The Hard and Narrow Third Path Won the Day

September 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs, Historical, International Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Tobruk, Libya. One hour after Tobruk fell, such scenes as this were common. Roofless buildings stand among scattered masonry and wreckage of motor vehicles in a corner of the bomb-torn town which had been one of the main supply ports for Rommel’s army in North Africa. c.1942? (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

I am glad that I won’t have to explain to my own children why the world stood aside, its decision allayed by an American President whom I supported, and allowed a mass genocidal massacre for the second time in almost as many decades.

thereisnospoon@Digby’s Hullabaloo


Peace President

October 9, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Historical, International Affairs, Obama! | Leave a comment
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President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence at the Jefferson Memorial, Sept. 27, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence at the Jefferson Memorial, Sept. 27, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Congratulations to President Barack Obama, and the citizens of the United States, on the auspicious occasion of his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Being awarded the prize and earning it are two different things. President Obama is going to have to do more than engender hope in order to have it be said that he did indeed earn it. That being said, I do indeed hope that he does.

(Reuters) The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Obama for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” citing his fledgling push for nuclear disarmament and his outreach to the Muslim world.

Obama has been widely credited with improving America’s global image after the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush, who alienated both friends and foes with go-it-alone policies like the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The Nobel Foundation keeps secret the names of nominees for 50 years. Visit the Nobel Prize website to read about past award winners and nominees in all categories.

Steve Benen has links to relevant commentary.

Glenn Greenwald says what a lot of people are thinking on the subject.

It’s as if instead of a nice present, we open the box to find a dead parakeet.

Hey, Virginia! Do the country a favor!

August 7, 2009 at 9:48 am | Posted in House of Representatives, International Affairs, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Republican Eric Cantor, representative for the Seventh District of Virginia, wants to be president.

Photo by Louis D. Tandy, c1897 (Library of Congress)

Photo by Louis D. Tandy, c1897 (Library of Congress)

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) took a swipe at President Barack Obama’s Mideast policy in Jerusalem on Thursday, telling reporters he was worried about the administration’s direction in its attempts to forge a settlement in the region.

“We’re here to try and make things better; we are here because we are concerned,” Cantor said. “We are concerned about what the White House has been signaling as of late in their desire to push through in terms of a Middle East peace plan.”

Please, Virginians, elect someone else to the Seventh District seat so that Mr. Cantor has less opportunity to undermine the foreign policy of our current president.

World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil

February 6, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Posted in Economy, International Affairs | Leave a comment
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Twentieth century transportation / E.S. Yates, des. Chi. (circa 1910)

Twentieth century transportation / E.S. Yates, des. Chi. (circa 1910)

BBC has an article about the 9th meeting of the World Social Forum (WSF) held this year in Belem, Brazil. The WSF meets yearly, at the same time as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss alternative answers to world economic problems.

A popular slogan at the Forums in the past has been “another world is possible”. This year, at a moment of deepening global financial crisis, a global reconsideration and reshaping of economy and society seems to have moved squarely into mainstream debate. So the slogan may have to be altered to “another world is probable”.

Forum participants who attended some of the hundreds of meetings on the crisis, argued that it was interrelated with the crises of food, climate and energy, and that any responses to to the crisis must address these issues as well.

Solutions to the current crisis ranged from the global to the local, with many participants emphasising the importance of a “toolkit” of solutions rather than a single monolithic change.

  • Across countless Forum events, environmentalists and labour leaders alike called for a “green New Deal” based on massive public investment in the environmental sector to stimulate job creation as well as environmental preservation.
  • For more than a decade, forum-goers have been pushing the idea of the Tobin Tax – a tax on international currency transactions. Named after Nobel Laureate economist James Tobin, who first proposed the idea in the 1970s, the funds collected from the tax (a fraction of 1% of the transaction) would be used as a global fund for development, and for recovering from crises like today’s.
  • The Bank of the South, launched in 2007 as a development bank by and for Latin America, was also touted as an important ingredient in the toolkit of solutions to the global crisis. Giving the region more independence from existing international financial institutions, the bank would also offer the region added insulation from global shocks.
  • “Food sovereignty” – a term adopted instead of the better-known notion of “food security” – was hailed by many as a key step for developing nations to become more resilient to emerging food crises. By focusing less on export-led agricultural policies and instead forging strategic local and regional agricultural policies, activists argued, nations would be able to better meet the nutritional needs of their populations.
  • Participatory budgeting – a programme for mass participation in municipal budget allocation – is another major ingredient in the toolkit. It was pioneered in the 1990s in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre where the Forum was conceived but has spread across the world. This experiment emphasises the democratisation of financial decision-making – giving every community access to and control over public banks.

Underlying much of the discussion was the sense that the current neoliberal economic model which privileges unbridled competition between nations, companies and peoples is not a sustainable path for the future.

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