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…

Hillary Clinton At It Again in Africa…This Time, Talking about Elections…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Can somebody explain all this action in Africa?

Since the Congo incident, the State Department has been scrambling around trying to put Hillary Clinton’s angry outburst to rest.  According to the Washington Post’s Washington Wire, the State Department has reversed itself on how to explain the incident away.  “Bad translation has now given way to the questionner’s “nerves.”

But now, there’s another incident.  As reported in The Times (UK):

August 13, 2009

Dodgy elections? We have them too, Hillary Clinton tells Nigerians

Hillary Clinton has risked provoking American conservatives by drawing a parallel between political corruption in Nigeria and George W Bush’s contested election win in Florida in 2000.

The US Secretary of State made the comparison while talking to an audience of activists in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, yesterday, during an 11-day tour of Africa.

Then, she went into more detail:

But she added: “Our democracy is still evolving. You know, we had all kinds of problems in some of our past elections, as you might remember.

“In 2000, our presidential elections came down to one state where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state. So we have our problems, too.”

The State Department went into scramble mode:

State Department officials defended Mrs Clinton’s remarks, saying that she had not been making a partisan point but one about the peaceful transfer of power in the US.

“The point she is making is that it’s about a disputed result and then the willingness of the candidates to accept a flawed result rather than, say resort to violence,” an official said.

Now, I don’t give two hoots about offending “conservatives,” but the crap coming out of State about a “peaceful transfer of power” bugs me. Yeah, those thugs sent down to Florida from D.C. were really inspiring, weren’t they? But, of course, thuggery in the current Chicago on the Potomac crowd is de rigeur these days, so I guess we can forget 2000…And calling 2000 a “flawed result” is so, so…civilized!!  Makes me want to wretch at the new myth making about 2000…

So our democracy is “evolving?”   To me, it seems more like it’s DEVOLVING…

Of course, what bugs me even more is that Clinton seems to be careful about avoiding any mention of  the Democrat’s own primaries last year and the problems with THAT whole process…Talk about IRONY!!!

I don’t know why Clinton is blabbing so much in Africa these days, but something must be going on in her psyche.  Hillary seems to have contracted the contagion of nonsense that prevails these days.

As  for MY psyche, at this point I’m so totally disgusted with everything about the Obama Administration that I want to bury myself in a carton of ice cream and stay in the house watching movies all day…anything to avoid what the media may say on this latest matter, which will be another source of diversion from critical issues if and when the chorus begins…

The Complicated Diplomatic Life of Hillary Clinton (UPDATE 1X: Clinton on the Defensive in Congo over Bill’s “Presence”; UPDATE 2X: Bill Off the Leash?; UPDATE 3X: Video of Clinton Congo Outburst, Glenn Beck Comments)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

UPDATE 1: 8/10/09 PM:

Apparently, Hillary Clinton IS getting touched by the recent focus on her husband–in Congo, no less!  This is SO NOT GOOD! And in so many ways…for women, for Clinton herself, for the country…is the final set-up in place for her to leave? A large part of her visit to Congo is going to focus on the mass rapes in the country and human rights issues, but by the time the following report gets to the U.S. that emphasis will probably be lost.

Note: I’ve deleted the original excerpt after seeing that it was from the AP….replaced by the story from the France24/AFP:

Clinton pushes rights issues in Congo, Angola

snip

Clinton faced a flurry of questions from the students, not all to her liking. At one point, she showed a rare flash of public anger as a young man asked for the views of her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

“My husband is not the secretary of state, I am,” Clinton said forcefully.

The AP story also quoted her as saying she wouldn’t be “channeling” Bill Clinton and described her response as being “snapped.”

The Voice of America news omits the exchange and the BBC story only cites the last line/quotation (without the “she snapped” or the “forcefully.”)

UPDATE 2

Albert R. Hunt, Exec. Editor for Washington for Bloomberg News opined 8/10:

Big Dog May Not Return to Leash After Pyongyang

What will this Pandora’s Box yield?

UPDATE 3   8/11/09   AM

From the AP story at FOX News, the video…and, as predicted, this is going viral. Glenn Beck was razzing Clinton about this on his AM radio show just now and will sending it in his newsletter.  He did make one comment that makes a lot of sense: that Clinton must really regret that she took the job.  Whatever it is, she’s cleary frustrated as hell.  Beck also played a tape of her during the campaign in which she shouts about how “Amercans have a right to debate” and how “debate is patriotic” (in reference to the Bush Administration). Beck mocked her “gentle” style and compared it to her outburst in Congo.  He also commented on her absence from the trip to Russia and the N. Korean business.  He was implying that she was being cut out of the loop.   He was caustic, of course, but an awful lot of it was spot on.  Especially when he finished up by saying that the Obama/ACORN machine had taken down the Clinton machine–that’s how scary these people (Obama people)  are.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “untitled“, posted with vodpod

***

ORIGINAL POST BEGINS HERE (Touching on what’s been brewing and finally came out today, as reported above.)”

This is a complicated post that has evolved over several days observation…

To start,  back on Tuesday, 8/4/09,  I posted a little comment over at the TD Blog’s open thread on Bill Clinton’s mission to N. Korea to free Al Gore’s journalists/reporters  from Current TV (or whatever they are).  I commented:

I expect to hear at some point that Bill’s success shows that Hillary sucks at being SOS…

So, lo and behold, I listened to the report on the “rescue” the next  morning on the BBC World Service news bulletin (at 1400 UTC)  and at the very end, the throwaway comment by a reporter on the phone (a British reporter, not an American) was (sic) “What’s interesting is that SOS Hill Clinton is married to Bill Cinton and he accomplished what she couldn’t.”  The AP on Thursday (8/6) in an analysis piece (can’t quote them) and the L.A. Times in a news story that, of course, includes “analysis” used the word “overshadow” in their post-mission coverage.

Meanwhile, over at the BBC’s “Have Your Say” page, the teaser is “Should Africa Listen to Hillary Clinton?”

Should Africa listen to Hillary Clinton?

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has begun a tour of Africa, saying improving democracy is the key to boosting trade and development. But should Africa follow her advice? (more)

Gee, I thought she was representing the Obama Administration/the United States–why the “personalization” of her foreign policy trip?

Well, I guess it’s understandable, since Clinton has personalized some of her rhetoric, notably her comments in late July regarding North Korea. From the detailed coverage of the spat at India’s IBNLive:

“Maybe it’s the mother in me, the experience I’ve had with small children and teenagers and people who are demanding attention, Don’t give it to them,” she said in the interview.

She also said the North Koreans were like “little children” who “had no friends left.”

I have no no problem to the reference to motherhood, in general, but …did Clinton’s acid comments really help the situation?

North Korea’s Foreign Minister issued a scathing response. From the KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY of DPRK(Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)

She said during her recent trip to India that “north Korea should not receive the attention it is seeking through behavior like missile launches,” likening Pyongyang’s behavior to that of unruly children. Her words suggest that she is by no means intelligent.

The DPRK has taken necessary measures to protect the nation’s sovereignty and right to existence to cope with the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat, not to attract anyone’s attention.

snip

We cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community.

Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.

Anyone making misstatements has to pay for them.

While some stories in the Western press called N. Korea’s personal attack “bizarre”  (See: the Agence France-Press report at News.com.au titled  North Korea in bizarre Hillary Clinton attack ),  over at IBNLive there’s a vote up on Clinton, up or down which is basically tied, and also a place where, among several choices,  you can give her flowers or throw tomatoes, complete with a “live action” tomato throw at Clinton.  Currently the tomatoes are the most popular choice.

The result of this spat was that the 6-party talks were declared “dead”….but the rhetoric was toned down and backchannel work to reset the playing field  was undertaken and then, enter Bill Clinton and the freeing of the Current TV writers.

Early on,  Asia Times Online, the “private” nature of Bill’s N. Korean rescue mission was nabbed as a “fantasy”: See Dear Leader stars in Bill and Hillary show for a good read.

Clinton was just the high-profile visitor North Korea hoped to entice from Washington in return for handing over the journalists.

Why bother to pretend otherwise, after wife Hillary, as secretary of state, had laid the groundwork by saying that maybe Ling and Lee had made a mistake and strayed across the Tumen River border with China when North Korean soldiers picked them up on March 17? And hadn’t Hillary already expressed an apology for the mishap after having said earlier the two had done nothing wrong?

The Independent Opinion Page seemed to think everything is OK for Hillary:

Yet one perk now stands out. How many other jobs would enable a woman to send her philandering husband to North Korea? Many women have fantasised about it. Mrs Clinton has actually done it. Take note Harriet Harman. Some sisters, at least, are letting their menfolk know who wears the (pantsuit) trousers.

Well, that BBC reporter quoted up top doesn’t seem to echo this shallow assessment. Neither did the AP or the L. A. Times and other media outlets. From the  above L.A. Times story,

It once again led to him overshadowing his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, even as she is on her own diplomatic trip to Africa.

snip

At the same time, the trip left some uncertainty about how Clinton’s new diplomatic career is fitting in with that of his wife, America’s chief diplomat. While Bill Clinton was in a worldwide spotlight, the debut of Hillary Clinton’s 11-day trip to Africa received scant attention. She has been trying to raise her visibility in an administration stocked full of capable diplomats and influential White House foreign policy aides. The Africa trip, including stops in Kenya — Obama’s father’s homeland — and several longtime hot spots, was meant to help her raise her own profile.

In an NBC interview Wednesday, the secretary of State said that though she had originally favored Gore for the North Korea assignment, she was “very much in favor” of sending her husband once the North Koreans requested it.

And, here’s something else, also from the L.A. Times story:

“This is really going to help consolidate his role as an elder statesman,” said Ross Baker, a political analyst at Rutgers University. “It almost gave him a kind of heroic tint.”

So Bill is the hero of the story; Hillary, not so much. Heck, by the end of the week on the McLaughlin Group, Hillary Clinton’s name didn’t even come up in the discussion of Bill’s trip to N. Korea and its potential implications at all!

Back to that BBC news bulletin I mentioned right up at the top…

A short bit later in the same news bulletin, I heard the report on Hillary Clinton’s umbrage at the Kenyan government…their corruption, impunity, and failure to correct the problems that resulted in the post-election violence back in December 2007.

The BBC story below has a video of  Clinton Speaking at the 8th AGOA Conference.

Kenya impunity ‘disappoints US’

snip

Addressing the press following a meeting with the Kenya’s president and prime minister, Mrs Clinton strongly criticised Kenya’s political leadership.

She said the absence of strong and effective institutions had permitted ongoing corruption, impunity and human rights violations.

And she noted that these conditions had helped fuel the violence that engulfed the country in early 2008.

“We’ve been very clear in our disappointment that action has not been taken [over the violence],” she said.

“It is far preferable that it be done in the regular course of business, that prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officials step up to their responsibilities and remove the question of impunity.”

The violence broke out after supporters of Raila Odinga – the main opposition leader at the time – said he had been cheated of victory in the December 2007 polls.

Clinton adds:

“I want you to know President Obama feels a personal connection and commitment to the future of Kenya.”

If you listen to her speak this line, she enunciates every word very carefully, as if she wants to make sure everyone listening gets it.  It’s overkill, of course.  Perhaps over-compensating for Obama’s ties to Odinga and the same old, same old foreign policy that’s chugging along. Or some reflexive sense that she has to make sure any hint of “not being fully on board” is dispelled.  Whatever.  It seems to happen fairly often.

A little bit below this video there’s an audio clip which discusses the main concern of the U.S. regarding  Africa, namely, OIL, since 24% of our imports come from Africa and catching up with China, Russia, and India.

Emira Woods, Liberian-American  journalist and an “expert on U.S. foreign policy in Africa”  comments, that  despite the ” lofty rhetoric” of Obama’s Inaugural Address, U.S. foreign policy is “still focused on a  narrow definition of U.S  interests” with regard to “extractive industries”…oil, gas, and mining.  Then there’s the “land grab” which is going on across the African continent.  According to Woods, large “tracks of lands” are being turned over to the production of biofuels to fuel cars around the world, but there’s really very little concern about feeding starving children.  Woods also relays concerns about the militarization of Africa. (Note: Both the Clinton video and the Woods audio are here on one page:   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8185626.stm).

Very little “hope and change” over there, just like there’s very little here at home…

And in Angola, Clinton pushed for  “credible elections”…you know, the kind the Democrats gave us last year during the primaries.  Eek!

Of course, the topic turned to oil. From the BBC:

In Luanda, Mrs Clinton is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with American oil giant Chevron and the US Agency for International Development (USAid) to promote investment in Angola’s agricultural sectors like coffee and bananas.

Asked about China’s growing influence in Angola, Mrs Clinton said she was not interested in what other people were doing in Angola because her focus was on what the US was doing.

Last year, Angola overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s leading source of crude oil.

She’s not interested in what China is doing?  Really?  Oh, please.  It sounds sort of glib, doesn’t it? And completely disingenuous…

So, basically, all the trumpeting of a new foreign policy seems to be a lot of hot air and not much different than anything that’s come before. The U.S.’s self-interest is still all wrapped up in oil.

Remember how during the Bush years we got all sorts of big talk?  Remember the infamous “axis of evil” reference in his 2002 State of the Union address (axis = North Korea, Iran & Iraq)?  Well, there are times when Clinton sounds just like George W. with her sometimes very harsh or very glib statements.

Now, I really deplore the snark from that BBC reporter aimed at  Hillary Clinton about Bill coming to the rescue.  She seems to absorb al this without batting an eye. Then again, Hillary got the “street finger” from the Obama crew during the primaries. And she chose to leave the Senate and sign on with the Obama crowd.  It’s nice that she’s adding some comments about women in her speeches, but in real life, she’s being slimed by a reporter for the BBC and undercut in her desired appointments to positions by the Obama team.  It’s been reported that HIS  people are in under her, not her first choices for key jobs.  And now, Bill has re-entered and is the new hero of the N. Korea situation.

But she’s apparently OK with all this. (?)

So, the upshot of how this makes me feel is that 1) She’s getting shafted or undercut too often and 2) Sometimes she speaks in ways that makes me scratch my head. But most of the time, I just wonder what will happen next. What does Bill do next?  Madeline Albright sure didn’t have to deal with this sort of thing. I can’t figure it out, unless Clinton is used to the soft form of “battered wife” syndrome.  Then there’s the dealings with Obama, the guy who cheated and muscled himself into the nomination.  Here she is, right on board the train with the usual U.S. foreign policy, surrounded by Obama loyalists, while he keeps his nose clean. I guess she’s OK with this and how she must defer to his lead, but it I don’t feel OK watching it all happen.

So, while others cling to Hillary Clinton as their personal inspiration, I can only say that I’m left with very mixed feelings at this point. I sort of shake my head and say ” Too bad”  about Clinton’s odd position at State, along with everything else that is “too bad” these days…

A Black Blogger’s Take on Obama’s Ambivalence toward the Real Problems in the Black Community

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

During last year’s primary season I discovered The Black Agenda Report which bills itself as “The Journal of African American Political Thought and Action.”  Glen Ford, the site’s executive editor, did NOT support Obama during the primaries and expressed his fear that Obama would actually set efforts to address real concerns in the black community back.

Ford and a group of writers continue to write compelling essays about the Obama Administration and his perspective is valuable as being an expression of how some blacks who are not Obots view what’s going on.

The most recent post deals with TBAR’s disappointment about Obama’s “ambivalence” over the effect of the current economic situation on black Americans.

Obama Preserves Entrenched Power, Sidesteps Racial Disparities

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Obama deploys the same twisted logic as generations of white, corporate politicians.”

In his own clichéd words, President Obama reveals himself to be, at best, ambivalent on the need to confront historical and current racial disparities in the United States. Behind the awesome hype and intellectual façade lies your garden variety corporate-bought politician whose worldview is no deeper than the shallowest catchphrase in long-discredited American economic discourse: a rising tide lifts all boats.

Ford takes Obama to task for stating that more “welfare” will meet the real needs of blacks.  Ford argues that real programs addressing such things as “institutionlized racism” and structural unemployment are needed, not just more “assistance.”  I’ve bolded a few key comments in the excerpt.

No Pretense of a Racial Policy

So confident is Obama that his personal Blackness is all that is required to offset horrific realities such as New York City’s nearly 50 percent Black male non-participation in the formal job market – statistics from 2003 that have certainly worsened in the current crisis – he offers not a single programmatic response. Obama is quick to point out that his plan is “is designed to help all people” – another way of saying there’s nothing in it to address the specific problems of people of color.

Obama claims there is no need for specific programs.”

He deploys the same twisted logic as generations of white, corporate politicians, who pointed to Black overrepresentation on welfare rolls as proof of the government’s deep concern for African Americans. In fact, concentrated levels of public assistance, food stamps and unemployment checks are elements of the misery index that, especially when dramatically skewed by race, cry out for specific programs and policies of remediation. Obama claims there is no need for specific programs because “folks who are most vulnerable are most likely to be helped because they need the most help.” Thus, he turns logic and language on their heads. The deeper Blacks sink into the abyss, the more they are eligible for general assistance – therefore, the Obama plan already contains everything African Americans need as a group, and will be of more use to them than to more advantaged groups. According to this line of reasoning, the worse things get, the more responsive the Obama plan is. There’s no need to deal directly with the underlying causes of disproportionate misery, such as institutional racism.

Presidential Denial

Obama is not even willing to fully acknowledge that Blacks and Browns have actually suffered disproportionately in the meltdown. In three successive sentences, he three times uses the word “probably” to describe what are solid facts. African Americans have not “probably” lost a disproportionate amount of jobs – Obama’s own Labor Department figures show that to be the case, on top of previously existing, horrendous rates of structural unemployment.

African American children are not “probably” over-represented among those lacking health insurance. They are, in fact, disproportionately uninsured. Obama belatedly corrects himself on this point, but his reflexive reluctance to give voice to the glaring racial disparities that are fundamental markers of American life, is deeply disturbing.

I love Ford’s opening description: “So confident is Obama that  his personal blackness is all that is required….” There are legitimate underlying problems that still need to be addressed and that the election of a black to the Presidency can’t cover up…especially a person like Barack Obama, who has no core values whatsoever and whose allegiances are all about drawing more power to himself.

But Ford and many of us already knew this during last year’s election season.  The “post-racial” candidate who spent most of the primaries playing the race card to win black votes has predictably been shafting this bloc by ignoring very real problems.  Instead, the Obama regime will offer more housing loans to folks who can’t afford them and trot out his “blackness” when re-election time comes around. In the meantime, very real issues concerning the black community will be brushed aside as usual.

And, of course, the same technique is being used with the poor in general and the middle class, as their  futures are thrown out the window to save the big banking friends of the Obama Administration.  There seem to be plenty of “programs” for bailing out banks (like TARP)  and taking over industries and “reforming” healthcare…Meanwhile,  the little guy will sink.

A writer in an earlier piece (about Guantanamo) asks the question “… Is Bush Still President?”

Seems appropriate since the “change” promised doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight…

The Past Week: April 26-May 2, 2009 (Cap & Trade Speed Bumps; Tiny Houses; Obama’s Unchecked Spending Could Doom Health, Energy Plans)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

At the start of the week, before all the hoopla over the first 100 Days of Obama Hell, it seems that a pesky group of moderate Democrats were a little bit edgy. Via Kenosha Marge:

Cap and trade hits speed bumps

Supporters of legislation to address climate change expected last week’s rollout of a cap-and-trade energy plan — complete with Earth Day events and an Al Gore appearance on Capitol Hill — would boost their efforts.

Instead, what they got was an earful from a group of moderate Democratic lawmakers, many of whom represent competitive seats, who said the policy would set their already-economically hard-hit districts even further back.

MORE

But the upset isn’t limited to those in competitive, targeted seats. Some Democrats in safe seats are also concerned about the possibility of sending more manufacturing jobs overseas as well as huge increases in energy costs in areas which depend on coal for energy.

Energy costs will go up for everyone, of course, so this may not be a bad idea. I saw an article several years ago on “small houses” in one of those Sunday magazine inserts, but this may be the time for this idea!  Checkout the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company:

Philosophy

Dream Big. Build Small.

My name is Jay Shafer and since 1997 I have been living in a house smaller than some people’s closets. I call the first of my little hand built houses Tumbleweed. My decision to inhabit just 89 square feet arose from some concerns I had about the impact a larger house would have on the environment, and because I do not want to maintain a lot of unused or unusable space. My houses have met all of my domestic needs without demanding much in return. The simple, slower lifestyle my homes have afforded is a luxury for which I am continually grateful.

Shafer has plans for houses from 65 to 837 square feet and testimonials, plans, as well as pictures and videos of  houses that have been built are at the site.  They are really very nice! Can you imagine if all the “McMansions” were replaced by these little places?

***

As Obama’s spending plans balloon, here’s a very succinct rundown of the problems that may be down the road.  Again, via Kenosha Marge:

Obama’s Plans May Be Doomed by Unchecked Spending: Albert Hunt

Commentary by Albert R. Hunt

April 27 (Bloomberg) — “A hundred million there, a hundred million here, pretty soon, even in Washington, it adds up to real money,” President Barack Obama declared last week, paraphrasing a line attributed to the late Republican Senate leader, Everett Dirksen.

Hunt provides a list of the political realities of all these dreams. For example:

Social Security: The Obama administration knows that curbing the growth of entitlements is critical and that Social Security is an easier target than Medicare.

Former President George W. Bush’s attempt to institute private accounts was ill-conceived. The stock market crash has killed that approach for the foreseeable future.

Not That Hard

Yet a Social Security “fix,” which should command support from the center of both parties, isn’t very elusive. It could involve progressive indexation of benefits so wealthier retirees get less, small tax increases, and a gradual increase in the retirement-eligibility age as Americans live longer.

Many congressional Democrats, including the leaders, are as rigid in resisting this as Republicans are on taxes. They have told the White House: Don’t even think about setting up a commission to deal with Social Security or other entitlements.

On each of these measures, supporters avoid discussion of the fiscal costs and wrap themselves in buzzwords: family farms, small businesses, the “death tax,” protecting seniors. “Most of it is about labeling,” Reischauer says.

The small stuff, such as Obama’s directive to his agencies to cut a total of $100 million from their budgets, may score political points for the president. He’s talked a good game on some of the bigger-ticket items, while showing no inclination to fight for them. His apologists say he has higher priorities.

If it persists, this will produce one of two train wrecks: decimating his health-care and energy initiatives or imperiling a long term, fiscally sound economy.

This is a sobering read that even Obots could understand…

***

THE PAST WEEK

*By Kenosha Marge

**By Grail Guardian

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (May 2, 2009) ORIOLES!

While Obama Blows Off Women’s Freedom as He Celebrates His First 100 Days, the Saudis He Bows to Clamp Down on Women Even More (UPDATE 1X – Souter Leaving Supreme Court)

*Holding Out for a Hero

**Spring Finally Arrives in New York! Hurray! Photos from Highland Park (Near Rochester)

Money Matters: “Banker to the Poor” In Impoverished Countries Now Lending in U.S.; “Money Goddess” Advises Obama Administration; IMF Bonds Update

The Past Week: April 19-25, 2009 (Pakistani Women Pushing Back; French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde Speaks; Doubts About Toxic Asset Plan; UK Blogs)

The Scanner-Politics 4/8/2009 (Double Talk; Overstaying a Welcome; Moyers Talks to William K. Black, the 1980’s Regulator Who Cracked Down on Banks–He Levels Accusations of Law-Breaking Against Obama & Company

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Today’s Scanner articles courtesy Kenosha Marge

Here’s a piece that sums up the path of Barack Obama’s first few months in office nicely–it’s the pattern, stupid:

Obama’s Double-Talk

While the president talks sobriety, his policies take America on an economic bender

Matt Welch | May 2009

High-flying presidencies tend to reveal their base character in trivial moments. In March 2002, when the nation was still massively behind George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks, he gave the first obvious signal that his administration would play cheap politics even in a time of grave global uncertainty by slapping a temporary new tariff on imported steel. If the world’s fragile economy and the putatively bedrock principles of free trade could be sold out for a couple of percentage points in contested Rust Belt states, we shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the very “war on terror” would be subject to political manipulation, or that Bush’s skin-deep economic philosophy could not be counted on in a crisis. The costs of what this move revealed became clear soon enough, and eventually Americans withdrew their benefit of the doubt.

Barack Obama’s revelatory moment may have come in his first week as president. On his first day of work, he signed an executive order prohibiting lobbyists from holding highranking administration jobs, thereby fulfilling a campaign promise to “close the revolving door” between K Street and government via “the most sweeping ethics reform in history.” Two days later, the president granted a “waiver” from the new rules to install Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn as the No. 2 man in the Pentagon.

As offenses go, the move was trivial. But as a signal of a governing pathology, it established a pattern that Obama has repeated serially since being sworn into office: reiterate a high-sounding promise from the campaign, undermine said promise with a concrete act of governance to the contrary, then claim with a straight face that the campaign promise has been and will continue to be fulfilled.

MORE

***

As Obama returns to Washington to the praises of the U.S. media, apparently all aren’t as enamored “over there.”  Here’s a little snippet from the UK. It’s from the Telegraph, a Murdoch paper…but it still is quite delicious:

–From Iain Martin’s blog:

Isn’t it time for him to go home yet? It is good, in theory, that the new President of the United States is taking so much time to tour Europe. He arrived in London last Tuesday, has been to Strasbourg, Prague yesterday and now he’s off to Turkey. It shows, I suppose, that he cares about the outside world and that is ‘A Good Thing’. But his long stay means that we are hearing rather a lot from him, way too much in fact.

According to Martin, Obama is “long-winded.”  I think that’s being kind.

***

Bill Moyers has interviewed William K. Black, “the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.” Moyers introduces Black with this:

Now Black is focused on an even greater scandal, and he spares no one — not even the President he worked hard to elect, Barack Obama. But his main targets are the Wall Street barons, heirs of an earlier generation whose scandalous rip-offs of wealth back in the 1930s earned them comparison to Al Capone and the mob, and the nickname “banksters.”

During the interview Black accuses the banks of deliberately making bad loans, calling them “liars loans.”

Black supported Obama, but is disgusted now:

MOYERS:… To hear you say this is unusual because you supported Barack Obama, during the campaign. But you’re seeming disillusioned now.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, certainly in the financial sphere, I am. I think, first, the policies are substantively bad. Second, I think they completely lack integrity. Third, they violate the rule of law. This is being done just like Secretary Paulson did it. In violation of the law. We adopted a law after the Savings and Loan crisis, called the Prompt Corrective Action Law. And it requires them to close these institutions. And they’re refusing to obey the law.

Well, there you go, on Moyers Journal, no less.

But, unfortunately, it’s not on the network news.  But, at this point, I guess we should be thankful for ANYBODY who goes after this mob…

The Past Week: March 22-28, 2009 (A Split in Russian Political Forces as Putin Weakens; The Voice of Korea, North Korean Propaganda Outlet; G-20 Protests Begin; A Prescient Wish for a Bush Successor ca. 2006; X-Rated Google Earth)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We spent some time last week discussing pronouncements by China and Russia re: the dollar.  But here’s some information on what’s going on in Russian politics.

Apparently, the Russian political system is being strained by the current global economic crisis.  The split between military/security officials versus the economic political liberals is beginning to surface. Vladimir Putin was supposed to be the link between the two factions, but his influence as Prime Minister is apparently weakening:

From The Guardian archives (March 3):

Putin and Medvedev factions locked in Kremlin financial power struggle

• Evaporation of wealth eroding PM’s authority
• Security and economic cliques on collision course

SNIP

The sudden evaporation of Russia’s newfound wealth has set the two Kremlin cliques on a collision course and put Putin – now prime minister – in an awkward position. As a former KGB agent he is heavily identified with the security group, known as the siloviki, but he also has strong personal loyalty to a small clique of liberals from his home town of St Petersburg.

Experts say Putin is losing status as he attempts to contain conflict between the factions. Cracks are appearing in his relationship with Medvedev.

“Putin used to act as an arbiter standing above the two main clans – the siloviki and the rational economists,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, a leading political analyst. “Now he’s been dragged down into the fight and he’s under fire from both sides. The siloviki say he’s a weakling incapable of imposing his will and showing the economists their place, while the economists in turn are consolidating around Medvedev.”

Medvedev, handpicked by Putin from among loyal acolytes as a successor, has begun to issue muffled criticism of his mentor, leading some to believe that he may be enjoying the trappings of power and be prepared to flex his political muscle.

MORE

Who will win?

***

With North Korea moving rockets around for a test of a suspected long-range ballistic missile sometime between April 4-8, Japan is ready to launch interceptors:

Japan Readies Missile Interceptors

Published: March 27, 2009

TOKYO — Japan authorized its military on Friday to destroy any debris from a North Korean rocket that might fall on its territory. North Korea has said it intends to put a satellite into orbit as early as next week, and warned that fragments could fall into waters off northern Japan.

Japan, South Korea and the United States suspect the launching is a cover for a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Taepodong-2. In response, Japan will deploy missile interceptors and dispatch two warships to the waters between it and the Korean Peninsula, said the Japanese defense minister, Yasukazu Hamada.

A battery of Patriot land-to-air missiles will also be deployed in Tokyo, he said. “Whether it’s a satellite or a missile, we are extremely uncomfortable with the object flying over Japanese territory,” Mr. Hamada said.

MORE

With the tensions between North Korea back in the headlines, I’m reminded of what it’s like listening to the Voice of Korea, which beams into North American for an hour every day via  shortwave radio.  If you want to listen to what the last Stalinist state sounds like on the radio and don’t have shortwave receiver, here’s a recording off the radio that will give you a sampling of N. Korean propaganda from Pyongyang  (from June 23,2008).  After the sign on, you can fast foward through the martial music and listen to the news and glorification of the “immortal exploits” of Kim Jong II as well as cultural segments… The site also has audio of such inspiring songs as “I Will Be a Solidier of Marshall Kim Jong II”.

Voice of Korea may sound over-the-top,  but, having experienced the glorification of Barack Obama by the media and the glossing over of the news here in the U.S. and the actions of Obama and his sycophants, it makes me wonder if things we’re hearing here are that much different than the propaganda pouring out of North Korea!   (More at the home page of English Radio from North Korea ).

And here’s some fascinating background on other North Korean broadcasts–coded “Numbers Broadcasts” to agents.  You can listen to some of them at the site using Real Player.

***

In 2006, Antonia Juhasz published* a book entitled “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time.”  It went beyond the Bush Adminstration, however, as it traced the history of U.S. corporations in the growth of globalization and detailed the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization.

I happened to pick up the book again in light of recent events and couldn’t help being struck by the opening paragraph of the book’s jacket description…especialy the last sentence.

In this important book, renowned international trade and finance policy expert  Antonia Juhasz exposes a radical corporate globalization agenda more befitting of a ruthless empire than a world leader in democracy.  This agenda has been refined by leading members and allies of the Bush Administration over decades and has reached its most aggressive implementation under George W. Bush. And Bush Agenda adherents hope it will outlast him.

Reading that last sentence has simply reinforced my suspicions about WHY we had Barack Obama shoved down our throats…

By the way, G-20 protests have already begun…

Thousands join London G-20 protest

***

Finally, on a lighter note,we see a kid in the  UK who decided to get Google Earth’s attention.  While many of us try to avoid Google at all costs, this guy decided to use it to full advantage:

Teenager’s 60ft painting of penis on parents’ roof spotted in space

When ancient Britons drew male genitalia on chalk hillsides, little did they know people would ape their customs millennia later…

SNIP

Teenager Rory McInnes painted a giant phallus on the roof of his parents’ West Berkshire mansion, apparently after watching a programme about Google Earth.

The BBC delicately describes it as a “comedy painting”, saying it was there for a whole year before his parents found out.

MORE

And this isn’t the first try at this, either. I must say, it’s a find rendition. Go take a peek for yourself…

***

THE PAST WEEK

*By Kenosha Marge

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 28, 2009) First Hummingbird and First Cactus Flower!; Wisconsin Robin; Happy Birthday, TORO the Dog!; Trooper Shows Off)

Russia-China Proposals; “Rebalancing” Global Currency Reserves: Why the U.S. Can’t Take Anything for Granted Re: the Dollar

EXPOSED! ACORN Behind Protests at AIG Homes, Under S.E.I.U. Rent-a-Mob Contract

A Reminder: Live Streaming of the First “Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Policy Symposium” Today (3/26) With a Rather Interesting Group & Agenda (To End “Fumbling” on Economic Policy)

The Scanner-Politics: March 25, 2009 (G-20; Glenn Beck’s “The One Thing” Segment on the Dollar [Video]; “The Big Takeover”; Al Gore Releasing New Book on Election Day 11/3/2009; Augie the Dog Sends a Deposit to the U.S. Treasury)

The Scanner–International Edition, March 24, 2009: Say Goodbye to the Dollar? China, Russia Proposing a New World Currency for “Non-Credit” Based Economies, Echo G-20 Agenda of Expanding IMF; China Will “Consider” Buying IMF Bonds; 10th China Develpment Forum Underway (UPDATE 1X–Geithner Supports China Proposal??)

*When is Being “Reasonable” Simply “Unreasonable”? (Especially When It Comes to Our Money?)

The Past Week: March 15-21, 2009 (Home Gardens on Alert?; “Practical” Democrats Group; Federal Education Stimulus $$ Going to Rich Schools; Soldiers Pledge to Refuse Illegal Orders; New Marxist President of El Salvador Compares His Message of Change to Obama’s)

***
*Publishing information:
Juhasz, Antonia. The Bush Agenda: Invading One Economy at a Time.  2006, HarperCollins (Regan Books), New York.
(yes, THAT Judith Regan)