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Fuck The Meta

What it comes down to is this: I’m sick of Daily Kos meta. I’m an issues guy, and I know that most of you are issues people, but the meta bullshit is driving us away from what most interests us. It’s driving us away from what we do best.

Today Is Al Gore’s Birthday

Today is Al Gore’s birthday. In July of 2008, this appeared at the Wall Street Journal:

Appearing before a packed crowd at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, levitra online italia consegna veloce the former vice president and Nobel laureate urged lawmakers to resist the temptation to overturn a federal ban on offshore drilling, and he reiterated his support for a carbon tax accompanied by a “sharp reduction” in payroll taxes.

“We should tax what we burn, not what we earn,” Gore told the crowd. His comments come at a pivotal time, with some Democratic lawmakers saying publicly that they could support a relaxation of the offshore drilling ban as a response to soaring oil prices.

how to get viagra super active Gore also challenged the country to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources within 10 years. He compared the goal to the Marshall Plan, the interstate highway system and the Apollo program. “Once again,” he said, “we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.”

This isn’t about campaign promises. This isn’t about cutting a political deal. This isn’t about taking a moderate approach. This isn’t about baby steps. This is about the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. This is about science. This is about the desperate need for a global sense of desperate urgency. We don’t have time to waste. We don’t have time to compromise.

The world is not addressing climate change with anything remotely close to the urgency it demands. Nearly a month ago, I wrote about the collapse of international efforts to address climate change. I linked about the increased industry disinformation campaign. About how the British, the European Union, China, India, Russia, Australia, and the U.S Senate are failing. This is an historical moment when world leadership is required. When someone needs to step up and force the world to open its collective eyes and stop dithering and denying and pretending and avoiding. This is not a time to be perpetuating myths and enabling both the process and the paradigm that undermine the very concept of our having a collective future.

As I wrote, last month:

The President Visits A Lost War

It’s good that President Obama has gone to Afghanistan. There is much to see. And people have been speculating that Afghan “President” Hamid Karzai was informed only at the last minute because the White House doesn’t trust him. The White House has reason not to trust him. Which isn’t the only bad news out of Afghanistan. Despite some attempts to spin it otherwise, the war in Afghanistan is going the way wars in Afghanistan always go. Badly.

The Associated Press has some stark facts:

The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan has roughly doubled in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period last year as Washington has added tens of thousands of additional soldiers to reverse the Taliban’s momentum.

Those deaths have been accompanied by a dramatic spike in the number of wounded, with injuries more than tripling in the first two months of the year and trending in the same direction based on the latest available data for March.

U.S. officials have warned that casualties are likely to rise even further as the Pentagon completes its deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and sets its sights on the Taliban’s home base of Kandahar province, where a major operation is expected in the coming months.

Of course, this followed the big offensive in Marja. Which some tried to claim was some great military triumph. Was it?

We Were Told

We wanted single payer, but were told we couldn’t get it, so we may as well not try.

We wanted a hybrid European-style system, but were told we couldn’t get it, so we may as well not try.

We wanted a robust public option, and we wondered why the president wasn’t working hard to get one, but we were told to ignore the pronouncements of members of his cabinet and staff that the public option wasn’t that important, and only listen to his own occasional statements that he wanted a public option.

We were told that we shouldn’t worry that he wasn’t out fighting for a public option, and that he never drew a line in the sand, because we didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes, we didn’t understand the strategy, and the president would get us the public option that he kept saying he wanted.

We were told to accept mandates.

We were told to accept a public option with triggers.

We were told to accept a public option with opt-out.

We were told to accept a public option that still left millions of people out.

Finally, we were told the public option wasn’t that important, anyway.

Finally, we were told that after months of being told that we didn’t understand the strategy that was going to get us the public option, it wasn’t that important, anyway.

We were told to accept the Medicare buy-in, because that would be a huge step in the right direction, even if it was unclear whether there would be subsidies actually enabling people to buy in.

We were told to accept the Medicare buy-in, because that would be a huge step in the right direction, even if it left even more millions of people out.

Now, we’re being told that the Medicare buy-in isn’t important, either.

No matter how much “reform” is defined down, we are told to accept it and like it and support it.

And we still don’t know what we will get!

We are being told to support whatever we get, and we still don’t know what that will be!

I wonder how many will accept literally anything.

I wonder how many just want to pass something, anything, so we can pat ourselves on the back and claim to have reformed health care.

I have a simple question: what about Stupak? If Stupak remains in the bill, will we be told to accept that, too?

I have another question: is there any degree of compromise, of unilateral knee-capping, that will render the bill unacceptable?

Perhaps, for the sake of consensus, we ought simply to pass a Sense of the Senate resolution stating that “health care is good.”

Your Head Will Explode

To corporate media hacks, there are no objective facts. Because they are incapable of either researching or comprehending what can be demonstrably proved, they dumb down all issues to mere partisan controversies. There is no scientific method. There are no historical contexts. There are two sides to every story, even when there really aren’t. Everything can be a legitimate source of bickering.

It’s not just juvenile, and it’s not just unprofessional; it is, in fact, dangerous. If a prominent Republican went flat-earther, Wolf Blitzer, David Broder and their ilk would reliably report on the new controversy over the shape of the earth. Andrea Mitchell just proved her credentials as an upstanding member of this upsidedown cult of unreality. On the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, she interviewed Al Gore. Did she ask him about the science of climate change? Did she ask him about the politics? Did she ask him if the politics was dangerous, given the science? Of course not. As reported by Steve Benen:

This morning, Gore appeared on MSNBC, where Andrea Mitchell read from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page to ask the former vice president questions about climate change.

Let’s think about that, for a moment. Al Gore may be an imperfect messenger, but his understanding of climate change is steeped in science. He’s written books about it. Books that he not only read, but actually wrote. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work explaining climate change and trying to get the world to deal with it. In contrast, Sarah Palin has no understanding of climate change, whatsoever. Not only does she not understand the science of climate change, she doesn’t appear to understand science. Nothing in her resume credibly qualifies her to discuss climate change. To be kind, one could say that her best and most consistent professional qualification is that of a quitter. She’s not very good at it, but she does have plenty of experience.

But even more surreal is the context of Mitchell’s question. A supposedly serious supposed journalist asks a Nobel Prize winning expert what he thinks of the nitwit ramblings of an ignorant anti-intellectual that were posted to a Facebook page? Has the corporate media really dumbed itself that far down?

Apparently without laughing in her face or being stupefied into horrified silence, Gore gave Mitchell a succinct response:

“Well, you know, the global warming deniers persist in this air of unreality,” Gore explained. “After all, the entire north polar icecap, which has been there for most of the last 3 million years, is disappearing before our eyes. Forty percent is already gone. The rest is expected to go completely within the next decade. What do they think is causing this?”

Break-In, Thieves Target Another Top Climate Scientist

In the wake of the illegal hacking of a leading climate scientist’s computers, to concoct a false scandal compared to which the birther absurdity is merely amusing, someone is criminally targeting another leading climate scientist.

The Observer:

Attempts have been made to break into the offices of one of Canada’s leading climate scientists, it was revealed yesterday. The victim was Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria scientist and a key contributor to the work of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In one incident, an old computer was stolen and papers were disturbed.

In addition, individuals have attempted to impersonate technicians in a bid to access data from his office, said Weaver. The attempted breaches, on top of the hacking of files from British climate researcher Phil Jones, have heightened fears that climate-change deniers are mounting a campaign to discredit the work of leading meteorologists before the start of the Copenhagen climate summit tomorrow.

“The key thing is to try to find anybody who’s involved in any aspect of the IPCC and find something that you can … take out of context,” said Weaver. The prospect of more break-ins and hacking has forced researchers to step up computer security.

Someone is getting desperate. And it appears to be becoming a pattern. For more on Weaver, this is his homepage.

For those who don’t know about the literally criminal first false scandal, DarkSyde at Daily Kos made two superb posts:

“Our Resources Are Limited”

Just two days after announcing the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, President Obama held a jobs summit:

With unemployment levels above 10 percent, Obama said “We cannot hang back and hope for the best.”

But, mindful of growing anxiety about federal deficits, Obama also tempered his upbeat talk with an acknowledgment that government resources could only go so far and that it is primarily up to the private sector to create large numbers of new jobs.

He said while he’s “open to every demonstrably good idea … we also though have to face the fact that our resources are limited.”

Beyond the question of why a Democratic president is giving lip service to deficit hawks at a moment that screams for more Keynesian stimulus, the real question is this: why is it that we have to endure nearly a year of grueling political games just to get a weak, watered down health care bill that we have been told, all along, has to be deficit-neutral, yet no one bats an eye at throwing tens of billions more each year into wars?

A couple weeks ago, CBS News reported:

Sometimes, people read what they want to read…

Sometimes, people read

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan.

What they want to read…

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan.

Rather than what was intended.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing enter at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan.

Sometimes, people read

Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground.

What they want to read…

Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground.

Rather than what was intended.

Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us comprare viagra generico 50 mg a Roma to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, source taking into account conditions on the ground.


But under Republican questioning, Mr. Gates acknowledged that the surge troops could remain in Afghanistan longer if the American military and its NATO and Afghan allies failed to reverse the Taliban’s recent gains.

“It is our plan to begin this transition process in July of 2011,” Mr. Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “But if circumstances dictate in December, I think the president always has the freedom to adjust his decisions.”

Sometimes, people read.

Water Alert In Portland, Oregon

My fellow Portlanders, I just want to warn you not to drink any tap water west of the Willamette River. From the Water Bureau:

Because People Are Needlessly Dying

A friend of mine works for a right wing idiot. She sometimes shares with me their political correspondence. His politics usually doesn’t get any more sophisticated than generic right wing talking points. The stupid does, indeed, burn. But one recent exchange really distilled it, for me. I had forwarded her the link to my recent post about people who will die, if health care “reform” doesn’t include a public option. Because even if new laws bar private insurers from excluding people with pre-existing conditions, nothing now and nothing in the current proposals prevents private insurers from denying patients expensive life-saving treatments. The newspaper article on which my diary was based referred specifically to Nataline Sarkisyan, the seventeen-year old who died when her private insurer refused to pay for a needed liver transplant. And my friend forwarded back to me her boss’s response. Which was simply to ask how much a public option would cost, along with his typically mind-numbingly inane parrot-point about “unfunded mandates.” It took about a day for it to sink in. What kind of person, when told about a teenager who died because she couldn’t get life-saving medical care, responds by asking about the cost? What does it say about such a person’s basic human values? It’s hard even to respond to such a sick, soulless attitude. This man has daughters. But I guess if he has enough insurance for them, the rest of the world can go ahead and die. He doesn’t care.

The Glass Is Half Broken

Wasington Post:

The Obama administration has decided not to seek legislation to establish a new system of preventive detention to hold terrorism suspects and will instead rely on a 2001 congressional resolution authorizing military force against al-Qaeda and the Taliban source to continue to detain people indefinitely and without charge, according to administration officials.

Leading congressional Democrats and members of the civil rights community had signaled opposition to any new indefinite-detention regime, fearing that it would expand government powers and undermine the rule of law and U.S. legal traditions.

The administration’s decision avoids a potentially rancorous debate that could alienate key allies at a time when President Obama needs congressional and public support to transfer detainees held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States for trial or continued incarceration.

The administration has concluded that its detention powers, as currently accepted by the federal courts, are adequate to the task of holding some Guantanamo Bay detainees indefinitely. And although legal advocacy groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are unhappy with the existing system, they acknowledge that it has enabled some detainees to win their release and limited government power in ways that any new law might not.

So, I guess we don’t need to worry about this, anymore, either.  

45,000 Deaths Each Year Associated With Lack Of Health Insurance

Let’s talk numbers. Even the most policy-averse can understand basic numbers.

From Reuters:

Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

“We’re losing more Americans every day because of inaction … than drunk driving and homicide combined,” Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.

Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.

A 1993 study found that those without health insurance are 25% more likely to die. That study put the number of annual deaths at 18,00 a year. The new study used the same methodology. It excludes people over the age of 65, because they have health insurance. It’s called Medicare. A government run health plan. The increased number of deaths is due largely to the increased number of uninsured. 27,000 more, each year. Since 1993. Since the Clinton Administration’s attempt to reform health care was destroyed, largely by the insurance industry.

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