The Past Week: January 18-24, 2009 (Condi Rice Getting Booked; Pat Paulsen, We Need You!; VOA and wwiTV.com; Questions)

Well, we’re already seeing the arrogance of Obama and Pelosi and some signs of life from the New York governor as Caroline Kennedy fades from the scene of diversion…

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As you’ve probably heard, Condi Rice has signed on with the William Morris Agency…here is her page at the WMA site:

Condoleezza Rice
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full bio

OK,  she JUST signed on, so there’s nothing there now as  I write this…but she already is listed in the roster of people speaking on “Domestic and Global Issues.”

She’s sharing the roster with the likes of Al Franken, Arianna Huffington, Larry King, Diane Dimond, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Winnie Mandela, Ed Koch, Joe Scarborough, James Cramer, Rita Crosby, Gen. Claudia Kennedy and George Lakoff.  Oh, and Prince Edward of Essex.  And there are many more in the club…

Condi is also listed on the “Women’s Issues” roster (and so is Jennifer Lopez!).  My old chum Peggy Noonan is with a whole crew of people to ignore over on the “Mass Communications” roster.

According to Reuters, Condi won’t be going on shows as a policy analyst, but is going to concentrate on “philanthropic efforts involving classical music and college educations for disadvantaged students, as well as initiatives to help U.S. children become global citizens.” And, she reportedly is negoatiating a book deal, which will possibly include a memoir of the Bush years.

Wonder if she’ll include the August memo prior to 911, you know, the one about planes, buildings, etc. etc.

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I see the pilot of the jet that ditched into the Hudson has finally been released to the public by investigators.  One wonders about the delay…

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I was watching the show Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America” on PBS last night and really was caught up in the segments on Lenny Bruce and the censorship… and the Smothers Brothers and the censorship…and George Carlin and the censorship. In the middle of all this, the name of Pat Paulsen comes up. Remember Pat Paulsen and his run for President??

Well…his son carries on….Check out the website Pat Paulsen for President“…

Looks like Pat’s son, Monty Paulsen, is gearing up for a 2012 run for the White House. Here he hits the campaign trail to find the pulse of American voters.  (video follows)

According to Tommy Smothers (Tommy Smothers Says Paulsen Saved the Show):

It’s debatable who actually urged Paulsen to run for commander in chief of the free world starting in 1968 through 1996, Smothers said.

“It could have come from a whole bunch of people,” he said. “But his ‘68 run was one of the best satirical things ever done in politics.”

[Trivia from IMBD: In 1968 Paulsen first ran for President of the United States under the Straight Talking American Government (STAG) Party, first as a “gag” candidate, then apparently for real. Some critics claim that he stole votes from Hubert H. Humphrey and caused Richard Nixon to be elected (in the televised election returns of that year, he was referred to as a “minor party candidate”). Until his death, he ran as a perennial write-in candidate. His last campaign slogan was “Send Pat Paulsen to the White House! He has to sleep somewhere!”…His last running mate in 1996 was Tiny Tim.]

In the article, Smothers opines that the McCain-Obama race could have used Paulsen added to the mix….I agree!!

Paulsen delivered a series of “Editorials” as V.P. while on the Smothers Brothers Show and the texts are preserved on the web. Here is an excerpt that was shown on the PBS special. It’s on the subject of the draft:

Are Our Draft Laws Unfair?

October 29, 1967

A good many people feel our present draft laws are unjust. These people are called soldiers…Now the crux of the criticism is based on the premise that an ineptitude without gross regress tends to efficiate and gorge masical…and frankly, we find this a bit cloudy.

Let’s take this step by step…When we talk about the draft, we are talking about a law duly enacted by Congress, in which men should be drafted first…women second…and Congressmen last. And what are the arguments against the draft? We hear that it is unfair, immoral…discourages young men from studying, ruins their careers, and their lives…picky…picky…picky.

MORE

Paulsen was awarded a Comedy Legends Award posthumously in September 2008 (he died of cancer in 1997). Will Durst remembers:

“I remember Pat when he first announced he was running for president on ‘The Smothers Brothers Show’ in 1968. He did these double-talk speeches that were so hysterical because he had that look of a ’60s-era politician,” Durst said. “It was hysterical. That was satire.”

One of his choice quotes:

Assuming either the Left Wing or the Right Wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles.
Pat Paulsen

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Tired of the media? Well, you can get your propaganda directly from the new and improved Voice of America site…you can listen to what’s being piped into Afghanistan, for example, and many other places in many languages.

The Confluence had a great piece up yesterday on the subject of the status of women in Afghanistan, which never seems to improve.  Do check out  Saturday: A little thing for the girls.

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If you want to see television from Afghanistan, check out World Wide Internet TeleVision from the Netherlands at  wwiTV.com.  This site has the most incredible collection of foreign and U.S. TV that can be viewed via the web that I have ever seen.  I love the CCTV from China. Check out the English feed.  Today I learned that China is hoping to boost its economy by promoting breakfast–Chinese-style breakfast, not American fast food offerings.  One man said that the state-run restaurant breakfasts were very good and one woman said that for only 3 yuan…well, it’s a bargain!  Sure looked great to me…lots of food and who can beat that price?? (But first I’d check for melamine…)

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I leave you with two questions:

Why am I suddenly getting emails again from the JRE Grassroots group? In case you don’t remember, this was a thing put together by John Edwards.  Well, according to the emails, they want to figure out what to do so they are contacting people on their email list for suggestions.  My suggestion is that they ask John Edwards if HE has any idea on the subject…

And, who would be looking at this little blog at about midnight MT from Andrews Air Force Base (the base the Presidents all fly from)?

Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland landed on https://insightanalytical.wordpress.com/2008/11/03/obama-a-lo&#8230; 23:45:02 — 4 minutes ago

Maybe they’ll come back for a visit again?

THE PAST WEEK

*By everyone at IA–Kenosha Marge, Grail Guardian, American Lassie, Leslie Chicago Correspondent, and IA-GRL

**By IA-GRL, Leslie Chicago Correspondent, & Kenosha Marge

I’ve Been Tagged…So Here Are Six Things About Me….

Obama’s Entitlement “Reform”– the Social Security-Medicare Nexus and Health Freedom

T.A.R.P, Recovery Plan, Term Limits Action…All Obscured Under the Cover of Media Hoopla

Come and Get it! “Idiot Wings” Served Up by Republicans & Democrats…(Update 1X: Lyrics from Stealers Wheel)

*Welcome to…THE IA INAUGURATION DAY SAFE-ZONE!

**Throwing Things as We Think of Other Historic Events on January 20th We Don’t Plan to Celebrate (A Joint Post by IA-GRL, Chicago Correspondent Leslie, and Kenosha Marge)

REMINDER: Inauguration Day is an OBAMA-FREE SAFE-ZONE Here at IA!

The Past Week: January 11-17, 2009 (Al Jazeera Hooks up with PBS; House vs. Senate/Obama and Bailout Oversight; “Everyman” Biden; Non-GMO Verification Project; “The Prisoner” is Free; Extra Anatomical Tube Bypass

The Scanner-International Edition, 11/14/08 (Insight into Obama’s Background, the Luo of East Africa; The Unrecognized Foreign Policy Work by Bush that Will Help Obama; How the Occupation of Iraq May Look in the Future)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Here are a few international stories that have caught my eye over the last few days. The first one gives a detailed background on Obama’s roots, including some of the reputed personality traits of the Luo’s that are evident in Obama. If you think that Bush was in Obama’s camp before the election, the second story may give you even more things to think about. Obama will be taking credit for a lot of the groundwork laid by Bush. The final story discusses some developments that might affect the future of Iraq that the reader might be unaware of.

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From The East African, Kenya:

An ‘irresistible, awful, marvellous people’: The Luo of East Africa

By DAVID KAIZA

Obama’s name is unavoidable anywhere, but when pronounced at Mpaaro, thereis an added urgency to its sound…

It is not altogether fanciful to say that, some 628 years ago, a time barely thought of now, the seeds of Obama’s ascendancy to the world stage were sown here.

Dates and facts are hard to pin down, details are much disputed. But it was here that a Luo man, perhaps one of Obama ancestors, changed for good the world of his time.

The scale was smaller, distances were not so great, but the assumption of power, in the year 1380, over the lands that now comprise Uganda by one Rukidi Isingoma-Mpuga Labongo, son of Olum, leader of the migrating Luo who entered Uganda from Sudan towards the last decades of the 14th century, set in motion cultural-political changes whose impact echoes in many of the conflicts still taking place in northern Uganda and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

For Andrea, as indeed for scholars and guardians of the traditions of Bunyoro-Kitara, the emergence of Obama was marked by a polish, drive and determination that had not been seen before in this part of the world.

“These were men of substance,” Andrea says of the Luo aristocracy that invaded and occupied Bunyoro. “They were very, very intelligent. They were generous. The people liked them.”

Historians speak of the “immense impact” that the Luo migration had on the societies they passed through.

Historian and Catholic priest, J.P. Crazzolara in his foundational study, The Lwoo (1950), writes hyperbolically, “They marched on and came upon people who trembled at their sudden appearance. The Lwoo were at sight the absolute arbiters of this population, who had no time left to think and try to repel such an unexpected mass of invaders.”

He describes them as an “irresistible, awful, marvellous people” that “spread (their) shadow” over the older areas of western and southern Uganda.

The displacement of former rulers and inhabitants by this “appearance” is said to be partly responsible for the ethnic pressures and traumas afflicting eastern Congo, for those who lost out in those years were never to regain their footing and continue to be landless, stateless peoples to this day.

Crazzolara’s heraldic language over-privileges Luo achievements, yet 2008, emerging as a hyperbolic year for Africans, is on a scale Obama’s Luo ancestors would never have dreamt of scaling on the plains of Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.

The year started on a bad, but well-publicised note. With the horribly botched Kenyan election, the word “Luo” started to circulate internationally.

Barrack Obama’s candidature would bring in the phrase “son of a Luo father.”

On a smaller scale, outside Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni, in the middle of a face-off with the kingdom of Buganda, sought to reduce the Kabaka’s standing by publicly stating that the latter was a Luo.

Much of the descriptions made of the Luo are stereotypes like those applied to any other ethnic group, but unlike other ethnic groups in the region, the Luo are spread across five countries, forming a continuous chain that runs 1,200km from Sudan to the southern shores of Lake Victoria.

Crozzolara’s contradictory label “awful and marvellous” points to a central Luo paradox: Their descendants’ occupation of Uganda’s thrones contrasts with the depths of their suffering in wars in northern Uganda, southern Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia. The pendulum of Luo history has swang dizzyingly from immense success to immense failure.

However, to traverse this 1,200km is to be overcome by the similarities in the physical, cultural and personal characteristics of the Dinka, Nuer, Anuak, Shilluk, Wau, Acholi, Lango, Alur, Padhola and Kenyan Luo.

The numerous elders along the trail keep track of their kith and kin.

It is an identity with real cohesive power that can break out in a visceral possessiveness on discovering each other.

It grips, whether felt at the entrance of a tomb in one country, or in victory jigs on the streets of Kisumu.

Spread across centuries and continents, similar descriptions are made of their leaders as “intelligent,” “socialist,” “generous,” “driven,” “aggressive…”

Indeed, putting aside for the moment the adjective-defying import of Obama’s achievement, the weird thing is that his oratorical skills, penchant for the extravagant and appeal to the crowd are right out of the standard caricature of a Luo politician.

Descriptions of Obama sound like a recycling of phrases used of men like the Odingas, Tom Mboya, Apollo Milton Obote, Kabalega and Labongo before him.

For East Africans, seeing Obama reduce crowds to tears is oddly reminiscent of Ugandan independence leader Obote, a man said to be devastating with a microphone.

Indeed, Obama, who rose to fame through his “mobilisation skills,” was himself literally the (accidental) product of the mobilisation skills of a man with whom he shares his ancestry, Tom Mboya. It was Mboya who sent Obama Sr to the US.

There are many barroom jokes in Nairobi now. The funnier one is that when McCain elected to deliver his nomination acceptance speech to a modest, indoor audience, and Obama went for a mammoth event, it was typical of the “outsized” egos of Luo politicians.

“When I see Obama, I see a typical Luo man,” says Kenyan anthropologist Othieno Aluoka.

(MORE)
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From Inter Press Service News Agency, Italy

U.S.: Obama Foreign Policy May Not Require a Clean Break

Analysis by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (IPS) – While much of the world and many of his U.S. supporters are expecting a sharp break with his predecessor’s foreign policy after President-elect Barack Obama takes office Jan. 20, they may be surprised by the degree of continuity between the two administrations.

That continuity — which would be made more concrete if, as expected, Pentagon chief Robert Gates is asked to remain at his post — has less to do with Obama’s hesitation in following through on his more sweeping campaign promises than with the fact that President George W. Bush, has quietly — if grudgingly — moved key U.S. policies in directions that are largely compatible with Obama’s own intentions.

(SNIP)
n addition to earning Obama great goodwill overseas, all of these steps will help dramatise the contrast between his more open and inclusive approach to the world and that of his predecessor, whose unilateralism and cowboy image have brought Washington’s standing among foreign publics to an all-time low.

To be fair, however, that image — so richly earned during his first term when neo-conservatives and other hawks ruled the roost — is somewhat outdated. Chastened by the Iraq war and guided step by halting step by the foreign policy realists, notably Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Gates, and his top military commanders, who have come to dominate the last two years of his presidency, Bush has essentially — if not explicitly — laid the groundwork for Obama’s “new dawn”, especially with respect to key crisis areas that are certain to figure near the top of the new president’s agenda.

Despite loud protests and repeated efforts by hawks around Vice President Dick Cheney to deep-six the process, for example, Bush has stuck by Rice and her top Asia aide, Christopher Hill, in making the necessary concessions to keep the “Six-Party Talks” to de-nuclearise North Korea alive.

Similarly, Bush broke his own diplomatic embargo on Iran — along with Pyongyang, the last surviving member of the “Axis of Evil” — by sending a senior State Department official, Undersecretary of State William Burns, to sit down with his Iranian counterpart as part of a larger meeting including other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany last summer. Significantly, Burns will serve as the State Department’s chief liaison with Obama’s transition team.

The administration also appears close to announcing that it intends to set up an Interests Section in Tehran even before Obama takes office. Such a step will no doubt make it far less controversial for the new president to open comprehensive, high-level talks with Iran without conditions when he chooses to do so (possibly after Iran’s presidential elections in June so as to avoid boosting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chances of re-election).

And after effectively ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for nearly seven years, Bush finally re-launched peace talks at Annapolis last November. While those talks have made little progress and now, with Israeli elections scheduled for February, have no hope of reaching an accord by the time Bush leaves office, he will bequeath, as Rice, the effort’s most dogged booster, noted this weekend, a process that Obama can use to fulfill his promise to make a two-state solution an urgent priority.

Even on Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush has helped lay the groundwork for Obama’s plans to accelerate the withdrawal of combat troops from the former and rapidly deploying more to the latter, which the president-elect has long argued, unlike the incumbent, constitutes the “central front in the war on terror”. By acquiescing in a still-pending accord with the Iraqi government, Bush has also accepted a 2012 deadline for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops — not just its combat forces, which Obama has pledged to withdraw by mid-2010.

As for Russia, whose intervention in Georgia last August brought bilateral ties to their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War, Bush, like Obama, has acted with relative restraint, particularly compared to the urgings of Obama’s Republican rival, Sen. John McCain.

And while his insistence on deploying missile-defence systems in central and eastern Europe is clearly more provocative than Obama’s cautious ambiguity on the subject, Bush has also moved in recent days both to address Moscow’s concerns and lay the basis for a new accord on sharply reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, something that Obama is expected to make a high priority in the early days.

In other areas, Obama’s engagement strategy is likely to build on more positive achievements by Bush that have not received nearly as much attention as his “war-on-terror” debacles: most notably in East Asia, where, to the aggravation of the hawks, good ties with China have not only been preserved, but enhanced; India, where the new nuclear deal capped a rapidly growing strategic relationship; and much of Africa, where Bush’s five-year-old, 15-billion-dollar AIDS programme, strongly endorsed by Obama, is given credit not only for saving millions of lives, but also for making the region the most Bush-friendly by far, according to recent public opinion polls.

(MORE)
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From Inter Press Service News Agency, Italy

IRAQ: U.S. Pushes In Their Excellencies

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

CAIRO, Nov 7 (IPS) – More than five years after the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, Arab capitals are beginning to send ambassadors to Baghdad. But some Egyptian commentators question the timing of the move, which they attribute to pressure from Washington.

“Arab governments originally wanted a full withdrawal of foreign forces and a stable security environment before sending ambassadors,” Ahmed Thabet, political science professor at Cairo University, told IPS. “Yet the pending U.S.-Iraq security agreement promises to turn the current military occupation of Iraq into a constitutionally sanctioned one.”

(SNIP)

“Many Iraqis see this new Arab diplomatic drive as against their national interests,” added Thabet. “They see it as little more than a U.S. attempt to legitimise the occupation and bolster Arab support for the unpopular government in Baghdad.”

Thabet (Ahmed Thabet, political science professor at Cairo University) went on to say that some Iraqis fear recent Arab diplomatic activity “could eventually lead to the replacement of foreign occupation troops with a pan-Arab peacekeeping force to police Iraq.”

(MORE)

Obama: Big Ego, Big Mouth, Big Trouble = Unity Ticket??

These have been an unsettling few days courtesy Obama’s big mouth and ego.

He started out with his pontificating on the subject of abortion. Using GOP framing, of course. This has been fully discussed over at The Confluence, so I won’t rehash all the problems with Obama’s statements here. But, dissing pro-choice folks by insinuating that ALL of them haven’t been willing to “acknowledge the wrenching moral issues involved in it” is completely inaccurate and demeaning. Declaring that “That nobody is pro-abortion, abortion is never a good thing” is another sweeping statement that doesn’t consider the very real heath concerns of women and the tragedies played out in the deaths of women who have been denied proper medical care. I recall a friend of mine who had an ectopic pregnancy…she was rushed to the nearest hospital, which happened to be a Catholic institution. Denied care there, she was then rushed to a public hospital where she had surgery that saved her life. I’m sure she and her husband considered that procedure to be a “good” thing.

Then we get to the latest faux pas (and that may be putting it kindly) about “small towns” which broke yesterday (Friday, 4/11). You can argue about context all you want, but the media doesn’t do context. So, next time you speak at fundraisers (especially those in “elite, liberal San Francisco), don’t say things like:

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Obama on small-town PA: Clinging to guns, religion, xenophopia

Nothing like showing off your arrogance, superiority, and effete-ism to the well-heeled in San Francisco! (Is Nancy Pelosi cringing yet?) You also have to wonder how Obama squares his mention of religion with his own “clinging” to Rev. Wright for about 20 years.

John Edwards must be glad he has kept his powder dry over issuing an endorsement. Wife Elizabeth, of course, has come out with favorable comments about Clinton’s healthcare plans versus Obama’s which gives some insight into how the wheels might be turning in the Edwards camp.

But I do disagree with Elizabeth in her idea about a “Unity Ticket” even if it hints that Clinton should be at the top of it.

My thoughts are that Obama would drag such a ticket DOWN, because his weaknesses would continue to be prime fodder for the GOP and their 527’s, even surpassing Clinton’s. Sure, black voters may stay home, but not all of them. Some voters in largely black small towns and rural areas who have strong church ties might be insulted or, at the very least, confused by Obama’s statements. Or is he only talking about “white towns” in PA?

Of course, Obama’s comments add fuel to the Democratic Party’s problems with already shedding voters from the process in FL and MI, which Obama is helping perpetuate. The great “uniter” isn’t doing much uniting lately.

Yesterday I heard a pundit comment that McCain should pick Condi Rice as his running mate because she’s the only one left in this Administration that is “liked.” So does that mean Obama would be an effective counterweight to her presence on the ticket (am I racist for saying that?). Well, he certainly couldn’t argue effectively about her problems with that memo about planes flying into buildings before 911 because HE also apparently thinks no one could even have predicted a 911. His appearance on Hardball April 2 has been fully discussed by Kirsten Bretweiser, who considers Obama’s response to Chris Matthews “glib.” See 911: Where Barack Obama and Condi Rice Sound Alarmingly Alike

So, I’m not entirely convinced that Obama on the ticket will make a Democratic victory a sure thing.

Besides, maybe we’ll have nothing to worry about on that score since Obama has said that he won’t accept the VP nod because he is really only running for the Presidency. For once, I hope he actually means what he he has said…he could do a lot of healing if he gracefully declined and encouraged his followers to vote for the Democratic nominee in November.

But I have very little faith that he will keep to his word and not want VP and that he will do something graceful and good for the party. Of course, John Edwards has also stated that he doesn’t want the VP spot, but I sure wish he would change his mind, if it’s even a firm decision. At this point I’d settle for a Clinton-Edwards ticket so that the campaign wouldn’t be so enveloped in the racial divide that the media will exploit and which will continue what the primaries have started. There are some black commentators who feel Obama’s campaign has already set black Americans back years (See Four More Years of Black Irrelevance at The Black Agenda Report).

I guess I figure that if we are getting ready to lose in November, at least it should be with less ammunition for the Republicans to use in future elections to paint their image of the Democratic party. If Democrats really do some soul-searching and start with a new slate of candidates who have had no direct involvement with this unholy mess next time, perhaps the party can be rescued long term. Perhaps.

In the meantime, I keep having a recurring dream of John Edwards being nominated for President by acclamation at the convention…it’s not