June 16, 2009 archive

People let you down – why I’m an “obamabot”

UPDATE: Here’s another interesting take on the “Obamabot” phenomenon. Please read it.

Earlier this afternoon, i read Budhydharma’s diary at Daily Kos entitled “What Happens if Obama Loses the Left?”

There are over 1,000 comments on that diary as I write this here.

As a new member of the community, I have to qualify my statements in this, my first diary, and one that is – gently – disagreeing with the owner of the site. So here goes:

I’m a former Christian fundamentalist.

I’m a former neo-conservative “warblogger.”

I’m a former “pro-life” advocate.

I’m a cynic.

With those qualifiers, I voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. I did so because I saw all that my previously-held beliefs had wrought both within our nation, and in the greater world community.

That said, I disagree with Budhydharma about this statement:

We all have seen the tensions on the blogs between the members of the Center-Left and the Issue-Left. The CL are the people who portray activists pushing for their issues as “wanting a Pony” or insist that Obama has only been in office for __ number of months…..you know, the people who confuse political activism with impatience.

Okay, I’ve actually argued that “it’s too early” to gauge how Obama is doing related to a number of issues, including torture prosecutions, LBGT rights, etc.

Having said that, I don’t like being lumped into a group called the “center-left.” I’m NOT center-left. In fact, on issue after issue, I consider myself to be farther to the left than Obama would find comfortable.

Four at Four

U.S. already impacted by human-caused climate change

  1. The United States Global Change Research Program, a joint scientific product of the White House and more than 30 scientists across 13 federal agencies, released today “the most comprehensive and authoritative report of its kind” documenting “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States“.

    The ten key findings of the report are:

    1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.
    2. Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow.
    3. Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase.
    4. Climate change will stress water resources.
    5. Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged.
    6. Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge.
    7. Threats to human health will increase.
    8. Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses.
    9. Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems.
    10. Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today.

    In its coverage of the report’s release, the Washington Post observes “Even if the nation takes significant steps to slow emissions of heat-trapping gases, the impact of global warming is expected to become more severe in coming years, the report says, affecting farms and forests, coastlines and floodplains, water and energy supplies, transportation and human health… But the speed and severity of these effects in the future are expressed with less certainty in the report and will depend to some extent on how quickly the United States and other nations move to reduce emissions.”

    What we would want to have people take away is that climate change is happening now, and it’s actually beginning to affect our lives,” said Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a principal author of the report. “It’s not just happening in the Arctic regions, but it’s beginning to show up in our own backyards.”

    Dr. Karl said that unless the country acted soon to reduce emissions and to adapt to inevitable effects of a changing climate, the costs would be severe.

    Our destiny is really in our hands,” he said. “The size of those impacts is significantly smaller with appropriate controls.”

    The Guardian adds the report “provides the most detailed picture to date of the worst case scenarios of rising sea levels and extreme weather events: floods in lower Manhattan; a quadrupling of heat waves deaths in Chicago; withering on the vineyards of California; the disappearance of wildflowers from the slopes of the Rockies; and the extinction of Alaska’s wild polar bears in the next 75 years.”

    If today’s generation acts on climate change, the average US temperature will rise 2.2C-3.6C (4-6.5F) by the end of this century, said the draft, which was finalised in April.

    If it does not, average temperatures could rise by about 3.9C-6.1C (7-11F) with catastrophic consequences for human health and the economy.

Four at Four continues with climate changes impact the world’s rivers and water resources, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed said he lied when tortured, Abu Zubaida was tortured but CIA mistakenly identified him as al-Qaeda, and idle factories in the U.S. at a record high.

Solidarity With The Iranian Struggle For Democracy


This is a brief essay about solidarity.  In this case, it’s about solidarity with the people of Iran who are protesting what appears to be a stolen election, the loss of democracy.

How do we support those people, half the world away, in their struggle for democracy?  How do we say just as people (and not a government) that we support their efforts to demand democracy?  That they’re right, they deserve their democracy and we want them to have it?

We can only do simple things.  Things like changing our location and time zone on Twitter to Tehran and GMT +3.5 hours.  Things like making our avatar green.  Things like reading the posts of those who are there.  Things like posting and distributing their videos on youtube.  Things like writing blogs and asking others to link arms with them in solidarity.  Things like talking about what ideas we might have that could be of help to them.

These are things that might be completely ineffective to help Iranians achieve democracy, to get a new, fair election, to overturn the sham outcome of their last election.  I realize that.  But that’s not what’s important.  That’s not what’s important now.

What’s important, I think, is our solidarity with their struggle, our saying, however we can say it, “Brothers and Sisters, we’re with you.  We want you to succeed.  We want you to be safe, and free.  We want you to obtain the change you seek.”  Will they see it?  Will they hear about it?  Will they know that we are saying this about them?  Of course they will.

I say it by posting in green.  You might have other ways of saying it.  It’s important to me to say, aloud, to whomever can hear it, “I support the struggle in Iran for democracy.”

Please join me.  Please join me in giving to the Iranian people who are struggling for democracy the same support we’d like to receive in our struggles for democracy and equality and peace.


President asks SCOTUS Justice to represent USA in war crimes trials

Crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

“If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of The United States

Robert H. Jackson

    Justice Jackson was asked by President Truman to represent The United States in establishing the process for trying German war criminals after Germany’s surrender in World War II. The above quote was made by him in 1945 during the negotiations of The London Charter of The International Military Tribunal (IMT) which established the legal justifications and basis for the trials. He later acted as the Chief Prosecutor for the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (IMT) of the major war criminals.


    Sorry if I got your hopes up, but the point I want to make is the fact that we did this before, in worse times, and we must do it again. We must bring War Criminals to Justice. Just because the War Criminals hide behind our own flag does not make things any different.

    To shrink from condemning and punishing atrocity is, however tacitly, to condone evil.

   At the time, President Harry Truman faced many issues that required much of his attention. Fresh from his appointment to the Presidency after the tragic passing of President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman still faced issues outside of a nation’s involvement in war crimes. There was insurgent violence in the still occupied Germany, where remnants of a minority within the region continue to attack American occupying forces on a daily basis for a while.

    There was also the issue of Nuclear Proliferation. As the sole nuclear power America faced an entire world that sought their own Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    In 1945 the economy was still a big issue. After having just climbed out of the first Great Depression the economy was very much a priority back then, as it still is right now.

   There were many important issues at stake during 1945 that could have taken precedent over the investigation and prosecution of War Crimes. None of those issues stopped us from doing the right thing then, and we should do the right thing now.

What Happens if Obama Loses the Left?

Simulposted at Daily Kos

No, I am not talking about the Center-Left, I mean the, for lack of a better term….The Issue-Left.

We all have seen the tensions on the blogs between the members of the Center-Left and the Issue-Left. The CL are the people who portray activists pushing for their issues as “wanting a Pony” or insist that Obama has only been in office for ____ number of months…..you know, the people who confuse political activism with impatience.

The people who think that speaking up for a cause you believe in is….rude, or means that you HATE Obama.

Obama obviously NEVER has to worry about losing them. They have no expectations, and thus cannot be dissapointed. They are willing to settle for whatever crumbs Obama will toss them. Or think that if they just wait, patiently and politely and quietly, Obama will eventually get around to GIVING them what they want with no effort on their part.

The people who get annoyed by other folks Yelling about issues that are important or vital to them.

NewsFlash!!! War Supplemental Still in Danger

I certainly HOPE you have all been keeping up with the efforts of Jane Hamsher over at FDL…

…and her stalwart efforts to stop the War Supplemental, which is teetering on the edge of failing.

We’ve managed to hold 36 progressives (and shoot down a couple of trial balloon defections). Rahm threatened, bribed, cajoled, browbeat, threw tons of pork in to pay everybody off — and he failed. Obama had to come in and clean up his mess.

More than one person has told me that Rahm overplayed his hand. He packaged the IMF and the supplemental together, and proceeded to browbeat progressives that the White House has been snubbing from the get go. He was too cute by half when he threw in Lieberman-Graham so he’d have something to deal out for progressives in the House. Even Barney Frank got mad and refused to be played like that.

RIGHT NOW, She is waiting to liveblog the vote….

IF the vote takes place!

If the pull it off of the floor, that means that the effort has succeed….temporarily. Which would be a SIGNIFICANT victory in stopping Obama and Rahm from strong arming the GOOD Democrats in the House.

AND signal that it is time to fight even harder!

Head on over for the developments and lend a hand!

Whom Do You Trust?

There is a book by Vernor Vinge called a Fire Upon the Deep. It is a great space opera read, but that is not what this post is about. In the book there are many alien civilizations that use an intra-galactic network to communicate with each other. It is obviously modeled on the early internet. In this book it is often called “The Net of a Thousand Lies” as there is no way to verify every piece of information posted on it by ever poster. This too is similar to the internet. Which leads to the Dog’s question today; how do you decide what to trust and what to ignore?

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

A Brawny Recovery Instead of Unsustainable Consumption-Led Growth

Burning the Midnight Oil for a Brawny Recovery

On Agent Orange, bonddad writes:

Among the most important of the rules Rosie laid down, in my opinion, is #12: Get the US consumer right and everything else will take care of itself.  The reason is fairly simple:  The U.S. consumer has the biggest balance sheet on the planet.  The U.S. consumer represents 70 percent of our GDP and about 18 percent of global GDP.

This is, however, following the entrenched habits of thought that got us into this mess in the first place. My reply, below the fold.

Transparency, you say? Pshaw!


Confessions of an Obamabot

OK, I think its time for a confession…I am an Obamabot and I’ve played one on the internet. Its time for me to take the blinders off and admit the truth…I really am attached to the status quo and defending it against all you DFH’s. So I succumbed to the idea that if you all would just shut up and listen to the man, all would be well with the world.

Obama came along and blinded me to what’s really going on in the world…and I fell for it. You may wonder why I did, well that one goes deep.

Public School Competition hasn’t Undercut Private Schools …

Well if Talking Points were Rubles … Some people would be king!

How to Stop Socialized Health Care

Five arguments Republicans must make.

By KARL ROVE – Wall Street Journal – JUNE 11, 2009

If Democrats enact a public-option health-insurance program, America is on the way to becoming a European-style welfare state. To prevent this from happening, there are five arguments Republicans must make.

The first is it’s unnecessary.

But 1,300 companies sell health insurance plans. That’s competition enough.

Second, a public option will undercut private insurers and pass the tab to taxpayers and health providers just as it does in existing government-run programs. …

Third, government-run health insurance would crater the private insurance market, forcing most Americans onto the government plan. …

Fourth, the public option is far too expensive.

Fifth, the public option puts government firmly in the middle of the relationship between patients and their doctors. …

Link to this WSJ screed.

Oh pity the poor little Private Insurers — they’ll just wilt in the face of any Competition from the big bad Public Option!

Poor Babies —  WAAAAAAHHH!

Docudharma Times Tuesday June 16

Logging off – must keep phone line open – will update asap #Iranelection

From Persian Kiwi Twitter

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Obama to propose strict new regulation of financial industry

Japan ‘may be over worst of recession’

Pakistan orders army to target Taliban leader after bombing

Climate change divides the Alps down the middle

For Gitmo Uighurs, new life is no walk on the beach

From corporate America to the Horn of Africa, money makes the world go around

Congo’s Bemba to stand ICC trial

Netanyahu tells CBS: I have opened the door to peace

3 foreign hostages found dead in Yemen

Iran Reports 7 Deaths in Mass Protest Against Vote Result


Published: June 16, 2009

TEHRAN – Less than 24 hours after the largest demonstrations here since the 1979 revolution, Iranian state radio reported Tuesday that seven people were killed in clashes overnight, ramping up tensions after days of unprecedented protests which have forced a formal review of Friday’s disputed election.

As dawn broke over this tense and divided nation, anticipation grew over what would come next, whether calls for a nationwide general strike and more protests would play out across the country, or if emotions would begin to cool. But, in defiance of the protests, which have undermined his legitimacy around the world, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew to a regional summit in Russia.

The millions who can’t go home

Refugees and internally displaced people are desperately vulnerable and must be a priority. Remember them on 20 June

António Guterres

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 June 2009 08.30 BST

There are at least 42 million victims of conflict and persecution worldwide living as refugees or uprooted within their own countries, many of them for years on end.

Among them are nearly six million refugees who have been in exile, mostly in camps, for five years or longer in what humanitarians call “protracted refugee situations”. But these interminable situations do not include the millions more uprooted people who are displaced within their own countries and who far outnumber the world’s refugees. Many of them have also been unable to return home, sometimes for decades.

Although international law distinguishes between refugees and the internally displaced, such distinctions are absurd to those who have been forced from their homes and who have lost everything. Uprooted people are equally deserving of help whether they have crossed an international border or not. That is why the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, is working with other UN agencies to provide the internally displaced with the help they need, just as we do for refugees. But we have a long way to go.


Calif. Aid Request Spurned By U.S.

Officials Push State To Repair Budget

By David Cho, Brady Dennis and Karl Vick

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Obama administration has turned back pleas for emergency aid from one of the biggest remaining threats to the economy — the state of California.

Top state officials have gone hat in hand to the administration, armed with dire warnings of a fast-approaching “fiscal meltdown” caused by a budget shortfall. Concern has grown inside the White House in recent weeks as California’s fiscal condition has worsened, leading to high-level administration meetings. But federal officials are worried that a bailout of California would set off a cascade of demands from other states.

With an economy larger than Canada’s or Brazil’s, the state is too big to fail, California officials urge.

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