A Look at the Surreal Health Care Debate…Dr. Weil, A Tea Party Guy, Newt Gingrich and One Unholy Media Stew

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

“A Look at the Surreal Healthcare Debate” …well, not by me, but one offered up by Thursday (9/10)  night’s group of cable ghouls that I happened to see over the span of a few short minutes.

For some unknown reason I turned on CNN and caught a bit of Larry King.  Dr. Andrew Weil was on, blasting the same-old, same-old of the current health care “reform” efforts.  While the challenges are correctly recognized, the solutions are within the same model we have now. Weil is usually quite sanguine, but Thursday night in his own quiet way, he seemed pretty frustrated over the structure of our non-system. He predicts that whatever is done will fail, because costs won’t come down.  He thinks that high-tech stuff is way overused and he especially is irate over the drug advertising on TV.  We are the only country that allows this and it makes the physician more prone to dishing out the drugs when a patient comes in with a request rather than time spent on real discussion with the patient.  He wants that advertising stopped now!  He likens our ties to Big Pharma as being like the role of Wall Street in our lives.

He stated that places like Germany, Australia, and Norway are places where health care seems to satisfy people (Germany and Australia are part public and part private), but they, too, face the same problems of rising costs.  He mentioned that in Germany and other places, however, people seem to be willing to learn to “take care of themselves,”– they can take care of their own rashes and colds without running to the doctor, he said.

Basically, it seems Weil wants a system where doctors really take the time to know their patients and use modern medicine as well as tried and true remedies and new alternative approaches. He hope kids who are being exposed to new ideas will pass them to their parents. He figures we’ll see a different sort of  person coming into the system to be doctors if the approach to medicine changes, people who will have a real committment to healing  and dealing with patients differently if the attitude about health care changes. He sees some movement among some doctors toward this now. The system currently is all about insurance payments, not medicine, and a fear of liability suits, hence the overuse of reapeated/overkill diagnostic tests.  He strongly believes in preventative medicine, in getting people to understand how they can help themselves in terms of diet and stress management so they stay healthier longer.

He also pointed out that while we hear about eating more fruits and vegetables, they seem to be the most expensive foods, as industry is pushing cheap, processed stuff  full of things that are government subsidized to keep them cheap…all the sugar– corn syrups, fructose, etc.– and oils…which is diametrically opposed to what the message to eat better is saying.

Part of the show involved an interview with the guy leading the “Tea Party Express.”  This guy was revolting to me.  King asked if there was anything in the current reform bills that this guy approved of.  NO.  Well, King asked about the move to end the “pre-existing condition” stranglehold.  NO, was again the answer.  King then posed a hypothetical question…If you wife had a health problem and couldn’t get insurance, would that change his mind?

Well, this BOZO said NO, because he was SURE in the free market there would be someone to write a policy for her!  I guess it was that idiot Roland Martin (?) who actually said the correct thing, that there would be no one there to write a policy for her, that could be easily affordable.  On this I totally agree…this guy, who is leading an awful lot of lemmings these days, has no clue.  Heck, if you’re on disability you pay DOUBLE what the normal Medicare supplement costs!   (I know this from personal experience.) Has this guy ever applied for a policy in the open market with a serious precondition?  The waiting times to be covered, if it’s even allowed, are daunting and the premiums are sky high!  And, not all companies offer the same options. So, yeah, MAYBE she could get a policy, but if she could, it wouldn’t be cheap OR offer immediate coverage in most cases. He’d have to look long and hard. Very hard…

His glibness really bugged me.  It annoys me that that people like him are uninformed or so wedded to their own ideology and are leading lots of people who are also uninformed.  The folks who follow the leaders are often too busy to keep informed or really don’t have the capacity to understand a lot of what’s going on, and are so vulnerable to being fooled and ultimately lead toward their own destruction.  This guy sounded like a Republican or Libertarian, but the key point was he was so rigid. Had the compassion of a a robot…Frankly, I saw the two sides of the same coin (Obama/Organized “Opposition” leader  = same crap) and the pied piper mentality that has befallen this country. The  often-misquoted Janus myth really doesn’t describe this situation, but the visual seems to help create the mood…

Janus

Janus

That’s not to say some Tea Party folks aren’t well-informed…many are and many are Independents or ticked-off Democrats who are along for the ride for other reasons than Republican reasons.  But, I’m so uneasy about hooking into people who are so against any change at all.  I wish there were people without long-term agendas doing the leading…and when I say “long-term agendas” I mean the Republican agenda which would love to ditch the security net as quickly as possible or take back ANY restraints on the health industry/insurers.  The leader of the Tea Party Express, along with Glenn Beck fall into this category.

After this little segment of insanity, I then caught a bit of Greta van Susteren who was chatting with Newt Gingrich.  Greta seems to have come completely on board with the FOX stance of complete negativity.  There she sat with old Newt who had the GALL to say that we need more “scientific reasearch” along with the standard GOP stuff about taxes, more freedom to sell policies across state lines, etc., which do squat to really reform much of anything.   Let’s see…didn’t Bush CUT research funds to the bone????

Well, yes, he did without much upset from Republicans, who were also busy doing the cliffhanger bit on paying doctors who participated in Medicare. Dr. Weil mentioned how far back we’ve been set back by this and even referred to the “religious” groups (and Bush) who howled about stem cell research. For Weil to get into that hornet’s nest was pretty surprising, but, as I said before, Weil seemed pretty pissed off in a quiet way.  Weil is grateful that there’s been some restoration of funding for research, but I don’t think he’ll be looking to Newt and the Republicans to come in and do MORE when they retake the government.  Would you??

So there you go…Greta sits there and doesn’t challenge old Newt. I’ve noticed that she NEVER puts anything into context…that lawyer’s brain of hers is permanently atrophied, it seems.  I used to have some hope that she could put together SOMETHING informative, but she’s gone downhill and spends way too much time on missing children cases…

And, so,  people like Newt say things that are LUDICROUS and the Tea Party Express guy with the stick up his ass (looks like a blond, ex-army guy or something, with a strange look in his eyes) leads the way to…WHERE?

Which is why I prefer to watch “You Are What You Eat” on BBC America…at least it provides some visual shock value in terms of the junk people consume, some discussion about the effects on health, and some inspiration that things can actually CHANGE, one unhealthy person at  a time…

The Past Week: August 2-8, 2009 (Detroit’s Middle Class Faces Hunger; Accelerating Bank Failures; Eustace Mullins/FOEM’s Site)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I’ve been bogged down all week. And yesterday I spent 3 hours online for a seminar involving financial cycles.  Plus, I’ve been working a on meandering piece that will go up next week and have a few more things I’m working on.

But, here are a couple of tidbits that I ran across this week:

First, the middle class is starting to feel the pangs of hunge. CNN coughed up the story:

Hunger hits Detroit’s middle class

snip

In this recession-racked town, the lack of food is a serious problem. It’s a theme that comes up again and again in conversations in Detroit. There isn’t a single major chain supermarket in the city, forcing residents to buy food from corner stores. Often less healthy and more expensive food.

As the area’s economy worsens –unemployment was over 16% in July — food stamp applications and pantry visits have surged.

I know there’s been talk about reclaiming blighted urban lands in places like Flint, MI and turning it back to a natural state and for food production. Apparently, the good citizens of Detroit aren’t waiting around for that as urban gardens are springing up on abandoned property.

Detroiters have responded to this crisis. Huge amounts of vacant land has led to a resurgence in urban farming. Volunteers at local food pantries have also increased.

But the food crunch is intensifying, and spreading to people not used to dealing with hunger. As middle class workers lose their jobs, the same folks that used to donate to soup kitchens and pantries have become their fastest growing set of recipients.

more

What will they do in the winter when the gardens die?

***

Wonder how the banks are really doing?  Here’s a view of reality from Jeff Nielson’s Instablog:

Accelerating U.S. bank-failures refute “recovery” hype

With 69 failed banks already this year, bank failures are already on course to exceed the number of failures in 2008 by 400%. However, if they continue accelerating, that increase could easily rise to 500% or 600%.

Meanwhile, despite raising the size of its bribes to take over these failed companies, the FDIC is seeing less bidders step up to bid on these companies. It’s “insurance fund” will be nearly completely exhausted when the pending failure of Texas-based Guaranty Bank takes place – forcing it to tap into a $200 billion “line of credit” from the insolvent U.S. Treasury. Does this sound like an economy which is “recovering”?

He continues with a good overview of housing, consumer credit, business credit, and the bailout as a whole.  It won’t make you happy…

***

I’ve added a new link to the Financial blog roll–a wealth of information here!!

DollarDaze

***

Finally, a while back American Lassie wrote a post on Eustace Mullins titled Eustace Mullins’ “Secrets of the Federal Reserve”: Read About what Ezra Pound Called “The Great Betrayal”. We had a comment this week that led us back to FOEM’S Site (Friends of Eustace Mullins Society). There are recent pictures of the man himself; he’s alive and kicking!

THE PAST WEEK

Forget the Mainstream Media “Business Analysts”: Economics Prof Explains Obamanomics and Conducts Experiment That Proves His Point

The Past Week: July 26-August 1, 2009 (Inflation vs. Deflation; CNBC Ratings Plunging; Wind Turbines; Perpetuum Jazzile and Simulated Rain)

The Past Week: July 19-25, 2009 (The Journalism School Named after Walter Cronkite; Poor Economy, Cash-Strapped Families = Unclaimed Bodies of Loved Ones)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

The passing of Walter Cronkite resulted in lots of solemn eulogies in TeeVee-land, and I have to say that woman I saw one afternoon on CNN exclaiming that he “wasn’t just a newsreader” made me chortle…she obviously thought SHE wasn’t a newsreader and spoke with some authority on the matter as she conversed with somebody who was reminiscing about Cronkite’s tremendous experience.  What a joke!  This young chippy chit-chatted her way through the “news” as if she were doing an infomercial…

Cronkite, of course, was the man everyone watched during the moon landing back in 1969.  And, I’m also old enough to remember his reporting on the Kennedy assassination (and Dan Rather, who was local in Dallas back then.) By accident, while noodling around the web during the moon landing anniversary, I came across the website of the Cronkite School New Media Academy | The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication which is at Arizona State University.

It produced Aaron Brown, among others. But who knows if it is really living up to the expectations espoused in the “Welcome” message. For example, the connection to ABC news doesn’t exactly inspire.  And where do really good journalism students go lately even IF they do get a decent education in journalism? (And that’s a big IF, to assume any really good journalists are coming out of journalism schools these days.)  Do they go MSBNC? CNN? NBC? FOX? etc., etc.

Don’t think so…

***

Signs of the times… From the Los Angeles Times:

More bodies go unclaimed as families can’t afford funeral costs

According to the story, “The poor economy is taking a toll even on the dead, with an increasing number of bodies in Los Angeles County going unclaimed by families who cannot afford to bury or cremate their loved ones.”

The victims of homicide and suspicious deaths are being cremated at taxpayer expense because people can’t afford services, so are leaving bodies of loved ones unclaimed.

And the L.A. county  is so much busier that they are no longer accepting bodies from the coroner. That office is now contracting private crematories to handle the load.

Apparently the situation in L.A. isn’t unique:

Coroners and funeral directors around the country say they are seeing the same trend as cash-strapped families cope with funeral costs. Just claiming a body from the L.A. County coroner costs $200. Once a body is claimed, private cremations usually run close to $1,000, Smith said. Funeral homes charge an average of $7,300 to transport and bury a body in a simple grave, according to the National Funeral Home Directors Assn.

…Can’t even rest in peace these days…

THE PAST WEEK

*By KenoshaMarge

*VOTING IN LOCKSTEP IS NOW A GOOD THING? (Not According to SOME Democrats in Congress…)

Chicago Suburb Hosts Hizb ut-Tahrir Conference; Organization Aims to Re-Establish an International Islamic State (Caliphate), Supports Jihad

The Past Week: July 12-18, 2009 (Energy-Saving Porch Project; “Full Plates Full Lives” Food Campaign; JFK, Jr.)

Martinis with Michelle–A Times (UK) Writer Jumps the Shark as Palin Helps Block a Senate Super-Majority

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

A couple of days ago I happened to spot the post over at PUMA P.A.C. entitled “Worth Repeating” which offers an encore presentation of an odious ode to Hillary “Nutcracker” Clinton.  Fast forward to mid-November and CNN’s obsession with the fashion f*ckups of First ladies  and how Michelle Obama is supposed to be our hope for a First Lady who really knows how to do it RIGHT.

Little did I know that there was something lurking in the archives of The Times (UK) that I had somehow missed in the first days following the election. It was published on November 5th, beating CNN to the punch–of course, I wasn’t thinking correctly in the aftermath of the depressing election and was not really looking for things to make me want to feel even sicker.  And this DOES make me want to vomit as reality has set in and the crap is so completely over-the-top that it makes Lewis Black seem discrete…

November 5, 2008

Michelle Obama: a new type of First Lady

Sarah Vine

That rather sad, muffled noise you hear behind the whoops and cheers of Democrat America is not the sound of defeated neocons mourning the passing of trickle-down economics; it is the sound of sobbing in the Élysée Palace. For Carla Bruni, reigning queen of First Ladies, the game is finally up. Cindy McCain would have been a push-over; even Sarah Palin she could have coped with, sexy specs or otherwise. But in Michelle Obama, Ms Bruni has truly met her match. This is a First Lady like none before.

In truth, from the moment Michelle Obama stepped on to that podium at the Democrat convention what seems like, ooh, about three million years ago, we all secretly knew which way this race was going. Sure, he had big, sticky-out ears; sure, all those luvvies made that embarrassing YouTube song about him; but if Michelle thought that he was OK — if she chose him — then he just had to be a good man.

Everything about this woman speaks to the modern, post-feminist woman: she is manifestly clever, independently minded, attractive in a normal, accessible way (and not in a scary, plastic-fantastic Cindy way). Her demeanour is a reassuring mixture of sassy and self-deprecating; her easy, confident dress sense neither too sexy nor too self-conscious. Most of all, however, she appears to be the personification of sanity, a woman who, while clearly supportive of her husband’s quest for world domination, is nevertheless not afraid to point out when he is danger of drinking too much of his own Kool-Aid.

(SNIP a brief discussion of two types of First Ladies, with Jackie Kennedy being the only style-queen among the bunch)

What makes Michelle unique is the way she so skilfully unites all three: supportive, independent and a fashion icon. Sarah Palin blew £90,000 on her campaign wardrobe but let’s face it, it is that blue shift dress that we all remember.

In the last American election, the big question was this: who would you most want to share a beer with? In this one, it was more like: who would you like to share a Martini with? The answer of course being Michelle. (Barack could maybe make himself useful by popping out for some crisps.) Michelle is not only invigoratingly intelligent, proud of her urbanity, but also unafraid of showing her abilities. She is certainly the only wife of a presidential candidate I can remember who, instead of playing herself down, played up the general uselessness of her husband in matters domestic — and in doing so not only held her ground intellectually but also reached out to all those women who, while devoted to their spouses, also find them slightly useless in matters of sock-tidying.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Michelle however is what having a woman lawyer like her in the White House means. For it is not often one can go to sleep safe in the knowledge that there is an educated, intelligent, sensible female voice being heard in the corridors of power.

At the 2004 Democrat Convention in Boston, when the unknown Barack Obama stepped up to the plate to deliver the keynote speech, she famously said to him: “Don’t screw it up, buddy.” One cannot help hoping those words were repeated last night.

Well. The writer fell for the Sarah Palin clothes smear and doesn’t seem to remember that Hillary Clinton is a lawyer who lived in the White House. She trashes Cindy McCain and weeps for Carla Bruni.  And I don’t remember that blue shift dress at all, but I sure do recall the “black widow” number from election night.  As for wanting to share a Martini with Michelle…frankly, I don’t drink, but I may start any minute to help numb myself from 4/8 more years of this spew!

So who the hell IS Sarah Vine, anyway? Well, according to her publisher, Penguin Books, she

was born in Wales and raised in Italy. As a child she had a great capacity for reading comics, gossiping and trying on her mother’s shoes, all of which have stood her in excellent stead. She writes for the Times and is married with two children.

Stellar credentials, I guess for this sort of nonsense. She must have a least one daughter, because she’s created a website based on her co-authored book, “The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls.”  There’s a certain Victorian quaintness to this tome.  And is Vine confused as she refers to Michelle Obama as the epitome of the “modern, post-feminist woman”?  I don’t know, it’s seems real weird to me, a pre-post modern feminist.

Let me give you an example from the book. The site includes activity sheets for things like “making pom poms” and “palm reading,” to name a few.

But tucked away in the preview page for “The Great Outdoors” are instructions for falling out of a tree.  But before you get to that information, a girl will have to wade through this:

Falling
Learn to walk before you run; learn to fall before you climb. Knowing how
to fall properly is an art. Done well it is exciting, it looks great, can be very
funny – and besides, crutches are such a bore.


Start by perfecting the stage faint, itself an invaluable accomplishment and a
useful exit strategy for all manner of uncomfortable situations (non-completion
of maths homework, getting out of PE, wanting the morning off school). Practise
it on a lawn or in a room with a thick carpet.


Bend your ankles, bend your knees and let yourself go floppy, collapsing
vertically at first, until you start to topple. The trick is to be very loose, very
relaxed, and not to stick out a hand or try to catch yourself; you are supposed to
be unconscious. The aim is to hit the ground from the ground up, so that the bits
nearest the floor land first, softening the impact. A crumple is really what you’re
looking for – first your calf, then your thigh, then your waist, then your shoulder.
For added drama, and to dissipate the impact, you may wish to add a half roll.
Land with your eyes shut (or if you’re feeling really confident, rolled back in
your head). Resist the temptation to open one eye to check the reaction.

I have no words…

Meanwhile, in the much-despised real world of Sarah Palin, the “polarizing bimbo” created by the media, we find that she was down in Georgia on Monday drawing large crowds as she campaigned for Saxby Chambliss in the Georgia Senate run-off election (which Chambliss has won and which blocks a Democratic “super-majority). Apparently, there are some GOP operatives who don’t see her as the “kiss of death” politically and it seems a lot of real people didn’t see it that way either:

Several Republicans have campaigned for Chambliss, including one-time presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. McCain campaigned in the state last month, but only Palin was tapped for election eve and four Georgia stops, reflecting her star status. Tommy Byler, 22, of Savannah marveled at the size of the crowd Palin drew compared to other top-tier Republicans who have campaigned for Chambliss.

“I went to see Mitt Romney a week ago, and I think there were only about 100 people there,” said Byler, who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with Palin’s face and the words “Sarah Palin Is My Homegirl.”

So, while Michelle Obama practices being “supportive, independent, and a fashion icon,” Sarah keeps soldiering on.  Ah, but can Palin do a stage faint???

The Past Week: November 23-29, Recaps and Random Thoughts (Dogs; Obamabilia and “Mt. Crapmore”; Jobs; Black Politics; CNN Delivers In-Depth Report on Our Best Hope to Save Us from “First Lady Fashion Fumbles”)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Well, we survived Black Friday and now the full-court press is on for Christmas! For me, this is the time of year when I start avoiding stores and try to ignore all that’s going on.  If the economy depended on me for consumption, it would tank even more…I don’t shop!

Quick update on the stray dog…I think she/he was around a few weeks ago, but after I got my cam set up and experimented with the location of the food/water dishes and saw that everything disappeared except the big cookie treats, it was pretty clear that the birds that were hanging around were the ones eating. So, wherever the little dog is these days, I hope she/he is safe and warm.  I wish I could be sure…On the bright side, the neighbors across the street, whose house is visible on the web cam view, adopted another dog quite by chance. They were visiting some people and the neighbors from across the street was in the process of moving and were desperate because they couldn’t take the dog with them. My neighbor decided to take him home, as a buddy for the white boxe named Sugar they already have. A young dog they had had died a couple of months ago and Sugar was very lonely. The new addition, a huge American bulldog named Big, is as sweet as pie and is friendly toward Slick. Sugar was beginning to warm up a bit since she was so lonely, but wasn’t exactly in love with my little guy.  Big makes sure Sugar stays in line and practically climbs over Sugar to nose Slick!

If you”re lucky, you might see Sugar and Big on the cam greeting Slick as we go out for our “mailbox walk” in the early afternoon…

***

Speaking of Christmas, you might want to shop at the site offering fabulous Obama gifts!!! The ad caption for this graphic reads “Capitalism, Democracy, Support Both!! Buy the T-Shirt”!

***

H/T to Make Them Accountable for passing along this clip found at Raw Story…Lewis Black on how cheesy the “Obamabilia” sellers are these days:

Lewis Black rant mocks tacky ‘Obamabilia’

“Just think about it,” said comedian Lewis Black in a recent installment; “two months before he even takes office, Barack Obama has already earned a permanent place on ‘Mount Crapmore.'”

SNIP

Said Black: “The election of Barack Obama has once again demonstrated America’s greatest gift: Our capacity to embrace hope and idealism… and then turn it into worthless, disposable crap!”

The one response is right on target:

As is the load the Obama marketing team sold the huddling lemming-like progressives who lapped up the rhetoric like thirsty dogs. It’s worthless crap. Never, ever, underestimate the ability of human beings to repeat the same mistakes countless times.
Audacity of hope, indeed.

Reminds me of the cartoon I posted back on 11/22…a previous r version of “Mt. Crapmore”…

***

Monday we awoke to this fabulous WaPo report with a it’s ridiculous headline…’H/T to That’s Me on the Left for the find and snark:

Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs
Plan Aims to Create or Save 2.5 Million Positions by 2011

So, if I’m understanding this correctly, if Obama creates zero jobs by 2011, he has achieved his goal, as he “preserved” the 2.5 million jobs not lost.

Indeed, if he loses 2.5 million jobs, he preserved the additional 2.5 million jobs that would have been lost absent his lightworking economic policies.

Unbelievable.

And the WaPo carries this spin as a headline on page one.

So now, job creation is apparently on an equal footing with “job saving” which means not losing any more…Let’s aim high, folks!

***

As the big financial institutions line up for their much-deserved bailout money, how much is really being reported in the mainstream media?  Well, if you want to see where YOUR money is going, check out this great site, Bailout Sleuth.com, which is keeping up with where all the money is going…

***

Here’s another site which is very informative.  If you want to keep up with what black Americans are thinking these days, check out Your Black Politics. The site also provides an EXTENSIVE list of many other blogs related to black political news and other subjects of interest.

***

From Chicago Correspondent Leslie…finally, an article of substance from CNN!!! Thank God, we will have Michelle Obama’s impeccable taste to look to for inspiration and the chance to “break the mold”!  Are the snide remarks about Clinton and Bush absolutely necessary?? I think not…And why the HELL are we being subjected to this fashion crap, anyway?…”18 million cracks” my ass…(When do we get to hear Sarah Palin trashed again??)

Fashion fumbles by first ladies

NEW YORK (AP) — When Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton arrived at the White House, they brought with them styles that suited their hometowns in Texas and Arkansas, but that wouldn’t have held up in any fashion capital.

Laura Bush's Sunday-best peacock blue coat didn't get high ratings in 2001.

Laura Bush’s Sunday-best peacock blue coat didn’t get high ratings in 2001.

Tastemakers have higher hopes for Michelle Obama, who is expected to fill her closet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with sophisticated styles that match her modern image but maintain the sensibility inherent to Chicago.The image of Obama walking the inaugural parade route in something like the domed, wide-brimmed hat that has haunted Clinton since 1993 seems unlikely. And she probably won’t show up to the inaugural ball in mother-of-the-bride-style gowns with dyed-to-match pumps like Bush has worn — twice.

Over time, both Clinton and Bush did grow more accustomed to their new surroundings, and their wardrobe reflected that. Learn more about inaugural events and history »

For example, Bush wore a Sunday-best peacock blue coat with sensible shoes to the chilly inaugural ceremony in 2001, but chose a chic winter-white coat ensemble with camel-colored high heels — a top pick of fashion insiders — in 2005.

Clinton also chose a modern, luxe gold lace gown by Oscar de la Renta for her second tour of inaugural balls unlike the fussy purple princess number the first go-around. (Remember the sparkly belt buckle?) Video Watch how extravagant should Obama’s inauguration ball be? »

Still, Bush and Clinton fit into the expectations of what earlier generations thought a president’s wife should look like. Obama has the opportunity to break the mold.

MORE spew….

***

This week in the garden:  I have a huge crop of mustard that I can’t eat fast enough!   The pak choi is beginning to become recognizable at about 3″ tall and the arugula is just about ready for first harvest.  I actually picked a few more small banana peppers from the plants in the pots.  Although we’re having brief spells of freezing temperatures overnight, I still have a few figs that I’m hoping to harvest. I cover the bush with plastic and keep it on during the day.  The tree is a bit off schedule because I transplanted it last fall from a big planter and it’s still getting warmth off the wall it’s next to.  I’m real close to having them ripen, but one really bitterly cold night may spoil them.  Fingers crossed!

***

THIS WEEK’S POSTS

We started the live web cam this week! See the tab at the top of the home page!

*By kenosha Marge

**By American Lassie

***Submitted by Grail Guardian

Bill Richardson at Commerce: Scary

*A True Tale: “The Saga of Tom Turkey” by kenosha Marge

**The $700 Billion Bailout Bait and Switch

REMINDER: Free US Now Radio Tonight (11/24)…with Idella Moore, Head of Drive to Ratify the ERA

***CHANGE! …(your expectations)

The Past Week: November 16-22, Recaps & Random Thoughts (Critical Thinking vs. Elation; Pics from “Elation Central”; Drying the Tears of Progressive Groups; Medicare Part D Surprise from the Democrats; Face Reading; Housewives & Ludacris; Stray Dog Update)(UPDATE 1X–Dog)

“Project Foreign Policy—Style!” Introducing This Season’s Newest Look–Obama’s Magic Foreign Policy Shoes!

Welcome to the new show on Bravo, “Project Foreign Policy-Style“!  Stay tuned as our resident style guru, Fahreed Zakaria, guides us through the trials of putting together a brand new foreign policy!!  Or is it really new, or just an expert tweaking to create a fresh new look for the season?

First, we’ll rewind to the day before the election to the preview show. Scat’s Blog picked up American Lassie’s pre-election post on the Trilateral Commission ties to the Obama crowd (see below) and provided a link to a CNN transcript of CNN’s Global Public Square with host Fareed Zakaria. Guest judges included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former chief of staff under Ronald Reagan, Ken Duberstein; and former national security adviser under Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Maddy went into her closet stuffed with classic foreign policy attire and came up with this ’80’s vintage look from her PERSONAL collection!  Dated? Well, the panel thinks they can “MAKE IT WORK!” by personalizing and updating the look for Barack Obama!!

Obamas Magic Foreign Policy Shoes!
Obama’s Magic Foreign Policy Shoes!

The gist of this entire “Cliff Notes” review of foreign policy, held entirely to enhance Obama’s appearance,  was the assumption that Obama had already won and John McCain was irrelevant; that “style” was a huge issue; that while Bush was WAY too arrogant in dealing with other nations, even Bill Clinton’s foreign policy approach was a bit too “arrogant” ; and that Colin Powell got the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

Of course, there was no mention of how the Bush Administration, as arrogant as they’ve been, did finally begin paying attention to foreign policy fashion and began talking with North Korea (finally following Clinton’s lead) and enlisting the aid of China in the process; how there have been contacts with Iran, and how the plans to deploy defense shield missiles in Poland (with Polish approval) has kept Russia off-guard (until now).

So, what did the foreign policy style gurus opine the day before the election?

First, note the glaring, implied assumption that Obama and his style leadership would win as Zakaria questions Brzezinski who echoes the Biden “gaffe” about the “testing” awaiting Obama:

ZAKARIA: All right. Let me ask you on the issue of policy, though. Does the president-elect start thinking about sending signals to foreign governments? Does he start actually sending those signals?

BRZEZINSKI: I think it depends on two things — one, on the nature of the president himself, and, two, on the circumstances.

I think what is going on right now — which is nothing less than a global crisis of American leadership, nothing less than that — I think the president-elect, whoever he is — and I have my own preference — will have to start sending signals right away, and will have to get ready to deal with some imminent problems.

Then, catch the comment by Brzezinski on who could become the new, fashion trend-setter as Secretary of State…and it isn’t Kerry or Richardson:

But then there is a second task he has to address, and that is to choose his Cabinet, to choose his foreign policy leadership, with which he will then make decisions.

And here, I think, a very important possibility that’s open to him — for the first time in a long time — is to create genuine bipartisanship in the decision-making process. And he can do that either by appointing a very distinguished leading Republican to the post of secretary of state. And there are some. And he has mentioned some of them by name. He’s traveled with some of them.

ZAKARIA: Who would you suggest they be?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I would think, of course, such names come to mind, Senators Hagel and Lugar. But there may be others, but particularly those two.

I think that would be extremely reassuring and encouraging, both domestically and internationally, and would send the right signal.

Oops, where’s Olbermann on this? What does HIS fashion sense make of all this?

We then take a short detour for a rather smug exchange about McCain’s chance of winning the elite fashion world’s approval:

ZAKARIA: I should point out, there is, of course, a chance that Senator McCain will be elected president.

ALBRIGHT: Yes, we know …

(LAUGHTER)

The conversation continues with Albright discussing how the Obama crowd will change how things are done with a Republican Secretary of State, because, apparently with William Cohen, a Republican as Secretary of State under Clinton, things weren’t “bipartisan” enough. Frankly, it seems like just a bit too much “sensitivity” and only a chance to make a subtle dig at Clinton:

ZAKARIA: But let me ask you, Madeleine. You worked alongside a Republican secretary of defense, Bill Cohen. Does it work?

ALBRIGHT: I think it does. Though it was very funny, because when Bill first joined us, he used to say, “Well, you all have to do this.”

And we’d say, “What do you mean, ‘you all’? You are part of us.”

And I don’t know whether he thought of himself more as a senator dealing with the executive branch, or a Republican dealing with Democrats.

(LAUGHTER)

Ken and I have talked about this a lot.

DUBERSTEIN: Right.

ALBRIGHT: And we, in our own way, are going to do something about that, because I think, generally, there has to be a bipartisan approach. And people find it hard to believe that I was able to work with Jesse Helms. And because I was, I think we managed to get much further on NATO expansion, for instance, or a variety of issues.

You have to be able to work with the opposing party. That’s our system.

So, you’ve got a Republican in as Secretary of State, following the policies of Bill Clinton, but because his “style,” at first, isn’t quite up to par, the whole deal isn’t “bipartisan”?  But, oh, working with Jesse Helms..HEAVENLY!! HUH??

Zakaria then turns to the subject of Iran. Again, note how McCain’s fashion acumen is totally ignored in the set-up:

Madam Secretary, you spent some time trying to deal with Iran in your term in office, and you actually made some overtures — I thought very innovative ones. You apologized, in some sense, for America’s role in a coup that had brought the shah of Iran into power. You expressed regret about it. Some of those moves were reciprocated, many were not.

Obama faces, in a way, a similar challenge with regard to Iran.

Should he do something? Should he try and do something ambitious? Should he try and somehow restart a process you began?

Albright begins:

ALBRIGHT: The question is what’s going on in Iran, and whether — what the changes — Ahmadinejad is apparently not feeling well. He is facing elections.

I think we think of Iran as very monolithic, and it may not be. And that’s even more reason to actually begin talks with them. And talking is not necessarily making nice. It is delivering tough messages and listening.

(SNIP)

ZAKARIA: Ken, Reagan faced the same challenge in a way, because the issue was negotiating with the Soviets. He had seemed to suggest in his campaign that where they begin to — as he famously put it — they began to die on him, one after the other.

DUBERSTEIN: And then he finally got one he could work with, which was Mikhail Gorbachev.

But Reagan always thought that the power of ideas could triumph. And so, the answer was, of course you’re going to talk to your adversaries. And you’re going to listen to your adversaries, as well.

Duberstein then says that the U.S. hasn’t been talking enough (and certainly Clinton NEVER talked about the “power of ideas”), but then Brzezinski appears to say the opposite before giving away the store and Duberstein seems to agree:

ZAKARIA: Zbig, what about this point that both Madeleine and Ken are making about talking?

So, you start negotiations, perhaps with the Iranians. It seems to me Iran is not yet ready to rejoin the modern world. The regime rests on a certain oppositional element of defiance and opposition to the United States.

So, maybe we start talking and the talks don’t go very well. What do you then do?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, don’t forget that we have been negotiating with North Korea for quite a while, and we finally have made some progress. It hasn’t been consummated yet, but the progress has taken place. And China has played a very constructive role here.

It seems to me that, if we engage Iran in conversations, in negotiations — without preconditions, without demanding that, in advance of the negotiations, the Iranians concede on the critical issue of the negotiations — then we might be able to make some progress, and other countries are more likely to join us.

DUBERSTEIN: Precisely.

BRZEZINSKI: They’re also more likely to join us, if we don’t conduct these negotiations in an atmosphere of mutual abuse or of military threats, because that doesn’t help the atmosphere in the negotiations, and it also helps the Iranian extremists to mobilize public opinion behind them.

So, the style involved in the process is almost as important as the substance.

Then it’s back to how Clinton wore his foreign policy outfits. Not very well, it seems, so we get another dig at Clinton who apparently, displayed “arrogance” toward Europe…according to Zakaria.  (Are you buying this? It’s a new line on my radar…)

ZAKARIA: Madeleine, people in Europe tell me that they found that even dealing with the Clinton administration was tough in this regard, that there was — both on the economic side and the foreign policy side — there was a degree of American arrogance.

Oh, dear.

Then we come to the topic of Colin Powell, which reveals how Republican insider Duberstein has decided that the Colin Powell endorsement is the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for Republicans. Yes, Colin Powell takes home raves for his stylish appearance and performance at the U.N.!  And his accessories–those fake photos–to DIE FOR! (literally)

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about your friend, Colin Powell.

DUBERSTEIN: Right.

ZAKARIA: Powell endorsed Obama — very public and very successful, I think, a moving endorsement.

You’re a Republican. You were Reagan’s chief of staff. Will you tell us who you’re going to vote for on Tuesday?

DUBERSTEIN: Well, let’s put it this way. I think Colin Powell’s decision is, in fact, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on Barack Obama.

ZAKARIA: And you’re going to take it?

DUBERSTEIN: I think so.

ZAKARIA: And we have to close. Thank you all.

So, the poster boy for the entire Bush Iraq-U.N.-Congress fake-out gets a free pass these days, I guess. If you’re an Obama supporter, history be damned! But, at least Powell LOOKS good, in either a uniform or a snazzy suit!

Remember, this little fashion preview/Obama infomercial happened the day before the election.  The judges simply swooned politely and in full agreement, over Obama’s haberdashery without one iota of concern about the man’ substance.  A waste of airtime if you wanted to find out anything about policy. But, SIGH, what a package they described!!! Perfect in every way, from his tasteful ties down to his classy footwear!

Now, let’s go back to that mention of Gorbachev.  Post-election, like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the PLO, Gorby is on the list of Obama admirers, perhaps hoping to get some sartorial tips from the man himself. (But what’s this I hear? Iran firing some sort of  new surface-to-surface missile?)  But Gorby is even MORE smitten.  From RIA Novosti, the Russian News Agency:

Gorbachev calls on Obama to carry out ‘perestroika’ in the U.S.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said that the Obama administration in the United States needs far-reaching ‘perestroika’ reforms to overcome the financial crisis and restore balance in the world.

The term perestroika, meaning restructuring, was used by Gorbachev in the late 1980s to describe a series of reforms that abolished state planning in the Soviet Union.

(SNIP)

Gorbachev said that after transforming his country in the late 1980s, he had told the Americans that it was their turn to act, but that Washington, celebrating its Cold War victory, was not interested in “a new model of a society, where politics, economics and morals went hand in hand.”

(SNIP)

He told the paper that the world is waiting for Obama to act, and that the White House needs to restore trust in cooperation with the United States among the Russians.

“This is a man of our times, he is capable of restarting dialogue, all the more since the circumstances will allow him to get out of a dead-end situation. Barack Obama has not had a very long career, but it is hard to find faults, and he has led an election campaign winning over the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton herself. We can judge from this that this person is capable of engaging in dialogue and understanding current realities.”(MORE)

Oh, I get chills every time I hear someone talk about “politics, economics and MORALS” in the same breath, don’t you?  Makes me want to go out and buy a new outfit!

I guess Gorby is blinded by the glitz, perhaps…after all, he cites the Obama campaign as an indicator of being able to “engage in dialogue.”  “Hard to find faults?” What? Well, Gorby hasn’t been in power for about 20 years and is hopelessly stuck with those big shoulder pads from the era, which is unfortunate for Obama, judging from what the current Russian leadership thinks of the new fashionistas in D.C..

Seems Vladamir Putin’s hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev has just moved a few new missiles to Poland’s borders.  Now, it looks like Vlad himself maybe ready to strut his stuff on the runway again.

Constitutional Changes Go to Duma

…National media reports have suggested that Medvedev might step down as early as next year, perhaps on the pretext of the need for a new election under a new Constitution, clearing the way for Putin to return.

The Cabinet official said he also doubted that Medvedev would use the constitutional amendments as a pretext to leave before the end of his term. But he added that he had heard rumors since Putin’s first day as prime minister that he was already tired of being the prime minister.

Back during July’s European vacation,  Obama came out of a meeting with Gordon Brown “shaken” (British Commentators: The Chosen One Looked “Shattered” After Meeting Brown….and Did Cameron/Obama Discuss “Conservative Means” to Achieve “Progressive Goals”? and it looked like a repeat performance after his security briefing just after the election.

Can you image how the new Obama style will fare if he has to meet up with Putin? Obama will probably suggest a friendly round of shooting hoops and won’t those Magic Foreign Policy Shoes make it special! Putin himself showed great “anti-style style” when he took off his shirt and displayed some great beefcake photos out there before he left the top office, so I don’t know how Obama’s lightweight style will compare.

Maybe Obama will have to be carried out on a stretcher, with his Magic Shoe-bedecked feet dangling limply a la the Elton John’s big shoes as the he’s carried off in “Tommy,” after “The Champ” is defeated in spite of his rhinestone glasses and shimmering outfit!

The Big Boots

Oh, but you can bet that the little lights on Obama’s Magic Foreign Policy Shoes will still be flashing for the folks back home.  After all, even if you get creamed, you’ve gotta keep up your STYLE no matter what…and “MAKE IT WORK”!

*****

NOTES:

See Minute 4:25 of Elton’s Pinball Wizard video to recall how those big shoes were carried out with “The Champ” and disappeared in disgrace …

The Story Unfolds 2: Obama, Biden, Brzezinski, Carter…and the Trilateral Commission?

You can buy vintage LA Gear Lights here for about $400…


Part 3–Independent Thinking: STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Editor’s Note: This post concludes a three-part series. For previous posts see Part 1–Independent Thinking: PARTISAN NO MORE and Part 2–Independent Thinking: THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY/LATRINE NEEDS THE TY-D-BOL MAN .

Strange Bedfellows

~~By Grail Guardian

I met some great new friends the other day over at Uppity Woman’s place, courtesy of Hang Right Politics. Republicans. Republicans that think PUMAs are brave and patriotic. Many of them came to Uppity’s site and commented about our struggle of country before party, and it started me thinking about how much things have changed over the past political season.

I live in a rather conservative area of upstate NY, and frequently find myself at odds with many neighbors, co-workers, and family members when it comes to politics. This year, for the first time in, well, ever, I find myself having comfortable, agreeable conversations with these former opposites. I can sit in a restaurant and actually discuss the election and the economy without getting into a heated argument (just getting heated up in anger). I even watched the VP debate with my father, a long-time Republican who cringed when I registered as a Democrat in my 20’s.

Conversely, I find myself at odds (and often holding my tongue) with friends and associates I used to agree with almost all of the time. We used to mock conservatives and blame George W. Bush for just about everything. We believed in the same things, or so I thought, until this year. I find I risk a friendship here, a working relationship there by being honest about how I feel, yet these people who I had so much in common with have not the slightest compunction about offending me or even calling me a racist. Me! Can you believe it? Me, who has always had minority friends; me, who has always been tolerant of everyone, no matter how off the wall; me, who has defended the rights of others at my own expense and fought to make those who felt outcast welcomed and loved.

But I’ve also been noticing that I’m not the only one experiencing this phenomenon. The world has gone topsy-turvy with no real explanation. People blog that they’ve lost lifelong friends over this election. Twenty, thirty, even forty year Democrats have left the party and registered as Independents or even Republicans. People that had diaries on Daily KOS and other liberal sites long before I’d ever visited a blog were thrown off for stating the most innocuous of truths. The media I’d depended on for my entire lifetime for news suddenly offered nothing but commentary and opinions. Places like NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN became mouthpieces for a single candidate long before it was prudent to do so, and I found myself unable to trust anything they reported. I was basically raised on broadcast media, and now I barely even watch TV or listen to radio other than music. (I lunge for the station buttons in my car whenever a DJ starts to speak, because I know they cannot avoid discussing politics.) I found myself reading Lyndon Larouche and agreeing with some of what I read. The Fox network became the least partisan news on TV. Conservative web sites featured stories I agreed with and often quoted.

Then the unthinkable happened. It became crystal clear that the Democratic Party had sold the country for a few shekels and didn’t want my vote anymore. They violated the rules (and I felt the law) on May 31, 2008 and didn’t care that their constituents didn’t like it. They bulldozed over Hillary Clinton like she was an unqualified poseur, and started to sound like Republicans of old when they attacked her and demanded she quit the race. Then on one life-altering day in early June, Hillary abandoned me and 18 million of my closest friends and quit. Worse still, she began to actually campaign for the evil she had sworn to defeat, namely Barack Hussein Obama. Well, I guess she had to keep her promise to campaign for him, but I can always count on the Big Dawg, right? Holy crap! Is that Bill Clinton, the man Barack Obama labeled a racist for the rest of his life, campaigning for this sham of a Democrat too? WTF? Wait, the next thing you’ll tell me is that Karl Rove is giving advice to Obama. Aw, come on now! This can’t be real! What’s that you say? The Republicans have selected a female Vice Presidential candidate that’s got more experience than the Democrat’s Presidential candidate? The Republicans are going to put the first woman in the White House? Huh? Wait, what do you mean the Democrats are calling her a C#$%???? Well at least we can count on the Republicans to launch all kinds of nasty 527 ads, right? What do you mean there aren’t any? But good old Bill O’Reilly will tear Obama to shreds, right? Right? What? O’Reilly shilling for Obama, McCain saying there’s nothing to fear with an Obama presidency??? What now, Democrats rigging the elections like the Republicans did in 2000 and 2004? What?? Who the hell is ACORN, anyway?

Suddenly there was a crisis on Wall Street. Isn’t this the one Hillary was talking about months ago? The one John McCain tried to fix years ago? Well that won’t go well, since we all know Bush caused the crisis, right? What? It was the Democrats that sank the economy and caused the sub-prime problems? And Hillary was tanking her own solution to the housing crisis just because McCain used it? Exactly what is going on here?

But I truly began to realize that I had somehow been transported from Kansas to Oz when I started to look at my former candidate (and current Senator) Hillary Clinton. Ok, at first I understood her fulfilling her campaign promises to “work my heart out” for the Democratic nominee. Heck, I even defended her. All any one had to do was watch her body language and read between the lines to see she was just doing her duty. But damn, does she have to keep doing it? She raised money for him; she stopped the roll call vote at the convention (which really pissed me off) to keep her own name out of nomination, and appeared wherever he asked her to go. Why is she still pushing for him? Why can’t she just support the down-ticket candidates? I agonized day after day, wanting to be loyal to the woman I felt was the most qualified Presidential candidate in years (if not decades), but she certainly wasn’t making it easy on me. Or any other PUMAs.

On Not Your Sweetie commenter Diana said:

What is Hillary doing? McCain gave her credit for the plan. She’s going to start chasing her own supporters off with this kind of stuff. Out and out lying for Obama? I can understand her having to campaign for Obama, I know she’s afraid of loosing her seat in the Senate, but this? Her supporters all know this was her plan. Most of us have seen the video.

Which caused Lee M. to note:

This is not the Hillary that I knew and loved.

And Cookiegramma observed:

It may not be the Hillary you knew and loved lee M., but it is now typical of the Democratic party that I am glad I quit.

Back at Uppity Woman, Typewriterstreaming said:

…After watching Hillary Clinton, (a women I have held in the utmost esteem) this morning on Fox TV stoop lower than ever and lecture PUMAS on the great qualities of Obama and to go further and say she is “disappointed” in Dems. who refuse to back the One,(she’s disappointed????)this post was really needed. I worked hard for Hillary’s campaign and after this morning will not vote for her next Senate bid. It is about Country first and I am shocked to see how far the Clinton’s can put themselves before everything. I am sorry to the people on this post that are Hillary supporters. I mean no offense to anyone. But I am stunned and outraged at what flies for the good of this country in Clinton land.

snip

And the nail in the coffin came from Deadenders:

Hillary Clinton has done the 18 Million that voted for her a great disservice. This is a disgusting display of party before country.

She was lying in the primaries or lying now. Take you pick either way she is supporting a fraud and trying to get him elected.

I’m sick of fellow pumas trying to decipher body language and vocal tenor to say that she is just acting. Well the casual political observer doesn’t see that, and believes only what they hear in the past 5 mins.
They hear Hillary saying he’s the one, and will vote for the bastard because of it.

Hillary has failed us.

Hillary has failed us. Wow. Now I was starting to hear the self-reproaching words of people like Kathy from Hang Right Politics:

Because today, I’m taking myself to the woodshed. I’m kicking my @$$. Why? For being foolish, for getting distracted, for forgetting that my country comes first.

And our own Kenosha Marge

Partisanship forces people to hang onto the most outrageous nonsense in an effort to avoid admitting they’re wrong. Some will refuse to see what is indisputable simply because they don’t want to see.

As much as I don’t want to believe it, I have to start questioning Senator Clinton’s motivations here. She started a movement, and then refused to leave the Democratic Party to lead the millions that gathered in her name. She promised to fight for us, and she did for a while, but then she didn’t anymore. Not even for me, a resident of New York (she voted for the Wall Street bailout fiasco, even though she knew it wasn’t the right solution). She fought misogyny in the primaries, and while she refused to be Obama’s attack dog on Sarah Palin simply because McCain selected a woman, did she really do enough to denounce the treatment her own beloved party gave to Governor Palin? The party she loved more than me and my 18 million friends?

This is a difficult call for me. I’ve supported Hillary vigorously since she was First Lady. I was thrilled when she came to New York for her Senate run. I defended her voraciously throughout the campaign, despite personal attacks and being called a racist until the word lost its meaning. But the words of Deadenders keep echoing in my head. “She was lying in the primaries or lying now.”

So here’s the million-dollar question: Can I vote for Hillary Clinton again?

I can only think of one answer: Country before personal loyalties.