“The Gilded Age”: Harry Reid Reminds Us, Ida Tarbell Muckraked It…

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Seeing Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid today on the occasion of Senator Reid’s departure from the Senate was very moving.  In his final address to the Senate, he was pointed in his comments and along the way referred to “The Gilded Age.”

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/article119671818.html

As President, Which Type of Rally Will Trump Go For on His “Thank You” Tour? “No Frills” or Nuremberg?

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

UPDATE:  November 30, 2016…I have changed the title of this post to reflect the new name for Trump’s current tour, formerly called the “Victory Tour,” now called the “Thank You” tour.

The New York Times is reporting that Trump is just aching to stay in touch with his peeps even though he is a “homebody.”  (Note: This is another of those stories we’re hearing that are aimed at “normalizing” Trump.)

Yes, while he needs adulation as his drug of choice,  the really important thing is to get out and meet his followers…yes, it is sweetly “old-fashioned.”  Normal Rockwell would be proud!

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/12/us/politics/trump-president.html

Donald Trump Prepares for White House Move, but His Tower May Still Beckon

By MAGGIE HABERMAN and ASHLEY PARKER

President-elect Donald J. Trump won the White House with an outsider’s populist promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington.

Now, as he prepares to assume the presidency, an open question remains about the capital he repeatedly spurned: Just how much is he willing to become a part of it?

Mr. Trump, a homebody who often flew several hours late at night during the campaign so he could wake up in his own bed in Trump Tower, is talking with his advisers about how many nights a week he will spend in the White House. He has told them he would like to do what he is used to, which is spending time in New York when he can.

SNIP

Returning home to Trump Tower from the White House may not be Mr. Trump’s only embrace of the familiar. His aides say he has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy. He likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide, and his aides are discussing how they might accommodate his demand.

“I think Trump has discovered that these rallies are tremendous opportunities for him to get his message out,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media, a conservative website. “It’s actually sort of old-fashioned, that you want to actually meet people and press the flesh with him.”

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Now, apart from wondering if Trump is actually going to do any work himself or just past it all to his staff while he gets his “rally rush,” one has to wonder what these rallies will be like.

Will he go for the straight “Rant Rally,” in the classic style of Benito Mussolini?  After all, way back in February 2016, the BBC reported that Trump had re-tweeted a quote from Mussolini...http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35682844

88489998_trumpmussolini

The glue that held the Fascist regime together was Mussolini’s cult of personality. Fascism never developed into a coherent doctrine, recognizing itself best by what it was against: Fascism meant antiliberalism, antisocialism, antifeminism, and, after 1938, anti-Semitism. For the general public, Fascism acquired real meaning in the larger-than-life figure of Il Duce. A vast propaganda machine directed by the Ministry of Popular Culture churned out newsreels, radio broadcasts, and newspaper stories glorifying Mussolini. The Fascist Party choreographed huge rallies at Mussolini’s Roman headquarters at Piazza Venezia, where Mussolini harangued the crowds with rousing speeches. A common propaganda axiom held that “Il Duce is always right,” and that youth should learn to “Believe, obey, fight.” Mussolini’s posturing lent itself to a kaleidoscope of propagandist images: Il Duce as family man, photographed with his five children; Renaissance talent playing the violin; hero of the peasants, harvesting grain bare-chested; brave commander in chief flying a fighter plane. Mussolini reached the peak of his personal popularity when he led Italy to victory over the Ethiopian empire in May 1936.

http://www.ineedchops.com/School/GOV/GOVUnit109Sem1/Benito_Mussolini.htm

Then there is the rally based not only on oratory, but also on true spectacle and staging, rallies not just composed of run-of-the-mill large crowds.  This type of rally would really ramp up Trump’s mainlining of adoration and  leave his supporters in awe.  Scrolling through pictures of the Nazi Party Congresses, it’s really very hard to choose which one would be most appropriate.

The Terrifying Spectacle of the Nuremberg Rallies in Germany

The Nazi Party relied on spectacle to impress German citizens and wow true believers. Beginning in 1933, once Adolf Hitler ruled the country, the annual rally in Nuremberg became a shining example of the power of German propaganda. Each year, the rallies grew larger and more impressive, and Hitler’s speeches became progressively more sinister. The rally in 1939, scheduled to begin on September 2, was cancelled at the last moment—Hitler and Germany had invaded Poland the day before.

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The ever-popular “Cathedral of Light” (introduced in 1934)  would certainly inspire all Trump fans, even those evangelicals who love Trump’s sincere religious beliefs…

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But the 1937 “Rally for Labor” style would really appeal to all his working-class followers because it celebration of the  “reduction of unemployment in Germany after the Nazi rise to power. It had fallen from 6 million at its peak to 1 million. Hitler did this by emphasizing manual labor, restricting companies from using labor-saving machinery, and keeping wages low.”  Yeah, that “keeping wages low” bit is right in keeping with Trump at one point telling his followers that Americans were getting paid too much.

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But who could forget the 1935 Nuremberg Rally? This was the rally at which  “Hitler introduced the Nuremberg Laws, which prohibited Jews from marrying Germans, and declared that only people with German blood (not Jewish) could be German citizens.”  Thousands of soldiers stood at attention during this homage to purity…and the racial “purists” these days are out in full force post-election going after black people, Muslims, and…oh, but we haven’t seen them pushing around any more cerebral palsy victims… yet…

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So, on Inauguration Day, what will happen? Why settle for this…http3a2f2fmashable-com2fwp-content2fuploads2f20132f012freagan-inauguration-1981

When we can have this?

San Diego, May 28 2016– Trump supporters pepper spray protestersc_scalefl_progressiveq_80w_800

OR THIS??

Virginia Beach, Va.  October 22, 2016screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-3-19-47-pm-701x429

Hillary Clinton: Not “Progressive” Enough?… History Shows How She Nailed China on Abuse of Women, Worked on Microcredit for the Poor

by Insightanalytical

No candidate is perfect. Grownups realize this. So, to those who are not going to vote for Hillary because she isn’t “pure enough” in their progressive eyes….she’s been around this fight from the beginning!  Here are a couple of examples of her “progressive pedigree.”

Who went to China as First Lady and detailed the abuse of women?? What politician today would have the guts to do that?
http://www.nytimes.com/1995/09/06/world/hillary-clinton-in-china-details-abuse-of-women.html

HILLARY CLINTON, IN CHINA, DETAILS ABUSE OF WOMEN

Published: September 6, 1995

BEIJING, Sept. 5— Speaking more forcefully on human rights than any American dignitary has on Chinese soil, Hillary Rodham Clinton catalogued a devastating litany of abuse that has afflicted women around the world today and criticized China for seeking to limit free and open discussion of women’s issues here.

“It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights,” Mrs. Clinton told the Fourth World Conference on Women assembled here.

“It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls,” Mrs. Clinton said, or “when women and girls are sold into slavery or prostitution for human greed.

SNIP

Mrs. Clinton’s gravity and directness seemed to please both Democratic and Republican members of the United States delegation here, and thus the speech may trump the political disputes that have plagued both Mrs. Clinton’s decision to travel here and the Administration’s approach to China.

SNIP

Continuing with references to domestic violence, genital mutilation, coercive abortions and sterilizations, Mrs. Clinton told the delegates from more than 180 countries, “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

SNIP

In the section of her speech aimed most directly at China, Mrs. Clinton seemed to betray frustration over China’s intolerance for dissenting views.

MORE , MUCH  MORE

Back in the day, when the GOP was not insane, even arch right-winger Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), praised the speech (although he thought she could be more “specific.”…can’t ever win with these jerks!)

OK, and then there’s this:    Who was deeply involved micro-banks in underdeveloped countries?

http://www.shareintl.org/archives/economics/ec_mlmicrocredit.htm

Microcredit Summit seeks to help world’s poorest  (1997)
by Monte Leach

Excerpt:

The impressive roster of participants at the Microcredit Summit, and their enthusiasm for microcredit programs, was a tribute not only to Yunus, but also to the power of his idea that the poor can help themselves out of poverty if given half a chance.

Among the more than 2,000 participants from 100 countries were three presidents and two prime ministers; Queen Sofia of Spain; the President of the World Bank, and the presidents of major regional development banks; the heads of UN agencies; members of parliament; heads of commercial banks and private corporations; heads of major foundations and philanthropists from around the world; representatives of nongovernmental organizations; practitioners — those who implement microcredit programs across the globe; as well as borrowers like Francisca Rojas who have received the benefits of microcredit.

The presence of the world’s movers and shakers, from every part of the political spectrum, appeared to mean more than simply efforts at photo opportunities with the gathered media. US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, a co-chair of the summit, who, along with the US Secretary of the Treasury, spoke at the conference, said that she and the President, Bill Clinton, first met Mohammed Yunus in 1986, and have been deeply committed to microcredit since then.

Hillary Clinton showed photos of her visits to microcredit programs in Bangladesh, Chile, India, Nicaragua, and the US itself. The First Lady talked about a woman she met in Chile who had received a loan for a new sewing machine. “She said that when she got that new sewing machine she felt like a caged bird set free. And that is a good way to describe how many of the people I have met seem to feel when given the opportunity.”

Mrs. Clinton went on to describe the opportunity presented at this moment in history: “As we move toward this 21st century, we have an opportunity that has seldom come, if ever, in the history of humankind. We have a world that can, with technology, democracy, and free enterprise extend the benefits of prosperity and peace to countless millions whose lives can be lifted up.”

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Yeah, Hillary is an elitist who doesn’t understand those “below” her…

I consider myself a progressive. And that means not having another Republican get into that White House and crucify blacks, women, and gays.
Having marched on D.C. for women’s rights and to seem them crippled is really pissing me off…we are in dire need of a woman to restore the dialogue about issues that affect women and their families…and that includes men, too!

Hillary has been a crapped-on wife, a mother, a brilliant lawyer, an activist, First Lady, a Senator, and Sec. of State. She has seen the world, the villages, not just the presidential palaces. WHO CAN MATCH THAT EXPERIENCE???   She has a daughter and now a grand-daughter. Don’t you think she wants a better world for them and for all children??

People better grow up and realize that to put a Republican in the WH and with a GOP Congress will screw us for decades, esp. with regard to the Supreme FART!

Wake up people…I donated without hesitation last night and will be working on the campaign…at 64, this is a bookend in my life…I started
seeing progress in the 60-70’s, have seen it snatched away…and it’s time to take progress back!

I thought I wasn’t going to be energized, but…I AM!

Remember Mark Penn, of the Hillary ’08 Campaign?? (Guess Who Got Stimulus Money…)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Here’s a nugget from The Hill.com:

Mark Penn’s two firms awarded millions from stimulus for public relations work

According to the story,

A contract worth nearly $6 million in stimulus funds was awarded by the Obama adminstration to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.

Federal records show that a contract worth $5.97 million, part of the $787 billion stimulus Congress passed this year, helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.

Burson-Marsteller won the contract to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television. Nearly $2.8 million of the contract was awarded through a subcontract to Penn’s polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland, according to federal records.

Federal records also show that a former adviser to President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign received nearly $70,000 from that contract to help alert viewers in difficult-to-reach communities that their televisions would soon no longer receive broadcast signals.

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Specifically, the Obama adviser worked on the ad messaging aimed at Hispanics, only 39 days before the digital transition on June 10.

Just this past Tuesday, Republicans John McCain and Tom Coburn held a news conference to complain that the advertising campaign was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

However,

McCain and Coburn did not show any indication that they knew two Democratic political strategists received funding through the grant.

Hey, I guess that means that Republicans don’t really read large stimulus bills, either!!

…And, of course, Republicans NEVER waste taxpayer dollars, either!

Sigh. This game is getting so old…

But, the question that lingers about Hillary Clinton and whether we assume that this is part of a deal Hillary Clinton cut with Obama after the 2008 primaries were over. I guess I would lean toward that assumption!

Sarah Palin…”Constrained,” But Maybe Not How You Think…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Sarah Palin was in New Mexico a few days ago pushing her book out in Roswell a few days ago.  (I have to admit, I find the title “Going Rogue” a bit odd, considering she’s not all that rogue in MY book…shaking off public office to run around the country seems pretty much in vogue…see John Edwards and even Barack Obama, who abandoned the Senate to run for President right quick…and, pols with higher aspirations all write books before their runs these days, don’t they?)

Anyhow, a writer for the Albuquerque Journal came up with a very interesting piece regarding Palin in Saturday’s paper (December 5, 2009). Although it’s behind the subscriber firewall (but try the link below, you might be able to access it) I do want to share some of this, because it really is a serious piece about Palin in that it tries to really figure out WHO she is.

Last year I was dazzled by Palin and didn’t enjoy seeing her trashed anymore than I liked seeing Hillary Clinton trashed. However, I’ve been off the Palin bandwagon for quite awhile now. While I admired her spunk, I always felt a bit uncomfortable with her politics. I really left the train when she quite her job as governor of Alaska.  Frankly, that’s when I saw the “quite and run” thing kicking in, which leaves a sour taste my mouth these days. She doesn’t seem much different than Edwards or Obama on that score.

But this piece by Thomas J. Cole, entitled “The Constrained Vision, Palin-Style” is quite thought provoking.  Cole didn’t attend the book signing Roswell, but he did buy the book and read it…and thought about it.  As he opens his piece, ” I went in search of Sarah Palin this week.” (I’m guessing the “unleashed” Sarah Palin…)

Cole says he wanted to gain a deeper insight into Palin’s views and found it on page 385:

I wanted to know what informs her positions, the ideas that are the building blocks of her politics, the philosophies that would guide her in making the serious decisions required of these serious times.
I found what I was looking for on Page 385.
Palin wrote: “I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, and chief among those is that man is fallen. This world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics.”
She then hitches her wagon to the “constrained” political vision as explained by economist and commentator Thomas Sowell in his book “A Conflict of Visions,” first published in 1987.
Politicians with the constrained vision believe that human nature is flawed, that war, poverty and crime, for example, are inevitable and that our flaws cannot be fixed.
Those politicians believe in building institutions that constrain the flaws of human nature and in leaving it to the public to express their interests in free markets.
On the other hand, as Sowell tells it, politicians with the “unconstrained” vision seek to explain our flaws and believe that institutions can cause them. They believe that government can decide what it is in the public’s interest.
“Commonsense Conservatives (that’s what Palin calls herself) deal with human nature as it is with its unavoidable weaknesses and its potential for goodness,” she wrote.
“We don’t trust utopian promises from politicians. The role of government is not to perfect us but to protect us — to protect our inalienable rights.”

MMM…so, we’re all “fallen.”  This “constrained” viewpoint makes me shudder. “Constraining the flaws of human nature” makes me think of a lot harsh things…including the Republican Party, which is back to their “purity” testing again these days…Sounds pretty “perfecting” to me.  The language, the word “fallen” makes my mind immediately wander into religious territory, a la Adam and Eve.  Sort of give me the creeps, but maybe that’s just my own bias?

Cole then muses on how this sort of thinking would apply to current issues:

Let’s take the health care debate.
Politicians with the constrained vision believe that if Americans wanted more affordable health care, they would get it by expressing that interest in the marketplace.
Politicians with the unconstrained vision believe the public interest lies in reducing health care costs, having more Americans covered and not forcing people into bankruptcy because of medical bills.
On the issue of the economy, there would be no more Chrysler or General Motors under the constrained political vision. Through the marketplace, the public had decided it wasn’t in its interest to save the companies and their tens of thousands of jobs.
Politicians with the constrained vision don’t believe in addressing the abuses on Wall Street that led to our financial crisis or in stemming the tide of home foreclosures.
On the evening of Palin’s book signing in Roswell, President Obama addressed the nation on his plan for Afghanistan.
Palin wrote on her Facebook page that evening that she supported Obama’s action, although she wanted him to commit more troops.
Her position wasn’t surprising, given that politicians with the constrained vision believe making war is unavoidable and rational because that’s just what countries do.

This article is an interesting jumping off point from which to examine Palin’s views.  For liberals who seem to have jumped on her bandwagon, it should give pause.

Beyond the folksy demeanor and “common sense” image, there ARE ideas.  And these ideas must be scrutinized just like those of any politician. It’s a mixed bag, of course.

I probably agree with about 10% of the “constrained” views discussed in the above quote.  But most of it…the blind faith to “the marketplace” (abuses and all) and the “war thing”–well, that just seems to be the same old Republican bit that I really can’t stomach.

So, “Going Rogue” sounds catchy, but it rings as false as “Hope and Change” to me…Lots of things to think about…

China Gearing Up to Drill for Oil in U.S. Territory in the Gulf of Mexico?

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Back in the beginning of the year we noted how the Chinese were expanding their influence by buying all sorts of resource companies around the globe, including sources of oil. (See: The Past Week: February 22-28, 2009 (Laura Bush Lives On; Budget Director Peter Orszag/Robert E. Rubin, Iceland Bankrupters; China Taking Advantage of U.S. Weakness As It Looks to Buy Foreign Oil Companies?; U.S. Deaths Spike in Afghanistan; Baracus Caesar Obamacus Meets Barackistanis).

A few years ago the U.S. was able to rebuff a move to by China to buy Unocal. But things have changed dramatically we now can see how our poor financial situation is affecting our ability to handle outside economic threats…and security. According to the LA Times:

China’s push for oil in Gulf of Mexico puts U.S. in awkward spot

A Chinese company’s gambit to drill for oil in U.S. territory demonstrates China’s determination to lock up the raw materials it needs to sustain its rapid growth, wherever those resources lie.

The state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, reportedly is negotiating the purchase of leases owned by the Norwegian StatoilHydro in U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the source of about a quarter of U.S. crude oil production.

China’s push to enter U.S. turf comes four years after CNOOC’s $18.5-billion bid to buy Unocal Corp. was scuttled by Congress on national security grounds. The El Segundo oil firm eventually merged with Chevron Corp. of San Ramon.

There is some question about what will happen this time around. The speculation in the piece is that due to our economy and the need for cooperation between the U.S.and China, there may not be any real backlash to the current deal.

In addition, since the U.S. has welcomed oil investments in the Gulf of Mexico from other foreign companies, such as Britain’s BP, Brazil’s Petrobras, France’s Total and Shell (Dutch), as well as others, saying “no” to the Chinese may get a little sticky.

But most serious are  the foreign policy implications of China’s moves:

The U.S. risks undercutting its foreign policy goals as well. Concern is growing over China’s aggressive investment in oil-rich nations with anti-U.S. regimes, including Iran and Sudan. Denying China a shot at drilling in U.S. waters would only encourage Beijing to make deals in volatile regions given that new oil reserves in stable, democratic nations are getting harder to find.

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Gee, do you get the feeling that things are closing in on us a bit?

Will Congress have any response?  Will there be any leadership from the Obama Administration?  What will Hillary Clinton be thinking and how much leeway will she have in dealing with the situation?  Or will she be ordered to sit on her hands?

Time will tell…


In Germany, “Dueling Breasts” Join the Ad Campaign in the Run-up to the September Election

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

There’s beem some stuff around the internet implying/stating that to criticize Hillary Clinton’s recent words and demeanor in Africa is an obvious case of “sexism.”

Well, I guess this makes me a sexist as I criticize this woman pol in Germany.  From the BBC World Service:

Merkel’s party in low-cut controversy.

Vera Lengsfeld of the Christian Democrats, who is campaigning in the east of Berlin, has billboard-sized pictures of herself in a low-cut dress next to a picture of Chancellor Angela Merkel in an even more revealing number.

The poster’s strap line reads “We have more to offer”.

The image has been dividing opinion in Germany.

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So, what does the picture look like?  It was on the BBC site, but I copied it from Spiegel Online, which has a full article on the campaign now going on in Germany leading up to the September election and a picture gallery of all the advertising.  (See:  ‘Merkel Is Planning a Campaign with Nationalistic Undertones’ which asks if these first ads are “any good”…)

Here’s the one in question:

GERMANY/

Vera Lengsfeld, a member of Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has already raised eyebrows with a campaign poster displaying the chancellor's ample cleavage alongside her own, together with the slogan: "We have more to offer." She did not ask the chancellor for approval before using her picture.

I’ll answer that question posed about whether this ad, in a particular, is any good.

I think it stinks!  First of all, Vera Lengsfeld didn’t ask Angela Merkel if it was OK to use Merkel’s picture.

The bigger question is: What the hell is Lengsfeld trying to prove? Does the “humorous” reference to cleavage make it OK to bring her body into the campaign?

What kind of judgment does this woman have?  You’d think a woman politician would want to leave gender aside and stick to the issues for the sake of her own credibility.  And why play into the hands of a global culture which zeroes in on a woman’s appearance first instead of her intellect and other qualities? A global culture which pretty much demeans women non-stop.  Even here in the U.S. of A. in the person of Barack Obama and his finger and his speech writer Jon Favreau who likes to grope Hillary Clinton’s chest even if it is only cardboard.  You know, the same country where the media went bonkers over a ‘”hint of cleavage” that Clinton “displayed” at one point?

Is Lengsfeld trying to emulate the sex queens of Italian politics?

Poor Angela Merkel was probably photographed at a function with no intent of being plastered all over a billboard.  Maybe her dress was a bit too much for any public appearance, but who knows when it was taken? Maybe it was before she was elected Chancellor.  No matter…Merkel has never used cheesecake in her political campaigns as far as I can tell.

Until now.  But not because she wanted to.  Lengsfeld has completely cheapened this political season in Germany.   Merkel has been dealing with an economic mess and has had the guts to not get on the Obama bandwagon. She’s tough and smart.   But now she’s used in a “dueling breast” ad at the hands of another woman from her own party, no less.

And I have to laugh that it’s a “Conservative Christian Democrat” who’s dishing out this stuff!  Sort of conjures up images of those family values Republicans, one of whom recently dashed off from the governor’s office to South America for trysts with his mistress…

Men may compare their “packages” in their leisure time chat, but I’ve yet to see an add displaying a male pol’s crotch on a regular basis.  Of course, there is one exception, though not in exact parallel:  Our beloved leader showed off his crotch to a gaggle of women reporters on his campaign plane.  but he did NOT run an ad comparing his crotch to John McCain’s.  Even he didn’t go THAT far…

Women undercutting other women is nothing new, but this little escapade sure takes it to a lower level than usual.

So, am I a sexist for criticizing Lengsfeld?  If you are even considering such a thing, you should have your head examined!

The point is that women who are assholes in public are fair game for criticism, just like male assholes.  It’s not always sexism that’s in play…