October 28, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. A week to go before the general election. On Sunday, Barack Obama appeared before more than 100,000 people in Denver making it the largest U.S. crowd to ever attend one of his campaign rally. He has been maintaining he lead in the polls, while John McCain has been spinning the Despite the polls, the race will be tight. If McCain is right, it will be the first time this whole campaign.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported on Monday that as he makes his closing argument, Obama avoids partisan rhetoric and focuses on unity.

    There’s no point, he says. “We’re all in this together,” the Illinois Democrat assures the crowds who flock to his events… “We don’t have the luxury of relying on the same political games and the same political tactics that are used every election to divide us . . . by who we are or what policies we support.”

    In this final week of the campaign, the LA Times suggests to look for both candidates to Soften their blows. As part of his closing argument for why we should elect him president, Obama explains:

    We have always been at our best when we’re called to look past our differences and to come together as one nation, leadership that rallied this country to a common purpose, to a higher purpose.”

Four at Four continues with two stories about the global food crisis and some stories about Barack Obama from people who have known him at various parts of his life.

Democratic Socialism

Crossposted from the WWL

Americans are like the retarded offspring growing at the edge of a lush and healthy European field. You know, the row of corn too close to the road commission’s weed kill spray to flourish, but not close enough to die out completely.

We just don’t get it, but think all corn should look like us. USA! USA!

When I used to speak daily with people in Sweden, Germany, and Belgium working as an Atlas Copco distributor (tooling for auto plants) they were amused and disgusted by our working conditions.

You don’t have a year off paid with your new baby? 9 weeks, unpaid? Your husband has no time off with his baby either? You don’t get a month paid Holiday in the summer? No free health care? No free College? The option for a 4 day work week?

You Americans let them treat you like slaves.

I was STUNNED, had no idea how good they had it.

If we really did believe

Just imagine what our educational system might look like if we really did believe that children are our future.

Countdown: 604800!

One week! One short, but now infinitely long, week to go! Seven days, or 168 Hours, 10080 minutes, or 604800 seconds!!!

But however you count it, it is gonna be a bad, BAD week to be a Republican!

So Where are YOU at, one week out? How do you feel? What are you seeing? What is striking you, as we stand poised here, on the brink of history? Or as the recent brilliant Obama ad asked…..Wassup?

kos gets it right

Ah yes, us loony bloggers, fighting for universal health care, to protect social security, to keep our government from unconstitutionally spying on us, and to promote a sane foreign policy that doesn’t unnecessarily cost us blood and treasure. You know, loony things supported by a majority of the (apparently also loony) American people.

Here’s what too many people still don’t understand — there’s nothing loony about the netroots. This isn’t fertile territory for the McKinneys and Kuciniches of our party. This is fertile territory for the Howard Deans of our party — sensible, pragmatic progressives who aren’t afraid to be Democrats. Why? Because we’re the nation. We’re not clustered in DC and NYC, we’re spread out over all 50 states, and we know better than anyone what it takes to win in our own backyards.

We didn’t rally around Webb, Tester, Schweitzer, Trauner, Brown, Massa, Burner and so many other moderate Democrats because they were little Kucinich clones, but because they were perfectly suited for the states and districts they seek to represent. It’s that simple. Howard Dean wasn’t an anomaly. He was our ideal.

We are not the elites, we are America, and we’re situated squarely in its ideological center. We proved it in 2006, and we’ll prove it again next week.

America’s Payroll, America’s Interests

Be excellent to each other.

I take that to heart.

I also take to heart the futures of my children and of my country.

That is why I think it is extremely important that Americans become more thoroughly aware of people who have been extremely influential in shaping American foreign policy in the Middle East, and who are striving mightily to keep America in the same unbalanced situation, particularly vis a vis Israel and Iran, that the US is in today.

One such person is Dennis Ross.  Ira Glunts has surveyed Ross’s career as a diplomat being paid by US taxpayers, while deftly advantaging Israel and simultaneously embroiling the United States in costly, bloody, and morally destructive relationships with other nations and peoples in Israel’s neighborhood who used to be America’s friends, allies, and partners.

First, who is Ira Glunts, second, what did he say about Ross, and third, what other involvement has Ross had in US-Middle East affairs?

10,000 *DharmaManiacs

* updated 1x to add another word added to title

** updated 2x to point out typo in first update.  free music video dedicated to whoever spots the typo, which isn’t really a classic typo, more along the lines of a mistake in grammar.

Panic In Pakistan

Has the financial crisis created by de-regulation and the economic policies of the past 20 odd years moved the world closer to nuclear weapons in the hands of al-qaeda?

While financial markets crumble worldwide, Pakistan is in the grips of a terrible economic crisis which threatens to destabilize the country. Pakistani officials have reached out to its richest allies for support, China, Saudi Arabia and the United States. All three countries, dealing with economic woes of their own, have denied this request, leaving the country to negotiate an emergency loan from the IMF. Sunil points out that the other major source of income for the Pakistani military leadership is the drug trade, a practice that is made possible by the billions in aid that the leadership receives from foreign governments every year.

October 27, 2008 – 11 min 55 sec

Pakistan in a panic

Sunil Ram: Military ruling class is dependent on international aid that is now in jeopardy

Open Thread

 

Dawn of the Thread.

A race to flip: CA-46

One of the joys of 2008: there are too many good races, too many viable opportunities to turn Red districts Blue on the electoral map. Sadly, on Kos’ latest map of the Western US, one of the opportunities that we all should be banding together to make a reality remains red.  In CA-46, we have a true progressive, Debbie Cook, is facing a die-hard troglodyte, global-warming denying, immigrant bashing, etc … Dana Rohrabacher who might be “the biggest blithering idiot” on the Hill.  

In the past few weeks, this race has tightened. We are talking within measure of error.  Debbie doesn’t have DCCC behind her but she does have us.  A few $XX.01s could help to flip a district which would, in this case, shift from deep (corrupt) red representation to truly a “better Democrat”.

Docudharma Times Tuesday October 28



Those Oil Companies Are So Warm And Fuzzy

Just Like A Python




Tuesday’s Headlines:

Oil companies pour on charm before posting fat profits

We will defend territory against attack, vows Syria

Gamble puts Kadima leader Tzipi Livni ahead in polls for first time

Financial trouble grows for oligarch with friends in high places

The artificial heart: a complex organ that is within science’s grasp

Kim Jong Il may be severely ill says Japan Prime Minister

Pakistan wary of IMF demands

Warships begin patrol off Somalia

Rwandans Say Adieu to Fran├žais

Bolivians worry spat with US could kill jobs

Central Banks Slashing Rates As Investors Flee

Global Pullback Could Affect Currency Markets

By Anthony Faiola and Neil Irwin

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, October 28, 2008; Page A01


Central banks around the world are moving to further slash interest rates as they seek to contain the damage from the bursting of the biggest credit bubble in history.

The Federal Reserve is poised to cut its benchmark rate for the second time in two weeks at a pivotal meeting in Washington on Wednesday, and the European Central Bank yesterday suggested that it would do the same next week. South Korea announced a dramatic rate cut yesterday, by three-fourths of a percentage point.

Governments worldwide have already approved massive bailouts and stimulus packages to halt financial meltdowns.

Kirkuk dispute threatens to plunge Iraq into Kurdish-Arab war

 Study warns dispute over territories and revenues in oil region could lead to violence greater than Sunni-Shia conflict

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday October 28 2008 00.05 GMT


Iraq’s relative calm is threatened by a festering Kurdish-Arab conflict over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other disputed territories, that could explode into the worst sectarian war the country has suffered since the 2003 invasion, a new report says today.

The report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) says the territorial dispute is blocking political progress in Iraq, contributing to the delay in passing a law on sharing oil revenue, and threatening to put off critical provincial elections.

Pointing out that the Arab-Kurdish dispute dates back to Britain’s creation of modern Iraq after the first world war, the ICG report warns: “In its ethnically-driven intensity, ability to drag in regional players such as Turkey and Iran, and potentially devastating impact on efforts to rebuild a fragmented state, it matches and arguably exceeds the Sunni-Shia divide that spawned the 2005 – 2007 sectarian war.”

 

USA

White House Explores Aid for Auto Deal



By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and BILL VLASIC

Published: October 27, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is examining a range of options for providing emergency financial help to spur a merger between General Motors and Chrysler, according to government officials.

People familiar with the discussions said the administration wanted to provide financial assistance to the deeply troubled Big Three Detroit automakers, possibly by using the Treasury Department’s wide-ranging authority under the $700 billion bailout program that Congress approved this month.

W: The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

“He awakened me from my dogmatic slumbers.”

     Immanual Kant (speaking of David Hume)

It was the lead-up to Iraq that did it.  Iraq,  and that lying smirk.

In  late 2002 through the summer of 2003, I was on a software-development project  far from home. I had to drive 1.5 hours to the site in the morning, and then 1.5 hours back home every evening. The route was through some of the least-inhabited parts of eastern North Carolina.  Not much radio out that way, and what little there is just screams “short-wave loony-tune.” I had time to think, then, time I hadn’t had for decades. And I  started thinking about the world, and I started thinking about that man with the lying smirk.

I didn’t vote in 2000. In fact, I hadn’t voted since 1980, when I voted for Reagan  — not out of any political conviction, but because I detested that grinning imbecile Jimmy Carter.  I used to be different. Once I was young, I was engaged, I wrote philosophy, I wrote plays. I’m sure most of what I wrote was utter dreck, but it was the passion  and the desire to make a difference that was important. Me and my friends  were going to change the world, or at least change a few lives. We lived like we meant it,  and we loved the struggle with ideas and words and causes.

Well, you know the story. Life did what it so often did. Life got in the way, and I went off on another path.  Don’t get me wrong: after a decade-long rough patch (drugs) I was mostly happy in a bovine, unthinking way, happy for decades. And so the years drifted by – the operative word being drifting – and I found myself in late 2002 driving down that long empty road in the dark every morning and every night, thinking about Iraq and thinking about that god damned lying smirk.

And one day, shortly after the invasion began, I understood the scope of what had happened, and I said to myself aloud in  my car, so loud that I actually startled myself: “Jesus Christ, we let the bastards do it to us again!” And so I rediscovered my rage, that blessed rage, that sweet emotion that has so many negative associations these days but that was so honored in simpler times that Homer was able to weave the entire fabric of his greatest epic around the rage of Achilles.

And so I started writing again.

There’s no way for me to avoid the inevitable conclusion: viewed from my own purely selfish perspective, George W. Bush was the best thing that ever happened to me. This idea horrifies me. If I could wave a magic wand and have it all play out another way – if I could have a world without W, at the cost of never awakening from my decades-long dogmatic slumbers – would I? Would I? I have to believe that I would.

My sanity depends on it.  

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