Friday, October 24, 2014

The disastrous old fashioned way

And other news of the week …

Jonathan Capehart, writing for the Washington Post, says Pope Francis may have lost the battle in the recent Vatican Synod, but he will win the long-term war. Yes, conservatives made sure the gay-friendly statements were voted down in the final document. But Francis made sure the interim report with all that fine language as well as the vote tally of the final report was made public. Thus the topic is now open for discussion by the wider church. That is his win. In addition Francis has changed the tone from demonization to recognition of gays as children of God.

I listen to NPR for my news. Their coverage of the ebola epidemic (here and in Africa) is measured and calm. That is not the style of other media sources. The hysteria is bad enough that Tristan McConnell of GlobalPost has listed five myths of the disease. So why are these media people so hysterical? One reason is that hysteria on TV attracts viewers. And another is the old conservative-GOP claim: Vote for us because we're the only ones who can keep you safe. That claim is made after huge cuts to the budget of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), especially cuts to funding for public health preparedness and response.

Credit Suisse issued its Global Annual Wealth Report. Global wealth has risen annually since 2008 at a pretty good pace. That's good. Except nearly all of it is going to those already wealthy. We're to the point where the richest 1% own almost half the world's assets – and the poorest half own less than 1% of total wealth.

Lynn Stuart Parramore of AlterNet says this level of imbalance tends not to end well. See 18th Century France. So do we recognize
… that inequality is extremely destabilizing and dangerous, and that non-violent interventions are possible, as we saw in America with the New Deal. Things like robust tax reform, unions, regulation, changes in corporate governance and CEO pay, affordable education, jobs programs, expansion of Social Security and universal healthcare.

Or we could just do things the old-fashioned way and wait for a disaster even bigger than the meltdown of 2007-'08. In that case, fasten your seatbelts. This ride could get very rough.

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