CHECKMATE? ... Three years ago Bill Pfeiffer of the Sacred Earth Project, an expert on Siberian indigenous people who has been traveling and meeting with the elders there for 30 years, said that the U.S. was about three years away from the same fate that befell the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was in Afghanistan for 25 years and went completely broke so their economy collapsed because too much money went to their military budget relative to their GDP (Gross Domestic Product is usually measured by the total value of goods and services provided by a nation in a year) ... Osama Bin Laden is reported to have been thrilled when the U.S. invaded Iraq and Afghanistan because he foresaw us falling into the same trap, eventually bankrupting ourselves and making us easy to drive out of the Muslim world ... As Moab gadfly Lance Christie noted, “Remember that the Muslims have a 2,000-year time frame perspective in their thinking about historical and political strategy; waiting ten years for us to self-destruct is a trivial exercise in patience for them” ... A United Kingdom correspondent friend of Christie’s noted with interest the fact that after the collapse of the Soviet Union the nations they had conquered started to declare independence. She sees the Lakota Sioux Indian nation invoking their treaty right to declare independence from the U.S. due to violations of that treaty as the beginning of that process, possibly to be followed by other sovereign native American nations who have the same treaty rights.
WORK MORE EARN LESS ... An analysis by the Washington Post found that prices for staples like groceries, gasoline and health care have risen 9.2 percent since 2006. According to its calculations, this price increase cost a middle-class family an extra $972 annually ... Merrill Lynch says a greater proportion of consumers’ disposable income went to paying for such staples – 36 percent – than at any time since the figure was first tracked in 1960.
BILL MAHER ... I don’t own a TV, but I got to see Bill Maher’s March 24 Real Time show, where the long-time liberal pundit praised G.W. Bush as a Uniter. In eight short years he has united the middle class and the lower class so that both are cash-strapped and at risk in this country ... Speaking of “free market” Republicans (as flagrant an oxymoron as Bush the Uniter) and the Bear Stearns trillion dollar taxpayer bailout, Maher explain that Republicans believe in the free market for profits, but then always want to socialize their losses ... Maher interpreted the poll that shows that 55 percent of Americans think John McCain is the best candidate to be there in the White House to answer that red phone at 3 a.m. because he’d be up anyway trying to pee.
APOLLO ALLIANCE ... One example of a group pursuing a do-it-yourself renewable future is the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmentalists, labor organizers, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and others pushing aggressively for policies that link national energy independence with new jobs. The alliance is named for the Apollo moonshot mission launched by John F. Kennedy in 1961. Apollo aims at making every home and building in the U.S. energy efficient and developing clean, high-speed rail networks between population centers. Pursuing these objectives would employ millions of Americans at all skill levels ... One Apollo idea is to create a Clean Energy Corps. One of the corp’s functions would be to weatherize the homes of low- to moderate-income people. To retrofit houses over a decade would cost about $45 billion. Some 225,000 people from the communities where this work is done would be earning and spending paychecks. The weather-stripping alone would save an average of about $400 per year in energy costs for each home. This totals to $120 billion in national savings in energy costs. That’s about a fourth of Washington’s “go shopping” stimulus package cost.
BAD STATS ... Health care premiums for U.S. citizens have risen four times faster than wages in the past five years.