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This Week In Blackness #13 - Black, black, blackity black.
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Will Smith on Oprah

New Rules 07/11/2008 Bill Maher

From 2:39 onwards....
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The Nasty Truth: Free Trade Agreements May Scuttle Green Jobs Plans

That's what "free trade" deals are about: limiting by treaty the policy space in which lawmakers can operate. As such, both of the presidential candidates are boxed into a cage of their respective parties' creation. It's the dirty secret of the 2008 campaign.

Recently, AlterNet asked Van Jones, founder of Green For All and author of The Green Collar Economy, about this issue, and he responded with defiance. "I want the WTO to tell us we can't do this," he said, "because then we won't have a WTO. I want the free traders to stand up in front of the world and explain to Americans why some people are going to tell you that you can't have clean energy and you can't have your home retrofitted (with American-made products) because it is more efficient for it to be made in Asia or Germany, that you can't bring Detroit back to build wind turbines. I want the free traders to defend having an overseas body to declare this agenda illegal. I want that fight."

It's a fight that might finally help achieve public awareness about what "free trade" really means. When most people hear the word "trade," they picture ships filled with goods crisscrossing the world's oceans. But the reality is that "free trade" is simply a well-tested euphemism for agreements between governments that limit their ability to intervene in the private sector, ostensibly to unleash the awesome "power of the free market."
They don't just cover trade between countries, but also a host of issues that most ordinary people would consider to be purely domestic matters, as long as they have some tenuous connection with international commerce, no matter how far removed.
Activists from across the developing world have been trying for years to call attention to that reality but have largely been ignored by a media and political establishment devoted to promoting the so-called "
Washington Consensus."

Now, with Americans hungry for new approaches to the economy, health care, energy policy and a host of other issues, the "free trade" deals advanced by both Democrats and Republicans over the past 30 years may very well come back to haunt them.
According to a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen (PDF), "Many WTO rules have little or nothing to do with international trade," but every WTO country is still "required to 'ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures'" with the WTO's orthodoxy. Failing to do so is not a meaningless act of diplomatic defiance; the WTO has an enforcement arm. As the report explains:
Domestic policies that extend beyond the WTO constraints are subject to challenge by other WTO signatory countries -- often at the behest of their affected industries -- before WTO tribunals. Of the 137 cases decided to date at the WTO, challenges to domestic laws have been successful nearly 90 percent of the time, with countries moving to alter their laws as ordered except in a single instance, where a country instead chose to pay indefinite trade sanctions to keep its policy in place.

Consider Obama's plan, "New Energy for America" (PDF). At its heart is a proposal to "invest in a clean energy economy" and "create 5 million new green jobs, good jobs that cannot be outsourced." But most can be. While installing new solar panels would be a job that would stay in the United States, building those solar panels would not be. According to the WTO's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, any financial contribution by a government to the private sector that would give a preference to "domestic over imported goods," either by law "or in fact," is a no-no. Article 5 of that agreement allows a WTO challenge to "any subsidy (tax credit, funding for R&D, and other[s] ...) deemed to ... carry a benefit that has the effect of causing serious prejudice" against goods or services provided by another country. There was an exception for "environmental upgrades," but it expired in 2000.

When it comes to the government, "Buy American" is itself WTO illegal. Obama promises to "help nurture America's success in clean technology manufacturing by establishing a federal investment program to help manufacturing centers modernize" by using federal funds to provide the "critical up-front capital" to modernize "manufacturing facilities to produce new advanced clean technologies." It wouldn't stand a chance if challenged.

What happens to the Progressive Movement now?

It Is Time to Change from Fighting Against Something to Fighting for Something

What Is this "Clean Coal" Obama and McCain Support?

Pigs with Mouse Genes: How GM Animals May Be Entering the Food Chain without Labeling

Three Things Obama Should Do First
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On Tuesday, Americans chose as their next president an African-American named Barack Obama who campaigned on a near-universal health-care plan, allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, and a move away from the belligerent foreign policy of the past eight years. Republicans, and some journalists, had spent months (falsely) saying Obama is the single most liberal member of the U.S. Senate -- and maybe even a socialist. The American people responded by electing him in a landslide.

This, naturally, is very good news for the Republicans, according to many pundits. It proves once again that America remains a "center-right" nation.

Right about now, you're probably scratching your head, wondering how the election of the "most liberal" member of the Senate, a man who campaigned on a promise of near-universal health care, could possibly be described as evidence of a conservative country.

To be sure, it requires some creative thinking.

NBC's Tom Brokaw, for example, looked at county-by-county election results and concluded that counties carried by John McCain account for greater land mass than those carried by Barack Obama. This would be meaningful, if only fields and streams and rocks and trees were conservative voters. But they aren't: They are fields and streams and rocks and trees. They are neither liberal nor conservative; they tell us nothing about the nation's political leanings. People tell us something about the nation's leanings -- and more people voted for Barack Obama.MORE
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North Carolina is OURS.

Change.gov is now online

Change.gov provides resources to better understand the transition process and the decisions being made as part of it. It also offers an opportunity to be heard about the challenges our country faces and your ideas for tackling them. The Obama Administration will reflect an essential lesson from the success of the Obama campaign: that people united around a common purpose can achieve great things...

got that? we the people have a voice after all. go use it!

I can see! Everything is sharp! No more fuzzy looking street signs. No more squinting! Glasses rock!
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For articles on Obama's next Cabinet try the CabinetNewsLadder They are pretty complete.

Larry Summers as Treasury Secretary? Uh, not unless he answers a GREAT deal of questions? Josh Marshall sums it up more concisely

And I don't think that I linked in this excellent article on precisely how much ppl like Greenspan and Rubin and their adherence to Ayn Randian had to do with the economic meltdown Hint: They refused to regulate derivatives cause they thought that the bankers would regulate themselves. (Pause for loud and long LOLS) I especially love this part:

The article goes on to account how, in 1997, Greenspan got into a spat with the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. She wanted to regulate derivatives; he didn't. Greenspan joined forces with Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and his deputy, Lawrence Summers, to resist her plan.

“Greenspan told Brooksley that she essentially didn’t know what she was doing and she’d cause a financial crisis,” said Michael Greenberger, who was a senior director at the commission. “Brooksley was this woman who was not playing tennis with these guys and not having lunch with these guys. There was a little bit of the feeling that this woman was not of Wall Street.”

“All of the forces in the system were arrayed against it,” [Rubin] said. “The industry certainly didn’t want any increase in these requirements. There was no potential for mobilizing public opinion.”

Yes, that's right, there's bonus sexism in this tale.

Quite. See, if you are a woman, and you don't play tennis and lunch with the guys, your educated, common-sensical opinion doesn't count. And Rubin? That was one of the dumbest excuses I'd EVER heard. The industry doesn't want to regulate itself, so, lets not? Really?

Greenspan has publicly admitted that this idea of human nature is BS. As to whether he's apologized to Ms. Brookesly? That's unknown. Rubin's thoughts on the matter haven't been recorded either.

Thanks [livejournal.com profile] giandujakiss ! As a matter of fact, I'll be stealing another omnibus of articles from you, an update on the financial crisis: How incompetent is Secretary Paulson? The depths cannot be plumbed My fav part of this?

over at AIG:
The American International Group is rapidly running through $123 billion in emergency lending provided by the Federal Reserve, raising questions about how a company claiming to be solvent in September could have developed such a big hole by October. Some analysts say at least part of the shortfall must have been there all along, hidden by irregular accounting.

Mr. Vickery and other analysts are examining the company’s disclosures for clues that the cushion was threadbare and that company officials knew they had major losses months before the bailout.

Tantalizing support for this argument comes from what appears to have been a behind-the-scenes clash at the company over how to value some of its derivatives contracts. An accountant brought in by the company because of an earlier scandal was pushed to the sidelines on this issue, and the company’s outside auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, warned of a material weakness months before the government bailout.

The internal auditor resigned and is now in seclusion, according to a former colleague.
Let's pause here. The internal auditor is in. Seclusion.
These accounting questions are of interest not only because taxpayers are footing the bill at A.I.G. but also because the post-mortems may point to a fundamental flaw in the Fed bailout: the money is buoying an insurer — and its trading partners — whose cash needs could easily exceed the existing government backstop if the housing sector continues to deteriorate.

Indeed. May we live in interesting times.

On a more upbeat note, however, [livejournal.com profile] giandujakiss links to good things coming down the economic pipeline from the Dems Yeah!
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The McCain camp seems rather invested in making sure that Gov. Palin goes down with the ship. But holy jesus, if this is true...Jesus Lord, we dodged a bullet

Cameron: I wish I could have told you more at the time but all of it was put off the record until after the election. There was great concern in the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin lack the degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, and a heartbeat away from the presidency. We're told by folks that she didn't know what countries that were in NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, that being the Canada, the US, and Mexico. We're told she didn't understand that Africa was a continent rather than a country just in itself ... a whole host of questions that caused serious problems about her knowledgeability. She got very angry at staff, thought that she was mishandled.....was particularly angry about the way the Katie Couric interview went. She didn't accept preparation for that interview when the aides say that that was part of the problem. And that there were times that she was hard to control emotionally there's talk of temper tantrums at bad news clippings...MORE

Did you get that? Its not only that she didn't know that Africa was a continent, SHE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND TEH CONCEPT OF THE WORD "CONTINENT"????? SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT COUNTRIES WERE IN NAFTA?????????????

WTF was McCain THINKING? And how the HELL did we manage to elect such an profoundly ignorant person governor? Also, she really didn't read newspapers, did she?

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McCain's Concession Speech

Obama's Acceptance Speech
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The LGBT related initiatives did poorly.
In Arizona, the same-sex marriage ban appears to be passing. With 99% of precincts reporting, the results were 56% to 44%. This initiative is currently projected to win; this is an initiative that needed 50% plus one vote pass -- the state itself was called for Obama.
In Arkansas, the ban on gay and lesbian couples adopting children appears to be passing. With 96% of precincts reporting, the results were 57% to 43%. As of this moment, this initiative has been called; this was an initiative that needed 50% plus one vote pass -- the state itself was called for McCain.
In Florida, the same-sex marriage ban appears to be passing. With 99% of precincts reporting, the results were 62% to 38%. As of this moment, this initiative has been called; this was a constitutional amendment that needed 60% of the votes to pass -- the state itself was called for Obama.
And in California, we had Proposition 8. As of this moment, with 89% of precincts reporting, the constitutional amendment to the California State Constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman is ahead 51.8% to 48.2%. The constitutional amendment hasn't yet been called -- but the amendment needs just 50% plus one vote pass -- the state itself has been called for Obama.
Here in my odd world of California, there is a weird comparison of initiatives between California initiatives can be made between Propositions 2 and 8.
Proposition 2 is an initiative that was described in the initiative as follows:
The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the cruel confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.
So in my mind, perhaps the saddest commentary on "liberal" Californians sense of equality and fairness is to say that in my home state where, to this point, 63.3% of its voters found the mistreatment of farm animals something worthy of being legislated against, and 52.8% of voters believed eliminating the fundamental right of gays and lesbians to marry worthy of a state constitutional amendment.

They apparently re-elected Michelle Bachman and Ted Stevens AKA the convicted felon. BLINK!
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From this commenter

Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.
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there's a black family and a white family, President and Vice pres, hugging each other. on stage. oh my god.

and you can see that Michelle and Barack just love each other.

Come on up for the rising-Bruce Springsteen
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Ladies and gentlemen, the next first family of the United States...
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11:37 (via email) FL's anti gay marriage ban is leading 62-38, with 85% reporting.

11:18 (via email): In AZ, the anti gay Proposition 102 amending State Constitution to define marriage as being only between one man and one woman is passing by almost 10 points

11:39 with 5% of precincts reporting in California, Prop 8 results so far:

Yes:1,016,186 (55%)

No:839,142 (45%)
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Lift every voice and sing
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Colorado is OURS!!!!

EDIT: Jesse Jackson is quietly crying.

EDIT: MCCAIN CONCEDES and the Republicans boo. Classy.
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Ladies and Gentlemen  THE 44th AMERICAN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


TAKE THAT PALIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Beautiful Day
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Tim Mahoney goes down in Florida. Good riddance.

Open Left

Democrats 236, Republicans 144, Undecided 53

Democratic Wins: CT-04, FL-08, FL-24, IL-11, NC-08, NH-01, NY-13, NY-25, PA-12

Looking Good (5% or more up): GA-08, MI-09, NY-29, PA-03, FL-08, OH-01, OH-15

Tight (Within 5%): VA-02, FL-25, KS-02, KY-02, MD-01, MI-07, NE-02, OH-16, PA-11, VA-05 (Perriello ahead by 700 votes--3% to go), VA-11

Looking not so good (5% or more down): VA-10, FL-18, FL-21, IA-04, IL-10, MN-02, MN-03, MN-06, NY-26, OH-02, NJ-03, NJ-07, PA-15, SC-01

Republican Wins: IN-03, FL-13, FL-16, NJ-05, TX-22

Districts yet to report: AK-AL, AL-02, AL-03, AL-05, AZ-01, AZ-03, AZ-05, CA-04, CA-50, CO-04, ID-01, (LA-04 primary), MO-09, NM-01, NM-02, NV-02, NV-03, TX-07, TX-10, WA-08, WY-AL


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