February 23, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports the Consumer exports are behind 15% of China’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    The full extent of the west’s responsibility for Chinese emissions of greenhouse gases has been revealed by a new study. The report shows that half of the recent rise in China’s carbon dioxide pollution is caused by the manufacturing of goods for other countries…

    About 9% of total Chinese emissions are the result of manufacturing goods for the US, and 6% are from producing goods for Europe. Academics and campaigners increasingly say responsibility for these emissions lies with the consumer countries.

    The LA Times reports of Bubbles of warming, beneath the ice. “Methane (CH4) has at least 20 times the heat-trapping effect of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2). As warmer air thaws Arctic soils, as much as 55 billion tons of methane could be released from beneath Siberian lakes alone… That would amount to 10 times the amount currently in the atmosphere.”

    “Today, 20% of Earth’s land surface is locked up in a deep freeze. But scientists predict that air temperature in the Arctic is likely to rise as much as 6 degrees Celsius, or 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century. That is expected to boost the emission of carbon compounds from soils.”

    And just to underscore the point — Climate change lays waste to Spain’s glaciers, reports The Guardian. “The Pyrenees mountains have lost almost 90% of their glacier ice over the past century… ‘It has become obvious that the ongoing trend of worldwide and fast, if not accelerating, glacier shrinkage … is of a non-cyclic nature'”.

Four at Four continues with Obama deficit optimism and Republican governors stupidity, sunken treasure, and Comet Lulin.

Are the Republicans Terrorists? Updated

The nation’s new intelligence chief warned today that the global economic crisis is the most serious security peril facing the United States, threatening to topple governments, trigger waves of refugees and undermine the ability of America’s allies to help in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

“Though we do not know its eventual scale, it already looms as the most serious global economic and financial crisis in decades,” said Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, in his first appearance before Congress as the top intelligence official in the Obama administration.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa If we don’t deal with climate change decisively, “what we’re talking about then is extended world war,” the eminent economist said. (Lord Nicholas Stern)


It would “transform where people can live,” Stern said. “People would move on a massive scale. Hundreds of millions, probably billions of people would have to move if you talk about 4-, 5-, 6-degree increases” – 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. And that would mean extended global conflict, “because there’s no way the world can handle that kind of population move in the time period in which it would take place.”

“Projected climate change will seriously exacerbate already marginal living standards in many Asian, African, and Middle Eastern nations, causing widespread political instability and the likelihood of failed states…. The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide, and the growth of terrorism.

“The U.S. may be drawn more frequently into these situations, either alone or with allies, to help provide stability before conditions worsen and are exploited by extremists. The U.S. may also be called upon to undertake stability and reconstruction efforts once a conflict has begun, to avert further disaster and reconstitute a stable environment.”

(Source: (PDF)  National Security and the Threat of Climate Change. A report by 11 admirals and generals issued by the Alexandria, Va.-based national security think tank The CNA Corporation.

Eminent scientists, economists and the National Security Advisor all agree that terrorism itself is not the greatest threat to American National Security. They cite instead global instability, failed states and the chaos of mass migrations as the greatest threat to America.

As we all know, our current financial crisis is devastating, and will not end tomorrow. And if we do not act quickly and boldly to first stem and the reverse the damage ….that has been caused by Republican policies…. to the world financial system, it may not end at all. That is the threat and the cost of inaction, or insufficient action. As Blair says it threatens to topple governments, trigger waves of refugees and undermine the abilities of America’s allies.

Now add Climate Crisis, which is accelerating and whose effects are being felt more and more each day and the demands that it will put on America’s security Forces…to reiterate…

The U.S. may be drawn more frequently into these situations, either alone or with allies, to help provide stability before conditions worsen and are exploited by extremists. The U.S. may also be called upon to undertake stability and reconstruction efforts once a conflict has begun, to avert further disaster and reconstitute a stable environment

When these two forces, financial crisis and Climate Crisis are combined, the picture for our world and our country is grim.

Obviously we must act. We must act boldly and decisively to repair the damage to our economy that the Republicans created. And we must act boldly and decisively to make up for the critical eight years we have lost as Republicans denied and destroyed all efforts to mitigate Climate Change.

But there is a small band of insurrectionists, terrorists in effect, attempting to sabotage and defeat America’s efforts to address the very very serious dual crisis we face. A force driven ONLY by ideology and fundamentalist religious belief. A force that has, due to their efforts to obstruct and even prevent America from taking the actions needed, become a serious threat to America’s National Security and the worlds future.

If the greatest threat to Americas national security is identified, and a dedicated group of ideologues and religious fanatics attempts to sabotage ALL efforts to ‘defeat’ that threat, are they not in effect terrorists attempting to destroy America?

Who ARE these terrorists that hate America and wish to destroy it?

Why, they are the very same group of ideologues and religious fanatics who got us into this mess in the first place!

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee

“Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. “And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban — I’m not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that’s not what we’re saying. I’m saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with.”

The Republicans.


Campaigning 101 – Training And Gut Check

If you are a going to be a candidate you have a lot of things to do, but there are even more that are not yours to do at all. That is kind of a cryptic way of saying you have to know your role and stick to it if you are to achieve your goal of being elected so you can make the changes that the people need. How much you need to delegate depends on the size of your race, but make no mistake unless you are running for Dog Catcher of a one dog town, you are going to need other folks to help you.  

Second Class Citizens

This is another entry in my New Deal pictorial series.  It just takes a roundabout route to get there.  

We start a generation before the Great Depression, as Seattle photographer Edward Curtis was traveling the west for his epic photographic record of Native Americans.  This may be the best known of his of his thousands of images, each contact printed from 14×17 inch glass plate negatives, and rendered in copper plate photogravure for limited edition publication:


It’s Cañon de Chelly in Navajo country near Chinle, AZ, photographed 1904.  There’s a lot of controversies and opinions on Curtis’s work, which might rightly be called his mission.  Or even obsession.  I’m gonna add a few opinions of my own, some context, and then bring it around to the New Deal.

Do the (Chinese) math: A review of Minqi Li’s “The Rise of China”

This will be a book review of Minqi Li’s “The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy,” a book which is important for its calculation of the rising contradiction between capitalist growth and ecological sustainability, and for its perspective on Chinese history.  

Li’s prose is clear and understandable, and his use of graphs and charts really drives his points home rather than (as is the case with some economic writing) confusing the reader.  In this review, I will look at Li’s book with one eye upon a conference I have volunteered with Focus the Nation to help organize.  Li will be the keynote speaker at the FtN conference at USC.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

Open Thread


All for thread and thread for all!

Docudharma Times Monday February 23

More Interested In Political Power

Louisiana Governor  Bobby Jindal Rejects Stimulus Money

Which Would Have Helped 25,000 People In That State      

Monday’s Headlines:

Obama stimulus: More old school fix-ups, less New Deal grandeur

Cairo bomb blast kills French girl, 17

Iraq faces a new war as tensions rise in north

India moves to protect traditional medicines from foreign patents

The ‘prisoner’ versus the President

Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci discovered in Basilicata

Shoestring budget for Robert Mugabe’s big birthday bash

In South Africa, an artist in the vineyard

Drug violence tarnishes Mexico’s international image

Secret U.S. Unit Trains Commandos in Pakistan


Published: February 22, 2009

BARA, Pakistan – More than 70 United States military advisers and technical specialists are secretly working in Pakistan to help its armed forces battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the country’s lawless tribal areas, American military officials said.

The Americans are mostly Army Special Forces soldiers who are training Pakistani Army and paramilitary troops, providing them with intelligence and advising on combat tactics, the officials said. They do not conduct combat operations, the officials added.

They make up a secret task force, overseen by the United States Central Command and Special Operations Command. It started last summer, with the support of Pakistan’s government and military, in an effort to root out Qaeda and Taliban operations that threaten American troops in Afghanistan and are increasingly destabilizing Pakistan. It is a much larger and more ambitious effort than either country has acknowledged.

Suspend military aid to Israel, Amnesty urges Obama after detailing US weapons used in Gaza

• White phosphorus shells traced back to America

• Activists call for arms embargoes on both sides

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem

The Guardian, Monday 23 February 2009

Detailed evidence has emerged of Israel’s extensive use of US-made weaponry during its war in Gaza last month, including white phosphorus artillery shells, 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles.

In a report released today, Amnesty International detailed the weapons used and called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. It called on the Obama administration to suspend military aid to Israel.

The human rights group said that those arming both sides in the conflict “will have been well aware of a pattern of repeated misuse of weapons by both parties and must therefore take responsibility for the violations perpetrated”.



Government Gets Chance To Prove It Can Work

Stimulus Act Will Test Civil Servants’ Abilities

By Alec MacGillis

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, February 23, 2009; Page A01

For weeks, the economic stimulus package lay in the hands of President Obama and congressional leaders. But with Obama having signed the $787 billion bill on Tuesday, its fate has been dispersed far and wide — to places such as the state office building in Crownsville, Md., outside Annapolis, where three workers face the challenge of a career.

The team oversees the home-weatherization program in Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development, disbursing $2.6 million a year in federal funds to cities and community groups to insulate the homes of 1,000 low-income residents. The stimulus package provides $65 million over two years, enough to cut deep into the waiting list of 22,000 homes.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Hanging by a Thread

Weed Control

The man says

we don’t matter

except in the ways

that we do harm

to the human ecology

When can I expect

the gardner

to stop by

to pluck me out

of this garden?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–December 26, 2008

Late Night Karaoke


Monday Morning Business Update

From Yahoo News Business

1 U.S. seeking up to 40 percent stake in Citigroup: report


19 mins ago

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The U.S. government may end up holding as much as 40 percent of Citigroup’s common stock, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website, citing sources familiar with the plans.

But Citigroup executives hope the talks with U.S. federal officials will result in a stake closer to 25 percent, the Journal reported.

The lender is discussing with U.S. officials a scenario in which a substantial portion of the $45 billion in preferred shares held by the U.S. government, amounting to a 7.8 percent stake in Citigroup, would convert into common stock, the newspaper said.

With Bonus Late Breaking News.

Introduction To Wicca/Paganism

ek hornbeck on Daily Kos was kind enough to ask me to post this here. I posted it on kos as guest-host of Unitary Moonbat’s “History For Kossacks” series.

Since our friends on the other side of the aisle often insist on denouncing us as “pagans”, “heathens” or other such things, I thought it might be useful for us to actually know a little bit about Pagans. To this end, a few tidbits of explanation.

Raped, Shafted, and Screwed

Dear Employees,

Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown of economy, Management has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 40 years of age and above on early retirement.

This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to management to be eligible for the SHAFT scheme (Special Help After Forced Termination).

Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (Scheme Covering Retired Early Workers).

A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as Management deems appropriate.

Persons who have been RAPED can only get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by Management.

Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible.

Management has always prided itself on the amount of SHIT it gives employees.

Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring to the attention of your Supervisor. They have been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.


The Management

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