorrys" in a sack!

And now it is time for you to reclaim your rightful position as the new leaders of the free world once again, starting with the USA and eventually spreading from there.  In fact, it is long overdue for you to do so.  We cannot apologize enough for handing you such a monumental clusterf**k of a world for you to fix, of course, but we fellas have plenty of faith that you will be able to do so. We know that women, not men, are the real natural-born leaders, and you can clearly handle power a lot better without it going to your heads than us.  We know that your preferred paradigm of society, what Riane Eisler calls the "partnership" model, is far better than the "dominator" model that we have been practicing for the past 7000 years.  As the saying goes, never send a boy to do a man's job--send a woman instead.  Truer words were never spoken, and we need you now more than ever before.

It's 2014 now, and there are plenty of elections in which you can win this year, followed by even more important ones in 2016.  The highest and tallest "glass ceiling" in the world--President of the United States--is just waiting to be smashed, as are plenty of other important political offices as well.  We wish all of you the very best of luck.  Now, go forth and make old Buckminster Fuller proud!


Ajax the Great, Party Leader of the TSAP

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

War Is Over, If You Want It

Well, it's now official.  The USA has begun airstrikes in Syria now, in addition to escalating airstrikes in Iraq, with no end in sight.

As far as what Obama hopes to accomplish by fighting fire with gasoline, we really don't know.  But doing so is unlikely to really achieve anything good in the long run, and will likely just make things worse overall.  The original justification for "humanitarian" bombing, namely rescuing the Yazidis who were trapped on a mountain and were about to be exterminated, has since evaporated, and any other justification for further airstrikes is pure mission creep, plain and simple.  Pretty soon they will be calling for boots on the ground when the airstrikes inevitably fail to eradicate ISIS/ISIL/IS or whatever they happen to call themselves this week, and we all know where that leads.  Truly, the road to hell is paved with (ostensibly) good intentions.

Clearly, we need to abort this stupid war of choice in the first trimester, so to speak.  If Obama continues beyond 90 days, then We the People (via Congress, right!) may indeed have the authority to impeach him if he continues to wage war without Congressional approval as per the War Powers Act.  At the very least, Obama needs to have his Nobel Peace Prize revoked yesterday, as he has failed to promote peace.  To the flip-flopping Secretary of State John Kerry, we have a question for you.  How do you ask a man (or woman) to be the last to die for a mistake?  Because we wouldn't know anything about that.

As for all of those fools who claim that "we can fight them over there, or we can fight them here", we at the TSAP have a message for ISIS and their ilk:  Don't even THINK about coming here!  If you come anywhere near our soil, you will be pretty damn lucky if all you get is deported.  And if you dare try any sort of funny business here, there will be a gunman hiding behind every blade of grass in this country, and WE WILL BURY YOU--WITH PIG OFFAL.  No 72 virgins for you, parasites.  Besides, virgins are in short supply these days it seems.  You have been warned, now cease and desist before you REALLY wake the sleeping giant!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Modest Proposal for the Middle East

Much to our chagrin, President Obama has gone through with airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq.  Apparently, we have scraped the bottom of the barrel and found a terrorist group worse than Al-Qaeda, and even Al-Qaeda is afraid of them.  They seek to establish an Islamic "caliphate", and will stop at nothing to achieve it.  They will literally kill, rape, torture, and/or enslave anyone who stands in their way, especially women and children, and the TSAP feels that animals like that need to be humanely euthanized, and even that would be too kind.  That said, we also feel that war is not the answer, since American intervention was what created the conditions that allowed ISIS to take root in the first place.  Violence only begets more violence, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, and if you fight fire with fire we ALL get burned.  And there is clearly no such thing as "humanitarian" bombing, regardless of what some war-hawks may claim.

But since President Obama has already begun the airstrikes, the TSAP hereby makes the following modest proposal to him:

1)  First, take the War Powers Act extremely literally for once, and draw a line in the sand that we will completely abort the bombing mission after 90 days (if not sooner), no ifs ands or buts about it. No escalation either, and certainly no boots on the ground. After that, the Iraqis are completely on their own, period.

2) Pull all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, like you promised.

3) Stop supporting Israel's genocide (yes, that's what it really is) of the Palestinians, and pressure them to end the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and implement a two-state solution.  For the Golan Heights, leave it up to the residents.

4) Cut the "defense" spending by half, establish a Department of Peace, and set up a sort of "Marshall Plan" for the Middle East region using a portion of the money saved.  And perhaps do these things as well, which certainly couldn't hurt.

5)  Finally, and we are only half-joking about this: when we finish "playing exterminator" and pull out of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., we should give every woman over there an AK-47 and tell them to take over their country and mow down anyone who stands in their way. Let Allah sort it out. But of course, the powers that be over here would never support that. After all, they wouldn't want women in this country getting any ideas, now would they?  (Actually, replacing all of our Big Wetiko "leaders" with women wouldn't be a bad idea, but that's a topic for another discussion)

But hey, what do we know?  We're just the 800-lb gorilla (or is that guerrilla?) in the room.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

To Congress and President Obama: No New Wars!

Due to the growing chaos in Iraq, there has been a recent push to re-start the nearly decade-long Iraq War.  While President Obama has explicitly ruled out "boots on the ground", he is still considering airstrikes.  Which will likely accomplish zilch on the ground except for pouring gasoline on a raging inferno.  And then we will still be puzzled as to "why do they hate us"?  SMH.

To Congress and Obama, please stay out of Iraq.  Please don't keep propping up an autocratic regime over there that was actually the root cause for the recent political instability.  And even if we did send in troops, the best it would do is provide temporary relief that will evaporate shortly after leaving.  And clearly the USA is NOT in any position for another decade (or decades) of war.  The time for war is in the past.  Our own country is falling apart.  And if you win the wars at home, there will be no fighting anymore.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Take Back the Flag

Just pointing out that today is Flag Day.  But this blog looks no different today because we display the Stars and Stripes every day.

To all the ignorant fools who burn it, remember what it is that you're really burning, and all those that fought and died for it. Those who consider themselves to be on the political left would be better served by "taking back the Flag" and waving it proudly, so it is not perverted into an ultra-right-wing symbol by the fascists. Make it clear that the government policies you oppose are not in the national interest. And let everyone know that you can just as strongly love this country as you fear its government.  In fact, plenty of true patriots often do feel that way, and as Jefferson once said, "dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

The Flag is not Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, or belonging to any other faction. It is the American Flag, and it belongs to all of us.   Live free or die!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reflections on the Isla Vista Killings

On May 23, a deeply disturbed young man committed yet another mass killing, resulting in the deaths of seven people (including himself) and injuring thirteen others.  The mass murderer, whose name we refuse to mention so as not to make him famous, stabbed and shot his victims as well as ran some of them over with his car before crashing and then shooting himself.   As the TSAP has done with previous mass killings, let us now reflect on this senseless act of horrific violence and analyze its likely causes.

The 22 year old man who did this has been dubbed the "Virgin Killer" because his motive for doing so was to get revenge against women because he apparently couldn't get laid.  Yes, you read that right, and he most likely never heard of Paging Dr. Nerdlove.  In fact, he wrote a nasty 141-page manifesto detailing his rage and his plans to act on such rage.  While it is easy to dismiss him as just another loony, aberrant, lone-wolf killer, the fact is that he was profoundly influenced by a highly misogynistic culture.  People like him are simply the tip of a very large iceberg of misogyny, as one can see at various "men's rights advocate" (MRA) and "pick-up artist" (PUA) websites (which we refuse to link to, but you can Google) as well as the mainstream media and political culture.  It is very telling indeed that he described his twisted machinations as a "War on Women", a phrase often associated with what many of today's Republican politicians have been doing in terms of rolling back women's reproductive rights (and by extension other rights as well).  He was also apparently very racist as well, and we know how racism and sexism often go together especially in the reich-wing world.  Need we say more?

Thus, while lots of people like to place the blame on guns or mental illness or even video games for this tragedy, it should be painfully obvious that the real root cause of it was patriarchy and the misogyny that inevitably goes with it.  And the reason why people like that as well as various politicians are lashing out so much right now is because patriarchy is currently in self-destruct mode and is on its way out.  Indeed, patriarchy is essentially wetiko writ large, so the sooner it ends, the better.  The futurists all seem to agree on one thing:  the future belongs to women.  And when they finally do take over, they will remember exactly how they were treated, so it really behooves us fellas to clean up our act sooner rather than later.  As John Mellencamp and India Arie would say, if you're not part of the future, get out of the way.

What to Do about Afghanistan?

The other day, Obama announced his plan to leave a residual force of 9800 American troops in Afghanistan after combat operations officially end this December.  That residual force will be cut in half at the end of 2015, and reduced to a negligible level at the end of 2016.  So much for pulling out completely this year.

Though far less than the roughly 100,000 troops at the peak years of 2010-2012, leaving nearly ten thousand troops in Afghanistan after 2014 seems rather pointless.  All that would do is leave our troops in harm's way without actually providing a significant amount of security.  It's better to rip the band-aid off quickly rather than slowly.  We already got Bin Laden and over 80% of the high-ranking Al-Qaeda members years ago, so why are we still there?  Yes, there is indeed a high risk that the Taliban will take over once again, but that will likely happen regardless of whether we pull out now or 10, 20, or 100 years from now.  Thirteen years of war and occupation is more than enough, and indeed it has been America's longest war, even longer than Vietnam.

Let's face it, Afghanistan is basically a lost cause at this point.  Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the Persians, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and now the American Empire have all learned the hard way that such a country simply cannot be conquered for long.  So let's make good on our promise to pull out this year.  And when we do so, the TSAP has a great idea to keep the Taliban and other forces of evil at bay, and we are only half-joking about this one.  Upon leaving, our troops should give every Afghan woman an AK-47 or M-16 and tell them to take over their country, and mow down anyone who stands in their way.  And given the deplorable way that women have been treated over there for thousands of years, the powder keg will finally blow.  Of course, the powers that be in the USA would never want to do that, absolutely not.  After all, they wouldn't want women in this country getting any ideas, now would they?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hell AND High Water, Coming to A Coast Near You

It's worse than we thought.  Two new recent reports have found that the Antarctic ice sheet has already begun to melt due to climate change, locking in 4-12 feet of sea-level rise that cannot be readily reversed.  It is basically unstoppable. In other words, the nightmare scenario is looking increasingly likely to be the case.

So what can we do to mitigate the worsening climate crisis?  The most obvious thing is to end our addiction to fossil fuels yesterday, since that is the primary driving force for the problem we are facing.  President Obama's plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants is an important step in the right direction, but unfortunately it doesn't go far enough.  We need an actual carbon tax at the minimum, a la Carbonomics.  Indeed, the TSAP includes that in our Great American Phase-Out plan to phase-out fossil fuels completely by 2030 and transition to 100% clean energy.  Of course, we also need a complete paradigm shift away from our addiction to growth for the sake of growth, the ideology of the cancer cell.  Because all Ponzi schemes will collapse given enough time, and our Earth is far too precious to subject to such a scheme.

As we have said numerous times, we need to leave room for Nature, lest it not leave room for us.  We were warned decades ago, and we ignore the environment at our own peril.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happy (Belated) 5th Birthday, TSAP!

We recently realized that it has been five whole years since the TSAP was founded on April 12, 2009.  During these five years, the TSAP has been evolving while America keeps regressing and declining.  So what have we learned during the years since we were first founded?  Here is a partial list:

  • Our entire economy is one big Ponzi scheme for the most part, run entirely for the benefit of the elites at the expense of the rest of us.  (We kind of knew that already, though)
  • Social Security should NOT be cut--it should be expanded, reformed, and eventually replaced with a guaranteed basic income for every American regardless of age.
  • Austerity is a VERY bad idea overall, and don't drink the Kool-Aid!  Just look at Greece and the rest of Europe.
  • The Gold Standard is really NOT a good idea after all.  Public banking should replace the Feral Reserve and their debt-based funny money instead.
  • Money is just a tool, for good or evil.  The REAL root of all evil is wetiko.  Look it up.  Then look inside yourself.
  • The futurists all seem to agree on one thing:  the future belongs to women.  Indeed, it is they who will save the world--with or without the TSAP and its founding leader Ajax the Great.
We apologize for being at least somewhat wrong on those things in the past.  Mea culpa.  But otherwise, the TSAP has been right about just about everything else.

Let America be America again--for real this time!

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Root of All Evil: Unmasking the Wetikonomy

The TSAP has recently discovered a parasite lurking in our midst.  This parasite is not one that you can see, but its evil works are apparent just about everywhere you look.  It is a mind-virus that digs deep into our subconscious and subverts our thinking in a manner that causes us to act against our best interests.  And its name is wetiko--essentially the root of all evil.

The concept of wetiko was discovered a few years back by Paul Levy, author of Dispelling Wetiko:  Breaking the Curse of Evil.  The word itself comes from Native Americans, who apparently coined it to describe the sort of destructive collective psychosis that they had observed and were too often on the receiving end of when the white settlers came and wreaked havoc upon them.  Levy apparently had a spiritual awakening and realized exactly what the root of all evil was, and describes it well in his book.  It explains evil far better than the Western concept of evil ever could.  Basically, this disease hides in the dark recesses and blind spots of our psyches, and causes us to behave in utterly destructive ways without really understanding why.  And just like a vampire, sunlight is the best disinfectant.  So let's expose it and defeat it!

What does this have to do with our economy?  Apparently just about everything, since the lion's share of it consists of what Levy calls the wetikonomy.  Basically, our economy (especially the bloated financial sector) is one big Ponzi scheme and shell game designed to benefit the very few at the top at the expense of the rest of us.  It is designed to rob from the poor (and what's left of the shrinking middle class) and give to the already ludicrously rich.  And it is based on lies and illusion, essentially wetiko writ very, very large.  The few financial players that run this toxic and corrupt system are known as Big Wetikos, most notably the debt pushers and financiers that are conning the rest of us.  And it perverts the whole economy, as it is dependent on the debt-based funny money created by the Big Wetikos.  As the Verve so eloquently noted in their song Bitter Sweet Symphony, you're a slave to money then you die.  Clearly it doesn't have to be this way.  But there is so much coercion (subtle and not-so-subtle) in the system that most people just go along with it while sleepwalking to their own doom and unwittingly perpetuating the wetikonomy, while the plutocrats laugh all the way to the bank.

We all need to wake up to the truth, and finally defeat this parasite for good before the shadowy elites succeed in scuttling this once-great nation.  And the TSAP will work very hard to wake up as many people as possible in order to achieve this goal.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

One Dollar, One Vote

America is now officially a plutocracy, with a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.  That is basically what the Supreme Court effectively ruled today in McCutcheon v. FEC.  The decision completely lifted all limits on individual campaign contributions, building on the travesty that was the Citizen's United ruling from five years ago.  So it's apparently not enough for corporations to be considered people and money to be considered speech--the plutocrats wanted ALL of the speed bumps to domination removed.  Not like those speed bumps were super-effective to begin with, but those two landmark decisions together now make it virtually impossible to rein-in the influence of the elites on what's left of democracy in America.

Hear that?  That's the sound of Thomas Jefferson and many other Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.  Absolutely disgusting indeed!

So what's a third party to do now?  How can we possibly compete against the elephant/jackass corporate duopoly now that the odds are even more stacked against us than ever before?  That leaves We the People with one and only one option left:  revolution.  "Wait...did he just say what I think he did?  OMG!!!"  You got that damn right, bitches!  But our idea of revolution is NOT like the French variety from 1789, since we all know how well that worked out.  A violent revolution would only lead to more violence in the long run, as any self-respecting history buff will tell you.  So that's out.  What we mean is more what like these folks have in mind.  Non-violence may indeed sound like a sucker's game to the jaded, but remember what Dr. King said.  Our choice is not between violence and non-violence, but rather between non-violence and non-existence.  And the real suckers are the sheeple who would rather just "go with the flow" off the cliff like lemmings while the elites just laugh all the way to the bank.  So what are we waiting for?  As Rage Against the Machine would say:
It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime.  What better place than here, what better time than now?
And indeed, true words have never been spoken.  So let's roll!

Monday, March 24, 2014

End This Depression NOW--For Real This Time!

The latest news shows that the Dow Jones recently reached a record high, and remains above 16,000.  Corporate profits are at a record high, and even the unemployment rate has FINALLY dropped to a 5-year low of less than 7%.  So by these numbers, some people seem to think that the recession is finally over for good.  Happy days are here again!  So cue the music, Maestro:

HALLLELUJAH!  HALLELUJAH!  HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH,, wait a minute.  Seriously?  This is the kind of thing that passes for "recovery" these days?  Please.  The majority of Americans would certainly NOT consider happy days to be here again!  Certainly not with sobering statistics like these:
  • A real unemployment rate (U6) that is actually in the double-digits (13%), and not falling nearly quickly enough.  In fact, when long-term discouraged workers are included and added to U6, it reaches nearly 25%, and has actually risen since the phony "recovery" began in 2009.
  • A labor force participation rate that has fallen to a 35-year low, reflecting (in part) those discouraged workers who simply gave up looking for a job.
  • A poverty rate that remains stubbornly higher than in 2009, as evident in the record number of people on programs like SNAP (food stamps).
  • Near-record levels of income and wealth inequality, approaching Gilded Age levels.  The top 1% controls nearly half of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 80% are left to fight over crumbs.
  • Falling real wages, with a real minimum wage that is at least 30% lower than in the late 1960s despite a doubling of productivity.
  • Cities declaring bankruptcy.  Detroit is the canary in the coal mine.
  • Record levels of student loan debt ($1 trillion), combined with considerable unemployment and underemployment of college graduates.
  • A national debt of over $17 trillion, and growing despite fairly harsh austerity measures.
  • A real inflation rate that is nearly 10% when measured the way it was in 1980 and earlier.  Combined with the real unemployment rate, the real "misery index" would be a whopping 22-33.  Ouch!
So by just about any rational measure, we are still stuck in a pretty deep depression.   In fact, the progressive site Daily Kos coined a new term to describe it:  stagpression (a combination of stagnation and depression).  So why the huge disconnect between corporate profits and the stock market with the reality on the ground?  The answer is pretty simple.  Our government has been giving money, favors, and tax cuts to the rich and mega-corporations for years now, and what have the plutocrats done for us in return?  Sit on their massive cash, pay CEOs more, cannibalize their workforces, and buy back (i.e. manipulate) their own stock to paper over their declining sales.  And historically, what do they do if they get higher marginal tax rates?  Re-invest more in their own businesses and/or hire more workers.  Counterintuitive, yes, but it actually makes sense when you think about it.  As for "quantitative easing", the Feral Reserve has been printing trillions of dollars out of thin air, and nearly all of it goes to the big banks (i.e. the plutocrats) where it certainly does NOT trickle-down in any meaningful way.  To date, both fiscal and monetary policies have consisted of weak and inefficient half-measures, where the benefits accrue to the elites while the consequences (inflation, debt) accrue to the rest of us.  Thus, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class continues to shrink.  And the customers become too broke to buy anything, and the economy continues to stagnate or sink even further in a downward spiral.   No wonder our "recovery" has been so hollow!

So how can we break this vicious cycle for good, before the resulting bubble bursts leading to the next big crash?  The answer is really quite clear:  adopt the TSAP party platform ASAP.   But since it is unrealistic to expect either corporate party in the elephant/jackass duopoly to take up an entire platform that literally threatens their own interests, we have devised a list of the highest-priority measures to take before the inequality-fueled crash of 2016 happens:

  1. Raise the top marginal tax rate to at least 50% (if not 70%) for incomes above $1 million, and simplify the tax code by removing loopholes geared towards the wealthy.
  2. Reduce the corporate tax rate to 20-25%, remove all loopholes, and tax only retained earnings.
  3. Reduce tax rates for the bottom 80% of Americans, and un-tax small businesses with earnings less than $100,000 per year.
  4. Raise the minimum wage to at least $10/hour if not higher, and index it to inflation from now on.
  5. Remove the "sequester" cuts ASAP, and sharply increase funding for infrastructure, education, green energy, and other crucial goals to put Americans back to work.
Of course, it would even better if the entire TSAP platform were adopted, but doing just these five things alone would probably be enough to, in the words of Paul Krugman, "end this depression now".  Because that's what this "recession" really is.  And ending it is long overdue--five years overdue to be precise.

But if we could do just one thing that could be done to end the stagpression quickly, it would be this:  replace "quantitative easing" (that really only benefits the rich) with direct payments of about $2000 per person or so to ALL Americans, yesterday.  It would take an Act of Congress to enable the Fed to do such a thing, but it would be well worth it.  Of course, followers of the TSAP know that we have long advocated a guaranteed basic income (citizen's dividend) for all Americans period with no strings attached, ideally funded via various kinds of tax revenue such as carbon taxes and financial transactions taxes.  But this alternative means to the same end would be the next best thing, at least temporarily until our other ideas get implemented.  And if it happens, the depression will be over and full employment restored within a year or two--provided it does not end abruptly without some of our other measures to replace it next year.  So what are we waiting for?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Phony Recovery

A recent study, by the Wall Street Journal of all places, confirms what the bottom 99% of Americans have long suspected for years: the so-called economic "recovery" of the past five years was essentially a joke all along.  In a nutshell, corporate earnings are at a record high, while revenues have been flat for the past five years.  In other words, consumer demand is low because customers are broke, and companies have mainly been "growing" their earnings by cutting cannibalizing their workforce and buying back (i.e. manipulating) their own stock to paper over their flat or declining sales.  All while they sit on trillions of dollars.  It's a zero-sum game, and a vicious cycle.  Thank you, Captain Obvious! 

So how can we break this vicious cycle before the resulting bubble bursts leading to the next big crash?  The answer is really quite clear:  adopt the TSAP party platform ASAP.   But since it is unrealistic to expect either corporate party in Washington to take up an entire platform that threatens their own interests, we have devised a list of the highest-priority measures to take before the inequality-fueled crash of 2016 happens:

  1. Raise the top marginal tax rate to at least 50% (if not 70%) for incomes above $1 million, and simplify the tax code by removing loopholes geared towards the wealthy.
  2. Reduce the corporate tax rate to 20-25%, remove all loopholes, and tax only retained earnings.
  3. Reduce tax rates for the bottom 80% of Americans, and un-tax small businesses with earnings less than $100,000 per year.
  4. Raise the minimum wage to at least $10/hour if not higher, and index it to inflation from now on.
  5. Remove the "sequester" cuts ASAP, and sharply increase funding for infrastructure, education, green energy, and other crucial goals to put Americans back to work.
Of course, it would even better if the entire TSAP platform were adopted, but doing just these five things alone would probably be enough to, in the words of Paul Krugman, "end this depression now".  Because that's what this "recession" really is.  And ending it is long overdue--five years overdue to be precise.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

State of the Planet Address 2014

On January 28, 2013, the President will give his annual State of the Union Address.  And every year since 2011, the TSAP has been giving our annual State of the Planet Address around January 20.  Yes, we know it is a bit of a downer to say the least.  So sit down, take off your rose-colored glasses, and read on:

Our planet is in grave danger, and has been for quite some time now.  We face several serious long term problems:  climate change, deforestation/desertification, loss of biodiversity, overharvesting, energy crises, and of course pollution of many kinds.  Polar ice caps are melting.  Rainforests have been shrinking by 50 acres per minute.  Numerous species are going extinct every year.  Soil is eroding rapidly.  Food shortages have occurred in several countries in recent years.  Weather has been getting crazier each year, most likely due to climate change.  We have had numerous wildfires, floods followed by long periods of drought, and a "storm of the century" at least once a year for the past few years.   We need look no further than Superstorm Sandy (which was partly caused or at least enhanced by global warming) to see how crazy our weather has become lately.

None of this is an accident of course.  These problems are man-made, and their solutions must also begin and end with humans.  We cannot afford to sit idly by any longer, lest we face hell and high water in the not-too-distant future.  Our unsustainable scorched-earth policy towards the planet has to end.  NOW.

While we do not invoke the precautionary principle for all issues, we unequivocally do for the issue of climate change and any other environmental issues of comparable magnitude (we support the Rio Declaration's version, to be precise). With no apologies to hardcore libertarians or paleoconservatives, in fact. We are not fazed one bit by the naysayers' pseudoscience (*cough* Rush Limbaugh *cough*) as it does not really "debunk" the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming. The only serious debate is about how fast it will happen, and when the tipping point will occur. It is not a matter of if, but when. And the less precarious position is to assume it is a real and urgent problem. We need to reduce CO2 emissions to the point where the CO2 concentration is at or below 350 ppm, ASAP.  And it is currently at an unsustainably high level of 400 ppm, and growing.

Solving the problem of climate change will also help to solve the other ecological crises we are facing, for they all ultimately have the same root causes, not least of which is our insatiable addiction to dirty energy.  However, there is a right way to solve it, and several wrong ways.

The TSAP endorses the ideas embodied in Steve Stoft's new book Carbonomics, most notably a tax-and-dividend system that would tax carbon (i.e. fossil fuels) at the source, and give all Americans an equal share of the revenue generated from this tax.  (Note that our proposal to tax natural resources and pay out an Alaska-like citizen's dividend already includes this.)  Yes, prices for various things would undoubtedly rise due to this tax, all else being equal, but the dividend will allow Americans to pay for this increase. The average American would in fact break even, but those who (directly or indirectly) use less energy than average will effectively pay less tax, while the energy hogs will effectively be taxed more, as they should be. Thus it is certainly not a regressive tax, and may even be mildly progressive. This is both the simplest and most equitable way to reduce carbon emissions as well as other forms of pollution, not to mention waste of dwindling non-renewable resources. The real challenge is getting the feds to accept something that won't directly benefit them (in the short term).  Carbonomics also includes other good ideas, such as improving how fuel economy standards are done, and crafting a better verison of the Kyoto treaty.  

In addition to the ideas in Carbonomics, we also support several other measures to help us end our addiction to fossil fuels once and for all.  Our Great American Phase-Out plan would phase out all fossil fuels by 2030 at the latest, via alternative energy, efficiency, and conservation.  One good idea to further the development of alternative energy would be the use of feed-in tariffs for renewable power sources.

We support ending net deforestation completely, and putting carbon back in the ground through carbon sequestration. One method is known as biochar, a type of charcoal made from plants that remove carbon dioxide from the air, that is subsequently buried. This is also an ancient method of soil fertilization and conservation, originally called terra preta.  It also helps preserve biodiversity. 

We've said this before, and we'll say it again. We need more nuclear power plants as well. Nuclear emits no greenhouse gases directly, and even indirectly it pales in comparison to fossil fuels. Done properly, it is just as green as solar photovoltaic power, produces less radiation than coal power, and is much safer than in the past (and even those dangers were exaggerated). Since nuclear plants take many years to build, we need to get cracking ASAP. Nuclear power is not a substitute to renewables; it is a necessary complement to them since we need a continuous power source as well, not just intermittent power. Our nation's irrational fear of all things nuclear needs to die NOW.  Right now.

But the biggest elephant in the room (make that the elephant in the Volkswagen) is overpopulation.  It does not make for pleasant dinner conversation, but it must be addressed or else all other causes become lost causes in the long run. We absolutely need to have fewer kids, or nature will reduce our population for us, and the latter will NOT be pleasant to say the least. The TSAP believes in voluntarily reducing the total fertility rate (TFR) to 1.5-1.9 children per woman to do so, along with reducing immigration dramatically, but let us be clear that we do NOT support draconian and/or coercive measures of population control (like China has used).  We believe more liberty is the answer, not less.   But the current tax and benefit incentives that perversely reward having more than two children need to be jettisoned at once.  Fortunately, America's TFR has recently dropped to below 1.9, though it remains to be seen if that is a secular trend or just a temporary blip.  But clearly we cannot keep growing and growing, that's for sure (in fact, we need to shrink). And our insatiable addiction to economic growth (despite being recently decoupled from well-being) is also part of the problem.  Growth for the sake of growth is clearly one of the most asinine obsessions our nation (and world) has ever had.  Put another way, we need to leave room for Nature, lest it not leave room for us.

Bottom line: we need to take the environment much more seriously than we do now.  We ignore it at our own peril. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Flush the TPP Now!

The latest news on the diabolical machinations masquerading as a "free trade" deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is that "fast-track" legislation has now been introduced to Congress.  We have previously noted how the TPP is a very, very bad deal for everyone but the elites and mega-corporations.  In a nutshell, it would basically remove all obstacles to complete corporate control over all of us.  From worker rights to environmental protection to food safety to Internet freedom and much more, We the People would lose a massive amount of power to our global corporate masters as a result of this Faustian bargain.  The fact that the TPP will most certainly destroy countless jobs in this country (like NAFTA did) is merely an afterthought compared to the rest of its pernicious effects upon our nation (and any other nations foolish enough to sign it).  And fast-tracking this deal would allow it to easily bypass the usual safeguards that would otherwise kill it before it even has a chance of passing.

So tell your representatives in Congress:  Do NOT allow it to be fast-tracked.  Flush the TPP now, before it's too late!

R.I.P. Net Neutrality

Today on January 15, 2014 at 11 am, Net Neutrality kicked the bucket--for now at least.   A federal court struck down FCC regulations designed to prevent broadband Internet service providers from favoring certain Internet services at the expense of rivals.  Essentially, they can now charge more for some services to have access to higher speeds than others, creating "fast lanes" and "slow lanes", and thus making the formerly open Internet more analogous to what cable TV companies do.  And that's not a good thing at all, since a few mega-corporations would be able to afford to use the "fast lanes", while the rest of us get stuck in the "slow lanes", creating yet another unfair advantage for the wealthiest and most powerful among us.  As if they didn't already have enough privileges as it is.  Even the very concept of free speech is at stake as well.

However, all is not lost just yet.  Rest assured that the ruling will be appealed, and also remember that the FCC can simply write new rules that reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would get around the court ruling entirely and enable them to restore our free and open Internet with the stroke of a pen.   Of course, that would put them at loggerheads with the corporate giants who currently control broadband, and these companies have tremendous lobbying power in Washington.  And given the venality of most members of Congress these days, the corporations could still potentially achieve victory at our expense.  Our job as concerned citizens is to prevent that from happening.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Legal Weed Off to a Great Start

Two weeks ago on New Year's Day, history was made when retail cannabis shops began selling weed legally in Colorado, who legalized cannabis via a 2012 ballot initiative.  And all indications show that it has been a great success so far, with essentially no significant problems.  There were so many customers buying so much that many pot shops sold out within the first week, but now it seems that there will be plenty of ganja available for the foreseeable future.  In 2013 the feds agreed to look the other way as long as certain protocols were followed in states where cannabis is legal, and it seems that they are keeping their word (for now).  Washington State also legalized cannabis, but it will be a few months before the first retail outlets open over there.

Will any other states legalize cannabis anytime soon?  Probably, and it looks like Alaska and California are among those who are trying to get a legalization initiative on the ballot this November.   Since it's already legal in two states, adding California to the mix would greatly tip the balance in favor of national legalization, if history is any indication.  For alcohol Prohibition, New York and California were the first to repeal it in 1923 and 1932, respectively, and as they say the rest is history.  The latest poll numbers are even more in our favor than they were in 2010, when California's Proposition 19 just narrowly failed.  Thus, it's just a matter of time, and the TSAP predicts that national legalization will occur within 5 years from now, if not sooner.

To all the prohibitionists and drug warriors out there, we have one question for you:  How does it feel to be on the wrong side of history?  Because we wouldn't know about that.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy 100th Birthday, Feral Reserve!

The Feral Reserve has now turned 100 years old.  For the past century, the Feral Reserve (not a typo, since they are really no more "federal" than Federal Express) has been in charge of our nation's money supply and interest rates.  Owned by the big banks and run by a few unelected individuals, this Creature from Jekyll Island has had enormous financial power over us all for the past century.  They have created numerous business cycles, serious inflation, and made a killing by charging interest on the money they have printed while getting the nation into ever-deeper debt.  And it's long past time to end it.

As recently as last year, the TSAP party platform called for abolishing the Fed entirely and going back on the gold standard.  But we have discovered a much better way instead.  What is America's best kept secret?  Look no further than North Dakota, the only state to avert the Great Recession--it's called public banking.  Because it works.  The TSAP now believes that the Fed should be replaced by a truly public national bank.  One that is fully accountable to the people, and lends money to the goverment interest-free.  The power to create money should be returned to its rightful owners--a government of We the People, not a faceless quasi-private entity controlled by a cabal of international elite bankers.  And if we were to nominate a chairperson, it would have to be Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt.

What better time than now?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Deal or No Deal?

Looks like Congress finally passed a budget deal to get us through the next two years, just in time for the holidays.  The deal was made between Paul Ryan (R) and Patty Murray (D), and the compromise not only avoids another government shutdown in January, but it also alleviates some of the worst fears about austerity in the future.  Both sides grudgingly gave up a little bit of what they held dear in order to avoid larger sacrifices on their part, and even Bonehead himself went along with it.  As a result, the three most popular programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) and Obamacare are no longer on the chopping block for now, and the most damaging sequester cuts are reversed (or at least made more flexible) for the 2014 fiscal year.  So, cue the music once again, Maestro:

HALLELUJAH!  HALLELUJAH!  HALLELUJAH, HALL.......err, wait a minute.  Seriously?  There is really nothing to be rejoicing about, since Congress merely did what they are normally supposed to do every year--pass a freaking budget on time to prevent a shutdown.  Furthermore, it's not like it's a particularly good deal either.  The budget includes cuts to military pensions, no extension of unemployment benefits, no reversal of November's food stamp cuts, and many remaining parts of the sequester--all to protect massive tax loopholes for the rich and mega-corporations, which remained untouched despite the need for new revenues.  And the looming debt ceiling showdown in February remains unaddressed, which the Repugnicans will most likely try to exploit once again when the time comes.  But all this is the logical consequence of negotiating a compromise between a right-wing extremist like Ryan and a moderate centrist Democrat like Murray--we end up splitting the difference and getting a deal that is, on balance, actually even further to the right of the status quo just to keep the ax away from our most crucial and popular social progams.  Long story short, Congress is still broken, and is clearly FAR from being fixed anytime soon.  So one more time, we will say it again to them:


Except for a very few of you (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin, and Alan Grayson), we will send ALL of you packing in 2014.  Goodbye, and good riddance!  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.