Tuesday, December 01, 2009


From the Houston Chronicle:

Scientist: U.S. effort on climate ineffectual

Prominent climate scientist James Hansen on Monday dismissed President Barack Obama's recent pledge that the United States would cut its carbon dioxide emissions as “completely ineffectual.”

Hansen said Congress, which is considering a cap-and-trade bill to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and the president, who pledged a provisional target of reducing greenhouse gases by about 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020, should pursue a carbon tax instead.

“These are completely ineffectual approaches,” Hansen said in an interview.

Obama made his pledge last month in advance of his planned Dec. 9 visit to an international meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, where policymakers hope to craft a global treaty to reign in a warming climate.

By making such pledges and appearing to address climate change, Hansen said the U.S. government, is guilty of “greenwashing,” the practice of disingenuously spinning products and policies as environmentally friendly.


And from

Is Obama Following in the Footsteps of Bill Clinton?

Today, it’s crucial to ask where Obama is heading. From the stimulus to healthcare, he’s shown a Clinton-like willingness to roll over progressives in Congress on his way to corrupt legislation and frantic efforts to compromise for the votes of corporate Democrats or “moderate” Republicans. Meanwhile, the incredible shrinking “public option” has become a sick joke.

As he glides from retreats on civil liberties to health reform that appeases corporate interests to his Bush-like pledge this week to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, an Obama reliance on Congressional Republicans to fund his troop escalation could be the final straw in disorienting and demobilizing the progressive activists who elected him a year ago.


When you start in the center (on, say, health care or Afghanistan) and readily move rightward several steps to appease right-wing politicians or lobbyists or Generals, by definition you are governing as a conservative.


Okay, I have to admit that I'm getting some wicked pleasure out of the confusion and disillusionment being suffered by stupid liberals who believed against all reason that President Obama was somehow going to be their progressive savior. It was in-your-face obvious during the campaign that Obama is a corporatist conservative Democrat, and it's ram-it-in-hard obvious now. I mean sure, FOX News guys and their ilk go on and on with their "socialist/fascist" oxymorons, but the far right wing has gone drooling gibbering crazy, and doesn't really make much sense anymore: Obama's multi-billion dollar spending spree is all about trying to save the corporate capitalist establishment, restoring the conservative institutions which own and run our society to the position of strength they enjoyed back in the 90s--conservatives ought to love Obama, just as they ought to have loved conservative Democrat Bill Clinton; I guess they just can't get past the whiff of good vibes that goes with being a Donkey.

On the other hand, the preordained failure of Obama to govern from the left, to make the real changes that this country desperately needs, is extraordinarily disturbing: the American political system, and therefore its government, is fucked up broken bad. We continue to regress, not nearly as quickly as we did under eight years of the giggling boy-president named Bush, but the course of our nation is definitely going backward, not forward.

Maybe it's time to embrace nihilism. Either that, or go on a year-long Jim Morrison binge. Whatever.