Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Dear community:

This blog is officially out of commission.

It was started in response to the plethora of newspaper articles and pundit reports that took debate about whether or not Obama was a real American seriously. The creator of this blog, Obama IS America!, is herself a person of international heritage and origin, but who has found a home and community in the United States. She sees this country as being a land of opportunities in a way that exists no where else to date. This is due to this nation's strong civil liberties, the power of people to fight for those liberties, and the fact that the United States is home to people from every part of the planet, making this country home base for the people of the world.

While this blog's editor does not agree with many things that Obama has pushed through (a few include deregulating genetically modified alfalfa, repealing regulations that protect clean air, giving billions upon billions to the auto and banking industries, etc), she strongly feels that the people of America themselves should play a much stronger role in determining what happens politically and economically in this country. This would counteract attempts of corporate takeover and would ensure that people's desires are being more accurately represented.

Obama is running for election again this year. This blog does not take a stance for or against Obama. We just hope that people focus on his decision-making and on what will be best for all the people of America in choosing our next President, and don't use Obama's identity as basis for dislike.

In the opinion of this blogger, to revamp our economy, we (the United States and the world generally) need to undergo a period of SERIOUS transition. It is time for people to stop driving cars, to stop being dependent on non-renewable energy sources, to stop hating other people, to start growing vegetables in their backyards, to start biking more, to start finding peace within themselves, to stop taking so many drugs (whether illegal, legal or pharmaceutical), to stop playing so many violent video games, to stop turning a blind eye to war and America's international aggression. It is time to see the value and beauty in nature and to get more involved with local and statewide politics - not just voting, but also setting budget and legislative priorities and creating positive and peaceful, community-building initiatives.

Below is a video on biology and consciousness. The more of us that take a conscious stand for peace and community, the faster we will go back to living in symbiotic harmony with nature, and sooner balance will be restored to nature and human communities.

If you want to stay in contact with Obama IS America! folks in the future, please email: localtoglobalworks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Peace and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Social Media 101 for Activists (from Congress.org)

Image retrieved from the article "Iran wakes up to social media activism" on DigiNews. Link:

The article below from Congress.org can be found at:

Social Media 101 for activists

Seven ways to change the world with Twitter and Facebook.

Imagine the reaction if someone stood on a chair at a cocktail party and began shouting opinions and asking for money.

That's precisely what many activist groups do on social networks, Deanna Zandt argues.

The author of "Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking" faults organizations for treating Twitter and Facebook like broadcasting venues instead of places to have a conversation.

"You're sharing and participating and working with each other," she said.

Facebook is full of groups for one cause or another, but few of their followers actually do something. How can activists move people beyond so-called slacktivism?

Zandt offers seven tips on using social media to make a real difference.

1. Share your story. Perhaps the biggest benefit of using social networks is that they allow you to share personal stories with others, Zandt said. Compelling narratives have always been an important way to pull people into a cause. Twitter and Facebook just enhance how that works.

"Any kind of organizing, whether it be door knocking or phone banking, starts with stories," she said. "Stories create empathy, and empathy is a building block of any kind of social change movement regardless of whether someone's politics are left or right."

2. Cultivate relationships. Zandt put her theories to test while writing the book by asking friends and family to donate to the "Feed Deanna" fund. The money went to pay for the author's living expenses while she penned the social media guide.

She sent e-mails to 500 people that yielded $6,000 in cash and a handful of unique offers like $100 a month in pizza from the local restaurant and a free eye exam. What she learned applies to activist groups that often find themselves pinched for funds.

"The biggest takeaway is that fundraising is all about relationships," Zandt said, noting that she knew almost every donor personally. "You need to build your community before you need them. I couldn't have just made 500 friends in a day and then asked them for money."

3. Be personable. Robotic tweets that read like a press release won't get you anywhere. Casual prose and a human touch are the expectations on these social sites.

"You should be using the tone of voice that you would with a coworker you don't know well. Think about having a conversation with someone rather than broadcasting something," Zandt said.

4. Meet people where they are. Not all the people who would be drawn to your cause are on Twitter. Even those that are may not use it in the way you think.

Zandt gave the example of a student-led immigration protest several years ago that used MySpace to build its base. The social networking site is popular with teenagers, so it made sense for organizers to start there.

The protest was planned on a school day, and students were going to walk out of their classrooms in protest. Knowing that the students wouldn't have access to MySpace in school, activists collected their phone numbers ahead of time and texted them.

The concept, called last-mile organizing, means "understanding the community you're trying to reach and figuring out what the appropriate technology is for them," Zandt said. Many people don't use the internet regularly at all, she added, emphasizing the importance of continuing traditional activism.

5. Treat social media like a tool. No technology can take the place of traditional organizing tactics like knocking on a door, holding a protest, or meeting with a lawmaker.

"Those are still tools in the toolbox. This is an additional tool that people can use," Zandt said.

It's important to use the tool when it's best fit. Social media may not be the place to negotiate with a fellow activist group, for example, but it can help bring people together in a crisis.

When books about feminism and gay rights mysteriously disappeared from Amazon.com's search results last year, authors turned to Twitter to share what they were seeing. Pretty soon, the subject "Amazon Fail" was one of the most popular trending topics on the site, and mainstream media sites took notice.

Amazon had to react in a matter of days. Before social media, Zandt said the publisher could have pushed the issue aside or waited weeks before doing something about it.

"Maybe activists would have written to Amazon. But along the line, a number of gatekeepers would have had to approve that this was a valid story to tell," she said.

6. Don't chase the numbers. Not every cause requires a million followers. It's more important to have a dedicated group of activists who are willing to share your information with others and help out than to have tons of followers who don't really care all that much about what you do.

Parents in Florida demonstrated that when they started voicing their frustrations with the public school system through social media sites. They joined together on Facebook, eventually landed a meeting with school officials and had their concerns addressed.

"Eight thousand people may not be a lot for the Red Cross," Zandt said, "but it's a fantastic number for Palm Beach County parents who are putting pressure on a school system."

7. Reward people who help. Activists often struggle with getting their Facebook fans and Twitter followers to actually do something. One way to address that is by giving people easy-to-accomplish tasks and rewarding them publicly for completing them.

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit that uses technology to make government more accessible, used social networks to collect data on lawmakers who hire family members. They uploaded a tool and instructions asking people to look up one member of Congress and report back what they found.

Within two days, the group had data on every member.

"One of the smart things they did is that after you hit submit, they told you, 'While you were working on your lawmaker, four others were submitted.' It was a very subtle clue that you were part of something," Zandt said.

Ambreen Ali writes for Congress.org.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Third Depression?

Are we in a Third Depression? What do you think? What signs or symptoms have you noticed in your life and neighborhood?

Check out the comments below, originally posted on the NY Times on an opinion piece written by famous American economist Paul Krugman in his article "The Third Depression". A link to the article and the first five comments on the comments page are below.

Link to article:

Link to comments page:


The Third DepressionBack to Article »

There was the Long Depression, then the Great Depression, and now we are in the early stages of a third depression. This one is primarily a failure of policy.




June 28th, 2010

9:47 am

When I look and see that only of a third of the stimulus was for true job creation, I can understand why unemployment remains high. But when I look at the larger picture of the financial systems stabilization efforts, 2 wars, aid to states, the rescue of the auto companies, and Fannie and Freddie, I can also see why the jobs portion of the stimulus wasn't bigger. A lot of folks needed the federal government's help and got in 2008-2009. Before we slam the government for what they haven't done, let's keep in mind what they have. The efforts over the last 2 years by willing members of the Federal government have been extraordinary and in many ways exemplary. We were faced with near total collapse of the US economy and now we are not. The federal government did its job to save off collapse.

The issue now is should the federal government do more to try to get us back to normal, whatever normal is? I don't know. When I think about the last great depression, you and others, have argued that WWII is what ended it. Well, was it the war, itself, which lasted ~ 7 years (1939-1945). Or was it the rebuilding of Europe and Asia post hoc that restored "effective demand." Either way it took a long time and a huge amount of demand to break that cycle. Is that what it takes to defeat a crisis this deep, 10-15 years of stimulus. And can we create those levels of "artificial" demand? In my mind those questions remain unanswered and perhaps unanswerable.


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Washington State

June 28th, 2010

9:48 am

While optimism as opposed to fear has just as important an effect on the economy as almost any government action (A business owner told me that she has clients whose salaries were cut by 8% and then cut their owns spending by 40%), I do believe that your understanding of the day-to-day experience of people is right on.

The woman who cuts my hair and her husband who does nails put it simply when they said that they read that while they read that economy is getting better, what they see is that many people still don't have jobs. It comes down to that. Very depression-like.

Recently I rented out a house. The biggest fear people had? Is this house going to suddenly be in foreclosure or sold? I found out that many renters have had this happen and have been thrust into homelessness because they can't immediately come up with the cash to get into a different home. Very depression-like.

I had a man come knock on my door proposing a plan to do landscaping in my yard. He has lost his business and applied for dozens of jobs. Very depression-like.

I know families who are doubling up to live in the same house. There is a glut of family heirlooms for sale on ebay. The high school had a "shop" where students could choose a donated prom dress or suit instead of buying one. There are "For Lease" signs all over town where businesses once were at least making it. The local church-sponsored meal nights are overflowing. Very depression-like.

There are benefits to be sure, such as the renewed green spaces where houses were supposed to be built, and the appreciation of the small things in life. Further, the high school students I see are showing less entitlement, less pride in brand-name clothes, and more awareness of their responsibility as young adults to help their families while they secure a good education.

Still, I believe very strongly in your premise. The government's role is paramount in jump-starting the economy. Deflation makes everything worse, with property values going down, down, down as mortgage payments stay the same and credit is tighter. Very-depression-like.

A stimulus check sent out right now, this week, would send folks on that trip to visit family, send them to the store for barbecue supplies, and send them back-to-school shopping. A follow-up check in November could boost the holiday sales. How can that hurt? It just might make the difference in both the needed optimism and the increase in employment. Isn't it worth a shot?


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Jerry Engelbach

Brooklyn, NY

June 28th, 2010

10:30 am

Only selfish fools oppose the spending needed to put people back to work.

Unfortunately, that's an accurate description of most of the politicians who have pretended to be on the side of workers.

Never mind the Republicans -- they've always been the party of the nobility.

But the Dems have been just as bad. The only difference is that they lie better, convincing millions of working people to put them in office on the promise of improving their standard of living.

Unfortunately, the demonization of unions has been so successful that untold numbers of workers reject organizing as a necessary condition for acquiring the power to have their demands met. The impotence of millions of people who oppose the wars and favor single-payer health care demonstrates this. Only a force capable of shutting down society can overcome the ruling class's intransigence, and that means organized labor and the strike.

It's all well and good for Paul Krugman, with whom I do not disagree, to explain how capitalist short-term greed actually hurts the ruling class by undermining economic stability and destroying markets. But stupid and short-sighted as they may be, the wealthy are still wealthy. Without extreme pressure from an organized, politicized labor movement, nothing will change for the working class.

It must begin with organized labor and the refusal to continue electing the back-stabbing Democrats. If the know-nothing tea party movement can generate so much support in so short a time, a labor party advocated and supported by the most powerful unions can surely rally working people around Main Street issues and put up candidates who -- unlike Obama -- will work to make good on their campaign platforms.


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June 28th, 2010

10:33 am

I think Krugman is wrong on this one.

Debt-fueled growth of just any kind (as opposed to the kinds that are constructive and sustainable) is also a form of inflation, and it makes perfect sense to try and avoid that kind of inflation, since any nation whose people 'benefit' from that growth will also have to pay for it in the future sometime, therefore putting future generations at a disadvantage.

In the 1950s intellectuals used to worry about the environmental and human costs of democratizing very high standards of living, now people like Krugman don't seem to worry anymore, because worrying about that is not compatible with furthering the Western pipedream of 'more and more' for 'less and less'.

Trying to cut down on what you owe to big corporations, and the resulting deflation, are perfectly acceptable ways to scale back and get back to basics on an economy gone badly awry, i.e., and economy almost totally dedicated to high tech solutions to basic human problems for which the solutions are largely known, i.e., social, ethical, and political problems.

Of course, 'good growth' is possible, but only when all past debt is forgiven or repaid. Otherwise, it's the same old well-worn path to wars and political/economic domination.