July 4, 2009 archive

Climate Refugees

I’ve been thinking about climate refugees for awhile, partly inspired by all those pictures of Dust Bowl refugees from the 1930s.  Floods and famines have forced people to leave their homes for greener pastures throughout recorded history, and presumably before that.  

But nowadays we’ve got a new kind of climate refugee:  Rising sea levels are driving people from their homes in many corners of the planet.  A case in point is the Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea, a low lying coral atoll, home to 2500 people.  

Cross-posted from DK GreenRoots/Eco-Week at Daily Kos.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Iraq declines offer of U.S. help with reconciliation

By Andrew Quinn, Reuters

2 hrs 31 mins ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq on Saturday ruled out foreign involvement in its efforts to reconcile rival factions, just after visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Iraqis to do more to bury grievances and stave off renewed conflict.

Biden, on a three-day visit, offered U.S. help in what he said was a long road ahead in uniting a country deeply split by years of sectarian war and riven by violence.

But Iraq has been forcefully asserting a newfound sovereignty in the week U.S. combat troops pulled out of city centers, a milestone that was feted by flowers and dancing.


What has made Docudharma special has been the mandate to be excellent to one another.  When this blog first began, the users contributed some terrific writing and friendships were formed.  It has, for many, been a place of refuge with the opportunity to present ideas in a welcoming and genteel atmosphere that was, for the most part, unique on the Internet.  

More below…

Utopia 11: Jerry’s Story

All the problems we face in the United States today

can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.

Pat Paulsen

Hasta la pasta, Governor Failin’

I’m sure this has been covered here at Docudharma, but this is just my take on it. Warning . . . pointed snark alert.

Honduras: Fuera golpistas!


An estimated 20,000 protest the coup

Well, well, well.  The 3-day waiting period is over.  And guess what?  Nothing’s changed, not really.  The coup remains defiantly in power, the coup is withdrawing from OAS, Manual Zelaya is still in Costa Rica, his ministers are still in hiding in Honduras, the press is still embargoed.  And demonstrations by both sides continue.  For now, it’s apparently a standoff.  Diplomacy seems not to have made a change; next is economic sanctions.

The demonstrations in support of democracy have grown. El Tiempo reports:

El verdadero pueblo está en las calles apoyando al presidente en el exilio, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, aseguraron ayer más de 20.000 manifestantes que protestaron por la restitución del mandatario.

La marcha, una de las más numerosas que los simpatizantes de Zelaya Rosales han efectuado desde el domingo pasado, día en que se perpetró el golpe de Estado en su contra, paralizó en un principio el Bulevar Juan Pablo II desde horas de la mañana….

Seguidores de Zelaya Rosales aseguraron que ellos son la voz del pueblo.

a multitudinaria manifestación en apoyo a Manuel Zelaya compitió paralelamente con la concentración de quienes están del lado del actual gobierno, sin embargo, ambas estuvieron muy parejas en cuanto a la cantidad de participantes.

There were, of course, large pro-golpista demonstrations as well.

The New York Times is glum:

Honduras’ refusal to restore ousted President Manuel Zelaya despite an appeal by the top envoy for the Americas has put the impoverished nation on a collision course with the world community that could lead to its isolation.

Honduras said it would no longer recognize the Organization of American States charter, claiming the diplomatic body attempted to impose ”unilateral and indignant resolutions” on the new government, which took power a week ago in a military-backed coup and forced Zelaya into exile.

OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza had demanded Zelaya be restored to office, and on Saturday the organization was to discuss suspending the Central American nation’s membership. But Honduras’ interim president, Roberto Micheletti, said ”the OAS is a political organization, not a court, and it can’t judge us,” according to a note to Insulza read on Honduras’ television Friday night.

The move means Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Americas, will leave the OAS and will not face sanctions by the organization, though it would not prevent other groups and countries from suspending aid and loans.

Nations around the world have promised to shun Micheletti. Neighboring countries have imposed trade blockades, the United States has halted joint military operations and European Union ambassadors have abandoned the Honduran capital. The World Bank already has suspended $200 million in financing, and the Inter-American Development Bank has put $450 million on hold.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether the golpistas care about any of this.  It depends on whom the burden from the loss will fall.  If the burden falls primarily and disproportionately on Honduras’s poor and not on the oligarchy, the sanctions will matter little to the coup.  Only if the sanctions seriously impact the oligarchy, will they be an impetus to the restoration of democracy.    

And the US?  Will it withdraw its ambassador?  Will it cut off all non-humanitarian aid?  Apparently this is in the works.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement Friday expressing ”deep concern over restrictions imposed on certain fundamental rights” by Micheletti’s government, including a curfew and ”reports of intimidation and censorship against certain individuals and media outlets.”

Military cooperation has already been suspended.  And so was US Aid last week.  Here’s the official description:

The State Department said Thursday it has put much of the U.S. aid program to Honduras on hold pending a legal determination as to whether the overthrow of elected President Manuel Zelaya last Sunday requires an aid cut-off.  The United States meanwhile is cautioning Mr. Zelaya against an early attempt to return home.

The State Department’s legal team will probably determine that the overthrow of President Zelaya does fit the definition of a military coup, thus mandating a U.S. aid cut-off.

In the meantime, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said Thursday the Obama administration has effectively frozen those parts of the U.S. aid program – mainly military and non-humanitarian assistance – that would be covered by an aid cut-off.

Put simply, the money is on hold until a determination is made.

And in the meanwhile, it’s not at all clear what can be done to hasten the restoration of democracy in Honduras.

For my part, I support the restoration of democracy in Honduras, and I oppose the golpe de estado.  I oppose the arguments made by coup apologists and from the oligarchy diaspora.

I say as loudly as I can, “Fuera golpistas!”


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Be sure to thank Socialism for the public fireworks today

Crossposted at Daily Kos

   If you witness a state, county or town fireworks display this Independence Day, you have enjoyed the fruits of American socialism.

socialistic government financed fireworks display Social welfare, public programs and any service that is not performed to make a profit have often been sold to the uninformed, feeble minded and people who do not read books with big words as Socialism.  Why, everywhere you look there is socialism. From the public water fountain that does not require quarters to operate, to the fireworks going off over your head this evening, everywhere this Independence day you can find a small bit of what some people call “Socialism” free for your benefit and enjoyment.


   That’s right.

   What an amazing country we live in!

   Help celebrate America’s rich social history with me below the fold.

I’m Back. What’s New Everyone?

I’ve been gone for awhile now because of financial constraints and I’m now I’m back in Dharmaland.

I see some old friends and some new names here and want to use this essay to say hello and as a request for input about happenings I may have missed by having to rely on TV for political news and analysis.

Obama WON!!–and has disappointed me already by continuing Bush/Cheney’s campaign of secrecy and obfuscation.  I know he has an awful lot on his plate just now, but I would be a lot happier if Barack would make an effort to make good on some promises he made during the campaign about transparency and rights for all.

It’s good to see you all and I hope to learn a lot while I’m here (as much as possible before I have to turn the DSL off again).

Wann wird man je verstehn? – Open Thread

Marlene Dietrich

Hat tip to JayV:

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq & Afghanistan/Pakistan – June 2009

Dover ‘Old Guard’

Dover ‘Old Guard’ team shoulders heavy burden

Docudharma Times Saturday July 4



Saturday’s Headlines:

How Sanford spent state money on last year’s Argentina trip

Iran brings formal charges against UK embassy official

FBI chief defended Saudis

Babies in China seized then sold for overseas adoption

North Korea missile tests defy UN

Bulgarians head to polls amid vote-buying allegations

Michelle Obama bringing glamor to Moscow

GM thrives in Latin America

Gov. Palin Says She Will Quit, Citing Probes, Family Needs

By Philip Rucker and Eli Saslow

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sarah Palin, the Republican Alaska governor who captivated the nation with a combative brand of folksy politics, announced her resignation yesterday in characteristic fashion: She stood on her back lawn in Wasilla, speaking into a single microphone, accompanied by friends and neighbors in baseball hats and polo shirts.

The announcement that she will step down by the end of July stunned the political establishment, fueling speculation about why she is leaving office with 18 months left in her first term and whether her future will include a run for the presidency.

Anti-Americanism plays in Russia  

President Obama is to visit Russia next week, but U.S. hopes to ‘reset’ ties with Moscow may run into the problem that being in opposition to America is a stance that serves the Kremlin.

By Megan K. Stack

July 4, 2009

Reporting from Moscow — When President Obama visits the Kremlin next week, he will face the task of trying to reset relations with a government that has built its power base and defined itself by its anti-American, neo-Cold War stance.

It’s an opportune moment for the United States to warm up a frosty relationship. Moscow could help on some of Washington’s most intransigent foreign policy troubles, including Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. But in Russia, there is scant evidence of a desire for a fresh start.Despite a reshuffle of power that installed Russian leader Vladimir Putin as prime minister and his career underling, Dmitry Medvedev, in the presidency, the Kremlin’s policies remain unchanged, including its habit of drumming up anti-American sentiment to bolster political power at home.


Countrywide fraud case hinges on disclosures to investors

The SEC suit says former CEO Angelo Mozilo and other ex-executives knew of heavy risks in subprime loans. But the defense is expected to argue that those risks were well publicized.

By E. Scott Reckard

July 4, 2009

With a trail of damaging e-mails and big-money stock sales, the federal government’s fraud case against Angelo Mozilo and two other former Countrywide Financial Corp. executives appears to have plenty of ammunition.

The trio knew the mortgage lender was taking heavy risks but kept quiet about it, the civil lawsuit contends. It cites internal company e-mails in which Mozilo derided some of Countrywide’s loans as “toxic” and conceded the company was “flying blind” about certain risks it was taking.

But if there is a chink in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s case, it may also lie in statements made by Mozilo and other Countrywide executives, legal experts say.

The other reason I’m ruined for fireworks

The country club near my house has fireworks every year, usually the day before July 4th. An impressive, professional show. We can see them from our deck.

There’s something that always gets to me about this show, though. What it sounds like.

The colored lights of fireworks are pretty, they always have been and always will be. But the thing about the way this show sounds is that it’s the closest thing to some weird, I dunno… memories? Psychic foo? I am not sure I even have a word for how and why I know the stuff I do about it. My grandfather? My spirit guides from Germany? I have no idea.

Where I live is very hilly. The area was once all referred to by the Native American name Matenicock, which means “very hilly place”. It also looks a hell of a lot like where I was stationed in Germany.

Most fireworks shows on Long Island are shot off over either the ocean or LI Sound, so the water absorbs the noise. This one echoes off the hilly land. The echoes are what freak me out.

I realize from the pretty colors that what I’m hearing is not what I’m seeing, but… there’s a part of me that hears it and REMEMBERS… something else. I find myself remembering the foxhole that I tripped and fell into behind my house in Kaiserslautern, cutting my hand on barbed wire that had been wrapped around a sapling (now a tree) 50 years before. The tree had grown AROUND the barbed wire. They were now forever one thing.

I took this picture of it while standing in what had been the foxhole. It is placed strategically at the corner of a hill above a road that leads to Der Kammgarn, a former spinning factory that was converted to produce munitions during WWII, and was later converted to a concert hall.

I find myself just KNOWING that the soft thumps of the rockets launching, not the explosions themselves, are what you need to listen for and take cover from, because by the time you hear the big boom and you’re not behind something, it’s all over. I never worked around artillery in my life. My grandfather never told me this when he was alive. I never received training for this aspect of warfare. How the fuck do I know this?

The hills where I live echo and ring with explosions, and it is so not the sound of music to these my ears, for all that the fireworks are pretty. While my eyes are seeing fireworks, my ears are hearing – REMEMBERING – a place I am familiar with being shelled.

And I find myself by the big finale repeating like a mantra, like a prayer: “Never in my lifetime. Never in my lifetime. Never in my lifetime.”

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