April 2019

“The tweets on April 1, 2019, from the think tank people (TTP), are unlikely to be taking advantage, but I’ll leave that for you to judge. Many of the observation are through to the end of the month. The tweet rate is another algorithm worthy of use, some are hourly, others one or two per day or week.  Others are once a month suggesting a range of tweet policies.” 

Rex L. Curry

Acton’s reaction to the world is “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” with a combination of secular and religious overlays.  Acton offers a set of videos on the role of the Federal Reserve (before and after the Great Recession) on aggregate demand and the reserves of cash required. It is produced by the Marginal Revolution University.  Acton evaluation of socialism as a moral argument with economic flaws is a refreshing appraisal of the political din. A series of podcasts can take you to new insights in calm rational terms.

The American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) bold tweets found Medicare quite popular in a recent poll. The count was 71% are in favor of a health insurance “guarantee” for all Americans, but 60% opposed when if they had to pay for it. An attack on a GAO report based on the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, found “52 percent of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings in a “DC plan or IRA” however Factcheck.org described the tendency to leave the DC and IRA qualifier out. (source) Efforts to correct were also reported yet remained a whisper in comparison to the AEI attack on the GAO.  What happens when a nation’s institutions face subtle accusations of lying and time is spent baiting those who argue that some sections of the economy (health, education, transport) should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole? 

The Aspen Institute opens with the idea that online activism is useful but insufficient if “Building America’s Next Great Awakening” is to be successful. Eric Liu clearly defines the push back against the dull odors of monopolized, institutional power willing to concentrate ineffectively on radical inequality.  Aspen recommends a review of his discussion of power (TED). Aspen is also about balance in its promotion of ways to sharpen our vision in a series of Business & Society podcasts launched this month (here). Swing over to the business integrity people (BIP) to see if the folks there will pick up on it after the official launch on the 18 April 2019.  If you need think-tank people (TTP) that have an interest in pushing the limits of every boundary to assure that your fear is not of change, but of loss.

Anyone who has taken a glimpse at the enormity of American Defense Industry will find the Atlantic Council’s defense of democracy well validated in their celebration of NATO and its newest members hitting the ten-year mark (#Albania and #Croatia) while seeking to include Cyprus.  It is without surprise that NATO’s weighted connections and conference in D.C. this first week of April is entitled #NATOEngages to assure the alliance. The general pressure to increase spending as a percentage of GDP is having a destabilizing and disturbing effect on domestic affairs as expected. Following NATO, a strong interest in cyber security, engagement and sanctions is described.

The Belfer Center is looking straight at Russia and China through the lens of the Pacific Rim. The growing complexity of “safety-critical technologies” in this vast region of the earth is an opening for a change in policy.  First, question the importance of the Middle East in comparison to threats to power caused by climate change on Pacific Rim nations. The center also enjoys its privileges and offers a wide range of important players in world affairs to sit and talk for the benefit of their students and faculty.  A link to Foreign Affairs offers one free article a week. If you are interested in foreign affairs, Belfer is a TTP stop.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) reaction to political pressures affecting “speech” within the university is in its fabric. In response to President Trump’s Executive Order that pulled out the government’s big research funding stick they ask one question, “What is the litmus test?” Universities cannot model the current behavior in national politics; the idea of a government agency intervention to monitor compliance for funding is insidious. BPC mentions a leadership guide from Sanford Ungar (Free Speech Project) at Georgetown University.  His report “Informed and Engaged” describes the launch of the Free Speech Tracker.  The message at the Executive Order level has an uneven quality, while the search for instances and causes of incivility on university campuses is where our thinking caps belong. Solving students in debt children in poverty, the people on opioids should be on the bipartisan-do list, but it feels doubtful.

I found the Brookings Institution (BI) focused on the “divided politics” situation as tribalism and turning to a description of Brexit as if it was a warning. Brookings also brought to our attention a survey of 93 leaders from government, NGOs, and others to share their view of global development.  The title is Disrupted and points to fragile governments and climate change as principal sources for many policies going “tribal.”  The underlying premise is small groups can make significant changes, and that forces questions about the responsibility to make them good ones. A set of tweets that lead to improved understanding of what middle class means. April is a good month to spend some time with the TTP because of the focus on income, credit and taxes at their Center on Regulation and Markets.

The Carnegie Council (CCEIA) serves as a judge of fact and includes an interest in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain technology, and cybersecurity.  The possibility of a revolution in network collaboration will require the vision of people such as Eric Liu and Sanford Ungar. There is a way to avoid the negatives in “tribalism” that forces the decline of democracy. Eric offers a stinging left jab, and Sanford follows with a hard right- cross. The stimulated anger and the provoked loss of faith in long-standing public institutions can be proven.  Fund them just enough to fail on safety net issues in marginalized communities. 

The Carnegie Endowment (CEIP) direct emphasis on the voice of women in world affairs is having an impact.  Bill Burns article “The Lost Art of American Diplomacy” (here) describes the current disdain for its powers as a stimulus for rebuilding its “first resort” capacity.  Redefining diplomatic problems breaks the easy dependence on muscular military instruments with facts instead of political assertions used “to mask a pattern of retreat” designed to inflame aggression.

The CATO Institute focuses on ways Medicare can control drug prices without a negative impact on the system overall.  A reasonable disruption for a “patients first” approach follows a long list of price hikes that are the product of monopolistic behaviors. Turning to a related point getting low congressional interest toward a high concern in patent reform suggests that CATO would pull out Bernie Sanders’s 2005 idea for the Medical Innovation Prize and break up big drug pharma with concessions on generics.

The task to turning down the rhetorical din into something the TTP can stomach was promoted in a tweet by CATO when Alex Nowrasteh’s Washington Post article on “patriotic correctness” vs. political correctness. It yields hope that we haven’t been driven quite mad by the “silly-stupidness” as a dear friend calls a lot of that right/left speak. 

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) interest in disproportionality has a top example the demand by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to fire its Chair, Adam Schiff is an “eye off the ball” problem and exhibits the shallowness of acceptable political behavior. Perhaps a name change is in order.  I suggest the Center for Snarky Security.  Beware of angry, but hungry TTP people.  

The Center for American Progress (CAP) honed the potential of emoluments violations because the House has the power to compel the IRS to release of Trump’s Tax returns. The Center shares an agenda item with the BPC in work needed to improve women’s labor force participation. Two problems require a solution to the quality of paid family leave and access to affordable childcare. The lack of both is part of the “war on workers.”  Brookings is on the same page under the heading of the pay gap.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) sees expanded resettlement programs as a refugee issue to take the pressure off the perversely facilitated asylum backlog. The Department of Homeland Security is in disarray with southern border troubles. Is the wall-threat and lack of reform causing the crisis? Policies in favor of diversity have been evident since the 1960s; however, the lack of a powerful north/south relationship has weakened instead of strengthened since NAFTA was established.

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) exhibits the need for adaptable technologies in military hardware and brings up the historical “renewed great power competition” problem about the United States, China and Russia claim of sovereignty and believe other countries that are not great powers are not sovereign.  All kinds of cyberweaponry operated by new technologies re-opens the debate on the billions spent on “star-wars.”   

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CNPP) recognizes chipping away of safety net program funding in the Federal budget. Early in the month protecting SNAP (nutritional assistance) for vulnerable people is top on their list. The Center’s focus on state and local budgeting reports reduced the health care costs through caring society investments in education, income, food, housing, transit, and recreational support services are provided and encouraged.

The Claremont Institute (CI) claims to restore American principles as “originalists” as if the founders of the U.S. Constitution remain the preeminent experts over our national life.  Historical desires hold tightly to the past as a measure of our time centuries later.  It is difficult to read these arguments based on values by institutions that have not or refuse to read and confirm the truth of Richard Rothstein’s book, “The Color of Law,” B&N and who remain satisfied with jabs around the edges at the whiteness of that law.  Law made racism impossible to understand if you are white. It is impossible to recognize if you have never read or ever encouraged to read anything in the enormous body of work by Derrick Bell or the writer’s who stand on his shoulders such as Ta-Nehisi Coates. For centuries, cultural power is the only available tool, and because of that it is far too easily altered and appropriated without a clear set of goals. Thanks to Avik Roy’s retort to Bill Voegeli, on CI’s website those goals might find a scrap of common ground with the right.

The Commonwealth Fund (CF) takes us to the daily battle for a healthy America. Their tweets are regular attacks on the role of health professionals who care for patients of modest income or those who are one crisis of poor care or one “surprise bill” away from full-blown poverty.  Just what America needs, a little more depression and anxiety on a bet-hedging that it won’t be too many of them or too weak to build guillotines.  

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sends tweets on how globalization counts the ways to make the American worker more competitive by researching ways to get rid of unions and attacking the Kigali Amendment as a “job destroyer.” There is an unusual combination of politically conceived demands with crony-appeal and others that stand on more rational grounds. They need to choose.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) are impractical with the global map. It leaps to review every crisis affecting American hegemony. The Council also pointed out the top ten countries for women’s workforce equality and the United States is not on the list. You will find a comparison of other nations top-tier tax rates for comparison to those proposed by the 2020 Democrats. A detailed analysis of foreign aid for 2016 will be useful if it leads to 2020 comparisons. The UK’s only land border (after Brexit) is with Northern Ireland.  Is irony is back?  CFR point to an oddly similar border with Mexico as related security discussion that can put you in a world where Japan gets its groove back with some severe armament. Bottom line, a run through CFRs tweets can tease you into thinking that this institution is in total control.  Oh!

The Discovery Institute’s (DI) first tweet to my gaze talks about “pathological altruism” as one of the big awful things to discover.  They think they do good, but they know not.  DI is a wonderful break into the world of thought about problems instead of the ones “all of the above” seem to find. Every new second with DI is worth an hour everywhere else.  Columbia’s Earth Institute (EI) is next on the list in the current alphabetical order (that may require another form of organizing).  The EI tweets focus specifically on the next generation, also known as students and life-long learners for a welcome sense of hope. One promotion with the “New School” asks a simple question: How do we know what cannot be known?” Where else but for the next generation would you be presented with butterflies tasting the salty tears of rainforest turtles to discover the importance of the complexity that beats the heart of diversity.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) added to the idea that we should have a more rational “thinking about important stuff days.” I pick up something new about EPI’s constitutional questions in their tweets.  The demand a “more perfect union” during February is one of them.  February is a month of American history that has many important days related to the African-America experience.  April gets the ‘thinking day” attention of EPI on women rights regarding equal pay.  A Native-American gets .58, African-American and Latinas get 0.53, Asian 0.61 and White 0.77 of the $1.00 of white men. Overall, the “many” vs. the “one” debate requires the patriarchy to change in all these groups. In the name of perfecting our union, a routine injection of steps of fairness with the proof of balance defines equity, wages, skillsets and safety nets.   

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Democracy and Technology, TechFreedom, Human Rights Watch and 34 others are demanding the reauthorization or Section 215 to end NSA’s phone data collection. 

The Brennan Center has the best summary of selected government surveillance programs (here).  Getting into this subject by looking at all the trees (felled, standing, old or sapling) will miss the new way the forest gets your attention. The digital forest, but like the old growth forest, it too can take something from you forcefully like a hungry bandit and offer you something you need or want at the same time. Trade began as a neighborhood/tribe thing, that became a village or city thing, then regional, national and global. Instead of looking into the old forest, there is a new digital forest that wants to look at you, your tribe, and place on the planet.  The moral authority function of human judgment is why humans build cities and turn forests into parks.  The time is now to look deeply into ourselves in cities, and to leave the old wood alone, revered as the place from which we came.

The work of the Freedom House think tank looks at the demand for human rights in places under threat of violence and works to protect these rights when won, yet far too easily lost.  The FH sees an erosion of democratic political environments and points to more than 2.5 billion people FH designates as “Not Free,” and more than a third of the earth’s population.  The number of “not free” is growing due to a decline in political rights and civil liberties. The Annual “Freedom in the World” report each year is getting more frightening.  In April, the concerns focus on Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia’s disconnect from the Internet.  The growing interest in ranking internet and digital rights exposes an inability to clarify how user information is secured and encapsulated or closed and contained in authoritarian regimes.  Expanding the Global Magnitsky Act as an accountability tool is appreciated by FH.

The Guttmacher Institute examination of global population issues and ideologically-driven political interference disrupts the professional connection between doctor and patient, lawyer and client.  These disruptions reduce the safety and dignity of these critical relationships and adversely affects a woman’s quality of life. The growth of blatantly unconstitutional and radical state-level laws aimed at a SCOTUS trial is a blatant money grab on settled law.  At the current federal level rules governing the national use of funds are coercive in intent and practices that assault on women’s access to reproductive health services especially if they are of low and moderate income.

Heartland Institute looks to free-market solutions to the social and economic problems in the United States. When over 90% of human issues, need and concerns are met by free-market solutions, it seems odd that attempts at getting into the 10% where it fails is threatening.  Most of the tweets are clear political shots when any entity does not see profit first and all other consequence second. The twitter-sphere tempts childishness, so it prompts you straight to their websites.  For example, a letter to POTUS45 seeks funding for a climate security commission as a voluntary offer to debunk science reports on climate change. Their interest in demonizing people with interest in Democratic Socialism is an equally deliberate attack on any attempt to reduce excesses in the free-market system.  It leaves one deaf to any other point as valid. Heartland needs a transplant, and a heart may not be enough. Facebook canceled their adds.

I suppose it is appropriate that the Heritage Foundation (HF) is next up in this alphabetical Tweet O-Rama of think tanks. Here you will find the narrative tones exalting the glory of capital markets. The wonders capital has brought to the world. What would we do without money to sustain whole new classes in newly enriching ways? Most of the tweets are useless jibes and retweets of the favored. Go to their website to get the strategy.   Under “Heritage’s Perspective” you will find a series of “read/listen more” teasers. I will summarize my first impression using the following, well-crafted, run-on sentence:

Of course, the transgender ban is logical, and if you have a hovercraft, gerrymandering would be much more fun along with the ability to take shots at Theresa May’s failure as a conservative within the confines of a robust pro-life agenda, and finally, college admissions are rigged, haven’t they always been so? 

The Hoover Institution (HI) is pleased to give me ten reasons by progressives shouldn’t hate POTUS45 and get this; they quote CNN. Here goes: 1) The economy, 2) not appalled by lies because 3) he’ll stop the socialists, 4) they believe his caring, empathic rhetoric, 5) he is the same at every rally, suit, tie hair and all, and 6) keeps trying to keep promises and goes against his party, 7) people see moves against a sitting president is all political BS and 8) media bias is clear.  The last three are reasonable ways to understand his loyal base,  8) it is the east and west coast vs. the hollowed-out interior that has grown to include battleground states, 9) despite everything “the family” is holding together and 10) he is a performer and entertains. Even looking at conservative sites will produce cross-over insights.

Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) attention is on the reconciliation efforts in Rwanda as a lens focused across the globe from Libya to Venezuela and on to specific concerns such as the 500th day since Azory Gwanda he “went missing” in Tanzania (#WhereIsAzory?”), and the secret Khashoggi murder trial and beatings in Nigeria and so on.  Malaysia decided to leave the ICC very quickly. HRW is livid with the cancelation of an ICC prosecutor’s visa. NGOs mag get a break from the Egyptian government. The triple bottom line utilizing “truth commission” practices yields a sliver of hope.

Common Ground Alert!

The Independent Institute has David J. Theroux’s magazine the Independent Review. Its messages have a unique California vantage point that puts the facts on the table and tries to make you think. As an example, in response to the recent POTUS45 request to make more room for a conservative speech on campus has this quote in its article.

“The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found that in 2017, 39.6 percent of the 449 colleges it analyzed “maintain[ed] policies that seriously infringe[d] upon the free speech rights of students” (source).

A Republican, Ronald L. Trobridge wrote the article, noting it would be inappropriate and probably illegal to ask applicants applying for a teaching job if they were a conservative or liberal. The applicants want to be professors exploring ideas, not politicians. 

I find more progressives teaching because they have something to say.  Trobridge ends the article by saying it is OK if you fail and get a “D” in a class if “principles” are involved.  I wrote a paper that successfully delivered my views under the heading “democratic socialism” in a classroom (applause, request for more information, and so on). I was pulled into the faculty office and given that “D” myself.  I should preface that this was just after the assignation of John Kennedy. What I remember was how frightened McCarthy frightened the teacher seemed and how good it feels today to know why. Knowing the pain we are about to experience has the potential for being self-inflicted, knowable, understandable is good. The alternative is to have that pain secretly imposed and with malice.

The Inter-American Dialogue has a laser focus on Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, and Haiti. One of those lasers looks at “remittances” as a significant largest source of financial assistance ($85B) moving from north to south Read IAD’s report #Remittances2018 here.  The overall energy company impression is best in the first few minutes from Lisa Viscidi (here) via Bloomberg and sharp on China in the region. 

The James Baker III Institute for Public Policy is all over Venezuela in the “let freedom ring” mode with VP Pence as the loudspeaker and for balance includes protests of Pence at Rice University. The rapid turnover in Trump’s high security positions became a central concern in mid-April.

The Kaiser Family Foundation aims at a healthier America and pushes to see the health problems of our lower income population as central to the reform effort of a national policy to eliminate bias.  One example of this is 90% of uninsured poor adults reside in the South.  The high cost of indigent care is very carefully tracked by going to the detail such as the 212% increase in deductibles woven into health care policy. Overall “health” remains a thread in the tweets of several of the tweeters in tanks. The focus on health is seen as an attack aimed at the drug cartel responsible for 1.9 million opioid addicted nonelderly adults is a “give” in the ongoing attack on the ACA. The general call for Medicare for All in the number of bills introduced can be examined (here).  April is a cruel month.

The Lexington Institute points to a major health problem, AKA war and in April – the need to defend against “hypersonic weapons.”  Fentanyl from China is not being well tracked or seized and like cyber – put in the context of an invasion. Pounding the table for continuous improvements in defense postures belongs to Lexington, from micro-tracking devices on everything to brand new B-21 Bombers circling the planet military reform is consistently cloaked in terms of modernization.  I believe in defense with a bid “D,” but try to find an economist looking at what happens when too much money chases too many goods?  The rich country answer is you get the acceleration of products fashioned, more than the military needs and then send it to police jurisdictions just in case of what – an invasion?

The Ludwig von Mises Institute (LMI) After calling out a civil war battle anniversary, the LMI attacks @AOC for her interest in “socializing the economy” by advancing arguments for a climate change strategy and a rapid reduction of fossil fuels because it makes no economic sense without a clear and largely unregulated role for private capital and property. Western economists promote fungibility and discount the negative role of entrepreneurs as minimal no matter the amount owned or how much or what we consume.  The flaw in this argument cannot be proven until it is too late for the mystery of “market correction” capital implements repairs.  Nevertheless, there are some useful arguments for their critique of the GND“ debunked.  Nevertheless, Tomas Piketty (summary) has a refined approach to the problem of vast patrimonial capitalism and the threat of an oligarchy.  One example is how the “estate tax” was renamed “death tax,” another is simple math CEO’s were paid 400 times more than the average paid to the American worker or average annual incomes of $12M to the CEO vs. $36,000 to the ordinary worker.

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MIPR) work on post-industrial cities sees opportunity in a report by Aaron Renn through new ground planning while awaiting private market corrections.  There is a long list of a post-industrial urban center with under one million in a population that has lost 20% or more of its people from a previous peak. (DOWNLOAD PDF).  The mysteries of fungible capital became unavailable to these cities for putting a fix into municipal finances, reform or restructure dysfunctional institutions and rebuild public services. The MIPR has NYC recovery from a similar abandonment of capital as one of those “the bank is in trouble” solutions that provided for growth with fiscal discipline.  Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Saginaw, Danville, Johnstown and so on were not so lucky, and MIPR gets into the why and how.  There are no snipping in their tweets, just honest statements leading you to real thinkers and solid proposals.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has a broad approach. They are attracted to the economics of the housing crisis, immigration reform, the revival/survival of manufacturing, and the promotion of a book on “the corporation.”  Challenges to the federal debt level, the rise of right-wing terrorism,   

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has the last word on the economic forces shaping the future of the world.  The use of their twitter feed is to announce working papers fed by the wealth of U.S. Census data on every aspect of American life from micro-marketing strategies and consumer response to mandated protection disclosures.  An interesting analysis of “patent trolls” by them and them in order to license them vs. use links to health and drug policies that hide the demand for larger generic markets.  NBER produces papers like a factory would include cars. There is something for everyone without a hint of political purpose.  The facts, just the facts.

The New America Foundation is similar in their “life is complex” approach to science and the art of political change.  The New American Weekly (Edition 243) produces the work of their “fellows” resident in NYC or LA.  They have a functional analysis of why the right wing got control of a swath of state capitals. 

On 18 April the New Democrat Network (NDN) asks its participants to do some background reading to gain an understanding of Trump and to have a discussion of their findings. The series of papers are swept under the heading of “patriotism and optimism.”  Their criticism of trade policy points out the general decline of manufacturing fear of change

The Open Society Foundation (OSF) lays it out as clearly as possible; the world needs care, hope, democratic climate action and continuous revelation on the meaning and purpose of equality. In all of these areas, the OSF works to lead by example and with others who do so with a healthy set of retweets from publishers such as The Guardian

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) would be wise not to repeat presidential threats unless until there is an actual implementation, then call it was it is.  Trade talk/war/talk and all of it on Mexico’s critical relationship to its northern border with very little attention paid to the south.  Economic nationalism in Chinese is like the German role in the EU State-owned companies in China, and sector-specific American interventions are hypocritical behaviors.  Central Bank control systems are in little trouble given “hyperinflation” flags fluttering in the breeze of a credit crunch.

The Public Policy Institute of California is a way, cool dude. They have a thing in April for retweeting the Maddy Institute reports on the 2020 Census and how immigration policy might get framed through the election.  Next, the next great drought will have less remote sensing data available due to USGS and NOAA cuts even though the water grid crisis continues to loom.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan, organization the Rand Corporation is committed to the public interest and considered a trusted source for policy ideas and analysis. They would also admit a rise in the threat to communities all over the world likely to become less safe, secure, and healthy amidst the prosperous. Rand opened April up with a century-long review of the “political objectives of U.S. Military interventions and puts reduced success on “ambitiousness.”  Calling out Iran as a terrorist nation fits that bill. The next message somewhat ironically promotes SEL for social and emotional learning as a “measures” issue. They are delighted with the student achievement success of Principle Pipelines project. Military complex interests are in cyber currency and terrorism.  Billions needed to cover the cost of meeting California’s new 2030 Seismic standard in the contract. 

The Reason Foundation libertarian ideals separate themselves from the wing flapping left or right with a value system that remains adaptable to changing times if they lead to a limited federal government.  The logic of it is the states of the republic remain the leading laboratory for building a democracy.  The surprise is they find Pete Buttigieg, the “most interesting” Democrat. The challenge to the “qualified immunity” doctrine governing police behavior as “notorious,” and disagree over labeling in immigration policy.

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is one of many doing the thinking needed most by the thoughtful over the next decade.  Goals for the earth and energy for humans are becoming more critical and where else would you be able to discover “Rs 10.000-crore FAME-II scheme?”  Just in case you are an advocate for less jargon in the world – this is about India’s move to incentivize vehicle electrification. I ran a national community design center conference for several years.  The Pittsburgh Design center incentivized bicycling with a Pedal Pittsburgh Campaign.  RMI recently organized the screening of National Geographic’s documentary, Paris to Pittsburgh. RMI knows solutions to climate change will be implemented in cities, not the mountains.

The Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) work in social science research on inequality, the working-poor, immigration and economic behavior of the actors involved. Themes in education tie it together from the impact of information technologies on the contributions of individuals such as Brian Powell and James Rosenbaum.  Timothy Bartik was asked to respond to a new report from the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) regarding the decline in the working-age population  expected through the 2020 Census. The report suggests a “heartland visa” immigration policy to replace losses in the area of the country where the reduction of working-age people is most pressing.

The thinking of people in the Third Way tank is ambitious center-left organization aiming its resources clean energy, education, health care, national security and the social policy and politics it will take for high-quality results in these areas. Their @TWPolitical feed is especially interesting as it examines challenges to the democratic party and examinations of the way the republic is collapsing and what can be done to save it in an author/speaker series.  April is about Michael Tomasky’s book on both subjects. Next on their priority list asks for the “fastest path to zero” and no one has to request the meaning of zero so that a good thing.

The Urban Institute (UI) continues to pound the table to get people to see cities as the answer.  The failure of political discourse in urban policy has required all institutions to seek a humanitarian response in the fight to sustain and establish the quality urban life of a diverse nation. This experience led UI to compile two extensive case studies by the Center on Nonprofits Philanthropy (CNP) the depth of the nonprofit housing and community-based development organizations in large cities have established a long list of innovations in social service programs by breaking glass ceilings and building capacity with proof.  In turning fifty, UI is taking the definition of knowledge as experience plus reflection by examining the bias built into the demand for transformations since 1965 Voting Right Act, the Higher Education Act 1968 and the Fair Housing Act comprising the core of the Great Society. If the next fifty years of America’s community development future from suburban to core centers is a concern, the answers about the courage required will be found in that history.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars tips the balance of American hegemony in the sheer number of people attracted to this subject where a great deal is said, but results are elusive. The initial Wilson vision became focused in his honor – 1968.  They stand with Jefferson’s notion that an informed and active citizen can be trusted with their own government and this organization believes it is building tools for that citizenry to join the national conversation. The tweets generally promote local events, but for a fascinating archive of public policy history, the center’s “Sources and Methods” blog is an insightful look at today with each visit.  

It seems appropriate for the Worldwatch Institute to conclude this lengthy effort at a summary of America’s think tanks just for April. In contrast to the incessant attempt at understanding the complex communications of human, their institutions and nations, April opening tween asks us to think seriously about the ecological impact and minimal psychological benefits of pets, the number of shipping containers and other sources filling the global ocean with  everything from vintage Garfield phones to the micro-bead plastic you now consume with every bite from the sea.  The Institute handed the world its most significant economic challenge – come up with a way to assure human well-being and minimize consumption. The knowledge that an institution like “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” can devastate America’s climate future does not seem to help.  WI tweets carefully – one interesting lesson is the ability to quickly scroll down to their 2018 interest in altering the circular economy with the idea of “degrowth.”  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

On the Delivery of Quotidian Jeremiads

Loving the English language is not easy, but it is fun. The think tanks can lead you down some interesting new paths covered in rabbit-holes and a few Kool-Aid stands. With or without the consent of the Congress, the President of the United States can threaten many kinds of civilizational catastrophe. The election of the American President is not a routine political occurrence; it is the release of a specific set of prejudices plus immense power. The short history of the United States also exhibits the distribution of this power by wealth and its penchant for significant error inherent to inherited wealth.

Here is another think-tank thought stimulation. De facto segregation is a myth, racism is a created thing, and the proof of this is daily and routine. It is a quieter thing now, an experience like watching the minute hand on a classroom clock; the movement is subtle because patience for an exact moment of freedom grows thin and in the sweep of a second hand it comes and goes.  The depth of America’s diversity challenge should not be unfathomable for the joy of its existence. Yet, there are times when the quality of human discourse is pressed for improvement so hard, we barely notice (here) or here

On T.S. Eliot

The lesson in sharing Eliot’s literary genius is that it does not excuse his anti-Semitism. It complicates the reading of “The Wasteland” with feelings of unwanted complicity. We should be able to read and reread his best poems, see the beauty and wisdom without fear of his bigotry. The message includes caution and resistance to all those who would use hatred as a source of power in all political speech.

April is the cruelest month breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

These four lines capture a bit of the human soul, the reader wants to assign Eliot’s soul to a permanent place “beneath the rats” because his “icy dismissiveness” was assigned to an entire people. The reader’s judgment of his character is critical but not one I would assign to his tribe without the proof pulled from the heart of each member.

Paradise and Panama Jitters

“Global finance has expanded without accountability and parallel attempts to take down journalism as an agent of facts is failing. A network is lined up like dots across our landscape in searches for truth, but it also continues with anger and vengeance instead of honor and integrity. To me it looks like two things. First, the attacks are a “tell” that makes the managers of extreme wealth very safe poker players, and second the enormous flow of capital has produced a condition similar to the behavior of a cancer.”

Rex L. Curry

Face it all we really have is a bad case of the jitters. After all Wilbur Ross became the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 2017 right after his name was in the release of 13.4 million documents known as the Paradise Papers in 2016. That leak came from an off-shore finance management legal firm Appleby containing the names of more than 120,000 people and companies that hide capital. I don’t know why Mr. Ross wants that particular position of power, but it gives me the jitters.

Before Paradise we had the Panama Papers. Remember? It became “news” following the “leak” of 11.5 million documents from another managing law firm – Mossack Fonseca, a team of journalists gathered to finish the work of John Doe who’s identity remains unknown. During the analysis of the data provided journalists (not government officials) have gathered world wide to develop a plan. Their work covered many months of classic journalistic practice prior to the release of newspaper stories designed to expose how billions of dollars were hidden killed from governments. A film summarizing their experience became available in March 2019.

The work to expose the cancerous practices of extreme wealth management continues. Given global conditions even the honestly gained wealth is managed without an interest in investment aimed at improving global conditions. Following the release of findings focused on public figures, the known investigators have been harassed, some killed, and others attacked with “alternative facts” and law suits.  When it takes ‘whistle blowers” to produce the momentum for reform we should all be worried as we monitor this tale of two worlds. The distasteful cleaning of the the world’s corporate laundry needs to be forced out of these poorly managed financial closets.

Need to Know List

An Essay for Tweets from the Left

The United States is composed of thousands of institutions and organizations drawn from the profound beliefs and principles of liberty outlined by The Founders. Since then the founding, the laws of protection for the growth of liberty and development of American principles has flourished. The continuous emergence of political organizations that seek to provide the best in human life for individuals has succeeded. In part, these efforts are defined as progressive or conservative, democrat, republican, libertarian, green, socialist, working family and so on (see list below).  We live through these institutions and expect them to be dispositive of most problems given two provisions – civility in discourse and a respect for facts.

American institutions focus on social and international justice, civil rights and liberty in the context of human rights for all people. Many of them work to assure equal opportunity, good educations, environmental preservation, conservation, and human health advocacy. As they are plentiful and varied, their progeny continues to expand in the service of new constituencies who are emboldened to be free in a search of cultural change through art, science and technology advancements. All these activities are constitutionally guaranteed. These institutions implement programs to produce predictable results that seek to hasten or slow social change processes, increase or reduce costs and protect local interests and specific assets held in private trust or on behalf of the public good. There is no hard proof that the physics of Newton’s laws of motion are in play in these processes, yet it feels as if proof isn’t necessary for observing the many failings if power in the accelerated rate of change in which we find ourselves.

Reducing the hard punch capability of American hegemony has been difficult from the first use of the Atomic bomb all the way down to the colloquial definition of Americans as “people who buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know.” This power to be free includes a capacity for hate and injustice that cannot be rationalized, only disliked and deterred.

The belief of progressives and conservatives is that different worlds are possible. Both see the basics of air, water, land, and food as the most powerful natural resources on the earth and once brought under the control of specific energy sources and industries, a sustainable environment is possible within an equitable economic system. Putting the force of these ideas in a global context redefines national security needs all the way down to a sense of personal safety best defined as freedom from fear. It is in a global realm of competitive protection political actors become irrational. The rise of evil forces, demonizing recalcitrant actors, or the outright taking of spoils through conflict raise the walls of ignorance.

What everyone knows is why political divisions form in the debate on a proposed action. The benefits of assigning specific public expenditures in a three-branch system of government are to sustain debate to correct errors of judgment in a changing world. One branch creates two sets of representatives from every aspect of American culture. Their job is to write laws, see to an evaluation of the implications of their implementation and adjust accordingly.  When failures in this process occur, the legislative practice is further evaluated and judged in a federal court system. The nationally elected leaders are the President and Vice-President. The Executive Branch is the final arbiter of action subject to Congressional veto, public elections, and the Judicial Branch.

Human DNA survival mechanisms will distort self-protection behaviors (i.e. fight/flight) in social groupings and it does not exclude complex government power-sharing systems. Entire social structures build supports eager to give meaning and purpose to the human experience of power. Communication of spiritual and community values, movements for social change, and reflections on past movements all push for a wide range of cultural transformations. New theories of change form among the institutions confronting the need to adapt to new conditions of human interaction and natural events. If each initiative defines an outcome-driven process, a practice based on evidence for action and detailed performance measures undertaken routinely by trusted parties, no matter how or where the idea for change occurred or the credit needed, the results should be trusted. Time is the great judge of failure and success.

The task for staff is to find the counter punch organizations among the following largely progressive organizations. The primary mission is to get people to pay attention, express issues of concern and vote on them in every election.  The list work got started with a project called START.

The Original START Study Guide is Here

For an excellent description of START, see “Acting in the Big Picture: New study guide builds on history, hope,” by Linda Pinkow, Dollars & Sense, Number 273, Nov/Dec 2007, p. 9. It was the inspiration for building the Tweet O-Rama pages found in the menu under The Synergy Project.s

The “tweet” is a way not to be distracted by the “big picture, we are all f’n doomed, so why bother problem or if you as rich as some of my friends, you plan, build and stock a $20 million hideaway, you know, just in case.

List 1: Electoral Politics Organizations

The major electoral categories on the progressive side are political parties, namely the Democratic, Working Family, Green, Labor, DSA, Socialist and the CCDS. A complement of state and local legislative groups is composed of BISC, SIX and Progress Now.

Democratic National Committee/Party

Works for job creation, equal pay, education, health care, and clean energy.

Working Families Party

A progressive political organization that sponsors candidates in 7 states and fights nationwide for an economy that works for all and a democracy in which every voice matter.

Green Party of the United States


Labor Party

A few democratic socialists advocate for a broad-based social revolution while predicting the possibility of an undemocratic and violent seizure of power by a single political party. As history repeats see blog attempt to hear or see if they might be right.

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

The largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of Socialist International. Extending political democracy to greater empowerment in the economy, in gender relations, and in culture.

Socialist Party (USA)

A political party of, by, and for working people, founded in June 1996 by delegates from hundreds of local and international unions as well as individual activists.

Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)

The achievement of the socialist vision requires the production of wealth controlled by the people participating in a broadly framed democracy serving political and cultural life. I found a link to the Left University that offers many interesting resources (here). One of the best is the analysis by David Schweickart out of Loyola University below.

If only “the left” had the sound technicians as polished as those of TED and a few others.

In Sweden talking to a few students.

March 2019

“What happens when a fundamental principle of journalism stops working? The values that help to get the facts right and reveal the truth with reasonable accurately begin to slide away when independence gets sticky; impartiality weakens and bang, fairness and accountability slips and slides away.

It appears to me today, March 31 that “following a story” to the end or until it kills the journalist or the “ism” of it, is one way to go with the first draft of history but it can miss the dots. The observers compiled in my Tweet O-Rama is one way to look at everything all at once. Our problems are uniquely highlighted by these groups who respect the sweet demands of tweet brevity. They are not journalists, but they are rebuilding their principles.”  

Rex L. Curry

I will be conducting the grand-tweet-o-rama summary of the following groups each month beginning with the think tank people in April.

Creating a section on the think tank people (ttp) occurred to when an article in the WSJ (subscribes only) details the maturation of technologies for surveillance – facial recognition, following capital through multiple accounts, command centers aggregating microwave, RFID chips, and hundreds of other digital communication platforms. The headline read, “The Autocrat’s New Tool Kit” that makes current efforts used to spread propaganda or end dissent appear childish. The tank group is ideologically diverse and sizeable with fifty on the list. I will attempt to sum them up in April.  The practice is to breeze through their tweets in a search for common themes, and I recommend you do the same, 500 words max.

My selection of social policy people (spp) finds a prioritized set of messages concerned with a rising level of damage to children in our society. The United States is a place where half of the babies born will live in or near poverty. Their observations also find children in trouble because of housing and school systems. The danger to children is also due to segregation patterns that remain that one think-tank called an “intentional American institution.” Diversity has begun in the workplace while other parts of our society remain “ghettoized” and easily subjected to malicious stereotypes and manipulative “fox in the hen house” messaging. It is a uniquely American problem that requires greater focus and serious attention in social policy. Just saying we are a diverse society is not enough.

The watchdog people (wdp) are into the “statistical malpractice” issues of the Trump administration regarding the U.S. Census and concerns related to the potential misuse of the National Emergencies Act. On the positive side, an effort to formalize the “emergency” powers of Presidents may be the result. They have some general worries about Boeing’s “lobbying” before and after the grounding of the “738 Max 8” fleet. Major concerns regarding the criminality in the Trump campaign’s fundraising behavior have heightened in intensity. The watchdogs like the hot buttons but also sustain their worries about the abuse of power within the military complex because it claims half of the national revenue. Finally, a set of “web changes” that examine various manipulations of the internet under #Gov404 and the “web integrity project” require scrutiny. The DOJ’s long term resistance to FOIA requests and appeals also concerns the watchdogs.

The public accountability people (pap) are similar but more likely to emphasize positive reform efforts; in this month it is #HR1, #ForThePeople. Isolating xenophobic behaviors remains in the context of a push back against violence and racial bigotry. An example, this month is the relatively weak House Resolution condemning all forms of discrimination in response to a representative’s use of language about the Israeli lobby. Accountability requires the recognition of “white supremacy” as an ideology is a growing threat to national security in a society built on diversity. Other concerns involve the legal system’s criminal sentencing that appears to value abusers of public trust with light sentences over those who expose the abuse of power. Between the lines, it is all about placing pressure on the majority party in the Senate (currently Republican) to take reasoned vs. political stances on issues.

The consumer protection people (cpp) focus on food and consistently remind their constituents to understand calorie labeling. America’s obesity is a whole foods crisis that could lead to warning labels on processed foods and food marketing behaviors that maximize per unit profits over the health of people. Straight forward market strategies often fail to reflect the cost to future generations. Nutrition has moved from a renewable system to one highly dependent on non-renewable inputs. The most direct example being people in cities cannot eat without planes, trains, and trucks that run on fossil fuels. Removing “petrol on your plate” has barely entered the curriculum of the American planning, architecture, and urban design schools, or in a formal public policy or market response. Consumer protection people are also examining the post-carbon future and the sustainability crisis with heightened seriousness. Several brief papers on the subject are available (here). Finally, the original analysis of scientists and economists flail hopelessly against a war on science in agriculture and environmental protection, the USDA and many others all of it carefully detailed in a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (here).

The tax accountability people (tap) and economic policy people (epp) are on the defensive, removing tax breaks for outsourcing, “carried interest,” and the investment income of wealthy corporations and people do not pay for themselves. One side of the internal revenue administration recognizes the national security implications in the loss of financial transparency. Going after the high-income earners with income tax will not produce obstruction instead of revenue. Wealth at the billionaire level is defined by investment income behaviors not “a job.” More anonymous and public corporations form in the United States per year than any other place in the world. Company formation is a big business; however, the dark side of anonymous entities should be apparent to legislators.  Detailed knowledge of the role tax havens and shell companies have paid in facilitating the opioid epidemic is an obvious example. Finally, there is outright glee regarding the first hearing on corporate transparency in the new Congress. The impetus was the exposure of world leaders caused by the data in the Panama Papers. A documentary reviews the work of 376 journalists in 76 countries regarding the methods used by the super wealthy to hide money. A documentary began streaming on @Hulu (Here) & @PrimeVideo (Here) in the U.S.

The economic justice people (ejp) selected here are those on the ground floor of dignity, and looking for broken glass ceilings, safety in the workplace, success in acquiring fair wages, and steps toward a global labor movement. Displacement from full-time employment, affordable housing, and being displaced by institutional cutbacks and criminal justice reform exacerbates neighborhood stability initiatives and weakens local governments.  The housing crisis reigns while the undertow is a grinding deterioration of housing in modest-income suburban areas and displacement in dense urban places.

I gave the business integrity people (bip) a small triple bottom line header as the argument for that kind of line is between profitable and when.  Why does ten energy company failures in the UK exhibit the perils of privatization, and how did a software problem collapse a Boeing fleet, and who is it that wants teenagers to vape until addicted and what about the asbestos in their make-up products?  Some of the good news is about more pension funds selling off tobacco stocks despite this strategy. Antibiotic resistance is identified as a significant threat to humankind, while documentation of medical insurance company failures to provide mental health services continues. The message of climate change is resonating with the young based on the premise that it is the quality of their lives on the line. It is a business issue because they can organize for or against a business within hours. Power is moving toward the consumer. The health of Lake Erie will affect every business along with its shores as the Ohio Supreme Court has given it legal rights.

Finding and exercising influence over the organizations that support organizing local people, (olp) such as representatives to city/county state and federal government can be difficult.  Most of the real nitty-gritty battles are at the state level. To the agonized voices of our brothers in the street, we will begin the hard work of change. The cult of legal action has become a cult. The climate strikers are not part of some class action screen process. The interest in beginning another revolution (anti-war or civil rights) we are conducted by doing the work of the bold. Among the protect the vote people (pvp) there appears to be a lot of effort to suppress the vote and people who are fighting to overturn bad law. For example, the Georgia legislature recently passed legislation that allows a non-verifiable digital ballot without a hard copy backup.

What is Next?

As an introduction to the organizations that pay the most attention, I cannot help but wonder, will next months summary of the think tanks be completely different just because I focus on the think-tanks or will it be developmental in some way? Will next month’s tweets on issues be little more than a set of episodic statements to build a constituency or have more depth? More positively, these organizations represent disciplined teams. They are weaving threads for a common fabric to wrap over our shoulders like the atmosphere.

The GHG threat is growing into a public certainty; this fine cape over the shoulders of policy may force a broad consensus on resilience and mitigation. The earth’s temperature has increased steadily since the industrial revolution, and the science suggests as strongly as science is able that this “steadiness” will advance to intolerable threat levels exacerbated by poor planning.

I have one example on the impact of Climate Change in NYC (here)

Protect the Vote People

“Voter supression is imposed and self-imposed. The organizations on this list know this well and have yet to figure out what to do about it. Searching through comments of concern can pull a few innovative threads in the search for new and unique approaches that might put political leadership and its quality back at the head of the table.”

Rex L. Curry

The Advancement Project, Project Vote, America Votes, Rock the Vote, the New Voters Project, Voter Participation Center, Movement (add the year), and the ever-reliable League of Women Voters.  The Democracy Initiative, Every Voice, Democracy 21, Democracy Matters, Fair Vote, and Verified Voting lead the way toward a broader base of participation.

Advancement Project

Using law, public policy and strategic communications act in partnership with local communities to build a fair and just multi-racial democracy and to advance universal opportunity, equity, and access.

Project Vote

I have know idea why providing professional training and technical services for the purpose of voter mobilization in low- and moderate- income communities didn’t work for Project Vote. Keep checking the Voting News, it has to be more than just “the money”. Perhaps Michael’s many interest stretch too thin, in the meantime, send a note of thanks, especially if you’re from Texas where voting big isn’t allowed.

America Votes

As a large membership group in the country they work to increase voter registration and participation in electoral politics.

Every Voice

Changing the special interest model of politicians by holding them accountable to the vast majority of Americans and less so to wealthy individuals and corporations.

Rock the Vote

It is getting more complicated to register and vote, but the line aimed at young people use it/lose it or its not like you don’t have the time. or if voters do not get educated on voting, and being informed people in power will believe they can’t be trusted with the responsibility of government. Wait! They think that now.


New Voters Project

Public Interest Research Groups works to register people and get them to the polls on Election Day with issues on their minds based on PIRG research. The have a national Lobby Day. Neat!

Voter Participation Center

Participation amplifying the voter-voice of name your group: How about, women who are single, widowed, divorced or separated, or people of color, 18 to 29-year olds, and other historically underrepresented groups in our democracy. Votes lead to power if used.

Movement 20xx

Every notice that you find good local contacts in areas that interest you from a national outfit? Get into their annotated lists of the best local voter organizing groups and key national resistance networks.

League of Women Voters (LWV)

From Seneca Falls, NY to today, the go to people for what you need to know.

Democracy Initiative

Coalition organizations have a huge influence in identifying corporate money flooding our political system and reporting back on sources.

Every Voice

Works for sweeping reform (“Clean Money Elections”) that would dramatically reduce the role of special interest money in America’s elections and the influence of big contributors in American politics.

Democracy 21

Pay close attention to Fred. The influence of money, lots and lots of it, in American politics is likely to corrupt people, but how, when, and who is important. Sustaining the integrity government is serious business, and requires campaign finance reform with teeth and the ability to bite.

Democracy Matters

Of course Democracy is important, but why? One way to recognize its importance is to count the attacks on its very existence in the lack of civility.

Fair Vote —
The Center for Voting and Democracy

Seeks elections that promote voter turnout, fair representation, inclusive policy, and meaningful choices through electoral reforms such as instant runoff voting, proportional voting, direct election of the president, and automatic voter registration.

Verified Voting.org

A reliable election systems is one that is publicly verifiable. The errosion of trust in the power of voting for representation in government is an attack on every vote. It must not be allowed and working with people who know this is important, very important.

Think Tank People

“The Economist explains the role of think tanks as filling “the gap between academia and policy making.” I made a list for tweet scan to get a sense of that gap. It ain’t no gap – it’s a chasm, no an abyss.

The role of professional academic researchers move with the dedicated pace of a peer review and thus, very slowly. Journalists produce daily descriptions of events and are fast but not dispositive.

The job of a think tank is to make some sense of the day-to-day world over the course of a year or more and develop policies that make each day better than the one before. The good ones make the academic rigor of research as accessible a news story. The list below is not exhaustive and developed as a test using their twitter feed. Which of the following are most accessible?”

Rex L. Curry

Acton Institute

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord John Acton (1834-1902). Acton seeks ways to articulate a vision of society that is both free and virtuous, the end of which is human flourishing.

American Enterprise Institute

Aspen Institute

Atlantic Council

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Bipartisan Policy Center

Brookings Institution

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Cato Institute

Libertarian and non-interventionist

Center for a New American Security

Center for American Progress

Center for Immigration Studies

Center for Strategic and International Studies

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Claremont Institute

Commonwealth Fund

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Council on Foreign Relations

Discovery Institute

Earth Institute

Economic Policy Institute

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Freedom House

Guttmacher Institute

Heartland Institute

Heritage Foundation

Hoover Institution

Human Rights Watch

Independent Institute

Inter-American Dialogue

James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy

Kaiser Family Foundation

Lexington Institute

Ludwig von Mises Institute

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

National Bureau of Economic Research

New America Foundation

New Democrat Network

Open Society Foundation

Peterson Institute for International Economics

Public Policy Institute of California

RAND Corporation

Reason Foundation

Rocky Mountain Institute

The Russell Sage Foundation

Third Way

Urban Institute

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Worldwatch Institute

Tweet O-Random

“The Twitter feeds below are a random selection tied to a large set of “feeds” in the Tweet O-Rama – a large list of watchdog, housing, accountability, consumer, tax, vote protecting, public policy and business integrity people. I make them available to myself for a fast review of the times, sort of a personal am I thinking clearly, litmus test. The “keyword” programs that hunt down story trends are cold and grabby. I like to stroll through them for the sense of humanity that remains in the issues people seek to resolve.

I recommend scanning them regularly for what is relevant to them all from day-to-day. As a whole, Tweets represent a spectacular display of what is important to people in groups at the moment. They are not doing well, or maybe its just the moments are not that good. Consider the following selection found in the randomness of tornados, hurricanes, floods and fires.”

Rex L. Curry

Before you go to the list, first, know that all core documents, assumptions, and arguments that require more testing for data will dance like angles on the head pin and achieve nothing. We live in the world of catastrophic resolution (CR). Understand the practical misuse of argument in a diverse, divided country like ours is fully engaged in CR poof.

Garrett Harden’s 1960s thesis regarding the “tragedy of the commons” is true, but our innocent actions are no longer innocent. One balancing element might be the Creative Commons offer of a more open process. Nevertheless, even in the current mess in which we find ourselves, observers can see some things with abundant clarity.

Change toward anything better will not work without mass mobilization toward specific tests at the community-based action level of change. Moving the argument from the “atmospheric gas” problem to practical issues under the heading of resilience will shift the argument toward those tests. Every planning director and political leader should be asking questions such as 1) How many homes will flood or burn and where is it most likely now and in ten and twenty years? 2) Can this region or nation handle that number and does it have a resilience plan?

Getting blown to pieces, flooded or burned out of a low-cost no cellar home, then flee, return and repeat is not a plan, it is climate change roulette. Once the gamble is recognized as such, the questions can get smarter to look for efficiencies in the food and water supply, the energy grid, the quality of emergency response, mitigation budgets and so on.

The spread of single family buildings from huts to mansions across the American landscape is our energy reality. We live where we live, it was shaped by national policy and cannot be reinvented easily in the face of new challenges. The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 is a central part of why we live where we live.  The initial expenditure was $26 billion, today that would be $242 billion. The act was designed in part to protect against thermonuclear war, but it also produced enormous land development wealth and a cheap place to live for everyone post-WWII to the present. An investment in the future of the nation even for purposes of research on alternatives is inconceivable today and yet The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) reports the costs of severe weather and climate disasters was $91 billion in 2018.

A self-criticism arose during the anti-war and civil rights movement of my 1960s youth.  We had to do more than talk to the convinced, we had to walk the talk into new places. We have a similar problem today. There are people to listen to and learn from regarding trustworthy improvements in the argument for a better future. Quality leadership is easily accessible.

I like David Roberts at Vox on renewable energy, and Amy Harder of Axios is a favorite of mine on energy politics. Grist has Nathanael Johnson exploring, God help us nuclear energy and World Resources Institute offers the big picture with reasoned care.

The Random Tweets

The following tweets are written by people who are close to the ground that can be aware of tests for organizational, political and technological changes that meet a local condition and provide proof of a positive change. Feel free to add some. The well of ideas are plentiful, finding the thread of principle that ties them into a thing called mobilization is the real task at hand. Have a look.

Axios

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Dani Rodrik’s Tweets

Dot Earth

Energy Institute at Haas

Environmental and Urban Economics

Environmental Economics

Jeff Goodell

In 2005 his book “The Water Will Come” would not be flying off the shelves around the world as they are in 2019.

Grasping Reality with Both Hands (Brad DeLong)

Greg Mankiw’s Blog

Grist

Harvard Environmental Economics Program

Jeffrey Frankel’s Blog

Larry Summer’s Blog

Long Now Foundation

Take a break — listen to the long term thinking people. Look for the Jeff Goodell presentation about his book “The Water Will Come.”

Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour

National Bureau of Economic Research

Now This

Their production of Congressional hearing on why corruption is getting ripe in nearly every political venue starts with one interview and a unique analysis (here). For the rest of it, that is why we call this is the tweet-o-random.

Resources for the Future – Common Resources

The Conversation: Analysis, Research, News and Ideas

Vox