Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Credo Mobile

Just like I've been saying....(if you read that and decide to switch, kindly mention my name and phone number or special personal code, BVMGN, send me your address, and I'll split the $100 check they send me for referring someone, 50-50. I promise.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Onward Christian Warriors (David Brooks, ass-licker)

It’s because nebbishly little dorks like Brooks and Paul Wolfowitz and David Frum got their books dumped in high school that we end up dropping daisy cutters on Afghan sheep herds and shipping working class American kids halfway around the world to get their nuts blown off. That sounds like a simplistic explanation, but anyone who doesn’t have a keen ear for the pencil-pusher’s eternal quest for macho cred is going to have a hard time understanding Washington politics. Brooks’s columns have always been the easiest way to take the pulse of that particular dynamic, and it sure seems now that bureaucratic momentum for intervention and more intervention is re-inflating the chests of these Beltway generals.

Anyway, I almost can’t wait to see where this goes. Is the world ready for “Barack Obama, Christian Warrior?”

Praise the Lord whose dollar sign dupes his favored race!
Make the foreign trash respect your bullion brand of grace.
Trust in mock salvation, serve as tyrant's tools;
History will say of you: "That pack of God damn fools."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Still fighting for health care

Will the Progressive Block mean anything? Author of the essential text, "A Party is not a Movement," David Sirota pushes back against "establishment backlash, obsequiously triumphalist bullshit" and urges more and more progressive pressure:
In other words, if you are a Democrat, wherever you come down on the "pass the Lieberman-gutted bill" or "don't pass the Lieberman-gutted bill" divide, it should be clear the fight we're having right now over the Lieberman-gutted Senate bill is a fight worth having not just for this particular bill. It's a fight worth having for the overall cause of genuine health care reform. The progressive movement backing the president and/or the Democrats because of party affiliation, falling in line out of some obligation to unity, and even using our limited resources to praise this bill as "a good step forward" fails to appreciate how a movement is different than a party or a set of politicians. It fails to maximize what movements need to do to make sure parties and politicians deliver the most they can in the short-term and follow through in the long-term.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

8/4 Walnut Bookmatch

Custom sizes from bar block to island top, choice of grain pattern and router detail available as always.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

broken system

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


(via demos):

Still enjoy sticking it to the Progressive Left while enabling Blue Dogs, Rahm Emanuel? You own every inch of this fuck up.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Copenhagen, cont.

350.org updates, here...

Update: And all the talk so far of holding global temperature rise to only 2C turns out to be politician-speak bullshit; they're still only talking about 3C:

With the talks entering the final 24 hours on a knife-edge, the emergence of the [leaked UN] document seriously undermines the statements by governments that they are aiming to limit emissions to a level ensuring no more than a 2C temperature rise over the next century, and indicates that the last day of negotiations will be extremely challenging.

A rise of 3C would mean up to 170 million more people suffering severe coastal floods and 550 million more at risk of hunger, according to the Stern economic review of climate change for the UK government – as well as leaving up to 50% of species facing extinction. Even a rise of 2C would lead to a sharp decline in tropical crop yields, [1/3 of all species facing extinction], more flooding and droughts....

The UN is admitting in private that the pledges made by world leaders would lead to a 3C rise in temperatures. The science shows that could lead to the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, crippling water shortages across South America and Australia and the near-extinction of tropical coral reefs, and that's just the start of it."

Bill McKibben, founder of the campaign 350.org, said: "In one sense this is no secret – we've been saying it for months. But it is powerful to have the UN confirming its own insincerity."

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

will the coming return of the dustbowl be someday known as "the good years?"

"The dispossessed were drawn west- from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out.... They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless - restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do - to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land." -Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (image via)

The facts about what climate change will do to our planet, both the already inevitable, the very likely and the current trajectory toward extinction, in detail here (pdf):

A refreshingly honest and sobering article here, deserves to be required reading for all, particularly right now:
They say that everyone who finally gets it about climate change has an "Oh, shit" moment--an instant when the full scientific implications become clear and they suddenly realize what a horrifically dangerous situation humanity has created for itself.


Schellnhuber and his WBGU colleagues go a giant step beyond the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN body whose scientific reports are constrained because the world's governments must approve their contents. The IPCC says that rich industrial countries must cut emissions 25 to 40 percent by 2020 (from 1990 levels) if the world is to have a fair chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. By contrast, the WBGU study says the United States must cut emissions 100 percent by 2020--i.e., quit carbon entirely within ten years. Germany, Italy and other industrial nations must do the same by 2025 to 2030. China only has until 2035, and the world as a whole must be carbon-free by 2050. The study adds that big polluters can delay their day of reckoning by "buying" emissions rights from developing countries, a step the study estimates would extend some countries' deadlines by a decade or so.

Needless to say, this timetable is light-years more demanding than what the world's major governments are talking about in the run-up to Copenhagen. The European Union has pledged 20 percent reductions by 2020, which it will increase to 30 percent if others--like the United States--do the same. Japan's new prime minister likewise has promised 25 percent reductions by 2020 if others do the same. Obama didn't mention a number, but the Waxman-Markey bill, which he supports, would deliver less than 5 percent reductions by 2020. Obama's silence--doubtless a function of the fact that Republicans are implacably opposed to serious emissions cuts--allowed Hu to claim the higher ground at the UN. Hu went further than any Chinese leader has before, pledging to curb greenhouse gas emissions growth by a "notable margin" by 2020. Obama dropped his own bombshell, however, urging that all G-20 governments phase out subsidies for fossil fuels. "The time we have to reverse this tide is running out," Obama declared. Alas, the WBGU study suggests that our time is in fact all but gone.

Obama, like other G-8 leaders, agreed in July to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial level at which human civilization developed. Schellnhuber, addressing the Santa Fe conference, joked that the G-8 leaders had agreed to the 2C limit "probably because they don't know what it means." In fact, even the "brutal" timeline of the WBGU study, Schellnhuber cautioned, would not guarantee staying within the 2C target. It would merely give humanity a two-out-of-three chance of doing so--"worse odds than Russian roulette," he wryly noted. "But it is the best we can do." To have a three-out-of-four chance, countries would have to quit carbon even sooner. Likewise, we could decide to wait another decade or so to halt all greenhouse emissions, but this lowers the odds of hitting the 2C target to fifty-fifty. "And what kind of precautionary principle is that?" (read more)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Geither, Loan Shark; Obama's Sellout

I'm frankly surprised no one has commented on this more than physical resemblance. Matt Taibbi's latest depressing investigative piece on Obama's economic team is now available here:
"Do you care at all about economic regulation?" I ask. "There was sort of a big economic collapse last year. Do you have any ideas about how that whole deal should be fixed?"

"We got to slow down on spending," she says. "We can't afford it."

"But what do we do about the rules governing Wall Street . . ."

She walks away. She doesn't give a fuck. People like Pat aren't aware of it, but they're the best friends Obama has. They hate him, sure, but they don't hate him for any reasons that make sense. When it comes down to it, most of them hate the president for all the usual reasons they hate "liberals" — because he uses big words, doesn't believe in hell and doesn't flip out at the sight of gay people holding hands. Additionally, of course, he's black, and wasn't born in America, and is married to a woman who secretly hates our country.

These are the kinds of voters whom Obama's gang of Wall Street advisers is counting on: idiots. People whose votes depend not on whether the party in power delivers them jobs or protects them from economic villains, but on what cultural markers the candidate flashes on TV. Finance reform has become to Obama what Iraq War coffins were to Bush: something to be tucked safely out of sight.

Around the same time that finance reform was being watered down in Congress at the behest of his Treasury secretary, Obama was making a pit stop to raise money from Wall Street. On October 20th, the president went to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York and addressed some 200 financiers and business moguls, each of whom paid the maximum allowable contribution of $30,400 to the Democratic Party. But an organizer of the event, Daniel Fass, announced in advance that support for the president might be lighter than expected — bailed-out firms like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs were expected to contribute a meager $91,000 to the event — because bankers were tired of being lectured about their misdeeds.

"The investment community feels very put-upon," Fass explained. "They feel there is no reason why they shouldn't earn $1 million to $200 million a year, and they don't want to be held responsible for the global financial meltdown."

Which makes sense. Shit, who could blame the investment community for the meltdown? What kind of assholes are we to put any of this on them?

This is the kind of person who is working for the Obama administration, which makes it unsurprising that we're getting no real reform of the finance industry. There's no other way to say it: Barack Obama, a once-in-a-generation political talent whose graceful conquest of America's racial dragons en route to the White House inspired the entire world, has for some reason allowed his presidency to be hijacked by sniveling, low-rent shitheads. Instead of reining in Wall Street, Obama has allowed himself to be seduced by it, leaving even his erstwhile campaign adviser, ex-Fed chief Paul Volcker, concerned about a "moral hazard" creeping over his administration.

"The obvious danger is that with the passage of time, risk-taking will be encouraged and efforts at prudential restraint will be resisted," Volcker told Congress in September, expressing concerns about all the regulatory loopholes in Frank's bill. "Ultimately, the possibility of further crises — even greater crises — will increase."

What's most troubling is that we don't know if Obama has changed, or if the influence of Wall Street is simply a fundamental and ineradicable element of our electoral system. What we do know is that Barack Obama pulled a bait-and-switch on us. If it were any other politician, we wouldn't be surprised. Maybe it's our fault, for thinking he was different.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

most deliberately boring, despicably dishonest, triangulating Bush-lite speech ever

Obviously gamed to "win over" the Republicans in some way, but for what? Karl Rove and McCain are instantly supportive. And why not? They have nothing to lose by Obama's inevitable failure, and now Obama has rhetorically and symbolically legitimized the Bush paradigm, and the larger Project (For a New American Century). Yet as farce this time, his delivery and timing could not have been worse, politically. The only threat the Taliban poses is in making us look like a failed empire after 8 years of rendering them stronger–an effect this surge will almost certainly redouble.) Do they really think Pakistan will help capture Bin Laden? Depending on Pakistan seems an enormous gamble, assuming Obama's decided to reverse the neocon policy of letting Bin Laden get away (although admittedly killing one all-but-forgotten bogeyman might be spun as some kind of closure to allow America to finally start the mourning process). Meanwhile and more importantly, if anything is clear it is that the context of larger geopolitics remains unspeakable, not least of all because they cannot be "justified."

The applause from kid soldiers (many of them about to die for yet more master narrative propaganda-mantras, half-truths and outright lies) was glaringly tepid (though it helped wake up the third of them obviously dozing). Whatever political capital Obama gains by triangulating he loses instantly by having legitimized the idiocy of 30+ years of disastrous foreign policy and shifting the long-term frame of debate yet again further to the right. And after nearly a year of legitimizing 30 years of class warfare, with Goldman Sachs now running the country with still rising unemployment and no serious efforts to address climate change or health care in any manner even mildly uncomfortable to the habituated exponential greed of our largest monopolized corporations, we already know it won't be worth. Not to mention the glaring absence of anything resembling moderately serious or binding exit strategy: no end in sight.
But Digby is right. Progressives really have no right to feel betrayed.

Still what an awful speech and complete load of bullshit.

Update: Wednesday's Democracy Now show cuts through nearly all of it:

unintending self-parody only sad now