Well, a combination of solar, wind, and hydro might support us, if we had a U.S. population of say less than 100 million. But today's environmental movement won't touch the overpopulation issue anymore. It's soooo 1970s and would require addressing sticky issues, abortion rights for one, China's one child policy for another, U.S. immigration policy for another. So I guess we're stuck with nuclear, and coal, especially once the oil supply starts to dry up. The environmental movement has nobody but themselves to blame for this, since they wouldn't make overpopulation their main focus.
Not intended as a drive-by smear. I'll have to explain in detail later when I get the time to start posting some diaries. Suffice it to say for now that I'm a populist and a big-tenter. I believe the progressives are right on some things, and I believe the blue dogs are right on some things. Neither is right on everything.
I would recommend reading up on "peak oil" too. Worldwide oil production peaked a few years ago - probably around 2002. Oil production is now on a long downhill slide and we have maybe 30 years left at current consumption levels before the marginal cost surpasses the marginal benefit of extracting any more, at which time our oil-based free ride will be over and we had better have already switched to alternative fuel sources. This comes at just the time that the third world, especially China with its 1.3 billion people, wants to move up to first world living standards, meaning that the demand for oil is spiking just as peak production has been passed. The combination of those two factors along with the ongoing "war on terror", war in Iraq, and scare over Iran, is behind the high oil prices. I doubt they will go anywhere but up in the long term future.
For a primer I recommend The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler. With a caveat: I think he's too much of a doom and gloomer with regard to the potential of various alternative energy sources, all of which he dismisses. While it is true that solar, wind, ethanol, biodiesel, geothermal, etc cannot support current population levels nor current high-consumption lifestyles alone, and hydrogen and fuel cell technology are still largely fantasies at this point, I don't think he gives proper consideration to an "all of the above" combination of those. The other three things we have to fall back on are coal, hydroelectric, and (god forbid) nuclear.
I would advise against politicizing this issue even though the other side already is ("it's the environmentalists!" "it's the ay-rabs!") We need solutions, and fast. Something along the lines of a massive all-out effort that dwarfs the New Deal.
Thanks for the additional info. I was aware of American Apparel being union busters. Didn't know about the Mariana Islands loophole but I'd be interested in finding out more - especially which companies.
I have hit a personal conundrum with the whole "buy blue" strategy. Bed, Bath, & Beyond is a big Democratic party donor, true. I made it a point to buy a bunch of stuff from them last year because of this. The problem is BB&B is full of cheap products made in China. Shelf after shelf of the stuff. I looked in vain for anything not made in China. Well, they sell Altoids which are made in the U.K. but anything else?
Where's the American-made, Union-made products made by workers paid a livable wage? (Actually, it doesn't have to be made in USA, it can be made in western Europe where 70% + of workplaces are unionized, or Canada or Australia, or by one of the few unionized workplaces in the third world such as El Salvador's Justice Clothing. The real issues are whether the products were union made and sweatshop free.)
My point: Buying from Democratic donors is not enough, if they're just another part of the whole cheap-labor, globalization, anti-union trend. My goal is to put the whole cheap labor racket out of business, bring back the unions, halt globalization, and bring back America's manufacturing base. Until BB&B replaces all its "made in China" stuff with Union-made products, BB&B is part of the problem. The same goes for other "socially responsible" companies like REI, The North Face, Borders Books...
Is it just me, or is anyone else bothered that population growth is being seriously discussed as a key to swinging the vote in our favor?
Nevada is a desert. Las Vegas is facing severe water shortages in the near future. The same goes for Arizona, Utah, southern California, New Mexico, and the entire Great Plains region. These will only be made worse when the full effects of peak oil hit, and our oil driven facade of prosperity with its trophy homes in the exurbs, strip malls, interstate highways, petroleum-fueled agribusiness, etc. comes grinding to a halt. When the water runs out, the lights will probably be out in Vegas too.
Nevada has too many people already. The U.S. as a whole cannot afford any more population growth, especially Nevada. If we are relying on population growth to bring about the political realignment we have all been waiting for, then we are in deeper doodoo than I thought.
Is anyone else as bothered as I am that "Progressive Punch" is being bandied about so much on this website as some kind of last word on who is progressive or not?
That website's positions are boringly predictable, appear to have been selected to include so many votes that every Dem votes the same way on to make most Dems look more progressive than they really are, and has some relics from the Dukakis-era 1980s (gun control, etc) that I really had hoped we had learned our lessons on. Whatever happened to the lessons of "What's the Matter With Kansas" anyhow?
Here's a better idea: Look at the votes where Dems either split or mostly voted the wrong way, but where most progressives agree. Things like NAFTA, CAFTA, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Telecommunications Act, minimum wage increases, labor issues, etc. Note that this does not include issues like gun control or immigration policy where there is no progressive consensus and we are all over the map. Using those issues, look up how Schumer voted, vs. how Russ Feingold voted. Feingold is a solid progressive. Schumer is not.
Sorry, bad idea. Collin Peterson represents his district and the positions popular there quite well. (Unlike, say, Jim Moran, who should be much further to the left than he is given his constituency.)
If Peterson ever loses a Democratic primary to somebody on the left, we lose that seat to a republican. That's almost a given. Plus, Peterson has a good AFL-CIO record, decent on environmental issues, and is pro-gun rights (an issue the Dems desparately need to change on). Of a list of Dems I'd like to see challenged from the left, Peterson doesn't even make the top 100.
I was going to mention Jim Hurysz, running as an independent against Moran with a platform slightly to the left of Moran - for all intents and purposes his positions look like a Democrat, with his main disagreements being over Moran's support for CAFTA and the like. http://www.jh4congress.us/pages/1/index.
Unfortunately, it looks like a few republicans have jumped into the race. My rule of thumb is only support third party and independent candidates if they are in two-way races. Otherwise if there's an R in the race, I'll support the D, whoever that is. But I second a primary run against Moran. He's a big disappointment to say the least.
Favorite House member: Collin Peterson (D-MN), because he's a true populist who votes in the interest of his constituents and doesn't take orders from anyone, including from the the Beltway Dem establishment.
Favorite former House member: Jim Traficant (D-OH), same reason.
Favorite true-blue progressive Dem: Peter DeFazio (D-OR), same reason.
Favorite Republican: Ron Paul (R-TX), for the same reason.
A remarkable book! It places those of us of Appalachian, Scots-Irish ancestry (the so called "rednecks" and "white trash") into our rightful place as part of the American working class, instead of lumping us in, (on the grounds that both are "white"), with the WASPy country club set. Also makes the point that the urban working classes of the northern states, of eastern and southern European ancestry, when they assimilated into American culture it was the Scots-Irish working class culture they assimilated into rather than the "respectable" east coast WASP culture. This forged the basis of the Democratic Party's traditional alliance of southern whites and northern blue collar ethnic blocs, an alliance which has unfortunately broken down in recent years, while the Republicans have mostly been the party of the WASP country club set.
A lot of "progressives" aren't going to like this book. Webb is in many ways a cultural conservative, especially on military issues. But if I understand his thesis, the reasons for his attraction to the Democratic Party are crystal clear. For the naysayers I will say this. Webb is a cultural conservative but he is not a religious right person, indeed sees the religious right as an extreme movement whose true believerism is in many ways the antithesis of the pragmatism of the American working class. Secondly, Webb is a military person but if I understand where he is coming from, he is not going to be another Lieberman or Zell. The reasons: (1) his attraction to the Democratic Party is largely a class-based one, meaning he will be a party loyalist where Zell and Joementum have not been, and (2) he has been a critic of both Iraq wars.
If we are to win back the Reagan Democrats, the South, and the Reform Party crowd, indeed if we really understand the lessons of "What's the Matter With Kansas", James Webb may well be the best thing that could have happened to the Democratic Party in years if not decades.