The SCANNER–International/Political Edition, 2/24/09 (Which Deficit is Obama “Halving”?; Canada Rubs U.S. Nose into Its Stable Banking System; GM/Chrysler Beg for Bailout Help in Canada, Too; Half of Foreign Criminals in Canada Are Fleeing to the U.S. [???])

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I heard a clip of The One yesterday talking about cutting that deficit on the news as I drove around town.

Obama said that he would halve the deficit….THAT HE HAD INHERITED.

Of course, the typical headline reads:

Obama pledges to halve budget deficit by 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama pledged on Monday to cut the ballooning U.S. budget deficit by half in the next four years and said the country would face another economic crisis if it did not address its debt problems soon.

Oh, this Reuters story finally gets to the real point, 6 paragraphs into the report, out there in the area which usually gets cut from local papers picking up the story.

“We cannot and will not sustain deficits like these without end,” he said. “Today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.”

Frankly I”m surprised the clip I heard on the radio even got aired…but I guess that most people driving around might be busy on the phone, talking to someone else in the car, or too busy drinking a Slurpee to really notice the magic words “deficit we inherited.”  And by the time they hit the TV “news”–well, I bet somehow those magic words will be buried in pictures and glowing reports. Since I don’t watch TV news, I don’t know if that forceful pledge will be played in full or if it will be truncated to just the first part of the statement and the “inherited” bit fades into the ether.  I guess it won’t matter in the long run, since it will go down the memory hole, unless some Republican decides to dust it off someday.

I do have a question, oh Messiah:  When do you cut the deficits YOU are creating by a half??

***

While we here in the USA wallow in this muck, the folks in Canada are trying hard not to smirk. Yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was visiting touting the financial stability of Canada’s banking industry. From The Toronto Star:

PM praises Canada’s financial sector on U.S. TV

Feb 23, 2009 12:53 PM

Ottawa bureau chief

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper hit the Big Apple today — the heart of America’s economic meltdown — to boast about Canada’s stable banking system, warn against trade protectionism and note the insatiable appetite for oil south of the border.

SNIP

The prime minister sang the praises of Canada’s prudent banking and financial system, which he said can be attributed to “activist” regulation by Ottawa.

“We’re helped by the fact we have six major banks, three major insurance companies so it’s easier for the government to exercise moral suasion on the sector,” Harper said.

He said that Canada, while hit by the economic downturn, hasn’t suffered a meltdown of the financial sector or the mortgage foreclosures that have hit the U.S. economy so hard.

“We haven’t had to bail out any of our financial institutions,” Harper said. “There will be no government bailout of mortgages in Canada.”

***

But, it seems that Canada may not get off entirely scott-free of demands for government cash.  Guess who’s asking for help?

GM, Chrysler ask for billions in Canadian aid

General Motors has outlined a restructuring plan that would cut its Canadian workforce to 7,000 and seek as much as $7 billion from the federal and Ontario governments, while Chrysler is requesting around $2.8 billion in aid.

GM didn’t specify how much it will ask for, but Reuters quoted federal Industry Minister Tony Clement as saying the company is asking for between $6 and $7 billion.

MORE

The Canadian government doesn’t seem to want to bailout CAW pensions…time will tell.

***

I get a news summary from Radio Canada International every day (most of the news comes from the CBC) and noticed this short squib about how foreign criminals are heading out of Canada to the U.S.

2/22/07  10:37 PM

OTTAWA: REPORT CONCLUDES FOREIGN CRIMINALS ARE FLEEING CANADA

A new report to Canada’s government suggests that many foreign criminals might be fleeing abroad, mainly to the United States. It’s believed that about two thousand foreign criminals are hiding in Canada.  But a squad of special border police found that almost half of the criminals being tracked had left the country.  Last year, the auditor general criticized the agency for the large number of missing people.  There are concerns that the list of high-priority cases maintained by the Canada Border Services Agency is out of date.  The agency is responsible for deporting unwanted foreigners.  It has 1,973 priority cases for whom removal warrants have been issued.  The Agency removes about 12,000 people from Canada each year.  About 13 per cent are classified as criminals.  Three out of four of them are failed refugee claimants.

If you follow the link, you’ll get the current day’s news.  The funny thing is, however, the day I searched for this story, it wasn’t there. In fact, of all the story summaries I received in the RCI newsletter, this story about foreign criminals was the ONLY story that wasn’t up at the site.

The question is: WHY??

The bigger question is: WHO are these “foreign criminals,” how successful is the U.S. in finding them…and WHAT are they up to here in the U.S.?

***

By the way, the RCI site has extensive information on how to relocate to Canada, in case you want to get out of the U.S. (Scroll down a bit down the page to get to the information.)    Maybe if I were younger…

Maudlin Mawkishness in the Age of the Gush

~~By Kenosha Marge

Supposedly we are now in the “Age of Obama”. I find it more the “Age of the Gush”. To me it seems an era of adults slobbering all over their keyboards or a microphone in spasms of adolescent lovesickness that should be embarrassing for anyone over the ago of 12.

These over-aged adolescents more than likely don’t realize how silly they look and sound because there are so many other fools acting the same way. It’s always easier to make an ass of yourself if others are doing it too. Misery isn’t the only one that loves company. Thus we are presented with group foolishness and many find that acceptable. It is a large and loud choral group of nitwitted nincompoops twittering their lovesickness for the entire world to see.

Will Obama be one of the few great presidents we have had? According to many of the mawkish minions worshipping at the Obamessiah’s feet, he all ready is. Who knew winning an election, a nasty contentious election filled with race baiting and misogyny was a sign of greatness? Coulda fooled me. It certainly exposes the thought processes, or lack thereof, of a lot of folks if that’s what they find heroic.

I have always found it amazing when people hero-worship any one let alone a politician. There are a few, very few, politicians here and there for whom I can find some small measure of respect. You probably have a few of your own. There are even those that I find worthy of genuine admiration at times for some specific reason.

Russ Feingold and his lonely stand against the Patriot Act is one instance. That was an act of courage and integrity I cannot remember ever seeing in another politician. Others may remember others acts of which I am unaware or have simply forgotten. I do know at the time I was very proud to have voted for a person of character.

On other issues, Feingold being a politician, he disappoints from time to time. Thus I don’t hero-worship, gush or in other ways act like an adolescent about the Senator from my home state. Letting him know when I think he’s right and letting him know when I don’t seems like an adult way to act and react. Maybe I just lack the gush gene.

Respect and even admiration is fine with me although all too often neither is earned. If certain politicians vote the correct way that most benefits our country they aren’t heroes, they’re just doing their damn job. And damn seldom do most of them do that.

This tendency of supposed adults to go all maudlin and gushy over some politician makes me nauseous. Perhaps it was just the way I was raised. We respected and admired certain people, even some politicians. We saved the worshipping for church on Sunday. I was raised to never trust a used car salesman or a politician.

I also turned to the media for news. Just that. I wasn’t looking to be entertained nor was I interested in some reporter’s opinion. What I expected then and still would like now is news. All I want is the facts. Give me them damn old boring facts and I’ll make up my own mind about how I feel and what I think. Don’t expect me to hero worship some media type for simply doing their job. These over-paid people so seldom do their job that when they do we all go into spasms of joy. How dumb is that?

Media types like politicians aren’t heroes/heroines when they do their job. They shouldn’t be lauded for doing what they are supposed to do but should get a good swift kick in the ass when they don’t. For what they are paid the very least we should get is competent reporting.

One politician once said: “The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal – that you can gather votes like box tops – is… the ultimate indignity to the democratic process. “

That politician was Adlai Stevenson at the Democratic National Convention on, August 18 1956. That was 53 years ago. Even then candidates were being put forth as “merchandise” and some people didn’t think it was a good idea. Wonder what ‘Ol Adlai would have thought of a PR Pres complete with acolytes fainting at his feet.

In this tech age where we are advertised “at” every waking minute many of our fellow citizens have allowed their cognitive abilities to deteriorate and just float along on a sea of admiration for people because they are told it’s the thing to do. God forbid that some over aged adolescent isn’t in with the cool crowd.

The adolescent raptures of people old enough to know better is a sign of our times. Not a pretty or encouraging sign. These people are old enough to know better. The cognitive discourse of the emerging generation is frightening. With some electronic gizmo residing in every available orifice, tats and piercings dominating their torsos and more misinformation stuffed inside their heads than would seem possible, they are the hope of the future.

Even the most rabid of gushers may find it hard to be hopeful about that. Even the dimmest of wits who finds their hero/heroine in the political arena may someday have a very small light go off in the back of their empty little heads and wonder why they were so exited about so and so. What had so and so done? What were their accomplishments? Why are they being touted as great?

Greatness may well be, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. In which case a lot of eye tests need to be scheduled. Educating about the difference between cool and great might help, too.

And for heaven’s sake stop with the mawkish, maudlin, histrionic, theatrical, schmaltzy, gushy crap! Grow up America even if you are afraid to grow old.

The Past Week: February 15-21, 2009 (“Efficiency” Experts Michelle and “3-Card Monte” Barack Obama…Michelle’s Legacy at U of Chicago Hospital Under Fire by ER Physicians; Hubby Plans to Halve the Deficit via “Efficiency” (Among Other Things…); Spring Garden Prep!

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

This is going to be an abbreviated roundup as things still are rather hectic here.

We did get this nugget from our Chicago Correspondent Leslie, who heard a radio report on the local NPR station in Chicago on Friday morning (February 20).

Here is what she passed along:

This morning on NPR (usually the voice of BHO), I heard there is a medical group (I didn’t hear the name) accusing
UofC(hicago) Hospital ER of “dumping patients” with limited ability to pay in order to avoid having to treat them.
This report (by NPR) specifically named Michelle Obama for developing the program used by UofC Hosp. These doctors were quite clear that the purpose of the program was not for “more efficient use of the emergency room” but was expressly developed to move poor patients from UofC Hosp.
I found it pretty interesting that this report on NPR in Chicago did not screen the report more closely. I’ll have to listen the rest of the morning for the replay of this report. Let’s see if they even re-air this one item.

Our intrepid correspondent followed up with the link at the NPR site, surprised that it was even there.

Under the City Room “News Briefs” we find the story about how, in what the Vice-President of the American College of Emergency Physicians calls a “highly unusual” move, the group is accusing the U of C of dumping patients. In fact, Dr. Sandra Schneider says she can’t remember any other time the group has “called out” a hospital like this.

Doctors Slam U of C Hospital

The organization singles out the hospital’s Urban Health Initiative, which diverts some patients away from the ER. It’s supposed to make the system more efficient by freeing up ER staff to treat the most urgent cases. But the doctors group likens it to dumping unprofitable patients.

SCHNEIDER: We would ask the university to find ways where it would become good business to take care of all patients, not just those that pay.

The Urban Health Initiative was developed in part by First Lady Michelle Obama when she was an executive at the hospital. A U. of C. spokesman called the doctors’ criticism, quote:”way off-base,” and said the hospital hasn’t cut back on emergency care.

Back on January 12 we posted the news from CC Leslie about how Michelle’s former job was being cut and how one of Barack’s friends was taking over the duties.  So, the legacy of Michelle Obama lives on at University of Chicago’s hospital…
Speaking of  making the system “more efficient.”..as I write this post, a story has just come up on the Comcast news feed…talk about an eerie “coincidence”…

And, he has vowed to scale back spending and improve government efficiency by eliminating programs that don’t work.

MORE

It’s that “EFFICIENCY THING”!!  I wonder if the Obamas stay up nights talking about “efficiency”?
Monday we start the next campaign and start seeing what Obama thinks should be cut.  Meanwhile, the money will be flowing with very little supervision to the states and to his favored recipients.
And I’m wondering…how many seniors on Medicare get thrown under the bus?  How many people on disability???  That would seem to fit in in with the policies left behing by Michelle Obama at U of  C very nicely…
UNREAL!  Audacity, hubris, whatever you want to call it…I call it “3-Card Monte”…(another example of  Obama’s prowess with 3-Card Monte” here.)
***
This week in the high-desert garden.  Trees are budding out and the daytime temperatures are getting into the 70’s.  This week I pulled up most of the mustard, which has started going to seed. Same with the arugula.  I also harvested a few more sideshoots of broccoli and those plants have been pulled, too.  I still have to prune the grapes and fertilize. The rock squirrels are beginning to spend more time outside; when I look over the wall, I see one with his head poked out of his hole now all the time.  Today, I saw one of the crew on the wall,  near the feeder where I put cracked corn for the doves, so I know the squirrel was out for a sample.  Every year one of the squirrels tries to dig into my raised bed garden and usually they’ve dug out tunnels up to a couple of feet long before I find out about them!  I fill them in and the squirrels come back!  Then, they seem to get discouraged and stop trying. I’m really afraid that someday they will extend their burrows under the walls into the yard!

THE PAST WEEK

*By American Lassie

Anything More Nauseating that Bill Clinton Shilling For Obama on Greta Thursday Night?? (2/19/09)

El Paso Media Conference Pushes “Newspapers as Change Agents”; Interesting Background of Organizer

Obama World in Pictures: Privates and Flights of Fancy

*Eustace Mullins’ “Secrets of the Federal Reserve”: Read About what Ezra Pound Called “The Great Betrayal”

Family Matters (Politics, Home Style): David & Susan Axelrod and Epilepsy; Bristol & Sarah Palin Interview on Greta (UPDATE 1X: GM Retiree Health Benefits Dropped–the Next “Attached String” Falls into Place?

Wells Fargo Bank Goes Insane! (Antidote: Nice Pictures)

The Past Week: February 8-14, 2009 (Saturday Night Hard HR1 News; Chicago News [“Racial” Comments; Obama Ally Alexi Giannoulis]; “Roots Camp”; Bill Clinton Shills for the DCCC; New Sprouts in the Late Winter Garden)

Anything More Nauseating that Bill Clinton Shilling For Obama on Greta Thursday Night?? (2/19/09)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Well, sure there is…listening to The One himself…

But I listened carefully to Clinton last night, making it all sound nice re: the need for the “stimulus” bill etc. etc. and the housing proposals that will reward those who never should have had a mortgage in the first place.  And, it’s a really nice touch when he repeats that he only knows from what he reads in the papers, that he doesn’t know the details….yeah, right!!

Greta talked tough, going after the “image” of Obama flying around the country in tough times. And she made noises about legislators not reading the package and the whole game of URGENCY, then sitting on signing the bill and jetting off instead of a signing in the Rose Garden. She attempted to link the places Obama visited to where the Democrats won on Election Day, where they made in roads into normally Republican strongholds.

Clinton was at his finest delivering reasonable explanations and concluding that the stimulus bill was A-OK. I give Greta some credit for trying to push, but then again, she pushed on some peripheral stuff…no really push on items in the package on things like the ramifications of the health care provisions.

Then she closed with the soft stuff…Clinton teaming up now with companies like Pepsico to fight obesity (sounds like the smoking campaigns delivered by tobacco companies) and Hillary’s trip to Asia.

Greta has a brain, she tries…but I guess she can only go so far. Which is SO frustrating…On the other hand, she may very well be 1) blocked by the bosses from doing anything more challenging or 2) just doesn’t want to go there because of her own politics (Democratic, but her husband supported McCain…so who really knows at this point?)

You take what you can from this sort of interview…so, if you forget about how Greta is framing things and just listen to Clinton, you can see how the wheels are turning in his mind and how he smooths a lot of concerns over by acknowledging them, then putting them away.

He’s the guy who is keeping the average American who sees this chat “calm.” He’s Obama’s best spokesperson…He’s the official “smooth things over” go-to guy.

Here’s the link to some of the video…(There’s a third part on the obesity chat at the On the Record site)

Opening Part with Obama Travel, etc.

What Would Clinton Do? (Economy)