Aug 272011
 

CounterPunch Diary

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN, Counterpunch

The White House that shook in last Tuesday’s earthquake has been home to its present incumbent for 32 months. Obama wasn’t around to watch the furniture shake. He’s up on Martha’s Vineyard for the third year in a row, with Michelle and their two daughters, bunkered down in a $25,000-a-week holiday rental of a lush 28-acre estate in the little town of Chilmark. 

He’s keeping a low profile. Words like “standoffish” roll petulantly off the tongues of the island’s liberal elites. They were spoiled by Bill Clinton who spent six presidential vacations on the Vineyard. No renter he. Bill free-loaded on rich pals and party donors, mostly synonymous. No one could ever accuse Bill of being standoffish, though he confided to Vernon Jordan that he preferred Jackson Hole, Wyoming,  to Martha’s Vineyard as a vacation spot since it was impossible to get “pussy” in the stuffy Massachusetts resort. Continue reading »

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Aug 272011
 

(CNN) – Iceland’s voters overwhelmingly rejected a deal to pay billions of dollars it owes to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.  With around 90 percent of votes counted, just over 93 percent said no and just under 2 percent said yes. Not enough votes remain to be counted to change the result. Some 62.5 percent of Iceland’s roughly 200,000 register voters cast ballots, the ministry said.  Continue reading »

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Aug 272011
 

By Adam Lee, Crosspost with AlterNet

Childish, Aryanized cartoon version of Jesus. A moral philosopher, yes. A God, no.

The most common stereotype about atheists, the most common reason why religious people fear and distrust us, is the belief that people who don’t believe in God have no reason to behave morally. In the view of the planet’s major religions, the way we know what’s right and what’s wrong is that God tells us so, and the reason we follow the rules is because we fear divine retribution if we break them. This worldview is simple and emotionally satisfying and to those who believe it, it’s a natural implication that a person who no longer believes in God has no reason not to indulge their every selfish desire. Continue reading »

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Aug 272011
 

By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet

Transforming the United States into something closer to a democracy requires: 1) knowledge of how we are getting screwed; 2) pragmatic tactics, strategies, and solutions; and 3) the “energy to do battle.”  

The majority of Americans oppose the corporatocracy (rule by giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite, and corporate-collaborator government officials); however, many of us have given up hope that this tyranny can be defeated. Among those of us who continue to be politically engaged, many focus on only one of the requirements—knowledge of how we are getting screwed. And this singular focus can result in helplessness. It is the two other requirements that can empower, energize, and activate Team Democracy— a team that is currently at the bottom of the standings in the American Political League.  Continue reading »

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Aug 272011
 

By Steven D., Booman Tribune 

All the Protesting for Naught? Welcome to Tar Sands Nation

Alberta's tar sands fields. An ecological outrage. Now the plague will cross the whole continent.

I guess Bill McKibben’s protests and arrests against US approval of a pipeline to allow dirty Canadian tar sand oil to flow to the United States appears to be all for naught, according to the NY Times:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration gave a crucial green light on Friday to a proposed 1,711-mile pipeline that would carry heavy oil from Canada across the Great Plains to terminals in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast, saying the project would provide a secure source of energy without significant damage to the environment.

In reaching its conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline from the oil sands deposits in Alberta would have minimal environmental impact, the administration dismissed criticism from environmental advocates, who said that extracting the oil would have a devastating impact on the climate and that a leak or rupture in the 36-inch-diameter pipeline could wreak ecological disaster. Opponents also said the project would prolong the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, threaten sensitive lands and wildlife and further delay development of clean energy sources. Continue reading »

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